1st week - started newsletter, Christmas cards and Christmas shopping
12/6 (Thu) - van trouble (radiator cracked)
12/7 (Fri) - Russ arrived early morning
Belle's award recognition at school
Owen, Josh & Troy arrived around 5pm in time for holiday festivities at the pier
12/8 (Sat) - Avila Valley Barn & Morro Bay
12/9 (Sun) - Body Jam class with Owen, church, then mom drove back to U.C. w/ Russ
2nd week - Christmas preparation continued (mom missing in action)
12/14 (Fri) - Ian stayed home
12/15 (Sat) - Russ arrived
12/16 (Sun) - church with Russ ( I have to account for this...special:)
12/18 (Tues) - Immanuel arrived around 2:30 via grandma's Mazda Tribute for Psych finals rained really hard, flooding at AG High, Phil picked up Belle (also at Ballet later)
12/19 (Wed) - Ian minimum day; we went to DMV in Santa Maria (I was able to renew my license but was not able to apply for Ian's learner's permit as we did not bring along the necessary requirements)
Here's the highlight of this month (besides the birth of my 2 Immanuels of course, The first Immanuel, my Shepherd, the second, my sheep)
after I picked up Isabella from school she asked if Immanuel is home. I said yes but he went with Phil to the beach. She got sad because she wanted to play with him. So I said we'll stop at the beach to watch them surf and boogie board. As we were walking in the sand we spotted Ian and Immanuel playing volleyball. Isabella was so happy and started running towards her brothers. As I was watching them play I wrote on the sand "a little piece of heaven".
12/21 (Fri) - finished the remaining 2 cabinets left on the 1st half section
12/22 (Sat) - picture taking at Coastal Dance
drove to Union City (1:30-3:30)
12/23 (Sun) - church; car shopping with Immanuel (trading his Supra)
get together with ate Edna and family and Paz and family at our house
12/24 (Mon) - last minute Christmas shopping; Christmas Eve party at the Magcale's
12/25 (Tue) - opening presents with the whole family (including Krystal)
Krystn came over then Isabella spent the afternoon with the Janiceks
12/26 (Wed) - sleep over with Krystn at our house
12/27 - present - PMS then the thing after pms; Russ and I got sick (Russ is battling a very bad cough; my usual asthma, recovering a little bit today)
left my house in a disarray
and my soul overcrowded
and new year's resolutions....
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Thank you dear God
that you are just a prayer away
all that we need is readily available
we can breathe in the breath of life
In my most frenzied moments
I breathe deeply and restoratively
long and luxurious
imagining my breath as a lullaby
soothing and calming
at the same time invigorating and rejuvenating
as I listen intently
every breath as notes
each unique and special
every inhalation controlled and conscientious
exhaling worries and anxieties
slowly easing my pressures
turning my tensions into tranquility
I am untroubled once more
amidst all the frenzy
serenity floods my spirit.
Thank you dear God
for the energizing breath of life.
threshold of the old and new.
Clean pages of a bare calendar,
ready for a new chapter.
May the passing chapter
serve as an anchor
remembering lessons learned
God's unfailing mercy and undying love
His constant nurturing
all through and despite our constant turning
To put into perspective
the aches of the past
allowing the pain from our darker moments
to serve as launching pad
into a promise filled tomorrows
for we surely know
time and time again
when the light comes
we are never the same
then this prayer:
Even your son, Father, took breaks from the people and pressures crowding Him.
Don't let me think I can outperform Him.
help me to convince myself...
...that my body needs a break every once in a while
...that I am not being selfish when I take one
...that a relaxed and rejuvenated mother is a more loving mother.
here are some of my fave quotes from the faith notes my bff gave me:
- If you are happy and you know it, thank God!
- Feeling down? Just look up.
- Upload prayer, download peace.
- Life is a dance; God's love is the music.
- Faith sees the Invisible, believes the Incredible, and receives the Impossible.
- Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.
- God's promises are like the stars; the darker the night, the brighter they shine.
- Can't sleep? Don't count sheep; talk to the Shepherd.
- No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace.
- Exercise daily...walk with the Lord.
is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel
that all is as it should be
and that God wishes to see people happy,
amidst the simple beauty of nature.
Anne Frank (1929-1945)
The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass,
it becomes a mysterious, awesome,
indescribably magnificent world in itself.
