Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 4)

1) With the New Year approaching, I’ve given a lot of thought to New Year’s resolutions. In the past several years, I’ve noticed that I either A) don’t make any resolutions at all or B) I go overboard and make ridiculous resolutions that I can’t keep.  I’ll have to give myself a little time to think about it, and maybe consult my husband, since this is our first New Year’s as a married couple and I would appreciate his support/advice in making changes for the better.

2) David wants a treadmill.  My parents have had many different exercise machines in the past (there are about 5 sitting (dusty) in their basement right now).  So my first reaction is that it would be a waste of money, and would eventually become as functional as a drying rack or storage area.  But David likes to run, and I saved up all my tip money for the entire time I worked at Starbucks which will almost cover the costs.  Maybe I’ll learn to like running too… (probably not).

3) I’m having a hard time adjusting to my new job.  I am grateful to have it, and enjoy the nights and weekends off with David, but by the time I get home at night, I’m exhausted.  Also, I’ve had very little training in the over two weeks since I started and my boss yelled at me the other day (I’m new…give me advice don’t yell at me!).  I’ve never been yelled at by a boss like that before, especially for something that I don’t think is my fault, but perhaps I’m just being a baby.  There aren’t many jobs out there, and many people hate their jobs, have much worse bosses I’m sure, and I should probably just stick with it.  Right?

4) My husband also thinks that I could go back to Starbucks and ask if my boss there would rehire me.  I know of a couple employees that will be leaving soon, so I probably could get my job back, but I left Starbucks because of the irregular hours and low pay, which is why I applied for this job.  But I loved my coworkers, interacting with customers, and the benefits of Starbucks.  How do I choose?

5) Ok, so I do have a New Year’s Resolution: write more on this blog!  I’ve noticed that recently, I’ve liked to do “7 Quick Take Fridays” and haven’t written much else.  I think that’s because I like structure, I’ve never done well with “creative writing” type assignments.  I’m loved writing essays though.

6) Is it weird to say that I am excited to take classes, that I actually miss school (tests, homework, and all)?  I am getting my Indiana Reciprocal Teaching License.  In order to get a permanent IN license, I have to take a test, and if I want to be licensed to teach more social studies subjects (currently I’m licensed, for history, government, English as a New Language, and Spanish), I have to take more classes.

7) I have been incredibly blessed this year: graduated from college, got married, moved out of state.  Even the hardships my family has encountered have turned out well: both my mother and my grandfather were diagnosed with cancer this year and both have gone through treatment and are now cancer free.  It’s easier to see God’s hand in extremes, and I’ve seen him in everything this year.  Hopefully, when life settles down in the new year, I won’t forget to look for God in the everyday.  Oops, I guess I just made another New Year’s resolution without planning to.

Friday, December 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 3)

1) We are in Colorado visiting our families until Tuesday.  We flew in yesterday and are staying at David’s parents until tomorrow morning.  Then, we are going to my friend’s graduation from nursing school (she doesn’t know we are coming…at least it’s supposed to be a surprise!) and then spending the rest of the time with my family and visiting a few of my friends.

2) I am going to be a Godmother to my grandfather!  Tomorrow afternoon, my grandfather is becoming Catholic.  He will be baptised, have his first communion, and confirmation in a private Mass just for the family (he has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, so he can’t be in large crowds of people).  This is a long time coming and he is very excited!  He asked David and I to be his Godparents, and we are very excited and honored.  It’s never too late to become Catholic (he’s 79).

3) I am almost done with my Christmas shopping.  I brought most of the presents out for our families and friends here, and have only a few more things to get.  I’m proud of myself, as well as the fact that I found some thoughtful gifts (at good prices).  I know my family doesn’t like me to spend a lot and doesn’t expect much since we are young and relatively poor, but I really enjoy giving gifts and am willing to do with less so that I can give more.  I especially spoil my little brother, I just can’t help it!

4) The best purchase David and I have made since we got married was a heated mattress pad.  As I think is the case in most marriages, I am always cold while my husband is hot.  Since the mattress pad came with a different control for each side of the bed, I can crank up my “snuggle dial” (as David likes to call it) while his side stays cool.  This has definitely made adjusting to sleeping with someone else much easier.  We got a great deal on one (half off at Kohl’s) but it would have been worth it even if it was full price.

5) My husband is convinced that we should go on a cruise of the Mediterranean.  He’s never been out of the country and is dying to see Europe.  While I would love to go, I’m trying to convince him that we just can’t afford it any time soon, but he was even looking up cruise and flight prices today.  Maybe we’ll find an amazing deal, but I don’t think that’s in our near future.  I think David calmed down a bit when I reminded him that if everything goes as planned, I may be pregnant soon and money will have to be allotted to other things (not to mention I probably don’t want to go on a cruise and travel Europe while pregnant).

