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LIVE UP God's Dream 4

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LIVE UP God's dreams. L-Lean, listen and learn. I- Infuse reality with grace. V-Voice out truth. E-Embrace servanthood.

U - Unceasingly Watch and Pray. The way to God's dream is narrow and difficult, and there are only few who finds it (Matthew 7:14). It is so narrow and steep that no one can get there without casting aside all encumbrances, baggage or own agendas; and only by taking hold of the rope that God provides, can it be made passable. UP. "I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- from where comes my help. My help comes from the Lord..." (Psalm 121:1,2)

One favorite writer described the journey this way: 

LIVE UP God's Dream 3

There's a common thread to living up to God's dream. LIVE UP!

L - Lean, Listen and Learn. We just don't drift in life. We learn and we become who we lean into, and listen to. Though we absorb life lessons in different ways, we need to move past just being copy/past learners or even a paraphraser and into a transformed learner, willing to learn to be transformed by the Master Teacher, the One who can only transform lives.

I - Infuse Reality with Grace. God dreams that we live in His grace--- for our reality, our everyday, our present, our today. Accepting God's grace moves us from our past and turns our today into a blessing, a present from heaven indeed. With His grace infused into every corner of our lives, we can be gracious with those around us, including even ourselves. We are able to forgive for we have been forgiven. We can give for heaven has given us everything in Christ Jesus. We can even give of ourselves, care and love for we know that God takes care of our…

LIVE UP God's Dream 2

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If we want God's dreams, we got to LIVE UP.

To live up is to do life with the aim of moving on to a higher ground.

To live up is to intentionally be full of life despite circumstances or people pulling us down.

To live up is to come alive and remain alive in God's truth, His presence, His power.

To live up is to know and believe that our help only comes from above, that our blessings can only flow out from the good heart of God, and our very lives come from His own poured out life.

LIVE UP God's Dream 1

I wrote this blog post long before Haiyan storm came. And I was ready to publish it. But for some reason, something just kept me from doing it. Now, I understand. God has a far better message for us. And I had to live through that message first before I can share it with you. I am not playing up my part in this message, for I know I am just a mere instrument. So if ever my weaknesses or deficiency in words, or my human failings are evident through my writing, I hope you pass them by, and read instead God's wonderful message. He loves us and He wants more than just mediocre lives out of us. He wants to see us through our potentials and live up to His dreams for us. He wants us blessed.

In case you haven't read the first part of this blog, it may be best for you to read it first. Here's the link: Living God's Dream.

Beyond the Storm: Love

Where God leads, He provides.

As my sister, Myrel, keeps on saying, she and the kids made it through to a safer place through God's providence. The whole experience was like crossing a raging river without a stepping stone in sight, but every time they took a step a stepping stone comes up for their feet to step on. And so, getting out of Tacloban was made possible through God's guiding hand and His love was evident in all His provision for the survivors' needs.

Three days after Haiyan, with no food, no water, no electricity, no clothes, violence breaking out in the city and citizens cowering inside their broken homes with any weapon they could find to protect themselves from intruders, everything wet and dirty, and the children-survivors needing medical help and none to find, my sister decided to get out of Tacloban. But how?


Beyond the Storm: Hope

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(A simple account of how three kids survived typhoon Haiyan.)

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me, He drew me out of deep waters" (Psalm 18:16).

A monster storm was coming! Okay.

For most people in the Philippines, we get to experience storms not just once, but even more than there are fingers on our hands and toes on our feet. But everyone was warned that this one was going to be a terrible one. So everyone prepared.

Beyond the Storm: Faith

Faith is the reality of what we hope for,  the proof of what we don't see. Hebrews 11:1
I am a mother of a Haiyan typhoon survivor. Actually, I am a mother, an aunt, a sister and a daughter of real people victimized by this Monster Storm. I didn't expect to be one.
Nor do I hope or ever want to be. Or even wish it on anyone.

Train Up a Child

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

With all the profusion of parenting advices (and seeming, experts), this is still the best parenting advice. Ever. It's not only an advice, but it's almost up there with the other commandments, especially for parents and guardians. It is so important, that any parent who misses this will probably miss their child for life. I mean this to say that if this is the only thing that parents know about parenting, then they are on to something that is absolutely right.

