All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. 😀

I did mention in my previous articles I have quite a pile of article drafts for editing and publishing and I am in a rush to publish them all (hopefully) while I am in a period of waiting and time is still on my side.

The summer escapade for me and hubby along with his family for this year was in the cool breeze of Tagaytay. We just had to take advantage of the summer season before the rainy days start to fill the last quarters of our calendar. It was a short holiday break thus the rest of the family members were all free to have this short family time and get-together.

It always is a privilege to spend some quality time with the family despite the busy schedules and varying demands of priorities in life – something that is far too precious to waste. My parents are in Bicol which is a 17-hour land travel to get directly to our hometown. Now that is something that I don’t have the privilege to do. Going to my hometown meant allotting 1 day for travel time then another day to rest which, after doing the Math, requires at least a week if you want to make the most and the best out of your family get-together. Simply put, visiting my family in Bicol is synonymous to careful planning ahead of the scheduled visit.

But well, this is the part where I need to thank God for technology. Skype made the term “homesickness” just a term. Again, family time meant quality time and this requires we set aside time for this despite the busy schedules. If most of us have the same free time, my family and I are able to Skype with one another once a week. And Skype-ing in the family means this – the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! 😀

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our “high” conversing with one another. Well, that’s for us, women in the family. For the men, 2 hours is the maximum and they bid their “goodbyes” in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? 😀

Anyway, going back to the Tagaytay escapade, we tried the Pamana restaurant with its awesome overlooking view of the Taal Lake and the food was superb too. I only captured shots of some dishes though, the long trip sure made us all pretty hungry.

I also loved the interiors which exude the ambiance of an old Hispanic house. Indeed, the concept of the restaurant matched with its name “Pamana,” a Tagalog term for heirloom/inheritance.

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Captivating, isn’t it?

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We also scouted for anything new in the area which includes this food park called “StrEat.” We didn’t get to try the food stalls though as it’s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. We’ve been traveling without a destination actually and we came to that point of giving up and just head back home because all the resorts we’ve inquired were fully booked. Well, it’s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort that’s not so jam packed with visitors but the place was nice (and budget friendly) enough to bond with the family. Hotel Monticello was indeed “heaven sent”  hubby and I actually thought it’d be perfect for a wedding reception too. We couldn’t spend overnight though as we’re only geared up for a day tour. When we arrived, we had all the pool to ourselves which means this – LOTS OF SELFIES! Hahaha 😀

Nope, don’t get me wrong, I seldom take selfies. You can actually check my Instagram account for that. I just choose moments best for selfies and those moments that are not. And I only take selfies when nobody’s around, not even my hubby. 😀

Hotel Monticello

Selfie moment. My ever seldom selfie moment. 

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But really, when it comes to moments, there are just those that a camera snap isn’t enough to capture them all. I guess that’s the reason why God created our memories, an infinite storage at the back of our heads where every single memory is captured and safely stored.

So this one article is up in the memory of my head, but in case I have amnesia days or years from now, I have WordPress to retell and rewind them for me. Ah yes, the joys and perks of blogging – your online journal indeed. 🙂

P.S.

WordPress, please don’t ever shut down. Like, EVER. 😀

Oh and check out this amusing video of my hubby and sister-in-law. Reminds me of my brother and I – siblings moment, they are. 😉

 

 

Gifted: Extraordinary Trying To Be Ordinary

It is one thing to be great and yet it is another thing to be happy and fulfilled. Which of these two are you after? 🙂

Hubby and I watched the movie “Gifted” starring Captain America’s Chris Evans. I was captivated by the movie’s portrayal that not all individuals who have the potential to be “great” are subjected to society’s dictates that they be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates. It depicted how parents overlooked the fact that greatness is not equated to a life well-lived but only if the child be given the chance to live life by his/her own choosing – a great life or a life lived otherwise, simple and normal devoid of titles.

The story was set in a small town in Tampa, Florida and revolved around the life of 7-year old Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) who’s been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). Mary’s remarkable talent in Math was discovered by her 1st grade teacher and raised this concern with the school’s principal who then proposed to Frank that Mary be sent to a school for the gifted. However, this setup changed when a battle on custody between her uncle and grandmother took place. Mary’s grandmother intended on giving Mary full access on all resources to maximize her potential while her Uncle Frank, on the other hand, wanted to fulfill the request of his late sister (Mary’s mom) that Mary should experience a normal childhood. The story ended with the court’s decision that Frank be granted custody over Mary and Mary taking regular classes in a public grade school in the morning and taking high level college courses in the afternoon.

