A Time for Love

These last weeks I’ve been going through my Mom’s things. Mom passed away on April 12th. My sister and I have been sifting through, deciding on who will possess her things, donate, etc. And even though we went a solid week doing this, individually we are still going through Mom’s items. Being that Mom lived with my husband and I, I keep coming across treasures that are adding more to her memory.

There is something about life as a family when you lose your parents that my sister and I are now just appreciating or maybe it’s a whole new appreciation. Not that we didn’t appreciate our parents before, but I guess with maturity comes different perspectives. In the shuffle of time as a child, speaking for myself, I did much comparing my parents to others. Looking at how my friend’s parents spent time with them, gave attention, cared for, etc. That was my gauge. I grew up with that mentality and captured it against my parents, blocking me from seeing them individually and who they were.

It had much to do with feeling abandoned, which led to insecurity. Frustrations that turned me into being angry with my parents. There was never conversation or intimate talks on what had happened or where things were going. It was living through each day only to be disappointed.

To be clear, it’s not that my parents did not provide for me or celebrate me with birthday parties or Christmas gifts, but the relationship between parent and child and the respect needed was absent. I didn’t feel valued and neither did they. They were facing their own demons that only became stronger obstacles as life went by. Seeing them crutched my soul and paralyzed my lens towards them. Mom never explained to me her life situation, what she was facing, what she was battling when she made the decision to divorce my Dad. I only viewed it as her making the mistake. All my teen years was a lash out for that decision and a heart that at times was bitter towards her. I don’t know why she never shared. Instead she just let me be. Her life too became a result of broken love.

I recently found documentation from my Mom’s annulment process. This has forever changed my view on my Mom to which I regret not knowing about her struggles or her point of view at the time of her decision to divorce my Dad. Life was very different back then. No one butt into others business. Mom pushed through decision out of fear on both sides. Dad was spiraling in his life of addiction and had no grip on reality.

I can only speak for myself, but I feel if I would’ve taken the time to know my Mom as “Barbara” and not just Mom, my relationship with her could have been richer. I say this not to beat myself up, but with an appreciation and awareness to share that with my nephews and niece so they can find that fortune.

Mom was a very reserved person. She wasn’t one to share her frustrations or make her issues your issues. There was much to her life before she was married and while she was married that I did not know. While she lived with me, I did spend time asking her questions on her life. Those conversations were informative, but still didn’t reveal what I recently found.

The point I’m getting here is how much more profound it is to me the phrase “everyone is on a journey”. Dad and Mom battled their family circumstances/upbringing in their marriage. They were equipped with the knowledge they had. It was difficult and inconsistent. Any hurt my sister and I received was the side effect. It wasn’t that they didn’t love us, but they struggled to make it our strength.

Looking back at their lives, I am even more grateful to know what they overcame from all their trials, sufferings, disappointments, battles, by the redemption from Our Lord Jesus Christ. They found Him!

For whatever was absent in my childhood, I received a hundred fold when they both gave their lives to Christ. That is why their presence is greatly missed. Because the love that Christ wanted them to pour out onto our family broke through when they gave their lives to Him. My family and I all received that token of grace. Their lives were not their own. We experienced their love in endless ways that will live in our souls forever.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ache

Death can be cruel.

The mourning and grieving is the soft blade that strikes your soul out of nowhere in your day .

Given reality that reminds you of heartache and shame.

Heartache that doesn’t go away.

Heartache that everyday feels like a big empty void caught up in the air which is relieved by inhaling peace.

Peace that comes after the graces and then you do it again next day.

Shame often likes to appear.

From the many thoughts of things you wished you would’ve said while she was still here.

So much pent up appreciation with no air to go.

No other chance to say what you really wanted to say.

Death can be cruel.

Because all what you realize after never gets to be.

You at times feel incomplete.

But you know you can’t keep there but to run to the Father who will help.

That this cruel thing He can only transform into love for someone else.

 

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.

