Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I Learned Wednesday #8

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to write anything because I've been slacking on the learning this week. In fact, I've had a terrible week. I failed to go to Mass on Sunday. I unintentionally missed three consecutive day (Sunday through Tuesday) of praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the morning. I've just had a slow and weird week. However, I have been taking off some time from social networks (Twitter, FB, etc) to think through some changes I need (and want) to make. So, here it goes.

1) The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was this past Monday. I didn't get to re-read the novel for the anniversary as I was re-reading Northanger Abbey (another one of my favorites by Jane). If you haven't already guessed from my insane amount of #Janeite tweets, from watching my Goodreads feed, or from the font in this blog's header (hint: it's her handwriting font), I am a massive Jane Austen fan. The first Tiber River book review I wrote was even on the Pride and Prejudice Study Guide. One of my best friends, Kathryn, sent me this Jane Austen Devotional during my senior year of college but I never got to it with my Thesis and everything else. In fact, I'm going to start it tonight and hope to have a review next Wednesday at the latest. If I get done earlier, I'll write a stand alone book review. Anyway, even though I know Jane Austen was Anglican and the book will undoubtedly reflect that, I have a feeling I'll still learn something. Some of my more spiritually fruitful periods as a Catholic have actually been inspired by my amazingly faithful Christian (read: non-Catholic) friends like Kathryn so I look forward to having it inspire me once again. :D

2) I got two things out of my ten minute conversation with my First Communion Godmother: 1) I feel like I got a sign that maybe I'm onto something with a possible change of career/Masters degree and 2) I really need to make some changes (like I mentioned at the beginning of this post; which I won't get into until #3). The career change is actually still somehow connected to words, only spoken instead of written. I had mentioned that it was hard to get steady freelance work (though I've had a couple of steady assignments lately) and how my anxiety's been insane lately... and how both actually go together. The more my mind is active and occupied, the less likely I am to have anxiety all day or to have a random panic attack. I over-think things. That's why I've been devoting so much time to reading lately; my mind is occupied and I can relax from stressful things such as my health or my mother's health or finances. After a dream I had a few weeks about a friend's son who has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), I felt very strongly about looking into it. When my Godmother (who has known me since I was born) suggested I looked into doing Speech Therapy for Children for my Master's degree, it all sort of clicked for me. I love children, I love language, and I would love to do something to help others. As of now, I don't think I am doing a very good job of making myself useful to others so this may be the thing I need to do. That and I have too much time on my hands and am itching to go back to school. Of course, I won't do anything until I pray about it. I'm still torn on everything. Luckily, I wasn't planning on applying to grad schools until this coming fall (for a Fall 2014 start) so I have time. :D How is this related to faith? 1) My Godmother (who is one of my heroes) brought it up and I am crediting the Holy Spirit for that and 2) it's going to force me to pray more and focus on doing God's will instead of worrying about my health for once. lol.

3) Some changes I want to make: not worrying about fitting into any Catholic mold on social networks. I need to say this before I explain: you guys are amazing. My on- and off-line friends (Catholic or not) are fantastic. You guys inspire me so much. However, I feel like I don't fit in with y'all about 98% of the time. #CathSorority, I love you gals. You always pray for me when I ask you guys, you gals are there for venting that guys won't understand, and y'all make me laugh... but I don't feel like I'm really a part of the group. There's cliques (and not bad ones either; amazing women who have their own little groups) and I don't fit into them. Likewise, on twitter, y'all are amazing but I don't fit in. I saw that clearly after the whole cursing debate on Patrick's Right Here, Right Now show. This is who I am: I don't drink. I don't curse (nor do I honestly like it). I'm not married. I don't have children. I don't even have a boyfriend. I love football (soccer). I love daily Mass. I'm a big time goofball and a bit of a fuddy duddy at times. My sense of humour is weird (but I like it) and some of it is lost through social networks... which leads to a lot of misunderstandings. I take some things very seriously that you some of guys say "I don't see what the big deal is" about... and vice versa. I feel like the Lone Ranger on social media sites. It can be a little depressing at times but I've decided not to let it get to me. I have amazing friends who love and accept me as I am. I don't have the "ew, she's too 'traditional'" or "ew, she's too liberal" feeling with them that I get with some people online and that's good enough for me. Again, I love y'all but I don't feel like I fit in. Story of my life. lol.

