Thursday, March 31, 2011

Garden of Suffering: Lenten Walk Day 20

I decided to share with you something I read that was very relevant. This was posted on Our Daily Bread from the RBC Ministries website.

How To Bloom
Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings. —1 Peter 4:13

My family and I live in an apartment, so our “flower garden” consists of what we can grow in indoor pots. For a long time our plants would not flower despite watering and fertilizing. Then we discovered that the soil had to be raked and turned over if the plants were to bloom. Now our potted plants are a pure joy to look at with their healthy leaves and blooming flowers.

Sometimes we need a little raking and turning in our own lives to make us bloom. Writing to the harassed believers in his day, Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Like the soil in our potted plants, these Christians were having their lives “turned over.” God’s purpose in doing that was to allow their faith to result in praise and glory to Him at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:7).

God wants to loosen the things that can choke our lives and that prevent us from radiating joy. To do this, He sometimes has to allow pain and trouble—trials that help stir up the soil of our lives. If this is what you are experiencing today, rejoice. Surrender to His touch and acquire a joy and fruitfulness you never imagined possible. —C.P. Hia

Turning the soil and pulling the weeds Helps garden flowers to grow, And if we’re to see growth in our lives Trials and testings we’ll know. —Sper

Those who bless God in their trials will be blessed by God through their trials.

God bless!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesse: Lenten Walk Day 19

Today is Jesse's birthday.

And I am sick in bed, unable to celebrate with him.

But I hope he knows how much I love him.

God, thank You for Jesse. You sent him to me to be a light on my darkest days. In him I have learned to truly love someone, no lies, no games, no worries, no fears. When You sent him to me I immediately sensed he was Your gift. I gave my heart over to him, knowing this is with whom I was meant to be. Jesse became the beginning of a new life.

When You finally give us our blessing we will become the union You've planned us to be. Help us to remain strong under Your guidance. Lead us into the unknown future, with You, together, trusting and rejoicing in Your Will. Allow us to see the blessing You've bestowed and will bestow on us daily. Keep our eyes fixed on You as we grow more in love with each other each day. In difficult times, help us to find comfort in You and help us to grow spiritually closer to You. Bring the dynamic power of prayer into our daily lives, so that as a couple we may glorify Your gifts. Only with You will our marriage live up to Your plan.

Baby, I'm so glad God chose you for me. With you, I feel secure, protected, and loved. I pray that every year God allows us to celebrate your birthday so that we can share the gifts of another year together.

With love and many blessings.
Te adoro mi cariño,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Longer an Excuse: Lenten Walk Day 18

So now I have no excuse.

I shouldn't look back any longer at all the things of the past, all the people who may have shaped my past decisions, not even me in the past. I am a different person today. Tomorrow I'll be different from today, and the next, and the next.

I no longer have an excuse to be who I was.

I remember the day I was released from the hospital after giving birth to Naya. As I was packing my things and getting all her little clothes and items together I began to unravel. I sat down because my mind was spinning and in that moment I realized that I am going home with another child to the same old me. The same old me, who still needed spiritual attention. So I cried and pleaded with the hospital staff that I couldn't go home.

Once again I had Post-partum depression. The only thing the doctors didn't realize is that I gave birth to this illness long before Naya and Liani were even thoughts in my mind. My post-partum started way before I even became an adult.

But today I am a woman who is on the road to recovery. I've let go of the past and all the unforgiving thorns that pricked me every now and then. I don't carry that weight anymore.

They are no longer my excuses to get close to Him.

They say Jesus chose imperfect people to be his disciples. Sinners, people who suffered family loss, men who obsessed over money, they were the type of people Jesus called to follow Him. Each and every one of us is imperfect and full of sin yet Jesus wants us more than anything, more than His own human life.

So my sins should no longer be an excuse to not follow Him.

"St. Jerome, so the story goes, once had a vision in which Christ spoke to him. 'There is something I want you to give me.' Jerome, who at the time was living in a cave in Bethlehem, replied in a rather hurt tone, 'I have given up everything for you. What can you possibly want from me?' 'Give me your sins," Christ said, "so that I may forgive them.'
-Msgr. William H. Shannon in Exploring the New Catechism: Sacraments of Healing. Reconciliation and Anointing

Forgiveness can get rid of the mess in our hearts that we've tried, without success, to forget.

Give those sins to Him so that nothing can hold you back; no longer will they be your excuse to feel loved again.

I love you all and God bless!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Love and Thanks: Lenten Walk Day 17

Things are getting easier with love. I find myself waking up to my faith with a bigger love and understanding of what He wants of me today. Tomorrow is up to Him, but I feel good knowing I can let go and let God. With letting go, I've made room for a host of things like patience (that's a big one), confidence, calm, forgiveness, and of course prayer (another biggie). God is doing a number on me and I'm loving the feeling everyday.

Thank You God for

35. good conversations
36. playdates that work
37. another day to read Your word
38. priests who listen with open hearts
39. Naya being able to express herself more each day
40. a lazy morning of coffee and jokes
41. my mother's laugh
42. ...and her concern for me
43. warm weather headed our way
44. the bird that lives in the tree in our front yard that sings every morning
45. the appearance of grass
46. the view of the lake coming home this morning
47. giving Vanessa another birthday
48. the random hugs from my children
49. Sonia who's in town!
50. Mondays at home with Jesse
51. reminding Liani to say grace before every meal no matter where she eats

Don't forget to say thanks everyday.

