Thursday, July 28, 2011

Impromptu Vacation and Prayer

I'm tired from all the traveling done today (first by car and then by train) so I'll make this short and sweet.

Today I went to two places where it all began for me: the hospital where I was born (and where my father died) and the church where I was baptized at 3 months old. The picture is of that parish. Our Lady Queen of Angels Church next to Olvera Street in Downtown L.A. is where my parents introduced me to the Church. I hadn't visited the parish since I was a little girl so it was great to go back as an adult. A Spanish Mass was being celebrated but we did not stick around as I had gotten food poisoning from the fast food joint we hit in the morning (of course...) and couldn't enjoy the Mass. I hope I can go back one day soon and attend Mass there. :)

These next couple of days of impromptu vacation is happening because my mother has been diagnosed with depression. They are mistreating her at work, to the point where it's affecting her mental health, and the doctor order a couple of days of vacation. We won't be home much of the vacation as we were both ordered to go out but I will be updating twitter and this blog... though, I may warn you, I've been spending so much time reading novels (yes, actual books) that I haven't really gotten online much lately. I've noticed that I do much better when I don't spend much time online so I'm getting used to it. :)

Before I go, I just want to (once again) encourage you to pray the 9 Hour Novena to the Infant of Prague if you're in a pickle. I did it today while the food poisoning I have/had was at its worse and was out in Downtown L.A. (prior to boarding the train). It took me about 2-3 hours to get through it but I did and praying the Novena really helps keep me focused on what's important... not to mention that I felt much better and made it to my final destination in one piece.

Anyway, that's it for now. I want to expand on today's trip to Olvera Street but I can barely keep my eyes open so it'll have to wait. :)

I hope y'all have a great rest of week. I hope to blog soon but we'll see if I'll get a chance to before the week ends. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

P.S. New issue of Envoy Magazine is out. I have a new article on being Catholic in college so check it out if you get a chance. :D

Friday, July 22, 2011

World Youth Day (WYD) 2011 Theme Song

I usually leave these posts for Music Mondays but there have been many people searching for the WYD '11 Theme Song and have been landing on the post from the last WYD (2008). If you're on XT3 then you have the ability to hear all the different versions of the song and not just one of them. There is the International (multi-language song) version, Pop/Soul version, Orchestra version, and Choir version. Except for the International version are in Spanish which is unsurprising as WYD next month (a month already?!) is taking place in Madrid, Spain. I have to say that my favorite is the Choir version.

Here is the official video for the official theme song:

I'll be the first to admit that, despite some friends being overly critical about WYD and trying to persuade me to dislike it with intensity (why is that even necessary?), I very much wanted to go to WYD this year. After watching the last one via EWTN, I actually dreamt of attending this year's celebration and feeling that excitement and that youthful enthusiasm for myself. Alas, it wasn't in the cards for me: not only do I not have the funds but my senior year of college starts the day after it ends and I wouldn't have had the time to get back to L.A. and get over the jetlag in time. Maybe next time? Hoping it'll be closer to home next time.

Is anyone going to Madrid this year? If so, are you excited? If not, will you be watching online and via EWTN like I will? :)

Anyway, I am not feeling that great (stomach bugs like to plague me during the summer) so this is a short little post for now. Hopefully those looking for the new theme song will now find it easier. :)

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request for Two Young Mothers

Many of you know about Angela Faddis' cancer fight and the efforts to raise the funds for alternative cancer treatments that could save her life. Her story is heartbreaking, a mother of two young children in a struggle with advanced cancer. The efforts on behalf of her husband and friends hits close to home as we've personally gone through this. If y'all can donate please do and if you can't because you're struggling to make ends meet and can barely afford your own expenses or for whatever other reason, please get the word out. Say a prayer for the Faddis family. Spiritual bouquets are wonderful and miracles can come from them.

Sadly, I also have someone else to the list of prayer requests and it's closer to home. One of my best friends, Eileen, who has been through thick and thin with me for years (she even drove an hour and a half with her family to attend my father's funeral two years ago) has been told they've found abnormal cells that she will need to go get a biopsy to see if she has cancer or not. This won't be her first battle with cancer. She had ovarian cancer a couple of years ago and has been in remission for a while now. It's scary to think she could potentially go into a second battle with cancer. She has four children (one with autism). She's a fighter but it's still scary. So if you could please pray for her, I'd be incredibly grateful.

Anything y'all can do, even a Hail Mary for Angela and Eileen, are greatly appreciated. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Seriously, When Did I Grow Up and Become an Adult?