Special Education gave way in addressing these problems regarding special children or children with special needs. I was very curious regarding this branch of education back in 2008 when I worked as a communication assistant for the deaf and mute which then prompted me to pursue a graduate study in this field. My eldest sister graduated with a degree in Special Education also and I’ve heard her recount stories and experiences in dealing with special children.

Out of my curiosity to understand them better and the dire need to alleviate the challenges they go through, it led me to finding out that there are actually more of these children who are trying to live ‘normal’ lives out there. It is not only a constant challenge to these children but to their parents as well who try all the best they could to give them a normal life.

Nowadays, the idea of Special Education is not so new anymore in our society. For those who haven’t been truly exposed in what Special Education is all about, the general objective of it is good in all aspects. However, as practitioners of this branch of education, there are some challenges that Special Education still has to address in which researchers are currently exploring. This ranges from teacher competencies to the after-school support programs because education for these children doesn’t end in the four corners of the academe.

The demands are greater – demands for better understanding on a holistic sense i.e. emotional, social, biological, intellectual, behavioral, etc. Indeed, their education is referred to as “special” because they are not regular students who fit more or less in a standardized curriculum. With these children, however, the Individualized Educational Plan addresses their needs best, academically speaking. But there are other needs that should be met as well i.e. emotional, social, and behavioral development in which a Special Education school with special students alone may not be able to cater.

As with the case of Mary, she is intellectually gifted. But if we will focus on just unleashing her full potential just like what her grandmother wants, she truly may miss a lot most especially her childhood. It was portrayed in the movie that Mary’s mom committed suicide which, I assume, has something to do with her low emotional quotient though considered as a Math prodigy. This low EQ, I believe, has been sidetracked as the school for the gifted she attended focused more on improving the technical side of her intellectual giftedness not taking into consideration the other essential factors needed in order for her to function fully and normally as a human being.

This movie is an eye opener most especially to parents either of a special child or a normal one. Though we all have dreams for our children to have the best in life and give them the best opportunities around, what matters still is not the achievement nor success (worldly definition) they could have in this life but to live it according not to our standards as parents nor of this world’s but that of God’s. God knows His plans for our children. We just need to trust in Him that He will give us, parents, the right instructions to raise them well according to His plans.

And what does God say about gifts? My previous article will answer that. *wink* Or better yet, watch the entire movie. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer of the movie below. 🙂

 

Good Stewards of God’s Gift

This is a very quick article as I’ll be preparing for an exam and I am looking forward to busier days with (prayerfully) writing and teaching. In whatever case, all glory to God as always and may His will be done over all my plans. 🙂

To set the right tone for this article, allow me to share this bible verse first:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I consider writing and teaching as gifts wherein God has called me to serve Him and fulfill the mission He has tasked me to do. It has always been my all-time prayer that if God will give me a professional career, it will cater both the fields I am passionate about – writing and teaching.

I may not know how it will come about but my constant question too is how I could glorify His name in these fields. This blog supports my passion for writing and contains my testimonies about faith and been ‘teaching’ about it one way or the other.

But it also contains all the things that I am passionate about from hobbies, advocacy, quality time with people I love, movies, literature, cooking, etc. I am pretty sure you’re familiar with the term “hobby hoarder”  and I must confirm being guilty of that. 😀

However, it is not my intent to be a “jack of all trades, master of none” but it is out of my passion for learning too that’s why I became interested in learning these crafts. Some of them I may have acquired as a skill, some as a talent, and some out of diligence in being able to create something for someone.

The latter, I believe, is what 1 Peter 4:10 is all about. It’s never about the many things you can do and never a matter of glorifying self but how can you help others with what you have or what God has given you. Think of Albert Einstein or Bill Gates and other “gifted” inventors who contributed so much for the convenience and betterment of the human race and society. Though their achievements were recognized, I believe the “geniuses” in them aren’t just about being born lucky with it but that it has already been predestined by someone more genius than anyone else He created the entire universe with all its intricacies. But even if gifted with such great talent, it still depends entirely on how God will use that talent according to His plans.

In my previous article, I mentioned that it was my brother who inspired me to play the guitar as a hobby. He got the inspiration from my Mom most likely and out of his passion to learn the craft, he has learned the art of music by playing the guitar good enough to inspire someone like me.

I got influenced and had the same willingness to acquire the skill so he passed on the trade by giving me my first guitar and allowed God to teach me what I needed to learn along the way. Now married, it was my husband who showed his interest in learning the craft through me and so came the birth of his very first guitar. *wink* 😉

I believe it is a question of who do we serve with the gifts/talents that God gave us with.

NEVER should the talents be used to glorify self nor fulfill our own desires because it will root in on pride, selfishness, greed and discontentment. Pursuing ambition by means of talent can never be the case as well. Again, if God’s gifts were used solely to satisfy our own selfish needs, then we are not maximizing what God originally intended those gifts for – for the benefit of all.

