Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
My husband and I both struggle with laziness a bit. I think it's being a product of a generation where everything is done instantly and things are constantly invented to make things happen more quickly with less effort. Anyway, I learned that sometimes good ideas can be born of laziness. When we got married, we wanted to double our financial giving to the church. However, I set it up long ago where the church auto drafts the money from my account and dragged my feet on calling them to find out what I needed to do so they could draft more. Instead, that month we decided to spend the other half to give in a different way. It was fun to think of a creative way to be charitable... so much so that we already spent the 'extra' half for August! I'm thinking we will keep doing this!

--- 2 ---
I ended up selling my car last Friday. I was glad the process was quick, easy, and over, but I was sad to see her go. Steven said that, when I got her, I was young and the car matched that, so it's fitting for her to go to another young girl as I get older and my car needs change. That actually made me feel a lot better. Hallie Honda is getting new life and will go back to being the car with friends always in it, driving around just for fun, and stop being driven to death for work. We went and picked up my mom's car on Monday. It made for a LONG day. We left around 2:30pm and got back home around 1in the morning. The way there was nice since we were together, but the drive back felt verrrry long. My parents made pizza and salad so we got to sit, eat, and talk with them for a bit when we got there, which was fun and broke up the driving some.

Mom saying goodbye to her baby, Ruby!

I was hugging the car, and then at the last second dad said to do the thumbs up.... so here I am awkwardly leaning on the car.

--- 3 ---
Last week, my brother called me to tell me that he and his fiance are getting married! In Las Vegas! In September! Sadly, Steven is going to have to stay home because technically we can't afford my plane ticket, let alone his. I'll miss him tons but it's just going to be a long weekend. I will fly out Friday afternoon and be back by Tuesday morning. The dreadful part is that my flight leaves LV at about 11pm on Monday night with a middle of the night layover in Charlotte and then I arrive at 8:30 am. And that was the only option! I originally wasn't going to take Tuesday off, but I just can't imagine getting off the plane and going straight into work. My parents are gracious enough to let my sister and I bunk with them since we can't really afford the roof over our heads part, and we are staying at The Rio. I'll be honest and say that Las Vegas is one of my least favorite places but I know I will have a blast with my family!

--- 4 ---
Last week we attended mass at the church nearby. It's crazy easy to get to (about 5 minutes away) and has a really big parking lot. That's compared to the Cathedral which is about 15 minutes away, but has really scattered parking so if we don't leave at least 30 minutes in advance, we're really pushing it. I think it makes more sense for us to support the parish closest to us, and will make complete sense to go there when we have children..... but I'm having a really hard time with the thoughts of leaving the Cathedral. There is something about the feel of it that I absolutely love. The painting, the statues, and the architecture... man I love it! We sort of decided to go to both for a while. When the Cathedral moves in a few years, then maybe we'll start attending the local parish full time. Who knew it would be this hard of a decision? I know Jesus is present and that's all that matters, but I'm really into the feel of a church.

--- 5 ---
If you haven't already checked out NFP & Me's advice for newlyweds link up, go and read! I did my own post, which is a bit comical since I'm a newlywed myself, and also learned a lot from reading the other posts. I love the wisdom of people who have been married for years!

--- 6 ---
Have you done anything for NFP Awareness Week? I did LOTS of reading and also posted  my own take on it!

--- 7 ---
I'm super excited about our weekend. You know how I get excited when Steven is off on a Saturday, because that's sort of rare? Well, even more rare is him being off the entire weekend, which he is! YAY! Saturday we are having a day chock full of Catholic goodness with an NFP mass in the morning followed by a luncheon, mass that evening followed by our #Cathsorority rosary hour, and then seeing For Greater Glory at the $2 theater. Doesn't that sound like a blast!? Sunday will probably be a relax at home/do stuff around the house type day.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Wish I Would Have Known!

Yes, here I am again, posting on another marriage related topic that I don't feel qualified to talk about. I wonder if I will still feel that way in 5 or 10 years? Anyway, Katie is hosting this awesome link up on advice for newlyweds, so join in if you have something you want to share! Here is advice from a newlywed to a newlywed (also known as, 'read this while eating from a salt shaker').

