When All We Can Ever Do Is Wait

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Image copyright: Global Medical Co.

I was invited to be a guest speaker for this year’s graduation in my grade school alma mater. Our batch is the sponsor and as a former valedictorian of the school, I felt inclined to say “yes.” Unfortunately, this is also the time when we are scheduled to move out and move in to 3 houses. No kidding. ๐Ÿ™‚

My other reason for being hesitant to accept even if it’s considered as a privilege and an honor, I need to reveal all my accomplishments. Nope, don’t get me wrong. It is not that I haven’t accomplished anything. If I can list them all down, I have a long list. But then again, as a born-again Christian, I have learned to never give light on your achievements if they will never shed light on God.

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

– 1 Corinthians 1:31

I am not sure my alma mater will like it if my speech will be more of a faith-based testimonial pointing everything to God. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ah yes, I have learned to say “no” to a lot of things at this point including a promotion which are the standards of this world. But I also believe there will come a time wherein God will say “yes” and instruct me where I go, what to choose, and what to do.

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”

– 1 John 2:15โ€ญ-โ€ฌ16

Yes, God also appointed leaders through promotions and yet those leaders He appointed all have greater tasks assigned to them all for God’s glory and not ours. It is all between you and God and all about things happening in His perfect time if you’re tasked to lead. Just keep in your heart that it’s God as the motivation always and nothing else.

Another reason is that my parents requested that all 5 of us, siblings, keep a low profile. In fact, I am the only one in the family who is very active on social media. ๐Ÿ˜€ So I am sure my Mom will kill me now if she reads everything here. lol Love you, Mom. ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, when it comes to waiting, sometimes it can be grueling. I guess patience and endurance are indeed among the characters God would like us to develop aside from having this attitude to serve. While you wait, you serve God. But for the record, my husband and I can attest to this when it comes to God’s provisions: “God is always on time. Never late but always on time.” Delays are a part of this though and knowing when to act on something.

Right now I am waiting for His instructions because decision-wise, I have so many on my plate right now. Deciding is easier if I am in complete control of everything. Unfortunately, there is God whom we need to consult first and foremost. ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing that I am constantly asking God is His wisdom and discernment whether my husband and I will stay in my hometown for good. I can see a lot of reasons now including taking care of my parents (ages 78 and 72) and my 94-year-old grandma. Another reason associated with their old age is that they need a helping hand in managing the farm. Dad manages all the farm work while my 3rd sister helps around at home together with my Mom.

My 4 other siblings, meanwhile, are all here in Manila. My eldest sister is the directress of a SpEd school, her husband is an international law professor in UP Diliman, and they have 2 kids. My second sister is in Norway working as a head nurse in a nursing home and her husband is also working as a head nurse of another department in the same facility. My brother is currently serving in the military as a pilot in the Philippine Naval Air Group and gets deployed every now and then to different places and the same goes with his wife who is a flight attendant team leader in Cebu Pacific. My husband also has supervisory roles at work which leaves the spotlight on me.

My siblings will also kill me, btw, for mentioning all that stuff about them. lol Love you all too, siblings. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I just need to share it for the sake of making my message go through and never about bragging their credentials. My work’s nature as a brand journalist is remote work meaning I can work anywhere. Though it entails heavy writing, extensive research, and editing tasks as well, I get to arrange my schedule depending on the priorities of my tasks. This is the very reason why I pursued a writing career.

My siblings here have greater responsibilities at work and with their families. But if I am the one who will go home for good, I have to make sure my husband can go with me. When I consulted with my husband, he is all good with it and said that wherever I am, there he will be. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ah yes, one of the things I thank God for is having a husband who just supports you all the way in everything you do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But we need to think of an alternative when it comes to hubby’s employment there. In the province, the opportunities are limited. But I know if this is part of God’s will and plans for me and hubby dear and for the rest of the family, I believe He will provide and equip us with everything we need lacking nothing along the way.

But for now, it is all just a matter of waiting and waiting what He wants us to do next while serving Him in other ways. And so we wait. Let the waiting game begins. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In this season of waiting, here are my guiding verses:

Ecclesiastes 13: “A Time for Everything”

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work?

