Sunday, August 31, 2008

Born to Be Catholic?

Last night, mom and I were watching a show about angels which lead to an interesting conversation. Mom said that I seemed to have been born to be a devoted, and very religious, Catholic. She said that when I was a baby and used to smile and laugh in my sleep, she used to say to my dad "Look, she's talking to her little (guardian) angel." Apparently, I would be sound asleep and all of a sudden I would burst into laughter... and I would stay asleep. So, whenever that would happen my mom would say I was talking to an angel. So, when I was baptized at 3 months old, I soaked the poor priest with the water... while giggling my little baby tush off. lol. I seemed to enjoy being at church... and soaking the priest more. lol. Yeah, I was a mischievous baby, but so was my brother Moises when he was a baby. We did the exact same thing -- getting a priest wet while getting baptized -- at the same church, 14 years apart. Now, I should mention that my brother died when he was a baby over a decade before I was born. When I got to be around 4 years old, I used to go up to the windowsill, look up at the sky, crying, and say "Moises, YOUR mom is being mean to me." Whenever I got lectured I would look up at the sky and complain to my brother. Why? Because he's in heaven, duh. lol. I knew Moises had died completely innocent thus sending his soul straight to heaven. I was also very interested in what was inside the San Fernando Mission (which I got to finally visit twice - picture special one, two - when I was older) and about saints as a child. I remember being VERY interested in St. Francis of Assisi when I was about 7 years old without anyone, except the priest in Mass, mentioning him to me. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd immediately say that I wanted to be a nun. A Carmelite, to be exact. I was only 5-7 years old yet that was my dream "job." Oh, and I also had a Virgin Mary nightlight growing up because I used to be afraid of the dark.

Those are just example of things I would do when I was younger. According to my mom, I have always been very Catholic (except for those lost years in my teens) since my birth. I've always felt close to the Church. I even got confirmed early when I was taken to Mexico so I didn't have to wait until I was in my mid-late teens (though I wish they would've let me do it in my teens; that's another story). And, since I've returned to my "roots", I've tried to get my parents back to Mass and eventually completely back to the Church. I even get upset with my father when he refuses to take me to confession or Mass (I can't drive at the moment because of my anxiety). I will tear up (unintentionally, I REALLY love going to Mass and get very sad when I can't go) until he agrees. Actually, he's gotten better about that. He knows what time I usually like to go to Mass so he doesn't complain anymore. When I told my parents I would be majoring in Religious Studies, or that I wanted to attend a Catholic college/university, they weren't surprised. When I said I wanted to go talk to a priest, just to talk about certain things, they were a little puzzled but sort of understood.

So, all of this got me wondering... are any of us born to be Catholic? Do any of you think that some of us (who are cradle Catholics) were just born with a love the Church without getting encouraged to do so? I'm still thinking about this so I honestly don't have an answer. If any of you have any comments, please don't hesitate to leave 'em. I'm very curious to hear what others think. And, yes, you can e-mail me in case you don't want your comments going up on the blog. :D I look forward to hearing feedback. :D

Alright, well, I still have some things to do (including watching 2 saint movies, whoo!) so I should go. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gregorian Chant; Pure Love Club; Application to Date Daughter.

I've been listening to A LOT of Gregorian chant music in the form of "The Catholic Mass" album by the Brotherhood of St. Gregory and Sisters of Mercy. I've also been listening to songs from the "Chant - Music For the Soul" album that the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz released. If you haven't heard of the story of how the they (Cistercian Monks) got a record deal, you should totally check it out. And, you can learn more about them at their site (Stift Heiligenkreuz). I've linked it to the English translation for you guys. :D I remember reading about them around the time it the record deal happened and I was so happy to hear of it. There isn't enough of this beautiful music... at least, that's my opinion. There's something so... I don't know how to describe it except saying "beautiful", about it. It centers me, especially when I'm praying. I'm the type of person who CANNOT concentrate unless there's some background noise. Well, okay, the only time I love total silence is when I'm praying. Otherwise, I need some music or something. I've found that Gregorian chant actually works better than classical or cool jazz (yes, jazz music is cool but I mean the sub-genre "cool jazz") for me. If you've never tried using the music when you want to relax or even to help you get in the mood for prayer, I strongly suggest you try it! :D

Another thing I suggest you check out is this website called Pure Love Club. The website has all these wonderful features to help people stay pure and chaste. They have a great Chastity Q&A that covers all topics that you could possibly think of, including the Morality of Birth Control, How to Stay Pure, Dating, and Vocations. I really liked this website, from the first time I visited it, because I think it's important that young Catholics really get informed on these topics. There's so much propaganda about things that the Church frowns on (ie birth control, abortion, etc) in the mainstream that it's easy to get mislead. So, please, take a moment to check it out. I think you'll like it. :D

And... one more thing I think you guys will get a kick out of. My "little sister" DJ sent me this a few months ago and I think it's something we young women should have copies of (and young men should be prepared for). It's called "The Application to Date my Daughter" and it's super awesome. Let me tell you, even guys have gotten a kick out of it. :D Just click the following link to download the file that contains the application. (I uploaded it myself).

That is all for today. I want to go watch the "Therese" dvd I got from Netflix. I've heard many great things about the film so I can't wait! I hope they do St. Therese of Lisieux and her life justice!

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Disgusts Me: Baby Girl Found Crawling on Sidewalk

This truly disgusts me. I am completely sickened by this story. A 6 month-old baby girl was found crawling, with a bottle of milk (half empty), in one of the worst parts of Los Angeles... AT NIGHT BY HERSELF. The poor baby was either abandoned or kidnapped. It looks like the former because no one's claimed her as their child yet. Ugh. I would gladly taken this little angel if they gave her to me. If you want to read more on the story or watch the video from one of our local news stations, please click here. I hope they find whoever's responsible for this... and put them in jail. They don't deserve her back.

