Monday, December 31, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Help Me Choose This Blog's Patron Saint for 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. Timothy (patron of stomach illnesses)

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #4: Special Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Naypong /

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

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #3

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

7 Quick Takes #3

--- 1 ---

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

--- 2 ---

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

--- 3 ---

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

--- 4 ---

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

--- 5 ---

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

--- 6 ---

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

--- 7 ---

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

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I Learned Wednesday #1

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

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

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

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

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

First is from XT3.

Second is from Spirit Juice Studios.

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New (Church) Year Resolutions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday: Please, No Christmas Music!

Okay, I totally not a Scrooge (I LOVE Christmas) but I just can't get into Christmas music just yet. Hallmark Movies? Yes. It's one of my guilty pleasures but I can't get into anything else that has to do with Christmas. To me (as well as my many fellow Catholics), the Christmas season doesn't start until the start of Advent... and we're still days away from that. Here in L.A, both 94.7 The Wave and Coast 103.5 have their 24/7 Christmas music on. Sorry, I just can't.

Since most of us are in the same boat, I thought that it would be a good idea to create a playlist of songs that have nothing to do with Christmas but remind me of autumn and winter.

For the record, these songs are really up my old fashioned gal alley so I don't expect you all to like them. In fact, I don't think many of you will. lol. I adore the era of the 1940s through early 1950s so don't be surprised to see so many songs from that era. ;) For those of you who do enjoy these kinds of songs, you are more than happy to bookmark this post and listen to the songs until the start of Advent.

And this is my contribution to the "Save Christmas" campaign. ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work. No rest for the wicked. lol.

I hope y'all have a great week! Let me know if you have any prayer requests. :D

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catholicism on Tumblr, Part Two

Pardon the long wait for this but both Brandon and I have been busy. However (like I promised yesterday) I am catching up on overdue blog posts so here it goes.

I asked Brandon (aka The Catholic Geek on tumblr and twitter) to write something for this blog regarding Catholicism on tumblr. Even though he's only a senior in high school, I've been incredibly impressed by what he's written on tumblr... and even more so with the answers he gives hostile trolls. He posted it on his tumblr so that you can reblog it if you wish. :D

"So you decided to make a Catholic Blog on Tumblr?

Well then, welcome! I’m Brandon, The Catholic Geek, and I’ll be giving you a little preview of what you should be looking forward to here on Tumblr as a new Catholic Blog.
Let me first start off by saying the battles start now. Being a Catholic on Tumblr ain’t easy young grasshopper. It’s pretty darn challenging. But that’s the awesome part. With each new challenge and task, you slowly begin to grow in your own personal faith in Christ. Kind of like a video game. As you defeat opponents and successfully win challenges, you gain some experience. After a while, that experience piles up and causes you to level up. Yup, I used video games to describe Catholicism on Tumblr. Sue me.
You will meet great and awesome Catholics here on Tumblr. Some of the Catholics here on Tumblr form into a Group known as the “Tumblr Catholics.” Honestly, from personal experience, some of the people you will encounter on here will become your best friends. And with these best friends, you will make many Memes! Especially Catholic Memes and have Meme Wars! But believe me, you will love Memes.
You will see many things on the Catholic Tag. Good, bad, and horrible things. “But Brandon! What should we do when we see something horrible on the tags!?” Well my friend, we Take Back the Tag. When you see something icky and evil or just downright bad on the Catholic Tag, we spam the Tag with a Litany of the Saints. It’s also good to tell some fellow Catholics here on Tumblr to help you out. It’s a very successful thing. It’s saved the Tag a bunch of times.
Let me just say, you will get attacked for your Faith. Beware the Trolls! People will attempt to bring you down. They will attempt to confuse you. They will mock you. But you, the newest soldier of the Lord here on Tumblr, will be always ready to get back up and keep fighting the good fight. But let me say now that it’s worth every hit. God is with you through this new opportunity to evangelize to others through Tumblr.
Here on Tumblr, you will grow in your faith. You will learn how to live and love your faith. You will learn how to share your faith. And with your new friends at your side, the world is yours to evangelize.
Stay Strong and Know God Is.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,
- Brandon, The Catholic Geek"

As Brandon mentioned (and I briefly mentioned in part one) there are a lot of trolls. Though we should not feed the trolls, I definitely think it's important to defend the Faith. It's so easy to ignore and let the anti-Catholicism run amok on the site but I think that we should do our part to clarify whatever lies are being spread about our beautiful religion.

