Saturday, January 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 7)

1. Three colds and pink eye.  Yes, pink eye.  All in the past month and a half that I’ve worked in a daycare.  To put this into perspective, before I started this job, I was sick twice in the previous four years.  And only one of those sicknesses was from a contagious disease.  Needless to say, I feel awful.  Technically, I think my immune system is getting stronger, but I just feel weaker and weaker.  At least I haven’t had lice (yet).

2. I am addicted to etsy.  There are so many beautiful, homemade items there.  And so many wonderful Catholic items.  I especially love these My Little Saints Dolls.  (Now, if I only had a little boy or girl to buy them for…) I’m not very creative and only mildly crafty, but I would love to start my own etsy shop someday.

3. I sold a few items I had laying around the house this month on ebay and amazon Although I didn’t really make much money (do people really make a living selling on ebay?), it’s nice to have a few things out of the house that I won’t need to pack.  I thought I got rid of most of my “unnecessary things” when I moved here, but if I haven’t used it in the six months I’ve lived here, I probably won’t use it all (with the exception of some of my nice glassware, china, etc. which hasn’t had any use since we don’t know many people to invite over for dinner).  So, it’s got to go.  I have to say it’s nice to simplify! 

4. I asked my boss if I could cut my hours and only work six hours a day.  My boss seemed open to it.  We don’t need the extra money (although some extra savings is nice), because I will make the same working thirty hours a week at this job that I did working full time at Starbucks.  The hours and pay are better at this job, but I dislike it so much that I’m crabby the majority of the time that I’m spending with David.  If I could cut my hours, I would have more time to spend doing things I like and it would be better for us than the extra money I would be making.

5. I also got a response email to a teaching assistant job I applied for, which may make the previous item a moot point.  I need to call on Monday to follow up.  Maybe I will actually get to working with high schoolers!  Although the pay is lower and it is only part time, we would just have to make it work financially and (gasp!) dig into our hard earned saving to pay the monthly bills.  But I’ll be getting experience in teaching for when I apply for teaching jobs this fall!  And doing what I love!  It would be wonderful!!!  Please pray that I get this position.  With the economy still not doing well, teaching positions are very hard to find and experience is necessary to be considered for jobs.  That this part time teaching assistant positions was even open is a God sent.

6. My husband had been the most supportive man regarding my job.  He knows I’m unhappy and does everything possible to help me around the house and with the job search, to the point that he has told me that I should just quit and he will help cut all expenses (including cable and internet!) so that I can get away from the position I’m in.  I’m not sure if I’ve talked about why I’m unhappy there, but it’s not working with the kids (although being sick a lot sure isn’t fun), it’s the lack of professionalism of my boss and workplace.  I don’t feel comfortable working in a place the children’s well-being takes an obvious backseat to the money the center is bringing in and where the director is constantly yelling at teachers because she is unable to take the blame for her own shortcomings.  It’s miserable for everyone there.  No one should be treated the way the employees are treated.  I know that I will be leaving when we move if I don’t have an opportunity to sooner, but many of my coworkers have families they support and rely on this job to feed their children.  They don’t have the opportunities I have with my education to go elsewhere, and I constantly pray that they will have something better come along.  Wow, I really rambled on that one.

7. The feast day of my brother’s patron Saint, St. Sebastian, was January 20th.  I found a card to send him (at Hallmark of all places!) and my husband and I wrote him a check as well.  He thought is was really cool and was so grateful.  He doesn’t attend Mass very often, but I like to find ways to remind him about his faith and how cool it is to be Catholic (we get to celebrate Feast days!).  I used to nag him a lot when we both were younger about being faithful, but I found that had the opposite affect, to turn him off to the faith.  Now, I find that prayer and fun little reminders work a lot better.  He is only 18 after all and I think he’ll wisen up a bit as he gets older.  After all, my grandfather converted and is a faithful Catholic at the age of 79.  I always try to remember St. Monica and her faithful prayers for her children when I get discouraged.  Maybe my brother will become as pious as St. Augustine due to my prayers.  I’m not holding my breath, but I know anything is possible with God!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why I Love My Husband (vol. 1)

I got this icon and idea from Kaitlin at More Like Mary - More Like Me.  Read the explanation of why she started it here.