God bless today and always!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today's Gift: Lenten Walk Day

I spent some time with our teens today.

Balloon games and human knots.

Amidst the laughter and silliness there's a hidden wisdom that surfaces over the gullible.

It's in this moment that I realize how God is giving me a glimpse of what I missed, yet, He wants me to have this in a different way. I can't dismiss His Glory through these kids. They make me laugh and smile so much. It reminds me of how much Jesus must have laughed when he was having fun. How much of His good humor He shared.

As an adult I sometimes forget to laugh. I take things too seriously.

But then a few balloons come out and my heart can't contain so many giggles.

And it helps me to forget that I didn't have this then...

because God is giving it to me now.

God bless!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lorem Ipsum: Lenten Walk Day 16

Placeholder text.

As a book designer, I would use placeholder text in the book designs until the editors gave me the final manuscript. They were just words on a page to represent the real thing.

Lately, I feel my blog is very Lorem Ipsum, just dummy text, being a placeholder for what I really need to say. With the exception of a few posts, most feel empty, void of anything.

Just words.

Who am I trying to impress here? Am I losing focus? Am I here to learn or to teach?

In my heart, I am hungry to learn and God keeps telling me, in so many ways, to listen.

One of these days I'm gonna hear a booming "SHUT UP!" from the heavens above.

I'm going to be honest...I know nothing. I'm slowly learning, slowly recovering, but I don't know enough. I need to know more. I need to listen more. How does one shut off oneself? How do I mentally keep quiet so that I can hear what He's trying to tell me.

Lorem Ipsum.

In the design world, these are just words, dummy text. But for Cisero, these words carried meaning. Lorem Ipsum is originally taken from his book De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Boundaries of Goods and Evils).

Translation: There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain.

That's true. For someone who' s lived in pain for a many years, the search is not to feel more pain, but to substitute it for less pain or numbness. For me, the search for no pain was not a reality.

I once cut the cornea in my left eye (by mistake) and was told by the doctor that the eyes have a unique memory; that some mornings I would wake up with the pain as if I just cut myself again. Today, I still feel the twinges and stings of pain from the past. I guess it doesn't hurt as much as it did before.

I guess what I'm saying here is that for those that think I am in this heavenly place of church and Jesus-loving state, well, I am, but I'm very much a newbie and I am still very much under construction. Probably won't be done until I breath my last breath.

Nonetheless, I like where I am now. Some people find it weird. Some of you are wondering what got into me. Some of you will probably say, I saw this one coming.

I don't care what you think.

I just pray you find yourselves here too. Then you'll see why I'm Lorem Ipsum-ing all over this blog.

Oh yea, and God loves you!

God bless!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Ifs: Lenten Walk Day 15

We're sometimes told not to dwell in the past, but I'm a huge fan of "what if" questions. Just ask Jesse. But seriously, one small decision can change the course of history. Truth is the "what ifs" could've been. Here are a few of mine:

What if...
1. I decided to go into nursing instead of design?
2. my mother decided to move back t0 Puerto Rico when I was 5 yrs?
3. my dad was actually around?
4. I would've had two sons instead of two daughters?
5. Jesse would've reconciled with Zaes's mom?
6. I never picked up that first cigarette?
7. my mom would've let me join the CAD club in high school?
8. my high school guidance counselor was Catholic?
9. I insisted on playing the drums instead of settling for the violin?
10. the offer we put down for the house in Mahopac was accepted?

I could go on and on with the "what ifs" but if they became the "what happened" then my life would be so different. I have to say I am truly blessed right now, this very moment. I'm glad the "what ifs" didn't occur.

Today is the Feast of the Solemnity of the Annunciation. In other words, we celebrate Mary's "Yes," or, in her words, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." As holy as Mary was, I doubt she would've refused the task, but what if Mary all of a sudden weakened at Gabriel's announcement? What if she thought ahead to the upcoming days when she'd have to face Joseph, or the upcoming months of having to bear a child in a stable filled with animals? What if she thought about how hard it would be too see Him suffer and die before her very eyes? What if just the mere thought of bearing and raising the Son of God was too overwhelming? What if...?

God knew what was in Mary's heart. He waited for this moment for over 4,000 years. His plan took a little time to start to unfold, but I have to say, it was perfect. Every detail was perfect, from the beautiful silence of the Annunciation to the Glorious Resurrection. Every wonderful element fell into its wonderful place which brings us to today.

Our lives may not look perfect. My life is a huge mess, let me tell you. I'm sure that if my life were a painting it would be a Jackson Pollock. My life seems like it had no rhyme and reason until now, but God doesn't see it that way. To my Creator, my life is His very own work of art, a beautiful piece that He calls His Own. He feels this way about your life too and all the lives He's created. God doesn't play "what ifs". He plays "what is." There are no mistakes in our lives. Each moment was meant to happen so that He can be glorified through us. He gives us every opportunity to show His grace, but He respects us when we decide to overlook Him in all of ourselves.

