7 Quick Takes!

Welcome to my first 7QT Friday ūüôā

1. I started off the week not feeling so great, and my typical symptoms surfaced. I’ve¬†finally accepted¬†that the reason for my ongoing poor health must be due to something dietary (doctors haven’t been much of a help to me)¬†– possibly a food allergy or intolerance. So for 3 days I have not drank coffee or eaten dairy. This is super hard for me because a) I drink coffee everyday and b) I have six types of cheese in my fridge at any given moment. This is a¬†mini trial for what I’m going to be attempting, but for now, baby steps.¬†

2. That leads me to my hopeful dream of completing a Whole30. That means no dairy, grains, sugar, or¬†legumes.¬†It sounds crazy to me, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. But I’m contemplating it. I’m either going to do it for October OR I will just cut out dairy for October and then do a Whole30 in January. (Probably January…it is fall, after all.)¬†

3. I watched Emma Watson’s UN speech this week (against my better judgment) – primarily because frustrating posts were blowing up my facebook newsfeed. I knew I’d come away disappointed. I have always adored her, but she spoke as¬†today’s¬†world¬†would want her to speak. And much (not all)¬†of it was flawed. More to come on that later maybe.¬†

4. My free wild sourdough starter came in the mail this week from Cultures of Health, and I’m quite excited. It’s currently sitting in my freezer and will stay there until I have enough courage to start the feeding process. And if it works, I will be one giddy lady attempting to make my own sourdough bread for the first time. (Clearly not in sync with no grains…butttttt come on.)¬†

5. Kevin and I bought our flights to Duluth for Christmas! It will be the second time I’ve been there (the first trip was such a whirlwind), and while he’s going a bit early (I have to work), I’ll still get a full week plus travel time! We’re quite excited. It’ll be nice to spend the time with his family and friends, catch up with the priests who celebrated our wedding mass, and see people who were unable to make it out for the wedding.¬†

6. We’re starting to write our wedding¬†thank you cards now…is it bad that we’ve waited nearly four months? I feel terrible about it, but we’re doing the best we can! (To be fair, we waited until our wedding photos’ were available to get a custom printed thank you, and that took a while.)¬†

7. Cardinal Sean celebrated Mass at my work on Monday, which was preeettty exciting. I love that man, and considering the hospital I work at is technically no longer Catholic (it’s a bit confusing), the fact that he came and celebrated in the chapel was really awesome. And it made my day. A little nun actually came up to me afterwards asking if I used to go to daily mass at St. Columbkilles (my old parish), then askied about that nice gentleman I was always with. It was cute. We connected. She gave me a hug.¬†

Enjoy the weekend!

Weeknights at the Gearns Household

Weeknights are tiring…for many people I’m sure. And since I work Tuesday/Thursday, Monday/Wednesday are my packed evenings of cook dinner, prepare next day’s lunch & dinner, shower, clean, maybe a walk with Kevin, other necessary tasks, some reading…and¬†Kevin and I typically make some time for a bit of netflix.

I’m glad we made the decision to not purchase cable since internet gives us more than we need. And so we decided to purchase Netflix – $8/month is still an expense for us, but it certainly provides us with some downtime entertainment.¬†I’m no tv whiz anymore – there was a time in my life (high school) when I had a specific show each night of the week, but not anymore. I hadn’t picked up a new show in years. Last spring Kevin and I started watching Gilmore Girls together (I had a few seasons on DVD) – my roommates got a kick out of watching us. And when Kevin put his foot down and decided it was time for his choice (even though he loved the Gilmores), I let him introduce me to Psych.

Psych

This addiction wasn’t quite as bad as the Hunger Games phase I went through in January (tried so hard avoid that one), but this show had me hooked! If you’ve never seen it, it’s a comedy about this guy, Sean, who pretends to be a psychic detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department, and it is hilarious. And then there are the serious episodes that actually kept me up at night. We made it through five full seasons until Kevin realized he needed to pull me away this summer.

