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To all my followers here at WordPress, I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you so much for your encouraging and lovely comments. Thank you too for liking my posts. It’s such a joy to meet you all here!  Big thanks too to those who are following me at these sites.

Our Precious Bundle of Joy   – my newest blog on my grandson
Cams and Photos  – my photography blog
Gardens and Empty Spaces   – my garden blog

You’ve made blogging something  that I look forward to every day.

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Time and again, I’ve blogged about our beloved Archbishop Tagle. He is one of the well-loved and most admired archbishops  in our country and now that he is a cardinal, he has gained more admiration from the Catholic faithful. Here is a copy of his Christmas message for this year.  I love that line, “Christmas is all about faith”.

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This year we celebrate the Christmas Season within the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit? Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us. Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation.

In a real sense, Christmas is all about faith. To remove faith from Christmas is to empty it of its meaning. It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith. On the one hand, Christmas vividly recalls the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes as one like us except in sin, because as the Savior he cannot participate in humanity’s rejection of God. He opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way.  On the other hand, every Christmas season invites us to receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit. Faith in God leads us to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor whom Jesus loves. Faith makes us sharers in Jesus’ saving mission and heralds of true freedom from all that enslaves us.

I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for his great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give. Only pure divine love can save us! I wish all you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

 

+ LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE

Archbishop of Manila

source: veritas846.ph

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Some all-time favorite Christmas Quotes:

“Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, The joy that you give to others Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing Returns to you glad.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” – Helen Steiner Rice

I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses. – Taylor Caldwell

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. – Dale Evans Rogers

It’s eleven days to go before Christmas….have a blessed and merry Christmas everyone!  May the joys of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child live within us all!

 

 

 

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I can’t believe that it’s  only been five years since you left us. It seems so long ago, that day when you finally said goodbye.  Memories are sometimes tricky, they’re like a closed book that you only have to open to refresh the pages and the story in your mind.  Know one thing Dad, I cry because you didn’t have the opportunity to see your cute and cuddly great-grandson. If you were alive today, you would have smiled at the way we were all going gaga over our little Nate. You would have tried holding his tiny hands and marveled at the way he kick his feet when he goes hungry.  If you were alive today, you would  have regaled us with your stories when we were growing up and how you dreamed of us all going to your favorite university where you worked for thirty-two years.  I always loved to listen to them anyway even though sometimes you did forget that you told them more than a dozen times already because every story became more meaningful with the re-telling.

I got lost on my way home the last time I said goodbye to you.  I was full of thoughts with what you said earlier that day that you saw some of our relatives calling you home, Tatay especially. I dreaded the sound of the telephone and prayed hard that it would not ring, and when it did, I knew you were gone.

I used to listen to Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up because of its meaningful lyrics but when I learned that they  played the song  during your funeral, it acquired a different meaning for me because I always remember you  and it makes me sad so I stopped listening.  But I also recall your fondness for classical music and your Johnny Mathis’ Merry Christmas 220px-Album_Johnny_Mathis_-_Merry_Christmas_coveralbum.  Do you remember, it has become a favorite too and now that it is Christmas once again, I listen to some of the songs on YouTube and picture you in my mind, listening to the old LP album on our small player.  And celebrating Christmas would not be complete without the music of Johnny Mathis 🙂  I am listening to it now and I smile and say in my heart, Merry Christmas Dad!

I miss you….still!

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Time sometimes passes like a whirlwind and before you know it, it’s history. I used to blog about month-ends and greet the new month with a bang, this time though, I want to greet you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!  It’s the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical New Year. Advent, the beginning of the Christmas season, another year of hope and faith.

November was a lovely month actually, it was Nissa and Obet’s 1st wedding anniversary, Lovell was ordained into priesthood and I finally became a certified grandma with baby Nate’s coming.  So many blessings Lord, I could cry with gratitude and happiness, tears of joy for a blessed year despite all the setbacks. I could not ask for more except that you keep my family always healthy and well.

The trying times were just mere reminders of how strong one could be amidst the pressures of daily living. They make one realize that he is still lucky and blessed with God’s love. How are you preparing for this season of advent? Are you just as excited too with Jesus’ coming?  Sometimes, in the frenzy of the season, we forget why we are celebrating Christmas. I remember a year ago, I posted this message on my wall: Happy Birthday Jesus! Then one of  my contacts, a mere child of nine asked, “why happy birthday?” So I asked him if he forgot that it’s the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Mom and I attended the 9am  concelebrated mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish near our place and it’s lovely. Here’s a picture of  the first Sunday of Advent wreath at our Catholic  page,  Apostles Filipino Catholic Community.

