Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #32: Busy Bee Edition

When I was in 6th grade, I received the "Busy Bee" award from my teachers. The award read "Always Reading, Always Studying." Yes, I was a bookworm and an academic nerd from childhood. I've almost always busied myself with something. The two years between graduation and the start of my next degree (which begins next Monday) were the first time I've ever had downtime... and it was weird for me. I've taken the last 6 months to work on both my first novel and the sequel. While the sequel has also been finished (as in, the story has been written), I still need to flesh it out a little more. For the past month or so, I've really been focused on polishing the first novel as much as I can, with the final proofread currently being done. In that time, I was so consumed with wanting to meet the deadline (May 1st; tomorrow!) that I was failing to pray. I didn't do that purposely; I simply lost track of time while editing. As I wrote last week, it wasn't until I realized that I didn't like not keeping up with my prayers that I made a more conscious effort to change things. While I've gotten back on track (well, for the most part) this week, I've still not where I want to be... and that makes me a little nervous. I'm taking a heavy course load for the next year (5 classes during the summer and for each semester) and I don't want a repeat of what happened during Lent; I don't want to be too busy to pray. I have my next spiritual direction meeting tomorrow and hope I can talk things through with my SD because I feel like I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Lesson learned: Continuation of last week; keep my priorities on the right path. It's hard to schedule prayer time with a busy schedule but it's necessary for my sanity and for my spiritual life.


I've been seeing some lady bloggers address the issue of how women shouldn't feel embarrassed about breastfeeding their children in public and/or how to do it in a modest way. The topic is still (hopefully) in the future for me but I'm definitely learning from them already. Julie made a great video on the topic last week. Hearing her speak about it, reading the blog posts others have written, and thinking about incidents in which women were banned from breastfeeding their children in and near Victoria's Secret stores (seriously?!) makes me wonder what I can do to help the situation. It still boggles my mind how it's socially acceptable for men to ogle women's breasts but as soon as they see a mother nursing her child, they get offended. Uh... Does not compute. I know pornography contributes to the problem so I guess I can start by praying for those with addictions; that they may see how harmful it is and will want to kick their addictions to the curve.

Lesson to be learned: What I can do to help this situation. I don't even know where to start (besides praying) but it's something that I will be looking into.


One more thing I found kind of disturbing... I've been playing Sims FreePlay on my iPod touch (no, I am not addicted; I just started playing.) I make my Sims do activities that will take them hours to complete so I don't have to pay too much attention to the game, but there are some activities I'm not happy with. One of the tasks was to make two of the Sims be nice to each other. Okay so far. Then they needed to start dating. Not a problem. Before they could get engaged they had to "woo hoo" (as they call it). Um, I'm sorry. What? Apparently the Sims couldn't get engaged or even married in this version until they "woo hoo"-d. Yes. And then, after they were married, they didn't need to "woo hoo" to have a child; they just needed to buy a crib and wait 24 hours for the "stork" to drop their baby off in the crib. No words. Sadly, I think this was done to reflect our culture's attitudes towards sex and children... and it made me really sad. There must be something that can be done to help change this attitude.

Lesson to be learned: Same as number two; learn a way I can help the situation. There are several ways to tackle this issue, I just need to find the one I can do myself. Also, I really don't like playing games that will compromise my beliefs. It may be "just a game" to some people (and I'm sure there are some who are currently criticizing my personal beliefs about this) but it just doesn't sit well with me.

Anyway, that's it for this week. I didn't really learn too much but I wanted something written this week (in case I don't get a chance to between now and Monday) so I did what I could. lol. And now back to Proofreading-landia. lol.

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

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm Having Doubts About... Everything

I'm only a week away from the (tentative at this point) novel release date and 10 days away from starting my courses at Utah State University (go Aggies!)... and I'm having doubts about both paths. These doubts began last week but they've been getting more persistent this week. 

Is the novel even worth publishing? Would anyone want to read it (who isn't a friend)? I know that there won't be much money made. I know that I can use whatever little I make to help pay back a small portion of the student loans... but is it even worth it?

Have I chosen well with the career switch from freelance writing to speech-language pathology? Is it worth the student loans I've had to take out? Despite not having financial security, I did enjoy the freedom I had with freelance writing. Am I absolutely sure that I'd be happy being an SLP?

Those have been just some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my mind lately.

If you've been a long time reader of this blog, or even read the first article I wrote for Envoy Magazine a couple of years ago, you know that when my father was alive and sick, I wanted to help him (and people like him). Unfortunately, being a nurse or a doctor didn't suit me because of how squeamish I am in regards to blood and seeing live organs. I didn't know how I could help people with my freelance writing (and I still don't), so when I realized that being an SLP was the right path for me, everything sort of fell into place. I've prayed novenas and I've spent time in front of the tabernacle and I just feel peace when I think about helping others as a speech pathologist.

