Me and my drum

There’s something about the desert in December.

I often recall my childhood and one of my favorite memories is Christmas time in our family home where we lived in the desert.

When I was a young child, my parents opened their home both on Christmas Eve and Christmas day for whoever may want to stop by. We always had many people over and some would stay through the late night hours. They would eat, drink, and be merry. Company enjoyed my parents hospitality.

For Christmas, Mom and Dad always had us decorate a fresh, douglas fir tree. Dad would sometimes put up lights outside, but mom for sure always added festive decor. She would spray fake snow on our outside bedroom windows and prop up a cardboard fireplace that flickered a light for flames in our living room.

I always looked forward to the Christmas season besides the gifts I hoped I’d get, because I loved having cousins come to our home so that we could play for endless hours. We would play all day and night.

I remember many times we would ride our bikes through the neighborhood at night. It was for sure cold, but riding my bike and seeing the bright moon glistening on the desert scape, made me realize something to the time that I hold very dear to this day.

Both in school and in my catechism, the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem at night, in piercing cold, on and in between the small hills in the desert, made me relate to this part of the story in the way that I could feel and somewhat relate to it.

By the time I started 7th grade, my parents decided to split. Christmas was no longer something I look forward to. There was no peace, no unity. My mom tried to continue the spirit, but it just wasn’t there. We had a tree, but the home was cold and the outside showed it too.

However, the story of Joseph and Mary traveling stayed with me. Due to Christmas stories on TV like The Little Drummer boy, which placed a seed in me of hope. Something I wanted to have. Something that took my attention like the peace, joy, and family I was seeing. When watching this child’s film in particular, you see images of the desert at night. The bright stars. The shimmering sand. My backyard canvas.

I do believe my childhood home, for a bit, had all this. And even though my canvas is different now, a long way from these childhood memories, where I’m in a home not close enough to the desert, but in a home where God has helped me find those restful qualities once again. But thankfully, whom I now share with my husband.

Prayer changes Things

Initially, I started to write a blog as a way to journal areas of my life and how I grew from the experience. This turned into a passion to inspire and encourage others who might be lukewarm in their faith.

But lately, I can’t seem to get my thoughts together. Since my Mom moved in, I find it harder to blog. And then when I do have alone time, I get busy headed catching up on things around the home and life.

There are multiple ideas I want to write about, but to get myself from that point to here, keeps slipping away.

But there has been one area in my life that I can’t keep pushing off to write about. A change I’m experiencing more so in these past weeks.

Our family life has drastically changed in the last three months. Not in my marriage, but in our extended family. This is something I would like to write about further in another blog.

Because of this, my prayer and focus has changed also. I feel a call to stronger obedience. I feel a grip in my heart by Our Lord, a pull reaching out from my chest. I notice it in my speech. I feel it in the recognized joy and gratitude of each day.

St Catherine of Siena spoke about the inner cell of our souls. How God is present there. And from reading a few books on silence and prayer, tapping into that cell, I believe that’s what is working in me.

It’s not a place where I think I’m done. It somewhat feels like I’m coasting yet not really applying myself. But I know in prayer, I often ask God to use me and praying my will is His. That’s what I trust this is all contributed to.

What I do know is that lately when I speak with family and friends, the words are there. I even stop and take notice like ‘wow, I just said that?’ Because it was with ease and gentleness. And then quickly, thank God!

For some reason, I feel lately I’m being contacted, called for help with a matter, issue in their life more often. Much heartache or trials or physical suffering going on. And I have to say, I so don’t like talking on the phone!! I never have. Really, I try my best to text all I can, but these conversations do not work by text. It calls for me to converse by phone or meet in person. So, I’m spending these days, while Mom is in Tucson, and wow does the Lord know what is best.

There’s a relic of my patron Saint- St Catherine of Siena at my parish. When I found out that they were including one from her I about died. I frequently go to it after mass during the week and ask for her intercession. One of the most repeated requests is for fortitude and courage. In my talks with my family and friends, those areas where I would be too scared to say something to them, now roll right off of my tongue. Let me say, that only happens because I pray that the Holy Spirit help me to speak.

Even today, my Lord used me. The encouragement was not from me. It never is. It’s all from my Lord. I can’t say those words or guidance is from me. But I can say I feel Jesus working and I thank Him. I know I’m a good listener, but these incidents go beyond that, I feel.

For whatever purpose I’m living these days, I completely feel this is where I am supposed to be.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Keep working in me Lord. There’s nothing else I desire to do, but to help there draw closer to You.

Leticia Ochoa Adams

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