Monthly Archives

December 2015

Marriage, Mission, Money

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s been an awesome year around True Good and Beautiful.

2015 brought exciting and new opportunities our way, such as guest posting for Dave Ramsey (!!!!) and Mama Needs Coffee among a few others. We also branched into some new content since we were parent newbies (still are, who am I kidding!?) at the start of the year. All in all I am happy to say we continued to blog after Josie’s arrival and I know 2016 will be an even more exciting year around these parts…more to come so stay tuned 😉

Without further ado, here are your favorite blog posts from the past year:

10. The Adoption Puzzle is Here

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received emails from couples wanting to make an adoption puzzle like ours to help offset adoption costs. Jonathan is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop for this very reason so our puzzle can be ordered in a much easier way! We never thought it would bless so many people! 🙂

9. 3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

Groceries continue to be the one category in our budget that we bump up against monthly. Following these three tips helps our family stay on track and not bust the budget.

8. How Motherhood Changed My Infertility

Praise you Jesus that I got to write a blog post like this…I thought I would never get to while we were battling infertility for years on end.

7. New Here? Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Our Dave Ramsey blog post brought nearly 25,000 people to the True Good and Beautiful blog in only a few short days! It was exciting and such an honor.

6. Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!

And oldie but a goodie! Here you can follow our debt-free journey on The Dave Ramsey Show and hear about how broke we were when we got married! Hahaha. Even on a low income we were able to obliterate debt…sometimes I look back and am shocked since I don’t think we could do that now.

5. My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

I am always glad to see this one in the top blog posts for the year. We write about a LOT of topics here on the blog but really infertility is probably the closest to my heart. I am thankful to provide a resource for couples to find quality infertility bloggers to help them in their journey. It’s how I stayed afloat in our battle and I’ll do anything to throw a lifesaver overboard to others in the same fight.

4. The Husband’s Guide to Breastfeeding

God. Bless. Jonathan. Seriously this past year I had some serious breastfeeding anxieties and he stepped up the plate in a big way. He truly had the heart of a servant and supported me every step of the way. I don’t think Josie and I would still be nursing at nearly 14 months if it wasn’t for him.

3. How and Why I Induced Lactation

Another one I have gotten LOTS of inquiries about from fellow adoptive Mommas. I am so glad that my breastfeeding journey has inspired others and given them confidence to try!

2. God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

Hands down my favorite blog post from this past year. We have a father who keeps his promises and I only wished I trusted him far more.

1. I Was About to Leave The Church and Then THIS Happened

Jonathan’s conversion story from his time in college. He was apathetic in his faith and God put a new fire in his heart through some quality friendships.

Happy New Year True Good and Beautiful family!

Tex112

Much Love from Jonathan, Amanda, Josephine, and Wrigley 🙂

Adoption, Infertility, Marriage

How We Plan to Be Open to Life in 2016

December 22, 2015

Some of you may find this post odd.

You would never even think of telling others when you and your spouse are thinking about trying for a baby or your openness to life at whatever phase you’re in.

But we’re open books here at True Good and Beautiful and for better or worse it seems like God keeps calling us to high levels of transparency with the world.

Our infertility battles and adoption journey have been available for you to follow along with since early in our marriage, so in keeping with the theme, we want to describe how we are hoping to be open to life in the New Year:

The Bio Way

Gotta leave room for a miracle, right? 🙂

My one known BIG KAHUNA infertility issue is Luetenized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS). No doctors can tell me what causes it or how to resolve it. Some guesses are that the pre-ovulatory hormones are wonky or adhesions are getting in the way of ovulation, since post-ovulatory hormones look normal.

