Category Archives: alcoholism

Dollhouse

This is the exact dollhouse I had when I was a little girl. I had wanted one for Christmas one year and Santa didn’t disappoint. It had everything like the furniture you see.

As I was fiddling through Pinterest, I came across it  and it made me think of that time. My parents home and life in it, was nothing like how I saw my dollhouse. My parents were very much fun loving. So much so, their young parenting had to do with satisfying their fun than with time spent with me and my sister.  Weekends often consisted of all weekend long parties. Our home was viewed as the “party home” with alcohol and drugs When company would arrive, I was told to go play with the visiting kids where hours we were off to fend for ourselves.

The dollhouse I had was orderly. Furniture in place. I was always cleaning it. I drew up an idea of how I wanted my home and family life to be once I got older.  My home would have joy, time spent at the kitchen table, warm delicious food, and ultimately someone who gave me attention.

God always knew what the desires of my heart were even though in the process of it becoming a reality. I didn’t always give Him honor in my life. Mainly, because I always sought a void Jesus could only fill. Seeking ways to get attention. But by His grace, a time came, where everything showed His patience never wavered from me. And placed my husband in my life.  We learned to understand each other.  Mainly my husband towards me because I’m the one who carried most baggage.  God gave my husband even more patience and developed us to create a home that, thanks to God, we’ve been in for almost 22 years. At times, I step back and look at our home and recognize those things I was without are with us in bountiful ways.  All those things I wanted in my dollhouse, have been replaced with comforts and love I could never have imagined. AMDG.

 

Corona

We’re in this together,
Some in the beginning did say.
We took each day with news,
It got worse along the way.
The mask, sanitizer, stocked in hand,
shoo’d the sick away from somebody’s land
Days, months in,
And here we are,
Some us yelling
Lives matter, are you listening?
Where brother, sister, neighbor, friend,
defending the color of their skin.
Days, months in,
People Covid, comes with questioning
Will this nightmare ever end?
Looks taken within ourselves
Are we gonna make it count?
For there’s no time for sorrow,
Because only with Him +.
Is there even a tomorrow.

Check your oil!

For about a week, it feels as though there is a turn happening.  I don’t know if it is actually happening all parts of the world or just what it seems like for me.  The feeling  feels like a coming on the verge of something.

Part of it, I believe, stems from fatigue now caused by the continued quarantine and restrictions. I hear it in my relatives voices and see it in the eyes of strangers.  At the grocery store, where usually small talk happens, the aim is now the quicker the customer moves out of the way, the better.

Protests under the name of “Black Lives Matter” continue to happen to a degree in cities across the United States, but it appears now some are disguising under it and are rebels causing havoc on the police and city structures.

Racial history and education still much on the forefront, as it should be.  Self reflection from individuals to enterprises, changing their company names and associations to themes associated with racial slurs or connotations.

There are those  a part of this rebel agenda, who are trying to hijack the race discussion by turning their attention to  the  Catholic faith in vandalizing statues or churches.  They believe these Saint statues were a part of racial injustices.  On top of, there have been fires in different parts of the world that have ruined  aged cathedrals.  One, I know to be arson.  The others are still under investigation.

Because there are more issues populating the news feed outside of the Corona virus, it only adds to the hysteria and paranoia to more and more people.  People’s patience turning into anxiety, fear, and deeper worry.  I have caught myself into it. I feel it physically.   Today, I find out my very special aunt who has Parkinson’s is battling it to a high degree.  There’s constant news thrown in your face on all the many things happening in our world instead of calming people in the changes that may need to be.  Namely, that corona may be here for a while, but on the horizon, a vaccine to help combat it.

Unfortunately, I had to confront a sister of mine on a video she was sharing.  This wasn’t the first time a video like this had been sent to me by family.  But I had to.  Videos like this surfacing all over social media. People giving attention to false prophets telling them that the George Floyd death was planned.  Corona virus being provoked by the Democrats.  Political talk that shimmers light on a figure that shows them walking a righteous path of God ignoring  facts that not all steps have been the best for some individuals or people.

