I can’t say I’m in the mood for holidays this year, but I shall always be thankful for the break I’m getting from having to wake up very early in the morning every day during school days, even at weekends. But, of course, that’s not the only thing that I am grateful for; 2012 has been such a wonderful year for my family and me. It’s ironic though how a can of sardines helped me realize how blessed I am, especially this year.
You see, I’ve been a little bit under the weather the past couple of days, which means I haven’t been in the mood to cook either. After so many months, I’m experiencing sinusitis again, though it’s definitely not as bad as I used to have. Last night, in my attempt to serve a no cook/easy-to-cook meal, I rummaged through my kitchen cupboard and found a can of sardines in tomato sauce next to some of our favorite imported canned goods. I berated myself for buying one a few weeks ago, especially as the photo of a tiny mouse that happened to be among the contents of a canned sardines, also in tomato sauce, which went viral recently, flashed in my mind.
I didn’t really feel like eating sardines last night, but seeing it made me want to get it over and done with. By that, I meant, find out if what I got was a clean and completely edible one, and then never buy another again.
My eldest child started to look sad as she watched me open the can. So I began to wonder whether I should just feed it to our dog, but decided against it, especially after ensuring that it smelled good. Besides, the more she disliked it, I thought, the more she should have it, or how else would she learn not to be a picky eater? I then began to saute it in onions and tomatoes, and later on added some thin noodles to it, hoping to make wonders with it, just like my late mother used to do, as I try to recall why I had bought it in the first place.
Finally, it was ready to be served, and thanks to my husband, he made it sound like it’s the Filipino dish he most wanted to eat, being away from home, as we talked over at Skype. Only then was my daughter encouraged to eat. Luckily, she liked what I did to that can of sardines that she even had three servings.
It was while we were having dinner that I recalled why I bought it in the first place. It reminded me of the hard times we had as a family when I was growing up. Usually, it was only when budget was very, very tight that my mother would serve us sardines. No, I finally remembered, I did not want to forget those days that’s why I bought it and even placed it right in the middle of our favorite canned goods, mostly Spam and Libby’s, in our kitchen cupboard.
It’s supposed to remind me of God‘s faithfulness to our family, of the many blessings we receive each day… that it is only by God’s grace that we are able to enjoy so many things now that we never had before. It reminded me of my parents’ perseverance, love, humility, and hard work, doing every decent thing they could, to provide for our family and ensure that my siblings and I would receive good education and everything that we needed. (And they succeeded in doing that.)
Come to think of it, just for this year, material-wise, we have already acquired so many things that I never thought we’d ever own. We have also been to a lot of places, dined at restaurants we used to avoid because of their expensive menus, bought a lot of wonderful books to read as well as other stuff to use and enjoy. Yes, I am blessed to have my husband, who’s very hard working, generous, and takes his role as a provider seriously. Indeed, the description for OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) as modern heroes fits him rather perfectly, with all the sacrifices he’s been making to ensure that my children and I enjoy the good things in life. I always pray that he would find favor wherever he goes, and I believe that God answers my prayers. For instance, just when a number of his fellow foreign workers were being sent home on vacation for a couple of weeks without pay, their boss ensured that he kept his job, even made him work overtime. And as we prayed that things would go back to normal in their office, his colleagues were called back to work sooner than anyone expected.
In addition, I am learning to save and have finally taken the first step to putting up a (virtual) franchising business. I have partnered with the best company there is and I am very excited at the thought of having a financial breakthrough in the next couple of years. In time, I know, my husband and I will reach our financial goals by God’s grace, that he’ll be home for good but not worry about our finances.
Physically, my family’s health has tremendously improved. I have experienced healing from my nerve and muscle problems (or peripheral neuropathy), not to mention that the cysts on my thyroid gland were finally removed. Indeed, God is the Great Physician and I am very happy to entrust to Him my and my family’s health concerns. I had overcome my fear of getting hospitalized and undergoing surgery, too. My operation last May went well, and I believe I had the best medical team to care for me, headed by my surgeon Dr. Manuel Gerardo Dulay of Asian Hospital and Makati Medical Center.
