Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On Being Small: An Advent Reflection

He must increase, but I must decrease. —John 3:30

Ann pointed this scripture out in her book.

And so here it goes...

I am small.

It's not easy to admit, that perhaps, to this world, I am but a spec of life. I am small. I am smaller than many trees, many bodies of water and even smaller than a six foot adolescent bear. I am so very small and I may even go as far to say that I am very weak. Yes, I am so very small and weak.

Many people don't like me. Many people don't like the things I do, the decisions I make, things I've said. It hurts and in turn makes me small. Many people have already judged me, have labeled me whether knowing me well or not knowing me at all. Some judgements are true and others not true, yet I've been decreased. I've been made small.  There are times when I judge, label and place self-importance. I've made mistakes, greatly sinned, struggle with things I only wish to have already overcome. In my very own lack of self-control I am weak...and small. I lack self-confidence, criticize myself constantly, never satisfied with what it is in front of me. My ingratitude makes me so very small. Sometimes I can't control my temper. Small. I yell. Small. I depend on the physical. Small. I wish for the greener side. Small. I'm no genius, I don't know much. Small.

But I whole-heartedly admit this self-insignificance with much love.

I am small and willing to get smaller so that I am no longer and God has taken over.

I must decrease, in however many ways He's willing to make that happen.

Because being small means I must depend solely on Him. Being weak means that I need Him to lift me up sometimes, to take the punches, to stand up for me. Small in me means great in Him because only through Him with Him and in Him can we be made great.

I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:10 (GNT)

I've much to learn about being small. I struggle with things, with people where instead I need to embrace my insignificance in the eyes of the world. Nothing here matters more than the world He has set up for me when this life is done. I believe in heaven. I believe in it so much that I will live this short life of trails to spend an eternity of peace. I will live it the way He's asked me to. In obedience, in servitude, in love, despite what storms may come against me. I shall live small. I will decrease.

And how fitting for the season we're upon.

Because if you think about how Jesus came into this world, a small infant, it makes us see how grand and joy-filled small can be.

We don't reject Baby Jesus, we celebrate His arrival. We wait in prayer, watch the scene, as Mary said Yes. We ponder St. Joseph's own Yes, his great faith in what God had planned for his life. We anticipate that road to Bethlehem, God protectively guiding a woman with child on such a treacherous journey. We're reminded of their troubles, their rejection, as each inn keeper said "Sorry, no room," the town brought to life, while Baby Jesus became ready to greet the world in this lowly form. We're amazed at how a squalid place for animals becomes a holy glorious site. And we follow a once small star, shine brightly for the whole world to follow and greet the beautiful Son of God.

The smallness, the quietness of our Advent season, it reminds me of how small is grand. Advent brings us full circle to ourselves, reminding us to come to Him small as He came to us. Make ourselves small so that Baby Jesus has room to grow.

...so I must decrease...because He will increase and I welcome His presence with open heart.

God bless!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seeing With Eyes Closed

It's been a while since I've actually closed my eyes. I've been on a mission to keep all my five senses turned on so that I won't miss a thing. It's quite humbling, this use of all five senses. It reminds me of how much of this world I miss in a blink of an eye.

But sometimes, even if you think you're watching the scene, you still have not become a witness to it. I find that I look, but I have not learned to see.

Lately, Mother Teresa has been in my mind. I met someone yesterday who said he met the Blessed Mother Teresa face to face and her eyes...it took him a minute to describe her eyes...he says they were filled with the Holy Spirit.


How could she have been any other way, if not completely filled with the Holy Spirit?

I wondered if when people look at me do they see the Holy Spirit? Do they see Him before they see me? Do they see Him in me?

Is it wrong to say that I wish they would?

The Holy Spirit beckons me to see. It beckons us all to see. It wills us to believe, to follow, to become faith. It tugs on our hearts every time we're just looking.

Like that child's game, where you cover ones eyes and say, "Guess who?"
The Holy Spirit is closing my eyes so that I can learn to see with my heart.

Ask me about the day I gave birth to my first child. Ask me about how when I felt the pains how my excitement grew. Ask me about the emptying that turned into immense and unspeakable joy. Ask me if I remember details, how my child's fingers trembled, how her mouth opened and closed as if trying to say "Hello there." Ask me how warm her small body was when I held it against my shaken body, how when I looked into her eyes...all I can think of, now, ...is the Holy Spirit.

I've taken on a different sacrament, one that is not included in the Holy Seven, but is an absolute gift from God. God has placed me on a different mission. If I look with my heart everyone becomes Jesus, including my own family, including me. I'm not God. No one but God is God, but everyone He's made carries His Spirit, the Holy Spirit within them. I can start out Mother Teresa's mission starting with those that started in my own womb. Starting with the ones that are here today, and the ones that are not. My starting mission is to be the best mother He asks me to be, the best wife I can be to my husband, gifts from God, to be the sister, the best daughter, the best friend, neighbor, cousin, employer, customer, stranger I can be. I have to start from somewhere.

So I'll start from within. I've got to learn to see.

Mother Teresa was filled with the Holy Spirit. She saw Jesus in everyone she met. She became the best Mother Teresa God called her to be. Her beauty from within was what she gave back to the world. She gave what she had become, LOVE. Mother Teresa was what love looks like if we had to describe it to someone else and when she looked at all the people she met, encountered, she saw Jesus. It was all she could see.

As I type out this passage, Jesus is asking me where did I put His laundry, Jesus is singing, at the top of His lungs, "I'm a Little Teapot," Jesus is clicking away on a video game and Jesus keeps moving my arm with His small hands so that He can lay His head on my lap.

If I open my eyes I'll see my husband, see my kids, but if I close my eyes and open my heart...

"Guess who Ivy?"

Jesus! It's You!

God bless!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Writing's on the Wall...of Your Heart

Someone sent me an article regarding how this generation is a "feeling" generation, a people that won't believe unless they feel something.


Please watch this video.

Did you feel something?

Before watching this video I had already felt something. If I hadn't yet I would've now.

I'd like to thank my great friend Gen for sharing this with me.

God bless!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Struggling for Wings

I can imagine how painful it must be for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it's whole physical appearance changing. Some think the caterpillar knows it'll be beautiful when it is done and therefore focuses on the outcome instead of the pain, the change. Does it know that it will no longer need to crawl on the ground but instead will fly anywhere it pleases? Does it know that it will no longer have a limited view of the world, but see the world through different eyes? No one knows but God. It's remarkable, nonetheless, that the caterpillar knows what needs to be done and does it, perhaps without never knowing why.

Once the butterfly is ready to come out it struggles. Up until the very end it struggles. It's little body and wings making every effort to free itself from its cocoon. This struggle, to push itself out of a tiny opening is truly the last stage of its metamorphosis. It strengthens the butterfly's wings, its legs for flight. Without this struggle the change would not be complete.

Some people have this huge misconception regarding Christians. Some think that once we've proclaimed our faith we should automatically be perfect folks, no more sin, no more struggle. Once we bow down to worship our lives should be like heaven, at peace, no worries, no pain. When life continues, even for us, when struggle occurs they ask, "Where's your God now?"

However, my life B.C. was empty, even with all I had. My hands were dirty, my mouth dirty and my heart dirty, almost beating it's last beats, way too congested with all things opposite of love. I was quietly slipping away and if it weren't for that hand that gripped mine and led me to His Passion I would've sunk deeper into that darkness. His road to Calvary allowed me to understand that all my years of suffering and struggle was what He experienced in one lonely day. I recognized every step, every anguished moment and at the end when He gave up His spirit I realized that I too could give up mine, to my Father. How could one dismiss this promise, this renewing, this cleansing so that at the end of it all there is a peace?


His peace.

Isn't that what most of us are trying to acquire each and everyday?

Peace and quiet.

It doesn't happen overnight. It occurs in small steps. Whatever you can handle. Jesus has to consider that. So He gives healing in little spoonfuls.

