Moving Forward

Dear readers,

Today, my husband and I looked at several joint bank account options since he had a day off from work. After doing some research and considering our options together, we have chosen one!

We haven’t done anything yet because my husband’s updated driver’s license hasn’t come in yet. At least we have a bank to apply to when it does arrive.

We also looked in to a spousal IRA as well as a savings account. If I remember correctly, these things are different. Haven’t applied to either of them yet because I believe we’d need my husband’s driver’s license for that too. But I’m excited to start!

It’s all so surreal to me even though we’ve been married for five months. Having a child, joint account, thinking about investment and budgeting…my brain can’t wrap itself around numbers very well, but my husband is fantastic with them. He can also read super fast and summarize things really well. It’s so nice to have him help in that aspect. I think I would be very lost and confused without him around.

I have a checkup with my OBGYN tomorrow afternoon. I hope I’ll find out my baby’s sex and prepare clothes, baby shower, etc. accordingly. After that, I’ll switch to my Medi-Cal insurance because that’s just the most cost effective option right now. If my current OBGYN accepted Medi-Cal, that would be awesome but they don’t. They suggested I find someone else before my insurance runs out–as I’m on my mom’s and can’t afford it myself when I’m kicked off after turning 26–so I can get the rest of my prenatal care taken care of.

Despite my negative experiences with Medi-Cal in the past, I don’t have a choice. It’s either spend a fortune my husband and I can’t afford, or this. The Christian Healthcare I was looking at is also just too much for us right now. I just hope and pray I’ll get good people to help me along this journey. Once I’m eligible to be covered under my husband’s work insurance, that’ll be great. I just wish it wasn’t some time after giving birth. However, the best thing I can do is offer my worries about this to God and trust that He’s got me; that I’ll be ok.

Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me and hear me. My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. Turn not away thy face from me; decline not in thy wrath from thy servant. Be thou my helper, forsake me not; do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour.

Ps 27:7-9 (Douay Rheims)

My first Mother’s Day

Dear readers,

Today is Mother’s Day! Wow! I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of well wishes and gifts from loved ones. My husband bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in honor of this special day.

It still feels so unreal to me. I can’t believe I’m pregnant! I’m almost 19 weeks along and my belly has steadily gotten larger. I love it so much. My husband comments on and kisses my belly daily.

Please keep us in your prayers, that our child will be born healthy and I make good decisions regarding my own health. Pray that whatever obstacles we may face, especially financial ones, that we can overcome them and budget wisely. And especially pray that our little one will live a Christ-centered life, and that we can nurture that properly within them. Thank you.

My next OBGYN appointment is this week. I think that is the day we find out the baby’s sex! I am so excited and hope that’s the case. I’ll post an update once the appointment is over, perhaps my next steps as well. Until then, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers; you are in my prayers.

A Mother’s Day Prayer

Loving God,

You have loved us with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3)

You have loved us even more as a mother loved her child.

Today, we give you thanks and praise for the gift of mothers.

We pray for the mothers-to-be,

who are just beginning to be the bearers of new life in them,

may they welcome their forthcoming child with loving anticipation and joy.

We pray for the young mothers,

may they cherish their child with tender care and unconditional love.

We pray for the mothers who are separated from their children especially because of the COVID-19 Pandemic and because of war, poverty, conflict, violence and for any other reasons

Comfort them, strengthen their hope, and let them feel your loving embrace that wipes every tear away.

We pray for all Mother-figures,

those who have loved, surrounded and shaped us with motherly care and compassion.

We especially pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us,

Their sacrifices and care gave us a glimpse of the extent of your love for us.

Thank you for them.

Grant health, blessings, and well-being for those our mothers who are still alive.

We also remember those mothers who are no longer with us.

While they live forever in our hearts and memory grant them eternal rest and reward of their labors.

Amen.

Sunday Readings – May 9, 2021

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Reading I

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
“Get up. I myself am also a human being.”

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm

98:1, 2-3, 3-4

R. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
    for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
    his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
    toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II

1 Jn 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Alleluia

Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

From USCCB

Book Report Series -1984

In an effort to read more and spend less time on social media, I’ll be reading a book I’ve had my eye on since high school: 1984.

I hear nothing but good things about it, so I’m excited to sit down and dedicate some time to it everyday. I enjoyed book reports so much in school because I loved reading. I don’t know what happened as I got older, but I want to rekindle that love for books I had back then. I want to start now before my baby is born so I can show them my favorite books and get them excited about reading.

