Tuesday, December 28, 2010


El milagro de amor

There are 3 competing events of late and likely more to follow which means the blogs may be once a week now as we head into the new year. The first muse happened last week and involves romance which is perhaps an appropriate last muse of the year.

A lifelong query of mine has been why, when and how does romantic love happen? Two friends this year reacquainted themselves with an old high school friend or beau fell in love and in short order married. Another friend married at 58 for the first time ever this year as well. However love graces souls, it seems apparent that it cannot be planned, forced or willed into action.

As Americans we live in the future so much. Planning our careers, when the right time to marry is and with what kind of mate, when is the right time to have children and how many? What married life looks like and how much work it will be. We plan to buy a home, go on vacation and what to do on that vacation. We plan for retirement and some even for our death. Sure wrenches come along the way but we by and large feel some sense of control over our destinies or at least it seems this way. This illusion is very strong until one day a marriage ends when it wasn't based on love, a health concern forces us to reevaluate our lives and change careers, or the unexpected choices our child makes leave us heartbroken.

Perhaps the one thing that has eluded me which I have tried to systematically plan for forever it seems is romantic love. In the past I set a time frame around it. When that didn't pan out, I read countless of dating books. I have even gone through phases of treating dating as a part time job by going all out on all venues of dating and lining up dates for weeks on end. I went thru many years where I unwittingly had a boyfriend October thru Valentine's. Once I recognized this pattern I stopped. Needless to say the biological clock led to crazy overtures from saying novenas to vehemently trying to and successfully catching bouquets at both weddings I attended this year. This year I also dated with purpose and tried to will something into being. In the end however, choosing anything over love seemed wrong. Sure I have found plenty of guys who grew infatuated with me and thought they wanted to marry me, and I have fallen in infatuation a couple of times with guys who were not really available to me. In the end, however, that mutual romantic love just never happened.

My self analytical inquiries have been exhaustive. I am too picky. I am not ready. I set impossible standards. I have to high a moral code. I don't give guys a chance. But by far the worst has been, I can't love and commit. Others obsession with my singleness seems to have taken a life of its own as well as I am mellowing. My family's pressure is one thing and to be expected. But when friends, roommates and even neighbors comment on when will I marry and settle down, I realize my own past obsession has new people that are taking on this role:-)

After all the queries in my head and heart and for all those around me who care and mean well, I have only one answer. It is not in God's will yet and perhaps may never be. A few years ago I went to a church talk and I saw a short video on how to be happy. The one thing that stuck and still sticks is to only marry for love. With that answer, I can honestly say I have never said no to love, it just hasn't graced me yet. And my answer now is that it is in God's mighty hands. It has been all along:-) I now also say that if I am graced by love, I will know when the real thing comes and that gives me peace.

And even though I am inspired by the most unlikely stories of love I have heard yet this year, I must honestly admit I have doubt that that story will one day be mine. So amidst all of this, this beautiful Christmas season, I feel blessed to know one deep and romantic love that will never leave me. Remembering Christ's birth is the miracle of love and may it grace us in all the forms He wills. And may we always remember that Love is indeed a miracle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A cultural affair

My trip to Peru was an eye opening experience in more ways than one. When one lives alone, one can analyze and tweak one's world view with spiritual exercises or a in a variety of other ways. However, when one is another culture, another continent and country, in a sub dominant language where your family's world view takes precedence..your world can turn upside down.

It's ironic one misses family when in that family all of you individually and collectively simply don't allow the other person to be who they really are. It's almost as if your personality in this particular group morphs into something scarcely recognizable. Somehow I knew this reality would come to pass prior to my trip as I sighed before my departure. My roommate commented and said whats wrong aren't you excited to go and I said yes but....

Now don't get me wrong, the trip in all aspects was amazing. Its just for me to be in some primitive cave woman like existence even for brief moments causes severe psychic pain for me. How could I be dishonest, suspicious and more unsatisfied then satisfied in relationship in a few weeks than I normally am in several months? It's both humbling and humiliating. I have to say we are challenged and experience the most opportunity for growth in intimate relationship whether with family or strangers.

So onto some pleasant experiences and surprises of my trip first. The first would have to be that when I was higher on the pecking order, my family helped out a lot with stuff I had to get done there. So much so that I became more demanding than most human beings have a right to be. Another hi-lite was having such a uniquely fun time at the wedding reception. There is a custom among the young adults with some means there to host a "hora loca" or crazy hour. I was skeptical at first with such a shenanigan but with a little, well more than a little, alcohol, it proved to be the most fun experience of the whole event.

These guys with funny makeup and costumes came out on stilts with long balloons to pass out. They encouraged havoc in dance and action and the spirits ran wild in good fun. I also had the opportunity to dance for 15 minutes plus with my 87 year old uncle. He had seen me dance down to the ground and slowly dance back up prior and proceeded to do the same more than a few times. I was impressed but also scared! To see the spirit of love rise in his heart and have faith in it was touching.

Another pleasant surprise was a response from a business owner whom I contracted some 10 sessions of treatment with. Because I became ill, I wasn't able to go past 4 sessions. I decided to talk with her regarding the situation and how we could resolve it. She immediately offered to give me a full refund, I protested since this was not fair, I had used 4 sessions. She agreed and quickly refunded me the 6 sessions. It was probably a combination of factors that led to her decision. Perhaps a main one was the goodwill established by my cousin being a frequent customer of hers. I was grateful and thankful that such professionalism existed despite the tales of woe about business and strangers my family had filled my head with. The first story came as soon as I landed in Lima.

Lastly, my trip to Cuzco and the Inca trail was amazing. The challenges started early. I had a fever the night before my trip and after the first easy day of the hike, I lost part of a dental filling. As I troubleshooted what to do with others help, I decided to persevere and finish the trail. Coughing and only able to use one side of my mouth, I joked that even under these circumstances one can hike the great elevations of the Andes. My trip ended with a wonderful surprise as the dentist I found was competent, had state of the art equipment, was over the top compassionate in administering the injection, was not pushy in rendering other services and in the end became a friend. We parted in the typical Latin goodbye with a kiss on the cheek.

These experiences saved me from the chaos of the cultural affair I was in. As I mentioned earlier I became ill. This happened at the wedding reception. The evening was breezy and chilly and this landed me with a rather severe cold. The end of my trip with family saw me in bed more often than not where fever visited and revisited me. There are few events aside from physical illness for me when I become so egocentric that every lapse of attention and care causes me to recoil. This certainly was exacerbated due to an earlier experience where my patience ran thin with a dinner episode that had me at the end of the pecking order. The fact that I responded in primitive form left everyone all the worse for the experience.

Another humbling experience happened on the Inca trail. In my handicapped state, I was searching for my camera through my backpack and was unable to find it. I searched three times taking just about everything from the pack and opening every zipper. I searched the tent. I then thought perhaps my tent mate had by mistake put it away in her pack since I last remembered it being in the tent. After this failed, I gave into suspicion and thought well someone had to take it..since it didn't just disappear. As illogical as this was, I was perplexed as to what could have happened with the camera. Well my suspicion caught fire by remembering others prior complaints, and I caused an uproar at campsite. After checking all the porters and feeling badly this had to happen, I finally asked to receheck my backpack. This time I took out everything and in a hidden compartment, our trail guide felt a protrusion that seemed like a camera and he finally located the secret zipper. How embarrassing to have caused so much angst among everyone.