Hands down, the thing I wish someone would have told me was that life does NOT slow down after the wedding is over! For months and months, we were feverishly planning the wedding, keeping up with our jobs, and trying to actually work on the impending marriage (not just the wedding). We had tons of fun, but it kept us so busy! Part of what kept us sane was talking about doing a lot of nothing after the wedding. We would be waist deep in decorating reception candles or filling favor boxes. One person would have that glimmer in their eye that could only mean "If you make me do one more wedding related thing, I will vomit" and the other person would say "Hey, after the wedding, we get to just sit on the couch and stare at a wall!". We would get starry eyed for a minute, and then be able to finish tackling said wedding project.

Then we came back from the honeymoon and I have said, and still maintain, that life was crazier the 3 months after the wedding than the 3 months before! Now, I thought it was just because we were house hunting, closing, and painting/cleaning the new house. But I posted in my beloved Cathsorority about it, and it seemed to be a general concensus that life pretty much never slowed back down again and that it just became the new normal. At about 3 and a half months out, I can see how that would happen and I'm having to mourn a bit of our former lives. Our life is wonderful and we are in a place I never imagined we would be (physically, spiritually, and emotionally), but the days are passing me by so fast that my head is spinning. I am trying so, SO hard to enjoy this phase because I know (well, I hope) that babies aren't that far off and, as Steven reminds me when I begin googling Melissa and Doug toys, we will never have this phase of our marriage back. So take it from a newlywed who is trying so hard to revel in the here and now as the calendar pages keep turning without my permission, life probably won't slow down again! So find those quiet moments and really revel in them. For us, it has become a 20 minute cuddle before we need to do some work around the house, or stealing a quick lunch in the middle of the work day, or talking to the other person as they shower so we have the opportunity to start the day together. Get creative and find ways to just be with each other, outside of events, and work, and house buying, and thank you card writing because the most important thing is staying connected with your new spouse as you learn how to be married.

 At that moment, no one else existed. I don't think I even knew my sister was right there! I was in my own little world with my husband, and that's what we try to recreate, even if just for a few moments, every day. 

Stealing a moment with my brand new husband as we waited for the church to empty out for pictures.

Monday, July 23, 2012

NFP... Not your mother's rhythm method!

Did you know that it's Natural Family Planning Awareness Week? GET EXCITED! Ok, now that you're sufficiently pumped, I have to share something really awesome with you. Have you seen the new website iusenfp? It is awesome! It's your go to secular resource for accurate, in depth information on all forms of natural family planning. I'm excited about the site for many reasons, but a major one is that I know a lot of people discredit NFP as soon as they hear the faith elements of it (and for me, those are big!). But it makes it hard to share something that is so incredibly scientifically based and beneficial when someone is turned off by the religious aspect. So then comes iusenfp which makes it so simple for me to share my love of natural family planning with people who have different (or no) religious beliefs. LOVE IT! 

We've been using natural family planning for about 8 months and it has been an incredible journey. I have learned more about my body in the past 8 months than in the 26 years before that. I had no clue what a luteal phase was, or that you could pinpoint the exact day of ovulation, or the super interesting role that cervical mucus plays in a woman's body and fertility. I've finally begun treating my PCOS instead of throwing hormonal birth control at it (which, by the way, is a class 1 carcinogen just like cigarettes!) and pretending it went away because the symptoms were masked. For the first 5 or so months, we used NFP as a means to monitor my health, and that's how we began treating the PCOS with progesterone. All thanks to a doctor who can read my Creighton chart and treat based off of it, and thanks to my instructor who helps us interpret what's going on as we learn the ins and outs of charting. Since we've been married, we've been using the method to continue monitoring my health but also as a way to TTA, or try to avoid pregnancy. As Catholics, we are open to life at any point in our marriage, but have discerned that avoiding pregnancy is what we are called to do at this time, and NFP has been extremely helpful with that, though yes, a challenge. 

An example of how charting (this is a Creighton chart) can diagnose health problems... source

Having PCOS makes using NFP a bit harder than it is for your average couple, but we've seen the fruits of our labor in increased and improved communication. We have to talk so much more about my health, our circumstances, whether we want to use NFP to avoid pregnancy, achieve pregnancy, or "TTW" (try to whatever) each month, and ,in those times of abstinence, have meaningful contact and communication to be both intimate yet chaste at the same time. And yes, it can be really hard, and there have been days of frustration, days where I'm baffled by my body, and days where we want to throw the charts out the window and feel that our prior ignorance was bliss. But more often than not we are so thankful for the gift of NFP, the knowledge it has given us, and the role it is playing in our marriage. One of the known benefits of NFP is that, due to periodic abstinence, you are always in a 'honeymoon phase' with your spouse. Speaking of abstinence (that scary word that makes people discount NFP almost immediately), did you know that couples using NFP actually have more sex than couples who don't use it? Yes, please. 

