Thursday, November 16, 2023

It Isn’t Any Better But It Is in Some Ways


No, your eyes do not deceive you. I am indeed blogging. I know, it’s been months! And I know I owe y’all an explanation for why I’m now wearing glasses despite still being legally blind but I wanted to talk about something else in this post. It’s sort of in the vein of The Secularization of Emmy post.

First, I haven’t blogged for two big reasons: I’ve been busy because I actually have a social life now (whaaat?!) and because I’ve been knocked out by the weaning off of the hydrocortisone process. The latter will get its own post in a couple of weeks (once I get the final results). 

In early September, I voluntarily agreed to host a group of lovely women I’d met over the last couple of months for a weekly get-together. We’re now in our second month and I haven’t missed a single week, even when I was completely wiped. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for that because I could’ve easily said, “I’m not feeling well… eh, I’ll postpone it.” But I didn’t. I don’t know if it’s the Benedictine in me or if it’s just the old Emmy coming out again… because I used to love to plan get-togethers and outings for friends. I’m what you call an ambivert (social introvert) but, while I tried to get my health and everything else in order, I shied away from it. Well, not anymore. The group (whom I refer to as “my girls”) continues to grow and I was invited to join another group of gals so… busy me. 

It’s been wonderful and I’m learning so much about myself from these ladies. We differ greatly. The age range is roughly mid-late 20s to early 40s with a couple of older ladies who are young at heart. Some of are single, some are dating, most married. Some have children, some don’t. A few of us are religious (though, to my knowledge, I might be the only Catholic), most aren’t. Our political affiliations and views vary greatly though the majority are liberal. So, it’s been a learning process for someone who identified as a conservative, trad-leaning Catholic. And, no, that was not a typo. I did write “identified” in the past tense.

And this is why I’m writing this post. It stems from the series of tweets I shared yesterday after seeing that a priest said that most devout Catholic women don’t have mental health issues… and, boy, do I disagree with that. While I don’t consider myself a “devout Catholic” woman because this desolation has pushed me as far as it can without me saying I’m no longer Catholic, I know so many devout Catholic women who suffer from anxiety, PTSD, depression, etc. because of life circumstances or even chemical imbalances. My own depression (which started this past summer) seems to be tied to the use of the hydrocortisone. We’ll have to give my body some time to readjust with life without the daily use of those steroids (which I took for 3 years and a month) and see how my mental (and spiritual) health recover. Or doesn’t.

That disagreement led to be honest about what life has been since summer (which I’ve already mentioned in a past post). Like I said, I’m as far as I can get from where I was without abandoning the faith. I still keep up the bare minimum as an Oblate because I made those life-long promises and I’m someone who will honor those promises even when I don’t feel like it. I have yet to make it to Mass (though most of that has been due to health issues) but my SD has made it out to my home to hear my confession and bring the Eucharist. It’s been 2 months so I’m overdue but I’m trying.

“Lord, this is all I can do. Sorry.” That’s what’s going to be my motto for the foreseeable future. I can’t do more. Can I? Very much… but it take s a lot of mental strength and will power which I just lack. It’s all part of the depression. I jokingly say I have high-functioning depression because I can be there and “on” when I need to but it takes so much strength and effort to get myself to that place… and when I don’t have to, I’m just completely exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. Again, it might all be tied to the hydrocortisone and I just took my last dose this past Monday so give me a couple of weeks/months to see if there’s any improvement.

At the moment, I feel numb to the faith. I was so steeped in all things Catholic for nearly 17 years that I recognize which things are “good” and which are “bad.” I know which things go against the faith and I’ve been able to stop myself from doing stupid things. Not all the things but most of the things. I need to watch my feisty/sassy side a little more (it’s always been there but I had it mostly hidden for a long, long time). But, for the most part, I think I’ve done the best I can under the circumstances. 