This experience can be excused a little more due to the crazy circumstances and being thrust among strangers. In familial or longterm and close friendship, one would think, however, that when you know people well enough and they know you...that you could somehow navigate past the landmines. We think it would be nice if we such perfect control over our will in moments of confusion or doubt. But we don't and I am thankful we don't, because that's how we grow and how we can respond with love.

That love sometimes has to have space, reflection and a seed planted in our heart. That seed for me is so evident but in my cultural chaos I couldn't even think of it. That seed is to see Christ in everyone. I have been graced with the response to His love. And with that grace the seed has begun sprouting. What joy amidst chaos when this seed will one day explode into a passion in our heart. It may not always prevent us from experiencing and reacting to disappointment or pain or loneliness in this world. However, it can transport us to a joy that surpasses those experiences.

May we all grow in Love and in relationship. And may we reflect this Christmas season on the great gift of Christ taking human form to save us by showing us how to Love. And may that Love transport us past all the variations in life which become our cultural affairs.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Sound of Music

Ambition and prosperity have been both deemed desired characteristics as well as traits to be checked for a very long time in our human story. Those characteristics can be applied in a variety of ways but they all seem inherent and stronger in more of us than others. Throughout most of my life this has been evident in my aim to accumulate wealth and security. Spending time with my family here in Peru, I see it in others as well as myself more poignantly.

For me ever since childhood what has cleansed me of this is my creative pursuits. Music has taken front and center stage in this list for me. Music is a language like no other. We can enjoy music in languages we don´t understand, instrumentally, or a cappella, in opera, and at church. The bible tells us it is a form of praise and prayer. Music can touch and transport our emotions and soul. It can ignite us, make us reflect on memories or love, take us back in time,sadden, anger, and even create reverent awe. As Christmas approaches who can deny the joy and magic of Christmas songs as we bring in this holy season. Our world would be much darker without this glorious language.

This language for me allowed me to express the rawest of emotions in a way that led to pure joy. My faith in this joy met with parental resistance in my youth. I postponed and then abandoned the pursuit as the demands of life catapulted me forward after my mom's passing when I was 16. As the pause happened earlier this year, I opened the door again and found that same joy in a magical experience I had a couple of months ago.

As my ambition and drive led me to the beginning of my spiritual exercises in September, doors opened that I had scarcely pursued. I met with a coach a friend insisted I meet even though this was not the path I wanted to be on. After that meeting she put me in touch with a busy fellow musician, Jeff, who had been working on music for quite sometime. At his initiative, I met with him once and after we spoke he recommended I volunteer for a non-profit he and others had founded. They put on an annual fundraiser that contracted some famous older talents. This particular year it was English Beat. I accepted the invitation to volunteer and was quickly put in touch with the volunteer organizer for the event. I was put on the merchandise table and as I browsed the other positions I noticed a position where someone would be in charge of the band. I noticed another name there and surmised it had been a longer time volunteer or associate in this position.

As concert time approached in mid-October, I became excited with the prospect of just hearing the band. After mass that Sunday and the reflection on the theme of my spiritual exercise, I found myself running late and I had to scurry to make the event on time. I approached the coordinator and introduced myself and asked how I could help. He instantly decided and pointed at me and said I want you with the band and asked if I would like that? A rhetorical question of course!:-) I accepted and was quickly in awe of the events as they had transpired. My fellow volunteers and Jeff the musician who arranged for me to be on the volunteer list to begin with were equally amazed.

As I catered to the band and talked with the musicians, the lead singer and the group coordinator, I gleaned an inside perspective into the organic, unpredictable and faith based journey they were on. The party they were on would one day close and with this knowledge, those that had not accumulated wealth in the process were constantly looking at other avenues to make a living with their gift. It also gave me an side look into the how doors open and how misplaced jealousy impacts relationships. This gift of bonding with them also brought me a peaceful joy I hadn´t experienced since childhood.

As my time with family here in Peru concludes and I get ready for my back packing trek across the Inca trail, I hope I can once again allow God to guide and lead me in the joyous exploration of one of the most beautiful languages we have. May the sound of music this advent season fill your heart with the awe and wonder of Christ´s joy, peace and love.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


An angel in our midst

Sorry for the largest delay yet in blog entries. There are many reasons for this but one in particular I will address in the music blog which will follow this one. This morning's mass made this blog entry necessary at this time.

Last night, I was on a date and I had an all too familiar conversation with someone where we talked about love. We talked about what makes a marriage happy and agreed that it was when both people focused on making the other happy. Later however it turned to loving yourself first. How we came back to loving yourself first I couldn't understand and I disagreed. We shouldn't hate ourselves obviously, but love only grows from expansion. In prayer, we receive God's love and it expands us to love one another, and when we are loved, we love and the cycle continues. Focusing on yourself doesn't do this. I had thought specifically of a woman, Kathy Jones, whom I had met recently who had exemplified putting others first not herself.

I was recently confirmed thanks to Kathy's initiative. The details that follow are necessary so you get a picture of who Kathy is. About six weeks ago, I had the great privilege of meeting this amazing woman. I had known her before as a name and a face in my parish but had very little personal contact. The contact became very personal as I called the religious education office to find out how I could go about getting confirmed. They referred me to Kathy Jones and I left her a message. She was the religious education coordinator.

Kathy called back a few days later and apologized for the delay. She said she was frantically getting the 8th graders packets ready and would be working into the night. She coughed a lot through our conversation. She initially suggested RCIA as an avenue for confirmation. However, that was not the best option for me since I would be taking a 3 week trip to Peru and this would interrupt the process. So she investigated and hounded the archdiocese office to get the information she needed. Finally, she found another option for me. A two day class was available but I had to get the dates and certificates of my baptism and first communion as well as be interviewed by her and the priest.

In the conversations that followed she kept coughing. I then said well I hope you feel better soon and can get rid of this cough. It was then she informed me she had lung and lymph cancer. I apologized and she said it was OK. We then met and I was further amazed me with her dedication. She doted on me and brought me coffee and cookies. She wanted to know my spiritual journey in detail and listened very attentively. She wanted to make sure I got involved in the parish, that I had a sponsor, that I meet with the priest and I get all the paperwork in on time so I could qualify for the two day class through the archdiocese. Her warmth, sincerity and involvement were touching. The fact that she was as sick as she was, made it almost seem miraculous.

She called 2 to 3 times a week and sometimes more during this process to keep me abreast of the progress. She even went as far to call me when she took a week off to attend to her daughter's wedding. I told her it wasn't necessary but she still did it anyway. She dropped off a book on saints names to help me pick out a name. She then followed up to see whom I had chosen and then made sure she would drop off the name tag reflecting this in time for the ceremony. In reality it was her husband, I believe, that did it while she waited in the car.

