Wishing you all a merry, blessed, and exciting Christmas and New Years!! :) Tell Jesus how much you love Him and thank Him for everything and every amazing thing that has happened this year. :) Stay warm, and don't forget to thank all the Santas!!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Okay, so here's what happened (a couple of months ago) after the 12noon Mass. :) I was talking to my friends - little kids, really sweet, crazy, imaginative, creative, and just, well, wow. :)
And so, the second youngest little girl from this other close family friends of ours, comes up to me and gives me a present for my birthday (It wasn't my birthday yesterday).
So, she goes, "Here you go, for your birthday."
Me, "Oh, that's so sweet of you! Do you want me to open it?"
Little Girl: "Umm, if you want to." But you can tell, though, that every part of her is basically screaming 'Ohh my GOSH! Just OPEN IT ALREADY!!'
And so I open it. And I find a beautiful angel pin inside the tightly folded and taped white paper, with laces and a few beads and some sort of golden thread material. And there's a sparkly blue plastic flower in the middle.
Me: "Ohhh, it's SO pretty!! I love it!" *hugs little girl*
And so the little girl beams, so proud of herself as she then says, "I found it on the floor."
I'm a little dumbfounded when she says this. This is a little girl who has five (did I mention crazy?) brothers, and only one baby sister. But she was SO proud of herself!
I mean, seriously, why is it that only little kids see the beautiful awesomeness in the littlest of things? The simplicity?
'Kay, so I have two little siblings - when they see something beautiful lying around on the floor, they keep it. In their treasure chest, jewelry box, or whatever.
I think that's what God does to us sometimes. He sees us on the floor, lost and alone, and is quick to save the beautiful thing from being trampled...And keeps it in a treasure box, His Heart. :)
Thursday, October 28, 2010
With a friend like me, why would you want to jump off a cliff??
There’s something heartwarming about friendship. That sweet camaraderie among those whom you’ve known the longest, the ones who’ve you can count on anytime of the day, and yes, those ones whom we just love to hang around with, no matter what age. We know that love is what binds friendship together, and that God is Love itself. We’ve seen many scenarios that teach us valuable facets of it, for example, in the media that so often effects us today, good ways, and pretty awful ways. But do we really know that it’s also a facet of a vocation to holiness?
In Toy Story 3, the toys are being called to a special kind of calling; the vocation of being present. They know at times, that even though they may never be played with again; just being there for their owner in good times and bad, strengthen their friendship more than ever. Lord of the Rings, I think, is all about loyalty and responsibility. As a friend, we are entitled to a responsibility and loyalty that goes beyond measure, but it acts on both our parts – Frodo and Sam are the best examples. In those desperate situations, many friends are promoted to family, and our responsibility and loyalty rises to that of a sibling. The Soloist teaches yet another valuable lesson that is often concealed. We can provide happiness, beauty, and everything they have ever dreamed of, but we cannot do everything. We may able to change their heart, with God’s grace, but we cannot change who they are. In the movie, Nathaniel suffers from schizophrenia; his friend Steve does everything he can to help him, but blames himself that he cannot solve the real problem. We can’t fix them into the way we want. Only God can do that. And those are the precious moments that God calls us to be in – just to be there for a friend is the best you can do – and let God do the rest.
There are way too many examples I can give that show the beauty of friendship. I chose these three, mainly because they have taught me a valuable lesson that gave an impact on my life. It may be a little strange to focus on that area, but if you know me pretty well (I tend to be a little too nice sometimes :P), it’d make sense. And maybe you’re like that, too. I don’t think of myself as a reliable and responsible teenager that everyone can count on. And not in the way you might think! Yes, I strive to clean up my room, make my bed, cook lots of desserts for my family, and stay constant in my faith, but when it comes to reaching out to someone, a friend or sibling, maybe, I find myself wavering over the decision to help or not a little too long. No, I’m not cold-hearted like that, it’s just that it takes a while for me to trust in God and remember that I should just be an instrument of his Love, not the one playing it. But that’s responsibility. Being there and reaching out to those in need – because in Christ’s eyes, we are all brothers and sisters. How could stand by and wait for them to come sobbing at our laps?
It’s that leap of faith, and that moment when friends get promoted to family, and you find/see yourself a little more clearly, too. If you don’t, it’s gonna be pretty lonely, for your friend, and for yourself, too. I know, it's scary. But don't forget that God is our Friend too, and He won't let us down!
We also must remember we are JUST God’s instrument. We don’t take charge, just take hope and know that God’s taking care of it, through you. I had a hard time accepting that. Not too long ago, I was driving myself nuts over a friend who was feeling broken – I felt really awful that I couldn’t heal whatever was wrong. I blamed myself for failing; it made myself miserable and made me want to give up. But God didn’t give up on either of us. Through the movie ‘The Soloist’ (and some reflection after seeing the film), I was able to understand a little bit more, and remember that I’m human. Duh! I can’t do everything – I can do everything I CAN, but I can’t do the impossible. Only God can. It was those moments when I was there for my friend, that God used to heal whatever was broken. Just being there may be the best thing you can do, like those toys, or the way Frodo and Sam portrayed it. I was only holding my friend’s heart together, while, not I, but God was healing it. And that experience taught me a lot that still deserves some more thinking.