No one gets better from a sickness from one day to the next. It takes time to get better. It also takes time to accept that you're healing, that there's a change happening within you. Some may think that's easy, but to begin a spiritual metamorphosis can be painful.


It's been quiet here. Like, in my own little heart it's been very quiet. I'm learning to slow it all down, to recognize what makes these wheels turn, to remember, not forget who's turning them.

I've been praying all day long. I've been having lengthy conversations, calm and collect, as if we were in a dark room where we needed to whisper.

I've been telling Him the things He already knows. I've been telling Him things He's been trying to coax out of me. He's been telling me things I need to hear, reversing the lies. And the more I get to see, the more I want to know.

I hunger for more love.

I feel I am on the right path but I know I'm far from done.

I'm continually changing. My heart continues to find new rhythms. My soul is purging. I'm shedding this skin. This slow process, this endeavor to become His new me, it's all for His purpose.

God is changing me into something beautiful. He's giving me delicate butterfly wings so that one day I can fly...

to Him.

God bless!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Love Letter Nonetheless


I remember the many nights I had a pen to a clean sheet of paper, the words flowing like a windy day across my eyes but never getting up the nerve, too lazy or just forgetting to send it to you. I know there's so much to say. I mean, so much has happened and yet it feels like only yesterday that things began to go wrong. You would think that we know each other so well, considering how long it's been and yet I just realized how much of myself I am unaware of.

I've been talking about you, praying about you, for you. I've been crying, been angry, sad, angry again. Mostly sad though. It's a familiar sadness. I know this feeling. I used to call it loneliness. I would convince myself that I was alone and I'd start to feel sorry for myself. True, you've left me alone many times and I get it, you had things to do, a life to live and discover. You chose you after so many years with those bitter feelings of having to live and chose for someone else. You fled to a place you thought would be home and thank God you did go. I know God had His reasons for why things happened. I saw it then just as I see it now and thank God that it did happen that way.

It still hurt though. It still hurts.

But I'm not sure you know that.

I remember feeling so sad for the way your dad treated you. How insulting he was. I wanted you to go, just so you wouldn't have to endure that. I remember. I wanted to hate him. Hating is harder to feel you know. It takes a lot of energy to hate. Feelings of hate begin to rot inside you. It make breathing difficult. I've tried to hate. I felt I had a right to hate, that I was owed that much. There were many times where I was sure that hate was the feeling I had for you. It was impossible. Hate is very weak. The moment you showed me a little bit of love, my "hate" disintegrated. So I guess hate wasn't ever the answer. Point is that I love you so much I was willing to hate for you. But hate is not a language that God has written, so since that is the case, hate doesn't exist. It's just an idea. Hate can't be a true feeling.

So, rest assured. After all we've been through, I harbor no feeling of hate.

I'm learning. I'm learning to let go, learning to replace things, feelings, ideas that I longed for yet never had. I remember watching what I wanted from a distance, you looking lovingly at someone else, but never at me. I was such a disappointment in your eyes. It almost seems like when I did do good it was funny to you. Okay, I'm starting to attack. My intention here wasn't to attack you, but to find God in you. I need to be reminded that even you are a creation of His. So much hurt and pain, let-downs and disillusions, nevertheless, this is a love letter because somewhere deep in that hard exterior of yours is God Himself. I just got to keep looking for Him in you. He knows my mistakes, my grave and ugly sins. I can never hide from them or Him. He's shown me love despite all I've ever done. He's forgiven me, so therefore I have to, want to forgive you.

And for that reason, I won't give up, can't give up. I'd be betraying Him first and I love Him more than my own life let alone your feelings. I'm angry, but I guess in this anger God too is present for I know He means to guide me even through this hot emotion. Hurt and anger. But first there's God.

I love you.
You let me live.
You raised me, in your way, you did.
And I understand you did the best you could.
It was hard for you before, but I know you try now.
I won't give up on you, I can't.
You are as much a gift to me as I am to you.
And I dedicate every prayer to you, every whisper to Him your name is included.
Maybe you will change, maybe you won't. It doesn't matter.
I'll make the change instead.
I have Protection. I have a Shield.
I'll stay in battle, even if it seems I'm losing.
Although perhaps God's plans are different from my desires.
I want both you and God to know that I'll keep insisting for you...
even after our hearts stop beating,
because I've been told that death is not the end,
but I pray that things don't come to that.
I love you no matter what has occurred
and I give thanks to God for helping me reach this hour to see it His way.

The Lord be with you.

God bless!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Miraculous Views

Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Psalm77:12-16, 21
Matthew 16:24-28

Ever see a city from the small window of an airplane? You feel special being able to see this small portion of the world in bird's eye view. From this tiny porthole of a window you can see whole cities, landscapes, lights, all the life of the world below. For a moment you wish you can have this view forever, but how good it feels to be able to plant one's feet on the ground, your heart finally in its resting place because although having a special view of the world from the plane, this human perspective of the world feel normal, static. Point is that our normal view is very limited as opposed to the ariel view. From afar, you can see things as they really are, see more of them. From close we can only see what's in our visual range. The same goes for the heart.

In the eye of a hurricane, it's very hard to see, very difficult to asses the situation. So why does God give us such a limited view?

In those small range perspectives we are left with no choice but to trust that what we don't see is still there. In those cloudy moments, windy climates, dark heavy rainfall it's hard to see that Our Lord is still hard at work. We can only trust that His diligent Hands are working to save us, to later repair the damage from the onslaught of life's most tumultuous events.

Today's readings focuses on how ever present the Lord has been and will be. Even in those times when the Israelites felt they'd never get out of Egypt alive, or when the apostles learn that their beloved Teacher will soon leave them, God wanted them and us to remember that He's been there before, and He will continue to be there until the last day. However, in order for us to see this, we must recognize His works in our lives. We can't forget, or take for granted the miracles He's done for us as individuals. We must live our lives for Him, lest we lose it. We may gain the world and all its glittery things, but we will lose our souls. Jesus wants us to live with Him forever, but He won't be forceful. We have to hand this life over to Him willingly. In the meantime, He'll continue to mercifully perform miracles for us, to show us who He is and how much He loves us.

Perhaps we've never heard His voice through a burning bush, or seen His guiding presence in a cloud above. We've not yet given the opportunity to touch His wounds and see His face. But we are witnesses to His miracles even today. So Lord Jesus, here is a small list of miracles that showed me how present You have been, even in those moments when my view was so very, very small.

1. You were there when I was on that operating table, and beside me when I recovered.
2. You were there when I was depressed and you presented me with a piano.
3. You were right next to me during those labor pains and births of my girls.
4. You walked with me on those late nights when I had nothing but quiet, desolate streets ahead of me coming home.
5. You were with me during the many times when I found it difficult to breath.
6. You were with me on the subway when I thought my heart would explode from anxiety.
7. You were with me when I grieved for my lost loved ones and gave me pen and paper to release my pain.
8. You were with me on the many occasions of rejection by the ones I love the most.
9. You held up the cue cards when I needed to defend myself against others.
10. You held down my hands during those moments when I felt I couldn't take any more of this life.
11. You whispered the strength into my heart when I needed to let go of my sins.
12. You spoke guidance into my ears when my neighbor tried to take advantage of my situation.
13. You've given me wisdom during those dark hours where I was needed by others.

Jesus, the list goes on and on, but I know now that in these very scary moments You did all You can to bring me here today to recognize Your glory. I am and always will be eternally grateful and eternally Yours.

God bless!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Still: A 5 minute writing exercise

What a mess my life. There I was sitting in clothes just pissed on by my youngest, my oldest talking my ear off and I felt like a dragon with smoke coming out of my ears. It was only 8:30 in the morning but if this is how the day would proceed than Lord help me to calm down right now. It's good to know that I can call on Him at anytime but in the end, I know He depends on me to do the right thing.

