"Listen to the words that others can't speak; speak the words that others can't hear."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

God: The Big, Bad Wolf or One of Us?

     In Rabbi Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People, the topic of why God, a supposed all-powerful and all-knowing Supreme Being, allows awful situations and mishaps to happen to generally good people while the bad people live what they would call happy and fulfilling lives is examined. I, like most others, pray to God solely when a problem arises and forget to give thanks when my prayers are answered. If I cannot see an almost immediate response to my prayers I begin to wonder why, if I do everything to the best of my abilities, God allows such bad things to occur. After reading Kushner’s reaction and response to adversities faced in his own life, I believe I have begun finding the answers to my questions.

     Kushner introduces his viewpoint by telling the readers about a challenge he overcame at the beginning of his adult life. Rabbi Kushner’s first son, Aaron, was born with a condition called progeria, “rapid aging.” Kushner and his wife watched helplessly as their son fought a fourteen year battle against death itself. Kushner recalls, “If God existed, if He was minimally fair, let alone loving and forgiving, how could He do this to me?” There are times in our lives where we all inevitably feel like this. We see this when our parents and grandparents get sick, when we watch the news and see vulnerable animals abused and neglected by their owners, and the truth is that we cannot help but wonder what reasoning God has behind this pain. If God has the power to create everything in the world, including Earth, why does he not stop the abuse, the hunger, the pain? Kushner addresses this question when he says that “the God [he] believes in does not send us the problem; he gives us the strength to cope with it” (127). This attitude opens the door to thinking that maybe God does not create the problem instead the solution; perhaps the Creator is not finished with His masterpiece, and possibly our everyday troubles are simple eraser marks on an unfinished product.

     The third chapter was perhaps my favorite chapter in the entire book because I too have an admiration for the Book of Job. Although I have read and reread the book several times, each time clearing up the waters just a tiny bit, I am still unclear about what exactly the anonymous author was attempting to say. Like Kushner, I can perceive that maybe “(A): God is [not] all-powerful. Bad things do happen to good people in this world, but it is not God who wills it”. Similar to the rabbi’s beliefs, I can say that I would rather believe in God’s goodness than his being ‘all-powerful’. Having faced family issues with death, diseases and physical separation, I can say that I do not think God is all-powerful, if He were I believe he would give my family the financial comfort to be able to fly back and forth for funerals, graduations, reunions, etc.; seeing that He has not been able to provide that, I chose to believe that He is all-good. Although we face the problem of being physically close, God has provided an emotional attachment like none other. A little later in the chapter Kushner says that there was a sense of comfort in believing in “an all-wise, all-powerful God who guaranteed fair treatment and happy endings” (50)but that after seeing what happened to Job we cannot help but feel angry, and we cannot believe in that God without first “giving up our own right to feel angry, to feel that we have been treated badly by life” (50). Kushner then offers the belief in a God of justice, not power; he backs up this belief by stating that this God, instead of leading us to ask “Why me?” leads us to ask for help. Personally, I have forced myself to believe in a God of justice as an alternative to an all-powerful God. Growing up in a home without money to spare I have come to realize that God does not do harm unto the good, but instead provides help and comfort when harm is done; I believe that the God of justice is perchance one of the greatest points Kushner provides in his book.

     Kushner also provides an excerpt from the Book of Job, chapter 40: 9-14, “Have you an arm like God? Can you thunder with a voice like His? You tread down the wicked where they stand, Bury them in the dust together… Then will I acknowledge that your own right hand can give victory” (49). Paraphrased, this verse basically says, “If you think you can do it better than I, you do it.” I enjoy that Kushner included this particular verse because I have always noticed that we tend to thumb our nose at God for the things that he ‘does’, but when we actually take the time to sit and think about every little action and reaction, every problem and solution, every detail on a baby, a child, an adult, a flower, a tree, essentially every aspect of life we can quickly come to realize there is no way in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory that we could have come up with such a detailed marvelous world.

     Another reason Kushner provides for bad things happening to good people is no reason at all. Kushner says at one point that although random bad luck does happen, something has to cause the random bad luck to happen. Kushner provides evidence that shows that randomness is increasing over time because the world needs to reach equilibrium. Later on in the chapter he says that “on the other hand, our world may not be a system left to itself. There may in fact be…the Spirit of God …operating over the course of the millennia to bring order out of the chaos” (62). He also contradicts that argument by saying that “it may be that God finished His work of creating eons ago, and left the rest to us” (63). As the reader I had a bit of trouble understanding the point in this chapter because Kushner jumped back and forth between contradicting ideas. I believe he did a sufficient job at tying all his ideas together and saying that we can be “sustained and comforted by the knowledge that [various tragedies] are not the will of God, but represent that aspect of reality which stands independent of his will, and which angers and saddens God even as it angers and saddens us” (63). I have come to the conclusion that throughout this chapter Kushner was attempting to say what I stated earlier, that maybe God has not finished his work and every little thing we do is just an invisible stain on an unfinished product.

     Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed Kushner’s chapter on prayer, “God Can’t Do Everything, But He Can Do Some Important Things.” I have always had a problem with people that say that when someone is facing a difficult time it is senseless to say ‘I will pray for you’ because, according to them, prayer comes from Christ, and He will not fix the problem. In this chapter Kushner states that “the first thing prayer does for us is put us in touch with other people” (131). I believe the statement ‘I will pray for you’ is not meant has a way to say ‘God will fix your problem, instead as a way of one friend saying to another, ‘It’s out of our grasp, but I wish you the best’. Prayer, like Kushner says, is a way of connecting “people who share the same concerns, values, dreams, and pains that we do” (131). All religions seem to have their own different forms of prayer; thus telling someone that you will pray for him does not necessarily have a Christian mindset or a Christian subliminal message. It is a simple way of showing that you care. Kushner also says that prayer “redeems people from isolation” (134). I have always been taught that we are not meant to walk through this world alone, and seeing Kushner’s point of view reassured my belief; it gave me hope that perhaps the rest of world will one day feel the same. Kushner finishes the paragraph by saying that “it lets know that they are a part of a greater reality, with more depth, more hope, more courage, and more future than any individual could have by himself” (134). The hope for a better future shown in this chapter is what I live in my day to day life and it helped me see that I am not alone in my dreams and aspirations.

     Harold Kushner kept me reading for hours on end. His examples and experiences kept me turning the pages with excitement and anticipating what unbelievable story he was going to reveal next. Kushner was able to shed some light on the dark reality we seem to be living through as well as provide different viewpoints to certain aspects of life that one sometimes writes off as headed straight for disaster. Although no one has the answer to why bad things happen to good people, Kushner provides the information needed to give the world hope for a brighter future as well as plenty of food for thought. At one point in my life I thought of God as someone we are supposed to fear, after studying my religion, as well as speaking, reading and learning about other religions I have come to realize that God is not at all a big, bad wolf; instead he is a kind, loving, forgiving and all-knowing glimmer of hope.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mood: Lonely (and loving it!)

I have literally sat at this tiny Starbuck's table staring at the computer screen for a grand total of twenty minutes; I have finished drinking my Grande White Chocolate Soy Mocha and believe it's definetly time to get to writing. With so much to say and so many emotions I still cannot find the way to put all the different words together.

As I was going to close this webpage and decide that maybe it's best to leave my writing for when I am in a different state of mind, the man sitting next to me whispered to his wife, "Most people identify themselves by their greatest failures".

That man speaks the truth. He speaks the most thruth that I have heard in all of today. I enjoy conversing with truthful people.

Everyday I am reminded of the bad things I do, I usually forget to think of all the love I give to others. I forget my ability to smile through the good and the bad. I forget. Forgetting leads me to thinking that perhaps that is the reason that I sit and wonder why things happen.

In all honesty, sometimes I can't help but sit with my sorrows and wonder "why?"

I know that God loves each one of us equally and that His love is more powerful than any feeling or emotion we can ever experience, but if the Lord is so powerful why does he allow Satan to tempt us? Why does he allow Satan even near us? Why?

I have been told several times that God does us no harm, and personally, I have no trouble believing that. Perhaps it is because I'm standing on unstable grounds right now, but what I seem to have trouble with is the concept of Him allowing or not stopping temptations and sadness from entering our lives.

For example, if I set aside my not so great habits, I know that I a generally a good person. I do good to myself and to others. I love, I live and I laugh. But even with all the good things I do I still seem to be constantly hurting and getting put down. As soon as I see myself getting on my own two feet and being able to fight for myself, I get hurt in some way or another. Why?

On the other hand, I am eternally grateful that God has put so many wonderful friends here to help me through times like these. I know that although I may not understand why things happen or why people act the way they do I know that in the end it is all going to be okay.

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Broken... Not Shattered

In the midst of work and school along with church and love I have found myself drowning in my thoughts and yearning to write. The feelings are pouring out from the very pit of my being and I really can't help myself. I have felt so much love and hatred, mercy and grace, understanding and regret in the past couple months that it truly is incredible. To be quite honest, I have been a roller coaster of emotions and have found myself wondering if 'loving' is truly worth it.

It was last April that I said I wouldn't let myself love again. Well, just like any normal person, I slowly grew out of that and put myself out. I gave my everything to someone and only got their something in return. I'm not going to lie, I was warned by several people many times, the red flags were all over the place and I always knew he wasn't 'The One', but I thought I'd give it a chance.

I dug my own hole and with every kiss got deeper and deeper. Now the dirt is up to my neck and it feels impossible to get myself out. Everytime I look in the mirror all I see is my ignorance and their faces. Every minute I spend at work makes the know in my throat get bigger and tighter... But I'm okay, I always am.

It's time for the superhuman adreline rush to kick in. I need to pick up the pieces and put them back together again. 

