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! :)

Decisions, Decisions

You know what's hard about discerning God's will?  Um, well... actually deciding to do something about it.  I don't hear angels singing, I haven't read something that triggers exactly what I am supposed to do, I don't hear God whispering to my heart or any of those things that would make this a whole heck of a LOT easier.

But, I have realized, that every decision I make will lead me to God's will.  I can't just keep thinking and praying (however, extremely important) and analyzing and just expecting it to fall in my lap.  That may work for some, but I am more likely to believe God doesn't usually work in that way.  I have to meet God somewhere.  I have to put my hand and heart out there, so that He can pull me farther along.  Life is a journey, and part of a journey is risk.  Living a life with God as the center will always have risks involved.  Why would I expect anything less?

I even said in the title [of my blog] post that I wanted to take risks.

It's been so nice, as always, to be here with my mom.  Even though she has her own desires for me, and wants things for me that benefit her (ahem... moving to Minnesota... ahem), she pushes them away and really asks good, objective, thought-provoking questions to help me get to a point to make a decision.  Paul, my mom's BF, is also really good at it, as well.  They play off of each other... they are like a good team, those two. :)  Both helping me make decisions that are for ME and no one else.

Mom and I had lunch the other day with her dear friend, Christi, who is always a pleasure to be around.  She is just so full of wisdom and wonderful nuggets of inspiration.  In our almost 3 hour lunch, I wish I whipped out my iPhone practically every second, so I could write all of her wonderful things down (and thus blog about it later, but alas!  I didn't... imagine a techno-gadget free meal!  Crazy, I know.).  She is, also, encouraging and all about doing what we can to follow God's will.  She is a firm believer that God will not give you more than you can handle, and we are always creating our stories.

No one chooses what story they're plopped into, 
but the question is what you'll do with it now that you're in it.

True, right?!  I mean, how much time/energy do we spend complaining or comparing or worrying about this life that we have?  (...or, is that just me?)  This is our life.  We have to choose what to do (and how to react) about the hard things, sad things, holy-crap-what-is-happening things, and of course the wonderful, exciting, thank-God-this-is-my-life things.  God blesses us in sooooo many ways, why wouldn't we want to make the best of the life He gave us?!

Ok, so... I say all of this (and I am sorry for those of you who I have not had the chance to tell personally) because I have made a decision.

I have decided... 
to MOVE TO FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

I don't exactly know what I will be doing when I get there.  BUT, I have to take a risk.  Why not?!  There is a great Catholic community and my wonderful friend (and her fam... you DO remember all of those cute pics of my goddaughter, yes?!) and there really isn't anything inherently bad for me to move to this place.  So, I have to try.  I have to see what it will be like.  And, who knows what I will find?!  As I was telling a good friend, Florida may or may not be God's ultimate plan, but I won't know that until I am there.  Living life.

So, there you have it, friends (and family).  This is my life.  And, I am going to live it the best way I know how.  I could, as always, use some prayers for this next chapter.  I am ready to jump in the puddle and see where the ripples go!

What I Wore Sunday (Vol 3)

Joining the lovely ladies over at Fine Linen and Purple for another edition of What I Wore Sunday. :)  I have really come to love this link-up and seeing what everyone is wearing!

First... let me just say... I LOVED MY OUTFIT TODAY!!!!!  I was really proud because I put it together myself, with little input from my mom, and it turned out great. :)  Mom and I tried to go thrifting the other day, and she was the only one that was successful, of course.  Yesterday, we went to Opitz, which is one of those designer discount stores.  It has some really great deals.  Including my sweater dress and belt.  All of these things made me very excited about this outfit.

I not only wore this to Mass, but it was comfortable enough to wear to lunch (at Redstone... great Sunday brunch and the BEST cornbread and chili!) and shopping for the rest of the day!  My feet don't even hurt.  I love my boots.  For realz.

It was early, and my normal pictures looked like I was still super sleepy, therefore we have the silly one.
I love this sweater dress because it's not heavy, but still warm.  
And, there are POCKETS!!!

Sweater dress: Guess, via Opitz (originally $89, got it for $17)
Belt: ???, via Opitz
Leggings: Target, Mossimo
Boots: my beloved boots that I can't stop talking about, Target
Earrings: gift from Mom
Necklace: Crucifix I bought a few years ago and Miraculous Medal bought in France where the apparition took place.

