Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday: Please, No Christmas Music!

Okay, I totally not a Scrooge (I LOVE Christmas) but I just can't get into Christmas music just yet. Hallmark Movies? Yes. It's one of my guilty pleasures but I can't get into anything else that has to do with Christmas. To me (as well as my many fellow Catholics), the Christmas season doesn't start until the start of Advent... and we're still days away from that. Here in L.A, both 94.7 The Wave and Coast 103.5 have their 24/7 Christmas music on. Sorry, I just can't.

Since most of us are in the same boat, I thought that it would be a good idea to create a playlist of songs that have nothing to do with Christmas but remind me of autumn and winter.

For the record, these songs are really up my old fashioned gal alley so I don't expect you all to like them. In fact, I don't think many of you will. lol. I adore the era of the 1940s through early 1950s so don't be surprised to see so many songs from that era. ;) For those of you who do enjoy these kinds of songs, you are more than happy to bookmark this post and listen to the songs until the start of Advent.

And this is my contribution to the "Save Christmas" campaign. ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work. No rest for the wicked. lol.

I hope y'all have a great week! Let me know if you have any prayer requests. :D

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catholicism on Tumblr, Part Two

Pardon the long wait for this but both Brandon and I have been busy. However (like I promised yesterday) I am catching up on overdue blog posts so here it goes.

I asked Brandon (aka The Catholic Geek on tumblr and twitter) to write something for this blog regarding Catholicism on tumblr. Even though he's only a senior in high school, I've been incredibly impressed by what he's written on tumblr... and even more so with the answers he gives hostile trolls. He posted it on his tumblr so that you can reblog it if you wish. :D

"So you decided to make a Catholic Blog on Tumblr?

Well then, welcome! I’m Brandon, The Catholic Geek, and I’ll be giving you a little preview of what you should be looking forward to here on Tumblr as a new Catholic Blog.
Let me first start off by saying the battles start now. Being a Catholic on Tumblr ain’t easy young grasshopper. It’s pretty darn challenging. But that’s the awesome part. With each new challenge and task, you slowly begin to grow in your own personal faith in Christ. Kind of like a video game. As you defeat opponents and successfully win challenges, you gain some experience. After a while, that experience piles up and causes you to level up. Yup, I used video games to describe Catholicism on Tumblr. Sue me.
You will meet great and awesome Catholics here on Tumblr. Some of the Catholics here on Tumblr form into a Group known as the “Tumblr Catholics.” Honestly, from personal experience, some of the people you will encounter on here will become your best friends. And with these best friends, you will make many Memes! Especially Catholic Memes and have Meme Wars! But believe me, you will love Memes.
You will see many things on the Catholic Tag. Good, bad, and horrible things. “But Brandon! What should we do when we see something horrible on the tags!?” Well my friend, we Take Back the Tag. When you see something icky and evil or just downright bad on the Catholic Tag, we spam the Tag with a Litany of the Saints. It’s also good to tell some fellow Catholics here on Tumblr to help you out. It’s a very successful thing. It’s saved the Tag a bunch of times.
Let me just say, you will get attacked for your Faith. Beware the Trolls! People will attempt to bring you down. They will attempt to confuse you. They will mock you. But you, the newest soldier of the Lord here on Tumblr, will be always ready to get back up and keep fighting the good fight. But let me say now that it’s worth every hit. God is with you through this new opportunity to evangelize to others through Tumblr.
Here on Tumblr, you will grow in your faith. You will learn how to live and love your faith. You will learn how to share your faith. And with your new friends at your side, the world is yours to evangelize.
Stay Strong and Know God Is.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,
- Brandon, The Catholic Geek"

As Brandon mentioned (and I briefly mentioned in part one) there are a lot of trolls. Though we should not feed the trolls, I definitely think it's important to defend the Faith. It's so easy to ignore and let the anti-Catholicism run amok on the site but I think that we should do our part to clarify whatever lies are being spread about our beautiful religion.

