Do you ever look around at the Catholics or Christians in your life and wonder, 'why are they like that'?
Do you ever think we're just too much, politics aside?
Well, buckle up, I'm going hardcore inside-Catholic-baseball here.
Lent is my favourite time of year besides Easter, and you will not tell me that I'm wrong, but I understand if you tell me how extra I am.
People love looking at Lent as a challenge. A personal challenge especially. Lent is neat because you give up something for 40 days and it's hard, but you come out of it a better person who can breathe a breath of fresh air and say, "yes, I totally went 40 days without eating chocolate."
GOOD. FOR. YOU.
No seriously! Lent is hard, and you know what, 40 days is a really long time!
I just finished the Whole 30 last week, and I'll be honest, it was more of a Whole 13, but I tried to stick it out the 30 days. It was a really long time to go through! Lent just makes it a Whole 40! But you know what? You come out less bloated, more energetic, and feel more confident.
But you know what else? That's not why Lent exists.
Lent is not about you.
Lent is about you and God.
Now, am I going to stop you from challenging yourself to better yourself for 40 days? No, I am not. You go for it.
But, may I suggest tuning in a little further?
How can you use your Lenten sacrifice to serve others better?
That's right, I want you to take the hard thing and REALLY not make it about yourself.
It can look like this: I gave up Netflix for Lent. Why? Because, if you know anything about me, you'll see that I have been watching Friends in the background of my life for the past 5 years. When you have that background noise on, it's hard to focus on anything else or feel motivated to get other things done. AND, NETFLIX NEVER REALLY SHUTS OFF. IT JUST LOOPS FOREVER.
So, I gave up Netflix for Lent. The first thing that I usually do when I get home is plopped down on the couch and turn on Netflix just to ease my mind of the day. Dealing with Ross' insecurities or Monica's cleaning obsessions helps me forget my own for an hour or so. Yesterday, I got to my fiance's house and didn't really know what to do with myself. I didn't need to make dinner, and I don't have any books or magazines there, so I reached into my purse and took out my Give Us This Day daily devotional. I flipped to March 13th and said the Morning Prayer for the day - even though it was 4:30 pm.
As I finished praying, Chris walked through the door, and we were able to hang out and wait for some friends to come over.
Taking this time for prayer, rather than Netflix, served God and me in a more significant way.
Lent is my favourite because, yes, it's a challenge. But, it's also not about me. It's about God and me.
If I come out of Lent 30 pounds lighter because I committed to doing the Whole "40", then I've missed the purpose. If I commit to eating better and perhaps serving at a soup kitchen or using my new found energy to help coach a high school sports team, then I am using these talents for the service of others and helping to glorify God.
Have goals during Lent and crush them, but remember to serve a higher purpose in doing so. And remember, the 40 days will come to an end, what is your succession plan afterwards?
Remember, fasting and "giving something up" is not the only pillar of Lent.
We are called to almsgiving and prayer as well.
Update your prayer life! Pray a daily rosary in the car on the way to work or meditate on the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. You can give alms by volunteering or spending time with those in need. I encourage you to find grand gestures but act within your means. Be extra good at this time of year and show extra compassion - yes, even in traffic.
Try to love Lent. Love it because it's hard. Love it because Christ's love for us is unwavering. Love it because at the end of it, comes Easter. Easter is indeed the best. But, that's another blog post for another day.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you're fasting from in the comment section below! xo
A recurring trend that I've seen to support New Years' Resolutions are vision boards. According to my trusty sources of dictionary.com, a vision board is "a collage of images and words representing a person's wishes or goals, intended to serve as inspiration or motivation."
I've always been a visually creative person. I like seeing words written out to inspire me; I like to highlight and colour code my day planner, and it's a large part of the reason that I pursued photography growing up.
This year, around January, I began to cut out inspiration words and phrases and photos that I found in magazines. I don't buy magazines often, so it took a bit of time to put the vision board together. Well, it's March, and I've finally finished it, so I'm pleased to show you!
I lucked out by having a Christian magazine that I had purchased on a road trip last summer, so I was able to pull some very inspiring pieces from that.
