Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Reading

Ah. Those two words bring back a lot of memories for me. From Hester Prynne to Holden Caulfield I met a lot of characters in my summer reading assignments. Some books I loved and some I struggled to finish (not mentioning any titles...coughcoughGreatExpectationscough). I thought it would be fun to make a summer reading list for myself this year. Here it is:

{currently reading}

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
This book is about a boy and his dog. I don't want to tell you too much because I personally don't like to know too much before I read a book. (I'm the type of gal that would never ever read the end of a book before I get there!) I will also say that I don't consider myself a huge dog-lover...I mean, I like dogs, I just don't LOVE them...and I am enjoying this read so far. I'll keep you posted. 

{a bit of history}

Word on the street (from my husband and some close friends) is that this is a great read. I could use some history in my life, and this book won the Pulitzer. I'm looking forward to sitting down with this!

{summer reading re-reads}
These two books were assigned summer reading in high school, and I'd love to go back for another read of these classics. I don't read very many books more than once, but sometimes with a classic it's great to re-read the book at a different point in your life with a whole new perspective.

{for life}
I've had this book on my shelf for a while now, and I am hoping to finally read it this summer. (Kimberly Hahn also wrote Life-Giving Love : Embracing God's Beautiful Design for Marriage, which I highly recommend, as mentioned here - see question 4.)

I still need to purchase my copy of the book it seems everyone in the Catholic blogosphere is reading and loving.

As I write this post, I realize my list could go on for DAYS! I keep a running list on my phone of books I would like to read. The list currently has over twenty books on it, and all the books I mentioned in this post aren't even on that list...and I have books in my brain that aren't on the phone list either. Oops.

Anywho! That's my summer reading list. (Or at least a start.) I'd like to add something to my list that's just fun summer reading. Do you have any recommendations?

Linking up my list with Jessica at Housewifespice for what we're reading wednesday {aka wwrw}!

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Two Years as One

June sixteenth, two thousand twelve was the happiest day of my life. 
Two years ago today I made a vow. I made a vow to Michael and to God that I would be true to my husband in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I vowed to love him and honor him all the days of my life. 

That's quite a promise to make, especially in the broken world we live in today. Thankfully though, I married a man who, with me, is striving (and failing and striving again) not to live for this world, but for the next. As a married couple we try to lead one another towards heaven. We encourage one another to become more and more the man and woman - the husband and wife - that God calls us to be. Marriage is our vocation, which means "a call." We believe we were called by God to be a living example of His love for the world. We can only do this by God's grace, and heaven knows we mess up (a lot). We are far from perfect; we have so much to learn. But what a gift to be united as one in marriage with my one true love and my very best friend. Thank you, Lord.
Thank you for the most wonderful two years, Michael. Thank you for being my husband, and thank you for choosing me as your bride. I can't wait to see what God has planned for us.

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also do.

And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.

And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,

as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, 
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 

giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

                        {Colossians 3:12-17} - the second reading at our wedding ceremony, 6.16.12

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day {with a child in heaven}

First I want to wish a very happy Father's Day to my dad and my father-in-law! I count myself so, so blessed to have such an amazing dad. He has always made sure I know I have his endless love and support, and that is a true gift. I also must say just how much I adore my father-in-law. Really. I am a lucky girl.

Today I am also wishing my husband a blessed Father's Day.
Goodness, how I love this man. 

We never imagined our first baby would be in heaven for our first Father's/Mother's Days, but nevertheless, that's where our sweet Thomas Gianna is. At home with our Heavenly Father. Thomas Gianna, pray for us.

Speaking from our experience, the father has a difficult role in the event of a miscarriage, a role I think is often overlooked and undervalued. While the father does not have the physical burden to bear, this is no reason to discount his experience. The reality is, we had a miscarriage. We lost our child. Miscarriage was traumatic not only for me, but us.

Michael has told me how unbelievably helpless he felt throughout the whole experience. Wanting to make it stop, to bring me some relief, to do something - anything.

But I have something to tell you: He may have felt helpless, but he was heroic. Michael never left my side. He jumped at every opportunity to serve me. He prayed for me. He fought for me. He was patient - so, so patient. He held me in our suffering. He was the hands and feet of Christ. He loved me in the bad times, as he does in the good. He loved me in sickness, as he does in health. I would not have made it through that experience without my husband, who is a wonderful father.

Michael, thank you. There is no one else I would rather have as the father of our children. I am praying God blesses you in a special way this day.

Lord, please bless all fathers. Bless those who yearn to be fathers. Bless our spiritual fathers.
And thank you, Our Father, for loving us so very much. Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes {no. 20}

Happy Friday! Here are my quick takes (with Theme Thursday in take no. 5!):

Today is the feast of St. Anthony. I found this quotation of his this morning, and thought I would share it here:
St. Anthony's words ring truer than ever in today's world. How often external noise - noise that comes in many forms - distracts me from seeing the face of our Lord Jesus. St. Anthony, pray for us. 

I had an NYC first (and hopefully last) this week, friends: I was hit by a biker. My guardian angel must have been watching over me because somehow I didn't even fall down and the biker didn't fall off his bike. My hand got scratched up from his handlebars and I have a big ugly bruise/goose egg on my calf, but it could have been so much worse. Moral of the story: always double check that no one is coming, even when you have the right of way to cross the street. Oof.

On Wednesday my 5 favorites were about my favorite flower. I know there's been a lot of peony-love around this place lately, but I just can't help but share this picture with you:
God's creation is glorious.

