Monday, April 29, 2013

Full of Grace

Lately, I've felt this strong pull to name a future hypothetical daughter some version of the name Mary. It's only unfortunate because we already have decided on our first daughter's name (and not budging!) so I hope we can work it in somehow, or have multiple daughters ;). I was sitting wondering why I have been having that feeling for so many months, and where it came from. What's interesting is that I never had any relationship with Mary most of my life. My parents said the Hail Mary with us fairly often, but I just sort of said it. I never really felt a connection to Mary and was always really in awe of people who did.

That all changed during my reversion. I gained an appreciation of Mary and the saints that I had never had before, and with it came a connection to Mary and a few of the saints that has become fairly profound. But then I began thinking of my life and how Mary has always played a gentle, unobtrusive role. Doesn't that just sound like her? When I was in college, and in a period where I was questioning my faith, I worked at a church daycare called St. Mary's. It was an Episcopal church but, during this time, I started attending church more regularly again as I sought out answers for a plethora of questions I had about Catholicism. I think working at St. Mary's gave me the nudge I needed, because I was seeing things that looked and felt familiar, and missing them.

When I decided to move to Raleigh after graduate school, with no job, knowing no one, and into an apartment I had never stepped foot into before, I was mostly excited but a little nervous. I am pretty sure a lot of people thought I was crazy and taking a big risk. The apartment was so perfect for my first 'bachelorette' apartment. It was walking distance to the Cathedral, tons of restaurants and shops, and right outside of downtown. It was an airy, bright, turn of the century apartment with beautiful wood floors and so much character. I felt safe and protected, even though I had no clue what the future held for me. I lived in St. Mary's apartments on St. Mary's Street for a little over a year.

Three months after I moved to Raleigh, I snagged my job (which I am still at 4 years later) using my social work degree at a non-profit.... also on St. Mary's Street, about a mile from my apartment. Fast forward a few years later, newly married and house hunting. We hunted tirelessly for a house for months, and the first house we stepped foot into after our wedding is the house we own and love today. The street outside our neighborhood is St. Mary's Street (this one is in a small town adjacent to Raleigh; there aren't two in one town... but still, what are the chances!?). I later learned that we live in St. Mary's Township, which isn't really used or referred to these days, but still shows up sometimes on my weather app and makes me giddy. Our church that is 2 miles down the street from our house, our humble little parish we joined a few months after moving in? Yes, St. Mary, Mother of the Church Catholic Church. I can probably take a lot of examples from Mary who has quietly been there through my life, not being pushy or bossy or coercive, just waiting for me to open my heart to her.

I hear you, Mary. Loud and clear.

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
I have been in a generally fantastic mood this week. It's amazing what a little fresh air and vitamin D will do for a girl. I've been walking, working in the yard, and sitting in the porch. Any time I feel too lazy for any of those activities (yes, sometimes the thoughts of getting off the couch and moving to the porch are daunting), I remind myself of the sunshine high I am left with. Gosh, I love spring! Edited to add: Dude, Thursday totally ruined the first sentence of this take, but I'm too lazy to think of a new one.

--- 2 ---
I planted some kind of flower in the little gardens around our two front yard trees. I want to take a picture to share but, due to my lack of photography skills, I can't get a shot without someone's car in it, which really ruins the image I'm after. So just picture two, pretty green trees (well... one has some dead branches at the top, but I would have cropped that out, so pretend I didn't mention it). Ahem, so two green trees each with 6 purple, velvety flowers of which I can't remember the name around the base. And since I am still obsessed with our wedding colors a year later, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have a purple and green themed garden!
--- 3 ---
So far so good with the chiropractor. I've completed two weeks worth of visits (so 6 visits) and I get a weird satisfaction out of hearing my bones pop and crack. I've noticed that it hurts a bit to sit without proper posture, where before it was the opposite, so I'm trying to keep my posture up so I'm not working against the adjustments. I'm nerdily excited about the workshops he offers and I have a feeling I'll be taking more than the required quarterly amount. The first two I want to sign up for are Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally ('cause CoQ10 ain't touchin' it so far!) and Sleep Habits because I want to have my pillow evaluated. Yes, my chiropractor does pillow evaluations.

