Friday, May 25, 2012

M.I.A. for the Weekend

I've decided to spend the long weekend with my special Guy (that's Jesus in Emmy language) so I won't be blogging until Tuesday. Tonight I came to the realization that I desperately need this time away from the computer to refocus my priorities and my spiritual life... I want to do this before my birthday next week. I will keep y'all in prayer.

Have a great Pentecost and Memorial Day weekend, my dears. :D

God Bless,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm a Proud Daughter, Part Two.

If you would have told me, four years ago (it's in one of the earlier blog posts that I couldn't find quickly), that my dream of having both of my parents return to the Church within a couple of years would come true, I would've said "yeah, right!" If you've been a reader of this since the beginning then you know how hard it was for me to even get my parents to attend Mass with me. My dad used to get very angry about having to drive me to confession and/or Mass. My mother would look for any excuse to not go. Though my mom was the one who prayed the most often, she was (surprisingly) the hardest to get to come back. Thankfully, she's back and I couldn't be any prouder of her.

My mom didn't fully come back to the Church until shortly before my father passed away. My dad returned to the Church the day before my 24th birthday (which remains the BEST birthday present I've ever gotten) and she followed a few weeks later. In fact, I think it was the fact that my father was dying that made her want to return. Though she had been fighting it for a long time, it's now gotten to the point where I don't have to try to persuade her to go to confession or Mass. It took two and a half years but she's finally comfortable (well, as comfortable as one can be) going to confession. We have to go weekly because there are bad habits that are hard to get rid of but I don't mind. It's a slow process but we're getting there. Yesterday she asked me to translate (from English to Spanish) the questions on the iConfession app I use to examine my conscience so that she could use it this week... and I nearly burst with joy.

Lately mom's been on a Bible reading kick.. and I'm fully supportive of it. Let's face it, we Catholics don't always read the Bible and that's where our Protestant brothers and sisters think they "pwned" us. I didn't grow up reading the Bible and I didn't really do it until I took my Intro to Monotheistic Religions course a couple of years ago. It's sad but it's not uncommon amongst us young Catholics. I truly don't think we can fully understand our Faith until we not only read what is in the Bible but also really study it. How can we back up what we believe if we're just going on what we've heard? A lot of things get skewed to fit a person's lifestyle so what we hear may not be what's really in the Bible. If you already haven't, I strongly encourage you all to read it. I'm going to make an effort to study the Bible with mom at least twice a week because I think we'll both benefit from it. I'm going to be using 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know by Patrick Madrid (which I was given as a gift a couple of years ago) to start her off. Since I couldn't find a good Spanish equivalent to it, I'll be translating it for her as well. It'll be good for both of us.

I'm just... really overjoyed at how things have turned out. Between attending Mass, going to confession, reading the Bible, AND asking me to show her how to pray the Rosary, I feel like I burst with happiness. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit has used me to bring one more person closer to Him. Though I may be physically speaking to mom, I know the Holy Spirit has been behind all of it. Of course, this is not the end of my self-given mission to bring both of my parents back to the Church. Lord knows whether my dad is still in purgatory or already in Heaven but I know He's taken care of him. As for my mom, it's only just the beginning. I don't think it'll ever be finished because we all grow every single day. I'm just looking forward to seeing how things pan out... and I hope that I can pass all of this along to my future children whenever God blesses me with them. :)

Anyway, just wanted to share a bit of what's been going on with this "mission." Now I need to try to do something productive for the day so I don't have to add another day of being lazy to my own confessions list. Yes, sloth (laziness and being unproductive) is a sin and it's easy to fall into it as a new graduate.

I hope y'all are still have a great week. If not, hit me up and I'll say a prayer for you. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And... I'm Back! :D

I am back, baby... and in more ways than one. :D

First, my apologies for lack of writing. The cold bug hit me harder than the last one and I spent a lot of time resting (sleeping) or getting back into my homebody groove which consists of getting my cleaning, cooking, and errands schedules back in order. Since things had gotten into disarray while I was in school, it took me a few days to get everything in order and running like clockwork again. Now that that's in order, I have time to write.

