Monday, November 26, 2012

What I Wore Sunday: Volume 2

Happy Feast of Christ the King (a day late)!

I'm a bit late on this linked up post about What I Wore Sunday through Fine Linen and Purple, but I wanted to do it anyway. The dress is a favorite of mine from The Limited. Coat is from Banana Republic, a gift from my mom :) It was obviously very sunny that morning and cold for Florida!

What struck me this last Sunday was two things. First, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, it got eerily quiet during the consecration of the body and blood of Christ. No babies were crying, no coughing, no cell phones ringing, no noise. It gave me goosebumps! It was like Christ saying, "This is important; watch closely." And it is! It is so important! 

The second thing I noticed in mass was that since the Catholic Church's liturgical year ended yesterday with the Feast of Christ the King, we begin a new year about a month prior to the Roman calendar. As such we begin with the preparation for Christ's birth. How cool is it that we get to end our regular year by looking at beginnings? It's something I hope to reflect on more during this upcoming advent time. How about you? What do you think you are called on to reflect about this year during Advent?

Just one more picture from our walk around our beautiful home with the puppy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I Wore Sunday

So this is my first time trying a "linked up" blog post. I love Fine Linen and Purple's "What I Wore Sunday". Basically you post a picture of what you wore to church on Sunday. Terribly complicated, right? Hope I don't screw it up :)

The dress is from my newish favorite store, Francesca's. It was a gift from the hubby for my birthday :) It's a new tradition that instead of opening a gift, I get to go shopping with him and purchase something for my birthday. Half the fun of getting a new dress is shopping for it.

I then subsequently wore it out for dinner and a movie (Twilight <3) with the hubs, sista, and her husband. Sidenote: this was the first birthday in a while that I got to share with family outside of my husband! What a blessing!

So that's what I wore Sunday. Check out the other posts, too, if you get a chance.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumped about Obama's Victory

I’m kind of pumped about President Obama’s victory. Wait! Before you go to the comment box to either argue with me or congratulate me, let me explain why.

Last Tuesday, when I saw that President Obama would continue leading our country, I felt crushed. I wasn’t expecting anything different and I’m no lover of Romney, but I knew it was a crushing blow to my family, my beloved Church family. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate is a mandate to Obamacare that will require companies to pay for insurance that will provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization procedures. This mandate includes all organizations even if that organization is morally opposed to those things. Because of Obama's re-election it will be allowed to continue. Christian organizations were given one year to comply and that deadline is quickly approaching. 

The organizations have several options: 1) comply, 2) pay a hefty fine (for Hobby Lobby it will be $1.3 million a day), 3) drop health care coverage for its employees, or 4) close its doors all together. I'm assuming in most cases if the organization does No. 2 or 3, it will result in No. 4. The choices are grim, but I pray the Church chooses correctly. I pray it fights until it has to start closing its doors on schools, hospitals, charities, retail stores, etc., and refusing to comply until that time the mandate is overturned or at least modified to either exclude organizations morally opposed to it or no longer include coverage for life-ending services.

But I don’t suspect it will be overturned or even modified easily, and I see a lot of pain in the future of my Church. I see religious leaders and Christians everywhere being truly persecuted for not wishing to waiver in their belief that all life is valuable and that things that are destructive to that life are also destructive to our culture as a whole. I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but if we act like we should, we’ll be getting a lot of press about our unwavering opposition to the point of humiliation, bankruptcy, jail time, or worse. Basically, I think it will get worse before it gets better.

But it will get better; first because our God is faithful to His faithful and abounding in mercy, and second because I think this has a purpose. It’s time to strengthen our Church on the national and international scales. We’ve grown silent on issues we are afraid will drive people from the pews. We've ignored shifts in culture because we're afraid to look like what this world describes as bigots and antiques. We've decided that telling people what is right and wrong is none of our business because if we do there will be no one left to tell. We’ve become divided within one body, and if a body is divided, it dies.

I’m already personally thankful for President Obama’s past term and the HHS Mandate. Without it my group of friends may have never talked about the Church’s teaching on birth control as frequently as they did. It took many, many discussions before I found NFP and realized I was rejecting a crucial part of my vocation of marriage, my faith, and my responsibility to other humans. It’s made me an ardent supporter of NFP and has made me a better wife, Christian, and neighbor. I think allowing the mandate to persist so that we can oppose it publicly on a national stage will strength true Christians, will evangelize to those who are not, and push out the door those too complacent to fight.

So that’s why I’m ready for President Obama’s next four years. They will be a true test of our Church and our individual faith journeys. I am relinquishing to God my fear, however, that many of my Christian brothers and sisters will not fight the mandate. I will more than likely suffer each time an institution, which call itself Christian, complies with the mandate and provides/funds the services that end life. And maybe I won’t see the end or modification of the mandate before I die, but I think this will make our Church stronger. Smaller perhaps, as people will inevitably leave, but what remains will be stronger.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank God for Sisters: Family Photos

I am so very blessed with an amazing sister. Truly, truly she's one of the greatest gifts in my life. I was even more blessed earlier this year when she and her husband decided to move from Chicago down to Florida to live near us. I love having her nearby again! We've been six hours or more apart since 2007! Much too long.

She is my best friend and I like the person I am when I'm around her. She's kind, and welcoming, sweet, and always smiling. She likes to take funny pictures of herself on my phone so I find them later and we made up a dance years ago we still do whenever there's an opportunity. She likes to mimic me in odd voices and we call each other sistas after watching the Geisha. She's just awesome and you should be friends.

