Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nomination Badge; First Communion Story; Dad Update.

This badge pretty much says it all. lol. Again, don't know if I exactly qualify for this but thank you. :D A few of my friends are nominated... I nominated a couple of people... other awesome blogs are nominated. I'd highly recommend checking out the entire list of nominees. I've found some new friends and blogs to follow, and vice versa, thanks to the list. I love how the world of Catholic bloggers is getting smaller and smaller. I'm surprised no one's formed a union yet... even if it's for kicks and giggles.

I don't know if you've heard or not, but First Communion Stories is having a contest. All you have to do is share your real life communion story by May 31st. Even if they weren't having a contest, I would submit my first communion story because I had a beautiful first communion. Without going into a lot of detail (I am saving that for my entry), I had a pretty unique first communion. We had the service inside a large tent because our parish was destroyed during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In fact, we had our Masses inside that tent until our parish was rebuilt. We also had to finish our first communion classes at a neighboring parish that wasn't as damaged as ours was. Anyway, despite everything, we had a beautiful Mass that filled us all with love, joy, and every wonderful emotion you can feel during a Mass. I will write the story, in detail and with pictures, and submit it to First Communion Stories soon. I'll let y'all know when so y'all can go read it. :)

Before I go, I want to give y'all a little update on my dad. First off, I want to say a big "THANK YOU" to all of you who have had him in your prayers. I appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart. As some of you know, I'm been trying to get him to go to the doctor's for weeks. I have resumed my role as "caretaker" while he is sick. As a good friend pointed out, this could be my vocation (taking care of the sick) but I'm squeamish and hate the sight of blood and open wounds so it would never work out as a career. lol. I'm only that way with strangers, though. If I need to take care of a family member or friend, I can stomach things easier... I don't know why. Anyway, since I couldn't convince him on my own, mom and I teamed up and finally convinced him last night. Thank you, God! So now I have to make sure he follows through with the visits. I am also praying that his cancer hasn't come back and that it's just liver problems (which could be "fixed" much easier). I have a feeling I won't be able to go to tomorrow's Mass at St. Victor's because I take the "night shift" when my dad's sick and mom has to work the next morning. I've already canceled many plans I had. We'll see though. I'm not going to alter any of my long term plans, though. If, when the time comes, it looks like I'll have to take another semester off to take care of dad, I will. It does bum me out that it's taken me 6 years (on and off) to finish my degree but my dad's more important than a diploma.

Anyway, I'm gonna go. I'm starting to feel a lot of pain, so I'm going to go take two Advils and take a nap before my "shift" begins. :)

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good vs. Evil Dreams.

Yes, it's another edition of "What Crazy Dreams is Emmy Having Lately?" I've mentioned several dreams on this blog before. Seriously just search "dreams" in this blog and see how many entries you come up with. I've devoted entire blog posts about them. You'd be surprised how many comments I've gotten about the dream of the end of the world, which I wrote about last year. I haven't written about any lately but I am still having them... but they're now mainly about a struggle between good and evil. I've lost count of how many I've had that has centered on a personal struggle with the devil. Sometimes I have help from saints like St. Benedict of Nursia or St. Teresa of Avila (I believe St. Pio of Pietrelcina also appeared a couple of weeks ago). Lately it's just been myself against evil.

A couple of days ago I had a dream where I made the devil really ticked off for saying the Blessed Virgin Mary's name out loud. I was in the backseat of a car apparently invisible to the driver and front passenger. I knew the driver (she's a former friend) so I didn't really think much until I heard her say that she was planning on doing something to make sure I had an accident/got hurt. As soon as I heard this, I jumped forward and grabbed her forehead and started praying for her. I prayed one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be at first. I noticed she was squirming when I got to the Hail Mary. The second round of prayers, I heard her voice change and her hands shaking. As soon as I got to the Hail Mary and said "Hail Mary, full of grace", I heard a loud grunt followed by a really peeved voice saying "Shut up. Don't say HER name." I replied with a "Oh, yeah? Well. HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE...", continued with the prayer, and kept repeating it until the girl (who apparently was possessed) lay there peacefully. During the prayers, though, I saw the devil who was in agony because I kept saying the Blessed Virgin Mary's name over and over again. He was REALLY mad at me, but I didn't care. I saw that he had talons that kept growing every time I said her name. I don't know why I had the dream, I just did.

