Prayer Requests?

I AM GOING TO ITALY TOMORROW!!!!!!!

Can you tell I am a bit excited? Even a little bit?

First:
Pic from here
Assisi!
Home of St. Francis and St. Clare. :)

Then:
Pic from here
Florence!
Home of Michelangelo's statue of David and the Duomo.

Lastly:
Pic from here
ROME!!!!
Home of the Pope, Vatican, etc.  The mecca of Catholic-ness. ;)

 This is a pilgrimage, not just a fun trip (I mean, of course it will still BE fun).  So, please... let me know if you have any prayer requests or special intentions.  I will be glad to pray for you.  Will it help if I say we have an audience with the Pope?  Yup, we do. :)

I CAN'T BELIEVE WE LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!
Say a few prayers for our travel and such.  Mart and Tom are bringing the babe.  So, maybe a few extra that the babe does well.

See you all soon!
Ciao, bella! ... as those Italians say. Or is that just that movies? ;)

Prayers for you, my love.

I have been praying for my husband for years now.  

Things like: 
Lord, I pray for my future husband, wherever he may be.  
I pray that he is well, and that you are preparing his heart for me.

Ya know... the usual things like that.  All good things.  Prayers that need to be prayed.

This week, though... I got a little more specific.

Lord God, I pray for my husband.  I pray that you will continue to prepare his heart for mine.  I ask that you will keep him safe and healthy.  I pray for what is on his heart.  Those intentions so deep, that only You know them.  I pray that he is happy.  I pray for his job.  I pray for his family.  I pray they, too, are healthy and happy.  I pray that he is able to spend time with them.

But, mostly, my God, I pray that he loves and adores You.  I pray that he rests his heart in Yours.  And, I pray that I can be the woman you call me to be to love him wholly and completely.

I have no idea when my husband will walk into my life, only the Lord does.  But, by praying these simple, yet really important, prayers for him, he is real.  He is out there.  And, he will be my beloved.

So, I pray for you, my love.
Always.

(un) Happy Anniversary Roe v. Wade

****Update today, January 22:

There are a whole bunch of my bloggy 'friends' (I think they can be considered friends) who will be going dark for life this Friday.  It's a way to be united with those who are marching in DC and to mourn the 55+ million lives lost (not 50, as I previously stated below) due to abortion.


So... what exactly does that mean?  Go dark?  Well, we will be silent on all social media.  No FB posts.  No tweets.  No pics on Instagram.  Nothing.  It's just our way to unite in prayer for all those lives lost.  To pray for hope for our future.  To pray for those women/couples/families who are considering adoption.  That their hearts are softened and supported in every way so they can choose life.

Will you go dark?

#GoDark4Life

****

Tomorrow, January 22, 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.  Because I will not be able to attend the March for Life (AGAIN!) on Friday, which will generate hardly any media coverage (even though the numbers are expected to be as big, if not MORE, than the inauguration today)... I would like to show my support for life.  Here.  On my blog.

Yup, I do.  I support life.  All life.  From CONCEPTION to natural death.  I don't care if you are an unborn child, or if you are older in a nursing home.  I don't care if you are male or female.  I don't care if you are American or African.  I don't care if you play sports or can't even walk.  I don't care.  It doesn't matter.  ALL life is important.  Your life is important.  We are all created and loved by an amazing, amazing God.  Because of this, we deserve to live.

It's sad to think about the over 50 million lives taken since 1973 due to abortions.  One of those people could have been my best friend.  Or yours.  One of those people could have been president.  Or the inventor of the next thing to change our lives.  So many lives killed and with it, so many wonderful possibilites and hope of the future.

I am not here to talk about the specifics and scientific details of why I believe what I believe.  There are a ton of resources out there, if you are interested.  This is more a way for me to voice my support for LIFE.

This was taken from Leila at Little Catholic Bubble.
She has some awesome stuff, please check her out.
Even if you aren't Catholic, or don't have a problem with abortion...
she has stuff to get you pondering.
But, it is so hard for me to understand that people don't mind killing an unborn child after 16 weeks, let's just say, at 28 weeks (or later), when I was born at 28 weeks.  I was born premature (b/c I was ready to enter this world.  It has nothing to do with my mom having/wanting an abortion) and had my ups and downs that first year.  But, guess what?  I lived.  And, I am fine.  I am part of this society.  I was/am a precious gift to my parents.  I was created by our amazing Father.  Why is it, then, legal to KILL a child at that age?  It's ridiculous.  And, it's sad.

If it's ok to kill a baby at that age, then it sure is fine when they are younger.  Of course!  But, if you truly believe that life begins at conception, then how can you be ok with abortion.  Ever?  When that sperm and egg meet, their DNA combines and creates new DNA for the babe... that babe hangs out in the fallopian tube for a few days as it makes its way to the uterus so it can be FED.  How is that NOT awesome and a miracle and NOT life?????

