Category Archives: Catholic

Patience and Prayer

There are things I do a bit different now that my mom lives with us. I find myself not participating in things as much which is somewhat a IMG_5900setback.

There were years after I was diagnosed with Lupus, where I didn’t want to commit to anything. One, it would cause paranoia, the thought of being around social scenes or people made me overwhelmed. Two, my lifestyle changed which meant I no longer was socializing the way I used to. I became more reserved. Mainly because I could no longer physically enjoy a “party” outing. Bars / dance clubs were no longer my thing.  My husband , thanks to his commitment to me, did what I wanted to do, so he too stayed away from people and events to stay with me.

However, in the past recent years, I was grooming myself to step out and stop being fearful. Making commitments whether taking classes, volunteer, simple friend dates, etc. I was feeling some confidence.

Lately, it feels like I’m not keeping that up and it’s starting to set me back to the old ways.

But today it hit me. Patience.

Life may have opportunities for me come June. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to get mom active. Use time to create. Just spend the time with her while my husband is working during the day. I need to redirect my focus and be joyful in my day. Not feel burden or weight of what I can’t change but look at what I can control.

Lately, I’ve been praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Praying for change in me. I know that by praying for this my Lord will use me for purpose. Sometimes I think, I’m not around many people how can I be useful. But you never know what His design is if you keep thinking of it in your terms.

This blog for one. I pray that it is a useful tool to get others to relate as a first step closer to hopefully reaching out to Jesus.

Pray too for the gifts of the Holy Spirit! You’ll become salt of the earth if you try! Sometimes we want to get from point A to point B so badly, but it might just take a bit longer. There’s a reason my life is where it’s at. I’m truly grateful I am able to do what I am able to do. Keeping myself purposeful in the capacity that I can.

How do we ACTS?

It’s almost a week after our President’s inauguration.  There has been non stop coverage on his every move which has included executive orders.

I can’t remember past Presidents in their first week implement so much change.

Social media is flooded with people’s opinions. Most I’ve seen are those opposing him being President. I can see popular celebrity news spots helping the cause. In addition, sources who are not legit news sources, spreading fake information.

It’s crazy to me that some can’t tell the difference and so they share and pass on the wrong information.

I’ve been tempted to want to point out or say something but I come to the conclusion they’re just going to believe what they want to.  What a mess our news media is in!!

In these times we must be smart! Pay attention to what is happening around us to know how to combat the enemy which is the Deceiver himself. The joy of chaos it’s embracing seeing division and destruction.

I just wish more would search accurate facts of the issues and not just what a popular group wants you to believe. It’s quick to believe and judge.

I find myself watching multiple news sources just to get a balanced opinion. The news is moving so fast!!!

So what about the changes?

I try to keep a level head with friends and family when we don’t meet eye to eye. I want them to see it too that we are not always going to agree but I’m still worthy to have my viewpoint.

It is soul wrenching when you find in your relative or friend an issue you view concluded by your faith and they don’t! For example, they might be pro life but want to stop the flow of refugees. Again, unless you’re attending Mass weekly and feeding your soul, these two issues may look different but in faith we understand they go hand and hand.

I read this quote and thought back at the time of the organization of the Apostles after Jesus ascended into Heaven:

Read Acts of the Apostles. It was a beautiful time. All cared for each other and wanted all to succeed whether it was family, health, financial security.  What a world we would have if we followed Christianity the way it was intended to be.

Acts of the Apostles

Lupus Flares…Blessing reminders!

Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE).  In the beginning, I was often sick. I was prescribed heavy medication that for the most part, didn’t make me feel any better. I remember the sense of trying to find control and how I was going to live with this new life. Even though, I tried to hold onto my job, the stress of being reliable for my employer grew to be too much, so I quit. As I explained in my other blog posts, since then I did take other employment and volunteered which helped me grow as a person with an illness.