I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of Godโ€™s work from beginning to end.

So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. Godโ€™s purpose is that people should fear him.

What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.”

– Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15

Always waiting on God,

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P.S.

When I texted Dad a few days back, he told me this and nostalgia hit me:

And when my 3rd sister sent us these photos of them harvesting mangoes, so much of my childhood memories came flooding in:

 

 

Ah, yes. If it is God’s will too, I’d like my future kids to experience the same thing I did back when I was a kid. But for now, I guess I’ll just wait what God’s plans are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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What Matters

Friday blog post, here it is! ๐Ÿ˜€ I guess I need to start every Friday’s blog post with an attitude of gratitude to God who gives me the Grace always. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Why? It seldom happens that I am idle and doing nothing. This means I need to find time for my blog and of course, find time for God. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But as always, hindi Nya ako binibigo. Lagi Syang nandyan para alalayan ako.

For the most part of this article, English ang gagamitin kong lenggwahe. ‘Yun ay dahil ni-copy and paste ko lang sila from the caption of my photos over Instagram and tweaked it a bit para maging isang article. ๐Ÿ˜€

The gist of this article revolves around last holidays’ events (still) since I was hibernating for almost a month in the blogosphere. So here goes my story. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am sure a holiday never passes by na wala tayong natatanggap na regalo. Kahit sabihin nating konti lamang natanggap natin, meron at meron pa din tayong natanggap. However, in my case, I don’t go about counting how many gifts I received. I am even fine in case I don’t receive any.

Why? Let’s just say I am never materialistic because my love language is quality time. I appreciate gifts not based on their worth or brand but based on the sentimental value. Yet I never fail to appreciate all of them because I know they’ve been given thoughtfully.

To our beloved families and friends, our deepest thank you for all your time and effort to shower us with these gifts. This gives us all the more reason to pay it forward. So if you see me using branded stuff, they are not a personal choice but gifts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next in line was the holiday feast – the food coma that was. *burp* I have made a promise that during the holiday season, one of my ways to express my love for God is to serve others. The best way to serve your family is through the tummy, right? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Though it’s hard to pull off several dishes (chicken skewers, shrimp scampi, embutido, stuffed roasted chicken, beef broccoli, leche flan – not in the pic), I am just grateful to my assistant chefs (Ate Boden and hubby dear) for helping me out in the kitchen. But most importantly, I give thanks to God for giving me the grace to do it. โ˜โค

“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

So you now know why I was hibernating on social media during the holiday season. I was very busy in the kitchen because having good food at the table means longer conversations a.k.a. meaningful, priceless moments with the fam bam. This is something that social media can never offer – genuine moments and memories made along with your loved ones.

The cake’s not mine though, baking’s not my cup of tea. I am also not a lover of cakes but my Mom is the ultimate fan so there went Goldilocks’ Rocky Road. ๐Ÿ˜€

For the latter part of the holidays and the early part of January, hubby and I spent quality time with my second sister, Ate Ayn, and her Norwegian hubby, Kuya TK (they recently got married! Yay!). One of these photos was taken after our church service at Victory Fort.

Ah yes, this is just one of my answered prayers for my second sister – to have a lifelong companion who will be her prayer partner, who will share in her ups and downs, in sickness and in health ’til death do them part. I am just grateful for this most especially since she lives in Norway with no relatives around.

Indeed Lord, despite all the troubles we faced, You always give us a reason to smile, be grateful, and know Your goodness. Thank You for everything You’ve done for me and hubby and our families. All of us will remain to worship You as our one and only GOD in our lives.

Real treasures aren’t really those that are tangible but those that lay hidden in the depths of our souls and our hearts. They are what matters to God.

