Have yourself a Married little Christmas!

30 Dec

B. and I have been married for seven months already!  How did the time fly?!  This is our first Christmas as a married couple and very beautiful and special.  Two weeks ago we put up our Christmas tree, and gradually put up lights, ornaments, and our Nativity set that we got for our wedding from some of his cousins.  I thoroughly enjoyed decorating our house, and put something Christmas-y in every room (except the laundry room 😉)  It has been special to celebrate Christmas together this year and to reflect on our first several months as husband and wife.  

During the months leading up to the wedding, life was a busy time of wedding planning, house-hunting, mortgage and insurance rate comparing, and working full time.  It was pretty overwhelming to have all of that to juggle at once, but it was very rewarding because I married the man of my dreams, we bought our first house together, and have been blessed to be able to turn this house into our home.  We have been able to share so many moments together whether making dinner, taking a walk outside after dinner, working in the yard, paying the bills, or just sitting on the couch and catching our breath after a long week at work.  It’s been a busy busy year!!  We have traveled a lot, (including our road trip honeymoon out west!) and have lots of pictures to show for it. 

It’s been a beautiful year and a wondrous celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage as husband and wife.  From our hearts to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

Christmas 2017


The wedding countdown!

21 Apr


Right after work today I drove to my second-to-last dress fitting.  My car skipped happily through a spring shower, and raindrops pelted my windows as my car whizzed along the grassy countryside.  This springtime reflects my own heart, as I prune away the clutter of my heart and mind, and till the fertile soul where the seed of marriage is going to be planted.

As I stood in front of the mirror in my wedding dress, I had this feeling of this time in my life being a bit surreal.  Every day I take a moment to review the day and take in my surroundings.  And today as I twirled in my wedding dress, I thought “we are getting married in 30 days from today!”  The boy I met when I was about 7 years old is going to be my husband!!!  (YIPPPEEE!!!!!))))  I’ve known him nearly my whole life, and after we started dating a couple years ago, realized that this is the man I want to marry.  All the years and all the prayers, all the hopes and dreams of getting married and raising a family with the man of my dreams is coming true!!!

This is the man I’ve prayed for.  For lots of years, I prayed, sacrificed and cried tears hoping and praying for a good and solid man to marry.  I begged and begged God to send me a man with whom I can spend my life, growing as a couple, cherishing, and working together.  This is the man to whom I’ve written lots of little notes, even before I met him, beginning with the words “dear husband of mine.”  My eyes can’t help but get a little teary-eyed just thinking of how good and how faithful God has been.  Not only has he answered my prayers – he’s filled them to the brim and now my heart is overflowing.

In just 30 short days, we will stand at the altar of the cathedral and will enter into a covenant with each other and with God, professing our vows of love and fidelity to each other.  We have been praying with and for each other.  And you, my dear reader, will you join us in prayer, that we will receive all the graces, indulgences and blessings available to us?  This is one of our favorite prayers, the words that the Archangel Gabriel spoke to Mary when he announced that she was going to be the Mother of Jesus:

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.”


3 Ways to Practice Listening

6 Mar

If you like being heard, you are in the right place!  You, like most people, like being heard when you are talking.  And not only that, you also like to be understood.  And that is where the art of listening comes into play.

It sounds counterintuitive to say that it takes a good listener to make a good conversation, but believe me when I say that it’s true.  (Are you listening?)

Customer Service has been my department of work for the last eight years.  I’ve talked with business men and women, moms and dads, kids, grandparents, hobbyists, enthusiasts, know-it-alls, and everyone in between.  I’ve answered hundreds of thousands of phone calls, and I’ve put forth my best effort to provide the best customer service.  And at the end of the day, you know what makes my customer service great??  Listening.

This afternoon I called a customer.  The reason for my call was a bill that was due.  The gentleman on the other end of the line answered in a friendly manner.  I told him the reason for my call.  Well, that did not go over well.  He proceeded to get mad at me for poor customer service from our collective department.  And so I listened.  He asked me insulting questions to which I gathered my breathe and answered in the kindest way I could without sounding smarmy or letting on that he was being rude.  I told him I would handle getting his account taken care of, apologized for his poor experiences and we ended our phone call on a positive note.

It wasn’t my fast typing skills or my mean mouse navigating skills that made my customer breathe a little easier when he hung up the phone.  It was that I listened to his complaint, acknowledged his frustration, apologized and fixed the problem.  Happy camper?  Yes.

The point of my sharing that story was to bring home the point of this post – 3 ways to practice listening:

  1. Become interested in the speaker.  If you are not interested in the speaker, you are not going to be interested in what they have to say.  Their words will become mumbo jumbo and you will not remember what they said.
  2. Don’t take it personally.  Was I offended that the customer insulted me for something that wasn’t my fault?  Eh, I let it roll off because I figured that he was not only upset with previous service.  He was probably using me as an easy target to air his grievances from something else that was bothering him.  Okay, fine, I’ll give him a pass.  That’s part of my job (and yours too if you are interested in becoming a good listener.)
  3. Put yourself in their shoes.  You like to be heard.  We all do.  When you talk, you want the listener to process your words.  Not just inhale your words and breathe them back out again without a second thought.  Become absorbed in what the other person is saying, and their method of driving their point home.  Do they use jokes, rhetoric, or monotone?  Do they use humor and stories?  Do they share personal experiences?  Gather the words, put them in your pocket, and don’t let them get away.  When talking person-to-person, look the other person in the eye.  It engages their heart.  People experience a sense of importance when someone else looks them in the eye when they are talking.  It shows respect.  And everyone deserves respect.

