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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Life is a Swollen Excitment

A few weeks ago I took some of my junior high kids from Church on a mission trip to San Antonio. The last day I took them to Six Flags where the sun is bright and the sugar corn syrup. Their favorite. I thought, "Great, this will give them a reward of serving the community since they are still children, in a way, and benefit from rewards." True, but I didn't think it would've taken the turn it did...for me.

One of my girls wanted to ride all of the "most scariest" roller coasters, so we pretty much raped / took advantage, whatever, Six Flags. I thought I would just watch her on the sidelines, and congratulate her for attempting suicide afterwards. Well, it didn't end up that way at all. Turns out she was too scared to get on any of them unless I was with her. Cute, I know. I love that feeling of being needed, who doesn't? But it cost me. We'll get to that later.
The rides were AMAZING. I would've ridden them all day. Seriously. And between me and you, they weren't that scary--just exciting. BUT while getting off of the rides a few of the kids said they blacked out for a second while on the ride. Red flag, right? Maybe that's why this theme park calls themselves Six Flags instead of Seven Flags--because six is the imperfect number and seven is perfect...according to Greek philosophers and theologians. Luckily I didn't black out but I did get whiplash (which can be a lifelong injury). Yay for us all!
I know, seriously, kid. So, three days pass and I'm back in my own bed and not sleeping on the floor in a dated sleeping bag. The thought process in my head upon awaking was, "Good mor...AHHHHHHH! I can't get up! Why can't I get up?! I'm still young!!!" Yep. I had taken a pretty bad whiplash that also made my previous spine injuries service. So put them all together and what do you get? Agony. Excruciating pain. Temporary death of the spine. Every movement, a slight turn of the head, a centimeter head lift, it all felt like agony. My spine was a limp noodle. Thoracic to cervical. Gone. Lumbar was good, though, PTL! Went to the Doc, got an x-ray, she didn't show it to me, whatever, and received a prescription for muscle spasm and steroids (to reduce the swelling of my discs, not to get bulky or a soprano voice, y'all). The x-ray below isn't me, clearly, I'm not a man. But it'll show you, if you don't already know, the curves of the spine...which will help you read this article.
Medication didn't ease the pain. So I ended up going to a chiropractor for the first time, and I thank God I did. The man is a genius. He relieved my cervical pain. I can turn my head now! I'm super excited about this little movement, dudes and dudettes. It's crazy how much you turn your head in a day. When it's gone, you think you might die on your car drive to the grocery store that's only 2 seconds away. He realigned my spine so my discs can heal properly and I can move freely. It's a marvelous feeling to move again.

Fast forward to a week later and I'm doing better. I'm still not 100% pain-free but every day it lessens, so this Hope is hopeful! My cervical (neck) is pain free, but my thoracic (upper spine) still has pain. Had a massage that released so many knots, and therefore toxins, in my upper back. The knots were irritating my muscles, hindering movement, and pushing against my vertebrae...which isn't good if you have swollen discs. Between the masseuse and chiropractor my spine has a bright future. God is UH. MAZING. Now if only my thoracic pain will die...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Parent Trap

Why do you listen to your parents when they give you the lowdown on an organization? When is the last time they participated with the organization? Or are they just telling you tales of the organization when they were younger of 70 years ago? What if their thoughts affected your beliefs?

When I was a little girl my parents had different views on many organizations. Take the Catholic Church for instance. My father made us go on Sundays because "that's the right thing to do." (no personal conviction there, just went as routine, like a doctor check up--who really wants this?) My mother allowed this because the Church made her feel young again (she grew up in a Catholic school but left the Church when on her own.) So, naturally, growing up in the Catholic Church I neither felt it necessary, spiritual, nor uplifting. It was just a routine you did so others won't judge you or call you a bad person.

What I don't get is why people let these preconceived notions of our parents affect their adult life? I grew out of this notion as a college kid on her own trying to find life itself. But I know a lot of people who keep their parents opinions as their own and really have no personal ground why.

For instance, there's a couple of people I know whose mother was raised as a Catholic. She grew up, married a Jew and left her faith behind--seeing no reason to continue and a dirty image of the Church. The problem is she never searched for the reason "why!" She didn't like the way the Catholic Church was mainly because she was told many negative things (which I found to be incorrect) but then left it as it was...looked for no answers. That would've just been her bad but where it gets dirty is when she had kids and passed on this opinion to her children, giving them a preconceived incorrect notion about this organization: Church. So she raised them as nothing really and let her husband, who later left her, take the punch and raise them as little Jews.

Now they are adults and STILL see the Catholic Church as something negative! I don't know about you guys reading this, but when I find something negative about something, I do research to find out for myself! How can you live 30 something years of your life with a wrong notion? Well, it's being done by many.