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
Change your thoughts,
and you change your world
Norman Vincent Peale
- so very grateful that I was able to drive Ian to school before the van overheated again (it was so scary as the van was smoking all over the place as I was climbing the hill to our house; I jumped out of the van as soon as I reached the house; then I was able to refill the radiator fluid as it was empty again after the boys filled it up last night;
- so very grateful that I got to drive Isabella to school before I had to call AAA to tow the van to the shop;
- so very grateful that Phil got done with his finals for the day just in time to give me a ride.
- for sons who are willing and able to do a temporary fix to my van (the radiator fluid burst just as I was pulling into the driveway; it was an alarming sight as it steamed and leaked all over the front}
- that the car mishap happened at home and not in the middle of my school bus service
- for a sweet darling daughter who, at my stressful moment, says to me "mom breathe remember you're too blessed to be stressed" (we saw this quote while shopping for a present for the birthday of a classmate last Saturday)
- christmas shopping started yesterday and halfway done
- halfway done with christmas cards
- for my son, Phil, who after his review session last Sunday, bought our christmas tree and put it up
- for a chance to decorate the tree with Isabella
- for a quality time with Ian last Monday
- for my son, Immanuel, who put up outdoor christmas lights
What is it that you really want for Christmas?
What will your focus be this Christmas?
...Presents? Or, Presence?
Presence (My Heart's Desire)
by Furler, Taylor, Hughes
Come O Lord and fill up my life
With the light of Your presence
This is my heart's desire
Oh Father come and let Your Spirit abide
I long for Your presence
This is my heart's desire
I long to be washed
In the well of Your mercy
I long to be warmed
By the fire of Your glory
I long for Your presence
I long for Your healing touch
Lord You're my desire
1. God is the source of love
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world tocondemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17
2. Love responds with compassion
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
3. Compassion brings glory to God
Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
for the strength to carry out a vision for an improved kitchen
for not losing sight of my ultimate divine vision allowing balance and joy along the way
for an intimate thanksgiving lunch, full of grace and love, with my wondeful family
whoever says money can't buy happiness
does not know where to shop
the only thing better than a great store
is a great store with a great sale
when I get tired of shopping
I sit down and try on some shoes
from a seasoned homemaker
this is a self cleaning kitchen
clean up after yourself
if you want breakfast in bed
sleep in the kitchen
both of us can't look good
it's either me or the house
...like I said, just for laughs...or as we say in the Philippines...joke only:)
....for touching well wishes from friends and family closest to my heart
....for a fun time trick or treating with Belle, Ian and Russ
....for a nice bonding time with Ian
....for Immanuel's safety on halloween night away from home
....for Phil's continued diligence and pride in his work
....for the twinkle in my mom's eyes
Don't think less of yourself...think of yourself less
Humility is confidence rightly placed
Prayer is not a way to draw God's attention to our needs.
It is a way to draw our attention to how much we need God.
a fave verse from Philippians 4: 6-7
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Peace is not the absence of conflict
but the handling of conflict without loss of balance
-Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro
It's all about love
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22: 37-40
our words are noise,
our spiritual gifts amount to nothing,
and our greatest sacrifices lose their meaning.
Love is the bottom line
I turned 40 today!...and I am very blessed. I have been celebrating all week delighting in everything and everyone around me, going shopping with my mom, enjoying going to the gym, and most especially immersing myself in the presence of my Creator through prayer, meditation and journaling...I am truly blessed.
My dear husband arrived yesterday in time for trick or treating. We took Belle out with Ian while Phil and grandma stayed home to give out candies. Immanuel went out with friends (or so he says:)). Ian and I joyfully watched dad and Belle rang doorbells as we enjoyed hugging and massaging each other by the sidewalk (it was a chilly halloween night...just a bit...perfect for hugging).
I spent the morning of my birthday doing my regular schedule of taking kids to school, meditation, and some housework. Then I took mom to her physical therapy. Russ took me out to lunch at Yanagi Sushi while Phil picked up grandma. After lunch I did some paperwork then it was time to pick up Ian. Russ picked up Belle, and I took Ian to get his long overdue physical clearance for his wrestling requirement (though we waited for over an hour at the doctor's office, it was a nice mother-son bonding time). When we got home, mom was preparing pansit and there was a cake and present from Russ and Belle. Then we had a joyful family dinner when Immanuel got home from school. The day was ended with Russ and Belle singing in the karaoke...and oh! sweet well wishes from friends and family closest to my heart...what a blessed 40th birthday!
....for the soothing loveliness of our blooming rose garden
God hath not promised
Skies ever blue,
Flower strewn pathways
All our lives through;
God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.