We'll be celebrating NFP Awareness Week by attending a special NFP mass next Saturday followed by a luncheon. I'm so excited to see other families in our diocese also using this, because we don't know many people in real life who are. I am also incredibly thankful for the Cathsorority group on facebook and the natural family planning group on there as well for the sense of community they provide. In the NFP group, we have a rule that nothing is TMI and really, you can ask ANYthing and no one even blinks. It's wonderful to have communities online where this way of living is normal, everyday practice and everyone supports each other. 

So there you have it, my appreciation for all things NFP! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
I know one of the purposes of quick takes is to gain new readership, but that would require not talking about 'personal' things that a new reader wouldn't get when they stop by. So an apology in advance to any new readers who are bored to death by my takes because they don't really get what I'm talking about, but I love using this as a way to update things that I could easily fill up a whole post with, but that my regular readers would rather bleach their eyes than read it in long form.

--- 2 ---
I put my car up for sale this week. It's a bit of an emotional thing, because she is 10 1/2 years old and I've had her since she was 4 miles old. She has been through high school, college, grad school, and now is in the adult world with me. She has gone lots of places with me and, besides recently, has treated me very well. Sooo many memories in that car! But having broken down so much recently and only growing older, my parents graciously offered to sell me my mom's car! I've gotten quite a few bites on Hallie Honda so hopefully she goes for a good price (apparently people love civics!). She had one test drive this week and has another one this afternoon.
I spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for a sentimental picture of my car and this is all I came up with... her first Raleigh snow! I have a cute picture from high school when she was brand new somewhere but I gave up on finding it.

--- 3 ---
We are DONE with the apartment! YAY! Soooo glad to be done going over there to move boxes, clean it, etc. We still have two months on the lease so we just had to pay it out. They said if they fill the unit, they will reimburse us, so you better believe I will be like a P.I. riding past it weekly seeing if they filled it. Since I'm pretty sure they won't tell us if they do. Also? They said my cat smells. First of all, Buttercup smells like a field of flowers! Ahem. Ok the real first of all... she never peed on the carpet, she's not a dog who tracks in smells from outdoor, and her litter box hadn't been there in a week. I smell a scam to charge us for move out costs! Pun intended. They said they will use out non refundable pet fee to deodorize and charge us for anything else they have to do. If they claim they have to do something else, everyone with a cat or dog there is screwed because, if Buttercup stinks, every animal in the world stinks.
The hubs at the apartment. We are happy to be back to one story! 

--- 4 ---
We did our first yard work last weekend. Well, Steven has mowed multiple times, but I hadn't done anything yet. I weeded the front gardens, and the little gardeny thing around the two trees in the front yard. Plus the cracks in the driveway. And attempted to decimate the fire ants that attack Steven every time he mows. I can't wait til we can put some personality in our outdoors like maybe a statue in the garden and some hanging baskets on the porch. Our money is a wee bit tied up in things like, oh I don't know, Lowe's but soon my friends, soon!

--- 5 ---
My mom had the best frugal idea ever. Steven and I like to go to Stimulus Tuesday where the $2 theater has $1.50 soda and $1.50 popcorn. I only grumble slightly that the movie used to cost $1.50 and the Tuesday snacks were $1 a piece. Anyway, they also have a $12 thing where you get two tickets, a large popcorn with refill, and two medium drinks (the Tuesday snacks are smalls, but smaller than the actual 'small' size). We did it once but still ended up spending $2 more than what we would spend on Stimulus Tuesday, and were too full for a refill. So our excitement of getting more drink and popcorn and not being limited to just Tuesdays (if we want snacks with the movie) quickly went away. UNTIL my mom suggested that we get a refill on the way out and have the popcorn at home! So now when we go, about every other time we will do the $12 deal and bring home enough popcorn to fill 2 gallon ziploc bags, which give us snacks for the entire week, which means we are saving a bit in our grocery budget, too! No not the healthiest, but it generally replaces a bag of chips or something else that wasn't super healthy to begin with.

--- 6 ---
Saturday Steven is off of work. Weekend days off together are sort of rare treats, so we are soooo excited! We have worked really hard to not make any plans because, usually when he has a day off with me, we end up planning the day chock full of events. Ok, *I* end up filling the day. I think our only plans are Mass. Other than that, we will lounge around, do some stuff around the house, and maybe I will even make waffles for breakfast! I haven't cooked much in the last month with the craziness of packing and moving, so I'm really excited to get back into it. It feels so good to make and eat home cooked meals.

