Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Senior Thesis Work: Catholic New Media

That picture is not of me, nor do I own it, but I have glasses like those and that is also an accurate portrayal of how I feel right now. lol.

Today is the day I start dedicating the bulk of my time to my Senior Thesis. I used the first 2.5 weeks of the semester to get myself used to the other classes and now it's time to buckle down and really start some major research.

Ever since I reverted to the Faith, I've been saving (read: bookmarking) articles that have interested me. That's almost 6 years (exactly 6 years this June) worth of articles. I am so incredibly glad I've done this because it's going to be really helpful. I'm going through my bookmarks (I've got them in categories) and picking those which I know will help me out.

Now, if you didn't know and haven't guessed from the title, I am doing my Senior Thesis project on Catholic New Media. Specially, I am doing it on how we Catholics of my generation (Generation Y) are using the internet for evangelization efforts. I've already gotten a ton of great material from those who are most visible (thank God for friends and acquaintances who are willing to help out) but it's still going to be quite a time consuming project. I have about 2 months or so (up to Spring Break) to get the majority of the Thesis written. Don't be surprised if the majority of my posts from now until then have to do with something related to Catholic New Media because that it where my focus will be.

The deeper I get into the research, the more I feel at home. I've had the desire to teach or, at least to get the Word out (correctly) somehow, and teaching in a classroom hasn't really felt right for me. Maybe by doing this Thesis topic (not my original, by the way), I will be able to finally figure out exactly what I am doing after graduation. It'll combine my love of Catholicism with my love of writing and my desire for getting the Word out and educating the younger generation -- I won't have to choose between any of them. It's a wonderful feeling.

Ironically, while I am doing the bulk of my research online, I won't be using Twitter or Facebook as much. I really have to concentrate on writing this Thesis as well as doing well in my other 4 courses. Of course I'll still pop up on Twitter and give random updates but it'll be even less than before because I want to do the best job possible.

So this is my very short (for me ;D) update on why I've been M.I.A. and letting y'all know what to expect. I'm going to be sharing articles that I find interesting as well as letting y'all know how much more I get hated by the Religious Studies department as my college. lol. No, seriously, I think they've given up on me. It's quite awesome. (Side note: oh, and by the way, thanks for the prayers for my music prof; I missed classes yesterday due to illness and she was nice enough to inquire about how I was doing. We'll see how tomorrow goes.)

Alright, that's it. I have my first couple of pages of the Thesis to present tomorrow so I should go and write more. :D

Hope y'all are having a good week thus far!

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quick Prayer Request

This picture is accurate.

Just a couple of quick prayer requests because I have almost 100 pages to read by tomorrow morning and, though I am a speedy reader, I will more than likely be distracted throughout the night.

1) A day late but: On the horrible anniversary of Roe vs Wade, I'd like to ask you all to take a minute and prayer for all the lives lost and all of lives in danger. A life is a life and none of us should have a say in whether that life should be taken, especially so cruelly. Even when I was away from the Church in my teen years, I did not support abortion because I knew that was a baby that was being killed. Big kudos to those who were lucky enough to make it up to DC and to San Fran for the March and Walk for Life. Proud of all of you for making the voices of those countless babies heard.

2) If you're following me on twitter you might've heard about this: can y'all say a little prayer for my music professor? She's not being totally cool with us students and she actually made me cry in class last Tuesday when I was having a bit of anxiety. First she told me to not participate in class (by the way, the class is down to 4 people now) and then she tried to force me to participate before rudely telling me that I needed to stop my relaxation technique and to pay attention in class because I was being rude. Apparently trying to control my breathing (quietly and discreetly) in class while in the middle of a panic attack is rude and I shouldn't do it. Yeah. We're not happy in the class but we're stuck since we can't sign up for another class so can y'all please pray that she cools down and that the semester goes smoother for us (not just me; all 4 of us gals)? She's kind of ruining the experience of having nuns as professors for me. Thanks in advance.

That's all for now. I will hopefully have a proper post tomorrow when the stress levels hopefully go down to normal again. If you have prayer requests yourselves, let me know. I may be able to offer them up if music prof decided to humiliate me in class once again.

I hope y'all had a lovely weekend.

