Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unable to Find the Right Words

This past week (and especially the last couple of days) have been a little strange for me. I've found myself speechless more often than not for a multitude of reasons. The two biggest reasons have something in common -- the potential loss of a parent.

A few days ago, the mother of one of my oldest friends had a hemorrhagic stroke and today the doctors said she was brain dead. Right now the family is waiting for guidance (and/or a miracle) to make the decision on whether or not to "pull the plug." At the same time, the father of another good friend is not doing too well (he has a brain tumor that can't be treated with chemotherapy) and he may have days to live. I've found myself not being able to come up with anything to say other than they're in my prayers (which they are) and that I'm there for them (which I am). I've been in their shoes before but I find myself unable to say the right words.

Are there any right words to say in these types of situations? I had some incredible friends who knew the right things to say 5 years ago while my father was living his last weeks. Other friends gave me my space and I suspect some of them did it because they (like me, right now) didn't know what to say. I feel like everyone says the same thing (or are more eloquent) so all I can say is what I've already mentioned ("you're in my prayers", "call/text me if you need me.")

I know myself well enough to know that if I speak exactly what I feel, I'm going to end up sobbing or making them (unintentionally) cry. I feel things very deeply and I'm sensitive to seeing others in any type of pain. If you don't believe me, read the article I wrote for Envoy Magazine about my experience with my father's death; I've never had so many grown men tell me that my words made them tear up. I'm actually sitting here, trying not to tear up as I type this out. Just knowing that my friends are going through one of the most difficult things (losing a parent) is hard.

I don't live close enough to my friends to be able to physically be there for them. If I could, I would be there, at the hospitals or helping in any way that I could. They're in my heart and on my mind all day. They're in my prayers and in the prayers of my friends whom they don't know. I still hope and pray for miracles but I don't know what else to do. Why don't I feel like that's enough? Before my father's death, I didn't have much experience in this field... and I still haven't had much since. I'm at a loss of what to do. I'm just "typing out loud" at this point.

Can y'all please pray for both of them and their families? I may be unable to find the right words to say but I can, at least, help spread the news so that we can all storm heaven with prayers.

That's it for now. Sorry this post is kind of a bummer but this is what's been on my mind lately.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My View, Vol. 5

What I am reading: I'm currently re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series by  L.M. Montgomery (I LOVE these books, no matter how old I am) with Kiera. I also decided to start reading Envoy for Christ by Patrick Madrid this past week. It's been on my list for a long time. It's my last week before the Fall semester begins so I'm really trying to squeeze in as much quality book time as possible. Sure, I read a ton of books for my courses but it's not the same as reading for pleasure. I'll be continuing the Anne series throughout the semester.

Favorite eats: I've been all about chicken tacos and lentil soup this week because of my low iron levels. Not anemic as previously thought (whoo!) but I'm trying to up the iron intake because of how low the levels are. I am going to try to make kale chips before the week is over as well. Also, if you haven't tried In-N-Out fries "well done", you should. So good!

This week in history: I had another doctor's appointment in which I got my results from last week's blood draw. Everything (except two things) were perfect. As previously mentioned, I am not anemic but my iron levels and platelets are unfortunately low. I'm starting the iron pills today (had to wait to get other meds). Kind of dreading the pills since I heard they're a bit much on the stomach but it's going to be for my own good so I'll be a brave little toaster... er... gal.

Oh! I also went to Disneyland on Monday since my annual pass is once again unblocked. That was fun and I'm so grateful for the pass (it was a birthday gift) because it helps me learn to function and manage my anxiety around crowds (which triggers my PTSD). Crowds were crazy but I managed to make it through the day in one piece. Hooray!

Prayers: For all those who are suffering and are experiencing injustice both abroad and here in the U.S. For my good friends, Thomas and Andrew, who are now seminarians. Both are two of my favorite fellas and both would make excellent priests. For my low iron levels and (especially) my platelets to go up, please. The platelets are the ones I'm more worried about, though I'm trying to leave it all in God's hands and not think about it too much.

Next week, I am going to: start classes for the Fall semester on Monday. I'll be taking 14 units instead of 15, and one will be an observation (think "hands on" experience)/grad school course. I hope the semester won't be too painfully bad. Summer was insane.

I also have spiritual direction next week... which I am sure I need despite being in a good place. I still have a lot of things to work on, including my issues with being occasionally scrupulous, so it'll be good for me.

And that was my week. :D

Friday, August 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 20: Health, Wealth, and Fangirling Edition

-- 1 --
Went in for my annual physical exam today and I found out that I have a couple of health issues. One for certain and the others are possibilities. Either way, I was given medications, more blood was drawn today (for a number of things to be ruled out or pinpointed), and this new doctor is 100x more proactive and caring than the last two doctors I had over the last two years. I hope this is the start of a new chapter for me in which I am healthier because I've been having major issues for the past two years.

-- 2 --
I'm so grateful that the new doctor who saw me today wanted answers. She agreed with me that this whole stomach issues thing has gone on too long (other doctors wanted to just mask the symptoms with meds instead of really looking for the cause). I'm not angry at the last two doctors for waving off any concerns regarding foods and diets I might've had. Yes, they would either laugh or smile at me and dismiss my concerns or anything I would bring up (which was hurtful) but, hey, if my suffering and my offering up things over the past two years has helped anyone (or helped any soul get out of purgatory), it was worth it.

