Yearly Archives

2012

Intentional Living

How to make your New Year’s resolution last

December 31, 2012

Some of you may remember my New Year’s Day post one year ago about going sugar free.

How can I say no?

Remember these?

 

I strategically titled it “Sugar-Free Start to 2012,” since it was a start…at least that wasn’t a lie! 🙂

The intention was to actually carry that out as a lifestyle from that point forward…but even in writing it I knew that I may not be totally ready or even able to cut sugar from my life 100% since we don’t live in a perfect world. Dang. I am happy to say that Jonathan and I made a LOT of progress over the past year and a majority of the time when we are in the “swing of things” and a normal routine, we eat  paleo/gluten-free/sugar-free and are exercising 5-6 days per week. We don’t even buy groceries anymore that aren’t in the “no sugar” category unless it’s for a special occasion or day. We juice frequently and love how eating the right things gives us energy and tastes delicious. Who knew Brussel sprouts were so yummy???

Now when we travel or end up in a foreign situation…it’s a whole different story. We haven’t mastered that yet. It’s tough being at the mercy of flights, other people’s food choices, holiday cookies we have emotional connections with, and lack of a schedule. I am sure a year from now we will be even better in handling those scenarios but I am pleased with the progress we’ve made. Not perfect but definitely reasonable and several steps forward.

So, what have I learned in this past year that I want to pass on to all of you doing your New Year’s Resolutions? Some tid-bits that will help you understand how to move through the processes of change and what to anticipate as you travel from the varying stages successfully. Knowing how most people experience change will but you ahead of the game so you can keep plugging along when resistance hits.

Five Stages of Change

change

 

Stage One: Pre-Contemplation

thoughts_homer

If you are in this stage you aren’t even considering a change in your life. This is a comfortable place. You don’t know what you don’t know and ignorance can be bliss at times. People in this stage aren’t seeking new things out and certainly don’t care to know about any bad lifestyle choices they are making…you are in denial that there is any other way to live than the current way things are. Can’t do a whole lot other than wait for something to spark you in this stage to begin contemplating a different life.

Stage Two: Contemplation

research2

I hate this stage. The bomb of truth has been dropped on you(exercise is actually good for you, smoking kills you, a daily prayer life is essential etc.) and there is no going back. Now you know that you know what’s right but you become keenly aware of the cost of change (time, money, no more Hot N Ready pizzas, less sleep so they can make it to the gym or chapel, etc.) This is the stage where you have to grapple with your own humanity and struggle to accept the benefits of change while weighing them against perceived or even actual losses.

Do a LOT of research during this stage. Seek truth out and find people who are nailing what you want to be doing and ask them how they created that certain habit in their life. Read books at the library, watch documentaries, find reasons that support why change is a good thing. Dream about what your life would be like if you made this change…a year from now? five years from now? How would your life be better? Search your heart and write down your own reasons for why this change is desirable.

Stage Three: Preparation

change ahead

This is a stage of low commitment but definite flirting with change is going on (buying a Stevia sweetener, going on a run once to see how it goes, reading a chapter in a book without a plan to finish, etc.) The decision that change is a good thing is made but now it’s a matter of getting around to it and this stage allows a “slow” start-up as the person starts checking things out and firm up how specific they desire to change.

You have a lot of freedom in this stage since you aren’t technically locked into anything yet. Enjoy this stage and don’t rush it. Experiment with things and continue to research but start trying your new activity on occasion. For example, if you desire to get in shape, before signing up for that half-marathon, go for a run or two…figure out if you even like running. Maybe you end up being into swimming instead but unless you prepare well and look around, you may be missing something.

Stage Four: Action

action

Change has been decided upon. Ideas have been tossed around. Now it’s time to get a SMART goal drawn up. Many New Year’s Resolutions fail because the steps leading up to this stage are glossed over. People don’t need to become experts in their area of change/growth but they at least need to have a basic foundation and have put in the “prep” work getting familiar with the sacrifices the change will bring. Jumping straight into action is a set-up for failure and disillusionment once a hard day hits. Without having internalized the reasons for change…there won’t be enough energy to keep it going.

The first week or two in the action stage will likely be a bit painful…you are doing something new and it’s going to feel awkward. It’s not a habit and some changes will actually bring some suffering to a certain degree. Maybe you are getting a little less sleep with the new workout/prayer schedule. Or everyone at work is going out for pizza but you have to say “no” and eat your lettuce wraps instead. That’s tough. Journaling about the difficulties can help and also reviewing your reasons you wrote down when you were getting started will give you motivation to keep putting in the hard work.

