Angels & The Bible

I hear this often “She is an angel in heaven now” or “He is angel watching over us”.

Have you ever heard this phrase? I realize it brings loved ones tremendous comfort to picture their departed loved ones as angels watching over us, but it’s incorrect to call them “angels”.

Raphael Angel

Let me attempt to explain.

If your familiar with the bible you will know that God alone makes angels.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

329 Who Are They

St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are,‘spirit,’ from what they do, ‘angel.’”188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”.

Sections 331-336 also discuss all the different areas within the New and Old Testaments where we see the Angels as messengers of God. Announcing the birth of Christ, aiding the prophets, protecting Lot, speaking to the women at the empty tomb

Can I just go on a rant here for a minute. In writing this blog, I try to use many different sources online or in books. It has been so difficult to find online Bible resources, that actually are full of the original 73 books of the Bible found in ALL Catholic Bibles. Protestant Bibles have removed the following books:

  1. What’s the difference between a “Catholic Bible” and a “Protestant Bible”?
    Catholic and Protestant Bibles both include 27 books in the New Testament. Protestant Bibles have only 39 books in the Old Testament, however, while Catholic Bibles have 46. The seven books included in Catholic Bibles are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. Catholic Bibles also include sections in the Books of Esther and Daniel which are not found in Protestant Bibles. These books are called the deuterocanonical books. The Catholic Church believes these books to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. (Source the USCCB.org)

Part of my wanting to write this blog is to spread the Truth  & Teachings of the Catholic Church. So in ALL my research I try to seek out solid, factual and available resources. In writing I sometimes use Siri to help with my spelling or questions of faith. You would be amazed with some of the answers I get. While writing this blog I have encountered several detours, bare with me while I get the Facts and just the FACTS! I’m sure this is Satan trying to trip me up and discourage me. #ReturnToHellDoNotPassGo

Sure enough I stopped and said a prayer and of course God pointed me to the correct answers. My Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible (New Revised Standard Edition), I checked the index and ta dah:

Angels

“In a special way, angels accompany Jesus and belong to Him:At the end of time, Scripture tells us. “The Son of Man is come with His angels”(Matthew 16:27)Excepting the fallen angels, every angel in the Bible is portrayed serving God and his plan.

A random sampling:

Raphael is sent to guide Tobiah (Tobit 5-14)

Gabriel announces two momentous births(Luke 1,11,-13,26-31)

Michael and his angels fight God’s enemies (Revelation 12:7)

Unnamed angels save Issac (Genesis 22:11)

Assist the Prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:5)

Appear to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14)

Attend Jesus (Matthew 4 :11;Luke 22:43)

Unlock prison doors (Acts 12:7)”

Hosts of angels offer unceasing praise (Revelations 5:11)” -From page 515 Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible NRSV

Later after Christ’s Passion, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18). After Peter had run back to tell the disciples that the tomb was empty (Hallelujah!) Mary looks into the tomb and sees two angels in dazzling (Clorox?) white and they ask her “Woman why are you weeping?” Then what Mary at first takes to be a stranger, Mary says “Sir,if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away” (can you even imagine how frantic she must be at this point?)

I couldn’t finish without touching on seraphim and cherubim, from the Websters.com

Definition of : a traditional hierarchy of angels ranked from lowest to highest into the following nine orders: angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim.

We read a description of Seraphs “and one called to another and said

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (sound familiar? it’s part of the mass)

“The seraphs are some of the more exotic  angels described in the Bible.They are associated with the fire of the alter, perhaps because they reflect God’s holiness. I like to think that they burn with love for God.” -Ann Spangler Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible NRSV

Ezekiel 1

In Ezekiel you will find a most terrifying description of Cherubim, not the chubby little baby angels seen in Renaissance art to be sure.

No where the Bible are we can we find, that when we leave this mortal coil and ascend to our heavenly reward (God willing) do we or our loved ones become angels.

I understand in our grief we want to picture our dearly departed like something out of a Hollywood movie with Jimmy Stewart. We want to think of them with wings and a halo. That is just not the case.

Gods hierarchy of angels by all accounts are a terrifying sight to behold, I personally will be happy just to have my soul enter in to heaven and worship God for all eternity. No wings necessary.

Agnolo-Bronzino-Adoration-of-the-Shepherds-detail-12-

“One loving soul sets another on fire” St.Augustine

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

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How I Share My Faith, Ordering A Pizza

 

So today was the first Friday of Lent and since I had blown it earlier in the day by accidentally making a grilled cheese with turkey on it. GAH! My kids had the day off from school and I just thought it was Saturday! #Loser

So I called Costco to order a cheese pizza for dinner to make up for my blow it move.

I got a chance to talk with Chuck.

I said “Hi can I pickup a “cheese” pizza at 5:15 please?”

Chuck “You can pick up a “cheese” pizza at 5:15″ I thought RATS, I should have said “May I pick up a cheese pizza”.