Finally, dear reader, I challenge you to this: Listen deeply to the words you hear today.  What is the person saying?  How can you listen better?  How can you empathize?  And better yet?  What are they saying that you can pray about for them?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


5 Quotes by Mother Teresa for you to enjoy!

17 Feb

The nun ushered our small group of student volunteers into their motherhouse in Rome, Italy, while on our semester abroad in Italy in 2007.

She took us down a hallway, where she asked us to remove our shoes before entering the next room – the Adoration Chapel.  Each of us removed our shoes before entering the Chapel.  The Chapel had an altar that housed the tabernacle (word for the house of Jesus).  There were no chairs or benches in the room.  We had simply the ground to kneel or sit on.

Above the tabernacle was a crucifix with the words “I THIRST” written on the wall next to it.  There we all knelt or sat in silent prayer.  I was humbled to be able to pray in the same chapel that Mother Teresa herself had prayed in before.

Earlier in the day our group had helped in the soup kitchen there in the heart of Rome, Italy.  There we worked with the group of sisters, Missionaries of Charity, who prepare meals every day for the homeless and hungry who live in Rome.

One of my classmates and I peeled pomegranates to serve as part of the meal.  There were so many pomegranates, and tedious to peel, but all for a good cause and humble work of mercy.  I remember being handed an apron to wear while I peeled the pomegranates.  Several of my classmates worked in the kitchen with some of the nuns preparing soup they were to serve as the main course for dinner.

It wasn’t until after the meal, after most of the people who had come for the meal had already left, that I was able to go into the eating area to see the people whom we served.  I remember helping wipe off the tables and wanting so badly to converse with someone who had come for the meal, even though we spoke different languages.  I wanted to hear their stories and be the ear that heard the story of where they came from and how they got to where they are now.  But, I didn’t have that opportunity.  Christ was calling me to service elsewhere – in the kitchen.

The whole experience stands out so much in my mind.  The sisters who belong to the order of Missionaries of Charity were so humble, so charitable, and so patient.  They were amazing witnesses of Christ’s teachings!

Lastly, here are five quotes from Mother Teresa that have inspired me on many occasions.  I hope you enjoy these little words of wisdom as much as I do:

1) “Do small things with great love.”

2) “Be faithful in small things, for it is in them that your strength lies.”

3) “God doesn’t ask us to be successful.  He asks us to be faithful.”

4) “When the time comes to ask God for something, ask Him to help you be generous.”

5) “If you wish to change the world, go home and love your family.”

Mother Teresa, pray for us!

“She Laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 31:25

11 Jan

These words hit me like a slap in the face.  As I sat on my bed, overwhelmed with wedding planning, these words jumped off the wall at me.  The verse “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” is printed on wall art that hangs above the desk in my bedroom.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the worry and fear of what could happen, what might not work out and what could go wrong with wedding plans, marriage preparations, and marriage itself.  It’s so easy to get lost in the stress and caught up in the fears of something going wrong.


The Holy Spirit stopped me quick in my tracksHe asked me to trust in GodTrust God radically and like none other.  Because when we put all of our trust in God, and trust in HIS POWER and HIS PLANS, and when we do our part to carry out God’s work in our lives, when we are STILL. AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD (and that we are imperfect and yet perfectly imperfect wonderful human beings), God is glorified.  If we allow the fear and worry to grip our minds, and when we allow the fear to creep in and take ahold of our otherwise peaceful lives, the glory is taken from God.  God does not want that.

God asks us to Trust Him for His plans are greater than ours, and when we sense that peace leaving our hearts, we must remind ourselves that God is in control.  We don’t have to be the conductor for the orchestra that directs every instrument.  We have to be that one single instrument that plays that one part, and the conductor, God, will take care of the rest.

I worry about not having enough time for planning and organizing everything for our wedding.  I worry about not having a house yet.  The fear of the future causes my head to spin “what if this happens?” “what if that happens?”  About every imaginable fear and worry runs through my head.

But for what?

What it boils down to is a lack of trust in God’s plans for my future (Jeremiah 29:11.)

My fiancé B. and I have taken classes regarding fertility and cycles, and we’ve read about St. John Paul’s II’s Theology of the Body, and we have been living as single people.  We have read books on good marriages and gotten advice from fantastic couples, and have prayed so many prayers for our future marriage.  And still I have this fear of the future.  I have been charting and watching my cycles and trying to remember to take my vitamins, exercise when I can, etc.  I dream of having children and being a wife and mother.  Oftentimes when I think of being able to be a mother someday, it makes me cry just thinking about it – in a good way – because I want it so badly.  I pray that we can have children – children who are healthy, happy and holy.  I need to trust God.

B. and I, like every other couple on the planet, are not perfect.  We mis-communicate, misunderstand each other, and assume instead of talk through things.  I am afraid of the “honeymoon phase” wearing off and “getting used to” each other.  We don’t want to ever take each other for granted.  But we do forget to say and do those things that show each other how much we love and cherish each other.  Does that mean we are failures?  No.  It means that we are human.  And thankfully, we can step back, look at the situation after the fact, and laugh at ourselves. 

“We are clothed with strength and dignity, and we laugh without fear of the future.”

Join us!

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