For it was written,

John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Luke 9:23 [Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”]

Denying ourselves pleasures that only us will benefit makes us obedient to the calling that God has called us out. For it is only in the act of doing things out of love to our gift-giver can our talents and skills have complete meaning by aligning them to their purposes and roles according to God’s plans.

These two sketches are a request from hubby for his family which I was very hesitant to do at first as I feel inadequate in meeting their expectations. But I finally had the courage to do it because of God’s grace, my husband’s encouragement and my life verse which is, “For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13.”

Honestly, I hate to part with each of my art work as I feel a part of me has been embedded in every piece. lol Yes, I believe I really am that sentimental.

BUT it is of greater joy and complete happiness knowing that you are using what God gave you not for your glory but for His glory being good stewards of His grace – again, 1 Peter 4:10. 🙂

P.S.

I believe everyone has been gifted by God with something and it is not only through the hobbies in which one can serve the other.

If you are unsure what God may have given you and where He is calling you to serve Him and others, I encourage you to volunteer in one of the church ministries. The ministry may not be exactly what you had in mind as the avenue for you to completely use your gift in serving others but it might serve as the instrument in knowing completely where God wants to put you.

Of course, prayers mean a lot. I did mention in one of my previous articles that I was asking for God’s guidance and clarity in what He wanted me to do with the gifts He has given me.

I am praying you’ll find the right turf where you can serve others too may it be at home, at work, in school, abroad or in your homeland. 🙂

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Bro-in-law (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

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Parents-in-law (12″ x 18″ Pencil Sketch)

Strumming w/ Acoustic and Classical Guitars

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His, acoustic; mine, classical.

I have noticed that classical guitar strings easily break compared to acoustic guitar strings. The quality of both strings are different and acoustic guitars have metal strings while classical guitars have nylon strings. I had my first guitar as a college graduation gift from my brother. Starting from the day I got it until now, I think I replaced the strings for about 5 times already though I seldom play it like thrice a week to once every 2 months depending upon the availability of my schedule.

Brother bought me a classical guitar because I have been playing Mom’s guitar in our hometown in Bicol when I was in high school. But when I got here in Manila back in college, I have been messing around with brother’s guitar which he doesn’t usually approve of, by the way, because it’s always out of tune after I’m done playing. Hahaha Sorry brother dear, but thanks for lending me your guitar anyway, anyhow. 😉

But I had these broken strings to be grateful for – I learned to tune the guitar without the help of any tuning device. I always play by ear so it was easier for me to recognize if a string is slightly off-key. It was also this playing by ear that made it easier for me to replace the chords of a song if the music sheet isn’t reliable or the notes are too low and I don’t want to use the capo.

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Strike a pose before strumming.

If you are asking me why I have two guitars in my possession and you might think I am too greedy or in the habit of collecting guitars, well, my answer is no, I am neither of those. It was my hubby’s request to buy a new guitar and become my apprentice. I thought I’ll choose metal strings for him because it’s usually recommended for beginners. But if you are to ask me which one sounds better, I think that is one tough question because personally, I love both. Each of the two has its own unique sound quality depending upon the type of song you wish to play.

If, for example, you love that “stringy” and clear-sounding guitar music, choose an acoustic guitar especially if you’ll be doing a lot of plucking. But if on the one hand you prefer a more solid guitar sound which is achieved in full strumming, I suggest go for the classical guitar.

Brother chose the classical guitar for me because of its nylon strings. It’s less painful to the fingers especially if you’ll be strumming for longer periods of time but ironically, I am enjoying the metal strings of the acoustic guitar for now because it sounds more clear. 😀

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Awesome eye candies at Benjie’s Music Store. 😍

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Got these and the guitar case as freebies! God is good all the time, eh? 😀

Going back to me and hubby, let’s just say, my “me” time at home includes playing the guitar while my hubby is having his “me” time too and I think he got inspired while listening to my belting. lol Seriously though, he usually sings along while I am playing but what I hate about this is that he usually gets, you guessed that right, LSS-ed for yup, you guessed that right again (or not), let’s just say…a week.

A week?!?!?!

Yeah, yeah, I know you are squealing with laughter right now. Just imagine how irritated I am for the entire week as I listen to him singing usually one part of the song over and over again more than the national anthem during flag raising every day. 😀

But well, you know my husband, he usually does this to tease me. *sigh*

But now, it’s a good thing that he gets to play with me. Oh, but I forgot to tell you and this will be a secret between us – (whispers) he sometimes sings off-key. lol 😀

But he is a very willing student and I am a teacher by passion and by profession. 

So….