Then confirmation Sunday came, November 7th, and I had a very special day. The homily focused on following those still promptings of the holy spirit, and I was excited to get the gifts more deeply infused in this ceremony. Afterward I had lunch with some friends. My sponsor, Tanya was also there. As part of community, it was a blessing to get to know Tanya through my classes. I shared with Tanya, my experience with Kathy. I was in awe and amazement at how she could be this way being gravely sick. Tanya agreed and said "Kathy really does care and you feel it." I said yes in amazement. Tanya said, "It is special to have an angel in our midst."

The week that followed confirmation Sunday had me focusing on personal projects and getting things finalized for my trip to Peru. But a soft yet persistent prompting told me to touch base with Kathy and let her know how my confirmation went. Kathy had followed up after my classes and asked how they were and who had taught them. She also asked me to let her know how the ceremony went. Wanting to share this with her and wanting to return her book, I thought of when and how I would do this. I would do it this week and bring her flowers. I would do it before she called me this time. I would also find out about when the confirmation certificate would come. But the noise of my own immediate concerns drowned out the small voice. And just as softly I noticed that this was the first week Kathy had not called. Friday came and I said to myself well I will definitely do it Monday before I leave for Peru.

This Sunday morning's mass, one week after confirmation, informed me that I would see Kathy on Monday but not quite the way I expected. The mass proceeded as normal and then the praying for the sick and those who passed this week. If I hadn't been listening attentively, I would have missed it. And we pray for Kathy Jones who passed this week. I gasped, oh God, and the tears came rolling down my face. I couldn't stop them for several minutes so I just wiped them away. At the end of mass Father Michael elaborated and said that it is with great sadness that he tells us that Kathy Jones passed away at 9a.m. Friday and the vigil will be at 7p.m. at the church on Monday.

I have to remind myself now what I learned during my confirmation classes. The community we Catholics believe in is not just the community here on earth but the community of the saints and all the souls who have passed before us. I may not have had a chance to say goodbye to Kathy here on earth but I can say hello to her and think of her again in spirit and prayer. And as brief as our acquaintance was, I was blessed to be in the company of an angel in our midst.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The Joy of Divine Love

My very first piece on my feline companions. It never ceases to amaze me how God chooses to answer prayers. Throughout my life it has taken many forms. Early in my faith journey, God choose to answer me directly through very incredible promptings of the Holy Spirit. In other blogs I will share those earlier experiences. Today I will share how subtly and yet powerfully answers come in the most unexpected packages.

Before I begin, for those on facebook, I just posted a couple of pics and a video of Teddie Bear and Emma so you can become acquainted with my furry friends. Emma is pictured here on the blog. Briefly, I will describe their unique personalities and bodies. Teddie is the queen and Emma the princess. Teddie is lean, confident, friendly with all people, stubborn, resilient, completely affectionate and loyal. Emma is chubby with a kind of deformed belly (it appears that utters are hanging from her belly), afraid of all people (still has many moments of being scared of me), sensitive, playful, sweet and affectionate when she is too tired to be scared.

In the beginning, I complained about what I perceived as Emma's faults. She is deformed with the crazy belly and she is a typical scaredy cat who runs away more often than not. A friend who had been the foster mom of Emma and her brothers and sisters when they were wee kittens agreed with me. They botched Emma's spay surgery and she looked weird, even ugly with that hanging bell. It also seemed she and her siblings had been abused as little kittens and this experience seemed to create this constant phobia of people.

God, with his divine ways, chose to communicate to me through my little Emma. As I mentioned earlier, I started my St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises about 6 weeks ago. A lot of what I ask for and contemplate and meditate on at first seemed counter intuitive to me. This particular exercise was no different. The fruits however are nothing short of miraculous.

I had asked God to grace me with tears and sorrow over my sins. Mind you when I first started asking for these things, I do them quickly and hardly pay attention to them. I then proceeded with some meditations and contemplations and closed with a closing prayer that supported what I had opened with. After the hour was through, I felt some peace and noticed Emma was relaxing close to me on my bed. I got up and decided to cuddle and kiss her. This is par for the course for me. However THIS time, something came out of my heart and mouth that I had never felt before for any living being and hence never uttered.

I told Emma, I love you just the way you are. I love your utters and your very scared and skittish personality. I love you just the way you are. I felt this with such force and passion the words just flowed from my mouth. And as I said this I could feel Emma getting scared, and I literally loved her just that way. As soon as I had become aware of the genuineness of my emotion, I began to cry profusely. How could I have denied myself the joy of love? How could I have denied myself the joy of God? My sins of fear, vanity and pride had insulated me from living in this joy. I thanked God for answering me. As I open to HIM, the pureness of the Love he has placed within us begins to unfold and only our own wisdom and will keeps HIM out.

I wish I could say the struggles are ending, but my entrenched habits seem to be even more powerful at times. May I and we have the courage to turn to God and say NO to the enemies lies of who we are and live in this joy of divine love.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The walk (Conclusion)

Before I conclude this piece, I wanted to apologize for the delay. Some incredible things are happening which I will share shortly. But before the daily miracles unfold, I must conclude this part.

One of the recommendations the priest in Lourdes gave me was to seek a spiritual director. He also told me to look into Opus Dei. However, as is easy to do, upon my return I became extremely busy with getting ready for the new school year. It was a new district and a new program so there was a lot to do. I managed to put a call in to Opus Die and I did not hear a response for awhile. As the silence ensued, one thing led to another and I busied out with the beginning of school of the school year.

October came and I was consumed with a flurry of activity at the school and just as I could take a breather the news came. On October 13th, 2009, I was contacted by an old family friend of my adoptive father. They had been neighbors in Hialeah, Fla for many many years. She did not have my number. I had decided years earlier to keep only a cell number and had disconnected my land line. She was unsure about my address as my surname had changed. Because of my picture on facebook, she finally had tracked me down a year later. Late in the night as we quickly reacquainted ourselves, she told me the news that my father had died in July of 2007. She told me she had found out by accident much later as well.

Aside from shock, his unusual and tragic death sent me reeling into a whirlpool of emotions. Because he had no other advocate, I took it upon myself to investigate the circumstances thoroughly and pay my last respects while picking up his ashes in Florida. For a variety of reasons, at this time I will not share the from particulars of what happened to my father. I will only say that I had no choice put to pursue justice.

The confession and miracle in Lourdes was a preparation for this moment. And there are many reasons this event changed the course of my life. For one, I realized we don't live in a bubble. It is not natural to turn away from God, family and friends but my adoptive father had done exactly this. Self-defensiveness, mistrust, self-condemnation and a destructive manner of relating to those closest to him led him to successfully accomplishing his complete alienation from those closest to him.

In my research of the hospital records shortly before his demise, I discovered for the first time what no-one had known. My adoptive father had a congenital malformation of the brain. Aside from this his brain had atrophied and he had Alzheimer's that developed with age. We had new eyes and sympathy for him. We had ignorantly judged him and made our decisions. And the consequences of his actions led to him being the victim of an unnoticed, disgraced and perilous death.

