Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We are FOCUS missionaries. FOCUS stands for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. FOCUS is on 113 campuses in 37 states with 478 total missionaries. We live life with students and invite them into a relationship with Jesus. We go to mass, pray, lead bible studies, disciple students, and invite them to share in our lives. We also fundraise our salary.


It really isn't as crazy as it seems. We are so thankful for so many supportive family and friends who believe in our mission.

We are able to very actively take part in the new evangelization by serving students, presenting the gospel, and showing students how to have a relationship with Jesus. Our mission statement is, "To Know Christ Jesus and Fulfill His Great Commission." And our Main Thing:

Inviting college students into a growing relationship with Christ Jesus and His Church. Inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship, and friendship in which they lead others to do the same.

The Auburn team on campus sharing mass times and doing bible study sign ups.

That is just a real short explanation. I hope to write more to give a good glimpse into what missionary life is like and in particular what is looks like with a family. Also visit the website for a way better description!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#5Favs: New Go-To Recipes

As I mentioned before, I have really picked up my cooking game. Last year I cooked about two meals a week because we had so much going on with our students at night. Now that JM is around and we are trying to be more cost efficient, I have been cooking 5-6 nights a week. A huge part of that is because of eMeals. My life is so much easier. Honestly, a few of the recipes have been kinda meh. However, the large majority are GOOD and a hand full have been "this is the best thing I've ever made" level. Here are some of my new favorite recipes that I am sure will become regulars. (What is worse- no pictures of the food or terrible quality photos???)

1. Skillet Balsamic Chicken and Summer Vegetables served with cornbread muffins and honey butter

2. Creamy Chicken and Bell Pepper Penne

3. Baked Beef and Rice Tacos (by far my favorite)

4. Smokey Orange Chicken with white rice

5. Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl (not from eMeals, but soooo good!)

And as a bonus: these for dessert. Drew's bible study guys could not stop talking about them.

If anyone would like these recipes I would love to share them!


Sunday, September 20, 2015


I've always liked the idea of observing the Sabbath, but it was so difficult in college with homework, especially since I always tended to procrastinate. Last year our Sundays always felt a little blah. We ended up staring at the TV and our phones more than anything. The week would start and we wouldn't feel refreshed.

After putting in some thought and a bit of trial and error we have the perfect weekends! Saturdays include a run for Drew, my weekly grocery store run, (I have finally learned how to plan ahead for meals for the entire week, a dessert for bible studies, and our team breakfast on Fridays. My life is so much better when I'm not going to the store every other day.) a few chores and football!

If we are more intentional with work on Saturdays, we can really enjoy Sundays. So far our last few Sundays have included any of the following:

Mass at 7:45am. It sounds painfully early, but I'm up to feed JM around then anyway and we get home around 9 with the whole day ahead of us.

Coffee Dates. It is so enjoyable to get coffee and be able to sit, chat, read and NOT do homework! Plus, a little caffeine helps with the early mass. We usually run into a few students too so it's fun to distract them with JM.

A trip to Sam's. Typing this out makes me feel very lame... But seriously, does Sam's ever get old? We usually need to get something there anyway and it is by far the cheapest place to eat!

Reading/Nap time. I mean, we do get up at 6:30. I finished Me Before You and just started The Royal We! (I won't say who was fake sleeping in the picture to document this family nap)

A Rosary. It is the Sabbath after all.

A little TV. We watched Spinning Plates on Netflix and it was soooo good. I love those types of shows. A Chef's Life, Chef, Chef's Table, pretty much anything about food. What are some other good ones?

Dinner. Have I mentioned how much I love eMeals??

A trip to a park. We have been checking out all the parks in Auburn. We have our favorites, the ones without swarms of bugs and a dog park. Sometimes we walk around campus which might be my favorite. We usually run into a few students on campus too!

Rendezvous. The night ends with Drew going to "Rendezvous" which is a chill gathering of students with milk and cookies after the 8pm student mass. I used to join, but JM's bedtime usually interferes.

My mom, sister, Drew and I have also been fasting from social media on Sundays. This definitely adds to the relaxing Sunday.

We have been enjoying our Sundays so much with being intentional with our time, turning our perspective to God, family time, and relaxing. It is the perfect way to recharge for the week!

This is how we feel Monday morning.


p.s. does anyone know why my profile picture is so distorted??

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

JohnMark's Birth Story Part 2

(Part One)

soooo there we are just waiting in the observation room.

The super sweet nurse asked if I could feel the contractions I was having.... ohhh I thought those were just Braxton-Hicks but I guess they were the real thing.

