Long-lost blogger has finally returned

Good rainy day faithful readers,

I have been away from the blog world much longer than I intended and have missed your insightful entries. Life has been a mixed bag of ups, downs and everything in between. I hope this entry finds you well and you are surviving the boiling summer heat along with its oppressive sweltering humidity.

Part of my silence from blogging partially contributes to a sense of nothingness; I am unsure what to write about and question whether my rambles are substantive. Well, rather than mulling over those minor details, I am going to write about recent realizations.

Lately I’ve felt defeated in many areas of life. I question whether I am on the right path, whatever that means, or if I am making the correct life decisions. I came across an excerpt from the Holy Father’s welcome address to the youth at World Youth Day. I am thankful for the new perspective his words have given me. Here are his nuggets of wisdom:

“Jesus can give you true passion for life. Jesus can inspire us not to settle for less, but to give the very best of ourselves. Jesus challenges us, spurs us on and helps us keep trying whenever we are tempted to give up. Jesus pushes us to keep our sights high and to dream of great things. You might say to me, “but Father, it is so difficult to dream of great things, it is so difficult to rise up, to be always moving forwards and upwards. Father, I am weak, I fall, and I try but so many times I fall down”. Mountaineers, as they climb mountains, sing a very beautiful song whose words go like this: “in the art of climbing, it is not important that you do not fall down, but that you do not stay down”. If you are weak, if you fall, look up a little for there is Jesus’ hand extended to you as he says: “Rise up, come with me”. “And what if I fall again?” Rise again. “And what if I fall yet again?” Rise yet again. Peter once asked the Lord: “Lord, how many times?” And the reply came: “seventy times seven”. The hand of Jesus is always extended, ready to lift us up again when we fall.

To be zealously and joyfully Catholic is not an idle thing. Being religious, being a lover of Jesus does not short change you of life’s great joys and happiness. To be in Kraków during these days, must truly be a foretaste of what heaven must be like with the saints. Let’s continue to keep our eyes on Jesus, to follow him — he is our treasure and he helps us when we fall to keep following him … all the way to eternity.”

 

All I can say is, wow! Way to go for shifting my negative attitude into focusing what truly matters most. I am not going to go into the particulars, but what I can say is life is forcing me to learn the foundational truth that nothing in this world can and wil ever bring us true happiness. Although happiness can be fleeting and at times lul one into a sense of complacency, what matters most in the grand scheme of things is the goal of heaven. I’ve noticed I tend to micro focus on the small facets of life, the day in and day out frustrations of being human.

Even though this earthly journey can sure be a meandering path, I am often reminding myself of who and what has to ultimately matter even when I mess up, fall and faulter.

Until next time,

Anjelina

A book review: The Thrill of the Chaste

“Being singular means that your life is built on God, not another person, and that you are pursuing Him in an active and committed way, seeking to be the best version of yourself so as to make the most of the gifts He has given you. That is a life of purpose and love, regardless of status or vocation.”

Dawn Eden

 

The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping your Clothes on

By

sDawn Eden

 

The Thrill of the Chaste, second edition, is a must-read, insightful, engaging, thoughtful honest book for any Christian no matter their vocation who seeks solid rationales about why the hook-up culture is so disadvantageous to our hearts, minds, body and soul. Dawn revisits ideas in the previous edition as well as shares her dynamic conversion story to Catholicism in this edition. Along with this foundation, the author emphasizes the many enriching treasures found in the Catholic Church related to chastity, sexuality and love. Whether it’s the counter-cultural stance we have on prolife issues, or the value of family, this book helped me refocus on what matters most despite the many contrary societal messages which are constantly being pushed our way.

I valued Dawn’s words on chastity, modesty, sexuality and love. As a single Mom who hasn’t always made the best Choices, I am always skeptical about how these issues will be presented, however, this book did not come across as condemning or preachy. Rather she uses her unique past and new insights since the last edition as a testimony to the healing grace, mercy and love of God as well as the wisdom found in the teachings of the Church.

A resounding message from this book which I will put into practice is rather than anxiously waiting for a date, my future husband, or more children, friendship with God and the desire to follow His will provides opportunities for growth no matter where we are in life.

If you are looking for a practical gem to read time and time again along with challenging your mind, changing your heart and redefining what you do and say with your body, this is a brilliant book.

Until next time,

Anjelina

Discerning god’s Will

Seeking and attempting to follow God’s will in your life is the most essential and difficult task we are given. Whether it’s the decision to change jobs, date or marry a certain person, or pursue a “big V” Vocation, these circumstances all warrant prayer and soul searching. 

What is something you’ve discerned in the past or recently? How did you go about discerning God’s will? What advice would you give to someone going through a similar situation?