After 5 years of taking the same formula of medication, I dropped two of the heavy prescribed and stayed on one. Most lupus patients, may find it surprising, but I was on a steady dose of prednisone for 11 years.  I had always did well with my doctor visits and health that taking prednisone was easy for me. If a flare came up, I would just increase my dosage and like magic it would work instantly. However, due to doctor pressure, he told me it was no longer good for me to be reliant on and asked me to consider changing to plaquenil.  I hesitated. Two years I hesitated until finally I prayed to Our Lord and asked Him to please help my fear.  In 2012, I began taking plaquenil and since then, thanks be to God, I’ve done really good.

I mean, I still get flares and I noticed that when I get sick…I’m sick! Whether cold or flu…it hits hard but all in all, I think I’m handling them fine.   I can’t increase the plaquenil when I do get a flare and now…I just “suffer” through it.  The flares are mostly the same. Headaches, hot face/fevers, joint pain achy, fatigued, low energy, sometimes nausea.

But I have to say…now when I do get flares, I find myself in an emotional spin.

It makes me think of those with lupus who suffer far greater than me. Who are hospitalized. Who have to take chemotherapy. Who cannot get out of bed. Who have no one to help them. Who do not have the luxury of having to maintain a job.

I know I am blessed beyond my way to attempt try and explain. I know I have everything in my environment to deal with the case of the flare ups. But at times, I wonder if I am not doing enough to battle them! Do I give in too easily when the flares happen?  Do I not work through them by pushing myself? Am I not training my spirit enough to be more of a fighter when they come?

There is also the mental battle determining if this the “big one”?

I can’t help at times think that my lupus could get worse. Here I am going on fifteen years of SLE and all of it, in my view, has been such a blessing compared to other’s experiences.  Yet, every time I get blood work, the rheum always communicates that my markers are clear. The type of lupus I have is the terminally ill form. For years, I’ve worked with my Lord in pushing that out of mind. To demonstrate my life with the graces He gave me to show others, I accept His will and do my best for others.  To share with others, what He has taught me.

In these last three days, I’ve been going through a flare. I know it probably came on due to stress. Yet, my approach is the same. Decline all events. Find myself less sociable. Rest. But this time, I feel like I need to do more. So this time, I write.

Sitting in Mass yesterday, I asked my Lord for His will be done onto me.  Each and every time a flare happens.  It is a purging in some sense. Because it stops me and makes me think of my mortality.  What matters. What I need to let go. How much I want to be ready for Heaven.

Flares make you feel like life is passing by and you only have energy to look at it go by.

They are reminders when you are feeling great the other 98.9% of the time to do something with it. From the smallest gesture in a day to something grand.  I ask my Lord to help me with that! To help me with the battle of when it feels like I’m not fighting hard enough and instead of dragging that Cross He’s given you, to carry it up high, like an army soldier raising a victory flag! 🙂

Remember, suffering is part of your Christian transformation. Respond to it! When you do, Jesus will fill your life in ways you didn’t have before. +++

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St. Catherine of Siena

As I was learning more about my faith, I heard many share with me who they chose as their patron saint.  I kept thinking how does one choose that?  I vaguely remember at confirmation it being a requirement to choose a Saint but if I did, I don’t remember who I chose.

Once I started to read more books and learn about my faith, there was always a Saint that would flutter my heart.  St. Catherine of Siena was the Saint for me.  My interest in her started about the same time the Catholic Church was being exposed for the awful sexual abuses.  I remember our parish had a sense of divide. Some left  since they could not separate the men who did harm from the Church, then there were those that followed the excommunicated priest to their own made up church, and others like me who stayed put.

The books I read about St. Catherine of Siena came at the right time.  Her history is based on recognizing what the Church is and what it is not.  Her determination to set things right and to share the intensity of following Christ.  She was a Dominican and is a Doctor of the Church. Her main caveat was her effort and success in reforming the papacy during the 14th century when she convinced Pope Gregory XI to move back to Rome from Avignon.IMG_6228 (2)

My husband and I were blessed in 2006 to go on a Catholic pilgrimage to Italy.  We really went into it blind not knowing what to expect. As a gift for our travels, a close friend of mine gave me a card she had wrote with a quote from St. Catherine.  I thought…wow…it’s a sign. There’s a reason why I keep connecting to this Saint.

