Thursday, December 28

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Sorry for taking so long to blog again, everybody, things have been crazy.

Lately I've been reading Dr. Reynolds' Christmas blog posts; you can read the latest one here.

I get pretty discouraged sometimes. I feel like I'm made almost no progress in shaping my soul. I still have a hard time saving money, eating right, excercizing, and I still have largely terrible taste in music.

But then I look back to myself in high school, and I realize that I have changed. I'm no longer so angry, or so arrogant. I still struggle greatly with despair, and probably always will, but I now have courage to fight that battle and face that despair.

My tastes in music have definately improved: I can watch opera (still can't listen without the staged visuals) and enjoy it, I like the groups Anonymous 4 and Sequentia, and I love Pachelbel's Canon in D(in fact, that peice is a powerful weapon against despair; its order, structure, and simple melody can snap me out of depression.) I even like a little ballet.

I don't really know what any of this means. Sometimes I think the hardest thing about life is that you just have to go out there every day, and do the same thing. You have to do your duty every day, make the right choices everyday, and be an adult everyday.

The temptation to shirk all that is inescapable at times. You just want to make one bad choice, let one duty slide, act childish for a few hours. We're rarely, if ever, allowed to see how those good choices impact our lives, and the lives of those around us. It seems like life just going along like usual. But when we make the wrong choices, we see how important the right ones were.

C.S. Lewis said "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist."

It never feels like a glorious battle. Only a long trudge, fighting against enemies we can't see, and often fighting our own selves.


There is a joy in it all. A song can live in the most downtrodden heart, and all the slings and arrows of fortune cannot take it away.

"My life goes on in endless song
Above earths lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation."

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing? "

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth."

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock Im clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing? "

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing? "

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?"

Saturday, December 16

Discovery: 8-week old kittens do not like to dance to "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.

Tuesday, November 21

So...yeah, I haven't posted a while. And I probably won't until the end of November for two reasons:

1. NaNoWriMo. It's November. That means 50,000 words in 30 days.

2. Kidney stones. Which still hurt like all heck. I tried to go to work today, I really did. I made it 3 hours, then had to go home again, and have been sleeping and lounging all day. With Vicodin. Which is lovely stuff, truly.

So, yeah, these combine to make me not want to blog right now. Sorry.


Thursday, November 9


It's National Novel Writing Month!!!! 50,000 words in 30 days!

This year's story is here:

Thursday, November 2

Morphus Mystics

The other day, someone made a remark, about how what the mystics say is so "amorphus." I suddenly realized that this was, in fact, entirely not true. What the mystics see and talk about is thouroughly solid and real; it is, to be precise, words that are too amorphus (see C.S. Lewis, Perelandra). It's akin to the argument that monastics are escaping from the real world into seclusion and idealism. The whole thing hinges upon what is truly real. If God is real, then the mystics and monastics are realistic. If God is not real, then Wall Street and Madison Avenue are realistic.

One cleric was known to say that becoming a monk allowed him to be at the center of life, rather than at its periphery. As a cynical and hard-headed individual who has been slowly brought into a more mystical way of thinking, I have come to see that this is very true. If I see God more clearly, then I can see everything around me better. If a cloud is in front of the sun, it's a little harder to see the grass.

The mystics are the people with their heads in the clouds, but their feet are very solidly planted on the ground. Because they are focused on God as the root of all being, they can see all beings more clearly.

In addition, if the mystics really were amorphus, they wouldn't all be saying the same things. But they do. They talk about a God who cares, a love that is so real it burns like fire, and a darkness more comforting than the dawn. The more I see and experience, the more I find that they are right. Their map of life, though the road seems to take strange turns and switchbacks, turns out to be more accurate than the Thomas Guides drawn by businessmen who cannot see anything further away than the physical, and so don't even end up seeing the physical world clearly.

Wednesday, October 18

It just felt so...right. So timely.
Some of that may have been a circumstance of dates. I first came to this church in October, 2006. I began my infamous 2-year project (the Dante quilt) in October of 2004, and took it to the Diocesan Convention that year...which is when I decided to get confirmed. I finished the quilt and got confirmed in October this year.
So I stood in the church Sunday morning, October 15th, all in white (I'm a sucker for good typeology--it had to be white), and knelt before the bishop. I wish I could remember the prayer he said over me, but I don't. That's ok. I remember the strength of his hands on my head, the warmth of the oil on my brow, the nearness of my church family, the hardness of the stone floor through the cushion I knelt on.
It seems to me that all the sacraments, both major and "minor", are the same thing. They are all marriage, in one form or another. Eucharist, Christ joins us to Himself, and makes us one Body with Him. Baptism, when we are made a part of the Bride of Christ. Holy orders: a union with Christ to the exclusion of human marriage. Last rites: preperation to the union with Christ after death. Marriage: an incarnate icon of God's love for humanity. Ordination: I'm a little fuzzier on the image here, but it seems like it is incarnating the image of the Bridegroom to lead the Bride of Christ forward. And finally, confirmation: an acknowledgement of oneself as a member of the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. It is a taking of what was given in baptism, and stepping into it fully.
Yes, being confirmed was wonderful, a beautiful thing. In fact, it felt a a wedding.

