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Archive for December, 2010


I can’t believe that I have 25 pages of this on my Facebook page – a summary of what I posted as shout outs !  But it’s nice to re-read  everything though. I just chose 3 pages to share with you here.

 

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This is a little uncanny!  I looked at my last post a year ago and what do you know, I quoted same and exact words from John Burroughs while greeting everyone a happy year 2010.  I made my New year greetings early this morning and this is what I wrote on the picture that I took last December 25.

Compared to the bustle and clutter of 2009, this year has been a little subdued.   It was a year full of quiet musings and deep introspections.   I’ve gone on a few short trips, just testing how I can endure the long ride after chemotherapy.  Time was when, my life was divided into pre-surgery, recuperation and chemotherapy.  I thank God for giving me the strength to carry on despite the pain.   Hard knocks of life really make us a little stronger and enduring.

Hubby and I went back to Caleruega for an overnight stay last February 11, 2010 and as I have said in my previous blogs, that trip was  a  litmus test for me after six grueling sessions of chemotherapy.  If there is one place that I’ve blogged more than anything, it’s Caleruega.  It has become a sort of sanctuary for me.   And I thought, if I could survive that trip, then I am well.  I did and I am so much thankful for it.

Next came our Visita Iglesia last  April 01.  We did the rounds of at least seven churches in six towns in Laguna.   Every year, we make it a point to visit some churches during Holy Week .We traveled  via the scenic route from Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras and Pillila, Rizal to the towns of Mabitac, Siniloan, Famy, Pangil, Pakil and Paete.  Laguna is famous for century-old churches.    It was a little tiring for me, what with so many people around and mostly under the heat of the sun.   I did okay, another plus for endurance, don’t you think?  Anyway, I thought that if I could spend the whole day outside without complaining of over-fatigue, everything would be okay and it was.   Hubby and I were also able to attend a Lenten retreat which made the celebration of Lent all the more meaningful.  God is so good!                                           


Finally had our small grotto blessed last April 11, 2010.  It was my promise to Mama Mary that I would have her image enshrined at our garden when I go out of the hospital.  Our garden was destroyed by typhoon Ondoy so we had to replenish everything planted there.   The grotto has a small pond and we have Koi fish swimming there now.  I am still not much into gardening except for an hour or two spent watering the plants every morning.

I was rushed to the hospital last May 01, 2010 because of  an acute UTI and my urologist found out that a kidney stone was lodged somewhere in my urinary tract prompting  him to insert a DJ stent for three months.  It was  a quick but an expensive procedure.   I have to make another visit to Dr. Ang’s clinic  ( he is my surgical oncologist) and he assured me that I could spend the Christmas holidays without the pressure of having another colonoscopy since he scheduled it early next year.  Hooray!

My life is slowly but surely getting back to normal.  Reading has taken a backseat though because I easily get tired while my eyes are focused on the small prints.  I remember the days when I could finish a book in a day, two or three days at the most for a long novel.  One of the joys of recuperating is having relaxed days, just concentrating on getting back your strength, never doing any taxing job.  I feel guilty though that I could not do heavy household chores although around this time, I could easily tag along doing the weekly marketing without complaints.

June 05, 2010 was Bank of the Philippines Island’s Family Day.  My daughter persuaded me to come but I was afraid to take any ride so I ended up just relaxing. I found a former office mate, such a perfect time to catch up on each other’s lives.

The month of July found me attending our  second grand reunion at the UST Library aptly called Balik-Aklatan 2. Ten years ago, we had our first reunion and this is the second time we had it. It’s nice to be back and see old friends and new faces . The three years I spent here were the best years of my teenage life. My love of books started during my stay here and I greatly appreciate what the experience taught me  – responsibility at an early age, juggling work with studies, meeting lots of friends and colleagues and most of all learning to appreciate good books.  I  was able to view the library exhibit’s  Lumina  Pandit which is in preparation for the  Quadricentennial  celebration of the University.

Remembering the good old days – that’s what the reunion was all about.   Hubby and I  had an overnight trip to Bataan middle of September.   We heard mass at Balanga Cathedral and met some new friends.  Awesome place, friendly people.  I want to go back there one of these days, if time permits.  September also started my journey as one of the three administrators of a Catholic page at Facebook.  Fr. Louie, OP calls it my online apostolate.  It is such a joy to be able to help and inspire other people.   Membership at the site is steadily increasing.  What a wonder, God is pointing the way for me to interact with people.  Last September 25, I was able to touch the image of La Naval when my good friend Lovell invited me to join them in praying the rosary when they transferred our Lady of La Naval in an enclosed room in preparation for the October Feast Day.  Awesome moments for me, seeing her up close! Last November 29, I met an online friend for the first time after exchanging notes and blogging at Multiply.  Bong is such a very gracious lady and we had a blast with her hubby, my daughter and my husband.

