Luke 10:41-42

"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.'"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out with the old

Today is the start of my 30th week of pregnancy. According to all the e-mails I get monitoring my progress, there's 70 days left. That's about two months to finish preparations for baby. Our little girl was on our minds a lot over Christmas, knowing that next year, there's going to be a baby crawling around getting into the presents, playing with the boxes her gifts come in instead of the toys, probably no 10:30pm Mass on Christmas Eve. Family have been very generous in already buying gifts for her, so I've been able to be pretty good about my commitment to not buying her clothes, as tempting as it is.

We're still working on cleaning out our office/spare bedroom to turn it into a nursery. This is our most recent addition.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find an indoor, adult-sized rocking chair in Texas, by the way.

As my husband and I received gifts for Christmas, we're sticking to our in and out rule. We get something new, we get rid of whatever it's replacing. As I go through closets and drawers I'm amazed at how much stuff we have, even though we've been working on this purging process ever since we married and moved in together a year ago, but we keep finding more we don't need. It feels so good to let go of possessions, reminding ourselves that we can't take it with us.

Matthew 6:19-21 "Don't store up treasures here on Earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

This will continue to be a challenge as babies come with literally stores of stuff you can acquire. We're hoping to set a good example for our daughter and try to keep our home as simple as possible. We've already decided that instead of making Christmas Day a day of presents, that it will be a part of the Advent and Christmas seasons, with a small gift on St. Nicholas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany, teaching her why we give gifts to one another.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary

This weekend my husband and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe that a year has already gone by. We met two and a half years ago, set up by a mutual friend. I never thought that this random guy I talked to on the phone once before meeting in person would turn out to be my answer to many prayers and the daddy of my future daughter. But I knew within a couple of months dating that I loved him and after he survived meeting my family a few months later, that he was THE ONE.

That's not to say this year has been all romance. Being married is hard sometimes but it's the good kind of hard, like when you'd rather stay on the couch and eat ice cream but know you'll feel better if you work out instead. I prayed for years that if God wanted me to be married, then He'd put someone in my life to get me closer to heaven, and that has been so true. I didn't know what sacrifice really meant until marriage, having to let go of what I want to do and say sometimes to make him happy, keep the peace, or because it's not the best thing for us. That's not to say I have a controlling husband, but this fiercely stubborn and independent woman has had to submit sometimes and let him take the lead in our relationship and decisions.

I didn't realize the importance of communication until being married. We joke sometimes about him not being able to read my mind yet, but seriously, I have to remember that. Just because I think it doesn't mean he knows it. It's been so important for us to discuss everything, from what we need to get at the grocery store, to who's using the car and should we buy a house. Our communication styles are different; he's very linear and I am all over the place and we have to take that into consideration. One of the things we learned in our premarital classes was when is a good time to talk to one another. For me, not first thing in the morning, for him, not after about 9:30 at night. He is a phone person, I'd rather send an email. But because we frequently make the effort to engage the other person in the way they best respond, a lot of arguments have been avoided.

I thought that we'd be spending all this time alone together as newlyweds, but it's amazing the demands we have that get in the way. We can be our own worst enemies, both of us are very social humans and have a difficult time saying no, but we're learning that we have to make our time together a priority. And I really do love it when we do. I used to say my friends, "How am I possibly going to meet someone that I don't get tired of hanging out with and talking to?". But it happened; we always have something new to talk about and enjoy doing similar things, and especially since a baby is coming, cherish the time alone while we have it.

My husband still surprises me, even when I try to be such a planner. He makes me laugh, keeps me from being serious all the time, works hard to provide for our family, has a servant's heart, and motivates me to remain disciplined in our spiritual life. I cannot wait to see him as a father; our little girl is going to be so adored by him. He already talks to her (sometimes in Spanish since I'm wanting a bilingual baby!) and it just warms my heart every time. I am so grateful that God gave me an imperfect person that's perfect for me, and I hope that he is learning as much from me as I have from him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Traditions

Outside it actually feels like December should today, though I've been in the Christmas spirit since last week. You may not be able to tell if you saw our house. We have out the Nativity set that I played with when I was little, our stockings sitting, waiting to be stuffed and some pretty towels in the kitchen and bathroom, but that's about it. My inability to lift things over 20 lbs and a general discomfort pretty much all the time prevented me from decorating a tree. We're still trying to get rid of things to make room for baby so I just couldn't bring myself to pull out more stuff for just a month's time. I did buy a new ornament for this year; this and the wedding ornament I bought last year will be on a tree next year, I promise!

