To You...

This is what I'm thinking right now.

Stop being so damned cryptic. Stop sending mixed signals. Come to think of it... Stop sending any signals. You either care or you don't. There's no middle ground on that one.



Her Life...

On Tuesday, November 16, 2011, my grandmother, Oliva L.G. Taijeron, was called to her eternal rest. At 9:30pm, she took her last breath and left this life for a new, more beautiful life. She is now praying for us, her family, as we go on living our lives here. She will be interceding for us as we continue on our journey knowing that we are on a pilgrimage to an Eternal home with all our ancestors and most importantly, our Creator.

My grandmother lived a beautiful life. She was always so strong and independent. I will always remember how we couldn't ever track her down by calling her on the phone because she was always outside in the garden messing with one thing or another. She did that for as long as she could.

A few months ago, I wrote about my grandmother. I don't even remember why I did it but I am so happy that I did. She was a fighter. Very stubborn, like my mother... like me. She made for many sacrifices in her life but never complained about having to do so.

I will always remember the days when she would bake bread and we would sit with her for hours. Mixing, kneading, rolling, basting. Those are the days that I will miss. The days when we would sit around and just listen to her talk about anything at all. I remember typhoons at her house. We would sit around the dinner table and make typhoon donuts. Again, kneading, rolling, pressing, cutting. Every time I think of her, I pray that I will remember these things until the day I join her in eternal happiness.

My grandmother, a creature of habit. Every morning, she would wake up and she would have a bathroom routine. It was something that we never really appreciated in our youth. But, today, I look back at it and see how cute it was. After that, she would have her breakfast. It was always two items. Cream of Wheat and toast. Oatmeal and toast. Toast and an apple. There was always the smell of toast in the morning. Her coffee, one teaspoon of instant Sanka, one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of cream. It never changed.

The last memory I have before she had her accident was at my uncle's funeral. I made her a cup of coffee. One sugar, one cream. She sipped it with a spoon and I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Then, when she had had enough, not mindful of what she was doing, she dipped her fingers in her cup to wash them. She had forgotten that it was coffee and not water. I remember being saddened by that. But, now, I look back and smile.

I have regrets about her last few years with us. I regret that I didn't see her as much as I could have. When I last saw her before the accident, she had a look of confusion on her face, as if she wasn't quite sure who I was. But, I know that she was losing bits of her memory and it was quite possible that she didn't remember me. What mattered yesterday was that I knew who she was and that I loved her. With every breath that I saw her take, I remembered one more thing.

I was in the room when she took her last breath. I saw her stretch and she opened her eyes a tiny bit. I knew, at that moment, that she was gone. I had come to terms with the fact that these were the last moments we were ever going to spend with grandma. The feelings were overwhelming. I was sad and happy at the same time. Wait, no! Happy is not the right term. I was elated! She's now with my grandfather, the man that she loved until her dying breath. They are our angels who are praying for us. I'll tell you this, my grandparents are definitely strong! They made it through their final battle and are now able to rest in eternal happiness with half of the children there with them! I know that one day, I will see them again and they will be more beautiful that I could ever imagine.

So, you go grandma. You join grandpa and, please, pray for us. When our last scrutiny comes, join us in the fight. Remind us that God loves us and always will. Remind us to ignore the lies. Until we see you again, rest. Be happy with the saints and the angels. Know that we loved you. Grandma, you were beautiful all the way to the end. Do not fret, your hair was perfect! I am happy to have witnessed your last breath and to have been your grand daughter. I will always love you and I will always remember everything you taught me.

Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord... May she rest in Peace.


I'm Finding...

That it is so hard to trust in the Will of God at the moment. There has been so much happening in my life lately that it seems that the 'problems' are piling up. Just when I think one problem is at it's end, it comes back with vengeance and bites me in the ass. Then, as if that's not bad enough, a new problem arises. But, there's one thing that is a constant... Life always keeps me on my toes.

Since I last posted about wanting it all to stop, it has stopped. You know what? I'm not happy about it. I thought, if this situation no longer existed. If this man just stopped the foolishness... if I didn't hear from him ever, I'd be OK. I'd be happy. I'd be able to put it behind me and move on. But, along with all of this comes the task of having to avoid him... having to sever the friendship. Now, I find myself missing the very thing that I can't have. It's difficult to accept that he can't be there anymore. Definitely not in the capacity that he was. But, it is a reality that I must face. A cross I must carry. The cup that I wish to pass from me.

