Friday, March 19, 2010

In Memoriam

Tomorrow, which would be Saturday in the Philippines will be the day my Lola Pen will be brought to her final resting place -- right next to my Lolo Ting at Bacolod Memorial Park. Due to an appointment I could not reschedule I could not make it home to pay my last respects. My family, loving as they are, understand perfectly and I thank them for that. So, I am left with my sorrow to be borne alone -- well, not completely alone since Junby and Therese are here but it's different.

Reading my cousin's blog post yesterday, her eulogy for Lola Pen led me to reflecting on how much I, too owe who I am and what I am becoming to Lola Pen. I am not a very good cook. I am far from being the likes of Lola Pen and Manang J. Neither am I good with my hands in creating crafts and the like. I am also but a passable homemaker -- my home is more or less in a constant state of near chaos. So what can I say is Lola Pen's influence upon me? I don't think I inherited that much from her. I was saddened by that thought and then I realized something which comforted me somewhat.

Lola Pen was big on loving but loving in a quiet way. No fanfare. No trumpets. Just consistent, day to day loving. I think it is most likely her quiet and consistent loving of her husband and family which influenced me to decide to be a stay-at-home mom. Looking back I realized that growing up, Lola Pen's house was more of my home than our own house was. Both my parents worked and so Honey and I would inadvertently be left in the care of Lolo Ting and Lola Pen. After school -- Lola Pen's house was our destination. Come to think of it, we always referred to their house as Lola Pen's and very rarely Lolo Ting's. I guess it's because that house was her domain. Her spirit permeated the place, kept it in order, provided care, nourishment and shelter for all who entered. Lola Pen never sat down to relax. She was always bustling about, most of the time to cook the next meal. If she wasn't in the kitchen she was around the house cleaning, making sure her home was just that -- a HOME.

She was a good wife, a good mother and a great grandmother. I pray I can be half as good as she was. Lolo Ting loved her fiercely and she loved him well by making their house a home, making sure her daughters grew up to be honest, hardworking, upright, God loving, generous, and fantastic women. I think my mom and her siblings are strong women because they had a very good role model in Lola Pen. I hope and pray I can pass on all these to Therese and the other children God will bless us with.

I love you Lola Pen. I'm pretty sure Lolo Ting is glad to have his "Joy" with him finally.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Quick One. . .

Just wanted to send off one short post before calling it a day? Why? Simply because I just wanted to express how much I am grateful for all that is in my life today. This morning Junby and I with Therese attended BCBP NorCal's breakfast. As part of the Breakfast program, someone shared his life testimony in an effort to showcase how much God can love each and everyone of us. It was a good reminder to keep my eyes and heart open to that truth -- God is with me in every detail of my life, if I but only take the time to look. After a quick lunch at Happi House we headed home to give Therese her afternoon nap.

When Therese woke up from her nap, we went to a family gathering, a small get together for one of Junby's nieces who was leaving for Paris for a 4 month study program. I had to leave Junby and Therese there though since Karen and I had to head off to St Maria Goretti parish for the Baptism Preparation Class we were facilitating. It was a considerably smaller group than the first one I had conducted a few months ago so we ended earlier than expected. I just pray that some of the words I spoke regarding the sacrament of Baptism and the gift that God bestows on us through it, will find good soil and bear fruit. I hold on to the promise Jesus gave in saying His word would not return to Him without it doing the work He intended it to do. That is as much as we can hope, right. We are but bearers of the Truth but it is God who can convert hearts and renew minds. That's why I am not particularly worried :)

After the class, we headed back to the family gathering -- to the food and company that awaited us. We headed home after a few hours later. During that time with family and friends I realized that Therese would be turning a year older next month! I looked at our baby, who was happily crawling around, cautiously approaching the pet dog and standing while holding on to various people's legs and furniture -- and I marveled -- that God would entrust such a sweet soul to our care...It still boggles my mind and fills my heart with gratefulness.

Thank you Lord for blessing my life so richly. I fail to thank you at times because I fall into the rut of thinking these are mine by right. Today, I was reminded that all these are gifts -- undeserved, unmerited yet given with such love and care that I cannot help but say -- Thank you. By thy grace may I give these gifts back to you, having cared for them the way you believed I would. Amen.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Natapos din...

Today, we had BCBP's annual summer picnic. This time, Junby and I spearheaded the event and by God's grace, all went well -- the weather was perfect (sunny yet with enough breeze to cool everyone), there was enough food (with some left over to take home and feast upon for the next couple of days, and there was a good mix of old friends and new ones to make the day interesting.

It was a welcome change to be concerned over something other than the state of Therese's sleep patterns, the upkeep of my small home, and the number of things on my 'to do' list that remain 'to be done' rather than 'done'. Organizing the picnic brought me back to when I would organize events as part of my normal job description and I found myself reveling in knowing what needed to be done next. Quite unlike how my life has been the past months.