Sherlock

So he introduced me to Sherlock Holmes, the new mini-series. I knew absolutely nothing about Sherlock outside of Robert Downey Jr’s recent portrayal. But man is this show intense! And engaging! And long! You gotta really commit to an episode. They keep you on your feet, but I have to say I am impressed…and also always annoyed with Sherlock because he is a complete jerk. And the show is very anti-christian, at least from what I can gather. But still entertaining!

Arrested Development

And to really just lighten Kevin’s days, we’ve now finished two seasons of Arrested Development. This one I had seen a bit back when it first came out, but don’t recall much at all. And it really is as funny as everyone says. Lucille. Gob. Maeby. I mean…they’re all just so good. What a comedic adventure each night – and just 20 minutes an episode!

So for all those television experts out there, I don’t have anything new. I’m just really grateful netflix has so much.

Some fun things :)

This past weekend was a busy one…well, by busy I mean I had something to do both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve been trying to figure out my social life as a married woman. It’s different. Given that I work two jobs and Kevin teaches on Saturdays, we try to protect the time we have together. But I’m still an extrovert and I still need my lady friends.

So while it’s an ongoing transition, I’ve tried to reach out a bit more to the friends I haven’t spent much time with since the wedding. And as much as I’d looooove to have one-on-one coffee with everyone, there’s just not a ton of time for that. So the solution for the time being: casual group get-togethers.

This past Saturday, we had a DIY Bouquet Brunch. I have been itching to do this ever since I saw the idea on Verily. Basically, each person brings one type of flower/greenery, and we make our bouquets from the selections. We all brought some brunchy food, hung out and chatted for a few hours, and left with lovely fall-looking bouquets.

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It was so refreshing to have that time with other Catholic women. Some of the women were former roommates, some are younger ladies who have followed a couple years behind from BU, and others are fresh new faces that I’m enjoying getting to know!

Since everyone is so busy nowadays, and rightly so, we’ve decided we need to schedule (in advance) time hopefully once a month for us women to get together. Otherwise, we go 3 months without really seeing one another (ahem, this summer). And an activity like the bouquet brunch was a perfect setup! So I look forward to more of that in the future.

Day of Rest

Ever since senior year of college, Sunday’s have been my absolute favorite day of the week. In learning to enter into the [new] Sabbath, the day is greatly enriched. It started out simple, but even four years ago, I think my heart really¬†got it. It was the day of rest, the day to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, and the day to be in community. And our community at the BU Catholic Center really demonstrated the beauty of the day, whether or not people realized it. The Catechism, which answers most my questions when I go looking, says, “The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.” [CCC 2184]

Sundays

Leaving college, I began a more routine way of life, which is a great thing for me, personally. And Sundays  continued to be similar in heart, though the community aspect was different. I still relished it where I could, and tried to explore how to best live this day. Fast forward to married life, and the Sabbath has just gotten even better.

Being together every weekend has been a blessed adventure, and we’ve both taught one another different ways to truly enter into the Sabbath. For instance, Kevin has really helped me to see the value in not working on the Sabbath. Now, I’m not just talking about not going into the office, or not doing homework. I mean¬†no work.¬†No big projects around the apartment, no shopping, no serious life planning (ie: budgeting, travel plans, etc.). This part is the toughest for me as I always feel I have something to do, but it also really sets the day apart. I now understand what it means to work for six days and to rest on the seventh.¬†My Saturdays have become busier with chores, errands, and miscellaneous work, but it makes our Sundays truly great. And in a way, I feel like I’m able to glorify God more with my six days of work and one day of true rest.

