Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Uncategorized

A Letter To My Ex-Boyfriends

February 16, 2016

Today, as a happily married woman, I am writing to my ex-boyfriends openly on our blog.

#AWKWARD

You might be thinking, “Why would you ever do that, crazy pants?”

I am currently thinking the same, especially since much of my dating past looks like Taylor Swift’s Blank Space:

‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space, baby
And I’ll write your name

Yup. That about sums it up.

Over the past few years as I’ve seen photos of old flames pop into my social media accounts, it’s left me thinking about what I’d say to those guys if I saw them again someday.

So without further ado, here we go.

Gulp.

Fellas.

You know who you are…and you may or may not ever think of me but I think of you from time to time.

Fear not, this won’t be a burn letter where I reveal all your faults and flaws.

I simply want to tell you three things today: I’m Sorry, Thank You, and I Wish You Well. 

I’ll go into each of those sentiments below.

I’m Sorry

For those of you I dated in High School, you may not know but when I was a freshman in college, I went through a life-changing experience – I encountered Jesus Christ in a real and personal way that radically changed everything about how I live my life.

Yes, when we dated, I was Catholic but I didn’t know how to live that faith in every area of my life, specifically in my relationship with you.

What I’ve learned since that time is that the best relationships, and ultimately marriage, help both parties become the best versions of themselves. To help one another be more giving, kind, loving, patient, and selfless. Essentially more like Christ.

I know that in our relationship I didn’t always help you become a better version of who God created you to be, particularly when it comes to chastity. I took something from you and allowed you to take something from me only intended as blessings for our future spouses.

I see photos of you with your wives (whom I have so much respect for) on Facebook and I just wish I could take back what was ultimately theirs. It hurt to look my husband Jonathan in the eye while engaged and tell him about mistakes I made in past relationships. I’ve gotten to say sorry to him but never to you and your wife, which wasn’t OK with me. Please accept my apologies.

To those of you I dated in College and beyond, though I don’t have chastity regrets, I have others, namely I expected far too much from you. Now that I’m married, I can see that many things I expected from you were premature. No, we didn’t struggle crossing physical boundaries but we soared past appropriate emotional boundaries. I pushed us to be more emotionally involved than was healthy…again taking something from your future vocation and mine. Please accept my apologies.

Thank You

Sure, there were regrets from our relationship but there were also a lot of highlights. You guys helped me realize I love watching basketball, dancing, pulling pranks, praying in the chapel late at night, watching action movies, and eating Indian food to name a few.

We may not have helped one another become better people in all ways but there were certainly parts of my life that improved just by knowing you. I’ve been shaped by family and friends to become the woman I am today but you also played a role in that. You made me a better woman and ultimately a better wife to Jonathan.

In each relationship I learned more about myself and who would be a good match for me in marriage one day. Through dating a wide variety of temperaments and personalities, I learned that humor was vital for me in a marriage because I am freaking high strung. Shocking, right? 🙂

Before meeting Jonathan I was absolutely convinced I needed a man who could make me laugh because in reflecting on all past romances, laughter produced the healthiest relationships I’d been in. The first quality that attracted me to him was his wild and crazy humor, so thank you for helping me discover that need.

I Wish You Well

I doubt the last conversations we had were pleasant. I mean, are breakups ever amazing memories?

Thankfully I have forgotten them by now but however things ended, I sincerely wish you the best in life.

When I see your face pop up on social media, I find myself hoping you’re happy, wherever you may be.

God bless, Amanda

Uncategorized

The January Budget Breakdown

January 9, 2016

Hahaha.

Apparently we don’t finish strong around our neck of the woods as our last two budget breakdown posts have been a week late. They’re the last ones and from here on out you can find a budget breakdown post for EVERY month of the year! 🙂

If you are only now joining us, in these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month so nothing can sneak up on your budget.

With that, let’s dive into our January post.

  •  Travel
    • Going home after the holidays
    • FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) annual conference travel
    • Weekend winter getaways
  • Fitness
    • Workout clothes
    • Gym membership
    • Fitness DVD’s
    • Supplements, vitamins, protein powder
  • Organizational Items
    • 2016 Planner
    • Storage bins to organize around the house/car
  • 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
  • Life Insurance premiums

January is a quiet month as everyone typically keeps things simple after the holidays. It’s also a month of getting your New Year’s Resolutions going which you likely need to budget for. As usual some of the above expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or life insurance premiums.

