Browsing Tag

hope

Adoption

Let’s Fund Planned Parenthood’s Alternative – Update 4

September 27, 2016

Jonathan here, picking up the conversation from yesterday’s update.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider. In 2013, they performed 591 abortions per day. That’s 2 children killed every 5 minutes. And that’s just Planned Parenthood.

The alternative, is of course, to choose life. While the conversation might often end there, in real life it’s a little more complicated than that. So a mother chooses to not have an abortion. Then what? Sometimes they choose to parent and other times they choose to make an adoption plan.

In order to make choosing the alternative to abortion an option, we need to throw our support behind these two alternative outcomes. Supporting these options fleshes out the pro-life position and is vital for providing positive solutions to the problem of Planned Parenthood’s abortion operations.

Today is your chance to be a part a solution.

The needs of a mother and/or father raising a child she/they weren’t expecting are many and often carry financial and emotional price tags (food, child care, baby items, healthcare, etc). These are real and valid concerns to raising a child and if they are going to choose life but lack these basics – we ought to help out! If they want to parent, we as a pro-life community must come to their aid.

Let’s look at the other solution: adoption.

There are times when expectant parents decide parenting their child at that time isn’t the best overall option and they make an adoption plan. Choosing to make an adoptive placement typically comes with counseling, support, selection of prospective parents, and sometimes a few financial burdens lightened for a little while. All things it should entail!

Families being ready to welcome these children into their families are a vital part of supporting the expectant families’ pro-life decision. Thankfully there are a number of laws, regulations, and systems in place to make sure children end up in a safe and loving home. Paying all fees associated with the necessary checks as well as services for the birth family a part of an adoptive family getting ready.

Our family is currently getting ready to adopt and the fees will total $37,500+

Naturally, we’re doing a fundraiser.

This is where you get a chance to take a stand. Where you get to say to the abortion industry that you are supporting alternatives.

I invite you to please consider joining my family in making this adoption possible by sponsoring some pieces of the puzzle that will hang in our child’s room. Your name will be on the back of the pieces you sponsor, visible when it gets framed between two panes of glass. (More about the puzzle)

Joining our puzzle fundraiser is a concrete way to be part of saying YES to new life – By helping us be in a position to welcome any life God brings our way while also supporting the birth family’s decision they feel is best for them and this precious little one.

You can donate by PayPal (yellow button) or Square Cash (green button). If you’d like to send a check, use our contact form to ask for our address. You can learn more about our story on our Adoption Hub page.




Donate w/ Squarecash

 

Here’s an update on our progress through Day 4:

  • 185 pieces sold

  • $4,630 raised!!!! (+ checks on the way)

  • 12.4% of our goal of $37,500

Here’s a virtual picture of the puzzle’s progress:

 

If you would like to donate, please do so below. If you know of anyone who has a heart for adoption or pro-life issues, please share our story and invite them to consider joining the journey.




Donate w/ Squarecash

THANK YOU!

Money, Our Debt-Free Story

Our Debt-Free Story: Part 3 – WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!

September 2, 2014

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. Be sure to read about Our “We’ve Had It!” Moment and Our Secret Weapon.

We left off in part two when we were knee-deep in debt but with gazelle intensity and a laser focus to pay it all off ASAP. We even shocked ourselves and beat our “debt-free date” by nearly five months!!

How did we do that?

Let me tell you…

So there we were, Spring 2012, with between $15,000-$18,000 of student loan debt left to go when we got the tax return funds and threw it towards the loan. The numbers fell significantly that month and momentum started rolling like crazy.

At this point, we sort of snapped and went scorched earth. We also found out we would likely be moving in two months time, so we started thinking about all the things we could purge from our household and turn into quick cash to pay towards our loans.

Sometime in April, I gathered up items from our house in the living room and began listing them on Craigslist left and right.

Bicycles. Nintendo. Lamps. Throw pillows. An HDTV Television. A desk we dug out of a dumpster. A chair we got for free.