I included a quote from the book of Job and the Psalms in the Bible, along with a little list of things that I can do in my day-to-day to lead a more fruitful lifestyle. The lists include things like reading the Bible, praying, aiming for health and speaking life. The small write-ups underneath serve as a great reminder and motivator.
The other magazines were secular but still inspirational, depending on what you're looking for. Phrases like "Hidden powers" and "beauty begins beneath the surface" are there for inspiration as I continue to work on my reflection and self-confidence.
I was able to find some phrases to also encourage my health journey and to look at for motivation, "You must make yourself a priority. It is not selfish. Everyone is busy, but when can you prioritize the time for you?" and "Healthy eating shouldn't be hard or stressful. Instead, try creating a lifestyle around it."
There are also a lot of bright, vibrant images to keep me joyful and encouraged every time I look at it. There are images from places that I want to or have travelled to. You can look at the pictures and feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you'd like!
It took some time to find the "right" spacing for how I wanted it to look, but everyone's vision board will look different because we're all different people! I encourage you to spend some time over the next few months cutting out inspiring things that you find in a magazine or newspaper and begin making a vision board of your own!
Show me photos of yours by tagging @findingmyfiat on Instagram! I can't wait to see them!
Yours in Faith, Truth & Health,
Let me premise the following by telling you two things:
Angel Wash by Kevin Murphy
Angel Wash is described as being for women with fine coloured hair, neither of which I have. This shampoo was recommended to me by a hairstylist that I saw and honestly? It gets the job done. I walk out of the shower smelling good, and my hair feels clean and rejuvenated.
Re.Store by Kevin Murphy
This puppy is a God-send. I'm one of those freaks who washes her hair twice a week. Before you tell me "Oh, I tried, I cannot do that." YOU MUST TRAIN YOUR HAIR. This was a process and commitment and the second that I wash my hair two days in a row, I throw myself back to square one. Trust the hair care process.
Re.Store is an excellent product for the in-between days when I'm not ready to wash, but I need a refresher! Cannot recommend this product enough and I don't even use it every week, so it lasts!
Integrity by Milkshake
This product is relatively new to me and was also recommended by my hairdresser. It's described as a deep, nourishing conditioner which is definitely the must-haves for my hair. I struggle with psoriasis/eczema/something unknown on my scalp. I think it has to do with my aversion to dairy. Or maybe comes with stress. I haven't been able to pinpoint it, but it's there, and I will take any help I can get. Integrity help with that as a conditioner!
Leave-In Conditioner + Incredible Milk 12 Effects by Milkshake
The next three products are also key players that help with my scalp issues. The Leave-In Conditioner and Incredible Milk 12 Effects are also very new to me but help with the rest of my hair. My ends get fried easily because I'm a sucker for using heat on my hair, so these products help keep everything nourished and looking fresh!
Acid Wash by R+Co
DING DING DING WE HAVE A LIFE-LONG WINNER. When my hairdresser used this on my hair, my life was changed, the sun shone brighter, and the depression that is winter in Canada seemed to go away! That's an exaggeration, but this puppy helps the flakes on my scalp. I squeeze some onto my hair, especially my part line and scrub it in. After this, I let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse and wash it out. The apple cider vinegar is key to helping my hair. You can totally smell it, but it's not too bad - I promise.
I'll be honest with you, my hair usually gets taken care of last. I forget to go for haircuts, and I just treat it like trash most of the time. I'm getting better at that though! Plus, these products are definitely helping!
Skin care. This has been a journey since I was 13 years old and my face started announcing my period every month. I am GRATEFUL beyond measure that I never had severe acne, only several unwanted pimples + zits at a time. I am also very grateful that I've grown out of this -- mostly. I usually get one or two zits once a month around the time of my period (oh, is that TMI? Sorry, it's 2019.) However, I find that when my skincare routine is on point, and I'm eating well, they're even less of an annoyance.
MyMatcha by cocokind, Rose & Collagen Face Serum by Mon Amie + a face roller
Alright, the face roller barely gets used, and I don't really know what to do with it, but when I do use it, it feels very nice. That's all I have there.