Living God's Dream

When it comes to dreams, there was no better dreamer than Joseph.

When we dream, we often dream with our eyes open, but Joseph dreamed with eyes closed. We love to daydream, don't we? As for Joseph, his dreams came from the Revealer of dreams (Genesis 37:5-9) Himself. There he was, not understanding what the dreams were all about, but he humbly submitted to the dream God has for him. And it worked. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1Peter 5:6). An ingredient to dreams that always work.

What's My Name?

I could not imagine how important one's name is. Until now.

We have been working on my visa so I can stay for a longer period of time here in Russia. My kids are young and they need care. It has been difficult with them not having a mom for three months or so. It has been more difficult for my husband having to both work and take care of them, and not having a wife himself. And knowing all these is even a lot more difficult on me, when I know that I am supposed to be doing my role as a wife and mother to my family.

An Ordinary Man (or Woman)

An ordinary man, who has given his heart, life and ALL to God, is extraordinary. He has recklessly abandoned self to Christ, surrendered his will and wishes, and taken up the dream and life God has for him. He is living a bigger-than-life adventure. Everything he does touches lives. Everything he says is filled with wisdom and life. Everywhere he goes he leaves traces of God.

See it for yourself... 2 Corinthians 4:6-10, 6: 9-10

Simply God-made (Happy birthday, Sunshine!)

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I missed the fifth birthday of my little sunshine. My second, actually. Last year as she celebrated her birthday, I was in Korea and she was in Russia. This year, she is in the Philippines and I am in Russia. Besides that, I couldn't afford to give her any gift this year. I feel so sorry, yet knowing her, I know she will continue to be a ray of sunshine to those around her. And that's why I couldn't help but count the many gifts that she has brought into my life since we were together (almost 9 months of being in my belly, 5 years and a few days since her birth).

On Burned Soup

My daughter was hungry. She was cranky and in desperate need of her midday nap. So I heated the soup for her lunch. While it was doing so, a thought came to my head that oh-so-desperately needed to find expression!

I ran to the computer, scrambled around for the keyboard and mouse, and started typing. While I was still forming the thought into words, my daughter tried to get my attention, whining about something that I cannot remember now. What I do remember is, the smell of smoke. I wrinkled my nose, and was disgusted at the neighbors for not keeping their cigarette smoke to themselves. All the while, I told my little girl to stop whining and just wait patiently for lunch, while I tried to desperately compose and type my thoughts into the computer. 

Then it hit me. I have left a pot of soup on the burner!

Walking with the Ultimate Parent

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I love walking. It's one of my happy things to do. And I like that walking is often the most used metaphor of life.

Today, I went walking with my three year old daughter. We went to the city park, which is just a few minutes walk from where we live.

We followed a less trodden dirt path with no idea where it was leading. The ground was a bit mushy from yesterday's rain, but we continued on that path for I know it'd do us some good to go on some tiny bit of adventure even if it's just in walking. So it was with much excitement that I welcomed the idea of going into a forest when we entered some sort of wooded area. It was dark and the scent of musk permeates the air. As we walked under the trees, I barely noticed the muddy ground where we were walking and my now-very-dirty sneakers. I had my senses on the green, lofty, sun-dappled trees swaying in the breeze. I could even see glistening cystal-like dewdrops on some of the leaves. It was so enchanting and I was highly fa…

Get Understanding

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Been quite awhile since my last post. Well, I did say August was a busy month in my other post.
I have been busy getting back here in Russia. Yes, I'm back.  So... Zdrasti!

There was a time when I believed that to give my children the best education, I had to home school them. And I did. But our circumstances threw my best intentions helter-skelter. That was when I asked, "Lord, what do you want to do for my children?" I know my plans and my intentions for my children are good, but I have come to realize that God's plans for them are the best. To harshly impose what I want may bring out good outcomes, but then, there won't be enough space for the Holy Spirit to move in their lives that the best of what God has for them may never happen.

