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Gut Health….The Missing Link?

March 22, 2017

I’m a HUGE fan of the Ultimate Bundles. I love how they compile the best of the best into one package on varying topics and cut out the need to hunt out worthwhile resources. I’ve kicked myself a time or two when I missed out on snagging one of their bundles and it ain’t happening this time around!

This bundle is incredibly exciting to me personally as you’ll discover more in the post below. Because I think it’s such a fabulous one I whole-heartedly believe in, I signed up to be an affiliate. That means if you use my link and decide the bundle is right for you, I receive a commission. I am not someone who typically endorses any product or company UNLESS I’ve seen their value to not only myself but how it can be of huge value to others. This was one of those times and I can’t wait to work through the bundle and for it to bless those who need it!

Enough prefacing, let’s get to the post. 🙂

You’ve replaced your household cleaners with non-toxic products. You use alternative health remedies. You eat whole foods, avoid refined sugars, and exercise regularly.

And yet, you still feel like something’s missing when it comes to your health…but what on earth could it be?

I’ve had the same thoughts myself.

Years after going gluten and dairy free, I started to feel pretty good, but certainly not great. Then I decided to go deeper into identifying dietary culprits for my various symptoms, which led me to the AIP Protocol.

This eating plan basically blew the lid off everything I thought I knew about my own body and ESPECIALLY my gut/intestines/digestive system – whatever you want to call it. As someone who had THREE colonoscopies before age 25 and had to take daily Miralax for over a decade, you’d have thought I would’ve stumbled upon gut healing long long ago.

After researching and researching everything led me back to gut healing. It was truly shocking and I stand convinced that poor gut health is the main cause of our specific infertility. And my jaw has dropped so many times in my studies as poor gut health is linked with so many other illnesses today.

Is it possible that one of the most unglamorous organs is behind so many health problems?

Here’s the thing: poor gut health isn’t pretty, especially if you’re fighting leaky gut syndrome, allergies, or fuzzy brain – all symptoms of a gut that isn’t doing what it’s designed to do and symptoms I put up with for far too long.

It can already feel a bit daunting to work on healing your digestive issues (since it can take a while to fully get there!) but then to spend time searching for practical solutions at a price you can afford? Yea, no. Who has time to scour the internet for 3-4 hours a day searching for gut healing remedies from reliable sources? Tried that…wasn’t sustainable and it was just confusing or out of price range for us.

But what if, just for six days, everything you need (and then some) came together in one magical package, for the most affordable price ever? Well, we’re in luck, because that’s exactly what’s happening and I’m telling you, this bundle what I wish I would’ve had a year ago.

The Gut Health Super Bundle includes 16 ebooks, 5 eCourses, 3 videos, and 1 massive summit full of expert videos.

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to heal your gut… tummy-soothing recipes, meal plans, quick-start guides, in-depth education, and so much more.

For less than the cost of some high-quality probiotics, you’ll get a complete library to help you:

  • End your digestive complaints (you know what they are)
  • Identify your own trigger foods and how to eat for digestibility
  • Discover how to make gut-healing fermented foods at home – and cheaply!
  • Choose the best probiotics and other supplements
  • Simplify your meal planning routine with gut-healing recipes and meal plans
  • and finally get your health back.

Plus, it comes with $40 worth of bonus offers for tummy-friendly, real food products. (When I saw the Kettle & Fire Bone Broth as a bonus – I was instantly sold.)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start the healing journey!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just six days! After Monday night, March 27th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

No one should put up with poor digestive health because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an important first step. But to really experience holistic health, you need to get your digestive system back on track.

Learn more or get your bundle HERE .

Below I am including a list of everything it includes so you can see it all laid out!

