Browsing Tag

FOCUS

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! ūüôā 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…

Catholicism, The New Evangelization

Essential Lenten Infographics

February 9, 2016

Jonathan here. Six of my Illustrated Guides are part of FOCUS’ Lentsanity Campaign. I designed these to help you have a great Lent. Check ’em out:

ash-thumbThe 10 Types of Ashes You Might Get on Ash Wednesday

fasting-guideAn Illustrated Guide to Lenten Fasting and Abstinence

lectioDo the Lectio 3-Step: A Guide to Praying with Scripture

solemnitiesWhat’s the Difference? A Guide to Solemnities, Feast Days, and Memorials

triduumAn Illustrated Guide to the Triduum

paschal-candleAn Illustrated Guide to The Paschal Candle

If you like those Illustrated Guides, be sure to check out the rest of FOCUS’ Lentsanity¬†and¬†download the Lentsanity App!

Catholicism, Intentional Living

How to Have a Great Lent

February 23, 2015

Admittedly, this post probably would have served you better if it came to you last week. But hey, better late than never!¬†And for everyone out there who got their butts kicked by the first (half) week of Lent, this one’s coming just in time.

This is the busiest time of the year for me creating web content for FOCUS.¬†We go a little Lent crazy, which is why we call our Lent content Lentsanity. Also, as Shaun T’s Insanity aims to get your body into shape, we try to get our souls into shape during Lent, and we’re here to help you do that.

1. Pick a Fast or Pius Practice

I know, Lent already started. If you want to start a Lenten practice now, go right ahead. Don’t worry about not having done it the first few days of Lent. Pick something and do it.

What to Do for Lent: 7 Reasonable Ideas
What Should I Do for Lent: Pope Francis’ 10¬†Tips¬†

2. Do What the Church Asks of You

There are a few things the Church asks us to do for Lent, mainly skip the meat on Fridays and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. What exactly does the Church mean by fasting? And how do we remember to skip the meat? We gotcha covered:

Illustrated Guide to Lenten Fasting & Abstinence
FREE Lentsanity App with Reminders to Skip the Meat

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b1i_e_VL3o

3. Pray

Praying is the most important thing you can do during Lent. Spend some time with God by praying with Scripture. If you don’t know how, I made this handy guide. You can even print it out as a little booklet!

Do the Lectio 3 Step: An Illustrated Guide to Praying with Scripture

 

We’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up for Lentsanity, so be sure to keep an eye out on focus.org/lentsanity to see it all as it’s published. Better yet, subscribe to Lentsanity email updates, and the best of our resources will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Have a great Lent! (And don’t get busted by the Meat Police!)

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRv8sNa7ZzClS4XovoZPrqbEiT4omv6Er

Adoption, Catholicism

God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

January 3, 2015

This story has been more or less kept to myself this past year.

It’s quite humbling, as it reveals my lack of faith or hope in God’s providence and His faithfulness despite my shortcomings. All the more reason I need to share it.

But there is a back story…that started 10 years ago. So come with me down memory lane and we will then find ourselves back at the story I need to tell you today….

January 2005 – FOCUS National Conference in Denver, CO

As a Sophomore in college, I accidentally ended up on the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) National Conference last minute due to someone else cancelling the night before. I knew two people going and was super nervous I would have a horrible weekend.

I was away from the Catholic faith at the time, since I was exploring with non-denominational ministries in the local area.

Until this conference.

There is way too much detail involved to share why this conference was a game changer in my faith but I am going to highlight the pivotal moment…

The Eucharist.

Don’t ask me how but I never¬†really knew the Catholic Church taught that communion was ACTUALLY¬†Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity contained within bread.

Whoa.

I remember learning that’s what the church taught…then I wandered into this thing called Eucharistic Adoration. I prayed a simple prayer:

Jesus, if it’s REALLY you, I need to know. Like now. Because if it IS¬†you, I have to be Catholic. If it’s¬†NOT¬†you, I need to stand up and yell “HERETICS!” and try to get as many people to leave the room with me as I can.

Ten years later I still can’t tell you what exactly happened in the moments that followed that prayer.

If I had spiritual goggles on, I predict I would have seen Jesus punching me in the stomach since I ended up on the floor. I was unable to handle the rush of His presence that hit me all at once. I was crying uncontrollably (which is so NOT like me, especially in public) and I recall hearing a non-audible voice say “It’s really me.” Then I was filled with the most peace I’ve ever known in my entire life and I knew I¬†had to be Catholic.

How could I go anywhere but where Jesus was in the Eucharist? I couldn’t

That ¬†moment¬†was etched into my soul and I can’t erase it…even a decade later. I came back to the Catholic faith after that conference and haven’t left since.

In fact, FOCUS has had a conference every January since that first one…and I attended every single year. Call me crazy but every time I went to Eucharistic adoration at conference, God would speak to me in a very clear and specific way¬†to¬†provide insight, peace, or whatever I really needed to hear at the time. Sure, I felt like God spoke other times during the year but whatever was said in that January adoration at the FOCUS conferences was special.

It was like an anniversary gift.

January 2014 – FOCUS Student Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX

Another January (nine years later).

Another FOCUS conference.

Another Eucharistic adoration.

I was riding the struggle bus big time.

Infertility was hitting me hard. It was about that time that I did the Infertility Blog Series over at Hallelujah is My Song (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four). While it felt great to finally go public with our infertility battles, it was tremendously difficult. We were becoming the poster couple for infertility.

Ugh.

Needless to say, my mood was pretty somber and depressed at the FOCUS Student Leadership Summit.

That’s when weird things began to happen.

