Faith Restored

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Anyone who knows me like family is fully aware of my fear of hospitals, doctors, injections, and almost any health-related stuff for that matter. It was because of a traumatic experience at the hospital when I was barely two years old. Ever since I can remember, I would get chills and palpitations whenever I’m inside a hospital.

To cope with it, I have already decided since the start of my pregnancy to visit my OB at her home clinic and not at the hospital, despite the wonderful airconditioning system hospitals provided. 😉

I’ve been on and off a bad cough for a few months now, and while the first few weeks weren’t quite alarming as I was just advised to drink plenty of water and eat citrus fruits, these days proved to be more dreadful because of the merciless summer heat and my growing tummy that gets way too painful whenever I cough.

This is the first time I’ve had a cough that lasted more than a month. You don’t call it a viral infection anymore — so my nurse friends say, but I was so afraid to be prescribed of antibiotics because we know how expectant mothers shouldn’t take them, right?

Anyway, since I’m already 22 weeks on the way, I decided to just visit a pulmonologist and get this cough over with. I was supposed to go to the doctor last Wednesday, but was disappointed that the doctor had such an early cutoff. Imagine, his clinic hours were 4pm to 6pm, but all slots were already filled by 4:15!

You know how two people are not meant to meet each other? Well, that’s me and that doctor.

Which proved to be the best for scaredy-cat me after all.

For someone who’s afraid of hospitals, checkups are the biggest challenges.

Today I went to the hospital 15 minutes earlier than the doctor’s clinic hours. I’ve had an awful experience with the HMO, so I took care of that first. So far, so good. Got my form in a matter of minutes.

I went to the doctor’s clinic and was relieved that there were only 7 patients before me and clinic hours were far from over. The best part? The waiting area was airconditioned and was just the right temperature for me. You see, that floor is divided into two — the airconditioned area and the natural air-ventilated area. And for some reason, the doctor I was supposed to visit early in the week was in the less comfortable side.

Upon consultation with the doctor, who has aged beautifully from my first consultation with her 5 years ago, I was kinda sure she was keeping herself from giving me a good scolding. “3 months ka nang inuubo, tapos tubig at fruits ka lang?!” Err, uhm… 😅😂 It was like getting reprimanded by my grandma who’s a former teacher. It feels good getting scolded by grandmothers sometimes. I think it was mainly because I was pregnant that pissed her off. 😂

After a series of inhale-exhales, the doctor told me to get an X-ray; she said I didn’t have to worry because the baby’s already five months in my tummy. I asked for approval at the HMO, and for the second time, it was unbelievably quick of them to release the form.

I went to the radiology department and was warmly accommodated by the staff who told me to wait outside X-ray Room 1. The attending technician approached me and asked if I was the pregnant patient. She was so kind as to provide me with 3 levels of shield, as I would like to call it, to cover my tummy from radiation. She was also talking to me throughout the procedure which made me feel more at ease.

Right after the x-ray, the technician told me to get the results on Monday, 5 pm. I responded with a hesitant, “Ay, sa Monday pa…” I guess she had a hunch that my pulmo wanted the results today, so she told me that she would just have the results printed out in a few minutes.

At that moment, I just thought, Wow, where’s all this favor coming from? 

For some reason, I suddenly had the urge to take a look at the shirt I was wearing, then it struck me. On it was written: I AM A CHILD OF GOD in Chasing Embers font. Of course! How could I forget? Being a child of God means being highly favored — that I am sure of.

Out came my x-ray results. The whole procedure, including the waiting, took only 20 minutes. There’s God’s favor right there. I went back to the doctor with less worries.

The doctor looked at the print out and muttered, “Okay naman pala…” Man, those words were the only ones I needed to hear. 😏 Plus, her mood has already lightened up. Haha. I was expecting my asthma had come back to haunt me — thank God it didn’t. I was prescribed with an antibiotic, Cefuroxime, which was generally safe for pregnant women, and Fluimucil, one of the best medications I’ve had in my life. 😁 

I went out of the clinic with a smile plastered on my face — a smile of relief, one might think, but it was actually a smile of gratefulness. God has indeed placed His hand on every part of my hospital experience today. Not only has He reminded me of His sovereignty in my life, He has also been gradually restoring my faith in doctors, hospitals, and hospital staff. ❤

Before the x-ray procedure, I was scared for my baby as much as I was for my traumatized self. But after the whole ordeal-turned-faith-restoration-process, if you ask me, now I am fully certain that my baby will be a bouncy and healthy one. How do I know? Because I am a child of God. 

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What happens on May 9?

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Our choice of president is determined by the things we value most. Sadly, we cannot find all the best qualities in any one candidate.

So it all boils down to this: do we choose diplomacy over discipline? Words over actions? Intellect over experience?

