Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4 out of 6 months hasn't been so bad

It has been a few days over 4 months since I returned from Peru.  WOW!  I can't even believe it has been that long.  It feels as if I just came back maybe a month ago.  So, much has happen in those 4 months that I feel it fair to start from the beginning.  February 14, 2012 marks a milestone in my life (just think about it next valentine's day makes one year O_o)  I stayed with my sister in New Hampshire for a week before heading to Detroit for the closing ceremony.  It was a beautiful ending to a marvelous experience (All thanks to Cap Corps Midwest). 
During that retreat week God opened my heart and mind to alot of options for my life.  One being a return to Detroit and seeing about getting hired as a peer mentor for the prevention department at "Alternatives For Girls".  I really liked that idea and made plans to make that happen.  But, unfortunately I had a few demons to deal with which prevented that option from happening. 
This lead me to "Give up"... something that I am all too familiar with.  It wasn't until after the first wedding I was to attend that I was tired of 'Giving up'.  So, I took a stand and gave up on 'Giving up'.  I must say I bested myself with that one because it made trying to find a job all that much interesting.  I applied for two jobs (one an on-call and another a full-time).  Well, the on-call job was easy to get :)  But, I went through mud and grim to get the other (which in the end only being a 2-month contract). 
I have never had to work so hard at getting a job.  A job at the time that I wanted sooooooo badly.  I had to do things that was not of my character, like call -more than once mind you-  to see if I was still being considered.  The week before they were to start their summer program, I received the call and was asked to go for orientation the next day, so that the following day I could start working.  Everything went so fast that I didn't even get a chance to think. 
Life has been much more alive since I got the job.  The busyness of it all has been very welcoming.  I am loving it.  Though it doesn't have the same demand as my work in Peru.  It makes me miss that life and the routine of it all.  The constant work that needs to be done and the challenges that come with them. 
God has been listening very attentively to me for the past year because he has given me the biggest challenge that I could ask for.  He has blessed me with the work of being the president of my churches Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  What does that involve?  Well, that is one of my challenges... trying to figure it out.  LOL, I have gotten feedback from so many (once again doing things that I rarely do, yet am skilled at).  I am glad that HE has all this faith in me because I feel as if I don't have enough.  God is never wrong in what HE does and I trust him in this decision. He gave me the background (college) and experiences (Cap Corps Midwest) to utilize.

2 more months and it will be half a year away from Peru.  I know I won't be prepared for it, but I will remain open to it.  I will update you all in 2 months :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ending well to enter well

It has been exactly one month since I arrived back on this land we call the US and...

The busyness of living has just caught up with me and now I am left with nothing more than to reflect and take in all that has happened to me in the past 2 and a half years. It may seem that I would talk about that in this blog, but I am not (Really?????).

In this blog, I would like to share about how I ENDED WELL to ENTER WELL.

I started thinking about this subject about 6 months before 2012. This seemed to be a good amount of time to figure out where one would like to or needs to be after finishing a job or in my case 2 and a half years of volunteer service in Peru. For a long time, the idea of going back to School wasn't in the next chapter. So, I made no move to look for a masters program that I saw fit for the profession I wanted to be under, until the middle of November. With about two months left and Hep A, I was in a slump to slow down. It wasn't just a a few days of being sick or getting hurt. Nope this was a stop in your tracks situation. God definitely grabbed my shoulders and put me in a chair telling me to let others help YOU. This lasted for a little over a month which you can read how that went in an earlier blog .

So, as I had all that time to be still and not busy... I looked up some colleges and masters. Took make this short, I found the perfect masters for me in a place I was all too familiar with-- DETROIT. So, God was telling me something and we were on the same page. Got to spend the last week and a half with my kids before they all headed home with their families.

