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. "...to 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. "...to 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 useful...like 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

cycle

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 new...as 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

downhill

"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 mean...it 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

mileage

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

maps


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

9.20.14

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.


Friday, September 19, 2014

never ending childhood

I spend my Friday night at Disneyland.  People ask me how I never get sick of this place, but I guess because I didn't come here growing up, I'm just making up for lost time.  One ride we had on tonight's checklist was Peter Pan.  The story of this boy who never grows up can be seen as a syndrome of one who never matures, but to me it shares as message about being young at heart.  The adventures he goes on with Wendy reflect accurately my imagination as a child.  The playing pretend and being in different worlds....that's awesome.  Sometimes it's okay to take ourselves out of reality and just enjoy a good adventure.  Tonight was an adventure with traffic but once we got to the park, we all became kids again.  We enjoyed all the little things - the fireworks, good food, and rides we haven't been on before.  We wanted to do things tonight that most of us haven't done in a while.  No Space Mountain or Indiana Jones for us.  It was all about the new adventure.  God challenges me to seek new adventures and see life through the eyes of a child.  No, He's not saying be immature but rather look at the world with the innocence a lot of us have lost due to pain and fear.  He blesses me with an opportunity to live an adventurous life and explore with wide eyes.  Just as a child who discovers Disneyland for the first time....God asks me to see the world with that same awe and wonder.  It's so large and there are so many things to try.  Take on the example of Peter Pan (to a certain degree) and lead your friends into a great adventure of life.  Don't get into trouble with the Captain Hooks of the world.  Rather, enjoy responsibly and you will see that you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!!

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

love found everywhere

I'm a little halfway through with my personal 30 Days of Mystagogia Project slash challenge.  I've gotten a lot of words of encouragement from friends, so I'd like to say thank you to those of you that have reached out with your kind words.  You are God's mouthpiece affirming me.  Just know that!

The past few days, my prayer to has ended with, "Jesus I really love You, and I want to be so satisfied with that, that nothing else matters."  This is hard.  Soooo many other things matter.  I don't think I'm even close to getting there because every day I still worry about the same crap.  Every day, I have the same wonders and concerns on my mind.

Today, I heard Jesus say, "I know you love me.  I love you too."  I could have seen it in so many blessings that came earlier today (because today was an amAzing day!!!!) but it came at the near end of my day.  I was sitting down on the ground waiting for something to start and see this:


In reality they are just extra support strips on the socks, but in my vision at the moment, it was a heart.  The first thing that came to mind was "You are loved, think nothing less."  Thanks, Lord.  I know You love me, but this simple heart in my day really gave me something to smile about.  I can't help but get giddy and hope I can just keep loving You back the same way.

Find a heart for you.  Jesus has one, I promise - and you will see it if you just open your eyes.  It may or may not be the exact shape of a heart, but once you see it, you'll know it.  That's what true love is about, right?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

judgement on the grape

Poor grape.  It's my fault.  Today I had a bunch and raved about how delicious and sweet they were.  Then as I stood up to throw my plate away, my friend pointed and asked, "What about that one?"  I looked down and noticed one grape I did not eat.  I chose not to eat it.  I looked at it and said, "Well this one was bruised so I wasn't sure if it was good."  I didn't even give it a chance and by then it was point of no return, so I threw it out.  Poor grape.  It didn't even have a CHANCE to prove itself.

I bet it was the sweetest grape of the bunch too.

God reminds me to not make quick judgements.  Something may look one way on the outside, but it could be different within.  SomeONE could look different on the outside, but we don't know what's inside until we talk to that person.  "Lest we judge...." as a friend of mine always said.

I pass someone on the street and think I know their story, but I have no idea.  We need to take time to stop and ask before we jump to conclusions.  People have done it to me a lot of my life.  They take one look and assume I'm a certain way.  Hey, I may be bruised and a little rough but inside I'm as sweet as the grapes I had for snack this afternoon.

