Our hardships are our lessons to share with others

When I was in high school I was very aware of the many invisible things that could effect a teenager.  There were days that I felt I was just going through the motions, but I had hope that one day things would be, different.  I was extremely fortunate that I had great friends to distract me.  However, I was great at hiding the things that ailed me.  I can recall clearly one day in AP History, my teacher asking  me if I was OK, that he’d noticed I was looking fragile.  I admitted that I had lost weight but I blamed it on my busy schedule, you know all the extra running around.  I learned to smile, even though sometimes I wanted to cry.  I had broken my relationship with God when my grandparents passed away within months of each other.  I questioned how a mighty God could take away our loved ones and put us through trying times.  One of the things that also helped was a journal with a good and old friend of mine that shared a similar way of life.  You think you’re alone but if you’re lucky you find out you’re not.

I’m reminiscent today because of Daphine Glenn Robinson’s short story, Invisible Girl: The Suicide Journal.  Melissa, the owner of the journal, has a different story than mine.  We’re both familiar with the screaming, the slamming, the occasional scene of violence and the uncontrollable tears.  As I began reading, I had to put it down several times.  Its hard, when you think you’ve forgotten a memory, to only hear or read something that brings it rushing back.  Once I reminded myself of where I was now, no where near where I was at 15, I couldn’t put the book down.  Her story unfolds quickly, and you feel like you’re right there with her.  Pleading with her to have faith.  Faith that things do get better.  But more importantly, faith in God.  He never gives us anything we cannot handle.  Our hardships are our lessons to share with others.  This is what Invisible Girl does.

If I didn’t have that friend in high school, to journal back and forth with, to share my woes; I wish I had read this book then.  Out of all the hundreds of books I read in my youth as a child, I wish I had it to read then.  Unfortunately the topics of this book are not the casual topics you’d bring up at a party or at the cafeteria table.  The topics are raw and leave you feeling unnerved.  Nonetheless it is a topic that should be discussed, must be discussed, because it is realSomewhere someone is experiencing it right now. 

These past few weeks I have been teaching Catechism.  If we do not see something, does it exist?  Yes.  This is what we call faith.  We believe because of faith.  “We can know God in a much deeper way by means of faith.  In a much deeper way because in this instance it is God himself who tells us who he is, what he has done, what he has given us, what he promises, what he teaches, what pleases him, what he wants from us. … Through faith God revels himself, allows himself to be known, and manifests himself.  Furthermore, God does this because he wants to and because he loves us.  God speaks to us in order to tell us what he is like and to tell us how we should be; and since he speaks to us, he tells us his Word, the Word of God.”…Carlos Miguel Buela, Catechism for Youth.

I ask you on this Soulful Sunday to be mindful of your friends.  Sometimes they might be going through an ordeal they can’t speak of, either out of fear or because its not something you bring up in casual conversation.  All you can do is make sure they know that you are there for them, that you love them and that God loves them to.

The Word of God, yes, on that note I leave you a reading from today’s Holy Mass to let it marinate the rest of the week.

Heb 4: 12-13                          [God’s Living Word]

God’s word is penetrating and sharp.  Nothing is hidden from God, and all must render an account to him.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and Sisters:

Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to who we must render an account.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

Let it marinate!

Until then,

PS: To find out more works of Daphine please visit her:

Daphine Glenn Robinson 

Author, Freelance Writer

Should We Come with a WARNING Label?


photo credit: elycefeliz via photopin cc

You walk into the supermarket, reciting the short list of items to pick up and out of the corner of your eye you see something that causes you to stop.  You take a double look, this one slower, to see a vision that makes you hold your breath in until you realize, oh I’m holding my breath. You realize you’re staring and you try and distract yourself with what you came into the store for.  But who are you fooling, you can’t remember a single item.  May you be so bold as to inquire if the lovely creature is taken?  Might you exchange numbers in hopes of starting something that will end in a happily ever after type scenario?

For you, the first encounter, might not have actually been the grocery store.  It might have been the gas station, the shopping mall, the dentist’s office, or dare I say a blind date.  One thing did lead to another and the next thing you knew you were in a committed relationship.  Regardless of how you got there you have to admit that you’re not alone.  There are many people out there, within a stone’s throw from you, that shares a similar story to your own.  You’re eyes met, a spark sprang into being, you fell madly in love and now you hope to end in a happily ever after type scenario.  You are now comfortable, as is your significant other, and you start to notice that all the things you thought were cute are starting to REALLY ANNOY you.  Before we enter into a committed relationship, Should we come with a WARNING Label?

I’ve been reading Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert (A part DOS to her Eat, Pray, Love) and she gives a play by play of how her feelings went from never marrying again to understanding/researching marriage and her journey with Felipe.  The thing I love about this book so far are all the tidbits of history you read about marriage itself.  In chapter 4 she talks about the potential to minimize our dangers in premarital preparation.  If we look past our delusions of the person we love, and realize that no one can be perfect, that we all have our faults, can we not help the other person out by listing the items which, while they love now, might grow to ANNOY them.  Can we cross our fingers and hope that despite our long list of undesirable faults, that the person we love, loves us back anyway? 