The right thing. What is that? I just had a small discussion about how important politics can or cannot be. I just read an email about a university putting on a play that portrays Our Blessed Mother as a lesbian. And I think about how similar politics and religion are. Am I being too lackadaisical about the issues? Is that what's going on here? What about just living for God? What about leaving all the radical world behind and be radical about God? Be radical about the Man who rose from the dead and how we are saved because of this radical Lord who is just so in love with us He will stop at nothing to show us.

And I always "mistakenly" type god when I mean to write good. I guess they both mean the same thing. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gasping For Air: How God's Big Gifts Can Go Unnoticed

Dear God,

Since when did parenting become such an uphill battle?

Since when do I scream and yet nobody wants to hear me?

Since when do the people in your life become so numb to one's feelings?

Since when did I become so numb to my own children's cries?

I figure if no one alive is willing to understand me, I know you will.

So how do I turn these stressful moments into beauty?

Every night, I toss and turn, gasping for air. I can't breath right any more. I'm congested with anxiety, anger. I'm clogged, already too full of all that I have to suppress throughout the day, trying to escape me every night. It's nightmarish, the fight to just breath. Such an easy thing, we do it so often we don't even notice it, until we can't do it anymore.

My days are to demanding to even think of rest and at night, my only opportunity to breath has been taken from me.

So God, dear God, how? How do I turn these scary moments into beauty?

Because I feel tapped out.

I'm beginning to feel depleted emotionally and physically. When the day ends I can't even crawl in bed to pray. I have to medicate and cough until some air can enter my lungs. I exhaust myself to sleep, only to wake up to a crying toddler. It pains me that even in a moment of refuge, all I am doing is begging you, pleading for some kind of help. Change me God, change me if I am to blame. Ease the situation for a few seconds to catch some air, to grab a sliver of sanity, to ask Mother Mary how she did it, what do I do?

So here is my moment. This is me up on my cross. Some may pass me by and say, "Deal with it," and I am, in a very bad way.

This is my little/big moment of suffering, where all I can do is go through it in hopes that I can either ride out my sentence in love and forgiveness or fight to remove myself from a situation my very own limbs have been nailed to.

I read somewhere that while on the cross Jesus gasped for air, suffered collapsed lungs, carbon dioxide increase, oxygen decrease, only able to say very little for lack of air and the inability to inhale and exhale due to the position His body was in.

How spiritual, how holy it is to really suffer just a touch of what Our Lord suffered. How He tasted our humanity to be able to comprehend our failures, our afflictions, our fears. To come down and endure human birth to human death, to be able to gently draw us closer to Him, to rest in His arms, to cry on His shoulders.

To know what it is like.

Just to know what it is like and drink it all in for us.

And we live in small worlds where our own know but won't acknowledge, don't care, are too afraid to help, are tired of helping. To pass pain by and pretend like you never heard it, seen it. A cry to deaf ears, a heavy silence after the loud scream, and all of us at one point in our lives have covered our ears and closed our eyes and kept walking.

But Jesus hears even the most silent of cries, the most distant. He heard Zaccheaus' need for a change of heart and Jesus invited Himself in. He heard Mary and Martha's tears for Lazarus and He decided to heed their pain with glory. Even in His debilitated state He heard the pleas of a thief on the cross and gave him the promise of eternal life in heaven.

So Jesus, I ask you now to help me in my time of need. Calm me down, Help me to see what it is You want me to do. You know that I alone won't prevail, but with You in the forefront I can't lose. If You remain in front of me I can't succumb to this situation. I can suffer like You did. Take in all that is going on and find the glory You always know how to insert into every situation. If at the end of the day, I lose all I have, I lose nothing if You live in my heart.

So forgive me if I've done this all wrong. Forgive me for not being able to trust in what You are doing in my life. Forgive me for re-acting and not STOPPING. Forgive me for thinking that I alone can handle this, that I alone can suffer. Forgive me for not calling on You sooner. Forgive me my self-pity, my accusations and assumptions. Forgive me for thinking that others can help me better than You can. Forgive me for thinking that my life right now sucks because I am going through a little bit of suffering, so little compared to the cross. Forgive me for not remembering Your trials and how lovingly You withstood them; how much of an example they are for me as they are my salvation.

And the little energy You have given me to gasp for air and wake up in the middle of the night to hug my child, the next morning to converse with You, ask You for help is more than enough to keep my mouth full of praise and thanksgiving. One day I may not wake up at all.

One more day is a gift, not a guarantee.

Amen to that!

God bless!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why We Should Suffer and Do it Right

Years ago, my uncle was murdered by his stepson. He was my grandmother's youngest and although she had no favorites, she suffered his death as if he was her only child. But I remember how forgiving she was to his stepson and his family, how she let her daughter-in-law into her home to pay her respects despite what had happened. It was an act that many didn't understand, some were even angry with my grandmother, confused, but she understood very well that in this life you will suffer. You just have to know how to do it right.

Lately I've been feeling very ill. I'm not sure what is wrong, but I am in constant pain and it hasn't been easy. In the midst of this pain, an image keeps appearing in my mind. An image that my pastor shared with me a few weeks ago and I just can't get it out of my head. Not in these exact words, but he tells me to picture a sea of crosses, people crucified and suffering on their crosses. Watch how each one suffers. Keep looking until you find Christ and witness His suffering. This is how we want to suffer; in love.

So that image has stuck, and each time I feel pain, the mental image of a mountaintop full of crucifixions appears and I roam, searching for Jesus's way to suffer.

It's never easy to look at our lives, to see what the now has presented to us and be okay with it all. It's hard to look into the eyes of the person or people that broke you and say "I forgive you." It's very hard not to judge, not to assume. It's even harder to think that this person, these people are God's children, made in the image and likeness of Him, that perhaps they too are broken and just don't know how to cope, how to suffer in love. The pastor also reminded me that even Jesus on that very cross showed pain and hurt.

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
“My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”
—Mark 15:34 (GNT)

But He never succumbed to those feelings. Instead, He remained on that cross. He remained in His suffering.

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus taught us that when we suffer, not to do so with a sad face, but groom ourselves and walk tall. It doesn't mean to hide what we are going through, but to find the purpose of that suffering and wear it like a badge.

Like a cross around one's neck.

I've slowly learned to look at that cross and feel my heart fill up with so many emotions. Not because He suffered and died, but because He suffered and died for me! And at first it was hard to watch, it was difficult to keep looking into His eyes, but the end result isn't the end, but the very priceless beginning of a salvation that no one can give you but Jesus. Looking up at Him on that cross began as a painful task, but is now such a moment full of sentiment, full of love.

You did that for me Jesus?


No one has ever done that for me before.

No one.

But why are we allowed to suffer? Why does God let tragedies occur? How can He be so...mean?

Madonna said it best. "Pain is a warning that something's wrong."

Something is wrong. Something is not right with God. In this suffering, what is God trying to tell us? What is He trying to show us? Think about it.

When I am suffering through a hard day with my children, perhaps God wants me to know that my dealing with them is not working. When a child is suffering a deadly disease, perhaps God wants to bring that family closer to Him. When some one is killed, maybe God wants to show those left behind what it is to forgive.

I don't know what God reasons are for all the suffering in the world, but I do know that He has a plan to set it right and I trust in His plan.

Even if it means I may have to suffer through it.

And I may never know the purpose if I don't remain still in my suffering. If I react, if I move wildly, try to escape, I may just end up suffering again, suffering more, until He gets His point across, until He fixes what needs to be fixed, heals what needs to be healed. I have to give Him the opportunity to transform my suffering into His glory.

Because Jesus promised us that if we endured to the end we would be saved.

From the smallest pain, to the biggest affliction, from the saddest past to the hurtful, repressed memories, from the frustrating days, to the news of terrible tragedy, if I am to suffer, I should suffer like Him, full of love and forgiveness despite the whirlwind of hurt and pain. I am His and I suffer for Him, just as He suffered for me.

Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3 (GNT)

God bless!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

All That He Knows, and Still

Dear Friends,

It's been a while.

