Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Well, I'm Not Stopping...

I have my first midterm tomorrow and I need to finish studying for it (as well as finishing part of my Thesis) so this will be short.

So, apparently someone whom I considered a friend from school has been very, uh, blab-y. This means that there is a very, very good chance that some professors and (possibly) school officials read this blog. This person whom I trusted, well... let's say that this was not the only thing she did but that's beside the point. The point is that things I write about on this blog somehow come up. Some professors are mine are treating me more rudely than usual. One of them (who I recently mentioned) has been nicer and has moved on in terms of who they pick on. Some girls now refer to me as "that girl with the blog that rags on the school." Huh. Interesting.

One quick note for those who are from my school and read this: I will not be intimidated into stopping. I will not cease to write the things I experience at that school because they are true and because, really, things that are taught are spiritually harmful to us Catholics. Oh yeah, and you cannot do anything to keep me from writing because a) I don't use my proper name (only a nickname/pen name), b) I don't say where I attend school, and c) I never mention professors by name. Everything I write is true. I wouldn't write something false to slander anyone and I wouldn't risk ruining my soul by lying about things that are not true; I detest it with a passion. What I write is my experience and if something is off, I will say it is off. If I say that we are mostly taught liberation theology (despite y'all being forbidden to), it's because you guys do teach it. If I say that y'all know you're not supposed to teach these things and yet you do, it's because it's true. If I write that some of you drag my beloved Pope Benedict XVI (as well as some priests) through the mud during your lecture, it's because I thought it was completely uncalled for and I wanted to share my discontent. I don't only write negative things about this school but if it seems that way it's because my experience has been mostly a negative one.

You cannot keep me from graduating or receiving my diploma because my hard work and grades say that I should. I will not modify my Thesis to fit your beliefs. If I want to write about how my generation needs to evangelize using Catholic New Media, then I will and I will be faithful to the Church doing so.

I won't start a fight... but I will defend myself, the beautiful Church I belong to, and the God I love. I just thought I would share. ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go back to reading Gaudium et Spes because I will be using it in my Thesis.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fellow Evangelizers: Be Not Afraid

Taking a quick break from my Thesis research to share this with y'all. It comes from the Evangelii Nuntiandi which is included in the first part of my Thesis (I worked on the middle first, lol).

"Every evangelizer is expected to have a reverence for truth, especially since the truth that he studies and communicates is none other than revealed truth and hence, more than any other, a sharing in the first truth which is God Himself. The preacher of the Gospel will therefore be a person who even at the price of personal renunciation and suffering always seeks the truth that he must transmit to others. He never betrays or hides truth out of a desire to please men, in order to astonish or to shock, nor for the sake of originality or a desire to make an impression. He does not refuse truth. He does not obscure revealed truth by being too idle to search for it, or for the sake of his own comfort, or out of fear. He does not neglect to study it. He serves it generously, without making it serve him."

This is something I'm working on this Lent: to let the people-pleaser side of me go a bit (very hard for this Phlegmatic-Sanguine) and to be more vocal about my love of God and to share the true Word without fear of what anyone may say. I feel so strongly about the mixed messages out there because of people who wish to harm the Church that I know that I must speak against the blasphemies and lies. Again, not so easy for me as I am quite shy (trust me, I may not seem it online but I am in person) and I dislike disharmony and arguments with a passion. Reflecting at church the last couple of days (especially when I go for Mass), I've come to the conclusion that I love God more than anything and that I would not be happy if I failed to speak up because of the fear of others' thoughts. This is my goal this Lent. I haven't had great results yet but I am a work in progress and those who've disapproved have spoken ill of Pope Benedict XVI and others within the Church (oh, I think you can all guess who I speak of) so I haven't let it affect me.

Anyway, just wanted to share this as I felt eager to pass on to y'all. This is just a little taste of what my Thesis is all about. I hope to share it with y'all when I am able to. And now... back to work. :)

Hope y'all had a great weekend and have a great week. Good luck to those who, like myself, have midterms in the next couple of weeks. :D

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Timer: Stations of the Cross

This will be short as I'm sort of in the middle of (over) analyzing the first Act of Hamlet for my Literature class. No, I am not procrastinating; this is a break between the first and second part of my weekly assignments.

