Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Introduction to Natural Family Planning...Which method is right for you?

Want to start practicing Natural Family Planning but don't know which of the three methods would be best for you? Avoid hours of research and attend an evening of introductions as the three different methods of Natural Family Planning -- Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System, Sympto-Thermal Method and Billings Ovulation Method -- are introduced at St. John Neumann parish! I'm helping plan this event with our Culture of Life Committee. We'll have teachers from these three methods give a brief overview of how their method works, and they'll be available for questions and with an upcoming schedule of classes that will be offered throughout the coming year at SJN.

The event is Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the St. Timothy Room of SJN. All diocesan-approved methods will be available to discuss this great gift from the Church. Come see which method will work for you and your marriage! RSVP here.

Not yet married and are wondering why you should come to this event? Engaged couples can start taking classes at any point before marriage, but we usually recommend that you start taking classes and charting at least four to six months before you get married. NFP isn’t just Catholic birth control either – it offers a great overall picture of a woman’s health AND her fertility. It’s not just for married women and not just for women in their prime childbearing years. NFP charts in the hands of a physician who knows what he’s looking at are an incomparable tool to help diagnose many health issues. Many single women have taken an NFP class simply to gain more knowledge about their own body! There's no such thing as starting too early.

If you're already practicing NFP and are happy with which method you've chosen, please attend to support our event and Natural Family Planning awareness campaign and / or invite your friends to help us spread the word!

5455 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, TX

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Books I'd like to read

I'm not a big book reader these days, but whenever I run across a title or review that looks worth my while, I make a note of it. Books on marriage that I'd like to skim through sooner rather than later include:
  1. "The 100 Day Promise: Radically Transforming your Marriage by Living with Complete Concern for your Spouse's Happiness" by Brian King
    See what happens when a regular husband and father of four promises to totally love and serve his wife for 100 days. What will happen to him, his wife and their relationship? Is it really worth the effort? More than just just hearing marriage platitudes, this book shows the reality of the stresses family life can bring and demonstrates the power of trusting someone enough to love them completely.
  2. "Married Saints and Blesseds Through the Centuries" by Ferdinand Holbock
    Countless saints have been priests or religious, living out lives of penance and sacrifice for the good of the Church. But many Catholics don't realize that married couples are called to holiness as well. Fr. Holböck's tells the inspiring stories of over 200 married saints and blesseds from the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph to Margaret of Scotland, King Louis of France, Thomas More and modern examples like Gianna Molla and Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The example of these holy men and women is essential to living a truly Catholic married life.
  3. "Designing Your Dream Husband: How to Build Your Husband Up and Release Him to His Full Potential" by Amie Dockery
    God has given women a gift that is so woven into their nature that they approach everything—from homes to husbands—with the thought, “Wow, I could do great things with that!” To see potential is a great good, but the downside is the propensity to compare reality with the expectation. This is especially harmful in marriage if a woman tries to “show” her husband his potential in all the wrong ways, such as comparison or suggestions for change. So how does a wife encourage her husband to become what God has placed within him to be? It requires an understanding of her own need for repentance and restoration, as well as working with the right team and the right tools. The right team is God as architect, Jesus as supplier and the Holy Spirit as builder. The right tools include prayer, declaration and action that bring restoration and that also reveal her own need to change. Each chapter will explore a case study of a biblical character’s life in the areas of “Making the Mantle”--an action that gained him authority, “Missing the Mantle”--an area of vulnerability, and “Modeling the Mantle”—the most memorable moment this person wore the mantle. There will also be a pattern for prayer--questions from which a woman can build the blueprint for repentance, restoration and declaration. There will also be application in the form of “Putting Your Words to Work”—a written vision statement or declaration, and “Seal it with a Gift”—practical ways to gently yet generously introduce revelation of a husband’s skills and abilities through a tangible gift.
  4. "The Respect Dare" by Nina Roesner
    Ephesians 5:33 in the Bible says that wives shall always respect their husbands, but most women struggle with this concept. Are you one of them? The truth is that women get married with dreams, hopes and aspirations that are often never fulfilled. More than half of marriages end in divorce in the United States, and many women that stay married are unhappy. "The Respect Dare" is a 40-day devotional guide that will take away the mystery that is keeping you from speaking the language of respect with your husband. It provides real life examples from women who have developed closer relationships with God and their husbands. In it, you will learn how to build confidence, methods to positively handle conflicts, keys to better communication, how to develop a more intimate connection with your spouse, ways to deepen your relationship with God and much more!
  5. "The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples" by Alex Kendrick
     "The Love Dare Day by Day" encourages and challenges couples toward new steps in faith and love with 365 marital encouragements, reminders and action points worth repeating year after year.Unconditional love is eagerly promised at weddings but rarely practiced in real life. As a result, romantic hopes are often replaced with disappointment in the home. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong, "The Love Dare Day by Day" is a journey you need to take. It’s time to learn the keys to finding true intimacy.
  6. "The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional" by Gary Chapman
    Are you and your spouse speaking the same language? He sends you flowers when what you really want is time to talk. She gives you a hug when what you really need is a home-cooked meal. The problem isn’t love—it’s your love language. The Love Languages Devotional is your daily guide to how to express heartfelt love to your loved one.
Have you read any of these? Any sound interesting to you?

