Calm My Soul

Enjoylifeseverymoment

This is the life of want and distress,

The life of joy and robbery,

The life of contentment and uncertainty,

The life to own and build,

The life of happy and misery,

The life to treat one nice but can’t be please,

The life to achieve and fail,

The life to stand up and be heard,

The life to cherish whatever lies ahead.

This is life,

The life of imperfection to embrace,

The life of courage against all pain,

The life of dancing,

The life to calm my soul,

The life of giving and forgiving.

This is life.

The life to live whatever was behind.

 

 

*God is good all the time. I thank Him for my life. *

 

 

 

 

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Captivated

What a beauty,

Who can deny,

Your existence,

I am mesmerized.

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I see the blue sky,

I’m feeling the breeze at night,

Countless stars in the night sky,

And the moon spread its light.

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Morning dew every tomorrow,

I looked forward to yesterday.

I hear the birds singing,

What a joy it bring.

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You are close,

Closer than what I think.

You captivated me.

And you’ll always be The One.

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Who amazes my heart,

Who wakes me up in the morning,

Whose air I breathe,

The One who have my heart.

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The Feeling of Being Deserving To Be Fired As A Mom

I cried and I thought I deserve to get fired as a mom at least that moment, that day.

I felt terrible.

My husband and I beside each other while I was “recording” that moment. Photo credit to my friend.

I can’t believe I misclick the right button to record our daughter’s piano recital performance. I did notice the absence of a “red dot” and the word “rec” on my camera screen. But I continue holding up my camera and watch her play thru live view.

She looked beautiful. “Hip” with her cowboy boots matched with teal lacy dress. She sat gracefully and hands perfect on the baby grand piano. She played, Minuet and Trio. She had great timing.

I heard “wows” and “nice” whispers around when she finished. She did marvelous. She received a warm applause after her great performance.

When I checked my camera I realized that I failed to record it. I miss the whole performance. I was very disappointed and so was my husband. It felt worst when he said, “You’re fired being a mom”.

I watched the whole show and soon I had to leave for work.

I cried on my way to work. I cried while at work.

Photo captured by my friend. Grateful

I am so thankful for my friend who took this photo.

I wanted it documented. I love to keep memories and look back into it someday; also it would be nice for her to see herself on stage and realize how great she is after all those moments when she would like to quit.

I thought, the “wows” and “nice” compliments and applause from the background would prove that she did great; and inspire her to keep playing, learning and have fun with piano.

But all I had planned did not work . I failed and I need to forget about it while I was working. I couldn’t move on.

There must be something wrong with me, I thought. I prayed about it to settle my heart.

On Psalms 30:3 it says, “For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I may be weird but I grab my Bible when I am really sad even for simple situations that bothers me. I always find comfort in God’s word. It sounds crazy considering that it was just about missing the right button.

As I was thinking and writing my journal I remember every detail of that day. Everything about her. I think she was nervous. She sat with us in the audience before the show started and I watched her playing her fingers against her piano book; she was probably practicing. If she was stressed, she handled it wonderfully. She played with no mistakes and memorized her piece. She did what she was expected to do. She got it right. (See, if I did not miss the right button, I could have it recorded and insert it here as a proof.)

The next day, she told us she was nervous and she actually was nauseated. “That feeling”, according to her Dad, “makes you stronger because you did a great job.” My husband called it “adrenaload”.

I realized I did not miss that moment. I watched and listen her play. I am grateful to be there and very proud how she did; and I can’t be fired as a mom just because I miss the right button.

She may remember that I forgot to record her show but I know our daughter; I know she is more grateful that I was there.

I realized life is more than a click of our devices. Gadgets are made for convenience or for keeping and documenting memories we created. Sometimes it can be life’s distraction.

Memories are made with our time and presence. It is made with a desire to live that certain moment. It is made by heart.

“How do you think people survive long long time ago without high tech gadgets?”, my husband’s statement to calm me down.