That's just an example of a type of dream I've had lately. I've had a couple where St. Benedict of Nursia has physically appeared to protect me in my struggles against Satan. (One sticks out where, I believe, he placed his hand on my shoulder as I kept praying.) If it's not me actively fighting against evil, it's me getting "messages" to help stop two particular things which I can't mention because they aren't suitable for my under 18 readers. I've had two very vivid dreams where I've gotten the message from God (yes, I've dreamt Him specifically saying these things to me) to look at what these things are doing and to do something to help stop it. In one dream, God placed me in a city where there was sin EVERYWHERE. The entire place was red and black. I heard God say (and I'm going to paraphrase) "Look at everything here. This is all unacceptable and very corruptible" and something about helping "making it go away." A few weeks ago, again, I dreamt that I was fighting against someone because they were trying to spread these things to others. All I remember was feeling angry and disgusted, and knowing that God was upset and hurt by everything that was happening. I don't know why I am having these dreams. It could be because, yes, in real life I am completely disgusted by these things, but beyond that I don't know. It's not like I go to bed thinking about these things.

Where did my pleasant dreams of me talking to saints and priests go? I love those dreams. I miss my dreams of holding golden crucifixes, of being in a garden and in an all white Church dome while seeing many saints just walking around, talking to each other. I would love to have more dreams of the Child Jesus smiling and talking to me, or of having the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ take turns pull me up and giving me hugs. I don't know what's going on. I do feel like I should really go talk to Fr. Leo about this, though. (Fr. John is no longer at my parish or else I would go to him. He loved my saint dreams. "Better than the movies" he would say.) Does anyone have as many dreams as I do... or as often? I don't know... it's all weird, but sometimes in a cool way. :D

Okay, well, that's it for today. Yes, another fairly short entry. :) I woke up feeling weak today (literally. I feel like I can't even hold myself up properly) so I'm going to try to rest as much as I can. Since it's St. Catherine of Siena's feast day today, I'm going to try to work on my novel a bit today. And, for the record, the female protagonist in the novel is named Catalina ("Lina" for short)... which is the Spanish version of the name Catherine. That was no coincidence. ;)

Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. :D As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

P.S. Thanks to Claire from Musings of a Twentysomething who has helped me with my mantilla problem. :D I'll let you know if it works for me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ay, Classmates!; Family Bonding: Catholic Edition; Music Monday

Oh, school... I love and hate you at the same time. lol. I love school because I always have. I love learning, even when it's outside a classroom. Yes, I am a full on geek and proud. lol. One thing that I don't like is the constant Catholic and Christian bashing. In two of my classes it's more obvious, and one of them isn't even a religion or philosophy course. I spend a good amount of time on the online discussion forums "arguing" with my classmates because they just LOVE to talk trash. I'm a pacifist (with a feisty side, but that's another story) so I don't like all the snide comments made about the Christian faith and wish I could just change everyone's mind. I wouldn't go all the way to holding hands and having kumbaya moment, but, you know, not blatantly attacking others' beliefs because they're different. Sadly, this isn't the case nor do I ever see it getting better (at least not this semester) so I must defend with all the knowledge I have. On one hand, I am enjoying it because it's like a little exercise for me. It's helping me strengthen my faith, and for that I'm grateful. I'm just tired of the redundant question and comments my classmates like to make. OH! And don't get my started on my issues with some of the guys for thinking that pornography is not only okay, but also not considered cheating. *shakes head* That's a whole 'nother argument. Oh well, I'll just have to endure it for 5 more weeks. Just 5 more weeks... I can do it... I hope. lol.

Another good thing that all of this has brought my parents and I closer together... and got my dad into Mass yesterday (WHOO!!!) My mom's been slowly handing down her saint books, prayer cards, and other things to me. She gave me a book on St. Therese of Lisieux that was made in the 1960s (I believe) that helped her during a hard time in her life. Over the past week, she's also been sharing a book on stories of the Old Testament that she's had since she went to a private, Catholic school in Mexico. (Granddad was VERY Catholic so my mom had to go to that school.) I read the inscription her teacher wrote on her book that dates back to 1964. The book's still in pretty good condition considering how old it is. I have a lot of stories my mom's told me about her time growing up with the nuns and the convent/school. I'm proudly carrying on the tradition of having at least 2 years of Catholic schooling under my belt... or will as soon as I graduate. Despite all of this, she's still a lapsed Catholic. *sigh* She's not my toughest "mission challenge" though.

