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Memories Are Made Of These


They come back in snatches, like a favorite old song that keeps you thinking how you felt while you listen and sing along. They come back, like the gentle patter of raindrops outside  your  window sans the frightening thunder and lightning that always accompany a thunderstorm. They come back and they make you smile.

Our overhead light got busted and you might think it silly that I am using a LED  light attached to my transistor radio to type my way through. I am afraid  I would forget these lovely thoughts if I postpone writing them even for an hour. I spent  the early evening visiting my favorite writers at Philippine Star. The latter is a  favorite national daily too because it was through their invites that I got two articles published a few years ago.  I was so happy that I got paid for  writing an article about OFW families, which we were back then.  I am digressing again. I read the editorial  page of  the Philippine Star now and then but I never skip the lifestyle section of the paper looking for Second Wind, a byline by Barbara Gonzales and Love Lucy by Lucy Torres. The former is a 70 something retired advertising executive who shares her journey with her readers. She writes, teaches writing, does arts and crafts while Lucy is the Lucy Torres Gomez, a house representative from Ormoc down south.  I am inspired by their writing style  that I laugh sometimes all by myself while reading their articles.  Lucy writes fluidly about her early childhood, her dreams when she reaches 85 (haha), her penchant for arts and crafts, her preference for writing short notes on pretty stationeries and sealed in even prettier envelopes, the midnight snacks she always craves for with hubby Richard.  These remind me of the days growing up in the province.

When we were kids, my aunt had a small sari-sari store that sold  everything from bubble gums, Vicks candies to Tancho pomade and that green aftershave/cologne that they used in barber shops  way back then. My favorite was the Vicks candies in small packets with free plastic rings that my cousins and I used to collect. All my fingers would be adorned with different colors of rings in different designs. Heaven! The treasures of youth.  I remember the happy times  when my cousins and I would gather dry twigs to use for cooking  and during summer, armed with wide baskets and bayong,  we would go out in the heat of the sun to gather duhat (black plum) for afternoon snacks. My girl cousins would use fresh annatto seeds growing in the backyard to color our lips,  and we would use madre cacao to curl our hair.  On moonlit nights, my cousins and I would play patintero or luksong tinik and tumbang preso. They were priceless games that a child of ten would definitely enjoy. The best though were the times when we would drink coconut juice straight from the tree and later eat the buko as soon as they were scraped from the husk.  By the  way, buko is a  young coconut.I had my share of climbing trees too (guava trees) mostly. Those were the days,  lovely memories of the past.  Some may be a bit hazy but the fun attached to those long-ago days are still fresh in my mind.

They make me smile with that pleasant ache of remembrance.  Traipsing down memory lane. What were yours, can you remember?

 

Sunday Blues


Sometimes it is hard to get back one’s muse. I’ve put aside blogging for the past week because I don’t know where to start again. Blame it on the erratic weather we have here and the things I need to do a week after the monsoon rains left us – a garden that needs attention although it is not that immediate, plants that need trimming, a pond that needs to be brushed of dirt and needs repainting.

I have this blasted cold for almost a week now and for the past three nights I find it hard to sleep because of  bouts of coughing. It’s that time of year again that almost every one you meet on the streets has colds. September is about to end and we are experiencing hot and sunny weather early mornings and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Son says to set aside today for rest, he specifically told me to just relax and not touch anything in the garden. The only relaxing thing I could think of is to catch up on my reading but I get sleepy most of the time, probably the effect of the cough syrup I am taking. I seldom watch TV or DVD  for that matter, I have no patience with watching telenovelas but I listen to the news every day.

I got a nice surprise early this morning while watching the dogs having fun in the garden. I saw two Gardenia blooms, the flowers wide open and the sweet scent made my morning.  For the past several years, the only time I get to see  gardenia flowers in our garden  are during the months of May and June.  What a nice surprise.  And I remember this  touching  story I read and I blogged about a few years ago, about a girl who receives a gardenia every time she celebrates her birthday. When her mom died, it stopped coming and that’s when she knew that it was her mom who gave her all those blooms.  Today, my daughter turned 32 but her family was not around to celebrate with us. They attended a 7th birthday celebration of one of Nate’s cousins.  My brother who lives in Tulsa opened a  family group chat on Viber  and it is always a joy to exchange a word or two (longer if we have time) and talk about anything under the sun. That’s the kind of bonding we do have nowadays because it’s been years since we last saw each other.  You would see spur-of-the-moment postings on what-do-you-have-for-breakfast-today. Crazy you might say but it’s fun and the joyful moments are priceless. He craves for Filipino food, rice specially, I am contented with left-overs the night before and Nissa has her own breakfast regimen at the office.  We hear the laughter ringing through our phones sometimes and it feels great being with the family. It’s nice  to know that they are always there when you need them most – to laugh with, to cry with, to reminisce upon the happy times when we were staying in an apartment when the kids were  small.

