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Jesus

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.

Uncategorized

A Letter To My Ex-Boyfriends

February 16, 2016

Today, as a happily married woman, I am writing to my ex-boyfriends openly on our blog.

#AWKWARD

You might be thinking, “Why would you ever do that, crazy pants?”

I am currently thinking the same, especially since much of my dating past looks like Taylor Swift’s¬†Blank Space:

‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space, baby
And I’ll write your name

Yup. That about sums it up.

Over the past few years as I’ve seen photos of old flames pop into my social media accounts, it’s left me thinking about what I’d say to those guys if I saw them again someday.

So without further ado, here we go.

Gulp.

Fellas.

You know who you are…and you may or may not ever think of me but I think of you from time to time.

Fear not, this won’t be a burn letter where I reveal all your faults and flaws.

I simply want to tell you three things today: I’m Sorry, Thank You, and I Wish You Well.¬†

I’ll go into each of those sentiments below.

I’m Sorry

For those of you I dated in High School, you may not know but when I was a freshman in college, I went through a life-changing experience РI encountered Jesus Christ in a real and personal way that radically changed everything about how I live my life.

Yes, when we dated, I was Catholic but I didn’t know how to live that faith in every area of my life, specifically in my relationship with you.

What I’ve learned since that time is that the best relationships, and ultimately marriage, help both parties become the best versions of themselves. To help one another be more giving, kind, loving, patient, and selfless. Essentially more like Christ.

I know that in our relationship I didn’t always help you become a better version of who God created you to be, particularly when it comes to chastity. I took something from you and allowed you to take something from me only intended as blessings for our future spouses.

I see photos of you with your wives (whom I have so much respect for) on Facebook and I just wish I could take back what was ultimately theirs. It hurt to look my husband Jonathan in the eye while engaged and tell him about mistakes I made in past relationships. I’ve gotten to say sorry to him but never to you and your wife, which wasn’t OK with me. Please accept my apologies.

To those of you I dated in College and beyond, though I don’t have chastity regrets, I have others, namely I expected far too much from you.¬†Now that I’m married, I can see that many things I expected from you were premature. No, we didn’t struggle crossing physical boundaries but we soared past appropriate emotional boundaries. I pushed us to be more emotionally involved than was healthy…again taking something from your future vocation and mine. Please accept my apologies.

Thank You

Sure, there were regrets from our relationship but there were also a lot of highlights. You guys helped me realize I love watching basketball, dancing, pulling pranks, praying in the chapel late at night, watching action movies, and eating Indian food to name a few.

We may not have helped one another become better people in all ways but there were certainly parts of my life that improved just by knowing you.¬†I’ve been shaped by family and friends to become the woman I am today but you also played a role in that. You made me a better woman and ultimately a better wife to Jonathan.

In each relationship I learned more about myself and who would be a good match for me in marriage one day. Through dating a wide variety of temperaments and personalities, I learned that humor was vital for me in a marriage because I am freaking high strung. Shocking, right? ūüôā

Before meeting Jonathan I was absolutely convinced I needed a man who could make me laugh because in reflecting on all past romances, laughter produced the healthiest relationships I’d been in. The first quality that attracted me to him was his wild and crazy humor, so thank you for helping me discover that need.

I Wish You Well

I doubt the last conversations we had were pleasant. I mean, are breakups ever amazing memories?

Thankfully I have forgotten them by now but however things ended, I sincerely wish you the best in life.

When I see your face pop up on social media, I find myself hoping you’re happy, wherever you may be.

God bless, Amanda

Catholicism

We’re Still Figuring Out How to Do Advent And That’s OK

December 2, 2015

Advent.

A beautiful season the Catholic Church has given her people to direct their hearts and minds to the ultimate gift – the Incarnation of Jesus Christ at Christmas.¬†It’s designed to be a season filled with prayer, repentance,¬†and most of all a JOYFUL anticipation of Jesus’ arrival.

I think it can be a hard season to fully embrace as a Catholic today.

Why do I think that?

