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The Sunday Currently, Vol. 36: The one where it finally sunk in

Seventeen months after the first enhanced community quarantine was implemented and we’re back at it again just last August 6th. I just realized it’s also been nine months since I had last written something under this category. Anyways, so here I am again. This is becoming a habit now, really, i.e., me writing then not writing then back to writing again…

reading And the Mountains Echoed by one of my favorite male novelists Khaled Hosseini. If you must know, I’ve been delaying buying this book because I’ve been looking for one that’s as the same size as his two other books that I got –– The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. However, since he has another novel coming out soon, I decided to just get a copy even if it’s much smaller than the other two I’ve got. Now I’m really trying to read it slowly unlike his other two novels. Care to guess why?

writing lists of things to do and more. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed blogging until now. When the pandemic hit last year, followed by a series of heartbreaking events in our family, I just couldn’t seem to write again, when that’s exactly one of the things I should’ve done to cope. Anyway, things are much better now. I’m writing a piece about the events that happened last year and how things have also started to fall back into place. Please watch out for it…

listening to Beyoncé. My eldest child is a fan and she’s playing her songs now while doing the dishes.

thinking about how to finally start accomplishing the things I want to do in my lifetime. It’s finally sunk in, my disease got a name. I don’t understand why I only came across it recently, when I’ve been researching about it for so long now. And when I discussed it with my sister-in-law who happens to be a medical doctor, she confirmed it based on the symptoms I’ve got and the medication I’ve received in the past, but advised me to still go for the tests the neurologist I consulted before recommended. It’s called multiple sclerosis, by the way, which I only knew of as peripheral neuropathy in the past, and it looks like what I had last year was a relapse.

wishing my family would always be happy and content with each other. I just want to build happy memories with my daughters and my husband, albeit virtually, especially after learning that people with neurological disease such as mine are expected to have life expectancy 5-10 years shorter than the average due to complications. I guess my prayer, which is for the Lord to teach me to number my days, is now being answered?

hoping my husband’s health would continue to improve. I’m already looking forward to being the first to leave this earth, and I don’t want him getting sick, especially that I can’t be with him abroad to look after him. I hope this pandemic will be over soon so we could be physically together again, too.

wearing my old brown dress. Come to think of it, yesterday I was wearing a brown blouse. Not that brown’s my favorite color!

loving the feel of the keyboard against my fingertips as I’m typing this. It’s really been a while since I’ve written something for myself. I only get to use my laptop to do some required writing and nothing more. Most days, it’s my eldest child who uses this.

wanting to travel again. Have I told you that I’ve driven to Subic and back home all by myself last February? I realized then just how much I liked driving. I feel like I’m making my Papa proud whenever I’d drive well.

needing to be (more) organized again. There are so many papers in my room alone that I need to sort. Paper is obviously the number one clutter in our house.

feeling the tingling, electricity-like sensation on my toes and arms. It’s always been like this for the most part of the day for several months now. I could just never skip taking vitamin B-complex and other supplements anymore.

praying we’ll be able to finish homeschooling this year in flying colors. We don’t have much time left, but at least things are finally turning up for my girls. I wish we’ve gone homeschooling indie, to be honest; keeping up with the schedule is just so hard for our family this school year more than ever, it seems. Most days, I had to deal with interpersonal issues rather than academics.

thanking God for his provisions. We were told last year that my husband’s company might only be able to sustain its operations in the Asia Pacific region until September this year. However, a few weeks ago, he was told that he’s being promoted, not to mention he even got job offers from other companies just last summer. He’s loyal to his employer, though, and it looks like it’s a good thing ❤

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton http://siddathornton.blogspot.com/

(Featured image by Claire Jones on Unsplash)

Top tips on preparing and decorating your house for an upcoming celebration

[Sponsored Post] Covid-19 came and it’s still here. With it also came the realization that we can live at bare minimum, and we could always be creative and improvise. DIY has become the buzz word all over the world. While the pandemic continues to rage on, we continue to have hope too.

We have not forgotten to celebrate life, birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions that are meaningful to us –– we’d do it online and have virtual parties, if that’s what it takes, just to see our loved ones. We have become very familiar with the use of virtual backgrounds. Who knew we could party as if we’re at the beach or in a vast, beautiful garden, etc. just by using them, and then dressing up the part with only up to waist-length costumes, etc.?

