Saturday, May 31, 2014

My View, Vol. 4: Adoration

This morning I took my mom to a new church (new to her, not to me). The last time I was there, I went with my friend Delaney for confession and ended up getting some Adoration time in before we left. I've always felt so at peace there that I'd been trying to get mom there for the past couple of months. Since mom is on vacation, I was finally able to take her and it was so worth it. She loved it. You can't see the whole thing (the room is so small and Instagram likes to crop pictures anyway) but, trust me, it's lovely. We spent some time there before really starting our day. They've begun celebrating Latin Masses at this particular parish (once per month) so we'll be back sometime soon. :) And that's my view for the week.

For more views, check out the link up at The Corner with a View.

I hope y'all have a blessed weekend. :D

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #33: Trust, St. Catherine of Genoa, and a Chaplet

I know, I haven't written in over a week. I have at least one major exam per week and a ton of reading and homework to do so that's my excuse. lol. Sorry but I'm basically doing grad level work (or so I was told) in my pre-grad program so I don't have a lot of free time. I'm making time for this post though. :)

So what have I learned since my last WILW post?

I've been trying to let things go and trying to trust God more. As someone who has suffered from anxiety disorder since she was 15 years old (almost half of my life thus far), it's been hard to not worry or to not try to do everything possible in order to not get a bad experience. A lot of times I want to revert to my old self because it's safe and comfortable but I don't. I'm not letting anxiety get the best of me anymore. I still get anxiety from time to time (and it's been a particular pain in the tush the past two days) but I've learned (thanks to both my spiritual director and my PTSD therapist) to stop it in its tracks so that I don't get derailed. While I'm driving or out, anxiety begins to creep out for whatever reason but I take a deep breath and say "nope, not this time; Lord, I trust in You" and keep going on with whatever I was doing. My SD has been drilling this idea (to let go and trust God despite what I may be feeling) into my head for months now and it's finally sticking. That's nearly 13 years old fears and terrible habits that I'm undoing. I still have a long way to go but I know I'll get there with the help of God, my SD, and some saintly intercessions. :)

Lesson (is being) learned: It's better to simply trust God instead of trying to control outcomes and/or worrying about things that may or may not happen.

I'll admit that I haven't read much on St. Catherine of Genoa just yet but what I have learned about her has hit really close to home. Not to say that I endured what she did through a husband (I've never been married) but I've had someone in my life who reminds me of her husband. Without going into detail, I will say that it was not a romantic relationship and that the actions and his later conversion of St. Catherine's husband reminded me so much of that of person. Furthermore, her own personal interior struggles in letting her spiritual director "in" is something I've been working through with my own (very patient and wonderful) spiritual director. This goes back to the whole issue of my learning to trust God. I'm not there yet but I'm slowly getting there. As I said earlier this month, I had never heard of her before the dream I had but I'm so happy that she came up when she did.

Lesson learned: we can learn a lot from the lives of saints. I also have a new saint who inspires me to keep working hard towards my goal of living a more saintly life... and wearing my mantilla more often. St. Catherine of Genoa is a patron for those who are ridiculed for their piety so it works.

As I mentioned in my last 7 Quick Takes post, I recently learned about the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel and I absolutely love it. The chaplet is a bit different than the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy (which I actually prayed before I finished writing this blog post) but it's so lovely. I love the idea of having an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs accompanying me when receiving Holy Communion. Did you know that was attached to this chaplet? Well, now you do! I have yet to figure out when I will be able to do this (because my day is mostly spent studying/reading) but you can bet that I'm going to try to get into the habit of reciting this chaplet daily.

Lesson learned: there are still a lot of great chaplets, novenas, and prayers out there and all are worth giving a shot. Also, I've inherited my mother's love of angels. 

Well, that's it for now. I need to get back to the salt mines.

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. 

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Smiled When I Failed

I failed twice in a row and I'm absolutely grateful that I did. That probably sounds weird, doesn't it? I should probably explain my mentality behind this...

As most of you know, I've been back in school for three weeks now. I've had major tests for three of my five courses, with the fourth major exam coming up next week. I've studied to the point where my head aches and my hand hurts from all the note taking. I've given up all socializing so that I can spend my entire day studying. I aced my first exam on Morphology with a 97%. I was so excited. I took my Phonetic test an hour later... and failed. 68%. Ouch. I only had (less than) 24 hours to cram 123 terms for my anatomy exam yesterday. I spent hours doing it. I made my own flashcards (yes, hand wrote all 100+ of them). I went over them a number of times and managed to memorize most of them. Unfortunately, the exam covered most of what I didn't manage to memorize. Of course. 67%. Ouch again. Instead of feeling like a failure, I smiled and shrugged it off. Do you want to know why? No, not because I don't care (the overachiever in me isn't thrilled)... or because I've lost my mind. I did it because I've been trying to trust God more... and that includes being okay with failing once in a while.

