In The Quiet

I know God never get tired of the same prayer each day. I always start with giving thanks of how the day is. When it is sunny I would say it. When it is breezy I would say it. I may even sound like a child learning to pray. But I believe that it blesses His heart when we acknowledge Him thru how the sunshine warms our faces and the dew on the grass wet our feet.

DSC_0547I get to enjoy little things around me when I am able to give up my daily routine and step outside, sit under the tree and listen to the birds singing. It is amazing when I can actually watch them closer and sometimes hold my breath, not moving so I won’t startle them and so they can stay longer and to prolong that simple moment.

DSC_0065I struggle each day to get connected with God because I am too busy. But the great thing with God, He never is too busy for me. I feel guilty because He is so good. I know when I have to let go of everything and take time to talk to Him. I can be very busy trying to get stuff done while I am alone. But when the Holy Spirit tag my heart, I learn to just take that moment. I actually like it because I can pray loud in the quietness of my home.

DSC_0575.JPGGod is surely happy when I demand His attention. He sees me learning to humble myself in His presence and acknowledge that He is in control. And God loves me so much that He wants me to experience an intimate period of time at the midst of my business. He never leave me alone. He desires to bless me with peace, joy, and remind me that He prepared a place for me, and that is eternal. But I won’t be a conqueror of all He has in-store for me if I won’t surrender my self to Him.

DSC_0075As of this moment, He wants me to know that His grace is sufficient when my cup is half way empty.

He blesses me with patience. And that waiting for His answer is allowing Him to work in me and for me to know Him, draw me closer to Him. To wait and see what He can do. To teach me to trust Him. To be still and know that He is God

He reassures me to have peace and live life with joy even when His answer could be no. To rejoice, give Him honor and praise whatever His answer might be.

DSC_0571Time is so precious. And I am grateful when I can sit down, forget the chores, enjoy outside, or play my guitar and hum a tune and pray. Sometimes these can be difficult to do because I get so distracted with other things. I make a to-do-list as a reminder of what needs to be done. And I feel so accomplished when I scratch each one at the end of the day.

20150329_153922I hope that the highlight of my day would be being content with the things that really matters. Enjoy solitude. Pray. Do the things that will satisfy my soul in the quiet.

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But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16
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This Is Today

Snowy Day

Beautiful morning, pretty sky, red is the color just for awhile. White is the ground, our feet is shivering, ‪#‎frozen‬ nose, exhaling warm air against the cold. Soft powder and hard sparkly crystal everywhere, how I gripe about it it’s no fun. Fear of stumbling and flipping cars, it’s beauty can be deceiving. For some it’s fun, but on my way to work, “‪#‎winter‬ should be gone”. But I have to suck it up, it’s coming and going I can’t control. Life has its season and this is it for today. I can’t change its existence but change my heart, to be grateful for the life I have today and the hope to see the bald trees turn green again, to see the ‪#‎tulips‬ and ‪#‎daffodils‬ bloom and listen the ‪‎Rufous Sided Towhee‬ sing. Life is not fair and I can’t live perfect but I can choose the right attitude to live and survive every season. All around me is His and so I am. I guess a complain He doesn’t deserve, but praise. God bless everyone! God is good‬ whatever the season.

In Remembrance Of Super Typhoon Haiyan

Here are my favorite collection of photographs I took when we visited my family and friends in the Philippines two months after the typhoon.
I was not there when it happened but I will never forget the agony of waiting to hear my family. It took many days. When I finally hear my brother’s voice to inform me that they were all okay, I couldn’t compose myself, I was overjoyed.
Blessings to those who are relentlessly moving on despite what they’ve been through.
To my Aunt Nelly, who are not found, we will always remember you. You raised two beautiful children and are great parents to your grand-babies.
My heart is full of gratitude to countries, organizations, volunteers, missionaries, neighbors, brothers and sisters, even strangers who become friends who reached out to give help.
What would life be if we are living alone? How can one survive amidst turmoil?
Truly, life is not about ourselves. It was proven during that time. Help was pouring out.
God created us for a reason and that is to please Him no matter what situation we are/were in.
Thank you greatly for serving my fellow Filipinos that time of need. Your work won’t go in vain.

