Danielle Rose: Culture of Life

In the spirit of the marches and rallies for life happening all across the country, I want to bring attention to music missionary Danielle Rose and her album Culture of Life.

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Copyright to Monstrance Music and Danielle Rose.

 

For those who don’t know, Danielle Rose is a Catholic singer/songwriter. She’s been making music since 2001. My personal favorite album is I Thirst, but I also like the tracks from Mysteries and Pursue Me. However, Culture of Life is by far her best album yet.

I don’t consider many real world people to be role model material, so believe me when I say that when I see Danielle Rose as my role model, know that my statement carries a lot of weight. One thing I’m noticing in all these songs is that God is always included in the story. None of these songs could be considered “praise and worship” in the traditional sense, but instead are more meditative, thought-provoking.

  • Little Flower: I love the Chinese flute intro, for starters. I also love the emphasis on God’s provision. “God provides” rings throughout, as if to say there is no need to worry about caring for the child in question. (In other words, take that one-child policy!) The music video is amazing, too. Watch it and please raise awareness of the Little Flower orphanage. Donate if you can.
  • Just One Life: Covering two instances where life hangs in the balance, with the bridge of Mary saying “yes” to the life God wanted to give to her. I can almost see a music video of my head of the stories getting happy endings, even though they don’t get any closure in the song. But maybe leaving them more open-ended is a good thing, since it makes you think of how much value one life really has.
  • You Matter: Living in Texas has made me a sucker for fiddles and steel guitars. It sounds like a wonderful, beautiful country-style song. The lyrics convey a love song, but it’s not one dedicated to a romantic interest in particular. Instead, it’s general enough to apply to anyone. It could be about a love interest or a child or a dear friend, but it’s a love song nevertheless. It’s a song you can dance to. If only country songs these days were more like this!
  • Waiting For You: It’s kind of crazy to think that the same lady who wrote ”Nothing Compares to You” is writing this love letter for her future husband. It’s a song of lovely longing worthy of being compared with the other epic love songs out there. This song does not beat around the bush about the importance of chastity, but it paints the waiting in such a beautiful light. What I love most, though, is that God still has her heart. St. John Paul II would be proud.
  • Make Love With God: Once again, this song does not beat around the bush about the sanctity of marriage. Too many songs about sex these days don’t really talk giving yourself to someone else. Instead they talk about what they’re getting out of it. And many, many people will probably laugh at the lyrics, but be honest. How many songs do you know talk about sex in such a beautiful way that respects both parties and includes God in it? And talks about family?! It’s not just making love, it’s making life.
  • A Mother’s Communion: This is every mother’s song to her child. It echoes what Pope Francis said about motherhood being a type of martyrdom. Never have I connected motherhood to the Eucharist until I listened to this song. My pastor said yesterday that our lives and our bodies are not our own (in reference to yesterday’s second reading). How often have we heard that phrase: “This is my body…” associated with justifying an abortion. How unaware they are that having that child is a call to surrender and selflessness. Pray for them.
  • Joseph’s Prayer of Adoption: It’s only natural that a song about motherhood would be followed by a song about fatherhood. This isn’t the first time she wrote a song in Joseph’s POV before and the lyrics feel like something Joseph would say to the child Jesus, like a father telling a bedtime story. The best part of this particular song, in my opinion, is when it extends from St. Joseph’s adoption of Jesus to God’s spiritual adoption of all of us.
  • Can You Hear Me: A lamenting song of the kind of loss that only abortion can give. Her vocalizations sound like crying, but in such a tragically beautiful way. The melody as a whole is haunting. This song provokes prayers for all those affected by abortion and I pray that it also invokes compassion. Danielle sounds like she’s really crying in this song, especially in the end. And heck, I’d probably be crying along with her.
  • Psalm 51: Okay, this lady obviously has some country roots in her. If “You Matter” reminds you of the upbeat country songs, this song is more akin to the strong, steady ballads that aren’t heard as often. Even though the lyrics speak of surrender and being sorrowful, the melody of the song speaks of strength.
  • Glorious Wounds: Another country-sounding song with fiddles and guitars. The uplifting tone also makes this song the closest thing to what’s typically recognized as “praise and worship.” It praises and worships the holy wounds of Christ, but also brings in the “felix culpa,” the blessing that comes from the brokenness. We may have our scars, but Christ still has His and we can use the scars of our lives to heal those who still have open wounds.
  • Not a Burden: I can see this song being sung as a round. I love the drums used. It inspires the hand-clapping and swaying kind of dance you would see in a charismatic Mass. It kind of reminds me of old spirituals like “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” The chorus is guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
  • Sharing Calvary: I can see myself listening to this during Lent. This song acts like an Ignatian meditation that takes you to Calvary and makes you feel like you’re really there, watching it or being a part of it. We can see ourselves as either thief or a spectator, sharing the pain that the ones crucified are experiencing. I love that it carries the theme of the previous song, that good things come from the pain and suffering that life brings.
  • The Saint That Is Just Me: This was the first song from the album I heard and I related to it instantly. I want my life to be just like so many other people, wishing I was someone else. The reason I have very few real life role models is because I’m more inclined to follow the example of the saints. But in the end, this song reminds me that God created me as I am and gave me this particular life for a reason. The first call will always be to holiness. How we live that call to holiness is up to God, but we need to answer that call to holiness first.
  • Reborn: I remember a movie night I had with my second graders where we watched a movie that included a scene of an old lady attending Mass. It was later revealed that the old lady was dead all along and her soul was attending Mass, preparing to enter Heaven. When I saw that scene, I thought of my dear friend Fr. Keon who passed away. I could easily see him saying these lyrics. Sometimes, I see him at Mass, celebrating with the priest. And other times, I think he’s still in the cafeteria at my old college, watching over the students. I still miss him, but this song makes me smile.
  • I Love Lifeland: It almost sounds like a children’s song, but I started laughing with joy as soon as the song started. It’s basically the song you would sing on a long road trip or at a summer. It’s like the Catholic version of Taylor Swift’s “22” or a throwback to “My Favorite Things.” There’s a little improvised scatting that acts like the bridge and just makes me wanna dance. The laughter in the song is absolutely contagious! What a beautiful way to end the album. It celebrates life with all the little moments and how the little things add up to a lot. And yes, this is my favorite track! How can you beat lyrics like “Daily Mass is the cat’s pajamas”?!

