Day 3(ish) – snakes, King David, to the 3 Kings (and some other visceral things)

I took a few days (a week) off because life y’all – it’s real and gritty but I’m back with a plan of action to get my Bible time in before my first meal.

Ah Day 3 and the tale of the 3 banishments that rocked our world

Before we go in here’s what I read

Genesis 3
Psalm 3
Matthew 2

For those that aren’t biblical scholars and are normal people (like me) – in chronological order – Eden, complaining of enemies that God will come to the rescue, and the Magi meaning the Holy Family has peaced out and these dudes (astrologers maybe?). These all tie in with one another though because we have Eve with the punishment of hard labor to Mary delivering our King.

So let’s go to the Garden of Eden y’all and Genesis 3. For you flat earthers around maybe stop reading (not quite sure how you found me anyways). This is always a fun one because I picture a velociraptor popping up in the garden tempting Eve with picking the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I always have a bit of an issue – was it really an apple? Basically that’s it. But no, this seriously odd dinosaur that talks continues to pester her with the same focus that my 7 year old does when asking for something. So we know – she eats the fruit and boom we are supposed to hate snakes forever also they get their feet removed so no more dinosaurs (is this the Biblical version of how dinosaurs started to go extinct because this is kind of interesting that it was from an apple), women also now have HORRIBLE childbirths , and man – well men you better work because God just won’t let you skate by anymore. There’s a lot of depth I’m missing here but it’s 9:30 pm.

Oh, and he banishes us from Eden and basically says that we will always be searching for truth rather than trusting him who is the truth. This is some deep stuff because I have major trust issues (Enneagram 6 y’all).

Psalm 3

Whoever wrote this (one of the psalmists) really just wants to quiet his hatters up. he asks for an end of their talking “For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes; you break the teeth of the wicked.” I mean – that’s pretty hardcore. I usually just wish they get pimple or something. the way I like to summarize this one though is that we can sleep well knowing that God will take care of our problems that we present to him, we must present them first though.

Matthew 2

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in exile. The magi showed up to Jerusalem asking where the newborn king of the Jews were because they saw his star (Oh Jesus the Capricorn – JK y’all don’t kill me). Herod got real annoyed that someone (3 someones) traveled afar to do a new King homage and freaked out about where the Messiah had been born. These kings back then had a real issue with someone else having the spotlight. When the magi took off they went with a message from Herod but they knew better. They found the Holy Family, gave their crazy presents of frankincense, myrrh, and gold, and ended up going another route that the ancient Waze told them to go.

After they took back off, sweet Joseph was told in a dream to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Herod was coming and they needed to lave right away where they stayed in Egypt until Herod died. Before he did so though, Herod realized he got played by the magi and killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem 2 and under because he was not a stable man. I get really moved by reading

“Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.

my heart y’all.

When Herod died, an angel came again to Herod and told him to go back to Israel where they ended up going to Nazareth and fulfilled a prophecy that Jesus would be called a Nazorean.

 

Alright – that’s all I got for today. See y’all tomorrow.

 

 

Day 2 (ish) – The Garden of Eden, behave royals, and the main man – Jesus

Well isn’t this appropriate – I misbehaved and just plum ran out of time.

Let’s get to it because it’s 8:45 PM and I have grumpy kids ready to go to bed but I promised you my beloved readers a post a day and I’ve failed much like the first couple of humanity – Adam and Eve. This is where we are today in what I’ve read (Genesis 2, Psalm 2, and Matthew 1: 18 – 25).

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Genesis 2 – God created *the* garden, not just any garden but the one that began it all for humanity. I’ve always had a bit of a love for this story because it shows our humanity in that we have literally been messing things up since Day well, 8 because He (God) rested on Day 7. So day 8 he does this amazing thing where he sees the water welling up and divides up the lands into parts from four rivers that still exist today. Y’all, this is God being wild. I got my degree with a focus on Arab History and this story sparked it all. It’s literally a “story” so chill. In my Bible it’s titled “The Story of Nations” and begins on 2:4 with “This is the story.”

