What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 7)

Happy last Sunday of Advent!!! :)

This morning, I had an outfit picked out in my head, but when I put it on... it was not so good.  I looked frrrrrrrrrruuuuuumpy!!! Yikes.  No one wants that.  But, we had to go for brunch!  I threw this outfit together in less than 3 minutes, I think (thanks to Connie, my stepmom, and the fact that the skirt was still on from previous attempt)!  And, I am quite impressed. :)

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE my coat.  I do.  I.love.it.



Details:
Coat: Kenneth Cole, birthday gift 2 years ago from my momma
Grey cardigan: Target, same as last week
Sparkly tank: White House Black Market, borrowed from Connie
Skirt: No clue what brand, my mom gave it to me!
Tights: gift from mom
Booties: Leila Rose?? Or something. Bought a few years ago.
Belt: no clue what brand, borrowed from Connie. Isn't it great?!
Liturgically correct bracelet: Links of London, gifted from Connie (who got it as a gift for refinancing, but it was too small for her wrist!  Guess who scored on this?!)
Earrings: rhinestone studs, gift from momma
Necklace: Open Hearts, gift from momma
Sunglasses: Charming Charlie's

Annnnnnnd this is what happens when your dad takes the pics:

My evening ended with a wonderful Mass at a church that I had never been...

Gorgeous, right?!
... but with a priest that I know and love, whom I haven't seen in FOREVER!  He is one of the most reverent priests I know.  I love watching him celebrate Mass.  There is just no way that you can NOT believe what is happening when you see him in action.  Just beautiful.

And then a quite typical 4 hour post-Mass dinner with my wonderful friend, Sarah (yes, the one who calls me Nej)! :)  I am just so, so, SO blessed to have her in my life.  I know you will read this, friend, so thank you again for a great evening.  I love you and am honored to have you in my life!
#nothingsaysfriendshiplikehashtags #forrealz

I hope you had a great last Sunday of Advent!
I also hope that you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!  Enjoy it with family, friends, good food and memories.  :)

Check out some more great outfits, and maybe some Christmas outfit ideas, over at Fine Linen and Purple!

I think I am going to take a little time away from this blog for a bit.  Don't be surprised when there isn't anything happening until after the New Year.  I need to refocus the attention that I have given this back to the Lord.  So, Happy New Year, as well!!  See you all soon!

Amor, paz y abrazos,
Jen

NFP (ATSL): Find a Good Teacher

NFP (ATSL) = Natural Family Planning (And the Single Lady). It makes the title really long, so I acronym-ed it!

You guys.  I had my first intro session for NFP yesterday! :)  It was SO fun!  It made it so real and exciting.  Going over all of the things that happen with our bodies during menstruation and how it is always preparing for a baby.  Always.  Simply amazing.

It seriously boggles my mind.

Because I had gone through Martha's books on Creighton, I really had a good basis of what it was all about (I mean, I was still geeking out in my nurse-like ways from the pics and stats, of course.  Hello!  99% effective to avoid pregnancy and something like 76% of women get pregnant who have had infertility issues who, then, use the Creighton method!!!  Why WOULDN'T people want to use this? All-natural, just as effective, if not MORE, than birth control, decreases the rate of divorce, as it fosters communication.  This method is amazing!).  What else I did learn, though?  Finding a good NFP teacher is really important.

I am not sure if Mary* will end up being my teacher or not, due to the fact that I am moving, etc.  But, after meeting her and witnessing her love for teaching this, her spirit, her faith (which is not needed of course, but it's helpful for someone like me!) and her overall spunkiness, I knew that any other teacher I consider would have quite a bit to live up to. :)

Some reasons why having a good teacher is important (from my single lady mindset, of course!):
  1. She is an expert.  I would hope that all NFP teachers, in whatever method, have gone through training, and have the experience to be considered an expert.  (Creighton has an 18-month practitioner program)  They know so much more about the process than anyone else.  But...
  2. she should also know when to refer to the doc, because she isn't one.  She is an expert, yes.  Therefore, she knows what signs to look for from your cycles (and all that charting) if there is a medical thing going on, which may need interventions.  This is so important, you guys.  You do not want a teacher who thinks they know everything and how to fix everything on their own.  Knowing when to refer to the doc will only continue to lead you to having a baby one day (whether that is now, or in the future when you are finally married!).
  3. She is all about women.  She loves women, basically.  I mean, why wouldn't you want your teacher to be all about you, and non-judgey?  She wants you to make the choices that are best for you, your life, marriage, family, etc.  She will support your choice for NFP no matter what you are doing in life, in school, in work, or staying at home.
  4. She provides support.  Because I am not married, I will not have the support of my husband (which I hope everyone's husbands support NFP, b/c it really is a team effort).  Yes, I have my friends (and all of you bloggy friends), but you all have lives, too.  It's great to have a teacher who is there for you when you are confused, overwhelmed, worried you are doing something, wrong, etc.  We all need support, especially with something that affects our whole lives.
  5. She is encouraging.  In those times that you are confused, overwhelmed, worried you are doing something wrong, she will push you to keep going.  She will remind you of why you are doing this.  She will remind you of the beauty of God's design in all of this. 
  6. She wants you to succeed.  Whether you want to avoid or achieve pregnancy, know your body better, or have a better understanding on how your body works, she is rooting for you!  She wants to help you succeed, no matter what.
These are some things that popped into my head after meeting Mary.  If you are just starting out your NFP journey, please don't settle on a teacher just because she is the first one you found. (I just really lucked out!)  There are a TON of teachers that do distance learning through Skype, FaceTime, etc.  Your options aren't really that limited.  iuseNFP.com has a list of teachers organized by method.  You can also Google search, ask your church for resources, or ask friends that are doing the NFP thing, as well.  Don't be afraid to ask the teachers how long they have been teaching, about their program, etc.  If you don't mesh with them or there is some red flag, move on to another.  This is important for both of you, and especially in your success with the process.  You want to be open with your teacher, especially at the beginning when you are still learning.