As for the novel, that's a bit harder. I've spent years writing (and re-writing... and editing...) the novel. Except for the location and the names of the main characters, the novel is not at all what it was when I first began working on it. I've gotten positive reviews (and great suggestions) from my beta readers but it's still a little nerve wrecking to think that it's going to be released for others to read. I've heard this is common for authors (both new and established) so I'm chalking it up to typical pre-release anxiety. Still, I'm proud of what I've written because I feel like my novel touches on topics which aren't often discussed in fiction... or even in real life, despite so many people dealing with similar situations.

Here's one more for you (on a topic I'm usually not comfortable discussing in public): I'm having doubts about my vocation. Well, no... let me rephrase that: I'm not having doubts about what my actual vocation should be but I am having doubts about whether or not the other person involved is the person God has in mind for me or if the person is in my life because God has bigger plans for each of us and we need each other to figure them out. It's a little hard to explain (being so vague) but that's the best way I can explain it with my "no fella talk" rule.

So, why all of these doubts? I'd thought they'd popped up because Lent was going to end but Easter Sunday came and went (and the thoughts stayed), the doubts intensified. There's just one thing that's kept those thoughts from driving me nutty: I keep reminding myself that even St. Therese of Lisieux had thoughts regarding her vocation... and that these doubts will pop up because there's always someone or something (ahem) who will try to derail you from God's plans for you. I'm not saying that I'm 100% sure of God's plans for me (is anyone really?) but I am trusting Him to lead me down the right path.

Trusting while not knowing the outcome of situations is hard. It's something that I'm still working hard at; I'm trying to let go and trust Him though the fear of the unknown has been the cause of my anxiety for several years. Of course, fear and doubts are tools that are often used against people to try to get them to stop trusting God. It's harder to trust and put all your faith in Him than it is to worry and do everything in your power to make sure you get what you want... but that's not how things work. Life is so much more beautiful and fulfilling when you put your faith in God; to remember that He will never lead you astray and that, even if you have a hard life, there's that hope for eternal happiness in Heaven.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with y'all. I'm sure the thoughts will persist for a while longer but I'm going to keep praying and, even when I'm unsure, I'm just going to keep trusting Him (have I said this enough?). :)

Alright, I need to go run errands so I should wrap this up.

I hope y'all have a great weekend, especially with the upcoming canonizations and Divine Mercy Sunday celebrations. :D If any of y'all have prayer requests, please send them my way.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #31: Novels, Pope, and Nuns Editions

I need to manage my time better when busy because my prayer life falls to the side. As you've probably noticed, I've been M.I.A. because I'm working on my novel deadline. I gave myself a May 1st deadline because I wanted to get it done and out into the wild before I started classes on May 5th. I've had to look for the cover art and figure out how to do it myself (and it's not easy because I have mediocre PhotoShop skills). I've also had to proofread it... and I'm going to have to translate it into Spanish soon (though I actually a program for this). All of this before May 1st is pretty intense and I'm actually thinking about pushing back the release date because I'm not sure it'll all be done by then. Any self-published author will tell you that these things are extremely time consuming. Anyway, even though I've been busier than usual, I shouldn't have let my prayer life fall to the side. I've tried harder the past two days because I realized what I was doing... but it's a challenge. It wasn't until I realized that I wasn't as happy (novel stress aside) because I wasn't taking time to pray that I decided to reevaluate priorities. Although I want to start my classes without the added stress of a novel release, I'd rather not let my prayer life go down the hole. Let's see how it goes in the next week.

Lesson learned: it's good to reevaluate your priorities when you see that something's missing from your life... especially if that something is prayer.

Speaking of the novel, I had to find out what Bl. Pope John Paul II's official saint name would be because he's mentioned in the novel. I guess this counts as sort of a spoiler (though not a very big one because y'all don't know in way he's mentioned) but, yes, he's mentioned... and yes, I did find out the name. It will be (Pope) St. John Paul II. I guess the Pope in front of St. JPII is optional. I know I'm a big fan of learning about saints but I haven't really brushed up on the bios of former popes who were canonized so this was a new thing that I learned. I wonder what Ven. Fulton Sheen's saint name will be when the day comes... and it'll come! ;)

Lesson learned: Um, (soon-to-be) St. John Paul II's name? lol.

