Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pre-Marriage Wedding Counseling

You might have seen this tweet this weekend...

Or this one...

Well, this weekend, Mike and I had to attend a mandatory couples seminar to be married in my college's Catholic Chapel.  Obviously, we were really mature and deep.

It was an interesting day, to say the least.  I'm not about to go all spiritual on you or try to impose my beliefs on you [like one of the presenters definitely did, even though they claimed their message was to "propose" their teachings, not "impose" them].  I'm not going to talk about contraception or abstinence because I heard enough to last a lifetime - rant over.  I just want to share with you about my past and where I feel I am on my spiritual journey, because I've never really written about that part of my life here.

I was raised Catholic my whole life.  My mom and I attended church together at 8 am each and every week.  My dad is Protestant [even though he claims his church is the golf course - LOL], so I was always exposed to different religions and ideas.  I made my first communion, was an alter server, attended 11 years of CCD, and made my confirmation.  Still, through all of that, looking back on it, I feel like I was just going through the motions.  I never had anything forced upon me, but growing up in a predominately Irish and Italian town, that was what you did!

Then, I went to a Catholic Jesuit college; the college where we will be married in 5 short months.  What an amazing experience.  The Jesuits' "slogan" is "men and women for others."  A Jesuit education is about fostering not only intellectual development, but also moral and spiritual growth.  Intellect and faith are seen as complimentary, not contradictory.  It helps students discover the deeper meaning and purpose of their lives while also finding their individual places in the larger society.  Even more than suggesting we attend mass on Sundays, professors and administration stressed the importance of community service.  At Holy Cross, 90% of students will do some type of community service over their four years.  I was a "Big Sister," volunteered at Blood Drives and with area schools, and spent spring break on an immersion trip to Louisiana to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina.  All of these were incredibly rewarding experiences that helped me discover who I am today and encourage me to work in the youth development non-profit world.  

Now, last weekend, much of what we talked about was where we currently are in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  After a lot of thinking, I realized that I don't currently see Jesus in the church, probably because I do not often attend church.  I see him in the morals and values I try to embody each day.  Jesus was loving, kind, friendly, empowering, forgiving, and teaching.  In my daily life, I try to encompass all these things, and now I know without a doubt why: Jesus is the reason.  I know I will never be mighty, excellent, holy, or perfect like him, but I will continue to work to be better as a person who is pleasing to Jesus.  I know that I need to work to a place where I can also find Jesus in the church, but I will get there.  I think that going through this counseling has definitely made me think about my faith, and it will be a great starting point for what will become our faith.

Like I implied at the beginning of this post, I don't always agree with everything the Catholic church teaches, but I can tell you one thing, I LOVE Pope Francis.  He is the first Jesuit pope and really does stand for the Jesuit belief of "finding God in all things."  Jeesh, he even tweets!!  He is going to be a great change for the church, and if you don't know a lot about him, you should read this.  

Just FYI, Mike is not Catholic but has been so supportive of getting married in a Catholic church.  He was raised Lutheran and grew up very similar to me.

Now, reflecting after the seminar, here's what I hope for in my marriage with Mike: for us to find a church and community at which we both feel comfortable and welcomed, in whatever Christian religion that means.  I like to think we will go to church each week, like we both grew up doing, but who really knows.  I also hope and will work to make our marriage filled with the messages Jesus taught: kindness, love, honor, and truthfulness.  Our children will be raised understanding and loving the church, and I know we will instill many Jesuit values in them.  So, maybe the Catholic church didn't succeed as it hoped, getting us to follow every one of its teachings, but it did get Mike and I talking.  We've talked about our faith since this weekend.  We are both on the same page, and we know that our life together will be full of love.

Oh, and Friday was our fourth anniversary, so we went out to dinner and actually remembered to take a photo this year!

Linking up for a couple of Wedding Wednesdays with Kristyn & Mary and Meredith & Jordon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Fun Round Up

I just love Easter: spring weather, flowers, baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies, and, of course, the beautiful reason for the season: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Here are some of my crafts and treats perfect for your Easter celebration:

Easter egg paint chip garland
Bunny butt coconut cake /// Speckled nails
Coconut nests /// Hawaiian Luau Peeps
Peter Cottontail paint chip garland

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I haven't done one of these in almost a year, but I always love looking at Ashley's photos.  When I saw this week's prompts, they really excited me; I had to get my Canon out and participate.  Here are my takes for this week's Scavenger Hunt:

I was given this great countdown board by my fabulous bloggy friend, Annalee, in a blog swap but I have to admit, I only remember to update it like once every two weeks.  I think right now, we are at about 159 days!

Signs of Spring:
Our tulips are finally starting to come up!

Last Thing You Bought:
I know I already shared these this week, but these were the last thing I bought and I am just in love with my wedding shoes!

If you're around these parts often, you know that our cat is named Shadow, so I took a different take on this prompt: Shadow in the sunlight.

Four Things:
As many of you know, if there is a photo in a blog post of Shadow, there also has to be one of Roxy [equal opportunity!!].  I thought at first I would take one of her four little paws, but as she was sitting in the window, she started making her barking noise to the birds [as seen here] and I took four great shots of her in the sunlight.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Four Years

Today is the last official time that Mike and I will celebrate April 11th as our anniversary.  In March of 2010, we started talking online, which turned into hours and hours on the phone.  We spent a few weekends together and there was instant chemistry.  April of 2010 was when we first said "I love you" and we've always celebrated the 11th as our anniversary.  