“..but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the Word, making it unfruitful.” – Mark 4:19

May we all not be pierced with so many sorrows brought about by the complexities of our own worldly choices. But may our minds be renewed so we can live in utmost freedom savoring the very essence of salvation – the priceless, most beautiful gift we have received and we can ever receive. โค

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

So this is it! This wraps up the Friday article for this week and I am wishing everyone a blessed weekend ahead! ๐Ÿ™‚

From God’s daughter with love,

Tin โค

An Ode to My Grandpa: Memoirs

Finally! Thank You, Lord, for giving me the grace to finish my work earlier so I could post this. As promised, it is going to be in Filipino. But I’m keeping titles in English. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Biniro ko minsan si Brian na if he wanted to be a farmer, he will be going home with soiled clothes and feet from the mud every day. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

When we visited the farm at mga Japanese tunnels noong World War II doon, hindi lang damit ang naputikan kay Brian kundi pati ang ulo. Sa tanong na paano ito napunta doon, lahat kami ay walang maisagot. ๐Ÿ˜

Masaya sariwain ang kabataan ko dito na para sa aming magkakapatid at magpipinsan ay isang napakalaking playground. My late grandfather taught us all about the history of the place. Naalala ko, madalas syang magkwento noon habang iniikot kaming mga apo sa bukid nang nakapaa sya. He’s never used to wearing slippers. Yup, a true-blue farmer. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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My family along with my maternal grandparents (seated) and that’s 7-year old me in between them. ๐Ÿ™‚

My maternal grandpa was also one great historian. Napakahilig nyang magbasa ng history books. He’s a great storyteller too and a devout Protestant. Sa kanya ko actually unang nakita paano maglahad ng faith with all fire and fervor every Sunday’s bible study.

My 94-year old grandma reminded us last holidays na kung ano mang meron kami ngayon, dahil ‘yun sa sakripisyo at effort ng lolo ko. When she said that, this bible verse came to mind:

“I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:8

At naalala ko na oo nga pala, sabi ni Mommy sa akin noon na noong bata pa sila madami silang tinirhan. Palipat-lipat ika nga ng tirahan bago nag-settle sa hometown namin ngayon. Nasambit ko sa aking sarili na it was my grandpa’s faith in the Lord and the Lord’s promise to him which brought my parents to where they are now and where we are now, his grandchildren.

Currently, masasabi kong I am at a loss how to utilize the land. My siblings and I have plans about it. Pero nananalaytay sa aming mga puso how to utilize it na mape-preserve exactly kung ano nakita namin noong una kaming dinala ng mga magulang namin doon when we were just kids.

Pero para maging productive ang lupaing ito, kailangan ng malaking pondo – still praying to God for this. Nothing is impossible with Him, kaya alam ko rin na kung kasama ito sa will and plans Nya for us, He will lead the way and provide the means.

Siguro kasama na rin sa mga plano ni God kung bakit na-assign ako sa mga business websites in my current job as a content writer. At first it was a definite struggle sa akin dahil wala akong background sa entrepreneurship, investing, finance, and everything related to money. But right now, with all the research that I am doing for my articles, natututo ako unti-unti. Sabi ko nga sa hubby ko, hindi ko na kailangan mag-aral ng MBA or MBM. Dahil sa ginagawa ko pa lang ngayon, para na akong nage-MBA. ๐Ÿ˜€

Regarding sa pag-aaral ng MBA or Business Management, minsan sumagi na rin ito sa aking isipan. At nabanggit ko rin sa aking asawa. Kasi sabi ko wala akong alam how to manage properties para gawing business. Hindi ako marunong humawak ng mga tao at wala din akong alam sa accounting. I mentioned this in my previous article na I asked my Dad about this dilemma and his answer was that we will learn in time.

As of writing, the thought is pretty daunting and scary for me – being an entrepreneur for real. But I am pretty sure God will prepare us along the way. Who knows, 10,000 years from now this is where another of God’s temple will be built. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ah yes, everything in God’s time indeed. This verse reminded me also why God made promises that are fulfilled in His own time:

“An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.” – Proverbs 20:21

It’s just amazing that I also stumbled upon this IG account while I was browsing in my newsfeed and it’s exactly what I am looking for – how to be a Godpreneur. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yes, there are so many things I don’t know and so many questions I want to ask. But I can only thank God for the lives of my grandparents on both sides of my parents. We are who we are because of them and because of God. What I have now I will forever cherish including my memories of them which are always a priceless treasure. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

This quotation today from my planner also came just in time, as always. This is not really related to the post but it’s related to today’s events. ๐Ÿ™‚

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It’s 2018!

