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 didn’t expect that last Sunday’s lecture will also be about that. Ah yes, it always is a wonder how things can be intertwined all because of God’s mysterious ways. 🙂

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.” – Mark 10:45

“…and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—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.” – 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. Let’s just say that you felt how much God loves you and it is just too wonderful to keep it to yourself that’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 – out of love.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 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 family’s Christmas celebration tradition.

Do take note though that I am no chef. lol 😀

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 won’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 you’ll still have one sibling to bug about every week aside from your parents. 😀

Anyway, as for my roasted chicken recipe, let’s just say I combined all the roasted chicken recipes I could find over the internet and came up with a “hybrid” roasted chicken. 😉

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken A la Bicolana

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bunch of lemongrass

1 cup butter

½ 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. 🙂

P.S.

Oh and one mistake from the roasted chicken recipe – don’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. 😀

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

Turbo Broiler

Turbo Broiler Moment

 

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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. 😉

 

 

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

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. 🙂

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)  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 the technology-driven world, he’d probably joke around saying what I wrote about him over social media will already “expire”  before it reaches him. Yup, funny, my Dad is. 😉

Even funnier when you see this photo of us around year 2011. 😀

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)  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.”  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. 😀

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. 😀

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)  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)  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. 😉

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”  thing. *wink*  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.” 

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”  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. 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! 😀

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. 🙂

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?” 

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”  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 stars (very good)  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. 🙂

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

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

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!”

– Adam Mitchell, COURAGEOUS

The Teacher

First and foremost, I’d like to give God the honor and glory for this wonderful blessing that He has bestowed upon me – the opportunity to be a teacher. 🙂

I took the licensure examination last March and I wasn’t expecting I’d pass it. I was assigned to take the exam for the Secondary Level because of my undergraduate course which is Literature and I am not yet done with my master’s degree in Special Education. During the Licensure Exam For Teachers, the specialization part of the exam for the Secondary Level takers was difficult. I had a little distraction too as the day before I took the exam, husband and I had a little argument. Not to mention I started reviewing just a week before the said exam as I have a short span when it comes to memory retention. But despite all that accompanied by heartfelt prayers and quiet time conversations with God, He remained faithful – I still passed the exam.

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To God Be The Glory: March 2016 LET

This has made me believe in this – I was indeed called by God to be a teacher. Our family was called to be a family of teachers, from grandparents to aunts and uncles, to parents and siblings.

Yup, I am not the only teacher in the family. I have to thank them too for all the love and support they have given to me in all my endeavors and in my plight to becoming an educator. 🙂

When people finds out that you are a teacher, the first thing they say is that you are brimming with patience. As much as it is true, what people really don’t know are the obligations that a teacher truly have in performing her role in society.

I’d like to share the Preamble from the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers to highlight said role:

“Teachers are duly licensed professionals who possesses dignity and reputation with high moral values as well as technical and professional competence in the practice of their noble profession. They strictly adhere to, observe, and practice this set of ethical and moral principles, standards, and values.”

The teacher not only teaches but she is also a catalyst of social change. She instructs and yet she disciplines, she adheres and yet she rebukes. Those are her roles in society – far bigger than what we all commonly imagine. As some would say, teachers are the ones responsible for honing the future engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, lawyers and basically every other profession in our society. In other words, the teacher performs quite a huge part in the raising of responsible citizens of the society.

This is a very big responsibility on the part of a teacher for it means that everything she says and does should match what her profession has called her to do. They should include at all times everything that was discussed in the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers. But greater than that is the set of moral values and principles that she upholds to for these are the moral values and principles that she will be imparting to her students. These set of standards will now become the students’ guide in following who to imitate when they enter adulthood.

Yes, the teacher is the second  “Mom.”  The things that are being taught at home are also reinforced in school. It comes with great responsibility to be the  “mother”  of many children and raise them as individuals who will serve the country and their countrymen with the right and proper moral values and principles.

If you are to ask me why they are important, it is actually these values and moral principles that define who we are rather than what family we came from, what school we graduated from, where we work/worked, what are our titles, what place did we come from or what organizations are we affiliated with. The kind of values system that we have basically affects every decision that we make in life for they are the ones that govern the heart and the mind. Whatever governs the mind and the heart will govern our words, our thoughts and our actions a.k.a. how we speak, how we do things, how we react, how we feel, etc.

If you are a teacher like me, this will sound too challenging. A student can graduate at his worst or at his best depending on how the teacher has honed him/her inside the classroom through what she teaches may it be in academics or moral standards. So if one will ask, where can a teacher find the best guide in achieving such high standards of morality?

