Browsing Tag

FOCUS

Adoption, Marriage

Little Happies: Announcing Our Adoption

June 30, 2014

It’s been a big week around TGB. Many Little Happies to recap this week! 🙂

–one–

adoptionphotoshoot.jpg

Adoption Photos!

All props to Alzbeta over at Voboril Photography for being AWESOME! We literally did this photo shoot on Wednesday night and within two hours we had these photos since she knew we needed them to launch our Adoption Page on the True Good and Beautiful blog. We had a lot of fun taking this shoot, especially wondering where those giant balloons ended up when they floated off mid-shoot. LOL! Good thing we snapped a few photos with them first.

Oh and can you tell that Jonathan used blue crayon to color wear marks on his jeans or that he used brown crayon to darken the worn tips of his shoes? Didn’t think so. Pretty clever Lifehack.

–two–

sharing

When we launched our Adoption Page here on TGB, generous people began sharing our information on Facebook. This spiked our blog traffic and we had nearly 7,000 views that day alone. We are so grateful to see others rooting for us!

Infertility has been a long and lonely road…and I understand that it’s hard to concretely support a couple going through it. However, with adoption, we really feel a community rallying behind us. They’ve likely all been praying for us all along but now have a tangible way to help. I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s made me realize how we’ve never been alone in this like I was tempted to believe on the dark days.

–three–

FinancialFreedom6Last Wednesday night we took those Adoption photos…then proceeded to stay up all night building the Adoption Page on the blog. We would’ve went to sleep but we had to catch a flight at 5:50 AM to skip down to FOCUS New Staff Training in Florida to teach a class on Finance & Budgeting!

We landed in Florida, drove to Ave Maria and were teaching within 15 minutes of arrival! A few hours later we taught the class again. We slept like the dead that night, especially because we had separate twin beds and no one could steal the  covers. The next day we met with several staff in 15 minute increments for over 3 hours before hopping back on an airplane.

Might sound exhausting to some (and it was) but we absolutely LOVED every second of it. I only wish we took a photo while teaching, as the staff were great students! 🙂

I also realized we are officially “old” in the FOCUS world. One lovely first-year staff member even asked for our autographs! Yep, we’re getting legendary AKA old.

–four–

adoption page

Last but not least, the launching of the Adoption Page!

Not only have we had people reaching out with ideas on how to connect with potential birth moms, we’ve also had generous people participating in our Puzzle Fundraiser! So far We’ve raised over $1,300 and need to put an update photo up but the puzzle is harder to assemble than anticipated! LOL. An update will come soon.

I’m also excited to see such a positive response from others in the adoption world about our page, photos, and ideas. Honestly, I credit Jonathan’s creativity for 100% of how cool it all looks. I credit myself 100% for making sure it got done. 🙂 We’re opposites but a very complimentary team indeed!

Infertility

Little Happies: Great Television and New Friends

June 9, 2014

Howdy folks! This week it’s back to me for the Little Happies of the week.

Thinking about little happies this week is vital since I had a emotional breakdown about infertility a few days ago. This is nothing new but it had been a while. For the first time possibly EVER in our marriage, I ovulated last cycle. Finally!!!! But of course, no baby. For the 32nd cycle in a row. I didn’t really have hope…until I saw about 100 Facebook pregnancy announcements and decided maybe I could let myself hope.

Wrong again.

OK, done being negative. It’s too exhausting.

Even though we aren’t experiencing the blessing of parenthood, God is still faithful and good to us. That will never change, despite our circumstances. He truly does send little blessings our way each day for which I am truly grateful.

–one–

dr quinn

Yes, that is Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Don’t judge me.

This past year I have been watching Dr. Quinn season by season on YouTube. I love this series, as cheesy as it may be. I find myself relating to Doctor Michaela Quinn quite often. Maybe it’s her love of medicine. Or her inability to keep her opinions to herself. Perhaps it’s her tendency for drama and her stubborn nature. All I know is that we would have been friends…had she been a real person and/or we lived in the same time period.

Do  yourself a favor and watch an episode soon.