Does anyone else have suggestions on finding a good teacher?  Or other reasons why it's important to find a good one?  Or, something obvious I missed?  Let me know!

Ohhhh... I just can't wait to get started, y'all! :)

*I changed the name of the NFP teacher, b/c I didn't ask her if I could use her name.  Just being respectful.

Baking Galore!

Wait... who's blog is this?!  You're at the right place, don't worry.

As I mentioned in my 7QTs earlier, my dad and I decided to do a little baking.  We have NEVER done that before, and it was fun.  We only got on each others nerves just a little bit. ;)  Basically we have spent the last few days baking a different cookie.  This is really not my thing, but, I want to brag, just a little.  The cookies came out great AND I had fun photographing them. :)

Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies:




Same recipe as above, just took some dough aside and mixed in crushed candy canes and popped them in the oven.  For a little color, I also added some candy cane to the tops of the cookies. :)  They are were delish!

And then!

Peanut Butter Blossoms:


These are actually from today, but I did make some the other day, too.  I cheated with these... sorry for all of you bakers out there!  I used the Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix.  I know, I know. Hey, what can I say?  These are my faves.  YUUMMMM!

Keep going!!



These are really good if you like chocolate and mint! :)
Dad and I were also surprised that these didn't spread like normal cookies, rather they puffed up a bit! Is this a normal thing when baking with cocoa? #novicebaker

Even more!

Dark Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies with other things added:

I think Santa is excited about these cookies!
So, dad and I decided to get a little creative.  We still had a TON of dark chocolate chips left, but thought we would add some cocoa to the original recipe!  Yum.  


I took some dough aside to make plain chocolate cookies.  After, I added some Hershey's kisses to make some blossoms.  And, of course some sprinkles.  After we were all done, I thought about some candy canes.  Wouldn't that have been good?!

Dad took the rest of the batter and added the chips and crushed walnuts.  He also added some kisses and sprinkles afterwords.

Our coffee table of goodness!
Well, there you have it, friends!  My adventures in baking cookies!  We are done for the year.  Who knows when this bug will hit again!?

Yes, all of the pics are mine.  If you want to use them for something, please link back here!

7 Quick Takes (9)!

Another Friday, another 7 (not so) Quick Takes with Jen over at Conversion Diary. :)

~ 1 ~
Well, I got back home on Sunday, and it's been so nice.  I mentioned this on my WIWS post, but it's seriously just so nice to be home.  I love being with my family and all things familiar and am really looking forward to Christmas.  Chatting, telling stories, laughing, hugging, eating and everything in between.  There is just nothing like Christmas with family.  Nothing.

I wish my mom and I could be together, so we can have our cinnamon rolls and quiche, as per our tradition, on Christmas morning.  But, alas!  Not this year.  Next year?!  Perhaps.

The other thing I wish: to go to a Christmas Mass (or Mass in general, I guess) with my family.  We did when I was really little, but since no one practices, I go alone.  Obviously, I love Mass; I love it more when I can go with others, but I have been going alone for however many years now, so it's normal.  But around Christmas, it's hard.  Seeing all of the families: Singing. Praying. Rejoicing. Together.  I hate to admit it, but there is just a tinge of jealously and a serious longing for a family of my own.
It will come.  I know. :)

~ 2 ~
YOU GUYS!!  I baked.  I.baked.cookies.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are my fave. :) Yum.

Ok, ok,  close your dropped jaws.  I was craving cookies the other day, and started looking online on Pinterest for some recipes.  Now, if you know me, even just a little, you know that I am not a baker or a cook or anything of the sort.  I just really don't like it.  I know this comes as a shock to many, but I get no joy out of cooking; it stresses me out.  It's not that I don't know how (I do.  I know the basics), I just don't like it.

Anyway, I was looking at a few recipes, but not really thinking I would do anything about it.  But, then!  My dad sent me a text asking if I wanted to bake cookies when he got home.  My dad. My dad wants to bake cookies?!  This surprised me for 2 reasons: 1) he read my mind. 2) MY DAD wants to bake cookies!  I don't think we have ever done that before. Ever.

It was fun!  Well, except for the moments when my dad really didn't want help and would try to do everything himself.  Ah, well.  Gotta love family! ;)

~ 3 ~
AND!  I was kind of crafty.  What is happening to me?  Baking and being crafty?!  Whoa.


I know this doesn't seem like anything to all of you amazingly crafty people out there (ie. ALL of the blogs I follow) that I loathe am awed by, but it's a big deal in my world.  We are having a few more people at Christmas this year, some that I don't know very well.  So, I wanted to be sure they got something from me, and thus... my Christmas Baggie o' Goodness :)

~ 4 ~

How do I have this much stuff?
I don't know why I am making this public... and showing off all of the crap I own.  But... I am.  I have begun going through it... slowly.  Those boxes you see there are all clothes.  That's what I did the other day.  Goodwill, you are getting some good stuff!  (I posed this question on Twitter: does is defeat the purpose of donating things to Goodwill, to then go shopping in the store?)  Wish me luck with this beast, people.  I could use some!

