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Posts Tagged ‘Awaiting Christmas 2014’


When you’ve got nowhere to go – walk

Having a place to go is a home

Having someone to love is family

Having both is a true blessing.

– richard paul evans

That group shot is a bit grainy. We asked Nate's yaya to take our family photo. Christmas Eve 2014

That group shot is a bit grainy. We asked Nate’s yaya to take our family photo. Christmas Eve 2014

 

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Let us for a while forget being politically correct and say a sincere greeting to all our friends out there. A BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!  Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth and not just a holiday so we don’t say happy holidays. It’s that time of the year when we remember old friends, even those  we only see once in a while. It’s that time of year when family togetherness is what counts most in our celebration and I guess Noche Buena would be the loveliest meal of the day when you take time to prepare something for the whole family. There is that feeling of joy in one’s heart , a feeling of hope, a feeling of love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

It’s a wet Christmas! So unusual that it’s been raining since I woke up and hasn’t stopped until now. PAGASA says it’s the tail end of a cold front (whatever that means) but it is cold and they have issued a yellow rainfall warning in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.  I am sure despite the rain, we’ll have a merry Christmas. Just waiting for daughter’s family  to arrive and son to come home early from work.  Done with preparing some favorite food, baking for my grandson, gifts are waiting to be opened. We only need to cook  something more tonight. We have this tradition in the family that we only open gifts after attending mass, partake of the Noche Buena, that’s only when we sit down and enjoy opening gifts. There will always be hugs, smiles and  shouts of joy because you got something you wished for.  Back when Nissa and Josef were little, they would wait patiently near the tree with that look of anticipation on their faces, trying hard to guess what’s inside those gaily wrapped boxes. My son used to say that he didn’t want something that he needs but something that he wants   🙂 Anyway, now that they are adults, we can tell each other what we want for Christmas and it’s fun. After all, it’s the thought that counts right?

Let me greet you in our language, MALIGAYANG PASKO SA INYONG LAHAT!  Wish you feel the joy, He has come.

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Tonight in some chapels and malls is the third night of Simbang Gabi (Night Mass). It’s also called Misa de Gallo. Over the years, it was simply called Simbang Gabi.  Since not all Catholics could attend the early morning mass at 4am,  they attend Anticipated Masses the night before. Even in offices, they have noon masses to keep up with this lovely tradition of celebrating novena  (nine days of masses/prayers).  It officially starts on December 16 and ends on Christmas eve. Christmas would not be Christmas without celebrating Simbang Gabi, the most festive being the Christmas Eve mass. Noche Buena  usually follows, a midnight special dinner with the family.The table is laden with  sweets, cakes, embutido (our own version of sausage), lumpiang shanghai, fried or roast chicken, hot chocolate, pancit, you name it but it usually depends on one’s budget for the season.

Finally done shopping for gifts for  the family and a few close friends. Gifts are wrapped and put on a table. We didn’t put up the  Christmas tree, for me having the Belen or Nativity set is more in keeping with the season.  It’s after all Jesus’ birth that we celebrate. Sometimes we forget the reason for the celebration. Did I say, it’s barely eight days to go before Christmas?

I searched the net for some new recipes that I could prepare on Christmas day, nothing elaborate but easy to cook meals that the family and I could share – callos, siomai, pasta, potato or macaroni salad. Josef loves gelatin so I will make a gelatin cake, the more colorful, the better. I am thinking of baking cookies this coming weekend to give to neighbors.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

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I am bringing back my month-ender blog and saying hello to a new month. Welcome December!

Tomorrow is another start in the liturgical calendar. It’s new year, the First Sunday of Advent. It is always a joy to greet the start of the Christmas season.  I attended the anticipated mass held at Our Lady of Light Parish a few hours ago. They have lighted the first Advent candle – the expectant waiting and the preparation for the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. These are usually busy days for my apostolate, updating our page with Gospel readings and reflections for the Christmas season. Fr. Louie, my co-admin at the site is busy with the preparation of the coming visit of Pope Francis in UST come January 2015. Pope Francis will be the third Pope to visit our alma mater and the fourth time that it will be visited by a Pope. It was first visited by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1970, I was in high school then and he was the only Pope I saw personally. It was followed by St. Pope  John Paul II in 1981 and during the World Youth Day in 1995.

Lately, I noticed that there are lots of views on my previous posts about the Advent season.  If there is one thing that I’ve often blogged about the last five years, it’s Christmas. I love listening to Christmas carols, I think it’s time to bring out my collection of Christmas CD albums. One of my favorites is the Gunther Kallmann Choir.  The album is a priceless collection of Christmas songs that remind you of some lovely childhood memories.  Nostalgic but happy. A close friend recently asked me how I still find time to smile and show  a happy face despite everything that happened in my life. All I can say is, happiness is and will always be a choice. Then I remember a blog I wrote about finding happiness three years ago as part of my Post A Day 2011 challenge.  I am reposting it here in case she visits my blog and read it.

There was this story of a little boy who ate worms because he felt no  one would mind if he did.  No one would care if he gets sick because he has no friends.  How many of us feel that way? We feel abandoned and alone because no one would say, “Don’t, you’ll get sick if you do that.”  How many of us feel that our life is useless because no one cares?