So if you haven’t done so already, get this album. So many of these songs can be anthems for the marches and rallies for life while other songs can apply to other aspects of life. I hope that at least one of these songs speaks to you the way they have spoken to me.

Easter! A Progress Report

So Lent didn’t turn out the way I thought it would be. There were a lot of struggles, but also a lot of lessons learned along the way. 

The wonderful thing about Easter is that it’s a time of celebration and redemption, to remember that death isn’t the end-all, be-all. At Mass, Catholics renew their baptismal vows. It reminds us of what we chose to believe in and what we are all striving for.

To make a long blog post short, I know I should’ve done better in my daily updates. But I am happy with what I did write. And there will be more writing to come for this blog in the future. During Lent, I learned a lot about humility and patience and during Easter, I will put what I learned to practice.

Sneak preview: I will be doing a series of posts called “Eat, Pray, Love: The Catholic Version.” Watch the trailer for the movie and you’ll get a hint as to why I’m going to do this. I will tell you right now that I’m not gonna go to Italy or India or Bali. Come back to this blog Thursday and join me on my journey.

Lent Day 39: No Greater Disappointment

Recently, I met someone who told me “There is no greater disappointment than Christ on the cross.”

I want you to meditate on what that exactly means.

Jesus is God made flesh, 100% God and 100% human. So when you look at a crucifix, realize that it’s God experiencing death. God the Son was dead. No apocalypse, no crime, and no betrayal could hurt more than the idea of God the Son suffering, bleeding, being publicly humiliated.

What does that mean for us?

To quote a Chris Sligh song: “Everything is a lesser pain compared to You.”

No matter what in your life has happened to you or what you’re going through, God will understand because He experienced it. Maybe He didn’t experience it the way you specifically did, but like us, he was betrayed by someone he thought he could trust. Like us, He suffered humiliation when He did nothing wrong. Like us, He was abandoned by those he loved except for a small number of family and friends.

Offer your disappointments, struggles, and pain to the Lord. He will give you rest with time. It won’t happen right away, but I can promise you that it will happen.

