Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the journey

For any of you that may have missed it in previous posts, I decided my theme this Advent would be to "Enjoy the Journey".  The past few weeks, God has taught me to be more patient, to truly be more faithful, and to love more.  Fitting as my overall theme for 2014 was "Love More" (and yes, this was before the CFC theme was released...yay same Spirit!)  But I digress.  Each week I had a subtheme that would help me grow and guided this journey.  I learned to "empty myself", "receive joy", and "listen in silence."  Funny enough, I don't have a blog about my silence, but it truly was a fruitful time.

Lord, You have prepared me for this year.  33 is not one that I fear but a year I'm excited to embrace.  As 2014 comes to a close, rather than recollecting the past 365 days, I want to reflect on my Advent journey.  It's the nth day of Christmas, and the Spirit is still singing and dwelling in me.  Tis the season to celebrate Jesus and His birth!  Looking back on the past month, I can see how God transformed me when I let Him.  He stretched my heart and taught me more about faith, hope, and love.  He covered me in an ocean of His mercy.  In the few weeks alone, Jesus has reminded me the importance of every moment in history.  From His mother's first "yes" to finally finding a home in a manger, I can see the journey of your coming was difficult but worth it.

I just need to enter Christmastime with an eye of innocence.  Doesn't mean to be a child and ask for everything on the shelf.  Nope, it means to embrace truth with the eyes of faith that can be found in children.  That dependency on our parents to nurture and care for us is similar to how Jesus depended on His parents for food and shelter.  Part of the journey is complete trust in the one who can see further than you.

The journey for me has just begun.  Fitting as Advent rings in the new year, my "new beginnings" have already begun.  I have been praying for a theme for 2015, but I think this really will follow me into next year.  I don't know what's to come, but I will remember the words I shared with Jesus on the stroke of midnight as my birthday came..."Lord, You have prepared me for this year."

I have faith, hope, and trust in His love and mercy that He will guide me for what's to come.

Monday, December 15, 2014

music and joy

My subtheme for Advent this week is "Receive JOY".  Last week I had to learn to empty myself in order to receive Jesus...and now this week I need to learn to take Him in and let Him live in my heart.   He's always trying to give me gifts of Joy but I keep ignoring the packages because I'm caught up in my own web of "drama".  I can't "enjoy the journey" of Advent moping around.  It just doesn't work that way.  I need to find joy in the life God has given me, and the situations He puts me through.  This morning in adoration, I practically begged to be filled with that Joy.  "Lord, help me feel that happiness you want me to feel.  Let me not care or worry about the things out of my control.  Let me feel joy so I may rejoice in You this advent season."

God does not delay.

Hours later, He not only planted that joy in my heart but it was OVERFLOWING.  I went to Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood today for an Audrey Assad concert.  She was aMAzing.  It was a true night of worship, and every song she sang brought tears in my eyes.  I was just happy to experience music so beautiful in the true presence of God, with the Blessed Sacrament behind her.  I felt sincere joy.  But the cherry on top was seeing my Caritas family.  I went on retreat with this amazing group over a year ago, and seeing some of them for the first time since then just brought back all these memories.  The most important memory I found and felt was the peace I left the retreat with.  There was something so life-changing about that weekend, that I can't even explain it...yet I felt that Spirit of peace and change fill my heart again. Seeing them was just wonderful, even if I was not able to catch up with all of them .  Again, my heart was not only full but bursting out uncontrollably with joy.

Thank you, Lord, for filling me with JOY so I may continue to rejoice with the rest of the Church.  Even if you didn't give me the concert and my Caritas reunion, I know I'd still be happy....but not like this.  You know the way to my heart through music.  You really know how to fill my heart, and I can only remember to do the same for you always.  In a world where we get caught up in our own problems, are we wise in remembering God for all He's done for us?  Do we bring God joy by the way we live our lives?


For a taste of Audrey Assad, check out this song "Good to Me".  It was one of my favorites from tonight's set.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

make room

Saturday night, as I reflected before bed, I knew that I had to make this Advent fruitful.  Lord, how can I make it different this year?  Last week, I heard Your message..."Enjoy the journey."  Every day I had to tell myself to be present in the moment and take in every minute that the Lord has blessed me with.  See Him in everything and feel His presence and hand in it all.

This second week of Advent, He reminded me to "Be Empty."  How can I prepare my heart in welcoming Baby Jesus if it's filled with worry and other crazy thoughts?  I need to make room for Him!!!  I can't have Mary and Joseph walking around from heart to heart this season where I, myself, will reply with "There's no room at the inn."  Noooo I need to make room.  But then I prayed about the "how" of it all.  HOW do I make room for Jesus?  I was affirmed at mass today when the gospel was about St. John the Baptist reminding us to prepare the way of the Lord.  Make the rough places plain and the crooked road straight.  I am practicing the art of "letting go."  I have to remind myself about what's important and to focus on just making sure I allow God to be the first and foremost in my life.  I have to acknowledge how much He blesses and loves me.

Today I made room in my heart so I could find JOY in Jesus.  I really tried my best to not let the worries of life get to me and to enjoy the moments around me in the present.  I wanted to make sure I was aware of the things He was giving me and filling my heart with (since I was trying to make more room for Him).  Not only did He bless me with something I wanted, but He reminded me that He's a god of MORE and showered me with just that.

I know this is silly, but today I wanted to meet Baymax (from the movie Big Hero Six) when I went to Disneyland.  He was basically the only character on my bucketlist for the day that I really wanted to meet.  After running through the park and getting in line only minutes before they closed it off, I recognized that I got my chance!!  I just kept praying that Baymax wouldn't "run out of battery" ;)

My experience meeting him was soooo amazing, my friend had to ask me, "You know he's not real right?"  And I just smiled at him and replied...."No, he's real!"

