Turning Seventy

I recently celebrated my seventieth birthday. It’s a milestone to enter into this decade; I’m either going to go full force or start winding down. One thing is certain: I have stepped up my exercising and am walking up to six miles a day. No one is more surprised than me with this change. I had to take control of certain health issues.

Saying “No” To Diabetes

Last year I had blood test that indicated my hemoglobin ALC was too high. The doctor gave me three months to get this under control. Out of fear, I canceled the follow-up appointment. The last thing I wanted to do was to go on diabetic medication. In the back of my head, I kept hearing the doctor’s voice, “If you don’t get this down, you’re not only going to be on diabetes medication but heart medication as well.”  I changed my eating somewhat,  but what I changed most was taking a brisk walk after dinner.

It took me six months to finally make another appointment with my primary care physician.   I was scared straight but my hemoglobin ALC was greatly improved. I praise God for this great news, no medication needed!

The Incentive

I’ve had a Fitbit for as long as I can remember; owning one of the original Fitbit trackers was the start of this journey. I compete with a group of  friends, and this summer I have blown them all out of the water with my sarcastic remarks and staying on top of the leaderboard. We give each other an incentive because we all work toward the same goal.  In order for me to keep the diabetes thing at bay, I must continue my walking. I also started to accompany my friend Helen to Pilates. I love this workout because it’s low impact. I call Pilates a workout for ladies because you don’t really work up a sweat but you know that what your doing is helping so many areas of your body. Since I don’t know my right from my left, our Pilates instructor, Dori, graciously announces, “Turn toward the front door, or face the mirrors.” I have trouble mounting different equipment; maybe one day I’ll get this Pilates under control, but in the meantime all we do is laugh at my antics.

My birthday celebration with my family

Walking with my daughter Sonja is delightful. We always walk past a neighbor of hers who has the most beautiful scented garden. I never ask for tomatoes, but pray that when we pass she will be outside tending to her garden. “Do you guys need tomatoes?” My response is always a resounding. “Yes!” Luckily, Sonja can’t eat tomatoes so sharing is not necessary. Sonja complains and tells me that I keep her as a prisoner, forcing her to walk with me. That may be partly true because where she lives is a beautiful walking path and one of my favorite places to walk.

Watching Your Step

After my botched toe surgery, I have a tendency to limp. Sometimes I catch myself right before I fall. A slightly uneven sidewalk or a pebble on the path could bring me down for the count. Last week I called several prayer warriors to come alongside me in prayer for a person with an urgent need. As soon as I got off the phone, I took one step and came crashing down. My left knee and right wrist took the full impact of the fall. I was in the backyard and I could have gotten up, but I guess I wanted to add drama to the fall. I had my cellphone so I called Mike, but it went to his voice mail. Then I called my grandson, Jacob (Cubby) and all he said was, “I’m coming grandma!” Mike came through the kitchen door and Cubby through the French doors. Of course I had to go through the lecture from Mike, “You need to be careful! We’re getting older and you need to watch your every step!” I silently said to myself, “I refuse to walk with my head down.”

Pray More

The older I get, the more I pray. I believe this emphasis on prayer has increased because my only concern is to draw closer to Him. I have farther to go to get to where I should be spiritually, but whether I get there or not, I will never stop trying.

The Technology Challenge 

I still use my checkbook, not as often as before, but sometimes I need to pull it out for incidentals. Today’s technology is moving at a faster rate than I will ever be able to catch. I have hired a tech nerd to help me with my updates on this Blog. I would be lost without the help of this young man; I consider him a genius.  Thank you, Keaton, for working with me and solving all of my glitches.

There are so many things that I can’t seem to work out on simple apps. When I ask my daughter to help, she says ,”No!” Long ago she lost patience with my inability to comprehend anything that she has taught me several times.

Passwords are the worst, but I finally figured a secret way of keeping them handy. No, they’re not in my desk, but what I’m doing is working out so far. Sonja has the main passwords memorized, so when I forget, she reminds me.

What Seventy Really Feels Like

I’m a napper but, lately, my naps have become longer and much needed. We eat very early, sometimes as early as 4:30 p.m. I’m slowing down on my desire to shop and have taken a liking to online shopping. I find myself returning half of the purchases that I’ve ordered. My body has changed; now I’m in between sizes due to all the walking. I’ve lost several inches throughout my body, so now I really need to try clothes on.

I still love sweets and eat way too many carbs, but I have incorporated many fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. Every morning I wake up with a new pain – my back, legs cramps, my neck, my allergies. Poor Mike has put up with all my morning grumbling; after 50 years things have not changed in that department.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for my good health. As I get older, give me a clear mind to be able to make the right decisions. Lord, may I always have You ever present in my life. Guide my every step, and keep me on the right path. Amen.


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Fifty Backpacks

Last year I wanted to start a non-profit. The expense and the fact that our project did not generate enough interest to solicit large corporations was a challenge. So we had to take another route.