--- 4 ---
Last night, I started attending a Bible and Saint study on courageous women. I'm really excited about it, but also bummed because attending means I'll miss the first summer concert in our neighborhood in May. At first I thought I'd just skip that session so I could go to the concert, but it's only 9 weeks and I'm already missing one for our cruise. Plus Steven will be in a 4 week long men's group during that time and I definitely don't want him missing 1 out of 4 sessions to go to the concert. I might sniffle as I drive out of the neighborhood that night and hear Amanda Daughtry crooning. I kind of love her.

--- 5 ---
If you want to read something awesome about NFP, here you go. I love things that are made for a wider audience than just Catholics because, like the article says, ovaries aren't Catholic!

--- 6 ---
This weekend we have a double date planned at Red Lobster with Steven's best friend and his wife. I am SO SO SO excited. We don't do it nearly enough, and also don't have nearly enough couple friends. It is so refreshing to have a couple to hang out with, rather than one of us playing 3rd wheel (which we don't mind... but coupledom is always more fun!).
--- 7 ---
I got a couple great blog recommendations last week, and I thought it might be fun to ask a question each week because who doesn't love learning new things? Don't feel pressured to answer it, but if you want to contribute I'd love to! This week's question: what is your top go to recipe? Don't just give me the name, because I might want to make it :). Mine is probably Italian Crockpot Chicken, which is kind of cheating since I've posted it before, but it's been a while.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Incomplete Thoughts

I'm sure you've read, heard, and even thought a lot about the concept of praising God during the storms, and not just when things are going right. I was thinking about this the other day (actually while listening to this song). But then I started thinking about control (turn off your immediate negative reaction to the word for just a second!), which anyone who knows me knows that I *ahem* might have a slight issue with. I got to thinking about how it's really easy to give God control of a situation that you feel powerless to change.... for example, maybe an offer on a house that you are waiting to hear back on, or circumstances with family members beyond your control, or even, God forbid, a terminal illness.

But what about giving God control of things that we feel we have control over? I wonder if that is a sign of spiritual maturity and pure trust....I guess I couldn't tell you, since I'm not there yet! ;)  I don't know about you, but I struggle to give God things that I "know" I can handle myself. Or I want to try x,y, and z first before really getting down to business and figuring out what God wills for me. Now don't confuse giving control with the "let go and let God" we hear so often... I'm not equating the two. The first to me says that you realize ultimately God is in control and that handing him that control means His will will be done, not yours, but that doesn't make you passive. The second to me, in a similar situation, might mean that you're throwing your hands up and letting God take the reigns from there, and deciding to be somewhat more passive in the situation. I think they both have their place, but I'm referencing the first one. Anyway, I have no complete thought or inspirational point, but I'm wondering what your thoughts are? How do you help yourself recognize that God is in control of the things that you so desperately want to control yourself?

I'll give an example, for those of you who are scratching your heads wondering what in the world I am talking about. My husband was a customer service manager in retail when we were dating and engaged. He works non-traditional hours, generally all holidays except Christmas, and the upwards path was going to mean longer hours. I didn't like it and felt I/we could control the situation. I wanted him to work traditional hours for our future children, and for my sanity. I didn't want to come home from work, escort kids to lessons, go see a kid's play, all while he was working at night. It seemed exhausting for me and not fair to our future children. So we decided he would find something else. He applied for jobs for a year, going on a few dead end interviews, but without success. It was very frustrating, and was hard on his morale. During the entire year process, we never stopped to consider what God's will was, or the control He had over the situation, because we felt like we could control it, that we knew what we wanted, and that we were going after it. Towards the end of that time period of endless applications and resumes, we began discussing in depth what we wanted for a future family.

