Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Will this Pope Change Anything?

Habemus Papam! We have a pope!

First I have to admit that I teared up watching the live video of Pope Francis' first words to the world even though I had no idea what he was saying. Anyone else?

Also, how blown away were you when he asked for prayers from us first? That was such a cool moment to watch as St. Peter's Square became silent. The Church praying in unison for our Vicar of Christ.

There were so many cool Catholic moments :)

But do you know what one of my favorite moments were? I don't know if anyone else picked up on this as they were watching EWTN, but the female commentator asked a certain question differently than the rest of the world has been. It seems everywhere I turn lately since Pope Benedict's retirement announcement I see articles and people asking, "What do you want the new pope to change?" or "What  do you hope the new pope will do differently?" I'm wasn't sure why, but those questions felt like the wrong ones.

But the lady on EWTN I think got it right. She saids something like, "What do you think the new pope will focus on during his papacy?" BINGO!

That one word, "focus," made all the difference in my mind. The pope is not a part of our Church to change it or to lead it in the way he thinks it should be led. As Vicar of Christ, he's supposed to be just that, an earthly representation of Christ, and as such lead the Church according to the truth of the Gospels and scripture in general.

If you are hoping for "change" within the Church's teachings, I'm sorry to say I think you'll be disappointed. The pope is not meant to "change" Christ's teachings. That would be a direct violation of his role. However, he most certainly can focus our Church to certain areas that need attention. One of Pope Benedict XVI's areas of focus was on evangelization whereas Pope John Paul II had a special interest in the youth and in areas of the body. Each were pivotal in that pope's leadership of the Church, especially for the time.

I'm really excited to see where Pope Francis shines the spotlight during his papacy, and how the Church's eyes will focus on it. Regardless, I trust that God's will has been done, and congrats Church family on your new holy father!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Living Room Reno was No Picnic

You would think that after redoing half of the rooms in our home that I would be a good judge of how long a project will take. Apparently I'm not because I woke up a few weeks ago on a four-day weekend and told Ben we were going to redo our living room, which means the entry way and hallway also needed an update at the same time. I didn't think it would be that hard: paint, new trim, and new doors. 

Well after 16 hours of painting walls (the wrong color the first time); painting, cutting, nailing, and touching up 350 feet of trim; routering, cutting, painting, and hanging seven doors; and all the little things that crop up, this project took three long weekends and many evenings between those weekends. But I LOVE it! And I'm so happy we did it because it would have been near impossible with a baby.

So if you have a minute (or several since this was a huge project) take a look through the pictures below.
Before pic. Like way before. Like when we moved in. You can see the dining room and kitchen hadn't been touched yet. 

Looking back at the entry way. 

The before of the hallway.

The first step is always to take down all the trim (we've almost replaced every piece in the house already!).

All the nasty old trim and doors. The doors were so cheap and lightweight that I could carry them easily. Not the best sound-blocking doors.

Ben got a router for Valentine's Day and he was about as happy as a little boy with his first pocket knife. He's wanted one for years. He has many projects planned for this baby, but it's first job was routering the door for hinges and doorknobs. 

All the doors were slightly too wide and slightly too tall. Luckily it was still a cool day here in Florida because that was a lot of work. Thanks, honey!

This is about one third of the trim. Do you see the workspace Ben created for me? Yep, he took an old ladder apart and propped them up on the workbenches and random stuff in our garage. It was pretty genius and made painting go a lot faster. 

So this was the color I picked out originally. When we went to go purchase the paint I wasn't 100% sure what color I wanted (though we got the no fume paint since I'm pregnant. It was awesome and will be all we get in the future even when not pregnant. I loved not getting dizzy from the fumes!). I found a mustard color and thought it might be perfect but was positive Ben wouldn't agree. He must have been feeling very agreeable because he said sure so I about ran out the door with it.

As we were painting though I started to get worried. I liked the color alright, but there was a LOT of it. Our walls get very tall in the living room and then there is the entry way and hallway that all needed the same paint. 