One of my best friends and I were talking about making up "grown up" decisions and how odd it was to think that we were now full grown adults. I've known him since we were teenagers so we've sort of grown up together. In a weird way, I still think of us as those teenagers who used to quote Kanye West's "Gold digger" in math class and of how he protected me from unwanted attention from an odd male classmate years ago. As he is preparing to finally settle down with his girlfriend (whom I am happy to say is the kind of girl I've been praying he would find; he's a real salt of the earth guy and deserved a great gal) and make life altering decisions, I'm starting to wonder when it was that I really grew up. Today I also received an email from an old friend, who was also the first guy I truly cared for (though things did not work out for us), that got me thinking about how I've changed. It was a bit odd but it made me realize how the decisions I've made in recent years have reflected the journey I've taken and how the journey has made me grow up without realizing it.

I won't go into details because it's not necessary to and because I'm notoriously private about certain parts of my personal life. But I am grateful that these two things have come up because I needed to reflect on them. God has been showing me, throughout the summer, things about myself that I didn't really realize had changed within me. Long gone is the teenage rebellion (some of my friends may laugh at this as I never really rebelled against my parents as a teenager) and the "need" to "show" that I was independent. The days of my being stuck in a relationship (whether it be romantic or platonic) that was not good for me, and my making excuses for the other person, ended a long time ago. I have no need or want (not that I ever did) for the drama or theatrics one in high school might employ when certain situations arise. Somewhere along the line I also stopped being everyone's doormat. While I still do give in and cave with certain things that end up being great for the person asking something of me and myself, I know when I'm being taken advantage of and I do try to stick up for myself as well as I am able despite my shyness and dislike of disagreements. The decisions I'm making up are showing that I've grown up and I have absolutely no idea when that happened.

In many ways I feel as if I haven't grown up completely. Maybe it's just in my head but the fact that I'm still living at home with my mom (though this is not unheard of in the Hispanic culture; many young women don't move out of their parents' home until they marry) and that I don't have too many responsibilities may have to do something with it. The fact that I haven't finished college yet (though I am 9 months from graduating) may also have something to do with it. Also, looking like I'm many years younger than I really am doesn't help. :) In other ways I feel I matured faster than some of my peers. Instead of having a husband and children to take care of, I've taken care of my parents. In the last couple of weeks of my father's life, I was the one who made the decisions for him and even had to sign off on them. After my dad passed, I've taken over some of the responsibilities he had including driving my mom to work in the wee hours of the morning and making some of household decisions. I take care of my mother when she is ill (and it's becoming more frequent as she's getting older.) I help run this household which is my first real taste of what it to come when I have my own family. I have the "housewife" responsibilities that are preparing me for the future.

Of course I've gone through rites of passage that have "shown" that I've grown up. I celebrated my quinceaƱera (sweet 15) by having a small, intimate dinner instead of a massive party. I graduate high school (though I did that a little earlier than expected). I registered to vote on the day I turned 18. I've been summoned for jury duty. I turned 21 and thus became old enough to drink (though I still haven't and have no desire to). I went to (and am about to enter my final year at) college. I finally got my driver's license. I've fallen in love (though only once and quite recently). I've gotten my heart broken in the past. I've held down jobs to support myself and help contribute to the household. etc etc.

I don't know. It's a strange thing to realize. I know that at my age (I just turned 26 at the end of May) I'm technically an adult but I know that age does not actually say whether we've grown up or not. Anyway, I'm sort of "thinking" out loud here. I haven't really seen blogs with these kinds of posts so I thought I'd share the little epiphanies I've had in the past couple of days. The Rosary novena and time off with God has done all of this and I am glad. :)

I won't bore y'all anymore. I've written all I could possibly write without being too redundant. ;) I hope y'all had a great weekend and will have a great week. :D

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quick Update: Anxiety During Mass

Yes, it's been a long time between posts. Sorry but the anxiety has come back in full force and I have sort of had to remember how to deal with the symptoms all over again. As I had not had any panic attacks or anxiety in months (since before the New Year, if I remember correctly) I had forgotten some of the symptoms. Lately it's been the feeling like I can't breathe because my chest feels like something heavy is sitting on it and, in the past three days, I now have the nauseous-no appetite symptoms that then bring dizziness. Oh yes, it's been fun!

The symptoms started shortly after I returned from my little nerd vacation in which I focused on myself and on my relationship with God. I got sick with that horrible throat infection that I JUST fully recovered from this week (yes, it took almost a month to get better) and shortly after that the anxiety began in full force. I've also had some other things happen since I began the 54 day Rosary novena two weeks ago -- which is usual; I always have a rough two weeks when everything that can go wrong does go wrong. I've missed about a month worth of Masses because of either the infection that had me stuck in bed for nearly two weeks or the anxiety that was so bad, I couldn't leave the house.

When I decided to stay for Mass after confessions, today, I was fine. As soon as it came time for the Mass to start, though, I started feeling like I couldn't breathe. That lasted about half an hour. When it came time for the consecration of the Eucharist I started feeling dizzy and like I was going to faint. I actually had to sit down for a little while. But, stubborn as I am, I said "No! I will not give anyone or anything the satisfaction of my not receiving the Eucharist!" And so I stuck it through and indeed received the Eucharist. As the priest was leaving, I felt as if were to faint so I immediately sat down again. After Mass I felt fine again. Go figure. Anxiety stinks and it's unpredictable. I refuse to let it keep me from Mass though.