Lent Day 8: Sink or Swim

The first week of Lent for some people can be a period of denial. “I only have to fast once a week. I can wait for the Penitential Service to go to Confession. I just have to give a little more at the collection plate, right?”

Sorry, buddy, but during this time of Lent, we are at the deep end of the swimming pool of life and it’s sink or swim. 

Now I know there’s that quote that goes: “If grace is an ocean, then we’re all sinking.” This is true. But guess who knows how to walk on water and becomes our lifeguard and swimming coach? That’s right, Jesus.

In the words of Patheos blogger Billy Kangas, “Lent is about God helping us.”

Lent is a time that God challenges us to push ourselves. Sometimes, that comes with suffering. But in the words of Harry Potter: 

And if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, here’s some encouragement from St. Philip Neri:

Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.
— St. Philip Neri

One challenge offered by Fr. Robert Barron comes in the form of almsgiving. Catholic website Busted Halo offers micro-challenges everyday in their Lenten Calendar

My challenge for you today is for you to break a bad habit. Go beyond giving up smoking or drinking. Think of the worst habit you have, whether it’s wasting time on the internet or snacking between meals. (Incidentally that’s the tip of the iceberg of my personal vice.) Pray to God for the strength to overcome these bad habits.

Lent Day 1: Ash Wednesday

Today, I learned a lesson in patience. I got an e-mail from my Sunday School Supervisors that there would be an Ash Wednesday prayer service just for the kids, so I decided to wait until 7:30 to get my ashes.

The rest of the day proved to be a test of patience. My co-teacher and I were planning on getting pretzels and juice for the kids, but I wanted to be efficient, so I decided to buy the food about an hour before class started.

What did I do between the time I got up and the time I actually had to go to CCE? I spent the day like I normally did, except I fasted. I made a lot of tea. I started reading Thomas A. Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. (I seriously love that book and I highly recommend it as a Lenten reading.)

In the end, I found that my patience was still tested. My first graders were restless and excited and the prayer service didn’t leave time for snacks and juice. Thankfully, my co-teacher and I decided that we would give the kids snacks after Spring Break.

So like I told my friend: “Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.” And boy did I learn a lesson in that today.

In a way, Lent is a period where our patience is tested constantly. Sometimes it comes in the form of fasting. Sometimes, it comes when you aren’t sure if you can finish that extra prayer or give that spare change to the homeless person on the street. Last year, many Catholics learned patience during the Sede Vacante period between Benedict and Francis. But as last year taught us, there is always something better waiting for us when Lent is over.

Here’s what Fr. Robert Barron has to say about today:

From Fr. Robert Barron:

Judged According to Love

The Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross said that in the evening of life we shall be judged according to our love. In Matthew 25 the nature of love is specified. It is not primarily a feeling, an attitude, or a conviction, but rather a concrete act on behalf of those in need–the hungry, the homeless, the lonely, the imprisoned, the forgotten. It is the bearing of another’s burden.

Here’s a challenge: Over the next forty-seven days, resolve to perform a particular and sustained act of love.

Make several visits to your relative in the nursing home. Converse regularly with a lonely person on your block. Tutor and befriend a kid who might be in danger of losing his way. Repair a broken friendship. Bring together bickering factions at your place of work. Make a number of financial contributions to a worthy organization that needs help.

Numerous spiritual masters have witnessed to something odd: Belief in God is confirmed and strengthened not so much from intellectual effort as from moral action.

When a man once asked the English Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins what he must do in order to believe, Hopkins replied, “Give alms.”

As you love through tangible acts, you will come to believe more deeply and to enter more fully into friendship with God.’

And finally, here’s my #ashtag selfie.

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How Job Interviews Are Like Theater Auditons: A Short Play

The names in this screenplay have been changed to preserve the confidentiality of the involved parties. Not based on actual events.

ACT 1

Scene 1

At rise:

 

It is a gray, rainy afternoon. A young woman, MARIA, enters S.L. dressed in a long black trenchcoat and black ankle boots. She runs quickly to the building’s entrance and greets the front desk receptionist, JOANNA, a slightly older woman.

MARIA

Hi. I’m here for the job interview.

JOANNA

Might I ask who you talked to?

