LCBD: Why Did I Have to Change?

Change: it happens to all of us, and our human nature is to be unsettled by change. However, it seems that everyone preaches “Change is Good!”

When my husband and I met, we had an instant connection.

  • We were Disney lovers, math nerds, Filipino, computer geeks, book fans, gamers (video & board), and best of all, strawberry ice cream lovers…everything he liked, I liked too  –  two peas in a pod! (Later, we would also find out that our parents have the same names!)
  • Of course, we also had our differences. I’m loud, energetic, spontaneous, and talkative; Michael is pensive, calculative, calm, and spares his words. I love the outdoors, and he prefers to stay in. I prefer dogs, he grew up with cats. I’m a die-hard for the Lakers…he roots for the Spurs *shudder* – nevertheless, he’s the Yin to my Yang.

They say that in marriage, or any relationship, there are compromises that are made. As our relationship got more and more serious, I’ll admit my strong-headed temperament allowed for me to make less compromises. I influenced him to open up more, try new things, be spontaneous and for my 22nd birthday, he even got me our precious pup, Twix! So, of course, I figured I would be slowly introducing him to things I loved and he never did; he was slowly start to like, and even love, some of the things I really loved. After all, aren’t relationships supposed to help each other become better versions of themselves? That’s part of why I started “Little Change, Big Difference;” little changes made for the better can make a big difference down the line, for ourselves, others, the whole world. However…

I never thought that I was the one who would have to change.

In August of 2011, Michael and I finally lived in the same city after two years of long distance. I started to feel tired and physically exhausted all the time; my job is a house manager (guest services manager) for a performing arts center, so I worked weird, inconsistent, early/late hours. Naturally, we blamed my hours and the physical aspects on my job were taking a toll. Still, I didn’t really understand or believe it.

I worked entertainment at Disney, sometimes standing up with little relief and wearing heavy equipment for 6-10 hours.From Disney Entertainment, I moved to hospitality in the hotels and the job was surprisingly more demanding than standing the whole shift carrying over 15 lbs of equipment. Those past two jobs were more physically demanding than my house management job, yet I kept having physical pains and started to lose strength in my hands.

By January of 2012, I couldn’t even make a fist with either hand. I knew I had to see a doctor when my hands were so stiff that I had to call Michael to pick me up since I couldn’t grip the wheel. We had to have one of our friends follow Michael while driving my car so it wouldn’t get towed.

In May of 2012, just before my 25th birthday, I met with a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE). Since then, in addition to our 40+ hour jobs, it’s been doctors, labs, testing, and therapy every week, and almost every day, for me and Michael.  Having had been sickly, including severe asthma and allergies, my whole life, I’m fairly used to the process of going to specialists, physical therapists, and emergency clinics.

Today, we’re at two years and almost ten additional diagnoses. We aren’t even sure if we are much closer to a solution to help my illnesses be less disruptive to my work and social life. This is not written to have you pity me, as I do have a wonderful support system through my ever loving husband, my parents, my siblings, and my closest family and dear friends. I have my faith and optimistic attitude that has me rely on God, knowing that everything happens for a reason and that I can get through anything because I have God and my loved ones to help me through it.

Even with how hard I fight to stay healthy and active, I have learned there are many things I would not be able to do again, or should not do again. Yes, a lot of them are things I liked to do: camping, archery, go-karting, laying out in the sun all day. I have recently realized, dealing with this illness was to help slow down in life. I was running at life, at work, at dreams at full throttle and, though I know what is most important are family and friends, I was doing too much.

My illness has changed me, for the better, emphasizing what is important and bringing Michael and I even closer together, which we never thought was really possible, being as close as we already were. Through it all, God was having me to slow down to Michael’s pace and learn to really “stop and smell the roses.I thought I had all the answers: putting God and family first, doing service, appreciating how blessed you are, be God fearing, spread God’s word, do good (yes, good, not well), and always love and forgive.

This just goes to show that God really does work in mysterious ways; if you wanted to make God laugh, show Him your plans. God has helped me to learn how to truly appreciate all the things I enjoy and can do with my husband rather than pushing him to his limits to join me in other things I found fun. I thought I was changing Mike for the better (in my opinion), but God will always be guiding your life: His will be done. What does God want you to do today? How can you change for the better?

God Bless!

Krazy Kree

 

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LCBD: Time to Spring Forward

blogentry_kristaroseYes, it’s that time of year when our clocks spring one hour ahead, giving us one hour “less” of sleep…only to gain it when they fall back later in the year; the reason for my post is not to remind you to change your clocks, but to look at your life and see where you can spring forward.

What do I mean by Springing Forward?
How many things have you constantly continued to put off? I am a big procrastinator sometimes, it could be because I lose interest and don’t care to finish and other times it’s just because I am not up to doing anything. We can get caught just staring at our screens (TV, tablet, computer, etc.) watching the latest show, playing the latest game, or watching the surprised kitty on YouTube for the millionth time. Sound familiar?

