30 December 2014

The Most Dangerous Prayer.

Caught your eye, huh? ;)

Prayer is dangerous; very powerful but equally dangerous. Why is that you may be wondering?

Well if you mosey on over to Barista Mommy and visit my dear friend Susana, I'll tell you all about the most dangerous prayer.EVER. And how it has been radically changing my life and how I pray.

Susana is creative, caffeinated mommy who is busy raising three under three. Somebody give her a gold medal! She is a beautiful soul, with a huge dose of classy and fun...who also happens to love Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn as much as I do.
Thanks Susana for letting me guest post while you rest up with Baby Aria!!

29 December 2014

Staying on Topic is Hard {a review!}

One of the neat-o things about blogging is the people you meet and encounter. Rachel is one of those people for me. I first "met" Rachel when we were paired up to get to know each other through our blogs. Honestly, hers is one of my favorite blogs to read on a daily basis. Rachel is quite an exceptional storyteller, and it definitely come out through her blog! She has also has recently started a travel blog.

And guess what?! Rachel just became a published author with her first e-book!! You go, girl. Her book "Staying on Topic is Hard" is a collection of short stories and sketches inspired by her own life experiences. Her story consists of opening up about her faith and challenges she has faced in recent years, while writing openly on subjects of all kinds.
Rachel has been kind enough to let me read a copy and review it here today! There's so much to want to share on, but I tried to stick with the ones that most left a lasting impression on me...plus its good to leave you burning with curiosity so you go buy a copy for yourself ;)

Rachel writes on the beauty and uniqueness of interracial marriage to her husband Angel whom is Hispanic. Although combining different culture and traditions Rachel happily writes on how excited she is her future children will be able to grow up in a bilingual home, which I agree is an awesome gift to offer children.

I really appreciated when Rachel opened up about an experience with a Christian woman she encountered in cosmetology school who treated people very poorly because of a poorly done haircut on her son. And Rachel summed up beautifully the lesson in this situation, when she said: "The lesson I learned vividly that day is you never know when people are listening to you and watching you closely enough to know that you are a Christian...and they do notice when you don't act the way you preach. We Christians should be afraid to let a 'bad day' cause us to lash out in such a way that we cause severe damage to others' opinions of Christ." Well said Rachel, well said!

She reflects on her experience of being married at a young age, and shares on how people respond to that when they learn this information. Again, her honest words sum it up well: "What I can do, with my tiny bit of marriage and life experience, is to be a witness to the people around me and show them that marriage can really be something awesome. ... What I feel saying is that, through marriage, I've got a best friend to live with, a permanent date, a sugar daddy, a dance partner, an accountant (he does the taxes!), and a personal-sized, energy-efficient heater for all the cold winter days--and who could argue with a deal like that?" 
And I agree with the whole energy-efficient way to stay warm in cold Michigan winters, another bonus perk to marriage.

A difficult, but eye-opening post was the experience of the great tsunami on December 26, 2004. Thank God Rachel and all her family were safe, but just reading the real perspective of someone who saw and experienced the devastation on such a large scale is mind blowing. Such a reminder to not take things for granted and to be grateful for all that we have.

Along with Rachel's depth and openness, she can make even the tiniest details and adventures of her daily life something lively and funny to share with her readers. Some of my favorites include: the time her hips were deemed suspicious airport security, the great Chicago trip full of mis-haps/adventure, the invention of the MyDream pillow (Seriously. I want this!), and cockroach encounters of the very worst kind.

So how do you get your hands on this literary gem?! I am so glad you asked. The following link is where you can purchase the e-book on smashwords--https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/500483 or you can also purchase it on Amazon for your Kindle

Be sure to check out more of Rachel's writing at The Random Writings and Plan to Vacation
Thank you so much Rachel for letting me read and review your e-book! I definitely enjoyed it:)

26 December 2014

14 Things I Learned in 2014

Its amazing how much can happen and change over one year of life. 365 days is certainly not enough time to learn all the lessons needed to become the person God wants me to be. When I was in elementary school, I thought after I graduated I would be done with learning. Not.so. Part of growth and maturity is realizing that we never stop learning and that there is always opportunities to stretch yourself. And 2014 has kind of been a year like that for me.
So here's a quick recap at what I have learned this year...

1. I really should have started being financially responsible a whole heck of a lot sooner. Enter in our new friend, Mr. Dave Ramsey.

2. SERENITY: Something I often suck at, but desire to grow in. I have learned a lot about serenity this year...this prayer has challenged.stretched.and made me more uncomfortable than any other prayer I have ever prayed. It speaks to me so deeply that I set alarms several times a day to stop and really pray these words from the heart.
I dare you to do it! You'll be blown away at what will happen.

3. Connected to serenity is learning to surrender to the will of God. If the Serenity prayer is my mantra, then this prayer comes close behind in second place.I have learned much and wrestled often with the reality of these words in my own life.

4. No Bible, no breakfast. No Bible, no lunch. Making excuses for not praying daily is not helping me become a saint.

5. You waste way too much time in life worrying about what others think about you. At the end of the day, it really only matter what God thinks.

6. BOUNDARIES. Before this past year, I had no freaking idea what boundaries were. Through a lot of situations in the past year, I have learned so much about myself and how to better deal with people. I need boundaries for myself and with all the other people in my life. Boundaries are not selfish or mean, but meant to keep you safe and about staying in your own yard. Oh boundaries how you have helped me become a stronger and healthier person...

7. Choosing one little word for the year really helped me grow in ways I didn't even think imaginable.

8. After many years of being the girl who didn't exercise because I "didn't like to sweat" I took up running this year. like a lot. I put off getting fit and taking care of my body for a long time. I am getting stronger, setting goals, and feeling great doing it...well most days ;)

9. Sometimes people who you thought were your closest friends or safe people, turn out to not be. And while ending a friendship sucks and is awkward, I see more clearly who are meaningful, treasured friends. I have also been terribly blessed and surprised by new friendships with women who inspire and support me in ways I never imagined.
My safe people. My cheerleaders.

10. Suffering is a bi!$#. Sorry madre for the language. This year I have watched some of the people I love most suffer. Truth be told, I personally have been through what feels like the ringer at times this year. God has and is continuing to teach me.so.much. in this department.

11. Read books more often than you watch T.V. Reading is my drug of choice.

12. Choose how to respond, don't just be reactionary.
i'm from paterson teresa giudice gif

13. Dating shouldn't end when you get married, it should flow into married life. Every other week dates are a nice thing. Consider it.

14. My life, marriage, and home do not have to be perfect to be beautiful.

What have you learned this past year? How has 2014 challenged and stretched you?