Don't forget to go check out the other ladies' attire at Fine Linen and Purple!
I hope you all had such a blessed Sunday!

7 QTs- REEEEMIX! (5): Thanks, Thanks, Thanks

I cannot believe it has been ANOTHER week.  It's just unreal.  So, as it IS Friday... we have come to know that this is usually time for 7 Quick Takes with Jen at Conversion Diary.  BUT, I am going to mix things up today and do my own thing, loosely based on 7, not-so-quick, things.  Maybe.  I don't know.  Vamos a ver (we shall see).  Hence, the title: REEEEMIX!  ALso, focusing on thankfulness, as I was vain and only blogged about my wardrobe yesterday.  Um...yea...

~ 1 ~
I mean... I feel like I could go on for.ev.er about the blessings that our Lord has poured upon me this year.  I mean everything in my life is because He has made it happen.  I don't give Him enough credit, even though He IS the only reason for the way my life is right now.  Today, I honor you , Lord.  I will do my best to thank you and credit you and turn to you more often.  You are, indeed, an amazing God who loves so much, and gives so much.  Thank you for allowing me to see my potential and challenging me to change, for the better.  Through your Grace, I have gotten through one of the toughest, yet AMAZING, years of my life.  I know you have so many other great things planned for me, and I eagerly await the time when they will be revealed.

~ 2 ~
Family (ALL of them, yes you.)
God has also blessed me with the best.family.ever.  Seriously.  We may be spread out, divorced, not agree on everything, dysfunctional at times, and get on each others nerves, but we are family.  These people have supported me, loved me, encouraged me, pushed me, challenged me, etc since the day I was born.  I have decided to put God and His church first in my life, and being the only practicing Catholic is hard sometimes, but they accept me for me, and accept that it's important to me.  Most of them thought I was crazy for quitting my really good job and moving to another country to serve, but supported me throughout it all.  They have affirmed my decision to not jump back into finding a job right away, even if it's not something they would do, and have allowed me to bum around at their houses while I travel, "find myself" and discern my next steps.  I couldn't ask for a better family.  I love them and thank God for them all of the time.  God loves unconditionally, but I think I would say that my family loves me unconditionally, as well.

~ 3 ~
Mom and Dad
They could just be lumped in with the family, but I think they deserve their own little number (and so much more!).  Gosh, what would I do without my parents?  I don't even like thinking about it.  My mom is my best friend.  The person I call for everything, good, bad, exciting, frustrating, when I just need to cry or hear her voice, when I need advice... on practically anything.  She is an amazing woman.  I am so blessed that she is the one that God chose to be my mom.  She has taught me so very much, but especially how to see the good in everyone.  She worked for 30 years with kids that did stupid things, getting locked up and going down the wrong path.  She always, always, always found something good in these kids, when on the outside you would think they were worth nothing.  I think I get my yearning for service, especially the underdog, the ones that people may think aren't worth serving, from her.  I desire to help and serve those who need it most, and is ultimately, probably, why I chose nursing; it's one of the most service oriented jobs, ever.  My mom loves me for who I am.  She doesn't always get the things that I do, or why I do some things versus others, but she accepts them.  She accepts that we don't agree on everything, and loves me... no matter what.  I still have so much to learn from her, and her ability to love.  It is a beautiful thing.  I strive to be more like that.

And my dad.  Oh, Dad.  You are a silly, goofy, fun-loving man.  I am jealous of your easy-going-ness and ability to find the humor in anything, sometimes.  We, too, haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but you love me just the same.  Thank you for loving me and showing me that love in the best ways you know how: making fun of me! ;)  Just kidding.  Kind of.  As I have gotten older, you have really reached out and expressed your feelings more and more.  At first, I thought this was weird.  You never really do that much.  But, I love it.  I love that you are stern when you are challenging me, forcing me to really think about things.  Thank you for accepting me for me, as well.  I don't think I would have done some of the things in my life if I didn't have your support.  You are a great, and wonderful father, and I don't tell you enough!

Mom and dad, I love you both SO much.  Thank you for everything.  Mostly, thank you for loving and supporting me, no matter what.