I told her to stop buying into this propaganda. To save them self away from this undue fear. How much the enemy wants us to play into these games and be trampled on in our souls and family lives. Invoking despair and passing it onto others as to lose focus on what we should be focusing on.

As I finished writing this, the thought of the virgins with the lampstands came to mind.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins.“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake,* for you know neither the day nor the hour.

My armor and might the Lord has reminded me is to fight with prayer, repentance, and love.  To continue to point others to Whom we place our trust and to give Him all control.  The day is not to be used in fear, but to pray and love one another.  Those are things we can be definite about to our day.  Nothing else is in our control.  Let’s give Him our days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID19

This post has been transpiring since March 3rd, but only now I sit and write.

The world has been struck a virus.  A deadly virus that was born in China and spread rapidly throughout the world (even though that’s under investigation of its origin). Each country receiving devastating results.  Hospitals past capacity, treating patients in tents outside as well. In the United States, it hit the State of Washington first.  Initially, this virus, called COVID19 (Corona virus), was informed as attacking the elderly and those who are immune suppressed.  As the world was showing, as days passed, the information started changing by the minute.  It now is known as attacking anyone.  No clear rule or definition. People surviving on ventilators.  Becoming very sick, near death without any underlying health issues. At this point, after almost 3 months, the world seems to be calming down from this virus.

Because of the rapid spread, the world was on quarantine, which happen to begin when Lent was still in effect.  Quarantine, by the way, is a Latin word meaning forty days of isolation.  Countries began to follow suit and forbid people to go out, only if medical attention or to buy food. The phrase “shelter in place” or “stay home” commonly used so that people understood staying home meant less spread of the virus.  This only drew up fear in some that the shopping frenzies began. People stormed to the grocery stores, big box stores, and bought out all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.  For weeks, people would crowd and stockpile items that didn’t have to be taken since the quarantine never meant you couldn’t go out to buy things when needed.

During the initial weeks, my husband and I were home, while Mom whom we care for, was with my sister.

The daily news fed stories on hospital workers, grocery workers, Amazon (on-line store) workers, “essential workers”, that were working around the clock trying to keep up with the demand. Everyday around three o’clock, the President would give a press conference with some medical professionals and scientists on what is being monitored, done to help, and future impact.

My husband who works for healthcare, was non stop busy from March 3 for a month.  There would be days that he didn’t leave the face of his computer. He was working around the clock along with his staff and the entire hospital.  All that they were working on came to a screeching halt because the focus turned to COVID19 and how the hospitals were responding. Extra facilities were being opened up to house the not so critical patients so that the hospital could deal with the high number of COVID19 patients.  Weeks of intense issues popping up everyday.  There was a moment in the late evening, husband still on a conference call, where I heard him say “hold on, my head is spinning.”  I felt helpless.

All I did while my husband worked away was prepare him meals and pray.  I prayed and prayed.  Along with all my family and friends. The world.  Out of our control.  And from my experiences due to my health, that was somewhat normal.

Then, we received news that we could no longer attend Church.  That due to the virus spread, we couldn’t by law be in a congregation setting.  Rules starting to dictate no more than 10 can be together. Keep six feet apart.  Wear a mask.  The virus was airborne and so everything that brought people together, could no longer. Sports, concerts, movie theaters, etc.

Initially, Ruben did all the shopping.  Due to my immune and not having a supply of masks, he would go and buy us what we need.  We bought food that we felt could last us some weeks.  Good in that, we don’t normally eat much on our own.

In the beginning of the quarantine, it felt like okay, this is what we have to do.  We’ll handle it!  So did our neighborhood and community.  We all felt like we will be at peace and have patience.  Tons of neighbors walking about.  For the most part, people were working from home too so you would see them out all hours of the day.

Then more orders from the government came.  Adding more weeks to the quarantine because states like New York and California were hitting devastating numbers of patients and deaths.