To add to everything that has been happening. Yesterday, I received news that my father has a condition in which his heart is beating twice as fast as it should. We're not sure what is wrong with him. But, the doctor says that if it is not fixed, my father is in danger of having a stroke. This news was enough to get me to start doubting everything all over again. And, of course, the first person that I wanted to turn to, I couldn't. So, I turned to my girls and my community. Before I went to my community, I didn't realize how much it had bothered me. But, when I started sharing about it, I felt so destroyed. I felt sad and angry.

Why is this God that loves me doing these things? Why the constant struggle? Why the constant reality of death and sickness? Is it not enough that I am trying to give up my old life for him? Is it not enough that I am trying to let go of this man who he has obvious called?

But, I am taught that the pain, suffering, sickness, all of it, is in order to bring me closer to him. It's hard though. The other side starts to play games on me. He whispers in my ear, 'Your God doesn't love you! If he did, he wouldn't cause these things to happen.' It is so easy for me to just turn my back. To walk away. To live my life angry at the God who created me. It is easy for me to believe the lies of the world. It's easy to say no more, I can live the way I want.

It is easy for me to ask him to take this cup from me. Not so easy to tell him 'not my will but yours be done'. I wish I knew how to embrace the suffering. I wish I could understand what it is I need to do. I wish that I could look at him as a loving father who will do nothing to harm me. To believe that, just as he raised his son from the depths of hell, so will he raise me from my suffering. I suppose that's why I am where I am... To begin to understand his love and the grace of suffering. To walk in his footsteps. To carry my cross as he carried his. He too begged his father to have mercy on him. But, he accepted his father's will and in return was glorified.



Today, I was asked if I knew what it was to be His. To be HIS child. I was confused as heck. So, the same person asked me, are you HIS child? So, I looked quizzically at my friend and said the only thing I could think of. I said, "I wish I could say that I believed I was a child of God."

He said, "It's simple. To be HIS, you just have to be H.I.S. To live in Humility, Innocence, and Simplicity."

I'm screwed.

Leadership With Compassion?

Dear Mr. Gutierrez and Mr. Aguon,

If I wanted "leadership with compassion", I would elect Mother Teresa to be our governor with Mr. Rogers as her lieutenant. I'm just saying...

Let's imagine for a minute that I did vote based on the compassion of a man. Mr. Gutierrez, you are a former governor of the island that I love and which I call home. During your terms, the quality of education diminished. The quality of life, in general, diminished. Our island deteriorated, our deficit turned a bright shade of red, and the infrastructure of the government left much to be desired. Where was your compassion when I, as an up and coming citizen of this island you claim to love, was struggling to make ends meet? Where was your compassion when our families were losing jobs and starting to suffer on an island where suffering was rarely heard of?

Oh, I remember where it was. Your compassion was in helping your voters and only your voters. Your compassion was in paving their private driveways to ensure you were re-elected. Your compassion was in making sure your kababayans had a piece of property on an island where the Chamorros should have been taken care of before anyone else. Your compassion was in appropriating funds that would benefit your friends and family. Your so called compassion was in clearing your child's record when he was caught for drug possession and distribution even when you knew that he was in the wrong. 

Never mind the people of Guam who represented a smaller percentage of your constituents. Your compassion mister former governor was in your own interest. Would you see that as compassion? If you do, then, I guess I must have a misunderstanding of the definition of "compassion".

But, you see, Mr. Former Governor and Mr. Senator, I am not looking for a governor who is only in it for the title. I am not looking for leaders who will only help their people. What I am looking for is a governor who will lead our island and its people with a firm hand. Someone who will set this island straight. Someone who is willing to step up and correct the mistakes of the past.

Do not jade yourself in to thinking that the people who matter do not know the misuse of power that went on during your term. Do not fool yourself in to thinking that the people of Guam are ignorant and stupid. You, mister former governor and mister senator, need to stop laying the blame on natural disasters, the current administration, and the legislature. You both need to own up for the lack of responsibility you both had during your terms. I, personally, do not want a leadership team who is going to point their finger at someone else to take the blame for their mistakes. If I did want that, I'd elect my 2 year old nephew to play the role, thank you.

The bottom line is, you do not have what it takes to lead this beautiful island that we, the people of Guam, call home. You can't expect that we believe we will be in better hands with your team. The next governor of this island has a lot of cleaning up to do. Do you really think that you can do that in the one term that you are able to serve? I think not.


I'll Tell You...

You want to know what I want? Really? You asked...
I want you to stop. All of it. I want you to stop the special attention. I want you to stop the concern. I want you to stop the calls and all that it comes with. I want you to stop making me laugh. To stop making me blush. I want you to stop everything that leads me to think, "What if...". There can't be a "What if...". EVER. So, what's the point?

