housewife note, no. 24601

Below is a poem I jotted out while literally half awake, puffy tearing eyes (not from crying, from tiredness), the other night. I’m guessing some of my stay-at-home mommy friends might relate. Wiping butts all for the glory of God, right? And for the love of our children? Here, here! 🙂

days rush by!
no time to breathe!
what can i do
for me, me, me?

berry la croix & “ready player one”
since when was sparkling water
& a book
such fun?

no, but,
srsly.
and i mean,
srsly.

this job has me
pwned.

and they call me
“housewife”?
well, i’ll be
darned.

i feel so much more.
a giver of…?
life!

what a dinky, boring title–
plain ole’ fashioned “housewife”?
oh,
heck no.

i give and i give
and i give
watching my insides
die.

but it’s for them,
for them!

and anyway,
when have i also
ever felt
so alive?

those smiles and
those eyes.
i swear they’ll
kill ya quick.

such a venomous bite!
that adorable
neediness.

but they’re mine, mine, mine
and they’re ours
and O, they’re His!

so, i’ll gladly die to self
for this joy,
this hard love.

this bliss,
this bliss.
His bliss.

our happiness.

(c) awakenwonder

a lesson in the cry room

Honestly, I used to be “on the fence” about church “cry rooms.” But since I’ve become a mama, I’ve definitely come to appreciate them. Especially since we have such a loud and active infant. 

We recently visited my hubby’s home parish in the ‘burbs. It had a tiny cry room, and it was jam packed.

One family particularly struck me: a mother, father, and four small kids. The father and one of the children was away for a very long while (potty break?). When he was gone, the mother was trying her best to corral her other three very active kids. Her youngest even kept crawling head-on towards the actively opening and closing door. Yikes! 

All the while, this same young mother’s head was also submerged in her missal for all other moments BETWEEN her re-directing her children.  I admired how this mother still tried to follow along with the Mass in her missal. 

I also noticed a married couple to our left who had three tiny kids. One of their little girls was a wee little infant who LOVED screaming– er, SCREECHING. The parents took turns herding their little ones so that the other respective spouse could be more engaged in the Mass. Such a good display of teamwork so that they could both participate better at Mass! I admired how they both kneeled so reverrently too.

Lastly, I noticed a family with a couple teens, a pre-teen, and an infant. The infant was being quiet fidgety. One of their teenage children also seemed not in the least interested in Mass. Yet I could see– rather, hear– the two parents in this family really lifting up their voices to God, and particularly the father doing so. His soul seemed to emanate from his vocals. He was singing with his whole body; he was almost swaying to the music! 

All of these parents shared one look: that of being TIRED. Yet they also shared another look: that of being ENGAGED IN MASS ANYWAY. What INSPIRATION to be found in that jam-packed cry room.

Yes, we parents were tired, we were treading on that fine line between exhausted and crazy, yet we were participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together. What better gift could we have from God than the gift to be there? Screaming babies and all.

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late night vocation pondering

I never thought I would leave California. Southern California, to be exact. Where most of my extended family is.

My mother has 7 siblings, and most live there. Every few weeks, we have clan meals. Family pow wows. Tribal gatherings!

I thought I could never leave them. I thought that there was where I always belonged.

Yet here I am! In Texas.

And I ask myself: SOOO, I can belong somewhere else?!

Yes, I can belong somewhere else. And it’s not that I don’t belong there anymore. But I also belong here.

Houston… oh, Houston. Charming. Urban, cultured, friendly.  A land of opportunity.

Houston, you broke all of the stereotyoes that I thought were true about Texas.

And my world is now so much less… myopic.

Moreover, I’ve realized, from moving here, just how much of an ADVENTURE life is when you follow the Gospel fearlessly. For my moving here was all part of my “yes” to God in fulfilling what I perceived and believed his vocational call for me.

God is transforming me into more and more of a woman here. He’s helping me to grow into my vocation of married and family life. Here, I have grown into wife, into mother: Two parts of my identity that are now so “core,” in a visceral way, to my very being!

It’s happening. Day by day. Moment by moment.

God is forming me here as His disciple. And I’ve never felt more fully alive.

I pray that I have the strength to keep on. May the LORD ever be my guide, my North Star, my one true home amidst all the others.

Kissing Matty

Way back in the day, when we were long distance between CA and TX. Ha, ha! 🙂

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The fruit of our love! The physical incarnation of our wedding vows. 😉 #ultimateblessing

priorities: live and die tryin’

World Youth Day Mass 2013 at Rio de Janeiro... millions of youth yearning for God to fill their hearts-- for the Eucharist to feed their bodies and souls!

World Youth Day Mass 2013 at Rio de Janeiro… millions of youth yearning for God to fill their hearts– for the Eucharist to feed their bodies and souls!

Those days. I remember those days. When I would lay in bed at night and think and pray that if I only had a boyfriend (hopefully, a very potential husband), I would be happy.