What I don't understand is why you would even say negative things about an organization if these things were merely hearsay!!(?) I mean, if my neighbor told me the lady across the street was fat, but she never left the house for me to know...would I tell other people she was fat? NO! (I hope you didn't say yes.) I have no evidence, so why would I want to give someone or something a bad name if I had no evidence?

Now these two people are grown adults with the same mind of a child in regards to this institution: the Church. It just really bugged me that these people wouldn't find out for themselves and therefore are spreading negative rumors about my Mother, (the fat neighbor) the Church.

To everyone who has these preconceived notions about the Catholic Church: you need to step inside and get to know the Church before spreading any kind of rumor about it. No matter what you've heard, you need to invite yourself into the fat lady's house across the street in order to see if she's really fat or if it was all just hearsay. Only then may you be given privilege to talk smack.

Peace and Happy Eastertide, y'all! Wahoo!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How to Use Sex

Recently a friend asked me about the topic sex. He wanted to know if I was at the "Catholic zero" in terms of sexual partners go. He couldn't just straight up ask me if I was a virgin, I guess. At first it cracked me up, the term he used. But then I started thinking about it. "Catholic zero" seems a bit derogatory especially in the society we live in today. Many sex partners means you know what you're doing, too less means you're a beginner at loving or awkward and having too many means you're a prostitute. I want to combat this horrible mindset about not having sex and practicing abstinence. I NEED to combat this.

First off, I completely disagree with the above notion on sex partners and what the number means for you. Second off, as a Catholic, we SHOULD be proud of observing chastity, and abstinence (if you're single). These snarky remarks should have no movement in our hearts. This is why.

The world believes that Catholics are all about rules...what God is telling us NOT to do, when in fact, we are about LOVE and what God is telling us we CAN do. You see, the world has this mentality that if something doesn't fall in the parameter of my own wants and desires then it must be useless. God made us with this amazing desire to be loved and to love. He also made us with an amazing desire to be physically close to another human being. The world has this popular mindset that if premarital sex is in my wants and desires that it must be okay. Eating the whole buffet when we go out to eat starving (luckily God didn't make this possible) must be okay, having children and not taking responsibilities over them must be okay, committing yourself in marriage to more than one person must be okay, drinking so much alcohol till I pass out in numbness of my pain or worries must be okay. So when they hear someone NOT doing these things they think, "Oh, they must have a sad life because they aren't satisfying these human cravings." or "Repressing those desires aren't good for your health."

Step back. It's not repressing. If this is how you treat your selfish desires you are taking a dangerous short cut. Catholics don't repress. We direct these desires toward what is good and selfLESS. As Christians we aren't slaves to our selfish desires. It takes discipline. You know, what you should've learned in school. And yes, premarital sex is typically selfish. Why? How? Because you are giving into your body's beckoning before committing yourself to love that person through sickness or health. Instead, you are taking that person's BODY and making it pleasure yourself for a time being, not for your life. And if you're using a type of birth control, then you're not using sex for what it is. Instead, you are trying to manipulate this beautiful act into something it is NOT. It is not a tool for JUST your physical pleasure. It is a communion of two bodies spiritually connecting through God to each other for the purpose of love, and love creates life. It goes beyond your bodies. It includes your soul. And your soul was only meant for one person: God. If God is not in your bedroom, then you aren't having sex in it's fullness. And I'm sorry to tell all you who are ALL about premarital sex and multiple partners that you haven't reached the fullness of the ecstasy in sex if you are abusing and manipulating this beautiful act of love. And if you aren't open to the life that this act may bring, again--haven't reached the fullness of ecstasy in the bedroom.

So to conclude this all, the "Catholic zero" is a compliment even if it's meant to be derogatory. We Catholics are ruled by love, not by rules. We have a God, THE God, who is giving us the ways of having complete happiness in all that is good. He isn't a God of rules but a God of commitments and vows to us in love. He's a God that gives us candy to enjoy but tells us the precautions to eating it and how to take care of a cavity it may bring. He gives us the best of both worlds. HOW to use the good to get the most out of it and how to combat the bad.

I hope y'all are having a blessed Lenten Season.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Church in China

So this is what I was writing to a friend who was living in China. I wrote this to him 3 years ago.
I'm putting this on this blog so I can read it later when I get a chance because my writing is not doing so hot right now. Plus, I thought all of you would dig it. :) Enjoy!

