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motherhood

Marriage, Mission, Money

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s been an awesome year around True Good and Beautiful.

2015 brought exciting and new opportunities our way, such as guest posting for Dave Ramsey (!!!!) and Mama Needs Coffee among a few others. We also branched into some new content since we were parent newbies (still are, who am I kidding!?) at the start of the year. All in all I am happy to say we continued to blog after Josie’s arrival and I know¬†2016 will be an even more exciting year around these parts…more to come so stay tuned ūüėČ

Without further ado, here are your favorite blog posts from the past year:

10. The Adoption Puzzle is Here

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received emails from couples wanting to make an adoption puzzle like ours to help offset adoption costs. Jonathan is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop for this very reason so our puzzle can be ordered in a much easier way! We never thought it would bless so many people! ūüôā

9. 3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

Groceries continue to be the one category in our budget that we bump up against monthly. Following these three tips helps our family stay on track and not bust the budget.

8. How Motherhood Changed My Infertility

Praise you Jesus that I got to write a blog post like this…I thought I would never get to while we were battling infertility for years on end.

7. New Here? Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Our Dave Ramsey blog post brought nearly 25,000 people to the True Good and Beautiful blog in only a few short days! It was exciting and such an honor.

6. Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!

And oldie but a goodie! Here you can follow our debt-free journey on The Dave Ramsey Show and hear about how broke we were when we got married! Hahaha. Even on a low income we were able to obliterate debt…sometimes I look back and am shocked since I don’t think we could do that now.

5. My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

I am always glad to see this one in the top blog posts for the year. We write about a LOT of topics here on the blog but really infertility is probably the closest to my heart. I am thankful to provide a resource for couples to find quality infertility bloggers to help them in their journey. It’s how I stayed afloat in our battle and I’ll do anything to throw a lifesaver overboard to others in the same fight.

4. The Husband’s Guide to Breastfeeding

God. Bless. Jonathan. Seriously this past year I had some serious breastfeeding anxieties and he stepped up the plate in a big way. He truly had the heart of a servant and supported me every step of the way. I don’t think Josie and I would still be nursing at nearly 14 months if it wasn’t for him.

3. How and Why I Induced Lactation

Another one I have gotten LOTS of inquiries about from fellow adoptive Mommas. I am so glad that my breastfeeding journey has inspired others and given them confidence to try!

2. God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

Hands down my favorite blog post from this past year. We have a father who keeps his promises and I only wished I trusted him far more.

1. I Was About to Leave The Church and Then THIS Happened

Jonathan’s conversion story from his time in college. He was apathetic in his faith and God put a new fire in his heart through some quality friendships.

Happy New Year True Good and Beautiful family!

Tex112

Much Love from Jonathan, Amanda, Josephine, and Wrigley ūüôā

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

 

Parenting

Gaining 30 lbs in 6 months (And How I’m Trying to Be OK With That)

October 9, 2015

Let’s get something clear – Inducing lactation has been by far the best decision I’ve made so far in becoming a Mom.

Oh, it was crazy hard to do…but totally worth it. The time Josie and I spend together nursing are hands down my favorite moments of the day. It’s bonded us together in such a concrete way. As she gets closer to being a year old, breastfeeding only gets more fun as she learns to play games, do gymnastics, and give me oral and eye exams with her curious little fingers all while eating.

It’s been a complete, unexpected, gift.

But it’s come at a cost.

If you followed my nursing saga here, here, and here, you know just how hard it was to get our nursing relationship going. However, there has been a hardship I haven’t written about yet…because I am embarrassed about it. In order to induce lactation, I had to take a medication called Domperidone. A drug whose side effect is weight gain.

Within six months of starting it, I was up nearly thirty pounds. 

This happened despite eating a gluten and dairy-free diet and walking 10-15 miles per week.

Now, I am not blowing this out of proportion and saying I am now morbidly obese, since that isn’t true. But I am overweight according to a BMI calculator…which is incredibly humbling since weight has absolutely never been a struggle in my life.

Until now.

I never realized how much weight gain would impact my self-esteem. Clothes shopping is hard now, since I can’t fit into the sizes I *think* I still am…sizes that I wore since I was 15 years old up until almost a year ago. I don’t know what I can wear anymore and I find myself wanting to only buy baggy items to hide myself.

I’ve never struggled with body image or thought negatively about my body.

Until now.

I have to fight hard to tell myself that I am still beautiful. Just the other day I had to ask Jonathan if he still was attracted to me…something I never thought I would ask.

At the end of the day, nursing Josie is WORTH the weight gain to me, because it was always about her benefit and not mine. I try to think of it like pregnancy weight, only mine came after the baby I didn’t birth. I focus on the fact it’s temporary, as everything I have read and testimonies I’ve heard talk about the weight just melting off as soon as they go off Domperidone.