Mary said "Yes" to God's plan. It costed her a lot, I am sure, but in the end she saw why it needed to be done. We can and should say yes to His plan too, because in the end we will see why. All we're asked to do is to trust in Our Father and rise to the occasion.

What if you made His Will yours? Say "Yes" to Him and see where He takes you.

God bless!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the Mend: Lenten Walk Days 11-14

God is taking His time with me.

This I know because He is opening up curtains and doors slowly to reveal to me what I need to learn about myself and my faith.

He knows me. He knows I am broken and very fragile. He sees what's in my heart. He's heard me cry and He's seen my pain.

For days now I've been in a coma. I've been talking to God, listening to God, and just being with Him.

I feel like someone who has jumped through a window from high, shards of glass falling around me, stabbing me and embedding themselves in my skin, in my organs. I feel like I've hit the ground, crippled, distorted, unconscious, grasping for air, yet I am still alive. I feel Jesus's fingers slowly removing shards of glass, touching my bones to recovery, my joints into place. I feel His breath on my face as He whispers, "It'll all be okay. I am here." He's cautious with me, because He's seen what I just went through and He knows that the healing process takes time.

Jesus led me to my local parish. It's one of His infirmaries. Here He has introduced me to all the good people, His priests, sisters and parish members, like doctors, nurses and healing staff, so that they can help take care of me too. While I am receiving treatment, He allows me to interact with others, talk to them of my experiences and help them recover as well. In Church, He can keep a better eye on my recovery, continue to cure me in hopes that one day I can go home, to Heaven.

But the most important thing I'm beginning to realize is how loving His handling of me is. He's opened my eyes gradually to my salvation. He's taking me by the hand to where I need to go, x-rays (Confession), medicine (Penance) and best of all His mercy is profound. All I keep seeing is His smile.

This Lenten Season is truly a trial of suffering for me. But this is a good thing. Because I am so wounded and in need of Jesus I have no other choice but to give in. There were many times in the past when I was reluctant, however, now my heart is open and ready to be made better.

Because I am a sinner, I need Jesus to save me everyday. I need Him to stop me from jumping out that window again.

God bless!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Needing a Savior: Lenten Walk Day

Today, we (Father Chris and I) presented a few questions to our Confirmation Candidates, one of them being "Do you believe that you are a sinner?"

For many years, I didn't see myself as a sinner. I saw myself as a victim that needed saving. I felt that my life was a series of choices and decisions that no one in their right mind would make, but I made out of fear. I identified with all that I went through with the feeling of it all being my fault. Well, some things were circumstances that I fell into, but surely, many others were decisions I made.

But me, a sinner? No I couldn't call myself that. That's not fair. I didn't feel like an evil person. Sinners are evil people with mean spirits, devils.

When I began to reconcile with My Father, for the first time in my life, I realized that I was a sinner and because of my offenses, I remained distant, aloof. Little by little, God opened up my heart, showed me something new each day and gave me another look at my life. I'm not an evil person with a mean spirit, but ignoring God and making decisions that only God should make made me just as much a sinner as anyone else.

If you believe you're a sinner, then you also believe you need a Savior. The good thing about all of this is that we don't have to go looking for Him. He's been here all along, just waiting for our call.

Turn. Look and see. Ask for help and let Him pick you up. It'll be the beginning of the great life He's planned for you and me.

God bless!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fighting for Love: Lenten Walk Day 10

I wonder what my life would be like right now if I hadn't kept on fighting.

I would probably be growing colder by the minute, rigor mortis of the soul setting in rapidly.

There would have been more therapist, I'm sure. More medicine prescribed.

Definitely lots of yelling and tons of tears.

Sleepless nights and dreaded days.


Wanting, grasping, all in vain for things to be the way they used to be. That sometime in the abyss of my memory there was a day or were days of happiness.

But those moments that I would desperately be trying to attain , whether real or imagined, must come from somewhere, right?

And that somewhere, that something, someone, must have been my saving grace.

I fought for something and it took years of scratching and tugging, hair pulling and bite marks and all sorts of weapons like words, or self-doubt, tough criticism, bringing up bad things of the past and the worst one, unforgiving ways.

It took small instances of words like God and the cross and love to keep my desires to live alive.

It's so true what they say, Jesus is always with us, especially in those moments where we can't see Him.

God bless!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wrestling With God: Lenten Walk Day 9

I was reading the story of Jacob a few nights ago and I've always asked myself, why did Jacob wrestle with God? All night, grappling with The Lord, throwing his hip out of joint and still asking for a blessing.

A blessing?

An all night fight, all for a broken hip and a blessing? I didn't get it. Couldn't he just ask for it in prayer?

Days later, while still juggling with the concept in my mind, I was reminded of my long-time struggle with depression. I had moments of happiness, glimmers of light that gave me great hope and, at times, strength. For the most part, these happy moments were never enough, they never filled the void I had within me. My heart was searching for so much more.

It seems like Jacob had little peace in his heart. From the moment he was born, fighting for a birthright, and stealing it, thus living in fear of his brother. He fought for Rachel and fled his father-in-law. He lived in fear, he sinned a lot, all for the sake of that peace he sought. God kept blessing Jacob, protecting Jacob. God knew what he wanted Jacob to become, but Jacob feared the future. I felt like Jacob was always walking on eggshells.