All of this feels like a sort of spiritual rebellion. I know where some of it stems from. I think God is allowing it so that I can see what life is without Him and what life will continue to be if I were to choose to completely walk away. It’s a very interesting crossroads I didn’t think I would see. And that crossroads doesn’t just include my spiritual life. It includes all areas of my life. All.

I’m still going to quote Mary Poppins and say, “First of all I would like to one thing quite clear. I never explain myself.” The Taylor Swift song lyrics on X/Twitter  is a very Millennial thing for me to do and, yes, there’s a reason for them. But, like I said, I’m not explaining myself. When have I ever? lol. If you know, you know…

I know those and other recent heart emoji-filled posts on X (formerly known as Twitter) have made people wonder if I’m still discerning consecrated virginity and the answer is simply “no.” I’m going to leave it at that for now.

Look, I’m happy right now… or, at least as happy as I can be knowing there is this feeling emptiness because of the big obvious void in my life. No amount of dancing, singing, laughing, nor any swoon-worthy green eyes will fill that hole and I understand that. But that’s where I am right now and I’m trying to make sense of both the things that make me happy and make me feel alive with the gaping void on the other side.

I love my friends. My ride or die friends have stuck by me during this hard time while so many have bailed on me. I love the few Catholic friends who’ve stuck around. My oblate sister, one of my besties (the one I watched TSITP with this past summer), and the rest who are making sure I’m still hanging in there. I would not trade them for anything in the world. My new friends are also pushing me to be the best version of myself despite our big differences. They’re the type to call me out on my crud and keep my humility in check while willing to cut someone for messing with me. My girls have been responsible for my current social life and for me not falling back into that pit of depression I was in this summer. 

I’m moving forward with my career, in a way. I still don’t know if I’m return to my “roots” but I’m having fun in the process of figuring it out. All I know is that I refuse to let the legal blindness keep me where I’ve been the past three years.

As my friend Rey recently said, I’m a cross between Taylor’s 1989 and Folklore albums — I’m “very pink and poppy and silly but good for heavy introspection.” And I don’t know a better description of who I am than that. lol. I’m being girly and silly and I’m loving life while also taking the time to reflect and try to move forward in the best way I can.

This is a big growing period for me. In a way I feel like I’m 20 years old again, with my life stretched out in front of me like a blank canvas awaiting to be painted. I have no idea what the final picture will be… I don’t know what colors or even what materials I’m going to use. But I’m excited for whatever will happen in the process. 

People may be disappointed in me for “how far I’ve fallen” or for whatever reason but I’d like to ask those of you who feel that way to ask yourselves why. I’m just a girl with a blog. I’m human. I make mistakes. Life is not a linear journey. Sometimes we stray off the right path but we find ourselves way. Sometimes we just don’t. 

 No one but God knows why He’s allowing me to be in this place; why I keep “failing” or “not trying hard enough.” Only He knows if I’ll ever come back to what y’all are used to (via blog and social media) or if this is a growth period that will see me change in ways that people may not like but will be necessary. Maybe I’m simply a “lost cause” and there’s no return for me. I don’t know. All I know is that I haven’t given up on myself, even if others have. And I’m okay with that.

Anyway, that’s it. I gotta get ready before I spend some time with my girls.

I hope y’all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Secularization of Emmy


I know I haven’t blogged in over two months. In all honesty, I’ve had to sit with my thoughts and everything I’ve recently gone through in order to be able to write this post. 

As I wrote in the last post, I was plunged into a deep desolation that I’m still not completely out of. This is something I’m keeping my spiritual director in the loop with for obvious reasons.

It’s been a difficult two months but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m used to the desolation. It’s as normal as breathing for me at this time. It doesn’t mean I like it. It doesn’t mean I’m not constantly asking God to take it away; that I’m not constantly doing novenas to various saints (currently to St. Therese of Lisieux), asking for their intercessions. But it’s very much my default coping mechanism. I can’t change it? I accept it and try to make the most out of it. It’s what I’ve done with every single setback I’ve experienced in the last couple of years. It’s how I’ve survived becoming legally blind, getting diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, and every other crummy thing I’ve experienced. 