Later today, I will be going to church for my first Stations of the Cross. Technically, it's not the first time I've meditated on them. I've done them a couple of times in the comfort of my own home. Since this is the first Lent that I am mobile (a year ago, Joe was still teaching me how to drive and I didn't have my license), I am taking advantage of having a car. I already attended Mass in the morning but I don't mind going back for the Stations this evening.

I don't know what to expect. I usually cry during the Stations (as well as during the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary) but I am not big on crying in public (as I don't want to disturb anyone) so it's going to be interesting to see what happens. And before anyone asks, I cry because I think of all the suffering Jesus went through and then I remember about how I take a lot for granted and the waterworks turn on. There is more but it's personal so... you get the gist.

Any tips for those who have attended before? I'm very much a newbie to these things (still learning here) so if there is anything that I need to do to prepare myself, please let me know.

Okay, back to dissecting the Ghost in Hamlet and what his (it's?) appearance could possibly mean.

Hope y'all have had a great day thus far. Don't forget: No meat today!

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday #AshTag? Yup.

Happy Ash Wednesday, y'all! I know this is late but I've been busy (mostly driving). Yes, those are my ashes on my freckled face. lol. My twitter is set to private and the #ashtag won't work because of it so I decided to just share it on here. :) I personally think Fr. Alexander made it look like a dove. ;)

I went to Mass this morning as usual and was very excited to see the entire church packed(standing room only) at 8 a.m. I'm not even going to criticize those who only attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, Easter, and Christmas because it's not my place to. Anyway, after Mass I received my ashes and have had to keep myself from accidentally touching them. lol.

I had my first "What's that on your forehead?" comment early on (at 10 something in the morning) and I followed that with an explanation on why we did it. The response to my explanation was "well, I'm Christian... we don't do that." Since I'm trying to not start any problems, I just thought "Well, I'm Christian too and I still did it." (Friendly reminder to those who didn't know: Catholics are technically Christian since we believe in Jesus Christ.) I got looks throughout the day but I didn't pay attention. Mom said Christian co-workers made fun of her and other fellow Catholics at work and then spewed hatred... you know, stuff we Catholics have unfortunately heard at some point of our lives.

Since this is a quick post, I won't write what I'm giving up for Lent... mostly because I'm not really giving up anything. I'm actually adding. I'll explain it all (hopefully) tomorrow since I'm exhausted from the driving and I have an early morning tomorrow with my Thesis adviser.

Quick question for those who will read this (since they are still up)... are any of you leaving your ashes on until they fade or are you washing it off today/tomorrow? I am always curious because everyone seems to have their own tradition regarding this. :)

Okay, that's it for now. This sinner just wanted to share my ashes with y'all. Hope the week's been going well for y'all. :D

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Music Monday: He Said What?!

This is just a quick post on something that seriously disturbed me recently.

Now, as many of you know, I'm a pretty hardcore Anglophile/Hibernophile. I like a lot of the entertainment (music, films, tv shows) that come out of England and Ireland. If you follow me on twitter than you know my love of Downton Abbey and Liverpool FC as well as the Ireland national rugby union team. Because of my love for the culture, I like to stay on top of trends which includes music. I will give most music a try. When I heard of one particular boy band that had taken the UK (and apparently the rest of the world) by storm, I was curious. I listened to their music and, despite being kind of a music snob, I liked it. It was fun, upbeat... it's a boyband. I'm not a crazy fanatic but I like listening to the songs in the background when I have things to do.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blurb a fan posted from an interview the boys did. I thought "well, I have a minute to spare and I wonder how these boys present themselves" so I went ahead of read it. It started off innocent enough until I came across a blurb in which two of the young men basically sang the joy of watching pornography. My reaction was "he said WHAT?!" While two of the other band members told them to be quiet and how pornography was degrading towards women, these other two agreed... but then said that it was "fun" to watch and made it seem like it was not a big deal. This worries me for several reasons.