Then he asked for my name, so I spelled P as in Peter I.L.A.R.

Chuck asked “Does anyone ever call Pillar?”

I laughed and said “ALL the TIME!” I proceeded to tell him about all the crazy variations I’ve heard of my name over the years.

Pilar The Mar The Big Fat Peanut Bar (thanks Harry George in  1st Grade, you weasel)Rice Pilaf, Pillard (as if a mom would name her kid LARD) at this Chuck was laughing.

I said “My name isn’t some weird hippy name,my name is an old name that I only ever see in Spanish text books or its someones grandmas name” like Eunice, Mabel or Edith.

I was supposed to be a Paula, after my moms older sister.

Chuck shared with me that his last name is “Roucker” so you can imagine the grief and rhymes he heard as a kid.

I said “My maiden name is Anaya, which I recently found out is Basque and means “brother”. Well now I’m hearing all over for a little girls name and I think, Oh man your parents didn’t know what that meant did they, but it sounds pretty.”

Chuck laughed “Yeah know that’s true. parents name kids any old thing pops in their head sometimes. Then the kid grows up and realizes his name means Orange” I laughed so hard!

Me “It’s a serious business naming another human, it’s not like naming an animal”

He said “I don’t like it when people name animals with human names” I laughed.

Me “I get it though, sometimes they don’t have kids. I know a lot of Sophie’s and even a cat names “Frank” but he couldn’t be any other name”.

Chuck laughed and I could picture him shaking his head through the phone “A cat named Frank, I guess I could see that. Frank The Cat”.

We continued on talking about names and how they are important. I said my daughters are Isabella and Sophia which my husband thought were too old-fashioned and now everyone has those names. I can’t win for losing. Chuck was laughing.

I changed the subject.

I said “You might want to be prepared for a lot of cheese pizzas for the Fridays leading up to Easter” He asked why.

Me “Well Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent leading to Easter, only fish”

Chuck “Only fish?, Hun at my church we’re fasting for the full 40 days and no meat at all”

I said “Oh man! That would be so hard! No fish, hun? Before I was Catholic I never understood why Wendy’s and McDonald’s would have “fish sandwiches” only certain times of the year. Now I know!” LOL

I said “My youngest is complaining about NO pepperoni but she complains when we have to go to Church on Sunday, because during the week (they go to Catholic School) the whole school goes to mass on Tuesdays”.

Chuck said “I can see that.” I said”But Tuesday is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation, Sunday is or Saturday night at 5 o’clock mass.

Chuck “A Holy Day of Obligation, that sounds SERIOUS” Dude it is!

See I tell her “God, gives you EVERYTHING, the least you could do is give him an hour a week”

Chuck said” ONLY an HOUR!? At my church one song could take an hour!” YIKES!

I laughed and said “Well we’ve had 2,000 years to get it down to just an hour. That and the readings from the Bible are printed up in the Missal a year ahead (don’t quote me on this). I’ve heard that if you attend mass everyday for 3 years, you will hear the ENTIRE Bible!”  Missal

Chuck “A year ahead?” he seemed amazed that it was planned out.

I said “Yeah so every weekend we all read the same scripture reading everywhere. It’s so cool, so every Catholic ALL over the WORLD is reading the exact same reading but in their own language! Like in China and Vietnam all of us are on the same page!”

Chuck was amazed. He said “I feel like I know you! You made my day” at which I laughed.

I said “Thanks! I’ve never met a stranger in person or on the phone!”

He said “You be sure to say Hi when you come in. You ask for Chuck in case I’m in the back”

I said “I will, I promise”.

So I picked up the kids, we ran into Costco and sure enough there was Chuck in the kitchen of the snack bar. He was looking out at the line expectantly and I gave him a big wave and yelled “Hi CHUCK!” His face broke out in a HUGE smile and he yelled “Hi PILAR!”

Chuck asked”Are those Isabella and Sophia?” and I said “Yep” and pushed them forward (we were in line) so he could see them. I said”Wave to Mr.Chuck”, they seemed surprised I knew him, but no too much.

Then I saw Tenille (Like the Captain and Tenille) and asked her how her new baby was, she said he was fine and how sweet that I remembered. Chuck said “Wait did you just order a chicken bake?!” I was laughing “I said NO, I was asking Tenille about her new baby!One day she is magically 8 1/2 months pregnant, meanwhile I’m in here all the time and never noticed!”

Tenille laughed and said”Yeah some people around here care Chuck!”

Chuck laughed too.

You see my kids, husband and friends are used to me striking up conversations with complete strangers who share their stories with me wherever we go.Sometimes these folks just pour their hearts put to me in the middle of a store aisle. Sometimes I offer to pray for them, other times, I just listen, while the kids fidget and look all around. I’ve told them God puts me where he needs me and you never know maybe that was God and he was testing me to see if I would help and do the right thing? You never know.

When I hung up I checked my phone to see how long Chuck and I chatted, 9 minutes.