This is when we decided (over a period of a few months) that we wanted me to stay home with our children and, barring any unforeseen circumstances, homeschool our kids. All of a sudden, his job became perfect. He is off on week days, which means he could go on any family 'field trips' and we could avoid weekend trips to museums/beaches/etc that would be packed. We won't have a rigid school schedule since we'll be home, so he can jump in and help, or we can take the morning off to be with him if he is working that night. I could go on, but you get the idea. It suddenly made perfect sense of why nothing was happening in all his tireless hours of applying for jobs. Only a few months after we made that decision, he got a promotion which was a definite financial help to our future planning and encouraged us that we are on the right path. And had we stopped to consult God, to recognize his control in the situation, we might have saved ourselves a year of heartache. So very clearly, this is an area we are working on. And an area I occasionally think about. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Leaders are Overrated

In preparation for google reader going away, be a follower like me! Truthfully, I'm not sure this button is entirely  necessary. I just imported all my google reader and blogger list over to Bloglovin', so I've yet to see someone post this where I actually need to click. But just in case....

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, April 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
You know the bad thing about doing something to your yard or house? When you are out there feeling all proud and homeownery, you notice like 8 more things that need doing. And then it feels less fun. On our list is cleaning and staining our deck, washing some of our siding, and... ahem.... REpainting the areas on the porch where I took off the fall paint job while attempting to spray the pollen off on the jet setting. *lesson learned* It does feel mighty good to finish a project, though!

--- 2 ---
Our family Alaskan cruise trip is only a little over a month away. CRAZY! Our entire family (which means 8 people not including my brother's stepchildren... we's a little fam but an awesome one!) will spend a little over a week exploring Alaska, British Columbia, and Seattle. I am getting so excited! We are working on picking out cruise excursions now (holy paycheck-eater, Batman), but we have already decided on doing this in Seattle and I am sooo excited. I love cheesy tourist stuff! Any cruise tips? I have never been on one before. (Yes, you can remind me not to gain 10 lbs while I'm there!)

--- 3 ---
Last week at the Ignited by Truth conference, we fell in love with Mystic Monk Carmel Coffee. We just bought the sampler which we blew through in a few days, but as fate would have it, my parents are driving past the exit of the store that carries it (which is 3 hours from us) next week and have offered to stop and get us some. YAY!!! I was nervous about having to order 5 bags from the website to save the $11 in shipping, so I'm glad we can get a little less and not have to pay any shipping charge. We are going to be in a caramel dreamworld 7 days a week. If you haven't had it, it is like dessert in a cup. I use LOTS of milk in my coffee but I can throw a little sweetener in this and drink it black... it is THAT good!

--- 4 ---
Last night I made these. HOLY MOSES, THEY ARE GOOD! And worth every Weight Watcher point (5, if you must know). The powdered sugar breaks all real food rules, but hey, it's fun for a treat and still better than the store version! The only question is whether or not I will use all my weekly points in one night consuming them. 
Decidedly less pretty than the ones on the website, but every bit as tasty!

--- 5 ---
Reader question: if you could pick ONE blog to recommend, what would it be? I need a new blog in my reader like I need 50 points worth of peanut butter cups in my freezer, but I just love blogs! So spill the beans... 

--- 6 ---
Today my baby kitty (who has been chasing a toy mouse for about 30 minutes now) turns 11 years old. 11!!! We are celebrating with some brand new toy mice and treats. I adopted her from the shelter when she was 5. I had my heart set on a shelter persian (which get snatched up fast because they are the most popular cat!), and luckily she was in my hometown, so my mom ran over and adopted her that day. I have been told that she has a face only a mother could love, but I also know that everyone who meets her ends up wrapped around her little paw! Love this kitty.
This was her shelter picture. Doesn't she look sad and pathetic? You would too if your parents of 5 years gave you up :(. I am so glad I have her, but I will never understand how they could part with her! (And it was because they had a baby.... ok?)

This was the day I brought her home from the shelter. She had to stay a few days after the adoption for shots, but it worked out because it gave me time to drive to my hometown so I could be the one to pick her up. My mom 'fostered' her for 4 months until I moved in a pet friendly apartment, and we have been inseparable ever since! Ahhh.... emotional. Hopefully you pet lovers understand ;).

