Archives for November 2013

November 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes #3: On the First Month of Marriage

Learning to Live (and sleep) Together

It’s hard to believe we’ve been married one month already!  The first month has brought with it many blessings, a lot of change, and things I didn’t really expect… like learning how to sleep with my husband.  No really, we are trying to figure out how to sleep in the same bed.  We’ve both been used to sleeping in a full size bed alone, and we are quickly discovering that’s not enough space for the both of us. Blanket Hog is not something I expected to hear in married life, but alas, I am a robber of covers, causing my husband to lose sleep :-p.  Oh the drama.

Solution?  Queen air mattress in the living room.  A temporary solution until we make it over to the mattress store.  Oh the adventurous life of newlyweds :-p

NFP.  Stuff just got real.  

I’ve been using Natural Family Planning for the past three years.  I started charting before I even met Michael, and now that we’re married NFP is even more awesome.

Thank you 🙂

It’s one thing to talk about NFP as an abstinent single woman before marriage, it’s a whole other thing to start charting as a couple and really trying to be open to whatever God has planned for us.  “NFP-ing” together has been a great gift in our first month of marriage.  It has given me an even deeper appreciation for my husband and my fertility.  This has also been an opportunity to practice what I preach.  As spouses we are called to openness to life.  We said “yes” when my Deacon Daddy asked us “Will you accept children lovingly from God…” and we meant it.  And as we continue to chart, I think we are realizing that this is so much more than a way to “postpone or achieve pregnancy”; it is an invitation to pray about God’s plan for our family on a regular basis. I know that NFP-ing isn’t always going to be easy, but that’s why we need the grace of the sacrament!

Marriage is not for me or my husband…

I was one of the millions of people who liked and shared the “Marriage Isn’t for You” blog post by Seth Adam Smith that went viral this week.  I really liked what Seth had to say, and it was a wonderful reminder of what Michael and I signed up for a month ago.  But I also really liked Jeremy’s blog Response which brought it all together:  Marriage isn’t about you, OR your spouse… it’s for God

In my Theology of the Body presentations for engaged couples over the years we spend a lot of time discussing why marriage is a sacrament and what that actually means.  God’s love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful and as spouses we are called to witness that love to each other and to the world.  This is not about spending the rest of our lives trying to satisfy the deepest longings of our spouse’s heart and make them happy all the time.  That’s impossible.  God alone can satisfy the soul’s ache, and our job as spouses is to lead one another closer to himThis is one of my favorite Catechism quotes that seems to capture this well:

“The ‘natural desire’ for happiness…is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.”- CCC no. 1718

Honestly, amongst all of the wonderful things that comes with being a newlywed, humility is one of those things God is helping me learn whether I like it or not.  I’ve talked and taught about marriage/TOB/NFP/etc… for the past three years as part of my job.  I think God had me in marriage preparation long before we were engaged because He knows how stubborn and hard headed Deanna can be.  The best way to learn is to teach… but it is one thing to teach it, it’s another thing to live it on a daily basis.  That’s where that grace kicks in. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s so nice to know that both God and my husband are going to love me unconditionally 🙂
She cooks!
Michael is the real cook in this relationship, but this past week I stepped up my game and made dinner and a dessert (for those who know me, this is kind of a big deal 🙂 ).  We had a wedding reception at our parish last weekend and so I made Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes.  Yum.  The first couple of batches weren’t so pretty, but by round 3 I was baking like a boss.  

Last night I tried my hand at this Roasted Garlic Chicken Penne recipe minus the roasted bell peppers.  It actually turned out really well and I’m surprised at how much I enjoy cooking.  My next goal is to start cooking healthier and to also put our brand new crockpot to work.  The only thing I made in it so far is a bean casserole soup, but I’m ready to step out of my comfort zone and try something new!  If you have any favorite (easy) crockpot recipes please share!!
— 6 —

This is a picture of us making our way back to our group after getting Pope-handed.  I’d just like to note that my husband is a stud.  That is all 🙂

I love my husband.  No Really.  I love him.   

In my single days I remember seeing Facebook posts from friends that said cheesy things like “I love my husband!”  or “I have the best husband everrrr!” and think Ok we got it… Thanks for sharing… But I have to admit that there are days when I just want to burst in the room like:

Sure, I realize we’ve only been married a month, and this “honeymoon phase” will end.  And yes, there have been moments when he is not my favorite person to be around… but I love him!  It’s not just that he is super smart, funny, a great cook and handyman, etc… but he is helping me get to heaven.  This is the start of a great adventure. 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
November 7, 2013

A Few Moments with Francis

p a x
To be honest it is hard to know where to begin this story.  I feel like the important details are not so much how my husband and I got to shake Pope Francis’ hand (although having a Pope Hand is pretty awesome), but more so the lesson the Holy Father taught us in brief moments we shared with him.   
While it might look like I’m blocking my husband from shaking the pope’s hand,
this is actually my husband placing the Holy Father’s hand into mine 🙂

My husband and I were married on October 5th in my hometown of Memphis, TN.  It sounds cliché to say this, but it really was the happiest day of my life.   After 3 years of working with engaged couples at my parish and teaching the Theology of the Body, it was wonderful to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage with my best friend, surrounded by our family and friends.  God is so good!  

Before we were even engaged, Michael and I knew that we would be going to Rome in October for our last Graduate Theology course.   Rome itself is an overwhelming experience.  Standing in basilicas that were built more than a thousand years before our country was founded gave me a deeper appreciation for our faith.  