The simple answer is this: the BIBLE.

No other scripture or written literature can ever contain what the bible contains. What the bible contains are all instructions on living a life with high moral standards because we have a God who has HIGH standards.

I was called by God to be a teacher not just to teach students about English, Science or any other academic subjects but more importantly, to teach them the necessary moral principles that they need in life here in this world and life in eternity.

Some may have questioned why I need to disclose such sensitive matters on Facebook and my reason was this in light of the Scripture:

“Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” – 1 Timothy 5:20

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17

I have made a covenant that if I am to discipline a student or rebuke someone, it will and it should always be in light of the Scripture. I believe the bible holds much authority than I do and will demand much respect from those who will hear or read it for it is God’s word in written form.

There are so many issues that have been plaguing the society, marriages, personal struggles and families for ages and yet in our society, it is such a taboo to talk about these sensitive issues thus resulting to ignorance and mistakes being committed repeatedly. Name all kinds of issue that this world is suffering from, the bible has something to say about it. More often, what the bible says are all for the good of mankind. It is just that there have been only quite a few teachers who were bold and courageous enough to address these issues by sharing the Scripture pertaining to these specific issues.

They say, “History repeats itself.”  Indeed, it is true. What the bible contains are all historical events mainly for the purpose of guiding and teaching us as we will most probably go through the same experiences.

I want to save families from breaking apart, save children growing in hostile environments, and save future generations from committing the same mistakes as their ancestors did only because we did not do our part in rebuking and sharing what should be the right things to do according to the Scripture.

All we need are teachers who will be bold in sharing the Truth and courageous enough to go against what the society calls as taboo or shameful to talk about. Maybe it is time that we, as believers and born-again Christians, shed light upon matters and issues that have been plaguing relationships, marriages and families for decades already.

Wouldn’t this world be a better place for our children to live in when we are assured they’ve been taught how to live righteously so they can benefit from this righteous living and that they will be saved from the perils that their ancestors have went through?

All these can be done with just a simple task of teaching and rebuking when God calls for it. God is calling for us to protect our marriages now, our children’s future families and the families and children of other people as well through the best teaching material which is the bible. He is calling us to LIVE in the BIBLE, teach it to our children and then share it to others so they will be enlightened too.

My challenge? Do not be ashamed of sharing and teaching the Gospel for in it is where all the solutions lies to all our problems. It has been blessed by God for the very purpose of making known to everyone from whom authority does the bible is referring to and the salvation that it offers not just to us but for the future generations.

Another challenge? Obedience and discipline can come too difficult – these have been my struggles until now. My husband and I do not share the same set of values system which oftentimes create the tension in our marriage. But I am assured God will be with me in my every battle and in my every struggle. I just have to fulfill the mission, the tasks that He has set out for me to finish.

In this struggle to abide by the law and to fight for these laws, you will feel pain, resistance, persecution, sadness and yet constantly remind yourself to “fix your eyes upon Jesus, the author and the perfecter of faith.”  The early disciples felt all these too and yet they endured it all in the midst of their sacrifices.

Those who were called to fulfill their mission, this is our end goal – KEEP THE FAITH and TRUST GOD COMPLETELY.

Learn from the One Great Teacher, be a teacher, and be a disciple. I am continuously praying that God will prepare and guide me in this new season. 🙂

NOT Hopeless: May Pag-asa Pa Din

Contrary sa iniisip ng karamihan na wala ng pag-asa na mabago ang sistema sa ating lipunan kahit kailan, nais ko lang sana ipaalam na meron at meron pa ding pag-asa. 🙂

Oo, hindi na natin mababago ‘yung sistema sa ngayon sa ating gobyerno. Dahil kumbaga sa puno, ito ay isa ng acacia tree – malaki, malago at maraming ugat na nakabaon hanggang sa pinakailaliman. Hinding hindi ito basta basta mabubuwag. Putulin mo man ang puno o main trunk, andyan pa rin ang ugat, uusbong at uusbong pa rin. Kailangan ng isang napakalakas na bagyo in the history of PAGASA (‘yung ahensya at pwede namang ‘yung hope) para ito ay mabuwag at tuluyang mawala.

Ano ba ang problema sa lipunan?

Greed for money and power – ang ugat ng iba pang suliranin sa lipunan gaya ng kahirapan, pagkagutom, traffic, etc. Ito ‘yung kagustuhan to be the best and the richest. Just like how kingdoms #riseandfall noong unang panahon sa bibliya. Nga lang, karamihan ay gusto ng great power and great wealth. Parang mga leon na binigyan mo ng malaking piraso ng karne, lahat gusto tumikim.