I've been trying (key word: trying) to tag Catholic posts to help bury the more negative and, at times, pornographic posts some people post under the "nuns", "Catholicism", "Catholic", "priest", etc tags. I don't like tagging posts but I will put it aside in order to help bury unsavory posts. If you have a tumblr, I invite you to do the same. Both Brandon and I (though him more so than I) reblog a lot of Catholic quotes, pictures, memes, etc and you're more than welcome to go through our tumblrs and reblog whatever you'd like. I think I'm going to go on a nun and priest reblogging spree tomorrow to do my little part. :)

Anyway, I have one more assignment to finish before my weekend begins (and it's due in an hour and a half) so I should go finish it. :D

I hope y'all have a great Sunday. If you have any prayer requests, please let me know. :D

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poorly Catechized? Learn! Teach!

I took this picture a couple of years ago. It was one of the first books I bought when I reverted to the faith.

This is the second part to last week's blog post (which should've been written/posted sooner). It took longer than anticipated because of work and errands... and life. :) Yeah. I'm a little behind on a lot of things but I will catch up over the weekend. :D

So, results of my little poll? Almost everyone who responded said they were poorly catechized. Ouch. There are a number of reasons why people think they weren't properly taught. We can all point fingers (I know I kind of did as well). What I didn't hear much about was what was being done to remedy it.

Where am I going with this? Well, to put it bluntly: we can't use the fact that we were poorly catechized as an excuse to what we do anymore. Yes, it's not easy to go back and learn things (especially if you've been out of school or away from the Church for so long) but it's not impossible. Don't know the Beatitudes, or the fact that there are two different sets of Beatitudes? Grab the nearest Catholic (*cough*complete*cough* - hee!) Bible and look it up. If you've been learning as an adult yet you still have questions, ask a priest or someone you respect. I know I bugged Patrick Madrid a couple of times during my junior and senior years of college for book suggestions. And, by the by, he has a great show called Right Here, Right Now which can be heard on Immaculate Heart Radio on weekdays. You can call in during the show and ask questions which you are wondering about. The point is, it's never too late to learn. Think of it this way: St. Augustine of Hippo, one of greatest Catholic minds of all time, was 32 when he converted. It's never too late to learn more about our beautiful religion.

One more thing before I get off my soapbox: if you love the faith and have the time to teach others, why don't you? Become a catechist, start a blog, tweet fun Catholic facts, etc. We're in the Year of Faith; this is the perfect time to do something. The results of the election, as well as the tweets from the Bishops and Bloggers Dialogue weekend, have really lit the fire under me. I don't know about y'all but... I seriously want to learn all that I can (even more so than before) and then pass it on to the younger generation. We have an amazing opportunity to really do something... yet we get lazy or sidetracked by so many things.

I think I'm going to do a little something starting this month that I hope will help in my own little nerdy way. Being a bookworm and having a weird compulsion to document my progress, I think I'm going to tackle a couple of simple books on Catholicism and write what I've learned. If anyone wants to join in (whether it be reading, interviewing, researching, etc), I welcome you to do so. I'm going to tag those posts as #WhatILearnedWednesday or #WILW. I may not get through one book per week but I will keep track of it for the rest of the Year of Faith. Embarrassing (as in "yeah, I really didn't know that") or not, I will write down what I learned.

Anyway, just wanted to write this out and I hope that at least one person reads this and is inspired to do something. And now, to get some work done before I enjoy the rest of my weekend. :D

I hope y'all had a great week and have a fantastic weekend.

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Raise Your Hand If Your Were Poorly Catechized

I am very curious as to how many young "cradle" Catholics (especially Millennials) consider themselves poorly catechized. It seems that, post election, many are saying that the high percentage of Catholics who voted for Obama may be a result of poor catechesis. I know that, prior to my reversion, that was what happened to me. My previous blog post explains part of it. I've also received tweets, messages, etc. from readers saying that they also wasted their votes on pro-choice candidates out of ignorance to Church teachings.

Being the Year of Faith, I hope that those who were poorly catechized do something to remedy it. Thanks to Flocknote, you can Read the Catechism in a year; just sign up on their mailing list and they'll email you a bit of it every day. Advent is coming up in a couple of weeks and it's a wonderful time to immerse yourself in the beautiful, rich history of the Church... at the very least, look into the meaning of the season and why we do certain things during this time of year. There are a ton of other suggestions but first... raise your hand if you were poorly catechized. *raises hand* No shame; it's not our fault.

