Hello 25!

Yesterday I wrote about how this past year had significantly changed my life and what I hope God has in store for me for 25. Today I’d figure I’d tell you 25 things about myself, because let’s be real, I can’t do two emotional posts in a row (I think my mom would cry too much, haha).

1. I’m obsessed with all things Disney!
I’ve had a Disneyland pass since I was in middle school and it’s my favorite place to go, plus who doesn’t love Disney movies?!

2. My first (and only) car is a 1965 VW Bug.
My dad had a 1969 Bug since before my parents got married. Then his brother gave him my 1965 Bug before he passed away and my dad fixed it up. He taught me how to drive it and it’s been Blue & I ever since!

3. I have four tattoos.
My first are Roman numerals of the day my grandfather died. My second is my nieces signature from when she would write me letters while I was in college. My third is a matching tattoo with my best friend and it’s a Doctor Who quote. My fourth is a cross. My next one will most likely be for my dad.

4. Bret and I met in middle school.
My mom was his teacher for most of elementary and all of middle school, so I have known Bret’s whole family for a long time. I still remember that awkward day when our moms forced us to meet…so awkward. But, we had crushes on each other back then and they never really went away.

5. I love Pepsi and hate Coke.
The only person in my family who prefers Coke over Pepsi is my brother…
I suspect he was adopted…

6. I’m slightly addicted to Hot Cheetos.
And by slightly, I mean love them a lot.

7. Tulips are my favorite flower.
My dream is to go to a tulip festival somewhere in the world or U.S. because they literally bring a smile to my face.

8. I love going to open houses.
My dad and I used to spend our Sundays going to church, getting breakfast, then driving around San Diego County looking at houses. It’s easily one of my favorite things to do.

9. I will drive any distance for a good donut.
Bring on the devils food! If you live in SD or are visiting, go to VG’s in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. There, you have the best donut ever.

10. I get anxious when I don’t have control over a situation.
This drives Bret nuts but I’m a control freak. But it keeps our house running smoothly so is it really a bad thing?!

11. I hate tomatoes and Italian food but love salsa.
Anyone who has eaten a meal with me knows I despise pizza (despite it being one of my biggest pregnancy cravings) because I hate the red tomato sauce. But salsa, especially spicy salsa, is my all time favorite. My favorite is from Tony’s Jacal in Solana Beach (again, if you’re in SD, go!)

12. I have saved every card given to me since I was ten years old.
I have a box full of birthday, Christmas, graduation, theater, and random occasion cards. I love looking back and reading the things my family and friends had to say.

13. Survivor is my favorite reality show.
I remember my family was on a road trip for a family reunion and we watched an episode of the first season in Minnesota at my aunt’s lake cabin. After that, we were hooked. Everyone in my family watches it and we even talk about strategy and what a player’s best options are, haha.

14. I have never broken a bone.
I’m too cautious too even come close to breaking something.

15. I’m scared I’m going to mess up being a mom.
I’m sure every new mom has these fears but I feel like I’m going to mess up everything, haha. Because, let’s be real, your firstborn is the first thing you actually have to take care of. It’s not a house plant you can occasionally water that will eventually die. So I feel like I’m going to make so many mistakes and scar her for life if I don’t get her the right Christmas dress or use the right diaper. Ugh, she’s not even born yet and being a mom is already difficult.

16. I collect decks of playing cards.
I have so many from road trips, friends and family bringing me back cards from their trips, and super random ones. I’ve thought about getting rid of them but they’re all so unique and have a story that it’s hard to do.

17. I am a sexual assault survivor.
Read about my story HERE.

18. My parents are my role models.
My mom is the kindest, most understanding, God-loving person I know. I pray that I can be a great mom like her one day. My dad was the wisest, most talkative and passionate person. He was a force in his professional field and I aspire to be like him when I enter the legal field.

