Happy Pill

This is my “happy pill” for today.
img_9183 Our girl. Our baby.

Like her brothers before her, she now also has the distinction of being elected School Leader in her final year in primary.

It’s now officially “three-peat” for us and my heart is full.

Notwithstanding the sadness of the past couple of days, life indeed always has a way of letting goodness and happiness flourish.

May blessings abound for us after every sorrow and may our hearts always keep alive in our souls the hope that exhilarating peaks always await us – no matter how many deep and dark valleys we inevitably tread – in this shared journey that is life.

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Grief and Remembrance

Woke up to very sad news last Saturday morning – my 62-year old uncle (my Mom’s brother, who she incidentally shares the same birthday with but seven years apart) has finally been assigned his “angel wings” by our dear Lord.

Considering that he has practically been unwell for pretty much two-thirds of his life, I thought that I would even welcome his passing since he has finally been given the rest he “deserves”. Unexpectedly though, I found myself still overcome with emotion and an inexplicable sense of loss. I guess that no amount of rationalization can ever prepare us for the passing of those we hold dear.

There is such a permanence to death that I somehow just can’t shake off no matter what my faith has led me to believe after all these years… This is probably why I still grieve.

I suppose I grieve not because my uncle has gone ahead but because we are all left behind to remember.

I grieve because I still have memories of him as the self-assured young man who seemed so ready to take on the world (and win) and find it very difficult to reconcile this with the frail, disoriented person he has sadly become.

I grieve because of his unfulfilled dreams and unrealised potential and how his life became our family’s “cautionary tale”.

I grieve because my limited human perspective, at this moment, just cannot fathom the depth of God’s infinite wisdom and love in the face of such brokenness and suffering.

Yes, I grieve. I grieve because in grieving, I remember. And yet, another part of me knows that someday, all our tears will be replaced with only fond memories. It is this certainty that I take comfort in – this that gives all of us the strength to carry on.

Tito Juju, though I mourn your passing, I know that you are now in a better place – free from pain and sickness and finally able to soar as high as you always wanted. I know you’re now enjoying your endless share of Jollibee burgers and ice cream while watching basketball where your favourite team always wins. I know that you’re probably so thrilled to be with family again – to have Lolo and Lola welcome you, their dearest “hijo”, to your permanent “122 P. Cruz” in heaven.

I know this and in the face of the inexplicable loss your death brings, there is also that unmistakeable calmness that comforts us knowing that all your sufferings are over and you are now finally at peace.

Rest easy, Tito Juju. Wear your angel wings with pride and soar high to your heavenly home. We will miss you – most especially Tolonyo, Tit, Yong, Cher, Kerky and Jake. We love you.

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Crying Lady

I have always been a very emotional person. Rightly or wrongly, with me, it is most often “what you see is what you get.”  Whatever I feel almost always registers on my face – which is why I guess I’ve never been a good poker player – hahaha! 😁😜

God must’ve wired me in such a way to have “leaky pipes” such that tears have always been a manifestation of deep emotion. When I’m on the extreme spectrum of happy, proud, angry, frustrated, scared, overwhelmed, humbled, inspired, joyful…you guessed it: I cry.

No matter how hard I try to keep it in, it somehow manages to come to the surface. First as a tiny lump in the throat (which I “swallow away” – almost always, in vain) then as an unmistakeable choking sensation which flushes my face a bit and finally, the inevitable happens…whatever’s bottled up inside me just makes it way out and I tear up – or sob – or bawl (depends on the situation, really).  In any case, bring in the waterworks!!! 😂☔️

I know a lot of people may misconstrue this “predisposition” as a sign of weakness and of not being in control. This worries me but I respect that. Different strokes for different folks, they say.

For me, nothing beats a good cry. Think of it as my release button in the pressure cooker that is life. It’s my way of de-stressing so that I can move forward, do what I have to do and soldier on – until the next “cry-worthy moment” presents itself.  Weird yet wonderful in a way. But then, that’s just me. 😉

Raindrops from the sky
quench the thirst of the soil
Like tears
water the soul

Hangin’ Out

Pardon the pun but this is truly an oh-so-apt description for my loving husband’s understandably reluctant recent DIY weekend project.

