A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

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Fear of Falling Apart II: Living with PMDD

It’s absolutely life crippling! The overwhelming rush of anxiety, the excruciating pain that brings you to tears and the depressing thoughts that consume you. As soon as it starts I wish it would stop. Heck, I wish it would never even start. 

Today, I’m trying second by second to pass the time. I started trying to organize my clothes, so that I can take some for donations to flood victims. Here I am, two hours later with barely any progress. I have to keep stopping because the cramps back pain fell like someone is stabbing me with red hot iron rod trying to brand me. Lay down, stretch, cry, get up move a few pieces of clothes, feel a surge of pain, feel like passing out, fight tears, sit down, lay my head in my knees, fight more tears, hug my legs so that I’m in a fetal position, give up, lay down cry and repeat.

So what is PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Say what? Premenstrual? Isn’t that PMS? The answer is yes, but it’s much more severe. The cramps and back pain, the emotional and behavioral symptoms are intensified.

Relationships with friends, family and loved one are often damaged. My family has learned to be understanding and supportive. They help me by asking about my diet, giving friendly reminders to consume plenty of calcium and vitamins. I’ve lashed out a few time or broken down in tears with them. They’ve prayed with me and help through it.

Ugh relationships! I know I sure have jumped the gun on scaring some away. The anxiety creeps in and takes over. I wanted nothing more than to be hugged and comforted through this time. Usually it comes across as me being needy, because I’m not ready to reveal what I’m actually going through. “Oh hey, btw, I have PMDD it’s like PMS but a million times worse. Now hug me and don’t let go until it’s over but watch what you say to me please.” Even my best friend now still gets frustrated because I bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking and lash out little things I normally wouldn’t mind.

I don’t like that I have to go through this every month. I especially don’t want to burden anyone else. It’s 10 days! 10 days that will eventually pass. I forget how intense it can be until the next month rolls around and I am back on the floor uncontrollably cry because of the pain and emotional waves I’m feeling. It seem to have amplified with some of the recent stresses I’ve felt. My best friend helped me discover I’m very expressive with my thoughts, in my writing about things, I wouldn’t otherwise say out loud. We’ve worked on some of my communicating what I’m feeling through writing. Making writing therapeutic and sometimes a way for getting that turmoil out. It has helped us both. As you can now understand some of my more personal articles have been working through these things and more like letters. My friend has often read my writings and told me they had no idea that’s what was going on in my head.

I captured this picture of myself trying to fight the awful thoughts going through my head and the physical pain I am feeling. No filtering, this is me at, what I think is my worst reflection of myself. I have been cry all day. Thoughts normally that would never cross my mind anxiously build up. “I am home alone. My dog is my only friend. I’m hurting so much right now and what if I pass out and nobody knows. Where is my friend. Why isn’t he here. Am I doing something wrong? I haven’t let him get to know me because I keep so much thoughts hidden inside. When will this pass? What if he doesn’t like who he thinks am I. I feel like I’m about to pass out. What if he doesn’t really know me. Is this a panic attack? I need to tell him all this stuff now. Understand that this passes and I will be back to my sarcastic busy self soon. Busy self, I have so much I have to do. Am I too busy? Am I not giving enough attention to all the people I care about? I can’t move. My back hurts so bad. I need to sit down.” All this within seconds, on repeat in my head. Whatever hormones I get an excise of during this time, that makes me feel like there’s an emotional and physical storm happening to me, I strongly dislike you!

It’s been so hard living away from all my loved ones. Writing, taking hikes, and working on recipes help when I can pull myself together. There are days were just turning in bed feel too much to bare. Sometimes I wish to be able to move back and be around all of my family and close friends. Then, like right now, something happens that helps me be at ease. Scrolling down Facebook someone posted Psalm 55:22.

“Cast your cares on the Lord & He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”

I know I’m not alone and God is here with me. This is temporary and I will get through it. Until then I have to remember to redirect my thoughts to prayers and just talking with God. I pray for all the ladies, and their loved one, out there going through the same thing. Have patience and peace you’ll get through it. I pray for anyone that has long term anxiety, depression or chronic pain. I know that is a different monster to battle than what I face. Just breathe and even though I may not personally know you, know that I understand a little of what you’re going through and I’m praying for you.

The Fear of Falling Apart

For the past few months I’ve been struggling with some health issues. Recently, I think a little depression has been added into the mix because of how overwhelming everything has been. I’m so thankful for my friend being there, every step of the way.