Lord, teach me to be slow to judgement and have an open heart and mind to everyone I meet.  Amen.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

clean

You'll laugh.  I was praying while washing dishes thinking, "Lord, speak to me today.  What have I experienced this day that is an experience of You?"  Not that it was a bad day, but I didn't feel as though I paid enough attention to God's presence.  I continued on with my dishes, but focusing on my bottle brush.  I used it to rinse out my lunch box, not realizing the amount of fat that it scraped off.  I tried to put all of this soap on the brush but it only helped a little.  The fat residue would NOT come off.  In frustration, I used a different kind of soap and tried to scrub it against my sink so the soap could help lift it all off.  It got a lot of it, but not all.  That's when I decided, "Ok, I won't throw this brush away yet.  It's still good - just has a little fat I need to clean off.  I'll use heat to get the fat off and throw it in the dish washer later for a good, deep cleanse."

Would you believe me if I told you that the Lord spoke to me with that?  I go to mass daily to remind myself to live a holy life.  Every day I confess my sins at the altar along with the rest of the congregation.  "I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned..."

Every day I still sin.  Before and after mass...sometimes even during!  Yes, in faith I believe my venial sins wash away at mass, but there is residue that still builds up to a gunk of fat that I need to get off.  A deep cleanse is good every so often.  In fact, it's necessary.  Confession is that deep cleanse.

Just as I need to throw my bottle brush for a somewhat intense heat, wash, and dry process, my soul needs a good scrub down.  I love confession.  You let it all out and it doesn't come back with you.  Once the Lord forgives, He forgets.  Everything is clearer.  Everything is brighter.  Today's cleaning session reminded me that I need to go to confession and get this funky fat off of me.  That way, I will be clean enough to help clean others as well.  As long as I keep trying to keep the fat off, people will see how nice and effective...the bottle brush can be hahaha.  My credibility is restored and I can fulfill the purpose I was created for.  If I'm headed to heaven, you're coming with!

PS.  Mystagoging while cleaning reminded me to lift up all my work and St. Therese will know what to do with it.  Prayed that my little deeds would help souls in purgatory.  Sorry, just wanted to throw that in there.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

queen of hearts

I received this card in the mail today.  I think it's funny because I don't think the sender meant to give me this specific one yet it struck me notably.  It was a reminder for something I have been praying about and an affirmation to keep up with my 33 Days to Morning Glory prayers.  Based on the book, I am learning how to surrender everything to our Blessed Mother.  All my graces and all my offerings are to be given to her so she can distribute and share as she sees best.  There is great amount of trust that goes into this.  It's not that I don't trust her, there's just a change in attitude that I am still going through.  I need to learn to give her all of my prayers and rely on her help and intercession.  Jesus is the King of my heart, but in addition, Mother Mary is the queen of mine.  I can only pray to have a heart as loving and strong as hers.  She is my ultimate prayer warrior to pray for not only my heart, but all the hearts of those I'm praying for.  She joins me and makes the prayers stronger.  She is my comfort in times of need just as any mother is there for her child.  I feel her love and presence through my own mother who also is the earthly queen of my heart.  How do I become more like you Mother Mary?  How do I grow in patience and love?  Help me to strive for purity of mind and body.  These are just a few of the many virtues I'd like to learn from you.  Thank you for being our Queen and Mother.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

da bears

9.14.14

Today was a good day.  28-20 and I'll leave it at that.

The point of today's blog is the camaraderie between strangers that are rooting for the same team.   The reasons we all have our favorite team is different for each individual.  A lot of it comes from the city we grew up in, our favorite players, or the city we currently live in.  This photo describes it perfectly - I don't know the guy giving me the bunny ears or the lady with the painted face.  Even if outnumbered, there is comfort in numbers.  I may not know you, but if I see you in a Chicago shirt, carrying the city flag, or rocking a Bears jersey, I'll high five you.  I'll give you a "hey we're on the same team" smile and yell out "Da Bears!".  You will respond with "Bear down!"  and we'll just "woohoo" as we walk away from each other.  That's special.  I don't know you, I'll likely never see you again, but we are on the same team.