Stage Five: Maintenance

Female hand wiping dining table

I’ve heard it said that it takes 30 days to create a habit. This is the goal of any New Year’s resolution. I think it takes a bit longer in all reality though – more like 3 months. That way you have a holiday, a birthday, a season/weather change, and other variables to work the kinks out of the schedule. You are  progressively but surely beginning to see this foreign activity as a day in and day out activity. You are creating a habit!

There have been good days and bad days but you have been triumphant in carrying out the new routine. Reward yourself during this stage as you are hitting your goals continuously. This will create increased incentive to keep with it, strengthening your habit.

Stage Six: Relapse

1133804_sign_success_and_failure

In the relapse stage it’s easy to become discouraged. Often this occurs when you breach your normal routine (traveling, sickness, holidays, busy season at work, babies are born, that “time of the month” arrives, etc.) These events will occur, so just be prepared for them. You will likely derail on the first few encounters. That’s OK. That is where I see myself at with giving up sugar…I’ve derailed for various seasons over the past year for good and bad reasons. I’ve learned my lessons and see myself getting stronger and my desires are internally changing to reflect the strength in my will. I am becoming harder to derail. There may always be an occasional relapse (at least for me with sugar) and I’m OK with that, knowing that internally I am beginning to prefer NOT eating it compared to eating it. Eventually it won’t really be a big deal for me anymore, so having some cookies at Christmas will “breach” my plan but won’t cause a total derail in my health.

Now if you aren’t feeling the internal change and breaching your plan will actually cause a total derail…it’s time to go back to earlier stages (do some research, remind yourself why you are changing, etc.) and fight to stick to the plan. Remember, if you stray from your change too early on before it becomes a habit, you are at risk for abandonment since your committment is still very new.

Now you know what to expect in the different stages as you embark on your New Year’s resolution changes!! Work your way through the stages one by one and be patient with yourself…no one is perfect!

What changes do you plan to make in 2013?

 

Mission, The New Evangelization

Rome Sweet Home!

December 20, 2012

 

So this post is a little overdue! Since getting back into the states from Rome, Jonathan and I have been quite busy. We had our trip to Nashville the week we got back to the United States. We were super blessed to make it back actually…it was the weekend that Super Storm Sandy hit the east coast and we made it back with mere hours before the whole eastern coast airports shut down!

Shortly afterwards we made a trip to Omaha, Nebraska for Thanksgiving and had a great time visiting family and a few friends. We even went Black Friday Shopping…and the mattress pad we wanted was gone within minutes after arriving at Walmart. All we found were shards of cardboard leftover. We are still sleeping on an old RV mattress we got for free and are doing just fine!

This past month has been a serious month of a LOT of work, as we prepare for the FOCUS SEEK 2013 event in Orlando, Florida January 2-6th. Jonathan and I both have various responsibilities at SEEK with FOCUS Greek and the Digital Campus…keep tuned for blog posts about that once the event wraps up.

Enough about our crazy schedule…it’s time though to post about our AWESOME trip to ROME!!!!!

Why did we go to Rome? 

Our Catholic Church is at a critical juncture. Many of the baptized are not living out their Catholic faith in the Western world. We have all experienced this situation with family, friends, and in our parishes. Many Catholics want to know, “What is the Church doing about this?” Pope John Paul II called for a New Evangelization or a re-evangelization of those who had the faith but have lost it. Pope Benedict has renewed this call and gone even further. He created a new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and has called for a Synod for the New Evangelization. This is a think-tank of bishops who considered the New Evangelization in Rome this past October.

The head of the Pontifical Council of the New Evangelization was recently asked, “Where do you see the New Evangelization at work?” The first answer out of his mouth—“FOCUS.” Curtis Martin, the president and founder of FOCUS was named one of 24 consulters for this Council. We are part of Curtis’ posse, so we thought we could tag alongl! 🙂 Actually there were about 100 staff members serving with FOCUS who decided to support the Bishop’s and Curtis in prayer and by our presence in Rome from October 22-28th, 2012.

What did we take away from being in Rome?

Part of the trip was meetings that related directly to the Synod. While the Synod was in session we had some time for visiting and touring.

It was an incredible experience on several levels. The Church’s history is so prevalent in Rome. A few places that really struck us include: The Coliseum where so many Christians were martyred in the early church, the Vatican’s splendor and beauty, attending mass just outside St. Peter’s tomb, praying  at the tomb of John Paul II (our patron Saint), the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Stairs that Christ himself walked upon when taken to Pilot, the actual pillar where Jesus was scourged, the Italian Espresso and gelato! YUM. Rome is truly a treasure to our Catholic faith where our history is so well persevered and alive today.