So I am going to make some SERIOUS lifestyle changes in hopes of improving hormones and overall fertility:

  1. I plan to go on the Autoimmune Paleo Elimination Diet to find any hidden allergies that could be causing inflammation in my body. After a couple months on this protocol I will get a hormone blood panel and thyroid workup to see if the diet led to improvements.
  2. I also plan to do acupuncture.
  3. And begin seeing a Chiropractor.
  4. The big treatment we are deciding on is either Clear Passage Therapy or Naprotechnology Surgery. Clear Passage Therapy is essentially abdominal Physical Therapy to break up adhesions and scar tissue getting in the way of my fertility. It’s 20 hours spread out over a five day window and I’ve heard it hurts. A LOT! The cost is $5,500 out of pocket and insurance does not cover it. Surgery (my 4th and 5th) would be to remove adhesions (while likely creating some new ones in the process), endometriosis, and any other abnormalities like uterine polyps. They would place Gortex on my organs during the first surgery then remove it 10 days later to reduce adhesion formation. Insurance would cover a portion of that but it’s also got about a $5,000 out-of-pocket price tag for uncovered techniques PLUS recovery time of six weeks.

The Adoption Route

I know miracles happen, but I have more or less accepted we won’t be conceiving any babies and I have made complete peace with that likelihood. We’re totally fine building our family through the gift of adoption. We LOVE adoption and are honored we’ve been blessed with the desire for it. It’s changed our lives and made us better people and will continue to over the years.

So how do we plan to pursue adoption again in the New Year?

  1. Renewing our Home Study with our adoption agency. Now we’ve been through it, I am sure we won’t be so overwhelmed but this is the low point in any adoption. Paperwork just sucks. Having our lives probed and analyzed  and obtaining fingerprints and background checks is also annoying but we’ve got nothing to hide so we’ll pass with flying colors again. Trying to get it all done with a baby turning into a toddler will surely have its challenges.
  2. Traditional Adoption with hopes of making a private connection again would be our hopes due to financial reasons. Meeting a birth family in Colorado specifically would make things much more cost-friendly but we’d be open to out-of-state again and paying double the fees. Significant fundraising efforts would be needed again, as we’ve had a LOT of vehicle related issues this Fall that wiped our savings ear-marked for adoption. Ugh.
  3. Embryo Adoption is also something we are looking into and if I am being honest, it’s currently where we are feeling drawn. Now, many of you likely haven’t heard about this option since it’s relatively new. Some of you also might be confusing it with IVF therapy but I assure you it’s very different. The Catholic Church hasn’t made any statements one way or the other, and as such, for the time being it’s something couples are free to discern and pursue if they feel called to it. To sum it up, we would adopt our children 9 months earlier than typical and I would have the opportunity to carry and give birth to them. Amazing!!! 🙂 If we go down this route, you will hear a whole lot more about our research and discernment.

There you have it.

The New Year holds a LOT of diet and lifestyle changes for me. I go back and forth between being excited and terrified about going Autoimmune Paleo but I need to figure my whole digestive and immune system issues out; I know there is something wacky and it’s just time to get to the bottom of it all.

No matter what route we choose, it’s going to cost significant amounts of money and I admit, sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow. I am thankful we have financial freedom through being debt-free that we have the ability to cash flow and save for some of the treatments. We said “no” to a lot in 2015 so we could say “yes” to these treatments in 2016. I am also super thankful that others are crazy wicked generous towards us by supporting our work with FOCUS and in our adoptive journey to Miss Josephine Rose…and would likely stand beside us in fundraising for a second adoption.

At the end of the day God will provide. When I remember that truth, all my bitterness fades away. He’s taking us on a wild journey, and I just simply need to sit back and let him act. The more I try and control the worse off we are. God will grow our family however he sees fit and that is all there is to it. I just need to repeat that like a mantra all. day. long. until it sticks!

Money

The December Budget Breakdown

December 9, 2015

Epic fail.

Yup, this budget post is coming to you a solid week-ish into December because my brain.

Of course this is THE month we didn’t blog on time.

It’s the one month of the year that people blow their budgets out of the water and leave the month with a nasty financial hangover. Hopefully if you were headed for destruction, this post will draw you back to safety!

