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Throwback Thursday/ New mindset November

Hi. I've been gone a long while- so let me catch you up--

1.Hubby transferred to Houston
2. I got hired at another district/ moved and started at my new school within a two week timeframe
3. I had surgery to have some cysts, lesions, and my partially blocked tubes cleaned out so that we can continue to try for a baby
4. I turned 30
5. I fell off the band wagon of health during August and some of September (6 weeks) but only gained back about 4 lbs! 

So I'm just now comfortable with everything changing to start blogging again! I've missed the blog world oh so much!!

Bye bye to my classroom of 5 years! And surprisingly I cried that day!

And here is what my new school/ classroom looks like:

I am enjoying being a bulldog now, but it was a rocky transition! I'm finally learning all the roads and stores in my new town too! 

But I go home often to visit! 

So now that I've caught you up--- here's what stirred me up tonight:

So, everybody knows it's TBT (throwback Thursday) where you post old pics and reminisce.... Here's what I found in my picture drawer: 
 And then I realized. I have changed. When I saw these photos, I ran into our bedroom. Woke up my napping hubby, and yelled- hey look!! I really don't look this way anymore- holy cheese cake - I have changed- OMG!!!

Although my journey has been tough, it's not over. My journey is a little more challenging than most, since my body acts insulin resistant, among other symptoms of PCOS- but it's okay- because I'm learning along the way-

How to make healthy organic smoothies:

How to cook healthy when I'm alone instead of driving thru somewhere: 

And most of all, I am learning so much about who that person was, and how much I've gained! 

I've gained muscle

Dedication, day after day in the gym- lifting and doing cardio

And self confidence...

 I've gained a realization that I am worth every choice because "I decide" I am strong, worth it, beautiful inside  regardless of my life choices, and I am going to mess up but it's okay!

When I look back at the old me- I see a lot of pain, hurt, and swolleness that allowed food to fill the empty hole in my life of not having a child. And as I looked at those TBT photos today- I have to give it to myself, (as hubby always says) "You're healthier than you've been in a really long time babe."

Because now--mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually... I am. I have to do all that is in me, for me, and if along the way baby Castillo pops up, then awesome. And sadly, if not, then I can live with no regrets- knowing I did all that I could to be healthy. 

Here's to the journey! We begin the fertility ride again soon, so please keep us in your prayers! 

- Annie B

PS - duke and ruby are adjusting well!


Favorite Things

I figured since today was the first official day of summer, and it is the 10th of the month (okay it's not the 10th any more-- I'm totes on summer break and have been shopping for new skinny clothes for Vegas --busy,so I am JUST NOW publishing this! But if it is any consolation, I did type it on the 10th) so why not start a new tradition? Godly Gaudy Girl's Top 10 Favorite Things! Every 10th of the month, I will post a new "Favorite Things" list! Enjoy!! Share!! Add to my list in the comments below!! (This month, they are not in any particular order).

10. Brita Bottle- I am loving it! Hubby bought it for me since I drink like a case at work/case at home each week! He told me I was basically ruining the planet. It has a filter and is dishwasher safe! I fill it up with cold water from the water fountain at school, and the nasty chlorine tasting water, is all of a sudden as refreshing as bottled water! 

9. Fruit Punch Spark- Spark is an AdvoCare product. It fuels your workouts and your mornings. Every morning of the year, I used to go to Sonic to get a large diet coke. Not any more! I make my Spark. It controls my cravings for breads, sweets, and soda. I mix it in my blender bottle with ice and water and YUM! 

8. ItWorks Body Wraps- My friend Karla sells ItWorks Body wraps. I have been using a the wraps about 2 or 3 each month, or whenever I have an all out cheat weekend filled with alcohol, fast food, and candy! They remove the toxins from your body, and the results from the wraps last as long as you keep working out and eating healthy. Before I even started working out and eating clean and wrapping, my mid section was a 41 (that was late March). Now it has been 3 months of working out, eating right, taking AdvoCare, and wrapping. Now my mid section is 35 inches-- Not perfect, but progress! That's a 6 inch loss in just my stomach area! I've kept off my inches from my first wrap, and lost more. With anything, when you continue a lifestyle of toxic food, you will not see results. I just wrapped my thighs last night and had amazing results! Starting measurements:
above knee: 20
mid thigh: 24 1/2
upper thigh: 28

10 hours after wrapping:
above knee: 19
mid thigh: 23 1/2
upper thigh: 27

*you can wrap every 72 hours, or 1 x a week is recommended. Focusing on specific areas for 1 box at a time is also recommended. 4 wraps are in each box. Contact Karla! 

