It is good that you are here…

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on July 29, 2014

Before I left Austin I turned to Jen and said, “I am dreading writing my Edel recap post so much.” I just felt overwhelmed by the thought of it. How could I possibly convey what Edel meant to me in one post? Or even five?

I’ve now accepted that that will never happen so I’m just going to try to share a few highlights.

The most breathtaking thing that I experienced both at Edel and leading up to Edel was just how visible the Holy Spirit made himself to me. To feel him next to me as we planned this event was such a gift. For those of you who couldn’t join us this year, here are a few highlights that I shared at Edel…

 

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Partners in crime.

 

Jen and I were on the phone one morning, back when we were first trying to figure out what we wanted this gathering to look like. We paused, each of trying to put our vision into words. Almost immediately, I was hit with a crystal clear vision. I saw that scene from Beautiful Girls with Timothy Hutton in which he sits down at the piano in a bar and starts playing Sweet Caroline. All of his friends gather around him and start singing. I told Jen that this was what I wanted. This camaraderie, this kind of bonding.

Jen choked on her coffee and said, “I can’t believe that you just said that!” That is the exact scene that just popped into my head!” I had no idea she even knew the movie existed. We’d never discussed it. It was at that moment that we started to suspect that the Holy Spirit might just have a hand in this. Maybe.

 

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Sipping my coffee. Sloooooowly.

 

A few months later I flew to Austin to do a walk-through at the hotel where we were hosting Edel. Jen and I met with the event planner, toured the ballroom, and then headed down to the restaurant for lunch. Halfway through our lunch the maître d’ walked up to the table next to us, pulled out a chair, and down sat Timothy Hutton, star of Beautiful Girls (who is very kind, by the way, to strange women who interrupt his lunch meetings). He doesn’t even live in Austin! How insane is that? That’s some crazy Holy Spirit-level insanity if I ever saw it. And he wasn’t even done…

 

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Cari, Kelly, Heather, Jenny, and Brianna (and all the other ladies who helped us but aren’t pictured). You ladies rock and I think the world of each one of you. Thanks for being our support team!

 

The night before I flew back to Austin for Edel I took Benadryl and turned out the light at 9 PM. I had to be up at 4 AM to catch my flight and did not want to start the weekend sleep-deprived. I counted sheep, I prayed Hail Marys. I got more and more agitated until finally told God that fine, if he was refusing to let me sleep, let’s at least be productive. Was there anything he wanted me to tell the women of Edel during my opening address? Instantly seven words popped into my head and I got goosebumps. “It is good that you are here.” Over and over again I heard those words.

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My sweet Therese. She came all the way from Charleston with me to be there (along with Steph, Kimberly, Jill, Tanya, and Heide — our honorary Charleston girl). It meant so much to me that they were there.

 

“Seriously, God?” I thought. “You want me to tell these women that it is good that they are here? Don’t you think that’s going to sound a little weird? Of course I think it’s good that they are here. I was the one who was so nervous that no one would come that I made my kids pray that God would find their mom some friends to come to her Edel party!” But he was insistent. “It is good that you are here.”

 

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Beautiful Cate. I just love her. I knew I would, but she became even more special to me than I’d predicted.

 

I continued to doubt myself (and God, honestly) for the next two days. In fact, after the Friday night event I’d decided that I was going to cut that part of my talk. But then sweet Arwen texted me with a personal story and I knew that I had to put it back in. So, I said those words and added a few of my own thoughts acknowledging the sacrifices everyone had made to attend and then got off the stage. I walked to the back of the room thinking, “I knew I should have left that part out. That sounded so stupid.” But when I pulled up Twitter, I saw tweet after #edel14 tweet that echoed, “It is good that you are here!” It took my breath away. As it turns out, maybe God knew what he was doing.

 

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My new friend Natalie! Don’t you just love it when you meet someone and know within seconds that you’re going to become friends? That’s what happened when I met Natalie. She’s the bee’s knees.

 

Later that day I heard my phone ding. Beautiful Cari had sent me a text message with a picture of the Communion hymn that was being sung at St. Mary’s Vigil Mass. It was entitled ‘Tis Good, Lord, to be Here.

 

Edel communion hymn

He’s subtle, that God.