19. My past career goals were teacher, chef, and grocery bagger.
My mom and her family are all teachers so I figured I would’ve followed in her footsteps (but I’m not patient enough. My mom is a saint). I love cooking and baking but realized I just wasn’t passionate enough to be a chef. And, let’s be real, if grocery bagger was a career, I’d do it. I have a system and don’t like it when others bag my stuff when I shop.

20. Makeup is a slight obsession of mine.
I love being creative with eye shadows and trying new products! And I’m always on YouTube watching tutorials or reviews on new products.

21. I tell way too many stories.
I’m slowly starting to realize I’m becoming my dad….

22. I love baking and decorating cupcakes but hate eating them.
I don’t know why, but unless they’re German chocolate cupcakes, I’ll pass.

23. I’m terrified I won’t pass the bar exam.
Lord, help me!

24. I’ve only gone to one church my whole life.
My family has gone to our church since I was born and I absolutely love it. After my parents got divorced, it became my dads and my thing to go to the Early Bird service every Sunday (aka 7:30 am, ugh). But since he died, I basically refuse to go to that service because I have yet to make it through a service without crying. So now, if I go, I go to a different service. It’s a mega church so there are lots of options!

25. I would love to move away from California but I would miss my family too much.
I spend so much time with my family and I never get tired of it. I love just chilling in front of the tv with my mom, shopping with my sister and niece, and eating lunch at the place my brother works while he’s working. I love that my mom and grandpa live on the same street because my grandpa is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet and I love visiting him and hearing his stories. California is so expensive that it would make so much more sense to move anywhere else. But I would kick and scream if I had to actually leave my family (especially my mom). I love them too much!

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit more about me!

Now back to studying. I’ll see y’all again after the bar exam!



Tomorrow is my 25th birthday.
It seems like this year has flown by.

When I reflect on this past year, it’s crazy to think about all the things that have happened and how this past year has significantly changed my life.

Last year, I posted a picture on Instagram and said that I wanted 24 to be the year of happiness. I’d say that is partly what happened.

I started 24 with my third year of law school. I figured the most exciting thing I’d do while 24 was graduate law school. Shortly thereafter, my dad died unexpectedly. Then, two days after his funeral, I found out I was pregnant.

Since November 17, my life has been a crazy roller coaster of emotions.
Heartbroken over my dads death, joyful over my pregnancy, scared about telling the world about my struggles, and elated over graduating law school.

I never thought the things that happened this year would happen. I thought it would be a longggggg time until my dad died or I would have a baby. I thought I’d be looking at my dad in the crowd at graduation while getting hooded. I thought bar prep wouldn’t be this difficult or physically painful.

I am thankful to God every day that I am alive and healthy but I can’t help but wonder how my life would have been different had those events not happened.

Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have posted a blog about my sexual assault story, I wouldn’t be wiggling around in pain from pregnancy because my ribs and back hurt all the time, and my apartment would still be cluttered because I wouldn’t be making room for a baby.

But, honestly, as much as it pains me that my dad isn’t here and won’t be present in my daughters life, I’m glad 24 turned out the way it did.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still heartbroken over my dads early departure and cry almost every day, but I love where I’m at right now.

Yes, I’m exhausted from bar prep and pregnancy and I can’t help but think bar prep would be soooo much easier had I not been pregnant, but I think God planned this because He knew I’d come out a stronger and better person on the other side.

I’ll be the first to admit I question Gods intentions all the time. Like, why did He call my dad home, why would He bless me with a baby knowing I’m taking the bar exam, what’s the purpose of it all?

I constantly ask why in every aspect of my life and I think a big part of 25 will be learning to let go and trust that God knows what He is doing with my life. I mean, I believe that in theory, but actually putting it into practice is a lot easier said than done.

I pray that 25 will be just as rewarding, demanding, and emotional as 24. Obviously it will be because I’ll have a baby to take care of, plus a newborn (jk Bret! haha). But I’m hoping God will continue to surprise me, good or bad, because I know, if I could make it through 24, I can make it through anything.

Here are some snapshots of things that happened over this past year!