In our meetings with various Cardinals, Bishops, and Archbishops we were greatly encouraged in our ministry. They remarked that Churches in the Western world is battling against individualism, secularism, and materialism. There are other places in the Church facing great persecution and are actually being threatened, even killed, by professing their faith. It was hard to come up with a universal solution for the many obstacles in the New Evangelization facing our world but they stressed two main points. They hope to remind the Church that our faith begins with firm faith in Jesus Christ and a strong personal friendship with him. From that relationship we are called by our baptism to share the hope we have with others in our world. We found encouragement in this message, as this is what FOCUS’ goals have been all along. These spiritual leaders applauded our work and encouraged us to keep pressing forward as we continue answering the call for the New Evangelization.

Our One-Year Wedding anniversary took place the first day we landed in Rome. Too bad I was so delirious from not sleeping on the plan ride over to actually realize it was our anniversary and actually have energy to celebrate! Ask Jonathan for some great stories about how delusional I can be when I am tired. Our favorite memory from our anniversary was definitely getting to pray at the tomb of Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is a hero to our faith and we love him so much. It felt like we were able to pay homage to a man who has been a spiritual father to each of us individually and as a married couple. Now I can’t wait to meet JP II face to face in Heaven someday!

We had all sorts of adventures. I ate more pizza in one week than I have in an entire six months in America. It was awesome. We also woke up before dawn most days to see as much as we could in the city with the limited time we had. One morning we woke up and went to see the Pope! Getting to the General Audience early paid off…we were in the front row and when he drove past our group, we were literally five feet away! He has very blue eyes and had a gentle presence about him.

Last but not least, my favorite image of Rome…the Vatican. Many nights on our walk back to the hotel (we walked a lot…on very narrow sidewalks) we passed the Vatican. It was all lit up near the dome, was empty since it closes at night, and was just so peaceful. Everytime I saw the Vatican I felt…home. That sounds cliche but that was the overwhelming feeling I had each time I laid eyes on it. One night we had met some people (not in Rome for religious reasons) from California who joined our “walking tour” through Rome’s Piazzas. It ended in front of the Vatican. Jonathan was able to share about Jesus Christ with this couple we met and we prayed with them right then and there. There was nowhere else I could have imagined sharing those truths than just outside St. Peter’s Basilica. I thought of the saints who have looked upon it, the holy popes who have lived there, the world-changing events that have been discussed on Vatican grounds…it’s the home away from home for every Catholic this side of Heaven.

I hope anyone who desires to go has a chance someday!

Money

Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!!!

November 14, 2012

Want the whole story? Check out our 3-part series about Our Debt-Free Story.

Many of you celebrated with us when we became debt free back in August. You may have even read the blog post about our financial journey. It was a great day and we decided going to Nashville to do our “debt-free scream” in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza lobby was something we definitely wanted to do. We wanted to stamp our freedom into the fibers of our family, marking our hard work and achievements in our memory for a lifetime. But we had a super busy Fall…in our line of work the Fall Season is our busiest time as we are launching a new year of ministry on college campuses across the nation. So the scream got pushed aside and we were in a “holding pattern” waiting for an opportunity to get away and visit Dave.

In mid-October an opportunity came up for both Jonathan and I to travel to Tennessee for some FOCUS work at University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt. It worked out to fly into Nashville and so we saw it as a perfect opportunity to schedule a visit to finally meet Dave!

We arrived just before the show began and we met Martha and even tasted those infamous “foo-foo” coffees and deserts Dave is always talking about on the radio. They were as delicious as I had imagined! 🙂 We took our seats on a couple of chairs in front of Dave’s studio and got to watch the show through the glass! It was so cool to see it all happen in real life!

Our view of The Dave Ramsey Show happening LIVE as we watched from chairs outside the studio!

It was then our turn to get ready to do our live, in lobby, debt-free scream! I was nervous. Jonathan was pumped. This is a typical response from both of us. I am good at hiding it but I swear I was near panic attack when this photo was taken.

Maybe I am not that good at hiding my nerves…I look stressed out. Whoops. Jonathan is excited!

The moment finally arrived and we could still see Dave through the glass but this time he was talking to us! AGH! You can listen to the entire audio clip below. My favorite part of the call was at the end, after the scream, when Jonathan threw fake money all over the lobby and Dave loved it! He came out laughing and gave Jonathan a high-five! 🙂

The Teixeiras with Dave after our scream!