There's a law in California where you can leave a baby at a hospital if you don't want to keep them. It's horrible but it's a BETTER alternative than abandoning, killing, or throwing a child in the trash like many women have done. UGH! JUST UGH!

Decisions and Changes.

If you had the choice to attend a school where you were comfortable at and would be receiving a great amount to attend, but knew you would struggle to stay morally and spiritually right, would you stay? If you had the alternative of attending another school where you would have a hard time in terms of financial aid and stress, but knew that you would be able to stay on the right path, would you rather go there? These were the questions that I had/have to deal with.

I was excited about attending school A (where I was comfortable) but I was noticing that, though I tried to stay as righteous as I could, I would struggle. In the first 2 days that I went to my courses at school A, I was very surprised at how quickly I'd fallen back into the routine I had when I first attended said school. This was prior to my coming back to the Church. I swore like a sailor (and I'm ashamed of that). It was a lot easier for me to say the Lord's name in vain (even though I didn't really think about doing it). I think that's what the problem was... I didn't think my actions through before I did them. I caught myself MANY TIMES coming very close to saying the Lord's name in vain this past week. All unintentionally but, ugh, I hate doing that. Thankfully, I was able to stop myself. I saw myself going back to the way I was and I refuse to be that person again. I've worked very hard to get where I am now. Not only that, I simply don't want to offend God in any way, shape, or form. I have too much love and respect for Him and the Church to do that. That meant I had to do the hard thing and leave a place of comfort to go somewhere I would be humbled.

Last night, I dropped all my courses and decided to go back to school B where I was at last fall. Everyone's pretty shocked that I did this because I've always said that I completely disliked school B but I feel like it's for the best. I will have financial aid issues with school B but I would rather get little to no financial aid than to compromise my beliefs and turn myself back to who I was then. At school A, I would be taking my Philosophy and Religious Studies courses with mostly ultra-liberal professors (with the exception of the Philosophy of Religion class I was taking). At school B, I am more free to express my beliefs about God and about faith without the professors penalizing me for it. And, at school B I know that I can stay on the path that I was going down on, which is a path of prayer, without it being such an issue like it was at school A. I don't think I ever swore/cursed at any point when I attend school B.

The argument that I could be at either school and just really work hard at not straying has come up in my mind. I completely agree... but I also think that I'm still learning how to stay on the right path. I'm very strong willed and all but there are some things I still need to work on and going to school A would just set me back.

I see it this way -- for example: Let's say you're completely bored and want to go see a movie. Film A (which represent school A) is a very mature rated R movie that you could go watch for free, and you'll even get free popcorn and a drink. You know it would be bad for you because of the content but you say to yourself that it's just a movie; no big deal. You'll just cover your eyes during certain scenes. Now, let's say Film B (school B) is a tame, rated G movie that you have to pay your last $20 to see. You know that you'll be broke if you see it but know that the content won't be unsuitable. With Film A, you can try to cover your eyes but there's always the temptation and the possibility of watching the icky scenes in a moment of weakness. With Film B, yes, you'll be broke but you won't feel guilty afterward and won't have to go to confession for it. Which would you choose? Hopefully, Film B... which is what I did. I would rather have to work hard physically and mentally to keep myself ahead (and basically be broke) than to work hard to keep myself spiritually and morally right with many temptations around. It's easier to fall in situation/film/school A than it is in B.

So, now I will have yet another first day of school when I return to school B next Wednesday. I already have my courses set, and I've spoken to professors who have vowed to help me out (I have an amazing English Lit professor) in case I need it. I'm armed with my Rosary and novena so I am not going to stress out, and am surprisingly anxiety and stress free -- SERIOUSLY!, because I have faith that God will help me if I truly need it. This is yet another one of those obstacles that I have to get through to become a better person.

Okay, I think I've bored y'all enough with my little situation. lol. I hope to have time to write quite a bit soon. I STILL have a blog I'm planning so keep your eyes out for it.

I will be praying for of all you who are going back to school. Anyone else counting down the days 'til Christmas break? I already am. Hahaha. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School: St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph of Cupertino.

Yes, it's that time of year most student dread: Back to school. It's not as bad as midterms and finals week for us college students but it's up there. I was VERY excited, and very nervous, about attending my first day back to school because it's my first time in years since I've had to go on campus for courses. I'm extremely happy to report that I did not have a panic attack or anything. NOTHING. I asked St. Dymphna for her intercession regarding my anxiety, and St. Joseph of Cupertino and St. Thomas Aquinas for their intercession regarding my courses. I feel like they all came through from me (as well as St. Jude Thaddeus and Our Lady of Guadalupe whom were also asked for their intercession by other people). :D

I am loving my Philosophy of Religions professor. She's awesome. The syllabus and what she said we would study is right up my alley. My pseudo-brother/bodyguard is also taking the course with me so I'm going to have back up if needed. I hope that I will enjoy the class. I'm certainly excited.

(WARNING: Skip over the following paragraph to the next if you are squeamish or under the age of 18)

I'm not excited about my History of Religions professor. The course is really good but he's very nutty and makes me feel uncomfortable. Do you want to take a professor who, on the first day, says things like "I know some of you would probably want to cut your veins open (or go to a corner and shoot up some heroin) than be in classes with boring teachers"? He also said we could all go to *ahem* if we didn't want to be in the class and how if he saw that we were all lagging in energy he would tell us to... well, I won't repeat it. Needless to say, I am hoping that I can crash another course because I am NOT going to be comfortable in that class. Oh, and I got many looks when I said I was Roman Catholic. It was like I was a lamb in a Lion's den. Unfortunately, both professors that teach the History of Religions course are notorious for being neither very difficult or ultra-liberal so I am going to have to wait until someone else teaches it to take it. I cannot drop it just yet because I have to stay at full time student status and if I drop it without getting another course, I will be ineligible for financial aid.

