Friday, December 25, 2009

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

I hope you all are having an amazing and blessed Christmas day! (And a nice day in general to the non-Christians and the non-Christmas Christians.) I was looking forward to just giving my family their gifts to show how appreciative I was for all they have done for me this year and visiting with the extended family. However my greatest joy came from spending time in meditation with the Lord Himself. In mass yesterday I had such a hard time concentrating with all the children running around and crying, the priest was almost yelling into his microphone. But when I just looked to the ground, listened closely to the words being spoken, and thought about the meaning and importance of this day, the memorial of the birth of Christ over 2,000 years ago, I was filled with emotion. I was worried I had lost that spark that I had had when I was a young child meditating on the birth of Yeshua, but YHVH has blessed me still and allowed me to know Him with the faith of a trusting child. Christ, though His birth occurred on whatever day thousands of years ago is still present to each and every Christian .

It is important to observe, or at least ponder, because God has given us this great miracle and mystery. I was thinking in Church that there was once a tiny baby that was fully human and fully divine...did he have thoughts that normal babies don't have? Did he have the mind of God? No...he couldn't...he was experiencing a fully human life. But then how does that make sense? Does that disprove the faith althogether because so many people leave Christianity for this very reason. "I never understood the trinity or Jesus and so I found this faith that laid it all out EASILY and I UNDERSTOOD it 100%!" While I think God wants us to know Him...He doesn't give us ALL the answers. There are some things we don't's a mystery...and that's ok because that is how He created it. Do you actually think us humans, who have barely scratched the surface of science and the physical world and it's components, can fully comprehend the Creator Himself? Do you really think faith can be fully understood by our limited minds? No way! Not in a million years! ;)

I am finally at peace with not being able to explain all the mysteries of the Lord. They are called mysteries for a reason, and our time in the rosary gives us a chance to ponder and glorify God for being so complex. Our inability to understand forces us to trust in Him and his creation and His entire plan in our lives. We cannot understand ourselves, we need Him. So when you celebrate today, and perhaps up until the Epiphany, think of that child born in a manger in Bethlehem and how much of a conundrum His tiny life was and still is. (I get teary eyed just writing this! baruch HaShem :D) Thank and glorify God for allowing you to "get it", but not totally. Praise Him for coming to us and allowing us to receive Him! And Honor Him for loving us so much that He would eventually suffer incomprehensible pain and sacrifice His pure blood for sinners. Glory be to YHVH!

*Merry Christmas and Bon Anniversaire Jesu
Many blessings to each reader :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

College Woes

College...well more specifically my choice of college, has been weighing on my heart lately. I go to a state school so you can already guess my situation. The price is so great, more than half of what my friends are paying in tuition. I also ADORE my school education-wise. My teachers are all very accessible, the classes are small, the town is cute, and the campus is pretty. But I am immensely unhappy and I think I may be developing some sort of depression or anxiety problem. (I'm so ashamed to admit that) My semester started off great as people were friendly, there was no cattiness, no hurtful words, or sinful pressures. Then about a month in, about the time everyone became comfortable being their true selves and saying what was on their minds, everything fell apart. I remember the night it happened vividly because my "best friend" at school flipped out of no where and melted down in a fit of rage screaming/slamming doors. I crouched on the floor late that night and called my mom for advice. I had never seen anyone act like that, especially around people you have only known for a month or so. (I'm not saying people don't breakdown...I have had more than one bad fight with my mom...but anyway) After a mere 5-10 minutes I was crying and just begging to come home.

I felt I couldn't trust anyone and I noticed I hadn't been able to be my true self either. Coming into school I planned to take my faith to the next level where I figured people wouldn't judge me or feel uncomfortable with my headcoverings and daily spiritual expression. I thought I would meet tons of new people: both Christian and non and the world was going to be full of great opportunities. But this dream was soon to be shattered. Not only were the non-Christian people hard to tolerate, but the Catholic kids were just as bad. When I covered my hair, my room mates told me I looked like quote "a black girl covering her weave." When I went to church, people refused to shake my hand, children threw the hymnals and one even jumped on it in the middle of the aisle. When I prayed my rosary, people would laugh and tell me I was way over the top and one reminisced saying "wow back when I was crazy I prayed the rosary everyday, sometimes up to 3 times!" When I went to the Catholic Ministry party my drink was spiked and everyone was focused on dancing, getting drunk, and singing trashy music.

You may think I'm over exaggerating, but I have joined religious and nonreligious clubs, reached out to many many people, tried changing my already changed version of myself to fit in better...and nothing is working. A few weeks ago over Thanksgiving break, I reunited with my high school friends and I couldn't wait to see if any of them had the same problems as I did, but none of them did, they were all having a great time. What hurt the most was hearing how much fun my friend Ben* was having. He is going to the Jesuit school I almost decided to attend. My decision was down to my school and his school. I had received a very generous scholarship from the jesuit college, but the price was still quite a bit higher than the state school tuition and since my parents are paying for my education I thought the state school was a better choice. My reasoning was that I can find good Christian friends anywhere, I can avoid the partying and the sinful natures, and that saving the money is much more practical since I want to be a teacher. Why waste 10k more a semester for the same career options?

I go online and I see Ben's* pictures at school and how he and his friends are having good CLEAN fun. Apparently the students all have mass and they party sans alcohol and drugs. I hate to say how envious I really am. That is the experience I am craving, what I thought I could find at my own school if I looked hard enough. If I decided to transfer schools, I would only recieve a fraction of my previous scholarship. Not to mention it's a farther drive. I feel like I am stuck...stuck in a situation I had prayed over night after night. I thought God was guiding me to this school as opposed to the jesuit school, but now I feel like I was so far off base. How could God have ever wanted me here? Not only am I miserable, but I can feel my faith dying everyday. I don't know if it's the stress or all the opposition...but I went from being so on fire for God and my faith to the complete opposite. Now that I am home, I'm trying to pick up my old habits like the rosary and bible reading, but now I have the anxieties here that I had at school. I'm deathly afraid of people walking in on my when I pray or when I watch/listen to religious media. I fear having to go back next month.

I thought I was so much stronger than this and that's why I am so angry with myself. I'm upset I let myself cave under the pressures and I'm confused as to why I can't find one religious friend here who DOESN'T go out every night partying. I want to meet someone who's faith is more than a label. I only need one! So why do I feel like God is holding back from me? What is my purpose here? Do I even have one or was is a huge mistake? One that really can't be fixed now due to finances...I know my mom would make the sacrifice for me, but that's not fair to her. Plus I love the school...I just cannot stand the people and the social aspect. I was watching the videos on the Duggar's TLC page and there was one on Erin Bates who is attending college now...and she picked a school based on Christian principals. I can't help but think I went about this all wrong. Maybe my choice wasn't God focused and now I'm seeing the effects of that.

I'm going to go hit the Word hard now, so I'll try to post something more faith centered next time. I'm so sorry for unloading this here, but I have no where else to really document and vent my unhappiness without affecting my family & friends. I'm so grateful I am getting an amazing education...I just wish I could avoid the people who bring me down more easily and find some uplifting ones. :(
Please keep my in your prayer that I may find guidance.

Duggar Update

I have read that little Josie is still pulling through. Michelle's sister I believe says she is holding down milk and is in stable condition. Praise YHVH :)

I'll be posting again either today or tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Prayers for Josie Duggar

Michelle Duggar had gallbladder complications this week and was rushed to the hospital. Reports said all was well with her and her baby until last night when she needed an emergency c-section. Their daughter, Josie Brooklyn, wasn't due until the spring and only weighs 1 lb 6 oz. Please keep the Duggar family in your prayers even if you disapprove of their lifestyle. This must be such a scary time for them, but I'm sure with much prayer and support YHVH will bless & help them through.

I absolutely adore the family and their amazing trust in the Lord. They've been such an encouragement to my faith, especially during times when friends and family have criticized my journey. So once more, please keep the Duggars and little Josie in your prayers.

Thank you all~
Peace always,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Norwegian Christmas

I just finished watching this video on Crienexzy's channel:

I loved it! It's so hard to find videos on Norway and her channel focuses on all aspects of the culture through fresh young eyes :) This video made me very curious to try Gløgg...I see I can order it from some super markets, but I don't know...I've only ever bought straight from the grocery store, I don't think it'll be worth getting it mailed? lol but has anyone ever tried it? She says you can make it with wine (which I thought it was...just hot wine, but apparently not), vodka, or water (which she reccomends) I normally only get as festive as hot chocolate in my holiday drink choice...perhaps it's time to try something new!

