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!!!

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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+++.

 

Vocation and God’s gifts

Here I am Lord, help me to find purpose in this life!

Have you ever prayed and prayed and are so willing for it but don’t know what it is? Yes, that’s me.

After being employed with a great company from the start of my marriage until having to quit due to my lupus (2003), I have always tried to keep busy in some way. So after receiving the desire to learn more about my Catholic faith, helped me become aware of the needs of the Church. So I sought out volunteer work.

I remember I started with prison pen pals.  A ministry where you were given names, age, of women to whom you could write to for spiritual guidance. I took this very seriously and really wanted to make the young women know I was praying for them.  I also had volunteered for a ministry where I would send aid and letters to a young girl in Pakistan.  I would receive pictures of her as years would go by and letters letting me know how she was doing.

At our Church, they had an ad in the bulletin about a need for crisis pregnancy center volunteers to help young women receive pregnancy tests and guidance to choose life for their unborn child. I signed up! I knew right away this is what I wanted to do.  I loved it and truly felt the Holy Spirit. I volunteered at Crisis Pregnancy for a few years.

I then volunteered at a food pantry called Paz de Cristo.  I loved the service they provided and volunteered part-time but then later took on a paid part-time position.  I was there two years assisting in all areas food stock, data entry, odds and ends.  At this time, I felt my health was getting a bit better where I could gauge how I would feel, so felt the courage to apply at the Diocese of Phoenix. I applied in the Human Resources department and God once again allowed me the desires of my heart.  I was working full-time and felt like I was back on track in the workforce.  I was doing well but knew I wanted to be closer to the faith and it’s education. That’s when I was offered a position in Family Catechesis.  This position paid less but the rewards were there!  I loved the group of people I worked with and learned so much about the faith. I was happy going to work and never complained what it asked of me.IMG_9384[1]At this time it was 2008. Once again, all of it changed. I caught C-Diff. A bacterial infection that cleans out your intestines of good bacteria and because of my lupus did so in quick fashion.  My system antibodies do not know how to fight and so they attack the good causing my system to shut down.  I was hospitalized for five days. Hospital doctor told my husband I could have died. I was given a strong antibiotic that to this day I pray I never have to take again because I am educated now on what I can do if needed. Even though I had a supportive boss, the setup for me to work from home or have any flexibility to hold onto my position was becoming a problem. I then quit and turned my attention to bettering my health.  For two years after the infection, I was still dealing with physical and emotional effects.  I was told by a friend who is a psychologist that I had PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.  I had many restless and anxious nights. The fear of what it did to me caused my faith to grow in a new way – once again.

Back to vocation, since I no longer worked a desk job or received a check from an employer I have found ways to participate in this world with skills I have learned. So after a career in human resources and different work within the Diocese (administrative clerk work), I used some of the talent I gained and opened up a print design business from my home.

I received small jobs from time to time assisting in invitations, programs, business cards, flyers, posters, procedural manuals, etc.  Most of the work I did came from organizations within the Diocese – ministries, conferences, pro-life groups, youth education. It allowed me to do the work from any place at any time. Even with that flexibility, Our Lord always knew when I could take on work. Great thing is that when life challenges came, I wouldn’t have any work and then when life had time to focus on something, I would get work. It “worked” like that for three years.  It was great!!

But after a go at running this small business for these few years and I no longer had the passion for it, I knew it had reached its end.

Not that I no longer help out others like the Diocese, friends and/or family with print needs.  From time to time they come in and I’m just grateful to help.  However, because I didn’t find myself being aggressive enough and/or life events would take precedence, I decided it’s run was over.  I was happy in what I did produce but knew it was time for change.

I went through prayer asking the Lord to put in me something new.  So on one night I was watching TV and found a program speaking about atrocities done to the elderly in adult assisted living homes, a desire started to brew in my heart.

I knew I did not have the education or experience to become a caretaker but wasn’t sure that was where I wanted to be.  Then one day I saw a need for prayer aides for hospice facilities.  I knew this was it.  I took the training and began this volunteer need.  Right away I was taken by the reality of speaking to someone who was near death. Literally meeting them and then knowing next time I would come back to the hospice they would no longer be alive.  I’ll never forget the faces I looked at or the small conversations I had. I always prayed before I entered the building and prayed when I found them sleeping.  And I would always leave with more strength in my faith then when I arrived.

At this time, this is now on hold. After my Mom moving in and the many doctor appointments we had to go to, I could no longer be responsible for my shift. So I had to put it on hold.  I don’t know if I’ll be back at it again but I know for sure it had purpose!

I’m now praying for the vocation I am now in with my Mom.  People have told me that’s why I was sent for training for the hospice, because of my Mom.  I believe that and I’m still praying for His will to be done knowing … there is something else coming.

Why I share all of this is because none of these positions I held or volunteer work I did would have ever been on my radar if it wasn’t for my deeper conversion. Once I asked Jesus into my life, he took me to places where I could help and receive spiritual growth! Benefiting both the places where I helped and in turn helped me. We all have gifts and if you open your heart to the Holy Spirit, He will lead you. How I learned that lesson from the gospel and from Saint teachings!

Lord Jesus, may Your will be done!+++

Seasons

My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We have no children but try to be in our nephews and nieces lives giving them guidance and/or any support. We’ve never had to take care of any child more than a day and had teenagers stay with us but then go back home to their parents after a week.

So at the end of 2015, it became an instant learning experience, when my Mom moved in with us.

For about a year, my sister and I found ourselves in more stress about my mom’s living conditions. She was living in her home along with my 29-year-old nephew. At first, seemed like a great idea since we took him to be reliable in “watching over her”. See my sister and I both live in other cities.

But things started to drastically change.

