"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

Friday, July 6, 2018

Making progress {7QT}

I've been posting goals and stuff for a few years, I think, but I don't know if I ever did a progress or updates post! So here we are, halfway through 2018. I've made some progress...(goals post is here)

1. Spiritual stuff

-Read the Bible in a year. I'm so glad I'm doing this. I could probably write a whole post about reading the Bible regularly, but it has been so fruitful. There was only one day that I forgot (crazy morning) and it was so hard catching up, so I've been making sure I do it every single day. (Evidence above. Highlighted days are the completed ones!)
-Incorporate more silence in my prayer time. Wellllll, if I'm honest, I could be better about this. I have a blog post in my head about this subject, but let's just say it's SO HARD cultivating silence even though I really, really love it and need it.

2. Personal stuff

-Run a 5K. Sigh. I'm so frustrated with this because I kept getting sick in the beginning of the year, so I kept having weeks where I couldn't run at all. Somehow I still managed to run consistently for like 3 weeks before my scheduled 5K! But then the 5K was cancelled the morning of. And now I have zero desire to run anymore.
-Read 45 books. So far I've read 18 books, and in the middle of 4. So I'm 4 books behind schedule. It's been really hard fitting in reading with our video-making and a series of ridiculous things happening, but I'm thinking I will catch up on this once school starts in the fall. Maybe.
-Finish writing a book. HAHA. I'm just really struggling with making time to write, because every time I get in a groove, kids interrupt. And that makes me crazy. So Logan and I need to figure something out. (But maybe this is one of those things that won't happen until school starts!)

3. Marriage stuff

-Attend another retreat. Done! We went in May and it was awesome and we can't wait to go back.
-Go on a cruise. I doubt this one will happen this year, unless by some chance we're not pregnant towards the end of the year when we can get a super cheap rate. Time will tell.

4. Family stuff

-Enjoy our family of 5. We have been! From crazy dance parties in our kitchen to outside time and everything else. (Picture above is from our trip to Kansas City. Go Royals!) Although there are still difficult moments as far as toddler tantrums and all, our kids have grown up so much in the last few months and it's made life really fun. (Still exhausting, but fun.)
-Go on a mini-vacation to somewhere new! Done! Well, it wasn't really a "new" place, as we actually have been there before (for one night a few years ago), but it was Aaron's first time, and we stayed 2 nights this time. We enjoyed the hotel, the pool, the beach, the arcade (see above), and eating out a lot (something we don't usually do very often due to our budget, but we really do love it). It was such a fun getaway and we were so surprised with how well the boys did and how refreshing it was, even though it was just 48 hours. (And thank you Jesus for us helping us save the money in our vacation fund!)

5. Financial stuff

-Buy tires for the van. Done! I think we did this in April. So glad to finally have that crossed off the list.
-Save another $1,000 for emergencies. Ugh, we've had a few unexpected things come up ('tis life), so we haven't been able to do this yet.
-Buy a reclining loveseat. This is looking doubtful too. Sigh.
-Get a month ahead of our expenses. We're probably about 25% of the way there, I think. It's been slow-going, especially with the unexpected expenses that came up, but the good news is that we're holding steady.

6. Saint of the year

I was REALLY confused about my saint of the year, St. Conrad. Patron saint of hernias and he and his wife both joined the religious life, basically. BUT I recently had an epiphany. I've been having a bunch of weird medical things going on, and it hit me - I could ask for St. Conrad's prayers! Because hernias are weird too. (Maaaaaybe that's a stretch, but whatevs.) And as far as the marriage thing goes (him and his wife going separate ways, which is weird - how could I relate to that?!), I realized that St. Conrad was big on prayer, and we can use him and his wife as an example of prayer in marriage. AND he died in front of a crucifix, which is pretty cool because as married people we are called to that same sacrificial love for our spouse. So yeah. Maybe I'm just pushing it but I've come to appreciate St. Conrad. ;)

7. Word of the year

Grace. Goodness this could be another blog post too, but let's just say I'm seeing the beauty of grace in all areas of life - prayer, marriage, parenting, EVERYTHING. I would not be where I am without God's grace and I'm so, so thankful He continues to give me the grace I need to do what He is asking.