I should've totally taken the little accident before the professor came in the class as a sign. First I couldn't find my class even though I passed by 3 times. Then, when I went to sit down, the desk was loose and it pinched the side of my left arm, in a very sensitive spot, and I got the most painful bruise as a result. It still hurts more than 24 hours later. Now, I'm not the most graceful person (haha, understatement of the century) but I have never had that happen to me. I even thought "Oh, I'm not going to think of this as a sign that I'm going to hate this course." And then the professor opened his mouth, said what he said, and I'm totally not happy. Maybe it was a sign from above that I needed to run, not walk, out of that class while I still could. Well, I am hoping for the best (to find a class) and will be optimistic. :D

I want to let all you students, who read this blog, about St. Joseph of Cupertino and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Odds are you are more acquainted with St. Thomas Aquinas because he's the patron saint of students and colleges. He was an amazing theologian. I learned about him in my introduction to Philosophy class last year (summer 2007) and he was probably the best philosopher that we covered in the second half of the course, if not the entire course. If you have any school issues, he's a great saint to pray to for his intercession.

Another great saint that will help you out, especially during exams, is St. Joseph of Cupertino. Sometimes I mistaken call him John; I'm still getting used to his name. Anyway, he was not the best student in school but he still had a vast knowledge on spiritual matters. You can read more about him here. If you say one of the following prayers during exams, he will never let you down.

Prayer #1

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
Through Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.

Prayer #2
O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination eg. History paper I ) examination.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.

ALWAYS REMEMBER that when you succeed in the exams then you should thank St. Joseph of Cupertino by recommending him to other students with upcoming exams, or students in general.

Alright, well, I have copies to make and things to read for my Philosophy course. I hope to write often, though we'll see how much free time I'll actually have. My schedule's pretty packed this semester. :D

Good luck to everyone heading back to school! :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Vigil Mass; School? Already?!

I went to Mass today, after confessions, because I won't be able to tomorrow. I don't think I've ever done that. *thinks* Nope; never done it. It was lovely. We had a pianist and a violinist playing the music and the man who sang had such a beautiful baritone voice. I felt very peaceful during Mass, most likely because it started not too long after I came out of confessions and also said the Rosary (in the church). It was a welcomed changed. After my anxiety attack, which was one of the worse ones I've had in quite a while, I had last night I totally needed to refocus my thoughts on prayer.

And if you're wondering about the anxiety, I'm doing so much better now. The anxiety was something that built up over time (about 2 months-ish) and needed to be released in the forms of tears. That's all I needed to do, just cry it out of my system. But, as I said in my recent post about anxiety, I kept trying to think positive and about how I have it so much better than others. :D I'm good; trust me. My anxiety isn't as bad as it used to be *knocks on wood*. lol. Thank you, God! :D

But, anyway, back to the Mass this evening... Fr. Juan put his hand over my head and prayed that I had a successful semester. I felt very happy when he did that because I'm just tired of school at this point. I just keep telling myself that it's my last year before I get my first degree next summer! YAY! *claps* lol. I'm honestly wiped. Last night I was thinking that I'm taking way too many classes I don't need (but are required) in order to get my degree. Statistics, Oceanography, and Environmental Biology (just to name a few) for a Religious Studies/Creative Writing major? That makes sense... *shakes head* No. lol. St. Thomas Aquinas will be getting prayers asking for his intercession from me. Oh yes, he is. lol. I am also taking the holy/prayer card I have of him with me. *sigh* I think this might be my last blog before I start school on Monday. I don't know what my plans are for tomorrow but we'll see. Fingers crossed I won't be a nervous wreck tomorrow. Haha! :D

Alright, well, that's it for today. Yeah, kind of boring. Sorry. :D 'Til next time, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D

P.S. This may be one of the best videos I've ever seen.


Friday, August 22, 2008

100th Post; Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary; White Hispanic: Que?!

Happy Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary day! Yes, I've made it into my own sort of holiday! :D I think it's entirely appropriate (and I LOVE the coincidence) that my 100th blog post landed on one of her feast days because of the devotion I have to her and the Rosary. Also, something not a lot of people know about, my journal is basically letters written to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I write to her as if she were going to physically receive the letters. It's my way of keeping her in my life on a daily basis (or semi-daily; depends on my schedule). It's been suggested that I turn the journal into a book because of the content but it's way too personal for me to do that. Maybe in the future, when I've lived my life, but not now. So now my friends know what I'm writing (I write the letters by hand; my novels and screenplays on computers).

Anyway, I get VERY happy on the Blessed Virgin's feast days because of my love for her. In my opinion, she is ultimate role model we women can have. No, I take that back; not only for women but for all. She was selfless, caring, giving... and she still is. I've never heard of her denying anyone help whenever they've prayed for her intercession. Whether the prayers are to her as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, etc, she will never let us down because we are her children. Her love and compassion for us is boundless. I've felt a strong connection to her basically since I was born. I was baptized at the Church of Our Lady Queen of the Angels (here in L.A.) which is dedicated to her. When the big 1994 Northridge earthquake happened, the big framed picture of her (as Our Lady of Guadalupe) that hung in my room was the only thing (along with a picture of me in my first communion dress) that didn't fall off the wall. More about that here. There are more examples but you get the gist. I think it's because of the connection I feel with her that I started praying the Rosary. And, I have to admit, she's a HUGE reason why I stopped being an inactive Catholic (ie- not attending Mass) 2 years ago. St. Jude also gets credit here but our Blessed Mother was really the "force" that really got me back to where I am today. For that, I am truly grateful. I hope everyone takes at least a minute out of their time, today, to give thanks to her for all she's done for us. Even if you've never asked for her intercession, remember that she was the one who gave birth to, and cared for, our Lord Jesus Christ. :D What better day to say at least one "Hail Mary" or at least one Rosary decade in her honor than on the day we celebrate her being named Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and saints? Go on, take a break from reading this blog and say a "Hail Mary"... I'll wait. :D Done? Good!

