As another year comes to an end,....

May we...

....Remember the Reason for the Season
and take time to reflect on its true meaning
....Celebrate the birth of our Savior
....Offer Him our gift
discover our gift and live out His divine plan

What we are is God’s gift to us
What we become is our gift to God. - Eleanor Powell
Every happening, great and small,
is a parable whereby God speaks to us,
and the art of life is to get The Message. - - Malcolm Muggeridge

...Receive and believe The Message
for He is the Truth
...Walk with Him
for He is the Way
... Invite Him in so that He may live within us
for He is the Life

Merry Christmas & A Blessed New Year Everyone!

A Blessed Christmas & New Year!

As another year comes to an end,....
we send you our Christmas letter

{Walk your Talk}

"You call ME Master and obey ME not;
You call ME light and see ME not;
You call ME the Way and walk ME not;
You call ME life and live ME not;
You call ME wise and follow ME not;
You call ME fair and love ME not;
You call ME rich and ask ME not;
You call ME eternal and seek ME not;
If I condemn you, blame ME not."

"It is not how high you can jump that matters,
but how straight you can walk when you hit
the ground again."

we forget...

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow,
yet we forget that he is someone today."
~Stacia Tauscher~

Oftentimes we get so busy raising our children
we forget to enjoy them.

We get so caught up in cleaning our house
that we forget to enjoy it.

{Difficulties to Blessings}

I was watching the show, Room by Room,
on HGTV and as the host was showing how
to decorate a room with fabrics, she said:

"Don't let the task overwhelm you,
let the finished product overwhelm you."

This brought to mind a quote
from an angel friend:

Looking back,
We see with great clarity,
What once appeared as difficulties
Now reveal themselves as blessings.
~Dan Milman~

My prayer:
Dear God,
I know that sometimes in the heat of my problems
My human nature blurs my “vision”
Help me remember...
...that just as my body needs exercise,
so too,does my spirit need challenges to exercise my faith
...that even when I can’t see solutions to my problems
I just need to have faith and trust in YOU
Because to YOU everything is possible
...that though I may not see past my present afflictions,
through YOU and in YOUR due time,
these difficulties will be manifested as blessings

One day...we shall gratefully see
that God's great refusals
were sometimes the truest answers
to our prayers."
~P.T. Forsythe~

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
-Jean De La Bruyere

{On Discipline}

No discipline seems pleasant at the time,
but painful.
Later on, however, it produces
a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those
who have been trained by it.
~Hebrews 12:11~

The word disciple comes from the word discipline.
To be a disciple of Jesus, we must discipline
ourselves to follow HIS ways.

{On Afflictions}

Afflictions are opportunities
for God to demonstrate
HIS sustaining grace
and show
HIS work in our lives.

We all go through all sorts of afflictions in this world.
We can allow them to either break us or lift us up.
The choice is ours. If we choose God's way,
our afflictions can lead us closer to HIM.

My prayer:
Dear God, I thank you and praise you
...for working out all the situations in my life
including my afflictions.
...for using my afflictions to lead me closer to YOU
and to glorify YOU.
...for always guiding me to chose the better path
...and for sending angel friends through that path
reminding me that I need these afflictions
so I will not rely on my own self
and to always come to YOU.

Mismanaged Anger: Uplifted

Today is a physically and emotionally draining day. I had yet another crying spell, marking the 4th this week. It was physically draining as I had laundry problems caused by a leaking washer. It was emotionally draining as I had "mismanaged anger"- per the book I’m presently reading: The five Love Languages of Teenagers. Immanuel came home sick causing my mismanaged anger.

It may have been a physically and emotionally draining day but it was a spiritually enlightening day at the same time. When you have a personal relationship with the Lord, HE truly never fails to turn our difficulties into something uplifting bringing us even closer to HIM.

Immanuel and I had a chance to talk. Then he and Belle started putting up the Christmas tree. I made them lugaw to help their stomachs. As they were eating, Immanuel got a call from Toy’s R Us for an interview. It seems like the devil was working hard to get my anger back.

During my time of distress God's Holy Spirit was manifested through angel friends. Today HE sent ate Cecile, Paz, and my husband, helping me realize how lucky and blessed I am. My husband kept his cool all through my mismanaged anger throughout the day despite his back pain. He stepped up to the plate and dealt with the problem producing positive results. He even ended the day cleaning and preparing dinner. Cecile and Paz, as always, were there reminding me to "look again" so I can see that these are part of the learning process we have to go through and that I, in all actuality, am truly blessed.