Go check out the other quick takes at Kelly's!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Stuff I love {five favorites}

Goodness, did I really only write one post since the last Five Favorites link-up? Geez. I need to get back in the blogging game! (Are blogs really dying? I kind of feel like it but I also want to blog until I'm 80 sooo I dunno...)

I could totally just copy and paste my Five Favorites post from 2 months ago because it's all still true but alas, I have some new stuff I love too.

1. Costco
Yep, we finally renewed our membership again after going without for about 5 months. We weren't really saving money by not going to Costco. It wasn't obvious at first, because we still had a lot of things from there. But as we finished the snacks and frozen food and everything else from there that is A LOT cheaper, it started to kill me slowly to buy a more expensive item elsewhere. And thanks to handy dandy YNAB, I was able to look back at the last few months and realize yep, we were definitely spending more on groceries when we didn't have a Costco membership.

(I should mention that it is really easy to overspend at Costco, but with a lot of will power and buying only the necessary items and those items that save us money in the long-run, Costco helps our grocery budget immensely. We fill in the gaps at Walmart and occasionally Trader Joe's.)

2. Summer fun
I'm SO GLAD Landon is home for the summer. We created another summer of fun list (similar to last year, with some tweaks) and have already checked some things off. And I don't know why, but somehow I've managed to keep up with housework AND be a fun mom ever since school ended. Weird. Yay summer!

3. Alarm clock
I was getting realllllly tired of getting sucked into my phone every night before bed and every morning when I woke up but I kept thinking "but I need my alarm!" And then realized I still had my old school orange alarm clock from college. So I've been using it for the last 3 months while my phone stays downstairs at night. It's life-changing. (And holler for waking up to K-Love instead of some dumb ringer!)

4. Marriage retreats
Logan and I went on our third one this past month and you should just consider me your biggest advocate for marriage retreats. You need to go on one. Often. Like really. Faith and Marriage here in New Orleans puts on some amazing ones, but I'm sure there are others elsewhere! I just can't say enough about how much good a weekend away with your spouse to embrace the sacraments and spend time together can do for your marriage.
A snapshot from our vlog!

5. Stranger Things
Logan and I attempted to watch this way back when it was all the rage and after 30 terrifying seconds I was like NOPE. So he watched the 2 seasons by himself and continued to bug me about watching it with him. I was still like NAH I'M GOOD. But somehow he recently convinced me to watch it again with him and so we are 6 episodes in and I am hooked. It's so strange. But it's good. Even though some parts are still terrifying.

Well, shoot, I have more things I could add to the list but that's five already. Go check out the link-up over at Ashley's inspiring blog!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.12)

I've slowed down a bit in the reading department thanks to our marriage gig, but I'm still on track to meeting my goal! Right on track as opposed to being 2 books ahead in my last Recent Reads post. But anywho. I've read some good ones lately! (I really feel like that every time, though...)

Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before by Sonja Corbitt and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

I usually jot down my thoughts in my DIY reading journal once I finish a book, but all I have for this book is a bunch of quotes. It really did inspire me to read Scripture more (also a factor in me slowing down with my book list), so I highly recommend it if you need some encouragement. It explains the who, the what, the where, the when, and the how of the Bible, which is extremely helpful in understanding it. One of the quotes I wrote down:
"We read and study the Bible to know God, and know ourselves more fully" (page 208)

Naked Marriage: Uncovering Who You Are and Who You Can Be Together by Dr. Corey Allan

I had kind of mixed feelings about this one, probably because I had high expectations and hopes. I loved the sections on boundaries, working on yourself, and being vulnerable - all things that have greatly impacted my marriage. A few parts made me go "eh" and there was one sex-related comment that is a big no for Catholics - so just keep in mind that he isn't Catholic. Christian, yes, which is nice, but he was missing out on sacramental graces and all which us Catholics know are a huge part (well, THE MAIN PART) of marriage. Overall, though, I liked it.

Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage by Jackie Francois Angel and Bobby Angel

Ah, a Catholic marriage book. Logan and I read this together starting right before Lent because the book is a 6-week devotional. We really enjoyed it! Most days only took 5 minutes, which we usually did at night before bed. It focuses on Theology of the Body and we had some great takeaways....one being inspired to hang a crucifix above our bed. Because, sacrificial love. Highly recommend this one to married couples! (And you don't need to be Catholic to read it!)

The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order by Scott Hahn

Oy vey. I didn't realize I was on a three-streak with marriage books. (I might have a problem.) This one was SO good. It's not a typical Dr. Hahn book, but I was really inspired (even more) to focus on the sacramentality of marriage and the importance of all sacraments as a part of our daily lives. I really had a bunch of epiphanies reading this, like God creating the marriage of Adam and Eve as the first relationship on earth because marriage is the foundation of society. Our society is failing because marriage is failing! I could go on and on but you should just read it. Even if your'e not married.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Why yes, I do read fiction sometimes. LOL. This was my April book for my reading challenge with friends: a book that won an award in 2017. It was a bit depressing because it's about slavery, but I liked it. 

One Beautiful Dream: The rollicking tale of family chaos, personal passions, and saying yes to them both by Jennifer Fulwiler

I read this in less than 3 days, if that gives you any indication of how much I liked it. Jen shares a much-needed message right now and it was perfectly timed for me. (Seriously, that always happens!) I'll be thinking about this one for awhile. Also, she is hilarious.

What good books have you read lately??

Monday, April 30, 2018

Inspiring quotes and stuff {five favorites}

I've been contemplating the whole topic of waiting lately. We've done a heck of a lot of waiting over the years, and while many of our prayers have been answered....some have not. And it's frustrating. Especially when it seems like God is leading you on this very special path and is about to answer your prayer. Finally.

And then He doesn't.

But! God loves us and likes to make it VERY CLEAR that He is still with us during these periods of questioning and uncertainty...so of course I keep coming across all of these awesome quotes about waiting. I will share those with you now! Linking up with Ashley for Five Favorites. You should totally join in too.
1. "Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask Him; for He desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to Him in prayer." - Evagrius Ponticus
2. "It may sometimes be more fruitful in the end if we live with a lingering question, and grow slowly towards wisdom, than if we find a quick answer partly dictated by our desires. The waiting changes us, schools us, teaches us to know God." - Maria Boulding
3. "If we 'look and listen' when confronted with life's roadblocks, we may find that what first appeared to be an obstacle in our path is actually a friendly sign pointing us in the direction we need to go." - Frederick W. Marks
4. "Occasionally, for reasons of His own and perhaps to keep us humble, God permits us to struggle without much noticeable gain, to make heroic efforts without ever knowing success." - Father Raoul Plus, S.J. 
5. "By delaying to grant our petitions, God increases our desires. By increasing our desires, God enlarges our heart. By enlarging our heart, God prepares us to be filled with himself." - Saint Augustine
Got any other quotes for me? Hit me with 'em!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My eyes aren't actually brown....and other life-changing epiphanies

Welcome to Into Your Will, the blog where Jen rambles about weird stuff sometimes. You're in for a treat today! Life-changing epiphanies. At the age of 31.

My eyes aren't actually brown like I always thought. I always thought my eyes were brown. Light brown...but still brown. Sometimes I would stare at my eyes and think they were kind of a weird brown color. You know what I learned though? They're not brown!! Proof:
Sometimes gold, maybe gray, sometimes green. But not brown. Mind blown.

Doing a sink of dishes doesn't take that long. But there are SO MANY DISHES. That'll take, like, 30 minutes, right? No. It takes less than 10. Maybe even 5. And that's when the sink is full! Why u procrastinate so much, Jen? Just do the dang dishes! (I seriously have been timing myself. It only takes longer than 5 minutes if I have to hand wash some things.)

I have more time to pray than I think. Seriously. So much time! Even when the kids are crazy! Just get off the dang phone and computer. Turn off the TV. Prayer is one of those funny things - you dedicate time to it and then God helps you do everything else you need to do. (Okay, I totally knew this but God reminded me of it recently.)

