Thursday, December 31, 2015

A journey to hope

"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.'" - First published 12/31/14 on decision to make "Enjoy the Journey" my theme for the year

As the story goes, I just turned 33 and was ready to face my "Jesus year".  I was feeling good coming out of Advent.  I was ready to take on the new year.  I just wasn't sure what theme I'd go with, but carrying out the Advent theme just seemed appropriate.  

And it was.

I never really thought I would encounter a loss that led to my own self reflection.  Last Christmas, a woman I worked with passed away over the break.  We held a memorial for her in January, and it was that event that made me reflect on my own life - What will I be remembered for?  Suddenly, I felt as if I hadn't been doing enough in life.  I wanted to do more.  I wanted to serve Jesus in a different way, but I wasn't sure if going full time missionary was necessarily my calling.  I remember driving home one night asking God, "So, what's next?"  A few months later, I never thought I would attend an event that would re-trigger this question.  I attended a talk called "Passion & Purpose".  Even thought it was my second time, I had a feeling this round would be different from the first.  Someone shared towards the end about how he moved his family from NY down to Cincinnati to do this job he felt God calling him to do.  I remember looking at the friends I attended the event with and saying, "Wow that's dedication.  I don't know if I could do that."  But somewhere deep in my heart I already "feared" that maybe I was called to do something similar.  I never thought that I would take on a new job that would lead me to where that person was working at!  Plus I never thought I'd make it back to the midwest...that WASN'T Chicago.  Talk about a JOURNEY to be enjoyed!

I've truly "enjoyed the journey" as much as I could.  There was a lot of uncertainty this year, but I made it a point to take it all in and be present.  I tried my best to really revel in each step and feel all the feels.  I gave up reign on my life and trusted God would guide me on the right path.  I know it's easier said than done, but this year was different.  I'm so grateful for every move I had to take, every extra step to the right direction.  And now on to the next.  It's been a good year and I learned a whole ton at 33.

This Advent, my theme was around knowing that "Hope does not disappoint" as my 2016 theme is "A promise fulfilled."  I don't know what that said "promise" is, but I know that God will let me know when it happens.  I will truly find my hope in the Lord and have faith that He will not disappoint.  I will continue to be present in each moment with each person I encounter.  I will try my best to continue enjoying this journey the Lord has brought me on.  I know there's a lot of work that needs to be done, but I must have that hope in the Lord and know I won't be disappointed.

I'm looking forward to a new year.  I'm so blessed for the past one I've just experienced.  I know I've heard many times, "I just want this year to be over," but be grateful no matter what happened.  Every year has it's hardships and we have to be thankful for what we've been given in order to really make the most on what's to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends.  My love and prayers are with you xo

Sunday, September 13, 2015

the dream

I met with multiple people at the new j.o.b. over the course of the week and one gal said, "I mean this is my dream job."  She said that, and it reminded me that someone asked me that too when I told them where I was going.  "Oh my gosh, that's the dream right?!  It's totally what you've been wanting to do."

Quick answer: Yes.

That is true, but why the apprehensive attitude?  Is it because I dreamed that the next big thing in my life would be something a bit greater than a new job?  But I understand that this isn't just a job.  It's a calling, it's a mission.  Is it because I realized how much I didn't want to leave Los Angeles?  But this mission calls for sacrifice, and that means letting go all I have for the greater good.

I feel all the feels.  I know logic vs heart vs faith etc etc etc.  At the end of it all, God wins and takes reign of my wants and needs.  I pray to slowly (because I'm human, I can't do it overnight) release all my desires to Him, so He can fill me up with the right things in life I'm to long for.

My heart desires to fulfill another mission.  My heart desires to be surrounded by the people I've left behind.  My heart desires to love beyond capacity, and surrender to God and live out the plan He has for me.  I guess at this time, I can't have everything that I want and I need to be okay with that.

Lord, if this is what you've handpicked me to do, then amen.  As I prayed today at mass, I know you'll take care of everything else I worry about.  Just continue to live out the YES I've already started.

So what is the dream?  The dream is to be in heaven and to bring everyone I know and love with me.  This job helps make that dream come true.  "Go live your dream" is written on the boat, and I pray I can accept that and live it out.

Monday, September 7, 2015

the road home

"Home is where the heart is." - as the saying goes.  My girlfriends asked me today, "Where will you say you're from when people ask?"

Funny question because for years I would always answer that with "I live in LA, but I'm from Chicago".  Now, do I say "I'm from LA but originally Chicago" or "I live in Cincinnati but I'm from LA"?  Do people care where I'm from "originally"?  Well let's see when the time comes.  All I know is that when I went out on Friday night, I told my brother to tell his friends that I came in from LA.  I wasn't ready to explain the whole Ohio bit yet (sorry, Cincy friends).  I hope you understand that this will take some time.

I was born and raised in Naperville (Chicago suburb) but I say I grew up in Los Angeles.  This is the city that molded me and helped me "mature".  Now to some people, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing, especially if you think I've gotten too "kale life" or "Miss Hollywood".  However you analyze it doesn't really matter to me.  All I know is that I really learned about myself and grew SoCal.

So today, I wrapped up my Labor Day weekend in Chicago.  I normally pack up and get dropped off at Midway for my flight back to LA, but this time I packed my trunk and drove off to Ohio.  It was a strange feeling knowing that I wasn't going back to California.  It really hasn't hit me yet that I won't be seeing some of my friends for a while.  The past few weeks have just felt like I was on vacation and not really in a transition into a new life.