"Not everything that is faced can be changes, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." -James Baldwin

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There is something about rain that makes me happy. I have thought about it plenty of times, but I have never been able to tell anyone why it makes me happy, it just does. The rain reminds me of back home, and anything that reminds me of what it feels like to be home brings me joy. I also think it is because rain brings with it a feeling of renewal, the Earth is being washed and, in a way, so am I.

Last Saturday, for the third day in a row I was having an absolutely awful day. I couldn't figure out what was wrong but I was ready to give up on everything, my family, my job, and honestly, even the life that I have been working on rebuilding this past year. I was thinking about what would happen if I just walked out on everything when Fr. Jason walked into the store. I called his name and he looked at me, confused but with a smile on his face. I hugged him and said hello, but what I really wanted to do was break down and cry. I don't know what it was, but seeing him walk in at that specific moment was like a message from God telling me not to give up. to keep on going.

That night I messaged him and asked him to do something that for the past seven years I have been terrified of doing.

I confessed for the second time in my life and it was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could say that it was my own will power that led me to ask Fr. Jason to fulfill the sacrament for me, but to be quite honest, I can't really tell you what it was. I have been wanting to confess since ninth grade but everytime I was going to go, I would tell myself I wasn't 'good enough' to be cleansed from my sins and opted out of going. I felt like I didn't deserve to be renewed and that if I did go, I would probably end up lying to the priest. Well, last Monday I told him everything. I stayed up all night thinking about everything I had done in the past seven years and the next day set all the cards out on the table. I came clean and it felt great. It felt like a huge  boulder was lifted off my shoulders and God was finally back into my life, finally leading me in the right direction.

I've always been known as a 'good' Catholic, and no, I wouldn't say that I am a bad one, but I have made my share of mistakes. I have been yearning to be forgiven , to be renewed, and now that I finally got that, I feel like I can accomplish anything!  I'm ready for the future, whatever it may be.

The pebble below has a great amount of significance. It's quite simple, but I picked it because it looked dirty, it looked like a pebble that no one would want. As I rolled it around in my hand and I prayed, I saw that it was a small chunk of sand. That as I rolled it between my fingers grain by grain it was coming clean, being renewed. Like I said before, I don't know what led me to ask Father Jason to fulfill the sacrament for me, but whatever it was, I am forever thankful for it.

It is now raining outside, I'm going to play in the rain!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Writer's Block.

I've decided it's time that I force myself to sit down and write even if what comes out isn't eloquent or interesting. For the past month I've attempted writing a post several times but am simply not happy with what came to mind.

Someone once told me that it's best to not go back and read what you write until after some time because if you re-read what you write right after it flows out you will not be happy with the finished product. I agree with that completely but still cannot bring myself to follow that advice. Writing is a part of me, but I feel like I can't share anything I write until I am at least content with it. I have a feeling this will not be the case today.

The other day, on the way back to my house we listened to a song by Miranda Lambert that I simply can't get out of my head. The song is 'The House that Built Me', and it describes how I feel so well that I cried as I listened. Music inspires me, but I only cry to songs that really really bring back memories or stir up feelings. This song did both.

The song is about her wanting to come how one last time to try to 'find herself'. The part the I like best says, "I thought if I could touch this place or feel it/ This brokenness inside me might start healing/ Out here it's like I'm someone else/ I thought that maybe I could find myself/ If I could just come in I swear I'll leave/ Won't take nothing but a memory/ From the house that built me".

It got me thinking about how badly I want to go home, to go back to the neighborhood I grew up in, more than anything I would love to go back and ask a certain someone just one question, "Why?". In the end I know it's best to stay here and just live my life without ever finding out, last time I tried I had panic attacks for weeks so it's probably best to just pray for peace. Prayer always works.

I called my grandfather the other day and for the first time ever he told me he loves me. I hate seeing them get old, I never met my Nonno on my mom's side and seeing the last three get older scares me. Not only does it freak me out because it's going to suck not having them around, but having them alive gives me an excuse to go to Puerto Rico, I'm afraid that if they're gone I'll never go back again, and as much as I say I don't like going over there, I love my home more than anywhere else in the world. I can live happily where I am now, but I can only truly live being back by the beach with all my cousins and smelling the crisp ocean air. I miss hearing the joggers feet and my pencil tapping with their running. I miss it all.

Anyway, it's time to go get a movie for family movie night. I'll try to update more often from now on. <3

Peace, love and Jesus (always).

Friday, May 7, 2010

I needed to write this.

I have recently realized how incredibly scared I am of endings. I think I hate them as much [or more] than beginings. It just hit me that both of those things are happening in a matter of days, weeks and months. Drastic change makes me feel heavy, sad even. Don't get me wrong, I like change, but not drastic change. I would also much prefer the kind of change that jingles in your pocket; that change brings a smile to my face. Except for pennies, those have pretty much become useless.

For the past 18 years I've worked towards one thing and finally, I've reached it. Graduation. In eighth grade I told myself that at that point I had lived too long to die before graduation. I made getting my diploma and walking the stage my goal in life; that and my friends are the things that kept me alive the rest of eighth grade and freshman year.