Then, it was time for Retreat and vacation. For our ending retreat we decided to go about 9 hours up north to the east to a city called Huanuco. During the retreat, I was introduced to the transition process to the extreme and revisited the Trauma Stewardship. Both in which helped with a lot of the processing of feelings until I left Peru. As a community, we decided to do a trip up to Tingo Maria. I felt that it was greatly needed for our community. For we rarely had a chance to do one since the new/present volunteers came. We went to a cave, a serpent park, and the others got to climb up 6 waterfalls (I was still recovering from Hep A at the time). After that trip, I went on my solo trip a little farther north.

I spent 10 days getting to know CHACHAPOYAS and TARAPOTO. Having only traveled by myself once before this trip (and that one I was meeting up with my cousin) I was filled with many emotions. Yes, I was afraid but I was also excited to know Chachapoyas. After 24+ hours in a bus I finally reached Chachapoyas and ended up checking into a different hostel than I planned. It turned out to be the better choice. I visited the near by city of Huacas and did a 3-day package of tours (Kuelap, Karajia, and Gocta)... During those three days I meet the most wonderful people. I was lucky that I had 4 people that I shared all 3 days with. Then, I was suppose to go to Moyobamba for 4 days, but during the tours I was convinced that Tarapoto would be a better destination.

So, it was to Tarapoto. I had to stop in Moyobamba to get to Tarapoto anyways. Tarapoto was well a very noisy city. Motorcycles every where. I did a one day tour to two places: Ahuashiyacu and Lamas. My room had cable which was awesome, I spent two days just relaxing and catching up on the music world. Heading back to Lima was a riot. We ended up getting held up for half a day at a pass which was being constructed on. Luckily it was during bedtime, so we all just slept. So, what was a 26 hour bus ride turned into a 44 hour bus ride. How I love Peru.

After my travels, I spent my days being a lazy bum and chatting with who ever was in the ciudad. Spent time the rest of my time helping with preparations for the next year, spending time with the community, and preparing for my own departure. I attend a few of the workshops during orientation week for the tutors and realized that it only made it that much harder to leave. Then, the kids came back and all the worrying about not having enough time to feel content with my leaving left me. For the 3 days, I was present among them I realized that life continued. My leaving did not put a stop to what was going on and that I need to continue as everyone else was. I was at peace with leaving a country that had become a home to me, a group of people that have become my family, a way of living that had become so natural.

With these realization, I entered into the US quit content and at peace. Though this did not last long for the first morning back I was in disbelief that I was in the US. I was shocked to look at the window and see snow on the ground, buildings nice and all the same colors, and a room cluttered with materialistic items. I was back in the US and I felt like I was drowning. These feelings I will highlight more in my coming up blog. All in all, I did end well in Peru to Enter well into the US.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Acceptance and the feeling of being trapped

It all started after a 45 min. workout in the hot sun....

Arms started hurting, then the legs, with a slight headache. It could have been from a number of things: Working out insanely to insanity with the roomies in the hot sun; not drinking enough water before, during, and after the workout; not eating enough after the workout; and not recuperating well from the workout. Though all of these are valid reasons, neither one was the answer.

On Monday, I went to our clinic and as I feared it was a fever. Got my Peru version of tylenol and was told to drink the liquids and take the medication. So, for the two days prescription I took my pills and try to drink and eat regularly. The pills were easy to take, but drinking liquids and eating were a struggle. Especially, when anything I ate wanted to leave the same way it went in. By Wednesday, the fever was gone, but the feeling of vomiting was still there. This day I just couldn't fight it anymore and gave in. There was specks of blood [ This showed me a different meaning behind what I call 'Inner wars' ... I fought so much to keep it in that I was only doing damage to the inside of me from keeping it in. I wonder if this is what it means to speak your mind, when you feel soooooo negative about what was done that your insides just want to spill it all out, but instead you keep your mouth shut...].

