Sunday, January 31, 2010

(Cranking Out Music + Doing Chores) -(Lappy Time) = 2 x (Quality Time)?

So I haven't figured out the exact formula yet, but it's fun to go through the process and try out different variables to the equation.

I thought I'd done it right. I actually worked out over the Christmas-New Year's break, thinking that doing so would keep me from getting off-schedule and gaining a lot of weight. Well, I'm not sure if it's a combination of being cold outside and having to work late every few days, but it's been SO darn hard to start working out again! I'm grateful that I didn't gain much weight over the break, but I know that I need to keep working out and eating healthy to "keep it up" (and let's forget about the Domino's pizza we ordered on Friday night...)

So my new plan is: do NOT turn the laptop on until 9-10:00pm. Many times when I get home I turn it on right away because I like to have noise in the background while I do things around the house. The noise is usually a TV show like "Friends", "Golden Girls", (yes I LOVE that show), or "The Office"; or every once in a while it's one of my guilty-pleasure movies, like "The Mist". So after Sam and I have dinner, I find myself sitting in front of this beautiful, fun box until it's time to go to bed. Surfing the Net is SUCH an addicting thing to do!

But.. gotta break the routine already. There are so many things that I keep thinking about lately that I'd like to get done, but haven't. These are not necessarily chores that I want to do; I've also wanted to finish decorating our bathroom and begin looking into buying paint to do our bedroom. So after about three weeks of going, "oh yeah... I need to do that" I decided it was time to change some things.

Wish me luck! **off to work out**

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Help Me See Through Your Eyes

**wow, tonight I really needed to talk. Two postings in one night!**

This past Sunday I went to church by myself because Sam was having severe allergy problems. I sat all the way in the back, at a pew with one other girl who was sitting at the end. About 10 minutes into Mass, a messy-looking guy came in and sat between the other girl and me. The first thing I noticed was the body odor. This man must've not taken a shower in days; the odor was so strong that it truly made it challenging to concentrate on anything else. Next, I noticed his clothes: ragged t-shirt, torn up jeans, dirty sneakers. Messy, uncombed hair. If I may be brutally honest, I was repulsed. I couldn't understand why anyone would come to church like this. He also took big, disrespectful steps when he walked, looked around a lot and squirmed around as if he didn't care about anything. I couldn't pay attention at all, I was truly befuddled.

Next, I noticed how fervently he repeated every prayer. What I initially thought was disrespect toward Mass now seemed to be ADD, or at least actions/movements he didn't intend to do. When we prayed the Lord's prayer and held hands, he held my hand tightly and stared at the hands for a long time. The more I saw this man, the more I realized that he was like a lost little kid. He sang every Hymn fervently, he knelt and prayed. I felt so embarrassed at my uppity attitude. I judged this man, basing my judgment on his physical appearance and my initial perception of his behavior.

Toward the end of Mass the words, "Help me see others and everything around me through Your eyes" came to mind. I'm listening to Jon Foreman's "Spring" album: in one of his songs he sings, "Baptize my Mind! Baptize my Eyes!"

How flawed I am! Through Your eyes God, help me see everything through Your eyes!

The Challenge: Wearing Multiple Hats

Today three of us at work left at 8:30am to hold two meetings related to our latest fire station project in Sugar Land. We ended up getting back around 6:00pm, which I have to say is considered "early" given that some of my coworkers don't come back from out-of-town meetings until 9, 10 o'clock at night. Today's meetings were particularly important as far as the design goes, so it took a little more preparation than usual. I came in to work on Saturday and Sunday to print out our consultants' part of their work. The project in itself is a fast-paced one, so in more than one occasion I've felt the need to stay working an extra hour or so.

Sometimes it amazes me what a single hour's worth of extra work a couple of times a week will do to you. You become worn down, don't feel like doing anything when you get home. And I absolutely love my job, so I really can't complain. But then there are other responsibilities outside of work: being a good wife to Sam, taking care of the house, cooking meals, making sure I stay in touch with Mimi and Papito (my grandparents who raised me, and who live in Venezuela), doing laundry... we're not even parents yet!

Tonight I called Mimi, and the first thing she says is, "I kept waiting for your call on Sunday night, but you never called..." followed by, "Cecilia tells me that she hasn't seen you since December, is this true?" *sigh*. I try. It's not particularly easy to wear all the hats at once without having one tip over. I can only admire the people who seem to do what I do and SO much more, and they always have a smile on their face. Take my boss, Ray: that man stayed up until 3:00am this morning working on a proposal, and when he came in to work at 8:30am he was smiling. I truly respect him.

If there's one thing Sam reminds me every day (whether he realizes it or not), is that life NEEDS to be simple. I read in "The Purpose-Driven Life" that it's impossible to do everything people want you to do, and that a simpler lifestyle is more conducive to God. I try to simplify life, but it seems that when I do so, it comes at a cost. Maybe I'm not doing it right, yet. Between work, family, home, keeping up with people's birthdays, remembering and meeting deadlines, visiting with those who are close... time just seems to fly. And there's always someone who's not happy.