The mymatcha stick was a GREAT purchase. I believe this is cocokind's old branding, but it's been such a stable product. I use it under my eyes before bed. The reasons that I don't use it in the morning are that I have another product for eyes that I'm also using and also I find it leaves a bit of a green tint under my eyes. Leaving it on overnight, let's it absorb into my skin.
The face serum was a Marshalls purchase, and honestly, I can't even find the brand's website (hence why it's not linked above). Seems a little odd, but here's what I do know: it smells good, and it feels good. I love the scent/flavour of rose, so this product smells like a dream to me. Also, I use it on days when my skin is SUPER DRY and leave it on overnight. Like the matcha stick, it absorbs overnight and makes for a beautiful, moisturized face the next morning.
Face Primer by Laura Mercier + Tint Skin by BeautyCounter
Alright, BeautyCounter has been real life, honest to God, the hand-on-a-Bible game changer. And no, I am not an independent consultant. BeautyCounter was introduced to me about a year ago by a dear friend and a respected makeup artist. She told me about this great set of beauty and skin care products that are made from safe ingredients.
ARE YOU AWARE OF HOW MUCH SH*T IS IN OUR MAKEUP??
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don't have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.
BeautyCounter will cost you a pretty penny but it lasts a long time, and I feel better about putting good things on my body. Their moisturizing foundation is excellent for every day. My skin is a little weird, and I find that it's best when I add a setting power to it.
This face primer by Laurier Mercier is also new to my routine, but it's great! It has a bit of a shimmer to it which sits nicely under the foundation. That's really all I got! No complaints!
Countermatch Regimen by BeautyCounter
I'll try my best to break down this fantastic regimen and do it justice! Adaptive Moisture Lotion is a great everyday moisturizer. I use 2 pumps each morning all over my face, and it's lasted me almost three months! It goes on smooth and works well under my primer and foundation - or even better when I just use it on its own!
Recovery Sleeping Cream is what I use at night when my skin isn't TOO dry. I'm sure it could handle even my worst, but I'm just trying to get through that bottle of face serum (see above), so I alternate between the two! Even though it comes in a little bit, there's also a pump feature which I like because I can easier monitor how much I'm using -- does anyone else do this? 1-2 pumps on my face before bed and I am good to go!
Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream is my morning under-eye go to. It works well and definitely, eliminates any puffiness that I might have. It includes ingredients that are derived from olives and sugar beets so I know I'm putting good things so close to my eyes!
These three products have been fantastic for me. They are definitely an investment, but if you can, I encourage you to invest in your skin.
My skin and hair care has been a journey. As I mentioned above, I couldn't afford to toss everything from the drugstore out and renew my skincare routine overnight. It's an investment, but remember, this stuff is being soaked into our skin and into our bodies and bloodstream. You wouldn't intentionally ingest poison, so why do it with our skin? I realize that not all of these products are necessarily clean, but they've all been recommended to me by experts who I trust and I value a good quality product for myself!
Again, I'm not an expert, so I do encourage you to do your own research or to talk to someone who knows a lot more than me. These guys have been working for me!
I hope you enjoyed reading my first lifestyle post! Drop a comment below to let me know your favourite clean or safe products.
This post will aim to unwrap the meaning behind my blog name: Finding My Fiat
The word Fiat kept popping up in my life.
First, I met someone who had the word tattooed on the inside of her forearm. Then, I kept hearing it in church teaching. I was really drawn to this word and the meaning in which it encompasses. In my brain, Fiat is not the word to describe a type of car, it's the pivotal moment in the Gospel of Luke when Mary receives the angel and says yes to God's Will in her life. A will that is far beyond our comprehension and for some, far beyond the realms of belief. In his writing, Redemptoris Mater, St. John Paul II coins:
"And Mary gives this consent, after she has heard everything the
messenger has to say. She says: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according
to your word" (Lk. 1:38). This fiat of Mary-"let it be to me"-was decisive, on the human level, for the
accomplishment of the divine mystery. There is a complete harmony with the words of the Son,
who, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, says to the Father as he comes into the world:
"Sacrifices and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me... Lo, I have
come to do your will, O God" (Heb. 10:5-7). The mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished
when Mary uttered her fiat: "Let it be to me according to your word," which made possible, as far
as it depended upon her in the divine plan, the granting of her Son's desire."