If it wasn’t nailed down, it was on the “discuss to sell” list. In a two week window, we had people at our town house nightly, one after another, purchasing items from our living room garage sale. 🙂

We ended up with a couple thousand dollars from our sales…but still had to live in the place for a few weeks before moving. Yup, it was rather uncomfortable sleeping on a blow up mattress, having no lamps, furniture, or Nintendo to play with. But we were brimming with happiness and joy at seeing more progress on the student loans. It became like a game to sacrifice more and more so we could see the debt fall quicker…so we happily played board games under a light bulb on a string in the closet.

With this continued surge of momentum, we saw the debt fall below the $10,000 mark in early May 2012!!

To keep the gazelle-like intensity up, we decided to sell my car and drop down to a one car family. It sounds harder than it was, since we actually work together. The times we actually needed two cars was far and few between. This got us some extra cash to throw at the debt and lowered our car insurance bills and gas costs.

To top it all off, we had unusual circumstances that summer. We moved out of our apartment in May but didn’t find a place in Denver to live straight away so we put all our belongings in a storage unit. We traveled that summer working on our fundraising and staying with family. Upon moving to Colorado, a family invited us to stay with them while we searched for housing. With those circumstances, we didn’t have any rent and minimal food expenses from June through August, which was a MASSIVE help in our debt snowball.

In late July, we saw the numbers really plummeting and we were just ITCHING to get it all paid off the next month. We received a few special donations in larger lump sums which gave us the extra cash flow to pay the loans off earlier than we ever anticipated. We kept living on a bare bones budget and scraping money our of thin air, hoping we could have an August debt-free date.

On August 15, 2012 we had finally scrounged up enough to sink our last loan and become 100% debt-free!!!!

Wahoooo!! 🙂

To celebrate, we made doughnuts and started forming a plan for the next baby step, the fully-funded emergency fund! A few months later, we traveled to Nashville and did our Debt-Free Scream on the Dave Ramsey Show. Someday we will tell our “post-debt-free story” and the unique challanges and freedoms that come with each baby step.

Until then, here’s wishing financial peace for everyone reading this! You can enter our Financial Peace University Giveaway to jump start your journey!

Adoption

Houston, We Have A Baby!

August 13, 2014

Jonathan here with a quick update on the adoption front. For those of you hungry for the details, check out Amanda’s post.

We posted about our plan to adopt about a month and a half ago. It’s been a wild ride since then. A lot has happened, but the most exciting news is that Baby Teixeira has been found and is due…

dandy.jpg
Now is when we need your help the most.

We need to raise the money to pay the adoption fees for our agency and the agency in California where Baby Tex is, as well as all the other related fees and costs.

yournameherepieceWe won’t know the final total until it’s all over, but we need at least $13,000 to move through the home study process and on to the next step. The agencies told us this $13,000 is due ASAP. It’s our goal to raise it by Friday, August 22 – The Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

Here’s where you come in.

We’re fundraising through PayPal by “selling” pieces to a puzzle we’ll hang in the baby’s room, and your name will be on the back of the pieces you buy, showing Baby Tex how much they’re loved. (More details on the puzzle here)

Please consider donating.

Please share this post.

Please let everyone you know who might be interested know about this.

Thank you for your support.

Infertility, Marriage

What Do Singleness and Infertility Have in Common?

August 6, 2014

I’ve had this conversation far more often than I would have liked to in the past few years but it’s a conversation that should be shared.

I think it should be shared so that women who can relate to one of these struggles feel validated. I also think it should be shared so that women who can’t relate to one of these struggles don’t forget that these are real struggles

I’ve found that when I am sharing about infertility or a friend is sharing about singleness, we end up being able to relate with identical emotions despite our circumstances being different.

Here in this post I want to explore why it is that us infertile and single gals are carrying very similar crosses.

1. Hope deferred

hope deferred

Proverbs 13:12 says:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a wish fulfilled is a tree of life.”

While a woman is single or infertile, there are seasons where it feels like this “deferred hope” is the only constant in their life. That it defines everything. That  life is on hold while this hope of something more is seemingly “put off” by God.

This proverb says that when hopes are deferred, the heart is made sick. That is the overall emotion that can consume the interior of a woman waiting for a desire to be fulfilled. And the desire to find ones vocation or to be married and bearing children are particularly deep desires.

See that other half of the verse?

“A wish fulfilled is a tree of life.”

It’s tempting to look at other women who have found their vocations/had children and feel like they are eating from a tree of life while we wait in the distance…sick to the very core of our beings with nothing but a hope for what they have.