I think that the thing that has helped me out the most is knowing that St. Teresa of Calcutta (a.k.a. Mother Teresa) experienced something like this for literally decades. It wasn’t a short term thing like some of these “dark nights of the soul” have been for other saints. I don’t know the specifics of her story (I still don’t have the mental or spiritual capacity to tackle a book on it… or, really, anything Catholic) but I know she struggled with a deep desolation that really did a number on her for years. So, keeping that in mind, I try not to beat myself too much over things I try and can’t do.

I’m not praying the Rosary most days and it’s a miracle when I remember to do it. Most days (at least recently) it’s because I forget to. If it wasn’t for my Benedictine oblation, I probably wouldn’t do any spiritual reading (I pray a bit of the Holy Rule every morning) or have any good prayer life. I get most of the Divine Office hours in most days. At the very least, I get Lauds, Prime, Vespers, and Compline in every day (though I missed Prime this morning because I got distracted and lost track of time this morning). I do novenas. I’m keeping up with the 9-month Annunication novena. I’m keeping up with praying for all U.S. Bishops (a project that is done by the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion). I’ve only missed Mass once on a Sunday when the feed to my parish’s evening Mass wasn’t working and it was the last one live-streamed for the day). My mind wanders so quickly and I read/pray the Divine Office automatically and my brain doesn’t grasp anything but I try. It’s really all I can do.

A couple of months ago (around the time and shortly after the last blog post), I couldn’t hear anything about the faith without getting inexplicably angry. It felt like my body wanted to physically reject anything that had to do with the faith. Rosaries, images of saints (and especially Our Lady and Christ), the Crucifix. It was the weirdest physical sensation, akin to how my body feels when I have an allergic reaction or is having a reaction to something that it’s intolerant to. I’m thankfully no longer there but it was intense.

I lost one of my best friends and a lot of followers on social media during this time. I felt isolated from friends because no one knew how to react to what I was experiencing… not even priest friends, which honestly hurt. I had a couple of priest friends occasionally reach out to tell me they were praying for me but that was it. People didn’t like how I was acting or what I was saying… and never did I. The only ones who seem to stick around during the worst of it were my oblate Sister (whose conversation really helped turn things around for me a couple of weeks ago), another one of my best friend, and my friends from my pre-reversion days (all of who are atheist or agnostic). It actually surprised me how I felt completely abandoned by my Catholic friends and community but not the atheists and agnostics. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve known me for most of my life or what but it didn’t help the desolation whatsoever. 

God bless one my best friend with whom I watched new episodes of The Summer I Turned Pretty as they were premiering weekly. She was the only person I talked to on an almost daily basis, which honestly saved my mental health during this time. If I hadn’t had something like the show to look forward to and to distract me or have someone I could message and talk to on a regular basis, I don’t know how deeper the depression would’ve gotten. And I appreciated that she didn’t try to “fix” me. She made it clear that she was there if I needed to talk but also didn’t push me. And I appreciated that because most people wanted me to do x, y, z and would get frustrated or even angry with me when I said I wasn’t in a good place where I could do what they were suggesting. It wasn’t me trying to be difficult; it was me telling them what I couldn’t do and it made people upset with me. It felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough even though I knew I was.

I feel like God hasn’t abandoned me… but I’ve abandoned Him without meaning to. And I try to get back to where I was or to feel some sort of connection to anything faith related… but I can’t. I have very small moments of consolation every couple of weeks or so but it’s very fleeting and then I’m plunged back in. In a way, it feels like God is reminding me of where I was pre-reversion and making me see how I’d rather suffer than go back to that… because I’ve fallen back into my pre-reversion life. Not completely but I’m definitely living a more “secular” lifestyle and slowly drifting back into the entertainment business (as many have probably noticed with my support for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, though I’ve been more vocal about the WGA strike for obvious reasons). 