No Inspiration

I have been blissfully enjoying the advent/christmas preparation themed blogs this past week! I have been burried beneath pounds and layers of homework as finals are approaching and the semester is a day from ending, and they have given me a reason to take a break ;) Does anyone reading have any advent traditions or prayers/ways in which they keep themselves focused on YHVH during this season? I'd love to hear :)

With the encouraging blogs and commentary comes the bad...I've been in contact with old Messianic friends who are disgusted I am doing Christmas this year. I have also read some blogs that "don't mean to offend" but are frankly condemning Christmas celebrators to hell. It was that kind of blogging/videos that used to guilt me into feeling ashamed of loving Christmas, even if it was a completely spiritual event. Why is this a problem? Why are we not allowed to celebrate and glorify God on December 25th? If I am not mistaken....YHVH created that day. Christians always encourage each other to praise God each and everyday without ceasing...yet it's suddenly a horrendous act on this date. I just feel that something that brings me closer to God cannot be a bad thing. Following the OT laws cannot save me, only my faith and devotion to Yeshua.

Well I gotta get back to the ole' grind...homework and studying...while I watch the specials on ABC family :D
Have a blessed week everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Layout!

Happy First Day of Advent!
I put up a new layout for the holiday season...surprisingly there weren't many to choose from. But this one is nice :) I'll be going back to school for two more weeks for finals and then I have a very longggg Christmas break. I will, however, be missing three nights of Hanukkah! I'm a little upset, because we cannot light candles in the dorms and I have no way to make latkes, but I'll have 5 more nights to catch up :) I love how my Catholic Bible has the maccabee scripture too...So I'll have at least some holiday joy/comfort during my stressful exam week!

I'll be posting again soon, but I'll leave you with this video now...

May YHVH bless you all this holiday season, whether you celebrate Advent/Christmas,
or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa! & I hope those who celebrate had a nice Eid!
Peace to everyone,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Hello bloggers!
It's been a hard month for me blog-wise and I cannot apologize enough! There have been a few things I had wanted to blog about, but they just didn't sound right when written out. However, I realize I need to write something, even if it is a little all over the place.

I know this has been beaten to death, but I heard about Kimdonesia. I almost fainted when I watched the video...certainly this was not the same girl! She had deleted me from her facebook account only a month ago for defending the fact that Jews were not going to be the dajal or antichrist...or whatever it was...and for someone who was so passionate to lose the passion so fast was scary. It made me take a look at my faith and reevaluate where I was going. I am no stranger to a loss of passion in my faith, in fact I am currently in a dry spell as we speak. However, I am diligent to stoke the flames. Today in church, as I prepared myself for the Eucharist, I could feel the heat of my tears welling up in my eyes. Being in the Lord's presence was very healing, all my emotions, anxieties, thanks, and praises were pouring out of me. It made me realize that I have some things I need to work on spiritually and despite the fact I may become lax in my faith, that YHVH is ALWAYS working overtime. Just as I wouldn't forget to show and tell my spouse how much I care and love him, I cannot and will not forget to show YHVH my heart; for He ALONE is the only one worthy of my love and time.

I also have realize that this walk of mine is all my own. I can never hope for or rely that someone, whether it be a friend or my future spouse, will help me spiritually, because humans are just that...human. We are unreliable and normally let others down. I am just as guilty, if not more so, than everyone else. If I want to know God, I need to find Him on my own time, on my own terms. The past couple of weeks have been insane. I've grown close to people I haven't talked to in over a year and I have grown apart from people whom I thought we close. To start, I was invited to a dinner party by the upperclassmen in my Catholic ministry group. I was so excited to be accepted by teens my age who took their faith so seriously. When I got there, I saw a whole different side to them. Every single member of the group had an alcoholic beverage in hand. When offered one, I said no, I didn't drink. So I poured myself some apple cider instead. Seeing as it was extremely hot in the small college apartment, I drank A LOT of cider. I began feeling a little dazed and my friend and I decided to leave early. (everyone was on the road to intoxication city anyways) As the cold air hit me I felt a little woozy and I noticed I could not walk a straight line. My friend who also does not drink normally, felt the same. We concluded that the cider must have been spiked...I felt a little betrayed. I know those kids are good kids, but I can't relate to them. My room mates have seen a few of the girls doing reckless things at parties...I don't even want to discuss it in detail. But how can one's focus be on the Lord if you go to church sunday and then continue to behave like any other secular college student? We are called to be SEPARATE! I can't even tell the different from them and the rest.

I wondered if I was doing a good enough job representing my faith to others and then I heard my room mate telling her friend (who I had NEVER spoken with) that I was going to...*and the girl chimed in* "go to a Jesus function?" So if nothing else, I'm known as a Jesus girl haha so I no longer have a true pool of serious Catholic friends any longer, but I am finally at peace with doing this alone. It's going to be a hard journey, every single step. And I know there will be countless moments where I feel utterly alone, but my suffering will be promptly given up to Yeshua. He has even brought my mother and I closer than's simply brilliant. God is so good! (I will briefly mention that I have contacted my ex-best friend. she was like a sister to me for years, but an unfortunate fight ended everything so suddenly 1.5 years ago...I feel so lucky to have mended things...pray for me that God's will will be accomplished in this situation :) )

Also, On a Quest for Plain Living posted a the Sabbath. While I have returned to the Catholic Church, I still have my heart in the Old Testament. I love the sabbath, and I'm sorry, but God gave the 10 commandments forever even if the Laws of Moses were specifically for the Jews. (this may be a topic for later...) So I will strive to keep the sabbath. I started up again this weekend. I had a buttload of homework, but I rested this Sabbath and miraculously got it all done today. YHVH blesses those who obey ;)

I hope you all have a great & godly week!
Keep God at the forefront of your heart & soul...
don't let satan to steal your faith from you no matter
how tempting or convenient it seems...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Being Single

For the longest time I have viewed being single as a not so important time in a Catholic's (or any Christian's) life. I had read some blogs by fellow young godly ladies who would rave about how special this period is with the Lord, and I just never bought into it. I figured that when you're single, you need to not only build your relationship with God alone, without the support of another helping you along the way, but you also have to battle the temptations that come with purity. I thought it was just one big giant test and when you've had enough YHVH will bless you and send your partner to you. That way you ALWAYS have the spiritual encouragement and love you really need to make it through this world firm in your faith.

This Monday however, I learned something much different. At my weekly Catholic ministry meeting, a couple came in to talk about Catholic dating and marriage. (A topic right up my alley!) They laid it right out for us: marriage is not a fairy tale. Now, I knew that marriage was going to have it's hard moments, just as any relationship has. But I don't know, it must have been the way they described it that caused me to feel this wave of revelation. They said when you're single you're actually in a relationship and that's with Jesus. This period is truly special and precious, and should not be wasted, as it mirrors a human marriage. In a "human" marriage you have to give yourself, 100%, to the spouse, and vice versa, because you are one entity. You need to share your thoughts, fears, mistakes, and dreams. Everything. Naturally, us girls all "awwed" but then they made the connection: this is what we should be doing now too, but just not with a man, but God. That's where our hearts need to be, we should be pouring our everything into our relationship with God, because when we get married, our priorities change. God OF COURSE comes first! But now you have another soul to care for and share with.

This talk kind of brought me up out of my daze and I felt a little guilty. I've been severely neglecting my prayer life lately (though I have been covering everyday...weird how I let that happen). I pray every morning and everynight, but I haven't been doing a daily rosary, or read my Bible. I'm not spending the quality time with my Savior that I should be. College is really chaotic, I was worrying over my H1N1 vaccine, I've been trying to cope with my separation anxiety, dealing with my moody room mates, second guessing my French major because I am worrying if I can realistically become fluent in the 4 years here, and second guessing my school entirely...I'm so overwhelmed. These aren't excuses for cutting out God-time, but it's where I am at right now. I so desperately want to leave school, leave getting a degree/job, and travel to Norway where I can get a little cottage near the fjords and devote every waking minute to my faith. That'd be paradise. But alas, that all costs $$ and I am but a broke college student. So in reality, I need to push through this semester and make every effort to start back up.

Bottom line: all the single ladies, don't ever take for granted your single-ness (haha) because as of now, you are all God's and he so desperately wants to share every moment with you.

P.S.- What is with this Copenhagen treaty I've been hearing about!?
Pax to All
~ R.A.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Answered Prayer

So it's been quite some time since my last post. I really appreciated the concerns and advice you all gave me, and I'm glad to see my blog is reaching other faiths as well :) Even though we are practicing differently, we struggle with many similar issues and I hope to be more on an encouragement in the future. I need to toughen up and fight the battles this world throws at me so I don't get thrown off my journey home.