Deviating from the loveliness that is Our Blessed Mother, I want to ask something to the readers of this blog. Are any of you, who were born here (in the United States) and are of Hispanic and Latin heritage, bothered by the term "White Hispanic"? I don't know why but that term kind of makes me cringe. I usually say I'm American but of Hispanic heritage. I don't know; maybe I'm too sensitive to the phrasing but, honestly, I don't see the point of adding "White" in front of the Hispanic part. And don't get me started on how sometimes people don't think I'm Hispanic until I speak Spanish. Many jaws have been dropped when I've done that. lol. Physical traits and skin color is not going to help you figure out where a person's from. And if y'all think I'm making it up, wikipedia has a page just on this topic. Yes, take what's written on wikipedia with a grain of salt because people can edit the pages but it sounds legit. Anyway, if you have any comments on that, don't hesitate to leave me a comment or e-mailing me at my gmail address (it's part of my profile). I'm curious to hear what others have to say on the matter.

Anyway, I'm off to finish doing my e-mail and facebook rounds (make sure I've answered all messages) before praying the Rosary. Whoo! :D As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back from Mexico! Whoo!

Ladies and gentlemen, I made it back in one piece! WHOOOO! Throw your hands in the air, and wave them like you just don't care! Mexico, I've conquered you. Sort of. lol. We were originally going to stay for a few days but since it was so close to my return to college and my mom's return to work (she's on vacation), we had to make it a day trip to Baja California, Mexico. 21 hours up (with only 3 hours of sleep that night), nearly 20 hours in and out of the car. *groan* But, I am HAPPY that I got to go because it was my first trip out of the country in quite a while. I don't mind that we waited an hour and a half to cross the border back into the States. I don't mind that we got lost about 4 times because my father still hasn't learned that I rarely get lost (and I've never been to some of the areas we were in yesterday). I don't even mind that people drive like maniacs and caused some stress (but thankfully not to me! whoo! Driving in large Mexican cities is NOT for the faint of heart). I don't even mind all the road construction and detours we encountered. I had fun... and mostly because of the banter between my parents and I. I tell you, when you put the 3 of us together, you'll bust your gut laughing. Last time we got on a roll, my stomach hurt so much from all the uncontrollable laughing, I had to beg them to stop. But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. The quotes of the day were both from my mother. She looked at my father and said "Your country is ugly (because of the amount of road construction there was)." and then her story about how when I was 3 years old, I told the border immigration guy "I was born in *insert hospital* in *insert district* in Los Angeles!" And when he asked me who my father was I pointed to my dad and said "He is!" Not only that, I said it very matter-of-fact and sassy. I was a very sassy 3 year old. Oy. lol.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many churches and religions displays there were all around Tijuana. Unfortunately, I didn't get to take many pictures because we were mostly in the car, driving with fear. lol. I did get some photos though.

This was a HUGE all white statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You can find out more about it at this site I found. Sorry it's so blurry but we were quite far and it was taken while we were on an extremely bumpy road.

I saw so many beautiful churches, I'm truly bummed I didn't get a chance to go inside... or even stop and take proper pictures. I did manage to get a picture of this church, though I wasn't entirely sure if it was Catholic or not. It had an unusual design as seen here. (It's like a fan on its side.)

There was also this ginormous sign that read "Jesus Christ is the Lord" in Spanish on top of a mountain in front of a family friend's dental office.

I have a special place in Tijuana because it was where I was confirmed. While here in the U.S. you have to wait until you're in your mid-late teens to be confirmed, you can do it at a very young age in Mexico. I think I was one of the oldest being confirmed when I did mine. I was confirmed (although, at the time, against my wishes -- I wanted to be confirmed in the U.S.) when I was about 13 years old. That's also the reason why I don't have a confirmation name/saint. They don't have that tradition in most the Latin/Hispanic countries. I feel like I didn't get properly confirmed but that's another story. :D Anyway, I felt like I was getting little messages of reassurance by noticing all the churches around the city. I was a bit nervous about the trip but seeing everything just made me feel so relaxed and happy. It was fantastic. :D

Alright, well, I have a lot to do so a shorter blog today. Go ahead; celebrate the fact that I won't be writing a lot tonight. lol.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Go Liverpool!; Anxiety and Catholicism, St. Dymphna.

I just watched the Liverpool vs. Sunderland game and let me tell you, Fernando Torres is a monster (in a good way)! Haha. I yelled and celebrated before saying "Torres, you are one beautiful man for scoring!" lol. I get a little too into soccer matches, especially if they are Liverpool matches. If my neighbors hadn't woken up by 9:30 a.m. (remember I'm on the U.S. West Coast), they definitely did with my yelling. Haha. I hope they will continue to do well throughout the season. And, good luck to everyone's team... even if you are a Manchester United (ugh) fan (like one of my best friends is). Yes, it is possible for Liverpool and Man Utd fans to be friends. Haha. :D

Oh, and before I continue with what I want to write about anxiety and Catholicism, the EEG test went a lot quicker than I had anticipated. My mom said it took them 45 minutes from start to finish. That strobe light that flashes when you have your eyes closed totally messed up my calm/zen feeling but it wasn't anything I couldn't control. Thank goodness that was only for about 2-3 minutes though. eesh. My props to those who have had that test done with anxiety worse than mine. You are brave souls.