~ 4 ~
I also, think I have some of THE best friends in this entire world.  Like my family, they love me unconditionally.  They have been there for me in more ways than I can ever count.  Listened, loved, encouraged, put me in my place (which is hard b/c I am so emotional... who wants to criticize/call someone out/etc when they cry at a drop of a hat, or may get upset really quickly?), encouraged me, supported me, hugged me, let me cry, made me laugh, and on and on and on.  All of these things are such great and wonderful things, but the best part- they have brought me closer to our Lord.  They have the desire to bring me closer to Heaven, just as I do with them.  We are in it together.  It's not easy, but it's never easy living a life for Jesus.  It sure does make it more fun and entertaining and fruitful when you can do it together.  Community is an amazing thing... no matter how far apart we are there for one another.

I really am just so grateful for the wonderful people in my life.

~ 5 ~
Food, water, shelter, clothes
These are some obvious things, but things that I am so grateful for, but take for granted.  I am incredibly thankful to have family and friends to give me shelter and food these days, when I don't technically have a place of 'my own.'  Being in Honduras and seeing people with so little and unclean water, living their lives the best they can... is something I will never forget.  These things may be taken away from me any second, and should always be mindful of how so very blessed I am.

~ 6 ~
Internet, email, Skype, FaceTime, phone
Seriously.  I mean, what would we do without these modes of communication these days?  I wouldn't be able to see my cute niece in Kansas, or chat with my friend in Spain, teach/entertain my Aunt or grandmother about Skype or email, be in the know through Twitter and FB, or talk to anyone that I want to, practically whenever I want to.  It really is so awesome to be so connected to the people I love the most through these awesome powers of communication.

~ 7 ~
Really.  I mean it. I have SO come to enjoy my time writing my thoughts, even if it only gets praise from my grandmother (love you, Grammy!).  When I think of things, I love having a place to keep my thoughts together.  I have also really enjoyed reading other people's blogs.  I really get into it, and it's hard for me to turn my computer off (I mean, that blog WILL be there in the morning when I wake up, right?).  I always love learning about other people's life, even if you do feel like a stalker sometimes (I was made fun of really bad in Honduras for reading a past volunteer's blog through and through, and got ridiculously excited when I almost got to meet her.  Yes, I was bummed when I didn't.).  Now, reading the blogs of the Catholic women out there has been so much fun!  And encouraging.  And such a blessing.  I am building this virtual community that I can literally take with me no matter where I am in the world.  SUCH an amazing thing.  So, thank you to all of those ladies out there (and to the ones I haven't discovered yet) that have been there for me virtually.  You rock.

~ 7.5 ~
I seriously know some awesome kids.  My niece... my goddaughter... my friend's (multiple friends) kids... my step-niece...  I mean, really?!  How lucky can one girl be?!  I just love kids so much, and am so grateful to have them in my life to hold me over until I get my very own one day (God willing)! :)  And of course to their respective parents for letting me love them and kiss them and brag about them!

I mean... I guess I DID do it in 7 (not) Quick Takes. :)  Please remember to go check out everyone else's 7QTs over at Jen's!!  I hope you all had such a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, friends, good food and great memories!  So many blessings your way! :)

What I Wore... Thanksgiving!

Tricked ya... almost?!  It's a What I Wore Thanksgiving kind of day thanks to Grace over at Camp Patton!  I am finding that I am really enjoying link-ups... and surprisingly these style/clothes related ones.  I have never found myself to be fashionable (that's my mom!), but I suppose that's what is fun about these things.

I hope you all have had such a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends!  There is so much to be thankful for, and I hope you have been able to stop for a few and take it all in. :)

Ok, without further ado.. here is what I wore today:

Please ignore my sleepy/full/want to fall into bed look.... this was post meal.

This was another take... I think I look weird.  But, oh well.
I am also now in Minnesota with my mom, therefore warm clothes are needed!

Okaaaaaaaay.... DEETS:
Orange wool coat: Christmas gift from my momma, JC Penny's, years ago
Scarf: American Eagle (actually, same purchase as the scarf from Sunday)
Blue (looks black) long-sleeve shirt: American Eagle, years ago
Orange tank: Target, Mossimo
Jeggings: Target, Mossimo
Boots: Uggs
Earrings: Charming Charlie's

Ok, also pictured are the things that I where every.single.day.  I don't know why I haven't mentioned them before.  But hey, I am now, so that counts for something, yes?