What things have you put off that you can get a move on, now? I’ve been putting off reading some books and working on design projects. I have been saying since New Years that I will focus more on myself and working on my design projects in my free time rather than getting sucked in to the world of Ross and Rachel’s off again on again relationship.

So, since I’ve procrastinated bettering myself and my free time for two months, it’s time to Spring Forward and dive deep into my work and my free time. Why become numb watching mindless TV show over and over when I can dive deeper in love with the things I like to do. So I ask, what can you do today to Spring Forward? What is something you can promise to do that will help you to fight procrastination? Spring Forward and make a difference.

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Thank You, Charlie Brown.

blogentry_kristaroseI feel overwhelmingly blessed to be surrounded with some of the most wonderful, kind, generous, and loving people on earth. People tend to be overwhelming grateful to their parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members for the way the shape, form, and mold us; rightfully so…however, there are others that you may not be connected by blood but they become family, too.

They said blood is thicker than water, but I also believe the blood of Christ is a stronger bond than anything else in the world. I believe that the single most influential non-blood relative I have is my forever parish priest, for the sake of anonymity I shall call him Fr. Charlie Brown (in honor of our shared love of the beloved Peanuts comics).

Fr. Brown is the most faith-filled, loving, generous, and compassionate person I have ever known. My parents moved to the central coast of California when I was two years old and searched throughout the coast for the “perfect” parish for us, a family friendly atmosphere and active lay ministry life.

My parents opted to move to my hometown of Atascadero, translation from Spanish as “mud hole” (and one dictionary went as far as “a place one cannot escape from”), instead of the gorgeous green rolling hills of San Luis Obispo or the beautiful seascape of Shell Beach. The move was truly just because of our hometown parish and what Fr. Brown made it, which, to be absolutely clear, I would never trade for the ocean or rolling hills.

Fr. Brown and the parish welcomed us with open arms. As we immersed ourselves in the culture, Fr. Brown fostered a wonderful emphasis on focusing on the youth (for blessed are the children of God, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven) who are the future of the Church.

Fr. Brown would send all the volunteer religious ed teachers down to the LA Religious Ed Conference to help our teachers be the best for the parish. I loved tagging along with my parents to the conference, which was so much fun in and of itself, but was even better with the other families from our parish going, as well.

I remember hearing amazing talks, getting awesome material, and attending the neatest masses, including a wave in the Anaheim convention center. What an inspiration to be exposed to such wonderful people and role models, and most especially for us, to see Catholics from all over the country (and even the world) celebrate the Eucharist together.

Fr. Brown cultivated a culture in our parish that not only taught us about God and got our love for the Holy Spirit ignited at such a young age, but he also allowed us to help teach each other. How empowering it is for us to help teach and share our love of God with others. At such a young age we were exposed to amazing, spirit filled retreats full of fellowship, song, and beautiful Mother Nature. We learned of different ways of prayer learned from around the world, like the Labyrinth, the rosary, meditation, and more. We even had a journey to a monastery in Big Sur and shared in their evening vespers.

I could literally go on and on for days on all the wonderful experiences and lessons that I have learned by being part of the youth program at St. Williams and Fr. Brown’s integration into our family, but I will try to be more succinct then that (even though I’ve already gone on for a while now).

Through Fr. Brown, we learned about Notre Dame Vision, which, for lack of a better term, is a
“God camp” hosted by the University of Notre Dame and ran by both undergrad and graduate Notre Dame students. The parish (under Fr. Brown’s direction) sent me and two of my friends to Notre Dame, which ultimately led me to go to school there and meeting the other love of my life (the first love of my life being Our Father, God).

Without Fr. Brown, I know I would not be who I am today. I truly believe that the very fabric of my being was formed by the love and faith of my parents and God (which was channelled through many people, but most especially channelled through Fr. Brown). Without a doubt, I owe such a debt of gratitude of love and more for all that Fr. Brown has done to shape me, my brothers, and all of the parishioners of St. Williams. Though I know that this carries very little weight, and no words can ever express the love, wonderment, awe, and thankfulness I feel toward him, I want to say “Thank You, Fr. Brown.”

-Krazy Kree

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LCBD: A thank you to my students

blogentry_kristaroseTo give a bit of context to the following letter I have to explain my job. I am a guest services house manager at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

I started my work there with the now Junior class at the University, so I have seen these young men and women, remarkable young men and women, grow from little high school youngins to these absolutely outstanding group of kids.

Below is the email I wrote to them for Valentine’s Day with some omissions (Just an FYI, JPW stands for Junior Parent’s Weekend, when the junior parents come visit their child on campus and celebrate with mass, dinner, and fellowship all weekend):

I can’t believe how incredibly emotional I am as I write this e-mail. I apologize that I am not sending each of you individual emails; being sick has caused me to have to conserve my energy and take short cuts, sometimes.