From Wed. to Fri., I suffered from prevention. Preventing myself from vomiting and from going to get medical help. I just felt better resting and falling asleep. Friday, I finally went to the emergency. Good thing I did because I wouldn't have known that I had Hep A. Nasty virus that is common for foreigners to catch. What is the remedy? Rest, Liquids, and a bland diet. Overall, ZERO ACTIVITY! That last one challenged me after 2 days.

ZERO ACTIVITY? What does the even mean? Oh, no cooking... no walking to much... Just stay in bed, read a book, watch a movie, and drink your liquids. This was after coming out of a week of being seriously sick. A lot of close friends can just imagine the pain (mentally) that was going through and still am going through.

Though one thing I have learned through all this is that there is no one to blame for this. It is just something that ended up happening to me. What made me come to this conclusion you maybe wondering. Well, it all started after a visit from a friend who reminded me to pray.

Through out this whole ordeal I didn't pray. I didn't start actually praying until the 11th day. I got back into praying the rosary on the 12th day and haven't missed a day yet. I am on my 20th day of being sick and my outlook on life has become much more clearer. I have added a few new prayers to my prayer time. I am praying the Christmas Novena and meditating on the days of Advent. For the pass 10 days I have struggled with being kept inside and trying not to allow jealousy to come into my heart when my roommates announce very loudly that the chocolate they are eating is just "SOOOOOOO GOOOD!" Or other foods that well I can't eat right now.

Of course, I keep all this in because I don't really know how to verbalize how these things make me feel without sounding or seeming Passive-Aggresive. This Advent I feel as if I God has given me a piece of land to rest in and to discover the talents/ gifts that he has bestowed on me. But, I am doing exactly what Isaiah 5:1-7 talks about. I am producing wild grapes and not tending the land. But, the difference of this story and my present life is that God is tending my land without me knowing. He is keeping it well, while he allows me to walk around angrily and in rage at the feeling of being stuck in one place for to long. When I feel as if I am being abandon he shows me that I had company. When I feel as if there is no end to this infinite void he creates cracks to show me the light that I will be surrounded by when I am finally free. He cares for me even though I may have to suffer just a little bit more.

During this time, I have been reading the "Ignatian Workout" which is a book about how to develop a stronger prayer life. Rule number one... it will never be perfect. Rule number two...It is not always a sunny and happy time. As I read the different principles and meanings of prayer I am awed at how much I have been doing them already. I have not found anything new... yet. But, I as I read on my prayers have become more conversational (which Ignatius says that pray is basically... my thoughts exactly).

There are 7 practices to the workout:
1. Gaining interior peace
2. Practicing the presence of God
3. Making preparatory prayer (In this case, pray that God might help you to understand the things in your life that hinder you from knowing God's will.)
4. Using your imagination. (Put yourself in the story, and use all your senses.)
5. Making your requests known. (Let God know what you are thinking about.)
6. Engaging in a closing conversation with God.
7. Repeating what works for you.

I have used many of this practices in different prayers and they have been helpful in understanding our God. Have these practices help me get to where I am at? I have a huge feeling... YES! Am I good right now... not at all. Do I hurt? YES! Am I suffering? YES! Do Accept these things? YES! It is hard to do so but that is what I feel I need to do. Do I want to punch the wall or the bed post? Yeah, I want to punch things. Is God working in me, is he calming me, is he holding me back from unleashing my anger? YES... Oh, gosh he is.

Some songs that have been helping me through this ordeal are:
Our God-- Chris Tomlin
Hello Fear-- Kirk Franklin
Before I die-- Kirk Franklin
Sing sing sing-- Chris Tomlin
Timeless-- Matt Maher
Father Can you hear me-- Tyler Perry

2 de Diciembre, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Calling on Mary....

As I continue to look deeper into my spiritual self many things have seemed to surface. I found that:

- I like to pray the rosary

- God is there and never leaves us behind

- Ask and you shall receive

- Don't stop believing!

