A Week in Pics (Catching up!)



I am a little behind on my "week in pics" here! So, I am going to try and play a little catch-up. :) I have no idea where I left off... so, this will just be from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

All the 5pm EMs at our Commissioning a few weeks ago.

Zuz loves big girl shoes... well, shoes in general.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I love this. I cannot express my love for this pic.

Zuz loves selfies! 

Who doesn't love a baby in a tutu?

I finally got my hair did and my stylist played around with
some new makeup. :)

Ahhhh! Baby flipflops!

Such a big girl... riding on an Elephant!
Hardly any pics of Easter, but here are the amazing deviled eggs I made!

Oh, and Zuz eating a cookie.

AND! An adorable pic my bro sent me of my niece, Charlotte!

I WAS SO EXCITED for my DD on the way to work Easter Monday!

I love my new BolderBand headband for running!

I love this babe.

Went to a Bio Ethics conference this past weekend.
It was very cool.

It was also freeeeeezing in the conference, so a
selfie and the sun warmed me up. ;)
Plus, I LOVE my Loft blazer.

Getting a big girl carseat is serious business.

Zuz and I were girlie and did our toesies. :)

I hope you all have had a wonderful Easter Octave! Happy Divine Mercy Sunday! What a wonderful day to recognize two popes as Saints, John XXIII and JPII! :)

Saint John XXIII, pray for us!
Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

Annnnd... go wish Morgan and Catherine a happy birthday! I hope it's been wonderful! :)

ONE MORE THING! If you haven't entered to win a FREE custom header for your blog, GO DO IT by tonight at 7pm EST! Good luck!

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New style, new blog, new ME!


Just kidding!!!  Nothing is really changing around here, other than the awesome design. Same posts, same writing... same Jen. :)

You guys. I can't stop staring at my blog now.  Isn't is awesome?!  I needed a little change, and this seemed to be a perfect thing to do.

I just LOVE it. And, thank you to those of you who have left some comment love already!

THANK YOU so much to Rebekah of Rebekah Louise Designs for creating such an awesome design. I first heard of Rebekah through Natalie over at Here I Am. She did a redesign and was pleased with the work, so I contacted Rebekah myself.

I AM SO GLAD I DID.

After my first attempt with another designer, who suddenly couldn't work with me anymore, I was very sad and disappointed.  So, when I started working with Rebekah, she was a breath of fresh air.

And patience.

Oh my goodness. This girl has so much patience, it's unreal.  I always knew I was indecisive, but never more so when I had to choose things for this blog. Man. Or, how about those times I forgot to email her back?!

Uhhh... she is a saint.

The way she works was not what I was expecting. With the first person I went with, she basically came up with the entire design, and then changed things as I wanted. With Rebekah, we started with the header. And once we got that squared away, she went onto something else. At first I didn't know what to think, as it was hard for me to see the big picture, but I really appreciated being part of every step along the process.

She is very knowledgeable and professional. She offered her opinions when I asked for it. She was very courteous about letting me know when she would work on things, and when she couldn't. If she said she would have a new idea by "this afternoon" there would be a new email waiting for me later that afternoon.

I cannot sing her praises enough! If you are looking for a whole new design, or just some new additions to your blog, please consider Rebekah Louise Designs!

Check out her Facebook and Etsy for pricing info!

OR WIN A FREE CUSTOM HEADER!!!!!

Yes, that's right. Rebekah has graciously offered to giveaway a FREE HEADER to one of you loverly ladies (or gentlemen... if you read this here bloggity!)!  Eek!!  It's very, very simple to enter.  All you have to do is comment below and tell me your favorite thing about blogging!  So!  Just comment one time, and by Friday, April 25 at 5pm EST Sunday, April 27 by 7pm EST (needed to extend!)!

If you leave the first comment, your number will be 1, and so on. I will use Random.org to then randomly choose a number... and that number will be the WINNER!  I will email you after 5pm Friday 7pm Sunday evening, so please be sure to leave your email if it's not attached to your Blogger account.

Make sense? Got it?  Good.  And, buena suerte (good luck en EspaƱol!)!

Just so you know, I was not asked to write a review at all, therefore I didn't have to write all these positive things... I am just really happy with everything from my first email with Rebekah to my finished design, and wanted everyone else to know. I didn't receive anything in return for this review. Now you know. :)

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Marriage {NAS}

Hello friends!!
HAPPY EASTER!! Alleluia!!!  I love that we can continue to say Happy Easter for the next however many days! :)

Most of us here feel called to the vocation of marriage...but what is it exactly that you're attracted to? What have you seen in others' marriages that you've learned from or would do differently? (maybe this is from married friends or your parents!)