In 9 minutes I shared my faith, my name and how the Church is universal and we read the Bible. Some faiths think we don’t read it, so I need dispel that MYTH. But also I want to share how beautiful and old my faith is.

pizza-cat

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

Ashes to Ashes

Today is Ash Wednesday and I started a post about what it means and why we observe it as Catholics. But instead I want to share with you something more important.

Last night I received an email from our school principal informing me (and the entire school) that a student in my daughters class had lost his mother last night.

This little boy is one of the sweetest kids in the 6th grade, but I didn’t know his mom Kelly very well. But this doesn’t change the fact that my heart hurts for this little boy and his family.

During the mass today the family and Kelly were mentioned during the petitions of the mass, where we ask God to hear our prayers. I couldn’t help but cry and be afraid, this could have been anyone one of us.

Any one of us parents could be gone tomorrow and what would happen to our children and the HOLE that our death would leave in their lives?

As the deacon talked about the ashes we were about to receive and that we should ALL of us be reminded that we will return to ashes, from whence we came. I cried thinking one day this will be me too.

I am bewildered that in such a small faith community that we weren’t already offering up prayers for Kelly. I realize that her illness may have been sudden or a private battle the family was keeping to themselves. But I can’t help but feel that I let her down.

I let her down first by not praying for her, for her family or for her children. I let her down by not bringing a meal or organizing a Meal Train.

I have been the recipient of so many Meal Trains after various surgery’s that I have lost track. So I am always eager to return the favor, organize and make a meal to pay it forward and say thank you.

I am praying for Kelly now and the repose of her soul, but also for her young son , her grown children and husband. For all the friends of this little boy in my daughters class who are processing how this could happen to someones mom so quickly.

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You see we have a very small Catholic School and as Catholics we pray for you no matter what! We pray for you when you need a job, when your grandpa dies, when you’re sick, when your marriage is in trouble, when your kid is struggling to behave, when you ask, we PRAY!

That’s what Catholics do! Prayer touches every single facet of our lives, even before a sporting event we pray for the athletes and their safety and that they would seek the ultimate goal to be with Jesus in the world to come.

We don’t need to know you personally to include you in our daily prayers. We just hear the call and the WARRIORS assemble and heed the call. We send up our SOS to God, Mary the Mother of Jesus and all the Saints we can invoke, remembering their special patronage.

Over Christmas break we went ice skating, I saw a man skating with a helmet on and thought he was a skate guard. He was that skilled and talented. Come to find out he is a parish member and he went on to explain that the reason he was wearing the helmet was because he had a horrific brain injury while stopping to help another motorist remove a downed tree, from the road way. Well the tree snapped back in a freak accident, hitting him so hard in the head he had a traumatic brain injury.

All of the sudden I said ” OH MY GOSH! I KNOW YOU! I prayed for you! You’re friends with the Taylors!” He smiled and said “Yes! I owe my recovery to all the prayers from my parish in Michigan and here from the St.Charles Parish”

For me he was like meeting a celebrity in a strange kind of way. Many times I pray for strangers that I know I will never meet yet I wish for all God’s blessing for them and their families. Here was one of these strangers, walking and talking after a traumatic brain injury nearly took his life! I was over come with Gods mercy and the power of all the prayer warriors I joined.

When my husband was 16 years old his father went into to the hospital to have a brain tumor removed (mid 1960’s) before he left he told my husband Chris, “You’re the man of the house and you’re in charge until I get back” at NO TIME did his mother tell him or his siblings how perilous this surgery was.

His parents decided together to shield the kids from any undue worry. His father didn’t survive the surgery, he died and left Chris and his family shattered.

Many families grow closer after a tragedy like this but some splinter apart into a million shards. This tragically is what happened to my husband and his 3 siblings. Even today at 62 years old they are not close.

My husband is still angry and hurt that his parents didn’t tell him the truth so maybe he would have been more prepared or he could have told his dad how much he loved him and would miss him if he died.

Sudden deaths rob us of the chance to tell people what they meant to us or a chance to say goodbye and I love you one last time.

For the families of slain police officers or fire fighters, this is a constant fear at the back of their minds. But in order to function the family member has to believe that their officer or fire fighter is coming home at the end of every shift no matter what. Otherwise how could you function? The same holds for service members deployed in harm’s way or killed in minor training accidents state side.

I know first hand because my mother is a retired Los Angels Police Officer. As a teenager raising my younger brother, this is how I coped. I pushed that fear down deep and acted like everything would be ok.

When I shared this news with my husband last night his first response was ” I think our school is cursed”

Let me explain, in the 7 years that we have been there,

  • The toddler age son of our 3rd grade teacher died of heart complications.
  • The not even 50-year-old husband of one our first grade teachers, died of a massive heart attack.
  • The close friend of our 5th grade teacher, was killed in a car accident.
  • Parents of staff, have passed away.
  • Cousins of students were killed in an automobile accident that left only one surviving sibling out of 3 very young children.
  • A mom was nearly killed when her van over turned in a one car accident.
  • One teen broke his neck in a surfing accident and is paralyzed from the waist down.
  • A father of a young family was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died 3 months later, leaving his wife and young children behind.
  • My dear friend suffered a still birth at the almost 8 months.
  • A 2nd grade teacher developed and beat breast cancer.