--- 7 ---
My weekend plans:....., ........., church, and more ....... . Just how I like it! I am hoping the ........... will be full of reading, relaxing, and hanging out on the porch.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When Crunchy is Not Frugal, or: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Any of you who have been reading me for any length of time know that I have some light crunchy tendencies. I say light because, while they often seem heavy to people around me, they are actually pretty light compared to people who use family cloth (just can't get myself there) or buy purely organic (we pick and choose), or even live on a self sustaining farm (yeah.... never happening). But you know that I lean toward the crunchy, holistic, back to nature type approach for a lot of things. So when I saw a chiropractor groupon, I felt like I had to try it. My mom has always sworn by a chiropractor, and I know that 'non-traditional medicine' can sometimes works better and/or differently than traditional medicine (and of course, sometimes not! I'm not an enemy of traditional medicine used properly). I think more traditional medicine types recognize chiropractic care as legit now, but there are still doctors and people who turn their nose up at it. But like I said, I just had to try it! I have read so much about it healing systemic body issues, and more obviously about it helping with back pain. I have chronic lower back pain and in the last 3 years since it started, I have been given more prescriptions for muscle relaxers and very strong pain relievers than you would believe.

So I headed to the office, a bit nervous that they would try to sell me something past the groupon. I just wanted my exam, xrays, and 3 adjustments and to be on my way. Haha, I'm not sure how I thought that would help! In the first visit, the nurse got a history on me, we geeked out over both using Creighton and Napro, and she did xrays. The doctor then came in and examined my spine. As he went down, he listed off issues I might have due to what he was feeling. This was before he had seen the info I had just given the nurse. She was in the room with me the whole time, holding those papers. He listed off 5 health conditions that I could have or could get due to the issues with my spine. What do you know? I have ALL of them. So at that point, I was a bit hooked.

I went back for my first adjustment, which was fairly boring. Not much to tell. Then my third appointment was called Doctor's Report where you sit in an educational session with a few other new patients before breaking off to find out what your xrays showed, the doctor's recommendations, and (gulp) the cost. That's what I was worried about, being the frugalista that I am. We learned really interesting things like how this chiropractor is the only one in the country with an engineering and sports medicine degree on top of chiropractic school. He is the team chiropractor for multiple local (university level) teams, as well as local Olympic teams. He does not work within insurance because insurance allows a set number of appointments that don't usually allow for healing, but he takes the amount that insurance usually covers off of the total cost. He offers free weekly seminars on spinal hygiene, good sleep habits, nutrition, etc. He travels to local elementary schools teaching kids about proper posture and how to protect their spine. And, unlike most chiropractors, he performs adjustments on all areas of the body, not just the spine. He covers neck to toes. One thing he said that I loved is that he has 5 kids and one child has had to be on antibiotics once... that's it. He attributes it to chiropractic care. What also helped him in my eyes is that he is very, very faithful. God comes out a lot in his practice. A few years ago, that might have bothered me. Now, it warms my heart and I'm impressed that he is that bold about his faith!

Ok, so all of that was exciting, but then came my xrays and recommendation. First, my neck is 42mm off where it should be, adding an extra 164 pounds of pressure to my lower back (ok... so that explains it!). That xray was sort of creepy to see because it was so bad! I have phase 1 sublaxation -where your vertebrae are pinching the nerves that tell the rest of your body what to do/how to function- in my neck and back, and phase 2 sublaxation in my tailbone. I could see on the xray that my disc was actually degenerating in the phase 2 spot. Phase 4 is only curable by surgery, so thankfully I didn't have any of that. (And just a side note: he said people often receive surgery for phase 2-3 issues when it can make them worse or not restore them, and they should be seeking chiropractic care instead. He had a personal story of how he chose chiropractic care for a football injury over recommended surgery and was totally healed. That's why he graduated with an engineering degree and went back to school to become a chiropractor!). My recommendation for care was 48 sessions, 3x/week for 8 weeks and 2x/week for 12 weeks. And (what you were probably waiting for since the title) to the tune of $1920. It is more expensive if you pay other than cash/check so we are opting for that.

