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…

“So, what are you giving up for Lent?”

Oh that question… again. Is it Lent already? But we just celebrated Christmas. I know, it’s crazy to believe that in less than 24 hours, we will have people walking around and where our marks on our forehead will be the tell-tale sign of “I haven’t gone to Mass yet, people will know!”

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#AshTag2017 – Theme: We Got This   40 Days

I remember as a kid growing up in and out of Catholic School the distinct honor of having those ashes spread across my forehead like I was going into war. In a way, we kind of are. But not picking up the ammo and running with it hoping for high hell that we are equipped with the necessary weaponry. Our weapons are just a bit different and the enemy is mostly of the soul. Everyone has their own battles to fight and crosses to bear, sometimes we are lucky to go at them with a tribe and others we must go at solitarily.

I recently published an article in the bingo publication that we produce along with our team of wonderful writers & designer that hits this entire topic at its core. To me, Lent is like a Spring Cleaning –

Clean Up Your Relationships

If your 2016 looked anything like mine, you came out looking like a forgotten piece of meat on the grill. Relationships are a living, breathing thing – if you don’t tend to your friendship garden, things will rot and spoil; this is ok. If you think this relationship is just hitting a rough patch and is willing to go through the steps of talking things through with your partner/friend, go for it. Go with an open heart though, this cannot be a one-sided item. But, if your relationship has been making you stressed out to no end, it may just be time to focus on those who bring out the goodness in you.

Work on You

That class or skill that you’ve been neglecting to take, now is the time to take the leap to learn the skill. As we get older, we let go of the hobbies and interests we used to love and have replaced them with chores and obligations (the adult life). Take charge and add some fun back into your life. You’re bound to find a hobby that you love.

Do not see this as a “giving up” and sacrifice time, see it as an opportunity to declutter your heart and leave room for the Holy Spirit (like 8th grade dances).

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And if you must know:

  • Prayer: 1 hour per day with meditation/Scripture/Mass coupled with journaling/blogging
  • Fasting: Going vegan y’all – Eastern Rite style.
  • Almsgiving: donating bags of clothes & toys

 

〉Melanie

 

 

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