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Find Your Dream

6 Dec

I’ve watched The Sound of Music a million times, but hearing the lyrics for Climb Ev’ry Mountain on last night’s The Sound of Music Live show on NBC totally got me excited in a whole new way! It’s such a beautiful song!

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Climb every mountain, search high and low.
Follow every byway, every path you know.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream.
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
all the love you can give,
Every day of your life
for as long as you live.

Climb every mountain, search high and low.
Follow every byway, every path you know.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream.
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.

-Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, The Sound of Music

I love the middle part of the song, especially! Following God’s will always requires sacrifice and love. What a beautiful way to describe a vocation! I’m thankful that I’ve found my dream of being a wife and mother!

Did you catch The Sound of Music on TV last night? What did you think?

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5 Quotes about Gratitude

27 Nov

I’ve been coming across a lot of great quotes lately, especially in regards to gratitude. Since Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, I thought that I’d share five bits of wisdom about thankfulness!

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Source: Biblia.com

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Source: Plain Grace (free printable)

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PowerPoint Background using Colossians 2:6-7

Source: Heartlight.org

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Source: Plain Grace (free printable)

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Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

I Am a Sinner

22 Nov

Satan wants me to be comfortable. He wants me to take my life for granted; to not notice the little blessings given to me each day. Satan wants me to think that I have it all together, because if this were true, why would I need to seek God?

The devil doesn’t want me to share my weaknesses; to admit that I am broken and need God’s grace.

Satan doesn’t want me to notice that I rarely pick up the Bible next to my bed or admit that I sometimes get too caught up in housework instead of spending time with my girls. Or that I hesitate to help others when it might inconvenience me too much. The devil doesn’t want me to acknowledge that I know he is behind any fear and resistance that I have been battling.

Why am I typing this stuff? Simply because I have read some amazing books by saintly authors lately. The Holy Spirit has been weaving some beautiful wisdom together in my mind. Hopefully, I can now articulate what has been knocking me over the head…

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“I am a sinner.” That’s the response that Pope Francis gave in his recent interview for America Magazine, when asked to describe who he was. These are the first words that came to mind of one of the holiest men on earth! What a humble example of who we are all called to be as Christians!

At the time that I read the aforementioned, A Big Heart Open to God article, I had just finished reading a section in Melody Green’s book, No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green, about her musician husband and how he started a “revival” in their community of new Christians. Keith had read a book by Charles Finney that discussed the concept of “fallow ground,” and this motivated him to confess his sins to his friends, ask for forgiveness, and turn grace into action on a whole new level. On page 269, Melody writes:

Keith explained, “Fallow ground is ground that was once tilled, but has since gotten hard and unusable. Before it can receive seed, it needs to be broken up and made soft again. Finney says to break up the fallow ground of our heart, we need to examine our motive, actions, and state of mind very carefully…” Keith quoted Finney again. “There are many professing Christians who are willing to do almost anything in religion that does not require self-denial. They are so far from realizing that self-denial is a condition of discipleship that they do not even know what it is!”

Keith was passionate about fighting hypocrisy among Christians and urged one another to move beyond “easy” grace.

For anyone out there familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, you know that this is just like his term, “cheap grace.” In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer states, “Happy are they who know that discipleship simply means the life which springs from grace, and that grace simply means discipleship.”

Many Christians accept God’s gift of grace without accepting that we are also made to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him while on this earth. We are made to know our brothers and sisters in Christ; to love them and to serve them. This requires action…discipleship…grace.

We are not to take our amazing free redeeming gift of salvation and keep it to ourselves. Matthew 5:13-16 states:

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.

Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

“Getting saved” isn’t a one time thing, it is a a continuous accepting of Jesus by the choices that we make. Dr. Timothy Gray states in Walk the Walk: Following Christ as His Disciple, “Denial is always preceded by distance. Follow Jesus at a distance, and that discipleship will eventually end up in denial – denying Jesus.” He also states, “To not act on our belief – on our Christian thoughts – makes those Christian thoughts completely fruitless and vain.”

Can we ever do anything to earn grace? No, of course not. God freely gives us his love and mercy over and over again. Grace should inspire thankfulness – a heart overflowing with gratitude for something that we can never deserve. Thankfulness humbles us. Thankfulness is the key to joy.