Anyway, here are a (very) few of the (many) reasons I love my husband:

He really pitches in on the housework, especially since I started my new job and come home too tired to do much.  His regular chores include all the dishes and most of the laundry.  And he NEVER complains about it.

He knows I'm not a morning person and is so gentle and loving when he wakes me up in the morning.  He makes my lunch (and his own) because he knows that no matter how hard I try, I can barely even get myself showered and dressed in the morning.

He (gently) pushes me to be more faithful (read: daily rosary).  And he is so humble about it.  He is always looking to me to find ways for him to become more faithful too.  It takes a humble man to admit his flaws and ask for criticism.

Friday, January 21, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 6)

1) David and I celebrated six months of marriage this past Monday!  We went out to a fancy restaurant for a nice meal (wine, appetizer, dessert and all!).  Now that we’ve completed six months just the two of us, we are turning our attention to adding to our little family.

2) This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how errors can turn into huge blessings.  Just a little example: a couple months ago, David accidentally paid for two months of my health insurance, instead of just one like we had discussed, since I would soon be eligible for Starbucks insurance.  We ended up paying double for me that month, which was financially difficult.  Then, in the middle of that second month I got my current job, where I wouldn’t be eligible for insurance for four months.  If I had cancelled my husband’s insurance as planned, I would have been uninsured or had to pay much, much more for COBRA in the meantime.  Instead, I could just continue on with his plan.  What a blessing in disguise!  When he paid for the extra month, we had no idea that I would have any job-changing opportunities in the future.  The only thing that turned out poorly about this debacle was the fact that I gave David a hard time about paying for that extra month.  If only I had known that he was actually doing us a huge favor.  I need to learn to embrace my husband’s mistakes, whether they turn out better for us or not.

3) I love the show “What Would You Do?” because it restores my faith that people really do care about one another and are willing to step in to help.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  The show sets up various scenarios with actors to see if bystanders will help.  Almost always, someone steps in to do the right thing.  It’s wonderful, especially since the news is filled with negative stories, including those where no one steps in to aid others in trouble.  Really, how can you not try to help?  I also love this show because it keeps me accountable.  My husband and I discuss all the scenarios and what we would do in the situation - I mean what we really would do, not just what we would like to say we would do.  Do you always step in to do the right thing, even if it is difficult, scary, or inconvenient?

4) David and I decided to start fasting every Friday for the unborn.  I am such a wimp, I had such a hard time getting through the day while fasting (and our definition of fasting at this point consists of a very small morning snack, a decent lunch, and a small dinner - no frills or “treats” of any kind).  I had to pray to the Holy Mother today for strength to make it through.  But overall, I am very excited about doing this on a weekly basis.  I don’t remember where or when I heard someone talking about fasting on Fridays for the unborn, but I did get the idea somewhere which gives me hope that maybe this is part of a larger movement.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if all Catholics (who were healthy enough to fast) fasted on Fridays?  It is an unbelievably powerful way to pray with our actions.

5) I have been making a lot of new, homemade meals from scratch.  Both David and I have noticed a difference in how we feel - great!  I am secretly very surprised that I have become a passable cook.  How did that happen?  Just six months ago, when David and I married, I knew how to make about three good meals from scratch and a handful of decent meals out of a box.

6) I really wish that I had just one (devout) Catholic friend that I could talk to regularly.  It would be nice to have someone that I can discuss the day to day with who has the same viewpoint as me.  I feel like I see the world completely opposite of the way that non-Christians do.  (I previously mentioned how my best friend is not Catholic in my post, Opposites Attract.)  Obviously I have David, but there are certain issues that can only be discussed with a girlfriend.  I know he would listen, because he loves me, but David would not enjoy (or participate in) the kinds of conversations I would have with another woman.  In fact, when I talk to my mom or best friend on the phone, he instantly disappears from the room.  Coincidence?  I think not.

