Wednesday, May 29, 2013

(Sort of) New Year Resolutions

This is the last post before I'm officially one year older. Instead of dreading it, I'm excited. Birthdays, to me, are like New Year's Eve/Day. I make resolutions. I make sure the house is clean and that I have some sort of plans. While I can't say what plans I have for tomorrow (I don't even know what shenanigans are in store for me, though I know something is brewing...), I know what plans I have for the next year.

I know that there are going to be a lot of good changes coming up. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am switching careers and I will hopefully know where I'll be attending grad school before my next birthday rolls around. I have never been so at peace and ready for the next step as I am regarding this next phase of my life. I just know that this is where God is guiding me and it feels amazing. I did ask for direction during the last 54 Day Rosary novena I did with a few friends (Angelica and Kendra included) and now I have it.

And speaking of the 54 day Rosary novena, can I just briefly say that it seems like most of my prayers are getting answered at once? I know one of them is going to take some time to get answered (if it's God's will) but as far as guidance for career/work and my health improving, it's all going well.

With these two changes happening, I know I'm going to have to change the way I do things. As far as work is concerned, I'm going to continue freelancing for the two companies I started working for late last year (H&R Block and another company) as long as they need me. Though I don't make money my priority when taking on jobs, I've reached a point where I'm not happy doing work and not getting paid for it so that is why I made this decision. I have a student loan to repay and I have expenses (especially now that I am going to be applying to grad schools and need to pay for applications, transcripts, etc.). I was contacted about possibly writing for a new Catholic publication (alongside Thomas) so that may be a new project but, at the present, I am sticking to the two companies. I don't want too much on my platter or else I will burn myself out... like I am right now. Side note: don't mention work to me until I come back from vacation next week because I will snap and cry... and you don't want to see my ugly crying face. lol. Seriously though, I lost it this week so you know I need this work-free break.

As for my health, I'm just going to continue eating healthy (err, healthier; I've been hitting the gluten free waffles pretty hard, lol) and taking care of myself. I have my days of anxiety but it's not as bad as it was before... and I think that having my new plans is helping alleviate some of the anxiety I had. I just have to remind myself that I can't help others if I allow myself to stay stuck in my little shell and allow myself to be scared of whether or not my anxiety will make me have an off day. No more!

The one big change I want to (and have to) work on is my spiritual life. I've felt stuck for some time now. As we grow and get older (I refuse to have Peter Pan Syndrome), we obviously change. What worked for my spiritual life in my early or mid 20s doesn't work for me anymore. The things I did when I first reverted were great but I've learned so much since then. I am not entirely sure what I am going to do (other than making a decision about joining a third/lay order) but I am looking forward to exploring my options. Maybe looking at how each religious order's spirituality differs from the rest will inspire me. We shall see.

And now this post is way too long. Sorry!

Anyway, I have some praying to do (including the start of the Sacred Heart of Jesus novena; yes, it starts today) and then I want to see what else this day has in store for me.

I hope you all have had a great week thus far. Don't forget to send me any and all prayer requests you may have. :D

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes #4

I haven't done one of these since December. I did promise a blog post so here we go. :D

--- 1 ---

I finished Spring Cleaning today. It took me two (almost three) weeks to finish since I went through the entire house (every corner). Goodness gracious. I think I threw away about half of my filed papers and about a third of the other things I'd accumulated over the years. I am not big on clutter so it was wonderful to see it all go. Now I can relax, work on my novel (hey, it's the only free time I'll have), and count down 'til Thursday. :D

--- 2 ---

Oh, if you hadn't heard, I have made my decision over the possible name change... and I'm going to keep it for many reasons. Yes, I'm still headed to grad school to become a Speech-Language Pathologist but I'm still going to write... and I want to have some control over what content is published under "nerdwriter" and "catholicnerdwriter". I wouldn't want anyone scooping up the name and then creating illicit content, posing as me. I've seen it happen before.

--- 3 ---

I've noticed that, since I went on vacation, I've slipped back into my social media (mostly Twitter and instagram) addiction. Well, I don't know if addiction is the right word but it'll have to do for now. I was doing so well, taking time offline, and I didn't even consider what would happen if I didn't keep my schedule away from social network. Le sigh. I'm going to try to fix that during my last week of vacation.