IMG_7737

Not a time to be lukewarm

During the start of the COVID19 quarantine, I decided to redo a study of Revelation that I had done a while back from my parish.  The study is from Jeff Cavins who created The Great Adventure Bible Study. I’ve taken a few of his studies and can’t express enough how much I learned and refer back to.

I was glad that I purchased the audio tapes since I could listen along with my study in one room , while my husband in the front of our house, so not to disturb him.

With the pandemic still lingering over our heads with an increase of uncertainty, I thought why not add more to my mind and redo Revelation.  Because those that know me, know I take stress very well. I kid. I kid.

Early on, I knew I could only read two chapters a day along with a lesson. And right from the start, the parallels of the readings were relative to the day.  You could not help but be gripped in seeing that!

At the same time on social media, I would see posts about the rapture, end of times, Bill Gates using a vaccine as an indicator of the number of the beast, all news stories proving to be we are at the end of the world. Most of these, I dismissed and still do. Because my faith doesn’t teach me to get wrapped up in the signs, but to invest my relationship with our Lord.  However, that’s not to say, the turmoil and chaos was expressing the same messages from the bible.  Shocking? No, that’s what it’s about.

Most of the days, our attention and focus was on the virus, until May 25th.

On May 25th, a Minneapolis officer and a black man, changed the course of our country’s attention and impacted the world. George Floyd was arrested for trying to use a counterfeit bill at a deli. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html).  This resulted in a homicide.  The officer was charged with third degree murder. There were three other officers involved, but have yet to be charged.  This entire incident was recorded.  It not only showed what the officers and Floyd were doing in the arrest, but you hear pleas for help from Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe!”

For over a week, our nation went from a somewhat relaxed, cautious position coming out of quarantine, to being thrown into bowl of anger, unrest, sadness, and hurt.  For me it’s hard to gauge sometimes where the population stands because obviously, social media can make it appear one way, but we really don’t know.  Those who are protesting this are using social platforms for the most part, but have taken to protests in city streets. By the third day, the protests began to ignite vandalism and destruction, burning down police stations, small businesses, looting, and spray painted.  The scenes of the cities now look like the pages of a futuristic comic book.

President Trump initially gave a strong, sympathetic response to the death of George Floyd.  Days after, when our country needed to hear more, as it only got worse, silence not only from him but our leaders as well.  Police are now armed in riot gear, show up to the city protests everyday and night.  Trump has now called for the National Guard to assist because the States are not doing a good job of combating the problem.  The protest continue and are growing, however the dissenters are infiltrating the protests appearing as protesters and making it worse for the message.  This is causing people to not pay attention to the issue but only look at the destruction.  They can’t see that it isn’t just a Black race issue, it’s a spiritual war.

Back to Revelation, I remember grabbing my study and referring to a passage about the Red Horse rider, chapter 6.

3When he broke open the second seal, I heard the second living creature cry out, “Come forward.”4* b Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take peace away from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And he was given a huge sword.

Jeff Cavins spoke about this passage in the context that it meant civil unrest and international strife.  Now, again, I’m not meaning to just point out signs.  I don’t meant to just refer to each and every sign . But the fact is the enormity of this reality not just here, but in China as well, as Hong Kong is uprising against the government.  I know this passage can definitely mean in a extreme case, and by the grace of God, because our prayer is great, it won’t become that.

There are Catholics, Christians, fighting together and fighting against each other.  One is fighting for conversation, education and unity and the other wants you to see that it’s a liberal campaign.  Those that detract from the message cannot see that Catholic isn’t standing up for one side only, it’s all the human race.  It’s not just the Black man, but the law enforcer too.  It’s the shop owner whose store front was burnt down.  It’s the White faithful who loves their Church.  It’s about the Hispanic community wanting a voice on faith based issues.  It’s about change to open dialogue seeing each other with a deeper lens. It’s not about defense, it’s about aiming for peace and healing.  Not carrying a rigid position that you’re not letting go of your opinions and/or beliefs for no one and nobody.  How is the world going to get to a place of peace, a principle, a virtue from our Lord, if we don’t let go of ourselves to get there?