23 December 2014

Christmas Traditions {Past and Present}

I grew up in a family where we had traditions it seemed for every little celebration; from Friday family game night to having a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas, we knew how to celebrate life together as a family. Having special traditions was one of the unique things that made us the 'Breen family', it unified us and brought everybody together. When Jim and I got married, I was excited to make new traditions for our little family, while still treasuring the ones from my childhood.

Christmas time seems to always full to the brim of holiday memory making! And combining holiday traditions from my family of origin along with my new family has been a lot of fun to create along the way. Some of the best ones have been...

Making a birthday cake for Baby Jesus
Yup we were that family. Oh and did I forget to mention we also sang happy birthday and even had a chair set aside just for the birthday boy? I remember on one particular Christmas thinking how cool it was we got to have cake at breakfast on Christmas. Though I am quite sure my siblings and I probably teased my Mom for doing it, looking back I think how those actions helped remind us kids of what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. I'm not sure if I'll have enough time tomorrow to make a birthday cake, but we'll definitely bust out some chords of happy birthday.

Watching the wise men travel to Bethlehem
One of the most loved things for us kids to do was move the three wise guys around the living room/kitchen symbolizing their journey to see the newborn King. We took this job very seriously, especially when we were little. Somehow the wise men safely arrived every Epiphany, amid the dangerous twists and turns through the living room bookshelves...I guess I'm actually better at directions than I thought. Currently our three wise guys have left the bookshelf and are slowly making their way through couch terrain.

Breakfast feast for Christmas Eve dinner
On Christmas Eve my Dad would make smoked salmon on cedar log planks, it was amazing! When we got married, I knew I wasn't even about to try and do justice to my Dad's mad cooking skills. A fun tradition we began since year one of marriage is having breakfast food for dinner on Christmas Eve. No it is not just your typical bowl of cereal and yes we do it up all fancy like. The menu for this year? homemade hot chocolate, feta spinach quiche, and chocolate chip orange ricotta pancakes. Oh and bacon...because well, its bacon!

Christmas ornaments from traveling adventures
When my parents first got married they began to collect Christmas ornaments from all the places they traveled together. It was so cool growing up to look at our tree and see a story played out of all of Mom and Dad's fun times together. I always knew as I got older and hopefully traveled to do the same.
Its amazing to look at the tree in our apartment now and see ornaments from all the places I have traveled before I knew Jim. We've carried on this tradition too, and came home with plenty of ornaments from when we went to Alaska and Seattle for our honeymoon. I love to look at our tree and be reminded of shared memories and adventures together. Its crazy because already we have a tree pretty full of ornaments...give it a few more years and we may need a second tree!

Giving presents to Baby Jesus
In the kitchen hutch during Advent, my Mom kept a small bag of hay. Every night after before dinner, she asked us if we had anything to give Jesus that day (kind action, sharing with a sibling, helping Dad out, etc.). If we said yes, she gave us a small piece of hay to put in the empty manger so that way when Jesus was born he would have a nice warm bed to sleep in. So simple, but so sweet.

What are some of your family traditions this time of year? Share away! :)

08 December 2014

Christmas is not about a birthday, its about a wedding.

Often when Jim and I go to church I bring a little notebook in my purse to take notes on the homily. It helps me to jot down the thoughts and ideas that inspire and challenge as I strive to live the coming week intentionally.

Yesterday I was cleaning out my mess of a purse and came across the little journal I have been taking to church on Sunday for the last year. It is cool to look back at the things that struck me and how God used them to get my attention.

One particular page that caught my eye was what I jotted down from midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 2013. What was so striking to me was the theme the priest used to speak about the glory of this holy night: Christmas is not about a birthday, its about a wedding. Okay technically yes it is the birth of our Savior. We hear about Joseph and Mary looking for an inn in Bethlehem and how she eventually gave birth and laid her baby boy in a feeding trough for animals. But there is something deeper here if we take time to look.

At Christmas, God and humanity become one. The two becoming one and united?...that's a marriage.
Christmas is really about desire...God's passionate desire for each one of us. Jesus wants us. God desires each of us so deeply that He entered our fallen, sinful world to take on human flesh to come be with us. Jesus came to earth to rescue us, to die for us...and ultimately to save us from ourselves. The message of Christmas? You are insanely loved. You are passionately loved. You are ridiculously loved. You are recklessly loved.

What does love want? Love wants union!! Love wants a total and complete union. God is love and He wants to be in union with us. The prophet Isaiah sums it up perfectly: "For as a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you" (Isaiah 62:5). Just as the man who waits at the end of the aisle on his wedding day for his bride, Jesus waits for each one of us.
What happens at Christmas is that God is proposing to each of us...He is ultimately popping the question. And the question? ... 
Will you be Mine?

So you see, Christmas really is ultimately about a wedding; the union of God with humankind. How each of us responds to that question from Jesus has potential to change the rest of our lives, just as a marriage proposal is life changing.

Jesus is on bended knee waiting...what will your response be?

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03 December 2014

Its the Suffering

I am so excited to have one of my blogging crushes writing here today Jenna of Call Her Happy was one of the first bloggers I ever met in person and she's taught me a lot through these awesome classes. Her wit, humor, and honesty are just a few reasons she is one of my favorites to read. Jenna is married and mom-extraordinaire to Ellen, Sam, and baby boy 3#.
With that being said, I'll let Jenna take it from here...

Do you ever wonder why mega-churches are so on fire? People pour into their stadium seats week and after week (and on Wednesday nights too!) to hear a message, fill up and participate in fellowship. But, I suppose you - ideally - can find those things at any community gathering or church, right? So, what is it about these churches? We are a world of sinners looking for solace. We want to know that it is ok. We want to know that we are good people. And we want to feel that we are doing good deeds. But, these churches promise these feel-good messages in bulk. And, they are often able to do so without what many have coined "Catholic Guilt." Who wants to feel bad about themselves when deep down we know we are full of error? Isn't Jesus supposed to make us feel better? Well, yes.


The reason I am Catholic might be the reason that many stay away. Catholicism has the entire package, and it all makes sense. And, while I truly believe that many non-denominational churches are doing wonderful things in the world, by belonging to one I would feel that I was missing out on a lot of important truths.

 I'm not here today to write a long apologetics post. That is another day or days or years. But the message that I want to convey is that the Catholic church all adds up. Everything we believe is rooted in biblical truth and Christian tradition. And nothing contradicts itself. The many traditions and Sacraments we follow aim to amplify these principles. And, more often than not, the consistent nature of Catholicism means that we have to take the feel-good messages along with the ever present and maybe even more important Passion of Christ.