Well, as soon as Thanksgiving is done (who am I kidding, its when Halloween is done) Americans get busy. They start decorating, shopping, feasting, partying, music-ing, etc. to celebrate the Christmas season. The problem is that Christmas hasn’t happened yet.¬†Liturgically, we are supposed to be waiting, reflecting, anticipating, and slowing down to make room in our hearts for the arrival of Christ.

The Christmas season is coming…and all those things should happen.

Just not yetright? Or can we do them while still waiting?

This is where my husband and I butted heads in a MAJOR way as newlyweds…and if I am being honest we revisit this topic Every. Single. Year.

You see, I want to just go along with what the culture is doing. I want to buy and decorate with ALL THE THINGS, listen to cheery Christmas jingles, host and attend parties, go caroling, bake until my oven breaks, and be so saturated with Christmas that by the time it arrives, I am really really really ready for it. Of course I want to do these things in addition to Advent devotions as well.

I blame it on my melancholic nature…I don’t shift gears quickly or easily so it’s actually hard for me to flip a switch and suddenly become excited about something. I need a buffer time to get excited before the thing actually happens. So in some ways, I NEED to begin the Christmas activities early so that I am actually ready when it arrives, right? ūüėČ

But my better half wants to approach the season a bit differently and if I am being honest, he wants to approach it in a way that is liturgically correct.¬†He wants to wait on Christmas music, decorations, baking, parties…you name it, he wants to wait on it until it’s officially the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Instead he wants to¬†protect and preserve¬†Christmas because it’s sacred and holy. He wants to give our family the gift of well prepared and quiet hearts to embrace Jesus at Christmas. He wants to make sure we haven’t Christmas-ed ourselves out before it even arrives and like the general culture, be done with celebrating December 26th when there are liturgically¬†twelve full¬†days to celebrate.

So this year we’re trying some new things. We’re two adults who respect one another’s opinions and are willing to experiment with how we ought to celebrate as a family. No one is a dictator around our neck of the woods and one person isn’t going to decide our traditions.¬†We will mutually explore options and decide together.

What are we doing this year then?

We are decorating the house in pink and purple for Advent. We’ve got a Jesse Tree devotion we’re doing each evening around the Advent Wreath. We’re spending more time in prayer and plan to go to confession as a family. We’re keeping things simple so we can make room for Jesus at the “Inn” of our hearts. We will switch gears¬†and bust out all the Christmas music, turn on the oven, and change the decorations…but we don’t know exactly¬†when because we will be traveling on Christmas Eve and Day.

I want to clarify and say that I don’t believe this to be a moral issue. If you listen to Christmas music, you are not in sin. Please, nobody run off and take this post¬†that¬†far out of context. We’re just exploring this topic out-loud here on the blog as we process it ourselves. Yes, I continue to Google “How to be a good Catholic¬†and be a?ble to listen to Christmas music” and Jonathan continues to interview families who’ve held off on celebrating.

We’re researching as a family and are trying to figure out what helps us enter more fully into Advent.¬†That’s what this is about – being ready to receive our King into our hearts on Christmas. Whatever facilitates that best is what we will do in the Teixeira home.

I know this is a highly debated topic and I would love to hear from other perspectives in the comments. What have you chosen to do? What helps you get ready for Christmas? How do you embrace Advent?

Parenting

What I Learned My First Year as a Mother

November 10, 2015

One year ago today our lives dramatically changed for the good.

I remember it like it was yesterday and I treasure all the intimate details of that day and just how very blessed it was.

Josie Rosie is now ONE¬†and my oh my how she’s changed in such a short time. Looking back it’s more than obvious that I also changed a lot too.¬†That’s what I want to highlight¬†in this post, lest I forget all the ways this tiny human impacted me during her first year.

Breastfeeding is NO JOKE!

OK, do we really need to rehash this again?

Just go read this, this, and this.

