Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes #18


Hello again!

#1


We already had our first snowfall of the year here in Chicago. It wasn't a lot but still, it was a little weird seeing snow in the middle of October...we don't usually get snow until next month. But anyways, despite the now cold, windy Chicago temps, my roses are still in full bloom!



  



I took these pics last Sunday. I think this one is kind of neat! I like how I caught the roses soaking up the rays of the morning sun. This was right before going to Sunday mass at 10:30am. Neat, huh?




#2

The much dreaded lectures on contraception in my pharmacotherapeutics class ARE HERE. Yes, it was suffering for me to sit through like 5 hours of lectures on artificial contraception, emergency contraception, and YES, even the ABORTION pill. It raised my pressure not once, not twice...and made me want to just scream out loud objections to certain "facts" presented by the lecturer...but out of respect for the professor and for the fellow 205 third year pharmacy students, I stopped myself and just hyperventilated a bit. There were so many things wrong with the way they teach contraception, not even getting into the fact that EVERY.SINGLE.METHOD. of contraception was mentioned but not natural contraception, i.e. NFP. Not ONCE! Yes, I know this is pharmacy school and we learn about drugs, but for every other disease state we learned (like diabetes, high cholesterol etc), they always always tell us to counsel the patient on non-pharmacologic, natural methods to improve their disease state. With contraception, that was completely omitted.
I will write a post about all the crappy things they told us in that lecture and how I find them to be wrong and, for the sake of a better word, crappy.

So I don't rip my hair out while studying for my exam, I made my studying a little more humorous by writing funny comments on my lecture notes. Here's an example. More examples to come when I write a post on this.



#3

 I've been reading Simcha Fisher's book "The Sinner's Guide to NFP" and it is very insightful and even more hilarious! Gotta love Simcha's incorporation of sarcasm and humor into Catholic teaching on sexual matters, which most people think is ridiculous and middle-ages. Go buy it! It's only $4.99 and if you don't have a kindle, you can get the kindle reading app on your phone or computer for free. The hardcopy will be available soon as well.


#4

My husband went out of town for the weekend to help my parents fix up the house they bought not too long ago. I worked all Saturday, then Sunday I went to mass and then decided to surprise hubby with a nice treat. He loves rice krispy treats so I made him rice krispy treats! To make them more "halloween-ish," I put reese's pieces on them and melted chocolate! Needless to say, they were gone by the next day!




#5

Our parish priest went to Czestochowa, Poland to bring back a replica of the painting of Our Lady of Czestochowa, aka The Black Madonna, aka Queen of Poland, for our church, painted by a local artist. He has been collecting donations for the past few months from our parishioners. The painting was a little over $4000. When he got back from the trip, he announced that the generosity of our parishioners far exceeded the needed amount, and he actually collected MORE THAN DOUBLE what was needed. So while he was there, he ordered golden crowns for our Lady and her infant Jesus. And guess what? He actually managed to go to Rome and get them personally blessed by Pope Francis, after his general audience on Wednesday Sept 25. Here are some pictures I took with my phone of our Sunday bulletin.






So the paining is now up in the church and we had a big celebration for welcoming Our Lady of Czestochowa into our parish. She will be getting crowned on May 13, 2014. I'm sure that will be a beautiful mass celebration as well.


#6

This week was feast day of Blessed John Paul II, so here is 1 of my quick takes, dedicated to him. As you may already know, JPII is my personal hero and patron! I love him so, so much! I have read numerous books about him and by him and I am just amazed at what he has done in his life...at how he has transformed the world. And he just follows me wherever I go. I swear. But more on that later. I wish I could go to Rome this April 27th. My heart is already there. Too bad I will be in school and on clinical rotations. Oh man, that makes me feel depressed. But who knows...maybe God will find a way?


#7

Please, please, please go read my new post:
 Post-Marital Bliss, Trust, and Answered Prayers.