7) When we went back to Colorado to visit family, my grandfather (Papa) became Catholic in an impromptu ceremony in the dining room of a rectory.  It was beautiful.  It was just so beautiful.  The priest arranged for a dispensation for him to be baptized, receive first communion, and by confirmed in less than a week in order to have it when the family was there.  The generosity of the priest, especially with his time, to meet with my Papa and arrange it all has been truly inspiring.  Papa asked David and I to be his Godparents.  What an incredible honor!  I have never seen someone more filled with love and thanksgiving for the Lord.  He said it was one of the happiest days of his life and that he felt a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders.  Last Sunday was the first time he was able to go to Mass since becoming a Catholic (because his immune system was too weak from chemotherapy to be in crowds of people).  My mother picked him and my grandma up and took them to church.  She called me later just gushing about how excited Papa was to be able to fully participate in the Mass - it reminds me that I too should show excitement at being a participant of the Mass.

As always, don’t forget to visit Conversion Diary to see more “7 Quick Takes Friday” posts.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exploring Obedience, Part 1: Dictionary Definition

Merriam-Webster’s definition of obedience:
n 1 : the act or instance of obeying  2 : the quality or state of being obedient
Therefore, Merriam-Webster’s definition of obedient:
adj : willing or inclined to obey [Old French, from Latin oboediens, from oboedire “to obey”]
And thus, Merriam-Webster’s definition of obey:
vb 1 : to follow the commands or guidance of  2 : to comply with : EXECUTE (obey an order)  3 : to behave obediently [Old French obeir, from Latin oboedire]
Interesting enough, I realized in my dictionary search that these words share the same Latin root as obeisance:
n 1 : a movement of the body made as a sign of respect : BOW  2 : DEFERENCE, HOMAGE [Middle French obeissance “obedience, obeisance”, from obeir “to obey”]
While clearly, the first few definitions explain what obedience is, I feel the last definition, that of obeisance, points to why we are obedient, out of respect.  Therefore, obedience should be a real part of our relationship with the Lord, for if we respect him, we follow his commands, both formal (for example, the Ten Commandments) and personal (His plan for each of our lives, our vocation, etc.).

But obedience should also play a role in our human relationships.  Our first relationships are typically those with our parents, and in those familial relationships, obedience plays a major role.  Just as we obey God out of respect, so should we obey our parents, after all the relationship between a parent and child should be modeled after the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father.  (Obviously, parents should never request anything of their child that would harm them, but should always act out of best interest for their child, just as God only asks us to do what is good for us - even if we are too shortsighted to understand his ultimate plan.)

Less obviously, obedience should extend beyond these original relationships to encompass all relationships, including those with spouses, friends, and acquaintances. We are asked by God to act with love toward others and to respect human life, therefore, I must be obedient to others by acting with love toward them.  No, this does not mean that I should do anything someone were to ask of me, but that I act with his/her best interest at heart.  To be obedient to my husband does not mean that I always have a spotless house, food on the table and answer to his every beck and call, but I do need to be obedient to the wedding vows I made to him.

If you look at obedience in this sense, parents should be just as obedient to their children as their children are to them through caring for them and sacrificing for their best interests.  In turn, being obedient to others is being obedient to God (if you look closely at the Ten Commandments, many of them are based on obedience to others as well as obedience to God - Obey Your Mother and Father, Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery, etc.).  

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I found my word for the year!  Obedience.  Although first mention of the word makes me think of a well-trained dog, this word stuck with me when I heard it during today’s psalm
Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. (Psalms 40:7)
What does true obedience mean?  Whom should be be obedient to?  What calls us to obedience?  In a society that values freedom, it is hard to hear the word obedience as positive, except in reference to animals and small children.  But true obedience to God is freeing, not constraining.  Throughout this year, I hope to answer these questions and improve my own obedience to the Lord, and to others in my life (read: my husband).