We’ve been through a lot of unfortunate events, in a very small amount of time together. I’m talking about Murphy’s Law in full overdrive effect. We’ve also had some little accomplishments, definitely worth celebrating. We don’t live in the same city, but we’re not too far from each other. Through all these struggles, my friend has managed to at least call me everyday. Sometimes to ask how I am doing, sometime to tell me what they are going through, and sometimes just to talk. Occasionally, one of us will make the drive, or will both meet somewhere in the middle. We’ve become best friends and each other’s other half, helping each other with anything and everything from work, friends and family, to should I take a nap? But how much is too much? When a promise is made, to what extent should the promise be upheld?
A traumatizing event made me latch on to my dear friend even more, because they promised they’d be there through everything. For a moment, they were gone and everything went wrong. Well I guess, nothing went as planned and I was alone. I couldn’t get the experience out of my mind. I wanted to recover, but every time I would talk to my friend, they just didn’t understand and it made me feel even more alone. I began to be consumed with bitterness and anger. I desperately wanted to be comforted by my friend, but every time I was around them or even spoke to them I was taken back to that hurt and pain and the fact that they weren’t physically there to help me. Even after a good day, talking to them, I felt watery eyed and heavy. As if I had an anchor pulling me down a bottomless ocean.
Scrolling through some old pictures, I came across a video clip of, This is Gospel by Panic at the Disco, from The Gospel Tour. (Yes, I went to that concert. Definitely a blast from the high school past but still loved it!) I looked up the lyrics:

This is gospel for the fallen ones
Locked away in permanent slumber
Assembling their philosophies
From pieces of broken memories

If you love me let me go
If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives that often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart
Don’t try to sleep through the end of the world
And bury me alive
‘Cause I won’t give up without a fight

Reading that and listening to the song once again, I thought I need space. I thought I just need time away without communication from my friend, so that I can start to heal. It was like I was taking one step forward and two steps back. Just not going anywhere. I thought make a jump that will help me run out of that toxic dance.  Or back to my other analogy, let go of the anchor so I can float back up myself.
Crazy thing, a few days to clear my head, and I love how God unveils himself in front of me. I came across this article : 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone Fighting Depression . Now I’m not trying to harm myself or anyone. I just feel sad, even though there’s some pretty spectacular things happening around me. Some of the key things the author mentioned caught my attention.

 “Telling someone happiness is a choice just isn’t true. In fact, if we skip passed our pain and grief, we miss out on an opportunity for God to comfort us.”


“Stop putting the pressure on yourself for something only God can achieve. Depression is too big to battle alone. God will give us more than we can handle, but He’ll never ask us to handle it alone. Yes, you can start exercising and eating better and making new friends and all of these things might help for a moment, but they won’t heal the root problem. You need Jesus. He’s the only thing that sustains.”


Right there in that last part, I realized I was putting way to much pressure and expectations on just one person. I am so grateful for my friend even helping as much as they have. Now I realize, what I should have know all along, God is with me. I am not alone and have never been alone. The times I broke down in tears, the anger, the sadness, he’s been there. I just wasn’t listening. Something I’ve written about plenty of times, that God is always with us, His Spirit is in us, and completely lost sight of that. Yesterday’s mass readings, actually made my happily laugh a little (1 John 3:18- 24) : 

Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.


As if God, was like are you hearing me now! I am here with you, I will help you through this. And just for some extra reassurance listen to this Gospel reading next (John 15: 1- 8) :

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,


I hope that my friend can forgive me for expecting so much from them. I’m still getting better and I know one day this will just be another hill or mountain I’ve climbed. I know that I’m almost there and when I reach the top all the things that terrified me will just make the view so much more spectacular.

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No Man is an Island II

Back in September, I wrote a quick little blog for my Music Monday titled No Man Is An Island. I wrote about Tenth Avenue North’s song No Man Is An Island and how they sing about walking by faith with God who is a Trinity. That we are supposed to strive to mirror that and live as a community. When I wrote this I was writing about people in general. I love how things come together when you have faith. 