I don’t have deluded visions of grandeur as a screenwriter but I definitely see myself returning to my “roots” in the industry that started when I was a teenager. It’s become a sort of “well, if I’m going to be living a more secular life, I might as well try to do something good with the gifts God has given me.” I don’t have the looks, talent, or even age (at this point) to act but writing? That I can do, even with my visual impairment. I’m still discerning whether I’ll pursue this fully but, for now, I’m still working on novel four. The point is that I’m looking at how I’m going to live my life in a more secular way as I move forward with the desolation firmly intact.

I’m the type of person who takes vows and promises seriously, especially from an authority figure, so I can see myself being able to keep whatever has been asked of me as an oblate for life. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. Even during the worst of the desolation, I didn’t waver from it. The rest is more difficult but I try to get some semblance of my former spiritual life whenever I can. 

Also, despite living with a deep desolation, I had 16 years (between my reversion and the onset of the desolation) of learning and understanding of faith matters to know what is and what isn’t permitted by the Church; what I personally need to do and not do unless I want to find myself back in the confessional more often. I still can’t do or say certain things in good conscience. These things have been deeply ingrained in me for over a decade and a half so I think that’s what’s helping me not slip completely. It’s all second nature to me and it would take something insane to throw me off completely, even if I don’t feel close to God or attached to anything regarding the Church (except my oblation promises and my spiritual family at Clear Creek Abbey).

So, that’s where I am. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this desolation. I don’t know if it’ll last for the rest of my life. I don’t know if things will ever get as bad as they were a few months ago… but God has shown me that I’ve been able to get through the worst of it so maybe I’ll be okay even if I’m here permanently.  

Anyway, that’s it for now. I wanted to share where I was at this point in my life… and also give my new contact lenses a bit of a workout. Oh yes, you read that right. I’m still legally blind but I was prescribed contact lenses to help with the residual sight in my left eye… which maybe I’ll share in the next post because that itself has been one crazy journey. My optometrist is still experimenting with this and she seems to be loving the challenge. That’s all I’m saying for now. 

I hope you are all doing well.

As always, thank you for reading and God bless! 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Faith Crisis and the Epiphany


One of the best friends I ever had — Melissa Joy (yes, we had the same first name) taught me a valuable life lesson that has just now sunk in in a way that hadn’t before: be yourself without apologies.

Recently, I’ve been going through a serious faith crisis. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while now but it’s only been amplified during the 54-day Rosary novena. I feel and see myself slipping away from the faith. I know part of that has to do with the desolation I feel, the isolation (from my parish community and friends) I’ve been forced into, and all my health issues all colliding. But there was a major component which I hadn’t factored in: the feeling like I have to continually censor who I am to fit in in certain Catholic circles or to deny myself of things because if I don’t, I’m a “bad Catholic.”

This is where I admit that I’m a massive fan of the Amazon Prime series The Summer I Turned Pretty. Go ahead and judge me if you want — I’m tired of caring at this point. Am I way out of the target demographic? Yup! Are there questionable things that go against the Faith? Yup. Do I still enjoy it? Sorry, but a big yes! I’m fully invested in the story of Belly Conklin and her feelings for brothers Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. I didn’t love the books but I’m loving the changes made for the series. I mean, not the end of episode two of the second season (they should’ve kept it closer to the books for that particular scene) but I still like it overall. I like getting excited to see what the next episode will bring since they’re following the book trilogy but are making some great improvements that keep us “book girlies” on our toes. 

It was when I realized that I couldn’t share this excitement and joy that it seemed like I had finally figured out why I was so miserable and why my faith crisis was getting worse.