One of the first things I did as a 24 year old was go to the San Diego Comic Con for the first time! I was part of a group that performed in Masquerade, which is a costume contest (we did Star Wars). It was so much fun to walk around the floor. Above is my sister-in-law and I with the TARDIS (our fave!) and me with Bae (aka Benedict Cumberbatch).


Before starting my 3L year, I headed over to the elementary school I went to because my mom transferred there! She’s back at teaching in the same grade as when she left the school 23ish years before! My niece and I ran around the playground playing on the jungle jim and playing tetherball (which I won every time, thank you very much).


When I walked into my dad’s house the day after we found out, I naturally gravitated towards this chair and blanket. This chair belonged to my grandpa who passed away when I was 10 and this chair holds a ton of memories. It currently is sitting in my living and I sit in it all the time. This blanket has been on my parents bed for forever. My dad used to take the tassels on the end and tickle my nose with them. It’s still weird to think I can’t call him up and talk to him about life. Miss you, dad!


Two days after my dad’s funeral we found out that I’m pregnant! I’m due mid-August so I’ll be 9 months pregnant while taking the bar exam. Fun stuff…. But in general, we are so excited (and I think our families are too!). It’s been 12 years since we’ve had a baby around and everyone has been itching for another, especially since both my siblings got married last year. Every day that she kicks I keep telling her to come out already…but to wait until after I take the bar, haha (it can be on the second day in the second session for all I care).


So this is Kaila and she is dating Bret’s brother Nic. One of the greatest things that’s happened is becoming friends with her this year. She is so nice and genuine and we like all the same stuff! The best part is she’s due with a baby just a couple months after me!! So my baby girl is going to have cousin she can actually grow up with! We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl but we are dead set that it’s a boy because all her cravings and pregnancy symptoms are soooo opposite to mine!


Last but not least, GRADUATION!! That day was so surreal. I had been waiting to graduate for so long. I had quite the bump at this point so my robe stuck out a little, it looked so funny, haha. As I was getting hooded I had to hold back tears, partly from the sun but mostly because I had wished my dad was there. But I knew that he, my grandparents, and uncles had the best seats in the house and had their own little cheering party going. He would’ve loved to have been there (I think he was more excited for me to graduate than I was, haha).

That’s it! That’s how I spent my 24th year!
Crazy how time flies!

Check back tomorrow as I share 25 things about myself and what I hope to accomplish this upcoming year!

Bumpdate: 30 Weeks!

It feels like just yesterday I was in my first trimester and now I’m in my third!!
Time sure does fly!


How have I been feeling?
Surprisingly okay! (Insert Sherlock smirk here, haha) No, but really, besides a few aches and pains, I’m feeling pretty decent.

The only thing that has made pregnancy difficult is the back and rib pain. I sit down for most of my day, because of bar prep, and the chairs are not comfy at all, so by the end of the day I am so done! The lower right side of my back is where all my pain is and that pain travels down my right leg and creeps around to my ribs. Most of the time my ribs hurt so bad that I don’t wear a bra because it just keeps digging into the spot where it hurts most. I do have to constantly remind myself to get up and walk around to try to ease my back pain, but I also lose track of time when I’m sitting….so that doesn’t really help.

Otherwise, my health has been pretty normal by pregnancy standards. I do get heartburn just about every day, so that sucks. I also found out that the baby is sucking out all my iron so now I’m anemic and have to take an iron supplement (but the doctor said the anemia should go away after the baby is born). My doctor originally emailed me saying “you’re slightly anemic” so I thought, no biggie. But when I went to my appointment a couple days later, she was like “oh no, you’re severely anemic!” Lol oops!

I did do the hour long gestational diabetes test (good news, I don’t have it) but, boy, do I feel sorry for whoever has to do the three hour test. That drink was gross!

Cravings or Aversions?
I still can’t eat scrambled eggs, haha. I’m craving Taco Bell and pizza less and less each day. Now I’m craving salads, fruit, and chicken burgers/sandwiches (mainly from Smashburger or Board n Brew). I’m also craving Pepsi and Barq’s Root Beer like crazy, so I limit myself to one-ish caffeinated drink a day. My other love is hot cheetos, which sucks because they give me the worst heartburn ever. I’ve been trying not to eat them buuuuut sometimes I can’t help it.