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In January I wrote, Austin Feeling a Little More Like Home, about struggling with moving to this weird city and then finding a community with the Young Catholic Leaders in Austin, now a Young Catholic Professionals  “candidate chapter.” After a few months, I’m enjoying seeing friendships foster and this community grow.
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The friendships are different, in that there is a deeper level of understanding and trust. You can make friends with anyone, play a sport together, grab a bite to eat, catch up over coffee or drinks, but knowing that the other person believes in the same faith as you is comforting and empowering. Empowering to grow as a community with our hearts ablaze to do more to share our faith. Now that doesn’t mean, we’re going to talk your ear off and ask you to join. Instead, we help and support each other to be more mindful of things we do in our work places, and personal lives, reminding each other that our actions should strive to be like a disciple of Christ and through our actions show and lead others to have the same faith.

So today I want to share that same song with y’all, No Man Is An Island by Tenth Avenue North. I am excited to see what we can accomplish as a community for the Austin area and our faith. Happy Monday!

“No man is an island, we can be found
no man is an island, let your guard down.
Please don’t try to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone.
[…]
Through trouble, rain or fire
Lets reach out to something higher
Eyes open to one another
We are not alone

You can find out more about Young Catholic Leaders in Austin  through the Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1508251646056516?ref=bookmark

Let’s take it back to Something Beautiful 

It’s funny how we watch romance movies and say it’s just a movie that doesn’t happen in real life. We live in a time where mostly everything is simplified and convenient, especially our relationships. Nowadays relationships seem to start off with a hook-up and then maybe turn into friends-with-benefits. Oh that’s just the way things work out now right? Sex is nothing special, just a serge of hormones that need to be released. So a few text messages, or a swipe right is put in play and that’s it. Make some steam with someone while it’s convenient because it’s just human nature. Then we complain, put blame, yell, and sometimes experience depression when a romantic relationship doesn’t workout. Sometimes felling empty or like a piece of us is taken away. 

Truth is, part of us is being taken away. We need to take some steps back and put that part of our human nature back to something beautiful. The way is was meant to be. I understand not everyone shares the same faith or follow the bible. Shoot, I’m not perfect. But  I stumbled across this YouTube of John Mark Comer who is the author of Loveology. He talks about sex and marriage and why it is something that is meant to be so beautiful within marriage. So many of us have strayed away from this.
 
So Comer mentions, how the word “Echad” is used in the book of Genesis 2 from the Bible.

 “In sexuality two people become Echad, or it can be translated to one flesh. Echad is a graphic weighty word, that basically means when it’s put together with this word flesh, it means fused together at the deepest level...it is the bonding of two people into one entity. Body and soul, physical and spiritual. Cultural says hey it’s just play what’s the big deal? But God says whoa, no. It’s way more than that. It’s two people that become one entity, and then over and over enjoy and express love for one another through sexuality. Inside of marriage this is beautiful because it takes two people and doesn’t let them drift apart. It keeps them Echad or one. Outside of marriage this can be dehumanizing because it can turn people into objects for basically self gratification. Every time you walk away from a sexual partner it’s as if you are tearing Echad, as if part of you is lost, if you do that enough times then it starts to hollow you out.”

Wow! For me, that part of the Bible gives me clarification on why I am so hesitant to start a relationship. Especially a modern nonchalant relationship. I don’t want to jump into a sexual relationship and tear Echad or even worse, hollow myself out. I think people need to take things back to the something beautiful they were meant to be. I know a lot of people will say oh this is an out dated way of thinking. Ladies and gentlemen, no more complaining about how you regular booty-call isn’t working out into a relationship. We all have the power to take relationships and sexuality back to that higher meaning. Make it something beautiful.
I know it’s not Music Ministry Monday, but I found a prayer in the song Something Beautiful by NeedToBreathe. We can make those, breathe taking romances we see in movies our reality. We just have to be willing to take it back to something beautiful it was meant to be.

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

Music Ministry Monday: Pray for those that hurt us

Today’s already January 19th! For me, it seems, everything has changed just as fast as time is passing this year. Of course, somethings don’t turn out the way we want them to. Some choice words were said to me, in avoidance of another subject. These words, man oh man, they sure like to linger in my thoughts. They suggest I compromise my morals. Every now and then, resurfacing, my sight blurring as emotional feelings start to take over, and the tears start building. I want to break, yell and scream, “what is wrong with you? I am a person, I have feelings, I am someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s cousin, someone’s relative! How about put one of your relatives in my shoes. My shoes that feel heavy from the weight of disrespect and disappointment.” Instead, I sigh, hold back on those water works and let out a prayer.

