February 27, 2014

My 2014 Lenten Journey...

Look at His adorable face.
Look at His glazed and sunken eyes.
Look at His wounds.
Look Jesus in the Face.
There, you will see how He loves us.

  -St. Therese of Lisieux
:: Prayer ::

 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God" 
-St. John Damascene

There are many forms of prayer, both interior and exterior. I try to do these things throughout the year but in the Lenten season I try to make an even greater effort.
  • Go to Daily Mass (Which I already do in the rest of the year)
  • Frequent the Sacrament of Confession. A very wise and holy priest once told me if one goes to daily Mass then they should go to Confession every two weeks. If one only goes to Sunday Mass, then once a month will suffice.
  • Attend the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
  • Go to weekly Adoration. 
  • Adopt a priest. They rely on our prayers. 
  • Another form of prayer that enriches ones spiritual life in the recitation of the Divine Office. I get to morning Mass early and do it then. And then finish the day with vespers and compline (evening & night prayer).
During Lent (and throughout the year) we need spiritual enlightenment. We can find this through spiritual reading. Maria Von Trapp suggests three categories for a Lenten reading program:
  1. Something for the mind. We should do some research, study the papal encyclicals, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, delve into Church history, study Catholic philosophy.
  2. Something for the soul. This should be deeper spiritual reading that gives a program, guidance, and spiritual direction, including writings of the saints like St. Teresa of Avila, St. Thérèse of Lisieux or St. Francis de Sales.
  3. Something for the heart. We need inspiration. The best way is to read biographies of Christ, Mary, saints or people who put their spiritual life into action. Bishop Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ is excellent Lenten reading. 
Here is what I will be reading using Maria Von Trapp's guide:
  1. Lumen Fidei by Pope Francis
  2. The Sanctifier by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez
  3. Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way by Bl. Pope John Paul II
:: Fasting and Abstaining ::
We must fulfill the minimum requirements of the Church for fasting and abstinence. But there are other forms of abstaining and fasting.
  • Instead of listening to secular music, listen to some lenten themed music or some Christian songs that draw you into the desert with our Lord. Here are some suggestions on songs: 
  1. O Sacred Head Surrounded
  2. Via Dolorosa - Sandi Patty
  3. Stabat Mater
  4. The Glory of These Forty Days
  5. Attende Domine
  6. Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days
  • Or listen to some homilies that are online. Here is a wonderful site of sermons: Audio Sancto.
  • In replace of TV or movies choose a religious movie such as:
  1. The Passion
  2. For Greater Glory
  3. or any saint movie

 In fasting, we are also practicing Self-Denial. This is the area that tests our will-power.

:: Almsgiving and Good Works ::

Almsgiving is often associated with donating money. But it is also giving of your time and talents to others. 
  • Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, homeless center, nursing home. 
  • Stand once a week during the 40 days for life
  • You could also look into volunteering at your parish or Newman center.
  • Save the money that you would spend on your daily coffee, or app and music purchases and at the end of Lent give that money to either the Church, religious organization or turn it into gift cards and the hand them out to the homeless.

"God gives the growth." 
(1 Cor. 3:7)

Dear brothers and sisters, may this Lenten season find the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can so this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
-Pope Francis Lenten 2014 message

February 24, 2014

Hello Monday {1}

{Hello Monday} 
{hello morning Mass and the Sacrament of Confession}
{hello very busy week and long “to do” list}
{hello homemade Mocha}
{hello schoolwork}
{hello Pandora}
{hello pondering thoughts on the season of Lent}
{hello chatting with sweet friends for a few minutes}
{hello praying for some special intentions}
{hello listening to the audio version of "Love Does" by Bob Goff} 
{hello dinner with the family}
{hello new Downton Abbey episode & When Calls the Heart}
{hello evening prayers}
{hello warm bed}

If you want to participate in {Hello Monday}, then please give credit to Lisa in your post. She is the first one to start this little blog series.

February 17, 2014

February 11, 2014

Grab A Cup of Tea... {Book Q&A}

 {These questions were taken from Miss Rosamund Gregory from her blog.}

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:
Popcorn, chips, anything crunchy.

What is your favorite drink while reading? 
A nice lovely cup of tea, preferably harvest peach passion or sugar cookie tea with a touch of cream. 

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the thought of writing in books horrify you?  
I cannot write in books. Unless I really have to like for a class or something like that.

How do you keep your place while reading a book?
Usually a holy card or sometimes these Pinterest inspired Pom-Pom bookmarks.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?  
Both. I am quiet varied.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere? 
Why to the end of the chapter of course.