Three “buts” in a row are no good for an article thus I am ending this with my husband as a willing apprentice and I am more than glad to inspire and teach as always. 🙂

P.S.

For our duet performance, uhm, I believe it’s going to happen in about 10 years from now. *insert chuckles here* Practice makes perfect, as they say. Oh, and my favorite musical pieces? It’s none other than worship songs, of course. ❤

Perfectly Roasted To Goodness: Coffee Tonya Roaster

*This is not a sponsored post, just sharing.


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Coffee in bed, literally. *wink* 😉

Yes, I woke up to the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans from yesterday’s coffee adventure with my hubby around our neighborhood, thus, the photos and the feature. The scent of roasted coffee beans lingered in the four corners of our apartment since yesterday. No wonder I couldn’t blame coffee lovers for being this addicted to coffee.

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Copyright: https://www.facebook.com/coffeetonya/

Near our place there’s a Japanese coffee store where they sell anything and everything coffee-related from roasted coffee, coffee in bags, teacups, tumblers, coffee maker, etc. Every time we pass by, I am always reminded of my hubby’s Mom who’s a coffee lover. We always pass up the opportunity to drop by though because we’re always on an errand and need to hurry except yesterday. I am no coffee addict but the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans is just irresistibly enticing.  We’re giving it to my Mom-in-law when we visit her today and hoping she likes it. 🙂

They gave us two free iced coffee drinks too, by the way. I asked hubby to try it alone but he said we’ll try it when we get home – we were loaded with stuff from that day’s errands. When we got home I had a couple of sips and was surprised that it actually tasted so good. One thing more, they gave us 4 sachets of coffee bags for free. Thanks, Coffee Tonya. We only went there to buy coffee for his Mom and ended up going home with lots of freebies. God is good, ain’t He? *wink*

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Hubby and I bought 100g of Brazil Bourbon which, according to one of the store clerks, has a little bit of chocolate and sweet flavors. She recommends this one to those opting for coffee with a milder taste. Of course, we couldn’t pass up Coffee Tonya‘s very own special coffee in bags too.

Upon selecting your preferred coffee beans from their quite enormous selection of different varieties of coffee beans, they’ll roast it right away (5 minutes waiting time) but should be consumed 90 days after roasting. You may also request how fine or how rough you’d like them to grind your coffee beans and the degrees before they roast them. They also have a cafe where you, your friends and families can cozily lounge around.

But wait, there’s more because we happened to chance upon their 50% discount promo on selected products. We bought the Brazil Bourbon for 280php/100g originally offered for 560php/100g and the Coffee Tonya special coffee bags (7 pcs. per pack) for 170php.

I am no coffee lover but if I’ll become one after this coffee experience, I might say you’d better try it too. 🙂

You can visit their shop located at 1331 Angono Street (Across Makati City Hall), Makati City and check out their website and Facebook page to know more about their products and the cafe:

https://www.coffeetonyaph.com/

https://www.facebook.com/coffeetonya/

P.S.

The reason why I am not a coffee lover is because I am a nocturnal person and too much caffeine, even if it’s just a cup, will make me sleepless for the entire night. But I can take it in smaller quantities though, it won’t affect my sleeping pattern. That’s one trivia you got there about me. 😀

My Kind of Summer Swimwear: Nonconformist

So you must be wondering why I am oh-so-fueled with energy to write more than 1 post for this month. 😀

Answer: I am making the most of my idle and waiting time lest I become busy the following months – again. We can never tell so I am letting those ideas out in the open. Oh and yes, before I forget them. 🙂

Anyway, this is a late post since summer is already over and the rainy season has welcomed its way already here in the metro and some provinces. Last summer getaway with my husband and his family, I was thinking about what to wear for my swimwear. I sure have a lot of two-piece swimsuits but I am not sure if I could wear them and swim without nothing on top.

While the rest of the world during summer is revealing too much skin with its very daring two-piece swimsuits (praying for a change), I can only be grateful to God for fashion designers who opted to create a swimwear that will preserve the dignity of women and not be treated as sex objects with their skimpy outfits by coming up with a comfortable and yet fashionably elegant outfit.

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I personally LOVED these swimsuits because they are made from a swimming material so they easily dry up, they are light-weight, securely padded, have an undershorts/bikini attached underneath, and they’re made of silky fabric that glides and never sticks on the skin even when sweating.

Of course, who likes to change outfits often right after swimming if you don’t like to walk around in your two-piece swimsuit?

I can wear this around comfortably, no cover-up needed, which can serve as a dress for a lunch date too at the resort without the whistles, the catcalls and the “heavy” stares. If you know what I mean. Oh and yes, it’s very convenient too if you want to travel light for your summer getaway – a swimsuit and a dress in one, no shorts and no cover up as added extras in your baggage. 🙂

P.S.