I've been working on my novel (editing and re-writing stages). It had been on hold for nearly a year because of school so I'm trying to finish it now. I'm happy to report that it's been going well. :) I also have a new assignment which will appear on a well known site in the near future. That is all I will say for now. ;)

So... did I mention that I am back?! Today I woke up with a strong desire to pray for others as well as to get back to finishing all the books I had on hold because of school (i.e. Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila and finishing the book of letters Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati wrote to his family and friends). In fact, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati has been on my mind and in my heart lately so I'm going to tackle the rest of my studies on him first. I still owe him a lot (seriously, I couldn't have graduated with a tiny 2k loan without his intercession; I initially needed to take out a 20k loan... per year) and it seems appropriate that I start by finishing what I had begun before "school" got in the way. I don't know why but I feel like I'm preparing myself for the career path that God wants me to take and that makes me very happy. :) I feel like I did during the first years of my reversion (specifically late 2006 through early 2008). I'm happy... really, really happy. :D

Also, happy (yes, I know I am overusing this word... and I don't care) to report that my writer's block (and the reason for not wanting to break the chain) is gone. :D Maybe this bug (and the rest I was forced to get) was what I needed to get back to my usual self. Thank God!

Anyway, this is a short entry because I have dishes and dusting to do -- as well as start on lunch -- before mom gets home from work. This is good. It feels like old times.

I hope you are all having a great week thus far. :D

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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Sick; Hi! Nice to Meet You!

I am currently sitting in bed, eating homemade chicken soup, trying to rest because I caught my mom's bug. Fun! I'm pretty sure it's a cold which I prefer over the flu. That, by the by, is why I did not post anything yesterday. I was able to finish cleaning the house and doing everything that needed to be done so I could rest this weekend. I have armed myself with books, movies, Spotify playlists, and Hulu so that I won't get bored. 

One of my best friends is currently reading the first half of my novel (we're in full-on beta reader mode) so I am waiting to get feedback before I continue editing that. To be quite honest, I just want to rest and do nothing after months of reading and writing. I'm sure it'll last a day or two before I do something productive again as I hate to waste time. :)

While doing my daily 'net rounds (checking everything I need to check; i.e. emails, Facebook, twitter, etc.) I noticed that one of my favorite YouTubers, Mr. Charlieissocoollike himself, uploaded a video in which he has, once again, said something that made me think: "Why haven't I posted a blog about this?!" Having already met a number of you lovely readers offline, whether it was planned or not, I decided to give everyone else a heads up in case we ever meet.

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that I'm quite shy in person but I don't think some of you realize just how much. I clam up. I'm friendly but I'm not much of a talker... at first. I'm definitely an introvert though you may not think it because I'm so active online. That's because most of us who are introverts and shy in person are the biggest "talkers" online.

This blog has actually helped me meet a lot of great people. There have been a couple of times that people have stumbled onto this blog, figured out who I am, and have come up and said "hello." I've had it happen before, right before Mass, which is pretty cool. It's always interesting and a bit shocking because I still feel like it's just me writing and my friends reading to keep tabs on me, especially those who've moved away. I'm a massive goofball as soon as I've known you long enough to feel comfortable but I'm a wreck at first. lol. 

If I am not too talkative at first, don't think it's me being rude or conceited. It's basically me thinking "please, don't say something embarrassing" to myself. lol. If I'm not comfortable with a topic or I don't feel prepared enough to speak on it, I will say little to nothing while the conversation is on said topic. I will smile and agree if I do but that's it. Again, I may stutter or mumble but I'm getting better at not doing that. Let's see... what else? I'm very smiley so if you don't like that, I'm sorry. lol. Like I've said, after I get very comfortable with someone, the nerd/goofball flag flies proudly... just ask the talented Miss Danica whom I first met online years ago and is now one of my best friends / partners in crime.  

I look forward to meeting more of you in person, hopefully at events like the Catholic New Media Conference. I won't be attending this year because money is tight and, since I'm currently unemployed, I have to save the little money I do have because I don't know how for how long I will be unemployed and I do help with bills and groceries. Next year, though, I hope to be there and meeting y'all. :D

Anyway, I'm going to rest and try to eat while I wait for the UEFA Champions League final to start. Yes, I'm still a massive football (soccer) fan... and you will see some of that soon. ;) And, yes, that is a hint.

I hope you all have a great weekend! As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm Single So My Life Is Worthless

For the record, the title was not meant to be taken seriously. Like, at all. ;)

I've had a really BAD anxiety day so I have nothing good to post. Because of this, I've decided to post another one of my favorite Blimey Cow videos along with a challenge.

Having a mother that has her Mrs. Bennet moments (on an almost daily basis) and having acquaintances who bemoan the fact that they're single and how their biological clock is ticking... when they're younger than I am... made me appreciate this video. One of my best friends and I have running inside jokes about the whole situation (being single with no hurry of finding a guy or getting married immediately despite feeling pressured by people around us) and a lot of what we say is contained in this video.