7. Champion Gear Workout Shorts from Target- Awesome is the only word to describe. THEY DO NOT RIDE UP. They are comfortable, and are 18.99. I can wear a large and I am a pant size 14. They have a high waist panel and are light, dri-fit, and come to about an inch above the knee. They make them in 3 lengths too!

6. Neutrogena On the Spot Acne Treatment: Works like a BOSS! While you are at Target getting workout shorts ^^^ pick up this spot treatment! I apply it in the morning, prior to make-up, and at night prior to bed. It doesn't dry out your face and pimple size is diminished in 24 hours.  LOVE!!!

5. Nutella. Need I say more?? I was skeptical about it, didn't like it, and all of a sudden my friend Chasity forced it upon me and NOW, I am addicted. It kind of works like that too. Hubs made fun of me for eating it with a spoon. The next day, I get home from work, and guess what's out on the counter-- empty bag of pizza rolls, and MY NUTELLA!  (He is really gross I know) but now he is addicted! 

4. Maybeline 24 hour Concealer- works awesome, DRYS (which is a major problem with most concealers, so your eyeliner RUNS) and covers GREAT! Good price!

3. Extra Sugar Free Gum- LEMON BAR FLAVOR- it speaks for itself. Awesome exchange for dessert, without the calories! 

2. Banana Boat Protective Tanning Dry Oil- smells great, has SPF, makes your skin awesomely shiny, and accelerates outdoor tanning! Walgreen's was actually running a BOGO 1/2 off when I bought mine! 

1. Miranda Lambert Wines- My favorite all time wine line and "Crazy Ex Girlfriend" White wine is TOTES YUMMY! Specs in Texas carries it-- should be in the Texas wines section, or if you are too lazy like me- ask the clerk (job security)!! 

*Everything is linked up, so just click on the pink titles to see pictures/stores where located!!


Fat Blaster Cardio Interval Workout

Via SkinnyMeg's blog it is "Workout Wednesday." I am linking up with her page and posting one of my favorite cardio, fat blasting workouts. Currently, I am doing the below workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while doing weights and calisthenics on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I was running, but I found that this was a better calorie blaster and booty shaper, PLUS it is HOT as H-E- double-- hockey sticks- in TX right now!

Warm up
0:00-4:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 1.0 incline
4:00-7:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
7:00-8:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
8:00-11:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
11:00-12:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
12:00-15:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
15:00-16:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
16:00-19:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
19:00-20:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
20:00-23:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
23:00-24:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
24:00-27:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
27:00-28:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
28:00-31:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
31:00-32:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
32:00-35:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
35:00-36:00/ 6.0 speed run/ 1.0 incline
36:00-39:00/ 3.5 speed walk/ 9.0 incline
Cool down
39:00-45:00/ 3.0 speed walk/ 0.0 incline

*Inclines and speeds vary with treadmill*

On my treadmill, I have a setting
 that allows for "Quick Elevation" or "Quick Speed" so it easier than manually putting in the speeds and elevations each time! I just hit "Quick Elevation- 9.0" and BOOM-- it does it for me!

Although it seems like an easy workout, it is interval training, so the walk on 9.00 allows you to catch your breath, and the run on 6.0 allows you to push it!

****WARNING- you will be totes dripping with sweat when done, but your glutes and hammies will be looking awesome in NO TIME! I am burning anywhere between 400-500 calories, depending on duration. If you cannot go the entire 45 minutes, try it for 25 minutes, and work your way up! We all start SOMEWHERE! Before you know it, you might even increase your time. I found that this also helped me with my runs-- as far as min/mile when I got back on the trail.

TIP ALERT: I have even finished off my 45:00 of cardio with some push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.

Don't forget to S  T  R  E  T  C  H!


Comment below if you try it and LOVE it!!!