Living a Miracle

"Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder."  ~Abraham Lincoln of his marriage to M. Todd, 1842
Marriage is a miracle.What else can you call it when two imperfect people, coming from two different planets (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, remember?), having different preferences, points of view, body parts (ahem), past times, favorites like pizza, pasta, pillow size and softness (okay, enough), come together and become perfect for each other? What else?

It's a miracle when...

Do what you love... And why

I enjoy writing though I haven't  had any formal training, nor any professional experience. I haven't written a book. I haven't gotten any money from what I have written. I don't even know if what I write matters. But I write out of the sheer joy of writing. And I will keep on writing. This blog came about out of my own enjoyment of seeing my thoughts come alive in the written word. And I praise God that I got this far in blogging. This month is the first anniversary of my blog The Road Home--- which are snippets of life, of traveling with God, and of finding Home in Him.

"Life is hard." So goes the first three words of the book The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck.

When Fire Makes Steel

I don't enjoy uncertainty. And I sure don't invite adversity. For one, they make my heart thump faster, my chest tighter, my breathing quicker and my stomach all churnish with just a single thought of them. Just too much stress. Gets me all depressed.

It's almost a year now since we have moved from the country where we had our first rented homes. Yet, we are still faced with the uncertainty of where our family's home really is and of what to do. Until now we are caught between Russia and the Philippines. One child goes to school in Russia, the other one in the Philippines, and the youngest is simply flying from one country to the other as she's still too young to go to school.

For certain, uncertainty is part of life.

Blessed to Give

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Last Monday was Ella's birthday. I have prepared birthday celebrations for my kids with more budget than we had that day. But by far, this was the best...

I have read about celebrities and rich people celebrating their birthdays with the less fortunate, giving a portion of what they have, and their act of giving is oh-so-inspiring. However, for many normal people, celebrating the way they do remains a wishful thinking...

I Feel Like a Cow!

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Having a baby is one of the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman. I really love it. I love newborns. 

My baby smelled heavenly of milk and that special baby smell. He looked divine with rolls of fat on his legs and tiny toes on his feet. I just adored my baby.

But after a week of being home with just him and the incessant demands of feeding (I was solely breast feeding), I happened to look at myself in the mirror during one of his naps and… 

I felt what I saw there. I saw a woman wearing a loose, milk-stained shirt with uncombed, clumps of matted dirty hair. She obviously needed a shower. But when can she have it? Anytime now that little adorable baby might wake up and look for his momma. The shower could wait. Then I smelled her. Wow! It was like milk was oozing out of her pores! And I couldn't help but exclaim, "What a cow!" I smelled like a cow, I looked like a cow, and I felt like a cow! 

Moooo! And I chuckled. I laughed at myself. Alone.

So this is what mother…

To Drink or Not to Drink

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"Sorry, I don't drink." 

I'm not sure how many times I had to say that line in just one evening. It was the night my husband introduced me to his friends. And for the most part, socializing usually involves a little bit of drinking or eating while talking. It would be too awkward when the talking gets a little too slow and one is left with just twiddling thumbs or gulping air.

Far, Yet So Near

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I kissed and hugged my husband goodbye. Most days it was to see him off to work. At other times, it was to wish him a good time fishing or hunting. But we knew this time was different. I would be gone with the girls with no definite plans of coming back. Yes, we were leaving Russia, but we knew we were coming back. When? Nobody knew. (But I'm sure God does.)

I left Russia with a heavy heart, yet hopeful, knowing that I will see my dear husband and son again.

Happy Place

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This is going to be a short post. Yay! I can almost hear you shout.

Where is your happy place? Physically, we get worn out and we often can't wait to get home to find rest. Emotionally, where do you go? Some find comfort in food. (Beware!) Others, in activities. I do, too. But I have found that being in a certain place is a sure way to get me back to my happy. Here they are in any order.

Woods. 

I have to admit that I saw a photograph that a friend shared on Facebook, and 'happy place' came to mind. It was a picture of an unpaved road, with tall trees and green grasses on both sides. Looking at the pic, I could almost hear the silence, with only the sound of my footsteps as I imagined myself walking on that road, crunching the leaves underfoot, with the wind softly blowing on the leaves of the trees and on my face. I could almost smell the fresh, clean air until...