And while I'm on the topic of anxiety (see how nicely it flows into the main topic? lol), I've noticed that quite a number of people who read the blog have discovered it while searching for anxiety related things that have to do with Catholicism. While I had my pretty strong attack yesterday (the EEG test has thrown me off balance a bit), I had an epiphany... which was actually a repeat of the first one I had a few weeks ago.

For some time now, I've asked the Lord to give me peace of mind when I have my anxiety attacks. It's very easy (depending on how bad your anxiety is) to completely wig out and start with the negative thoughts. "Oh, I'm going to die", "Something's wrong with me!", "I'm never going to get better!", "I'm hopeless", etc. I've had some of those thoughts before, particularly during the really intense attacks, but I've completely put myself in the hands of the Lord so I feel more at ease when I get sick. I think that when you do something like that, you feel more in control (in a sense) because you know that whatever happens it's because it's the Lord's will. Every time I get sick now, I say, "Please give me the strength to overcome this, if it's the Lord's will. If I have to endure it for a longer period of time, please give me the strength and courage to deal with this for as long as I have to." I've had anxiety for years (since I was 15) but I've gotten to a point where it no longer gets to me the way it used to because I've realized that I can only get stronger from it. Yes, I have attacks and sometimes those attacks make me feel like the world is caving in around me, or I get so frustrated that all I can do is cry. But then I remind myself that there are people in this world who are so far worse than I am.

There are people who have illnesses and circumstances that are very grave. There are children, who are defenseless, who suffer from things like life-threatening cancer. Innocent people suffer far worse than I do. It really makes you put things into perspective. Yes, I (and others who have anxiety and other nervous illnesses) go through something that's indescribably horrible... but at least we have hope of getting better. I think people should be more grateful for all they have and should focus on helping others who truly need it. And, also, it's always important to remember that we're never alone. God never leaves those in need alone, EVER. Just when things get really bad, remind yourselves that the Lord never gives you anything that you can't handle. There's a reason why we go through what we go through; we just have to have faith that it's all part of God's plans for us. We might not understand the reason, but there is one and it's only going make us stronger. Just think of this verse from the Bible:

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And so shall the peace of God, which exceeds all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

There are many more, which I will hopefully have them all written in a blog fairly soon -- like before I start Fall semester in a week.

One thing we Catholics can also do is pray to St. Dymphna for her intercession. St. Dymphna was an Irish martyr. She was killed by her father, who had gone mad after the death of his wife, for refusing to marry him. You can learn more about her at her wikipedia page (it's legit). I've prayed for her intercession numerous times when I've gone through particularly bad anxiety periods and she's NEVER let me down. I can feel myself very calm after a few minutes of praying the Holy Card I have of her. I scanned it in for those of you who would like to have it (just click on it to make it bigger).

I think the most important thing we can do is pray and have faith that everything will turn out for the best. Pray the Rosary when you're going through a bad time. It's completely amazing how I've completely engrossed myself in prayer and it's brought such peace into my heart, I've been able to eliminate anxiety very quickly.

Alright, I've already written more than I intended to. When do I not? lol. Oh, and quick update: I'm making HUGE steps on the novel/screenplay I'm working on. I'm so excited that God's been blessing me with such an amazing creative kick. I hope I do a good job on it... especially since there might be plans to turn it into a film (which may be filmed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- did I just give something away? I think I did. *gasp* lol.) *crosses fingers* Okay, wow, I need to stop writing. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prayer Request

Hey guys. I have a little prayer request. I am going to have an EEG test (Brain Waves Test) tomorrow morning to figure out why I've been so lightheaded 24/7 and why I can't concentrate on anything (yes, it's been a year that I've been suffering this). They want to rule out all things medical (and make sure it's all anxiety related) so this test has been ordered. I can't deny that I am nervous. If y'all can please just pray that everything goes alright, I would appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. I rarely ask for prayers for myself -- I would rather ask for prayers for others -- but this is something that is huge. I shall not wig out, I promise. lol. :D

Okay, that's it. I just published a blog I started yesterday (which was saved as a draft). I think y'all will enjoy it and will have a chuckle over it. So, please, go read the blog "You Know You're Catholic When..." :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You Know You're Catholic When...

Feeling better today, my dears. I still don't have much time to talk online but I thought I'd leave you these lists that I thought were hilarious... and so true. lol. The first list is from a now-defunct Catholic blog called LAMLand and the second is from a facebook group called "You Might Be a Hardcore Catholic If..." I hope you all enjoy the lists and have a chuckle. :D

You know you're Catholic when...

1. ...every time you go into your pantry you feel a strange compulsion to cross yourself and say, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned..."
2. ...guilt is your best friend, and you feel obligated to share it with others.
3. ...You genuflect before entering your seat at the theater.
4. ...if you only crave hamburgers and steaks on Fridays during Lent and you crave fish every other day in Lent... just never on Fridays.
5. ...if you sneak into protestant churches, sprinkle holy water, and hide blessed medals.
6. can only recite the Creed when around large groups of people.
7. make the sign of the cross when you pass in front of a Catholic church.
8. hear the Angelus bells and begin saying the Angelus to yourself.
9. ...just about every special interest group in the country hates your guts.
10. have an overwhelming compulsion to say, "And also with you," when Yoda says, "May the Force be with you."
11. ...someone says they're going to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and you think they are going to bingo at the K of C.
12. ...someone asks you your favorite Madonna song and you say “Hail Holy Queen.”
13. hide anti-Catholic books in the library and bookstore behind other books on the shelf.
14. have to remember which bottle has the holy water and which bottled has the water for drinking.
15. know how to process, keeping two pews between you and the person in front, keeping lined up with your partner, walking without bobbing or swaying, and you genuflect on graduation day when you get to your seat.
16. know at least 5 sins that can be committed against each of the 10 commandments.
17. pray a Hail Mary when you hear a fire truck or ambulance siren.
18. ...all your children have saint names instead of names chosen from celebrities.
19. ...You have a rosary hanging from your dash.
20. have a holy water fountain at your door and a religious picture and crucifix in every room.
21. ...your son calls home after being gone and the first thing you ask is have you been attending Mass.
22. of your crucifixes has five years worth of dried out palms stuck behind it.
23. ...they know you at every Catholic bookstore in the area, and ask you where you've been if you haven't stopped by in a while.
24. measure your life by the number of Popes who have come and gone.
25. ...after making the Sign of the Cross at the start of the Rosary, you say "Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts..."
26. spend the first five minutes of the day untangling your scapular from your Miraculous Medal.
27. have a St. Christopher medal in you car.
28. know more than 15 recipes for preparing tuna fish.
29. refer to other religions as "Non-Catholic".
30. carry prayer cards in your purse or wallet.
31. ...You know a family whose every daughter has Mary, or every son has John Paul either as the first or middle name.
32. ...your coworkers point out that you have something on your face and as they go to wipe it off for you, you duck and scream, "No, they’re my ashes!!"
33. know when Advent and Lent begin and what day is Easter