Fiery 2018 New Year date with sparkling trails

Photo credit: Christmas Stock Images

Hello, everyone! I am back and I am sooooo excited to be back! I have so many things to post (all saved as drafts on my phone) and yet so little time! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am actually on bed rest because I caught the flu bug and I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now. I easily get sick but I prefer not to take meds and train my body to develop its own immune system. Anyway, I still want to make good use of my idle time while I still have the free time. Thus, the post. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, if you’ve been following my blog for quite some time now, I usually don’t have a blog entry in the month of December for 2 reasons – it is my birth month and busy holidays. I also take this time off from social media as my own year-ender fasting in deep retrospect.

Speaking of fasting, I think you all know we also have a week-long fasting in our church at the beginning of every year. So the January blog entry is, for me, VERY spiritual and personal. ๐Ÿ™‚

No, I won’t cry a river in this post like I did the past years. But if I do shed a tear, that tear is precious. It speaks volume of the countless blessings and answered prayers I had back in 2017.

Ah yes, the Lord is GOOD! Freedom from the stronghold of the enemy, freedom at its finest, indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

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2018 is FREEDOM. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, the year 2017 fared fairly well for me and my hubby and our families. We did have some setbacks but the year ended with such a pretty awesome bang. What I meant by a “bang” is one major prayer request being answered – restoration of broken relationships through sincere forgiveness. Not mine though, God answered it at the beginning of the year 2017. But this is for people we’ve been praying for.

Thus, I just smiled my widest ever smile when on the first day of our prayer and fasting in church, I randomly saw this after accompanying my sister and bro-in-law at the airport:

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God is good all the time, all the time God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚

The tangible assurance is there. God is always with us – Emmanuel. This is the reason for the season as they say. Personally though, I celebrate Jesus’ birth every single day. I thank Him every day for the greatest gift I have received from the Father which is salvation. December 25 for me is just a widespread, massive, collaborative celebration of the Savior’s birth worldwide.

Since I got saved back in 2013, I have seen the works of the Lord not just in me but through the people around me and even with the nations. I have learned since that year until now the very essence of Ecclesiastes 3, the joy of patiently waiting on the Lord, the complete trust, and the faith that we have such a great God though what we see around is the complete opposite.

I do not intend to make this post a very long one like my previous January posts. But that is only because I intend to write short posts once a week. The prayer and fasting at the beginning of this year imprinted on me these verses:

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.” – 1 Timothy 4:14

“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4: 15

This blog came alive right after I got saved. A very trying circumstance prompted me to make one. I made this first out of a need then, later on, I realized God used that circumstance and turned it around to serve His purpose. This blog now serves as the “megaphone” for my faith.

No, I dare not turn my back from my calling – sharing of faith-based testimonials through this blog. God knows there is a possibility I will because of other priorities. But God demands He remains the #1. Thus, the reminders. ๐Ÿ™‚

From me, my hubby and our families, let’s all claim for a fruitful 2018 come what may and cheers to more upcoming posts that will glorify His Name!

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

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The Ginete Family (missing one sibling and her hubby) with our 94-year old maternal grandma. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Ginete Family with the missing sibling and her hubby but still missing one sibling and our parents. ๐Ÿ˜€

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The Rome Family missing my Dad-in-law. ๐Ÿ™‚

Always remember, our God is ALWAYS WITH US. Seek Him and you will find Him. โค

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

P.S.

My future posts will be written through a mash-up of my native language (Filipino) and English. We have a very rich language and the Spirit also imprinted I use it often. I am sure Google Translator will do a fantastic job of translating them for you all. Or better yet, you can try learning our language too. I say, “yes” to the latter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Make Praying Your Daily Habit

At home, my husband and I made it a habit to take turns in praying before bedtime and before mealtime. This is regardless if we are going through tough times or good times. We intend our future kids to do the same for the following reasons:

1. They learn how to pray regardless of their ages. The little one (early grade schooler) can say a line or a 3-line prayer while for the older one (pre-teens), 5 sentences (so precise, Tin. lol) can be enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. You teach them responsibility and accountability at an early age. This will give them the confidence to take on leadership roles in the future and be accountable for it. They will have to choose what to pray for.