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fainting in Confession and Getting Upset Over It

Raise your hand if you blacked out during your confession this weekend. *raises hand*

There is really no big explanation for why it happened, it just did. I was fine all day. I drove to the parish (with isn't the closest one but the one in which our - mom's and my - preferred confessor is at) and I parked the car. I walked into the parish, genuflected, and got in line. I was in line may 15 minutes and I looked around at the beautiful stained glass windows in the parish. I went into the confessional, knelt down, and started my confession. About halfway through my list (yes, I make lists using one of the confession apps; I want to get everything in) I suddenly felt lightheaded and weak. I told my confessor that I felt dizzy and sat in the chair inside the confessional. I continued to go through the list of my confessions when I started feeling like I couldn't breathe, I broke out in a cold sweat, and I blacked out. The last thing I remembered was my confessor saying he absolved me from my sins (even the ones I didn't get a chance to confess), him telling me what my penance was, and then getting out and grabbing the nearest pew just in time for me to collapse onto it. It probably sounds more dramatic than it was but that's how it happened. I remember someone asking me if I was okay and being asked if I needed a medic which means it probably looked pretty bad.

The entire time I was in the pew (trying to control my breathing and to move a little since my hands and feet went into full on tingle mode) only one thought came to mind: I was upset that I didn't finish my confession. I was really, really not happy... to the point where I cried over it. I did it silently as I didn't want to draw attention to myself. I had gone nearly a month without going to confession (which is long for me since I like to go once every two weeks - even for venial sins) and I hadn't gone to Mass in nearly that long due to the Christmas Day food poisoning followed by two weeks of a nasty cold that kept me in bed and quarantined to the house. I remembered my penance so I did that while trying to get back to normal. Hey, just because I felt like burnt crumbs didn't mean I was going to push that aside. It took a couple more minutes to get myself well enough to walk back to my car (with the help of my mom). As soon as the fresh air hit me and I was safely in my car, I started to slowly feel better. As soon as I felt myself well enough to drive (I have to since my mother hasn't driven since a terrible accident that nearly cost her her life), I made my way back towards the house. I felt fine as soon as we left. It was bizarre.

The one thing I learned about this incident, besides "wow, I really do get embarrassed easily (even when I can't control certain things)" is that I really do take going to confession and being able to receive the Eucharist more seriously than I thought... which is good. I felt horrible that I didn't finish my confession properly but I still felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me. I'm not saying that if you feel like crumbs and don't think you could make it to/through confession you should still go (if I hadn't felt well, I would've waited to go to the Cathedral during the week for their noon time confession) but it just reminded me of how important it is to go to confession.

Not get all morbid on y'all but we have to remind ourselves of our mortality at least once in a while. For me, frequent confession helps me break out of my habits that can lead to sinning (though sometimes I have to go a couple of times to break the nastier ones). I like to remind myself that we, as human beings, make mistakes and that we're not perfect... but that we Catholics have such a wonderful sacrament that allows us to not get or keep ourselves away from God because of whatever sins we commit. Of course I don't mean that we can do whatever we want and think it's okay because we can go to confession to "erase" or strike those bad deed from our "record" later on (this is actually a sin itself). We all do things or have done things we've not been proud of but if we are truly repentant of those actions, we can go confess them and we can then continue to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ (say it with me: transubstantiation is awesome). It helps keep our souls healthy and helps us get that much closer to Heaven when we do eventually pass on. This episode, as well as my father's story (I wrote about it in my first published article on Envoy Magazine), have really driven home this message. I know that the next time I go to confession (knowing me, it will be this weekend to get in whatever I left out last time -- for my own peace of mind) I will thank God for the opportunity to do so.

Anyway, just wanted to share this experience with y'all. I actually have a ton of reading to do (a couple of chapters so that I am prepared for tomorrow's classes) and this was kind of procrastinating. lol. Oops. Well, it was for a good cause. lol. ;)

I hope y'all had a great weekend. :D

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Profs Don't Like Me but Like Abortion

Okay, the title got your attention. Good. Complete truth. Let me fill y'all on how week one of my final semester as an undergrad went. It will be short because I have homework to do. ;)

I was really excited yet slightly nervous about starting the semester because it's my last one and I feel so pressured on doing well on my 40-50 page Thesis (by far the longest one from all departments at the school from what I've been told). Basically, if I bomb my Thesis I will not graduate. No pressure or anything. ;) The week started off well. I was kind of lazy and not wanting to do anything (hello, senioritis) but I still did things because I want to stay ahead. The faster I can get things read and written, the more time I will have to edit and polish my Thesis later on. I think things through. ;)