Anyway, just wanted to get all of that out. It's hardly a What I Learned Wednesday as little of it had to do with something I learned about the Faith but it's all still somewhat connected to my own faith as a Catholic so, you know, I'm making it count. lol. Hopefully I'll have something better next week. ;)

I really should go read... or do something to make these stress knots in my back and shoulders feel less painful. :)

Oh! And P.S. Y U NO send me prayer requests? Please, y'all. Give me things to offer my anxiety up for. I am literally begging you to send me prayer requests. lol.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I Learned Wednesday #7

Instead of going off on a rant about how my neighbors are gossiping busybodies who are currently using my health and Sunday's E.R. trip to spread more rumours (my biggest pet peeve; I detest gossip and people prying into my private life), I decided to put my energies into writing this post early on today. *deep breath* Out with the bad. Okay. Let's do this.

1) Well, I made it through two Sunday (well, one Sunday and one Saturday Vigil) Masses in a row. Yes! This is the first time I've been able to do so in months. My stomach problems (going on 6 months now... wow) have kept me from it but I've been fighting back. I found that attending confessions at one parish (closest one with Saturday confessions), coming home to get something to eat, and then heading to our home parish for Saturday Vigil Mass works best for me. Last Saturday was also the first time I had been able to receive the Eucharist in a long time. I cried tears of joy when I did and thanked God for allowing me the opportunity to do so. You know how much you love the Eucharist and that feeling of being able to receive it until you are unable to. The Luminous Mysteries prayers in the 54 Day Rosary Novena have us focus on and ask for the petition of love for the Eucharist and it has certainly made me more aware of what a blessing it is. I've done the novena two times before but never has this particular mystery impacted me more than it has this time around. I even noticed how calm I was when I was taken to the E.R. (it was a combo of stomach problems, anxiety, and perhaps a bit of dehydration since I was given an I.V.) and even, when I was by myself and had nothing to do but recuperate and think, calmly looked up and said "God, I will do your will. Use me as you wish." I'm basically learning to trust God more and let my own anxieties go (which, any person with anxiety and panic disorder will tell you, is hard to do when you're worried about what may happen to you).

2) I've also noticed something about my prayer life. Since I have started properly praying The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary my prayer life and faith has greatly improved. When I mean properly I mean doing it at the assigned hours (much like the Liturgy of the Hours). A lot of the worries and stresses I had don't seem that important anymore. It's not easy to keep up with the prayers, especially after long nights that lead to waking up late, but I've been making an honest effort to keep it up. I've also been doing the pre-Vatican II prayers instead of the ones from post-Vatican II and I've found that I prefer them because of the language. I'm someone who appreciates language (hi, I write for a living) and I feel more centered and connected with the "old fashioned" language than I do with the modern version. Some people might find some things in the prayers "harsher" (because of how strong -- but not profane -- some readings are) but I know it's definitely kept me thinking more about my words and actions during the day. You have to get out of the "it's all about me" mentality my generation is plagued with and think more about doing His will.

3) I've been catching up with the Catechism in a Year emails and have found them more fulfilling than the two years at my CINO college alma mater. By far. Let me get this bit of sarcasm out of the way: 'cause you know, why on earth would a "Catholic" college teach Catholicism? That's crazy talk! Pfft. lol. Okay, now that that's out of the way, I'm happy to say that a lot of things I believed have been affirmed instead of being told I was wrong, close minded, or hearing that the Church is this and that. There were a couple of times in which I was reminded of a lecture in which a professor said the opposite and it made me laugh... and cringe. I am sure these things are still being taught and I'm sorry I'm not there to at least put up some kind of fight. In the homily this past weekend, Fr. Timothy talked about the gifts we were each given. When he said "maybe you have the gift of writing" something in me moved. I am not saying that I have a gift of writing or of words but it's my preferred way of communicating. During the rest of the homily I thought about how to best use the gifts I've been given and how to use it for good. Since I've been on writing roll (freelance assignments, novel, etc) lately, I've been thinking that it would be a good time to start that book about my experiences at the CINO college. It will definitely be easier to write than my novel (which I am still editing; it's the never ending edit-a-thon). I've cut down my leisure time (well, I've cut out wasting time watching shows I am not interested in, playing online games, etc but have increased my reading time) so I have the time. We'll see. ;)

And this is officially much longer than I anticipated. Sorry! You know my excuse: I'm a writer... I love to write. lol. I haven't written in a week so, you know, I'm making up for loss time? lol.