Monday, September 4

A thought: yes, Buffy is often about doing what's right, even when it's difficult (though it must be mentioned that the characters often don't do this).

But what seems to me to be a more interesting aspect is that the characters are engaged in a fight that they will never (in fact, can never) win. There will always be vampires, demons, and hellhounds in the Buffy-verse. There's always another hellmouth.

That seems to me to be a more profound way of thinking: instead of doing what's right when it's hard, it's doing what's right when everything is telling you that it makes no difference. When the battle nevers stops.

Sunday, September 3

Disturbing thoughts

I'm not entirely sure that I know how to make/be friends with people. This bothers me, but I'm beginning to understand why that may be the case:

1. Personality problems: I am fully aware of the fact that I tend to be prickly, awkward, and melancholic. This does not easily lead to friendships.

2. Conflicts of interest: I have odd taste in things. For instance, at the used CD store the other day I bought 4 cds: Voices of Light which is artsy and medieval; I'll Lead You Home by Michael W. Smith, a contemporary Christian album; The Long Black Veil by the Cheiftans (Irish band) with other artists; and The Dirty Boogie by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, which is big band plus rockabilly plus hard rock. So yeah, weird tastes and interests.

3. Sheer lack of practice. I realized the other day that I'd spent the 13 years from age 5 to age 18 without many friends of any kind. In fact, I think I only had one real friendship in that time period, and that one was on-again off-again anyway. I just don't know how to be friends with people very well.

There are all of these people in my life, and I'm desperate to tell them how much I like them and want to be around them, but I find myself incapable of doing so. I simply don't know how to tell them. Some of this fear and shrinking may be due to the fact that for most of my life when I told someone how much I liked them, they tended to not speak to me for years afterward (if ever again). The vast majority of my social memories before college are of not being good enough, or pretty enough, or rich enough, or talented enough, or athletic enough, or with the right taste in movies and music. Of being too intense, too smart, too sad, too ecstatic, too bookish, too large, too individualistic, and too shy.

I am beyond grateful for the love I've found in my friends at college and church, but I'm beginning to think that certain parts of me have been damaged beyond repair: 13 years alone is a very long time. I honestly don't know how to let people in; I've never had to do it before. I don't know how to tell people I love them; I've gotten mostly rejection when I tried before. I don't know how to tell people that I want to spend time with them, because I honestly can't believe that they would want to spend their valuble time with me. That sounds pretentious, but it's true: I've tried to believe it, and can't.

I have always resonated to the line in the Evanesence song My Immortal: "there's just too much that time cannot erase." Is that true? Are these things that can only be healed in heaven? Like a bone that's been broken, and healed crookedly?

Dear God, if you want me to get close to other people, You'll have to break down my defenses Yourself; I can't do it.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.

Tuesday, July 18

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:
"What we know is not much. What we don't know is enormous."
What Will Your Famous Last Words Be?

Thanks to the Anchoress ( for linking to this test.

Monday, July 10

Trying again...

Yep, the Fashion Blog is back.

I really will try to update it more often.

Monday, June 26

Pictures of the most beautiful baby in the world can be viewed here:

Yes, I'm biased. It's also true.

I don't normally like babies very much. They cry for no good reason, they never laugh at my jokes, and they look like odd little aliens. But Lucy likes to just look at you, and not cry so much (most of the time), even when she doesn't laugh or smile at jokes she at least as the decency to look at you as if you're the weirdest person in the world, and she's really really pretty.

I am very happy that I get to spend time around Lucy. I've never been around a baby, and it's amazing how fast she grows, and how...individual she is. She's definately her own person, and though she seems to take various traits from her parents, is very very much herself.

Yay Lucy! I can't wait till you're old enough to enjoy elephant jokes!