I've been trying (key word: trying) to tag Catholic posts to help bury the more negative and, at times, pornographic posts some people post under the "nuns", "Catholicism", "Catholic", "priest", etc tags. I don't like tagging posts but I will put it aside in order to help bury unsavory posts. If you have a tumblr, I invite you to do the same. Both Brandon and I (though him more so than I) reblog a lot of Catholic quotes, pictures, memes, etc and you're more than welcome to go through our tumblrs and reblog whatever you'd like. I think I'm going to go on a nun and priest reblogging spree tomorrow to do my little part. :)

Anyway, I have one more assignment to finish before my weekend begins (and it's due in an hour and a half) so I should go finish it. :D

I hope y'all have a great Sunday. If you have any prayer requests, please let me know. :D

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poorly Catechized? Learn! Teach!

I took this picture a couple of years ago. It was one of the first books I bought when I reverted to the faith.

This is the second part to last week's blog post (which should've been written/posted sooner). It took longer than anticipated because of work and errands... and life. :) Yeah. I'm a little behind on a lot of things but I will catch up over the weekend. :D

So, results of my little poll? Almost everyone who responded said they were poorly catechized. Ouch. There are a number of reasons why people think they weren't properly taught. We can all point fingers (I know I kind of did as well). What I didn't hear much about was what was being done to remedy it.

Where am I going with this? Well, to put it bluntly: we can't use the fact that we were poorly catechized as an excuse to what we do anymore. Yes, it's not easy to go back and learn things (especially if you've been out of school or away from the Church for so long) but it's not impossible. Don't know the Beatitudes, or the fact that there are two different sets of Beatitudes? Grab the nearest Catholic (*cough*complete*cough* - hee!) Bible and look it up. If you've been learning as an adult yet you still have questions, ask a priest or someone you respect. I know I bugged Patrick Madrid a couple of times during my junior and senior years of college for book suggestions. And, by the by, he has a great show called Right Here, Right Now which can be heard on Immaculate Heart Radio on weekdays. You can call in during the show and ask questions which you are wondering about. The point is, it's never too late to learn. Think of it this way: St. Augustine of Hippo, one of greatest Catholic minds of all time, was 32 when he converted. It's never too late to learn more about our beautiful religion.

One more thing before I get off my soapbox: if you love the faith and have the time to teach others, why don't you? Become a catechist, start a blog, tweet fun Catholic facts, etc. We're in the Year of Faith; this is the perfect time to do something. The results of the election, as well as the tweets from the Bishops and Bloggers Dialogue weekend, have really lit the fire under me. I don't know about y'all but... I seriously want to learn all that I can (even more so than before) and then pass it on to the younger generation. We have an amazing opportunity to really do something... yet we get lazy or sidetracked by so many things.

I think I'm going to do a little something starting this month that I hope will help in my own little nerdy way. Being a bookworm and having a weird compulsion to document my progress, I think I'm going to tackle a couple of simple books on Catholicism and write what I've learned. If anyone wants to join in (whether it be reading, interviewing, researching, etc), I welcome you to do so. I'm going to tag those posts as #WhatILearnedWednesday or #WILW. I may not get through one book per week but I will keep track of it for the rest of the Year of Faith. Embarrassing (as in "yeah, I really didn't know that") or not, I will write down what I learned.

Anyway, just wanted to write this out and I hope that at least one person reads this and is inspired to do something. And now, to get some work done before I enjoy the rest of my weekend. :D

I hope y'all had a great week and have a fantastic weekend.

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Raise Your Hand If Your Were Poorly Catechized

I am very curious as to how many young "cradle" Catholics (especially Millennials) consider themselves poorly catechized. It seems that, post election, many are saying that the high percentage of Catholics who voted for Obama may be a result of poor catechesis. I know that, prior to my reversion, that was what happened to me. My previous blog post explains part of it. I've also received tweets, messages, etc. from readers saying that they also wasted their votes on pro-choice candidates out of ignorance to Church teachings.