Every call, every smile, every laugh, every look or touch... It needs to stop.

But, at the same time, I don't want it to stop. I like to hear the sound of your voice, even though, at times, it makes me cringe. I like the laughter and the fun. I like the way I feel special, needed, wanted, loved. It's the way that every woman should be treated. That laughter is the medicine that the world needs. The conversations are the necessity in any successful relationship.

I read once, "Impossible relationships. That's my gift, impossible relationships.". That, my friend, is exactly what this is. An impossible relationship. We will hit that dead end. We will end up confused by the turmoil. It's inevitable.

I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that I don't know what I really want. I feel like a confused teenager and it irritates the hell out of me. But, hey... Such is the way of life, I guess.


Fear Not...

'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.' Mt 10:28

This was the passage that spoke to me the most at yesterday's scrutatio. On Saturday, I went for a follow up at the doctor's office. The news he had for me was news that I had heard before. But, it was also something that I had thought I'd worked past. I thought that it was a part of my life that I had left behind me with oh so many other things. But, when the doctor said that I was severely anemic, it all came back again. Anemia, in most cases, is nothing to worry about. But, with the word 'severe' attached to it, it brings on a whole new set of possibilities.

When I was living in the states, I was diagnosed with anemia. Back then, my hemoglobin levels were at 2.7. Now, they are at 6.5. While that is nearly three times what it was in the states, it is still half of the normal levels. So, it's back to iron pills... three times a day for no less than six months... preferably for a year and a half. If, by December, my levels do not return to normal, they want to do another blood transfusion. In the states, my transfusion was 100% covered under the state health benefits. Here on Guam, I'm not so lucky. *laugh* Lucky... there's a word that I can expound on. But, I will spare you all the joy of that rant for today. I'm not sure what a blood transfusion would cost me, here on Guam. But, I do know it's beyond my reach. So, I'm praying, as hard as ever, that the iron therapy works.

Did I know I was anemic? Well, I had a feeling that I was. But, I didn't think it was this bad again. The only symptom that I had, that I knew of, was the constant fatigue. But, I had attributed that to lack of sleep due to late night meetings, planning sessions, stress... what have you. Friends would often ask me if I was getting enough sleep. In my mind, I was. But, apparently, trouble sleeping is also a symptom of anemia. As are brittle nails, irritability, the inability to concentrate, shortness of breath, swelling, bruising, and loss of appetite. I never knew that all these things were symptoms of anemia. I always thought that it was just from being so tired all the time. But, knowing now what I should have known before, I realize that I had all the symptoms.

What now? Now, I keep up with the supplements. Now, I make major lifestyle changes to accommodate this condition. No more alcohol... no more apples... no more of a LOT of things. More veggies, more meat, more greens! These are all changes that I should be making anyway. But, now, I have more of a reason, I suppose. In the long run, if things don't improve, my heart will have to work harder than it already is in order to get the oxygen it needs and to get blood circulating the way that it should. So, in the long run, severe anemia could eventually lead to heart failure. But, let's pray I nip this in the bud before it gets any worse.

Yesterday, I kept coming to passages that told me that I don't need to fear this trial that has been put in front of me. Well, the passages were more along the lines of persecution for believing in Jesus Christ. But, to me, it came as more of a message that this is a trial that will be short lived and that in the end, all I have to fear is what can eventually destroy my soul.

To my friends who have put up with my constant fatigue and irritability, thank you so much. You have no idea how much your presence in my life is helping me through this time. I'm trying not to use this condition as an excuse to be a mega pain in the butt. So, if I get to be too much, a swift kick in the butt is more than welcome. Thank you for loving me.


I'm Letting Go...

When I feel that it's spinning out of control and that other things are taking over my life, that's when I need to let it go. Let Him take control. Like that Carry Underwood song... Jesus, take the wheel. Take it from my hands. I can't do this on my own. I'm letting go. So, give me one more chance. Save me from this road I'm on.

You see, it's not that easy. Not for me, at least. I'm not one of those people who will trust fully in someone else. No matter who they are. Even if He is God. When I feel that something is taking up more and more time and that I have less time to be the me I'm used to being, I want to push that something away. To take control of the situation and set things on the path that I am choosing.

Someone once told me, 'Just receive His love. Let Him come first and all else will follow.' But, I find the more I put Him first, the less I feel like I'm being me. This may not be bad, necessarily. But, it's just something that I'm used to seeing or feeling. Change is supposed to be good, right?