I stopped writing for a good reason. I needed to focus on a conversation long time coming. And in the month of talking I've learned so many things about me that only He can tell me.

Who knew that someone does know everything about me; even the parts of me I forgot, or couldn't even see with my own eyes, or know with my own heart. I am personally known by Jesus.

That's a huge comfort.

Because sometimes, I don't even know myself. Sometimes I question my decisions, my motives. Why do I always do this, or what made me say that? But my little window of knowledge is small, limited, as His eyes cover the world. His love sees our hearts, listens to our fears, soothes our pain and the best part of it all is where we lack in answers, He does not.

He knows it all.

He knows me well, the good parts as well as the bad.

There's no use in hiding in the tree for He calls on us and invites us to heal. There's no use in thinking you are unworthy, too small, too inadequate, too frustrated, too angry, too hurt, too sinful to be with Jesus. He knows all this already and yet He still loves us.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed a few days ago. I had an agenda, things I needed to get done and although having my girls will make my errand running a little bit harder, I was determined to make it happen.

So when the girls woke up, they too were crabby. My home, for the first few hours of that morning, were tense. At one point, between the dishes and the sweeping, I called out to Him, in full need of some peace. I needed His loving touch to enter into my heart, extinguish the angry fire in me and gently direct me to water.

So I took the girls to McDonald's.
You know, the one with the play-yards?


God led me there for some peace, but most importantly, He brought me there to listen to a grandfather enjoying lunch with his grandson. His face, his words, his gestures were all loving, calm and peaceful, even in that moment where he needed to reprimand. In that hour or so, I listened to this old man, seasoned with life and wisdom, impart his love to a little boy with the same energy and ambition that my girls have. He knew how to be present for his grandson, and the kid knew when to stop and listen.


I thanked the old man before I walked out. I'm sure I left him a bit confused, but in essence, I was thanking my Lord.

He led me to a lesson I needed to learn. He gave me a wonderful example to follow.

Jesus knew exactly what I needed at that moment. And He gave it to me...because I asked for it.
He knew how to gift me that moment because He knows me, better than I know myself.

And He loves me...

better than anyone can.

Don't ever say that God doesn't love you. You don't know how much He does and how willing He is to show you. His heart, like His wounds, are open, exposed, to show us how much He loves you. And like Mary, in that scene from the movie, The Passion, we need to let go of the earth, let go of what doesn't matter, what isn't true, look up, and see what is being done for you, all out of love...

despite knowing who you are, what you've done, and what you will do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


No, we were not created with eyes in the back of our heads, nor the sides. We were not equipped with aerial view vision, x-ray vision. Our eyes are set to look in front of us, ahead of us and, every now and then, to the side.

And what do we see?


or garbage.

Pieces of garbage, thrown around at a parade, celebration, made magical, not by the confetti itself, but by how we see it.


And there's a whole lot of garbage in this world, spread around, making a mess.

But one man's garbage is another man's treasure.

And as the world leans on evil ways, punching holes into God's pretty world, we yell, plead the whys and the anger, disbelief, back-turning attitudes. We start to walk backwards, making what's in front of us smaller and smaller as we go.

And the smaller we see Him, the smaller He becomes in our hearts. Out of sight, out of mind.

Or as we say in spanish, ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente. (What the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't feel.)

When we don't feel God in our hearts, we have a small view. A dwarfish perspective.

We have the short story version of the world around us, the short, truncated view of it all. But while all we see is the short story, we forget that God has written the novel. He has created the world that only He knows inside and out. Our perspective is so small compared to His. Our little world, the world we think we know is but a spec of light, a small star to the God who's fingers placed all the stars in the sky.

Confetti, garbage or star.


So how can we judge, ridicule, laugh, get angry, behave negatively towards other, towards ourselves, if we only have but one small window to look through?

He gave us two very small eyes. We don't have special visual powers, we don't have a huge view of the world. We just have what we see in front of us. It's humbling to know we can't see everything, that our visual perspective is so very small, that we only have but one choice for the rest of what we can't see; an utter need to trust in God. A blind leaping faith for His plan, His perspective. It is something we will never fully see in this life, but if we trust in His Eyes on the world then perhaps when it all ends we will have the ultimate view...

His face.

Now that must be a sight to behold.

God bless!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Faith and Thanksgiving


Such a small word. It's deceiving this word, small, one syllable. So easy to pronounce.


Kind of as small as that mustard seed.

But it yields, this small word. It can grow big but only if we tend to it.

In the low humming of the everyday, in the blaring alarm clock, the clicking start of the stove, the push, push, push to make it on time for the bus, the beep of the microwave, the sip of the coffee, the prep of the lunch and dinner menu, the light of the laptop, the watering of the plants, the bills and checkbook balancing, the sweeping, moping, washing and folding, the grocery lists, the hard attempts to establish nap time, the homework and afternoon snacks, the cooking, the feeding, bathing, the nightly stories and nighttime Amens, I aimlessly perform with this little grain of faith and, in the pauses between the commas of my day, I talk with Him.

Nothing special. Just talk, complain, praise, plead. Something. And those words, whispers, mind words, eyes-closed visions, can water my faith abundantly.

A small mustard seed with just a few drops of water.

I love You God!

And yesterday, at Mass, I stared at You on that cross, exposing all this love for me, and I waited for my turn to take in Your love, wondering how much so many of us take the Eucharist for granted. So I asked You to please help this grain of faith in me grow and in that instant my heart swelled, squeezing tears out of my eyes and I became impatient, although the homily was about how good it was to wait.

But I couldn't wait to have You, just as You have me. It takes a lot of faith to believe, truly believe, in what the Eucharist represents and I wanted to feel that belief so bad yesterday. I wanted to approach Your table and heartily receive that small piece of you and oh how the heart can burst just to even think about how that bread has become You. All promises from Your lips in that bread, all promises making my heart leap and my soul flourish. It is such a quick moment that can sustain You for life.

And as we talked to the Youth about the end of the world, for the first time I felt a slight joy at actually being able to die in this skin so that I may, as Paul so beautifully puts it, put on Love. I may actually sit with You, look at Your beautiful face, breath in all that is You and hear Your voice. This feeling is truly amazing and shocking but it is what it is.

I know I am not worthy of all Your promises Lord...but I thank You for allowing me to try and try again.

Thank You loving Father for:

183. the Eucharist
184. The Holy Spirit and how it dwells in us all
185. Your promises
186. the way You make the impossible possible
187. how we all can fall to our knees time and time again
188. Your love
189. this beautiful world You made for us
190. the ability to talk with You whenever, wherever
191. how You come through
192. Your presence in others
193. the people who encourage and inspire me
194. watching Your gifts grow
195. the ability to cultivate
196. the hands I use
197. and my mouth
198. for listening to me lovingly
199. the wind that makes trees dance
200. watching deer play
201. time
202. the differences
203. the moments of suffering
204. a past that I can use now for good

It's amazing how wonderful God is, and everyday I learn, feel, see something new. Faith, prayer, forgiveness, thanksgiving and love; these are the ingredients that can create unending JOY.

God bless!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Walking with Broken Feet

I think for me, for most of my life I've walked around with feet broken, lame. It's not that I didn't have any sense of direction. My brokenness led me to other paths, paths I would not have taken if my feet were healthy.

My youth, as you may know, was full of wounding moments, but how does one keep walking even though it hurts? I kept moving, kept damaging but I kept moving and this morning, as I listened to the morning birds and feel the breeze again't my face I realized that for years I must have hidden that pain. Where can I hide aches such as these without feeling them too much? And I remember how when I used to go jogging, I hated carrying around with a fanny pack and such so I'd put all my belongings under my feet, the place where I'd feel it less.

The trees sway wild as I recall how life moved on, I walked, jogged, ran on through this life with things underneath me. I look up, feeling, God must be here with me as I decipher the mystery of how I kept going. My feet, tired and weary from stepping on spiky inner torment have recently been swelling and I said maybe too much salt, or tendonitis, gout? Maybe, past hurt, wanting to come out the way it was pushed in? How can I walk closer to God if my feet can't take the sting any longer?