Pregnancy Fashion
So, I love fashion! I love dressing up or, at least, wearing a cute outfit. I love makeup and look forward to trying new products. That being said, pregnancy (and now, bar prep) has made me so tired that I literally wear jeans and a t-shirt everyday with no makeup because I cannot muster up the strength to put effort into my outfit.

On the occasional special day of fun stuff, I’ll put in effort, but on normal bar prep days (#everyday), heck no! However, I am at the point where my clothes are snug! I did realize one thing recently though. I believe all my Dad’s clothes are at my Mom’s house right now. I have a couple shirts that I grabbed when we cleaned his house and those have been lifesavers! I’m thinking I might need to raid my Dad’s closet (never thought I’d say that, haha) so I can actually wear some comfortable shirts! (This means I’ll primarily be wearing University of Dayton shirts haha, gotta represent!)


Bar Prep & Pregnancy
Law school was pretty easy to manage, bar prep is a different story. As I mentioned, rib and back pain is what is bothering me most, so my 10 hour days of studying are spent rubbing my ribs in hopes the pain goes away. I’m also extremely tired. I think it’s a combo of bar prep and pregnancy, but I am definitely more tired than my friends, haha.

I will be in my 9th month of pregnancy when I sit for the bar exam, and that makes me nervous. What if I have to pee every 5 seconds? What if I get ready hungry? What if the baby won’t stop kicking me and I can’t focus? What if pregnancy brain sets in hardcore and I forget all the rules?!?? And most importantly, what is she comes early?!?!?!! There’s not much I can do now except practice and study, but I will make a full report after I take the bar.

Oh girl, whoever said nesting was not a thing, was clearly never pregnant. All I want to do right now is clean and organize my home. A week ago I spent my day off cleaning and rearranging, and I didn’t want to stop! I also have gotten very particular about decor for the baby’s room. My Mom, Bret, and I went to Temecula a couple weekends ago because I was in search of an antique tea set for her room. I literally would not stop walking around the store until I figured out the perfect one.

Baby Name?!
Once we announced the gender, we got the question of what her name will be. We have picked out her name but I’m planning on announcing it later (unless you’re at my baby shower, haha) because I want to keep something a surprise. My family and friends know but it’s a name that is so deeply special to me that I want it to be a big reveal when she’s born.


We are counting down the days and cannot wait to meet her!!!

Dear Dad…

Dear Dad,

Today is your 67th birthday. Today is also the 4 year anniversary of your mom passing away.

This is the first birthday you will be spending in Heaven and the first birthday you won’t be here with us.

I miss you, Dad.

I thought after 6 months I wouldn’t be this torn up.
But I am.

I went to church on Easter, to the service we used to go to together, and within 5 minutes one of your friends came up to me. It was then that I realized I hadn’t been to church since the day after your service. So within 5 minutes of being at church, I was in tears. I cried throughout worship and during some parts of the sermon. I kept thinking, “Will I ever be able to come here again without crying?” I don’t want to find a new church. This is my home; I grew up in this church. But if the memory of you lingers every time I sit in our spot, I don’t think I can take it.

I don’t know what to do today.

Before Grandma passed away on your birthday 4 years ago, we would do fun things. I’ve taken you to Disneyland, the Reagan Library, a tour around La Jolla,Β to name a few.

After Grandma passed away, you said you wanted your birthday to become a celebration of her. So we started our family reunion. We used to hold it on your birthday or the weekend before/after. This past year we did it in August so more people could come.

But now, I’m feeling a little lost.

Should I go to the beach and eat donuts and coffee like I did in October for Grandma’s 100th birthday? Should I go to Tony’s and eat 2 beef tacos with lots of hot sauce and guacamole? Should I go to a baseball game like we did last year?