For a long time coming, I have struggled with temptations from an old friend. Before I was saved, I had a friend, we'll call him Ryan*, who struggled with alcohol and drug abuse along with sexual immorality and violence. He had a rocky upbringing and I always felt bad for him and his home situation, so you could only imagine how much more pity my heart felt after I found the love of Jesus on TOP of the love I already received at home. We were incredibly close friends and for a time, almost more than that. As I was being lifted from a life of sin, he was spiraling downward and we fought more and started to part ways. Despite the bad choices he was making and the man he was becoming, I prayed God would change his heart and bring him to the faith or change my heart and let me cut all ties with him. I missed having him in my life and I often would think of how awesome it would be to have him back as a Christian. I think I was really harming my own relationship with God by clinging to this hope because I was not letting Him take control of my life, I was trying to plan it myself. With all the progress I was making by simply trusting in His will, I was keeping myself back by not relinquishing my heart.

I was reading some scripture one morning on the topic of love and it really struck me:

Song of Solomon 8:4

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse of awaken love until it so desires.

I then read a blog about a young girl trying to keep her heart and every thought that entered her head pure. I had never truly realized how much I was sinning by hoping Ryan* would someday "come around" to the truth. But yet I still pushed it to the back of my mind. That was until a few nights ago when he out of the blue decided to call me. He brought up the good ole' times and we needed to catch up soon and get together. This felt innocent enough. He then reiterated how much he missed me and how he wanted to "hook up". I stopped it right there and told him I did not do that kind of stuff and that he knew not to talk like that with me anymore. He proceeded to ask more personal questions that I had to answer with "Not until marriage". I was getting disgusted until he said he needed a girl like me in his life and quote "I want to start going to church, I want to marry you". RED FLAG ANYONE? And yet I still let my clouded judgment get the best of me. He said church! I was floored and thought he must be turning his life around.

I prayed again, very passionately, asking for guidance. I felt in my heart that this was going to be a defining moment in this year long escapade and perhaps I'd finally be getting what I wanted: a new and improved, godly, Ryan*. I asked God to show me once and for all His will on this send me some sort of sign. And boy did I get it. I was reading something he had posted online, a song he wrote I guess, and it was basically a diss to his ex girlfriend about her leaving him and how he would give her another chance or else he was moving on. I was so angry! I had been a little toy in his scheme basically. My eyes were instantly opened. I had been forgiving these instances over and over because we had been such great friends in the past and I knew he had issues only God had the power to fix. I thought God was keeping him around for some reason, and maybe there was a purpose: to show me to let go of my own plans and let Him plan my life for me. I may have blogged about Ryan* before, but this is the first time I have felt empty of him. Rid of his pollution in my life.

The past week and a half has given me a renewed strength in my faith and a renewed power against the devil's little tricks and it was perfect timing too, seeing as I was finally able to overcome this GREAT obstacle that has been keeping me from YHVH. I asked for an intervention, and He provided it. He answered my prayer.

My Church group met yesterday too, hours after my revelation, and the military school guys came this week to visit us. Afterwards there was a rosary being held and I was about to leave when a friend of mine asked me to stay for it. I was really nervous and just seeing the guys made me feel like a fool (because of the Ryan* fiasco), but it was just the opposite. The prayer was intense and I felt so united. These were godly men, there was no temptation, no lies, judgement, or deceit. I feel so blessed once again and this time around, I will let YHVH do my planning ;)

Pax to you all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And with the Good comes the Bad.

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions and challenges. I have experienced so many blessings and at the same time, so many hardships. I feel like it is important for me to record my trials not only so I can look back and be encouraged by what I have already overcome, but also so I can relieve my pent up frustrations. I'm sure many of you have been here, seeing as I'm just a college student with little world experience.

*But before I begin, I have been informed that the Anglican Church is to be in full communion with the RCC. This totally took me off guard, but what a miracle! This is a huge milestone in our history as Christians. Story Here

So Mondays are my weekly meetings with my Catholic ministry group on campus and I was informed that Tuesday they were taking a trip to a neighboring college for fellowship and prayer. I was definitely planning on going, not only for spiritual encouragement, but for meeting students who share my values. My room mate usually attends the monday meetings, but when she said she would go to the tuesday trip too...I was shocked! She's not a very religious girl (she's very pro-abortion, pro gay marriage, doesn't attend church, hates when people take an abnormal interest in their faith, etc) so I thought maybe these meetings were changing her. The first month she would get angry with the topics the group adressed (like...abortion *sigh*) and she would make fun of people sitting in the room, of course in a whisper, but cmon!! We're here to praise God, not sin. I thought that maybe God was working in her heart and my perserverance through her tantrums in the meetings and her slandering tongue was finally paying off.

We had a blast at the college visit! Our ministry is primarily girls and the other school's is primarily boys, so we had a nice mix at this meeting. But as soon as we got home, my other room mate lashed out. She had had a terrible night, but the things she said broke my heart. She told us we had turned into Jesus Freaks (which is a title I gladly accept!) and that going to a religious meeting more than once a week was pathetic. She then proceeded to tell me her friend from our hall had ripped pages out of the Bible and burned the ones he disliked. I felt my heart sink...right down to the pit of my stomach. I had trouble holding back tears as she bragged about this disgusting act and then, to my utter ASTONISHMENT, I heard Laughing. Laughing. From none other than the room mate who attended the ministry trip with me just minutes prior. I realized at that moment that nothing had changed in her. She still hated the instructions of the Word of God. I had nothing to say. I couldn't bring myself to even react I was so distressed. It took them 15 minutes to ask what was wrong with me and all I could spit out was "I didn't think what he did was funny at all".

I felt like I had let God down. I should be a warrior in defending his Word and I let my emotions get the best of me. But what good would it have done if had better stuck up for my beliefs? Nothing would have changed. They would still be the same 2 miserable people they have been all year. They would just consider me a religious fundementalist on top of whatever else they already think of me. College is proving to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined, not for the work aspect, but for the social aspect. I'm sick of the gossip, the lying, the slander, the drunken idiots filling my dorm, the other morons high off of who knows what drug, and most importantly, the utter disrespect for God. I knew that in attending a liberal college I would be a religious minority, however I did not expect such disrespect. (what happened to the Liberal motto of "having an open mind" and being "accepting of everyone"?) I'm a laughing stock to them, my values mean nothing. I cry all the time now. My only comfort here is mass, my nightly rosary, and my ministry meetings. And the occasional visit home.

God has blessed me so greatly all week in helping me grow spiritually through the rosary each night, keeping me focused, calm, and prepared for ALL of my midterms, in providing for my little desires, and giving me such an amazing opportunity to meet new Catholics. I have it all and yet the moments above make it hard to remember that I am not doing this all alone. I have not been forsaken...I'm incredibly blessed by The Most High Himself!! I just need to take a step back every time I am feeling down and remember these things are minor and are only making me a stronger Catholic. (side note: a lot of the problems here at school are heavily linked to some ongoing dorm/suite issues, so although the issue above looks small, it was kind of like "the straw that broke the camels back")

I'm doing much better now. I am catching up on the Little Mosque on the Prairie episodes I have missed, Glee later, and un peu de devoir. (a little hw) I also had a nice trip out with my mom today :) It's always a blessing to have your parents around to keep you balanced in such a chaotic environment! Praise Yah!

I hope you all have a great week; enjoy the time you have with yout families, don't take it for granted. Because us college students miss the home cooking and our familiesss :P


Monday, October 19, 2009


So sorry! It's been 10 whole days, holy cow! I did update my last post with a small picture of the headcovering I tested out, as I got some curious feedback :D Tznius. com has a ton of cool head covering ideas, I wish I could try them all, but I'm a little nervous for some! I know I shouldn't care what people think, but I heard one of my room mates say I looked like a pirate the other day and I was a tad bit insecure. However, YHVH is helping me sail through my midterms, Praise His Name! and the covering thing has been easy all week(end). If you do visit the website I listed above, scroll toward the bottom on the page and click the ribbon style, I'll be trying this out either this week, or for mass Sunday. pretty, no?

Before I get onto my post on modesty issues that have been weighing on my heart, I want to mention I went to my brother's Confirmation this weekend. Which for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a ceremony in the RCC in which a teenager (who has received the prior sacraments) confirms his belief in Jesus and the church. When I made my own a few years back, my Messianic friends encouraged me to ditch it entirely, but I knew I couldn't. I ended up making the vows, except the last one which was the belief in the Church. (I think I mouthed the I do, but my heart wasn't in it) When the Confirmation candidates stood up yesterday and answered the "I Do" to the vows, I made my last vow, the one I previously neglected. So I feel I am a true Catholic now, not that I didn't before, but I feel this is where God has been leading me. I have reaffirmed my faith and renewed my mission on be a servant to God.