Dad's quite stubborn so getting him to even drive me to Mass (darn the lack of license!) is sometimes a struggle. On Saturday, though, I got him to open up a bit about his past experiences with the Church. On the way back from the O.C. (an hour's drive from my casa), he was telling me about the pilgrimages he used to make during Lent. The way he described it, you could tell that those were his favorite memories. I had a great chat about religion with him after that. I really loved it. :) He also willingly took me to confessions later that day and surprised me by going to Mass with me yesterday morning. So maybe it won't be as hard as I thought getting my parents back to the Church (and not just for Mass), but I still have a struggle ahead of me. Maybe I should get my mom's Godparents to help me out; I know they would do all they could. Don't know about my dad, but I'm working on it. At least I know they have fond memories of the Church and that they like to share stories making for one big family bonding moment. I love that. :D For now, my mission continues. I will not give up until both are no longer considered lapsed Catholics. :D

Okay, before I finish my blog (yay! it's a short one today :D), I wanted to share a Music Monday update. I haven't done it in a while (sorry) but I am today. This is the second playlist of the novel I'm working on. I'm finally working on the beginning (because I work backwards) so I thought it would be a good idea to listen to the music I loved during that time. (This is around 2005). I also added a few other songs that I just loved listening to while writing. (ie. "Pretty Young Thing" by Blondfire is on loop often)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I didn't add a couple of songs because they were on the first playlist. I will say that the song "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin plays a BIG role in the first chapter of the novel. Also, I have permission to change Will's taste in music in the novel. Ah, I love that freedom. :D

Okay, that's it for now. I have to go read The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle for my English class. Did I mention that I have to finish it by Wednesday? Can I finish it in a day? Only one way to find out. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Oh, and P.S. thank you Joe for the nomination. :D

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back from Break; Nomination; Fr. John on CNN; TLM in L.A.?!

Sorry it's taken me a while to post anything. I took a couple of days to get my homework out of the way early, as well as pray and meditate about a few things. And, no, I don't mean meditate in the crossed legged, "Ohm" way. I found myself so wrapped up in my school work and what's going on with my parents (both are sick and it's a bit of a stressor for me), that I was sort of losing myself. I'm glad I can recognize when that begins to happen so I can stop it as soon as I can. Even though I was attending Mass more often, I wasn't praying as much. I decided to take a break to get myself back to where I was. It was a little hard for me the first two days because I still focused on school (a lot of deadlines) but I found time to do some thinking and just begin to take care of myself. Ironically, it took a really stupid moment (don't ask; it's quite embarrassing) yesterday for me to really get clear answers on everything that I wanted to think about. I was actually going to take an additional 2 days to just relax but I was asked to come back by a couple of people for various reasons. I'm definitely planning on taking a day or two days (per week) to do what I did this week. I've enjoyed not having to worry about emails and everything else online.

One of the things I was surprised to see when I came back online... this blog's nomination for a 2009 Cannonball Award for "Best New Kid on the Block" on The Crescat. I will refrain from making any New Kids on the Block jokes... though I am very tempted to. lol. Though I've technically had this blog for over 12 months, it wasn't until about June of last year that this blog was read by people outside my circle of friends. I guess that makes me "new"? lol. Either way, thank you to whoever nominated the blog! :D I greatly appreciate it. I don't think I'll win (LOLSaints is pretty funny :D) but that's okay. :D It makes me happy to know that people actually enjoy this blog... and that they actually visit more than once. lol. I've always nominated a few blogs myself on that list (Jesus Goes to Disney World, Fallible Blogma, Per Fidem, and A Maiden's Wreath you are all awesome and need to be recognized for it). Oh, and btw, I've noticed most people refer to this blog as Catholic Nerd Writer, and not Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer. Should I drop the "Journey of" part? Comments are welcomed.