-- 3 -- 
I'm sure those who know what's going on with me are thinking to themselves "how are you still smiling and being optimistic?" but, really, what else can I do? I've seen so many friends in pain (physically and/or emotionally) this week that the "mama bear" instinct in me is in full swing. I don't care about what I'm going through right now. The one officially diagnosed thing can be fixed. I'm still full of love, hugs, and silliness. Even after today's news, I'm just not interested in dwelling on my issues. I guess I just realize that other people are worse off than I am and they need support more than I do so I'm here to give them my support. :)

-- 4 --
This week, I've seen so much love from friends... and I'm not entirely sure why. I've received some of the sweetest compliments and I've been hugged more in the past two weeks than I have all year (which I am not complaining about, lol). I hope a reason for this is because I'm making them smile. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every email, text, message, etc I received from friends about all the lousy things they've been going through, I could pay off my student loans. I'm just there to listen when someone needs it. If someone's ever done anything nice for you, pay it forward. :) I may be on a poor college student budget most of the time but my wealth comes from the love of my friends and I couldn't ask for more.

-- 5 -- 
Yesterday I went to the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Vigil Mass and I had total fangirl moments. Fangirl moment #1: The new priest at our old home parish is very young (must be in his 30s) but he was rocking a black biretta. Fangirl moment #2: "smells and bells." I love the smell of incense and I love hearing the bells. Fangirl moment #3: Seminarian in the house and a whole bunch of dudes that gave me a "future seminarians" vibe. Yes! Fangirl moment #4: all-male alter servers (yes, one of those people). Fangirl moment #5: confession after Mass... and the lines were long despite there being two priests. Did I mention that the Mass was OF? I know! Loved it all.

-- 6 --
I'm currently re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series with my good friend (and rock star novel editor), Kiera. Serious question: do we ever get "too old" to read the AOGG series? I'm going to go with "no." I never read the series as a young girl but I've loved it in my 20s. If you haven't read it, go read it. Men, I'll give you a pass for this series... even though I think you should read them, especially if you have daughters. If you have daughters, I'd rather they read this series than Twilight. If you read this TO your daughter, you'll achieve "super dad" status. Just saying.

-- 7 --

I've had this song stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. I'm a sucker for these kinds of songs (... did you see all the songs I added to Lina's LC playlist or check out Lina's WTWC playlist?) Yes, I'm admittedly kind of (and by that I mean totally) a hopeless romantic so the song is right up my alley. Just wanted to share it with those of you who might want something lovely to listen to as you unwind from a hard week. :D

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

And that is all for now. I have access to Netflix and only one week left in my summer break so... you do the math. lol. :D

I hope y'all are doing well. If you have any prayer requests, send them my way. :D

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Novel Playlists and Sequel News

I know, I know... I was supposed to share the rest of the novel playlists last month. I didn't because I was busy with finals the last two weeks. Sorry! Now that I'm on a brief summer break, I'm going to share with y'all the novel playlists... as well as update y'all on the sequel status.

Oh! Before I go on, I just wanted to thank everyone who bought the novel last month. We ended up raising twice the amount I was expecting to donate towards cancer research! I'm donating all of it; I'm not keeping a single penny. Again, thank you so much to everyone who bought it or gifted it to someone!  :D

Alright, back to the blog post...

I shared a shortened version of the one playlist mentioned in the novel (This is What Awesome Sounds Like) last month and thought that the shortened versions of the playlists would be ideal for the blog. The actual playlists I have are several hours long because that's how long I take writing/editing chapters per day. If you want the links to the original playlists, let me know and I'll send them your way.

I decided to share playlists from both novels because the sequel is almost done. As in, I believe I can finish writing the story in the next day or two and I might be able to edit it next week. Don't quote me on that because I do have a packed schedule of socializing to get to before I start the Fall semester towards the end of this month.

The playlists are broken up according to novels and structure. Spoiler alert: since the novels are split into two (Will's POV followed by Lina's POV), the Will playlists are first. Also, WTWC playlists are first and LC (London Calling, name of the sequel) playlists are last. Yes, there only five playlists. No, Candace doesn't have one for the sequel because... if you've read WTWC, you know the answer to that. lol.

Will's Playlist (WTWC)

Lina's Playlist (WTWC)

Candace's Playlist (WTWC)

Will's Playlist (LC)

Lina's Playlist (LC)

Yes, there's quite the difference between the songs chosen for a reason. Spoiler alert: the sequel let's you know what's happened to Will and Lina since the (sort of) cliffhanger in WTWC... but it doesn't pick up immediately after it. It's a bit into the future and the music sort of reflects that. That's all I can say without giving away more details. :D

And that's it. Again, if you want complete playlists or the playlist that contains the songs used for chapter titles (how many of you caught that?), let me know.

Now I have to go run errands and then be domestic (aka clean, cook, etc). ;)

I hope y'all are having a great start of week thus far. If you have any prayer requests, send them my way. :D

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