At the end of my first year of high school I found God. And by 'finding God' I mean that I had a real relationship with him. I learned that I shouldn't blame myself for my past, that instead of condemning people that have hurt me, life is much easier if you pray for them and I prayed to God to keep me alive at least until the day I graduate.

I lived and loved in ninth and tenth grade. I met my Godmother and learned many new things about my family. In tenth grade I learned what it felt like to be completely betrayed by someone. I learned to turn to friends for help. The summer of that year I had a life changing experience during a trip to Honduras; my eyes were opened to a completely different culture and I changed my view on life in general. I felt the need to live a little bit past graduation; I wanted to make a difference in the world, at least begin filling up the whole that mankind is slowly but surely digging deeper and deeper.

I'm just going to say that eleventh grade is a blur. I made way too many mistakes and it's a year in my life that I don't want to relive. I know we go through things so that we can learn from them and move on, for that reason I would not change a thing, but I also rather not sit here and drown in self-pity.

Fast forward to now. I gave up the one thing I promised myself I would hold onto. I loved, cried and have tried to move on. I've made it to graduation. I can already see myself on that stage reaching for my fake diploma. I also have no idea where to go from here.

Sure, I know I have to climb out of that deep deep hole in order to start shoveling dirt and begin to fill it up, but how? College and then what? A family? A vicious cycle between children, a husband and a job that I will probably end up hating? Why??

Life's uncertainty has made me weary lately. I'm usually the type to live in the present, and although I do worry about it, I don't let the future bring me down.

Right now my future is causing a big knot in my throat. I'm not even sure about what I should study in college anymore. I want to be a journalism major, but everyone tells me that "it doesn't bring in any money". Is that all we're here for, money?  In all aspects of life, would it be better to follow my head or my heart?

Even though I can't help but dwell on the future, I know I have to start by changing the present.

*Cheers to the begining of an end, to a lost love and a lust to forget, cheers to the both of you, to God, my family and friends, myself and to the end of a begining.*

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Say what?!

My teacher stole two dollars form me the other day. Just saying. I gave her two dollars for two brownies that I paid for and made, and she made pay to take them... Then proceeded to put the money in her pocket. Messed up? ...more than just a little.

Since we're on the topic of stealing, I watched a little (well, she was big actually) old lady get escorted out of Wal-Mart today for stealing. It's funny when you first think about it, but also sad and disturbing at the same time. First off, if you're going to steal, don't do it at a store where people are constantly watching the cameras, and second, don't be completely obvious about it. Here's how it went down:

  1. Little old lady walks in and pays for one thing.
  2. Little old lady takes between 8-10 bags and walks out to get a cart..
  3. Little old lady walks in again and goes straight to the pharmacy and proceeds to stuff each shopping bag with Ensure (drinks for diabetics...?)
  4. Little old lady walks out with over $100-200 worth of stuff
  5. Little old lady puts things in car
  6. Little old lady walks back in, buys more stuff and leaves.

Day two:

  1. Little old lady walks in.
  2. Little old lady shops..
  3. Little old lady goes to pay but is shocked when manager pulls out a pack of Ensure and says "Recognize this?" ...
  4. Little old lady gets escorted out.

Okay, it was absolutely pointless for me to write all that, but you have to admit that it was funny.

Considering where I work, it's probably not surprising that so many funny things happen when I'm at work. But of course, along with all the funny stuff comes all the sad stuff. I almost broke down in tears the other day.

I was checking out an elderly couple, and as usual I greeted them and tried to make a little small talk but for some reason they weren't really talking back. I figured they were just 'grouchy old people' and decided to just hurry up and finish their transaction. As I was finishing up I heard the wife say, "Ron! Ron! Are you paying attention?"

"Yes I am! Whada ya want?!"

"Get the grocieries! ..Ron! Get the groceries!"

I was starting to get angry because the old man wasn't paying attention and the old lady was just demanding him instead of simply asking. I grabbed the bags and handed them over to the man one by one and he politely took each one and said 'thank you' over and over. A little confused I got back around to my register and started the next transaction as the older couple headed down towards the doors. The old man stopped by the exit and leaned on his cart while the lady came running back as if she had forgotten something.

She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Thank you very much. And I apologize for everything, Ron has alzheimer's. "

I was speechless. In that one moment all my anger went away and all I could think about was what an awful person I had just been. I hadn't said anything rude, but I still felt terrible about all the mean things I had thought. I wanted to cry but instead just told her that it was no problem and I hoped she had a nice day.

It's moments like those that I know God sends me to remind me that He's always watching. That he knows what we're feeling, thinking and wishing. God sends us those moments not only for our benefit, but to keep us in check. The little old couple was a reminder for me. It was sent to remind me that patience is one of the fruits of the spirit. One of the fruits that I need to work on. I can talk the talk, but so easily forget to walk the walk.

It's time I change some things. My grandmother has had symptoms of Alzheimer's for over a year, the doctor hasn't officially said it's Alzheimer's but he's constantly checking up. That couple could have easily been my grandparents and seeing how I would have treated them absolutely disgusts me.

