Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sickness, James McAvoy, and Dreams.

So, no blog yesterday because I spent most of the day in bed. I slept most of the day, was in pain for a few hours in the evening and then slept some more so that I wouldn't feel the pain as much. The only solid thing I've eaten today is toast... and I'm still nauseous. Ew. I've been drinking teas and I managed to drink an entire thing of Gatorade this morning so at least I'm hydrated. I think shortly after I finish this blog, I'm going back to bed because I still feel crummy. Hmm... well there go my plans of having my clean-a-thon yesterday and today. This just goes to show you that, although you may make plans, plans can always be altered by things that come up. Booh! Booh, I tell ya! lol.

Moving onto something a little more pleasant... I found this quote from James McAvoy which I found amusing yet endearing. He says, "I'm just 5 foot 7 inches and I have pasty white skin. I don't think I'm ugly, but I'm not a classic-looking leading man. I don't know what the fuss is about." Is he serious? It may be my little crush on him talking but I disagree with him! What makes him appealing is the fact that he's incredibly talented and he is one of the few (and rare) actors that hasn't been affected by his success. That and the fact that he wanted to be a priest growing up is awesome. He still curses like a sailor, he's honest and tells it like it is. It's refreshing, really. And, okay, he's easy on the eyes as well. lol. I wanted to go see "Atonement" at a nearby movie theater (perk about living in a big city: you can watch films before they're released nationwide) but I don't know how long I'm going to be feeling gross so plans have been scrapped until further notice.

Moving away from the awesomeness that is James McAvoy... one of my favorite things about sleeping are my dreams. I usually have some really crazy (but often nice) dreams that, as a priest from my church said, "are better than the movies." Yes, that's what he said about my dreams -- well, the ones I told him I had that involved saints and angels. I won't even try to decipher what they mean because I know we're not supposed to. I was given the advice to look into the saint's lives if I keep dreaming about them. No one bring up the suggestion of looking it from Freud's point of view because I don't agree with most of what he thought. I spent about 4-5 months studying Freud (in both my Philosophy and Psychology courses) and I'm done with him. lol. I'd rather just think about how lovely they are and what I can get out of them.

And, okay, I'm about done for now. I might come back later on, if I feel better, to try that blog about why my patron saints are my patrons saints. *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Puppy, Annual "Clean-a-thon", and Miracles.

Well, the coldness continues but thankfully dad's feeling much better. He tried to go outside a few hours ago, to check the mailbox, but I wrestled the keys out of his hands. No, really, I grabbed one end of the keys and he had the other and I managed to get them from him. It was kinda funny because I also grabbed the spare key before he could even remember where it was and I then let out a Nelson (from "the Simpsons") style "Ha Ha" which made my parents laugh. I ended up going to check the mail... with my pajamas, a hoodie and my peacoat over my hoodie. Yes, it was that cold.

Christmas might've officially been 2 days ago but it still feels like it. Today I got one of the best presents I received this year, a little stuff puppy. I ended up naming him... drum roll, please... Puppy. Yes, very creative, aren't I? He's the cutest little thing and the closest thing to a pet I'll ever have.

Besides that little cutie, nothing much going on with me. Well, nothing except my big annual "Clean-a-thon". Every year, two days after Christmas, I start going through everything I own (I mean, EVERYTHING) and I throw away or donate whatever I didn't use or no longer need. I usually throw away things such as schoolwork that's piled up through the year, things I thought I was going to use this year but didn't, etc. I donate books or clothing I was given but didn't use. Since I was in school this entire year (I didn't even get summer vacation), I have a slew of paperwork that is useless. I have a feeling I won't be throwing out much this year, so it'll hopefully take me a day or two to go through everything and clean everything properly. I am hoping it won't take me 4 days like it did last year. My aim, like it is every year, is to finish by the 31st. I'm a minimalist so I like to start off each year with only the basic things I do need/want.

One of the things I hope to do while I do my clean-a-thon is try to fix the statues and framed pictures we have around the house. As promised in my blog yesterday, I am going to post a picture of the little statue we have of the Santo Niño de Atocha. I had totally forgotten that we had it in storage because it had been pretty battered during the '94 Northridge Earthquake and it was out for a few years longer before we decided to store and later fix it up... which is what I intend to do someday soon. And, I actually have a little story about the statue of Santo Niño de Atocha and one of St. Jude Thaddeus, so gather 'round, kids.