Now, as you all probably know, I have studied many aspects of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and modesty has always been my favorite. The more I learned, the looser my clothes got, the higher the necklines became, and the longer my sleeves and skirts/pants became. There was one idea that always bothered me, and that was the "Skirts only" one. I have always felt a little pull from this topic, but I always pushed it away. I think pants can be feminine, and I don't think they break the command not to dress like a man. Watching the Duggars here at school (seeing as I get very few channels, and they bring my a lot of spiritual encouragement!) I noticed the girls only wear skirts, including Anna. This kind of resurrected my interest again. I know the Catholic Church had released a set of instructions YEARS back about how high necklines should be (3 fingers below pit of throat), how long sleeves should be (elbows), and that skirts are the only permissible lower garment and they should be to at least the knee. My messianic friend also goes by this policy and told me, pants show the contours of the leg/thigh/butt region, and that in itself is immodest. Not to mention, from her p.o.v, men respect her more as a Lady, and not a piece of meat. As much as I would love to wear skirts all year everyday (not even for modesty's sake), I know winters here are cold! Even where the Duggars are, there is a lot of snow. How could I possible wear a skirt? maybe layering pants/leggins under it, but still. What are your opinions on this? Do you wear skirts only? If so, what advice do you have for the weather issue?

I'm sorry if this post is repetitive or reminiscent of earlier posts, but I cannot seem to reconcile my thoughts on it! The sleeve bit too bugs me...I love long sleeves in the fall/winter/early spring, but come the sweltering summer, I need short sleeves! Is covering the shoulders enough? I can't tell...I always wear long sleeves to church, whether on their own or with a cardigan, but then again, shouldn't I uphold the same level of modesty in AND out of Church?

I know you all come from different walks of life/religion, so what are your modesty rules? (if you have any) How did you define what is modest to you?

Great Shalom/Pax to you all!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Head Covering Trials!

I will not lie...I have not been faithfully covering my head everyday like I originally planned to. I mentioned earlier I had trouble keeping many of my coverings on because my hair is pretty soft and the coverings would just slip off. So I ended up bobby-pinning them down with the aid of a few clips....and they still would not stay put! Not to mention, the multitude of bobby-pins really hurt. I was relieved to take off my covering and that's not the feeling I wanted to obtain through obedience to God's will. I want to be excited to cover each morning, I want to walk out of my dorm with confidence that I am an obedient servant of the Lord, I want to feel the constant reminder upon my head so that I can make as many Christ-minded decisions as I can. When I wear the veil, I believe I do make better decisions.

So yesterday, I sat down and thought about my situation. I knew my current route was not proving to be very fruitful. The wide headband coverings are nice, but I needed to start covering more head so that the veil stayed in place throughout my classes and my entire day. Especially during mass! I just didn't know what style to try because a lot of the ones I love (that cover a lot of surface area) are very ethnic/religious. I love the Tiechel styles the Jewish women wear, I love the Hijab of Islam, and I love the Catholic Mantilla. As I was thinking this...I kid you not, a girl walks by with a covered head. She's not religious, *I think*, but she wears this bun/wrap covering a lot and it's ADORABLE! It reminded me of a muslim girl on campus who wears a similar wrap, although it doesn't follow the full hijab code since her neck shows and her hair slightly does at times too. I immediately came to my room to try it out. And I loved it! I have a whole bag of scarves, in tons of colors, that I have been itching to use. The thing was, was that I was alone. I loved it behind the comfort of my locked door. I knew I had to show someone. I had to make a statement or else I would never leave my room and cover so fully.

I debated for a good 5 minutes whether or not I should even touch my door knob and announce to the common room my new "hair" style. I would grip the cold metal knob and then chicken out. I was nervous to the point of giving up; I was shaking and fearful of being rejected. My room mates already think I am extremely traditional and a little too religious as it was (when they learned I prayed the rosary, it was like Christian overkill!); would they attribute my head covering as religious fanaticism too? Out of no where, I swung the door open. There was no turning back. I had my hair completely covered in a pinky, silvery, blackish scarf while wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans. And I felt naked. All I could say was "How cute is this?" I was still shaking as I waited for their response and I could feel my cheeks begin to burn with embarrassment as their eyes studied me. My friend said "Wow, that is really cute!" Phew! I sighed quick, smiled, and told her how I saw a girl wearing her scarf like this outside and I wanted to try it. She said she had seen it before and liked it a lot. I was, needless to say, stunned!

I am so excited to wear this style to mass Sunday. I'll wear a bandanna tomorrow, they always stay put. The thing with them is, if I wear them too often, I'll look like a hippie. Or a biker chick. haha!

On some random notes...I prayed a rosary a little while before this post. It brought me to tears! I loved it! I kept thinking of the boy that gave the speech on the rosary last week, and how he said his teacher started praying the rosary during a hardship. His son was in the last stages of Leukemia and the doctors said to start preparing because death was inevitable. His son miraculously lived, graduated, and remains cancer free without any repercussions of the illness. How great is Adonoi? And how sweet is prayer? :) I also had my parents visit me last weekend and they bought me a crucifix necklace at a local craft fair here and I have been wearing it everyday. I simply love it :) And the Lord has been blessing me at every chance He gets here! I have handed in a paper (which I thought was cheesy and ... worthless) and the teacher gave me an A-. He said he NEVER likes to give A's to students, especially on the first assignment, but he loved me piece. I was speechless. And then I took a french test, which once again I thought I failed, and I got a 97.5! I was just about to give up on French too...maybe I am on the right path. But seriously, Praise His Name!! I feel very reassured at this stage in my life...even while all my friends are feeling the pressures of midterms, I am surprisingly relaxed. I am not afraid at all!

Here is what it looks like (I got the picture from tznius. com though)

I hope this update makes up for the lack of posts!
I pray that you all are enjoying life as much as I am
May Adonai bless and keep you all~

OH! and Congratulations to Josh and Anna Duggar on the birth of their daughter yesterday! How sweet, I cannot wait for that season of my life ;) If God wills it for me. heehee

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shout to the Lord

I haven't had much to post about lately. And unfortunately I am still very busy! So I wanted to post an uplifting/encouraging song. I love it so much! We sing it in the catholic ministry group I am in and I was excited to find it on youtube. I also found a version that American Idol did...which I thought was weird seeing as it says Jesus in it...but Amen to that! I'm all for public praising on tv :D

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Rosary & "The Journey Home"

I watched the Journey Home this weekend on EWTN (I love this show!) and was pleasantly surprised to see it was a Sweden edition. Normally the host talks to priests, nuns, men, and women who at some point in their lives, converted to the Catholic faith. I don't really consider myself a convert since I have always technically been Catholic, but I can really relate to many of the people on the show and the trials they faced spiritually before coming to a stable place. I'm hesitant to state I am 100% settled in my faith because each time in the past I felt grounded, something came up to make me question the Catholic Church or the practice of the OT law.

Anyways, this particular episode was AWESOME. The guests were a two married, normal, everyday Swedes who *obviously* converted. The thing with Sweden is it is predominately Protestant and most of its citizens are baptised into the Swedish Lutheran Church and live very secular lives after. The woman, Lisa Wetterberg, was born into an atheist family who never taught her about God so that "she could decided her religion later" and her husband Magnus was born Lutheran and didn't give much thought to religion in her adult years. Lisa, during her young adult years, converted to Catholicism and soon after met Magnus. Although he did convert years after their marriage, they married with very different religious views...she said "he is a catholic, he just doesn't know it yet".

When I heard that I was like "awwww" however, now looking back, that could have been a dangerous move. We are called to be equally yolked...and I know the Church says an interfaith couple can marry as long as the children are raised Catholic, but I could never do that. I was "with" a certain guy for a while and he even proposed to me this summer, but I knew I couldn't take any further steps with a non-Christian. I know so many Christian/Catholic women who married a non-religious man and slowly, I watched their own faiths decline. Are any of you married/dating someone who doesn't believe in your faith? Do you just pray for their conversion, do you fight a lot? I always wonder if, and secretly hope, he will (the guy above) find God someday, but I feel as if it is almost futile. Maybe I am wasting my time waiting when I should be concentrating on my own faith and eventually looking elsewhere. I know I am very young still, but it's hard to get past these old feelings.