NFP is a blessing, not a burden (even though it sometimes feels like the latter). Hilary and I have been messaging so much about NFP lately with her series going on, and it kind of hit me (well, her first, then me) - NFP is supposed to bring us closer to Christ. It feels like the opposite sometimes, but I think a lot of that has to do with how we look at NFP and if we're doing it for the right reasons. It's hard to abstain sometimes, obviously, but it really has helped Logan and me pray together more, and communicate more about whether or not now is a good time to have a baby. I wrote more thoughts on IG if you want to hop on over.

Please tell me I'm not the only weirdo who's having epiphanies in my 30s. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

What's saving my life right now {five favorites}

It dawned on me the other day that there are some things lately that are reallllllly helping me out in this thing called life. Let's talk about them, shall we? Linking up with Ashley for Five Favorites!

Wal-mart grocery pickup

I am definitely one of those people who would rather do my own shopping. I don't mind it, especially if I'm alone, but Chase and Aaron have recently morphed into the worst grocery shopping buddies on the face of the planet. So much screaming, thrashing about, etc. After 2 consecutive trips like that (the second Logan was even with me) I was like NOPE NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE and now grocery pickup has been my BFF. There is still some screaming and thrashing about, but now it's being done in the confinement of their carseats, so all is well.


Gosh, I could write a whole post about this, but YNAB has been SO HELPFUL since we started it in August. We're no longer scrambling to get to the bank so we can pay a bill - we actually have over $1,000 in our checking most of the time, which is craaaaazy to me because of how things used to be. AND we've been able to set aside money for many different things. My favorite part of YNAB is that you can create categories for pretty much everything, so instead of being blindsided by several annual membership fees (i.e. Prime), I have categories for each and we set aside a few dollars each month. Love it. Highly recommend.

Our backyard

We have been spending soooo much time in our backyard. Someone recently commented to me that it's like a park, and it's so true! Our boys love it, and I love it, and I cannot wait until summer when Landon is home full-time.

Doubling my meals when I cook

I'm a baker, not a cook, so whenever I do cook, I make sure I either double it or make enough for leftovers the next night. It's such a simple concept but it makes meal planning so much easier! I currently have 3 meals in our freezer simply because I cooked enough to freeze.

The weather

Well, we couldn't spend so much time in the backyard if the weather was bad. It really has been perfect lately - 60s and 70s for over a week now! I see all of these pictures of snow from up north and I'm convinced I could never, ever live there.

I hope everyone has a blessed Holy Week! See you after Easter!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.11)

I'm well on my way to meeting my reading goal this year, and 5 of those books are on my 2018 book list. I really need to start on my marathon read, Middlemarch, soon....but I'm currently reading 4 books because I am crazy. So maybe once I finish a couple of those, I'll feel better about starting a huge book.

1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

This was fascinating - written by a former FBI hostage negotiator. So many good tips on communicating during conflict. It's probably most helpful for business people, but anyone could benefit from the techniques.

2. Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet

Quick, easy, and inspiring read for moms. I recommend especially if you're not familiar with St. Faustina and/or the Divine Mercy devotion.

3. Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

I honestly was surprised at how much I enjoyed this - I've only read 2 other books by Matthew Kelly and liked one and didn't like the other. It was perfectly-timed for me, so maybe that was part of it. It's a pretty easy read too....short chapters.

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This took me a bit to get into, but I ended up loving it. I daresay it might be my fave Austen novel! Although I do love Emma and it's been awhile since I've read Jane Austen. But I haven't read Persuasion or Mansfield Park yet, and Hannah tells me that Persuasion is the best.

5. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I kept seeing this recommended everywhere, and I'm a big fan of WWII fiction, so I read this as a little breather from all of my current nonfiction reads. It was an easy read, since it's technically juvenile fiction, but it's got pretty mature content like abuse. I liked it though, and there's a sequel now that I'll probably read eventually too. 

6. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Another kids book, yes, but it was actually my February book for the challenge I do with my friends - the category was a book from the bestseller of the year you were born. And since most of the books in 1986 were Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Danielle Steel, I went the easy route and picked Shel Silverstein. I read it with our big boys and they thought it was hilarious.

What have y'all read lately? Hit me with some recs!


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