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Monthly Archives

September 2015


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.


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


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.


4 Reasons We Love Baby Led Weaning

September 3, 2015

Imagine you lived long long ago, as a cave woman.

You also had a little cave baby who recently began to show an interest in food in addition to the wonderful and exclusive breastmilk you had supplied up to that point.

So what would you do?

Drive down to Target, wander down aisle three, and grab the pureed cave baby food in neatly stacked jars and pouches?

No. You did not do that.

What you did was give your baby real food. And that, my friends, is at the heart of Baby Led Weaning (BLW).

Here in this post I want to discuss what BLW is, how to know if your baby is ready for it, and 4 reasons we LOVE it for our family.

baby led weaning


First things first, let’s clarify what we mean by “weaning” so as not to scare you prematurely.

Many people think of weaning as the end of breastfeeding (or formula if you use it), but in actuality, weaning simply refers to the beginning of the introduction of foods beyond milk. So when baby has her first taste of solid food, the weaning process has begun.The World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed up to two years and beyond. Josie and I are still going strong nearly 10 months into our breastfeeding journey and we have no plans to stop anytime soon despite the fact that she eats real food.

So, What Is Baby Led Weaning?

It is simply allowing the baby to eat table food on his own timetable and of his own volition. It doesn’t involve spoon-feeding pureed homemade foods into his mouth (there are exceptions like yogurt and oatmeal…at least until they learn how to use a spoon), and it doesn’t involve weirdly colored mixtures in a jar from a store. It is intentionally respectful to his personhood and his choices.

It goes a little something like this:

Make dinner. Serve the family. Place a bit on baby’s tray. Watch him explore and enjoy. If he likes, he will eat it. If not, he won’t. The end.

4 Reasons We Love Baby Led Weaning

1. Simple McSimpleson

Guess what I don’t have time for?

Buying baby food.

Puree-ing my own baby food.

Meal-time battles over getting baby to eat baby food.

Finally getting to eat my (now cold) meal when baby has finished said baby food.

In BLW, the baby explores and feeds himself while you eat your own food. You simply prepare the meal you were going to eat anyway, but place some of that food on the baby’s tray and let them have at it.

Sure, this can get messy, but that is why bibs and wash clothes exist. Oh and if you want the lazy man’s clean up, try getting a dog.

2. Helps build appreciate for a wide variety of textures, shapes, colors, and tastes.

One of the reasons we chose BLW in the beginning was because we don’t want to battle a picky eater down the road. Baby Led Weaning exposes the baby to lots of diversity and texture early on, creating less pickiness in the long run.

Josie’s first meal was lox and capers. She LOVED it and we want to encourage a bold and varied palate. Ain’t nobody got time to make Mac N Cheese everyday.

BLW also allows baby to decide when he is full, helping him develop a healthy sense of satiety.

Many studies have actually found that forcing a child to finish their plate no matter what can contribute to over-eating habits later in life, from not being allowed to develop and listen to their own sense of when they’ve had enough.

3. It Keeps Us Healthy

Jonathan and I prefer to follow the raw food philosophy of eating food in its natural form as much as possible, without adulteration or factory processing.

Key word there is….prefer.

We don’t always do it and there are times when we are tempted to eat something super unhealthy. By doing BLW, it gaurantees that at least SOMETHING at every meal will be healthful. Our goal is for the entire meal to be healthy for all but sometimes we just need to clog our arteries or send our insulin levels through the roof…but at least we serve veggies for Josie on the side now! 🙂

4. Promotes Hand-Eye Coordination and Chewing

Babies who are allowed to practice baby-led weaning are likely to more easily develop hand-eye coordination, and be able to be self-sufficient in feeding fairly quickly.

Josie was given her first taste of food on Mother’s Day, which happened to be the date she turned 6 months old. Sure, that first attempt she grabbed food and attempted to get it into her mouth but missed and put it in her eye. But within a week or two she had the technique down. She’s an old pro at pinching/sweeping up food and getting it into her mouth. Soon enough she will be using her own spoon and fork to feed herself at mealtimes.

Babies who do BLW aslo learn how to chew BEFORE they learn how to swallow. When they are given purees it’s the opposite, which is why babies only given purees are actually more likely to choke. I know many are afraid of choking in BLW but really there is a HUGE distinction between choking and gagging.

In babies the gagging reflex is triggered very far forward on the tongue vs in adults where the gag response is triggered near the back of the tongue. So if baby takes a bite that is too large to swallow, they will gag and work it out. The chunk of food ends up being spit out and baby learns to take smaller bites in time. You should stay calm if the baby begins to gag, turn red, or get watery eyes. They will work it out. Now, if baby doesn’t make ANY sound or turns blue, then you need to perform basic first aid measures to remove the blockage.

Tips and Tricks
  • Never leave a baby unattended with food.
  • Read the book “Baby Led Weaning” or take a class before getting started.
  • Join the FB Group for Baby Led Weaning to ask questions and get support.
  • Embrace the mess. Baby playing with food and exploring it helps build a positive relationship with eating later in life.
  • All babies have different appetites. Some will eat a lot straight away (Josie) and others will just play for months before eating.
  • Avoid choking hazards, like nuts and seeds. Oh, and no honey until after a year.
  • There is no need to cut food into tiny little portions. Babies grabbing chunks of food like a chicken leg or a whole strawberry and gumming off pieces is half the fun.
  • It’s recommended that Baby Lead Weaning wait until baby can sit up on their own, express an interest in food, be able to feed themselves, and be at least 6 months in age.

So what are you waiting for?

Set the table (and throw some chunks on baby’s highchair tray) and let the fun begin!


How to Attend Financial Peace University for FREE

September 1, 2015
It’s THAT time of year again!
It’s time for a giveaway around the True Good and Beautiful blog!

What are we giving away? (Like you don’t have us figured out here yet…) 😉


To say that Dave Ramsey has a huge influence on how we choose to live in the understatement of the year.

Using his materials and methods are the sole reasons we are debt-free and living on a budget today. His message has literally changed our lives.

And we can’t help but pass along this opportunity to others.

Nope, this opportunity was not sponsored by Dave Ramsey.

We simply believe so powerfully in the freedom that comes in handling money God’s way that we want to pay it forward to someone else. We want to bless an individual or family who would benefit from going through this class.

In fact, we did this giveaway last year and this is what one winner had to say:

“Since then (attending FPU), I’ve felt much more financial freedom in the knowledge that this is something God and I are doing together, and at the end of the day, He’s calling the shots.”

What is Financial Peace University (FPU)?

“Financial Peace University is a nine-week class on money taught by America’s most trusted financial guru, Dave Ramsey. Dave and his teaching team will walk you through the basics of budgeting, dumping debt, planning for the future, and much more!”

You can see a sample of all nine lessons here.

Most classes start in a couple of weeks, hence the giveaway. You can see a list of locations, dates, and times at the FPU website. If you’re in the Denver area, consider joining the class we’re coordinating (starts Thursday, Sept 24, 2015).

Jonathan and I have attended and facilitated Financial Peace University and it’s been a huge blessing in our life and parish. If you could benefit from sprucing up your finances or demolishing old habits and starting over, then sign up to win one of these classes we are giving away.

It literally can change your life and the lives of those around you.

Lastly – I shouldn’t have to say this but…if you know you will not complete all nine classes and take the class seriously, DO NOT ENTER THIS CONTEST! If you are ready to dive in and apply yourself in class, ENTER ALL YOU CAN! We want to make sure the people with the right attitudes are the ones who win this opportunity.

Best of luck!