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Archive for November, 2011


I can’t believe it, it’s a little more than a month to go before the much awaited Christmas Day. Advent begins this coming Sunday. I always look forward to the season, my favorite celebration of the year.  It seems as if November is barreling towards us like the “hanging amihan” which started yesterday, so we expect cold mornings from now on.  But this month is so far a blessed month for me. Aside from Nissa’s wedding last week, we are all looking forward to the Diaconate Ordination of our good friend and an adopted son at the end of the month. Lovell is a dear older brother to my two kids. It’s another event that brings November to a  close.

Sometimes, I ask myself what gifts I could give to my family that they will really appreciate. Gift-giving during the Christmas season is as old as time itself , it symbolizes our show of love for our family and close friends. And it makes us remember that the season of love is the perfect time to show that  it is not just the ritual of  gift-giving itself that is important, we should bear in mind that we celebrate Christmas because we are happy that the Christ-child has come. Some of us sometimes forget that it is His most important day because at times like this, we are also busy with other concerns, parties here and there, going out with friends, shopping, planning on Christmas menus and everything that to us, symbolize Christmas.  Christmas is a family celebration. Christmas is a time for reconciliation with people who have in one way hurt us in the past or who we have hurt.

We haven’t put up the Christmas tree yet, another family ritual that we do every year. And for the first time in so many years, I haven’t bought any gift yet for family and friends.  Around this time every year, most of the gifts which I buy early are already wrapped. I got caught in the frenzy of wedding preparations for my daughter, and it’s only now that I feel the fatigue and stress, there are still lots of things to do.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that by first week of December, I am done with Christmas shopping and grocery shopping for our traditional noche buena.

Just don’t forget the love, because that is what Christmas is all about.

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When you are on the side of truth

You should not be ashamed to face the music.

They always say –

The truth will set you free.

Tell a lie once,

And you won’t be believed a second time….

 

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I remember a friend who lives in Canada who said that of all the four seasons of the year, she likes Autumn best. Sure, each season has its own attraction but the play of colors that only Fall can bring fascinates her.  I’m envious, if I were there, I’ll probably take lots of pictures and document every changing color of the countryside.

You might be wondering who owns this lovely picture. A friend who lives in Netherlands is a photography buff. Whereas before she dreamed about visiting castles, she’s now living the dream because a few minutes from their place, she could always visit several ones. Her daughter enjoys traipsing around castle grounds and posing before the camera. This is located at the grounds of De Haar Castle in Haarzuilens  which is close to Utrecth.

I am imagining myself sitting on that bench either reading a book or just thinking about life – how lucky I am that I have reached this far, living a normal life again.  I could imagine myself sitting there just gazing at the still waters. It speaks of calm and serenity, two things that are sometimes lacking in this world.  The joys of  being alone in your thoughts but pregnant with meanings that only your active mind could conjure.  The joys of stillness and silence that you need everyday of your life.  The joys of spending quiet moments alone with God. How lucky could you get! But I am allowing my thoughts to wander.

I’ve neglected my favorite pastime  for two weeks now, opting to stay in front of the computer to catch on news, say hello to friends and posts some pictures of Nissa’s wedding. Reading will always be number one for me, but for the past thirty months, yes, you heard it right, thirty months, I was hooked on blogging here. More so when I accepted the “Post A Day Challenge 2011”. And I mean, I am literally blogging everyday. I am grateful though that I gained a steady readership. It’s a thrill for me when some people find my previous blogs on my journey as a cancer patient/survivor. I love sharing with them, make their day bearable for a while by  knowing that there is life after surgery and treatment. There is hope that one would get well to share  the journey.

Would it be early to say that I miss my daughter? I haven’t seen her since they left last Tuesday and I miss the nights that we talk about what’s happening in her office. I miss the greetings of “hello Ma” with matching kiss.