All of these terrible things are just part of life. This is not a curse, it’s just LIFE!

But we grieve and pray together as family in this little faith community. We don’t hold back when we ask for prayers.

Maybe this is why Kelly’s death is such a shock to all of us. Never, not once were the kids asked to pray for her in class. I realize that the family may have wanted privacy or they may not have realized how very ill she was.

But I think I speak for all the families in expressing our grief, sorrow, shock and condolences at this awful time.

As a mom I have to wonder if she felt robbed of all the amazing memories she will miss with her youngest child, all the hugs, kisses and I love you’s he will miss from her. All the accomplishments he will achieve as he grows into a young man.

Not one of us could ever replace his mom, but I pray he knows one day that he is surrounded with love and families that are praying for him and want to see him reach his full potential through Christ Jesus.

So please if you will pray for Kelly’s family and her children as they struggle through this unimaginable grief.

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

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“Sometimes” The Holy Spirit Bosses Me Around

If you know me in person you know that I am a SPAZ who appears to have 2 speeds Hyper or Asleep. With this said I also have a hard time staying on track when I tell a story (so many squirrels dancing in my head trying to get their ideas out FAST) is all I can compare it to.

With this disclaimer I want to tell you about the times that the Holy Spirit bossed me around and continues to. Even in my rattled brain I am listening and do what I’m urged (because it’s not a voice per se, but more nudge or a feeling).

Usually it seems to be reaching out via a phone call to people I haven’t seen in a long time and giving them a very specific message. Often times I don’t remember what the message was after I’ve passed it along, but I know that the person who received it was helped and that’s all I needed to d, was deliver the message at that moment.

For example, an old high school friend found out her mother was dying from cancer, she was worried about taking time off from work to see her mom. I said

“Go and see your Mom NOW, she is NOT getting better. No matter what she’s telling you. Who cares about this job, you can get another one. Your Mom is the most important thing!”

It was so hard to tell her this but I knew her mom was trying to shelter her, but I also knew that if I didn’t speak bluntly she would miss that last farewell and forever berate herself for letting her “job” keep her from seeing her Mom.

Sadly her beautiful Mom did pass away within a few months, I wanted to wrong in the worst way.

Another friend I called out of the blue, mentioned that his father whom he was long estranged from was dying, but had told him I never want to see you again. I said

“You should go and make your peace no matter what he says. It will be your last chance and you will never regret saying good-bye”.

A week later he called and thanked me for my random advice (I totally forgot we had spoken until he reminded me). He said a check arrived in the mail that day with just the right amount to fill his tank to make the round trip to say good-bye. With my random call he knew that God wanted him to make the trip and make his peace.

Another friend, popped in my head because I wanted to discuss an idea for this blog.

She shared that she had been going through a terrible time in her personal life, marriage and work. She mentioned that long forgotten childhood abuse had been recently stirred up and was causing just HORRIFIC nightmares.

All of this was news to me, because none of this trouble appeared to be happening according to Facebook. Also this friend has an amazing faith that is a beacon for others.

So when I heard all these terrible things were bringing her world into crashing disarray, I knew that the Holy Spirit was telling me to explain to her that she was under spiritual attack and that Satan was waging war against her.

At the risk of sounding completely INSANE! But what else could it be, any person of faith could see it plain as day.

I sent her a prayer for the Archangel Michael to protect her in battle and promised to pray for her.

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All weekend I rebuked the devil and told him to stay away from her. I petitioned the Archangel Michael to protect her in this battle and left the rest up to God.

By Tuesday everything seemed to have settled down and the prayers are working to turn things around.

I told her I didn’t really understand or mean to call initially but I knew straight off that it was the Holy Spirit, bossing me again.

A few years ago, I had to run and grab a dessert for the end of year picnic at school. The fastest route would take me past the local abortion clinic which I try to avoid at ALL costs.

I had the strangest feeling that God was thumping me on the head and saying “You have to go there today, RIGHT NOW. I will NOT take NO for an answer”.

Like Jonah in the Bible I was trying to do anything to avoid preaching in Nineveh(at the Abortion Clinic)

If you’re not familiar God tells Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to REPENT or all will be LOST! Jonah jumps on a boat to get away from this task. He is flung overboard in a storm and  he gets eaten by a whale, but God saves him (after spending 3 days in a whales stomach, GROSS) he gets the message out and the people of Nineveh listen and are SAVED! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!(Not surprised)

So with my young daughter who was 5 at the time, I parked and approached the Pro-Life ladies. One in particular I know on sight because she is out there nearly every single day.