 

Hi there,

I know I often say this statement, but it’s so true. What a timely topic for the blog. As a hard-headed, strong-willed person who occasionally goes through phases of thinking I’ve got this, and sadly pushes God out of the picture, discernment is something I don’t always succeed at doing. As I get older, my heart longs to do what God desires, but there are those times when my mind is at a very different place. Fortunately, we aren’t alone in the process; we have Saints who have gone before us as mentors and teachers in how to discern god’s will.

During my first go-around at college, I first heard the topic of discernment while at a weekend Disciple Makers Conference (it’s even popular in non-Catholic circles). To me discernment means lining up our minds, hearts and souls with God’s will for our lives. It’s sure not an easy task, especially when we have the ideas, impressions and at times temptations of the world competing with the goodness of God.

When it comes to vocations, I believe right now god wants me to be single. Maybe I tell myself this because it lessens the feeling of loneliness/sadness, or maybe it’s true. He sure has put many wonderful people, experiences and opportunities in my life, however, I can truthfully say I’ve happily devoted immense amounts of time and energy toward education, family and finding employment, that I could be totally off the mark on this, but I doubt it’d be fair to the guy or easy to cultivate a healthy relationship. Another reason I believe I am doing god’s will by being single is I am content with my state in life. Even though God is trying to teach me lessons I can learn by being single, I still pray for the one I was made to complement. Peace is a big piece of discernment.

Now, away from all that mushy stuff. When I am discerning something big or little, I want to proceed with my mind or intellect, but I know this isn’t always the best path.

I’m a huge fan of the Catholic Channel, on Sirius XM radio and once I heard Father Johnathon Morris say something like “if it doesn’t get you to heaven, then it’s not a good idea.” I’ve always kept that tidbit in the back of my mind for mostly little decisions.

As mentioned in Morgan’s post, we as Catholics are so blessed to have the Bible and Church teachings to guide our steps. I pray all our decisions and choices in life bring god the glory because He wants what’s best for us.

Until next time,

Anjelina

May is mental health month

“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.

………

I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world… I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.

I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.

I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.

There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore. I am thawing.”

Laurie Halse Anderson

 

It is April now. Think of the beginning of many conversations during the day with their polite pleasantries. We ask “how are you?” However, often we truly don’t want to know how the person is doing. What if they are not doing so well? What do we say then?

For me, today is one of those difficult days. I’m blessed no one has asked me how I am doing, because I dislike having to give a fake perfunctory response. I’ll try to share why I’m feeling sort of blah.

I sadly came across a blog written by a woman who succumb to the medical complications of years with an eating disorder. Something about her story made me cry tears of fear for myself and friends whom I care about dearly who also are in this struggle. The realization that I do not want to sacrifice my life for the eating disorder came down like a crushing wave. I want the madness to stop.

When you’re falling down a dark, deceptive hole, even though you know what lies at the bottom of the hellish pit but you are unable to stop the torture.

When your mind and body are literally fighting against one another for survival, despite your best attempts to stop the maddening cycle.

When you look “great” and “wonderful” on the outside but internally you feel as if you are mentally being torn down, scorned for existing, for eating, for intensely feeling, for not feeling enough, for fighting back.

When your doctor inevitably lets it slip about your DSM diagnosis and you can’t help feel like a complete failure at life and existing. These are some of the lies of the irrational ceaseless thoughts which whirl around in my head.

 

Now that it is May, mental health month, I thought I’d revisit the above unpublished entry. The purpose of this post is to encourage and give hope to anyone who is struggling. Although I was at a very down place at the start of April, I am so thankful I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After medication tweaks, time with my team of doctors, valuable sessions with my peer support specialist, and lots of prayer, I am able to confidently say mood and food stability exists. While I occasionally wrestle with unwanted bothersome thoughts related to food and weight, I have learned techniques such as self-talk which have helped lessen the compulsion to act on said mind traps.

Medications sure do not fix everything, and just like any human I have my down days, however, I truly believe actively living, thriving, wellness and recovery are possible.

Finally, this morning I was messaging with a dear lady who is one of the most caring and kind friends one could ask for. We were discussing the stigmas attached to mental illness. Here are a few of the reminders I often need to tell myself when I hear something in the media or a friend unknowingly makes a comment related to mental health concerns. What are your go-to reminders?

You are not your diagnosis or morally responsible for its existence.

Our brains are part of our bodies, so they deserve the same high-level specialized care and treatment as a person with a heart condition or diabetes.

Our differences are what make us unique.

Despite what our minds attempt to convince us of, we are not in this alone.

 

Until next time, be well

Anjelina

 

Learning to Let Go

“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.” – Wintergirls

 

Happy Earth day! I hope this entry finds you well. It has been some time since I have written a substantive post. I’m still reading your blogs and hope to get around to commenting to your beautiful, enriching posts.