I would love to re-phrase this quote from E.B White, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”  I would just love to enjoy the world right at this moment. I choose to dream of pleasant things that would make life worthwhile. I choose happiness over negative thoughts that sometimes linger in my mind.  I choose Today, I choose Serenity!

 


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I normally don’t blog about e-mails sent by friends but this article is too good not to share with my readers. I find comfort and inspiration in stories like this. Fiction or not, they make one feel good about life.  We meet people from all walks of life and they sometimes leave their imprint on us, a permanent mark that makes us say, “life is good, and I am glad we met.” Thanks Dean for sharing this story.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze..

‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked.

She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’

‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!’ she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘ We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..’

She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE..

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

 ‘Good friends are like stars….. …….You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.’


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Love is a friendship set to music.  – E. Joseph Cossman

The frenzy of the last two weeks is finally over. Of course, there are still so many things to do but at least we could relax now without worrying about undelivered invites, seating arrangement at the wedding venue and such small details that would make Nissa’s  big day a success.  Apart from a few texts and a phone call,  I haven’t heard from the newly wed for the last two days.  They went to Cebu and are now in Bohol, a place she’s raving about. We always say that a woman is loveliest on her wedding day and she is happiest on her honeymoon. I am happy for both of them.

I can’t wait to see the wedding pictures but it will probably take a little longer for the official photographers  to deliver them.  We are just copying some tagged posts by friends who attended the wedding.  A lot of my friends who  now  have their own grand kids are telling me that it’s a great feeling to have your own  “apos” to pamper and to play with.  Of course, hubby and I are looking forward to that but we can wait until they are ready to have kids. It takes lots of adjustments and learning when you are a newly married couple. But learning together and loving it is always a part of the thrill of adjusting to married life. Along the way, one learns more of each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, and the lovable traits that you have admired before but are magnified  because you will always try to show how much you love and value each other.  It’s the guy who loves to spend the night with you admiring the beauty of the moon and counting the stars instead of  watching the late night news who is I think more romantic and worthy of spending precious time with. And it’s the beauty of staying in love and growing old together that is worth admirable in a couple. Not all of us experience the kind of “kilig” moments that they describe in romance books but we can build our own  as each day passes and as the years go by.  The beautiful memories linger long after your kids have families of their own.

We must admit of course that in some cases, when problems set in, love comes flying out of the window. The verbal attacks are more frequent than the hugs and smiles. Nothing is perfect, we all know that and  the success of one’s married life really depends on so many factors that sometimes we overlook because we are of the thought that we are secure in each other’s love. We should not be complacent and should always make an effort to let our spouses feel that they are important to us. Love may diminish  over the years and we ask ourselves, “where has the love gone?”

I’ve told Nissa and Obet to put God in the center of their married life. The journey may not be as smooth as one expects but the uphill climb becomes a joy when you scale the mountains together.

 

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I’d love to  borrow Jose Mari Chan’s words just for this blog.If a mother has that everlasting affinity to her daughter, a father has that special bond  that only he could fulfill.

Sing me a song again, Daddy
Sing me a happy verse.
Teach me those clever lines you sang
As you carried me on your shoulders.
Sing me that hymn that you so loudly
Sang in church with mom.
Sing it again to me and fill me
With all your words of wisdom.

Comforting words of love when I
Would get home from school in tears.
Somehow your songs have stayed within me
Down through all the years.
Once when my younger heart was broken
Your shoulder was there to cry on.
Sing me those songs I know will linger
Long after you have gone.

I am standing at the threshold
Of a chapter in my life
I am asking for your blessing
As I’m about to be the wife
Of a man I know who loves me
And I’m proud to be his bride.
Dad the time has come for me to leave your side.

So, sing me a song again, Daddy.
Sing me a lullaby.
Wrap me inside your arms, Daddy,
‘Though this is not goodbye.
Your songs will live forever
In my heart. When times get rough
The ones I’ll most remember
Are your songs of love.