We all know the dangers of pornography and how damaging it is to one's soul. The Knights of Columbus posted a great article on their website late last year regarding this. It's worth a read if you already haven't. Anyway, these young men (who were 17 and, I believe, 19 at the time of the interview) made it seem like it was okay despite the two other young men trying to quiet them down. We all know that this is a horrible pandemic and we know that my generation (so-called Generation Y) and the next generation are more prone to fall for this soul destroying virus as more and more young men and women are falling away from God (I will share my findings with y'all once I'm done with my Thesis -- it's not pretty). What I never expected was to see someone so young being so vocal about it. From what I've seen, they are insanely popular so you know that millions of young women who obsess (also not healthy) over this band will read these interviews and think that it's okay. Btw, I also saw another blurb in which one the young men also talks about being caught with a girl in bed by a parent. I'm very serious.

All of this got me thinking: "what is life going to be for my future children?" "Will they be exposed to this?" "Will it get worse?" "What can we do to make it better?" I am not so old that I don't remember what being a teenager was like. I'm 26 so I do... vividly. I know that as teenagers, we didn't like hearing adults tell us what to do and what not to do. I also know that most of us did the opposite of our parents told us (even if it was only once) because we didn't like being told what to do. But as I get older and think about my future children, I feel more determined to educate and prepare myself to help them. If the world gets uglier (and it just might by the looks of things), I feel like we need to arm the younger generations to stay strong to combat these issues (as well as the pro-abortion cult) and to not lose Faith in the process.

I could get into it more but I'm cutting it short on time. I have to read for tomorrow's courses (and I have to finish the first act of Hamlet for my Lit course by Thursday morning) and work on my Thesis some more. I just wanted to share these thoughts I've been having since I read these interview blurbs.

Before I go, I have one more question: if you knew the things that (some of) these young men do/think/watch/say were sinful and if you enjoy their music (but not their personal lives)... would you just stop listening to the music or would you listen to the music but ignore their comments? I'm interested to see what y'all think.

Anyway, I hope y'all had a great weekend and have a great week. Hope all your Lent preparations are in place as it starts in two days. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let's Hear it for Daily Mass, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I love LOL Saints pictures. :)

Seriously though, let's have a round of applause for having the option to attend daily Mass. *claps* I cannot begin to describe how happy I am to go on an (almost) daily basis. I don't take it for granted because I know that some people live in rural areas where Mass isn't celebrated often. Also, I know most of us have crazy hectic lives and we can't always attend daily Mass. I myself can't go on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I have classes but I try to go on all other days. Even if, for some reason, I can't receive communion, I don't feel right if I don't go.

I was reflecting on this prior to Mass yesterday. I feel almost empty and incomplete when I don't attend Mass. It's like I miss out on something amazing (which I think I do). I didn't go today because I was so physically exhausted that I simply couldn't get out of bed because I felt a bit shaky. I do vaguely remember saying (out loud) "I do love you, God, but I am not feeling that great right now" before falling back asleep this morning. And now my day feels a bit off. (side note: I also didn't go to confession today but I wasn't in need of it (thank God) so I'm okay there.) I don't know why but this desire to attend daily Mass only increases as the weeks pass. I'm very grateful for the feeling though. It's already helped me out a lot.

As I said in a previous blog post, one of the things that I've noticed about attending daily Mass is that I am more conscience of my actions. I am able to be more charitable towards people who treat me poorly for whatever reason. I am more aware of when I could potentially do something wrong and/or sinful and I realize things early enough to be able to correct my actions. After receiving the Eucharist each morning, I feel complete. I feel so much more relaxed and calm throughout the day. My anxiety and stress levels due to school related things may be up but I still somehow feel better in general.