See, I’m the type of person who can live in the “secular world” and still see the good, the bad, and the ugly. I see people (whether real or fictional) for the beautiful and oftentimes flawed persons that they are. I’m able to take the secular shows, movies, music, etc. and find the good in it. It actually enriches my faith so much more because it challenges me (in a good way) and it makes life more beautiful to me. My faith thrived when I was at the CINO (Catholic in Name Only) college, when I wasn’t in the best environment for the faithful. I was more “joyful in the faith” when I could be more open and honest about things without the weight of judgment for not living up to expectations. 

That’s not to say that I wasn’t being authentic; I was. I was just stifling a big part of myself in the process. It took my excitement for this series, the re-working of my fourth novel, and the two hospital trips (and a big dose of Memento Mori) for me to realize what was going on. After watching the fourth episode of the second season for the show (which had a killer soundtrack) and wanting to tweet about it — but then being afraid of what people would say — I went, “you know what? Flip that table! I’m excited for this. I’m going to share it.”

With the realization of how bad my health is getting and how short life is, I decided that I’m too tired to care anymore. I’m tired of people shaming me for liking things that bring me joy and give me a little break from the harsh realities of life. Because my life is hard and I’m struggling. And you know what? It’s thanks to those breaks from overthinking about all that’s going on in my life that have actually started helping me with my faith, little by little. I mean, I actually took a break between rewatching episode four (I have to watch each episode a few times because of my visual impairment; so I can focus on different things each time to get a complete picture) to pray Vespers… and actually feel joy while praying it. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had that happen? A long time, my friends.

I know that this isn’t the typical route for “faithful Catholics” but what about me *is* typical or normal? I feel like I’ve always been a little ball of contradictions — though I tried not to be — and I’m not being true to myself or who God made me if I don’t continue to be that way. Even my own temperament combination (melancholic-sanguine) isn’t supposed to exist; the temperaments are on opposite ends of the spectrum… yet that’s what I am. I don’t fit the mold of what a Catholic is supposed to be like and I’m tired of trying to force myself into the little boxes. I’m too “modern” for the trads and too “trad” for the liberals. And I’m just tired of the judgements, comments, and everything else.

Do you know how depressing it was to realize that I went from being described as “bubbly and optimistic” to “muted and depressed”? I don’t recognize myself. And I can’t find God in the place I’m in now.

Why can’t I find God in the secular? If I found Him in it before — and I actually reverted and thrived in it — why not now? Why can’t I produce secular content that won’t cause scandal or go against Church teachings? Why do so many people assume they know me and then try to shame me into fitting what they think I should be like? Because that’s what’s been happening. I see other Catholic friends talking about the shows or music they like… but I don’t see others shaming them for it. But me? What is it about me that makes me a target for unkindness and judgment? I truly don’t understand it. 

Why are people telling how to live my life; how to live out my faith? Because that’s what’s been happening; people keep telling me how to suffer through my health issues and how I shouldn’t x, y, or z because that’s not what I should be doing as a Catholic

So, I’m going to do just that. I’m going to live my life and tune the shame out as much as I can. It’s not easy as I’m a terribly sensitive person who gets hurt easily but, honestly? Melissa Joy had it right; no one should make me feel inferior or unworthy or unloved just because what I like and who I am doesn’t fit with what they believe is right. I truly believe I can live my life as a Benedictine Oblate and a faithful Catholic despite living in the world. I might be proven wrong in the future, but this is what feels right at the moment. 

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out of my system. If any of you following me on social media feel disappointed in this new development — I’m sorry but you can unfollow me. I don’t know how much longer I have on this earth and I’m not going to waste any more of it trying to be someone I’m not. 

Where my faith crisis will go from this point on, I don’t know. I don’t feel the sincere support from many people at this point so maybe I need to step away from these tight Catholic circles — in which I have felt like the worst possible person; in which people who are supposed to be strong, faithful Catholics have made me feel (as I’ve already said) like I’m inferior, unworthy of God’s love and mercy, and a mental burden when I share my health problems and journey. 

So… here we go. New chapter. 

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’m getting a headache from staring at the screen for the last couple of hours. 

I hope you are all doing well and, again, my apologies if this disappoints anyone. 

