About Me

Monday, December 23, 2013

Faith In Culture

Faith In Culture

This is a little bit I want to try to once a week. But, that of course, is ambitious.  I will be finding the sacred in the secular world.  Because sometimes we need a little something that whispers God's love to us, it may not come in the form of a scripture or some holy book.

He may just send you an angel to sing to you and love you. 

This song is especially beautiful and resonates the comfort that God offers to us. It is our gift to accept. Perfect love, sung in an angel's voice.

May the ever-loving God bless your day.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent 2013

Some of the fun things about being a Catholic is the many traditions that are practiced.  One, which we practice at home, is the lighting of the Advent candles.

Traditionally, these are lit on Sundays each representing each of the four weeks of Advent. We light them throughout the week and eat candle light dinners by them.  My kids absolutely love this Advent tradition. There is something about handling fire that is very attractive to young people. Surprisingly, we have very thoughtful conversations during our dinners. 

For a great explanation of the symbolism of the Advent Wreath visit Catholic Education Resource Center.

The little reindeer advent calendar hangs on the door in the background.  It doesn't seem to warrant as much attention as the wreath.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christ the King

Today is a special day in the Catholic Religion.  It is the end of the liturgical year and sort of like the New Year's Eve celebration. On this holiday, we don't really make resolutions, we ask ourselves if we have lived a year with Christ as our King.

Now, I know that many people don't like the idea of Christ being King.  They think king and their minds automatically run to oppressor, punisher, wrathful, untouchable, and even irrational the list goes on.  This is fine, it is how the world is.  Christ is a completely different kind of King.

So, this year I have asked myself the question with a true heart. I know that Christ was my King this past year. I wasn't a perfect Catholic. I don't think I will ever be perfect.  But, Christ was my center all year long. My life was for Jesus this year and for no one else.

So, here is to a great year of faith.  I am looking forward to another year as a Roman Catholic.  I hope the new year will be as blessed as this one.

God's peace to you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eau Christmas Tree

We haven't used (killed) a fresh Christmas Tree in years (at least a decade or more).  But, today as I walked into the local big box hardware store, I couldn't escape the intoxicating scent of the fir trees. 

I am woods person anyway. If I could have anything in the world it would be a forest of beautiful trees.  The dark cool shadows it casts on the ground, the rich clean scent of pine needles and earth mixed beneath my feet.  Yes, that is for me.

And then it occurred to me with great celebration in my heart.  There will be Christmas Trees in Heaven! Anything that smells that wonderful as it decays must absolutely be in the next life. 

I can't think of something else that smells better as it breaks down.  I mean you know jack-o-lanterns smell like gag while they rot, Easter eggs.... I don't think I need to explain this to you.  But, it was just an funny thought I had today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Themes of Detachment

I listened to a homily on the subject of our call to detachment.  It really resonated with me.  In sincerity.    We are fairly willing to detach if what we are letting go is something we perceive to be bad or poor for us. 

I feel that sometimes this is not the complete act of detachment.  We are not called only  to give up what we dislike for our good.  Sometimes, we have to give up what we love for the better of someone else.  This could mean, instead of $40 worth of take out lunches, you donate that to the church soup kitchen, and you brown bag it to work for a week. Or maybe you give your time to a charity instead of hanging out at home in your arm chair.  Maybe, for the greater good, you let go of control of a situation.  Maybe you say yes, when you want to say no.

I believe there is balance to detachment. We are not to just give up things we dislike but, we must learn to give up what we adore.  This is by far the biggest of my challenges. 

So when I listen to the readings for leaving everything behind and following Jesus, I know what he is calling me to do.  I wish I had the courage to do that.  I wish I could just leave it all behind and follow him as I am called.  But, that would mean I would have to sacrifice everything, that which I detest along with that which I adore.  What a difficult act of devotion this would be.  To truly detach from this world and its experiences and completely rely upon God seems impossible.

Since you made it through my long entry, I will leave you with a great song by Building 429.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Participation is not what I normally do.

I don't normally participate in these things but, I figure I have just about nothing to lose at this point.
I hope I did this properly.  Check out Suscipio.

Thanking God for…
My children, food to eat, and safe place for retreat.

Looking out my window…
 I notice how quietly the wind blows through the leaves.

I am praying…
For Catholic Youth
For People who hate the Catholic Church
For People who are afraid to defend the Catholic Church

I am reading...
My Bible--There is always good advice in it.
The Oath by Frank Peretti 

I am creating…
I am working on my photography business.  So maybe that counts.  It is scary.