Then one night, to protect his family, Jacob is left alone, without his loved ones, without his riches. I always wonder if he purposely did this to encounter God. I read somewhere that in order for Jacob to meet God, he had to do it alone.

We all need to meet God alone, empty-handed. We can't go to Him with earthly things in our hands, with distractions in our hearts. Life will try to pull us back, money, possessions, false ideals, the devil himself will try to hold you back from encountering God. With worldly things comes fear; fear of it being taken from you, fear from not being able to have more. You do all you can to protect it, but in the end, God only needs to touch you and your life is out of joint.

Last post I spoke about the old me dying. The day Jacob wrestled with God he was given a new name, to go along with a new spiritual relationship with God, therefore a new life. Jacob that night had died and Israel was born.

The day we grasp a hint of God we are brought to our knees, our own joints out of place, allowing us to fall at His feet. We all struggle with the elements of life, but it all means nothing if we cannot make our peace with God. How can we return home if we can't even face Him alone? What will we say? Who will we be when we return from this encounter?

Jacob was blessed by his dying father, was blessed with a big family and riches, but, with all he had, nothing was enough until he received that blessing from God, even if it took all night. And that blessing was enough to change the man inside and out.

A blessing.

God bless!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting Up: Lenten Walk Day 8

How often have I forgotten to look to you Lord?

I may never know the exact number, but I know it's more than I can count. For many years I didn't look to you, I turned away from you. I thought I was searching for me, reading all my books and "knowing" all the answers.

But those answers didn't save me from my sadness. My books on philosophy didn't cure my loneliness. All those things did was make me proud...

but proud of what?

I remember many nights of crying, many sleepless nights living in fear and shame. I recall many days wandering aimlessly, searching for something healing, somebody to treat my wounds.

And when all else failed, when life crumbled around me and the dust settled, all I saw was You.

Why is it that we turn to You only when things get really bad? Why do we cry to You when our world is in turmoil but forget to thank You when things get better?

Why did I forget You so much?

Now I can't seem to get You out of my mind, not that I even want to. Now, every book I want to read is The Word you've given me and every answer to all questions is Your Name. You have cured my loneliness, my sadness, you've wrapped my wounds.

I still need healing...big time, but the process has started. I am still grieving over who I was, who I almost could've still been. I look at all You've done and all You do and it makes me sad that I didn't see You sooner. So many things could've been different, I could've been smiling a long time ago, but I know that even the timing is Your Will so forgive me for even questioning that. In the end, You have allowed me to be here with You right now, and for that I will never stop praising Your Name.

Keep healing me Heavenly Father. Keep me prayerful, keep me humble and open my eyes to your glory. Even on those days, when my mind flashes back to the past, help me to remember that You've never left my side and that You are still here.

My old self died. I must admit, that wasn't easy to write because it's so easy to hold on to the only life you know and it's scary to walk into the unknown.

But since You've conquered the world, I'm walking with You. I'm being reborn in You. That makes me feel so good, relieved, at ease.

I wish some of you truly knew what my heart spoke of before and what stories it tells now. I owe it all to Jesus.

God bless!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Letting Go of the Dirt: Lenten Walk Day 7

Watch this scene up until 1:20 and then pause.

In the beginning of this scene we see Mary, who was on the ground, head down in what seems like prayer, her hands grabbing fistfuls of dirt, all of the sudden looks up to see her Son, whom is already nailed to the cross and is being raised up by the Roman soldiers. She rises, her eyes glued to Him, and her hands, still holding on to the soil she so desperately grabbed, open up to let go of the earth.

During this Lenten season, we vow to give up things that take us further away from God. Most of us give up food, some give up Facebook, video games, the internet. All in all, what we're giving up is not so much the element, but the dependency we have on it. We depend on that 3 PM snack everyday or we think we'll get cranky. We give up the dependency to check our e-mails fifty times a day otherwise, we may miss something. Our dependency on all these earthly things keep us from looking at what is really going on.

We will miss His glory in our lives if we don't make room for it, if we don't remove the dirt from our hands.

So how do we let go of our dependencies? It's not an overnight occurrence. It's a process and not an easy one. It takes time, strength, courage amongst other wonderful qualities that grow in us when we decide to let go. From time to time, we'll mess up, but the beauty of it all is that God gives many many chances to start anew. He is merciful and full of love but best of all, you can be forgiven if you confess your sins.

Let's be honest, going to confession is not easy. Let's be even more honest in saying that we avoid confession not only because we refuse to feel guilty for what we've done, but so that we can freely continue to sin. Keeping our sins in the dark assures us that no one will see them, notice them.

But God notices everything. Take it or leave, but you all know, somewhere in your heart that this is true.

By confessing your sins to your priest, you are making the first step towards letting go. All that earthly matter in your hands and in your heart, just taking up space, and not allowing better things to enter in. What does gossip do to make you feel better? How is lying freeing? When has dependency ever given you liberty?

You can chose the earthly things and avoid looking at the cross, or you can become vulnerable, open and watch what He's done for you. If it makes you feel guilty, then you know you have some confessing to do. Once you give up the dirt and give in to God, you will be able to look up at that cross and see it for what it really is...the ultimate act of love and freedom.