Sometimes it's okay to have this crazy innocence of a kid where you believe all the magic and wonder that you want.  I let my imagination run wild.  I wanted to tell him "Hey, I met you and wanted to hug you but you couldn't hug me may I please have my hug now???"  But I didn't considering I hugged a standee in the lobby at work.  Crazy me, I know!  But I was squealing, jumping, and super giddy as we kept moving closer to him in the line.  Finally I had my chance to fist bump and HUG him (and he hugged me back!)  It was amAzing.

You have no idea how excited I was.  No idea.

But guess what...?  The cherry on top was that I didn't just meet Baymax and Hiro....I got to meet two other characters that I absolutely LOVE: Mickey Mouse AND Santa Claus!!!!

Yes, the child in me erupted and I was overflowing with happiness today.  I gave Jesus room in my heart and He filled it with so much joy.  No room for worry or sadness...He was moving that old furniture out and replacing it with his shiny, brand new ones!

Enjoy the journey and continue to empty yourself to make room for Jesus.  He's ready to fill you with things that will make your heart happy.  Even if it's on a smaller scale such as a delicious dessert or rockstar parking, you won't recognize any of it if your heart is filled with junk.  Dump it, clean it, and be open to receiving the many moments of happiness He wants to give to you (and that you truly deserve!)

Thank you, Jesus.  I'm sleeping with sweet dreams tonight!

Monday, December 1, 2014

slow cook

Happy New Year!  Happy first day of the Advent season.  Ohhhh, Advent...a time of waiting.  A time of anticipation.  I love Christmastime.  I love the buildup not only for the holiday but most especially for the birth of Christ.  There is always something exciting about preparing for His coming.  Just as parents prepare their homes for the coming of their newborn, we should prepare our hearts for Baby Jesus!

This past weekend, my slow cooker has seen more action than it has in a long time.  I made a few Thanksgiving meals in it, and the longer it took the tastier it turned out.  I made bbq pulled pork one night and everyone enjoyed it (phew!).  The next night, I decided to make more and bring it to my other party.  I figured that I already knew what to do (plus I had extra ingredients that I didn't want to waste), so it'd be easiest.  I also decided to revise my schedule a bit.  I knew that marinating the pork longer would make it not only more tender, but tastier.  Yes, the slower the process, the better it turns out.  So 7 hours we wait for the creation to be finished, and *boom* the second group of guinea pigs enjoyed it just as much (if not more) than the first.  Woot woot, success!

God marinates us with grace, wisdom, and knowledge so many times in our lives and we just have to let it sit in our hearts sometimes before we see anything come of it.  Not all of God's work happens slowly, but when it does - there's a reason.  He always has the most perfect time, and after working with us for many years, He knows the science behind how long some prayers need.  Sometimes it's a quick turnaround, many times we sit and wait.  This is the part I hate most because just like times I have food in a slow cooker - I get hungry and want to eat it right away.  However, I know I have to wait it out so it tastes yummy.  I want to move on something God has answered in my life, but I know I have to wait it out so everything falls into place perfectly.

Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparing.  In the meantime, let us sit and soak in God's love.  Just as I poked holes in the pork so it could better soak in the juices, I pray I am open not only in my mind but in my heart in order to take in all the Jesus juice as well.  Have faith that it's all to make the end result something so delicious and satisfying.

Monday, November 24, 2014

3, 2, 1...go!

"You can't win if you don't race!" - Tow Mater of Carsland

Yes, I'm quoting from a ride in California Adventure.  Tow Mater's got it right!  There have been many situations where someone tells me a goal they have in life, but when I ask what they're doing to achieve it...they say they haven't done anything!  How do you expect to get anywhere if you don't move?  God gives us grace and blessing each day, but He also give us free will.  That said, we have to move our butts from off the couch and do something.  Things don't always land in our laps unexpetedly.  Whether it's updating your resume for a new job you want, asking a girl you've had your eye on out on a date, or starting that "more vegetables, less junk food" need to physically do something to get results.  Even in our relationship with God, we ask why He doesn't seem to work more in our lives.  Sometimes it takes us saying "yes" and doing something for Him first, in order for His plans to work and come to life.  Strengthen our prayer time.  Say "yes" to more service.

Do something.  Race.  Soon you will find yourself crossing the finish line faster than you can say, "Ka-Chow!"  I'll see you on the course :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

unexpected call

Last night, my dear sister friends reminded me that we need to be specific with God when we pray.  Despite having already blogged about it, I still forget that detail sometimes.  I went to bed thinking about what I needed to pray for specifically.

Night passes, dreams are dreamt.

This morning as I was getting into my car, I noticed a heart shaped charm on the ground next to my door.  It was my St. Anthony charm!  How did it fall off my keyring?  I checked the link to see if it was broken or loose, but it was shut pretty tight.  That said, I knew it was a check-in from my heavenly friend.  He was trying to get my attention to pray for his intercession today, so I had a good one-on-one session with him at mass.  I also shared his "phone call" with my sister friends in case they needed a nudge to chat with him today too.

Click here to learn more, but note that St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost articles.  A while back, I heard something funny about single people asking St. Anthony to find their "lost [future] spouse".  I thought that maybe that's why he was tapping me, so I said a quick prayer for "him" (wherever and whomever he is).  I know it's silly, but hey - God has a sense of humor!

