Saturday, October 31, 2009

Upcoming Dr. Paul Camarata Interview

edit: The interview is now available here. :)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned coming up with some interview questions that would see the light of day (on this blog). What I didn't mention was that I was going to interview Dr. Paul Camarata as part of Fallible Blogma's Catholic Speaker Month. While I don't have the interview to post up yet (Dr. Camarata has been understandably busy, he's a doctor! :D... me? School is slowly taking over my free time), I will give y'all a little pre-interview bio of Dr. Camarata.

Dr. Paul Camarata is the producer of SQPN's The Saint Cast. His knowledge of saints is impressive and he uses it to inspire us, through the podcast, to live more saintly lives. Not only does he update the podcast whenever his time allows it, he's also an active SQPN board member, and (if that weren't enough), he's a neurosurgeon who manages to juggle it all while keeping his Catholic faith alive. He's a great family man who will twitter about things such as seeing his kids in a theater production of Brigadoon (oh yes, I remember that). That was one of the big reasons why I chose him... his love for his family as well as his faith is impressive and is (sadly) not something we often see in today's society.

I hope to have the interview up as soon as both Dr. Camarata and I are able to have it ready for y'all. In the meantime, please go check out his podcast (which I highly recommend) and write him a great review on iTunes. :)

That's all for now... but keep your eyes peeled for more in the near future. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Traditional Than Expected?

Every time I go to Mass at the parish where I've gone since I was in my mama's womb, I become just a little more disillusioned with them. The fact that they pretty much skip over the Penitential Rites really bugs me. The clapping, and (sometimes) dancing along, I see during the Alleluia/Gospel Acclamation always makes me cringe. I've had priests (one in particular) look at me when they see I'm not partaking in the clapping most of the parishioners are more than happy to do. I refuse to clap along, sorry. I feel like it's disrespectful to the sacredness of the Mass. More things I don't like: not wearing a skirt or dress to Mass... not wearing a mantilla/chapel veil... not receiving communion... not attending Mass, period. I have been known to cry when I am unable to attend Mass. The more I learn and read about the Church pre-Vatican II, the more I feel like the "outdated rituals" would suit me the best. That doesn't mean that I am against the Second Vatican Council... I just prefer the way things used to be way before my time. Am I more traditional than anyone, including myself, expected?

I have never been to a Latin Mass before but, after learning more about it and watching videos on youtube, I feel like it is the perfect Mass for me. Sadly, they're not really offered within the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Not even Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum has helped that issue here. The nearest parish where they offer Latin Masses is almost an hour away from where I live (for those who aren't familiar with L.A., the county is large and sprawled out). They don't even offer it at the San Fernando Mission anymore! I could go into the whole issue many of us have with Cardinal Mahony, but I won't. All I will say is that I think it's sad that the archdiocese seems to have something against the TLM. If you want to hear more about what's wrong with this archdiocese, go to Joe's blog, Verbum Veritatis in Mahonyland. He expresses himself better than I do on this subject. (P.S. He can attest that I actually wear a mantilla to Mass; he's seen it for himself.)

I have embraced the fact that I have become a traditional Catholic (and I fall in the first group of traditional Catholics according to Fish Eaters). When I started this blog, on Christmas night 2007, I had NO CLUE that my journey returning to the Church would lead me here. For those very few that have read this blog since the beginning, I ask you: did y'all see it coming? I am actually very proud that! While I no longer wear the mantilla my father brought me from Mexico earlier this year (I have decided to not use it until my wedding day), I still wear one. I am proud to wear my mantilla to Mass... even if I'm the only woman under 50 that wears one. I REFUSE to receive communion by the hand. I'm usually one of the very few people in my parish who receives the Eucharist directly in the mouth. I wouldn't mind seeing altar rails brought back to the parish, though I won't hold my breath on that one. I'm not even going into the music played during Mass because I will never stop writing (St. Cecilia would be proud. :D)

I've read recent articles (which I cannot find at the moment, I need to organize my bookmarks) that say that statistics and surveys have shown that my generation (those in their late 20s and younger) seem to be more traditional than previous generations. Yes! Most, if not all, my Catholic friends are traditional, so I believe the articles. So will I be one of several that, with the help of Pope Benedict XVI, get their wish fulfilled and see parishes allow more Latin Masses to be said? Will we slowly see beautiful mantillas return? Only time will tell... but I am certainly hoping it happens.

