Musings: 2016 ‘Super Senior’ College Student

Wanting to see more people sanctifying themselves in the world.

In a certain sense, these final two difficult Accounting classes are already a part of my calling in occupational therapy; they allow the undergraduate degree necessary to continue to grad school.

Perfecting Spanish grammar, vocabulary, English vocabulary, and Math skills, GRE studying, EXADEP studying, more volunteering under U.S.-licensed occupational therapists, three more pre-requisite classes (Abnormal Psychology, Anatomy, and Physiology), re-locating either my state or to a U.S. territory, likely studying within a new culture and language,

 

To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that. -St. Theresa of Avila

2015 Archives Part 3

From the October 2015 archives-

  1. If you need an argument to start writing down your thoughts and journal a bit about your life, the UMD Newman Center 10/5/15 podcast (‘As If Your Life Matters’) at 18:00 minutes explains some crazy reasons for doing so! Other reasons to listen to this podcast:
    1. Relationships and Excellence are meant to last. MANY other things in life aren’t. “Am I living as if my time matters…concerning relationships and excellence?” We are all producing results from our life decisions, so will it pass away, or will it endure, even if you’re the only one who knew about your choices when no one was looking…but you chose Excellence and maintaining healthy relationships out of your sacrifices?
  2. Real faith isn’t a feeling. It’s based on the fact that Jesus conquered death.
  3. What does God want to be true for me in 5 years? (*You need a vision but you also need a plan).
    1. Primary relationships, relationship with God
  4. Focus on relationships now: HP, girls in Minneapolis, my family
  5. In the moment of integrity (when it’s hard to show up on time, or do the right thing), do I maintain integrityy?
  6. There are no ordinary people (St. John Paul II seeing God in every person he met).,.

From the 2015 Archives: Part 2

I pasted this writing in October 2015 and it is arriving you now in July 2018 with no source attached to it; however, the meaning rings just as true today so let’s be thankful I get to post it for us all to learn from today:

I have to believe that the simple beauty of nature – something we all long for – could and should be a model for the way we live our own lives. Our complicated lives, plagued by problems of our own making, could  be so less complicated if we let God be God and us be us.

Recognize and embrace what God has given you. Use your free will to act on the things God has given you … stop wasting time second-guessing God’s plan and regretting things you may have or have not done.

As  Christians, we are challenged to accept ourselves as God has made us. Even when we don’t think it was the best choice – and, frankly, we can see ourselves being something completely different – our true challenge in life is not to try and become our own god of creation.

Instead, be a man. A woman. A child. Be yourself and let God bring to fruition the plans he put in place  when we were first mended in the womb.


 

(For me, this applies to nature):

God speaks through all of creation, and all his gifts are meant to get our attention and turn our thoughts to the loving presence of the Gift Giver. When a gift is given us, we are touched not by the object given, but by the love that it expresses from a friend. Paul is telling us that God does not hide himself but manifests himself in so many ways that we cannot miss him. Somehow, however, as humans we can let our uncomprehending minds miss out on the reality of God’s love and expressed beauty. We may not be “sun worshippers,” but we may have turned into “TV worshippers,” “food worshippers”, or even “children worshippers.”

As Christians we have the ever-presence of Jesus, the greatest of all gifts, to remind us to see his Father in Him and in all creation. Have our minds been darkened by the propaganda of the world? Do we need to resolve again today to see God in his creatures, and rerecommit ourselves to being “Son Worshippers?”


 

Both my wife and those who would be judgmental have similar starting points: They witness a seeming problem. They formulate a mental mindset: “This isn’t right.” But then – and here’s the key difference – the judgmental cast judgment, while my wife actually tried to help solve the problem.

There is no contradiction. Jesus himself sums this up in today’s Gospel selection, in his rebuke against the scholars of the law: “You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Paul agrees in today’s reading: “You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.”

When it comes to ultimate judgment, God takes no joy in condemning souls to Hell. Ideally, we’d all work together to ensure that everyone makes it into Heaven. Christ died to make everyone’s salvation possible, and the fact that some people won’t take advantage of that opportunity should sadden us all. The impulse to judge should not be the end of our obligation toward others, but rather the beginning.