I know my vocation is sadly not a religious one (as much as I would've loved it to be; I grew up wanting to be a Carmelite nun) so I've been contemplating potentially becoming a Tertiary (Third Order) Carmelite or Dominican. I have such an intense desire to be a part of the Church and since I am not called to be a nun then I feel like maybe this is the right step for me. Both Orders really appeal to me so I will have to pray about this and see which one I would most benefit from as well as be able to contribute to. I've considered this step for a long time but it's only intensified with my daily trips to the nearby parish. :)

Another thing that has come up with my trips to daily Mass: I am not entirely sure I want to teach after I graduate. I mean, I do want to spread the Word and teach younger generations the Truth but I am not sure I would last very long in a classroom. My heart and head are both telling me that I would be happy working with children as well as with older adults so I don't know. I know in my heart that I really want to help others and that I want to share the love I have for God with as many people as I possibly can but I'm very confused as to where I will go after graduation. I am taking a year off to work before I pursue my Master's degree but I think it would be a little less stressful if I had a game plan for the Fall. If y'all can please pray for this, I would greatly appreciate it. Right now all I can do is pray and keep myself open to whatever God has in store for me.

Anyway, I just felt like sharing these random thoughts. I have noticed that my readership in both this blog and my tweets has gone down considerably (and I am not complaining at all!) so I feel less pressured to write something amazing. Back to the "writing how I feel... even if it's incredibly sappy and emotional" plan. ;)

I have the rest of the evening and tomorrow off (I am mentally drained after reading close to 400 pages for classes this week) so I am going to enjoy it with a little movie marathon.

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

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prayer Request For Friend

Just a quick prayer request for my childhood friend (and neighbor), Michelle. Early yesterday she found out she was pregnant and last night she unfortunately miscarried. She and her husband are devastated. Her husband was especially excited as he wanted a little girl. If y'all can take a couple of seconds out of your day to pray for them and the family, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Music Purging Ain't Easy

Yes, I know it's not proper grammar. And, yes, I HAVE done coursework (read 70+ pages so far today) so I am not procrastinating. This is my break from fact cramming. :)

I've been doing "music purge" on and off for the past couple of months. What exactly is the point of the purge? Well, in nutshell, I am getting rid of all the music that I would have to bring up in confession. More that later. See, I have this sort of "rule" when it comes to entertainment (movies, shows, books, and music) to help me with that... if I cannot watch, read, or listen to it with my mother next to me, I won't. In some cases, when I think mom would be okay with some things that maybe she shouldn't be (lol), I think "if (paternal) grandma, who was a devout, holy woman, was alive, would we be able to be 'entertained' by this?" If the answer is no, then... well, you get the gist.

Now before anyone gets into the "you're being too scrupulous" lecture some of you love giving me, let me explain something. I was raised in a household that did not have these things... or at least, if there were unsavory things present that I should've not known about, I never found out about them growing up. My parents tried to not curse in front of me and when they slipped, they would always apologize to me. My parents never fought in front of me. I never saw either of my parents smoke (neither did) nor drink. I was asked to look away during kissing scenes (though this mellowed as I got into my teens) and they would quickly turn the TV off or change the channel if it was going further than kissing. Some might say that I was being overprotected and sheltered but I say that my parents were trying protect my soul from those kinds of things. There is nothing wrong with it and I am very grateful to my parents for it.

My teen years into my early 20s... well, I heard, did, and saw things (both unwillingly and out of curiosity) that, when I returned to the Church, I vowed never to do again. One was swearing. I never did it much prior to my reversion but I was less cautious about what slipped out of my mouth. Two was changing the friends I had, who exposed me to conversations I would rather my future children never have or listen to at that age. Third was getting rid of things that could potentially cause me to sin... especially with my mind.

As often stated, music is one of the biggest parts of my life. The only times I've ever gone without music have been the day my father died and the day of his funeral. I arm myself with a fully charged iPod touch and music apps on my Android phone every time I step out of the house. I will also occasionally leave it on all night so that songs like Debussy's "Clair de Lune" will help me sleep. Because I have it on almost 24/7, I've made a conscious effort to be careful with what I am exposed to.