Sunday, March 12


There are three songs that have been affecting me lately;

1. Bless the Broken Road, by Rascal Flatts

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true


2. Sorrow by Bad Religion

Father, can you hear me? How have I let you down?
I curse the day that I was born,And all the sorrow in the world...
Let me take you to the hurting ground,Where all good men are trampled down,
Just to settle a bet that could not be won,Between a prideful father and his son.
Well you guard me now for I can’t see,A reason for this suffering and this long misery.
What if every living soul could be upright and strong? Well, then I do imagine there will be
Yeah there will be
Sorrow .
And there will be
Sorrow, no more.

When all soldiers lay their weapons down,
Or when all kings and all queens relinquish their crown,
Or when the only true messiah rescues us from ourselves...
It’s easy to imagine there will be
Yeah there will be
Sorrow .
And there will be
Sorrow, no more.
There will be
Yeah there will be
Sorrow .
And there will be
Sorrow, no more.

3. On Distant Shores by Five Iron Frenzy

I have been scarred so deep by life and cold despair,
and brittle bones were broken far beyond repair.
I have leveled lies so deep, the truth may never find.
And inside my faithless heart, I stole things never mine.

If mercy falls upon the broken and poor,
Dear Father, I will see you, there on distant shores.

I have toiled for countless years, and ever felt the cost,
and I've been burned by this world's cold,
like leaves beneath the frost.
On my knees I've crawled to you, bleeding myself dry,
But the price of life is more, then I could ever buy.

If mercy falls upon the broken and poor,
Dear Father, I will see you, there on distant shores.

And off of the blocks, I was headstrong and proud,
at the front of the line for the card-carrying, highbrowed.
With both eyes fastened tight, yet unscarred from the fight.
Running at full tilt, my sword pulled from it's hilt.
Its funny how these things can slip away, our frail deeds,
the last will wave good-bye. Its funny how the hope will bleed
away, the citadels we build and fortify. Good-bye.

Night came and I broke my stride, I swallowed hard, but never
cried. When grace was easy to forget, I'd denounce the hypocrites,
casting first stones, killing my own. You would unscale my blind
eyes, and I stood battered, but more wise, fighting to accelerate,
shaking free from crippling weight. With resilience surpassed,
I clawed my way to you at last. And on my knees,
I wept at your feet, I finally believed, that you still loved

Healing hands of God's mercy on our unclean souls once again,
Jesus Christ, Light of the world, burning bright within our hearts forever.
Freedom means love without condition without beginning or an end.
Here's my heart let it be forever yours,
only you can make every new day seem so new.

My own thoughts: to what extent is brokenness necessary? It seems that I serve a God who prefers to use broken tools. This is both frightening and comforting. I seem to have a break built right in, one that shows no sign of being fixed anytime soon, if at all. Short of a miracle, I will never be able to entirely trust my emotions or perceptions, and the chemical reactions that sometimes go off in my head can affect my reason at times, too. (Fortunately, I still have my stubborness, which has pulled me through more than you might guess.)

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
9. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
10. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

God gave Paul a "thorn in the flesh" to keep him from getting too exalted because of the greatness of the revelations given to him. I am not saying that my brokenness is a precursor to great revelations; I highly doubt that! But it does seem to give a picture of God as someone who breaks His tools, so that no-one will be able to doubt who's really doing the work. But He does not ask something that He Himself has not been willing to face; He Himself is broken for us.

So...I won't say "bring it on," because no sane person ever really says that to sorrow and brokenness....but...

May God make me an instrument of His grace. And may He have mercy on my soul, and be my strength in weakness, and my wholeness in being broken.

I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.

Thinking about Beauty

I've been thinking about beauty a bit lately. For most of my life, I have been unable to really look at my reflection in a mirror. I mean, I could look enough to do the basic things like put on makeup, but I didn't like it, and couldn't meet and hold my own gaze. I really despised my own image. But...Now I can look at myself. And I'm beginning to see maybe the smallest hint of beauty there.

I hestiate even to say that much, and want to immediately unsay it; it still seems to me like horrible pride, and that it couldn't be true. But it is. And it's not just the physical aspect, though goodness knows that's changed enough in the past 5 years. I don't know whether I've changed that much in the past year or so, or if it's just my perceptions that have changed.

Is there the tiniest chance that I could end up being beautiful? I don't know. Part of me doesn't think so...but part...the part that wants to be a Saint...thinks it might just be possible.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.

Saturday, March 11

Ok...been a long time...some updates...

Now living in La Habra, HOORAY!!! I have an apartment! And it's PRETTY--no more student living, it's an adult apartment, with the sort of decorating I always wanted; dark rich colors, a big rug, lots and lots of candles, books...Ah yes.