Did you see this awesome post by Meg with 100 ideas for serving your church? It's a great read, and gave me a lot to think & pray about as I examine how I am serving the church in this season of life.

When I heard Cari's Theme Thursday yesterday was old-fashioned, something immediately jumped to mind: When Michael & I first moved to NYC we were engaged, but not married. We were living in different parts of town; Michael lived in Manhattan, near Columbia, and I lived in Astoria. I remember so many people being (very) surprised that we weren't living together. I'll never forget when one person said, "Wow! That's so old-fashioned!" He paused before continuing, "I like it!" Yes! Me too. Would it have been more convenient or cheaper to share an apartment, or less annoying than commuting a total of two hours a day to see each other? Yes. If I could go back, would I change what we did? No way. I wish that our choice to wait wasn't thought of as old-fashioned. I wish everyone could see the beauty of waiting for marriage to live with one another.
{photo by A Thousand Words Photography}
The joy of marriage: completely worth the wait!

Speaking of marriage...Monday is Michael's & my two-year anniversary. Stop back then for a special post...if you like that sorta thing. :)

I'm fresh out of takes, my friends. It's a little quiet around here these days without my love. Counting down the days to seeing him again!

Linking up these quick takes with our guest hostess with the mostess (and that she is), the birthday gal, Kathryn at Team Whitaker!

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 Favorites {no. 10} Peony edition

This week's edition of 5 Favorites is dedicated to my all-time favorite flower: the peony.

I love watching peonies grow. The progression from that tight, round ball of a bud to the full beauty of the open blossom gets me every time. Gorgeous.
Peonies bloom once a year and for a short period of time, making them extra special. I like that.
Peonies are such a romantic flower.
{Wedding photo by A Thousand Words Photography}
I had white ones in my wedding bouquet and on our sweetheart table.

This white peony is from a bush outside of my apartment here in NYC (so are the pink peonies in favorite no. 1). I had no idea these plants were here when we signed the lease. I think God knew the joy they would bring me, almost like a little wink from Him.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the place where I first fell in love with peonies: the Peony Garden at the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. When the garden is in fullest bloom there are close to 10,000 flowers. It's simply glorious. If you're ever in the area during May or June, do yourself a favor and go.
Thank you, Lord, for peonies. :) Do you have a favorite flower? I'd love to hear! 

Be sure to visit the gorgeous Miss Hallie and other lovelies for more favorites!

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Come, Holy Spirit

Happy Pentecost, dear friends! 

This is my prayer today (and every day, really). Would you pray with me?

{"Spirit of the Living God" - Audrey Assad/Henry Hallam Tweedy}

O Spirit of the Living God, thou light and fire divine,
Descend upon Thy Church once more and make it truly Thine.
Fill it with love and joy and power, with righteousness and peace;
'Til Christ shall dwell in human hearts, and sin and sorrow cease.

Blow, wind of God! With wisdom blow until our minds are free
From mists of error, clouds of doubt, which blind our eyes to Thee.
Burn, winged fire! Inspire our lips with flaming love and zeal,
To preach to all Thy great good news, God's glorious commonweal.

So shall we know the the power of Christ, who came this world to save;
So shall we rise with Him to life which soars beyond the grave;
And earth shall win true holiness, which makes Thy children whole;
'Til, perfected by Thee, we reach creation's glorious goal.

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your people. Set us on fire for You...

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Friday, June 6, 2014

7 quick takes {no. 19} in which I finish my travels
& meet Jennifer Fulwiler!

Well, my friends, it has been quite a week. Hence, the lack of blogging. In the past three weeks I've been from NYC, to Michigan, to Ohio, to Kentucky, to Ohio, to Michigan, to NYC, to Houston, and now I'm back in NYC again. Whew! I'm tired just typing it! Don't get me wrong, however - these trips have been blessed, and I am grateful!
As I mentioned last week, Michael has an internship in Houston this summer. We spent the last week settling into our apartment there and getting to know the area a bit. Now I'm back in NYC and he is in Houston. I am working on a series of shows through the middle of July and then I'll go back to Houston to join him. While I'm excited for this work opportunity, I am already missing my man! 

Have you & your loved one ever had to do long distance? Luckily, Michael and I haven't had too much experience with this. Any advice out there? A friend sent me this quotation, which I just loved:

"Away with my sadness! I can always find you in the loving Heart of Jesus,
with the same clarity as if I had you present."
{St. Frances Cabrini}

I did get to enjoy a few hours of quiet, relaxation & sunshine while in Houston. I am looking forward to spending some QT at this pool when I return later in the summer. What a gift!
Sunhat & SPF 50 a must. Say what you will. {via the 'gram}

I flew back from Houston on Wednesday, just in time to meet Jennifer Fulwiler!
Let me tell you, friends: Jen is the real deal. We already know that from reading her blog, but she is just so lovely in person. She gave an awesome talk. There were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me think, and moments that touched my heart (just like her book!). Jen also did a great job answering some tough questions from the crowd (who was very engaged and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her story). The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in her. If she comes to your town any time soon, don't miss it. And if you haven't read Something Other Than God yet, you know I recommend it!
Yes, it's true: Jen is tall! And so am I! :)
Thanks for a wonderful evening, Jen! Such a delight to meet you.

I am really hoping to get back into more regular posting on the blog this week. Wish me luck! Is there anything you'd like to hear from me? Let me know!

And just for fun, "just because it's June..." (June! Juuuuuune!)
Gotta love Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Linking up with the lovely Jen & many more! Have a great weekend!

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