I’m learning…
I am learning that everything I do is scary and involves risk.

In the kitchen…
There is pumpkin pie in the kitchen and I caught my middle guy sneaking a piece before dinner.

Around the house…
 There is evidence of children.

I am looking forward to…
Fall and fall activities.  I am hoping to be invited to outdoorsy things during fall.

A favorite quote for today…
Peace be with you.

One of my favorite things…
I love Caldrea Soaps and detergents and candles and whatever they make! The fragrances are always very pleasing to me.


Beautiful isn't she?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

From my Altar

Here is a little piece o my prayer table.  I light a candle to remind me of my prayers for my family and loved ones.  It also helps me focus on the light of Christ, which permeates the darkness in my life.  A candle is such a wonderful symbol of God's love.  I burns bright, warm and is long lasting.   It doesn't burn hot and fast like desire. It burns slowly and cleanly like devotion.  I love that.

I have lots of people on my prayer list. Today, God answered two of my prayers for people I love--I thank you my God, you amaze me.  Just for the world to know, that when I say I will pray for you, I really do pray for you. 

God's merciful blessings to all my readers.  May you feel his warmth and comfort in your days. Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

For all my Catholic and non-Catholic friends, please take a moment to read the Pope's letter.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Birth of a Day

I greet the day alone.
Quiet and serene,
Dawn so fragile, fleeting.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Assumption of Mary-- A family field trip

This year I took my kids to mass with me on August 15th for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

Can I tell you that it was the most peaceful mass service I have ever been with my children. Don't be confused. My kiddos are great in mass, they do not act up.  But, there was so much peace this time.  The kids participated with enthusiasm and actually paid attention and read along in the missal.  It was just a good experience.

When we left, they actually told me that they enjoyed mass.  They talked about what they learned.  They asked to refill their holy water bottles. They talked about their night prayers. I got hugs. It was such a nice experience. And then, I thought to myself (and I am now sharing with you), "My kids are Catholic. They really are. wow. I hope I can teach them to love being Catholic."  

I wonder what it was like raising someone like Jesus. I feel pressure to raise great kids.  But, I assume Mary felt more pressure than I.  I am imagine her motherhood was much more intense than mine.  But, then again, maybe not.  Her charge from God was Jesus.  My charge from God is my three children...deep thoughts.

Anyhow, I thought it was especially nice that, afterwards we went to the bookstore, they all chose monster themed books.  And they all wanted to talk about scary things and stuff they found spooky.  Ha!  I haven't decided if it is a good or a bad thing.  Maybe they just felt brave after mass.♥

Do you like my butterfly photos?  I took these on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Creation is something magnificent.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

God talks to me...

I teach the Summer CCE session for 8th graders at my local parish.  And this mission has been rewarding but, also very challenging.  I realize everyday just how much patience I actually have.  I have been asked some very deep and hard questions.  I have even had a few special moments when the youth surprise me with what they know about their faith and what they don't know.  I have had some humbling experiences with these students and I am hoping by the end of the session some empowering moments as well.

This late at night, I am weary.  I feel like this is so much harder than it really should be.  These kids don't want to be talked to.  They want to talk to someone.  And I am never quite sure I am the right one to talk to.  I worry that maybe I have bitten off too much to chew.  I am coming to the end of the session soon. But, I still pray at night that I am a good catechist and that I will put my worries aside and trust that God called me to share his word with these young people.

I want to share the story of how this all came about.  When I registered my children for the summer session, I had absolutely NO intention of teaching.  I planned to have quiet dinners with my husband and catch up on us, while someone else taught my kids of course.  I had planned walks in the neighborhood by ourselves (we haven't ever done this).  I wanted to meet my husband at the local state park for a bike ride or stroll on the banks of the creek.  I wanted time to reconnect with my husband.  This time was going to be me, for "us".

As I get to the registration office, the director very quickly informs me that my son's 3rd grad class is full and that he would have to go to the fall session or home study.  Unless, of course, I taught, then he could open another class. But, he needed a teacher to do it.  I told him I would consider it and sat in line for the fall session for 30 minutes.  Impatiently, I got up returned to the director and volunteered to teach so that all three of my little Catholics could be in Summer CCE together.

So, that was it. I had committed to something that I had not intended to do.  I decided in 30 minutes to give up my nights with my husband to teach because it would get things out of the way and they would all be effectively catechized.  Still, selfishly, thinking of only myself.  I left, drove for about 5 minutes, and realized. My son's 3rd grade class was a mistake.  My son is a 4th grader and that class was one that was still open.