Being the Year of Faith, I hope that those who were poorly catechized do something to remedy it. Thanks to Flocknote, you can Read the Catechism in a year; just sign up on their mailing list and they'll email you a bit of it every day. Advent is coming up in a couple of weeks and it's a wonderful time to immerse yourself in the beautiful, rich history of the Church... at the very least, look into the meaning of the season and why we do certain things during this time of year. There are a ton of other suggestions but first... raise your hand if you were poorly catechized. *raises hand* No shame; it's not our fault.

I promise there is a part two as soon as I get just an idea of how many of us are out there. :D

Okay, so, that if your mission (if you choose to accept it). Let me know if you believe you were poorly catechized, what you think you should've been taught, and/or advice you may have for those who wish to enrich their knowledge of the Faith and the Catholic Church. :)

And now... back to work (writing) and some NaNoWriMo-ing (if I get some time). :D

Thanks for reading and God bless! :D

Monday, November 5, 2012

Confession: I am a Former Liberal Democrat

C'mon, who's shocked? Oh wow.... really? Well, this may be a sort of "the gist of it" post because I have work so it has to be quick. I'll promise to explain as well as I can with my limited time.

Yes, I am a former liberal Democrat. The first presidential election I voted in was in 2004 -- the race between George Bush and John Kerry. This was almost two years prior to my reversion. I was young. I was incredibly ignorant and naive. I wasted my vote on John Kerry. I was apathetic to politics and my parents were registered Democrats so I went along with what they and my friends said. I didn't bother looking into the issues. All I knew was that Democrats supposedly helped the poor and the "little people" while Republicans were the opposite. Again, I was young and ignorant. Plus, Kerry was "Catholic" and, well, I was "Catholic" too so why not? Oh, how wrong I was.

I supported a lot of things that liberals support. I was poorly catechized and did not know my faith beyond reciting an Our Father and a Hail Mary. How on earth I was allowed to do my confirmation without proper study at 13 is beyond me. I look back and cringe at the things I said and did but, as I said, I was young and ignorant (and, yes, I will keep repeating this.) It's not a good excuse but it's the truth.

I wasn't living the best life then either. I've never drunk alcohol, done drugs, smoked, or done anything with anyone that I would be ashamed to tell my future husband. In that way, I have always been a "good girl." I did, however, do a lot of stupid things (i.e. lie over the stupidest things; part of why I detest lying so much now) and I was easily swayed. Even then, when my friends were all on the "ugh, religious/conservatives need to lay off" train, I wasn't 100% convinced.

Looking back, the first sign that I would soon leave that world came when my then best friend told me she was having an abortion. She was not the first friend to have one (another friend had had one at the age of 14). I was shocked. She already had a baby (a beautiful baby boy) so I couldn't understand why she would want to kill her own innocent child. Yes, even during those "lost" years, I knew that she was carrying a human being, not a "clump of cells" as some liberals repulsively call a baby. She told me that she simply couldn't have the child as she could barely handle her firstborn. I was against it but I "supported" her... and by "supported" I meant I would be there for her during the aftermath. I was against it and wished she would change her mind but I didn't think there was anything I could do about it. After that, I felt so disgusted that I pulled away. That, along with other factors, caused me to slowly leave those "friends" behind. To this day, I am so sad and so repulsed with myself for having said that I "supported" her when I really didn't... and more so for not saying anything. And, for the record, this and other things have long been confessed.

I was "against the war" (the way liberals presented it) though my high school sweetheart was (and still is) in the U.S. Army and my childhood sweetheart is in the U.S. Navy. I was grateful to them for their service but I as a "liberal Democrat" couldn't support it. Again, say it with me this time, I was young and ignorant. Oh, and don't get me started on the whole issue of gay marriage. You can probably guess what my thoughts were on it (again, received my information from the hateful liberal spew I heard on a daily basis), before I knew the true sanctity of marriage. This last comment will lose me some of my last liberal friends but I can't hide my beliefs. It wouldn't be fair to myself or to God.

