Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

May this last week of Advent bring your heart's preparation for Christ's coming at Christmas! May his blessings be abundant in this New Year! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Halloween Announcement!

We had such a great time going to our halloween parties this weekend! I think that this year we had the most creative and most rediculous costumes we've ever had. Check them out!

If you look real closely, you can see the "experation date" on my label . . .

That's right! We're "prego!" (disclaimer: I really don't ever use that word, but it made for the costume). Our due date is April 26, 2012!

If you'd like to keep up on our pregnancy, check out our pregnancy blog at http://thecatholiccradle.blogspot.com/. It will soon be made up-to-date and full of our fun stories! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Tune for a . . . Thursday! - Captivate Us by Watermark

This song is so pure! This is how I want to be in adoration, in prayer, in life! As this river of my life flows quickly, I pray that I have the discipline to stop and allow the Lord to Captivate me!

Your face is beautiful
And Your eyes are like the stars
Your gentle hands have healing
There inside the scars
Your loving arms they draw me near
And Your smile it brings me peace
Draw me closer oh my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee

Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You
Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You

Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw me closer O my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee


Let everything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
Let every chain be broken from me
As I’m bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You’re full of wisdom, power and might
And every eye will see You

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Updating the List!

I'm SO incredibly excited that I will be heading back to California in just over a week! It will be so great to see old friends, my old parish family, and the beautiful state of California that I love oh so much! As I am planning my itinerary, I naturally came back to my infamous California Bucket List. It was then that I realized I have not crossed some items off the list on my blog that I have indeed accomplished in real life! So here goes!

Grand Canyon

On our road trip back to Missouri last year, Dan and I stopped at the Grand Canyon! I was there once as a small child, and the only memories I have are of the pictures I have seen. We weren't able to spend much time at the Canyon, but we were able to take in the beauty by seeing the sun set over the canyon. It is a memory that I will always hold dear to my heart. While we were there, we decided we would definitely come back someday for a hiking trip!

San Francisco

On one of my last weekends in California, I decided to take the trip to San Francisco. A good friend of mine was staying in San Jose, so I had a place to crash and a friend to go with me on my first day to San Fran! We had a blast on the first day! We walked along the piers and went to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. We checked out the Haight/Ashbury district, went to the highest point to view the whole city, and even found the "Full House" house! The next day, on my own, I walked around the whole city. I found the crooked road, ate in the Italian neighborhood of north beach, and even got some pictures on a trolley! I fell in love with San Francisco! The buildings and landscape have such a distinct personality, and the weather is perfect. I loved not having the extreme hustle and bussle of LA! I ended the trip by driving down the PCH all the way back to LA! It climbed the charts as one of my favorite trips of all time (right under Europe!) 

The Crooked Street
The trolley driver allowed me
to take a picture on his
trolley. He was more into it
than I was!
Saints Peter and Paul Church
at Washington Squre in
North Beach
Bixby Creek Bridge near Big Sur
along the Pacific Coast Highway
Move Back to Missouri

It was with sadness to leave a home I loved dearly and excitement to start a new life as a wife in the midwest that I began my journey back to Missouri in June 2010. I will never forget those that became my family there. I miss them every day. But God has great plans for us, and no matter where He leads me, I will follow. I secretly pray that he leads me back to California someday! ;-)


The California Bucket List

1) Learn to Surf
2) Swim with the Dolphins at Sea World
3) Visit and hike Catalina Island
4) Hollywood
5) Malibu
6) Santa Barbara
7) Dodgers Statium
8) See a movie premeire
9) Hike to the Hollywood sign
10) Stay at Hotel del Coronado
11) Channel Islands
12) Lake Arrowhead
13) Joshua Tree
14) Palm Springs
15) Yosemite
16) Vegas
17) Disneyland
18) Grand Canyon
19) Sequoia National Park
20) Drive Pacific Coast Highway
21) Huntington Library
22) San Francisco
23) The Missions (Fulfilled in Santa Barbara)
24) Kayaking caves at La Jolla
25) Hearst Castle
26) Sailing
27) Death Valley
28) Hollywood Bowl
29) Whale Watching
30) Grunion Runs (with my Dad)
31) San Diego Zoo
32) La Brea Tar Pits
33) The Ghetty Museum
34) Griffith Observatory
35) Universal Studios
36) Santa Monica Pier
37) Eat at Planet Hollywood
38) Venice Boardwalk
39) Santa Monica Promenade
40) Be an extra or in the studio audience of a TV show
41) LA County Museum of Art
42) Pantages Theater
43) Tommy's Burger
44) Canter's Deli
45) Philippe's French Dip Sandwich
46) Fashion District
47) Olvera Street
48) Tijuana
49) Move back to Missouri