 I know all of you are amazing, faithful Catholics or else you wouldn't be blogging in the lovely Catholic world of bloggers ...but I poured my heart out in that post. And....maybe, just maybe...you might learn a thing or two...or even be inspired by a thing or two or five? Just read it and let me know your thoughts :-)


And that's all!

Love,
Agnes


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Post-Marital Bliss, Trust, and Answered Prayers

A Letter to God 
in Response to the Marital Joy and Bliss 
I've Been Feeling in My Heart
over the past Couple of Months




I sit here in my bed....
I sit and I smile to myself...
and I think about how blessed I am (we are)...
.....to know You,
.....to have each other,
....to have this house to call home,
....to have jobs, cars, families,
....to have our beautiful Catholic Faith to guide us every day of our lives.

...And I sit and smile so sincerely, that my heart even feels the truth and warmth in that smile!
I smile, because You Lord, have been so faithful to us. You have answered my prayers so many times before and You have answered them once again now! You are unbelievable Lord and You never fail me...I just had to keep on asking and keep on trusting and You delivered me Oh Lord once again. Oh How Great are You oh God - my heart cannot fathom all of Your Love and my mind cannot comprehend all of Your Goodness, Mercy, and Wisdom. So many times I fear, but time and time again, You show me that You will never abandon me. You come through every. single. time. Our fears and worries are worthless...too bad we let ourselves be overcome with them when we face adversity.





 But we are human, and God knows this and understands. After all, Jesus was human too. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Our Father always knows what's best for us.. I mean what father doesn't want the best for his beloved children?

I have the LORD in my heart and 
my BELOVED HUSBAND by my side 
...what more shall I want?
My husband is working right now and I am so proud of him. Even though he still works his night shifts and we do not see each other as often as we wish to, the Lord has been showering me with endless love lately, especially through my husband. Not only has my husband been showing me much love, but what is most important and what had the greatest impact on me, is the fact that he has opened up to me...that we have opened up to each other (not just our bodies, but our souls). I can now truly say that we are soul mates. We communicate much more, even about the most intimate things, and it is all so natural! I never thought that Greg could open up like this and show me so much love, honesty, and affection. (He is naturally a rather shy, reserved person). He has been wonderful and full of surprises! He has really said some things that truly touched me...things that showed me how much he loves and care about me and how much he understands that the marital bond and well as its physical expression are about - love,  commitment, and openness to God's gift of life - and not just about pleasure and fun.  
He has made me feel worthy, treasured, and loved, which is what husbands are supposed to do. We have husbands so they can build us up and help us get to heaven, and mine is definitely doing both right now.

Over this past month and a half, we learned so many new things about each other and the Lord brought our love to a new level. We exposed each other's weaknesses and vulnerabilities and comforted each other when we felt sad/disappointed about one of them. It was truly beautiful. Truly marital. We were not embarrassed to talk about things that before, I could not even imagine bringing up! (I now see that the marital bond - becoming one - does that to you). The Holy Spirit really came upon us on our wedding day and blessed us with many gifts - especially courage - it is oh so noticeable. I cannot even describe how our relationship changed between our wedding day and now! We are the same people, yet the way we communicate, the way we love each other now,  is so different than before - even though we have been dating for close to 7 years.

MARRIAGE transformed our relationship - it's as simple as that! People don't know what they're talking about when they say that getting married doesn't change anything, so "what's the point?" For us, MARRIAGE CHANGED E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G! It's hard to describe, but it really did! I still can't believe some of the things we said to each other over the past 2 months, without fear of being judged/criticized/made fun of. We love each other just the way we are and when things didn't go so well, we encouraged each other. I just can't get over how beautiful and loving some of Greg's words were to me, especially when I was feeling a bit down for various reasons. I just want to remember and cherish those words in my heart forever. Sometimes I honestly thought that God / The Holy Spirit was speaking such wisdom through him.