Maaaring mabago ang konsepto na ‘yan without demanding our government and the leaders now to change dahil we don’t have the power for that anymore kundi ang Dios na. Panalangin na lang sa kanila ang maaari nating gawin. At ibabase ko lang ito sa dalawang premises na madalas nating marinig ngunit madalas din nating isantabi:

1. Change starts in me.
2. Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.

‘Yang dalawa ay magkaiba ang pinanggalingan ngunit kapag pinagsabay mo, ito ang magsisilbing daan towards that CHANGE.

Paano?

Lahat tayo ay magulang o magiging magulang o kung hindi man ay mag-aampon o magso-sponsor ng isang bata. Sa lagay na ‘yun, we have the POWER. Not for greed or money but the power to make the change in the society through the younger generations.

Saan ba nagsisimula ang paghubog ng tamang asal at magandang karakter ng isang tao mayaman man o mahirap? Sa isang pamilya sa pamamagitan ng patnubay ng magulang because we, the parents, are the leaders in our own home. Ang STEALING, CHEATING at LYING ay ilan lamang sa mga halimbawa ng di-kagandahang asal na natututunan ng isang bata oras na magkaroon sila ng kamulatan. Ang hindi pag-correct at pag-disiplina sa pagnanakaw ng ballpen ng classmate halimbawa ay maaaring mauwi sa pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan pagtanda.

Kung tatanungin ninyo ako ano ang guide o panuntunan para turuan ng magandang asal ang ating mga anak, sa totoo lang, ‘di mo kailangan maghanap sa iba o i-enroll sya sa isang social etiquette class – nariyan ang BIBLE. The bible contains the highest standards when it comes to morality – lahat napapaloob doon mula sa tamang pananalita, tamang reaksyon, tamang kilos, tamang desisyon at higit sa lahat, takot sa Dios.

In fact, our laws right now na ginawa originally ng ating forefathers ay ginawa alinsunod sa mga nakalagay sa bibliya. Kung titingnan natin ang 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, mababasa mo sa Preamble ang pag-recognize kay God as the Supreme being who governs ALL laws:

PREAMBLE

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

As a parent it is our role to live out these standards so we could become good role models at mas madali rin ang pagturo sa mga anak kung ano ang tama sa mali.

Malay mo o malay natin, ang anak mo, sya pala ang susunod na President of the Republic of the Philippines 30 years or so from now. We can never tell, right? At kung marami sila na nahubog sa tamang pamamaraan with the aid of of our Almighty God and nakaupo na sila sa pwesto ng gobyerno in the future, baka maaari ngang malabanan ang mga katiwalian dahil sila na ang mas malaki at mas malago at ang mangingibabaw ay kabutihan for the greater good of the Filipino people.

#maketheCHANGEforyourchildrenandtheirfuture

P.S.

Para saan pa nga ba ang pagpapaaral sa akin mula sa kaban ng bayan kung hindi rin ako gagawa ng paraan hanggang sa abot ng aking makakaya at kaalaman para matulungan ang aking bayan at mga kababayan. – Iskolar ng Bayan

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the Grace of God, I will.” – Edward Everett Hale

The Christian From Bicol

(This is an excerpt from this post I have written back in November 2013 during the Typhoon Yolanda. I thought this particular content deserves to have it’s own separate article with a different title this time.)

Wherever God would take me, whatever God would give me, I will bring with me two identities: first, I am a Christian and second, I am a Bicolana.

I can never be more proud of anything I have and whoever I have become other than those two I have mentioned above.

Why a Christian? I am nothing and nobody without my God, first and foremost. My identity is in Him and I believe I need not say more as it is what it already is. 🙂

Why a Bicolana then? Ahh, this is most likely where I’ll be explaining more.

I grew up in the province. I spent more than half of my life there. As of writing, that is. There’s no other place that I could ever call ‘home’ except Bulan. Yes, that is my hometown, a small town in the city of Sorsogon somewhere in the southernmost part of Luzon.

Sorsogon City is a coastal area surrounded by beaches of all sand color from white, pink, to black –  you name it, we have it. Rich of natural resources, fishing and farming have been the sources of livelihood with almost all the Bulanons (that’s how we generally call ourselves).