Anyway, I should go finish cleaning my room (which isn't that bad but still) and make myself some lunch before I continue with my freelance writing assignments. I hope to have them published soon-ish. I will provide the links to the website where they'll be published as they become available. :)

I hope y'all are having a good week thus far. Don't forget to send me your prayer requests if you have any. :D Oh! And if you write a #WILW post, let me know and I'll edit this post with your own links. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I Learned Wednesday #6

This is uber late and most of y'all won't read it but I'm posting it anyway. This should've been the 7th post but I skipped last week's. I also haven't written in almost a week. Oops. Well, I'm getting back on track so here we go. I'm only doing two proper ones since it is late and I'm tired.

1) This isn't so much about what I learned about the Faith as it is what I learned about my own relationship with my faith. I noticed that I had gone over the 9 days for the St. Dymphna and I thought I was just going to continue doing it until I saw myself getting a bit superstitious about it. See, I'd been praying it for nearly a month (for friends, family, and myself) and I should've been done last week but I kept going. I thought that it would bring me peace of mind but it really just made me feel safe. It took a couple of bad anxiety days (totally worth it to learn this lesson) to step back and realize what I had been doing. I would do the morning and night prayers and I started getting worried that if I didn't do them, I'd have a bad day. I'm pretty sure I have some OCD -- however mild it may be -- to be doing this and I could blame my actions on it but, really, it comes down to me. I should have really seen what I was doing. Luckily, as soon as I saw what I was doing, I stopped and I haven't continued since. This also reminds me that I should really write that post about superstitions.

2) St. Athanasius was an interesting man. I had a dream two days ago in which I was fighting evil forces (the Enemy) with the help of St. Benedict, St. Athanasius, holy water, and a random Franciscan monk. Fr. John was right, my dreams are better than the movies. lol. Anyway, in the dream, I kept praying and making the Evil One mad as I did it... and as soon as St. Athanasius came into my mind and I invoked his intercession, Evil One roared in anger. Yes, my dreams can be that intense. Having a dream about saints isn't new but St. Athanasius is kind of random. I remember him being briefly mentioned in one of my textbooks at the CINO college ('cause, you know, heaven forbid we learn about Catholicism at a "Catholic" college.../sarcasm) so I didn't know much about him. I ended up Googling him and read about his life and some of the controversies surrounding him. I feel like I just scratched the surface when it comes to learning about him but I definitely want to learn more.

3) I'm not doing the link up this week because I'm rethinking it. I've noticed only one or two people actually participate (even though more express interest in doing it). You guys know me, I hate spamming y'all with "link up! DO IT!" messages on twitter and FB. I'm not knocking other bloggers who do it but I just don't feel comfortable shoving the idea down people's throats nor am I popular enough to get it going like I would've wanted. I've asked and saw no effort so I may just keep doing this for myself and edit Alex's link into the post whenever he publishes his (which he's been doing weekly; whoo! go Alex!) :D And, anyway, I didn't think up What I Learned Wednesday to create a popular link-up. I wanted to keep tabs on my own progress and invited others to do the same. I'm happy seeing myself (and Alex, heh) grow in Faith which is better than nothing. :) EDIT: Alex's post is found here.

And that is it. I didn't have a super productive week because of health issues and because I've been busy with other things but it's only a minor setback.

Anyway, I have nighttime prayers and some light reading to do before I fall asleep.

I hope y'all are having a great week. Please load me up with prayer intentions as I'm kind of running out. lol.

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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anatomy of a Sick Blogger

I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret: I'm at a point in my illness that I both accept it and I am completely depressed by it. I accept it because I've had it since August (five months) and I've had time to go through all the varying stages of emotions but that doesn't mean I still don't have my moments where I break down and cry. In fact, just before I sat down to write this (and before I prayed day 4 of the 54 Day Rosary novena), I broke down and sobbed. I prefer to do it when I'm alone so my mom doesn't see so I had the perfect chance.

Lately, it's been more apparently that I'm sick... at least physically. I can start seeing my hip bones and collarbone more defined. My clothes no longer fit and I haven't bothered checking but I'm guessing I dropped at least one or two sizes. I know it's not very ladylike to talk about weight but I am going to have to for you guys to understand how I am doing. I was about 132-135 lbs prior to these stomach problems. Today I weighed myself and saw that I dropped another pound since last month... down to 123. That's about 9-12 pounds I've lost in 5 months. For my height (I'm around 5'7"-ish), I'm still within normal weight range. That is good news. I hope that, since my Upper GI test will be in a month and three days (scheduled for February 13th; Ash Wednesday), I won't drop underweight before we get a proper diagnosis.