So, maybe it's time to just let go and let God, so to speak. It seems to work for others! Why the heck shouldn't it work for me? I've kind of been trying to live like this for the past few weeks. I find that things come a little easier. It's easier for me to love the brother and not to judge. It's easier to take criticism like nothing more than a grain of salt. I find it's easier to say no when I'm really not feeling up to the challenge and believing that, in the end, things will be fine.

Maybe... it's time to just LET GO!


Desperately Seeking...

Here's a plea to all you genealogy people out there! I know there's a lot of you. Don't try to hide it *wink*. I've been on a task which has been proving to be difficult! So, your expertise would be greatly appreciated. Would anyone out there know a sure fire way of tracking down a lost relative? All I've got to go on is a name and a general time period that he served here on Guam.

I'm telling you, if you give me anything else to search for, I can find it. Easy as pie! But, this time around, it's not so. Maybe it's because I'm trying harder than I usually do. Heck! Maybe I'm not trying hard enough. But, until I've exhausted all the resources out there, I suppose I will have to keep searching!

If, in the end, we are not successful in finding him, then we will have to see it as fate... The Will of God. There would have to be a reason as to why we're not able to accomplish this, correct? But, until the end of this journey, I shall remain optimistic. I will keep my head held high. I will trust in the Lord.

Please pray for us. Thank you!


Thank You...

In my life, there are so many things for which I am thankful. Yet, there are days when I question. When I can't bring myself to be thankful. Days where I feel like I'm alone in the world. On those days, God chooses to throw these gifts in my face. As if to say, 'My Daughter, how can you forget?'.

While I was in Japan, I was blessed to have attended mass in the Cathedral in Sapporo. In the homily given that day, we were given a task. We were told to call our parents, to thank them for the gift of baptism. As a baby, we did not make the choice to become Catholic. We did not answer to the questions that the priest asked. Growing up, we all feel like church is somewhat of a chore. It was something our parents made us do. If we didn't go to church, we wouldn't be allowed to play or to watch TV for the day. Unless we were sick. We never viewed it as the gift that it was... it is! The priest told us, 'Your parents may think you are drunk. But, just do it.'.

That night, after more than our fair share of alcohol, we were sitting at our last restaurant of the evening. We were talking about the events of the day. We'd started with breakfast then mass, shopping and lunch, more shopping and wandering the streets of a town two of us had never visited before. We decided, 'Hey! Let's call home and thank our parents for the gift of baptism!'. So, in a drunken stupor, we each made the phone calls. When it came to my turn, I mustered up the most sober voice I could manage and I thanked my mother for having me baptized in the catholic faith. She probably thought that I had gone completely mad. At the time,  I thought I was completely mad!

Looking back at it, it was the most sane thing I could have done. You see, it is my faith that keeps me going. It is my faith that pulls me out of pits so deep and stuffy that I feel like I might drown. It is my Catholic faith that gives me the courage to face each day. To thank my parents for the gift of baptism and the grace of being raised in the church was important. My Catholic upbringing is what makes me the person I am today. This gift is the most precious gift that they could have ever given me and it is the only gift I should have ever wanted.

I am not saying that I grew up in the easiest way I could have. But, it was the best way for me. Any Catholic would tell you that being in the faith is not all rainbows and butterflies! Many times, as an active Catholic, we are judged or mocked. Other people do not understand how we could believe what we do. Many people laugh that we pray to a man no one has ever seen. But, I tell you, this Man... He manifests himself in so many events, so many people. He is the most concrete man I can think of at the moment!

Often times, my faith is tested. Many times, I falter. I stumble. Many times, I fall. But, each time, someone is there to catch me. In these people, I see the love of God. I see the heart of Christ. I see the firm hand of a Father who will never let me down. A love so deep it can not be snuffed out.

So, again, to my parents, thank you for the gift of baptizing me and raising me as a Catholic. I will try to do it justice. I will always remember that it is only through the grace of God that I am.



It is written in scripture:

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. 
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish? 
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
(Lk 11:9-13)

I will probably be ridiculed and mocked for this post. But, I shall chance it to get some things off of my chest. You may think me a fool, if you wish. But, know this, I am not ashamed of who I am or of what I believe. That, by far, is the only thing of which I am sure.

Lately, I've been feeling confused. Confused about the situation at home. Confused about the choices I have to make when faced with choosing between family and God, friends and God. About things concerning continuing my walk with my community. About the men that are placed in my life and the situations I encounter through them. Most of all, lately, I've been tremendously confused with my vocation.