Rain, Snow, Heat or Cold.This woman is a Warrior for the Unborn.

I often stop and give her a few dollars when I can to help with her gas and expenses because she’s in the trenches and I’m avoiding this fight in person.

On this day, only one single pro-choice/Abortion protestor was out counter protesting this group of Pro-Life grandma’s.

I CAN NOT tell how much I did NOT want to speak to this woman. I mean I would rather have taken a BEATING then approach this stranger with what I was about to tell her.

So I walked up to her and asked quietly if I could have a minute of her time. She looked at me suspiciously but acquiesced when she looked at my little girl.

I mean how vicious or crazy could I be with this precious girl at my side.

I held out my phone and said

“This is a photo of my baby Mia Paloma who I miscarried at 13 weeks. She had a little dimple in her chin just like her sister here. Because of my age I can’t seem to get pregnant again, so this was my last chance”

I can’t remember exactly what she said, it was something like “I’m sorry”.

I thanked her for her time and walked away, shaking and holding back my tears.

My daughter Sophia had already asked me what was wrong with all those babies in the pictures and told her a half truth that they had a terrible accident.

As we walked back to the car, the Pro-Life ladies stopped me asked what I had said. I retold my brief encounter and added “If I can just change one heart, my baby’s death will not have been in vain”

You see, that was the only way I could live through that miscarriage. I had to believe with all my heart that her life had purpose and that God was and would use me as He saw fit to take up this cause.

I share my story often because it’s such a taboo, no one tells you when you lose a baby that you can deliver it, receive a death certificate ( just ask for one) and have a Christian burial.

We were guided gently by our doctor,nurse’s and then by our amazing priest Father Tom.

Every time I think I can’t share this story, it’s too painful, or it’s to embarrassing I realize that God is always with me and He always gives me the strength to endure.

I continue to pray for God to use me as He choses and to always let me share my faith and story with LOVE. He takes care of the rest with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Praying for an End to Abortion,

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

The Archangel Michael

 

 

 

 

Missiles and False Alarms, What Would I Want My Children To Know

Recently a false alarm was sounded all over Hawaii causing a state-wide panic. For several minutes, the people of Hawaii thought that a nuclear missile was heading for their paradise.

I read an article by a mother who said she instantly texted her 2 daughters on the main land and told them

“Check the News. Is there a missile heading to Hawaii?I love you.No matter what happens get your degree!Have a good life, be successful!And take care of your sister”

Which made me cry of course because what a terrible fright! The thought that a missile was heading for my town would be such an awful thing I wonder how one ever chokes down that fear?

But it flooded my mind with the things I would want my children to know in the event of my sudden death. Just off the top of my head,

I LOVE you both.

You were BOTH my biggest accomplishments in my life.

Go to COLLEGE.

Stay strong in your FAITH!

DEFEND your faith with ALL your heart.

Love each other, ALWAYS!

FALL in love.

PROTECT your sister and always watch out for each other.

One day you may be mom’s I know you WILL be amazing and better than I could have ever hoped to be.

I am so PROUD of both of you.

Take CHANCES, it’s ok to make mistakes that’s how we learn.

I PRAY you have friends in your lives like I have had the honor of knowing and loving.

Marriage is WORK but it’s worth it.

Pray EVERYDAY.

I love you!

Know that I will be praying for you and I love you for ALL eternity.

RESPECT your flag, your country, veterans, and those who protect and serve our country.

ONLY God loves you more than me.

Be kind, the world is ROUGH and being kind makes you a BETTER person.

NEVER chase after a man, he should chase after you, ALWAYS.

NEVER  date a married man, he belongs to his wife. You deserve a GREAT man.

Remember INTEGRITY is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Do you know how much I love you? I love you to the moon and back and to the sun and back and around every single star God ever made or ever will make. Forever and ever and ever, that’s how much I LOVE you!

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WORK hard and do a job you love.

You are STRONGER than you think, because you have Jesus with you EVERY moment.

Stay HUMBLE, God has you right where he needs you to be.

STAND UP for whats right even when it’s not what everyone else is doing.

The Church is always RIGHT in its teachings, even when it may seem unfair.

Credit cards are only for EMERGENCIES! Pay with cash whenever possible.

SAVE money for your retirement.

Good MANNERS will take you far in life.

TEACH yourself how fix stuff around the house like Daddy did.

Never be afraid to SHARE  your faith with others! Let your light SHINE for Jesus!

Don’t believe everything you hear or read, do your own RESEARCH.

TRAVEL, see the world and try new things.

Remember the lowliest person you may meet was once someones CHILD and God loves them.

Live your life with the goal of becoming the SAINT God wants you to be.

The DEVIL is real and spiritual warfare is a constant threat to the world.

Believe in MIRACLES, God grants them every day.

Remember that Mary is your Mother in HEAVEN.

The Saints are hanging out waiting to PRAY for you all day long, ask them to for help!

Remember to PRAY FOR ME and ask your sister in heaven to pray for you.

