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Adoption

Our Arkansas Adventure: Part Two

February 15, 2017

In typical fashion I left last post with a cliffhanger. I don’t feel like there’s been enough drama or suspense in our world right now, so just trying to supply some. ūüėČ

Kidding.

Our story picks back up on December 14, 2016, the day of our dear Charlie’s birth.

As the birth family got all checked into their room, we hung out in the lobby, trying to figure out where we were supposed to be when the baby was born. Charlotte was coming via c-section and neither Jonathan or I would be present in the room. Navigating how the baby would get to our room was proving difficult for the hospital social worker and staff.

One nurse in particular earned the nickname Nurse Ratched because she just had this horrific attitude towards us. Obviously Jonathan, myself, and the agency were being nothing but kind and cooperative as we tried figuring out where we were supposed to be. This nurse was just unbelievably rude towards us…me in particular.

That’s when I realized it was because this was an adoption. There are certain people in healthcare that treat adoptive moms like some psychopath woman from a Lifetime movie…like I was sneaking around the Labor and Delivery floor waiting to snatch a baby and make a break for it. I’ve had friends talk about this with their past adoptions but I hadn’t come up against it until Nurse Ratched. She and I will cross paths again here in a few minutes and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

We finally (after 2+ hours of wandering hospital, calling social workers, talking to nurses, etc.) figured out that we were supposed to wait in a room and that Charlotte would be brought directly to our room after birth to the warming table to get weight and vitals. Whew.

It’s now after 1pm and Miss Josie is one feisty, stubborn girl when she’s NOT tired but she had reached full blown tantrum mode at this point. We knew Charlie would be born any moment so we white-knuckled through thinking we would meet Charlie, snap a video of Josie meeting her sister, and then Jonathan would go drive around Little Rock while Jo napped in the car and I snuggled Charlie.

The door busted open and in walked the doctor carrying Charlotte and a few nurses. They took her to the warming table and clearly were trying to encourage her to cry. At this point Jonathan¬†was excitedly taking video footage of everything. Since I am a nurse, I knew straight away that something wasn’t right. I told Jonathan to put the camera away. (BTW we still haven’t watched that footage. I can’t come to do it quite yet.)

After a minute or so Charlie let out a cry but it sounded like she was drowning. We never heard another cry again. Her oxygen sats were dropping and at this point were in the 70’s and falling. The team working on her said they needed to take her to another room to evaluate her/apply C-PAP to try and get her oxygenating better.

Everyone was saying, “Oh this is no big deal, she’ll perk right up.” It’s not that uncommon for c-section babies to have a little trouble breathing after birth since they didn’t get the fluid pushed outta them on delivery. This wasn’t that though and I knew¬†they were just trying to stop us from worrying. In my gut I knew something was seriously wrong.

At this point Josie was like a nuclear war head. Screaming, thrashing, tantrums on a level we’d never seen. We decided that Jonathan should still take her on the drive so she could nap and that I would stay and wait for news about Charlotte. It was an impossible decision but we had no other options because hello, living in a state where we don’t know really anyone.

After a 15 or so minutes of sitting in the room with the social worker from the agency, I began to get restless. Why hadn’t they returned to update me? What’s happening to my baby? I peeked my head out of the room and Nurse Ratched was there. She told me to “SHUT THAT DOOR AND DON’T COME OUT UNTIL WE GET YOU!”

What?

Would she have spoken to the birth mother that way? No. It was crystal clear I wasn’t a real mom in her eyes. I know legally at that moment I wasn’t but the birth mom chose us and I knew that she’d want me to be with Charlotte since she couldn’t while she recovered¬†from a c-section. I was in shock so I just shut the door. I went over to the hospital bed and started crying as I texted family about what was going on.

A few more minutes passed and I just decided that no was not an answer I would accept – I needed to be with Charlie. So I went back into the hallway and the Charge Nurse was there. I went into a big speech about how I would gown up and stand in a corner but by golly I was going to be in the room with my daughter.

I was crying¬†and must have looked like the most desperate person she’d ever encountered.

“Follow me” she said.

I arrived in the room where they had Charlotte and my heart sank because there were about a dozen doctors, nurses, and respiratory staff working on her. Obviously it was far worse than they originally thought. They were getting ready to intubate Charlotte and were sedating her through the umbilical line she had in place. Her oxygen sats never picked up with the C-PAP or anything else they’d tried and she needed oxygen so going on a ventilator was the next step.

They loaded her into an incubator with a ventilator running so she could transfer to the NICU. I grabbed all our bags and followed while I called Jonathan, updating him of the situation.