~ 5 ~
When I was looking through the lovely links at WIWS last Sunday, Ann-Marie linked to this AMAZING scarf tutorial:
Awesome, right?
Y'all know I love.me.some.scarves.

Yesterday, I rocked the 'waterfall':
And some new hair... a little more blonde. :)
And, do you see that belt? 2 bucks from Goodwill.
I had lunch with my grandparents yesterday!  I love being able to spend time with them, and I know they love it, too. :)  You know what's funny, as I was doing my scarf I thought, "I wonder what Grammy will be wearing today?!"  She seems to always dress so nicely.  Well, when I walked inside, she and Gramps were BOTH wearing jeans!  haha :)  And, of course... Grammy then felt like she was so underdressed because I looked 'so cute.'  I think it was my scarf.  Scarves seem to make things dressier.

~ 7 ~
I love confession.
I really do.  Don't you?  I am always, always, always nervous, though.  I mean, how many years has it been?  Sheesh.  I am always afraid of that one time when the priest will yell at me and tell me what a horrible person I am.  Has that ever actually happened to someone?  On second thought, please don't tell me.  That might not be a good idea.

ANYway... I am nervous and what not, then I get the wonderful absolution and do my penance and then... and then I feel amazing.  I've got some more grace, I'm a little more connected with the Lord and feeling like I can conquer the world, really.  It's amazing the armor our Church provides for us.  Thanks, Jesus.  You rock.

Be sure to check everyone else out at Conversion Diary!
If I don't 'talk' to you before... I hope you all have such a wonderful and blessed Christmas day with family, friends, peace, joy and memories! :)

"Rejoice and be glad..."

BTW, all photos on here, or on my blog in general, are mine, unless otherwise noted.  Thank you.

So, so, so... scandalous!

Ack... I know, that really disgusting Mis-Teeq song from who knows when always gets in my head when I think of this word. (yes, I had to look it up, and, no, I will not link to it.  It's gross, trust me)

It was a great wedding! Really.
I mean, it would have been really awesome
if they were Catholic! ;)
For some reason scandal, causing scandal or being scandalous has been floating around in my head lately.  I really have no idea why, but I thought I would explore it a little more.  If you follow me on the Twitters, then you know that I was all things Ashley and JP's wedding last night (it aired on TV), ya know, from the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.  Never heard of it?  That's probably for the better.  Yes, I watch(ed?) that show.  It's the one show that I allow myself to watch that has absolutely no moral boundaries.  I mean, everyone has something, right?

Anyway, the show reminded me of a time in my life a few years ago, where Mart had signed me up for The Bachelor.  Yup, you read that correctly.  My amazing, devoutly Catholic, moral BFF signed me, also devoutly Catholic with high moral standards, up for this crazy show.  Who knows why?!  But, I got a call back!!  They were interested in me and wanted me to send in a video and fill out this application and audition.  Isn't that crazy?!  I actually did start to make a video, take nicer pictures and all that jazz.  I knew I would be able to create drama due to my morals and beliefs, so I had that going for me.  I mean, I was so serious about it that I even talked to my boss at work about taking this random amount of time off so I could go, if I was selected, of course.

And, then... everything caught up to me.  What.the.heck.was.I.doing?!  This is CRAZY.  Did I really want to go on this show, where girls were being judged mostly on how they looked or how sexy they could be, and not a whole lot about who they were as a person?  Did I want to go on that show and proclaim my morals and values and my Catholic faith and risk the Church being viewed in an even more negative light?  (I did think it might have been good evangelization, though... maybe?) I was going to cause scandal in some way, whether it be from non-Catholic people looking at me as Catholic, or from all of the Catholic people seeing this 'Catholic' girl participating in this crazy, immoral show objectifying men and women (wait... why DO I watch this show?!).  Or my family... I wonder what my family would have thought about all of that, if I had actually gone through with it. *shudder*

Ok, let's look at some definitions of scandal, shall we?

From the Google:

noun /╦łskandl/
  1. An action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage
  2. The outrage or anger caused by such an action or event
  3. Rumor or malicious gossip about such events or actions
  4. A state of affairs regarded as wrong or reprehensible and causing general public outrage or anger

Ok... interesting.  So, something that is viewed to be wrong that causes public outrage.  Really, this could be anything.  The murder of innocent children, domestic violence, an affair, etc.  Things that have been deemed immoral from a wide range of people, and are, thus, affected by it.

I found this definition from Merriam- Webster (ode to my relation to the Websters.  For real... ask my mom!):
loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety
Huh.  This would have to be those things that we may or may not do, but are perceived to be something different than we intend, but not on such a large moral compass as above.  These thing may have people thinking something completely wrong about you, thus causing scandal in and of itself.  For example, I almost stayed in a hotel with a guy friend the other night because it was a convenient, and safer/more comfortable, option than staying at the airport all night.  Then, having to explain the situation to someone, who may or may not know me well, would bring about questions, and cause, scandal as to why I, being the person that I am with said morals/values, would be staying in a hotel room alone with a guy that I am not married to.  Why would I want people to question my integrity in that way?  Why would I want people to think of me as saying and believing one thing and doing something completely different? (and, thank you to said friend for getting me another room and respecting my morals!  And, yes there is a lot to say about causing scandal when members of the opposite sex hang out alone who are not dating/married.... I know. There is too much to discuss about that for this post!)