--- 4 ---

Wedding month is about to wrap up for my lovely gal friends. Emily got married earlier this month and Clare got married last Saturday. Both were beautiful brides. And to round out the month, two more #CathSorority gals (Trista and Elizabeth) are getting married this weekend. Please join me in praying for all of them and their new husbands. :D

--- 5 ---

One more thing I'm excited for: my birthday next Thursday! I had one of the worst years (starting with my birthday misadventure) and it all went downhill from there. It was just a bad, bad year. I don't care that I'm that much closer to 30. Bring on 28 and the new, exciting things it will bring (including start of new career)! :D

--- 6 ---

This Catholic New Agency article on the American seminarians winning the Clericus Cup reminds me that I still need to post part two of my Catholicism and Soccer post. I hope to get to it soon. So many ideas, so little time.

--- 7 ---

Finally, as I wait for my birthday present from Frassati USA to arrive, I'm gong to melt over this picture of Bl. Pier Giorgio as a baby. How incredibly cute was he?! Those cheeks! I still have to write reviews on a couple of this books too. ;)

That's it for now. I want to go enjoy waffles or sugary cereal to celebrate the end of the Spring Clean-a-thon. I would've baked something but I'm too plumb tired. Don't worry, I won't be gluttonous (which, reminder, is a deadly sin). ;)

Hope y'all have a great weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Considering Joining a Third/Lay Order

Before I get into the main topic of the post *points to title*, let me apologize for the lack of updates. Yes, I'm on vacation but I've spent almost every day getting through every inch of the apartment, in full Spring Clean-a-thon mode. Doesn't sound like much of a vacation but it'll be the only time I can get it done before my birthday next week and before I return to work (freelance writing, meh) the first week of June. Only 1.5 bedrooms are left but I am taking a break today to blog... and reblog a lot of Anne of Green Gable things on my tumblr. (side note: Gilbert Blythe has officially ousted Henry Tilney as my literary crush.) ;)

I've been thinking about joining a Third/Lay Order for years now. Ever since I figured out that my vocation wasn't a religious one, I looked into it but I haven't really researched it. I have my favorite Orders but I feel like I should look at all types of spirituality (i.e. Carmelite, Dominican, Benedictine, Passionist, etc.) to find the right fit for me. I don't like doing things on a whim or lightly so it's going to take some time but there are a few things that I know about myself that will help me decide. I won't say what they are (this time around) but when I've decided on things, I'll let y'all know. :)

When mom and I went to spend Mother's Day with the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, our wish (as it was my mother's as much as mine) to visit them. I've always been attracted to the Carmelites, I think even as a child of 6-7 when I used to proudly proclaim that I would one day become a nun. I didn't know the Carmelites by name but I remember liking the habits from that age. A couple of my favorite saints are Carmelites and I am enrolled in the Brown Scapular so this visit was going to happen at some point. I absolutely loved seeing them in their "natural habitat" (hope that doesn't sound too rude; I didn't any disrespect). They were all extremely friendly and praying the Rosary with them prior to Mass was amazing despite the horrid heat that day (it went up to 90-something degrees Fahrenheit). I loved being there but if I had any doubts of my vocation (as a laywoman and future wife and mama), it was the final "child, just be patient" sign. As much as I would've loved to have been a religious sister (and I really did want to be), I feel as if God has plans for me out here, "in the world" (as I like to say). Still, it doesn't mean that I can't join a Third Order. Just because I'm out "in the world" doesn't mean I'm going to belong to it. Does that make any sense?

I'll admit that I've only looked at the Carmelite and Dominican Third Orders because of the saints I love (St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux for Carmelites and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati for Dominicans) but I'll be doing my research before I get back to the tedious work grind.

And now we've come full circle without drawing out into a long blog post. You're welcome. ;) lol.

I really should get back to finishing the Clean-a-thon so I can enjoy the rest of my vacation. We're taking the train (not a fan of planes) for an out of town trip later this week so I want to get everything done before then. :)

I hope you are all having a great start of week. I hope to resume of What I Learned Wednesday posts tomorrow but don't hold me to it because I'm not sure how long it'll take me to get the two bedrooms (remember: I'm going inch by inch) done.