Which brings me into the next part in which Lisa said she was very passionate in her early years and would cry at mass or during prayer. I started praying the rosary this week and last night I had a really moving experience. Just as the words came out of my mouth, I started to cry. I was reading the mysteries for the day as I prayed each bead and it just triggered some inner urgency within me, like I was praying for family and friends' souls. The Fatima prayer really fired my own requests, seeing as how the words paralleled my own intentions. This was a rare experience for me because I have never really gotten "emotional" during prayer, but if felt so real; like I was connected to heaven. This is extra weird seeing as I have always been wary of the rosary. Do any of you say the rosary? Everyday? Or what about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy? (I love this one, but I have lost my momentum by saying it everyday) Or do you have reservations about these prayers?

I hope to continue my prayers and my "Lust" for my faith as Lisa quipped in the Journey Home, but I also hope to achieve the "true love" that can endure the hard times, the questioning, and the trials that await me in the future.

I hope you all had and are having a great week!
May YHVH bless you with Great Shalom :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Days of Awe

So the days in between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are called the Days of Awe and are normally a time of serious introspection. The first few days I was really thinking back on my year, my sins, and what I wanted to change, but mid-week came along and it all came crashing down. I had a lot of schoolwork. I did pray and everything, but I lost the time to make teshuva.

Tonight I came home for a family party and somehow the topic of swine flu came up. This winter is going to be a trying time, as the virus becomes strongest. A few kids at my school caught it and there are countless others on college campuses contracting swine flu as well. One kid at Cornell died. I have never been a hypochondriac or anything, and the swine flu craze hasn't scared me; however, tonight I realized how easily this life can be taken away from us. We are such fragile creatures. That is what scares me...realizing my own mortality. And as Christians (especially Catholics) this is something we remember everyday and we should be aware of, but I always want to push it back and away from my thoughts.

When I was little, my grandmother and mother would take my brother and I to mass every Sunday at a very old church nearby. The church had a huge sculpture (a little bigger than the size of actual people) of Mary holding Jesus in agony. The body had been painted to show the blood and was a truly gruesome scene to show in a house of prayer, but it was the TRUTH. Jesus didn't magically die on the cross, he suffered horribly and his mother had to watch. So many of my messianic friends say "don't think about that, think about what it accomplished!" or "I hate cross jewelry and crucifixes because it only reminds me of the suffering and not the salvation." Um what?! Crazy, I know, but anyways...As a child, this statue FASCINATED me, it was like I was looking at a real dead body. I remember always asking to go look at it, and my mom would never wait long enough for me to really absorb it the way I wanted. I really appreciate this about the Catholic faith since death is an everyday occurrence. They don't hide it and sugar coat pain, suffering, and our eventual demise. From an early age I was exposed to death, not just in the art at Church, but in my own family. When that time came, I wasn't afraid like most of my friends were when their grandparents or pets died. I was upset of course, and I cried when one of my grandmothers died, but I remember being envious. I know weird. But I knew my grandma practiced her faith and was with God. She was in His presence and I had to stay here and cope with the pain around me. Death didn't scare me then like it does now.

I love the scriptures about having faith like a child.
(Such as Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.")
As a child my goal was Yeshua and being true to Him so I could be with Him in heaven. I would always wear a dress to church too, something my friends told me recently. They said I was very pious even back then. I feel like in a sense I have lost that yearning and "no-fear" attitude I had as a child. Dawn's post, Life Between the Dash, really helped me realize I need to revert back to that love and passion I had as a child. I need to spend my moments wisely, bear with those who anger me, forgive those who hurt me, and love everyone, friends and enemies alike. Her post drew me back into a repentant mind frame, just in time to usher in Yom Kippur. I know Yom Kippur is not truly a day to atone my sins, as that can be done any day of the year by the victory and grace of Yeshua, but it did foreshadow the cross. I don't need kapparot or the blood of animals as I have the greatest blood of all covering my sins. I just truly believe these holy days help us Christians REMEMBER what it is we are here to do. Don't lose sight of what our goal is, and don't fear the bad things ahead. I may be the only one here who gets side tracked since I am a very busy college student and I try to keep my faith to myself while at school (though many of my friends rely on me to take them to church...all different denominations, oy!...and they ask me for advice, so I am not completely shutting off) I just pray that I keep recieiving guidence so that I may fully serve YHVH, the Most High.

and hopefully I can ward off swine flu until the shot comes out!
I had a scare earlier, but it was just a cold :( haha
Shalom & Ahavah/Peace & love on this great Shabbat!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shana Tova Umetukah!

I can't believe it's Erev Rosh Hashanah! And Erev Shabbat. It's been a whole year since I first celebrated Rosh Hashanah properly...well to the best of my ability because last year I had school. I also had my driver's test, as I have posted here before. The Lord truly blessed me that day and he made my year very sweet. And no one had ever said shana tova umetukah to me haha which is a Hebrew greeting for wishing someone a "good and sweet year". I don't know what I'll do today to celebrate, since my college gave us the day off, but I do want to make a trip to the grocery store to pick up apples and honey to eat. (which is a traditional R.H food to celebrate the sweetness of YHVH and of the start of a blessed new year) I may also do Tashlikh, which is where participants throw pebbles into flowing water to symbolize the washing away/casting off of sins, something Yeshua has accomplished for me. It's a way for me to remember and incorporate his sacrifice on this Holy Day.

I know I won't be going to the frat parties tonight. I love the Erevs, they give me an excuse to stay in on a Friday night for Shabbat or for other days they happen to fall on. They're so cozy too (haha) because they are always at night and usually candles are lit and it's just a great time to spend with family over a meal, music, etc. Which is much more appetizing than the normal things kids and adults do come the end of the week (fridays/saturdays). While we sit at home spending quality time with God and our families, others are normally doing the opposite and sinning. lol sadddd!!

This coming of a Biblical holiday, which in the Bible is only called Yom Ha-Zikkaron (day of remembrance) and Yom Teruah (day of sounding the shofar), shows me how far I have come. I feel so at peace, like my journey is coming to a stable place. For the past few years I have been drawn to Catholicism and to my biblical "messianic" faith and the guilt caused me to bounce back and forth between the two. When a Jewish holiday came up, I'd sometimes miss it because I thouht being a Catholic meant I could NEVER return to the OT traditions, and when Lent or Easter, etc came around, I'd miss it because I would reason that YHVH despised the Church and so should I. Only a week or so ago did I find this balance I had been praying for. I knew God was calling me to the Catholic Church, but I couldn't figure out why. I also knew observing shabbat, the feasts, and keeping kosher was drawing me closer to him than I had previously been as a Catholic. I didn't know where to go, except to His feet in prayer. And now as the Biblical New Year is almost here, I can honor and worship God in true shalom.

When holidays come around, it makes me think that someday I'll have my own family and thus someone to celebrate with. Right now I am kind of alone, though my mother is excited to hear I am going to be celebrating All Saints/All Souls day this year. We never did when I was a kid, but I told her I wanted to make soul cakes with her, go to mass, and other things to make the day a special day for God, and for us spiritually. She is really happy (as am I! I have a worship buddy now haha), i don't know if it is simply because I am not abandoning my Catholic faith, or because she wants to dig deeper into her own. Probably a mixture of both, but I have noticed a difference. She is very vocal about prayer now, and trusting in YHVH, which makes me smile :) She used to be all unitarian saying blasphemous things like "maybe krishna is God" :O ah!!!!!!! haha well thankfully that phase is being put to rest.

I reccomend reading this website for those who do NOT celebrate the biblical feasts. I'm not trying to persuade you that you should observe the holidays or anything, but it's a way to kind of show you why I do. I love them because YHVH instituted them himself and they all have inklings of the messiah in them :) Rosh Hashanah especially reminds me God had protected me for a whole year, and now as the new year approaches, He determines my fate. I don't want to enter into a new year in sin or forgetting Him and His appointed times, I want to be a vessel for Him. I want to be an instrument in His plans and spread His Word. So this is a great time to look back on the past year, the sins you committed, and spiritual growth you achieved and then look forward to all you want to accomplish and do for Him! It's simply a great day for everyone to remember God in a special way, a day of real scrutinty of ourselves. The tradition goes that God inscribes our fate during Rosh Hashanah, but we can change our fate during the days following, the Days of Awe, before Yom Kippur, through Teshuvah (repentence), Tefilah (prayer), and Tzedakah (good deeds/charity). All things Jesus taught ;) So remember the 3 T's this holiday season! I hope all who celebrate have a great Rosh Hashanah!

So I will leave you with...

Ketiva ve-chatima tovah!!!

(may you be written and sealed for a good year)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anne Boleyn and the Reformation

For many years I have been a huge fan of Henry VIII. Not the man he was per se, but the wives he had and the religious turmoil that arose under his rule. Each wife was very different; some had a drive of their own while others just wanted to sit back and take orders. (nothing wrong with either) Of course the two main wives 90% of us know about are Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn due to the widespread rumors and tensions between this powerful threesome.

