Archives

Saintly aspirations

Last week, I revisited a theme that recurs in Matthew Kelly’s books, presentations, and now Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever. Matthew Kelly has always said, “Our lives change when our habits change”. The day’s particular reflection focused on the saints and their habit of daily prayer. Matthew drew a parallel between the saints and successful people having certain habits. Some habits build us up and make us better versions of ourselves while others do not.

As part of the reflection, I was asked to write down three good habits I practice. As a family, we pray every day. M and I do a daily litany of saints and pray for special intentions. Another is that I tell M and her father “I love you” at least once, if not multiple times, daily.  I’m good at hydration.  I carry my water bottle to work and as I go about my day.  It has become a routine that helps me feel refreshed.

We then were asked to list three habits. My worst habits are my time on my phone, my inconsistency in daily exercise, and my poor sleeping habits(ok so I mentioned leaving dishes in the sink but when one of the Dynamic Catholic speakers mentioned sleep, I realized I needed to change my answer.) These are habits that need to be reshaped.  Getting enough sleep and consistent exercise will help me feel physically better.  Disconnecting from my work phone and my personal phone will lead to improved focus and increased mindfulness. Since I didn’t disconnect from social media this Lent, my ability to commit to spiritual reading and actively participate with Dynamic Catholic has been negatively affected.

Matthew Kelly pointed out that 10 minutes to be with God and pray can make a difference whether you do it for 60 days or 100 days.  When I was praying the Liturgy of the Hours, that helped set the tone for my day. We used to pray the rosary in its entirety and do night prayer daily. These are habits we can bring back; they are not lost. Now is the time to be proactive.  On Friday, like most people, I feel rejuvenated. It’s a good day to commit to something with renewed energy. It’s time to make a habit to use time productively and pray in gratitude consistently.

saints-fra-angelico

Saints by Fra Angelico. Who wants to be in that number?

Literally back on the mic

563630_10150846592507784_1861641797_n

Though I began writing fiction at 9, I started writing personal reflections in my monthly column in La Voz de Berkeley when I was at Cal. I then created a blog, Mujer Hollering, inspired by that column, and more recently, my blog, Mujer Evolving. While writing fiction is a long-term goal, my #40blogsfor40days challenge is a great opportunity to share my work and honor my voice.

Smart-Voice-Recorder-Main-recording-interface.png

I have suffered from writer’s block for many years partly due to time management. So am I going to complete this writing during Lent?  I decided to solve the problem this year by beginning my blogs as voice recordings. During my morning commute, I have been recording five minute voice memos to capture my thoughts. There’s plenty of writing material whether it’s personal experiences, music, TV, or themes I have pondered.  The commute has allowed me time to do some uncensored reflecting. When I’m at the computer, I get stifled by the desire to wordsmith or produce a clear and concise piece in a short amount of time.  Drafting differently gives me a chance to voice my ideas.

Then it is time to transcribe. I don’t type it word for word. I do some revision as I go. Sometimes I stop the playback as I tend to speak quickly.  I don’t want to lose any key ideas. Once it’s transcribed, I read it. I start the editing process. I take out repetitious phrases. I rearrange paragraphs. I add topic sentences, details, commentary, and transitions. I was an English teacher for thirteen years so I have those skills to help me produce a polished piece of writing. The verbal rough draft and more intense editing process has allowed me to produce work that is much more coherent. I’m excited that this may be an opportunity to fully commit to writing on a more regular basis.

typed-writer

Right on schedule

lemonade-e-juice

“He’s a God you can’t hurry,

You don’t have to worry;

He may not come when you want Him

But he’s right on time, right on time. “Traditional Gospel hymn

I have refused to give up on this Advent. (Last year’s Advent of struggle ) As expected, I have been put to the test during this season. On one hand, I have a wounded dragon heaving its last toxic breaths.

wounded_dragon_by_vandervals

Vandervals’ “Wounded Dragon”

On the other, there is the prospect of yet another round of hoping for a leopard to willingly change his spots.

lolita_car

The guy on the right is the inspiration for The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

(Truth be told, I’m not waiting at all but I’m loyal to a fault and I will do as directed, even if I get a little Ben Linus on occasion.)ci-59798115230130361

I had a moment yesterday when I wavered, when all my anger, frustration, and indignation threatened to cloud my mind and fill my eyes with tears.  But I remembered to breathe, pray, and hold tight to my commitment to this Advent.  I moved forward in more ways than one.  Yesterday, I made a choice.

I’ve already owned my penchant for pettiness. Shoot, I even have the casual Fridays t-shirts to prove it. My pettiness is amusing at times, other times worthy of criticism. But it hasn’t held me back in the way my lack of self-confidence does. Oh sure I’ll dance on stage or on the streets with little practice. I’ll take the mic and put together a speech on the fly. But my career has been stifled by my inability to see myself as a leader.  I have worked for twice as long as several peers who are at the helm their own ships.  Yesterday, through the darkness of my emotions, I found the strength to own that my time has arrived. It is my time to lead, guide, and shepherd. I have vision, purpose, and integrity; now I am emboldened by the courage to stand alone.

At the end of a stressful workday or any day for that matter, I have to answer to myself, my family, and my God.  How have I been the best version of myself today?  How am I going to be the best version of myself tomorrow?  Soon, I will live out the answers to these questions in the spotlight.  My mistakes will be my own.  My decisions will be my own.  I will struggle and fail but I will learn.  That in turn will help me grow in the woman I was born to be.

While I may be tempted to take Hot Sauce out my bag and mess up a window or two, I can’t let others’ tomfoolery make me resort to my worst self.  I am finally going to fix myself some long overdue lemonade.beyonce-car

These hands will have to stick to prayer and to getting my paperwork together for my next job.  God will continue to give me the strength and patience.