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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

bone cancer ribbon

I visited my college best friend who is suffering from stage 4 cancer in the hospital and was a bit surprised at the changes that happened to her in almost two weeks that I haven’t seen her. I was pre-occupied with a couple of wonderful things that happened at our home front that I didn’t get a chance to drop by.

Just a couple of weeks ago, she was saying that her hair was too long and that she wanted to get a haircut ‘coz her natural curls were showing. I told her to just leave it alone and I was glad that she listened, because then she was able to enjoy her hair for a couple more weeks before they all fell out after her chemotherapy. Her cheeks were puffed from steroids. Her amputated leg rested on the bed. Her platelet count dropped to 14—way below the normal standard count of 150. I could say that she had all the reasons to complain—but she didn’t.

She welcomed me with a warm smile and I knew that if she only could, she would leap out of that bed to give me a big, tight hug. I was humbled by the sight of her. Such a strong spirit who refuses to give in to the frailties of this mortal existence.

We talked for a couple of hours to catch up on things that happened for the past couple of weeks. Her illness has not changed her outlook in life. She spoke about her husband and children with a twinkle in her eye—proud of their achievements and a deep love for them that I could sense as she described their activities. We laughed about personal jokes and discussed things that we planned to do in the coming days. She is the same person that I’ve known for more than three decades now despite her missing leg and hair. I quietly admired her strength of character and faith in God’s eternal plan.

I came to visit her that day in the hope of cheering her up, but it was me who benefitted more from that experience as I left her room and felt gratitude for all the things I have been blessed with that matter most in life—health, family and friends.

May we continue to treasure the things that matter most in life. Let’s have the faith and courage to face our challenges with a hope that these things are but for a small moment, and that our eternal rewards go beyond what our human minds can truly comprehend.

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In 2009, when typhoon Ondoy devastated cities and towns (including mine) with unprecedented number of deaths in Metro Manila, I thought I already saw the worst—and then came typhoon Yolanda.

Super typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) was declared as an “Extremely Catastrophic Super Typhoon” by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) a few days before it made its landfall in Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. At its peak wind gusting up to 380kph (235mph), it registered as a Category 5 Hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson Scale and was declared the fourth most intense tropical storm ever recorded and the strongest to ever hit land.

As we watched from a distance here in Manila how the affected families rose above the situation—with an estimated death toll of 5,632 (as of this writing and climbing), damage to properties and agriculture amounting to PHP 30.8 billion, many missing members of families, children’s education standing at a halt, people sleeping on the streets after losing their homes with no food and water for many days—we cannot help but reach out to find ways on where we can extend assistance and provide support and comfort, even from afar.

I had the privilege of volunteering for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their effort to donate 10,000 personal hygiene kits and 10,000 food kits from Manila to the survivors of the calamity a couple of days after the typhoon hit.  A total of 1,500 volunteers from different ages, races, and backgrounds came to the Aurora and Quirino meetinghouses to repack goods which were afterward picked up by Alagang Kapatid Foundation and the Philippine Navy for distribution to different parts of Leyte.

I also had the opportunity to assist in the interview of the first batch of missionary survivors who were evacuated from Tacloban to Manila and to listen in as they shared their individual stories that helped increase my faith in God and in the goodness of the human race.

Despite the bitter pain and trauma that most of the survivors experienced, they were extremely grateful that they survived the ordeal and that their lives were miraculously spared. Most of them lost all of their material possessions, but they were still very thankful that the most important of all their possessions were still with them—their families.

In this season of Thanksgiving, may we remember the things that matter most in our lives and have the heart to share some of ourselves—be it our time or material possessions—to those who are in need. Many lives have been lost and even more lives have been changed by this recent calamity. We are in a position to help lift heads that hang down and provide comfort to those who are in need of comfort. May we find time to reach out and offer a helping hand. As we do so, I know we will find joy in our hearts that no amount of money can buy and appropriately express our thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have.