Anyway, later on I felt like it was more than that.  I prayed with the intention to find my faith and hope in God again.  Not that it was lost, but if I really break down my conversations with God, it's lacking.  Today God told me, "Stop acting like you know My plans.  You don't even know, so stop anticipating My next move.  Maricris, I am God.  You are not.  I love you more than you love yourself.  Have a little faith and trust in Me that I know what's going on."  [See how Jesus only asks for a little faith??  #mustardseedfaith]

He goes on and on but it's a bit more personal, so I'll skip a few sentences ;)

Then He continues, "Don't you believe in My Love for you?  Just as I came as a child to St. Anthony, come as a child to Me.  Let Me carry you through this.  Let Me love and hold you.  Rely on me."

So with a sincere heart and a specific request through the St. Anthony prayer, I really asked to find hope and faith in God in all things.  I want to have the courage to trust and the peace to understand something unknown.  It really went hand in hand with today's gospel - Luke 18: 35-43.

Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"  He replied, "Lord, please let me see."  Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."  He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God.  When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

"Lord, please let me see."  That is my prayer.

The night continues, and I catch up with a good friend at dinner time.  As we were chatting, she says point blank to me, "Have faith and hope.  Trust in God."  She didn't know about my prayer time at mass today, so that was enough for me to "see" that I'm on the right track.  God's love is obvious and I need to start acting grateful for it :P

That early morning "phone call" from heaven was not wasted.  Through St. Anthony, Jesus heard my prayer and answered me.  St. Anthony helped me "find" my way and the words I was looking for from God.  I also read this, which affirms his strong presence for me today:  "St. Anthony of Padua's life is what every Christian's life is meant to be; a steady courage to face the ups and downs of life, the call to love and forgive, to be concerned for the needs of others, to deal with crisis great and small, and to have our feet solidly on the ground of total trusting love and dependence on God."

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, St. Anthony.  To all my heavenly homies - you know who you are....thank you.

That was a quick answer to my prayer, but I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

dance, dance

I'm going to be sore in the morning.  I haven't danced like that in sO long!  Tonight was the "God's Great Dance Floor" Fundraiser for ANCOP and we all really just had a great time.  The cause is important to me, so I really wanted to be there for the event.  Heard we hired a DJ and that was enough to get me excited because I had been wanting to go dancing for a long time.  I love groovin' like no one is watching.  I'm not talking about gettin' all freeeeaky like no one be watchin' yo (though I admit that's fun once in a while lol).  I'm talking, "Coachella" dancing when you're just spinning around and singing along to the care in the world!

But sometimes I find myself dancing in a group where my "festival" dancing doesn't work.  Trust me, I already bumped into plenty of people...whoops!  Sometimes you have to dance with a partner.  OYE.  The Lord knows that has been hard for me for a long time, but I absolutely love watching couples who do it.  I'm envious but I know I just need to learn some day.  Salsa, Cha-Cha, Swing, etc...takes a certain kind of skill in me that I don't seem to have.  Some say I do, maybe I just haven't learned properly.  Who knows.  Shake dem hips, gurrrrl....

But God taught me that in a similar way, He leads me on His dance floor, and I'm just to follow.  I may stumble and step on His toes once in a while, but it's okay.  He spins me around and I have no idea what  I'm doing, but there's a natural beat - a natural "next step" that comes to play and I just go with it.  I find myself dancing to His beat and it works out well.  I admit, in the beginning I'm scared.  I'd rather know what I'm doing.  I'm all about the choreographed dances....but sometimes someone has to just know what to do and just lead you.  Then I'll just follow.  If you have the right teacher,  you'll get it.  God is the perfect dancer and I am learning to just go along with it.  Sometimes I want to do my own thaaang, but at the same time I'm not trying to make Him look like a fool, so I go along.  He knows the right moves to the right song...I'll just let Him swing and twirl me around, and I'll smile :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

not reading between the lines

God met me where He knew I would listen.

It has been a while since I read a book in one weekend.  It was an easy read but two things: 1) I didn't get through other easy reads such as "The Fault in our Stars" or a Harry Potter book that quickly and 2) I was out all day Saturday and half of Sunday.  So where did I find the time and energy to read??  

Well let's take a few steps back.  I bought this book back in 2009 in the Philippines.  I had no idea what it was about, but I bought it blindly because I love Paulo Coelho's writing.  He hooked me from "The Alchemist" but continues to string me along through his Tweets and blog posts.  I saw it and thought I could read it on the flight back to the states but actually never got to it.

Last week, I thought of the book.  I know it sounds strange, but I really felt the Holy Spirit leading me as I found it on my shelf and thought I should read it.  Now as to not spoil the story, I will just say that reading the synopsis on the back cover intrigued me.  I had a feeling the characters would speak to me, and sure enough they did.

From Paulo Coelho, author of the international bestseller The Alchemist, comes a poignant, richly poetic story that reflects the depth of love and life.
Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings . . . and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.
Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life's biggest questions.

I don't want this to be a book review, nor do I want to ruin the story for my fellow avid readers.  I really encourage you to pick it up and read it someday, because the story was simple yet very meaningful.  Perhaps it was more meaningful to me because I could relate to the story strongly, perhaps it will be meaningful to you because it is written well.  I do want to say that I was affirmed in so many ways that I was meant to read this book.  Even a few details affirmed me: a love for Mother Mary, encouraging a life in the Holy Spirit, and the story taking place around the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  These small nuggets were gold in my time of reading.  Lately I've been seeking for some direct answers, and God met me where He knew I wanted to be a book.  I didn't need to read between the lines, some of the answers were written right there - straight up, black ink on a white page.

I do want to share some thoughts I picked up as it relates to my life and a blog I had been delaying to post.  I've actually been wanting to write on something about this the past few weeks, but I didn't have the courage to write it.  Why?  Because I have a feeling I'm about to be a bit vulnerable.  Why is it that when a girl talks about the "desires of her heart", it's as if she's letting her guard down and someone is about to crush her dreams?  Can I write with caution yet at the same time be open enough to share about a hope in life?  Back to the book...