Lord, I am a happy, happy BRIDE :-) Floating on clouds, I must admit!
The wedding bliss has not worn off yet!
We're still in the honeymoon phase of our marriage and life is good! :-)
I know that we are in for quite some valleys / crosses on our path, but we will get through them all with You oh Lord! With the love and faith You instilled in us! I am particularly happy about this past weekend - it was a great success for us! After undergoing some difficulties and unknowns with absolutely no idea what and why, the Lord finally answered our prayers and helped us out! Things just keep getting better and better! And although I am sitting here with no husband (as he is working his night shift), I am not lonely and sad as I usually was. Today, the Lord helped me to realize something: THIS was HIS PLAN all along and if Greg worked days, I wouldn't be where I am today. Now that we live by ourselves in our new house - I come home and every day it is just me and You, God. Every day I can pray, study, journal, read my catholic books, and even sing You songs -  uninterruptedly. I have definitely grown closer to You Lord during these times when I'm home by myself...with just You. And how many times have I gotten mad at Greg for working nights?! It's mostly because I missed him and was feeling lonely, but also because I was scared that we will grow apart...that once we get married, our marriage won't survive long without communication in person and spending time together. AS ALWAYS, how wrong was I??? How foolish was I to worry and fear about our marriage and our future?! But today, I changed my mind for good. Yes...Greg did say that he will try to switch to days starting in November - but now all that I will say is:
 "Let Your Will be Done." 
Whatever is best for me, for Greg, and for the other people that this affects - let that happen Lord! You are God and You know what's best for us. Whatever Your Will: I know that the relationship between Greg and I as well as You and I will continue growing. So Lord, if I ever whine again, let me realize my foolishness and don't let my whining hold You back from carrying out the plan You have for OUR life together.

YOU ARE BEYOND AMAZING LORD!

Oh, and of course, I just checked my smart phone to see what kind of message You have for me today Lord...what kind of scripture for today, and as always, it couldn't be more perfect for the circumstances:

"Understand, therefore, that the Lord Your God is indeed God. He is faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands."  Deutoronomy 7:9

Perfect!

You always put the right message in front of my face at the right time Lord...
and that is how You're building me up!



Once again, we love You above all oh Lord and we thank you so much for bringing us together in the sacrament of marriage and making us ONE. Please continue being in the center of our marriage so that as we become closer and closer to You, we also become closer to each other. Be at the center of our life and strengthen our marriage always oh Lord. For this we ask, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!

Yours Forever, Aggie

Click here for Post-Marital Bliss Part 2: 6 months later

Thursday, October 17, 2013

7 Quick Takes #17 : On Worry, Hard Work, NFP, Confession, Cooking.

Visit Conversiondiary.com for more Quick Takes!!

 

#1

Worry/Anxiety is kicking in.
I have a lot of work to do this weekend. I have a pharmacotherapeutics exam, a pharmacotherapeutics workshop, a medicinal chemistry workshop and quiz, ALL on the SAME day (Wednesday). I have a lot of lecture notes to get through this weekend...  I also have to watch a video that the school recorded of my counseling session with a patient who had shingles and was picking up Valtrex....(The patient was an actor hired by the school), then write a reflection on how I think I did counseling the patient..what points I missed etc etc.  And I work my full 10 hour shift on Saturday at the pharmacy. And the flu season is on the horizon. Soon, we'll be rolling out Zpaks and amoxicillins faster than we do our Vicodins haha. Winter is coming. Winter is coming. Soon, everybody will be hanging out at the pharmacy on Saturdays with stuffy noses, puffy eyes, and sore throats....and what am I going to be doing? Running around the pharmacy like a chicken with its head chopped off....making sure everybody can get their medications in an efficient and timely manner.

Basically, I need to stay on top of my game this weekend.
No laziness, no wasting time...ALL hard work! 