Aug. 17, 2008 at the Iguana Grill in Austin

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Rose!

Congrats to friends Sarah and Jimmy Rose, who tied the knot Oct. 1! They were married at St. Thomas More Catholic Church just this last weekend, and they seemed deliciously happy. Sarah was an Osman, and those weddings are always fun because you get to see folks you haven't seen in a while -- like the Scaperlandas! It was awesome to see Mary and Chris and meet their precious daughter. I haven't seen either of them since they moved away a few years ago. In any case, Sarah and Jimmy are a fun couple to know, and I'm so happy for them as they start their married life together. May you experience abundant bliss with each passing year! Be blessed, friends.

Sarah and Jimmy Rose; Oct. 1, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Prayer Buddy reveal

...and an explanation of what Prayer Buddies are!

I've been following a particular segment of Catholic blogs over the last year and have discovered a fabulous group of women who never cease to inspire and amaze me with the strength of their faith. They are so good to one another, encouraging and praying for each other.

I don't know how it started, but these ladies do what they've dubbed the "Prayer Buddy" exchange a couple of times a year. Dates are selected, and one lady collects all the names and contact information from those wishing to participate. Participants get matched up with each other, and during the set dates they specially remember their prayer buddy in their prayers. I kept hearing about this over the last year and was so excited to be able to participate this time!

I prayed for Nicole, who blogs at MomAndThenSome.blogspot.com. She's currently expecting the birth of her second son this December, so my prayers especially went toward her pregnancy, per her request.

I was honored and humbled to find out that Emily at mostuncapto.blogspot.com was praying for me. I received the most beautiful card from her in the mail today, telling me how she'd been remembering me in prayer over the last couple of months during the exchange and I feel so loved! This faithful Catholic woman has been offering up me and my intentions in prayer, and I can definitely say I've felt strength from it, especially over the last week.

What a wonderful community of which to be a part. :) Thanks for letting me participate, ladies!

June 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prayers for couples going through divorce

I want to ask for prayers for some friends and family of friends I have going through divorce. Divorce is so painful, and sometimes it's hard to know what to pray for in regards to such turmoil.

I ask that you lift up these troubled couples in prayer and ask for God's grace, peace and will be done.

Prayer to Saint Joseph
Based on Matthew 1:18-25

We ask your prayers, St. Joseph, an upright man, a spouse who planned to divorce Mary in secret and who, by God's grace, was able to see his role in God's plan.

We ask you in our behalf to pray to God that our loved ones' marriages be healed. We are enveloped in pain and despair as you must have been when you learned of Mary's pregnancy. Be for and with us, Joseph, in our hour of doubt. Let us listen to and heed the voice of God as you did.

Be our intercessor to your Jesus, to give us the blessings to change, to listen, to forgive and most of all to hope that their marriages will heal and their families remain whole and holy.

We give you honor, quiet St. Joseph, for you are a spouse like us, who while knowing pain, did not divorce. By God's grace you nourished the Holy Family and the Savior of all families throughout the ages.

