Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year This Nerd Faced Her Fears and Moved On

I'm doing this in order so I don't forget anything. ;)

January: I started off the year with a nasty cold/flu (the first in 2-3 years). However, it wasn't all that bad. :D I also started my Senior Thesis. Most of it was done on my own (my adviser was pretty MIA with all the Religious Studies majors; or so we discovered on graduation day) and I was utterly nervous about tackling it. A minimum of 40 pages written and the max was 50 pages. Despite my worries, I applied the war paint and began the four month (you read right) task of completing it. Another dragon I encountered, difficult professors. If I thought my Religious Studies professors didn't like me... hoo, I was about to experience the worst professor in my academic career. She made me cry in class a couple of times. That bad. Still, I was determined to do well in my courses and graduate with a good GPA (academic overachiever, party of one).

February: Someone I considered a friend (who I had had at my birthday party the year before) was a bit blab-y and I became known as "the girl with the blog." What blog? That they didn't know the details of. All the knew was that I supposedly trashed my CINO college and that I used a pseudo name. Was I afraid that I would be expelled for speaking the truth? Yes. After all, although everything I said was true, it was bad PR for the school. However, I have never mentioned my now alma mater by name so they couldn't sue me. On the bright side, I became "addicted" to attending daily Mass so I took comfort in that on my most trying days. Also, I attended my first Stations of the Cross since it was the first year I had a license during Lent and could, therefore, go without trouble. "D

March: Fr. Alexander Lewis (who was a favorite in my household and who helped me get a priest to confess my father for the first time in 40 years before he died in 2009) passed away. I still can't write this without tearing up. In fact, I am kind of seeing blurry through the tears. He was my and my mother's confessor; the first confessor my mother had in several years. Before we found out about his death, I fulfilled part of my dream of visiting all the California Missions by visiting Mission Santa Barbara about 2-3 hours north of Los Angeles. One less Mission on that mission. Yes, horrible joke. ;)

April: The beast known as my Senior Thesis was completed. I gave it the title "Go and Make Disciples of all Nations: Evangelization Efforts by and for Generation Y Using Catholic New Media." Can you guess what it was about? lol. Final page count was 53. In case you think no one has read it, both Angelica and Sr. Helena have copies of it. Bam! lol. I was overjoyed and stressed out, yet sad because it meant that I was about to graduate and head out into the world that I'd only dreamed about.

May: Big month for me. I FINALLY graduated college. It took me 8 years (on and off; a total of 5 full years) to pull it off. I graduated high school a year and a half early and then took some time off when my dad had his first fight with cancer. I started college and then my father was diagnosed with cancer a second time so I pulled back to part time to be able to take care of him. I took a semester off somewhere in between. I returned to school full time when the cancer returned. I was ready to transfer to my CINO college (before I knew how horrible it was, theologically speaking) when my father died. I took a year off between his death and my junior year to pull myself together. After years of taking care of my dad, mourning his death, taking care of myself, and going through so many hoops, I was able to graduate. It was the promise I made to my dad on his death bed -- that I would graduate college no matter what and I did. In honor of everything he did (he used to drive me to school and wait for me since I didn't start driving until early 2011), I took a locket with his picture and wore it on the day. My older brother, my two nephews, some of my neighbors and my mom were all there to see me walk that stage (with my head bowed down; I hated the attention. I blushed while wanting to hide, lol). Before the month ended, I was interviewed by Dustin for his 16-Bit Catholic podcast (which was a blast). Only my disastrous birthday adventure tainted the month. lol.

June: Fairly quiet month. My Football (Soccer) and Catholicism post became one of the most popular of the year. I still owe y'all that part two in which I am going to focus on the rivalry between Catholic Celtic FC and Protestant Rangers in the Scottish League. My post grad slump hit... hard, but I made it out of the month alive.