What’s even better, though, is that our Sundays are by no means¬†a lazy. We would both have a hard time enjoying our day if we felt it was a wasted day. It’s filled with Mass, homemade brunch, nice long walks, prayer, a well-prepared dinner & dessert, time for reading or watching something together, and just good quality time with one another. That may vary a bit, but that’s the gist. It’s also nice to have a day to enjoy the clean and tidy apartment after the work has already been put in. And we try to incorporate community (outside of Mass) where we can. The Sabbath should be celebrated with people, it’s a day to nourish our friendships.¬†

Each Sunday, we find we appreciate ¬†the Sabbath more. We love what it does for our souls, we love what it does for our marriage. We’re still very much learning what it means to enter into the Sabbath: to celebrate the resurrection, the fulfillment of creation, and the day of rest. And I’m sure when our family grows, how we celebrate Sunday will evolve, and we’re so excited!

 

A Canadian Honeymoon

Canadian Honeymoon

WARNING: LONG POST REGARDING BEST HONEYMOON EVER

Planning our honeymoon was an adventure. It took us a long time to figure out where to go as we (well, more like I) had our hearts set on Europe. We initially had planned out our itinerary for 4 days in Portugal, and the main attraction there was Fatima, then we’d stop over in Rome and see a good friend who is studying in seminary there, and then do a week in Ireland driving all around. I worked so hard to make this work, I planned out every day, where we would stay, how to get the best rates on travel…and duh, it was like 5x more than we could afford. When we finally came to the realization that this honeymoon was not going to happen, we actually felt a lot of peace. Mainly because we admitted we were trying to make it a pilgrimage. It would have been an awesome pilgrimage, and one we’d like to take one day, but maybe our honeymoon was not the right time.

We love Canada – we’d been to Montreal on a pilgrimage together after 6 months of dating. My parents had honeymooned in Canada, and my brother was about to as well. And for some reason, maybe God’s will, it felt so right. All the pieces came together (a lot of it has to do with my parent’s generosity), and we were ready to go! Let me take you on a tour of the best honeymoon of all time (I’m a bit biased)..

Part One: Whistler, BC (two days)

Atop Whistler Mountain

Whistler, BC

Whistler is essentially a small, luxurious, resort town north of Vancouver. And it was perfect. We stayed in my parent’s timeshare, Club Intrawest, and what an amazing experience. The hotel was beautiful, just what we wanted. It was a short walk to the main village. The town was close to empty. We had our pick of walks and trails and restaurants. I would recommend this place to anybody looking for a nice getaway. Since it was early June, not everything was open, but it didn’t make much of a difference for us. The beauty alone (combined with perfect 60-70 degree weather) sufficed.

Part Two: Vancouver, BC (three days)

Vancouver, BC

What an interesting part of the honeymoon. Kevin’s not much of a city person, and although I can certainly enjoy wandering around cities and finding cute coffee shops, this was unique. The evening we got in, the front desk lady at the hotel suggested we take a stroll down this one street leading to the harbor. Well, we did. And I don‚Äôt want to offend anyone, but it‚Ķumm, it wasn’t our scene to put it simply. So our initial impression of Vancouver was…not the best.

View from Kitsilano (I think)

We were determined to make the best of it, though, and the next day was actually pretty good! A nice city market can really do a lot for me (it was my favorite part about living in London besides the pubs), and we spent most of the day on Granville Island. There was lots to see and the market was huge. It had so much to offer, and turned the inspiration wheels for Kevin. Afterwards we went to the Cathedral for confession and mass Рreally beautiful! And then off to the pier to see FlyCanada Рa 20 minute imax experience showcasing the beauty of Canada. I did get a bit sick, but it was stunning, nonetheless.

Granville Island

That was definitley the highlight of Vancouver as the next day turned out to be a really big fail. Everything we tried to do got thwarted somehow or cost exhuberant amounts of money. We joke that Vancouver is the place where they take your money. When we asked two separate concierges for cheap eateries, both sent us to restaurants with entrees no less than $20 (whattttttt?!). Overall, we had an enjoyable time. Would we go back? Probably on our way to Whistler.

Part Three: Lake Louise, AB (one day)

Lake Louise from the Chateau where we stayed!