I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and her book is absolutely filled with numerous ways we receive grace and blessings. She says:

Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks- take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks- and He miraculously makes it more than enough.

When we have more than enough, we share. We share our joy, our blessings, our hope, so that others will seek Jesus, accept His grace, and follow Him. We are called to live radically and walk boldly in faith. Without God’s grace we are nothing, and this is precisely why we owe our lives to Him. This is why we should want the Lord to till our hardened soil and plant seeds of love in our hearts.

I am a sinner. A thankful sinner. A thankful sinner who wants to shine His light.

Fear & Resistance

14 Nov

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Blogging is freaking me out right now!

Yes, I’ve been busy and distracted the past few months with the house being on the market, car issues, and the upcoming holidays, but I’ve also felt a resistance that has been keeping me from completing half-finished posts. I’m a little bit at a crossroads of how to move forward.

I’m the type of person who wants things to be done right and if I can’t do whatever needs to be done as well as it needs to, I tend to give up and walk away. This is why I dabble in a lot of different things, but I’m not really a master of anything… There are a lot of things that I enjoy, but when it comes to working hard, sacrificing, and focusing on only one particular thing I tend to back off at some point. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to put pressure or stress on myself, I’m afraid of failing, or I don’t want to look like an idiot. If I’m being honest, it’s probably all of the above!

Trust me, I’m not trying to take myself too seriously with this blogging stuff, but I do want to contribute something that’s meaningful – something that matters. I love reading what my contemporaries have to say and feeling connected to their dreams and struggles. It is encouraging to be a part of a community full of young Christian wives and mothers trying to live their vocations the best that they can! I admire what so many other bloggers are doing. It’s easy, though, to start feeling inadequate and to question the importance of my little voice being heard among the crowd.

Something that I have come to realize recently is that I shouldn’t really be focusing so much on what kind of unique perspective I can offer, but just focusing on the truth that God is revealing to me. I have been doing a lot of great reading lately by saintly authors and so many ideas are linking together and overlapping so much that I know what I’m reading is true. There is something to be said about the cliches “great minds think alike” and “there is power in numbers!” The more we Christians speak the truth and share our faith journey, the more we may have an impact on others. The more that the messages we share are alike, the better!

Many of us are at different points in our relationship with Jesus. Some people are further along the journey and some are just starting to put things together, but there are those out there who are right there with us and something just might click and make sense in a way that others wouldn’t be able to do. I’m talking as much to myself as to anybody when I say, “Keep sharing your God-given wisdom and personal story!”

I know that this fear I’m dealing with right now of “not being good enough” is coming from Satan. I’m determined to resist the temptation to take the easy road and keep my blog on the back-burner. The devil wants me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.

I know that what I write may not always be “Strunk and White”-approved or contain eloquent revelations, but I’m not going to let that stop me from offering encouragement and evangelizing. I also don’t want to cut ties with these amazing ladies who constantly inspire me and give me hope in this crazy, broken world (see blogroll below for some of my favorites).

Thanks to those of you who have checked in on A Dreamer’s Wife now-and-then. I appreciate your support and I plan to fit blogging into my life as much as I can in the upcoming months. I will be grateful for any prayers as I re-focus on my blog’s future and my Faithful Dreamers project (that I can’t wait to share one of these days). God bless and dream big!

Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. -Luke 12:7

Nominate Catholic Difference-Makers Under 30!

11 Oct

During one of the rare times that I have checked my Twitter feed in the past couple of weeks, I came across an amazing “contest” via @FOCUSequip yesterday!

30 under 30: Spotlighting Top Young Catholics – Nominations

FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is looking for 30 individuals under 30 years old who are making a difference in the Catholic Church and changing the world!

This is so up my alley! Although it was hard to choose only one, I just finished nominating Tori Harris, who I featured as my Dreamer in the Spotlight in August.

I know us fellow bloggers are inspired by so many of our peers, so let’s recognize them! Please consider nominating a special young adult who is committed to allowing God to work through him/her to reach others!

I hope my excitement is oozing out of this post, because I. AM. VERY. EXCITED. about this! I love sharing and reading about people who are dreaming big and doing God’s will! I will definitely be following up on the chosen 30!