I will tell you that I had a mini panic attack about taking the money out of our savings account. Our account is in a really good place and I just don't want to touch it! Steven, being the wonderful man he is, reminded me how important this is, and that we believe in it, from our research. So it hit me. If this is a natural alternative that I prefer to a life of pain and medication/symptom masking, with possible surgery in the future, then I have to put my money where my mouth is. It doesn't feel frugal now, but it will probably be frugal in the long run to pay this amount for 5 months of care versus endless copays, medication costs, specialist costs, and again, even surgery. And $40 per appointment with xrays, classes, and supplies included is really not bad. It's just that lump sump that is scary! He is right; I know it. But it's swallowing having to part with that amount as early as next week that gets me. They do have scholarship funds (they have a policy that they do not turn anyone away based on ability to pay) but we don't feel right getting help from that when we have the money and I just don't want to part with it. So I'm taking a deep breath and will pony up the money next week to start this journey of care. After my adjustment yesterday, I found it painful to NOT sit with correct posture (usually I experience the opposite)... it was refreshing! It was nice not feeling like a hunch back. We have a lot of work to do at home so that I make sure my body has the best chance of retaining the changes they are making, but I think it will be worth it.

Do any of you receive chiropractic care? What has been your experience with it?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Five Favorites!

I'm procrastinating cleaning, so I thought I would participate :). I've only done this once before, but knowing me, I will repeat something from last time, and I'm entirely too lazy to go find the post to double check.

I love using this signature at the end of my posts. I'm not sure why, but it feels like the post isn't done until I add it. The problem is that I forget it more times than not!

This dishwasher soap is AMAZING. I use citric acid instead of kool-aid, fyi. I have been using it for a few weeks now and my dishes are very clean and they (so far) haven't been cloudy or built up any residue. It is soooo much cheaper than the store bought stuff!

This cupcake recipe is nomtastic. I made it for Easter cupcakes, and people raved about them! I will say that I had to go buy my first bag of all purpose flour in YEARS to make them, but it was worth it for a treat. I might try to make them with white whole wheat to test them out, but I certainly wasn't going to test them out on the in laws ;).

Photo source: see above link!

Homeowner's pride. So this is hard to describe, but I'm sure fellow homeowners will get it. I don't like yard work. I don't like sweating. I don't like swatting at bugs. I don't like my back hurting from bending over the gardens. But after we spent a few hours mowing, weed eating, planting flowers, strawberries, and tomatoes, and cleaning the pollen off the porch, I was on a high from the pride (or the pollen). It feels SO good to take care of our house! 

Our snap peas are growing!!!

Shaved kitty. Tell me this isn't an awesome mix of hilarious and scary!

Annnnd.... SCENE!  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy One Year to Us!

Today is our ANNIVERSARY! I can NOT believe it has been one year since I married my very best friend. I mean, in a way, it seems like longer. But it also seems so fresh and new! I'm not complaining about that ;). Also, you know how people say the first year is the hardest? Well, if that's true, life is going to be smooth sailing for us. (Don't worry- I don't live in a bubble and do know that hard times will come.) We both had to adjust to married life, but it has been mostly fun and we have ironed out wrinkles without too much hardship. Our year was a blast and also a busy one! We started out married life by finding and buying our house right after the wedding. We spent a month fixing it up, and then moved in. We got to know our new little town and neighborhood, which has been so, so much fun. We have spent some time with friends and even more time just being together. We've gone on a few short trips together, like to the mountains, my college town, my hometown, and the beach. Steven got a promotion at work and my job role and work environment changed some. We have spent time taking pride in our (weedy) yard and house. We've had movie days, movie nights and lots of board game nights. We have delved into our faith even further and found comfort and joy in taking a more active role in our church.

It hasn't all been sunshine and roses, though, lest you think our life is perfect! I've been to more doctor's appointments in the past year than in my entire life (seriously). We have both learned what it means to be a spouse, and that it really is different than boyfriend/girlfriend or even fiance/fiancee dynamics. We are learning to die to self, which is a slow, hard process, but oh so rewarding. We've both learned areas we have to change or improve. We've gone totally off our healthy ways and had to dive back in. But the part that makes it all better is that we've done it all together. Nothing is as hard or as stressful with my best friend by my side! I can't wait to see what the rest of the years hold for us, but I also want them to go slowly so I can sit back and enjoy (haha, I know that is wishful thinking).

