Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grandma's Lovin'

First and foremost, happy Easter! I am so excited to have been present for the celebration of the Lord's resurrection. I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends and in the Lord's presence.

Okay, so this will be a very short post since it's almost 2:30 am, and my eyes of crying out for sleep. :P

I love my grandmother...to pieces. There are days when I call her and all we do is argue, disagree on random topics, and I end up hanging up all flustered and upset. However, there are also days when I just never want to hang up the phone because there is just so much to talk about. See, my grandmother and I have a special relationship, a bond of sorts, that not only lets us be related by blood, but it lets us be best friends. My grandmother is one of my best friends because of everything we fight about and everything we laugh about. I am so blessed to have such a great friend in my life.

Today (technically yesterday) I called her after work and we talked for nearly an hour. We talked about things like my relationship with Thomas and how that is going and if it's going anywhere (I sure hope so). We also talked about work and all the people I meet on a daily basis. She loves to tell me stories about the time she worked at what she calls a "Chinese factory." There are so many stories that I wish I could just record before I forget a lot of them. Then, we talk about the Church and different prayers and saints and who our favorite saints are and why. We talk about Natural Family Planning, how she handled having a kid every year for almost eighteen years. We talk about our bodies and how they've changed over the years. We talk about my mom and the what-ifs of her life. Every now and then we talk about the places she's traveled to, like Jerusalem or Spain or Italy and all the things she saw.

There are never enough stories to tell, and I love it because she makes me feel like I'm right there with her drinking a cup of lemon-ginger tea on a Saturday morning watching as her lilies blossom in the front yard. I love this friendship I am blessed with, and I love my Lord for blessing me with such a best friend and grandmother.

<3

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Et Benedictus Fructus Ventris Tui

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb. I was watching Matt Maher's Holy Week video blog, and these words came to mind, "et benedictus ventris." First thing that came to my head was, "Oh, it's Latin!" Then..."Let me Google it!" Haha... :)

I couldn't help but think of just what beautiful phrase it is to say, and even more beautiful is what it means. When the angel appeared to Mary and told her she was with child, and she said yes to the Lord, it was just the beginning. The child within her womb was blessed...BLESSED. I mean, can you imagine an angel appearing to you while you're just making the morning coffee and tells you, "Oh, by the way...BOOM! You're pregnant. And it's a boy. His name's Jesus. Boom." Well, I'd be pretty psyched. Actually, I'd probably think, "Wow, this angel's vernacular is very in line with the times." Anyway, the fact that Mary went on and said yes to carrying Jesus in her belly for nine months and then give birth, that is just out of this world, amazing, and what I call true love and devotion to God.

It seems to me that during the Lenten season, mama Mary doesn't get that much attention (which is legit since we should be focused on the suffering of Christ), so with that, I'd like to point out a few things I'm grateful to mama Mary about. First off, she raised him to be the Godly and very holy man he is (He's Jesus...it doesn't get any holier). Secondly, she followed Jesus. She was with Him every step of the way. Not being a mother yet myself, I assume that the life of a mother consists of constant sacrifices for the children. Well, Mary being THE MOM of all moms, I bet she was with Jesus wherever He went, and I bet she was on her knees praying all the time...I mean that literally. Then, Jesus grew up into an adult, and off He went into the world to speak of God's undying love for the world.

Most of my friends are college students, and I know for a fact that the day they moved off to college, their moms were praying, crying, making sure everything they needed was available and that the kids had all the lists of emergency contacts there are. Moms (for the most part) don't really change. No matter how many thousands of years have gone by, Moms still care for their children. Mary cared for Jesus. She must have suffered so much during her lifetime. She was the mother of the man who was ridiculed and spat at. She was the mother of what some might've called a "wannabe." And to stand by your kid and support him, knowing that he truly is the Son of God. That is love. That is motherly love.

When Jesus went into the desert for forty days, going without food or drink, all by himself...well, I can't help but wonder...did Mary know? I wonder if Jesus let his mother know about this forty-day journey he was going on. Well, assuming that she didn't know, she must have been worried. Worry can sometimes kill a parent (figuratively). On the other hand, Him being the Son of God and all, maybe she didn't worry as much. :)

Suffering like no other. Jesus died for the world. He gave up his life for our sins, for my sins. There is no way of repaying Him for that because He did so out of LOVE for us so that we may find forgiveness. Mama Mary watched Him as he was scourged, spat at, disrobed, punched, kicked, and crowned with thorns, She watched it all, and as each moment passed by, her heart broke more and more. She cried for him, and she could do no more than just watch because she knew this had to happen. She sacrificed so much for the world on the day that Jesus died. She sacrificed her only son because she knew that His love for the world was greater than any other love. She knew that His love is ultimate love, intimate love, and infinite love.

Thank you, mama Mary, for your sacrifice that saved me from my sins.

Totus Tuus Mariae

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter's Grace

In a week and two days, I will be celebrating the life and resurrection of my Lover.
Saturday, I will prepare myself for my Lord by dying hard boiled eggs and drawing little faces on the shells with a wax crayon as I did last year...
I will listen to Salsa music, dance in my room, and pray twice with my voice.
I will get ready by painting my toes bright red, putting on my prettiest dress, curling my hair, and putting on mascara.
I will get ready by doing the Stations of the Cross at FSU.
I will get ready by giving my momma a call, and check up on her.
Easter is the most graceful event of all.
It brings life to the rest of the year; it's my soul-food and nourishment for those not-so-graceful days.
I hope Easter brings the same joy and excitement to you as it does to me.

God bless you always and in all ways.

In His Love,
Esther

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finally Free

What is freedom? Sure, we've all been told the countless stories of war heros and how they all fought for our freedom. But...what exactly is freedom?

For many years, I was angry at the world, and I just wanted to "grow up" so that I could be "free." Well, perhaps I have not quite finished "growing up," but I do have a sense of what real freedom could be like.

I wrestled with loneliness, tear-filled nights, fear, anger, and other feelings that can't be described with words. Yet, somehow, through all those weepy nights, I would find comfort and healing in only one thing. Prayer. I would cry out to God at night and ask him time and time again, "WHY?" Why did I not have a father, a mother, a brother or sister? Why did my mother have to be sick? Why couldn't I just be left alone?

See, the more questions I asked, the more answers I got. No, I'm not saying I had "visions" or dreams or hear God's voice. No. Instead, I found answers through healing and focusing more on the graces God has given me. Graces like the blessing of having such a huge family to support me when necessary or friends who bring out the best in me. In every moment of laughter I enjoyed, I found healing. Every moment of peaceful silence when I was the first to wake up in the morning, I found healing in that. Every time I opened my mouth to sing at Sunday Mass, I found healing. Slowly, but surely, I healed through the years, and I will continue the healing process until I rest with my Father in Heaven.

So...how have I come to know what freedom could be like? Well, it's simple. For every smile, laughter, moment of peaceful silence, tear-filled time, and every single thought that brings me healing, I get closer to being finally free. See, freedom isn't about being able to do what you want, or feeling exactly what you want, or getting what you want. Freedom is about accepting life as it's supposed to be: serving others and loving it along the way. Freedom is knowing that you can do something, and choosing whether it would be a good or bad idea. Freedom is knowing that no matter how badly you've messed up this time, there will always be another tomorrow and someone greater who will love you any way. Freedom is capable of just being. Freedom is ultimate love.

Totus Tuus Mariae