There are times when I know exactly what I want in my life. No, I take that back, I always know what I want. I want a family. I want to be a wife to a husband. I want to be a mother of a healthy brood of children. I want success and happiness. I am not jaded in believing that marriage comes without difficulties. I know that there are trials on that journey. There are trials on all paths. But, I look at my parents, I look at the mission families and I want that bond with a man that I love. I want to be able to choose to die to my husband. To die for my children. But, what I want and what He wants are not necessarily the same thing.

I feel like I've been asking and not receiving. I've been desperately grasping in the dark and coming up empty handed. I have been knocking and no one has opened the door to this stranger. You see, I've been praying, harder and harder, it seems, for a long time. I've been asking God to just make it known to me what he wants me to do with my life. I've been asking for a sign, a map to show me the path that I am to travel. I've been pounding at the door to ask Him, face to face, what he wants of me. But, I've been feeling like I'm left here, in this cistern, drowning and gasping for air.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of a Carmelite nun. I kept thinking about the monastery we visited in Australia. About how happy those nuns were. How beautiful they were. They had this glow to them that I had never seen on the face of anyone I'd ever met. The closest comparison would be to a blushing bride or a new mother holding a swaddled new born infant in her arms and knowing that this child was of her flesh and that of the man she loved. I looked at those nuns yesterday and I saw exactly the same look of those in Australia. They had this beauty in them and a light in their eyes for which I longed. I looked at them and saw that they were not what most men in today's world would deem attractive. But, to me, they were absolutely stunning. The most beautiful women on which I had ever laid eyes.

Yesterday, I heard the faint whisper of Christ in my heart. For the first time in a very long time, I thought that maybe, just maybe, this was my calling. Then, the temptations of the world came tumbling in on me. The desire of a family. The potential pain of leaving my family again. The realization that, if this is the path for me, I would have to give up the things of the world to which I have grown an attachment. 

So, maybe I have been asking and God has been giving the answers to me all along. Maybe I have been seeking and He has been laying the pearl in front of me. Maybe it is my heart on which He has been knocking and my ears have been shut to the sounds of the pounding. I just don't know...



Yesterday, the island of Guam celebrated 66 years of what we refer to as 'Liberation'. From dawn until right before midnight, there were people celebrating on the streets or in their homes. But, not all were celebrating for the same reasons.

Liberation Day, to my grandparents' generation, was a day we celebrated freedom from the oppressors. In our case, from the Japanese during World War II. We look back at the suffering that they endured. The torture they were put through. The pain and the loss of innocence through the experiences that can only come from living through a war. We look at all of these things and we take in to consideration how they must have felt through the years.

To go through the pain of watching people you love executed right before your eyes. To hear the screams of your child and not be able to get to him and give him the comfort of his mother's arms. To be the child and to see your father shot and your mother standing by, unable to explain what had just happened. It must have been confusing for the child, heartbreaking for the adult.

There are those amongst us who identify with our elders. We hear the stories and see the joy in their eyes as they remember the Americans flying overhead. We hear the relief in their voices as they speak of the Marines marching from their landing points on the beach. We imagine the great sense of gratitude that they must have felt toward these men, these strangers from a distant land to which most of them had never ventured.

I admire my elders for enduring such as they did and for not giving up hope. I hang my head in shame for those in my generation who do not respect the gratitude of our elders. We say things like 'Reoccupation Day' and we don't appreciate the benefits we have as American citizens. We say that the US has left us for dead and we refuse to see the suffering of our neighboring islands and be thankful for what we have. We scoff at the insignificance of being an unincorporated territory, all the while, standing in line to purchase two carts full of food with federal money.

Who are we to complain?

I know that there are some disadvantages to being a possession of the United States. We are seeing some of these today. But we need to find a middle ground. A common denominator. We need to understand the importance of compromising. We need to treat this like a marriage. A good marriage takes giving on both parts rather than just the receiving.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that we are to roll over and be submissive to everything that the federal government is proposing. But, we need to know when to set our foot down and when to give. We need to preserve our culture and our dignity while still acknowledging that the US government is not all evil. We need to respect the love and gratitude that our elders have towards these 'strangers' while still keeping our roots intact. We need to understand that we are not slaves and they are not the enemy.


June Bug

I've learned a couple of things about myself in the past month. It's amazing what a little time to yourself does! There's been epiphanies, realizations... Laughter, tears, joy, loneliness, elation... It's just been a crazy roller coaster ride. But, this one was different from the ones that I'd experienced in the the past couple of years. This roller coaster ride made me want to buckle in and hold on tight.

