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faith

Adoption

Building Our Family Piece by Piece: Day Nine

August 22, 2014

Nine days down.

No more to go.

We reached our goal to meet our phase one funding goal of nearly $13,000 for the home study completion and out-of-state agency fee as of yesterday afternoon.

A few donations continued to come in today, which will definitely help with the next goal down the road.

Here are the stats we saw on Thursday:

On day nine we sold a total of 17 puzzle pieces, totaling $425!!

Total overall stats thus far are now as follows:

  • 572 pieces sold

  • $14,303 raised!!!!

  • 110% of our phase 1 goal of $13,000

  • 57% of original goal of $25,000

Here’s a picture of the puzzle progress:

DSC04149

Really starting to fill in and that last line of text is beginning to peek through!!! We are excited to send payment to both agencies early this next week and get estimates on future miscellaneous expenses.  I

Thanks again for all who have donated! May God bless everyone who’s walking alongside us in this journey.

Thank you again for all who are joining Team Baby Teixeira! :)

Keep coming back each day for new progress updates!

Click here to learn more about the puzzle fundraiser!

That’s a wrap!

Catholicism, Uncategorized

Little Happies: A Friend Entered Religious Life

August 11, 2014

Welcome to the twenty-third edition of the Little Happies link-up here at True Good and Beautiful.

Here is what’s been going on in our world.

{one}

pio.jpg

Brother Pio Mary!!!!!

Our dear friend Jeff entered the Dominicans a couple weeks back and just this past week he received his habit and religious name.

We are so happy for him! 🙂

{two}

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

This song came out over a year ago and I’ve loved it since the first time I heard it.

Why it’s on the Little Happies list this week is because we sang it at Mass on Sunday. Between the Gospel reading (about Peter walking on water/doubting/Jesus saving him) and this song…my soul was resting in total peace. Thankfully that is more common these days. I won’t say my darkest days of infertility are gone forever but I think a majority of them are behind me and for that I am so grateful.

God’s is truly changing me through this. I cried during these lyrics of the song, since I know that through infertility God is answering this prayer of my heart:

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

{three}

photo 1

I was afraid this would end up going down in history as a Pintrest-fail…and my first attempt was.

But then I found a great tutorial on YouTube on how to make burlap bows and everything was made right in the world.

{four}

photo 2

Can’t be a Little Happies without Wrigley making an appearance!

I really don’t know how he gets into half the sleeping positions he does.

He’s such a good pup and we just started Puppy Kindergarten Class for some basic training and socialization.  Seeing fifteen puppies all meeting one another in a class setting had to be the most adorable thing I saw all week.

{five}

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We saw Guardians of The Galaxy and it was awesome.

Best character ever?

Groot.

We saw it at an AMC in town that only has lounging recliner seats (awesome!) and brought along sushi and candy to complete our “dinner and a movie” night out.

I totally recommend the movie. And sushi. And candy. 🙂

That’s a wrap for this week. Catch ya later!

Money

Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!!!

November 14, 2012

Want the whole story? Check out our 3-part series about Our Debt-Free Story.

Many of you celebrated with us when we became debt free back in August. You may have even read the blog post about our financial journey. It was a great day and we decided going to Nashville to do our “debt-free scream” in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza lobby was something we definitely wanted to do. We wanted to stamp our freedom into the fibers of our family, marking our hard work and achievements in our memory for a lifetime. But we had a super busy Fall…in our line of work the Fall Season is our busiest time as we are launching a new year of ministry on college campuses across the nation. So the scream got pushed aside and we were in a “holding pattern” waiting for an opportunity to get away and visit Dave.

In mid-October an opportunity came up for both Jonathan and I to travel to Tennessee for some FOCUS work at University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt. It worked out to fly into Nashville and so we saw it as a perfect opportunity to schedule a visit to finally meet Dave!

We arrived just before the show began and we met Martha and even tasted those infamous “foo-foo” coffees and deserts Dave is always talking about on the radio. They were as delicious as I had imagined! 🙂 We took our seats on a couple of chairs in front of Dave’s studio and got to watch the show through the glass! It was so cool to see it all happen in real life!

Our view of The Dave Ramsey Show happening LIVE as we watched from chairs outside the studio!

It was then our turn to get ready to do our live, in lobby, debt-free scream! I was nervous. Jonathan was pumped. This is a typical response from both of us. I am good at hiding it but I swear I was near panic attack when this photo was taken.

Maybe I am not that good at hiding my nerves…I look stressed out. Whoops. Jonathan is excited!

The moment finally arrived and we could still see Dave through the glass but this time he was talking to us! AGH! You can listen to the entire audio clip below. My favorite part of the call was at the end, after the scream, when Jonathan threw fake money all over the lobby and Dave loved it! He came out laughing and gave Jonathan a high-five! 🙂

The Teixeiras with Dave after our scream!

