Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fortnight of Murphy's Law (?) and Some Heartache

As you might've noticed, it's been exactly two weeks since I last blogged. No, I didn't plan for the hiatus. In fact, I came up with a number of topics in that time but never seemed to find the time to blog because, as you might've guessed from the post title, I've had a heck of a fortnight. I am not saying that everything that happened were spiritual attacks... but I'm also not saying that they weren't.

The day after my last blog post, I headed to my usual (well, usual up until that Friday) time parked in front of the tabernacle. I'd been doing it for weeks so it wasn't unusual. However, I couldn't get through the Rosary or any prayers. I shook and felt physically ill, which I chalked up to the lack of a proper breakfast since I'd been battling a bit of insomnia the days before. After I left, I felt fine. I've only been back to church once (last week) because every time I've attempted, something happens so that I'm physically unable to even drive to the church. Mostly (as those who follow me on Twitter may have seen) it's been stomach problems that left me feeling terrible and dizzy. Oh, and the last time I went? Anxiety was through the roof and I couldn't even make it through the Rosary (had to do the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy first) because of how bad it was. Of course, when I finished and left, I felt fine. Silly.

How about Mass? Well, I haven't been to Mass (or confession) in two weeks either. The past two Saturdays and Sundays, Murphy's Law has once again set in. Sundays I usually have stomach issues (and dizziness to the point where I couldn't even stand straight last Sunday). It only lasts long enough for me to miss driving to Mass. Last Saturday I was feeling well... but a car hose decided to burst, leaking all the antifreeze and water out of my car. Took the mechanic two hours longer than anticipated to fix it... long enough for me to miss Saturday Vigil Mass.

Spiritual direction? Meeting cancelled last week because my SD ended up having a number of things overlap during the day. That was also the day my mom managed to get off from work early because she had a deep desire to pray in front of the tabernacle while I had my meeting. Yeeeah. Neither of us have managed to pray in a church... yet.

Again, not saying all of these things count as spiritual attacks... but I'm not saying they're not either. It's just curious (let's call it Murphy's Law, shall we?) that all these have happened lately, especially since I have been praying nonstop for two good friends who are discerning the priesthood and one who is discerning religious life. I'm just going to put this meme I found on tumblr here before I continue on:

So, what else has kept me from blogging? Well, I've experienced a good deal of heartache in the past month, but especially in the past two weeks. It doesn't necessarily involve heartache in a romantic sense but definitely in a platonic sense.

Without going into great detail, I've felt greatly disappointed in a friend who I deeply care about. I am using present tense but I don't easily shut off my feelings. Anyway, I actually did the novena of Mary, Undoer of Knots because I had been having a very uneasy feeling about the friendship. Hmm, not sure if uneasy is the right word. I was confused. Yes, that's more accurate. I was confused about the state of our friendship and I wanted clarity so I did the novena. What I didn't anticipate was the friendship completely unraveling.

Again, without going into detail, let's just say that I saw that I was making excuses for how this person had been treating me throughout almost the entirety of our friendship. It was very Jane Bennet of me (as my friends like to say). This person brought out the best in me -- the confidence I needed to be okay with how much I love the faith and the "traditional" aspects of it (i.e. mantillas, Latin Masses, etc) -- but I was being consistently (emotionally) hurt by their actions. The last thing this person did was show me how little respect they have for me as a friend... and I felt a great sense of betrayal that made me say "I'm done." I was blinded before but now I can see things clearly. Now you see why there was confusion on my end? It was a tricky situation.

During my last two confessions, the priests (yes, two different ones) advised me to look closely at my friendships and to distance myself from those that were hurting me. The last two weeks, I haven't had to do much -- my friendships have shown their true colors to me. This friendship that I cherished... well, it needed to end and I needed to see why it needed to end. While I am truly grateful for the wonderful things it brought me, I cannot continue it as it'd become an emotionally taxing roller coaster ride for me.