All the while these women, often unaware of the blessings they do have, flaunt their “tree of life” all over Facebook/Instagram making social media a source of pain. Or worse…they complain openly to those of us with deferred hopes instead of to those in similar situations.

2. Guarded Hearts

Heart

Let’s go back to the book of Proverbs.

“With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.”

This verse applies to all of us, no matter what state of life we find ourselves in. However, in a particular way, it can feel like the mantra of a single or infertile woman.

It feels like we are constantly fighting to guard our hearts against what is not yet reality.

All those fun things women talk/read about – wedding board on Pinterest, mommy blogs, baby showers, summer date ideas on Huffpost, nursery themes, honeymoon ideas, etc. are off-limits for us while we are actively “guarding our hearts.” To engage in these conversations or activities would inevitably be a source of extreme pain for us since we are not free and available to act upon these interests.

3. Feeling Alone

pinpenguins_2079836i

There wasn’t a Proverb for this one…but it reminds me of a certain Celine Dion chorus:

“All by myself…don’t wanna be….all by myself, anymore.”

Despite the knowledge that there are in fact several other women in very similar situations as us (single or infertile) there are moments on the journey where we feel completely and utterly alone.

We feel like we don’t “fit” anywhere. Our friends get married one by one…then start having kids ten seconds later and the relationship just changes. Since we don’t fit into the married with kids crowd, its easy to feel like we are on the outside.

4. Distrust

clock

I have yet to hear a woman say that she LOVES her infertility or singleness off the bat. If she is in a place of loving it, that often took years of abandoning to God’s grace. That’s a great place.

But long before ever reaching that state of peace and acceptance is usually a season of intense distrust in God’s will.

These thoughts creep in:

“Doesn’t God KNOW my desires? And that by willfully delaying them is causing my heart to be SICK?!?!? Why does everything I want seem to constantly be at odds with what God wants…while it looks like other people’s desires line up perfectly with God’s will. Could God actually be good since he’s allowing this much pain and suffering in my life?”

Insert distrust.

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” CCC 397

This is a dangerous place to be on the journey of singleness/infertility. It can breed further separation from God…since why would we keep following and loving a God who we lack trust in?

Battling through this emotion is one of the most arduous but crossing over to the “other side” is a huge milestone. Coming to a place of abandonment and surrender to God’s will and choosing to trust it, despite our ability to understand it, is where massive amounts of spiritual growth are found while facing singleness/infertility.

5. Hope/Despair Cycle

hope_despair

Oh the old hope/despair cycle.

As a single woman it typically manifests itself with a potential love interest. The hope begins to creep in and grow….only to die when things fizzle out and it’s back to ground zero AKA despair. Then a little time passes and a new interest enters the picture…hope springs forth all over again.

As an infertile woman this cycle typically occurs more frequently. During the first two weeks of a woman’s cycle, hope enters in. This could be “the” cycle!!! The last two weeks are ones of anguish, battling hope and despair…hoping against hope that this is “the” cycle. Then that one day that friggin period arrives is like a death AKA despair. Then a couple days later, right back to hoping.

6. Waiting and waiting and waiting some more

patience

This about sums up how well waiting goes when you are single/infertile.

During a season of singleness or infertility, it seems like waiting is all you do. Always waiting to meet someone, go on a date, get engaged, etc. Or always waiting to take a pregnancy test, try a new treatment, adopt, etc.

There is a temptation to feel like “life” is passing by while we are simply stuck waiting for “life” to begin. The scary part of waiting is actually starting to live one’s life while still waiting. That takes courage, vulnerability, and perseverance. God can make one’s life very fruitful in these circumstances…though often not the fruitful ways we had imagined or wanted.

Waiting, waiting, and waiting again is what it feels like we do best as single/infertile ladies. We watch friends enter vocations (either marriage or religious life) and they start taking vows or having children straight away…like life is rapidly happening to them and they don’t have to wait around for anything. If anything, they are probably praying for God to slow down on them a bit since life is a whirlwind. In our eyes? It’s a fabulous whirlwind we’d give anything to get swept into.

That’s all the similarities I’ve got here today, friends. If you can think of more, please share below in the comments section! I would love to hear from you!