Failures can appear unexpectedly in every situation. It makes me uncomfortable.  It can rob my joy but not for long.  God is gracious enough to remind me not to dwell on it.

I was sad that her grandma who is thousands miles away won’t see how she did; but there is a lot of it coming. There is going to be more recital coming; she’s only 8 years old for goodness sake.

There is more to life to  focus on and be grateful for. There is going to be a lot of mistakes, tears, and pain that I will go through. A lot of learning. A lot of patience. A lot of love. A lot of healing.  I will forever experience all these because I am a mother. My seat will stay and I am blessed to be in this position; and I will never get fired. I love being a mom and everything that goes with it.

Imagine how difficult life would be for our children if the rule is getting mothers fired when we miss the right button. Thankfully, it does not work that way.

 Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good report — if there is any virtue and if there is any praise — think on these things. Philippinas 4:8

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

Be A Warrior (Original)

I am technically challenge and I finally figured out how to put the words on this video.
I hope we all desire to rise up and win our daily battle. It maybe from picking up socks, wiping mess in our kitchen table, planning of what to cook or finding motivation to the things that needs to be done, or we have so much difficulty to get out of our comfort zone, whatever it is, cry out to God, give it all to Him, acknowledge Him in everything we do or we wanna do. There is no other means to find peace and gain strength and living life to the fullest but thru Him.

God bless you and me!

I’m meek, I’m weak
But I desire to spread my wings to fly
Soar freely in the sky tonight
And not be frightened when the daylight arrives.

My lips are tight
Purify my soul Almighty Christ
Speak Your words to me and be my guide
Without trembling in the crowd tonight.

I wanna be a warrior2x
Can my voice echo thru the valley?
I wanna be a warrior.

I desire to rise
Refine my heart, redeemer’s fire
Defeat the battle, never give up this fight
You’re with me all the way
Till the sunrise.

I wanna be a warrior2x
Can my voice echo thru the valley?
I wanna be a warrior.

I wanna be a warrior2x
With my hands raised up to the heavens
I wanna be a warrior.

Alone With You

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Let this weary soul see its destiny,
I don’t have the desire to go anywhere else,
And be mistakenly
Guided by another lost soul.

Can’t you take me with you,
Alone with you?
Disclose your thoughts.
Will I ever have the chance to listen to your heart?
Be blessed with your wisdom.
Please save this hungry soul,
I am not leaving, I refuse to fall.

Your base is firm,
Where I would love to stand.
You are the pillar of my life,
You are the O ne, my hands would love to hold.

When you speak,
My heart breaks,
I long to know you more,
My eyes desires to be fixed on you,
Only to you.

Promises I can’t speak of
To offer your greatness in return.
The greatest is my hope to be with you
And forever thirst to love you,
To run to you, and never
Be away from you.

You can prolong this brokenness
So I can trust your strength.
Hope is bright.
Trusting You brings humility
And patience as I wait, as I live
As a conqueror of joy, peace and strength.

Being alone with you
satisfy my soul.

Peace Instead (Original)

It’s easy for us to say, “God bless you!” to those who hurts us when in fact you wanna say the opposite. Honestly, I did choose the opposite to even it out but at the end, I regret it.

When you love the Lord, you are in a position where your seat should be beaming and should shine brighter when things are going against you. It is difficult to humble ourselves, but when we do, when we stay still, we get a knock on our heads and a tap on our hearts and realize how we are living our lives and how we are affecting others. God is mysteriously good.

God bless everyone!

You are my sweet armor,
My confidence in this battle
They can’t bring me down 2X

‘Cause I’m living in your grace
Loving you love,
Savoring your mercy,
You clothed on me.

Their plot may ruin me,
Their words may sting my heart.
But Your strength is my weapon,
Your word is my refuge.

And I pray….

Cover them with Your grace,
Show them Your love,
Let them live in Your mercy,
That You clothed on me

Peace, thy peace, is all we need 2x
Peace….