Hope you enjoy this new kind of blog post! Feel free to do your own book report on your favorite book, or help your kids — if that applies to you — do one of their own.

Questions to consider before reading:


What is the book about?

It is 40 years after the second world war. The story takes place in an imagined future where much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism (or denialism), and propaganda.

What genre does this book fit into?

Dystopian social science fiction.

In what time and place is the book set?

1984, in Great Britain, known as Airstrip One in the novel.

Who is the intended audience of the book?

Young adults and older.

Is the book appropriate for that audience?

Yes; the reading material is graphic in some parts, so any age group can get disturbed.

Should this book come with any content warnings?

Yes. The book contains complicated social themes, violence, and sex.

Additional questions to promote discussion (optional):

1) What was happening in the world in the late 40s when the book was written?
2) Why did Orwell write this, do you think?
3) What do you think the story is going to be like, based on what you already know?

My goal is to read 10 pages a day. If I want to read more, then I will. I’ll see you all soon!


2021-07-04T23:59:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Finish 1984

Anxiety

I didn’t know insurance could be so difficult to navigate through. In the past few days I’ve been scrambling to find an insurance plan that won’t break the bank and cover my prenatal/postnatal care. A lot of websites require a phone number to get a call from someone to talk about the plan and get a free quote. As someone who suffers from anxiety, this is less than ideal. I’ve been avoiding calls for the past three days from “spammers”, according to my caller ID app.

I’m off my mom’s insurance this July when I turn 26, and if I can find an insurance plan that will let me keep my current OBGYN, that’d be wonderful. The plan my mom has is too expensive for me to get myself. But my fallback insurance is Medi-Cal, so I’m keeping that in mind as I research. I personally had bad experiences with doctors who accept Medi-Cal, so I hesitate to use it.

Aside from insurance, I’m also looking into the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Unfortunately, my experience thus far has been…disappointing. I went to the local office during opening hours after work and no one was there. Two other women were standing outside just as perplexed as I was. I called the number to see if anyone would answer, but it went to voicemail after a couple rings. I left a message to schedule my first appointment with them and hope to hear back soon.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Not long ago, I also broke down because of stress due to work and my pregnancy. I confided to my husband that I didn’t want to work anymore, at least not as much as I was currently. I told him I wanted to focus on my pregnancy and be able to rest as much as I needed, but was worried about not contributing as much as I could to our family unit. I said I want to primarily be a housewife and be as available for my child as possible. My husband and I talked about homeschooling so I want to be available for that, too.

Because my husband is the amazing person that he is, he hugged me and let me cry on his shoulder, and said we’ll be alright. After getting myself together, he suggested to work something out with my employer. I talked to them the other day and they are willing to keep me on the team and work with me. I’m a reporter for the paper and they’ve been flexible with me in the past when I first realized I was pregnant and dealing with constant vomiting. Essentially, my primary duties now are reporting once every two weeks for a regular council meeting and being free to choose stories at my own leisure as opposed to being assigned to them. I’ll be making much less money, but it’s never about money for me.

Money is definitely important to survive in society, but I don’t want to focus on that everyday. Not that I’ll spend recklessly; I will remain within a certain budget, save, and spend as less as possible. Certain luxuries will have to be put aside, but as long as we have the basics, we’ll be ok. I can only say that because of my faith in God and my husband. There are lots of uncertainties, and I just give them to God and trust He’ll get us through. I don’t always remember and end up dwelling on all the things causing me anxiety and worry. I try to handle it myself and end up breaking down. But every time I talk to my husband about what’s bothering me and take it to prayer, I feel a bit more at peace. Focusing on the positive and tackling my worries becomes a little easier.

Regarding focusing on the positive, there are certain insurances I found during my search that are Christian related. I never knew such a thing existed! Some don’t call themselves “insurance” and instead call themselves “health share” or something similar. It’s an interesting concept and looks promising, so I’m saving information to talk about with my husband and make a decision together. There’s one insurance I have my eye on and am saving information mostly from them. I’m the only one getting insurance until I’m covered by his in a couple years–his workplace doesn’t allow me to be covered yet. And of course, if nothing else, I can fall back on Medi-Cal.

