"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Confessions (vol.5)

I've started to write a couple posts here and there throughout this pandemic and I just can't seem to get my thoughts together. So I figured a confessions post might be easier. Prepare yourself, I'm keeping it real. Confessions, coronavirus edition.

Silly picture just because

Last year I kept getting the sense that we were in a preparation time for a period of suffering. And I felt so silly because life was so good! 2019 was so great! But now I'm feeling a little vindicated because BOY OH BOY, I never could have imagined what we would be dealing with this year.

Logan hasn't been back at work in over 3 months, and it's still uncertain as to if/when he will return, although his workplace finally opened back up 2 weeks ago (phased reopening and he was not called). I can't help but get really annoyed as to how we were FINALLY in a decent place financially in the fall...and then this virus happened. My magazine job ended too. :(

Every time I read the Old Testament, I used to think how ridiculous the Israelites were being, constantly complaining despite God providing for their every need. BUT NOW I TOTALLY GET IT. Seriously. I have never understood the Israelites better than I have during this pandemic, you guys. Yes, things are rough, but God has still managed to provide for us, often through the generosity of our family and friends. Yet I can't help but complain...

I'm having a hard time not comparing our situation to other people and wondering why it's always us struggling. (Yes, I know how horrible that sounds.)

My recurrent joke during this time has been: "It's rough being a melancholic during a pandemic." And while I mean it to be funny, it's actually really true. It's not easy for anyone during a pandemic (and if it is, don't tell me), but throw in the traits of being idealistic, having high expectations, and longing for heaven...ugh. It's not easy. I know my fellow melancholics feel me!

Every since I got married, I wasn't very good about meditating on the Stations of the Cross on a regular basis. But God has totally fostered a love in me for the stations over the last few months. It's honestly been one of the things that has gotten me through my temptation to despair. Because how can I despair when thinking about what Jesus went through for me?

Our church now has an outdoor Stations of the Cross, so I've been riding my bike there and it's so nice. Sometimes I can convince the big boys to join me! (Chase was being a little silly yesterday)

"Trust" and "mercy" should be my words of the year. But Logan and I actually picked a word together (using Jen Fulwiler's website) and got "story." Which is good too. Maybe just maybe God is writing an awesome story through all of this...

Despite having many friends who already homeschool and having many more considering homeschooling this fall, Logan and I do.not.want.to. We still don't know what exactly the schools are doing yet, but we're hoping our kids are young enough that they won't have to wear masks. And if they do have to wear masks, welllll....I don't know what we will do.

Even though I technically have more time to write and do all the things I've been wanting to do, I'm finding it very hard to get motivated. And I start to think "well, I'll just wait until school starts." But I don't even know if they are going for sure! And it just makes me frustrated.

In my last confessions post, I wrote how I was overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities. Although most of those responsibilities are no longer, I'm still overwhelmed with all of the uncertainty of Logan's job, the boys school, and my fertility. Which begs the question...will I ever not be overwhelmed? (Maybe don't answer that)


We visited my parents for a few days and didn't want to leave. Landon and Chase learned how to fish and are better than me at casting!

We've been trying to get pregnant for well over a year, and honestly, we weren't being too strict even before that. I've always had an issue with stress prolonging my already long cycles...and that's definitely happening now. I don't know how to make me not stressed, considering the circumstances. Suggestions, anyone?

I'm starting to quite literally work myself out of a job now that our boys are doing consistent chores, and it feels like such a victory. Big kids are awesome.

Logan and I have talked about the possibility of me going back to work if the boys are able to go to school. But I honestly don't know if that is what God is asking of me right now (and it's hard to discern considering everything is so uncertain!).

Now that I've read this post over, I'm second guessing whether or not to post. Guess what I decided? (Mostly because I haven't posted in forever and I refuse to let this blog die)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Hoping to redeem myself [Q1 goals update and new Q2 goals]

Well, that first quarter of 2020 certainly didn't end the way we expected. I bombed a lot of my goals too, and that was mostly not even related to the virus craziness! January and February were just really crazy for a bunch of reasons. I'm trying not to feel like a big slacker...