If these two last weeks of heartbreak have been part of the "Murphy's Law" (or spiritual attacks, if you wish to see them as such) and if they were meant to try to pull me away from God, it did the opposite. Yesterday, I wanted to cry (which, I admit, I'd been doing quite a bit of) but I had an even bigger desire to park myself in front of the tabernacle once again. Instead of it trying to dissuade me from my vocation (because it was somehow tied to it), it didn't sway me to go "well, then, I'll just become a nun or stay single." If anything, it showed me that Mama Mary is looking out for me and that I still felt God's presence. 

Sure, I might not have had the chance to attend Mass or even go pray in a church, but I still pray every day. I don't see what's happened as God not caring for me (though I had a pretty bad night, last week, when I felt almost pushed to believe that not even God cared for me). In fact, I like to believe that while, yes, the heartache stinks, it's all for the best. In the long run this disappointment and these tears will be forgotten and I'll be much happier.

So, there you have it. That's my excuse for not blogging over the past two weeks. I've been wanting to, but things always came up and I spent a good amount of time away from the laptop. Draw your own conclusions whether it was Murphy's Law or spiritual attacks.

I hope to blog more often now that I think (and hope!) I have everything sorted. We shall see. :D

Anyway, I hope y'all have had a great week thus far. :D

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

To All the Single Ladies Who Hate Being Single

I feel very blessed to have amazing friends in my life; friends who help me grow as a person. This fact came up (again) while Julie and I were having another movie marathon. Without divulging anything we talked about (because it's no one's business ;D), I realized that my friendship with her has made me mature in a lot of ways... especially my way of thinking about the vocation of marriage and motherhood.

As a single young woman, it's so easy to fantasize about married life. A loving husband, at least one adorable baby, and your own family and home. It's so easy to plan a future wedding... to give your future children names... to think of how you'd decorate your house, etc. Some young women think that getting married will solve whatever problems they are experiencing; that by getting married you're automatically experiencing a better life. I've never been married so I can't comment with certainty about whether life "gets better" after marriage but I am going to guess that life is just simply different when you're single versus when you are married. The struggles are different in both states of life. 

I've noticed a growing trend of "ugh, I just want to get married" and "ugh, I just want a baby" amongst single young women, especially those over the age of about 24. I wonder if the fantasies about what we think married life will be (versus what it is actually like) contribute to it. Our married friends are blessed to be living out their vocations but that doesn't mean that they have it any easier than we do. Sure, married life is awesome... but it doesn't mean it's going to be a smooth ride. The bumps in the road will help you two grow together. Sure, babies are adorable... but changing diapers and worrying when they get sick isn't fun.

As I said before, I have been incredibly blessed to have friends who help me grow as a person. I have seen myself learn to throw away any silly notions about what marriage and motherhood are like from my amazing friends (especially Jules, Kendra, and Kiera with whom I'm closest to). I have seen the struggles and worries (especially when the babies get sick), as well as the joys and blessings they have received through their vocations. It's made me appreciate my own vocation of future wife and mother and I think (and hope) I can go into it knowing the difference between what to expect based on idealistic fantasies and blessed (truly blessed) reality.

Single ladies, this is not me saying that your ways of feeling are invalid. I've been on the "ugh, I just want to get settled" end of the spectrum before as well. I don't think many single young women stop to think about the blessings we have in our single state. When you're single, you make your own decisions that mostly affect only you. We have the luxury of being selfish more often than not... and by that I mean little things like being able to sleep more than our married gal friends. Yes, married life will be wonderful in a completely different way and I personally look forward to living it one day, but I am also going to be grateful for all I have as a single young woman at the present.

Stop for a second and think about this: bemoaning about being single... what does that accomplish? I'm serious. Take a moment or two to think about it. I don't know about you but I can't personally think of anything good that comes out of the "ugh, married couples make me sick." All it's going to do is make you even more aware of how much you hate being single... which is going to either make you angry or depress you. Basically, it's all downhill from those negative comments. 

