Friday, July 8, 2016

Searching for the Light

Sheesh, on both a macro (the devastating violence and attacks in the world) and a micro (my own personal issues) level, the darkness seems to be gaining way too much strength. Yet, Christ truly is our hope! St. John's Gospel reminds us of Christ's promise: "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) 

It is times like these that I so appreciate my Catholic brother-in-Christ, JRR Tolkien and his masterpiece saga, The Lord of the Rings especially this clip from The Two Towers

Oh how I long for the return of Jesus Christ, for the final judgment. Day after day, I wonder how much longer is He going to allow all this evil to continue? Being an immature baby, I just wanna go to Heaven already and avoid dealing with all this crap. Yet, I always go back to the story of St. Peter's few seconds walking on water -- that passage is one that speaks strongly to me. I'm so like Peter where there are times when I'm like "Look Jesus! I'm doing so well, I can do this, woo hoo, go me!" but then I get so caught up in the moment or so caught up with all that plagues me and like Peter, I take my eyes off Christ and begin to sink. I -- we -- have got to stay focused on Jesus and not allow the darkness and evil to distract us or discourage us; that's what Satan wants and I for one refuse to give him any kind of victory. Plus, well, *spoiler alert* Christ wins in the end, all He asks of us is for us to stay faithful and trust Him. Easier said than done, I know. It's been on my heart to continuously ask Christ for the grace to embrace whatever Crosses He sends me, instead of reluctantly dragging them while muttering complaints under my breath (as if I can hide anything from Jesus?!? Silly Margo!) 

In conclusion to these rambling thoughts, I've got some prayer intentions (and please let me know how I can pray for YOU!): 

  • For the Catholic Answers apostolate, for their continued growth and especially as they strive to find someone to succeed my dear friend, Patrick Coffin, as host of Catholic Answers Live (I'm praying for Venerable Sheen's intercession!)
  • For my friend's newborn niece, "Avila Moreno suffering from many complications, mostly involving her brain. An hour after she was born, she started having seizures they thought to have been caused by a stroke. They also found some bleeding in her brain. Now they have found another problem with immune deficiency which can lead to a very short life in some cases."
  • For my seemingly perpetual search for full time employment as an Administrative Assistant/Receptionist/data entry preferably for a Catholic parish or Catholic organization or any small business. 
  • For my friend, Anna Marie, who should be giving birth to her first child any day now.
  • For the repose of the soul of Sam R., sister of a college friend, who died recently of a brain aneurism
  • For an end to all violence and acknowledgment of the dignity of EVERY human life
  • For the Cause of Canonization of Venerable Fulton Sheen
  • For the conversion of my brother, cousins, and a dear friend, D.I. 
God bless and God love you!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Who Am I? What Am I? Where Am I?

I often overhear that trio of questions by my mom when she's trying to get herself organized or before she heads out somewhere. Not sure why, but my brain is on overdrive-analytical mode so I'm pondering them with a blog post. Maybe it's in light of all the massive confusion about human identity. I don't know. Who am I? First and foremost, I'm a beloved daughter of God who is constantly striving and failing at holiness in this life He's given me. I am a female human being. Where am I? Wow! That question could encompass a plethora of meanings from geography to life stages.

My desires....
Again, top priority desire is to be holy, but even more, that people could see God and His love shining through me. I want to get out of myself, quit being sooo self focused, and shift my attention to others. But oh how often, I let my many, many insecurities, doubts, and fears get the best of me. I'm a hider -- confrontation is not a skill of mine, couple that with my melancholic temperament and that I'm ridiculously introverted and you've got the mess named Margo.
I want to be taken seriously.
I want people to know how much I love them as my fellow brothers- and sisters-in-Christ.
I get too overexcited about things. Back in high school, it was my church's youth ministry and my XC team, then in college, it was the Newman Center, and now in my post-collegiate life, it's Catholic Answers.
Why why why do I get such intensely strong feelings about these interests? I'm sick of coming off as a total freak, as someone who gets written off as just a "groupie" or "fan girl". I genuinely admire the apostolate and how they are truly leading people (Catholics and non-Catholics) closer to Christ, that's why so many of my social media posts involve CA.
This is a scary time of life -- trying to figure out what to make of adulthood, wanting the "package" of employment, marriage, family, etc.
Fighting that stupid stupid tendency towards pride, constantly feeling guilt over wanting to be noticed both in the professional sphere as well as amongst friends and my efforts at social media. Then feeling pathetic for my over-reliance on social media because I can't always handle being around people in real life because I'm the most socially awkward person of all time. How am I supposed to share God's love with others when I struggle wth social awkwardness? *sigh*
What do you do when you're overwhelmingly frustrated with yourself?? I keep trying to give it all over to Christ, but He doesn't really seem to have a clear path for me.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rambling Thoughts

Tired of my seemingly-dull life
Everything seems frozen in place
Constantly wondering where do I go from here

Want a new start
I have dreams 
Seem to go unfulfilled 
Jesus must be my #1
How to serve Him?
I think I fell in love
Though not yet with a man
But with an apostolate
With a way of spreading God's love
And His Truth
My heart longs for San Diego
But is it God's Will?
Or is it just a delusional fandom
Created in my mind
What will it take?
For me to piece my life together?
Oh God, my beloved, please
please show me what to do!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Conference Recap -- Day 2!