6) My husband had his last class ever this week!  One step closer to getting his Ph.D. done.  He was SO excited - after 20 years of school, he’s finally a free man!

7) I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary recently (nothing like Advent and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to help me get my head in the right place).  As a new wife and aspiring mother, there is no better role model for me right now.  Any ideas of how I can further my devotion to her?

Friday, December 3, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 2)

I. My husband and I have decided to start trying for a baby in January!  We’ll be married for six month, settled into our new life here, and while we don’t have a lot of money we feel like we can make the sacrifices necessary to provide for a little one.  Making a sure decision about starting a family has been like a huge weight lifted from our shoulders.  Although I am dreading talking to my family about our decision, I feel like we have decided once and for all to make decisions based on our faith and as a family of our own.  I know that our parents only have our best interests at heart, but I felt that one of the main reasons we were waiting to have a family was because we didn’t want to disappoint them.  And that certainly isn’t a justifiable reason to postpone pregnancy.

II. I got a new job at a daycare, working in the one-year-old room.  I start in a couple weeks and I hope that it won’t scare me too badly about having a baby of my own.  While I look forward to the regular Monday through Friday schedule (more time with my husband!) and the increase in pay, I am scare of the diapering!

III.  I always feel incredibly guilty when I give my two week notice.  I hate inconveniencing my employer and coworkers when they have to hire and train someone to replace me.  I don’t want people to feel that I didn’t like working with them.  This is irrational, I know, since they probably don’t take it personally (and they shouldn’t), but I hate to let others down or hurt their feelings.  Even if I didn’t like the job, I appreciate that I was given the chance to work and help support myself and my family.  I don’t know why I can’t just treat it as the business transaction that it is, but quitting is so hard (although maybe not as hard as starting a new job - that’s just so nerve racking).

IV. Once an avid reader, I haven’t read a full book since I started my job at Starbucks.  Working irregular hours and not having a consistent sleep schedule (wow, I sound old!), I have been too tired to read much.  But I have decided to set an ambitious reading goal for myself: to read a biography of each of the American Presidents.  Have I mentioned I was a history major?

V. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Usually I get in the mood as soon as Thanksgiving passed, however this year, I had trouble getting in the holiday spirit.  That changed December 1 when: (1) it snowed here for the first time this fall and (2) we received our first Christmas card in the mail.

VI. What happened to snail mail?  There are few things that give me as much joy as getting a letter, card, or even a package in the mail.  Email just isn’t the same.  I love sending cards and I usually do so for the following holidays: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It goes without saying that I remember birthdays and anniversaries with cards as well.  Usually they are store bought, if I’m overly ambitious they may even be handmade.  And, actually, one of the few things I love more than getting mail is hearing how much others liked getting something in the mail from me.

VII. Since we weren’t able to go home for Thanksgiving, my husband and I celebrated one of his fellow grad students and his wife, who also had to work on Thanksgiving and couldn’t go home.  I thought it would be depressing to spend the holiday away from my family, but while I missed them, I enjoyed myself very much.  It was nice to make our own holiday feast and have dinner guests to our apartment for the first time.  I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who have spent the holidays without family, how have you enjoyed holidays without loved ones close?  Any suggestions for us as Christmas approaches?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Opposites Attract

My best friend and I are very different.  And yet very much the same. We met in high school, had classes together, and yet weren’t what you would call “friends”.  Acquaintances, really.  Then, right after graduation, we went on a school sponsored trip to Europe and that was the beginning of our friendship.  I don’t really know how or when we became best friends.  It’s not very likely that we would since she moved several states away for college, but through the distance our friendship thrived.  Even when she moved to England for a year to get her master’s.  Even now as she is back home living with her parents and I am, for the first time, the one who is a thousand miles away.  I am immensely grateful for her friendship, her love and support.  Without her, I don’t think I would have ever married my husband, because I wouldn’t have had the necessary faith to sustain a long distance relationship with him.  But because I saw that a long distance friendship was possible, I thought a long distance relationship might work as well (and it did).

My best friend is one of the most kind and thoughtful people I know.  Very humanitarian, very caring.   She is also very classy, having ettiquette in a society that seems to have forgotten the meaning of the word.  I too am traditional, and in this way we are similar.  We like sitting for long periods of time, drinking coffee and chatting.  We like making homemade meals and reading classic literature.  I imagine, someday, we will both be quite sufficient homemakers with lovely families.