I promise there is a part two as soon as I get just an idea of how many of us are out there. :D

Okay, so, that if your mission (if you choose to accept it). Let me know if you believe you were poorly catechized, what you think you should've been taught, and/or advice you may have for those who wish to enrich their knowledge of the Faith and the Catholic Church. :)

And now... back to work (writing) and some NaNoWriMo-ing (if I get some time). :D

Thanks for reading and God bless! :D

Monday, November 5, 2012

Confession: I am a Former Liberal Democrat

C'mon, who's shocked? Oh wow.... really? Well, this may be a sort of "the gist of it" post because I have work so it has to be quick. I'll promise to explain as well as I can with my limited time.

Yes, I am a former liberal Democrat. The first presidential election I voted in was in 2004 -- the race between George Bush and John Kerry. This was almost two years prior to my reversion. I was young. I was incredibly ignorant and naive. I wasted my vote on John Kerry. I was apathetic to politics and my parents were registered Democrats so I went along with what they and my friends said. I didn't bother looking into the issues. All I knew was that Democrats supposedly helped the poor and the "little people" while Republicans were the opposite. Again, I was young and ignorant. Plus, Kerry was "Catholic" and, well, I was "Catholic" too so why not? Oh, how wrong I was.

I supported a lot of things that liberals support. I was poorly catechized and did not know my faith beyond reciting an Our Father and a Hail Mary. How on earth I was allowed to do my confirmation without proper study at 13 is beyond me. I look back and cringe at the things I said and did but, as I said, I was young and ignorant (and, yes, I will keep repeating this.) It's not a good excuse but it's the truth.

I wasn't living the best life then either. I've never drunk alcohol, done drugs, smoked, or done anything with anyone that I would be ashamed to tell my future husband. In that way, I have always been a "good girl." I did, however, do a lot of stupid things (i.e. lie over the stupidest things; part of why I detest lying so much now) and I was easily swayed. Even then, when my friends were all on the "ugh, religious/conservatives need to lay off" train, I wasn't 100% convinced.

Looking back, the first sign that I would soon leave that world came when my then best friend told me she was having an abortion. She was not the first friend to have one (another friend had had one at the age of 14). I was shocked. She already had a baby (a beautiful baby boy) so I couldn't understand why she would want to kill her own innocent child. Yes, even during those "lost" years, I knew that she was carrying a human being, not a "clump of cells" as some liberals repulsively call a baby. She told me that she simply couldn't have the child as she could barely handle her firstborn. I was against it but I "supported" her... and by "supported" I meant I would be there for her during the aftermath. I was against it and wished she would change her mind but I didn't think there was anything I could do about it. After that, I felt so disgusted that I pulled away. That, along with other factors, caused me to slowly leave those "friends" behind. To this day, I am so sad and so repulsed with myself for having said that I "supported" her when I really didn't... and more so for not saying anything. And, for the record, this and other things have long been confessed.

I was "against the war" (the way liberals presented it) though my high school sweetheart was (and still is) in the U.S. Army and my childhood sweetheart is in the U.S. Navy. I was grateful to them for their service but I as a "liberal Democrat" couldn't support it. Again, say it with me this time, I was young and ignorant. Oh, and don't get me started on the whole issue of gay marriage. You can probably guess what my thoughts were on it (again, received my information from the hateful liberal spew I heard on a daily basis), before I knew the true sanctity of marriage. This last comment will lose me some of my last liberal friends but I can't hide my beliefs. It wouldn't be fair to myself or to God.

When I returned to the Church, I saw that a lot of errors of my youth. (btw, my "lost years" were between the ages of 14 and 21.) The Roman Catholic Church did nothing to me... except show me the truth and love. I spent a long time hating myself for what I had once supported, though I had been told on a regular basis (by priests) not to be so hard on myself. While I had sinned, I had done it out of ignorance. As a poorly catechized young woman who was never taught that the things I supported were wrong, I didn't know better. Now I do.