Foundations of Gut Health

  • Heal Your Gut Summit by Dr. Eric Zielinski $99.00
  • How to Heal a Broken Gut Masterclass by Spark Health $27.00

Getting Started

  • 14-Day Gut Reset by Chloe Breczinski $10.00
  • Zero Effort Gut Health: 10 Shockingly Easy Changes Anyone Can Make For Better Gut Health! by Dena Norton $8.99
  • Heal Your Gut Program by Lee Holmes $59.00
  • Heal Your Gut Starter Kit by Allison Nichols $47.00

Gut-Healing Foods

  • Broth for Breakfast (and Every Meal of the Day): Amazing Broth-Based Recipes for Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker and Stove Top by Katie (Wellness Mama) $19.00
  • Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits & Veggies by Tamara Mannelly $9.99
  • Resistant Starch 101 by Heather Dessinger $5.99
  • Lacto-Fermentation eCourse {mini} by Wardee Harmon $40.00
  • Kombucha Bone Broth Secrets: And Other Hacks to Upgrade Your Bone Broth by Dave Lindenbaum $47.00

Conditions

  • Disease-Free Revolution by Ron Garner $4.61
  • Solving the IBS Puzzle: A Patient’s Guide to Treating IBS from Diagnosis to Treatment by Sylvie McCracken $9.99
  • How Your Gut Heath Affects Your Hormone Health (and What to Do About It) by Bridgit Danner $27.00

Candida

  • Candida on Ice: 20 Sugar-Free Ice Creams and Cold Treats by Paula Miller $7.95
  • The Paleo Guide to Beating Candida Naturally: Your Comprehensive Guide to Getting Rid of Candida and Keeping it That Way by Will Nicolson $12.99

GAPS

  • Beyond Grain & Dairy: Delicious, Nutritious Real Food Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free Recipes from Main Dishes to Desserts by Starlene D. Stewart $24.97
  • Gut-Healing Starter Pack by Cara Comini $75.00

Grain Free

  • 7 Simple Steps to Better Grain Free Baking by Kelly Smith $8.95
  • Go Grain Free by Dr. Jill Tieman $67.00

Additional Recipes

  • Gut Balancing Recipes: Eat Your Way to Better Health, Glowing Skin, and Better Moods by Dr. Karen Lee $14.99
  • Keto-Adapted by Maria Emmerich $14.99
  • Mind & Body Balancing by Kari Owens $13.97
  • Muddled: Paleo & AIP Mocktails to Nourish Your Body & Soul by Amanda Torres, MS $14.99
  • Nourishing Holiday: Grain-Free, Gut-Healing Food for Every Celebration by Jaclyn Harwell $24.97

PLUS These Bonuses

  • 2 free cartons of bone broth from Kettle & Fire ($24 value), $7.99 shipping, available within the U.S. only
  • $20 gift card to Get Kombucha ($20 value), $6.95 shipping within the U.S., international shipping rates apply
Mission

Our Lives Are Not Our Own

October 24, 2016

A few weeks back I found myself unable to fall asleep.

I figured I would take a trip down memory lane and look at Jonathan and I’d friendship history on Facebook.

Sappy, I know.

Here we are on one of our very first dates – when Jonathan still had beautiful flowing locks of hair. 🙂

dating

While the posts were a lot of fun to look over, an overwhelmingly evident truth hit me:

Our lives are not our own.

For whatever reason, God has placed Jonathan and I in positions where we have to depend and rely on others in very concrete ways. We’ve been fundraising our income for almost 9 years so we were used to not only giving to others but receiving the gifts of others’ time, talent, and treasure. Because of that, I don’t think I truly noticed at how God have repeatedly asked us to bring our relationship into the public eye and ask for the assistance and generosity of others.

A completely humbling and a vulnerable trend that this introverted and private heart of mine is slightly afraid of.

But it’s undeniable. Let’s look at the ways others stepped up and helped us:

The Wedding Contest

Anyone remember the Fairytale Wedding Contest from Hell?!?! LOL

We sure do.

It started out simply – Obtain the most likes on a certain photo and qualify to make a video which others can then vote on and the most votes will win.

wedding-contest

This was 2011. Facebook sharing was definitely a thing but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is today. The fact we had over 750 likes was HUGE back then…and it was all because of you guys. So we got to go in studio and make a series of videos about our relationship. There were a handful of other couples we were up against, competing for votes over the course of about a week.

Less than 24 hours to go in the contest (that we were definitely winning) this random couple came up like a Dark Horse and stole the lead. We were quite dumbfounded actually because of all the couples in the contest….these two hardly even seemed like a couple. No wedding date set. Barely spoke or smiled in their video. It was bizarre.