When listing her faults, Elizabeth asks Felipe HOW can he love her still and he responds after a while saying, “When I used to go down to Brazil to buy gemstones, I would often buy something they call ‘a parcel’.  A parcel is this random collection of gems that the miner or the wholesaler or whoever is bulls&#@ting you puts together.  A typical parcel would contain, I don’t know, maybe twenty or thirty aquamarines at once.  Supposedly, you get a better deal that way -buying them all in a bunch- but you have to be careful, because of course the guy is trying to rip you off.  He’s trying to unload his bad gemstones on you by packaging them together with a few really good ones….So when I first started in the jewelry business, Felipe went on, I used to get in trouble because I’d get too excited about the one or two perfect aquamarines in the parcel, and I wouldn’t pay as much attention to the junk they threw in there.  After I got burned enough times, I finally got wise and learned this: You have to ignore the perfect gemstones.  Don’t even look at them twice because they’re blinding.  Just put them away and have a careful look at the really bad stones.  Look at them for a long time, and then ask yourself honestly, ‘Can I work with these? Can I make something out of this?‘ Otherwise, you’ve just spent a whole lot of money on one or two gorgeous aquamarines buried inside a big heap of worthless crap.

We are fortunate, when we can find that special someone, who we love despite their flaws, and they love us back despite ours.  However, what does a person do, when they only took the time to look at the blindingly beautiful gemstones in their parcel and ignored the huge heap of worthless crap?  I’m sure we’ve had at least one of these moments in our earlier years of dating, where we stopped and realized, beyond all our wishing for the happily ever after, that this relationship was NEVER going to work out.  How did you end it?

I think sometimes, people do give us warnings.  They let us know from the very start, their character, their truth.  We tend to turn a blind eye on it, hence the phrase, Love is blind.  We see what we want, when we want to see it.  What did you do in that situation?  For a while I bought parcels, with the intention of examining it with a microscope before making any commitment.  If the amount of crappy gemstones outweighed the few beauties, then I gladly handed the parcel back to the seller.  Giving yourself time to examine the character of a potential significant other, is not something to do lightly.  If what you see is something you CAN commit to, do it, if not then don’t.  But love can blind us, and I think its only fair to yourself and to the other person, to use the ‘Rip the bandaid off’ technique.  Dragging it out only makes it worse.   

A penny for your thoughts! What advice could you give someone trying to face the fact that they got a bad parcel?  How can a person take charge of their love life?  

Until then,

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

By the end of my vacation I had finished reading Eat Pray Love and was very sad.  You follow Liz on this amazing quest to find balance and inner peace and you just wish you had a year to take off and do the same thing!

I cheered up a bit when I read that there was a continuation in Committed, as Elizabeth shares with us her journey of marriage with the sophisticated champion she meets in Bali.  Let me know if you’ve read it or have it to read!  It is on my to BUY list.

leave you with this last quote that made me feel at ease as I knew Liz finally found what she needed.

Prayer bead 87 or Chapter 87…
“…I’ve been here only a few weeks and I feel a rather mission-accomplished sensation already.  The task in Indonesia was to search for balance, but I don’t feel like I’m searching for anything anymore because the balance has somehow naturally come into place.  It’s not that I’m becoming Balinese (no more than I ever became Italian or Indian) but only this– I can feel my own peace, and I love the swing of my days between easeful devotional practices and the pleasures of beautiful landscape, dear friends and good food.  I’ve been praying a lot lately, comfortably and frequently.  Most of the time, I find that I want to pray when I’m on my bicycle, riding home from Ketut’s house through the monkey forest and the rice terraces in the dusky late afternoon.  I pray, of course, not to be hit by another bus, or jumped by a monkey or bit by a dog, but that’s just superfluous; most of my prayers and expressions of sheer gratitude for the fullness of my contentment.  I have never felt less burdened by myself or by the world...”

Prayer can be such a powerful tool in our lives, to get us through the bad and remind us of the good!

Until then
djrelat7

PS Stay Tuned as I share with you my thoughts on the end of Harry Potter #7

Sometimes its ok to read a book between books…

I send greetings from the HOT and humid Playa del Carmen in Qunita Roo Mexico. I am happy to say that I am still reading Harry Potter for those of you that are following and have joined the Dust Off Your Books Club on Live Journal. I know, why am I happy to still be reading a book for over a month….well last time I talked about it things were getting touch and go for Harry and Hermione. Again I will not give specifics in case someone else has this book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows(*7) on their list of books to read. While the current task at hand for them has not gone towards victory, their immediate situation has gotten better. I have another 200 pages to go, but I anticipate it to go quickly. Then I will be sad to have finished the book. However I do have the movie to look forward to, Part 1 in November of 2010 and Part 2 in July 2011.