Have you chosen your own word for the year? I think it is a great way to work on improving faith without being overwhelmed.  In reality, choosing one word won’t limit my ability to grow in my faith, but will provide me with a jumping off point.  I think it would be really helpful to find a patron saint (or a few) that exemplify my word.  Of course, Jesus Christ is the perfect model - obedient to the point of death.
You can even order a beautiful word of the year necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs to help remind you of your word on a daily basis.  I think I might splurge and get one (maybe I’ll ask for it for Valentine’s day - although I can’t even imagine the looks I’d get explaining that my husband got me a necklace with the word “obedience” on it - not the best connotation, I think!).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I want to be a loser.

There are two areas in my life in which I would like to be a big loser:

A) Weight - or rather, I don’t have that much weight to lose, but I would like to get in shape.  I am constantly coming up with excuses not to exercise, which I don’t quite understand because I feel wonderful after I exercise.  Physically I feel great, but I also feel very accomplished and my self-esteem is much improved.  So why do I continue to fight it?  I’m not quite sure, but I’ve decided that I’m going to add requests for perseverance and energy to exercise and treat my body well (read: healthy, homemade meals) to my daily prayers.  I guess I’ve never really thought to ask for divine assistance for these matters before, but it’s worth a try.  I think it will make me much more accountable, since I will feel guilty asking for God’s help if I am not willing to put my share of work in.  Although I didn’t come from a highly religious household (or maybe because of it), I often heard “God helps those who help themselves” growing up.  Any advice?  Is there anything you do to help you connect your faith with your physical well being?

B) Stuff- I want to lose stuff so that I won’t have as much to move when we once again move across several states this summer.  Knowing that there is (at least) one more move we’ll have to make in the next few years, I am adamant that I disconnect myself from a lot of my junk.  I use PaperbackSwap to trade books I no longer want for books I’ve been wanting to read, and I went through our two large bookshelves and listed several books that I don’t need.  I am such a bibliophile, so that really didn’t even touch upon the mountains of books we own, but it’s something, right?  I listed a few items on ebay and Amazon as well.  If they don’t sell, they’ll be headed to Goodwill, but it’s worth a try right?  Oh, and I finally got my husband to list his couch on Craig’s List, yep, the couch that has been sitting at his old house with his old roommates since we got married in July.  He received a call from someone wanting to buy it about ten minutes after he posted the ad.  So we have a little extra pocket change and a few less items.  But I’m such a pack rat that I know I have to get rid of so much more.  How do I do it?  How do I figure out what to lose and what to keep?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

moving pains

As I said in my last post, my husband and I will be moving to North Carolina this summer, making it my second move in a year.  These are some of the first thoughts that I had when I found out that we would probably have to make the move:
  • I just applied for my Indiana teaching license.  It was a long and expensive process (taking a first aid class, ordering transcripts and test scores, paying the state).  I literally sent in my final payment last Friday and found out Monday that we would probably have to move.  On the bright side, I’ve already looked into applying for a North Carolina teaching license and almost have my entire application packet ready since I ordered extra transcripts, etc.  Maybe I had a premonition that I would need them in the near future.
  • I just bought new address labels.  We were getting low on our address labels, and thinking that we had at least a year and a half more in this apartment, I ordered a new set two weeks ago.  They didn’t even ship until after we decided to move.  Guess I’ll be using it as an excuse to send tons of cards and letters to family and friends.  Why does it always work out this way?
  • Thank goodness we did not buy the treadmill David’s been wanting.  We already have too much to move as it is, I definitely do not need to lug excercise equipment across states.  I am already thinking of how to get rid of unneccesary things, but that would mostly consist of clothes and other small items that won’t make much of a difference in the moving van.  I already culled most of my items when I moved here and we haven’t had much time to accummulate junk.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) we both have relatively nice, new bedroom sets and furniture so I don’t want to leave anything behind.  It will be much more cost effective to rent a huge moving van than sell are furniture for peanuts and have to turn around and pay quite a bit to get as nice of quality stuff.
  • I will not buy anything else while we are here. I will not buy anything else while we are here. I will not buy anything else while we are here. We need to save money for the move and I do not need anything else to pack.  I hate packing!  I also need to make sure that we only buy the food we need because I don’t want to have a bunch of cans left to move.  It’s so hard because I like to stock up when there are sales!
My parents have offered to take vacation time this summer to help move us.  In fact, they didn’t really offered, they just planned on it.  I would love their help, but I don’t want them to waste a vacation on moving - that is certainly not the relaxation they need, especially after taking all their vacation time last year between cancer treatments (for my mom), my wedding (they enjoyed it, but it was busy and stressful) and moving me here