Bible Study at home

Yesterday Immanuel stayed home sick and I arranged for my bible study to be at home. Then Isabella's school called as she was in the office with stomach pains. We prayed for everyone in our group including my family's ailments, Russ' back pain, and Immanuel's and Isabella's stomach pains.

In the afternoon, Immanuel went to the mall for his first day of work at the Disney store.

Then my day was ended with a wonderful dinner at Gerry's Grill.

39 and Holding

I turned 39 and looking forward to the big 4 0.

Lately I had been having mood swings. Last Monday I had uncontrollable crying spell. Then after listening to Phil's birthday greeting on my cell phone, I experienced tears of joy. And yet another one today. I hardly cry but that's 3 episodes in one week! I'm concerned because my cousin, Edna, says she had this as premenopausal symptoms.

After cleaning on the morning of my birthday, I did my nails and went to my noon taekwondo class.

After school Immanuel arrived home not feeling well (after effects of working on the haunted house) Then Russ came home with food for dinner and back pain.

Immanuel and Krystal came with me to take Ian and Belle to demo class. Then Paz picked up Krystal and Immanuel and I stayed and talked in the van. We watched from the van and at the end of class Master Choi videotaped Ian and Belle doing forms.

Then we went to the video store to rent a movie for Immanuel's English class. We also rented Monster House, Santa Claus 2 and Flying Daggers. We watched Monster House together.

Halloween Haunted Garage

Ian went to school dressed up as "Iana". He was beautiful it was scary.

I took mom at the airport around 10am for her flight to Manila with friend, Josie Espacio.

Minimum day for the kids and they worked on turning our garage into a "haunted house".

The kids together with their friends had a great time making the haunted house and so did its visitors. Even ate Cecile and I toughed it out.

Then they all cleaned up. I have to say I was very pleased and impressed.

Although it would have been perfect if Phil was present, it was a memorable Halloween nonetheless.

At Pismo with the Lucianos

On Friday, October 27, Immanuel brought Ian home during lunch and I picked up Isabella at school. Then we (I, mom, Ian and Belle) left for Pismo beach. The Marquez's, Janette, Lando and Jeazelle wanted so much to come with us, but, unfortunately, Janette couldn't reschedule her showing appointment. Susan and Lorenzo on the other hand, left ahead of us, and they stopped at a couple of wineries.

When we got there, mom prepared dinner and we walked around the neighborhood. Then out came the Luciano's "magic mic" and it was karaoke time after dinner. Isabella enjoyed it.

In the morning we went walking and jogging at the beach. Then on to Avila Beach and Port San Luis to get some rock crab for lunch. Then we headed to Morro Bay for some sightseeing. After a clam chowder and a little shopping, we went back home for lunch. Then it was time for good-byes as Susan and Lorenz headed back for Union City. I then took the kids out to get some bbq ribs and I had a very relaxing siesta. When I woke up we all went to the beach.

On Sunday morning, mom and I went to the local church, New Life church. After cleaning it was time to head back to U.C. It was a very nice and relaxing week-end.

Isabella's 7th Birthday Party

Isabella’s 7th birthday party was a great success. Everyone dear to us was present and there was Isabella's usual castle jumper. Our children pulled together to make the party a lot of fun for the kids. Immanuel and Krystal lead games. I handed out party favors during musical chairs. Then there was a dance off with judges, Cecile, Isabelle Tan, Daisy and Aaron Luciano. Everyone had fun watching Phil and Ian show "how it’s done". Then came pinata time. After the happy birthday cake, the girls had makeover with Krystal and friends.

Even the adults had a great time. Our kumpadre, Lorenzo, and my sister-in-law, Jill, started the karaoke. Then the ladies, Susan Luciano, Janette with sisters, Melody and Violy, started the dancing. All the adults had a wonderful time that lasted until midnight.

Fun was had by all. It was indeed a great birthday and housewarming party. Thank you everyone for warming our home and making this celebration a fun and memorable one.

New Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to
accept the people I cannot change,
the courage to change the one I can,
and the wisdom to know it's me.

-Author Unknown

Our Gift

What we are is God's gift to us.
What we become is our gift to God.

-Eleanor Powell

The Art of Life

Every happening,
great and small,
is a parable whereby God speaks to us,
and the art of life is to get the message.