If they ask, โ€œMom/Dad, I donโ€™t know what to pray for.โ€ You can simply say, โ€œListen carefully when Dad or Mom prays. You may pray the same things but when you are older, pray from your heart and what your heart is telling you.โ€

3. They learn to address us, parents, as spiritual leaders of the household. We are the mentors, we guide them, we set the examples. They will copy what they observe, thus, it is best to leave a legacy behind that is worth following/copying.

4. They learn to say grace, to extend grace, and to receive grace from God who provides all โ€“ a great opportunity to introduce and build faith in the family.

If you and your family donโ€™t pray together, make it a habit now. Remember, it is also our responsibility as parents to lead them well while they are still young. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Roasted Chicken A la Bicolana

I was supposed to write this article last December but the holiday rush, preparation and celebration with the family kept me from doing so.

This article though came in timely as my previous articles for this month were all about gifts (not your usual gift in a box with a ribbon) and the value of serving others through your gifts. I actually didnโ€™t expect that last Sundayโ€™s lecture will also be about that. Ah yes, it always is a wonder how things can be intertwined all because of Godโ€™s mysterious ways. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is serving and how can we serve in a biblical sense?

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.โ€ – Mark 10:45

“…and whoever wants to be first must be your slaveโ€”just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.โ€ – Matthew 20:27-28

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ – Matthew 25:40

I believe one way of honoring God and showing our thanks to Him is by sharing that love to others too. Letโ€™s just say that you felt how much God loves you and it is just too wonderful to keep it to yourself thatโ€™s why you wanted to let others know and feel that kind of love as well.

In doing so, they might wonder what is it that’s been fueling your actions and though they might not understand it at first, this can be your perfect response โ€“ out of love.

“We love because He first loved us.” โ€“ 1 John 4:19

In the aspect of serving, we do find ourselves doing that knowingly or unknowingly with our families first and foremost. So last Christmas, I thought about preparing this roasted chicken recipe which was the first in the familyโ€™s Christmas celebration tradition.

Do take note though that I am no chef. lol ๐Ÿ˜€

I was just inspired and taught by my 3 older sisters who are very good in the kitchen and have such superb cooking skills they can invent their own recipe. Yup, no kidding. They really are that good.

Being the youngest, I grew up being the dishwasher. Haha Yes, you wonโ€™t believe it but my brother and I take turns in washing the dishes when we were younger. We are the two youngest members in the family, by the way.

On a side note, I just love being in a big family. You might not get to see or talk to all of them at the same time, yet youโ€™ll still have one sibling to bug about every week aside from your parents. ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, as for my roasted chicken recipe, letโ€™s just say I combined all the roasted chicken recipes I could find over the internet and came up with a โ€œhybridโ€ roasted chicken. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Roasted Chicken A la Bicolana

Hereโ€™s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bunch of lemongrass

1 cup butter

ยฝ cup tomato ketchup

1 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons salt

5 cloves whole garlic

2 teaspoons slightly crushed black pepper

4 onions cut into 4 parts

Procedure:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for butter.
  2. Place the onions, garlic and lemongrass inside the chicken and marinate overnight.
  3. Prepare the butter and remaining marinade for basting.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit and cook for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.
  5. Top it with garnishing, serve and enjoy!