Been listening to a bit of Christmas music. A friend shared She and Him's album, which I'm liking a lot. Zooey's voice reminds me of Patsy Cline. Tomorrow will be the first movie of the season, White Christmas.

My husband and I are starting new traditions this Advent in anticipation of sharing them with our daughter in the years to come. Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. I'm not big on Santa, so we will celebrate this day instead. Nothing big, but we bought little gifts for each other in honor of this Saint's generosity.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gaga and I love Nebraska

Most of the people who read this blog are my facebook friends so this post may be a little redundant if you were reading your newsfeed last week, but Lady Gaga inspired me to write.

See, I am a GLEEk but a cheap one, so I watch the episodes on Hulu for free, which means I'm a little behind on the most recent episodes. Yesterday I watched the Mash-off episode that featured excellent song and dance, in particular, Gaga's song "You and I" about Nebraska, among other things. So after immediately downloading the song and listening to it repeatedly, I decided to write about our trip back home for Thanksgiving.

If you want beautiful scenery, don't go to Nebraska in the fall. From about November through March it's pretty much gray skies and brown grass. Summers on the other hand, are gorgeous, especially when you get in the country with a beautiful blue sky and green fields as far as you can see. No matter when you're there, you get to see the stars. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I moved to a city where you can see the constellation Orion and that's about it.

Speaking of missing things, I also don't realize how much I miss my family until I'm back. Things just fall into place so easily when I'm with them, despite only getting to see most of them maybe twice a year. Facebook, text, and email make it easier to stay in touch, but there's something about being with the people who've literally known you your entire life, have seen the good, bad, and ugly, and love you anyway. There's no pretension with the people back home, what you see is what you get. They work hard and love their families and are satisfied with what they have.

I also took my husband to my "happy place" (that's not the mall): Memorial Stadium for a Husker football game. The week leading up to the game, he said that he didn't understand why I was getting so excited. Now that he's seen the Sea of Red, he gets it. We ate our Runzas and cheered the Big Red to a victory with 80,000 of our friends. He didn't want to leave, and our lingering paid off; we got to take pictures down on the field, which I'd never done before in the years I was going to school at UNL.

Since this was the last trip back home before the baby is born, my BFF hosted a shower for me. People were so generous in helping us prepare for the little girl. As I was putting everything away yesterday (while listening to my new GLEE downloads) I realized she's going to be wearing a lot of pink, not that there's anything wrong with that!

It was a whirlwind trip with lots of driving, sharing stories, and eating way too much. Hard to believe that the next time we go back we'll have a baby with us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Celebrating Fall

Originally I was going to write a couple of different posts over the last few weeks but to stay somewhat current they're being combined into one. You'd think not working full time I'd be able to sit and write more frequently but that hasn't happened. Seems like there's always things going on each weekend and I'm never home during the week.

So anyway, fall is one of my favorite seasons to be in Texas. Unlike back home "up north", where snow is forecasted for the afternoon and a low of 29 tonight, when a cold front comes through here, it brings wind and a high of 61 tomorrow. The cheapskate in me loves that we haven't had the AC or the heat on for the last month and it's still comfortable in the house. I keep telling my husband we need to move to San Diego where we'd have weather like this all year round but he's not convinced, something about traffic and cost of living. Whatever...

I also love the State Fair of Texas. It took years of me living here to finally go, because I assumed that it was like the state fair back home, which was centered around 4H and showing farm animals, so no one from the "big city" that I lived in ever went. But here, there is the ag element for those that are interested, but so much more! I go for the food mostly, all the things you'd never think could be fried but are, some with better results than others. There's the Food and Fiber exhibit filled with free samples and my first stop is always a Corny Dog. I tolerate the car show for my husband and love the people watching. I always have to see the butter sculpture and look at all the photography and other art projects that win ribbons. I was a little bummed I couldn't go on any rides this year. Despite my fear of Ferris wheels, I did go on the ginormous Texas Star one year, only because my best friend was in town and wanted to ride. Never again.