Poll time: How many of you would be comfortable listening to the follow lyrics of a song I had twice by two different artists with your grandparents?: "Birds do it, bees do it / Even educated fleas do it / Let's do it, let's fall in love / In Spain, the best upper sets do it / Lithuanians and Latts do it / Let's do it, let's fall in love / The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it / Not to mention the Fins / Folks in Siam do it - think of Siamese twins..." Yes, in the end, they are talking about falling in love and not the actual act but it's still very suggestive and I've would never listened to it in front of my grandma. I grew up listening to a lot of these jazz/swing standards but it wasn't until I (both) took my Jazz in American History course (when I was a Jazz Studies major) and until I really listened to the words that I realized what the song was really about. Needless to say, the more I try to live a holy life (key word: try), the more uncomfortable I am with these things being in my possession.

I'll be the first to admit that most of the time I don't pay attention to the lyrics. I pay attention to the melody first; the lyrics come second... and much later. I think that my mind may be too innocent at times (seriously, ask some of my friends how surprised they are that I don't "get" a third of the stuff they talk about) so my interpretation of the song lyrics is just that: innocent. I don't get some of sexual innuendos until they are pointed out to me by someone.

How does confession figure into all of this? I examine my conscience closely. Very closely. I try to avoid things that I know I will come across when I'm using the iConfess app before I go into the confessional. It will ask you to mark the "I did not avoid the occasions of impurity" and/or the "I did not seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words, actions" flags if you have done it. It will ask you to "flag" the "I told impure stories, or listened to them" option which can easily apply to music. Songs (that are not instrumental) are like little stories you listen to. Do I want to confess that I willfully listened to something that could've sparked an impure thought in my mind? No, but I would if I did because that's breaking the 6th Commandment. I will make myself accountable for my actions. So, while deleting songs and throwing away records of songs I loved before I knew what they were really about isn't easy, it's absolutely necessary for my soul. You may or may not agree with me but this is something I am personally doing for myself. :)

Current stats: I am down to 737 songs on my iTunes list (and I haven't finished going through them) and I still have my Spotify lists to go through. Oh yes; I'm serious. This self-proclaimed music nerd (who just bought Benny Goodman and George Gershwin vinyl records - on sale for a buck! - over the weekend) is being more careful and enjoying it. :)

Anyway I just wanted to share... and, okay, procrastinate a bit. lol. I have my Music paper to write (which I can do in under an hour) and then continue reading for my Harlem Renaissance course since I have a paper due for it on Thursday. :)

I hope y'all had a great weekend and start of week. :D

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Day With Anxiety: St. Dymphna, Pray for Us.

I missed my Women in Music class lecture (same one with the prof who seems to have it out for me) because of anxiety (same reason I mentioned in yesterday's post) so I thought I would give y'all an insight at what it is to deal with this illness. I've written about anxiety quite a bit before, and my St. Dymphna post is still one of the top posts, but I've changed and my coping techniques have changed so I wanted to share how things are now.

The past 24 hours can be summed up as being exhausting and unpredictable. The day starts off much like my previous day ends: feeling like I can't breathe. That's one of the many symptoms associated with it. Depending on what I have to deal with during the day is how bad it is. Monday through Thursday (while I have classes), I feel like I can't breathe during most of the day. When I first experienced this it was quite scary because I thought I would stop breathing completely. I had no idea what was going on or why. The thing is that I CAN breathe, I just feel like I can't. It's almost like if you have something heavy sitting on top of your chest and you are desperate to get it off but you can't. The more you think about it, the more panic sets in and the worst the anxiety gets. Thankfully I know that it is just anxiety (and I know what is triggering it) so I won't go into full panic mode but I have in the past. It's not fun... and it gets less fun with you're left completely exhausted.

After feeling like I can't breathe, I have to distract myself. As I said, if I think about it, it's only going to get worse and I may start hyperventilating so distractions are key. If I'm at home, I try to walk or do something mindless online until I feel better. If I can get in the car and drive somewhere (btw, NEVER drive while feeling anxious), I'll do that. Most of the time I feel like I need to get away for a little bit. If I'm in class, I have a tendency to draw on the margins on my notes. It helps me both keep my mind busy so I don't think about the anxiety and it also reminds me that I should attempt to pay attention in class. I actually do pay attention and write notes as part of my distraction but when I have nothing to write, drawing helps. Only one professor has ever been really rude and nasty about this technique I have in class... and it's my music prof this semester.

