"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.12)

I've slowed down a bit in the reading department thanks to our marriage gig, but I'm still on track to meeting my goal! Right on track as opposed to being 2 books ahead in my last Recent Reads post. But anywho. I've read some good ones lately! (I really feel like that every time, though...)

Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before by Sonja Corbitt and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

I usually jot down my thoughts in my DIY reading journal once I finish a book, but all I have for this book is a bunch of quotes. It really did inspire me to read Scripture more (also a factor in me slowing down with my book list), so I highly recommend it if you need some encouragement. It explains the who, the what, the where, the when, and the how of the Bible, which is extremely helpful in understanding it. One of the quotes I wrote down:
"We read and study the Bible to know God, and know ourselves more fully" (page 208)

Naked Marriage: Uncovering Who You Are and Who You Can Be Together by Dr. Corey Allan

I had kind of mixed feelings about this one, probably because I had high expectations and hopes. I loved the sections on boundaries, working on yourself, and being vulnerable - all things that have greatly impacted my marriage. A few parts made me go "eh" and there was one sex-related comment that is a big no for Catholics - so just keep in mind that he isn't Catholic. Christian, yes, which is nice, but he was missing out on sacramental graces and all which us Catholics know are a huge part (well, THE MAIN PART) of marriage. Overall, though, I liked it.

Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage by Jackie Francois Angel and Bobby Angel

Ah, a Catholic marriage book. Logan and I read this together starting right before Lent because the book is a 6-week devotional. We really enjoyed it! Most days only took 5 minutes, which we usually did at night before bed. It focuses on Theology of the Body and we had some great takeaways....one being inspired to hang a crucifix above our bed. Because, sacrificial love. Highly recommend this one to married couples! (And you don't need to be Catholic to read it!)

The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order by Scott Hahn

Oy vey. I didn't realize I was on a three-streak with marriage books. (I might have a problem.) This one was SO good. It's not a typical Dr. Hahn book, but I was really inspired (even more) to focus on the sacramentality of marriage and the importance of all sacraments as a part of our daily lives. I really had a bunch of epiphanies reading this, like God creating the marriage of Adam and Eve as the first relationship on earth because marriage is the foundation of society. Our society is failing because marriage is failing! I could go on and on but you should just read it. Even if your'e not married.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Why yes, I do read fiction sometimes. LOL. This was my April book for my reading challenge with friends: a book that won an award in 2017. It was a bit depressing because it's about slavery, but I liked it. 

One Beautiful Dream: The rollicking tale of family chaos, personal passions, and saying yes to them both by Jennifer Fulwiler

I read this in less than 3 days, if that gives you any indication of how much I liked it. Jen shares a much-needed message right now and it was perfectly timed for me. (Seriously, that always happens!) I'll be thinking about this one for awhile. Also, she is hilarious.

What good books have you read lately??

Monday, April 30, 2018

Inspiring quotes and stuff {five favorites}

I've been contemplating the whole topic of waiting lately. We've done a heck of a lot of waiting over the years, and while many of our prayers have been answered....some have not. And it's frustrating. Especially when it seems like God is leading you on this very special path and is about to answer your prayer. Finally.

And then He doesn't.

But! God loves us and likes to make it VERY CLEAR that He is still with us during these periods of questioning and uncertainty...so of course I keep coming across all of these awesome quotes about waiting. I will share those with you now! Linking up with Ashley for Five Favorites. You should totally join in too.
1. "Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask Him; for He desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to Him in prayer." - Evagrius Ponticus
2. "It may sometimes be more fruitful in the end if we live with a lingering question, and grow slowly towards wisdom, than if we find a quick answer partly dictated by our desires. The waiting changes us, schools us, teaches us to know God." - Maria Boulding
3. "If we 'look and listen' when confronted with life's roadblocks, we may find that what first appeared to be an obstacle in our path is actually a friendly sign pointing us in the direction we need to go." - Frederick W. Marks
4. "Occasionally, for reasons of His own and perhaps to keep us humble, God permits us to struggle without much noticeable gain, to make heroic efforts without ever knowing success." - Father Raoul Plus, S.J. 
5. "By delaying to grant our petitions, God increases our desires. By increasing our desires, God enlarges our heart. By enlarging our heart, God prepares us to be filled with himself." - Saint Augustine
Got any other quotes for me? Hit me with 'em!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My eyes aren't actually brown....and other life-changing epiphanies

Welcome to Into Your Will, the blog where Jen rambles about weird stuff sometimes. You're in for a treat today! Life-changing epiphanies. At the age of 31.

My eyes aren't actually brown like I always thought. I always thought my eyes were brown. Light brown...but still brown. Sometimes I would stare at my eyes and think they were kind of a weird brown color. You know what I learned though? They're not brown!! Proof:
Sometimes gold, maybe gray, sometimes green. But not brown. Mind blown.

