Keeping the Faith

Sometimes the odds are just stacked against you! Yes, I must confess I gave into a bad mood over the past few days. Thanks to the time change I did not have the energy to fight it. I really am not a fan of this time change thing it is not healthy and throws your life out of wack; physically, mentally and emotionally. I was opening at my work Sunday morning so naturally I did not get any of sleep the night before. I kept waking up freaking out that I would sleep through my alarm and be late. On the bright side I was not alone in my struggle to get some rest before work, all my coworkers were walking around like zombies the entire day. In addition to the severe lack of sleep my acid reflux also came back. I am not sure if it was the result of the time change or in light of my birthday being a week away it was my body sending me a reminder that I am getting older. I am choosing to believe it was a combination of the two. My dad has struggled with acid reflux as well and he has warned me that there is a depression that comes with it. At first I didn’t believe him mainly because I could not see the relationship between the two. Whether I see it or not the depression set in today. I went into work with a negative attitude. With my birthday coming up my thoughts dwelled on evaluating what I was doing doing with my life and I came to the unwanted realization that all I am doing right now is going to work, running errands, and doing laundry. Obviously my life consists of much more than that but in my depressive state I found it difficult appropriately rationalize the situation.

God has wonderful ways of sending you little miracles when you need them though even when you don’t deserve them. After work on Sunday I went to mass and in receiving the holy Eucharist Jesus Christ took away the pain of the acid reflux and revitalize me so that I was able to make home. The immense lack of sleep paired with the acid reflux really took all my energy out of me and without the strength of the Holy Spirit I probably wouldn’t have made it. In the Gospel Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (Luke 4: 43-54) Even though I may not see the work the Lord is doing in my life right now that doesn’t mean He is not there. In fact He is even more present asking me to walk by faith and not by sight. “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11) I have hope in my future, the Lord continues to give me great blessings in my life and the more faith I place in Him the greater the blessings.


Negative Numbers

I never really noticed before how much our lives are governed by numbers and unfortunately most of the time the numbers are not positive. Think about it- our blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, bank account, bills, number of likes on a blog, and let us not forget our age! My birthday is coming up and it is a big one, but makes it a big one? Why is my life measured by this number? In addition to my age my life is also measured by my blood sugar numbers that I have to check everyday. I also struggle with the number on the scale. I have had weight issues most of my life and by the grace of God I have gotten better at not allowing myself get consumed by the fear of gaining weight. Nevertheless it is still a great battle getting on that scale and seeing that number. Ever since I moved to New York I have also become more and more aware of the balance in my bank account and my credit card statements. All of these things are significant numbers that can majorly impact life.

Somehow I have gotten to the point that I use these numbers as markers of who I am. It is incredible how easily we can allow ourselves to get consumed by details. That is all the numbers are, details. I am not what these numbers dictate and I need to accept what is. Yes, these numbers are going to be with me for the rest of my life. I will always need to check my blood sugar, my weight will always need to be checked, bank accounts with credit card statements are just a constant evil, and each year we get one year older. It will take a great deal of surrender on my part to mentally separate what these numbers tell me who I am and who I actually am. I have to replace these negative numbers with the Lord’s love. Who made me? Who has the plan for my life? Who has been taking care of me everyday of my life? God has the final say and He gets to determine who I am. My age does not even factor into His equation.

My equation of who I am:

Age (Blood Sugar + A1C) / Weight + Bank Account= Life’s Worth

God’s Equation:

Love (Good Works + People Touched) / Devotion + Trust x Love x LOVE x LOVE= Life’s Worth

I actually find it somewhat amusing when I think about all the things I place so much importance yet in reality they are not important at all. If I were to go to God at the final judgment and say look I had perfect blood sugar numbers each day of my life does this earn me a ticket to Heaven? The answer would obviously be no. I have no doubt that He would look at me and say, “What did you do with the rest of those days?” Some of my best days have been the days when I had the worst morning blood sugars. He has the ability to overcome those blood sugars and use me to glorify His kingdom. The number was just a detail of that day, what made the day was my behavior and my attitude. I overcame the negative number thanks to the blessings of the Lord.

As I approach this birthday I am going to try my best not to allow myself to drown in my negative numbers. The Lord has an equation for my life and numbers have nothing to do with it. I trust in Him that He is going to keep surprising me with the wonders of life and I will have a wonderful birthday because of the promise of what is to come in my life and not the actual age number.

