Monthly Archives

October 2015

Money

The November Budget Breakdown

October 29, 2015

Welcome back to the budget breakdown here at True Good and Beautiful!

An expensive time of the year is rapidly approaching and here in this post, we want to help you get your budget ready for what lies ahead. The holiday season is one of the best times of the year but without planning it can wreak havoc on any income level.

With that, let’s dive into November’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of November:

  • All Saints Day
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Saint costume(s)
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to break the bank if you are booking this late)
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Fall Activities
    • Football games
    • Baseball games (World Series anyone?)
    • Football parties
  • Thanksgiving
    • FOOOOOOOOD!!
    • More food
    • Even more food
    • Family activities (football, movies, games)
    • Black Friday Shopping (Not-so-secretly our favorite day to shop for Christmas…gotta get them deals y’all!)
    • Cyber Monday Shopping (introverted version of Black Friday)
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (It’s coming faster than you can imagine!!!)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
    • We’ve got a special little lady turning ONE year old on November 10th!
  • Car Maintenance
    • Radiator blew up on the Jeep this week. When it rains in the car world it pours!

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or Christmas.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Infertility

The Biggest Thing I Don’t Trust God With

October 20, 2015

We all have something in our life that we don’t trust God fully with.

For me? It’s infertility.

Shocked, right? 😉

As much as we have been blessed this past year with Josephine, I can see some old fears creeping back in. I need to admit it to myself and to all of you…

I am scared as hell as to how, when, or if our family will grow again.

Last year, I wrote about how becoming a mom changed our battle with infertility. I still stand behind the fact that I won’t completely “go back” to the darkest of dark days I once knew. Josephine has brought too much joy and light to our lives for me to ever get that low again. My deepest desires to become a mother have been fulfilled and I will never forget that.

Thankfully my jealousy of other families I once had is mostly curbed. I no longer get upset that God grows other families just that I don’t trust he will grow ours. I do find myself getting anxious again, though, and I can see the tidal wave of negative emotions beginning to form in the distance.

I am battling a deep seated fear. 

Fear that we’ll never ever ever ever EVER conceive.

Fear that if I do conceive, I will miscarry.

Fear that I will inevitably be the last one standing on the island of infertility…that everyone I know both fertile/infertile/sub-fertile will get pregnant but never me.

Fear that we’ll never be able to afford adoption again.

Fear that if we try to fundraise to adopt again it will all fall apart this time and no one will support us.

Fear that Josie will grow up without siblings we so desperately desire her to be surrounded by.

Fear that all our friends who also have one baby will stop being our friends when then go on to have more babies and only want to hang around “big” families.

Fear that when we start trying to conceive again that it will be the same old crap we’ve been through a million times before filled with treatments and diets up the wazoo yet perpetually unsuccessful outcomes.

Fear that when we try and adopt again, somehow no families will like us or want us to provide a home for their sweet baby.

Fear, fear, and more fear. 

On one hand I am so ashamed that I STILL don’t trust God fully with our family. He outdid himself BIGTIME on bringing Josie into our lives and showed us just how in control he was all along.

On the other hand, I am not shocked because I know me. I am weak, frail, and forgetful. Remember how easy it is to get frustrated and judgey with the Israelites in the Old Testament? They just seem to never get it. Well, now I am basically them. Ugh.

All I can do is take my fears to Jesus, acknowledge them, and surrender. I have to trust that he sees my fears and will conquer them.

In prayer he keeps reminding me of how Josephine came into our lives. It was all orchestrated so perfectly by Him. It’s undeniable that God hasn’t provided for us.

He keeps nudging me to trust that he WILL provide again…but unlike other families with healthy fertility, I get no control as to when or how that happens. (And even they don’t get total control) I am trying to be OK with that. Each day in prayer I willfully surrender these fears to him and cling to truth that, “All things work for good for those who love God.” Romans 8:28

In my core I know that we’ll be just fine. That God will not abandon us. That He will provide for all our needs and will grow our family. I have only to actively surrender myself to His will and the peace of God will fill my heart and soul.

I choose to end this post drenched in fear with a prayer. Through abandoning myself is how Jesus will conquer all my fears and grow trust in my heart. Think about something you struggle to trust God with and pray along with me…

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

Amen.

Uncategorized

How I Got My Prayer Life Back

October 12, 2015

Some of you joined us for this post in which I described the utter obliteration of my prayer life this past year.

Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to have a consistent prayer life but, “The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.” My chronically sleep deprived body decided to make that it’s rally cry whenever I attempted to pray. Instead of praying, this ole bag o’ bones insisted on daily naps and Netflixing when it stole a few quite moments alone…

Surprised, right?