  The majority of persons will not stand up for what they believe in if it contradicts the government (if the government indeed has right to control their lives or demean them in any way). Therefore, why take that risk and make life less desirable? It's unreasonable! But one of the difficulties in the Catholic Church in China (from what I was taught) is that most of the bishops and priests aren't in line with the Holy Father (they weren't ordained by the Roman Catholic Church), therefore they are unable to give the right sacraments and are unable to preach the teachings correctly. I think this is the main concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See. There are few clerigy in China that are actually in line with the Pope and this is the problem.

So to give them a higher level of formation (a more integral formation) --the ones who are actually in line with the Holy Father--would allow them to better direct the lay members they are involved with. To better educate the lay members means to live Christ's love more fully and correctly outside the Church. It's a domino effect I think. Get to the priests first and they'll get to the faithful and the faithful will get to the non-Catholics and the "fallen-away Catholics".

But really, I totally see what you mean. Why give them better formation, more rounded formation, if they are already doing the best they can do?? I guess it's wanting to give them more options of spreading the Word of God. I don't think Rome is okay with sitting back and thinking they couldn't do better...which is understandable and creditable.

And you're absolutely right. Everyone SHOULD have the right to voice their opinion...but that's not how it is in some countries; which makes it hard to follow Christ and His Church because you're being forced to follow the government instead and keep shut about anything other than. I think the Catholic Church just wants to make things a little easier for people to believe and follow...but ultimately will never get there in this life. ;) I guess the Holy Father just wants to tend to his sheep as a loving shepard should do. [He also writes to the Chinese Catholics. There's one letter he wrote to the Chinese Catholics on the Vatican website:
I haven't read it since then ('07) so I can't comment on it.]

And that's why we are still having martyrs to this day because there are a few that will stand up for what they believe in and are killed because they will not denounce their faith (in extreme situations.) I wish I had that kind of courage and conviction but I fail many times--and I'm not even in a country that would make me denounce my faith in order to live!!! It's definitely easier said than done. I can talk about how we should do this and that all day long but will turn around and do the opposite. We're weak but we should at least try to be strong as Christ did when he took the crucifixion...and as all the martyrs do when they will not denounce Christ as their Saviour and Lord. (Or as the nuns who were raped and murdered in India just for being nuns this last semester.) It's a cruel world which gives us all the more reason to stand up and give testimony for what is love and right--for what is God.

Bet you weren't expecting an essay on what I thought. :) Haha!! But I wasn't expecting such a great response! I love the way you think! And it's so nice to talk to you about these kinds of things. And of course I can say what I have but I'm not the one living in China. I've got it extremely easy--overly easy--here in TX. Don't know if I'd be able to stand my ground in any other country...especially China. Can you even wear a crucifix around your neck? I'm clueless to how the reality is over there. So because of this my little essay has no ground or credible thought. But it was fun anyway! ;) There's not a lot of people that would speak to me about this...and definitely nobody I know could educate me on the Catholic Church in China but you...not that I need to know, but you're fun to talk to, ol' buddy!


Aha, well said. But a martyr isn't named by the Church if they are flaunting their beliefs or faith...or even the name of their faith. A martyr is someone who by chance was in a situation where they would have to denounce God as their Lord to please another sinner. It goes back to when Jesus wouldn't denounce Himself for the sake of others' gratification. (I'm really not saying anything you don't already know--just trying to enlighten what a true martyr is so you can see the glory in it) He was crucified because He didn't lie about the Truth. No body sane wants to die especially if it's by a word from our own mouth. We would be inclined to lie in order to save our lives. That's what makes martyrs extraordinary.

The Church wouldn't name someone a martyr if they flaunted their faith and was killed this, not at all. Those people must have some screws lose or be mentally ill because that's not sane or normal behavior by any means. But if a person lived as faithful as they could daily and strived to be like Christ and were humble...and they so happened to be murdered by -not PROnouncing as a crazy person would- but by not DEnouncing it, then they most likely will be named a martyr of Christ by the Church.

I hope that the economy crisis will open the hearts, minds, and eyes of North America to live like they do in China--as content and happy with little; to not live comfortably (the dream of America) but to live simply so that others may simply live. Wouldn't that be a dream? ;) I don't blame you if you find that pleasing because it's how we should live. Eat it up. We don't learn and grow if we don't experience and we don't experience if we don't live, right? ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Territory of Human Existence: Casual Cruelty

It happens way more often than we want it to. We go about our business and as soon as we turn around we're stabbed in the back. Not everyone intentionally does this to us but sometimes it's the indifferent attitude that forces their actions.

There's a song by St Vincent called Cruel. After watching it the other day it's been coming back up in my memory throughout my days.

I know some people may think it's too dark and depressing but if you look into what is being portrayed you'll see something that goes beyond the hurt and betrayal. I believe this song is about something more than what I'm touching on here but it would turn this post into a short story which I don't feel like doing. So there.