While I haven't been too vocal about my support for a specific presidential candidate or anything of the like, I can say, with honesty, that this is the first time in three elections that I really looked at the candidates and the issues. The last one, I voted for McCain-Palin because of Obama's pro-choice record (which has since gotten worse). This time around, I will be voting Romney-Ryan. While I don't agree with everything on Romney's agenda, I believe that the unborn and religious freedom would be better protected with him as president than under Obama-Biden. While I'm not a registered Republican nor have I been a registered Democrat for a while now, I am voting as a Catholic. I am voting for life and for changes that will help this nation pick ourselves up from the economic and moral mess we're in. Needless to say, this is the second time I will NOT be voting for Obama. Also, every time I read this, I am reminded of how I should be voting this election:

"Put no trust in princes,
in mere mortals powerless to save." (Psalm 146:3)

First time young voters, please do yourselves, your consciences, and your souls a favor and vote carefully. Don't let the mainstream media tell you anything. Don't be swayed by anyone's sweet talk. Look at the issues and candidates for yourself. Pray that you and others make the right decisions because, as cheesy and cliche as this may be, this future really is in your (and my) hands.

... and this was officially longer than I planned. Oops. lol. Oh well. The little lady is coming over soon for tutoring so I shall go.

I hope we all stand together and make the right choices tomorrow. My prayers are with you. :)

And now, off to tutoring and trying to not feel crummy (cold-like symptoms are threatening once again).

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Different Take on All Souls Day

No, I am not rewriting what today is. It is still a day on which we commemorate those who have passed as well as those who are currently in Purgatory, waiting to get into Heaven. However, on the way home from the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, where my father is buried, we encountered something that made me think about the importance of the day.

Before I get into that, I just wanted to say: daddy, we still miss you terribly. We're never going to get used to being just the two of us (mom and I) but I know you're in a better place and I thank God that you were able to give the rest of your life to Him before you passed. Big brother, Moises, I never got to meet you but I know you're looking down from Heaven, taking care of mama and I. (Paternal) Grammy, I wish I had known you better. I know I inherited my love and appreciation for Catholicism from you and I thank you for taking me to the humble but beautiful churches in Mexico when I visited. We miss and love you too.

Now... for those of you who aren't from L.A. nor have been to the San Fernando Valley, one of the California Missions is located in Mission Hills. As I said, my father is buried in the cemetery that is next to/part of Mission San Fernando Rey de EspaƱa. Next to them is Bishop Alemany High School which is, from my understanding, one of the best Catholic high schools in L.A. Anyway, we often drive by there (when we're in the area) and today I was happily surprised to see a number of students with signs that read "Honk for Life" and "Vote Yes on 34." Here are a couple of pictures I took (with permission from the adult supervisor who was outside with them).

I was incredibly impressed with young men and women who were standing outside with these signs... and even more so at the amount of honking from passing cars. Wow. I have never experienced anything like that before. Kudos for being vocal about supporting Prop 34 (which will end the death penalty here in California), BAHS! (FYI: The L.A. Archdiocese has something on their webpage on it as well.)

While thinking about how great it was to see young people being enthusiastic about something they believed in, I thought back about how we, as humans, usually don't think about things like the death penalty. The students from BAHS were supporting life the way God intended -- from the womb to the tomb.

For obvious reasons, I am against the death penalty. When I say I'm pro-life, I mean I'm PRO-LIFE. I think it's horrible to kill people whether they are innocent human beings in their mother's womb or whether they've made mistakes in their lives and have taken the lives of others. If Bl. Pope John Paul II could forgive the man who attempted to assassinate him, why can't we pray for those who have committed horrific crimes? I am not condoning what they've done in any way. I know that losing a loved one hurts, especially when at the hands of someone else, but why must we contribute more hate and/or evil in a world that already sees way too much of it?

So, on this All Souls Day, I am going to pray for ALL the souls -- those who have died, those who are in Purgatory, those who are yet to be born, and those of us who need to get closer to God. I pray that those who have passed will help us learn from their mistakes and that those who are close to God will pray that we may stay on the path to becoming saints one day.

Anyway, just random thoughts that popped into my mind on this day that I wanted to jot down. The little lady I tutor will soon get here so I really should skedaddle.

Hope y'all are having a great week thus far. :D If you have any prayer requests, let me know; I'm a novena machine at the moment.

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