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to nominate someone!!

What I Learned about Love from My Grandparents

4 Oct

Last month, my grandparents celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary!

20131003-210447.jpgMy grandparents dancing at my wedding in 2005

When Adam, the girls, and I, took our annual fall trip to South Bend this past weekend, we visited my grandma and grandpa. This was the first time that I saw my grandmother in the nursing home that she moved into a few months ago – and the first time she didn’t remember who I was. We had such a nice visit, though, and she loved seeing her great-granddaughters, even though she didn’t realize who they were in relation to her!

My grandma has vascular dementia. My grandfather tried to take care of her as long as he could at their home, but it became too difficult, even with some in-home care.

20131003-210530.jpgMy grandma, grandpa, and me

During our visit in the nursing home that beautiful fall Friday morning, I was able to see what real, sacrificial love looks like.

Real love is…

…combing your wife’s hair when she can’t do it herself.
…picking out a pretty shade of pink nail polish so she can have her nails done.
…pushing your wife in a wheelchair while your great-grandkids dump acorns and leaves in her lap.
…holding hands while listening to the Swing Sisters provide musical entertainment for the residents.
…visiting twice a day every day because it’s so hard to be apart.

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Acorn-dumping in progress! (Go Irish!)

My grandpa also shared with me this poem that he found in the newspaper.

    Alzheimer’s

Don’t ask me to remember,
Don’t try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you’re with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different, though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don’t fail to stand beside me!
Love me ’til my life is done.

-Unknown

Caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s, may be one of the most selfless, loving things anyone can do.

My grandparents have been such a blessing in my life, and still are! If you have a moment, please offer a prayer for them! I’ll pray that all you married couples will enjoy 58 years together, too!

What if the Grass Isn’t Greener?

12 Jul

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Have you ever read or heard something and felt like it was written or spoken just for you?

I had that experience yesterday morning when I opened up my daily 3 Things for Mom post in my inbox. Lisa Hendey was Thursday’s contributor and what she wrote in the first few paragraphs really resonated with me.

“Never leave one good party in search of another,” was one of the bits of wisdom my parents passed along to me before I left home for college. “The party down the hall isn’t any more fun than the one you’re already enjoying.”

My Mom and Daddy were always the life of any party, the first onto the dance floor and the last to leave it, the first to RSVP and the last to hug the host goodbye at the end of the night. Their wholesome “partying” is an example of the rest of their commitment to living life fully.

It turns out that this bit of wisdom works well for many of life’s other circumstances too: for career, for investments, and for marriage and family life.

Click here to read the rest of Lisa’s post.

The reason this spoke to me so much yesterday, is because Adam and I are contemplating putting our house on the market. An unexpected blessing this week nudged us to take this idea more seriously – and we are.

The thing is, though, that we are really happy. Life is good. We love our family. We know that we are blessed and despite some minor frustrations, like neighbors who park their cars in their yards, we are filled with joy everyday.

Adam and I are trying to be objective about this whole selling/buying thing. Ideally, it would be nice to live in a better, newer neighborhood where there are sidewalks for the girls, everyone keeps their yards properly maintained, and cars aren’t speeding by. Now is probably the time to buy before interest rates climb back to where they were.

So, the plan is to spruce the house up as quickly as possible and get it ready to list by the end of the month. We’ll see if we can get an offer that meets our bottom line. If not, we’ll probably just stay put, as we really aren’t under any pressure to move.

My worry, though, is that we’ll sell, and then not be able to find a house that meets our needs and wants in our price range. We also don’t want to be greedy, as if we are not grateful for the home that we have lived in for five years.

What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side? What if this party is better? When do you know if it’s better to stay put or if it’s time to step out in faith?

I’ll keep you posted… 🙂

Five Favorites (vol. 11)

1 Jul

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It’s time for another Five Favorites with Hallie!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago, that I was in the middle of reading Matthew Kelly’s The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. I have now finished it, and there were a handful of quotes that really stood out to me, although most of the book is highlight-worthy! So, here are five of my favorite passages from this book!

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I just love all of these quotes – so inspirational and so true!

