Rest In Peace, Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant did not plan to die on January 26th, but he did. His short life impacted many, myself included. I attended the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday, and our Pastor, Fr. Moneypenny, said that he received information from the priest in Newport Beach, California. He was informed that Kobe and his daughter Gianna had attended the 7:00 a.m. Mass on the day of his tragic accident. Kobe and Gianna prayed the Apostles’ Creed and before receiving Communion recited the prayer from:

Matthew 8:8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.

The Eucharist

The Eucharist is the body of Christ, so when Catholics confess their sins we are absolved of our transgressions. When we receive the Communion wafer, we really receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Kobe and Gianna were in the state of grace, prepared to leave this world with a clean spirit after receiving Communion. I am a Eucharistic minister (EM), and I take this position with great reverence. I am not only saying, “The body of Christ or the blood of Christ,” I look into their eyes so that when they receive the Eucharist they can feel the holy presence of God. This is one of the reasons I attend daily Mass; I do not want to be denied this special blessing, and I want to start my day with a clean slate. The Eucharist brings healing to your body, whether emotional or physical; it works on our inner being. We are free to go on with our day with the blessings of the Eucharist because it is the Real Presence of God. Kobe understood what the Eucharist represented because on several occasions he was seen attending daily Mass at Holy Family Catherdral in Orange, California. my hometown.

The Young Married Couple

Kobe met his wife Vanessa when she was 17 years old; they became engaged when she turned 18. They married six months later. Kobe’s parents did not attend their wedding, which was held at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point, California. How sad to choose not to attend your son’s wedding; how sad not be be in the wedding photos of this special day. Mike and I married young as well; Mike, like Kobe, was 21 and I was a year older than Vanessa. We were just kids, and there was a lot of maturing that had to take place. Our growing matters were private; Kobe’s and Vanessa’s lives unfolded in the public eye. He made mistakes that almost ended his marriage, but he understood that his marriage was a sacrament blessed by God and he got through many rough patches by seeking the advice of the clergy. In an interview by GQ Magazine, Kobe shared how a priest helped him get past his sin.

“The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest.”

“It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ “And that was the turning point,” Bryant said.


If there is strife with your children, it is your God-given duty to amend the differences before division sets in. Our children belong to God; He has entrusted them to us. We are to love them, guide them, and release them, with our prayers always with them. Do not allow the Devil to get a foothold of a Godly relationship.  Even if it’s not your doing, take the blame. Don’t miss out on your blessings, and do not be robbed of your time with them. Always be at peace with your loved ones  because regrets will haunt you, and the Devil will use this as a tool to inflict guilt in you. We never know when we will met our Maker.


To lose a spouse is heartbreaking, but to lose a child is deep anguish. Our prayers go out to Vanessa and Natalia, as they cope with what may be the biggest trial of their lives, and the two remaining children Bianka, and baby Capri, who only had a short time with their father. Kobe was Gianna’s coach and along with them on the tragic day were two of her teammates, and other family members. They were on their way to play a game in Newbury Park, California  at the Mamba Sports Academy. The name Mamba is from the Black Mamba snake. This reptile has the ability to strike at maximum speed with 99% accuracy. Kobe was also referred to as the GOAT, which is an acronym for Greatest of all Time. Kobe personified both.


Seven other people’s lives were lost; they were a close-knit group, brought together by the love of  family and the love of their basketball team. God bless John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. God bless Christina Mauser, the assistant coach, wife of Matt and mother of three children. God bless Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, and God bless Ara Zobayan, the pilot of the helicopter. So many were moved by your great loss.

Kobe was a balanced man who kept company with regular people as well as rubbing shoulders with the giants in his professional world.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Time of Misfortune Is Not Known. 11 Again I saw under the sun that the race is not won by the swift, nor the battle by the valiant, nor a livelihood by the wise, nor riches by the shrewd, nor favor by the experts; for a time of misfortune comes to all alike. 12 Human beings no more know their own time than fish taken in the fatal net or birds trapped in the snare; like these, mortals are caught when an evil time suddenly falls upon them.


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Big Boys Cry Out to God

Eli, Norma, me, and Freddie

Years ago I had a prophetic dream so vivid that I never forgot its details. The dream was about my nephew Freddie. At the time he was trying to find his place in the world. At a young age Freddie made poor choices in life that led to self-deception. Sometime boys outgrow these behaviors, but Freddie continued to force his way into the world by believing a lie.

The Dream

Mike and I were in our green Suburban. We knew Freddie was in trouble and we were on our way to pick him up. We found him, but we could not get him to fit into the back seat of the Suburban. We opened the door to the back of the vehicle, but again, he did not fit. I could see the red hospital sign from a distance. “We just need to get you to the hospital!” I said, pointing to the sign. I was not going to give up that easy, so I flagged down a taxi. Freddie tried to get into the back seat of the cab, but to no avail; he was too big. We tried several different ways, but it was impossible. Again I looked up and saw the red hospital sign but there was nothing we could do to help.