 

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me

 

If you have the desire in your heart to help here are few organizations in the Philippines you can check out:

 

1) Center for Change is a  community where orphans and children at risk get to be housed, clothed, educated and cared for. Each child lives in a house with a House parent who care for the children in a home environment. Check their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Center-for-Change-Leyte-Philippines/558752047533556?sk=info or this website: http://www.globaldevelopment.org.au/

 

2) Arms of Love Children’s Home is a ministry that provide long-term care for orphaned, abandoned, and abused children in a family environment. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/52362210938/ or website: www.armsoflove.org

 

3) World Vision Philippines https://www.facebook.com/wvphilippines or http://www.worldvision.org.ph/

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Parol (star shaped ornament) symbolizes Filipinos hope and goodwill during Christmas.

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On the right it says: Thank you for your help and support. Merry X-mas. From Anita of Brgy. Mohon Tanauan, Leyte

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Salamat… Viscans (Thank you… Viscans)

Flag of Germany and USA

Canadian Flag

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Temporary Office. On the top left it says: God Bless You

Missionaries entertained the kids and adults in Brgy. Buri Burauen, Leyte

   2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

ROTC cleaning up debris in school.

“Looks like US Military Base” by the airport in Tacloban City, Leyte

In deep thought… after receiving school supplies from UNICEF.

Proverbs 23:18 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

One of the pupils with a box of school supplies. At the back, is a temporary classroom. Burauen North Central School Burauen, Leyte

Happy kids with their teacher, Sir Lyndon.

Inside the makeshift classroom with teacher Myrna.

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Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

During recess, kids were flying paper airplanes.

A typical kid, goofing around instead of listening to his teacher.

Cleaning the classroom.

Found these at the back of makeshift classroom.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Popular toy among kids. Bicycle tire. They use the stick to roll the tire and they run along with it.

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He made this one fancy by placing cans in to make a rattling sound as it rolls.

He looks so content. Happiness.

Tire swing inside the hut when it was pouring outside.

One of our guests in the house.

Portable and rechargeable lamp for studying.

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Relief goods.

Laundry area out in the open.

She’s loving every drop of rain.

Proverbs 16:15 In the light of a king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.

The view from our bedroom window.

Somewhere in Abuyog, Leyte

One of the spots in Dagami, Leyte

Isaiah 55:12  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Beautiful day to fly a kite. Thankful.

Going to town.

Regular motorcycle with attached roof. Only in the Philippines.

Burauen Public Market

Cock fighting in the street.

Enjoyed this view during my morning run. Brgy. Paitan Burauen, Leyte

God spared this beauty.

Duck in the street.

In one of our neighbors’ backyard.

Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

A typical Filipino pose, the L sign below the chin.

Another Filipino pose.

Click here if you like to see images of devastation After the Super Typhoon Haiyan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chellegeisel/sets/72157640611689965/

P.S We can always choose to hope and believe even after an unthinkable disaster. It was sad but being able to spend time with the family and see the people moving on was a great visit and inspiring, most importantly you witness God’s grace which is enough for them to be able to accept the change and get their life back on track.

Ann’s Apron

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Ann is 97 years old woman living in a nursing home where I work. She was sitting on her bedside when I entered her room. It looked like she was getting ready for bed, donned with her long pajama dress. She was reaching her feet towards the floor fixing her socks. I offered to help because I did not want her to slip out of bed and knock her head straight onto the floor.


It was time for her eight o’clock medication.


She is hard in hearing that I had to speak close to her ear. The hearing aid she had on bilaterally seemed like it was not helping. I had to let her know every pill she was taking because she inquires all the time and it’s just the way Ann is; and it’s her right to know. She used her thumb and index finger to pick her pills and slowly put it to her mouth one at a time. I watched closely.  When she safely swallowed her pills, I quickly moved to exit the room, but she pulled my hand.


She is legally blind but she got me. It was probably my shadow or the angle of where she was sitting or where I was standing that she figured where to find my hand. She softly asked me to sit reassuring me that  I won’t get in trouble and she won’t tell anyone that I sat and chat with her. I checked my watch, it was only seven-thirty. I had enough time, besides, two of the residents on my floor were out for a night-time social with other residents.


I sat close to her. My brown hand clasped tightly against her wrinkly 97 years old hand. I’m not describing it in a negative way. It’s just that deep into that wrinkly transparent skin is a fierce spirited petite woman, with a sense of humor and her own view of the world.