Mother Dolores Hart will be the Guest Programmer for TCM on May 27th! I like to check TCM listings at the end of each month (for the following month) and I sort of geeked out when I saw that she will be choosing the films for the evening. I did a double geek-out when I saw that she picked two of my favorite films, Laura (1944) and The Song of Bernadette (1943). I haven't watched the other films she's picked but I look forward to seeing why she picked each of the films. Oh, and if you click on the link, make sure the time is set to your timezone. The link I posted is set to PST because I'm on the West Coast.

Lesson learned: Mother Dolores Hart has good taste in movies... and TCM is awesome for having her as a guest programmer!

Anyway, that's it for now. I took today (and I'm also taking tomorrow) off to rest my mind (and eyes) from all the eye-straining hours I've spent in front of my laptop... and my blogging isn't helping. lol. I will try to blog more often now that I have a cover picture chosen (I just need to figure out how to add the nice font without making it look horrendous). :)

I hope y'all are well!

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Big, Big News!

Where to start with my news...? There's only two big things I'm sharing.

First, sorry for the wait between blog posts. I crammed for a math placement test that I needed to take in order to register for my Fall session courses. I spent Thursday through Monday morning cramming for it because I haven't taken a math class since Fall of 2011. I actually took a harder exam first but it was too hard for me since most questions seem to have been Trig questions... which I never studied that. No, I did not pass it but, considering that it was based on stuff I never studied, I am proud of that 30% I ended up scoring. lol. I took the second (easier) exam about 2.5 hours later and I ended up testing into Statistics, which is the math course I need for both grad school and my SLP certification. St. Joseph of Cupertino's intercession FTW because I stink at math. It's quite tragic. lol. I am now registered for Stats (as well as the others needed for second Bachelor's) as of last night and that's it until I start classes next month. Sort of free time until then.

Why did I say "sort of free time"? Because I may or may not be publishing the eBook version of my first novel on May 2nd and I need to prepare for it. It's not a big deal or anything (... teehee...) and I just want to prepare for it and make sure that everything is set for the big day. Like I said, so not a big deal or anything. I considered shopping it around but saw how hectic my life is about to get with school and I didn't have the time so eBook via Amazon for now. There is a chance it'll also be done in print but I need to work that out with the person who offered so no news on that just yet. :)

And those are my two big pieces of news... for now. lol. I get asked "when is the novel getting published" so often that I had to set a date and stick to it... and now y'all have it. ;) Thanks to everyone who bugged me about it; you finally wore me down. ;)

I should go do something productive now. Maybe I'll read the novel to make everything makes sense. Yes, I shall do that. :D

I hope y'all are having a good week thus far. :)

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lack of Blogging Due to Apathy and Fatigue

Yes, the blog post title pretty much tells you why I haven't blogged in almost a week and a half. I didn't plan it out that way (in fact, I have two blog posts waiting in the wings that I haven't gotten a chance to post) but... I'll explain what happened.

I felt a bit sick last Friday (the day I had planned the next blog post) and I was overwhelmed with school stuff so I took the weekend off to rest. I said to myself "the latest What I Learned Wednesday blog post is pretty solid so no big deal." And then Sunday came along, I missed Mass (anxiety was too crazy for me to drive... and I'm the only one who drives in this house) and I just didn't want to write. Come Monday, I started feeling incredibly apathetic (and fatigued) about everything... prayers, checking things off of my Lenten "to-do" list, etc. I have two theories, which I will share with you because I need to get this out and writing is my outlet.

Theory one: I found out recently that ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) got strict with the grad school/certification requirements for future Speech-Language pathologists, which means I have to take three additional classes making my four-class semesters into five-class semesters. The three additional classes: Statistics, Chemistry, and Biology/Anatomy. I'd already been told that the program was intense... and it just got more intense. To top it off, since I graduated with my first B.A. two years ago, I have to take a math placement exam on Monday to hopefully test into Stats. Unfortunately, I took my last math class three years ago so this entire weekend will be spent cramming. I seem to have forgotten almost everything so I'll be doing a boatload of problems to study. My theory is that because of all of this stress (which started about Thursday evening) I've been in "shut down" mode; that means I don't feel like doing anything so I don't. If I feel forced to do something my anxiety gets worse... and I shut down.
And, please, no one say "you just need to trust God" because I am trusting Him and I'm sure that everything will be okay but with my school anxiety the stress still exists. I have to get used to the new plans is all. A "trust in Him" reminder is going on my desk for when I feel really stressed out so, I'm good. No need to say it to me. :)