I don't have a lesson to be learned (yet) with all of this.  I'm just taking it in and going about my day one step at a time.  I also just wanted to share my feelings because I know people keep asking how I'm adjusting.  The quick answer is that I don't feel like I've moved yet, so there really hasn't been much to adjust to.

It takes a lot for me to call a place "home".  Maybe I'll accept Cincinnati as that sooner than I did LA.  It wasn't until recently that I admitted LA was home.  My pride still referred to Chicago/Naperville as my home, but I recently realized my heart has moved to another city.  Not completely, but it split apart and now lies in Los Angeles as well.  I'm sure my heart will love Ohio eventually, but for now it's still on vacation mode.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

a letter to my kite

I've had this desire to fly a kite for a long time.  This led me to buying one, but for whatever reason I kept it hidden in my closet for years.  I knew it was there, and I kept telling myself to go to the park to fly it, but I just never put it in my car.  Numerous times I found myself at the park or beach saying, "Ugh, I wish I brought my kite!"  I don't know what I was waiting for...I guess the right moment.

Well it wasn't until I cleaned out my apartment and found the kite, that I remembered to bring it to my very last beach day for the summer (as a SoCal gal).  I was so hyped up to fly it, assembled it, and started to run to let it fly in the wind.  Run run run....tired.  No kite flying in the air.  What the heck?!!?  What was I doing wrong?

Well I gave up and figured I got a dud.  I mean, it's not hard to fly a kite - so what was my deal?  I just blamed it on the kite.

For whatever reason, a friend of mine was looking at it randomly and then I felt a tug on the string I was holding.  It started to fly!!!  I asked what he did and he replied, "It was on backwards."  So basically I did it wrong.  I had every intention of doing it the right way, but I guess in my excitement I didn't pay close enough attention and thought I assembled it correctly.  I didn't realize I'm the one that messed it up (not the kite I blamed, ha!) but thank goodness someone made it right.  Once that was done, I was flying it and a happy kid.

So dear kite,

I'm sorry I waited until the end to fly you.  I'm sorry I just cherished you from within my closet - where your potential was just stored.  You were too pretty for me to I kept forgetting you were there.  I can't blame you that you didn't want to fly for me once I was actually ready to.  But Someone corrects our wrongs, and once things were fixed, we had a great time.  A time so grand, it will be a memory I will look back to when I want to feel that giddiness again.  It's an innocent joy that has a deep meaning for me because flying kites is something I really love to do.  I just don't do it enough...not sure why.  I guess that makes our time together, no matter how short, that much more special.  People kept wanting to fly you, so I shared.  They knew it belonged to me and made sure to not let go of it and lose it in the wind.  I would always get you back in one piece, no matter how windblown.

Thank you, kite.  I have you here with me so it's just a matter of the right time of finding a place for us again.


Friday, July 24, 2015

spiritually crazy

Confused and feeling empty one second.  Clarity and fulfilled the next day.

What happened and how did I get here?  Well I know for sure the power of not only my prayer but those who have been praying with and for me has totally worked.  I don't know why people don't pray more, but I digress.

So I was trying to explain how I felt to someone by saying, "I feel like I'm just throwing up air - dry heaving if you will."  But this wasn't a physical act, as I could only use this to describe what I was doing spiritually.  Every day I was telling God, "I'm letting go.  I'm letting go.  I'm letting go.  I don't even know what I'm giving You anymore.  But whatever it is I still have within me, just take it."  I wanted to feel like I was relinquishing everything I had in my power so as to allow God to take complete hold of the wheel.  That's a tough thing to do when you feel as though you've already given Him everything.  So all this "giving" left me feeling "empty".  But I didn't feel depressed or without God.  It was a different kind of "empty" I've never experienced before.  I wasn't truly at peace, but I wasn't feeling in despair.  I just wasn't "feeling".  It's not a spiritual dryness.  I know what that feels like.  This feeling was foreign territory to me though.

Anyway, I was at a point of confusion wondering what my next step was, when I was reminded of a story I once read,

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at "the house of the dying" in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, "And what can I do for you?" Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

"What do you want me to pray for?" she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: "Pray that I have clarity."She said firmly, "No, I will not do that." When he asked her why, she said, "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of." When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God." (story shared by Brennan Manning)

So my next step was to pray for trust in God.  I mean I was already taking steps in the direction, but I needed to continue to pray for that and listen carefully as to what to DO.

Well today, God finally answered me.  The answer was to not DO anything.

WHAT?!!  Crazy right??!  Don't do anything!??  It's because the answer was deeper than that.  So today I went to mass, and for some reason I was pretty emotional during the consecration.  I don't know if it was where I was sitting, but the crucifix behind the altar was just more prominent in my vision/mind and all I thought of and felt was LOVE.  As unworthy and small as I felt at that moment, God simply told me He loved me sO much that He died for me so I can have eternal life with Him.  This isn't mind blowing news, people.  I know God loves me so much, even unto death.  However, today was different.  That's the part I can't explain but just KNOW.  In faith, God told me how much He loved me.  So much that He has only the best plans for me and I should trust that.

Then I understood and said, "Yes, Lord, I trust in You."  That was it.  He didn't have a next step for me.  He just allowed me to be overwhelmed with how much He loves me, leading me to remember that I am His daughter and He will take care of me in every aspect of my life.

I left mass saying, "Lord, I'm ready."

