Category Archives: catholicfaith

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Silence

Lately, I’ve been finding myself analyzing…everything!  Partly due to the fact, that at this time, my mom who I love and care for is now under the care of my sister.  Not permanent, but our commitment in giving each other shared responsibility.

Being in solitude is the gift that keeps on giving. Such as thinking, analyzing, contemplating.

Right now, I’m reading the book by Robert Cardinal Sarah on “The Power of Silence.” What I have learned is that I need to train myself in being silent. Steady. Still. Because all I’ve done so far, isn’t digging the whole.  It’s only been kicking the dirt.

A little frustrated I feel.  But I know I shouldn’t be. That’s just me.  I know prayer life isn’t about perfection, but in a sense I feel like I lost time all this time.  However, His grace is abundant.  And I know fully, that once I give better obedience, my heart and soul will be given richness I didn’t have before.

But in the beginning stages, I can’t help that in those moments where I am putting into practice, silence, I get consumed with areas in my life that I’m continually letting go of control that I didn’t have in the first place.

The book, “The Power of Silence”, fills you with the benefits of practicing silence. The importance of the time devoted to God. The breathing into your soul that can only be done if you quiet yourself and be still.

I know I have much to work on. I’ve developed myself for so long to be content in how I approach prayer. Here’s hoping I get started soon!

And before I end, can I just say how much Cardinal Sarah gives a one, two, punch! He teaches you as if you’re riding a roller coaster, a fun one.

Into the desert

It’s summer in Arizona and what that means is from June to September, you can count on it being 105 or higher. This is the reverse of those who live in the Midwest or East when snow keeps you inside. Well, at least for me it does. I’ve gotten better over the years, as far as, not limiting my time if I’m out doing errands. But somehow, this last few days, I’m feeling a bit depressed.

I’ve always done good about not paying attention to it. Like keeping busy whatever that might mean. Either with things I have to do or not. I don’t work, so much of my time is either caring for my mom or doing something productive when she’s with my sister.

But I’m yearning for more.

In the past month, my husband and I were able to take two trips to beach cities. It was a great getaway! The weather and beach, as many of my family and friends know, gives me such energy. But I also feel like I’m connected to people more too. And I think that’s part of what I’m sensing.

Where we live it takes a car to get somewhere. We don’t live in the city center or near it. Because of the heat, I can’t just walk to a grocery store. There are no common parks or beautified parks at all except in central Phoenix. Can’t just hop onto a metro link and get to another town. And don’t get me wrong, if it’s fall/winter/spring everything is rosy for those eight months. I’m outside taking it all in! These thoughts don’t run in my mind of abandoning the desert during these luscious months.

So it was interesting to me that a conversation was brought up between my husband and I about where our future residence would be. Where would we retire?

I asked my husband if we would ever live anywhere else? Would we ever do that experience of living somewhere far from family? We do not have children that would keep us from taking on a big transition like this. My husband has a super career now. What if he was asked to move? The thought of moving to Newport Beach, CA, or Denver, CO, or Connecticut sounds tempting.

A part of me sees that I would be involved in more things if we lived in cities or places that are closer knit. Doing more exercise, church activities, volunteering, education, and art events.

I often feel like I’m meant to be somewhere else, but I know it’s not something that is going to happen. And I thankfully say that because in no way am I not grateful for the huge blessings my husband and I have, which now comes to the Catholic tie into these thoughts.

In my thoughts or actions that come in a away that does not bring joy, is a time to always self examine.  Well, not just for me, but for anyone. Because we know when joy is present, Christ is present.

In my restlessness of this, I know my call is to go to God with it. I cannot change our environment.  We cannot get up and move somewhere.  In fact, it may never happen.

Prayer becomes very important during these “down times”.  If I don’t include or pay attention to prayer in my day to day, I can very well let go of myself and turn the negative emotions into negative actions towards my husband, family, friends, etc.  When you pray, Our Lord gives you clarity, direction on what He wants you to focus on, which in most cases, is completely not your thoughts.

The challenge outside of prayer is to be active in things where you come second. Paying attention to helping someone in need. Putting others first. Soon you’ll realize more purpose.