I pulled over turned my car around and headed back to church.  He needed to be in the correct class for the session.  As I waited at the traffic light, the sun peaked out of the clouds turning them pink. The sun made my skin reflect gold and my eyes filled with tears and I knew.  I said out loud,"I know that was you Father. I know I am supposed to work for you and I know why I made that simple mistake.  I know those children need me right now, not later." 

The light turned green and I drove towards church with an incredible sense of support and comfort. I was weightless. I felt as though he was carrying me.  I was even granted a green light at every intersection and prime parking spot too. (winks). 

And that is the inspiration for this entry.  How God works in my life is clearer to me as I get older or as I get better at listening and following him.  God trusts me with these young beautiful souls, and I need to trust his wisdom.  I need to share everything I can with them so that they will feel confident to share their faith too.  But, boy does it wear me out and make me wonder if I have done a good job. 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The pitfalls of being able to read.

I spent some time thinking about what I read and how it affects me.  I know that reading new information is a good thing and that it helps us to grow.  But, there are times that I read something that lights my fire and it makes me mad. It changes me. Shortly, afterward, I go looking to find more information to support whatever subject/opinion I was reading. 

Later, I realize that what made me angry is usually the writer's tone and all his biases and perceptions; it is rarely because this person has any more authority on subject matter than I do.  You see, writer's are good at this.  They can paint a pretty picture or an ugly picture around actual facts and sell it to you.

So, I have a choice, do I keep reading these things because of their unique perspective?  Maybe I should adopt their perspective as my own?  Do I avoid this writer because they add too much personal baggage to things?  Does this writer or their works increase my ability to live and love or does it do the opposite and just make me angry and hateful towards other people?  What is the purpose of the writing? Is it actual fact or fiction?

I decided on many occasions, to avoid writers that don't work to build bridges between people. I don't read those who don't spread joy. Not because I am a coward but, because there is no reason to take in more negativity than I (or by proxy, my loved ones) can handle personally.  I don't want to become someone else's ideas and beliefs.  And if there is risk of my absorbing anything, I want it to be something beautiful. 

When reading blogs (essays and articles) remember that there is often times little fact and lots more opinion.  Just like this last entry.

Peace be with you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Fest of St. John the Baptist

Today is the Feast of St. John the Baptist and midsummer.  There is so much information on the history of this but, I won't go to much into it because you have Google and you can look the date up for yourself, if you want. Besides, I will put links at the bottom of this short entry.

Catholics do have a tradition of burning a bonfire and eating scrumptious food.  Yes, just like many other religious groups (Pagans, Romans, Mayans, Egyptians, etc.). But, that is okay, nobody owns the day.  If it is cool, everybody wants to stake claim.  Us Catholics, we like to party, so you can party along with us too.

Typically, on June 24th, I pull out all the Christmas Tamales from last year, defrost and eat them up.  It is my own tradition. Sometimes, I light a candle and pray rosary on this day too.  I also happen to call today Half Christmas. I know that is weird but, it has always been Half Christmas in my head.

On June 25th is traditional also to cut your hair if you want to have it grow long.  This may just be a Latina thing (maybe not Catholic at all). The Farmer's Almanac says this too. Maybe just coincidence but, still neat way to keep up with time and such.
Here are some thorough articles on Catholic customs:


And some nice poetry if you are still hungry:


Happy St. John's Eve!  Happy Midsummer!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I was falling...

And at that very moment, I realized nothing can end me.  God is with me and will be for eternity. No matter which philosophy of time, the trinity passes through all that and remains with me. I am whole.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Good Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer

Gracious God,
Thank you for the gift of today.
Refresh me. Invite me to discover your presence
In each person that I meet
And every event that I encounter.
Teach me when to speak and when to listen
When to ponder and when to share.
In moments of challenge and decision
Attune my heart to the whisperings of your Wisdom.
As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,
Gift me with simple joy.
When my day goes well, may I rejoice.
When it grows difficult, surprise me with
New possibilities.
When life is overwhelming, call me to
Sabbath moments
To restore your Peace and Harmony.
May my living today reveal your Goodness.
-Pat Bergen, C.S.J.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


"Solitude - my favorite moments,
Solitude - but, always with You, Jesus and Lord,
Close to Your Heart, time passes pleasantly for me,
And, close to Him, my soul finds repose.