God bless!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Falling: Lenten Walk Day 6

Today I feel the weakest. I was tempted and I almost lost. I kept praying, kept begging for God, Jesus, Mary and all the angels and saints to intervene. I was this close to ruining a very good thing.

Funny how the seventh Station of the Cross is when Jesus falls a second time. I too fell today, and it wasn't the first time since Lent began.

As you can imagine, it is very hard to bear that cross.

Boy, this cross is getting heavier and heavier.

What's even funnier is that I messed with something I didn't think was a problem. I thought I knew the sacrifices I needed to make; the elements in my life that afflict me and bring me further from God. Seems like He really wants to clean me out. God is digging through things within me that I never thought were ever problems, that I didn't even recall.

One hour ago, I was still pleading, struggling with this cross and now, writing to you, I am laughing at how clever God is...and how much He loves me and wants me near. Nonetheless, I can't go to The Creator still dragging my cross. My hands will be occupied. How would I be able to run to Him and hug Him?

Now I'm beginning to understand why God allows for things in our life to happen. Not just the good stuff, but the bad seeds, the components that we struggle or have struggled with before; the instruments we've buried underneath our desire to be good for God.

I guess God doesn't want us to cover our sins. He wants us to expose them for what they are and face the conflict that brought us face to face with that offense. His method of healing is not to mask the ailment, but to cure it.

I've fallen, but instead of being dependent on the glory of the cross, I'm learning to see and feel its function. I'm beginning to see why we should carry the cross.

In our healing, we need to glorify the healer. Only then can we see the true healing power that comes with carrying our crosses to Calvary.

God bless!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mary: Lenten Walk Day 5

Naya and I play a little game while I am applying lotion on her after a bath. It usually starts with me saying, "Where are your knees," and she responds, "Me," while pointing to them. Then I proceed to lotion her knee.

"Where is your belly?"

It's become a ritual. So much so, that in those after bath moments where my mind is elsewhere, Naya brings me back, pointing to her knees.


It's as if she is saying, "Pay attention to me."

And I can't help but to pay attention.

These rituals make me feel human. My life, obviously is very human and all the things I feel, desire, fall into, reject, think about, everything I am is human.

And as a mother, my children remind me of my humanness; my good qualities and my downfalls.

I listen as Liani says her prayers at bedtime; those prayers that I just recently learned as an adult. Liani sees life revolve around Christ. In her young heart, Jesus is everything.

Our Blessed Mother lived that way too.

At first sight, the icon to the right, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, seems to scream royalty with its gold background and the ornate crowns and attire. These two people seem untouchable, unidentifiable to me. However, I learned this icon shows both Jesus and Mary at their most human.

Jesus, as a child, has a vision of His future suffering, as seen on both the right and left with the angels Michael and Gabriel holding the cross, spear and lance with a sponge attached, all instruments used in the Passion. Jesus becomes so frightened that He runs to His mother, and in doing so, almost lost a sandal. As He holds on to His mother's thumb with both hands, she comforts Him, but looks toward us as if to say, "My Son will suffer this for you." Although she looks sad, she is accepting of that future envisioned and that it will come to pass because it is God's will.

We all tend to forget that the Queen of Heaven was once a very human mother. She nurtured and fed God. She snuggled Him and gave Him many sweet kisses oh His forehead. She taught Him to walk, to talk. She dried His tears and laughed when He laughed. She was a parent, just like any other, except she was raising the Word made flesh.

As majestic as we see Mary depicted in paintings, Human Mary was poor, hard-working, but also humble and God-fearing. What an honor to be able to have such an influence over the life of the Only Son of God. The only difference between Mary and us is that she chose to do all things according to God's will and this humility made her Heaven's royalty.

Lent is an excellent time to meditate on Mary, especially through the rosary. As God's Mother, she knew Him well. She raised Him, loved Him, worried over Him, wept for Him, suffered with Him. She exulted Him. Despite her role in His life, Mary remained faithful to His role in her heart. We should all follow her example of love for Our Lord.

Mary was one of the many gifts Jesus left us. He made her our spiritual mother and in turn made us all her children. She intercedes for us because to love her Son is to love us and to love us is to love her Son.

Our Blessed Mother, Holy Virgin, Star of the Sea, Mother Most Pure, Mystical Rose, Queen of Apostles, Mother of Good Counsel, Queen of Peace, Cause of Our Joy, Queen of Angels, Morning Star, Spiritual Vessel, Virgin Most Faithful, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Refuge of Sinners, Mother of God,

pray for us.
God bless!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reflection: Lenten Walk Day

As I rode back home today, I said goodbye to the gift of the weekend with women whom I just met this year. I looked back at all we did, all we spoke about, all we felt together and as individuals, as if we knew and loved each other always.

I felt loved.

As I rode back home, tired and exhausted from prayer and laughter, I felt loved. Loved by these women, loved by God for allowing me to meet them, for allowing me to share with them and them share with me.

I reflected on how Jesus never abandons me. He's provided for me all my life, more than my earthly parents could ever provide for me. He gave His life up, for me. He chose to suffer over and over for me. He performed miracles for me. He feeds me. He teaches me. And even in those moments, those days, those years when I chose self-pity, sin, darkness, self, not once did He leave my side. Whether I chose to see it or not, He stood with me, cried when I cried and despaired when I despaired.