July: The third anniversary of my father's death came and I hit a depression phase for a couple of weeks. After some unpleasantness online, I decided to write a post about my bullying experience. Many of you learned why I suffer from anxiety because of that post. On the fun side, I let you guys know some fun facts about myself that many didn't know. :D

August: I was officially enrolled in the Brown Scapular and began my daily prayers of The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We had some health scares with mom (she has since pulled through). I wrote another one of my most popular blog posts this year -- a letter to my 17 year-old self. We saw a true miracle, my cousin's blind and mute grandson miraculously began seeing, first time since his birth. I decided to get over some of my difficulties towards the end of the month, using my phlegmatic-sanguine temperament to work with me instead of against me. I started having my stomach problems at the end of this month (that I am still suffering from to this day).

September: "God what is my vocation? What is my career?" Bam, I started my freelance career with a bang!  Though I could not tell y'all what my jobs were then, y'all would soon find out. :D Not only that, I began tutoring and thus my "how am I going to start paying off my student loan?" worries were lifted off of my shoulders.

October: My first blog post for H&R Block's Block Talk was debuted. A massive "thank you" to Scott Gulbransen for the amazing opportunity. Also, you guys learned my actual name (instead of my pen name/nickname). Yeah, CINO college still can't sue me because I never mentioned the school nor the professors by name. BTW, I still prefer Emmy... and apparently so do some of my friends because my Christmas cards were made out to Emmy. lol. The Year of Faith began, as did my goal during it.  A Pope Benedict XVI dream prompted a new vocation project... which is still private. Sorry!

November: Election time. I confessed to being a former liberal Democrat in a former life (prior to my reversion). I was inspired to begin What I Learned Wednesday. While it's still slow to catch up, it's getting there. Also, my little (adopted) brother, Brandon, was a guest blogger in the second part of my Catholicism and tumblr series.

December: With the start of Advent came the first What I Learned Wednesday post. I had a slow month this month (except for the persistent/pesky stomach issues).

As you can see, I had an interesting year. I faced my fears of graduating college, starting a new career, and being thrown out into the read world and moving on. Instead of feeling (or looking, lol) my actual age, I feel as though I am so much younger than I am because of how belated everything seems to have happened. In a way, I was afraid of this part of "growing up." I had "I wish my dad was here" moments sprinkled throughout the year because I felt as though I was moving on and leaving everything that reminded me of him behind, but I've come to see everything as a new chapter and beginning in my life.

I needed all of this. Though I didn't write about it, I also discerned the possibility of staying single (though I have since gotten little "giiirrl, that is not your vocation" signs) which used to scare the sarcasm out of me. I am sure my stomach problems (4 months and counting) are also part of a learning experience for me. Maybe all of this is to show me that I am stronger than I think and is thus preparing me for the next phase of my life, whatever it may be.

I thank God for every up and down this year because I feel as though it has made me the person that I am. I am grateful for the good and am sure the bad has been for my benefit whether I can see it now or not.

Thank you all for sticking with me through this year and here's hoping that next year is so much better. :D BTW, send me prayer requests -- I want to pull 365 days of praying for others. :D Have a wonderfully blessed New Years.

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

P.S. Don't forget to vote for the patron saint. It closes at 11:59 p.m. PST tonight!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Help Me Choose This Blog's Patron Saint for 2013

I am so super late on this (I usually give it at least a week) but I've been so busy and I was forgetting that I hadn't done the patron saint poll this year. Yes, you only have 4 days (well, 3.5) but that seems like it'll be enough time.

I was actually debating doing it this year because I usually get the same questions. "Why the poll?" "Is this a patron for all your readers?" In a nutshell: the idea is that my readers help me figure out a patron saint to study and adopt as my patron saint for the year. Yes, this means that when you vote, you are also telling me which saint you think you be good for not only myself but for those of you who regularly ask for prayers and novenas. I've done it every year (except 2007) and you can see the choices and winners from 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

As you can see, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila won last year's poll (for this year). Y'all helped me choose well. With my crazy 50+ page Thesis this year (as well as the beginning of my career as a freelance writer), I couldn't have asked for better patrons.

