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Showing posts from 2014

Makeover

Ohoo! I have curly hair. Yes, I just had a makeover.

Any woman won't probably say 'no' to a free makeover. That's why makeover shows are very popular. Who would not wish to be transformed to the best version of themselves?
Thus, when my husband suggested that I should have a makeover, even feeling slightly insulted (husbands are supposed to love their wives even for worse, read: wrinkles, fat rolls and under-eye circles. Ho! They rhyme!), I didn't decline outright.

Being in Russia and surrounded by beautiful women, I felt I needed it. Though I'm really wondering what could be done with falling hair (an after-giving-birth and nursing-a-baby phenomenon), sagging breasts and loose skin.
At any day, however, I can pass for a  sixteen year old (I'm short), that is, if you won't look too closely. Then you may catch a glimpse of a line or two on the forehead or a downy shadow of a mustache. 

Have a Messy Christmas!

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Ho! Ho! Ho!

It's that time of season. Everybody is upbeat and in a celebratory mood. The snow is sparkling. The lights are twinkling. The aroma of food alone keeps one in good cheer. The brightly colored presents under a heavily decorated tree, keep anticipations high and spirits warm and loving. It's a time to be happy. A time to be merry.

But life, as we know life, is not all sparkly, not all warm, not all cheery. In fact, even as we celebrate with the tree twinkling and full of colors, tiny hands are reaching out and get a glass ball broken, or tiny feet racing around the house, little people shouting at each other, fighting or playing (who knows which), and big people screaming for them to stop. The cake did not turn out right. The oven acts out and the chicken is as raw as a leaf of lettuce in the salad, and everyone's hungry. Relatives come, tensions get high, 'cause there is at least one person in the family who just seem to rise the hair at your nape for no re…

Keeping a Heart of Gratitude in the Midst of Hostility

Life has been more of a prison to me lately. I have been held captive by my anger and feelings of insecurity. The former is a means of defense against constant criticism, blame and disrespect. I wish to untangle myself but just as it is painful to leave the source of such anger and insecurities literally, so it is to let go of my anger. If I let go, then what? Would I be protected from further hurt?
In this state, it is very much difficult to be grateful. The only thing that has kept me grounded and not to let everything blow up are my children. How can people stay grateful in situations like this?

Motherhood

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I'm on a journey that has no end.

It started off with one. Mikhail, my son, was my first child. With petitions and prayers that I have for him as a mother and the desire to know my Ultimate Parent so as to parent like Him, I set off on my journey to motherhood land. Misha came as a happy, fun-loving and thoughtful fellow. So was I. I was all thoughts and intentions. It was my intent to enjoy the whole journey. Misha made it easy. God gave me all that is in a baby in him. But as most journeys are, there were surprises and twists. 

Wasted

"Be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise" (Ephesians 5:15).

I watched as I poured the contents of an expensive bottle of wine down the sink and out of sight into the drainage. It was a gift. But after an innocent request from a three-year old girl asking for a drink of juice with the bottle of wine in her hands, I decided to take the matter into my hands. No strong drink will my children ever see in this house, if anything is up to me. Wasted? No, not if it's  down in the drain and not in somebody's throat.

The Making of a Domestic Queen

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The big journey of life is made up of many smaller journeys. There's the journey of growing up, the journey of learning, of marriage, of parenting, of writing or of any interest, of trials and victories. And for women, there's the journey of becoming a domestic queen.

Yes, you heard me right. Domestic queen. She is someone who has mastered the art of household tasks--- the decorating, the ironing, the cooking, the cleaning, the scrubbing, the mundane, the drudgery--- and goes about it in an awesome manner--- happy and serene. The book of Proverbs has this to say about being a domestic queen. "She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

In our modern times, girls are brought up without education of what goes on in a home. We are sent to school with our parents' intention for us to earn a degree so we can get a job. Nothing wrong with that. But we get this education at the expense of neglecting what is most practically needed …

Moving On

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My family has moved. We've moved to another temporary home. This is our sixth house since my husband and I got married. God has provided a better place for our big family to stay here in Russia. We were too cramped up in our previous apartment. Thank God, kids can go wild now over the space that allows them to move their active bodies.

But not only have I moved with my family physically, I am also ready to move on emotionally.

For the past two years since we got here in Russia, my family had been on limbo. We waited for me to stay. We waited to get on with life. And as we waited, we got tossed about as storms came, uncertainties peaked, I had to leave my children, a daughter was given back to us, and we suffered the loss of both of my parents. Our faith was put to test, our characters shaped. There was no question who we really are. Storms do that. They have a way of stripping us of our donned masks and exposing the real person within. Fickle or faithful?