While it may be a bumpy ride, I want to stick it out until the end. To feel the wind rushing through my hair. To feel my heart pounding to break free from it's cage within my chest. My hands grow slick with sweat from the fear of what comes next. I release my grip on the rail to wipe them on my jeans and grasp on again, hanging on for dear life. The next turn may hold something gruesome, maybe something beautiful. Who knows? But, I'm staying! I don't want off of this ride!

You see, when life is at it's lowest, it seems that it's the end of a long and bumpy road. But, something always happens to pull you up again. Just like on a roller coaster, the cart rushes down and slows and you think it's over but it only brings you to another steeper climb and an even bigger rush as you round another bend. There's always something bigger and better waiting for us.

Last month, I found myself spending some time with a group of friends for whom I never really made the time. In my quest to find happiness, to run from my reality, I never really thought I'd find it in them. I would always find an excuse to get away, to wallow in my self pity, to drink, have a good time and worry about it tomorrow. But, this group of friends is different. This group shows me my reality. They help me to face it and to carry my cross with joy. They never fail to teach me what it is to be a Christian. To be who I am and not to be comfortable with it but to make it better if I really feel that it needs to be better. They teach me not to be afraid of my faith. To walk in my faith and not worry about the persecution or the ridicule that I face with others.

I've seen that I take certain relationships for granted. Not only with friendships but with family. It's not something that I'm proud of but it is something that I've realized. It's something that I need to work on improving in the coming weeks. I enjoy spending time with my family. They never cease to amaze me with the stories they can dig out from our past. I love them and without each and every one of them, I wouldn't have been formed in to the adult that I am today.

I have grown close to a new friend who has a way of dragging things out of me even when I don't think I want to talk. He takes my problems and helps me to see them as journeys to make life better for myself. This man has a way of speaking spiritually yet still seeming very casual but firm. This friendship has taken me to new territory. It has helped me to view him differently. I see him as a gift from God... Someone who will be there for me both spiritually and emotionally. Someone to confide in without the fear of broken trust. I just pray that I am granted the wisdom and strength to be as vigilant as I need to be.

It has been a great month! June... the beginning of one crazy yet beautiful summer! New beginnings, new hope, new friendships, new goals. July is going to be wonderful! I mean... GEEZ!! It has to be with the World Cup finals in less than a week! VIVA ESPANA!!!


Happy Anniversary

One year ago, tonight, Law, Andy, Jamie, and I had one crazy night. Today, Andy is in Israel, Law is getting packed for San Francisco, I'm preparing for a move to a new office, and Jamie is contemplating a new direction in her career. It's been a  good year. We've been through just about everything that would test any relationship. Our friendship has been tried by fire and has only been strengthened!
I pray for a safe trip for the two best male friends that a lady can have. Here's to the three people who I know will always have my back, no matter the situation. 


What Am I Waiting For?

See, the plan was to write about something yesterday. But, I got side tracked by a conversation that I was having with a friend. Today, the subject that was on my mind yesterday has been waylaid by another subject. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride that I've been trying to sit out.

For those of you that have known me for a while, you know that I've been wanting to fix some things that I've done in my past. Today, I was blessed to have a conversation with one of the deacons with whom I work. The biggest 'mistake' that I made in life took place in 1999. I've been trying to come up with a better word for this event. I don't really think it was a mistake, per se. But, it was a decision that steered me off the path that everyone though I was taking.

Eleven years ago, I made a decision to quit school and move away from home. I admit, the motive behind it was selfish. But, for nearly nine years, I lived a life that I thought would bring me happiness. A life in which I felt what I thought of at that time was love. About three years ago, I chose to leave that life and come back home.

For three years now, I have been trying to think of a way to get back in to school. I've been afraid that the choices that I'd made in my past would effect how I can go on from here. People have been placed in my life that have been encouraging me to look in to going back to school. But, for some reason, I keep fighting it. I come up with excuses left and right why I can't do it. Why I can't live the dream that I had thirteen years ago which rekindled itself in the past five years. But, today, I've had a chance to sit and think about life. My conclusion? 'What the heck am I waiting for?'

I keep saying that I wish that God would show me the map that He has planned for me. That He wouldn't be so secretive about it and just lay it out in the open. I feel like I've been hit with a 'stupid stick'. He has put several people in my life who are able and willing to help me to live my dream. Well, not only my dream but maybe even God's plan.