I purchased these swimsuits at SM Department Store and Farmer’s Plaza (Cubao) flea market at almost the same price (a reasonable one) – 500 php. I saw similar swimsuits being sold online and they tag them as three-piece swimsuits.

[Paul said,] “I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” – 1 Timothy 2:9

A Family’s Love

Before anything else, I’d like to take this moment in sharing my sympathies and offer my prayers to all the bereaved families who have lost loved ones in the recent events that took place in Marawi City here in the Philippines and in Manchester, England. To give hope and assurance, I’d like to share this random bible verse from my quiet time a few days back before I learned about said events:

“The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” – Micah 4:3

——————-

A family’s love, next to God’s, sustains an individual through all the trials, pain and suffering. I could never imagine growing up without mentors in the likeness of my parents and siblings. They are not just my regular life coaches but they are my spiritual mentors too. Thus, I am forever grateful to God for the gift of family.

How does a family start?

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Yes, a family begins from a marriage. I can only thank God for giving both me and my husband families that are whole and complete. But this is also equated to greater responsibilities for both me and my husband in raising our own future family in the same way.

“Bring (your children) up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4 

Nope, our families were never perfect. They are as flawed as you and me. But if there’s one thing in which my appreciation goes beyond having a complete family, it is the fact that despite these flaws, they have struggled, fought and sacrificed in keeping all of us together and the family whole not only because it is mandated by God but out of their love for Him and their love for us.

“You and your families will feast in the presence of the Lord your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the Lord your God has blessed you.” – Deuteronomy 12:7

As this quotation goes,

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Keeping a marriage is challenging and it’s even more challenging building a family, a strong one. I really have such admiration for married couples who have aged gracefully though battle-tested through time and whose children’s lives are a success not in terms of achievements but whose lives reflect that of faith, hope and LOVE.

These are the things that are hard to achieve in this world on our own, but easier when you have a God who makes the impossible possible. Thus, I won’t be keeping this post long, for a change. 😉

I am honoring our families by sharing this and these photos, a pack of imperfect individuals but chose to honor God through the trials and suffering and the joys and happiness.

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Me and my in-laws. 🙂

Family

Me and my family a.k.a. “The Homebodies.” 😉

From our families to yours, I pray that God will be honored always along the way in every way  – every family needs Him.

“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live?

But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

It Was His Birthday: Part 2

Brian Rome

“Birthday Boy” (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

This isn’t a yearly habit for me but I intended to make it so from now on – sketching him on his birthday. 🙂

It was my hubby’s birthday last May 4 and when he was just my boyfriend, it was my first birthday gift to him – a sketch. Last year I wasn’t able to make one as we were out of town for his birthday celebration. This year though, time allowed I make him another one. I have been eyeing one of the photos I took of him as my sketch guide – this time from a different angle.

I promised I will do another sketch of him and though I was hesitant to draw as it’s been more than a year since I got hold of a pencil and did some sketches, God gave me the grace to finish it in less than an hour – I was busy preparing for his favorite dinner too. Multitasking, it is. Yes, the duties of Mrs. Wifey. 😀

So I teased my husband, “Honey, I already did a front and side angle of you, should I also sketch your back?” lol

What do you think?  About sketching his back, I mean. *just kidding* 😀

Resting in His Saving and Amazing Grace

“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.”

– Manuscript of Accra, Paulo Coehlo

I can see the cursor blinking in and out like an ellipsis….

So many words and yet so many ways to tell, undecided…

….how do I begin? 🙂

Yes, how do I begin testifying to a series of events that piled up already and yet I couldn’t find the “tugging” to post them until just now? *wink* Honestly, I still don’t have the slightest idea how to arrange the thoughts which have been sitting as a draft since February here in WordPress and share them. Yet I can only trust the Spirit’s leading on how the wordplay will come about in this post.

The posts in this blog for the past 2-3 years have been about nothing else but faith. This was how God intended it to be. Though for the first year of this blog I was grappling on what to write about, now, it is the other way around – I am battling with time for the numerous pending posts that I needed to write and post.

For March, it’ll summarize what went on from February until March. My January post summarized what transpired in the months of December and January. The month of March was about marching forward and yes, the character trait for March is CLARITY. As for February, it was AFFECTION  (do read January post for this one.) 🙂

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February: AFFECTION

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March: CLARITY

This might explain why I was missing in the blogosphere for the month of February and why this post is super long (sorry about that, friends). February was the month of settling things – again, not a coincidence, but I have learned to rely on God’s plans all along even though some are hard to accept, some are hard to understand, and some are impossible to achieve. But then, that is one tough responsibility of a Christian and that is everyone’s calling too – live by faith and not by sight.