What a crazy, exciting, fulfilling, and fun four years it's been.  I love you, Mikey man!

April 2010:

April 2011:

April 2012:

April 2013 (and this):
Because we're awesome, we totally forgot to take a photo together on our last anniversary... but these was from that weekend!

Tonight Mike is taking me out to dinner somewhere - it's a surprise - and we have a whooooole day of
"marriage counseling" tomorrow per the church where we're getting married.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Peter Cottontail Garland

Okay, it's no secret I love holiday garlands for around my home.  Halloween, Christmas, a previous Easter garland: I don't discriminate.  It's been two years since I made my last Easter garland, so I thought I'd create another to make our home feel even more springy for next week's big holiday.  

This time, I decided to theme it around my favorite rabbit: the Easter Bunny!

All you need is a few [25 or so] paint swatches, ribbon or twine, mini cotton balls, scissors and glue.

1. Print out the bunny template and cut it out.  [Click here to download the bunny template.]

2. Put the template up against each swatch and cut the swatches into the bunny shape [I did 3 swatches at a time to make it easier.].

3. Punch holes in each ear.

4. Glue cotton balls to the middle of each bunny to look like the tail.  Let dry.

5. String all the bunnies together and display!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wedding Workouts

Every single wedding planning checklist I've found includes creating a fitness or workout routine.  Then I saw an article on The Knot about important things brides tend to overlook, and the one that struck me was their arms.  It really got me thinking that yeah, that I want some rockin' arms on my wedding day, for sure!  And while I'm at it, why not do some full body toning!  My MOH shared with me these fantastic 30-day challenges she's been doing with her coworkers.  Seriously, this girl is ripped, so I definitely knew I had to try them for myself.  I'm currently on day 20 and loving them!  I do all three together with a few minutes on the elliptical as a great nightly workout with an additional 2 nights a week of swimming to try and get in "wedding shape!"

I also add 15-20 seated triceps presses to the end of this workout

My home gym!

Here's what we did: Meg and Mike's Wedding:
The Proposal
Will You Be Our Flower Girl?
Will You Be My Bridesmaid?
October Wedding List Update
Will You Be His Groomsman?
Will You Be Our Ring Bearer?
"Save the Date" Magnets
Engagement Photo Shoot
February Wedding List Update
ABCs of Our Wedding

Linking up for a couple of Wedding Wednesdays with Kristyn & Mary and Meredith & Jordon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

32 Things That Make Me Happy

Last week, I saw that Sarah had started this fun linkup, and when I read Kallie's list, I was inspired to do one myself.  So, here are 32 things that make me a happy Meg: 

1. Cat photo texts from Mike
3. Cupcakes - any flavor, please!
4. Spring sunshine through the windows
5. The beach - it's where I grew up, it will always have a special place in my heart
6. A clean house
7. Chick Fil A chicken biscuits
8. Watching tv and cuddling with my fellow - basically my guy in general
9. Any nail polish color ever
10. Drawing, painting, anything crafty
11. Crossing things off a list
12. Roxy
13. Shadow
14. Stanley [and the others] - my parents have three cats, but they only got "the boys" when I was going off to college.  Stanley has been my baby since I was 8.
15. Target 
16. Holiday-shaped Reese's - sorry, Heather, "regular" Reese's cups just don't do it for me, I love those Easter eggs and Christmas trees
17. Candles
18. Wedding planning - fellow brides, you probably think I'm nuts, but seriously, this has been the most fun 6 months ever!  Maybe it goes back to #11?
19. Swimming
20. Disney - I still need to see Frozen!
21. "13 Going On 30" - whenever it's on [like 3 times a week], I will stop what I'm doing and at least watch a few minutes of it
22. This day
23. Flowers - especially spring flowers and flowering trees
24. 5ks
25. Games - Racko is my current favorite
26. Kids at work
27. Golf
28. Petting Zoos
29. Cat videos, especially of my own babies - Seriously, my YouTube channel is filled with hysterical cat videos.
30. Photography
31. UCONN BASKETBALL!!! 1 national championship down, 1 to go!
32. These shoes - I obviously can't show my wedding dress yet, but I had to share something.  I bought these shoes at DSW this weekend and are EXACTLY what I was looking for in wedding shoes: purple and now my bridesmaids won't all tower over me!

Monday, April 7, 2014

So you're telling me there's a chance [and other weekend things]

There's a chance I wrote a mechanical tiger on Friday, while drunk, at our local science center.
We also played with some awesome exhibits and drank some delicious beverages at "Liquid Lounge," a bi-monthly Friday Night Out at the CT Science Center.

There's a chance we drove 45 minutes each way to eat Chick Fil A on Saturday morning.
There's also a chance we figured we had driven that far, why not each get a second chicken biscuit and split a second order of hashbrowns.

There's a chance Amanda's birthday deserved not one, but two fantastic celebrations.
Two weekends of awesomeness!

There's a chance we spent three and a half hours on these masterpieces.  

There's a chance that not one, but TWO UConn teams are CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES tonight and tomorrow!!!  Go Huskies!

There's a chance that my cat is the grossest cat ever.   See video here.

So yeah, that's my weekend.  Now I want to hear about yours!

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