I hope second semester is treating you well. I miss you all terribly, but hopefully I will see those of you still at the center For everyone not at ND, I hope your miss us miserably…enough to want to buy me a ticket to visit? 😉

As Valentine’s Day and JPW approaches tomorrow (I show my ND alum spirit by procrastinating…), I reminisce on many fond memories including Michael and I trekking in the snow to hand deliver all the Valentine’s to student ushers (sorry, not happening this year!) as well as many fond memories of JPW.

For those abroad, sorry that you are missing JPW this year, but you can go next year! Free “fancy” food and ice sculptures. I will say, JPW is the time when most kids turn 21 so it’s their awkward first legal drink that they share with their parents…which is amusing to watch.

Since Valentine’s Day is not exactly a celebration of St. Valentine and his feast day anymore, but more about expressing love for others, I just want to say that I love each and everyone of you.

Whether I met you this year, or you have been working with me for the past three years, you are super awesome and I love you. You all helped me to grow as a manager, mentor, and just as a person, in general.

To my ticket office ladies, it’s no lie, I wish I could steal you for my DPAC team…but that would be unfair to the ticket office…but I still think you ladies are awesome. Thank you for the daily procrastination and entertainment you provided whenever I’d come to visit the ticket office.

To all my students – we handpicked each and every one of you…and it has been wonderful. Thank you all for being little rays of sunshine to brighten my work days.

So, the reason why I am getting emotional is JPW marks the start of the end of your time at Notre Dame, in a sense. You’re in the last leg of your junior year and then you will be graduating before you know it. I’ve seen each of you grow from these baby Freshman, with a fresh exciting energy and nervousness that comes with the territory, to the wonderful young men and women whom I am proud to know.

As you approach the weekend, I want you to all be grateful to your parents, if they are coming in, and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about homework (blasphemy!!!) or other drama, just enjoy this time with you parents because, unless you grow up to leave in your parent’s basement/attic, this will be one of the last times you will be able to spend just with your parents…holidays are crazy, you get married, you only get 2 weeks vacation, you are in a different country…the list of reasons is endless.

Not that I need to tell you all to do this, but be sure to come in with a thankful heart and let your parents know how much you love, care, and appreciate them. Michael’s dad passed away during his senior year at ND, and I can tell you that is one of the hardest things that he and I deal with because we miss him terribly and we feel we never expressed to him how much we are appreciative of all he has done, especially, for me, raising such a wonderful son.

I think it is so appropriate that Valentine’s Day is the start of JPW…make your parents your Valentine this year (No, not in an incestuous or Oedipus complex way) and let them know how you feel (even if you aren’t here for JPW). Ok, enough of my sappy little lecture…I promise!

You are all wonderful young men and women and I am really glad to have known all of you. I hope I can recover sooner rather than later so I can be back at work to spend more time with all of you before you all completely grow up and leave me.

And Remember…It’s always a good time. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnZ4f_E93uw)

Love you guys!
– KR

These men and women have truly made a big difference in my life and I hope I have done the same for them.

Krazy Kree

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LCBD: Love one another

blogentry_kristarose“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I, for one, am always humbled by this bible story, but I try so hard to not judge people. Why is it in our nature to judge and condemn before even meeting someone.

We may never meet someone and give them a condemning look that breaks their spirit.

As mikeypeq22 and I went out to enjoy a meal out for our two month anniversary, the four tables at the window all turned and gave us judging looks, as I have a disabled placard but don’t always use my wheelchair or cane.

Instead of spending a nice meal with my husband to celebrate our anniversary, I slunk into the back corner trying to get the attention off of us.

Yes, we should not get lost in self pity, but I also think we need to be aware of how we treat others around us, even if we don’t interact directly with each other.

Normally, I am the one to let is slide and Mike gets protective, but this time it really hit me hard, how powerful a nasty stare can be. Remember, we should look kindly on each other because we are all God’s children.

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It’s in the little things…

blogentry_kristaroseOver these past two weeks, Michael and I have received many blessings.

Our sister-in-law was taken to the hospital and gave birth August 31st. Blessed little Caleb has been in the NICU but we are blessed with a new nephew. His mom and dad are also celebrating their two year anniversary today.

Last week, in a spur of the moment I decided I wanted to watch a dance show and I was blessed that Michael could come and we enjoyed a wonderful date night.

Two nights in a row this week, Michael and I have had a time to take a break and get lost playing a video game for a few hours together.

These moments are little things that have brought a lot of joy.

As I always say, doing a little can make a big difference (LCBD!)…I am blessed for all the little things in my life that make my life wonderful and perfect, to me.

What little things make your day?