We are celebrating the Feast Day of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila today, our first Filipino saint.

Happy Birthday Nissa


Nissa

Today I celebrate the gift of life with you. May you always be blessed. I love you so much anak!

Facing The Storms


♫♪♫All that I am, all that I have
I lay them down before You, oh Lord
All my regrets, all my acclaims
The joy and the pain, I’m making them Yours

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

Things in the past, things yet unseen
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true
All of my heart, all of my praise
My heart and my hands are lifted to You

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

What can we give that You have not given?
And what do we have that is not already Yours?
All we possess are these lives we’re living
That’s what we give to You, Lord

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life
Lord I offer You my life♫♪♫♪

This inspiring song has played in my head since this morning. I was more inspired attending mass at St. Padre Pio chapel with Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD  as mass presider. Josef and I agreed to meet there before the mass but we saw each  other  only after the final blessing. There were so many Padre Pio devotees who attended –  people from all walks of life, people in wheel chairs, people who believe that there is a loving God who will always be there for all of us. I was touched listening to some of them sharing a bit of their stories  before the mass, some came from nearby towns and provinces just to attend the celebration.  We were on the same journey, seeking intercessions from Padre Pio. We each have our own personal intentions but we were there as one family celebrating his feast day.

The past week  was  not just busy for us, it was pretty tiring too. Come to think of it,  Metro Manila was not even under any storm signal but typhoon Mario wrought havoc to our town again, flooding most areas because of the monsoon rains. It  was typhoon Ondoy all over again. We are still thankful though that even if flood waters reached our house (almost knee-deep), it didn’t bring damage to properties. PAGASA said that what is supposedly an amount of rainfall for a month fell in a day. Five years ago, when typhoon Ondoy hit us, we had to renovate. I had all our cabinet changed and fixed permanently.  I am not yet done arranging and fixing our personal things which we had to move to higher shelves. Sometimes I feel physically drained, it’s like doing manual labor, cleaning the house etc. ( I haven’t touched the garden yet).

Life is a bit hard sometimes but we have to move on and move forward. The uncertainties, the fear and trauma of dealing with such natural  disasters are still there but we are thankful that we are alive and enjoying moments with  the family. There are more things to be thankful for than to complain about. Fr. Jerry said in his homily this afternoon, “Offer your pain to God, be thankful for all your blessings. When the burden is too much, let Him carry it for you”.

Sunshine comes after the rain.

Happy Feast Day St. Padre Pio


Today is the Feast Day of one of my favorite saints, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. I am excited to visit him once more.  Josef and I will attend the 12:15pm mass today at St. Padre Pio Chapel.

“You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart; in fact on certain occasions you should speak to Him only with your heart… One searches for God in books. One finds Him in meditation.”

 

Another Rainy Night


What does one write about on a rainy evening like this? My mind gets stalled not by lack of what to say but how I am going to say something interesting enough to merit even just one reader’s eyes.

On a night like this, I take momentary pleasures dwelling in a world of remembering the not so distant past. At least that would provide a change to the inane and inconsequential things one thinks about on almost any night but a rainy one.

I just enjoyed browsing three filled notebooks of previous writings and quotations from my readings from way back.  The beauty of reminiscing and getting in touch with the old self, the beauty of rediscovering  how life was many decades ago. I even found drafts of letters to friends during my college years.  And I found these,  two black and white pictures with Dad and my youngest brother. I had a good laugh at my brother’s  bell-bottom pants  and my short skirt (so seventies). Never mind, these were our school uniforms at the University  of Santo Tomas four decades ago. I just want to share them here, I am afraid I may misplace them again.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

There is something so nostalgic about black and white or sepia pictures of long ago.  And I remember these because my dad received a gold medal as exemplary employee of the university. That is why,  the four of us kids  (my three brothers and I) studied in UST from high school to college and my two kids are Thomasians too.  I am grateful though and proud of being an alumna of  the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus.  The Pontifical, Royal Catholic University of the Philippines, that’s UST for you.

I started reading Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell, another historical novel that reminds me so much of Frank McCourt’s  Angela’s  Ashes  and Trinity by Leon Uris.  I am always fascinated by Irish-American history.

What book are you reading now?

Today’s Quote


MaryOliver bday

This particular quote is one of my favorites.  She’s a sunshine on a gloomy day.

Happy 79th birthday Mary Oliver.  I pray that you will continue to touch us with your lovely thoughts and inspiring words.

 

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