Surely, the pandemic has made it clear how having a good relationship with our family, relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers could help keep our sanity, and so we try to celebrate the people in our lives and what little accomplishments we may have during these hard times. 

And now that community quarantine has started to ease up in various places, with the advent of vaccines, many are raring to go back to face-to-face meetings; some have even started doing that already. If you’re planning to host a party soon and you find yourself wondering how to do it again, here are some suggestions to make your house ready for an upcoming celebration and some tips on decorating it, too:

  1. Choose an area in your house where guests would have enough space to mingle comfortably, while still practicing some sort of physical distancing. After all, the virus is still around us. As much as possible, pick an area that is also airy and has a good source of natural lighting. The natural light not only adds beauty to the surroundings, but also tends to make almost everything look good in photos.

2. Clear the clutter in your house, paying extra attention to areas where your guests are bound to set foot in, such as the hallway, living room, and the bathroom. These are the spaces where anyone new to your place should feel welcomed or relaxed, and it goes without saying that they should be clean like the rest of the house, disinfected even. More, as you put decorations or centerpieces in such areas, you’d definitely want your guests to see them instead of the clutter or dust, right?

3. Add a little life to your party by using (live) plants as decorations. They could be potted plants, fresh flowers in a vase, or a variety of tiny plants in a terrarium. Gardening has become one of the most popular hobbies during the pandemic that everyone seems to have a deeper appreciation for plants now, not to mention plants help clean the air, act as natural decors, and yes, they can be a good conversation starter too. 

4. Make sure the decors you choose reflect the party theme or motif, especially on the wall that would serve as the main backdrop, as well as on the serving and/or dining tables. These decors may include balloons, banners, ribbons, photos, paintings, toys, stickers, etc.

5. Make the room more festive with fairy lights, candles, or colored light bulbs. Even if it’s in broad daylight, fairy lights and candles could still make the room brighter and help set the mood, did you know?

6. Create your own DIY decorations by recycling/reusing any available material you have, as well as downloading printables online.

This is very practical, especially when you want to be on top of everything, when you want to make sure that your decors would follow a cohesive theme, at the same time reflect your personality or the personality of the person you’re celebrating, as well as if you enjoy crafting and designing and if you want to avoid overspending.

One good source of printable materials is designbundles.net. They provide affordable digital products, such as graphics, templates, mock ups, patterns, illustrations, and craft files. At Design Bundles, you can browse over 150,000 marketplace products and save a lot of money on their curated Design Bundles with up to 96% off the regular retail price. Their turtle clipart and puppy clip art collections, in particular, are on sale now! You may use them on your invitations, souvenirs, banners, and other decors.

7. You may dress up the seats by tying balloons, ribbons, tulle, etc. on to them. You may also decorate wooden chairs and benches with stencils, especially that stencil templates are also available at Design Bundles.

8. Remember to use food as part of your decoration. Find ways to make them look attractive, especially these days when people like to take photos of their food first before eating them. Of course, make sure that they taste as good as they look too, or even better!

With all these tips in mind, I hope that you will now be able to prepare your house and decorate it without overwhelming yourself on your next family celebration. Cheers! ❤

BPI’s Balikabayanihan Program Gives Hope to Returning OFWs

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew of the bittersweet stories of returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Often, they go abroad for high-paying jobs so that they can save and send money to their families back home. But migration stories don’t always guarantee a happy ending, and they need help when they are forced to return home.

“Dahil ang pagkakaakala ko ay ang pagiging OFW ang sagot sa lahat ng naging problemang financial namin at gusto kong maiahon ang aking pamilya at mapagtapos ang aking anak,” said returning OFW Marites Coronado. The journey, however, wasn’t simple. 

Take the case of another former OFW, Alma Palafox. She recounted: Hindi po ako sini-suwerte sa napupuntahan na bansa. Laging may masamang nangyayari po sa akin. At minsan na rin muntik na akong hindi nakabalik ng Pinas ng buhay. Kaya hindi ko po natatapos kontrata ko.

Gerlie Austria shares a similar experience but remains grateful despite the hardships she endured abroad. “Hindi man po ako naging maswerte sa ibang bansa, pero nagpapasalamat po ako sa Panginoong Diyos at ako po ay nakauwi nang buhay.”