That’s when YOU all stepped up again. Some of our friends (and let’s be honest even their friends’ friends) spied on the votes for this other couple, revealing that almost ALL their votes came from Facebook profiles created that very same day and had no friends and no profile picture.

CHEATERS!!!!!!!!!

You all turned up the heat. No way were cheaters going to take this contest from us all. In the final few hours of the contest, your help paid off and we soared ahead of the cheaters, declaring VICTORY in the Fairytale Wedding Contest.

BUT THEN.

The cheaters were overcome and the honest were victorious….how is there even more to this story?

Instead of calling to congratulate our win, WOWT called to tell us they were CANCELLING the contest altogether because one of the couples (not us) had cheated. Not offense WOWT but last time I checked, just because a losing athlete in an Olympic race was later exposed for using steroids, the Gold Medal isn’t stripped from the winner. That’s not how things are done.

AND YOU ALL CALLED IT OUT. HARRRRRRRRD. (There are close to 100 comments on that thread and several are just pure gold, LOL!)

The righteous wrath that rained down on WOWT was incredible. Jonathan and I sat back and let y’all do your thang.

Within a day, the station called to say the contest was BACK ON and that it would be a shady, through-the-night text off to victory. (Side note: The cheaters weren’t even expelled from the competition…they were allowed to still compete even after proof of cheating. Mind boggling.)

So we did the text off. Jonathan was out all night at the bars. Friends were out all night at their bars in their prospective cities. People from all over the world were texting in for us. It was unreal.

The next morning we were declared victors and 6 months later we had ourselves one heck of a wedding because of YOUR help. This last weekend we celebrated 5 years from that day! 🙂

Our lives are not our own.

Finding JoJo

A few years later we found ourselves again at the mercy of needing your assistance.

We felt it was time to begin the adoption process and were hoping to find a private match (as those are less expensive typically as there are less legal and agency fees).

On a June evening in 2014 we took some photos with a stellar friend who donated her photography talent for our adoption. We told her it was important that we get the pictures back the same night, as we wanted to put some pics up the next day online to announce we were hoping to adopt. I have no idea how or why she agreed to turn these around that fast but SHE DID.

The next morning we posted the photos on our blog and loaded them onto Facebook and asked y’all to help us find #BabyTex, wherever they may be.

10498044_10152530895002451_8442908554591532152_o-1

While we jumped on a 5am flight to Florida and had no internet access, you guys practically broke our blog that morning with your shares. When we landed in Florida and saw what the heck was going on because of YOUR sharing, we were stunned. There were several situations that we were being alerted about that day. When my head hit the pillow that night, I heard a Facebook Messenger ding, and I felt my tummy do a flip. Another possible situation and before I even looked at the message I knew it was special. That conversation was the one that led us to Miss Josie Rosie’s amazing first family.

Unbelievable.

We could have simply gotten on a list or kept our search to ourselves but we felt a call to be vulnerable. To let you all into this area of our lives. Because of that, you led us to our daughter. 

Our lives are not our own.

Fundraising for Adoption #1

Y’all led us to connecting with a birth family and practically in the same breath came to assist us in coming up with the necessary funding to be ready for the adoption.

However, it was hard in a few different ways.

Some may think it was due to disliking fundraising but that’s wasn’t it. I mean really…we’d fundriased our entire income for nearly 6 years at that point. What was humbling was that we couldn’t have children – biological or adopted – by simply just deciding to. This is typically a very intimate decision that families have the privilege of keeping behind closed doors. Certainly with biological kiddos but even in most adoption situations, while it’s usually public knowledge the couple is adopting, a majority don’t fundraise. Perhaps they will ask for help finding a match but that’s where request for assistance ends…and that wasn’t an option for us. We were invited to lay ourselves at the mercy of others’ generosity in an insanely vulnerable aspect of life.

We designed an adoption puzzle and so many of you joined us in that. We raised about 70% of the overall costs and when combined with what we’d been scrimping and saving we had juuuuuust enough to cover everything.