Again, not saying that those comments are invalid; your feelings are your own. I'm just giving you another option in how you can look at things. Personally, as soon as I got out of that "can future husband just show up?!" mentality, I began to appreciate life even more... and it greatly helped in my relationship with God. Sure, I still want to get married and have a family but it'll all come in God's time, not my own. There is a reason why I'm going to be a little older when I get married and have my babies (than most of my friends) but God knows what He's doing and why His plans for me are better than anything I can come up with. And, seriously, I've come to realize that there was no way I was ready for marriage and children in my younger years because I had to deal with my father having cancer, his eventual death, my own anxiety and panic disorder (which, thank God, has been more under control these past couple of months), and a number of other things. If I'm entirely honest, I feel like I'm just beginning to arrive at a place where I'm maybe ready for it. All in God's time. Keep your heads up, single ladies... our time will come. :)

Anyway, I just felt the need to write this out after both movie night with Jules as well as the aftermath of my Valentine's Day tweet. I wasn't planning on blogging so soon but, hey, when inspiration hits, it hits. :D

Now I'm off to do... something. I have a couple of free hours and I haven't figured out what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll just watch paint dry. lol.

I hope you are all having a good week thus far. I'll be praying for y'all. :D

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #25: Not a Valentine's Grinch Edition

First What I Learned Wednesday post of the year. Let's go!

1.) I'd like to clear something up regarding my Valentine's Day tweet last night: I am not a Valentine's Day Grinch. I am not bitter that I'm currently single. I'm actually enjoying my singlehood whilst future fella arrives. I love love. I am all for falling in love. I even helped organized a card exchange between single girl friends so that no one would feel bad last year. I don't like it being called "Singles Awareness Day." At the same time, I am not a fan of how commercialized the day is. I've been saying this since 2008 when I actually had a fella. That blog post was written by a 22 year-old me (yes, I'm that old, lol)... and my thoughts have not changed since. Things seem to cost more than usual for this day. Both guys and gals (but, let's be honest, more so guys than gals) get pressured into making a huge romantic gesture on the day. That doesn't sound romantic to me; it sounds like it's rather forced. Sure, I like receiving flowers as much as the next girl but I'd personally prefer a guy send/give them to me because they felt like it and not because it was expected of them. I have other thoughts on the day which I've written about it as recent as last year.

And I can tie this to Catholicism easily: Valentine's Day reminds me of the efforts. St. Valentine did -- risking death -- to marry couples when it was illegal to do so. St. Valentine reminds me of love... which reminds me of the constant love I feel from both God and Mama Mary. So the day is spent (regardless of whether I have a significant other or not) focused on the love I receive from them as well as my friends and family. See? No Grinch-ing from me; I just look at things differently. You have all learned something new (instead of the other way around). Now that that's been settled, can y'all start being nice to me again? I'd appreciate it. lol.

2.) This may get a huge eye-roll for those of you who are more savvy about all things Catholic but I'm still learning so this made me really excited a couple of weeks ago. As I was praying the Luminous Mysteries in front of the tabernacle, I realized that they (the mysteries) represented the Sacraments we Catholics receive. First mystery: Baptism. Second: Marriage. Third: Reconciliation. Fourth: Confirmation. Fifth: Communion. I know; there's 7 Sacraments so I'm missing Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. I was so excited at this revelation (which I figured out on my own, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm sure) that I came home and Googled it just to make sure. Sure enough, I had been right. And now every Thursday I can pray the Rosary and focus on the significance of each other mysteries in a whole new way. For the record, I could be wrong about what each mystery represents; it's what I figured out. Someone correct me if one or more is wrong.

3.) As a future speech therapist (who will also be learning a bit of audiology), I loved hearing the news that a priest invented a confessional tool for the deaf! I've been saving this article as well, because it was something that I learned since the last WILW post and I thought it was pretty darn important. I've seen a sign language interpreter in Mass at only one parish in L.A. and it's always made me wonder if other deaf Catholics have the same assistance elsewhere around the world. Mass is such a beautiful thing that it would be a shame for others to miss it because of disabilities and/or conditions. This is coming from someone who would, once upon a time, go months without attending a single Mass due to her anxiety order.