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Health Update: Struggles and Beauty

It started with an unexpected allergic reaction to the peanut butter I was having for breakfast two weeks ago. Just like (almost) every morning for the last several months, I was having my normal peanut butter on toast when I was hit by a strong wave of itchiness (that was so bad that it triggered an anxiety attack thanks to the fight or flight reaction my body had to the allergen) that ran from my mouth up to my nose and into my ears. I thought it was maybe acid reflux that had inflamed the sinuses but both a nurse at my insurance and my primary doctor’s office agreed — it was an allergic reaction. It took a week for the reaction to go away… which is how I know it was a legitimate allergic reaction as that’s how long it takes for my body to calm down. I’m sure the oral hydrocortisone I take for my adrenal insufficiency helped bring/keep the reaction from getting worse as it’s also a medication that is given for allergic reactions; it’s a multi-purpose medication. 

Then it was two days of food poisoning triggered by two different things, and one of those I shared with my mother who had the same thing on the second day. I had to double up on my medication for that, which I’m not a big fan of as too much oral hydrocortisone ends up making me very jittery sometimes.

And in the time leading up to those two,  I started having issues swallowing food and even water sometimes. It was here and there and I attributed it to acid reflux (which is something I’ve struggled with for several years) but it’s gotten to the point where I take longer to eat because I sometimes can’t swallow food and I have to concentrate very very hard on making myself swallow. Yesterday was the first time I had problems swallowing for all four meals (three main meals plus a snack for my afternoon-evening dose of hydrocortisone) though that was also getting progressively worse with time as well.

As I await my gastroenterologist appointment (which I hope to get the date for today), I’ve been struggling. Not just to eat but to not worry; to trust God; to suffer in silence. I want to get better at those, but especially the latter.

Recently, someone I consider a close friend made it clear that me talking about my illnesses was becoming tiresome. “Now what?” That was a wake up call. I didn’t know that sharing my health struggles — in my own quest to feel a little less burdened by being able to unburden my heart of my fears — was making people uncomfortable or annoyed. It was a humbling experience as I remembered how Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and St. Gemma Galgani (and countless others before and since them) suffered in silence. I normally share with only a handful of people what’s going on with me, but I didn’t realize how much less I could share and how much more I should keep to myself.

So, I’m going to try to do that. I apologized on social media for the times I have shared what was going on with me…. And I have to be in very bad shape if I post to social media and especially if I ask for prayers. That usually means I’m at one of my lowest points and I’m really struggling both physically and mentally, sometimes even spiritually.

The one good and beautiful thing about all of this is that I’ve felt closer to Christ than I have in a long time. I actually thanked God for these sufferings as they reminded me of the early days of reversion, when I wasn’t diagnosed with anything and I realized that my only true option was God and getting closer to Him. I have been in a spiritual desert for at least two years now, with some minor moments of consolations, and this is something I’ve been praying for; for my spiritual life to be renewed somehow. Maybe this is the answer to my prayers, having to suffer with these physical maladies and clinging to Christ during this time. 

I’m in a very interesting place in my life right now. My vocation discernment is front and center while I deal with health issues, which I’m sure will play a part in which way my discernment goes. I’m trying to walk through what feels like an unending haze of spiritual confusion and dryness that sometimes makes me feel apathetic (though I’ve learned to distinguish lack of feelings from actual desires). I go through the motions of daily Rosary, the Divine Office hours, and everything else despite zero consolations in my prayer life. And, likewise, though I don’t think I should be making decisions regarding my vocation during this time, it seems that that is what is being asked of me. I know what is asked of me with this vocation and I know I can fulfill them, even with the lack of feeling. I know I’ve already talked about this so there is no need to revisit it, at least not now. And all of this while I pray the 54-day Rosary novena. Maybe this is what God had in store for me and why I felt the need to start this novena?