 

I think we all felt the Holy Spirit with us this past weekend. So many of us had come to Edel with emotional baggage, fears, and insecurity. I know I did. But, and this is the part that is hard for me to convey, all of that melted away once we arrived. Edel felt so safe. I felt so loved and supported. I felt, for that short time, like Mary had laid her mantle over me and was protecting me from spiritual attack and from everything that scared me. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as at peace as I did during those two days.

 

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Calah is every bit as vibrant and full of heart as you would imagine. I adore her.

 

Coming down from the Edel high has been an emotional (and sometimes painful) roller coaster. In some ways, though, it has been a gift because it has emphasized for me just how special this weekend was. It has shown me with even more clarity the ways in which God was with us, had given us this weekend as a gift, and had protected us from so many of the things that we struggle with on a daily basis.

 

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Jenny, baby Genevieve, and Christy. They killed it at Karaoke. I didn’t get nearly enough hugs from any of them.

 

To steal beautiful Lauren‘s words, “I think we all knew, whether we liked it or not, that the whole point was to go home.” We are home now strengthened, refreshed, confirmed in our vocation, more closely bonded, and even more in love with our families and it is good.

 

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Lovely, kind Rachael. I think this is at peak blood alcohol level. I have no other explanation for why I’m looking at the camera like I want to devour it.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a few shout-outs to some people who went above and beyond to help us. Thank you to Kathryn for designing our centerpieces. I am in awe of your gifts and your generosity. Thank you to Leticia for carrying endless boxes in the Texas heat with Jen. Ouch! Thank you to Kelly (karaoke queen) for managing our bio page. That was a huge commitment. We would have been lost without you. Thank you to Jenny. We knew we wanted her to be our emcee because her smile can light up a room and she is a smartie but we had no idea that every time she opened her mouth words of wisdom would pour out. You are amazing. Thank you to our speakers Haley and Marion. We’re all a little dehydrated thanks to how many times you each made us cry. Thank you to Jen’s mom, aunts, and uncle, Pam, Claudia, Lisa, and Kevin. They insisted on coming to Edel to help us out of the goodness of their hearts. They saved us, and saved us again, and kept saving us until Edel was over. Plus, they are just awesome people. I adore each one of them.

 

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See those beautiful smiling eyes? That’s Sarah in a nutshell.

 

To all of my Edel girlies, I love you so much. Thank you for bringing Edel to life. (I’m kicking myself for failing to take pictures with so many of you). And for those of you who couldn’t join us. We missed you and prayed for you — truly we did — and we fervently hope that some of you can join us next year.

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Sex Advice: Lead Us Not Into Google

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on July 2, 2014

My finger hovered over the “publish” button. I drew a shaky breath. For months I’d been thinking about publishing this ebook but kept asking myself, “Do you really want to be ‘that Catholic woman who published a book about great sex‘?”

Three years ago, while we were working on Style, Sex, and Substance, contributing writer Elizabeth Duffy sent a questionnaire to hundreds of Catholic women asking them about their sex lives: Were they satisfied? With what issues did they most struggle? And their husbands? Were they content? Was there tension?

I was taken aback and saddened to see just how many women reported being dissatisfied with the sexual-love aspect of their marriage. Inspired and informed by the feedback she received, Elizabeth wrote an excellent chapter on the topic for our book.

After the book released, I started receiving emails from women about their intimate lives and the struggles they faced. At best, they said, sex wasn’t fun. At worst, it was a source of enormous marital tension…

To read more, just head over to Patheos where I have the pleasure and privilege of guest posting this week!

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Call Her Happy, indeed (a giveaway!)

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 24, 2014

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It was May of 1999 and I was visiting Dan in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama for the first time. As we wove through Midtown, I stared out the window, transfixed by all the green — the waxy green leaves of the trees, the muted gray-green of the Spanish moss, the lush green of the grass, and the hungry green of the kudzu. Few things make me feel more at peace than being surrounded by verdant things.

I used to love hiking through the California forest when I was growing up because in the cool shade of the redwoods patches of moss would pop up and ferns would grow wild. Perhaps in heaven I will be surrounded by viridescence. Right there between blue and yellow I feel my shoulders relax and I can breathe deep and easy.