Fishing

Fishing

If there is one value that being a Bicolana has taught me, it would be this – knowing your roots. In other words, learn to look back from your humble beginnings. Bulan is the one thing that has taught me how it is to be humble and to be grateful. Humility bespeaks when the heart is in awe of the mediocre. I know you are going to agree with me right there.

I came from a family of farmers. My parents, my grandparents and the parents before them all came from humble beginnings. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Gratitude is what I could offer to my ancestors for the sacrifices and hard work that they have invested in providing the best for their families.

I came from a generation wherein I don’t have to go to the fields and do the farming myself and go home with sweaty clothes covered in mud just to pay for all of my expenses and supply my needs. An experience I never had to go through and yet something that I would want to go through.

CIRCA 1980s: My mom, aunts, uncles along with my grandparents.

CIRCA 1980s: My mom, aunts, uncles along with my grandparents.

They say that for someone to appreciate the value of something less than its market value and more of its sentimental value, you have to work hard for it and have it like how it is usually done and achieved. You have to sweat it out, so to speak.

I was listening to the podcast of Pastor Christian Flores regarding Victory’s new series entitled “It’s Not About The Money” two Sundays ago and he mentioned about the story of a farmer and how this farmer has invested his earnings in acquiring an even bigger barn where he could store more which actually resulted to his own destruction.

That made me thought about our farm, our farmers and what do we really get from it. For starters, our farm house did not change though how many years and decades have passed. We are earning just enough and we are still living frugal lives though we have acquired some possessions through time – still, I think it is not about the money. Money, for us, is something that has to do with survival but never to accumulate great wealth and live grandiose, rich lives.

I might be speaking out of righteousness here but if you will personally ask me, that is how I think it should be. I do not wish to dwell on this matter then and will just leave all the explaining to our Pastors as they lead us on with the series – a reason for you to stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts or better yet visit a nearby Victory church: http://victory.org.ph/. (Sorry for the shameless plugging, but I felt you would understand it better if the explaining would come from our church leaders).

victoryqc.org

victoryqc.org

This is the season of harvesting and when I went home during the holidays last November 1 and 2, I chanced upon the last harvest in our farm. I have skin asthma and as much as I should be staying away from hay, I know it would not stop me from going along with my Dad. I suffered the consequences later on – cough got worse and itchy rashes came out that last for usually a week leaving black spots on my skin which then stay on for about how many months.

The last time I have been with my Dad during harvesting was when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I could still remember how our parents would ask us (not really me as I was way too young, but my sisters and brother) to help in drying the “palay”  we have harvested so they could be sold to the millers for a good price before they then sell it to the market.

Yes, how could I really forget all the scurrying here and there, to and fro when dark clouds come and heavy rains start to pour. It only means sweeping the grains, piling and covering them up as FAST as you can to prevent them from getting wet, thus lowering the chances of getting a low price as “palay”  buyers measure the moisture content of the rice grains. The drier the grain is, the higher its market value.

Palay

Threshing of palay.

My Dad is not a farmer per se. He is a civil engineer who juggled two occupations at the same time – that of a farmer and a superintendent at the National Irrigation Administration in the Bicol region (officially at San Ramon, OIC in Masbate and Sorsogon City). He is now 74 years old, retired from his engineering career and yet a continuing farmer. I have always admired my Dad how at his age still manages to do what he would always do at the farm despite his arthritis, gout attacks, hypertension, cataract and other illnesses of the aged. Although we don’t dry the harvested rice grains anymore to lessen the stress level of all the scurrying and hurrying, tending the farm is still a busy and a lot of work to do.

I went to the farm with my Dad not to harvest the grains myself and have them threshed out but witness how it is usually done. I have to get into the particulars as to how to do this and that. Well, I might consider farming as my job someday. Yes, “Tin”  the farm girl. *wink*  I think I heard my Kuya’s sarcastic chuckle back there again. Haha Yeah, right. And yes, I wanted to observe how our farmers do it – our trusted and loyal workers. I admired them more than I have admired an office employee (no offense to office-based workers). But hard labor is no easy job. Exposed in the heat of the sun, bending over for hours either planting rice seedlings or harvesting them, soaked in mud or inhaling the itchy hay dust when threshing are, for me, among the most challenging tasks.

I closely looked at all of them. I saw Tio Digoy and Tio Kadog – they are the oldest among all of them. They have been working for my Dad since I was a kid. Now, their sons are working for us as well. I have learned to love them for all that they have put up for me and my family. I am praying that through us, their sons, daughters and grandchildren will one day have a better future because of their parents and grandparents’ hard work. Though that means we might lose workers in our farms, it would also be equivalent to giving everyone the chance to have better lives than what they have now.