So! Our anniversary plans! We made these about 6 months after we got married, in true Stacy fashion. Last year, we went to the free portion of the Ignited by Truth conference and really enjoyed it. We went back for Mass with the bishop, but didn't go to the Saturday talks. This year, we found out it is on our anniversary weekend, so it is the perfect opportunity to splurge a little! Plus, Scott Hahn is one of the speakers and we have both really enjoyed reading his books over the past year, so it just made sense. So we went to the free portion Friday night followed by the paid portion and Mass with the bishop on Saturday. The talks were amazing and we did some good shopping while we were there, too ;). We bought one of the talks on CD, a marriage cross for our living room, and I bought some medals. We also got a sampler of Mystic Monks Carmel coffee which my coffee hating husband can't get enough of! Steven got a book as well. Saturday night we went to the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner, since it is the one year anniversary of that (really, it's an excuse to eat there because we love it!). Annnnd thanks to prom, general downtown craziness, AND the beer festival, there was no way we were getting in that restaurant.... so we went to Logan Roadhouse lol. 

Today is our actual anniversary and we are starting it by SLEEPING IN! Then we're going to hit up the Cathedral, which is where we got married, so I can be all weepy while Steven holds my hand in Mass. After that, we are going to to to Cafe Carolina for lunch, which is where we had breakfast on our wedding day, and for a walk at the arboretum, which is where our engagement pictures were done. In the afternoon we'll exchange gifts (something paper as tradition holds but with a unique twist... I will share later!) and feast on the part of the cake we didn't devour right after our honeymoon (oops!). Then tonight we're going to continue the spoiledness of not cooking or cleaning and find somewhere casual but fun to enjoy dinner. Can you tell that we love to celebrate with food??? :)

On that note, thank you for all the love, prayers, and support you have shown us in our first year of marriage! And please don't feel like you have to wish me a happy anniversary again just because I am verbal vomitting in multiple blog posts about it ;).

Friday, April 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Anniversary Edition

In honor of our first anniversary on Sunday, I thought I'd write semi-nauseating marriage themed quick takes. Actually, let me be honest. I first thought of this because we were out of town Monday and Tuesday (note to self: write about trip to NY!), Wednesday was a crazy catch up day at work, and then I'm out of town again Thursday and Friday for work training.... so I needed a light, easy theme! I just posted the last part of our Wedding ABC's last night and have a post going up on our actual anniversary, in case you can't get enough of it ;). Then I'll try to be normal after that.

7 of my favorite things about my first year of marriage!

--- 1 ---
Our wedding and honeymoon. Yes, that is a given BUT... I still think about it all the time! The day and following week were just so amazing! I look back at the pictures often because I don't want the memory to fade. I am never really sad that the wedding planning is over (actually, it's quite the relief), but I do miss the actual day because it was so, so wonderful. It was really beyond what I even expected!

--- 2 ---
Coming back from our honeymoon and finding OUR house! I think it was God saying to me "Hey now! One thing at a time. Just enjoy life" because we searched and searched before the wedding with no luck. We came back, looked at this house, and we were sold! It was fun finding it as brand new husband and wife.
(note: we put down new mulch and got rid of the awful black thing around the tree, so quit judgin' ;)

--- 3 ---
Ok this is less fun, but I love how much I've learned about myself this past year. Marriage can point out some not so purdy things but I'm thankful because I can't work on it if I don't know. It's also teaching me humility and service. All great lessons!

--- 4 ---
The feeling of family with someone not blood related. Before we were married, I wanted SO badly to think of us as family, because I loved Steven so much. But the feeling after the wedding was completely different. He really IS my family thanks to the sacrament of marriage, and I love our little family unit so much!
at our rehearsal dinner

--- 5 ---
Along with that, the increased feeling of teamwork. It's weird, but our arguing totally changed after marriage. It was like a night and day difference. We argued before and we argued now, but our arguments are shorter, more productive, and we both feel like we are on the same team trying to come to a solution. I don't know if #4 is what changed this, but I love it. 
--- 6 ---
Making big decisions together that will affect our future family. Yes, it can be completely stressful, but we've sat down and made some big decisions in the last year that will affect our future children, and it is really comforting to work together to find what we feel is best for us as a family. Before marriage we of course considered each other in our decisions, but certain things (like finances) were just fundamentally separate. As a subtake, I *love* sharing bank accounts. We decided not to keep any personal ones and to consolidate into one. I know different things work for different people, but we have both really enjoyed this arrangement!
Rando picture

--- 7 ---
I love saying "my husband". It is a year later and it still has not worn off! There is just something really fun about calling him that. I equally love when he refers to me as his wife, or when someone else refers to me as his wife. It is a title I gladly wear! 