But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
-Annie Johnson Flint
Right now these flowers are in bloom
Soon they will wither and fall but they will bloom again
As I delight in the constant renewal of life
may it serve as a silent reminder of your promise
not of flower strewn pathways all our lives through
but of your constant presence and undying love
and help me remember that though we plant and water,
it is you who provides the life and growth.
....for Isabella's memorable birthday (through the graciousnes of ate Cecile she will forever remember and rave of watching the HS Musical on ice with her BFF on her 8th bday)
....for a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate covered pretzels from thoughtful ate Pinky that came in an opportune time of my chocolate fit
....for a wonderful dinner full of FUN (through the kindness of ate Pinky) in the company of my BFF and her whole family (it was very nice meeting her beautiful and wise mom & dad for the first time)
....for a chance to witness the joy in the sweet eyes of two wonderful girls as they spend time together during a sleep-over and most of Sunday
....for hope as my "lost sheep" start showing some signs of maturity
....for a safe drive back
(here's some photos from ate Cecile's site)
Ate Cecile came to pick them up at 10am just in time for my chocolate fit. She brought a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate covered pretzels from her bestfriend, ate Pinky. Boy was Russ thankful...it saved his life:) i was getting ready to strangle him (no chocolate during my coffee break turns me into something not right:)
Then mom and I attended a memorial for a friend at church.
In the evening, we had a delightful dinner (courtesy of gracious ate Pinky) in the company of my BFF, ate Cecile, and her entire wonderful family (her beautiful and wise mom and dad included, and of course, the very FUN and kind ate Pinky). After dinner we had the pleasure of sweet Krystn's company for a sleep-over. It was great joy watching the two cute BFF's have fun together.
On Sunday morning, we attended the 9am service at St. Paul's. Krystn and Isabella sported a matching red dress with matching sparkly shoes that Cecile bought for them (of course I forgot to take pictures). The people at church thought they were sisters...some even thought, upon seeing Krystn, that Isabella grew in a rather rapid state. After the service, during our fellowship time, the girls had fun playing at the church playground.
Then we were off to home where they were able to spend more fun time playing..magic tricks and all...while I was busy packing for trip back to Pismo...and while my mom was busy entertaining and enjoying a friend's visit (tita Warlita and her husband).
We had planned to leave at 2pm. And normally, during this time, I start getting anxious and scared. I worry about some family "drama" (brought about by Immanuel and Krystal wanting to "stretch" their time together and dad's reaction). But this time, to my great relief, Immanuel called at 1:30 and said that they are just finishing lunch and will come home soon. I am starting to really see a little bit of light in this dark tunnel of immaturity. Praise the Lord!:)
She left with Immanuel last Friday and is back in Union City this week for her ankle check-up.
He enjoyed visiting Krystal for the week-end then drove back here with dad late Sunday night (well, actually, very early Monday morn). Thank God for the "no drama" weekend. I tell you, I really dread (more like a phobia) the week-ends when he drives to visit Krystal. the phobia is on: either a disagreement with dad (more like a battle where I'm stuck in the middle), or a speeding ticket. Well, at least I can see a little light at the end of this particular tunnel as he and Krystal are both showing some sign of maturity...on some decisions.
As for his schoolwork, I guess he works well under pressure...everything is done the last minute.
(You know who I'm praying for the most:)
Russ is here throughout the week enjoying attending Isabella's dance classes.
We went to Isabella's parent-teacher conference yesterday. The teacher showed us her math chapter test for chapters 1-4 wherein she got the highest score in the class with only 1 incorrect answer. All her spelling tests are perfect scores. The teacher also commented about her obvious love of reading. She said that Isabella is one who really thinks of what is going on in the particular story as she is reading it. Isabella presented a story in the class that she wrote herself and everyone were so attentive as they really like her story. She did not get to finish it and so the teacher said that is called a cliffhanger...her classmates can't wait for her to continue her story. Russ & I were so proud of the teacher's comments: "Isabella is a joy, very self motivated and excels in everything."
He signed up for wrestling and asked me to sign a progress report showing A's and 2 B's. He did not want to show it to dad. This brought me to some reflecting as I was very concerned that he thinks dad only want to see straight A's, or worse, that our love is conditioned upon his performance.
Russ and I had a very nice talk about it. We are continually learning in our parenting skills.
He continually takes pride in his work...work that I could not read let alone decipher (it's like what the heck)...quantum physics type and some electrical engineering jargon...work where he shines... where teacher comments great work!
