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

 

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

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

Unicef

Unicef

In 2007, an estimated 9.2 million children worldwide under the age of five died from largely preventable causes. Some are directly caused by illness such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. By packaging services and implementing at scale, high impact and evidence-based maternal, newborn and child survival interventions, we can save millions of lives. By ensuring that all children have access to basic education and by focusing on children marginalized by poverty, HIV/AIDS, conflict and discrimination, we can break the cycle of poverty that keeps children on the brink of survival.

Free Arts NYC

Free Arts NYC

Free Arts NYC programs inspire children to re-imagine their worlds and transform their lives through the creative arts. With the help of dedicated and caring volunteer mentors, Free Arts NYC delivers creative arts programs directly to low income, homeless, abused and neglected children. We partner with group homes, shelters, schools and community centers to give children the opportunity to express themselves in a supportive environment in order to develop communication and trust. Our programs and the relationships they foster help children and families experience new levels of hope and creativity.

Jumpstart

Jumpstart

At Jumpstart, we know that every child is born with the potential to succeed in school and in life. We also know that the foundation for that success is established in the early years, before a child enters kindergarten. To cultivate a child’s social, emotional and intellectual readiness, Jumpstart brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children for year long, individualized tutoring and mentoring. Since 1993, more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart service. This year alone, Jumpstart volunteers are serving more than one million hours with 13,000 preschool children in more than 60 communities across America.

Harlem’s Children Zone

Harlem’s Children Zone

Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. has experienced incredible growth – from the number of children we serve to the breadth of our services. But one thing has stayed the same: the agency’s “whatever it takes” attitude when it comes to helping children to succeed. Under the visionary leadership of its President and CEO, Geoffrey Canada, HCZ continues to offer innovative, efficiently run programs that are aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves.All HCZ programs are offered free to the children and families of Harlem.

American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Since its founding in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been the nation’s premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguishes itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. The core values of RMHC are: Focusing on the critical needs of children, celebrating the diversity of the programs we offer and the staff, volunteers and donors who make them possible, staying true to our heritage of 35 years of responsible,stewardship, operating with accountability and transparency.