Quick Year in Review

This time last year I was focusing on the good while honoring the not-so-good that had been 2009.  Little did I know just how much 2010 would hold (do we ever?).  So, what did 2010 hold?

1.  The end of birth control and the start of NFP.  What a difference - not only in my physical health, but in my spiritual health and marriage.  Alison, I'm so grateful for you and Mike and your willingness to be creative in teaching us.  I pray that in 2011, we meet and I'm not only saying thank-you but also congratulations.

2.  Moving day!  While it didn't happen until much later in 2010, moving out of our {tiny} one bedroom apartment into a house once again.  It is only one example of how we feel like our lives got out of neutral and into drive again.

3.  Speaking of drive, 2010 held a lot of car drama for us.  As of about 10 minutes ago though, hopefully the car drama is done for a while.  The Man just traded our VW for a new Ford and we are now not only a 2-vehicle family again, but a 2-under warranty-vehicle family again!  Yes, this does mean we have 2 car payments again, but it wasn't the car payments that were causing us stress, it was all of the repair costs.

4.  Running a 5K for the first time ever!  While I'm sure when I played sports in high school I ran at least a 5K a couple of times a week, this was the first time I ever ran a 5K all at once just to run it.  I'm considering raising the bar a little bit in 2011.

5.  I can't say I'm excited about how 2010 started OR ended as it relates to football.  January 1, 2010 marked a Mountaineer loss in the Gator Bowl and December 28, 2010 marked a loss in the Champs Sports Bowl.  But right smack in the middle was the hiring of  new Athletic Director Oliver Luck, and 2011 is promising to be exciting at the very least.

6.  I gained another sister in 2010 when my brother got married!  I know have 5 sisters-in-law and will someday, God-willing, get one more.  I only knew brothers growing up and I'd much rather talk football than shop, but this sister-thing is pretty great.

7.  Finally, we added another pup to our family.  Mei Mei has turned out to be the perfect name for her, as she is all things 'little sister' - as endearing as can be one minute and a complete pest the next.  I'm still in a bit of shock that Kali loves her as much as she does, but I'm ever so grateful for it!

Happy New Year friends!


Merry Christmas

From our family...
Family Roster Christmas Card
Make a statement with personalized Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

to yours!


A New Appreciation (& a Question)

My friend's funeral was on Friday and during her funeral, I found myself feeling a bit awkward because I felt like I should be sadder (read:  closer to tears or crying) than I was.  It wasn't until today during communion that I finally broke down (tears dripping down off my face kinda broke down).  What struck me as odd about this was that the communion song was 'The Canticle of the Turning", listed as a 'praise' song in our hymnal, and a favorite song of mine that typically leaves me feeling quite hopeful/upbeat.

As I pondered why these tears were coming today, my first thought was 'it's just finally starting to sink in', but then I remembered a thought I'd had during the funeral when I was trying to figure what was 'wrong' with me:  what happens when someone who is not Catholic dies?  I kept waiting for the 'into Your hands we commend her soul' part, but of course it never came.  And so, after some thought it made sense to me that though today's Mass was not a Funeral Mass for my friend, it was the tradition I am used to when someone dies; it is where I am most comfortable mourning.

Today, I gained a new appreciation for my Catholic Faith and it's tradition.  Yes, everyone mourns in their own time, but today, it was the tradition, the familiarity that allowed me to finally 'feel' the loss.  I wasn't wondering 'what's next?' or 'how does this work?', I knew and my mind and heart were free to feel.  While the tears caught me off guard, I am grateful for not only the tears themselves, but that they finally came.

But I still don't have an answer to my question:
What happens when someone who is not Catholic dies?  I would imagine this must be broken down into 2 parts 1) what happens when someone who is Christian, but not Catholic dies? and 2) what happens when someone who is not Christian and not Catholic dies?  I don't mean the details of funerals and such, but what happens to their soul, what is 'next'?


Quick Prayer Requests

Be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes.  This week, I have 7 3 Quick Prayer Requests.

1.  For Janet's family and friends.  We had the funeral for my friend/co-worker today and through the tears, there was some laughter.  The coming days and weeks will be hard.

2.  For my friend Sara, her husband, and their sweet baby girl (and her big brother too).  Jellybean was born at 35 weeks and doing very well, but is having trouble eating, so she is in the NICU.    

3.  For my Nan.  She had to have {another} surgery today.  She is home and doing well, but did need a wound vac.

Do you have any prayer intentions that you'd like prayed for?


Secret Santa Soiree

A Secret Santa Soiree Poem

What oh what could it be?
Inside a purple bag, for you, from me...