As Jordan said, being single can be fun. So, single #cathsorority gals, here is my challenge for some of you: make a list of everything you want to accomplish before God sends the right guy your way... and do it. Want to finish your degree? Do it. Want to start a career? Do it. Want to focus on bettering yourself so that when the right guy comes along and you decide the settle down you'll be ready? Please do it. Also, don't forget to write down how you want to better your spiritual life. Got that list written? Good. I should now put this disclaimer: the right guy may come along before you complete your list but that's okay. The whole point of your time "finding yourself" is that you don't become obsessed with finding the right guy RIGHT NOW because that could be very dangerous. Trust me... I've seen it happen to good people.

Now, here's another idea: pray for your future spouse. I don't do this as often as I should but I do it when I remember. My prayer is simple: "please, Lord, let my future husband get to know and love You while I do the same. Let us both be chaste in our words and actions and may we find each other when You feel that we're both ready." My prayer is not always the same but that's the gist of how many of them begin. After you pray for him, focus on the only man in your life; the Big Man Upstairs. Your solo time with God is precious and I am willing to bet that spending time with Him will help you in your future relationships.

I love you gals which is why I am saying this. I'm not criticizing you; I'm only wanting what's best for you and I felt compelled to write this... especially after watching this video. So, PLEASE no more trying to hurry me or try to make me feel bad for being single. No setting me up with guys you think are perfect for me, especially if you only know me a little bit from talking online. I'm not naming names but y'all know who you are. I'm just figuring out what I want so please back off a bit. Thanks. :D

Now... any challenge takers? ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Disney, Belle, St. Therese, and Being Childlike.

Yes, I was in the Beast's library on Monday... and yes, I took this picture so if you take it, please give me credit.

I know, I know... I broke the chain. I didn't post yesterday because 1) I decided to clean the house and it took a good chunk of my day and 2) I had a combo anxiety/fatigue day that kept me from doing much. I spent most of the evening/night feeling like I couldn't breathe. THIS is why I like being busy; I am less likely to have anxiety when my mind is occupied with something. Anyway, that's in the past and I still want to write my Disney inspired post... ;)

For the record, no one guessed what the video had to do with today's post. I got responses on the Facebook page and as well as on twitter but no one was able to guess it. Some responses were good... and definitely made me think, but no cigar. Let's talk a little about Beauty and the Beast and one of my heavenly buddies, St. Therese of Lisieux.

Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite Disney animated film since I first watched it. In fact, I was such a fan when it first came out that I dressed up as Belle for Halloween that year. I have always been able to identify with Belle -- she's a bookworm, kind of feisty and independent, being a bit of a loner, wanting to get out of her hometown, willing to sacrifice for her family, etc. When I found out that there was an attraction in California Adventure, which was done to look like the Beast's massive library (my dream library), I knew I had to go in. Inside it looks like a miniature version of the library. You sit in front of one of the many books spread out inside the library and you take a quiz which tells you which Disney character you are most like. Without cheating, I took the quiz and got Belle. I was absolutely giddy... and then it hit me that this was one of the reasons why I like going to Disneyland and California Adventure.

If you've read enough of my blog posts you know that I didn't really have much of a childhood. I've always been an old soul trapped in a young body. Just look at the kind of music, films and clothing that I prefer (from the 1940s into the early 1950s) and that pretty much tells you. My mom likes to tell me stories of how I was as a little girl and I was very precocious. Having helped take care of my dad and having to act grown up from a very young age have made me not have a typical childhood... though I am totally not complaining. I loved the way I grew up, though it was occasionally a lonely one since I grew up with only my parents.

Because I grew up by myself, I had to entertain myself. I drew a lot. I got a library card as soon as I could pick out my own books (which I still have and use to this day). I wrote. A LOT. My best friend growing up, Rudy, gave me notebooks and pens for my birthday up until we was 18 years old and he moved away. He said he always saw me writing and knew how fast I went through notebook so it was the ideal birthday present. He's actually the person who knew I was meant to be a writer before I ever thought about it. My need of entertainment, as well as my constant literary companions, helped nourish my creativity. In this sense, I haven't grown up. When I get into my little literary world, I feel like Peter Pan... only a female version of Peter Pan. I can escape into the world I create and live vicariously through my characters. Of course, I know that it's not real and I don't bring it out into my personal life but I do enjoy feeling like a kid every time I write... and go to Disneyland.