Holidays like Halloween are different to me now that we're expecting. Thanks to wonder of pinterest and blogs, I got inspired to include our little girl in the celebration.

Here was my costume, I'm in the middle of two other expectant mommas.

This is the third year for my hubby and I to carve pumpkins together. This was my pumpkin, took me literally 5 minutes but was so cute!

This afternoon I'm headed out to see if I can find discounted Halloween costumes and outfits for next year and I may come home with some candy...

Looking forward to seeing my family and the Huskers Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's a girl!

Hard to believe that we are already at the halfway point of our pregnancy. I've been saying for awhile that once we know what we're having the second half will go faster than the first. Helps that there's the holidays, friends staying with us, and the births of lots of friends' babies coming up in the next couple months as well.

We found out yesterday that our little one is a healthy girl. People kept asking me if I had any sense about it one way or the other and I really didn't. I was also asked a lot if I had a preference, and again I really didn't. It's not like I had any part in deciding anyway.

Reality is sinking in. We will be raising a daughter in a world that can have some pretty twisted views of femininity. Thank God for our friends and family that will love and embrace her for who she is. I picked out a gender-neutral nursery theme already and we're not planning on changing it, but I am totally okay with dressing her up in whatever people want to give us. I'm sure she'll make her preferences known soon enough.

In fact, one of her "aunts", LEBean, already made her an outfit. I cannot believe how small it is, but a wise friend pointed out, "Do you really want someone bigger than that coming out of you??"

We are going to register soon, so I would love some tips from moms about items that I won't need to bother with and also ones that were really helpful. I've been in Babies R Us a couple times to get gifts for other people but looking for us is a little overwhelming. My hubby and I have been working hard to downsize the amount of stuff we have and don't want to replace it all with baby things we don't really need.

Continue to keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Next test of patience

So what I couldn't write in my last post was what I've been praying about a lot. My husband and I wanted to start a family this summer and God blessed us with me becoming pregnant in June. But we agreed we weren't going to make the news public until after our first sonogram which wasn't until August 19. So yes, lots of praying this summer for the "fruit of the week" as that's how all the websites describe the size of the growing baby. I'm at week 15 now and prayer obviously hasn't stopped. I've had to battle a lot of lies (a downside to me being home alone a lot to think) and trust God more than ever. While there are precautions I can take to help keep the little one healthy, there's also a myriad of things about its development that I have absolutely no control over. God has told me over and over again not to fear and to trust Him and I'm slowly starting to listen and believe the truth of His word.

There's also a whole lot of waiting. 40 weeks feels like forever, especially since I'm at the stage now where the nausea is over (still have the fatigue many days), but I'm not really showing, can't feel the baby moving, and don't know what the sex is. This is the honeymoon stage I'm supposed to enjoy, trying to remember that. The Bean suggested that we keep a candy jar with the number of days we have left so we can eat a piece a day as we count down. I have peanut M&Ms and the husband has Skittles so the time looks a lot shorter in his jar. At least I don't have the gestation of a giraffe. I learned recently their gestation is 400-460 days and they give birth standing up, with the baby just falling to the ground!

Other random things from my pregnancy thus far-
I have had cravings, though they usually last for a few days and then I decide something else sounds better, so there's lots of boxes with two or three items left inside. Pickles are the one exception, can't get enough of those.

I'm also in the in between stage where I don't really need maternity clothes yet but my bottoms are pretty uncomfortable. That being said, I've started wearing maternity pants for the wonderful elastic waistbands. I got a pair of jeans at Forever 21 this week; when I told a couple friends they both commented about a teen store selling maternity clothes. Hey, I'm 31 and still shop there so I think it's totally ok.

We're wanting to raise this baby as eco-friendly yet cheaply as possible so wanting to use cloth diapers. Things have changed a lot in 30 years, the options are overwhelming. Thank God I have friends who are using them or will be soon so I can get some help.

You would not believe how many people have asked me already if we know the sex of the baby. Not until mid-October. I haven't had any feelings about what it is one way or the other, but lots of other people have an opinion and it's pretty much been split down the middle. My dental hygienist gave me a blue toothbrush yesterday because she said it's a boy.