Anyway, just wanted to give y'all a little update and let y'all know why posts were lacking. It's not that I don't want to write... most of the time I'm just pacing around the house, trying to get my breathing down to normal or trying to distract myself with physical work to get my mind off of the anxiety. I may tweet or FB message but I do that as I am pacing via my iPod touch.

Please pray, not for me, but for those who have just started suffering from anxiety. I have many friends whose anxiety have gotten so much worse (the way it was with me prior to my reverting to the Church) and it's sort of new to them. For them, please pray that God may give them the tools needed to get through what they're going through. St. Dymphna, pray for us all!

I hope y'all have been well and that summer has been kind to y'all thus far. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

*Chanting* Senior Year! Senior Year!

I just received the first email from one of my new professors (a priest) for my last Religious Studies course needed for my major (not counting my Thesis). Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to start my senior year of college. It's a little surreal that it's finally here... well, almost here. I technically don't start until next month but I already have an assignment before the semester begins so I guess I can say that it's finally here.

As many of you know, it's taken me YEARS to get to this point. If I had gone straight to college, without any interruptions, straight out of high school I would've graduated with my B.A. about 4-5 years ago. I know, I know... I still look like a teenager but I really am in my mid-late twenties. (side note: I'm still trying to figure out if 26 is still mid-twenties or late twenties.) ;) I took a couple of years off to take care of my dad while he battled cancer, I took the year follow my dad's death (the 2 year anniversary coming up next Monday) off, and I took a year off after high school while I dealt with my own anxiety. But, you know, I wouldn't have changed any of it for an earlier graduation date. I would've felt worse if I hadn't done what I did for dad (and I still think it wasn't enough). Also, it's made me appreciate my education and the road I've taken to this point so much more than if I had just gone through and majored in Pre-Law as was first planned.

I'm so excited about the start of my senior year (despite the lack of funds for my textbooks) that I don't know what to do with myself. lol. I want to get a little more involved in school activities but my list is limited as y'all know the rep my school has. lol. But, I do want to get as much out of my last year. I know I will eventually go back for my Master's but I will most likely work for a year or two before I pursue it so I want to get some good college experiences in while I still can. :D Any tips or suggestions y'all have to make the most of it, especially attending a CINO college?

Anyway, I won't bore you anymore... oh, wait, I forgot something. lol. I have OFFICIALLY been granted my Cal Grant for the upcoming school year as of this week. I know you some of y'all were praying for the past 2-3 months as I fought to get it reinstated and, Thank you, God!, the school has been notified. This means I won't need to take out loans at all if I choose not to. I may ask for a small one (the smallest I can possibly get as I don't need much) so I can buy my textbooks but it's not going to be so big that I feel overwhelmed. The Lord truly does provide if you have faith and trust... especially if you have exhausted your options and still haven't given up hope. :D I'm also going to ask if I can get work-study to cover textbooks and transportation (I have to take a major freeway to and from school) costs if I can't get a small enough loan. Fingers crossed, y'all. :)

Okay, NOW I have nothing more to say on the matter... until I actually start the semester in late August. Y'all know I have issues with what is taught but I will try to be as charitable this school year as I possibly can. :) That is something I really want to work on before I leave because, well, as I said, my school has a particular rep for a reason. ;)

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. :) Oh, and if you're following on, we're on day 5 of the 54 day Rosary novena. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Update from Sickland; Let Us Pray for You

Two weeks without a single post. Sorry! If you're following me on twitter (@nerdwriter) then you know that I had a nasty throat infection and spent over 10 days in bed before I got the antibiotics I needed to get better. I'm finally feeling well enough to get back in the swing of things so expect posts to restart. I won't go into the details (yet) about what's going on because it's a lot but I will say that I've been tested in ways I wasn't expecting. :)

I just wanted to update y'all because I still get messages asking how I am doing. I'm MUCH better, thank you. :D Also, I want to let y'all know that Angelica and I are starting the 54 Day Rosary Novena tomorrow so if you'd like to join us or have us pray for a specific intention for you, please let us know a.s.a.p. Angelica specifically chose tomorrow, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to start the novena. (And, btw, happy feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus today. :D)

Alright, that will be it for now. I drove around for hours in nearly 100 degree weather and I'm exhausted. Well, that and the fact that I had anxiety last night and didn't fall asleep until after I prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy at nearly 2 a.m. hasn't helped the exhaustion. :D I want to sleep soon. :)

Again, please let Angelica (@aquinonez on twitter) or I know if you want to join/have intentions for us to pray. Let us pray for you... we'd like to help in any way we can. :D

I hope y'all have a great start of weekend!

'Til next time, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D