*Taken from Retrouvaille, marriage help for couples with marital problems

Friday, September 16, 2011

Top 10 favorite dates

As you know, Mark and I have date night every Tuesday, come rain or come shine. We never make other plans on that evening; our marriage is top priority.

What's fun about having our date night on Tuesdays is that it forces us to be creative about our dates; there's not as much obvious stuff going on on a Tuesday as there is a Thursday, Friday or Saturday! Luckily, I married a creative date planner, so I've had to try hard to match par with his ideas.

Here are my top 10 favorite dates so far (not in order):
  1. Cooking class at Artisan Bistro
  2. An evening at the Elephant Room, Ken's Donuts and Spider House Cafe (our first date, which we've recreated a couple times!)
  3. Painting With a Twist
  4. Paella cooking demonstration at Malaga
  5. Ventana, restaurant for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, followed by Viva Chocolato, which is, sadly, no longer around
  6. Dinner on a Lone Star River Boat cruise for two on Lake Austin (one of our dating anniversary dates)
  7. Painting our own wine glasses one Valentine's Day at a ceramic place, followed by dinner at Gumbo's
  8. Getting engaged during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (that's a date if it's just the two of us and we had the get together scheduled, right?)
  9. One of our dates just before we went to Europe in 2010 when I made a French dinner, followed by Italian dessert, followed by watching "Wizard of Oz" since we would be seeing "Wicked, the musical" in London. A little foreshadowing of our soon-after trip to France, Italy and London!
  10. Wine tasting classes with Wine for the People. We've taken classes from Rae at the Whip-In, House Wine and St. John Neumann Church. Always a fun time!
Think about how you can go beyond dinner and a movie to create a memorable dating experience!

The day we got engaged: Aug. 29, 2008. Out celebrating with friends!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Couples of Faith panel

Mark and I have been asked to sit on a panel of married couples for this month's Couples of Faith night at our parish. I think it is a beautiful opportunity to witness what's been revealed to us, so far, about marriage and Christ's plan for this vocation of ours, but I have to admit we're also a little hesitant. Most of the audience will be couples that have been married for quite some time, while Mark and I will be sharing our two years' worth  of reflections. We've been assured, however, that we're thought to have some valuable input on what it means to be intentional about including Christ in our marriage, so, with prayer, may every purpose God has for including us on this panel be fulfilled. Keep this event and our witness in your prayers, if you will, and, if you're in town, come to it! It's this Friday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

We have given a similar witness on our vocation before; hopefully having more time under our belt will allow us further insight.

St. Joseph, patron saint of married couples, pray for us!

June 13, 2009

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Representing Jesus in your marriage

As Christians, we're taught that marriage is supposed to reflect the personal and intimate union between Christ and his Church. That's a huge call!

If your marriage is one that publicly displays discord on a regular basis, think about what that means in regards to reflecting the union between Christ and his Church. I'm not talking about a low profile disagreement here and there but more about those times it makes others uncomfortable to be around you because you're not being discreet with each other about your negative feelings regarding something in your relationship.

It seems that while we should be sincere and real about our marriages in public, we should also be making the extra effort to be on our best behavior, to put on a good face and be positive about our relationship especially when in public. You're representing Jesus here, folks.

Besides, being on our best behavior is bound to be good for our marriages, anyway. It can most certainly soften our hearts if we're harboring negative feelings or need time to cool down before reacting to a situation.

I almost always kick myself after a situation when I've poorly and too openly displayed my negative emotions to Mark in public. It's embarrassing for everyone, and it leaves a poor taste in everyone's mouth. You especially don't want your spouse's loved ones to think you don't honor your spouse in a holy way.

Next time you're around friends or in public with your honey and feel like snapping at him / her, making a negative comment or even using ugly body language, think precisely about that -- honoring your spouse in a holy way. It can only improve your marriage and draw you closer to the Lord. Not saying it's easy, but it's definitely something to be aware of and work on.

Aug. 29, 2008, the day we got engaged -- a celebration dinner at Pappadeaux (yum!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Great podcasts about marriage

I'm all about marriage enrichment. Whether it's through experienced couples, blogs or talks / seminars, I enjoy learning how to be a better wife, how to have the best marriage possible.