(as I am writing this, Phil comes in and hands me yet another perfect score test and informs me that class average is 50%)
wow! I know I have some smarts in me...but he certainly did not get that from me:)
I am approching a milestone in my life...I can't believe I'm turning 40!...a lot of reflection as I face this milestone...a lot of blessings...a lot of gratitude.
and puts His arm around me
His comforting strength wrapped around me
like a soothing blanket
Speaking to me with such tenderness and compassion
helping me to be aware of everything around me
showing me things I need to see
pointing my thoughts toward a new perspective...
In the beginning
a sense of God
handed down from generations
of traditions, beliefs and practices.
As time went by
life's distractions got in the way.
storing treasures on earth,
clouding that sense of the One
Who created it all.
Then a threat of losing it all
knocked me off my apathy.
A sudden emptiness
gave way to a longing
to bring back that sense
of the One Who gave it all.
The hunger for possessions
gave way to a yearning
for that sense of the One
Who provides for all I need
Who loves me unconditionally
Who forgives and welcomes me back.
when you feel safe...
...to call for no reason
...to unload your bundle of irritations
...to share a humorous and embarrassing moment
...to just be yourself
With a true friend there is rest, comfort and acceptance of your soul
...getting the children up and ready for school
...driving them to school
...paperwork, bills and phone calls
...picking up the kids
...taking them to classes and practices
then starting all over again the next day
at times overpowering
at times overwhelming
Thank you, dear Lord, for leading me to a beautiful quiet place
where I can...
...find time to slow down and decompress
...find peace and tranquility
...find respite to gather strength for the day
...find You, feel your presence and hear Your voice
whispering to me
opening my heart
enlightening my soul
for these, my whirl of day-to-day activities,
are opportunities to give unconditional love
bringing me to the realization
that my everyday living
ordinary as it may be
is an extraoridnary testimony
to Your faithfulness and love.
Thank you for showing me the miracle in a normal day.
what a blessed time...
...to nurture great friendship
...to enjoy support, laughter and love.
Nothing is as calming and comforting as conversation between best friends.
Friends are truly among the most wonderful gifts of life.
Thank you, Dear Lord, for the special friends You've brought into my life. They are a blessing beyond words. Thank you for making the bond of our frienship strong enough to withstand our distance apart. May we always continue to be close to You and to one another.
An afternoon talk with Paz and Ener in an effort to shed some light, and, hopefully ease some of our emotional upheavals, regarding our relational problems with our self-willed teen lovebirds.
A visit from Krystal. She arrived Wednesday, Sept. 12th.
We all went to Isabella’s back-to-school night on Sept. 13th.
Wonderful weekend at the beach.
Visit from Pat, Sean and Alexa on Saturday, Sept. 15th. Krystal and Butters drove back with Pat and Alexa the following day.
Drive to Union City on Friday, Sept. 21st to attend my grand nephew, Jerome's, christening.
Great September ending…visit from great friends...ate Cecile, ate Pinky, Nana Lorna, Timothy and Krystn.
thank you ate Cecile, ate Pinky, Nana, Timothy and Krystn
for making us all feel great
and for your great influence
greatness is making others feel great!
-G. K. Chesterton
greatness is not measured by affluence
but by influence
-Pastor Ron Salsbury
from New Life Church
composed by Kevin Ross
You, O lord
Created me and passioned me
You, O Lord
Have blessed me with ability
So what else can I do
But give myself to You
And let my life display Your wonder
Everything I am is according to Your plan
I'm created to praise You
Everything I have is Yours
I wanna live my life for YOur glory
I'm giving You my life, my dreams,
Everything I hope to be
Is under Your authority
There's no where else I want to be,
You, O Lord
Laid down your life as a sacrifice
You, O Lord
Have rescued me and set me free
for an opportunity to go to the gym (body flow class)
for a time to be still and renew
for a chance to show my love and support to my mom (helped her take a shower)
for my mom's ankle's slow but sure recovery
for Immanuel's and mom's safe drive back
for my husband's love and understanding
for Ian's amazing 'out-of-the-blue' words of wisdom
for concerned calls from friends closest to my heart
for turning my weaknesses to draw me closer to You
for a home in a place surrounded by beauty that beckons and woos my spirit to renewal and contentment
I am perfectly imperfect
I battle my own demons
of being in control
of directing circumstances
most especially my loved ones.
so strong is its pull
and the constant struggle
leaves me drained, weak and dry
and in my total surrender
the One truly in control says to me
"I have told you these things,
so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I, Jesus, have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
The power that created the universe
is bigger than anything in it
all I have to do is
let go and let God.