Yes Cindy, I am still picturing them, thinking of them, moving underneath me in the darkness beneath my feet. My pain like these earthworms hidden underground, making a life for themselves. Sometimes, when it rains they're forced out, exposed but back in they go and all is as if they didn't exist.

But they do, underneath my feet. Poking holes, making tunnels but this heart has no room for them anymore. The swell of my feet say so.

In my mind, God reminds me of the scene in The Passion of The Christ when the Romans are hammering the nails in His feet, breaking bone and separating tendons, shredding ligaments and He cries out to the Lord. Like a child who falls and bleeds, who cries out to his mommy or daddy, Jesus cried out to God in His human pain, knowing The One and Only who can heal Him. But I didn't do that. I never cried out to The Lord. I never whispered Yahweh when I was struck with pain. I kept moving, without Him, adding more to it, making it harder to walk, jog especially run.

And of course it is said that time heals things, but it heals with scars and handicaps. We bury, hide and walk on pain like shards of glass and for what? To say we did? To show everyone how tough we are? When I lay down at night, I don't think about how strong I am that I was able to walk on fire and burn the soles of my feet. I don't boast that I am super human, push my chest out and roar.

I cry.

I grow weak in the face of what I've had to walk on and for years, after burying pain underneath me, I don't even remember why the melancholy.

Swelling feet and messages in swaying trees and as my coffee grows cold I realize I need to get up and begin a new day. Even in a whisper I can cry out to my Father, even in the breeze I can know that I was never meant to walk with this pain, to do this all alone. It's time to dig out what I once buried and hand it over to The One who knows how to truly take it away.

The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.
I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.
Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The LORD's unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The LORD is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The LORD is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—
And it is best to learn this patience in our youth.
When we suffer, we should sit alone in silent patience;
We should bow in submission, for there may still be hope.
Though beaten and insulted, we should accept it all.
The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever.
He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong.
He takes no pleasure in causing us grief or pain.
The Lord knows when our spirits are crushed in prison;
He knows when we are denied the rights he gave us;
When justice is perverted in court, he knows.
The will of the Lord alone is always carried out.
Good and evil alike take place at his command.
Why should we ever complain when we are punished for our sin?
Let us examine our ways and turn back to the LORD.
Let us open our hearts to God in heaven and pray
—Lamentations 3:19-41

God bless!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thanks to the Earthworm!

"Give thanks to the earthworm," says my dear friend Cindy yesterday.

Long story.

And as the day darkens into night, I cover my girls up with slim sheets and heavy blessings, reflecting on today closing its door behind us. This STOP mission is not easy work. It means really having to STOP, thoughts, actions, lips. It means having to cease the rush inside that's ready to pounce on any given moment. Even now, as I type, I hear my girls, up, denying sleep and disobeying my strategic curfew. Mommy's alone time will just have to wait.

I did okay today. I really did. I had a ton of things to do and I managed to STOP when the situation called for it. I also reminded myself how this mission is not just to help recreate the moment, but to cherish it too. Cherish the distraction, the chaos and loud events and give thanks. Make them holy, a peace in their own right. Each moment is a gift from God, however that moment presents itself. How often do I remember to slow down, drink in the moment, not take it for granted because sooner or later, all moments will STOP and there will be no more. Whether it's me or those I love that go back home to Him, those moments together do end. So why dismiss them, the good and the bad ones?

Today, I stopped more often than normal. I handed things over, most times. I'm learning this as I go along. However, I noticed that when I gave these distractions to God, He immediately gifted me with an attitude of calmness and patience. I was soft-spoken, nicer and more understanding. I felt these qualities, I became these qualities for those quick seconds, minutes. He recreated those moments and I simply enacted them. I felt closer to Him in doing so.

I also tried to remember to give thanks. I keep hearing Cindy's words, "Give thanks to the earthworm." Point being, give thanks, even to the crappy stuff that we would normally curse. Who knows why God placed it in our story, nonetheless, there they are, the earthworms and oh how I have to trust their purpose for God's glory despite my objections. In the end, to deny the earthworms in our lives will be to deny the plan that God has already plotted for us. I have said no to His plan for years, running into bad moments and pitfall decisions so now that I know better, how wrong would I be to now give God's plan the hand and keep trying to solve problems my way. I'm way too in love with Him to even think of denying the love He has for me. Although my nature calls for me to live unsatisfied, I have to learn to not do the very things I hate.

Thanks Apostle Paul. :)

Hence, I will continue to STOP, hand life's issues over to Him. I will continue to give thanks for
170. small footsteps past nine o'clock,
171. the dolls thrown on the dinning room floor,
172. the strips of cut papers and glitter on the coffee table,
173. having to say good night to a husband I miss so much each day,
174. to the little one who raise the TV volume up to the highest setting,
175. the six-year-old who whines and complains over every sheet of homework every day,
176. the very full basket of laundry that's about to overflow,
177. the never-ending dishes,
178. the hot stove,
179. the constant bills,
180. the cries and the fights,
181. the ups and the downs,
182. the highs and the lows...

183. and of course the earthworms.

Thanks Cindy.

God bless!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I struggle.

It's not easy to always look at things, do things, be a certain way without seeing the struggle, feeling the push-and-pull of it.

In a perfect world I would never scream at my children, I would not be lazy and watch the day float by. I will never complain, I would always be prayerful, read more scripture, not be so angry, not be so tempted. In a perfect world I would be perfect.

And in the moment that just passed, I would not have thought of myself. I would have removed the me shell I cover myself in. I would've stepped out, become more like Him. I would've been calm, collected, but the scared look on her face showed me that I didn't take that route. I went backwards.

I'm still angry. I've yet to calm down, but in the middle of this raging fire, I ask myself why. Why do I chose to react certain ways? Why do I constantly do thing I hate to do? When will I learn to be different? Anger isn't part of me. Impatience isn't who I am. Irritability is not what makes me. So why do I become these qualities anyway?

I yelled at Liani over a stapler.

A stapler!

Who cares about a dumb old stapler? But I made it out to be more precious than her feelings, than her security. A stupid, plastic stapler and I yelled as if she were...I don't even know a reason valid enough to yell at her the way I did. Isn't that sad?

Sometimes I sit here, after they are in bed, I sit here and ask Him why did I get the kids that behave the worst? Why did I have to be given the kids that don't listen, that like to test me constantly, that don't do what I say? I don't have that kind of patience, that stamina to withstand a day full of reining in strong-willed kids. I don't have what it takes to raise these two girls without getting angry, upset.

Some people have that attitude, that greatness to them that kids just love, they gravitate to. Their kids behave. Is it the parent or is it the kid?

Is it my girls God, or is it me?

It's gotta be me, because what do they know about behaving or misbehaving. I'm the one messing up a situation that could've gone another way.

Liani messes up the stapler. Instead of yelling, I could have shown her how to fix it, that way she would know how to use it and know what to do if something went wrong.

And I suggested today that for the next two weeks we just STOP. Maybe say, What would Jesus do? (WWJD), reassess the situation and create a better outcome. I remember thinking about this very idea this morning, how we must be creators, not reactors. We must create a WWJD moment instead of reacting to what's been handed to us.

STOP, WWJD, then let Him help you create.


First we have to STOP and that's a difficult step seeing how us humans, especially moms, are so impulsive, we instinctually react to any given situation. But the stopping is a crucial step. If we don't STOP then the rest can't happen. We won't give it to God and allow Him to recreate the moment for us. If we don't STOP, we chose our haphazard methods of reacting that only make us feel worse. These are the moments I think about when I am next to go for Reconciliation.

If only I gave the situation to Him. Then a new situation would've been created. I would not have done it the wrong way, my way.

So here's to reminding myself of the mission to STOP.