Help other people and VOLUNTEER when you can, it feels good.

You will know how much I loved you when you have your OWN children.

Be a GOOD friend.

Eat HEALTHY and take care of your TEETH.

Don’t worry about other people’s OPINIONS, they don’t matter one bit.

Wear SUNSCREEN.

Be MODEST, you can still dress sassy without putting all your body on display.

Never let a man hit you, belittle you or separate you from family or friends. These type of men will NEVER EVER change!

You do not need to be PERFECT, I still love you and so does Jesus.

Adopt shelter PETS, remember a pet is for life.

Pay your bills on time to maintain your GOOD credit.

Say you’re SORRY, forgive when you can. Don’t allow people to mistreat you.

Listen to that little voice in your head, it’s trying to keep you ALIVE.

Hollywood LIES, movies are make believe.

BE CAREFUL about what you watch, listen to and read. Ask yourself would I watch this with Father Tom. Trash in equals trash out.

You are special there is NO ONE in the world just like you.

If you marry, MARRY a Catholic that lives their faith daily. You will be each others guide to SALVATION.

Marry an optimist with a great sense of HUMOR, life is hard and this will help along the way.

PRAY the rosary.

NEVER let someone talk you out of your faith!

Even though you may be small you are FIERCE, God is with you always.

Adoption makes families too, be OPEN to life and what God puts in your heart.

I could go on and on, but I hope that this list  could be a guide to what I would share if I had to leave instructions.

So what started as a false alarm in Hawaii, has led to this roadmap I pray would help in the event that my girls need it when I am gone.

Mary and jesus

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

PS You both made me a better person by being your mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Forced Family Fun & Strained Holidays

I think we can all agree that the holidays are fairly stressful. Maybe because we have this  idea of how it all SHOULD be and yet, in all our planning and prep we fall short?

 

 

 

If you are anything like me and grew up in some type of dysfunctional family, you try your hardest to make the family you have now, different and as “normal” as possible.

We all have some type of weirdness in our families. Sometimes you may think it’s just your family, but nope you’d be wrong. I say this a lot because it’s true. It seems to be a thread that runs through my blog.

Because I want you to know you’re not the ONLY one, in a sea of Pinterest worthy holiday scenes, struggling to create “normal”. I know I will NEVER have the Norman Rockwell picture of a family and that’s ok, that would be way too much work, and for the record I am a sloth.

For me I realize it each time I go to some event at school, so many families I know have close family near by. These grandparents, aunts, uncles and  cousins show up at the sporting events, school concerts, First Communions, etc. I love that about our school and community. But it points out in glaring contrast that our extended family is NOT close.

My mother recently drove through Ohio on her way Arizona after spending several months in Maine. Where she never once called to let me know she had arrived safely but that’s another story.

Suddenly out of the blue my Aunt called and said your mom is coming through town in 2-3 days call her. WHAT?! Wait why hasn’t she called me? Oh her phone is malfunctioning (again) this from a woman who has yet to set up her voice mail on a phone she’s had for years.

My mom is not old for the record she is only 67. Based on the friends I have in my Knitting Group this is NOT old. OK

In the end she skipped visiting her ONLY grandkids, because I would not let her dog stay at our home. To be fair she is always welcome but the dog is not and she knows this. Last time the dog stayed it chewed up the footboard of my daughter’s bed and my mom never even mentioned it. Like it *poof* never even happened. That and my only request was that the dog PLEASE not sleep in my daughters bed. #RagingAllergies but even this simple request was disregarded.

So my husband said the dog is NOT allowed in our home. He is a pretty easy-going guy, he doesn’t complain or put his foot down often, but when he does speak up I try to respect his wishes.

I found a wonderful kennel that my best friend uses but my mom REFUSED to kennel the dog. Choosing instead to skip seeing her ONLY (did I mention this) grandchildren.

I can take this kind of rude behavior, but I don’t let anyone treat my kids this way. As a parent it’s my job to protect them and teach them to set boundaries for themselves and others.

I realize I won’t always be around to “shelter” them and life is full of “hard knocks” but your own family, should be a haven and a place were you always feel loved, safe, welcome and cared for.

Tucked In

I’m not alone in this phenomenon I have other friends that refuse to let their children interact with the abusive, alcoholic, absent grandparents. This to me makes total and complete sense, but my mom isn’t like that, she is just incapable of growing up I guess?

I realized this last interaction that she is like a Land Mine in my life that drops in unannounced and reeks havoc on my life. For years I sheltered my children and wouldn’t tell them grandma was coming until we actually saw her face or knew she was up the road.

For a time she lived a mile down the road and the kids LOVED it. She said the cold here was too much for her and moved back to Arizona to care my elderly grandma and yet she spent most of last winter in a shack in Maine. Cold much?

She skipped a visit last Christmas to buy a dog instead. As in flew to Colorado to pick it up from the breeder and fly home rather than fly to Ohio to visit us.