We also had people give us free flight vouchers to California as well as arrange a lovely family (whom we met when we showed up at their house!) to stay with in Sacramento while we waiting for legal documents needed to fly home.

Our lives are not our own.

Ready to Adopt Again

When Josie joined the Teixeira clan we were and still are OVER THE MOON to have the honor and joy of being her parents. She is simply just a delight – so warm, affectionate, silly, and social.

As we watched her grow (and become obsessed with playing with other children LOL) we knew it was time to multiply the love within our family again – to be touched by the beauty of another child and sibling.

In all honesty, we sat on this desire for a lot longer than we should have. Partly because of the cost of the adoption process but partly because I wanted to try for biological kiddos again and didn’t know how others would perceive us if we were open to conceiving AND adopting at the same time. I stopped taking Domperidone (medicine I used to induce lactation) last Fall and soon thereafter got my cycles back. Month after month after month and no pregnancy (damn you infertility for not miraculously healing yourself while I was nursing) and I knew adoption was the next step.

We took photos again with our awesome and talented friend, Alzbeta.

textwocollage

But then I stalled again.

She sent us the images and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with them….especially when I realized my hair made me look like a Conehead.

But then I had a dream about adoption (which can’t go into but will in future blog post of its own) and it was clear we needed to get those pictures up. That very same day, we launched the blog posts and shared it on Facebook. You all came to the rescue as joyful as last time, ready to send the smoke signals out in the online world and help us make a connection with a birth family.

While nothing immediately came together like last time (Really, how many times could a same day match happen?) we had about 25 people share a specific adoption situation with me from a blogger who occasionally shares situations and asks others to get the word out. While we were interested in that situation, we had this gut feeling like it wasn’t the one to pursue. Can’t explain it more than that.

BUT fast-forward a few months and I saw a new blog post from this blogger (that I only started following because of YOU GUYS) and there was a baby due in December 2016. We inquired, submitted our profile, and were chosen.

Our lives are not our own.

Fundraising for Adoption #2

While we had confidence that God would provide and that y’all would come along side us in raising funds for this impending adoption, it began with a lot of worries due to fearing others and their perceptions of us. I am a sensitive gal with super thin skin and if someone has judged me incorrectly, it weighs severely on me.

We couldn’t afford adoption the first go -round so why couldn’t we just “get it together” and be able to afford it the second time around?

People were excited last time but now they’re tired of you.

Why don’t you just take on debt, liquidate your house or retirement, sell an organ etc. to do this ON YOUR OWN?

We submitted our profile on a Friday and ALL WEEKEND LONG I panicked and freaked about how we would afford this without doing something really extreme and unwise, as mentioned in above ideas. I was afraid of fundraising and just wanted to be done with needing others to do life.

That same weekend I got a Facebook message from a friend I haven’t seen in years. She had gotten a raise at work and when praying, she felt that the tithe should go to our family for our next adoption situation.

fundraising-fears

WHATTTTTTT?

Yea. When literally no one but Jonathan and I and our immediate family knew about this situation and my fears, God providentially asked a sister in Christ to speak to me through her actions: I’m asking you to fundraise again AKA trust me in this super vulnerable way once again.

So we’ve launched another puzzle and so many of you have once again joined us in raising these adoption costs.

Believe me when I say we’re doing a LOT behind the scenes to scrimp, save, and find extra income (just like last time but on steroids LOL) and I am sure we will come into our deadlines with juuuuuuust enough once again.

Our lives are not our own.

The Future

I have no idea what our future looks (although we have no plans to ever enter a Facebook contest or fundraise for adoption again) like but I am finally convinced of two things:

  1. God will take care of us no matter what comes our way
  2. Our lives are not our own.

Our lives have taken an EXTREME form of dependence on others’ generosity. This ain’t normal folks, LOL. It’s not because we are special, it’s just how God’s will has shown itself. There are times when I feel blessed and honored by this life God asks us to live but also times I want to know why he’s trying to slowly kill me with the non-traditional things he regularly asks us to do. I doubt this trend will stop today but I’m not afraid anymore.

While we have gotten a huge dose of realizing our lives are not our own, it has taught me ultimately that no one’s lives are simply their own.