This was actually what made me cry a few weeks ago -- I was trying to not hyperventilate in class and she very rudely said something along the lines of "hello, Emmy, do you want to finish working on that project you're doing or are you going to pay attention?" It doesn't sound too bad but the way she said it and the look she gave me was just horrible. I was obviously trying to catch my breathing, and I most likely looked pale as I often do when I have a panic attack, so for her to just snap at me like that (btw, this is normal for me to experience from her on an almost daily basis) made things worse. It's things like this that make me feel like there's something seriously wrong with me.

No, it is not "normal" to feel anxiety that is this heightened. It is not normal to feel like you can't breathe. I also feel very physically drained despite a good night's sleep and that's also not normal either. Fainting spells? I get those too. However, it's my normal and it has been since I was 15 years old. My anxiety is not as bad as it once was -- driving and having that independence has helped so much -- but I still have my bad days. Yesterday it was a mixed day, today is worse.

One of the big reasons why I even started this blog was because I became very aware of how many people suffer from anxiety but don't speak up about it because of the negative stereotypes. I don't want to be like that. I want to show people that it is possible to live with anxiety (and I don't take medication for it). No, we're not crazy. I have my silly moments with friends but there's nothing "seriously" wrong with us. Some of us have anxiety because thyroid levels are abnormal. Some of us (like myself) have anxiety because of traumatic experiences.

Without going into a lot of detail, I've had some pretty hard things to deal with growing up. What triggers most of my anxiety in social and school settings is feeling like I'm trapped. I had social anxiety (I couldn't be in crowds or even away from the house) when I first got sick and now it's classified as generalized anxiety and panic disorder. The reason I got anxiety was because I had a history teacher during my freshman year of high school (first and last in public HS) that loved to humiliate me in class and allowed students to attack me. That was a time when I couldn't leave the classroom without permission; I felt trapped and so every time I feel trapped or that an authority figure is unfairly picking on me, the anxiety goes crazy.

I've done Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (that's when you think about what you're going through and analyzing the situation to get a rational answer as to why you shouldn't be feeling anxious) and I've learned coping techniques but being in my Music course this semester has reminded me of being in that freshman year History class. My Music prof reminds me of that horrible History teacher -- down to the looks and mannerisms, so it's not a surprise that I've felt the way I do. I know that it's not the same but it being so close to graduation I feel like if I don't end up graduating because of grades it'll be because of her. I try to work so hard to do well in my courses and if my hard work doesn't get my that degree that I've spent years trying to finish because one professor just doesn't like me... I will be devastated. It's that uncertainty that has made me an anxious/weepy/mopey mess.

I'm going to be doing a St. Dymphna novena (since she is the patroness of those afflicted with anxiety) because it's hard. I love school. I don't like missing courses, especially because of anxiety... but the thought of going to class and having this professor just go after me is not helping. And before anyone asks, I've already let my academic adviser know what was going on (especially since I ended up missing my Thesis meeting because of all of this) and I will let others, higher up, know if it gets worse. I don't want to get her into trouble,and I hate confrontations with a passion, but I also don't think it's fair that I am treated the way that I am. I did nothing wrong so I don't get it. I will pray not only for myself but for those who have anxiety because of reasons that are much worse. There are always people who have harder lives and just because I myself am dealing with this doesn't mean that I should be selfish and not think about what they are experiencing as well. I also invite you to pray for them. I have less than 2 months of this to endure at the CINO college but they may have no end in sight for the near future. I need to constantly remind myself that this is temporary and that everything will eventually get better.

