Strike One, Strike Two, Strike Three

I feel like such failure.

For some reason lately I am greatly battling my attitude. I feel more than ever my response can be negative and unwelcoming. Where I’m pessimistic and say things without a care whether what I’m saying is heard or not. And through it all, signs of impatience are easily given off.

Is it me? Is it hormones? Is it just Lent and because I’m walking through I’m being attacked?

All I know about this, is that I hate it! I hate that there’s that piece of me that I show others. That I have not asked or done my part to rid myself of it. At least, that’s how it feels. Like I’m not doing enough about it.

I notice when I get high strung, stressed, impatient, this negative side of me appears. It is more so when I think I’m being provoked. But regardless of how it comes, I should not be allowing it to rear its ugly head.

I was told by a priest in the confessional in order to respond to these situations, I should stop and call our Lord in prayer. To pray and not react. But I’m not consistent. A part of me wonders will I ever change? What am I missing?

My heart is heavy right now. Because I’ve been helping others in their own area of lives, with virtue and prayer, yet I demonstrated something to them that was not an example I wanted to convey.

Now that I know damage is done, I’m struggling on how to correct it without placing to much emphasis towards me. I’ve asked Our Lord for His correction. And even though I’m carrying regret from my actions, I am thankful Jesus showed me my wrong doing.

Thus, the purpose of prayer is perhaps less to obtain what we ask than to Become someone else. We should go further and say that asking something from God transforms us, little by little, into people capable of sometimes doing without what they ask for.  -Father Bernard Bro, o.p.

Perfection is not the aim, but a charitable spirit, peace, and loving no matter what the situation.

Lord, help me, change me.

Instrument of Your Hands

Lord, make me an instrument of your hands with care for my mother in her now season of life.

When she’s impatient, help me to be patient.

When she’s anxious, help me to be peace.

When she worries, help me to show faithfulness.

When she is angry, help me with self control and gentleness.

Lord, help me to not be overcome by the weight of this journey you have us on. For through it, it is not only to tend to her needs but lessons in selflessness and trusting your will I am to learn.

Chocolate Breath

This post is overdue especially because I partially named my blog site chocolate.  For whatever reason, more emphasis had been geared to the other topics I wanted to share.

But let’s get back to chocolate. I have written how my love for chocolate began when I originally began to blog. My earliest memory is sitting in the back seat of my Mom’s car during a ride to pick up my Aunts from the Tucson airport.  I was eating a Hershey bar. I remember loving the flavor.  And as far as I can remember, it kept me pretty steady while we drove to pick them up.

Once my Aunts greeted me, they both realized the aroma coming from my breath and I probably still had some chocolate stuck around my mouth.  My Aunt Alicia at that point said I had chocolate breath and since I have been nicknamed.

As I grew older, my taste in chocolate has changed.  From a kid to an adult, it went from milk chocolate/very sweet to dark chocolate/less sweet.  I love the rich flavor of dark and the variety.  After years now of eating a piece of chocolate everyday, I had no idea that the medical world would see this as a good thing.  That is eating healthy high cacao rich chocolate is good for you.

In this section of my blog dedicated to chocolate, I’ll share the brands or desserts I have come to love.  If you follow my Instagram account, you will already see I post on this.

 

Chocolate Bars

The chocolate bars I list here are eaten out of pleasure.  Yes, some carry healthy benefits while others do not.  I’m not noting all the characteristics of each bar.  Only what I receive in flavor.  Some are Non- GMO while others well, are full fledged unhealthy.  But all are dark chocolate! I do list by my own ranking.

Endangered Species 72% Dark (West Africa) – on a regular basis, I have my go to chocolate bar.  In the evening, I like to nibble on this.  It’s not sweet, but flavorful, not bitter, but smooth.

Green and Black’s Organic Dark 70% (Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, India and Brazil) – this is slightly sweeter than the Endangered Species and the break off squares are nice and thick.  One square usually satisfies. Rich tasting.