We all need each other. No one exists in a vacuum. Some will have needs that are obvious – finances, food, shelter, transportation, sharing a contest photo on social media, winter coats, etc. But others will have needs not seen by the naked eye – friendship, kindness, a listening ear, invitations to outings, meals delivered in stressful seasons, a few hours away from kiddos, a latte when their newborn was up hourly the night before, a neighbor to check-in, etc.

Not one of us exists to live simply on our own. We are all needy and it’s not a bad thing. We were all created for relationship, as we were made in the image of a Triune God. He exists in an eternal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because we are made by him, he created us to need one another because being in relationship with others is at the core of who we are and what brings true joy in life. When people are cut off and starved of relationships, it creates hardships, massive burdens, and holes left unfilled.

This life wasn’t meant to be done alone.

I hope I am a person who continues to boldly believe that I need you. But not just that. That you need me too. And as someone who’s been blessed by countless lives, I want in turn to be as generous as possible with each and every person I have the privilege of encountering this side of heaven.

No one’s lives are their own.

Mission

The Summer Our Lives Turned Upside Down: Part 2

September 16, 2016

Alright, that cliffhanger was pretty mean.

#sorrynotsorry

I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries as to when Part 2 was coming and that made dragging out the suspense more appealing! 🙂 Hopefully I was able to help you grow in patience.

So where did we leave off?

Ah, yes, we returned to Colorado feeling like God was about to shred our entire world. Delightful.

Around this time we felt like we needed to be intentionally praying and a 54-Day Rosary Novena fit the bill. We knew that major stuff was about to go down. A couple intercessory prayer sessions or an Our Father just weren’t going to cut it. We needed the nuclear weapon equivilent prayer and this novena is it. We don’t use it often but when we do…look out is all I’m sayin.

The Summer Projects in Estes Park were going wonderfully. The students were growing closer to Jesus and learning how to share their faith with others…which is all I ever hoped for. Visiting them was always so refreshing and such a taste of adventure and beauty. We got to camp on top of a mountain and it was so much fun. We also realized that our family has outgrown the single person tent we owned.

This is where our little family slept, snug as bugs last night. That view will never get old. ?#estesparkproject

A photo posted by Amanda Teixeira (@amandamtex) on

Back down in Denver, we were still waiting to hear something….anything….from Spirit Catholic radio. I don’t do well with waiting (understatement of the millennium) and so I kept busy busy busy. I jammed my social calendar chock full. I ran ALL THE ERRANDS I could think up. I did every house project that’d been on the Honey-Do List for the past year.

I. got. stuff. done.

Not always good for me (since I am addicted to being busy) but I needed to stay mentally engaged, lest I panic over what God was about to ask us to do.

On a Wednesday in the middle of July, Jonathan got a phone call from KVSS Spirit Catholic radio in Omaha. He was offered the job!!!!!!

We were over the moon excited! My parents happened to be in town so we all went to Bad Daddy Burger (yummmmm) to celebrate. We took the next few days to pray a bit more and it was crystal clear this was the path we were called to say “yes” to. That decision broke his heart on one hand because he LOVES FOCUS dearly. But he loves Jesus more and had to say yes to where he was leading us and this was it. We were filled with peace, joy, and excitement. (FYI – I am still with FOCUS, working remotely from Omaha.)

Because I had done all those house projects and cleaned like a boss, our house was ready to go on the market two days later!!!!!

I know, I know. I’m hyper and obsessed and no one lists their home like a day after deciding to sell it. I am not normal and you must accept me as I am.

Once the house was on the market, people were flocking to it like sharks on a baby seal. We had constant showings and within two days we had 7 offers! This is when things began to get hairy and I won’t go into all the details but over the next week and a half, we accepted two offers and both buyers had to back out of the deal. One due to a legal battle our HOA is currently in and the other over buyer’s remorse. We then had to go back on the market, on an slow day of the week, after four other town homes in our complex also came on the market. So our offers that were looking like $10K-$15K over asking price turned into just plain ole asking price. That’s not terrible for most markets but asking price in DENVER? Unheard of!!! Asking price is seen as a starting point for the bidding wars.