About a year and a half ago, I discovered podcasts. I know, a little late on the bandwagon there. Still, I subscribe to a ridiculous amount of them through iTunes and listen to one after the other on my work commute. I've learned a lot about gardening, travel and even marriage (among other topics)! If you spend a good amount of time in your car or enjoy listening to audiobooks and haven't discovered the world of podcasts, do some perusing. There's a world of knowledge out there that's just waiting to be heard.

Podcasts on marriage I'd recommend
Subscribe in iTunes

  • Building relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman: Building Relationships is a weekly 54-minute program offering life-changing insight and realistic advice rooted in the Word of God. Hosted by bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman, Chris Fabry and Andrea Fabry, Building Relationships is designed to provide fun and informative, practical help for your marriage.
  • Focus on the family: focus on marriage 
  • Love language minute with Dr. Gary Chapman: A Love Language Minute is a daily one-minute program. In a world where life is so busy that most people forget to care for their closest relationships, Gary Chapman is there to help individuals refocus and recalibrate.
  • Marriage today with Jimmy and Karen: Marriage Today with Jimmy and Karen is co-hosted by best-selling author, Jimmy Evans and his wife Karen. Jimmy is author of the best selling book Marriage on the Rock and Our Secret Paradise.  Marriage Today with Jimmy and Karen is a national television program that missions to enhance marriage and family relationships all across America.
Got any other recommendations?
 June 13, 2009

Friday, July 29, 2011

Video on Catholic marriage

Yay Catholic marriage! Ha, here is a little video I ran across on the good ole' You Tube.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Colorado wedding: Mr. and Mrs. Steven Blewett

Emily and Steven Blewett were married June 25, 2011 in Denver, Colo., and what a beautiful wedding it was! The wedding and reception were at a timeless mansion. Mrs. Blewett was a gorgeous bride, and her flowers were breathtaking. We were among a handful of great friends who traveled from Austin to celebrate this couple, which made the trip that much more fun.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Steven Blewett! Here's to a lifetime of abundant blessings, joy, good health and laughter. Y'all have so many wonderful things ahead of you.

Emily and Steven Blewett; June 25, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Congratulations Eileen and Andrew Van Wart!

One of Mark's confirmants, a total sweetheart, got married June 4, 2011 at St. Thomas More Church. Eileen Mennitt wed Andrew Van Wart! Her dress was beautiful, and I especially loved her lacy and intricate veil. While Mark has known Eileen since she was in high school (maybe even before then?), I got to know this fabulous woman better while we were at another wedding (Rachel and Carl Johnson's) last summer. Eileen and Andrew make an adorable couple, and I wish them all the joy-filled happiness in the world! Weddings are my favorite. :)

Eileen and Andrew Van Wart, June 4, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Nick Poehl ... looking good!

While I knew Nick in high school, him and I really became better friends in college. He was so kind as to drive me several times back and forth to Houston when I didn't have a car my freshman year, and I have him to thank for helping me ease into college life and being away from home for the first time. He was the only person I knew when I moved to Austin to go to UT. He introduced me to his friends and was a great friend overall.

Since those college years and after he completed law school, he's moved back to Houston where he met the love of his life, Melinda. I was honored to witness their wedding on May 13, 2011. It was a beautiful celebration, and Nick looked deliciously happy.

They've been husband and wife now for just a little more than a month, and I wish them all the joy, peace and laughter in the world for many years to come.

Congratulations friend! Be blessed.

Melinda and Nick Poehl; May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Supak!

Anna and James Supak became husband and wife on May 7, 2011, so all my love and prayers go out in thanksgiving for them! Their wedding was in Taylor followed by the reception at The Old Coupland Inn and Dancehall -- so fun! So fun, in fact, that I'm now ready to buy my first pair of cowboy boots! I know -- I've lived in Texas now for 16 years (crazy!) and have yet to own a pair. Well, I'm on my way, friends.

In any case, I'm excited for Mr. and Mrs. Supak as they begin this next chapter of their life together, and I wish them a lifetime of joy, peace and laughter together. Congratulations!