Or for that matter... after 28 weeks (and earlier... so many babies are born early and SURVIVE), if the babe is able to survive outside of it's mother's womb, then what is the difference between killing a baby after it's born?  Or, then at any age?  In my mind... it makes no difference.  Killing a person at ANY age/stage in life is wrong.  And it should be illegal.

So, there you have it.  My no-holds-bar feelings about abortion and the right to life.  :)

I pray for all the babies that were taken by abortion over the last 40 years.  That they are in Heaven looking down upon us pouring their blessings.  I also pray for those women who have had or are contemplating abortion.  May they find the help they need to make the decision that is best for them, that hopefully leans towards giving life.  There are other options, please inform yourself.

And, now I will shamelessly steal this awesome quote from Morgan at Follow and Believe:


She couldn't have said it better: On this day, let us remember those who have gone before us and take a note from their lives. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stopped at nothing to fight for what was right, and neither will we.  Thanks, Morgan!!

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 9)

Happy Sunday!!

I wasn't actually sure if I was going to post today.  I have been struggling with this link-up lately.
I have been worried that it has gotten to be a little too... something.
I seriously love, love, LOVE the idea and concept behind it.
I am not all that fashionable, so I need a little inspiration on outfits that are modest AND cute.
Modest does not equal frumpy.

But, for a while there it seemed that it was to show off how great everyone was at thrifting or who could find the cutest outfit for the cheapest.
And, no one seemed to be giving any constructive criticism about the outfits that people were wearing. For a while, I thought this was great, it really forced us to look for the good.  But then, some of the outfits were just... no so good.  And, no one was saying anything about it.
I'll admit it... I am a chicken and didn't want to open that can of worms.  Who wants to be publicly criticized?  Then again, why do you have a blog?  Not everyone will agree/like everything that you post.  Right?
Am I crazy?  Is it just me that feels this way?
We have such an awesome and loving community established here, and I think it's possible to lovingly suggest other ways to wear things or what not.  Part of community is to be tough sometimes,  to encourage and hold each other accountable, all while being loving.

I don't know how often I will join WIWS, but when I do, feel free to give me some other suggestion if you don't think my particular outfit that day is flattering. :)  I do, however, wait to post any pics of my outfits until Martha gives me her two cents, or my mom.  They are super honest and won't let me walk out of the house lookin' like a fool.

Ok, I am done with that.  There are two reasons why I am posting today:
1. To show you how to wear a warmer weather dress with a full(er) bottom, as a skirt.
and 2. Because maybe young people will stumble upon these posts/link-up and see that being modest IS cute and not just for the Grandmas.

You guys.  At Mass today, I saw a family sit down with their 7 year old little girl wearing an outfit that showed her belly.  I am talking a skirt with a separate top that tied with strings in the back that covered her chest.  Her whole belly and lower back were bare.  I couldn't believe it!  I find that the sweatpants/rolled out of bed look and mini skirts to be just gross, but to let your SEVEN year old wear a two piece outfit that shows her belly to Mass is just another thing.  The mom was dressed fine. So, I don't know what happened!  It boggles my mind.

On to my outfit! :)  Eeeee!  I am in LOVE with my orange dress.

Blue sweater: Calvin Klein via Marshalls
Orange Dress: Victoria Secrets via Goodwill
Boots: Target
I bought the dress quite a while ago, when I discovered the amazingness of thrifting.  It's a tube dress, that's a little snug on the top (it's a small AND I need to lose some weight), but the bottom.  Oh, the bottom!  When you twirl around... the dress just opens so wide.  It makes me feel like a little girl again.  Or a princess.  I love it.
I knew I wasn't going to wear as it's intended use, but Mart was suggesting that I wear a white buttoned down shirt, tied at the waste- 1950s style.  It does look cute, but it wasn't my fave.  So, I had in mind a sweater that was short and a little chunky or something.  I have been waiting and waiting.  And then I found this awesome black jacket at Goodwill that looks AMAZING with this dress, but it makes it a little too dressy almost.  First date, perhaps?
Anywho... then at Marshalls the other day, I found the above sweater.  I have been working on outfits for Italy (and yes this one made the cut!), so I was looking for more cardigans.  Mart, always looking for multiple ways to wear things, said I could wear that cardigan with the orange dress!  Really?  Maybe.
I tried it on when we got home and it looks so cute!  At first I didn't like it, but after Mart kept saying it looked great and I did not, in fact, look weird.  It grew on me.  And, I love it.
So, all this to say: don't be afraid to try something new!  I have seen this look multiple times, but never thought it would look great on me.  But, I tried it and it worked!  Be sure to have someone that is completely honest with you, though (a BFF, mom, or your hubby if he's fashionable!).  Just b/c it looks good on one person, does not mean it will look good on the next.