When the heart is filled with You and over-flowing with love,
and the soul burns with pure fire,
then,  amidst  the utmost desolation, the soul will not experience loneliness,
because it rests on Your bosom.

O Solitude -  moments of supreme companionship,
though I be abandoned by all creatures,
I immerse myself, totally in the ocean of Your Godhead,
and You listen sweetly to my confidences."

-From St. Faustina's Diary (Entry 1699-Notebook VI)

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me and I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does
not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
I know if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

I believe that if I pray for something, God will deliver.  If I pray he be with me, he is with me. If I pray for courage, he gives me armor to face my fear. If I pray for love, he gives me someone to comfort and soothe. If I pray for something I have lost, he shows me the new gift but, doesn't degrade my heart's loss.  Whatever I pray for, I get an answer. It is always a good answer.  So, when I am so lonely and yearn for a kindred heart and someone to care for me, God sits with me in solitude and comforts me.

-Me (from my heart)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Opportunities and Choices

I have much to do today.  Today seems like just any other ordinary day.  But, it isn't.  Today is a day of fasting for me.  On at least one Friday out of the month, I fast for the unborn.

I know that many people shy away from this topic because it is hot.  But, I am not afraid of this. I am not scared to say that I think babies are innocents and don't deserve to die.  They are the most vulnerable of all human beings.  And although I can not stop women from aborting their unborn children, I can spend a day with these babies in spirit.

I believe in the right to life. I don't believe in the death penalty (even for murderers). There is just something that kills me when people tell me that women have a right to choose to abort their babies. I feel that women are being sold a bill of goods.  Because see, there is another option. 

I don't see anyone chanting, "I am barren, I will love your unwanted babies."  So, we have a disconnect.  There are people who want babies -any baby- and people who don't.  Why can't we have an "Adopt Children" campaign?  Why doesn't Sarah McLachlan sing ads for adoption of children but, only for dogs and cats? Why do we make it so hard to adopt babies here?  Why are these parents going overseas to adopt babies when we are killing them here?

I don't hate women who choose abortion.  These women must carry this with them forever. No one celebrates an abortion with the mother. Women, generally, heal after abortion in solitude.  Her body and life is changed forever.  I only hold compassion in my heart for the women that make this choice. 

But enough of my personal point of view.  Here is my prayer for today:

May the grace of God be placed on the women considering abortion today.  May they chose a more tender way of reconciling their situation. Change the hearts and minds of women just for one day.  Help us heal as a people.  May all the little souls who are returning home live joyfully with you and Mary the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Raising Children and Religious Choices

I wonder if anyone else comes in contact with people that need spiritual direction as often as I do.  I mean honestly, I don't go looking for people but, somehow God helps them find me.

I have a friend who struggles with her religion.  She doesn't really practice the religion she was raised in.  She is in a marriage that is not centered in religion and now she has children that she is struggling to find a way to teach them. Her husband is indifferent towards religion.

I told her that life is so complex and in my opinion, it is best to teach her children what she knows.  She should give them a foundation in what she loves and what gives her peace.  I believe that is perfectly good to give them a map and training and that the children can use that for the rest of their lives, regardless of religion.

She says that she wants her kids to choose for themselves which religion they follow.  I explained that children always make decisions for themselves. It is a myth that we have that much control over what our kids decide in the future. It is still important for them to expose the kids to the religions they (both parents) think offer good ways of life.

I wonder if she understood me.  She seemed pleased with our conversation.

Where do you sit?

Growing up as a Catholic, I learned many things not by study but, by custom or ritual.  We did things because our parents said so.  We didn't like it, but we did it.  Every Sunday, even if we felt bad, and even without my father, we went to mass with my mother. We were late every single mass.  We always rushed in, splashing our fingers in the tiny holy water fonts at the entrance of the church and scrambled over to the left side of the church. We never sat at the front (maybe this was out of my mother's shame of being late--I don't really know why, we just did what we were told).  We sat in the middle or towards the back, in two pews (because there were always a minimum of 5 of us and the pews were small).

I remember sitting, and standing, and kneeling and sitting again, and wondering what exactly the priest was saying way up front.  I could never hear a thing he said (I would just stare up at the high arches in the church and stained glass windows).  But, I do remember a sense of silence and calm in church.  My mom wasn't angry, hurt, or stressed there.  She was herself, she was calm, and beautiful.  Until of course, one of the kids started up.  Then, all the serenity was over.  The 10 seconds that I got to see my mom relax every Sunday were over.  She was back to guiding and correcting all over again.  And I knew it would be another hectic week until I got to see my mom rest for 10 more seconds on Sunday. Only now do I understand why she went and why she showed us how to practice the faith.