The day that Eucharistic adoration was going to occur, a couple asked us to have coffee with them. It was mostly work related but then they proceeded to tell us their entire adoption story involving their two kiddos. It was a breath of fresh air and left me with a new bounce in my step.

That afternoon Jonathan and I were really busy so we agreed to meet up for dinner to discuss adoption that evening.

We met for an Italian meal and while we began discussing adoption and if we wanted to go down that path, another family walked in and sat at the table across from us…with their son who came to them via the gift of adoption.

It’s not like there are very many adoptive families in FOCUS. This was all happening because God was up to something and I knew it.

Our dinner conversation went well and we agreed that in 2014 we would get the ball rolling on our adoption journey. We went our separate ways and planned to meet up later that evening.

A few hours later I arrived at adoration. I found my seat and was ready for whatever special grace God wanted to give me this year on our anniversary. Maybe it would be a moment of peace about infertility. Or a sense of conviction that He hadn’t forgotten about us.

Something.

Anything.

I was ready.

And then it came. I inaudibly heard clear as day, “By this time in adoration next year, you will be a mother.”

WHAT?!?!?!

My heart began to pound and I was overcome with emotion. I waffled back and forth Рwas this just my own mind making it up or was God actually speaking to me?!?!

I cried, hoping against hope that it wasn’t simply my desperation fueling what I heard in prayer.

On one hand, I knew it was God speaking to me. On the other, I was nervous to admit it to anyone…even to Jonathan or any spiritual director. I didn’t want to look like a fool¬†just in case God’s promise to me was a puff of smoke made up by an emotional infertile woman.

I didn’t tell a single soul because I was afraid.

But then everything started happening this summer.

It looked like a stronger and stronger possibility that we would adopt in 2014. Could God’s promise to me have ACTUALLY been real? I decided to tell Jonathan and he could hardly believe I’d kept that secret to myself. And that I had spent the better part of a year stewing over if it was just me or if God actually made a promise to me instead of simply trusting.

January 2015 – FOCUS SEEK Conference in Nashville, TN

Tonight, Saturday January 3, 2015 I plan to hunker down in adoration. It will be my 10 year anniversary with Jesus and I will have Josephine Rose Teixeira in tow.

His promise was real. It wasn’t simply a mind game I played on myself.

I am a mother and I am forever grateful to God for this gift and opportunity.

I will likely spend some time crying before the Lord for the ways I doubted his promise this year. I had such little faith that He could change our situation…but He did it and in a mind blowing way.

Not only did it happen super fast but we fundraised nearly the entire cost.¬† We’ve had hundreds of cheer leaders along for the ride.¬†I am still processing what the heck happened in the past five months.

It’s literally been a whirlwind of a story only God himself could write. We are blessed to be along for the ride and can’t wait to see how our family grows as the years go by.

Thanks for tagging along as I share this story and GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD!!!

Marriage

Little Happies: Pupcakes, Babymoons, and Blogging, Oh My!

October 13, 2014

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Little Happies, the happiest little link up around! ūüôā

It’s been a busy week and a half around the Teixeira home. This past Friday and Saturday we completed our adoption training classes…meaning we’re approved to adopt and officially just WAITING for Baby Girl’s grand appearance into this world. We still have a good amount to get done around the house before her arrival but the time can’t pass quickly enough!

With that, let’s check out some recent Little Happies.

–one–

babymoon.jpg

We took a very cheap Babymoon/Anniversary getaway, thanks to Airbnb.com! They make it easy to take trips on a dime.

We won’t be going on any vacations or romantic getaways anytime soon after Baby Girl Tex comes on the scene so we took 36 hours and ran up to Glenwood Springs, CO.

They are known for their Hot Spring pools, which we basically sat in for an entire day. Besides feeling like we were going to pass out half the time, it was amazing. It was cold and snowy, which created a foggy mist above the springs water. Eerie and really cool. On our way back to Denver we stopped in Vail to see the Aspens changing.

Colorado is simply beautiful.

–two–

pupcake.jpg

When I was in Omaha for the baby shower, I dropped into a dog shop and bought Wrigley this little pupcake made specially for dogs. I know, I’m turning into a sappy dog owner but I thought he would be so cute with a little pupcake.

He knows sit and stay, so he was a good little boy and let me set the temptation in front of him while I snapped pics.

But as soon as I gave the word…he was on that pupcake in seconds. It was gone even quicker. I don’t think he chewed….just inhaled.

And yup, it was adorable. I especially love at how he came in with such force that his ears flopped straight up.

–three–

DSC04335We updated out latest adoption puzzle progress last week. Hasn’t it come so far?!

It makes me so happy to look at the names on the back and feel the love of so many others in a tangible way I’ve never experienced before. It’s been such a blessing to bring others into our adoption story and I am so glad we did. For anyone who wants to “get in” last minute on the puzzle, click here, we’d love to have you!

–four–

Capture

Jonathan and I have the chance to tell our Loooove Story over at the FOCUS blog!

It’s going to be a 3-part series and so far Part One is published. Stay tuned this week for the upcoming posts!

We also both posed in Jonathan’s latest FOCUS blog post on how to take your favorite martyrs¬†and turn them into Halloween costumes. ūüôā

–five–

Remember our Debt Free Story?

Well after we ran it here on the blog, I had someone from THE DAVE RAMSEY BLOG email me and ask if I would like to be one of their guest posts around the upcoming holidays!!!

If you know how big of Dave Ramsey fans we are…you know that I did a happy dance and email back with a resounding “YESSSSS!!!!” Now I just need to come up with a financial holiday blog topic…brainstorm with me down in the comments! ūüôā

That’s a Little Happy Wrap!