Sunglasses: Charming Charlie
Earrings: Charming Charlie
And, detail of the buttons on the sweater.

As always, thank you to Fine Linen and Purple for hosting! :)  Please check them out for more modest inspirations!

7 Quick Takes (12)

Here we are again.... Quick Takes Friday!  I hope that you all have had a wonderful week!

~ 1 ~
Well, I have been trying for the last 10 minutes to upload this reallllly cute video of Zuzu and her friend, Hope, just chatting away.  I can't figure it out, and I am really sleepy.  So, if you want to see some SERIOUS cuteness, please check out this post where Mart was actually able to post it.
Trust me, it's worth it.
Did you do it yet?

~ 2 ~
Camera bag!!!
oh.my.gosh.  
I am SO excited about my new Kelly Moore camera bag.  I have been in the market for a camera bag (I have a Canon Rebel Ti) that didn't flash, "camera! camera!" and 
was comfortable to carry around all day, if needed.
I had a few recommendations from people on FB, and after looking through the options, and doing more research on my own, my dad and Connie offered to buy me one for my birthday!!
I ordered it at the end of last week so I could get it before Italy.
And it came on Mondayyyyyy!!!
The babe was just as excited as me, I think!
I just love love LOVE the color. And the bag. Period.
Check out Kelly Moore Bags if you are looking!  The website is really great and easy to use.

~ 3 ~
Look how cute the Zuz is in her Bumbo.
It was the first time she tried it!  I think she likes it. :)




~ 4 ~
I don't know why I have not been to the beach every single day?
I mean, hello?


~ 5 ~
It wasn't as entertaining as last time, but still pretty good.
A man training a dog to swim and retrieve things in the water, two young girls in thong bikinis (they were not cute in the past, and are not cute today. Blah) and almost worrying that I was going to get pounded by a football when these two guys decided to play catch right.next.to.me.

Oh, and... 
I had one of those moments: things you don't realize you have until you've made it to the beach:

Yup, that would be the cup holder from the car.
I guess it wanted some time at the beach, too.
~ 6 ~
Also... in ELEVEN days I will be in Italy.
AHHHHHHHH!!!!!
The trip has always been so far away.  But now it's only days away!!!
I will be celebrating my birthday in Assisi this year.  Not too shabby, huh?
Last year, Honduras.  This year, Assisi, having a view similar to this:
I hope! Wouldn't that be awesome?!
~ 7 ~
I don't know if you read my brain dump, but I could use some prayers.  I am feeling a little lost and not too sure what I should do about a job, about staying/officially moving down here and all that jazz.
Since I posted about Mary the other day, I have been praying a daily rosary.
And, it's been really nice.
Baby steps, folks.

For more fun, please check out Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!! :)
Have a blessed and happy weekend!

Why would she say that?

So, I have a ton of thoughts going on in my head.  Here we go.

I had another interview today at this amazing pro-life community pregnancy clinic.  I have had on my heart recently to do pro-life work, so when I met the board of directors [of the clinic] at Faith and Wine the other night, I knew I wanted to be involved with them.  One of the ladies just happened to be the nurse manager and informed me they were looking for a nurse!  Imagine that!  How awesome would it be to do pro-life work AND have it be my job at the same time?!

I don't know if the job part will work out, but I really hope to volunteer with them if it doesn't.

Even though the interview went really well, this is what I remember most: when one of the ladies that works in the front says, "ohhh, you're moving down here from DC?  Gooood luck with that.  There isn't much down here like there is up there."  She was referring to money and making a decent living.

Really?  Why would she say that?  To a person looking for a job down here?  Ugh.

As I was talking to my mom this evening, I started to ramble on and on -as I usually do- about things that I hadn't thought about until that moment.  I guess I am going to have to work in the hospital, so that I can make money.  I am just so worried that I am going to hate it.  I need to make money soon, it will run out, right?  Wouldn't it make more sense for me to just go back to DC to a hospital that I know I can get a job and make good money?  Maybe I shouldn't move down here.  Maybe I am making the wrong decision.  Have I heard God's will wrong again?

Guh.  I am worried.  I am worried that I am really not hearing God's will properly.  I am worried that I hear things one way and act on them when they are actually not really what He wants me to do.  Was leaving DC to go to Honduras in the first place the right thing?  And then leaving Honduras with no plan a good thing, too?