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people."   Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

 

# 2

Plus, I'm stressing out because this might be a lonely weekend. My husband might be going to Michigan for the weekend, because my parents are moving and he will be helping them out with some painting and replacing the floors, etc. I know that's a good thing to do on his part and it's great that he's such a hard worker and gets along with my family so well. But I already had a pretty lonely week. We barely saw each other this week. And barely communicated. I was okay all week...going to God instead for company; but loneliness is starting to kick in again. I'm not even exaggerating when I say we barely saw each other. My husband is still working night shifts (4:30pm - 3:30am) and I go to school full time during the day time, as well as work on Thursdays and Saturdays. So I get like a 30 second glimpse of him when he gets home at 4am and makes enough noise for me to open my eyes and recognize his presence, while half asleep. The only day we really get to spend together are Sundays. We go to church, cook dinner, and then I study while we're spending quality time in front of the TV. It's tough man. I'm not gonna lie. We're freshly married and it's tough not seeing each other. You all know how lonely it can get without our husbands.

But you know what? That's okay.
I know that this TOO shall pass.
If I wasn't Catholic and didn't know the beautiful truths of Redemptive Suffering and Carrying Your Cross to be a worthy disciple of Jesus...I would despair, and be depressed, and take it out on my husband. But instead, thanks to my beautiful Catholic faith, I will NOT take it out on my husband. I can suffer in silence and offer it up to God...and I can go to him with all my troubles and hide in his embrace...and of course pray for endurance and perseverance for the ups and downs of married life!




# 3

I went to adoration last night as well as confession. It felt great to be "CLEAN" again. Confession is amazing. It is such a great sacrament for us Catholics. Not only does it require a thorough examination of conscience...which is a good spiritual exercise and makes us realize how great of sinners we are and how Great God is to love and forgive us. But it is also a great exercise of HUMILITY. When we are ashamed of our sins and we have to tell all those sins to a priest, we approach the confessional with great humility and shame....we feel embarrassed to have committed those sins (usually sins we've been guilty of OVER and OVER again). We are drowning in our shame, but then an amazing thing happens...The Lord FORGIVES us all of our sins and TAKES AWAY our shame. And we feel clean, RENEWED, and alive again. And we promise to be better people this time.

 #4

Oh yeah, and today is 2 months since our marriage!

So I made a meme to commemorate it!

  I love my hubby and I love married life. I'm not kidding, pretending, or sugar coating...Married life so far has been pretty blissful! :-) And I know that hard times will come, but I'm ready...at least with my attitude. Haha.

 

#5

And Naturally, as a newlywed wifey..I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking for my hubby. We both come from families that cook homemade meals almost every single day.

Here are some of my late cooking adventures.
I made 3 homemade soups from my mom's old family recipes. They were made completely from scratch...no chicken stock, canned soups, etc. Basic ingredients: raw meat, raw veggies, seasoning, and lots of TLC over that stock pot haha! These are pictures of my first attempt at mommy's soups...and they turned out delicious..tasted just like the ones I used to eat at home. I think I have my dad's hand when it comes to cooking (and my dad is PRO)...it just comes so naturally to me.


Red Borscht / Barszcz  - aka Polish Red Beat Soup 
(this is actually the Ukrainian version...as it was made with sour cream and also potatoes...
hence the pink appearance. Polish Barszcz is dark red/maroon in appearance 
as it does not have sour cream in it...and also, instead of potatoes, it is served with Uszka)


Tomato Soup with noodles

Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles
I will post my family's very own recipes to these eventually. I want to make each one at least one more time before I do that though...because I don't have the actual amounts/measurements of ingredients....My mom just explained to me what to do and I just cooked from my heart, not really from an exact recipe.

 

#6

And some of my late baking adventures

 Banana bread with chocolate chips....


I don't know what this is one is called. It was supposed to be Polish apple pie/cake from mom's recipe....but I didn't have enough apples. So I improvised and made a fruit pie instead. Threw in some blueberries and strawberries (which we picked earlier this year in Michigan and froze) on top of the apples. Sprinkled with lots o sugar and it turned out delicious!!! My hubby loved it!!