I got to know her and laughed out loud for that short period.


I did not ask a lot . I only asked when there were certain words I did not understand. Her wavy and deep voice made it difficult  for me to catch up. She would take a lot of pauses too. She asked few personal questions about me – marriage and parenting. I shared a few.

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She expressed how important faithfulness is in marriage. She detests married men and women running around for a fling.  It ruins everything – life.


She gulped her left over water that I gave with her medication. She would cough a bit.


We were still holding each others hand. It is amazing how life physically changes, I thought, as I look at our hands. My skin is shimmer in brown complexion and someday (not very soon though) will look like hers.  She still can hold her glass steadily. I will be grateful if I am mentally sharp as her when I reach her age.


She continued to talk.


She used to work as a waitress and once served in a wedding. When she was working, she gave full attention to it. She was too busy that when it was time to untie her apron, she was having difficulty. She felt somebody’s hand on her back helping her. She turned around. It was a guy whom she knew. A married man. She was not impressed of his intention – to help untie her apron.  Instead she told him, “Go home, untie your own wife’s apron.” She said, “that act may not be malicious for this generation but it comes in different form and it was one of those.”


I imagined how prudent she was as a young married woman and I thought it was great.

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She used to live with her husband in a small town not close to the city and she had a nephew who would come to visit once in a while. He came one day to personally invite her and her husband for his wedding.  He was intrigued how everyone in  town knows her. She told him that everyone at the bus stop let her get in and get off the bus first; and it’s just the way it was. She did not know the reason behind it but passengers never minded her going in and out of the bus first. 


When her nephew asked for advice about marriage, she told him two things. Save and spend. Saving your hard-earned money for rainy days will keep you out of distress. It gives you peace of mind. Spend what you save when you need it. So simple but right to the point.


Our conversation did not stop right there. Was it really a conversation? We were not exchanging dialogue. I just listened, and it was not a waste of my time at all.


She said, “I can’t believe how demonic humans can be. I heard the news about a little girl who was raped. People who do this crap should go to hell.” She sounded firm and a bit angry.


“If they come to me, I will show them what I can do. I will cut and burn their penises!” This statement cracked me up so hard and excuse me with the language. In life though, that’s how we call it.


That’s Ann, the feisty one.

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Do you think I love my job? I do. I did not even have to talk or share all about me. Allowing my time to be consumed by one of this residents is worth it.  I know, they’re not nice all the time and they can make us feel terrible nurses. We sometimes are not nice when time is so tight or when things get out of hand. We blame it to the full moon.


“Work while your young, make money and hopefully get rich,” she looked at me. She signaled in our hands that it was time for me to go.

“What will you do with the money if you’re rich?”, I asked.


“With my age, well if I am young, I will go to casinos. I will go to Vegas and gamble,” she said.


“Long time ago, I saved all my pay during winter and spend it in Vegas gambling with my lady friend. I never took cash with me. I would go to the bank and get a traveler’s check,” she added. I don’t know what traveler’s check is so I asked and she tried to explain it to me.  I don’t think this generation uses this kind of check. Most of us use debit and credit card.


“Did you win?”, me making conversation this time.


“Oh yeah!…. It was fun. We use nickel, dime, quarters at the casino. I think they don’t do it anymore. They use plastic chips.”


“What did you do with the money you won?”, it was me asking.


“Gamble! What do you think?” I laughed.


She asked me what I will do with the money if I am rich. I told her that I will pay all our debts, as simple as that.


“What will you do with the rest when everything is paid off?”, she insisted.


“What do you think should I do?”, I was hoping to get a great advice from this older woman.


“Gamble!”, she loudly suggested.

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I responded that I don’t do all that stuff not even drinking and smoking.


She suggested to buy myself a lot of nice clothes and the things that I really like and have wanted to have.


I said, “I think, I will spend it traveling. I would love that.” She agreed nodding her head. She seemed impressed with my idea.


“I would like to go to bed,” a voice from another resident in that room. It was Anna.


“I guess, I have to go Ann.  Anna needs help. You take care when you get home. Avoid falling. Always use your walker and have it close to you all the time. It was great talking to you.” She will be leaving the nursing facility soon.