JoJo was still asleep in the car but I needed Jonathan at the hospital with me. Things had gotten too serious. We called the family we were staying with and asked if they’d be willing to take Josie for the afternoon/evening. They said absolutely which was such a gift. They were literally the ONLY PEOPLE WE KNEW in Arkansas. We were so grateful we hadn’t chosen to stay at a hotel at this point because it wouldn’t have allowed us to be at the hospital together without Josie at a time we needed to be.

Jonathan returned to UAMS (University of Arkansas Medical Sciences) NICU that evening. We both had more questions than answers but a diagnoses finally came: Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. Her doctor sat us down and explained that the first 72 hours would be the rockiest and that hopefully she’d begin responding to medications and make a turn for the better. She told us we’d be in Arkansas for a long time. She told us that this disease was very serious and can be life-threatening (later Googled…first and only time I mistakenly Googled her disease….that as recent as 2000 40% of children with this diagnoses didn’t make it). She told us they’d do everything they could to stay in front of it and that they’d work their way down the treatment options available.

We sat on the couch, dear in the headlights, processing everything that was happening.

The agency social worker remained by our sides which was a huge source of support. I remembered how nervous I was before Charlotte’s birth, wondering if we’d bond right away. Recalling that now makes me laugh because I was so bonded to her and she’d only been on the outside world for a few hours. Instead of her illness making us hesitate about the adoption it drew us closer to her. I became Momma Bear the moment I saw her. We were forever in love with¬†Charlie no matter what played out over the days and weeks ahead.

By the end of her first day of life she had¬†tubes coming outta everywhere. She had several IV medications running. They tried Surfactant on her lungs and it didn’t work and were gearing up to start Nitric Oxide to help her lung alveoli relax and oxygenate well. We prayed over Charlotte for a while and eventually pulled out the couch and chair beds in Charlie’s NICU room somewhere in the wee hours of the morning. It was time to get some rest (which I laugh about now because seriously who can rest when their kid is in a life-threatening state AND there are constant monitors beeping and people coming in and out of the room).

Before she was born we were told that Charlotte would be discharged to go home from the hospital 24 hours after birth so Jon and I didn’t think to pack extra clothes. Heck, we’d only even packed Newborn clothes for Charlie and she was born at 10 pounds so those weren’t ever going to fit! We were totally unprepared but trusted the Lord would provide. As I drifted off the sleep (for multiple 15 minute increments LOL) I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the unknowns ahead but totally confident that God would take care of Charlotte, her birth family, and us.

I also knew it was going to be rough waters but that we wouldn’t be alone in the storm. That Oceans Song I referenced in our last post (the one that’s all about stepping out into the water like Peter the Apostle did when Jesus asked him to) was becoming a reality in our lives. Jesus essentially set fire to our boat out at sea and it was going down. He was inviting us to step out of the sinking ship in faith in a way we’d never done before.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

OK, Lord. We stepped. The rest is all up to You.

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…

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! ūüôā

God bless!

Infertility

Why Infertile Women Sometimes Get Mistaken for Drunk Psychopaths

January 18, 2016

Each day I’ve been fighting to spend time alone with God in prayer.

Part of this time is spent reading the daily Mass readings and last week happened to be about a fellow woman battling infertility named Hannah.

I’ve read the story approximately one billion times before but some aspects of the story hit me in a new way…specifically how her grief was so severe that she got mistaken for being drunk. That’s serious yo. I’ve never seen someone praying and mistaken them as a drunk person and I am betting neither have you.

Let’s take a peak briefly at her story:

He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Penin’nah. And Penin’nah had children, but Hannah had no children. Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phin’ehas, were priests of the LORD.¬†On the day when Elka’nah sacrificed, he would give portions to Penin’nah his wife and to all her sons and daughters; and, although he loved Hannah, he would give Hannah only one portion, because the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elka’nah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”¬†After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.¬†She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman sorely troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your maidservant as a base woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 1 Samuel 1:1-16

First off I want to say that I’ve had many hysterical ugly cries throughout our infertility journey that, if witnessed, would have probably had me institutionalized…so I get it, Hannah.

What I want to look at specifically in this post is how a woman battling infertility can get to that point. I think most would understand that it’s a sad thing to not be able to conceive and bear children…but being distressed to the point of not eating, looking drunk, and being borderline psychotic?

In reading Hannah’s story, I just want to go give her a big hug because she had an rival who¬†made fun of her¬†for being infertile. That would be so very hard. Penin’nah actively rubbed her blessings in Hannah’s face year after year.

Daaaaang.

I cannot claim that anyone has directly made fun of me or provoked me (I would have throat punched them) about infertility but I think¬†social media¬†feels like a modern day version of this taunting. It’s the place where people offer up snapshots of their lives to invite others to share in the moment. When battling infertility, Facebook and Insta feel like bragging sites. It’s where women, often unknowingly, post about their pregnancies and children in such a way that leaves anyone experiencing infertility feeling mocked and irritated.