Oh, and another thing I was happy to see was Fr. John (my priest) being recognized for everything he's been doing for the parish. Just this past Sunday he held a meeting for all English speaking parishioners to suggest things we wanted/needed for the parish. There an article at CNN (as well as an upcoming story on the channel -- being aired on their "American Morning" program on April 30th) regarding his help to those in the community who are in danger of having their homes foreclosed. Though I do not (and have not) live(d) in or near Pacoima, I think what Fr. John is doing is above and beyond what a lot of other priests would do. It really makes me, and quite possibly others, really think about being more altruistic and really putting God's words into action. *happy sigh* I LOVE our parish priests (and have mentioned all three numerous times in this blog) and the whole community of Mary Immaculate because of the wonderful people that are part of it. This is why I'm willing to get up super early and then make that drive to it. There are a few parishes closer by but I've been going there since I was in my mama's belly and now you can see why. :D And, even better news, we're an Extraordinary Form parish. :D

And while I'm on the topic of Masses, I was recently informed by numerous people (yes, I do read your emails even when I don't update this blog :D) that there will be a Traditional Latin Mass in West Hollywood on May 1st. I had to pinch myself because these Masses are becoming rare within the Los Angeles Archdiocese. My parents will more than likely NOT want to go (*sigh* I'm still working on them...) but I have a feeling that a good friend and fellow Philosophy of Ethics classmate will want to go with me. If not, I think I can probably find someone to go with. (Luckily, I'm close enough to St. Victor's to take a cab if I end up having no ride). If you are in the L.A. area, or are willingly to take a drive up/down here, you can find info on Joe's blog. I'll be honest and say that I've NEVER attended a TLM (only seen it on TV) so I'm very excited about it. :D

Alright, that's enough for now. I have a lot to write but will give it in small doses. lol. That, and I have to go pick up my new glasses at the optometrist. lol.

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

Friday, April 17, 2009

Modesty at Mass and in Everyday Life.

Yes, that's the chapel veil (or mantilla) that my father brought from Mexico. I will have to look for the one my beloved, late grandmother sent me when I was still in my teens so I can post a picture of it as well. I LOVE it. I'm going to have to get used to wearing them... which is proving somewhat difficult with my usually straight hair. Maybe I'll have to stop blow drying it so it stays naturally wavy, then maybe it won't keep sliding off. lol. Mom suggested I use bobby pins, like she did when she was younger and wore them to Mass (granddad was very Catholic), but I still haven't figured out how to do it. Suggestions are welcomed! :D Either way, I AM going to wear them... even if no one else around my age does. (The only women at my parish, and during the morning English Mass, that I've seen wear them are over 40.)

During Mass last Sunday I had two thoughts come to mind. First: Yes! Other women dress appropriately to Mass and/or wear mantillas. Second: Wow, so many women comes dressed like they were going out to a club... or hanging out at the mall with their friends. As my friend Monique from Catholic Chicks (who beat me with a post similar to this, lol) pointed out, we can't judge someone by what they wear to Mass because we don't know if the reason they're not more dressed up is because they can't afford to be. Trust me, I've told my father many times that it doesn't matter what he looks like as long as he attends Mass (though he does this because doesn't want to get dressed up and/or is finding excuses to not attend Mass). I completely understand that some people just can't for one reason or another, but that they wish they could. For those who can afford to look nice, and do dress up outside of Mass, I have to wonder why they don't make the effort to look nice when being in the house of God.

I've found some really surprising, and sad, excuses young women make for not dressing up for Mass. This is from my own research and questioning, I'm not saying these are the reasons for everyone. There are two reasons that make me cringe the most. First: "Why should I bother dressing up if there is no one to impress; there are no cute boys that attend Mass." Uh, seriously? I didn't know Mass was for trying to land yourself a boyfriend/husband. Oh wait... it's NOT! This brings me to the second reason: "It's just Mass. I showed up, isn't that enough? What's the big deal anyway?" *palmface* Oy.

Maybe the way I feel about this whole thing is because I was raised to always try to look nice when going to church, showing my respect for God. My dad (yes, you read that right) made sure I was always in a little dress, or at the very least a skirt, and dress shoes. If you've ever seen how Ali Landry dresses her daughter Estela, that's just how my parents had me dressed up until my tomboy side took over when dress pants became my thing. (I'm happy to report that I have since returned to wearing skirts to Mass, when it's not freezing cold.) Wearing these tube tops that young women have to constantly be pulling up so that they don't flash other parishioners... I mean, come on! Are you serious? If you can wear it to a club to draw attention to yourself, than it's more than likely not appropriate for Mass. That goes for mini-skirts, see-through blouses/shirts, extremely tight clothes, etc. Oh, and talking about things like bras during Mass, when you should be listening to the Homily, is also not appropriate. (Yes, last Sunday a young girl was talking about see-through shirts and bras during the Homily. She proceeded to also say that the Eucharist "tastes like nothing, like cardboard", among other things).