"To love is to lose control"
I'm not saying I'm in love, but the idea of it possibly lurking around the corner some day can be a bit frightening.  The main character, Pilar, fights herself.  She is fighting a potential love that she wants to share with an old friend, but she is trying to be realistic.  She wants to be in control of her heart.  She would prefer to go back to an easier life and find a husband in her hometown.  She doesn't want to fall for someone who could leave the next day, based on the life he was living.

On the feast of St. Pope JPII, I read something he said: "There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear. Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice."  Yes, you lose control of what you think would make up the perfect love, but no one thinks of sacrifice and being selfless first.  Everyone focuses on how the love will help them.  How does this love cure me?  Love cures and the one you love.  You can fight it all you want, but as JPII states, "Do not be afraid."  Don't be afraid to lose control.  Don't be afraid of changing a life you once knew to help build one that will only make the world a better place.  Don't be afraid to make sacrifices for the one you love.  It might liberate you. 

"I observed the woman I had been up until then; weak but trying to give the impression of strength.  Fearful of everything but telling herself it wasn't fear - it was the wisdom of someone who knew what reality was."
If I said I couldn't relate to this, I'd be lying not only to you but to myself.  Fear can come from an experience we feel resulted in failure.  We think we want to learn and grow but sometimes that keeps us from taking any more risks in life.  Gotta play it "smart".  We want to prevent pain and chaos because nobody wants that.  Nobody asks for that.  If you can find a way to avoid it, avoid it.  However, just because you know reality doesn't mean you know the future.  Let me rephrase.  Just because I know reality doesn't mean I know the future.  I can be wrong sometimes :)

"We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen."
That's what began to change my heart.  We have to allow the unexpected to happen.  Things don't make sense in my life right now and part of me wishes I could go back and take control of my life and emotions again...but it's too late.  Certain situations happen and things change.  Once you let love in, all bets are off.

The unexpected has happened and now I have to learn to deal with it.  I have to be okay with the risk I was willing to take at the time and not regret an opportunity to let "love nourish my existence."    So now I need courage.  I have been praying for courage.  I've been inspired to seek courage.  I am not the kind of girl that needs the courage to let go.  That's easy.  That's the life I know.  I'm the type that needs the courage to hang in there and keep going.  If I see a situation where I can avoid a potential disaster, I'll detour quickly...typically to an end.  However, I've recently learned that I need to keep going even if it leads me to a dead end.  It's all about the experience on the road and not letting myself think I'm wasting my time traveling.

"Thy will be done"
Mother Mary understands the mystery of total surrender.  I've learned that in my devotions and consecrations to her.  I've learned that in reading about her.  I've learned that once again in this book.  Pilar prays and ends with this simple line that I need to carry with me everywhere I go.

So to answer my question from the first paragraph of where I found the time to read this weekend, the answer would truly be "from the grace of God".  He is God of time and strength, so He blessed me with both to speak to me and answer some questions I had.

I specifically told Him to give it to me straight, and per usual, He answered me.  I still have some discerning and reflecting to do, but in the meantime I will go with Pilar's prayer and trust our Mother and Father heard me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

intense love

The past few days have been spent with family.  I took a trip out to Dallas to go visit my cousins and their two kids.  Never have I appreciated youth more.  I left that place more tired than I've been on any trip but so fulfilled.

There are many highlights, but one I can't get out of my head is the love from the children.  Christopher is now 9 and Evelyn 2.  These guys are at such an adorable age.  When in other families, the gap may cause the two to not get along - it's so opposite here.  Christopher and Evelyn love each other sooooo much.  Too much sometimes to the point where Evelyn starts swatting lol.  It's too cute.  I wake up surrounded by that love.  Nothing feels better than hearing someone whisper "Tita Maricris, wake up," then jump in your bed to give you a big hug and kiss.  That kind of love is so natural in these two.  When Evelyn "hurt" tita, she remedied the situation immediately with kisses.

There is an intense love in these two that came from that same intense love given by their parents.  That's where they got, and it inspires me more and more to have that for myself someday.  Not that I didn't want a family or kids, it's just that I would get distracted easily.  I know that's what I want for myself some day.  My own kids jumping in bed to wake me up and just love me for the morning mess that I am.

But at the end of it all, that intense love that Chris and Evie's parents shared with them came from their parents and their grandparents.  You know where it all rooted from?  God's love.  I'm blessed to come from a family that knows and understands that.  We love as He loves us and that is just so fitting from Sunday's gospel.  Love our neighbors as God loves us, and that is with the most intense kind of love.  Of course it comes with patience and practice, but once we're aware of God's love for us, we'll learn how to pass it on.  Just as the kids learn from their parents, we learn from our Father.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


It's taken me some time to put my thoughts together for this entry because the journey is only beginning.  Without giving too much away, the Lord has really been hearing my specific prayers.  I've always been told to be specific, but never have I truly experienced it to the tiniest detail.  Not that I was testing God at all, but to keep me grounded I really asked Him for something as specific as these blue roses and this blue cloth.

There is a bit of a twist though.  With these two items, I received exactly WHAT I wanted...just not WHEN I wanted them.

During my St. Therese novena, I asked her for a specific kind of rose.  Why blue?  Because I always see every color around, even purple.  That said, I really wanted to be set aside as someone special in her eyes and asked for blue.  I was flexible and told her, Mother Mary, and Jesus that even if it was a drawing, a photo, or my friend Rose wearing blue...I'd just know they were there guiding me in my journey.  Sure enough, my friend was wearing bright blue pants that I've never seen on her before!  That made me giggle, but for sure I knew God was hearing me.  He has a sense of humor!  However, God had other plans.  It only took a few more weeks, but not too long ago I saw a bunch of blue roses offered to Mother Mary.  Look at how BLUE they are!  So beautiful, and sO meant for me at that moment :)  God said, "I hear ya. Just wait and I will give it to you."