How many times do we full prey to fear? You know, the fear that robs humanity of the peace Christ offers in the present moment. The fear that causes us to “live” in the future. After all, fear is typically nothing more than a thought focused on the future combined with a belief that the future will be painful. Fear robs us of the blessings God wants to bestow upon us in the present moment – his peace, his love, his joy. No wonder the evil one wants to keep us fearful! He doesn’t want us to experience the multitudes of blessings God so deeply desires to bestow upon us right now – don’t believe the evil lies.

I know this may sound a bit esoteric; however, I believe we have the ability to create a life of happiness and wholeness when we align our heart with the heart of God – a place where fear is obliterated. This does not mean life will be easy, it does not mean we will not experience pain and heartache; no, it means we can become virtuous and our heart can become filled with love. This is much different from the New Age concept of “manifesting” and creating our dream life – there is a lot of “me” going on there. Rather, when we co-create with God, we serve others because it is about the other – our fellow brother or sister in need. We turn our life over to God, surrendering all to him, giving him control. Then what could we possible fear? God, the creator of the entire universe, most certainly has the power and ability to direct our life.

Once we become renewed Jesus so beautifully directs our next steps. He warns us of the leaven of the Pharisees, an unrealistic adherence to the law. Leaven is the small, yet mighty substance, that causes bread to rise. The leaven of the Pharisees, akin to our modern-day religious legalists, set individuals up for failure. Not one could follow the law as they preached it. Their preaching, while they believed to be rooted in the Ten Commandments, was sterile and cold – lacking the love and compassion of God. God calls us to love and serve one another, to lighten one another’s burdens. Even Jesus broke their laws when he healed on the Sabbath. God, who knows the number of hairs on your head, God who calls you to not be afraid, God who alone offers us eternal salvation is the only one who can perfectly guide our hearts and show us the way to love more.

So the next time fear tries to steal the peace, love or joy God has for you turn inward, examine your conscience and visit your confessional. Your priest, God’ servant, will meet you there and you will become more fully aligned with the love God has for you.


 

Draft Being Published: October 2015

It is stunning, and in many ways even beautiful, how time flies.

I know (in ways I can’t speak to a public blog audience) of where I was in October 2015.

I will forever talk about that time of my life as painful because it is a type of pain that most people will never take the path to finally face. A revealing of Christ, which makes you realize everything you’ve never been to the world, to your loved ones, to yourself, to God, above all else.

There was profound pain in my heart that was new, seemed hopeless, and made me feel like my life was no longer my own.

I had always been so blessed, but in that time I watched my dear friends keep moving, climbing upward in their lives…and I was just watching them climb a forest while I sat on the ground. Stagnant and cold.

Life feels stagnant and cold here in grad school more often that I would like to admit. However, looking back at my heart that was so shattered, I am feeling tears to imagine that place in my emotional life.

I know God is faithful even if I can’t feel peace as often as I would really, really like in my life now.

I look around to those I love and I see that I do get peace from God that others have never known, yet here I am investing substantial time into considering all that I lack. I claim that this is a piece of striving for excellence: to know one’s faults inside and out.

However, to know one’s tendencies may be a better route. I tend to react to positive reinforcement. Criticism from others, especially the ones that matter most, bring me back to 2015. I take it so seriously that I feel I will never be enough. If only we could take out our criticism and through prayer invest that into a kind suggestion, a gentle way to help the other person, or even more simply, an understanding and acceptance of their imperfect humanity. That is what I need most from those around me. It would be best to give it back to the world while I recognize my need for it, too.

This is not what 2015-me would have wanted to see of her future: a focus on criticizing one another, speaking of ‘focused on anything that isn’t perfect, nothing being good enough’, or ‘look at me, trying to sift through emotions imperfectly, often even sinfully in allowing emotions to overcome me, and this is handled nonchalantly overall when there’s weakness to be addressed by creating new positive goals and achievements, and now I am a team so this must be shared with one another.

‘She of 2015’ would have wanted to know how to make that pain bearable, and the answer does not lie in expecting changes in fellow humanity- instead, loving them despite the pain they can’t see. God does see my heart in that He even created it. I don’t make stuff up for Him, and what would life be without Him to help sort out what only He holds the ‘owner’s manual’ to?

She (me of 2015) would have wanted to move out of that place of lacking deeply the things that were all around her, if only gratitude could be recalled moment-to-moment.