Those are crazy words that I fear to say, but because He loves me so much...that love drove out fear.  I'm so glad I spiritually purged myself of my own craziness in order to make room for God to fill me with His love.  I guess all that terrible dry heaving and emptiness was worth it, as it is a blessing to be filled and feel what I felt today.  I didn't find clarity as to what to do next, but I felt clarity in understanding what was going on in my heart (if that makes any sense).

Perfect love drives out all fear.  Now I'm just filled and overflowing with love for you.  Amen.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

hard hearts

I had a Sundate with Jesus this morning.  The first message I received was, "If today you hear God's voice, harden not your hearts."  The first time this verse really struck and stuck with me was back in 2012, during the Intimacy Weekend Retreat I served.  Since then, I've tried my best to really be sensitive to His voice and not just choose my own desires over His overall plan.  All this "obedience" led me to asking Him, "What's it all for?"

Don't get me wrong, I can already hear the voices of the many friends and family that will tell me, "Maricris, God has great plans.  We just have to trust in Him."

I love you all, and I get it.  But in my humanity I couldn't help but ask Him that.  All the things we do to live a righteous, holy life.  All the things we do to keep our hearts guarded for God's love alone.  It's a formula for a life of true happiness.  I know that.  I understand that.  But sometimes, I can't help but stop and wonder what MORE He has planned for me.  Yes, I will of course dwell in His presence and wait patiently.  I will continue to live my life pleasing to Him.  I will continue to work hard in my prayer time, service, work, and love for everyone around me.  I will continue to keep my heart open despite these moments when I want to just take control of situations in life.  I will continue to listen for His voice.

But is it okay that sometimes I just ask, "Lord...what's this for?"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Some may say it was only a pre-conference, but yesterday's SFC event left a darn good imprint in my heart.  I left the venue feeling refreshed, as if I had just experienced a weekend retreat.  From the preparation, to the activities, to the talk, and all the all lead us to know and understand God's love for us in a deeper way.  Mass was clutch.  I had a heart filled with joy throughout mass, and I was smiling and slightly tearing as I approached Him in the sacrament of the Eucharist.  I felt overwhelmed with joy and peace.  I prayed, "Lord, I am open to Your love."

And His love soon came pouring down on me about three minutes after I left mass.  It's not in the way one would picture an outpouring of love.  It wasn't in rainbows and butterflies.  It wasn't even in cute babies or puppies.  Nope...His love came down on me through a call for more work.  There is truly no rest for the weary.  A retreat "high" so short lived...I think it made history.  At least in my heart.

Really, Lord?  More?  I was just trying to enjoy the moment and Your Love.

And He replied, "Yes.  Love More."

I could go on and describe the next twenty four hours of my life but let me spare you the details of this emotional roller coaster.  Instead let me share my "pause" moment.  A "pause" moment, as defined by me, is that time where God tells me to quiet.

It happened this afternoon at School on Wheels.  I volunteer to tutor homeless children once a month.  Summer is here, so the number of kids was a lot less than I am used to, and there were more volunteers there than I've ever seen before (which is good!).  Anyway, that said, I was able to just hang out and give attention to just one student (instead of the three or four we usually get at one time).  The situation today was that she wasn't feeling well.  I'm convinced she caught the flu, so her energy level was pretty low.  She wanted to color, try a crossword puzzle, and play games with me, so there was enough in her to make some effort in enjoying the afternoon.  At one point, we were reading, and I knew I just lost her attention.  I didn't want to feel like I was wasting my time, so I asked her, "Is there something else you wanted to do?"  She replied "No, you can just read to me."  I was hesitant because it didn't seem like she really cared for the story, but I continued the book we were reading anyway.

I don't know her "story".  I don't know her background.  All I know is that this girl was not feeling well, and I'm sure she just wanted to go home....but what does she call home?  These families are in temporary shelters, hotel/motels, or living out of their cars.  My heart aches thinking that she can't go "home" and crawl into the comfort of her own bed.  I don't know where she is sleeping tonight.

I was so pre-occupied in my mind with the million things I had to do...I didn't take enough time to stop and think of what this girl really needed.  At the moment, she just wanted someone to sit and read to her.  She just needed comfort.

And this is when God said "pause".

I paused.  I smiled at the girl to help her feel comfortable.  I read and she listened.

In my busy-ness, I forget HOW to Love More.  I've been too worried about making sure everyone knows about the theme of all of our conferences this year, that it has blinded me to actually DO.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with your love through service.  Thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to love a little more today.  In all that we do, may it be for Your glory.


Thursday, June 4, 2015


Christian Personal Relationships Weekend:  The retreat consisted of friends, food (BACON.), and lots of laughing.

We were there to learn, and the results were off the charts.  It's been a while since I've heard speakers get quoted or referenced after their talk.  Thank you.