In the midst of monitoring the United States and the our impact, I was also seeing China and Italy.  They too had devastating cases, but then you saw that the virus had touched the whole world except for Antarctica.  India was and is still being hit harshly and it appears their government is only making it worse.

The month of March happened in a second.

April started to feel less strained and with holy week approaching, it felt like no other holy week. Again, none could attend Church and out of all weeks of the year, this is the week most attend. Not even explaining the loss of the Eucharist and how odd on so many levels it was, still is, not to receive.

Pope Francis called for prayer many times throughout.  The impact of his prayer and focus for all to watch on TV or live stream, I know for me, meant so much. There was a moment during a special prayer, where he upheld the monstrance outside of St Peter’s in a way that through the TV, struck my soul.  Tears abound.

Throughout April until now, our family dealt with trials in the midst of the pandemic.  Thanks to God not due to financial needs, but physical and mental health.  I felt like the need and call for prayer has intensified each week.  I’m sure we are not the only ones feeling this.

Easter brought hope!  Renewed faith.  The extra weeks of quarantine were coming to an end.  Stores were now showing a normal supply of stock.  Some exhale was beginning.

May 15th,  the date the State of Arizona ended quarantine. Restaurants, salons, shopping centers, all were allowed to open up but only with strict rules.  Wear a mask at some and others, your choice.  Stay 6 feet apart. Only so many allowed in a store at a time. Enter in one way, exit another. But hey, it’s better than nothing.

Then there became talk about wearing a mask.  Mask shows weakness.  Liberal agenda insisting on wearing a mask.  The most hilarious conversation on the use of a mask.  Yes, I wear my mask.  I still do. Did before and do now. Lupus will teach you that!

Three weeks out now, but now our world is addressing another virus. On May 26th, a police officer made a decision that has affected our focus once again. Look up George Floyd.  I will use another blog to address this event because it has caused me to unpack so many thoughts and feelings.

Don’t know if we will ever get back to normalcy. These last weeks all feel like one month.  My husband and I haven’t visited our families.  We miss them.  We miss doing ordinary things, but know we have a purpose and call to prayer to get us through. All that is happening is requiring us not to just think of ourselves, our country, but the world.  How much we are in need of each other.   It doesn’t end.  The reminders in various ways.  And throughout it all, the deep rooted biblical messages.  That too, I would like to dive into in another blog.

The chant in the beginning of the pandemic, “We’re all in this together!” I hope so.

 

Primal Loss Book Review

There was a book circulating on Instagram from those I follow that caught my attention, “Primal Loss, The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak” by Leila Miller.

It didn’t take me long to realize this would be a tough one to read.

Leila Miller, a Catholic author/writer, compiled questions and answers from participants from all walks of life.  The book, “gives voice to the adult children of divorce. Their stories are not pretty. ..breaks through layers and layers of pro-divorce propaganda.” Answers are given numbers to keep the participant anonymous.  Much of the responses I could relate to, to the point of highlighting, noting a page, and writing in my answers.

Chapter one, “The Effect of the Divorce”, the first question, ‘What effect has your parents’ divorce had on you?’  The answers are  raw and some sound as if they are still struggling.  Response noted: “Stunted my ability to properly form my own emotions” and “parental presence, instruction, and stability were often missing in my childhood.”

The second chapter, “Feelings as Child vs. Feelings as Adult, what is the difference between how you felt about divorce as a child and how you feel about it as an adult?” There was a response I highlighted from a woman who spoke about her brokenness and how she carried it into her marriage. That early on, she wrestled with the behaviors, but thanks to God, her husband, “never gave up…even when I gave him reason to walk away…through their marriage, I have come to learn what love means, what truth means.”

Third chapter, “View of Marriage, has our parents’ divorce affected your own marriage or your view of marriage?” A reply noted: “I struggle with trusting my husband. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, which I am sure must be related to the feeling of abandonment by my family of origin.”