My emotions sent me reeling. I went from rationalization to grief to second guessing. How could I have known I would be his only advocate? He had blood family and lifelong friends who were his neighbors for well over a decade. Even though you can't have a relationship with someone who is harmful and unequivocally pulls away, I wondered if I should have been a bit more involved. Perhaps, I could have kept in touch with the friend who knew of his whereabouts and just called every so often to see that he was OK. The geographical distance and his unwillingness to give any contact information to me made this difficult. However, more to the heart of the matter was my unwillingness to forgive through the years that had caused my silence. That silence now had caused me acute pain. I was at least grateful that in Lourdes my heart awakened to forgiveness for him.

The complications surrounding his death consumed a large portion of my time and energy for the following months. I also became more aware of my own mortality and realized we don't have any guarantees about how many days we have left. Many life changing events transpired between then and now in part as a result of this, and I finally accepted the pause God wanted me to take in mid March of this year. As I pursued justice and the vocational call to marriage, I made a few more attempts to get in touch with a spiritual director and then finally the door opened.

In late July 2010 I went to a talk on discernment and became aware of a 19th annotation retreat. They said there was an option to do St. Ignatius' spiritual exercises at home in your daily life with the aid of a spiritual director.

I finally signed up a little over a month later in August and met Father Kevin Ballard in early September. Our first talk seemed divinely choreographed. He told me the history of St. Ignatius. He said the Spanish St. Ignatius had had his first spiritual experience in Pamplona, Spain. St.Ignatius then went to live in Montseratt after his conversion. Father Ballard was also wearing a T-shirt from Missouri. This is where a friend had moved to just a week earlier to join an order in accepting her vocational call. I then shared with Father Ballard the details of my trip to Pamplona and Lourdes a year earlier and also a trip to Montserrat I took in 2007. During the discourse, I suddenly felt as though I was exactly where I should be at this moment.

I realize now that my accidental? trip to Lourdes a year earlier was one of God's unceasing ways to call me. This time our heavenly father employed Mary more fully to do His bidding. What Jesus had been waiting for HE finally received..my full embraced Yes! And much to my surprise it is yielding the greatest and most joyous path for me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The walk (Part 2)

I was happy to skip confession due to the inconvenience with my schedule. After all, a lot of what was requisite in order to get to that point was not natural to me or at least not natural to the adult I had become. Humility, self-examination and self disclosure were qualities I had disdain for. This was due to familial and cultural messages I had received. This translates to two main things I struggled with since my tweens, an inordinately hard time trusting and an inordinate amount of pride.

I had been reading a book entitled "Talking about Miracles" by Dr. Patrick Thellier in the evenings and this may last evening was no exception. It was written by a physician who was the twelfth doctor to head the Lourdes Medical Bureau. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes_Medical

I was poetically on the last chapter of the book. The last chapter riveted me because it had unequivocally stated that if you miss some of the things to do while in Lourdes its OK but do NOT miss confession. I put the book down and reluctantly thought well OK. I was open to where the signs lead me because this trip was proving to be magical on lots of levels despite going through all the motions of typical tourism for me.

The first difference I noticed was that it was the antithesis of my experience in Medjugorje*. Everything was free. The tours, the healing baths, the waters, the museums ,the movies at the center, the masses and the adoration of the cross. Although there were some donation boxes around , no person ever asked for a donation or even implied it and not even at mass:-) Everyone who worked there was a volunteer. The priests leading the tours and the men and women helping with the baths were all there because they wanted to be. They believed and seemed blessed in the service they were providing. The only thing I paid for while there was my room at the convent which included meals, the movies I watched at the theaters and the plastic jugs I filled with the free healing water.

At mass I met a young woman who had come to bring healing water for her nephew who had a terminal and incurable condition. This touched me as a more urgent reason to come than my own of simple curiosity. I immediately prayed for her and her nephew during the mass. After the homily the priest suggested we get to know the person next to us in the pew during the sign of peace and to pray for their needs. This coincidence was one of many.

The experience that what was most significant for me however were the unprovoked and unique thoughts that came to me during my stay. I will share the most poignant one for me. It was on suffering. More specifically, it was the suffering in relationship.

I thought of Christ on the cross and everything he endured and yet his Love for us was steadfast. The words Jesus uttered from the cross of "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do" were always one of my favorite and had led to my initial belief in Christ back in college. But this time the words spoke clearly of the magnificence of Love. Love would not be Love without suffering. In other words, if someone suffers for you their Love seems deeper and in some sense genuine. If Christ had not suffered and died for us would his Love mean as much? If he had just healed and preached and then just bid everyone adieu as he ascended into heaven would HE and God have touched us as much?

In our own lives, think of the people who have hurt you the most. Did you forgive them and still love them? If you did this from a position of freedom and strength the action would have meant all the more. For the fortunate few that have experienced this, how did this feel? What was your response?

If we are in the image of God and God dwells within us to reveal our true nature, then ultimately we are called to Love in this fashion. Suffering then tests our Love and makes it deeper and real. A beautiful yet scary realization for me.

With this in mind, I first did my confession in my room to God in private. After pouring out my heart, I did what was hardest for me to do to which was to forgive my adoptive father. Amidst tears I heard a voice say, "you have a beautiful heart." Before falling asleep I looked up the confession schedule in the morning and decided to go to the earliest confession before leaving.

The following morning I went into the room where confessions were being heard. There were a multitude of languages offered. Only two applied to me, English and Spanish. My confession to God the night before was in English and so I wanted an English speaking priest but they were all busy. I looked at a Spanish speaking priest and saw his room was empty and available. I looked inside and he seemed stern to me. Nevertheless, I went in and had a great conversation and confession.

I basically repeated what I had told God the night before and amidst my tears the priest said "tienes un corazon muy bonito"(you have a beautiful heart). He told me that "la virgen te acariciado durante tu visita" in other words that the virgin Mary had caressed my face during my visit there. He asked me a few questions about vocation and whether I wanted to marry. He then gave me some recommendations for what to seek out and do when I returned back to the bay area. I left in awe. It was the most authentic, humbling and self disclosing confession and experience I had ever had. It was not only healing and validating but led to me a very different point in my spiritual journey.

Part 3 will tie in how this experience has led to my present walk. *Also if you would like to know a little more on my Medjugorje experience, please let me know and I will include in the next part.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The walk (Part 1)

As promised I will now elaborate on my trip to Lourdes and why that was such a momentous occasion. In reality the thread started earlier, but in this particular trip and in this particular moment, I became aware that Mary was gently bringing me to God. This story will have a part 1 and part 2. This part will focus on some background and the next on more significant events that tie to present day.

Prior to my summer vacation in 2009, lots happened that was unusual and jolting but I had responded in typical pragmatic form in the end. I landed another teaching position with the same and different requisites.