Anna and James Supak -- May 7, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reminiscing about the proposal

A coworker's daughter is soon-to-be-engaged, or at least that's what we think. The daughter's boyfriend contacted my coworker and her husband a few days ago and is taking them out to dinner tonight; it's all we could talk about this afternoon every time I popped my head in her office! (Ha, I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, considering I've never met her, so I'm not ruining any surprises!)

Naturally our conversations turned to wedding planning, which usually brings me back to the fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting proposed to, myself, and the nine and a half month engagement Mark and I lived while planning the next chapter of our lives together. So fun!

I'll never forget the morning he proposed (does anyone really?) -- the worry I felt when he left the Adoration Chapel to take a phone call (at 4:30 a.m.), the confusion I felt when he strolled back (unhurriedly, so it could not have been someone sick or dying) into the chapel with his backpack and a piece of paper in his hand, the silence that fell when he told me to "come here" and held my hand to pick me up off the floor (I had been prostrated) and sit me into a chair, the love I felt when I began to read his beautifully written and sincere letter he handed me, the way my heart skipped a beat when he looked at me with focus just before he knelt down on one knee, the sound of his voice when he asked me to marry him, the embrace we shared after I said "yes," the blessings I felt as we prayed the joyful mysteries of the rosary and the enthusiasm with which I had in proceeding to call my family and best friend as we left the chapel and headed to IHOP to take in what had just taken place.

What joy I feel for my coworker this evening as she begins to dream about her daughter experiencing, in her own way, what I've just described!

How could I have been so lucky?

Aug. 29, 2008 -- the morning Mark proposed. Fancy IHOP breakfast following.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

30, flirty and thriving

I have so much knowledge about being 30 years old -- a whole 11 hours worth of knowledge so far, only four of which have been while awake. :) So far, however, it's been fabulous! I've got the best loved ones for whom anyone could ask, and I've been blessed way more than I deserve. Here's to this year and all the years following, please God, being the best yet. I'm so thankful I have a loving, generous and kind husband with whom to share them.

Recapping the 20 most memorable experiences of my 20s (not necessarily in order, except for No. 1!):

20. Graduating from the University of Texas at Austin Journalism School.
19. Founding the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry.
18. Owning my first house.
17. Buying and paying off my first car -- my fabulous Toyota 4Runner.
16. Going through the Christ Renews His Parish Retreat experience.
15. Kidnapping my best friend, Angela, from her husband and galavanting around France together.
14. Experiencing heartburn for the first time and going to the doctor, aka Rico Suave, in Monaco.
13. Traveling to Europe with the hubby -- Italy, France and England.
12. Developing a love affair with wine.
11. Becoming a godmother to the three most precious children -- Austin, Reagan and Anderson.
10. Becoming an aunt to the three most beautiful nieces -- Violet, Kenna and Olivia.
9. Living with the best sister for whom anyone could ask, Allie.
8. Working for the Catholic Church.
7. Working for a country music magazine that provided me the opportunity to meet countless famous music artists.
6. Getting certified to scuba dive and diving in Cozumel, Cancun, Destin and the Barrier Reef in Belize.
5. Raising my adorable, little, tired pomeranian, Blondie.
4. Being within 30 feet of and blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
3. Going on a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico.
2. Seeing, with my dad, U2 in concert.
1. Marrying the love of my life, Mark.

 June 13, 2009

Monday, April 11, 2011

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Wooster!

Becky and Andrew Wooster were married April 2! What a beautiful Nuptial Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church and fun reception at The Fed. The two are such a great couple, and Mark and I felt blessed to witness such an important and wonderful occasion in their lives. I especially loved the delicious ceviche at the reception -- my favorite! May God bless your marriage and grant you many years of joy, laughter and peace together.

Andrew and Becky Wooster, April 2, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

30-day birthday for my 30th!

Wow, my hubby loves me. My family has always had a tradition of having a "birthday week" where we get to celebrate our birthdays for a week-ish. Otherwise, it passes so quickly! It's not like we make a big deal out of every day; it's really just a way of saying it's my birthday week, you should be nice to me. :-p

Well, this has been a foreign concept to Mark since we've been together, as he doesn't take birthdays as seriously as I do. For my 30th birthday, though, the man has lived up to par and beyond.