The next 7 months a lot of babies are coming into the world. I am so excited for our little one to have playmates. God is good.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where did the summer go?

Scientifically I know we have another month of summer, and given the weather we've been having in Dallas, it's going to feel like summer until November. But for 26 years of my life I've been a teacher or student so to me summer is over when school starts. All of my teacher friends are back to work now. The summer camps I worked at the zoo are done. There's no more little ones having swimming lessons at the YMCA pool while I'm attempting laps. Tomorrow is another transition for me into this new role as part-time housewife. People have been asking me how I feel about staying home and what I normally say is, "We'll see when school starts back and I'm not there." So, I'll let you know in the weeks to come.

But it got me thinking this morning about what has happened over these last two months.

I spent three weeks at Starbucks tutoring former students.
I worked middle school summer camps at the zoo. It never gets old watching the mountain lions stalk children.
I clipped coupons and went to the grocery store more times than I swear I ever did in the years I was single.
We bought a new car and a new computer. Now, when do I get the Iphone 5???
I taught teacher workshops in Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Arkansas.
We drove across west Texas (it's really big, BTW) and into New Mexico to get to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. And we really didn't want to come back to the blast furnace a week later.
I spent a few days at the lake with my family. I see them two times a year, yet they know me as well as best friends.
I cheered on my husband at two bike rallies, one more to go in a couple weeks.
Celebrated my birthday and the birthdays of my mother-in-law, flower girl, and a dear friend.
Watched a lot of Harry Potter, Big Bang Theory, Psych, and How I Met Your Mother.
Read Jane Eyre, People of the Book, 2 books by Jodi Piccoult, the autobiography of Lois Lenski, and Unbroken.
Accomplished two of my summer goals, finally printed and organized all our wedding photos and sent out our thank you cards. The back room is still a work in progress.
Prayed. A lot.

I'm anxious but excited to see what is in store in the months to come.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God High

Had an amazing God-filled weekend. Two of my husband's old classmates were ordained into the priesthood on Saturday. Catholic or Protestant, if you've never seen this before, you should. It has all of the elements of the Mass, with even more rich, traditional ceremonies included. There were dozens of priests and deacons there from all over the world to welcome their new members into the brotherhood by the laying of hands and and embracing. The three new priests were from England and Nigeria and the third is American but half Japanese and half German. Seeing the African people there in their beautiful outfits and headdresses, listening to the different accents, and seeing people like my Mexican students in the congregation reminded me yet again of our Universal Church.

Because I'd been to an ordination last year for another of my husband's friends, I knew what to expect for the weekend. It is truly like a wedding celebration. We went to a reception Saturday evening, complete with the photo collage and guest book, table favors, buffet-style meal, and cake. But we also received a blessing from the new priest (Father James) and spent a lot of time talking with other priests in the diocese. Then on Sunday, we were there for Father James's first Mass. His father was a lector, his brother an altar server, his sister a soloist. It was beautiful.

So, like after returning from a retreat, I'm on a God-high. Being around so many young, vibrant priests encourages me about the future of our church. In three years we'll have another ordination to attend, and I found out recently of another friend who just decided to enter the seminary. Seeing how these men are influenced by their families and friends to answer this call inspires me to continue to pray for vocations and those who are currently serving God.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Penny saved

The last couple of weeks I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to save a little money here and there. I signed for every possible restaurant that gives you something free around your birthday (can't wait for next June!), actually look at the grocery store ads to compare prices, follow different stores and people on Twitter to get tips, and yes, clip coupons. Instead of going to one store to get everything we need, I'll drive to multiple places that have certain items on sale and just get those few things. Yesterday alone I went to three grocery stores. Fortunately we live in an area where's it's not a huge waste of gas to do this.

My husband and I have talked (not argued!) more about money in the last month that we did combined in the five months of marriage previously. We have to plan now, decide can we go out tonight if we'll be on vacation later on this month, instead of just doing what sounds good at that moment.

I was thinking when I was out at store #3 yesterday, why haven't we been doing this all along? Oh right, because we didn't have to.