Last December, everything was unraveled. It was a moment of choosing among a multitude of choices and tough decisions. Every flaw, every need and every concern were brought out in the open. I have thought for that moment it might seem such an endless feat of emotional roller coaster and yet God had been faithful enough.

Fast forward to January, the start of 2017 was also the start of the turnaround of events. When seasons change and the comfort zone is no longer part of the next plans, it could be daunting. But as it was written, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

February was a month jam-packed of events. When you are caught in a whirlwind of events, oftentimes a “soul check” may come as the least of your priorities. But in faith, it is the other way around – a “soul check” is necessary and should be the top priority before everything else. That was what happened in the last few months, a question of am I doing it God’s way or not. I’ll just mention a few and most of them actually were answered prayers – prayers that I never thought I have prayed and yet silently in my heart, I did. Only God sees our hearts, anyway.

Maybe that is the reason why fulfillment in those answered prayers never really came from receiving the actual answer to the prayer per se but more about how God listens and how great He is to provide even the most impossible. It was all about God in the end, never about our desires but a satisfied desire on both our end and God’s that thru this fulfillment, we have established a kindred spirit and a deeper and personal relationship with our Creator. It is all a matter of communicating between Him and you alone – the ONLY thing that He asks from us.

So let’s begin the long journey of disclosing in this online journal what traversed in my moment of hibernation in the blogosphere starting February.

The incident:

A convo between my husband and I took place wherein I asked him what is it that he wants best in this life. His answer made me smile and speechless at the same time making me wonder where he could possibly be generating all these answers. My best guess – the heart. Who really am I to judge, indeed? I don’t see the heart, God does. 😉

“I don’t want material things but eternal rest.” 

We came to that point wherein we had that (serious) husband and wife contemplation about priorities, the future and life in general. I can say that throughout the moments since I got saved, I did not regret any decision I have made which included my decision to marry. It is only through the entire duration of our years together as a married couple did I get to see why God gave me my husband in particular – I had so many answered prayers through my husband. It is either an answered prayer to that change I have been rooting to do internally but don’t have the guts to discipline myself or the big and small things that I have been wanting in my heart but never expressed them openly.

But God, once again, proved Himself faithful all throughout.

I have always wondered what if I married another man. Will he be patient, understanding and forgiving enough as my husband is right now to me and my circumstances? I oftentimes ask my husband how he feels regarding our situation and ask him to be patient with me as well and what I am going through. His answer was always a gentle, “I understand.” Though he would always say that, I know that he is sacrificing so much for both of us and as his partner, I have felt this inadequacy when it comes to fulfilling my role and my duties as a wife.

Starting the month of January until now, this was personally, for me, a season of instability. Firstly, every married couple gets to deal with financial difficulties and this season, my husband and I are going through with our own fair share. We have decided to finally move out from the apartment that my sisters and I have been living in for the past 20 years though it was only me who lived in the place for the last 7 years. We have decided to relocate near his workplace as it is more convenient for him and he gets to rest right away after work.

But this posed as a problem since I have no work when we both decided to move out and we are relying on my husband’s income alone for our daily expenses. If you’ll do the numbers from bills to necessities plus all the home stuff that we have to buy, the total suggested more funds. I did get a job. It was a convenient one but, unfortunately, it was not from my field of expertise and ironically, my water loo too – finance. Yes, it has something to do with numbers and money.

If you are wondering how I ended up in that job, I don’t know too. 😀 But I know God has a reason why because I got that job just 3 days after we moved in our new apartment. We were able to buy some of the basic stuff that we need at home. But as you all know it, I had to let the job go. I will not be able to give my best if it is something that I am not familiar with or is not my cup of tea. Numbers make me cringe and the fear of committing a mistake when it comes to computing plus the fact that it deals with money just proved that I might regret it later if I stayed longer.  Another thing too, the worry of it all just took the better part of me and stress replaced what used to be a hopeful and positive attitude – I first thought I should give it a try. Employment equates to stress but when I started having stomach problems, difficulty sleeping at night and puking for no reason at all, I know I have to make a decision.

I wanted to go back to teaching. It was actually the very reason I stated when I resigned. The calling of being a teacher is greater. But then again, we all know that a teaching job is even more challenging when it comes to classroom management, multitasking, time management, etc. Again, no employment is ever easy and stress-free. But then again, I did want to try it out. Here came the opportunity – I had everything carefully and perfectly planned out so I’d get the job. But here came unprecedented circumstances which for the first few, I was able to gain control over but it required my husband and me to stay up until past midnight. I was able to pull it off. The next day I woke up with my estimated schedule. Everything should be smooth sailing until news came that the MRT 3 broke down and became operational only at 8am. I didn’t give up. If commuting was not an option then I’d go for the GRAB car – I was wrong. Since majority of the stranded commuters chose other alternatives of commuting, traffic was inevitable and it was worse than the usual. I decided by then that I had to let the opportunity go because it only means that it wasn’t intended for me. If I still pursued it then most likely I’ll be going against the grain of fate and will meet more unfortunate events along the way.