I have a job! It's got to be one of the most random jobs ever, but I am now working for the Red Hat Society. See, I told you it was random. But I like it, a lot. I get to talk to nice people all day in a fairly laid-back office, and I get off at 5pm!

Church; I love my church, more now than ever (in fact, those things may be in my next post). I get to go on Sundays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; I miss going to all of the mid-week Masses, but such are the rigors of being an adult in the working world. Sigh.

Friends: Still havigng some difficulty in that department. I find it really difficult to let people know how much I love. Still too dang shy. Phooey. I am glad to be back in the same area as my friends, though!!

Sewing: still sewing with Mary Kate (Hi Kakie!) and loving it. Last night's emergency sewing session was a lot of fun. And I also made a new skirt last night; it's gray plaid, all textured and stretchy, and all for $1 a yard!

Reading: everything I can get my hands on that's written by Pope John Paul II. Currently working on a book of his quotes and the encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Also about to start a few other encyclicals and a book of his poetry.

(now playing on Yahoo music: Rock Around the Clock. Another great one! And now Every Breath You Take by the Police. I like this one a lot, too. Hmm, I should get it to play Desert Rose by Sting next)
Three Dog Night. Joy to World. Oh yeah baby. I love this song. If I ever got married, I think I would have the chorus to be the recessional. Or at least one of the dances. Something.

Seriously; you can't NOT move to this song!

Sunday, February 26

Hard thoughts:

1. On a recent wedding between two acquaintances: everyone is really happy about it, and I suppose I am too...But I'm also getting to know another person whom the wedding kinda concerns, and...I don't know. I don't know all the reasons for what happened and why, and I don't really want to know because it's none of my business. But...still. There's a bit of a shadow there. I wish the new couple all kinds of happiness, but I also see a lot of pain that's still floating around. May God do what is best.

2. I find myself being fairly irate about a friend of mine more than I should. I think it's because she is always so dratted CERTAIN about everything; about what's right and wrong, about what should be done, about what God is doing and saying...Not that there's anything wrong with that, sometimes makes it very hard to dialogue, and for a fundamentally uncertain person like myself, it can be very very frustrating to see someone that certain all the time.

Also, there's a certain jealousy too. I wish I knew what God is doing in my life; I haven't a clue. That something is happening, I'm fairly sure of, but I almost never know what it is. I almost never know what God is "telling" me to do; if He is specifically telling me things, I'm not hearing it. Trying very hard, but not hearing anything other than my own internal dialogue. And I can't tell whether I'm more frustrated at her for being so certain all the time, or because she has a relationship with God of a type that I have never had, and do not seem structured to be able to have.

Tuesday, February 21

Yes, I do plan on posting again. But I'm in the midst of moving. It's going quite well, and the apartment is lovely. But not much time for other things. :) Soon.

Thursday, February 2

My two favorite tv shows are Futurama and The Simpsons (yes, mom, I watch--and love--The Simpsons. Trust me, it's a funny funny show)

I think this is due to three things:

1. Great visual gags. Really really funny stuff. Like Homer traveling in the Suc-U-Bus line when he thinks Marge is cheating on him. Bender, in the throes of a religious conversion, sticking a bumper sticker on the ship that is simultaneously a fish symbol AND an I Robot joke.

2. Great animation (on Futurama, anyway. Simpons isn't great. Not bad, just not great.) Futurama is incredibly well-animated. Lots of cool 3-D stuff blended with 2-d animation, and really terriffic colors.

3. The best part: awesome voice actors. Seriously, Billy West and John DiMaggio are hysterical! Particularly Billy West. I mean, Zoidberg alone would just MAKE Futurama.

Now, after all this, do any of you care? Not a chance. But neither do I. I just love Futurama and the Simpsons.

Fry: My God, what if the secret ingredient is people?
Leela: No, there's already a soda like that - Soylent Cola.
Fry: Oh. How is it?
Leela: It varies from person to person.

Al Gore: If we don't go back there and make that event happen, the entire universe will be destroyed... And as an environmentalist, I'm against that.

[in the library, absorbing all of Earth's knowledge] Chief Giant Brain: Pathetic human race. Arranging their knowledge by category just made it easier to absorb. Dewey, you fool! Your decimal system has played right into my hands! Ha ha ha ha!

Saturday, January 21


I have been accused of being too idealistic. I know for a fact that I AM mostly idealistic; it's part of my basic temperament. I'm one of those people who would either be very idealistic or extremely cynical. I can, and do, flip between the two extremes, but mostly I'm just idealistic.

