Hearts around the world unite with yours
Prayers are sent
In all your beauty it does not fade
For through your people
His glory remains
Over 50…asking, seeking, knocking
Hearts around the world unite with yours
Prayers are sent
In all your beauty it does not fade
For through your people
His glory remains
Lately, I’m torn on whether to make known my identity.
When I first started this blog, I never had intent to give more information about myself. Only wanting to share my experiences to help others in their journey of faith.
Does sharing identify help or does it change focus to look at me and see me instead of my life story? Because if you were to see a picture of me, you may not see that I have had the life I had or have now.
From this blog, I also maintain an Instagram account. It gives a quick feed to what is happening in your blog or just simple insights. Without intending it to be, it has brought a community I had no idea existed. I receive much encouragement from it, as well as, I learn more about the faith that what I thought could be possible from this social media.
Honestly, revealing does have to do with the issue of confidence for me. Something I’ve struggled with all my life. The rejection, people misconstruing your intentions with pride, the pressure to portray who you truly are. The Instagram account wasn’t meant to fit a mold with other Catholic women, which I think (at times) accounts appears to show. I’m not saying it shouldn’t because I think it does benefit some. For me, the account is to express my faith in many areas of how I practice it.
For now, I think I will leave my account the way it is. I enjoy it and love to share. If it is fit for me to reveal, for a circumstance or situation , I will decide at that time. Until then, I’m thankful for those who follow this blog and Instagram account.
A while back I wrote a post that I very much wanted to get off my chest. However, because I was rushing and not paying attention, I deleted it by accident. I still had the subject line “Who am I?” But since then, this post content has changed.
It also has been a while since I’ve written. Lately, my mind has been busy and I just can’t get myself to settle to write.
Whether it’s making sure home life is right and somewhat in order for my Husband and my Mom or tending to opportunities I want to be a part of. For example, I want to do this formation or that formation, listen to this podcast, or read this book. But also, because my mind has been overloaded with news.
For whatever reason, I’ve been home alone these past two days to just “think”. I used to have this quite a bit before my mom moved in with us. I now appreciate it so much more, but I wouldn’t give up taking care of my mom to have it all again. These opportunities that come from time to time are embraced.
So what is it? Why do I feel a bit anxious, a bit emotionally weak? Pretty sure I am not the only one. Social media has so many thoughts about the current world. Sometimes you see one breaking down in tears and another is baking a cake.
But, with the news continually showing what is happening in one country recovering from natural disaster – hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, there is also added threat to this all from a dictator who is pushing his agenda to cause more suffering.
I don’t work, so I don’t have an 8 hour part of my day where I could invest my thoughts into something. So these last two days, I have been praying while doing whatever needs to be taken care of. Praying for those who died, who are waiting to be rescued, who are suffering, grieving, worrying, fearing.
It’s so strange the paradox that is going on. Here in Arizona, these days have been beautiful. Such ease – being able to drink my morning coffee in comfort. Grocery shop with many options. Take a shower. Lay comfortably in my bed at night. Read a book. It feels both guilty and very grateful at the same time.
How are we to keep joy when so much around seems grim?
You know what came to mind? I think of Saint Paul singing in prison.
She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Then it came out at that moment.
When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
Deliverance from Prison. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened…
This passage always blows my mind. Paul didn’t fear what was about to happen to him. He continued to stand up for belief in Jesus and even after they tortured him, he still carried on giving thanks and glorifying God. Making sure all around him witnessed his true example.
Who am I these days? It’s been somewhat challenging with family and friends around me these past weeks, where I suited up the Armor of God to help them in their weaknesses even though I too have felt challenged. Reminding them to pray, not to lose hope, keep reading the scriptures, get to Church.
Who do you say that I AM? Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Whether time is near for Jesus to return, whether there will be much more suffering ahead, I hope our faith becomes stronger and love pours out from our souls. To know Jesus has conquered the world. To continue living each day directing our lives to Him.