On that note,

169. I thank God for allowing that situation to happen so that I can be reminded that I promised myself I would STOP.

God bless!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Backseat View: A thank You for the gifts that fly by

Let's face it, amidst the everyday tasks and the annoying distractions and the pulling and tugging of one's being, it's really difficult to see the great beauty that God places before us. I used to think beauty was just things that were...well...beautiful. So when I was sitting in the backseat of the car yesterday, just looking out the window I began to see God's gifts even in the things that, at some point in time of my life, didn't really matter much to me.

My deepest thanks for:
151. bunches of tress whizzing by
152. old stone buildings that hold many secrets, I'm sure
153. the many questions she aks
154. the way "mommy" rolls off her lips so often
155. the confidence that her mommy will always answer
156. how the simple please greatly
157. elephant-shaped clouds against the bluest of skies
158. birds flying in circle formation
159. green growing through the toughest cracks
160. the beautiful Bronx, still
161. the floating Throgs Neck Bridge from the Bruckner Expwy
162. even pipes have small cracks
163. the small statue of Our Mother, hands always in prayer
164. the smell of cut grass
165. the shapes smoke makes from my cup of tea
166. dancing leaves to the wind's music
167. how they always leave something behind, especially in my heart
168. the tiniest waterfalls from rock walls

I wish I could sit down and draw what I am thankful for. Perhaps one day I will.

'Til then, God bless!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finally, A Purpose for God!

The past days have been full of rainfall. Tree branches trembling over each drop, plants getting fed and insects hiding in their mysterious homes waiting for the sun to appear again and I watch this through my window. Watch the world wet, gray and hiding.

And I think about my heart many years ago, today, beating faintly, quietly hiding so no one would see. Hiding the lies I believed of myself. I would lay in bed and weep for the me I couldn't find, sad over the me I despised. I too trembled, nurtured this self-pity, hurt, mourning the gray inside of me, beaten by the wet rain. My world was always in a downpour.

Funny thing is that for so many years I hid and wrapped up all that I thought was me in a bundle, like carrying a baby. I was protecting myself, defending my pain, feeding, crying for it, because of it. I believed that those parts of me are the things that made me, things I would never be able to let go of. And as I got older, so did the bundle, growing and I couldn't fit through doors and it was hard to stop and rest. This bundle became heavy, too big, too mine. I was its mother. I couldn't leave it behind.

Last night, someone asked what we believed we were here to do. What did we think God's plan was for us? My mouth spilled words, wanting, no, needing to help those that I once was. Inform those, warn them of bundles, mistakes, not to carry them, not to own them. And I said I believe my sacrificed youth was for the youth I will meet today.

An empty youth, to fill the lives of others.

That has to be it. Why would He allow us to go through trials and roads of pain and sorrow, of distorted beliefs and lies, so many lies? Why would He choose to see us suffer?

Why did He chose to see Him suffer?

So those pills swallowed and all the poking and scratchings of wrists and neck and the daring acts, the drunk walks home, the abuse, the beatings, the lies believing, the careless life led, all for a purpose. All for a reason and God is telling me I have a reason to be here today, despite the roads taken. I exhale the past, it seems to me that the only way to proclaim His glory is to let it out, rub it out of here and unwrapped the bundle that I carried all these years to show how wounded this little girl had become.

I was in a coma.

But here I am to show that God can work miracles.

I'm happy, I'm thankful of who I've become today. I appreciate where I am now. I don't need to be anywhere else.

But when Jesus, in the form of Harry, sat down beside me yesterday and tells me that I have a presence, that I am destined to do big things, I cried. Through the tossing and turning of last nights attempt to sleep I cried over and over, because for once in my life I have a purpose. I walked my life roads without knowing why, without ever feeling right, never feeling useful, but yesterday, my heart jolted, much like John's exaltation in the womb. It could only be from Him, for only through Him does joy come forth so abundantly. Only through Him can my heart leap and tremble in hope. Is He saying that He really does have something for me? Is He giving me a responsibility over His people? Is He saying I am worthy?

And as the faces of my children come to mind, a yes in the form of small eyes and loving expressions. It has started already and I jump out of bed and kneel deep to say thanks. How blind I've become to His mission. How so terribly blind to think I had no cause, just here to live to die, that's it.

Finally, I see the point Lord. Empty, open, vulnerable, raw. I've already jumped into the unknown, into a place where I'm known very intimately. He knows me well, all of me. He put me on my mission the moment I was formed. We all have a special mission for God, but the whisper is very hard to hear when your pain has become too loud.

I'm ready to own up to this life but with a different heart, different eyes.

My bundle, slowly unwrapping.

God bless!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gratitude Instead of None

Ingratitude. Perhaps the preamble to the worst sin, pride? We discussed one evening how pride led to the fall of Satan. Ann states, in her book, that ingratitude may have started it all. Which came first, the chicken, or the egg?

Nonetheless, I give thanks to Him because these are the things that remind me of how much He provides and the love behind each of them. Father, it is right to give You thanks and praise.

125. a voice
126. being able to tell Him anything
127. long lost loved ones
128. making tough decisions
129. Liani's way with Naya
130. God-given strengths
131. a new bucket of bubble gum
132. learning to increase my patience
133. difficult people to learn from
134. Riesling
135. green leaves
136. raindrops and
137. soft breezes
138. evening talk among friends
139. a no-judging zone
140. that she actually wanted to be in my group
141. a surprising friendship
142. bonding time well needed
143. dandelions
144. JM's presence on a Monday
145. Family who always take your side
146. a good cry
147. and a good scripture reading to wipe the tear away...
148. and provide strength
149. the dishes after a wonderful meal
150. that she actually enjoyed what I cooked! Alleluia!

Lots of love and blessings to you all.

God bless!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On Dealing With the Difficult

I drove away to church with tears in my eyes, struggling in my heart with what I wanted to say versus what I should do and it stung like a held back cry. Inside I was boiling, ready to defend myself, but I listened again to the second reading and I realize how necessary it is to just obey. And Peter, calling me beloved, asks me to be patient, suffer, bear insult, hand myself over, and remember. Recall His suffering, His self-deliverance. And as I pick the wounds of such insults, always self-destructive, I try to think of how loving this doesn't feel for me; when can I be redeemed?

Must we always wait for heaven to feel a piece of its essence?

I remember Miss Celie's wisdom cut down by Miss Sophia's words in the movie The Color Purple,

MISS CELIE: This life be over soon. Heaven lasts always.

MISS SOPHIA: Girl, you oughta bash Mister’s head open and think about heaven later!

...and I know who's right but how tempting to just show those difficult folks how you really feel. For one small moment of retaliation, become like them. Lack control and act with no love. I'm not sure if I signed up for the right gig here.

But as Miss Celie says, "Heaven lasts always"...and so does hell. If I had to chose, I'd rather feel a day's worth of pain than an eternity's worth of suffering in agony.

My goal? To go home, but first, God has given me a job here. My job description lies in the good book, all the instructions I need to warrant an eternity with Him.

I could sit here and think of many things I would love to say, do, but I can't. I know what I want and it means so much more to me than telling those that hurt me just how hurt I feel. Those cuts inflicted have been healed before appearing and I count on that love more than my own life.

God bless!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Taste of God's Love: A dedication to moms

I woke up this morning to yet another crazy dream. People that I admire, that I look to for guidance, making appearances and I am left to wake up questioning what it all means.

Dreams have that mystery to them, the secret language of God. Like a whisper, it fades into the night, into our pillows, into the soft awakening of our eyes as they absorb His glorious morning light. I've awakened to dreams already dreamt many lives ago. They return to me in circles, cycles, dizzy messages that I just can't seem to understand. Little whispers so very hard to hear.

And so I rise, one foot at a time, off the temporary deathbed of night to welcome yet another day filled with more whispers. The bird songs and noisy labor of woodpeckers. Little rodents who've heard their soft whisper at dawn, scurrying for life in nibbles of nuts. I water my plants, I greet Him and His mother and give thanks for the new day. I run through my list of responsibilities, hoping to remember to pray at every interval and as I hear the tip-toeing of small feet heading my way my hearts fills with a child-like joy.