I smelled the neighbor's food cooking, wafting through my window and I was brought to where I really was. Ah,…

Imitators

It's fun watching little Ella follow everything that her big cousin is doing. Like, he would say, "Alright, alright! I will eat my vegetables!" while throwing up his hands in the air. She would copy it right to the throwing of hands while saying, "Awight, awight! E-eat wewewol!" We laugh. He would do and say something else, and she would do and say it in her own cute way. And we laugh harder.

Children are great imitators.They are good in copying almost anything that adults do. You should see the girls wearing my shoes, my lipstick, writing on my precious notebooks, singing like crazy, and preaching at me.

Eyes to Behold

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I am currently looking more like an absent-minded professor, not because my hair is all over the place (which is quite normal when one seldom uses the comb or hair brush, like I do), but because I am sporting a pair of glasses that's obviously taped on one side of the handles. Yeah, with one of the handles broken, the glasses might as well be broken as I will still have to get a new pair for replacement.

However, husband said that I will have to wait for when I get back to Russia to get new glasses as he wants to be around when I am choosing the new ones. He doesn't like the pair that I am wearing now and he cannot trust my judgment for the reason that I don't have style. He wants to make sure that I don't go overboard with my 'unusual' style and embarrass him by walking around with a star-shaped, glitterati pair.

I admit I could at most times be eccentric, but it is mostly on my line of thinking and philosophy, and not much on style. Currently, I have the leopar…

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

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Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV)

I have written an account about my imperfections in Far From Perfect and have tried to make light of them. Months after, it is still my most popular post. I don't know why, but I can only guess that it is because many can relate to our desire to be perfect, yet time and again we fumble, stumble and fall. And I can also guess that by now many of us are barely clinging through our New Year's resolutions and some may even have totally quit and abandoned ship. I understand. (This coming from a "no-resolution" gal, after having been disappointed by my own imperfect self lots of times.)

Today, however, I am coming from a more hopeful place. And I wish to take you with me.

Most mornings, now that my older daughter is going to school, I sing my anthem. It goes like this, "The joy of the Lord is my strength. My mouth is full of laughter --- hahahahaha.  Hahahahahahaha-ha-hallelujah!" And mind …

Speak Love

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Hello! Prevyet! Anyeong! Maayo! Maupay! Mabuhay!
Languages are fascinating. Learning them may be daunting, but after some time and lots of effort, speaking them can be truly empowering and liberating. Not that I know a lot. 

My family has to learn a few important languages, though, which I hope will increase in number as they grow up and help their world get bigger. Because I believe learning to speak other languages not only expands our mind but also our experiences and life. 

We started out in Korea, (our first temporary home and the birthplace of our children), and currently, we are between Russia and the Philippines (figure it out...:D), which are, by the way, ours by natural heritage. We learned to love languages and have become more open to learning and speaking them. At home, wherever it may be, we speak plenty of English, mixed in with Korean and Russian, with a smattering of Visayan (a mix of dialects from the Visayas region of the Philippines).

We left Korea last year for Russia…

Hi. My name is Happy.

After being away for more than seven years from my home country, Philippines, I am back to stay for awhile, living life Philippine-style; preferring to eat green, sour mangoes than the over-ripe yellow ones. I am back to riding jeepneys with drivers who are horn-happy, honking all the way to the destination, bouncing up and down in motorcycles and pedicabs (pedal cabs... can you picture it?) on roads as smooth as the face of a moon. And most of all, I am back to enjoying the sun as much as I can, everyday.

The wet season, though, is coming and with it comes a lot of strong winds and rain, with thunder and lightning. Just like yesterday. We were cooped up at home, just listening to the sound of thunder and watching from the windows the falling rain as they make large, big puddles.

I am a rain person.

Thirty Six

Today is my day. I am thirty-six.

I was six when I was so sure I knew my numbers. I tried to impress my mom by writing out all the numbers I knew at that age. I am certain that I knew even up to a hundred. But now, I can see that I don't have the natural stamina to crunch numbers and I didn't get to finish that project. My mom understood me though. However, that should have warned me about getting a degree based solely on a personal dare. (I've got an accounting degree, but the number challenge has waned.)