Lily’s Dark Chocolate with Stevia Original – I really wasn’t sure how I was going to like this one.  The Stevia was making me think it was going to have a weird aftertaste.  But it doesn’t!  I liked the flavor so much that I have used the baking chips for cookies and they come out great!

Teuscher Dark 77% (Switzerland) – Can’t find this in Arizona.  I can either order or wait until I fly to New York and take a trip to their fabulous store at Rockefeller center.  This chocolate hits all the notes.

Perugina Bitterswseet Chocolate 70% (Italy) –  This taste like chocolate cake. More sugar in it but one square does you good. Perugina makes Baci, another chocolate treat.  One that I find too sweet, so when I came across this I had reservation and yet it’s fantastic!

Nibble Organic Dark 72% (Peru) –  Two ingredients only. If you are not into bitter, this isn’t for you. But I found its deep chocolate taste yummy.  It’s not a chocolate bar you can easily find.  I found it in Old Town San Diego at a coffee bar.  It is pricy, but the break squares are chunky.

Stonegrindz Chocolate Cinnamon Cayenne 66% (unknown) –  This chocolate company is based out of Scottsdale, AZ. I found them at a Chocolate Fair.  I’m not much into these added flavored chocolates such as this, but this one changed my mind.  I couldn’t find where they source their chocolate, but appreciate their otherwise informative website.

 

 

You are not God

Each December teaches me something — I am not in control! Patience is a virtue! It’s not about you! Jesus! But this time, a lesson came to me that still has been hard for me to accept.

Before I explain, I would like to share that my husband and I took this month of December to stay home instead of going on a holiday trip and do some remodeling to our master bath. Because it is December, a week job has turned into a month. Thank God we have another working shower!! With the work being done, I’ve had to stay put. Not so bad I’d say, because I took care of things. The stress with making the decision to remodel of course isn’t easy. Did we time this right? Should we have waited??

However, coming off the shower completion, I caught a cold. And for whatever reason, no matter how I try to avoid getting sick, I can bank “losing” about 5 days. My husband looks at me with compassion, but I can see it on him that he is bummed since it impacts his Christmas cheer. He also sees how I could use some fun considering how these past weeks have been, not all having to do with the remodel.

To add, all those commitments I wanted to keep, Advent exercises, the baking, lunch/dinner dates, etc. get canceled.

With this downtime, I have had time to reflect which is the most important thing I did this whole month.

Referring back now to a lesson learned, it has to do with my response to a loved one and recognizing I am not the book of wisdom.

For years, I’ve giving my ears, heart, hands to my loved one in the same capacity and in the same way. Whenever there’s a crisis, I’m there. This past year has been the toughest and even though, I kept my response in the way I thought our Lord wanted me to, I realized this last time it felt exhausted.

Most of the time when I tried to help, I would end up feeling sick and stressed. Almost like it was flung onto me and left to harm. I don’t think my loved one wanted this to be but also never took notice of it. This time, I felt I had to step away.

Then within one week as I searched and prayed after this last incident, I received 3 confirmations. One direct in prayer, one from a person who had no idea of this issue, and one from a homily. This let me know a change had to become and that I am not God!

As much as it saddens me that even after I confronted this cycle to the loved one, a reaction of anger and bitterness ensued. No matter how I try to clarify or reason, it will be looked at as not loving or not being Christ like.

But I’m not God. My tactics, speech, countless hours, have not changed my loved one to convert their soul. It’s not that I’m saying all I tried is wasted, but that my response must change or I too will be damaged. My loved one has to change in the manner our Lord wants them to and not be satisfied only with peaceful words that come out of my mouth.

I can’t make life better. Only Jesus can. I can’t make you change. Only Jesus can. I can’t take your pain. Only Jesus can.

I trust in God and will continue on how He wants me too. That I can’t change or stop people from doing things that harm. I can only love and point to Him.

May our God who is all merciful break the chain that keeps you from seeking His knowledge.+++

There’s something about October

There’s something about October.

Here it is again!

The start of its splendor.

Rises to our recollection of what once been.

The heart wrenched news.

Their suffering dues.

All come reminding, their last days here.

