Showing posts from 2015

Heal Our Hearts

"Home is where the heart is..."

And so, it has been said. But when your heart doesn't know where home is, then it has done too much wandering, making homes wherever one wanders. Wander woman.

Year 2015 is almost to run out. But here I am still not yet ready to welcome in the new year. This year has brought too much instability for my little heart that it doesn't even know whether it's home or not. Maybe it's still wandering when it's already home?

I have my stuff in luggages for a long time now... y'know, having to go back and forth between three countries. Somehow this new year seemed to find me still in such a state with my bags still packed even when I'm already home.

Taking Roots: Home, Sweet Home

It has been excruciating for me not to blog or write. Or even think. The past few months have been very strange. Life, though, went as usual, but I felt like a stranger to myself. I wasn't enjoying what I usually found enjoyable, and instead was drifting. The only explanation I could give was that I was trying to adjust to being transplanted, while at the same time finding my roots again. It wasn't an easy journey as seen by the number of blogs  produced in the past five months. But it sure is awesome after finally making sense of what is happening with me.

I have God to thank for, and the people and circumstances, and even a TV show, that showed me what I have been missing for years. (And here I thought I don't watch TV :)) I realized that I have lost my roots. For the many years I have been trying to fly--- away from home and to the places I wanted to be and the person I thought I will be--- I had forgotten that one still needs a home after all the flying is done.

"Let There Be Light!"

Only when in darkness do we long and reach out for light. Like...

Those moments when I get the urge to write and I can't turn on the light because I was sure it'd wake my husband up. (That's why he has a no-lamp rule in the bedrooms.) So I just write in the darkness hoping that by the morrow I could read what I've written.Brownout. It's the only time I would risk tripping and falling on my nose while searching for candles or for a flashlight. Before that, they don't matter.Those teenage years when God's Word, the light unto my path, was shoved in the farthest corner of my life and I lived like a caveman. I was glad when I finally got to live in the light.Those three long days after typhoon Haiyan. I was like in a tunnel, praying desperately to come to the light, yet so afraid I wasn't going to see the dawn of light. But it did come. God made sure of it even before the storm.

Sun on My Smog

It was one of those days. Bright on the outside, but smoggy on the inside. Not that there's real smog floating around. Just me carried around by clouds, flitting or floating around without a single clue of what gives.

It must be the "vacation" I'm in. I mean, since living and working abroad, being back in the Philippines constitutes being on a vacation. It has all that a vacation has, except, I'm doing without a visit to the beach and I still wake up when my 'rooster' (my early-riser baby) starts crowing. Having this break from the usual schedule of kids, chores and work has sort of given me a time-off from my stressed lifestyle and allowed me to relax. Maybe I've relaxed too much that I've let myself go.

When Less Is More

It's the middle of the day and I'm looking at a small peso bill. What can it buy? Several diapers and a little food for the baby, some toiletries, but maybe not enough to give some to my friend for food for the week. Fear jumped on me. And worry started to woo me. Then as suddenly as it came, I remembered how God made Himself real to me by His Word, and worry was stopped in its tracks. I can still vividly remember that night...

Planting Seeds of Responsibility

I went through my usual routine-- saw my husband and preschooler off for the day, had a short worship with my two older children who were staying at home because of school vacation, made breakfast, fed the baby while the two kids ate, had my quick breakfast and got on with the chores. Before loading the laundry in the washing machine, I checked the girls' rooms to make sure there were no stray socks lying around.
I noticed right away Angelika's neatly made bed. She was assigned of making her own bed since age five and even before that, but it has only been recently that she has taken it to heart. It is like the task has become her crowning glory. Her bed looked fit for a princess. I felt pride for my daughter. There has been no need of telling her to do the job.

Tantrum or Timeout?

Sometimes one of my children don't get what she wants. So that child gives me a tantrum. She screams, kicks her legs, and... sulks. She tells me she doesn't want to talk to anyone, especially me.

I tell her to go to her room and come back only when she's ready to talk without biting other people's heads off. My child goes to her room and I can see how hard it is for her to do that. Children are stubborn. They have pride. But often, that child comes out from timeout calmer and a lot more wiser than she was a few minutes ago.

The moments we spent together, the affirmations of my love, and a relationship that makes her feel safe, makes tough times like these easier to handle and experience together. My children know that our relationship is more important than anything they may want.