Happy New Year! It’s never too late to start budgeting or change your spending habits so make this year one to remember by getting financially fit!

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!

Uncategorized

The July Budget Breakdown

July 1, 2015

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

I apologize for being more or less absent this past month but we’ve been on the road adventuring. We’ll be home in about another month so if you hear from us before then, awesome. If not? Don’t worry, we’ll be back.

This post is only happening because I simply couldn’t leave all you avid budgeters hanging!

Let’s dive back into some good ole budget accountability and fun!

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month. No uploading of photos this month, due to being on the road.

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

Uncategorized

How To Sell A Car On Craigslist

March 23, 2015

We recently addressed How To Buy a Used Vehicle on Craigslist so naturally the other side of the coin is this post on selling your used vehicle.

In the past few years, we’ve sold two vehicles using Craigslist and were very pleased with our experience.

Again, we solicited the help of my father in the process but it can be done without having a mechanic’s help.

In this post, we will discuss the tips and tricks on how to easily list, show, and sell a vehicle for the best price.

The Preparation:

  • Clean your car. Like really clean. This involves a full car wash, maybe a wax, vacuuming, and washing all inside/outside surfaces free of grime.
  • Take some good photos of the car. Make sure the lighting is good and that it’s parked in a nice area. Think about what’s in the background. You want people to get the impression from your photos that you are a normal person selling a well maintained vehicle. Make sure to get pics of any rust or dents so your buyers are well aware up front of any damage.
  • Look up your car’s value on Kelly Blue Book website. Ask for CASH only and for a few hundred dollars above KBB.com price. This gives you a buffer to accept lower offers and ensures you get as much for your car as you were hoping.
  • Create an organized and informative Craigslist posting with your awesome photographs. Provide a paragraph or two about how well you cared for the car, any issues it might have, and why you are selling it. Don’t be that guy who posts one dimly lit photo of the car and the only information you provide is: “Great car. Runs well. Call me.”
  • Have all receipts or records of all service done to the car ready for viewing.

The Sell:

  • Screen out the people who call/email you. Answer their questions but also feel them out. Are they simply going to give you a low-ball offer and waste your time? Don’t even meet with those people.
  • If there is lots of interest, use it to your advantage. We recently listed a vehicle worth about $1,000 on KBB.com but we received about a half-dozen phone calls about it within hours of listing it for $1,400. We told everyone there was LOTS of interest and that the first person to come see it with CASH with the best offer would be the proud owner. The first lady showed up and offered $800 but again, we have lots of interest so we turned it down. Next guy came and offered $1,200…which we gladly took since we knew it was over the car’s true value anyway. We might have been able to dig up someone to pay our full asking price but we built-in a buffer so we could accept lower. And hey…a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • If someone makes you an offer but says they can’t pick it up for a few days, ask for a deposit of a couple hundred bucks. They makes sure they don’t just walk off and never call you again, all the while you are turning down potential offers since you *think* the car’s been spoken for.
  • Know what your bottom line is. What amount of money you want to get out of this vehicle to be pleased? Don’t settle for a number lower than you like, and as soon as you get an offer at or above that number, take it.
  • CASH ONLY. Do not accept loans or checks. Ever.
  • If you’ve found your buyer, sign the title over and take your money! 🙂

There you go! Easy peasy.

Selling a car on Craigslist is so simple and even easier than purchasing one. It’s great to cut the middle man out and get the most money out of your car. Trading it in or having a dealer sell it for you will only mean you get LESS money from the vehicle than you could’ve gotten. Do yourself a favor and just sell it yourself.

Again, have any questions or comments, let us know! 🙂

Uncategorized

Little Happies: Musical Memories

September 15, 2014

Last week was a sad and tragic week in our family.

A beloved member was taken from this life and welcomed into the next…sooner than anyone would’ve expected. Thank you all for your prayers for Caitlin’s family and especially my cousin Jeff at this time. Please keep lifting them up in prayer since it will be a long road ahead.

On that somber note, I am jumping back into the Little Happies Monday posts.

This week, I am drawing from music that has made me happy or was tied to a season/memory in my life. These by no means are my favorite songs now so don’t judge me. 🙂

–one–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT6T-a9Dl28

Let’s travel back to 1988 when I was three years old and THIS song came on the radio.

An instant classic, I’d say.

Why at three years old was I listening to and loving a song about a romantic getaway? Who knows but it was sure fun to dance to.