Lord God, I want only for the appearance of my face and the depth of my soul to show your presence in my life. Make me an instrument of your peace and use me for your will during these trying days and for what’s ahead so that you find us ready. +++
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
‘Til a song breaks through
My dependence is new
The battle of ourselves and understanding Our Father who is in control.
Repeatedly throughout my adult life, I have dealt with self control. I had life experiences that only made me teach myself to depend on my responding emotions.
Mechanisms to guard my heart from hurt, pain, confidence, courage.
As I explained in my blogs of transformation from my lupus diagnosis, is where the self control changed.
However, even after years of growing deeper into my Catholic faith, being attentive and obedient, I find myself cave in at times and throw myself back to the pits of self control.
Mostly, when it comes to family issues that grab me with anxiety or worry. Things I wish I could help, but know I physically have no power.
Why is that?
At times, I want to blame it on the lupus. Stress is a factor of what causes lupus flares. I figure, my body does not have any tolerance for worry so as soon as I respond to it in my body, I shut down.
Then, I think, it's my age. Yes, my age. I'm older so any ounce of worry, I shrivel up. That's got to be it too… right?
What I do know is that when I find myself in worry over something, I do feel the Holy Spirit taking hold of me. I will remember to turn it over to Jesus and ask Him to take it. It may not always be that immediate moment, but it does happen.
What I want to attain, is that I don't cause 'me' to happen at any situation in life. I desire my soul to respond by His holy will and just issue a sense of peace to whatever comes my way. I mean, I imagine that's what Pope Francis does and our religious priests and nuns…right? They always look so at peace.
Is this anxious/worry thing a Cross? I wonder, but don't put too much thinking into it since I'm convicted to not focus on it.
In my family, there are many plagued by worry. To the point where it transforms into high blood pressure. Thankfully, I do not have that. But I know my family is prayerful. And whenever something strikes us, I am the one to say to pray. We all do to each other at times. Thanks be to God!!
At this stage in my life, I'm thankful Our Lord helps me to recognize it. I'm thankful my prayer is always asking God to help and take the issue/situation. That I know I'm not stranded in the desert.
And that's just it!
That we live this life continually knowing we are not god. Life will always give us stress. I am not perfect. Will I ever be? That's not my concern either. But that I get stronger in what I know Jesus wants from me.
"Be thou my Wisdom" +++
"I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” – John 16:33
It was in a bible study class from my parish, where I first learned about the indelible mark.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1121 : The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.
The clarity of this mark became known to me in my early 40s. The whole time before that I had no idea what it meant.
Once I learned of this love that deciphers us from the world, it made my heart grow in a sense that the family, the Church, widen up to a bigger picture.
At times, when I walk around my city, or in the Church pews, or when I’m traveling, I often receive an emotion of peace and a strength because even though I can’t see that others are also marked I know among them they are around me.
For me, it’s a badge of honor, coat of arms, military colors, a wedding band. It helps me remember who I am to be.
In my family, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning the significance of this mark and how very important I should keep myself reminded of it. I can’t fully blame my immediate family because my parents carried their faith into our lives on how they received it. No one dug deep into the faith.
I feel because of what God has given me, the knowledge I have to this point, the fire/zeal to learn about the faith, makes me responsible for sharing it. We all are called to.
What a precious gift we’ve been given in these sacraments where the ‘mark’ is given. How even when we do the Sign of the Cross, it’s a pronounced action of what is already transfixed in us.
I recall a bible study that explains when the end of time comes, Our Lord will identify us by this indelible mark.
Revelation 7:4 I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked* from every tribe of the Israel.
The work from those with this mark have much to do. Until the very end, our lives need to keep proclaiming for God’s will to be done. Often at times in my life, I feel like I could be doing more. But I recognize I have allowed fear to halt the work and all I can do is ask God to get me where He wants me to be and remove whatever barrier(s) are preventing me from living out my purpose.