Doing a sink of dishes doesn't take that long. But there are SO MANY DISHES. That'll take, like, 30 minutes, right? No. It takes less than 10. Maybe even 5. And that's when the sink is full! Why u procrastinate so much, Jen? Just do the dang dishes! (I seriously have been timing myself. It only takes longer than 5 minutes if I have to hand wash some things.)

I have more time to pray than I think. Seriously. So much time! Even when the kids are crazy! Just get off the dang phone and computer. Turn off the TV. Prayer is one of those funny things - you dedicate time to it and then God helps you do everything else you need to do. (Okay, I totally knew this but God reminded me of it recently.)

NFP is a blessing, not a burden (even though it sometimes feels like the latter). Hilary and I have been messaging so much about NFP lately with her series going on, and it kind of hit me (well, her first, then me) - NFP is supposed to bring us closer to Christ. It feels like the opposite sometimes, but I think a lot of that has to do with how we look at NFP and if we're doing it for the right reasons. It's hard to abstain sometimes, obviously, but it really has helped Logan and me pray together more, and communicate more about whether or not now is a good time to have a baby. I wrote more thoughts on IG if you want to hop on over.

Please tell me I'm not the only weirdo who's having epiphanies in my 30s. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

What's saving my life right now {five favorites}

It dawned on me the other day that there are some things lately that are reallllllly helping me out in this thing called life. Let's talk about them, shall we? Linking up with Ashley for Five Favorites!

Wal-mart grocery pickup

I am definitely one of those people who would rather do my own shopping. I don't mind it, especially if I'm alone, but Chase and Aaron have recently morphed into the worst grocery shopping buddies on the face of the planet. So much screaming, thrashing about, etc. After 2 consecutive trips like that (the second Logan was even with me) I was like NOPE NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE and now grocery pickup has been my BFF. There is still some screaming and thrashing about, but now it's being done in the confinement of their carseats, so all is well.


Gosh, I could write a whole post about this, but YNAB has been SO HELPFUL since we started it in August. We're no longer scrambling to get to the bank so we can pay a bill - we actually have over $1,000 in our checking most of the time, which is craaaaazy to me because of how things used to be. AND we've been able to set aside money for many different things. My favorite part of YNAB is that you can create categories for pretty much everything, so instead of being blindsided by several annual membership fees (i.e. Prime), I have categories for each and we set aside a few dollars each month. Love it. Highly recommend.

Our backyard

We have been spending soooo much time in our backyard. Someone recently commented to me that it's like a park, and it's so true! Our boys love it, and I love it, and I cannot wait until summer when Landon is home full-time.

Doubling my meals when I cook

I'm a baker, not a cook, so whenever I do cook, I make sure I either double it or make enough for leftovers the next night. It's such a simple concept but it makes meal planning so much easier! I currently have 3 meals in our freezer simply because I cooked enough to freeze.

The weather

Well, we couldn't spend so much time in the backyard if the weather was bad. It really has been perfect lately - 60s and 70s for over a week now! I see all of these pictures of snow from up north and I'm convinced I could never, ever live there.

I hope everyone has a blessed Holy Week! See you after Easter!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.11)

I'm well on my way to meeting my reading goal this year, and 5 of those books are on my 2018 book list. I really need to start on my marathon read, Middlemarch, soon....but I'm currently reading 4 books because I am crazy. So maybe once I finish a couple of those, I'll feel better about starting a huge book.

1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

This was fascinating - written by a former FBI hostage negotiator. So many good tips on communicating during conflict. It's probably most helpful for business people, but anyone could benefit from the techniques.

2. Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet

Quick, easy, and inspiring read for moms. I recommend especially if you're not familiar with St. Faustina and/or the Divine Mercy devotion.

3. Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

I honestly was surprised at how much I enjoyed this - I've only read 2 other books by Matthew Kelly and liked one and didn't like the other. It was perfectly-timed for me, so maybe that was part of it. It's a pretty easy read too....short chapters.

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This took me a bit to get into, but I ended up loving it. I daresay it might be my fave Austen novel! Although I do love Emma and it's been awhile since I've read Jane Austen. But I haven't read Persuasion or Mansfield Park yet, and Hannah tells me that Persuasion is the best.

5. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I kept seeing this recommended everywhere, and I'm a big fan of WWII fiction, so I read this as a little breather from all of my current nonfiction reads. It was an easy read, since it's technically juvenile fiction, but it's got pretty mature content like abuse. I liked it though, and there's a sequel now that I'll probably read eventually too. 

6. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Another kids book, yes, but it was actually my February book for the challenge I do with my friends - the category was a book from the bestseller of the year you were born. And since most of the books in 1986 were Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Danielle Steel, I went the easy route and picked Shel Silverstein. I read it with our big boys and they thought it was hilarious.