If I could, I would go back and start over, but since I can't do that, I'm just glad I got to learn from it and hopefully become a better person through it.

I have so much to write about, but not enough time to do it. Something good is coming soon.

"When you do a good deed, make sure you know who is benefiting form it; then what you do will not be wasted. You will be repaid for any kindness you shoe to a devout person. If he doesn't repay you, the Most High will." Sirach 12:1-2

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Slept On Cardboard the Other Night.

Lent is over.

I can't decide if I'm happy about this or sad. I started Lent giving up a lot of stuff. I gav up coffee, sodas, candy and anything else that is 'bad' for you. After two days I gave up on the coffee thing because I am addicted. I had these horrible migraine headaches and I just couldn't take it anymore, although I stayed strong on the not eating anything bad part of it. After three weeks of this I started to really think about Lent and then realized that what I was doing wasn't for God at all and that I needed to change my lifestyle before things got bad (again). So instead of giving things up, I took things on. I challenged myself. I told myself that by doing this I would 'get better' and honestly, I'm glad I did. That's pretty much all I'm going to say about that because that's as personal as I'll get, but the whole 'taking things on' and challenging myself really made Lent more of a 'God and Bella' type of thing. It was a more personal experience and I truly enjoyed it. I just hope I can keep up with it.

So anyways, on Thursday night I went to this lock-in that I've been trying to go to for the past three years (it always gets cancelled) and I'm not going to lie, it was pretty much awesome. I'm not going to say it was life changing, but it was an eye-opener. We always see what homeless people go through, and we can sometimes even relate to the poor... but to actually spend a night outside in the cold and on the hard ground, it was just 'wow'. That's pretty much the only way to describe it.

I'm staying very pretty much surface level today because I feel like pretty soon I'm going to break. Any little thing feels like it could send me off the edge, but at the same time I feel like I need to write it out. Here goes nothing, but it's the nothing that's on my heart...

We talked a little bit about Richard at the lock-in. It hurt but felt good at the same time. I thought I was over him, and I want to be over him but something is holding me back. Richard has all of me, and at first that was okay, but now there's this new boy and he asked me out so I said yes. ...The thing aobut that is that I said yes because he asked me out, not because I actually want to be his girlfriend. Actually, it's not that I don't want to be his girlfriend, I mean he's a great, sweet and amazing boy, I'm just not sure I'm ready to be with him. I just met him. I like him, but I love Richard.

I love Richard.

That's my problem. Richard was and is my biggest mistake. How can I learn to forgive myself when I gave Richard the one thing that I told myself my entire life I wouldn't give away. I can't forgive myself, that is my real problem. I'm not even sure I love Richard, I just hate myself. I don't feel good enough for anyone else. I shower everyday, but I never feel clean. I don't know what it is. I've drawn a blank.

I don't think I can write anymore for today... Jacob is great, I'm just being dumb. I have to give him a chance; maybe he can be the boy that proves all others wrong. I need advice.
I'm so confused, my heart is aching
I don't know what I should do.
One mistake, my world's been shaken.
I shouldn't have listened to you.
Love's a lie, it's nonexistent,
But still I feel it next to him.
The hugs and kisses feel so distant,
I'm sorry babe, it's all so grim.
Trying hard, my best foot's forward,
I am sorry, but I can't commit.
Being with you just feels so awkward,
When I kiss you, I'm kissing him.
It hurts so bad, this barely started,
But we can fight for what it's worth.
It'd be much better if we both parted,
I'm too selfish, too full of sin.

Okay, so poem sucked. It's what's on my heart. I have a feeling I'm going to be taking this one down. It's an honest blog, but a personal one too. Any advece for me friends? ...It's obvious that I need it.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Mission Accomplished.

Spring Break is almost over and I'm sitting here wishing it could last forever. First off I have to say that I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish over Spring Break. Happiness.

I did a ton of thinking and 'figuring out'. I realized that I don't belong in Plano, TX. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing city, and I am forever grateful that I started up here, but I don't belong here. I don't know where I belong, but I know it' snot this place. I belong some place where everyone knows each other and relies on each other. One where high school education is enough to give you a voice, where people count on how smart you are, not your level of education... Again, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, college is my number one priority (aside from family, God, etc.) but it most definitely wasn't for my parents. They went to college, just never finished. Plano is not a place for them either. Plano is a place for big CEO's and people that make money without even trying.

I don't belong in such a snobby city. I presently work for Wal-Mart, a company known for its weird people and for supposedly being a sweatshop. I'll admit that I'm sure some stores are like that, the one I work for defeats that stereotype a million times over. Iget paid over nine dollars an hour. I know that's not too much, but if you think about the fact that they will not even allow me to get near the dumpster, cardboard compactor, trucks, or sell alcohol or cigarettes because I'm not 18 yet, that is more than enough money. I stand at a register and move my arm back and forth while talking to the brats that I have to consider "...first. Always."