His love and His promises have never changed.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
-Hebrews 13:8

So here I am, reflecting on three days of immense love that overwhelms all the hurt, all the wrong, all the pain of my whole life. Three days of deep reflection that brought an even deeper happiness and God-awareness in me. I no longer want to worry. I no longer want to sin. I no longer want to question, distrust.

I want to give in.

"...and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..."
-Galatians 2:20

God bless!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Submission: Lenten Walk Day 4

I sat in front of the Atlantic Ocean today. Something deep inside urged me to sit and contemplate it.

To be there, right at that moment.

At first, all I saw were waves. They were crashing down, each one more spectacular than the last.

He's putting on a show for me.

I watched as the waves rode the water, gliding over it ever so gracefully. I watched as each wave dressed itself with white suds, like a bride, and bowed down passionately like the crashing of cymbals.


He's showing me how sacred I am to Him.

I could hear Him whisper in my heart, "Come and sit with me."

I sat. I watched, in silent reverence at what looked, to me, an ocean, wide, far and never-ending.

"That is My love for you," He whispered.

As I sat there, taking in the orchestra of waves and currents, I felt Him besides me, taking it all in with me.

As the sun warmed my back, I closed my eyes and let Him take me away to a place I needed to be.

I submitted myself to that moment.

How difficult, this idea of submission. Many of us see it as a sign of weakness, a lose of self-dignity, self-respect.

Many don't see the triumph in letting go.


Receiving the betrayal kiss was an act of submission. Going through trial and all that questioning was an act of submission. The flogging, the ridicule, the torture, they too were acts of submission. The exposure, the abandonment, even the nails, all acts of submission.

His forgiveness.
His death.
His resurrection.


Does submission mean weakness?


Submission is an act of love, because to love means to give over your heart, your body, your soul.

For Him, to love meant to die.
The cross is His "l love you."

I am letting go of me and handing it all over to Him.

Keep my life, for I am devoted to you.
-Psalm 86:2

God bless!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayer: Lenten Walk Day 3

We awoke today with news of an earthquake and tsunami in Japan that ultimately is headed to our west coast.


Bombings continue in Libya.


Unrested in the midwest over labor issues.


So many things we hear about. So many many things we don't. Whether we know of it, or have no clue...


Prayer is powerful. It depletes you of tears you've been holding back. It gives you new strength in your weakest moments. It brings a smile to your face when you pray in gratitude. It humbles you when you praise His name. It's a conversation that can bring about conversion. It's a cry for help. It's a blessing for your loved ones. It's an anxiety calmer. It's a soft song or whisper in your heart. It's the dance you do when you're happy. It's the lament of suffering in your soul. It's the smell of Spring in bloom. It's the patter of rain on your window. It's the morning sun greeting you. It's the full moon that lights up the night.

Prayer is the way to get to Him and the way to see it His way.

Some people say, "I pray, and I get no answer."

God doesn't always supply a Yes. He doesn't always gives us what we want.

But He will always answer with what you need. How do you know the answer?

Pray for that too. Ask Him to help you see His will. Ask Him to help you understand what He wants from you. Trust that the answer will come and trust in His reasons why.

We put our trust in so many things, in so many people we don't even know. You place all your money in a bank. Do you know the teller, the administrator, the president of that bank? You've just handed them your check each week. You trust them with your livelihood.

So why can't we trust God?

You don't know Him? Read the scripture. Don't know how to pray? Just talk. Don't believe in Him? Talk to someone who does and see the gifts He's given them.

He made you. He loves you. He just wants you to love Him back.

We can start this relationship...with prayer.

God bless!

P.S. Going on a retreat this weekend with my sisters-in-Christ. I'll be posting via mobile. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vulnerability: Lenten Walk Day 2

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
-Psalm 3:5

In this hard-hearted world I am soft and easily hurt. I admit, I am scared, for God has asked me to sacrifice something I didn't even think of, never would've dreamed of. With each tear drop falls a world of fear and worry. My mind is incapable of thinking and my heart is in shambles.

Jesus has handed me my cross.

So what else can I do but walk with Him.

I don't know how I'm going to get through it. I've talked the talk, I'm aware of what a good catholic should do. I'm surrounded by a cruel world that believes murdering the unborn is a good choice and immorality is funny and lucrative. I'm putting myself out to the world, with every letter I type, open, vulnerable; an easy target.

This is what Christ meant when He asked that we take up our cross. How painful it must've been to carry a cross that wasn't His own and yet, I am weak to carry my own.

My very own cross.

I need His help.

I am scared of what is coming. I am worried that I won't finish. I fear I won't provide, that I will let Him down.

He is giving me the opportunity to show my love.

" you love Me more than these?"
-John 21:15

I hear Him asking me in my heart. Do I love Him more than these?

My words are not like His. My response won't hold as much weight. He wants to see.

He deserves to see.

I deserve to see.

I don't even deserve to prove my love. I thought I disproved it enough when I was without Him, and now that I see Him, this small hint of Him has been enough to kill all that ailed me before.


" you love Me more than these?"