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tune for . . . EVERYday! Hold Me - Jamie Grace

This is the best song for a drive home from work, or when you get home and need to wind down from your day. Isn't it so true that God holds us through each and every crazy day. There's really not much more I could say about this song. It's just a joyful and uplifting song! Listen to it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWPobcJ19Og

"Hold Me" by Jamie Grace (feat. TobyMac)

I’ve had a long day I just wanna relax
Don’t have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, wonderin’ what to do
I know I should be working but I’m thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That’s when Your smile comes around

Oh, I love the way You hold me, by my side You’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love the way you hold me, in Your arms I’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love You more than the words in my brain can express
I can’t imagine even loving You less
Lord, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh, oh whoa, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh

Well You took my day and You flipped it around
Calmed the tidal wave and put my feet on the ground
Forever in my heart, always on my mind
It’s crazy how I think about You all of the time
And just when I think I’m ’bout to figure You out (figure You out)
You make me wanna sing and shout
I’m so grateful and thankful for all You’ve done
Wish I could tell You in a short story or poem
But, all I have is my voice and this guitar
And You have my heart

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Praise be to God! What a wonderful and beautiful weekend!

I just returned from Steubenville Mid-America (week 2). I hadn't been to the youth conference since I was an intern in 2006, but I'd gone three times prior to that as a teen and Young Apostle. It was such a blessing to see so many of those in my youth ministry family that I hadn't seen for quite some time. It always warms my heart to see those that were a huge part of making me who I am today. In particular to see Greg, my own youth minister, and those that attended the youth group I drove 90 miles to experience in high school. It says alot about a youth minister when years later, so many of his teens are leading groups to the same conference, working with the conference staff, sporting a sister's habit, or playing music for the weekend. I counted more than 10 of us serving the youth of Our Church at this conference.

You want to know a secret? . . . God has a plan . . . yes, I know you already knew that, and it's no secret, haha. But isn't it wonderful to see it in action? It is a great joy to see in retrospect how beautifully that tapestry is woven. This weekend, I didn't see his plan, but I learned in a renewed way how to trust in it.

I will soon be returning to youth ministry, and I couldn't be more thankful and happy that the current chapter of my life will soon be finished. It was a hard one, but I must say, it has made me appreciate the gift it is to lead teens closer to Christ. It's not a chapter I'd wish to re-live, but I appreciate the lessons learned. However, there are some apprehensions and fears as I turn the pages to the next chapter.

At the conference this weekend, God gave me the understanding and graces I need to not see his will, but trust in it. Three things in particular stood out: 

1) Matthew 14:23-33 was a constant focus throughout the weekend. Christ again reassured me that if I keep my eyes on Him and not the storm, that I will be able to come out on top, not sinking because of fears.
2) That I've "still got it". Yes, this seems ridiculous, but after being away from ministry for months, I feared I may not be easily liked by the teens anymore. Praise God for the many teens I encountered this weekend that allowed me to minister to them in each small way!
3) God showed me that I could face whatever situation I walk into at my new parish by showing me the example of my own youth minister's "success". It seemed that no matter where I sat in the arena, I could see him. And what I saw was a man praising Our Lord with his teens. I am confident that he was praying for them during these times. I saw a man who's heart was wrapped in the heart of Christ. A man that understands that it is impossible to lead teens to Christ without a strong and constant prayer life. I saw teens that loved him because he taught them truth, and teens turned Core members because of the love of Christ they learned from the ministry. Most of all, I saw the faces of leaders throughout the crowd that had been changed by Christ through Greg. That is the kind of minister I want to be. That is the kind of youth minister God needs me to be. And as I take up this yoke, I know He will be there to help me and give me strength along the way.  
May we all be "ROOTED" in His love! So that when the storms come, our foundation will be strong!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life Update

So, today I decided it was time to "get back on the blogging horse", but couldn't think of anything to write about . . . I guess that's why it's been quite a while since I wrote last. :-P My life has become so busy, but yet so unexciting that it's been hard to find inspiration. I've decided to start by giving an update on my life since our wedding.

We've been married for over 6 months now! It's been great to be married, mostly because we actually see each other on a regular basis now that we're not long-distance anymore (after 6 years, it's a little strange though)! In November, we headed to Italy for our honeymoon! It was an amazing trip, look for my next post with pictures from our trip! Other than that, we've just enjoyed being married and making our house a home.