Fourth chapter, “Are children resilient? What do you want to say to people who say that ‘children are resilient’ and ‘kids are happy when their parents are happy’ and ‘kids of divorce will be just fine and will go on to live successful lives?”  Responses marked: “What divorce does is shatter that universe in a drastic and traumatic way, and there’s no coming back from that. It even changes the way you perceive reality, you become anxious, nothing ever feels safe or predictable, and you’re always waiting for the piano to fall” and “I was never happy with the way things were. I simply accepted that I had no control over any of it.”

Chapter five, “Speak to your parents, then and now, what would you say directly to your parents…how it affected you, would you advise them to do it differently?”  Response noted:  “I would have told them that God must be at the center of their marriage, that they were losing focus on the family, and that they were pursuing too much of their own self interest” and “I didn’t even know my pain was buried, but every now and then something would trigger this little girl inside of me.”

Chapter six, “What society should know, what do you most want adults in our society to know about how divorce affects the children?” Response noted:  “I’d want them to know that divorce is likely affecting their kids in way that they, the adults, can’t see or understand” and kids “often don’t gain the vocabulary and perspective to even begin to articulate all they are experiencing and questioning until well into adulthood.”

Chapter seven, “The role of faith in healing, what role has your faith played in your healing?” Response noted: “My faith taught me that marriage is a vocation that leads me to unification to God. It isn’t “romantic” love or superficial happiness; true love is an act of will.”

Chapter eight, “To those facing divorce, what would you want to say to children facing their parents’ divorce today?” Response noted: “You will confuse them and make them feel abandoned in the process” and “all the positive things you modeled for your children will be eclipsed by the disordered things you modeled when divorce is the punchline” and “even though they are children, they have a voice and should say, loud and clear, what they are feeling.”

Now my response.

I begin by admitting, the book took me a while to finish.  For whatever reason, I would become anxious before and while reading.  There were emotions, thoughts, that I felt I was clear of, but then memories surfaced that I had forgotten.  I would stop and think, text my sister, ask for her recount. Sometimes, I would ask my Mom questions throughout the day, to see if she could recall situations. And for those who don’t know me or my blog, my Dad is no longer alive.  He passed away in 2006 from sarcoma cancer.  However, before my Dad died, we did talk and reconcile (thanks be to God).

Before I go any further, I wanted to share when I found out my parents were divorcing. It was a weekday morning.  I was leaving to go to school in 7th grade.  That’s when I was given the news.  I clearly remember it was in the winter, clear morning, and my world began to close in.  My sister, who is eight years older than me, was already married with her new little family.  My Dad was quickly out of the house which left just Mom and me.  Mom worked a full time job and soon began to search in her ways of attention and self seeking joy.  In 7th grade, I tried marijuana and alcohol and continued using through my Sophmore year of high school.  Time at home on the weekends was on my own or, thanks to my sister, spent with her on the weekends.  My Mom and Dad led selfish lives fulfilling their own needs and not looking towards mine.   I was fed and clothed, but the impact of my parents non-emotional non-spiritual care was heavily felt.

Even after reconciling with my mom a couple of years ago, this book pushed out things I still had trapped in my heart I didn’t know I had. Thankfully, when we spoke she listened to me when I vented the pain it caused me.  Mom is 77 years now.  So even though, there are more things I would like to clear up, she can’t recall nor does she have capacity to help me resolve.  In a way, once I realized that, it saddened me because I know I will need to deal with it with God and on my own.

This book was a challenge, but I know I had to read it not just for me, but also for my nephews and niece who are also victims of divorce.  I can see much of their own behaviors in the book that match.  They are adults now. This book gives me knowledge that I could help them in ways I didn’t notice before.

But I think the biggest thing I took away from this book, is my progress made by faith as a now adult child of divorce.