Demons and Angels

As part of my Lenten journey I receive Gospel reflections each day. This was an excerpt of today’s Gospel from Luke 11 14-23.

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste

and house will fall against house.

And if Satan is divided against himself,

how will his kingdom stand?”

A demon’s main goal is to divide and separate. If we as a people of God are scattered we fall prey to evil works. It is truly amazing how God can speak to us through these reflections and we can see evidence of His preaching the very same day. I have come to love the people who I work with. I feel as though I have gotten to know them well and when we are all united it can be truly inspiring. There are off days though and this day was a perfect example. There are a few select individuals in my work that feed on gossip and when they all work at the same time they have the ability to spread breed negativity through out the store. It spreads quickly and before you know it everyone has separated into their own little groups and divided we begin to fall. I spent the entire day feeling like I was back in high school. It is a big trigger for me seeing others talk in hushed voices. Satan preyed on my insecurity and I began to want to be apart of their conversations. Being a part of their conversation would not benefit me in anyway but that young naive high schooler who always felt like an outsider longed to belong. It was a constant fight within myself trying not to engage because I knew once I gave in I would only feed into the negativity and play into the demon’s desire to separate.

I also saw the demons at work on a certain coworker of mine. He is probably the coworker I find the most difficult to be nice to. He clearly has several inner struggles and most likely several inner demons at work in him. The way he looks at me and addresses me makes me feel very uncomfortable and it takes all my strength to greet him in a cordial way. I know that the uncomfortable feelings are me responding to the demons within him which is why I try so hard to be kind and not judge him. Today, he was struggling more than usual. He was falling asleep several times on the job and while he was on break he was going in and out of consciousness. He has done this before and it is a rather disturbing sight to behold. His eyes roll back in his head and starts to make some unpleasant grumbling noises. Everyone who works in the store is familiar with his addiction to drugs and that he often comes to work still strung out on them. This general loss of consciousness could be easily written off as the effects of the drugs but I know there is more to it. I can see the demons at work especially when his eyes role back. I have seen it before and I recognize the sheer desire that is stirred up inside of me. It is a desire to combat the demon and cast it out. I may not be strong enough or know enough to help my coworker yet but I do know that I can pray for him. He needs a great deal of prayer. It is unfortunate that he has to be so afflicted.

On a brighter note, the Lord blessed me while riding the subway as I was going to work. I didn’t acknowledge the true miracle it was until later. God always provides for what we need and during this subway ride I really needed a tissue. When it is cold outside my nose tends to run and today my nose was running. I normally have tissues in my pocket but didn’t have them this time. This homeless woman came into the subway and started giving out little packages of tissue in exchange for any spare change one might have so that she could support her children. I gave her a dollar and she handed me a pack of tissues. It was a beautiful exchange, I almost felt guilty taking the tissues. She really was doing me more of the favor. Later as I was going home from work I pulled out some more of the tissues and used them. The tissues smelled of roses. I immediately recognized the presence of our Mother Mary and the part she played in this day. Mary knew the hardships that were laid out for me during my work day and while the encounter on the train seemed to be a simple blessing of tissues it was actually a greater blessing of protection bestowed upon me through Mary as I headed into my day of combat.

Health Insurance

As Saint Paul has said, “God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted (or afflicted) beyond your strength.” (1 Cor. 10:13) “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21).

Whenever I struggle with my type one diabetes I dwell on these words. I remember when I was first diagnosed feeling a sense of honor for the suffering I went through. I felt blessed because the Lord knew that I had the strength to take on the hardship of living with this chronic disease. Diabetes is a daily battle, you are continuously fighting with yourself and your body. Managing blood sugars mean you have to keep them constantly in balance making sure your blood sugar doesn’t go too high or too low. The battle does not stop there though there are also battles that one must face outside of yourself. The main one that I am currently grappling with is health insurance. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to get approval for my health insurance to cover a medication not normally covered. In order to get approval basically means that I have to submit evidence that the medication my health insurance does cover does not work or does more harm than good and I need this other medication. This is such a backwards way of doing things. I have to go on these other medications, cope with the intense side effects and record my decreasing health in order to get approval to go on a medication that I have been on for years and already has a proven record of keeping me healthy.