I intend to make this a yearly tradition – out of love for God, love for family and joy in serving others. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

Oh and one mistake from the roasted chicken recipe โ€“ donโ€™t prepare 1 roasted chicken ONLY especially when there are about 8 persons hoping to try it. lol 

I was expecting it to be served as an additional dish along with other meals but it became the main course – ooopps, my mistake. So yes, Mom wasn’t able to try it as she ate late and sadly, no roasted chicken leftover. I have this year to make up for it though. ๐Ÿ˜€

One thing more, the turbo broiler is a kitchen winner for me, nothing beats. โค

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Turbo Broiler Moment

 

All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โ€“ 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 donโ€™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 โ€œhomesicknessโ€ 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 โ€“ the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! ๐Ÿ˜€

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our โ€œhighโ€ 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 โ€œgoodbyesโ€ in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โ€œPamana,โ€ 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 โ€œStrEat.โ€ We didnโ€™t get to try the food stalls though as itโ€™s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. Weโ€™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 weโ€™ve inquired were fully booked. Well, itโ€™s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort thatโ€™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 couldnโ€™t spend overnight though as weโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜€

Nope, donโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 isnโ€™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 โ€“ your online journal indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

WordPress, please donโ€™t ever shut down. Like, EVER. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

A Familyโ€™s Love

Before anything else, Iโ€™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, Iโ€™d like to share this random bible verse from my quiet time a few days back before I learned about said events:

โ€œThe 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.โ€ โ€“ Micah 4:3

——————-

A familyโ€™s love, next to Godโ€™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 thereโ€™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 itโ€™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 childrenโ€™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 wonโ€™t be keeping this post long, for a change. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Me and my family a.k.a. “The Homebodies.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

โ€œBut 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.” โ€“ Joshua 24:15

The Plight of the Poor

I consider it a privilege that where we are staying now is situated near a slum area. For 15 years since I started going to college until now, this has been my second home. I grew up waking up each day opening the gate seeing those who rummage the garbage of what they can salvage and sell. Or that moment when I pass by their community and the pair of torn and tattered shoes I have decided to throw out and dispose the other day is now being displayed at the side walk for sale – 10 pesos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now when this happened I just smiled – what I considered a garbage is a blessing to others. I can’t help though but feel for these people. I know God has a special place for them in His heart and I know that they will soon be given an opportunity to know God and have better lives here in this world – better spiritual lives. This is all that matters. I know that when Christ is living in their hearts, they will see God as the sole provider of all of their needs and the only source of hope – not the government nor foundations/organizations.

This thought pacifies me every time I feel at a loss how to provide them the financial and material support that they need. I had to control myself that what they needed are not money nor possessions but Christ. If I give in to the temptation of providing them their basic needs, I will be drawing their attention to me as the provider and not to God who is the ONLY provider unless they already have a firm foundation of who Jesus and God are in their lives.

The latter posits as a challenge because what we’ll be infiltrating is a set of cultural values and beliefs that have been embedded even longer than most of us have lived. We are banking on not just one person but a family and eventually a community.

Thus, they are constantly in my prayers. May they be given opportunities to have a saved life, free from the corruption of this world. May they find hope in the beauty of salvation and what it brings to someone’s life – like mine.

This is possibly the reason why I became active in supporting a wide range of advocacy that focuses on family and community outreach. Though for now I feel like I haven’t been contributing much with my limited capacity to help but I know prayers are powerful and God hears all of them.

It doesn’t feel right with me that I am experiencing a life better than them in some aspects and yet on a certain level, I feel one with them – we are all sinners. This, alone, will bind me closer to them despite the differences.

To end this short article (this was unplanned because today is a busy day for me but I just felt I had to share it)ย  I’ll just quote the first beatitude:

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Photo courtesy: thekingscorneratctk.blogspot.com/

A Father’s Day Special: Courageous

This movie review is a Father’s Day tribute to honor the roles of the father in the family and in society. If you are wondering why I don’t have a Mother’s Day tribute here in my blog for this year, hubby and I went home to my province and celebrated it with my 69-year old Mom and 91-year old grandma – two great matriarchs in my family.