[Updated on Friday... I finally wrote my post!]

What am I attracted to about marriage?  Well... honestly... what attracts me most is bringing children into this world. I don't know if this is weird, but I feel more called to be a mother than I do to be a wife.  But, I firmly believe that to be the best mother I can be, I would have to be a wife, and have a loving and supportive husband/dad for our children.

To me.  Marriage and children go hand in hand.

I suppose what attracts me the most is creating a family.  Don't get me wrong... I have the best family. But, having divorced parents (along with quiiiite a few other family members, as well), your sense of family and what that means is justalittlebit altered.  Thank the Lord, for many reasons, I have a relationship with Him, his Son and his Church.  Without it, I truly believe I would have no idea what marriage and family in it's ideal form would look like.  Because of that (well long before that, I am sure, I just didn't know it),  I have had a longing for this type of family relationship.  I never experienced it in my own life growing up, so of course it's what I would want to share in my own married life, for the sake of my self, husband and our future children.

Family.  Whether that is just with my husband and I loving each other the best way we can... or with children (hopefully that's all in His plan), leading them to holiness in this crazy world we live.  That is how I truly feel called to live out my life.

And of course I have learned A TON from my married friends. Holy moly. It really is a blessing to watch and learn and take note of alllll those things that I want to do, and what I most definitely do not want to do.

It's amazing how important communication is. Yes, what you communicate, but maybe more importantly HOW you communicate it.  How important prayer and the sacraments are.  Sticking up for your spouse... no matter what. You may not agree with something, but when you enter a marriage you are entering a team of the TWO of you. Not your family. Not his. Always have your spouse's back.

I mean... I could go on and on. But, then things would get boring. So, I will leave it at that. Plus, it's late and I need to sleep.  And, I keep typing the same thing over and over...

Thanks for coming back and reading my post! :)
_________________
I can't wait to hear what you have to say about marriage!  Link up below!

And somehow we have finished this list of topics without preparing for the next! Sometimes, Morgan and I just don't know where the time goes! How about we take next week off, we will regroup and get back to you!

In the meantime, could you please leave suggestions on what we should do for the Summer! Once a month posts? Have guest-hosters? It's a busy time... lots of travel and other such Summer things. We don't want to leave you all hanging, so any and all ideas are welcome! Email or comment below!

{NAS} Being Selfish + Good Friday

Howdy howdy!

Hmm... I haven't wanted to write this post. I have been avoiding it, really. But, my conscious (and God) have been telling me to reflect about my selfishness.

I have to be careful, though, because this type of reflection can lead me down a path that isn't very healthy where I don't think of myself in very positive ways, and thus don't think I deserve to be around people. Crazy and intense? Yes. But, that is my mind for you, and I think you all know me well enough to know that I am going to be as honest as I can around here. :)

Now, objectively, one could say that I am pretty unselfish... I am a nurse, for crying out loud!  I went to Honduras! I serve my church! I help with my friends' kids!  All of these things are true... and good... and are/were done out of a selfless desire.

But, it's the thoughts in my head. The feelings I get in the everyday, when my selfish side rears it's ugly head. It's not fun.

It's those moments when someone asks me to do something, and I am so inconvenienced by it, that I say mean and hurtful things in my head.  Never out loud, of course, but it doesn't make it any less sinful. I am not proud of this.

Because, of course, I will always follow through with whatever was asked of me, and end up enjoying it, or at least feeling satisfied that I was able to help and/or be of use in some way. It's in the asking and accepting part that I need to work on. I need to work on accepting things more humbly, without doing it begrudgingly. What I have found, recently, is that I am doing x, y and z, but I am starting to act like I am being inconvenienced. And who wants to be like that?? Not me! It's not fair. It's not fair to my friends who need my help. It's not fair to the kids I work with at school. It's not fair to my family. It's not fair to me- for I am selling myself short.

Most importantly, it's not fair to God. He sent His son down to this earth to suffer and die on a cross. For us. For me. He endured some of the most horrific things, because his Father asked him to do it. Sure, Jesus could have said no. But, He didn't.

As I was by myself for most of Good Friday, yesterday, staying away from the Internet, social media, not listening to music, etc, I found myself thinking a lot about my selfishness and Jesus' selfless act of love. We humans tend to be selfish in a lot of ways, and forget that Jesus died so that we don't have to be selfish. He sacrificed Himself, so that we know how to sacrifice for others. He has called us all to love in this way. As love is to give of yourself for the other person, being selfish, obviously, is all about you. It's not what God had intended, and we owe it to Him, and each other, to do our best at practicing the art of selfless love.