In both of these definitions, scandal is something that involves morality.  Those things in life that we perceive as right and wrong.  When we proclaim something as such, we are then held to those standards, don't you think?  For me, this is where my faith comes in.  I love the Church so much, and am so grateful for all of Her wisdom.  She teaches us, leads us to Truth and provides the guidelines to live our lives.  For some, those ways may seem radical, but for a believer like me... they make sense.  I trust in the Church.  I trust in Her ways.  I trust that God uses the Church to bring His children to Him.

For that, I want to live my life this way.  I am proud to be part of a church that holds it's members, and the world, to these standards.  I don't want to cause scandal in any way that would lead people to believe I am something that I am not, or that my Church is something that She is not.  (there are already enough people to do that.  Just Google scandal and Catholic... it's so sad)  I am not perfect.  No-siree-Bob.  My desire to not cause scandal is so strong that I hope I am actually living what I preach.  But, I am human.  I make mistakes.  I have moments of turning away from God, my faith and the life that I want to live.  Most everyone has those times.  It's not an excuse, it's reality.  And, lately... realizing that there are so many wonderful little kiddos in my life, I want to be a person they can look up to... about everything.  I would dislike it greatly hate to scandalize those kids for not living up to the standards I have for my life.  It's the reason why I dress modestly, don't stay in hotel rooms alone with men, choose to love versus hate, not curse (errr, I try really really hard), and on and on.  Scandal will happen, publicly and privately, no matter what.  I want to live my life this way, and hope by doing so, I encourage others to do the same, and minimize the scandal that is in our world, thus leading to more sin.

St. Therese, pray for us!
Padre Pio, pray for us!
Blessed JPII, pray for us!

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 6)

Linking up with the ladies of Fine Linen and Purple for this week's What I Wore Sunday!

Well, I feel like I could go to bed right now, as I had an early flight this morning out of Florida and back HOME!  As sad as I was to leave Mart, Tom and the babe (in the midst of the babe's post-vaccine state of misery. Pray for sweet Zuzu!), I was really really looking forward to being home.  As I have mentioned previously, I was in Honduras for Christmas last year, and am reallllllllly happy to be home with my family and all things that are familiar.  :)  There really is nothing like spending time with your family for Christmas.  This is what I came home to:

Isn't it so fun?! :)


I love this guy.

It's always a bit hard to get ready for Christmas when I know that I won't be with my mom.  Growing up we were always together, and then I had a separate Christmas with my dad and his side of the fam. So, even though we haven't had Christmases together every year for quite some time, there always seems to be something missing, I guess.  It's all part of growing up, huh?!

Ok, ok... I have gone a little off topic.  Forgive me.  So, my flight went on without a hitch and I got home right at 12 noon on the dot, to turn around and leave for 12:30 Mass!  I quickly changed into a version of an outfit that I have been sporting for the last 24 hours, as I traveled and what not.  But, time was an issue and I needed to get to the church on time!  And, I did!  With time to spare so I could pray and prepare for Mass!!  Thanks, Jesus!  I also was able to drive the Lexus!  Say whaaaaaaat?!  Yup, you heard that right.  My dad has his car (he and Connie are still in NYC, getting back later this evening), so I borrowed Connie's car. :) I don't get to drive it much, today was maybe my 3rd or 4th time.  I always feel so cool in that car.

I KNOWWWWWW... I have been dragging this on and on and on.  Here you go! :)


See?  Nothing too special.  But, it works.



Deets:
Grey cardigan: Mossimo, Target
Teal tank: Mossimo??, Target
Purse: American Eagle
Leggings: Mossimo, Target
Boots: yup, those beloved boots from Target

Annnnd... my great scarf: a white elephant gift exchange! :)  Mart helps lead Faith and Wine, a fun woman's ministry, and they were having their meeting/Christmas party and invited me.  We bought an extra gift and they included me in the fun! :)  It was so sweet.  And, I got this great scarf out of it. I forget the lovely lady's name who bought it (eeek, sorry!), but she got it from the Colorado airport!!  Great, right?!

I hope that you all have had a wonderful and blessed Sunday! :)  Please don't forget check out the other ladies and gentlemen to see what outfits are cooked up for today!

7QTs (8): Childhood BFF

I know I say this every.single.week, but how does the time go by SO FLIPPING FAST?!  Seriously. Well, it's been a busy, but great one for me, so let me get right to it! :)

~ 1 ~
Ok, let me give you some background on my friend Renee: we were total BFFs from just a few months until she and her family moved to Florida when we were 11/12ish.  We did everything together, mostly due to the fact that her mom watched me while my parents were at work.  But, after she moved, b/c our moms kind of had a falling out, we really just stopped talking.  (there was no FB or email or texting to be had back then)  Alas!  Our friendship then grew apart.  It's sad, really.

This is from our dancing days. How cute are we?!
Me: left; Renee: right

The wall of memories at Renee's house.

Bahahaha!!!  This cracks me up.  
Apparently, I did not think her present was good.

~ 2 ~
But, then!  Facebook did happen and everyone started to join!  Renee and I reconnected!!  I love FB for that reason.  It has been so amazing to see her all grown up, a wife and a mom.  Happy, healthy and loving life.  She just looks like a bigger version of the girl I remember.  Through the wonderful world of technology, we have been able to build our friendship back up.  It's so awesome and fun!

