San Francisco Dream City Trip

I’m the only person in my family who has not been to the great city of San Francisco, California. Mommy and Daddy went to San Francisco for their honeymoon, and Mom still talks about it to this day. She has said more than once she would love to go back but for all of us to go together. Keith had an Odyssey to San Francisco…well Oakland. He went on a school trip where they stayed in Oakland but the event was in San Fransisco. He came back sharing all sorts of stories about the very “progressive” city.

I’m down for new experiences and speaking to new people with differing views. Therefore, here are the top six things I would like to see in my epic cross country road trip fit only for a Catholic millennial to San Fransisco.

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption: Well this cathedral is interesting looking. After some reading, it looks like its architectural style is structural expressionist modern, which sounds like mumbo jumbo. However, after looking at the pictures, it looks like a Smurf hat with cool glass shafts. 

Golden Gate Bridge: Obviously, one is unable to go to San Fransisco and not take a photo with the Golden Gate Bridge. This spectacular piece of architecture has 746 foot towers. It gets 10 million visitors per year. How happy I would be if I could be one of those 10 million in 2018. 

Alcatraz: Alcatraz was one of Keith’s favorite parts of his trip to San Fran. Being Chicago people, we are proud to say our most famous gangster, Al Capone, has a cell preserved in Alcatraz. Sure, he coordinated the Valentine’s Day Massacre, but you can visit this place and do tours, even at night. I wouldn’t do that. 

Redwood Forest: To me, this is the only reason to go to California. I want to see the Redwoods and sing and dance like I’m a Disney Princess all through the forest. Unfortunately no pets or emotional service dogs are allowed in the park for the protection of the natural balance and all the lovely little critters that call the Redwoods home. 

Ghirardelli Square: This fun looking place went from a chocolate factory to a mall…with chocolate. I love chocolate, and I’ll eat it all. It also has fun things like boutiques, jewelry, nic nacs, wine, and bakeries. Chocolate plus baked treats equals a happy Lexie.

Alamo Square: Oh this is the fun place with a beautiful view of the Painted ladies, the lovely colored townhouses that is famous in movies and TV like Full House. The beautiful park has an off leash dog area, trails, and is the perfect place to have an afternoon picnic.

San Fransisco is another one of those cities that I had a very hard time choosing only six things to do here. Hopefully I’ll have to opportunity to see this world famous city.

If you have any recommendations on things to see in San Fransisco, please write them in the comments below. If you’ve missed any of the other Dream City Trip posts, click here. And subscribe to see more, we have a lot of cities left to cover, and hopefully vlogs of these amazing places some day. If you enjoyed this post, consider sharing it on social media and becoming a supporter of TheGenFem, here.

Thank you, and have a sparkly day!

4 Primary Learning Styles for Life

After coming home from college several years ago I did some soul searching about why I’ve always hated school. I can remember struggling with reading in elementary school and it set a negative precedent for the rest of my academic life. The consequence for all this was serious anxiety and low self-esteem. I began volunteering in schools and at church with kids. I saw a lot of children that reminded me of my younger self. We get lost in the system because institutional education can’t actor to all the needs of a child. It takes a village to raise a child and a team to educate one. Research shows that parents  who take an active role in their child’s education, have more academically successful children. One of the greatest things a parent or teacher can do to help kids is to determine the learning style of the success of the individual. Here are the four most common types:

  1. Read and Write: These children make the best students. You can spot a read and write child by their love of reading, they enjoy making lists, and they often write down new concepts. Parents and teachers should have level and age appropriate books available at all times. Also have the child rewrite class notes and convert visual items, like charts and graphs, into words.
  2. Auditory: These are the chatty Kathy children. They love to discuss new ideas and tell you about their day. You can spot these children by their participation in class lectures and they often speak before they think. To meet the needs of these children, read aloud to them and have them read aloud. Also find fun word association and rhyming games. Definitely get into the habit of discussion what they read before asking them to answer any questions.
  3. Visual: These children respond well to color coding and the things teachers put on the board. You can spot a visual learner because they are doodlers. They also prefer to see diagrams and flow charts opposed to pages and pages of words. Adapt to this learning style by having children color code their notes, do mind-mapping exercises, and showing them videos. Pure Flix is full of amazing educational videos that are child appropriate and great for Christian homes and schools. YouTube is another spectacular resource for videos to help kids learn.
  4. Kinesthetic: These learners are probably the most difficult to manage in a classroom. They like to standup, move around, and seem generally a bit antsy. You can spot the kids by their physical expression through hand gestures and full body movement. You can cater to children by giving them a lot off opportunities to use models and objects to learn new things. They also like games and experiments, so try incorporating physical activities into lessons. Find every chance you can to allow these children to get their hands dirty and bodies moving.