Theory two: I was doing so well during Lent -- reading the St. Therese book, daily Gospel readings, being on top of my prayers throughout the day, going a while without the need for confession (a personal best for me), doing novenas, etc. -- and then... apathy and fatigue. Again this all hit last Thursday night so Theory One works out... except that it shouldn't have affected my prayer life as bad. Last time I was this stressed out about something, I prayed harder and I wasn't so "ugh, don't want this" about my prayer life. My theory is that someone's not happy that I've had (up until late last week) a very fruitful Lenten season... and I'll give you one guess who that someone is. I've tried really, really hard to keep praying but either I don't get up early enough to do morning prayers (I haven't been able to sleep for days and I wake up almost at noon most days) or I can't concentrate on my prayers and meditations because I'm so mentally (and physically) exhausted. The sudden feeling of overwhelming apathy is a pain and something I haven't felt in years. It's pretty bad but I'm trying. Again, it may just be a form of spiritual attack. I don't know. I just hope I can go to confession tomorrow and to Mass because I haven't been to either in 3 weeks tomorrow. Prayers please?

Anyway, that's why I haven't blogged in days. I was originally just going to stop blogging daily because I felt like the quality of blog posts during Lent was going downhill. It was hard trying to come up with something to write about when I had so many other things to do during the day. Like I said, I did/do have blog post topics listed but haven't had a chance to write them out. I totally had to force myself to write this too because I'm done with letting the apathy win. I didn't want to write (and still) but I'm doing my best.

For the record, if you're wondering, I have caught up with my prayers and my St. Therese book. I was only a few days behind (last Saturday through yesterday) on the book. I'm going to keep at it even though I don't feel like it. I'm trying. It's hard but I'm trying.

And that is it for now. I have to go study math. *groan* Wish me luck... or say a prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino (patron of exam takers), St. Hubert of Liege (patron of mathematicians), St. Thomas Aquinas (patron of students) or Bl. Pier Giorgio (personal patron for school related things) for me if you can spare one.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #30: I Thought Today Was Thursday Edition

In case you missed it, the guest post I wrote for The Mirror Magazine is now up for y'all to read. If you've ever wondered why I decided to switch careers from freelance writer to speech-language pathologist, definitely read it. If you're wondering "well, what about your Masters in Theology from Franciscan?" It's still in the cards, down the road. As I've said before, my spiritual director made a joke that I don't look old enough to teach Theology (I still look like a teenager) so I'll just do SLP for now. lol.

Lesson learned: It's okay to change careers. It might not be my ideal career but God has better plans for me and I will just have to trust Him.

I was watching the documentary Jazz by Ken Burns (which I am not finished with yet) and learned that a (now) monsignor used to play with Duke Ellington, who was himself Catholic. Msgr. John Sanders has a very fascinating story about how his vocation and how he came to it. I haven't had a chance to do more research on his life story but I found an old L.A. Times article online that covers the basics. Read it; it's so good! Anyone have more info on him? Anyone know where he is now? As someone who is a big fan of jazz (and who almost majored in it; I even filled out an application to USC's program before my reversion), I love it when the world of jazz and Catholicism collide.

Lesson learned: Even in the grittiest of circumstances (and life of jazz musicians was (is?) incredibly hard with many temptations), God finds a way to reveal your vocation. Also, sometimes you don't get to begin your vocation until you're over 30. That gives me hope. lol.

I saw a link to a post Fr. Z wrote on his blog about how people (who are in need of prayers) are actually talking about how they're waiting for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to die. What?! I'm a big Papa Bene fangirl so... this does not compute. I dislike that they've nicknamed him "The Rat"... which is actually something my super liberal former professor (who's a nun) used to call him; "a big Rat with red shoes." I still have the dates on which she called him that; I kept a record of everything. Everything. Anyway, as Fr. Z suggested, please pray for these men and those who have similar trains of thought.

Lesson learned: I don't know if I learned a lesson here but I did learn I need to pray for two more people (who I don't know). I seriously cannot imagine disliking someone so much I want them to die. I can't even imagine disliking someone enough to wish them ill. That's just... yikes. Also, pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He may not be our active Pope but he still needs prayers. :)

And that's all for this week. I hope y'all are having a good week thus far... and aren't as scatterbrained as I am. I seriously thought today was Thursday for some reason so I had to rename this blog post. Oops. :D

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Coming Soon...

This is NOT an April Fool's Day post. I don't like the day (in fact, I loathe it) nor do I celebrate it so no shenanigans from me.

Anyway, coming soon...

- Explanation as to why I decided to no longer blog daily during Lent.

- What I Learned Wednesday... on a Thursday (tomorrow's post).

- Updates on a couple of things I've had pending (to share).

I'm not posting anything today because it's April Fool's Day and I know some of y'all won't believe anything I post (including today's post... sigh). I really want to write a couple of things but I don't want them to be taken as jokes so I'm waiting to resume blogging until tomorrow.

This is just a heads up.