We live in a world of suffering due to our sinful nature, and ignoring that fact can only cause disappointment. We need to recognize that suffering is a part of life in order to fully understand why Jesus came to save us from this world. So, I will say it again: I love the energy and attractiveness of a large church communities, but it is the suffering and Passion of Christ visible in our lives that draws me to being Catholic. Yes, we are an Easter people, but suffering must come first.

Call her Mommy. Call her Wifey. But always, always call her happy. Thanks again Jenna!!

25 November 2014

Advent Ideas {How To Make the Season Holy}

Advent is my favorite liturgical season of the year. The joyful anticipation...excitement...hope...peace. In my family growing up, we had special traditions to help us as kids get ready for Baby Jesus' birthday, which often included a birthday cake on Christmas morning complete with candles and singing. Yup, we were that family.

One of the challenges of Advent for me as I gotten older is how to really celebrate Advent well; to live out the Advent season intentionally and with a proper disposition of heart. In the last few years, I have come to mix my Advent preparations with all the hustle n' bustle of the season.

I tend to not really celebrate Advent (other than lighting the Advent wreath at dinner) because I'm more focused on having the tree up and decorated right away or finishing the shopping/planning.
A lot of bloggers I follow have been talking about the way they celebrate with their families and its been giving me different ideas on how our family can better live out this Advent season.

Here's a sampling of ideas that I'm excited to try out this year:

Holding off on Christmas music...create an Advent play list on Pandora or Spotify
Public Service Announcement friends-I am not not anti-Santa, Jingle Bells, or Frosty the Snowman. I believe Santa and Jesus can happily co-exist together. But I started to realize that Advent and Christmas are actually two separate seasons. Mixing the two can happen so easily you may not even realize it at first. Advent is the four weeks that prepares us for the Christmas season.

So this year, I'm spicing things up and trying to focus on celebrating the season of Advent separately from Christmas. For me, that means holding off on jingle bells and Rudolph and listening to music that helps put me in the right mindset for Advent.
I recently made a play list on Pandora and am actually surprised how good it is! It includes all types of chant, traditional carols, and simple music to help focus my heart.
Once Christmas comes I'll be jingle bell rocking around with the rest of you...but I'm curious to try out this musical Advent experiment.

What to do with all those Christmas cards? Pray for a different family each night at dinner!
Everybody always seems to get an endless stream of Christmas cards during the month of December and early January. A few years back I read somewhere of the tradition of each night a new card is received, to spend a few minutes at dinner praying specifically for that family and their needs. After a family has been prayed for, then you can display the card with the rest.
Looking forward t adding this to the nightly lighting of our Advent wreath before having dinner!

Be intentional with using an Advent devotional

Obviously reading Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ is a grand place to start, but sometimes ya just need something else to help you stay engaged and focused. Last year I used this Advent devotional from Ann Voskamp and really really enjoyed it!! This year, I'll be using it again as well as an Advent devotional from Blessed Is She. Clearly, I was pretty stoked to see my copy come in the mail.

The devotional from BIS has all the daily readings for Mass + journal questions to prompt deeper thought and prayer + spacious room to write away your thoughts. You can order your Advent devo HERE and do so quickly...they are very near to selling out!!!
Whether its one of these two, or another one completely different, find some kind of devotional to use in the coming weeks of Advent.

Decorate your home for Advent
This one I have come to hear more about in the past few years. In my family growing up, we didn't really decorate for Advent. Our tree went up the day after Christmas, which was always a loud, joyful event in our home and holiday merriment started right after Turkey day. I still love the fun of putting up our tree right away, so we have more time to enjoy it, but in wanting to better celebrate Advent I want to decorate our home to reflect that.

So how does one decorate in a simple way for Advent? Well for starters an Advent wreath on the kitchen table is how we roll. I also have a small manger crib with a separate Baby Jesus I bought when I went to Assisi. I usually leave the crib empty out in a visible place (maybe the coffee table) as a reminder Jesus has not yet come, but we're excitedly waiting. On Christmas Eve, when Jim and I come home from church Jesus makes his grand entrance into his wee little crib.

Other ideas could include: setting out a Nativity display but keeping it empty till Christmas (even move the wise men around the living room showing them traveling to Bethlehem!), use the color purple in creating a simple banner to hang, and set out simple religious pieces to draw your mind to the reason for the season.
This year I want to hold off on certain decorations to put out until Christmas and have more simple decor out for Advent.

Crazy to think Advent starts this Sunday...hope your season is full of joy and peace!

What would you add to the list? How do you celebrate Advent in your home?

19 November 2014

Things You Would Overhear in Youth Ministry

One of the funny things about working with teenagers are the crazy, funny things memories or sayings that have over the years become part of the culture that has created greater community and joy.

So here's a list of some of my favorites and definitely things you may hear if you came to visit our youth ministry on a given Sunday night.

No Purpling
This is one of those rules that is always addressed on weekend retreats and conferences, that girls and guys are never to be in each other's rooms. Boys be blue and girls be red. Should there be the mixing of those two colors you get purple. It now has become a bit of a joke for some of the teens to randomly yell that out loud when we're in public together at an event or something. That has gotten some weird looks so naturally I killed the fun of screaming "no purpling" in public.

Don't play Hug-a-bear with Patty...she might give you a concussion
Okayyyy before you get all judgy mcjudgerson on me, let me first say the young lady didn't get a concussion and she is still happily involved in youth ministry.
So last year on fall retreat, we played this amazing, wonderful game called hug-a-bear. Everyone stands in a circle and someone yells out, "Hug-a-bear 3" and find two other people to hug. Fun right? Well sometimes I am known to get a wee bit competitive with games. So we're in the middle of this rousing game of hug-a-bear, and I accidentally hip checked one of my teens. She fell on the frozen ground and hit her head. Thankfully she was fine and we remain friends to this day. However, to this day I am still taunted by the teens (how dare they!? gasp.) to be careful when playing hug-a-bear with me. #rudebears

Telling the Archbishop the best thing about youth ministry is the humus and pita chips
Yayyy a story where I don't hurt people, but only teens embarrass me.
So our Archdiocese has a tradition on Palm Sunday. The archbishop invites all the young people and young adults to the Palm Sunday liturgy and a reception afterwards. Free food + Jesus? I'm there.