Plano is just not my kind of city and customers are definitely not always first. Sorry Wal-Mart, but in case of a fire I'm saving my ass before anyone else's, I have bigger and better things to do in my life. None of it involves Wal-Mart or Plano.

On the other hand, I've met the greatest people while living here, people that have taught me to live my life to the fullest and have helped me to survive. Many of which have actually lived their entire lives here, some that are ment to live here. Some I've met because they've been down and out in the same situation as me, others through my church and many through the schools I've gone to, and in all honesty, I truly don't think that I would be alive right now if I hadn't met these people. For that reason, I am eternally grateful for this city.

Either way, this place has taught me countless life lessons that shape the person I hope to someday be. The person that I'm working on becoming.

On to a different subject, but hang in here with me because I promise it all comes together in the end.

I did a lot of 'friending' during this Spring Break. I've been told that when you're feeling down you shouldn't stay all cooped up in your house because that only makes you feel worse.. Makes perfect sense I guess. (:

So other than bike rides and just hanging out with friends I also went bowling with the 'everything skit team'. ...That's what we call ourselves but really we've all just become great friends, almost like brothers and sisters. Anyways, after bowling we decided to go to IHOP. It was... interesting to say the least, not to mention the fact that there was a group of three adults and seven children (all under 8) eating there at one in the morning...?

BUT, where I was going with that was that somewhere in the middle of throwing straw wrappers and picture taking someone said something profound. Who would have thought that a group of college bound teenagers would have anything meaningful to talk about. I can't remember who said it or what led them to saying it, but I'm glad that they did.

Life is easier when you're a good person... You actually have to try to be bad, but when you just live your life the way God made you, you're bound to be a great person and have an easy life. It doesn't really matter what you do in life... If you're here to wash dishes, then love washing those dishes and do it to your best potential; life is much better that way.

At that moment, and I don't know why, I thought of working at Wal-Mart. I realized that I like my job right now because I make the most out of it. I enjoy hearing the stories about all the rich and famous people they've met, but I especially enjoy the ones that come from the crazies... Those people make my life so much better. I like almost everyone I work with and try to have some fun even with the ones that get on my last nerve.

People have asked me how I get by so easily. Truth is that I don't, not at all. Life is not easy unless you make it easy. I don't like where I live or even how I live parts of my life, but one thing I strive to remember to do is follow God and wake up every morning thinking "Today is going to be a good day". ...And on the days that aren't so great I go to bed thinking that 'there's always tomorrow'.

"Life is easier when you're a good person... You actually have to try to be bad, but when you just live your life the way God made you...life is much better that way."

~from a wise teenager sitting at an Ihop at 1am.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mission: Happiness

I've spent the past two days trying to find something interesting to write about, but nothing has really stuck out with me. I've skipped having lunch with friends because I wanted to take the time to reflect on just life in general. The only conclusion I came to was the fact that I hadn't been doing enough for Lent and that I desperately need a break.

Originally I wanted to fast on the weekends for Lent but the second I passed the idea by my mom it was turned down. I figured that would happen so I narrowed it down to just Fridays but she still didn't even budge a little bit. She made me settle for just giving up soft drinks. I was content with that for a week but then I realized that in reality I don't really drink sodas anyway and I knew it wasn't enough. I tried doing the no coffee thing but that still wasn't enough. Now I decided to go completely against what my mom wants me to do and do the no fast food thing. I usually pick something up after school so that I have time to eat before going to work, but I feel like I need to give something real up for the remaining of Lent so I guess that's what I'm going with.

This morning I was listening to the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show and they were doing a bit on 'What Three Things You Would Change About Yourself''. Kellie was talking about how much she envies women who are big and can still 'strut their stuff' and be happy with who they are. I realized that I envy those women too. At some point in the past few days I decided that I want to start working out again but I don't really have time considering that I already get up at 7 and don't get back home until at least 10 and then all I have time for is homework and stuff. This is why I decided that all next week I'm going to go on those long bike rides I love. I'm hoping that I can get some of my working out out of hte way and then in someway feel better about myself. I think I've been feeling this desperation for something more because I need to raise my self worth and need some good conversations.

People at school don't seem to enjoy serious conversations. I think that's why I rather talk to older adults reather than my best friends. I rather talk about life, God, and how awesome it is to be in the middle of nowhere enjoying yourself than gossip or talk about a party and other stupid teenage drama. My sister tells me I'm an old lady stuck in a teenage body but I say I'd rather be that and be happy than pretend to be someone I'm not. Lately I've been putting on a great show to make people around me happy, but I on the other hand am not very happy.

I'm going to take Spring Break to find my happiness again. I have to get myself back on track.

Anyone up for 'happiness finding' with me? :)

I turn 18 in less than a month! And unlike the past several years, my birthday does not fall on Holy Week this year! I'm sorry Jesus but I'm incredibly happy to be able to celebrate my 18th birthday. Hahaha Two years ago I was told that since my birthday fell on Easter we weren't going to sing happy birthday on my birthday but the day after instead. That was no fun.