So yes, true friendship is a facet of vocation to holiness. It’s through them that we feel God, and allow God to work through us. And you can never ever ever have too many friends; it’s like food. (No, no, don’t eat your friends!!) You need to eat, and you’ve got your favorites, but you can’t ignore the healthy stuff. And of course, there’s no harm in trying new food. Who knows? Might just end up as one of your favorites, too.
Love, responsibility, and loyalty. Three voices that combine to make one glorious hymn. Can you guess which one sings the melody?
“Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest. It’s about who came, and didn’t leave your side.”
So, if you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re sad, I’m sad. You jump off a cliff…
And you can be sure that I’ll be at the bottom to catch you! :)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Waiting isn't much fun, huh? :(
Many times, a lot of times, we find ourselves waiting for something. A hope, a promise, anything really... Something that would spark our spirits to love God in that amazing way we have before, but somehow...we just don't feel it. Then you wonder what would it take for you to fall in love with Him again.
This has been one of my favorite songs for a while. It was the first song that came to mind when I heard the first Reading on Sunday (oh yes, I was paying attention!!). Sometimes we can't feel God and how He, at those moments, is wrapping His loving arms around us. He didn't love us any less. Did it ever occur that maybe we have...?
Yet, in the midst of all the brokeness, His promise - or whatever He has spoken to your heart - still stands firm. If it hasn't come, you can be assured that it's on its way, without fail, and has never stopped from coming. It's kind of like Christmas or Easter. It's not going to stop from coming, even though the days seem miserably long and hard. Even when it finally seems like everything has fallen apart (like in the vid when the girl's violin was smashed to pieces), God is still there to take us through. If He can't take us out of this dark night, then He'll at least take us through. :)
Pain, brokeness, sorrow...they're all a part of life, and necessary, too. "The pressure makes us stronger, the struggle makes us hunger... The hard lessons make the difference, and the difference makes it worth it." A lot of times we forget that God's time isn't always our time.
A mom of one of our close family friends gave me this to think about when I was going through some tough times:
Humility --do what you can and let Him do the rest.
Confidence--faithfully believe He will take care if things.
Abandonment -- His will be done.
Love- do what love requires and love yourself right where you are, He'll do the rest.
These were the four virtues that St. Therese taught - and this mom is a very close friend of hers. :) I figured it'd be a good time to post it - especially that I've missed posting a bit of St. Therese for her feastday, so...
I like that she mentioned "He'll do the rest," at least twice. I think we tend to forget about that... I do, for sure. :P
In the meantime, while we wait, we can be that hope for someone else. Share His love, even if we don't feel it, and let them know that they're not the only ones who feel broken inside, and struggles to hide it. It's hard, but yes, ultimately worth it.
P.S, I know this is super off-topic, but could you please vote on the poll that's on the sidebar? And let me know - 'cause I changed my backgrounda while ago, forget to mention - if the text is harder to read and if I should change the color...
Friday, October 1, 2010
I blame you for making time fly by!!!!
Can you believe it's October already? *doesn't raise hand* I still remember Christmas Caroling down in Waikiki with some of my bestest friends...and that only feels like five months ago.
For me, October is always that moment when you think somewhere along the lines of: "Darn. It'll be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years one after another. And before you know it, it'll be Valentines day, and then Lent AGAIN!"
Don't you hate it when life throws itself at you like that? Life should be treated like chocolate; savored slowly and with each little bite, you feel that satisfying sensation. Chocolates shouldn't be gobbled up. Where's the fun in that?
I've had a lot of grown-up moments this year. Several times I had to assume the title of 'big sister' when my older sister wasn't around. I'm pretty bad at it, but at least I've got a brother who looks centuries older than me. We don't even look alike...(on the sidenote, my younger sister just told me that if we weren't related, and she saw me walking around Waikiki, she'd definitely think I was a tourist).
Besides being stressed out about moving, which I never really had before, there was the teenage drama going on with my friends, and that whole friendship thing, when you talk to someone about why you're hurting and God's miraculous intervention. This was the first time I've talked about stuff like that to a friend. Okay, it wasn't a real-life conversation, nor a phone conversation. ...It wasn't email either. It was uh, Facebook messaging... (you can laugh now) But that still counts, right??
I can remember the many times I've rolled my eyes whenever my mom talks about stuff like that with her friends. I was like, 8-ish, and seeing my mom cry about emotional stuff that has happened was amusing(my mom has this really loud & jiggily laughter that you can hear a mile away). But now that I've experienced it, I can really understand why talking about it brings you to tears. Wow. Just amazing. Weird, but amazing.