The Prayers

My sister Norma is like St. Monica. Norma never gave up on praying for Freddie. Like St. Monica she believed God for the impossible for her son. For years he had lived a life of debauchery. Not only was he steeped in sin, he welcomed and enjoyed it. He knew exactly when he was sinning, but he did not stop because he crossed over to the dark side. His mother St. Monica, never stopped praying for her playboy son. For thirty years she prayed.

From St. Augustine’s Confessions: “How presumptuous it was of me to say that You were silent, my God, when I drifted farther and farther away from You! Can it be true that You said nothing to me at the time? Surely the words which rang in my ears, spoken by your faithful servant, my mother, could have come from none but You? Yet none of them sank into my heart to make me do as You said. I well remember what her wishes were and how she most earnestly warned me not to commit fornication and above all not to seduce any man’s wife. Yet the words were Yours, though I did not know it. I thought that You were silent and that she was speaking, but all the while You were speaking to me through her.”

The Saints

Until we study the lives of the saints, we cannot be made aware of all their sufferings. St. Monica not only had a wayward son, her husband was abusive; and she had to deal with her mean spirited mother-in-law as well. Even with all these obstacles, she continued to remain steadfast. A year before her husband died, he became a Christian; then her mother-in-law followed in her son’s footsteps. But it was St. Augustine who occupied her time with God. The Lord must have revealed to her part of the big plan He had for her son St. Augustine. Many of the saints were content in their sufferings. I know of no saints who did not have to travail for what was in store for them or for those whom they were called to pray for. The Lord used them. He trusted them because they were being trained in the Army of God. The battle of today’s army is being fought with the mighty saints in heaven by our sides. Each of these saints had already paid a hefty price on earth. After St. Augustine was received into the Catholic Church, he went on to become the Bishop of Hippo. His calling was great, and he left us with rich writings to teach us a thing or two about the sins that he was so accustomed to committing. His mother, St. Monica, died nine days after he became a Christian. These were her words to her son St. Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now afford me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.”


Freddie, Victory Outreach San Diego

Victory Outreach

Have you heard of this powerful ministry? They are not for the faint of heart, but they got ahold of Freddie’s heart. In the dream mentioned earlier, Freddie was not ready to give his life to God. He was St. Augustine, sinning and running with the wrong crowd. God cannot do anything with us until we have the will to change. Freddie needed a ministry that understood his life; he needed to surround himself with people who lived in the same type of sin. Victory Outreach is  for everyone, but especially for Freddie. They understand how a hardened heart can be changed. They open men’s homes all over the world to win souls over to Christ. Before his conversion Freddie was a scary dude; his tattooed  body did not help his image either. Nine years ago our late mother told Norma, “God is not done with him yet.” Freddie has only been with Victory outreach for six months, so to some this great news may come across as premature; but to us, it’s long overdue.

Bible Study with Freddie

Recently I spent one night at my sister’s home while Freddie was staying with her, he was recuperating from major surgery. I decided to have a Bible study. For several months I have been studying Wisdom, a book in the Catholic Bible. Protestants do not have these seven Deuterocanonical  books because Martin Luther, the renegade Catholic priest who started the Protestant Reformation removed them from the Bible. I knew that Freddie has  really been studying the Word of God for the last six months; but I also realized the the book of Wisdom was not one of them. For three hours Freddie listened to the Word; he was respectful, and did not dispute the books not included in his Bible. To me this is a sign of someone who wants to know the One True God. Though he is on a Daniel fast, Freddie devoured the Word of God as if he were having the meatiest steak.  When we went to lunch, Freddie asked if we were going to pray over our meal. Imagine that! Please join our family as we pray that Freddie continues on the right path and that he, like St. Augustine, will make a difference in others’ lives.

Ben Sira 17:25-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

25 Turn back to the Lord and give up your sins,
    pray before him and make your offenses few.
26 Turn again to the Most High and away from iniquity,
    and hate intensely what he loathes.






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The Samson Effect

All my hair devices courtesy of my daughter Sonja

An ordinary story for the first week of ordinary times.