Breaking the Scale

So I have been thinking for some time about the scale: literally my worst enemy in this world! I know that I have an addiction with the scale and I have wanted to write about my addiction for some time, but lacked the courage to tell the full truth on my blog. After reading Mama Laughlin this morning and Skinny Meg- I decided that if they are 25-30 lbs smaller than me, and had the guts to write about their number obsessions, well then, so can I!

I don't know where it stems from, but I have a habit. A BADDD habit (insert confession): I weigh myself not only multiple times a week, but also multiple times a day. That is not healthy WHAT SO EVES! IT must stop. Mama Laughlin discussed this morning via her blog that she was in 2 lbs cycles or 4 lb cycles (depending on her weight—she gained and lost the same pounds after eating clean all week and going totes crazy on the weekend) – WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I DO. I feel that I am on a merry go round of scales. Depending on the time of day, the day of the week, what I have eaten, how hard I have kicked butt at cardio or weights, how much I drink--- my weight changes—hello, so does everyone’s!

I accumulate my success with a number. That's 100% wrong. I give advice to others to not do that, in hopes to shield them from the obsessive weighing habit I have.
I know it is unhealthy, and I can see where this is going.

So today, it stops.

I think 1 x a month is sufficient enough to measure and weigh. Other than that, I am sabotaging myself. I let whatever number that pops up at 5:45 am, dictate how I feel the rest of the day.
Today when I get home, I am removing the scales (yes I have two) and I am going to continue on plan. The 1st of every month, I will weigh in and measure. Other than that, I will whole heartedly accept the compliments I am getting from melting those inches off and building lean muscle tone—instead of feeling that “yea, but I gained 3 mystery pounds since yesterday" feeling!

You might, at this point, be in total shock from reading this post, or you might be right where I am and for the first time, understanding that there is only so many times to convince myself that I am "keeping myself accountable" by weighing in every morning-- the reality is, I am just a prisoner to the scale-- when I yearn for freedom from this exterior shell , why do I still gravitate towards being a prisoner.

Break the habit of the scale-- you possibilities are endless when you pay attention to how you look and feel, instead of "your number."

This weekend, I went shopping in Houston. I tried on a pair of size 12 shorts from Ann Taylor Loft and they fit. I didn’t say they looked good, but I zipped those puppies up and they fit my body. Now, I probably needed another 5-8 lbs knocked off to wear them in public, but the point is that I haven’t worn a 12 since I was 155 lbs. I am 178 right now, so what that tells me is, that the number CAN be misleading!

Inches are where you will see your progress. Feeling good all day with energy is where you will see your progress-- NOT A NUMBER! SkinnyMeg talks today about how she was surprised after several months of not weighing, to weigh in at 153—and that her body was actually SMALLER than last summer, when she weighed in at 148! I believe it folks! She discussed back in march on THIS POST about how it is so easy to become a scale addict-- like me

Let's break free-- the time is now -- BREAK THE SCALE ADDICTION-- or the scale if you are really crazy!

Transformation Tuesday Pic (after only 6 weeks of advocare, working out, and clean eating-- with some cheats--(wine, nutella, and the list goes on and on LOL- I feel happier, stronger, and more glowy than before  I was doing paleo and running only in October-November before the holidays! I think I look a lot more healthier and happier too in just a 6 weeks span.

-- follow me on instagram-- godlygaudygirl


AdvoCare 24 day Challenge Results

Well, I am back everyone! I completed my AdvoCare 24 day Challenge and had awesome results! My challenge took me a few more than 24 days since I missed some days on my MAX phase, but none the less, I completed it! I feel great, I love the compliments, and I have tons of energy! I feel like my BIG GOAL of 43 lbs lost  is in sight-- with only 29 lbs to go !

                 September 2012                  May 2013
         Sample Dinner: spinach and strawberry salad, tilapia, peas, and brown rice

Toning out- feeling great: 

What's life, without a treat every once  in a while: 

Here are my non scale victories:

My workouts are finally improving-- I shaved off 3 minutes from my 2 mile run

I have absolutely NO craving or want for diet coke

I am toner and leaner

I wake up feeling awesome

I am working out about 4-6 times a week, depending on what pops up in my schedule

I am lifting more at the gym

I am currently drinking anywhere from 90-120 ounces of water a day, where before I rarely drank water in 1 week!