This story takes place in mid-January 1994. I was about 8 years old at the time and I'd never experienced a real big earthquake before. In the wee hours of the morning, I somehow woke up, out of the blue, and it took me a bit to get back to sleep. After I'd finally gotten back to sleep, I felt my dad picking me up from my bed, very abruptly and I opened my eyes to see (and feel) everything shaking violently. Things were falling off the walls, glasses and china was breaking everywhere... if you've ever experienced an earthquake, you know what I'm talking about. Since this earthquake was a really big one, the lights went out almost immediately after the intense aftershocks started. I did not know what was going on. All I knew was that I had to stay under the doorframe (or is it doorway?). I don't remember too many details about what happened during the shaking except that the statue of St. Jude fell as soon as we (my parents and I) reached the doorway and were safe from anything falling on us. I won't write much more about what happened during the earthquake because the images are still pretty vivid (and it's been nearly 14 years since) and it would take me a long time to write it out.

Anyhoo, I was talking to my mom about the statue of Santo Niño de Atocha and one of the St. Jude statues in my room. I knew they'd fallen during the earthquake -- they're still chipped -- and I very faintly remember (or think I remember) St. Jude's statue falling as soon as we got under the doorway and my mom confirmed it. Apparently, while all other things were falling around us there are three things that didn't fall: the statue of Santo Niño, the statue of St. Jude and the big framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was up on my bedroom wall. Now, the earthquake was a 6.7 on the richter scale, it was pretty intense. Windows shattered just by the shaking, yet the picture did not fall or get hurt in any way. It was like a miracle. We count them as little miracles we experienced that day. My mom says they (saints and Our Lady) were all looking out for us. Thankfully, we managed to get out of the building, in between aftershocks, without getting hurt and all we suffered was property damage. We haven't experienced an earthquake that intense since, thank God, but every time we have experienced smaller earthquake (and/or aftershocks from nearby earthquakes) my mom grabs the St. Jude statues without even thinking about it. My dad grabs the statue of Our Lady and my mom grabs St. Jude... if I don't get to him before she does.

Those were my little stories involving the statues so I think it would be appropriate to post the pictures now. You'll be able to see the chips I was talking about.

Santo Niño de Atocha

That's my wonderful grandmother in the picture frame behind him. I thought it was cool that her picture ended up in this picture because one of my favorite memories was her going to Plateros with us. (See yesterday's blog for more about that).

St. Jude

I only did a close up of him so you can see some of the chips he got when he fell off the counter.

Since I will be cleaning most of tomorrow, or at least hope to, there probably won't be much for me to write. Maybe I'll write about why my patron saints are my patron saints. There's any idea.

If you've made it this far, congrats! Have an imaginary cookie to celebrate. Not everyone can get through an entire post. lol. Anyhoo, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chemo + Cold = Bad, LFC Wins & My First Favorite Saint.

It is very cold today and has been freezing (but remember that my definition of freezing might be different from yours) all day. I just got up for a long nap and getting up from my warm bed took me some time to actually do. Normally I like this weather and will drink tea or eat something warm to make me feel better but this year I'm not too happy with the cold. The person who, unfortunately, suffers from the cold weather more than anyone in my family is my father because of his chemotherapy.

Okay, moving away from a somewhat touchy subject... as you will see, I am a massive Liverpool FC fanatic and have been for quite some time. Sometimes I have to get up in the wee hours of the morning because they're on GMT (U.K.) time and I'm on PST time. Today they played against Derby. Normally I wouldn't have minded losing a little sleep but I ended up going to sleep at 2 in the morning and I slept less than 5 hours before I was up again. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper this morning. lol. The game was alright. The first half was great. Liverpool was on their game and that goal from Torres was pretty sweet. Second half, aysh... where did my Red men go? They were giving away the ball too much, some players were just... *shakes head*. When Derby scored a goal and tied with Liverpool, I was kind of bummed out but not really surprised. When Gerrard came close to scoring a goal, but missed, I definitely yelled pretty loudly. lol. Steve Gerrard, Gerrard... this man can kick a ball forty yards (or so the song goes). What did I do next time Gerrard was shown on TV? I did the sign of the cross. What happened 2-3 minutes later? He scored the winning goal which caused me to yell out very loudly at nearly 9 in the morning. Good morning, neighbors. lol. Though I am pleased that they got the full 3 points, I wasn't too happy with most of the second half performance. Hopefully they'll work on it for the next match against Manchester City this weekend.