MARA

The manager? I forgot her name.

The office manager, DONNA (late 20s, early 30s), stands up from behind her desk.  

DONNA

That would be me.

Donna leads Maria up to a conference room that looks more like an empty stage. Maria stands center stage and takes off her trenchcoat, revealing a silvery grey blazer over a green pinstripe shirt and black trousers. 

DONNA

So you’re here to interview for the assistant position of our children’s department. Please explain to me why you think you’d be good for this job.

MARIA 

It’s been a while since my last interview. To be honest, I want this job because I’m saving for grad school and I want to keep working here even after I get in. I’ve been making the most of my time by volunteering with children at the local community center. I work as a tutor, helping them out with their literature, math, and even foreign language. I’ve been doing that for the past few months. I love working with children. The best thing about working with kids is seeing the passion they have for learning anything. People think that kids are stupid and they hate learning. I think they just hate the way things are taught. Keep them engaged and immersed in activities and they learn as they go. I actually directed a couple of skits as part of my job. It was chaotic and the kids weren’t exactly Oscar-winners, but I loved them anyway. All the world is a stage, you know. In fact, this whole interview is a lot like an audition for a play. I read over the things you require me to play in this role and do my best to show that I can play this part. I have to be flexible, on my feet, ready to improvise at a moment’s notice. I have to take orders from the director, or in this case manager. I have to deal with a hectic schedule and whatever I get paid, I’ll take. Only instead of memorizing monologues, I have to monologue on the spot with answers that will hopefully cater to whatever you’re looking for. Funny thing is that after every interview I go to, I listen to A Chorus Line’s “I Hope I Get It.” And unfortunately, I end up not making the auditions. But you know what they say, fall seven times, get up eight. The show must go on. Thank you.

 

 

Friday With a Friend!

Today, my friend Mariella Hunt. Catholic writer and editor, gives tips on how to better yourself through writing. 

In a recent edition of the Paris Review, there is an interview with author Emmanuel Carrere in which he mentions a writing exercise introduced by another author, Ludwig Borne.

The exercise goes as follows: Write for three successive days without restraint or hypocrisy. Write what comes to your mind, no matter what it is. Write what you’re feeling and keep going, keep on going, without interruption, just write.

By the end of this exercise, you will have started on the path to becoming an original writer, because you’ve written what was in your heart and not according to an outline or plan.

If you were to take up this challenge, what do you think would fill the pages of your journal? Would old monsters of your past read their heads up to devour you? Would you meet old friends or even a side of yourself you didn’t know existed?

At some point in the year 2014 I am going to try this exercise and see what my mind comes up with. I think it would be healthy for all writers to give this a shot. You might be surprised by what lies in your head forgotten over the years.

If you try it, good luck! You might write a best seller!

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Mariella Hunt is 20 years old and writes Young Adult Fiction. She blogs about her Catholic faith and fascination with art. Home is the Treasure Valley, but she dreams of seeing the world. Find her on Vimeo.

She is self-publishing her first novel, Dissonance, on 12/14/14.

I Open At the Close: A Recap of 2013

With the new year just around the corner, I wanted to do a personal recap of what 2013 was like for me. This whole year has been a period of uncertainty but it led to a lot of personal growth as well.

January: This was the beginning of the third act of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which was one of the best new web series of the year. I also decided to take a hiatus from Once Upon a Time, not knowing that the show itself would have a series of hiatuses. One song that describes the whole uncertainty I felt was Fun’s song “Some Nights,” which I finally listened to. I found myself relating to that song. Also, when The Lizzie Bennet Diaries started the Lydia/Wickham relationship arc, I started getting anxiety attacks because it triggered memories of exboyfriends who emotionally manipulated me. On the bright side, I published an article in my college newspaper and found out that one of my favorite vloggers who retired a year ago has decided to return to vlogging.

February: I know that some people would consider this The Year of Beyonce, but I’m only a casual fan. I just liked that she performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Yes, I wore nostalgia goggles when Kelly and Michelle joined her. But things started to take a sadder turn when Benedict XVI announced his resignation from his papacy. I cried. A lot. I liked Benedict XVI not just because he was pope, but he was someone I could relate to. He was introverted, played the piano, liked cats, and wrote some seriously good stuff relating to Jesus.