First, Second, Third

It has been awhile. Life has been busy with many things distracting my attention from what really occupies my heart. I had been feeling heavy, and when I do, it is harder to make sense of things and to put them down either on paper or here on my blog. Besides, I don't want to mess up with your own heart, friends, or even with your minds.
So bravely today, I am going to try to sort out with the mess inside and to see what goes and who stays. Just like spring cleaning!

On Fishing, Fire and Breakfast

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There is one thing I want more than other things. It is to be with my family: doing life together, worshiping and serving God together. Now for the third time, I have to leave my family again. I have failed for the umpteenth time to get a residence visa in Russia after working so hard for it. This visa would have allowed me to stay with my family for a longer time and be able to work and serve as a missionary.

We are feeling the rejection and disappointment. It hurts. The uncertainty makes us churlish and we don't like it. There is nothing pleasant about losing and failing.

Uncomplicated

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I saw this immaculate row of plates filled with neatly cut vegetables. The table where they were on was tidy and attractive. A promo guy was demonstrating how they came to be-- the neatly cut vegetables and the tidy table. I watched in awe as he 'cut' a whole carrot in just a few minutes, without making any mess. Wow! It was totally out of MY world!

When I work in the kitchen, expect some damage and casualty like you would do during a war. Vegetables fly around while I try to contain my uncontrolled chopping and slicing. Kitchen utensils fall down or jump around like there's zero or double gravity. I am a wild, undomesticated cook. Usually, after the cooking is done, you can imagine the kitchen to be a very off-putting place to dine.

Creating Haven

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All around we are encouraged to 'flaunt it', 'show it', and display whatever we've got (and even what we don't have) ostentatiously.

However, one of my favorite passages in the Bible says: "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Fret not about anything; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:4-6) We are encouraged to live simple and modest lives, for the reason that God's light within us may shine supreme.
In creating a haven for ourselves, we don't need to waste resources or spend money foolishly just to satisfy whatever takes our fancy. There is an economical and creative way in obtaining that, which we will find out is more satisfactory than just giving in to our whims.
Living modestly doesn't mean that we will renounce quality, beauty and style. Rather, it is a vow to live creat…

Maintenance

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There are some things that women need to do regularly, faithfully. It's what we call maintenance. It takes a huge cut out of our lives and could be painful at times. 

Surprisingly,  in the age in which we don't do most things on our own but instead pay others to do it for us, we could choose to happily spend our whole lives doing it. The better word for this is, pampering. The rich and famous indulge themselves this way and professed that it drives stress away. And we, who are not, could just not help but try it ourselves. When we get into the habit, we become high maintenance. We enjoy it so immensely that we couldn't live without it... or leave the house without all the works.

His Will

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Contemplating on God's kingdom, I can say that...


So I say, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Amen!

My Desire

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I grew up in conflict. I mean, I fought with my sisters, I fought with my brother, I fought with my parents. It's something I am not proud of. When I became more mature, that matter became a reason of embarrassment for me. Maybe it is my loud mouth or my foul temper, but whatever it is, I so easily get myself into relationship troubles with people.

Most people have their difficult person. As for me, I am my own self's difficult person. I just embarrass myself in ways I cannot imagine. Now and again, I get into a conflict with someone that I don't even know what the reason is about. I just don't know how I get into these situations even how hard I think and analyze my relationships. Mostly, it is me getting entangled in the web of mine and the other person's emotions, which I simply don't know how to unravel.

Then one day...

Connected

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I am raising three children, all gifts from God to me and my husband. I have never expected to be quite so 'blessed' and everyday I always thank God for them. Each of them are special and bring joy to our home in their own unique way. 

It is my goal to raise successful adult Christians, and success for me means that they are loving, compassionate, gentle, persistent, temperate, joyful, peaceful, faithful, and good man and women. I understand that they are right now in the process of growing up, so I don't expect perfection from them. Not only that, they are their own person and may have different ways of 'being', contrary to the way I do of 'being' me but harmonious to the way they are, as God has made them. Nevertheless, what does a parent like me do? How am I to raise my children into good Christian adults?