I'll be honest here: the reasons why I passed one test but not the other two were very simple: I didn't manage my time right and I overstudied. Boy, did I overstudy. I learned from the gals in the post-baccalaureate program that my professors tend to pick exam questions based mostly on the lectures they give (which I did watch); that reading the textbook is pretty useless. Guess where I focused most of my studying on for one course: the textbook. I had way too much information crammed into my brain that I didn't actually need, which I'm sure meant I confused a couple of things on the exams. Okay, so that's out for next time. Also, I needed more time to study the anatomy terms. I thought I was going to have at least three full days to study for it; I only had less than 12 hours to do it because important things popped up and I simply had no time to study like I wanted. Problems identified and solutions planned.

So, again, why the smiling? Because I saw the whole thing as a metaphor for my life: I've had a lot of "tests" in my life that I've failed but I've always managed to overcome them with the help of God. I handled certain situations in my late teens and early 20s very poorly. Did I give up? No. Did God give up on me when I was being a rotten brat? Nope. When you love something (or someone), you don't give up on it (or them) easily. We as human beings continually fail at doing little things. That's why we have the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation. It doesn't mean that we're failures; it just means we have to work a little harder where we have weaknesses. (For the record: the thing that will continuously land me in the confessional is being not completely nice when I feel I'm put into danger by reckless drivers. I don't cuss but... sarcastic remarks can border on my being a brat with lack of charitable words.)

By the way, if you're asking if I prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino that I pass my exams, I did. Yes, I certainly did... but he's not going to intercede for me if I don't put more of an effort into it. He actually did come through for me with Morphology so he gets props for that! I'm actually happy I didn't miraculously pass because I didn't deserve to pass. I needed to fail so that I could find a better plan of attack for the next couple of exams. I'm not going to give up on finding new ways to memorize things for certain classes, especially now that I have an idea of what the professors add on the exams. Am I going to be bugging the Holy Spirit for a clearer mind for the rest of my program (until May 1st, 2015)? You bet! I'm sure the Holy Spirit and a couple of saints won't mind if I spent a little more time in prayer, asking for their intercession. It'll be a better use of my time than studying things I won't need in exams ;)

I've never been as happy studying as I have been these past three weeks. I've actually caught myself smiling when working on lecture notes, when my hand is cramping and I have to pause the lecture video. I have a real passion for this subject; much more than I ever anticipated. Sure, the work is hard (um, hello, I failed two exams... and I wasn't the only one who tanked them either according to classmates) but I absolutely love it. Even if it means I'm going to have to work even harder, I don't care. I've never felt more sure of my path in life than I do now. I do have moments of doubt ('cause you-know-who loves sneaking those in when you least expect it), but I am trusting God with my path. If I don't end up passing my courses, despite all my best efforts, it's because I'm meant for another path... and I will let God lead me down that path. Still, I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be and I will work as hard as necessary to make sure I achieve my goal (which is a Masters degree in Communicative Disorders aka Speech-Language Pathology). A little hard work never hurt anyone. :)

And that's where I'm currently at. I do have a ton of homework and a big exam for this week and into next week but I will hopefully have a little more free time now that I've figure out what works (less textbook, more lectures) and what doesn't (overstudying textbooks).

Anyway, that's all I wanted to share today. I still have another 20 minutes left of lecture to get through and I want to at least get the notes done tonight so that I can go over them a couple of times before my exam next Tuesday. :) I will try to blog tomorrow but we'll see how I am with time. :)

I hope y'all have been well! If you have any prayer requests, feel free to send them my way. I'm still praying and doing novena despite all the studying I've been doing. ;)

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 17: Study Breaks and Saint Dreams Edition

-- 1 --
I hope y'all enjoyed doing the St. Dymphna novena that was posted over the last couple of days. I failed to post the link to day 8 on the FB page but I know y'all knew the posts were still posted daily as I scheduled them ahead of time. ;) As I posted on the page, the Mary Undoer of Knots novena started yesterday via Pray More Novenas. If you haven't started it, there's still time. It's one of my all-time favorites and quite powerful.