What do we want our country to be known for? Do we want a president that we can be proud of internationally? Someone who has good ties with other countries? Someone who is intellectually competent? Someone knowledgeable about military techniques and crime fighting? Someone who understands the needs of his countrymen? Or do we want a leader who sets a good example by placing himself on the job and experiencing it for himself?

I don’t know about you, but everything I mentioned above is important to me. However, it is hard for me to follow a leader who leads from a pedestal, who does only the talking but not the walking, who is all wits but without heart.

So my vote goes to that one candidate who dwells with the masses, speaks without pretenses, leads his constituents while living a simple life, and keeps his town safe at the expense of his own safety.

I want a president who is not afraid to die — because maybe, just maybe, because of him, many would become a little braver to fight, and die, for our beloved country.

I have a dream…

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A few months back, a friend asked us in our care group to complete a dream mobile where we had to write down our short-term and long-term goals.

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My dream mobile.

Here’s what I wrote.

Short-term goal: Take educ units and eventually take the Licensure Exam for Teachers. That’s because I figured that it’s easier to finish educ units than a master’s degree. 👌

5-year goal: Have a baby. Or babies. Whichever. Haha! After my miscarriage earlier this year, I realized I didn’t have any plans with regards to our future children, so I decided to officially include “babies” in my to-do list. 😛

Long-term goal: Have our own house and visit Korea. Ever since I started teaching ESL to Koreans, I’ve been dreaming of going to Korea to experience their life and culture — and to practice my speaking as well. It’s been quite a while, and new slang words are being introduced every day. I think it would be great if tables were turned and I was the student in a foreign country. I can only imagine!

So how am I faring with my goals?

No, I don’t wanna talk about it. I’m not even halfway through my short-term goal!

FIVE YEARS

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Certficate of Recognition awarded today.

It has been a very good and fruitful 5 years. I’m still unsure of the path the Lord wants me to take, but I guess I have one more school year to figure it out. 👌

And with that, I am dedicating this blog post to the past five years of lessons and challenges, of trials and triumphs, of heartaches and happiness, of learning, growing, and dreaming. 😄

Of Desserts and Sweets

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Coffee Chiffon Crunch, Mango Cupcake and Red Velvet Cupcake

I’m not much of a sweets person. It may look like the other way around, but it’s actually the husband who’s a dessert junkie. So now, you basically have an idea who finished our orders. ✌

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The husband looks happy with our cakes. ✌

Just recently, a pastry shop and specialty restaurant opened in Imus. It’s very near the city hall and the city plaza where we usually hang out — it’s like the street food district of Imus, so having this new resto is a fresh addition to our growing number of hangout choices.

Initially, my mom wanted us to try Arlene’s sans rival. She said it’s like nothing she’s tasted before, so of course we were intrigued. However, just before we entered, the owner, Arlene, was outside and told us they didn’t have sans rival today. Well, so much for my mom’s over the top marketing. 😛

Anyhow, we settled with the toffee chiffon crunch (or whatever it’s called), the mango and the red velvet cupcakes.

The cake didn’t look appealing at first, but when I tried tasting it, it was actually a bit moist! I liked the toffee on top best. Haha.

The cupcakes were not too sweet, so I liked them, but because of the texture being not too soft, I felt that after finishing half a cupcake, it was slowly turning bland. Had it not been because of the icing, I would have stopped eating because I was actually very full from our dinner. I guess that’s also one of the reasons why I was being so picky with the cupcakes. 😥

While prices range from 100 – 250 pesos, their food and dessert choices will not let you down.

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Arlene's is just perfect for crafters and hobbyists, right?

Arlene’s also boasts of a youthful yet elegant feel. The interiors are in playful colors — even their drinking glasses are quite colorful, which gives me much delight.

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Arlene's entrance

I’m guessing I’ll be coming back to this place soon. ❤

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Happy me!

My Top Philippine Drama List

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I’m not a fan of Philippine drama series, so it amazes me when people can actually talk non-stop about the latest episode of their favorite teleserye. Pinoy dramas have either very predictable plots – complete with exchanged children at birth, kidnapping, delayed police response, and guns – or are too Americanized, adapting Western culture when it comes to fashion and work environment, and showcasing quite a liberated interpretation of dating and being in a relationship.

Am I conservative? Maybe, but do you actually expect a woman dressed in skimpy shorts to go to the office and be treated with courtesy and professionalism? I don’t think so. And no, the Philippines does not yet tolerate a rather generous display of skin and flesh roaming around her streets.

And because I’m done with the mediocrity of our own teleseryes, it becomes such a joy when I hear of a new series that promises a story out of the usual Mara Clara twist and ending.