I am praying too that someday there will no longer be a need for manual labor and everything will be run by machines operated in a clean office from planting to harvesting rice. That goes as well for harvesting coconuts and converting them into copra. The team of Tio Digoy also does them for us. Skilled, they really are. My family and I will always be grateful to them. We will always be grateful to Him for any blessing that He has bestowed as well as for His guidance and protection not just to me and my family but to our skilled workers and their families as well.

Copra

Coconuts being made into copra.

So if most think this is what I do in Bicol:

Nope, that’s not it because this is what I usually do:

"Tin, The Farm Girl"

“Tin, The Farm Girl”

Quite the opposite, right? Well, aside from washing the dishes, cleaning the house, feeding the pets, etc. and having a little vacation time actually. We have no helpers or house maids back home and here in Manila, by the way. As it is written in the bible:

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

Let’s all live a life of servitude, shall we my dear brothers and sisters? 🙂

Courage: The Brighter Side

If there is one thing that faith, the church, our family and the spiritual family all point to, that would be to look at the brighter side of things. 🙂

The first few months of this year have been a struggle for me and my husband which includes everything about life in general i.e. careers, aspirations, adjustments, financial breakthroughs, settling differences, goals, etc. More trials turned up for the month of March which drove me to devote full time to gospel reading, bible study devotion and quiet times.

There were a lot of times that I asked God for guidance, courage and strength to withstand them all as there are times more often too that I felt like everything is a mess, in chaos, uncertain of what the future holds, and all I ever did/was doing was a mistake. Little did I know that God has everything planned out for me already – all I have to do is to be still.

In times of extreme trials, it is the Word that I turn to and it is prayers that held me through. I tried to find snippets of things that would give me hope and I just smiled when I realized how could I be so blind or how could I let my problems blind me from the Truth.

How could I not trust God at all? How could I speak so much about my faith when I can’t even rely on God’s power and greatness which rule this world and beyond?

Yes, as I have said in my previous articles, when it comes to faith you really have to make an affirmation each and every single day. Life is all about God, faith, and nothing else. As my brother would always tell me, “Life has always been a battle of faith.”

Speaking of my brother, God used him as the instrument for me to know what faith is all about, introduced me to a spiritual family which then helped me get out of the pit I was in and finally led me to my salvation. As our church leaders would instruct us, salvation is just the start of your spiritual journey. As much as you have been renewed, being a born again Christian does not exempt you from the perils and sorrows of this world – faith has only made you and your life storm-proof.

It was all God’s plans. As you begin to understand that every single day of your life comprises the millions of routes in God’s blueprints will you realize that it was God who brought you where you are now. But because most of the time our human selves do not have the capacity to explain our circumstances, we rely on them as what they seem to be.

Yet being the all-knowing God, He knows that too. This is probably the reason why He has already prepared us and what we will be needing through the next course of our lives here in this world. Going back to my brother, he and my sister-in-law have been the constant givers of my Paulo Coehlo planner since 2013, the year I got saved, as a Christmas gift – something that I am always grateful for.

Not that I am advertising but I believe God has aligned it to be this way – why I should get hold of this certain planner. This planner, aside from this blog, holds my day-to-day scribbling in my spiritual walk. It contains the verses of the day, my bible study devotion, my Our Daily Bread quotation, my prayer requests, my gratitude note, my problems and my breakthroughs.

What I love about this planner is that each month there is a value/character trait assigned to it and it just fascinates me that these character traits as well as the quotations in the pages depict so much of what I  have been going through.

There is no coincidence in God, something which I have learned since I got saved. I see this character trait as the one trait that I know God wanted me to have at that particular month/time of the year. It is just that I have to wait at what particular day of the month will I be needing this particular character trait.

For the month of March, this is the character trait: SURRENDER. 🙂

 

SurrenderPC

How timely, how accurate, how helpful – amazing our God is, isn’t He? He knows everything. The general quotation for this month also reveals much of what I needed in my marriage.

The first blog post I wrote for this year was entitled “An Appreciative 2016” simply because I felt that this year will be full of trials and yet we needed to see the beauty of them all. One of my experiences that helped me see things in the Light was after completing a crucial life-changing event which was a test of patience and endurance. After the event, this was what I received from my Mom using my Dad’s number (my Dad always replies in the vernacular):

PhotoGrid_1458616805656

My Mom is the authoritative type of parent. We don’t have the warm and cuddly mother and daughter relationship. YET, I have so many things that I should be thankful for when it comes to my Mom. For though we are so far away from each other and all my other siblings have their own priorities too in life and I used to live alone, my Mom just nailed it when she stressed out what I should be appreciating – the gift that God has given me which is a partner in life through a husband.

