Archives

Catholicism

I Was About to Leave the Church Then THIS Happened

September 11, 2015

I arrived on campus planning to leave the Catholic Church. I’d become disillusioned with religion over the last few years, and now that I was out of Mom and Dad’s house, it was time to stop going to church.

Then I got a phone call.

Matt, from Catholic Campus Ministry wanted to get together. He got my number from a contact card I filled out (under Mom and Dad’s insistence) when we visited over the summer.

I wasn’t against the Church or God, I just didn’t care that much. Matt seemed nice enough, and I thought I’d be a jerk to say no to meeting, so we set a time to grab a bite.

We got together, and it turned out that Matt wasn’t some crazy religious nut. He was actually a pretty cool guy. After talking for a bit, Matt invited me to a new student event at the chapel. I had no reason to say no, so I said yes.

At the event, Matt introduced me to some other freshman guys. They were cool, friendly, stand-up dudes. These were guys I wanted to hang out with. They also happened to love Jesus.

I hung out with these guys, and they started rubbing off on me. They were all going on a retreat, so I did too. That retreat sealed the deal.

At that retreat I met 40 people who cared about me like nobody else I’d met yet on campus. These people had a joy that was unknown to me. I went to confession, (and laughed in it!) I prayed in Eucharistic adoration for the first time.

When I got back to campus, I joined Matt’s Bible study. I decided to spent more time with my Catholic friends. I attended daily Mass several times a week. Matt taught me how to pray. Before I knew it, I had a new way of looking at the world. I learned that God loved me, made me for a relationship with him, and became man and died to ensure I’d be able to enter into that relationship. Everything had changed.

And it never would have happened if Matt wouldn’t have called, if those other freshman guys didn’t welcome me in, if the Catholic Campus Ministry at George Mason University wouldn’t have made the decision to share the Gospel and evangelize the Campus. When we choose to leave our comfort zone and share Jesus, lives change. I know, because mine did.

Catholicism

5 Destinations for Your Catholic Road Trip – Northeast Edition

August 9, 2015

There’s nothing like a road trip to bring together a group of friends, and nothing makes a road trip better than great destinations. For all of who live in the in the Northeast or have a desire to road trip there, here are a few places I suggest you visit (paired with some great eats nearby):

1. The Abbey of the Genesee – Genesee, New York

This Trappist monastery, located in rural Western New York, is home to about 30 cloistered monks. They spend their days (waking up at 2:15 AM!) praying and working. To support their monastic lifestyle the monks of the Abbey of the Genesee bake bread which they sell at the monastery and in grocery stores throughout western New York. Not only can you buy every variety of Monk’s Bread at the monastery (including monastery exclusive unsliced maple cinnamon) you can join the monks in praying Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day!

Tip: After spending time with the monks, head into nearby Geneseo and go to Pizza Paul’s for the half-sub, half-calzone subzone.

 

2. St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal – Montreal, Quebec

254_365_sep10

St. Andre was the main driver behind building an oratory in honor of St. Joseph, which has been enlarged multiple times over the years. There’s a lot to explore and see nowadays, but my two favorites were seeing St. Andre’s heart (they took it out and put it in a glass box!) and the hall honoring a dozen or so of the many titles of St. Joseph (e.g. Terror of Demons). There are also multiple places throughout the grounds that are covered in old crutches that people left behind after miraculous healings.

Tip: While in Quebec, you’ve got to grab some poutine, which is french fries and cheese curds covered with brown gravy. Yum!

Bonus Tip: While in town, check out the amazingly beautiful Notre Dame Basilica.

 

3. National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette – Attleboro, Massachusetts

1206042773_4692

This shrine dedicated to Mary’s apparition in La Salette, France is a great visit any time of year, but is exceptional during Christmastime, during which they pull out all the stops with the Christmas Festival of Lights. They deck out the grounds with over a quarter of a million lights.

Tip: Bliss Bros. Dairy is only a 1/2 mile away from the shrine! Stop in for a sundae or milkshake, and be sure to take home a ice cream pizza. Yes, such a thing exists, and yes, it’s everything you want it to be.

4. Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs A.K.A. North American Martyrs Shrine – Auriesville, New York

shrinepan2

This shrine is built where the Mohawk village of Ossernenon stood. This is where St. Isaac Jogues and two of his lay companions were martyred. The other North American martyrs are also celebrated here. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

Tip: Auriesville isn’t exactly a bustling metropolis, and this is the one location on this list I haven’t personally been to. I searched Yelp and found Forever Young’s diner less than 10 miles away. They’re known for their korean-inspired Bolgogi (fire meat) omelet and their thick-cut made from scratch cinnamon raisin toast.

5. Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica – Lackawanna, New York

www.ourladyofvictory

Father Nelson Baker’s heart broke for the poor and beat for Our Lady. Throughout his life, he did much for both. The orphanage he ran was so well known that children were put on trains all over the country with “Father Baker’s” pinned to their clothes, and they railroad staff knew exactly where to take them and made sure they got there. He spearheaded construction of a new church in honor of Our Lady of Victory (a personal favorite of his) and the absolutely beautiful basilica was completed in 1925 for over 3 million dollars without going into debt. (You know I love that!)

