Back again

I’ve been away due to major changes happening in my life. First, and foremost I have been accepted to a teaching program where I will be obtaining a master’s degree in education while working at the same time. Before any of this occurs, I have to pass three major exams. Keep me in your prayers.
Second, I am so happy that summer is here. Today, I went to the beach. I loved relaxing under the sun and swimming in the water. This summer, I plan on going to the beach on the weekends if my schedule permits me.
Third, I’ve been meeting a group of Catholics in the city and it’s been a blast to encounter young adults making a difference in the world. I am attending a Catholic gala in June, and I can’t wait to meet new people of the faith.
Have a blessed week.
PS- Summer is here, put on your dancing shoes.

 

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Jerome Lejeune: A Man of Faith, Family and Medicine

Jérôme Lejeune portrait

I went to a conference where the talk was about Jerome Lejeune, a man who discovered the extra gene that causes Down syndrome and who devoted his life to finding a treatment. However, with this discovery, doctors were able to detect these defects and destroy the life of the unborn. Jerome Lejeune realized that he had to protect and defend the unborn with chromosomal abnormalities. This would lead him to become the first president for the Pontifical Academy for Life. He died on April 1994.

The conference began with Ms. Aude Dugast, the Postulator for Dr. Lejeune’s cause for canonization. She talked about the life, work and faith of Dr. Lejeune. She explained how faith and reason cannot be divided but complement each other. He had a love for his patients that he tired to find a cure. Ms. Dugast explained that he is in the process of becoming a saint since he is now considered a Servant of God.

The next speaker was Mr. Steven Brown, a parent to a child who has Down syndrome. He explained how it is a blessing to have his child and his unconditional love for him. His child has taught him about the meaning and perspective of life. Mr. Steven Brown showed various pictures of his handsome son playing sports and having fun with his  siblings. His son finds joy and happiness then most people that I know of.

The conference concluded with Mr. Mark Bradfrod, the president of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA. Mr. Bradfrod explained how this foundation is still continuing the legacy of Dr. Lejeune on finding a cure to Down syndrome in order to prevent abortion.

I conclude with this:

‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

NAS: Single Life Bucket List

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What are those things that you want to do before you get married (or enter the religious life)? Is there anything that you are excited to do, accomplish, etc before engagement, marriage and babies come along? Even if you feel that you’ve done everything you wanted to do pre-marriage, dig deeper and see if there isn’t anything you’d like to do!

My bucket list:

1)      Teach and take care of children

2)      Become a teacher

3)      Become computer savvy

4)      Play guitar, piano and the organ

5)      Do some travelling.

6)      Share my faith and ideas

7)      Write and compose my own music

8)      Write stories (children’s literature)

9)   Do some gardening/planting of herbs

10)   Have artistic/creative qualities: drawing, sewing, etc.

11)   Be well versed in my catholic faith, as well as living and loving it.

12)   Know prayers and the Bible. Grow in virtue

13)   Read lots of books (especially the classics), and become a writer/author

14)   Know how to cook delicious meals

15)   Know housekeeping (maintain order at home)

16)   Read, write, and speak Spanish fluently.

17)   Give back to my family especially my mother, as well as those who have less.

 

What is Theology on Tap?

Yesterday, I went out with my friend to a restaurant.  He thought I picked this certain location because it was close to his home.  In reality, I chose it because Theology of Tap was being held there.  “What is Theology on Tap?” my friend asked.  Theology on Tap is a social gathering of Catholics/Christians at a bar or restaurant.  The speaker was Colin Nykaa, Director of Young Adult Outreach for the Archdiocese of NY whose talk was on “Desire, Purpose, and Destiny: Embracing the Ache in Our Hearts.” I was very impressed and learned so much from Colin.

I never read Theology of the Body or Love and Responsibility by JPII.  I tend to think about love and relationships in a very narrow lens and not the big picture that God has in mind.  Everyone has this ache or longing in their hearts for something good, beautiful and eternal.  Marriage shows that glimpse of love/happiness that a man and woman has for each other.  However, your spouse cannot fill full that ache in your heart.

God Wants to Marry Me.  What!? Yes, He loves us and wants to have that intimate relationship just like a bride and bride’s groom has. Marriage is suppose to show us that glimpse of heaven that God wants to shower us with His eternal love and commitment.  Jesus said in one of His many parables:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.”

Let us then  take a look at engagement.  One of my cousin received a proposal from her boyfriend on New Year’s Day.  The boyfriend initiated the engagement by proposing her hand in marriage.  She received his love by saying “yes.”  Eventually, they will conceive children and become co-creators with God.  This happens in every vocation such as married to the single life as well as priests and nuns.  Our primary relationship with God works the same way as when we receive the Eucharist. Remember, God initiates, We receive and then we bear fruit.

 

The Bilingual Edge

I wouldn’t say I am fluent in Spanish or even native-like.  I stumble upon some grammar, vocabularies and listening skills in Spanish.  However, I can get by and people appreciate that I try.  On a scale of 0 to 10, I would put myself at 6 or 7.  I was born with a speech impediment.  At the age of 5, I was doing some sign language when I wanted a banana or ice cream.  My mother took me to a certain school to take a specialized test.  In a nutshell, the results came out that my verbal skills were horrendous and my non-verbal skills – I was a genius.  As a result, I went to see a speech therapist to work on my communication skills and English.  The speech therapist was bilingual, Spanish being her first language.  My mother and the speech therapist came to the conclusion that it was better to learn English only because I was falling behind in school.

When it was time to decide what to major in college, I choose Spanish in order to learn the language and culture that my parents came from.  I had to learn how to write an essay in Spanish (I never did 10 pages in another language before), and reading Don Quixote in Spanish (I needed cliff notes in English to understand).  It was a challenge but I worked extremely hard probably 10x’s more than the rest of the native speakers in my class.

When I taught Spanish and English to preschoolers, I felt like I was coming in full circle like everything made perfect sense.  Maybe, the difficulty that I had with languages and speech made me appreciate even more the importance of storytelling, reading, and speaking.

I was reading this book called The Bilingual Edge, and I would highly recommend it if you want to teach your children a second language. We are living in a world where communities are getting even smaller due to the advancement of technology and transportation.  We are living in a diverse culture that nothing is new under the sun. I am just going to sum up chapter 1- why it’s beneficial for a child to learn another language.

1) The Cognitive Edge: Bilingual children have more “metalinguistic awareness, creativity, and the ability to control linguistic processing” than monolingual children.  This can inspire children in the areas of writing and storytelling.  You don’t have to look any further for examples: J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, majored in French and the Classics.

2) It enhances cross-cultural understanding: It is hard to understand a culture without language. Children that learn a second language have positive attitudes toward that community. They are also able to make friends due to their social skills and understanding of the culture.

3) It enriches family life, culture and communication: If your family came to America from another country, one would want to continue the cultural traditions.  There are parents that want to maintain that cultural link with their children by celebrating the festivals and holidays.  It also is important for the family to know their heritage and identity.

4) Educational and career edge: There is a demand of bilingual professionals in almost every field or sector. It is motivating that knowing another language could pay off in the job market. Schools are jumping in the action on the multilingualism market. Many elite and private schools have immersion programs such as Bilingual Buds (Long Island, NY) and Avenues, The World School (Manhattan, NY).

Thanks for joining the second book review on The Bilingual Edge.