Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Bliss, Beauty and Blessings

I didn't come from a wealthy family nor was I raised from an economically-challenged household. Let's just say that my siblings and I were blessed to have two good parents who did everything to make our childhood days and lives a little bit easy. We didn't always have what we want but what we needed were always given to us.

I grew up and lived the kind of life I wanted: pampered and sheltered but never spoiled. Besides my parents who still supported me even when I had my own job, I was blessed to have siblings who saw me through in one way or another. I had a pretty "good" life if you may call it that. Then I got married. Still, it was favorable, for both my husband and I had jobs that sufficiently provided our daily needs. Things began to change though when I opted to be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) after I gave birth to our first-born daughter. The family's needs were not directly proportional to the household income; the law of supply and demand was never applicable, there was a high demand for cash yet still there was only ample supply. Of course it was hard on me. I felt like I hit the rock bottom. It was not the kind of life I wanted for my budding family, more so for my daughter.

Almost three years have passed and I would say things are quite different now. I wish I could tell you that, "hey, myhusband's salary now has left us thinking what to buy next", or maybe like, "there's more supply (of cash) than demand (needs)." No,that's not the turnaround I'm talking about. It's more on the inward change; on how I see and perceive things, what is important or what matters most.

I learned to be more grateful for every simple thing my family and I receive. A piece of Magnum Gold given to me by a former boss; a book/s lent to me by a friend/s without due date; a call/text from a friend whom I have not seen for a long time; a toy truck lent to our daughter; a simple dinner at a friend's house; dresses given to our daughter as gift; a once-in-a-blue moon dinner/lunch date with hubby and baby; a family walk in the neighborhood at night and finding cozy coffee shops; a short trip to the bookstores; a cup of brewed coffee; a Bible verse that speaks volume to my heart; workshops/seminars I am able to attend because someone paid on my behalf; a trip/travel with hubby/daddy even if baby and I would just stay in a budget-friendly hotel while Daddy is conducting training/seminar; a video chat with my parents and siblings; a visit to my in-laws' house or lunch out with them; moments I spend with my daughter; eating lunch together at home; having someone come to the house to do the laundry and ironing of clothes; hubby washing the dishes or cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner or massaging my tired feet; hugs, kisses and the sweet I love yous from my daughter; I could go on and on and you'll see one common thing: I'm thankful for simple things that life offers me. This is the beauty of life's curve ball; one's outlook deepens, perspective widens.

I feel blessed that God has given me the joy that is not dependent on material things. I may not have the latest gadget nor the most expensive shoes, designer bags or fashionable clothes but I'm content. Frankly, I don't need a lot to be happy. I have what I need for my God has not failed to supply it. I find this a blessing and also my bliss.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Words You Ought to Hear (and the World to Know): An Open Letter to My Sister

Dearest Ate,

Today is your blessed day. Let me start this letter by greeting you, "Happy Birthday". Wow! I can't believe you turn 40 today. It seemed like it was just yesterday when we were playing (together with our younger brothers) inside our 40-sqm rented apartment in Laguna. That place was our haven, our secret place where we had fun and dreamed together. Honestly, I miss those days. If there was one thing that I really cherish in my childhood days was that the four of us were so close. Mamu really did a good job in raising us, her children.

Alright, back to you... There are so many things I would like to do (not to mention, buy) for you so you would feel happy today. And so many words in my heart that I wish to say to warm your heart. I know I won't be able to tell you these without tears streaming down my cheeks... from my heart to yours. I believe you need to hear these:

You are beautiful inside and out.
When we were still in shorts and shirts, I always looked up to you. What Ate wore, I would like to wear. How Ate looked like, I wanted to look like it too. When people asked, "Who is more beautiful, you or Ate?" My answer was always the same, "Ate po." Because that's true. As we grew up, people may have had different views about how we looked (some said we looked like twins, others said you're prettier while still others found me a tad beautiful than you are, heehee), but in my heart, you're still my beautiful Ate. The reason for this is because I know you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord (Psalm 139:14). You are "you-nique". You are you. There is no other "Jinky" in this whole wide world (or even in the world wide web) with the same DNA strand like yours. Your beauty is beyond skin deep. It's that kind of beauty that enthralls the hearts of many because it comes from within. I pray that you won't let that loveliness be ruined by people whose judgment depends merely on what is seen by the naked eye.

You are smart.
Remember that time during our school days when I was always topping my class while you were, let's say, an average student? You asked me at that time, "Why can't I be like you? Why am I not as intelligent as you are?" I recall to mind that my reply to you was, "Ate, you're smart too. We are smart in different ways." At that time, I didn't know about the Multiple Intelligence Theory yet. Had I known I would have lambasted those people who were comparing us two.

You are body-smart.  I could still see you dancing oh so gracefully, captivating the attention of the audience. Someone could just show you the dance steps and you would move like those steps were yours, effortlessly. I could never, ever dance the way you do. Honestly, I envy you. How about those Declamation and Oratorical Contests? You always won. You brought home medals. I never did (just academic medals, heehee).