Those mornings when I would wake up in the morning, look at the light hitting my pillows and sheets, and dream about cuddling with a baby, or maybe even five kids (LOL– typical devout Catholic girl dream?), and a hubby, too.

Well, guess what? Those days and mornings are here. Marriage. Family life. And yes, life is beautiful. And I am happy in many ways. All thanks be to the Providence and the goodness of God the Creator. AMEN.

Yet… surprise! (No, not really– knew it was coming!!) I still have this deep longing in my heart, this restlessness that I cannot explain. I still have that “God hole” that nothing and NO ONE (not even my husband or son) can fill… but God.

As Saint Augustine stated so eloquently: “You have made us for Yourself, O LORD, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” (Happy feast day today, St. Auggie!)

I also still dream. I dream of saving souls. Not so much in a “preach-y till they all convert” way, but in an “indirect, let the Holy Spirit use me somehow” way. Call it the spirit of the New Evangelization teeming from within. It’s what gets me up in the morning!

Yet tonight during prayer, my husband reminded me of something very important: Prioritization.

While we were praying, I prayed to the LORD that my husband would excel in one of his life’s ambitions.

Then my husband did something funny. He smiled. He laughed. He looked at me. And he changed that prayer. He quipped, gently, “And LORD, that I might be the BEST DADDY in the world!”

Oh so true. This is why I married this man. Because before being an engineer, he is a father and a husband. And before being those roles, he is a son of God. A soldier of Christ.

The same goes for me. First, a daughter of God, a disciple of Christ. (That “God hole” will always feel wanting, and that’s a good thing.) Second, a wife and a mother. Third, a __________ (fill in other roles pertaining to my unique vocation or “calling” here).

My primary goal: to get myself and my hubby and my son to Heaven.

All other goals are secondary.

Priorities…

Just tryin’ to get ’em straight. I do fail sometimes, ’tis true. But…

Hope I live and I die tryin’.

she was everything to Him: a reflection on motherhood

When I was driving my cousin around town (and while my mom was babysitting my son),  I told my cousin that it couldn’t be long because I was basically my son’s source of food since I am nursing him. I then jokingly mumbled a bunch of other roles that I play for my son: teacher, console-r and soother, playmate, snuggle buddy, psychologist (to figure out what all those cries mean, of course!).

And I realized: Wow. I am everything to my son.

It made me think: Mother Mary must’ve been everything to Jesus. Yes, at least for a time, she was everything to Him.

I further pondered how, just how, my mission “to change the world with the grace of God” is indeed being lived out in my “hidden life” as a mother.

How? Well, MY heart is being changed by God’s grace day by day, moment by moment. So technically, isn’t the world changing? God is changing me through tiny little him (my son) by showing me who He (my God) is.

In fact, God’s grace is the only thing that is sustaining me right now!

Yes, my mission is feeding my son, burping him, changing his diaper, keeping the house clean, and maybe, possibly cooking– just getting through the day.

My mission is praying fervently that my baby takes his naps– and doesn’t cry from having gas!

My mission is working on my marriage 110% now more than ever, because the happiness and holiness of my son depends on my husband and I being an “us.” My husband and I are to make a very important foundation, which itself must be rooted in Christ.

Yes, this mission is motherhood. And motherhood is changing me through the grace of Christ.

Motherhood is teaching me patience… gentleness… to love the little things. To love this tiny person’s personhood.

To stay strong.

To have Faith.

Many days, motherhood doesn’t seem glamorous at all. Spit up everywhere. Poopy diaper blowouts. Your son pulling all of your hairs out. Oh, and not getting a bite to eat for a while (that one’s tough on me!).

But by the grace of God, what could be more noble? 🙂

the Holy Mass > service + praise and worship

When I attend (or rather, “pray”) the Holy Mass, readings from the Old Testament and New Testament are read, and the Gospel is proclaimed. This is called the “Liturgy of the Word” and it is the common denominator of most Christian worship services, Protestant and Catholic. However, at a Catholic Mass, instead of “praise and worship” following, the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” follows. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Our LORD gives Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist: body, blood, soul, and divinity!

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Jesus offers me a perfect Oblation and Sacrifice: Himself! None of my own human emotions can change His gift to me. However, I feel that in praise and worship, the focus is on offering my human emotions to God. I realize that others may see this differently than I do. However, this is my own personal experience.

Truly, in the Mass as well as at a “service” or “praise and worship session,” we must similarly offer ourselves to God (physically, spiritually, and emotionally). However, in the Mass, that’s only half of the equation. In Mass, Our LORD comes down to us physically, as well as spiritually, in the Eucharist! In His decisive love, regardless of our merely human emotions, He offers Himself to us in a re-presentation of His Sacrifice at Calvary!

1 John 4:10 reads: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”

That second half… “that he loved us and sent his son”: now, that’s the entire gist of the Holy Mass… the Son of God coming to us! Body. Blood. Soul. And Divinity. Amen.

