Thursday, March 18

The Fifth Station.

Having a cold makes me realize just how blessed I am.

This might seem a paradoxical statement. But the realization that having this cold is possibly the most wretched thing I have experienced so far this year gives me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I have it so easy.

There are people all around the world whose countries have been ravaged by earthquakes (my mother's homeland of Chile no less). There are children starving for food and for love. There are the sick, the dying, the poor, the lonely.

And I suffer from a measly cold. That's the worst thing in my life right now.

God, I am overwhelmed by Your goodness and our generosity to me. I am thankful for my small crosses that I bear diligently and perseveringly. Thank You, Lord, that the crosses of others are not my own, and give me the grace to give aid as I am able. May I be Simon of Cyrene for Jesus.

Let us not be so quick to pity ourselves and cry about our situation, our cross, our difficulties. It could be so very much worse, and for many, it is.

Thank You, Lord, for my cross. Thank You for the strength to carry it daily. Give me the grace to embrace it lovingly. Amen.

Monday, March 15

A Son Comes Home

As you know, I spend my Sunday afternoon/evenings leading the music for the Teen Mass at my home parish. This is both a blessing and a challenge. Sometimes, it is difficult for me personally to enter deeply into the liturgy, as I am focused on my responsibilities.

But then God breaks into my reverie, interrupts my contemplation, and presents me with something new to consider, something that didn't jump out to me while planning the music.

Yesterday's Gospel was the story of the Prodigal son. I looked up the word "prodigal," and it literally means "to squander, to drive away" (Thanks Merriam-Webster). I have always had a tough time with this reading. I identify 100% with that older brother. He dutifully obeys and honors his father. He works hard and achieves much. He is the "perfect" son, and worse, he knows it.

Friday, March 12

Movie Critic 101 - The Broadway Melody of 1929

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be paying tribute to the entire lineup of Best Picture winning Oscar movies, I would have chuckled nervously while giving you a weird look and thinking to myself, "Yeah right. There's no cute guys in those old flicks. Why would I ever be interested in those?"

Thursday, March 11

Clean House, Clean(er) Spirit

It's incredible how quickly clutter collects in a home.

Sometimes I open a closet and am astounded at how much unnecessary stuff has accumulated, that we don't need and wouldn't miss, but just can't bring ourselves to get rid of.

I have to confess, I am a pack rat. I have boxes full of little notes from people, awards I won in high school, pins I used to collect, etc ad nauseum. And I never look at any of it. But it's there if I ever felt the urge to relive the good old days. Which I might. You never know...

But the point is that I don't. And I should be able to part with these things, but I have difficulty letting go. I've realized that as detached as I consider myself to be, there are still so many things in my life that I couldn't bear to part with. Have you played that Game, the one where your house is on fire and you can only grab ONE THING? I'm terrible at this game. Well, I should say I used to be terrible at it. Now I grab my son. Period. But I'm the one that, after Matthew is safely outside in the arms of the firefighter, I go BACK IN to the burning ruins to scour for those things that somehow make my life livable...

Or do they? If I had, had, HAD to, I could let go. But since I don't have to, I'd rather just hold on to my memories, thank you.

And then, out of the blue, I read this: "Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new!" (Isaiah 43:18-19). But Lord, I was comfortable with the way things were. I liked the familiar.

And then He rocks my world, flips it on its head, changes something radically. And I learn to let go of the unimportant, the trivial. It's time to step into a new day of freedom.

So as Jonathan and I worked to de-clutter our home (and hopefully benefit people in need as a result), it has a similar effect of de-cluttering my spirit. As I let go of physical things I don't really need or want, I ponder in my heart the spiritual weights that keep me in bondage. I let go of those too.

And by doing both, I breath a little easier, feel a little lighter, and look forward to something new.

Saturday, March 6

May I Have the Envelope Please?

Nothing superbly philosophical or intriguing about this blog post.

But don't let that turn you away, oh faithful friend and confidant in this journey of baring my soul!

Jonathan and I were watching a video on YouTube yesterday, and it became painfully apparent to me, how ill-educated I am when it comes to Oscar-winning films.

I can name most if not all major Disney characters,
but when it comes to truly magnificent cinematography, my film experience has been appallingly sparse.

And so, a new quest begins.
I'm starting at the beginning... well, really with #2, as the first movie to win Best Picture in 1929, "Wings," is not yet available on DVD. But the next year's winner, "The Broadway Melody of 1929", is on our Netflix que and will arrive sometime next week. I'm excited to broaden my horizons with film that has been deemed of quality.