“I hope you’ll be able to do and enjoy a lot of things. If there’s one thing you wanna do, what would it be?”, I asked.


“Gambling!”

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P.S Time flies so fast and sometimes we realize how much we wasted it. It takes only a minute to make someone happy. Give time to be a good company.

The Great Scents Of Fall

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Beautiful trees. Awesome different shades of color.
It’s wonderful to watch leaves fall to the ground. The more leaves pile up, the prettier it looks.
Fall is the time of the year when the weather is just right. It gets cold but not the same with the actual winter season. I love it. The only pitfall is that I don’t like raking leaves. I have to be in a mood to do it. I don’t like to work where I pant and I get out of breath after. It’s a lot of work. Continue reading

The Real Survivors, The Hero Within

People in Leyte are resilient. They are moving on forward. They are grateful for the different type of help they received from organizations. They don’t just sit around and wait. They are back on their feet. They find a way to survive and support the needs of their family. The super typhoon Yolanda did not break them. They find strength from their love ones. They continue to hope that they will get through this despite the destruction they have been through. They press on, they find the hero in themselves.

To bring hope was a privilege. Thank you for my friends and family for their monetary and moral support. My family and friends are thankful that there are people from other part of the world who cares. They all have their piece of story to tell after the super storm.

My neighbor saw the roof of her brother’s house blown away, where they evacuated. She said, “I clasped my hands together, buckled my feet down on the floor,  put my clasped hands to my chest and I said to myself, I am dead. When I opened my eyes, it was all bright and I can see the dark sky and there  I realize I was alive; and I thank God. The wind stopped and it was the time when we (five families in that house) ran outside to find shelter to our neighbor’s house.” This woman got help from friends and family. She got her house fixed better that it was before. She continue to support herself and children by working as a babysitter.

An elderly husband, chose to separate from his wife who found a Bodega for his shelter. He chose to hide alone. He said, “I was really scared. I did not want to see my wife suffer. If she get hurt or anything worst than that, at least I am not there to witness and watch her suffering.” This elderly man never experienced a storm as extreme as Yolanda (Haiyan). They rebuilt their home from tins and woods that they salvaged from the road, and received a tarp for roofing. They continue to live and work at the farm.

They find many ways to provide for their family’s needs . You can see Sari-sari Store (popular in the Philippines) along side the road. They sell variety of food, snacks and drinks. Some sell liters of gasoline in high price. Those who have generator will make money from charging cellphones, P10 an hour. Those who are able to use their refrigerator, would sell ice. Those whose coconut farm are all ruined, will cut the trees and sell them for lumber. You can see a repair shop for power saw, and those who own one will make money from loaning it. Adults and children will pick up waste to recycle and make money out of it. Those who live in the farm will build a small shelter close to the road to sell vegetables and root crops. On market day, you can see people from neighboring towns bringing their goods to sell.

They are determined that they can make their lives better. It does not matter how long it takes to rebuild; and how things turned different from what they were used to.

They are hardworking. Some of them won’t hold back to share what they have. Such generosity. Such grace.

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Straightening the old nails. Recycling. This saves them from spending to rebuild their home.

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A group of men helping to clean up the school.

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Fish vendors at the public market.

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On behalf of my fellow Leytenos, thank you with all my heart and with God’s love for all your help.

Frozen-Like Birthday Party

She is grateful to have her friends around and celebrated her 7th birthday with them. She decided to have it today since her BFF will not be able to come on her actual birthday, plus my husband and I were home.

One week before her party, I asked her what she likes or want for her birthday and she answered, “I don’t know”. She really does not make a list or  ask for a special gift on her birthdays; neither on Christmas time.

Since, I (traditionally) bake our birthday cakes, I wanted to know if there is anything particular she likes for hers.  Not to my surprise, she requested a cake that resemblance Elsa from Disney Movie, FROZEN.

I made her request. It was not a perfect Elsa cake, but I tried. She was very happy about it. I baked cupcakes as well for her friends to take home with their goody bags.

They hang out in the house. Play whatever toys my daughter have. Rainbow looming. Animal-Poly. Made a hide out under the dining table.

It was a very simple party. The kids had fun. I’m glad they came despite with the cold breezy weather. We’re glad we did not cancel the party.

Here are some clips of her FROZEN-like birthday celebration.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24