There was a moment in the book when I jumped up, put the book down, and ran over to my husband and cried to him.  I literally saw God’s hand paint over my life from the time of the family destruction to where I am now.  Holding my husband’s hand, I cried and said, “Thank you! Thank you for staying with me in the beginning when our first years of marriage were rough. For not retaliating and leaving me. For understanding I had a rough past and still with some issues to this day.” His answer, “we broke the cycle.”  How much Our Lord Jesus knows our pains and struggles.  How much He heard my cries as a teenager, saying randomly, how I never want to be like my parents or have a marriage like them. The times when I was left alone to grieve the loss of family from junior high through high school, keeping it inside, moving like a zombie pretending to be normal and happy. Through the time after high school, living a double life of seeking attention and finding myself in the pew with my sister’s family on Sunday’s because I felt I was holding onto something good.

In many ways, I know that’s why this blog started.  It was healing and still is healing. I know the way God needed to reach me and stop the pain and focus I was starting to show in my marriage, despite putting in front of me a husband, stability, love, was to diagnose me with Lupus. I know for sure, that put me to change, have recourse in my life that I’m forever grateful.  It allowed me to see truth.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  1621

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

False Witness

In order to write this post, I have to reveal an area of sacrifice I’m working on this Lent.  A part of self control, for me, is the sin of gossip.

Throughout my life, I have wrestled with this sin. Before I began practicing my faith, I never knew gossiping was a bad thing.  It was all around me.  Family and friends always used gossip in conversations. It was and still is a way to either vent or share things because we feel we can in either making fun of someone or puffing up our chests to make ourselves look better.

Over time, for me, I realized my confessions continued to cough up this sin and yet, no real self reflection struck me on why this was repeated.

At this stage in my life, I do find myself gossiping, but it’s like I told myself in a certain way…well, I’ll only go this far in sharing, or I won’t say too much as to not fall into the trap. But regardless, I would find myself reflecting on discussions I’ve had with others after that fact and see that no matter how  I wanted to classify it, it was still gossip.

There is a fine line I want to say when it comes to being concerned  over an individual when sharing things for the sake of helping them without their knowledge.  Speaking about their decision making or ways that could hurt them spiritually, those incidents may cause for others to discuss and plan out what could be done to get them back on track.  But to just have a  field day about someone’s lifestyle or continued same actions that cause pain to others, does nothing to keep talking about how awful this person is to everyone.

Coming back to my sin of gossip during this Lent.  I’ve come to take on an action that I first saw as my own penance. And that is to correct myself with those who I gossiped with as a way to reconcile my behavior and sin. Explaining to the individual, that I did wrong and that I shouldn’t have said what I said.   Doesn’t matter if it was one word blurted out or ten.  Doesn’t matter if I didn’t mean harm in sharing, because it is harmful no matter what.  It places me in accountability.  Makes me humble myself that I sinned and want to correct myself because Jesus placed it in my heart and eyes to see what I have done.   Oh how much Our Lord wrestles my heart to show me my sin. I’m thankful.

What catches me to about gossip, is that I wish those individuals who do know it’s wrong, don’t pin it on me or correct me right on the spot. Gosh, how I wish they would. I’m not saying it’s easy to do but I’m going to start trying. Sometimes we don’t do that enough or at least in my circle I don’t see it.  I also don’t see much in asking forgiveness for daily actions that can hinder unity or cause disruption. Most of the time, we don’t want to take notice we’ve done some thing wrong or pride ourselves that we are doing all things right. Really?  There are some things to dig deep about and frankly, I would appreciate if my fellow Catholic/Christian would call me out when I sin so it’s corrected right then and there.  But I know it’s not easy.  Honestly, I know.  And I know I will slip up again, but my hope is the day it completely stops for me. That I am so rooted, it doesn’t make me budge.  And most of all, throughout this self examination, how the path through it gets me to God’s mercy.  It’s there every time.  Like the Light at the end of the tunnel. Once I’ve reflected, accounted for, asked forgiveness, His mercy is there…and I move on.

If the dialogue isn’t fruitful brothers and sisters, there is no end that points to a helpful solution, then do yourself and me a favor….don’t go there!

 8th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 

Added note: The Catholic Church has always taught there is a communal reconciliation

What is Truth?