During my 33 Days to Morning Glory, I prayed for this specific blue cloth as well.  I want to share more, but I'm not ready to reveal anything yet.  Let's just say that everything I wanted - to the tiny deets - came to life.  It didn't come on the day I wanted, but I saw that God was already preparing for me to have it months before I even prayed for it!  Sorry, I know it's all so cryptic sounding but I'll have to explain at a later date.

I got the cloth the day before I got the blue flowers, so you can imagine how overwhelmed I was feeling with God's love and presence by presenting to me the two things I've been praying for.  Yes, it was a week or so delayed but I got what I wanted and at whatever time He had planned for me :)  Not sure why He waited, but I'm guessing it's to show me that 1) He hears me 2) He knows the details 3) It all comes together in the time of His choosing.

I just need to relax, be patient, and keep praying about other matters of my heart in order to nurture and nourish the desires He has planted.

I definitely have more things to pray about, so we'll see how and when it all comes to life.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Diary of a Princess

Dear Prince Who Always Thinks About Me,

Thank You for Your note.  At first, it was hard for me to read, but as the weekend went on, I realized I had to accept the truth.  You love me and honestly can't stop.  I feel undeserving, as my past sins have made me unworthy of such love.  I don't know how to make it right sometimes, but You keep seeking me and I can't hide anymore.  I, too, think about You day and night.  I wonder how much You care about the little things I go through or think about, but You always seem so interested.  No matter how far I fly or how much mileage I put between us, I know you always lead me back straight into Your heart.

For this, I thank You.  I love You.

Your Princess who accepts Your Love

Psalm 139: 17-18
"How precious to me are Your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands; when I complete them, still You are with me."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

into the future

When my dad purchased this now "vintage" Bears jacket in 1985, little did he know that his daughter (who was three years old at the time) would get it signed by Da Coach himself...29 years later!  That kinda blows my mind.  The excitement in my dad's voice when he was wearing the signed jacket cannot be described.  The light in his eyes when he first saw it really made my heart happy.  The entire experience was priceless!

My mom once told me, "God knew what He was doing when He made you a Bears fan.  He knew that I wasn't into football like your dad, so He made sure someone would be able to watch football with him."  I'm reminded through this, that God makes all things perfect.  I don't even know my love for the sport happened, to be honest.  I guess growing up hearing my dad yell "Sack!" at the TV had something to do with it.  So strange how random memories stick with you, and that one was enough to influence me.  If you've ever watched a football game with me, I tend to do the same.  Like father, like daughter and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bear down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

morning glory

As some of you may know, I conducted my own personal challenge of not only finding God in everything in life but really understanding His message for me each day.  It’s funny how I started to see Him in the little, almost mundane, objects and scenarios of the day.  My senses were heightened for His word and as a result, I noticed how much God really loves me.  If you’d like to follow the journey for 30 days, feel free to read from the beginning.  Inspiration and explanation of the project can be found here.  You can also check it out on my Tumblr if that platform is your cup of tea.  Feel free to follow or subscribe for future blogs while you're at it!

The project is technically over, but the practice to see Him in all things has only begun.  While doing my 30 Days of Mystagogia project, I was at the same time on a personal retreat.  I joined my friend in doing the 33 Days to Morning Glory so as to consecrate myself to Jesus through Mother Mary.  Today, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, is actually my consecration day (yay!)  33 Days to Morning glory deserves its own blog someday, but for now I’d like to share an affirmation I received on doing my Mystagogia Project.

On Day 19, the chapter was about Blessed Mother Teresa’s “spiritual sensitivity” and how she saw God in all things.  First of all, Mother Teresa is my homegirl.  She really has made her presence known in my life for the past five years in service, and she never fails to remind me on how to be a better missionary.  Regarding her “Spiritual Sensitivity,” she followed the example of Mother Mary who was always “pondering in her heart” the good things God was doing in her life.  Blessed Mother Teresa found God in the details and pondered on His goodness.  She found Him in all things and reflected deeply on the many signs of His love.  Same Spirit!!!  Totes did that with this 30 Days of Mystagogia project, and it’s just affirming knowing that someone like her has done it too (minus the blogging and with deeper faith, I’m sure).  I look up to Blessed Mother Teresa in my spiritual journey, and she did this as an imitation of Mother Mary, which is what I’m trying to do too.  Ahhh so many affirmations all around it’s just crazy!

Been guided on this journey that has now turned into a new lifestyle.  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to seek You in all things.  May this be an example others may follow, so they too may see Your goodness and ponder Your grace and love in their hearts.

We face so many trials every day, but when we take a closer look, we will see the greater amount of blessings we are showered with constantly.  Perk up your ears, focus your eyes.  You will see God communicating with you all the time J

Friday, October 3, 2014

one thing remains

At mass this morning, the kids did the cutest hand motions to the song "One Thing Remains" by Jesus Culture.  The motions were done to the chorus:

"One thing remains: Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me."

Reflecting on the events over the last few days, I can really say that God's love really doesn't run out on me.  There are prayers answered in ways I wish were different, but that doesn't mean His love for me has failed.  It never runs out.  He just keeps pouring and I keep failing to love Him back.  Instead I keep asking and begging and doubting.

Well yesterday, during the feast of our Guardian Angels, God sure showed me something that said, "Ok, for REAL, Maricris???!  You think I've failed you now??"  Yeah.  He let my angels kick my ass but in a good way.  I wish I could elaborate, but I can't even begin to explain it.  I wish someone was next to me to witness it, but it's real.