When I returned to the Church, I saw that a lot of errors of my youth. (btw, my "lost years" were between the ages of 14 and 21.) The Roman Catholic Church did nothing to me... except show me the truth and love. I spent a long time hating myself for what I had once supported, though I had been told on a regular basis (by priests) not to be so hard on myself. While I had sinned, I had done it out of ignorance. As a poorly catechized young woman who was never taught that the things I supported were wrong, I didn't know better. Now I do.

While I haven't been too vocal about my support for a specific presidential candidate or anything of the like, I can say, with honesty, that this is the first time in three elections that I really looked at the candidates and the issues. The last one, I voted for McCain-Palin because of Obama's pro-choice record (which has since gotten worse). This time around, I will be voting Romney-Ryan. While I don't agree with everything on Romney's agenda, I believe that the unborn and religious freedom would be better protected with him as president than under Obama-Biden. While I'm not a registered Republican nor have I been a registered Democrat for a while now, I am voting as a Catholic. I am voting for life and for changes that will help this nation pick ourselves up from the economic and moral mess we're in. Needless to say, this is the second time I will NOT be voting for Obama. Also, every time I read this, I am reminded of how I should be voting this election:

"Put no trust in princes,
in mere mortals powerless to save." (Psalm 146:3)

First time young voters, please do yourselves, your consciences, and your souls a favor and vote carefully. Don't let the mainstream media tell you anything. Don't be swayed by anyone's sweet talk. Look at the issues and candidates for yourself. Pray that you and others make the right decisions because, as cheesy and cliche as this may be, this future really is in your (and my) hands.

... and this was officially longer than I planned. Oops. lol. Oh well. The little lady is coming over soon for tutoring so I shall go.

I hope we all stand together and make the right choices tomorrow. My prayers are with you. :)

And now, off to tutoring and trying to not feel crummy (cold-like symptoms are threatening once again).

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Different Take on All Souls Day

No, I am not rewriting what today is. It is still a day on which we commemorate those who have passed as well as those who are currently in Purgatory, waiting to get into Heaven. However, on the way home from the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, where my father is buried, we encountered something that made me think about the importance of the day.

Before I get into that, I just wanted to say: daddy, we still miss you terribly. We're never going to get used to being just the two of us (mom and I) but I know you're in a better place and I thank God that you were able to give the rest of your life to Him before you passed. Big brother, Moises, I never got to meet you but I know you're looking down from Heaven, taking care of mama and I. (Paternal) Grammy, I wish I had known you better. I know I inherited my love and appreciation for Catholicism from you and I thank you for taking me to the humble but beautiful churches in Mexico when I visited. We miss and love you too.

Now... for those of you who aren't from L.A. nor have been to the San Fernando Valley, one of the California Missions is located in Mission Hills. As I said, my father is buried in the cemetery that is next to/part of Mission San Fernando Rey de España. Next to them is Bishop Alemany High School which is, from my understanding, one of the best Catholic high schools in L.A. Anyway, we often drive by there (when we're in the area) and today I was happily surprised to see a number of students with signs that read "Honk for Life" and "Vote Yes on 34." Here are a couple of pictures I took (with permission from the adult supervisor who was outside with them).

I was incredibly impressed with young men and women who were standing outside with these signs... and even more so at the amount of honking from passing cars. Wow. I have never experienced anything like that before. Kudos for being vocal about supporting Prop 34 (which will end the death penalty here in California), BAHS! (FYI: The L.A. Archdiocese has something on their webpage on it as well.)

While thinking about how great it was to see young people being enthusiastic about something they believed in, I thought back about how we, as humans, usually don't think about things like the death penalty. The students from BAHS were supporting life the way God intended -- from the womb to the tomb.

For obvious reasons, I am against the death penalty. When I say I'm pro-life, I mean I'm PRO-LIFE. I think it's horrible to kill people whether they are innocent human beings in their mother's womb or whether they've made mistakes in their lives and have taken the lives of others. If Bl. Pope John Paul II could forgive the man who attempted to assassinate him, why can't we pray for those who have committed horrific crimes? I am not condoning what they've done in any way. I know that losing a loved one hurts, especially when at the hands of someone else, but why must we contribute more hate and/or evil in a world that already sees way too much of it?