Stripped Naked Twice

DSC_0010I read great stories from the Bible to our kid, and I get embarrassed when I cry (although she would tell me, “It’s okay Mom.”) as I read because of overwhelming joy and realization of how great and faithful God is.

I read to her with great hope that the moment I read to her or later she will say, “This is God, He is awesome.” And that she will hold on to His grace and acknowledge Him first and always in everything she does before she even thinks of me and remember the stories I shared.

My hope is for the seed to grow and flourish.

When I read the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis, I could not hold myself but cry. It is my favorite Bible story. It seemed like we were watching a movie. It actually kind of did because I can picture images of events as I read the story to her.

God never left Joseph.

Joseph was stripped twice of his right to enjoy God’s favor in his life. When his brothers took off the coat that was made by his father, Jacob, because they were jealous of him, and sold him to the Ishmaelites. When he was forced to prison due to Potiphar’s wife. The world was not in favor of Him to be clothed with radiance, righteousness and no one wants him to be noticed that God is in him and God’s eyes finds favor in his life. He was stripped twice of his dignity so he will look undignified, not deserving, a disgrace. But God had a plan for him. Joseph did not consider everything that happened as misfortune. He did not dwell in hate. He remain faithful and fearful to God. He hold on to Him. He did not think of revenge. Instead he consumed everything and trusted God, and God blessed his life.

Joseph showed compassion to his brothers when he revealed himself to them. He could have blame them or asked one of his servants to put poison on their food when he invited them to his house, but he did not think even for a bit to do such things because he fear God. He love his brothers. Instead he was merciful. He wept and gave them a hug.

His brothers were troubled when their father, Jacob, died. They thought Joseph will treat them different, instead he reassured them prosperity in Egypt until the day he died.

The first time I read this story, I was not a believer. I read it from a very old literature, probably one of my mom’s when she was in college. This story stayed with me until the day I finally got to read it from the Bible. Each time I read this story, it overwhelms me. How can painful events in your life keep you going and stay positive? God’s wonders cannot be understood by human mind until He is ready to reveal His plan, until He is ready to show you how well He put all the pieces together. Trusting and living fearful to Him keep his life on the right track. Whatever the world dictated, how unfavorable he may seemed for those who can’t handle his right decisions, he chose to live peacefully, clean conscience because he fear God.

We were thrilled of how he “trick” his brothers just so he can meet his youngest brother, Benjamin. The second time he did not succeed but revealed himself instead so he can meet his father.

God wants all of us to prosper, to live in peace. My prayer is that we will choose to stay on track with Him no matter how naked we may appear. Acknowledge Him always so we will be reminded of where we are heading in every thing we do.

The Kid In Me

As I sat in the kitchen, in the quietness, texting back my sister, I got really homesick.
She was just concern of me being sick and she mentioned how she would love to cook rice porridge for me. It’s a comforting food that we make in the Philippines when we are sick. DSC_0545 2
After thanking her, I felt how difficult it is to be miles away with the closest women in my life – her and mother.

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I thought of my mother who would quickly call for a medicine man or woman who uses different kinds of herbs, steamy coals in a coconut shell, who would blow air all over your head as they whisper their Latin prayers. If not, (and when it’s not available in out home), she would look for a particular plant from our neighbors that we can take or apply to our body as a medicine. One of which, and very known, is Oregano leaves (Calabo in our dialect) for coughing. She would mash it until she got enough juice. We never liked it. It tasted and smelled gross but she would add brown sugar, and spoon fed us with it. There is another one that is very common and we look like karate kids in the house the way we use it, the Turmeric leaves, popularly known as Dulaw. This is good for colds, headaches, cough and fever. We’d apply 2 leaves on our forehead using a bandana wrap around to keep it on. She would always use this approach to treat our symptoms before seeing a professional care provider.

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I just miss her and I miss her more when I am sick. I am not too old to want to be cared for in any form by my mom. I feel like, I still have that “kid” in me. And I wish we live close.