Gold- Covenant (or purity or True Love Waits... or whatever you choose to call it) ring from my Aunt and Uncle 11 years ago in December (it's engraved with my initials and the date)! Worn on left ring finger.
Sliver Heart- given to me by my dad yearssss ago. Tiffany's. Worn on right ring finger.
Silver Crucifix- given to me by a friend as a graduation gift from college. Worn on left thumb.

Bracelet: I got this in Copan Ruinas, Honduras.  It was the first thing I bought for myself when I got there and haven't taken it off since.  It's a constant reminder of my time and of what God can ask of me.

Welp, that's what I got here.  Go check out some more stylish ladies at Camp Patton!

Change is About to Occur

Hey guys...  I am a little nervous and could use some prayers.  Can you help out with that?

[Disclaimer: for those who are not interested in NFP or do not want to know this much about me, feel free to skip this post and future posts about the subject.  I know for some it can be weird, and I don't mind. :)]

It's official:  I now have my Creighton teacher!  My intro class is on December 22nd (I know, I know... it's quite far away, but I am still traveling and what not.)!  I am really looking forward to getting started!  As my teacher says... "as a nurse, you will love it!"  Woot!  Can't wait.

But, I am nervous.  I have just finished this month's pill, and asked if I should continue the next month, or stop completely?  She told me to stop completely.

Oh... already?  We're doing it.

Obviously this is what I want.  I don't really have any other choices.  But, I am really worried about my acne.  I am really worried about my periods being uber heavy.  I am worried that I am going to be an emotional basket case.  I am just worried that things are going to be so different from what has been 'normal' and I'm not going to be able to function.

These things may seem trivial (and I know that women all over the world deal with these things and in some cases things way more intense), but it's almost as if I am losing a life that I have had for the last 8 (has it REALLY been that long...) years.  As superficial as it may seem, a loss is a loss.  And, change from that loss is about to occur.

I am not the best with change.  Especially with my hormones being so heavily involved.

So, this is why I ask for some prayers.  I know that this is what God wants from me right now.  To know my body.  To learn to live my life in a new way.  To be confident in myself to embrace this change and be the woman He has created.

It's not going to be an easy thing.  It's not going to be really fun, even.  But, with the support of my friends, my mom and with God's grace, everything will be just fine.

If you have any skincare advice for hormonal acne, I'm all ears.  Or, any other thoughts, insights, words of encouragement .. I would love to hear 'em, as well.

Much Love,

What I Wore Sunday (Vol 2)

Hey, hey, hey!  Linking up with the girls of Fine Linen and Purple for this edition of What I Wore Sunday.  I went to the 5pm contemporary Mass this evening, which is usually a little more casual.  Hence, the jeans and t-shirt. :)  I really enjoy the 5pm Mass b/c the youth choir sings some good praise and worship songs.  Reminds of the college days...

ANYway... here, we have the head to toe:

(Sometimes, I forget how curvy I am!)

Scarf: American Eagle 
(similar to these, it was my first purchase when I got home from Honduras, so I splurged and paid full price)
Black fitted tee: Target, Mossimo
Teal tank: Target, Mossimo
Jeans: Ann Taylor, Modern Fit/Lindsay waist

I love these flats!  
They were a Payless find probably years ago.
They have been through a lot... almost falling apart.  But, I just can't get rid of them.

I decided to add a little pizazz to my hair with this flower.
I cannot remember for the LIFE of me where I bought this.  I have had it for years.
I chose to wear it b/c the scarf has just a touch of orange.

I hope everyone has had such a blessed Sunday!  Please go check out everyone else and see what will inspire your outfits! :)

NFP and The Single Lady- Part 2

You must be curious as to what NFP method I chose, huh?

First, let me just same a few things:

For those of you who are still wondering if you should do NFP (I’m directing this towards the single women…. as this is the only experience that I hold right now, which means, I am not interested in avoiding/having a baby.  But if you are married and/or engaged, I do still believe NFP is the only way to go), I really hope that you choose to do it for yourself and no one else.  Our bodies do some pretty AMAZING things - no one can understand it better than us, and no one can take it away from us.  NFP really allows us, as women, to know our bodies better than anyone.  As a single woman, why not start now?  Take charge of your body.  Own it.  Love it.  Be PROUD of it.   See what a wonderful creation God made.  I think you will be amazed!