I admire Catherine very much; she was a pious woman who truly put up a fight to save her marriage that was rightfully sealed by God. I also have a special place in my heart for Anne Boleyn. You may wonder why...but honestly many of the myths about her are untrue. I visited London a few years back and picked up a book on her at the Tower of London. I'm not claiming to be an expert or!...but much of what was written about her was done so by her enemies and critics, those who wanted to tarnish her name. For instance her marriage to Henry in general was not some evil scheme to make it wasn't even a marriage of passion. She had been engaged to a man she knew and loved, but when Henry took an interest, the Boleyn men set out to seal the deal. A marriage between their family and the Tudors benefited them financially and socially. Thus for much of the arrangement, Anne had no say. She even resisted his sexual advances, as to not commit adultery. She guarded her purity for marriage, something her own sister and many women at court ignored.

Anyways, I know many Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, view Anne Boleyn as a trouble maker. A false Christian even. From the Catholic perspective it's clear as to why...she attacked the Church and her teachings. HOWEVER! That time period was a shady one in Catholic history. This woman was knowledgeable about her faith and she saw the atrocities and abuses those leading the Church were orchestrating. She played a big role in the Reformation, and while this may make some of you gag, do you think it's reasonable to say the Reformation was NEEDED?

Think of it this way...the Catholic Church held the Council of Trent soon after to reform the abuses and redefine the true teachings of the faith. It was a real wake up call for those in charge; they realized they didn't have the right to take advantage of the laity. Without the reformation, would this have happened? How would it have affected our faith today if the Church kept on going as it was, since it would have faced no opposition? Did Anne Boleyn perhaps have a right to speak up? While she was Queen she made her servants read the Bible everyday (as did she), she was also very devoted to Mary. She wanted the true message of Christ to be accessible to those without the power to fight the abuses. I think that was heroic. She risked her ideas on the faith being rejected by Henry. If he disagreed with her reading illegal books about the reformation, she could have been killed. (Although...she was anyways lol) But the point is, she risked her life to defend Christianity and what she thought was right in achieving salvation.

thoughts? opinions? anything? haha
Peace all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Halloween: Pagan? or Christian?

Since coming out of a protestant frame of mind recently, I realized I still had many of the same reservations about the "pagan-ness" of many holidays and traditions. As Halloween approaches, I see my family members and room mates looking for costumes and decorations. I will not lie- I LOVE the fall, I love the Halloween decorations, the eerie activities, the memories from my childhood, and the Disney channel movie marathons haha. It's just a fun time people of every age seems to enjoy. For the past three years I kind of tried to shy away from celebrating since I had read so much protestant propaganda on the web and from my own neighbors/religious friends. And for some reason, not even by my own doing, I ended up missing the past few trick-or-treats because of trips or school work. At the time, I figured it was best anyways, finding a way not to participate in a satanic holiday with a legitimate excuse. This eventually snow-balled into the same people warning me Christmas and Easter were satanic as well and that ONLY Biblical feasts should be celebrated. (Naturally, my family and non-religious friends thought I was crazy and wanted nothing to do with my ranting. But anyways...)

Now that I'm in college, I am sure the dressing up and Halloween spirit will start again, but not the way I wanted to. My room mate proposed a grand idea for us all-Lets be Hugh Hefner and Playboy Bunnies! Um NO WAY! Not to mention there would be no innocent trick or treating. Halloween activies would include frat parties, scantilly dressed party-goers, and gallons of alcohol. I immediately reverted back to my anti-halloween mindset and called home. I told my mom that I thought coming home that weekend would be best.

While home, my mom bought a halloween movie that came with a little decked out stuffed animal. I looked at the endearing little toy and wondered why on earth Pagans would dress up and go around asking for treats in their rituals. I had asked one of my anti-Halloween sources and they said "we speculate the pagans cloathed themselves in animal skins and animal heads". That did not satisfy me. Not only was is a half baked theory, it didn't cover the whole question. I wanted unbias halloween history, but I really couldn't find anything.

I had read a blog last Halloween by a young Catholic mother who had re-entered the Church. She wrote about coming home to the feasts and how she celebrated Halloween with a new outlook...A Catholic one. She taught her kids about All Saints Day, they baked cookies in remembrance, and then they trick-or-treated for some fun. It was similar to Christmas Eve traditions in preparation for the true holiday. I remembered All Saints Day was November 1, hence the All Hallow's Eve which was later shortened to Hallow'ene. Hallow just means saint, or holy. It's not satanic. So I decided that was a step toward some truth, pagans did not create the title of the day, so I wanted to dig further. I wanted a Catholic perspective. Their holiday spurred the naming of this mysterious practice, maybe there was some insight from a Catholic author.

I ended up finding *this* article, which I found very compelling. This answered all my questions in full, it makes historical sense, and there is no real grasping-at-straws "this is satanic because I said so!" mentality. I never really enjoyed hearing the pagan anti-holiday ranting the religious people I knew spewed, but I felt they were on to something at that point in my life and spiritual journey. Then, I hated the "evil" Catholic Church and the lies and traditions she created. Now that I see the complete idiocy of my ways, I need to fully re-evaluate all of my religious habits.

For one, Christmas was always my favorite holiday, I never fully stopped celebrating, but I did put a spiritual damper on it for the past few years. I made myself feel guilty about enjoying it and tried to put the focus on Hanukkah. This was such a shame because as a child, I would meditate (yes as a child!!) on that day and about how Mary was in labor bringing Jesus into this world! Luckily I came out before too many Christmases went by. But now I see there is more than just Christmas at stake. I cut myself off from hundreds of holidays and feastdays by ignoring my Catholic heritage. Even if you disagree that Halloween has some Catholic/Christian root in it, there are still the saint days and feasts I forgot about.

So this year, I will openly participate in Halloween, but not just on a secular level. I want to in preparation for All Saints Day. I probably will still come home seeing as college life and festive occasions usually equal sin (haha), but I will do so with a new perspective and intent. I have friends who go to college in our town so we're already making plans to trick-or-treat with her little brother, watch some Halloween movies, and bake (soul cakes?). Hence why I shall go costume shopping tomorrow before I go back to school later that night! I will for sure be looking for a modest one, there will be no hoochie mama outfits in my wardrobe. any ideas? :P

I'm already looking forward to All Saints Day this year. I've been doing research and reading the various blogs about the saints on their "days" and this has done nothing but nourish my faith. I can feel the realness of their sacrifice. I see the terrors they faced in keeping their faith strong...something we don't see in a free country like America. In my english class, the same topic has been brought up: for how long will we be free? Will there come a day when my religious rights will be stripped from me and I am placed into the same positions the saints were all those centuries ago? Will I have the "guts" to proclaim Yeshua's name with the threat of death looming over me? I take my easy life for granted which is something the martyrs of Christendome never had. They never had the chance to practice their faith freely and their deaths paved the road for my fortune. I feel honored to be united with such heroic souls in the Body of Christ and as they are our spiritual family, I want to remember the saints, those known and unknown, for all they have done for me.

Like the veterans who won me my American freedom, the saints won me my right to practice my faith, and for that I am ever grateful.

Ps: Click this too, good information here. Especially like the point about Germany and Ireland ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bon Anniversaire!

Today is the Liturgical celebration of the Virgin Mary's birth. I read up on it today since many of the Catholic blogs I follow posted on the topic. I know this may not seem impressive to many Protestants, but the tradition began in the 6th and 7th centuries. That's an insanely long time ago!! And while I always knew the Church is 2,000 years old, it's so amazing to really think of the countless generations who celebrated, attended the same mass, and prayed almost the same way Catholics do today. Their traditions unite the faithful throughout history. That gives me the chills! In a good way haha

While this day was most likely not Mary's birthday, it's still a great way to honor the mother of our Lord. I don't think it's idolatrous because we celebrate family members' birthdays every month, and as the united Body of Christ, Mary is family. Spiritually. To all those who love her Son. I wish I had been taught these things in Sunday school, these are the days that really make the faith uniting. If I am to stay Catholic, I would definitely keep days like this with my future family. I read on one blog how they make a cake every year on this day in blue and white to symbolize the purity and life of Mary. This is an inspiring tradition for young have Mary as a figure to strive to mimic and appreciate instead of Paris Hilton. haha...well of course, silly comment.

I read somewhere today that in celebrating Mary's birth, we are celebrating the switch from the Old Testament to the New...the time when YHVH chose to dwell in humankind. Not only in the literal sense of Mary's womb, but the Holy Spirit in us. That's amazing!