I still haven’t decided and part of me doesn’t want to decide.

I still have to remind myself every morning that you’re no longer here. So me celebrating your birthday without you just kinda makes that part worse.

So I guess I’ll just say thanks…

Β For raising me.
For making me put school first.
For teaching me how to play baseball.
For teaching me how to drink wine.
For going on road trips with me.
For helping me move into my dorms and apartments.
For teaching me how to drive a manual.
For teaching me how to grill.
For teaching me how to be self-sufficient.
For teaching me about our family history.
For telling stories.
For coming to visit me in Ohio and in OC.
For supporting my high school drama department.
For sending me care packages during finals.
For holding me when I cried.
For encouraging me to go to law school.
For letting me vent about whatever was on my mind.
For giving me an example of how a father should be.
For telling me I was better than the boys I dated.
For loving Bret and our relationship.
For teaching me how to build and fix things.
For exploring San Diego County with me.
For going to church with me every Sunday.
For telling me I will pass the bar exam.
For always being there for me.
For believing in me.
For loving me unconditionally.

Words cannot describe how much I love you and wish you hadn’t left so soon.

I hope you’re having a blast in Heaven with Grandma and Jesus.

I can’t wait until I see you again.

Love always,


It’s a Girl!



We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we’re having a girl!

It honestly is kind of a shock that we’re having a girl. Literally, everyone we know except maybe 5 people thought we were having a boy.

Bret & I were convinced it was a boy, too.
But for different reasons.

Bret wanted a boy because he wanted to be able to play sports and be all rough and tumble with him. I thought we were having a boy because of my Dad. (There’s a myth that if someone in your family dies & then someone gets pregnant the genders will be the same). So because of that myth, I was convinced that it was going to be a boy.

But lo’ and behold, we are having a precious baby girl!

I am so excited for the bows and flowers and everything pink and white.

We had a bunch of appointments during March for various reasons, so we got to see our pumpkin a lot. At 17 weeks, I asked the doctor if she could look just to see. While she was looking at the ultrasound, Bret (somewhat loudly) says, “I see a penis!” and my doctor laughed and was like, “nooo, I don’t think so.” After that appointment, he was convinced it was a boy, but the doctor said girl so I was stoked! I went out and bought some cute girl stuff right away (I needed to get the bug out of my system).

Then a week later we had our appointment with the radiologist who had to take pictures of literally everything. We counted toes and fingers, we saw the heart actually pounding in her chest, and he also confirmed that we’re having a girl.

I, honestly, let out a huge sigh of relief because I did not want to go return all the cute girl stuff I had bought a week before, haha.

Our families were very excited when we told them!

The best reactions were from Layla, my niece, and Bret’s Mom and Grandma.

Bret has all brothers, and when we were in middle school, his Mom used to joke about how she wanted to take me home so she could find out what it’s like to have a girl for once. So ever since we found out we were pregnant, his Mom and Grandma have been praying for a girl! So they were really excited!

Layla, oh Layla, was the cutest.
She made up a song to the tune of “You’re Welcome” from Moana all about how she wants a girl because they wear dresses and boys don’t. The first time we told her it was a girl, she texted me a bunch of emojis. At the same time, my sister texted me saying, “She just screamed, ran into her room, grabbed her pillow, and screamed again.” When we confirmed girl a week later, she basically did the same thing over again.

IMG_6147[This was one of the outfits I got the day we “kinda” found we’re having a girl. I’m obsessed with the embroidery detail.]

Even though, as a parent, you learn different things from having a girl or boy, I think right now, having a girl is what’s best for Bret and I.

He has so much to learn about being a father to a girl. It’s so different than how he was raised and what he knows. He grew up in a very traditional masculine family so he has a lot to learn about women and all that women can do. I’m really excited for how this baby girl is going to change our lives, but I’m just as excited to see the transformation he’ll go through over the next few years.