I have lost some major inches in 30 days!

Now, for the numerical victories:

I am down 7 lbs with the help of the AdvoCare products, my hard freaking work in the gym, and my clean eating

I am down a total of 14 lbs since my heaviest weight (I was already losing before I started AdvoCare-- just the same 5-7 lbs over and over again!)

I am down a whopping-------

*****Drumroll please................







9 1/4 INCHES!


chest- 41 inches
arms- 12 1/4 inches each
waist-37 inches
hips- 47 inches
thigh- 25 inches each
calf-16 inches each

AFTER (30 days later)

chest- 40 1/4 inches (lost 3/4 inches)
arms- 12 inches each (lost 1/4 in each arm, 1/2 inch total)
waist- 36 inches (lost 1 inch)
hips- 46 inches (lost 1 inch)
thigh- 23 inches each (lost 2 inches in each, 4 inches total)
calf- 15 inches each (lost 1 inch in each, 2 total inches)

I am going to continue to do the MAX phase, eat clean and workout 4-6 times a week. This is the first time since my pageant days back in 2003 that I actually lost weight on a product, and the first time I have ever been able to cut my addiction to diet coke. I am so happy that with AdvoCare I can continue the majority of the products if I get pregnant, because who wouldn’t want to feel awesome the rest of their life?

Visit my blog tomorrow, where I will give you a link to my instagram, for my BEFORE and AFTER PICS from the 24 day AdvoCare Challenge! To read about my 10 day cleanse on the 24 day AdvoCare Challenge, Click HERE.

Have a SpArKtAsTic DaY!


Mantillas in Mass

Are There any Mantilla Rules?
Many of you that go to Mass with me, know I started wearing a mantilla a few years ago. It always brings joy to my heart when I see others inspired to wear a mantilla to Mass-- either because they saw someone else do it, or because they mustered up the strength to answer the call (is it a call, that  is debatable?) of reverence from God. You might know that I am very fashion forward and I like my mantilla to match my outfits-- just ask my husband...he laughs at me every Sunday before Mass! Generally, when one attends the Traditional Latin Mass, one should follow the original "mantilla code"-- (White or ivory for unmarried women and girls; black for married/older women). Now, when one goes to the Novus Ordo, I personally feel that the "traditional" colors are not necessary! I like to use my mantilla to show reverence, and to be a stylish "Godly-Gaudy Girl!" I enjoy wearing scarves with print, black laced mantillas, antique white mantillas, or y favorite ivory mantilla from my grandmother; I am currently looking into getting an infinity mantilla with pink flowers, but not sure about what outfits it would match!

So WHY do I wear a mantilla and WHAT does it mean?
I began veiling after a rough patch in my life. One afternoon, my husband mentioned it to me. Like anything he brings up, I got defensive-- but then went to God with it. Hubby was just talking with me about it and never pushed me to do anything. Since I thought it took him such courage to tell me about wearing a mantilla, I thought I would give it prayerful consideration and go for it! The reason one would continue to wear a mantilla in the Novus Ordo, (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) is to mainly show reverence! If we as Catholics believe that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually at Mass with us, why wouldn't we show it, externally? If I was meeting Jesus, I wouldn't show up in my bathing suit cover-up, clubbing skirt, or spaghetti strap open back dress, would I? I would approach Him with the utmost reverence. Our external actions, show how we feel, internally, so why would I equate receiving the Holy Eucharist with washing my car, shopping at Wal-mart, or laying out on the sandy beach?

What happened when you wore a mantilla?
The first time I wore a mantilla, felt nervous. I literally was shaking the entire Mass, hiding behind my veil, fearing that everyone was staring at the fourth pew. They weren't. HELLO! They were there for God, not to stare at me. It was not a distraction, as I argued before. It actually helped me pay attention and focus on the crucifix more! You don't wear flip flops and a mantilla-- even in Texas, y'all--  so the first time I wore my mother's first communion veil to mass, I had to "step up my game" and actually dress up for mass! I felt special--- like I really thought about mass, even before I walked in!