And while I'm on the topic of modest clothing and what modesty means, I'd like you to check out Modestia, A Maiden's Wreath, Maidens of Modesty (this one is not Catholic, but is Christian and run by one of my best friends). btw, A Maiden's Wreath had a book review on the fashion and modesty book "It's So You!" that I highly recommend.

For the record, and because I get asked this quite often, my definition of modesty varies from other people's. Some women say it's immodest to wear jeans and sleeveless shirt, and I don't. My motto is: If you can't wear something in front of a priest, or if you can't imagine yourself wearing in front of the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ, then it shouldn't be worn. I don't think wearing jeans and sleeveless shirts (as long as they don't reveal too much skin) is inappropriate for every day life. As a self proclaimed girly tomboy, I fall somewhere between the Gap and Ann Taylor Loft. I love dressing up in dresses and skirts, and have a soft spot for vintage clothing from the 40s, but I'm also a big fan of jeans and tees when I'm just hanging out with my friends. I don't always wear heels (at 5'7" I'm good with flats) but I always try to look nice no matter what I wear. As for wearing spaghetti strap shirts, I do wear them but always paired with cardigan like this. I never wear anything too low cut, tight, or revealing. The last thing I want is to get attention from pervs. It's all about mixing and matching and doing it in a manner that's modest and cute. Definitely look at Modestia for more on that because Rebecca always finds some really good stuff and will always share with us girls.

Alright, I've rambled on as usual. lol. Sorry. All I can do is blame the writer in me. I have weeks worth of material that I want to write, and hope to eventually publish/post, but I can't say when just yet because school still has be busy as usual. That's what happens when you load yourself up with two Philosophy classes, a Speech argumentation course, and an English class. I do an exorbitant amount of reading per week. Anyway, before this gets any longer... I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thanks for reading, and for your emails. God Bless! :D

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just When I Felt All Alone...

Apparently, I didn't need the days I originally believed it would take me to sort everything out. In fact, it only took me a little over 24 hours. Yay! I do not like being stuck in emo-land. For someone who is happy a good 98.9% of the time, it's very hard and just blah to feel as miserable as I felt most of Wednesday and Thursday. To hear that my dad might potentially have cancer again, not even a year since being declared cancer free, really hit me hard. This entire week was absolutely horrible for me. I had a lot of huge decisions to make so I was already overwhelmed prior to this news. Ever since Sunday, when I went to check out the dorms, I've had to make the decision on whether to live away from home (for the first time ever) or to commute. I don't live that far from campus but the 405 freeway is a nightmare in the morning. I've had to re-think a lot of other decisions I had made before about a lot of things. I'm a little behind on my schoolwork so I've been trying to catch up on that. Just a lot of things have hit me at once, and it's a wonder I didn't have a massive panic attack.

I'll be the first to admit that, though it takes a lot to get me really upset, when I get very sad, I shut down. Sometimes I just need a hug from a friend or at least a little mini-rant that will help me get it out of my system. Sadly, I did not have that. I came to the very sad realization that I had no one to go to when I was feeling this way. I have the very unfortunate luck when it comes to this. Whenever I need someone to talk to, I don't have anyone... but when my friends need someone to talk to, I'm always there. I've even gotten text messages at 3 in the morning, which I've gotten up and talked to my friends because they needed me. I don't have that. My friends disappear when I need that kind of support... and it really sucks. Sadly, this has been a reoccurring theme for me. Except for a couple of people whom I barely know, mostly on twitter, saying that they were going to say prayers for my dad, I felt like I was all alone. I think you can imagine just how much that weighed on my mind.

So there I was upset because, even though I pride myself on being self-reliant and self-sufficient, I do need people to keep me sane... when I had two thoughts pop into my head. First, how incredibly selfish I was for feeling hurt that my friends were not there when I needed them. Not only that, but making this about myself. I should really focus on making sure dad gets to all the tests he needs to go to (which, btw, he's refusing) and just trying to make sure he's as comfortable as he can get.

The second thought was "Wait a second... what do you mean you're all alone? No, you're not!" My thoughts went immediately to how Christ felt the same way, like he was alone, crying out loud "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" when he was up on that cross. I'm not comparing myself to Him in any way. I'm just saying that at times when we feel like we're completely alone, we have to remember that we're not. I think a lot of us forget that from time to time, especially when things seem bleak. I haven't really prayed as much as I used to and I haven't been doing so great this Lent season. I definitely have legitimate excuses but there should be no excuses no matter what I'm going through. How I can expect to feel like I'm not alone when the one thing that has always made me feel happy has not been present in my life?