Our good friend Fr. Aly Barcinal officiated the mass during Nissa’s wedding. We have known him since  Nissa was still in first year high school, when we transferred to our new home back in 1995. He was the one who blessed our house and we have maintained the friendship until now. There was a part of the mass right after the wedding rites in which he asked hubby to say a few words  to Obet, his son-in-law. We didn’t know about it and hubby was not prepared for it. I am glad though  that he was not because what he said was a spontaneous sharing and speech that I know came from the heart. He emphasized two points – the good news and bad news. When he mentioned that, I was looking at Fr. Aly and he was looking back at me smiling. I was wondering what could be the bad news because for me, the wedding itself is good news to all of us.

He said that the good news  was , “I am  very happy that I am  not losing a daughter but gaining a son. Lumaki ang pamilya ko.”  Then he added, “Welcome to the family Obet.”  The bad news was, he won’t be able to see his daughter as often as he wants because she’ll be starting a new life now. I heaved a sigh of relief. Some of the guests applauded. Then Fr. Aly called Obet in front and urged him to say his response. We were all laughing when he said “Thank you Papa, this is the first time I am calling you Papa. And I promise to take care of Nissa.” They said a lot more than these but  I could not exactly remember. I saw some friends shedding copious tears. It was a lovely exchange between father and son.
At the venue at Ibarra’s Garden, one part of the program was the traditional father-daughter dance.  Josh (our musician) and his group played Sing Me A Song Again Daddy. It was so touching, and it made me feel  so nostalgic. I remember the times when she was a little girl, the years when hubby has to go abroad and stay there for sometime because of work and the only communication we had were through letters, voice tapes and occasional phone calls.
We are glad that she has finally found a man to love and to spend the rest of her life with. We were teasing each other yesterday, we told them, we want to have grand kids soon. 🙂

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It was all so surreal! So that was how it felt, letting go and seeing your daughter married to the man she loves.  It was a beautiful and lovely Purple Day.

The day prior to the wedding, we checked in at the Pearl Garden Hotel which is very near the wedding venue renting four rooms including Nissa’s junior suite. I asked hubby if I could stay with Nissa together with her maid of honor and hug her while asleep just like those times when she was still a chubby little kid, one last time before tying the knot with Obet.  We had a grand time exchanging stories  and that she felt nervous but  happy that finally the day has come for her to say goodbye to being single. We slept late but still woke up early to meet other members of the family who were billeted at the same hotel like we were.

She was a little-teary eyed when I told her that I will pray the rosary for her wedding before we go down for the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel. It’s a prayer and a wish that the “happy ever after feeling” would hold throughout their married life, that they will be happy as they begin their journey together as husband and wife. Believe me, it was a fervent prayer of a mother for  her loving daughter.

Call time for make-up and photography was at 9:30 am.  I was happy to meet Tippy, Nissa’s make-up artist and friend who made us beautiful during the wedding 🙂 I didn’t know  that photography shoot for the preliminary preparations would take that long, with all the details  – Nissa’s wedding dress, their rings, the Bible, and all the paraphernalia that go with every wedding. There was this symbolic gesture of holding the gown for Nissa for her to put on, the two of us together facing each other under her veil. There were several shots of her while holding her bridal bouquet – the pensive look, the smiley face, the happy expression while looking at the distant waters of Manila Bay. It was all so lovely.

We left her hotel room around 2pm  and had some photo session in another area of the hotel before going to the church at exactly 2:30pm. The wedding started at 3pm with our family friend, Fr. Aly officiating. It was a perfect Purple Day at last – an intimate gathering of relatives and friends to celebrate a special day at the historic Paco Park Chapel. Everything seemed all like a dream, a perfect ending as engaged couple and a new beginning as husband and wife.

Their official pictures are not in yet. Just got this from one of their friends’ album. This is the traditional “Kiss the bride” right after the wedding.