As we drove on I noticed big, yellow-white drops dotting the trees. I asked Dan what they were. He pulled the car over to the side of the road, told me to stay in the car, jumped out, and plucked one of those buttery flowers right off the tree. When he returned he gave me a kiss and held it up to my nose. The scent was sweet and citrusy and filled up the car in an instant.

Ever since then, I’ve thought of the Magnolia as our flower.

Jenna opened an Etsy shop recently (appropriately named Call Her Happy) and filled it with the most creative, charming necklaces I’ve ever seen. She hangs mini embroidery hoops from a chain and with her needle and thread fills them with pictures of bluebonnets, peacocks, Sacred Hearts, bicycles, and the sweetest little foxy faces you’ve ever seen.

I asked her recently whether she might be able to create one for me of a Magnolia nestled into a grassy green. She replied that but of course she could and before I knew it a tiny package was waiting for me in my mailbox. Inside it was my Magnolia and it was just perfect. See…

A Call Her Happy mini embroidery hoop necklace!
I love it. So, so much. Thank you so much, adorable Jenna!

Then Jenna, who’s sweet like this, offered to give one of her beautiful necklaces to one of you! A coupon code for 15% off, too (just enter MOXIEWIFE at checkout).

You know the drill. Rafflecopter away, girlie girls!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Under New Management

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 17, 2014

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I did the math and I have written 60 Five Favorites post and “favorited” 300 things over the past year (and four months). That’s a lot of things! No wonder “swoon” is one of my favorite words.

I can’t even tell you how much fun I’ve had, love bugs. Sharing things I love with you, reading all about the things that have touched your hearts and tickled your fancy, and meeting so many new people has been a joy. I’ve had such a ball hosting this link-up, in fact, that I was completely taken by surprise to find myself with a small case of Five Favorites burnout recently.

It makes sense, though. I’m not online as much as I once was so I don’t come across as many things that I love and want to share these days. That makes it hard when it’s time to come up with my list each week.

I started this link-up because I had so many things that I was dying to tell you about and wanted a fun way to do so. Feverishly searching for things late at night on Tuesday because I have five slots to fill and nothing to fill them with kind of defeats the purpose, though (and is definitely not one of my favorite things).

So, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to pass along the Five Favorites torch. Beautiful, hilarious, sweet Heather of Mama Knows, Honeychild has agreed to take over for me and I couldn’t be happier.

Just between you and me, it’s really just all a part of my brilliant plan to force her to post more often. Few people make me laugh the way she does. Her Five Favorites posts are going to be SOLID GOLD. I can just feel it.

Thank you so much for joining me over the past year! I just love you all to pieces and can’t wait to follow along over on Heather’s blog. And when five magical, glorious things that I just have to share with you fall into my lap, I’ll be linking up right alongside of you.

Kisses!

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A Day by Day Beauty Vitamin C Serum Giveaway!

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 16, 2014

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Congratulations, Nina, Megan, and Laura P. Check your inbox!

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I don’t do a lot of product reviews and giveaways around here. I’m always so tempted when the offers come in but I usually pass them up because this season of life is crazy. Those of you who are familiar with my mail obsession know how painful this is for me. In the interest of not ruining my own life, though, I have to be honest with myself and admit that by the time products arrives on my doorstep all sorts of unexpected happy chaos might very well have erupted (leaving my blogging time at approximately 0.0001 minutes).

When beautiful Pamela emailed me and asked whether I’d like to sample her Day by Day Beauty Vitamin C serum, though, I couldn’t resist.

This past year has done quite a number on my skin. Charlie-no-sleep succeeded in simplifying my beauty routine to a degree that would make beauticians faint. We’re talking brushing my teeth (quickly), splashing my face with water, removing my contacts, and passing out. On a good day.

No special face wash, no moisturizer, and definitely no tonics or serums or toners.

Now that he’s doing just a bit better on the sleeping front (praise the merciful Lord above) I feel my desire to care for my physical self coming back to life a bit. So, when Pamela contacted me I jumped at the opportunity because I read a while back (from an article published in a periodical I trust but can’t find now — sorry!) that while there are few skin treatments that are actually effective and live up to their claims, vitamin c serums are the exception. They praised them unreservedly.