–two–

We are in the adoption paperwork home stretch!!! Above is a photo of us sitting down to write up our Autobiographies!!!! WHAT?!!??! I never thought I would be writing one of those.

As we wrote it out, I sort of thought it would probably be great if ALL parents had to do what we’ve had to do for adoption. It can be tedious but it’s really forced us to think things through, analyze our motivations, reflect on our past, and anticipate changes in our life. Good stuff for parenthood prep!

Now we need to print a few documents, gather a couple more signatures, and we will be done! We will be waiting on the FBI background check to clear which could take 4-6 more weeks but at least we’ll be ready when they’re done.

Also, we are also SUPER excited about a fundraiser we will be launching soon. Stay tuned! 🙂

–three–

I am privileged to work for FOCUS Greek, a ministry to Fraternity and Sorority students within the apostolate of FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

Currently many of our FOCUS staff members are in Ave Maria, FL at our New Staff Training – NST. Above is a photo of staff receiving training on working with students in Greek life on campus. I myself wasn’t present, as there were many qualified and stellar staff already in attendance at NST in Florida who offered to train others on behalf of the FOCUS Greek department. They did a super great job and seeing this photo made me happy! 🙂

They also threw a ‘Murica themed FOCUS Greek All Staff Party. Of course the first theme party at New Staff Training would be sponsored by FOCUS Greek. We do parties with Jesus better than anyone else.

–four–

band of bros

We started watching Band of Brothers.

Really intense but well done.

It’s a little happy but at the same time enraging. Anytime I think about WWII I get infuriated over the loss of life. That’s an entirely different blog post though.

–five–

We have a closing date for our town house! We close on June 30th and take possession on July 3rd. Anyone in Denver with a servant’s heart who wants to help us move that weekend, let me know! 🙂

–six–

google_plus_2This week I made some new friends on Google Hangouts.

I am part of a Catholic infertility support group on Facebook and one gal had a brilliant idea to form small groups for us to “meet” online with gals in similar situations as ourselves. I was actually having a rough day, as mentioned earlier, until I “hung out” with these ladies on Friday evening. They really made my day and I am so grateful for their new friendships in my life.

Thank you technology!

–seven–

Stack Of Cash

Last but not least.

Since we are moving and need a few items for the town house (while in the midst of saving for adoption)  we have been selling a LOT of stuff to offset house expenses.

Call me the queen of eBay and Craigslist because this past week we sold about 15-20 items for roughly $900!!! Woohoo! With those proceeds we have bought a few items already and gotten some really great deals. As Jonathan talked about last week, we will devote an entire post as to how we did it! 🙂

Have a great week!

Money

Little Happies: Wheeling and Dealing

May 19, 2014

It’s time for some Little Happies to start off the week! It’s been a delightfully busy week, so I am very excited to go back and relive it via memory!

–one–

rio

One thing I love (among MANY things) about FOCUS is that I frequently have many opportunities to see dear friends as work crosses our paths throughout the year. This past week was the FOCUS LDI – Leadership Development Initiative. It’s a training week for all new Team Director’s within FOCUS. One Little Happy was that I got to teach a class during the week – I always enjoy that.

Another Little Happy was dinner at The Rio Grande with FOCUS friends. If you are ever in Denver – you must get a margarita at The Rio.

–two–

sperry

The wheeling and dealing is back! I found these sparkly-black Sperry’s at Mile High Thrift Store…for $5.95!!! Online? I could sell them for about $75.00 but they are so cute. I may just take the deal and not turn a profit. So very unlike me…but those mini sequins though!

–three–

House-hunting! I understand that is more of a “big” happy technically but what was little about it? The details! Our realtor not only drove us around but each time she took us out this week, she had Starbucks, waters, and delicious treats to share! She made what could be a stressful experience something that turned out to be fun, exciting, and relaxing in some ways.