So one thing remains, when you think that God has failed you.  His love never runs out.  It just keeps pouring out endlessly.  It comes in forms we don't expect.  Sometimes it is really obvious, other times not so much.  Whether you see it or not, it's there.  God's love is always there.  Oh, and so are your angels ;)

When you have time, check out the song: One Thing Remains

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

data dump

I almost took a print out from the machine that belonged to my co-worker.

T: "Hey, that's valuable information!"

Me: "It doesn't even look like anything to me.  I can't even read this!"

T: "Well you have to know what you're looking for."

God is funny.  I giggled as I walked out, because it's true.  You have to know what you are looking for in order to get through the large pile of data.  What looks like a bunch of letters and numbers to one person, is the key to getting a job done for another.

In this instance, Jesus reminds me that my life can seem cluttered.  My heart can be filled with a range of emotions.  At the end, I have to dig and see what I am looking for in order to really decipher what I want.  Only then will I understand what I feel.

Know what you're looking for and it will pop up on the page like a decoded message.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Monday, September 29, 2014

right kind

"All you need is the right kind of love...."

Finish that thought.  My mind is going a few different ways.  Lord, speak to and through me as I know that You are the the right kind of love.

1. "...and it will make sense."
A mutual love given by God in a way you didn't expect.  Sparks, chemistry, electricity.  Some people say that those feelings are fleeting, but that's the catalyst to a relationship.  It might not always be one that lasts forever, but that's what starts it off.  Yes the feelings may come and go, but if it's mutual and the right kind of Christ centered love, it will last you a lifetime.  He will give you sparks, chemistry, and electricity til you grow old, wrinkly, and gray.

2. " make it work."
It always works out at the end if you put your hope and trust completely in the Lord.  All you need is the love of Christ in your life.  Is that kind of 100% satisfaction hard to achieve?  We sometimes think it's difficult because we want so much more in life.  It's not only about being satisfied with what you have, but if God took it all away from you - would you be okay?  If we have the love of God in our hearts, it will always be okay.  Now it's just a matter of believing, understanding, and living that.  Definitely hard to do but very possible to achieve.  Get that right kind of love living in your heart.

3. " heal the hurt."
How can you fill this empty void that she left when she said goodbye forever?  How can you go on trusting again when he stabbed you with lies and left those scars?  All this pain we feel from friends who talk smack behind our backs...all the way to the girl that did us wrong.  We live and survive through the battles, but I really believe that the healing comes from Jesus within us.  All we need is that Jesus kind of love to put the pieces back together.  He closes the wound and heals the pain.  Sure, we'll always have scars.  We'll know where the cut and hole once was.  But with the right kind of love, we will be made whole as Jesus is the only one that can complete us.  I promise you that.

I have quite a few more, but let's keep this blog nice and short.  For sure, I didn't think the entry would take a turn like this, but God has been speaking to me in many different ways and this is really what came to mind as I sit here type type typing away.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

closing time

It's your typical last song especially if you're out with some friends at a karaoke bar.  These last words struck me as we were belting out to "Closing Time".  Some things in life have to end before something else begins.  In this last sentence of the song, Jesus reminds me that sometimes I need to close some doors before opening a new one.  A beginning of a new journey can only start if I put an end to a previous "beginning".  Deep?  Well, recently I have come to peace with a situation in my life because I felt that I could close the door before opening up to a new venture.  Will this door stay shut forever?  I'm not sure.  It doesn't have to, but it might.  In the mean time, I know that I need to close it before I open up another world for myself.  Lord, help us close our doors so we make make room to open another.  Help us wrap up certain situations we might find ourselves in, in order to have a fresh start to begin again.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Check in

I prefer not to check in luggage whenever possible because it's time saved when I land at my destination. Not only that, I save a few bucks which can be used to something more food!

However, I find myself in the mood to check in a bag or two once in a while, especially if I'm flying Southwest (because the first two bags fly free *woot woot*). I'm in line with people who had the same procedure in mind. Check in your luggage and walk to the gate with little to no bags. Sometimes it's refreshing to let go of the baggage before heading to the gate. I still have a backpack on me, but I usually have a big duffle bag to trek around on top of the backpack. I usually end up bringing both bags just to make sure I have everything I need close to me, but today I decided to let it go. That's how I feel about this trip. I packed pretty light and I don't feel like carrying any baggage with me on this trip. The less I hang on to, the more I feel I can take in this weekend. Wait, so the less I pack the more I can bring back? Lol let's hope I don't shop...or bring back more than I left behind. God reminds me that before a journey, sometimes we don't need to bring too much baggage along. A personal item is ok, I know it's difficult for many of us to bring absolutely nothing. If possible, be free of anything. Jesus told the apostles to not bring a walking stick or second tunic when traveling. Granted, they were on a different mission than what I'm venturing this weekend, but the concept remains the same for me. Bring little. 
It's time to fly off once again. A journey awaits, even if it's going to last for only 48 hours. Let the adventure begin! 

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Friday, September 26, 2014


My post work happy hour consisted of two loads of laundry before the weekend.  You know you're out of clothes when people notice that you're wearing something in you ran out of your regular outfits ;)

I watched my laundry do turns in the wash.  I wanted to see how fast the tumble was in order for these clothes to get clean.  Round and round, mix with water and soap.  Drain, rinse, done.

The cycle of the washing process made me think that I have my own cycles of life that I go through.  Some days I'm totally on point with my faith.  In seconds I can fall, feel sad, or get mad.  Then something or someone reminds me about the love of God and I'm happy again with my faith restored.  We grip and lose our faith in cycles.  Some days are definitely easier than others, but I tend to let my crazy imagination direct my faith in God.  For example, things are fine - but I start thinking "well it'd be better if I had this" or "but is it enough that I don't have that?"  I'm in a cycle of feeling "abandonment" by God because my prayers haven't been "answered".  Then I read something that reminds me that God is faithful to those who are faithful, so I think, "Ok I don't need 'that' because I have God and that's all that matters."