If the Lord chooses to bless me with children, I plan to do everything possible to homeschool them. There are few things more illogical than institutional education. Once I left school, I discovered a passion for reading, writing, and learning. These are the ingredients to creating life long learners and productive citizens. I never want my children to be lost in the shuffle. Every child is an individual and has the right to be treated like one. I have created several pieces of curriculum that I will post here on the blog. In the meantime, you are welcome to check out my Nuggets Pinterest board which is full of fun educational ideas for kids.

Which of the four major types of learning styles are you? If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

learning infographic

Thank you, and have a SPARKLY day!


Most Charitable Generation

Charity is so important and millennials are one of the most charitable generations. As a demographic, we do a great job of stepping outside of ourselves to help others in need. We start charities that help the homeless of our cities, we are the first to show up and protest injustices against refugees, and we are happy to raise money for environmental and animal conservation. We are a generation that does not shy away from doing hard work for those who need it.

I think this, more than our technologic savvy, is what makes our generation so amazing. We seek peace, not war, we embrace freedoms, and try to leave the world aa little better than the way we found it by opening gout hearts and our arms to the less fortunate.

Our Lord is very consistent and very insistent on the need to take care of those who are most vulnerable in our society: the orphans, widows, and foreigner. In the time of Moses, these people needed protecting; when Jesus walked the earth these people needed protecting; and still today, these people need protecting, Catholic millennials are poised to rise to the occasion to help young people affected by gang violence, support the single mother who has a husband in jail for having an ounce of marijuana on him, or to be a voice to the voiceless in other countries torn apart by war. Caring for those who can’t care for themeless is what we do as Catholics. According to St. Lawrence, the poor are our wealth as a Church. As millennials, our joy is found in this service. We love to use our time, talent, and treasure to help all people live happier, fuller, more inclusive lives.

I don’t need to write too many tips on today’s topic because this is just who we are, as a generation. It is written in our DNA to extend our arms to the needy. They only thing I will say is that Pope Francis said not to just give to the poor, but to encounter them. Whenever I give money, I like to look a person in the eye and remember their eye color. If I walk away from that person without remembering their eyes, I din’t encounter them, I didn’t recognize their unique human dignity. But to look someone in the eyes is to say they are your equal, equally loved by God, equally worthy of love, and an equal citizen in this country. We all need to feel equal so try to encounter people when you are serving them.

  1. How do you care for others in your community?
  2. How can you do more to use your time, talent, and treasure in the service of your neighbor?

Challenge: Look someone in the eye today.

Modern Crafty Queen

Before we get started today, I should probably define distaff and spindle. Both are tools used for working wool and flax.

Whenever I read this verse, I see the Proverbs 31 woman is crafty. I love crafty women, my grandmother is crafty and my childhood babysitter was crafty. They always made us things and let us help them with projects. Being crafty is important for a few reasons:

  1. You can make great, cheap, gifts for people which is important because we are always trying to save money. Plus gifts made of love are more cherished.
  2. Idle hands do the devil’s work. So rather than being mischievous, we can teach younger generations different crafty skills.
  3. Selling projects at craft fairs, online, or anywhere else, can be a good way to make a little extra cash. Remember, the Proverbs 31 woman is always hustling.

I think crafty arts are bring lost today to digital media, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although I would recommend all young people learn handicraft skills like woodworking, sewing, and knitting, I think it is just as important for this generation, and future generations, to learn about coding, blogging, and e-commerce. As millennials, we are more technologically advanced than previous generations and we have found ways to monetize and build businesses around technology. We should embrace that and use laptops and wifi the same way the Proverbs 31 woman uses her distaff and spindle.

  1. What handicrafts have you always wanted to learn?
  2. What technical skills do you know and how can you use them to build income?
  3. What are some practical ways you can spend less time being idle, and more time working?

Rest and Work

We’ve seen the Proverbs 31 woman works very, very hard. She is not idle. Instead, she does her research, considers her options, invests wisely, and makes money from those investments. But it isn’t all work and no play for her. We see today she enjoys her profit and isn’t afraid to let her hair down a little.

Recently I’ve been meditating on the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are meant to have some rest, comfort, peace, and happiness in this life. We are n to called to be miserable all the time and labor in pain without enjoyment. I’ve often thought my consolation will come when I’m united with the Lord in heaven which is true, but not fully true. He wants us to have some comfort here on earth, too! Working hard and sacrificing for those we love are important aspects of the spiritual life while here on earth. But we also need to live a little and enjoy the fruits of that work.