SO I put it down to read the books I packed for my vacation…I´m currently reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and so far its GOOD. Its a quest that I think at one time or another we´ve all made or wish we had. I´m on her second journey in the book for those of you who have read it….and for those of you who have not I HIGHLY recommend it. The movie for this book is also set to appear this year…i forget when exactly and it will star Julia Roberts(someone correct me if I am wrong).

I have a quote of this book to share with you, well its really all of Chaper 16 or the 16th Prayer Bead….Pg 46 and 47

`They came upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives and they flank me–Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. They don´t need to show me their badges. I know these guys very well. We´ve been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now. Though I admit that I am surprised to meet them in this elegant Italian garden at dusk. This is no place they belong.


I say to them,¨`How did they find me here? Who told you i had come to Rome?`


Depression, always the wise guy, says, `What–you`re not happy to see us?“


“Go away,“ I tell him.


…..Then they frisk me. They empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying there. Depression even confiscates my identiy, but he always does that. Then Lonliness starts interrogating me, which I dread because it always goes on for hours. He´s polite but relentless, and he always trips me up eventually“….

I don´t know, elizabeth has a way of painting a picture that her journey becomes your journey…your heart goes out to her, goes out to yourself and goes out to everyone else who has been in a similar situation. I can´t wait to read the 108th bead.

Keep me posted on how the book you´re reading is going on Live Journal! Search for either myself or Ms Pillowz, or The Dust Off Your Books Club. I always love to pick up a good book and hear that one that is on my list of books to read is good to someone else!

Stay Tuned for the next djrelat7 Book Review Post so you can see how I liked the book as a whole!

Until then
Sending Love From Mexico!
djrelat7

When I Was Puerto Rican

By Esmeralda Santiago

“…On the way home Mami kept asking what had happened, and I kept mumbling, “Nothing. Nothing happened,” ashamed that, after all the hours of practice with Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Barone, and Mr. Gatti, after the expense of new clothes and shoes, after Mami had to take a day off from work to take me into Manhattan, after all that, I had failed the audition and would never, ever, get out of Brooklyn. …”

Over the past year I wondered why there was never a Latin American Section in bookstores.  I  love reading and decided to start reading Spanish authors.  But where to find them?  I subscribed to Latina.com, a magazine that also has a website with good reads.  On occasion they post their top 10 books to read for the summer and I finally got the push I needed to start on my quest.  
Esmeralda paints a beautiful picture of the role of the mother in When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir.  I’d like to think that her mami’s strong spirit got rubbed off on Esmeralda; molding her into the young strong girl who has a happy ending.  In this life we need more happy endings.  To know that despite everything that comes our way, the worst in life is only temporary and can change in the blink of an eye.  Those changes are a result of the things that WE DECIDE to change.

Keep that in mind on this lovely Saturday morning :)

Until then
djrelat7

Life After College, What Your Parents and Professors Never Taught You

Life After College:
What Your Parents and Professors Never Taught You
By Chachanna Simpson

“…my goal is to prepare you for the real world.  Now, I’m not going to promise that you are going to learn everything there is to know about surviving and thriving in the real world from this book, but I’ll give you enough to get you started….”

Deliver on her word, she does! I wish I would have gotten a hold of this book when I graduated from highschool!  Thinking of an appropriate gift for a highschool graduate or still need to get one for a recent college grad?  This is an awesome gift and I’m sure after they read it they will be forever grateful.


In this book you get everything you need from applying for a job, the job interview, renting an apartment, protecting yourself with a variety of insurances, to budgeting and lots of good stuff on understanding your finances.  It was a nice treat to see a chapter in there on health.


So even if you think you know everything there is to know, you might find a thing or two that you were completely unaware of.  Buy a copy for yourself and one as a gift! Pick it up at booklocker.com

I first ran across Chachanna in the Connecticut Post while I was reading the paper back in 06.  It mentioned that she had a website dedicated to twenty somethings and I plugged in right away to twentity.com.  She is one of the reasons why this blog exists today.  I had the pleasure of meeting with her in 08 and when she published this book I couldn’t wait to read it.  Take a look at the website and follow her on facebook.  

Until then
djrelat7

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.  I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973…” 

I started reading this book in January while at Jury Duty.  I purchased this book in 2002 and after getting it home I couldn’t understand what had compelled me to buy it so it stayed on my bookshelf until I finally packed it into a box and put it in storage.  A friend of mine gave me her copy in August and insisted I read it.  Jury Duty seemed like a good time if any to read it.  The Lovely Bones is a must read.

The first page or so left me fighting back tears as this young girl describes her murder, how heaven is for her and how her loved ones are effected.  After the first chapter I put it down for a few months and picked it back up in April.  I won’t go into great detail in case you haven’t read it but it was one of the most moving stories I have ever read. 

Children are precious.  I do not have children yet but I could not EVER imagine having to go through the loss of a child to such horrid means.  It is a scary thought to teach your child the dangers of strangers and to yet be polite and respectful simultaneously. 

My heart goes out to those who have lost a child, by any means.  If you haven’t read this and plan to do so, you’ll read it and never be the same!

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until then
Djrelat7