Who knows what God’s plan for us will be in the next ten years. But in the meantime, my life, our life, our happiness, our home, is here today in this desert landscape.


John 15:10-11

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

A stranger and you welcomed me

This past Sunday, July 14, was to begin the raids on undocumented immigrants by the Trump Administration.  As of yet, I have not seen any news or images reported of these actual raids.  Not that they haven’t happened.  I just haven’t seen it.

This and the issues at the border seem to get worse and worse by the day. The immigrants/refugees that have been coming in through the U.S./Mexican border are still coming in large numbers, of course.  I say of course, because whatever could be done on the Mexican side isn’t being done and the bigger issue what could be done for them in their own countries, isn’t be done. Like, a better life.  A reason to not flee.

As I was on my way to Mass this morning, I even caught conversation on the Gus Lloyd show on the Catholic Channel.  He was giving his take on how some U.S. Catholic parishes are taking in those that the Border Patrol set as fugitives but the Church sees as asylum  seekers. He felt that the Church is crossing the line since the government is listing them as fugitives.  Callers were giving their opinions whether faith filled, doctrine supported, or just their passionate response.

What caused me to write this blog, even though I have touched on this before, were the responses from these ‘Catholics.’  How can the responses be so left or right?  One caller was upset at the fact that at his parish, if the Pastor even showed any support for helping the immigrant, that he would leave. Another caller, spoke about the children being detained are really not part of any family, but just a ploy for the drugs that are being  smuggled in.  Then of course, there was another caller who said, the Church is participating in a left wing agenda by providing placed for the immigrants to stay. Good God!  And I mean that with my hands surrendered to God.

Gus Lloyd said he even struggled with there being nothing mentioned in the Catechism about Immigration. I was shocked.  I’m not sure how he wants it described. A section in bold face large letters! But Gus, it’s in there. Just like the Catechism itself comes from the Bible.  And with that comes what?

Lately, I’ve begun again to read the Old Testament. Going through the books of Prophets and Kings, as well as, the destruction and saving of God’s people. How many times they disobeyed God and by His mercy, He saved them again. How when they would choose to live away from Him, choosing for themselves what they wanted, which broke away from His covenant and commandments.  Taking His word and choosing for them what best benefited. Time and time again, showing them that true fulfillment was living the way God intended and like on earth would be the kingdom of Heaven at hand.

Like what we are taught in our faith, with Jesus,  it wasn’t that the law was abolished, He fulfilled it. It wasn’t that ‘hey Jesus is here so just go ahead and forget about all I said before’ (that was God speaking there in case you didn’t get that).  No, it was to be continued and added with love your neighbor as yourself.

From every Mass given, from every Church teaching given, where does it every speak that we hold back mercy or grace?  Where did God our Father ever hold back mercy and grace in the OT? And when did Jesus hold back on the Cross?  Was it before or after He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Grace of God has always been given when we do things by His will.  When we submit ourselves to Him so that the work He wants to accomplish in us happens.

What are we afraid of if we believe we are following Jesus?

Yes, I understand there are not good people in the mix of people escaping to find a better life here in the U.S.  I understand there are thousands coming that it appears we won’t be able to take care of their needs. I understand that the countries they are coming from are not doing their part to resolve the bigger issues. But do you see there are droves of refugees going to all parts of the world because things are not getting better?

If we are a faith of PRO Life how do we not understand that means all human life, at any stage, at any time. If we want to help the mother in need with her crisis pregnancy, why wouldn’t we help a mother in  need for any crisis?

The Judgment of the Nations. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

It’s right here. If you are seeking where in the Bible or Catechism does it speak about housing immigrants or allowing them to seek asylum in our country, this passage alone says it.  But not to be limited, this passage doesn’t stand on it’s own. It’s the entire Good News message.  If the whole point of our lives is to partake in discipleship, how do we determine who’s worthy to share that with?

Now, I’m not ignorant of the fact that border safety must be done. That security for us and those coming in must be dealt with.  There has to be better solutions than what we have because I know and many do as well, but the immigrants/refugees/asylum seekers, are not going to stop coming into our country.  I think our world is setting them up in higher numbers to flee and come.