The second part of this verse is about going into the late evening. The diligence of the Proverbs 31 woman is to be admired. She will keep working long after sunset. People who run their own business, love their work they do, and parents will all tell you how hard they work, and that work doesn’t end when dusk falls. At times, that’s when things get started. I think about the times I’ve babysat at night. Typically I’ll play with the children in the early evening then get them ready for bed. After books and snuggles, when the sun is down, I will work on my blog, homework, or whatever other task I have. My lamp isn’t extinguished at night because I may just beginning my work for the day.

Knowing when to relax and when to work is one of the most important thins we can learn during this precious time. So many of our peers are in a perpetual state of idleness, they only work to drink and party. As Proverbs 31 women, we know the value of having a good time with friends, but work is still a priority. It isn’t all fun and games all the time, though it does have its place. Balance is a huge challenge in life, we have to try to find and maintain life’s balance throughout various seasons of life.

  1. How do you have fun?
  2. What project can you devote more time to?
  3. How can you achieve a better balance in life?

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Strength and Vigor

So my first thought when reading this verse is, “do you even lift, bro?” For me, yes, I love lifting because being strong is awesome and it’s great for the metabolism. But I don’t think that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is about. She is a hard worker, someone focused and devoted to her tasks. She has  a vision of what needs to get done, and she gets down to business.

I’m a dreamer. Sitting here in chapel as I write this, the Lord said to me, Princess, if you spent less time worrying and more time working, you would have what you dream of. I love a quote by Pope Francis where he says, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed the hungry. That’s how prayer works!” It’s almost amusing in its simplicity but it is a very important lesson to learn.

I think too many fantasy books and television makes us think prayer is magic. We wish we had something really bad, we visualize it, then we click our heels together three times and suddenly we have it. The Proverbs 31 woman is wise and knows anything in life worth having is worth working for, so that’s what she does, and that’s what we will do.

Becoming hat woman takes dreams, yes, finding your dreams is very important. Then pray about it, asking God if this is in his plan for you and how you can participate with the blessings he will bestow upon you to help make your dreams a reality. Next, make a plan. Gather your dream, the Lord’s grace, then form an executable plan to help you get from where yo are to where you want to be. Finally, execute said plan. God helps those who help themselves to get to work like the Proverbs 31 woman, gird yourself with strength and exert your arms with viol.

Things won’t always go according to your plan but take comfort knowing they will always go according to His plan. If you did step two, consulting with the Lord and inviting his Spirit into the planning process, you will find success in whatever you are looking to achieve. We have a God that always finishes the work he starts in each one of us. Be stubborn about your dream but flexible with the plan. Allow Jesus to wrk in you and your situation to bring to fruition the goals you have in mind.

  1. What are your dreams?
  2. How do your dreams fit into God’s plan for you?
  3. What’s your plan?

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A wife should be kind, especially in the difficult moments.

It is easy to be kind when someone is being kind to you, when you wake up on the right side of the bed, and it is a beautiful sunny day outside. It is far more difficult to make the choice each day to be kind to the person that knows where all your buttons are and how to push them. When married, a husband will be that person. At times he may wish to be playful and push those buttons for fun, he may be angry and choose to push those buttons out of spite. Regardless, it is important to react with gentleness and kindness.

There are people in our lives now that know how to push our buttons. They may be parents, siblings, or best friends. My brother knows how to push my buttons, luckily he is too afraid of me to do it often…or ever. I trained him well when we were children. My mom knows how to push my buttons, but often doesn’t realize she’s doing it. After I take a minute to cool off, it is easy to move past things wit her because she truly means no harm. My father can be a different story. He likes to push my buttons on purpose when he’s angry, at me, my brother, his boss, he just likes to pick at me.

It is very difficult and very sanctifying to remain kind when you know someone is purposely trying to hurt your feelings or get a rise out of you. What I usually do, but don’t recommend, is disengage, bottle up my feelings, and smile. This isn’t kindness, although many think it is. Some think being kind is about walking on eggshells around another person as to not upset them. This isn’t true kindness, and it isn’t being kind to you. You have a voice, given by God, to use to advocate for injustice. But you must speak with a gentle tone and kind words.

I would like to work on being kind, especially with my dad. First, it is important to recognize what the other person may be going through which has led them to treat you with unkind behavior or words. Second, humble yourself before that person and before God to see things from their perspective. Third, consider how Jesus would want you to respond to that person with honest loving kindness.