I always travel to some fun and mischievous international destination most summers as a way to rejuvenate and regroup. The summer of 2009 was no exception. I had a friend living in Pamplona, Spain at the time. We had been conversing about when the best time to visit would be months earlier. The "running of the bulls" happened in early July and her vacation coincided with Pamplona's claim to fame. These "runs" lasted about 10 days with all night parties. It sounded like great fun! As I planned for my trip and coordinated the dates with professional obligations I had at home, I noticed Pamplona was close to France and then saw it was so close to Lourdes, France.

At this juncture, I should briefly explain why I recognized Lourdes. I had been raised a Catholic but rather surrendered the formal faith somewhere around the age of 15 for many reasons. One particular reason was that I felt the moral standards were too lax. The revolving door of sinning and confession for the same sins grated against my condescending disposition at the time.

On the other hand the Mormons seemed to walk the talk more. Of course, my focus was narrow again namely on the parameters of drugs and sex. In 1990 or thereabouts I had left Mormonism and after some study of the New Testament in the Bible, decided to investigate the Catholic Church with much reluctance. Reluctance because I had left this faith. It was in a little church called St. John Vianney that I decided to start my inquiry. It was here I was introduced to a movie called the "Story of Bernadette" which was a story of a girl who had supposedly seen the virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. It made a big impression at the time.

However, many years had passed, and in 2002 I had since gone to a disillusioning trip to Medjugorje, (another supposed Virgin Mary apparition happening since 1981). Marian apparitions lost significance for me after that. Nevertheless, since Lourdes was so close to Pamplona, curiosity and some time to kill led to me to take two days of my trip there.

After witnessing the crazy tradition in Pamplona as well as attending my first bullfight, I was spent on the human and animal carnage. I did however have some great times hanging with my friend, meeting new people, doing mischievous yet harmless things and eating good food. I then drove to Lourdes and stayed at what I refer to as a nunnery. Nothing unusual here as I had stayed at a monastary in Mallorca the last time I was in Spain. They were both safe and affordable havens.

I quickly set out to do everything I could do while there typical Angela tourism style. But almost immediately I felt something very different. I felt a peace and almost other worldliness while there. The deeper details and more interesting part of this blog will follow in part 2. What follows is the superficial chronology of what I did while there.

As I mentioned earlier I tried to do everything of interest while there. I went to see movies on Bernadette's life, did the tour of the house she grew up in, visited the grotto where Mary appeared and filled some jugs with holy water there. I went to the museum of authenticated miraculous cures. I lit a candle and said a prayer for a friend who requested to find a job. I went to Mass and the adoration of the cross. Lastly, or so I thought, I went to the bookstore to get some mementos, gifts for friends and books. It was night and raining again, and I was due to leave the next morning and so I thought, oh well, confession will have to be skipped. (To be continued)

BTW If you are curious about Lourdes, here are a couple of links that gives a good overview.

http://witcombe.sbc.edu/sacredplaces/lourdes.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_Soubirou

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Moral Heroes

I started reading a book by Scott Peck entitled "In Search Of Stones". Some of you may have read or heard about his other book "The Road Less Traveled". I casually picked this particular book up while browsing a used bookstore waiting for a friend. It seemed to offer some insights so I picked it up.

While I admire Peck's honesty in regards to his moral shortcomings and bad choices repeatedly made and some he still makes, it put me in a quandary. It's something that has bothered me ever since I can remember. It has caused me undue grief in my personal and professional life, and I am anxious to turn the corner on a peaceful yet just solution to the matter. This will take God to help and guide me and time.

OK, Angela, spit it out, what the heck are you talking about? Sin. From the fact we commit it at all, to our rational lies (rationalize) about them, to those who deny the sin or feel comfortable in always being forgiven by our ever loving Heavenly Father.

My struggle started super young and has obviously morphed. I think I was about 5 or 6 when my mother and father introduced me to the concept of sin. They told me that Jesus died for our sins and that we all sin. My first thought was wow I can't believe He had to suffer this way, gosh we suck! Then my thoughts turned to me in particular. What do you mean I Have to sin? No I Will not! Why am I being condemned before being given a chance? These thoughts should come as no surprise given my "Earliest Memory" blog entry written earlier.

Well needless to say not only have I sinned but just about broken all the 10 commandments in one form or another more times then I can possibly remember. In my tween years, I just remember focusing on the stuff that seemed to control people, namely drugs and sex. I thought it's nuts that people HAD to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and/or drink in order to function and that SEX ruled so much of people's actions.

Most of us have a choice of whether to put ourselves in tempting situations. For most of us it also involves some choice to cross the line and once crossed it is easier to cross again. And, some of us can become addicted. Sex however is natural and it's power necessary to bring men and women together for procreation and union. For me it's all about how we view it, our bodies and others.

In my tween's, I foresaw the degeneration of values and embarrassingly even hoped for it. I thought, if I can wait to sleep with a man until marriage then I will be a unique being. I'll be a woman who will be sought after because the supply will be much less then demand. Ah that pragmaticism started early! Sadly, not only was I right that about the decline in sexual mores but there is now disdain and skepticism in the value of chasteness. Yet it is in this era and in this culture that the power of God and His grace can be such a powerful witness to what we are destined for.

So why do I bring this up? Because Scott Peck's admission of infidelity was accompanied by the statement that the majority of men and more than a handful of women commit adultery. He made it somehow seem that we are destined to do these things given our natures.

Yet something allowed me to see that it just wasn't the fact that we sin that bothered me. It was that some of his views pointed to a cultural view of intimacy between a man and a woman that disregards the sacredness and respect for sexual intimacy. His focus on lust's waning and the mundane feeling that happens after many many years of marriage seemed poignant of the disconnect from what we fantasize to what the reality of marriage is. It's a good reality. The call to love someone else more than yourself, to sacrifice and even suffer at times through trials and even the mundane is what gives meaning to love. How deep can love become when it is in service to God and the other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health? How can love that deepens in this way ever be mundane?

So who better to point the way to holy love than a moral hero? I grew up with Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul whom in my mind were moral heroes. Not sinless but just loving enough and open enough to God that His grace exposed the holier side of human nature. While they were alive, we were inspired and our conscience's provoked simultaneously.

It's made me think we are capable of so much more than being a slave to sin. We are in fact capable of being Moral Heroes. May God bless us daily with examples of all virtues, and that we will desire to cultivate those virtues in ourselves. Matthew Chapter 5 verses 1-48 can guide us, and it reveals what we are capable of. It ends ironically with verse 48 below. May we all begin to experience this ecstasy one day.

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A labor of love

Labor day is usually a sign of many things in our culture. It symbolizes a break from the start of the school year for some. For others it marks the end of summer. For yet others, it is a reminder that a myriad of holidays is right around the corner and the year will be over. For some it is either a time to be thankful for working, a reminder of work or a time to be looking and praying for work in the the newly coined phrase "in this economy".

Any economy has boundless opportunities whether our focus is broad and flexible or narrow and focused. The definition and the attributes of the work and it's remuneration is what stress us sometimes. That definition which is created by our broad and narrow subcultures can imprison us if we allow it too.

