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.