-Krazy Kree

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“Don’t let yourself get in the way of you”

blogentry_kristaroseI had a massage the other day from a remarkable therapist. As I always say, “Everything happens for a reason” because God is in charge, not me. I truly believe God brought me to this therapist. I’ve been living across from this salon for over a year and randomly called over to see if they gave massages. They said yes and were charging me about a third of what my wonderful day spa charges me, so of course I signed up.

I went into the salon and out comes this smaller man and he asks if I’m ready…he looks nervous and awkward and I’m thinking that I am having second thoughts…this isn’t a day spa, it’s a hair salon, there isn’t any calming music, or tea, or water or anything…and then we get into the room and there is harsh lighting and they therapist is very laissez-faire attitude.

I have to say, it was the most amazing massage I’ve ever had. This man was trained to be a medical masseuse and helped a paraplegic to move his hands, helped a woman to walk again, helped so many people. He was originally a mechanic and moved from man’s machine to God’s machine.  He is amazing and he feels that God has called him to be where he is at. He’s changed so many lives and he said the most profound thing to me, “Don’t let yourself get in the way of you.”

What a profound thought. He had a dog and he and his wife wanted the dog to be a therapist dog but they  then said that they didn’t know what the dog wanted…the dog did not want to be a therapist dog but was a very loving and loyal dog for them.

So I leave it to you, let God be the planner…don’t get in your own way.

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The Prodigal Son

blogentry_kristaroseHappy Easter!

I know that some of you may wonder why I wrote “The Prodigal Son.” The priest from today’s gospel talked about Easter, of course, and Jesus risen, but he also mentioned of the Prodigal
Son from a few weekends ago, as well.

He talked about how that was one of Jesus’ most powerful stories, that God was willing to forgive us for all our sins…that no matter how much we sin, He will welcome us back. (He also did mention that Jesus dying on the cross was “a zillion times more important” than this gospel, because God did not wait for the repentant sinner to come to him, but already forgave them.)

The fact that the priest talked about the Prodigal Son really hit me because you usually don’t hear about the Prodigal Son on Easter. He talked of the son wasting his inheritance and partying all the time and when he ends up sleeping with the pigs, that the Father welcomed him back and forgave him. This doesn’t mean that you can just go on a sinning spree because you know that if you mean that you’re sorry later, than it’s okay. You may even be committing a mortal sin (which occurs when (1) the sin is of grave/serious matter (2) you know that it is a sin and (3) you commit the sin with full deliberate consent [which means you are committing the sin because you want to not because someone is forcing you…]).

But what really caught me about the Prodigal Son was the “faithful” son that was angry that the Father had accepted his brother back after sinning so much. I think that this is such a great lesson in the Prodigal Son that is often omitted and if it isn’t omitted, it is often skipped in the homily. This jealous son teaches us that as the faithful, we should not be angry at God or our brothers and sisters when God forgives them and welcomes them back to His Home and His heart. We should not be jealous or full of pride (two of the seven deadly sins) and say to God that it’s unfair for Him to welcome them Home.

We should love our brothers and sisters no matter what. When I was younger I asked my parents if there were tiers in Heaven and Hell…like those who sinned more got punished more and those who were more faithful were a “closer” tier to God. I know now that that is impossible, at least in Heaven, because God loves all His children of equal magnitude (but don’t get me wrong, it’s an infinite magnitude) and He wants us to see that we are all equals and should love each other with agape, the infinite love He has for us.

Happy Easter to all!

-Kree

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You make me smile

blogentry_kristaroseListen to “You make me smile” by Uncle Kracker (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkCLBj7nKPY) which will make this post, and more importantly, your day, so much better. It’s just a great song about people in love…or even best friends and family.

I know that Michael has written a time or two about Twix, but he really does light up our lives. Whenever I am sick he runs to me and curls up with me and his warmth helps make me feel better. I think animals are a lot more keen to our feelings than we humans may even be. If you have a pet, make sure they know that you are grateful for them and that you love them. Like this Mama Panda and her cub – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdfJMZVt7pI.

Even more than your animals, though, don’t forget to love those who love you. I may sometimes drive my parents wild, and not in the good way, but I hope they also know that I wouldn’t be where and who I am today without them. Their love, devotion, and caring for us children and their great faith helped to raise the three of us to be the wonderful, charismatic people we are today. Don’t forget to let others know how you feel.

Need some inspiration? Google: “You make me smile,” and click “images.” These will be a guarantee to make you smile and that person smile. So on this day, Good Friday, don’t only thank Jesus for paying the ultimate sacrifice for us, but thank God for all the wonderful people He put in our lives to let His light shine through them. Thank you, Jesus, for making me smile.

http://images.cryhavok.org/v/You+Make+Me+Smile.jpg

You Make Me Smile

 

<3 Krazy Kree