So, on this All Souls Day, I am going to pray for ALL the souls -- those who have died, those who are in Purgatory, those who are yet to be born, and those of us who need to get closer to God. I pray that those who have passed will help us learn from their mistakes and that those who are close to God will pray that we may stay on the path to becoming saints one day.

Anyway, just random thoughts that popped into my mind on this day that I wanted to jot down. The little lady I tutor will soon get here so I really should skedaddle.

Hope y'all are having a great week thus far. :D If you have any prayer requests, let me know; I'm a novena machine at the moment.

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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Earthquakes, My Reversion, and How St. Jude is Connected to Both

This is the actual St. Jude statue that has survived many earthquakes. Seriously, check out the chipped paint.

I was originally going to post my reversion story today (St. Jude's feast day -- shared with St. Simon) because it's through his intercessions that I reverted back to the beautiful Catholic faith I know and love. Then, at 8:24 a.m. we had a mini 3.9 earthquake and, well, decided to share with y'all how St. Jude is connected to earthquakes for me.

I wrote about how St. Jude was looking out for me during the big 1994 earthquake nearly 5 years ago (and added a little something extra over 4 years ago) but most of y'all are new to my blog so it's worth a repost:

"This story takes place in mid-January 1994. I was about 8 years old at the time and I'd never experienced a real big earthquake before... I felt my dad picking me up from my bed, very abruptly and I opened my eyes to see (and feel) everything shaking violently. Things were falling off the walls, glasses and china was breaking everywhere... if you've ever experienced an earthquake, you know what I'm talking about. Since this earthquake was a really big one, the lights went out almost immediately after the intense aftershocks started. I did not know what was going on. All I knew was that I had to stay under the doorframe (or is it doorway?). I don't remember too many details about what happened during the shaking except that the statue of St. Jude fell as soon as we (my parents and I) reached the doorway and were safe from anything falling on us. I won't write much more about what happened during the earthquake because the images are still pretty vivid (and it's been nearly 14 years since) and it would take me a long time to write it out.

Anyhoo, I was talking to my mom about the statue of Santo Niño de Atocha and one of the St. Jude statues in my room. I knew they'd fallen during the earthquake -- they're still chipped -- and I very faintly remember (or think I remember) St. Jude's statue falling as soon as we got under the doorway and my mom confirmed it. Apparently, while all other things were falling around us there are three things that didn't fall: the statue of Santo Niño, the statue of St. Jude and the big framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was up on my bedroom wall. Now, the earthquake was a 6.7 on the richter scale, it was pretty intense. Windows shattered just by the shaking, yet the picture did not fall or get hurt in any way... My mom says they (saints and Our Lady) were all looking out for us... We haven't experienced an earthquake that intense since, thank God, but every time we have experienced smaller earthquake (and/or aftershocks from nearby earthquakes) my mom grabs the St. Jude statues without even thinking about it. My dad grabs the statue of Our Lady and my mom grabs St. Jude... if I don't get to him before she does."

By the way, we still own all three things mentioned: the St. Jude and Santo Niño de Atocha statues and the framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe has remained on my bedroom wall since I was about 7 years old.

During today's mini earthquake (which felt a bit stronger where I live because of how close to the epicenter we are) we did the same; mom grabbed the St. Jude statue while the shaking continued... and the shaking lasted longer than we expected. After all was said and done (and we took down other statues and crucifixes), we both mentioned how "appropriate" it was that we had an earthquake on his feast day.

I sadly can't attend Mass today (I've had horrible anxiety since about 3 in the morning and can't drive because of it) but this little thing reminded me that God is still looking out for us.