Though I want to write more, I will stop for now and pick it up sometime in the future. Maybe next time I'll have the links ready. lol. ;) I am off to prepare myself for tomorrow's Philosophy course. Another round of "Oh no you di'nt" discussions with my professor? We'll see. :D I hope y'all are having a great start of week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Catholic Nerd Say What?, Fun in Philosophy

I am surprised I'm functioning on 4 hours of sleep. I'm not even tired enough for a nap! This lack of sleep has done two things to me: make me VERY giddy (I haven't stopped smiling all day AND you can't bring me down no matter how hard you try) and also very brave.

The reason for the lack of sleep was because I was doing studying for the Philosophy exam I had an exam today. Since I missed it last Wednesday (due to my still being ill), I had to make it up today. I studied... I crammed... I'm pretty sure I didn't ace the test. I drew a lot of blanks. Thankfully, the exam was mainly multiple choice (which made me remember the answers more quickly) and it was based on things from the Old Testament that I knew (this exam was on the Judaism portion of the course). Still, I'm not too confident about it. If I passed, it'll be a miracle and St. Joseph of Cupertino is getting all the credit for that because I couldn't concentrate too well on the exam. After the test, though, things went very well -- for me.

I feel a little bad about being smug about what I'm about to share but... well, you'll see what I don't feel completely bad about it. After I finished my exam (in about half an hour), I went back into the classroom to hear the rest of today's lecture. Since it's the beginning of the Christianity portion of the course (whoo-hoo!) I didn't want to miss it. I knew he'd naturally go into Catholicism (which the professor called the "universal" religion) first so I was pumped. This is something I wouldn't need to study (much) for. That excitement turned into "what is he talking about?" and thus my fun in Philosophy began.

I turned the next hour of class into my own personal game... which I really shouldn't have done but it made the class fun. lol. I payed very close attention to what he was lecturing... and I caught a couple of discrepancies that I was more than happy to correct. Who was the only one in the class who knew St. Elizabeth's (mother of St. John the Baptist) husband, Zacharias (St. Zachary)? It wasn't the professor; it was little ol' me. lol. This isn't the first time I've had to fill in the blanks. Making sure they didn't get St. Joseph and St. Jude Thaddeus mixed up? I spoke up on that. Going into talks about St. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica"? I was all over that. Making sure people understood that Jesus Christ resurrected on the 3rd day, not from one day to another? I said my two cents on that. Talking about Christianity like it was the most ridiculous thing? You'll get a raised eyebrow from me. Debating the Virgin Mary's virginity? Oh heck no! No one messes with my mama! I'm pretty sure the professor is already pretty sick of me but, oh, it's only going to get started. I'm sorry but I have to speak up... especially after he said that he sympathized with Pontius Pilate. "Seriously? Did you just really say that? Oh... it's SO on!" Catholic nerd say what? Did she just challenge her professor. Yes... yes, I did. lol. Any attacks on Catholicism can and will be counterattacked by me... and I shall do it with a smile. Is it bad that I get so much joy from proving professors (who talk smack about the Catholic Church) wrong? I feel a little bad about being smug... but I enjoyed it too much to feel horrible. Maybe I should continue attending a public college/university so I can keep arguing with Philosophy and Religious Studies professors who have things all wrong... I'm a stinker, aren't I? lol. :D Does anyone else do this or am I just a weirdo who loves debating with professors? lol.

One professor I won't be debating -- my math professor. My course started today... and I should go do that before I crash. Fingers crossed that last night's all-nighter will be my only one this semester. Let's hope so because I'm way too giddy and silly for my own good when I have less than 5 hours of sleep. My obsession with Laurel and Hardly movies at the moment pretty much tells you how silly I am. lol.

And speaking of Laurel and Hardy, I hope you enjoy these videos of musical moments by them. :D

Alright, that's it for now. I'm off to tackle math *groans*. lol. I wish I was done with my lower division requirement so I could take all my Philosophy and Religious Studies courses and have more fun. lol. And, yes, this is me stalling. lol. Alright, alright, I'm going. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Time for Inner Reflections

I've spent nearly two weeks sick and, I have to say, I'm getting tired of it for several reasons.