Granted, I am not destined to be the Mother of God. But, I do believe that I am intended to real life here on earth and there is a Will of God for my life that gives me comfort. Belief in God gives me joy because it's a scapegoat. At the end of the day, it's not up to me! How fabulous!
At the end of the day, I walk through the motions of life, I make decisions, I say words, I do my job, I have a workload. God is not a puppet master, and he does not interfere with my free will to live my life. However, if you start to really hone in on who you're meant to be, you'll find that He whispers to you. My Creator whispers to me through my gut feelings. Let me give you an example:
I was approached in the spring of 2018 by a near stranger (a wonderful woman, who I knew through literally 5 interactions and through mutual friends) and she was interested in opening a coffee shop and thought that I would be a good fit to have on board. We didn't know each other, I had no money to my name, I had just gone through a string of term jobs as I left university for the real world. I was already engaged to my very supportive fiance, but I didn't have a job that I loved or was thriving in. Photography was relatively slow, and my current term as a receptionist was doing nothing for my spirit. So when our personalities clicked, I was immediately inspired to consider my options.
I considered her offer, and I read the financial reports, and then I talked to some experts. I really prayed hard at whether or not dumping every penny that I had saved up into a coffee shop was a wise decision.
I (obviously) didn't end up pursuing this. My breaking point was the following:
The three most supportive people in my life are my fiance and my parents. They believe that I can reach the sky (I mean, duh, I'm a millenial) and they give me boosts that raise my self-esteem in ways that I am forever grateful for. That being said, my dad is very no-nonsense. Being a photographer isn't a career in his eyes. He's very proud of my work and my skill but hopes to see me use my degree in a setting where there are a pension plan and benefits. I didn't even run this idea past him until I was 100% certain that I was on board. So, I sat down with my mom and fiance. We had the financials in front of us and all of the projections, and as I sat there with my head just swimming, my fiance looked me dead in the eye and said,
"Do you want to do this?"
"No," I replied.
My gut feeling had been there the whole time. Every time someone brought up the idea of me putting all of my (mostly) hard-earned money into something that may or may not be successful, I felt it. That twinge and twist of your stomach that can't be ignored. Do you get that too?
So what's the meaning of this? Is my God just here to trample on my dreams? No, I don't think so. But here's what happened; a few months later, I landed my "dream job" of sorts - I work in Marketing & Communications for a Catholic High School, and it's the MOST fun.
My fiance and I ended up being able to buy a house this past winter which I would not have been able to do if I had piled all of my savings into opening a coffee shop. Life's funny. God's funny. I'm thrilled with where I am, and I'm delighted that I trusted that gut feeling. Everything has worked out, and I owe it to my trust in God.
Gut feelings don't always have to be an act of God. Maybe you don't believe that they are. Perhaps you think in the universe. Regardless, I encourage you to get in tune with that sh*t. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Finding my Fiat has been about that journey. About finding God's will in my life and having the courage to live it out. That's what this blog will be for, and that's what this blog will serve. I encourage you to follow along on the journey with me!
Hi, welcome. I'm Janelle. It's nice to inter-meet you.
I don't know your story, but you're going to get to know mine. (Aren't blogs so weird?!)
I've dabbled in blogging and website-ing for a while. I used to have a website where I shared my thoughts and photography work, but I felt the need to separate my writing and photography passions. I recently went through a rebrand with my photography business and felt that's a place to tell other people's stories, but not my own. I came up with Finding My Fiat because Fiat has become my word or my mantra in life. You can learn more about what that means here and I will probably blog about it more very soon!
I'm not an influencer or expert on anything. The new trend of influencer marketing and blogging is great! I've been introduced to really great brands that way and have seen friends really thrive! I'm just here to write. There might be short stories, poems (?), links to my articles at Youth Speak News and other collaborations but strictly for story telling and speaking about my experiences. Kind of like we're sitting down for coffee!
Should you keep reading? Should you subscribe below? Do you need another notification in your inbox? You can decide for yourself. Here's what I intend to write about:
Thanks for being here, I hope this blog sparks conversations & connections ✨