Although, I will be content to have homemaker as my only job, and she will always work outside the home.  I took my husband’s name and she vows she never will - marriage will not change who she is, is how she explains it (although I think you would be hard pressed to find many married people who think it does not change you in profound ways much more important than in name).  Of course, our families will look different as well: the picture she sends out at Christmas will consist of her, her husband, two children, and a cat or two.  Mine (hopefully) will include David, our many children (five to eight, we are thinking) and a dog or two.  Set aside our obvious difference in pet preference (my father and I are both allergic to cats, so we had no choice but to be dog people), and you will see different lifestyle choices which in turn point to the main difference in our friendship: our different beliefs.

My best friend is agnostic while I am devoutly Catholic.  My world view is dictated by my faith, my love of God, and the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Her world view comes from, well, the world.  From what her parents taught her, from her own experiences, from the ebbs and flows of society.  This has never been a problem in our friendship.  She has (almost) always been respectful of my beliefs, and I welcome her questions and debates because they force me to look deeper into the facets of my religion.  I am most certainly a stronger Catholic because of her. 

I struggle with the fact that she is not Catholic (or Christian or even religious at all), because I want her to experience what I have in my faith.  I also worry about what will happen to her after she dies.  She is my best friend and I love her immensely, so of course I want her to experience the joy of Christ and I want heaven for her.  I’m aware that it is not politically correct to think this way.  We are supposed to respect other people’s religious choices (and I do) and leave them alone.  In a relativist world, we are supposed to believe that people can do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.  But if you truly believe in the Christian faith, then you must believe in a heaven and hell as well.  It is not up to me to attempt to judge who enters heaven and who enters hell, but I am loath to believe that ever person who dies goes to heaven, like many in our society think (when someone dies, you always hear, “He is in a better place” - but how are you so sure??).  While there may be other routes to heaven, I believe the Jesus Christ gave us one clear path to heaven - through Him.  So while many people would chide me for worrying about the soul of my best friend, for wishing she would convert, but how can I not?  I do love her for who she is, I don’t want her to change for any other reason than I want her to achieve heaven.  And if that’s not politically correct, I don’t want to be politically correct.

Sorry I started to ramble a bit at the end, but this is something I had to get off my chest for a while. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I voted, did you?

And if you haven't yet, what are you waiting for?

As someone who went to school to become a high school social studies teacher, I understand the importance of politics and the privilege/responsibility of voting.  In fact, I consider election day to be the biggest test for my (future) students, one that obviously doesn't affect their grade but will be the ultimate judge of my ability to teach.  If my students understand the basic government system, have enough information to know how to research candidates and topics and make informed decision, and actually put their knowledge to use by voting, joining a campaign, or even running for public office, then I have done my work.  Of course, I have my own political opinions, but I'm not interested in indoctrinating young people, just empowering them to make their own decisions based on fact and understanding of the political, social and economic systems (past and present) of this country and around the world.  Of course, this is all hypothetical, since I am currently a Starbucks employee and not a teacher, but someday...

I also believe that being politically active is our responsibility as Catholics.  Of course there is a separation of church and state (as there should be), but we should continue to fight for the dignity of human life.  This means fighting for the rights of the poor, hungry, homeless, as well as unborn, handicapped, and elderly.  We should also fight for freedom of speech and religion so that all people can have the freedom to worship as they wish.  Once the rights of even a few are stripped, it is so easy to slowly take away the rights of all.

This is, obviously, a very important issue to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Place in Popular Culture

I love women’s magazines.  I love the articles and the advice and the fashion (although I can never afford it).  Although recently, I’ve been very turned off by the vast amount of articles and information in these magazines that are blatantly go against everything I believe.  Recently in a women’s health magazine, there was a short article touting the merits of the revolutionary new “plan B” type pill that can “stop pregnancy” up to five days after sex.  I was appalled.  Is this what the readers of women’s magazines are looking forward to reading about?

Recently, I was excited to receive a magazine that I thought was for newlyweds, but it ended up just being for people who are “living together”, whether they be married or not.  There were tons of articles about sex toys, pornography, etc. and very little about decorating a home and maintaining a healthy relationship (unless the only key to a healthy relationship is a active sex life).

This is similar to how I felt about books and resources that were available while I was planning my wedding, and preparing for marriage and newlywed life.  Most of the books I encountered assumed that couples were already living together before marriage, that all couples were having sex before marriage even if they were living separately, that birth control was the only option for preventing pregnancy, and rarely discussed children other than how to prevent them with the various birth control options.  I could not relate to the women that these books were written by because I was not a woman that these books were for.