I happened to be in Peru at that time in October 2015. God knew I needed that time. I started going to daily mass out of desperation for meaning in my days. I had to learn the mass in Spanish. I had found this ‘answer guide’ of the Spanish mass to post years ago, but I’m posting it now. Now that I have friends like Brittney, Lauren, Caroline, Abigail, Hannah, Jordan, Liz, Yesslin, Ella, Gianella, Antonella, etc. to celebrate mass with me as such:

Entrada y saludo inicial.
S: En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.
R: Amén.
S: La gracia de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el amor del Padre y la comunión del Espíritu Santo estén con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.

Acto penitencial.
S: Para celebrar dignamente estos sagrados misterios, reconozcamos nuestros pecados.
R: Yo confieso ante Dios todopoderoso y ante vosotros, hermanos, que he pecado mucho de pensamiento, palabra, obra y omisión. Por mi culpa, por mi culpa, por mi gran culpa. Por eso ruego a Santa María, siempre Virgen, a los ángeles, a los santos y a vosotros, hermanos, que intercedáis por mí ante Dios, nuestro Señor.
S: Dios todopoderoso tenga misericordia de nosotros, perdone nuestros pecados y nos lleve a la vida eterna.
R: Amén.
S: Señor, ten piedad.
R: Señor, ten piedad.
S: Cristo, ten piedad.
R: Cristo, ten piedad.
S: Señor, ten piedad.
R: Señor, ten piedad.

Gloria. (Domingos y días festivos).
R: Gloria a Dios en el cielo, y en la tierra paz a los hombres que ama el Señor. Por tu inmensa gloria te alabamos, te bendecimos, te adoramos, te glorificamos, te damos gracias. Señor Dios, Rey celestial, Dios Padre todopoderoso. Señor Hijo único, Jesucristo, Señor Dios Cordero de Dios, Hijo del Padre; Tú que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad de nosotros; Tú que quitas el pecado del mundo, atiende nuestra súplica; Tú que estás sentado a la derecha del Padre, ten piedad de nosotros; Porque sólo tú eres Santo, sólo tú Señor, sólo tú Altísimo Jesucristo. Con el Espíritu Santo, en la gloria de Dios Padre. Amén.

Final de la oración.
S: Por Jesucristo… que vive y reina por los siglos de los siglos (otra versión: Por Jesucristo nuestro Señor).
R: Amén.

Liturgia de la Palabra
(Final de la 1ª y 2ª lectura)
Lector: Palabra de Dios.
R: Te alabamos, Señor.
(Lectura del Evangelio)
S: (Al inicio) El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Lectura del Santo Evangelio, según San…
R: Gloria a ti, Señor.
S: (Al final) Palabra del Señor.
R: Gloria a ti, Señor Jesús.
Profesión de fe: Credo. (Domingos y festivos).
R: Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, Creador del cielo y de la tierra. Creo en Jesucristo, su único Hijo, nuestro Señor, que fue concebido por obra y gracia del Espíritu Santo, nació de Santa María Virgen, padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato, fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado, descendió a los infiernos, al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos, subió a los cielos y está sentado a la derecha de Dios, Padre todopoderoso. Desde allí ha de venir a juzgar a vivos y muertos. Creo en el Espíritu Santo, la santa Iglesia católica, la comunión de los santos, el perdón de los pecados, la resurrección de la carne y la vida eterna. Amén.

Presentación de las ofrendas.
S: (Pan) Bendito seas, Señor… será para nosotros pan de vida.
R: Bendito seas por siempre, Señor.
S: (Vino) Bendito seas, Señor… será para nosotros bebida de salvación.
R: Bendito seas por siempre, Señor.
S: Orad, hermanos, para que este sacrificio, mío y vuestro, sea agradable a Dios, Padre todopoderoso.
R: El Señor reciba de tus manos este sacrificio para alabanza y gloria de su nombre, para nuestro bien y el de toda su santa Iglesia.

Plegaria eucarística.
S: El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Levantemos el corazón.
R: Lo tenemos levantado hacia el Señor.
S: Demos gracias al Señor nuestro Dios.
R: Es justo y necesario.
S: (Proclama el Prefacio correspondiente al día).
R: Santo, Santo, Santo es el Señor, Dios del universo. Llenos están los cielos y la tierra de tu gloria. Hosanna en el cielo. Bendito el que viene en nombre del Señor. Hosanna en el cielo.

