#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