I'm walking this path now equipped with a cross to show Him that I do love Him, that He is all I need to finish the task. It's hard, I'm feeling it with each Hail Mary I say to ward off my attacker. No one said this was going to be easy.

I don't know what God has in store for me...

but I know what He has stored up for me...

and for that treasure I continue this journey.

In prayer and with love, God bless!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Putting on Love: Lenten Walk Day 1

Inside, I am filled with His love.

I feel it in the skip of my heart, and taste it in the salt of my tears. I see His love in the sway of the trees on a breezy day and hear it in the soft melody of my daughter's voice.

Inside, I am full of love.

So, as those who have been chosen of God,

I woke up this morning. The house was quiet, the sun sneaking a peak at me through the cracks of my curtains, tugging on my drunken eyelids. God awakened me to another one of His days.

holy and beloved,

I went to wake up my little girl with a kiss. Liani opened her big doe-like eyes and embraced me with her small arms. Her eyes closed again, so easily secured by my presence at her bed.

put on a heart

My youngest crawled out of her bed and caressing her big sister's hair, coaxing her to awaken. She wants to play with her, but first they greet each other's early rising with a kiss and a giggle.

of compassion and kindness,

I look around the messy room, toys thrown, little crayons, mostly broken in half, strewn about on the floor besides the wall they finished coloring. It has become a canvas of abstract art, creativity, in my little ones' eyes seen everywhere. I can only try to remember this stage of understanding but to enter in and change it all would violate their comfort. Instead I started to organize the pieces. Naya picks up alongside me. She still wants to play.

humility, gentleness and patience;

"Naya and I made a big mess mommy." An apology.
"I know baby. It's okay. I'll help you clean it up."

bearing with one another, and forgiving each other...

Today marks the beginning of Lent. It is the beginning of a passage through a dark tunnel that eventually leads to the brightest of lights. Today, as we are marked with ashes, as we confess our sins and receive God's mercy, cleansed, we commence our journey through the dark, just like a new baptism. Praying, watching, meditating, sacrificing with hope until the brightest of days is upon us. We will watch as Jesus cloths Himself with the garment of our sins. Indeed, it is heavy, dirty and stained.

Sins that don't belong to Him.

Sins He loving takes from us.

He puts on our sins for love.

Beyond all these things put on love
which is the perfect bond of unity.

He is in my mind as I say my morning prayers, as I ask for the tools for today.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

The small sacrifices I will make for the next forty days are minute compared to the sacrifice of one's life. Our Father, who supplied the lamb, unspotted and perfect so that we may awake today, be forgiven and give Him all the glory.

to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Every breath that I take belongs to Him.

singing with thankfulness in your heart to God.

I will live today with the excitement of a blue jay in flight, with the peace of the mountains on the horizon, bowing down in gratitude like the trees moved by the wind.

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
-Colossians 3:12-17

Thank You.

Thank You.

Thank You.

Thank You.

God bless!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thanking God For Snow and Other Things

It snowed last night and when I looked outside my window this morning after Liani's weather announcement, I couldn't believe my eyes...more snow.

But I'm not stressed about it. It's pretty. I wish Spring would pay a visit but God is still wooing us with His beautiful crystal rain. Amazing. Seeing the world through His eyes makes things so much nicer, so serene and easy to handle. This love makes me feel giddy.

Yup, I got that huge grin on my face. All teeth! :)

So thank You God for:
17. friends who say I inspire them but they really inspire me
18. the opportunity to learn so much about our God everyday
19. the recent ability to remain calm in any given situation so far
20. hot coffee on cold mornings like these
21. the Mom's Group at my parish (see you ladies tomorrow!)
22. Mass and all it offers
23. how many in my community know how important Mass is too (the parking lot was full again this Sunday. Alleluia!)
24. my mother and father (rest in peace Hector)
25. every chance I am given to walk and talk with God
26. the youth and their vivacity
27. lifelong friends that I call my sisters
28. talented nieces and nephews who make my heart overflow with joy over their accomplishments
29. food in my fridge
30. gas in my car (with those prices...)
31. Liani's sweet drawings of me and her daddy
32. Naya smiling at me from under the covers this morning
33. Jesus's parables
34. Watching God's wonders through my kitchen window

Join me in writing the hugest Thank You note to our Lord and Savior. Don't you think He deserves it?

Have a wonderful day and as always...God bless!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Only with Him

When I have Him in sight, all things feel different. Even the hard stuff can be met with confidence. I am blessed to have such a conqueror by my side.

He is my Lord and Savior.

When all seems difficult and struggles start to show up, I'm learning to close my eyes and imagine Jesus at my side, ready to fight the good fight with me. My heart is softened, my fear is replaced with courage and my doubts are overcome with certainty. There are very few things in this world that can give you this outlook, but I know my God can put me through anything...

...because only with Him can we prevail.

Only with Him can we live and keep living.

Amen to that.

God bless!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Happens When You Let Go

Something just happened...something wonderful.

It was a release.

There was disorder in my dining room; spaghetti on the floor, two many voices calling my name, the phone ringing non-stop, a pounding headache presenting itself at my temples. It seemed like for that short minute, an eternity of crazy was occurring and I felt like I was losing myself in that whirlpool. My body was tense. Those old feelings started crawling up my skin. My fists balled up, nails digging into my palm to feel some welcoming pain. I closed my eyes because moments like these require blindness.