Me, on the other hand, am excited for so many reasons. My Mom is one of my favorite people in the entire world, and she has been since I can remember. As a child, I loved that my Mom was (and still is!) a working mom. I loved that she was involved in my life by taking me to theatre practice or volunteering at school. My Mom and I have a very close relationship, as a result, and I’m excited to take all the lessons I learned from her and apply them to my daughter’s life. I will be a working mom but I’m going to strive to have a balanced work/home life so I can still be there for her when she needs me. I’m praying that my daughter and I have as close of a relationship as my Mom and I do.

The next few months are going to be an exciting time for us!
We are already starting to gather clothes and decor, and figuring out how to rearrange our apartment and decorate her nursery.

I’ve been praying for this baby since December 12 and I will continue to pray that she is kind, generous, strong, and that she knows how much Bret & I love her and how much God loves her. I pray she will be an amazing woman with big dreams and an even bigger heart. I can’t wait to meet her!

These Adidas are special. My Dad’s favorite shoes were white Adidas with a hint of green. He wore them everywhere and bought several pairs a year. When he died I went and bought myself a pair (and found that I actually love Adidas). So I thought it was only fitting to get Baby some white Adidas too.

Where is the Sun?

Where is the sun?

I laid in the bed, stripped of my clothes and dignity, waiting for something to give way that would free me from my entrapment.

But there was nothing.

Only the sound of my muffled screams and his heavy breathing filled the room.

St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal at my Catholic college. It was a day where everyone dressed in green and took to the student neighborhood for a weekend of drinking.

I knew early on in my college career that I wanted to go to law school. So I never really participated in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities because I didn’t want to get in trouble. The cops were out like swarms of bees the weekend of St. Paddy’s Day, so the chances of getting caught doing something bad significantly increased. I didn’t want that on my record, so I stayed inside or didn’t drink I went outside.

My third year of college changed the way I saw this holiday. Before then, I always liked St. Paddy’s Day because I got to celebrate my Irish ancestors.
But this year, everything changed.

My friends were having a house party and invited my roommates and I. My friend was like a brother to me so, of course, I had to go. I didn’t drink, but instead made sure my roommates and other friends were okay. [I did this all 4 years of college whenever we went to a party and it got me the nickname “Mama Mary”]

One friend in particular, my best friend, was drinking quite a lot. That wasn’t really a big shock for me, since I had taken care of his drunken self so many times before. However, this year, he was the most drunk I had ever seen him.

To give some context, he drank almost an entire fifth of whiskey to himself, plus several cans of beer and cups of mixed drinks.

By the time my roommates and I were ready to leave (mainly to go back to our house and order pizza), my best friend was so drunk, he could barely walk in a straight line.

He was planning on going to our house to eat pizza too, but on the way home, he decided to take a left turn and headed to his apartment. Me being “Mama Mary,” I felt like I couldn’t leave him to fend for himself. Who knew what kind of trouble he would end up in.

So I chased after him and helped him up to his apartment.

We got inside and none of his roommates were home, but that wasn’t anything new (especially during St. Paddy’s Weekend). So, like always, I got him water, handed him a towel after he threw up, and tried to get him into bed. Every couple minutes my phone would go off with texts from my roommates updating me on the status of our pizza.

When I finally felt like he was in a good enough position where I could leave, something happened. It was like his demeanor changed.

I was thrown into his roommates bed and my back hit the metal bed frame. He kept doing this and I could feel my back starting to give way.

He stripped me of my clothes, throwing everything in different directions, including my phone. Then he threw me onto his bed.

He slapped my face if I yelled, he tightened his grasp on my arms if I squirmed, and he put every pound of his weight on me so I couldn’t move.

I cried and tried to free myself. I pleaded with him to stop. I prayed for someone to hear me and come in. Β I prayed for the sun to come up in hopes that might make him stop.


Finally, he collapsed on me, loosening his grip and weight. I slowly wiggled out from under him and tried to find my clothes in the darkness with only his idle computer illuminating the room.

As I reached for the doorknob, I felt his hand close in on my arm.

I almost collapsed then and there, thinking I was not going to leave this room alive.