Then my imagination thinks I'm missing something else in life and the cycle starts again.  That's how the devil plays with us.  It's a part of life, but we need to hang on the the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to keep us aware of God's love and providence at all times.  The cycle will help us grow, but don't let yourself fall still in a rut when you think there's nothing good to come.

Wow this reflection totally went into a weird turn I didn't expect.  Keep the faith and no matter what tries to bring you down, rise above it.  You got this, friend.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

making a moment

I looooove listening to music live.  Allen Stone is a great artist and that is something he definitely wanted to make sure we experienced - good live music.  He's all about the music, he's all about the energy.  The venue was definitely one where people would get really hot, so thank goodness my friend and I were up in the balcony where we could dance around and still feel the AC.

At one point of the concert, he said something along the lines of, "Everyone put your hands up in the air.  We're about to create a moment that can only happen in this space, at this time.  It won't happen anywhere else."  Then he told everyone to put their pride down, clap, jump, and basically just send good vibes.  That moment was made.  It happened in THAT space at THAT time.  It can never be repeated.

I liked that concept.  When I'm at a concert, I enjoy the music and dance to the rhythm, but I'm conscious that I don't treat it as if I'm in worship.  Fine line, people.  But Allen Stone's "exhortation" can be applied the next time I AM worshipping God.  When in prayer, I must lay down my pride.  I need to let go of the negative energy and allow that space to be filled with more than "good vibes" but the Holy Spirit.  It's a time in prayer that will happen then and there, and it can't be recreated.  I should allow for those specific moments to happen with Him every time I pray...allow God to really fill me.  WOAH.

THAT is a kind of "energy" you can't explain to someone.  That also takes a lot of practice but you had me at "let go of your pride."

May we all create our moments with God in prayer time.  May we let go of the baggage and allow space for the Spirit to move us and stir in our hearts.  May it move us so deeply that we have our moment with God right then and there.  It's a moment that won't happen any other time or any other place.  It's specific and special for you.

Good night, world, and Godbless you.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


"I like going this way better, it's all downhill from here."  ~ Conversation about our route after climbing up a steep part of the trail.

There's no downhill without the uphill.  My body does not enjoy elevation.  I'm a flatland Midwest gal, but I know there needs to be some uphills and downhills in life.  Sometimes we hear, "It's all downhill from here" and usually think that only bad things will happen.  Well when I walk downhill, I love the rest and relaxation after the effort and hardwork of going up.  Gravity is your friend.

So I guess from now on, when I say that phrase, I should say it in a context where it means that everything will be easier.  Will that confuse people?  Maybe...but then I can explain what I mean by it :)

This simple conversation during a hike with my sister friend was God's reminder to me that things may seem challenging going uphill but there's always a downhill.  "It's an uphill battle" is also a phrase used when referring to a difficult situation.  So why must going up and going down both be hard??  Anyway, as I was saying...God reminded me that even if I seem to lose breath and need to gasp for more air, there's a point where it will go down.  It will be easier.  I'll still have to be careful as to not trip and roll down too quickly, but there is less effort and I can relax a bit more.

Thanks for the hike chat, girlfrAnd xo

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

street art

I couldn't begin to tell you what the artist meant when he/she sprayed these words on the back of what looks to be a mattress.  "Thinking is a luxury."  My own opinion, I agree.  Just like rest is a necessity rather than it being a luxury, thinking is the same.  Many people don't rely on their smarts enough.  You have a beautiful mind.  Use it!

But what struck me isn't necessarily what was said, but how it was said.  You can come up to me and tell me that "Thinking is a luxury" but I would receive it differently than from spotting it on a mattress as I was backing my car out of my parking spot.  I was attracted to it being sprayed on a mattress and not a wall (thank you, person for keeping LA "clean").  I wonder if they brought out that mattress too or just found it randomly.

Anyway, sometimes I understand His message more clearly in HOW it is told to me.  Yes, the words are important and the message will be received loud and clear.  However, my attitude and reception can be affected with the delivery.  It's all about the delivery.  I always as God to speak to me and give me clarity.  I realized that I've been waiting for Him to speak words...wait...yell some words into my ear so I may hear.  I need to keep my eyes open for His message in the small things.  Yes, it's exercising mystagogia all day errrrr day.

Funny because I was in a meeting at work and saw this out of the window:

I could be for me...or it could be for you...either way, I love how Jesus reaches out to us in the simplest ways.  No need for loud shouting and it's all still loud and clear.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Monday, September 22, 2014


The amount of miles you put in a car results in stories told for years to come.  Whenever people ask how old Angel is (ten years next month!) they always follow up with, "How many miles on her?"  The number is a bit absurd (yes, over 150K) but then I can always share why her miles are so high up on the charts.  My first job out of college was in Northbrook, and coming from Naperville that was already 80 miles a day.  That didn't count for times I would go somewhere after work.  Angel transported me to to California.  She's taken me on many weekend road trips.  We serve a lot and pick people up wherever they need to be picked up at.  Mileage adds up, but so do the stories that come with it.

I drove 600+ miles this weekend and I have NOT finished reflecting and sharing my experiences!  I could talk about Sam Smith on Sirius XM Hits 1 show, my thoughts on "Habit (Stay Hight)" or "Trumpets", or show you how I danced every time "Fireball" and "Bailando" came on.  I could share all the prayers I had in my head with every Hail Mary I prayed, every intention for my rosaries, and how I felt when I sat in the chapels of the mission churches.