Prayers going out to those affected by the tornadoes as well as those who are still in danger zones. May St. Medard (patron against bad weather, tornadoes included) and St. Scholastica (patroness against storms) intercede so that more lives are spared, especially those in the tornadoes' paths of destruction.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye to "Catholic Nerd Writer"?

As many of you know, I've decided to switch careers from a freelance writer (underpaid, unstable, job that leaves me feeling unfulfilled) to a speech therapist (stable and more fulfilling, especially if I can work with autistic children after grad school). After I made that decision it dawned on me that the title of this blog was "Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer."

While I will still write (I have a million and one ideas for novels and short stories), my focus for a while will be solely on doing well in grad school and learning as much as I can to help others as a speech therapist. That is, besides trying to better myself and grow as a Catholic. I still plan on blogging and, basically, writing the way I have up to this point; journal-style entries. Still, I feel that maybe it's time to change the title of this blog and possibly Twitter handle. I don't know. I take a long time to think through my ideas/plans. Like I said, I'll still write but my career path has changed and that's okay.

As soon as I save up for it, this blog is going to get a whole new makeover as well. Things are a-changin' and I need to update a lot of things. Have patience with me on the blog posts as well since I'm officially on vacation from now until the first week of June and I won't even be in L.A. for part of it. I may just write posts and have them scheduled for when I can't actually write. Hmm, there's an idea.

Anyway, just wanted to give y'all a heads up on the ideas that are currently bouncing around in my head. I've been the "Catholic Nerd Writer" for 6 years now and it's been a blast but I'm changing. I started this blog when I was 22. Some of the earliest blog posts show just how young I was. I know it's not ladylike to say my age but my mother taught me not to ashamed so I'll just say that the 22 year-old that started this blog that Christmas night in 2007 is a lot different from the soon-to-be 28 year-old that I am now.

There you have it. What do you guys think? Should I stick to the blog title/name and Twitter handle or should I change it to something that will better reflect my new career path? I'm interested in hearing your ideas... and, okay, I'm incredibly indecisive so I am hoping your helpful comments will help sway me one way or another. ;)

That's it for now. I have to go back to tackling the (bigger than I imagined) Spring Clean-a-thon. Seriously, if any of you stopped by and just took a peek into the living room, you'd see the aftermath of Tornado Emmy-Sorts-Through-Everything-She-Owns... and-Leaves-a-Mess.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

Image found here.

Wow, over a week since my last post. Sorry, y'all, but I've been that busy. I've found myself coming up with different projects and things to do offline (purposely; don't want to keep wasting my time online) and it's been taking most of my time. I've been wanting to share two things with you, though, so I'm taking a break from my huge Spring Clean-a-thon to do so. I don't want to make this post too long so I'll write about one today and I'll post the other tomorrow, if I get a chance. :)

Last Friday I received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Let me explain why this happened before anyone either a) starts really worrying about my health and/or b) thinks I shouldn't have received it. Before anyone jumps to conclusions let me just say that the idea came from a priest friend. I did not think I was eligible for the Sacrament as there are specific requirements but my priest friend (as well as the priest who actually administered the sacrament) thought it would be fine for me to receive it. Since I have lost even more weight (the lowest thus far as been 114.8 lbs last Friday from 130-132 lbs a year ago) and I have had to restrict my diet even further due to food and medication allergies (thus making it even harder for me to find ways to get more calories into my diet), I was deemed eligible for the sacrament. Of course, there are a couple of other things going on but I'm keeping those to myself since I've decided to offer them up. These things, however, also contributed to my being eligible.

I cannot begin to describe how wonderful it felt receiving the sacrament. I was tear-y eyed (because of sadness prior to the anointing and then because of joy) throughout the day. Fr. G gave me a quick confession in his office so that I could properly receive it. My mother was there as well but, since she didn't understand what I said in English, there was no danger there. lol. Any anger, fear, and doubt I might've had before I walked into Fr. G's office was gone by the time he anointed the holy oil. I just felt an immense peace, joy, and gratefulness. In me I just said "I love you, Jesus! I love you!" There have been a few times when I've felt completely engulfed by God's love and mercy and that was certainly one of those times. My mom said, later in the day, that I had a new look/glow afterwards; that I looked at peace, relaxed, and I actually looked healthier (with more color in face and cheeks), if it was possible.