I love to read footnotes from biblical scholars because I love history and context and we weren’t there at this beginning but we can read tiny letters at night to strain our eyes and believe that we were. God separates up the four branches of this initial spring and names the first river Pishon (there’s gold in the land of Havilah which is where this feeds in to – if you know anything about Arab history or history period gold is king), then there’s Gihon (feeds into Cush – yes that Cush/Kush that you probably heard about), just the Tigris, and maybe you’ve heard of the last one that is mentioned but the Euphrates (I’m being sarcastic here I hope you’ve heard of this river along with the Tigris). This is where I just geek out. I’m married to a Syrian and I love this part of his heritage, the land of the cradle of civilization (I would drop a Chappelle Show .gif here but it’s super inappropriate with cuss words).

This. is. it. I mean yes. This is also where man was formed and woman came from his rib. Cool story but *newsflash* I’m a super big believer in evolution and I love this story because it makes me feel better about myself for losing my ever loving mind every day. We ate from that dang tree and now I lose my s*** on my kids. Thanks Eve. Thanks.

I also noticed a footnote with that man was never meant to have dominion over the garden of Eden. Its intent was a playground for God. This is something I’ve never really thought of and for me being the ultra conservationist realized we are literally destroying His playground every single day and it makes me angry y’all.

Last little bit about this chapter because I could write here all day, “The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” That’s love y’all. I don’t know about y’all but I feel shame a lot and it’s beautiful to think of the union between God and Mother Mary – she felt no shame with God. She was spiritually naked and gave her all to Him.

Psalm 2 My favorite part of this Psalm is that it lyrically smacks misbehaving royals in the face. And many MANY royals misbehave *cough*HENRY 8TH*cough*. I dive in and realize it does not matter what earthly kings say and do to conspire against God for his law is the only one that covers all the bases. I’m a recovering politico – I used to get real fired up, and still do for things that I really care about, over things to the point that they would ruin relationships with me. Now, like Beyonce says the best revenge is your paper and I use that paper (my voice) to channel that inner fierceness.

Psalm 2:8 “Ask it of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and , as your possessions, the ends of the earth.” So let’s look at that first part – ask it of me. When’s the last time that you just put things in God’s hands? Like literally just left it at His feet? For me it was today because my daughter is stressing the ever living daylights out of me. Work has me all sorts of stressed. Life has me all sorts of bonkers. But I leave it to me. And – “Accept correction.” Babe, you have to be open to when things just don’t go the way you wanted. It HAPPENS.

Matthew 1: 18-25

(sidenote: husband just got home and is giving me the “why are you still up” look so this will be FAST)

It’s your BIRTH STORY JESUS!!! Matthew, you just cut to the dang chase don’t you? Real quick – Mary was with this dude named Joseph and she was going to get married to him but she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph wasn’t down with that so he debated on leaving her. An angel came to him in his sleep and said, “nah baby it ain’t even like that. Marry Mary. She’s good. Just name the boy Jesus because he will save his followers one day.” and boom – he woke up and he took Mary into his home. My bible points out that “He had no relations with her until she bore a son and he named him Jesus” and in the footnotes recalled “until she bore a son” which does not imply normal marital conduct after Jesus’ birth, nor does it exclude it. Mind freaking blown y’all and you can debate this because I’m still shook – I was told my whole life they never had marital relations and I went to Catholic School.

So there you go. I’ll be back tomorrow at like noon hopefully because tomorrow is my CRAZY day. It’s 9:13 PM here in San Antonio. I hope you enjoyed this. Until tomorrow and the Magi be visiting y’all – BRING ON THE ROSCA DE REYES!

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You either know or you don’t…

#GiveItAWeek

– or #GiveItAYear (Biblical Version)

Heyyyy everyone, it’s been a hot minute and I’m currently taking in the sights and sounds at my public library while my children peruse the bookshelves.

So 2019 amiright? It really was a doozy and I sat back and really thought about what all happened. I’ve put up some major boundaries that needed to get established, I cried a little (lot), found out I’m an enneagram 6 (this is a thing), and recognized that some things were just left in that decade. (Don’t fight me on the end of the decade or not – Amazon Alexa told me it was the end of the decade and she delivers toilet paper to my door).