--- 7 ---
Nfp/Napro update: My cycle has gone haywire. Noooo! Just as we were seeing awesome improvement! I'm sure an entire month of being stressed to the max (both good and bad) with house stuff wasn't helpful at all. Plus we ate terribly this last month since we weren't cooking nearly as much, with things being packed/being at the new house without any of our kitchen items. Ironically (ironic because my cycles got better and better each time), this is actually the worst cycle yet since I started charting, with absolutely no sign of ovulation and I'm on day 36! My doctor is on vacation but I go back the 31st, and I'm assuming we'll re-do what we did before, which is the pre-peak progesterone, until my body figures itself out again and we can attempt doing post peak injections again. We started exercising again, which we got out of the habit of ever since the wedding, so hopefully that will help, too! 

Bonus sneak peak! Here is our master bathroom. I just love our shower curtain! 
You can't see them, but we have brown canvas totes on the counter for our most used 'get ready' items and I just love them! Our matching towels are on the wall that the door is on, and our curtain hooks are to die for cute (thanks Target!). Too bad our guest/hall bathroom isn't nearly as cute, and hardly anyone will see the master! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vitamin Regimen

I can't promise this post will be exciting, but hopefully it will be informative for both of us!

I've thought for a long time that I should be on vitamins/minerals, probably since 11th grade when I had an eccentric teacher who semi-indoctrinated us with his love of herbs (bet that wasn't part of the curriculum). Though the idea of him doing that still makes me squirm a bit, it wasn't all bad because it has certainly had me thinking about natural ways to stay healthy over the years. I've been taking a multi-vitamin for a while. It's sort of the lazy person's way of taking a supplement without having to do much research. But as I've researched fertility and PCOS more, I've added a few things here or there until I arrived at my current cocktail.

I think taking supplements can be very confusing, and I've only reached the tip of the iceberg. For example, vitamins aren't regulated as much as drugs. Which at first scared me... and then I realized how much Big Pharma sometimes scares me, and now it sort of comforts me that they are less regulated. But you still have to be a bit careful where you get your vitamins from. Having said that, I'm still using my stock of drugstore vitamins and haven't yet really put the time in to research the brands and see if I should be using some other brand. Then there are expensive brands that have all natural and/or organic ingredients. To me, that makes sense to use because it bothers me a bit to take vitamins that have animal derived things in them for no health benefit (like gelatin... it's why I can't eat Jello anymore). No, I'm not a vegetarian, but I do prefer that vitamin ingredients come from plant sources rather than animal sources. I will be honest in saying that I can't make a pricey line item in our budget for vitamins that meet all my preferred criteria, so I am trying to go with what is probably the better route anyway. It just took me a bit of a detour to decide on. Instead of taking high doses of the vitamins that meet my picky criteria, I'm taking lower doses of vitamins that only sort of meet it, and making sure I increase the things in my diet that provide me vitamins and minerals naturally. Ideally, I would get them all from my diet, but that isn't going to happen. But at least that way I still put a focus on my food intake, while also supplementing a bit. I still have more research I want to do in this area. Like I said, especially as my drugstore stock of vitamins dwindle, I want to research better sources for purchasing vitamins. I got a little frugal happy the last time they had a sale....

So my current regimen:
1 flax oil
1 fish oil (sometimes I take 2 flax instead of the fish)
1 magnesium (calcium is sorta worthless without it)
1 calcium + D
1 vitamin D
1 multivitamin

I know that it's possible to overdose on vitamins, but I also know that it's REALLY hard. We watched a documentary (I think it might have been Fed Up!, but I get all the food documentaries confused) that was REALLY informative about recommended daily values of vitamins. On a side note, it talked about how cancer has been cured by crazy high doses of vitamin C... fascinating stuff!

What's your daily regimen and how did you come to that? Do you use a brand you would recommend?

Friday, July 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
I am so ready to get back to more regular blogging. I've had  bit of a dry spell along with being super busy, but I'm working on  few topics that I hope to get up in the next few weeks. I still haven't finished writing about the wedding and honeymoon, so I need to work on that, too!