Long story short – troubles with breastfeeding will take the toughest, most badass Momma and leave her a shriveled up version of herself crying in a corner. On the flip side, when breastfeeding begins going well, the most beaten down and discouraged Momma will suddenly walk around feeling like a Superhero.

Nuff said.

Babies SLEEP?!?!

Other people would tell me stories of how their babies slept through the night from early on. Or how their babies slept in the car while they ran errands. Or how they napped in the baby carrier if they were out and about. And how their kids could sleep through noise or light, etc.

Imagine the opposite and that is Josie.

She still doesn’t sleep through the night. Nor does she really nap in the car or baby carrier. And the girl could hear a pin drop in the next room even with her white noise machine blaring. Oh, and her room has to be pitch black for her to even¬†think about sleeping. Lastly we FINALLY transitioned her to a sleep sack from the swaddle when she was 7 (!) months old.

We’ve got a high needs sleeper and I’ve accepted it. I’ve learned how to cope (COFFEE!) with less sleep and the occasional cat nap.¬†We can only go uphill from here with any future kiddos, right?

Other People Gotta Chime In

Oh the advice from other people. Family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers all have opinions on how YOU should be parenting.

I heard this was a thing but sort of didn’t believe it. People don’t offer unsolicited advice on how I do my laundry or load my dishwasher…so why would they care about how I parent? WRONG. They care.

How you diaper, supplement, introduce solids, vaccinate, sleep train, brand of pacifier baby takes, organic vs non-organic foods and items, you name it…others have an opinion about it and they will tell you.

I’ve learned at the end of a day I don’t care about what other people think I¬†should be doing.

I genuinely listen to others and do my own research but once I decide upon a path to take, I am not ashamed to move forward and not look back without caring about other;s opinions. I definitely don’t claim to be doing everything perfectly but I am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have in the present moment. That’s all anyone can do.

Motherhood Can Be Lonely

A temptation I experience before Josie was the thought that Motherhood would leave me feeling totally satisfied and all my suffering would disappear.

And there was a short honeymoon period where all was well in the world as I became a new mom. But suffering and pain are part of the human experience due to our brokenness and motherhood didn’t take away all my pain permanently. It certainly changed my circumstances and many of them for the better, but I still suffer, just in new and different ways.

I didn’t expect to feel the loneliness that being a new mom can bring. In many ways I was isolated this past year because I didn’t have family in Denver and didn’t have many friends available to hangout during the week. If I am being honest, I’ve watched wayyyyy too much Netflix this past year to avert feeling lonely. (7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and Parenthood…yeah a lot of Netflix)

While it was really hard and I was totally blindsided by how lonely I felt at times, it’s gotten a WHOLE LOT BETTER as I make more friends and have more structure to my days and weeks at home…but it’s something I have to constantly keep my eye on to make sure I channel loneliness towards healthy things.

Still Gotta Be About Jesus

After falling flat on my face this past year spiritually, I realized my need for Jesus more than ever. He’s the only one who fully satisfies my heart’s desires and who gets me. While watching Netflix show after Netflix show and continuing to feel empty, all I had to do was turn to Jesus in prayer and my soul was brought to peace and contentment.

Slowly yet surely I fought to get my daily time with God back.¬†I’ve now know I can’t ever go back to a place of not communicating with him again. It’s just not worth it. He made me to be in communion with him and that’s where I long to be.

And those are just a few of the lessons I learned this past year. I’d love to hear about what other mom’s found themselves learning in that first year too! Hit me up in the comments and share your experience!

I can’t end this post on Josephine’s first birthday without some photos of our little lady from each month of her life thus far. My, how she’s grown and changed from a teeny tiny newborn to a happy and silly baby.

really real one

 

Mission

The September My Life Changed

September 9, 2015

It was September 2003.

I was a itty bitty Freshman at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and had recently rushed Greek Life and became an Alpha Phi.

alpha phi

My pledge class

And that, my friends, is where the Lord changed my life.

WHAT?!?!

Who goes to college, joins a sorority, and THEN meets Jesus?

Me.