Oh, and if you're wondering about my reversion story (which you can read the gist of it if you click the link), I hope to one day expand on it because it's really something that defines me. I will say that I made promises to St. Jude that I've kept (graduating from the CINO college -- before I knew it was CINO -- was one of them) and intend to keep (I still have to go to Vatican City, as my own pilgrimage, to thank him for his intercession as well as God for never abandoning me) as soon as I can afford to. If you're wondering why I chose the Vatican (besides obvious reasons), it's because that is where the relics of St. Jude are. :)

So, thank you, St. Jude for everything you've done and continue to do for me. Though it's been a while since I've asked you to intercede for me, I know that if I ever need anything, you'll be there to help me. :D

Alright, I need to go eat because I'm having a combo bad anxiety and tummy troubles day. :)

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pre-Advent Mass Challenge

Here's a challenge to those who take their cell phones everywhere with them... and this picture applies to them.

From now until the beginning of Advent (December 2nd), turn your phones completely off or, better yet, leave them in your cars during Mass.

Out of curiosity, I posted this picture on twitter and asked if it applied to anyone. Surprising number of people said it did. It did for me (though I used my iPod touch for the iMissal app) but I stopped using it when an usher humiliated me for using it during Mass. I can see where priests and others may think that we're texting, even when we're not. I wouldn't dare disrespect God by using my iPod to use anything but one of the apps that contains prayers or the iMissal but it can be distracting.

If you were using a Missal app on your phone/iPod/tablet, why not buy yourself an actual Missal or a Missalette (they usually cost about $1 at the local parishes around L.A.) to use during Mass? If you have prayers that you recite after receiving communion, why not memorize them or write them down on a little index card?

Unless it's a special situation (i.e. a loved one is in the hospital, you are a doctor on call), keep your phone or other device off.

So... are any of you up for the challenge? btw, I'm going to play the "really? Can't you take ONE hour out of the day to focus on God?" card. Bam! ;)

Anyway, let me know if you're in. :D Everyone have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading and God bless. :D

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seven Priests Cause Abortion Mill To Close

I wasn't going to post anything today since I have a lot of work to do but I couldn't not share this powerful video. This was originally found on tumblr. (side note: Click on the link in case the video can't be played on this blog or if you have a tumblr and want to reblog it yourself.) I have to admit, I cried as I watched this video because it hurts to know that babies are being killed at places like this.

"Seven Priests Cause Abortion Mill To Close!
Last year seven Catholic Priests gathered around the Rockford abortion mill and prayed prayers of exorcism. On that day two mothers choose life; the number of abortions fell by two thirds, and the abortion mill landlord was so unsettled that he stayed outside his abortion mill while the Priests were praying.

This year the powers that be inside the mill were taking no chances. Instead of trying to remain open in the face of such spiritual power, they found it easier to close their doors for the day. Thanks be to God because of these seven Priests, the Poor Clare Nuns who in the Corpus Christi Monastery in Rockford where uniting their prayers with the Priests, and every Christian who prayed this morning, not one child was killed in Rockford today.

A small group of abortion supporters showed up, thinking the mill would be open. When they saw seven Priests and over forty pro-lifers deep in prayer and the abortion mill closed, the pro-aborts appeared even more dazed and confused than usual.

The abortion mill landlord Wayne Webster, who seems to have a pathological hatred for Catholic Priests and has a history of skulking away from the abortion mill grounds when Priests are praying prayers of exorcism outside his killing center, was nowhere to be seen. In his absence he did leave some quite vulgar signs in his abortion mill windows attacking Priests.

On this day in Rockford, the presence of Christ through His Priests and His people could be tangibly be felt and experienced outside the building where over 60,000 human beings have been murdered.

On this day in Rockford ,Satan fled; Christians stood united in faith and love, and no children had to face a brutal, vicious death inside the Rockford abortion mill."

The unborn can't speak for themselves but I give major props to those who stand outside abortion mills and pray. If you can't make it out to one of the many 40 Days for Life scheduled dates, don't think you can't do anything. Pray for those who stand outside and receive abuse from pro-abortion folks.

Last year, there were only three of us outside a Planned Parenthood in the San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles and one man spewed more hatred, despite us not doing anything but praying and talking amongst each other, than I could've imagined. Just because we were there. So, please pray for those the unborn, their mothers, and those who bravely stand up for those who need protection.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Pope Benedict XVI Dream and Vocation Thoughts

The second part of the Catholicism in tumblr will come next week (asked someone to help me out with it). For now, I want to write something a little different as I want to reflect on the very powerful (well, for me) week that I've had.