Myrna Peñosa Corporal recalled the gloom she felt when she decided to go back to her family. “Noong nagsabi ako sa amo ko na ibalik na ako sa agency, dinala po nila ako sa Labor. Ang unang pumasok sa isip ko at naiyak ako, ‘Paano na ang pamilya ko? Uuwi ako na walang pera at naipon.’” said Corporal. 

Coronado, Palafox, Austria, and Corporal are among the OFWs who had to return home even if they haven’t achieved yet the financial goals they set for themselves. 

The Balikabayanihan campaign, a program supported by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), seeks to help these OFWs whose dreams were interrupted for various reasons.

Spearheaded by NEDA-Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency and Atikha — a non-government organization working with OFWs and their families to maximize the gains of working abroad — Balikabayanihan calls on the spirit of volunteerism of Filipinos to help returning OFWs. 

It is a call for partnership by the Overseas Filipino organizations with government agencies, local government units, and the private sector to help OFWs by providing the needed resources — manpower and funds or mobilizing their volunteer network to serve as mentors to the OFWs. 

Melanie Labera, a returning OFW whose plan to resume her work abroad was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, benefitted from the program. “Nang umuwi ako ng Pilipinas, nagkataon naman na pandemic. Gusto ko sana bumalik [abroad], pero di na ako makabalik. Kaya malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa programang ito, pati sa BPI. May konting puhunan naman ako sa aking tindahan, pero konti lang. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako na nadagdagan dahil sa inyo.”

For her part, Austria, also a program beneficiary, said, “Nang makabalik po ako sa Pilipinas, isa po ako sa maswerteng napili ng Atikha na mabigyan ng tulong upang ako’y makapagsimula ulit sa aking buhay. Naging masaya po ako at nagkaroon ng pag-asa sa buhay. Ngayon po ay natupad ang isa kong pangarap na makabili ng makina.”  

Financial empowerment 

As one of the program supporters, BPI aims to empower repatriated OFWs by helping them manage their finances through learning webinars and by mobilizing volunteers and sponsors. BPI implements their programs through its business units BPI Foundation, BPI-Philam, and Remittance and Fund Transfers. 

“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but repatriated OFWs and their families have been particularly affected. OFWs have done so much to uplift our entire nation’s economy over the decades. It’s only right that we stand by them now and help them get back on their feet and establish a financially secure life for themselves and their families,” said Reggie Cariaso, BPI Head of Corporate Banking Strategy, Products, and Support.

“Napakaganda po ng aking karanasan dahil nagkaroon po ako ng pag-asa sa buhay at talagang ipinangako ko po sa aking sarili na pagbubutihin ko po itong tulong na ibinigay sa akin ng Atikha at BPI Pamana Padala. At ang nagustuhan ko po dito ay ang mga taong kasapi dito na maaayos ang pakikitungo at napakamapagkumbaba at napakababait upang matulungan kaming lahat,” said Coronado. 

BPI Foundation holds mentoring sessions for OFWs with BPI Unibankers as volunteer mentors. For its part, BPI Philam provides free COVID-19 insurance coverage worth P200,000. BPI’s Remittance and Fund Transfers offers financial grants and monthly mentoring sessions for chosen OFWs  and instills the value of saving using their BPI Pamana Padala account.

With opportunities such as the Balikabayanihan, returning OFWs are more empowered than ever to try their luck in their home country. 

Palafox said, “Dito nalang po ako sa Pinas. Kahit mahirap po basta’t sama-sama kami ng mga anak ko. Kaya nagpapasalamat kami sa Balikabayanihan at sa BPI. Ang tanging hinahangad ko po sa aking sarili ay mapaunlad ko ang munting negosyo at magkaroon pa ng maraming kaalaman.”

Two in a row

11 November 2020. Typhoon #UlyssesPH has hit Laguna and other nearby provinces, as well as Metro Manila. As I write this, in less than an hour, I’ll be turning 43. Instead of feeling excited, however, I feel nothing but trepidation. All I could think of now is how much longer our roof would hold with the heavy rains and strong winds raging outside.

I feel so foolish for not trying so hard to get a carpenter to work on our roof! Two weekends ago, Typhoon Rolly, another storm signal #3, hit us and did our roof. Some parts of it started to get unhinged. I looked for a carpenter, but every one I met seemed busy fixing other people’s houses… and I was content to just wait for them to become available. Who does that? Certainly not the Proverbs 31 Woman (in the making) because she would have made sure that she would have no fear for her household.