I knew I wanted to get back into blogging/writing. I used to be a really strong writer and at one point wanted to make a career out of it. Much like any skill – you must hone your craft and keep up with it or it will just go poof. So here I am, relearning my skill of getting you all entertained with my anecdotes and quest to juggle all the things as a people pleaser.

I also reached out to an Instagram acquaintance from afar as I fell in love with her writing that I caught on to through a Catholic women’s ministry we once were part of. She told me about her quest to read the Bible and Catechism in a year and blog about it. I let her in that I would like to join her on this quest as I normally teeter off around day 4/5 of reading the Bible challenges. (btw, if you want to find her she’s at http://www.brigidhogan.com and she’s amazing).

Like her, I walk the tightrope as a Catholic and a social liberal. I have a hard time adjusting to social issues like LGBTQIA+ & the pro-choice movement. I’m a sexual assault survivor and at one time I did not have health insurance so Planned Parenthood was my health care provider for a number of years. This is not a space to debate with me because this is just my corner of the universe, take that to Facebook or Twitter. So I’m a Jesuit leaning Catholic. Hey man, if it’s good enough for Pope Francis it’s good enough for me.

So back to the Bible in a year (quality journalism you’ll find in this space and if you want to keep pace with us, we are using this plan).

I’m taking Brigid up on her offer and she may be the only person that reads this so hey girl.

I took off to Adoration to clear my thoughts and to dive deep into the Bible for a few minutes except I forgot my physical copy and thank God I have an iOS app that has the Catholic Bible. I felt the eyes of the fellow adoration participants for a bit but I was reading God’s word, not emails.

Genesis 1 – Oh yes, “In the beginning”. Beautiful words. Everything needs a beginning to go. There is no fluff here it’s just straight to the punch, kind of like God. As I sat with each line and just visualized everything as God was creating it, the dark and the light, the dome of the sky with her beautiful stars and sun/moon combo; I noticed something at the  end of every day, “and God saw that it was good,” or some rendition of that. Every single day ended with God sitting back, being omnipotent and all and saying, “that was good.”

How often do we do this? How often do we sit back with gratitude and think, “that was good,” even on the bad days? God knows things would take a turn because that’s God y’all. When was the last time you said, “On the 6th day of January 2020 I wrote an email to someone I have been putting off and it was good?” I know that we all are super busy and we don’t sit and acknowledge the goodness in what we currently have. I have friends whose children are dealing with life threatening diseases or people that are held in detention centers but we in the land of plenty, literally over abundance that we have podcasts and books on how to declutter, but we complain about what we don’t have. So here I am – on the 6th day of January 2020 saying, “I had a showing for a commercial property that I listed today and it was good.” Also because I really believe in the little things, “I made myself a cup of coffee today and it was good.” Even just reveling in the little things or when we have a complete white space day period because we all know what God did on the 7th day – he rested (more on that tomorrow).

So let’s hit up Psalms 1 – “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night,” wow y’all – so the Psalmists always know how to pack a punch in the most poetic of ways. But really – to follow this up with “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”

The Psalmist is literally telling us that a just person does not grow impatient but grows as a tree does. It does not grow angry or throws a fit when things don’t go its way but everything has a scheduled time. Have y’all ever eaten funky fruit that’s not quite ready? You know that was picked early right? OR when you eat too ripe of fruit. So here’s my very odd way of saying, you’re sitting on your fruits right now – your talents. You’re honing them, sitting next to the river with water. Stay focused. Stay aware. Stay woke (are kids still saying this?).

Which brings us to Matthew 1:1-17 the ancestry.com before there was ancestry.com of Jesus from Adam – 28 generations to Jesus. I’m a huge history buff so I geek out over this and all I could focus on were the 5 women that are mentioned – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah, and our Mother Mary. Being the feminist that I am I just went over and over the women that are here – what a power punch of women they are. Ruth alone is why I’m such a big feminist. She took charge of her own life and took care of her mother in law when both were widowed. My favorite thing about these verses are to remind us of the humanity that is Jesus. He came from a long line of hard working men. As a proud Mexican American I get told that the people coming from my ancestral home are rapists and murders when I know that’s farthest from the truth. But I’m not going to lie, I know that my great grandfathers left their sons to be orphaned. My grandfathers worked tirelessly to achieve good things for their families and a comfortable living.