I have a reputation for being a bit of a dreamer, and hoping for things that won't happen, and vying for ideas that just don't work in the "real world."

But just because something doesn't seem to work is no reason not to stand for it.

No-one thought the Pope's "antiquated" stance on communism, materialism, and birth control would make any difference. They did; he changed the world, because he refused to give in to the "real world."

Now, I am not supporting illusion, nor a distancing from reality. But I think those who say that idealists don't know the real world have, in fact, lost touch with reality.

Reality: The good guys win. Read Revelation.

Reality: Every girl is a princess.

Reality: Love is more powerful than force.

Reality: The fairy tales were right. The story has a happy ending. The exiled King comes back for His bride, and takes her off to His kingdom for ever and ever.

Reality: the Church is One Holy and Apostolic Church, divided though we are outwardly right now. And we are still the Body of Christ, and we will all be united again one day. There is only one Bride. There is only one Body.

Reality: Those who would deny the realities set forth in the Creed and in traditional Christian doctrine can never win. They do not have children (not in big enough numbers), their views are so up to date that they are quickly dated, and in the end the modern doctrines ring shrill and hollow.

So am I idealistic to strive for traditional Christianity? To hope, pray, and work for a united Church? To try to show every girl that she is a princess? To believe in a happy ending? Or is this simply facing up to the Real World?

Many of these cynical views are ways of shutting oneself out from joy, happiness, and love. But Love will work His way in in the end. He cannot be shut out forever.

Vive the idealists!

Tuesday, January 17

Follow the link to see one of my all-time favorites pictures. It's just so darn CUTE!

Monday, January 16

Funny how life works, isn't it?

I am sitting here right now, pulling up the archives of my favorite blogs, from March and April 2005. Why? Because I've been reading a lot about Pope John Paul II (the Great) lately, and...well, I just wanted to re-read what was being said about him when he was dying, dying in front of the eyes of the whole world.

I am not Catholic, nor am I likely to become so (though not for the reasons you might think). He was not "my Pope" in that sense of the word.

But the graces of God are an objective, not subjective thing, and he was indeed Il Papa, the Father.

I miss him.

Friday, January 13

Ok, so this post is probably going to offend some people, and worry others, but so be it. This is my blog. If you want to write against my views, start your own blog. Then send me the address, 'cause I'll want to read it.

Lately I've been praying the rosary more often. I find it exetremely helpful, as have millions of Christians for millenia before me.

This morning I took a walk around the park, going through most of the rosary as I walked. It was foggy, and damp, and I could hear church bells through the mist. It was great.

Why do I pray the rosary? Several reasons:

1. As stated above, millions of Christians before me have prayed it, and found it "effective" (though I don't like that word). The tradition behind it is grand. Incidentally, it was not imposed by the Church, but a grassroots prayer that finally found acknowledgement at top levels. It's a prayer of the common people.

2. People I value very much personally recommend it, and have found it helpful. These include people at my church, favorite writers, and Pope John Paul II, who has been a hero of mine for many years.

3. I myself find it "effective." Now to explain what I mean by effective. While I do believe that prayer can and does change the world around us through God's grace and power, it also changes me. I shape my very soul through prayer. Some prayers work better than others in that regard. I have always been completely hopeless at spontaneous prayer. Some people are good at it, and it's helpful to them, and I say great. But when I make it a discipline to pray the rosary, I find myself freed immensely: I know what to say, I don't have to fumble for words, or worry about whether what I'm saying is accurate or correct (these are all fine things, but they get in the way of the action of prayer). I find myself free to mediate, letting my mouth ramble on with the familiar sentences. I also find myself changing. More on that below.

One of the common objections to the rosary is the attention that it focuses on Mary. What this does is allow one to identify with Mary and try to become more like her. This is the point of saying, over and over, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you." This is the angel's greeting to Mary, and brings to mind her response: "Behold the Lord's handmaiden; be it unto me according to thy word." This is the most perfect response to God in human history (excluding Christ, naturally). This is what all creation should say to God. Looking at the events of Christ's life through the eyes of Mary allows the person praying to learn to respond to God in perfect faith as she did. When praying the rosary, I find myself becoming more open to God, more willing to do what He asks, and more able to find joy in whatever He sends.

So hopefully I didn't offend anyone with this post. Comments are welcome, as long as they are not virulent anti-Catholic or anti-liturgy posts.

Thursday, January 12

yeah yeah, it's been awhile since I posted. But coming soon....

the return of the fashion blog!
A link to eBay to buy my stuff
Actual news about me