That's what I offered to Him, as I went up to venerate the cross. I kissed his wounded feet. His feet that carried Him, and the cross, to the place where He would prove to be the least selfish person that walked the earth. To realize the weight of my selfishness, and other sins, is overwhelming... and humbling.

This was from Easter when I was in Honduras.
Everyone had rope and we tied knots into it, which signified our sins.
When we venerated the cross, we hung our "sins" on Jesus.
Talk about an intense visual.

So, I pray that I will be able to accept this challenge. To not get so annoyed when people ask me to do things. To do more things for others, just because it's what you are supposed to do. And, I pray that each of you will be able to love more selflessly. Because, as Morgan wrote, the more you give of yourself, the more you desire to give of yourself. And the more this happens, the more you will not feel burdened by these opportunities.

I hope you all had a holy and reflective Good Friday. May His love and sacrifice encourage you to love others better!  And, have a wonderful, joyous and blessed Easter!

I am sure you all have wrote and linked up already, but if you haven't, be sure to head on over to Morgan's to get that taken care of! :)


Next Week!
Marriage
Most of us here feel called to the vocation of marriage...but what is it exactly that you're attracted to? What have you seen in others' marriages that you've learned from or would do differently? (maybe this is from married friends or your parents!)

Happy Birthday, Mart!

This here blog has become a sort of love language for me.  I am way better at expressing myself with the written word, as opposed to speaking. I stumble over my words, have awkward pauses and usually end up crying (if it's something really serious or close to my heart), which is a whole bag of... superawkward and frustrating sometimes.

I always write a loooong message on cards for almost every occasion and, of course, thank you notes (I l-o-v-e LOVE thank you notes). :)  It's just how I roll.  I process things as I write them out.  I am not the best writer, but what you read, is what you get, really. I am alll me.

January 2006
Winter Retreat- MU
Before we were even really friends!
With that being said. Indulge me while I write some birthday thoughts and share some pics of my BFF, Martha.

Oh, Mart. I am not really sure where I should even begin.

First, let me just say that I love you. You are one of my closest friends, and I am so blessed and so honored to have you in my life. I seriously do not know what my life would be like without you in it.

You have become my family... I am so grateful for your love. I am so grateful for your prayers. For your encouragement. Enthusiasm. Empathy. Accountability. Jokes. Hugs. And sharing your adorable baby with me.

I know that I drive you crazy a lot of the time (especially in the car when you want me to turn and I
January 2007
Winter Retreat- MU
don't!) and say things that you don't understand.  But, you love me anyway.  You have seen me at my worst, when I have been mean, unloving, selfish, hurtful and not the funnest person to be around. You have loved me through it.  I don't know how I have been blessed with a friend like you. I am so undeserving.

But, God uses our friends to remind us of many things. Namely, that we are worthy and deserving of love. He uses our families, spouses, kids and friends to show us what true love is. And He no doubt, has placed you in my life to remind me of His love for me.

I will be forever grateful.

Thank you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for bringing me into your family. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. Trusting me. Thank you for letting me be part of your daughter's life so intimately. I have no words to express what a gift Susannah is in my life.

And now... now I am not really sure how to end this. :)  Please know how much you mean to me. I hope you have such a wonderful birthday! It's your LAST year as a 20-something! Go crazy! Wait... you already did and died your hair red!!! ;) So many prayers and blessings and love for the next year and always.

Annnnnd, now more pics. Because I spent an absurd amount of time looking through Facebook at all of our pics and memories! You know you want to see which ones I have chosen. And, go!

July 2007
Lourdes, France (not Disney World!)
April 2008
Mart's bday in Coconut Beach, FL!
October 2008
Coll's birthday trip to 'Bama

June 2009
Tennessee
June 2009
Tennessee... same trip as above. It was too good not
to have two pics! :)

July 2009
WOOOO!

December 2010
Tuscaloosa, AL
The night Mart and Tom were engaged! :)
And, this might be one of the only few pics that exist for that year.

July 2011
The Oram Wedding

December 2012
A lot happened this year... I came home from Honduras and
the babe was born! And not many pics of Mart and me exist.

January 2013
Assisi, Italy
January 2014
Naples, FL ;)
Soooo many good memories!! We have traveled the world together and done some pretty awesome things! I hope to only continue them! Please go give some birthday love to Mart over on her blog, Twitter, Instagram... or any other way you know how to contact her! ;)

Am I ready for an advanced degree?

I am a nurse. And, proud of it.