Of all these, praying the rosary has been the greatest discovery. In the past week, I have been hit with a lot of obstacles. My sister felt abandoned, I was reminded of my moms death, my brother was hit with custody, and other emotional things. I felt useless for my sister because I could not be there (physically) for her. Luckily, I was able to get in touch with her by Skype (and so was my brother).

With these things happening far away, I was allowing their hurt to become my hurt. I was not as present for my kids in my pabellon. I kept to myself and kind of refused to be social. The beauty about being in Peru is that I have a community I can rely on. My sisters situation happened on the day that we usually do Rosary as a community. I almost didn't want to pray it and just feel sorry for myself and my sister. But, I felt that I needed it and prayed it with them. At the end, I stopped crying and felt a lot more clear headed. I prayed the rosary again the next day and was happy through out the day. Saturday and Sunday I did not pray it. Did I not have time? I had all the time in the world. I just didn't pray it.

Today (Monday 10/11/11), I prayed 3 mystery's in the morning. My pabellon went on a field trip to a park about 30 min. away from CDLN. We had a huge pot of food that we were carrying and decided that one of us take a combi there. It was going to be Luciano (one of my kids) and I. The first available combi ended up being empty. Anita asked them if they wouldn't mind taking 26 kids and 4 tutors. They were going to charge us 20 soles for all of us. Anita got it down to 5 soles. Coincidence or the help of Mary? I would like to give thanks to Mary and Jesus for that one. The kids had fun and so did we. It was fun being a kid for a day.

The rosary has been a huge part of my time in Peru since May of this year. It is hard to pray it every day, but when it makes everything feel better why not do it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Week of Misfortunes and Changes

This past week the bug of misfortune hit the family Nino Jesus. From 5 kids being sent home due to a case of chicken pox to having to clean up blood in one day.

Last Sunday, God asks us to take a look at our actions and the way we live; asking that we change. First, he tells us to change in the way we share with others. Tell them the bad that they do in order that they change their conducts/ ways. For me this has been a very hard lesson to hear from others about me. No one wants to hear what they are doing bad. No one wants to know that what they thought was good enough wasn't good at all.

I personally, have been feeling a bit taken a back by this request because I have found myself receiving the criticism more than giving it. I have been putting myself down in a way that I am not allowing myself to help others become the best version of themselves. I have not allowed myself to think that what I have to share is good and not meant to hurt the other person but to help them see what they can not see themselves. In turn, I am not allowing myself to accept the feedback that others are trying to give me in order for them to help me become the best version of myself.

The second way he asks us to change is to LOVE with an open heart. In a reflection it states: The love expressed by Christ through the Holy Spirit has now become the engine of interpersonal relationships and the single source in the process of changing attitudes to the brothers of community in society. This is the type of love we need to want and to share with others in order to see the change that needs to happen and then to apply it to our lives.

The third way he asks us to change is by
searching for the intervention of the community or life group and if this last resort does not seem to effect the lost brother, then the community seeks recovery or leaves him to disassociate himself from them. This way has been very helpful for me during this journey with CAP CORPS Mid-West. I have learned to trust in me and the help of my community. With out asking for help the community breaks. The more you keep quit, the more it shatters. This last form of change, is what I like to call 'THE CALL'. This is when God steps in with Jesus, Mary and all the saints and does some serious healing in you. This is what the buddhist would call enlightenment in a sense. Catholics would call this a time of Discernment. The first two steps are very necessary in order for one to enter into the third and final step.

From having 24 to now having 20, a lot of changes (good changes) have been happening in the house. There is more time to teach the kids, time to reflect on ourselves, time to reflect on this past in order to prepare for the future, time to build courage, love, and patience. Also this past week, we received a new volunteer in our house. The work load has also lightened, leaving me with more time to play with the kids. There is just a lovely feeling when the kids call you asking you to come out and play with them :)

May God speak to you this week and show you the changes that he wants from you. They aren't meant to degrade you, but lift you and make you great here on earth as he sees you from heaven. May love seep into you pores and flow to your heart. For God, so loved the world that he gave up his one and only begotten Son (OUR BROTHER JESUS)!