- Malcolm Muggeridge

{To My Children}

Dear Phil, Immanuel, Ian and Belle,

I thank God for you every single day. I thank HIM for giving me the best children any mother could ever have and hope for. I thank you, my babies (you will always be my babies), for helping and teaching me to be the best mother I could be. I love you beyond measure, or, as you so cleverly put it, to infinity and beyond.

You're sent to me from above
All four of you whom I truly love
As I scan and look
through the pages of my scrapbook
From baseball to cub scouting to taekwondo
I thought I was molding you ...
All along you were honing, shaping
my skills on parenting
I thought I was leading you...
All along you were honing, shaping
leading me to the best I can be
To others I'm a supermom it seems
No, not even in my dreams
never did I see
a mother I could be.

{The gift of friendship}

This blogsite came about from inspiration from several friends:

To Paz .... Thank you for always being there and for showing me selflessness.

To Janet ... You have a wonderful sense of always seeing the lighter side of life.
Thank you for showing me how to stay positive.

To Pat .... Times spent with you are most insightful.
Thank you for the enlightenment.

To Owen .... Like great music, art, literature, and inspire me.
Thank you for bringing out the artist in me.

To Cecile .... How wonderful to have a wise friend like you. When I can't see the forest for the
trees, you pull back the leaves and say, "Look again."
Thank you for the constant encouragement my angel friend.

To God.......I will always cherish the gift of wonderful friendships. Thank you for sending angel
friends down my path. They are truly your instruments causing my cup to overflow
with inspiration, enlightenment and thanksgiving. I thirst no more.

{Ask And You Shall Receive}

In Jesus name I pray....
....for family and friends
....for peace and contentment
....for health and safety
....for faith and hope

I give thanks....
....for family and friends
....for peace and contentment
....for health and safety
....for faith and hope

Ask and you shall receive...

The very things I prayed for
Are the very things I'm thankful for
I asked and HE has provided

Lucky 7

It's been 7 years since we left our old home

We've moved back
to our old shack
We're done with the renovation
It's time for a double celebration
Our old home is now a cozy haven
And our resident princess is turning seven

Divine Guidance

We sold Sloan and moved back to Ojai. I assure you the decision making process did not go without much careful thought and prayers. What started this BIG decision? The deliberation was initiated by the desire to purchase a property in Pismo Beach. This has been at the back of my mind since we toured Cal Poly as Phil’s prospective college last year.

On my “Right on the money” blog, I wrote about doing what is right for you before you do what is right for your money. Our money must create peace of mind for us. This meant we needed to sell one of the properties. Purchasing a third property without selling one of the other two would create anxiety instead of peace of mind. So came the careful deliberation and LOTS of PRAYERS.

If you look back at my earlier blogs, I spoke of my desperation regarding being a landlord. All I wanted then was to sell Ojai and not have to worry about a rental property. So the offer I made for the Pismo property was contingent on selling Ojai - for 1031 exchange for tax purposes. The offer was not accepted with contingency. I really liked the property so I was willing to remove the contingency provided they give it to me at the price I want. I did get the price I want and it was creative financing from then onto close of escrow of Sloan. Selling Sloan allowed us maximum tax exemption while keeping Ojai allowed us lower property taxes. A great turn of decision making don’t you think? I truly think we had divine guidance.

In Awe

I can't believe...'s been 5 months since I last blogged. So much has happened in the last 5 months that I do not know where to begin. I guess I'll start where I left off - boasting of my husband's complete trust - including trust in making an offer on a property he hasn't even seen.

...we ended up purchasing a property in Pismo Beach. What a find! and what a blessing! I can't quite put into words the emotions that swells up from within. The mere thought of this place we now call home, well second home for now, but home sweet home nonetheless, makes my heart overflow with thanksgiving.

...we sold Sloan and moved back to Ojai Loop (See separate blog. Careful thought and lots of prayers went into the decision making process)

Outline of what has transpired in the course of 5 months:

  • April - Listed Ojai Loop then pulled off the market; Made an offer in Pismo Beach
  • May - "Designed to Sell" Sloan - i.e. lots of cleaning; Ojai renovation shopping
    Memorial day weekend - trip to Disneyland w/ Krystal & Family for Krystal's b-day and ate Edna and family for JJ's b-day
  • Jun - Listed Sloan and closed escrow on Pismo; Renovation on Ojai
  • July - continue cleaning Sloan and renovation on Ojai
  • August - Moving to Ojai and Pismo w/ the help of Krystal and family
  • September 1- Closed on Sloan

...we endured and accomplished all these toilsome tasks

...we finished just in time for back-to-school

... we exceeded our expectations

Actually, I can believe it! Because God was with me the whole, entire time. Sure there were problems along the way - but I went through the plight with God by my side. Now when I look back, I'm in awe and overflowing with thanksgiving.