On our trip, we made a stop in Siena. What a gorgeous place! Picturesque walkways that would lead to the piazza/main square.  Restaurants, bakeries, shops all set in medieval architecture.   The end of our day, our hosts guided us to visit the Chapel of Saint Catherine, Basilica of San Domenico.  Here only her incorruptible head entombed is shown. At first I was a bit freaked. Why was it that we only had her head and why was it shown?  On the tour, our great host priests clarified that back in the day, ma-il-campoany towns all over the world where the Saints walked had bits or pieces of their bodies for reverence purposes like bone fragments, clothing, “relics”.  Also, many had miracles tied to them so the thought was spread them around for the chance of increased faith to grow.

This trip gave me a boost! A boost in love of faith. I felt like a warrior ready to get back home and go deeper! To get a grip and better understanding of the Church with guidance from St. Catherine.  It’s amazing how much we can take for granted on what the Saints did for the Church, for us. If we took the time out and read up on  a Saint, we would see how relevant their examples are to our day today.  Most of the popular TV evangelists are not saying anything new.  And the Saints that did speak about similar life issues, most likely did it with their life in the balance.

Another inspiring tidbit about St. Catherine…she’s the Patron Saint of Italy!!!! Of course!! Of course she would be.  I have loved Italy for so long starting with pizza as a child,  which led to Italian food, and then developed into it’s beauty, food, art, lifestyle. Of course she would include that for me too.

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Hopefully, this will get you to thinking who would you like to read about? Google it! I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed.

Thank God for the Saints and thank you St. Catherine for always punching those words into my heart and  set fire!+++

 

Mid Life Crisis Awareness Month

Actually, this might just be on my calendar.

Lately,  it seems some of my sisters (not literally, I mean friends) are battling emotional struggles all at the same time.

It feels weighty on my relationship with them and I can see some headed down a damaging road.

With my own life changes, I always try to do my best and stay in touch with my girl friends or my female cousins who I refer all as “Sisters”.  My friendships have not always kept up and I know I am part to blame, but I still care for them and if there was ever a chance to meet up, I would do it.

At times, I don’t know if it’s just my life but I don’t have many gal pals. I think it has to do with not having children, not staying in the workforce, or other entities to cause some to dismantle.  In any case, I haven’t really worried about it but I noticed some relationships appear to be ending.

I feel some around me are going through emotional changes.  Mid life crisis maybe?  I don’t know.  I don’t know why all of a sudden a shift has occurred in our relationships. Am I focusing too much on my life that maybe these individuals were always this way and I’m barely now taking notice?? I truly care about them and do wish our friendship’s would stay strong.

I try to be patient and let them know I’m here for them. I do my best in understanding all factors to a situation.  We don’t always know everything going on in one’s life.

In any case, I realize we all have trials and tribulations. I’ve had times where I’ve felt unaccomplished and know those closest could see it in me. It can be hard to break out of that ‘spell’ of feeling down and depressed.  The evil one can certainly make you start believing things that are untrue about yourself and about those around you.

What I have learned in practicing my faith is to ask myself questions.  Identifiers.  Like whatever it is I’m feeling, is this a thought from God or the evil one?  If the feeling is causing me to be down, then it’s not from God. If it is to cause harm on anyone, then it’s not from God. If it’s something that doesn’t keep me on the side of virtue, then it’s not from God. You know what I mean?

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Is it okay to do something once and a while that is foot loose and fancy free? Sure.  At least I think so. The issue is whether you start believing this is all your life needs.  Ways to give you short term, empty joy.

I’ve seen some who end their marriages because they found “true happiness” in other outlets. They start to believe this is what they need and end up ridding their life of important people. Most of the time, it relates to the idea of feeling young again.  I’ve seen this false sense cause damage and havoc in many lives.

For myself, my guard against these realms need attention.  Don’t take the bait! Combat with prayer! I pray with and over my husband, our home, our life.  Asking Jesus to consecrate our marriage! It’s true!  You spend less time with Jesus, you leave an door open for weakness to come in.

John 4:10-14

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
[The woman] said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”