St. Therese of Lisieux inspired me to be childlike (but not a childish) when I look at things, especially when it comes to my faith. (And a quick side note: St. Therese was French like Belle. See? I can connect these things. ;D) I briefly mentioned this in a blog post a few years ago but as I've gotten older, my views have changed. Of course, I still try to talk to God (my favorite place is in front of the Tabernacle when there isn't Adoration) and I am constantly in awe and wonder when I learn something new about my Faith. Whenever I go to new parishes or places that are connected to the Catholic Church (i.e. the California Missions), I feel like a kid in a candy store. That doesn't mean that I am going to pout, rant, and demand that all my prayers be answered like I did when I was younger. I know that we can ask God for something but if it's not His will, He will give me what I need. My earthly dad may no longer be with me but my Father still is and I have no problem going to Him whenever I need a dad in my life... and that is what I was thinking about while I was at Disneyland. I'm serious.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with y'all. :D Again, sorry I didn't write it yesterday but I wasn't feeling well (I was so weak and fatigued that I thought I was going to collapse on the floor while I was cleaning the living room.) Since I broke the chain yesterday it looks like I'm starting the "every day for a week" posting until I actually go through with it. I hope y'all don't mind. ;)

I should try to finish cleaning my room before the evening Mass today; I slept in this morning because my anxiety kept me up late last night. Oh, and I'm feeling better today so please don't worry. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Any Guesses?

Any guesses as to what this video has to do with tomorrow's blog post?

Yes, it was inspired by today's trip to Disneyland and California Adventure... and, yes, I'm trying to buy myself time since I couldn't write a proper post today. ;)

So... any guesses?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

16-Bit Catholic Podcast Interview

My buddy Dustin interviewed me for his 16-Bit Catholic podcast a couple of days ago and it is now up for y'all to listen to. I was incredibly nervous and awkward (as I am at first when I meet people) but it was a fun experience. I talked about attending a CINO college as well as football (soccer) -- which I am actually going to blog about soon because I'm a huge footy fan. :D Anyway, I'm a writer and I like to think long and hard about what I'll write and I'm not much of a talker.... so please be kind. lol.

Anywho, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the day. Happy Mothers Day to all the mamas out there, and especially my incredible mamas -- my mom and Mama Mary. :D

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Remedy: the Rosary, Chaplet of the Divine Mercy & Confession

This blog post is a little late but it's going up. Trying not to break the chain. :) Also, picture from LOLSaints. :D

I just returned home from confession and it was just what I needed. We got there half an hour before confessions started (as I'd been told that they would be half an hour early today) and when mom and I noticed that our spiritual director wasn't going to make it on time, I started praying the Rosary. I started feeling a bit of the anger I've been feeling the past couple of days being lifted off of my shoulders as I prayed the Joyful Mysteries. Once I was done, and saw that Fr. Prado wasn't going to be there anytime soon, I went ahead and prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. By the end of it, I felt as if most of the negative feelings I'd felt had disappeared.

A visiting priest (whose name I, unfortunately, didn't catch) ended up being the only one who heard confessions so I made my confession with him. The words he told me in the confessional did away with whatever bad feelings I had left. I cried for the first time (well, first time in the confessional) in a long time and I came out feeling like my old self. It was wonderful and I am so grateful that we have this Sacrament because sometimes it's what you need to get you back to where you're supposed to be. I am now looking forward to attending Mass this coming week... and also about praying again.

Lesson learned: when feeling despair and detached, the best remedy is to pray the Rosary, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, and have a good, honest (I'm talking a hold-nothing-back) confession. Thank you, God!

Anyway, it's a short post today as I'm feeling a bit of writer's block... and today is my last day of Netflix and I'm trying to get through an entire show (which only has three season) before midnight. ;)

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Confession: I'm Angry.

I thought a picture of Mr. Darcy unhappy really suited this post.

Ready for another confession? I've been feeling very upset and detached the last couple of days... and I have no idea why. Well, I have a theory but I don't know if this is the cause for why it's hard for me to do things. See, I've realized that I get this way shortly after something major happens and I wonder if I get in this really bad funk because I am going through these milestones without my dad with me.

I was fine up until yesterday when "everything that could go wrong" has gone wrong. I think the excitement of graduation has worn off and it's been replaced with many things (feelings) that were out of my mind until recently since I now have time to actually think about them. I'm stressed about finding a job because we're currently a one income family and it's hard on us. I haven't been attending daily Mass though I now have the time. I haven't really been praying though I should. I try but it's almost like I'm forcing myself to and that gets me upset. I've been feeling really upset about several things as well. The littlest things annoy the heck out of me... and this is really out of character for me. But, like I said, I've noticed that this usually happens around major milestones -- birthdays, (now) graduation, anniversaries, etc. I never had this problem until my dad passed away... and really, not this bad (ever) so that is why I'm thinking that this is the cause.