And that was just the beginning. A Lizzie Bennet Diaries episode that premiered the same day Benedict announced his abdication added to the tears. Someone I thought I could trust with my life started manipulating me, eating up my time with constant phone calls. I had absolutely no idea what was going on at the time, but since I started getting sick, I started having trust issues with my family and wanted to trust my friend more.

March: Things finally came to a head in early March. My so-called friend was manipulating me, driving me away from my family and isolating me from things I loved (even if they were giving me feels). Ultimately, my parents had to intervene and I blocked my friend from all possible forms of communication. But losing my friend left a hole and with my Church being in a Sede Vacante state, I felt lost. It didn’t help that I was also recovering from a cold. However, a trip to Austin helped me put things in perspective.

I realized that my friend was ultimately leading me away from God and that if I let it, that friend would have emotionally damaged me and turned me into a person I wouldn’t recognize. I realized that I had my own voice and that ultimately, I had to let my friend go.

I watched the movie version of Perks of Being a Wallflower and got into the new Lara Croft video game. But things finally changed for the better on March 13. The white smoke came from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney and all of a sudden, every Catholic in the world began partying. Nobody knew who the new pope was gonna be for almost another hour, but I knew that things were going to be okay again. I danced around my living room, happy for the first time in weeks. And then when Pope Francis appeared, it finally sank in to me that there is a new pope. And I prayed that he would be for me what Soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II was to my parents’ generation. Needless to say, that prayer was answered. But it wasn’t just me. Every Catholic was filled with joy and happiness that could never be duplicated by anything else. In other words: Ain’t no party like a Catholic party cuz a Catholic party don’t stop!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries came to an end, but it left me wanting more and thankfully, there would be future projects from the creators that came around later in 2013. Ultimately, I felt sad that it ended, but I also looked forward to what would come around next. I also discovered an old song by Semisonic called “Closing Time” which quickly became a favorite.

April: I admired Roger Ebert. I hope that he’s in a better place. But he left a good influence behind, especially on Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic. As for me, he was a critic who got me into looking deeper into film and analyzing it. My brother also started playing Bioshock Infinite which turned out to be an amazing game. I discovered gluten-free waffles and got started on knitting, which has become a good hobby for me.

The Boston Marathon took me by surprise, but I love Stephen Colbert’s reaction to it. And ultimately, 2013 became a great year for Boston. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series (again) and everyone’s faith in humanity was restored by seeing all the good that came out of the horrible moment. I also found that I wasn’t alone in the world. I still had a place to visit in my alma mater and friends who understood what I was going through.

Also: Doctor Who came back with a new companion who is totally awesome. I see Clara as someone who lacks a lot of self-awareness. She’s adaptable, but hopelessly devoted to the Doctor. A mix of Martha and Donna with some Captain Jack.

May: I knitted my first project, graduated from college, and began discerning religious life. This was also the month that Pemberley Digital (the name of the production company for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) released its new summer series: Welcome to Sanditon. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but it was at least interesting to watch. Plus, I loved seeing Gigi again.

My brother and I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness and we definitely liked it, but it wasn’t without flaws or problems. Also, “The Name of the Doctor” quickly became one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes and basically made me a Whouffle shipper. I also returned to watching Once Upon a Time and shipped Swanfire faster than you can say the ship name.

June: The Nostalgia Critic started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and vlogged about each episode he watched. I loved watching him fall in love with the show and remembered how much loved it. I also discovered new online friends who were younger than me, but devoutly Catholic. Through them, I gained a huge support group and learned more about my faith. I started following Catholic New Media through YouTube, Patheos blogs, Twitter, and Tumblr. And I LOVED it!

I discovered a love for sunflowers and learned about bird nesting and ladybug mating seasons. Also: the Kingdom Hearts fandom woke up and discovered the sequel we waited forever for: Kingdom Hearts 3.

Something horrible also happened in June, though. I lost a lot of followers on Tumblr and Twitter due to…disagreements over politics. I won’t name names, but let’s just say that for me, all politicians are the same: opportunistic and self-serving no matter what they advocate to the world.