But that won’t be today. That’s off in future-land. And I have no guarantees of what my body will do.

For the time being, I am continuing to try to eat as healthy as possible. I am also continuing to exercise by walking and by doing T25 fitness videos. I am trying to buy clothes in my new size that are flattering. Most importantly I am clinging to TRUTH that I am a beautiful daughter of God who will never be defined by her weight, shape, or size.

That’s all I can do for now.

If anyone else has struggled down this path, I would love to hear from you. Encouragement, inspiration, support, comradery…anything you’ve got I want to hear it! ūüôā

Catholicism

Why I Wanted To Hate #Edel But Couldn’t

July 26, 2015

The Edel Gathering for Catholic women was July 10-11th in Charleston, SC.

That means this blog post is a bit late to the party. It’s alright to judge me a little. ūüėČ

So who in their right mind would want to hate a conference of Catholic women?

Bitter, jealous, and infertile little old me from one year ago.

I’d heard about the first Edel Gathering and saw all the gushing blog posts that followed. last year. It seemed like in order to attend you needed to have a cool mom blog and tons of kids to blog about.

None of which applied to my life…leaving me feeling completely excluded and on the outside. It was pretty darn easy to hate Edel a year ago.

But then something happened.

God worked on my heart and freed me from former bitterness and jealousy. I became a mom through the blessing of adoption.¬†And¬†a dear friend from college invited me to sign up when I was delirious with an 8-day-old baby at home. ūüôā

I am glad I got to go and actually experience the conference as opposed to sitting on the sidelines making judgey eyes. Below are my biggest takeaways from Edel 2015:

1. Abandonment To God’s Will Leads To Joy

Of course since I had Josephine with me I couldn’t find the ability to actually write down all the amazing quotes shared on this topic…so I can’t really share with you any quality content, just my reflections.

Whoops.

Throughout all the speakers I felt the Holy Spirit telling me LOUD. AND. CLEAR. that only in God’s will for my life is where my joy lies.

Not in someone else’s situation. Not when things are only going “well” according to my standards. Not when I reach x, y, or z state in life that I am not currently at.

His will TODAY is where my joy can be found. Accepting whatever comes with peace and trust with ungripped hands will wash away my stress, anxiety, and fear that all too often hold me captive and unable to live my vocation to the full.

2. I Am Not Alone

If I had $1 for the times I felt alone this past year I’d be a very rich woman indeed.

Staying home with Josie has been undoubtedly one of my BEST decisions but it’s the HARDEST thing I’ve personally ever done.

It was a looooong winter and the days sort of blended together. Thanks be to God I had a few other Mommas I knew going through the same stages with babies almost identical in age to Josephine.

But the loneliness still crept in on those long snowy days. I think the Devil is an expert at isolation in general but it was unreal how lonely I got those days on end where I never left the house.

Just knowing other moms are out there feeling the¬†same thing was comforting. That I’m not a freak or weirdo for battling these feelings as a mom. I needed to know I wasn’t alone.

3. Moms Aren’t My Enemies

If I am being honest, there used to be a part of me that hated moms. Not only because I was battling infertility and was just flat-out jealous of them but because it seemed like they couldn’t talk about anything BUT their kids…which I found annoying.

Moms became an enemy and I preferred to hang with singles or other married-without-kiddos gals.

Since becoming a mom myself I’ve learned at how kind and giving other moms are. I’ve had other moms reach out to me and be some of the most supportive women I now know. And yes, talking about the kids is tempting, but moms can still talk about MUCH more than the kids if given the freedom!

And I met dozens of those women at Edel.

Moms who were my allies and friends…anything BUT my enemy. It was refreshing to meet Catholic moms from all over the country with all types of personalities and interests yet going through the same things vocationally.

It was truly refreshing. I couldn’t hate it at all. ūüôā

Adoption, Catholicism

God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

January 3, 2015

This story has been more or less kept to myself this past year.

It’s quite humbling, as it reveals my lack of faith or hope in God’s providence and His faithfulness despite my shortcomings. All the more reason I need to share it.

But there is a back story…that started 10 years ago. So come with me down memory lane and we will then find ourselves back at the story I need to tell you today….

January 2005 – FOCUS National Conference in Denver, CO

As a Sophomore in college, I accidentally ended up on the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) National Conference last minute due to someone else cancelling the night before. I knew two people going and was super nervous I would have a horrible weekend.

I was away from the Catholic faith at the time, since I was exploring with non-denominational ministries in the local area.

Until this conference.

There is way too much detail involved to share why this conference was a game changer in my faith but I am going to highlight the pivotal moment…

The Eucharist.

Don’t ask me how but I never¬†really knew the Catholic Church taught that communion was ACTUALLY¬†Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity contained within bread.

Whoa.