Taking some time off or retiring early are rarely seen as options even though a lot of us don't have familial obligations. It seems fear is an equal opportunity visitor no matter what the financial condition of the individual. If you have a job and are afraid of losing it, if you don't have a job and want one, if you are taking time off and worry about what is next, if you are retired and worry about a health concern or worry if you have enough resources to last if you should live a long life. We all seem to be so tempted to live in the future and a possible bleak one to boot.

I certainly don't advocate throwing caution to the wind and not trying to plan. But there is only so much control you have. Labor, the remunerated kind, for me has rarely been about a labor of love. First, it was about making as much money as I could in a pragmatic way with my marketable skills. Then it was about finding something fulfilling or a passion that made economic sense. The call to teach in a public school system or in a church or in your own business or in some other capacity look different and teach you different things. Despite how passionately I felt about what I taught and about the children, I always cloaked it with the highest return on investment.

I've always relied on and admired my pragmatic nature. It has ruled my work and my relationships. But at many points during my journey, my heart pulled my elsewhere. In a sense, perhaps, my pragmatic nature has pulled me away from some potentially fulfilling relationships and from following my true vocational call.

So here I am at a crossroads--not by my own choice--because my pragmatic-ism would not have allowed it--but nevertheless a choice after not being chosen:-). I know this is a definitive sign and my grand opportunity again. My opportunity to break free from the should, the pragmatic ism and the worry and to finally let God in completely first and let him lead me day by day.

It is perhaps the growth, the prior steps, the life experience that finally yields to the wisdom to "give us this day our daily bread..." and that putting God first is the sweet surrender of worry and the only place where we can put our trust and happiness.

Yes, we all toil and all work has it's value. Yet, let us not forget Matthew 6:24-34 (Luke 12:24-27)

24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Dating Strangers

There were a lot of memorable events during this past almost 4 day backpacking trip. It was the first of many I hope to come. I never thought I would consider myself the type. Camping is only a once in awhile thing for me. But many things made this experience unique. First, I had awesome gear some good friends lent me. Second, I slept in a tent by myself for the first time. I wish someone had vehemently told me about this option earlier. Dating of course it would seem rude to request your own tent. But after this experience, I will only acquiesce if I am engaged, and he doesn’t snore. Lastly, I had some experienced and heavy duty backpackers as companions.

The beauty, ruggedness and sanctuary feel to the experience was amazing. We camped out by a beautiful lake, and we were the only campers around! Sculpted walls and mountains surrounded the tranquil lakes. Pushing my limits physically and psychologically were both exhilarating and humbling. Tackling this adventure took a huge leap of faith for me, and I am glad I did it.

Along with the physical and psychological newness of the adventure came thoughts of an old adventure I have always hoped I would one day tackle..marriage. It takes many of the ingredients enlisted on this trip, with one huge extra ingredient, love. As I pondered how I might get to the goal, I recognized that the adventures I had overwhelmingly embarked on were in fact dating strangers.

The romance, the intrigue, the mystery of meeting someone new and enveloping on a whirlwind romantic adventure is exciting. Hollywood, friends and sometimes even family egg us on to the ritual of dating a stranger. Meeting through a social or church group, meeting at the grocery store, a baseball game, a dance, online or whereever can all be great beginnings to relationships if developed over time. However, it usually starts immediately with sparks and some type of marched on courtship. From a woman’s point of view, the wining and dining, the chocolates and flowers, the beach walking hand in hand, the flattering language and gifts are not only very desirable but to some degree necessary.

What comes later is not only human but a necessary ingredient for love--reality. As humans we all gifted with traits so amazing--anyone would be lucky to have us. We also possess traits that some would find challenging and others could not live with. Some of these traits can not only be handled but cherished with love. The fullness of both sides of the equation comes with time and friendship. The antithesis of romance with a stranger.

And for me specifically, it usually comes at a high price. It seems like I have dated half of the bay area strangers by now. What rarely comes for me in these short romances is love and real love from the temporary boyfriend I have, despite what he proclaims. What he is feeling is some degree of extreme attraction and liking certain superficial character traits I seem to possess. He doesn’t know me any better than I know him. We are barely scratching the surface and so how can any feeling be deep or long lasting much less truly grow into love.

So what’s the solution? Beats me..its why I am still single I guess. One thing I do know is that the initial attraction that is delayed, interrupted and developed through friendship does lead to love for me. It has only happened on rare occasions, and it is both a treat and a great risk. The treat is that the hope for love is enhanced and the risk is that you may lose the friendship, and suffer a truly broken heart. At this point in my life, I’d rather have a broken heart than date another stranger.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


My Earliest Memory

A more timely blog this week:-) Thanks to those who have commented. I welcome feedback as I am still a beginning blogger. I joined the red room, a writer’s forum, about 6 months ago. They sent me an email with this topic as a blog suggestion. So here goes!

One of my very first memories goes back to when I was about 1 to 1 and a half years old. I have a few memories around this age but I will focus on only one. As a caveat, I will relay my thoughts in the language I think I must have used. In all honesty, I just remember the feelings and the general thoughts. The memory is brief and I can’t remember many details around me. I was very much in my own little world and just remember disruptions to this reality. No wise cracks in silence or otherwise! And of course a philosophical commentary ends the muse.

I know that I was with my mom and that she was grooming me for something. There were people around as I heard voices in the background. I felt like my head was in a fog and I hated that sensation. My mom as I remember was a strong but gentle woman with a soothing voice. She was combing my hair and was putting a small portion of it in a pig tail on top of my head. I felt extreme pain as she pulled my hair, and my head bobbed to and fro. I grimaced from the pain all the while feeling this foggy head. The next thing I knew she was picking me up. As this happened, I thought to myself I hate that people can pick me up when they want and I can’t stop it. Then I remember more cranky thoughts simultaneously. I hate that my head is in a fog, and I can’t shake it. I hate that I can’t really control my arms very well (they flayed around a bit). I don’t know where to put my hand so I think I’ll just rest it on my mom’s shoulder. Should my hand be open or closed? I think closed. Good at least I can prop myself up. Good grief I hope this is over soon.

Well it is and isn’t over:-) My head is rarely in a fog these days and I can control my arms very well. People do not pick me up at will and I have control over that pretty much. Now, however, I realize I don’t have control over other things. I can’t will a relationship to be...even when the other person is willing it too! Although I can influence people around me to a certain degree, I can’t really control the actions of those around me. Jobs, companies and industries change and morph with time. People leave in various forms thru relocation, change in values or needs, relationship status and ultimately death. And even my own gift of life which I can influence with the things I do, say, the values I embrace and the things I eat...can never guarantee me a long life. My exit is just as much of a mystery as my entrance.

So I’m hoping what I am learning is that although I will always find things I don’t have control over....the one thing I do have control over is the same thing I had control over at 1 and a half. My state of mind. I can chose to love every minute of my existence and choose to see and feel God in every stroke of life. I can choose to see how each moment brings me closer to God, to love and to others. And I can choose to love the beauty of ambiguity and not having control. Afterall, by design, it seems this is the way it should be. We are all connected. Ironically, although I find I have less control than I think..God gives the grand promise that with HIM all things are possible.