I've often found comfort and relief in prayer and in immersing myself completely in my faith. I've done it many times before. One of the best ways has been by praying the Rosary. I used to pray it many times a day, or at least once a day... and I haven't for months. I could be feeling just absolutely horrible but praying the Rosary will immediately make me feel close to Our Blessed Mother with God. I've been so out of it when it comes to my prayers (I've only said one novena to St. Philomena recently, an almost daily prayer to St. Dymphna, and occasionally a Rosary here and there), that it didn't even come into my mind to do this. It wasn't until I turned on my iPod touch that I realized this, because as soon as I turned it on the Rosary application on it opened. I didn't even touch the app, it just opened. If that's a sign, I don't know what is. That was my wake up call.

Once I realized what I was doing wrong, everything looked up. A few decisions were made, which I'm happy about. I still have the pressing "Should I live at home or not?" question on my mind because I need to submit the housing deposit this coming week but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon. Also, while my friends disappeared, my friend Misha, whom I've mentioned before, surprised me with a visit. As I've written before, this girl has gone through heck and back with me and I still think she's my rock. After many failed attempts of getting together whenever we're in the same city (when she's in L.A. we can't get together for some reason or I'm not in the U.S. when she is... and she's in London when I'm here), we finally got the chance to hang out for a little bit. I truly think God sent her to me when I needed a friend. I really do. She came over and we just talked... and laughed. It felt great to just let it all go. If you're one of my Facebook buddies, I posted a couple of pictures of us together. I look like a mess, but, hey, I wasn't doing too good up a bit before I saw her so it's okay. :)

Anyway, I think I've written more than I intended to. Sorry, it's the writer in me. I hope everyone has a great Easter. I'll probably write once more before then because it'll be the last I can before my last midterm on Monday. Okay, enough stalling from the studying. lol.

As always, thank you for reading and God Bless.

P.S. If you're in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A., Bishop Wilkerson is doing the Good Friday Service at Mary Immaculate in Pacoima at 7 p.m. tonight. Just thought I'd pass it along. :D

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Prayer Request

This afternoon my father got a call about going in for some tests to make sure his colon cancer hasn't come back. Last week they said he was having liver problems and today they called because (I assume) they found something in the tests they did last week. It hasn't been a year since he was declared cancer free. All of this with everything that's gone this past week... well, I don't think it would surprise y'all that I'm very overwhelmed. I've very sensitive when it comes to these type of things so I need to take a time out and process everything that's been going on lately. I need to take a little breather and prepare myself in case I have to take care of my dad again. Because of this, I won't be online for the remainder of the week. If y'all can PLEASE pray that my dad's alright and that if it's the cancer again, that they've detected it early. Thank you all and hope to bring good news next time I'm on.

God Bless.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Music Monday

I'm about to continue movie/music night (because I ended up not going to The Script's show at the Troubadour) with a couple of friends, so I'm just going to post the link to one of the videos, and post another video, for music Monday and write a blog tomorrow. :D

This first video is for a song called "No Me Doy Por Vencido" by Luis Fonsi. The song title roughly translates as "I will not be defeated" or "I won't give up". If you speak Spanish, or understand it well enough, I really recommend checking it out. Luis Fonsi wrote it for his then-girlfriend (he's now married to her) when she was diagnosed with cancer. It's a very positive song that can be applied to virtually every situation/struggle you can think of.

This next one is going to be a hit-or-miss. I am a massive jazz aficionado (I was even majoring in both performance and history a few years ago before I changed my major) so I will occasionally throw in a little jazz. For the record, this isn't smooth jazz. For some reason, I don't like a majority of smooth jazz. Anyway, this song in particular is actually mentioned in the novel I'm writing. It's very mellow and I love studying to this song (and others by this trio). It's called "Edges of Happiness" by the Tord Gustavsen Trio.

If you liked this song, or are interested in more by Tord, try checking music sites. I only found three song on youtube. My favorites by this trio, "Blessed Feet" and "Being There" weren't there or I would've chosen those.

I have a few saint book reviews hopefully coming up at the end of this week. Spring Break will be great for reading them... and for finishing my novel. And speaking of which, I'm going to work on it a bit right now while I still have Will. Writing from a guy's point of view can be tough... even with the 6 brothers I have. lol.