My heart is overflowing...tears of absolute gratitude to God, my Father for blessing me with an incredible day and showing me countless experiences of true, genuine love that my brothers and sisters-in-Christ share for each other. I'm a poor, poor sinner, constantly in need of God's grace and mercy....and He's pouring all these blessings to ME?!? I cannot fathom God's love and oh! If only....if only I can show this kind of love to others. Right now, I'm totally feeling St. Peter's idea during the Transfiguration "let's pitch tents, Jesus! And stay up here forever!" But deep down, I know I'll have to return to my ordinary life in Naperville in just a few days! Aww! But God has me there for a reason. Fortunately I still have PLENTY of excitement left in these final 3 days. Anyways....back to today...Friday!

  • Surprise, surprise! I overslept for the morning Mass, oops! But I had a nice shower and got myself ready for the day, which began with a talk by Jimmy Akin. In all honesty, it was quite informative, but a bit on the dry side since it was about the historicity of divorce, and most of the content I already knew. 
  • During the break after his talk, I met a girl my age sitting in front of me and it turns out not only did we attend the same college, but graduated the same year as each other!! And we're just now meeting all the way out in San Diego! Small, small world! 
  • Next was Dr. Roebuck's talk about the sociology behind marriage, divorce, IVF, etc. Again, a lot of stats and stuff I pretty much already knew, but decent enough talk. 
  • In between talks, I got to meet Timmerie Millington who co-hosts my other favorite radio show, Hearts & Minds with Trent Horn and I gushed about how truly blessed she is to be able to chat with Trent on a weekly basis about all things Catholic/pro-life! 
  • For the first time, CatholicAnswers offered a separate lunch session just for young adults featuring my fave Trent Horn as well as the newest apologist from Cajun Land, Karlo Broussard. They discussed faith & science as well as answering atheism (Trent's speciality). Huge huge blessing right there to have small group time with those two!
  • Then I got a double dose of Trent Horn since he gave a talk right after lunch about the relational & conjugal views of marriage. Love love love him! 
  • Then, what I've been most excited about, the LIVE TAPING OF CATHOLIC ANSWERS LIVE!!! And yes, I managed to get myself a front row seat and more or less lost my voice from my manic screaming lol I even got to ask a question at the end of the 2nd hour and (soberly) admitted to a million-person audience that I'm a CatholicAnswers-aholic...Patrick promised to get me into a 12-step program lol oh how wondrous it was to get to SEE my beloved radio show produced right before my eyes! *spazztime* 
  • The final activity of the day was an appetizers and drinks mixer where I chatted with a few people who complimented me on my enthusiasm. I got to have a heartfelt chat with Rose Sweet, who's been a guest on CatholicAnswers Live several times, then I bantered around with Patrick Coffin and got to meet Chris Check (the president) as well as Karl Keating (the FOUNDER) wow wow wow!!!
  • Throughout the day, my now-good-friend and head of the marketing department, Jon Sorenson helped me get all my CA swag autographed (apologies to Trent Horn who probably now has carpal tunnel thanks to me lol)
Ultimately, the thing that chokes me up and amazes me most is that just yesterday, I was on a plane wondering what it would be like to encounter my beloved CA apologists in person. I'm not as insecure as I used to be as a teen, but my confidence is still lacking...but now, I'm on a casual first name, bantering basis with all these people. Not that I'm trying to put them on pedestals, but I've had such a deep admiration/appreciation of them from afar. I was scared that maybe they wouldn't be as genuine in real life...but they are the real deal! God is so so good!


Trent Horn's large group talk!

Now from San Diego....CATHOLIC ANSWERS LIVE!


Jimmy Akin

Trent Horn's small group young adult talk

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Catholic Answers Conference Recap -- Day 1

WHOOOOO!!!!! What a day!!!! I'm so exhausted yet so exhilarated! Let's start at the very beginning (someone once said that's a very good place to start) And I'm doing this bullet point style because I'm way too excited to put together coherent paragraphs.