I really have no room to complain.  I knew that I would be leaving behind great people in Honduras.  I am so blessed to have been able to travel and see my wonderful family.  To have family and friends who pay for meals and other things so that I can save a bit more.  To have this much time off.  To witness the miracle of babies, first hand, through my goddaughter.  To stay (maybe too long?) with my best friend and her husband.  But, I wouldn't change a thing.  I am so grateful.

But, now.  At this point in January, as my Italy trip gets close, I thought I would be making more concrete plans to make my big move down here.  It seems incredibly presumptuous to be flying into DC, after Italy, to pack up all of my crap to move it down here.  When, I still have no plan.  I just don't know if I should even bring all of it down this soon anyway.  Would it be cheaper to just stay with Mart and Tom?  Rent a place that is furnished?  Not come at all?

Yes, I know.  I am sounding ridiculous.  The devil is using my doubts to weasel his way in and make the situation seem worse than it is.  My head knows this, my heart has a hard time catching up.

I left Honduras truly believing it was the right thing to do.  Sometimes I am not too sure.

I trust God with my whole heart.  It's me that I have a harder time trusting.

Longing to have a relationship with the Blessed Mother

Hail Mary, Full of Grace. The Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

I love me some rosaries, can you tell?!

I have such a longing to have a relationship with the Blessed Mother.
It's something I think about, practically, all of the time.

I had a friend in college say to me, "having a relationship with Mary should be easy for you since you have such an awesome relationship with your own mom."
I wish it were that easy.

But, why can't it be?

I feel like this is one of those things that identifies us as Catholics.  Our fondess and utter respect for the Blessed Virgin.  When you think of Catholicism, many people automatically think of the high esteem Mary is in the Church (or that we worship her. Which is not true people, get it straight!).  Oh, and I do!  I mean... listening and accepting the Angel Gabriel tell you that you are going to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit and become the Mother of Jesus, aka- God.
I'm sorry, what?!
Welp, I think I would have turned the other way... "Gabe, you MUST be talking to the other teen over there, because there is no way that I can be the one You want. To have a child. Without having sex. To be a mom. To God.  Um, yea... I think you have the wrong girl."

Even though she did question for a second (and could have done what I would have)
... she said YES!
She completely trusted and believed in the Lord.

I am so proud to be part of a church that does look to Mary as the amazing, inspiring, holy woman that she is.  We hear of her all of the time.  Her love for Jesus, her Son.  This love that she has for Him, is what she desires for us all to have.

And, yet, I struggle with my relationship with her.
I love her.
I admire her.
And, I don't ask for her intercession as much as I should.

I had an amazing opportunity to go on a pilgrimage in France the summer after I graduated college.  One of the stops was Lourdes.
Yes, where the apparition of the Immaculate Conception was seen by St. Bernadette.



It was such a phenomenal experience, Lourdes and the pilgrimage in general.
Sometimes, though, I wish I had a better relationship with the Blessed Mother before this trip, or that this trip kick started it for me.

I wish my relationship with her was easy.
But, as with all good relationships, it takes work.
I have worked on, and will always be working on, my relationship with God.
The one with our Holy Mother is no different.
Honestly, it's my lack of discipline with saying the Rosary that has been the biggest struggle.
We have this amazing devotion that Mary uses so that we may reflect on her Son's life.  A life He lived and died for us.
Through this, we are connected to her.
We ask for Her intercession.
And our relationship with Her grows, as does that of Jesus.
It's just brilliant.

Here's to me, once again, trying to pray the Rosary consistently and fervently.

Anyone else struggle with this?
For those that don't, any suggestions on how you stay connected to Mary?

7QTs (11)

~ 1 ~
YAY!  Jen is hosting again over at Conversion Diary! :)
Prayers continue to come for you and the babe!

~ 2 ~
I love these 7 Quick Takes.
I wasn't sure that I was going to like them when I first started linking up, but I think it can be easily said that these are my fave things to write.
Quick (sometimes!) little tid-bits about my week, that I may forget in future, but are here, written, so that I don't.

~ 3 ~
I can't even begin to tell you how blessed I feel this week.
I had a great shadow day at the doctor's on Monday.
Made some AWESOME connections at Faith and Wine on Wednesday.
Had a wonderful interview yesterday.
Have another set-up for Tuesday.
Jeez... when I first started this process back in November, it was like pulling teeth.  Was I even going to find job opportunities?  Should I really make the plunge and move down here?  Do I really have anything to offer these hospitals/offices/clinics?
But, God gently reminded me this week, that yes, I do have something to offer.  I am a good nurse and I am worthy of being hired somewhere.
A few prayers for my job search would still be greatly appreciated, though!