You are picture-smart. You are an artist. You could draw, color and do those Home Economics projects with ease. You never struggled completing them, I did. It was so easy for you to fulfill all the requirements. The truth is, your only struggle at that time was you were not inspired (or should I say, lazy?) to do it.

You are music-smart. You have a beautiful voice. Given the proper training, I know you will be able to do singing gigs someday, somewhere. So, enhance it. :)

You are a nice and very kind person.
So kind that people take advantage of you. You are known for it. I have never met a person that knows you who has said otherwise. It was always, "Ah si Jinky (Jing), sobrang bait na tao nyan." But you have to know that kindness doesn't mean you don't have to speak up when it is called for. Being nice doesn't always mean you just have to bear the pain, insults and hurts that some people are inflicting or causing you. It's never wrong to stand up and let them know how you feel. It's your right to express what you feel and not be scared of letting them know they cause you pain. Yes, you are a kind person, show them that, but you're not dumb.

You are a sister and friend.
There are sisters and there are friends. You are both. I am just so blessed to be called your younger sister. You have been a very, very good one to me. I still remember that time when all the toys that you had ever wanted were given to you by Lola and I had none; how you always made sure that whatever you had, I had too. Be it toys, dresses, slippers/shoes even jewelries. Wow! Who could ever ask for more? Another instance I recall was when I was in college and you bought this chic and expensive Guess shirt for yourself. You had not worn it and yet you lent it to me and said, "Suot mo muna para okay naman ang itsura mo (Wear it so you'll look good)." Hahaha! You were (and until now) so concerned about the way I look. You want me to be the best in everything. You were my number one fan! Hahaha! And now my number one sponsor, hahaha! You are my sister and my friend rolled into one.

You are here for a purpose.
You were brought forth into this world not by accident. Forty years ago, when Daddy and Mamu fell in love with each other, you were born. However, even before time began, you were already part of God's idea. He knows you. He knows you by name. He has you in His mind as He created the world. In His manifold wisdom He determined the country to place you in (Acts 17:26) and also the family to which you should belong. What's more, He foresees the plans He has for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). You were born with a purpose. So, know that purpose and live it for only you can fulfill it.

There are other "up-worthy" stuff to tell the world about you but I believe what I have enumerated above are enough to make you feel your worth. You are precious to me, to those people who love you and most specially to the Lord who has created you. Your worth is not defined by what negative people are telling about you. Your worth is determined by God who loves you and your family and loved ones who are always here for you.

A blessed and blissful birthday to you, Ate Ganda. This is my little surprise. I may not be able to buy you the most expensive gift on planet Earth but I tell you this post is worth buckets of tears and was written with my heart brimming with love. You are one of God's greatest gifts to me. I could never ask for another Ate than you. I love you and I want the world to know.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Celebration 2014

I am thankful that in a year I get to celebrate two special days just for me; my birthday and Mother's Day. This year was my third time to celebrate Mother's Day. I am not the type who would always want to get all the attention (but it doesn't hurt to be noticed once in a while) to myself, although I must admit that I really love to be surprised (happy surprises of course). Yesterday was just one of the few and simple (but meaningful) surprises I received from my husband. It was Mother's Day Celebration. He just came from his out of town trip that morning. He didn't tell me whether he had plans or what his plans were on that day. He even forgot to greet me (hahaha) when I came out of our bedroom to greet him "Good morning" and welcome him back. Sweet thing though was, he bought pancakes and coffee for me.

It was a Sunday so we went to church. While listening to our pastor's sermon, our daughter asked me to accompany her to go outside. My husband went with her instead and allowed me to just relax and enjoy listening to the preaching of God's Word. After sometime, I heard my daughter calling me, "Mommy, look! O-pop (referring to her lollipop, given to her from the Sunday School class). Look Mommy, flower. " as she handed me a white tuft of crepe paper with green handle/stem. It was a "project" from the SS class which was done by my husband and our baby (for mothers). It's nothing grand but for me it was the best "flower" I have ever received yet for the simple reason that it came from them and lovingly made by them.

the best Mother's Day flower
Then after the worship service, my husband asked me where I wanted to have dinner. I told him, it's up to him, though I was tempted to say, "Surprise me!" Haha! We got that from Ratatouille. So he asked me if I would like to eat at Chilli's. Wow! I said, "Sure!" For some, Chilli's might be their everyday go-to for lunch or dinner. But for us, we go there once in a blue moon, that is, during special occasions only.

Chicken Crispy Salad and Chicken & Beef Combo for hubby and me; Crispers and Fries and Orange Juice for our li'l fashionista
It was a very simple, special and sumptuous dinner. It was a meaningful celebration. Celebrating Mother's Day for the third time now has made me realized that it's not the fancy dinner (although there's nothing wrong with it) nor the lavish gifts (let me say it again, there's nothing wrong with it) that make the celebration special. It's the reason/s why you are celebrating it. As for me, I celebrate Mother's Day because:

After 4 years of marriage and 2 miscarriages, God remembered me. I have a God who has never forgotten me.
He saw my tears. He heard my cries. He gave me a promise. He opened my womb. Mother's Day for me, is a celebration of thanksgiving, an offering of praise and gratitude to the Giver of gifts, the Promise Keeper, the Miracle Worker.