The doctor on call finally came in. Looked like I was staying to have the baby! We had to choose between an induction or c-section. We were both very firm on not wanting a c-section but after hearing the doctor's opinion I was less convinced. He made it sound like either way I would end up with a c-section.

The thought of going through a really long labor only to end up with a c-section was very discouraging to me. Luckily, Drew and the nurse were very encouraging... so the induction it was!

Around 3pm the doctor gave me Cervidil. (Used to soften the cervix) The hospital was super busy so it took some time for me to get a room. Of course there were a few cracks about not having any room in the inn. We finally got moved into a nice comfy room with a view of the one and only Checkers... the one fast food place I ate in my first trimester and got a little sick every time I have seen it since. I had Drew quickly close the curtains.

The next little bit was very calm. My mom came up to visit, we watched Shark Tank, I begged for some food (how did they not expect me to eat???), and we decided let's not take a nap so we will be able to sleep tonight...... (we are clearly rookies at the whole hospital/labor thing)

My mom left a few hours later and we finally tried to get some sleep around 11pm. Drew curled up on the couch. I was stuck on my side because of my high blood pressure, but I got as comfortable as I could. Then the contractions really started... I told myself it wasn't a big deal. I was feeling them before and was handling them just fine. Then Drew was asleep, they got increasingly worse, I was getting lonely and not even attempting to breathe through them... Drew had probably been sleeping for about 15 minutes when I had to wake him.

I had always envisioned laboring at home for quite awhile before going to the hospital. So having my first real painful contractions after I had already been at the hospital for about 12 hours was weird. The real stuff was just getting started and I had no idea what else would be in store.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

7QT: Current Favorites

Linking up with Kelly today to share some of my recent favorite things. But first, how about a picture of this guy?

He is obviously stoked about Pope Francis' upcoming visit. 

1. Gilmore Girls

Someone recommended to pick a show once JM was born to watch while nursing and whatnot.. I am much more of a easy going TV show person rather than a movie person. I love the characters and it really seems impossible to find a show that is more on the wholesome side like this one.

2. These nursing tanks

They are the BEST. They make any nursing bra into a nursing cami and have been a game changer. I was just wearing camis for way too long and these were the perfect solution because I really prefer to keep my stomach covered, specially when nursing out and about.

3. Pama Pomegranate Liqueur

It still seems weird to be able to drink again... We stopped at this liquor store while we were in Minnesota and driving through Georgia this summer (also happened to be the location of a HUGE poop accident.... like poop splattered on the floor...... and my shirt... and shoes....with no diaper bag in hand........ while Drew was on the other side of the store......while strangers gawked at me) ANYWAYS apparently this place has the best prices and I picked this out. Drew has been trying out different drinks with it. (He really makes great drinks. People say it's because he worked at a bar in college, but I don't think working at The Downtown exactly gave him many real bartender skills.) So far my favorite is Pama, vodka, sprite with lime. Sometimes with a bit of lemonade too.

4. This bubble bath

I never thought I would be a bubble bath person. Especially because our tub has always been kind of nasty, but then my mom came when JM was born and scrubbed the heck out of it and something about having a baby cling to you all day really makes a nice soak sound appealing. This was the cheapest stuff they had at Ulta and I love it!

5. Bare Minerals

I'm not much of a makeup person so I don't have too much to say about this, but I bought this starter kit this summer. I really like the natural look of it and I am hoping to get the eye shadow soon.

6. This App

Habit Streaks has been a great way for me to stick to my goals. Praying throughout the day was hard for me, but Habit Streaks can give reminders and keep track of your progress with stars on a calendar... just like when my parents tried to get me to stop sucking my thumb....

7. Podcasts

Podcasts are the only thing that get me through cleaning... especially my least favorite- scrubbing the bathrooms. I could probably do a whole other post on these, but I will try to keep it short. Until Serial comes back, my go-to are Three Dogs North, Messy Parenting, Father Mike Schmitz's homilies, and clips from Jen Fulwiler's radio show.

I just discovered Messy Parenting and I am doing a 30 day trial of Sirius XM radio which includes shows on demand (so I can listen to all the full 2 hour Jen Fulwiler show because her podcast clips were such a tease) so I feel like I have soooo much catching up to do!

They are all a good variety of different type of podcast, except they are all Catholic hah,  but my favorite is Three Dogs North. Our good friend Rob was a missionary when we were students at UNL is now a seminarian. Rob, another seminarian, and a priest get together and chat about just about anything. I love hearing their insights and I feel like I am just hanging out with Rob, which is awesome because we don't see him too often. I highly recommend it! What else should I be listening to?