He told me not to go and I, not bringing myself to look at him, told him I could not stay.

He let go of me and I ran out of the apartment with what little strength I had left. I ran the four blocks back to my house and collapsed in my kitchen when I finally got inside.

That is when I finally looked at my phone. I had dozens of texts from my roommates asking where I was and that was when I realized the time. It had felt like I was in that room for a brief period of time, 30 minutes or an hour tops, because everything seemed to happen so fast. It had actually been four hours.

I didn’t tell anyone for almost a year. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud. I cried every time I thought about it.

The following year is also when I started cutting.

I couldn’t handle the pain but I couldn’t find any other way to let it out. I knew it was wrong but I just couldn’t find a way out of the deep hole I was thrown into.

My Mom was the first person I told about the sexual assault and about the cutting. I could tell she was heartbroken but was trying to appear strong for me. She was the one who urged me to get professional help.

Therapy was the best decision I ever made.

Therapy helped me confront all the mental scars the assault had left on me. I couldn’t go to a bar without feeling anxious, I was depressed whenever I felt alone, and I deflected the subject whenever it was brought up.

Now, although I still don’t like bars (but that’s mainly because I don’t drink a lot to begin with), I don’t feel so alone when I’m in a group or a crowd, I don’t feel anxious all the time where I feel like I need to look over my shoulder, and I do not deflect the subject when it’s brought up, I confront it.

Talking about sexual assault and self harm has brought me to a place where, since I have reflected on my own past, I can be of help to those who are just now going through this. It’s brought me to a place where I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about it and teaching young women about it.

I decided to finally tell my story today because this is something that affects everyone, whether you’re a man or woman.

1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

Let that sink in.

I am in a sorority and that means, on any given Sunday during chapter meetings, 25% of my sisters were sexually assaulted while we were in college.

That woman who was sexually assaulted is either your mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, girlfriend, or friend.

This. Effects. Everyone.

I have a mother, a sister, a sister-in-law, a niece, and a baby on the way that could be a girl.

How are we supposed to educate and protect the younger generations of women if we cannot talk about it?

That is why, when my niece is old enough (meaning, when my sister thinks she’s old enough to hear it) I will tell her my story. And if it turns out I have a daughter, I will do the same.

Because growing up, I was given the rape/date-rape/sexual assault talk by my Dad. But he told me to watch out for strangers. He said nothing about the fact that most women who are attacked are attacked by someone they know.

I was attacked by someone I know.
I was attacked by my best friend.

I used to be afraid. I used to be very afraid to go on dates, to go somewhere I had never been, to have a drink around someone that wasn’t family, to even tell my story.

I am no longer afraid.

Besides therapy and finding a man who understands what it’s like to be broken,
one thing saved me: Jesus.

I felt ashamed when I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone about the attack. I felt broken and questioned what was wrong with me when I broke down and cried for days. I felt like no one could love me, but Jesus did.

So while I prayed that night for the sun to rise, it was a different son that I encountered. Where is the sun turned into where is the Son.

Jesus was with me, He got me out of that situation, and He carried me to safety, just as He has carried me for the last four years.

It’s been four years since that night.
It honestly feels like yesterday.

Except today, I am not weak and I am not afraid.
I am strong and I fight back.

LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
Psalm 30:2

Shout out the my friend, Kelly, author of MI Mentality. She has been so brave in sharing her stories and she inspired me to share one of mine.

Ash(craft) Wednesday

I’m not Catholic, but my Dad was raised Catholic.

Even after he was no longer a practicing Catholic, he still participated in Lent. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was my Dad giving up Pepsi every. single. year. for Lent. You’re probably thinking, “So what? It’s just Pepsi.” But let me tell you a little something about my Dad: he lived off Pepsi. He drank one cup of coffee in the morning and Pepsi the rest of the day (even late at night).

So each year he would give up Pepsi and each year his doctor would be astonished by the dramatic drop in his cholesterol level. His co-workers would tease him by putting ice cold cans on his desk while he was eating lunch. But, like a good man, he never gave in.