I recently wanted to go on a tantrum. Well, I did. Shortly. The reason? I didn't get what I want.

I want to go back to my family soon. Right now, I'm in a place where I'm once ag…

In the Midst of our Mess, Love Moves

It was ten years ago when my husband and I exchanged vows to love, honor and cherish each other. And at that time (and many other times), we asked God to help us love like He does.

But it took a lot of conflict, of making up, of learning and of growing up to do so. Not that we are close to loving like Him now than we were before, but we finally understood what it is like, what it takes and, yet, we still badly want to love each other like Him.

If only we knew what we know now, then we would have escaped many difficult times. But then, the Master Teacher knows best. We are just the students, reluctant to go through the process and to delve deep into the lessons, afraid of what it would entail and demand from us, but desiring so much to learn. Being in God's classroom of marriage, however, and experiencing what God wants was all worth the upheaval and work.

I wish I knew, really knew...

Want to Run from Marriage? Here are 3 Reasons Why You Can Stay

Last Sunday, I sang in a wedding. I sang the song which I took a dislike on while in college and boys would sing it to me while I passed by-- "We'll build a house, Zernah Faith..." just to tease me. Yeah, you must have heard of that song, Household of Faith. (If not, here's my little sis and her husband on their wedding day singing so divinely.) It's a beautiful wedding song for couples and today, just as last Sunday, I feel blessed for the privilege of singing it for my friends who are starting their lives as husband and wife together. I pray for them many perfect moments with the Lord, as they grow together in love.

But weddings don't tell us the real score in marriage. Weddings look so heavenly; marriage is hard. Weddings are filled with fun, tender moments; marriage with mundane, challenging and lonely times.

And yet, marriage is wonderful. It is one of the most wonderful gifts of God. It gets so much out of us and gives us back the deepest and fullest the…

One Marriage Advice

Recently I watched a video of Anita Renfroe, a Christian comedian, on marriage. I try to laugh even once in a day, and that particular day was especially hard for me, hence, the video watching. It was titled Marriage: It's Okay to Laugh About It. She mentioned the movie Avatar and how the blue people in that movie have no word for 'love' in their language but only say "I SEE you" when they meant to say "I love you".

We need connection for our marriages to work--- a connection that 'sees' us not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. However, many couples think that if they connect really well physically (even if not emotionally) they are going to be okay. But what we miss is that, physical connection often fills the need of the husband, but not the wife. Wives need emotional connection primarily. But even if that need is filled, there is still something lacking in the relationship. Because...

Marriage is spiritual. It is an i…

Russian Mis-Adventures

I have been told several times that I must be brave for coming to a place without any knowledge about the language people speak.

I don't think I'm brave. Just plain adventurous. And... not so wise for being unprepared.

Being unprepared has set me up to plenty of mishaps.

I also must be a little crazy to do this to myself. But then, hey, it's fun after the stress is gone.

Nora Ephron wrote in her witty, funny book I Feel Bad About My Neck, "When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you; but when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your laugh." So today I want to have a laugh. It's okay, you can laugh at me as I laugh at myself.

Here are some of my 'misadventures' as I foray into the Russian language.

One afternoon, I opened the refrigerator door to see what I could whip up for dinner. I had an idea of what I wanted but it would need some eggs. Looking at the empty egg rack, I surmised that I had to run to the store fast before m…

Aging in Grace

Midlife. Life do accelerates after midlife.

So do aging. Wrinkles. Worries. And wilting.

May is my birth month. I just had my birthday. Another one in so many that I am blessed with. They are sure coming one after the other! Praise God!

This has been the first year that I have spent a whole year as an alien in Russia. Knowing from my previous experience of living in a foreign land, I will soon have to say goodbye to the honeymoon stage.

Life goes on.

And tomorrow will be my youngest baby's first birthday. And though I wish I can bake a cake, I prefer to buy one and spare myself the trouble of going crazy over flour strewn around looking like baby powder all over my kitchen. There is also the problem of what to do with an inedible cake. I don't even have any idea what baking powder is, or baking soda, or if a cake needs yeast or not. (If I sound ignorant, that is because I am. I am terrible in baking. That's why I am so mighty proud of my Bilinchik/Russian pancakes. Which,…

When Resignation is NOT an Option for a Burned Out Mom, What is?