My external circumstances may or may not change
But only in my total surrender,
in my brokenness,
through my cracks
can the Living Water overflow.
I recognize now
this state of overflowing
requires continual "in-filling"
after all, I am perfectly imperfect,
leaking through my brokenness.
As long as I remember
to let go and let God,
He will bring me back to Him.
In my total surrender
In my perfectly imperfect state
I will dance with the Lord.
...the review on the revue...true teamwork and love of dance manifested.
There were a total of 35 dance numbers divided into 2 acts. The dancers gave their best, performing with energy and enthusiasm up to the finale.
Isabella performed 5 dance numbers, 2 of which she learned in 2 days. A tap dance number, (Shake, Rattle and Roll) and a ballet dance number (Babes in Toyland/March of the Toys). Thanks to a great teacher and director, Kathy Schultz, for her passion for teaching and dance. And thanks to a wonderful friend, Sonja, for her time practicing with Isabella the day before the performance...true teamwork, indeed.
Immanuel is so convinced that there is nothing wrong with his spur-of-the-moment, inconsiderate actions. It was as if he wants to prove he does not need guidance. I am so furious I couldn’t change him and make him understand to see things my way.
Then I started having stomach pains and I discovered I have my menstruation. I opened my daily devotional given to me by mom’s angel friend, Tita Rose. On my bookmarked page where I left off before we left for our vacation, it read: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. The writer was sharing a similar experience she was having with her child. As I read, I felt a release, a moment of understanding, and I realized my own narrow-mindedness and rebellion. I wanted so much for Immanuel to see things my way that I closed my heart and forgot to trust God.
Then I called my friend Paz and shared the experience. As the mother of Immanuel's girlfriend, and having teenagers of her own, we are both walking the same path and going through the same difficulties. She also shared similar experiences personal and otherwise. The conversation provided much needed additional comfort and enlightenment.
Please forgive my rebellion, for wanting things my way
Thank you for sending angel friends and for an uplifting book serving as a reminder.
Please give me the strength I so need to not give up on Immanuel and to have enough left to care for the rest of my children.
Please give Immanuel, myself, and my husband, the strength, patience and wisdom we need to understand each other.
We’re back from our wonderful month-long vacation from my fabulous homeland, the Philippines!
Once inside our home sweet home in this side of the world, we scrambled to look for the A/C remote. Then I was in cleaning mode despite my jetlagged state. The refrigerator and bathrooms were first on my cleaning list. I can't believe my dear mom did not call anyone to come and help us this time around.
We enjoyed four blissful days in this breathtaking island of white sand and the ever so blue and warm water of the pacific ocean.
Side trip to....
We had a change of plans on our last day in the province of Aklan that resulted in a very pleasurable side trip. Our change of plans took us to a very pleasant and unique resort in Kalibo called the Sampaguita Gardens. The resort is owned by Sam Butcher, the creator of precious moments.
Sampaguita Gardens’ Butterfly Farm is the first in Western Visayas
And we were off to Kalibo airport the following day back to Manila.
The following day, the day of our departure, I forced myself to go out for last minute “beautification” i.e. hair, nails and massage. The massage helped my ailment a bit enough to endure the short trip to the airport and the lengthy check in process. I took a potent cough medicine with codein in fear of being quarantined due to my nasty coughing spells. The medicine was so potent that I forgot to pack and bring some important things...things we shopped for, food and presents, my video camera, belle’s glasses and other little stuff were left behind.
Well, that's all of what I can recall. I had to take a vacation from our vacation:)
David's Restaurant at the Santa Clara Golf Club.
We are proud to be part of this joyous occasion. Glenna is a sister in Christ and my prayer partner. Her husband, Regin, is a brother in Christ from the Faroe islands. They are blessed with love and faith and we are grateful that they asked us to be their ninong and ninang.
Isabella, a flower girl and an entertainer. She performed 2 dance numbers and a taekwondo demo with her kuya Ian.
Russ and I...primary sponsors...proud to be ninong and ninang to the wonderful couple
will upload the rest to our photosite
June 19 - 26th
Day 6 - rest, swimming, and shopping day
Day 5 - Revisit Epcot
Soarin' is my mom's favorite ride of all which happens to be in Epcot Center, her favorite park.
Day 4 - MGM
this is our 5th time in Orlando and I always refuse to ride on the tower of terror (or any other rides involving heights). well, this time they finally got me to ride this scary elevator ride.
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom
They also got me to ride the splash mountain (i kinda enjoyed it)
Day 2 - Epcot
Regal Palms Resort
We enjoyed the lazy pool and slide