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

they’re one in the same

Ah, this.

Yes, this.

Silence.

My two boys asleep: my hubby and my son.

Silence! Time to think uninterruptedly. Alas…. alas!

And yet, I am so tired. It is SO late.

Who knew the vocation of motherhood could be so exhausting?! Really, zillions of other women have gone through this?!

And yet, it’s an exhilarating feeling that I am left with at the end of the day. Honestly, I’ve dreamed of being a mommy even before grade school. (As I experience all of this joy being a new mommy, I can’t help but pray even more for those struggling with infertility and miscarriage– I cannot imagine that pain. <3)

All of those moments that I want to bang my head during the day when my son is fussing, screaming, or just being overactive and not napping… they are put to *shame* when, at the moment that my baby finally DOES fall asleep, I pull out my smartphone and peruse my photos and videos of him. Ha! Ha! Ha ha ha ha!

What I am learning about motherhood is this: sacrifice. Isn’t that the single word that comes up numerous times on this blog?!

Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Whew!

Yet what I am also learning is this beautiful, mysterious paradox: that I revel in this sacrifice. That at the time that I hate it, I also love it, because I know that it is edifying.

Sacrifice and love: one in the same. THAT is what I have been learning. 

I am being edified… refined… purified.

The one event that has made me “grow up”? Having a child of my own. Cliche, yes. But true, so true.

I often wonder if this is how God feels with me as his daughter. He sees me crying, he sees me blindly hurting myself, he sees me confused, he sees me needy, he sees me being just a little bit naughty sometimes (or maybe other times, very, very in the wrong), he sees me THIRSTY… he sees me HUNGRY. AND IN IT ALL, HE LOVES ME! He only wants the best for me! HE SAYS, “COME, DRINK MY BLOOD. COME, EAT MY FLESH.” Oh my! ” ❤

My motherhood is teaching me soooo much about my daughterhood of the King Most High…

But I am exhausted. So, good night for now! 🙂

#tobecontinued

“Look mom! Sushi! Mmmmm” 😛

My great uncle took a candid of us at dinner one day... we never get family shots! Life is going by too quickly. Hope we get another one soon. ;)

A (blurry) candid of us at dinner one day… we never get family shots! Life is going by too quickly. Hope we get another one soon. 😉

an immutable gift: marriage & family

These are the eyes he has for his Daddy. He loves to play with Daddy so much. There is definitely a father-son bond with a kindred humor and an endearing camaraderie. As Mommy, I just stand on the sidelines and smile. I cannot replace this bond, nor do I intend to do so.

Dominic looking at Daddy

I am so happy for them. I am so grateful to God that our family is blessed with a strong, loving leader who shows us Jesus Christ, and who provides and protects. Just the way Jesus loves, leads, provides and protects for His Church (His bride) on earth, so too does my husband do for us.

Often my hubby tells me that I’m the “MVP [Most Valuable Player]” of the family. He asks me, “What would we do without you?”

But I often ask the same of my dear husband. What would we do without him?

Neither of us are the “MVP.” Both of us are needed to act full-force as husband and wife, as daddy and mommy, respectively, to keep our family ship afloat and sailing, Heaven-bound.

There are beautiful differences between myself as wife and my husband as husband; they are rooted in our God-given feminine and masculine natures. More than stereotypical, they are in our very element, intrinsic to who we are, coloring all we feel and do.

We are espoused to one another, and our gender differences strengthen our family as stabilizers, reinforcements, and propellers. Our complementarity is what keeps us going so strongly

Moreover, there is a beautiful complementarity not only in our marriage and how we support one another, but also in our parenthood and how we love our son. I’ve been learning this over the past few months, daily. And it’s been such a lovely site to witness.

I realize that, essentially, it is my husband who will show our son how to be virtuous… how to be brave… how to be chivalrous… as a young man.  

Sure, I can inspire my son via word and example [and I can do so tremendously]. But only my husband can embody [with his male body!] to our son, by his very living example, how to be a man of God, a man of honor… how to be a man. How awesome! (And oh my, he’s got quite a job to do.)