Another grown-up moment was when I was camping this weekend. I snuck away with my older sister to go stargazing on the beach. Lying there on the cool and fine sand, I wondered about a lot of things that had happened lately. I realized that there was a very big difference between two times of the homeschool group I have been in. The one that seemed like decades ago, and the one now. Why do I think of them as almost two seperate groups? Because the one decades ago - almost all of the members had either moved away to the mainland(military), or decided to non-homeschool their kids. They were all replaced with new friends and families. Anyway, the old group had lots of kids around 8-12yrs. There was a teenager or two, but that was it. Now? I can count up to almost twenty teenagers, most of them around my age. And not a lot of them are military. I realized that these would be those friends that you'd grow up with - throughout the rest of highschool year, graduation, and possibly college. Years ago, those things would never come to mind. Years ago, growing up never existed. And years ago, it felt like God was holding the future in His Hands, and there was nothing to worry about.
That's another thing that I've been wondering about. Why is it that the older we get, we worry more? God HAS been holding the future in His Hands, before we were all born. It's not like the future is like one of those annoying toy thingies - you know that plastic tube/thingy with sparkley liquid in it that you can't squeeze? Something like that.
This school year I'm doing my best to be a Junior. Already, you may ask? Homeschooling can be confusing, yet extremely organized. The good news is that I've caught up with some school work and have gotten ahead in those areas. The bad news is that I'm still behind in some areas. The plan so far that I've tried to sketch in my head goes somewhere along the lines of getting enrolled in Seton Home Study School for my Senior year, so that I can fly to Virginia in 2012 for graduation.
I have a lot of friends graduating that year, and are also flying to Virginia. That gives me a year to catch up with my not-so-good areas. It's not impossible; it's just that I have those moments where motivation is very much lacking in me. So do keep me in your prayers. :) And if you have any helpful advice, please, do share!
What goes beyond that, I am not entirely sure. I do know though, that I'd like to do something with art (art history is so AWESOME!!...that, and I love to do artwork). I'm self-taught, and very sad that I can't afford art lessons. I suppose my top area is manga/anime art. I'm not much of a fanatic, and haven't had much time lately to do anything, but I'm pretty surprised that in a period of about a year, I've gotten farther than I've expected to. (to close friends: I can email you a couple of pics I've done before). But an ultra-awesome thing is that I've drawn several saints in this style. I don't think they look as awesome as they deserve, but it's still pretty cool. So I suppose this brings me to an idea of learning to do animation? That would be really neat. John Paul the Great University provides classes on animation. Other than that, I do want to learn other art styles. But who knows what will happen? Only God does. :)
Another thing is writing. As you can probably guess by this super-long blog post, I do love it (Yes. I know. I'm weird.). I admit that I have had many attempts at writing a book, fantasy/fiction, and maybe a short story or two that's connected to another story, but that's it. It's either lack of motivation, or another idea springs up and I want to go with that one that stops me. Believe me, I have plenty of ideas, stories, and fun stuff in my head that I want to write, but those ideas outweigh my writing skills. In other words, I can't write it all out very well. I'm still trying to find out my writing style. But now that I'm getting older, and running out of time before Senior year, I really want to finish up at least a draft of a story. That sense of accomplishment would be really great. On another area, essays don't prove to be too hard unless there is absolutely no inspiration. Do pray for me regarding that...
One last thing is music. I'm no prodigy - all I can do is play the piano and a bit of the violin. But I've also done a little experimenting here and there, and actually has gotten into song writing. Song writing? Really? Yep. It's a lot more fun than I thought!
So...any college hope for me? I've taken a look at lists of degrees and majors and whatnots, and looked at the list of "These are more necessary if you want to get a nice and well-paying job." Is it just me, or is that kind of scary?
Oh, and another grown-up moment: I lost my keys. (No, not my car keys!!! I don't wanna drive yet!! ...That comes next summer.) Now I know how annoying that feels...
P.S.~I hope this post made up for the absence. The picture is a sunrise at the campsite I was at.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
...just one of those moments when you're feeling kind of down, and then in the middle of Mass, your mind kind of clings on to a word or phrase the priest says, and then, well, a chain of thoughts begin to collide.
Anyway, this is going to be somewhat of a blog update as well...along with yet another mini-reflection. :)
First of all, there have been a lot of changes going on with me and my family. Some I love, and some...well, I'd rather not be best friends with. :P I can't exactly say what they are, but I'll continue on anyway. Let's just say that my sibs and I are growing up, my parents are working harder to support the family, and the world is giving me this weird stare that says, "Hi there. You're a teenager! Welcome to the world!" Right now I'm giving the world a sour look. I'm really relieved that I'm homeschooled, but I know now that being homeschooled doesn't change the fact that we're going to grow up, live according to what morals and important stuff we've learned, and yes, work in the world. Being homeschooled definitely, I would say, changes the color of my life to a different shade that defines me, and not who the world defines me as. (did that make sense?) I get that feeling that I've been watching the world with wide eyes in a binoculars, and then the world kind of jumped at me and kind of made the binoculars hit the areas around my eyes, and now there are marks and now it's laughing at me.