So pleased that after nearly a year, he finally mustered the “courage” and bravely went into “the zone” and took on …

The Clothesline Challenge! 

The blank canvas we had to work on.

Getting ready…

Making the first hole…careful now…

 Finally, a day and a few inevitable hiccups after…

It’s finally up! (*insert double cartwheels and the dance of joy here*)👏💃💃🙌

So proud of dear hubby for staying afloat despite immersing himself in rough, unchartered waters, so to speak. 😉😍

Our thanks too to Tito Doe for generously lending us the “tools of the trade” and for guiding us through the project with his invaluable skill and advice! So blessed to have his and his family’s undying support – muchas gracias!

Guess from now on, I’d only be too pleased to let quite a few items hang out to dry (literally) – hahaha!

Truly a “victory” to be celebrated. Thank you, Lord, for days like these!

Moving forward, I wonder what the next “project” would be??? 😁😉 Abangan!

Love and Light

Seven years ago, I blogged about my parents on the occasion of their wedding anniversary.

Today, I wish to do the same if only to honour the man and woman behind the relationship that has spanned half-a-century (7 years as a couple plus 43 years as husband and wife) and has been so blessed in more ways than we can ever imagine.

Pa and Ma

True, the dynamics of their relationship may have changed drastically now in the face of my mom’s battle with illness. There may be less laughter and more stressful moments yet through it all there remains an inexplicable strength and undying resolve to keep on no matter how difficult and uncertain the road ahead may seem.

Thank you, Papa and Mama, for showing me what unconditional and self-sacrificing love is.  Through your example, I have realised that as long as we cling to Him and seek His will in all circumstances, we will pull through.  That though battered and bruised, we can still consider ourselves blessed.

Pa and Ma and me

Thank you for introducing to all of us the values of charity, generosity, persistence, hard work and a steady faith in God that we hope to also pass on to our children and our children’s children.

More than ever, I pray for His love and light to be with you both as you live out the vows you made before him forty-three years ago and that He may look upon both of you with kindness especially as you do your best to fulfil your life-long promises to one another.

I love you both. Happy anniversary!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Don’t put your confidence in your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Driving Home a Point

I am usually not one to easily fall prey to superstitions until my recent Friday the 13th misadventure made me do a double-take… 😦

Heading home from a school run on a busy narrow road, I accidentally hit the side mirror of an unattended parked car and broke it as I was carefully dodging an oncoming Mercedes.

Being a relatively new driver, I was understandably distraught and very shaken with the whole experience.  Having four school kids in tow didn’t help either since all of them were as frazzled as I was thus adding to the stress of the situation.

I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly at that time as well since instead of stopping and immediately looking for the owner of the car I hit to apologise and exchange the requisite insurance details, I drove straight home…shaking all the way!

Being home safely afforded me the clarity of mind I needed though.  It also brought to the fore the  gnawing guilt I felt at having so hastily left the scene of the accident! Suddenly, thoughts of what I should have done raced through my mind and all my fears – both real and imagined – seemed to consume me.  I wanted to do the right thing and yet I also was afraid of the repercussions of what I had done…or, more appropriately, failed to do.

I admit letting it go and forgetting about the whole thing seemed an attractive option at the time (especially after being told by a good friend who lived near to the scene of the accident – since I requested him to drive back and leave my contact details on the windshield of the car I hit – that the car I hit was nowhere to be found).  After all, I did TRY to find the car, right?

Discussing the matter with dear hubby thankfully gave me a better perspective and a better resolve to make things right. I honour hubby for encouraging me to follow where my moral compass was pointing to – that instead of being my “partner-in-crime”, he became my “partner-in-righteousness”! ❤ ❤ ❤

I guess the Lord also honours our choices if we choose goodness. After coming back to the scene of the incident several times during the weekend, we finally found the car and I was able to personally apologise to the owners and make the necessary amends.  Though with this choice comes “painful” consequences (i.e., big dent on our financials, for one), I am consoled by the fact that by taking the high road, all will eventually be well and there is a comforting calmness within – truly “peace beyond all understanding.”