Afterwards, we talked about my options for receiving the Eucharist since the doctor had said no wheat/gluten. He gave me options and I came to the conclusion that I will (out of my own pocket, of course) order the low-gluten hosts (which I cleared with my new doctor yesterday; more on this later) and they'll be kept at the parish for when I attend Mass. This parish is my favorite parish (that I have visited) in the L.A. Archdiocese. It's a bit of a drive but mom and I decided it will be our new home parish as our old home parish has made things difficult for us and other parishioners. (side note: three weeks after I made a couple of attempts to speak to the priests about options for the Eucharist and no contact - on their end - has been made). Also, Fr. G and Fr. V have been amongst our favorite confessors so we feel happy and at peace at our new home parish. :)

That was all Friday... the same day that a doctor's appointment was made. I had my appointment yesterday since I had lost a couple of pounds in the two weeks since my last doctor's appointment. I was given a new doctor (thank you, God!) and she ordered blood work to check my thyroid and liver (to make sure the weight loss isn't connected to those) as well as a thyroid ultrasound since I've had an enlarged nodule in my thyroid for a couple of years. This was all done yesterday. I was surprised at how fast she had it all ordered since I usually have to wait at least three months for ultrasound appointments through this clinic/hospital system. I was done with it all in the span of two hours. She also ordered an appointment with the nutritionist so that I can figure out healthy fats and calories that can help me gain some weight. As I mentioned before, I asked her about the hosts during Mass and she said that the low-gluten hosts would be fine since I usually like to attend Mass more than once a week. When she said that she was Catholic and understood what I was talking about, I was relieved. She didn't know low-gluten hosts were an option but seemed happy that I did and encouraged me to get them. I felt blessed to have her as my new doctor because she had a proactive, "let's figure this out!" attitude whereas my other doctor would just smile at me and say "well, just cut this out of your diet."

Ever since that wonderful day on Friday, my mother's said that she firmly believes that everything is going to change for the better. We're not putting any superstition into it; we're not saying that the Sacrament means I'm going to magically heal. She (and I) feel like this is a new start for me and my health. Whether that means that I'm going to finally catch a break and that my new doctor will figure out what's been going on for the past 10 months or that I'm going to endure this illness (whatever it may be) with more patience and joy, I am not sure. But things are different and I thank God with my heart for it.

Anyway, this post has become way too long now. I have spent about half an hour writing and my stomach is asking for nom noms so I'm going to go feed it before I go out into the summer-like heatwave in a few. :)

I hope to write about my Mother's day celebration with the Carmelite Sisters tomorrow. I should be able to if my stomach and anxiety cooperate with me. ;)

I hope you all had a great weekend and are having a great start of week. :D

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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear CINO College Alma Mater...

Dear CINO College Alma Mater,

I know that I'm taking a risk by posting a picture from my graduation day one year ago on my instagram. I know that there are some of you that are aware that I keep this blog. I know that you know that I have never mentioned the school nor any of the staff by name so (therefore) you cannot legally do anything to me. I will keep it this way but I will say a few things.

I hope that, a year after I crossed that stage and received that diploma (case), some of my professors didn't go back to "teaching" what was taught prior to and during my two years as an undergrad. You all know that, as a "Catholic" school, students apply because they're looking for the Truth. We are wanting to learn about what our Lord Jesus Christ taught during his ministry here on earth. We are wanting to get closer to Him. We do not apply and begin classes to hear how you think the Catholic Church is wrong. We do not want to hear that YOU think that Church teachings are outdated, how liberation theology is the proper way to interpret the Bible (which, by the way, at least two professors admitted that y'all were not allowed to teach but still did), how the priesthood is horrible (even the lone priest I had as a professor told his class how poorly y'all treated him because he was a man of the cloth), how the Pope is a "super rat in red shoes" (as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was called by a particular professor), nor do we want to "learn" things that cause more damage to the Church. Actually, I learnt more about other religions than I did about my own. Yeaaaah....