I smiled when I read it and of course, I can’t help but cry. Yes, I seldom receive text messages from my Mom because they are busy managing our house in the province and our farm, but when she does text, it is always something special – meaningful. Just that single text jolted me back to not see the negative things in my marriage but look at the brighter side of it.

I know I am not alone because I have learned to rely on God completely for the first two years of my life since I became a born-again Christian and I was living alone. I have devoted those two years in establishing a deeper and more personal relationship with God. God knows I needed that so when great trouble comes in the later years of my life, I know how to go back to Him.

Because I already know the Way, the Truth and the Life.

It is just that God reminded me that He gave me a husband for a reason and that once again, when troubles become overwhelming, SURRENDER. Just like how I surrendered 3 years ago. And after my “dark moments”  post on Facebook, I received a text message from an unidentified number. I am guessing the person is one of my sisters or brothers in Christ who have been touched by God to fulfill the role of being part of those “reminders.”  My extreme gratitude for this person whose heart belongs indeed to God. Praise God for your life my dear brother/sister.

And this was the text:

PhotoGrid_1458616842825

Our spiritual leaders in church, at home or anywhere else in our society have been called by God to receive the gift of prophecy. My Mom is not a devoted Christian but she believes in God and the bible and if there is one trait that I would like to learn from her, that is having a foresight. As a kid, she would always refer it to us as ESP (Extrasensory Perception)  or being able to determine what a person will do next or knowing what will happen next. It is “sixth sense”  to some and foresight to many. As a born-again Christian now, I see it as having the gift of prophecy. She told us that we should learn it and cultivate it for it will become very handy in our future plans and how we do things. Yup, practical my Mom really is. *wink*

My brother’s foresight is now almost similar to my Mom and we sometimes tell him that maybe he is the one who got it all from Mom. I am guessing it is this foresight that made him give the Paulo Coehlo planner to me in the first place and the significance it’ll bring in my spiritual journey. If I am to compare my Mom and my brother, they have one thing in common – they see things differently than all the rest of us. To me, I see all darkness and blur and yet to them, they see the beauty of it all, the goodness of the darkness and the events that will follow after.

Now if I am to compare it with faith, it says the same thing – train ourselves to see the Light. You can only see the Light when you see things in a Godly perspective. That is, allowing God to take over in driving the path of your life. Again, SURRENDER.

During the bad times, I oftentimes try to take control in solving things out. During the bad times, I see my spouse so differently and very much in the dark. But my Mom, the text message, and the monthly character traits, they all point towards the Light.

I have maintained my calm even if I do not understand all things. I have accepted things for how they should be. I have to be content in patiently waiting for the beautiful promises of the Lord. I know the Lord remains faithful to those who surrender to Him and walk in obedience to His ways.

As I end this article, I just want to share that indeed, God has mysterious ways in changing your mindset about a lot of things. Negative things can really replace the good memories, the good times, the good qualities you have if you will allow them to. God cannot allow it even if you persist to think things that way. The way that He gave me hope is the assurance that things right now are never final, they are only temporary in contrast to what is to come.

I woke up today feeling still very sleepy. My husband asked me if we are ready to pray and I just nodded half awake, half asleep. Through the sleepiness in me, there was one word, just one word that woke up my spirit in full blast through his prayer – REFLECT. I never prayed about the coming Lenten Season. Here is my husband though praying about it and how we should spend it together – REFLECT.

This is the perfect word on how we all should commemorate what Jesus did on the Cross for us -an act of SURRENDER, to surrender out of His Father’s and His love for us. It is this love that is keeping this marriage together, it is this love that is changing me and my spouse as a person, and it is this love that is changing our lives every single day.

It is by God’s love that I have been saved, that my husband will be saved including our families and loving another person through a marriage is where God wants us to learn the basics of what love is. When God’s love is in our hearts completely, we can say with utmost boldness that nothing can ever compare to God’s love and who God really is.

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

God knows that 2016 will be full of trials that’s why God reminded me of that at the start of the year. The character trait for this year in my planner and what I will be needing most is this: COURAGE.