Okay, I'll leave that there otherwise my mind might wander off aimlessly. ;) :)
Okay...um, right, broken hearts. Lately, I've been dealing with 'brokenness of heart'. Teenage drama. Something that I never thought I'd get my face into. :P Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about broken hearts. Not much fun at all (the topic, not the conversation...). We were both feeling down for a number of reasons, but somehow, we managed to get by with the grace of God. Thinking about it made me come to some sort of conclusion: 'it takes more than one to repair a broken heart.'
Which is true sometimes, when you think about it. Brokeness comes in many forms. It can come in disappointment in yourself or others, loss of someone you care about...or just plain brokeness when the world seems to tell you that God has left you alone.
It's painful to pick up the broken pieces and walk alone, fearing that if you put it back together, it'll just break again. But that's what good friends are for. Friends and family are there to hold the pieces of your heart together so that God can heal it. They can help pick up the pieces and remind you what your heart is made out of, and Who made it. "Big hearts fall hard" I like to think of it that way. :) If your heart shattered hard, then you must've had a pretty big heart.
Some days ago, I stumbled upon this quote, "Friendship isn't about whom you've known the longest - it's about who came and didn't leave your side." Many friends will join you arm in arm when your road is filled with flowers, rainbows, and sunshine. Few others will accompany you through the dark woods and stony steep paths. I'm sad to admit that I've been there - as one of those friends who would only join if the road looks promising. Those friends whom I've left alone had the unfortunate experience of being pushed away when they were trying to a true friend to me, and were rewarded by walking their steep paths alone. And now they've learned not to ask for help when feeling down.
We've all had our ups and downs in life. Thankfully, I was able to resolve the most part of the matter and now I'm back to being a true friend (at least trying to :) ) to another who experienced a broken heart for a while. (He's okay now :) )
But yeah...don't be afraid to ask God to help. That's beautiful humility right there, asking for help like a child who needs his/her mother or father.
Another thing I wanted to add...Everyone has felt a little bit of brokeness in their lives. Even Jesus.
During Mass, when the priest said the word 'broken' at the altar, it made me think...Our hearts break for something very special. They break because of something that ties in with love. Jesus' Heart broke and bled for us all over and over again. Can that sort of love make our hearts break for Him? If you imagined yourself at the crucifixion of Our Lord...would your heart break at the sight? HIS heart breaks everytime we go or do something wrong. Or if we can't somehow feel or see Him. Or if we're going through tough times and crying. Just know that He holds you in His arms everytime that happens.
I'm still coping with these changes - growing up is tough, I admit it - I'm not superhuman or anything. No one is. Everyone feels pain and confusion. Everyone thinks a lot and wear smiley masks. And not everybody loves changes.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept changes...the courage to change the things I can...and the wisdom to know the difference." ~Anonymous
That's a part of one of my favorite quotes ever. :) It's helped me a lot during these times. I pray that it helps anyone out there who's dealing with changes, too. :) Sometimes it's something we have to learn...the experience I suppose, can be quite worth it. Just remember that you don't have to go through brokeness alone. God's always there, and He's more than willing to send you an angel to help you get by your pain! :)
(btw...I know, totally off-topic here, but I set up a poll on my sidebar...and I'd really appreciate it if you could please vote! :) )
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Hmm......Well, I noticed it was getting a little quiet here, so I've decided to write up a little thought/reflection thingy. I was looking through a bunch of quotes about smiles that made me think...
"Smile! It's the 2nd best thing you can do with your lips." -by Whoo Noes(? really, I don't know...) :P :)
Ever heard of that saying before? ...You know, I've always wondered what the first best thing was... :P Well, I'm not going to talk about that, so let's just move on, shall we?
"Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." ~Mother Teresa
I have to say that I absolutely love this quote. Her way of life basically is a smile! She's so sweet to say something like this, even going through a 'night of darkness' - and that's not much fun at all.
"Wear a smile - one size fits all!" -Anonymous
Yes, everyone can smile. It's not that hard. We don't have to feel it all that happiness to smile. It's healthy for you. And healthy for everyone around you. Who knows, maybe it will impact someone's life. So smile, or else.
I like to think of smiles as little flowers or colors. Especially when it comes from the heart. They can brighten up your life and mood, and even make the world seem like a better place. But a lot of times (and I mean A LOT), we take them for granted, and don't see them as something wonderful. And then forget about them. And that forgetfulness is sad.