Tell me your most favorite thing about marriage! I know, SO hard to pick just one!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wedding ABC's Part III

Our anniversary (the 14th) is just around the corner, so here is the last installation of our wedding ABC's!

We designed, made, and assembled these ourselves. It turned out to be a printing nightmare for Steven, but I only have good memories since I didn't accompany him on the nine billion trips to Kinko's :). He's a dear!

Question and Answer
Not really sure what to do with this one.... so here is a picture of us during the question part of the ceremony!

We got my band at the same place Steven got my engagement ring, because I wanted it to be the exact width, which wasn't sold anywhere else! We got Steven's band at a Zales and he just wanted a plain white gold band that would sort of match mine.

I had a lot of fun picking out my shoes and the color. I knew I wanted a fun pop of color, so I chose purple since most things in our purple and green wedding were green. I also wanted it as short as I could get it without them being flat, and settled with a one inch heel. They hurt by the end of the night, but were otherwise perfect and looked great in pictures!

(don't mind my granny heel protectors)

Because I have woman's intuition, I was sooo nervous about the tux rentals (and that has only a little do to with the fact that I changed what I wanted them to wear 3 times). I kept telling Steven that everyone had to try their tuxes on the day before the wedding, because I had nightmares of them not discovering a problem until the day of. Steven danced around this, so I didn't know this til later, thank God, but when he went to pick up his tux, they gave him one with a size 3x BLUE vest. WHATTTT??? So he had to rush back the next morning, our wedding day, for the correct one. Ahhh! Anyways, he looked like a dream in it :).

so dapper.... sigh!

I loved our flowers. They weren't super typical and I really let the florist have a lot of freedom in designing them, after sharing with her a few important elements. I also (of course) loved my dress and breaking the mold into the world of sleeves! Our getaway car was really awesome, and our assortment of cake flavors were pretty unique (can't wait to eat the top layer!!!)

Not much to say here! We had the choice between vows that ended with "til death do us part" or "all the days of our lives". I chose the soap opera vows over the macabre vows! I really liked using traditional vows because of the way it felt.... steeped in tradition!

Wedding Woes
I have 3. One is that our videographer didn't show (he 'got lost') and the back up videographer was only able to get there for the reception. I'm so glad we have that video, but I really wanted the ceremony on video! Two is that I basically ran down the aisle lol. I was so nervous and my dad and I didn't really get the special moment I was dreaming of. I know he understands, but I wish I had walked slower! And third, and most insignificant, is that there was nothing on the big, blank wall behind our dj. We picked where he would set up in the reception room, but for some reason didn't think about how blank the wall would look. I wish we had made a cute sign or something to put up. All in all, the wedding was one of the best days ever and I think about the million amazing details and memories, not the woes!
 Yep... this is my down the aisle picture lol! There is one from the back of us that is amazing, but I ruined the front shot ;).

If you can look past my mom and husband breaking it down, you'll see the empty dj wall!

This was seriously one of the most exciting parts of the day for me. I planned it early and was SO thrilled about our getaway car. It was just one of those extra touches that really made the day (besides the fact that we entered into a sacrament together, of course!). We felt like royalty pulling away in this car and being dropped off at our hotel. And the weather was perfect for it!


Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
I'm so glad to be back after taking last Friday off for Good Friday. I did quite a bit of posting, so make sure to catch up if you want to!
Here's a recap of what our Easter looked like. I must add that I was slightly sad about the day because it was our last first married holiday! 

Not pictured are the 30 or so relatives we lunched with! Marrying into a big family is a culture shock, but a lot of fun!

--- 2 ---
This month has been the month of unexpected expenses. I'm sure you've all experienced that before! Well... they were mostly unexpected or at least unplanned.... or poorly planned for. We had to replace our giant bedroom window which cost a very pretty penny, our anniversary is coming up and we want to do something special, and we have a road trip coming up. Plus our gardens are in desperate need of a re-mulching, and we've had a few medical costs pop up in the past few weeks. But in true God fashion, a check showed up in our mailbox from our closing attorney's office. It was sizable enough that we called to make sure we were supposed to receive it, which gave the attorney a good laugh. But yep, apparently they were reviewing old accounts and found money that they owed us, that we knew nothing about! It was one of those goosebump type moments, and helped us to breathe a little easier this month.