Yes, God has a master plan for marriage and family life– for life and for love. What a gift!

As I learn more about that gift, I stand in awe. That master plan includes the complementarity between husband and wife, father and mother, which makes for a unique and immutable teamwork and dynamic.

Yet God did not intend marriages to make merely “teams”; He intended marriages to make families! A child is the living proof of the marital love of a man and a woman. This is how life is begotten in the world. And this truth will never change. 

Just as the Father so loves the Son that the Holy Spirit exists as the love between them– so too does our son exist because of our love. Indeed, recently, when my husband and I were having it rough, my husband pointed to our son and reminded me: “There’s our love! It exists!” Yes, our love is so real…. that “it” [he] has a name. 🙂

My prayer is that my generation sees this master plan for life, love, marriage, and family– with its complementary nature between man and woman– and rejoices in it!

May my generation seek this master plan for life and love more and more deeply.

And may my generation stand up for this master plan for life and love, for it is truly a gift.

#thankYouGod #marriage #familylife

love, as per this day in June…

love is…

…your boyfriend staying up late to talk to you even though he’s an early sleeper. oh, and paying for every single plane ticket for you to visit him.

…your mother going on business and working so hard, so close to retirement, because she still wants to provide for the family by paying the mortgage on a house where all the family parties are.

…your 88-year-old grandmother being patient with you as she waits for you to assist her as you speak with your boyfriend on the phone.

…your whole family getting together for your cousin’s high school graduation. aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone.

…your father telling you there’s coffee ready with enthusiasm.

…your older brother letting you borrow his laptop for over a month so that you can use it for graduate school, as yours has broken.

…your older sister being so hospitable to you when you visit her home even though she has a newborn and a toddler boy of whom to take care.

…your brother-in-law making you extra food and saying, “well, it’s there and if it magically disappears, then that’s good too!” after you tell him you’re full.

…your “lil sissy” being so appreciative of the humble chocolate chip cookies and card you gave her for her high school graduation.

…your 4-year-old nephew’s eyes lighting up when you tell him you can take him to the park.

…your cousins’ Facebook threading and tweeting and texting you at random hours of the day, sometimes about completely ridiculous and fun things, other times about serious things like prayer requests.

…your middle school cousin saying, “what? who says you can move? I say we take a vote!” then having all of your cousins take a “vote” in which only one of many say you can actually move! LOL

…Jesus waiting for you in the Eucharist.

The list goes on and on. That’s why I dated this post– because I know it will be a forever “to be continued.”

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The day they took the “vote.” LOL! This is just a few of ’em… I wonder what would happen if they all voted.

trust

“[Simeon] took him [the infant Jesus] up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.'” Luke 2:28-32 (the “Canticle of Simeon”)

The long day is over now.

This evening was spent with family. Such a huge blessing that I can’t even describe it.

And now, sweet sleep in the Lord. May I always trust fully in Him.

delight in those you love!

….You shall be called My Delight Is in Her,and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:3-5

Relationships always go two ways! (By definition.) When we think about our relationship with God, this fact remains. We were made to love God, but we were also made to be loved by God. When we go to Eucharistic Adoration to adore our LORD, do we forget that Our LORD adores us more than we will ever adore Him?!

Earthly married love reflects the love between Christ and His bride, the Church. Just as Christ delights in His bride, Saint Joseph must have gazed at Mother Mary in complete delight!

Saint Joseph must have been captivated by Mother Mary’s mystery. And since every relationship is a two-way street, Mother Mary must have been captivated by Saint Joseph’s mystery.

DELIGHT: enjoying another person’s God-given, priceless, unrepeatable personhood.

This is what our marriages need. Delight!

This is what our families need. Delight!

This is what our courtships need. This is what our friendships need. This is what our relationships with strangers need. This is what every human heart needs.  Delight!

 How often do married couples take the time to still delight in one another’s mystery? It seems that spouses eventually lose respect for one another; they lose that sense of wonder with which they once fell in love.