By the grace of God I have been able to get approval for my medication. Even though the medication has been approved does not mean that the cost gets any better. As of now this medication costs more than my entire paycheck. I am not even sure I should call this a medication, it is insulin. Insulin is something that the body naturally produces, my body just no longer does it. How is it possible that something everyone can make naturally and essentially get for free I have to pay that much for? I don’t know if I can accurately explain what it feels like to be confronted with the fear that you may not be able to get something that is crucial to keeping you alive. It is not just a medicine, insulin is something that keeps me alive and without it I will die. Fortunately, there are benefits programs that are available to help out people like me who can’t afford their medication but it is not an easy road. As I said earlier I have been working to get this approval for weeks. Not to mention I have to go through this process each year. It is now March and I am still working at this. By the time I get everything figured out it will be time to restart the process again. It is exhausting and demoralizing. I refuse to give up though, when dealing with your health and your life how can you give up?

Returning to what Saint Paul said, the Lord places these struggles into our lives to help us grow in faith. There is nothing that the Lord will give us that we cannot handle. If I have been deemed worth to handle my diabetes I can definitely handle health insurance. I know that the Lord is with me and will not let me go without what I need. I am blessed to be able to trust in God but what about the many other people who are currently struggling with similar battles with health insurance and may not have that same trust. It is heartbreaking to know that there are so many people having to live with this constant fear of not being able to get what they need.

Deja Vu

There are times in life when you really feel the presence of God guiding you in every moment. I had been feeling that way for the past few days. I still am not exactly sure of what He is doing but I am confident He is at work. The events of the past few days have seemed oddly familiar to the first few weeks I first arrived in New York. When I first moved to New York my mom came to visit me. It was a welcome distraction at the time because I was struggling with finding a job. While my mom was here we saw the Broadway show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was easily one of the best shows we have seen but what made it special was that I received a phone call asking me to interview for the job I currently have. As I talked with the manager I became more and more excited about the job and I instantly felt a connection to the work I would be doing at the store. It was perfect timing. In addition, I thought it struck me that the call came while I was seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story of the musical almost mirrored the way I was viewing this job possibility. Charlie was looking for a place where he belonged and could do what he wanted to do. In the end he was offered the keys to the factory. I believed that this job might be God opening up the door to my future dreams like making gelato. This job had the promise of advancement and the chance to partner with the company to create gelato. The following day I was called into the store for an in person interview. I was so blessed to have my mom with me to provide moral support. She went to a near by Starbucks while I went to the interview. At the end of the interview I was offered the job. It was a true miracle.

Since then I have come to realize the reality of my job and it is far from ideal. Even though I am so grateful for it, especially the coworkers I have come to view not just as friends but as family, I have started to look for better and more stable employment. I had been in the process of interviewing for what seemed like a perfect job but there were some things that I questioned. The main thing was that I would have to move again, up to Yonkers. My final interview was set for Friday afternoon. Interestingly enough a close friend of mine was visiting from Colorado at the same time. The idea of having support from home reminded me of my interview I had back when my mom was with me. The parallels continued when the final interview was changed from an in person interview to a Skype session due to weather. I ended up having to take the interview in the same exact Starbucks my mom went to when she was waiting for me to have my interview during her visit. The interview went very well, it was nice seeing their reactions when I answered their questions. I gave everything I could in the interview and it was in God’s hands now. My friend and I went on with the day and we decided to go to see the Broadway show Hello Dolly. The parallels between this day and the days I shared with my mom months ago continued. From the job interview to the Starbucks and now to the Broadway show. I found myself hoping that these parallels was a sign telling me that I was going to get the job but things never happen the same way twice. In the end I didn’t get the job but instead of getting discouraged like I would normally would do I put my trust in the Lord. Even though I didn’t get the job I still received the hope that I God has good plans for me. It was not coincidence that we went to Hello Dolly. Just like when I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory God reminded me why I was really here. Hello Dolly plot actually opens with the lead characters leaving Yonkers to go to New York in the pursuit of love. If I were to have gotten this job I would have had to move to Yonkers. My story is not in Yonkers just like the characters in the musical. God wants me in New York and thanks to Hello Dolly affirmed that. God may not have given me the job like He did the first time but He gave me a renewed promise that as long as I remain devoted to Him He will provide me with the deepest desires of my heart.

Direct Connections to God

Have you ever had that one person in your life you can depend on for anything? No matter what you are going through that person supports you without any judgment. I have one. This person never questions me or looks down on me for my current circumstances I find myself in. His love and care for me is probably the closest to the love and care we receive from the Holy Father. The main reason why this love is so great is because it is unconditional. There have been several times when I have talked with him and I feel like he understands what I am going through without me having to explain myself. I am that kind of person who over thinks things and wants to over explain why I do things because I fear being judged. It is nice talking to him because he is the one person I don’t have that urge to over explain. It is in the looks that he gives and the words that he says that calms me keeps me from over analyzing.