The deacon that I had the chance to talk to told me this... He said 'You made a mistake. What you do with that mistake can do either one of two things. You can either learn from the mistake and not repeat it or you can dwell on it and live in it. What are you going to do about it?' At that point, I needed to pee! So, what did I do? Did I stand there and pee on myself or did I got to the restroom? Darn it, I went to the restroom!



May 2010 has been quite an adventurous month! From retreats to graduations... From new life to death... From beginning to end! I can honestly say that I've had no time to be bored!

We spent the first half of the month gearing up for CCD events. My kids were up for their first Reconciliation and their First Holy Communion. On the 8th of May, we had their retreat and day of preparation. There were a total of 69 children who had to go to reconciliation and a grand total of two priests to help them! I thought the day would never end! But, God, in his mercy, helped us all to transition through the day smoothly and without any major hiccups! A huge thank you going out to Fathers Edivaldo and Julio for being there for our students!

On May 16th, 69 children were welcomed in to the ranks of those who may consume the body and blood of Christ. Amongst those 69 were a group of 16 for which Audrey and I were responsible. These 16 children were a challenge for us. But, with patience and love, we were able to pull through a year of faith formation. I can't say that we were perfect. But, hey! I think we did a pretty awesome job! To watch our kids go from strangers to inseparable was absolutely beautiful. To see all 16 of them there, dressed for a wedding, was rewarding and beautiful. I can't put in to words how much I enjoyed seeing them receive the Eucharist for the first time.

Of all that I've done in the past month, I truly believe that First Holy Communion was the most rewarding! Not only did I witness my students partake in it but I was greatly blessed to witness my godson, Brandon Patrick, receive another sacrament.

I have been so blessed, being surrounded by people that love me. God has shown me, through 17 small children, just how great his love can be. He has helped me through a difficult month by balancing it with joyous occasions.

This all would have been good enough! DAYENU! But, He continues to bless and amaze me as time goes by!


Say What?

So, I've been having horrible memory lapses all day. I want to attribute it to a week of craziness catching up on me. But, paranoia has me attributing it to other things.

Aye Dios mio! I've just turned 30 (five months ago)! I can't be forgetting things just yet!

Other interesting tidbits of the day (at least to me):

  • I've never heard a man say, 'Aye, SeƱor!' more than I heard it this morning...
  • I'm craving sorisos pak pak and Korean hot pot...
  • I went on a honeymoon without first being married...
  • Celebrated to birth of the church...
  • I'm looking forward to a self-induced coma come 5pm!

Other than that, life is good. Pictures and stories of the past week are coming soon!



It's All Yiddish To Me!

For four years, he told me... 'You're such a mashugana!'

For four years, I asked what it meant...

Yesterday, I looked it up. I should have left four years earlier! *wink*
Oy vey iz mir!

But, honestly, I've no regrets!


It's In The Way...

Ever notice how people from different cultures use different gestures when they speak? For instance, someone from Italy would use their hands a lot. Someone from the Philippines gestures with their lips. Someone from Japan, their head and their eyes. I never noticed anything about people from Guam. Maybe the reason for this is that I am removed from the other cultures and look at it from the outsiders' point of view.

Recently, while speaking with a friend from Malta, I suppose I made a simple gesture that, to me, was natural - something that I didn't even realize I did. She asked me a question and, rather than stating my answer verbally, apparently, I used my eyebrows. This resulted in a lengthy discussion about how different people interpret different gestures... well... differently!

To a person from Guam, to raise both eyebrows is an indication of affirming something. It can mean, 'Yes, I want to take a dip in the pool.' or maybe even, 'Of course I know my house is on fire!'. To someone from Malta, it means exactly the opposite.

This friend of mine noticed that Chamorro people use their eyebrows a lot when they are speaking. I had, honestly, never noticed that it was that extensive. But, in the past week, I've tried to be conscientious about my mannerisms. Yes, I speak a lot with my hands. When people call me to ask for directions to my office, I often use my hands to guide them - yes, I'm aware that they can't see me. But, I also realized that my friend was right. When I am speaking, I use my eyebrows a lot! Of course, the head gesture along with the eyebrow movement adds a totally different meaning to things. But, it's all there and it all means something.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this... If you are Chamorro and say you lost your eyebrows in some freak gasoline fight incident where all the hair was singed off your face, you'd be screwed! Either that or you'd have to learn Italian hand gestures and use those instead. But, then people will think that you've got some weird identity crisis going on and can't figure out if you're Chamorro or Italian because you're speaking perfect English with a Chamorro accent and using Italian hand gestures! Mama mia!



