Category Archives: holymatrimony

San Juan Capistrano Mission – San Juan Capistrano, California

Thanks to my cousin who showed me the Mission.

In my stays in San Clemente, I was blessed to be shown around the other beach towns from family.  One spot that I always try to go to to this day is San Juan Capistrano.

Over the years it has changed, but one thing that hasn’t is the Mission and its properties.  It’s great because you can pay a small fee and tour the old mission and see how St. Junipero Serra founded this mission. Not only did he find the San Juan Capistrano mission, but also eight other missions throughout California.

The property is gorgeous and once you are within the walls that surround the mission, it feels like you are taken back in time. It is filled with beautiful gardens and sounds of nature.

Outside of the Mission, are eateries and shopping. Strolling about, gives me that sense of Rome.

This is a statue of Junipero Serra in front of the basilica.

Altar

This is a niche with Saint Juan Diego.

Outside, back of basilica, are the ruins of the original mission.

To think this is where the main altar was. You can see it probably included small statues within its wall.

Mass is still celebrated in this chapel. I’m guessing it holds about 50??

The look and feel of this mission is just peaceful.  When walking through the gardens, you get the coastal air. I could sit there for hours.  There is also a gift shop that carries many beautiful handmade religious items.

San Juan Cap is definitely where I like to go each time I get to Orange County.

Here is more information on the Mission and Basilica.

http://www.missionparish.org/

 

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – Tucson, Arizona

My first parish.

I was baptized here, made my first holy communion, confirmed, and was also married.

It was also my grandmother’s and mother’s parish since it was located in their neighborhood.

I remember it feeling very grand walking in. I remember the sights and smells also. Burning candles or incense. Dark reds, blues, golds. Fresh flowers.

As you walked in you faced the altar that had a tall cross hanging from the ceiling upon red velvet centered behind. On either side there were niches with saints and kneelers to which you could go to and pray.

On the top balcony at entrance, this is where the organ pipes would ring out vibrating sounds. Sometimes the sounds would scare me because it always pounded out loud pitches.

I remember clearly the day of my confession. It was not inside the confessional, which I was sort of hoping for. Instead, the priest and I sat face to face in a pew near front. I guess for kids, they felt this to be the better approach than an a dark small room.

I also remember many weddings and baptisms at this parish. My family in Tucson is large, so every year it felt like there was some event to attend there.

This parish also has special significance because it so happens my husband also received all of his sacraments here as well.

Now that I’m moved away and my mom no longer lives in Tucson, I do not attend it much. There are still weddings or special masses given to which from time to time I’m there, but not as a regular Sunday participant.

With new priests and changes over the years, the altar is no longer the same. It saddens me because the original invoked many spiritual thoughts and the new appearance does not provide that for me.

In any case, I try to remember the times as a child I had there and still find it a special place that I hold close to my heart.

This was taken before all the changes were made to the altar. I want to say most here was original to what it was like when first built. Now the altar does not have any of this appearance but instead a wall with a painted cross.

On each side leading to altar are stained glass windows to this day I believe are the original. Also there are two altars aside the main altar. One with St. Therese of Lisieux and I believe St. Joseph.

I’m not sure who provided these art depictions in front of the parish, possibly the city, but this one is right in front. I love the touch it brings the community and the history of this neighborhood church.

Two for Tuesday

Two songs right now in the Christian music hemisphere that get to me.  Honestly speaking, I don’t listen to popular Christian music much.  I tend to listen to traditional hymns when I want to “go there”. But these two songs really move me.  Take a listen!

Audrey Assad – This song and video relates to me so much!!

Audrey Assad – New Every Morning

Travis Greene – This song helps me to be reminded.

Travis Greene – Intentional

 

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?

IMG_4916

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.”

 

 

 

 

Cradle Catholic, not really.

My parents did not share the same faith.  My mom received the sacraments in the Catholic church and my Dad was a son of a Free Methodist Pastor.  My mom wanted me to have the sacraments too and my Dad supported it.

My Godparents as I grew up were not faith nurturing but despite that I had an abundance of love from them.  Our family was not "church going".  I can't recall us going to Mass as a family unless it was for a reason like someone getting married.  In fact, I don't remember ever praying with my parents or spending time learning what faith was about.

During my time as a child, my maternal grandmother took care of me while my parents were at work.  In her humble house she had an altar.  It had a pastel painted Virgin Mary and other smaller sized saints made out of plaster which in my Mexican culture are called "Santitos".  I remember when it was nap time, she would have me lay in the bed that was right near her altar of Saints.  I would often play with them like they were barbie dolls. I wondered who they were and why she had them in a corner in her room that had candles and flowers. I can remember the smell of burning wax from her prayer candles and the reflections of the Saint figures on the walls.  I remember feeling all this but I can't recall why she had this in her home and why it was important to her.  My grandmother passed away when I was eleven.

For my First Holy Communion, I remember loving the idea that I would be wearing a mini wedding dress including a veil. I remember the excitement about the party that was coming to celebrate it. Oh it was a big party too! Tons of family brought me gifts like rosaries and prayer books. I had a sugared cake with white frosting and a plastic communion girl on top. But soon after the party, all that I was taught in catechism was lost.  I had no more nurturing from the teachers nor did what I learn come from my parents. 