But I am thankful for the technology we have. I could talk to her and see her everyday and feel like I am right there especially when we talk early in the morning, their time (late afternoon, our time) when I can hear the rooster “cockadoodledooing” and my sister yelling to her kids waking them up for breakfast and getting ready for school.

Arroz Caldo

And… the rice porridge, I made it. It was good. Thank you for my sister who gave me tips how to cook it they way she does.
Well, I hope I am well for my next post.
God bless everyone!


“I always long for home, no matter how far I roam.”DSC_0433

Something Special

Today we both are home. It’s a snowday, 4° outside.

I am sick but the little girl is wide awake and psyched up for the day. After a science experiment we did, we thought we can do another thing together.

She had these white paper cut outs in the kitchen table which I thought she would use for origami birds.

We both came up with an idea that was pretty fun and special.

We got to know what we have in mind about each other. And we agreed not to get upset if we say something about our weaknesses.

Some of the subjects of each card are contributed by both of us.

Here it is:

Journy’s idea to start with.

Three description about each other.

Our weaknesses.

Three good things about each other.

Doodles for each other.

Prayers for each other.

What she would tell her Dad, my husband.

What will you do to serve others?

 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Be Still My Love (Original)

When God wants us to wait, it is because He have a plan. He wants us to honor Him by not sulking and in frustration. He probably wants us to do something instead of wasting our time. And whatever His plan is as we stay still and wait, when His favor comes we will savor the joy. Joy is more than happiness. Joy lasts no matter what circumstances we are in. Joy is our heart’s attitude/character that enable us to remain grateful and positive in living our lives. 

Be Still My Love by C.G

Be still my love, and see
Something is beautiful
Deep within.

Be still my love, listen
The voice in your heart,
follow the calling.

Be still my love, and feel
the need to reach out
to care, to love
give sense of belonging.

Be still my love,
Your Lover is bless
You live your life in love with a humble soul.

Be still my love,
Your Lover is near,
Worthy is the wait.

Be still my love,
He’s here.
Be still my love,
Your Lover is here,
Savor the joy.

Pray

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So much going on in this world, it stresses you out and breaks your heart. The only resource I have is to pray for peace, inner peace for each an everyone that way we can ponder on/and do what is right and pleasing. My heart goes to those who lost their lives fighting for their/our country, struggling with their health and thrivers to survive each day. Prayer is a powerful weapon. It can change a person’s heart and the situation around us.We have a living God who keeps us alive.

Run To Me (Original)

It only took simple passage to realize how I am love.

Life is very difficult. There will be no perfection on earth but we can’t give up. We have to keep up with the race and know that when we are torn and too tired God will always pick us up. There’s no greater love and greater strength but from our God who keep us alive because He lives.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Corinthians 9:24

God bless everyone.

Here’s the lyrics:

Run, run to me, run to me
There’s no way out, no way out
But me.

You see that road
Look ahead
Come straight to me.

Lay your burdens down
Give it all to me.

Run, run to me, run to me
There’s no way out, no way out
But me.

Stay in my secret place,
Healing is here,
You’ll be amazed.

You won’t be denied,
My love is enough,
For you to survive.

Run, run to me, run to me
There’s no way out, no way out
But me.

You’ll live
As long as I live
Just come to me.

You’ll live
As long as I live.

Run, Run, run to me and live

When Your Child Wants To Quit (What Would You Do?)

She was practicing in her room, counting out loud as she pressed each keys on her keyboard. I heard a lot of pauses. She played again, counted again and this time with the metronome… it was not that long til I heard another pause, and then no music.

I heard her running to the kitchen. She had tears in her eyes and a very unhappy face as she leaned against the wall. She actually looked so cute standing there wearing her pink long sleeve shirt and on her underwear, and the music book in her hand, slightly pouty lips trying to disclose the most terrible moment of her life and sparkly big tears behind her glasses.