*Disclaimer: no spoilers in this post.  Most things I got were taken from the speaker's sharing, so it'll be different the next retreat.  If it didn't come from them, it was just my own simple reflection.  You can apply it to any CFC SFC talk lol*

- I learned, "Don't take a picture of your food.  Just eat it."  Just kidding, I was reminded that technology can be useful but when overused, it can harm relationships.  My phone didn't go off all weekend.  Not because everyone I talk to was with me but because we had no service in the woods.  God is good, and the point was made.  Relationships were deepened.
- How far does God's love in you reach to others:  Friends?  Family?  What about strangers?  I keep asking people what their takeaway was, and this was one that stuck to me the most.  Does God's love run so deep within me that I allow the ripple affect reach to the third core: strangers?  Not as often as I probably could/should.  There's a safety factor and there's just a factor that sometimes I don't feel like speaking to strangers.  WWJD....?  Not be lazy or a snob!
- CARE-rection is the best kind of correction.  Don't be passive aggressive, people.  Just give it to me straight.  I most def left that talk with a list of people to talk to.  Kidding.
- THINK before you speak.  Is it Truthful?  Will it Help the situation?  Does it Inspire?  Is it Necessary?  Is it Kind?
- Loving with a wounded heart.  BOOM.  We all get hurt, we all have moved on.  But HOW have we loved with those wounds?  It was time to take out that bitterness and live in peace.
- Send off.  Love the world.  Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

I could share more and get mad deep, but I'll let you experience it for yourself some day :)

These words won't make me a better person if I just know about it.  I need to get off my ass and do something with it.  Why spend an entire weekend in the woods where there is no cell or internet service, bugs were trying to just devour you, and you get little rest....if you don't live to tell the tale?  YODO.  You only DIE once, but you get to live every day.  (Thanks, Jenn!)

Make it count.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

orange shoes and a dropped phone

Dear stranger from the plane,

So we encountered each other as we were boarding because we were both hungry and bummed that we didn't have enough time to use our airport vouchers as a result of a delayed flight.  You were going home to Cebu, I was going to visit Luzon.  I ended up sitting behind you the whole way to the islands.  You dropped your phone and asked me to pick it up.  You shared about how you were from the area where you can go swimming with whales.  I shared about how I don't speak the language but I understand it well enough that you can't talk behind my back.  I'm not sure if you got the joke.  At that point, I figured you didn't want to speak with me due to a potential language barrier.   However, you said you've been living in LA for five or so years now.  Your English was fine, but I've encountered your kind.  You are more comfortable with your language and I understand that.

I noticed you at check in.  Saw the red hoodie and orange shoes.  Pretty fun.  You asked if I was traveling alone.  I wasn't sure how to answer that.   Originally, we were both supposed to be stuck in Hong Kong overnight.  I think if I stuck with that plan, we could have hung out and become friends.  I would have invited you to CLP and introduced you to a girl I think you would like.  Instead, I flew earlier than you because I needed to meet up with my family that night.  Sorry.  Missed opportunity, perhaps?  I was going to catch your name after we picked up our connecting flight boarding passes, but you left right away.  I apologize for not introducing myself.  At some point you said, "Well maybe I'll see you in the Philippines."  I replied, "Or LA!"  But let's face it, both areas are over populated.

Well, sir, know that I said a prayer for you and your safe travels.  It was nice to meet you briefly and chat with a friendly stranger.  Who knows..maybe we will cross paths again some day.  It wouldn't be the first time that happened to me.

Enjoy your stay for the month.

Another stranger from the plane

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

God's love

The Singles for Christ (SFC) SoCal West Chapter Christian Life Program (CLP) has begun!  If you want to know more about SFC or the Christian Life Program, visit our website.

I can't tell you the number of times I've gone through this program.  It's a series of talks that help guide a person through their faith journey.  Whether it's just the beginning or a supplement to a person's Christian walk, there is always something to learn.

It took years for me to get here, but I finally realized how important it is to attend the CLP.  I understand the wisdom behind its length (be it ten or thirteen weeks).  I attend each CLP talk and listen for a message as if it were my first time.  Humility is a challenging virtue for a lot of us, especially if we think we know everything this community has to offer.  We are sO very wrong.  You learn something new every day of your life.  God speaks to us all the time, and sometimes we fail to hear Him in the words of a talk we think we already know.  If we don't learn one new thing, we weren't listening closely.

So what did I learn last night during Talk 1?  God's love.  Yes, I know God loves me because John 3:16:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Noted.  Got it.  But what MORE did I learn?

Today I learned this: "Everything I have is yours." [Luke 15:31]

God loves me so much that everything HE HAS is mine.  His SON is mine.  His LOVE is mine.  His grace is MINE.  In the parable of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15: 11-32], the father welcomes his lost son when he returns home.  He welcomes him with a feast and unconditional love.  The brother was a bit jealous since he was obedient to the father and stayed home with him...yet didn't seem to get much from that.  All the father could say to that son was "I love you too.  Everything I have is yours."

The father doesn't short change us of His love.  He doesn't hold back his possessions.  EVERYTHING He has is ours.  He is always ready and willing to give His love freely to us.  Everything.  Died on a cross and all.  Crazy.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me with Your EVERYTHING.  I don't deserve it, but You see me in greater love vision than I see myself.  Thank you.  For everything that is Yours, is mine.  I will love it as You love it.  I pray that all I have is Yours.  I have a harder time giving it all to You, but to love as You love means that I should give You my all too.


Sunday, April 5, 2015


I was walking down the street when a man asked for spare change.  It's mostly true when I say, "Sorry, I don't have any on me."  He replied with, "Even a penny?  That's all I need to change my luck."

I yelled over my shoulder, "Really, a penny?" then proceeded to cross the street.

So a penny, huh?  This struck me as odd only because he said, "...that's all I need to change my luck."

I slowed down after I turned the corner and actually checked my purse to see if I had any change.  Well...I found a penny.

I walked back to him and asked, "So you really think a penny will change things for you?"  He replied, "Well yeah.  It's more than nothing, and I've been here since yesterday."