Before anyone starts freaking out (and thus mortifying me even further), you have to remember that I've cut almost all my usual foods out of my diet. I used to eat a lot of burgers, fries, pasta dishes, and baked goods. A lot. My diet for the last couple of months has consisted of grilled chicken, tortillas, and romaine lettuce for lunch and oatmeal and toast for breakfast and dinner. That is all. When I can, I try to add cantaloupe and watermelon (though this is getting harder to find) as snacks (for something sweet). I've tried adding various things without success. Most foods make me sick... and we don't know why. Even my doctor can't recommend any foods because we just don't know.

And because I know I will get asked, these are my symptoms when I do eat something that does not agree with my stomach: 1) feeling like I'm going to pass out, 2) an empty, gnawing feeling in my stomach (like it's going to start eating itself even if I had just eaten), and/or 3) crazy heartburn. Doctor (based on symptoms) ruled out an ulcer which was my initial guess. I was diagnosed with GERD/dyspepsia a few months ago (when I was at my worst) but that doesn't explain symptoms one and two. A few people (again, based on symptoms) are guessing it could be gallbladder related. The idea of maybe it being a Celiac (gluten) problem has also been thrown around. Either way, I hope they find out what's wrong so that I can start getting the nutrients I need once again.

I'll admit that I frequently have crying jags because of it. Even when I feel at my lowest, I try to remind myself that I am better off than some people and that I shouldn't focus on it so much. Earlier today, when I had to weigh myself to track my progress and saw that I'd lost more weight, I broke down. Who wouldn't? Almost immediately, I felt the urge to pray the Rosary. Remember about how much Our Lord suffered reminds me that I should try to bear my own cross more graciously.

Sure, I ask for our Blessed Mother's intercession but I also have to remind myself that this could all be God's will for me... at least for now. There has to be a reason why I'm going through all of this. It could be that God has something greater planned for me than I could imagine and that I have to go through this in order to appreciate whatever is coming. Maybe it's not even for me but for someone else. If all that I'm going through can help at least one person who reads this post, I will go through my illness without much complaint.

Anyway, I felt like sort of spilling my guts and hope it will relieve some of the stress and melancholic feelings I've been feeling lately. I'll be fine; sometimes I just need to let it all out before I can smile again. :)

And so that this doesn't end on such a bummer note: I am happy to report that I will have some new non-blog material published coming up very, very soon. ;) Yes, even through all of this, I've been able to retain my passion for writing and reading... and swing dancing when I am feeling well enough. ;)

I hope y'all have been having a great week thus far. If you have any prayer requests, please send them my way. :D

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Forks in the (Nerdy) Road. Now What, God?

I should've titled this one: The One in Which I Ramble on. You'll see why. lol.

I've come to realize that, as I start the 54 Day Rosary Novena with Angelica and a couple of friends, I'm at a point where my life could go in different directions. In fact, I am thanking Holy Spirit for undoubtedly helping Angelica present the idea of the novena because it couldn't have come at a better time.

You see the title of the blog post? See how "forks" is plural? Uh-huh, yeah... nearly everything is up in the air right now. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I have options but I may have too many options in some cases. Career, school, the thing I don't like blogging about because I feel it should be kept as private as possible (relationships)... I have a lot to think about. In a way, it's good. Though my career was advancing, most everything else was stagnant and I didn't know what would be next. Now I feel like God has unpaused (wait, is that even a word) my life and is allowing me to grow even more. The trouble is that I have no idea what to do or where to start.

I was thinking of disconnecting from the online world for a couple of days to sort through all my thoughts and feelings (it's sort of my M.O.) but my bestie gave me good reasons why I shouldn't completely disconnect. Seriously, I suffer from Jane Bennet syndrome (too shy at times, too cautious, too "well, I can just wait to see what happens"). (side note: If you don't know who Jane Bennet is, do me a favor and go read Pride and Prejudice). Instead, I'm just going to spend a lot more time praying and writing (I work through things better when I write them out) and less time trying to distract myself on social networks. Sorry, Twitter and Facebook buddies, but I really need to do this. I'm also going to park myself in front of the tabernacle and crucifix as many days as I can this week because I definitely need God's guidance.