--- 2 ---
Speaking of (the wedding), Saturday will be 3 months since we were married. I'm excited to look at more wedding pictures together (we are looking at 75-100 every month-aversary) and we are celebrating by going to the $2 theater. We used to go every single week and now haven't been in probably 2 months! We are SO excited!
--- 3 ---
Last week, my boss was introducing me to some people and mentioned that I was a newlywed. Then he asked how many weeks it had been. I sort of looked at him funny and said "3 months". He about fell over and said he couldn't believe it had been 3 months, and that it felt like the wedding had just happened. Yes, Mr. Boss Man, imagine how I feel! Time is flying!

--- 4 ---
Speaking of Mr. Boss Man, he is no longer. He accepted a job with a different non-profit, and apparently it will take months to fill his position as executive director. A lady from the board is stepping in for the interim on a sort of part time basis, but it's really weird not having someone in that role. Especially because he was amazing at technology stuff and routinely fixed things we all screwed up. I'm just waiting for the first excel spreadsheet to go wonky or the copy machine to freeze. I put $5 on office pandemonium.

--- 5 ---
Blogger problems.... If I go to Blogger on my phone browser, it will only scroll halfway through any screen and stop. But if I use the Blogger app, I can only see html. Suggestions? I didn't even know there WAS a Blogger app until my husband told me, and then I got super excited only to get let down when it wasn't very easy to use.
--- 6 ---
Why do I ask? We turned our internet off Tuesday morning but didn't move until Thursday. I got the shakes a bit when I realized I couldn't blog or blog stalk very well.

--- 7 ---
And since I'm SURE you're dying to know.... yes, we are moved in! I came home Thursday to a moved in house! Gotta love my hubby and his friends for doing the grunt work while I was at the office. We have a lot of unpacking to do, but it's way more fun than packing! We're celebrating our first 24 hours in the new house by going out to a local restaurant tonight, Characters. If it's anything like the "Toot N Tell", which is about a mile away and was quite interesting to dine at, we should have a story to tell afterward! 

Any exciting weekend plans for you?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, July 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
I'm not sure if I wrote about how, two weeks ago, my car broke down with a client in it. Please keep in mind that the majority of my clients have severe and persistent mental illness... this particular man has schizophrenia. Anyway, it was a rough hour on the side of the road in 93 degree heat waiting for my coworker to rescue us. I could have called a friend or my husband, but I didn't feel it was appropriate to put my client in a non employee's car. So we just had to wait. Delusions abounded while we waited, and the fact that the car broke down played right into one of them, which made it doubly interesting. Anyway, on Tuesday, I had the same client in my car (this is the only client that I routinely have to take places because he lives independently AND doesn't have Medicaid transportation). And what do you know? Car broke down again, exactly one week after I had it fixed and it was a different issue this time. Luckily my coworker who rescued us both times is super handy with cars, so he fixes it for wayyyy less than a mechanic would but it still sucks. I wouldn't enjoy breaking down alone, but I would much prefer that to breaking down with the client in my car. Oh, Tuesday it was 98 degrees. And the only way to resuscitate the car was to drive with the AC completely off. For the whole two hours we were in it.

--- 2 ---
We are finally beginning to move into the house. Next Thursday is moving day! My parents help last weekend was AMAZING. We had a good time and got SO much done! Ready for picture reveals? I had the hardest time getting the colors to show true to life in pictures but this will at least give you an idea.

 This is the 'baby room' color. Gender neutral for the win! It's actually not this color at all... this was the hardest room to try and capture the color! It's a bit of a brighter green. 

 Future baby room again. Love that big window and the view out to the porch!

 Guest room! I really should have taken more pictures after we took off the tape and put the faceplates up, but oh well. There will be more when we actually get furniture in. 

 The first (and only) room that's been put together... I looooove unpacking kitchens, so it's all downhill from here! :P The kitchen is actually a really light green with the slightest hint of blue, but it doesn't come out much in pictures. Yes, I like green.

The living room walls are beige with this green accent wall. I was dead set against an accent wall for a while (they remind me of doctor's offices) but now that we have it, I love it! Yes, we will take the paper towel off the mantle before using it. 

--- 3 ---
Lately, the hubby and I have been feeling like we don't have much time to enjoy being newlyweds. We are SO incredibly busy with the new house, and it consumes all our time. We get home from work, go to the house, work until about 11, come back to the apartment, and crash. Rinse and repeat. Well, Tuesday night we stayed up late because we could sleep in on the 4th. We got back from the house around 11 and got in bed, but we were both sort of ramped up, I guess because we knew we had the sleeping in option. So, we got up and made sugar cookies with sprinkles at almost midnight! It was so much fun, and we were needing the simple spontaneity that doing that brought us. 