Due to dropping my time to connect with Jesus each day, I stayed not only physically exhausted but mentally and spiritually as well. The joy faded from my eyes and I felt empty and bored. I lost my sense of purpose and nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

It was time for a change.

Thankfully around the time I was already feeling convicted about reestablishing daily time with God, I met with a wonderful priest for spiritual direction. If you haven’t heard of that before, think of someone listening to you and then asking questions/providing spiritual guidance on how to move forward towards the Lord. Its great.

Well this particular priest is a good friend of mine and while he’s kind and gentle, he can also shoot it straight. I needed the latter and he definitely brought it that day.

We were talking about how some moms simply adopt the vague idea that, “Their day is a prayer.” That they just pray as they go about changing diapers and folding clothes instead of carving out alone time with Jesus since they don’t have time.

He said that notion was, “Bull@*$#!” That everyone, including busy moms, need set apart time for personal prayer each day. Yes, those other ways are prayer too but nothing can substitute that alone time with God.

#spirituldropkick

I agreed wholeheartedly and felt reinvigorated…but also scared. What if I failed at prayer? What if I forgot how to talk with God? What if my attention span is 17 seconds long and I get distracted or worse, bored?

With our conversation behind me and a few practical tips on how to get prayer back into my day, I made plans to change my schedule.

I am happy to say that I am now a few months into my new routine with prayer and it’s been going really well. I don’t share this to toot my own horn. Quite the opposite really, since it only shows how weak I have been this past year. I want to share with you all what’s been helping me in case it might help YOU!

Online Adoration

Everyday during Josie’s first nap of the day, I hunker down in my home office and pull up Jesus via online adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A couple websites I have used are here and here. Physically seeing Our Lord in this way changes the feel in the room, my attitude, and commands my attention. It’s also cool to see others praying the chapel at the same time. I don’t feel alone in my efforts.

Reading Scripture

After just chatting with Jesus for a few minutes and preparing myself to receive grace, I dive into reading the bible. Sometimes I read through certain books. Other times I have followed along with the daily mass readings, since you cycle through most of the bible every three years doing this. This is usually the bulk of my time with God as I ponder over his words and try to listen to how he’s using them to speak to me in the present moment.

Spiritual Reading

I am currently reading Time For God by Jacques Phillipe and it’s rocking my socks off. Basically anything by this guy is pretty darn awesome. This is the time I’ve got set aside to read from various authors and/or saints.

The Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet

I usually do the above prayer time altogether. Later on during the day, I would still like to intentionally mull over spiritual truths so I try and pray the rosary or divine mercy chaplet. Typically I pray these while I am walking my two babies – Josie and Wrigley. I use an app on my iphone to keep on track and focused. Yea, it’s the lazy man’s way to pray them but hey, at least it’s happening.

Daily Mass

I’ve been attempting to attend daily Mass once per week in addition to Sunday. When we’ve been traveling, we enlist the help of Masstimes.org. It’s been a challenge since Miss Josie is busier than ever and wants to eat all the pew books and crawl around but the blessings of being at Mass outweigh the difficulties. It also provides me with an extra dose of social interaction as I get to chat with others after mass too.

Intercessory Prayer

Jonathan and I have been trying to incorporate prayer as a couple together each day. It’s becoming part of our bedtime ritual to ask the other how their day went and to pray over the big things that happened – worries, joys, fears, opportunities, etc. This has kept us communicating about the big themes of each day and uniting our marriage together with God in prayer.

And that’s what’s changed in my prayer life over the past 8 weeks or so. It’s brought back so much life to my soul and I can feel the old zest and passion returning. Again, I share these things not to say, “This is the exact way to pray.” I offer it to spark inspiration and encourage you to make prayer more part of your day if it’s not already.

I would love feedback on how any of these resources help or encourage you!

Parenting

Gaining 30 lbs in 6 months (And How I’m Trying to Be OK With That)

October 9, 2015

Let’s get something clear – Inducing lactation has been by far the best decision I’ve made so far in becoming a Mom.

Oh, it was crazy hard to do…but totally worth it. The time Josie and I spend together nursing are hands down my favorite moments of the day. It’s bonded us together in such a concrete way. As she gets closer to being a year old, breastfeeding only gets more fun as she learns to play games, do gymnastics, and give me oral and eye exams with her curious little fingers all while eating.

It’s been a complete, unexpected, gift.

But it’s come at a cost.

If you followed my nursing saga here, here, and here, you know just how hard it was to get our nursing relationship going. However, there has been a hardship I haven’t written about yet…because I am embarrassed about it. In order to induce lactation, I had to take a medication called Domperidone. A drug whose side effect is weight gain.