Being new in my second fo…

Almost Robbed

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I was walking home from my work place unmindful of any danger and safe in the thought that I was only a couple of blocks away from home when, unexpectedly, my peaceful thoughts were interrupted. "Please give me your phone," a male voice said. At that same instant, I felt something sharp at my side. I froze, then quickly caught a glimpse of an old, rusty knife pointed at me. In a split second many thoughts raced through my mind. I'm being robbed! There's a knife at my side! I'm going to die! No way! What should I do?! Lord, help me what to do! It's dark! Nobody is around (every normal person would be asleep at 4:00 a.m.)! Then God spoke through my thoughts, "Shout! Shout to wake the whole neighborhood up!"

I didn't have time to argue with God on His methods and on what I should shout, especially with a knife poking my belly, so I shouted, "Don't you dare do this to me!!!" And as I did, I quickly moved a step away from the knife. I sh…

Thoughts on Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum, Babies and Motherhood

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I have just given birth to a lovely baby. Her name is Roxana. She is truly a gift from heaven.  In the few days that she has been under my care, thoughts of what it takes and what it means to be a mother has occupied my mind. So I thought of sharing them as to empty my head a li'l bit. ;)

Anyhow, if you have thoughts about birth, pregnancy, motherhood or babies that we might enjoy, feel free to send it to me through my email or pm me through Facebook. I'll include them here together with your name. Thanks... And enjoy the day!


A baby's first smiles can ease the mother's pains and aches like no other medicine can do.
Giving birth is always an amazing experience (even at my fourth). But with it is acute pain. Pain at how frail we are. Pain at how women are cursed. If only there is no pain... But Eve listened to the serpent just as we still do now-- prone to wander, prone to sin. Giving birth is a curse. Yet even in the painful curse of giving birth, God has never left us ho…

Dealing with the Small Things

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"The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6 NIV)

It's funny how I can handle major challenges/stresses in life so capably, if not exquisitely; and fumble around, really sweating out when it comes to the daily, the ordinary, and the mundane. It takes me by surprise how inept I am. On other days, it sneaks up on me and totally renders me powerless and shows me for who I really am--- a helpless, pathetic, unprepared coward. I am usually left all spent after an aftermath of seemingly ordinary trial or after the realization of how I was overthrown again by something so simple. It is very upsetting to be aware of how hopelessly human I am.

Beyond the Storm: Joy in the Morning

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Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 ASV)

I'm counting the days when I get to meet our new baby daughter. In fact, I have been here at the medical facility for a few days now, where mothers are given quality pre-natal care, give birth, and are cared for together with the baby after the birth. Makes one feel like a queen. And it's all for free! I have done nothing (that means no cooking and cleaning), but get all checked, rested and fed. 
Oh, how this pregnancy journey has been different from all previous ones that I had (well, I already had three aside from this). That's why I can totally agree with Patsy Clairmont's  book title "Normal is just a Setting on Your Dryer". We want to make sense out of the things that we don't understand and try to sum them up as normal. But when things don't go as we expect, we experience lots of anxiety and get all hung up that things are not normal, that we are not normal. But if we …

Getting a Sense of Direction

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I have been wandering in this world for a long time (makes me sound ancient, complete with a long, gray beard and a distinct 'old age' odor. Haha!). This week has seen me celebrate my 37th year, with a cake and some ice cream. I know I will continue to journey on wherever God leads. But as of now, I have been given respite from my wandering until year 2016. It is because, finally, after so much uncertainties, setbacks, packing and unpacking, midnight flights, and scurrying from one important office to another, I have been granted residency in Russia for a few years. Isn't that great? I will be with my family! It all came about the day before my birthday. What a gift, huh?

We didn't celebrate my birthday grandly but having the whole family with me and the knowledge that I have been given the privilege to stay with my family was a great, grand celebration in my heart. Nothing can top that as a present, as a reason for rejoicing on my 37th year of existence. God has fulfil…

Practical Tips From the Bible to Have the Time to Teach

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Deutoronomy 11:19 "Teach them to your children. Talking about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Nothing beats being with ALL three of my children. While being with Angelika, my Haiyan storm girl-survivor, spending time with her and finding time to teach her, I couldn't help but send a prayer that my two other children, Misha and Ella, also had their learning moments. Now that I am with all of them, I have plenty of making up to do. The time away from them has made the importance of teaching my children more profound.

Any time around the clock can be teaching moments, but as I have mentioned in my last post A Time to Teach, we need to be intentional, especially in our times when anything and everything can distract us from our goal of teaching our children.

Nothing is Impossible with God

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Today of last year, Angelika, with me and her little sister, Ella, left for the Philippines, never knowing that it would take a year for her to come back. We didn't know then that she would go to school there, spend some considerable time without a mother, be left in the care of her doting grandparents, spend a birthday without even one of her immediate family, see the home and the school she  had come to love destroyed and broken, witness both her grandparents being taken away by a destructive storm, be left on her own in the water with no one to help, and being rescued by an unlikely hero, a ten-year old boy, and a little later, a total stranger with a brave, soft heart. And all the while, she was hoping and waiting for her mother to come and take her home.