So I gave him a penny.  He smiled and said, "Thank you!"

I followed it up with a little more money...and said I would say a prayer for him.  I don't think he heard that second part because he just smiled and said, "See!  My luck has changed already!"

I just smiled at him then walked away.

I can't explain it, but I really think his luck changed today.  I prayed that God would make that happen for him in some way.  I pray that things are made right for that man, so he won't have to beg for pennies on the street anymore.

Yesterday, during the Good Friday Stations of the cross, our prayer leader said something that stuck with me.  As the people along the path to his crucifixion were there to minister to Jesus, He was also ministering to them along the way.  He never stopped, no matter how much pain and suffering He was in.  He continued to minister to others to His death.

I felt that even though I ministered to this man in a small way, he actually taught me something too.  He ministered to me.  He gave me hope that sometimes we just need a penny in life to know that our luck will change.  When things are tough, we only need to see that small cent to know bigger and greater things to come.

To me, a penny may be worthless.  To another, it's hope.

I'll be sure not to overlook the value of a cent anymore :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

a driver's dilemma

It's funny how God puts things in perspective for you when you don't even realize it.  I'm driving down the highway of life.  While on my travels, I've been praying for something for a long time, and a possible opportunity to have it has been presented to me.  Now, let's slow down at the intersection.  I'm trying to get to this destination that is filled with riches.  I think I'm supposed to turn left.  I've been trying to go there but for some reason, no one is giving me directions to go there, so I can't exactly...get there.  There is no green light yet, so I'm just waiting at the stop light.  As I wait for my GPS to give me some general direction, an ad pops up on my app telling me there is an opportunity to turn right but it won't lead me to the riches I was intending to get to.  Instead, it's a place where I will find something that may give me more joy than the place with riches.

No turn on red.

Even though I think I want to turn left (where the riches are), there's something about turning right that is appealing.  There is something calling me to go that way.  Gut instinct?

All of a sudden my GPS works and I'm told to make a U-turn and then turn right on a different road.  This will still get me where I wanted to go originally, but all of a sudden I'm not sure I want to go there.  I think I want to take the road less traveled, turn right, and drive down the road to happiness though less riches.

Would I be happy if I turned left?  Possibly.  Or maybe not.  I don't know, but I know I wouldn't regret NOT knowing.  (Does that make sense?)  If I don't turn right, I think I'll regret not trying out the adventure on that side of the road.

With the cross traffic light turning yellow, I all of a sudden realized how much I wanted to turn right.  I'm just waiting for the light to turn green and my GPS will re-direct me.

Maybe that's how God puts things in perspective...

God:  "Oh you want this....? Are you sure?"

He shows me the two options, but side by side I want what HE wants.  I want something that will bear fruit and light.  It may bring less riches for myself, but I know it will bring more joy and peace.  In the end, I'm going to be in the right place...right where I'm meant to be.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

man of honor

Happy Solemnity of St. Joseph, my friends!  Today is a special day in our Church because we get to celebrate one of the greatest unsung heroes of our faith.  Papa Joe's YES was so crucial, as he was the man chosen to not only foster baby Jesus but to also be the one to protect, provide, and pastor his wife, Mary.  The head of the household is such an important role.  It is one that gets lost in the chaos of today's world.  Godbless the men who stand up and lead the family in faith and holiness.  Thank you for following the footsteps of St. Joseph.  St. Joseph was a strong, silent man who was a great teacher to his son, Jesus.

I'm early because his birthday isn't until next week, but I want to honor the first "St. Joseph" of my life.  He is the first man I loved and one that sets the standards high.  He is a veRy imperfect man, just as all saints have pasts.  By God's grace and awesome plan, my dad was open to the Holy Spirit working in His life.  Conversion of heart led him to not only a life free of drunkenness and tarred lungs, but it brought him to a life where he gets to lead others to Christ.  I don't want to brag too much about this humble man, but his speaking abilities are so engaging.  He really attracts people to a life in Christ.  His advice is based on wisdom, a gift of the Holy Spirit.

My dad is so generous.  God is never outdone in generosity, and he uses my dad to prove that point.  My brother and I are grown adults, but it feels as though I'm insulting him whenever I offer to pay for a meal when we're all together.  My dad wants to provide.

He wants to talk to my brother and myself every day to make sure we are okay.  He watches the news and calls to tell us what drugs to look out for (so we don't get roofied) or how to avoid getting viruses in our computers and cell phones.  He wants to protect.

My dad texts me on Thursday nights of Lent to remind me to not eat meat soon because it will be Friday.  I can call him anytime and ask for any messages from the Lord that he feels inspired to share.  He always has the right words, thank God.  My dad wants to pastor.

This man takes great care of our family.  He is so loving and a blessing.  I'm so honored to have him as my father.  He is ALWAYS supportive and has my back.  If he didn't, I wouldn't have just spent my 7th year anniversary in Los Angeles ;)

Dad worries very very little (at least outwardly) because in any and every situation we face as a family or individuals, he always ends it with "Let God be in control.  Let God's plan and will be done."  I am sure his many "kids" can attest to that.  My dad is not a worry wort and always just leaves it up to the Lord.  This is a great example that I need to always be aware of and follow.  Thank you, dad, for loving us so much and praying for us 24/7.  Haaaappy birthday and cheers to many many more years to come.  I love you.

St. Joseph, please continue to pray for him and all men.  May they see you as a model of patience, humility, strength, and unconditional love.