A  picture of bliss with her little girls and little boys….oops, one is missing.

I didn’t cry when we were at the church because it was such a happy affair but when Nissa and Obet started dancing while they were playing  The Gift, I was teary-eyed.  When they played Sing Me Your Song Again Daddy during the traditional father-daughter dance, I had a big lump in my throat, it was so beautiful. Thanks to Josh for the lovely music, a combination of piano, flute and violin.

I love this one, not only because of Nissa but the two people dear to me were captured in one  frame. I also dream of the day when Lovell would be ordained a priest. He’ll have his Diaconal Ordination this coming November 30, another event that I will surely treasure.

I wonder what she was thinking while she was on her way to the altar. It’s  a new journey for her, being married and all.

I just love the play of light here. A perfect afternoon for a lovely  and wonderful wedding.

It was indeed a memorable Purple Day for all of us!

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Finding meanings in lost forgotten dreams

Trying to greet the day with a smile

But feeling a little nostalgic

And I feel like singing

Sunrise, sunset.

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You might laugh at this. I wonder why I am even counting. And the feeling is like waiting for Christmas – anticipation, excitement, happiness – you name it, I am like a child who can’t wait to open her gifts before the day ends. So this is how it starts.

There is chaos in every corner of the house, lots of things needed for the wedding, shoes, gifts for the sponsors, and a couple of wedding gifts sent earlier by friends.  And yes, lots of purple ribbon on the side. It’s not my favorite color but Nissa’s . The last few days seeing her lovingly prepare her homemade gifts for her bridesmaids and for the little girls in the entourage, I’ve come to love the three different shade of purple which they will use as color motif. That’s why her friends say, it’s Purple Day.

I’ve received lots of congratulatory wishes at our AFCC group and prayers for Nissa and Obet. They asked me how a mother-of-the-bride feels while the big day is nearing. Well, just like everyone else, I am excited too but praying that everything would be okay from the flowers down to the littlest details of the wedding. I know how happy my daughter is and that is what mothers like me ought to celebrate.  It would be  a new journey for her, being married and all.

I did a bit of pampering myself the whole afternoon, going to the salon for foot spa and manicure. Getting ready for the big day:) I will keep you all posted. And here our some of the pics they  took during her bridal shower at Somerset Salcedo Hotel last weekend.

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My daughter’s friends call it Purple Day, referring of course to her  wedding this coming Sunday. Such a hectic and busy week for all of us except perhaps hubby who is so cool about it all. Or maybe, he just won’t like to think that in two days, his unica hija will change her name from Ariston to Isidro.

I love weddings, I love seeing people in love tie the knot in Holy Matrimony , being blessed by it and blessed by God. It’s kind of different though when it is your own daughter who is getting married. I am happy for her but just like most moms who still think of their daughter as their baby, I go crazy reminding her of this and that and constantly checking what has been done and what needs to be done. I am sure I am not alone in this,  “hello there pretty moms, am I right”?

Some friends assured me it’s pretty normal. “Oh, is it?”  Or maybe it is just what my adopted son calls “separation anxiety”. I planned of making a blog, right? But as always is the case, I can’t organize my thoughts  although a lot of things are playing in my head.  I want to write about those days when she was still a baby, her first day in school, her first crush, a neighbor who died when she  was in college and how she cried that her Kuya Junjun was no longer around. I want to write about the things we share before going to bed and our love for the written word. I want to write about how I jumped with joy when one of her UST professors called me up at home eight years ago telling me that she would graduate as Magna Cum Laude.  I want to write about how happy we were together when she was promoted as Assistant Manager at her present work. I want to write about the silly grin on our faces every time  we find some good books in our favorite jaunts.

Oh well, a mother could only smile at these thoughts but I promised myself I won’t cry. I wish her all the luck and pray continuously  that she would start married life like I dreamed it ought to be for her – lots of happiness and blessings and a loving hubby to speak of.

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