But we liked the young Christian couple who offered and we just needed to sell the house, so we took the bird in the hand and began planning our move to Omaha.

Three weeks after getting the call, we tearfully packed up and hit the road with mountains in our rear view mirror. Denver was where we bought out first home. Denver was where we became a family of three. Denver is where we finally got our pup. Denver is where we professionally excelled and made dear friends. Denver was going to be our forever home but when God asks you to go and leave everything behind to follow him, you go.

We rolled into Omaha with peace and confidence that we were right where we were supposed to be. The house hunt (another blog series!) was a hot mess of a month. We finally signed on a house last Friday though, and we’ll have a place to call home soon. The settling process is going to take a lot of time and we’re fairly certain that God isn’t done changing things up on us yet. I think we are about 30% through the changes he’s making in our lives. It’s scary to think about what else is coming down the road but he’s proven time and time again that HE’S GOT US.

After a wild ride of a summer, I choose to cling to that truth. Here’s hoping I remember it when the next phase of change rolls in.

Mission

The Summer Our Lives Turned Upside Down: Part 1

September 9, 2016

When we entered into Summer this past May, I wouldn’t have in a million year been able to guess how differently our lives would be by Summer’s end.

My head is still spinning from the shock wave of change.

If you guessed that I don’t do well with change, you’re right on.

Me and change repel one another. I am one of those weird cool people who could happily eat the same food for years, wear the same two outfits for months on end, and live each and every day strategically pre-planned to the minute. I am a creature of habit who generally opposes new things until I warm up to them.

So before we get into the details of what the hay went down during The Summer of 2016, let’s all just celebrate that I am still alive and halfway sane, because it was touch and go. Just imagine a rabid caged animal, and that will give you a mental image of where I was. On my good days. It wasn’t pretty.

Alright, so what happened the last few months?

It all started in May…

Jonathan and I were fresh off our first business launch and really excited about serving our audience and creating relevant content for their needs. We’d been waking at the crack of dawn and then burning the midnight oil to prepare for The Infertility Survival Guide. Our launch went great and we were on track to have our guide completed by summer’s end. [insert God laughing hysterically]

We were oh so close to having things done when I got a phone call from The Pope Paul VI Institute.

It looked like surgery was my best shot at conceiving and carrying a pregnancy, as I had a really bad uterine septum. Like a, maybe-probably-would-miscarry-if-I-ever-conceive, septum. I would need two procedures and they had June 9th and 20th open for me. All of a sudden, business plans came to a screeching halt and I channeled my energy in a new direction.

In the midst of this (since I have a compulsion to be busier than what is healthy) I was also helping launch a new initiative within FOCUS, the first-ever Estes Park Summer Project. My own personal conversion centered heavily of my own experience on a project like this, staffed by The Navigators in Jacksonville, FL during the summer of 2004. It was easily one of the best summers of my life and it instilled in me passion for prayer, scripture, growth, evangelization, and discipleship.

It’s always been a fantasy of mine to introduce these programs to FOCUS and the time was right this summer – since there were other staff willing and ready to get it launched.. I could not wait to see this dream become true because I know how much fruit it will bear in student and staff lives in the years to come.

Around this time, we started to pray an Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena and that’s when weird things began to happen. This isn’t my first rodeo, so I knew that weird + God = stuff  is about to hit the fan (in an ultimately good way that may temporarily feel like death).

In our ninth year on staff, Jonathan and I hoped on staying in FOCUS forever. We wanted to keep making disciples on college campuses until the day we died. While we were praying this novena, it was no longer clear if that was still God’s will for our life…and HIS WILL is more important than what we want to do. We didn’t understand what was happening and where it was coming from. We kept praying because Momma Mary loves to take her spiritual children by the hand and lead them to Jesus’ will in their lives.

Around this time, while we’re still praying the novena, Jonathan got an out-of-the-blue phone call from the Executive Director of KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio in Omaha, NE. He wanted to throw around some ideas about a new project to Jonathan and get his feedback, since Jonathan was referred to him as a highly creative dude. Jonathan had a lot of fun consulting with him on this cutting-edge new idea he had for changing Millenial engagement with Catholic media. Whenever Jonathan left a meeting with them, he was on cloud 9 and kept talking about how cool this new role was going to be, and how it sounded like something he might like to do.