I haven’t found a whole lot about NFP and single women, so you may think that I am crazy if you haven’t had much luck either.  But, it does happen:

~   Cute video by Elizabeth ~
~   This article ~
~   This article ~

So, I hope by writing this in my blog, as public, someone will run into this, as well, and be encouraged. :)

Alright, so you are doing it.  You are going to begin charting and learn more about your body.  But, what method should you choose? 

Well, no one can make that decision for you.  You need to do a little research and figure out which one is right for you.  No one woman has to use the same, nor will every one woman have the same experience.   I am no expert, and I am not trying to be (hello, I have just started my journey and am still looking for a teacher), that is why it’s every woman’s responsibility to research and learn and figure out what’s best for her.   iuseNFP.com has great, concise descriptions on the different methods.

I have found that Katie, over at NFP and Me, has some really great resources, and enjoys answering all sorts of NFP questions.  I believe that Katie has also started iuseNFP.com as a way to get the word out to ALL women, not just those who are Catholic.  I hope that these websites can get you started on your own journey!

Ok, ok.  I will tell you now!  I have chosen…

I don’t know why exactly I have decided on this, but I really find it so interesting.  My friend, Martha, and her hubby use Creighton, so that is the one I am most familiar with now.  I have been reading through her materials; maybe b/c I am a nurse and the fact that most medical things fascinate me… I find myself almost giddy going through it.  I love the science behind it.  I love the intricate details.  And, I want to see if my body actually does all the things that the book says it should do! Ha.  Plus, from what I remember of my periods before BC, they were irregular.  The Creighton method seems to be really helpful in diagnosing hormonal imbalances (which maybe can help with my acne issue) to diseases (PCOS, endometriosis, etc).  All things that are good to find out now, so I can be that much more prepared when my future husband and I are ready to welcome new life.

So, there you have it!  I will keep you updated on how things are going.  Many blessings and prayers on your journey, too!

7 Quick Takes (4)

- 1 -  Has is seriously been another week?!  I don't understand how that is even possible.  I was talking with Martha today about how I feel like usually when I am really busy, time goes by super quick.  I can honestly say that these last 5 weeks haven't been the busiest time in my life, but they sure are moving fast!  I don't get it!  It's just a little weird, sometimes.

- 2-  I got a pedicure this week.  I know I don't have a whole lot of money to be spending on extra things, but pedicures have always been something that I am willing to splurge on.  Judge me all you want, but I like to pamper my little footsies:

- 3 -  If you follow me on twitter, then you have seen this before (actually most pics I post on here), but as I am sure you are all well aware of... Target does indeed have their Christmas stuff up.  And playing Christmas music.  I.am.not.ready.

I will admit, there is a slight jump of joy in my heart when I hear the music, which may be b/c I get to be with my family for Christmas this year!  If you followed along while I was in Honduras, my Christmas was a little different, which you would probably guess, since I was in a different country.  Anyway, just b/c I am SO excited to be with my family this year, doesn't necessarily mean I am ready.

- 4 -  I posted this picture on FB the other day:

Beautiful, right?  This is the adoration chapel at St. John the Evangelist in Naples, FL.
Jesus is in a glass case, behind a glass wall... just if you were at all confused. :)

And a friend (I guess more of an acquaintance) from HS commented, asking what this was.  I explained to her what it is, and she was excited b/c she is taking RCIA.  How cool is that?!  I am just excited that I was able to be (and hopefully will continue to be) a small witness of our awesome faith.  As we all know, it's one thing to learn about our faith in class, but another to experience it and witness it in real life!  Please pray for her!

- 5 -  Have any of you ever been to Ave Maria, FL??  Well, it's pretty much a cute, little Catholic town.  Literally.  It's about 40 minutes from where I am staying in Naples.  Ave Maria University is pretty much the backbone of this up-and-coming town.  A large church, town center, developments, K-12 Catholic school, etc make up the area.  It's seriously super cute, and a dream if you want to live in a Catholic bubble. :)  Check out their website, if you want!

The church in the town center.  You can't miss it.