Oh, and we did put an offer in on a town home! That will get a blog post of it’s own. Lots of decisions were made this weekend and I can confidently say – 100% Dave Ramsey approved! 🙂

–four–

milk

We discovered this delicious-ness. WOW! I love cow’s milk but because I am trying to do more of an anti-inflammatory diet due to fertility challenges (half-way positive phrasing?) I have been wanting to ditch the obscene amounts of dairy in my life. This Almondmilk doesn’t make me miss the old stuff. No sugar. Great nutrients. Creamy. What more could I ask for?

–five–

open letter

I am totally humbled by the response last week’s blog received. No idea where this blog will go over the years but yall have blessed me with your kind remarks on Facebook and in person comments about last week’s post and the blog in general. Some of the online comments got a bit lively but I appreciated and expected that! Thanks for journeying through life with us!

Want to join in the fun? Link up over at Blessed to Be!

Next Little Happies will be provided by none other than Mr. Jonathan Teixeira! Please give him a warm welcome back to this blog! He doesn’t blog here much but I insist that change…as he’s far more entertaining and gifted at blogging than I am. Plus he is creative and does all those cool illustrated-guide things for FOCUS. Wayyyy more talent.

Mission

Lentsanity!

March 4, 2014

Jonathan here. One of the projects I’ve been working on a lot lately with FOCUS has been Lentsanity, our campaign to help you make this Lent the best one yet. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of the really fun aspects of the project, including:

Two of the first three blog posts of the campaign. Check them out!

An Illustrated Guide to Lenten Fasting & Abstinence

The 8 Types of Ashes You Might Get on Ash Wednesday

The Meat Police

I wrote the script and starred in this fun video.

phone with Lentsanity appThe Lentsanity App

I found an app company to work with, worked out all the details and kinks in creating and deploying our app, and now I’m updating it with content as Lentsanity rolls on. The best part of the app? It will pop up a notification before lunch and dinner on Fridays during Lent to remind you not to eat meat! (Make sure to say YES to push notifications, or you won’t get the reminders!)

It’s available for both iOS and Android. Download it today by searching for Lentsanity in your app store or by visiting focus.org/lentsanityapp from your smartphone.

Daily Dose

Each day of Lent (except Sundays) we’ll be posting a short reflection to facebook and to the app. I got to write the reflections on sacrifices. They’ll be published throughout Lent, so be sure to check those out as they come out.

Keep up to date with everything Lentsanity by liking FOCUS on facebook, following FOCUS on twitter, and by reading the FOCUS blog. We’re also collecting everything at focus.org/lentsanity and in the Lentsanity app.

Mission

FOCUS Greek Getaway Highlights

February 14, 2014

This past month has been pretty intense. The FOCUS Greek Getaways were two amazing events I had the privilege of planning and directing alongside other incredible FOCUS staff members. You may be asking, what are the Greek Getaways?

PROMO

Guess who the graphic designer was? The one and only, Jonathan Teixeira.

The Getaways were a new concept for FOCUS Greek…think of the blending of a full-out conference and a weekend retreat. We had speakers, adventure, beauty in nature, games, small group discussions, mass, adoration, confession, time to play and relax. It was all centered on Jesus. In the Rockies, we had over 80 in attendance and in the Smokies we had over 50 in attendance. Below are some highlights!

Epic speed rock, paper, scissors tournament!

Epic speed rock, paper, scissors tournament!

Throw what you know! Taken at the Rattlesnake Summit in Ridgecrest, NC.

Throw what you know! Taken at the Rattlesnake Summit in Ridgecrest, NC.

The Rockies crew in Winter Park, CO

The Rockies crew in Winter Park, CO

smokies group

The Smokies crew in Ridgecrest, NC

Small group discussions

Small group discussions

In the Rockies, our group had the option to go skiing at Winter Park. It was a blast! I went down a run that had moguls…and it was evident that I need more practice by the giant wipeout that ensued! I didn’t mind since I like to push and challenge myself to take it one level further every time I ski, so I guess it was just my learning activity that day! In the Smokies, we went hiking and it was a gorgeous day. Great conversations and beautiful views at the Summit! Having the adventure opportunities on these weekends was a hit with students and staff.