My first surgery was almost 10 hours long. It went really well and gortex was placed to prevent adhesion formation (previously a huge issue for me.) Ten days later (and many many many episodes of Gilmore Girls later) I had a second surgery to remove the gortex. Very few adhesions were found in the second surgery so that left my Doc feeling pretty good about my ovaries staying free from scar tissue. Things looked as health as could be, anatomically speaking. The plan moving forward is to treat my hormones, as those are truly at the root of why I don’t ovulate…ever. (Lord can’t you just shoot a frickin laser beam at my ovaries and get them to rupture? Pretty please!)

It seemed too coincidental that this new job happened to be one Jonathan would love and be perfect for. Oh and it was in Omaha where I grew up and my family is located (as well as the Pope Paul VI Institute). Feeling a bit too-good-to-be-true am I right? However, there was no offer extended to Jonathan to be the guy for it, so once I healed up enough, we packed up and headed home to Colorado just in time for the Fourth of July not knowing where God was taking our family.

To be continued…

Mission

What We’ve Been Working On

March 18, 2016

You may or may not have noticed that we haven’t blogged in a month.

There, there. It’s OK friend.

It’s actually quite positive that we haven’t been blogging. We’ve been up to something very exciting!

Jonathan and I have been working our buns off as we gear up and get ready for…

Drum roll please.

Our first-ever online business!!!!

Back in December, we started dreaming about our future.

Naturally, we held two full day long meetings at a whiteboard. We ordered takeout. We taped sticky notes all over an entire wall. We thought big. We wrote out our life priorities and goals for our family.

Totally normal, right?

It looked and felt like a business meeting and that’s when I knew something big was about to happen.

At the end of those sessions, it was apparent there were a few felt needs from our audience. It’s been humbling to have you trust us with sensitive and personal matters as you tell us your story and ask us questions. Corresponding with so many of you over the years has been nothing short of amazing.

It was also obvious that we had the desire to help people through using our God-given gifts, knowledge, and talents to create high quality, practical, and inspirational products to meet those needs. Sure, we’ve helped some people but we want to help so many more.

The idea for our online business was born.

We are now the happy employees of True Good & Beautiful, LLC. We are still on staff with FOCUS and have NO plans to leave, just in case you were wondering. Our online gig is meant to be part-time.

I can’t tell you all the deets in how it will take shape (since we don’t even know that!) but I can tell you that we have a few businesses brewing, each based on the core felt needs we’ve seen. Our online home will always be the True Good & Beautiful Blog. We have no plans to stop providing free and relevant content right here.

Since those onsite meetings, we’ve been INSANELY busy. Blogging remains a priority to us but we simply needed additional mental white space and margin in our life the last several weeks.

We’ve been hustling -waking up at 5:30am and working a few hours before the tiny human in our house wakes up. Once she’s up, all bets are off but I occasionally get more time to read and study during naps. Jonathan gets home, we eat dinner, put the tiny human back in bed, and begin working again until bedtime.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

That’s basically where we’ve lived off and on for the past few months and it’s been exhausting and yet so fulfilling.

We have plans to launch our first online product later in 2016 and as we get closer to the launch, you’ll undoubtedly be getting leaks from us! 🙂

As for blogging goes, we still need that margin in our life as we dig deep into projects and hit goals. You can expect us to blog once per week from here on out until noted otherwise. Not that anyone was pestering us about this (those who did, you know who you are!) but we wanted to be transparent with how often you can rely on us generating new content for your reading pleasure.

Thank you for your support and encouragement in these endeavors. We are so excited to see where this all leads! Serving you all has been a gift to us and we are grateful for the opportunity to do that more.

Catholicism

What I Love Most About Lent

February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday is finally upon us and I am totally pumped up!!

Wait…What?

Who gets psyched for Lent aka the liturgical season of sacrifice, penance, and suffering?

You guessed it.

