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….

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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

My Christmas Song

Simple and short praise that were in my running in my head during my morning alone time.

Just a little reminder to be thankful for all the favors that God poured out to me.

I used to tell my daughter how grateful I am to be her mom everyday and she would asked me why she has to know everyday. It was to remind me and I wanted her to know that the God I trusted with my desire to get pregnant, after my doctor told me that I can’t bear a child, is a faithful One. I prayed and He answered.

I had terrible moments in my life but I am pretty sure I have great ones that are enough to be grateful for.

Let’s celebrate Him and His love with one another.

God bless you and Merry Christmas.

 

 

Sampling The Taste Of Loneliness

This is an honest experience I had and I am writing this down to remind me that pride can kill my soul, that it won’t bring me peace but misery, that it can hurt; and I’ll be reaping bitterness at the end of the day if I won’t let go of it.

Silent treatment after an argument with my husband, caused by a stupid petty thing feels like I was having an incurable disease. It was killing me inside.

Silence.

No touching.

We  only had basic conversation like, “Food is ready”, “I’m going”, “I’m taking her to piano lesson tonight”, “I’m taking her to swim lesson”, “She’s having a play date tonight,” “Grandma is coming to watch her later”.

If we don’t have our precious daughter, we won’t hear our voice.

I am not bragging but we were excellent in hiding our misunderstanding because our daughter did not even notice. We just had an argument, that was it. The next day we were quiet. It lasted for a long time. It was stupid. I hope it won’t happen again.

As we prolonged the silent treatment, I was getting scared. I was getting use to it. I love my husband and I did not want our situation to get worst.

I was sad inside. I was missing my best friend. I missed talking to him, hearing his voice, looking at his face and  his smell.

In bed, I felt like a stick lying on my back, too cautious not to touch his hairy legs, or making sure that when I’m on my side my buttocks won’t touch his’.

I was miserable trying to fall asleep (and he was probably laughing at me) because I have a habit of swinging my legs around his waist and let it stay there for five minutes until I am ready to turn to my normal sleeping position.

And I felt like a hypocrite, visiting and praying over the old folks at the nursing home where I volunteer, when my heart at that moment was unforgiving and stubborn to settle the situation between my husband and I at home.

I know I have to give up my pride and break the silence.  I know it was the right thing to do, to quit waiting of who is going take the initiative to patch things up.  And the message at church one Sunday morning made it clear to me. It was Romans 12.

“9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I finished the series based on this chapter by going to church with our daughter every Sunday. I love the message but it was not enough for me to live by it.

I told myself that I will be the first to talk to my husband. But I didn’t.

I became broken-hearted.

I missed the “ordinaries” at home. I realized that the simple things we do over and over are more than a habit. Those are special, I was longing for it.

I love it (and I missed it) when our daughter and I would race to the door to greet my husband when he comes home from work. She would squeeze herself between us so she can have him all by herself.

I missed our after-work-conversation at supper time,  and eating lunch together when our daughter is in school; I missed his thank you(s) after meals.

I missed us giving each other a “running-out-the-door” kisses.

When he is watching T.V. , it was awkward to walk past him because we  like to cuddle.

The kitchen table was too neat, no more quick happy notes.

At meal time, I missed his annoying facial expression when he fuss about the food I cook.

I missed him pulling my hair or grabbing me wherever or whatever he can while I am doing the dishes.

He always asked, “Are you warm enough?” and he does this daily and he would increase the temperature to 76 because I am always cold…. but at that time, he was silent.

We were not okay.

I missed all that.

I was sampling the taste of loneliness…. I realized.

When my Pastor gave us a home work to read 2 John, I felt unworthy to read it. I refused. Why should I read it?

But my spiritual and emotional battle did not stop right there.

The thing is, when I decided to accept Christ, I surrendered all to Him, I allowed Him to be in control of my life. Everything. The good and the evil in me. He knows where my weaknesses are and for some reason it where His mightiness prevail. His strength keeps me coming back to Him. He lovingly manipulated everything like making His promises true, finding hope in His words, His faithfulness in daily basis and to those countless answered prayers ( I wish I wrote them down one by one), the comfort in my soul when I talk to Him. He shows off His capabilities so I can  trust in Him alone; and to keep me from searching and waiting for something else that can harm.  He is indescribable. His ways I cannot explain. I was disobedient despite His greatness.  Unfortunately, my plan did not end up glorious. I couldn’t hide or run away from Him.  It is true, “No one can pluck you out of your Father’s hand”.  His plan is to keep me in Him, His path.

Since, I realized that my pride is crushing my spirit and the silent treatment was keeping my husband and I more apart, I decided that I will break the silence.

Our daughter's note from one of the services during those time.

Our seven years old daughter’s note from one of the services during those times.

I was nervous of what to say and what his response is going to be. I would practice in my head (at work) of how to approach him when I get home. I was at the end of all these trouble. And all I wanted is to end it.

I want us to be friends again.

When I got home from work, I did not wake him up. Instead, I lied down, still, like a log. I prayed.

The next morning, thankfully it was Sunday, he was still in bed. I was feeling like I am backing out. I would take a deep breath and count. I did it many times. Finally, I swung my hand to his chest  and I said, “I miss you Honey”. Silence filled the room. My hand stayed there.  My head paralleled to his arm. He reached out to me, squeezed my hand and kissed me in the head. We were quiet. We held each other for a long time. It was a relief and most of all peaceful within us.

HEBREWS 4:12
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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

Unchanging Love

DSC_0033Unchanging is God’s love, Great is His power, Deep is His mercy.

DSC_0037Enough is His grace, To fill the emptiness , Joy will overflow.

DSC_0007His strength is mighty, Weakness is defeated, Anything in Him is possible.

DSC_0035He is pure and perfect, But was slain for the sin of men, To demonstrate His great love.

DSC_0039Falling and failing,  The human heart’s offering, He never denies His love for the undeserving.

DSC_0008After all He has done, The one He loves remain stained, with doubtful minds and deceitful heart,
But He never change, He is the same God, Who loves, Who died, Who rose from the dead, And the One Who is coming.

DSC_0031He keeps loving, The ones who keeps falling. He is a faithful God, unchanging.