C'mon, Catholics, can't we unite the same way?  Other than Christmas and Easter, I want to be able to walk down a street, recognize we share the same faith, and yell "Yo, happy Solemnity, dude!" or "Happy Feast of St. etc etc etc!" and we'd smile, acknowledge each other, and go about our merry way.  Dream to come true maybe?  Anyway this works better when we live in a world with less booing and more cheers.  Many of us are on the same team yet we don't recognize it.  I know I shouldn't compare sports bonding with spiritual bonding, but do you feel me?  There's something we can work off of here.  I'm not saying everyone has to rock a jersey with "Team Jesus" or their favorite saint on the back....but hey...that's kind of cool.  I rock my Urlacher jersey every game, so I should be just as proud with my Catholic gear every day.  Hmmm....something to pray more about.

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

bunches

9.13.14

Saturday was spent enjoying wine in the vineyards of Napa, California.  Despite the earthquake they experienced a few weeks ago, most wine barrels were in tact, and the damage was minimal.  I mean, we were ready to buy barrels of wine to keep it from going bad ;)  I love wine tasting.  The art of wine making, the smell of the tannins, the sips of fruit and oak, and the comfort it all brings makes me happy.

I love looking at grapes on a vine.  There's something so cute about a bunch of grapes.  It reminds me of a bunch of friends.  Family.  So fitting that I went to Napa with one of my best friends, but even soon after our day trip, we met up with other girlfriends from our Catholic ministry.  Sisterhood.  We're just a bunch of grapes put together in this world.  Our vine grows with a bunch of other grapes - other brother and sister bunches who are growing together in the Lord.

HA all of a sudden the verse pops into my head: "I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing."  John 15: 5

I pray this will lead you to read the whole passage.  It reminds us to stay close to Jesus and remain in Him.  We will bear great fruit.  We will be pruned to bear even more fruit.  Oye.  That is a different blog entry all on it's own...pruning.  For now, I'll stick the the bunches on the vine.  In my reflection, I am grateful for the "bunches" of family and friends I grow with on faith.  We may all be separated, but we all grow on the same vine bearing the same fruit.  My prayer is for you because you are on my vine.  You are a part of my bunch.  For this I am grateful.  Godbless you :)

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

wing man

9.12.14
I'm a few days behind, but I've been on vacation so I hope you'll understand.  I am guilty of posting the occasional "look at this cool thing I'm experiencing now" photo or status, but for something that takes more time to think through, I decided to wait until I got home.

This post deserves two entries, but the second one will have to come later. I am still processing this, but today I went to visit a mission church on my list.  I didn't realize it until I was there, but visiting the mission church of San Rafael (or St. Raphael the Archangel) is actually really special to me.  St. Raphael has been my homie since I was a kid, but more so now, he's pretty involved with my life.  That said, my reflection today is based or on my prayer time than an event that happened that I "mystagogued" about.  I decided to meet Jesus somewhere special today in my prayer time.  I've only met Him there once before, and I'll have to explain in a third entry how we came to be here.  Anyway, Jesus and I met up and were chatting.  I was catching Him up on my life and we were laughing about the silly things I've been feeling.  Surprisingly He told me he wanted to bring someone else to help me.  A wingman.  This dude has been His wingman, so Jesus wanted to share the wealth with me.  Enter St. Raphael.  This dude was super chill, knew all about me, and was just so comforting to be around.  He had this beautiful glow about him and an amazing smile.  In heavenly reality, angels don't have bodies - I know that.  But in my prayer, this is how Jesus knew I could relate best to a homie angel.  Anyway, I gave Raph a quick briefing of my heart but he had all the information already.  Needless to say, he went to work and I got some answers the next day.  I've got him on my side and as I continue to walk the path the Lord has set before me, I know I'll be okay.  In relation to my night hike the other day, St. Raphael was the one guiding me and lighting my path.

Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of angels and saints.  Thanks for always hooking us up with heaven homies to pray and watch over us.  I don't know why people like to argue that the saints and angels are no bueno.  Why wouldn't you want them on your side???  Yes, pray for yourself, but getting some back up prayer warriors on earth and in heaven is an awesome bonus!

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

simplicity

Past few days have been too deep.  Let's take a step back.  Tonight I hit up a barcade I've been dying to check out.  This place was Aladdin's Castle for adults!!!  The only game I really wanted to play but didn't was Street Fighter.  Per usual, the boys were in line forEver....sigh.  Next time?

Anyway, I made sure to hit up my favorite childhood video games, including Super Mario Bros. and Paper Boy.  No joke, this brought me back to my childhood.  I was actually annoyed at playing it on an arcade.  I prefer the personal console, but maybe I'm just making up excuses for not being as good as I used to be.

This blast from the past reminded me at how simple life can be.  God gives us opportunities to enjoy life in a simple way.  The human spirit complicates things too much.  Just as a developer digs deep to make a video game as "life like" as possible, sometimes the most enjoyable things are the simple up up down down moves of life.  Hold "B" and Mario runs faster.  No risk of nausea or vertigo here.  As we grow up, life becomes complicated.  We need to take a step back in time and remember the simple things that make us happy.  Then, let's seek it and enjoy.  If that means hitting up an old arcade joint and enjoying a refreshing brewski or two, go for it.

Thanks, God, for reminding me that the simple things can sometimes be as enjoyable if not more than the complicated details we make of our lives

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

down a dark trail

The days are getting shorter, the sky wants to sleep earlier.  Since we've moved to the new office, I have tried to take advantage of the quick route to Runyon Canyon for a post-work hike.  That's a happy hour I don't mind :)  I really enjoy hiking with my friend, Johnny.  He makes the time pass quickly with conversation, he's encouraging and tries to keep me motivated, but most of all he looks out for me while I go up and down the steep parts of the trail.

Me: "Go ahead, I'll meet you at the bottom.  It's getting dark, so I'm going to be slow."
Johnny: Takes my water bottle and offers to hold my phone so my hands are free.  "No, just follow me.  I'll go down the path and make sure it's not too slippery.  Just follow my trail."

Lord, you lead me down dark paths and I have noooo idea where I'm going.  There's a destination - the bottom.  It's not the final, but it's part of the journey.  Just as he would take his flashlight from the phone and light my path once in a while, you do the same by sharing messages with me at mass or through friends/family.  All I need is a little bit of light every so often so I can see a few feet ahead of me to make sure there aren't any major rocks I'll trip over or deep holes I could fall in.  Just the same, I need Your light, O Lord.  Every so often, just shine something for me to see that I'm not in danger.  Yes, I trust You just as I trust my friend not to lead me off a cliff.  His attempt at making sure the dirt was safe for me before I started downhill reminds me that You see ahead of me all the time.  You will always make sure I'm safe.  I may slip a little and even land on my butt, but I know to always get up and keep going down.

Johnny: "Don't sit down while coming down or you'll be too afraid to go the rest of the way.  Just keep going, you're almost there."  

Lord, You lead me ways that I wouldn't dare go on my own.  I want to pause and take precaution, but the more I stop the less I want to move forward.  The fear kicks in.  The caution overtakes my trust in You.

Johnny: "You're almost there, this is the easy part.  You've already gone through the hard part."

Really, Lord - is this the "easy" part now?  Do I keep going down a path that I feel like You're leading me through, even if it's dark, scary, steep, and somewhat slippery?  I felt safe earlier in our journey together.  Then the sun set pretty quickly and it freaks me out a little to walk as the light goes away.  Yes, once in a while I have these bursts of peace and wisdom - Your flashlight shines on my path.  My trust is not 100% and I need to fix that.  If it weren't for my faith and trust in Johnny, I would have taken a lot longer on the trail.  That just means more time in the dark rather than being safely off the path.  Help me to trust You in the dark, as You are there to light and guide my way.  I just need to look a few feet further ahead of me and not just focus on the step in front of me.  There is more to this that I have yet to see.  I think that if I give it more time, I'll be able to see further down the road where You have gone.