I know what she was going to tell me and I can read her facial expression. She stated she wants to quit piano lesson and she does not like it anyway.

Looking at her so disappointed, I wanted to remind her that she cannot quit music. She knows that. We talked about it before. And she is doing well. Telling her no right at that moment would make her feel worst though.

When Your Child Wants To Quit photo

She was very concern. She was not ready for today’s session. She was having a hard time to count as she read the notes and play at the same time. It confused her. She cannot concentrate.

We did not have enough time to discuss about quitting and issue behind her disappointment. Instead, we got ourselves ready and head to see her teacher.

She probably thought we would cancel.

I did wish I have the knowledge about music and that I can find the right words or even a little piece of advice in that aspect. All I know is I can play a guitar and read the chords and that’s it.

So, as a mom who knows so little about music education I thought that I am not in a position to handle her difficulty to catch up.

When Your Child Wants To Quit photo 2I said to her that “Your teacher knows you better. She knows your strength and she knows your weakness. It’s okay if she notice you struggling and I know she will work with you. She will find a way.”

We got out of the house. She had her designated bag for piano lesson. I checked it while walking to the car and I noticed she did not have the right book in. I was quick to think that she probably intend to forget it, but I chose to shut my mouth and went back in the house and grabbed the book instead.

I joked to wipe her tears before she meet her teacher because I did not want her to think I beat the crap out of her.

She did great according to what her teacher told her.

She was a bit embarrassed to go back to one part of her old lesson or music sheet just so she can count, it was at slower pace but at the right rhythm.

I am a very emotional person and that means I was happy and teary eyed as I listen her play because I saw how stressed she was and how quick she decided to just quit.

I realized that sometimes telling her “You’ll be fine or You’ll do great” is not the best I can do, although I often resort to that to make her feel better, because in reality she have moments of not feeling great, and struggling. I want the best for her. I would do everything when I can, but there are times that the right person who knows where to lead and guide her on that particular situation can do better than me, her piano teacher.

Not to sound like I am a pro with parenting, but I try to remind her that life is not perfect. She can’t just quit. She can’t always get what she want. There will be frustrations and difficulties but she has to deal with it, and whatever it is, she needs the right attitude to deal with it.

 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. I Cor. 9:24


P.S Here’s a conversation we had long time ago that pertains to quitting (sort of). She heard her father and I so stressed/complaining about work.

Our Daughter: “Mama, just quit your job.”
Mama: “You can’t just quit. It’s part of life.” “Did Papa quit?”
Our Daughter: “No.”
Papa: “What if your Mom decided to quit when she was pushing you out of her belly?”
Our Daughter: (Silence)…. “but it was not a job.”

No One Is Like Our God (Original)

I am a thriving creation of the Lord who admits to be imperfect and amidst all my failures I witness His greatness and that leads me to give Him praise and acknowledge His grace. This song kept popping out in my head and my heart started to singing it … while trying to get stuff done in the house because it was my day off. I believe prayer does not have to be in a perfect place and perfect mood to impress Him. God listens with a grateful heart, He pays attention even to the ones who thinks they have the smallest voice.

God bless everyone and be glad there is no one like Him.

No One Is Like Our God by C.G

Who walked in water
Who rebuked the storm
The One who is risen from the dead.

Who shed His blood
Who took the shame
To pay for our sins.

Who is majestic
Riding in the clouds
Who promise to return.

No one, no one, no one is like you, Oh God

Who fill my cup
When it is empty
No one but You God.

Who shine the light
In the path of darkness
No one but You God.

You think you are forsaken
Your world is crumbling down
You can run to the God of love.

Forgiveness will be given
Burdens will be light
Joy in Him you’ll find.

You can run to Him
You don’t have to be ashamed 2x

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.

“You Can Make A Way Because You’re A Mom”

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In between her Kuyas in her Filipino way of sitting during dinner time.