This is not how I had expected to feel in the middle of a storm. I never had to worry before about the state of my household. This is not how I had envisioned spending my birthday either. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve experienced a storm on my birthday and worry about such matters. Come to think of it, I can only recall only one time when it rained on my birthday and I was on my way to Singapore then to be with my husband. The rest, my daughters and I were always celebrating outdoors.

Speaking of outdoor celebrations, I had planned on driving my family to Tagaytay and inviting our close relatives to join us for some sightseeing and food trip for my birthday this year. Well, I guess even if it had not rained we still won’t have done that because of the pandemic, so there’s really no point in getting worked up for being stuck at home on my birthday, eh? Plus, I still can’t drive because there’s still this problem with my vision that remains untreated at the moment.

I pray that this would be the last storm the Philippines will experience this year, and there would be so much less of them in the future. I hope there will be no casualties this time, and the government would learn to really prepare for any storm that might hit any part of the country, just like I am learning now to be truly prepared for different storms in life.

12 November 2020. It’s officially my 43rd birthday. I couldn’t sleep last night out of worry that our entire roof might get blown away and rainwater would start seeping through the ceiling. Yet for some reason, before I went to bed and as I kept on praying, urging Jesus to just say the word and the storm would leave, I kept being reminded constantly of the story Jesus Calms the Storm.

I must admit it took a while before I figured out what I was missing. It must be because I was only focusing on the fact that Jesus is Lord of all that even the winds and the sea obey Him. I wanted so much for Him to calm the storm that I missed the bigger picture: since He is Lord of all, I should trust Him completely. As long as I am with Him, He’s in the same boat with me, then I have nothing to fear and I can sleep soundly and rest easy no matter how fierce the storm, just like He did in that story.

What a birthday! What a blessing it is to realize that despite the storm, I am blessed in infinite ways by simply anchoring my life to Jesus…

Though I had to clean a puddle of water in one area of our house, since water seeped through the floor, and the toilet would not flush, I am grateful that we are safe and no part of our house was actually submerged in water (I know what it’s like to have a flooded house; I used to experience that in my parents’ house). No part of our roof was also blown away, and our pets were all safe. We didn’t have electricity for more than 12 hours, but we’re good, and water supply didn’t get cut off. My daughters were even able to prepare a birthday dinner for me, which was attended by my in-laws, and I am grateful. (They knew didn’t have the heart to order food or prepare my own birthday dinner, knowing many Filipinos, including some of my friends and relatives were going through a worse experience because of this calamity.)

Still, God is good ❤

(Featured image by Angèle Kamp on Unsplash)

Sama-sama tayo sa Pasko at SM!

The pandemic may seem to be taking so many things from us, and at one point, we all have probably wondered how we’re going to celebrate Christmas this year. I know I have. But I have also stopped asking questions because truth be told, I, we, are still blessed in so many ways that it would be impossible not to find something to be thankful for, big or small, every day. Right now, I am grateful and already excited about Christmas, especially after having attended the SMagical Christmas Launch online! In fact, all throughout November and December, SM has prepared exciting holiday surprises that are bound to dazzle its mall goers:

  1. Christmas Launches. On November 6, SM Supermalls treated everyone to a virtual, magical feast. Twelve different SM malls lit up their magnificent Christmas displays — from SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall to SM Seaside City Cebu and SM CDO Downtown Premier! SM truly brings the magic of Christmas online through fireworks, orchestra, and whimsical characters! All the SM malls nationwide follow suit with their own magical Christmas light up on November 7 and 8. Mall goers will be delighted with a special lighting ceremony for hope and inspiration amid the pandemic, as well as singing flash mobs, cute Christmas characters, and surprise gifts.
  2. Christmas Chorale. What’s Christmas without some music? Feel the merriments of the season by watching Holiday choir performances at select SM malls this December. Meet up with your family and friends at SM and enjoy some Holiday tunes! It will surely be an awesome experience! No need to worry because strict safety protocols are in place at SM malls, so you can just focus on the magic of the celebration.
  3. Christmas Markets. It’s the season of giving! Help MSMEs bounce back from the negative impact of the pandemic by buying your Holiday essentials and gifts at SM’s nationwide Christmas Markets from November 9 to January 3. As part of the Kasama Ng SM campaign and DTI’s Buy Local, Support Local, the Christmas Markets will feature unique local products and goods so shoppers can buy from small businesses and help them bounce forward and recover.
  4. Selfie with Santa. Don’t fret – SM has made sure you won’t miss your annual selfie with Santa this year! You can pose with a virtual Santa Claus safely and via augmented reality at SM. Wanna give it a try? Simply scan the AR markers located in select areas in SM malls and have a photo with virtual Santa. Don’t forget to share your Holiday snaps online to your family and friends!
  5. SM Bears of Joy. Starting November 4 until Christmas Day, SM Supermalls is giving back through its annual Bears of Joy campaign. This time around, shoppers can collect special medical frontliner Bears of Joy. Throughout the Christmas season, you can buy a pair of bears for P200.00 – one bear for you to keep and the other for charity.
  6. TikTok Fam Contest. Have fun with your family and spread some Christmas joy by joining the TikTok Fam Contest. Simply showcase your dance moves to your favorite Christmas song in your favorite SM mall and you can get a chance to win exciting prizes!