Monday, August 16, 2010



It’s time for you to go to sleep at night. The moon is out, the dark starry sky beckons rest. Or perhaps, you had a late night and just fall into bed from exhaustion. Even the mid day nap that seems like a delicious treat...all bring a familiar companion--the dream.

Most dreams are odd and some bring interesting characters from your near or not so near past or even strangers. One of my recurring dreams has been that I can jump so high that I can eventually fly. More recently, my dreams involve romantic interests, and I am often perplexed as to why they keep visiting me.

First, I’ll detail a definition of dreams and different theories and then my own musings. According to dictionary.com, dreams are a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. Freud attributes dreams to suppressed desires, and Jung thought dreams were a tool to help us grow. On the other hand, the bible often has God or angels speaking to people through dreams.

Some dreams are as vivid as real life. Who hasn’t experienced a dream so real where you try to wake yourself up so that you can determine if the experience is real or not? I have some dreams I can never forget. My most recent dreams have the same people and themes, and so I feel there is something I am trying to resolve.

Romantic relationships took on a renewed significance for me after my summer vacation last year to Lourdes, France. The details of that will be saved for another blog. After I came back my relationships and life started radically changing. I dated with different eyes. Eyes I did not have before. My prayers were different and the people that came into my life naturally shared similar characteristics. My dreams were odd and dealt with the things that drew me to people. In all instances, I had an ambiguos definition and an interruption in the relationship. It didn’t matter how much I moved on consciously nor how much it made sense to me while awake. At night my dreams painted a different story. The stories kept coming up over and over even while I was in relationship with someone else.

Perhaps it was also my way of healing and perhaps it was my way of clarifying my current relationship. One thing is certain--once I moved on from my current relationship where clarity and definition were present, I did not dream much about that person. It was almost as if my heart was communicating with me on a certain level that my mind just could not understand.

Dreams when remembered are rarely boring, and they might clue us into the
possibility that life has two sides to it. Our daytime conscious life that we influence with our will and desires; and a nighttime subconscious life that tries to influence us with it’s will and desires.

Duality seems a reality in most spheres of existence. And even though I am often quick to label the night time existence as too mysterious to ponder. The reality may be that our daytime existence might also be more of a mystery than I think. One thing I can count on is that when night falls, and I am at peace enough to fall asleep in short order, my nighttime visitor will come. Sweet dreams!

Monday, August 9, 2010



Hello fellow musers! I took a week off due to my Yellowstone vacation and some pressing personal matters. This week for me will be a discerning week and hence my next topic:-) In this reflection, I’ll be a bit more methodical. First, I’ll go into what discernment means and how we can use it. Secondly, I’ll cover some musings on the what it may take to discern accurately, and, lastly, I’ll give a specific example.

The word discernment is used a lot in Catholic circles. It usually refers to discerning God’s call whether that is religious life, a vocation or marriage/electing a spouse. Looking at a couple of online definitions for discernment yields: Perception of that which is obscure; and the trait of judging wisely and objectively. With the this definition in mind, it seems we are discerning all the time.

Some areas we discern are in the marketplace, job/vocation, where to live, what apartment to rent or what house to buy, what medical treatment to take or choose for a loved one, which friendships to cultivate and where they fit in our lives, which religion to belong to or what your beliefs about God and spirituality are, what person to date or get into a relationship with or marry, what values you subscribe to and where to place your heart. The list is endless. It can be a short-term or long term decision. For the sake of this musing, I will focus on more serious and long term decisions.

So what does it take to really discern accurately? I think unless you have been blessed with or developed wisdom and complete self-control—the key ingredient is time. A feeling or a thought may be fleeting or long lasting, and the heavier the decision, the more you wait to see if your thoughts and/or feelings are correct. I feel both heart and mind should be as open and clear as possible. This can take talking to good friends, who know you, a spiritual director or go straight to the source--God. It can also mean talking with the person or persons whom you will be making the decision about. Sometimes writing or just being social and active and not thinking are part of the discernment process. Again though, after and before all this talking and just living--the key ingredient it seems to take is time.

Relationships, especially ones that have potential for marriage, take an inordinate amount of energy and discernment. The more feelings and wishes disconnect with reality, the more discernment is required. It seems obvious that it takes two people to make the two congruent or incongruent. If the relationship hits bumps, it can be miscommunication, a fearful action or reaction, a dynamic that both caused unconsciously by being unappreciative or disrespectful, a past pain that colors how you view your current situation, incompatible temperaments, incongruent beliefs and the list goes on and on.

So I have to pause and first ask what is it that I really want? What is it that the he really wants? What is it that God wants?

How does he make me a better person and how does it seem he does not? How do I make him a better person and how does it seem that I don’t? How are our views of romance similar and how are they different? To what level do I trust him? To what level does he trust me? Do we care about one another and is there the right kind of passion there? How do we treat each other, and can we really overcome obstacles without wanting to injure one another or win? What emotional baggage is there from both sides, and are we the right people for one another to overcome this? What is the commitment level on each side? How do I take care to be honest with my potential mate so that their fragile heart and ego is taken into consideration? Does ego belong in relationship? How easily do we forgive and forget? How disciplined are we morally? How flexible?

How experienced are we individually in bending from I to we? Can we get there? What type of relationship are we best suited for for one another? Does my heart agree with my head, and if not why don’t they? Does his? What lingering doubts remain and can they be resolved? How do I discuss making a decision that will help each other best individually and in relationship? That can mean taking a step back, moving forward or parting ways for now. It is so much to weigh out, and so much will be left unanswered.

In the end for me one pivotal question will be – How is God invited into our relationship and what does He have to say? That love needs to be present and growing is a given…that it is God’s will that you be together is another. The two should coincide. And in the end, it seems all I can do is pray for time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Sorry for the delay this week. I meant to start something else but life events last week caused another reflection. It’s by far the weightiest subject for me because it seems so exacting and yet complex. So I ask your mercy on this blog writing. It was difficult to tackle and create a flow. This is my final draft and I hope it provides some insight and benefit.

Truth for me shines a light on how much we come up morally short. Although, I don’t advocate full disclosure to everyone you meet or expressing every thought on your mind. That licence is saved for 5 year old children and older individuals. Lucky dogs!:-)

What I am talking about is the range from a white lie to deception to an outright lie or of course bearing false witness. The other area I’ll touch is when you use the truth like a weapon, where the underlying purpose is to cause harm and not to help.

We can think of incredible circumstances that seem to justify the use of an outright lie. I pointed out an example of a holocaust story in a morality lecture in my adult group at church. What about the Catholic family hiding a Jewish person in their home, and a Nazi knocks on your door and asks if you are hiding a Jew? The responses I heard were interesting. One was--You don’t have to lie but just withhold the truth. In other words don't respond. Another was--say you only have friends in your home. You are treating them as a friend so in a sense they are. These are subtlety's for sure, but the point is still to deceive. The motivation here though seems noble, and all the while trying to skirt a bold faced lie.