I'm crunched for time (I have so much to do today and tomorrow) so here's the gist: you pick your favorites and/or the ones who you think I would benefit learning from in the poll on the right side, under this year's patron saints. I will list what each saint is patron of in case you don't know. And, for the record, each would be great for many reasons so go nuts and vote for each if you feel like it. :D

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (patron of students and youth; patron of this blog in 2008)
Infant Jesus of Prague (patron of travellers and good health)
Mary, Undoer of Knots (one of the Blessed Virgin Mary's many names)
St. Brigid of Ireland (patroness of scholars and printing presses)
St. Catherine of Alexandria (patroness of teachers and unmarried girls; whom my novel's heroine is named after ;D)

St. Cecilia (patroness of musicians and singers; patroness of this blog in 2010)
St. Dymphna (patroness of those who suffer from anxiety; co-patroness of this blog in 2007)
St. Francis de Sales (patron of teachers and writers)

St. Jude (patron of difficult cases)
St. Lucy of Syracuse (patroness of writers and those who suffer from eye problems)
St. Paul the Apostle (patron of writers)
St. Raphael the Archangel (patron of happy meetings, travelers, and youth)

St. Timothy (patron of stomach illnesses)

*EDIT: I forgot to add St. Brigid to the original poll. Since Blogger wouldn't let me edit it, I added her in an additional poll underneath. You can vote in both polls. :D*

Anyway, you have until 11:59 p.m. PST (West Coast, represent, lol) on the 31st to vote. You may vote for as many of them as you'd like. Go nuts!

And now... to try to finish my clean-a-thon and go on an errands run. Long day ahead.

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #4: Special Edition

Since it was this blog's 5th anniversary yesterday, I decided to write a special edition What I Learned Wednesday. I did learn something this week but I'll save that for next time. ;)

1. You Have Plans and God Has Better Ones for You: If there is one thing I learned throughout the 5 years that I've been blogging, it's that you can't think that all your plans will happen exactly as you mean them to. When I started this blog, I was involved with a young man whom I thought would be it for me (whom I don't believe I ever mentioned because of my notoriously private love life). I thought I was going to finish my Creative Writing BA degree at Bath Spa University (yes, that's the actual name) in Bath, England. I never thought my father's cancer would return. Five years later, I'm happily single (though my heart is open to whoever God has in store for me), I have a BA degree in Religious Studies from a CINO college in Los Angeles, and I've been without my father for almost 3.5 years. Nothing I had planned (living in England, writing full time, etc) happened, but I know that God has greater plans for me so I happily accept the changes. If I had gone to England, I wouldn't have taken care of my dad when he was in his final days. I would never take any of that back. Back in 2007, I used to pray for things to go exactly how I wanted them but these days I pray for things to happen according to God's will and not mine. If things don't go as I'd like, I pray for the strength to endure them. I think that's been one of the biggest lessons I've learned in all my years blogging.

2. You Can't Please Everyone When You Blog: Another big lesson for me has been that I can't be my usual people-pleaser self. This is something I've also been trying to shake in my life offline. If you read my earliest blog posts, you saw that they were more of a personal diary type style. While not much has changed, I was a lot more cautious about what I wrote about. I would stay away from the more controversial things. Along the way, I came to realize that I was doing myself and God a disservice by doing that. I really wanted to document my reversion (which was in its earliest stages in late 2007) but I was too scared to write something really dumb. Eventually I thought to myself, "Ah, forget this!" and started writing what I thought... even if I wasn't sure that what I wrote was theologically correct. That's how we learn -- by asking questions and by putting our thoughts out there. If something I believed was right was, in fact, wrong, I'll own up to it and blog about it. That's what I'm still doing (and why I really want to keep What I Learned Wednesday going throughout the Year of Faith). Some people may not like that my blog posts are personal and that I don't include too many stories found on Catholic news sites... but that is kind of the point of this blog. As the title suggests, it's the journey of this Catholic nerd who happens to be a writer.

3. The Prayers of Strangers is a Powerful Thing: Though I do interact with the majority of you lovely readers either through twitter or through this blog's FB page, it wasn't so in the early days on the blog. I just created the FB page a few months ago and my twitter was private until last year at the urging of Sr. Helena Burns. Even so, that didn't stop readers from sending me their prayers when I was sick or when my father passed away. When I was attempting to finish my degree and found myself feeling frustrated by the lack of Catholicism at the CINO college, I had good friends (who started out as blog readers) praying novenas for me. When I graduated earlier this year, I had a slew of messages congratulating me and praying for my future. When I asked for prayers (either selfishly for myself or for others), you guys never failed me. A lot of you one time strangers (whom I met by your early comments on this blog) ended up being some of my best friends with whom I occasionally hang out offline. Prayer brings us together and it's a beautiful thing.