John 15

The World’s Hatred.*18“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.n19If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.o20Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.p21And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.q22If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.r23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.s24If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.t25But in order that the word written in their law* might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’u

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem X

In this time
I find I
Though numbing as flight in the air
My mind goes
My body foes
God is always near
No drug I took
Just the humdrum of this thing
That comes over me
Stalled like someone who has tripped
Pulling, crawling
Coming to
‘Til a song breaks through
My dependence is new

Vegas Food

My husband and I get to Vegas at least twice a year.  I am fortunate to travel with him when he attends a conference first half of year and now for some reason, we love to go during the holidays.  The hotels go all out in their decor and that’s something I like to see and divulge myself in.

Over the years, I’ve become more familiar with the food circuit in Vegas. Either through chance, family reference, or food travel shows.

Vegas to me isn’t about gambling and club life. Vegas to me is food, food, food!!!  Vegas is Disneyland for adults!  It also has become an international mecca for me as it includes cuisine from all over the world.  It is also a spot where many foreigners gather.  Almost makes me feel like I am out of the country.

Here are a few pics of places I’ve gone to.

Places I like to eat/drink when in Vegas:

  • Paris Hotel – Mon Ami Gabi:  French Onion Soup
  • Aria – Carbone:  Bologonese
  • Aria – Todd English:  Fish and Chips
  • Aria – Jean Philippe Patisserie
  • Venetian  – Mario Batali/Otto Enoteca: Squash blossoms, antipasti
  • Venetian – Carlo’s Bakery:  Italian butter cookies
  • Caesar’s Palace – Francois Payard:  Macarons
  • Caesar’s Palace – Bejing Noodle
  • Bellagio – Buffet – Variety
  • Bellagio – Cafe
  • New York New York – Gallagher’s
  • Mirage – BLD:  Adult shakes
  • Cromwell – Giada: Bloody Mary and Rigatoni

 

 

Our Lady of the Rosary – San Diego, California

Our Lady of the Rosary church in Little Italy,  San Diego is a must every time we vacation there.  First of all, Little Italy is one of my favorite destinations.  Yes, because it gives me that Rome I desire everyday in my life.

So on Sunday’s, we attend Mass to begin our beautiful weather day in San Diego.

It’s not a very large parish, but it gives me that old time feel. The architecture, even the way the Priest projects his homily, makes me feel very connected to Our Lord.

The stained glass windows are tall and gives the church much reverence.  It’s hard to not keep staring at them.  And during mass, while the readings are read, I tend to look up at them and reflect. It all works together.

The pictures I have below are from multiple visits.

We were blessed during one of our visits, to celebrate Corpus Christi.  We joined in on the procession after Mass.

There is also a gift shop at the parish where I found my first My Saint My Hero bracelet. Now I have other items of their products and pass onto others as gifts. Look them up!

Their parish community seems to very much treasure what they have.  I always love going there.

I had to post this pic here as well.  On the same side of the church, other corner, there is an Italian bakery called Pappalecco.  Going to mass at Our Lady and then Pappalecco, goes hand in hand.

Everything is delicious.

So when in Little Italy, treat yourself to both.  You will never be disappointed.

Splinter, Beam, Plank! Ouch!

Why is it people will point out what you did wrong with them, but they never take notice they’ve also did the same thing to you or maybe sinned against you as well?

Matthew 7:3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

Lately, I’ve been noticing much with the finger pointing, but their finger never is twisted to turn back to themselves.

It feels like many are quick to blame or show others one is wrong in life.  For some, it’s been going on for years and still no noticeable self- reflection.

A flood of thoughts come to me on this because so much of the resolve of these mind battles are answered by Jesus.  Instead of letting go of bondage to their thoughts on someone or something, they let it relish in their souls to the point where they become hardened like a chunk of cement added to their hearts.

  • Prayer
  • Self examination of conscience
  • Humility
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation

Picture to me is profound. The outside cactus landscape depicts our sin. Thorns and dry brush. The chapel signifies to me Christ and His shelter.