Ever feel like you're about to embark on a big journey but you have no idea what it is, when it'll start, where it starts, or how it will start? If so, then you can probably guess how I'm feeling right now. I'm actually writing this late at night on the 7th but it's scheduled for the 8th in the afternoon. Hooray for nighttime ramblings and time to think about deleting the post if I chicken out. lol. No, I won't delete it. This is part of this nerd's journey.

I still don't know what God wants me to do but I have completely let myself trust Him and I am allowing him to lead the way. I know He won't let me go down the wrong path. It's actually quite exciting. I don't know why but I feel really, really looking forward to praying this novena and seeing the results. Maybe I won't get exactly what I'm asking for but I know I'll receive what God thinks is best for me and that is more than enough for me. :D

Okay, officially rambling and I have like 25 minutes to finish my nighttime prayers so I should skedaddle. Don't mind me and my rambling; I occasionally have a couple of these I do throughout the year. lol.

Anyway, still taking prayer requests if you have time. ;) Please load me up with them. I'm serious. :)

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

Friday, January 4, 2013

Confession: I Have a Promise to Keep

So, 2012 didn't exactly go as I had planned. Sure, I graduated (which was a miracle considered the obstacles they threw at me) and I started my career as a writer (my dream job) but I didn't get to accomplish everything I wanted.

When I reverted to the Faith in late summer 2006, I was pretty sick. I had been extremely healthy up to that point. Seriously, I could go years without going to the doctor if I wasn't required to get shots for school. In those days, the doctors hadn't properly diagnosed me with having a severe anxiety relapse (long story short; people can be cruel in when they're mentally and emotionally abusing someone). At one point, I had been in the Emergency Room 3 times in 5 days. What I didn't know then (due to lack of proper diagnosis) was that anxiety can have some pretty bad physical symptoms.

During one of the especially bad ER visits (and a couple of weeks into my reversion -- which I credit to St. Jude's intercession via my mother's prayers), I made a couple of promises to St. Jude: that I would attend a Catholic college to finish my degree and to visit the Vatican (since that is where his remains are) after I graduated. Both things were going to be done as a "thank you" for his intercession for my health. Well, I did graduate from a "Catholic" college (close enough, right? I applied before I knew it was CINO). Now the promise that I have to fulfill is visiting the Vatican.

I desperately want to fulfill that promise for many reasons. A few weeks after asking for intercession, I was on the mend. I got a proper diagnosis, alternative meds (since I'm sensitive to most meds), and was much happier since I had cut all the toxic things out of my life. I returned to school (community college) part time. While I was in school from then on, I was healthy enough to attend with only one major interruption (my father's death). Sure, anxiety still plagues me to this day (though I know what triggers it so I can easily control it) but I can now go several months without a single anxiety attack. And, besides my stomach problems (which I am enduring without much complaint; offering it up), I'm actually the healthiest I've been in years. :D

Because of how fragile my personal finances are at the moment (which is the cause of my anxiety these days), I obviously can't go to the Vatican anytime soon. However, my only New Year's Resolution is to cut back on my miscellaneous spending (even more; I'm a frugal lady ;D) and put whatever money I have left over from tutoring and writing (after bills and tuition payments) into my trip to the Vatican. I hope to go sometime next year, before I head off to grad school.

When I have a goal in mind, I work hard for it. When it's a promise, I worker harder to keep it. I am putting my stubbornness to good use. ;)

Anyway, just felt the urge to write and to share this so... yeah. lol. Today is my last free day before both my freelance writing assignments (which I already have 3 of; big ones, too) and tutoring consume the majority of my day, so I'm going to go relax. :)

Oh! Please don't forget to send me any prayer requests. I'm still aiming for the 365 days of prayers for others. If you have a particularly big intention and are in need of a novena, let me know. I am a novena machine. lol. ;)

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I Learned Wednesday #5

To be honest, I wasn't going to do this because I've been busy today but then I saw a video that I couldn't not post so... here it goes.