Our daughter said that to me today after she heard me worrying what to cook for dinner.
I have to change the meal I planned since her Kuya is coming and I want to make sure that we would have enough for the four of us (or maybe five when the other Kuya come along). It was her big brother’s birthday yesterday and I did not know he was planning to come. And when it is someone’s birthday, it is a tradition to have a home-made birthday cake which we won’t be having because I don’t have the time to bake.
So while I was driving on our way to her piano lesson, I was stress what to cook and she heard me talking to myself. She said, “You can make a way because you are a mom.”
It sounded really good. Music to my ear. It was encouraging. It was kind of her to say that. It was a pat to my back and a reminder that I can do anything. She probably think I am a superwoman in some way.
What she said may not be a big deal for any mom out there but it was for me. I do consider and take heart what she say especially when I am stress. She knows how to pick me up.
I am not a perfect mother but I try to do the best that I can. She would tell me, “Mom you seems stress.” And would ask, “What’s wrong?” I have my days.  I try not to forget that those keen little eyes and ears and her not so little but huge mind absorbs the things she notices.
Whatever made her say that statement today could be from the goodness she found in some things that I am working on to be good at. Maybe she was impressed with something I did that seemed impossible to be done. I don’t know. I remember though that I caught her little noggin so perfectly fitted right onto my palm when she slipped as she ran to the door to greet her dad. I was facing towards the door to unlock it while I heard her fast “tippy tappy” sound and I noticed my husband’s face with his eyes and mouth wide opened (he was standing outside waiting to get in), for some reason I turned around and quickly stretched out my other arm and catched her head. That day I would say I was a super woman. I made a way to save her head.
I know a lot of things that only a mom can do and understand. I may not recognize my strength until I am right on that particular situation.

With Kuyas

But when our kids speak out something like that, it comes from their heart and they believe in it. Where else that statement is coming from?
Yes I am patting my back but it really is heartwarming and encouraging when I hear it from her in the middle of there’s so much to do with too little time and I’m going crazy.

One Of My Christmases Back Then

Dec. 2004 Christmas Eve with my siblings – JR, Ate Arneth, Myself, Lyndon (back) and Jeff

I miss my Mother or should I say I miss her cooking. I miss celebrating Christmas with them back in the Philippines.

Christmas back home is very simple from what I remember in our household. Less stress. We would cook late in the afternoon and go to church. When we come home around midnight, Christmas Eve, we would get the little kids up when we can and eat together. Our table was full of sweet delicacies, fruits and mother’s cooking. After our midnight meal, we would have gift exchange if we have gifts, if not we will just talk or have a drink; and then go to back to bed. This was the tradition we started when our father started working abroad, making descent money and we could afford to prepare fancy meal.

1989 Christmas Day after church at my Aunt’s house. Myself, Lyndon, Jeff, JR, and Ate Arneth

Parents on the ship where father worked as a seaman.

When I was around five years old, I don’t remember us having fancy Christmas meal in our table. We were poor. I remember our house being dark, no electricity but the reflection of street light coming through our two windows. I could hear carolers but I don’t remember a group of them sing outside our home, maybe because it looked like we don’t have anything to give. My mom asked us to hang our socks, real socks that we wear not the stockings, before we went to bed. I remember laying on one of the sacks of rice that my father piled up in our house. He worked in my grandparent’s field and since they don’t have a bodega, they had it piled up in our living room almost up to the ceiling. It was our playground, we would climb, sit or lay in them. I was laying on one of the sacks looking outside one Christmas Eve while my mom sat beside me waiting for my father to come home. I don’t want to make my journal cheesy but I still can see my mom wearing a green dress. She was tiny and slim. The next morning, we would check our socks. We were happy to see it full of lollipops and hard candies in different flavors like lemon drops. No chocolates. No toys. My parents especially mother, made us believe it was from Santa Claus. We would hear the neighboring kids in the streets showing each others’ socks. I did not understand why Santa gave our neighbor, Jocelyn, a beautiful doll. But we were happy with what we got. The only new stuff we would get were clothing and shoes for our school Christmas Party and going to church. Our mother would sew our outfits when she couldn’t afford to buy one. She would borrow my grandparent’s sewing machine. For our Christmas Tree, she would collect cigarette foil wrapper and cut out different shapes and tape it on one of her house plants.