Afterwards, we have a friend who actually works for Dave Ramsey and he was kind enough to give us a tour of the building. It was such a great milestone for our marriage and something we will always look back on. God-willing we have children someday, they will listen to the audio clip and our stories so many times they will probably be sick of it…but by golly they will know the truth about debt and the freedom that comes being completely debt-free!!!! Sometimes I look back and I wonder how we did it…when I look at the numbers it’s crazy because Jonathan and I as a married couple lived on less money every month than what I lived on when I was single! That shouldn’t even be possible but we did it! It was actually FUN to find ways to save money and make it work harder than ever for us.

We are debt-free but are complete “deal-a-holics”. Not in the sense that we can’t pass a deal up but in the sense that we can’t help but find a way to get a deal. We get out of paying retail ALL THE TIME and it’s fun!!! I love seeing my money stretch father every month because of using some good old bargaining. Try it sometime! 🙂 We also seem to win stuff on a regular basis…I really think that God rigs contests because He loves to bless His missionaries and show us His provision in radical ways. In Matthew 19:29, Jesus did say,”And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” I consider us blessed a hundred times over with the way God takes care of us.

I hope you enjoyed our story and received some inspiration to continue living debt-free or are encouraged to go down that road and accomplish it soon! Seriously, if we can do this…anyone can. We don’t make crazy amounts of money but we had crazy gazelle-like intensity and if you’ve got that…you will get your debt done in no time and begin getting your money working for you instead of the banks! Be a person who makes interest, not who pays interest!!!!!!!! Let us know if you need cheerleaders along the way, we would love to be there for you! Visit The Dave Ramsey website to get started!

Mission, The New Evangelization

Teixeiras are bound for The Eternal City!

October 17, 2012

 

In less than a week Jonathan and I are heading to Rome alongside other FOCUS staff members for the Synod on the New Evangelization. (For more info on the Synod click on this: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-synod-and-the-new-evangelization-why-its-important-for-u.s.-catholics/

This is a wonderful time to be a Catholic and it’s inspiring to see what grace the Holy Spirit will pour out upon the Church at this time. Please join us in prayer and fasting for the Holy Father, Bishops, and all other advisers speaking into these meetings. We will be lifting up any intentions from family and friends, so if you have a prayer request you desire to send our way, please leave it in the comments section below or email them to amanda.teixeira@focus.org and we will print them out and take them with us!

I won’t go into any detail here in this post about our itinerary and schedule but when we return, expect a full blog with pictures and experiences! If there is ANY city I can associate with truth, goodness, and beauty….it’s definitely ROME! We also land in Rome on our one-year marriage anniversary, so we feel incredibly blessed with this opportunity to attend.

Ciao!

Marriage

Remember that CRAZY wedding contest?

September 7, 2012

I know this post is probably way overdo, as Jonathan and I have been married for nearly 10 months now but I wanted to show some of the pics from the wedding day and also show off the AMAZING services we won via the Omaha WOWT fairytale wedding contest. The station didn’t do any follow-up to really give any great advertisement to the wonderful vendors who donated their time and services, so I figured this would be a way to get their names out there in addition to sharing some pictures from the day.

I won’t even get into the complexities of that contest…many of you were there to watch us win…twice. I could write a whole blog on that contest…It was perhaps one of the most disorganized contests in News Station history! The poorly executed contest does NOT reflect on the vendors. We feel very blessed to have won this contest and it’s THANKS TO YOU who voted along the way!

The Flowers – All Seasons Floral http://allseasonsfloral.org/

The bridesmaids flowers were gorgeous fall colors that were so pretty to look at. They went well with the navy blue dresses the gals wore. My flowers were personal favorites – roses and lilies. I wrapped a rosary around the bouquet to have a reminder of Our Lady present with us.

 

The Videographer/DJ/Photobooth – Complete Music http://www.cmusic.com/

We had so much fun with the people we worked with at Complete Music & Video in Omaha! Our videographer took film throughout the entire day from morning till evening. We ended up getting to see a “same-day-edit” just after dinner at our reception…which was so cool! The day seemed like it went by in a flash, so seeing that it was really real on film made the day very special. We have been able to watch it even after the wedding has passed! We loved our Photobooth…we still laugh at the pictures family and friends took with those costumes! Our DJ was awesome…so full of energy and kindness. He really set a good tone at the reception and made it an atmosphere that was fun, relaxed, and comfortable. I don’t think I saw the dance floor empty…ever.

The Dessert – Jones Brothers Cupcakes http://www.jonesbroscupcakes.com/

Although I never tasted one of their cupcakes at the wedding ( I did when we went in to taste-test), people raved about the cupcakes at our wedding. Jones Brothers contributed about half of the cupcakes eaten at our wedding in addition to our lovely cake and cupcakes done my Aunt. The strawberry was my personal favorite from Jones Bros…delicious!