I have a few friends who are one of those 'happy - not happy - happy-and-then-not-happy' people...and well, I think we all do (I think we can even be some of them...well, you know what I mean). :) It's amazing how a smile can re-ignite the flame of hope in people's hearts. It's like a silver-lining, a hug, a pat on the back, but all of that in just one simple smile.
Also...a smile is like grace. It's contagious, passing from person to person - like grace, if you pray for one person, they may be led to pray for another person, or like that commercial (State Farm, I think it was?) when one person helps another, and a witness is moved to help someone else. It's like that.
It's also like a painting too. I'm one of those people who really appreciate art and would stare at European paintings (especially religious paintings) for a long time and try to find the story behind it. What I really enjoy seeing though, is the effort that people put into it. A lot of painters get paid to paint something - and some of them can be kinda weird - but when they paint from the heart, it's just beautiful beyond words. Even if it's just a kid drawing. They put effort into it to show that they care. Smiling shows that people care and put their effort in to show it.
I also love to imagine some of those scenes in the Gospel (try to figure out the one I've thought of ;) ) where I see Jesus smiling as he says something really bizarre and confusing to the people (well, it must've been 'out of the blue' back then), as if Jesus knew what was going to happen in the future and could just see inside people's hearts. Then there's another time when I imagine he must've been smiling at the old suffering woman who touched his cloak to be healed - he must've knew how she felt. That's another 'facet' of smiling. We smile because we know and care. When you can't think of the words to say how much you care, just smile. Next time you drop by the Chapel or Blessed Sacrament at your parish, give Jesus a smile when you can't think of any words to say.
Okay, well, that's my little thought for the day. There's a lot that I could add, but that's all there is on my mind right now. :) I bet a person could fill up a whole book about smiles... But anyway thanks for putting up with my random thoughts! :)
Saturday, July 3, 2010
And yes, I mean a really quick post. (I am a bit exhausted as I type this...) Here's a pic of the Daughters of St. Paul Motherhouse in Boston, where my 'sis and I spent an entire week. ^_^ ♫ ♥ ♫ I haven't uploaded a lot of them in my computer yet, so...I promise I will get to post more about it in the future (however near that may be...) :) But I hope you all have been having an awesome summer so far!! =D I know I have.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Gosh, it's almost been two months since my last post. Time flies by so fast!
Anyway, to reward you for actually visiting this blog, here's a pic I managed to take of the relic of St. Damien of Molokai. Yes, they actually opened the box on his feastday! His feastday is now an actual recognized 'day' by the state of Hawaii. Apparently they're working on having it as a state holiday...that would be sooo cool even though I won't have a day off from school. :)
Anyway, believe it or not, homeschooling life is really busy-like. But we've got daily Mass, so everything's all good. :)
There's been a lot of changes in life lately, and lots of stuff planned for the rest of the year.
One of them is that...My older 'sis and I are going to Boston for the St. Paul Summer Program again! Hurray!! ^_^ We leave around next week, so please (pretty please with whipped cream and powdered sugar and a cherry on top!) keep us in your prayers! We'll also be staying a week in CA to visit our aunts. I shall post pics when I come back!! (that is, if we do come back...lol, I'm just kidding. :)
And ouch, well, I'm still getting over the fact that the year is just about half over. I sincerely hope it has been going slower for you. :)
Thanks for putting up with me readers! (If there are any of you left...)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Here's a nice song that I've been listening to lately...entitled: Your Love is a Song, by the Christian band Switchfoot. (They also did a song for Chronicles of Narnia!)
We can't receive God's love to the fullest unless we open our minds, eyes, and hearts to Him. And when we do, His Love will carry us away like the most beautiful of melodies. ^_^ ♫
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! :)
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
What do you do? Panic because you're not ready? Or rejoice because of the fact that Lent is almost over?
You're ALMOST there!!! :D Whoo hoo, I'm praying for you!
Did you actually count 40 days from Ash Wednesday? Sundays are not included in the 40 days, so your finger (if you're actually counting right now) should stop somewhere around Holy Week. Yep! Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are not a part of Lent. *gasp!* But it definitely doesn't mean that you can eat whatever you want and start rejoicing. Remember, Lent is a PREPARATION for His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
So what do we do for Holy Week? Do we hold our breaths? Count silently until Easter comes around with wide eyes? We're not supposed to really think about Easter yet - look forward to it yes, but not celebrate it yet. Doesn't mean that you need to stay up on Saturday night and wait until 12:00am to start boiling eggs, going on raids to the grocery store to stack up on candies & goodies and plastic eggs and such.
I think the best thing to do for Lent, especially if you live a truly hectic life (like me :P ) is to keep silent. In honor of Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. You can refrain from babbling on the phone, ranting with your friends, or something like that. But during Holy Week (that is, if you didn't do this during the entire Lent), offer up your silence for the distracting noises and misuse of music, audio, and conversation. Think about how silent JESUS was when he carried the cross. Remember He asked why people were against him even when he already told them a gazillion times that he was from God? He didn't ask why those very same people were persecuting him now. Instead of telling someone to stop annoying you with their bickering (like a fly that just won't get out of the house), listen to them, and pray for them. It's not easy. I remember reading something about this guy asking Padre Pio if the Wounds of Christ on his hands hurt. Well, of course they hurt! He said that they were holes in his hands.