On my to-do list:

  • Finish outstanding tasks for work
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take a shower

Unbreakable

A reflection on being unbreakable

Not too long ago, I attended a Zoom webinar put on by the San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese where a New Orleans priest gave a talk on the theme “Unbreakable”. His name is Fr. Tony Picard. I’ve heard him speak before and loved every minute of it, so I was very excited about this webinar featuring him. For free, even! Events like these usually cost money so I feel very blessed to have been able to attend. I gained a lot of insight and had lots
of laughs.

Fr. Tony’s talk focused on how we go through so many hardships in life, but we’re still here. He emphasized this phrase: “Because I know there is a God, I’ll be alright.” He talked about the devastating Hurricane Katrina and how it impacted his life and ministry. He talked about COVID-19 and how people like himself and others had to adapt to using more technology to connect with people. Despite everything he’s gone through in life, he’s still here.

Fr. Tony said that the struggles we go through in life will bend us, but never break us. If we trust in God, we are unbreakable. Because we know there is a God, we’ll be alright. As this is also the month of St. Joseph–he called him Blessed St. Joseph–Fr. Tony talked about how Joseph was a just man, and right with God. Every time he received God’s message through a dream, he followed through with it. He played a huge part in keeping the family safe.

Photo by Anne McCarthy on Pexels.com

I began with this because I often feel so broken. I sin, I confess, I do well in not sinning, and fail again. I feel like I’ve fallen so many times that I must have fractured something. Something has to be broken. But after tuning in to Fr. Tony’s talk, I realized that I’m not broken. I’ve just been bent. Because I know there is a God, I’ll be alright. I can’t break if God is on my side. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. And I haven’t truly given it thought
until now.

I think it’s safe to say that we all fall into sin. The problem, I think, is that we forget God’s mercy. We forget He loves us and is on our side. I struggle with a recurring sin, and for as long as I can remember, that particular sin kept me away from confession, and hatred and disgust for myself grew. I didn’t want to seem as though I wasn’t growing as a person of holiness and confess the same sin all the time. My reluctance to confess didn’t help any.

Married and pregnant, I want to show my child that no matter how many times we fall, God will be there. No matter how many times we bend, we’ll never break. If we keep the Lord in our sight, we’ll be alright. I don’t want my child to believe they’re disgusting or hate themselves the way I did for many years. It’s my hope that I can prevent that from happening as much as possible. They’ll struggle, but if I can help them find inner peace sooner, I’ll be happy.

Sunday Readings for April 25, 2021

From USCCB

Reading I

Acts 4:8-12

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
    which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Responsorial Psalm

118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29
R.  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
R.  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
    we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II

1 Jn 3:1-2

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Alleluia
Jn 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 10:11-18

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”

Retreat

Do you ever want to disconnect from the world for a week–or longer–and go somewhere far from civilization? That’s me. My husband has expressed this to me as well.

I often find myself wondering how I’d adapt to living in a cabin in the woods, or a cave in the side of a mountain. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I’d like to at least try it for a short time and see what happens!

I feel so bombarded with work and life in general. My brain is foggy, I’m exhausted and in pain from sciatica, and I’m procrastinating on certain things. I am mentally and physically drained lately. I think this is why I want to hit the road and find peace somewhere. I want to escape. Yet, responsibilities and family keep me where I am.

I think about Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert, when Satan tempted Him three times.

Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (Douay-Rheims)

Because Jesus is both human and divine, He experienced hunger. Any human would be severely hungry after 40 days of fasting. Satan tried so hard to get Jesus to succumb, but he failed every time. What’s amazing to me is He knew He’d be tempted because the spirit revealed it to Him, and He went anyway.

I think Jesus shows us in these verses that Satan can and should be resisted. Satan had the audacity to tempt God himself, and was defeated. As humans it’s only inevitable that we succumb to temptation. But if we call on God to help us, we can certainly get through it every time and know that we’ll be forgiven. Confession makes that possible.

Satan hurls our sins at us, but when we then confess to a priest and renounce our sin, we can start over. I’m thinking of the popular phrase, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Along a similar vein: If Satan makes you look at your sins and despair, give them to Jesus and find peace.

I want my desire to disconnect from the world to coincide with Jesus’ departure into the desert. He was getting ready for His mission during this time, as this was right after His baptism by John the Baptist. I can’t say I want to be tempted by Satan, but I do want to grow in holiness. It feels so impossible right now to make any significant progress. But that very well could be Satan already whispering in my ear.