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Pilate’s response has been ringing in my head these days. I’ve been thinking about his response in relation to current events. The illusionist is working many angles from religion to politics to family relationships. I understand this is nothing new. But what seems different to me is the loss of respect in people’s attempt to defend their truth.

The lines of facts are skewed and there are many who use them to benefit a cause/point no matter if there is validity. If they believe them to be true, that’s all that matters. Reason or logic to a situation isn’t taken into consideration and what seems even worse is that people don’t care what that might mean to the person/persons it affects.

Credibility weakens when facts are skewed because the person/persons where respect was once given is thrown out the window too.  Seeing this more towards the Church.  The mocking and the not taking seriously the Church’s position to everyday moral questions by Catholics and Non Catholics. However, it is not just the Church authority that is suffering. There is a string of other high regard positions of people under attack as well. From school teachers, law enforcement, business leaders, medical professionals, pharmaceutical industry, political office, etc. Never have I felt credibility to not be important to possess, but it seems from recent events, accountability and respect are becoming blurred and the attempt by the devil is to make people lose sight of order and control.

The biggest example is from Church leaders. Certain clergy are still visible doing things that they shouldn’t be. The faithful, from my assertion, are moving on knowing there’s only so much they can do or put their time and energy into the fight. The visible results are slowing being seen. It’s not that nothing is being done, but it might appear to some it isn’t changing.  I feel all must share and care to inform others change will take time.

Now going back to the truth, if you don’t show honor to ones truth, then you must side with the opposition and therefore you’re the enemy. Sensitivity and boundaries seem to not work for everyone. If you’re not for them, you’re against them. People want you to not take away their ideals, but are not understanding that’s what they’re doing to you.  Some news line is fed out and people, without further researching, believe it. They never look past it and then begin using it as a weapon of defense on something that is not true.

There are countless sources out on the internet feeding people garbage that they believe in and end up falling in the trap. Untruths about the President, the Pope, government programs, crimes, etc. They tend to not go further into fact checking and become paralyzed with fear.  It’s awful and scary.  I truly believe that if they spent more time in their faith, practicing, their eyes would see what is truth and what are lies. I’m grateful Our Lord has me where I am, but I know I need to get deeper rooted.  I feel it for the sake of my own family.

The best I and others can do is help our brothers and sisters know what to focus on and where to take our fears. The world is changing fast and those around us may not see what their eyes are losing sight of.

Parts Truly Unknown

On Friday morning, I get a text at 6 a.m. from my friend Angela informing me that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  She knew how much I liked him and knew this would be hard for me to hear. My husband was on his way out for work as I read out the text to him.  He said, “I know. I didn’t want to wake you up with that news.” But he knew, it wouldn’t matter how it came, the news was not good.

The rest of the day and now, I still feel a sense of sadness as I know I am not the only one. The media has continually been interviewing his friends, showing past Parts Unknown (his show on CNN), and my social media is covered with his face.  Mainly, because I follow many chefs. I have a big interest in the culinary scene due to Bourdain.

After a pilgrimage to Italy in 2006 which came with much anxiety because of fear of travel, my craving for food and travel grew.  At that time, to my knowledge, there were not many travel shows other than Rick Steves and Samantha Brown.  Much to my delight, the Travel Channel gave us No Reservations where I first became acquainted with Bourdain’s witty culinary ways.  It right away captured for me an escape from my life in concrete Phoenix suburbia, track house living.

The trip to Italy placed a sense of adventure in me that I knew had to be somewhat contained. Let me preface here, my life is greatly blessed.  To date, my husband and I have traveled abroad two more times after our first Italy trip (London, Paris, Italy again). We travel within the States quite often.  However, I long for travel in the sense that I would like to discover it like Bourdain captured it.  Places not necessarily on the tourist map.

On Sunday’s, I would look forward to his latest episode.  Where was he now? Thailand. Croatia. Turkey. Sicily.  His demeanor was also a familiar connection to me.  He had a bad boy, rebellious nature. Reminded me of my youthful past and the group of friends I hung around with. His taste in music too was much like mine. A like of rock n roll and classics.  His wit also had me laughing as I was amused by how no matter whom he had in his show, he never changed himself to interact with them.  He had them laughing. Giving me a sense that no matter what part of the world you are in, we are all the same.