~ 3 ~
Renee STILL lives in Florida.  So, why would I not want to get together with her while I am in Florida?!  Well, I wouldn't.  That is just silly.  OF COURSE I WANT TO.  So, Wednesday to Friday, we were reunited!  It was just so amazing.  I FINALLY got to hug my best friend after not really being able to say goodbye all those years ago.  I was only nervous for a little bit... what if it's super awkward?  What if we have nothing in common?  What if... what if... what if...  But, I have to be honest, as soon as I saw her... it's almost as if no time had passed.  We are grown up versions of our little kid selves, hanging out like we hadn't seen each other since yesterday.  Only this time, our convos revolved around catching each other up on the last 17 years of our lives, family, jobs, etc.  We are definitely more 'grown up' now, and making new memories.

AHHHHH!!!  This was so exciting! :)

~ 4 ~
There has to be something said for childhood friends.  There is nothing like 'em.  I have always believed that God blesses us with friends at different times in our live.  Some come and go, others stay forever.  Renee and I needed each other growing up, and maybe God reunited us for another special reason.  I don't know what that is.  Maybe I won't know.  But, I can say that He has truly reminded me of what a blessing friendship is.  Even if Renee and I still don't know each other well now, we know each other in a different way, from a different time, that no one else will really be able to understand.  We are childhood girlfriends, and I believe, that that is a special friendship in and of itself. :)

~ 5 ~
It was so fun to meet her husband and son, Ethan...



... and stepping inside her life a little bit.  I got to see where she lives and works...


... as a firefighter/EMT.  She loves her job and is pretty darn good at it from what I can tell.

~ 6 ~
And to find out that she still LOVES horses.  I feel like this girl was born to love horses.  It was what I remembered most about her.  :)  For some reason, this piece of info just made me really happy.

The farm where she helps out with the beautiful horses.

And of course we went for a trail ride. :)
My back and butt are still sore.

~ 7 ~
We even went to Sea World!!!!  I had never been, and she was able to get another ticket.  How awesome is that?!  We had BLAST!!

The Shamu show was da bomb.

I took a TON of other pics from Sea World, but these are just from my phone.  Maybe when I have a little more time, and am not really exhausted and should be sleeping so I can get up for my early flight, I will put those pics up!

~ 7.5 ~
Going down memory lane with a good childhood friend makes me think of the young kids who have tragically lost their best friends in the CT shooting.  It is just heart-wrenching to think that some of those kids won't ever be able to reconnect with their BFFs as I have done with Renee.  At least not in this life.  I pray to God to be with each and every one of those friends, the families of the kids who lost their lives, and to all of the people who risked their own lives to protect the children.  Love them. Guide them.  Help them to see hope in You.  

I hope you all have been hugging all the kids you know a little tighter these days and reminding them how much you love them.


Please don't forget to check out some more 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary with the loverly, yes loverly, Jen! :)

I open my heart to you

"O Jesus, lover of the young, the dearest Friend I have, in all confidence I open my heart to You to beg Your light and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Give me the light of Your grace, that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. Dearest Jesus, send me such a one whom in Your divine wisdom You judge best suited to be united with me in marriage. May his character reflect some of the traits of Your own Sacred Heart. May he be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with pure and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please You to entrust to our care. Bless our friendship before marriage, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely, that our future home may ever be most like Your own at Nazareth. 

O Mary Immaculate, sweet Mother of the young, to your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future husband. You are my guiding Star! Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God's Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joys in the next.  Amen."

Well, this is a wonderful prayer about finding your husband (or wife).  I want need to start saying this every day.  I pray all of the time for my future husband, but not consistently.  This is a good one to help both me and my future hubs be truly open and trusting of our Lord about allowing us to meet in His time!

And... the waiting:
"Waiting on God isn't about the suspension of meaning and purpose. It's part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn't to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan.Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn't simply about what I'll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I'll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He's promised. Through the wait He's changing me. By means of the wait He's altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He's causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands."
~ Paul Tripp on Psalm 27

How hard the waiting is... but so true, how much we learn- about ourselves, God, the world- from the waiting that truly prepares us for our future.  How fitting during this time of Advent.  We wait.  With anticipation and joy that Our Savior is coming.  God wants us to wait.  He wants us to learn about Him and prepare ourselves for His son.  Our whole lives are spent preparing for our Lord, to be face to face with Him one day.  How exciting and joyous is that?!

But, why is it so hard to see the waiting for our husband the same way?  Obviously, the Lord wants me to prepare.  To learn more.  And it WILL be exciting and joyous when I do meet my husband!  And it should be just as exciting as I wait in anticipation for the one the Lord has called me to marry.  Sometimes, I just wish it didn't feel so slow and impossible.  As they say, this season of waiting will come to an end.

Holy Mother, pray for us!
St. Therese, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!

BTWs, I got the above quotes from this great blog, The Catholic Young Woman, I just discovered, from their posts labeled with: singleness and waiting.  Check those ladies out, if you haven't already! ;)

I also don't mean for this to sound as sad and depressing as it may seem.  I found these quotes to be helpful, and wanted to share.  I need to keep reminding myself of these things, sometimes. :)  I am not lying around in bed, gorging chocolate and having a pity party with God, wondering what is wrong with me.  Don't worry.  All is well over here!!

What I Wore... to my Interview!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SAID A PRAYER FOR MY INTERVIEW!!!!  It went really well!!  I will have another one in January, when I return down here after Christmas, with the director of pediatrics.  I was calling on Mary with a TON of Hail Marys on my drive to the employment center.  I was so nervous.  But, it really did go so well.  I have officially stepped back into the game.

It's amazing how good our Lord really is (obviously).  I was having a moment of being overwhelmed and worried about not finding a job, and questioning my choice about moving last week... I do this as a way to process?  Maybe.  I don't know, but I have always done it with any big thing happening in my life.  Things that I don't really have much control over.  I shot a little upward glance and gave a quick prayer to God to help me out.