On the university side of things, there is an adoration chapel attached to the library.
Adoration any time you want?  Yes, please!

- 6 -  I know you guys are keeping track: TWO more episodes.  Yes, that's right... we have TWO more episodes of Lost to watch, and then we are done.  It's nuts.

- 7 -  And, b/c I really can't help showing off me cute goddaughter... here is a pic of the both of us.  You guys don't really mind, do you?  I just love her so much. :)

- 7.5 -  Soon, you will see pics of my cute little brother, Max.  As in, my mom's dog.  I am flying out on Monday to visit them for Thanksgiving!  Which is NEXT WEEK!  Holy moly.  Seriously, that time thing will get you every time. :)

As always, please go visit Jen et al for some more 7QTs! :)

NFP and The Single Lady- Part 1

Ok… go on.  Get it out of your head… All the single ladies, all the single ladies
 Feel better?  Ok, good. :)

Why, yes.  I am a single lady.  And, I am about to embark on the NFP journey.  I am not about to get married.  I’m not engaged.  Heck!  I don’t even have a boyfriend. 

… so, why begin this journey?  Well, let’s begin here:

I have always - I am talking about always - struggled with acne.  I didn’t have it as bad as some, but I still had it.  For years.  And it was rough.  I tried everything.  Creams, ointments, different face washes, antibiotics, and even the dreaded Acutane (which was HORRIBLE.  I will never, ever condone it for anyone).

When I was in high school, my dermatologist recommended that I take a birth control pill along with the Acutane (b/c if you have sex and get pregnant that crazy stuff can cause major birth defects).  I, having committed myself to the no-sex-before-marriage covenant, was not going to take BC.  Are you kidding?  Nope, no way.  That is cray.

Fast-forward to college, where I was still dealing with acne and the pains of lower self-confidence, not feeling pretty, etc. and wanted to have clear skin.  I finally gave in and went to the gyno to get a script for BC.  I justified it as OK b/c I was not sexually active, my periods were pretty heavy (bleeding through super tampons multiple times a day, kind of heavy), so it would be fine, and even healthier for me.  My mom and I are pretty open; we did talk about my periods and what not, and I asked my gyno about options, and she said that once I started the BC, I would feel better.  I didn’t really think to ask about any other options, really… I just wanted my face to look nice.

And you know what?  My skin cleared up!  My periods were super manageable!  I wasn’t as emotional (I mean… that might be relative depending on who you are talking to!).  This whole BC thing was awesome!  I had a few moments of thinking it was weird or not ok, when I had my reversion back to my faith.  I always explained it as a medicine for my acne, only if someone asked.  I wasn’t openly telling people I was on the pill.  I didn’t want to cause scandal.  People will skew anything, you know.

Ok, so… fast-forward to today:  I am still on the pill.  My skin is still great, periods still great (as great as they can be).  In the last year, I have had this pull to stop taking the pill, but always come up with a reason to keep taking them.  (You would think that the long-term side effects would make me stop)  I did stop after graduating college, into my first job, and that might have been the worst experience.  My face was horrible.  I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster, more than usual.  Ugh.  I am afraid to go through that again.

But, I have to think.  Maybe God is trying to get me to know my body better.  I know a lot about the woman’s reproductive system, but I don’t know a lot about my reproductive system.  I don’t remember if my periods are even regular.  I don’t know if there are foods or drinks or activities that affect my menstruation.  I have no idea.  I have never really thought about it.  Maybe God wants me to be better in tune with, more proud of and more empowered by my body, to know my body so well, that I will be able to really take charge and make the choices that are best for me.  No one can know that better than me.  No one.  Ok, yes… our Creator can.  You got me.

So, yes… I say that I am about to embark on the NFP journey, but really I am about to embark on a self-discovery journey all about my health.  (Too corny?) I am going to begin learning and charting and, hopefully, really loving my body!  God designed women so uniquely, and we should be proud to learn more about it.  Eventually, how will I be able to give myself completely to someone in marriage, without knowing all I can know about me?  How can I be open to that if I am not open about what’s going on inside of me? 

Right now… it’s all about me.  And the way I was created by our Lord.

Stay tuned for Part 2… I will share which method I will be using and why!

What I Wore Sunday (Vol 1)

I've joined up with Fine Linen and Purple for my first What I Wore Sunday! :)

Here is the head-to-toe, obvs.

