Alleluia!!! :) Happy Easter!!

Oh.my.gosh.  I am SO excited to be able to say 'Alleluia' now! :)  There is a version that Mart and I learned when we were on pilgrimage in France back in 2007 that is my absolute fave.  I literally woke up singing it this morning.

Good one, Jesus.  Good one.



Today... today was a good, good day.  I was looking forward to Easter all week!  I mean... obviously.  I am sure everyone has been looking forward to today.  But, I was especially looking forward to it because it meant that I wasn't working this weekend.  YAY!

Because of the whole working-through-the-Triduum- thing, I didn't really prepare much during Holy Week.  I had the best of intentions, but then changing my sleep patterns and working at night just kind of throws me off.  In a way, though, I was still being prepared.  I was removed from the "real world" for a bit.  Limited interactions with people (ok, besides the people at work).  Limited food (I am still working on when to eat!).  By the time Easter morning rolled around, I was so incredibly happy to be rejoicing and celebrating our risen Lord!

Mart and I went to 9am Mass (which was PACKED. It.was.nuts.) and it was a great celebration (with the exception of the rude man sitting near us).  I did not, however, get doused with Holy Water, which I was disappointed about, and I will be sure to have a little chat with Father about that.  I just loved feeling the joy and happiness in the church.  It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.

We continued with some celebrating by eating the delicious roasted lamb meal Mart made.  I am seriously so blessed to live so close to my good friends that just include me in their holidays. :)  Our friends, Jennine and David joined us, as well.  It was wonderful!

We relaxed.  I called and chatted with some of my family.  Sat in the sun.  When Tom was finished playing the last Mass, Mart, the babe and I picked him up and went to hang out with the Loboda's for a bit.  I love meeting new friends (well, they aren't really that new) and being welcomed into their home. :)  The community here is just really special.  I thank God for allowing me to experience this in 'real life' (and not college life... I think you get me).  There were a ton of kids and babies.  I loved them all.  Is it possible to have baby fever even if you aren't married?  Ahem... or even close to that.  One day it will happen, God-willing, one day.

As you can tell, I had a wonderful day!  I hope you all were able to spend today with your family and/or friends.  Jesus rose from the dead to give us life, and I was reminded what an amazing life I have.  Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Annnnd... some pics. :)

A.DOR.A.BLE!
Mama and Zuz
Me and the babe.

hahaha... we tried. :)
Such a big girl! :)
Happy Fam.  And Tom looking very dapper for
Easter Masses today.
Zuzu isn't too sure about that basket...
Oh the things she puts up with! :)
First moment with Sophie.
And many more.  I think the Easter bunny did good for the first time! :)
Annnnd, what's Easter without a good pair of shades?!

Also... because there are a few pics with me in my outfit, I'll link up with Camp Patton for "What I Wore Easter Sunday!"  Oooook, and Fine Linen and Purple!  Go check out some more fab outfits if you need inspiration, or if you are bored and want some fun pics to look at! 

Me: Dress- South Moon Under, mannnnny years ago (SO happy it still fits!); Shoes- gave to me by Mart (not shown, nude pumps); Cross necklace- gift from my Momma for Easter; Hair- I DID IT! :); Cute babe- Mart's

The babes outfit: dress (embroidered with her initials), headband/bow, and socks from Cottontails in Naples.  Isn't she just adorable?!

You know what I love?!

... besides Jesus, my family and my friends...

SUNGLASSES!!!

You know what else?  FREE THINGS!

You know what's even better than that?!

FREE SUNGLASSES!!!!!


You see... I have been known to spend hours a long time standing in front of the sunglass section of the store.  I mean... it just happens.  I don't even realize how quick the time goes by!  They have to be cute.  Not too tight.  Stay on my head when I bend down.  Stay secure when I push them back on top of my head.  Not too tight OR too loose on my nose.  My eyelashes cannot touch the lenses!   Oh, and... did I mention cute?

Yea... I am kind of a snob when it comes to sunglasses.  Well, not really.  I only buy cheap ones (b/c inevitably I will lose them, or they will break), so how snobby can you really be?  One day, when I am an actual grown up I will buy a really nice pair.  I will.  You'll see.

So, when I got an email from the peeps at Firmoo asking if I would like a pair of glasses or sunglasses for FREE, how the heck could I say no?!

So, off I went on this little Internet adventure!