Like dying leaves surrounding, our hearts go onto longing, their lives in many ways.

Why is it Dear Lord these souls ached or perished at the time of these orange skies?

How much they are missed.

Til we see them next, please keep them ever by your side.

The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

Around August 15th, about the time the news broke out on Cardinal McCarrick and the priest sex abuse scandal, I had just received my copy of ‘The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.  For some reason, right before this horrific news hit, I felt compelled to read it.  Even though I have read many books on St. Catherine, this one I hadn’t.  This book is the one big source to her total being.  It is odd to me that I hadn’t read it and yet now was the most perfect time to read it.

Quite frankly, I wish I could post a pic of each page and upload her text so you can just skip what I have to say about it and read what was written.

For those who don’t know about this book or St. Catherine, her life’s purpose in a nutshell had to do with reform of the Church. This book is the essential piece to the work she performed to help rid the Church of bad clergy.  Much of St. Catherine’s life was a selfless act of humility and servitude. All she wanted was for others to come to Christ and to defend the Church. Two things I hold dear in my heart.  However, I am no way near selflessness. But thanks to God, through St. Catherine, He used her at a time when much revolt was occurring and educated her to evangelize the masses during it.

St. Catherine was gifted with such openness to have our Father God speak to her.  With that, he gave her multiple “talks” on how to respond, how to pray, what to teach/pass on, how to stay on course of the faith, etc. during the time of purging and restoration.

The dialogue is based on “bad clergy” and Our Lord’s response to that.  He often refers to them not as bad clergy but priests who rather “self love” than to love God.

God’s speech to St. Catherine defines who follows Christ and those who don’t. He points out to her what He sees in both.

This excerpt is identifying those who are full of self love. From the book: “…nor the three vows which he promised to observe at the time of his Profession; he swims in the tempestuous sea, tossed to and fro by contrary winds, fastened only to the ship by his clothes, wearing the religious habit on his body, but not on his heart.”

Father God shares with St. Catherine that there are priests performing evil acts.  Some so far into it, they can’t even turn away or find God’s mercy.  So they continue to stay in their sin and filth.  He instructs St. Catherine to pray for them. Pray they come to ask for God’s mercy before they die and how worse is it for a Priest to commit their abuse and never have asked God for forgiveness then for anyone who has committed the same abuse.

He goes onto telling St. Catherine that as much as we despise these “priests” who are causing evil in the Church and letting it fester, that we not lose sight that they are still Priests.  To not slander their name or mock them. But to instead pray. To remember, they are priests and that they are His.

He tells her: ” You should love them therefore by reason of the virtue and dignity of the Sacrament, and by reason of that very virtue and dignity you should hate the defects of those who live miserably in sin, but not on that account appoint yourselves their judges, which I forbid, because they are my Christ’s, and you ought to love and reverence the authority which I have given them.”

After I read this, I completely understood it. It hit my soul….”of course.”  These Priests are under attack.  And some weak, they don’t even know it anymore. There are layers to these crimes committed and are being committed and who they affect.

Vow, Priest, sin, (mercy) >>>Church, Eucharist, faithful, (salvation).

It is not that Our Lord does not want us to be angry at what they’ve done, but to center on the problem that is causing this awful sin and that is the Devil himself.  The devil and all darkness is whom we are fighting.

The words and imagery used by Our Lord to St. Catherine speak with love and ferocity. His words are nothing but love and how awful it is for those who lose sight of it. What happens to us when we lose sight of Christ in our lives? Our world becomes foggy, we become clouded by our sin, our hearts are clogged.

This book came at the right time.  And since, I keep seeing clergy to the faithful, refer to St. Catherine as a reference on how to go forward. She is thrust out on the forefront again. Rallying the faithful to stop and recognize who we are in this fight against the evil that is in the Church by those who for far too long have kept it hidden.  The struggle seems the same but it is new to us. The push to make change or to put an end to the darkness is slowing happening. The task seems overwhelming. But if we take into account, this book, and its bits of instruction, we can plow through.  Let’s stay on the Ship.

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. +++

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