Thank You for my children dear Lord.

Small arms envelope me and a her face buried on my tummy, at the wall of her former home, recognizing it every morning. And we kiss and rub noses, our morning routine. A whisper of love almighty. And just like my dreams, she runs to her duties and leaves me empty armed, feeling voids where a second ago her hands warmed me, a warmth that fades into the distant sound of her feet.

What's a mother to do? I ask myself, what will I do when I no longer have my dose of her? How to fill those empty spaces they keep leaving each day they grow. How I remember when she clung to me, to my very own breast and now I have to soak up small nibbles of love and affection growing less and less as she gets taller and taller.

I write her love letters, sing her songs, talk to her with love at the tip of my tongue and lips, kiss her boo-boos, drink in her weeping, always, always whispering His name, reminding her that He lives and will be with her when I no longer can. In my heart I am reassured, but my arms, my eyes, they see her and miss her already. Those mornings when I wake up to water plants, hoping to be watered by her affections only to remember that she'll be somewhere else one day.

This is selfish of me. This is a tale spun time over time, sung over and over again, a mother's love clinging to what was once solely hers, yanked and cut from birth and from then on it becomes a game of take and release, little by little. A game of letting go. How teasing it is, carrying, caring for a soul inside of you, loving violently with all your being, knowing soon that it will leave you, coming back for a drink of you, this elixer of mother's love, only to leave once again.

How did Mary do it? How did she, knowing that inside her womb she held God Himself, knowing that one day she would have to let Him go? How I cling to God, hoping to never be apart, not even for a whisper and yet Mary, despite her need to have her love stay, lets Him go.

And she watches Him suffer. And she holds Him as she dies, recalling all His childhood dreams, all the sweet whispers, filling hugs and small kisses. I'm sure, as every mother does, she remembered how God needed her, opened His mouth for food and released tears when He hurt. I'm certain she missed Him and the fullness of motherhood only He could give her, slowly distancing itself. I wonder Mother Mary, if you too held on to nightly dreams of your Son and woke only to find that He wasn't home any longer, that He was out feeding and nurturing the world.

How did you do it? How did you cope?

Because I find it very hard to let go. I find it's hard to pretend as I wave goodbye to the school bus. It breaks my heart when I hear "I can do it mommy," instead of "Mommy I need your help." Why do I need to feel needed? Why is it so easy for them to let me go and I am finding it so hard to do the same?

Perhaps God is giving me messages of hope, each whispering dream showing me how to carry on. She's only six, yet He knows my anticipation, my anxieties, and I know He is softly telling me how to rise from this pain coming. I promised myself I would never be this type of mother and yet here I am, fearful of the day that I will no longer hear her feet in the morning or kiss her soft cheeks and rub life's pain out of her chestnut hair.

God signed His name on my soul with this fervent love because this is how He loves us. This is how He longs for us, like a mother to her child, even more so. This love and heartbreak I feel for one, He feels for thousands. This emptiness I feel for her voice, He searches for in our prayers. This longing to be close to her, to always be near her, to always be of service to her is a product of His longing for humanity. God, Our Father, although in heaven, longs for us, smiling proudly as we succeed and grieving in our struggles and pain. He craves for our return home to His longing arms, hoping to feel our small arms, breathing in our I loves You's, I love You's.

But while we are living we run. We strive to live as individuals, saying, "I can do it God," when all He longs to hear is,"God, I need Your help." And just like a mother, He runs to us, picks us up, dusts us off when we call for Him, each moment a soft whisper of love, just so to watch us run away.

As a mother I understand now, just a little bit, of this love God has for me. It's painful when it isn't there and it instantly fills when it comes back. And as You watch us leave on our very own school bus of life, You wave, You must whisper, Remember Me, please. Come back home to Me because this world offers pain, but My arms offer You love, the only love You will ever need.

God bless all mothers. God gives us the gift of tasting the love He has for each of us. It is a special gift from Him.

God bless!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Love Letter that Heals: For Michelle Payano-Turcios

Every Mother's Day (MD) I've had has been saturated with disappointments and this year was no different. I woke up to the screeching of a two year old and and I drowsily forced myself to prepare breakfast and start the day that was supposed to be for me to relax. My MD morning was filled with expectations overruled and frustrations trumping the day's significance. I was not a happy camper.

We made our way to church, me furiously pleading with God to soften the blow with His sweet presence, asking for an hour of repose with Him and perhaps curing my stress. All went well, even with the girls behavior until the parishioner behind me "kindly" tells me to keep my baby quiet and that he shouldn't have to hear mass over the screams of a child. I thought he was joking but apparently that wasn't the case and I look to Jesse right away to cease any counter-attack. Lord not in Your house and so I quietly apologized. What mother isn't sensitive about their children and so I stayed behind a few minutes to cry and pray for that man. One more unsuccessful attempt to have a nice Mother's Day.

But Jesus knows what I need. He knows how to lift me up when I am down, down, down. His arms are long and ever reaching to bring us back to life. He reaches until we are found. And so I check my messages and I get a one that broke my heart in two...but in a great way. And it wrapped up all I was feeling into a nice little package so I could toss it, never to be seen. That message gave me hope, that my presence here isn't in vain. For a few moments while reading I felt visible, appreciated. I also felt reminiscent, loved and cared for.

Michelle, your message made my day, possibly my week. You and Emily mean the world to me and yes, although she wasn't my child I loved her like one. I've always been proud of you, your courage, your fire and most of all, your strong, ever strong love for Emily. You outlined what I did for you, but Michelle, what you did for me was so much more. You showed me what courage was like, what a mother's love truly looked like amidst a strained environment, what it meant to fight for your heart and your child. You were my first real example of a mother and what she will do to keep her child at any cost. We shared so much you and I. You introduced me to Tata! I hoped that I was a comfort to you as many times as you were a comfort to me. When Juan, and later, Caitlyn came a long they were an added bonus, more goodness for my Michelle. You are right, our lives can separate time and distance, but not love my friend. Only God can separate love and since God is love I think it's safe to say it ain't happening. :) Where some may have seen weakness, I saw intensity, a beautiful girl blossoming into a beautiful woman and what a better example for your lovely girls to follow. I never forget how fast we became friends, your pretty smile when I rang your doorbell almost everyday, or when I use to catch you bathing Emily and I'd hear the both of you giggling. I'll never forget how you'd make pancakes for me, extra crispy around the edges or your never-ending compliments. You always saw the good in me and loved me for who I was, my weirdness and all. Most of all, how can I forget when we used to stay up late in each other's houses, hoping, planning, dreaming our futures, running from it all with heavy hopes in our hearts. One couldn't wish for a better friend in a lifetime. God has blessed me with you.

Happy Mother's Day, to you Michelle and to all the wonderful mothers I know. You all have inspired me in some way whether you knew it or not and I thank you from the bottom of this heart. I'd go on and on, but we all know that even as I write this, a mother never gets a break. A sleepless child, a day to prepare for, a prayer to offer them.

And on that note, here is my prayer for you:

Loving Father, You have entrusted us mothers with Your beautiful children, each carrying their very own fingerprint of You. Just like us, You knew them before they were formed and You honored us with the privilege of raising them in Your light. Although a wonderful task, it isn't an easy one and so God we ask, with Your help, and that of the perfect mother to Your Son, Mary, that You continue to gives us the strength, the endurance, the patience to keep on working. Also help us to teach our children of a love that died on wood and laid on stone but rose to conquer death, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. May we always be thankful, always satisfied with Your immense love and may our children continue a legacy of Christ aflame in their hearts to pass on to their children for generations to come. We ask this in Jesus' name.


God bless you today and always!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Spirit In Restoration

I've made God small in the last couple of days. I've kept Him small as I made my desires, myself bigger. I've placed Him behind my wants.