~ 4 ~
I was able to hang with the babe quite a bit this week.
Mart went back to work and needed some time to focus to get things done (after their computer system was down for 3 days), so I took the Zuz and we hung out.  Well, mostly she did this:
I am not sure how this is comfortable, but she doesn't seem to mind!
She is just the cuddliest when she is sleeping in my arms.
 Last night, though, she was not in the mood for this.
Mart and Tom went to work out and then the dog barked.
The babe woke up.
And cried.
And cried.
I tried the Boba.  I walked outside.
Still cried.
I gave her a bath.  Got some sweet, sweet smiles.
Cried again.
And again.
And, then I started to feel anxious and worried.
This is what I remember from working at the hospital with my patients under age 1.
Even with all the love I can give them, I am not the one they really need.
And, it stinks. :(
Mart and Tom had to come home early from the gym.
I long for the day, God willing, that I can provide total comfort to a wee little one.

~ 5 ~
Ya know, I have some of the bestest friends.  Ever.
Do you have a friend that just gets you?
I love my friend, Sarah, to no end.  It's crazy how much our lives parallel the other's.
I am able to say something, and then she can put into words exactly how I am feeling.  Most likely due to the fact that she has, or is, experiencing something similar.
God has always used my friends as ways to speak to me, and I couldn't be more thankful.

~ 6 ~
Speaking of great friends, have you heard of Good Girls Everywhere?
I hadn't either, and I am FROM the DC area! 
I just heard read about them from The Veil of Chastity, so please check them out.
In the video on their front page, at around 4:15, one of the girls quotes Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Ok, I will be the first to admit that I am not all up on my bible verses as I should be, and I didn't realize this is one of the MOST quoted verses.  Maybe ever.  
Anyway, this quote spoke to me.  As is does to everyone else, obviously.  But, as He states in the verse, He does have plans for me.  He is waiting for me to seek Him.  I feel far away from the Lord and that I am a little all over the place b/c I am not seeking Him.  He is right there.  Waiting for me to find Him.

~ 7 ~
I need to get to the beach. STAT!
Mart mentioned that we MAY go to Sanibel Island tomorrow.
If not, I'm going right down the street... well, a little more than a mile away, down the street.

Have such a wonderful and blessed weekend!!
 For more Takes check out Jen and everyone else at Conversion Diary!

I want to be friends...

... with PAM STENZEL!!!!

Seriously.

She.is.awesome.

Faith and Wine was last night and Pam was the speaker.  Her usual audience is teens and young adults, so she tweaked her talk a bit more to address the "older" population that is Faith and Wine so we are better equipped to talk to the young people in our lives.


Yup. Isn't she great?!
She travels around the whole world talking about Chastity and Abstinence.

I was tweeting away some of the things that she said.  If you don't follow me, then you missed out.
Just kidding.  Here are a few of the things that stuck with me:

~ Addressed to the ladies: If you want a man of God, you have to BE a woman of God.  Not act like one, but BE one.
~ There is no love without respect.
~ If your faith in, and relationship with, God is right and good, then you will have the armor to speak, act and live the Truth.

And some stats:
~ 67% of teens who have sex, already have one of the HPV strains.
~ The average amount of sexual partners for people under the age of 30 is 27. TWENTY-SEVEN!
~ Of the 30 major STDs, 26 of them primarily affect women.  The other 4, both.
~ Most young girls who have sex are only worried about getting pregnant.  They don't worry about the over 30 STDs they could contract. Some for life.

It was so great to hear all of these things.  To know that teens all over the world are actually hearing the truth.  It's so frustrating that we can't talk about these things openly to kids in school and that a lot of parents just choose not to discuss it.  It's so sad.  And we wonder why kids aren't well informed?  These things NEED to be addressed.  Kids and teens THIRST for this information.  They want to know the truth.  Abstinence does work.  We have to hold the young people to these expectations.  We have to be there for them when they have questions, are confused or worried.  We have to support and praise the ones who are abstaining.  The more we can do this, the more cool, and awesome and powerful people will believe it to be.

One last story Pam mentioned:
She is good friends with a priest up in NYC.  For every single couple he counsels for marriage, he asks them if they are having sex and/or if they are living together.
Yes to either one?
He tells them, "I want you to look at each other and realize that your future spouse has already proven to you that they are comfortable having a relationship with a person outside of marriage."

Want more info on Pam... check out:

I am writing for me.

Why do I blog?  What is the point?  Is it for me?  Is it for others?  Why the heck do I keep writing these posts?

These questions have been rolling around in my head recently and is partly why I decided to take a break during the holidays.  The other part: I was spending too much time in front of my computer versus spending that time in prayer, doing spiritual reading or any other form of grace-filled-spiritual-goodness.  Not only am I writing posts, I am reading a ton of blogs annnnnd my thoughts throughout the day are constantly focused on how I could make this and that into a cool blog post.