Time has it that I can’t visit my hometown again and celebrate Father’s Day this June 19 with my 76-year old Dad. I thought about honoring my Dad here instead. Since he is not updated with theย technology-drivenย world, he’d probably joke around saying what I wrote about him over social media will alreadyย “expire”ย  before it reaches him. Yup, funny, my Dad is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even funnier when you see this photo of us around year 2011. ๐Ÿ˜€

Before I proceed with the movie review, I’d like to share some snippets on who my Dad is. My brother wrote an essay about him 11 years ago which was selected as one of the articles read at the graduation rites of my brother’s class (Sanlingan 2005)ย  in the Philippine Military Academy. When the announcer started reading Kuya’s essay during the ceremony, there came the gushing and shedding of tears – our tears. It did bring us all to tears because my brother was right, our Dad is “The Unsung Hero” and yet loved and respected by all.

Taken inside the cockpit of the Cessna aircraft during Kuya’s Naval Aviation Group Graduation year 2010.

Our Dad is a man of few words and yet he cracks the silliest of jokes. He is seldom the disciplinarian and yet when discipline comes from him, we all remembered this need to hide as his discipline would mean leaving a mark for the rest of your life. He seldom gets angry but when he does, it is the kind of anger that you would not want to see.

I am grateful though to my Dad for this thing called “discipline.” ย If it wasn’t for this, our lives might be in a total mess right now, without direction. Now that I am a believer, I have learned that discipline in a family is very important not to show who’s the boss in the household but for parents to guide their children in the right way and in the right things only because they love them and only wanted the best for them. Just like how God disciplines and rebukes us, a Father to His sons and daughters, so we could live fruitful and better lives.

My Mom is never the stage mom type and when I was in grade school, I was always invited to participate in dance numbers, presentations, oral declamations, etc. So you’ve probably guessed who was with me most of the time in those instances – my Dad. ๐Ÿ˜€

It is a #FlashbackFriday today so please allow me to backtrack a little bit further to when I was in grade school just to share some photos of moi and the extra curricular activities I have mentioned:

Sitting in with the Grade 1 class as I am still a year younger.

Preparing for an ati-atihan folk dance number when I was 6 years old. That’s me second to the right.

Before there was Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Before Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Grade 3, Star Scout Camping. There’s another star scouter wanting to have her photo taken with me before our dance number – except that she became a photo bomber. Tsk, too late. ๐Ÿ˜€

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls.

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls with childhood friends and classmates. That’s me in the middle wearing a white shirt.

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Playing the role of a bridesmaid.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role Thisbe in the Greek story "Pyramus and Thisbe."

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role of Thisbe in one of the stories in Greek mythology, “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

I’d just like to give credit to my Dad for being our all-time photographer – these photos and memories wouldn’t have been made possible. Nope, I am not a Daddy’s girl and I do not consider myself as one. I never experienced being so absolutely clingy to my Dad but at some point I did feel a deeper connection with him more than my Mom when I was in high school. But when I got into college, I felt that both my parents did so well in raising us all and they never had any favoritism on any of us five siblings.

I believe one thing that I am forever grateful to God is the fact that I grew up with both my parents present through every milestone that we went through. Though we all had to leave home when we all went to college, we always look forward to the days wherein we will all come home together and both our parents are there to welcome us.

As for my Dad, I admired him for being a civil engineer by weekdays and farmer by weekends (tending farms is difficult) ย just to make sure we have enough for all our expenses as a family while Mom was a grade school teacher on weekdays and stayed at home cleaning, gardening, cooking and doing take-home work on weekends. But this kind of setup didn’t mean Dad had no time for us at home. It was, on the other hand, quite the opposite. Despite juggling through a lot of responsibilities at work and at home, my Dad made sure all our needs (not just material things)ย  were well provided for including emotional support, bonding time, etc.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ;-)

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’d like to share at this point a little trivia on me – I was Daddy’s little maid. We all are actually but I believe it is more of a “youngest”ย  thing. *wink* ย Yes, every time he is cutting grass in the garden with the lawn mower and he was all sweaty, here goes him calling out to his “errand girl”:

“Nen (my nickname which is short for Nene)! Please get me a glass of cold water and towelette and wipe my back dry from sweat.”ย 

Then after a hard day’s work at the farm, here comes Daddy calling me out to give him a back massage while he is resting. When I was little, back massages for my Dad means I am to do my “cat walk”ย  on his back while he’s lying face down. Well, that was before I was skinny and little. When I grew older, it became the regular back massage.