I have a husband whom God has chosen to be the father of my child.
My husband may not be the handsomest, the brightest nor the richest (all according to the world's standard but of course for me, he is the -est of those adjectives, heehee. Yes, I'm in love with him. Haha!), but He is God's best for me. I celebrate Mother's Day because I have someone to call "my husband" whom I share responsibility with in raising our daughter. I am blessed and glad that I get to celebrate this occasion with a husband by my side. I am not alone. I am a mother and he is a father. :)

I have a daughter who calls me "Mom".

I am a mom because of you.
These three things are my reasons why I cherish every Mother's Day; celebrating it with thanksgiving to the Lord and with the loves of my life. For me, that's what matters most.

How about you, moms? How did you celebrate our special day? I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Heart Being a Mom

Hello there! I'm back to blogging world after what seems like forever. I definitely miss writing. And though my hands are full right now (hubby is out of town for work), I know I need to right. What better way to start my blogging adventure again after a long hiatus than to write a topic that is very close to my heart... Being a mom. So, here I go!

Last month, I shared with you why I love being a mommy. I gave my top three reasons why it's great to be a mom. Also, I mentioned about an event that would allow me and other mommy bloggers to meet up with expectant moms of Nazareth Home. Three days ago, I was privileged and blessed to be a part of this gathering. 

It was conceptualized and organized by JLo, a mommy blogger herself. It was a pre- Mother's Day Celebration cum baby shower for the new moms and moms to be under the care of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation. KBF is a non-government organization that offers different programs and services for the welfare and development of expectant single moms and their children. Aside from providing the basic needs of these moms (like shelter and medical necessities), KBF also meets their emotional and spiritual needs by rendering counseling.

Food, Give-away, Donation, Etc.

I was happy to be able to meet great people and adorable babies. I would say that everything (food, give-away, donation, program) and what transpired that afternoon were good. Two special people (mother and son) though tugged at my heart, made me cry and gave me these insights.

It matters not whether it's your first or eighth baby; a mother is always a new mom when a new baby comes.
Mommy H is not a first time mom. She has already 7 children from a previous marriage.She entrusted them to her mother's care back in the province so she could work in Manila and provide for them. Then it happened. She got pregnant by another man and although the man was man enough to take full responsibility for what had happened, she couldn't agree with him to live with him and "leave" her 7 children. More than a week ago, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. And just like every "new mom", she wants the best for her baby; has big dreams for her little man and wanting to give him the best that she could give.

A baby is always a blessing.

I believe that babies are like mornings. They are God's way of telling us that He has not given up on us (mankind) yet. Therefore I say, a baby is always a blessing, no matter what. The newborn babies were the first one to greet me when I entered the door of Nazareth Home. My heart melted as I looked at them. So precious. Then I got to meet and hold the little man of Mommy H. He is so handsome! As much as Mommy H loves him, sadly she cannot keep him. She has lots of "what ifs" in her mind. However, she is thinking of entrusting him to someone or a couple who will be able to provide for her little man. With this thought she is also hoping that one day she will see him again. As I listened to her, my tears just welled up in my eyes and began to trickle down my cheeks. I could feel the pain inside. Looking at her baby I felt like he was my own and couldn't bear the fact that he'd be taken away from her. All I could say at that time was, "You know, baby ____ is a blessing to you. Let's ask the Lord to show you what His perfect will for you and baby ___. I know He only wants the best for both of you."

Adorable Babies

One can always extend a helping hand.

Although I brought some "gifts" for the "girls" of Nazareth Home, at that time I felt like those were not enough. More than the material blessings, I believe they also need emotional support and spiritual guidance. Before I said goodbye to Mommy H and her little man, I offered to pray for them. I knew it was the best gift that I could give them. I also assured her that I would be praying for her and the baby even after that event.

When I came home I told my husband about the event and my one-on-one moment with Mommy H. I expressed my desire to go back to Nazareth Home and give whatever we could to Mommy H and her little man. I'm so blessed to have a husband who does not only believe in me but supports me. One of these days I'll go back to Nazareth Home together with my husband and our baby.

I Heart Being a Mom event was a new and first one for me. I am so thankful that I had been chosen to be one of the mommy bloggers to witness (and blog) it. Thank you JLo for making this possible. Heartfelt gratitude also goes to those who helped and supported this event.

Sisters' Sweetness

M Catering & Fine Foods
Party Boosters
King Sue Ham
Tickled Moms
Digital Filipino

Mommy Bloggers together with Ms. Mae (Resource Speaker)

I hope that this is not the last. I am looking forward to seeing (and being a part) of more cause-oriented and blog worthy events.