I value more the fact that when I rise in the morning, the first thing I do is the Sign of the Cross. This is how I begin my day and end it.
Lord God, this day, and everyday, may we live out the indelible mark. +
When I got really sick with C-Diff in 2008, my stomach, digestion, and lifestyle changed. I had caught a bad cold and made the mistake by going to an urgent care center. Having Lupus, I should have waited to see my doctor. So the urgent care center, gave me a general prescription to treat cold with a 14 day antibiotic.
I took it and immediately after stopping, I got sick. It depleted all the good bacteria in my intestines. C-diff kicked in my already low immune and I was sent to the ER. I had severe pain in my stomach. I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom. I was feverish. They admitted me and placed me on powerful antibiotics and morphine. I was weak and miserable. The hospital doctor said that I could’ve died. I still can’t believe that!
I was mad that I couldn’t go home by the second night and was released on the fifth day. At this time, my emotional demeanor took a bad turn.
The first night home was awful. I cried in panic over what I was feeling physically. I couldn’t sleep at all. So for days after, the routine was the same. I sweat through t-shirts at night, didn’t eat much throughout day, always woke up with anxiety, stayed in our room for the most part, and cried. When I left the hospital, they continued me on a high antibiotic. During the day, my mom or sister would take care of me. Mom made cream of wheat cereal, which was the only thing that would satisfy my hunger and go well in my stomach. I ate it for dinner too.
After a week or so, I remember having an urge to just be by myself. So I asked my mom and sister to go out for a bit. As soon as they left, I dropped down and cried. I felt suffocated. I cried in fear asking God once again to help me out of this misery.
Days ahead, I tried to start eating again. From the time I was in the hospital to about a week out, I had lost much weight. When I had a follow-up visit with the doctor I weighed in at 98 pounds. I tried to reintroduce food into my system again. But everything I ate hurt to digest. It wasn’t worth it. So then I started becoming accustomed to a new diet. A friend of mine introduced me to JuicePlus supplements and alkaline foods. I couldn’t eat any fried foods, any rich sauces, any dairy, any treats/baked goods, etc. Couldn’t drink coffee like I used to. I also started taking a daily probiotic supplement that helped with good bacteria. All started to give me some life again.
But this was only one side of the struggle.
Even though I could start eating again, my emotional battle was something else. I felt many days as if I was trying to run away from myself. Still had anxiety and panic attacks. I spent much time with my aunt who lived near the ocean. The ocean gave me relief. Some peace. For about six months, I still had been living this same way. In the midst of it all, I was prayerful, attending Church, and keeping up with life. I know that my prayer had to stay strong. I knew Our Lord was helping me even if I couldn’t see the results right away. I remember getting myself to weekday Mass not feeling good and fighting with the thoughts of just going home, staying in bed. Kneeling in the pew, feeling dizzy and weak, but always feeling better after.
It took about two years, before I could have coffee the way I liked – cappuccinos, lattes. I also started eating some fried foods and enjoying my favorite food – Italian. Much time after that, I was able to drink wine, eat rich cheeses, ice cream, salad dressing, chili/salsa which is where I am now.
I have a new profound respect for food. I also have this defense in that if a sick person wants to eat something that no one should stand in their way. Obviously, I don’t mean a diabetic. My Dad during his battle with cancer still had an appetite and I loved watching him eat. Food gives so much comfort! Now I recognize that when I do get sick if I can still eat and taste the food, I’m good! What is also strong to my senses is human suffering. My body reacts different when I find what pain and suffering someone maybe going through. A sense I didn’t have before.
I love to make food and try new recipes. I love to go out to eat, try new spots, and enjoy meals with friends and family. I even plan trips with my husband based on the food scene in those places. Food is my joy. If I can enjoy it without it causing my health to go bad, then I’m going to enjoy it and not feel bad if a pound or two latch on. I can’t only do healthy eating. We do well during the week, we balance and then on the weekends we feast!