What have y'all read lately? Hit me with some recs!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Amazon music, Costco experiment, Lent, and marriage (7QT)

Heeeeeey there. It's been a pretty good week around here (after so many bad weeks!!) so I'm feeling in the mood for some quick takes. Joining Kelly and the gang!

1. Amazon music

YOU GUYS, WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE?? And if you do not know about it, you're welcome. If you're a Prime member, you can create playlists and listen to a bunch of music FOR FREE. There are a select few songs that are not included, which is how they entice you to pay for Amazon Unlimited. I've been tempted. But so far the free stuff has served our dance parties well. .(There's an app, which I have on both my phone and our Kindle fire. And then I hook up device to a bluetooth speaker.)

2. No Costco experiment

We didn't renew our Costco membership in November, even though we REALLY love Costco. It's kind of an experiment to see if we save money on groceries, because it's really hard to spend under $100 every time we go. So far, I'm honestly not sure if we've saved money - except for gas money, because Costco is further from us than every other grocery store. Lots of things are cheaper at Costco but we totally blow through snacks from there quicker (because we have so many! just eat away, kids!) and are more likely to waste food if we get produce. So, I don't know. Lots of factors to consider.

3. Reading journal DIY

I bought this journal last year to keep track of all the books I read, and I really loved it....but it didn't even last a year. So now I'm using Modern Mrs. Darcy's printable reading journal in this cute little binder. (It's free if you subscribe to her emails.) It should last me for several years now! And this is how I keep notes for my Recent Reads posts, in case you were wondering.

4. A month for your marriage

Remember last February when I hosted A Month for Your Marriage? Well, I'm doing it again! The first post/challenge went live yesterday over at Surprised by Marriage. I'd love for you to follow along!

5. Family of five

I said that one of our goals this year is to enjoy our family of five, and we are totally doing that, despite life tempting us otherwise. This is the first time we've had a 20-month old while not also 5-months pregnant, and I have to admit it's nice. I can run around with the boys! We've been spending so much time outside too. Our last trip to the zoo was so much fun!

6. Lent

How's everybody's Lent going? Ours started off pretty dang rough, but it has calmed down a bit, thankfully. The boys have been loving the Jesus tree for the 2nd year in a row, and Logan and I have been doing this awesome marriage devotional. Highly recommend.

7. Lent and marriage

Speaking of Lent, Logan and I made a funny (we think, anyways) video. Here it is! (You might need to click through to the actual post to see it.) 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lent and how my priorities suck (but there is hope)

Whew, Lent just really felt different this year from the very beginning. Yesterday, I was so humbled (and frazzled, to be honest) with how many times I went to check my phone, grab a piece of candy, turn on the TV, etc....just to realize I was not supposed to be doing those things. (To clarify, fasting from screens is not a requirement, just something we choose to do on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, at least.)

Fasting is so, so enlightening. It made me realize just how many disordered attachments I have and that was just in the first 6 hours of Lent. At one point, I was contemplating why fasting was feeling so dang hard, and it hit me - this is the first Lent in 7 years that I'm not pregnant or nursing. No wonder it felt so hard - it's been forever!

So that got me thinking. (Here we go, another Jen train of thought! #thoughtsbyjen) It's obviously much easier to be consistent with something. Praying my daily Rosary doesn't feel hard at all anymore because I've been doing it everyday for 3 years now. And it honestly doesn't feel that long at all, yet I don't remember a time that I didn't pray a daily Rosary. It's kind of mind-boggling, really.

Am I making any sense? Meh.

The things that are easy to me are the things I've been really consistent with over the last couple of years - I don't fall (too far) behind on dishes and laundry because I make them a priority. It's not hard finding snippets of time to pray a Rosary because I make it a priority.

I guess I'm trying to just make a point that if there's something really important you know you should be doing and you struggle with doing it, ask yourself: am I doing it consistently? What am I doing instead of the thing I should be doing? How can I make this important thing happen?

I'm just really struggling with fitting in time for writing and being consistent with running. (And cleaning my shower, and mopping my floors...but maybe I shouldn't admit that.) I know I should do these things, and I even want to do them, but I still find it very hard to make time for them because they're not things that have been a priority consistently for the last few years. (Thanks in part to pregnancy - but also laziness, if I'm honest.)

Because I gotta be honest, some days it feels really hard to fit anything else in other than prayer, dishes, and laundry (in addition to eating and taking care of the kiddos, of course). But then I have a day (Ash Wednesday) where I impose rules on myself, like no TV, just checking social media/email twice a day, and focusing on spiritual reading as opposed to "fun" reading, and I'm amazed that I can do dishes, laundry, prayer, and reading - in addition to some decluttering and rearranging furniture because I am that kind of crazy. (And cleaning up puke, because God is funny.)

Obviously my priorities are not right most days. So I think that's what I'm going to focus on this Lent - how does God want me to use my time? What do I need to stop doing (or do less) and what do I need to start doing (or do more)? Hopefully I'll be able to report back with some amazing insights.


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