Then the HR people called the next day and we set up the interview for today!  This morning, I get a call from a physician's office about setting up a time to meet!  The Lord is just so amazing.  He answered such a quick little prayer in some pretty big ways. :)  Man, just think if I prayed more deeply on a regular basis what kinds of gifts he would bless me with. ;) (and, I do not mean to sound as if I am deserving of such things, but I think you understand)

I just read this post by Laura over at Life is Beautiful, and it really inspired me.  I have been really trying to figure out ways to use my nursing skills, along with my heart for service, to build up the Kingdom better.  I believe it's partly why I went to Honduras.  It's why hospital nursing isn't what I want to jump back into.  But, the thing is... those two characteristics don't always go hand-in-hand.  I have to continue to pray, serve the best way I know how, volunteer, etc and maybe one day that opportunity will be waiting for me.  I hope that I can be better at changing my perspective and realize that my heart of service can be used all.of.the.time.  I don't know why, but it's hard for me.  I do believe and trust that the Lord has things all figured out... and I must wait and see.

And on to what I wore.  I love love love this outfit!!  :)  Why???  Well, it looks great on me (if I do say so myself) and it was THRIFTED!!!  I am really enjoying this thrifting business... and I can't wait until I do have a job so I can have more fun with it. :)


Mart and Tom went to work out right when I got home, so I was on baby duty, which I don't mind AT ALL!  But, it does make it a bit challenging to take a pic of yourself.


Blouse: Banana Republic via Goodwill, 6 bucks
Skirt: The Limited via Goodwill, 6 bucks
Earrings and Shoes: same as yesterday for WIWS

Thank you again for the wonderful prayers.  They really did help. :)
I hope you all had a great Monday!

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 5)

Welcome, welcome.  My entire post was just deleted.  Argh.  I really, really dislike that.

Ok, back to this edition of What I Wore Sunday, as always, hosted by the lovely ladies of Fine Linen and Purple.  Today, I was on it.  Unlike last week, I really felt good and ready to wear something cute (and decided on the dress after some confidence boosting from Martha, that it does indeed look great on me).  But, it was HOT and muggy and sticky, so I couldn't wear my new thrifted jean skirt with my sweater and boots like I had imagined.  Oh, the joys of SW Florida. :)

I love feeling confident and worthy when I dress nicely for our Lord.  I really do.  I love going to Mass in general, but I always have a little extra skip in my step when I am dressed better. :)

First, I have to brag about my sweet god-daughter.  Isn't she just the cutest?!  And, so fashionable, as well.  Well, look at her Mama.  Mart will also be weighing in on WIWS for her and Zuzu.  Check her out! :)

Oooooookay... now on to me! :)

The whole shebang!  I love this dress SO much.  Love it.
Also, my car is always in the pics.  Always.


Annnnnd for the deets:
Dress: American Eagle
(I just love that place.  It's no joke.)
Shoes: Nine West, from Mart!
(she can't fit in them after pregnancy, so score one for me!)
Necklace: Open Hearts, from my momma!
Earrings: also from my momma (a whole set of fun colors!)

I hope everyone had such a wonderful and blessed Sunday! :)  Please go check out all the other ladies... oh, wait!  There are some guys now, too!  Then what I mean is, go check out everyone's fashions at Fine Linen and Purple.

Oh, and a prayer request!!!  I have a job interview tomorrow at 3pm (EST)!!!!  It's my first one in quite some time!!  Thank you! :)

7 Quicks Takes (7): The Online Dating Edition

Well, yes... I'm doing the online dating thing (again).  I figure I tell you all about the rest of my life... why not this, too?  Obviously, I am on the Catholic ones, and I have found that that really doesn't make a difference for anything.  So, here for my 7QTs this week, I am going to share some of the things that I have found annoying about the profiles and interactions that I have had areas of improvement, if you will.

(Disclaimer: I am in NO way an expert at dating, let alone online dating, so take the following with a grain of salt and a bit of my reality.)


~ 1 ~
Being Catholic
Ok, guys (and ladies, I'm sure)... why are you on a CATHOLIC dating site if you are not Catholic... in that you don't go to Mass, you don't agree with the church's teachings, and really don't even seem to have a relationship with God.  I don't really understand it.  There are a ton of secular, non-Catholic/Christian sites out there.  What is the purpose of being on the Catholic website, if you really don't consider yourself Catholic?

~ 2 ~
Grammar
Please, please, PLEASE check your spelling.  I mean, most of the sites HAVE the option to do it for you.  Use it.  Also, read your sentences and such OUT LOUD.  If you stumble over your words, or it doesn't make sense to you, think about how it looks to everyone else.  Or, have some one else take a look at it, as well, to help with glaring grammatical errors.  If you are serious about being on the site, take the time to make your profile look it's best.  It IS the first impression.  Make it snazzy.

~ 3 ~
Show your personality
It's ok to crack a joke!  Add your favorite quotes!  Don't be shy.  The purpose of being on the site is to find your future wife (or husband for all the ladies), so she will be intrigued and/or impressed by those things.  I am sure it's those things that entice you, as well.

~ 4 ~
Profile photo
Put one up!  It's a little creepy, not gonna lie, when someone 'views your profile' and they have no pic.  It's just weird.  To me, it shows that you haven't given much time or effort into your profile, and let's be honest, I won't even look at the rest.  So, make sure it's a good one (ie, not blurry, shows a smile, etc)... you are trying to make a GOOD, I care about this process, impression.