January to March 2020 - How did I do?

Personal

Write for fun. I wanted to journal and write on this blog more, and sadly, I only journaled twice during those 3 months and blogged 4 times (but really, only 2 posts were after I made that goal). As far as writing that was not related to things I had to do? Nonexistent. So sad. I have had zero motivation to write because my brain is just too overwhelmed with everything else.

Exercise twice a week. Ehhh, I'm not sure how I did on this one, honestly. I was trying to prepare for a 5K but got sick for a few weeks in February. I finally got checked out 2 days before the race and the nurse practitioner did not like the idea of me trying to run at all. I'm thinking I need to just stop signing up for races because something always happens to prevent me from running. Ugh.

Spiritual

Read the Bible everyday using the Bible Timeline reading plan. This is a 3-month plan, and I was doing really well until I got to the end of the 2nd month. It was the week of Mardi Gras break, and I just could.not. get through the reading with my very talkative child who was home from school all week. So I gave it up. And I only feel a little bad about it. (I have since REALLY enjoyed doing Morning Prayer instead!)

Educational

Read 8 books. Done! I actually read 10, thanks to the 5-book series by Jacqueline Brown (mentioned in my book post). For some reason, I thought my goal was 10 books...but turns out it was only 8.

Home

Declutter 200 items. Done! I got rid of 217 items, and that doesn't even include all of the things I threw away. I threw away a lot.

Marriage

Read 3 Secrets to Holiness with Logan. Done! It was really good. Technically, we finished it a few days into April...but I'm counting it as a win.


Family

Read aloud one chapter book per month.  Goodness, I really bombed this one. We didn't even finish one chapter book...and maybe it's because I chose a long one. So my bad. And only Landon is interested in it. Sooo, I need to rethink this for sure.

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Okay, so half of those didn't end well. Not cool. Now that life has changed dramatically (and likely will be so for the rest of this quarter), I needed to consider that while thinking of new goals. Here goes...

April to June 2020 - New goals

Personal

Take my vitamins everyday. Yes, I know I should be doing this anyway, but I really started slacking once this pandemic started. And I need to be better! I have quite a few supplements and all which is overwhelming sometimes but I need to get over it. My cycle has gone crazy again due to the stress, and I'm sure not taking my vitamins didn't help.

Journal every week. I'm going to want to remember this crazy time, so journaling will totally help. And since it always makes me feel better about life anyway, I figure I need to make it happen more often. 

Spiritual

Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet everyday. You know I love the rosary and have been praying it everyday for years now. I love the chaplet too, but I wasn't very consistent with it...until coronavirus hit. So I want to continue that!
My new fave shirt, by the way

Educational

Finish half of the books I'm currently reading. Since I'm currently reading 9 books, many of which are taking me FOREVER, I'm not going to set a number of books I want to read this quarter. Instead, I'm going to really really try to finish 4-5 of those books. I'm ahead of my reading challenge anyway...

Home

Declutter another 200 items. Since 200 items already went well, I'm just going to stick with that again.

Go through paperwork and throw away or shred anything not needed anymore. I started this during Holy Week because this is one of my least fave things to do. And I really need to do more!

Marriage

Go on a marriage retreat. We had one planned in March which obviously didn't happen, so hopefully the next one isn't cancelled too! But it's not looking too promising. Sigh.

Incorporate more worship into our prayer time together. This is something we also did during Holy Week for the first time at home (because Mass and Adoration is totally worship), and it.was.amazing. We're trying to do it once a week now, at least.

Family


Play a game together at least once a week. We used to play games more than we do now, and I miss it. The boys are good about playing games together, and I always make a million excuses as to why I can't play with them. But the times I actually say yes? They LOVE it. So here's to saying yes!

Here's to hoping I'm more successful this time around. Are you making any goals during this crazy time?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

What I'm loving lately {coronavirus edition}

Why hello there. One of my goals for this first quarter of 2020 was to write for fun more, which includes this blog...and I'm not doing so well. But so I can remember this crazy coronavirus time, I'm forcing myself to blog. (I mean, I want to blog, but I'm having a very hard time prioritizing things now that I have SO MANY OPTIONS. You know what I mean?)