Lord, please help me discern what is truly important. Give me the wisdom and patience to... know how to wear these hats.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A True Gentleman

Today was one of those days. Sam and I met at the post office to turn in our applications for passports; I stayed at work for an extra 45 minutes or so; and I ran a few errands after leaving work. I ended up getting home around 7:15pm which is late for me: I was hungry and really tired. Sam and I sat down to enjoy the second half of a "Lois and Clark" episode (we had maybe 25 minutes left), and couldn't get through it until about an hour and a half later because my phone kept ringing.

Noticing how tired I was, Sam said, "why don't you try out the hot tub in our bathroom? We haven't used it yet, that might help you feel better!". So he got the tub started, played with the water-shooting things until he got 'em right, and adjusted the water temperature so it wouldn't be too hot or too cold. I feel great now!!

Now, I truly see this blog as a diary of sorts, so when I tell stories like this I'm not trying to impress or make anyone gag. ;) I'm just incredibly lucky to have an amazing, thoughtful husband and I can't help but write about how great he is. The End! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Different Take on "Why Me?"

I'm not sure if this is something I picked up from watching television or reading; but do you know that moment when someone is going through a difficult or painful situation, and they ask themselves, "why me?"?

"Why me?". It's so easy to fall into this thought when things don't happen exactly the way we wished. Even if we don't think these exact words, we often fall into the "why did that have to happen?" mentality. It doesn't even have to be a terribly catastrophic event: running late to work and finding yourself stuck in traffic because of a wreck: "Dangit! Perfect timing!". Going to the grocery store and meeting all checkout lanes filled with people whose carts are about to erupt: "Man! Now I have to wait forever!". Having to work late because the consultant didn't pay good enough attention to what they were supposed to do: "Great! Now I can't go home for a while." It's all some version of the same essential, "Why me?".

Lately I have found myself asking this question repeatedly. Tonight I spent some time watching videos of the destruction that a powerful earthquake left in Haiti; I watched videos and read articles describing the piles of human bodies lining up the Port Au Prince streets... as I cuddled with a warm soft blanket, comfortably. I look around me, and I see a beautiful home that's keeping me from getting wet and cold from the rain. I open the refrigerator, and it's full of food. We both have more than enough clothes for any type of weather, and if--God forbid--we were to be harmed or hurt, we have readily available medical services at local hospitals.

"Why me?". Why has God blessed me with so, so many blessings? I could've been one of those people in Haiti. I could've been a homeless orphan halfway around the world. I could've been a drug addict. A victim of physical violence. A war refugee, a victim of religious persecution. I'm no better than anyone else. God happened to place me here. Why me?

Luke 12:48: "...from everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

This is the best reason I have come up with, so far.

I feel very humbled tonight. Lord, please listen to your faithful. Keep the tens of thousands of people who died in Haiti in Your Glory.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Today I received an email forward from Sam's mom which asked a series of questions so other people can get to know you better. One of the questions was, "What are you most afraid of?". My official response to the question was losing Sam and/or family. But it left me thinking.

Seeing people lose their loved ones, witnessing their pain makes me quite afraid of losing Sam. I honestly cannot imagine what life would be like without him. I find myself happiest when I'm with him; I think I'd forgotten what it was like to laugh openly and without reservations before I met him. Life is simply amazing with Sam. I'd like to think that if "that" ever happened, that my faith in God and in His ways would get me through my darkest moments. But of course, I'm sure this is one of those "easier said than done" things. I'd like to trust in my faith, but I can't help being afraid when I think of the possibility.

My one other very, very strong fear is to die and to face God with "not much". When He asks me, "What did you do with the gifts that I gave you? Were you kind to others at all times? Did you love everyone else that you met while on Earth, just as much as I love you?", will I be happy to tell Him, "YES God, I did!", or will I look down knowing that I failed? Of course, I know that believing in God, his Son Jesus and accepting his Salvation while following His way saves me. But sometimes I can't help but ask, "Am I doing enough?".

I guess that's the "Catholic" in me thinking about this, and feeling guilt. I believe that some of this is good because it helps me think about my life and encourages me to practice my faith even when my selfish self doesn't want to. After all, there are plenty of so-called "Christians" (and among these, some so-called "Catholics") who are just that: a name. Believing is not enough. Because if one truly believes, one would put God's teachings into practice, and take it one, two, a thousand steps further and transform faith into action. And sometimes I truly feel that I'm lacking this kind of action. I'm talking about the kind of action that we should exercise EVERY DAY and that we sometimes forget about: loving everyone around you, no matter who it is. Accepting and loving them exactly as they are, without reservations.

Now, some people are hard to love. Some people push others away. I can't help but ask myself how I can keep showing my love for someone who feels like an emotional roller coaster: sometimes you're up, up, and happy; and sometimes you're down and dragging whoever's around down with you. I'm coming to realize that this is one of the biggest and hardest challenges for me: to show love and compassion regardless of this roller coaster. It's so easy to compare how my relationships with others hold up against my relationship with Sam, because life with him is wonderfully simple: no roller coasters, no ups and downs. And I absolutely love the peace that I find when I come home.

I need inner peace. I need God's hand here. My resolution is to seek Him more often. I want to read His word with Sam. I fear being too proud to show love.