It definitely wasn’t part of my plan but it all makes sense looking back…

You see, I grew up Catholic and definitely knew a lot about God. There were even times where I would say I was close-ish to God. But a personal, intimate friendship day in and day out? Nada.

The Spring before college began, a speaker named Jason Evert came and spoke at my High School. He talked about chastity and Jesus. Something began to stir in me that day.  I was tired of going through the motions. I was tired of relationships that were superficial and shallow. I was tired of living for myself and needing to control my life.

I was just tired of living the way I’d been living for so long.

At¬†the end of Jason’s¬†talk when he offered for people to sign a commitment card pledging themselves to Jesus, I sprinted forward and signed the card. I didn’t know what¬†giving your life to Jesus looked like but I wanted it.

Then,¬†I remember praying and asking God to surround me with friends who knew and loved him…so that I could learn how to know and love him.

Back to September 2003. I joined Alpha Phi with the intention of making life-long friendships with my sorority sisters but little did I know that God would use them to answer my prayers in bigger ways.

Within one week of joining the house, I was given an invitation to join a bible study and attend a Greek fellowship on campus sponsored by a non-denominational ministry. I have no other way to describe what began to occur within me than to use the word transformation.

biblie study

My first bible study leader Danielle (Gamma Phi Beta) on the right.

Every time I opened the bible, it was as if the words were JUMPING off the pages at me. The scriptures were alive and I could feel the presence of Christ. I was hearing truth preached at the weekly Greek meeting and at Mass on Sundays. Truth I had absolutely been exposed to my ENTIRE LIFE but was deaf to. It was as if my ears were unplugged and I could finally hear what God had to say to me.

I was challenged to surrender myself to God. To accept that I indeed was a sinner. That I couldn’t save myself from my sin…only Jesus could. ¬†I was challenged to give him my plans. My dreams. My hopes. My desires. And to follow him wherever he would call me.

And so I did.

On one hand I was experiencing more joy than I’d ever known. God was filling me to the brim with His presence and it was such an exciting ride. On the other hand, I was a freshman in college. The whole Jesus thing didn’t exactly jive with the Greek scene I was now part of. I felt torn often but God continued to fill me with peace. I was on the right path in following him and he provided me with strength to live for him.

That September I learned how to pray on a more intimate level than simply reciting learned prayers, as good as those prayers were. I dusted off my bible and began to study it. I found other Christians and experienced what authentic and deep friendships can look like. My mind, heart, and soul were renewed. My life completely transformed.

It’s been twelve years since I was that little spring chicken in college. So very much has changed…except the one thing I became sure of that September: I am a sinner in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only one worth living for and the only true source of lasting peace, joy, and happiness in this world. And that will never change.

If you also would like to know him in a more intimate way, shoot me an email and we can talk more offline. I would love to help you encounter Him.

Catholicism, Infertility

God Is Always Good

June 20, 2014

Ever read the book of Job?

To sum it up,¬†life is going really well for Job. He’s got lots of kids, land, sheep, camels, etc. For the time in which he lived, Job was more or less Bill Gates. You couldn’t miss the abundance of God’s blessing on his life.¬†Job was also was a God-fearing man, so he knew where his blessings came from.

If you fast forward a bit to a conversation between God and Satan about our man Job, things begin to change. (Not sure I ever want to be the topic of such conversations…)

In summary, God brings up Job proudly and points out what a faithful follower he is. Then Satan points out that it’s not like Job has had any reason to NOT be faithful, everything going so well for the guy and all. Satan even bets that if God stopped this abundance of blessing, Job would likely be singing a different tune altogether…and not one of praise but of curse.

God then permits Satan to test Job’s faithfulness by allowing him to curse all Job has except his very life.

And it begins. Job’s life falls apart piece by piece. All his hard work, dreams, and health begin to be shred a part.¬†Job’s support starts to dwindle away. His friends and even his own wife began to question WHY Job was staying faithful through such hardship. Despite it all, Job does NOT curse God and deny his faith.