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The man who died and rose for us… and offers us Himself to be broken in the form of bread… is also the son of Mary and Joseph. As well as the Son of God. Amen!

being in love is…

“….If you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love. ‘What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?’ My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.” Song of Solomon 5:8-10

Another family party tonight. I smiled as my family teased me for my “first love” syndrome. When people ask me about my boyfriend, I cannot help but smile, because I definitely know that I am one blessed young woman.

I am not afraid to say that I love the most loving, caring, self-sacrificing young man I have ever met!

And as evidenced in Holy Scripture, I love how God knows exactly how I feel, emotions-wise, about my dear boyfriend.

I mean, this is the way God feels about me. He’s “sick with love” for me. I stand out “among ten thousand”– even if all ten thousand are His children! How humbling.

In His eyes, there is only one me, and His Fatherly heart cannot stop rejoicing over how I am His one daughter, just this way, that can never be replaced! How flattering.

Divine love is such a gift. And what does it look like? Not just emotions, but also decisions…. sacrifice.

And human love is also such a gift; it is truly a gift from the Divine! Therefore, although the emotions may come in abundance… I too must remember that my human love necessitates decisions and sacrifice to be brought to the level of Love.

Being in love is so exhilarating emotionally! I smile at just the though of my dear “ruddy and radiant” boyfriend.

However, being in love also teaches me so much about Christ– and about how “being in love” emotions-wise isn’t enough… deciding to love and sacrificing is what really matters most. Decisive and sacrificial love: now, this is love that has been brought to the Cross.

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Amazing book. Stumbled upon it by accident at UCLA when I was 18 wandering the research library. I was hooked… and never the same after I read it…

“Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God.” Pope John Paul II

real love: hard, but worth it

Real love is when it hurts, but you forgive.

Real love is when someone sees all of the ugliest parts of you, but loves you anyway.

Real love accepts the other, but also challenges the other to grow.

Real love is open and vulnerable.

Real love is messy.

Real love is struggle.

Real love is sacrifice.

Real love is hard.

Real love is beautiful.

Real love is full of joy.

Real love endures.

Real love is strong, and when it is weak and falls, can grow stronger and fly up even higher than before.

Real love is worth it.

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My “ashed” boyfriend on Ash Wednesday serenading me in a surprise cover (to be linked to me the next day on the Feast of Saint Valentine). Man o man am I one blessed woman. Funny how this Instagram came out with a yellow tinge. “Look at the stars… look how they shine for you… and everything you do… yeah they were all yellow.” 🙂

Thank you for loving me for nearly two years now, with a steady love that no woman could ever imagine existed!

am I just the girl he’s looking for?

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Some awesome young adult Dominican sisters at WYD 2011 Madrid. (c) WordOnFire

Warning: #CatholicNerdingOut.

And the more she ignores me
The more I adore her
What can I do?
I’d do anything for her…

‘Cause she’s bittersweet
She knocks me off of my feet
And I can’t help myself
I don’t want anyone else
She’s a mystery
She’s too much for me
But I keep coming back for more
‘Cause she’s just the girl I’m looking for”

–from “Just the Girl” by the Click Five

I randomly happened to listen to this song tonight. Brought me back to my college days when I’d plug into my iPod while walking to and from class, as it was a favorite.

The lyrics got me thinking… Is this how God feels about me? The more I ignore Him… the more He adores me? How lovely, how enamoring. That He would pine for me that much.

I also got to thinking about vocations in the sense of married life versus consecrated life. I know, I know. I have a boyfriend. But sometimes I wonder. Though I have met someone who I could envision marrying, I am still trying to be open. After all, it ain’t a thing till there ain’t no ring! 😛

I bolded the lyrics that especially struck me as translatable about how God really pursues me and wants my heart.

I really admire sisters and nuns and consecrated religious. Their love for Our LORD must be so strong, so pure, so deep, so eternal.

I admire friends who are married too– and heck, those married in my family. I know the LORD is present in their lives too, strongly and beautifully so! And working with kids, teens, and families, I can see how married life truly is a vocation filled with grace.

Yet I can also see how religious life truly sets one apart for the LORD in a very special, unique way. As a consecrated religious, you are already living like you would in Heaven, like the angels who are already fully consecrated to our LORD. For instance, if a sister, you ARE the bride of Christ… or, if a priest, you ARE the bridegroom of the Church.

Does God want me to marry? Does God want me all to Himself? These are questions all Catholic teens and young adults should ask themselves. I know that my boyfriend and I ask ourselves these questions occasionally still.

If God does will me to marry, I know He’s still pursuing me. I feel that every day. But how in tune am I to that? And what should my response be? Am I doing enough? I want to love Him to the best of my capacity! Receiving and resting in His love, yes. But giving back my entire self to Him: I’d like to do that too!

It’s truly a beautiful gift to be a daughter of God, to be one of God’s creatures– but still to be  pursued as a complete “mystery” to Him, whom He would like to unveil!

Like the song says… no matter what God has in store for me…

God adores me, He’d do anything for me, He doesn’t want anyone else, He thinks I’m a mystery, and I’m just the girl He’s looking for.

Well, now.

I’m completely flattered.