# 7

Can any experienced (or not) user of NFP help me out a bit?
I'm fairly new to NFP. Freshly married (2 months, as you read above).
I'm a self-taught NFP user....and for being self-taught, I think I'm doing extremely well with it! There were some confusions at the beginning, as I didn't know my body well yet.  I had about 3 months to learn it before our wedding. We weren't able to take a class...which I know is recommended because for beginners, who do not know their body yet, it is often hard to tell signs of fertility and infertility right away... The more I know my body now..the more picture-perfect my charts are becoming. So the overall trends are great and I can tell my fertile/infertile phases from them...The only issue I'd been wondering about are my temperatures.
My temps have been pretty low. I mean off the charts low sometimes. I know for most people, they are in their 97's before ovulation, and go into 98's after ovulation. My temps before ovulation are most often in their low 96's (mostly around 96.4-96.5). There have been instances when my pre-ovulation temps were 96.2..even 96.16 at one time..which was literally OFF my chart. I couldn't even properly chart it because my chart didn't go that low. And then after ovulation, there is an increase, but only to about 97.5. Is this okay?
I know one reason for low temps could be hypothyroidism....but I doubt that, since I don't have any other signs or symptoms of low thyroid hormone levels. Does anyone know what else could cause low basal temperatures or whether this is something I should even worry about? Any and all help/advice is appreciated :-)


Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!


P.S. I also posted earlier this week in honor of 40 days for life...featuring my favorite pro-life memes.


Agnes

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Favorite Pro-Life Memes - in honor of 40 days for life




Since we are almost right in the middle of 40 days for life (day 22), 
I decided to post my favorite pro-life memes in honor of this time.
According to the 40 days for life website
259 babies were saved so far since September 25! 
That is amazing! 259 babies that could have been dead...get to live, grow up, 
and experience all that life has to offer. Thank God.



#1

Wisdom from Mother Teresa



#2

 Wisdom from my favorite, soon-to-be SAINT, and personal hero, Blessed John Paul II
He always, always stood up for life and the dignity of the human person 
from conception to natural death.


#3

 More wisdom from my hero!


#4

 Not sure where I got this meme....
but it makes me feel PROUD and STRONG and UNASHAMED
of standing up for life.


#5


And the infamous quote of our president Barack Obama...I can't believe he said that and I feel sorry for his daughters to have such a dad. They're being indoctrinated with contraception, abortion, and the lie that human life is disposable/optional, from a very young age.







For more 5 favorites, visit Hallie's blog.

Friday, October 11, 2013

7QT - Recap of the EPIC summer of 2013 part 2

Hello friends. This week I am posting part 2 of my Recap of EPIC summer 2013. 
This summer really was EPIC, UNFORGETTABLE, ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME!

 

 # 1

We visited the shrine of the Carmelite Fathers in Muenster, Indiana. 


Here's a short history of the shrine, taken from the Carmelite Fathers Website.

After the Second World War, a group of Polish Discalced Carmelites, including former chaplains of the Polish Army, came to the United States. They fulfilled St. Raphael Kalinowski's dream of a Polish Carmel in America when they established a monastery in Hammond, Indiana. Two years later they moved to Munster, Indiana, in the Diocese of Gary, where they immediately began their pastoral ministry among the Polish-American community in the Chicago metropolitan area. 




They built a monastery and Shrine dedicated to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and in the monastery garden constructed a grotto in her under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes. On the upper level, around the altar in the Chapel of Our Lady of Częstochowa, they placed urns with the ashes of prisoners who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps and Soviet labor camps. In subsequent years, a monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was erected at the entrance to the Shrine, while the monastery garden itself was adorned with a Polish Highlanders' chapel dedicated to Christ as the Man of Sorrows and His Mother Mary under the title of Our Lady of Ludźmierz, a monument of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, as well as a monument of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of Auschwitz. In the monastery building itself, following the election of Karol Wojtyla to the Chair of Peter as the first Polish pope, the Fathers built a Pope John Paul II hall containing a photo exhibit of his life and apostolic pilgrimages as well as a bronze life-size sculpture of the Holy Father Himself. Alongside the monastery church, the Fathers built a chapel dedicated to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Ostra Brama, and later added the St. Raphael Kalinowski Pilgrim Center and Banquet Hall near the entrance to the shrine. 

