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juvie

I just came back from a retreat with juvenile hall boys this weekend. I always thought about writing about my encounters on these retreats, but they are too immense to be confined into words. At least for now, I don’t have the ability to articulate all that my heart experiences when it recognizes Jesus in the midst of intense darkness. But today I do want to share one story. [click to continue…]

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Finding balance is tough. Especially between time in solitude and time with family and friends. Between work and prayer and play. Have anyone figured out the secret? Lemme know.

But I’m not complaining. Life has been truly a blessing. But I have not had time for outfit posts. I figure that shouldn’t stop me from blogging. So here’s a few things to welcome in October (does time go by faster as we get older?).

My Guardian Angel is kinda my best friend. This is a few days late as his feast day was on October 2. I always feel the need to celebrate this minor feast day because without this guardian angel by my side, I wouldn’t be alive today. If you only knew of my stupid life mistakes in my early teens.

guardian angel

Don’t you just love the image of the guardian angel above? When I saw it I reflected of how long I walked about life thinking the Lord had deserted me. Among everything else, I thought I was walking through treacherous grounds on my own – that I had to take care of myself. When all along God appointed a helper for me the whole way, watching out for me and protecting me from a tragic end. So thank you, friend. [click to continue…]

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Fan the Flames 1

Ok so I may have combined a couple of bible verses for the title for this outfit post, but that was what came to mind when I was editing these pictures. The skirt reminds me of fire – when I walk it flows around my legs like they are engulfed in flames. And the earrings I accessorized with made up the second part of the title. [click to continue…]

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Real Love

In my article about the the beautiful mess that is the female mind and heart, I cautioned that an unguarded heart is susceptible to being guided by sentimentality, hasty feelings, and emotionalism. Before delving further into that topic, I wanted to speak a little to the dangers of being too guarded.

You see, we can build walls around our hearts without even being conscious of it. Especially if we are afraid of vulnerability and our defense mechanism is to keep people at a distance. As Christians who value the virtue of charity, we build our walls in more subtle ways. Perhaps making judgements about people before really getting to know them. If we feel they’ve wronged us, we may not go out of our way to seek revenge. If disciplined, we may even be able to refrain from saying bad things about them to others. And we can be nice, and cordial. But we keep them at a distance - just enough so they know we haven’t forgiven them. [click to continue…]

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LaceDenim2

I’m learning a lot about being ok with my limitations and balancing the various aspects of my life. Yesterday my spiritual director told me that I’m juggling a lot. And even though it’s all doable, it’s ok to not get everything on my list done for the day. I really had planned on writing more for le blog this week! But the weekend was filled with sister bonding time with a sister who is about to head out to my alma mater this month – UCLA (go Bruins!). And this week has been crazy at work since the kids come back to school after Labor Day. So I’ve been exhausted every day and I have to be ok with not being  as productive in writing as I had planned. So here’s a quick outfit post!
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celinebluedress3

I did not do as much writing as I had planned over the weekend. But that’s ok. Today I am featuring my friend Celine! She spent my birthday with me on this fun photoshoot at the San Gabriel Mission. We ended right at the golden hour which resulted in some awesome pictures! [click to continue…]

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Hey ladies! Do you remember the movie Runaway Bride? Maggie Carpenter is one of my favorite rom-com heroines. And this is my absolute favorite line. Possibly from any rom-com ever.

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Why, you ask? Because I identify so much with it. Because I am sure that every single woman on the face of the earth ever has had this thought about herself. At least every woman I’ve ever talked to has made some variation of this statement. And although it sounds completely irrational coming out of someone else’s mouth, it doesn’t change the fact that…well…sometimes we can be irrational creatures.

