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.

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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

Ending My 8-Week Struggle

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If there is one thing I am not prepared for at this moment, it is motherhood.

Please don’t mistake my unpreparedness for not wanting to have a child. I do want to have children. In fact, I’ve got their names listed already, just in case Jets forgets them or their spellings.

My struggle started in December when I started experiencing different kinds of pain in my body. I thought I was just going to have my period, but it didn’t come. I scratched off the thought of being pregnant, because hey, we were very careful, and I was wary enough to take note of my fertile period. No way, I said to myself, it was too early.

However, as much as I wanted not to be pregnant, all those cravings came rather frequently. I still thought it was just a sign of PMS. One time, I badly wanted a burger from The Black Apartment. I went there with the husband hungry and excited. We even ordered buffalo wings because we were that famished. Our orders came, and after finishing half of my burger, the patty lost its appeal and I just didn’t want to eat anymore. It was rather unusual because I could usually finish a TBA burger no matter how big it was.

Chopsuey, on the other hand, is the one thing I didn’t want to get near to — chopsuey from Foods ‘R’ Us, to be specific. Just the thought of it made be nauseous. Aaaargh, these hormones!

January came and I still didn’t have my period. I felt that something was growing inside me, not to mention all the discomforts that came with it. I googled everything I was feeling, and indeed, they were signs of pregnancy. Would you believe I even incurred patchy alopecia areata, and it was also a sign of pregnancy?

Oh, it was the hardest time of my life. For four weeks, nobody knew, all because I had a hard time accepting this reality.

Gradually, Jets noticed that I wasn’t having my monthly dysmenorrhea episodes and he began questioning me if I’ve had my period already. He was quite sure that I might be pregnant, so he was pushing me to take a pregnancy test. I tried to buy time and was fairly successful. I wanted to take the test when I was ready, even though I already had two PTs in my hands, courtesy of the school nurse.

Before taking the test, I wrestled with God — yes, the same wrestling Jacob experienced. My devotions in Hebrews were a constant reminder to put my full trust in the Lord, but I was still in denial. I tried to reason with God that with the monthly income that we have, we are not capable of giving our baby the best of everything. It was all I was worried about — how we didn’t have enough. I mean, we could barely get through a month’s expenses. How much more if there was an addition to the family?

The hardest part these past weeks was knowing exactly the key to ending my struggle but not being able to apply it because my fears were larger than my faith.

But God never gave up on me. He continued to encourage me through my devotions.

Jesus is the same always. – Heb 1:12

God helps His children. – Heb. 2:16

Fix your thoughts on Jesus. Do not harden your heart. – Heb 3:1,7

When the Lord makes a promise, He never changes His mind. – Heb. 7:21

Leave without knowing where to go. – Heb. 11:8

Those who have faith will enter God’s rest. – Heb. 4:3

And that was it. I was struggling because I didn’t have faith. I couldn’t sleep and be at peace because I didn’t trust God enough to let Him do His work in my life.

My struggle was not about how I was scared and unprepared for the coming of a baby. My struggle was about faith — faith that I failed to put into action. I let the control freak in me overcome my gift to move mountains. Because I was so engrossed with setting everything in place, I soon forgot that God’s will should first be in place, and everything would just follow.

I ended my faith struggle with a larger faith – a faith that allows my plans to be shaken and my life to be messy and disorganized.

On January 27, I took the test and accepted that I was indeed pregnant.

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On January 30, Jets’ birthday, we went to the doctor for a check-up. It was my birthday gift to him, because he was very excited to have a baby. The doctor suggested to have an ultrasound because, she said, she couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat.

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I didn’t know what to feel, but I went in anyway and had my very first ultrasound. I even asked Jets to come with me since I wanted him to get everything the doctor says.

As I looked at the monitor, the doctor pointed at the sac and the embryo. I thought I was smiling that time, seeing that tiny dot inside my tummy.

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The sonologist called Jets in so she could explain it further. I saw the look on his face as the doctor pointed at the embryo — it was priceless. That’s when I realized that I could actually go through all this, even the pain of child-bearing, if it meant seeing my husband’s incomparable joy every single day.

However, his facial expression slowly turned from hopeful to hopeless, as the doctor explained that the embryo had no heartbeat, no cardiac activity.

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My ultrasound results.

I was emotionless, but I felt the devastation that came upon Jets that exact time.

It’s been 2 days since that check-up, and it’s almost like my conscience is telling me that it’s my fault — that the baby didn’t have a heartbeat because I didn’t want it first.

I don’t know what will happen next, but right now, I am just fixing my eyes on Jesus, overlooking all my struggles, worries, and fears. Whatever the Lord allows to happen, I think He has already prepared me with a larger, more encompassing faith than before.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… – Heb. 12:2a

PS. As of posting today, February 5, the embryo came out this morning after a 3-hour contraction. It was the most grueling 3 hours of my life, and Jets wasn’t even home. But God is good — He helped me through it.

Tomorrow, we will be going to my OB for her next advice regarding my condition. Thank you for all your prayers. God has other plans, and we know they’re for the better. 😄