From my favorite Red men to my first favorite saint... Santo Niño de Atocha (Child Jesus). Being of Mexican and Spanish descent, he has been in our household since I can remember. For those of you who don't know who the Santo Niño is... He first appeared in a Spanish town called Atocha. Muslims were taking Christians prisoners in the little town during the 13th century. The prisoners who were devoted to Catholicism were denied food by the Muslims. Soon, little kids (under the age of 12) were able to take prisoners food. Since the women of Atocha knew the majority of the prisoners wouldn't survive the starvation, they prayed to Our Lady of Atocha, asking her to ask her Son for help. Soon after, there were reports of a little boy (dressed in pilgrim clothing) taking food to prisoners who didn't have any children of their own. When the women heard about this, they went to thank Our Lady of Atocha for answering their prayers. When they looked at at the statue of Our Lady, they noticed that the Child Jesus she had in her arms had his shoes very worn and dirty. They replaced his shoes but when they went back to check, they were once again tattered and dusty. They took it as a sign that the Child Jesus was helping the prisoners stay alive. It didn't just end there, either. In other Spanish towns, people would report a young boy in pilgrim clothing bringing travellers their food and anything else they needed to survive. He would travel with them until they were out of danger, and would also guide them to the safest roads. That is how El Santo Niño came to be.

There are two stories about him that take place in Mexico, too. One was of these miners, working on building a town called Fresnillo, who saw a mule coming from the West. They decided to take the crate off the mule but as soon as they did that, the mule ran away. When the miners opened the crate, they saw a silver crucified Christ, but without the cross. Immediately, a church was ordered to be built in a new town close by and it was named Plateros after the silver Christ found. (Spanish lesson: The Spanish word of silver is plata... hence naming the town Plateros.) After it was done, they ordered the image of Our Lady of Atocha to be shipped from Atocha, Spain to Mexico. The statue, along with the silver Christ, has been in the church since then.

The second story: Frensillo became a town for the Spanish miners, who had gone to Mexico, and their families. Within the first weeks of the silver mines being opened, there was a big explosion and the miners were stuck. Their wives went to the church to pray to Our Lady of Atocha. At the same time, a child appeared in the mine and gave the miners water before leading them out of danger. Since then every time there was a problem in the mine, the child would appear and help whoever was in need. Every time this happened, the Child Jesus' clothing were dirty and had little holes on them. It wasn't long before they took him and put him in a little glass case for everyone to see and pray to. He has since been the symbol of the Mexican state of Zacatecas and of miners everywhere.

I was actually very lucky to have visited him (the original statue) when I was about 11 years old (give or take a year or two). The church looks very humble which makes it even more stunning. I went with my parents and my paternal grandmother (may God rest her soul) to Fresnillo and Plateros as part of our vacation. I was happy but very tired because of the bus ride to and from Fresnillo. My grandmother, who was one of the most amazing women I've ever known, lived in a town a few hours from Fresnillo but she still made the trip with us. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of the trip because it's been about 12 years since the trip but I do remember feeling very excited and happy... and I still have the items my grandmother bought for us while we were there. I hope to go back to Fresnillo some day soon. I'll be the first to admit that I don't like going to Mexico because I always seem to get food poisoning or some sort of stomach virus when I'm out there (the foods are quite different from the ones in the U.S.) but I'd be willing to have a tummy ache or two if it meant seeing the Santo Niño again. And for those who want a little more background on him, and see two pictures of the church, here is the link to it. Hopefully I can get a picture of the statue I have of him up later on today (it is now a minute after midnight).

And with that, I conclude my blog for now. I'm still tired, booh, but I have to wait to sleep because I ate not too long ago and I don't like going to sleep with my stomach full. I think I'll try to work on the template for this blog so that it's not too plain. Okay, well, for now... thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And the journey begins.

On this beautiful Christmas Day... and it is still Christmas in California... I have decided to start a blog to chronicle the beginning of Catholic education. See, I'm a cradle Catholic. I was baptized as a baby, did my first communion at the age of 9 and had my confirmation at 13 (I did it in Mexico so that explains why I was so young and why I have no confirmation name). Though I grew up going to mass and praying when I could, somewhere around my mid to late teens I somehow lost my way. I stopped going to mass and prayed very sporadically. I did some things I wish I had never done but nothing too terrible. I'm always been a "good girl" but had some misguided moments. How I never drank, nor did drugs, nor partied is a miracle... especially with the people who surrounded me in the city of Angels. I entered my 20s a little more mature but I still struggled to get back to the Church.

It, unfortunately... yet fortunately, took illness to get me back and I'm grateful for it. I am now 22 years old and I feel as though my life is finally going to truly begin. I've switched my major from English Literature with a minor in Religious Studies to a major in Religious Studies with a minor in English. I thought about the switch before I made it and I feel like it was the right choice. I love the Church and I am going to try to learn everything I can about it. I have this feeling that this is what I need to do so I will do it.

As you might've guess, I love writing. In fact, I have plans to write about my experiences and hope to show younger kids and teens that it is possible to stay away from all those temptations that are out there. For now, I will write in this blog and hope to either inspire people who have drifted from the Church to get back to it or to simply show people the journey of one girl towards a better understand of the Church as I live my life. There are no guarantees that I won't make a mistake or two along the way, but I will learn and I am willing to share my experiences with whomever wants to read about them.

And so the journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer begins.