The key to happiness

Despite the busy schedule of our trip to Pismo Beach, it gave me some time to reflect. As I was watching my kids enjoying and loving each other, I was overwhelmed with the love of GOD. I felt very blessed. I truly love my chosen career of a full time stay at home mom. I did not realize the importance of my chosen career until now. Being closer to the Lord truly brings happiness. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
I also realized the blessings given to me as a wife. My husband is on a business trip to Australia for three weeks. He is constantly trying his best to take care of us. I call him to inform of my desire to purchase property in Pismo Beach. He responds: "I completely trust your judgement". What a blessing! Not too many wives can boast of this.

Trip to SLO and Pismo Beach

We went to San Luis Obispo last Friday, April 21. We left the house around 10am and got to SLO around 1pm. We checked in our hotel, walked to the pier and had lunch. We met with a very nice realtor, Hae-Soo Ferguson, who was recommended to me by our Client Manager at BofA, Inda Lee. Hae-Soo said she was expecting to see an older client and thought that Phil and I could be brother and sister. Now you see why I said she’s a very nice realtor. Kidding aside, she is truly nice. We picked up Phil at Cal Poly and we looked at probably over 20 properties in 2 days. It was a little tiring but definitely exciting. On Friday, there was one condo we all liked but I held off on giving an offer, as I wanted to see more properties in Pismo Beach the next day. On Saturday, we previewed beautiful homes in Pismo Beach with fabulous ocean views. Every time I go to Pismo Beach I feel like moving there. It’s so serene and beautiful. Anyway after a long search we decided the condo in SLO is a great buy. Unfortunately someone made an offer the night before and the seller accepted. We were sad because it was a very nice condo but it’s not meant for us.
Of the 20 properties we viewed, two beautiful homes stood out. One is BIG and exquisite and the other is a very nice single level home.

During the times we were previewing properties, the children were entertaining themselves at the beach. After a late lunch, we went to Costco to purchase essentials for Phil and we headed home around 6pm, as Immanuel was dying to get back to his girlfriend, Krystal (at least he did come with us and tried to be "patient" which is very hard for him). We got home around 9pm and Immanuel wanted to go to Castro Valley for bible study to see Krystal. After a long discussion, he ended up staying. Krystal's mom, Paz, brought Krystal over and we were all appeased.

Right on the money

It feels like I haven’t blogged in ages. Besides the normal hectic life of a full time mommy and part time student, I have been so busy preparing our rental property for sale. It’s finally ready and officially in the market as of April 19. I feel sad because it’s our first house and we have a lot of memories in it. After a long decision making process, weighing the pros and cons, I came to the realization that the memories will be with us whether or not we sell. Besides the wonderful memories, I guess the other big "con" of selling that made it a hard decision to sell is hanging on to a property that has the prospect of increasing in equity. In search for "insight", I came across this book by Suze Orman, The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life. The 3rd law said: Do what is right for you before you do what is right for your money. It talked about how our money must create peace of mind for us, not extra anxiety. It may be right for our money to keep the property but I know it will not create peace of mind for us.

Why am I in Speech 1 class

I feel very fortunate for this stage in my life when I can go back to school and take courses that I like. Courses that I do not "have" to take but that I would ENJOY taking for self-improvement. I have been a stay at home mom for quite some time now and I would like to "brush up" and improve my communication skills. I’m due for a makeover/upgrade in this area. It is an added bonus that I can count this subject as a credit when I do decide to pursue my degree.
This course will also serve as preparation for a role I accepted as tournament director for Choi's Martial Arts Annual Taekwondo Tournament in November. I need to learn how to organize my thoughts and how to manage speaker anxiety. Another reason that prompted me to take this class is that I want to learn how to effectively deliver a message in hopes of sharing God's words to anyone who needs them. The course goal and objectives fits exactly what I’m looking for, not only in the area of SELF-improvement, but also in the area of unSELFish desire to use what I learn to minister to others and effectively communicate inspirational thoughts.