For me, the website was a bit confusing to use (and kind of annoying. Every time you click on the thumbnail of the frames you are interested in, it opens in a new tab/window!), but I got through it.
I was able to choose whatever frames I wanted!
They don't really have many "free" sunglasses to choose from which was disappointing, but I was able to pick any of the regular glasses frame and get the lenses tinted.

When checking out, I put the wrong mailing address, so I emailed the guy who emailed me originally and he was able to change it without any problems.  Phew!  Also, there was nowhere for me to actually put that I wanted the lenses to be tinted, but, again, the guy was able to add that to my order.  Props for good customer service.

These are the frames I ordered:
Click here to see it at the website
And this is how it arrived:
Soft case, hard case and a little screwdriver
And a nice little cleaning towelette
 And different angles:


Annnnnnd me:

The bottom pic makes the glasses look crooked, they are not.
It's the angle of the pic. :)
*Disclaimer: I realize the quality of these pics are not the greatest... nor is there any artistic representation of my glasses.  My nice camera's battery is dead. I am alone, so I have to resort to selfies  (I cringe every time I say that) with my iPhone.  But, I think you get the idea!*

Oooooook... so, do I like these suckers?
Um, yes and no.
From the aforementioned criteria above, sunglasses really have a lot to live up to in my world.

Here's what I like:
~ They are lightweight! I forget that I am wearing them, sometimes.
~ My eyelashes don't touch! This is big.
~ The tint is actually pretty strong.  I didn't find myself squinting a lot when outside.
~ Comfortable behind my ear. It does't get sore or anything.
~ They don't come off completely when I bend down, but they don't stay up all the time either.

Annnnd what I didn't like so much:
~ They do not stay on top of my head when pushed back. Super annoying.
~ The style.
 I don't think they are very flattering, so these are not glasses I would just pick up and wear.
I also realize this isn't a major flaw with the glasses itself, but because I don't think they are cute, I won't really wear them.  I feel like I should be a skater/surfer/something else. Then I could make them work.  Also, I feel like they accentuate my nose.  I have never thought twice about my nose, but these sunglasses seem to make it more pronounced or something.  Maybe it's the thickness of the bridge?  I have no idea.

Basically, I look better in round frames that cover my face, like these:
Maybe?  Or maybe I am just used to those! :)
So, you know what is AWESOME?!
YOU CAN HAVE A FREE PAIR, TOO!!!
They have this really neat "First Pair Free Program" so you can try them out if you want!
Glasses or sunglasses.  Prescription or not.  You choose. 
Sometimes I miss my glasses (I got Lasik a few years ago) because of the way they would change up an outfit instantly.  These days, you don't even have to have bad eyes to wear them.  Fashion glasses are all the rage.  So, if you have been wanting to try the look out, why not try it for free?!
They have so many styles to choose from, you really can't go wrong. :)  Have fun!

If you were looking for some inspirational Holy Week post, I'm sorry you got sucked into my love of sunglasses- and that you actually made it this far!  I have decided to take the rest of the week off from blogging (like the rest of the world it seems... and the fact I work the next 3 nights). I'll be back after Easter!

I hope you all have such a blessed and fruitful Holy Week!
And, a wonderful, wonderful Easter filled with joy!

7 Quick Takes (17): Heavy Heart + Randomness

(First time I have written and scheduled a post! Preparing for 3 nights in a row!)

~ 1 ~
My heart is heavy this morning, and has been since I found out about my new friend/coworker.
She lost her husband in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week.
"...Army Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo, who was one of five Americans killed in a helicopter crash on the deadliest day so far this year in Afghanistan. The 31-year-old Naples native was a Black Hawk crew chief with the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion and serving his second tour of duty. He was a 1999 graduate of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, and a 2002 graduate of Edison State College."  Naples Daily News
Newly married.  Her first deployment. 
She JUST started working (same week as me), and the military officials came to the floor. Can you imagine? You just know what that means. There is no other reason for it.
It's sad. And, horrible. And... I just don't have the words.
My friend just moved here while her hubby was deployed- to be closer to her family.
Thank God they are close.
The funeral is this morning, and if I was anything like yesterday when I watched the procession down Rt. 41... I am going to be a.big.mess.

Please pray for my friend, all of the family and all those who serve our country around the world.
May God bless and protect them.

Annnd... I don't have a good transition from that to other randomness.... so, there is it.

~ 2 ~
Night shifts are rough.
Seriously... all those that do them b/c they enjoy them... more power to you!