So this year, I'm sitting at the table with my posse of tweens and a couple seminarians. So the archbishop comes to our table; we make introductions and there's small chat. Well the bishop asks the young people what do they like most about youth ministry. Their response? "We love youth ministry! Patty is great! We like the food and sometimes she splurges and gets us pita chips and humus." #truestory
Whoops no mention of Jesus or growing in faith. Oh and did I add those two that flapped their gums are youth leaders in the program? Forgot my raise this year.
We laugh at about it a lot now, but at the time I was definitely less than thrilled with my little evangelists.

Can we have healthy snacks?
This year especially I have had requests for more healthy options at weekly meetings. Hey I'm all up for healthy food, especially when it comes to my weekly weigh-in for Weight Watchers. Sure we still have candy, Cheetos, and pop, but we're including stuff like carrot sticks and apples too.

What time is it? (Lent, Ordinary Time, Advent, Easter)
Nerd moment. So every time someone asks the time, I respond with the above liturgical wittiness. They always sigh and roll their eyes at me, but come on isn't that even a smidge funny?

I'm running on caffeine and grace
Every summer we go this youth conference in Ohio usually the end of June or beginning of July. Which basically translates to the fact it is as hot as Hell. Anyway its one of my most favorite things to take young people too. The only downside is in all its awesomeness and community building over the entire weekend you are running on 10-12 hours of sleep.
When we were leaving this summer to drive down, I mentioned to one of the teens it was another weekend that we'd all be running on caffeine and grace. Now when we go on retreats, conferences, or long trips some will ask if this another time we'll be running on caffeine and grace. 90% of the time it is.

There are definitely more rolling around in my head for sure, but currently these are some of my favorites. The crazy, silly, joyful moments like these are some of the best things I love about my job:)

17 November 2014

DIY Memory Magnets

Sometimes I pretend that I am reallyyy good at DIY projects. Today is one of those days. Humor me.

I have a slight hording problem with old photographs. I may have did take a good handful from my parents basement before I got married. Sorry parental units! You didn't notice anyway right?
In some way I wanted to take memories the past with into my new life. I wanted the comfort of old memories as I created new ones in married life. Lately I have been going through some of my favorites and wanting to do some projects with them projects with them. I recently finished a fun book that inspired this wee project.

All I needed was:
  • 2 sheets of magnetic adhesive 
  • old photographs
Just peel off the protective paper on the magnetic sheet and stick yo picture on it. It make take a couple tries to get the photo even with the corners. After the picture is straight, grab a pair of scissors and trim away the edges.

And viola! Magnets for the fridge while displaying happy memories.

Any favorite projects using photo's? Do share! 
If you need some idea's, be sure to give Emma and Elsie a read!

14 November 2014

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


I have recently discovered a new-found love for sweet potatoes, minus the time Jim chopped some up and threw them in with Ramen noodles for a dinner side dish. #truestory #finedining
Needless to say, that is not a side dish we'll be bringing to my parents for Thanksgiving.

After Jim realized that was not the finest use for sweet potatoes, I showed him this recipe which I had on the grocery list to make. Thank goodness he didn't try and throw in Ramen noodles this time.

recipe source

Anyways, back to the yummies...

2 sweet onions-chopped
1 cup of beef broth
boneless pork loin roast
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup Stubb's Original BBQ Sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
 1/4 cup apple cider
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 sweet potatoes

1// Put onion chunks and beef broth in the crock pot.

2// Trim the fat off the pork loin roast. Mix together the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Rub the mixture evenly over pork and put meat in the crock pot.

3// Cook on high for 8 hours

4// About 45 minutes before the pork is done, start prepping the sweet potatoes. It actually takes longer to cook them in the oven, so we decided to microwave them. 
Puncture each sweet sweet potato several times with a fork or knife. While on a microwave safe dish, cook on high for 5 minutes. Then flip the potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.

5// Take the meat out from the crock pot and place in a bowl. Shred the meat with forks.

6//  In another bowl, mix up BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Pour mixture over shredded pork and onions; mix well to evenly coat the meat.

7//  Using a knife, slice sweet potatoes down the middle, creating an open center to stuff with pulled pork. Fill each sweet potato with meat and drizzle with the BBQ sauce.

End result!!

A nice variation to the typical pulled pork sandwich. So good we both may have had seconds. Maybe.
What about you? Any fall dish favorites?

12 November 2014

Lessons in Gratitude

Gratitude is not something I have practiced intentionally much in my life. Sure I grew up saying thank you and still do, but that whole saying of "living life with an attitude of gratitude"...well not so much.

I have a particular meditation book I use every day, either in the morning or as I'm getting into bed. Each month has a particular theme and all the meditations are based off that theme. The theme in August was on gratitude. One day early in August the prompt for the day was "learn to say thanks".

The author began to deeply share about her life. She had just bought a new house, but the term fixer-upper didn't do this wreck any justice. It was a mess both inside and out. She felt embarrassed for her children to call this piece of junk home and frustrated she had no time, let alone money to fix it up.

One night after wrangling her young kids into bed, she lay down on the living room floor and began to cry and complain out loud to God: how she hated her house, hated nothing could be fixed, etc. Everywhere she turned she felt bad at what she saw. It felt impossible to find anything to be grateful for. At some point, she came across a book that spoke of the power of praise and gratitude. She writes:
"Every time I felt bad, I thanked God for how I felt. Every time I noticed how awful this house looked, I thanked God for the house exactly as it was. I thanked God for the current state of my finances. I thanked God for the lack of skills to repair and remodel the house. I deliberately forced gratitude for every area of my life--those area's that really bothered me, those things I couldn't do anything about. Instead of complaining and crying, I just kept saying and chanting, "Thank you God for everything in my life, just as it is."
--Melody Beattie

A remarkable thing began to happen. First, Melody began to keep her house more neat and tidy. Then she began to learn how to do repairs and started remodeling her home. Thanking God, being grateful for all the messy, unpleasant stuff in her life just as it was began to change her outlook and soften her heart.

Even though I read this months ago, it has struck a chord with me. I guess I never really thanked God regularly or was ever grateful for the messes in my own life, being grateful for exactly where God has me in life. Because even in that mess or unpleasant situation God is still present. When we can accept and find moments of gratitude even when its difficult, it really can completely change how you view the world. #mindblown.

Learning and applying this in my own life has really been a great tool in the ol' tool box of self-care. Now, on either my way to work or coming home, I intentionally take time to look at my day, what's currently going on in life. And I take time to thank God for it all...to be grateful.  Even when its messy/sucks/hurts. Some days its easy peasy. Other days, I am faking it till I make it.

But I am starting to see how such a little action is changing me from the inside out...how I look at both the joys and sorrows; the good and the bad. Even though its not always easy, there is a great sense of freedom for me to be able to say, "Thank you God for my life exactly as it is right now".