Growing up, my mom and dad would make promises that were never kept. Especially my dad (he meant well I’m sure) but kids crave consistency, structure and rules.  My mother would say if you don’t expect anything from your dad you won’t be disappointed. I learned that she was right because she would do the same things, IOU’s for birthday gifts, not showing up on time when we expected her (being hours late), one year she invited me to Christmas at a friends in Temecula but gave me the vaguest directions.

I drove around for 2 hours (prior to cell phones) in the middle of the NO WHERE in such a rage, that when I finally did find her she just laughed it off. That’s her way you see to deny or deflect any criticism.

I didn’t realize these flaws until I had children of my own. Growing up my mom was my very best friend and I would have done anything for her.

She was my hero raising 2 kids as a single parent and being a police officer. She taught me many lessons about being self-sufficient, good manners, to look people in the eye and shake their hand with a firm grip, to love this country, to read, to clean, to negotiate with the utility companies when they wanted to shut off our power. Plus she always believed in me.

But things started to turn for us when she married her 3rd husband. No one in the family  liked him, he was from Germany (I’m sure he was an anomaly) where he left behind his wife and 3 children (why my mom let this HUGE character flaw slide I’ll never understand) and would complain to anyone that would listen how everything was better in Germany.

Consequently my mother and I didn’t speak for about 5 years. That is bad habit of my family to carry a grudge for so long. Stubborn Mules.

Eventually things turned so bad with this man that she divorced him, but not before he alienated her from the entire family.

When I had my own children I saw first hand what an enormous responsibility it is to raise kids. All the things I thought were “normal” or “quirks” growing up I realized were completely unacceptable behavior, poor moral choices and ridiculous behavior (like planning a trip when we were scheduled to move and leaving me to beg friends to help move our 2 bedroom apartment to a new rental house). Who does that to their kids?

I think it is common among most generations to strive to make each generation better than before. We want our kids to have the things we missed out on in our childhood. Like  providing more opportunities and to be better then our own parents if they were completely dysfunctional. This is what “normal” parents want.

I struggle with this because as a Catholic Christian, I want to honor my mother and father, I want to turn the other cheek, I want to forgive and be forgiven. But when is it too much? Where do we draw that line and refuse to submit ourselves and our children or spouses to this insanity? When do we need to share with our kids, why they don’t have a relationship with certain relatives?

Last year I received a devastating medical diagnosis regarding our family. My mother just brushed it off and said “I know everything will be fine” and NEVER not once brought it up again. Period the end, ostrich with its head in the sand.

This last episode was my tipping point and I had to tell my kids what was going on , why I was crying, why I was so angry and stressed out, because of my mom.

I had to explain to them that grandma is missing out on two awesome little kids who are such a joy to be around. They make me laugh, they drive me crazy, they show me what it means to be forgiven, they teach me about Gods love and I strive to live up to the awesome task of being their mama.

I kept this ugly secret from my children as long as I could but the damage was already done. They already disconnected. Out of sight out of mind for children. Children enjoy gifts but the time you spend with them is what they will always remember vividly. So I guess I can drop the charade.

But my heart hurts because these kids are my greatest accomplishment in my life outside my marriage. My mom once referred to them as her gift with purchase (if you ever worked in cosmetics you get that). My husbands parents are elderly (late 80’s) and live out of state but when they come into town they make an effort to see most of their 17 plus grandkids and 5 great grand children. So they make an effort but it’s not like my friend Bronne who tries to host a family dinner every Sunday. Or all my other Nana age friends who have weekly contact with their grandkids. Some even babysit their grandkids daily.

My oldest daughter said “Mom if you ever did this to me I would never speak to you again” meaning drive through town and not see her kids. I said “Honey, I want to live very close to you and your sister so I can see my grandkids (God willing) every single day!”

 

I can’t think of a more amazing way to spend my golden years. I want to be a help to my daughters and watch them raise their own families. My husband and I would like to travel, but I don’t want to ever be so far away that my grandkids don’t know who I am or how much I LOVE them!

So friends when you think everyone around you has it all figured out and their life is Pinterest Perfect, dig a little deeper and you will see we are all of us just treading water.

It is only with Gods Grace (plus my friends and family) that I have gotten this far in my life. Some days I’m everyone’s cheerleader but just beneath the surface I’m praying for constant intercession and help from all the Saints, Our Blessed Mother and God.

This Christmas season give yourself permission to relax, it’s ok if the cookies aren’t perfect, if  cards aren’t finished, just breath. Look around at your friends that are like family or your family that hasn’t pushed you over the edge and be grateful. Give yourself permission to avoid those people who cause you great sadness or stress at every turn.

This isn’t to say you have to hate them , not at all but if they cause you such distress that you are breaking out in hives and your family is miserable, just say “No thank you, we’re skipping “The Circus of Crazy” this year”and stay home with your little tribe of people who love you and encourage you.

I promise the world will not end.