About four months ago, someone told me that I had an inability to love. Immediately, I judged him. I thought, 'Who is this man? He does not know me!'. If he didn't know me, how could he tell me that I wasn't able to love? He obviously had to be wrong! Now, four months later, I see what he meant. 

If I truly had, within me, the capacity to love, I would not pick and choose with whom I share this love. I would not only love my family for even one with the hardest heart can love his family. I would not only love the man who makes me smile or the friend who has proven himself. If I had the ability to love, I would love my enemy, I would love a stranger who has walked in off the street, I would love the one who hurt me. If I truly knew how to love, I would love the community who stands behind me.

I don't believe that this all means that I can never love. It is something that I am learning to do. Maybe I should have added it to my list of changes to be made in the coming years. To learn to love. To learn to forgive. To learn to forget. Not just some. All

I have had the opportunity to talk to one of my best friends the other day about being selfish and about helping others. They seem to be two totally different concepts. But, they go hand in hand. You see, in order to help others, you have to be able to help yourself first. If I am a mess, how can I help other people? Wouldn't it just end up with two people being a complete mess? It's a circle, really. Sometimes, we need to take a step back, take a look at ourselves, and make sure that we are in the condition we should be in before we step out in to the world and make complete chaos of a situation.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks here. One full of tears, laughter, joy, and pain. A month of testing my faith and trying to shake its foundations. A time of suffering and healing. Seeing the church I love being brought to her knees and knowing that, in the end, it will be okay. She will rise again.

You know what? I'd not have had it any other way.

In the words of Mr. Key, 'Tara!'


Holy Week

Today marks the second day of Holy Week. With the Easter season fast approaching, there's a mad dash of preparation going on in the church. There's preparation for the liturgy and music ministry for our Easter Vigil that has been ongoing for a couple of weeks now. The Triduum begins on Thursday and there is so much to do before then!

Last night was day two of cantor practice and I must say, it went pretty darned good! We've got the cantors squared away for the vigil celebration and have one more practice on the day of the celebration. Now, if only I could reacquire my flute so that I can transpose and practice!

My journey to Easter has been one marked with much determination - okay, maybe not that much(I tried) - and definitely more than a couple of inner struggles! Up until last week, I didn't not feel ready for Easter. In the past few years, there was always this anticipation building up towards the end of the Lenten season. But, for some reason, this year was different. I entered the season with zeal. With sincerity to become a better person. A better Christian, even. But, as time went on, I grumbled - a lot! - and every time I would fall, I found it harder and harder to pick myself back up to make the trek. My zeal smoldered out in to an almost nonexistent ember. But, as we all know, you add a little oxygen and wood to that ember and it has the potential to build back up in to a raging fire.

You see, all I needed to do was to take a step back. To take a deep breath and relax just a little bit. I needed to take a little break from the hustle and bustle of the office and of the world. To just brush aside the worries that I have... the worries that my kids won't understand anything that we're trying to transmit to them about our faith, the worries that I have friends in need that I can't manage to find time or energy to reach and help. I just needed to let it go and reflect on the season and what is to come.

For a Catholic, such as myself, Easter is the most important time in the Church. It is what our faith is all about. The death of Christ opened up the gates of heaven for humanity. It brought forgiveness of our sins. It shows us that God loves us so much that He was willing to come and dwell with us in human frailty, to the point of death. He could have chosen any form of death. But, He didn't. He chose a painful death. One so horrible that we turn our faces from the image of the crucified Christ.

I was having a conversation with a coworker today about said image. About how some people view the Passion as something to mourn. Some view the death of Christ as something to weep about. But, I do not. I see this season as one of deep reflection. I see the death of Christ as something in which I may rejoice. You see, no matter how unworthy I feel, what matters is that He never sees me as unworthy. Yes, I will pay my respects to the image of Christ in the tomb, to Christ on the cross. But, I will also remember that, on the third day, He rose again. By His death, I too have the chance to rise again and see Him face to face.

So, I enter in to the Triduum with great reverence. On Thursday, I shall pray my heart out that I may enter in to the Easter season with great zeal and love for Christ. On Good Friday, I shall kneel before the cross of the crucified Christ and be thankful for the love that He showed for me and for all humanity. I shall also pray for the courage, patience, love, and humility to, not only bear but, embrace the crosses that He has put in my life.

On Easter Sunday, Christ will lead me out of my dessert and in to a land far more beautiful than I could ever have wished or dreamed. I shall rejoice and - to most of my friends, this is the good part - I shall feast.