  • Plane ride was awesome! I enjoyed some white wine, honey roasted peanuts, and watched The Sound of Music and then listened to Phantom Planet's song, "California here we come" (theme song of my once-favorite-show-now-I-can't-fathom-how-I-watched-it, The OC). SO excited to finally be in California for the first ever!
  • Got my overpacked suitcase from baggage, found the free shuttle to the hotel and was super relieved to this time check in to my room and have time to get situated BEFORE Conference registration (when I went to the FOCUS Conferences in college, it was stand in a loooong registration line with all my luggage then finally get to my room with only a few minutes before the first talk)
    • Listened to both hours of CatholicAnswers Live while getting situated (what's with it being on at 3 PM here in Cali?? I'm sooo used to it being 5-7 in Chicago yay time zones!)
  • Usual-Margo was exhausted and wanted to stay in the super comfy bed plus I had a dumb headache but I pushed myself to go downstairs and get myself registered
    • Met Jon Sorenson (Marketing director) in person; he's the staff member I've gotten to know best over facebook and he's a super cool, chill guy! He showed me the "Vendor/Margo-going-broke-too-much-awesome-stuff" room and I came face to face with Dr. Ray Guarendi; first instance of many star-struck encounters; bought his book, "When Faith Causes Family Friction" and he signed it yay!
  • I was starving so I went to find someplace to eat, ended up at some sports bar place, got a Gilmore Girls inspired drink (one of Lorelai's usual Friday Night dinners -- Martini with a twist) and a bacon-chicken sandwich
    • I totally had a Holy Spirit encounter, where the mid-age guy I was sitting next to asked me what brought me to San Diego so of course that led into discussing Catholicism, turns out he's a fallen away Catholic who never really had any of the reasonings behind the teachings explained (it was just a bunch of rules to him) so I told him about Catholic Answers as well as shared part of my testimony. Praise God! The funniest part was that Trent Horn was sitting at a table nearby with his in-laws and yes, at first I was sooo tempted to call him over to "help me" then I decided to be a grown-up and trust the Holy Spirit to work through me
  • Back to the main ballroom for the Evening talks...I got a seat in the 2nd row....and got spotted by THE Patrick Coffin who was like "'s you...I'm not ready for this!" And I dished it right back "Too bad! I'm here!" and I got a nice hug from him
  • Before the talks started, Pat did some announcements and some weird magic trick thing (cuz he likes to show off his "super cool magician tricks")
    • Oh yeah, one of the announcements was for two award winners: one for the very first person to sign up for the Conference and then the other was for some crazy-obsessed-fan girl who pressed the "like/love/haha" button on Facebook 10 million times for CatholicAnswers and has been slightly excited for this idea who that girl was ;-) 
    • When Patrick called me up to the stage he asked all the single guys to stand up (there was like 2 or 3 and I could barely see them...that wasn't exactly how I thought things would wind up, but whatever)
  • Okay....Dr. Ray Guarendi followed by Fr. Larry Richards = TOO MUCH ENTHUSIASM/ENERGY/HILARITY (especially when they both teased each other relentlessly during their talks) No videos cuz my phone was dying but CatholicAnswers will eventually post the Conference talks online
  • Back to the vendor room where I finally got my selfies with my faves Patrick & Trent
  • Now I'm about to pass out
Thank You, Jesus, for an absolutely epic first day!! Let's see what You've got planned for the rest of this adventure!
In the words of Patrick Coffin - "BE A SAINT...WHAT ELSE IS THERE???"

THE man Patrick Coffin

Trent Horn
Goody basket for my Facebook stalking!

Dr. Ray Guarendi 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Attempting To Face Reality

Recently at the SSPP youth group, we got into a long discussion about how humans often use pleasure to escape from troubling realities. It hit me harder than I was expecting since admittedly, even I fall into that trap. I loathe to admit it, but I suck at dealing with reality; I’ve dug a hole so deep through running out of money and as horrible as it sounds, I don’t know how to live without having money. After I graduated last May, my parents gave me a generous amount of money, which is what I’ve been living off of for the past 11 months. I almost made it last an entire year, but because I lack self control, it’s mostly run out and the job thing isn’t quite working out for me. 

After going on several job interviews now, I’ve become somewhat cynical about the interview process and realize that unfortunately, I don’t have any natural talent for being interviewed. I’ve interviewed for a few restaurants and retail stores and wow! The interviews are MUCH tougher than the actual positions, plus I feel like they don’t really give me a chance to prove my competency. I’m still praying for some employer to give me a chance, yet I realize it’s not about that. I need to hammer down some legit answers to those pesky questions “Why do you want to work at ___________?” “Tell me about a time when ____________” Although to be completely honest, I just need a source of income at this point. It would be nice if I could actually make use of the gifts God gave me, like with typing, proofreading, organizing, filing, using Microsoft Word...