Our daughter one Christmas night.

Our daughter one Christmas night.

Looking back, I can say that I really am blessed. I felt sadness, as I am writing, that I was that kid who wondered why Jocelyn got a doll on her socks but at the same time I am grateful for what I have. The great memories that my parents created. The lessons learned growing up. Understanding and learning to value what matters most. The simplicity of life. They did not focus on the fact that we were poor by doing nothing, they worked hard. They did the best out of what they have.

My family, where I am now.

Dec. 2012 Christmas Day. My family, where I am now.

P.S I am happy to know who Charlie Brown and Linus is, and how peppermint candy taste like when I got here. These are one of the little things I am grateful for.

James 1:17 Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

Dear Self, Love Yourself

You don’t need to hide those flaws. I know you are working really hard. You are wondering how to get rid those marks that look like being trodden by a train. Oh, in-spite all the workout you’ve done, those marks remain. You feel like all your hard work is going nowhere. You get discourage.

 
Love your body. Embrace it. Take those marks engraved into your skin as a reminder to be grateful for the little person who lived inside you. Some women would want to be in your position, would want to experience a growing baby inside their body and I bet they won’t even worry about those flaws you are worrying about. Or maybe they won’t have the desire to be in your track, because you seemed unhappy, disappointed and too obsessed of your body image.

 

It’s okay to look good.  Keeping a healthy life is great.

 

Don’t be obsessed of your body that you may forgot the commitments you have. Find time for your kids and your family. Balance time to do household chores, grocery shopping, paying the bills, time to talk to your family, laundry, taking your kid to her piano class, swimming class, ballet and jazz dance., come home and get dinner ready, huddle in the couch for family time, get her ready for bed, read bed time story for 15 minutes, spend time with your husband, and watch Netflix, enjoy a cup of tea, yoga before hopping to bed. And do it again the next day.

 
It is hard. You probably are thinking, “if I could only have all the time for myself”, I could look better. I could do more reps. But time, is short and fast. Life is all yours but not really because you have people around you. Your daughter depends on you. You have to wake her up early in the morning, get her ready for school, cook her breakfast, pack her lunch, comb her hair, check her book bag, making sure she’s dress appropriately with this weather and so on. She will ask to go out, for a doughnut and hot chocolate in the weekend. It’s okay to have a bite, eat a whole doughnut. What’s wrong with you? Have fun with your kid.
Is it possible to look like that celebrity you were Googling last night? I don’t think so. You are you. That celebrity you were checking out last night, the one whom you wasted your time surfing on the net probably have a nanny to watch her kids, a housemaid, a nutritionist, and a fitness trainer, she probably have somebody who do her bills.

 

Just be grateful with what you have. If you have time to workout, do it. If doing it makes you feel great inside, do it. If you’re becoming obsessed with how you look, if you are running out of time for the family and the other things that needs your attention, you better check yourself out. Give yourself a break. Learn to manage your time. You can work it out and end up grateful in the end. Life is not about you. When people around you are not happy, especially the ones you love, you, yourself will never have peace and will have difficulty to be happy.

 
Don’t waste your time. Don’t miss out the important things in life. Manage your time.  Feel great. Keep healthy habits. Your child will benefit these from you. Your goal does not have to be looking like “celebrity who”. Set your priorities right. Don’t be obsessed and end up stressed. Be yourself. Keep your cool. Be you. A happy heart brings out a smile in your face, and you can’t contain it. It is contagious.

 
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

 
P.S. You look good. You are beautiful.

Enjoylifeseverymoment