–two–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgImcqpOyt8

I used to lock myself in my bedroom during middle school and BLARE this song.

Why?

Because it was in the movie Man Of The House  and I was OBSESSED with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Like, two entire bedroom walls covered in posters of JTT’s face from Teen Beat Magazine obsessed.

So, as I lay there I would think about how cool JTT was and how much I liked his long hair. (Currently I am married to another Jonathan who had long hair at one point…hmmm)

–three–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNyKDI9pn0Q

Let’s just get it out there.

I am dramatic.

OK, it’s been said.

Remember this song? After I saw Titanic three times in theaters, I had to get the soundtrack ASAP.

For weeks I had a routine of, yet again, locking myself in my bedroom with the lights out and dozens of candles lit as I would blare this song and sing into a hairbrush while looking into a mirror and bawling my eyes out as I sang….pretending to be Celine Dion or Rose Dawson depending on the day.

Those were glorious moments for a twelve year old.

–four–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZi_7t__cJk

And then NSYNC happened.

I loved ALL their songs so really there wasn’t one particular favorite.

But this song had a really cool music video that I loved so much I taped it on VHS during TRL (Total Request Live on MTV for you youngings). I watched it daily for weeks after school, thinking about how someday maybe I could meet J.C. (Weirdly enough Jonathan actually has met and talked to J.C. from NSYNC. First JTT and now J.C. Chasez? I was meant to be with this guy!)

NSYNC jams basically dominated the rest of my High School years but I won’t torture you all with more of their hits.

–five–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fFn2LZGnMM

I am not sure exactly when I heard this song but it simply reminds me of college and being in Alpha Phi. There must have been several spontaneous dance parties to this hit. It’s just so fun! 🙂

–six–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iopkKJJr-xw

College is also when I started listening to Christian music for the first time.

I love good and well done Christian music but you have to sort through a LOT of fluff and cheesy songs.

This song was one I loved from the get go. I heard it my freshman year of college and it reminds me of a summer program I experienced with a non-denominational ministry in Jacksonville, FL for ten weeks one summer with nearly 100 other college students. That summer was INCREDIBLE and really helped me set a foundation of daily prayer in my life. I will never forget it.

–seven–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE

I hear this song and I think of Fall 2008.

It was my first year as a missionary with FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students and I was placed at University of Illinois. All the students were listening to it that Fall. It was my first time living away from Nebraska…totally on my own. I really grew up that Fall and this song just represents that time for me.

–eight–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgyJY9yndv4

Summer 2010 and The World Cup!

I was at a FOCUS New Staff Training that summer and due to the World Cup everyone had soccer fever. I played dozens of pickup soccer games. And along with about a hundred other women on staff, we learned a coordinated dance to this song. It was a blast.

It also was the summer Jonathan and I began dating 🙂

–nine–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nQy-aP_Koo

This is a song that reminds me of dating and marrying Jonathan.

We had a few rocky patches while dating and this song always spoke to me and filled me with profound peace that we would make it through…with God’s love.

Well we got engaged and on October 22, 2011 we got married and this was the song we danced to at our wedding.

–ten–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y

Oh the waiting.

This song reminds me of two periods of my life – singleness and infertility.

I used to go on long runs and have this song play on repeat as I tried to absorb the lyrics and instill an attitude of patiently waiting within my heart and mind. Usually I just ended up crying as I ran for miles.

–eleven–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFy0hQ3lY-w

This song isn’t related to a specific season of life…rather a specific night.

We were out cruising Denver on a Friday night and we pulled up to a red stop light. There was a car on our right-hand side, windows down, blaring this song. They were jamming out to it. Hard. Their car was shaking they were dancing so hard. Jonathan rolled our windows down and began dancing and screaming along with them. They noticed and we all started hysterically laughing. We were then informed that one of the guys was getting married the next day. We cheered him on gladly. Then the light turned green and we were off.

–twelve–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVHU_YWV3e4

This song was one that Caitlin loved.

It was played at her Celebration of Life service.

I will always think of her when I hear it for the rest of my life. It’s really a peaceful song and it makes me want to tell her “Yes. We love you…and you will always be beautiful.”

May the light and life of Christ shine within you, dear Caitlin, making you radiantly beautiful and more alive than ever. We love you!

Well that’s a Little Happy wrap!

What songs remind you all of certain memories or seasons in your life? Let me know in the comments!