It was only when I was in college and the only child in the family still studying that my parents were able to gather enough funds for our house to have it completely constructed – the product of all their hard work, patience and persistence. But it is more than just constructing a house that they have built for they have actually built something greater in us over the years.

Reminiscing our younger moments spent with our parents, we saw and we were taught how to value hard work over riches and accumulation of possessions, quality time with loved ones than splurging and being with a lot of people on grand occasions, and being content with whatever we have. They didn’t particularly instruct us with bible verses on how to live our lives but now that I am slowly learning the bible day by day, I realized that my parents brought us up according to the Scripture – live life simply with fear in the Lord.

To end this part, I’d like to share this text message that my Dad texted me about a current challenge that I am going through. This was in the vernacular (Bicol), so I’d just translate it for you:

“As long as you trust in yourself, you trust in God and if it is meant for you, it will and it will come.”

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Of course, Mom also has something similar regarding another event which I informed her yesterday:

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Never mind the exclamation point because my Mom wasn’t angry nor excited, she just wanted to emphasize the last statement.ย That is how my Mom texts – stressed words in capital letters accompanied by exclamation points at the end a.k.a. generation gap. lol I’m just kidding. It’s a good thing my Mom doesn’t read this. But if she does, errrr, love you Mom! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another thing, praise God for Skype – long distance relationships now have been made easier to deal with. My Dad, through me, might sound like such a perfect man to anyone reading this. But honestly, like any Dad in this world, he is not perfect either. Well, let’s just say he’s just close to being perfect. I chose to see him that way despite his imperfections. He is our hero, anyway.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

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Year 2012 portrait of Mom and Dad. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now on to the movie review. This is by far one of the best movies I have watched with the main focus on fathers. If I have to commend the Kendricks brothers for producing such great Christian films, that is for the reason that majority of the scenes portrayed all depict real-life situations. Although we can say that some were tweaked to fit the entire theme of the movie, I wouldn’t give it much of a consideration actually. Moreover, if all the scenes were to happen in real life, some may take quite some time to take place and not according to how the movie scenes have been sequenced and yet what is important is the lesson behind it according to the Christian faith.

Not all relationships and marriages are the same. It always is a case to case basis and yet watching it now made me know what to expect and what to do if time comes I’m walking on similar shoes with that of the movie characters. I highly encourage all the young men out there, fathers, and soon-to-be fathers to watch this film and I am praying they, too, will step up to the place that God has called them to be – to be Godly leaders or future leaders of their homes. My husband and I watched it together and what he blurted to me after watching was this,

“Honey, can you look up on the internet for more movies like that?”ย 

Ah yes, that’s an affirmation, a positive response. I was just glad that was the kind of response that the movie elicited from him. I wasn’t expecting anything at all regarding my husband’s reaction though I did my research what the movie was all about prior to watching. I just thought we’ll view it like any regular “chill time”ย  movie that we come across and watch during rest days.

Praise God for sending the Spirit and the guidance (preparing the hearts, minds and souls) how to take the movie in. I only recommend movies if I rated it with 5 starsย (very good)ย  meaning it made such a life-changing impact on me i.e. how I view things, my perspective and reactions on certain things, my lifestyle, attitude and character, etc. No second thoughts, no hesitations, I am definitely recommending this.

Hubby and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and we both agreed this is such a perfect movie to watch on Father’s Day. Thus, I’ll cut this short for now and let you watch it but first, don’t forget to shower your Dad with much love and appreciation on his special day as a father. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Ginete family at Dad’s ancestral house circa 1993 and my favorite sheepish, no-teeth smile which I never seem to outgrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE FATHERS and most especially to my ONE, GREAT FATHER from up above, FATHER GOD! โค

RESOLUTION

“…I now believe that God desires for EVERY father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven.

A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women, who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this, and mock it. Or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.

Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead, they will live for themselves, and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did NOT do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same.

And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives, but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous, to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will.

Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will.

I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say I will. I will. I will!”

–ย Adam Mitchell, COURAGEOUS