Am I the only one that would love to see more books and magazines that are guided by Catholic principles?  I would think that there is a market for it.  There are magazines for Catholic mothers and there are many books that discuss the Church’s teachings on marriage, family, etc.  But there is a need for book and magazines for the Catholic woman in general (single women and wives, not just mothers).

Friday, October 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 1)

1. I have been wanting to write my own 7 Quick Takes Friday since I first read one at Abre Los Ojos.  I planned to write one last Friday, but was called into work to cover for a pregnant coworker (pregnant with twins!) who had to go on short-term disability unexpectantly early (she's only about five months).  I even wrote an entire post about how disappointed I was to have missed it last Saturday, only to have my post accidentally deleted by a tumblr problem.  I was so sad (and angry) to have lost my entire post, that I didn't have the energy or patience to write again until now.

2. My best friend didn't kill me when I told her David and I were planning to start a family sometime in the next year.  In fact, she was a little bit excited that she's going to be an "auntie"!  Let me tell you, this was quite a relief.  When we got married, David and I were told that we shouldn't have children for several years (at least until he is done with grad school).  We were told this by both our families (in fact, his parents weren't originally so keen on the idea of us getting married because they thought we were not stable enough for a family), our friends, people we barely new.  While many newly married couples seem to face the question, "When are you going to have children?", we never once were asked that question and instead were given unsolicited advice to wait.  Which was exactly what we wanted to do before we got married.  Now, the more we read about the Church's teaching on marriage, sex, natural family planning, etc., the more we are convinced that God is calling us to be parents (get this) EVEN THOUGH IT MAY NOT BE "PERFECT TIMING" (according to our society).  Well, if we are waiting for the perfect time, we may never be parents because it is always easy to find an excuse to wait.  So telling my best friend was nice (and relieving) and will prepare me for talking to my parents about it.  I shouldn't be so worried about what other people think, but I still don't want to disappoint my parents (I'm sure they'll get over it once they have a grandchild in their arms).

3. I don't know how to make friends.  Every friend I have, I made either in school (one of my dearest friends, I've gone to school with fourth grade through college) or helping at the youth group at my old church.  I am no longer in school.  My church doesn't seem to have many young people, much less young married couples. (The university has a Catholic Church right off campus, but my husband and I like the more traditional feel of the church we go to.  Unfortunately tradition = old people far too much.)  Some of my coworkers seem nice, but what I/we really need right now are some Catholic couples that can offer us support and understand where we are right now.  As far as I can tell, there are no groups for young Catholic couples in the area.  Any suggestions?

4. I've needed a lot of new clothes for a while now, and I finally went on a shopping Goodwill.  I don't know if this is because it is a college town, but they had an amazing amount of nearly brand new name brand clothing.  I've shopped at thrift stores in the past, but I've always had trouble finding nice things, and therefore kind of always looked down on it, but this has changed my mind.  We don't have a lot of money right now, especially if we are saving up to have a baby sometime in the near future, and this was such a nice break on our checking account.  I really needed winter clothes, and now I have plenty for what it would have cost for only a few items elsewhere.

5. I don't know if you could tell by my last one, but I love getting a deal.  I love finding bargains, using coupons, and saving money.  My mom is the same way, and I am very grateful that she taught me how to be responsible with money.  My brother grew up in the same house as me, but he spends money as soon as he has it.  Is that a male thing?  My dad is the same way.  They are both very hard workers, but they like to spend their hard-earned money.  My mom has to constantly trick my dad into thinking they have less money than they do, so that he doesn't spend the money she is trying to save.  You would think they would have come to an agreement after all these years (30 years this past August!), but alas, they have not.

6. I need to start hard-core Christmas shopping NOW.  Now that we're married, I have double the amount of presents to buy.  We are going home for an early "Christmas" with our families the second week in December, because I can't get time off from Starbucks closer to the holidays.  Which means I have to have all of our presents bought by then, to either take home or mail out early enough to family and friends elsewhere.  That gives me two weeks less to shop than most people.  Giving gifts is one of my favorite things in the world to do (I firmly believe that giving is much better than receiving).  I have a few already that I have found in the past month or so, but I'm really beginning to feel the heat to get the perfect presents in time.

7. David and I started wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  It is so great, it really is.  More than anything, I love it because it reminds me when I put my clothes on in the morning that I am wearing a sign of devotion to Mary and our Lord, and that I should behave accordingly.  My mother-in-law brought them to us when they visited recently and for all my reservations about her, she is a good Catholic woman and I appreciate having her guidance in our lives.  I'm sure this will come up in later posts, but even though I was raised Catholic, my family is not very devoted or knowledgeable about the faith.