July: I took part in a photo-a-day challenge and volunteered at my local church’s vacation bible school. It was a lot of fun. I aIso watched Tom Hiddleston take over Comic-Con as Loki and realized that he’s a total life ruiner. Also, I have a crush on him. My brother got into Animal Crossing, which later became my favorite video game ever.

My family and I traveled to Corpus Christi where I faced my fear of heights at the USS Lexington and discovered jellyfish-infested waters.

Pope Francis feels abounded when World Youth Day came around and I was reminded once again about how awesome the Catholic Church is. And how it basically breaks all the stereotypes that people have. There were millions of young adults, cardinals dancing, and children discovering vocations. I myself went to a vocations retreat at the end of the month and found others like me who were discerning.

My brother and I also got to watch Pacific Rim which became one of my favorite movies this year.

August: In August, I discovered that I had a gift for something other than writing and teaching: Intercessory prayer. In the previous month, I learned that one of the bloggers I follow had a spinal cord injury and I started praying for him. By the end of the month, he was able to move his left foot and checked out of the hospital to enter into physical rehabilitation. The fact that he wasn’t a vegetable and that he wasn’t cut off from life support was a miracle in and of itself.

Word also came out that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is now an Emmy Winner, just as Welcome to Sanditon came to an end. I also met actress-turned-nun Dolores Hart and decided to keep pursuing religious life. My family and I revisited Corpus Christi and I finally got to swim again. I also got into The Autobiography of Jane Eyre which I didn’t think I’d get into, but it happened.

I also started writing another rough draft of a completely new novel. Even though I started out the year with fantasy, I wanted to go back to something I loved: stories about real life and relationships.

September: I went to my first concert ever: Audrey Assad, promoting her latest album Fortunate Fall. It. Was. Awesome! Plus, The Nostalgia Critic (after going through all 3 seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender) finally reviewed M. Night Sham-of-a-man’s The Last Airbender. To date, it’s still my favorite Nostalgia Critic review. I always have this philosophy about critics: they need to have passion for what they do if they’re gonna talk about how much a movie or television show sucks. If they come off as either detached, cynical, or whiny, it’s hard for me to believe that they really have a passion for something.

I attended another retreat and learned that I needed to look outside of myself and remember that we are all connected through our shared Baptism. I discovered new music and learned to like some Praise and Worship songs.

Through all these days, I kept writing with the intent of adding 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo. I also started watching the 3rd season of Once Apon a Time and started blogging. I found that I needed to take risks in my writing in order to have my character grow. Also, the Pope’s interview with America Magazine was published and I found different things in the interview. It confirmed what I knew: Pope Francis was seriously down-to-earth, like Benedict, but had the benefit of being an extrovert, like JP2. He’s relatable and pointed out some important things about society.

October: To get into the Halloween Spirit, I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix. Best. Decision. Ever. I also finally got into Channel Awesome’s Blockbuster Buster, who proved that being a fanboy adds something to being a critic. My family and I visited the Houston Jollibee’s and I played some retro games.

Much Ado About Nothing (the version by Joss Whedon) finally came out on DVD and I gotta tell you that Joss has a new thing now. If he starts creating stuff that actually has a happy ending , he might actually start surprising people again. Also: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be underwhelming.

Also, I discovered an order of sisters that I really wanted to get to know. It was cool.

November: The month of NaNoWriMo. I discovered that I shipped Whouffle shipped SwanQueen as a Bro-TP, and decided to take a hiatus from Once Upon a Time due to the writing disappointing me. I took a break from watching Buffy to concentrate on my novel.

However, I still had time for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. It was a divisive episode, but in my opinion I loved it! In my opinion, fans of Doctor Who needed to watch a few things alongside the 50th: Peter Davison’s The Five-ish Doctors, Paul McGann’s Night of the Doctor, and Adventures in Time and Space. I also started praying a 54-Day Rosary Novena and discovered another step towards my vocation.

December: With The Year of Faith coming to an end, I found a lot of prayers answered. The blogger with the spinal cord injury now lives in an apartment as an outpatient, still going through rehabilitation, but getting better everyday. So many babies have been born this year and there are more to come in 2014. And most of all, Pope Francis showed the world how awesome the Catholic Church is. Benedict did the same, except the media chose to ignore it.

2014 is gonna be a good year.