This girl does! (Amanda, not Adele, just to clarify. She might love Lent too but I’ve never asked her.)

Don’t mistake me for some pious and holy person, let me tell you that’s certainly not the case.

I must admit my melancholic temperament is drawn to the darker and deeper stuff in life such as pain, injustice, suffering, death, and mortality.

Ew, right?

Don’t be deceived by how happy I appear. I may be often smiling but I can assure you I am actually thinking about Sarah Mclachlan dog commercials.

Kidding.

Sort of.

All that to say that sure, I might be more inclined to enjoy the Lenten season, but I think it’s awesome for people of all temperaments.

Here in this post, I want to share with you a few reasons of why I love Lent and why I think you should too.

Intentionality

First, I want to say I absolutely love being Catholic for a host (wink, wink) of reasons but particularly because of the liturgical calendar. 

Weirdo alert again, amirite?

But seriously, it’s amazing that the Church makes sure her children’s spiritual lives don’t get imbalanced by neglecting certain parts of the life of Christ. This is why we have the rotating Mass readings that essentially take us through all of scripture every three years in addition to all the rotating seasons such as Advent, Lent, Ordinary time, Feast Days, etc.

So much wisdom in the liturgical calendar.

My point is that I love how Lent is an annual season set aside to go deeper in reflection on the life and death of Jesus Christ.

It’s easy to hang with joyfully resurrected Jesus but I absolutely need to occassionally remember what he went through to win Heaven for mine and the souls of all mankind. If I don’t deeply enter into the pain he endured and the wounds inflicted upon him, I will miss something in my spiritual life. I will be stunted from growth. I will be disconnected from Christ in a very intimate way I may not even be aware of.

I’m just so darn thankful that the Church gives us this supreme gift of being able to take 40 days to draw closer to Jesus in his suffering and death. Through this intentional time, we’re given the chance to draw closer to him and obtain strength for our own trials in life as we unite those to Christ.

Lenten Sacrifices

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Don’t even get me started on this one.

We live in a world (at least in the USA) that is so convenient. We don’t have to wait on much of anything anymore.

At the drop of a hat you can download a song, watch a YouTube video, Facebook message you friend from around the world, order Jimmy Johns, binge a Netflix series, buy something on Amazon that will show up less than 2 days later, Google any question you might have, etc. Technology has essentially taken away many immediate needs.

We don’t have to wait or give up anything…which means our sacrificial muscles are atrophied severely.

It’s not just a spiritual belief that fasting is actually GOOD for you. We know that ocassional fasting from food actually has health benefits but this principle applies to sacrificing other things too like time spent in front of screens or on the internet among thousands of other things you could temporarily step away from.

Sure, the fasting from foods, activities, and habits is a good thing in and of itself but what’s beneficial about giving things up is that it creates space in your soul and schedule for more prayer and an opportunity to draw closer to Christ, who gave up everything for us. We can unite our desire for coffee, Facebook, and Netflix to Jesus and allow him to draw us into his own sacrificial love.

Again, so much wisdom the Church is inviting her children into.

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Last but not least, I think there is no other season like Lent that provides the opportunity to do some serious spring cleaning within your soul.

Just try watching The Passion of The Christ without being deeply moved.

Now spend 40 days meditating on and mulling over the passion and death of Our Lord and prepare to get rocked.

When we GET IT and truly realize not only who Jesus was and what he did for us out of love, we can’t help but be changed forever. He paid the price for us and gave us what we didn’t deserve because of our own mistakes. What mercy!

Each Lent is an opportunity to have a deeper conversion. To unite your suffering and pain to Christ, who can redeem everything. To allow the light of God to cast out the dark parts of your life through the Sacrament of Confession. It’s a new beginning every year. A set aside opportunity to heal. It’s truly a beautiful opportunity.

 

Here at True Good & Beautiful we wish you a Lent filled with mercy and grace. May you draw closer to the heart of Jesus, the one who wildly loves you and wants to draw you closer to him these next 40 days!

If you are looking for resources on how to go deeper this Lent, check out Lentsanity. Jonathan is the brain-child behind almost everything you’ll see over there! 🙂

God bless!