From the very top of St. Peter’s Basilica

One of my favorite places was St. Peter’s Basilica.   The moment we stepped into the building it felt like home.  The artwork was breathtaking, and the architecture impressive; but what made that basilica feel like I was standing in my home parish was the realization that this is where the foundations of our Catholic faith were laid.  It gave a whole new meaning to “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).  

On October 16th my husband and I attended the papal audience in St. Peter’s Square.  We were able to obtain Sposi Novelli  (Newlywed) tickets, which meant that we were invited to wear our wedding attire to the audience and sit in a special section that was a little bit closer to the Holy Father.  
Our seats were surrounded by barricades and we were several rows back in our section, so we assumed that we might get to see the Pope from 100 feet away, or if we were really lucky he might come down our side of the barricade to wave hello.  No matter what happened we were grateful for this experience.  
After the Holy Father’s address, the Vatican security guards instructed us to file out of the section.  I assumed that meant everything was over now and it was time to go home.  And then we realized they are taking us to Pope Francis!  They looked at each couple, making sure the men had their jackets buttoned up appropriately, and that the women had the proper attire.  It was one of those moments where we could not help but see how God placed us in the right place, at the right time, and before we knew it we were standing at the center of the platform waiting for the Holy Father to come and greet us.  
It is hard to put into words the thoughts and emotions we experienced when we saw the Successor of Peter standing right in front of us.   
Handing Pope Francis a prayer card from our wedding
As the Holy Father shook Michael’s hand I said (in Spanish) “Holy Father, we are from the United States.  We are praying for you.”  Pope Francis shook my hand, and then Michael handed him a holy card that we had given to our wedding guests which has a picture of the Divine Mercy.  I told the Holy Father, “This is a gift from our wedding.  We were married on October 5th, the feast of St. Faustina.”  Pope Francis looked at both sides and smiled, and then he made his way to the next couple in line.  Michael and I stood there for a moment a bit awestruck at what had just happened. 
There’s one thing that struck me more than anything else about our brief moment with the Holy Father: He knows the gift of presence.  
When I think about our wedding reception and brief moments I was able to spend personally greeting our guests, I have to admit that I probably was not as focused on each person as I should have been.  Sometimes all I could do is blurt out a quick “Thanks for coming!  It’s great to see you!” before running back to the floor for another favorite song. 
And then I think about our moment with Pope Francis.  The Pope had to have greeted hundreds of people before he came to us.  He wasn’t just shaking hands and kissing babies because of some kind of obligatory Papal Duty; rather, he greeted each person, he looked at each one of us like a father lovingly looks at his children.    Even though he didn’t say a word, he listened to us.  He looked at us.  He smiled at us.  In that moment he was present to each person, sharing the love and joy of Christ even if it was only with a smile.  
Looking back at the pictures that were taken of us with Pope Francis it is still hard to believe that we were able to experience something so special.  The Holy Father gave us just a few seconds of his time, but he taught us that sharing the joy of our faith can be as simple as being joyful and fully present to each person we encounter.  That is probably one of the best gifts that we could ever receive as we begin our life as a married couple.   

Lord teach us how to be present to every person we encounter, and teach us how to be see the gift of each and every person we meet. 

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid


November 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes #2: Wedding & A Pope Hand

I’m a MRS. now! Here are 7 Quick Takes about the last month of wedding, honeymoon, and the start of married life 🙂

Two Become One

Michael and I got married on October 5th in Memphis, TN. Michael’s best friend celebrated the Mass, my Deacon Daddy witnessed our vows, and we were surrounded by family friends. As cliche as it sounds, our wedding day was the happiest day of my life.

Dancing Queen

I forget just how much I love dancing until it is time for a wedding reception… And ours was so much fun!! Our Father-Daughter dance was EPIC (yes that is an appropriate use of the word)!!  Imagine Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” and then it is suddenly interrupted by “Jump on It”.  Kudos to Mom for providing our light up glasses.  (If I can get a video of the dance up here I will… too fun not to share!)
You brought WHO on your honeymoon?
Before we were even engaged we knew that we would be going to Rome in October for our last Graduate Theology class.  We were able to invite guests to come with us on this trip, so we planned on bringing my parents and one of Michael’s younger sisters.  We didn’t want to uninvite anyone after this trip became our honeymoon because… it’s ROME!  How often would we get to be with family in Roma??  Plus, this happened….
The Pope Hand
Meeting Pope Francis at the October 16th Wednesday Audience
I can’t even begin to express what a gift this moment was.  I need to just dedicate an entire post to how this happened.  But to sum it all up: God is good and I’m even more grateful to be bilingual.  
Rome Sweet Home
Walking into St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time was one of my favorite moments from our time in Rome.  It wasn’t just the architecture or artwork that left me speechless (although those are breathtaking!); it was the feeling that I was home.  The history and significance of where we were standing just sort of hit me all at once, and it brought a whole new meaning to “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”  
Right Place.  Right Time.

On our first day in Rome, Michael and I took a walk with my parents to the Farmacia.  We’re almost home when all of a sudden Michael sees one of his friends from college!  His friend is a seminarian at the North American College, and asked if we would like tickets to the Papal Mass on October 13th when the Pope would be consecrating the world to Our Lady.   Oh yes!  So basically because of a chance encounter with my husband’s friend we were able to go to the Papal Mass and get a tour of the NAC, and I got a chance to meet other friends of my husband’s from his days in seminary.  

Did I mention I met my husband after he left the seminary? 🙂

After almost 3 years of working with engaged couples, teaching Theology of the Body, and promoting things like NFP, I finally got to step into Sacrament of Marriage with my best friend.  I love my husband, and I am so excited to see where God leads us.  God is so good.  
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!