Sunday, September 30, 2012

Infant of Prague FTW!

Can I just say that the Infant of Prague is amazing? I've done the 9 hour novena three times this week (last Sunday, Wednesday, and again yesterday into this morning) because I've had some really, really, really bad days/nights where I felt like I was going to have to be taken to the E.R. but I'm managed to stay okay thus far.

Except for a few moments of "ruh-oh, am I going to faint?" today, I've felt the best I've felt in a week or so. I tried to get a doctor's appointment last week with no luck. I will try again this week. I know the Infant of Prague will hear my prayers (well, the rest of them) in helping me get a doctor's appointment for my stomach problems. :)

Thanks to all who have been praying for me. Two bouts of food poisoning plus existing stomach issues made the last week one of the worst I've had in a while. Your prayers are greatly appreciated and will be returned when I pray the Rosary. :)

Anyway, just wanted to say... Infant of Prague FTW! ;)

Will blog again when I feel a bit better. :D

God bless,

P.S. Also a big shout-out to St. Timothy and all the other saints some of you have been praying to (for their intercessions) for me. St. Timothy's my buddy too. :D

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why I've Been M.I.A.; Quick Thoughts

Don't worry, this will be shorter than usual. ;) In fact, these will be quick thoughts (like Friday's quick takes) so I don't write too much.

1) I've asked why I've been M.I.A. from blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. The answer is simple: a combination of being sick and work has kept me busy. I had a busy week freelance writing (I went non-stop for a few days) while dealing with stomach issues.

2) Ah, yes, the dreaded stomach issues. If there's one thing I've always had problems with (since I was a child), it's my stomach. I've gotten progressively worse lately (a parting gift from summer; *shakes fist.*) It's pretty bad at the moment but I have faith that it'll get better. I'm going to start a novena to St. Timothy today because I feel like crumbs and he's always intercede for me. btw, this is why I hate summer -- stomach issues almost always come out during the summer.

3) I have some good news on the writing front... but I'm going to wait until I receive the official word on when it will be published. Let's just say that this opportunity came at the right time and it's a huge blessing. Oh yes, and I also have some other exciting news that isn't related to publishing but is related to Catholic media. News on that in a couple of days. ;)

4) I want to ask y'all to please pray for the repose of the soul of Angela Faddis as well as for her family. She passed away on Friday. Even though I didn't personally know her, I had spoken to her husband Chris via twitter a couple of times in the past and their story hit close to home. She was truly an inspiration.

5) Can I just say how giddy I am that Autumn has begun?! It not only means the end of summer (♪ So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight... ♪), but it also means that Advent isn't too far away. Advent is quite possibly my favorite time of the year so I will be counting down the days.

6) Can I also say how much I HATE missing Mass? This is the third Sunday in a row. First two times because of horrible anxiety (which I haven't experienced in a number of days) and today because of stomach issues. It's a conspiracy.

That's it for now. It looks like my freelance work is going to be slow this week so I am hoping to blog more... but don't hold me to that because I won't know in advance. I occasionally get last minute assignments so we'll see. :D

I hope you all had a great week and weekend... and that you have a fantastic start of week. :D

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

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Taking Things For Granted

A couple of nights ago, upon realizing that I was procrastinating on a hard writing assignment, I posted this tweet. While I was talking mostly about myself, it seems to have made an impact on a couple of people who got to read it.

Having deadlines for my freelance writing assignments has helped me rethink my priorities... and made me realize that we (or at least I) occasionally forget to thank God for what He has given us.

I think we often forget that we don't have an infinite time on this earth. Our time is precious yet we choose to waste it (fellow procrastinators, I'm talking to you) instead of doing something productive. I'm not saying that we should be filling every second of every day with something to do... though maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea. I personally need breaks now and then to keep myself sane. In fact, writing this is a break I'm having before I try to finish my last writing assignment for the week. There's nothing wrong with having time off... but who says we can't use that free time to simultaneously do something good?

I know my generation (Gen Y) is overwhelmingly apathetic and, well, lazy. I've done the research; it was part of my Thesis. Let's be real -- for the most part, we've had everything handed to us. Most of us haven't known what it is to truly have to work for something. I am including myself in that because, though I haven't had the easiest life, I've been incredibly blessed. Anxiety disorder and financial stress aside, I've been very fortunate and lucky. Yes, I've been struggling with anxiety for 12 years, but I'm healthy otherwise. Yes, I stress over money issues, but God has always found a way to provide for us. Yes, I lost my father three years ago, but I still have my mother and my siblings looking after me and vice versa. And, yes, I've gone through some pretty traumatic things (which have led to the development of my anxiety), but I am now in a good, safe place thanks to God. I am bringing all of this up for a good reason, I promise.