The Ciriza/Driscoll Project

The Ciriza/Driscoll project was established to introduce our grandchildren to becoming better servants and to understand the needs of others. My Catholic roots go deep into the arteries of the Church’s genesis. Catholic charities were in existence long before any other groups. Catholics have always served the poor, taken care of the widows and orphans,  ministered to the prisoners. Our cause, though small in comparison to what our Church does, is the root of my faith and why I say yes to these projects.

First Pray

When I prayed about this project I had no idea how or when God would provide. As with many of my other endeavors, the Lord is ever present by putting the same idea in the hearts of those called to come alongside this project.  When I stated, “We’re preparing 50 backpacks,” the Holy Spirit opened the doors. I had a clear idea of who was going to help. I also knew how much the Lord had put on their hearts to give.

The Donors

Thank you, Sonja and Russ, for your kind donation; it was well received. When I asked our son Mikos for a donation I told him, “God has already given me an amount.” His reply was, “Well, He hasn’t given me one yet.” Mikos and Jenny came through with the exact amount that the Lord showed me. It was the same for my friend Jane; she, too, gave the amount that the Lord had revealed to me. Both Mikos and Jane gave double of what they donated last year. With this money I quickly ordered the backpacks.


Marianela is one of my dearest friends; she has been part of my Bible study group for over 18 years. She never hesitates when it comes to helping me out with other ministries. I had casually mentioned to her about the backpacks and she said that she would be happy to help. I had been praying for her because she was making funeral arrangements because her father had just died.

I had no idea that the school supplies were hit with inflation, and the cost was almost double the price I paid last year. There were a few items that remained the same but, for the most part, the cost was through the roof. I did my best to compare prices with Walmart, Staples, Target, and Amazon. The big ticket items I ordered  from Amazon. For certain items, Walmart was slightly higher than Staples, and Target may have had good prices but their stock was low. Maddie and I made a trip to Walmart to purchase the bulk items. I was charging everything on my credit card. When I started to worry, the Lord reassured me that all would be taken care of. When I obsessed about it, I’d ask God, “How?” I was always encouraged to trust in Him. When the project belongs to the Lord, He will take care of it. So when I received the call from Marianela, I was not surprised with her obedience to the Lord;  she graciously asked me to give her the bill. The following week, despite her grief, she dropped off a check. She was an angel sent from heaven.

Two Days’ Work

By this time the supplies had taken over our entry way and dining room, so Mike wanted the project finished to clear up space. Finally all four of our grandkids were available. After a few hours we were finished! I decided to give ten backpacks to five different schools. Last year I gave the entire project to a Title One school, but this year, after praying, I decided to give to the schools that allow Release Time Christian Education, which includes some Title One (low-income families) schools. I worked with this organization for 12 years because they bring Bible Studies to public schools. Not all schools allow this program, so we delivered to the schools where I taught Bible study. Fletcher, California, and Palmyra Elementary schools all received 10 backpacks. After Mike loaded the car we discovered that out of the 48 purchased backpacks we were shorted two. We had the supplies for 50, so I had to purchase an additional six  backpacks. Jordan Elementary and a small group of First Holy Communion students from St. Norbert received the remaining 20 backpacks.

Maddie was the project manager while Will and Luke worked as a team to stuff all the supplies. Jacob managed quality control and filled the last ten backpacks on his own. The bonding was beautiful and these four will always remember these dog days of summer when they helped others in need.

On the drive to one of the schools Lucas shared the deal breaker for his future wife. “She can’t be a Satanist or vape or smoke.” I breathed a sign of relief, and then we all laughed. With all three boys in the back seat, the complaining never stopped! Will couldn’t breathe, Lucas was invading Jacob’s space and Maddie was cutting through streets following the navigation, while trying to find a suitable sound track to her liking. We drove the Tesla because the trunk is much bigger than the Prius. We have names for our cars, so Jonah stayed behind while Josiah took on the workload.

On the outside pocket of the backpacks, the students will find a message which reads: “May you have a blessed and productive school year! You are loved, signed, The Ciriza/Driscoll Project.”

My Prayer

Lord, our grandchildren are a gift from You. May we always be available to teach them to love. I pray for the future of Maddie, Will, Lucas and Jacob. Please protect them and keep them safe. When they stray, bring them back into Your sheepfold. Lord, I pray for their protection from all the unnecessary indoctrination that is attempting to ruin our children. Amen.

The Ciriza/Driscoll Project

Included in each backpack:

1– 1 1/2 inch Binder

1– Pack of college-ruled paper

3– Spiral Notebooks

1 – Set of 8 Dividers

1– Pencil pouch

3– Bic pens

6–Ticonderoga Pencils

2– Glue sticks

1–Pencil sharpener

2– Erasers

2–Sharpy Highlighter

1–Pack of 24 Crayola Crayons

1– 12” Ruler

1– Package of Colored Pencils






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Understanding Your Calling

Did you know that Moses was called to serve God from birth? The king of Egypt was upset because too many Hebrew women were having babies at a faster rate than the Egyptians. The king ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys. (Exodus 1:15-22) Moses was spared because God had big plans for him. Although Moses was Hebrew, he was raised as a prince in the Egyptian palace. God was training him for the work that was set aside for him. Moses was to change the trajectory the of lives Israelites.