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

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ups and Downs; Taking Care of Dad, Round Three; Holy Week.

Boy, I've had two weeks of ups and downs. It's been mostly ups, though.Some of the downers have included not being able to give my pro-life/anti-abortion speech for my Ethics class. The professor said there wasn't time, which really ticked me off because a fellow female classmate gave a pro-choice/pro-abortion speech and I wasn't even given the opportunity to contradict what she said. I worked hard on that speech, too. Grr. One day...

Another downer was that, even though I was happy to have dad home, I wasn't happy over the fact that he was still in pain. He said he'd been in pain for days so he came home early to go to the doctor's. Yesterday the doctor told him he has liver problems... which explains his lack of appetite and pain in his lower back. Not only that, because he's had problems with doctors before, 3 different doctor's have refused to treat him. The oncologist he had reported him for missing appointments (two) and now if he (heaven forbid) gets cancer for a third time, we'll have a difficult time finding him another oncologist. That's just going to make me a stressed out loony because I already had a hard time the second time around.

Unfortunately, I had absolutely NO help from anyone except my mom when my dad was diagnosed with cancer the second time around. The first time hr had cancer my mom and eldest brother did all they could because I was still in high school. Even then, I burnt myself out to finish HS a year and a half early (13 classes in 3 months -- even went 51 straight hours without sleep to finish the last homework assignments), so that I could stay at home and help my dad when no one else was home. This second time around, I asked mom to take care of things financially while I took care of everything else. Looking for a bilingual oncologist, making sure dad got to his chemotherapy appointments, spending hours on the phone fighting Medicare and Medical twice when they threatened to stop his chemotherapy, staying at home to take care of him when he was really sick... and while I had a full load at school. I'm honestly surprised I didn't have some sort of breakdown. I think now you guys understand why my anxiety was horrible last year and the year before. I pray to God that dad doesn't have to suffer through something life threatening again. I don't care about the stress it causes me; I can do what needs to be done, it's not a problem. It's the least I could do for him, especially after all he's done for me my entire life. Anyway, this whole liver problems thing just reminded me of the last time they told him he had cancer. I ended up going up to the San Fernando Mission to see if I could find a prayer card of St. Erasmus, whom I'm told is the patron saint of liver illnesses, but sadly they didn't have any. Still, I'll keep looking and praying that it's something that can be taken care of as soon as possible.

It's weird. I went from being happy that dad was home, and was incredibly happy with the beautiful chapel veil he brought me from Mexico (pictures to come as soon as I get them uploaded), to being worried about him. I'm just going to keep an optimistic look on things and pray for the best.

Something fantastic that happened this week was that, in the midst of my choosing which university I'd transfer to, I received packages and letters from the Catholic college where I'm technically a student at... one of which included a $10,000 scholarship. Not only that, I was surprised that I'm going to receive A LOT in additional grants. When it's all added up, it'll cover over half of my tuition for the year... and it's renewable every year as long as I keep my GPA where it's at right now. It pays to be a nerd! lol. With this, and with me potentially staying at home to take care of my dad again, it's like a sign for me to stay here. The other school I was considering was in England, though I don't want to say which one it was because I don't want anyone giving me a hard time about not going there. I'm hoping to win a few more scholarships so I won't be too much in debt by the time I finish my degree. Ready or not, here I come... and I still won't budge on fighting to keep the school Catholic.

Oh, and did I mention that I totally kicked tush on my Philosophy of Ethics midterm exam? I got my blue book back on Wednesday with a huge red "A" at the top. :D I've passed all my midterm exams thus far. I won't know how I did on my other exams until after Spring Break. It can wait. :D I'm just happy all the cramming I did for my Ethics midterm, that wasn't on St. Thomas Aquinas, paid off. Whoo!

And to keep the happiness going before I end the post... who is looking forward to Holy Week? I certainly am! I'm happy to be able to go to confessions this Saturday (don't know why people complain about doing this), going to Palm Sunday early Sunday morning, and then celebrating Holy Week (including going to church on Holy Thursday) with my brand new chapel veil. That's right, I'm wearing it to the upcoming Masses and I don't care what anyone thinks. *snap* lol. :D I have MANY things planned during the week, which is why I might not post that often once again. It's all for a good cause though. :D

Okay, I've written too much... as usual. I'll try to write more often to make sure the posts don't get this long again. :D As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.