A few days ago, my daughter, his boyfriend and I went home to attend the barangay fiesta at our place. Though it was only a short vacation, I enjoyed it.  We’ve been able to visit some relatives and spent lunch at Maxine’s  facing the famous Hundred Islands.  I took lots of pictures of course.

At the marina, facing the lighthouse ….

The famous tourist attraction, The Hundred Islands in Lucap, Alaminos City

Somewhere along SCTEX , facing the Arayat Mountains in Pampanga

It’s been a good year so far and before it ends, I want to greet all of you HAPPY NEW YEAR.  May the coming year be fruitful, blessed and happy for all of us.

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Just had my  first  trip home since my surgery eighteen months ago and a year after my last chemotherapy.  Although hubby and I took some trips  in some provinces a few months back, this is the longest one so far.  It took us more than five hours to reach our place in Pangasinan.  I love taking road trips, communing with nature and just love the feel of  the crisp mountain air.  Gosh, was it cold out there?   It was windy, alright.  At 3pm,  it was like typhoon signal number two minus the rain.

It was just an overnight stay with my daughter and her boyfriend but  we enjoyed the brief vacation seeing  relatives. We visited my father’s grave at the town cemetery and lighted some candles.  It’s  been three years now since he died and I never get the chance to visit him on All Saints and All Soul’s Day so I make it a point to light some candles every time I have the chance to go  home.  There is a certain kind of sadness looking at gravestones and remembering, just remembering the days of old.  Memories are sometimes a little tricky – they make you cry and think about the happy days, they make you reminisce and look back.  And they make you wish that time could stand still.  But amid the sadness is a quiet joy, a simple leap of the heart , a tearful smile of remembrance.  There are moments when the happy memories stand out and this is one of those times that I remember him vividly in my mind.  I hate saying  farewell so I’ll just say, until next time!

Camera in hand, we took a walk at the ridge where one can see  the view of the river below.  I always love to take a few shots of this area every time I come home.  This is one of those moments when I’d rather have my camera than my cellphone.

Country  scenery  at its best…

I love the nippy air of December.  We even brought a jacket and an umbrella.  There was a brief rain shower earlier giving more color to the green countryside.  I even managed to take a picture of a carabao grazing on the grass.  How much rural can you get?

I took a few shots of the flowers growing along the road.   Just can’t resist these lovely blooms, just simple pleasures that no amount of money can buy. It’s kind of  nostalgic – because I grew up here until I was ten years old when we transferred to Manila to study in high school.  Not everyone is given the privilege to look back and have some place to  come back to.  How I wish I could stay here for long, about a week maybe and take shots of all the flowers in my mom’s garden and play with my seven-year old niece.   Sometimes though, a day is just enough to fill one’s heart with joy.

This is the rough stretch adjoining our concrete road.

An afternoon of exploring and lovely conversations -  it feels like having a walk in the park.

Life could be this simple, life could be this great!

Maybe, deep inside I am still a small-town-girl, longing for a wider space to build my dreams on, comfortable with the silence, at one with nature where I could be my most authentic self.  It’s a long stretch but it is home away from home.




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Here’s a wish and a hope for a Blessed Christmas to all my WordPress readers!  Thank you for visiting my site.

 

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I am re-posting this message here – my Christmas message at our AFCC (Apostles Filipino Catholic Community) site

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

by Apostles Filipino Catholic Community on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:42am

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”.  Luke 2: 9-12

 

What fitting way to describe the coming of our Savior  in  these verses from Luke.  For the past several days, since the start of the Advent season, we have prepared for Christ’s coming.  Just like a family with a very important guest, we are excited about it.  Christmas has been and always will be an awaited season in our lives.  More than anything, Christmas is about families. Christmas is about friendship.  Christmas is about forgiveness and repentance.  Christmas is about reaching out and inspiring others. Christmas is about sharing.  But to sum it all up, Christmas is about LoveJesus’ great love for all of us.  I found these very inspiring meaning of what Christmas truly means and I quote:

“C is for Christ who came as a babe…living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away, rising He justified freely forever … One day he’s coming, Oh glorious day!

H is for hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2)

R is for righteousness that has been revealed by God, that is by faith from first to last. (Romans 1:17)

I is for Immanuel (God with us-John 1)

S is for shepherds of whom Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd…the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23)

T is for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Christ. (Colossians 2:3)

M is for magi who came to worship Jesus for He is truly worthy. (Matthew 2)

A is for angels who sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

S is for the star that led to the bright Morning Star…Jesus Himself. (Revelation 22:16)”

It’s been almost four months now since the day I was appointed  admin of AFCC  (and I thank Fr. Louie for the trust) and  I must admit these are the happiest months so far, interacting with all of you, posting comments, videos, reflections, inspirational links, Daily Gospel readings, quotes, and occasional blogs from my  personal site.  It is a continuous learning curve for me and a journey that goes beyond the ordinary.  I  am inspired to share what little I know of what makes one closer to God.  And believe me, I am also learning a lot from all of you!