Once his show went from the Travel Network to CNN, I stayed with it.  I adapted a viewer relationship via his program.  This means about 12 years of fan watching.  And with social media, there became another connection.  It gave the fan a closer connection to his person who we all believed had the best job in the world. Travel and eat the best food. What could be better? He was the one who introduced me to taking pictures of food and share my experience of it.

He was also very vocal on Twitter about social issues.  One in particular had to with the Mexican immigrant and how interwoven their culinary skills are wrapped in America’s fabric.  Always pointing out that if we were to walk into any kitchen across the U.S., you would for sure find Mexicans working the kitchen, citizen or not.

Bourdain was not a believer.  Often on his show, he would give a tidbit on how he couldn’t rationalize believing in a higher power.  I don’t recall him ever pointing out one god over another or Jesus in particular, but he was clear he didn’t believe in any of it. Even when his close friend Eric Rippert was on his show speaking about Buddhism, you could see Bourdain wasn’t fully embracing.  Despite him not having faith, I never heard him bash anyone for believing.  But I know, it would strike him if he felt a religion was, in his view, destroying a people or nation.

So why do I dedicate a blog to him?

Bourdain’s suicide not only shook me, but it had my mind going.  I thought of my cousin Gil who committed suicide in 2010.  Thought of my Godmother who was married to him, his two sons, his family. All of us who went through that day with them. The feeling of life spiraling out of control. The big black hard depth of despair.  The confusion. The pain.

Here we all saw this man Bourdain on TV just about every week or on social media, seeming to live the life we all wanted. Celebration. Laughter. Good food and beautiful environments. But it wasn’t all true. I mean, did he have that?  Yes, I do believe he did. But he also had demons that wouldn’t let him go.

In his early life, he became addicted to heroin.  He spoke about the struggles of it and also shared how he was ‘recovered’, yet always conveying, recovery is day to day. Each day, he worked at it as many recovered addicts do.  I understand this well.  My Dad was a recovered addict. Difference was, my Dad found Jesus and lived his life with freedom from it.

However, from current family who is an addict, heroin is the worst of all drugs you could ever become addicted to.  This is one that has effects for the rest of your life. Now, that’s what I have heard scientifically, but I place all in God and know that if Jesus was in their life, it would be different. And you know, I’m no expert and I don’t want to go into heroin effects, mental illness, when is it not mental illness and we call it a demon, or lack of faith issues.  I don’t have expertise to discuss.

But what I do want to write about is the soul and how our faith responds to someone who has taken their life.

Because Bourdain was a self confessed non believer, my thought process on his passing made me think about the soul like I haven’t encountered before.  Some of his fans were leaving comments on Twitter or Instagram, saying things like “hope you have peace now in heaven or hell wherever you are’, or ‘give them hell’, etc.  I thought what darkness!

In my prayer time and reflection about Gil came forth. Thinking about his time of death and what we as a family learned. Although, Gil did believe in Jesus and was Catholic, family was confused on whether his soul went to heaven. And what I found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church forever changed my outlook.

Suicide

2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

Bourdain stood up for the marginalized. He brought to light topics of the poor, no one else was touching in this form of media. He used his celebrity to bring witness, life that the world sees as dejected because they don’t live like we live.  But in reality showed more riches in their cooking or family members.   In a sense, we saw the Beatitude come to life “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.  And he used that compassion, which I believe was placed in him by God. Even though, he never claim that. And it wasn’t always about the poor, but sharing stories of those living with wars around them.

In God’s mercy, we leave his soul and others who have taken their lives in such despair.  For we really do not know. I for one need to be aware to check on another.  From the one who we think has it all together to the one who looks like they are crumbling.