In other news, I went on a discernment retreat over Holy Week at the Daughters of St. Paul motherhouse in Boston. It’s taken me awhile to actually get to blogging about it because I did not receive the clarity which I so desperately sought. I did get a glimpse of what living in a religious community is like and am pretty sure that it’s not right for me (or I’m not right for it?). I still cannot figure out what the heck God wants for me though. There’s still something blocking me from being able to hear Him. Even on the silent retreat day, I failed to get much from Him. Maybe I’m just too caught up in my usual devotions/prayer routines. I think I’m called to marriage? I’m terrified of choosing the wrong vocation; why does my heart always feel pulled in multiple directions??? 

Interiorly, I’m a mess of emotions and frustrations. I am absolutely disgusted with myself, how even after the retreat, I still fall into the same sins/vices. I’m still barely able to be much of a friend to anyone since I can’t snap out of my anxiety and get myself to truly focus on others. There’s a huge pain of regret that I feel about losing track of my Newman friends/not being able to visit Peoria at all. My parents came up with the rule that I’m not allowed to drive myself to Peoria until I have a job. I do miss Newman, yet I know I needed to move on anyways. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful parish, in which I’ve gradually gotten more involved. 

One insight that God has given me lately is how superficial I can be. I find myself questioning why I’m even Catholic in the first place. I have a solid, intellectual understanding of the faith and teachings, but I can’t seem to truly put them into practice. Do I truly love Christ? Or do I just enjoy my prayer routines and liturgy? 

What’s it going to take for me to find peace with Christ? How can I get myself to quit resisting the changes I know I need to make? I do desire holiness, at least I think I do. I just feel so trapped sometimes. Is there any hope for me? It's finally Easter - the season for which I've been longing all through Lent, and yet I'm still not completely joyful. 

Maybe I’ll do more of a day-by-day write up of the retreat later. I just wanted to share my thoughts and where I’m at interiorly for anyone wondering.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Reflecting on Life Again

Whoa! 2 months since my last post?!? Seriously??

So I just thought I'd post some updates about the mixed up life of Margo for anyone who's interested. Overall, life is pretty much same old, same old, still livin with the parents and kinda looking for a job. I'll be going on my first vocation-discernment retreat with the Daughters of St. Paul at their Boston motherhouse during Holy Week in April!! Here's hoping and praying that will help enlighten me as to whether I should seriously pursue religious life.

I'm so back and forth between religious life and married life. There's still a major part of me that desires marriage and longs to be a stay-at-home mother. But, religious life, especially the Daughters of St. Paul is becoming more appealing as well...and I still struggle with trying to get my will matched up with God's will.

I think I have far too many desires, but can't get myself to act on any of them, other than the discernment retreat. Here's just a brief "bucket list"

  • Study for a Master's Degree in Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver
  • Travel to Rome and explore the Vatican while eating authentic Italian deliciousness
  • Work as a Youth Minister, or Director of Religious Ed, or as a pastor's Personal Assistant, or even just as a parish office assistant, OR as an apologist for Catholic Answers
  • run a marathon (or maybe do another half)
  • Figure out my vocation once and for all
  • Overcome my vices, actually develop self discipline, and live entirely for Jesus, being completely selfless, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind....being so close to Christ that I naturally radiate His love to everyone I meet so then they will fall in love with Him

I'm also starting to go ridiculously stir crazy and am actually getting motivated to get one of those job things, even though I managed to make things hard for myself by taking way too long to get my act together, which means a mostly blank resume (at least I do have some volunteer experience, but I haven't had a legit paid job since December of 2011).

I somehow found a bunch of theological discussion groups on Facebook, which are now what keep me "busy", trying to explain the faith to others (mostly Protestants) while working on that patience virtue. I don't know why, but I LOOOVE discussing theology/morality/chastity...if only I could get paid for that. Seriously, God has given me some pretty interesting gifts/talents, but I can't quite make a living off any of them, *frustration*

I got trapped in my routine of 5:15 daily mass at my parish and for too long, I was afraid of having to give that up in order to have a job. Spending time with Jesus became overly important to me and I'm just now realizing that I am probably one of the most unusual young adults ever. I mean I'd rather spend time with Jesus than have a job?!? It's terribly irresponsible for me and it's probably high time for me to wake up and realize that unfortunately, life costs money. I can't live with my parents forever; I need money for rent, electricity, groceries, clothes...and I am trying to live simplistically, which is way easier said than done.

*Sigh* I really need to get better at this being-an-adult thing...sometimes I feel more like an 80-year-old trapped in a 20-year-old body since I'm SUCH a homebody and super low key about things...why is getting a job and figuring out my vocation so freaking difficult?? (yes, rhetorical question)

May God bless you all :)