Whoever said that people who dealt with anxiety and/or depression just needed to "get over it" is in need of some sensitivity training AND actual knowledge of the diseases. It dawned on me, during the time I've spent away from twitter and Facebook, that I was experiencing the physical symptoms of depression... and that they'd started the day after the last time we went to visit my father's grave. I had almost all of the symptoms: daily headaches, chest pain that came and went, digestive problems (a lot of nausea), extreme fatigue, change in weight (I went down from 128 lbs prior to my father's death to 117 lbs -- underweight for me since I'm 5'7" -- after his death), and A LOT of lightheaded and dizziness. Though I've never been diagnosed as being depressed (the two times I've been "tested", I've come out as being quite optimistic and in good spirits), I thought it was an interesting that I'd made the connection between the symptoms and the illness. The doctor said I was either going to come down with the flu (which I didn't) or I had something else (which, again, I didn't). My self-diagnosis seems to be the correct one because once I thought about it, and tried to change it, I DID begin to feel better. I'm sure St. Dymphna helped when I started asking for her intercession again.

I actually had another realization during my time away that I think most people have struggled with: I had become too busy and my life was too scheduled... and most of it was not worth it. The stress and anxiety should've been my first clues but I had ignored them. This is the first time I've had to deal with this. My life had become all about school, helping my parents, and taking care of my father that I had forgotten what it was like to have time to do things for myself. Instead of taking the time to do things I enjoyed (hobbies), I ended up throwing myself into work that was time consuming and not fulfilling. After watching Bright Star and being given encouraging words that really breathed new life into me, I began to re-think about what path I'd been on and what I needed to change.

After trying to get out, and having someone in particular basically drag me out of the house to take a walk every day, I started feeling much better. I actually didn't mind being away from the social networks. I also began to concentrate more on my prayer life (which has recently begun to flounder). I developed a nice, steady pattern in my week. I studied more often than not. I learned how to better manage my time and priorities. The creativity began to flow. Things I prayed about were finally given answers. Most importantly, I started to feel like the person I loved being -- the person who, while was suffering through aches and anxiety, felt very close to God. Maybe the time I spent in bed, feeling horrible, was to remind me not to lose myself in something not worth it... and to remind me that it's okay to do things I want to once in a while.

I think I will continue to take some time away from twitter and Facebook once in a while to reflect on things. I hope to do one of the retreats they have for women every couple of months to center myself again. I hope the way I am feeling lasts for a while because I often lose it when life gets hectic. I've already recognized what I need to change and what causes me to stray even the slightest from the path I want, and I think God wants, for me. See what a little time away from social networks can do for you? lol.

Alright, I guess that's it. I have studying to do for my Philosophy of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam course. It's a mouthful isn't it? lol. I hope y'all have a great weekend (or had if you're reading this after).

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Bright Star" of Love: Review and Thoughts.

I FINALLY got a chance to watch Bright Star tonight, which was recommended by one of my best friends, Nannina, (who has an amazing taste in films) and many Catholic friends of mine including Rebecca of Modestia. (Btw, she recently wrote a blog about modern clothing that reminded her of that worn in Bright Star.) It was such a beautiful film. The acting was fantastic, the scenery was breathtaking, and the story was... *sighs*. lol. If you know anything about the life of English poet John Keats, then you know how the story ends; I'm not going to spoil it for those who don't. lol.

As I was watching the film, a plethora of questions and answers popped into my mind. "If I were in Fanny Browne's shoes and I knew the outcome of my love's fate, would I do as she did and hold on? Would I end it because of the ultimate outcome of the situation?" The answer was: yes, I'd stay and fight right beside him! If I were in love with someone and I knew I wouldn't have him for long, I would stand by him and do as Fanny did. I am not one to give up on something, and especially not on someone, I love because I know it's not going to end up the way I want it to. What I love about the love story of John Keats and Fanny Browne, and what Jane Campion beautifully captured, is that it wasn't idealistic in the sense that there's going to be a fairy tale ending. There is no such thing as a fairy tale ending, though I'm sure many have come close to it. It's not my being pessimistic about it; it's being realistic. I'm a hopeless romantic, I'll be the first to admit it, but I know that what is usually presented to us in the media isn't what a relationship will be like for every one of us.

One of the main reasons why I love period films like this and Pride and Prejudice is the innocence and honesty in the relationships. As Deal W. Hudson wrote in his review of Bright Star for Inside Catholic, there was "a level of mutual desire" that showed how deeply in love they were but they never overstepped their boundaries. Of course, in those days they reserved and they weren't overly sexualized like our modern secular society is. It's something that is severely lacking in most of the films that come out these days. Films in which a relationship isn't consummated or overblown into dramatics (I'm looking at you, Twilight) is almost unheard of... and that's very sad.