If you read my FB page update last week (on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima), you know I had some very exciting news to share. Over the last couple of days, a few things have changed... but I feel like maybe it was for the best.

First, I know some of you are curious about my Pope Benedict XVI dream (as well as saint dreams). Not sure why people like hearing them but I don't mind sharing. :D Well, basically in the dream I spoke to Pope Benedict XVI three times. First time was inside the Apostolic Palace. There were a lot of people around but I do remember saying something about wanting to live in Vatican City but that I knew I couldn't. The second time I spoke to him, we were all outside in a courtyard with journalist-type people. I'm a bit vague about the details (I should really keep a dream journal, lol) but it was basically about my vocation and how I knew I wasn't meant to be a religious sister. The last time, I was able to talk and walk alone with him. He gave me advice on my vocation (as a lay person who wanted to write) and he mentioned that there was a way that I could live/work in Vatican City as a lay person. He led me through a door when he told me this and then excuse himself as he had to "go back and help the poor and needy." And that was my dream. Not the first Pope Benedict XVI dream (one of my favorites was when I knelt down and he heard my confession/gave me advice and a Rosary/golden crucifix) but it's always pleasant. I would rather dream of the Pope, saints, Our Blessed Mother and Jesus than have other kinds of dreams.

Second, I had other work-related news but I had to rethink things after a few things came up. I'm still freelance writing (and I'm tutoring a little gal for an hour during the weekdays) but I came to realize that I couldn't take on a new project that I had been excited about. Though I was terribly excited (especially since it was to be with local Knights of Columbus), God knows why it didn't work out. I still dream of working with a church, a Catholic organization, or (one of my grander dreams) to work with a publication that is directly connected with the Vatican but for now I will be continuing my non-Catholic freelance assignments. Baby steps (just like the picture above of the Bl. Mother Teresa with a child.)

All of these things, along with the improvement of my health, have made me very aware of a lot things that I hadn't really thought about. For the first time since I began my freelance writing career, I've felt myself pulled more and more towards writing about the Faith. This week I was asked what my goal was and, for the first time, I said I wanted to use my gifts to help evangelize to my generation as well as the younger generations. At the moment all I can think of doing is continuing this blog as well as finishing my young adult novel. I know God will present different opportunities to me when I am ready.

To say that I've had a burning desire to do something big for the Church is an understatement. I don't know why but I feel like there's something that I am meant to do that I have yet to figure out. I feel called to devote my life to doing something unique to help evangelization purposes but am stuck as to what I should actually do. I've had this feeling before but never this intense or persistent. And, for the record, I want to do these things in a way that won't attract much attention to me. I just want to do these things in a quiet and fruitful way.

If I may be honest, though my heart is still stuck on becoming a wife and mother some day, I feel like this desire is even bigger than any thoughts of marriage. I may still get married but right now I feel myself being pulled closer to God and to (at the risk of sounding dramatic) lose myself in Him. Again, I don't believe I have a religious vocation (and I've certainly been open to it for the past 6 years) but heart and my mind is focused on God and God alone. Who knows, I may become a consecrated virgin. It's a thought I've been had for quite a while now; one I was afraid to have before, due to fear of being alone, but one that I now feel at peace with if it's my vocation. Again, I still believe that my vocation is to be a wife and mother (and I certainly think this vocation would best suit me as it would help get rid of my selfish tendencies that would be harder to shake if I were to remain single) but I am open to whatever God wants me to do/be. Right now I am, thankfully, enamoured with the idea of being close to God and to let what may come come at its own time. Vocation can go either way at the moment. All of this could be in preparation for any of the three. ;)

Anyway, everything that's happened this week had led me to these realizations (first time I have the guts to properly think them through, let alone write it down). See what beginning to read St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle and having a Pope Benedict XVI dream have led me to think? lol. jk.

Sorry for such a long post; I just let it all spill out without a second thought.

I should really try to finish my last assignment for the week (yes, I am currently procrastinating :-P) so I can enjoy tomorrow. :D

I hope you all have a wonderful week. If you have any prayer requests, let me know. :D

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