Seriously?  How has it come to that?

Having all of my close friends move away, me going to Honduras and then returning, but not really having a "home" somewhere, I have had a thirst for some good Catholic community for quite some time.  Upon discovering all of these amazing Catholic women bloggers, my thirst is starting to be satiated.  It truly has been a gift for me.  I have been doing a lot of traveling, so it's hard to be part of any sort of church community.  By having all of these blogger friends, my community was with me where ever I happened to be.  It truly has been amazing.  To read about everyone's lives, the good, along with the struggles; the funny, along with the sad.  To pray for these women when they have special intentions, and know that they are praying for me.

It's totally awesome.

And then I read this post by Elizabeth at Dixie Grit.  All of these questions, then, seemed to be really important for me to figure out.  She is pretty blunt in this post, but has some really great points.  I am a little envious that she put it all out there, honestly.  Some of the things that she mentions are things that Mart and I have discussed (particularly WIWS).  So, thank you Elizabeth for writing this and being so honest.  And, thank you for making me stop in my tracks to think about the point of my blogging.

Oh, during my blog hiatus, did I become closer to God because of all the time I took to spend with Him and go to Mass and read a little more?  Um... well... no.  I still kept up to date with everyone else's blogs and couldn't shake the feeling that everything I was doing/experiencing/thinking would end up being a great post.  WHHYYYYYYY???

To be honest... b/c I want people to read my blog.  After my initial post for 7 Quick Takes and WIWS, people were practically led to my blog.  It was so cool and uplifting, really.  I then wanted to write about cool things and have people be impressed with me and interested in my (not-so-exciting) life.  I wanted people to keep coming back.  I wanted to think about something awesome that would blow everyone's socks off.

But, that's not why I started.  And, I am not really sure that's why I keep writing.  When I went to Honduras, I started blogging to keep all of my family and friends up to date because I couldn't talk to them all of the time.  It was fun for me!  I am so glad I did it.  Even looking back now, there are quite a few things that I have already forgotten, but I took the time to write about them back then, and they are just waiting to be rediscovered.  When I got back to the states, my life kind of became a little less exciting, but I still missed writing all about it.  I missed reflecting on things.  I missed, for all intents and purposes, journaling about my life.

So, I started up again.  As a way to continue to keep my family and friends in the loop.  It's easier now that we can talk on the phone and what not, but I realized it was still good for me, too.  I was an avid journaler at one point in my life, and I know that I need to continue to reflect on things and keep a record of the things that are important in my life (because if you know me at all... I really don't have the greatest memory).

I am writing for me.  I am writing to reflect on what's happening in my life, about my faith and in my world.  I am not going to worry about writing the next best post or that everyone should read my blog.  If someone does, awesome.  If they are inspired, encouraged or have a good laugh, even better. If no one reads this again, that's awesome, too.  I am not going to care anymore.  I am not going to look at those annoying stats.  I am not going to tweet my posts anymore (ever.  It really bugs me when someone tweets and retweets and retweets their posts. People will read your post whether you tweet it or not).  I want to enjoy my blogging without any added pressure.

With this new mentality (which will be a work in process) maybe I can then make more time to pray and do all those things that will help with the sanctification of my soul.  Ya know... important things. :)

Until next time!
Amor,
Jen

And don't you worry... I will continue to read all of my fave bloggy friends.  You all have been amazing, and I don't even really know any of you.  Prayers for all of you, as always. :)

What I Wore Sunday (Vol 8)

Happy Epiphany, everyone!! :)  So, I thought Christmas ended today!  BUT... it ends NEXT Sunday! Woo!  I hope everyone enjoys their last week of Christmas. :)

I haven't done my WIWS posts in a while.  I wasn't sure I wanted to post today, but I decided... what the heck!  So, per usual, I'm linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for all the fun church outfits.


Shirt: Anne Taylor, from a few years ago
Jean Skirt: No idea, from Goodwill


Flats: Payless, from a looooong time ago


Earrings: I got these in Honduras.  I love them.

I have a few posts rolling around in my head... so, maybe I will be getting some others up this week. I hope you all had a very blessed Sunday, and have such a wonderful week! :)

Paz y Amor!

7 Quick Takes (10)

~ 1 ~
As I sit here and write these... the windows are open, the cool breeze is blowing and the sky is a beautiful shade of blue, with a few scattered clouds.  My best friend and her babe are sleeping soundly.  I think I am going to like it here in Naples. :)

~ 2 ~
I flew back in on Wednesday (to Orlando) and rode with Mart's parents down here to Naples.  It was fun to hang out with them and get to know them better.  It's so nice when you become close friends with someone, you also become close to their family, and sometimes you just become part of it.  I am so blessed to have that with Mart (and my other friends, as well).  I seriously am so blessed to have some wonderful friends in my life.