Your “Epic Pinterest Fail” Friend,

leaningtree

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Happens When You’re Someone Else? Dabbling with DNA

SilouetteFor Christmas this year I asked my family for a DNA kit. Let me just state that my mother-in-law could NOT fathom why I would want to know my DNA background. According to her what’s the  point.

Pilar kindergarten 3

Me,1974?

Well, I guess if I had been adopted this would perhaps be a burning question at some point in my life.

Or if like me you were raised with no contact with your dad’s side of the family. So I was left with my mom’s vague recollections and family folklore. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we moved A LOT!

Add to this the fact that my grandma (The Head of Chaos (GET SMART) as I call her) is the matriarch of the family and is rather sketchy even when she had a good memory. Sketchy in a kind “Witness Relocation” kind of way!

We are a family that doesn’t seem to keep roots down for long. So for me who we are and where we’re from has been a nagging question most of my adult life.

It became more of a question when I had children and they started  writing ancestry type reports in school.

My husbands family has an Uncle George the family genealogist, they have photo’s going back nearly 120 years. Like my friend Barb that can name all the family members in her old family pictures, going back several generations. #Treasure

We have some photos of my grandma as a child, grandpa with my mom, aunts, a few of my own baby photos. I say a few since after the divorce my mother cut my dad out of most of the pictures, which makes it difficult to grasp at memories if he ever held me and loved me?

I have one single photo of my dads family with all my aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Anaya Family

The Anaya Family

My mother can’t seem to remember if my dad is the littlest boy in front or the baby on my grandma’s knee? Or which are my Aunts Marina and Aurora?

But I see a striking resemblance in my youngest daughter to my Aunts, who look like Spanish film stars. The ears are another family trait I inherited, like my brother, who also got the red head gene from my Grandpa Anaya and the Cason side of our family. Or the weird mole on the back of my neck like my brother and my dad, which means I can’t continue to claim my brother was a troll we found under a bridge!

Growing up I was a clone of my father, even mannerisms and personalty according to my mom. She used to say he never met a stranger, which is what my husband says about me.

But when you have unresolved issues with an absent parent and they die before you can grill them about their motives, it leaves a huge empty spot in your life. Not to mention the whole medical history side of family history.

This is not to say I don’t picture this side of the family when I pray during mass for the faithfully departed, but I can’t pray for them by name like I should be able too.

 When you don’t know who or where you come from, pictures and DNA help you like an ancient map.

Silouette

So I finally received the results of my DNA from Ancestory.com and I find out (drum roll) I’m 87% European.

Hun? I thought that would have been spilt a little differently, not what I was expecting at all, maybe 56% but 87%?

Let me be clear that 24% of the “Anaya” DNA comes from the Iberian Peninsula. Spain and Portugal, which I had heard we were Spanish, but most Mexicans claim this and it’s probably not correct. I also expected Ireland( more red hair genes), England, Scotland, France (hello France boarders Spain, who knew!)

But what made me laugh, is the 8% Native American!

Have you ever watched those ancestry shows on PBS? You know where the people are certain, beyond a reasonable doubt that they have a Native American great grandma, and the results are always NO. Zero, Zilch, Do not Pass Go or Collect $200.

But nearly every person of Jewish decent is related to Barbara Walters! (Now that’s just odd). I was holding out hope that I may be a little Jewish, which would have been so awesome to be one of God’s chosen people! No Luck.

People have asked me what if the test is wrong? My answer is this , they have suggested my brother as a nearly 99.9% match (with different last names) and the region of Mexico that they predict I share DNA (Colima & Western Michocián) are within a 100 mile radius (give or take) where I was born and my fathers family lived and probably still do.

So I’m fairly certain that even with my families sketchy lack of history that the test is reasonably accurate.

Which leads me to this question, if I’m not half Mexican like I always assumed then what am I?

I have a joke I tell  “Between myself (1/2) and my 2 (1/4 & 1/4) daughters we make one whole Mexican!” People either laugh or they look really confused. #ItsAJoke

Rats! This means I need a whole new schtick! I can’t call myself the Mexican Vampire that can’t go in the sun. Or claim that alarms sound in every house in Oakwood when I enter the city limits (another joke).

I feel like I may have opened up a Pandora’s box full of questions. But by nature of my birth and birth certificate I am a Mexican, if you count the country of my origin? Why is this so weird now?

Ultimately, I would say I identify as a Catholic foremost, a Mom, a wife and an American, in that order.

Looking at my DNA now I can see a heavy Catholic influence, which my mother discovered when she paid a genealogist to research our family history. My mother said we had been Catholic going back 500 years, then came to America and rebelled against the Church becoming Protestants. #Rebels

I have yet to see this report, my mom is not good with the follow through.

So what about you friends, have you dipped your toe in the DNA testing pool? Let me tell you from my experience, you may be SURPRISED with the outcome.

Your friend,

Pilar the Papist Squirrel

Formerly known as “The Mexican Vampire”