I have known him my entire life and our relationship has always been strong but it has definitely gotten stronger over the last ten years or so. There was this moment at my college graduation that I felt a tap on my shoulder. As I turned to look to see who it was there was a brief moment that I believed it was God. Instead it was this person. I will never forget this moment because it was a true breakthrough in my relationship with the Lord. The Lord was making His presence known to me. He was showing me that He is walking with me and He is in the people who I hold dearest to my heart. When I was younger I always got frustrated with God because He would never talk to me (or so I thought). I so greatly wanted to hear is voice. I was looking to have a “Moses and the burning bush” type conversation. I don’t think I will ever have that kind of communication with God but what He will give me is so much better, I just need to learn to trust it. He will talk to me through dreams and through prayer but He also will talks to me when He delivers these unexplainable moments.

I am so grateful to have this person in my life. He has this ability to simplify everything when I get too much inside my head and start to get consumed with the details. He reminds me to look at the sunset and appreciate the day I just had. There will always be bad days but those days fade away and the good days make those bad days not seem so bad. He has a direct connection to God. I hope everyone can find someone like this in their lives to be a continuous reminder that God is a good good Father and loves you no matter what.


Yesterday I had a very difficult conversation with a customer at my work. It was one of those conversations that you look back on with regret, appreciation, and confusion. Regardless, I could see the hand of God in it especially in the look that the customer gave me at the end.

It started with him coming up to the pastry counter with a very purposeful look on his face. It was clear that he knew what he wanted. “I don’t see my favorite dessert,” he said, not even looking at me to acknowledge my presence. Right away I could feel my attitude towards him shift. I went from feeling open and happy to the attitude of let me deal with whatever he wants and move on. It was the end of the night and I had other things that I needed to get done. “What is your favorite dessert, Sir.” I asked. He finally looked at me and described a dessert that we no longer carry because the bakery that makes it was moving venues and were not producing as much due to the move. I put on my fake smile on and apologized explaining to him that we wouldn’t have that for awhile. Putting on that fake smile was my mistake. He called me out. He looked at me and said, “You’re not sorry, you say your sorry but your expression says otherwise.” Actually he used much more aggressive language that I don’t feel comfortable writing in this blog. I was truly taken aback, how dare he accuse me of that. In reality he was right though. I have been dealing with these questions about this bakery for along time. I was getting tired of explaining that the circumstances are out of our control and we are trying to find new vendors to replaced the desserts that we no longer carry.

It was in this moment that I recognized the humanity in him along with the humanity within myself. I had no idea where he was coming from. There may have been a truly sincere reason why he loved that dessert so much. He might have had a very difficult day and wanted the comfort of that dessert to relieve some of the stress of the day. To be completely honest I have been in that same position that customer was in many times. When I was first learning to manage my diabetes I came to depend on certain foods. I attached myself to them because they were familiar and I knew exactly how to treat them. There were these muffins that my grocery store carried and one day they all of a sudden stopped carrying them. I freaked out and I freaked out on the employee at the pastry counter. They worked there they should be able to help me and give me answers, right? Looking back at that I feel awful about that and now being in a similar situation I can relate. Anyway, back to my customer. I was able to soften my face and truly apologize to him. I told him that it was not my intent to offend him, I was simply explaining the situation. His face softened as well. He said it was a shame but understood there was nothing I could do. He appreciated my apology and thanked me for honesty. He then extended his hand over the counter and shook my hand and told me his name. I shook his hand and told him my name.

The look he gave me when he shook my hand was one that moved me and prompted me to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was the look that said, “I see you.” This is an expression that is common in New York and I have come to greatly appreciate. It gives me sense security when I hear it because it means so much more than just “seeing” you. It means they understand you and accepts you for everything you are. I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing for this conversation to occur. I left it feeling like I made a true connection with another person. It is in these interactions that we feel most alive. Everyone is going through something at sometime and I believe it is very important for all of us to remember this when interacting with others. We need to meet each other where we are at. Compassion is one of the strongest weapons we have been given and we don’t use it nearly as much as we should.

Matthew 25 31-46-

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food,

I was thirsty and you gave me drink,

a stranger and you welcomed me,

naked and you clothed me,

ill and you cared for me,

in prison and you visited me