~ 3 ~
I don't know if you've already read my post, or Mart's post, about the day.  But, it was such a beautiful day!  I keep saying that over and over, but it's true!  It was a crazy and hectic day, but also so beautiful. :)

Mart was playing around with my cam,
and we were playing with her bonnet...
isn't she JUST the cutest?!
~ 4 ~
I had another interview.  
Thanks for the prayers! :)  It went really well, but I don't know if it will work out financially for the physician or me.  Please continue to keep it in your prayers!  I would love to work for (or with, as she corrected me) her, as she is so passionate about what she does, and has a wonderful spirit.
You guys, we ended our interview by praying together.  Yes, you read that correctly... by praying together.  Has that ever happened to you on an interview?! It was awesome and crazy all at the same time.

~ 5 ~
I have my resume out at other places and hope to set up some more interviews, soon.  Please continue to keep my job searching in your prayers.  I really want to make the big move down here, but don't want to do all that if I can't find a job somewhere.  I think it's going to come down to working in the hospital (where I don't really have a desire right now) or not having a job.  Right now, which is more important?  Lots of praying and pondering still to do.

~ 6 ~
Is there a noise, a face or something that the newborns in your life do to make you just absolutely melt? All the babes are cute, but what is that one thing that just gets you every.single.time?  

Me?  When Zuzu does her happiest of happy grins that include her whole body, legs and arms brought closer together.  It's almost like she is about to BURST with happiness.  Oh.my.gosh.  My heart. 

For Mart, it's when she is about to sneeze (and it doesn't come), or after she sneezes really big... it's like it took so much energy and she has this slight wimper.  As Mart says, "she slays my heart every time." It really is pretty cute. 

What about you guys??

~ 7 ~
Mart, Tom and I decided to watch the sunset and take the babe to the beach for the FIRST TIME!!
It was so amazing. :)  The sunset is an EVENT.  It's really the Old People Convention (remember I'm in Naples).  But, the sunset is totally worth it. :)
And then everyone claps when the sun goes down. The show is over. :)
While we were enjoying the sunset, we got to show Zuzu the sand and water.  It was precious.  She didn't fuss or anything.  Maybe she is a born beach babe... just like her godmother.

AHHH!!! Look at that bathing suit!
She is just adorable... I can't take it. 

Beautiful fam.


Jen is usually hosting this link-up, but as she is in the hospital with pulmonary embolisms, she is resting and getting well.  Please keep her and her baby boy in your prayers! 

Thank you to Moxie Wife for hosting this week!  Please check her out to see some more 7QTs! :)

It's official!!! I'm a GODMOTHER!!

It's true, I've got the certificate and everything. :)

It was a joyous day!  I'm sorry if you've heard about the beautiful day already from Mart, but I am the godmother, so I'm allowed to gush, as well.

We were all running around helping Mart get the babe ready, the house ready and ourselves ready just in time to leave to have a private Mass with Fr. Joe, Tom's BFF and Zuzu's godfather.  I can't even tell you how awesome it was to have a private Mass on the feast of The Most Holy Name of Jesus to prepare for the baptism of such a beautiful baby.

I have mentioned how honored I feel to be Zuzu's godmother and I was so excited to have her baptism ceremony and make it all official.  I was, for a split second, a tad disappointed when I found out that I wouldn't actually be able to hold her when the holy water was poured on her head.  I mean, what do we do then?  The godparents just stand up there and look pretty?  Aren't we supposed to be honored for having the honor of being the godparents?

Do you see where this is going?  I was completely turning the focus of the day on me and not Zuzu and her baptism.  Not my proudest moment.  I researched more about the mom always holding the baby during the baptism (however, in Latino cultures it's more commonly the godparents) and the significance of it (albeit mostly forums where this topic was covered, not actual church documents.  I am sure they exist, I couldn't find them).  It makes sense.  Plus, I realized I was being incredibly selfish and taking away the importance of my role as godmother.

Her parents are her first witnesses to the faith.  Zuzu really couldn't have better witnesses than those two.  As Father said it during the ceremony, they were engaged in front of the Blessed Sacrament... Christ IS the center of their lives.  Because of this, He will be the center of Zuzu's, as well.  Awesome, right?  Father Joe and I, along with her parents, are to help bring her up in the faith.  We have been "entrusted with the responsibility to participate in this child's Christian life and education."  Not alone. Not just Father Joe and I.  But, together.  With her parents.  To support her parents.  To love, encourage and answer questions that Zuzu may have.  As a team.  As a community.  As a Christian family.  It's beautiful, really.  And, I am so blessed.