Después de la consagración.
S: Éste es el Sacramento de nuestra fe.
R: Anunciamos tu muerte, proclamamos tu Resurrección. ¡Ven, Señor Jesús!

Final de la plegaria eucarística.
S: Por Cristo… todo honor y toda, gloria, por los siglos de los siglos.
R: Amén.

Rito de la comunión.
(Recitación del Padrenuestro)
R: Padre nuestro, que estás en el cielo, santificado sea tu Nombre; venga a nosotros tu reino; hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día; perdona nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden; no nos dejes caer en la tentación, y líbranos del mal. Amén.
S: Líbranos… esperamos la venida gloriosa de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.
R: Tuyo es el reino, tuyo el poder y la gloria, por siempre, Señor.

Rito de la paz.
S: Señor Jesucristo… vives y reinas por los siglos de los siglos.
R: Amén.,
S: La paz del Señor esté siempre con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Daos fraternalmente la paz.
(Según sea la costumbre, se intercambia un signo de paz con los más cercanos).
R: Cordero de Dios, que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad de nosotros (se repite dos veces). Cordero de Dios, que quitas el pecado del mundo, danos la paz.

Comunión de los fieles.
S: Éste es el Cordero de Dios… invitados a la Cena del Señor.
R: Señor, no soy digno de que entres en mi casa, pero una palabra tuya bastará para sanarme.
S: El Cuerpo de Cristo.
R: Amén.

Rito de conclusión y despedida.
S: El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: La bendición de Dios todopoderoso… (todos se santiguan) descienda sobre nosotros.
R: Amén.
S: Podéis ir en paz.
R: Demos gracias a Dios.

I remember that I thought others couldn’t see my worth or value, so I became focused on my exterior self. I took a lot of photos of myself, and I promise that in the process of reviewing every single one of them, I could have pointed out at least 5 huge pieces of how I was ugly and not good enough.

Every day I woke up feeling rejected and unwanted and the battle began to fight for knowing God’s love despite pain.

I tried to control something by obsessing over myself. I thought I looked horrible. Photos below will show you who I was talking to every day in the mirror to tell myself I needed to keep losing weight, try to fix my first wrinkle, not smile too much because my jawline isn’t strong and my teeth aren’t perfectly straight.

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2015 image: one of so many selfies trying to determine my worth from my exterior reality of myself

God has relieved me from a great amount of this, but too much still stays with me, and now it manifests itself in seeing these images and realizing I was very beautiful on the exterior, and now that I have less time to care for my exterior self, of course I feel bad about myself sometimes when I let that eat me away. Now I know that I was beautiful for my exterior (wait for it, at the end of these photos I get to tell you how much this matters- hint: this has not part of my value in God’s eyes, He who knows me best):

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And now I am beautiful because I am the daughter of God. If that means recognizing a beautiful exterior (or still struggling with this), so be it- may I just know God’s plans a little more through the sanctifying struggle and never give up. Thanks be to God for being created in His image. In this way, I know I can be beautiful, as we each can become by knowing God’s plan for us:

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

 

Time to Form Habits

What is your morning wake-up routine? Do you think this can be a part of your day three times per day to keep you energized and going throughout the day?

Here is the article explaining the benefits: webpage

Here is the video (skipped to the most important part):

Stretching after a run via Kayla Itsines routine (or after one of her body-strength workouts; images found on Pinterest.com):

routine 00routine 001

routine 1routine 2

Global Citizen // Cittadino Globale

Question: what is that white bucket thing in your yard?

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When your rental property doesn’t have a washer or dryer, you get creative…especially with great weather outside. You may buy clothesline and clothes pins on Amazon and get an Avalon Bay EcoWash donation from your thoughtful father to resolve any last-minute mid-week laundry needs. You might notice it’s fun. You may realize it would be a great activity for high-energy children or adults who participate in exercise when it is meaningful to themselves or helps those around them.

You see the OT in your activity, so the OT mind developing in this blogger wants to show off this eco-friendly joy…yes, JOY! It has been fun gardening on this rental property, mowing the lawn, even watering and pulling weeds around the yard.