People often tend to reflect more about thankfulness and gratitude around the holidays. 
For me it has become of my daily ritual, and for that I am thankful.grateful.blessed.

03 November 2014

That time I had to call the police while on retreat

Yup, you read right.  I had to call the police this past Sunday morning at 12:15 am while on a confirmation retreat with 40 tweens. Totally what I would prefer to do instead of sleep.

The retreat was held at this big, brand-new high school and we had it all to ourselves for the weekend.  Along with the facility came the responsibility of having to turn off the alarm at night so the alarm/motion detection sensors would not go off.  Lucky.me.

Saturday evening before the maintenance guy left he gave me thorough instructions on how to turn the alarm off at midnight: punch in the code and hit enter; sounds easy enough!  Lights out was at 11pm but being I had the special alarm job I needed to stay up to midnight to make sure the alarm situation was fine n' dandy.  So what did I do with the remaining hour of time? Well of course I raided the fridge for some leftover pizza and checked out happenings on Instagram.

As midnight approached I waited with baited breath to set the alarm so I could finallyyy go to sleep.

So its midnight.  I am typing in the code and punching enter.  It would be wayy to easy for it to work the first time, so after multiple attempts of punching in the code with it not working I proceeded to freak.the.freak.out.  On the screen it kept flashing "INVALID CODE". Oh and did I mention at by this time the alarm automatically was armed, which meant I was standing as still as a statue against the wall so as to not set off the alarm.  Insert another freak-out.

So I tried calling the maintenance guy but no such luck.  I called Jim (guess for moral support?) but the sleeping bear didn't answer.  So I called another friend, and in the middle of that realized my phone battery was like 10%.  Perfect.

I realized it was not physically possible for me to sleep standing up so I decided to go call the police.  Earlier that day the maintenance man told me he had already called the police to let them know of the school had alarms issues this weekend to not send a car to investigate because it would have been caused by our group.  So after my first call attempt to the police was dropped, I tried again and was transferred to a dispatch.  I explained the whole story including the my fear of waking up 50 people sleeping and the growing tiredness from standing still for going on 30 minutes.

The officer explained that if the alarm went off he would still need to send a car out to check the school and speak in person with me to ensure all was well. Not really the answer I wanted.

So I decided I no longer cared if I woke up 50 people with a screeching alarm, I needed to go get some sleep.  I began to walk away from the alarm.  Sure enough, the motion sensors picked up me walking and a humming noise began to grow.  I walked back to the alarm and with one final attempt plugged in the code.  By some miracle, it worked.  I turned off the alarm without waking up 50 people or needing the police come to rescue me from the evil clutches of the alarm system.

To say I was thrilled is an understatement.

I proceeded to happily skip down the hall and crawl into my sleeping bag. I am really glad we have the police available to come help at any time of the day or night, but I was realllyyy glad they didn't have to come help me turn off the alarm in the middle of the night.

Pay attention if someone ever has to teach you to set an alarm, ya never know when you could end up in a similar situation! ;)

27 October 2014

The Courage to Stand Alone

You all know Olivia from To The Heights, right?  Eek, you haven't?! Well dash over there right now because you're missing out.  Hers is one of my most favorite blogs to read.  Olivia has a great sense of humor who makes even a diaper changing fiasco hysterical.  An expert in crunchy living, I leave her space inspired to dive into essential oils and explore natural living more in our home. I'm thrilled to have her sharing her heart and faith today...take it away, Olivia!!

It was a freezing January afternoon in Washington D.C., and I was strolling through the Holocaust Museum with 20 of my 7th and 8th grade students.

We had traveled to the nation's capital for the annual March for Life, and we spent some time touring the major sites. As we walked through the Holocaust Museum, I was more focused on how my students were responding to the portrayed horrors of this genocide than on the content itself. I was aiming to make sure they were alright, after all, it's a lot to handle for a 13 year-old.

But one display in particular caught my eye and made me stop in my tracks. The written display was relaying the terrible act of forced sterilization that the Nazis carried out upon Jews, blacks, those with learning impairments, and those with physical disabilities.

The Nazis deemed that these people were so despicable that we didn't need more people like them, so they took away their ability to procreate. The display went on to explain that the world was aware that this act was going on, and they supported it.

It continued with the words, "All major religious institutions accepted this practice, except the Catholic Church."

My God, I thought. Except the Catholic Church.

I cried right then and there. Tears of mixed gratitude and sorrow and pride and prayer flowed down my cheeks.

While the rest of the world affirmed the destruction of the dignity of these human persons, the Catholic Church stood alone in her defiance.

You see, the Church, under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, always seeks to defend the dignity of people. We love people. Every last person. And just because someone is deemed "below" or "inhibited" or "worthless" by society does not make the Church retract in disgust from them one bit. In fact, Mother Church reaches her arms out even farther to those who are outcast. In the midst of the tragic Holocaust and the pressures of the times, the Church was unmovable.

Looking back, it's easy for us to see how horrific was the Holocaust.
We hear about these forced sterilizations and we cry "injustice!". As we should. But what about those people who were living in it? What about all the institutions that ok'd this practice? What were they thinking? Did they get caught up in what everyone else was believing? Where was their sense of truth?

Today, we find ourselves in a comparable circumstance.
The winds of a different kind of persecution are pounding against the sails of the Church. We find ourselves in a culture that has accepted so many acts against the dignity of the human person: abortion, euthanasia, homosexual "marriage", in vitro fertilization, pornography, just to name a few. All of these things harm our God-given dignity.

And people are pissed at the Church.

Those who champions these actions and these attitudes are demanding that the Church "get with the times", "change its teachings", and "be more open". When in reality, the Church is seeking to guard and defend the dignity of the very people who accuse her of hatred.
So many other religious institutions have caved under the pressure of society, permitting acts that they, too, once deemed as offenses against the person. Once again, the Catholic Church is standing alone.

I wonder if, in 60 years, people will look back on things our society is cheering for, like abortion, and hang their hands in shame and regret. I wonder if people will be walking through a museum detailing our great failures as a global people and wonder, "What were they thinking?". I wonder if they will come across a display relaying the horrors society is supporting and read, "All major religious institutions accepted this practice, except the Catholic Church."

Throughout the centuries, we have fought, sometimes solely, for the dignity of the human person, and we will continue to stand for the Truth no matter what the tides of change bring. I love being a child of the Catholic Church because the Church is courageous enough to stand alone.

Special thanks to my sweet friend, Patty, for letting me share my love for the Catholic Church! She is a gem and one of the Church's great blessings.