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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

nine

This isn't 100% in mystagogia form, but I'd like to share my reflection for the day.  Today is a national holiday for my eight girlfriends and me.  9/9 is Mamas' Day.  I won't get into the details of how this came to be, but for the NINE of us, it works ;)

As I stretched in Bar Method, I was looking at the ink on my leg.  This tattoo was done in September 2008 and six years later, I love it more than the first day.  The Japanese cherry blossom is symbolic to beauty and fragility of life.  There is always a spring and more blossoms - cheers to new beginnings!  The nine stars around the flower represent the eight girlfriends I hold close to my heart (+ me = nine).  Everyone always asks, "Well what happens if you guys have a falling out?"  Here's the deal: we've all gone through a LOT together.  Sometimes it comes to a point where we wonder if there WILL be a falling out.  But you know what?  At the end of the day, we still come back together.  This is what family is all about.  It's putting aside the differences, stopping the bull, and growing a real friendship from the crap we go through together.  Yes, we fight like all sisters do.  But we argue with each other because we love each other that much.  We look out for one another.  We pray for each other.  We all have our own lives, our other friends, but we always come back together like headquarters.  It's funny because I can't tell you every single girl's favorite food or what they like to watch on TV - but for some reason, it still works.  We get each other.  It's hard to explain but I can best describe it like the Sons of Anarchy MC hahahahaha....YES I had to throw that in there.  (FYI, MC = Motorcycle Club.)  This is why I like shows that portray friendship/brotherhood/sisterhood.  I can relate because that kind of bond is important to me.

Tonight was the Sons of Anarchy Season 7 premiere.  Maybe I'm still on an SOA high from the weekend, but Kurt Sutter's speech before the LA Premiere screening hit me.  I'm paraphrasing and doing no justice to this, but Sutter talked about how he grew up with mostly women.  He didn't have an old man figure in his life.  He found brothers in The Shield.  He found brothers with the Sons.  He found a brother in Charlie Hunnam.  At the end of his choked up speech he told Charlie he'd take a bullet for him.  (This is also when I saw Charlie wipe some tears from his eyes...awww...)  Anyway, that kind of bond can't be broken.  That brotherhood is real.  My sisterhood is real.

This is why when I got the tattoo, I knew I wouldn't regret my decision.  It reminds me that 1) there's always a new day tomorrow and 2) I have people looking out for me.  Yes, the eight other stars represent the other mamas, but it reminds me that, in general, I have a good amount of brothers and sisters that got my back.  I have this extended family in Christ that prays for me.  I'm grateful every day for the friendships I make.  I am more grateful each day when that relationship flourishes and friends then become family.

Who knows what will happen in the next six years.  Some may think we'll break up like a boy band.  If you ask me, honestly I think we will grow as more of us get married and have children.  The family will not only consist of the Mamas, but we'll have the Papas and babies as well.

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

color codes

:: There seemed to be a glitch in the system last night, so I have to re-write this blog.  Holy Spirit, lead me.  Let the message you want to convey be expressed just as well today, if not better than last night. ::

September 8, 2014

Today is Mother Mary's birthday, yayyyy!  Haaaaappy birthday, Mama Mary.  Nine months ago, we celebrated the fact that you were conceived without sin.  Your parents had noooo idea, but look.  God's plan is amazing.

As I was walking out of mass at St. Charles this afternoon, I stopped by the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where many people were gathered to pray and greet you.  As I looked down, I noticed the beautiful arrangement of flowers offered to you.  There was a bouquet of red roses to my left,  a more colorful variety of flowers in the middle, but what caught my attention was the vase on the right.  I know it sounds cliche since many women of faith that I know do this, but Mother Mary speaks to me (us) through her roses.  She showers us with this simple sign that she is listening to our daily prayers.  Depending on my prayer, a different color truly answers many questions I hold in my heart.  No, I don't take these as "signs" or live my life based off of a color of a flower.  It's not a fortune cookie to be broken or a magic 8 ball to shake.  However, when deep in prayer and with eyes of faith, I know when she is communicating with me and what she is saying.  I've smelled her beautiful fragrance.  I've seen her radiant color.  The Spirit moves my heart to help me recognize when I need to pay attention to her.  She knows when and how to reach me.  Well, I also have to pay attention.

