Married?

Last month, my Division Manager said he thought I was married. I was unsure of why because I look quite young. Multiple staff members in the office have asked me, “Are you an intern?” and I told them that I was the new engineer. Perhaps he thought I was older because of the amount of work experience I had on my resume. 

Later that week, while drinking milk tea, my friend pointed at my left hand and said, “No wonder why your boss thought you were married! You’re wearing a ring!” I knew exactly what he was talking about without having to look at my hand.

My rosary ring.

10 years ago

Below is an excerpt from a journal entry from Saturday, October 3, 2009.


[…] At that moment, I couldn’t take it anymore and ran off. I ran around the church because I knew that I had nowhere else to run to. […] I stopped and cried behind the Sullivan Hall. After a while, I got tired of crying and ran to where the HTs originally were. They were all gone. A truck drove off and didn’t see me. Another car drove off, too. I thought there were no more cars left and I was stuck at the church when one last car spotted me. It drove and went in front of me. 

“Hey Thao, you okay?” It was the young HT, Anh XXXXX.

“No,” I answered. 

“Wanna get in the car?” he asked.

I didn’t answer and he said, “Get in the car.” So I did since the conversation wasn’t going anywhere.

I sat in there, crying. 

“It’s okay…” he said. 

Then he called Anh XXXXX and said, “I found her.”

“What?!” 

“She ran back.”

“What?!” 

“Haha, I don’t know. She just ran back”

“… Okay.” 

I sat there, crying until I got tired of it. We started talking and such for about 15 minutes. Then, he drove me home. 

Trợ Úy Drawing 2019

This month’s theme for the VEYM DAC (Digital Assets Collection)/TNTT Arts Team is our beloved Trợ Úy’s.

I knew I wanted to include both a seminarian and a nun, so that’s what I did. I honestly procrastinated on working on this piece, but it ended up turning out not too bad! To be fair though, I did use a reference from the manga, One Pound Gospel. This manga eventually became an anime and had a live-action movie.

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One Pound Gospel – Manga Volume 2 Cover

When you see a seminarian or a nun, they always seem to have this happiness and joy that no one else seems to have beside them. It is rather mysterious. Have you ever noticed that? I wanted to capture that feeling in my drawing. I had the nun close her eyes while she is holding her crucifix and the seminarian holding out a bible. She appears to be at peace while the seminarian is joyful that he is doing the Lord’s works. Also, Trợ Úy’s are full of faith and knowledge. We always turn to them when we have difficult faith questions and they always know more than we do.

Since I was rushing on this drawing, I did not have the time to take pictures of my progress, but here is rough sketch!

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Rough sketch

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Rước Lễ blessing Drawing 2019

August’s Art Theme was Rước Lễ blessing.

Most of the time, we see Ãu Nhi or Thiếu Nhi crossing their arms around their chest for a blessing because they have not received their First Communion yet. However, we can also cross our arms around our chest when we are in a state of mortal sin and therefore, cannot receive communion. If you have not confessed your sins to a priest before Mass, then you can still receive a blessing from the priest instead of the Eucharist.

In my freshman year of college, I saw a seminarian receive the Communion blessing instead of the Eucharist despite the fact that I’ve seen him receive the Eucharist in previous Masses. I never forgot that moment. The image of someone older realizing their spiritual state and choosing to receive the blessing instead of the Eucharist stood out to me because it shows that they can truly humble themselves before God. To think “in my current state, I am not worthy enough to receive Jesus,” is something that not many people can think.

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Initial rough sketch

Hence, this is why I decided to draw a Hiệp sĩ receiving the Communion blessing instead of the Eucharist, even though he is probably of age and have already received his First Communion. We can see his humility in action at this moment. We can also see how real the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is because of the Hiệp sĩ’s action.

Because August is still Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar, I decided to have the priest wear green. However, the background is purple because I wanted to remind viewers of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When priests offer confession, they usually wear purple/violet vestments.  This is a reminder that this Hiệp sĩ needs to have confession before he can receive the Eucharist again.

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Rough Sketch

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures as I worked on this drawing, but I did take some pictures of the rough sketches.

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4th Station of the Cross

As I started my last prayer, I stopped at the 4th Station of the Cross. Why have I not noticed this station? I looked at the Roman Numerals, “IV”. I saw Mary’s face close to Jesus’, almost seemingly the two were having a conversation with words or simply their eyes. Jesus was wearing his crown of thorns and carrying his heavy cross. Mary was looking longingly and worriedly at Jesus. At that moment, I realized my prayer was answered.

Help me feel Your Love.

 

 

VSL: SM TT 28

#TNTT Đoàn Vinh Sơn Liêm: Sa Mạc Thăng Tiến XXXVIII (38)

💛These Nghĩa Sĩ’s first impression of me was that I do semaphore really fast. Now, a couple of them can mentally decode semaphore and some of them can write down and decode the semaphore I perform at my fastest speed. I may need to level up in other areas! 😳 Thank you for a wonderful year with you all! I have been truly blessed to have been your Huynh Trưởng this past year. 💛

Maria Pham Thi Sinh

The night before heading up to Sacramento for TNTT HT Training Camp, I received news that my grandma has passed away. I tried my best to keep it all together throughout camp despite how many times I actually just wanted to breakdown. I held it all in until I was on the Holy Land Pilgrimage. I missed the funeral mass due to being across the Atlantic Ocean, but I knew that if my grandma was alive, she would have told me to go to the Holy Land and pray for her soul. And I did. And I will continue to do so for the only grandma I ever knew.

Vietnamese Martyrs Drawing 2019

This month’s theme was chosen by one of our viewers. The theme that she requested was Vietnamese Martyrs. My head drew a blank when I first heard this. I was not sure of what to draw that has not been drawn yet. 

At first, I drew some sketches but found them unsatisfying. They have all been done before or it was nothing interesting. Then, I tried to draw inspiration from the LBM Dance that my Nghĩa Sĩ kids did. I drew another sketch, using a photo from the dance as a reference, but still found it unoriginal. Finally, I looked at the backdrop of the LBM stage. Although the Huynh Truong who did it put little effort into it because he wanted to do the bare minimum work required, the backdrop was straightforward and simple. That was what I liked about this backdrop. I drew inspiration from this.

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Rough sketch and Initial Inking

Perhaps I was thinking too much into the words “Vietnamese Martyrs.”  Maybe I needed to think simpler. 

Right before the LBM performance for my Nghĩa Sĩ kids, I gave them a little prep talk about the colors they were wearing. Red and brown are the colors of the Hiệp Sĩ Khăn Quàng. The red represents the blood of the Vietnamese Martyrs spilled onto Vietnam’s land, which is represented by the color brown. I decided to somehow incorporate the Hiệp Sĩ Khăn Quàng into my drawing.

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Color Penciled

“If the Hiệp Sĩ Khăn Quàng basically represented the Vietnamese Martyrs, then I should draw that,” I thought. I wanted to show all the different kinds of Vietnamese Martyrs: priests, bishops, friars, non-clergy men, and women. I drew as many and as different as I can to show the different kinds of people who were martyred. Anybody, even ordinary people, can love Jesus Christ as much as they did. 

I put the least amount of thought into this drawing, and yet it somehow had the most meaning. 

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Adobe Photoshop CS6

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