So, do you still feel this same when you wear a mantilla?
Now when I wear a mantilla, I feel reverent. I feel like when everyone is talking and texting in mass (yep, people do that here) I can really focus on my reason. WHY am I at mass? Am I there to look at every one's outfits or watch the kiddo next to me on the ipad? No-- I am there to pray and to show reverence, and a mantilla helps me to remember that! In the midst of talking, I can find silence. In the midst of clapping, I can find reverence. In the midst of confusion, I can find stability.

I thought women didn't have to wear mantillas anymore now that we don't go to the Latin Mass/have Vatican II?
The Catholic Company, blogs on the idea of mantillas and states:

"Since the early days of Christianity, wearing chapel veils has been a common practice among faithful women. Chapel veils, also commonly called mantillas, which comes from the word manta, meaning cape, are typically circular or triangular shaped pieces of black or white lace that are draped over a woman’s head when attending Mass, or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Traditionally, the black veils were worn by married or widowed women, while the white veils were worn by young girls, or unmarried women.
Throughout the centuries, the use of the mantilla by women has had many purposes. The wearing of the Mantilla is an act of veiling a woman's physical beauty, so that the beauty of God may be glorified instead. It is also a way of emulating, Mary, our mother, who is the archetype of purity and humility. Moreover, the mantilla, or chapel veil, signifies the role of women as a life-bearing vessel. The chalice holding the blood of Christ is veiled until the Preparation of the Gifts, and the tabernacle veiled between Masses. Both of these vessels hold the Eucharist – the very life of Christ. In a similar fashion, woman was endowed with the gift of bearing human life.
Before the Second Vatican Council, the wearing of chapel veils was required for a woman when attending Mass, as a symbol of her modesty and humility before God. Although this practice is no longer required, it is still very much supported and encouraged by the Church as a sign of reverence and piety while in the presence of God."     Helpful sites:


AdvoCare 10 day Cleanse Results

Hey everyone! I am back at the grind of blogging! SO-- I began my AdvoCare 24 day Challenge on Wednesday, April 17th and signed up for my distributorship on Thursday!
 I was excited to start AdvoCare since I have so many friends doing the 24 day challenge and getting healthy! The 24 day AdvoCare challenge consists of 2 parts (phases) 1. A 10 day cleanse to detoxify your body of all the junk and 2. A 14 day MAX phase or "weight loss" phase where you can start re-introducing more foods!

I am currently on day 13 of my 24 day challenge and I can tell you--IT HAS BEEN 13 DAYS WITHOUT DIET COKE and I AM FEELING AWESOME! Gotta love my SPARK!! Now, the 10 day cleanse isn't really centered around weight loss, but more so cleaning you out. It is really gentle and chocked full of some awesome supplements! Here are my results JUST from the 10 day cleanse!
Chest: 41
Arms: 12  1/4
Waist: 37
Hips: 47
Thigh: 25

Chest: 40 1/2 (lost 1/2 inch)
Arms 12 (lost 1/2 inch total in arms- 1/4 inch in each)
Waist 36 (lost 1 inch)
Hips: 46 (lost 1 inch)
Thigh: 24 (lost 2 inches total in thighs-1 inch in each)

In 10 days of JUST cleansing, I lost 3 lbs and 5 inches from my body. I was working out and eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies and lean meats.

-- Not my photo-- but I made this almond crusted "paleo/AdvoCare friendly" chicken and it ROCKED!

 I was drinking about 80-90 ounces of water daily as well. I am pleased with my results, but as with any weight loss program, everyone is different. I really do not think I saw some crazy results, like 10 lbs in 10 days because 1- I have been eating a Paleo, clean diet for 4 weeks prior to the cleanse, and 2- I was lifting 15-20 lbs weights and doing lots of reps in the gym. I am really looking forward to my 24th day! I think the companion products like Catalyst really helped me target the extra fat too! I would like to meet a personal goal of 10 lbs lost from the 24 day AdvoCare challenge, but that is dependent upon my body all I can do is try my best to stay on plan and workout!

I will definitely keep you all posted! Other than that, If you are interested in AdvoCare, you may check out the link below--

HERE'S to being LEAN in 2013!


What Makes a Terrible Friday, Good?