I chose the above quote because it symbolizes how I have been feeling over the past week. With a major med change and a new outlook on recovery, I am learning to be okay with who I am. Accepting my body for what it is, God’s creation, the temple of the Holy Spirit, is a realization which has taken many years.

I’m not at all saying I don’t still struggle with body image and negative thoughts, but what I am beginning to believe is that recovery is something to always work for no matter how many times a relapse occurs. Recovery is worth every negative thought or action.

For me, the eating disorder, while very cunning offers nothing but empty promises and is simply a load of lies. I write this for anyone struggling or for those days’ recovery seems unattainable. There is life, freedom, happiness and so much more outside of the suffocating world of not being well.

I have learned I am unable to have one foot in the world of mental and physical torment while the other is in the world of being a social worker. The two cannot coexist.

I am looking forward to my future employment opportunity with all its possibilities.

Rather than trying to disappear into nothingness, I am learning to like the sound of my step, the size of my body without fixating on the number on the scale, and I enjoy the taste of food. I appreciate more than ever being able to satiate hunger pangs.

I am learning no matter where you are in a relapse, asking for help can be one of the most difficult but best decisions you can make toward wellness.

Take care of yourself because we have one life to live.

What overall proactive tips do you have for when times get tough?

Finally, I leave you with this accurate quote:

“This is the weird aftermath, when it is not exactly over, and yet you have given it up. You go back and forth in your head, often, about giving it up. It’s hard to understand, when you are sitting there in your chair, having breakfast or whatever, that giving it up is stronger than holding on, that “letting yourself go” could mean you have succeeded rather than failed. You eat your goddamn Cheerios and bicker with the bitch in your head that keeps telling you you’re fat and weak: Shut up, you say, I’m busy, leave me alone. When she leaves you alone, there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some getting used to. You will miss her sometimes…There is, in the end, the letting go.” Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

 

Until next time,

Anjelina

NAS: Ready

NAS: Ready

How ready do you think you are for your vocation? Are you ready to be committed to your vocation within the next year, or two years? That means being married (and maybe with a baby), taking religious vows, or telling people you’re not interested in marriage and plan to remain single for life. What do you still need to work on or change about yourself before you’re ready? Have you thought you were ready before? How have you become better prepared over time? Married ladies can chime in, too: how did you know it was the right time to get hitched?

 

Hi there,

Since I wanted to take time to ponder this prompt, I’m a day late to the link-up. Honestly, lately I haven’t thought about or fixated on my vocation of marriage. I mean, of course I wish I were in a relationship or married, but over the past few months I’ve tried to let go of my plans and timetables for life. I don’t know if I will be married in a year or two, however, there are always aspects of myself I can work on improving.

Effectively communicating when emotions are hhihgh is something I struggle doing. I am currently working on being more patient with parts of my life that aren’t in my control. I am also working on accepting who I am flaws and all.

The list of improvements could go on and on, and I’m certain even when/if I am married, or single for the rest of my life there will be parts of myself I can enhance. Although it’s imporitant to try to be our best selves, let’s also remember that who we are, where we are in life could be part of a bigger plan that we yet do not know. What are your thoughts or how would you answer this prompt?

Until next time,

Anjelina

Paint brush poem

HI there,

It has been some time since I last wrote.

I first read the below poem when I was a teenager in eating disorder treatment for the first time. Not only did this poem express how I felt toward my insecurities, it also provided me another voice different from the figurative one of anorexia. I still revisit this gem when I feel unsure of recovery and where I’m headed in life. I believe we all strive for acceptance and approval, and for me, rejection of any type is quite difficult to deal with, especially since I am naturally a sensitive person.

Nearly 20 years later I still struggle with similar insecurities, however, I am slowly learning that I have a healthy voice who wants to life and be heard. I pray this poem speaks to your heart if you are struggling with self-esteem, body image or any type of insecurity.

 

Paint Brush Poem

I keep my paint brush with me

Wherever I may go,

In case I need to cover up

So the real me doesn’t show.

I’m so afraid to show you me,

Afraid of what you’ll do – that

You might laugh or say mean things.

I’m afraid I might lose you.

 

I’d like to remove all my paint coats

To show you the real, true me,

But I want you to try and understand,

I need you to accept what you see.

So if you’ll be patient and close your eyes,

I’ll strip off all my coats real slow.

Please understand how much it hurts

To let the real, me show.

 

Now my coats are all stripped off.

I feel naked, bare and cold,

And if you still love me with all that you see,

You are my friend, pure as gold.

 

I need to save my paint brush, though,

And hold it in my hand,

I want to keep it handy

In case somebody doesn’t understand.

So please protect me, my dear friend

And thanks for loving me true,

But please let me keep my paint brush with me Until I love me, too

 

Until next time,

Anjelina