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 :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The end is just the beginning

The ending of the Easter season....
The start of a better living.

50 days of Easter is about to end soon and I have been spiritually challenged, hurt, and drained. The result of this has been a welcoming calmness and understanding of our brother Jesus and Father. Also an open heart and ear.

During this easter season, I included the reflections from the little white book to help guide me. I have never done this in its entirety (meaning I would stop after 2 weeks), but this year just seemed to keep calling me to reflect. In one of the relfections they talk about the doors within ourselves... the ones we fear entering. This gave me an idea for one of our prayer nights. I shared this reflection and then had us make little doors and on the inside we wrote down the things that we fear facing/entering. That was about 3 weeks ago that we did it. I still take mines out in times of prayers.

This whole season God has been telling us to not be afraid. I feel that he was especially talking to me. I feared a lot of things in my life and have come out of them only through the help of God. When two weeks ago I was struggling with my feelings towards God, God didn't let up on me (I was very angry at him because of my mothers death which will make 9 years on June 27). During our staff retreat for CDLN, he spoke to me in teh silence and a few times he yelled at me. I was very stubborn because I thought I have justified my feelings fairly. But, God didn't want to lose me because of this and he sent his son to fetch me. Now, my relationship with Jesus is a very special one. I treat him like a brother and he treats me like his little sis. He has helped me in instant moments where I need a push from doing or not doing something. I call my talks with him conversations. Prayer for me is when I ask for things. But, when I am just sharing those are conversations.

At the end of the retreat, God and I were still at ends with eachother. He allowed me to feel anger towards him and I appreciated that. I may have been really angry with him, but at the same time I love him. As we near the end of the easter season I can't help but notice how much more present the paraclete is and how much more happier I am.

This week I ask that we all take the time to just sit with the Lord. To open our hearts, minds, and eyes to the glory of God and to also be still. For it isn't in the thunder nor the earthquakes nor the hurricanes when God will speak to us, but in the silence of a new morn or silence of a moonlit night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breaking in...

It all started on the 13th of February....

One by one... groups by groups the kids filed into 'Ciudad de los niños'. I had the fortunate job of directing the groups to the dining hall where they were greeted by the tutors and pre-tutors (for the older houses). When they are down with signing the contract and paying fees they are brought to their houses. This day starts off the beginning to a very mysterious year.

Mysterious in the sense that we all do not know what to expect. For me, it is going to be quit different because I will be working in only one house for the whole year. Having been here already for 18 months, I am now comfortable enough to take a chance at sharing my opinions. I have seen a lot and have been through a lot in the past 18 months. From not being able to have a conversation with people, to making mistakes on norms, to giving unconditional love, to being a voice of conscience to the older boys.

For 6 months, I was treated as an outsider and ignored because I didn´t speak good spanish. It is just easier for someone to speak to someone who knows the language and to ask for help form them even if they are losing out on a great resource. For a whole year, I was treated as a local. A lot more people treated me like I was from Perú. Like I was one of them.

It is times like these that you learned to live again, it is times like these you learned to give and give again (Foo Fighters) For 18 months, I have given a good amount of myself to CDLN.... majority of it being the love that God gave me. Without Gods presence, I wouldn´t have been able to see that this year I need to be in Perú. This year there is quit a few new kids and it is hard for them to get accustomed to life here in CDLN. That left us as volunteers with questions of why? Why is it hard for them? For me that left me with the question of what can I leave here at CDLN that will be of great help for present and future kids.

I will leave you all with saying this: I have an idea!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Building Something New

Brick by brick... inch by inch...Brain storm... reflections... and MORE! Nothing beats the first steps to building a home.

Everyone is building their home right now... being it is their family home, future home, community home, or even their retirement home. We are all in constant planning, deciding, acting, erasing, learning, failing, and succeeding. But, what happens when you don't feel included in this building because what you want doesn't sound/ look good at all for the other(s)? What if you are so different that you don't belong and are stuck with it anyways? What can one do to not lose who they are in this need to build a perfect home?

PERFECT...I've learned to accept and despise this lovely word. It can be so positive and yet so negative and destructive at the same time.
DIFFERENT... A good friend gave me an alternative for this word (DISTINCT). Yet different seems to be understood and accepted more.

Two words that have made me and broke me in the past 20 years of my life. Usually not at the same time. Presently, these words are more making me than breaking me. I know, that nothing can be truly perfect and not all different is weird/strange. But, that is exactly what I am... I am not truly perfect( yet I am) and I am different (in that little weird way).

This year I want the kids to know that they are something, that they can be something great. It was interesting to go through graduation with this past years boys. I wish I could have done more pep-talks with them. Or even help them with looking up organizations/ programs that they could be involved in.

Then, I was reminded of a dream. A dream of one of the brothers, back in the US, that I met in my first year of service. The dream to provide more volunteer opportunities. Why not provide international volunteer opportunities here in PERU? I might be thinking to big, but it's an idea.

What I have learned this past year is that we are using money in the wrong way... We are not educating each other very well... we want big things and lots of money (Sorry--US citizens), but for what?...I want the boys here to experience more than they could have ever dreamed.

It's nice to have that expensive bag, that new ride, that huge house, but being in large spaces can feel quit lonely too. I have come to appreciate a packed small house. The kids come back on the 13th of February.

That small space is not going to be empty no more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bienvenido Año nuevo

WE are in a new year... WE get to start fresh again...We get to create new memories, WE...WE... WE...WE...WE!  

This year has been quit good to me.  Nothing but positive love and memories to share.  But, don't get me wrong.  Mr. Ugly has tried to rear its ugly head in and out since the first of Jan.  WE try to hide, but they always find us.  This year I am going to meditate.  I am going to make sure that I am balanced.   That I am not taken for granted and that I am heard.  So far, it has been quit the challenge (people get to comfortable easily).  

As I type this blog out I can't help but look at my hands.  THEY ARE GIGANTIC!

Ok, now I am back...  My vacations so far consist of Chiclayo.  This is a pretty big city in the north part of Perù. It is very desert like.  We visited their biggest outdoor market (which had a guy selling snake oil and people who had live snakes), to the museum of Sipàn in Lambayeque, and to a black sand beach in Pimentel.  It was a nice 4 day 3 night trip.  I had fun and got to eat ice cream every single day  (not really possible to do while in Lima).  It was a nice time to hang out with the community too.

Now, I wait for what I have been waiting for all this time... RETREAT.  WE will be having our beginning of the year retreat hopefully starting tomorrow or Saturday.  I am mostly excited because Brother Bill Hugo will be sharing it with us.  Pray for us as we enter into reflection for the next 5 days.  Reflection of the past 6 or 18 months, reflection of who we are and what we can offer, reflection of going back to the US, reflection of what our next year will be for us and what we want our next year to be for us.

Gracìas Jesùs