Afterwards, we have a friend who actually works for Dave Ramsey and he was kind enough to give us a tour of the building. It was such a great milestone for our marriage and something we will always look back on. God-willing we have children someday, they will listen to the audio clip and our stories so many times they will probably be sick of it…but by golly they will know the truth about debt and the freedom that comes being completely debt-free!!!! Sometimes I look back and I wonder how we did it…when I look at the numbers it’s crazy because Jonathan and I as a married couple lived on less money every month than what I lived on when I was single! That shouldn’t even be possible but we did it! It was actually FUN to find ways to save money and make it work harder than ever for us.

We are debt-free but are complete “deal-a-holics”. Not in the sense that we can’t pass a deal up but in the sense that we can’t help but find a way to get a deal. We get out of paying retail ALL THE TIME and it’s fun!!! I love seeing my money stretch father every month because of using some good old bargaining. Try it sometime! 🙂 We also seem to win stuff on a regular basis…I really think that God rigs contests because He loves to bless His missionaries and show us His provision in radical ways. In Matthew 19:29, Jesus did say,”And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” I consider us blessed a hundred times over with the way God takes care of us.

I hope you enjoyed our story and received some inspiration to continue living debt-free or are encouraged to go down that road and accomplish it soon! Seriously, if we can do this…anyone can. We don’t make crazy amounts of money but we had crazy gazelle-like intensity and if you’ve got that…you will get your debt done in no time and begin getting your money working for you instead of the banks! Be a person who makes interest, not who pays interest!!!!!!!! Let us know if you need cheerleaders along the way, we would love to be there for you! Visit The Dave Ramsey website to get started!

Mission

Fellowship of the Unashamed

July 12, 2012

I have heard this mission statement/poem several times over the years. It’s very encouraging and inspiring. Sometimes it brings a tear to my eyes, fire to my heart, or even a desire to jump around with excitement…just depends on the day. This version is adapted by a Catholic author. Enjoy!

 

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.


The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Boom. Nothing more to say than that.

What do these words speak to you? How did you find them relevant in your life? Please share! 🙂

Uncategorized

What’s in it For Me?

July 3, 2012

Part 2 of a series on the Field of Dreams

Check out the clip* here

*You’ll have to watch the clip, let the next one load, and watch some of that one, too.

This is a great scene. Let’s look at it with this angle: Shoeless Joe is God, Ray is us, and Terry is anyone other than ourselves.

We’ll address this scene in two parts: The Gift and What’s in it For Me?

I’ll present each section with a transcript of the scene, with some translations in italics.

Section 1. The Gift:
Shoeless Joe:
Hey, do you want to come with us? I have something special for you. Would you like it?
Ray: You mean it?
Shoeless Joe: No not you, [points to Terry] him. It’s not for you. It’s for him.
Ray: Him? Him? That guy? Seriously? You’re giving him something?
Terry: Come with you? You want to give me something special?
Ray: Him? Seriously!? Him?
Shoeless Joe: Out there. Yes, something very special. Would you like it?
Terry: What is out there? What is it?
Shoeless Joe: Come and find out. It’s good. And it’s for you. Come find out.

This is one of the coolest parts of God. He loves us and wants to shower us with gifts. Jesus tells us about the goodness of God in Luke 11:What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” God only wants what is good for us. He is not out to “get us,” but only out to get us the very best, and most of the time, he knows so much better than us what we need, what will truly bring us joy. He is offering us these good gifts all the time, we only need to say yes and accept them, even when we don’t know exactly what they will be, knowing that if God’s giving them to us, they will be good.

Section 2: What’s in it for Me?
Ray:
Wait a second! Wait a second! Why him? I built this field! You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me. well you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t- He’s getting a gift? What did he ever do for you? Look at all I’ve done!
Terry: I’m unattached, you have a family. This gift is for me and my unique situation. You can’t have it. I wouldn’t be good for you.
Ray: I know, but I want to know what’s out there. I wanna see it. I know, but I don’t care. I want it!
Shoeless Joe: But you’re not invited. But it’s not for you.
Ray: Not invited? What do you mean “not invited?” That’s my corn out there! You guys are guests in my corn! Not for me! Not for me! Alright then, even what I’ve given you, I want back!
Terry: Ray-
Ray: No, wait. I have done everything I’ve been asked to do. I didn’t understand it, but I’ve done it. And i haven’t once asked what’s in it for me.
Shoeless Joe: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray: I’m saying, what’s in it for me?
Shoeless Joe: Is that why you did this? For you? [long pause] I think you better stay here, Ray.
Ray: Why?