~ 3 ~
I love housewarming gifts!
I never think that I should get them because I only ever rent.  In my head, when you BUY a house, is when you get a housewarming gift. 
BUT... I have awesome friends who don't think like that! :)
Lucky me.
Isn't is beautiful?!
Thank you, Jennine!
Spanish pottery??? Yes, please!
Morgs sent this in the mail from SPAIN... and it got here in one piece!
I just LOVE IT!
~ 4 ~
Cute baby pic! :)
Just because. 

~ 5 ~
I am officially a registered parishioner!!!
I have never been one at any parish, in all the places I have lived.
I feel like a real adult.
Nice little welcome packet.

~ 6 ~
I also am an official resident of Florida!!
I got my driver's license and license plate.
Woot!

~ 7 ~
Do you ever feel unsettled and restless?
How do you deal with it? Any good spiritual readings that have worked for you?
Let me know!

Please go visit Jen and the gang for more fun!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Unsettled and Restless

I have a confession...

I don't want to go to work.

Blah.

I mean... here's the thing.  I am not feeling it.

I know. I knowwwwwww.  You are thinking, "Jen. You JUST started! You haven't been there long enough have that gross of an opinion. Come on! It will be fine!"

And, all you lovely readers (aka my mom, Aunt and grandmother) may very well be correct.

But, those vibes that I had during my interview - I think I mentioned them- anyway, I haven't felt them since I have started.  I didn't feel them in orientation.  I didn't feel them my first week.  Um, so... where'd they go?

I have no idea.  But, things are very different on the floor.  Yes, it's a different hospital.  Different people.  I'm new, coming in with an 'idealistic' view of how things should go.  People talk (which I try REALLY hard to ignore) about all the negative.  Yup... it's a transition.  I get it.  But, their standards of care.... are well... soooo different than the hospital I used to work at.  It's like the poor kids (and staff! Remember I'm on a peds unit) get the short end of the stick or something.  I don't know.  These are my first impressions... maybe it will be different after a while.

PLUS... night shift is hard.  I know that there are people that just love it.  I give them SO much credit.  I am not one of them.  I am dealing with it, obviously... as I have no choice right now.  But, it's daunting to know I have to do this indefinitely.  Oy vey.

So... no vibes + nights = exacerbated feelings of being restless and unsettled.

I have been in a state of transition for well over a year and a half.  Leaving my old job, going to HN, starting at NPH, leaving NPH and reentering the US, traveling, now moving to FL and starting a new job.  Holy moly.  That's a lot.  

All I want is to be settled.  I am SO happy to have a new home.  And a job (albeit, just a job).  Setting some roots (who knows how long they will actually last?!).  No need to go anywhere, if I really don't want to.

But, what I've realized in the last few days: ultimately I want to be really settled.  As in, married... with some babes.  Taking care of a husband and some kids and a house.

And, clearrrrrly, that hasn't happened yet.

So, my heart is a little restless.

As I was reminded in confession this morning, we need to strive to serve the Lord in all we do.  The big and the mundane.  With friends and with strangers.  At work and at home.

This is so true.  I know that when I reach out to Him through prayer, Mass and confession, I will feel better.  His grace is an amazing thing.  I am trying to do more of that.  So I, then, can have the grace to serve Him better.  And even that restlessness can be put at ease a bit.

The thing is... I can't shake the feeling of not being able to serve Him fully until I am living my vocation completely.  Right... I mean... isn't that what a vocation is all about?

I can't wait for my future!  I can't wait until God throws the man He has created for me into my life!  I can't wait to live this life that I desire and long for and feel the Lord calling me to.  I trust Him.  I really do.

I kindaaaaa just want to get there already!

If you wouldn't mind saying a few prayers for this new transition, that I serve the Lord in everything and my heart is calmer and rests in Him... that would be fab.

Oh, and all those who are struggling with restlessness and are ready to start their vocations, too! :)

Annnnnnd because whenever I say the word "restless" I will always think of Restless by Audrey Assad, here is the song (and a great reflection and history behind it!):

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
~ St. Augustine

Night shift + Pope Francis

Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH!
¡¡¡Bienvenido a Papa Francisco!!!

Big things this week:
first nights of work AND a new pope.