Friday, January 7, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 5)

David and I are moving to North Carolina this summer!  Yes, I did just move to Indiana less than six months ago, and yes, that will mean moving twice within a year.  David’s advisor is leaving his university for one in North Carolina and advised him to follow her and continue his research there in order to guarantee that he’ll graduate with his Ph.D. next May.  Of course, it was quite a shock at first, however we made the decision quickly (he just found out on Monday) and we’ve already gotten used to the idea.  So for this week’s “7 Quick Takes Friday”, I will be listing three reasons we are sad to leave followed by four reasons we are excited to arrive in North Carolina (since we are going, I better put more pros than cons because I’m determined to make the absolute best of it).

1. We will miss David’s family.  We currently live in the same city as his aunt, uncle, and one of his cousins and his wife, and only live two hours away from his aunt, uncle, cousin, and her two kids in Chicago.  We are especially going to miss the kids, because we just adore them and we’ll miss them growing up.  We wouldn’t have been here more than a year or two longer, but we were really looking forward to the time we would have with them.

2. Moving is expensive and exhausting.  It was quite an ordeal to move all my furniture, wedding gifts, etc. to Indiana, now we have to move all that plus David’s furniture and the things we bought here thinking we would be in our apartment for at least two years.  I am not looking forward to repacking, although I still have some boxes up in our closet that I never unpacked because there wasn’t room in the kitchen for our pretty things (like martini glasses and crystal).

3. We are trying to have a baby.  If we get pregnant soon, the move will be during my pregnancy, which would make it more difficult.  I’m not a fan of having to switch doctor’s mid-pregnancy.  Also, I have a job here, but there is not guarantee that I will have a job there and three mouths to feed (and clothe) on David’s small graduate student stipend may be difficult.  We’ve talked about this and decided that these aren’t great enough reasons to postpone pregnancy, so we will just have to work on trusting God.  I’m not very good at trusting anyone, so this is difficult for me, but it provides me with opportunities to grow.

Now for the positives:

4. North Carolina is warm.  And supposedly very beautiful.   We are going there on blind faith, because we’ve never been there and won’t have the chance to visit before we had to make the decision, so we just went for it.

5. This will be my first experience living in a big city.  I’ve always thought I wouldn’t like to raise a family in a big city, so the best time to try it is now while we are young newlyweds.  And Raleigh is two hours from the beach (THE BEACH!) and close to “country living”, so it’s kind of like the best of both worlds.  Exciting.

6. David will have so many research and networking opportunities.  He wants to go into academia, which will most likely mean that he has to take a year post-doctoral position after he graduates.  The area we are moving to is a hot spot for his field, so he’ll have many opportunities to hobnob with professors and industries that can help him further his career.

7. We won’t be going alone.  Some of the others in David’s lab group are moving as well, including the couple with which we had Thanksgiving dinner.  I also have a friend from college that is getting her Ph.D. at the university where David will be doing his research and it will be fun to be able to see her. 

David also found that Raleigh was ranked #4 on the list of top 10 cities for young teachers, which means that I might have the chance to find my dream teaching job there.  I’m not sure if I should be excited about that or not, because, like I said previously, we are trying to get pregnant, which means that I probably wouldn’t be able to get a teaching job for the upcoming school year (no one is going to hire a new teacher who will go on maternity leave right away).  But I like the idea of having more opportunities (even if I can’t take advatage of them at the moment)!

Don’t forget to check out all the other great 7 Quick Takes at!