But it's admitting that your pain hurts, admitting that it's not easy, and admitting that you can't do this without God - that's true humility. Humility (and I like to think it this way) is like asking a hug from Jesus.
Well, until Easter! Keep your eyes on Jesus - the finish line! ^_^
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I posted this last year...I think. Anyway, here's something special for St. Joseph's Feastday :) Pics source from patron saints index
P.S. I put up a new (well, not really new, it's been there and I realized I never mentioned it) poll on the sidebar. If you could, it'd help me a lot if you could vote (pretty please? ^_^ ). Thanks!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
We're just about halfway! Yay! That means we can eat our seconds and all the goodies we want soon!! :P
Actually, Lent has been going waaay too fast for me. It's always been like that for us. You must be thinking 'yeesh, good for you' but that's not what's exactly in my head right now. How am I 'enjoying' Lent? I wouldn't put it that way, but Lent comes by every year, and you're bound to get used to it. What?? Used to it?! You're not supposed to get used to Lent! Well, not the 'used' that I'm thinking of.
Think of Lent this way: You know how a special visitor/relative comes to visit you, and you make sure to set aside most of your time to spend with that person? Sacrifice a ton of things to be with that person? Even eating other kinds of food when? Lent is a LOT like that. It's time for that 'extra' time with Jesus.
Though I must say this though...Why oh why does the food cooked in the house have to be soooo good, during LENT of all times???? For example, my older sister made salmon cooked in butter with chives and lemon. It was mouth-watering. Seriously. And then for Friday, Dad cooked tilapia (fish) in vinegar with tomatoes and onions on the side, then last Friday he made one of my absolute favorites: SHRIMP SCAMPI. You know, it was kind of hard not to fast....but there you go, another thing to 'offer up!' :)
Btw, this blog was mainly written for the youth/young adults section, but I'm glad that regular adults are reading this too. :) Anyway, forgive me for getting off-topic for a bit, but here's a part for the young ones....about fasting. I have a 12-year-old brother, who's feet are as long as a foot (that's 12 in. btw, and he uses size 13-14 shoes), and he's almost 6 ft. Tell me about it. And I'm not even 5 ft...so...imagine. People always get the impression that I'm 13 years old.
Anyway, he's one of those kids who get seriously inspired after watching saint movies and try to copy their every move after watching them. (*sigh*...if only we could all do that 24/7 :) And, he also likes acting like a teenager, which he's not so good at. Okay, forgive me for hopping around here, but let's go on to a different topic for now. :)
As you (should) know, the Baltimore Catechism (or whatever you're reading) says that once you're 15, you are obliged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and days of abstinence. For fasting, the ages are 18-59. Why 18, you may ask? Well, the Church would definitely not like to starve you to death and deprive you of your nutrition when you are still growing. For my brother for example, he's tall, but he's still growing. No fasting for him. And I mean healthy meals, not candy and whatnot. Kids can give up all the candy and sweets they want - you're not gonna die without them - but food? Please don't starve yourself to death. I beg of you. Especially if you're having your growth spurt, are very into sports etc...It's not very plesant to faint during activities, I can tell you that.
I fainted twice before - both in not very good situations. :( But yes, I fainted because I skipped breakfast (this was because I was reaaally little back then) and fainted during Mass at a park I felt queasy during the Our Father, then dropped down. All I wanted to do was sleeeep. Food was not very interesting.
Another time was when I skipped lunch because I had an hour gymnastic class at 12pm. I was the only student (thank goodness) at that class, so I was spared embarrassment from my fellow classmates. I fainted after the first 15 minutes of warm up. And YES. This was during Lent. My mom had to dash out of the gym and into the food court nearby, buy a chocolate bar and a full bottle of water, and come back. She gave me the water, which I accepted gratefully, but the chocolate bar...? I was like, 'No thanks, Mom. I gave up sweets for Lent - you know that.' But she gave me this look that screamed "EAT IT." So I ate it. It was disgustingly sweet. I'm not even sure if they sell those things anymore - this chocolate crunch bar with caramel inside. I ate half of it and was ready to go back to sleep. My teacher must've been totally weirded out that I didn't want to eat the chocolate. :P Oh well. Thankfully, I've survived the next 30 min. of gymnastic lessons. So far, I'm the only kid in the family who's ever fainted before, let alone twice. :P Not very proud of that fact...I still need to make sure I eat something sweet if I'm feeling queasy again.