We started the ceremony at the entrance, to signify being welcomed into the Church. :)
Best moment: As Father was saying, "Susannah, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy."  The sweet babe's face glowed, as a wide grin spread across her face.  It was pure, pure joy.  There was no denying the Holy Spirit's presence. :)  The parents and godparents were then able to bless her by making a cross on her forehead.


We processed down the aisle, heard the Gospel and listened to Father's sweet homily.  Zuzu was getting a bit sleepy, but was trying so hard to keep her pretty blue eyes focused on Father.  As she listened to his soothing voice, her eyes got heavier and heavier.  Next best moment:  Father stopping during his homily to ask Zuzu, "Are you falling asleep during my homily? You can't do that, you're not even Catholic yet!" Hilarious! :)

Just a few minutes later, the girl was passed out.  Now... the big moment has come! :)  Is Zuzu going to wake up?  Will she cry?  Fuss?  Something?


Not.at.all.  I am TELLING you.  This girl loves her some water.  She has always loved baths.  And, she did nothing when that Holy Water was poured on her.  Not a peep.  Not even a flinch.  She is amazing. :)


Grandparents, Parents and the Zuz
Godparents and the Zuz
Mart and Tom are so great about including their church community in their lives.  Just as their wedding ceremony was, the baptism ceremony was open to all who wished to witness the beautiful sacrament.  There was a light reception after, and then Mart had some close friends over for dinner, cookies, a bonfire and overall fun to dote on the babe. :)

It was such a wonderful, wonderful day.  I am so happy and honored to be able to be part of Zuzu's life in this way, and that Mart and Tom entrust me with the responsibility. :)

Please welcome Susannah Marshall into our wonderful Catholic world! :)

12 in '12: Pics of the Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
May your 2013 be filled with so many blessings, love and hope!

Well, I thought I would break my blog-fast by looking back on the year with some pictures! :) The catch is?  One per month.  The loverly Dwija is hosting this fun lil' link up at her blog, House Unseen.  I hope you enjoy!

January
Hail Mary... ;)
Trying some scuba diving.
I was in Roatan, Honduras with my Dad,
who came to visit me after I finished 4 weeks of language school in December,
but before I got to the Ranch to begin my volunteering.
Quite a bit of stuff happened: moved to the Ranch,
met all of the volunteers and where I'd be living, orientation, my birthday;
had a UTI that required IV antibiotics (first time ever in my life).
It was a big month.
February
This is Moises and Yafet. Such, cuties.
This month, I started working in the clinic full time, everyday;
working in my hogar (including cute boys above) in the evenings;
had the goodbye party for the leaving volunteers;
things were getting a bit overwhelming;
and realized what an awesome group of volunteers I was with.
March
Well, I burned my foot in a hot spring at Lago de Yajo, on a mini-vacay with some volunteers (it really was a blast!);
the Spanish (from Spain) medical brigade came; began with Proyecto Familiar and celebrating birthdays in my hogar;
still plugging away at the clinic and in my hogar
April
Sun-rise Mass on Easter morning, it was beautiful; the surgical brigade happened;
I had pneumonia; really enjoying my time with the volunteers;
we had a volunteer doc and PA for 2 months (which was AWESOME!)
May
This may not seem like a wonderful thing to you...
but this, this was a HOT water heater for the volunteer house. It.was.amazing.
We volunteers may or may not have
dressed as the opposite sex and did a dance
in front of the ENTIRE ranch.
June
These cuties were stuck in the clinic b/c of chicken pox,
and I had to stay with them the entire time; we had our amazing volunteer retreat;
and the NEW volunteers began coming.
July
The amazing volunteers I worked with.  Such a great group of people. :)
This is at the goodbye party for some of the volunteers.
Another surgical brigade; went to the hospital in the city,
which really opened my eyes to what medicine is like in Honduras.  Crazy.
(Check out the tab above for more info about Honduras!)

August
Mom came to visit!!  We spent an AWESOME week in Roatan. :)
This month gets 2 pics... I also went to Nicaragua!!
It was ah.maz.ing. :)
September
Got home from Honduras.
And hung out with my cutie-patootie niece, Charlotte!!
I also began a crazy road trip to get down to Naples.
October
Then, this little peanut was born.
My sweet Goddaughter, Susannah Marshall :)
aka: Zuzu
November
Spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my Momma in Minnesota.
And, of course, the time before that spending all of my my time with Zuzu.
December
Spent a great Christmas with my dad and his side of the fam. :)
I also had my first job interview in a lonnng time
Annnnnnd, I have been doing this for way too long.  I have got to stop.
I hope that you have enjoyed this, and don't forget to check out House Unseen for more!
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