Lord, it's always in Your hands.


Friday, March 6, 2015

last bite

I have a silly story to share, but God speaks to us in these little ways and I want the world to know about it.

I was in line for a sandwich at lunch today.  I had my eye on a beef sandwich...and for some reason really wanted it.  I mean REALLY.  As much as, "Mama Mary, can I get that sandwich?" wanted it haha.  Yeah...don't ask me why.  I don't even know why I wanted it that much.  But anyway, I did ask for it in a prayer as soon as I felt this desire in my heart for it.

I get up to the counter and it was gone :(  Sad face indeed.  I figured it wasn't meant to be and just looked for the next best sandwich...turkey with bacon (nom....bacon).

As I got my sandwich, my friend looks at it and says, "Oh that looks good!"  I replied, "Yours does too" as I noticed she had one of the beef sandwiches I wanted.  She then proceeded to offer a trade because she felt like she would like mine better.  The only thing is that she doesn't like bacon, so she made me keep that part.

SO WAIT.  I got my beef sandwich AND bacon?!?!


Mother Mary and Jesus canNOT be outdone in generosity.  My heart's desires were not only fulfilled but over flowing with God's love.

I walked away laughing and feeling as if I hit the jackpot.  I realized that I needed to pray on the other desires in my heart that I've been holding on to lately.  He reminded me in this small way that we just need to ask and we shall truly receive.  His blessings do not delay.  Imagine how quickly I got the sandwich just as I thought it was already all gone.  Plus He is ready to give me more than I really want because He wants me to have the best.  Immediately I prayed for a few deep desired intentions.

Lord, hear my prayers.

Thank you, Jesus, for my friend's generosity.  Thank you, Lord, for Your generosity.  Thank you, Mama Mary, for bringing my prayer to Jesus.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

the alternative

As I was praying about my post for today's Lenten Photo Challenge, I decided to color outside the lines.  Obviously this isn't a picture of a fish, so what's up?  Personally, I didn't find an exciting photo opportunity for my fish meals today.  Not only that, but I kept feeling the tug to reflect on something else.  Without going into super deep details, giving up fish on Fridays is supposed to remind us of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday.  As He gave up His body and blood for us, it's a chance for us to "give up the flesh" as well.  So yes, I gave up meat today for Lent...but He has been doing the past few weeks....asked me, "What more can you do for me?"  The answer wasn't giving up more food, meals, or drinks.  It was to "give up the flesh" and indulge in something that would nourish my soul.  My alternative for going out and getting turnt on a Friday night* was soaking in Matthew Kelly's talk on "Finding Passion and Purpose."  I could have taken it as "me" time to relax, unwind, and get crazy.  Instead I took "me" time to relax, unwind, and get crazy...with Jesus :)

My thoughts on the MK talk will take a different night, a different blog.  However, believe me when I say that I was inspired!  Believe me when I say I was empowered!  Believe me when I say that this version of the "alternative" night is one I am happy to have experienced.  Not just "no meat" kind of Friday, but "yes" to all the spiritual food I was fed.  It's heavier and more filling than meat, and something I want to burn out slowly.

*These days, "turnt on a Friday night" means catching up on shows.  It's not going out and going crazy, but it could potentially lead to a lazy and unproductive night.  Attending Matthew Kelly's talk would still be more fulfilling.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Today's gospel (Matthew 7: 7-12) is one of my favorites.  ASK.SEEK.KNOCK.

Jesus gives us three things we can do.  How simple!  THREE :)


In my profession, the popular phrase is "Just ask."  The worst that can ever happen is that you get a "no".  I know that's not a word people like to hear, but if you don't ask, you will never receive any answer at all.

Jesus says to ask, so I asked.


How timely to be told to search, as that is what I'm doing.  Affirmed!  This is the part of our lives where we need to take action.  We can't just expect things to fall into our laps sometimes.  Though I will say, those are the best...but in reality, most of the time we have to get up and seek out our way to an answer.


There are many doors, there are many options.  Jesus acknowledges the fact that we will be faced with different opportunities and could get pulled into several directions.  In our discernment, we often ask the Lord to guide us down the right path.  We may stumble upon a few obstacles, and one of those might be a closed door.  Jesus says to knock, and it will be opened to you.

I guess if it doesn't open, you've got an answer to the question you asked.

There's a last bit in here that wasn't written in black and white, but hopefully it is understood.  Come humbly before Him when praying.  Yes, ask away.  Jesus wants us to.  However, we need to ask, seek, and knock with humility.

Jesus doesn't HAVE to do anything for us.  He doesn't have to give us what we need or want.  We can bug Him all day, and if He doesn't want to....He won't.  BUT that's not our God.  God WANTS to.  He has nothing but LOVE for us and just wants to shower us with all His blessings.

So when I say come humbly, I mean we need to pray with honesty, sincerity, and specifically...but we can't pray with the attitude that we expect God do as we say.  We have to pray and trust that He will give us everything we NEED because He loves us so much.  Every prayer is answered.  Every call and cry He hears.  We can pray and expect to be answered, but in His way not ours.  Yes, "CLAIM IT" when you really want something, but claim it with the trust that God will answer it as He sees best.

That attitude changes the way I pray.  I know I am deserving of many things as as child of God, but I also know that I can't act like a spoiled brat.  Jesus loves me, this I know (for the bible tells me so?)  No but for real, I know Jesus loves me and spoils me like crazy, but I still have to approach Him with love and humility.  Gotta put Him in control.  I can't tell Him what to do and how to do it.  It changes the prayer, it changes the attitude, it changes my relationship in God.  I mean, I give suggestions for things I reeeeeally want :)  But I think that is okay hehe.