We just kept telling ourselves we'd like it when it was all finished. Then we said we'd like it in the morning after almost eight hours of painting. In the morning I even told myself I'd like it at a different time of day. If you can't tell, I really didn't want to have to do it all over again. It was so much work. But after an hour of looking at it the next morning over well deserved cinnamon rolls, we agreed there was way too much mustard at this picnic. There was yellow EVERYWHERE! 

We tried to have fun with it as we began our second paint job the very day after having completed the first, haha.

But I did get really tired apparently. Ben took this while he was painting along the ceiling. Naptime.

Afte all that painting, we got to the parts, like hanging doors!

I can't tell you what a difference the doors made. It was night and day, especially in the other rooms we've redone like the guest room and master (post coming soon).

We looked at the home improvement stores in our area but were unimpressed with the doorknob selection. They were all so boring and expensive. So I found these online! They weren't cheap, but at least they were unique. I love them. 

This is me cuddling with our puppy while Ben nailed trim up. Bay has overcome her fear with all the power tools except the air compressor and nail gun combo. Poor thing was so worried, and there was 350 feet of trim to install. I felt like the worse puppy mom in the world.

After trim came time for hanging up pictures. The finishing touches are icing on the cake. This is my husband using a laser to hang our pictures just right. It definitely came in handy.

And the final product looks like this ...

This will soon change once again as the right-hand corner will become my office area, but that's a future post. Isn't this color better than the mustard?

The hallway! Do you remember what this looked like?! If not see below.

So dark! Now the hallway looks more like "the light at the end of the tunnel" instead of "passage to Hades." We have also purchased three can lights to put along the ceiling since right now there is just the one 80s light. The one light just doesn't cut it. We kept grumbling while painting that it was too dark. But that's another future project.

All finished! It finally feels more like home, and I just feel calm when I'm here. Sorry for the long post, but this was a long project, but one we are very happy with.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

You Are So Brave

When I started this blog I wasn't sure where my voice would go. Either to be lost in the vastness of cyberspace or by some miracle perhaps someone might hear it. Regardless, this blog has given me  several opportunities I never expected like the opportunity to talk to several hundred teens and young adults through local events and when I was blessed to have my story published on So I know people are hearing my story, but what I am just over the moon about is the number of women who have since contacted me with questions, comments, etc. So this post is dedicated to them.

I want to tell you each how brave I think you are. Each of you is struggling with things that would be so much easier if you just popped the pill, but either for health reasons, moral reasons, or a combination of the two you have decided to starting asking questions and researching your options. That takes a leap of faith that I know is incredibly difficult and can be so scary.

I want to encourage you and try and shout above the waves of people or your own self doubt that you are doing the right thing. Even if you haven't already signed up for a NFP class or started converting your friends, just looking at options is an awesome first step. It's the only first step really. I was my own worst enemy and if one person backed up my own self doubt then my resolve crumbled. It took weeks and weeks of discussions with friends to get me to finally climb the wall I had made out of my birth control pill packs to take that first step in following God's plan for me as well as a healthier lifestyle. 

So I just want to say again, ladies, you are so brave. So BRAVE! I've seen your faces, or at least ones like them, in the rows of women at pre-cana classes. I can see that inner struggle. I so know that inner struggle. But I'll tell you what I tell them. NFP is not the same as taking a pill everyday. It's a lifestyle change and that takes determination, knowledge, and support. There are difficult aspects of NFP that you don't have when you simply take a pill and forget about the rest. But I wouldn't trade those difficult aspects for the control I feel knowing my body and peace I feel when I know I'm aligned with my faith and understand why. So start researching, keep asking me and other resources questions, determine your reasons for staying on birth control and the reasons why you are even considering NFP. I found that the reasons I was considering NFP were reasons worth fighting for to make NFP work. And once I made that switch, I suddenly have even more reasons to stick with it.

And I know support isn't out there in droves for your decision to switch to NFP for family planning or even to just understand your cycle, so please never feel like a burden or a bother to email me with questions. I WANT to be that support!

Again, I am so impressed with all of you amazing women!