I can definitely relate to this video and song in so many ways. I also often wonder how could we all be so casually cruel. Not just down right cruel but casually cruel. Softly. Nonchalantly. Like it's not a big deal. Like it goes with the territory of human existence.

Beyond this hurt and betrayal of others' actions is the cause, the breaking point that makes another act. I believe it to be indifference in the case of casual cruelty. My co-worker threw me under the bus with a smile on his face earlier this evening and I was shocked. Not because he did what he did but because he did it with a smile on his face and a twitch in his heart.

In the song she says "they could take or leave they took you and they left you". I meditated on this for quite some time after the fact and it felt so good to dissect it. I've had this done to me way more often than not. People are given two options: take you (your friendship, love, charity, generosity, time) or leave you (pass you by like you weren't worth their time). People who take both options think they have authority over a person's kindness and do not care if they cause a tare in your flesh. Their hearts are made of stone and indifference runs deep in their blood. I'd rather someone hate me because at least then they'll have some passion towards me, but indifference? Is cold. Why do so many people act this way? Do I do this to them??? This treatment causes so much pain I would absolutely die instead of putting someone through this. But then I go back to the beginning and as I said before, "it's the indifferent attitude that forces their actions." If I'm indifferent, could care less about anything, I need to focus on changing that because it's the root of being casually cruel. And I think we all have the tendency in us.

Footnote: indifference=lukewarm
"But because you are lukewarm and are neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth." -Revelation 3:16
Apparently God hates this too. He knew we would be like this. And it's not like He's just like, "oh yeah, try not to be lukewarm because then you'll hurt your neighbor." NO. He'll flippin' puke us out of His mouth!!! This is clearly a huge red flag for God! Wish I could've picked up on it sooner.

Go and change everything you're indifferent about. (except for the color of your bed sheet or type of pen you want to write in today....that won't hurt anyone's feelings) Let's make this world something to live in rather than something to be hurt from.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Women Finding God in Secular Places

Women finding God in secular places. Single women. Professional women. Married women. Housewifes, mothers, grandmothers. This is for you.

I don't believe that in order to find God you need to be in a certain physical location. God is found in bars, brothels and Churches. But I do believe that your heart needs to be in a certain location.

I am a single women in her 20's and I roam the city of Houston quite frequently alone. Thrift stores, downtown dining areas, Churches, and even backroad down in "unsafe" neighborhoods of the third and fifth ward. I find many attractions and not so good things.

Recently I've been frequenting Buffalo Exchange, which I know isn't all that "thrifty" considering it's a chain but I go for the bargains and interesting staff. Some people snicker at me for going to such places because a white female apparently isn't supposed to be seen in such an area. But I have a question: why do females have to live a safe and secure life? Why do we have to live on the highest story of a building and let only our hair hit the floor? What gave society the authority to give us this stigma? Society might live in fear but we don't have to. If we succumb to society's mentality we aren't following our hearts. We aren't following our deepest desires. We aren't being the women God made us to be. Furthermore, not living life to the full is not feminine. I think these fairytales men have made up along the way for children and daydreamers have twisted true femininity into a delusional idea: fear and weakness.

If we look into what fear is we find it is for the cowardly, the unsurity of something or someone. I believe it is for the weak. God doesn't want us to be weak. How could we live such a courageous life as Christian women if we fear what society thinks of us or our lifestyle? What about all those female martyrs in India just a few years ago being killed for being nuns! The killers asked them if they believed in God, they gave their fiat and were dead. That takes conviction, love and courage. If you are a Christian woman and you don't pray outside your Church or home for fear others may find it disturbing, you're not following God. If you are not holding men accountable for their actions and words, you're not a feminine Christian female. If you are wearing those stylish short shorts because that's all you could find, you are not being a woman of Christ. Men need strong women who know their virtues and which virtues they need. Men need women with TRUE femininity: chaste, nuturing, loving, forgiving, strong, convicted, knowledgable. What they don't need is what society is feeding our little girls: immodesty, damsel in distress, fear, bubbled, unintelligent, weak, materialistic, plastic. If the men fall, it's because the women might have pushed them with their twisted mentality. You don't want men to treat you like an object? Dress modestly and act modestly. Do not give into temptation as sweet as he may be.

Fear isn't for us, ladies. Stand on the head of the evil as Mary, the Mother of God does. We have the power to do so, given to us by God Himself. So live your life concuring the deepest desires of your heart and you'll be living in prayer with God because He is the one who put those desires in your heart. That's where we'll find God. In the midst of the city streets roaming around is a woman just like you and in her heart she knows what's true: it's God within her. Find the location in your heart for God.