Shortly after our wedding, I was laid off from my job due to financial difficulty at the parish I was at. It couldn't have been worse timing, as youth ministers generally move around at the end of the school year, much like teachers. So losing my job in October really put me in a funk. After months of searching for jobs in ministry and finding no openings, I finally started looking elsewhere and found a job in February working at Maurices (my favorite clothing store) as an Assistant Manager. I am thankful to have found a job, and in the retail world, this is about the best I could ask for. However it's been really tough to keep my head up. I love ministry and making a difference in teens lives by bringing them closer to Christ, and I miss it terribly. I found so much joy in such a meaningful job and it's been really difficult to keep a positive and optimistic attitude. I left a job that I was passionate about, that I've planned on and dreamed of doing since I was a teen myself, for a job that just "pays the bills". It doesn't help that I miss my California life, job, and friends so much either.

I guess God's just putting me through a darker time. I only pray that I can be strong enough to keep hope in the things to come and trust in His plan. I know he's got it all under control, but I've really been struggling to see the good in my situation and find happiness in the midst of it.

I would appreciate any prayers! For a job to open up that is perfect for me, but also for my endurance during this hard time. Until next time!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A song for the broken-hearted . . .

To the broken-hearted,

I heard this song on my pandora today, and I cannot get over how perfect it is for that time in a break-up when you just need to "feel it". My roommates from college could easily place this in my junior year playlist. I wish I'd heard it then! It sums up exactly how I believe someone must healthily deal with a break-up: near to Him. I can remember when I felt just like this, falling into the arms of My Lord, allowing him to slowly heal a broken heart. Clinging to him, trusting that He alone can piece my heart back together. And you know what? He did so much more than just put my heart back together! He healed relationships, changed hearts, and did miracles I never imagined.

It is through prayer and facing the pain that you must move on from heart-break. As a wise professor once told me, in the mess of emotions, you must take each one, recognize it, feel it, and then place it neatly on the shelf. If it is sadness, be sad; happiness? Be happy. If it is anger, be angry. Whatever the emotion, name it, take the time to truly feel it, and when it is time to move on, file it away. Turning to God in my grief and following that professor's advice got me through it all. In the end, there will be "beauty from pain".

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." - James 4:8

Near to You
by A Fine Frenzy

He and I had something beautiful
But so dysfunctional, it couldn't last
I loved him so but I let him go
'Cause I knew he'd never love me back

Such pain as this
Shouldn't have to be experienced
I'm still reeling from the loss,
Still a little bit delirious

Near to you, I am healing
But it's taking so long
'Cause though he's gone
And you are wonderful
It's hard to move on
Yet, I'm better near to you.

You and I have something different
And I'm enjoying it cautiously
I'm battle scarred, I am working oh so hard
To get back to who I used to be

He's disappearing
Fading suddenly
I'm so close to being yours
Won't you stay with me

Near to you, I am healing
But it's taking so long
'Cause though he's gone
And you are wonderful
It's hard to move on
Yet, I'm better near to you.

I only know that I am
Better where you are
I only know that I am
Better where you are
I only know that I belong
Where you are

Monday, January 24, 2011

A person's a person, no matter how small!

I dream of a day when it is common knowledge, not just common sense, that a baby is a person at the moment of conception. Today is the March for Life in Washington D.C. It marks the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the devastating decision that legalized the killing of unborn children.

May we all join in prayer with those in Washington today, that our nation will rise and defend it's most defenseless members. Lord, have mercy on our nation!

"Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." - Ronald Reagan 1982

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Might be searching for a new blog host

It's come to my attention that google/blogspot have shut The Theologian's Corner! After researching a little, it seems that it isn't uncommon for them to shut down conservative blogs. The site has been moved to www.markzia.wordpress.com.

Thoughts? Any blog hosts you'd recommend?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A "holy Church" not a church of "holy people"

This is a passage I found from the final chapter of Joseph Ratzinger's (Pope Benedict) "Introduction to Christianity". So often, I find people that have lost faith in The Church because they see all if its sinful people. How can a church be thought to be holy, when so many of those inside it are sinners? Pope Benedict addresses this question with truth and beauty. The Church is not holy because it is filled with holy people (work inside the Church and you'll quickly find that it is filled with sinners. Of course, first look at yourself). The Church is "holy" because it is sanctified by Christ.

Though Ratzinger's words are rather heady, he speaks some important truths to keep in mind when one starts to lose faith and hope in Christ's Church because of its members.

by Joseph Ratzinger

The holiness of the Church consists in that power of sanctification which God exerts in it in spite of human sinfulness. We come up here against the real mark of the "New Covenant": in Christ God has bound himself to men, has let himself be bound by them. The New Covenant no longer rests on the reciprocal keeping of the agreement; it is granted by God as grace which abides even in the face of man's faithlessness. It is the expression of God's love, which will not let itself be defeated by man's incapacity but always remains well-disposed towards him, welcomes him again and again precisely because he is sinful, turns to him, sanctifies him and loves him.