One last note – to all you ladies who do NOT battle with singleness and infertility:

I know that you experience suffering and hardship. I know that you have a lot to offer up. I know that you likely still feel the above emotions. In no way am I sitting here is disillusionment that your life is perfect, as tempting that may be to believe. This is simply a post from the angle of singleness/infertility and how it can feel on the journey. God-willing, one day, I will be able to write a blog post about how hard being a mommy is but that’s just not the reality so that is why I am not writing about that today. Please don’t take offense to this post.

However – I would like to hear about how you relate to the above emotions, if ever at all…as it’s always good to hear about how just because circumstances change, struggles don’t.

Infertility, Marriage

Just Around the Riverbend

March 12, 2014

 

Remember that great Disney song from Pocahontas? Just in case you developed amnesia, here it is:

My favorite lyrics?

“Should I choose the smoothest curve
Steady as the beating drum?
…Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver God
Just around the riverbend?”

For whatever reason, despite my preference to choose the smoothest course, Jesus typically makes me take the roundabout way. Typically I hate it in the moment…but I look back after the wild ride is done and thank him for taking me on yet another adventure.

Something has been coming up in prayer lately. Not anything huge. Actually quite small. Kind of like what Elijah experienced:

“And he said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

What’s the still small voice been saying, you ask?

It’s been telling me that one day…just around the riverbend (weeks, months, years, only God knows how long my wild riverbend of infertility is)…my circumstances will change.

I will likely either be a mother someday, God will change my heart’s desires and reveal something else I am called to do as a wife, or he will give me supernatural strength and courage in this cross. I am confident that His will isn’t to emotionally rake me over the coals for the rest of my life until I die. Yes, I feel stuck in a never-ending, grueling, suffocating, heart-breaking, Bill-Murray-Groundhog’s-Day-esque, brutal place. But it won’t be my forever. There is a life beyond this riverbend even though I am clueless to how it will play out.

How will I look back on this time of waiting?

I don’t want to get 20/20 vision someday when I am cozily on “the other side”  and look back and regret how I lived my life through this trial.

Will I look back and see a girl desperately needing a hug on a constant basis? Will I look back and see someone who wallowed in near-despair for years on end? Will I look back and wish I had been more generous with the gift of myself to others despite being in tremendous emotional and physical pain? Will I look back and see a girl who fell for the Devil’s lies more often than she clung to eternal truths of her Almighty King?

Will I regret how I lived my life?

I don’t want to regret it. I want to live my life in light of the truth that this isn’t the end of my story. That infertility and all its emotions aren’t my eternal destiny. That God does have a plan for me despite my ability to see or understand it. That I am going around a particularly arduous riverbend that has another side to it even though I can’t see much right now.

If I live my life in light of those things…it will likely change how I spend the time waiting.

Sure, I will definitely have highs and lows, as to be expected. I am not superhuman. If I lived in this confident trust and hope, I would be at peace far more often than not. I would strive more eagerly to carry my cross with Jesus and to offer it up for others. I would want to make each day count and not live my life for some fantasy future that isn’t reality (yet). I would calm down and not get so frantic or anxious. I wouldn’t be able to regret this time, knowing I fought hard to look at Jesus as we hung and died on this cross together.

Lately, I read this blog post. It affirmed what I’ve been thinking in prayer. I see how beautiful life “beyond the riverbend” is for this woman who battled her way through 5+ years of infertility. I know that type of sweet redemption is possible for me even though it won’t be her same story. Or anyone else’s story. I know who my God is. Nothing is impossible with him.

For now, I continue winding along on the riverbend of infertilty. 

“Is all my dreaming at an end?”

No. It’s not. It appears that everyone else is on the smooth course but take me on the crazy route, Lord. The one that bends and curves and even has a terrifyingly steep waterfall. I trust you will my good. That there is life around this riverbend. That all my dreams aren’t at an end. You will take care of me. Help me choose truth when I want to choose lies. Help me keep my eyes fixed on you and not what other people’s lives look like. Help me to operate out of a spirit of trust and not a spirit of fear. Then, and only then, will I be able to look back on this time in our journey together and not regret how it was spent. Your will be done.

I know that I will look back one day and thank you for this path you’ve chosen, even if I can’t thank you today.

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!