This is the courage to be bold in defying the challenges, courage to seek the Light amid the darkness, courage to stand true to my faith whatever the odds and the courage to proclaim my faith all the more despite my imperfections and setbacks. 🙂

CouragePC

The Borrowed Life

I am supposed to be bed resting. But when my body is at rest, my mind is at its best working double time. That’s why I sleep talk, because the brains just don’t want to stop working. Tsk, workaholic brains. *wink*  Kind of creepy though if it is your first time to hear me sleep talk. I sometimes laugh out loud out of the blue while asleep, or would suddenly sit down as if talking to someone invisible. My husband is always amused with this though. Because that means he has something to tease me in the morning. 🙂

Truth is, I am a little bit down under the weather for the past days. Actually a little bit is an understatement because I’ve been having migraines for the past days already – a splitting one. There is a striking pain in my lower back too and a painful jaw line or was it my wisdom tooth still trying to come out (at my age it seems weird)? I really can’t tell but this wasn’t the first time I’ve had them. Prior to this, a splitting headache that went on for about a week bothered me last Christmas and New Year’s Day celebration with mouth sores, a painful tooth/gum/jaw and feeling fatigue though I haven’t been doing much physically.

My assessment was that it is when my immune system is down that I have these set of physical ailments if you can call it that. During the holidays, there was a lot of stress preparing holiday stuff, the heavy traffic you had to deal with, the long queue everywhere, etc. Now, it was the February fever as I only got about an hour of sleep, had to be on the road for about 2 hours and been awake for almost 24 hours before we attended the hot air balloon festival to celebrate Hearts’ Day. The event was not too tiring and it was so much fun especially since it is my husband’s first time to attend this event. But standing for very long hours under the very, very hot sun the whole day will no doubt drain you out.

So maybe my immune system is down again and here goes the same minor physical ailments. Which somehow bothered me because they could be symptoms of an even severe illness. I did mention in my previous articles that my grandmother and my Mom are both breast cancer survivors. My Mom was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer when she was 45 years old. She’s been experiencing pain for a couple of years already but I guess my Mom just have this phobia with hospitals and doctors (white coat syndrome), it took my Aunties and my Dad how many years to convince her to have a medical check up. Yup, all 5 of us kids were delivered via a midwife – yes, brave mom my Mom. No anesthesia, no proper medical equipment as she gave birth inside the comforts of our own home.

Being cancer survivors though, I guess this will be the reason why my Mom and my grandma are now called as the matriarchs of the family – an epitome of courage, strength and faith. And I believe my Dad’s prayers have something to do with it too. My Dad loves to go to church but because my Mom doesn’t want to, he decided to be with my Mom and chose to stay at home with her on Sundays. And yet every night, I would go to my parents’ bedroom and I’d find my Dad sitting on the bed, with knees propped up, head bent down and hands clasped together – he is praying. I was too young back then and I do not understand what it meant. I would sometimes disturb my Dad and play around hoping I could make him get out of his prayer. But I ended up being ushered out of the room and advised never to disturb him when he does that. So I asked him what he was doing, he answered simply with one word, “praying.”

It was this one word that healed my Mom and I believe it was this that held them together as a couple during these trying times. So now, I was beginning to wonder, “Is it my time now, Lord, to be in this situation too?”   I am the only one among my siblings who didn’t undergo a mammogram. I am 30 years old, those years wherein hormones change and yes, cancer cells are more full blown. I don’t want to have a check up for two reasons: 1) I don’t want to hear that dreaded line that “You have cancer.”  and 2) I have faith that God would heal me I wouldn’t be needing doctors and medications.

Reason number 2 is void. Why? There was one lecture in church wherein our pastor told us that faith healing is really possible but there is also a purpose why God created doctors and why technology made medicines possible. Jesus, our Healer, is not present with us to perform healing miracles. And yet I believe that along with our faith, it is through the doctors that He passed on this responsibility to heal on His behalf. So yes, I might have a medical check up next week. It also happens that I just found out that the pills I am taking can enhance cancer cells growth and is not prescribed to those who have a history of cancer. This requires a consultation with my ob gynecologist.

I am not afraid to die. I am, in fact, very much looking forward to the day that I will die regardless on how I will die. Why? Nothing is ever more beautiful and rewarding than meeting your Creator yourself! I have so many questions to ask God  – His awesome wonders that not even Science or any branch of study can ever explain. Just imagine how awesome it would be to hear the answers straight from the Master Himself face to face. Oh that would be such a wonderful privilege. It is wisdom that comes with no price for it is priceless. And yet it is not my intent to know everything that God knows for no one can ever be like God – He is the Alpha and the Omega, no one and nothing compares.