-- 2 --
Speaking of the FB page, I've been more active on it because it's sometimes easier to get certain content seen than on Twitter. That and I'm trying to stay away from Twitter during the day. lol. I use Twitter for everything, not just Catholic content. I try to keep the content on the FB page purely Catholic so, in case you want more of that, please consider "liking" the page. ;)

-- 3 -- 
I can't believe my debut novel has been out for two weeks today... and it's still selling! That's still kind of crazy to me. Did you know that if you have Amazon Prime you can also "borrow" it? Seriously, I'm not about making money (and I would host a giveaway if it wasn't my contract with Amazon to not give it away); I just want young women (and fellas) to have something else to read that doesn't contain smut or any of the other problematic issues other novels have. The characters are flawed and they don't always make the best decisions but parents don't have to worry about their teenagers reading about "sexy times" or other questionable things. I personally like the sequel better but you need to read the debut to make sense of the second one. ;)

-- 4 --
As some of you might've seen on Twitter and the FB page, last week I had a very interesting saint dream. Basically, there were three saints: St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Catherine of Siena, and Bl. Pier Giorgio. Bl. PGF is a veteran (in terms of the number of appearances in my dreams) but it was the first appearance of both St. Catherine of Genoa and St. Catherine of Siena. I had actually never heard of St. Catherine of Genoa prior to the dream so the fact that she popped up was interesting. It's kind of how it happened with St. Teresa of Avila upon my reversion. Anyway, in the dream I had a sense of St. Catherine of Genoa wanting to help me, but I was unclear as to how. Then St. Catherine of Siena and Bl. PGF were there, by my side, because they were also going to help as well. I figured out what St. Catherine of Genoa is patroness of and it still amuses me because I'm currently trying to figure out a situation pertaining to my vocation. No clue what it means but I still laugh over the coincidence. lol.

-- 5 -- 
And while on the topic of the dream and coincidences, I figured out two very cool real life coincidences connected to the dream. First: Did you know that the female protagonist in my novel, Lina (Catalina), was named after St. Catherine of Alexandria... who appeared to St. Joan of Arc in real life? Yep. Guess who was born of St. Joan of Arc's feast day? This girl! I didn't even realize that until last week. Funny! Also, it just dawned on me that both St. Catherine of Siena and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (who appeared in my dream) are both Dominican saints... and I'm looking into becoming a lay Dominican. Loving the connections. ;)

-- 6 --
Update from my studies: I am drowning in the amount of reading, assignments, and exams I have to do on a weekly basis. :( So far I have all possible points in most classes (I got a 9/10 in one assignment for one class) but it's hard to maintain near perfect grades. One of my professors is allowing us to do quizzes an unlimited number of times because of how dense the material is and how much of it we have to memorize. I have two big exams coming up (one tomorrow and the other -- harder! -- on Monday morning) so I'm taking tonight through Monday morning to step away from social networks to really immerse myself in the material. I knew the program was intense (as will the grad school program; I'm in the post-baccalaureate program) but, goodness, I didn't know it was going to be this bad. I have 5 courses, too! I'll just offer it up. This is something I really want to do so I will work hard in order to achieve it. A little (or a lot) of hard work never hurt anyone. No, shush, let me believe that. lol.

-- 7 --
There's really not much to report on. My days are filled with lectures, note taking, reading, etc. I have been keeping up my daily prayers (except last Sunday morning; oops!) and I'm trying hard to examine my conscience on a daily basis so that I'm aware of my actions. Hopefully the Undoer of Knots novena I'm doing will help with that. Oh! And, thanks to Thomas Pringle, I learned about the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel! I knew about the scapular (blue and black; looks like a shield) but had no idea the chaplet was so good! :D I'm going to incorporate that (along with the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy) when I take my study breaks. Need to do prayer in between study to keep myself sane. lol.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

That's it for now. I need to go pick mom up from work and then turn in an assignment early (doing everything early this week) so I can focus on studying for my exams for the rest of the weekend. I hope y'all are doing well!

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Nine

Day 9: For Chastity

O God, lover of innocent souls, Thou gavest St. Dymphna the virtue of angelic purity which made her reserved in all her actions, modest in her dress, attentive in her conversation, upright in her character, so that she even shed her blood to preserve this precious virtue. Through the intercession of St. Dymphna, we beg thee to bestow upon us the virtue of chastity that we may enjoy peace of conscience in this life and pure eternal joys of heaven hereafter. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Eight

Day 8: For Temperance

O God, You made St. Dymphna resplendent in the virtue of temperance so that she mastered sensual inclinations and used temporal goods prudently. With temperance she combined the beautiful virtues of modesty, docility and humility. Let us not forget that humility is called the foundation of all virtue because it banishes from the soul pride, the obstacle to grace. Through the intercession of St. Dymphna, we beg Thee to guide and direct us, so that being preserved from evil and nervous disorders, we may obey till death the commandments and counsels Thou hast given us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times 


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Monday, May 12, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Seven

Day 7: For Fortitude

O God, rewarder of those who remain firm in their good resolutions, Thou gavest St. Dymphna such a love of virtue that she had the courage to suffer privation, persecution, and even martyrdom. Through her prayers we beg Thee to grant us fortitude that we may courageously and perseveringly overcome ourselves and finally conquer the enemy of our salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times 