Accessories and Boots:

Ok, here are the deets:
- Orange cardi: Target
- Grey dress: Charming Charlie
- Brown boots that I doted on the other day: Target
- Earrings and Sunglasses: Charming Charlie
(And no, I did not wear my sunglasses during Mass, but they are in my pic, so I thought I would share!)

What have we learned from my first edition of What I Wore Sunday?  That I am a huge fan of Target and Charming Charlie.  Great places.

Go visit Fine Linen and Purple to see what everyone else is wearing today! :)
God Bless!

7 Quick Takes (3)

Whoa, whoa, whoa... time for another Quick Takes??  How is that even possible?!  Well, let's get started, shall we?!

1) Can I just say:  I.love.Target.  Really.  I just love that place so much.  I can just see a sign or an ad for Target and my heart is just a little happier.  I don't necessarily have to buy anything when inside, either... walking around will suffice.  I have a great relationship with Target, and I only hope to continue it as time goes on.

My sweet niece, Charlie, and I have a great time at Target together. :)
Or, she really enjoys the big red balls in front.

I have been looking for brown, flat, riding-type (is that what you call them, Coll?  I am really not a fashionista or anything) boots for a while, but didn't want to spend a lot of money.  Yet again, Target came to the rescue!  Cute, non-cheap looking boots for a pretty good price, even better than ones at Payless (Payless isn't really where you pay less these days.  Now that they have made a better name for themselves in recent years).

Cute, right?
  Target.com is having buy one, get one 50% off, if you are interested! :)

2) It has been such a great witness to be around Martha and Tom for many reasons.  Their marriage, their love for each other, their amazing babe, their love for the faith, etc.  But, another thing that I am so amazed with all of the time: their community.  Yes, as Tom says, he and Mart are the closest thing to a pastor and pastor's wife you can get in a Catholic parish, so therefore, they are pretty well known. They are a young, fun, strong Catholic couple, and the parish has a TON of old(er) couples who love to dote.  And do things for them.  And love them.  It's such a great example of what communities should do for each other.  Support, encourage, love.

Also, Mart is part of the parish's women's group.  They have a meal chain that they can start when there is a new baby, someone is sick, etc.  So, three days a week, a different lady brings a home-cooked meal to the house.  It's not obligatory, the women who have time/are able to/close with the recipient sign up for the days to bring a meal, and then get a special moment to share with, in this case, Mart, Tom and the babe.  It's such a great thing to see!  All of the women have been so incredibly happy and excited to be able to provide in this way.  I mean, it does help to see the cute babe!  I have never belonged to a parish, as I have been moving all over and what not, so I don't have any real roots in one parish.  As a single, 20-something lady, it's a really awesome example of things to look forward to when I can have a parish I call 'home' one day. :)

3) So, as I explained recently... I am proud to be a nurse.  Because of that, and the fact that God still wants me to be one, I have been trying to figure out what type I would want to do.  I think I have realized that I love the hospital atmosphere, but am not really into going back to the bedside.  I only have the hospital I worked at as experience on different things to do within the hospital, as a nurse.  So, it's hard to try and find those types of things, when you are not already on the inside.

Please pray for me!  I need all the help I can get.  Also, if there are any nurses out there that have any suggestions, experience in this, or anything... let me know!! :)

4) Just so you know... we are almost done with season 3 of Lost.  It just keeps getting more and more interesting.

5) As we all know... the election is over, and the president... is still our president.  I prayyyyy so much  for our country and our leaders that their hearts turn toward the dignity of life, and see the importance of allowing people to freely live out and stand for their faith.  And, I also pray that people will continue to see that we are all deserving of love, and stop being so nasty.  Sheesh.

6) We had a bonfire the other day... it was so great!  :)  It was a chilly evening (yes, I know it's all relative) and it was great.  Reminded me of the bonfires we had in Honduras.  Oh, the memories!

7) Annnnnnnnd b/c I can't help myself, here are some cute pics to look at. :)

Sweet Zuzu!

For more entertaining and worthwhile Quick Takes, go visit Jen!  She's got it all! :)

Oh, it's election day.