You like dark chocolate and caramels a lot.
So, together would be better, I thought.

But that's not all, no let's see.
How about a candle scented like a tree?

With hopes that you'll find a minute or two,
Here's a journal for writing, writing done by you.

And since you live where there's lots of snow and sleet,
I've included a nice comfy pair of blue slippers for your feet.

I hope you enjoy this poem that I wrote,
Almost as much as an ornament in the shape of a note.

Merry Christmas!

To see other Secret Santa Soiree Fun, click on the "I'm a Secret Santa" button on the top right side bar.
Georgie, thank-you for hosting once again this year!  I love doing this :).


Please Pray

A friend and co-worker passed away unexpectedly today.

Please pray for her soul.

And please, please cherish every moment.  You truly never know when it will be the last.

Janet, may you rest in peace.


Saturday Evening Blog Post

The first Saturday of each month, Elizabeth asks us to share our favorite post from the previous month.  I enjoy the opportunity to look back at what I've written for the month and decide on a favorite.  It's so hard to decide on just one sometimes, and today is one of those times.

Maybe it's because I just came home from WVU's last home football game of the year, or maybe it was because it didn't cause too much controversy, or maybe it was for a reason I cannot quite explain, but today, my favorite post from November is this one:

Backyard Brawl in Combat Style

I love being a West Virginian.  I love that West Virginia University is here in my hometown.  I love that WVU chose to honor the 29 miners who lost their lives earlier this year in this way.


Quick Quotes

Jennifer hosts 7 Quick Takes every week at Conversion Diary and this week I came across Anne's Quick Takes in which she does 7 Quick Quotes and I liked her idea, so I'm doing it too.

So, here you go, 7 quotes that are especially special to me.  (Anne's are much more eloquent, I promise!).

1.  Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong, doing there is a field.  I will meet you there.  ~Rumi
I love, love, love this quote.  If we would all just stop trying to be so right and start really listening to one another...

2.  It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.  ~Albus Dumbledore
Actions truly do speak louder than words.  Spend a day working with a classroom full of children and this will become (sometimes painfully) clear.

3.  It's a great day to be a Mountaineer, wherever you may be.  ~Tony Caridi
Does this one really need an explanation?

4.  Feel the fear, and do it anyway.  ~Susan Jeffers
I first heard this quote during my time as a Party.Lite consultant and it was used as a motivational tool to not procrastinate the things that we didn't like/want to do.  I used it in my business, but have used it in the rest of my life even more so.  From giving up a job I loved, to going back into the 'regular' work force, to  most recently making a change back to what I love to do.  I don't think fears should be completely ignored, because they can save us to some degree, but I do think that we shouldn't let fear paralyze us.

5.  Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow.'  ~Mary Anne Radmacher
I've written about this quote, and what it has meant to me, before.  It is a beautiful reminder that courage takes many shapes and sizes and that I need to take time to listen for others' whispers of courage.

6.  There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under Heaven.  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1
This verse got me through some tough times.  And it still reminds me during times of winter, that spring will come.  But, it also reminds that during times of summer, fall will follow.  Not in a depressing way, but that life will ebb and flow, to enjoy the summers, but also to find beauty in the winters.

7.  Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.  ~Robert Frost
I don't always do things the way I *should*.  Sometimes I take the scenic route and get right back where I would've gone, and other times I find my own path.  It used to bother me that I was different from those around me.  But one of the best things about blogging is realizing that I'm not so strange.  My most recent topic of Just Cause really hit this point home.  You are all so amazing, I wish my family were as supportive.  Thank-you.  From the bottom of my heart.  Thank-you.

Have a great weekend!


Just Cause, Continued

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about The Man's and my Just Cause for postponing pregnancy to this point in our marriage.  Before I go much further, I feel like I need to add, for those of you who would like nothing more than to conceive, I pray for you daily and I understand that reading this can cause you pain.  I apologize and I just ask you to understand that your strong desire for children is just as foreign (no negative connotation in that at all) to me as my postponing pregnancy is to you.

Ever since writing the post, and reading the comments (which were all very kind), and reading a few others' thoughts on having children on other blogs (both posts and comments), I have just felt like I didn't get it right.  Or rather, I didn't get it all right.  You see, so many of the comments focused on the finances of raising a child (children); for us that's not really even the main issue.  I think because of my openness about our finances and our bankruptcy, it is easy to think that finances would be the main reason.

Michelle put it best in a comment when she said: "I agree that a follow-up post would be nice because having children is so much more than a money issue, I believe. Heck, just ask my husband...I swear we would never believe we could afford the kids we have if we didn't "just do it" all the time, ya know????"