We seek that elusive thing called happiness but there is really no cut and dried formula or rules by which we could say, “follow this and you will be happy.”  Since time immemorial, man has searched for that one special something that would permanently put a smile on his face,  a lift of the heart and a feeling of joy everyday of his life. But do you think life would be interesting if we don’t encounter those small barriers that give its meaning? Problems are meant to spice up life just as search for happiness is. They say that happiness is a state of mind and it is a result of events and circumstances  that have positive effect in our well-being.  I don’t think we need to search for it because it naturally follows when something good or something inspiring happens in our lives.  Some people would be happy with just a few pesos in their pockets but some  need millions stashed in their bank accounts to make them feel secure and happy.

Happiness comes easy to those who look at the sunrise and think that it is another golden opportunity to shine while it does not come easy to those who think that it is another day to hurdle. In the end, happiness is how we make it, it depends on our attitude towards life, whether we choose to enjoy it or choose to be miserable. Happiness is infectious while misery is not. Think of happy thoughts always.

November is about to end, and December will always be a favorite month of the year. Happy new month dear friends.

 

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♪♫have yourself a merry little Christmas. let your heart be light♪♫♪

Do I hear the music playing? Gosh, the days are definitely chasing each other. Josef and I have finally put up our minimal  Christmas decor and I love the look of our home now. Mind you, these are recycled  decorations that we have accumulated over the years and lovingly restored just for this occasion. I know some of you don’t celebrate Christmas the way we do here in our country, three long months of celebration.  Shopping malls are truly alive during this season because they usually put up their larger than life Christmas trees, trimmings and twinkling LED lights as early as September. Where can you find Christmas songs being played all day long? An  advertising gimmick to lure more shoppers of course. We are vulnerable that way because we love Christmas.  I’ve done shopping for some gifts for the family but I haven’t completed  my list yet. This is the first time that we did the decorating this early. I took advantage of Josef’s vacation leave to sort what to put up. I bought something new of course and it was the first time I did it – a set of pillow cases in Christmas prints.

Christmas 2014 - 2

Christmas 2014 -1I bought those empty rattan carts a year ago and embellished them with Christmas balls and flowers. That white porcelain nativity set was a gift from a friend many years ago and I just love it.

Our town is participating in a Christmas tree contest in the whole province of Rizal. The large Christmas tree displayed at the grounds of our municipal hall is made from recycled soft drink bottles. I hope we win 🙂

Don’t look now but I’ve finally been able to find some pictures of the Ayala Triangle gardens. The tradition continues with the  Festival of Lights happening  every 30 minutes from 6pm to 10 pm every night starting today and will continue till January 04, 2015. I got these two pictures from the timeline of JAZA (Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala), one of the big bosses of Ayala Group of Companies, Bank of PI included. I am sure he wouldn’t mind if I post them here 🙂 He has a page on FB which most former unibankers like me follow.

Courtesy of JAZA. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corp.

Courtesy of JAZA. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corp.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

I hope I would be able to visit this and watch musicians/composers sing Christmas carols of old. This is right in front of Nissa’s office building.

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I briefly went out to unlock the gate and a cold wind brushed my cheeks. Cold nights and cold mornings are finally here. In our corner of the world, that means Christmas is near.  I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet but my list has narrowed down a  bit. It’s mostly for family now. Years ago, I dreamed of just baking some goodies  for our neighbors and a few close friends I still get in touch with. I guess, I know enough now to make it happen.  As you grow older, the Christmas list is a little shorter because what matters is not the material gifts but more on what you share from the heart. There was a time in the distant past (when I was still working) that I used to buy all my gifts for family and friends even at the start of the year and by September, everything is ready.  I love  it to be a little personalized keeping in mind the particular person I want to give the gift to. I used to wrap them up and lovingly embellish the boxes with ribbons. That’s when Nissa’s craft supplies come in handy. The crimping scissors, glue sticks, wrappers, ribbons and all the accoutrements we have collected over the years. I recently visited my photo albums at Photobucket and found these. I don’t have any picture on my Zoom browser application except for the latest shots of my Mokara orchids.

the fun of crafting...

the fun of crafting…

I love using local materials which are cheaper and fun to do. I have a stash of greeting cards for all occasions and I still use them now and then. One thing that I miss nowadays is receiving  hand-written cards  and letters from friends. I am reviving it this Christmas.  I will buy greeting cards and write. There was a time in our small group of online friends at Multiply before when we exchanged letters and postcards and it was fun. Every day, I would check if there is one in the mail.

and the joy of wrapping gifts...

and the joy of wrapping gifts…

I am excited. It’s 48 days to go before Christmas. Since Josef is on leave, we will visit Nissa later at her office to have lunch together.  They have scheduled a trip next week to celebrate their wedding anniversary and Nate’s second birthday and they have chosen Siquijor and Dumaguete City in their itinerary. Siquijor is a lovely island province in Central Visayas. Like Boracay, it boasts of white sands and lovely beaches. Lucky Nate to have a wide and big playground for a few days.

 

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