--- 4 ---
Speaking of which, the 4th was a breath of fresh air, too. Besides saying a prayer of thanksgiving and wearing a bit of red, white, and blue, we didn't actually do anything Independence Day related. But we did sleep in (well, til 8:30), I made scrambled cheese eggs, fruit, and muffins for breakfast, and then we packed up the majority of the kitchen. We took it over to the new house, then went to lunch at Which Wich (bogo! and with free cookies!), ran some errands, and then went to Coldstone ($3 off!). It was so much fun, felt like our old lives, and I could feel the stress and tension of the past few weeks melt away. I went and unpacked the kitchen while Steven worked, which was fun I missed having him there. T minus 6 days til we move!

--- 5 ---
And back to newlywed memory making. Last night, we were at the house and neither of us were in the mood to make dinner. Usually, that's not a luxury we give ourselves, but moving week is expensive any way you look at it, so we decided to find something cheap for dinner. Since the Durham Bulls won their game the night before, we used the code bullswin to order a Papa John's pizza online for $7. Steven had the best idea ever of eating it on the front porch.... oh my goodness, I was in heaven! There was a breeze, and we just watched the neighborhood, cars, and trees. It felt unreal and all ours all at the same time!
Handsome hubby putting up with my incessant need for pictures!

--- 6 ---
Sad and happy news this week. Sad news is that Cathsorority sister Mandi, her husband David, and her precious baby Lucia are moving away next week. We've enjoyed getting to know them and will really miss having them here! But I'm excited for them to be near family again. Happy news is that Cathsorority sister Kayla and her husband are moving to town in August! And of course Cathsorority sister Kendra, her husband Stephen, and their cute little guy Henry are here, too. I never in a million years would have imagined that I would have found such an amazing online group of women throughout our country and even a few others, AND that I would get to live near and meet 3 of them! 

--- 7 ---
I finally got back on the ball with posting about something other than quick takes or wedding stuff this week! Though don't get too excited since we are moving next week, but check out my post this week about making time for God ! Have a great weekend! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Making Time for God

Before I get into my post, let's begin with a video that I think is *hilarious*. I'm sure some people are annoyed by this kid, but he's my favorite homeschooler ever. (Since I know like <10 homeschoolers, that isn't really a big accomplishment, but it does give me hope that my kids could turn out awesome and not fit every single stereotype that exists).

This past week or so, I've been really bothered by our lack of 'time for God'. We have slacked on our nightly stuff, which includes Bible reading, devotions, conversations, prayers, etc. We've done a bit here and there, but not nearly as much as usual, and there have been a few nights where we didn't even muster up a few minutes. It took a bit of thought, but it later hit me that, like the video points out, if your entire life is oriented towards spirituality, you don't have to be quite as concerned with preserving a chunk of time each and every day for God. It's still something I would like to continue, but to me, it's just a bonus. I love his line, "Your real life IS your spiritual life". For the longest time, these were two separate things for me and I'm just now discovering that they can be, and should be, one in the same.

 My 'time for God' should be every minute of the day, whether I'm watching my attitude and trying to be charitable to someone who severely bothers me, or offering up quick prayers throughout the day, or going out of my way to help someone else. This is an evolving thing for me. I used to pray before meals and bed. Now my prayer life has increased to the point where I talk to God throughout the day, many times without even thinking about it. But I do still have a slightly distorted view of time I'm spending with God and need to do two things: 1) find more ways to serve Him throughout the day so if I don't get that time before bed, I don't feel like my spirituality is lacking and 2) recognizing the things I am doing during the day for God that might just seem 'normal' at this point so I don't beat myself up for missing something at night.

I also have learned that doing something like praying the rosary when I'm not in the mood is about the best use of time ever. At first, I would feel guilty for dreading it/not being in the mood. Then I realized that I should focus less on that, and more on pushing through and doing it anyway. I'm guessing God is pleased when we do something for Him when we are in the mood, but thrilled when we do it when our brain is screaming at us that facebook, tv, snack, or a nap would be a more fun use of time.

So though I do eagerly await the times where we aren't working on the house until 11pm so we can get back into our nightly routine of having some time together oriented towards God, I do need to be sure that I recognize that every minute of my day can be oriented to God. How does this play out in your life? Are you at the point where it all just flows? Do you have to work really hard at it? What do you do when you're extremely busy and don't feel like you are giving your faith the attention it deserves?