So back to the vase on the right.  It was a bouquet of white and purple roses.  Maybe they have more and more purple roses on the market, because I have been seeing them a bit more frequently, but purple is specific to me.  Upon seeing this, Mother Mary was reminding me to pray for my girlfriends and their hearts.  I prayed for their vocation and the future men in their lives.  The funny thing is, for every sister I had in mind to pray for - there was a purple rose in that vase for them.  I was hoping for one extra one for myself, but I am learning to pray for others' intentions ahead of my own.

Mother Mary is a model of true love and obedience.  Many of us pray for her intercession so we can be even a fraction of a woman that she was.  It was a deep and sincere prayer between my mother and me.  If the vase had contained a different color of flowers, I'm pretty sure my prayer intentions would have been different.  The Spirit moves in mysterious ways, and the Blessed Mother knows what we need to pray for and reminds us to pray for those intentions.  Well, at least that's how it is for me at times.  There's purpose in everything, and even the simple color scheme of a flower will help guide me in my prayer time.  Maybe in a future blog, I'll decode all the colors for you :)

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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

VIP

The red band got me into the screening and after party.  The yellow band was my golden ticket to be as close as possible to all the actors and actresses that work on one of my favorite shows, Sons of Anarchy.  VIP, baby.  Yes, please let me up the stairs and past the rope because I'm "in".  UGH.  The work, the struggle....wait.  I didn't do anything to get up to the VIP section.  I knew the right people and they hoooooked it up.  Unfortunately, that's what this world is all about.  It's not even just in the movie industry - it's life.  As I was saying thanks to God for letting me get to experience it this weekend, I realized that the only important person I need to know is going to get me VIP status to where I want to end up.  Pour your glass of wine, because I'm about to serve cheese: Knowing Jesus is my VIP status to heaven.  My relationship with Him must be fostered.  Similar to how I don't like getting favors from people that I don't really work with, I'd feel awkward if I expected Jesus to let me in to heaven and I hardly spoke to Him here on earth.  Think about it.  Do I take advantage of just knowing Him and think that's my "in"?  Or do I work on the relationship, help Him out when I can, say yes to favors (missions) He asks of me, and constantly keep in touch?  In this industry, it's all about who you know, but people only remember you if you've made an impact on their life.  Typically that is done in a favor you did for that person.  People typically remember who they owe and that's how more and more transactions are done.

In the spiritual industry, it's also about who you know and how you foster that relationship.  The difference is that you don't have to always feel like you're sucking up to get on God's good side.  He makes it easy for us to follow Him.  It's only hard if we don't trust Him, but I digress.  In the spiritual industry, people are always helping ways to help you and "hook it up" when necessary.  Accountability is going to keep you focused.  Just do what you can to not just get to heaven to bring everyone around with you.  Yes, VIP is open to all but you need to know the bouncer ;)

So there you have it folks.  The red band got me in, the yellow band got me close to the actors/actresses I wanted to see.  That blue string is my ultimate VIP band.  No, it doesn't get me a fast pass or automatic entrance to heaven.  It reminds me of the work I need to do to get there.  And gosh darnit, I'm bringing people along.

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

prep time

Holy Family asked SFC to help out at their annual "Mass on the Grass" event.  This year, they served sausages instead burgers.  In order to be efficient, they figured we should cook the sausages for a little bit first so then when it comes to the actual post-mass picnic, they can just toss them on the grill and be done in half the time.  That said, a handful of SFC guys and I came in early to cook the sausages.  When I say "came in early to cook" I actually mean I was there the last half hour of prepping the sausages.  They did 98% of the work haha (good job!).  Anyway, there were about 1,000 sausages to cook so they were at it for a few hours.  To some it may not make sense, but if you ask me, that was a good idea.