Anyway, sorry if this was kind of a downer post but I felt like sharing it. A lot of people don't know what it is to deal with anxiety, or what may trigger it, and I wanted to give y'all an insight at why I am currently experiencing anxiety. I was to dispel negative stereotypes and I hope that some of you will be a little more conscientious about not passing along those stereotypes. We're just like y'all... we just have a little extra to deal with is all. :)

I hope y'all are doing well and that your week has gone a little better than me. :D

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daily Mass Addictions and School Afflictions

Hello. My name is Emmy and I am a Daily Mass addict. No, seriously. Just ask Joe who made me realize it yesterday. One day, last week, I woke up with an overwhelming urge to attend daily Mass and I've gone every day since. The only days I've missed have been days which I attend classes and am thus unable to attend Mass. (side note: my school is roughly 15 miles from where I live but we have notoriously horrible traffic -- 45 mins to 3 HOURS one way, depending on how bad it is -- so I can't get to/from Mass on time.) I don't know how/why it started but I am not complaining. It all started with a spontaneous idea to go into the chapel on campus to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy before class and it's now Daily Mass followed by the Chaplet. I don't feel right not going to Mass. I've never adapted to a change in my schedule/daily routine to quickly before. Is it weird to say that I feel empty not attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist every day? I honestly can't imagine myself not attending Mass on a daily basis anymore. Everything's changed... and I love this change.

Instead of sleeping until 9-10 a.m. like I would on days I didn't have to go to campus, I get up at 7:30 (or as close to it as I can) in order to eat something light, an hour before communion, since I know I can't fast without feeling faint. I tried that (fasting) last week and I nearly fainted while praying the Rosary. (second side note: Oh yes, I have also joined a group of parishioners that pray the Rosary, novenas, and chaplets after morning Mass. :D) I don't get enough sleep anymore but I am not as tired as I thought I would be. The insomnia I experienced the last couple of week has gotten better, I'm a lot more calm (though anxiety's been worse... more on that later), the sun is brighter, etc. I'm also more aware of my actions and of thinking before speaking which helps me not be in need of confession as frequently. That is terribly important to me. Whenever I go to Mass in the morning I am reminded of two Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati quotes:

"I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharist Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles."


(in a letter to his friend, "Tonino", dated 8/13/1923): "... when one goes into the mountains one should sort out one's conscience first, because one never knows if one will return."

That last quote is on page 134 of the book Pier Giorgio Frassati: Letters to His Friends and Family. In that letter to his friend, Bl. Pier Giorgio, an avid mountain climber and sportsman, talks about the importance of going to confession after the death of a fellow mountain climber. In previous letters he also wrote about how important it was for him to receive the Eucharist before he climbed mountains. Of course, I'm not a mountain climber (I'm, at best, a lover of hikes) but I can relate to it in more ways than one. I'm always either driving or being driven. A day on which I don't drive is rare. Not only that, I attend a school which has a campus up on a mountain. The view is spectacular when you're outside but as soon as I go inside, it's a fight against the liberal, dare I say heretical, teachings I encounter inside. Just like Bl. Pier Giorgio, I think I need to receive the Eucharist daily to remind me of who I am, who am I not nor will I be in order to fit in, and that I have my Heavenly Father looking out for me. I am not in physical danger (at least not like Bl. Pier Giorgio was when he climbed) but I do feel my soul is in danger (though one I am aware of as to not fall) each time I step foot on that campus.

And that leads me to the reason why I think my anxiety's been worse lately. Well, partly. I've noticed that my anxiety gets worse on the days before I have to go class as well as the first part of the day. And it goes back to one thing... or, I should say, one person: my music professor. As I've mentioned before, she does not like me... or so it seems. I thought we'd had a breakthrough last week when she tried to understand what it's like to be a student with anxiety but this week it's gone sour again. I haven't felt so personally attacked by a professor in quite a while. She skips over me when my hand is raised for a question, she tells me to be quiet when I volunteer to answer (when no one else wants to), she finds the littlest things to reprimand me on even though I am not doing anything bad, and I am never write. Saint and religion question: I am NEVER right. Of course, I get online after class (I don't do it during out of respect for my professors) and I check to see if I was right... and I am. Yesterday I had my hand raised for the longest time and a classmate even motioned to her that I had the answer but she skipped me. She didn't come back to me until several minutes after I put down my hand and then my answer was "wrong." I don't talk back to her or anything, mostly because my parents taught me to respect my elders and partly because I'm too busy trying to catch my breathing in her class (trying not to hyperventilate due to anxiety).