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit of that for those who are genuinely worried about me after my last tweet. Yes, I need prayers. With the state of my health and immune system, I want to stay away from the hospital if possible but if it gets to the point where I can’t swallow anything, I’ll have no choice but to go in. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I hope the gastroenterologist can figure out what’s going on with me, though I have a suspicion that all of this is being caused by the long-term use of the oral hydrocortisone as it is a steroid and it messes with other things after using it for so long.

It’s unusually quiet right now. SInce I’ve slept the day away the last couple of days and am thus tired of sleeping, I think I’ll just sit here and enjoy the silence. Thank you, heatwave.

I hope you are all doing well.

OH! And please say a prayer for the soul of my father. Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of his passing (as well as the feast of my spiritual father, St. Benedict).

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Holy Spirit, Dat You?: Anniversaries Edition

 I don’t know why but the idea of doing something special between my oblate novitiate anniversary (June 30th) and the anniversary of my Final Act of Oblation (August 22nd) popped up in my mind right as my alarm for None went off. I thought about doing the 54-day Rosary novena but didn’t know how many days were in between both anniversaries. It’s exactly 54 days! I could start on the day of my fourth novitiate anniversary and finish on the day of my second anniversary of my Oblation.

I haven’t written about this — I haven’t really talked to friends about this either — but lately I’ve had an inkling that there is about to be a major life change coming up. The last time I had this feeling was when I made my Final Act of Oblation… which I wasn’t anticipating doing until sister Elisabeth invited me to go to Clear Creek Abbey with her family that summer. As the youngins say, “it wasn’t on my bingo card.” These last couple of weeks (months?) have felt similar, but in a different way.

It sometimes seems like God has been preparing me, mentally and even spiritually (despite the spiritual aridity stemming from the perpetual brain fog), for months. All the health setbacks (more on this in a bit). All the work I’ve had to keep my spiritual life intact despite the craziness. The big mistakes I’ve made. All the “Blind Girl Achievements” I’ve made this year — some of which I haven’t even shared on this blog… It all feels like it’s part of a bigger plan; one that God has been preparing me for without me realizing it.

I could be wrong. After all, feelings and inklings can lead one astray. But, I don’t know… I can’t shake this off. And then you factor in that the idea of the Rosary novena randomly popped into my mind, just as I was about to pray… and with my history of amazing prayers answered during the novena… I think maybe I should do it.

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know what big life changes have come as a result of the Rosary novena, the biggest one being the start of my vocation discernment to consecrated virginity in late 2019. I started praying for clarity on discernment of marriage with someone and it ended with prayers for discernment on whether God was called me to be a bride of Christ instead.

 The only thing is that I don’t know what to pray for/about. There is something deep in me that is telling me not to pray for health; to accept and carry these health crosses. There are now the additions of a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist to my medical team as per primary doctor and endocrinologist’s requests after chronic pancreatitis and new stomach issues, most likely stemming from the long-term use of the oral hydrocortisone for my adrenal insufficiency. 

I don’t think I’m meant to pray specifically about my vocation discernment either. I’m pretty much stuck where I am until I can talk to Archbishop Gomez. I have the green light from my SD to move forward but there have been a couple of obstacles along the way so it’s been going slower than I had thought it would take. But I’m in this for the long-haul. Even if I don’t get publicly consecrated, the ring has been picked out for either public consecration or private vows.  And hey, new book that just arrived:

I have no idea what I need to pray for… but I feel like I need to do this novena, especially between both of my anniversaries. Maybe I just need to pray for wisdom, or perseverance, or something. Maybe I’ll have to be vague. “Whatever it is that I will need, Lord, for this chapter in my life… I entrust it and my soul into Your hands.”

Anyway, just a little something I wanted to write. It’s almost time for my snack (to take my last dose of hydrocortisone of the day) so I’ll stop here. I’ll keep y’all updated on this. All I will say is that have a very joyful feeling going forward… and I’ve yet to know why.

I hope y’all had a lovely weekend and have a great week!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! 😊