Indeed, Christmas is almost here and not even the pandemic can take away the beloved tradition of Filipino families to celebrate this joyous occasion at SM. Let the wonderful, magical, and truly merry Christmas at SM drive away the blues! Sama-sama tayo sa Pasko sa SM!

For more information, visit http://www.smsupermalls.com or follow @smsupermalls on all social media platforms.

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 36: The one with both goodbye and welcome

reading The Screwtape Letters, Taming Your Family Zoo, and The Power of the Praying Woman still. I’ve been reading at least one chapter a day of each book, and hopefully I’ll be able to finish them all simultaneously soon.

writing down some ideas and rewriting a press release

listening to Christmas carols, especially while I was preparing dinner earlier. After attending the virtual media launch of SM last Friday evening, I became more excited about Christmas and I just wanted to keep listening to Christmas songs.

thinking about the best way to confront certain people about certain issues without them taking things as a personal attack

wishing my husband could come home this Christmas… Because of the pandemic, it won’t be practical for him to come home for the holidays since he would only be spending most of his vacation leave quarantined. More, he’d have to allot extra SGD2,500 for hotel expenses during his quarantine when he gets back to Singapore.

hoping my eyesight will be fully restored ASAP, or at least before my birthday! I just hate having to ask relatives for favors to drive me around. Hiring a freelance driver doesn’t sound like a good option either since there might be no way for me to determine the person’s medical history these past few weeks and months, not to mention I’m not really comfortable having a stranger (or anyone else except my brothers) drive my car.

wearing comfortable clothes as usual

loving how my double chocolate fudge cookies turned out this afternoon –– they were neither over- nor undercooked, and they weren’t too sweet either! You see, I bought a brand new electric oven last summer online via SM’s Call to Deliver, which turned out to be defective. Every thing I baked there at first turned out to be undercooked. I brought it to the authorized service center, only to have everything I cooked in it afterwards become overcooked. I finally decided to return it and good thing SM Sta. Rosa agreed to take it back. They gave me a voucher so I could get a new one of any brand at any of their mall branches. After almost a month, I was able to get a new one, and I’m loving it so far –– no more raw or burnt food! Thank you, SM, for being so considerate and having helpful and attentive staff, especially at SM MOA, where I got my latest oven 🙂

wanting to be able to drive my car again. I enjoy driving, really, and I wish I could go out of town with my daughters on my birthday this coming week.

needing to do some serious planning about my 43rd year

feeling tired but content. It’s been such an eventful week, and there were things that happened that I’d rather forget. Nevertheless, I am putting my confidence in Jesus, that things will be all right, that all things will work together for good… (Romans 8:28)

praying for better days. I’ve made some poor financial decisions and I am (together with my family) now reaping the consequences. Though I was able to make wise investments too and save a little, things could still be better.

thanking God for how He has been blessing me on my 42nd year so far. This pandemic actually showed me how blessed I am, plus I have learned so many things and overcame a lot of challenges and fears this past few months alone. I couldn’t be more grateful! In fact, I’m going to write about it in a separate post ❤

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton http://siddathornton.blogspot.com/

(Image photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash)

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 35: The one just like the first volume