 Olivia lives in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She’s a middle school religion teacher turned SAHM who is married to her high school best friend. She spends her time changing diapers, exploring the crunchy side of life, organizing anything she can get her hands on, and dancing in the moonlight. You can come along for the adventure at To the Heights.

23 October 2014

Dear Jennifer Lawrence...please don't justify porn.

Dear Jennifer Lawrence,

You and I are close to the same age. You were born in 90 and me in 85, we're both children of the 90's.  Where you a die hard fan of the Babysitter's Club as I was?? Just curious.
I think you're a very talented actress and simply cannot wait for the next movie of the Hunger Games series to come out. You sister, have some skills.

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? I am not here to judge you.
I only wish we could have this chat together over a warm cup of coffee in a friendly manner...but alas, I am typing away on the interwebs. I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for you; having your privacy violated in such a major way and I certainly wouldn't wish it on anyone. That's got to be awful.

But girl, I have to be honest with you. From woman to woman, I was really shocked and felt sad about what you were quoted saying in the Vanity Fair interview:

Now I do not know you personally or your boyfriend. And like I said, I REALLY am not in the business of judging folks.
But when I first read your interview, honestly my first reaction was that I felt sad for you.
Please let me explain.

My perception was that it seemed like you justified taking those pictures of yourself because really at the end of the day you would rather your boyfriend look at pictures like that of you vs. strange, naked women on the computer (aka porn).

That made me feel sad. NO woman on earth can compete with pornography, nor should she have to. And the thought struck me that maybe you felt like you had to take those pictures to keep your boyfriend from looking at porn.

I am not sure if you are aware how much of a disease porn addiction is. Its really not that hard to find out stats on its growing usage among adult men, woman, and even young children. It really is an epidemic in the modern world today, and it makes me sad to perceive you are justifying it.

You are a beautiful, talented woman! You have carved out a successful career for yourself at a young age, and that is a great accomplishment.
But it doesn't make a lot of sense (to me) that it sounds like you are justifying your actions because your boyfriend will look at porn anyway so I may as well send him photos of me to look at. I would ask you to consider that real, good men actually do not need porn.

 If you felt like you needed to send those pictures so your boyfriend would not look at porn, I would gently ask you to consider if that is really a good, honorable man to be with.  Looking at porn is not what makes a man "manly"...recognizing for the true lie that it is is what really makes a man.
Just because lots of people look at porn doesn't mean it is a healthy, good thing.
Actually it is the complete opposite.
It completely re-wires the brain and totally hi-jacks emotional intimacy.

I am aware it is HIGHLY likely you'll never read this...but if you should, I hope you take these comments as concerned thoughts from one woman to another...

Best wishes to you Jennifer.

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21 October 2014

Ditch the pie.

I have a secret to tell you.  Ya ready?

I HATE pie. 

I don't understand the love affair people have with pie.  Now that may sound un-American, but I would much rather a cold, chocolate milkshake any day of the week of a hunk of pie.  One year my Mom asked me to make an apple and pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Big.mistake.Mom. Oh yum pie with nuts (gross) and then dessert with fruit?!
Let's just say that year people were not asking me for the recipe of those creations I "somehow" whipped up.

Although pie does not give me the warm fuzzies, I will make an exception for one of my favorite autumnal desserts-Apple Brown Betty.  It is "pie-like"... but in my world its 10 x better.  I think the stick of butter is what makes this dish...and maybe the cinnamon helps some.  
Butter makes everything better.


8 large apples-sliced and peeled
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

1// First comes the peeling and slicing.  If I didn't have my Mom's apple-corer-peeler-slicer (from the Pampered Chef) I would have been screwed.  Its not that hard to use, just make sure to no impale your fingers like I did.  And no, I didn't bleed on the apples.

2// Place the sliced apples in a greased 9x13 pan.  Combine cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and sprinkle 1/2 the mixture over the apples.

3// Combine sugar, flour, egg, salt, and baking powder. Spread this mixture over the apples (this will act as a crust).

4// Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top. Pour butter over everything. That's my favorite part ;)

4// Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Pour yourself a cold glass of milk and serve yourself up steaming portion.

What about you?  Any favorite fall desserts or dishes? 
Dish below!

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13 October 2014

That time I met the President of the United States...

.....well technicalities aside it was when George H.W. Bush ran for president, BUT he did win and then became president. So in my book it still counts.

Obviously I am an introvert
No matter your political leanings its kind of cool to say you met the President future president...and if that ain't cool enough, getting on the front page of the newspaper in color is not too shabby either.

I was recently at my parents picking something up and strolled in the hallway of the infamous Breen family pictures. Seeing this one of George and I, brings back the vague memories I still have of that day...

Nov. 1988 I was a new-ish 3 year old with my little brother Timmy almost 2 (oh did I mention we both met George?!).  This is how my Mom tells the story....

Momsy was at home mopping the floor (thrilling.) with two crazy toddlers running around.  Her younger brother called her and said the Vice President was speaking that afternoon at a local community college and asked if she wanted to come.  Mom hemmed and hawed because apparently its not a good idea for two little people to miss or postpone nap time.  Eventually she caved in.  Good call Mom.

So the four of us are all there wandering around at the rally when my Mom notices some guys are kind of following us around. Um creepy!? Turns out they were the Secret Service.  They approached my Mom and uncle and said they were looking for a nice American family and asked if us kids wanted to meet George and Barbara Bush.  Apparently we looked like a normal American family...they should come back and see us all now.  How does a parent say no to the Secret Service?!

Funny I don't remember being held by Mr. Bush or my famous hand wave in my pink penguin jacket BUT I do remember being passed to Mrs. Bush.  Barbara Bush has completely white hair and went totally white at a young age.  I still remember being held by her and thinking, "Hey this lady looks A LOT like Grandma Breen. Hmmm..."  Now my grandma was all white hair and that happened at a young age for her as well. Apparently after meeting the future first Lady/Grandma impersonator, I was passed on down to dear ol' George.  I still chuckle looking at what a little ham I was up there...I definitely was very shy as a child.

You can seem my Mom underneath Dan Quayle's right elbow in her 80's glasses and green rain coat. Trying not to judge you based on the fashion of the 80's mama-cita.

So that's my claim to fame friends...well at least until I write a best-seller or win "America's Got Talent"...

But what about you...have you ever met anyone famous??
Pray do tell!! :)

10 October 2014

Grocery Shopping excitement & Gallery Wall woes {7QT}

Linking up with Jen while she's out and about in Houston...