Anyway, I'm praying for something good to write about. Something that's worth your time because I know I've started to turn this blog into something more like a diary. I don't like writing diary blogs. :)

Something good will come soon. Promise.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"I wanna get away..."

There's something about the Getaway Retreat every year that makes me want to become a better Christian. Everytime I go I feel myself growing more as a Catholic and a Christian.. I wonder if that happens to everyone or if it get's to a point where you've filled up with so much God-ness that you just stop growing... or maybe that's when you realize that you've gone so many times that you might as well just become a minister. ...It's a possibility okay.

This past weekend has taught me so much about myself and has helped me open up and get closer to a lot of people. I said 'love' a ton this weekend, but I mean't it so I'm okay.

The small group I taught was ridiculously quiet except for a select few. Leading them helped me become a more patient and assertive person. I had fun those kids; I only hope they did too.

Adoration was incredible as usual. There's something so moving about being in a room with so many people that believe the same thing you believe and sitting in front of Jesus himself, it's just amazing. ***Funny side story: At one point during adoration a girl started to really scream and cry, and the one thing that ran through my mind was that she was probably a mentally challenged girl who was having a hard time dealing with it all, I prayed for her as I'm sure many others did. On Sunday morning my friend asks me what it was that happened and I told her what had thought it was. She told me she thought that maybe someone had just told her that maybe her father or someone close had just died. She said that if that happened to her that's how she would cry. At that moment our friend Marissa came up to us and said "Girl, what happened to that one girl last night?! It was so scary! The first thing that came to my mind was that she was being possesed and that maybe an exorcism was happening in the room... I started to really pray my little heart out!" hahahahhaha. Okay, funny side story is over.***

I'm so grateful to have such awesome mentors in my life and so many people that are there for me no matter what...

The only problem is that everytime I get away from home I realize how incredibly happy I am when I'm not there. Then I come back and it's all back to the same routines, the same competition, and the same halfway empty hole. I'm desperately searching for something more, something better and real. I know it'll come, but I wish it'd come faster.

Writing is a form of prayer and at the moment I'm going to write until my little hand can't take it anymore. I need it.

Remember, use your talent and turn it into something wonderful; praise the Lord with whatever you've got to give Him.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today I woke up to the wonderful sun warming my face, it was a beautiful "spring-ish" day and I was determined to get sunburned (considering the fact that 'tan' seems to be inconceivable to my body). I was laying out for two hours shivering and thinking about how pathetic I probably would have looked if anyone saw me... As soon as I gave up and decided that Facebook was calling my name more than the cold but still beautiful day, it got cloudy out. I really despise Texas weather. Oh, and if you were wondering, the picture above is one of my brother and I when we first moved to Puerto Rico, as you can see, we haven't changed much. :)

So officially, Isabella has no chance of looking any darker or, I should say 'less white', before retreat.

I pray that retreat goes well. I'm extremely nervous about a lot of things but I think it'll be great.

Today I found an old friend on Facebook, it made me realize how much I miss not having a job, not needing to work. I've missed out on a lot in the past year or so, but I'm ready to get it all back, I just hope everyone else is able to understand and accept me now.

I really miss some things.
"There is no God like you, O Lord, not one has done what you have done." -Psalm 86:8

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I feel good tonight.

Tonight I went to this Fra Angelico's Coffee Haus thing without really knowing what to expect. I'm glad I went, it was so relaxing to just be able to sit and reflect. It's funny because I went there so I could journal a little bit on my laptop, so I could write out all the mindless self-indulgent things that I don't write on here. As I was finishing a paragraph and coming back to reality I heard, "I'd give anything/to have you near to me/ I will fight for you without rest/ I will fight for you without rest". This is funny because I've been feeling kind of down lately and I was writing about how badly I hope that God listens to my prayers and whatnot. For some reason, I don't think that Jessica was playing that song by chance, and I thank God for letting me know that he's always here. (And thanks to Jessica too for sharing her music with the world!)

I haven't updated the blog for a while but there are reasons for that. It started off with me getting my wisdom teeth pulled, and then slowly transferred to life being a complete mess with work, school, preparations, and just life I guess.

Life. It's funny how things can change so quickly isn't it? It can feel really troublesome at times, but I'm liking the way life's finally starting to come together. It's taken it's sweet time, but I'm starting to figure things out.

Although I do have to say that no matter how hard you prepare for things, something is always going to change. Life can be planned out to the very millisecond and then all of a sudden something random happens and it's all over with. A very special someone leaves on Monday and I won't get to see him again until probably July. Even then, he will only be home for a few days before getting stationed somewhere. Let's hope it's Ft. Hood.