GO HERE GO HERE GO HERE. First, let me say how spoiled we were. We totally splurged and stayed at the Fairmont Lake Louise AND they upgraded us to a suite. Speechless were we. Amazing service. Amazing view. Amazing lake. We could just sit on that lake for hours staring, and time would not have been wasted. We tried hiking a trail, but there was lots of snow getting higher up, and…bears. We didn’t see any, but the area was on grizzley watch. We did, however, get up in the morning to watch the sunrise over the lake. We didn’t see a super clear sunrise due to the mountains, but it was still stunning.

LOOK AT THAT WATER

Unbelievable.

Part Four: Banff, AB (4 days)

Once again, spoiled. Through the generosity of my parents, we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs. Talk about the life of luxury. That place is a castle, and in this most romantic way. You could spend¬†a day just exploring the hotel itself. The view outside our window was Bow River and the Rocky Mountains. There’s so much to say about this part of our trip. One thing you should know is that apparently in early-mid June in this part of Alberta, you have daylight from 4:45am to past 10pm. So that’s one of the reasons we have so much to say – it felt like we did about 4 different activities per day!

Hello, Canada!

Chateau #2!

Town of Banff – what a cute place. So quaint. Just walking around this was great; we found our absolute favorite restaurant, Bear Skin Tavern – I think we actually went here 3 times. They have the BEST pizza. They also kept giving us coupons to come back, so we did. There’s the town Starbucks, obviously, where I got my wifi on. It’s just a super cute place that made our trip even more of an experience.

Love!

Johnston Canyon – our first hike in Banff, and it was lovely. You’re walking alongside the river (with railings for a large portion of it cause your essentially on the edge of a cliff) for a couple miles? I don’t know. But it brings you to this stunning waterfall, and I love waterfalls. A very refreshing hike about 30-40 minutes from town.

Vermillion Lakes

Vermillion Lakes – ahhhhhhhh GORGEOUS! It’s right on the edge of town, so super close, but you can drive/bike/walk in a loop around them. We stopped one evening there during the golden hour (Kevin’s favorite time of day), and it was simply breathtaking. If it weren’t for the million mosquitoes (that always seem to favor me over Kevin), we would have sat there forever.

Look.at.that.view.

Top of Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain – so worth it despite my hidden (not so hidden anymore) fear of heights. We took a gondola to the top (you can hike, which Kevin did one afternoon during introvert time, but it was evening and we just took a quick trip). The view at the top of Sulphur is wonderful, but you can walk across it to the peak of another mountain and you just keep going higher and higher and higher and the view keeps getting better and better and better. We were super blessed with perfect weather everyday, so needless to say it was phenomenal. Oh my gosh. I kept wanting to stop cause of the height, but Kevin gently pushed me to keep going and I’m glad he did.

The Pro

Horseback Riding – this one I have to laugh a bit. It was a unique experience, Kevin loooooved it, I just had a super rogue horse. There was a group of eight of us, and we took a two hour trip around some beautiful land and up a smaller mountain. Objectively – awesome. Seriously. But my horse kept wanting to eat everything in sight. And I did not like having to continuously kick my horse and then have him get mad at me and start shaking his head furiously. We did see a coyote on this trail, though, which was cool.

One of my favorite views!

Such beauty

Tunnel Mountain Drive – another one of my favorites. When you stop along here, you feel like you’re overseeing all of God’s creation (well, not all of it, but a good part). Stunning. We went back twice cause it was just too beautiful. It’s¬†a simple drive from Banff, and you just pull off the road at points and take in the beauty.

The lake all to ourselves!

SO MANY SHEEP. EVERYWHERE.

Lake Minnewanka – a nice spot (very big lake). Not my favorite, but still glad we went. It looks like a great spot for summer water activity, but was pretty empty when we went. One notable thing about this area, though – ALL THE BIG HORNED SHEEP YOU COULD EVER WANT TO SEE. Not joking. They were just chillin’ everywhere. Didn’t care who they blocked, who took photos of them – they were just doing their thing.