How often do parents take the time to delight in their children’s mystery? It seems that parents eventually just want to raise their kids right; they lose that sense of wonder with which they once gazed upon their newborn baby.

Delight in those you love! Put away the frustrations, look past the flaws, and sacrifice your pride. Marriage and family can bring about grated nerves or it can bring about joy and peace even in hard times.

Love is a decision. The choice is yours.

Most Blessed Solemnity of Saint Joseph!

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Ironic that this was my bookmark while reading about substance abuse and dependence. Knowing that Your LORD delights in you: now that can heal!

Love

If I could explain it fully, I would. At times, there are no words. It is that powerful, perplexing, mysterious.

But three scenes come into mind.

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Love: When Jesus was standing on Mt. Tabor, shining brilliantly like the sun. A son Himself.

There Jesus is, looking up at God the Father. There God the Father is, looking down at Jesus.  “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased!,” God the Father echoed.

Do you know how loved you are?

You are a beloved son or daughter of God. No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve been. He wants you back always. Don’t forget that you need to be cared for and doted on and loved by Him.

Being a child. How else did Jesus find the strength to carry His Cross up Mt. Calvary? How else will you find the strength to carry your Cross on your earthen journey?

Love: When Jesus hung on the Cross. Perfect Love, never committing an offense, dying that we may forgive those who have offended or hurt or hated us, that we may seek the forgiveness of those we have offended or hurt or hated.

Hanging on a cross, dying to Himself, to the world. Sacrifice. How else could Jesus bring life to the world? To show the hurting heart what true love looked like? To show the hating heart what true love looked like?

Jesus would die for only you if you were to be His only faithful disciple! Imagine that.

Love: When Mary stood at the foot of the Cross, looking at her beloved Son.

A mother’s love… they ask: what can beat it?

Mother Mary, the most obedient and humble and beautiful woman who ever walked the earth. The most loving mother any child could ask for… willing to watch others murder the most perfect child any mother could have.

She didn’t interfere. She stood back, in humility, as painful as it was, as pierced as her heart was. By a sword.

She loved her Son Jesus, yet she loved us just as equally, as she allowed us to murder him, that we might know True Love.

Imagine that: a mother allowing her son to be murdered for you, her other child.

What is love? At times, I am at a loss for words. But I can tell you what it looks like.

In my own experience dating and being “courted,” I can tell you that I’ve also seen these sides of love. With my family, both nuclear and extended, I’ve seen these sides of love. In my friendships, I’ve seen these sides of love. With clients, with strangers…

So let us let love abound, and let us not be afraid of how hard and raw and hurtful it may feel at times. It just may transform the world.

in Your mysteries. I meet You.

Doing, doing, doing. What ever happened to my contemplative soul? To the inner spirit within… The young woman so one with Love Himself?

Recently someone pointed: “We just do, do, do, but do we ever stop and ask, ‘God, is this even what You WANT me to do?'”

It made me think: It’s time that I prioritize being one with the Lord (and those He has gifted me with!) over being busy in His name!

Sometimes, I feel that I know what is best for myself and seemingly fly into automatic pilot. Yet God may be whispering and asking something completely different of me!

But God should be pilot. Where does He want to fly me? Am I being too stubborn of a co-pilot, and taking myself on an unnecessary detour?

God would like us to meet Him in His mystery. Through our ordinary work and ordinary circumstances in addition to the Sacraments!

And God would like us to meet Him in our very loved ones. After all, they are made in His very image and likeness, and He has so graciously gifted us with them in particular to live out our vocations!

Do we have enough time for God?

Do we have enough time for the souls that God means us to love and to serve the most?

Or are we just flying on autopilot?

Every day, we need to contemplate God’s mystery by meeting Him there. It is then that we can discern if we are letting Him be our pilot.

He’s in control. And His Will is most adventuresome… Let us never think otherwise!

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…my favorite poster from World Youth Day 2011, in Madrid… 🙂