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Six

Day 6: For Justice

O God, source of eternal justice, Thou didst inspire St. Dymphna to flee from her country and her father in order to render to Thee that which was Thine. Through her intercession we beg Thee to make us seek after justice so that we may perform our duties toward Thee as we ought. Though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Saturday, May 10, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Five

Day 5: For Prudence

O God, ruler of the universe, Thou didst allow St. Dymphna to discover a helpful means of avoiding the evil intentions of her father. Through the merits of Thy holy servant, be pleased to grant that we may become, according to the words of Jesus, simple as doves and wise as serpents, so that through prudent advice and sound judgment we may recognize what we must do to achieve the great work of our salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Friday, May 9, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Four

Day 4: For Piety

God, Our Creator and Supreme Master, St. Dymphna served Thee with great zeal even in her childhood, by hearing Thy word with delight, by assisting at Holy Mass with fervent reverence, and by receiving Holy Communion from the hand of St. Gerebran with tender devotion. Through her intercession we beg Thee to grant us the same virtue of piety so that, having honored Thee during this life as our Creator, we may possess Thee hereafter as our final reward. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Three

Day 3: For Charity

God of love, Thou art the most perfect Being, and Creator of all that is good and beautiful. Through the intercession of St. Dymphna, who in her youth loved Thee above all creatures and for Thy sake loved her neighbor as herself, as the image and likeness of Thee, as the price of the Blood of Jesus and as co-heir of heaven, be pleased to help us by Thy powerful grace, that we may faithfully fulfill the two great commandments of charity not only in word, but in action and in truth. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day Two

Day 2: For Hope

Almighty and infinitely good God, Thou hast promised eternal salvation to those who obey Thy commandments and make zealous use of Thy graces. Through the intercession of St. Dymphna, who fled from the danger of sin by leaving the palace of her father, and who, eager to gain eternal salvation, fled to Belgium to live in poverty, we beg Thee to grant that we also, who are striving for eternal happiness, may overcome all obstacles in the way of virtue and may attain eternal salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

St. Dymphna Novena, Day One

Day 1: For Faith

O God, Source of our salvation, in the midst of a pagan people, Thou didst enlighten St. Dymphna by the light of the true faith, which she professed under the guidance of her holy confessor, Gerebran, with such constance that she suffered martyrdom. Through the intercession of these two saints, we beg Thee to strengthen the faith which Thou hast given us, so that by wisely subjecting our souls to Thy Supreme Authority, and by faithfully conforming our lives according to our faith, we may honor Thee with our whole heart and soul until the hour of our death. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be five times.


If any of you have any specific prayer requests and don't think you'll be able to do the novena, please let me know. :)

God bless,

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Introducing: Will and Lina; Q&A

It's official: the first novel is available on Amazon for Kindle! It's kind of surreal! This is definitely not the book I started writing in 2008 but I like how it changed as I grew up.

It was technically published yesterday (May 2nd) but it says May 1st for some reason? Maybe Amazon really wanted me to have a book released on St. Joseph the Worker's feast day; I definitely worked hard with the proofreading and the editing (so much editing) in the past couple of weeks.

I've gotten some questions asked about the novel so, instead of just repeating myself, I'm taking the top 4 and answering them on here.

Q1) What genre is it?
A: Um, (mostly) fiction? lol. I'm still unsure beyond it being YA fiction. Amazon has it listed as Contemporary Women as well as New Adult and College. *shrugs*

Q2) Is Melissa Cecilia a pen name?
A: Yes. Most of you know by now that Emmy has been my nickname for years (Melissa is my actual first name)... and that I used my nickname because I didn't want my alma mater to sue me for "exposing" them. I decided not to use my surname for the novel because there is a designer, a model, and, I think, a photographer with the same name and I didn't want there to be confusion. That's what happens when you're born in a decade when your first name was in the top 10 most popular... for an entire decade. Also, I generally use Melissa Cecilia or Emmy Cecilia for everything anyway. :)

Q3) Are Will and Lina based on real life people? Is the novel based on real life events?
*shrugs* It's mostly fiction. Friends are speculating that Lina is based on me. That's all I'm saying. ;)

Q4) Will there be a print version?
Yes! Don't ask me when the release date with be though. I don't know when it'll happen but hopefully over the summer. Since I'm doing independent publishing, it's all dependant on when I have the free time to get everything done myself. Ah, life of an indie writer. ;)

And that's it for now. I'm trying to take it easy this weekend because I return to school on Monday. I need the weekend to rest from all the stress I endured this past weekend. ;)

I hope y'all have a great weekend! If you have any prayer requests, please send 'em my way. :D

P.S. There may be a FB page for the novel. Thanks to Jane for getting people to join. lol.