And never once do I take my eating for granted. I give thanks to God we have the food to eat and enjoy all its flavor.
So the point is even though I had already experienced much with my faith at this time, my response to this trial was different. I had never known fear this way. I had never experienced panic attacks. My faith in action was completely new and the battle for my soul was on! But I never took the bait even after months of having to fight it! And that’s it! Your prayer is always heard. Never stop praying or speaking to Our Lord always offering up your suffering for His peace in your heart. You keep on and He will make all things new! +++
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
From the time of diagnosis (SLE) through now, my faith has carried me through. I have not always responded in the best way, but I learned much and it has given me a deeper relationship with Jesus.
So much of my life after my lupus diagnosis took different directions that I soon realized my life wasn’t mine but Our Lord’s.
When I was diagnosed, I had been going to Church but I was not yet knowing the whole picture. My husband hadn’t been going and we were married for 4 years at this time.
There were many signs and symptoms I was having that led up to this, but even once learning what it was, I had some denial. I was even more shocked to learn the lupus I was diagnosed (and there are 3 forms), is the terminally ill one.
Even though I thought I would have some time to wrap my head around this new reality, turned out not to be the case for me. My physical pain took over. I was given some heavy duty drugs to cope. I started losing hair and gaining weight because of the prednisone. My stomach was always making me uncomfortable or in pain. I had less energy and started to find myself less outgoing. To top it off, the sun became an enemy and of all places to live, Arizona, was hard to avoid.
At one point after having to call into work sick every week, I remember crying and just wanted things to go back to the way they were. I was home alone, got out of bed, and looked out of our bathroom window just asking God to help me.
My work had become more difficult to do and I took this hard. I had worked myself into a promising career and then had to let it go, at least for a while I thought. So I had to resign.
I wanted to be a part of something so I signed up to go to a bible study and attended a women’s fellowship at our Church. I met some great people and felt very comfortable. Eventually, I went on a retreat with my husband that was life changing for the both of us. My husband’s oldest brother had passed away and his heart too was seeking answers to what was going on with his life and connection to those who were suffering.
For the both of us, we started to take our faith more seriously. I remember having a huge desire to learn more about the faith even during the hard hit news abuses of the Church and the number of people leaving. I felt a clear distinction that my faith was real and could not be broken. There was too much I didn’t know about it to leave it and the atrocity, the evil, that wanted to ruin it wasn’t going to include me as a collaborator to break its foundation. As it’s said in Mass, “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church”.
Sure enough to this day, I find myself defending Church teaching to untruths. Getting stronger cleared my eyes to see I am a part in the Body of Christ.
My fervor grew and I tried things I didn’t think I would do like public speaking, host bible studies at our home, and volunteer.
When my Dad got diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma, I felt as though I had been prepared. It gave me new insight to suffering as I saw my Dad go through it. He too found Jesus after he spent most of his adult life to drug and alcohol addiction. He became a born again Christian and restarted his life. So when we got news of his cancer, our family life was about helping him. My Dad passed away 6 months later.
A few months after, my husband and I were blessed to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. The timing was perfect! It swept us off our feet! All the rich Church history, meeting other Catholics who were in different points in their journey, and answers to areas of the Church we thought we knew. This experience placed love in our hearts and protection for our faith to not just see our faith as a building and good advise but living, breathing, as clear as Christ is the Church! Can’t separate.
There was a conversation I had with a friend close to this time. She asked me if I was angry at God for allowing my lupus to be. It hit me and said to her it was a blessing. From it, my life has forever changed in my deeper faith to Him and continues too. Thanks be to God! +++
“What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8
Just trying to figure out this thing called life
Over 50...asking, seeking, knocking
Finding Faith in the Field.
Interpreting the Bible with modern applications and experiences.
Consecrated life in the Diocese of Phoenix
food for thought, thoughts about food, etc
The Bible makes more sense to me now that I'm Catholic