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Archive for the ‘Awaiting Christmas 2011’ Category


Tonight is the last night of Simbang Gabi, make that tomorrow morning for Misa de Gallo.  I wasn’t able to complete the 9-day novena masses since I could not leave Mom alone at night. Hubby just arrived home the other day and we’re supposed to attend the last night of Simbang Gabi but Nissa and Obet decided to have dinner with us and it’s  now quite late to go to Church. Whew!

I ought to be thinking of what to cook for Noche Buena but son suggested to keep it simple since we would prepare his favorite recipes on Christmas day.  It’s Nissa and Obet’s first Christmas as a married couple so we are all quite excited what they’ll come up with and that means, what special recipe they will prepare since they’re spending Christmas dinner with us. Mom is here so we are complete. It’s the first time in years that she agreed to spend  a long vacation with us, hooray! Anyway, I spent early morning listening to Christmas carols while updating our Catholic site and posting my Christmas message.  It’s kind of nostalgic (again) to listen to the old, old Christmas songs and the wonderful voices of Johnny Mathis and the Gunter Kallmann Choir.

I found these reminders from a friend at Facebook, they’re called The Christmas Ten Commandments  and they’re too good not to share with you:

  1. Thou shalt give thy heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of thy Christmas list.
  2. Thou shalt prepare thy soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that thy soul is forgotten.
  3. Thou shalt not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
  4. Thou shalt not burden the shop girl, the mailman and the merchant with complaints and demands.
  5. Thou shalt give thyself with thy gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold and he who receiveth shall treasure it forever.
  6. Thou shalt not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold.
  7. Thou shalt not neglect the needy. Share thy blessings with many who will go hungry and cold unless thou are generous.
  8. Thou shalt not neglect thy church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season.
  9. Thou  shalt be as a little child. Not until thou has become in spirit as a little one art thou ready to enter the Kingdom of  Heaven.
  10. Thou shalt not forget to share your joy, peace and faith with those around you.

May I just thank all of you for taking time to read my thoughts? May I just say a simple “thank you” to those who regularly click like and those who make comments on my posts?  You have enriched my life and inspired me to blog everyday. Thank you too WordPress for encouraging us to take the challenge. You will never really know how far you could go unless you try. Thank you for new-found friends here at WordPress, I appreciate your presence.

MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS! May it be a blessed one for all of us.

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Yes, I am definitely counting since tonight is the start of Simbang Gabi, make that 4am or 4:30 am for Misa de Gallo tomorrow. And since I don’t always wake up that early, I usually attend the advance Simbang Gabi masses at the nearby parish.  The 9-day novena is something I always look forward to every year, it’s part our yearly tradition during the Christmas season.

Except for our Christmas tree which we didn’t put up this year because hubby is not around,  we have put up some favorite Christmas decor and the house smells of lemon wax and newly ironed curtains .These kept me occupied the whole morning.  It’s a back-breaking job, cleaning and changing sheets and ironing but it’s part of the preparation for Christmas. I always say, without sounding too preachy that this is a special event that we always  look forward to – the coming of Jesus. And it is not only  through wrapping gifts, cooking lavish and favorite food, attending family reunions, completing the Simbang Gabi masses that make Christmas what it is, we should also prepare ourselves  with a clean and loving heart.

One of the personalities that I so love blogging about is Lucy Torres. I don’t get to watch her often on TV since I am not your regular TV enthusiast but I get a thrill  every time I see her lovely face on TV. She and her husband Richard were Kris’ guests this morning on KrisTV. I love her simplicity, the way she expresses herself in front of the camera, the way she writes (I do miss her column at Phil. Star) about life and about her family and the things she loves to do like crafting.  She says that wrapping gifts is one of her ways of unwinding and relaxing  and dancing of course. And she and her daughter also make bookmarks.  I love making bookmarks too and sometimes I buy them in bulk and embellish them with shells, beads or silk flowers. And when I give books to friends, there is always a bookmark enclosed.

And that reminds me,  it’s about time I wrap the remaining gifts which I bought a few days ago. A friend once asked me why I bother having boxes and ribbons and nice wrapping paper for gifts to friends and family. Like Lucy, I enjoy tinkering with things like old Christmas decorations that I  could incorporate into the box.

OC, you might say but that’s the way it is for me. My daughter invested in some art and craft kits like stamp pads, cutter, craft scissors, linen  papers, silk flowers and designs, you name it, she has a whole cabinet full of craft materials. And now she is into bead works making bracelets, earrings and rosaries too.