Friday, July 22, 2011

The by-stander theory

In the past month, life has been a test. For my kids, for my tutors, for my roommate, and especially for ME! It just feels as if God is dishing out test after test to everyone. Like he has something huge planned out for all of us.

About two weeks ago, I was faced with the test of the 'By-Stander'. What God wanted to see in this test was the actions I would take in a certain situation. About two weeks ago on a Saturday I was heading back from a lovely 7 hour hangout with a friend who I haven't seen in a very long time. As I was walking to CDLN, I first came across a man peeing in public (typical men). So, I ignored him (Check). As I continued to walk, I decided to check my surroundings and when I looked back the man that was peeing had a man in a business suit by the neck while two other men where robbing him and ripping at his clothes. This was all done in public with cars passing by and about 20 people walkng away or towards them. A taxi driver honked at them and a couple was walking towards them. I on the other hand turned away and kept walking not liking myself because I knew I couldn't do anything.

As I continued on my way about 30 feet away from me a man ran in front of me with a piece of lumber in his hand and threw it at a taxi that was passing by on my right. I kept walking a bit shocked. So, I said a 'Hail Mary' and didn't stop my pace. As I kept walking two other men joined the first man. In the end, I made it back safely to the compound that is CDLN.

The second test was a partner test. Last weekend Jeanette and I went to have Chifa (Peruvian style chinese) for lunch. On the way to the restaurant we witnessed a domestic abuse with an older man and a younger women. He kicked a slapped her into the car as she hit him back. But, of course he had the upper hand a got her in the head. Jeanette wanted to do something. I fought the urge to yell out, 'OH, DIOS MIO! POR QUE DIOS?' Our staring the man done made a women that was passing by look also and she said something but I don't know if it was what stopped the two from fighting. We said a 'hail mary' and prayed for the two of them.

In the first test, God has taught me to always make sure that I am safe and to not put myself in danger (like how I did in the past). Also to pray no matter what.

In the second test, God has taught me that if what you want to say doesn't sound good in your head, then don't say it at all. Also to pray ino matter what.

Lesson learned: Prayer for and with others for 'when two or more is gathered in his name he is there.'

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Knowing God in Peru

'Yo Soy El Pan Vivo Bajado Del Cielo'

Recently, my prayer life has become more concrete, rather than the occasional prayer moments. After our staff retreat in May and our pomise as a community to pray the Rosary everyday. I have found that it is indeed hard to do so. I have found myself asleep after the 2nd mystery or not ending the rosary at all missing one or two of them. I can pray the rosary completely in a group. Alone I find myself distracted by thoughts of people or things I need to do.

Working with my children, I have found that a set shedule works best when it comes to accomplishing things. With out a written schedule and promise to self, nothing really gets done. So, I recently created a prayer schedule for myself. I have yet to put it into practice. Funny me, I forgot to schedule the weekends in, lol.

So, far it is as follows:

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday:

5:30a Prayer in the garden (like when Jesus went to the garden to pray alone to his father after performing so many miracles)

6am Open the rosary and pray it throughout the day ending it before dinner

(One mystery done with a few of the kids in my house)

Tuesday and Thursday:

5:30a Prayer of Joy and happiness

10:30a Rosary complete.... Tues. Individually and Thurs. with Jeanette

Like I said I forgot to include the weekend, will do soon. I want to pray one mystery with my kids because I did that one day and had them say the prayer for that mystery (that day I did 3 with them, lol). Plus, it helped that I had chocolate for them afterwards, jejejeje.

God has become more than just some great being in my life. He is much more... he is a friend, a protector, a mentor, a father. Through prayer and faith I continue to be in awe of his greatness. Finding that spiritual calmness amongst the hecticness of CDLN has become easier. All I have to do is look at the faces of my children and up at the sky :)