Lent was always a weird concept for me and I’m not exactly sure why. I grew up in the church so I knew about Easter and Ash Wednesday but we didn’t really talk about Lent.

It wasn’t until my first year of college that I learned exactly what Lent was all about:
dirt on your forehead.
(kidding, but this is how I found out)

I attended the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio for my undergraduate career. UD is a Catholic Marianist university. UD has a beautiful chapel on campus, crosses in every classroom, and you are expected to uphold the standards they set forth.
The Catholic faith is the root of what UD is all about.

Welllll during my first year, on Ash Wednesday, I woke up and went to class. I had an early class and was very tired so I didn’t pay much attention to the people I was passing on my way to class. However, when I reached my classroom, something was off.

Everyone had dirt on their foreheads. I was confused.

No one said anything about it. They all acted like nothing was different or out of place. Not even the professor said anything. So I sat in class wondering if there was a patch of ice somewhere that everyone slipped in and hit their heads in a pile of dirt.

When I got out of class, I headed back to my dorm, but noticed that so many more people walking around also had dirt on their foreheads. IΒ started wondering if I was imagining it because I was so tired…

As I was relaxing in my dorm room, my roommate comes back with (you guessed it) dirt on her forehead.

I gave her a weird look and she stopped, “What?”

“Why do you have dirt on your forehead? Did you and everyone else on this campus fall down somewhere?”

The look on her face was priceless. Her facial expression went from being confused to finding the situation very amusing.

“It’s Ash Wednesday!”


“So? These are ashes! We all went to Mass!”

It was a definitely face palm moment.

So she explained to me how the whole process worked and I felt really ridiculous for the rest of the day.

Lent is a period of religious observance starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on the Thursday before Easter.

Many Christians observe Lent by giving up some sort of luxury (which is why a lot of my friends give up candy or chocolate). Many Christians also have some sort of Lenten spiritual discipline that they follow to become closer to God.

While in college, I had several roommates who are very rooted in their Catholic faith. They all gave up some sort of luxury, followed some sort of religious discipline, and did something each week to give back to the community.

Learning more about Lent and seeing how my roommates observed it changed my perspective completely.

While I may not be Catholic, or part of the other religious groups that observe Lent, I still observe Lent because of my Dad.

Each year, I plan out how I am going to spend my time during Lent. And each year, no matter how well I go about planning it, I still end up faltering in some way. But I’ve learned over the years that it’s okay.

How I plan on spending my time during Lent this year

Similar to my Dad, I plan on giving up a food/drink item that seems to be my life.

Anyone who knows me could probably guess what it is….

Hot Cheetos.

I know these things are not the greatest thing to eat, but they are so delicious! Even now that I’m pregnant, I find myself still wanting to eat them (but not as often as I used to).

So this year I plan on giving up Hot Cheetos and commit myself to eating more healthier foods. It’s hard for me to eliminate a food group or something I eat often because I’m pregnant so only certain foods sound good, haha.

As for my spiritual observance of Lent, I started following She Reads Truth‘s Lent study. This is a daily study, and I subscribe to SRT anyways, so it’s sent to my email each morning and it’s available on their app.
If you’ve never heard of SRT, I encourage you to check it out!

I also plan on watching more of my churches sermons online. Since I haven’t been driving down to my Mom’s house that often, I haven’t been physically going to church. I’m hoping Lent will help me get back into the swing of things.
If you’re looking for some great sermons, check out North Coast Church!

Whether you religious or not, I hope you enjoyed this blog post. It’s a little different than what I was usually write about but I was feeling inspired (and was missing my Dad).

[I called this post “Ash(craft) Wednesday” because my Dad used to call it that; he just thought it was so funny. Now that he’s gone, I find that that’s the only way I refer to it too. I am a little jealous that he gets to spend Lent and Easter (and every day, really) with Jesus. And while I miss him terribly, I know he is right where he belongs.]

As an added bonus: here’s my Dad and I on the last day of Move-In Weekend!