    In 2004, Pope John Paul II bestowed on the Carmelite Monastery the distinction of receiving his "Golden Rosary," issuing on that occasion a special Papal Bull in which we read: "To Our Lady of Ludźmierz, Queen of the Polish Highlanders, honored at the Carmelite Shrine in Munster, in the Chicago area, as patroness of the Polish Highlanders' Union in North America, I bequeath as a votive offering the Golden Rosary, a filial chain which, through Mary, binds us to Jesus. ( ... ) To all those devoted to the Mother of Christ and to the pilgrims who come to the Carmelite Shrine in Munster - the "American Ludźmierz," I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing."




If you're wondering who Our Lady of Ludzmierz is, read this: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_of_Our_Lady_of_Lud%C5%BAmierz



This is the official website 
for the sanctuary of Ludzmierz.
  http://www.mbludzm.pl/
It was the next town over (about 5 minutes) from where I was born and raised in Poland. I was lucky to be raised so close to this holy place and to Our Lady. Blessed John Paul II had special ties to this place, to Our Lady of Ludzmierz, and to the Tatra Mountains.




 #2

Celebrated my 23rd birthday

....with being surprised by my favorite: chocolate-dipped strawberries from edible arrangements

 

#3

Completed my 2nd Summer, Pharmacy Pre-Grad Internship




#4 Took a trip to the Naperville River Walk park to find out this is the perfect park for pictures for our wedding day!

This beautiful park is found downtown Naperville (a west suburb of Chicago). It is a pretty big park that goes along a river, has many green fields, a beautiful gazebo, and a very unique monument. We took our wedding pictures after our wedding mass there and the pictures we have so far turned out absolutely gorgeous!








#5 Got married to my best friend of 7 years!

Hallelujah! :-)





Be on the lookout for our wedding story! I am working on multiple posts to describe every little part of our wedding day, as I want to keep it forever in our memories! It was truly the best day of my life! I will also be posting more pictures when we get our professional ones from the photographer. For now, see the pictures we have so far here, here, and here.

#6 Took my Godfather for an all day tourism of downtown Chicago

My Godfather came to the States all the way from Poland for my wedding. That was very nice of him. He was here for a little less than 2 weeks. We did get to spend some time with him, but unfortunately, not as much as we wished, since we went away on our honeymoon almost right after the big day. BUT, right before we left for the honeymoon, Greg and I took ONE FULL day just to spend with him. We decided to spend a whole day downtown Chicago and show him all that this beautiful city has to offer.

First, we spent some time by the lakefront near Adler's Planeterium and Soldier's Field. There, he was able to get a nice lakefront view of the city, the skyscrapers, and Willis Tower.



Then, we drove up to the Navy Pier and spent some time walking around the Pier and inside the little shops. We got him some souvenirs to bring home. We then sat, enjoyed the beautiful weather and the charm of the city, and we waited for our boat cruise on the Chicago River.





I purchased tickets in advance for the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour on the Historic Chicago River. The boat/ship took us right into the heart of downtown, in the middle of the towering skyscrapers. My Godfather was amazed at the architecture and technology of the city. He truly enjoyed it and was very thankful for bringing him on this cruise.



Later, we had some subway sandwiches and we headed over to the Buckingham fountain. It shoots up water really really high every hour (at an even hour) and it was doing that right as we were walking up to it....so we ended up running so that we do not miss it.


And we finished off our day at the Willis Tower (previously: Sears Tower). My Godfather was very, very impressed by the Willis Tower and especially by the wonderful sights of the city from up top.




#7 

Spent the most wonderful week with my new husband on our honeymoon




I'm also working on a post about our honeymoon,
so be on the lookout for our honeymoon story as well!

I can truly say:
THIS WAS THE GREATEST SUMMER OF MY LIFE!

AND NOW WE ARE ENJOYING THE BEGINNING 
OF OUR HAPPILY EVER AFTER...
OUR LIFE'S VOCATION...
THANKS BE TO GOD! 


For some more reading...here are my posts from this past week:

     

    Yours in Christ,

    Agnes