Definitely not an excuse. I did have a little excuse, no time while working one full time job and others that were part time. Now I can go on multiple errands, in the middle of the day no less, poke around online for an hour to find coupons, go through the ads that come in the mail. But really thinking about what we're spending, planning ahead, communicating, those are all things we could have been better about before. The Bible talks about money and resources more than anything else so as believers, we need to be good stewards of the gifts we've been given.

I was taking that for granted. I recognize that I need to be careful of not swinging too far to the other side and hoard and try to control all we have out of fear. Nothing we own is our own, it is a gift and God provides in all circumstances.

Now to go back and read the end of Matthew 6 again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Growing up

There's something about hearing words from your mom versus anyone else.

Given the condition and age of my car, my husband and I decided to trade in both of our cars and go down to one new vehicle. It's the same kind of car that I had before but a few years ago its style was changed. So yesterday I drove the new car for the first time to the Y so I could swim laps. When I came out I took a picture of the car and sent it to my mom. As I was driving around running errands, seeing many others of the same car on the road, I realized that I have a grown-up, practical car now. We decided on this car for all these adult reasons-safety, more space, gas mileage.

My mom emailed me back about the picture saying, "That's not a ride-it's a minivan. Plenty of room for car seats and strollers?"

She knows I have a huge aversion to minivans. I have said for years that if I ever have kids I will never drive a minivan because of all it represents to me-a sheltered, suburban lifestyle that I thankfully never had growing up (explains the laugh my mom got from the picture). Not that there's anything wrong with living in the suburbs-it's cheaper, quieter, safer-it's just not for me.

But deep down I knew Mom was somewhat right. We are hoping to start a family soon and the decisions we've made the last couple months, like buying this car, are in preparation for that.

I have a feeling that I as I keep getting older my mom is just going to keep be even more right about things, but don't tell her I said that.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rubber meets the road

In my last post I wrote about not working full time and my worries about rest and how I would use my time. What's been on my mind the last few days has been another frequent worry, MONEY.

The hubby and I were pretty good at communicating about our finances even before we were married and sat down with a financial planning friend about a month after the wedding to get everything joined together. But a couple days ago we had to take a serious look at our finances and see how we were going to do this on one consistent salary. A very humbling afternoon.

And then yesterday, my car overheated on the interstate. Right now I'm waiting for the call from the dealership and praying. A lot.

I've struggled with trusting God to provide ever since college. The first verse I memorized was Matthew 6:34. "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have trouble of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."

Did God provide for me in college? Yes. Has He provided for my needs before and after that? Yes. Did it mean that I sometimes had to sacrifice things I wanted to take care of things that were needed? Yes. Do we have support from friends and family that could help in emergencies? Yes. Will I be able to take it with me? No.

So why do I still worry?

The psalm from Mass today, 68, says, "A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; Your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy."

I came across this blog post today, another reminder from God about the blessings of poverty.

God, help me in my unbelief.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

But at least this time, the blog I started still exists!

Yes, it's been 10 months since I last posted. In the meantime, I set up and dismantled 2 classrooms in a new school, moved twice myself, and got married, so the blog was put on the back back burner.

But hopefully I'm going to have more free time to post, so I'm hoping I can get into a routine of writing; I'm inspired by my dear friend at

Not only is it summer and school's out, but my new hubby and I decided that I'm not going to work full-time in the fall. It's been frustrating this semester to try and keep things together at home and at work, so we're hoping that I'll be able to take better care of everything with more time at home, and be less stressed doing it.

The morning of day one this plan sounds great. Right now it's like any another summer. We'll see how I'm doing come August. We both feel this is where God is leading us, but the thought of a lot of free time makes me a little nervous. I pray that my time will be filled with rest and I will respond to what God wants me to do and not just give myself tasks so I feel productive.

One of the routines I want to get into is going to Mass during the week. The gospel I heard today from John 16 says, "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you in all truth." The reflection I read from Archbishop Luis Martinez really speaks to my hope for this transition:

"As the artist is not content with explaining to his pupil the secrets of art, but takes the uncertain hand of the beginner, and gently but firmly moves and guides it in order that the beauty of his ideal may be expressed on the canvas, even thus does the Holy Spirit takes our faculties and move and guide them, so firmly that they do not stray, and at the same time so gently that our activities continue to be vital, spontaneous, and free."