 

I wish I could write more but more caffeine and piano practice date with my kids is calling. Until tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Forgive yourself for the trespasses you have against self

“Now, apologize to your sister/brother.” If I could save this audio and just press a button for my children throughout the next 18 years (who am I kidding? the remainder of their lives) it would save me the hassle from saying it nearly every 30 minutes of the day they are awake. How many times does our Lord feel exasperated by us when we commit sins and we go to him to right our wrongs or cry out and feel like children complaining about our trespassers? I can almost feel him rolling his eyes at me, except not. He doesn’t. He forgives uncontrollably time and time again, our little faults, our big ones. He’s there and says it’s ok. In the First Gospel according to John today we are reminded:

If we say “we have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in the darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another. If I’m being completely honest with my readers and/or fellow Catholics it’s been over two years since I last went to confession, my ACTS retreat in November 2013. I’m trying my hardest to say this will be a resolution but it would fail as my six other resolutions failed in 2016. It is my intention though to make it at least once a month to confession and it would be nice to see if others are with me in this endeavor. I’m human though and things that I confessed to still ring in my heart like a tether and are hard to let go, yet He’s completely let go and moved on to bigger and better things in my life.

At this time of year we are asked by friends/family/strangers on social media to make resolutions or to dedicate to a “New Year/New You” mantra or group dedicated on fixing whatever you have going on. Myself and Jesus are telling you right now, you are perfect just the way you are right at this moment. We all have our crosses, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. If we choose to be sheltered in the thought that this year was the “worst” and live in the darkness, we fail to see the light that happened.

There will always be pain, there will always be darkness. But you have the choice and the power to see light.

In 2017, be you, forgive yourself and laugh more with people you love and love you back. Don’t magnify the darkness for in darkness we do not act in truth.

When We Need Grace

* I originally had this post on grace and forgiveness stemmed from the aftermath of a (ridiculous) 6 month sentence of a rapist. Through my own experiences of sexual assault and my road to daily strength and trust in the Lord; but this will come at another time. For now I dedicate this to the victims in Orlando and the survivors.

I’ve had a recurring theme the last week – Grace. Every day I’ve had it either whispered through prayer, outwardly spoken with friends/colleagues, or just pop up on social media feeds in beautifully filtered images.

In 2016, I would love to say, “no words,” in a social media post with an image of a rainbow flag. But that just isn’t right and would be a lie. I do have words; there are a lot. There are words of anger, those of fear, then those of love. Yes, love. My words for comfort just aren’t mine, they’re those of the Lord’s. Even when the pain hurts and is unbearable where you can’t breathe – He is there and will comfort.

Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.

A few years ago I got into a heated discussion on social media with a woman who went to church with me and even was part of a mommy group I was a member of all over one thing – GLBTQ issues. She even went so far as to question my piety (fantastic!). So here we go again –

My best friend is a gay man. Yes, he knows he’s gay. Before you think I’m going around and parading my gay friend, I’m not. I have scores of gay friends, we all do and don’t deny it if you’re an angry person. But my gay friend is also my best friend and he teamed up with an intern (who *shockhorror* is trans) I worked with in 2008 to scheme and get my now husband and I to stop fighting and go on a date. Because of this scheme, I now have my amazing husband and two wonderful children. My best friend is also a Catholic. He is my brother in Christ. He is someone I read Scripture with. He is someone I joke around with. He is someone I pray with even though he’s half the country away. When people of our catholic (little c intended) church ask why I love my best friend so much it’s because he is who he is and he’s an amazing person. He is who He is, just as I am who I am. We are reminded daily that only Jesus is our judge.

Pope Francis has been an amazing shepherd into the lives of our GLBTQ brothers and sisters. Who am I to judge? We need to do more to open our hearts, souls, homes to people who are different in all aspects of who we are. We must do this in order to grow as a society. We must do this to show that terrorism cannot win and survive in our loving society.

My heart and prayers are with our Muslim Brothers and Sisters as they celebrate Ramadan and know in their heart of hearts that this is not Islam. It’s not, don’t fool yourself if you think this is the face of Islam. This is something that has been bastardized by hate.

Go with Grace. Go with Love. Go with Hope.

And should you have any more questions why I’m an ally