Did you know that? Did you even remember I was a nurse?

Yea.. I don't talk about it too much on here. After my last update on my current job, it was silent silent silent. 

After rereading that update from my first week on the new job, things really aren't all they are cracked up to be. It's sad. I am constantly bummed that I don't LOVE IT like I thought I would. Don't get me wrong.. it's not horrible. It's actually quite fun some days! But, overall... it's just a job.

And that really saddens my heart.

I love being a nurse, so therefore I want to love my job. Ya know? I know that our jobs shouldn't be our whole life, but when you are single and don't have a family of your own and you do spend the majority of your days at work... you kind of want to enjoy it... right?

Right. So, I am also constantly thinking about what else I want to do, where I should go from here, etc. Because, what I see as truly fulfilling and wonderful (wife and mom) isn't happening any time soon... I need to make more of an effort in this part of my life.

I have just started to skiiiiiiim the very tippytop surface of the idea of going back to school.

Which is still quite daunting.  Nursing school was hard.  I am not a school person... have never been an academic.  So, the idea of going back to school was never really on my radar.  I always told myself that I needed to have a really good idea/purpose for my advanced degree, if I were to dive back into school.  I need the motivation. I would burn out very quickly if I just went back to school because that is what you are supposed to do, or because everyone else thinks you should.

When I think back on my nursing career so far, the one constant thing that I have LOVED and reeeeeeeeally really enjoyed was working with nursing students/new grad nurses/teaching others about diseases, medications, etc.

Namely, education.

It brings me so much joy. Helping others see their potential, finally understand something they didn't get before, and building their confidence as a nurse or a parent with a child who has a new diagnosis.

I love it.  I had a wonderful opportunity this week to work with an LPN student, who shadowed me at work one day. It was wonderful! Hearing her stories. Feeling her enthusiasm. Sharing our love of helping people. And encouraging her and her path to eventually becoming a registered nurse.

It was gentle reminder of my passion for students. Being there in this most frustrating, stressful and crazy time! It's hard work becoming a nurse. But being there to support and to encourage and remind them that it is all worth it in the end.  To bring my love and joy of nursing to their world, when they might be questioning their ability to finish or doubt their choice on becoming a nurse in the first place.

But, to celebrate and rejoice when they finish! When they are able to tackle something they didn't think they knew how to do! Or when they have the confidence to take the 4 patient load with nary a worry or question! 

That's what is exciting to me.  Building up the future nurses to be the best and most confident they can be!

Last night I had another opportunity to speak to a few students at Ave Maria University about nursing. AMU is looking to start a nursing program in the Fall, so there are a few current students who are interested in nursing school.  We had a such a great time!  First, it was so fun being on a college campus again. Memories came flooding back from my years in school. Along with my RA ways! ha. It's funny what comes back to you as you walk around and see things in the halls of the dorms or the crazy kids running around campus. :)

I digress. The girls that came to listen to me ramble on and on my talk, were so sweet. They asked such good questions. They really didn't know much about nursing school or the endless opportunities being a nurse really gives you. Being able to talk about my love for the profession was fun and I hope it was encouraging to the girls!

And, yet again, it reinforced my love for students. To be another support for them.

And so... I find myself maybe a littlebitmore encouraged to take a more active step in looking at Master's programs. Most nursing programs (and even education departments in a hospital) require an advanced degree if you are going to work in that setting. So, if this is something that I feel strongly about, it's worth me pursuing that degree more seriously. Right? Right. Yikes!

Any nurses out there with advice?! 

Am I ready for this? Please pray for me! I am not sure where the Lord is calling me with this, but I am trying to be super open to it/Him. :)

NAS: First Date Dos & Don'ts

Before we begin... I just wanted to give a little love to Cindy over at The Veil of Chastity. Do you know her? Well, if you don't, she is awesome. She has a love and special place for us single ladies, as she was single until her mid-thirties, I believe (correct me if I am wrong, Cindy!). She writes about anything and everything involving singlehood, chastity, dating, authentic love, etc all from a Catholic perspective. It's pretty great. AND! She has been such a wonderful support and encouragement for the Not Alone Series. I am pretty sure she reads every single post every single week. Seriously, she is amazing. She really does care and pray for all of us. So! Please check her out and send some love her way. Mmmmkay?? Mmkay.

Ooooook. So, obviously I wasn't around last week. It was a bit of a crazy week. I had full intentions of writing, and then, well... didn't. I even started, but only got one line in. So, I have since changed it to this week's post! :)

What are those things that we should be doing, and the things that we shouldn't be doing? They can be from the physical parts (clothes to wear, places to go, things to say) or emotional parts (talking about it all the time, planning the future, etc). We can all learn something in hindsight, so what are your tips to share?