God in Your Mercy, help us to not cave into our own fears and worries, about fighting for things that cause divide, to understand we are not talking about a immigrant/fugitive/law breaker but a Person, a child of God, who is putting their hand out for help. +++

Little Italy, Big Blessings

My husband is fortunate to go to conferences that take him to other places.  This recent conference he’s attending is in  San Diego.  By the goodness of his heart, he asked me to come along  with him and take advantage of the ocean air.  No need for me to think twice, so I jumped on the opportunity.

We haven’t traveled like we used to.  By this time, midway through year, we usually have taken 3 trips.  Our marriage life has changed. Like mentioned before, Mom lives with us and so our decision making is based around her.  No complaints!  Just what we can do to make our lives balanced.

I always appreciate these trips.  Partly because it’s paid for by his employer and gives me time to think.  For some reason, I can’t think when mom is under my care.  My blogging for one is less.  Can’t seem to gather my thoughts.  I would like to work on that though.

There wasn’t much of a plan to my schedule while in San Diego.  I knew I wanted to think, have conversations with my husband, blog, read, and of course pray. I didn’t want to commit myself either.  Didn’t want to have to be somewhere if I was in the middle of  giving something attention.

Some people don’t mind that but for me, I can’t function that way. I need to.  Cut off communication for a bit so I can do what I need and desire to do.

Like let things come.  For example, yesteday was truly a treat!  I had just dropped off my husband at the conference and drove our rental down to Little Italy. I love hanging out in that area because yes, it makes me feel just a little, that I’m somewhere in Italy.  There are many you walk past who are speaking Italian.  The food is great and the cappucinos are even better.  I mean, when I can still drink a cappucino outside in June is a holiday to me. So after I parked my car in the parking lot that charges you way too much knowing you are either not going to park for two hours so let’s just give them a second option of 8 hours and gouge them.  After I paid $18, I knew I just wanted to pop into Our Lady of the Rosary Church which is right next to the parking lot.  Doors were wide open on a Monday about 11:30a.  I thought ‘oh it must be for us tourists’, so I found a pew, bended down on one knee doing the sign of the Cross, and knelt in prayer.  As I was near done, I saw there was a line gathering near what looked like the confessional??  Sure enough, they were.  I thought what is the chance I’m here?  First of all, I didn’t feel very well since I had been having stomach issues but thought no, I have time why shouldn’t I stay here. I got behind the last person and waited.

Thought there might be the chance, where I wasn’t going to get in.  There were quite a few people, but thankfully I made it.  After stating my sins, the grandfatherly like Priest (older man for sure), gave me spiritual direction I’ve heard before but for some reason, I needed to hear again.  He said “fight the devil” to the sins I confessed first and then said “God is under control, we have nothing to worry”, when I responded to “do you have anything more to add?”  His voice was strong, full of authority, experienced, but sincere.  How could I not take his advice and the penance I needed with understanding.

I left the confessional feeling brave.  I thought “wow, thank you Lord for bringing me here”. But then, after I rose my head up from praying,  I noticed people were coming in for holy Mass.  Sure enough, Mass was beginning at noon.  Once again, I told myself, well there’s nothing better I wanted to do than keeping myself in the pew and attend Mass.  This little parish is old school.  The parish itself is 120 years old.  The prayers said before Mass were not what I’m accustomed to. There was also a good amount of parishioners gathered.

When Mass ended, I hesitated to just get up and leave.  I thought what next??  But sure enough, the faithful departed. And I left feeling lifted!  How much I was meant to be there!

There are certain trips where I have an agenda.  Mainly, new places we have never visisted. But when I travel most relaxed, there are blessings that come with it.  Allowing God to speak to me because how He knows well, that I busy myself in thought, and don’t let what is needed to get done!

+++++

Thank you Holy Spirit, just passing the celebration of Pentecost.  To know what is in my heart always, even before I speak, so that you know what I need help with. thank you Lord, for caring for us even when we think it is going a different direction. To pull back, help to refocus, and see where you want us to head next!

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

 

Sidenote:  this parish, Our Lady of the Rosary, is undergoing renovations.  See their website to donate.  Also, if ever in Little Italy, San Diego, besides stopping at this parish, go to their gift shop as well.  Best shop with best variety I’ve ever seen.