And that's all. Short(-ish) and sweet. I have a ton of things to do so... I should probably go do them now. lol.

I hope you all have a great rest of week. And someone please poke me if I take more than 2-3 days to publish a new blog post. I definitely have the time to do so these days. :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

10 Boring Facts About Me

I don't do these often but I needed something fun to write today so... thank you, Mary, for tagging/nominating me for this Sunshine Award. The instructions are easy: write 10 pieces of information about yourself


1. I don't "have a life", okay? lol. My day pretty much consists of (in order):
- getting up at 4:30 a.m.
- dropping mom off at work
- coming home and taking a nap
- getting up from nap
- morning prayers
- having breakfast
- getting ready to go out
- going to do at least 20 minutes of silent prayer in front of the tabernacle
- either errands, cleaning the house, or volunteer work
- picking up mom from work
- coming home for lunch
- spending some time online
- working on novels (or work)
- having dinner
- spending more time writing or editing
- catching up with friends
- nightly prayers
- reading before bed
- bedtime

I will occasionally deviate from that schedule and hang out with friends, or have movie night with Julie, or do something else but that's pretty much what a typical day looks like for me right now. I'm sure things will change once I return to school in May.

2. I'm very much a morning person... and it annoys grumpy morning people. lol. I've been told I need to bottle the energy I have. I may be smiley and I may sing and dance along to music at 4-5 a.m. but come 2-3 p.m., I am wanting a nap. I don't pick up my second wind until about 7 p.m., which is why y'all see me most active online in the mornings and evenings/nights. :)

3. Too much social interaction drains me. Whether it's in person or online, after a while of social interaction I start feeling fatigued. I know it's one of  the downsides of being an introvert. That's why I took a break from Twitter yesterday; I was feeling completely drained at around 6-7 p.m. I love y'all but, seriously, getting bombarded by a ton of messages by so many people at once is a little overwhelming for me. No worries; I took an extra long nap today so I'm ready for y'all today.


4. I don't talk about my love life on this blog. Or on Twitter. That comment about Twitter being one big flirt-fest today was my way of saying "please leave me out of it." You little rascals will not suck me into it.

5. My private life is private. I'm sorry but it's one of those off-limits topics. How about we talk about my inability to go a day without music... or about Catholicism and soccer... or how my love of Adoration is becoming an "addiction"? Those topics are so much more interesting.

6. Yes, I felt the need to use up these spaces to get this point across. When I touch on the topic, y'all know it's vague or I share it because it's one of those "I don't see this particular thing discussed in Catholic blogs and it needs to be addressed" things.

7. My massive crush on Tom Hiddleston is all you'll ever get out of me. Just putting it out there in case he ever stumbles across this. Call me. We'll have tea and read Shakespeare together. lol.


8. I am still freelance writing, but only for H&R Block and Catholic publications. The other companies were terrible so any freelance work y'all see from me will now either be for either of the two I mentioned. I learned, the hard way, that being promised to get paid and actually getting paid for your hard work are two completely different things.

9. I am still working on my novels, which are set to be published this year. The novel sequel ending was just finished yesterday but I still have to flesh out the story a bit more since I only wrote the basics during NaNoWriMo. I'm at 184 pages for the sequel at 237 for the first one. We'll see where they stand after all the editing.