***For the next two weeks, I will be steering my Lenten Blog Challenge into the direction of The Way of the Cross, also known as The Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations. I will be posting a Station each day, then reflecting on that Station. To read more about the Way of the Cross, click HERE.


The time has come. Shouts of pain echo as hammers strike nails. Roman soldiers were experts in torture and efficient in execution. Nails tear through sacred flesh and the blood that won our salvation flows out. As the Cross is lifted high for all to see, His body buckles under the weight and the stress. As He speaks words of love, compassion and forgiveness, we see that He is not just a criminal, teacher or prophet. He is God, and He is dying on a Cross for you.


The skies have grown dark Rain falls. The earth quakes. Creation reacts to the loss of its Creator. Evil laughs as the transfigured One now hangs lifeless and disfigured. The angels remain silent. The Lord let Himself be destroyed. No more words. No more miracles. Christ does nothing to save Himself yet offers everything to save us. It is finished.


Christ could have saved himself, but he chose to save us. He didn't choose the easy path. When Jesus allowed himself to endure the pain of the cross, he was telling us something.He was showing us that there is no pain we can feel, that he hasn't already felt. He is showing us how far he is willing to go to save us. He would rather die, than risk not spending eternity without  us. As the hammer hits the nails, we hear the sound of true love. 

As Jesus breathed his last breath, everyone against him thought it was over. They were wrong. Sin, not God, was being destroyed. His sacrifice makes you worthy of heaven. God wants us to be with him eternally-- He gives us this invitation but it is up to us to respond. Christ laid down his life for us- even though we cannot do that, there is much we can do. Live your life in a way that you lay down your life for others, so that others may see Christ in you. 

~If you would like to love God,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you hope for eternal happiness,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how much
 God loves you,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how much
 God wants you in heaven,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how God
 tries to prevent you
 from the yawning jaws of hell,
 look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how much
 God will help you to save your immortal soul,
look at the Crucifix!

 ~If you wonder how much
 you should forgive others,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how much
 your faith demands of you,
in humility, poverty, charity, meekness
 and every virtue,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you want to know
 what unselfishness and generosity are,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wonder how far
 your own unselfishness
should go to bring others to Christ,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you want to understand
 the need 
for self-denial and mortification,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wish to live well,
look at the Crucifix!

~If you wish to die well,
look at the Crucifix!

The Crucifix - the Book of Life!
~Saint Thomas Aquinas


***For the next two weeks, I will be steering my Lenten Blog Challenge into the direction of The Way of the Cross, also known as The Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations. I will be posting a Station each day, then reflecting on that Station. To read more about the Way of the Cross, click HERE.


The walk has ended but the mockery  has not. Jesus is now stripped of his last earthly possession – his Clothing. Exposed for all to see, His wounds are clearly visible now - as are the fruits of our sins: the cruelty of man and the presence of evil. The shame of Adam's nakedness bore witness to his sin but the
shame of Christ's nakedness bears witness to our sin. Onlookers stare and soldiers gamble as Jesus awaits the final insult.


I can't imagine how humiliating it would have felt to feel Jesus' pain during this mockery.  The evil of the soldiers looked powerful to others, but He knew who held the true power. I think it is necessary for us to encounter "soldiers" as well. Sometimes people spread rumors, or talk behind our backs because we are different. I think that being a young Catholic Christian in this time is like being a target for others to watch and shame with every human mistake we make. When we profess our faith, go to Mass, wear a mantilla, pray at the abortion clinic, or like my husband, give out miraculous medals at the fair, we set ourselves apart from "the world." We notice our friends list beginning to fade-- less invites from those who used to call us friends, more space between us and those we used to hang around. People don't like holiness because from the outside it seems so powerless. People like to be in charge and aren't ready to give up this world, for Him. It might mean avoiding things that others don't seem as "a big deal" or it might mean standing up for your beliefs, even if the rest of the world thinks "you're crazy." Even though we have the ability to fight back in the assault-- we don't. Our silence is much more powerful-- our prayer and forgiveness of them is much more powerful. Power isn't with the soldiers that ridiculed Him, but in the grace that he knows will come of being crucified. Power is within those that set themselves apart.