I really hope you've gotten the point of this story. I think the reason you see and read the saints (when they were little, I mean) is because they don't exactly have video games to give up. Haha, I mean, it's their effort that we have to learn from, right? :P I'm pretty sure the Church was thinking of the little ones and their growth when they made sure that the age for fasting wasn't until 18. (Now now, it doesn't mean you can eat all you want! :P )I don't think I need to explain why aged 60+ people don't need to fast.
If you're unable to fast, there's plenty of other things you can do. Give up extra food, like chips, candy, sweets, and whatnot. If you're aching for a snack, eat a banana, nuts, or even banana nut bread :D hehe...you get the message. Something healthier. And offer it up! It's not like you have to be completely full after a snack or a meal.
Here's another point I'd like to stress, if you don't mind. If you're utterly deprive of just about everything, (like me and my sibs) :P And I mean video games, fiction books, extra computer time (computer writing/research for school and homework are OK. nice try! :P ;) Try to walk an 'extra mile.' Be nice to someone who's not very nice to you. And if you think that might cause something worse (like this person might get the wrong idea) do it in secret. Do a deed for that person, or if it's entire impossible because s/he lives far away, pray for that person. In big families, this isn't much of a problem. Wash the dishes for your mom or dad, or if you split chores with your brother/sister, do your siblings' half. "A little progress each day," a friend in Heaven once said (I forget his name though). Not sure if cleaning up your siblings' rooms would be a good idea though. They might get the wrong idea in thinking you're snooping around...:P :) If you're the only kid around, do something for your parents. :)
Another point I'd like to stress. Adoration, or simply sitting/kneeling in Church would be awesome during Lent. Take some time off of prayer for a moment, like offering up a rosary or intentions and all that, and just take the time to listen. It's not very nice to say to your parents 'I need this, I want that, this person needs your help so please help him/her, oh and btw, thanks for this and that' and then just cut off the conversation. Don't get me wrong, Jesus is a very good listener! But how can a servant do his or her duty without knowing what the Master wants? Empty your mind, close your eyes (this is hard, but I find that it really helps) and open your heart and ears to whatever message he might have in store for you. A saint said something like, 'Let me hear You with the ears of my heart' or something like that. You may or may not hear a loud voice speaking to you, but it's like sweet music. You'll find the meaning in your heart, not your mind. A bible verse or two might pop up as well. Maybe Jesus wants you to think about what he's said before. Kind of like a reminder from parents :)
Another thing for kids: If you've got an iPod, that'd be the perfect thing to give up. Offer it for the many people in the world who trash music and do not use their gifts and talents to spread goodness and hope. If you can't survive without music (like me - it keeps the gears in my brain turning ^_^ ) then at least make a playlist with all the Christian/Catholic music, and listen to that for Lent. Actually, it's not a bad sacrifice at all. I know some pretty good artists, if you like rock, there's Skillet, Red, Fireflight... And if you do not happen to have an iPod, then by all means, listen to some meditation music to go along with your reflections, while praying, reading a book about a saint, while writing in your journal and all those kids of stuff. Life would be sooo much cooler with background music, right? :) Or, if you're a musician nerd, practice some Christian/Praise 'n worship songs on the piano, guitar, violin, etc. If you somehow cannot do that because of certain reasons (eg, your piano teacher wants you to play a non-religious related song), then practice whatever it is you must play, but on Fridays, play religious music. Unless you've got lessons on Fridays....offer your playing to Jesus! He'd like that alot. :)
For Holy week, try to refrain yourself from using the computer or ranting on the phone. It's just one week. No big deal. You've got Jesus to help you with that, so I don't think it'd be too hard. After all, this is kind of like the wrapping paper on the present you give to Jesus, yeah?
Of course, it is ENTIRELY up to you what you are giving up/doing for Lent. These are just a few suggestions that I thought of. No one's going to force you to do these things. :) Keep it to yourself or tell whatever it is you're doing to the whole world - just remember that it should come from your heart not your mind or the admiration of the other people. It's Jesus everyone should be focused on. Anyway, scroll down to my Advent post for more stuff to read - Lent is a lot like Advent, I can tell you that.
So...I hope you have a VERY blessed and fruitful Lent! :) Keep up the good work - we're JUST ABOUT halfway there!!!! :D I'll be keeping you in my prayers!!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Yes, it's been a while since I've posted...busy, busy, busy :) Okay, enough of that...
So, preparing for Lent...
That's what I said; Lent. I know...'Lent already?!! I thought it was still Christmas...' Then the dreaded feeling comes over you...right?
I won't lie; I kinda feel the same too. Kinda sad...that time goes by waaay too fast. Then you'd have to think of your Lenten Resolutions. You're either excited, or not so excited.
Now, don't go thinking that when you fast, you're aiming to lose weight. Think, are you thinking of the benefit of your body, or your soul? Hmm...