I am well aware of the idea to keep on swimming ahead even if the vision before you is hazy or the waters seem to be too deep and troubled or the shore is nowhere to be seen, figuratively speaking. But I am also well aware that from what I have experienced so far, if everything seems to be failing even if you have tried all possible attempts in getting things right, it only means it is beyond your control and God has intended a different plan for you. It could be God’s way of preventing you from any future loss/failure, future pain, even more hassle and inconvenience than intended.

So I asked God why I can’t have a regular office job. That moment of quietude with Him and me asking all these sort of questions trying to make sense of what has happened and what is happening came to a final halt – a matter of life and death.

I have already mentioned this a couple of times in my previous blog posts and health wise, I know I have nothing to fear. In the recent medical checkup I came clear but if I am not cautious enough i.e. check my lifestyle, sleeping patterns, food intake, physical activity, etc., and all these accumulated through the years could mean my ending up in a hospital bed earlier than expected.

I have to be cautious with everything.

I am not claiming it but I know it as a fact that I am a carrier of cancer genes. It was a generational curse – it didn’t skip a generation starting from my great grandmother (we don’t know if it started even way before her generation) to my grandmother then to my Mom. They were all breast cancer survivors. Most likely you’ll tell me I will survive too. 🙂

Yes, by faith and by God’s saving grace I know I will. But then it should not be reason enough for me to be complacent. My great grandmother, grandmother and Mom spent most of their lives in the province – a laid back lifestyle, pure simplicity, a fresh and clean environment and less complicated than city life. I spent half of my life in the metro starting college which was the opposite.

Again. I have to be more cautious.

If you will notice, I referred to breast cancer in the past tense because I am declaring that starting from my generation, not one among my 3 sisters and I will have breast cancer how many years from now and that the future generations of our family will be free of this generational curse.

There’s another generational curse too that I am declaring for my family and relatives and the future generations in our blood line to be free from starting with our generation but due to its sensitivity, I chose to keep it confidential.

These generational curses have no cure – ONLY God can deliver us from these curses. Not even the fields of medicine and science have the capacity to provide a lasting treatment/solution.

But,

“We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.” – Our Daily Bread

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Another thing too, my husband and I have been trying to have a child but time declared we can’t have one as of yet. We did talk about it and he told me that whatever God’s will is, he is happy and content either way.

That, I absolutely and unquestioningly agree upon. I did tell him though that as much as I’d want to have a child, I wouldn’t want to raise a child and let him suffer in this world or be punished for the mistakes that his parents did or bear the generational curse passed on to him. If part of the sacrifice that we have to make in order to break the generational curse is to be childless, then we have to honor it.

But then again, it entirely depends on what God’s will is and what His plans are. Indeed,

“As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

The generational curses and the current situation my husband and I are going through both have one thing in common – stress as the triggering factor.

Looking back to what I had to give up, they were standards that this world dictated as what should be accomplished and yet it all equated to stress. When I gave up my graduate study, I asked myself if it is worth it especially when my eczema attacks started showing up again, I had to deal with black spots in my legs which lasted for how many months and I experienced tension headaches/migraines which lasted for 3 days twice a month. I also had to give up the liberty and privilege of working in the corporate world or in my field of expertise.

Do I have regrets? Certainly not. My decision to not conform to the terms of this world won’t rob me of my dignity and make me less of a woman, will it? My identity no longer is attached to those titles that this world offer but to the title that God has given me – His princess and His loving daughter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My situation now? God showed me other alternatives. I know God did not give me skills just to see them all go to waste until I die and not be able to contribute to this world and help humanity in any way – it’ll make Him unhappy. 😀 I told my husband he need not worry because there are a lot of home-based jobs available for me in the fields of teaching and writing, my two best fortes, if I really need to get a professional job as a means to get an income. There are so many of them actually in different fields of expertise and if I will be “takaw tingin,” I’d prefer having at least 2 since their schedules are usually flexible. BUT, God will definitely say “No.” 😀

In addition, I have witnessed a lot of female friends who shifted from being corporate employees to staying at home, being a full-time Mom and housewife with a home-based job, stressed also but FULFILLED receiving the same salary that she gets if she works in the office spending energy and time commuting, coming home extremely exhausted and has no time for her family.