I started this like 2 weeks ago and forgot about it, but a list of things I'm loving lately seems appropriate, because it's important to remember the good stuff. Here we go!

Family time. I've said before how our family time has always been limited during the school year, with our boys in school during the week and Logan at work on the weekends. So we were suddenly given all the family time we could ever ask for, and although it's been an adjustment, we are grateful.

Baking. I haven't had as much time to as I'd like to bake before this virus, so it's been really nice revisiting recipes I used to love. Maybe I'll do a post with my faves...

Our backyard. Seriously, we just love our yard, and it's been a saving grace throughout this crazy season. Logan has even done some extra touches to it (like adding stones under the bench, adding a sign on the tree, and adding a walkway leading up the Mary garden). The great weather has been a bonus!

Marco Polo app. I've been able to see the beautiful faces of my friends despite everything, which is pretty cool. (It's an app where you can easily send videos to each other and watch live, if you'd like.)

Zoom. This has also allowed me to see the beautiful faces of my friends, and it's allowed Logan and me to continue the couple prayer series we were facilitating at our church. I saw a meme about who was really behind COVID-19...and it was Zoom. Which makes me laugh because seriously...everyone is using it now. (And yes, I know the issues with Zoom and we have taken extra precautions, don't worry.)

The chance to homeschool. I used to think we would homeschool and then it turned out we didn't feel called to it. I always wondered what it would be like, and if it would be a good fit for our family (especially with Logan's work schedule), and now I get the chance! No pressure or risk involved. So that's cool. Although it is going fairly well, I'm not sure we will ever officially do it...but now I know we can.

Our health. We had a crazy scare with Logan who had to go the ER for the first time ever to get x-rays on his leg. And nothing was broken! His leg is pretty bruised and still swollen but is getting better every day. It really made us so grateful that it wasn't worse, because we are definitely still thinking about all of the "what if" scenarios. So scary.

Coloring. Why, yes, this is one of my hobbies these days. It's so calming! I usually color while listening to Marco Polos. Multitasking and all.

Free resources. This has probably been one of the coolest things over the last few weeks. Everyone is offering something for free! Coloring sheets, school stuff, liturgical living resources, etc. I'm loving it.

The Chosen. If you haven't heard of this series, you need to watch it! Logan and I are over halfway through season 1 (which is only 8 episodes), and we are pleasantly surprised at how good it is. It's about Jesus and his disciples (hence, the chosen). Not sure how historically accurate it is, but it's still pretty good and has prompted some good conversation between Logan and me. There is an app, but we're watching the episodes on YouTube.

And now I need to post a goals update now that the first quarter is over. But I need to think about my new goals, because life has definitely changed since January!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Recent Reads (vol.20)

Whoops, I just realized it's been a hot second since I've shared my recent reads...and I've read 11 books since my last post.  Half are from 2019:
 And the rest are from this year:
So I need to get to sharing before the list becomes too long!

Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History by Dr. John Bergsma

This was in my 2019 faves list. If you struggle with reading and understanding the Bible, this is for you. I highly recommend it for people in RCIA too!

Intimate Graces: How Practicing the Works of Mercy Brings Out the Best in Marriage by Teresa and Dominick Tomeo

This is an easy and quick read with some great marriage thoughts and discussion questions.

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

This is the 2nd book in a 3-book series, although you don't necessarily need to read all 3. This was actually my least fave of the 3 because it was so predictable...but I still enjoyed it.

Be Merry: A Catholic Guide to Avoid Anxiety and Depression During the Holidays by Sterling Jaquith

A reread for me and another easy and helpful read. Definitely recommend if you struggle with the holidays (although you could totally read it anytime and it would be helpful!).

The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

The last in the 3-part series, and I really liked this one. I just found it completely relatable, and although the author did take some (questionable?) liberties with a very popular Bible story, I thought it was pretty interesting.