Perhaps I'm the only one that thinks this way. I long for films in which a relationship is gradually built, one that starts with a solid foundation and friendship, instead of the rush we usually see. Maybe I'm just an old fashioned girl who believes in courtship. It's quite possible that this Janeite is just so used to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility stories that that's why I think they way I do. Either way, this film was such a breath of fresh air and it's further convinced me that courtship is the right thing for me. As I said months ago, I'm thoroughly enjoying being single but I am ready for whenever God wants to send me someone.

I believe the film is about to end its run in movie theaters (today was the last day it was being shown at the nearest movie theater to my casa) but if it's still being shown near you, I really recommend it. Be warned, though, you will most likely tear up during the film; I certainly did. This film was truly a "Bright Star" of love and sincerity that you can take a lot from, no matter if you're single or happily taken. :)

Alright, it's actually pretty late and I want to get some Old Testament reading done (missed my Judaism exam because of illness and now I will take it on Monday) before bed. I hope to blog again tomorrow or, at the very latest, on Saturday afternoon. Keep your eyes peeled for you... and fingers crossed I continue to feel as well as I did today.

Anyway, that's all for today. Thank you so much for reading and God Bless. :D

Monday, October 19, 2009

St. Teresa of Avila's Help; Music Monday

I know this post is very belated (St. Teresa of Avila's feast day was a couple of days ago; on the 15th) but I've been stuck in bed for the past week. Actually, the last time I was well enough to sit down in front of the computer to blog (or, really, do anything online) was last Tuesday. But, no worries I am feeling better now. :) A Twitter friend actually called me a "victim soul" who, much like St. Faustina, gets sick often but offers it up for others. I don't think I'm worthy of calling myself a victim soul. While it's true that I do get sick (though I use that term for everything from anxiety/panic attacks to other kinds of pains and ills) quite often and I do offer them up either for someone else's health or for the souls in purgatory, I don't think I've suffered enough to even be considered one. Let's just say "Emmy gets sick a lot, but she doesn't mind." I truly don't view illnesses as a curse or anything negative. On the contrary, I view it as a blessing from God. I've found that I feel closer to Him whenever I feel sick, which helps when I'm feeling like a massive crumb cake. St. Teresa of Avila actually helped me start looking at things this way.

Without repeating too much from a previous post I've written about St. Teresa of Avila... a couple of years ago, when I was returning to my faith, I had a dream about St. Teresa of Avila. I saw her picture in my dream and I kept repeating her name... even as I was waking up. I actually didn't know who she was, let alone her name, so when I got online that morning, I immediately googled her name. The more I learned about her, the more I felt a connection to her. We have several things in common -- everything from our heritage (she was a Spaniard, I'm of Spanish descent) to how we view certain things (such as gossip; my intense dislike for it mirrors hers) -- that sometimes I feel like she personally picked me to really delve into her life and her ways. I actually haven't been able to get through her autobiography yet but I hope to soon. What I have read has stayed with me for more reasons than one. As I said, she's really helped me embrace my illnesses and see them not as suffering, but as something that will bring me closer to God AND that will only strengthen my faith. Lately I haven't really done much in terms of praying or devoting my time to learning more about Catholicism because of my crazy schedule... and it took my illnesses and temper to remind me of how I need to get back to that.

Much like St. Teresa of Avila, I have a strong temper. It takes a lot to get to me that point where I'm terribly feisty, but I definitely have the ability to go there. A couple of days ago it got bad enough that I started limiting contact with those around me so I wouldn't get upset with them over trivial things. I know what triggered that temper flare (and I'm surprised it didn't get worse because the situation was really bad) but as soon as I remembered St. Teresa of Avila, I found ways to bring it down. I reminded myself that while she also had a temper, she knew how to use it in a manner that would turn the situation into something positive. Just the thought of that completely changed my perspective on things and I was able to turn the bad situation into something good (with help from God, of course). I still have to deal with the unpleasant situation but it's getting easier now that I've started using my new "weapons" against a bad temper. :) (P.S. If you ever find yourself with a bad temper and can't find a way to calm down, either ask St. Teresa of Avila or St. Jerome, who also had a notoriously bad temper, to intercede for you.) And what it's also done is remind me of when I first began returning to the Church and how much I loved doing it.