I don't think I'll ever get past being upset that my dad passed away so soon. I still blame the doctor he had for his rapid decline. Seriously, something really fishy happened and we got no answers. Every birthday I've had since he passed away has been hard. His birthdays are hard and I'm in a funk the day before, of, and after. The day of his death (3 years on July 11th though it doesn't feel that long), I just want to be left alone and not talk to anyone. I grew up either bottling up emotions or getting them out through writing since I didn't have anyone to talk to so I mostly write and vent this way. This is sort of how I've been feeling lately.

I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to do anything. I just want to sit in my room, listen to music, and read. As I said, it started yesterday and it usually lasts anywhere between two to three days so I hope it is out of my system by tomorrow... but it's still hard. Of course I'll go to confession tomorrow and talk to my spiritual adviser (who is also my mom's first spiritual adviser -- that bit makes me feel so proud of her) because I feel completely closed off.

The day of my graduation I felt like crying... all day long. I kept clutching the locket that contained my dad's picture. It was his biggest dream to see me graduate and for him to not be there just seemed to be very unfair. He used to drive me to Santa Monica College my freshman year of college because that it where I wanted to go. We would spend an average of 2 hours trying to get there (despite not living too far) and another two trying to get get back home and he never complained because he knew that that was what I wanted. This was at a time when my anxiety was so bad that we never knew if I'd last too long in the classroom. Up until the April before he passed away, he used to drive me to my classes and would actually wait for me, in the car, until I was ready to go home. It was a lot of sacrificing on his part. I guess I'm just angry that he wasn't able to be there, next to my mom, and see me walk across the stage. He didn't get to see his hard work pay off nor did I get a chance to personally thank him for everything he did for me. I couldn't hug and kiss him and tell him how grateful I was and am. All that goes through my mind is, "it's not fair."

I'm actually crying as I type this out but it's good; I'm getting it all out of my system. I don't like feeling angry or detached. In a weird way, I feel like it's not who I am and that makes me unhappy. Like I said earlier, these feelings that I'm experiencing are quite out of character for me. I don't normally get this mad and when I do get mad, I can usually get over it in a couple of minutes. I tend to let go of the negative feelings pretty quickly but it's been hard these past two days.

Anyway, just wanted to get it out. It's unhealthy to keep emotions bottled up. See? I'm not all rainbows and sunshine all the time... though I do laugh when I hear it because I'm usually pretty mellow and/or silly. Perhaps it's time that I spent some time in prayer, asking for St. Jerome's intercession. Yes, he's who you ask when you have an anger problem/issue. Although mine might seem mild to others on the outside, it's really distressing and distracting me.

I hope y'all are doing well. Oh, and if you have anything I can offer up my anger for, please let me know. I might as well use it for good. :)

That's it for now. As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Have a Confession to Make; Challenge Week.

I have a confession to make. I haven't been writing because I've had serious writer's block. It's not just blogging but writing in general. I think I got so burnt out this semester (a 53 page Thesis in addition to all the other papers and take home exams) that I will prefer to play a game, read, listen to music, and watch movies instead of writing. Also, there is the issue of my not wanting to write some crummy stuff that have kept me from posting the many blog entries I've started but have not finished.

I want to finish my novel this summer and look into self-publishing it. It's been on hold for so long because of school that I sometimes forget that it's not done. I also want to blog daily if I can but it's starting to feel more like a chore than something for myself. I feel like people expect these really killer posts, something that will make an impact, and that puts a lot of pressure on me. As stated before, this blog is really like my own personal journal... that I just happen to share with hundreds of people. I don't write everything but I write what I feel like sharing. Sometimes people expect me to write some groundbreaking story happening in the Catholic world and are disappointed with my ramblings. Again (I often have to write this for a reason), I started this blog as a way to hold myself accountable for the progress I am making as a Catholic. I still have my ups and downs (like I'm currently struggling getting up in the mornings to go to daily Mass) and that is what I want to write about. I have gotten a taste of writing more academic things (such as my Thesis... which I hope to make available - at least part of it - as soon as I get the okay) and I like doing that but this blog is for a completely different purpose.