Now, this self-propelled mini laundry machine has become a project I enjoy on my newly decorated outside porch (photos included of this from a 4th of July celebration with OT classmates…so many OT minds together at once!)

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Eleven Months of Memories // Undici Mesi di Ricordi

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. [Psalms 95:4-5]

Nature:

 

Blessings found in visiting lovely places:

(Click ‘Leer mas’ blue button for more photos and maybe even some familiar faces! 🙂

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Helping Here and There: Emphasis on everywhere // Aiutare Qua e Là: Enfasi Ovunque

“Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less
.”

(St. Paul to the Corinthians, written in Bible 2 COR 8:7, 9, 13-15)

2nd reading for Sunday mass on July 1, 2018

I loved this reading immediately because it spoke to a question that I know many missionary friends and I myself have considered most especially after reading books that make a great case for making missionaries within the local culture of interest to be effective both in reaching hearts and spending less money on overseas travel and “unnecessary” insurance/living expenses.

I’d like to point out that there is a need for exactly that argument in most cases, because the great majority of the world lives around poverty and will not be traveling, much less have the time to volunteer or study world religions via experience or classes.

However, there are some cases that look differently. Do we need to invest differently in what the socioeconomic level standards consider ‘influencers’ among some cultures? My friend Marie is a ‘different’ case, and that’s worth discerning as she has a history of knowing the Lord and becoming closer to Jesus through work in Nepal and poorer communities within Europe. I have found myself as a ‘different’ case as I initially learned more about Central America (via my first mission trip to Guatemala) and became involved with a God-inspired, God-given, completely-God-accomplished passion acted out in mission work within Peru during young adult years.

I have learned the truth of such a passage: those who ‘we’ (U.S. Americans) consider in “impossibly difficult” living conditions both here in the U.S. and globally actually have a great advantage over the middle and upper class “lucky ones.”

  1. Space and resources must be shared: homes are smaller. This creates a necessity of family bonding via sharing resources within the home. Children share rooms, toys, meals, snacks, and experiences. Parents cannot afford childcare apart from relatives or occasional help, so they need to be on the pulse of their children’s care or (yes I realize worse conditions exist), in the case especially of single-parent homes, this could backfire in that wages are so low that kids have to stay with hesitant neighbors/relatives or average/questionable daycare facilities as the parents work as much as possible just to keep the most basic resources available for their children OR the parents may receive government aid that psycho-socially hurts the parents and makes the family dynamic more difficult for everyone involved.
  2. Free events must be found: staying involved in volunteering, church spirituality and community, and offerings for school events, library events, small driving weekend trips, park recreation, etc. This allows kids to socialize with kids from all over if parental supervision is provided and transportation is accessible. This assumes that the family can feel safe in communities and know enough about the community’s expectations to be able to get involved.
  3. Team commitment to family well-being: each family member is trying to chip in, do their best, and help the family get to a better place and ensure the basic resources needed.

I do understand this can backfire: screens become babysitters, parents work too often and see their kids rarely, teenagers feel like they take up space and find homes elsewhere…this can happen without the HUGE undertaking of a life living out virtue in small and big things every minute of the day, especially when that becomes the hardest choice. This does not have to happen, but it can happen to people with good intentions but the wrong idea of how to plan out virtue in their lives (by living apart from natural law that the Catholic faith does live out over time- there is a reason for so much of tradition based on Biblical Scripture).

How have I learned about this?

Click ‘Leer mas’ blue button to read what values in Natural Law cause in any community.

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Caring for This Skin You’re In!

List of must-haves for *finally* getting away from acne on a regular basis:

*I am not paid or sponsored by any companies. All of these opinions are based on personal experience of VERY sensitive skin and a LOT of expensive trial-and-error…including heavy (expensive) prescription medication over many years…but isn’t it great how the best options are natural formulas? This is an investment, but guess how much I spend on daily make-up? $0.00

If you are a guy who does little to nothing for skin care, you should not read this post. I’m really not kidding- you’ll think this is insane but don’t get me started about the skincare industry…stepping foot into a dermatologist’s office is where prices get outlandish. This stuff is what I’ve found as alternatives to what prices are offered in those offices (anyone understand my pain??)

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