Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Note to self: after enjoying the deliciously vanilla-scented candle your sister made for you, do not blow it out quite so vigorously...

Now I am well-practiced in the art of ironing up wax spills through paper - the residue wouldn't come off of our textured countertop otherwise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Credit card humor

First, the background:

We have three primary credit cards we use for almost all chargeable expenses (and pay off in full each month). I'm big on responsible credit card use because they help build credit history, are incomparably convenient, and offer some great rewards programs. I used to charge everything I could to the Discover because it had the most robust rewards program, but I've been disappointed by their Cash Back Bonus reward offerings lately. It turns out my Mastercard's rewards program has improved considerably. So I determine which cards we should use for which purchases each quarter in order to maximize our rewards and write it out on post-it notes for our wallets.

Here's what they look like:

Now, the story:

This past Saturday David and I stopped in Office Depot to pick up a new battery for his old coaching stopwatch - he wants to use it to time my contractions. As he read his post-it to determine which credit card to offer the cashier, he said, "for everything else, use Mastercard."

The cashier burst out laughing.

David started to explain why he had to deliberate over the cards and the cashier stopped him to let him know that he'd almost quoted the Mastercard slogan: "For everything else, there's Mastercard." The fact that we watch next to no television and are pleasantly unaware of current commercials added to our own amusement at this coincidence. As we put the Mastercard into action the cashier assured David that he'd provided her amusement for the day.

We aim to please, right? :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Positive Life Message for Inauguration Day

The beautiful theme for Mr. Obama's Presidential Inauguration, "A New Birth of Freedom," is taken from Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had some very compelling things to say about freedom:

"Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

He also said: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

The freedom to live is the most fundamental freedom, without which we could have no other freedoms. And thus a new birth of freedom in our country needs to be broad enough to include and protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us; most notably the disabled, the elderly, and the unborn.

Please join us in celebrating this year's beautiful inaugural theme in this more complete way. On Inauguration Day, January 20th, please use these images to encourage others to remember the important connections between life and freedom. Images can be used to replace profile pictures (on Facebook, etc.) or to highlight the theme on your blog via post, sidebar picture, or background image. Please pass it along by linking back to this page.

"Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them." - Susan B. Anthony

Read more and pick up images here.

Solidarity & our daily bread

"Give us this day our daily bread..." we pray in the Our Father. And God provides...through the work of countless people we will never know.

I was reminded of this truth this evening as I read the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Sacred Ground, the magazine of Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA). I've written about CFCA and my sponsorship of a young Filipino named Manuelito before, and I continue to encourage anyone interested in sponsoring a poor child (or aging person) to consider CFCA because it is a stellar organization founded on Catholic principles.

For example, solidarity is part of the CFCA mission statement because it is an essential part of Catholic social teaching. I think this story, shared in the article "Solidarity: A Walk of Love," illustrates solidarity well:

"Every morning when CFCA sponsor and board chairman Scott Wasserman gets dressed, he checks his shirt label to see where his garment was made. He then spends a moment thinking of the person who made it, most likely a woman.

'I pray for her and her family while I hold the shirt she made for me,' Wasserman said. 'The entire spiritual exercise takes only a few moments. But done consistently every day over the years, it leads to solidarity with the poor, and that leads to action such as sponsorship with CFCA.'"
As I pondered this idea my gaze fell to my dinner plate. Because David was at church training altar servers for the Latin Mass, I was reading Sacred Ground while enjoying the London broil he'd made in the crock pot, along with some sweet potato casserole. In times past I have tried to bring to mind and pray for many of the people involved in getting us the food we eat - to not take them and the hard work they do (or my dependence upon it) for granted. For example, I should thank the Lord for...
  • The rancher that raised the cow
  • The butcher that prepared the cut of meat
  • The packager who wrapped it up
  • The truck driver who transported it to my grocery store
  • The farmer who cultivated and harvested those sweet potatoes
  • The stocker who laid them out in the store
  • The cashier who rang up my purchases (and all those coupons)
  • The creative minds behind the development, packaging, and advertising of all the other ingredients we used in our meal
  • The cooks who created the recipes we used (I really like MoneySavingMom's sweet potato casserole, with marshmallows for topping)
  • The web gurus who keep sites like going so we can quickly find out how to make London broil (this was our first time)
I could go on, because the contributions don't end there. People all over the place had a hand in my meal. These are my brothers and sisters, doing their daily work, and I hope they know that someone appreciates their good service!

I pray that the Lord will help me to be even more mindful of how much I need others, far and near, to live as I am blessed to live. I am grateful for God's Providence - and for the role He allows me to play in providing for others.

I can only imagine how this insight will deepen when Teresa comes and I *get* to take care of her, with others' help. Already we have been so blessed by the generosity of friends and family - and those unknown people who donate used clothing and baby supplies to thrift stores. Deo gratias!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank you

I graduated from nursing school!!!

As Frances wrote earlier, I graduated on December 19th. I took two weeks to enjoy a trip to Virginia to see Frances’ sister Beth and our new niece, Arianna. I also enjoyed spending time with Frances over the Christmas Octave. Over the last week or so I’ve continued studying for the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination. It’s the test I need to pass in order to get my license. Along with my graduating classmates, I’m waiting to receive permission to schedule my test from the NCBON, North Carolina Board of Nursing. Once it's received, I’ll schedule my test as soon as possible, but I’ve decided not to reveal the test date to minimize anxiety.

As for the NCLEX, it’s what I call a smart test. Basically, before you answer the first question, you are standing on the pass/fail line. If you answer 10 questions correctly, then you move 10 steps over to the pass side of the line. If you get a question wrong, then you move back towards the line. If you get a lot wrong then you move over to the failing side of the line. The minimum amount of questions is 75 and the max is 265. So, if you get a lot correct, then you can pass in 75 questions. If you get a few right and then a few wrong, you could hover over the line until 265. You could also fail in 75 questions. Bottom line here is that you don’t know how you did until you see the results.

It’s a computer test, so the majority of questions will be multiple choice, but they have at least four other types of question formats. If you’re really interested in seeing them, click here.

No matter what happens, first and foremost, I wouldn’t be here without our Lord. Through Holy Mother Church, God has been there every step. When I felt like the ground slipped away, He lifted me up so I wouldn’t fall. Yet, when I did fall, He waited for me to ask for help and then He always picked me up. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting specific stories of how He used others to guide, lift, nourish, support, and help me get through. (Yes, I will be saving the best for last, Frances.) Though I won’t be able to thank every single person by name, I am grateful for everyone who did help, especially those who have been praying for me. There were plenty of hard moments when I could even feel that grace.

Praise be to the Lord and stay tuned…

33/34 weeks

I realize I haven't posted in a while, so here's a recent belly shot to tide you over until I have something to share (and time to write about it). :)