Tip: Lackawanna is right next to Buffalo, so head on over to Anchor Bar, birthplace of the Buffalo Chicken Wing, and chow down.

This post highlighted Catholic road trip destinations in the Northeast. Please list any Northeast favorites I missed in the comments, as well as spots to list in future posts about other regions of the country!

Money

The March Budget Breakdown

February 28, 2015

It’s that time again.

Some good ole budget accountability and fun!

A recap from last time…In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month. Then we have a photo link up portion where YOU can upload a photo of your budget committee meeting for the month!

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of March?

  • Vehicle Maintenance
    • Tires
    • Windshield Wipers
    • Oil Change
    • Vehicle Registration and Title Costs
  • St. Patrick’s Day
    • Festive Meal
    • Party
  • Fish Fry
    • Entrance Fees
  • Spring Break expenses
    • Travel
    • Food
    • Activities
  • March Madness
    • Parties
    • Food at Restaurants/Bars
  • Easter
    • Travel
    • Gifts for family/friends becoming Catholic
  • Spring Cleaning Supplies
    • Mop, Broom, Vacuum
    • Organizational boxes
    • Filing Cabinet
  • Expenses Related to Taxes
    • Accountant/CPA
    • Turbo Tax, etc.
    • E-Filing Fees

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund.

However, we purchased a van this month (in the budget) and have to pay registration/title fees which we didn’t have a sinking fund set up for. Therefore, we have to shuffle our budget around to accommodate this cost. It will be a tight month but because of budgeting, we have the freedom to make it all balance and have peace that it will all work out.

Now it’s time for your part!

[inlinkz_linkup id=501274 mode=1]

Money

Dave’s Smart Money Tour: A Review

February 26, 2015

Last week Jonathan and I attended Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan’s newest Live Event – The Smart Money Tour.

live-events-page

This is our review of the event.

Overall, I would rate the event a 10/10 and it not only met our expectations, it exceeded them.

How?

1. Foundational and Fresh

We brought a couple of friends with us, each of us at different places in the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.

Of course, they more or less revolved around those 7 Baby Steps, which could have seemed boring for us since we’ve read the book, coördinated Financial Peace University, etc.

But they repackaged and condensed the timeless principles alongside new stories and partially a new voice – Chris Hogan.

I will get to him in a moment though.

They did an outstanding job of keeping the old and new fans engaged and inspired throughout the entire event. Below are some nuggets from Jonathan’s Tweet fest.

jontwitter

2. Free Budgeting Software

This may have been the MOST exciting news of the night.

Dave’s team has spent the past few years and a couple million dollars creating budgeting software called Everydollar with an app for your smart phone.

Best part?

It’s FREEEEE!!

everydollar

We’ve been proudly sharing our love of YNAB – You Need a Budget software for over a year now…but this may change our tune.

Free is always better, amirite or amirite?

It launches next month but everyone who attended Smart Money Event received a code to use it EARLY. Boom.

Expect a review on that once it’s up and running. I would love to do a side by side analysis of Dave’s software vs. YNAB.

3. Chris Hogan

This guy is on fire right now.

He’s hilarious, animated, inspiring, and made me cry at least four times with the stories he tells.

Dave was smart to bring this guy on the tour with him. Not that Dave himself isn’t awesome…but it’s great to see him bringing other voices to the Baby Steps and his timeless financial lessons.

Chris also has a new website that I am pumped to use. It’s for retirement forecasting, which can be both motivational and terrifying at the same time.

4. Free Will Kit!

Dave gone and read my mind!

Did you know 78% of people die without a will? That’s CRAZY since 100% of us will die someday.

Now that we have Josie, it’s time to update our life insurance beneficiaries and create a will to navigate those funds in the result of our untimely death. Lord willing it won’t be necessary anytime soon but I will have peace of mind knowing we have a plan for her financially if something, God forbid, should happen to us both.

Below is Josie getting excited about us making a will!

smt

5. Inspiring and Upbeat

The entire event was just a lot of fun!

There were giveaways. A live debt-free scream on stage. And most of all, content that was relevant to all, presented in a way that gave hope.

It wasn’t dry. It wasn’t ordinary. It wasn’t hum drum. It was anything BUT those things. Which isn’t always what you expect when going to a financial seminar.

I love how Dave and his team strive to make learning about money fun and encouraging! Really, it’s what sets him a part in this area.

Overall, I highly recommend this event to others! It’s only happening a few more weeks but keep it in mind if it comes to a city near you in the future!

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

Help This Missionary Family Adopt Their First Child

August 18, 2014

If this is the first time you’ve joined us here on our blog, hello!

We’re Jonathan and Amanda Teixeira. We are in our seventh year as missionaries with FOCUS – The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, our third year of marriage, and in the adoption process for our first child.

This post is a quick update on our adoption journey. 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.