Anddd that's it! Happy weekend!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Best Friends' Wedding

My two best friends: 

My sister, Megan, and I are a bit over 3 years apart. I think we are officially over the fighting like sisters phase and now are permanently in the best friend phase. (I think our mom was worried that was never going to happen) We had a true sister moment last Christmas when we both coincidentally showed up with the same shirt in different colors. (I think I was about 20 weeks pregnant here) Megan lives too far away (Milwaukee) and is finishing up grad school before she moves to DC. She is a nanny extraordinaire and is also a blogger
Jillian and I met in Gamma Phi and really became good friends our sophomore when we lived in a 5 man together in the house. She is finishing up her last year of nursing school in Nebraska right now. Maybe one day she will be my labor and delivery nurse???? Because I can already tell she is going to be the best nurse. (Like the one time she didn't even hesitate to clean up some vom on our bus during a trip to Rome and is always making sure everyone is drinking enough water) 

Megan and Jill both got engaged within a week or two of each other! AND they both are getting married in October next year! (the 15th and 22nd... THANK YOU for not picking the same weekend!)

AND they both asked me to be in their wedding on the same day.

 Jillian mailed me balloon (I didn't even know that was possible!) to "pop" the question! Of course a picture with the ribbon on JM's head was the appropriate way to respond.

Megan had these adorable cards painted from an etsy shop! (We are just pretending I am the maid of honor because matron sounds so old and boring.) The caution warning wasn't even enough to prepare me for the amount of glitter in that thing. It keeps showing up in random places, including a pile next to the trash can I haven't even attempted to clean up yet.

Bring on the planning, dresses, showers, and bachelorette parties! I am so excited for these two!!


Friday, September 4, 2015

7QT: eMeals

Linking up with Christy for another 7 quick takes. Here are seven reasons why my life has become seven times better with eMeals (not to be confused with emails as Drew thought)

1. I don't know how to cook.
2. My husband is used to having most meals prepared for him.
3. Thinking of what to eat is the worst.
4. I have no idea how to plan meals while on a budget.
5. Every Wednesday I get a full menu with a weeks worth of meals and a grocery list.
6. The meals are simple to make. I can choose what type of meal plan. So far I've checked out Budget Friendly, 30 Minute Meals, and Classic. Plus you can select your grocery store and it will even make meals based off what is on sale.
7. Cooking is so much more enjoyable when I don't have to ask Drew "What do you want to eat?!?!"

Wow and that was about the most boring 7 quick takes ever.......


Thursday, September 3, 2015


I have been thinking about security a lot lately. I would like to say that I truly place my trust in God my Father and nothing else matters. I completely trust in God's will. He knows my heart better than I do and as long as I end up with Him in Heaven nothing else matters.

That is easy to say, but do I actually live that?

I recently heard Lino Rulli on Jen Fulwiler's radio show ask the question, "What is it in light of eternity?"

But I really started to ask myself that question. I really want a cute apartment.. but what is it in light of eternity? Well it actually doesn't matter. At all. And I really want cute new clothes... but what is it in light of eternity. Nothing. And the Pioneer Woman's new kitchen line??? Pointless.

What about bigger things? Money- savings for a down payment on a house or a van (that is definitely a life dream right there... I totally love mini vans) or savings for JohnMark's college?

Or even bigger things than that. Like health. And family. Things you take for granted until matters get shakey. Until my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back I didn't even think about my parents' health.

After thinking about this I have realized my security is in a few things. My husband, son, my family, our apartment, my parents' home, food, the ability to be able to talk to my family who live far away, and the ability to travel home to Nebraska. I find comfort in all these things. There are a lot more (and a lot more silly things like the internet and my phone and clothes and money), but those are the biggest. I think I would be okay as long as I had those. I'm not asking for much God, just what I love the most.

What if all those things were gone?


That's what I've been thinking about. And that is what scares me the most. What if I lose those things? Would I still trust in God's will? Even if I lost everything that mattered most to me on this earth?

Then I ask myself that question, "What is it in light of eternity?"

Sure those things bring me temporal comfort, but does it effect my salvation? Too much of my comfort is based on things that won't last. Something I didn't even realize until I started thinking about what if I lost everything. I want my security to truly be in God my Father.

Nothing makes me want to cling to Jesus more than these thoughts. I am so thankful for the gift of my faith. I am thankful I will be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist tonight. My salvation and the salvation of my loved ones is truly truly the most important. The things of this world are a huge distraction. I am thankful we are missionaries to help spread the most important thing in life. The thing that will effect our eternity.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever." 1 John 2:15-17

Andddd that is the result of me drinking a cup of coffee, being home alone with a baby all day, and thinking about the world ending. That is way deeper than I ever intended this blog to get. My apologies.