I will let you know my progress. This will  be an exciting and new addition to my blogosphere: Gaby's Oscar Education. Or shall we call it, a foray into a potential new life calling: Gaby the Film Critic... Don't worry, I won't quit my day job.

Feel free to let me know your favorites, and I will anticipate them with glee. I'm planning to watch them in order to the present, excluding the few I have already seen (which is quite a few... I'm not a complete virgin when it comes to films of good quality!).

I'm excited to expand my horizons a bit. Jonathan and I have relished many a quiet evening with wine and a good movie. Now, the difference will be a) I will be judging for myself movies that have been judged first-rate, and b) I will be opening my thought process and judging critieria to you, my faithful and beloved compadres.

Enjoy the show.

Friday, March 5


At last, at last, at last!!!

Since I graduated from high school, I've been selling and/or giving out copies of a CD that I recorded that summer before college. I was never 100% happy with it, and always yearned for the time/$$$ to record a new one that I could really be proud of.

With new and improved recordings of Fiat, Let Me Live, Transfigure, and other favorites, I present to you my new CD: Let It Be Done Unto Me.

I am so proud of this new CD. My wonderful husband Jonathan got me a terrific digital piano for my birthday/Christmas this past year, and is it ever awesome! It's a Kawai ES1, and I couldn't be happier with it. Best of all, I can hook it up to my computer, along with a microphone, and voila: a new CD recorded in under a week, just in time for the Women of Faith, Women of Action conference. At which I sold a LOT of CDs!

If you would like to order a copy of this new CD, sample the songs here on my website, then contact me and I'll be happy to get you a copy.

A Good Sort of Pride

My name is Gabriela Frei, and I am proud to be an American. 

 I have the distinct honor of being a first generation American. My mother hails from Chile, South America, and her parents are 100% Italian and Danish. My father is Cuban, and his family escaped from Cuba when he was 5 years old, on one of the last ships before they shut everything down.

I am 100% American. Although I cherish my Italian, Danish, and Cuban heritage, I am American. And I am proud of that fact. I love my country.

Thursday, March 4

Know Thyself.

How do you love?

Are you full of passion, sparks flying, endless soaring on cloud nine?
Are you twitter-patted and silly, hearing violins and seeing rainbows soaring?
Are you solid and enduring, captivated once and loving forever?

How do you show love?

Are you a giver of gifts? Do you exude affection? Are you a servant?
Are your words a expression of love? Are your time and presence gifts in themselves?

How do you receive love?

Do you crave a warm touch? Do you relish time spent with your beloved? Do you require affirmation to know you are loved? Do gifts provide that assurance? Do acts of service convince you?

Know thyself, the Oracle proclaimed. If you cannot know yourself in this most essential of needs, your need to show and receive love, you cannot hope to progress further into knowledge of yourself.

In our love, we most reflect God. In loving others, we are a vessel of God to them. In opening our hearts to receive love, we encounter our Lord in others. Without love, we are a cacophony of sound, tales "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" (Macbeth).

We are told there is so much to know, to unfold, to discover in the world. There are adventures to be had, books to read, subjects to study, places to go, beauty to see. And yet, the most profound depths are in fact within ourselves. Here in the silence is the place designated for us to encounter our Maker. In this stillness, we are meant to find Him - "Be still and now that I am God" (Psalm 46).

We often forget that we are ourselves an untapped wealth waiting to be uncovered. I am a mystery even to myself. It takes a lifetime to know fully who I am, and yet I cannot know what I am meant to be without this process of self-discovery and increasing awareness.

Because I am all that I have to work with. And yes, progress can always be made, and perfection can be coaxed from the unwieldy. But if we cannot make that effort to discover who we are, then we have no starting point from which to understand the world.

Know thyself. Be true to yourself. Uncover Truth within yourself. For He who is Truth has imprinted Himself within your heart, leaving hints as to His being. He calls continuously, and in knowing the truth of you, you discover more of Him.

And He is love.

Tuesday, March 2


And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Immediately. They left their nets and followed Him immediately

Wow. Can you imagine the scene? These fishermen lived a simple life, but one that followed a pattern. A daily pattern that never changed. You get up early. You get in your boat. You throw your nets into the water. You catch fish. You go home. 

But this day, which started just like every other, was one unlike any other. This was the day of The Call. On this day, life would forever change for these simple fisherman.

And they didn't hesitate for a second. 

Monday, March 1

Not My Will But Yours

Hello to all. 

It's been a while since I posted. I credit the encouragement of a dear friend for spurring me back to pen and paper, or really, to keyboard and screen.

Welcome back to the joyful chaos that is my life. Thanks for coming along for the ride, for the prayers and support.
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