30 April, 2012

10 Things I Didn't Know When I Got Married

1. Differing expectations are at the heart of almost every conflict (and success!)
2. NFP is HARD. That said, it is one of the most worthwhile aspects of our marriage.
3. Men need space...physical and mental...
4. Parents don't get sick days.
5. I'm undisciplined and insecure. God is so good for giving me a patient and encouraging husband.
6. You can communicate too much, but we'd prefer it that way to not enough.
7. Diaper bribes only work when you don't share a bank account.
8. Dual jobs/incomes are great...until you have to balance them with family life. Praise God for a husband who understands the importance of balancing our family life with my career ambitions.
9. My husband has a mental stamina that rivals a robot. He has held strong through many a joyful, sleepless, confused, and tearful night.
10. Life makes love look hard, but with God, the last six years have been the most abundantly blessed of my life.

All jokes aside, five years ago I married a man who is gift from God that I could never deserve. Though cliche, I love him more today than that dreary April day in 2007 when we vowed our lives to God and each other. My best friend, my confident, my lover, my muse, my protector, and many days, my brain. He is the man who challenges me to be better than I am and who encourages me to continue becoming God's creation.

I love you.

19 April, 2012

Extra! Extra! Cohabitation at Beginning of Rougher Road

Though I've heard plenty a skeptic say the Catholic Church is behind the times, once again, society and science catch up with the Catholic Church! Check out this opinion piece in the New York Times.

NYT: The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage

16 April, 2012

Mussels, Fries, Apple Trees and...

...a small dose of discernment.

Suprise #1: On Saturday afternoon, my husband arrived home from a morning of errands with a pound of fresh, black mussels! For those of you who are wondering why a pound of bottom feeding shellfish raises such joy in my heart must understand that I am a European woman in an American life. I love all things European and one of my favorite dishes from my travels is mussels and fries or "moules frites" as they are known in French. There is a snazzy little tavern in Libertyville, IL that serves them up as a dish known as "Belgian Delight" and while we were hoping to enjoy them over the Easter holiday, the big family gathering did not allow for much adventuring. So instead, a week later, my hubby brought the mussels to me with a recipe! Not only did he provide the ingredients, but an opportunity for me to cook them!

I was so excited that I didn't even get photos, but we shared two beautiful bowls of wine and cream steamed mussels, a bowl of homemade shoestring fries and sides of garlic-mustard aoili. Pair that with a beautiful Belgian Ale from Titletown Brewing Company and a fabulous table in the sun on our very own deck and I was one happy lady!

Surprise #2: My anniversary presents arrived this weekend! Our 5-year anniversary is on the 27th of this month. We've had to postpone any travel plans due to a crazy schedule, but my hubby still managed an fabulous surprise. Out of his SUV of tricks he pulled two apple trees!!! Now, any of you who know my backyard may be asking, "Why do you need apple trees? You already have two!" Yes...I do, but these aren't just apple trees. These are Haralson apple trees. They are a hearty (zones 3-7, meaning they can handle up to -40 degree temps) heritage variety trees that bear the most beautiful russet red apples with a super tart flavor and firm flesh. They are directly out of my childhood and I beg for them every year! As early as next year, I will have my own! Hmmm...what to make with my first harvest???? Thank goodness I have a whole year to decide.

Surprise #3: This was a great weekend.

Yes, it is as simple as that. It's been a rough few months. Not so much the busyness of the calendar, but the stress and pressure and unknowns of life during such a busy time. I've spent many a week "just getting through" and many a night in tears or comatose because "this just isn't the way it is supposed to be!"

This weekend was the first in months where I got to catch up on chores, play outside with my kids, and spend time really talking with my husband. It had us prioritizing and reflecting on some current developments in our life. Fortunately, this weekend there was enough time to take the reflection to prayer and realize that no matter how little time we have, prayer must come first.

I'm glad that I've been taught about discernment - taught ways of calling on and recognizing God's promptings. While I still too often use discernment as an excuse for change when I'm feeling unsettled, it is a comfort zone for me. A step-by-step process for moving beyond myself and listening/watching for God. How often I am rewarded for my prayer and patience with signs and affirmations of my journey. It's like the green line in the Fidelity Financial commercials, but instead of a green line, mine is a gravel path. Instead of an arrow, the fire of the Spirit beckons me forward. Instead of security for self, there is trust in my Lord.

01 April, 2012

Girlfriends in God: More Precious than Jewels!

A quick photo post from yesterday's amazing event! You ladies are beautiful and holy jewels in God's crown! I can't wait to see you all again soon!