St. Josemaria Escriva tell us that,"A heart which loves the things of the earth beyond measure is like one fastened by a chain — or by a “ fine thread” — which stops it flying to God." Jesus had to expose everything, while being mocked, insulted, and ridiculed. If Jesus, the Son of God had to endure such belittlement, why wouldn't we? Living as a Christian, setting yourself apart to be holy, will  break the chain we have between our worldly desires and God. Changing doesn't just change our lives, but the lives of the people we encounter. 

A Cross Without a Cross

***For the next two weeks, I will be steering my Lenten Blog Challenge into the direction of The Way of the Cross, also known as The Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations. I will be posting a Station each day, then reflecting on that Station. To read more about the Way of the Cross, click HERE.


The Spirit of Christ is willing but the flesh is showing weakness. It's as if the Lord's soul is now dragging His body along the Way of the Cross. Exhaustion builds. His lungs are failing. The temple that He would raise in three days - the temple of His body – has now fallen a third time, His knees are bloodied from the previous falls. His legs are almost lifeless. The weight of the Cross grows heavier and another step seems impossible. He rises from the ground one last time reminding us that perfect love endures all things.


Sometimes I think my best attribute can be quitting things! Whatever our challenges are, we have moments of quitting-- moments where we say- "I will never be perfect, so why try?" The devil whispers in our ears how easy it would be to stop challenging ourselves and give in to the lust, gluttony, or greed we struggle with. It is natural to want to stop, but supernatural to get up again.

St. Josemaria Escriva says, " —See how lovingly He embraces the Cross. —Learn from Him. —Jesus carries the Cross for you: you... carry it for Jesus. But don't drag the Cross... Carry it squarely on your shoulder, because your Cross, if you carry it so, will not be just any Cross: it will be... the Holy Cross. Don't bear your Cross with resignation: resignation is not a generous word. Love the Cross. When you really love it, your Cross will be... a Cross, without a Cross. And surely you, like Him, will find Mary on the way."

Sometimes life hits us out of no where. We can barely muster up the strength to wake up, let alone pray. When you are down, look at the cross. Jesus will help carry you. It is in the midst of our pain where we reach a point that we don't have another ounce of energy to fight off our struggle. When we look at the cross, Jesus fills our breath, our heart, and wipes our tears.. When we come out of our struggle, we realize that He was there. He was there all along-- carrying us, and our cross.


Reason to Sing

***For the next two weeks, I will be steering my Lenten Blog Challenge into the direction of The Way of the Cross, also known as The Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations. I will be posting a Station each day, then reflecting on that Station. To read more about the Way of the Cross, click HERE.


The sound of crying could be heard over the taunts and the jeers. It was a wailing so passionate that it caught our Lord's attention even in the midst of His own agony. Jesus' eyes scanned the onlookers, spotting a group of women weeping for Him. And now Christ, the Suffering Servant, would reach out to ease others' suffering yet again. "Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves ... "(Luke 23:27-28).  He consoles them yet challenges them to see beyond just this moment. He offers a vital perspective to the children of God. Jesus Christ was on a mission. Love is always on a mission.


Suffering must be part of our growing. I think God allows us to make our choices, so that when we choose him, it is because we freely want to. Infertility is one of my ongoing battles in the suffering department. It isn't the only suffering I endure, but it has been a common thread for nearly four years now. A good friend once told me "Anna, throw yourself at God-- he can handle you beating on his chest-- he can handle your scream of frustration. He understands." So I did. I let him have it-- one day when I just couldn't swallow my suffering anymore. Because of that moment, and the trials I have faced, I found myself closer to him. Our love for Him is tested in our trials-- and those around us may wonder "how on Earth did you get through that trial in your life?" Our answer is merely a motion-- we signal to God.  He is our reason to sing. Suffering helps us to grow in compassion, gratitude and dependence on God, your loving Father. Sometimes we are in sickness or standing by watching as a loved one suffers. There is nothing we can do. Sometimes we don't even have the words or strength to open our mouths to pray. If we trust in Him-- we will be led to Him. Just as when we exercise, our muscles tear. It hurts, but it is necessary for us if we want to grow! So too, in suffering, our hearts tear, so they can  be mended by Him. As St. Augustine said, "God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering. He knows our pain, and can feel us suffering in our darkest night-- we must remember that after every night, comes day.