SO MUCH BEAUTY

So much peace :)

Moraine Lake – this was my top rated spot in the Rockies. We almost didn’t go cause it was our last night in Banff and it was about an hour drive away, but we are SO SO SO glad we did. We got there around 9pm and it was almost deserted. The moonrise would happen at about 9:45pm, so we wanted to stay for that. We walked up a bit and just overlooked pure goodness. It’s¬†a glaciel lake, so it was still partly frozen just like Lake Louise, but I think that added to the beauty.¬†There was a perfect reflection of the 10 surrounding peaks in the water. We just sat in awe for a while. This was the most worth it drive ever.

The Final Stretch

Our final night

(We did then go to Calgary, which I won’t really mention. Sorry to all the Calgary lovers out there, but umm…didn’t do much for us. We watched Harry Potter in our hotel room.) The entire honeymoon was just so refreshing. A perfect way to enter into our marriage. It was perfect too in that we had plenty to do, but it was also relaxing. And I’m so grateful we were able to take two weeks. It really allowed us to enter into it and feel removed from¬†our everyday lives. It marked a distinct start to our marriage and we loved it.¬†I would encourage this trip to anyone! If ever there are questions on how to plan the perfect trip to Canada, we’re HAPPY to help!

All About Autumn!

To anyone who knows me, it is no secret that autumn is my favorite season. I know many people lovelovelove this time of year, and it’s no wonder why. The crisp cool air, sweaters & boots (and no winter coat), apple picking, fall baking, pumpkin flavored everything, all the smells. It’s pretty much perfection. And while I normally despise the summer months, this one has been quite delightful with its cool mornings and walkable evenings. And it’s gotten me even more excited for the full outbreak of autumn. What am I most looking forward to this year? Quiet weekends with my husband!¬†Talk about a whole new world – it feels like since we’ve been together it’s been GO GO GO. Dates all the time, social events, getting engaged, wedding planning, social events, getting married, more social events. And now, we have no planned trips (well, except for a little one-nighter trip to Albany I have for a baby shower) until Thanksgiving! We’re excited to get into a routine, have our apartment in order (finally!), and take some nice long walks around the neighborhood. Baking, obviously.¬†I have one specific fall baking magazine that has been my absolute favorite for the past two years. I still haven’t made everything in it – I’ve been making my way through the autumn produce. Our tiny apartment should have a nice, consistent aroma for the next few months. Seasonal crafts!¬†Sarah and I have a plan to coordinate a decor calendar so we are prepared for each season. We’ll make time for frugal & creative crafting to make our homes as homey as possible. Fall Events¬†like apple picking, pumpkin carving, movie nights and all the like with some great people. Since we don’t have a car and we live more in the city, going to an orchard is a real treat. Getting out of the city to see the autumn beauty is the BEST. Albany in October!¬†Sarah and I will be making this trip through Western Mass for Ashlie’s baby shower, and in addition to being thrilled we get to throw this for her with her mother-in-law, we’re pretty pumped about the beautiful stops we’ll make along the way through all the beautiful foliage. I promised a beautiful maternity photo shoot with the mama and the baby’s non-biological aunts (meaning us, the friends). Autumn in Newtown, PA Serious goodness to come. ¬†

How it began!

As an excuse to tell this story of how Kevin and I met, I’ll be joining the link up at¬†Camp Patton, which she’s revived via facebook ūüôā

January 2012 was a very interesting time of life for me. Seven months out of school, having a particularly tough time at work, recovering from some personal life things, but also experiencing great consolation from my recent Marian consecration. It was a Wednesday afternoon, and my boss calls me out of the blue with a promotion opportunity…in Philadelphia. Annnnndd let the 2 months of craziness begin.