Are the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you? 
Neither. I can't throw something on the floor. That's just not me.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?
Yep I bring up the dictionary app.

What are you currently reading?  
Well, here goes the list...I am reading two books for school, Christianity and American Freemasonry, Romero: A Life, and then one that I decided to read after hearing his story on TV, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. But then of course there are the audiobooks that I'll listen to when I am to tired to actually read a book but I want to read, if that make any sense.

What is the last book you bought?
Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux by Patrick Ahern and Only You, Sierra by Robin Jones Gunn.

 Do you have a favorite time/place to read?  
At sunrise before the world wakes up... It depends on my mood if it's nice outside then I will sit out there, or inside with a candle burning, warm socks, and some soft melodies playing in the background.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
Series. I like getting attached to the characters, their lives, and in the last book crying because...the story is over.

Is there a specific book you find yourself recommending over and over?
Pretty much anything Jane Austen or L.M. Montgomery.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
I would say that I "try" to organize them by genre.

"I was born with a reading list I will never finish."
 - Maud Casey

February 10, 2014

|| January Favorites ||

: Jason Gray - Good To Be Alive. Jason Gray is an American contemporary Christian singer-songwriter
: Michael Bublé - Feelin Good. It's Michael Bublé, need I say more!
: Moriah Peters - Well Done.   She is a contemporary Christian singer-songwriter. Her inspiration for the album I Choose Jesus came from a myriad of places "including her family, her own relationship with Christ and experiences she's walked through with other young girls while leading her high school Bible study." A new album is in the works set for release sometime in 2014.

: A Princess for Christmas. When Jules Daly's sister and brother-in-law are tragically killed in an accident, Jules Daly (Katie McGrath) becomes guardian to her young niece Maddie and nephew Milo. On top of balancing the daily hysteria of becoming an overnight parent, Jules was recently laid off at work, her car is on the fritz, and the kids’ shenanigans have caused a dozen nannies to flee... (read more)

{TV show}
: Shark Tank. I have been enjoying this show so much! It could be because January makes you think of goals and dreams and what you could do or create... But hey if that's what gets you going then great! I  enjoy hearing the stories about how the 'Sharks' got to where they are today. After watching it makes you want to get up and become an entrepreneur! 


: Boots.
: Scarves.

: Scentsy candle.  I love to plug this in and immediately smell amazing fragrances!
: iPad mini. I recently got one this past month and completely love it! It is so nice to use for school and also to make post on blogger. As well as the camera taking amazing pictures!

:This month the Lord has painted some beautiful skies!


"A goal without a timeline is just a dream." 
- Robert Herjavec 

: I don't know if you have come upon this but I found it this month and thought it was so funny but true! Check it out: 23 Things Catholic Girls Love

{Saint/Feast Day}
: In the month of January we celebrated the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. I have a special place in my heart for him because I chose him as my Confirmation Saint. He was a Dominican friar (O.P. Which stands for Order of Preachers) and most commonly associated with his writing of the Summa Theologiae. 

: One of the big events this month was the RC Challenge. RCC is an annual quiz game competition where students come together to see who knows more about the Roman Catholic faith. It's a Catholic style jeopardy. It was a lot of fun and a good experience for me. My team was the Chorus Angelorum. We were in the fourth division which is for juniors and seniors.
Here is a picture of my two of my brothers who also competed and I.

"Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."
- Mother Teresa

February 1, 2014

Here in This Place...

Welcome to Graciela! 
 I am so excited to start this new journey in the blogging world, I have had a blog before but with a different agenda. This blog will be completely different compared to my previous blog!

The mission of this blog is to inspire a tribe of passionate, confidant & authentic girl-bosses who want to change & challenge the world together. It is a place where I can share what I have learned as a young woman millennial living in today's culture. My desire is to encourage young women to find their feminine dignity, confidence and unique voice in this world. The possibilities are endless, and I aspire to inspire ladies out there to dream big, go after what you want, but still stay true to who you are. In my small attempt to make a difference through this blog, I hope to write to young women millennials on fashion, beauty, media, and leadership.

As a woman, being confident in who you are is often difficult, because we have so many mixed messages thrown at us of who we should be and look like. I believe an important aspect in fully living out your femininity and truly finding that confidence is being able to have fun with a feminine guilty pleasure: FASHION! Find your style and what makes you feel beautiful, but most important,  what brings dignity and respect to your feminine being.

I hope to create a platform for young women millennials in fashion, media & entrepreneurship. But it doesn't stop there, my main motivation is to challenge young women to dream and don't stop till you have achieved it!