Here's a parallel:  If you could pay big bucks for a personal shopper to dress you up, I know there is trust there.  The personal shopper is the expert.  I've never had one, but I can only imagine there is a degree of humility when trusting someone to dress you up.  Yes, you can share what you like: colors, styles, accessories, etc...but at the end of the day you know you'll trust your shopper to get you what is probably the most flattering and in style.

How much more with God?  He's the expert of our lives and can "dress us up" as He sees best.  Ask for what you want, seek out the answers, and keep knockin' on those doors!  Don't pound on em...remember: in humility and love ;)

Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in you.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I'm stumped on how I've survived LA for as long as I have, especially since I have mental meltdowns every time I'm stuck in traffic.

That being said, I'm sure you can do the math.  The Lord allows me to practice the virtue of patience several times a day.

The funny thing is that I don't really panic when I'm not driving.  Traffic bothers me only when I'm behind the wheel, because I should be in control of how long it takes me to get somewhere.  I set my own expectations on when I'm to arrive somewhere...a really smart thing for an LA driver to do *insert sarcasm here*.  If I'm not driving, I don't care when we arrive as long as we get there safe.

I'm pretty "giving" on the road, as long as you make smart choices.  Cut me off, but at least have a blinker on.  Squeeze in front of me when merging, as long as you don't stop suddenly...keep going with the flow, bruh.  Leave a store parking lot as I creep up towards the driveway, just acknowledge my presence there with a wave if I let you go first.  There's an understood teamwork in driving, and everyone just needs to play their part and play it smart.

I have little patience for people who think they're the only ones driving.  Those are the cars that cause me to pray more and more while I drive.  Those are the drivers that give me anxiety.

To help, I try to be as patient as I can.  Internally, I might be freaking out, but on the outside I'm keeping my cool.  Smiles and waves go a long way.  I'm not much for honking.

Now with all this background, I hope you can deduce as to why I posted this photo today.

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to be patient and be merciful while driving.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me many opportunities to pray for others, even strangers.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I'm not one to usually take photos during adoration, but I wanted to capture this moment as the clock struck midnight the day I turned 33.  I wanted to spend my first few minutes of my birthday with Jesus.  I wanted to remind myself that Jesus is always present and available 24/7!

Everyone hypes up the "Jesus" year.  For some, it comes as a warning for a "trying" year; a year of sacrifice and change.  I will embrace that because if Jesus changed death into life, I can only pray the same happens for me.  I pray this year I find things I need to let "die" so I may fully live.

This Lenten season has challenged me to seek deeper into finding those things I need to change in my life.  That's what time in the dessert is about, right?  Slowly but surely I feel the burn.  That's what they say when you work out and your body changes.

In the spiritual sense, it hurts to give up things that you really want.  However, if giving things up means making room for holiness, then let's do it.  I pray that the few sacrifices I'm making during this Lent doesn't end in a binge fest on Easter.  Rather, I pray it teaches me the virtue of Chastity.  That's a long term prayer of mine that is being answered.  Over the years, and especially more so in the past few months, I've come to understand this virtue beyond it's association for all things "sexual".  Chastity means self-control.  This takes discipline and leads to change.  More importantly it leads to freedom.  All things I need in my life.

Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. (CCC, #2339) - Cathechism of the Catholic Church

I asked, "Lord, what more can I do?  I am already giving You so much."

He said, "Give Me more.  Love me more."

I pray I find ways to love Him more...not only this year or this Lenten season, but for years to come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

love in color

I had a weird but simple moment with my Mom.  I was sharing all of my heartaches and pains with Her.  I was sharing about my love and worry for all of my friends and family.  I was desperate for Her help them all.  The world just needs so much love and I wanted Her help me share that love for others.  So many things to talk about, not enough time.  But she knew and understood it all.  Every person, she said she would just love more.  Every intention she said she'd keep close to her heart.

As I continued my prayer, I noticed something and giggled at the "Mother/daughter" bonding moment we had.  I randomly chose a rosary I haven't used for a while, and as I was speaking to my Mom, I noticed that it was the same color as my nail polish.  I told you it was weird, but it was a simple moment with her.  We shared a smile, a hug, and she kissed me good night.  This was her way of bonding with me and telling me she's got my back.  I felt love in the color (especially since it's one of my favorites!)

I felt her arms wrap around me as I allowed my heart to break a little.  Only then could it be filled with more love.  A warm tear dropped.  Maybe it was out of sadness, maybe it was out of relief.  Either way, the comfort I felt put me to sleep so peacefully at night.

Mother of all mothers,  I love you.  Thank you for always listening and praying for and with me.

Monday, February 2, 2015

a child's prayer

My favorite social media posts are when my friends share the cutest things their children say at prayer time.  It's the most innocent of prayers.  It's the most honest.

Every time I attend mass, I ask God to share a message with me during communion.  "Teach me, Lord.  Teach me something to carry throughout the day."

Today's message came to me as I watched the students of the Church's school receive communion.  Their hearts still open and not as tainted as ours as adults.  I admired their simple love for Christ, even if they didn't realize how pure it was.  My prayer became, "Lord, teach me to be as childlike.  To have that trust in You, my parent, knowing You will take care of my every need."