Us wearing Where's Waldo/Future Harry Potter glasses at our Halloween Party.
She's also very talented! She recently began a photography business and has been doing the most wonderful work. You should check her work out at Or like her page on Facebook because who doesn't like seeing beautiful pictures in your newsfeed occasionally. We were lucky enough to grace the pages of her Facebook just recently. Check out our family photos below :) Thank you, Kelsey!

Our puppy.

Love the trees.
The dip.

I think we're all laughing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Second Pre-cana ... Rocked it :)

Second Pre-cana ... Rocked it :)

Ben and I spoke at our second Pre-cana (marriage prep in the Catholic church) on Sunday about ... you guessed it ... NFP! Who's excited?! Well, I didn't think the couples who joined us would be. But we had an awesome bunch of couples who were crazy about each other and looking to get in touch with their Catholic roots.
This post needed a picture so how about Bay on her walk :)
Ben and I got to lead one of the small group sessions as well and were really encouraged when we spoke with our four sets of couples. None of them were uber Catholics, but their honesty about their faith journey was truly inspiring. Each spoke about how they had fallen away from the Church over the years, but as marriage was approaching they had decided they wanted God to be a part of their lives. Doesn't that speak volumes?

But it's true. When we get entrenched in a certain phase of our lives we tend to focus on the mundane and never really evaluate all the choices we're making. Like for so many young adults we get caught up in school and jobs and learning the ropes of this thing called adulthood. We focus on the immediate needs like paying bills and having a few friends to call on the weekends. All those things come, but it takes a true effort to include God. However, when a life event occurs like marriage or having a baby or whatever, it makes us wake up and think about how we want this next phase in our lives to be different from the one before. I'm just so happy these couples realized they wanted God to be a part of it.

And we hoped that after our talk they would consider making NFP a part of their marriage as well. We thought the evaluations might tell us how we did. I was dreading this part because I've been warned by others that they can get nasty. But like I said, we had an awesome group and got encouraging evaluations of our talk! They said things like they enjoyed the background info and the health info, that it was a great presentation, that they liked our passion and our approach, and that we didn't make them feel like evil people if they didn't already use NFP. I was pretty happy with those results!

We did get one kind of negative critique. They said they felt like it was more of an advocation for NFP than a talk on marital connection/bond. And I'd have to say they were right. But that was intentional. They might get that information from anywhere, but the chances of them getting the Church's teaching on contraception and NFP again is slim. It's not something you generally talk about over lunch or even hear from the pulpit. But their point is something to consider because NFP truly supports the continued formation and strengthening of the marital connection/bond. We'll have to dive into that more in the future.

I just can't tell you what a positive mood that whole day put me in. It's just such a blessing to get to be a part of this ministry!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Operation FALLOUT: Repurposing Dining Table

Our home is rather strange in that it has two dining rooms. That's not entirely the strange part. The strange thing about having two dining rooms is that they are right next to each other. If you are going to have two dining areas, at least separate them a little, right? It's weird, but what I really cared about was the fact that it was also ugly. 
See. Ugly. 
Luckily it just so happened that because we were redoing the "formal" dining room right next door and giving the kitchen a facelift, so we had no choice but to redo the "informal" dining room as well. A brand new coat of paint and new trim made a huge difference.
See. Not ugly.
But it was still missing that essential part of a dining room ... a table. As fate would have it I was explaining my predicament to a co-worker. Our "formal" dining room (hard to keep them straight, I know) table was the first thing Ben and I bought as a married couple. Since the one I had prior to graduating college I found on the side of a road, we splurged and got one we loved. However, we didn't feel like doing that twice so I was going to start scouring roadsides again. My amazing co-worker had a better idea. She asked me to come get her old table out of her garage! Score!
How perfect is that? It's even round to fit the bend in the window! We loved it, but it needed a little love after receiving lots from her children when they were growing up. So we decided to restore it. We'd already done the staining thing and this had so many nooks and crevices, we decided to try the paint route. So first I sanded the top. We got a primer that didn't need sanding, but the top is the focal point, so I wanted it to be primed and ready before the actually priming began. Seems redundant, I know. 

Next we had to get it inside the house. Unfortunately it was too big to fit through any of the doorways except our sliding door all the way around the house. But I married an ox of a husband!
He even waited for me to run around the house looking for my camera so I could take this picture! Best!
After I sanded the top and Ben found a way for it to reside inside our home I got priming.

We used Zinnser primer. I had heard good things and only have good things to say about it. However, it's not like other primers. This stuff was like super glue. And being the messy painter I am I found it in my hair for weeks after. Advice: wear a hairnet :)

Chairs before.
Chairs with primer (and Instagramed).

 The worst part about this project was how intricate the chairs were. So many rods and curves and carvings. It killed my back, but Ben is brilliant and turned them upside down on a stool so I could continue painting with less backache. It still wasn't an easy process. And then I had to do it all over again with paint!

For paint, I choose an enamel paint. It's what we should have used on the cabinets as well because it dries much harder, which is good for high traffic surfaces, such as a table top. Finally you can choose to top it all off with a wax. Wax is good because it keeps the moister from say a cup from getting to the paint. It's also cheap and might save you from future sanding/priming/repainting jobs down the road. 

Finally we added a new light fixture, some wall art, and curtains (which I found for $9 each at Target! Just hemmed them along the bottom and love them!) to make our "informal" dining room complete!

Totally different look from our "formal" dining room, but I love it. This feels comfy and cozy, while the other room feels ... well ... more formal. Hope you like!