I actually tried a different Vitamin C serum a while back but put it aside pretty quickly because it was so sticky. I was told that this is pretty standard for these serums so I never sought out another brand. I love positive results but not so much that I’m willing to turn my face into a fly catcher every night. I read in the Amazon reviews that the Day by Day brand has found a way around this problem which made me even more tempted to try it.

While I was looking over the reviews I noticed that there are 250 of them and almost all were positive! And so, despite my determination to cut back on product reviews, I begged sweet Pamela to send me a bottle. Generous gal that she is, she had it on my doorstep in days.

Oh my word, girls. I love this stuff. It has absolutely earned all the positive reviews it has received. The kids and I have been spending a lot of time at the pool and beach this summer which isn’t typically terribly kind to my skin no matter how much sunscreen I use. This year, though, I’ve been using my new beloved serum faithfully and my skin looks better than ever!

I could totally work for QVC, couldn’t I?

Seriously, though (and with all sincerity), this stuff is amazing. In addition to Vitamin C, it contains Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, Aloe, and Jojoba Oil. Good stuff, all of it.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now and tell you the happiest part of all. Pamela is giving away a bottle of her Day by Day Beauty Vitamin C Serum to three winners! Just do your Rafflecopter thing below! Easy peasy. And if you just can’t wait, the cost of the serum is currently on sale for $18.50 (reduced from $89.99!!!). I highly recommend snagging a bottle (or five).

Good luck and take care, cutie pies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Five Favorites (vol. 60)

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 10, 2014

Five Favorites, hosted at MoxieWife.com

1.

Rosary Bracelet

Organic Mama's Shop Rosary Bracelet

Shannon of Organic Mama’s Shop sent me this rosary bracelet recently and I could not possibly love it more. Aren’t the colors beautiful? Though it looks like a stack of bangles (love!), it’s actually one long piece that wraps around your wrist! Possibly the best thing of all is that the bracelet comes complete with a moveable charm in case you get interrupted mid-rosary. Brilliant.

Or maybe that’s not the best thing of all. Maybe the best thing is that Shannon has kindly set up a 25% off discount code for all of you for the next 10 days! Isn’t that sweet of her? Just enter MOXIEWIFE at checkout.

You should also know that Shannon donates 10% of every sale to a local crisis pregnancy center, offers free shipping on orders over $50, and provides a lifetime repair guarantee for each piece. She’s such a peach.

If you treat yourself to a bracelet do let me know which one you pick! They’re all so gorgeous that I had trouble choosing.

2.

Humans of New York

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There is a reason this Facebook page has over six million “likes.” I check it almost every day and rarely come away not feeling inspired. There’s just something about hearing other people’s stories and learning about their struggles that makes me want to stand on a sidewalk and hand out hugs.

3.

On Money and Vacations and Marriage

“One afternoon Jacob was on the phone with a sibling talking about the trip. He glanced at me tentatively, and I retreated to the bedroom in angry tears. It was so absurd. How could he even consider this?! I was struggling as a new mother. I had a high needs baby. We’d been living on the hope of one interview to the next for months. I was stretched so thin by work and mothering, and we still weren’t making ends meet. I was the numbers person. I knew this was a stupid stupid financial choice. Why couldn’t he see that? Just because we could pay for it didn’t mean we could afford it. Not only was he going to Hawaii, he was leaving me alone with our five month old for a week, and it was on my plate to find extra babysitting help, and I didn’t know how how I would pay for this extra babysitting because he was taking all our money and flying to Hawaii with it! Oh was I mad and, oh, was I justified. Jacob was so so gloriously in the wrong and I was so perfectly in the right that I marched over to the computer and chose the only option I had left…”

I think you should read every single thing Kate writes but if I had to pick just one thing, this might be it.

4.

L’Oreal Cinnamon Toast Lipstick

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Best red lipstick EVER.

5.

1 proposal, 26 countries, 4 years in the making

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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Five Favorites (vol. 59)

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 3, 2014

Five Favorites, hosted at MoxieWife.com

We’ve spent the last few days at the seashore and all I can think about is how much I love it here. As I mentioned over on Instagram, I’m convinced that I could spend every day on the beach and never get tired of it. I’m also willing to test this theory should anyone care to fund such a study. To give you an idea of what this study would consist of, here are a few sample photographs. Favorite photographs, if you will. (Wink, wink.)

1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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