Oh, oh, oh!  This should have been one of my seven, I don't know how I forgot to mention it because it is one of the most exciting things in my life, but my 79-year-old Jewish grandfather just talked to a priest about becoming Catholic!

And please visit to read more 7 Quick Takes Fridays!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Tomorrow is payday.  I look forward to payday (as I think many people do) not because I am anxiously awaiting money so I can pay my bills but because I can see the fruit of my labor.  How much more exciting is heaven for those who have labored for their God here on earth! Shouldn’t we anticipate heaven with much more trepidation than we anticipate payday?  Shouldn’t we work much harder for the eternal reward than we do for our paychecks?  Am I the only one that sees disorder in how many people set their priorities?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Undercover Boss (Bryan Bedford)

It’s not often that you see reality television shows that feature devout Catholics.  It’s even more uncommon that they let these people showcase their faith.  Bryan Bedford, the CEO of Frontier Airlines, devout Catholic, and father of eight was featured on this week’s Undercover Boss.  My husband saw it the other night and told me that I just HAD to see this episode (we don’t watch much TV, so you know it had to be good!).  If you haven’t watched it, I encourage you to do so - it was really entertaining and inspiring.
What a role model of how to remain true to your faith in the business world!  I am going to write an email to CBS thanking the network for allowing Mr. Bedford to express his faith openly on the show.  My husband and I, who are pretty faithful to Southwest (to the point of putting all our purchases on a Southwest credit card in order to earn free tickets), are considering switching to Frontier because of this episode and the faith of the company’s CEO (which would also mean getting a new credit cards - in other words, not an easy task).  Even if it means paying a little bit more. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hello, my name is...

I’ve thought it over a bit and probably the best way to start this is by introducing myself.  Now how to do this without being formulaic and boring…

Here is how I envisioned my life at 23…
I always wanted to get married young, partially because my parents got married young (and yes, they are still married - 30 years!).  However, I think in part, I have always seen my “career” as wife and mother.  I used to imagine I would be married around 20 and have kids by 23, but that was when I was much younger and rather naive. When I was 20, I though marriage was years away and children even farther, but I never doubted I would get married.  I thought I would have a stable job as a high school history teacher.  I would be actively dating in hopes of finding a husband, and when I did so, I would settle down close to my parents, enjoy a few years as newlyweds, then have children.  We would be a very average middle class family.  The end.

This is how my real life compares (in case you didn’t get it, I am currently 23 years old)…
I have been married for three months to my husband, David.  We are living several states away from my family and friends while David finishes his Ph.D.  I graduated from college in May with two bachelors degrees and a teaching certification, however I augment my husband’s meager grad student stipend by supplying America’s coffee addiction at Starbucks.  The recession hasn’t been kind to education, so despite having two degrees, there wasn’t a job in sight.  Although I am sometimes angry that I am working a minimum wage job after graduating college, I am so grateful to have a job when there are many people unemployed.  While David and I constantly discussed waiting to have children until he finished school (approx. two more years), we find ourselves questioning our reasons for postponing pregnancy (more on this later, I’m sure — it has been a constant thought alternately in the back and front of my mind).  Life is different than expected.  I’m having a hard time adjusting to my new husband, my new state, city, and home, my new job, my new life.  But I feel blessed as well.

Why start this blog???
I tried to answer this questions in my last (ironically, my first—“and the last shall be first”) post.  While I have wonderful friends, I don’t have many friends that are faithful Catholics or many friends that are married.  Since I had trouble finding Catholic women in similar life situations as me, I thought that maybe other people might also, so I am using this as a way to connect with other Catholic women, simultaneously hoping that I can be a resource and support for other and that others will reach out to me as support and guidance.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Are there any Catholic women out there?

I’ve been married for less than three months.  Throughout dating, engagement, wedding planning, and the short time of my marriage, I noticed that I had a hard time finding books and other resources geared toward the Catholic woman.  My faith is the most important aspect of my life, as I believe it should be, and I find that my perspective of the world is different than most of American society and even than most of my friends.  If I had the ability, I would write a book for Catholic brides, publish a magazine for Catholic women, or something of the like, but for the time being, this blog will me my response to a need in our community.

I envision the blog turning something out like this…I write on it every once in a while (I’m not so great at keeping something like this up regularly, but perhaps this will be an exercise in discipline).  Those post will most likely be me trying to work out my own problems (and seeking advice).  More often, I will probably link this to resources and articles for Catholic women/brides/wives/mothers.  Maybe no one will follow this.  But maybe a few people will and it will be helpful for them.

I’m sure I’ll get to posting more about myself, my husband, and my new married life soon.  But I started this blog much on a whim, so my thoughts will need to marinate a little bit before I start writing.