I was watching one of my favorite Youtubers, Charlie McDonnell, talking about his mid-life crisis week project and I was inspired to do the same. Here is the video so you can watch it for yourself:

A lot of what he said was exactly how I felt and I saw his week worth of videos and it seems like a good idea. So, borrowing the idea from Charlie, I have decided to blog every day for a week. If I feel truly stumped (as in, the well of ideas feels dry) I will write just a little paragraph. I think I may even have to dive into some (normally) off-limits topics if I'm desperate enough. lol.

Anyway, just letting you guys know ahead of time. It's no longer about writing what I feel pressured writing but once again writing for myself and sharing the content with the world. If you want something that is updated more frequently and/or is a little more visual and sillier, feel free to check out my twitter or tumblr. Okay then... let's do this!

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

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Officially a College Graduate.

Yesterday was my graduation ceremony... and it was a completely bittersweet experience. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond thrilled that I am done at the CINO college! I mean, I will be as soon as I get my Thesis back to do the editing. No, I still haven't gotten it back... but neither have ANY of the Religious Studies majors (there were a total of five of us yesterday, though only three showed up). 

The only regret-like feelings I have about my time at that school is not spending more time with the girls who have become good friends over the last two years. I won't get to see them at least twice a week anymore. Grad School and/or work will have everyone busy so seeing them won't be as easy. I've already made it a goal to have lunch with them (either together or individually) at least once a month while we still can. I don't know where I'll end up going to Grad School (at this point it's looking like I'm most likely heading out of state next year) so I'm going to try to see them while we all have a chance. Besides this, and not spending my time studying (I truly am an academic nerd), there is nothing I will miss about attending this school.

I will not miss the 4-6 a.m. wake up times just to get to class on time. I will not miss the hour to three hour commute to and from the campus despite living a couple of miles away. If you live in L.A., you know what a pain the 405 is in the morning... and most of the day. I won't miss the dirty looks from professors. I won't miss the mud slinging the professors do at the Church,  the Pope, and priests. I won't miss feeling angry, nauseous, and/or sad whenever my classmates and/or professors try to pass some liberal theology off as "Catholic" when it's clearly against Church teachings.

While waiting in line, before we walked into the amphitheater (yes, the school had to rent out an amphitheater to fit us and our families in... and even then it was packed), I met and spoke to a fellow Religious Studies grad. She was not part of the traditional B.A. program so that is why I hadn't met her before. I spent a good hour talking about our experience as a Religious Studies major... and it was quite similar. She did not appreciate what we were "taught" and was anxious to get out. She had professors whose theology was off and while she knew what the true Church teaching were, she was still "wrong" because she was the student and the professor was superior in knowledge to her. She also couldn't get a hold of her Thesis adviser and had to do editing over the summer despite finishing early. Sound familiar? One thing she said has (and will remain) stuck in me: despite our negative experiences, our love of God and our faith has strengthened and there's no "going back." She's a bit older than I am (with grown kids) so she was lamenting on how my generation views religion and spirituality. I told her about my Thesis and how there are some of us who are trying to combat it... and this just invigorated my desire to keep going forward.

I still don't know how I'm going to do it but I know that God has given me a gift that I can use to help others. God has blessed me with love and patience to spare as well as the ability to speak to those who are younger and make them understand certain things. Though I don't think a traditional classroom setting is right for me (my heart nor my mind are in it), I know that working with young adults, teenagers, and kids is where my gifts will be best used. I've often told God, especially when I'm kneeling in front of the tabernacle, that everything I do is and will be done for Him and not for myself. Now that I'm officially out of school, it's time to really show that.

Beyond walking into the graduation ceremony, having my name called (and turning bright red and hurrying off the stage as quickly as I could; I am not big on having attention on myself), and leaving early, the ceremony was a blur. I remembered holding my locket (in which I placed a picture of my dad) and saying "I promised you I would finish, and I did." I remember talking to my friends before we went in. I remember seeing my family and friends afterwards. I also remember getting hugged by my music professor (seriously) as she walked in with the rest of the professors. Beyond that, all I could think of was how excited I was and how grateful I was to God for everything I'd endured and for getting to that point.

I don't know what the future holds, what my first job out of college will be, or where I will be in a year's time, but I have full faith in God and know He will point me in the right direction. For the first time in my life, I don't have a plan for the future (well, besides hopefully starting Grad School next year) and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm going to try to post daily now that I have the time to actually write.

A massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you who prayed for me throughout my journey through the CINO college. I appreciate it more than you know.

I hope you are all having a great start of week and will have a great rest of week. :D

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