She was sent to the ER with peculiar symptoms that resulted in liver issues. Her symptoms were slow and/or slurred speech, disoriented, slow movement, and heavy sleeps.

IMG_9382Due to other issues that surrounded her health, my sister and I felt it best to have her move out of her home and move in with my husband and I. My sister who lives in a more rural area, knew Mom would receive better medical help in Arizona.

However, the change for her was quick even though we had been giving her much time to go over what was coming. To us, our minds were able to distinguish, but for her it didn’t come in that same manner.

In the months following, not only were we trying to find out reason for her health symptoms but she was going through depression of not being in her home and her home town. She never lived anywhere else but Tucson, AZ.

I, too, found myself trying to get used to the new life my husband and I now have. What we had before has changed some. For me, more so, since I’m concerned with her day-to-day. It was getting to be much that for a few months, the stress was getting to me. Waking up with clenched teeth/locked jaw. Trying to compensate her day with things I thought could take away the void she had.  Missing her home, her grandchildren, her family who all lived in the same city.  It was much to let go.

Moreover, not only the change our household living changed, emotional change, but the responsibility of caring for someone was new to me. At 45 years of age, I have never cared for anyone in this way other than for ourselves but we have always lived very simple.

At first, I didn’t think how much it would change our lives. Not in a burden type of way, but our communication, our time alone. There are times when I get nervous or anxious because I fear losing touch with my husband since I’m still learning how to focus on multiple things. It’s like I am concerned for both of them trying to please everyone under our roof.

Part of me finding courage to write this blog is due to this now situation in my life. How my faith is very much of a part of it and praying for God’s will since I thought I was going in a different direction.

I know my Mom is with us for a reason. Not just for a place to stay. Our Lord works in ways that help us confront areas of our lives that we otherwise may not pay attention to.  I need to be aware of that. My husband and I can learn much.

I know my prayer life can be better. It always can, right? Not wanting to cause more stress in my marriage or home, I need to be armored up.

So for those of you who are in a similar situation where you are now caring for a parent, reversed roles, share with me your prayers, success to overcome difficulties, your support, etc. It’s all still very new to me and all I want is to have peace in our home and serve God outside of it too! +++

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music! Can’t live without it!

Yes I’ve always had a love for music.   Those close to me know my taste in music and are always shocked what I want to share with them.  It’s actually pretty funny!!

My attention to music began around 5th grade.  I was taken by “Saturday Night Fever”, “Grease”, and all the musical films.  I even took up the clarinet for two years in elementary.  I loved my clarinet.  I loved going to the music store to buy reeds. Wow, I was a musician!

Fifth grade included the popular 80’s music of the time. Duran Duran, Howard Jones, Madonna, U2, INXS, Frankie goes to Hollywood, English Beat, WHAM….This was also the same time MTV broke out! Video watching was my past time. You not only got to see your favorites sing, their fashion, but learn dance moves too.  My room was covered with Duran Duran.  Unfortunately, I never did get to see them in concert but it didn’t stop me from being loyal.

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But as with stages in my life, when my Mom and Dad began their decline to divorce, my music became dark.  I was also influenced.  So at the turn of 6th and 7th grade, I started listening to heavy metal. I remember buying a Motley Crue t-shirt at a swap meet and being proud to wear it.  A rebel I thought I was! I started distancing myself a bit from certain friends and found myself with new ones. The t-shirt I wore had a pentagram on it.  I had no idea what it was. Just thinking it was a design. I can’t remember how I found out later or someone told me.  My mom didn’t take it from me either so in my mind I guess I thought it’s ok then! Not sure she knew what it was.

My interest in music stayed this way all through high school.

I had cassettes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, RATT, Skid Row, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Megadeth,…I’m sure there was more heavy metal bands I had but I can’t remember! I also attended just about every concert that would come into town. It was like a badge of honor to collect ticket stubs. Yes I still have them.

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The influence of this music was also due to the type of boyfriend I had in High School.  Unfortunately, at a time where I really needed parental/spiritual guidance, I found myself being very needy of someone’s attention at no matter the cost.

I had much freedom from the music I purchased, clothes I wore, concerts I attended, people who I associated with, time, etc.

Around my senior year, by the help of some very kind friends, I did very well my senior year in order to place myself in good college entry courses.  My maturity brought a bit of change in music too. I was interested in Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Beastie Boys, to name a few.

In 1993 is when I met my husband to be.  He couldn’t have been more different than what I was “accustomed to”.  We had mutual friends and that’s how we met. He came from a disciplined family, attended Catholic school, and graduated from university. We often went to dance clubs with family and friends. We enjoyed our fun with the sound of Heavy D, Boyz II Men, and whoever else was being played in the clubs. Can’t say it stuck with me but I did enjoy dancing! To this day, we still are an odd music bunch!

I had a short affair with country music. I still am a fan of George Strait, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. And of course, Johnny Cash.

After a pilgrimage to Italy in 2006, an awareness to global music was found.  I right away found interest in European artists who sang mainly in their native tongue. I found that I could get a radio feed from here and listen music from anywhere .  With the help of iTunes, I started downloading artists such as Pino Daniele, Jamiroquai, Negramaro, Jovanotti, Laura Pausini, to name a few. It made me feel connected to other parts of the world.

In finding spiritual music, I found  chant music to the most reverent when I want to go to that prayerful place.  My playlists include Cysterian Monks, Poor Clares, and Gregorian. I am not a fan of Christian popular music that is too loud or blaring.  If you want to me to think about my relationship with Jesus it shouldn’t be like the pop music over the radio.  That’s just my opinion.

If you listen, there are many artist who give glory to God. U2 is one of my favorites!

Music will always be a way out for me to an emotional place!

St Cecilia, pray for us! +++

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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