I remember learning that’s what the church taught…then I wandered into this thing called Eucharistic Adoration. I prayed a simple prayer:

Jesus, if it’s REALLY you, I need to know. Like now. Because if it IS¬†you, I have to be Catholic. If it’s¬†NOT¬†you, I need to stand up and yell “HERETICS!” and try to get as many people to leave the room with me as I can.

Ten years later I still can’t tell you what exactly happened in the moments that followed that prayer.

If I had spiritual goggles on, I predict I would have seen Jesus punching me in the stomach since I ended up on the floor. I was unable to handle the rush of His presence that hit me all at once. I was crying uncontrollably (which is so NOT like me, especially in public) and I recall hearing a non-audible voice say “It’s really me.” Then I was filled with the most peace I’ve ever known in my entire life and I knew I¬†had to be Catholic.

How could I go anywhere but where Jesus was in the Eucharist? I couldn’t

That ¬†moment¬†was etched into my soul and I can’t erase it…even a decade later. I came back to the Catholic faith after that conference and haven’t left since.

In fact, FOCUS has had a conference every January since that first one…and I attended every single year. Call me crazy but every time I went to Eucharistic adoration at conference, God would speak to me in a very clear and specific way¬†to¬†provide insight, peace, or whatever I really needed to hear at the time. Sure, I felt like God spoke other times during the year but whatever was said in that January adoration at the FOCUS conferences was special.

It was like an anniversary gift.

January 2014 – FOCUS Student Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX

Another January (nine years later).

Another FOCUS conference.

Another Eucharistic adoration.

I was riding the struggle bus big time.

Infertility was hitting me hard. It was about that time that I did the Infertility Blog Series over at Hallelujah is My Song (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four). While it felt great to finally go public with our infertility battles, it was tremendously difficult. We were becoming the poster couple for infertility.

Ugh.

Needless to say, my mood was pretty somber and depressed at the FOCUS Student Leadership Summit.

That’s when weird things began to happen.

The day that Eucharistic adoration was going to occur, a couple asked us to have coffee with them. It was mostly work related but then they proceeded to tell us their entire adoption story involving their two kiddos. It was a breath of fresh air and left me with a new bounce in my step.

That afternoon Jonathan and I were really busy so we agreed to meet up for dinner to discuss adoption that evening.

We met for an Italian meal and while we began discussing adoption and if we wanted to go down that path, another family walked in and sat at the table across from us…with their son who came to them via the gift of adoption.

It’s not like there are very many adoptive families in FOCUS. This was all happening because God was up to something and I knew it.

Our dinner conversation went well and we agreed that in 2014 we would get the ball rolling on our adoption journey. We went our separate ways and planned to meet up later that evening.

A few hours later I arrived at adoration. I found my seat and was ready for whatever special grace God wanted to give me this year on our anniversary. Maybe it would be a moment of peace about infertility. Or a sense of conviction that He hadn’t forgotten about us.

Something.

Anything.

I was ready.

And then it came. I inaudibly heard clear as day, “By this time in adoration next year, you will be a mother.”

WHAT?!?!?!

My heart began to pound and I was overcome with emotion. I waffled back and forth Рwas this just my own mind making it up or was God actually speaking to me?!?!

I cried, hoping against hope that it wasn’t simply my desperation fueling what I heard in prayer.

On one hand, I knew it was God speaking to me. On the other, I was nervous to admit it to anyone…even to Jonathan or any spiritual director. I didn’t want to look like a fool¬†just in case God’s promise to me was a puff of smoke made up by an emotional infertile woman.

I didn’t tell a single soul because I was afraid.

But then everything started happening this summer.

It looked like a stronger and stronger possibility that we would adopt in 2014. Could God’s promise to me have ACTUALLY been real? I decided to tell Jonathan and he could hardly believe I’d kept that secret to myself. And that I had spent the better part of a year stewing over if it was just me or if God actually made a promise to me instead of simply trusting.

January 2015 – FOCUS SEEK Conference in Nashville, TN

Tonight, Saturday January 3, 2015 I plan to hunker down in adoration. It will be my 10 year anniversary with Jesus and I will have Josephine Rose Teixeira in tow.

His promise was real. It wasn’t simply a mind game I played on myself.

I am a mother and I am forever grateful to God for this gift and opportunity.

I will likely spend some time crying before the Lord for the ways I doubted his promise this year. I had such little faith that He could change our situation…but He did it and in a mind blowing way.

Not only did it happen super fast but we fundraised nearly the entire cost.¬† We’ve had hundreds of cheer leaders along for the ride.¬†I am still processing what the heck happened in the past five months.

It’s literally been a whirlwind of a story only God himself could write. We are blessed to be along for the ride and can’t wait to see how our family grows as the years go by.

Thanks for tagging along as I share this story and GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD!!!