Our tenant is finally moving out!

I met with Dean Souza of ReMax In Motion Realty to discuss my rental property. He visited the property today for assessments and spoke to my tenant. He is finally moving out today. Praise God!

I have been having problems with this tenant since around May of last year. I couldn’t deal with it then because I had other other issues that are hard for me to talk about. My eldest son was also preparing to go to college then. I guess I knew that taking care of the problem would involve a lot of work and I wasn’t ready for it. I felt so overwhelmed because I felt so alone. Now I know why I couldn’t deal with it. I was solely relying on my own capabilities instead of tapping to the real power source. Nothing is impossible with GOD.

I signed a listing agreement today. The first step on my major to-do list. I have a lot to think about. Whether to sell the property "as is" or do some renovations. I have to list all the things that need to be done and assess whether it is worth the return of investment. I also have to take into account the length of time it will take for the renovations. My old self will get overwhelmed with the prospect of this all. But with my transformation I know God will guide me through the decision making process and I know that it will all work out in the end according to His plan.

God’s sense of humor

I pray for everything...even finding a parking spot.  It really feels good to be constantly talking to God.  I talk to him so much to a point where I feel his sense of humor.  Yes! I hear him "joking" with me sometimes.  Here’s one instance: It’s really hard finding a parking spot at Chabot College in the morning.  On my first day of class,  it took me 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot!  So the next day, I came even earlier to allot extra time looking for a spot.  I told myself, "c’mon Imelda you can do this.  You can find a parking spot".  After 20 minutes of circling I finally remembered to start praying and ask God to help me find a spot.  And I did find one shortly after. This reminded me not to rely on my own powers and to involve God even in what seems to be a small thing.  After all nothing is too big or too small to God.  So then the next time I came, I remembered to pray right away.  I asked, "God please let a parking spot open up".  A parking spot did open up but it wasn’t for me but for another car.  Can you see God’s humor here?  I can hear Him saying to me: "Imelda, my dear child, you just asked for a spot to open up but you didn't specify for whom".  I think it was also His way of reminding me to pray for others too.  God gave me my very own special spot shortly after close to where I needed to go:)

Maintaining Momentum

After awakening comes transformation then maintaining momentum.

Now that I have awakened, and have been transformed by God, I want to stay awake in keeping my faith alive and maintain the momentum. How do you maintain the momentum? Prayer is the answer. Tap to the real power source. With God by my side I don’t get as overwhelmed anymore and my anxieties have no power over me.

Tea Time

Last Sunday, 1/30/05, after taking Russ to the airport and after attending 10:30 service at church with Immanuel, I had a very relaxing tea time with the company of great friends. What a wonderful way of spending a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. We went to Lisa's Tea Treasures at Santana Row in San Jose. Owen, our photography diva, brought her new SLR camera (naturally). We had a very fun photo shoot while we were waiting for our table. And while we were busy having fun with our posing, a Dutch guy came and asked Owen about her camera. Owen was very pleased to find out that this guy is a professional photographer and he has the same camera that she has. He taught Owen some "camera stuff", took a couple shots of us and conversed with Cecile in Dutch. Visit Owen's photosite and check out the beautiful pictures she took to capture that wonderful day. Then it was time for tea. We all had a great afternoon.

Unfortunately, that evening, our family princess suffered a very bad stomach flu. We were all so concerned because she was getting so weak from you know what when you have a stomach flu (it was coming out from both ends). After a couple of times changing the beddings, it finally subsided with the help of pepto bismol and tylenol (she had a fever too). She stayed home the following day, Monday. Good thing Immanuel and Ian were home for semester break. It was mom who had to go to school. (I enrolled in a speech class at Chabot College....that's a whole new reflection.)


2005 has been a year of self-discovery and spiritual awakening for me. As I look back and assess last year’s accomplishments, I discovered that it has been a passive year for me. I was just "going with the flow", so to speak. I was not the driver but the passenger. If I have not experienced God’s goodness, I would view this passive experience as a negative one. Having felt God’s presence and goodness, I actually view it as a blessing. The passive state allowed me to be still, giving way for me to hear and experience God. I thank God for inviting me to taste and experience HIS goodness. I pray that I can share my experience to other people so that they too can feel HIS presence and goodness.