Have you read The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic yet? What inspired you?

A Reflection on 8 Years of Marriage

25 Jun

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The above photo is one of my favorites! Adam and I were so happy to share this special day with so many of our close friends and family members! I remember not wanting to leave the next day to drive from Indiana down to Tennessee, because it was so wonderful to be around so many people I loved at one time! Occasions like this must be a small taste of what heaven will be like!

Today marks our 8th wedding anniversary! Here we are – a dog, a conversion, a house, two kids, and a 30th birthday later! AND HAPPIER THAN EVER! We truly feel so blessed to have been called to this vocation. We’ve had to go through growing pains, just like any couple does, especially in the first few years and when adjusting to the life-altering event of a first child! We’ve yelled, thrown things, cried, rolled our eyes, and slept on the edges of our beds as far apart as possible… There have been plenty of moments that we’re not proud of, but we have come through every challenge and emerged closer and stronger because of them!

It’s amazing how much things improved when we began TRULY putting God at the center of our marriage and surrendered our will to His! We mutually sacrificed more for each other and the good of our family. (It’s interesting how kids quickly change our priorities for the better, huh?! We’re forced to be selfless and re-examine our lives!) We started focusing on daily blessings and treasuring small moments. Joy has multiplied in our family in recent months!

A couple years ago, we both began journeys of seeking out God’s will and really being open to whatever He asks of us. I started devouring life-changing books about inspirational and faithful people with great wisdom! (I currently have quite a stack on my bedroom dresser waiting to be tackled!) I asked God to help me with my quickness to anger towards Adam, and you know what? He did! I’m happy to say that God’s grace has shaped me into a much more understanding and positive wife!

Adam began facing a lot of family hurt that had kept him in an emotional prison. He buried his former vision of his fantasy music career and started asking God how his talents should be used in the context of keeping his family his main priority. He started listening to Catholic radio again and watching impactful documentaries. He read (listened to) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Adam has grown into a joy-filled man full of confidence and conviction.

It has been eight years of chiseling and sharpening each other for heaven! It is a tragedy that so many couples abandon their vows before they experience the joy of a bond made stronger after facing adversity with forgiveness, faith, and hope. God-willing, eight years is just the beginning of our married journey! We know there are many years of change and challenge ahead (and probably some more eye-rolling on my part!), but with God at the center our love will endure!

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

Present in His Presence

21 Jun

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Relaxing peacefully on a lime green float in my parents’ pool, I felt the cool water flow between my fingers and the soft breeze ruffle my hair. The birds chirped, tweeted, and sang around me. I had just begun thinking about how nice it was to escape during my daughters’ nap-time to quietly enjoy the gift of nature, when I suddenly felt the warmth of the sun on my face. It was as if the clouds parted just for me and God was saying, “I’m here.”

This was a rare moment of serenity, and I soaked up every bit of it! I don’t get many opportunities to “sit in the classroom of silence,” as author Matthew Kelly says. During this hour-long vacation, it was easy to be fully present and experience God.

What’s not so easy, though, is being aware of God’s presence in the rush of everyday life.

The very next morning after my blissful time in the pool, it was back to reality! I was getting ready for work in the morning, when my four-year-old, “C”, had a meltdown in the hallway because she wasn’t able to open “Little A’s” bedroom door and say “Good morning.” “Little A” had woken up before “C” and was already eating breakfast and watching Caillou on the iPad. As I walked into the kitchen to try to calm her down, I noticed that the floor had been splattered with soggy cereal and milk due to a bowl that was dumped off of the high chair tray. Shortly after cleaning this up, I had to toss “Little A’s” favorite blanket and stained pink “Baby” in the washing machine. This resulted in crying and frustration on her part.

During this chaotic morning, I realized that God is present right now, too. This thought – this truth – allowed me to have more patience and empathy than I probably would have been able to muster otherwise.

The more aware we are of God’s presence, especially in everyday situations, the more we will be able to handle things gracefully and respond to promptings from the Holy Spirit. We are more likely to focus on relationships and not distractions. The more we live fully in the present, the more we are aware of God’s blessings. And as I discussed in last week’s post, the more thankful we are, the more joy we radiate!

How have you noticed God being present in your life today?!