Because of the Lord's devotion, never more to be revoked, the Church is the institution sanctified by him forever, an institution in which the holiness of the Lord becomes present among men. But it is really and truly the holiness of the Lord that becomes present in it and that chooses again and again as the vessel of its presence – with a paradoxical love – the dirty hands of men. It is holiness that radiates as the holiness of Christ from the midst of the Church's sin. So to the faithful the paradoxical figure of the Church, in which the divine so often presents itself in such unworthy hands, in which the divine is only ever present in the form of a "nevertheless", is the sign of the "nevertheless" of the ever greater love shown by God. The existing interplay of God's loyalty and man's disloyalty which characterizes the structure of the Church is grace in dramatic form. [. . .] One could actually say that precisely in its paradoxical combination of holiness and unholiness the Church is in fact the shape taken by grace in this world.

Let us go a step further. In the human dream of a perfect world, holiness is always visualized as untouchability by sin and evil, as something unmixed with the latter. [. . .] In contemporary criticism of society and in the actions in which it vents itself, this merciless side always present in human ideals is once again only too evident. That is why the aspect of Christ's holiness that upset his contemporaries was the complete absence of this condemnatory note – fire did not fall on the unworthy nor were the zealous allowed to pull up the weeds which they saw growing luxuriantly on all sides. On the contrary, this holiness expressed itself precisely as mingling with the sinners whom Jesus drew into his vicinity; as mingling to the point where he himself was made "to be sin" and bore the curse of the law in execution as a criminal – complete community of fate with the lost (cf. 2 Cor. 5.21; Gal. 3.13). He has drawn sin to himself, made it his lot and so revealed what true "holiness" is: not separation but union, not judgment but redeeming love.

Is the Church not simply the continuation of God's deliberate plunge into human wretchedness; is it not simply the continuation of Jesus' habit of sitting at table with sinners, of his mingling with the misery of sin to the point where he actually seems to sink under its weight? Is there not revealed in the unholy holiness of the Church, as opposed to man's expectation of purity, God's true holiness, which is love, love which does not keep its distance in a sort of aristocratic, untouchable purity but mixes with the dirt of the world, in order thus to overcome it? Can therefore the holiness of the Church be anything else but the mutual support which comes, of course, from the fact that all of us are supported by Christ? [. . .]

At bottom there is always hidden pride at work when criticism of the Church adopts that tone of rancorous bitterness which today is already beginning to become a fashionable habit. Unfortunately it is accompanied only too often by a spiritual emptiness in which the specific nature of the Church as a whole is no longer seen, in which it is only regarded as a political instrument whose organization is felt to be pitiable or brutal, as the case may be, as if the real function of the Church did not lie beyond organization, in the comfort of the Word and of the sacraments which she provides in good and bad days alike. Those who really believe do not attribute too much importance to the struggle for the reform of ecclesiastical ritual. They live on what the Church always is; and if one wants to know what the Church really is one must go to them. For the Church is most present not where organizing, reforming and governing are going on but in those who simply believe and receive from her the gift of faith that is life to them.

This does not mean that everything must be left undisturbed and endured as it is. Endurance can also be a highly active process, a struggle to make the Church herself more and more that which supports and endures. After all, the Church does not live otherwise than in us; she lives from the struggle of the unholy to attain holiness, just as of course this struggle lives from the gift of God, without which it could not exist. But this effort only becomes fruitful and constructive if it is inspired by the spirit of forbearance, by real love.

And here we have arrived at the criterion by which that critical struggle for better holiness must always be judged, a criterion that is not only not in contradiction with forbearance but is demanded by it. This criterion is constructiveness. A bitterness that only destroys stands self-condemned. A slammed door can, it is true, become a sign that shakes up those inside. But the idea that one can do more constructive work in isolation than in fellowship with others is just as much of an illusion as the notion of a Church of "holy people" instead of a "holy Church" that is holy because the Lord bestows holiness on her as a quite unmerited gift.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Check out the "Theologian's Corner"

Hey all you crazy Catholics (or anyone interested)!

Mark Zia is a professor of mine from college who just started a wonderful blog about the beliefs and practices of Catholicism. He's a rock-solid theologian, an insanely difficult professor, and a great guy! I guarantee you'll learn A LOT about the faith!

I highly recommend "following" his blog!