 

 The Dress – Bridal Details aka A Bridal Boutique http://www.abridalboutique.net/

My dress was designed just the way I had wanted a dress…and yes I had the idea BEFORE Kate Middleton walked down the aisle! 🙂 I desired a classic dress that was modest and something that made me feel like I was going to get married, not to prom! I feel like so many wedding dresses now-a-days are distracting, immodest, or gaudy. I was thrilled when this Bridal shop was willing to work with me in designing the dress I had in mind. Margie was unafraid to get creative and think “out-of-the-box”. We basically combined two different dresses and morphed them into one…I felt like a princess! However, I did love my dress, but there were a few hick-ups along the way with this Bridal shop. There were miscommunications about additional expenses I had incurred and most importantly a flower girl dress that was the WRONG one I ordered, about 8 sizes too big for the flower girl, and it had been worn and was dirty. This was two days before the wedding, mind you. We kept our cool and by God’s grace a neighbor of the flower girl’s re-sized the dress, Bridal Details did steam clean the dress so it was able to be worn. In the end though I was still charged for that dress and never saw a refund. So, despite my LOVE for the actual dress and their creativity…I am disappointed by their business practices.

The Tuxedos – Gentlemen’s Choice http://www.omahatuxedos.com/

The Groom, Groomsmen, Ushers, and Father’s of Bride and Groom all got a tux for the wedding from Gentlemen’s Choice! They all looked sharp as tacks! 🙂 Apparently they were so classy and comfortable that the men decided to have a pre-wedding bed-jumping session! This is only one act of spontaneity and joy that makes me loves Jonathan so much! He’s the better half, for sure.

 

 The Transportation – Jone-Z Party Bus https://www.partybusomaha.com/

This may have been Jonathan’s favorite element of the day…besides get married of course! We had a Party Bus for our joint bachelor/bachelorette party the night prior to the wedding. It was stocked with neon lights, fun music, and seats that were perfect for mixing and mingling aboard a bus! We had another Party Bus pick us up after the wedding and transport around while we took photos and ended up at the reception. We had a lot of fun with friends and family aboard the bus…and if you remember from the WOWT video, this was Jonathan’s number one attraction to win the contest! 🙂

There were details and vendors from the day that were not included in the winnings of the wedding contest but they deserve a shout-out as well!

The Dinner – A Catered Affair http://www.acateredaffairomaha.com/

Kathy and her team ROCK! We loved the food at our wedding and their professional service and kindness. Jonathan still thinks about the chicken…I still think about the jicama salad. They were willing to work with our budget and even go above and beyond in various details. Kathy was a team player with all the other vendors at the reception, making sure that she knew what was going on with the night and helping the event flow well. I really appreciate her efforts!

The Photographers – The Moment it Clicks Photography http://www.momentitclicksphotography.com/

Jared and Holly are wonderful people who we were blessed to have shot pics on our wedding day. They are such a happy and joyful couple that made the wedding day great! Their work is remarkable and very creative. We highly recommend them!

The Drinks – Cornhusker Beverage http://www.cornhuskerbeverage.com/

I didn’t even have a drink that night other than the water that was at my table…just never got to the bar! Their company was so easy to work with and they bought back any drinks that were unused from the night. They did such a good job estimating drinks based on our guest list though, I don’t even know if there was much to buy back from us.

The Venue – St. Robert’s Mainelli Center http://www.stroberts.com/

We loved working with Dick Bene at the St. Robert’s reception hall. He was nothing but kind, helpful, and encouraging. We also loved having the reception just next door to a Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist and so it was like Jesus was at our reception with us! St. Roberts’ has a chapel where the Eucharist is available for adoration at all times, so we were able to jump in and pray for a while before the reception began. A true highlight from the night!

The Honeymoon – Unforgettable Honeymoons http://www.unforgettablehoneymoons.com/

We booked a 10 day Honeymoon to Cancun, Mexico through this travel group and it was all well organized and done smoothly! Heather made sure to take care of any concern we had and dealt directly with the hotel (Excellence Playa Mujeres) on any of our requests. Unfortunately a hurricane decided to join us in Mexico…so it wasn’t the Honeymoon of beach relaxation that I was hoping for! We had a couple days of sun and we had so many adventures in the jungles near Cancun. I’d love to go back and redo the whole trip someday…not in hurricane season though.

Wow. That was a LOT of information. Hopefully the businesses are happy for the free advertisement from this blog. I feel badly they didn’t receive any from WOWT. If anyone is planning a wedding, hope this helps!