Okay, moving on. We're thinking about preparing for Lent. Just as we are to be prepared for Holy Week, Easter, Christmas, and all that, I think it's a good idea to prepare for Lent as well. Lent can be the hardest. Advent is different. Advent seems 'happy-ish' and exciting. Even people outside of Church are preparing and celebrating Christmas along with you. ...What about Lent? Nu-uh. Is there a not-so exciting feeling...? Well...you'd probably really really want to lose that, and face Lent with a prayerful attitude.
Try to get past that feeling. Just as you try to get past that feeling of stress during the Advent time when you're thinking about your route of shopping stores to use your coupons.
Anyway, here's what I would suggest to prepare yourself for Lent.
-Go to confession. Yes, I know. You will already eventually go to confession before holy week, but not before Lent. Try it. Try going before Lent, just to prepare yourself. You know that feeling after receiving the Sacrament of Penance, you can finally breathe again? Why not?
-Adoration. At a nearby Church or Chapel, ask Jesus to be with you during this upcoming Lenten Season. Ask him to be with you during tough times. Jesus has been with you through joy and sorrow, why won't you be with HIM from the joyful celebration to the celebration of his death? You've got to follow Him through it all!! :D And even if the visit is just for five minutes...Jesus cherishes every moment with you.
-Plan to attend Daily Mass. Now, my family and I have attended daily Mass for almost 6 years straight. You know how that started? Lent. One day, Mom came to us and suggested Daily Mass as to be part of our Lenten Schedule. At first, we were all, 'eeehh...okay...' And somehow, even after Lent, we kept going because we all fell in love with the Eucharist. Okay, even if you can't get past the hour on Sunday (Homily is too long and I almost fell asleep, terrible parking XP) don't forget that the Eucharist is food for the SOUL. There's a banquet, or a party everyday at Jesus' house. You're always invited, but who likes an invited visitor who just dwadles around in the house as if they were forced to attend?
-Bring a missal/Magnificat to Mass. Now THAT always helps if your mind always wanders off during the Readings. I think most of us have a tendency to immediately forget the 1st Reading. And then during the 2nd, we think random thoughts like, 'Boy, St. Paul can really think of long sentences.' To prevent that, look up on EWTN or another Catholic website that provide the Readings for every Mass. Read and reflect on those readings, so that the next day at Mass (no I'm not going to say you're free to wander off) you are fully prepared.
-Pray the Rosary and/or Divine Chaplet. Or any other prayers you'd like to say. Rosary is on top of the list. :) While praying, try playing a soft and gentle meditation hymn (no words, just music) so that your mind isn't somewhere else and your lips are just opening and closing... Imagine the scenes in your head too. Imagine that you are there when Jesus was in the Temple preaching and his parents rush forward to take him home, or pretend you are one of the Diciples of Jesus and you are listening to his Word, or pretend you are one of the onlookers as Jesus passes by with the Cross in his arms.
-Pray a novena to a favorite saint.
That's all I have for today, (no, you're supposed to do that during Lent too, not just before :P) but if you have any more suggestions, feel free to comment.
ultra awesome image source ^_^
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I cannot believe I forgot. (I knew I was forgetting something!) :( Unfortunately it might be a bit too late to post something special for this week... But don't forget that it doesn't have to be 'National Vocation Awareness week' to find your vocation! It's a life long process, which means it doesn't end when you find out what God wants of you. It could be any day (or night, thinking about Samuel's calling) when God might ask something of you. And when He does, don't forget that Mary and all the saints were pretty freaked out too, but instead of bailing out said yes to all the blessings God was so eager to give them. You'll find yourself the happiest person on earth when you're where God wants you to be!!
Well, there's my little 'mini reflection' for today, but here's a few videos of an AWESOME place I got to go to during the summer. I love the Chapel! My sister and I actually got to meet this young woman in Boston (unfortunately I was half awake at the moment - Boston is 6 hours ahead of HI). I was there for the St. Paul Summer Program, a retreat/camp/summer-program for highschool girls at the Daughters of St. Paul Motherhouse in Boston. When I went, there were about 7 girls all in all from all over USA. I loved it, and I really really look forward to this year's, if I am able to go (which I'm pretty sure I would). I actually know quite a few of the Sisters that are in the video...
Well, anyway...enjoy! :)
Monday, January 4, 2010
Us students who go back to school this week are desperately asking for your prayers as we battle against the endless exams and armed algebra equations.
Keep us from the thought of retreat of battle or becoming wounded by the dreaded exponents and variables.
Keep us from the temptation of doodling in our math notebooks when all seems lost.
Save us from wandering off into the sky when we are studying about clouds. (ohh, that looks like a cookie!)
Help us not to grow weary of ancient history texts when we'd rather be on the internet. (FB!!)
Help us to remember that run-off sentences are really really bad otherwise we'll keep going on and on with it and there's no end and we just keep going and going...
And help us to not think 'pie' instead of pi. :(
Through your intercession, may our pencils and minds stay sharp when we face the cold war of school. Amen.