There are just so many stories behind the miles of our cars.  There are just as many stories behind the miles of our lives.  When we get to a certain part of our life, say, the end of the day...take the time to backtrack and reflect on the stories behind the miles you put in that day.

We've become a generation obsessed with tracking our steps and fuel points, so let's think about the stories we log in each day.  Is the mileage helping us grow to be better people?  Did we walk the day without purpose?  I hope the answer will always be "yes" but let's be honest, sometimes there is no story to tell behind the miles.  But just as this project has encouraged me to see God in all things, I encourage you to tell a story of the mileage you put in today.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I used a California Missions map similar to this one as a reference to guide me through the journey of Fray Junipero Serra.  From San Diego to San Francisco, 21 mission churches were established to evangelize and convert the natives.

I went to my first mission church in Santa Barbara in 2009 and decided that I wanted to hit up all of them before I left California.  Five years later, I finally completed my personal mission!  What did I do at each church?  I prayed, I toured, I sat, I pondered.  I imagined past ghosts that used to live and work at these missions.  The history is crazy.  After a while, they were all the same but each mission has its own story.  Each mission has its own saint.  Each mission had its own purpose.  Each mission even has its own ghosts.  The heart, prayer, and dedication going into each mission is something I can't even grasp.

There are certain destinations in life I'd like to get to, and I wish there was a map to help me along the way.  I'm not talking about travels to Asia, Europe, Austrailia, etc... (though that's in the plan).  I'm talking about destinations in my career, love life, personal goals.  Unfortunately, it's not that simple and I feel as though I have to walk blindly on this journey trusting where God leads me.  Remember the days of driving to a new place based on directions that someone gave you?

"Left Plainfield-Naperville Road, Right Gateshead, Right Homestead, Left..."

You would have to describe turns to someone by landmarks.  "You will see a Mobil gas station.  Go two more streets and then turn right."  "If you hit the bank, you went too far and you need to turn around."

There was no GPS to really lead us to our destination, let alone a device to tell us how much traffic we'd run into or what hazards we'd face along the way.

"Hazard on the right." ~ Waze

Nope, it was all based on the words someone gave us and some helpful landmarks to guide us along the way.  Jesus still works that old school way with me.  He doesn't have it all laid out for me to see.  I have no idea where the traffic jams are or how many miles until the next turn.  If I find myself at a dead end, He gives me a detour.  Mother Mary and the saints are my landmarks and guide my way as well.  Messages from friends and family are signs I need to keep an eye on so I don't get lost along the way.

It all comes together.

We used to function just fine without a GPS.  Yes, it took a little longer but that's how I got to know the city I live in.  Jesus knows our lives can't be mapped out so easily.  We need to get lost to find our way.  That's how we get to know ourselves.  He has a journey set for us already, and it's up for us to navigate and find our way to the destination we're called to reach.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

no traffic


The ride up to the Central Coast was long but easy breezy.  I don’t know how people can live so far away from a major city, but there are plenty of people out here.  The road was pretty empty, and it was a refreshing sight compared to my daily commute in crazy LA.  The trip up north was smooth and clear.  I had a good amount of time to just think my thoughts out loud. *Insert Ed Sheeran’s song*

How simple it was to plan this trip affirmed me that God knew I’d be taking this journey.  He knew I needed a getaway and would want some time with Him.  He made this all happen as clear and simple as the road I physically drove on.

When Moses needed to cross the river, God used him to part the Red Sea.  If God wills it, He makes a path.  I made a shotgun decision last weekend to finish the last five mission churches on my “California Missions” mission trip list.  After hitting three of them up in NorCal, I realized I only had five left.  I wanted to go before the weather got too cold and I just happened to be free this weekend.  I prayed to God and said, “Ok if I’m meant to go, I’ll be able to get a hotel in San Luis Obispo for cheap.”

“DONE.” ~ God

Ok, God.  Well….should I rent a car or should I drive my own?  Angel is still okay, it’s just that she has so many miles on her already that I’d like to avoid using her if possible.  Minutes later, someone texted me that I should rent a car.

“DONE.” ~ God

Not only did I get a room and a car for a very reasonable price, my car was the same “Mama Mary” blue as our rental from last weekend.  She most definitely had a hand in this mini retreat.

I’m still processing this day because I had a lot of intentions in my heart.  I love taking times like this to really pray for my friends and family.  If you’ve ever asked for prayers, know that I said one for you.  Even if you think it’s been a while since you’ve asked, I prayed for you.  Mother Mary prayed for you.  Don’t worry, she’s got you.

St. Raphael and St. Christopher guided my trip as well.  I haven’t brought Mammot along on a road trip in AGES, and when I decide to, I realize that the medal around his neck is one of St. Raphael.  Way to be present, Wing Man!  LoveS.

So when you see an open road before you, trust that God has cleared paths for you and is leading you down the right road.  Yes, you’ll need some assistance from a GPS every so often.  That’s when He uses your friends and family to talk you through life.  He uses those people you trust to guide you along the way.  Trust it.  Don’t hear them out then ignore them.  That’s as silly as hearing Waze say “exit in two miles” and you decide to exit in one mile.  Ok, Waze isn’t the best example because sometimes she gets me lost – but that’s a part of life.  Sometimes even our trusted friends get us lost but not on purpose.  We all try our best to hear God’s word and share what we know, but sometimes God has to let us get lost for us to really find our way.  Getting lost sometimes helps us appreciate the destination more.

I don’t know what’s at the end of this mission, but I have a feeling that all the driving will pay off.

What's #30daysofmystagogia?  You can refer back to my blog on "About Time" to understand the meaning behind this project.