1.  Today (Oct. 10) is Jim's birthday.  He is a hefty 26 years old.  Last year I woke up reallyy early to make him some birthday cake pancakes.  All went well until I walked into the bed and spilled milk all over myself/the food/the tray.  I woke up again early to make breakfast in bed for the birthday boy...this year I'm more hopeful in my ability to walk straight and not spill things.  Thankfully there was no spillage this year.

It's funny how since we're budgeting and following the Dave Ramsey plan how it changes things like buying gifts.  Last year for birthdays and Christmas, it was so much easier to drop extra bucks on gifts.  Although it feels strange, it feels even better to stick to our budget for gifts and not break the bank.  Jim has been wanting a kettlebell for awhile so I'm slapping a bow on that and finishing wrapping some clothes up as I type. #multitaskerinthehouse.  I'm just glad I didn't hurt myself lugging that 30 lb. thing into our apartment...seriously that thing is a beast.

2.  I was getting all fidgety and wanting a change in this space...hence it looking all different!  I follow Victoria's blog and when I learned she did affordable blog designs I knew I wanted to have her help me make things more simplistic and clean.  Still have a few kinks to work out but I likey what she came up with:)

3.  I am in the very slow process of making a gallery wall above our TV in the living room.  I am starting to figure out what frames and which pictures/art I want to use...but two things that are leaving me stumped:  
a)Would black and white frames look okay together on white walls?  Our TV and media cabinet are both black, so I thought all black frames might be too much?  and.... 
b)Once you have the frames how do arrange them before hanging them on the wall?  I could see myself doing a lot of damage to the wall if I don't think this through.
What say you to both??

4.  Also on Jim's birthday I am spending the day at the library...working on my thesis paper.  Graduation cannot come soon enough in April but before then I apparently have to prove myself by writing an un-godly long paper. Yee.haw.  I am slowly moving ahead.  I keep telling myself if I work really hard tomorrow then I can justify having two pieces of Jim's birthday cake.  No I am not a dog, but yes I am rewarding myself with food. #weightwatcherfail

5.  One of my favorite activities to do is grocery shop.  I actually get excited to go, find it relaxing, and love the challenge of seeing how I manage our food budget.  When I say excited, imagine high pitched squealing and jazz hands on steroids.  
 And then if that wasn't thrilling enough, this week I came home with $15 left in our food budget.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  I spent the remaining on apples for my most favorite autumnal dessert (apple brown betty) and the feta cheese and brown rice I had forgotten when I went grocery shopping.

6. I am sure by now you've heard about Jennifer Lawrence's interview with Vanity Fair?  When I read the interview there was one thing that really bothered me in what she said: ..."I started to write an apology, but I don't have anything to say I'm sorry for.  I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years.  It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he's going to look at you."
Call me crazy, but this logic don't make no sense to me.  It sounds like Ms. Lawrence is saying men of today have 1 of 2 options: 1) look at porn or 2) look at you.  Read a few stats on porn addiction and you'll see how it actually re-wires the brain (and not in a healthy way).  It sounds like she is trying to justify her behavior in taking these pics so her boyfriend doesn't look at porn.  Healthy sexuality is actually one that doesn't involve porn.  Sorry its true.
This interview has gots me thinking all kinds of things on this issue...preview of coming post in the future.

7.  Thursday night we barely got to see each-other. sad face.  I came home around 10p to find dinner made and the dishes done...the only thing that freaked me the freak out was seeing Jim left our little owl candle lit with a note explaining dinner.  After I started breathing again and realized a fire had not begun, I was able to enjoy the chicken with caramelized onions.  When Jim got home I had to lovingly explain the problem with leaving candles lit un-attended...silly boy.

Off to get a run in before I spend the day at the library...have a grand weekend:)

08 October 2014

My Big Fat Greek Burger

My Mom is half Greek, but you would never know I have Mediterranean blood pulsing through my veins from looking at my pasty, fair skin.  And just forget about sun tanning...I could be a walking advertisement for the American Skin Cancer association.

One of the best things about having a parent who grew up in an ethnic family is the food. Duh. Though I am not skilled in making homemade baklava or saganaki (aka "Opa cheese"), I will always show up for the eating of the deliciousness.

I hope you likey meat.
I recently came across this turkey humus burger recipe that Kaitlyn posted on her blog and have been wanting to try it ever since.  Okay so what makes the burger Greek?  Well basically just the feta cheese...but its so much more fun to say "my big fat Greek burger" instead of turkey hummus burgers don't ya think?

My Big Fat Greek Burger...aka Turkey Hummus Burgers

1 large cucumber
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mint
Olive oil
1 container of spicy pepper hummus
20 oz. ground turkey
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 large tomato, sliced
6 whole wheat English muffins

1.  Make sure to not skip this part, it MAKES the burger! In a sealable container, finely chop up the cucumber.  Add the feta, vinegar, mint, olive oil.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well, seal the container, and refrigerate for a few hours.

2.  Mix up the turkey, humus, parsley, and coriander in a bowl. Season with pepper.  Form equal sized patties with the meat (I got about 8 but I used a larger package of meat)

3. Cook on 375 for 30-35 minutes

4. Toast up the English muffins.  Load up the pattie with tomato and plenty of the cucumber mixture

These are so.good.  The cucumber mixture makes the burger and the hummus made the meat really moist. Even with spicy hummus, it wasn't really spicy at all...which for a gal like me who doesn't like spicy was a win-win.

I don't about you but I think that deserves an OPA!

06 October 2014

It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

It is so easy sometimes to focus on the things in life that are not perfect.  Whether its home decor or your marriage, we are constantly bombarded with the message that if something is called beautiful that means it is perfect or very near to perfection.

My sister and bro-in-law got me this book for my birthday that I wanted to read for a really long time.  As I've been reading, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the different area's in my life where I've made myself believe the crazy ideas that life has to be perfect to be beautiful.

It is so easy and dangerous to get consumed with perfection...so says the recovering perfectionist.  Reading this is helping me look around at the various "imperfections" of our apartment/marriage/my life with more gentleness.  Those mysterious black spots I cannot seem to get out of the carpet?  That obvious scratch on our hutch that needs another touch up of yellow paint?  The smallness of our apartment?  Somehow I can look at those things and they bother me with much less crazy intensity.

NOTHING in life is perfect.ever.  Our home will always have a fix-it project on the to-do list...marriage will never be easy and it will always take hard work...my beauty is not determined by shape/size/a number on a scale.  And in the realization that there is such beauty in imperfection is kind of really freeing.  The only thing is we have to look for it.  