January 2012 - living up the single life
January 2012 – living up the single life

My soul experienced so much in this time of interviewing, discussing things with my boss (who would still be my boss if I moved), discerning if it was the right move, etc. What I ultimately wanted was to do God’s will. And whatever the outcome was going to be, I wanted it to be a stepping stone towards my Vocation. So I had a very distinct prayer (since the more the process got drawn out, the more I wanted to go to Philly). I prayed that if God were to keep me in Boston, he would also show me an abundance of potential spouse material…or bring me to a convent. 

It was Friday, March 9th, 2012 when my boss sat me down and told me that, for a number of reasons, I‚Äôd be staying in Boston. I‚Äôm not really sure what I felt in that moment ‚Äď there were a lot of emotions. But at least I knew. That Saturday, March 10th, was a funny evening. There was a social event for the Catholic Young Adult Group I was a part of (but had been somewhat absent from for a few months previously, due to all my life stuff) taking place at the apartment I had lived in the summer previously. I decided to go. This is the time of life my former roommates like to call the period of ‚Äú75 suiters‚ÄĚ ‚Äď a real hoot cause believe me this is not territory I‚Äôm familiar with. That night began an interesting episode that I‚Äôm sure God had a few laughs at. I‚Äôve never had a prayer answered so¬†literally. Bottom line: I met Kevin that night. He was charming, he made me laugh¬†a lot, I found out he had recently moved from Minnesota and was studying realist art, he was a former seminarian (check), and he was currently in a swing dancing class with my roommate and friend.¬†

Cleaning St. Francis Chapel during Lent 2012 - ran into Kevin just before and he joined!
Cleaning St. Francis Chapel during Lent 2012 – ran into Kevin just before and he joined!

So naturally, I met my roommate the following Monday at the end of her swing dancing class¬†¬†‚Äúto catch a ride home.‚ÄĚ And I convinced her to invite him to any social things we‚Äôd be having. And I started attending the young adult group again. And I signed up for swing dancing lessons.¬†¬†Just before May rolled around, I was trying to see where God was leading me in a number of situations, this being one of them. And from the advice¬†of the dear Mother Olga, I decided to pray the 30 day novena to St. Joseph for the month of May. My intention was just for my Vocation of marriage, if that be God‚Äôs will. I tried to have a detached heart from what I was feeling, and let God guide me.

Kevin, Anne Marie (now Sister Anne Marie!) and I at the Eucharistic Congress, April 28th, 2012
Kevin, Anne Marie (now Sister Anne Marie!) and I at the Eucharistic Congress, April 28th, 2012

And a crazy month it was. I could see God‚Äôs hand in everything, through the joys, the tears, and the decisions he was asking me to make. And on St. Rita‚Äôs feast day, May 22nd, Kevin called me (said he had been to multiple daily masses around the city that day to try and find me in person haha) and asked me out. Very direct and to the point. I hesitated for a brief moment out of utter shock, then said, ‚Äúyeah!‚ÄĚ (my typical response to Kevin‚Äôs big questions). So when we hung up, I walked into the kitchen and¬†dramatically¬†collapsed¬†on the floor overwhelmed with¬†so many¬†things. (Meanwhile, there are 5 women and a baby getting ready to eat a steak & corn dinner wondering what just happened.)¬†

Swing Dancing my way into his heart ;)
Swing Dancing my way into his heart ūüėČ

I was soon reminded that the novena was NOT over, though, as some crazy events occurred over the next eight days that I will not go into. It was an intense time, even looking back on it still, but God made it clear that¬†with all the¬†good¬†things he was presenting to me,¬†I¬†had to make the decision and that He would bless it. Saint Joseph had worked some powerful intercession, and on May 31st,¬†at the Mass for the feast of the Visitation (one of my favorites), I stood next to Kevin and already sort of knew I was standing next to my future husband. (And exactly two years following the end of that novena, we’d be up on the altar uniting ourselves in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.)¬†

As Kevin would say, “Romans 8:28.”