Anyway, these were just some of the thoughts I had of things I learned during the 5 years that I've been blogging.

And, before I go, I just wanted to thank you all for everything... for your prayers, encouragement, and advice. Though this blog has only had a couple of guest bloggers, it really is a group effort. I learn from all of you and that, in turn, provides content for this blog. So, thank you all! May God bless each and every one of you. I will say a special prayer for everyone. :)

If you'd like to participate in this week's What I Learned Wednesday (which, for the tl;dr crowd, means writing about something -- no matter how big or small, short or long, tweet or blog post -- that you learned about the Faith this past week), please be sure to add your link at the bottom of this blog post. Beth Anne was kind enough to make this graphic for y'all to use if you choose to. :D

Image courtesy of Naypong /

And now... back to my annual clean-a-thon. *groan* lol.

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you are all having a wonderful, blessed day surrounded by your loved ones (whether they be family and/or friends).

I know this past year has been incredibly difficult for many of us (whether it be because of health, familial, or financial problems), so I hope and pray that with the celebration of the birth of our Savior we may also remember all the graces and gifts He has given us throughout the year. Remember that He loves us so dearly that He sent His son to save mankind. Let's put aside all the bad and focus on the good. :)

As of 10 p.m.-ish PST, it is also this blog's 5th anniversary but I won't steal Baby Jesus' day so I'll write something more on the subject tomorrow. :)

Again, I hope you all have a fantastic day. I will keep y'all in my prayers.

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #3

If you're following me on twitter or have "liked" the blog's FB page, then you know why I haven't been blogging and/or online much. Basically, I had computer and internet issues for 9 days. Last week's #WILW post was miraculously posted. lol. I'm actually having battery problems again (ugh, I just got a new AC adapter, c'mon now!) so this will be relatively short compared to the other posts.

 1) I found out that the pre-Vatican II version of The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on the iPieta app I installed on my iPod touch a long time ago. I was worried that I would not be able to pray it since I was using a webpage to pray the post-Vatican II version but it took some browsing on my prayer apps (yes, plural) to find it. I've also come to realize that I prefer it to the revised version. Even with the "thee", "thou", and "thy" (which, nerd alert, I don't mind), I think it's better. I find that the language makes the prayers and meditations easier than the modernized version. I appreciate what the Lord has done for me more and I find myself less likely to be distracted. I still want to get myself a book of The Little Office but I am very glad that I have the app in the meantime.

 2) I've been doing a couple of novenas, including one to St. Dymphna and the Christmas novena. I've been using a novena booklet I got at the local Pauline Books and Media for the St. Dymphna novena. It's unlike other novenas I've done. Much like the Little Office, there are morning and evening prayers. The morning prayers have me reflect on my petitions as well as reminding me to place all my trust and anxieties onto God and the evening prayers have me examine my conscience, ask for forgiveness, and give thanks to God for what He has provided for me. Basically, I am more conscious of my actions (what I have done and what I have failed to do) as well as what I usually overlook (i.e. a roof over my head, food in my belly, etc). I've been keeping y'all with anxiety, depression, and other mental afflictions in my novena prayers, whether you asked for them or not. ;) As for the Christmas novena, I have been praying the prayer since St. Andrew's feast day but I'm on day four of the actual novena as posted on EWTN's website. I am in love with the reflections and prayer. They remind me of what my dad used to focus on when he was younger (or, at least, what he told me of his time in Mexico).

3) I saw this picture on tumblr and it got me thinking about how when we pray, we occasionally give God deadlines. I've done it before (though now I just say "if it's your will" and patiently wait) and I know some people still do it. I think we often forget that, when we pray, we are asking God for something which may or may not be the best choice for us. Sometimes our prayers don't get answered in the way we ask because He has something better planned for us. We (our modern society) are so used to getting what we want, when we want, and it's hard for us to slow down. Since Advent is a time for us to slow down and reflect, I think this is appropriate.