My wish for you this Christmas is this, may the blessings of the Lord ‘s birth be with you on Christmas  Day  and throughout your lifetime.  Maligayang Pasko po sa inyong lahat!  Ihanda natin ang ating sarili sa pagtanggap sa  Kanya.  Let’s make room for Jesus in our lives.

 

 

Arlene


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It was a sudden downpour, creating puddles  along the streets and ripples on our small garden pond.  The leaves of the trees finally got the chance to get wet and cleaned from the daily grime and dust of the city.  How  wonderful to watch this sudden December rain.  There were times during the previous months that I was afraid of  the rain, some sort of phobia  from the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy.  Time heals though,  and I am more optimistic now that it won’t happen again.

Don’t you just love this sudden burst of raindrops?  Were you ever tempted to let the rain soak your skin?

I’ve always been tempted to capture raindrops and freeze them forever in a photograph . There is something so refreshing seeing those crystal clear water droplets.  Here’s another attempt at a macro shot, a favorite medium in photography.  And again this somehow reminds me of this quote:

Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.


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The nights are long and the crisp early morning air makes me want to go back to bed. I am an early riser  and  5am is already late for me.  When you wake up early, you have the privilege of enjoying the silence, you have the chance to get in touch with yourself through prayers, simple affirmations that there is always a loving God by your side.  This is one of those mornings that I am essentially grateful, loving every thought that sometimes makes me smile and laugh and think of the days past.  And I say,they’ve been good.

Yesterday, hubby and I were invited to attend the thanksgiving mass of one of our new-found friends.  It was Fr. Jhoen’s first Sacerdotal Ordination Anniversary and he celebrated it with us  at the EDSA Shrine.  What a very touching and lovely homily.  And I like how he affirmed his commitment and vows:

“Take O Lord and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.  All that I am and all that I possess You  have given me.  I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.  Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.  Dear Jesus, THANK YOU  for the grace of Priesthood.  Today, I renew my YES. Only YES, always YES. Amen”

I told him we will visit him in Mariveles if we ever swing  by Bataan again and he said he will look forward to that.  He has just been transferred from Balanga Cathedral last November.

We passed by National Bookstore before we proceeded to the EDSA Shrine, just browsing without any thought of buying  anything.  Lucky, lucky me, I saw another book of my favorite author, Richard Paul Evans. He is on online friend at Facebook and over the years, I’ve followed every publication of his books, it’s just unfortunate that most of them were destroyed by the flood last year.  I only have a copy of his book Grace and this new find. You won’t know how happy I was having found something, a story very fitting for Christmas.  The Christmas List was published last year. I get frustrated when I could not find any book by RPE since every year he churns out lovely and intriguing titles.  It’s a nice surprise though to be able to find one when you least expect it.

I received an e-mail  from one of my close friends that she is coming home for a family reunion by January.  She wants us to meet, (the four of us), the student librarians who’ve kept in touch all these years since our college days.  Grace is like a big sister to me. She was the one I was closest to when we were at the UST Library more than thirty years ago.  She is now based in Canada. Sr. Thea is a Franciscan nun working with the Mangyans in Mindoro and Precy is a successful businesswoman.  This is an even a nicer surprise.  What more can one ask?

It’s the start of  Simbang Gabi tonight here in our place.  Wouldn’t want to miss it since I can’t attend the dawn masses  which are usually held at 4am.  Nine  nights of novena then voila, it’s Christmas!

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And still counting…..

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I am in the middle of reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breatnach, a day book of comfort and joy, 366 messages and essays that touch on so many subjects that uplift the soul.  And here is her list of the 12 Christmas gifts patterned after the famous song Twelve Days of Christmas.  It’s too good not to share.

  1. On the first day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Undivided Attention.
  2. On the second day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves:  The Gift of Enthusiasm.
  3. On the third day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Creative Energy.
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Simple Seasonal Pleasures.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of  Tenderness.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Good Cheer.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Beauty.
  8. On the eight-day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Communication.
  9. On  the ninth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of Surprise.
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Wonder.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of Peaceful Surroundings.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Joy.

Come to think of it, you can never buy them in any store or shopping mall, because they are gifts from God.  Peace of mind, happy smiles, contented hearts – they make gift-giving truly wonderful.

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♫Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy♪ ♫


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