confessions of a new mom

“Today… was officially… the WORST day EVER!” I exclaimed after a long day of what seemed like hour upon hour of a fussy, overactive, nap-fighting, teething baby.

I knew I was exaggerating. I knew I was being a drama queen.

But sometimes, that’s the best therapy (for me, at least): to speak in fourth grade level hyperbole. To let that frustration out like a bang.

“And guess what? It was also the BEST day EVER… because we have HIM [our son]!” Matt chimed in.

I smiled. He spoke truth.

“You’re right… you’re SO right.” I agreed.

Recently, I have found myself an ungrateful mother. I may be a saint in the making, but I am no living saint now! (Ha, ha, ha!)

“God, you say you know how many hairs I have on my head? Well, I want to pull out ALL of them right now!” I kept thinking today.

It’s amazing how much of “my life” I have felt that I have “lost” since giving birth to my son. Career plans? What career? Hobbies? What hobbies? Free time? Ha! Ha, ha, ha!

But my husband is right.  When we got married, we vowed that our marriage would be ,”free, total, faithful, and FRUITFUL.” And God sure did deliver (fast!) on that fourth “f” (when he blessed us with the FRUIT of our LOVE: our dear son)!

We said “yes” to being free, total, faithful, and fruitful… we said “yes” to LIFE. Which is actually quite funny. Because while that YES meant gaining the CUTEST, most LIFE-filled baby in our arms, it also meant LOSING *our* lives as we knew them! It is our dear son’s life over ours now. We are called to LOVE by laying down our LIFE for his.

Yet in the end, it’s like a 1,000,000,000^infinity return on LIFE– just a different kind of life. One that is full of suffering, sacrifice, and selflessness. Yet it is precisely that life, I’ve found, that grows… that grows me and my husband as a woman and a man, respectively– and that, hopefully, will make the world a better place one day: via passing on that spirit of sacrificial Jesus-like love to our dear son.

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He ended up tryin’ to eat my Confirmation teaching materials today! This boy’s on the move, and boy is he fast now!

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! 🙂

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“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. 😉

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!

do you love your body?

“Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

You have great reason to love your body! It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you love your body? Do you take care of it?

I find it so fascinating that God reveals to us that “the immoral man sins against his own body.” We often think that sin is what we do to hurt other people. But do we ever think about how hurting ourselves is also a sin? The immoral man forgets that his body is a temple of the Divine.

We are called to love our bodies— in a non-conceited way, of course. They were shaped by God in His image and likeness! We are called to a possess a pure self love— including a love of our own skin and bones.

We are called to take care of our bodies— to keep them healthy and fit. How else can we be “fully alive” in other realms, such as spiritually, if we are unhealthy or dying physically? There exists an intricate mind, body, and spirit connection: God made us masterfully integrated beings.

We are called to use our bodies to glorify God— to keep them pure and chaste, truly worthy vesicles of His Pure Love!

Of course, it’s always easier said than done.

But just as Jesus sacrificed His body for us, let us always try to sacrifice our bodies for Him. We were made beautifully, body as well as soul. Let’s love our bodies the best that we can, and support one another in doing so.

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Me with headphones! Lots of media today tells me that I shouldn’t think of my body as a temple of the Spirit. I choose not to listen.

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!

satan’s ill vision of love

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St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke them, we humbly pray, and may thou, o Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast out all evil spirits prowling about the world seeking the ruins of souls. Amen.

It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.” –William Gurnall

Blessed Pope John Paul II truly was a “social justice” kinda guy, but on a supernatural level. He believed in the “dignity of every human person” because he or she is made in the Image and Likeness of God! Therefore, every person is deserving not just of “social justice,” but of love.

I don’t know about you, but I think that love trumps social justice. Love means dignity, validation, irrevocable worth… not just food, clothing, shelter, and equal rights. Every human person is worthy of love.

Now, the word “love” is pretty loaded.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reads:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”

And at what “price” were we bought with?

When we look to Christ on the Christ, who was Love, the message is simple. That’s the price that we were bought at. True Love. Love isn’t about good feelings. It isn’t about attraction. It isn’t about pleasure. We were bought with love… we were bought with sacrifice. The core of love is sacrifice.

Satan will try to tell us that the core of love is good feelings, attraction, and pleasure.

Demons “hurl their weapons” at us by trying to make us forget what love is about (sacrifice) and WHO Love is: Christ!

God said: “Let us make humankind  in our image, according to our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26).

Like Christ, Whose image we are made in, we are capable of loving with sacrificial love. Yet how can that be?! In this day and age, it may feel nearly impossible.

Satan would like to destroy the world one lie at a time, by having people live for some  disordered vision of love and failing to realize that their bodies are temples of God!

Let’s not listen to satan.

Feelings, emotion, pleasure… they will never bring you happiness. Christ, in His sacrifice, and in our call to be loved by Him and to love others in His name– that is, with a spirit of sacrifice, too– only that will bring us eternal joy.

Soldier on, O you warrior prince and princesses! You are holy temples of God Himself. Your bodies are the bearers of the Cross of Christ, in this land of Light (Who we know is the Victor) versus darkness!

no greater love than this

Family life, and all of its struggles, has taught me about Christ’s sacrifice for me, His love for me, all of these years. In a family, sacrifice, patience, and humility are key to surviving.

During various times of my life, I have grown used to living in a single household of 8 to 10 people. Things are just bound to go wrong with numbers so high (and even with two people, you have two very unique individuals who are bound to disagree about something). But we never gave up, and we continue to never give up.

Not only that, I come from a large Filipino clan on my mom’s side– and we have certainly weathered it all. My extended family has also taught me what a true “all for one and one for all” spirit looks like.

When I used to think of romantic love, I would very much idealize it. I would fail to take into account all of the sacrifice, patience, and humility that would be necessary in a future relationship– the same kind of virtues that I was learning about growing up in my family.

Now that I am in a courtship with a wonderful young man, I am constantly reminded, from my own past experiences with my family, how I cannot run away from Cross of Christ, even in this most exhilarating experience. (Yes, he is my first boyfriend. Shocking!)

In dating, there will be crosses to bear, most especially if we are to marry and start our own family too, one day! Namely, our own two crosses, which we are discerning uniting under the one Cross of Christ for life.

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My dashing boyfriend and I in front of the Memorial Church at Stanford University. I am learning all about how to give pure, brave, Christ-like love with this young man. 🙂

Christ Himself told us: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Well, I consider my boyfriend my best friend. No wonder love can get hard sometimes. There’s no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend– let alone the person who is nearest and dearest to you.

I can confidently and conclusively say…

It’s a challenging task, to love.

And yet, every day, in little and big ways, I discover that LOVE is truly that “thing” for which God has designed me! After all, He is Love (1 John 4:8).

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Perpetual Adoration of Our LORD Jesus Christ– He who models Perfect Love for us–  in the middle of hippie town. Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. My boyfriend and  — and my best friend, our tour guide– took a visit!

what time is it?

This Lent might mean spiritual renewal for you. Or it might mean great suffering. It might mean sacrificing an extra thirty minutes of sleep per day to go to daily Mass. Or it might mean adding in an extra thirty minutes of time per day to spend with a loved one.

Whatever this time means to you, remember that it is a commodity.

Are you going towards God, or are you going away from Him?

For everything, there is a time and a season. God has a time for everything.

What time is it in your life?

“1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Old-World-Clock

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.