I've also realized that while I have been really busy lately, I've also been wasting my time on a lot of things that don't really matter. Do I need to get on SuperPokePets and play? No. Do I need to waste my time on games on Facebook? No. So I've cut off my twitter and Facebook for the week. Okay, I'm also doing it as a promise for an intercession Our Blessed Mother did for me. I have to reprioritize a lot of things -- especially my schoolwork which has taken the back seat to almost everything. That's fine, though, because I'll be able to focus on getting back to my personal studies of the Catholic faith which I haven't done in a while. See what I mean about having to reprioritize? lol. I have to brush up on a couple of things because we're heading into the Christianity section in my Philosophy of Monotheistic Religions course and I already know I'm going to have a doozy with a couple of "know-it-all" classmates. All I have to say about that is Bring. It. ON! lol.

I should make this post shorter than usual... but before I go, I wanted to share with you my Fall 2009 playlist as part of Music Monday. These are some of my favorite songs that are often on repeat during Fall and into late Winter. :D I hope y'all enjoy at least one of the songs. I know I have "old fashioned" tastes sometimes. :-P

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Alright, well, I actually have to go study for a possible exam on Judaism on Wednesday (I don't know; I've missed two class sessions/lectures due to illness and I have no way of contacting either classmates or the professor). I'd rather be safe than sorry. :D I hope to post tomorrow but no promises. ;)Hope y'all had a great weekend!

As always, thank you for reading and God Bless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Give Me the Simple Life

FOR TODAY: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Outside my window... the palm trees sway in the breeze as the rain hits the clear blue pool.
I am thinking... how much I love this rainy weather.
I am thankful for... everything the Lord has given me.
I am wearing... long sleeved plum colored top, red-blue-green checkered pajama bottoms, white socks.
I am remembering... my dad since I'm wearing pajama pants he gave me last winter.
I am going... finish this blog, finish my cup of tea, and then go read my book.
I am reading... Man of the Beatitudes Pier Giorgio Frassati by Luciana Frassati
I am hoping... that I get to watch Bright Star and An Education this weekend at a nearby movie theater.
I am hearing... "April in Paris" by Count Basie.
On my mind... interview questions that will soon see the light of day on this blog.
Noticing that... I've been changing quite a bit lately, in more than one way.
From the kitchen... a cup of Country Peach Passion tea and toast as a brunch snack.
Around the house... hints of flowers, artwork by Andrea Laliberte, and other personal touches are making this place seem much more feminine than it was before.
One of my favorite things...
cuddling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea on a rainy day.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing... What the rain looks like outside my window.

Survey taken from The Simple Woman's Daybook


To quote an old standard tune, "give me the simple life." Lately that's what I've been doing -- taking it easy. I've spent a lot of time catching up with friends as well as having some time to think things thoroughly. There have been a lot of changes happening in my life lately, but all have been for the best. I will gradually write about a few of these changes in the blog. :)

I will say one thing though... I still believe that everything that is happening is because it's God's will and I'm more than happy to do these and to change a couple of aspects of myself. St. Teresa of Avila's feast day in a couple of days is going to be the perfect timing to talk about one of these thing since I've learned much from her life experiences. As I wrote several months ago, I'm probably more like her than any other saint I've learned about and I've really noticed that lately. :)

Alright, I'm going to go listen to Mel Tormé's "Coming Home Baby" and finish my cup of tea before I go tackle one of my books. I'm currently torn between finishing the book of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (re-reading it to get direct quotes for my review) and finishing St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography for the blog about her on her feast day. Either way, I will (hopefully) finish both by tomorrow night. :)

And this concludes my "simple woman" blog of the week. :D I hope everyone in L.A. and Southern California is enjoying the rain. :) As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Week of God, Love, and Friendships.

I have the best friends a girl could ask for... and I'm completely unworthy of them. I've been trying to finish this post for the past week but my friends keep doing amazing things so I kept putting off. More on that later. Getting back on topic, I have been truly blessed with the people I call my friends. It's taken many failed friendships, arguments, and tears but I finally have the friends I've been praying for.