While At The Waiting Area

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A cock crows. Another answers back. It doesn't take long before another crow is heard. The crowing goes on and on, like music to my thoughts, to my prayers.

Waiting is a test. It is a test of patience, of endurance, of trust, of perseverance, of faith. By waiting and enduring, many have been victorious and have seen their promises fulfilled. The Bible is full of those men and women. By waiting, many have grown impatient, doubted and added trouble to their years. We've seen it with Sarah, the mother of all nations. She and Abraham thought they could help God fulfill His promise to them, instead of trusting Him and being still.
The morning prayer of our Muslim countrymen have now started as the roosters' chorus have gone quiet. The wails and the chant-like music carries through the whole area.

Hanging Tough and Still

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The airplane drones above. The birds tweet and chatter around. A friend snores beside. Silence is elusive. 

Somebody's TV is blaring somewhere among the neighboring houses. A motorcycle roars out there. Dogs bark. Silence dims.

In contrast, my heart wants to be silent. It doesn't want to speak out loud what it doesn't want to hear. Where is the invitation? Where is the signal to push up? Until when do I have to wait? To hang around?

I have strained. Fought. Clamored. Pushed. Now there seemed to be no pushing. Just a hanging somewhere. Nowhere.

7 Things I Must Teach My Children

There are so many teaching propaganda going on around us whether we fail to teach or do teach our children. And whether we teach them or not, our children learn or catch them.

Recently, I was surprised to hear my little Angelika talk to me in Filipino when I called her for lunch.   She said, "Kain tayo!" Having been in Manila for almost a couple of weeks now, I thought she caught that line from her playmates, my friend's daughter and her little cousins. Later I found out that there is a TV commercial playing  everyday with that same line. 

A Time to Teach

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"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under the heaven."
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)
There is a time for everything. And for today, it is a time to write about the time to teach, particularly our very own kids.
I have been a teacher for many years, teaching children in language and Bible schools and time came when the time spent teaching other people's children competed with the time spent teaching my own children. It was a tough time for me. I couldn't bear thinking that I was teaching other people's children daily, while not knowing exactly whether my children are being taught. I'm not talking simply about them learning their ABC's or numbers, but when I refer to teaching I'm mostly talking about the perpetual heritage that we, as parents, pass on to our children--- life skills, core values, character.

A Best Friend for Life

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"His mouth is most sweet; yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, o daughters of Jerusalem." (Song of Solomon 5:16)

I have had friends. I even had a best friend when I was younger. But as I grew older and as I have to live a life of a wanderer, moving from one place to another, getting education from various institutions, being trained and doing mission in different places, and saying hello and goodbye to friends for most of my life, it got harder for me to develop friendships and get really closer to people.

Then I met someone who didn't give up even though I pushed him away many times. He just wants to get closer. And closer did we get! We got married, and the more years we got in marriage, the more I realize that he loves me and the more I love him.

Legacy III: A Big God with a Big Heart

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Driving out to the country, the sun shining brightly and with every intention of enjoying the day with the family,  I sat relaxed beside my husband as he drove. From the backseat, our son, who was four at that time, quipped, "I wish I have Papa's heart."

Startled, my husband asked, "Why do you want my heart?"

Misha answered, "Because you have a big heart." Then he asked his father with all sincerity, "Pa, can I have your heart?"

Legacy II: Love for The Book and Learning

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"Your testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart" (Psalm 119:111).


Today Angelika and I spent most of our day browsing at a bargain bookstore. This we often do, especially in the recent days when it has been rainy, windy or cloudy most days. She is still trying to understand that not all windy days will end up in a storm, much like Haiyan. She didn't want to stay cooped up in the house, though. And she also didn't want to be outside when the wind is blowing really strong. So we go out of the house and usually find ourselves end up in the bookstore, only to go away when it has gone dark. And today was no exception.

Legacy I: Love for Work

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(Having lost both of my parents in Haiyan storm, my mind at the present cannot help but dwell on the many wonderful legacies that they have left for me, my siblings and a host of other people. What I’m writing here are just a few of the obvious heritage that they have left behind. It is my hope, that as years pass by, all that they have left behind (no land or houses or money as all these, or the little that they had, were swept away or broken during the storm) will not be forgotten but will be passed through even to the next generation of our family. And may you find even just a little nugget of treasure. Be blessed!)

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” Proverbs 6:6

The midday sun beat on his back. Slowly he made his way through the field with his faithful carabao. Once again, Moreto found himself following behind that symbol of labor in the Philippines. His father had once again fallen asleep drunk last night, which only means that it was up to him to take t…