May we all have a spirit-filled and peaceful week ahead! Blessings!

Put your heart right…Reach out to God.
Put away evil and wrong from your home.
Then face the world again, firm and courageous.
Then all your troubles will fade from your memory,
like floods that are past and remembered no more.
Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon,
and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn.
You will live secure and full of hope;
God will protect you and give you rest. (Job 11:13-18)

What’s Your Angle?

Early this morning while getting ready to set out for school, our dear divalette excitedly told me they were studying angles in school and proudly exhibited her new-found knowledge with her bendable rulers.

M (showing an L-shaped form): This is a right angle – it’s 90 degrees.

Me: Good.

M (adjusting her rulers): This is narrower – it’s an acute angle.

Me: Very good!

M: And then there’s the big, wide one…the OBESE angle! 😳

Me: (thought bubble) Patay tayo diyan! 😱 Big nga naman…kaya obese! 😂 (Regaining my composure now) Anak, it’s actually called an OBTUSE angle.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my dose of happy for today.

On Pullbacks, Comebacks and Being Launched

The past weekend was spent mostly bonding with friends either over lunch or dinner.  During one of these times, one of our friends asked me whether I was familiar with “Jamich”, as he said, theirs was an interesting and touching story.

Of course, curiosity got the better of me so I immediately googled them when we got home that evening.

Apparently, Jamich was a play on words on the names of a young couple (Jam Sebastian and Mich Liggayu) whose self-made videos went viral thus gaining for them a loyal following and making them certified “YouTube sensations” in the Philippines. By a sad twist of fate, though, and at the height of their popularity, Jam was sadly diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the young age of 28.

But more than their wholesome and creative videos, what struck me was how this young couple continually deals with seeming tragedy and how they exhibit such a depth and maturity in faith beyond their years – much more than what we normally find and expect even in people older than them.

One interview was particularly inspirational and struck an all-too-familiar chord – as we too are struggling with serious illness in our family with my mom having been diagnosed with early onset dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.

Indeed, in the face of inexplicable suffering, how do we cope? Where do we draw our strength? How do we go on?

Jam’s reply was simple yet so full of wisdom. He said:

Pag na kay Lord ka, wala kang sakit, lagi kang magaling sa kanya.  Lalo na pag maintindihan mo kung paano siya gumalaw. Iba po yung way niya. Kahit minsan, ke-question-in mo siya, ‘Lord ang hirap neto.’

Pero alam ko, the greater the pullback, the greater the comeback. So…hinahatak niya ako ngayon e pero pag ni-launch na niya ako, lahat kami mas malaki ang mararating…malayo ang blessing.

So ganon lang po. Yun lang ang paniwalaan mo and ipaglaban mo yon. Magdasal ka everyday na, ‘Lord, thank you, magaling na ako… Lord, thank you, pinagaling mo na ako.’ Past tense. Kasi alam ko magyayari po yon.

Roughly translated: When you’re with the Lord, you’re sickness-free. You’re always well with Him.  So much more when you understand how He moves. He has a different way of doing things…even if sometimes we question Him and say, “Lord, this is so difficult.”

I know though that the greater the pullback, the greater the comeback. He’s stretching me now but I am certain that when He finally launches me, all of us will be bigger and better, with far-reaching blessings.

So, that’s how it is. That’s what you should believe and fight for. Pray everyday saying, “Lord, thank you that I am healed. Lord, thank you for healing me.” All in the past tense. Because I know it will happen.

Such wisdom – and in the face of so much pain and suffering – truly inspiring!  His pain mirrors our pain and genuinely reflects the human condition.

My prayer is that I remember the faith of this young man – that when I am stretched to the point of giving up, may I be prodded to go on because my God has greater blessings in store for me. That in the face of adversity, may I continue to be formed and moulded to be the best vessel I can be to reflect the glory of my Maker.

Stretched

Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. (Jer 18:6)