I've always been a people pleaser. I was a little feistier and a terrible little know-it-all growing up, but I always wanted everyone to get along. Unfortunately, this meant that I would often change myself just to fit with so-called friends. It's a horrible habit I developed at a very young age that became hard to break as I got older. Often, friendships would change me into someone I was not proud of. There were many that brought out the worst in me. Not surprisingly, these friendships happened while I was away from the Church. I call the period between high school and my turning 20 years old my "lost years" because it's when I was the most horrible I've ever been. I lied a lot because I did not trust my "friends" (and had good reason not to) and/or because it was the only way I would earn their "respect" so that they'd leave me alone. At the time, my reasoning behind my actions was "Well, I can't tell them the truth because they'll try to take advantage of me (which many truly did, especially since I was starting out in the biz) and/or because they'll gossip whatever I say back to others (which most did; and a majority of the gossip ended up being false, anyway)." What I failed to realize was that the better option was just to cut these so called friendships off and find myself friends that would inspire me to become a better person. A year or so before I returned to the Church, I went through a process of cutting ties with all the people that had caused me to act the way I did. I'm not blaming them for everything; I take full responsibility for my own actions and will, to this day, own up to everything I did. I'm not proud of what I did and said, but I am grateful that by the grace and mercy of God, I was able to sort of start over (in a sense) and start down the right path. At the end of the "cleansing" period -- which actually culminated with my getting physically sick -- I knew I'd done the right thing... no matter how lonely I'd feel.

I kept, or I should say was kept by, friends who proved loyal and trustworthy and who had known the real me and not the front I'd given to other people. They knew the truth and that's all that mattered to me. Slowly, some of those friendships ended (many had gone down the path I was previously on and/or were unable to give up that lifestyle), but I also gained friendships that would slowly change me into the person I am today. Most of these friendships were made because we shared a common love of God. As I started coming back to the Church... attending Mass, going to confessions regularly, breaking the horrid habits I'd grown used to... my friendships flourished and multiplied. The more in love I became with Catholicism and with the idea of doing things that would please the Lord instead of things that would hurt him, the stronger the bonds with my new friends became. The stronger the friendships became, the better I wanted to be. The first friends that actually inspired me weren't Catholic. They were Christians. I had Catholic friends who brought out positive aspects of myself, but they're all lapsed Catholics (don't worry, I'm working on it. :D). As I saw myself becoming a person my parents could be proud of, and with the help of priests I've talk to, I vowed to never do the things I once did with my former "friends." I could never hurt the people that had brought so much love and understanding into my life. This, btw, explains my hatred of lying and dishonesty. I can no longer lie to anyone about anything, even if it's the smallest white lie. I loathe it! It's like when you eat something that makes you violently sick and you can never eat it again because you know it's bad for you in more ways than one. If someone asks me something, I'll give them the straight answer... unless it's something I don't wish to discuss because it's too personal. When that happens, I just say that I don't want to talk about it because I truly don't. I've become increasingly private as I've gotten older. :D

I reflected upon these thoughts the past week... especially when I saw that my friends, old and new, had begun spoiling me. I had many friends whom I didn't speak to for weeks because they either didn't know how talk to me after my father's death or because that person (or I) had become so busy that emails and phone calls became infrequent. Lately we've all been stepping it up, though. I thoroughly enjoy my chats with my friends during the week and outings whenever we can plan something. I've been giving advice, and receiving it myself, and it's all coming from the heart. I want the best for my friends so I try to help them with whatever they need and it seems to be vice versa.

A couple of days ago I received a card and prayer bouquet from my friend Claire of Musings of a Twentysomething that showed me just how amazing my friends are... and how blessed I am that the Lord has brought these people into my life. I actually haven't personally met Claire yet, though we certainly tried to meet up when she was in L.A. earlier this summer. Despite this we've developed a very strong bond which neither of us can explain. She's also my first real traditional Catholic girlfriend too, which makes things even better. :D Anyway, a few days ago I received my first prayer bouquet from her and members of her women's prayer group. I can't begin to describe the amount of love and support I felt from these women who I've never met. All but Claire are still complete strangers to me, but here they were... telling me that they were going to pray for my father's soul and for me. I teared up as I read their lovely messages. May God bless them for everything.

That was just one example of what my friends have done for me. I thank God each and every day for the people I call my friends. Like I said at the beginning of this blog, I feel like I'm truly undeserving of their friendship... but I am truly grateful that God has brought them into my life. Not only do I have a wonderful support system, many of whom will drop what they're doing if I ever need a shoulder to cry on or a person to rant to... and vice versa :), but I've learned what true friendships are like. Of course God is in the center of all these friendships, which is why I think they work and why they've made me a better person.

Have I gushed enough? lol. I think it's not enough, and I haven't talked about all the wonderful things that happened to me this past week, but I don't want to make this any longer than it is... plus I still have to study for my Interpersonal Communications test. I will hopefully blog about what I'm doing for the 40 Days for Life. :D

Alright, since I've finished novel writing for the day (which also has a strong theme of friendship in it) and since I have nothing else to do... I will go make myself a cup of tea and study for my exam. Hope everyone has a great evening (or day for my British friends :D).

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!