From day one my music professor made it obvious that she did not like me. I guess my reputation as the "traditional (read: orthodox) hell-raiser" ("if hell existed, which it doesn't") slash public enemy number one (again, because I am not liberal and I'm very religious -- a very dangerous combo in their eyes) proceeds me. I never had a chance. I tried. I'm a people pleaser... to a certain point. She's told me twice (in two days) to be quiet, even though all I did was mention the kind of music that I listened to... in a music class, so I'm going to stay quiet. She wants me to be silent, I shall be silent. Apparently I'm not allowed to contribute to the discussions in class... and no one else wants to contribute so... That's fine. It's not going to hurt me. :) I hope I'm wrong but everyone can tell that she's not too fond of me. I'll say a Hail Mary for her and just keeping on swimming. ;)

Another professor, who apparently does like me (even though and especially because our beliefs clash), basically sung the praises of birth control and abortion for about 15 minutes today. I literally felt like I am going to throw up. I felt physically ill the entire time she was speaking. No worries, though, I made my thoughts clear and she is totally okay with it. It's quite interesting that she (one of the few non-religious professors I've had) actually welcomes my opposing views... and she still smiles and makes me feel like it's totally fine to not agree with her. It's odd but I kind of like that. I know that I will be able to speak my mind (and I will when topics like abortion come up) and it will not affect me. It's refreshing because, as I said last year, I would've gotten marked down on my assignments for not being in agreement with any of the other professors. That is awesome. Talking about how birth control and abortion "save women" *insert eye roll* is not... but I can speak up against it and (FINALLY!!) not be penalized for it. I'm not going to go into everything she said but it's the usual feminist "birth control and abortion is the best thing for women" dribble most pro-choice people spew. I'm not going to be rude or argue for the heck of it but I will speak up if I feel, like today, that it is necessary. Gotta protect the babies. :)

By the way, there were no posts for a week because I was sick until a few days ago (nasty cold; I spent most of my days sleeping) and then I started the semester. My semester isn't looking too crazy; the biggest chunk will be my Senior Thesis (which is on Catholic New Media if you didn't know). I think I will have time to write quite regularly. Maybe not every single day but at least 2-3 times a week. I will try not to vent/rant about my classes but if something interesting happens, I will share. :D

That is it for now. I have a very exciting project coming up that I will fill y'all in on (whether it ends up materializing or not) as soon as I am able to say anything. Let's just say that it's in the direction that I want to go in after graduation. That's all I'm saying for now. ;)

I hope everyone who returned to school this week is having a better week than I had. If not, hey, we're all in this together. If you have a particularly bad professor or if the semester is looking pretty dismal, let me know and I'll start a novena for you. ;) Quite a number of us are graduating this Spring; if you are one of them, please let me know as I am going to start a novena for high school and college seniors next week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy (Belated) New Year & Resolutions

This is one of my favorite shots from this NYE celebrations in London. I didn't take it (I was, sadly, stuck in L.A.) but I found it on tumblr.

Sorry for the belated New Year post but I have had a nasty cold (possible throat infection) for the past couple of days. I've spent most of my days in bed, resting, but I've finally gotten out and about. It doesn't hurt that it's over 80 degrees in my part of L.A. :)

Though I am sad that I was not able to attend Mass on Christmas (food poisoning) and New Year's Day / feast of Feast of Mary, Mother of God (too weak/fatigued) I did give thanks to God for (despite being ill) having a good day those days. That is actually a resolution I have this year: thank God for every single day. Being sick reminds me of something: most of us only pray when we are in need of something. I'm not saying it's bad to pray when we need something; we should just keep praying, even when things are going well. I think many of us neglect to take time out of our day to pray when everything is going well.

Last year I started keeping track of who needed novenas. I did a couple whenever friends asked me and it was the best feeling. I was doing well but these friends needed prayers so I did novenas for them. As I said a couple of blog posts ago, we see so much mud slinging amongst fellows Catholics (especially on twitter when we don't agree on things) that I decided to make it another resolution: pray for others... especially if they do something against you. A Hail Mary (I almost wrote "Ave Maria" lol) when you're angry at someone helps. A lot.

Of course I have other resolutions: to not over study, to not use the blow dryer (at all, to take more walks and to do some hiking when I can, etc. But the most important are to thank God for each and every day, to pray for others, and to avoid sinning as much as possible and receive the Eucharist daily (when possible). Hmm... maybe I should try getting back into the habit of a daily Rosary and chaplet of the Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. as well. If I don't over study like last semester, it can be possible. :)

Anyway, just a semi-quick post to wish y'all a Happy New Year and to share some of my resolutions. I hope God blesses each and every one of us this year... especially since it seems like most of us had a pretty crummy year last year. Hope y'all are having a great start of year so far. :D

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