I have a meeting via Google Hangout (God bless modern technology) in a couple of hours so I'm going to go try to figure out why the laptop battery isn't charging. Again.

I hope y'all have had a great week thus far. If you'd like to participate, please leave your link below. :D I'm leaving it up until 3 a.m. PST because of some friends in Hawaii. Giving y'all a chance. ;)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #2

Just a quick graphic I made for today's WILW post. :)

First of all, a "thank you" to those who participated last week. I had positive response about possibly linking up today so we shall see what happens. To me, if I can inspire one person to learn about the Faith during the week, that is a success. :)

1) This isn't something learned as it is an observation. We all know that today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (who I love dearly), but very few people know about the feast day of St. Juan Diego to whom she appeared to. Did you know his feast day was December 9th? I honestly didn't. I thought it was the 11th (yesterday). St. Juan Diego is such a wonderful saint to learn about. His humility, his faith... it's all inspiring. He represents not only Hispanics and Amerindians, but the poor of the poor. He shows us that our economic status doesn't matter, what matters is what is in your heart. He loved God and Our Lady and dutifully did what Our Lady asked without doubts. After doing what she asked, he told her, "I am only a simple Indian whom you have sent as a messenger to an important person. Therefore, he didn't believe me, and I do not want to greatly disappoint you." He is not worried about what a mere mortal thinks of him, but about what she and therefore God think of him. Please take a couple minutes out of your day to learn a little more about him if you can. I think we could all learn a thing or two from him.

2) Something incredibly wonderful: I learned two things that I got a real kick out of. First, I learned that I was at my mother's baptism / first communion / confirmation. I was only three years ago at the time. My mother (who, as I mentioned before, was adopted) never properly received any of the sacraments so she waited until she was in her early 30s to receive them. I even saw a picture of the two of us together in front of a statue of Our Blessed Mother and Baby Jesus. It was wonderful and I'm sad I was too young to remember any of it. Btw, in another picture I was seated right behind my mama, wanting to "be in the middle of the action" as she put it. lol. Second, I learned that I was confirmed on St. Cecilia's feast day... at a church named after her. Yup, I was destined to have her as my confirmation saint. lol. I actually didn't know. I knew about the church being named after her -- I learned that a couple of years ago -- but not about the feast day. I am definitely celebrating it a little bigger next year. :D

3) Video of the week (and, really, the day) courtesy of Catholic News Agency of Pope Benedict XVI sending his first tweets. I woke up at 4:35 a.m. this morning and it was the first thing that I checked on my phone. Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club Member here.

Alright, this is it for now. It's short-ish because I don't have a lot of time; too many things to do, not enough hours in the day... and still no wifi to make my life easier (which is why I haven't posted anything since Friday.) lol.

Anyway, please share your blog posts, tweet, tumblr posts, etc in the link up under my signature. The submission time ends at 11:59 p.m. PST. If you don't want to share, I hope you do look into learning something about the Faith anything. We were all excited about the start of the Year of Faith but it seems to have fizzled out and I'm trying to keep the excitement alive. ;) Feel free to use the graphic I made; a better one is on the way. ;)

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

7 Quick Takes #3

--- 1 ---

Yesterday was my dreaded/anticipated doctor's appointment; the first one since my stomach problems started two months ago. Good news: my complete blood work came back to normal. Not completely good news (but not terrible): My doctor said that they're going to do an Upper GI X-ray in 2 months (on Ash Wednesday of all days!) because she can't figure out what's causing my stomach problems. When I asked her what I could eat, she said that she didn't know because we aren't sure what's causing certain foods to make me feel weak/faint/sick. I took that as my being able to return back to a normal diet and if something makes me feel faint/sick (i.e. french fries), not to eat it. That means that I may have a couple of sick days while I figure out what I can and cannot eat. On the bright side, I am no longer restricted to only grilled chicken, oatmeal, and toast anymore. :D

--- 2 ---

Well, What I Learned Wednesday (#WILW) is off to a good start. Though there were only two linked posts, I did get some enthusiasm about participating in it from some of the CathSorority gals. I hope that we'll see more of them next week. By the way, if you're wondering what it is (for the tl;dr crowd): You write about your progress in learning about the Faith during the Year of Faith and you document it on Wednesday. It can be a blog post or a tweet; I accept both. :)

--- 3 ---

Novel update: my three beta readers have received the first half of it (162 pages; yeah, it's a long one) and so far the feedback has been positive. True, they are some of my best friends but I know that if something is off, they'll let me know. I ask for brutal honesty and I get it. lol. As of now, the title is still Will and Lina though I may change it when I am not preoccupied with freelance work.