Growing up, my parents provided for me the many things I never asked for.  They gave me things that they knew would make me happy.  They were generous enough to my brother and myself.  I am grateful for the simple way they spoiled us.  I thanked God today for the simple ways He spoils me.  I don't need a baller car or a dozen designer purses.  I have a lot of wonderful blessings that I can't quantify.  I mean if I got a baller car or a dozen purses, I wouldn't be mad ;)  But it's not what I need, so I'm okay.

That was the message continue to trust in God's providence and be grateful for His generosity.  He taught this to me this morning so I could remember it when I needed Him desperately tonight.  I use "desperately" lightly as I was on the verge of anger, despair, and ready to un-learn all I received this morning.

God's grace in the Eucharist is so powerful.  He remains in me, and reminded me of my message from this mass.  It was time to cling on to that promise.  Time to cling on to Daddy God and trust Him to care for His children.

Lord, you know what we need and I trust in the way You allow us to receive this.

May this detour be it.  May this be just another lesson to learn...but the last lesson to learn.  Let us not take for granted the infinite chances you give us.  Have mercy on us, Oh Lord.

Jesus, King of Mercy, we love You. We trust in You.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

dream sequence: truth & dates

photo credit: Kl Petro, via Shutterstock.
So I had a crazy dream last night that I'm trying to figure out...yet not.  Cuz hey, it was just a dream, right??  Don't mind my thoughts as it will likely be out of order of how I actually dreamed these.

1)  I had a dream that I was at a restaurant having dinner with either a group of friends I haven't seen in a while or a new group that I haven't hung out with before.  We were there as a "group date" and it was all about getting to know each other in a deeper way.  We decided to play a game...a reverse-strip-truth-or-dare type of game.  First step, everyone at the table strips.  Guys got down to their undershirts and boxers.  Girls were wearing slips/camis.  I was on the fence about just being in my draws, but opted against it for you know...modesty.  Right.  Anyway...the point of the game was to share something deep and new about yourself that no one really knows, and each thing you share, you get to put a piece of clothing back on.  Well, there's the motivation to get clothed ;)  I was sitting next to some guy, and we were really hitting it off.  It ended up being the two of us just talking.  Then the waiter comes over and says, "Excuse me, guys.  I'm sorry but the table next to you guys just complained that they feel uncomfortable with all of you not wearing much, so we have to ask you to put your clothes back on."  Clothes on it was.  Dream over.

[[WHO DREAMS LIKE THIS?!?!  I mean, who makes up games in their minds?!? haha I don't know where this came from but hey, it's pretty genius.  I mean not that I'd do it...but I like that ice  Oh.]]

2) I had a dream I saw a crush from grade school at church.  I was sharing this with an old friend of mine, and we continued to talk about the girl who was there that had a crush on HIM.  Talking talking talking, then all of a sudden he tries to kiss me.  I back up and look at him.  "What are you doing???" I say, totally taken aback.  "I thought you felt the chemistry," he replied.

Me: "Dude, I was just telling you I have a crush on that guy, and this girl over there has a crush on YOU."

Guy: "You mean you never thought about us?"

Me: "Maybe in the past, but not now....sorry, it's just too late."

Dream over.

3) I wake up early and decide to go to 8AM mass at the Cathedral.  My friend came to meet up and told me she came from our other friends' place and it was really fun over there.  I felt salty for not being invited, but whatever I wanted to go to church.

Dream over.

[[Guess I have deep fear of missing out.  Eh?]]

Anyway, needed to get that off my chest.  Quite a weird night!

I shared these dreams with my coworkers, and one followed up with this article.

If it's true, then it makes sense.  I mean I dO like to self-reflect when I'm awake.  It's just weird that these dreams kind of came out of nowhere.  For the first dream, I dO like one on one interaction and have been thinking about that lately.  However, where did the game come from?!  I'm just amazed at my subconscious for making up such a creative ice breaker lol.  The second dream didn't seem that far fetched...just random.  Dream three was random but also something that could have totally happened (or can happen) in real life.

End scene.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I was so hyped for this new year.  I was ready for new thoughts, new ideas, new inspirations to write about.  Nada.  I don't know if I'm thinking too much about it, or maybe I haven't been "present" enough in the moment to capture anything.  I haven't given up hope. I know the magic will come.


I see this photo and I feel like I could write a novel based on how this piece of art inspires me...but my words come up blank on a page.  I don't know what to say.  I don't even know where to begin.

Why am I inspired?  Is it because of the magic wand?  Is it because it looks as though it's the hand of Mickey?  Is it because of the legends that burst from the castle?  My imagination is unlimited yet I can pick nothing to get the juices flowing.

Well maybe I need time to soak it in some more.  I feel this way with God's message sometimes.  It's so much, so overwhelming, so inspiring...but when I reflect on it, I can't pinpoint exactly what it's saying TO ME.  There's always a lot of wisdom in the Word of God, but the nugget I'm looking for is what will help me in my journey of faith.  It's the piece of advice that is the catalyst for growth.  I always need some time to break down what God is trying to say to me.  I need to sit still and listen.  Oftentimes, I read passages in the bible and forget to ask myself what I've learned.  I am trying to get into the habit of opening my heart a little more each day as to learn the message He has prepared for me.

Maybe in this case, I need to sit still and just stare and this statue.  I'll let the magic from the wand speak to me...slowly but surely.

Or maybe it has already been used as a tool of inspiration!  I'm starting to think that right about now ;)

:: end scene ::