And you know what? I love the beautiful mess that we are. The mind and the heart are much more connected in women than they are in men. And since the human hearts are utterly complicated beyond our understanding, this makes us ladies extremely complicated. [click to continue…]

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lace-and-denim-4

Quick outfit post for today! You’ve seen this skirt many times before and it’s still my go-to skirt for the summer. This look is effortless, but the combination of textures - denim, lace, silk – adds just enough interest so it’s not too boring. [click to continue…]

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Dating within the Catholic circle can be somewhat of a tricky, awkward, and frustrating experience. The problem stems from different sources, from the destructive messages we receive from the pop culture, the contradictory advice from mentors, speakers, and friends, and the prevailing attitude of passivity among millennials in general. And we stumble through it all, learning from one mistake after another. It’s always hilarious to tell stories of our battle scars over glasses of wine with the girls. But definitely painful and awkward going through it each time.

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rosary-man

[Editor's Note: Have you noticed an prevailing culture of inaction in our generation? We excuse our fears behind a pretext of perpetual discernment when in actuality we are too afraid to either truly discern or act. A spirit of action is especially attractive and inspiring in men of God, and is desperately needed in the world today. My friend Rocco shares about why a devotion to Mary can ignite a fire in our souls to fight every day for our holiness.]

by Rocco Ambrosio

I’m a fighter. I’m a warrior. I charge into battle every single day. I charge because if I don’t I will be tossed carelessly into the fray. I fight in the battle that we all face, every day whether we know it, or like it…or not. This daily battle is the war of our lives…it is the war for our most prized “possession”…our souls.

How fortunate are we to have a say about who wins. We get to pick sides; we get to fight for our own soul. I write in very active terms because I think of this war in very active terms because the truth of the situation is that this war is VERY real. Those who choose not to acknowledge it are doing themselves a disservice; the enemy is playing them. I know I don’t want to be used by the enemy. I want a say-so. If I am not charging, then I am being attacked. What is that saying? The best defense is a good offense…yep, I think that’s it. That is oh-so-true for this spiritual war.

There was a time when I didn’t understand this battle. I was passive, and I didn’t see the two sides warring over me. I didn’t see that the enemy was wearing me down due to my passivity. I didn’t know this until I go to know my Warrior Queen – Mary. Yep, Mary the Mother of Our God is the most badass warrior there it. Satan (who is very real by the way) hates Mary as she is a “mere” human, but she is powerful beyond comprehension because of God. She is more powerful than the devil can every be.

I follow Mary into battle daily and implore her protection…remembering of course that her strength is ultimately due to Jesus Christ. All power and praise goes back to God. God has made Mary as the New Eve and has given her great honor and power. She is the queen of His army. I fight as a soldier under her command. Each day I take up my sword in the Rosary and dawn my armor in the consecration.

I didn’t see that the enemy was wearing me down due to my passivity.

The essence of my spirituality is based on a total gift of self to Mary. I have consecrated myself to her for Him. All that I do I ask Mary to offer as a gift to her Son in order that He may receive the greatest glory possible by my actions.

As the Queen of His army and His most devoted and dedicated disciple Mary has taught me a warrior spirit. Or rather, she has helped to transform the drive that I have as a man into a spirit that fights for God. As a man there is something ingrained in me that makes me a fighter, a protector, a warrior, a servant. Mary has trained that drive and formed me. It was a long process to get to be this warrior charging from her army. It all started with total consecration to Jesus through Mary. Once I made that leap of faith and gave myself to her I was well on my way (not without many struggles). The next thing Mary did for me was fill my heart with a love of the Rosary and an understanding that the Rosary is a most powerful weapon. It is my sword. Saying the rosary daily has changed me. It has made me stronger. Through it I give glory to God and thus beat back Satan a little more.

We must jump into the fray. We must be active. But it is not enough to simply talk or think in pretty and exciting terms. We must take achievable steps. Jump into the battle. Pray the rosary every day. Consecrate yourself to Mary. Read the works of Ss. Maximilian Kolbe, Louis de Montfort, or Pope John Paul II. Take action. Fight for your soul and the salvation of others.

Mary is all good. She is the most perfect Queen. As the most perfect Queen she will take care of and watch over her own. I know she wraps me in her mantel when I let her. I know she takes care of me. She will take care of you too. Be her warrior.

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