1) Thanks to OpenlyCatholic, I took a 100+ question quiz that tested my Catholic I.Q. I didn't do too badly (considering that I was improperly taught and that I just reverted to the Faith only 6 years ago; I'm still playing catch up) but still not good enough. My final score was a 168. I'm actually going to retake it because I did it when I had that flu-like bug a couple of weeks ago, but I'm guessing it won't be much higher (if any higher) than that. If you want to take the quiz, do so. Maybe it'll inspire you to participate in What I Learned Wednesday. ;) I definitely have a lot to learn so at least I'll always have material for this link up. :D

2) This is what I've doing (faith related) since NYE: I've been trying to catch up on the Catechism in a Year emails (currently in early-mid December). Besides that, I've been thinking about writing a post about Hispanic superstitions and how some try to merge that with Catholic beliefs. I am well aware that other cultures have similar problems but, since I'm Hispanic, I wanted to write what I've seen and experienced myself. I had a hard time trying to figure out which NYE traditions were fun and which were actually bordering on dangerously superstitious. Hopefully, when I have the time, I'll really get into it.

3) This video pretty much sums up the "ordain womyn priests now" battle cry I heard at my CINO college the two years I was there. And, yes, I cringed and faithpalmed the entire time I watched it. I almost didn't make it through the entire thing. In case you're wondering, this is not a parody.

Did anyone survive that? *shudders*

Anyway, I have a ton of things so... away I go. :) If you want to participate and make your own What I Learned Wednesday post/tweet (which, for the tl;dr crowd, means writing about something -- no matter how big or small, short or long, tweet or blog post -- that you learned about the Faith this past week), here's the link up picture that Beth Anne created (if you wish you use it).

Image courtesy of Naypong /

I've extended WILW until tomorrow night because of how late I posted it today. :) And don't forget to tag it #WILW if you share it on twitter and to link it on this blog post, below the signature. :D

OH! And don't forget to send me your prayer requests! :D

Hope everyone is having a week thus far. :D

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!; Mass and a New Patron Saint

Happy New Year, y'all! I hope every single one of you has an amazing, blessed year. :D

I don't know how y'all celebrated the start of the new year (in the Gregorian calendar) but mine was fun/funny. Since mom had to go to work (and I had to get up at 4 in the morning to take her to work), we didn't plan anything. Instead, I spent the last two hours of 2012 chatting with one of my closest friends on Google Hangout. At midnight we toasted with tea and then watched my mom go nuts with bell ringing. lol. It was a lot funnier than it sounds and we spent the first half hour of the year laughing. :D

For the first time ever, I made it to Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. You read that right -- first time ever. Every year since my reversion, I'd either been sick or I didn't have a ride to Mass (and the weather was too horrid to walk to the nearest parish). And, okay, I didn't make it through the entire Mass (anxiety has not been kind to me today and I blame my stomach for that) but I stuck it out for as long as it could. The fact that I went to a Spanish Mass by myself was big for me. I usually don't like doing things outside my comfort level by myself (again, stems back to bad memories that trigger anxiety) so I'm pretty proud of myself for trying. I would have made it through the entire thing if my stomach hadn't decided to start giving me the "pay attention to me now or face your doom" symptoms I get sometimes. I tried to ignore them, which only aggravated the anxiety and, well, you can guess the rest. I cried as I left but I was so happy for the first half hour-ish that I was there. I made it through the homily (which was fantastic; kudos to Fr. Quintero for focusing on the importance of mothers, the Mother of God, and how wonderful God is for giving us all His mother and our own earthly mothers) which is a small victory in my book. This was also my first time attending Mass since before Advent, which tells you how bad my stomach has been lately. Still, like I said, small victory and a baby step to once again attending Mass as often as possible. :D

Oh, and if you've noticed, the winner of the patron saint poll was Mary, Undoer of Knots. I thought it was appropriate, considering that it is her day. :D I was first introduced to her by Clare (who is one of my personal heroes; this gal is fantastic) of Come Further Up but school and other things came up so nada. I have been wanting to learn more about her (as well as pray her unfailing novena) for quite some time and now I have a good excuse to. :)

For those of you who don't know about Mary, Undoer of Knots, here's a good description I found at the blog Praying for Grace: "The title is inspired by Saint Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyon and martyred in 202), who made a comparison between Eve and Mary, saying: "Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it." From the meditation, an unknown artist painted a much-venerated painting which hangs in St. Peter church in Perlach, Germany. The knots that Mary undoes are all of the problems that we take to her -- worries for our children, trials in our marriages, our struggles with the world. It is a beautiful visual to imagine Our Holy Mother untying the knots in which we become tangled in our daily lives." I'm going to start a novena today (and do it once a month) so if you have any requests, let me know!

Anyway, I want to relax for the rest of the day (to see if the anxiety goes down a bit) so that is it for now. I hope y'all had a great time ringing in the new year and that this year is so much better than the last. :D

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