Jesus has been so good to me throughout these Getaways. Sometimes, in battling infertility, I resent my work since two and half years into marriage I was supposed to be at home with a kid(s). I hate when I get trapped in that place. Jesus has totally brought grace into my life and allowed me to see that my life is still fruitful. I am not sterile. I am bearing good fruit…not the fruit I thought I would bear but fruit nonetheless. In some weird way, the college students I work tirelessly for are like “my kids” even though they are all adults. No, I don’t try to mother them in a creepy way but spiritually I do get to mother them and lead them to encounter Christ more deeply. I’ve seen Jesus work in their lives, bring them to know him, allow them to surrender unto his will. Infertility allows me the freedom to serve in that way, so no, it’s not all bad despite how I think so negatively at times. I am grateful to have this new perspective and hoping God will keep it fresh in my heart daily.

Thank you to all the staff who made these events possible. Thank you to the students who went out on a limb and attended. Lastly, thank you to Jonathan for bearing with me and supporting me with patience during this busy season.

Mission

FOCUS SLS14 Highlights

January 11, 2014

Jonathan and I are officially home from a month of traveling. We left for Omaha, Nebraska on December 13th to do some fundraising for our missionary work. It went really well and we were able to meet some amazing people that week who are now part of our work with FOCUS.

The time then slipped right into  Christmas week and I still love how Jonathan reacts to my big and awesome family. I think we were six parties and four white-elephant gift exchanges into the Christmas celebrations that week before he showed any signs of being tired. Two days after Christmas, we flew out to Rhode Island to celebrate Christmas and our nephew’s baptism, in which we became godparents! Yippee! On New Year’s Eve we flew back to Denver and ended up sleeping by 9pm…because we were exhausted from the previous travel but also had to catch a flight the next afternoon on New Year’as Day to Dallas for the FOCUS Student Leadership Summit 2014 (SLS14)! Welcome to our “normal!” It’s really an adventure, I promise.

If you haven’t heard about the FOCUS SLS14 you can check it out here. The short version is that FOCUS spent a week training and equipping college students into lifelong Catholic mission. How we did this was through inviting dynamic speakers, facilitating learning through hands-on training and exercises, and inviting Jesus to deeper communion in our own lives and to lead us in reaching others. Over 1500 of our student leaders on campus working with FOCUS missionaries in some capacity were in attendance.

Below were some highlights from the event:

FOCUS Greek hosted a photo booth this year and it turned out to be a ton of fun! Check out FOCUS Greek on Facebook to see all the pics.

collage photo boothOnto some of Jonathan’s work. He got to be an in-field emcee for our “power sessions” with students. These were sessions where the students took everything they learned during the morning sessions and turn around and get to teach their small group what they learned and how they too can go on to teach the particular topic (prayer, bible study, etc.) We’re really teaching teachers to teach!! 🙂 Jonathan and the other emcees had a blast on stage hosting dance-offs, pope trivia, battle of the sexes, and giveaways to name a few things they did. He also flew a Digital Campus whale (aka helicopter in a whale suit) throughout the week to get students to think of students they know on non-FOCUS campuses who they should introduce to the Digital Campus this Spring.

jonathan work collageI also got to host a FOCUS Greek lunch, which was actually very special to me for a variety of reasons. The main one being that when the very first Greek lunch was hosted January 2010 in Orlando, FL there was a freshman in that room who was an Alpha Chi Omega at Ball State University who was deeply impacted at that lunch to reach her sorority for Christ. Well, today she’s one of our first year FOCUS missionaries and she stood up and told her story with a room of over 200 Greeks. We were packed like sardines, just like that very first Greek lunch as well. Watching God’s plan unfold is a lot of fun!

greek lunch collage

And last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, we had adoration with the Blessed Sacrament. The lighting was amazing and the image of Jesus on the cross directly behind the monstrance was beautiful. The Holy Spirit’s presence was palpable in the room that night and I was more at peace during adoration than I have been in a loooong time. Thank you Jesus for giving me your peace that transcends all understanding.

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