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I love spending time with my family. Even if my siblings and I already have our own families, we always spend long vacations together or just hang out on Sundays at my Dad’s place. It’s a great way to stay connected and in touch with each family member. Families are forever! 🙂

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school bus

I was balancing my budget for the month and paused when I saw the entry “school bus” from the list. This entry is for the monthly payment of my son’s school bus fee, and since he would already be graduating from high school this month, then I would have already made my very last school bus payment for the rest of my life! I had mixed emotions about this—relief because it was one less bill to pay, but at the same time I felt nostalgic as I realized how fast time really flies. There is no turning back. My son (I originally wrote “baby” here) is growing up fast and there is no way I could stop it from happening.


Yet such is life, as I always say. We move on and progress from one phase to the next. This is an eternal principle that we must all go through. We cannot remain stuck in one place and expect growth that way. We should be ever learning, ever seeking for something better than we were yesterday. Life is a journey and I believe that every day is a chance for a new beginning.


As I see my children grow up and explore new things in life, I sometimes fear the thought that we wouldn’t be as close as we were before. Letting them go seems to be a sad and uncomfortable thing to do, but I know it must be done. This way they can find their own spots under the sun and bless the lives of those they come across with. I will not hold them back knowing what wonderful people they have become. It’s such a privilege to have been given a chance to raise them as their mom. I am very proud of both of them and grateful for the opportunity given me to have been part of their lives. They have taught me many things, above all, how to give and receive unconditional love. I thank our Father in Heaven for all His blessings and for helping me raise them up. Having them has been the greatest joy and priceless blessing of my life.


And now on to more adventures in life!


Have a fabulous week everybody!!! 🙂

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This clip made me laugh. I’m my children’s “Number Zero Fan” and sometimes they get embarrassed to hear me cheer them on like this from the sidelines. I guess family members are the best cheer leaders! Enjoy the clip!

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Happy New Year!!! This almost didn’t make the first month of the year, but I’m glad it did!!! I should renew my commitment to write more often. It’s something that I truly enjoy doing, so I need to manage my schedule a lot better and find more time for it.

As we welcome the New Year, it’s a wonderful time to reflect upon the things that we did well in the past year, and plan for what we could do better in the coming one.  In retrospect, we look back and savor the moments we spent with our loved ones, the successes we made in our individual lives, our moments of sadness and frustration, things we should’ve been doing but were not able to, the new additions in our families, our laughter, simple joys, and defining moments.

It is also a good time to evaluate significant decisions we made, important actions we need to take, changes we might have to implement, and to bring our focus back on things we might’ve neglected the entire year.

Each of us will have our own unique situation, but just the same it is good to be reminded that it is a great time for new beginnings. That we can start with a clean slate and direct our lives to the path where we want to be going. The first step is always the most difficult to make, but when we finally get the courage to lift ourselves up it will always be much easier.

I’d like to wish everyone all the best this coming year!! May we all be blessed with everything that we need—food on our tables, roof over our heads, and clothing on our backs. But above all, may we have abundance of those that are truly essential in our lives—love, peace, and harmony in our homes.

Have a wonderful year ahead!!!  🙂

 

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Artwork by Simon Dewey

 

Last week, we’ve put up our Christmas décor at home and it immediately placed me into such a festive mood!! 🙂 We have simple ornaments and trimmings, but we have the basic reminder of what this season is all about. We have a modest nativity set that helps us keep in mind that all this festivity and celebration is to commemorate the birth of Him who, despite being born in humble circumstances, was really meant to be the King of Kings—even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is disheartening to note that some people downplay the reason for this season in order to be politically correct and not offend those that are non-Christians. They would prefer to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas!” They even discourage the display of characters that would depict the Christmas story, such as the nativity scene or the wise men or even angels. I thought it was partial one way—in favor of those who do not believe. But what about those who do? I think we can all live together and be respectful of each other’s beliefs without the expense of one or the other. Live and let live would be a good rule to follow.


Here’s wishing you the best that this Christmas season brings!!! 🙂 May you have all the righteous desires of your hearts! May your days be filled with love, compassion, forgiveness, and all the happiness that you can find in this world! May we all be blessed with joy and love within our families, abundant resources to share, good health to perform our duties, strength of character to overcome all our challenges, and the wisdom to see the best and learn from them.


Merry Christmas everybody!!! Let us all keep in mind whose birth it is we are celebrating this season!! 🙂

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