All of these we are taught in our Catholic faith from our Lord Jesus. In his teaching to the apostles, from their teachings to the faithful and on.

I always try to review myself and see how I’ve fallen short. To begin with, there is no way I’m perfect, so before I start on with anyone else, I should fix me first. Don’t you think that is most of our problems? We don’t see our own sin?

One thing that is clear to me in my faith walk is if I have peace, then I have achieved some spiritual merit to a situation. That’s the ultimate result. If you’ve done the steps above and still have no peace, then there is something greater to be looked at, I believe.

Instead of adding another layer of blame to someone or something, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to let down our barriers to what forgiveness is all about. It’s not just waiting for the other person to come forward, but it also about us moving closer to Christ.

May Christ’s peace and unity rule our hearts! +++

 

Twist of Age

Recently a popular music artist by the name of Chris Cornell passed away. Apparent suicide.  The news was heartbreaking.  He was such a great talent to have killed himself at age 52 seems completely confusing.

Because of his passing, a slur of memories have come to mind not only from me, but also friends who during the 1980s, 90s were listening to  music like his that came out of Seattle. Grunge rock they called it!

Friends and I were used to playing music by Chris Cornell. In our cars, at home, at social events and even live shows that we would attend. We had friends who were in bands who played covers of the artists we liked.

It was rebellious.  It was loud. Went with what we were feeling at the time.

Somewhere around 1996, my music choices began to change.  In my mind I was thinking that whatever my interests were at a time that correlated to a past, I no longer wanted to hold onto.  So with a move out of the city to a bigger city, I left it.

For many years, even after my Lupus diagnosis, I kept myself from listening to music from that time. Until around 2011, when I turned 40.  I began adding the songs of  my past to my Spotify playlists.  Now I listen to it almost everyday along with other classic rock songs.

But yesterday’s tragedy of Chris Cornell’s passing got me thinking. Where are those artists today in their spiritual walk? I thought of it because I thought how awful if they also choose to take their own lives and not ever know their value that only comes from Jesus.

It also made me wonder who in the groups of friends I hung out with, whom I no longer have contact with, found Jesus.  I think of how wrong my life could’ve gone if I didn’t listen to those invisible texts in the sky from our Lord guiding me to follow Him.  Those decisions where I could have taken a road away from him but decided to one step it towards His light.

Now when I listen to music from the past, I listen to it differently.  All my gratitude where I’m at now in my life goes to Jesus in rescuing me out of darkness.

I wish these artists who unfortunately decided to take their lives were able to know the love of Jesus and could’ve written songs with the love they received from Him in their hearts.  But we will never know. So when I hear the music and their God given talent, I appreciate them on a different level.  Such mental suffering they were dealing with.   Thank God He is merciful and only He knows what happens to them at time of death.

Catechism of the Catholic Church – 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

So this post, goes to those who are struggling with love and validation in their lives.  To allow themselves to open up and share what they’re struggling with. To seek help and think of those who will suffer without them and how very important they are to their family and friends.  Life is precious.  Whatever it is you think you know about life, will be answered better if you give it to Jesus.

Rest in peace Chris Cornell +++

 

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Washington, D.C.

My family and I were blessed to visit Washington, D.C. several times. Due to an event that honored my Dad’s rehabilitation story.  During these trips we were able to see a couple of their parishes.

This one is the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The exterior is grand. I think this is the first basilica I’ve been to in the States where it reminded me of cathedrals in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had just completed a renovation.  This ceiling was redone in mosaic tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pieta located in their crypt of former bishops I believe.

This chapel is located on the same floor of the crypt.  I was able to attend Mass here with my family. Just beautiful.  I actually loved this design more than the main floor.

 

 

 

 

 

During our walks in D.C., my sister and I found this parish.  It was during an off time/week day but always happy when the front doors are open.

From the outside which seemed dark was nothing compared to the inside.  Was delighted to see the stained glass and organ pipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time in D.C. is always fun. To find old parishes like this one along walks to dinner or ice cream are always my favorite finds.

 

Leticia Ochoa Adams

Just trying to figure out this thing called life

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