This prayer is not for me, it starts for the person that said those words, then grows to everyone that intentionally inflict a negative emotion or mannerism to another person. First, for forgiveness, then for peace to their hearts. Fitting, that today we, honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On my drive to work this morning, I heard an excerpt of a speech he gave on why not to be violent. He said

“pray for your enemies, pray for those that hurt you […] rather a scarred body than a scarred soul.”

Other quotes I’ve seen today,

“the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” and “let no man pull you low enough to hate him,” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Unfortunately, in my disappointment and heat of the moment I did utter the word hate. So I apologize and pray for my own peace.

Going into my third week of the K-Love 30 day challenge, “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns, is a somber song with an insightful message of truth. It’s lyrics unfold a story of understanding your own and another’s brokenness and then moving forward with faith.

Also, “Words,” by Hawk Nelson reiterates that message to speak with the love and grace of God.

“Words can build you up words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out. Let my words be life let my words be truth. I don’t wanna say a word unless it points the world back to You.”

I joke with my friends, and call it “Regina George” syndrome. Yep, “Regina George,” from the movie “Mean Girls.” It’s a terrible thing, that I really don’t understands , how cruel and unpleasant some people can be. While people like, In this older article I wrote , and some these random ones I found online,

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taunt others, I pray for them. Whatever has them so broken or hurt, whether intentionally or medically the can’t help it, I sincerely pray they find peace. And I ask everyone reading to join me in this not so typical prayer.

I strive to be as much of a disciple of Christ, as possible, but I am not perfect. I have flaws, and sins, I am human. When those emotions and words start to cloudy my thought, I throw my hands up to God. As a Catholic, a Christian, a follower of Christ, we are supposed to live, not by feelings but, by faith.

 “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11

Small Business Saturday: San Antonio’s Historic Pearl Brewery Shops and Montage

Black Thursday/ Friday chaos has finally ended. While most people are now eagerly awaiting Cyber Monday, yesterday was the annual Shop Small Business Saturday. I am so happy I got to spend the day in my hometown, well, city of San Antonio, Texas.

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The first half of my day was spent with my baby sister and the RowdyRoady Grillers, cheering on the UTSA Roadrunners Football team. They defeated North Texas, 27-34! Go Runners, Birds Up, and Congrats! Also congrats to the Rowdy Road Grillers landing a spot in the tailgate of the year competition. Even though they didn’t win this year, their grilling so delicious and juicy, it won on just their food for me. Also, shoutout to the UTSA Marching Band, loud and clear. Oh sweet music to this former band nerd’s ears. Woodwinds, Brasses, Percussionist, and Color Guard y’all were all fabulous.

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After the winning game, my sister and I decided to take a stroll on the grass or turf. The audience was invited down for a Fan Walk, once the players were cleared off the field. Then we headed back to the Rowdy Road Grillers for some more of that fantastic grilling before taken off.

Once our tummies were stuffed and happy again, we headed out to The Historic Pearl Brewery. Our goal? Ice cream. Where? Lick. There was a little bit of a long line but it only took about 5-7 minutes until we were at the front of the line.

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Lick Honest Ice Creams started in Austin, Texas. It’s actually just about two blocks down the street from my place. Since I’m usually busy working I rarely get to go. When I’m home, in San Antonio, I love strolling around the Historic Pearl area. Their ingredients are from local farms, and dairies around the Austin area, making their ingredients fresh and so yummy. I indulged in the “Texas Sheet Cake,” and “Pecans and Cream.” My sister, who rarely explores food outside of her comfort zone of hot wings, and pizza, tried “Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint,” and “Sweet Persimmions and Sage.”

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We wondered around, and while passing One Lucky Duck, I was tempted to run in and grab a “Berry Blue Shake”. It has blue-green Algae which is considered a super food because it’s packed with proteins, essential vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Probably a great after Thanksgiving meals purge shake. Since I already filled up on ice cream, I decided to pass. I’ll be back!

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The last shop I went into was Adelante Boutique. It’s definitely charming, and chic. I walked in and thought “can this place just be my closet?” I would pin everything in there to my pinterest. Picked out this cozy cute gray and cream colored sweater with 3/4 sleeves. I tried it on and big mistake, cause it fit perfectly! So soft, cute and cozy chic, but out of my budget for now. Again, I’ll be back!