My food pics and travel will forever have root in Anthony Bourdain. For these I leave…

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Help us Lord to be more aware. Help us with courage to speak to those who do not show their belief in you Jesus, so that we may direct them to your love and mercy.  For we know as St. Peter says “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Heaven is not out there only in the sky, but can by the grace of God, can be attained in the heart with true joy.  In how Your peace can allow them to breathe again. +++

Little Talks with God

Little Talks with God by St Catherine of Siena edited by Henry Carrigan Jr.

Any book about St Catherine of Siena will catch my attention.  I hope someday Mel Gibson will make a film about her.  Because I believe that many women will see her as a fireball of strength.  Talk about feminism in the truest sense of the form.  Her femininity was one of her many strengths our Lord used to make her one of our greatest Saints of the Church.

Littletalks

In Carrigan’s best description of St Catherine’s life is “mystical experiences with fervent activism”.

During her later years, she had a several priests write down her thoughts that were later put into books and shared with communities.  At a young age,  St. Catherine had a burning desire to know more about God and truth. This desire would change into fortitude that became spiritual lessons others to this day still learn from, like myself.

I learned much from this book.  I pretty much have each page ear dogged.  Self contemplation to the greatest degree.  Where to start and where to go in prayer, examination of conscience, courage, and faith in action to name a few.

img_6695.jpgSt. Catherine’s passion for Christ grew even more so when God showed her the needs of the world and the offenses being made against God.

St. Catherine had a selflessness that at times frightened me. She understood the punishment God could give and at the same time his limitless mercy.  She would rather suffer for those who had no clue of their sin because she knew it would be redemptive in the suffering so she spoke in prayer always to take that cup for their sake.

 

“How very pleasing to God is the willing desire to suffer for him.”

Through St Catherine’s writing, my life has learned the beauty in suffering. How I had no clue that there is purpose in suffering.   Used to think any physical or mental suffering was a kind of punishment by God. Learning more about suffering through St. Catherine, has taught me the meaning of it by explaining how it is redemptive, unifies us with Christ, offering it to Christ, and understanding His love for us.

Her writing takes you to a realm that no other writer has taken me.  I feel like I’m in another place even though I’m most likely sitting on the couch in my home.  The power in her words gives me a sense of heaven that truly gives me a connection I’m most grateful I am aware of now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drunks and Monks

I learned about this book by mention on the Jennifer Fulweiler’s show.   It caught my attention because it had to do with addiction and recovery.

Once I started reading it, I was hooked.  It’s a raw memoir from John Carmichael. He recounts his life from childhood through finding his way out of addiction by becoming a Catholic.  It struck a chord with me because I too came from an upbringing of alcoholism.

DrunksMonksIn his book, he speaks about his rise to a successful career, finding his wife, until he becomes an addict and destroys all around him. His Mom was a hard core alcoholic.  Morning, day, night. Even though he saw the reckoning, he could not find himself out of it.  Much of the effects of what would cause him to drink, did come from his relationship with his Mom and love not received by either of his parents.

He describes his environment in sunny So Cal – Orange county. The pull of the riches and struggle with letting go. I pictured well where his life took place because I’m so familiar with this area since I have visited these neck of the woods since I was a child.

One spot in particular is San Juan Capistrano Mission where he first begins his attempt in finding God. First taking back by the beauty of the Chapel where Mass is recited in Latin. Then his courage to reaching out to a monastic priest who then becomes his confessor.  And even though he made these strides he shares his very real battle working out his faith through temptation and relapse. What I appreciated is how the San Juan Capistrano community, supported him and invited him to the faith. An example for all parishes to follow.  He felt so welcomed, he even became a part of the choir.

Even though most understand, that even when one follows the Catholic Church punch card, it doesn’t mean that all will be easy going. In Carmichael’s case, the timing of his initial prep in the faith became his strength when his Mom’s struggle with alcoholism became its worst and then her diagnosis of terminal cancer.

His style of writing was as if you were experiencing it yourself.  Truly can understand his battles and his journey through faith.

If you like reads like I do like this, pick this book up!