Around this same time, my Dad's drug addiction started. Our family life became more about drinking.  There was no spiritual direction in our home. No compass.

communion

When my only sister got married, I was in 6th grade, I would attend Church with her and her new little family.  We went to the neighborhood Church.  I remember feeling peace and happy she would always include me.

My high school years were not filled with guidance from my faith.  In fact, all that a teenager can do without someone being there to protect or set straight, I did. Drugs, sex, suicidal tendencies, etc.  I didn't know my value.

After high school and a bad breakup with a high school boyfriend, I started back up and attended Church with my sister and her family.  And even though I had a foot in the door (so to speak) I still was living a sinful life.  Doing what most young 20 year olds do – going to clubs, drinking, and being promiscuous. Not grasping what I was hearing in Church or realizing it was to be my life.

In fact outside of going to Church with my sister and her family, not much about Jesus was spoken of.  Don't recall family talking much about Him either. If anyone was showing me any path it was my sister, who was receiving some guidance through her in-laws.

However, now looking back I know that those "seeds" that were planted by my mom and sister throughout my young life were there to help me where I am now.  I can look back and see the Hand of God despite the child life I was given or the choices I made.  

We all have journeys and not everyone takes the same path to finding a relationship to Jesus. This is why I find it important for me to share with others who might have a similar past or are living this now.  To make aware how our Father God is truly real, is always by our side, and never gives up on us. Ask, seek, and knock! In the end it's about when you desire Jesus in your life! +++

God’s design in a Spouse

Before I cry my eyes out, I’m going to try to write this blog on how I met my husband.

I was working at a telemarketing company that changed to a teleservice company, where calls would come in and we would schedule service appointments. I had already been working in the building when Noah started working there. He was a manager and I was a clerk working in the human resources office.

We had mutual friends and so getting to know each other was easy. Even though we would share time on weekends at the same bars, our worlds were not exactly the same.

He came from a family that was in my view a traditional Mexican family. His parents were married and his make up included higher level education.  For being in his mid twenties, he showed determination, motivation, and success for which I didn’t see in anyone else around me.

My life at that time was finding who I wanted to be. After a horrible six-year relationship with my high school boyfriend. I had quit college and was enjoying the life I had. The teleservice job was the best thing I had going. It helped me to meet new people and to think differently of what I wanted to pursue. So ending this relationship and working in this place was a God-send.

My previous six years before I met Noah, consisted of a dark world. I met this boy in my Freshmen year and thought I found someone who would give me attention. My sister was married and out of the house, my parents were divorced. My life was up in the air and he came in at the right time. Much of my time and energy went into this guy. He was in a rock band and had dreams of becoming a rock star. I thought I was in love. My high school years consisted of following him around, losing myself in the mix.

What do I mean by that? I had been an honor roll student. I had a good group of friends. Once I found myself dependent on his attention towards me, I lost sight of both. He made me feel insecure without him and knew how to work my already low self-esteem. To not have to share too much about this and rather get to the point, he broke my spirit which was easily done since I had no spiritual nurturing throughout high school. No one telling me I am a child of God.

After six years and facing up to the abuse he showed me (verbal, physical, trust issues, low self-confidence), I decided to break free.

I tried a stint at college but that only led me to going out to clubs and enjoying the small check I was receiving. I didn’t have to worry about responsibilities because my Dad bought me a car for my senior graduation gift and my mom didn’t demand I contribute to the home.

I worked a few jobs before I took on work at the telemarketing/teleservice center.

After a year, going out with Noah and a group of friends each time, I let him know that I liked him more than a friend. This led to our first date. I’ll never forget I was at my sister’s home in her kitchen, telling her that I think Noah is going to be my husband. She thought that’s quick! But I just knew it in my heart! 

Noah and I dated for almost two years before he asked me to marry him. My family right away loved him. He was respectful, honorable, and they knew he came from a good family.

When he asked me to marry him, he was already out of Tucson and had been living in Phoenix pursuing his career. I knew by accepting his proposal would mean leaving my family, leaving all that was familiar. I was so ready!!!

IMG_9380

In all of my choices/life decisions I had made, what I went through, what I saw in marriages around me, Our Lord knew how much I wanted what was of His design. To have someone who would love me, care for me, treat me with the dignity and respect any woman should have. To have a marriage that would in turn not be about us, but about living for God. I know 100%, Noah and I got married for many reasons. I know that moving away was for a bigger reason. I can see all of God’s work through it all. My husband and I know now, that we are here to help those in our family and anyone else.  My Lord truly gave me someone who I can’t imagine never having in my life.  He is a big force in the life of my nephews and is greatly loved by his family and friends. He shows me time and time again on charity, patience, and selflessness. Through Noah, my good Lord, shows me that His presence is with us everyday. That He is guiding us through our marriage and has always had us, even when we didn’t make the best decisions. He knew we were to be together and if we allowed Jesus to be in our hearts, He would show us the way.

Thank you Lord God for having your hand in our marriage. May we ask you to consecrate us into your most sacred Heart+++.