Why, yes... I did vote.  Did you?  There was a moment when I was pretty frustrated with the early voting/absentee ballot process and wanted to give up.  But, I didn't.  We all have the duty to vote, and we should.  I thank God for that!  I hope you all took some time and were able to get to the polls.  I also hope that the lines weren't too horrible.

Thanks Aunt Marie for sending this to me.  Pretty cool. :)

Obligatory sticker picture.  
I am glad I was able to grab a bunch when I did vote so that I could blend in today!

I pray the right person becomes president.  I pray for our country.  I pray that everyone can be loving to one another, no matter what your position.  After all, we are all created by a loving God in His likeness and image.  Because of that, we are all deserving of love.

Aaaaaand, this really has nothing to with voting or elections... or anything.
But, the weather was weird today.
The Others are coming.
(Remember that time I said Martha, Tom and I are kindaaaa obsessed enjoying Lost practically everyday?!  Um... yea.)

La Playa!

YES!!!  I made it to the beach todayyyyy (as in Saturday, it's now past midnight)! :)  It was gorgeous... see below:

Captured some footprints:

Got some burning tanning in, listened to some good music (Mumford & Sons and Fun are great!), listened in on a lady talking openly about her extremely abusive ex-husband, and smelled bacon cooking.  All in all... a great BEACH day!

The day ended with a nice stroll and some shopping on Fifth Avenue in downtown Naples.  It was a beautiful, beautiful evening:

I hope everyone's Saturday was just as wonderful as mine! :)

7 Quick Takes (Numero Dos)

1) I went to daily Mass every day (well, except for once, but I DID go to Adoration on that day) this week.  It does help that we had a Holy Day thrown in there.  You know why I had the motivation... no, not b/c it's the right thing to do, or b/c I am looking on a clearer image of God's will... nope.  Because I wanted to write it as one of my 7QTs. (Judge me all you want, but accountability is accountability... right?)

2) I have never had Netflix.  Do you have it?  Um, it's pretty amazing.  Mart and Tom decided to get rid of their satellite/cable and went with Netflix.  Oh.em.gee.  SO many movies and shows to watch.  When I came home from Adoration the other day, Mart and Tom started the first episode of Lost.  I jumped right in.  We.can't.stop.watching.  Seriously.  That is what we look forward to during the day now!  It's SO good.  I am surprised I never got into it when it was on.  Thank God for Netflix. :)

3) Speaking of Lost and being completely sucked in... my days have been pretty full, therefore I still haven't gone to the beach.  Nope, hasn't happend.  BUT, there is still tomorrow.  I gotta get there!

4) I LOVE SENDING PACKAGES!!  Maybe even more than receiving them.  When I was in Honduras, I was so blessed to get packages, what seemed like, all of the time.  Everyone started getting concerned when there would be a long stretch and I didn't get one. :)  So, therefore I decided to send one to my friend Erin (who I met on the Ranch and is volunteering at a different place now), and then a HUGE one to the rest of the group on the Ranch.  It's just fun to wait in anticipation on seeing when the package actually arrives.  Mail, especially packages, can take quite a long time to arrive at it's destination, if it arrives at all.  It's always a risk to send things there, but I was thrilled earlier this week when I heard from people that they got it AND loved it!!  Score!

5) I am so sad about all of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy.  It's just so sad.  I think it was one of those storms that caught everyone off guard and no one really thought it would be that big of a deal.  My mom and I vacationed every year on the Jersey Shore in Seaside (yes, as in the Jersey Shore TV show, and no, it's really not as crazy and weird as it was portrayed)... and now... now it's practically gone.   It's just sad.  Please continue to pray for all those affected!

6) Mart and I bathed Blackacre (her dog) a couple of days ago:

He was really not that impressed.  He isn't a fan.  But, it was pretty entertaining for Mart and I! :)

7)  It's so amazing how quickly Zuzu is growing!  I feel like everyday that I look at her, there is something new! :)  It's amazing how in just 3 weeks, so much changes.  I am just so blessed to be able to have this time with Mart and Tom, and to get to know my wonderful goddaughter from the very beginning.

Also, a BIG congrats to my other BFF, Coll, and her new bundle of joy, Miriam Ruth!  So excited for her, Mark and big sisters Sammy and Juli! :)

That's all I've got over here!  Head on over to Jen's @ Conversion Diary for some more Quick Takes! God Bless!
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