I'm so sorry.

I've harbored anger. I've been rewinding past hurts and reinventing the glory. I've bandaged up the infestation. I've set up a mirror to reflect me at every turn. I've become the idol. I've turned off the lights and kept secrets. I've envied, I've spoken falsely, I've stolen a reputation or two, I've dishonored. I'm hurting Him, deeply, with every Not You, Me! I shout.

I'm so very sorry.

All these crimes in just a few short moments, seconds, and I may have ruined our good relationship Lord, one of the best, in fact. How easy it was to trip and fall and how difficult it is now to get up, knowing, seeing that this was what would happen.


Why do we do this God? Why do we constantly mess up? Why, if we say we love You, do we fail to please You? What is it about us, about You that we find so unsatisfying? Why can't we be grateful, be filled, make You enough?

Where is that part of me that seeks failure? Where, so I can yank it out? Where is it so that I can trash it, burn it, destroy it? It makes me vulnerable to evil. It makes me blind, mute. It covers my heart in darkness. Where, in me, does it lie so that I can terminate it? It keeps me so far from You and I hate it.

Then again, I know that You are always present, even in these tumultuous moments, where my heart can't take it anymore. I want to be good. I want to please You and make You happy of me. I want to honor You and praise You, be thankful, forgiving of others, loving. I want to do all things good in Your name. I never want to look back and be filled with anger, sorrow and fear. I want to be confidant in You, not anxious in me. I want to be cleansed.

I want to start over. Start from day one. I wish I remembered You when I became. I wish I grew up with You, listened to You, kept You near. I wish that things could've been different, that I could've acted differently. I wish that now, as I say, time and time again, that I know You and love You, that my behavior didn't speak so differently. I struggle and although I know You are not finished, I struggle with the healing process.

I'm focusing too much on what still hurts.

I'm not looking at what's been restored. I'm not looking Lord. I'm not feeling.

I'm still hurting. I'm still limping around, wrapped up and less functional still, but my heart Lord, my heart is beating again. My lungs are courageously inhaling and exhaling. My faith, my life in You has been rehabilitated. Inside I am working, still in need, but furiously working, so much that tears pour out my eyes. Inside I don't want to lose You. Brittle and broken on the outside, but I know You're working on the more important scars.

Because faith is what brought the tenth leper back to say Thank You and that day You healed his spirit too. My spirit teams with open sores and bloody wounds and like the leper, I've been at the roadside, hoping, pleading with the passing days, years, for a miracle, a cure. And I've spoken about You picking me up, tossing me the keys, removing me from my prison.

Faith. Believing in God and waiting in hope and confidence in His promises. Believing in Jesus as the Son of God, who was sent to die so that we can be forgiven and then raised from the dead to show the glory of God.

My body may be weak, my mind ignorant, my heart a tearful mess, but my faith, my belief in You is healthy, alive and ready. This body, these organs, they can go, they will go, but my spirit is Yours God. It yearns for You, it seeks You, it aims to please You, it bows down in Your presence, it whispers Your Name which in itself is the sweetest whisper. My eyes may see a desert, empty of life, scorched by the heat, void of any life-giving water, but my soul can feel Your spirit and in this feeling is a hope in Your vow of ever-lasting life in Your Kingdom.

For that, I say thanks.

God bless!

It's Not Easy but It Can Be Done

Yesterday was a mixture of tough moments and redeeming moments. As I put the girls to bed I kept thinking of how so very easy it is to do wrong and how difficult it is to be good. Even in my thoughts I've failed.

How does one control one's thoughts? How do we stop from sinning if it is in our very nature to sin?

Yet, my heart is in the hands of He who forgives it all. It sounds so easy, but truly, when you love someone, just the mere thought of offending them makes you feel guilty.

It is in this guilt where I can be saved. This guilt will haunt me, stress me until I confess, head hung low, ashamed for hammering yet another nail in. It weighs a ton and only gets heavier by the day.

Paul told the Ephesians not to get drunk on wine because it will ruin you.

And yet we are attracted to the sweetness, the smell, we dive into the feeling until it's too late. Some will say they can control their liquor, they know when to stop, but how does one know unless you've past that limit before? How can you gauge unless you experience the ruin?

Sin runs rampant. It is in the temptation, it's in the "what if" thoughts, in the plotting and planning, crouching at your door like it did for Cain. Just the mind game alone that the devil plays is difficult to beat. On a sober day we say that we will never do that; we will never think that, say that and yet, when in darkness and opportunity comes knocking, we do it. Our never is null and void.

So how do we overcome this deadly beast?

Immerse yourself in all that is God. Live as if He is your shadow. Read scripture for inspiration, for the glory that is He. Sing songs of praise. Talk to Him, tell Him that you're about to give in and beg, plead for help. Listen, see, focus on what He wants you to know, what He wants you to do. Jesus has all the answers because He humbled Himself to be human. He can gauge, He knows our limits and He was able to defeat sin for us all.

It's very easy to fall into sin, almost too easy with only ruin, guilt, sorrow, even death as the outcome. But to overcome sin, to beat the temptation, to win is rewarding and holy. We've been created in His image, in His likeness, so we too can be chaste and sinless. We too can yell at the devil and praise God. We too can quote scripture and pray for salvation. He has given us these tools so that we can fight the good fight.

And best of all, He forgives everything! He loves you more than the lies you've told yourself, the lies the devil has convinced you into believing. Jesus is bigger than those lies, and His love is open wide, like His arms on that cross.

God bless!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Beginnings

When JM and I first met we were very broken. Our hearts were beating furiously to survive and we both carried battle wounds that would scare any potential suitors away. He had just gone through a bad break-up, and although I was dating someone, I was struggling with my worst bout of depression. We quickly became friends, unaware of what God planned for us and in time, I had ended my previous relationship to heal and make room for a newer me.
JM and I started dating still in the midst of inner hurt, but with the little bits and pieces our hearts had become, we were, unbeknownst to one another, determined to pull each other out of our respective miseries. We each saw the diamond buried in the rough in each other. It had been a long time since we felt like digging but we knew there was something here, something different, something new.
It was hard, our beginning. The devil loves to play tug-of-war when he sees people tapping into their strength's and not succumbing to their pain. He likes to watch us in anguish, doubled over like an eternal stomachache, not mustering up courage and filling ourselves up with hope and love. JM and I were tugged constantly, sure yet unsure, ready, but not totally ready. We were still afraid of the new and still attracted to the safe, aware of how damaging it was to our hearts, but sometimes what seems safe is not always right. God wants us to trust Him. We don't know what lies ahead, but He does. He knows it all.
Eventually, JM and I trusted, went into the unknown, hand in hand. There were moments of darkness, moments of great joy, trying times, residual pain from the past, but we saw through it, knowing that at the end of the darkness is a light.
And that light is Jesus.
Our accomplishments together have been wondrous, thanks be to God. We have three beautiful children. We are each other's best friends. We know how much we need one another and how secure we feel together. We've gotten married with God's blessings, developed friendships and have seen our own relationship grow as the years go by, but our greatest accomplishment has been finding God together, being able to pray together, holding each other's hand at Mass, receiving the Eucharist together. We are becoming a vessel for God, so that He can work through us.
As JM and I, in the photo above, look towards the lake, into the darkness of the gathering trees ahead, we know that the unknown is still ahead of us, but that is what new beginnings are. They are the events life will present. It is up to us to choose whether we will look within ourselves, reverting back to the old ways that never worked, or look to Jesus together. We can lose ourselves and one another in the process if we pick the old way of doing things, but only with Him can we get out of the darkness and walk into another one with a certainty of the outcome...

His love for us.
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34
Thank you God for bringing JM into my life, for giving him the strength to lick my wounds as he licked his own. Thank you God for the man that helped me become the woman that I am today. With You, Lord, we have brought forth children and have generated a family that walks with You everyday. You are the foundation we've chosen to build our home upon because in You we trust. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
God bless!