You Might Be a Hardcore Catholic If...
-you've accidentally genuflected at a place other than church ex. the movie theatre, school auditorium
- you're sick of being asked why priests can't be married.
- you have a "favorite" religious order.
- you say the meal prayer no matter where you are.
- you have a Nativity set at your house during Christmas, and have also played with it.
- you've accidentally made the sign of the cross when leaving regular buildings.
- whenever anyone says "JPII" in your head you think "We love you".
- you know that Father Stan could take on Eminem any day.
- you LOVE the book Captivating and/or Wild at Heart (Even though they were written by non-Catholics).
- you know that Advent is the beginning of the new church year.
- you have a special place in your heart for Mother Teresa.
- you're more than willing to come forth with a valid miracle to help Mother Teresa become a saint.
- You know at least five people named Mary.
- You want to name one of your sons John Paul.
- you have a Mary statue in your front yard.
- You can name off all the Joyful, Glorious, Sorrowful, and Luminous mysteries.
- you consider your rosary to be your spiritual weapon.
- You've memorized the St. Michael the Archangel prayer and recite it when you feel tempted by sin.
- one or more of your friends entered the seminary or the convent.
- you have 20+ cousins.
- your mom is currently pregnant.
- you and your spouse practice NFP (Natural Family Planning).
- you believe in Purgatory and know it's important to pray for the souls who are currently in Purgatory.
- you get excited whenever Matt Maher releases a new album! Yea "Overflow"!!
- you think Scott Hahn writes the coolest books.
- you live chastity and are saving yourself for your future spouse.
- you're able to sit still for a full hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
- your idea of a great date is Mass followed by good conversation at a local coffee shop.
-You refer to John Paul II as John Paul the Great.
- you never leave home without your scapular.
- you are discerning the religious life.
- you often end disputes with, "Let's look it up in the Catechism."
- you and your friends have shown up at Adoration at 4:00 in the morning.
- when watching Star Wars and hear "May the force be with you" you respond with "And also with you".
- your mom always says "4 kids, Catholic".
- you have participated in sword fights using Palms on Passion Sunday.
- you've run into your Parish Nuns at a Cardinal's game.
- XLT is the big event of the month in which you invite everyone you know (in St. Louis that is).
- you and friend friends ever played "Mass" instead of House, or Cops and Bad Guys.
- You have your own designated seat at Mass.
- they know you at every Catholic bookstore in the area, and ask you where you’ve been if you haven’t stopped by in a while.
- on the night before the first Sunday of Advent you and your friends have a Liturgical New Year's Eve party, and count down to the new Liturgical Year!!
- you're named after a saint, not a family member.
- you know at least three awesome stories about Padre Pio.
- you get excited about going to Mass. (Side note: Oh, this is a big YES for me. lol)
- you arrive at Mass half an hour early to get a good seat and talk to Jesus.
- Redemptive Suffering gets you through sports.
- your mom always makes sure to celebrate your feast day.
- altar serving was the cool thing to do.
- You associate the smell of incense with major feast days.
- You attend multiple retreats per year.
- you point at your friends in line for confession calling them sinners and everyone laughs as you get to the end of line.
- Your teachers grade you down when you write papers about moral issues and papers involving God. (Side note: We'll see this semester. ;D)
- you've ever referred to yourself and your significant other as "a couple discerning a vocation to marriage".
- You and your many siblings went trick-or-treating dressed as Popes and martyrs.
- you feel compelled to make the sign of the cross after reciting ANYTHING... (happens after the pledge of allegiance almost every morning!) and then you catch yourself and have to remind yourself that it wasn't a prayer.
- If you have a priest come bless your house with holy water before you move in.
- You never eat before church, and brunch afterwards is always the best!
- Your first serious conversation you have with a potential girl/boyfriend involves your conversion story.
- You lie awake at night wondering why the St. Michael Prayer was removed from the end of Mass.
- The word "vocation" to you does not simply mean "job".
- People tend you look in your direction in class whenever anything involving religion comes up.
- You always have one or more saints on some part of your body.
- You have a Rosary or Saint Christopher pin in your car.
- One of your Crucifixes has five years worth of dried out palms stuck behind it.
- You would rather get your picture with the Pope then with a huge celebrity. (YES!)
- You have more than one Rosary hanging from your bed.
- You have contemplated being in a religious order at least once.
- Your one wish is to be able to ride in the Popemobile.
- you have a small family because most of your uncles and aunts are priests and nuns.
- you say "God bless you" anytime anyone sneezes, out of habit.
- You know the greatest way to start a date is with The Mass, because you'll have the greatest meal, Christ in the Eucharist.
- You know more about St. Francis of Assisi than "he was some guy who could talk to animals".
- you have had multiple meetings with the priest at your own will.
- all your pens and post-its say "Discover the Priesthood".
- You had competitions with your friends on Ash Wednesday to see who could keep their ashes on the longest.
- You still write "Your Kingdom Come!" or "JMJ" at the top of your page/letter/report/test.
- You find yourself asking all the cute boys whether or not they've ever considered becoming a priest instead of asking them for their number.
- You spend your Thursday nights at choir practice hanging out with people at least thirty-five years older than you in preparation for Sunday Mass.
- You mentally correct every textbook use of "BCE" and CE" with "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini". You also mentally capitalize every written use of the word "God" and "Mass".
- You know that some Catholics don't eat meat on Wednesdays or Fridays, even not during Lent.
- you live in the Vatican.
- you find that praying the Rosary is a good way to pass the time (especially at work).
- you get really excited over a holy day of obligation.
- if you are tired of people referring to the birth of Jesus the Immaculate Conception.
- you've ever been told my your mom, "Offer it up", and then felt very obliged to do so.
- when discussing possible names for your future children with friends or your future spouse, you start ruling out names that aren't virtues, saints, or biblical.
- you've ever thought it would be fun to read the CCC as if it were a novel.
- you instinctively grab the person's hand next to you when it's time to pray.
- you hug strangers at Mass during the sign of peace.
- when you hear someone's name read off, you think in your head "pray for us".
- you've ever ruled out dating someone because they weren't Catholic.
- you tell other people your last name, they begin spouting off names of people that you are probably related too.
- You plan what to wear based on the liturgical color of the day.
- You hold office hours at the Catholic Center/Catholic Student Center/Newman Center.
- You and your roommates have scheduled "spiritual nights" to discuss whatever issues of faith that are on your mind that week.
- You think getting a S.T.D. is cool...(S.T.D.= Doctorate of Sacred Theology)
- you held a Pope party (complete with Papal flag, and German beer) for the election of the B XVI (it was a Tuesday night).
- you were disappointed when you couldn't find a Catholic version of trivia pursuit. (Side note: OH YEAH!)
- When you tell the someone who your favorite musical artists are they have NO IDEA who you are talking about.
- When you hear the word Madonna, you think of the Blessed Virgin, not the song "Like a Virgin."
- You know that "prostrate" is not a place where men develop cancer.
- you convince your roommate that Jesus loves Him/Her no matter what religion they are.
- Instead of change, you find a rosary under your couch cushions.
- when you've said the Rosary outside a Planned Parenthood in protest with a Respect Life group.
- You look at this list and laugh really hard, because you know it's so true.
- you have at one point had to stop a younger sibling from playing in the Holy Water font.