--- 3 ---
Today my cat is being shaved. I can't wait to share a picture with you. She is going to look RIDICULOUS but she will be rid of her impossible-to-prevent-mats. While she gets shaved, I'll be at a bbq fundraiser for my work. It's only going to be a rough day for one of us.

--- 4 ---
I'm not sure if you've noticed that I've quit talking about health issues/NFP on my blog. I would love to spill all the details, but my husband is uncomfortable with it, and I totally respect that. In a way, I'm a bit uncomfortable with it too since a few 'real life' people read my blog, and I'm not quite ready for real life people (besides family) to know the nitty gritty. Isn't that funny, though? That I'm more comfortable with strangers knowing personal things than my real life friends? Tell me I'm not the only one! I think at some point I will be able to share the journey we are on (no, I'm not pregnant), but this just isn't the right time. I just don't want you to think I'm holding out on you for no reason ;) . I also don't want you to think it's all bad... we got some good test results back this week, so there's that! Writing is very cathartic for me, so I am writing about it, just not publicly. I do appreciate your continued prayers for my general health!

--- 5 ---
Speaking of, I got a groupon for a chiropractor and boy, am I in love! Without knowing my health history, he pinpointed the EXACT health issues I am having after examining my neck and back. I was blown away. And his nurse uses Napro/Creighton! It is the first person I've met in real life at random (not at an NFP event lol) who uses it. We both got nerdily excited and high fived each other. I can't wait to go back.

--- 6 ---
I've talked some about how hard it has been to make friends over the 4 years I've lived in Raleigh. Well, 5 of us from the Women of Grace group I was in from August-January have kept in touch and are now doing monthly dinners out. It is SO nice to have girlfriends in person to chat with again. Even better is that we are all coming from the same faith perspective, which makes for some really wonderful conversations. I love my friends who all live in other places, but phone relationships are not enough! I need face to face action. This is truly an answer to a prayer.

--- 7 ---
 Speaking of our road trip back in the 2nd take, it is TOMORROW! My husband and I make great road trip partners, so the drive itself is even exciting. I got him 5 new Catholic cd's in his Easter basket (plus a Catholic fiction book... for $6 shipped!), so we have plenty of road entertainment, not to mention enough snacks packed to sink a ship. We are heading to New York to go to a reception on Sunday, and will spend Saturday evening and all day Monday with my sister and sister-in-law before driving back Tuesday. I AM SO EXCITED! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Father, the Son, and the....

So I lied about my blog fast because I technically started this on Holy Thursday. But you just don't ignore inspiration during the Triduum! Well, I don't anyway. Between that and my Saturday egg dyeing post, I totally blew my Triduum blog fast. Butttt anyways..... let's just dive right in, shall we?

I am neglectful of the Holy Spirit. There, I said it. I've always been a little ashamed of it, but didn't do much about it. Jesus and God? Yep, I've got them covered. They are basically on speed dial. But the Holy Spirit and I haven't spent that much time communicating in the last 14 or so years since confirmation.I know the Holy Spirit has been at work in me (and oh, what work there is to do!) but I don't know that I've been receptive or reciprocal. So while it's very easy for me to profess the realness of God and Christ, I fall fairly silent when it comes to the Holy Spirit.

And then I see things like this:

Pope washes feet of female Muslim prisoner and Pope embraces and kisses boy with disability... 

and all I can think it how real the Holy Spirit is. I know that the cardinals chose the pope of their free will, but I have no doubt that they along with hundreds of thousands of people were praying for guidance from the holy spirit. It seems like many people, myself included, were scratching our heads when Pope Francis walked out on the balcony. "Now wait.... who is that???". But within minutes, I was in awe. And I have continued to be in awe these past few weeks as I see him do things that will pave new roads for popes ahead of him, that will bring people back into the Church, and that will help people understand what Catholicism really is without changing the Truth the Church professes.