So far so good with night shift.  
The nurses are really nice and work really, REALLY well together, which is a huge blessing.
I had my first two nights Tuesday and Wednesday (and another this Saturday... don't worry, I'm not slacking!) and they were kind of cray. "This isn't usual" is what I kept hearing.
But, hey... lots going on = busy, which means I have less of a chance of crash.ing.
Even though it was crazy, it didn't feel as nuts and busy as I was used to feeling at my old hospital job. It's all in the perspective, I guess.
Maybe that will change once I am off orientation and juggling the patients on my own.
We shall see. :)

Yea... I did this a lot last night...
Source
I was able to sleep well, and felt rested both nights.... eh, I guess 'rested' is relative.
I made it.  So that's got to count for something.
But, with this whole sleeping during the day thing... you have a chance of missing important things.
Ya know... like THE ELECTION OF OUR NEW POPE!!!
I was bummed that I had to miss it, but I woke up to a TON (a ton!) of texts from friends/family yesterday afternoon with the wonderful news.

Habemus Papam!!!!

It's just SO exciting.
I didn't know much about (um, anything) Cardinal Bergoglio, but when I saw the gazillion tweets (yes, gazillion... it's awesome how many tweets and attention the pope generates from everyone!) and pics of the man taking the Seat of Peter... I was overjoyed.
My heart was happy.
I couldn't be more proud to be Catholic at this time.

Source
And, to choose Francis as his name... brilliant!
It just brings about something magnificent already.
Well done, Holy Spirit, well done.

Fun Facts
(from same article as above)

Let's continue to pray for our Holy Father, just as he has asked us.
St. Francis, pray for us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Blessed JPII, pray for us.

7 Quick Takes (16)

You know what time it is?
QUICK TAKE TIME!
Yea! Quick Take Time!
That's right!

:)

~ 1 ~
First week of my new job: done and done.
It was just orientation.  It was... interesting.  When you've only had one job (this does not count my time in HN) that was amazing and wonderful, you tend to then have that as your model when getting other jobs.  This is what I found out this week.  I was constantly surprised by my reactions (in my head) about how things were done, the standards of practice, etc.  Things that would not have happened at my old institution.  The realization that I don't know as much as I thought and that I am so NOT working for an organization dedicated to children.
I think the transition will be a bit more of a challenge than I thought.

~ 2 ~
Even with all of that, I am looking forward to getting started.
Everyone is extremely friendly.  All of the people that we met throughout the week expressed how much they love working for the hospital.  They really mean it.
I met a few of the nurses on the peds unit, and they were really welcoming. Phew!
The time clock and electronic documentation systems are the same as my old job (which is FAB!)
I can't wait to jump in with all the Magnet stuff that will be starting!

~ 3 ~
My amazing friend, Colly, sent me these beautiful tulips:

Isn't she so sweet?!
She sent them thinking I had already started my night shifts.  They were delivered in the morning (around the time that I will be getting home from the shift).  So thoughtful!
I have some of the best friends.  Ever.

~ 4 ~
Colly has now entered the blogging world, too!
Please welcome her and visit Modern Catholic Momma, where she talks about her life as a Catholic wife, Momma of 3 girls, fashion (maybe?!) and some penguins for good measure.
She loves her some penguins. :)

~ 5 ~
I SIGNED THE LEASE FOR THE CUTE LITTLE HOUSE!!!!!
I mentioned it last week (#4), and it happened this evening!
EEEEE!  I am so excited.  
I will move in this weekend with the little stuff I have here at Mart's, and the rest of my stuff should be here in a few weeks!

~ 6 ~
I can't wait to see my mom again.
I just want to give her a hug and have some cuddle time.
Hopefully she will visit soon!

~ 7 ~
Annnnnnd because I deprived you all from a pic of the babe last week, here is one this week:
hahaha
Mart whipped me up something delish after my first day of work! :)
Also, the babe CUT HER FIRST TOOTH!
She is growing up too fast.

That's about all I have right now.
Head on over to Jen's, as always!
Abrazos y amor!

Don't shut Him out.

Man, today was one of those gives-you-a-good-perspective-on-life days.  Like, where you are subtly, but strongly, reminded that just maybe the things you think are so big and frustrating and on and on... are actually not that big of a flipping deal.  Now, this is not to say that the struggles I have are not  important to me and my life, but let's be honest: some things ARE more serious and hard and a big flipping deal.

For example... infertility.  There are SO many women (and men) who desire to have children.  To be a mom (and a dad).  To fully live out their vocations.

And, they can't.  For whatever reason.  I am not going to pretend like I know all the details.  Or how they feel.  Because, I have no idea.  I can empathize, as I believe I would be devastated if I found out that having some babes was not an option for me.