I can grow in holiness right now. I must, if I want to teach my child about the faith. It would be nice to go on a retreat when those are available again. At some point, I’d still love to disconnect at least for a little while with my husband and child, where we spend our days growing as a family and spending time in prayer. In a sense, it’ll be like preparing for our own mission with the help of God.

Judgement

I recently was gifted a Costco membership from my in laws. More accurately, my mother in law gave me my grandmother in law’s membership card; she passed away several years ago. I wish I got to meet her. The family talks very highly of her.

So, with this membership card, I’m able to get cheap gas and get bulk items. All good ways to save with a child on the way. I also have an EBT card that is shared between me, my husband, and my dad. For a long while I didn’t use my EBT at Costco.

My reasoning? I would get hardcore judged. But I finally used it the other day and no one batted an eye.

I was suddenly reminded about the verse in the Bible saying judge not, lest you be judged. Here’s the full thing for context:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matt. 7:1-5

I was doing some more research on these verses in Matthew because I was having a hard time figuring out what Jesus meant here. At first, He seemed to be saying not to judge anyone at all.

But I read it again and realized we are indeed called to judge, but to do so rightly. Doing so without being a hypocrite. Rectify your sins first before trying to rectify others’ sins. The way you judge others is the way God will also judge you.

To put it in real world terms and relating back to my recent trip to Costco, I was afraid I was going to be judged by employees and other customers for using government aid money. It would be hypocritical to judge me as such because many people receive government assistance in one form or another. The stimulus checks, for example. Disability aid. MediCal, Medicare, Medicaid. Veteran’s aid. WiC. And so, my fear dissipated.

That’s not to say that people may not be silently judging me. But going back to the Bible and knowing that Jesus commands us to judge rightly, if I were judged during my shopping trip, I know it was a hypocrital judgement. And so, I shouldn’t worry. Hope this all makes sense.

I want to instill in my child a sense of right and wrong–as most parents want. I want to teach them that there is sin in the world and we are to recognize and judge it rightly, and to avoid it as much as humanly possible. Of course, being human, it is inevitable that we will sin, but God’s mercy is never ending and I want my child to understand this too. No matter how many times we fall, God is always there to pick us up.

Genesis

The word genesis means the origin or coming into being of something (Merriam-Webster). That’s what this post is about: the origin, or genesis, of my life as a married woman and mom!

Let’s back peddle a little bit. When I was younger, I didn’t want kids. Ever. Wasn’t even sure I wanted to get married. I had a crush on this boy but he seemed way out of my league, and no one else quite intrigued me like he did. He and I were friends and talked off and on.

This boy and I grew up and somehow our relationship developed into something new during our early adulthood. A night under the stars prompted “I love you” from him and I was shocked, ecstatic…scared. Was this God’s way of saying no one else will do? Was he giving me my childhood crush, or was I imagining things?

Fast forward to April 2017 and we’re dating. We’re figuring each other out. What makes us tick, what we love, how to improve bad habits. As time went on I was certain he was the one. We talked about our faiths, what we wanted for ourselves and for potential children. And suddenly, having children and getting married was something I wanted more and more.

February 1, 2020 and we’re engaged. December 5, 2020 and we’re married. Some time in January 2021 we’re pregnant; I’m 16 weeks along as of this post!

A lot of people we know commented on how fast we got to this point. They were surprised that we were pregnant after only one month of marriage. But we have known each other for so long and we’ve gotten so comfortable around each other that we were just like, why wait?

We’re so excited for our baby to be born. Husband is hoping for a boy, and I’m leaning toward a girl, but we’ll be happy no matter what God blesses us with. I’m thinking about baby clothes and other items, how to prepare for my hospital trip when I go into labor, and thinking about finances. I’m grinning at my growing belly and happy I’m gaining weight. I’m excited to wear a mom shirt I bought a couple months ago that’ll highlight my belly.

My body is working so hard to grow this baby and I’m trying to enjoy it while coping with nausea and fatigue. Thankfully I’m no longer as nauseous or vomiting in the second trimester! Now I’m hungry and tired all the time and my emotions are heightened. Husband is extra worried about my food intake and tries hard to help me make healthy choices. I’m not the healthiest eater, but I’m not eating junk all the time like I used to.

On my to-do list

  • Call OBGYN to schedule a checkup
  • Take it easy
  • Pray