It’s the first day of my birth month and it’s a stormy day. Ho-hum! I thought the storm last week would be the last one to hit us, but obviously I was wrong. Come to think of it: around this time every year, storms are rather common but we still tend to be unprepared for them somehow, if not surprised by the damages they would often leave. I wish I have the power to command the storm to just go away just because I am a daughter of God. But whenever I would think that way, I would be reminded of the LORD answering Job out of the storm, and then all I could do is just pray… Anyways, here’s what I’m up to this Sunday currently:

reading M.O.T.I.V.A.T.E. and The Power of the Praying Woman, along with several academic books for our homeschool lessons

writing translations for a specific project as well as lesson plans for the coming week

listening to the laughter of my husband and daughters as they play Among Us with each other. Seriously, their online playmates won’t know what hit them!

thinking about the best way to help my daughters in their respective studies and personal concerns

wishing this storm would go away now and that it would leave very little, if not no damage at all

hoping my eyesight will be fully restored ASAP. I’ve been experiencing blurred and double vision and couldn’t drive these past few weeks. I’ve already seen an optometrist and a neurologist-ophthalmologist recently, and I’m thinking of seeking a third opinion this coming week.

wearing loose blouse and pants in monochromatic colors, which were given by my mother –– certainly the best way to keep me warm and comfy in this cold weather

loving and appreciating my husband more for being more intentional in parenting our girls. He’s been consistently planning our family weekend activities and would join me every weekday morning in conducting the Bible and Character class ❤

wanting to help a lot of people, but financially and physically, I am unable to do so at the moment

needing to do some serious cleaning around the house again as well as financial planning, too

feeling uncertain as to how I would push through with my business plans, or whether I should. I’ve come up with several plans, but after getting sick, I started feeling stuck again.

praying for wisdom, grace, good health, and provisions as we continue to homeschool and navigate daily in this pandemic (and stormy days) among other things

thanking God that my husband has survived the third wave of retrenchment (last Thursday) in their office since the pandemic started, and more

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton http://siddathornton.blogspot.com/

If only I had a cake

Last Saturday, 21 March 2020, was my 17th (civil) wedding anniversary. I didn’t forget it––never again since my 15th wedding anniversary––and as always, my dutiful husband didn’t fail to greet me either. Because I like having a cake during celebrations, by mid-morning, I started looking up bakeshops and restaurants that could deliver one. Unfortunately, there was none due to the enhanced community quarantine we’re in now, brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided to bake one in the afternoon then.

However, while making spaghetti bolognese for lunch, things started to take a turn. Our Siberian husky Hashy began howling and seemed to be in pain as she struggled to get up but unable to do so. What was supposed to be a fun and relaxing day despite having to bake my own cake, turned into a tense and busy day, as we try to take care of Hashy and worked double time cleaning the yard and disinfecting dog kennels. By five in the afternoon, I was already so exhausted that I simply couldn’t prepare another meal, much less bake a cake, that we had to eat leftovers for dinner.

I don’t really mind eating leftovers for dinner––we do that almost every day––even on my wedding anniversary. But I really felt like crying because, without a cake, it didn’t feel like we were celebrating an important occasion. Worse, with Hashy sick, I couldn’t sleep. And, since her kennel is near my bedroom, I found myself constantly straining to hear her movements, and all I could think of was how much easier it would be for me if I could just have at least a slice of moist dark chocolate cake… Yes, by this time, I was already craving for a specific cake.

I kept asking myself how I could be thinking of eating cake in this situation. I wondered if I would last if we were in a middle of a war and I never get to eat another slice of cake, or where this whole idea of having a cake whenever there’s a birthday, anniversary, or any type of celebration we’re having is a must… Or, maybe I’m just using it to compensate for the distance between my husband and me––being in a long-distance relationship can be tough, after all!

One thing’s for sure though, I’d feel a lot better and probably even invincible in this trying moment if I could have my cake. On the other hand, I’ve also realized that by not having a cake when I was craving for it the most, I’m becoming better at practicing delayed gratification and that is way more gratifying. ❤

P. S. Hashy got admitted to the animal hospital the following morning, and I couldn’t be more grateful that there’s actually one open daily in our area and ready to serve despite the lockdown.

(Featured image by Jacob Schwarts on Unsplash)

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 34: The one with my 1st wedding anniversary during quarantine and Hashy got sick

Yesterday’s my 17th (civil) wedding anniversary. I didn’t forget this time ––never again since my 15th wedding anniversary, actually –– and my dutiful husband didn’t fail to greet me, either. The morning went smoothly and I was even able to prepare spaghetti bolognese for lunch. This is the first time we’re celebrating our wedding anniversary under lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). It doesn’t really feel much different though, since we’re used to celebrating just by ourselves at home.