The prodigal son‘s older brother comes in from the fields and his name is Ray. Check it out: a man has two sons. The younger demands his inheritance early, sells everything, leaves town, and wastes it all on prostitutes and “loose living.” Broke, working for a hog farmer, and jealous of what the pigs are eating, he comes back home, repents, and is accepted by his father. He pop is so glad he’s back, he throws a huge party. The older brother, coming back from working in the fields all day, sees the party. When he finds out it’s for his brother, he turns into a world-class grump. His father comes out to talk to him. He tells his father. “Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And [his father] said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

The older brother/Ray/us from time to time, is pooping his diaper because he can’t understand the love of the father. Wait, your love for me isn’t based on what I do for you? Just who I am as your son?  Just like we can’t work our way into Heaven, we can’t work our way into God’s heart. We’re already loved by him. Instead of seeing Shoeless Joe’s invitation to Terry as a gift, Ray views it as a payment, a privilege given for services rendered. And Ray reveals his own dried-up, selfish heart when he admits he wants to know what’s in it for me?  He didn’t build the field because the voice asked him to. He didn’t drive to Boston and take Terry to a game because the voice asked him to. He didn’t go to Minnesota and pick up Doc Graham because he thought it was a good idea. He did it because he thought it would pay off for him in the end. 

He’s so desperate to get something out of his labor, that he wants to take anything that’s being given out, even if it’s not for him. We find him snatching at Terry’s gift, knowing that it’s not only not for him, but he can’t even take it! An invitation beyond the corn, into the unknown. Terry makes a wonderful point when he says, “I’m unattached, you have a family.” He might as well be saying, “We don’t know what’s going to happen when one of us non-ghosts goes out there. Who knows if I’ll live? If I’ll ever come back? You’ve been given the gift of a family. It’s your job to stay here to provide for and to protect them.” And Ray says, “I know, but I want to see what’s out there. I wanna see it.” It’s like he’s saying, “That’s a great point, Terry, but frankly, I don’t care. I’d rather satiate my curiosity than be prudent and think about others for a change.”

Shoeless Joe confronts him about it. Asks him point-blank. “Is that why you did this? For you?” And if we approach God is prayer honestly, he’ll sometimes slap us upside the head like that, too. And then Shoeless Joe tells Ray, “I think you better stay here, Ray.” Not so much as a correction, not so much as a punishment for his selfishness in wanting to go beyond the corn, but rather as an encouragement. Like he’s saying, “Ray, be patient. If you leave, you’ll never receive what I have in store for you.” That’s a message we need to hear, because sometimes right before the blessings rain down, it seems like all hope is lost. Like the dark before the dawn, the silence before a concert starts, the pain before a birth, all are necessary, all are little reminders that all hope is never lost, we are always just waiting for the next time our heavenly father showers his gifts on us. And that gift Ray receives? That’s the subject of my next post…

Uncategorized

People Will Come

June 5, 2012

“People will come, Ray.”

 Terrance Mann’s “People Will Come” monologue. One of, if not the, best part of the movie. Although Mann is right–baseball is awesome–the monologue is so good, and stirs up a lot of emotion in a  lot of people, because the way he describes baseball addresses our internal longing for the good, the true, and the beautiful. You may think he’s speaking about baseball, but if you have “ears to hear,” he is actually speaking about the Kingdom of God.

If you haven’t seen the movie in a while (or God forbid, ever) here’s the clip. You can find a complete transcription here.

 Now, let’s talk about it, bit by bit, looking for Jesus:

Ray, people will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.

When searching for the text of this speech, I typed “people will come” into Google. One of the results was Luke 13:29. The RSV reads: “And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.” Some translations even start with “People will come…” The point is simple, and the point is this: for nearly 2,000 years, people have come to Jesus. Sometimes they don’t quite know why when they start their journey home. Sometimes Jesus woos them slowly and even the most hardened atheist ends up loving Him. I know a guy who on his way to a party, walked past the Catholic Center on his campus, something deep inside of him told him to ditch his friends that night and go inside. We were hanging out when he walked in. We met, he joined my Bible study, and the next year, he joined the Church. And it all started when he “turned up the driveway, not knowing for sure why [he was] doing it.”

They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children,

Luke 18:15-17: “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'” There you have it, straight from the Savior’s mouth. We must have a child-like faith. We must trust God, be able to hold up our lives to our Heavenly Father like a child a broken toy to his earthly one saying, “It’s broke,” knowing that he has the power to fix it and the love to want to fix it if we ask.

longing for the past.