On March 15, 2011, 31 days before my birthday, which also happened to be our weekly Date Night, Mark gifted me a journal he made himself -- "30 Presents in 30 Days: Jen Crowley's 30th Birthday!" Mark invited many of my friends to participate in this 30-day birthday celebration of mine that entails my being showered with love by someone different on a daily basis, 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday. I get a whole birthday month! I love it! This guy knows me well. :)

He gave me a sweet card (he doesn't do cards and knows how much I love them), reading that he hopes that in the next 30 days I realize how special I am every day. In the journal is a page for every day where I'm supposed to record what I received that day. He's so creative.

For his 30th birthday a few years ago, I gave him 30 small gifts, so he certainly stepped it up a notch for me.

It's been so fun being surprised every day by someone new with some kind of affirmation letter, gift or prayer. I've been humbled by the incredible love shown to me by those in my life.

Words can't describe how much I love this birthday gift from my wonderful hubby. I love this man.

July 4, 2008

Friday, March 11, 2011

Couples to Behold: Erin and David Osman

The Osmans are a fabulous couple to know! They're a ton of fun, very kind, have the hearts of servants and great faith and are strong-willed. I've known Erin and David since I met Mark, so about five years now. He's known this great pair since Erin was in middle school. Basically forever. Erin and David were high school sweethearts, I'm pretty sure. Adorable!

One of the most admirable qualities about the Osmans is that they definitely know how to have fun and make sure everyone else around them is having a good time, too. A lot of people joke that when their friends get married, that couple becomes boring and doesn't do anything anymore but sit at home and hide out from the world. Not the Osmans. They often throw shindigs at their home, make it out on the town, travel to fun places like New Orleans ... they are out and about quite often.

Remembering to keep the fun in a relationship and remain social with the outside world are things from which all couples would benefit. No one likes a boring pair. The Osmans are anything but. :)

David and Erin Osman; Jan. 8, 2011; D'Mello wedding

Monday, March 7, 2011

Disagreeing in a healthy way

My brother-in-law sent me an article he thought went well with my marriage blog, so I thought I'd post a link to it! I appreciate the suggestion, Paul. :)

It is an article about ways to disagree ("fight") in a healthy way. Definitely some good points to note, especially:

"This is important to me. Please listen."
"I overreacted. I'm sorry."
"I realize it's not your fault."
"I'm sorry."

We could all use this reminder about trying to communicate in a loving way when we don't always see eye to eye right away.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Couples to Behold: Jen and Ruben Garza

Wow, I know a lot of wonderful couples! How blessed am I?

The next couple is Jen and Ruben Garza! They are newlyweds themselves, having gotten married Nov. 6, 2010.

I've known Ruben almost five years; he was my boss when I worked at the Cathedral, and I couldn't help but become friends with him outside of work. Ruben is like no other, truly. He is sincere, loves to have a good time, a man of great faith, one of the strongest men I know (resilient) and loves U2 even more than I do. What's not to love?

I met Jen when she and Ruben began dating, and I loved her right away! She's beautiful, supportive, loves to have a good time and has a great spirit. They're a perfect pair, if I do say so, myself.

One thing I admire about Jen's and Ruben's relationship is how they illustrate what it means to be supportive of one another. Like Nikki and Steve McMinn, Ruben and Jen really seem to have down pat that part of a relationship. You can instantly tell when interacting with these two that they believe in each other's dreams and endeavors and would do anything to help support those ideas. They want the best for each other, and they are so encouraging, uplifting and even challenging the other to want to help the other get the best out of life.

They're a fabulous couple from which to learn.

Jen and Ruben Garza; Nov. 5, 2010; the day before they got married

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Couples to Behold: Angela and Chris Wilson

How am I going to sum up how much I love this couple in this itty bitty blog post? Agh! Well, for anyone who knows me well, you know that Angela Wilson is the nearest and dearest of them all to me, my "bosom buddy," to put it in "Anne of Green Gables" terms. Such a good movie ... but I digress.