However, by midday, we got an emergency. Our Siberian husky Hashy started howling and seemed to be in pain as she struggled to get up but unable to do so. What was supposed to be a fun and relaxing day turned into a tense and busy day, as we tried to take care of Hashy and worked double time cleaning the yard and dog kennels.

This morning, we took Hashy to the vet, and she is now currently confined at the animal clinic. It appears that she has anemia and in need of blood transfusion. Right now we can’t do anything much but pray for her and be prepared to spend for her needs. Hopefully, she would recover soon…

reading several books everyday, which includes the Bible in chronological order, where I am now on the Book of Joshua. I have also started reading The Smartphone Photography Guide: Shoot, Edit, Experiment, Share by Peter Cope and Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson aside from a few pages of Big ‘n Lil Sis’s books each day. Perhaps I should also pick up a fiction book just to balance things out.

writing new posts and finishing blog posts that are still in the drafts folder

listening to the sounds Lil Sis makes as she cleans up the mess she created in the kitchen earlier

thinking about the best way to help Big Sis. She believes she has ADHD, anxiety, and depression and that there’s only one person who could help her. Unfortunately, it’s a psychiatrist who seems to encourage her thoughts and was quick to offer a quick fix solution via medication. Seriously, don’t all, if not most, teenagers go through the phase of trying to figure out if something’s wrong with them? And mind you, this is the very same doctor who saw my kids and diagnosed them to have the highest level of trauma a few years ago at PGH when our next door neighbors did nothing but harass us, yet she never recommended any type of medicine for them at that time. How come now that she’s in private practice and charges PHP2,000 per session, her style of helping her patients had also changed?

wishing I have been more consistent, at the same time always firm and loving, in disciplining my girls, especially Big Sis. I think she has become very pushy and continues to try my patience because there were days when I would be exasperated and simply ignore her or give in to her demands, if not hurt her with my words and deeds.

hoping things would just continue to get better in our family life and homeschool journey

wearing comfortable clothes, what else?

loving the new portable JBL speaker I got from Lazada. It’s so tiny, yet produces great sound, not to mention feels good to touch. I’ve been wanting to have one, but I didn’t get a chance to get one for myself until I had to return a fake signature bag to Lazada. Since I couldn’t encash the money in my Lazada Wallet, I had no choice but to use it on purchasing another item. I guess you could say that all’s well that ends well, eh?

wanting to sleep the whole day tomorrow. I don’t know why…

needing to do some serious cleaning in and around the house. Thanks to my husband’s cousin, the malunggay trees in our backyard had been cut down, so that’s one less task to think about now.

feeling trapped, somehow. There are so many things that I’d like to be able to do, and there are opportunities that are being thrown my way too, but I just can’t seem to get started.

praying for wisdom as I handle not only my responsibilities but part of my husband’s responsibilities too, being in a long distance relationship with two kids involved

thanking God for His endless love, grace, and mercy… for my family and my marriage, and my daughters, even if they sometimes exasperate me, especially Big Sis… Thanking God for my 16th wedding anniversary too!

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton http://siddathornton.blogspot.com/

(Featured image by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)

One step at a time

It is now common knowledge among my closest friends and relatives that my relationship with my eldest daughter has become strained as she was growing up. The little girl who used to adore me so much, who couldn’t sleep without holding my hand, who would fight her younger sister to keep her place next to me, who seemed to constantly seek both my opinion and approval, and more, is now a certified teen and seems to have little to do with me (and the rest of our family) now.

At first, I took everything personally and dealt with every infraction she committed in a rather rigid manner. I stressed out over everything and made her feel responsible for how I was feeling. I refused to acknowledge her good deeds, assuming she only did them as a form of penance. I was so tough on her, thinking it would do her good, especially when something happens to me and she and her sister would have to be on their own.

Looking back, I’d say I’ve been such a meanie. In time, I realized–and have to remind myself constantly now–that what my daughter needs is a mom who would love her unconditionally, will not tolerate her wrongdoings but will be forgiving as well, is always kind even when she’s not being kind to anyone else including herself, and tries her best to be a good role model of Christlikeness.

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