I think of a scene in Matthew 19 in which Jesus is asked about divorce. The people say “You say we can’t get divorced? Moses let us divorce our wives!” And Jesus replies that “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” That’s the key. From the beginning it was not so. Okay. Then what was it like in the beginning? Before the Fall, man was in right relationship with God, creation, others, and himself. It doesn’t take too long to figure out it’s not like that anymore. We disobey God, wreck the earth, cheat others, and make choices that end up biting us in the end. But it wasn’t always like this. Jesus’ sacrifice, if we accept it and Him, can repair things between us and God, and that can radiate to the other three areas. Whether we know it explicitly or not, we know we are not made to live the way we are. Things are meant to be better. And they can be. They will be. However, things won’t be back the way they were until Jesus comes again and we’re in Heaven: the New Heavens and the New Earth.

“Of course, we won’t mind if you have a look around,” you’ll say. “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.

The most important part here: for it is money they have and peace they lack. Despite studies that show they money really can’t buy happiness, we keep falling prey to wanting more stuff. And we can’t get they stuff unless we get more money. We never hear something saying “You know, once I got that million dollars, life got a lot sunnier. I had so much more meaning in my life.” We don’t hear it because it doesn’t happen. Too often we hear of people who have every thing they could want, all the money they could want, and they are desperately lonely. Terribly peaceless. Some of the most peaceful, joyful people I know are monks, brothers, and nuns who have given up everything, who personally own nothing. If we put our worth in something as insignificant as money, it only makes sense that we’ll eventually end up feeling worthless. We must ask ourselves: is it money I have and peace I lack?

And they’ll walk out to the bleachers, and sit in shirt-sleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes.

When we enter into the Kingdom of God, it will be on a perfect afternoon. The image of sitting where they say when they were children and cheered their heroes does something for me. Perhaps because I can remember however sentimentally, being a child, cheering for Ryne Sandberg, my hero. I guess I just love the image. Grown men and women taken back decades to when the world was–in their eyes–a better, nicer, simpler place. Whenever I hang out with kids I’m impressed by their energy, their ability to put their whole selves into something, to lose themselves in obstacle course races or pretending someone’s a zombie. Perhaps that’s the part of childlike faith we need to recapture: the ability, the willingness to give ourselves totally to something, except it won’t be something, it will be someone, God, and instead of playing around with imagination, we will worship in total holy reality.

And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as if they’d dipped themselves in magic waters.

“Dipped themselves in magic waters,” like Baptism, except Baptism isn’t magic. It’s a sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way: “This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.” Apart from grace, how other than magic could such a thing be claimed possible? We enter into the life of grace, we give ourselves to Jesus, we get baptised, and we dip ourselves in grace-filled waters.

The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.

Two of the last three excerpts of the speech are reiterations of two important ideas: child-like faith and the past. The memories, the realization of how it was “in the beginning,” will be so thick, we’ll have to brush it away from our faces. That’s how much love God has for us. The very air will be saturated with divine love. This is not wishful thinking, this is the reality of God. This love can be ours if we but accept it.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

Mann is right. He might as well say, “The things of this world pass away, again and again. Faith is strong. God is constant.” But he didn’t. But, he didn’t have to, John already did. 1 John 2:17 says: “And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.” We can chase the things of this world, but they will never satisfy our deepest longings. Only Jesus can. Everything in this life changes, our relationships change: son, brother, husband, father, friend; our bodies change and eventually give out; jobs are lost; cars crash; loved ones die. The whole time, Jesus is with us, his love never-changing, only our receptiveness of it wavers, hopefully it grows.

This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

I hear him say: “This faith, this Church, is a part of our lives, Jonathan. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.” I think of Eden and my heart aches for what we have lost. I think of Jesus’ love and the promise of Heaven, and my hope is restored. We hear so often in our culture today that we modern men and women have learned so much, that we can move beyond the so-called restraints of religious thinking, the shackles of faith. Some may be tempted to think that God is dead and the Church is dying. Please. Jesus lives, and the Church is full of young Catholics who love Jesus and give their lives to him.

 

I also want to address the comments made by Mark, Ray’s Brother in Law, interruptions peppered throughout the “People Will Come” monologue.

Mark’s comments:

Ray, just sign the papers.

Ray, when the bank opens in the morning, they’ll foreclose.

You’re broke, Ray. You sell now or you lose everything.

Ray, you will lose everything. You will be evicted…C’mon, Ray.

And once Ray decides not to sell:

Ahhh, you’re crazy! Absolutely nuts!!

Mark is like the devil. He’s chirping in our ear that the Truth we experience is not real, that God will not keep his promises, that his way is the only viable option, that God does not, cannot, and will not work miracles. Sometimes that voice comes straight from the enemy. I think most times it comes from our culture or from ourselves. We must do all we can to not listen to him. God loves. God wins. God takes care of his children. Every time.