Yesterday I was totally exhausted even before the clock struck 12 o'clock midday. And it was also the day I had to go out to work.

Yes, I only go out to work once a week and am compensated very well for all that trouble of dressing up and looking presentable. Most days of the week, I stay at home or work from home. I know, I'm more than blessed.

But yesterday I wasn't feeling blessed. I was feeling burned out... and feeling so alone in my struggle to keep up with all the things that I had to do as a mom, that I was ready to throw in the towel and resign.

Then I remembered. I am a mom. A mother. One who has to be on duty 24/7 and has no idea where to hand in her resignation.

Pathfinding 2: Redeeming Jonah, Redeeming Me

"Love your enemies... do good to those who hate you." I sighed as I read the verses Matthew 5:43 and 44 again and again. "Pray for those who spitefully use you..." I sighed again. I whispered, "It's so hard, Lord."

I am a proud person. In my family, I am probably the most independent, headstrong, and quite a braggart. I needed a heart change. God knows this and this is probably the reason why I am where I am, and going through what I am going through.

Pathfinding 1: The Jonah Journey

I volunteer for an organization that teaches and brings up children, young men and women with life skills and a rich spiritual life. It is similar to boy/girl scouting, yet more as it gives its members a sense of direction and meaning in life.

I, myself, grew up in this Pathfinder's Club. Now, I am given the privilege to be an instructor.

Pathfinder's Club uses the Word of God, the Bible, as its main source of knowledge and wisdom; and any other textbooks used has to be weighed against it.

For the past two Saturday afternoons, I taught my class about Jonah. I told it as simply as I could, as the children are not familiar with the Bible and the stories in it. Granted that the kids got it simple, my mind, though, was turning the story around, and up and down. That being the case, though the story of Jonah is out of the ordinary (not everyone gets swallowed by a fish), I found a path--- familiar and well-trodden.

Status: In a Relationship

"Mom, I think I should be punished." My son popped his head out of the bathroom door where he was getting ready to take a shower as he uttered those dire words. I was surprised at what he said but deep inside I was doing a victory song and dance: "My God is working! My God is working!"

10 Things I Love About Being a Mom

I am a mother of four and it can get overwhelming at times. From the moment I wake up to the time I can finally rest I am constantly barraged by small bodies with cute voices, their questions and curiosities and the never-ending tasks that go along with raising them. But as we all know, children come with, not only a huge responsibility, but also with loads and loads of joy. Life has never been better than when I became a mom. I know I had great times before my little ones came, but I can't remember now what it was like without them. Here are some of the things I really would have missed if I'm not a mom... and for which I am very thankful to God.

1. Smothered in sloppy wet kisses and tight happy hugs. Children just can't get enough of kisses and hugs. And neither can I. Having four, I often run out of time just doing these and even that is not enough. I'm not complaining. It's simply the best part of being a parent. All the hard work is forgotten with just a smil…

Spring Herald

Spring Herald, You wake us up into Your breathtaking beauty! Oh, how words are bursting from within me and into my pen. You warm us up with the daylight sun, melting the icy places in our hearts. You invite us into the splendor of Your presence. We are left speechless and in awe. You are magnificent to behold!

Praying My Marriage to True Love

My marriage has gone through rocks, ravines and valleys. And back again. I am praying it will survive.

Three years ago we did a major move. That move proved to be a catalyst of many challenges. Oh, how it has shaken our lives, our beliefs, our characters, our faith and our love for each other. It hasn't been easy. If we make it through August, my husband and I would be celebrating a huge landmark in our marriage--- the 10th.

On Winter, Fishing and Life

So we went ice fishing a few Sundays ago. The whole family did. This is not a first for many in our family, except for me and the baby. (Yes, the baby went ice fishing too. And yes, all of my children had experienced getting fish from their previous fishing trips. Except for me and the baby.) So this was somehow our initiation into winter fishing. Fishing on ice is very new to me.

My son asked me tonight, "Mom, did you eat snow when you were little?" They've been told not to eat snow and, trying to be honest, they just mentioned over dinner that they've eaten a little bit of it. What child can resist white, resplendent, cold snow? To my son's question, I  replied that I haven't even seen snow until I was 23 years old.

A Haiyan Survivor's Tribute