I cried out to God. In my head, I shouted as loud as I could and then something told me to open my eyes and look up.

All I saw was my two-year-old's face, staring back at me. In shame I looked down, but when I looked up again that precious smile greeted me and I laughed. We laughed...

...and I let go.

Sweet, beautiful chaos.

I found Him. It was calm, fun and loving, that brief little second or two. It felt so nice to get a response. It felt very good to know He doesn't just up and leave. He stood and waited for me to call...and He answered.

I still have a headache, but nothing two aspirin won't cure.

God bless!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Patiently Impatient

Patience is this long lost treasure in the wilderness that gets harder and harder to achieve the more I avoid the map and choose my own path.

Because, it seems that every few hours of the day, I am begging God to give me patience, to present me with opportunities to practice it. He gives me plenty of them, yet when I look at what I am up against, I cower in fear and laziness.

My days are filled with stressful moments. Whether it's a screeching two year old who still puts everything in her mouth, the one hundred and one things I'm responsible for throughout the day, etc, I can count on stress being the ever so present company I never invited yet came over unannounced. There are days when a missed school bus, or a forgotten pile of dishes in the sink drive me from 0 to 10 on the Richter Scale of my emotions. I forget that these are the gifts of opportunities that God is giving me to practice my patience, the very same gifts I beg for when I am faced with them simultaneously.

Does that make any sense?

The disciples didn't understand Jesus's opportunities and sometimes He spoke plainly to them because they just didn't get it. Well it seems I also just don't get it. I ask for something. God says, "Okay, here." Then I go nuts because it's not the way I asked for or now I don't want it any longer. I'm acting like the two year old who is currently driving me bananas with her tantrums.

Once the night is upon us and the girls are tucked in bed, I breathe a sigh of relief. The disorder has settled and a tranquil feeling is present. It is here, when I say Thank You God! But, how rewarding is peace and patience if it is only felt during times of calm and silence. I need to look for harmony in the noise and peace in the mayhem. In those loud moments, Jesus is tucked away, waiting for me to push through the chaos. It's marred with all sorts of distraction and sin, that narrow path, giving very little room to evade the temptations.

Jesus tells me, Give, and it will be given to you. If I give my troubles over to Jesus, then He will help solve them for me. If I hand over my anger, my fear, my sense of hopelessness, He will carry it all on His back. If I give Him my stressful moments, my 10's on the Richter Scale, He will help calm the storm. If I walk with Him believing more so than seeing, then I too will walk on water, hand in hand with Him.

No doubt this is difficult to do if you have no faith. Even with faith, we fall short of Him because we are broken. We tend to forget the whole and just go with our shattered pieces. We are incomplete, even in moments of fulfillment. We are not 100% well unless we are with Him and without Him, we will always continuously search for our personal buried treasures.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
—Psalm 40:1

Pray for me, as I am sometimes finding it very exasperating to breath each time I lose sight of my Lord.

God bless!

Freedom Starts with Him

This morning I woke up to my normal routine; getting Liani ready for school, changing and feeding Naya, picking up the pieces of my family throughout the house in toys, papers, mail, and crumbs. I kept humming a tune in my head that Liani couldn't stop singing yesterday. You know when a song is stuck in your mind they say the best thing to do is listen to it.

So I went searching for it on YouTube because it truly is a beautiful song, but before I found it I stumbled on a video someone made about the horrible events of Hurricane Katrina. In the beginning there was audio of a man distraught, describing what happened to his house. As he starts to tell the reporter about his missing wife, saying, "she's all I have,' the reporter starts crying. The audio was full of desperateness and despair and I too began to cry.

To think, that wasn't so long ago. Before that we had 9/11, and we've seen more tragedies since. This is our life. We have moments of utter despair and then moments of extreme joy. As unstable as our lives can and will always be, there's only one thing that we can and should hold on to.




I'm looking at my mess, inside my heart, and inside my home. It's days like these, where I am stressed, I am tired, and tapped out that I call for Him to come and lift me. It's moments of hurt when I cry to Jesus to come and save me, heal me. People say that religion is not freeing.

They are wrong.

Jesus frees you from it all. He is the alpha and the omega. He knows everything that has happened and everything that is yet to come. He know what decisions you'll make and He knows when you'll turn your back on Him. We are wounded since the the fall of man. We are searching, and we keep falling for the snake's words all the time. We keep thinking that there's only us, that God is trying to keep us from something, that we can do this all on our own.

If so, I must admit, that type of freedom has only enslaved me and kept me from love.

If you live life this way, proud, needless, loveless, fearless, then you are not free. Any Christian can tell you that falling into the arms of Jesus, falling at the foot of the cross, whether it be in times of pain and struggle or every Mass we celebrate, is more freeing than you will ever know. It is then that we give it all to Him, let Him lead and allow ourselves to follow.

This is the inspirational song of the day. If this doesn't move the little fibers in your heart, well I suggest you start looking for Him in Matthew 1:1 and never turn back.

For those interested, the Katrina video I mentioned earlier is here.

God bless!