Getting Creative

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Emotions in Motion

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Emotions are raging, threatening a volcanic outburst and an avalanche of destruction! Rolling, boiling, fizzing, heading for a collision! Stop. Wait. Maybe you can take a deep breath and think. Listen, maybe you are jumping to conclusions? Perhaps you are wrong or have misinterpreted what is happening and what you are hearing? But then you may also be right. Wait. Listen. There must be a different way to react...

This is what is going on in my mind right now. I am a woman and I admit I have a wealth of emotions that I really do not need. At times I pray that the garbage collector comes and take away all these excesses.  It gets me into trouble most times. I get to react too passionately. I am at times embarrassed by all the gamut of emotions that rage or flow inside of me, and sting or sooth my soul. It wears me down.

Hot Pursuit

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(This post is overdue for the love month of February, yet, it is timely EVERYDAY. So here goes...)
Not so long ago, we would know in concrete ways when a man is interested in a woman. Especially in a Philippine setting--- where I come from--- both families would be involved even before the courtship had began. If not, then at least the girl's parents and an elder, brought along by the man, would know that the man wanted to court the girl by asking permission from the girl's parents. Only when the girl's parents had approved him to court the girl, would he be permitted to see her and show his love through all kinds of courting practices like serenading, giving flowers, visiting or inviting her out, and... always with a chaperone. (Uh, that seems so long, long ago now! :D)

No Fairy Tale

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Once upon a time, there was a girl who came from a good family, and though she was beautiful, there seemed to be no prospective husband in sight. Being a good girl, she served her father's household the best she could. Maybe she dreamed, just like any other girl does, of being swept off her feet by a handsome prince and riding off into the sunset with him. (Or maybe not.)

Unknown to her, in a far away town, a rich man's son was of marriageable age but no girl was seen fit from among the land to be his bride.

Real Love

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It's that time of the year when cards and gifts with hearts are on display, love songs fill up the air, and lovebirds coo and make googly eyes to each other. It's February when phrases like "love at first sight", "endless love", "soul mates", "fall in love", "crazy in love" are tossed around like confetti in the air. It's that time when romantic emotions run high and fast... but, do they last?

Valued

A mother’s job is the most unappreciated and at most times, overlooked. Mothers don’t get a raise or a commendation for the job done. Often than not, all they have is a constant struggle to meet the demands of the family.
As a mother, I can live without gracing the covers of a magazine or getting an award, but there are days when it rankles when I have spent three hours laboring in the kitchen and all the kids want to do is to spit out the food I cooked.

Growing Up

(I had too much fun writing ME, the last post, that I had to write a sequel to it.)
Once upon a time, not quite so long ago, I had another conversation with my true self—the girl who at times don’t know her mind, but can be sure of certain things. She is certain that she wants to grow up, but is still not sure what growing up is. So we played Grown Up.

ME

Today I had a talk with my true self-- the girl who is too loud but is quiet and pensive most times. She was the one who knew exactly what she wanted but I have failed to remember. And today, she reminded me of the things that I have forgotten.

Better Dreamer

Something about racing gets me on the edge of my seat, and off of it, jumping, waving and shouting wildly. I usually avoid being IN the race as I am very slow. Really slow.

I remember being in my P.E. class running with a classmate and being evaluated by our P.E. teacher. My running mate got to the end of the track while I still labored on huffing and puffing my way to it. Even with all the effort I made, I was still extremely slow that our PE teacher can’t help but ask, “Are you running or walking?”

Heart Check

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It’s 2013! A new year, a new beginning, a fresh new start to vault into higher purposes looking at life with Heaven’s perspective, doing humble duties with a positive attitude and with noble motivations in mind...
It’s January 1 (as of writing) and I am sitting in a mall with an over-sweetened iced drink, my notebook and pen in hand while watching people go by. It’s one of my favorite past time-- people-watching and thinking. That is, if my face is not buried within the pages of a book or I am not desperately digging around for books in a bookstore, which I just did minutes before coming to sit down in this cafĂ©.