I am ready but my loved ones are not, my husband most especially. I prayed to God about this that indeed if time comes all my assumptions are right, I pray that He would prepare me and most especially my loved ones for the truth. The truth hurts, it always does. But the good thing is that it sets all of you free. Nothing is ever more painful to me than seeing my loved ones hurt. Being the overly empathetic person that I am, I feel every pain they feel and their emotional burden is my burden too. And sometimes I ask God why He created me that way. For there were times like last Sunday service, my husband and I were seated behind a young lady and a middle aged woman, and during worship I saw the young lady bowed down with her hair covering her face but her hand is up her cheek – I know what she is doing even if I don’t see it because I feel it – she is wiping tears from her eyes. The pain is there. The middle-aged woman also sat down during worship, stayed silent as if praying a prayer and then took a hankie from her bag and wiped it in her eyes.

Sometimes seeing them that way makes me want to hug them because I can feel their pain and when they cry, I want to cry with them too. The only times I cried in church were during my altar call and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I know I had to do something at that point, laying hands in their direction during worship will make a prayer of healing possible. I felt like praying to them silently in my head that “My dear sister, though you are in so much pain now, the Lord will heal you. The fact that you are in front of me worshiping the Lord in this church means that He has chosen you to be among one of His people, the ones that He has saved. Be brave for you may not realize it now but you are more than a conqueror. And this is just the beginning of your journey with the Lord. Be glad and take heart, what you are going through is only temporary.”

It would be really nice to approach and talk to them after service but technically, I am a stranger to them so that might be awkward but I am still praying even after the end of service that this silent encounter of mine with them will never end there. This wasn’t the first time this have happened. In fact it happens all the time during church service. And sometimes I really am baffled because knowing the emotional being that I am, being close to these people seems like me being a sponge and I absorb anything that is around my periphery – absorbing the emotions, heavy they are. Ah yes, a call for more prayers on my part. More than glad and willing to be of service tho by being a prayer warrior. Anything for God and His people, nothing is ever more honorable than that. 🙂

Back to cancer cells, well I started to talk to my husband about it as a way of me preparing him for what could possibly happen. I told him that when I am diagnosed with cancer, I want him to live with his Mom because I don’t want him to see me in pain and suffering. And yet he would just shrug it off and will not welcome the idea that he will lose me early on in our lives together. He would tell me that it will never happen. I would just smile at him and told him it will happen, 99.9% chance. It is only a matter of God’s time. And I just want him to be prepared when that happens so he wouldn’t blame God as to why it is happening to me or to us. I told him that God has a good reason for everything to those that He has called according to His purpose. I could die earlier but we are all going to die anyway. It’s all just a matter of who gets to die first and who gets to die last.

BUT it really doesn’t matter if I live in this world for 99 years or for 30 years. For we all know that this life is only temporary. It is only a preparation for the real world wherein everything is good, there is no death, and life is infinite – eternal life in heaven. For all those who believe in God and proclaimed Jesus as their Savior will all meet and gather one day to that one special place along with our Creator. So I continued telling my husband that if I die early, he should be a good man and continue living a Godly life so he’d be with me too when he dies and we’d still end up together. There was silence.

Oh my dear husband of mine, must you always sleep on me while I am still talking? lol *wink*  But do understand that these lengthy speeches of mine and weird questions happen quite late in the evening and he is so tired from work. He is lukewarm about everything while I am so passionate about everything especially with my faith and yet by the end of the day, he ends up believing me. No credit to me but credit to God for making the impossible possible – even melting the coldest of hearts to become warm. And though in some days my husband and I seem like the worst of enemies, nothing is ever more sweet than him hugging and snuggling you tight showering you with kisses even though you look terrible with puffed eyes for the pain you are experiencing. And along with the hugs came a remark that says, “Honey, no matter how difficult it is that we are going through, I will never leave you.”  Ahhh yes, these are the moments I so appreciate having a husband – a lovely gift from God. Never mind the “dark days.”  They weren’t meant to be remembered. 😉

I should be asleep by now but I thought I need to finish this first. Being stubborn is what I inherited from my Mom but God is changing that too. So as I stare tonight at the ceiling lying in bed, I will raise my hand as a worship to God. My hand belongs to Him as with all parts of my body. They will all be wrinkled or they will become ashes and yet I can only rejoice when that happens. For it signifies the time to be nearer and closer to my God, my Father and my Creator and be with my Savior, Jesus Christ, of which this body originally and rightfully belongs to.

Indeed, this life that I have is only a borrowed life. 🙂

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

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