How many of you have noticed that most people only pray when they are in need of something? Before my reversion, I only prayed when I needed something. It's embarrassing to admit, and I am ashamed to have had that mentality, but it's true. When we are sick and then start to recover, we have this "grace" period where we are grateful for what we have... and the second that we're completely well, we forget. Again, I say "we" because I've been guilty of this as well. Since this tweet, I've made it my own personal goal to be more aware of the things that God has given me... and to thank Him when I realize the little things I took for granted before.

From what I've seen, I'm the first person in my graduating class to have a job. Granted, I'm self-employed (I pick and choose what assignments I want to take/write about... and those are hit and miss) and I only get paid 1.4 cents per word, but it's better than nothing. Also, a good friend is giving me a chance to do some freelance writing for a company he works for. Thanks be to God for these opportunities and for good friends!

I've had three near accidents the past 24 hours... none of which would've been my fault. I am crediting my guardian angel for protecting me. Seriously, L.A. drivers, get your stuff together. Anyway, in all three, I thanked God and my guardian angel for helping me avoid the accidents. And, okay, it took me a bit longer the first of those three times because I was so peeved that the woman saw me coming out of the parking lot and she still decided to go through on the street (and about 40-45 in a 25 mph school zone)... but I still did.

Also, bonus, my anxiety has been in check the last couple of days. Yes, I do have moments when I feel like it's coming on, but I fight through them. I've been "getting angry" at my anxiety and have been stubborn enough to say "forget you, I'm going to do this whether you want to let me or not." This has helped me keep it bay... and I've been able to do more because of this "fight" I've declared on it. :) Again, thank God that I'm learning to use my stubbornness for something good. :)

In a nutshell (for you tl;dr crowd): we often take for granted things God has given us. This includes (and is not limited to): health, making it to and from your destinations in one piece without accidents, wealth (and I'm not taking about financial wealth), having a roof over your head, having people who love you in your life, etc etc. I still say that we should have a priority reality check (really look at where you place importance) in order to really realize the amazing things God has blessed us with.

Anyway, I have to go work on my assignment... and then wash dishes. Fun! lol.

I hope you all had a great week and have a blessed weekend. :D

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

When God Provides, He Provides; Anxiety Be Gone

Lack of updates have been due to illness. Meh. Summer is the worst season for me and illnesses. I think that's why I hate the season. But, before I get completely off track, I want to say that one good thing has come out of the summer has been learning to let go of stress and anxiety and placing everything in God's hands when you're at your lowest.

If you have anxiety -- and particularly the kind that I have -- then you know that it's really hard to do this. To not have secure or control over something can trigger the anxiety. Let me explain it this way: lately, the lack of a job, the dwindling savings, and the unpredictable nature of my anxiety has prevented me from applying for jobs far from home. That's what I'm attributing as the cause for my anxiety lately.

Sometimes I will do things to try to get myself to let go of a certain fear. When I was 17-18 years old, I developed social anxiety and intense agoraphobia. This was caused by my freshman/sophomore year History teacher embarrassing me in front of my classmates and my classmates being allowed to go along with it. For a long time, I couldn't leave the house. I would break out in a sweat at the thought of it. When I was 18-19 (after I got over some of my fear by taking a retail job), I started going to concerts. I would make myself stand in front of the stage, in the middle, with no way of getting out. If the anxiety went crazy, oh well. I would not leave. Oh, and I would go to these concerts by myself. That's how I got over my social anxiety. Nowadays, I can go to Disneyland or the Hollywood Bowl (read: crowded, with hundreds and thousands of people) and enjoy myself without the fear.

I can't really do anything to get myself over the stress and anxiety of not having an income... except letting it (the anxiety) go completely. I've tried to let go of things I can't control, but I don't always succeed. Like I said, not easy for me to do this because of anxiety and past experiences. I've succeeded with some things but with other things I still need to keep working on. Baby steps.

Ever since dad passed away, mom and I have been just barely scraping by. While I was in school, I had some funds coming in that helped us out. Now that I've graduated, and have to start paying back my loan in two months, it's different... and it's anxiety inducing. After I pinpointed this as the biggest stress lately, I prayed that God would help me let go of that anxiety.

I've always said (and have known) that God will provide when someone is in need. I've seen it happen multiple times. This is me not saying that I didn't trust God to provide because I did (and I still do), but I couldn't let go of the anxiety. It's a hard place to be. I knew God would send me what I needed (i.e. a job) when I needed it. I trust that He will keep me on the path He wants me to take. When the right time comes, I know God will put the right man in my life (and this is the last thing on my mind at the moment.)  It wasn't until the last two weeks that I really just let the anxiety of not being able to find a job (and knowing how insanely bad the job market is for my graduating class) go and trying to be as stress-free over it as possible.