I'm gonna add one to the list:
- You have an account on (:D)

I'm sure there are more but those were all that are listed. If you have any more you'd like to contribute to the list, please don't hesitate to leave me a message either on here or through e-mail. :D

Alright, well that's all for now. Thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Little Update

Oh, my lovely dears, Miss C.N.W. has not been well lately. After an amazing day last Sunday, my health has declined and it stinks. It's not even just me... it's my mother as well. My mom has acute tonsillitis which has made her miserable. I don't exactly know what's wrong with me but it's no doubt something anxiety related. I've been very weak (I can't really walk and I feel like passing out most of the day). My anxiety's gone up a lot lately... but it's more of a type of depression because the water works have been opened almost daily and I've gone through a lot of tissues. It stinks. I missed Mass today because I don't feel like I can stand up and walk long enough to make it through the entire Mass (not to mention that I had a mini sob-fest/anxiety thing a few minutes before we had to leave for Mass). Ugh. What I hate more than being sick is missing Mass. :(

As you might have guessed, I missed one of my weekend trips. I was able to make one of them on Friday but it was a day trip so it wasn't too bad. I did NOT have fun though... unless lack of sleep, lack of food, panic attacks, crazy hot weather, and the notoriously bad Southern California traffic is your idea of fun. lol. We're going to wait until both my mom and I are well enough to go on the second one and visit her family in her home country... well, the home country of her family's (my mom's technically American). I'm definitely looking forward to that.

I don't know when I'll be able to come back online and write a legit blog. Hopefully I'll get better soon. I'm sure all my prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe will be answered. Actually, I'm sure of it. I asked her to give me anxiety (which I didn't have for a long while) in exchange for my mom's health... and I've been getting more anxious as my mom's been getting better. I got a lecture from my mom not to do that again. (Yes, even at 23, my parents -- as well as my older brother -- feel the need to give me lectures). Oops. lol. Hey, it's worth it because I, at least, know that what I get is anxiety and I am so used to it, I can handle it.

I hope everyone is doing well. :D Don't worry about me, sooner or later I will get better; a giddy, happy, healthy me is a fearsome thing to behold. Y'all have been warned. lol. I'm not too worried about being sick because I've placed myself in God's hands and know He will take care of me. :D Whooo! lol. :D

Alright, I think I need a nap because I'm starting to feel a little lightheaded and kind of loopy. Oh yeah, great fun. lol. As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

P.S. A happy 23rd birthday to one of my best girl friends and a happy 25th birthday to one of the nicest guys I've ever met!! :D

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Best Day Ever!; Participating in Mass; Bon Voyage!