Of course, I also have to be thankful to the people who introduced me to Nu Skin|Pharmanex’s very potent food supplements this year. I have not been taking my doctors’ prescribed medication for peripheral neuropathy for some months now, but relies on their ultra immune booster LifePak alone. My children are no longer sickly, too, with the help of Jungamals (LifePak for kids). Little Baby Z’s skin and respiratory asthma have ceased, and when she and Big Baby A had chicken pox last August, they surprisingly did not have the fever, or traces of chicken pox scars at all! More, they were very energetic the whole time they had chicken pox, which only lasted for about five days.
In addition, I also shed four kilos of fat, including visceral fats, and my body age went down from 42 to 39 in just one month of going through the TRA (The Right Approach) program. I believe it is by God’s grace that I have come to know this company, whose ageLOC technology and team of world-class scientists were featured on Discovery Channel Asia recently, that I am able to help others with their health concerns, including medical doctors themselves–another wonderful blessing!
Emotionally, I believe I am stronger and more stable now. With my husband away, I am the only adult in the family left to protect and care for our daughters that I just have to be more mature, become wiser, and lean closer to God. I have even seen my in-laws a couple of times this year, and both meetings went smoothly. I guess I am able to handle my emotions better now, and the rejections I have initially received while putting up my new business have helped me somehow.
Socially, I am now more trusting and self-assured. I have started to reconnect with my old friends, former work colleagues and schoolmates, thanks to social networking sites. I have learned to go out of my way to meet people and make new friends too. How do I do it? By following an author’s advice, which is to look at someone in the eyes, smile, and find something to compliment the person (about), starting with the people I usually meet at the places I normally hang out. In my case, that would be the supermarket, salon, restaurants, bookstores, mall lounges, church, and my daughters’ schools.
As I begin a new chapter in my life, I think it’s quite important for me to enlarge my circle of friends, and if necessary, keep away from those who seem to keep on pulling me down. In doing so, however, I have learned what it means to find (new) and be with friends who will push me up. It’s sad, really, to realize that your friendship with someone would no longer grow or had ceased to be comfortable, and you just have to move on with or without that person. Yet, I have also learned that true friends would stick with you despite your differences. There may be times that you would not see each other eye to eye, but if you’re really friends, you’ll be able to share your feelings openly and not take things against each other. I suppose that’s another blessing for me: finding out who my true friends are, and still gaining some.
Spiritually, I have become more hungry for God’s Word. Lately, I’ve been rather consistent with my daily devotions or quiet time. I had also joined a discipleship group (D-Group) at church, although I wasn’t always present at their meetings. I continue to keep in touch with them though, and I am very happy that they try to understand me and continue to include me in their prayers, even send me heartwarming messages from time to time. In January 2013, however, I’ll be joining an online Bible study group for women and our first meeting will start on the 7th. I can’t wait for it to begin even if I don’t have the book we’ll be using yet! It’s going to be a whole new experience for me – talk about using the Internet to spread the Word of God – and I’m very excited. I could never be happier though to finally be able to finish soon a 365-day devotional (Joyce Meyer’s) – it would be the first time ever!
This 2012, God has indeed revealed Himself to me as the Great Healer, Protector, Provider, and my Confidante. I can never thank Him or praise Him enough for who He is, for what He’s been doing in my life, in my family, for what He will still do in my life. With my mustard seed size of faith, I know that I still have a lot to learn and go through before I become truly refined and worthy to be called a Proverbs 31 Woman. But I know I am getting there. Maybe rather slowly, but I’ll still surely get there.
So there goes my blessed year 2012… It’s funny how a can of sardines has evoked all these memories and realizations, don’t you think? I guess it would be good to always include sardines in my grocery list from now on, especially at Christmas or New Year. Cheers to 2013, to another blessed year! May it be more awesome than the year that was. 🙂