The Feast of the Assumption

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What a beautiful solemnity it is! The image above is one that I had taken nearly two years ago at our parish, I think (when I first got my iPhone). It was my lock screen image for a looong time (until pics of Me and Kevin became a normal thing). Then a few weeks ago my phone did this reset thing and erased all my content from the past year (thank goodness I had uploaded any and all wedding/honeymoon pics shortly before that), and brought me back to July 2013. And this became my lock screen again. Even with all my frustration at the iPhone, it made me smile to see this image again.

Thank you, Mama Mary, for always looking out for us. We offer everything to our Lord through your loving hands.

Happy Birthday Husband!

Happy birthday to my most wonderful husband! This is the third of his birthday’s we have spent together: year one we had been dating for just a couple months, last year we were engaged, and this year we are married! God is so good. Each year has been beautiful, and I’ve tried to show off my gift giving skills each time. This year I went for some literature that appeals to his heart:

Kevin's Birthday 2014
Kevin’s Birthday 2014

I got him a book on the North American martyrs – he has a real heart for these Saints; not only do they give him inspiration for greater holiness, but they also give him a world of inspiration in the artistic realm. He would love to do some paintings of these men some day. (And if it meant we spent some time extended time in Quebec, I wouldn’t hate it.) So naturally, I also got him some Canadian maps since he loves to do all the research and reference one possibly can when learning about something (and for our grand road trip across Canada that will eventually happen – we’ve hit up the east coast and west coast, now for everything in between). Then finally, I got him The Little Oratory, a book about bringing prayer into the home.

I’m so thankful for this wonderful man! He makes every day better! Saint Maximilian Kolbe – pray for us!

For those Long Car Rides…

Montreal Road Trip 2013

Over the past year and a half, Kevin and I have taken many trips to PA for wedding related things, holidays, to see my family, etc. From this, we’ve finally settled on the fact that it is just so much more economical to rent a car for the weekend than to buy two flights. Because for SOME reason, the airline industry thinks it should cost more to fly Boston to Philly than Boston to Phoenix (true story – I flew to Phoenix for a wedding for less than your average weekend home to PA). And what’s even more exciting is that renting the car at the week rate (7 days) is only $25 more than the 3 day rate! So we get some car usage for a couple extra days in Boston (helps with grocery shopping and such).¬†

With all this car time that is so foreign to us on a regular basis, we’ve invested in lots of talks for the road – primarily Lighthouse Catholic Media. Believe me when I say these are a worthy investment (and I mean, they’re only like a $3 donation at most parishes). And it’s been especially fruitful to listen to some marriage and family ones as we were engaged and now newly married! Let me share a few of my favorites:¬†

1. Raising Amazing Children by Matthew Kelly: gosh, if you’ve never heard this man speak, go do it! We buy a CD of his every time we see one, they are just that good. This was the first talk we listened to while engaged, and got us really pumped for kids. Some of what he says seems to us like a no-brainer, but it just might be a Catholic thing. Other things, while they may seem simple as he says them, struck us so profoundly.¬†

2. What Every Couple Should Know About Marriage & Prayer by Archbishop Fulton Sheen: what a wise man to listen to. He’s got a calming voice (but not too calming!), and gives great insight into deepening love & commitment in marriage. One of many of his talks on the subject.

3. Changed Forever by Father Mike Schmitz: this guy this guy this guy! He is the Chaplain for the University of Minnesota Duluth, so Kevin knows him well. And you cannot help but be 150% engaged when listening to him. And this one especially brought tears to my eyes. It’s on Baptism, and really hits on the deeper meaning of the sacrament and what it means to actually be a child of God.

4. The 7 Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly: this one might be my favorite; it has incredible advice for building better intimacy, not just with a spouse, but in all relationships. Truly a talk that touched us on many levels.

5. For Better Forever by Dr. Gregory Popcak & Lisa Popcak: very beautiful & practical; they offer great wisdom from JPII and his Theology of the Body, connecting it to the everyday.

We bought a few more recently, so next time we have a long drive I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list!