Raise your hand if you've had the best day ever. *raises both hands and waves them around, excitedly*. Haha. I'm such a dork. :D Yes, I've had an amazing day, THANK YOU, GOD! I honestly don't know what I did to deserve such a fantastic day but I thank God for giving me a day like today. After helping my parents out with financial issues (seriously, I cannot say "No" to them), they surprised me by taking me to a soccer shop where they sell jerseys and whatnot from all the clubs all over the world -- including those of my favorite teams. Can we say WHOOOO?! lol. As soon as we walked in, I spotted the Liverpool jerseys. Seriously, I don't know how but I spotted them within 30 seconds on being in the store. Haha. Unfortunately, they didn't have any ladies jerseys (either old or the newer ones). Bummer. They did have men's jerseys and stuff but I wanted a ladies one. AND they didn't have any of the players names in the back. I think I'm going to save up to order a jersey from the official club website... so I can get Daniel Agger's name and number on the back (Agger 5). I think Dad wanted to get a Spain jersey but didn't. Mom surprised me by buying me an official Liverpool crested cap, though. They had scarves and other things but I'd prefer the cap. It's an LFC thing, it's red, and it blocks out the sun (I HATE getting tanned) so it all works out for the best. lol.

After my little "SQUEE!" moment at the soccer shop (so many things, to little time), we went to Mass. It was Fr. John's first Mass at our parish so it was special. We got there like half an hour earlier than usual but it was okay. It gave us a chance to get one of the best seats. Several minutes into the Mass, this man walks towards my mom and I (who were the only ones who went to Mass; Dad refused again *sigh*) and asks us if we want to take the Altar Cloth up to the altar and put it on there. I was like "What? ME?!" Mom was so into it, she pushed me to go. Haha. Now, you have to remember that typically, I am like "NOOOO!" about these things because of my anxiety. But, I thought to myself that this would be a special thing that I could do (and with my mom no less); to have more of an active participation during Mass. I agreed to do it and when we got the okay, we walked up to the altar and got it all set up for the Eucharist. I have to admit, my heart was pounding at first (and said a silent prayer to St. Dymphna) because I HATE being the center of attention. HATE IT. Why do you think I stopped performing? lol. But, anyway, I was happy and honored to have done it (and, look ma, no anxiety! WHOOO! lol). I sure picked a good day to get dolled up. lol. This was the first time I've gotten really dressed up (heels included) for Mass in a long time. Usually I feel so physically horrible (or really anxious) so I'm not worried about what I wear (though I do make an effort to look nice) but, for some reason, I woke up wanted to get all dressed up and I'm glad I did. lol. So, yay! Mass was a little more special to me than usual. :D

Also, after Mass, this woman who used to be our neighbor over 14 years ago saw me and she came right up and hugged me. I was like "Uh... do I know you?" because I didn't recognize her until the light bulb went off in my head. Ironically, I had just asked my dad if he remembered the lady and her daughters last Tuesday, after the Earthquake, because they lived here during the big one in 1994. I remember that my dad got the cars out of the garage and the two little girls and I slept in the car (the earthquake happened at 4:30 a.m.) until the sun came up. I had no idea they attended our parish so it was lovely to see old friends again. I got so many hugs, they'll probably last me a long time. lol.

ACK! Barcelona is playing against Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexican club) and I want to go watch it. I didn't write as fast as I wanted. But, before I go, I should mention that I am going to be going out of the country (YES!!!!) next weekend for a few days so if you don't get an update from me, that's why. I hope to take many pictures... as many as my dinky little memory card will let me take. lol. I do plan on visiting churches from the city/country I'll be visiting so watch out for those.

Alright, well, I guess that's all. Thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Friday, August 1, 2008

Too Many Copies; Novel Progress; Statue Vandalism.

Oy vey! I spent 4 non-stop hours making who knows how many copies for my dad this morning. If there is one thing I'm incapable of, it's saying "No" to my parents (and friends) when they ask me for favors. So, I spent valuable novel writing hours making so many copies, it's officially killed any hidden aspirations I might've had of becoming a secretary or working in an office. lol. At the end I was asking for a massage, which I might get soon because I need to get the (writing) knots out of my shoulders and back.

And speaking of the novel, I wrote more than I intended to last night. It was great! It started off one way but as I wrote it, it turned into something else and I am VERY happy with how these particular scenes/parts are coming out. Since it's one of the more emotionally draining parts of the novel, I was having issues trying to figure out how to play it all out. :D Just to give you an idea of how intense the scenes are... I am listening to somber music to get myself in that particular mood. I am listening to "Lacrimosa" from Mozart's Requiem but it's nowhere as dramatic, I promise. I'm way too upbeat for these particular scenes so I need music to help me. I have one of the most daunting pivotal scenes to write tonight but I need to work on it because I won't ever finish the novel. I am going to try to keep it as close to real life events as I can because it's very easy to dramatize it. If that makes no sense it will once you read the entire thing. I have approximately 23 days to finish as much as I can of the novel before I have to head back to school. Oh, no pressure whatsoever! lol. It's definitely a challenge I look forward to tackling. I am woman, hear me roar! lol.

There was something on the Catholic News Agency website that made me sad and angry at the same time. It was the first time I'd read about statue vandalism but it still affected me. Some punks decided to decapitate a statue of the Sacred Heart in Madrid, Spain. A few weeks ago I read about how a statue of St. Anthony of Padua was destroyed; also in Spain. Ugh. That sickens me. How people are capable of doing such things, I'll never know. I'm always trying to save statues from even chipping (see Earthquake Edition: Heading Straight for St. Jude to see/read what I mean), the opposite of what these punks are doing. It's like that Professor at the University of Minnesota (you, sir, disgust me!) who desecrated the Eucharist and then said that all of who are enraged are nothing but... well, let's just say that man is obviously in need of prayers (and possibly a nice straight jacket) because what he did and said are purely evil. I won't write more about THAT because I don't think I'll be able to hold back and we don't want that. lol. I hope that whoever destroyed the statues get caught, and seriously repent their actions, because it's just awful! I hope that, as WYD 2011 in Madrid approaches, we don't have more repeat offenses. All the secularization in Spain could be a huge contributing factor. Ugh. Just, ugh. I'll pray that all of that ends, and soon.

Alright, well, that's it for today. Hopefully I will have happier topics tomorrow. lol. Thanks for reading and God Bless.