Yes, fulfillment makes all the difference, right? Even if you are paid triple of what a regular wage earner gets if the fulfillment isn’t there, work will just be equated to work per se in all technical aspect of the term. Aside from that, “whatever it is that our hearts value, there our treasure will be also.” The bad thing about this is if we’re putting our hope on treasures that are temporary and will eventually fade away. Building relationships with people I love are important to me – quality time is my love language. I want to invest more in it – being with my family.

What else?

As of the late, my husband asked me if I could do commissioned work for my sketching hobby after I posted the sketch (next blog article) I did of him during his birthday last May 4. He told me that one of his Mom’s friends asked if I could do their family portrait and his Mom and brother also requested the same along with a few of my relatives and friends ever since I posted some of my previous sketches. My answer was an unsure “let’s see.” 😀

If God gives us a talent as a gift, He has a very good purpose behind it all and honestly, I am not yet confident enough to take my sketching hobby to a higher level. 😀 It’s been 15 years since I started this hobby out of my need to have an outlet when things and times get rough. I am not confident as well to tag a price in each of my art work. I intended to give them for free actually and make the recipient of the art work happy – my ultimate goal as an artist. But if God instructs I have them paid, then I believe I should. Now this, I need to really pray hard as I don’t want to disappoint those who have requested to have their sketches done and there are a lot of them pending requests already. I just need more time to pray to God about it and wait for His answers. *insert wide smile here*

Another opportunity also came about my putting up a restaurant/café after hubby and I made this special burger recipe and his brother insisted we make it as a business as he knows someone who can be our supplier.  I told him we talked about this option but we have chosen my hometown in Bicol as our business location – yup, you guessed that right, too far. My 3rd sister and I have actually planned about this already and came up with the concept for the café and went through the basics of business analytics and management and the only thing she said was that it won’t materialize if I am not there with her to get things started and to keep them running. One of my hobbies is cooking and experimenting with different recipes but eating the food I cooked is not part of them. lol I believe I am to blame if hubby gained a lot of weight after we got married. Ooops, not my real intention there though. 😀 I just want to cook for other people and it makes me happy when they are happy with the dishes I serve them. Again, this is another prayer for my prayer line when it comes to wisdom, guidance and instruction.

Honestly, I was never after the money nor the recognition – getting compensated for the things I love to do and the things that God has gifted me with in terms of talents and skills. I’d like to contribute and share them to society and be able to make every individual happy and fulfilled or if what I contributed could help them in any other way regardless if I’d get anything in return or not (awards, recognition, money, etc.). I only needed money for survival and for now, that is what my hubby and I needed – for our daily needs but never to satisfy our wants and live in excess.

Moreover, I told my husband that if time comes God blessed us with more than we needed, I will retain the kind of lifestyle I have now and would still prefer the same living conditions – not a lavish nor grand lifestyle but a simple, minimalist one. Again, by having only the things that I need and never the things that I want.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

But as we all know it, I can plan so many things, have so many choices and wonderful opportunities to choose from and small and big decisions to make and yet, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Thus, I rest my case. 😀

For all the generational curses, the lifestyle check, the shift in opportunities, the continued pursuit of God’s will in my life – they were not because I live in fear but because I have fear in the Lord and if obedience is what He requires of me in this season so He can usher me towards what He desires for my life, then I should, by all means comply, stop figuring out this life on my own and rest in His saving grace.

Solution? Pray harder and trust God and His plans even harder.

[In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”] – Ephesians 3:20

Oh and I think I forgot to mention that in my Paulo Coehlo planner-turned-spiritual journal, April’s character trait is COOPERATION and May is FAITH.

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April: COOPERATION

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May: FAITH

Did God say, “Tin, you must cooperate with me and have faith?” I think He just did that’s why I wrote this. *insert wide smile here again* 😀

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

P.S.

For the first quarter of year 2017, my life/planner went from having TOLERANCE (January), giving AFFECTION (February), to achieving CLARITY (March), giving COOPERATION (April) and last but not the least, having FAITH (May). 🙂

“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promises.” – Hebrews 10:23

“God can be trusted to guide us.” – Our Daily Bread

“…the challenge is to trust (in) God’s ability to lead rather than in our ability to follow.” – Genesis 12:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Seclusion and Inclusion

Secluded from the blogosphere, included in the rat race. Hello, readers! 🙂

This may not be the comeback post I am rooting to write about, but it definitely will spearhead the activities that transpired months back – jam-packed.

I normally post “heavier”  and lengthier posts but this will be a divergence from the norm so do allow me to post it short and sweet, uhm, subtle might be the term for it.

Thus, my temporary adieu. 😉