~ 5 ~
Other photos
Speaking of pics... add more!  They give you an option for that... so, do it.  Pictures show off your personality better.  Things you like to do or see.  But, please, for all you guys, do not have a picture with other girls, unless it's your sister, cousin, etc. and you caption it as such.  It's just tacky, otherwise.  There is no need for it.  If you are pursuing a girl, she doesn't want to see you with other girls.  It gives off the player vibe- and no one wants that.

And, don't use pics of you partying, and what would be assumed to be drunk off your butt. Sends the wrong message, and maybe you should look elsewhere for your future spouse.

~ 6 ~
Communication
If you like a girl, send her a message!  Most women want to be pursued.  Stop with the cute little emotigrams back and forth... send a real message.  Tell her the silly joke actually made you laugh.  Compliment her smile.  Something that shows effort.  Oh, you can't send the message because you haven't paid for full access?  Hmm... well, that's unfortunate.  Again, if this is something that you are serious about, and you want to help God out in this way, then pay for the darn subscription.  This may or may not be how the Lord will have you meet, but at least you are being completely open to the idea.  That few extra dollars that you spent on this, instead of guys night at the bar, would be worth it if you found the lucky lady, right?!

~ 7 ~
For the older men
I didn't say old, ok?  I am talking about the older men, as in 40s on up, who contact the girls in their 20s.  Please don't.  It's really creepy.  I know that you, too, are looking for your wife, but please stick with your own age group.  Unless of course those girls in their 20s have said in their profiles that they are looking for older men, then by all means!  But, this girl, here... not so much.


That's what I got here!  Have I missed anything?  What has been your experience?  Online dating is really fun, but you have to weed out the guys who aren't really into it.  I pray for all of you and your journeys.  I pray that God will continue to bless you, give you patience and courage as you go through the dating process, online or in real life. ;)

As always, please don't forget to check out Jen, and everyone else, over at Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!

Resumes, Cover Letters & Applications... Oh my!

I feel as though there is one perfectly good explanation for why a person would stay in only one job during their work-life:

never having to think about resumes, cover letters, job applications... and then... 
innnnnterviewsss.

Since I have been back in Naples... my days have been consumed with tweeking my resume, writing cover letters, filling out applications, searching for jobs, sending out said resume/cover letters and on and on.  (I mean, of course there has been time for Zuzu and thrifting and getting my car fixed.... which CAN I JUST SAY WAS A MIRACLE!!!!  I will save that story for the end!)  

As much as I am excited to move down here and get my new life started, this whole finding-a-job-thing is a bit daunting.  After college, I was very fortunate to only have two interviews, and the hospital where I wanted to work was the hospital I did my practicum, and really made the interview/hiring process so much easier.

Here, I don't know anyone.  My interview skills are probably lacking... and it's hard for me to be confident and basically sell myself.  There is also the fear of rejection.  I am doing all of this for you such-and-such hospital/doctor's office/clinic and preparing for a future job at your place and then you don't want me.  I am not good enough for you.  Ugh.  It's scary!

BUT... I can't think like that.  Right?  It's crazy talk.  I am so blessed to have people in my life who are helpful in this area and are super encouraging. :)  So... bring it applications and interviews.  I got you.  

As always... prayers for this! :)

Also, is it just me or is it a little out-dated to have someone say "fax me your resume???"  Wouldn't emailing and printing it be just as easy easier?  Any feelings on this?  Maybe it's just my generation...

**********************

Ready for that miracle I mentioned above?!

The dreaded check engine light was on in my car and of course, I wanted to ignore it.  But, it's orange and obvious and annoying.  And, I am really not one to mess around with my car.  I want my car to be safe for me and anyone else that is driving/riding in it.  PPPPLUS... I needed an oil change like whoa.  (remember... I did drive all the way from DC to SW Florida!)

So, fast forward to this morning (after finding a dealership), I take my car in to get the oil change and get that annoying orange light to go off.  I told the guy that I was going to be M-A-D MAD if the light was on only because the gas cap was being funky or something (yes, I did play with it before) and I had to pay the $105 JUST for that (btw... it's hooking up a scanner to the COMPUTER of the car.  Why does that have to be so flipping expensive?!).  Oh... no one wants to see what happens when I get that mad.  The guy told me he would "take care of it" if it was just the gas cap.  Well, thank you.

I am waiting in the 'customer lounge' when the service guy comes in to update me... "there is a significant leak in your exhaust pipe blah, blah, blah" as I am staring at the figures on the page in front of him that almost make ONE THOUSAND.

He's all... do you want us to do it.  It really is for the better.  And I'm all... uhhhh, I mean, um, yea?  I guess.  It needs to be done.  He gets up and then says "oh, and your air filter should be replaced as well" -as he proceeds to show me a disgusting black thing that is apparently supposed to be yellow- "it's only $30 and we can just get it done."  Well, sure... what's another 30 bucks when I am about to shell out a thousand.  

Then, I am just sitting there texting my mom and Martha and sending out annoying 'whoa is me' tweets.  Thinking, how I am not going to go out to eat anymore, shop or anything else for that matter until I get a job.  The dude comes back and says "it's going to be a few hours, would you like us to call the shuttle for you go to the mall to walk around or anything?"  Two thoughts popped into my head 1) they have a shuttle to bring you places?!  I am definitely in an area that caters to the more wealthy.  That's cool.  And 2) The mall??  Really... YOU JUST TOLD ME I HAVE TO GIVE YOU ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR MY CAR... why would I want to go to the mall and stare at things that I should not be buying now?