--- 4 ---

As Mike from Distracted Catholic said on Wednesday, I had a "fangirl" moment when I heard that one of my favorite artists, Hunter Hayes, was nominated for three Grammy awards. I am a big, huge fan of his so... you know, I celebrated. Sue me. He's a good, Catholic guy (yes, he's Catholic - I had my sources confirm it ;D) and he's ridiculously talented. When it comes to him and Pope Benedict XVI, ooh, girl... I fangirl like I was a teenager. lol. I think I picked good people to "fangirl" over so I'm happy with my choices.

--- 5 ---

And, speaking of Papa Benedicto, who isn't following his twitter?! I started following him the minute I got home from daily Mass. I'm actually really excited about his presence on twitter. I don't know how often he'll send tweets or how often he'll engage with us, but I think that it'll bring more people to Christ and to the Truth. Yes, there is so much anti-Catholic hatred being spewed from the so-called "tolerant" left but it should ignite a flame in the hearts of some (currently) lukewarm Catholics. Reversions, here we come. ;)

--- 6 ---

On Wednesday I found out about the passing of two great people. First, one of my favorite jazz artists, Dave Brubeck, passed. I am not quite sure why but I was surprisingly emotional over it. I ended up listening to his music early in the day because of it. Later in the day, we found out that my mom's Godmother had passed away. She was 94 years old. I had not seen my mom cry like that since my father's death (and never before that) so it broke my heart. My mom, who was adopted, felt that her Godmother and her daughter (who is another one of my mom's Godmothers) were like her second mothers so she's mourning the loss of a mom. Please keep both the Brubeck and Mendoza families (as well as my mama) in your prayers.

--- 7 ---

To not end on a downer, here's two of my favorite tumblr pictures of the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Hope y'all had a great week and a stellar weekend. :D

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #1

Welcome to the first installment of What I Learned Wednesday (OR WILW if you prefer to abbreviate it). I was thinking about how I was going to do it and ended up decided to do it in list form. I like making lists so it made sense. If you're taking part in this, you can do it any way you want. I'll have a space for links at the end of this post if you want to share yours (blog post or tweet). If you tweet it, hashtag it #WILW or #WhatILearnedWednesday. :) I'll have a graphic hopefully next Wednesday. :)

Alright, so what did I learn this week? To be honest, not much yet so much. Allow me to explain.

1) I've been noticing that the more work I have, the less I am likely to take time off to pray. The funny thing is that, since I am my own boss and I can work whenever I decide to (all freelance writing assignments are done from the comfort of my own home), I can make time... but I haven't been doing it. I do pray in the morning and at night before I head to bed... but that's it. I used to pray the Rosary almost daily but I haven't since a bit before my stomach problems started. I can blame the fact that my schedule was messed up when I got sick (because it was) but I know I shouldn't use it as an excuse. Attending daily Mass is giving me more time to focus on God and less on myself. Yes, I have to work because I have student loan payments, car insurance payments, etc etc, but I think I've been more focused on being financially stable than most anything else and that's not the way it should be. It took a couple of wonder Advent videos (which will be the last item shared) to remind me that Advent is a time for us to slow down and open our hearts in preparation for Christmas. I wonder how many of us have really stopped what we're doing and really thought about what Advent really means.