I've known Angela 15 and a half years now and things haven't changed between us one bit; if anything, we continue to grow closer in our friendship, if that's even possible. I've known her husband Chris since they first started dating -- 10 years, or so, ago -- and he is almost as equally wonderful as his wife (I'm a little biased). He truly is a great man who loves his wife very much; they make a beautiful couple, for sure.

Angela and Chris were the first of my friends to get married, so they've been whom I've watched and observed as a young married couple from the start. One thing I admire about their relationship is how they've been able to successfully manage their independence and personalities within their relationship. Many people lose themselves to one another after so much time together, but even though Angela and Chris have grown together in awesome ways, they've still maintained many of their original characteristics unique to themselves. I love this about them and think they're a great couple to look to for maintaining yourself as a person whilst still becoming one with your spouse and other half.

I love them. :)

Chris and Angela Wilson; Oct. 29, 2010; Angela's b'day

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Couples to Behold: Molly and Jeff Socha

Molly and Jeff are such a fun couple! They're always up for some new adventure. They love to travel -- a couple after my own heart -- and they both have a great faith. One thing I love about them is that when they do something, whether individually or as a couple, they do it thoroughly and well. No halfway stuff from either of them. Whether it's skiing, entertaining or even their prayer life, Molly and Jeff take the bull by the horns and go with it, which is what I admire about them. That and Molly's sense of style and eye for interior decorating! ;-)

Such a wonderful couple to know!

Molly and Jeff Socha, July 17, 2010 at the Rudolph wedding

Monday, January 31, 2011

Check out Artisan Bistro in Lakeway

All Austinites should really check out the French bistro / wine bar / bakery in Lakeway, Artisan Bistro! The sweetest couple, Laureen and her husband (the chef), own the place. They have cooking classes every Tuesday, which is how Mark and I discovered the place, so definitely check those out -- great date night idea! Laureen actually found my blog from my e-mail signature and made such generous comments about it, noting that she's been enjoying 17 years of "newlywed-dom," herself. Celebrating great couples!

June 13, 2009

Monday, January 10, 2011

Starting the year off right: Mr. and Mrs. D'Mello

A congratulations are in order for Valerie and Elridge D'Mello, who were married this past weekend -- Jan. 8, 2010! It was a beautiful Nuptial Mass, witnessed by Fr. Justin Udomah. He always gives such great homilies, and it was great to see him since I hadn't seen him much since I left St. Theresa's for St. Thomas More. Valerie and Elridge are another couple deriving from the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry.

May y'all be blessed with many years of joy, laughter and peace! Congratulations friends.

Valerie and Elridge D'Mello, Jan. 8, 2010

Friday, January 7, 2011

Couples to Behold: Jenn and Justin Rudolph

Jenn and Justin met in one of the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry's small groups a couple years ago, one that I was in actually. This particular group paired up individuals as prayer partners every week or couple of weeks. I can remember the week Justin and I were prayer partners. We met at Mozart's and when I asked him what I could be praying for in his life, he told me that he had developed interest in a certain woman and how she was unlike anyone else he'd known. He really wanted to get to know her better and talked of her beautiful qualities. Low and behold, it was my friend Jenn who was the woman, and just last summer they were married!

I've known Jenn and Justin for several years. Justin, I first met when he joined the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry in 2006-ish and Jenn I befriended later, around 2008-ish, through mutual friends.

Something beautiful about the Rudolphs' relationship is how they seem to be really good friends. When they're together, you can tell how much they enjoy being around one another and just have a good time, no matter what they're doing. They're not nitpicking on each others' habits but, rather, all smiles and peace. Being friends is sometimes one thing that all of us couples need to be reminded of from time to time. We're more than just husbands and wives, co-parents, roommates -- we started out as friends. People who just really enjoy each others' company.

A great couple to know!

Jenn and Justin Rudolph, July 10, 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book added to my Amazon wish list: "Love By the Glass"

I read this morning about a book that relates marriage / relationships to enjoying wine -- "Love By the Glass." I know, sounds like a Jen book if you ever heard of one, right?

Read the review here.

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