It is funny that when I had children, I knew I had to raise them in my Catholic faith. I just didn't know that it would be so similar to the way my mother raised us.  I didn't realize that I would struggle to get up the courage on Sunday to tell my kids we are going to mass.

I must vent here:  My kids are Catholic and have been since before they were even born.  And they always act like it is some great surprise that we are going to mass when I announce that it is time to get ready.  Then the whining and the dragging the feet begins.  We didn't like going to church as kids , either. (I get it- I would have preferred to stay home and watch re runs of Kung-Fu movies or The Three Stooges too.)  But we were respectful and we did what we were told. Granted, I discipline differently than my parents did but, regardless.  It irks me.

Anyhow, back to our Sunday custom.  I promptly announce we are getting ready for mass at 9:30. Eventually, everyone is dressed and prepared for mass. We get to mass usually about 5 minutes before it starts (which is a HUGE accomplishment in my opinion).  I walk in, bless myself, and walk directly to the left of the church.  I lead the family to a pew in the middle or the back but, never the front.  I watch my kids, who are very well behaved in church, stare up at the ceiling and at the stained glass windows. I am sure they have no idea what the priest is saying.

Where do you sit? What did you inherit from your parents? What do you do differently? What do you think you will pass down to your kids?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Catholic Prejudice

My daughter and I have a very close relationship right now.  She talks to me about how hard school is for her.  She is having to find her way in a very hard environment.  You see, she goes to a public school which is predominately protestant christian.  And she sees many of her peers behave in a way that is not Christian.  And she doesn't understand why that is. 

I don't understand why that is.  This weekend she told me a friend or peer of hers, told her that her parents told her that Catholics were evil.  E-V-I-L. And the girl also told my daughter, that is was nothing against her per se, that it was her church and part of her religion. I wish my daughter would have asked the girl what she thought aside from what her parents said.

My daughter was so confused and hurt by this.  She didn't understand that a Christian church would be this way. 

I had no idea this was coming. I had no way to explain it other than prejudice.  I told her that it was too sad that they thought that. I explained to her that the parents are ignorant of the truth.  That they must not have ever asked a Catholic about their beliefs.  I told her that if she ever has a question about another faith that she should talk to someone of that faith and not just anyone.  She should go to a pastor or someone who has studied it and really understands the answers to the questions she has.  In this, I hope that I taught her not to be caught in ignorant regurgitation.  I hope to have taught her truly seek truth and not just repeat what someone else has told her.

I was proud of her for responding that she wasn't evil and that she forgave the parents for their trespass.  She understood that they didn't know what they were doing by teaching their daughter prejudice. My daughter is 11 and she gets this. People are sheep, no matter which religion they follow.

How do I manage this?  How do I protect my daughter from people who are so willing to hate without knowing?  I am so disappointed and just hopeless.  I try so hard to teach my children to love others and respect and celebrate differences.  I can not fathom teaching my kids to hate anything (except for maybe cabbage or liver).

So, in my heart there is a heaviness.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dominican Sisters first hear about Pope Francis

This is exactly how my heart felt when I heard.  I was not surrounded by sisters or brothers but, how wonderful if that had been the case for me.  I was so excited, nervous, shocked, pleased and relieved.  It made my heart want to sing. This all in a matter of a private minute in my mind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Pope's Resignation

The Pope of the Universal Church announced his resignation yesterday.  Of course, there is a LOT of conversation about this.

I have spoken to a few people who know I am Catholic and they asked me about it.  I was surprised by this because, one, I didn't know that my Catholicism showed and two, they felt comfortable asking me about my opinion on the matter and about Catholicism in general.

So, I was both flattered and a little surprised by the short conversations but, I was also impressed by their earnest attention.  The two people to which I was speaking both really listened and there wasn't any criticism.  Just honest learning.  I hope I said the right things. :/ 

Anyhow, it is my time to weigh in on the matter. Like most people, we know it is difficult to step down from any position.  And, we know it takes not only self awareness but, great courage to step down from such a high position. I believe it is a great act of humility, acceptance of human limitation, and selflessness to step down from the papacy.

It will be very interesting to see which rituals will be used to retire the ring and all the other stuff we do for the transition to the new Pope.

Oh and Happy Mardi Gras!  Remember to have one extra bite of King's cake for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear God, please let tomorrow be better than today. Thank you for not letting today get worse than it started out. Amen.