I have a good friend, J, who has been struggling for about 5 years.  She has such a strong desire to be a mom, and has not been able to make it happen (not without trying and praying and trying and praying).  She has had the run around, and finally found some hope by using the Creighton Method of NFP.  By having a wonderful NFP teacher and the opportunity to have surgery at Creighton University in Omaha, NE... she was hopeful to break through the wall of infertility.

Please pray for her.  And her husband.  She found out she will need more surgery in a few months.  She is completely beside herself.  She is hurt.  She is sad.  She is angry.  She wants to run away from God. 

Don't you feel like that sometimes?  We're all like, "Nope, I can't handle THIS right now.  God, it's just not working out."

I mean, since we're being honest (we are, aren't we?), I do this.   But, with everything.  The big and the small.  The really serious, and the not so serious.  The hard and the easy.

You know what happens?  I quickly realize it's hard to do it alone.  God uses these things, whatever it may be, to test us.  We know, as Christians, that through great struggle, comes great joy.  We have to muddle through the crap to get to the good, to the prize, to the streams of gold and honey.

It's part of life.  And, it sucks.  I know.  (which, I realize is actually not comforting.  I'm sorry!)

But, as I said to J earlier:
... but God is going to work here in some way.  He won't abandon you.  Tell Him everything.  All of your feelings, no matter how harsh.  It's ok to be hurt and angry.  Just don't shut Him out, even if it feels easier that way.  You may not feel anything or better right now.  But, you will at some point if you keep Him close...
(sometimes I surprise myself with the good things I say!)

We must rely on God.  He wants to be there for us.  Jesus is proof that through great, great, struggle comes amazing and beautiful joy.  It's the best example we have.  We have to trust God throughout it all.

I love having these kind of days.  I love when God reminds me that I need Him.  I love that He nudges me to go a little deeper.  I love that He loves and desires ME.

He's just so good... that God. ;)

7 Quick Takes (15): It's MARCH!

Because it's another Friday AND it's the first day of MARCH (how the heck did that happen?),
I thought I would share 7 things I am looking forward to this month!

~ 1 ~
Doing more of this
She was reacting to the fact that I have a DATE tomorrow!
...with my BFF, Morgan, who is in Spain... I have mentioned her before.
Anyway, I explained to her that b/c she has the newest iPod touch we could be iMESSAGING!!!
So, now, I can be that much more connected to my good friend halfway around the world.

~ 2 ~
Starting my job
Gosh, I have been waiting for so long to get to this point.
To have a job. To have a schedule. To be an adult again.
And, now... this Monday... it's all happening.
All the worry and frustrations were worth it.

~ 3 ~
Making a schedule
Ok, so... I actually really, really enjoy having a schedule.
Don't get me wrong, I have so enjoyed my free time, doing what I want, whenever I want.
But, I can only take so much of that.
SO... to have dates to work, plug it into my phone, schedule other things, etc.
Eeee!!!  It gets me excited!
AND... I can start planning on having people visit! WOO!
(Let me know! ;])

~ 4 ~
To move to my own place
My owwwwwwnnnn spaaaaaceeee!!!!
Mart and Tom have been AMAZING and so gracious these last almost five months, but I am sure they are ready to not have this girl always around.  They can figure out life with the babe WITHOUT an extra person to worry about.
This is *hopefully* the little house I will be moving into!
~ 5 ~
Decorating
Now, my very gracious, soon-to-be, landlords allowed me to go through this furnished house and choose what things I would like to keep!! Eee!!  A lot of it was soooo not my style, BUT, b/c I really don't have ANY furniture, this really was a huge blessing.
I can't wait to get all of my pictures, knick-knacks and what not to make this MY home. :)

~ 6 ~
My bed
You guys.  It has been... a year and a half since I have slept in MY OWN BED! 
A YEAR and a HALF!  I am so excited.  I just hope it's as comfortable as I remember. haha.

~ 7 ~
Meeting new people
I will meet quite a bit of new people at work, and I hope we all get along and even hang out after hours.  My last job wasn't so good at that.
AND, I can't wait to get involved with my parish.  It's going to be fun to get to know more people in the area, make friends, and have things to do.
Don't worry... I will only live up the street from Mart, Tom and Zuzu... so, I will be spending PLENTY of time with them, still. :) I know you all were worried.

~ 7.5 ~
NEW POPE!!!!
'nuff said.

What are YOU looking forward to this month?!
Don't forget get to check out Jen and the gang for more 7QTs! :)
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