Here are the series that topped my list:

1. On the Wings of Love
Cast: James Reid and Nadine Lustre

Yes, I’m feeling #SepAnx right now. OTWOL is the only legit Kapamilya teleserye I have watched ever since Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa starred in the original Pangako Sa ‘Yo — well, partly because the TV at my parents’ house couldn’t catch the ABS-CBN signal. 😛

No other teleserye, apart from Korean drama, has stirred my emotions the way OTWOL did — to the point that I chose not to watch for more than 2 weeks because of the extreme hate I felt for Simon, that scumbag!

I also liked the use of symbolism throughout the story — the doves, the barriers that were prominent whenever conflict arose. Pampu/Mekeni had a follow-through in the ending, which made me think, “Wow, this series was well thought of.”

While there were a lot of kissing scenes between Clark and Leah, the scenes didn’t look forced. I wouldn’t say it was Americanized, because after all, the setting was in the US, so it was natural for people there to just… go all the way.

The show also focused on the Filipino family, and that is something we have to be proud of.

And then, there was the very redundant “Pag mahal ka, babalikan ka.” Well, it served its purpose, to the doves and to the main actors. 👌

Proud OTWOLista here!

2. My Husband’s Lover
Cast: Tom Rodriguez, Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana

This series changed the way I looked at GMA shows. Although I am not in favor of same-sex marriage, I did not feel offended or violated when I watched the show. MHL had a great way of delivering a neutral message to its viewers.

What I like best about it, apart from Tom’s smile, is the cinematography. Even the scenes that did not need any dialog but had every detail in place for the viewers to understand, or even wonder about. Its focus on the present was a relief from the obligatory flashbacks we often see on TV.

Same old stories, no matter how good the actors are, get boring over time. Sometimes, we just have to hand it over to the new breed of actors and directors – thanks to their creativity, we get to enjoy innovation in our teleseryes.

PS. Are you looking for number 3 and so on? Sorry, only 2 made this list. 😛

Faith Lessons and Others in between

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1 Peter 1:6-7 pretty much sums up what happened to me during the last three weeks. The whole pregnancy and miscarriage ordeal sure brought to light what I’ve been missing all this time. Here are 5 lessons I have learned through this experience:

1. God has woven in me the perfect temperament, and I couldn’t ask for anything more, or less. I mean, I’ve heard of stories from friends who had miscarriages. Most of them went through mild depression, self-pity, and different stages of anger and hate. I, on the other hand, spent almost a day dwelling on our loss; nevertheless, I was able to get back up after a quick devotion and talk with the Lord. Had I been a Melancholy, I would have sulked for weeks, overthinking why I had to experience such demise. I am just overwhelmed at how God has put everything in my life in order, and how He made me just as I am – a Sanguine Choleric who lives for the day and possesses all the hope in the world.

2. In times of crisis, I can actually be strong — very strong. Most people who know me from childhood would disagree. I know they see me as a huge coward who’s scared stupid of cockroaches, frogs and rats — yep, I know that. And I don’t deny that I am scared of a whole lot of things, the future included. I’m afraid of physical pain — needles, getting fractured, getting terribly sick and every single thing that needs medical attention. Only after the day of my miscarriage and when one of my aunts told me that I was indeed very brave to deal with the situation — and the contractions — alone did I realize that yeah, I could actually forget my fears and deal with the circumstances head on.

3. I am We are blessed with very supportive and loving friends and family.

4. My ordeals develop faith in others. In the past week, I have been receiving some very encouraging messages from friends and family — most of whom I didn’t even expect to be updated about my condition. A particular message touched my heart when this acquaintance-turned-good-friend shared that like me, she was not yet ready to have a baby. After reading my blog post, she said that “[my] experience really inspired [her] a lot, especially when [ I ] started talking about ‘faith.'” According to her, “if it is in God’s time already, who are we to refuse His gift?” Her message brought me to tears, and I couldn’t help but thank God for allowing me to experience this miscarriage so that other couples and soon-to-be mothers will be strengthened through me. Truly, this faith resulted in praise, glory and honor of Jesus.

Not only that. Even people who do not usually mention God’s name miraculously did so in their efforts to encourage me, probably because they knew I am a Christian. But hey, they must have mustered all their strength just to type G-O-D! And for that, all glory belongs to Him, the author and perfecter of our faith. 🙌

5. Lastly, when on social media, many people take things at face value. They do not really take time, or might not have time, to read everything posted. They see things as WYSIWYG — and that’s quite dangerous, especially when the appropriate word to say is sorry, but they blurt out a big congratulations. 😛 Oops, don’t worry. I’m fine with the congratulatory messages, contrary to what others might think. It’s not in my DNA to get offended over simple and petty things like forgotten greetings or wrong choice of words. There is so much more to life than holding grudges. 👌

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory. — 1 Peter 1:7 MSG