I want to highlight my absolute favorite verse in the book of Job. It’s straight from his lips right when everything is starting to fall a part:

Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshiped.¬†And he said, ‚ÄúNaked I came from my mother‚Äôs womb, and naked shall I return; the¬†Lord¬†gave, and the¬†Lord¬†has taken away; blessed be the name of the¬†Lord.‚ÄĚ(emphasis added) Job 1:20-21

that’s something we don’t hear much of in our comfort, perfection, and blessing obsessed society. Just log in to Facebook once and you will see that 99.9% of the posts (if relating to God in any way, shape, or form) will be praises of God in times of blessing. Now, there is nothing wrong with praising God when times are going swimmingly. We should!!! But, it’s all too easy to ONLY praise God when things are going well. It’s really hard¬†to privately or publicly praise the Lord in times of suffering and hardship.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, of course, in relation to our battle with infertility. I cannot claim that the pain in my life looks exactly like Job’s because that would be a gross overstatement and dramatization. However, ¬†infertility is the worst suffering I’ve ever experienced and I find myself relating to many of Job’s questions to God.

With infertility, I feel like so much potential for good has been stripped from our life. That many¬†hopes and dreams we had have been shattered, since much of them involved children. Unlike Job I can’t say “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away…” because the Lord has simply not given any children¬†to be taken away. It’s tempting to feel like the Lord has simply withheld. Or to think that “better” people receive the blessing of children from the Lord but not us because we must be undeserving or bad.

Another line from Job sticks out and brings me closer to the entire point of this post:

“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”¬†In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10

Job, who had everything and then watched it all be taken away, simply states that we should receive whatever the Lord gives to us…and to praise him despite the circumstances we face.¬†That’s incredilby hard to do, especially in our culture today that is hyper-focused on positive, instagramable, pintrest-worthy lives.

The way in which it’s become so EASY to publicly praise God when things are going well sets us all up for something dangerous.

A subtle lie.

The lie that God is only good in times of blessing. That God is only worth praising when things are hunky-dory.

And that is so untrue. God is always good. No matter what our circumstances look like. And our praise? It’s even more powerful when we’re NOT in a season of blessing. When we’re in a season of *$#@ and we can still shout “GOD IS GOOD!” That’s when that statement will hold the most power because it’s a tested statement.

Who¬†wouldn’t shout God’s praises when everything is sailing along nicely and everything is going according to their plans? It’s those times of hardship when Christians need to step up and proclaim God’s faithfullness and goodness. That will speak volumes. I actually think Christians, specifically Catholics with a deep history of redemptive theology ,¬†need to show people how to suffer with hope. They need to know how to allow God’s goodness and mercy to show up in rough and painful times. They need to be taught how to cling to God when it feels like God has turned on them.

I¬†want¬†to praise God in the midst of infertility but it’s hard because of all the anger, fear, and rage I feel inside… He knows my desires even if it’s not always shown in my actions but I have a deep need to proclaim his goodness – for my own sake and for the sake of anyone else reading this who will inevitably run into suffering now or in their future.

I need¬†to testify that GOD IS STILL GOOD even in a life filled with struggle, pain, and un-fulfilled desires.¬†I’ve seen examples of others testify to this when a family endures a tragic illness with a child or an untimely death and they still choose to praise God in the storm. Those proclamations have encouraged me. They’ve given me hope and gratitude that we have a God who can redeem anything, no matter how dark and scary it may be….even if we don’t¬†see that redemption yet.

They’ve inspired me to cling to hope…and I want…I need to do the same.

I don’t want to adopt a kiddo or have a miraculous pregnancy someday (hopefully sooner than later, Lord!) and only THEN praise God. It will be easy to praise God then. You will have to strap me down to keep me from praising God wherever I go. His blessing and goodness will be palpable and clearly seen.

That’s why right here, right now, in the midst of a season of *$#@, I testify that GOD IS STILL GOOD! He is now and will be forever, no matter WHAT happens with our family. God will take care of us and YOU even if we don’t know how it will look.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth.” Psalm 34:2