When I was growing up I had this older cousin I really struggled with inwardly comparing myself to.  I can remember at family holiday gatherings thinking she looked so.perfect.  Not a curl was out of place, her make-up looked flawless, and her outfits always coordinated with just the perfect touch of accessories.  I am embarrassed to say but there were times I would make it a contest in my head to see if I could out-do her in "looking perfect." 

At the time, she was the epitome of glamorous to me. And I hated her for it.  I have been reflecting on those memories recently and am seeing how all those holiday's of self-comparison only reinforced for me the idea to be beautiful=looking perfect.  But the older I get, I am starting to get more comfortable and accepting of my imperfections.  I realize that even if my cousin "looked" perfect, I would not really want to be her. 

Life can be beautiful amidst imperfections.  Home can still be a warm, welcoming place to be even amid the dust and paper piles.  Your home is a place you feel safe and make memories, it is not supposed to look like a staged apartment.  Marriage can be beautiful even amid difficulties and growing pains; it will never be perfect this side of Heaven and will always take work. 

But those difficulties and inky stinky things to work through end up making you stronger, they purify your heart and intentions.  Don't wait till you reach a goal weight to look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful (and mean it!).  If the number on the scale defines how you see yourself, you're giving wayy to much power to that number.

Who would have thought a home decorating book would have been such good therapy for my soul?!  Looking for the beauty in imperfections of life is similar to gratitude.  Its easy to be grateful when life is all hunky dory, but its another thing to be grateful when you are struggling to look for things to be grateful for.  Same thing with beauty.  If we only see beauty in the perfect things, we miss an amazing opportunity to challenge ourselves to find beauty in the imperfections.

Don't sweat the small stuff and remember...

23 September 2014

3 Things My Parents Taught Me About Love

Today is Ma and Pa's anniversary.  31 years strong.

I know that no marriage is by any means perfect, but the older get I get I see how blessed I was to have the parents I did.  My parental units have been good inspiration for me as I grew up and later got married.  Here are three things my parents have taught me about amore over the years...

1. Say I'm Sorry
I remember growing up seeing the rents fight from time to time, but what always made an impression on me was that I also saw them forgive and apologize to each other.  Forgiveness takes an act of the will, its a choice.  Watching your parents forgive each other is realllyyy good practice for the hands on experience of being married.  Its a powerful witness.

2.  Love is a Sacrifice
Marriage takes selflessness...sacrifice is one of the basic ingredients.  Over the years, my parents made plenty of sacrifices for my siblings and I, and to each other.  I remember once money was really tight and my Dad told me if he had to he would take a second job on the weekend bagging groceries just so he and Mom could afford to send us kids to Catholic schools.  At the time, I was horrified and more concerned what would people think if they saw MY Dad bagging groceries at Kroger's.  Now I look back and am blown away by my Dad's humility and the great sacrifice he was willing to make to send us kids to faith based schools.  Love is selfless and self-sacrificial.  And though I have a LONG way to go in this department, it helps to have good role models to look up too.

3.  Love God more than each other
I have to admit when I was a kid and my Mom told me this I thought she was crazy.and. it made me mad.  "Wait what do you mean God is first, then Dad, AND then us kids?! What the heck are we, chopped liver?!?!"  Talk about child neglect.  But as I have gotten older I can get where Momsy was coming from.  To place your spouse, kids, wealth, etc. above God is out of whack.  Worship alone belongs to God.  When we place other people or things on the throne of our lives, it says those other things/people are most important.  I noticed when we got married I kinda put Jim on this pedestal, and that's a dangerous place to put another fallen human being because we are all going to fall and not measure up from time to time.  Even in the Bible, we are told to first love God above all things AND then love your neighbor as yourself.
I can appreciate this so much more now and am glad I didn't call child protective services on my folks.

Happy 31 years you two!! Here's to the next 31...

19 September 2014

Hair cuts, magical curling irons, & playing on the freeway (7QT)

1.  So last Friday I got my hairs trimmed.  I've had long hair for a long time now, but have been itching to change it up for a bit.  So while I was scared to death, I decided to hack a lot of it off...like 8 inches a lot.
Still getting used to it, but it definitely helps I can still put my hair up and curl it. 
Oh don't mind Pope John Paul II photo bombing in the back ground...

2.  Speaking of curling my hair, I was thrilled beyond belief to get this fancy pants curling machine.  Yes you heard me, machine.

Basically this machine sucks in your hair and spits it all nice and perfectly curled.  It works REALLY good, and for a gal who loves to curl her hair it was worth the $99 (thanks Ma and Pa for the birthday money! :)  You can choose different heat settings to get looser or tighter curls and they hold well throughout the day.
However, the only down side is you have to be VERY careful when sectioning your hair up.  It can easily get stuck in the heated curling chamber.  How do I know this?  Well there have been several times where I have broken out in a sweat screaming for Jim to help me untangle my horse's main from the heated chamber of horror.  Thankfully I have gotten the hang of it and am now able to curl my hair without adult supervision.

3.  Today I was a local Catholic school giving chastity talks to 6-8th grade girls all morning.  Two things about tween girls: First, if you come with candy to encourage participation they will love you for it.  Second, it never ceases to amaze me how open and honest young people get when I say they can ask me anything, because usually that is exactly what happens.
That being said, please pray for young people today.

4.  Over the summer, Jim and I went over to my sis and bro-in-law's place to watch the Hunger Games.  I loved the books and loved the movie even more...everybody was telling me throughout the movie to stop crying and asking questions.  Have I mentioned I am a little in touch with my feelings??
I rented from the library Catching Fire and we're all set to hunker down and watch it this weekend.  That way when the Mockingjay comes out in November we can go see it with the thousands of other fans.

5.  Guess what we're doing on Sunday afternoon?!?
We're going to go play on the freeway.  No for realz.
Since March, one of the main freeways in the Detroit area has been closed for a total and complete over haul.  Its been over 40 years since the freeway first opened and on Sunday from 2-4pm the city officials are opening it up for families to walk, bicycle, and play on the freeway to celebrate the re-opening in a few weeks.
Jim and I are thinking of bringing a Frisbee to toss around...why not? 

6.  I am so excited for our kick-off youth group meeting this Sunday.  The teens made an awesome video introducing the adult and youth leadership team which features the Harlem Shake in church.  Not gonna lie, kinda stoked.

7.  Paying off debt and budgeting is going pretty well.  We just paid off our first debt this paycheck!!! 1 down and 3 more to go!!!  Next one the list is paying off Jim's credit card, then my car, and my student loans.  Who knew saving money and being responsible could be so fun?!

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