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Since we were in the area, I decided to stop by Montage Vintage. I found out about them through Instagram. They are a vintage up-cycle clothing boutique. Walking through I couldn’t just skim through and pick out one thing here or there. Pretty much every piece they have is unique and oh so glorious. I just had to look at every thing! Chandeliers, rustic frames and mirrors, made my hipster senses tingle with delight. I really wanted to pick up one of their “Francis Felt Fedoras in camel, I had seen on their Instagram account, but they were currently sold out. The theme of the evening, I’ll be back! I ended up picking up one of their “basic beanies” in gray and “knit beanies” in a maroon color.

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What a great day back home! I definitely encourage everyone to take the time shop small business when ever they can. These are gems you’ll treasure forever. Topping off my evening, a majestic sunset.

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Que Pasa Central Texas

Mid-September is already here and festival season has begun. There’s so many events happening in Central Texas this month. So pack your sunblock, bug spray, and water bottles and head out to an event on this list, deep in the heart of Texas. See y’all out and about.

*Oui! Wednesday|Passport to Paris: French Language
Where: San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When: every Wednesday- December 17
Time: 2pm
More information
Cost: Free with museum admission

*Art|Music|Food-Second Thursdays
Where:San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When:every 2nd Thursday of the month
Time: 6-9pm
More information
Cost:Free

*Movies in the Park: “Raising Arizona”
Where:Austin- Republic Square
When: September 11
Time:8pm
Cost: Free

*2nd Fridays: Art Walk
Where: San Antonio- N.St.Marys street & Josephine Street
When: September 12
Time:6pm- 10pm

*Second Saturdays
Where: San Antonio- S. Flores St.
When: September 13
Time:6pm- 10pm
More information
El Campo will be an awesome band to checkout

*Banger’s Smoke-out Saturday
Where: Austin- Banger’s on Rainey St.
When: September 13
Time: 11am
More information

*Utopiafest
Where: Utopia-Four Sisters Ranch
When: September 12-14
More information

*Capitol of Texas QuiltFest Fiesta
Where: Austin- Palmer Event Center
When: September 12-14
http://www.captxquiltfest.org

*Los Lonely Boys
Where: New Bruanfels- Gruene Hall
When:September 12
Time: 8pm
http://gruenehall.com

*Viva Mexico!
Where: Austin- Mexican American Culture Center
When: September 13
Time: 7pm
More information

*Échale! Block party
Where: San Antonio- History Pearl Brewery
When: September 13
Time: 1pm- 6pm
http://atpearl.com/calendar/echale

*Kings of Leon| Mechanical Bull Tour with Young The Giant and Kongos
Where:Austin- Austin360 Amphitheater
When:September 13
Time: 5:30pm
http://austin360amphitheater.com/events/kings-of-leon-with-young-the-giant-and-kongos

Tour de Vin by The Food & Wine Foundation of Texas
Where: Austin- W Austin
When: September 18
Time: 6pm
http://www.winefoodfoundation.org/events/tour-de-vin/

*Fowler Fest 2014
Where: Austin- Nutty Brown Cafe
When: September 20
http://nuttybrown.com/concert-calendar/fowler-fest-2014

*Texas Craft Brewers Festival
Where: Austin- Fiesta Gardens
When: September 27
http://texascraftbrewersfestival.org

*South Texas Corn Maize opens
Where: Hondo
When: September 27
More Information

*Schlotzsky’s 32nd Bun Run with fastest dog in Austin race
Where:Austin- Alterra Parkway & Kramer Lane
When: September 28
More information

*San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Bar-B-Que Off & Festival
Where: Freeman Coliseum/ AT & T Center grounds
When: September 25- 27
http://www.sarodeo.com/attractions/bar-b-que-cook-off-and-festival

Music Monday: No Man Is An Island

Lately it seems a lot of people I know are going through some difficult circumstances. Most people tend to retreat to their own island trying to figure things out on their own. I am definetly guilty of this. Either out of pride or embarrassment, I like to figure things out on my own. While driving in the car I heard, Tenth Avenue North’s song “No Man is an Island,” it’s remind us that we should not carry our burdens alone. Choosing to walk by faith in God, who is a Trinity, we are also supposed to live as a community. As a community sometimes we need to reach out and help others and sometimes we are the people that need help. Someone else in your community just my have that fresh perspective that can help work things out. “For none of us lives for himeself, and none of us dies for himeself” -Romans 14.7