I am sure that some things were toned down while I was in certain classes because they were all well aware that I was the "traddie" student. Everyone in the department knew. Some professors made me feel like I was a backwards thinking brat, a thorn in their sides. Some verbally expressed (though not bluntly) and others made me cry. In class. Many a tears were shed and many a panic attacks were endured during those two years. Still, I (in my own "rebellious" way) found ways of resisting the nearly daily assaults on the Faith. I wore my white chapel veil (mantilla) to the Red Mass. I was seen leaving the chapel before or in-between classes. You guys didn't like that but it was my way of rebelling. I hope that if there is another student who feels the same way as I did about what it being "taught", you won't make her feel as wretched as you made me feel.

CINO College alma mater, please explain something to me. Why did some of the professor try so hard to condemn Priests, Religious Sisters who wear habits, the Pope (don't know what you all say about Pope Francis since I am of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI era), many Church teachings, great men of the Church (such as St. Thomas Aquinas), and those of us who you would consider "traditional" because we follow what the Church believes regarding marriage, abortion (against it), contraceptives, etc? Why are referrals to have abortions given at the health clinic (and, yes, the Cardinal Newman Society has already outed you on the fact)? Why did two of my friends leave due to anxiety and depression (and one mental breakdown) for refusing to go along with what you taught about the Faith? Why were things like the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Marriage looked at as pointless? Why was there no reverence for the Eucharist when there was Eucharistic Adoration (to which I was often the only student present)? Why did one professor teach that Santeria was basically Catholicism with some culture stuff sprinkled in? Why do you teach about tolerance and love when you couldn't even show that to us who were orthodox Catholics?

I will admit that I once wanted to go into teaching and hoped to return, just to show future students that not all of us dragged the Church and clergy through the mud. But, no. I'm not going to do. God has slowly shown me that, while I do love school and being in an academic setting, my gifts are better used as a Speech Therapist. I will never, however, give up the fight against schools like yours; schools which confuse young minds and drag them further away from Church. There are many young people who are considering attending these kinds of schools but I am going to let them know what the experience is for a practicing Catholic. Again, I won't talk trash about you -- how childish and uncharitable would that be? -- but I will tell them the truth.

The only things I learned while at your institution were how to protect myself, my mind, and my soul... and what is taught on the "other side" of arguments so I can properly defend the faith. For that, I thank you. Do I wish I did not feel behind my friends in terms of what I knew about the Faith because none of it was taught at your school? Yes. Do I wish things had ended up differently? Yes. Would I try to dissuade other orthodox Catholics from attending the school? Oh yes. But would I trade it all for two schools at another school? No.

Though I cried, hyperventilated, and lost sleep throughout the two years I attended the school, I was given a confidence that I did not know I had... and I was brought closer to God because I saw what was being taught and how hurtful some things must have been to Him. Not because it's going to physically hurt Him but because He sees how much damage some people are doing to their souls at this school. I'm going to pray for every student that is in the same shoes I was in. I am going to pray that those who can be easily swayed will keep away from your entrance and will go elsewhere. I will pray that those who are up for the fight are more successful than I was. I will pray that one day proper Church teachings will be taught. I will not stop praying for current and future students (as well as the staff) until things change.

I want you to know that, a year after I said "goodbye" to you, I am doing well. Sure, I'm about 15-20 lbs lighter than you last saw me because of a stomach illness that I am still trying to shake off but I am happy. God has helped me get my life back on track. I am learning about the most important thing in my life (my Faith and my love of God). As Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati used to so, "Verso l'alto" (to the top); I'm going onward and upwards.

I hope that this open letter hasn't offended you too much. It was not my intention to get you all upset but it was my intention to open your eyes and make you realize that some of us do realize what's going on and we do not like it. Think about the future of your students, about their souls and your own. Please do the right thing.

I have not much else to say except "thank you" for the "education" I received and the opportunity given to me to complete my B.A. Please do not expect me at any reunions or to give any donations until liberation theology and books like this are no longer taught and assigned. Nothing against some of the lovelier staff but I cannot, in good conscience, support a school that tries to destroy the Church that I love so much.


P.S. Stop sending me fundraising tickets. They're going to keep meeting the waste bin until I feel I can begin supporting y'all.