So Happy Birthday Mary, through your agonizing choice, my salvation was achieved. Baruch HaShem for her strength and trust in the Lord's will...I have trouble keeping a covering on my head and she accepted conceiving a child out of wedlock, during an age when the penalty was death. Although that was not a threat she needed to worry about, the ridicule and criticisms must have been torutre...I know how my faith is persecuted...her's must have been 10x worse.

Shalom to all!

Praise YHVH I'm a Catholic

So today is trashed Tuesday at school...which means a lot of students get drunk since not many of us have Wednesday classes. Outside my room (in the common room) my room mate's friends are here to party, and I all can hear is slurping and burping. yuck! lol and thus I Praise Yah I am free from that; I can sit safely here in my room!

I cannot imagine my life any other way...

I love waking up and putting on any outfit I please; knowing my figure is concealed. Knowing that I don't have to please the lust and desires of men. Knowing that I can workout to be healthy and not over-do so I can look good in a bikini. (you would be surprised to learn how many HOURS girls work out here!) Knowing my body is a temple and I don't have to and am prohibited from intoxicating myself and abusing the body that has been lent to me by YHVH Himself. And lastly, but most importantly, knowing I am forgiven for all the times I happen to slip up. I see so much hurt in my friends sometimes...they say they "know" God has abandonded them and thus why not live recklessly?

I try so hard to convince them otherwise, but what they truly need is a little faith of their own. Sometimes we can be so deep in sin and so far in Satan's hands that salvation seems unattainable and we are undeserving anyways. Which we are, but we have the Greatest Love, the Love that Saves. I wish my words could convey this to let them know they are as free as me. A freedom only felt when you relinquish sin and control and cling to the robes of the Lord.

I hope you all are enjoying the coming of September. God is so great to have sustained us to this season, and I am so truly thankful! I see my life surrounded by blessings and I see how far I have come spiritually...How wonderful Yah is!

Mark 9:23
"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Friday, September 4, 2009

I should be reading right now, but...

I'm sorry it's been a while since I've posted, I've had so much work to do. Most of my school work is reading, and not just little passages, but lengthy chapters and articles. I read more in one class alone than I used to overall in high school. It worries me that come test time, all this reading will mesh together and I won't remember one class or article from the next. I don't know what to expect with college exams and grading...YHVH willing I'll be fine and retain it all.

Aside from the work, I've just been feeling really run down. This morning I had trouble getting out of bed because I felt so nauseous. It's a good thing I'm leaving for the long weekend. One of my friends here is going home and not coming back though, which upsets me. She was an awesome person, but she said the independence was too big a step and she's transferring to a local school where she lives. It makes me think of how scared I was when I came here and how I was actively looking for a way to stay home and commute to a university in my town.

I felt very unready to live away from home, from my security and privacy, and especially the freedom to delve into religious life. Here things are much harder...I lost a lot of my privacy and have a harder time keeping God in my head at all times like I used to. But right before I came I prayed extensively and asked for his grace, that I may love it here. And I really do; somehow my fears vanished as soon as my parents left campus. The peace I felt was, and is, something this girl lacks. She was very vocal about hating church yada yada, and look where she is now. I couldn't imagine not having God's comfort in my most trying's something many Christians take for granted in their lives. I can't even imagine the last time I faced a struggle WITHOUT the peace of God running through my makes me pity those who have turned from Him. I didn't lose freedom by adhering to God's word when I became a Christian, like many of the secular students here believe, I gained an arsenal of love, protection, guidance, and mercy.

Oh and even though this is getting off the above subject, I did go to the Catholic ministry here at the beginning of the week. My friend went with me and I could tell she was uncomfortable. I thought it was a little odd playing ice breaker games and singing...but then again I have never had a religious group to practice my faith in. I think my own aprehension and discomfort stemmed from the fact that I had to become vulnerable. I have to be vocal with my faith in this club, I need to share my experiences and praise God in public. Something I really have never done outside of mass. I said I wouldn't go back...but I think I really should. What use am I in this spiritual walk if I can't open up? I can't practice my faith in my own personal bubble forever. I need ministry, I need to be an instrument.

May God bless you & yours~

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Happenings :)

Ah today today; got a lot done, but it won't look like much on "paper" haha. I woke up early...for a 8:00. My room mate had asked me to go to church with her this weekend, but had drank a little too much last night and did not want to wake up this morning. Upon waking, still very drowsy, I pondered putting my head back on my pillow and going back to sleep for a few hours. I didn't know how to get to the church, I didn't know who to sit with, and I was exhausted! But then I remembered how I hadn't been to church yet, I hadn't read much scripture on my own, and I hadn't joined a single religious club to reap my spiritual benefits...I HAD to go!

I got dressed the way I thought was appropriate for Catholic mass, the way I always have with one minor alteration: an ankle length skirt, 3/4 length shirt, and a head covering. It was a cute one too, nothing out of the ordinary religious/amish, in fact I have seen other girls wear similar ones around campus. I thought nothing of it. I got lost walking into town, as I knew I would (hence why I left 30 minutes early), and finally found the church. I excitedly walked in alone and took a seat toward the back. Soon as people filed in, the seats around me filled. On either side of me was a mother with a baby and a mother with 2 young boys. At first all was well, I got a lot of stares, but I didn't mind. I knew I was a "new comer", I understood some curiosity!

But it got weird fast. The one mother would NOT stop glaring at me. I smiled, but I was really unsettled. It didn't take long before her boys started acting up too. They were rustling bags, yelling, walking down the aisles, and JUMPING on the hymnals and NEW TESTAMENTS! I was awe-struck! What in the world?! Why wasn't she stopping them?! Where was the respect and reverence in these children?! When I was their age I was absolutely SILENT! Not only would my mother and grandmother not allow bad behavior, but my religious ed teachers were serious about respect in God's house. I wasn't scared into being well behaved, I did it to please God. I knew he was in Church; this was HIS house and I was a guest. That's why watching this train wreck in front of me baffled me! I was literally disgusted.

Once in a while I would look around at the parish. The women behind me looked uneasy and I didn't know why. By this point I thought I had done something or had something on me. They were looking me up and down, and since I was in a white skirt, I thought I had had my period (sorry to be so blunt lol my room mate had just previously gotten hers off schedual and so it was on my mind as a possibility)...or sat in something unpleasent. Why else would I cause a distraction? I kept looking behind myself to see if I could see anything to freak them out, but I saw nothing. My skirt was white. So I tried hard to concentrate despite the stares, the baby throwing things to my right and the wild boys to my left.

The hand shaking moment came. For the non-Catholics, we shake hands at one point in mass to show peace to your neighbor. No matter who is around you, whether it be strangers, friends, family, or enemy, you shake their hand and say "peace be with you!!" You just do! I put my hand out and *get this* I was ignored by the man and women in front of me, ignored by the mother and the baby, and the woman behind me WAVED at me as I had my hand waiting for hers in the air!! She waved. You don't wave! And it wasn't like she was just a germ-a-phobe, she shook the people around her's hands fine. So I stood there, alone, with no hand shakes for a good couple seconds while everyone else participated in the ritual.

I can't help but laugh now because as I re-read my blog, I see how rejected I am by everyone I come in contact with. I must have a sign on my forehead that says "stay away!" hahahahaha. However, I was invited after mass to the catholic campus ministry at my school by the members of the club and I plan to go. I never had a problem in the RCC/mass before today...such a weird/freak expirience. When I told my 2 Catholic room mates, they laughed so hard! They had never expirienced it either, everyone shakes, even if you desperately don't want to. You just do!

Anyways, I don't know why I was stood up :P Maybe it was my covering, maybe they just didn't trust outsiders...I don't know.

I have been swamped with reading and homework for classes so the rest of my day consisted of solid work, a work out at the gym, a shower, and dinner. That's about it! Class in the am though, so I gotta sign off and get some shut eye!

Peace be with you all ;) hahaha
your sis in the Lord, RA

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This is getting hard!

Today is the one week mark since I moved into school...I can't believe it. I thought it would be so easy to stay strong in my convictions and plans, but it's been such a struggle. Especially since the Christian guy I met drove me insane! He was really nice at first, but he didn't like my room mates (and in fact said he didn't want to hang around non-Christians; which is ridiculous; did Jesus hang ONLY with religious Jews? No!). What really sent me over the edge was his disapproval of my faith. He said the old Law is gone, yet couldn't really explain the sin of homosexuality without quoting from it. He even brought up marriage at one point, and while courtship is a noble idea, his mainstream evangelical ways just creeped me out. I won't say much else about him because it's almost at the point of gossip, but in short, he had a lot of hang-ups and he was a tad condescending. I may have made myself look less knowledgeable than I am, but he acted like he had the keys to the Kingdom.