I find it interesting that a month ago I was praying for an answer as to what to do about this boy and wether or not I should fight for our 'friendship', and as soon as I decide to follow my heart and not my mind (a choice that is potentially detrimental for women) he tells me he switched from Army to Marines and is leaving in three weeks. I wish I could trick myself into believing that we are mean't to be, but I can't. Looking back I see all the signs that told me he wasn't the right one, God was hinting and I was oblivious. God has flat out layed it out for me now; it's going to hurt, but I think I will be okay and I will grow from it as I usually do. The right one's out there somewhere. :)

"But even if we speak like this, dear friends, we feel sure about you. We know that you have the better blessings that belong to your salvation. God is not unfair. He will not forget the work you did or the love you showed for him in the help you gave and are still fiving to other Christians. Our great desire is that each of you keep up your eagerness to the end, so that the things you hope for will come true. We do not want you to be lazy, but to be like those who believe and are patient, and so receive what God has promised." Hebrews 6:9-12

I know that God is listening to you, me and all the others. God is fighting for us.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Enjoy the Little Things...

I learned something today.

Not that I don't learn something new everyday, but today I felt something different. I learned something worth remembering. Enjoy the little things.

Being a Sunday morning, and knowing that I didn't have to work I was hoping to be able to sleep in. Little did I know that I would be woken up at 9 so that I could help my mom do the laundry. On a normal day I wouldn't have to help my mom with the laundry, but since our dryer broke we've had to go to a laundromat to dry our previously washed clothes.

Now maybe it's the weather or the fact that I've been extra tired lately, but I woke up cranky today. I mean, I was in a very very bad mood and depressed state. And on top of that, I was in no mood to do laundry at a nasty laundromat. Don't get me wrong, I know this is preparing me for college days, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. I much prefer being a little spoiled and yes, maybe snobby, and do my laundry in the privacy of my own home, not in a place where everyone else puts in their underwear and whatnot.

Anyways, so we pull into this "Kwikwash" place and it's packed with people that (I know this is going to sound bad) I don't normally associate with. I always try not to be judgemental, but with the way this day was going, I guess that just wasn't the first thing I thought of doing. I saw all these people and I couldn't help it, my eyes teared up and I was refusing to go inside. I know that makes me a brat but it just didn't seem fair.

Then, as if it was a gift from God, a friend of a friend walked into the laundromat. A girl I would have never expected to be in 'financial difficulties' was happily doing her laundry with her mom at the place I was too ashamed to go into. I don't really know how to explain it, but it was so humbling to see this and know that no matter what, I'm never alone.

After getting my act together, I went in and helped my mom put the things in the drier. We sat down at a booth far away from anyone else and she asked me if I wanted to play "May I?" We sat there for a while playing our favorite card game and talking about how gross we felt in that place. The two hours passed by faster than I've ever experienced and I guess you could say that my mom and I had a "bonding" moment in the process. It had been a long time since we had just 'hung out' like that, since we had bonded.

As for the girl from my school, I no longer have to feel awkward around her. I can feel like we're equal, instead of one of us being better than the other. Her being there also helped me realize that we never really know what everyone's lives are like. Even though we each put up a great facade, it's only a mask to hide all the things that really get to us. All our secrets, our real selves.

After all, I don't really know how many of those people were in ther for the same reason I was. With the eay the economy is going it's possible that half those people were in there because they too don't have the money to just go out and buy a new washer/dryer as soon as their old one breaks down. Seeing her there was a reminder to not judge others based on appearance, to not judge others at all.

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven" Luke 6:37

Remember, enjoy the little things because someday, those little things may not be there for you to enjoy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

On Love.

The other day I heard someone say that 'the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.' Those few words, wise as they were, caught my attention and I couldn't help but brood over it for the rest of that day.
Lately, love is mistakenly used for all situations and the word has simply been worn-out. The word 'like' has taken the place of 'umm.' and 'love' has inevitably replaced what 'like' used to stand for. This begs the question: Why does all this matter?
The answer is simple. In God's eyes, love is something special. It is what He gave us when He died for us on the cross. It is what He believed to be a special bond shared between a man and a woman. God didn't believe love to be a common, everyday word. Don't get me wrong, He wanted love to be shared; He wants His people to know that they are loved by Him and by others. That we, as a church, can grow in His peace, love and kindness and as a community can contribute to building up the foundation that He set up when He gave His life for His people.
Personally though, with the way the world has evolved, I fear that the word will soon become meaningless; if it hasn't already. Men use the word simply to get a woman to give in to the man's sexual desire, to sin. Women use love for almost everything. We love fashion, music, movies and we've even learned to love people we have never even met. I don't really know about everyone else, but this just disconcerts me.
I'm the type of person who believes in love. I have been in love, in true love. I have felt the difference between love and lust, I have witnessed both true love and simple infatuation. And honestly, I would be a liar if I ended this by saying that I have never used love in an impersonal way.
The fact of the matter is that we have all used love in the wrong sense of the word. Subconsciously, most of us abuse the word on a daily basis.
To get to my point, and to prove that I really did have a purpose in saying all this, I am going to challenge myself and the rest of the world (I say that only to humor myself and make me feel like I have readers) to not use the word, to save it for when it means something, when it's special.
Instead of saying the word, I'm taking the freedom to show it, to express it. Everyone will know how I feel for them through my actions, not my words. And if I make the mistake of using the word too soon or with the wrong timing I will remember that the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
"Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous.It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant. It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs. It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up." ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7