My Mane

I have always had a good head of hair, so much hair that when I was younger, it took forever to dry. I grew up in the 60’s, and I cannot remember going to a salon to get my hair cut. Our mother was way too busy raising seven kids to worry about what our hair looked like. She would always cut my bangs so short that it would take months to grow again. I was never that girl who fussed over her hair either. In grammar school two mean girls would always gang up on me to find something wrong to make fun of. I had already developed thick skin by being bullied on a daily basis by three older brothers, so these girls never got the best of me. I would give them an odd look and walk away. One day I decided to comb my hair up in a bun. They came up to me and said, “Who combed your hair?” I remember giving the question a long thought; I wanted to be sure my answer was acceptable. If I said that I combed my hair, they would certainly make fun of me, but if I said that my mother combed my hair, they would be at a loss for words. These were mean little girls. I always thought that they resembled frogs, walking frogs, I was a cute kid. So after a long pause I finally answered the toads, “My mother combed my hair.” “It looks like it!” They ran away laughing. Man, I was so mad at myself; from that day on I understood trick questions.

My sister Norma and I have the same problem with our hair. I’ve always been observant when my hair was being styled so I felt that I could cut Norma’s hair. What a disaster! Norma had holes on the side of her head for months. In God’s justice, my payback came quickly. We had a wedding to attend and it was one those last minute things that I always get caught up in. While getting a pedicure, I  decided to get my hair trimmed at the same time. I suffered the worst hair cut ever! I honestly believe that this Asian woman had a fake license to cut hair.

Angela Davis
Me trying to look like Angela Davis
The Scare Crow look

My hair continued to be a labor of loathing. I went through my teens with a shag haircut, then came the ridiculous perms. Once I was trying to save money but I really wanted to look like the rest of the world, so I went to the other side of town for a cheap perm. I knew I was in trouble when I discovered that no one in the salon spoke English. Even the chemicals that was used on my hair smelled a lot stronger. I was told to place my head back while the stylist worked on someone else. She took so long, that my neck was completely kinked and the tight curlers made an almost permanent indentation on my scalp. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. When the hair stylist returned, my neck was so stiff that I could barely move. One at a time I saw my hair kink up as she removed the curlers. Remember Angela Davis? My hair looked bigger than her ‘fro. Oh, but I did save a lot of money. Sonja was a little girl, and she had to witness this terrible episode of my life. I drove around and passed my house several times because I was afraid that Mike would not recognize me or that he might divorce me. You would think that I learned from my mistakes, but oh no! Not me! I hated the perm and took matters into my own hands. Prior to this perm, when we lived in the San Fernando Valley I suffered the same fate. I had one of my neighbors use lye to reverse the perm. Again I purchased the lye, but this time my hair was so damaged that I resembled a scarecrow for several months. This was my last perm!


The Etienne look

Beverly Hills

I have dragged Mike into my hair woes. My laments were so relentless that he arranged for me to get my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon Salon in Beverly Hills. My hairstylist’s name was Etienne. This was early 90’s, when gays were barely peeking their heads out of the closets. Etienne was gay, but back then it would have been considered a guessing game. I remember hearing one of my friends say that she had a gift for determining the sexual orientation of a person.  Etienne was Oriental (that was the correct term at that time) and though he was not flashy, his clothes looked very expensive.  He was wonderful and I always felt like a million bucks when I walked out of the salon. Etienne liked my hair short, so that meant frequent trips to Beverly Hills. Once the traffic on the 405 Freeway was so bad that I missed my appointment. I was small potatoes for Etienne as he sometimes boasted about famous clients he had, so he dumped me for being late. I moved on to his assistant, Brit, but the drive to Beverly Hills was taking a toll. Finally Brit opened a salon in Redondo Beach. For years I remained a loyal customer  to him and his then-wife Jazmina, but again the driving was too much, an hour up and back, plus the styling was a four- hour ordeal. So I was back to square one. Super Cuts; sometimes, other times just a walk in wherever.

If you’re wondering how I will make the connection to that of Samson in the Bible, it’s very simple. Samson’s hair was his superpower; this is where his strength came from. Women’s hair is pretty much the same. We are the consumers of billions of dollars to have great hair. We get tricked just like Samson did with the Philistines; and even with our eyes open  (his were cruelly  gouged out) we continue to purchase more and more hair products. I for one am pretty gray-haired and must color my hair every three weeks. I do this at home, and, much to my husband’s distain, I make a big mess (but I’m saving money).


Me, Misty, and Alyn

For the past five years Misty has been styling my hair. We joke about the hours she keeps; she is in fashion when late, not fashionably late. If you have a 10 a.m. appointment you may make it home in time for dinner. Misty is an artist who has to have a cup of iced Starbucks coffee before she starts her project. She colors and highlights my hair every four months. Misty always looks like she just had a makeover; she is trendy and, like Etienne, her garments look expensive.  I can never understand why there only seems to be a few strands of  hair on the floor when she is done. It doesn’t  matter because for one day my hair will look fabulous.

I did not take a Nazarite vow to never cut my hair like Samson, but I did take a vow to always serve the Lord. I pray you enjoy my stories. God Bless!

Judges 16:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.”

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