With that, let’s dive into December’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:

  • Immaculate Conception/Our Lady of Guadalupe
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Special menu to celebrate the feast days
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to seriously break the bank if you are booking flights this late)
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (Yes, it’s really December already)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
    • Food
    • Party supplies
    • More gifts (that random gift exchange you forgot about…)
    • Christmas cards (Jonathan designed and ordered ours this year, savings us hundreds for the amount we send out! Woot!)
  • 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
  • Car Maintenance
  • End of year donations
  • Life Insurance premiums

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 life insurance premiums.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Catholicism

We’re Still Figuring Out How to Do Advent And That’s OK

December 2, 2015

Advent.

A beautiful season the Catholic Church has given her people to direct their hearts and minds to the ultimate gift – the Incarnation of Jesus Christ at Christmas. It’s designed to be a season filled with prayer, repentance, and most of all a JOYFUL anticipation of Jesus’ arrival.

I think it can be a hard season to fully embrace as a Catholic today.

Why do I think that?

Well, as soon as Thanksgiving is done (who am I kidding, its when Halloween is done) Americans get busy. They start decorating, shopping, feasting, partying, music-ing, etc. to celebrate the Christmas season. The problem is that Christmas hasn’t happened yet. Liturgically, we are supposed to be waiting, reflecting, anticipating, and slowing down to make room in our hearts for the arrival of Christ.

The Christmas season is coming…and all those things should happen.

Just not yetright? Or can we do them while still waiting?

This is where my husband and I butted heads in a MAJOR way as newlyweds…and if I am being honest we revisit this topic Every. Single. Year.

You see, I want to just go along with what the culture is doing. I want to buy and decorate with ALL THE THINGS, listen to cheery Christmas jingles, host and attend parties, go caroling, bake until my oven breaks, and be so saturated with Christmas that by the time it arrives, I am really really really ready for it. Of course I want to do these things in addition to Advent devotions as well.

I blame it on my melancholic nature…I don’t shift gears quickly or easily so it’s actually hard for me to flip a switch and suddenly become excited about something. I need a buffer time to get excited before the thing actually happens. So in some ways, I NEED to begin the Christmas activities early so that I am actually ready when it arrives, right? 😉

But my better half wants to approach the season a bit differently and if I am being honest, he wants to approach it in a way that is liturgically correct. He wants to wait on Christmas music, decorations, baking, parties…you name it, he wants to wait on it until it’s officially the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Instead he wants to protect and preserve Christmas because it’s sacred and holy. He wants to give our family the gift of well prepared and quiet hearts to embrace Jesus at Christmas. He wants to make sure we haven’t Christmas-ed ourselves out before it even arrives and like the general culture, be done with celebrating December 26th when there are liturgically twelve full days to celebrate.

So this year we’re trying some new things. We’re two adults who respect one another’s opinions and are willing to experiment with how we ought to celebrate as a family. No one is a dictator around our neck of the woods and one person isn’t going to decide our traditions. We will mutually explore options and decide together.

What are we doing this year then?

We are decorating the house in pink and purple for Advent. We’ve got a Jesse Tree devotion we’re doing each evening around the Advent Wreath. We’re spending more time in prayer and plan to go to confession as a family. We’re keeping things simple so we can make room for Jesus at the “Inn” of our hearts. We will switch gears and bust out all the Christmas music, turn on the oven, and change the decorations…but we don’t know exactly when because we will be traveling on Christmas Eve and Day.

I want to clarify and say that I don’t believe this to be a moral issue. If you listen to Christmas music, you are not in sin. Please, nobody run off and take this post that far out of context. We’re just exploring this topic out-loud here on the blog as we process it ourselves. Yes, I continue to Google “How to be a good Catholic and be a?ble to listen to Christmas music” and Jonathan continues to interview families who’ve held off on celebrating.

We’re researching as a family and are trying to figure out what helps us enter more fully into Advent. That’s what this is about – being ready to receive our King into our hearts on Christmas. Whatever facilitates that best is what we will do in the Teixeira home.

I know this is a highly debated topic and I would love to hear from other perspectives in the comments. What have you chosen to do? What helps you get ready for Christmas? How do you embrace Advent?