While if someone were to ask me if I thought we had enough money to have a child, my answer would be a definite 'no.'  AND, if someone were to have asked me a week or so ago if we had enough money to get a new car, my answer also would have been 'no.'  (The same with a new puppy.)  Just as Michelle said above, we 'just do it'.  So, if our only reason for postponing pregnancy at this time was money, I feel confident in saying (barring extreme money circumstances) we would 'just do it' (are you giggling too?).

So, what in the world could possibly be keeping a young, happily married, seemingly fertile couple from trying to achieve pregnancy?

In the comments of the last post, I clarified to Allison, that when *I* say we 'don't want kids' it is the same as if *I* had said 'we have discerned that it is not God's will for us to have children at this time'.  This is something we consider monthly, daily sometimes, and is not just a whim.  Which leads me to a recent post by TCIE regarding the difference between desires and callings.  Our desires to not always match our callings and vice versa.  But, for us, they have matched on this issue.

To this point in our marriage, we have not felt called to have children.  For me that has translated to a desire to not have them.  A few years ago, I started to feel very heavy and guilty that I did not want children while there were so many, my friends included, struggling with infertility, miscarriage, and infant death.  It was when I was commuting and during one of my drives that I had a very clear realization that came from somewhere outside of me.  I knew that I would know it was time for us to have children when the desire (or rather calling as I understand now) for them was stronger than the desire (calling) to not have them.  That when presented with the idea of having a child, instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of 'no' I would feel open to the idea.  In that moment, I also became very comfortable with the prospect that this could happen after my body was biologically capable of having a child.  And, immediately, I felt at peace with the idea of adoption if this was the case.  Please don't read this as 'oh, if I can't have babies, I'll just adopt.'  It was much more profound than that.  My thoughts and feelings at this time were coming to me as if from somewhere/someone else.  I'm a great rationalizer and clarifier and this was not me rationalizing for myself. Of this, I am sure.  When I shared this with The Man, he nodded with me and said he felt very much the same.  It is this, our shared view, that continues to be evidence that we are listening to God.

It is hard to give specific examples, like money, because for us it's not just that.  It certainly could be for someone else, and if they have prayed about it and discerned that their financial situation provides just cause for not having children, then it would be.

Do I think that The Man and I have given much more thought/prayer to having children than the average couple?  Yes (with those who struggle with infertility as a major exception).  I know it as I speak to friends who do have children.  Do I think those who have not given as much consideration as we have to be wrong in their discernment process?  No.

So, while I could give you a list of 'reasons' why we don't have children yet, it's not one thing that brings us to our decision to abstain on fertile days each month.  It's the sum of the parts and the process of discerning our calling each month that leads us to our decision.

And finally, does this mean that we are truly open to life?  Open to life does not mean to have as many children as one is physically able.  It means not using contraception.  It means prayerfully considering if creating a life would be responsible parenthood.  It means keeping God in the discernment process and having a marriage of three.  So yes, I would say we are open to life.  Each and every month, we approach this decision with open hearts and open minds, anticipating that this may be the month that our calling changes.


Free Christmas Cards from Shutterfly!

I saw other bloggers posting about getting 50 Free Christmas Cards from Shutterfly for writing about their site and products and I'll admit at first I thought it was too good to be true.  But, with a quick visit over to Shutterfly I found that it was indeed true!

I wasn't sure if we were even going to do Christmas cards this year just because it seemed an expense that wasn't absolutely necessary (even if it is fun!).  But, given the opportunity to receive 50 FREE cards I decided that the postage was definitely worth it.  Photo cards are my favorite type of cards to receive, and to send as well.

I've narrowed it down to 4 cards that I like from Shutterfly's Christmas Photo Card Collection:

The first one is simple, and though I wouldn't have set out to find a black Christmas card, I do really like it.

The next one alludes to one of my favorite verses, but might be a bit too fancy for me.  I'll have to upload our pictures and see if that helps a little bit.

The third one has the same basic theme as the second, but a totally different look to it:

And finally, one more twist on faith, hope, and love (though I would go with Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays):

Of course I will have to upload our photos into each one before making my decision, but even just posting them here has helped me to pick a favorite.  We'll see if that one ends up being 'the' one.

As I was looking for cards, I noticed that you can also make photo calendars that are perfect for on a desk.  The Man has a picture of Kali in his treatment room that he says people ask about all of the time, maybe a calendar to show off a new picture every month would look nice in there as well.  Especially since there is a new pup to show off.

What do you typically send for Christmas cards?  What do you most like to receive?