Within six months of starting it, I was up nearly thirty pounds. 

This happened despite eating a gluten and dairy-free diet and walking 10-15 miles per week.

Now, I am not blowing this out of proportion and saying I am now morbidly obese, since that isn’t true. But I am overweight according to a BMI calculator…which is incredibly humbling since weight has absolutely never been a struggle in my life.

Until now.

I never realized how much weight gain would impact my self-esteem. Clothes shopping is hard now, since I can’t fit into the sizes I *think* I still am…sizes that I wore since I was 15 years old up until almost a year ago. I don’t know what I can wear anymore and I find myself wanting to only buy baggy items to hide myself.

I’ve never struggled with body image or thought negatively about my body.

Until now.

I have to fight hard to tell myself that I am still beautiful. Just the other day I had to ask Jonathan if he still was attracted to me…something I never thought I would ask.

At the end of the day, nursing Josie is WORTH the weight gain to me, because it was always about her benefit and not mine. I try to think of it like pregnancy weight, only mine came after the baby I didn’t birth. I focus on the fact it’s temporary, as everything I have read and testimonies I’ve heard talk about the weight just melting off as soon as they go off Domperidone.

But that won’t be today. That’s off in future-land. And I have no guarantees of what my body will do.

For the time being, I am continuing to try to eat as healthy as possible. I am also continuing to exercise by walking and by doing T25 fitness videos. I am trying to buy clothes in my new size that are flattering. Most importantly I am clinging to TRUTH that I am a beautiful daughter of God who will never be defined by her weight, shape, or size.

That’s all I can do for now.

If anyone else has struggled down this path, I would love to hear from you. Encouragement, inspiration, support, comradery…anything you’ve got I want to hear it! 🙂

Money

Why Our Transmission Blowing Up Was The Best Thing That Could’ve Happened

October 6, 2015

There I was, minding my own business, driving along the highway on my way to noon Mass…

That’s when the our new-to-us 2007 Chrystler Town & Country van chose to die an abrupt and sudden death. I pulled off the side of the road to cry hysterically for a few minutes calmly collect myself and call my two Knights in Shinning Armor – Jonathan and my Father.

Minutes later, Jonathan was there to save the day and my dad (who’s a very trusted mechanic) was already calling shops in Denver to scout out the most reliable place to tow the van. Soon after, the van was towed away to the mechanic’s and we were on our way home.

The next morning, I got the call. The transmission needed rebuilding and it was going to cost $2,300.

Ouch.

Why, oh why would I say that this was the BEST thing that could’ve happened?

Because it reminded us just how important having a fully funded emergency fund truly is.

Obviously we saw its importance because we had enough money to actually pay the bill. But there was an even deeper reason…

A year ago we had a comfortable emergency fund of 6 months expenses. But then we had adoption bills come in that exceeded our puzzle fundraiser. We had no option but to dip into our emergency fund.

We should  have then refunded the emergency fund ASAP but we got a little lazy. We kept pushing it off, prioritizing other budget line items ahead.

However, right before the tranny blew up we almost made the biggest mistake of all. 

We’ve been planing on getting granite counter tops in our town home ever since we moved in a year and a half ago. Partly for our style, but mostly for resale value. I know it’s an improvement that will help us get the most equity out of our home purchase and will set our home a part in the crowd. So, we started interviewing different granite stores/contractors/fabricators in Denver for the granite we would get “someday.”

Through seeing all the options, we got really excited about the project. Instead of simply picking who we wanted to work with (like we thought) we decided that we wanted to go ahead with it.

Great, right?

No, because we didn’t have enough funds in the budget to cash flow the project. We waffled back and forth. We even had a conversation where Jonathan said, “What if a car dies and we have to take it to the shop?” to which I replied, “The chances of that are so slim, and we will rebuild the account before we need it anyway.” Despite all that deliberating, we ultimately decided to use part of the emergency fund on the granite.

Ruh Roh.

Now, if the Lord wanted us to hit rock bottom, we would have done the granite AND THEN the car would have broken down. Our emergency fund would REALLY have been in trouble if that was the case. But literally ten minutes after the granite company had taken measurements at our home, we got the mechanic’s phone call with the estimated bill.

Snapping back to reality, we then called and cancelled the granite plans. Almost as soon after we vowed to NEVER EVER use the emergency fund for anything non-emergency related. t’s just not worth it. You never know what could happen or when you will need those funds! We now know that all too well.

Someday we will call that granite company back and set up our install but it won’t be until we’ve built our fully funded emergency fund back up and we are able to cash flow the entire project.

Yet again, slow and steady wins the race, every time. 🙂