I do have  more than a dozen chain rosaries which I made earlier as  gifts to friends this Christmas. And do you know that doing crafts is a nice  way of bonding with your family? Even my son makes rosaries which he sells in their office.

It’s ten days to go before Christmas, are you done with your Christmas shopping?

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My memories of Christmas past, aside from the hope of always completing Misa de Gallo was all about food. No, They were not your usual fusion cuisine that we get to see in specialty restaurants nowadays but they were all simple fare that our parents  prepared for the occasion. Back in the province when I was in grade school, having Pancit Bihon, Suman, and Binongey  for Noche Buena was considered a feast for us.

One such famous delicacy from our province in Pangasinan which is also served during Christmas is Tupig, made from glutinous rice, mixed with sugar and  grated young coconut wrapped in banana leaves then baked over charcoal. I tell you, it’s one of the best there is in our place.  These rice cake preparations are both associated with Christmas and New Year.

We call this Binongey, it’s also made of glutinous rice or malagkit and mixed with coconut cream then cooked  in cut bamboo tubes over live coals. It tastes like Suman but has that distinct flavor which makes it more yummy and delicious.

Some non-Pangasinense  (Pangasinense being the natives of the place) confuses the Suman we have there with the Tupig, we use the same ingredient like the glutinous rice and coconut cream but the Suman  is wrapped in these home-made young coconut leaves  unlike the other version in some provinces where they use banana leaves.

I do miss all these.  Here in the city, there are always the proverbial ham, roast chicken, Lechon, fruit salad, pasta dishes and other recipes that you would dream of preparing but nothing could bring back that smile on my face when I see these  sweet delicacies  placed on the dining table. It reminds me of Christmas past, back when life was simple.

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Perhaps you’ve probably heard and read  several times that the Philippines celebrate the longest Christmas season. As soon as the BER months set in, be sure that you’ll hear Christmas carols played on the radio and not long after that, you’ll see Christmas decorations not only in each home but in department stores as well. And the celebration sometimes even extend to February the following year.

December comes with so much anticipation. It’s the happiest month of the year so far. We are finally done with putting up Christmas decor although it’s not as detailed as the one we had a year ago. For the first time, we haven’t put  up our seven-foot Christmas tree. I am looking for our smaller tree, about two feet long which I used to put atop the console table in our bedroom. I think it would look lovely in one corner of our side tables in the sala.

There is much more to Christmas than just the decor, the food we plan to prepare,  the parties we want to attend, new and old friends we want to meet. There is more than just the twinkling of Christmas lights at your neighbor’s house or the lovely Christmas lantern which you bought in Pampanga. Christmas is a season of hope reborn again, a season of peace and goodwill. The miracle of Christmas time brings us closer as a family and makes us even more aware that it is a very special season for the simple reason that Christ Child is born. Don’t you wish sometime that the season of cheer and joy would be yours throughout the year? Don’t you wish sometime that you would experience that lightness of heart in sharing what you have all year through?

I remember our conversation yesterday with my daughter, Nissa and her friend Marisse while we were watching and listening to the lovely and touching rites of Diaconate Ordination of our close friend. I told them that it’s like getting married too, with all the “I  Do’s” , only this time you’re not saying I do to promise to love and to serve your wife and husband but you are committing yourself to God. You say I do to remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom and in lifelong service to God and mankind. I love the part when the candidates prostrates themselves while the Litany of the Saints was being said.  And the Investiture with  Dalmatic, the presentation of the Book of the Gospels, the Kiss of Peace – the solemn and inspiring celebration itself, it was all so surreal.

Hello December!

 

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I’ve just reviewed my blogs since the start of the Post A Day Challenge last January 2011. Oh my, did I really write those  264 blogs until yesterday? You may call it an obsession but then a day would not be complete without writing one. To date, I have a total of 633 blogs and around 49,824 page views since I started blogging at WordPress last May 2009.

I updated my notes at Facebook by transferring  about five blogs there. Imagine my surprise when my friends started making comments.  I am quite amused that they are so appreciative of even snippets of what I write about.  Isn’t that something that would make one proud, touching  a few souls  here and there?  Thank God for blogging – moments cherished, memories kept, dreams fulfilled  and little things that make everyday a blessing. Thank God for loving friends.

I won’t make this long, suffice to say, we have started the Christmas countdown, beginning today. How exciting!

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