This brings us to the white lie. Who can fault a husband who answers no to his wife’s question--Do I look fat? If he thinks she has put on a few pounds or something makes her look heavier he says opposite. This seems innocent and saves grief.

Surely the majority of our deceptions, lies or withholding information is not motivated by saving someone else literally or their feelings. It is motivated by purely selfish reasons. Whether it is to save ourselves from embarrassment, make ourselves appear more attractive, wealthy, smart, in the know etc. or save our job or win a game, earn more money or just hide a platonic opposite sex relationship from a spouse who may be uncomfortable with it. The possibilities seem endless don’t they? I’m sure we can pose a very persuasive argument for why the chosen deception/lie was appropriate and even good.

On the other hand we can use the truth as a weapon, express criticism or at least make a joke.I hate your blog or you write terribly would be a couple of examples:-) Certainly if you ask a question it is best to be prepared for the answer! The hurtful truth, however, can help us to improve. A well meaning white lie may mire us in mediocrity and may create a false bond with the white liar.

Deceptions can be interpersonal and institutional. An interpersonal example is a man/woman you have been dating for a couple of months answers your question of when was your last significant relationship by saying that he/she was involved in a relationship about a year ago for about a year. After things don't work out between you two, you uncover that that year long relationship ended while he/she was dating you. An institutional example is a bishop under oath at a trial says he can’t recall if he was aware that a priest he transferred had several molestation charges against him when he transferred him. The letter presented as evidence seemed to indicate otherwise.

The truth is deception hurts. Our deception can damage a relationship often worse than the truth itself. Oftentimes the deception comes out much later and the damage is more severe. Its almost as if the lie grows in its capacity to erode trust as time passes. Certainly our consciences will not be at peace with lies.

If we all live a life with appropriately and sometimes habitually chosen deception, we makes it easier to lie in general. Here we create our individual and collective reality and erode trust. This is arguably one of the most vital components in any relationship, familial, friendship, romance, church, state and even in the marketplace.

However, we are human and we make mistakes, sometimes, repeatedly. So what are we to do? Well first, it may help us to change our view of truth. Truth is a great vehicle for making us happy. Our creator designed us this way. So what to do when we slip and deceive? Confess it, repent and make amends somehow. Fear sometimes traps us in a loop by first deceiving and then being to afraid to admit the deception. It's almost as if we are trapped in fear of the consequences and the consequences consequences:-) As painful and unwise as fear tells us the truth is, I pray we don't lose sight of the consequence our Lord told us about...the truth will set you free.

Sunday, July 18, 2010



In the Catholic world, God’s providence or will seems to take special significance when a big change has happened. An unexplainable loss or an unexplainable gain seems to bring out these thoughts and pondering. But what of our free will or more specifically our unconscious will? I believe God lets us choose and decide and make or remake our own reality. As a Catholic, I believe it is these moments of seeming helplessness that our Heavenly Father, Mary and the Angels can help us overcome what seems impossible to do on our own, if we but ask humbly for their guidance, strength and grace. On our own, otherwise, we may become victims of our own self defeating self-fulfilling prophecies.

The question begs why do we sabotage what we want? To illustrate the point--I will give a general example. In romance, most of us hope to find mutual love that lasts our lifetime and sometimes beyond. So why are so many of us still single or more specifically not involved in developing this type of relationship? Is it because we don’t want to settle or is it because some old wound haunts us or is it because we don’t feel we either deserve this or that it’s possible? The possible reasons seem as limitless as the number of each unique and gifted human that has ever walked the face of the earth.

But I will suggest a common denominator to all the reasons that sabotage love. Fear. Fear seems so obvious we miss how far reaching it is. The antithesis of love is not hate it is fear. How often in our day do we choose to love? How often in our day are our actions a reaction to some thoughts provoked by fear? Are they even close to being equal? If you are like me the answer is a resounding no, not even close.

In romance, why do we say or do things (sometimes subconciously) that can provoke our partner to distance the relationship? Is it because we are testing them? That could be fear that the love can’t withstand our imperfections and hurtful actions. Is it because we are afraid of settling? That could be fear that we will not love this person as much as we could love a hypothetical person that met all our ideal requirements. Is it because we are afraid of really getting vulnerable by having the relationship progress? Is it because we see so many relationships fail and instinctively know this too will likely fail? The dreaded fears seem to boil down to the fear to feel extreme pain and disappointment. But ironically by our sabotaging ways we cause the initial pain and prevent ourselves from developing and eventually getting to a point where love seems stronger and able to withstand all pain. This to me seems the most beautiful goal, grace and miracle that life can bestow upon us. The ability to love and withstand all pain has a great example, Jesus Christ.

Hence, who better to ask to help us love but Him? Who better to help us cast out our sabotaging demons? Who better to ask to develop a perfect love that casts out all fear? With this light and guide God can guide us to a love that makes both our partner and our heart sing. And if your heart isn’t in your current romance for whatever reasons--before you are married--then God will lead you in peace and love to communicate authentically. In this space and place--sabotage has no purpose. Sabotage will prevent us from getting to the dreams we long to reach in romance and beyond. It is my prayer we all grab hold of love (God) and trust that journey.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Introduction to "A Musing Angel"

Welcome to my first public forum! This has been in the works for awhile and now it is finally live! My blog name comes from a desire to call on the divine messengers to aid in this dialogue. I hope you find this blog inspiring and amusing (pun intended:-)!

Some of us are fortunate enough to find and follow our calling/passion from an early age. Some of us start later in life and some of us like me are not quite sure which talent to pursue. Sadly most of us on this planet never have the chance to follow any divine voice because our lot in life seems to dominate our thoughts with worry. Whether it’s where our next meal will come from, a health issue, a financial concern, a status issue or any of the myriad of things which can occupy our thoughts with worry. The truth seems to be that no matter what our lot in life--we have a divine gift to share and if we feed that seed our lot in life will change and our view will change. So please consider this an exercise in this; namely an attempt to give voice to the divine gift of creativity in me through the written word.

Since I was able to articulate and remember thought, at the age of about two, I have been very philosophical. At that age, I was both perplexed and inquisitive about our human condition and motivations. Later, in elementary school--I developed a passion for words and music. I loved and excelled in spelling bees, wrote poetry, wrote songs in a Capella, wrote short stories and kept journals. I found it was the best way to channel my powerful emotions and give life to the most tender and authentic part of my being. My query is simply this: Can my life experience and my ability to communicate this through the written word be of service to my fellow human beings?

And can I help someone else somehow find their passion through some mysterious way in the words they read here? I hope the answer is a resounding yes!

So what will you write about and how often? Good question! Most of this will be organic, however, it will cover all types of relationships. I’ll try to subdivide them for easy reference. God, romance, opposite sex friendship, female friendships, teacher/child, familial, fellow human being and feline:-) Occasionally I will write about something else like politics or financial but it will always tie back to relationship in some sense..our relationship with groups, money in short everything influences who we are and what we become. I will write once a week and publish on Sunday and I will try to be pithy!

Lastly, because this will be organic I encourage suggestions and dialogue. Thank you for visiting and reading and I hope you join me and find joy on our journey!