I prayed once to Our Lady of Divine Providence (it was supposed to be a novena but I never finished it) and it seems that that was all it took. In the past week I've been blessed with some freelance writing opportunities. I am not expecting big pay (in fact, I know I will have to write a lot of mundane articles at first) but it's better than nothing. I'm not stressing over the pay or anything like that. In fact, when I found out I would have the chance to start writing this week, I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace. I personally felt like God was saying "this is what I want you to do, even if it's temporary. You like to write? Here you go, kiddo." To be quite honest, I cried out of sheer excitement and joy. I thanked God (and Our Lady of Divine Providence) for answering my prayers.

I'm sharing this because I know many of us (from my generation especially) are in the same boat. The economic instability is really affecting us. For some it's hard to trust God. For others it's not hard to trust God but there's still that little bit of anxiety that is still felt because of the situation. I found myself in the latter category. Love Him, trust Him, but the situation sucks while you're living it. I think that this is natural (for us to feel a little stressed when we're in these types of situations) but we need to remind ourselves that we are never alone. I cannot stress this enough: God WILL provide. I don't know what your need is but He will find a way to make sure that you have what you need when you most need it. It may not be what you want but it will be what you need. (quick side note: needs and wants are completely different. Remember the saying, "Beggars can't be choosers.")

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with y'all. Never give up on God because, as you can see, He never gives up on you. :)

I actually have some more writing to do so I should go do that. :)

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

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Dreams in Which I Fight Evil; Music Monday

I have nothing productive to write so I'll share the dreams I've been having... because they involve an ongoing fight with the evil one.

I've been having these dreams quite often (they are now averaging twice a week) and it's always the same struggle -- I am fighting with the evil one and the darkness that surrounds him. The person who is with me (or whose prayer helps me) varies but it's mostly St. Benedict of Nursia followed by St. Michael Archangel and the Blessed Virgin Mary. While the dreams are usually different, the basics are always the same: I see a literal darkness wherever I am, I always end up with some kind of light in my hands (this can range from blessed candles, candles in general, or a ray of light that I am holding in my hand), and I fearlessly (dream Emmy is a fighter) go forth and into battle. Sometimes I have a saint's physical presence there with me. In past dreams I've even had the Infant of Prague smile at me, encouraging me to go on, before I tackle whatever it is that I'm fighting. Sometimes it's St. Benedict standing next to me and sometimes it's just a prayer of a saint (like reciting the "Ave Maria") that helps me.

While these dreams aren't strange for me (I've been having saint dreams since my reversion -- many of which you can find on this blog), the frequency hasn't been typical. It's only been over the past month or so that they've been coming with frequency. I don't do anything out of the ordinary. I mean, I pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary before bed but I've prayed before bed before. I'm not going to say that there is a supernatural significance to them but I think it's something. Whether that something is my subconscious wrestling with my anxiety, whether it's because I feel like I currently have no clue as to what God wants me to do (call it a post-grad slump), or whether it's actually something I should look into as a sign from God, I don't know. All I know is that I have these dreams... and I often wake up tired from them.

I've been thinking that I need to step up my studying of the faith. I feel like there is still so much I haven't learned or properly explored yet. I was so poorly Catechized that I need to educate myself before I can help other. Maybe that is the reason why I'm having these kinds of dreams; maybe I need to arm myself with knowledge so I can help fight the religious apathy that has a grip on my generation. God knows His plans for me and I welcome them with open arms and an open heart. Anyway, just rambling on for a bit while my anxiety was going loco.

Oh! Since it's Monday, I'll share a song that's really hit close to home lately. I'm still trying to get into Catholic artists (don't shoot me, I'm getting there; hey, at least Hunter Hayes is Catholic and I've been a fan of his for a year now :-P) and Audrey Assad is the first one I've really loved. Her song, "The House You're Building" is one that, I feel, really represents where I am in my life right now... and one that I am sure a lot of young Catholics can relate to. The part that I love is "I'm a broken stone / So lay me down in the house you're building..."

If you want to watch Audrey explaining the inspiration behind the song, watch this video:

Alright, I really should get those two book reviews done. I wish I could say that I had all four but I cannot get The Hobbit done. It's because I've gotten busy with other things... and I am not completely invested in the story so it feels like a chore to read it. In fact, I haven't read it in days... almost a week.

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

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