This weird experience really threw me off. I had to hide in my dorm to get some peace from him. I even started to notice myself sliding. And in my head at the time I was justifying it...I didn't want to be like him! I didn't want to be that way to people around me; how do I know how they see me? It gave me flashbacks to when I hurt my atheist friend with my "Christian talk". I must have sounded like an arrogant _____. To be honest. I was freaking out inside. When my covering slipped, I took it off. I was getting excited about the nightlife with my room mates, I was lusting and flirting, I wasn't thanking YHVH for my food before I ate...

and then english came. We had to give a writing sample (all freshmen) the first day. We were supposed to get like an hour, but my teacher gave us 35-ish. I bombed! (well in my mind I felt it was the worst essay I had ever put my name on.) If the teachers felt my essay was bad enough, they would put me in a remedial class. How awful. Maybe it was my own insecurity, but I had a feeling that essay was bad enough to be deserving of such action. I had to turn to God to calm my nerves and assure me. It was really hard repenting that acknowledge the sin from a mere few days! The next morning I put a full covering on and just trusted God with my fate in english. That night my teacher told me my essay was great, vivid, and compelling. I was shocked. It deserved no praise and yet my teacher did not hold back. I remember blurting out "Praise Yah!" after I read it with the biggest, cheesiest grin on my face. I didn't even care that my door was open and that my room mates were in ear shot.

It's still hard for me to wear my covering though. They don't stay on! I've tried bobby pins, clips, hair ties...nothing will keep it in place. Also, since I share a suite with 8 other girls, shower time in precious and I usually shower before class and putting cloth over wet hair is not comfortable or practical. And the food crisis....oh boy! Pork everywhere and sometimes they just label it "meat" in what? mystery meat? I saw lasagna tonight and I just scooped it on my plate not noticing the "meat" next to the sign. As I took a bite, I couldn't tell what it was...beef? pork? both? All day they had pork. Sausage this, pork quesadillas that. I was starving come dinner! I hated not knowing if what I was eating was kosher. The frustration was overwhelming and just writing this upsets me. Being a religious college freshman is almost an oxymoron. Week one was rocky...I hope it gets easier from here.

I am trying to get in touch with my friends who I may have offended at home though. If anything, this week has taught me how NOT to be a Christian! I definately know Campus Crusade and those people are NOT the crowd for me. Which means I have no where spiritual to go lol. No Chabad, no Campus ministry. But my room mate did ask me last night if I would go to church with her. At first I was dreading it...I didn't know what she was. (baptist like the guy? episcopal? lutheran?) I almost didn't want to deal with some crazy protestant church, but she's a Catholic. Baruch HaShem!

So this weekend I'm off to Catholic church with my wild roomie :) Hopefully she appreciates and feels YHVH there. I'm ready for some comfort in the word, even if I don't agree 100% with the RCC; it's been my home for 18 years.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Say What!?

I have about 20 minutes to kill before the dining hall opens so I'll fill you in on the big bummer of my morning haha

As you may have read below, I wanted to participate with the Chabad during the school year, and the Rabbi had encouraged my friends and I to fill out a mailing paper and come to the services. I even went to the website, excited as ever, and read how they want everyone: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Non-Jews to come to their meetings! So you must understand how much hope this gave me...especially when the rabbi found me on facebook!

I left him a comment about participating, despite the fact I'm a non-jew on his wall and he responded enthusiastically. So I went to bed with a smile on my face knowing I have a place to keep Torah and another place to worship Yeshua here on campus. And then after my morning run and shower, I logged on to facebook and I have a message from the rabbi in my inbox. Could it be an invitation? My excitement quickly turned to despair with a twinge of embarassment as I read his letter. He said if I really wanted to come I could, but there will be many things I shouldn't go to. And at the very least I should bring a Jewish friend with me. I felt like an idiot!

I don't know why he encouraged me multiple times before and just now is telling me I'm not exactly wanted; kind of like the kid you didn't want to invite to the party, but they found out about it, and now you don't want to be rude, so you let them come anyway. haha that's me! :P

I'm debating whether or not I should respond to his message. I don't want to look like I desperately want to go, especially if they find out I'm a Torah-keeping Christian. The Jews I have met say that's not a real religion and I'm making one up/hijacking I don't want to impose on the Chabad since they already seem a little put off by my interest.

It's so weird not to fit in anywhere. I'll definately participate in a Christian group; I saw some boys with bibles going to church this morning so they must be in it already. I just found it annoying when the man the other night was speaking of "the Law"...The 10 Commandments. The Law is not just the 10 commandments people! But alas...what's a girl to do? lol

Wow it's 11:00 exactly! Perfect timing. I am STARVING since I didn't eat dinner last night. I took such a long walk with my friend that everyone ate without me haha oh well! Fasting never killed anyone :) well maybe a prolonged one...hmm...nevermind that's not a happy note to leave off on haha

Have a great day everyone! thanks for supporting my blog/cause!
May YHVH bless you and yours always~

Saturday, August 22, 2009

All Settled In

So here I am, sitting at my desk in my dorm! I can't believe I've been here 3 days already. Time flew by, and oddly enough this has been the first time I have been alone and had time to make a post.

My school is pretty liberal, which I don't/wouldn't have minded if it wasn't shoved in my face so much. We had to watch a play at orientation in the summer about homosexuality and that I MUST accept it because it's natural and any other form of thought is bigotry. Needless to say I was offended. And whenever people talk about it I just sit back and listen. I will not nod to enable them or voice my opinion in protest. It's the same with all the sex/drugs/and partying going on too though. A lot of it is sinful, but whatever I say will only instill anger and won't change them. (I've learned that the hard way) They even give out condoms as poker chips in the CAMPUS RUN casino night! what are you serious!?

The funny thing is though, the school does all this work for "liberating" its students and yet they completely forget, or perhaps it's ignore, the religious body on campus. I know Ramadan has started and I noticed a few muslim students walking around. And then it hit me. The dining hall didn't open until 11:30 today. Forget the fact that I was starving, but the muslims didn't get to eat before dawn and the hall closes before the sunsets today. Even though the hours are weird because it's move in/orientation weekend, how is that fair?! The students in this situation obviously must have brought their own food, but I find this wrong that they aren't provided for. It's the same for me though, I want to keep kosher (biblically, not rabbinically) and the only kosher food is served on Shabbat. Once a week. And the school doesn't offer it I think, i believe the off-campus Chabad does. Crazy, no?

I went to a little carnival the school held where local shops and banks and clubs gave out free things and food (yum!). My favorite part was the religious organizations represented. I saw a sweet little baby and I immediately went running haha and to my surprise I ran into her Orthodox Jewish mother. Her husband was the Chabad director and they had games and a mailing list and they invited me to services and Shabbat dinner. My heart melted! I wanted to go so bad!! My excitement was soon gone when I looked to my right and realized I had to go to the campus functions with my friends. Once school starts I will go to services and Shabbat dinner, even if the students don't acknowledge Yeshua, they uphold the Torah. The revere the Word and the Word is God.

I was then called over by the Crusade for Christ ministry and they gave me a whole bag of goodies I truly appreciated. The man was nice and I didn't mind his evangelizing since I wanted to know what his club had to offer. But my room mate...oh you should have seen her face. Sheer uncomfort! She looked attacked, scared, and offended. The same way I feel when the staff put on their programs.

I see so much opportunity for religious growth here, and yet so many traps. I have been hanging out with the boy I met here who is religious. And while I have enjoyed having a Christian friend (my only one so far) I just have trouble getting past the different mindframes. It's crazy how we are both very religious and we consider ourselves very Christian...yet we don't agree on so much. It just proves the scripture

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. -- Matthew 7:13-14

"Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.'
"But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'
-- Luke 13:23-25

I am not saying he's a bad person and will go to hell, but there are so many churches, so many doctrines due to man's perversion of the word, and so many cover ups in the Bible! Oh we should be modest, chaste, virtuous, and strive for good? Well that doesn't fit into my lifestyle. Hopefully I will find my niche. I will do it with or without a friend. Speaking of which I have to switch from my little headband coverings to bigger ones. I just need some time. it's hard to wear them and not look like a cancer's harder for Christians because people will be like why are you wearing that on your head? and our answer is meaningless because the head scarf seems to be a muslim thing only...or to cover a bald head. :/ However...that's a good way to spread God's Word. hmmm....

Baruch HaShem for every blessing he has given me :)
(this took me 2 hours to write distracting)