Oh, first dates. Does anyone really just love them?? I mean, I am not a huge fan. Now, granted I haven't been on a whole slew of them or anything, but... overall, I am usually a nervous wreck. For no reason, because they usually end up just fine. 

Anyway... looking back on the few that I have had, there are some things that I wish I did or did more of, and things that I wish I didn't. So, here is my list of First Date Dos and Don'ts.

DO:
Wear something that you are comfortable in.
(This is obvious, right? No sense in being nervous, awkward AND tugging at your uncomfortable duds all night!)
Let him plan as much as possible.
(Hopefully he will take charge of this! But, giving a few suggestions isn't a bad idea, if he really is struggling)
Go somewhere that is conducive for having a conversation.
(Again... this is obvious. The whole point of the date is to see if you are compatible! Watching a movie in silence does not make that possible.)
Ask him questions.
(Because everyone can talk about themselves, plus it shows that you are interested!)
Come up with questions to ask for those awkward silences. 
(I always have 3 or 4 open ended back up questions to ask, just in case there is a lull in convo, or if it's not going very well.)
Set a time limit.
(This is just a good idea. If it's at night, no unnecessary temptations, but, also, just to create boundaries from the get-go. Oh and if it's not going too well, you only have to endure it for a certain amount of time!) 
Have a plan of attack if the date is going downhill... fast.
(If he is horribly rude, you are uncomfortable, etc. have some sort of plan where you can leave. Maybe that's having a friend on standby to get you if needed, or to come up with an "emergency." Those situations are usually rare, but it never hurts to be prepared so that you don't get hurt or put yourself in danger.)
Tell someone where you will be and when you will be home.
(Similar to above, it's just better to be safe. Always tell a friend, mom, family member your plans so that if something does go wrong, someone knows the deal.)
Less worrying.
(Inevitably the date will be nice, it may not be TOTALLY AMAZING, but you will have a nice time. So, just stop worrying and enjoy it!!)

DON'T:
Tell everyone you know about it.
(This just guards your heart, really. The less people you tell, the less people you have to talk about it -and rehash it- if the date doesn't go all that well.)
Shoot down his very enthusiastic idea for the date JUST because it's out of your comfort zone.
(I may have done this... and it was stupid. I should have sucked it up and went with HIS idea. It wasn't a bad one, it's just one that I didn't think would be fun for me. Poor choice, really. Needless to say, after our date of doing something else, nothing ever happened.)
Talk about yourself all.of.the.time.
(I meeeeean... do I have to explain this one?!)
Make it a marathon date.
(This goes with the setting a time limit under the "Dos". If things are going well, let it end well, and plan for the next one!)
Drink too much.
(I just wanted to throw this in there because, well... you just never know.)
Get sick.
(If you can help it, that is. And I mean, like a fever/cold/flu sick... if you were curious)

I know there are a lot more! What do you have on your list? What have you learned from past experiences?! Link up below!



Next Week!
Selfish Singles
How do you combat being selfish with your time? As a single person, it's easy to get caught up in our own little independent world. There are those moments when we are needed for extra church things, hanging with our friend's kids, getting caught up with something on the one night you could stay in, etc. where we get frustrated that the needs of others are taking away from our own time. How do you avoid this selfish tendency and what do you do to avoid becoming frustrated with "sharing" your time with others?

April 22
Marriage
Most of us here feel called to the vocation of marriage...but what is it exactly that you're attracted to? What have you seen in others' marriages that you've learned from or would do differently? (maybe this is from married friends or your parents!)


Have you joined our Facebook group???

A Week (or more) in Pics

What is cuter than a baby in a tutu drinking tea??
Nothing. 
Bahahaha... I put Zuz's baby down and didn't realize she had fallen back,
this is how she was when I turned around.
Holding on with one little plastic toe. ;)

Yummy breakfast one morning.

It's never too early to teach about household chores. :)

Post bath adorableness.

And this one, too.

Rocked by jellies the other day.
#90snostalgia 

Jen Fulwiler had a great post the other day, and this particular part
really spoke to my heart.

Cheesin' for Daddy's birthday!!

Happy Birthday, Tom!

Mama and Zuzu. :)

She wanted to dive right in there!

I hope you all have such a wonderful week! I hope Spring has sprung in your neck of the woods. We don't really have a Spring here... it just goes straight into Summer-like weather. Fun times. Prayers and blessings for you!!
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