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Hmm…I think it’s more than that.  My Don Manuel plant lost its leaves and eventually died more  than a month ago, but  I didn’t think of replacing it with a new one. I thought it would be perfect as a Christmas tree for my small garden. And since I am into recycling old decor, there won’t be a problem with using the small ones in decorating it. I just bought some garlands and more small bells for a song when we had our twice a month marketing this morning. It’s crude I know but I love it. I even thought of spraying the trunk of gold paint but eventually abandoned the idea.

And I love the background…..clouds. they are my favorite subjects in photography. And that lamp-post you see has its own attached lantern in a shape of a bell, our whole street have this uniform decor.

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We normally put up Christmas decorations at the end of November each year but since my artistic daughter is not around to help, I persuaded my son to bring down some of those decorations we have accumulated over the years. Every year, we buy something new, a trinket here and there, new colors of Christmas balls depending on the color theme that we want to achieve. This time though, I want to recycle some decor that we seldom use. My morning was filled with memories of Christmas past.

Yesterday, I found these lovely wooden carts made of bamboo and rattan and I thought they would be perfect for those old decorations we have. There’s nothing like giving a new face to old things 🙂

Does it look like it was recycled? Except for the wooden cart, everything is old.

We have these flowers two years ago when we decided to have the old green and red motif for our Christmas tree.

It’s all red. I wonder where the other decor got to. I could not even find Christmas lights.

And this is an old jar which I used for  candies at Christmas time. I am giving it a new look too.

The final touch of that small vase I had earlier. I think it deserves a place along with my other Christmas decorations.

This is an all time favorite decor – a musical waterglobe with revolving outer globe by Kirkland, a regular fixture during Christmas for the last ten years or so.

Just a friendly tip, don’t throw away the original boxes of your Christmas decorations, they are easier to organize and keep after the holidays are gone. Even those nice shoe boxes and plastic biscuit tins come in handy for those small and delicate decor. Label the boxes for easy storing and identification.

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So what could you buy with P100.oo pesos?

I attended an anticipated mass  last night at Our Lady of Light Parish at the town proper. Sometimes, you just miss the noise of everyday living in a town where food chains like McDonald’s and Jollibee go hand in hand with selling goods in karitons (cart). You’ll see them in every corner near the church – fruit vendors, balut vendors, small stores selling pork barbecue or inihaw na bangus and yes,  vendors selling cartload of fruits in season.

So what could you buy with your P100.00 pesos? That’s the only money  I had in my coin purse and a few loose  change for tricycle fare in going home. I forgot to bring some money except my offering for a mass for our dead relatives and a folded P100.00.  When you are sorely tempted to buy something to munch on after dinner, either it’s an order of  fried peanuts or cornik  but of course with all that oil sticking to your fingers, they’re not just healthy. I saw a vendor selling lanzones  for P70.00 a kilo. I have to haggle with him and he gave me a discount of P10.00 and a half-kilo of  dalandan was selling at P20.00. So make that P20.00 left out of the P100.00 peso bill. What could you buy with that anyway?  I found this, a little stand in a corner selling puto bungbong  or   puto bumbong for some.

I haven’t tasted this for quite sometime. It’s a native delicacy that is usually seen and sold at Christmas time. I have to wait for at least five minutes for it to cook. Four thin bumbong tubes of this glutinous rice costs P18.00 Topped with a spread of margarine, freshly  grated coconut and a teaspoon of sugar….it’s just perfect!  Don’t ask me how it’s done, I’d rather just buy and eat it pronto while it’s hot.  I found this site that shows how puto bumbong is prepared.

Whoa, I still have P2.00 left in my pocket.

Yesterday, I did another experiment in the kitchen. Instead of cooking pancakes the traditional way, I baked it instead. Using a small pack of  Maya hot cake mix, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder,1 egg, 1/3 cup of sugar  and more than a half cup of raisins, I came up with this, a yummy cinnamon raisin loaf.

Even my son did a  thumbs up  when he took a bite. Just perfect for that hot cup of green tea.

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Every year, ABS CBN, one of the largest TV network in the country comes up with a Christmas station ID that we always look forward to. It signals the start of  a long, long Christmas celebration in the Philippines. It’s  the timeless Parol. Kris says, you can actually buy one at Kultura for the price of P1,800.oo  and a part of it goes to the charity institutions which ABS CBN helps.  I love the message it conveys. Maliwanag ang mundo natin pag bukal sa loob ang pagtutulungan.

(this video remains the property of ABS CBN).

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