Tag Archives: faith

How do we ACTS?

It’s almost a week after our President’s inauguration.  There has been non stop coverage on his every move which has included executive orders.

I can’t remember past Presidents in their first week implement so much change.

Social media is flooded with people’s opinions. Most I’ve seen are those opposing him being President. I can see popular celebrity news spots helping the cause. In addition, sources who are not legit news sources, spreading fake information.

It’s crazy to me that some can’t tell the difference and so they share and pass on the wrong information.

I’ve been tempted to want to point out or say something but I come to the conclusion they’re just going to believe what they want to.  What a mess our news media is in!!

In these times we must be smart! Pay attention to what is happening around us to know how to combat the enemy which is the Deceiver himself. The joy of chaos it’s embracing seeing division and destruction.

I just wish more would search accurate facts of the issues and not just what a popular group wants you to believe. It’s quick to believe and judge.

I find myself watching multiple news sources just to get a balanced opinion. The news is moving so fast!!!

So what about the changes?

I try to keep a level head with friends and family when we don’t meet eye to eye. I want them to see it too that we are not always going to agree but I’m still worthy to have my viewpoint.

It is soul wrenching when you find in your relative or friend an issue you view concluded by your faith and they don’t! For example, they might be pro life but want to stop the flow of refugees. Again, unless you’re attending Mass weekly and feeding your soul, these two issues may look different but in faith we understand they go hand and hand.

I read this quote and thought back at the time of the organization of the Apostles after Jesus ascended into Heaven:

Read Acts of the Apostles. It was a beautiful time. All cared for each other and wanted all to succeed whether it was family, health, financial security.  What a world we would have if we followed Christianity the way it was intended to be.

Acts of the Apostles

Lupus Flares…Blessing reminders!

Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE).  In the beginning, I was often sick. I was prescribed heavy medication that for the most part, didn’t make me feel any better. I remember the sense of trying to find control and how I was going to live with this new life. Even though, I tried to hold onto my job, the stress of being reliable for my employer grew to be too much, so I quit. As I explained in my other blog posts, since then I did take other employment and volunteered which helped me grow as a person with an illness.

After 5 years of taking the same formula of medication, I dropped two of the heavy prescribed and stayed on one. Most lupus patients, may find it surprising, but I was on a steady dose of prednisone for 11 years.  I had always did well with my doctor visits and health that taking prednisone was easy for me. If a flare came up, I would just increase my dosage and like magic it would work instantly. However, due to doctor pressure, he told me it was no longer good for me to be reliant on and asked me to consider changing to plaquenil.  I hesitated. Two years I hesitated until finally I prayed to Our Lord and asked Him to please help my fear.  In 2012, I began taking plaquenil and since then, thanks be to God, I’ve done really good.

I mean, I still get flares and I noticed that when I get sick…I’m sick! Whether cold or flu…it hits hard but all in all, I think I’m handling them fine.   I can’t increase the plaquenil when I do get a flare and now…I just “suffer” through it.  The flares are mostly the same. Headaches, hot face/fevers, joint pain achy, fatigued, low energy, sometimes nausea.

But I have to say…now when I do get flares, I find myself in an emotional spin.

It makes me think of those with lupus who suffer far greater than me. Who are hospitalized. Who have to take chemotherapy. Who cannot get out of bed. Who have no one to help them. Who do not have the luxury of having to maintain a job.

I know I am blessed beyond my way to attempt try and explain. I know I have everything in my environment to deal with the case of the flare ups. But at times, I wonder if I am not doing enough to battle them! Do I give in too easily when the flares happen?  Do I not work through them by pushing myself? Am I not training my spirit enough to be more of a fighter when they come?

There is also the mental battle determining if this the “big one”?

I can’t help at times think that my lupus could get worse. Here I am going on fifteen years of SLE and all of it, in my view, has been such a blessing compared to other’s experiences.  Yet, every time I get blood work, the rheum always communicates that my markers are clear. The type of lupus I have is the terminally ill form. For years, I’ve worked with my Lord in pushing that out of mind. To demonstrate my life with the graces He gave me to show others, I accept His will and do my best for others.  To share with others, what He has taught me.