God does that to us too.  He does things to help prep us, so when it's time and He's ready to serve us...the process goes by a bit faster.  We aren't undercooked slash unprepared for that moment.  We can never be over prepared, but maybe if we anticipate too much, that is the equivalent to being burned.  It makes some sense.  God allows things to slowly happen to just prepare us.  It might not be as quick nor have a result that we want (right away), but He's preparing us for that right moment and just like all the sausages we pre-cooked today, we will be ready.

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

circle of trust

This is short and sweet.  Today I went to a movie in the park (Pershing Square, to be precise).  They showed The Breakfast Club which is one of the ultimate classics.  I forgot so many details and how much I enjoyed this movie.  I can relate more to this kind of high school.  I don't even know what kids these days experience, so I wonder if they'd like this.  Even just experiencing high school in a different culture than my friends who grew up in the Philippines provided a new perspective.

One of my favorite scenes is the one when they're all sitting around in a circle and sharing about their lives.  They talk about pressures they get from parents, being hard on themselves, sex, lies, and other drugs.  "We're all pretty bizarre.  Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." -Andrew (Emilio Estevez)  I love this scene.  It's honest and raw.  This is how I like my friends.  You are able to share how you feel, yell at someone, cry, etc..  Everyone shares a piece of themselves.  That needs to happen more on my end.  I enjoy the honesty in a discussion circle.  I love that everyone was created differently.  Are we true to ourselves and our calling?  That's when the characters in the movie developed.  They understood they all had to be themselves and stop caring so much about what their friends or other people would say.  Once they accepted who they were, they all seemed to get along better.  They changed and they were accepted as is.  It takes special people to encourage you to be different and true to yourself.  It is great when those who really know you push you to be a better person.  It's very important to have these deep and close friendships.  Take it to a small, intimate level.  You learn more about yourself that way and soon enough you'll be able to move out of detention and live a different life.  You will find freedom.  You will live the life you've always wanted and receive a different sense of peace.

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

hike to the top

As many of you know by now, I've been trying to be diligent with my Bar Method workouts.  Last night's class was KILLER because our instructor was mad at our thighs.  I'm talking she killed 'em!!!  So as one would imagine, my legs were sore and felt like they were going to just fall off all day.  I tried wearing heels this morning to keep the muscles warm, but oye.  I couldn't last past noon.  Wimp, I know.  Anyway, for what I can say was a genius idea, I agreed to go to Runyon after work to go hiking.  I haven't been in a while, and I figured it'd be good to get in as much hike time as I could before...well before I can't.  Or you know...because the sun goes to sleep earlier?  I digress.

I ended up doing the first (and hardest half) by myself.  THE STRUGGLE.  Going up the second steepest part of the hike ALWAYS gets me.  My body was not built for elevation, so thin air and my lungs aren't friends.  I'm sure it's love/hate and good for me in the end, but at the moment - nooooo thank you.  Insert mystagogia moment here: hate to have to go through the steep obstacles of life but it's always worth it at the end.  If you don't grow from your experiences, you didn't learn anything.  Tsk tsk!  If I didn't have a hard time going up the hill/mountain, I need to challenge myself to climb higher (or steeper).  Yes, there is your life...please be safe.  But emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, we need to be able to exert effort and take the hard climb of life.  We get to the top and rejoice for surviving.  We grow stronger.  We are more fit.  It is worth the climb, even if we don't see the results immediately.

Be grateful for the solid ground you climb.  Yes, the dirt and rocks may be loose and cause a little anxiety...but take it slow.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Find your footing and push to the top.  You got this.  You can do it.  In the end, you'll be grateful you did.  If you take the challenge of the hike and of life lightly, you might miss out on growth and learning.  Instead you'll just get frustrated and it'll discourage you from not only trying again but from taking things to another level.  I haven't conquered that second steep of Runyon yet, but the moment I can run/jog up it...I'll know I've won because I know how it was when I first started.

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