This wears a woman down over time and begins to create an extremely fragile emotional state. I had to leave social media altogether for a season just so I could have days I didn’t cry. Seeing dozens and dozens of others’ blessings day after day left me feeling like the biggest loser on the face of the earth. And when one is feeling completely and utterly forgotten by God, eating is not a high priority either. Sinking into a despair hole and trying to Netflix binge¬†your way through life is more likely.

Then her husband comes along and tries to comfort her but only makes it worse. Bless his heart. He essentiaIlly asks if he is not enough to make her happy…which as anyone who’s battled infertility knows is not the point. You can be so happy with your husband but at the same time terribly sad about the fact you cannot have children together. This seems to be her breaking point. Even though her husband is trying to be there to comfort her, she is still feeling alone in her struggle.

This drives her to go to the Lord where she reaches rock bottom…a place I’ve been many a time before. It’s a place where you are praying¬†so hard that it feels like even your toe nails are praying. It’s a prayer that only extreme suffering can bring about. It leaves you wiped out and in an exhausted heap on the floor before God with nothing left. Drunk is probably a conservative word to describe the hot mess she looked like.

If someone approached me in that state and tried to correct me about being drunk? I don’t even want to know what I would’ve been capable of…but Hannah handles it graciously. She simply tells him she’s been praying out of great anxiety and vexation.

Again, a nice way to phrase it.

One definition of drunk is, “being overcome or dominated by a strong feeling or emotion.” I completely understand why Hannah was mistaken for being intoxicated. She’d been worn down, prayed out, made fun of, lonely, and desperate.¬†That’s enough to drive any sane person completely mad.

So Hannah, thank you for setting such an honest and raw example for the rest of us carrying this cross. I know I am not alone in how I feel so often. I will keep throwing myself before the Lord in prayer, even if I resemble a drunk psycho, and allow him to do with those prayers what he wants to.

Hannah and all you holy women who’ve done this before, please pray for us in this battle!

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? ūüėČ

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?

Catholicism

You Don’t Need To Be Married With Kids To Start Your Life

November 9, 2015

Confession: In true Melancholic fashion, this topic is something I’ve been mulling over for two solid months.

What sparked this internal pondering?

I read this blog post from another Catholic blogger and the wheels began to turn.

Hold on though.

I enjoy Haley’s blog a whole lot and the things she has to say. I am not dumping on her post but rounding it out with a different perspective…because my life experience has been vastly different from her’s and because of that I interpreted her message differently than she intended. We can have different opinions from others while still wholeheartedly respecting them and holding them up with high esteem.

OK now that we are clear, let’s get back to what I’ve been ruminating on…

I get it.

Her post was a breath of fresh air for all the other women who also married straight outta college and began having babies soon thereafter. No, they absolutely did NOT waste their 20’s as the general culture might suggest…they got to experience some of the most meaningful things in life at an earlier age that most. But she essentially equates getting married¬†and¬†having babies as the rite of passage to “starting your life.”¬†

That’s what hurt.

Because what about the rest of us? Those who God did not call to marriage or religious life that young. Or those who battled infertility for years if we were married. What were we dong with our 20’s?¬†Wasting time and doing unimportant and frivolous things while waiting to “start our lives?”

No. Absolutely not.

Sure, I got to go on some seriously awesome adventures in my 20’s…many because I was not married for a majority of them and did not have children yet. But in no way did I ever sit back and think my life hadn’t truly “started.” I think that is the temptation in the Catholic world though, particularly for women.

It’s easy to think that we’re just cruising on auto-pilot, waiting for our vocation to arrive and then¬†and only then will life¬†really¬†¬†“start.”

This isn’t how it works though, friends. Our life starts when we are¬†given life in our mothers’ wombs. It doesn’t really¬†begin when we cross a certain line or get to a milestone like marriage or children. And although I am speaking about generic “us” I’m mostly speaking to ME, who spent way too much precious time being jealous my life hadn’t “started” when we were battling infertility.

Your life is NOW and that is in whatever circumstances the Lord has given you today, in this moment. Your life has “started” and to do God’s will in the present moment is the best thing we can ever do – whether you happen to be married with several children by age 30 or not. Stop waiting for some external thing to happen to define¬†the “start of your life.”

Our joy is in surrendering ourselves to God’s will in the present, not wishing it away for the past or the future. This is important because the more each one of us become conformed to God’s will for us, in whatever capacity that may be, the more we fulfill the Kingdom of God and our role in it.

We have to stop wishing we had “so and so’s life” and embrace the one right in front of us. The one that has very much “started” and is inviting us to dive all in. So whatever life is yours in this present moment…please know that is HAS started and embrace it! ūüôā