When I taught Bible study to students the lesson was made simple: Moses was a prince for 40 years, a shepherd for 40 years and lastly he was a prophet for 40 years.  A lot of training was required during the 120 years.

Moses The Prince

Moses was not born into the Egyptian dynasty but was adopted by an Egyptian princess; that made him a prince. He became accustom to the comforts of palace life. God’s hand was on this  young man’s heart and, as he got older, he could not hold back his anger about the treatment of his kinsmen, the Hebrew slaves. The Egyptians were grooming him to be a great prince but Moses could no longer live the lie. He knew in his heart that he was Hebrew; so when he killed an Egyptian for striking a Hebrew, the king sought to kill him (Exodus 2:11-15). This experience taught Moses to live with and understand his enemies.

Moses had more training to go through., God could not use an immature prince to do His work; he was not yet ready for his calling.

Moses The Shepherd 

A shepherd spends many hours alone tending to his sheep. These long hours of isolation were meant to clear Moses’ mind. Tending to sheep was training him to deal with stubborn people. Years had passed, the Egyptian king had died, but the Hebrews were still suffering from the brutal bondage of the Egyptians. God heard their murmuring.

While Moses was tending to the sheep on Mt. Sinai (Mt.Horeb), the Lord appeared to him in a burning bush. When God called out to him, Moses’ reply was “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:1-6) This was Moses’ calling; God had set him apart to save his people. Moses received his call and commission at the same time.


Bowers Museum
The long hike with Jacob, Will, and Lucas

Moses the Prophet

Moses did not believe he was ready for such an exalted  office. He questioned his calling and doubted that he was the right person for this commission. My favorite part of this story is when God answered  Moses when he asked, “What is his name? what do I tell them” God answered, “I AM has sent me to you.” There were many other instances where Moses questioned his calling, but God always knows what He’s doing. Moses was 80 years old when he was called to be a prophet.

We Are All called

We all have a special purpose in life, a reason for living and, most importantly, a calling from God. My mother made sure that I was prepared with God as a child. She did her best to make sure we received our Sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. For this I will be forever grateful. I knew early on that I had a calling but, like Moses, I had to go through some-life learning stages before God could use me. I was radical, extreme leftist and never held my tongue with my unfiltered thoughts. All along God was waiting for me to hear His voice, but due to the loud voices of animosity I could not hear a word He said. It took a while for me to come out of that confused state of mind, but when I did there was no turning back. I was sold out to God! I had no idea that God was training me to understand the mindset of a radical individual. I truly get it; I had a passion, but it was being used in an unloving manner.Me and Melon

My Calling

I serve God, my family, church and  friends. This summer has been a great joy of service for our grandchildren. Summer has kept us busy with trips to museums, hiking, rides to the beach, basketball games, airport drop off and pick ups. We also watch our granddogs. Do I complain? Yes, of course I do; so did Moses. But it is through these acts of service that I grow closer to our grandchildren. They know my heart, and all of my funny stories will lead to a spiritual lesson about Jesus. I’m also called to lead.

Though both of my parents were born in the United States and spoke English, our mother made sure we spoke Spanish at home. I continued with this in my college days and have always had that advantage of a second language. We owned a tortilla factory, and most of our work force were Spanish-speaking, and all meetings were conducted in Spanish by yours truly. When our Bible study group ministered in Tijuana I was used as an interpreter.

This Blog is a loving effort to reach out to those who are in the valley of decision, sitting on the fence, or looking for guidance. In the six years of My Catholic Roots, I have not made a penny. God never told me that I would make money; He told me to write. He would give me the ideas, and the seeds of His love would be planted. My answer was “Here I am.”

Mike’s Calling

My husband Mike is one of the greatest servants of all. Mike’s father owned a tortilla factory (different from ours); La Tolteca was located on Mt. Vernon Street in San Bernardino. As a young boy of ten, Mike collected cardboard boxes from the back of liquor stores for his dad. Depending on the size of the box, Mike would receive anywhere from three to five cents. These boxes were recycled with packages of tortillas to be delivered to markets and restaurants. He learned early on the value of hard work and has instilled this into our children. Mike has the gift of accounting and this too has helped him in all of his life’s endeavors.


If you have not heard the voice of God, it’s not because He’s not there. Usually we have so many distractions to keep us from hearing His voice. Ask God to show you what your calling is. We waste so much time trying to fit in or please others that we lose sight of why God put us on earth in the first place. If you seek to be loved, look to the Father Who will bestow on you the greatest of all love. It’s never too late to serve. Remember Moses was 80 years old when he received his calling and commission.

My Prayer

Lord, Facebook has brought so many happy faces but, in reality, it’s Facebook happy. I pray that Your people would experience the joy of serving You and experience  what joy and fulfillment is really about. Amen.


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