The people closest to us are the most challenging people to practice virtues on. They know us so well and we are comfortable enough around them to reveal our deepest self. Unfortunately for many of us, our deep self is sinful. Thankfully, we have a God in heaven who shines his grace into the hears of those who ask for more virtues like kindness and patience so that we are better equipped to love those he has placed in our path. I pray God will bless you and me with kindness, especially with those who intentionally push our buttons.

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WQ kind

Acquisition and Investments

Again in today’s verse we see the Proverbs 31 woman does her homework when she picks out a field. I notice she acquires it; although we know this woman already has a husband, I think this can communicate a lot to us single girls. I often hold myself back from certain things because I want a partner to participate in the process with me. I don’t want to travel alone, buy a car, or a condo without a companion to be part of the selection and accession process with me. But his is self-sabatoging and I don’t know how God’s plan for me will unfold, so I should be making steps in the right direction now.

Working hard for your money and using it wisely is very important for money awareness particularly when it comes to saving; here we see investment. There are a lot of different ways to invest your hard earned dollars: stocks, bonds, real estate. After doing your homework, and assessing your current financial situation and financial goals, see how you can begin making investments. Property has long been an investment, so much so we see the Proverbs 31 woman investing in property. She plants a vineyard on her land, but you could also rent a room or fix it up for later use. Regardless of how you choose to invest your money, it is important to do your research, calculate risk/reward, and pray before you make any moves. The Lord will tell you where your money, time, and effort will be best spent.

  1. Are you holding back from making big steps?
  2. What are your financial goals long term?
  3. How can you achieve those long term financial goals?

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A wife should be gentle with her words and demeanor.

My mother is not gentle…at all. She always has a harsh tone in her voice. I know she doesn’t mean it, she just has an aggressive disposition. Unfortunately, I inherited this harsh edge from her. I don’t know where this comes from because my grandma is gentle. She’s tough, but gentle. I think a common misconception is that gentle means weak. I strongly disagree! One can be gentle with a toddler but when he or she hits their younger sibling, one can still discipline accordingly.

Being gentle is a disposition, a natural tendency to use a calm tone regardless of the situation and kind words even when under stress. It is a difficult thing to cultivate, but it’s something I’ve been working on for years and have actually made some improvement. Like with anything it wholly depends on God’s grace: my prayers and my cooperation. The Lord always blesses those who are trying to increase in virtue.

Part of my doesn’t want to say this because I think it may come off rude. But men are sensitive creatures. Sometimes more sensitive than women, and certainly more sensitive than they want any one to think they are. To a man who loves you, one harsh word or one aggressive tone can break his heart. Our awareness of the things we say and the way we say them is very important. We should always strive to be gentle, but not weak. Stay firm in your convictions but articulate them in a way that is sensitive to his sensitivities.

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WQ gentle

Early Bird

Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise. The Proverbs 31 girl is definitely healthy, wealthy, and wife, as we’ve already begun to learn. Waking up early and starting the day strong is such an important habit to have. So many people talk about how vital it is to start the day off right. As I write this, the Lord has given me the task of developing a strong morning routine. Routine is very important, for me at least. Some things you may want to include in your mooring routine are:

  1. Making the bed
  2. Morning offering/devotional/prayer/bible study
  3. Healthy breakfast
  4. Journaling (especially if you are someone blessed with dreams)
  5. Workout
  6. Daily Mass
  7. Eucharistic adoration

We all know how important mornings can be to the rest of our day. When you wake up late, everything is behind schedule. So waking up early should become a priority for us now, because when the day comes we need to pack lunches and backpacks, we’ll appreciate those few minutes of quiet time before they wake up. To train yourself to wake up early, you’re probably also going to need to train yourself to get to bed early. Establishing a night routine can go a long way in your mornings. Here are a few things you may want to do in the evening to prepare for a good morning:

  1. Set out tomorrow’s clothes and anything else you may need
  2. Clean the bathroom/kitchen/fold the laundry
  3. Take a relaxing bath or hot shower
  4. Read a spiritual book
  5. Do an examination of the day
  6. Journal things that went right and things that went wrong throughout the day, things to learn from
  7. Make a to-do list for tomorrow

Routines are so important of us, so get into a morning and night habit that helps your body and mind associate with winding up and winding down for the day. Use these lists as a jumping off point but don’t be limited by them. My greatest tip for you is to include prayer in both the morning and evening. This will help you view your day through the eyes of God.

Challenge: Establish a morning and night routine

  1. How do/can you include the Lord in your morning?
  2. What prevents you from waking up earlier?
  3. What keeps you up at night and how can you put it at the foot of the Cross?

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