In these last three days, I’ve been going through a flare. I know it probably came on due to stress. Yet, my approach is the same. Decline all events. Find myself less sociable. Rest. But this time, I feel like I need to do more. So this time, I write.

Sitting in Mass yesterday, I asked my Lord for His will be done onto me.  Each and every time a flare happens.  It is a purging in some sense. Because it stops me and makes me think of my mortality.  What matters. What I need to let go. How much I want to be ready for Heaven.

Flares make you feel like life is passing by and you only have energy to look at it go by.

They are reminders when you are feeling great the other 98.9% of the time to do something with it. From the smallest gesture in a day to something grand.  I ask my Lord to help me with that! To help me with the battle of when it feels like I’m not fighting hard enough and instead of dragging that Cross He’s given you, to carry it up high, like an army soldier raising a victory flag! 🙂

Remember, suffering is part of your Christian transformation. Respond to it! When you do, Jesus will fill your life in ways you didn’t have before. +++

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Jesus fix us

On Tuesday, November 8th, our country voted Donald Trump to be our 45th President of the United States. 

I was already feeling some stress before the election like the majority but after Tuesday it feels like our country has shifted dramatically. There has been many protests. Some demonstrating their anger, fear, worry of racial divide, LGBTQ, and pro choice rights.And like always, others join the bandwagon and add mayhem clogging the message the protesters want to convey.

Even though I don’t have a clear allegiance to either political party, I did vote!  It has been this way for years. But  this election was different for me and for many. The campaigns were hostile and the candidates used insults on each other at a new level.

My problem with both sides is that neither platform upholds everything under the Light to which our faith instructs. I know it never has. However, I’m seeing many believe their party holds a majority of Light.  Unfortunately it tends to be those who are picking and choosing what party supports the issues they want to push in a way that leaves other important issues out. And when you go to them to try and admonish, they will say “that’s your interpretation”. But is it really? 

I’m not a perfect Catholic. I falter each day. I ask for clarity and examine my conscience.  I attend Mass weekly, receive the Eucharist, go to confession, and follow the daily readings, as well as, listen to voices of the Church for additional guidance. So I feel some confidence when I make this assertion.

So what is my point?! 

If all Christians, followed a form of obedience, most would be able to recognize what it is our Lord wants of us. They would know our moral compass will not be found in our new President or any political figure. That our beliefs are not held under one political party. I see good in both parties.  

As we’ve been hearing in the Mass readings these last weeks about end of times, is that Jesus will be coming “soon”. Soon as I was taught could really mean now or 100 years from now. Scriptures tell us what we will see and experience. This passage was covered recently and speaks to me especially now.

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves…

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

If one points out misdirection to a fellow Christian they get offended instead of seeing you’re doing it for their good. They rather defend the candidate than to see what you are doing is from love and points to faith.

I believe much of the chaos around us has to do with people not understanding their faith or they have no belief at all. So division among family, friends, strangers is at a high point right now.

Let’s go over the Old and New Testament commandments and review again and again!  I find many defending pro life but then don’t round up the rest of the life issues such as the poor, the refugee, the marginalized. How is it one can argue pro life and picket but not stand up for all life issues? Isn’t that choosing what you want from your faith? Is that not then idolatry because you’re creating your own faith/religion?

There’s so much incomplete news out there or lies being spread that it would do our nation great service if we just turned to God than to man. We’ll lose ourselves to anger,bitterness, rage. 

I know I may be accounting much of what is going on right now on the shoulders of Christians. I fully recognize Christians are not the only contributors but what I’m trying to convey is our accountability and how we as Christians should be speaking out when our brothers/sisters block out or limit teaching. 

This election has really shown me faith put into action. Good and bad. It saddens me that some lose sight of the corporal works of mercy and fruits of the Spirit. 

I pray there will be more love ahead and leaders who will unite and preach tolerance. 

God bless America and Pray for our President!

How I learned grace from Cdiff!

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 dreOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAssing, 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! +++

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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.

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! +++