10. I cannot wait until I begin my work as a speech therapist. I get along well with children (because I am a kid at heart) and older adults so I am looking forward to working with both age groups. I have to clock in some hours prior to my graduation next May (2015) and I'm just too excited to get started. This will mean less of a life (haha, what life?!) but I don't mind. :D

And that's it. A little on the boring side but now y'all know some things you didn't know about me. ;)

Anyway, I hope y'all have a great rest of week. As always, thanks for reading God bless! :D

Monday, January 6, 2014

Music Monday: Classical Music Flash Mobs

I have been on a strong classical music kick lately. I am not sure why but I like it. Anyway, since I've been having a crummy day today (long story short: I am getting treated poorly for no reason) I've been watching classical music flash mobs... just because 1) I love flash mobs and 2) I love classical music. I know some of y'all are also having crummy days (especially with the terrible cold temperatures across most of the country) so here are some of my favorites to (hopefully) cheer y'all up. :)

The first song is one of my favorite songs so I was stoked to see it in a flash mob:

Not technically classical but I love this song. This one is to get your blood pumping. Go ahead and dance like no one's watching. ;)

This isn't classical either but... hello, Star Wars!

Opera. At a mall. Enough said.

Okay, fine, this is swing music but this is one of my favorite songs.

I hope these flash mobs have brightened up your day a little bit. :D

And that's it for now. Yes, that's it. Just wanted to spread a little joy to others. :)

I hope y'all have a wonderful week!

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

For Those Discerning the Priesthood...

Happy Epiphany Sunday, y'all. Yes, Epiphany is not technically until tomorrow but y'all know we celebrated it in Mass today. ;)

I saw this video last night on tumblr and I just had to share it. This video is about 2 years old now but it's new to me and I bet it'll be new to many people. Since I know a couple of my awesome guy friends (including two of my closest friends) are discerning the priesthood, I thought it would be a good idea to share it.

How awesome were they? Love it. Please pray for all of those wonderful young men who are discerning the priesthood. :)

Anyway, that's it for now. Yes, I broke my "no blogging on Sunday" rule just to post this fantastic video. ;)

I hope y'all are having a great weekend. Make the last couple of hours in your weekend count. ;)

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

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 13: New Year's Edition

-- 1 --
Happy New Year to all you lovely blog readers. I took the first two days of the year to relax before I dove back into writing. It was lovely but I needed to write again. Anyway, I hope you all had a good time ringing in the new year... though, from what I saw on my Twitter and Instagram feeds, it looks like most of us just stayed at home this NYE. Nothing wrong with that! This homebody approves. ;)

-- 2 --
I've been trying to catch up on reading because I will soon head back to school. Okay, May isn't "soon" but it is getting closer. Stoked! Anyway, I've been reading a mix of children's literature (in the form of Pixie Hollow books; it's research for an upcoming project), finishing the Narnia series, reading my friend Nancy's His Good Opinion novel (Janeites will enjoy it!), and I just borrowed a book on the letters between St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal. I'm very excited about this book because I've been feeling particularly close to both these saints lately. Let's see how much reading I can get in between now and May 4th.

-- 3 --
Can I just say how awesome the Mary Undoer of Knots novena is? I had a long standing (read: almost 5 years) issue bugging me and I've noticed that the "knots" are slowly being undone. All those things that went wrong while I did the novena were so worth the peace and joy I am currently experiencing.

-- 4 -- 
When y'all voted for St. Raphael the Archangel as this year's patron saint I was curious as to why. He'd never won before. Now I've see why; I've spent January 1st through today giving relationship advice as well as being forced to take a good look at my own personal life. I wonder how many more people will need novenas to St. Raphael throughout the year. ;)

-- 5 --
I have some things I want to write about but I want to have material so no spoilers from me. I looks like January will be quite the prolific writing month... if time allows me to publish them all relatively close to each other.

-- 6 --
This is why I love tumblr; a priest, a rabbi...

-- 7 --
And, because this is the "New Year's Edition"... I don't have resolutions (I don't like making them) but here are my goals for this year:
- More swing dancing.
- More traveling.
- Learn more recipes.
- Learn how to knit.
- Attend daily Mass (or at least spend 20 minutes in silent prayer in front of the tabernacle daily).
- Spend less time online.
- Learn to balance school and prayer life.

And that's all for now. Quick. Easy. No spoilers. ;) Okay, fine, I want to get back to reading. lol.

I hope you all have a great weekend (I may blog tomorrow; fingers crossed)!

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