The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey

Another reread. If you're interested in learning more about the Liturgy of the Hours, this explains everything!

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons by Meg Meeker

I kept seeing Meg Meeker recommended for moms of boys, and this did not disappoint. Highly recommend.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

This was my January read for "a book recommended by a friend" and I really enjoyed it. You would too if you like stories that take place a couple centuries ago.

The Light: Who Do You Become When the World Falls Away? by Jacqueline Brown

A friend heard about this 5-book series on Danielle Bean's podcast, and we both started reading it. It's Catholic fiction, and although it's not the best written series, I really appreciate the Catholic aspect. It's also like an ends time kind of scenario, which is pretty cool. The kindle books are pretty inexpensive (and are included on Kindle Unlimited).

Through the Ashes by Jacqueline Brown

Book #2 in the above mentioned series. I kind of hate the endings because it makes you want to immediately read the next one. I really want to read the rest of the series but I'm trying really really really hard to finish some other books first. There are 2 characters that I just love in this book!

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

This was my February read for "a memoir or biography." I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla since it was pretty short (4 hours plus I listened to it at 1.5x without a problem). The main character owes his life to Oskar Schindler, and it really makes me want to watch the movie Schindler's List (which is based off another book). I either cannot remember the movie or or maybe I actually haven't even seen the whole thing...can't remember. Either way, this book is a good read if you're into WWII stories.

I'm currently in the middle of 7 other books, which is ridiculous. But half of them are just taking me forever...so it might be my Lenten goal to power through and finally finish them.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Lent is coming! I'm ready but not ready

I can't even believe it. Wasn't it just Advent? I'm equally dreading Lent and looking forward to it. January and February have been just so nuts, so I'm looking forward to life slowing down a bit. (I feel like I always say that...)

It's been a couple years since we've had the wiggle room in our budget for me to buy an Advent or Lenten devotional, but I finally bought one again! My moms group is doing the Blessed Is She Lenten one—Here, Too—which I'm looking forward to. I ordered a bunch to get a discount plus there was a coupon code, both of which don't seem to be an option anymore, so I highly recommend going that route ASAP next year. Each copy ended up being $19.70 as opposed to $25!

I created 40 Days of Loving Your Husband for Surprised By Marriage, and Logan has already told me he realllllly wants me to do it during Lent. So I guess I'm doing that too, ha. It's basically doing one small thing for your husband, and obviously he really likes that kind of thing. (It's included in the Catholic Mom Bundle, available until Friday only! This is our affiliate link, please and thank you.)

We've been doing the Jesus Tree with the boys for a few years now, and they love it. So we will probably do it again, but try the one from Elizabeth Clare, also included in the Catholic Mom Bundle.
Flashback to Lent a few years ago!

Logan and I both decided months ago that we would give up eating between meals for Lent. We did it for a few days back in November and couldn't believe how hard it was! Oh, and we also decided to read The Secret to Holiness in Marriage once Lent starts. It's a 33-day retreat for your marriage so starting it on Ash Wednesday will mean we will finish it juuuuust in time to check off that goal for the first quarter.

I always try to do one thing for myself during Lent, one thing with Logan, and one thing with the boys...so that pretty much covers it.
 

Oh wait, one more! A couple years ago, I bought the print copy of Walking Holy Week with Jesus: A Prayer Journal and it was sooo good. Since the printable version is also included in the Catholic Mom Bundle (and only available there), I'm looking forward to doing it again this year! (Can you tell I'm just really excited about the bundle? There are so many great products!) I really like how this journal is just one week...totally doable and not overwhelming. Maybe I'll ask Logan to do it with me since we will have finished our book by then.

This is where I shamelessly include our affiliate link for the Catholic Mom Bundle: Check out the details here. It ends Friday at midnight! $25 for $333 worth of products. About half of the 24 contributions are Lent-related and half aren't. Best of both worlds.

Are you ready for Lent? Do you have everything planned or are you just going to wing it?