Of course I said... "I have to think about that... I'm still processing the money situation."  He leaves... and then COMES BACK 10 minutes later.  "I have another question."  Ahhhh!  No.  I don't want to know or answer your questions.  I just want you to fix my car so I can get this whole thing done.  He continues, "are you the original owner of the car?"  I say, "well, my parents bought it originally and I took over the title.  But, it was bought new."  The wonderful, wonderful man tells me. "I have good news!  Your car is still under warranty and everything will be covered."

I cannot describe to you what I was feeling at that moment.  I was thrilled and shocked and happy and excited... and wanted to collapse in that man's arms from pure, pure joy.  THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS!!!  It seriously was a Christmas miracle.

I just wanted to hug every single person today.  Instead I called multiple people, tweeted about it and then loved on Zuzu.  Although, that is not really any different from a normal day.

God is so, so, SO good, people.  And you are, too, for making it this far!  I didn't realize I was going to give a play-by-play until I started writing. :)

What I (didn't) Wear Sunday (Vol 4)

No, no... I didn't go naked.  Crazy.

I just did not wear anything worth showing off today.  :(  I was rushing and in one of those moments yelling, "I have NOTHING to wear."  Which isn't true, but I was not satisfied with anything.

I don't want to deprive you all of the actual cute looks from the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple. So, please take a gander and enjoy!  Also, check out this great article by Jen Fulwiler (yes the same Jen of Conversion Diary) on NC Register!

I love participating every week, but I wasn't in the 'zone' today.  Does that mean I wasn't in the 'zone' for Mass either?  I am not really sure... I went, I participated, I prayed and chatted with the Lord.  Even though I didn't feel cute or my outfit was worthy, I have to believe the Lord was happy that I was there, as well. :)

I love this link-up because I believe it nudges people to wear their best.  There are so many people who I have seen rock some great outfits, all from thrifting or hand-me-downs, who make the effort to dress up for God.  To dress up, in their best- whatever that may be, to hang out with our Lord in His house.  I, also, believe it keeps us accountable!  Part of community is to hold those within it accountable for living their lives a certain way.  Why shouldn't we remind each other of the importance of dressing nicely and respectfully for church?  Or why wouldn't we want to see others have fun with dressing modestly, without being frumpy or old school?  Anyway... that's what I have to say about that.  Just some more of my thoughts after reading the comments in Jen's article.

I will be better and ready for next week!  I hope everyone had such a blessed and happy Sunday!

Much Love,
Jen

7 Quick Takes (6)

Here we are for another round of 7QTs! :)  I hope everyone has had a wonderful week! :)

~ 1 ~

At some point I think I said something about pictures of Max, my dog-brother.  Well, somehow I haven't posted any, although I have taken quite a few... so here you go!



I was trying to get a good one with me and him, but he wasn't really into it. :)  And, then I tried to do a selfie (I'm sorry, but I feel weird saying that.  I hear it's the new, hip way to say self-pic or self-portrait.  But, I am not sure I can really get into it!  Have a reached a point where I can't say something b/c I'm too old?!)... anyway, I tried to do one of those, and that pic on the right is what happened!  Look at the that face!  Oh, Max I love you, man!

~ 2 ~
I've had the privilege of hanging out with this cutie a few times this past week: 



Alex is SUCH a doll. :)  This is Paul's step granddauhter, if you will.  And my mom and he have been reveling in all things grandparenting!  And of course, my mom can't wait until someone <ahem.me.ahem> has some kiddos of her own one day!  Me too, mom, me too. :)

~ 3 ~
I found an UNOPENED lighted lipgloss!!!  :)  I stocked up in the last few years.  I love this thing!
Ever heard of it?  Well, it's an Artistry, through Amway, brand and it's amazing.  You take off the top and there is a small LED light, and the bottle has a little mirror.  So, you can have beautiful shiny lips anytime! :)
(If you are interested, check it out on the Amway site, but I think that you need to look for a person in the business to buy one.  Although, I am not.  But something to ponder.)

~ 4 ~
Mom and I met her good friend, Christi, for lunch the other day.  We also stopped by the basilica in downtown Minneapolis.


Beautiful, right?!

~ 5 ~
Yesterday, we went by this cool garden/home decor store and I found these awesome things to hang on a wall:


My mom bought them so that I can put them in my new apartment!! :)  THANKS MOM!!  I am so excited... and they are so cute!  I have 5 of them that say: family, friends, dream, believe, and blessed.  Can you just seem them on a wall, stacked a little?!  I can't wait!

~ 6 ~
New apartment?  You have a new apartment?  When did that happen?  Well, for those of you who don't read my blog, usually, then you have missed a little something.  I wrote about moving to Florida the other day!  Yup, I have decided to do that.  I don't have any major plans or an actual apartment, but I will!  It's the next steps in my life, and I am ready to see what God has in store.  Pray for me!!

~ 7 ~
I am heading back down to Naples tomorrow morning.  I am excited to see Mart and the babe (and be in warmer weather again), but it's always hard to leave my mom.  We never really know when the next time we will see each other is, so saying goodbye is never fun.  Although, I suspect it will be easier than last year when we said goodbye, as it was the last time before I was in Honduras!  So, at least I will still be in the country this time. :)  Anywho, we are going to hang out today, and spend our last day doing... something!  Tonight will include a Christmas parade downtown. YAY for Christmas!! :)

Have a wonderful day!  As always, don't forget to check out some more fun 7QTs over at Conversion Diary with Jen! :)
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