I will also admit that all of this has gotten me down the past couple of weeks... but it's been most obvious the last week. Yesterday I was one big weepy/mopey mess. She really made me feel like I was a speck of dirt that was bothering her and it really messed up my day. Though I can normally just forget about people not liking me, the fact that she's been this way since day one (yes, since the first day of classes) and that she finds new ways of making me feel like crumbs has gotten to me. She's going to cancel classes a couple of times next month and in April and I am sorry to say that I very much look forward to those days. I offer up every little thing she says to make me feel horrible and keep track of it on my St. Therese Sacrifice Beads. If you guys can please say a pray that I can make it through the next 2 months and 4 weeks (the countdown is on your left hand side) and that I actually pass my classes so that I can graduate, I would be so grateful.

Okay, I think I've unintentionally procrastinated longer than I anticipated. lol. I have to do coursework for a presentation tomorrow as well as a fellow up meeting with my Thesis adviser so I really need to get to work.

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far and if any of you need me to offer up one of my bad days for a special intention you may have, let me know. I'd gladly do it. :)

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy St. Brigid's Feast Day

Happy St. Brigid (of Ireland or of Kildare; however you may call her)'s Feast Day!!! As a Hibernophile (side note: this means I'm someone who is fond of Irish culture, the Irish language, and Ireland in general), I love celebrating Irish saints' feast days. Today is actually the first time I am celebrating St. Brigid of Ireland's feast day because a) I was always preoccupied with something else and I'd forget and b) she's helped bring a little more Faith into my household.

As some of you (the earliest of readers) may know, I've participated in the Irish Fireside's Christmas and St. Patrick's Day gift exchanges for the past 3 Christmases now. This past Christmas I was looking for the perfect gift to give my Secret Santa and at one of the local Irish import shops in L.A. I found St. Brigid's cross. I'd seen the cross before and, me being me, I was immediately drawn to it. I had actually already selected a gift for my Secret Santa but the cross just seemed right so I got it instead. I loved it so much, I actually bought one for myself as well. The store owner (a lovely woman from Ireland) told me that the crosses were actually handmade with rush from the River Shannon... at the exact spot where it is believed that St. Brigid made her own crosses. This is actually a picture I took of the cross we have (which I placed over our picture of The Last Supper and a painting of a Mexican market):

From 2012-02-01

Ever since I bought the cross there's been more a desire to learn about more saints as well as actually following through with certain things (such as going to confession more frequently for my mom and keeping myself in line as long as I can without having the need to go to confession). It's like the cross, which we see more than once a day, reminds us that we want to live better lives and keeps that thought in our minds. It's wonderful. :)

I've actually been trying to go to daily Mass more often but either I haven't because of school/obligations or I am unable to wake up early enough to attend. Trust me, sometimes I'm so exhausted that nothing will wake me up. Today I actually woke up 15 minutes before Mass started and got there 2 minutes before it started (perk of living less than a mile from the parish). I was so happy to be there, to be able to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy (which I started doing recently; every morning and at 3 p.m. if I can), and to be able to pray the Novena of the Miraculous Medal along with the priest and a pretty packed parish. I thought it was great that I was able to attend my first daily Mass of the year on St. Brigid's feast day. It feels appropriate and I feel so peaceful. :)

By the way, if you don't much about St. Brigid, I suggest you click the first link in this post; it'll take you to a brief bio on her. AND if you have kids or are a kid at heart (like me; long live arts and crafts!), the Irish Fireside's own post on St. Brigid's Day includes a youtube video on how to make your own St. Brigid's cross. :D

Alright, I don't want to procrastinate on my schoolwork because I have about 200 pages to read for tomorrow (oh, I wish I was kidding!) and I have to work on my Senior Thesis since my meetings for it are on Thursday mornings. :) I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. Oh, and don't forget that tomorrow is Candlemas. I hope to post something for it but I don't know since a) I'm going to try to find a Mass in the evening and b) I don't know how busy I will be for since I have more HW due on Friday for my online courses. Feel free to keep poking me about posting over often though. ;)

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