Sunday, February 2, 2020

A new year and a new way to set goals {Jan.-Mar. 2020}

Welllll, I wrote this post a few weeks ago and things kept coming up. I told myself I'd post before January ended...but failed. But now I'm watching the Superbowl and bummed that it looks like the Chiefs are not going to win...so blogging it is. [Edited to add: just kidding! They made a comeback! 🎉]

I totally wrote a goals post last year and never got around to posting it. (You sensing a theme here?) But looking back in my drafts folder, I only did 5 of the 12 things I said I wanted to do. Not good.

So that got me thinking about goals and what's effective. Setting yearly goals are not really feasible when life can change so quickly. Our life changed a lot halfway through the year! So this year I'm going to set goals every 3 months. And to make things simple and well-rounded, I'm (mostly) picking one thing in 6 different categories: personal, spiritual, educational, home, marriage, and family.

We'll see how this goes! I'll reevaluate at the end of March and decide on some new goals...or maybe even stick with similar ones. Who knows??


January to March 2020

Personal

Write for fun. I've been so busy writing magazine articles and marriage blog posts, and that's really changed how much I write elsewhere. So when it comes to writing for fun, that means blogging on this here blog, journaling, and getting back to writing projects that have nothing to do with our Surprised By Marriage ministry or my side magazine job. (Oh, long lost book I used to work on...I see you.)

Exercise twice a week. I originally had "ride my bike once a week" which sounds really lame. But then I signed up for a 5K which is in like a month. Yikes. And I'm totally not in that great a shape, because exercising has dropped in my list of priorities over the few months. But I need to be better!

Spiritual

Read the Bible everyday using the Bible Timeline reading plan. I really enjoyed reading through the Bible in a year in 2018...but it was hard. I attempted to read the Bible every day in 2019 but would go through spurts because I didn't have a plan. So I found this 3-month one based on the events of salvation history, which is totally doable and all about things I've been reading and listening to lately. And it's just a little too perfect considering I'm making 3-month goals and the reading plan covers 3 months.

Educational

Read 8 books. So that means about 32 books for the year, if I keep the same amount each quarter. It's lower than I've been doing, but I really want to focus on enjoying the books I do read, as well as finally tackling some longer classics. I'm even debating rereading Kristin Lavransdatter! But we will see. I don't want to feel too much pressure!

Home

Declutter 200 items. My friend told me that she's attempting to declutter 2,020 things in the year 2020. While I am not quite that ambitious, I do think it's a great idea to challenge yourself to a certain number. So I've got 3 months to declutter 200 things (and actually, I've already done over half)...and maybe I'll be motivated to do even more the next quarter.

Marriage

Read 3 Secrets to Holiness with Logan. This was totally a book we said we would read last year, but better than never, eh?

Family

Read aloud one chapter book per month. This is another one of those things that I do in spurts, and I reallllly want to be more consistent about it. One book each month might not seem like much compared to some of you and your awesomeness, but maybe I'll be able to up it next go-round. (And sighhhh definitely failed in January.)

Hopefully my first quarter update and my second quarter goals post will be a little more punctual.

Are you making any goals this year? Tell me!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Books I'm reading in 2020

It's hard to believe this is my 5th annual book list! Not once have I read every single book on it, but I've gotten pretty close. Most importantly, making a list really keeps me reading somewhat consistently.

This past year, I realized I made my list too long, so I'm going to stick with 12 books—one for each month. I've also learned that I should not include any deep spiritual or theological reads or super long classic fiction reads. (I will still read those, of course...I just won't feel the pressure from putting them on my list.) I'm also (mostly) sticking to books that I already own this year! So here's my list of (hopefully) fairly easy reads that will not stress me out:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe

The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos

Mission of the Family by Jon Leonetti

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary by Brant Pitre

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testament of Faith by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. and Daniel L. Flaherty, S.J.

Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery


Rereads:

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine

A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot

I also realized at some point this year that I forgot to include the reading challenge I do with with friends every year in my book list for 2019. So here is our reading challenge for 2020! In case you wanted to do it too. :)
What books are you reading this year??


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