2) It's come to my attention that, the more comfortable I am talking to people (and I'm slowly getting there; I'm not as shy as I was a couple of years ago), the more the lighthearted side of me comes out... and the more careful I have to be around my guy friends. Unless you really know the person (especially in person), it's pretty difficult to know what a person means when they talk to you. For example, as soon as I get comfortable around someone, I love to joke around and I'm very friendly. The problem with that is that, online, some of my guy friends (who only know me online) may mistakenly misinterpret that as flirting (fyi, I don't flirt; not only would I be terribly awkward in any attempts I would make but it's really not my style... unless I'm dating the guy). I don't know if that's the case but I've been thinking about it during my vocation reflections. I just hope that there haven't been any misunderstanding. Having said that, I think both guys AND gals have to be careful, especially online. We shouldn't be only abstaining from sex until marriage and/or from falling into the trap of lust ourselves, but also protecting members of the opposite sex. Just as my guy friends look after me both in person and online, I should be doing the same thing for them. Check out this Q&A on the subject if you're interested on learning a bit more about the dangers of flirting.

3) Here are the Advent videos I mentioned on #1.

First is from XT3.

Second is from Spirit Juice Studios.

And that's it. Like I said, not much but a lot. I am sure these WILW posts will get better; I'm still in experiment mode. ;)

Anyway, I really should work now so I can have time to pray and read later in the day. :D

I hope you're all having a great week thus far. Don't forget to add your link to #WILW if you're participating. below. :D

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

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New (Church) Year Resolutions.

Picture of our Advent wreath (prior to the candles) via Instagram. :)

That's right, I make New (Church) Year Resolutions. Sorry to all of you New Year's Eve/Day fans (I am one too) but, for me, the start of the new Liturgical Year is more exciting and thus I make all my resolutions on it.

So, what are my resolutions? Attending Mass daily, thinking through my words and actions before I do them (and thus keeping me out of the confessional longer), spending more time in prayer, etc.

I already sort-of failed one -- attending Mass. But, I did try. Anxiety decided to creep up on me around midnight last night. Still, I was determined to attend Mass so I got dressed up, braved the rain, and drove to one of the nearby parishes. Since we were early, I had time to drive around and look for a parking spot on the street. Then a half hour panic attack began and I was so lightheaded that I had to close my eyes for a couple of minutes. I also felt like I couldn't breathe... and that just set everything else off. When I realized that I probably wouldn't be able to attend Mass without possibly having another anxiety attack, I let it all out (read: cried). When I felt well enough to drive back home, I did. Three hours later, I am still lightheaded and recovering. Yeah. No Mass for me today but I will be watching it online (I don't get EWTN on the telly) so I don't miss it entirely. And I would like to once again thank Julie for reminding me to do the Act of Spiritual Communion since I couldn't physically receive the Eucharist today. I will try Mass tomorrow morning. :)

And, since Advent has begun, I'm also beginning two separate projects. The first, I've already mentioned (What I Learned Wednesday/WILW). In case you're part of the tl;dr crowd: WILW is basically a blog post on Wednesdays on which you tell us what you've learned about the faith that week. It is my goal (for the Year of Faith) to strengthen my knowledge of the faith and I don't want to slack so blogging about it will make me more conscience of my progress... or my slacking. I invite those of you who want to participate to do so. It doesn't have to be long -- a couple of sentences or a paragraph is enough. You can blog or tweet it too. I'll hopefully have a graphic for it by next Wednesday for those who'd like to blog about it. :)

The second project will not be revealed as it has to do with my vocation but let's just say that I'm preparing myself for it (vocation) and this is just part of it. In recent weeks, I've felt like I've finally gotten enough "Okay, Emmy. If these things don't convince you that this is your vocation, you are hopeless" signs/moments that have inspired me to prepare myself for it. No clue about when I will actually move onto the next stage but I know that it'll all be done when God thinks I am ready. :)

I will spare y'all the boring details of why I hadn't blogged until now (really, I was just working and/or writing a novel during NaNoWriMo) but I do apologize for the long periods in between. I hope that this month will slow down some so I will try to be more attentive to this poor little blog. ;)

I hope you all had a great weekend and that you all have a wonderful Advent. Make it count this year. ;) If you are stuck for ideas, check out XT3's Advent Calendar (I use it every year).

I will be praying for all of you, and if you have any special intentions/requests, please don't hesitate to contact me via the FB page or Twitter. :D

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