I have yet to find a training course for motherhood on the web :) It's a full-time job, 24/7, no vacation or sick leave available and the payment is through toothless smiles (for now), coos and gurgling laughter. I wouldn't have it any other way but it was good to be able to exercise some of the stuff I used to know and find that I can still do them quite competently after all, however much I think I am failing in my current job. :)

The day is drawing to a close. I thank God for His abiding grace and providence. Natapos din...I say that with relief and just a bit of regret, that what I had known how to do is now done and now I am back to learning how to be a mom. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

to blog or not to blog

It's been a long while since I blogged, several months in fact though I doubt if my not doing so has any effect on anyone :) I'm not a prolific blogger not because I have nothing to say -- its just that I either do not have the time to do it (preferring to spend my time entertaining my less than a year old daughter or being available for my husband when he comes home from work) or I would rather keep my thoughts private. Besides I don't have a following that needs to be kept updated on what I do most of the time (I subject those mundane and trivial updates for those who follow me on twitter -- poor souls who, by getting my monotonous tweets I think serve their time in purgatory already).

Why have I then chosen to blog after months of silence? I'm not quite sure. I guess it's one way I know to get outside my head and hopefully connect to someone out there in the great unknown of cyberspace...strike a chord of recognition in someone else who might at one or another have felt the way I am feeling now. How do I feel now? Not too bad.

It's been a good day -- pretty mundane actually but its these little pockets of time just being a family that I hope I will remember when I grow old and forgetful about most other things. We attended mass at 11:00 am where Junby plays the guitar for the Filipino choir, had lunch at Ninang Liklik's, then home for a nap. It was warm today so napping with the AC on was a good option. Therese was able to nap for almost two hours -- a major feat these days since she has been sleeping poorly (days and nights) due to her emerging baby teeth (or so I think). At around 5 we decided to go down to the pool. Luckily we had the place to ourselves so we got to swim a few laps, Junby and I taking turns holding Therese while the other swam laps, and spend a few minutes relaxing at the adjoining jacuzzi. It was then time to go home, shower, eat dinner and put Therese to bed.

So why blog now? I guess its my effort to get out of this somewhat melancholic mood I find myself in. I wish I could have blogged about the times Therese first started to crawl or when she started walking around the living room by holding on to various pieces of furniture. Those would have been more upbeat and perky blogs but it was precisely those times I chose to give my full attention to living life rather than writing about it. For those who had to read through this blog, thank you. Somehow you have helped me feel connected even for just a few moments. That's it for now. Don't wish to subject anyone else further to my mundane musings...besides I just heard the baby cry -- time to get back to my world as isolated as it seems to me right now....

Friday, April 03, 2009

Twice in one day...

Unbelievable as it may sound but we have just experienced having our car broken into twice today. Yup, twice in the span of a few hours. This is my first brush with lawlessness here in the US. I am just thankful that none of those I love has been hurt in the process. Yeah, we lost some stuff but "stuff" are replaceable even though some of those stuff were somewhat expensive. Yet I choose to look at these incidents today in a more positive light -- no one from my family got hurt in the process. But my poor husband...Here's how it happened.

When Junby was about to leave for the office this morning that's when he saw that the front passenger seat's window was all smashed up! Smashed up into tiny pieces with a few shards clinging to the frame.
The broken glass you see on the ground next to the car was what was left of the window. We surmised that the person must have seen the mount for the GPS on the dashboard and so decided to steal it since the mount was gone. The glove compartment was open so we surmised they thought the GPS unit was in it. Luckily, Junby makes a habit of brining the unit with him everytime he comes down from the car. So, not finding the GPS unit they decided to take some of the CDs , Junby's MP3 player (which he had just upgraded with a 16MB memory card) and a flashlight that Junby kept in the front. It was a good thing those were the only things the person took. He didn't check the trunk which had contained Junby's equipment which he uses for the choir practice -- his mini AMP, etc. So my poor husband didn't get to report to work since he had to inform the insurance about the break-in, bring the car, which we had fondly dubbed "SMURF" since it's small and blue, to the auto bodyshop for repair and get a rental car to use.

Junby and I were half-jokingly telling each other, this must be Satan's way of destroying our peace since last night Junby and I took part in the parish's reconciliation service and availed of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We thought that was the end of it but nope. More was to come.

Junby left for choir practice which was held at the parish of St. Maria Goretti. I went up to put Therese to bed. At around 9 pm, Junby calls to tell me that the rental car he's using got broken into again! Someone smashed the window and this time took his belt pouch which was partly hidden under the seat. So now he has to inform the rental company that the car has been broken into. What was lost? The belt pouch contained his camera (which had photos of Therese and whatnot, some of which he had not downloaded yet :( ), his cellphone which had his philippine sim and other stuff.

What is going on?!? When I talked to Junby's cousin to tell her the news, she said it could be that the people who did the first job were mad that they didn't really get anything of value from our car and they might have actually watched him, followed him and decided to see if they could get more this time. At this point I don't think its too farfetched an idea. And to think that it was only his rental car that was broken into, and in the parking lot of a church.

What's also ironic is that our apartment is situated in a gated community. The gates are closed at night and supposedly only residents with the remote can get in. Go figure. Just when you think you are quite safe, things like this happen to remind you to be vigilant. Sigh. It's been a rough day all around, for my husband most especially. Yet, I still thank God that nothing worse has happened to him or to us. I continue to pray that this will be the end of it. I can only pray that God will help protect all those I love from further harm. Keep us in your prayers too.

In the midst of all these events, I can still say though that God has been good. It could have been worse...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Little joys

Each day is a chance for new wonders to be explored. Seen from the eyes of my 5 month old baby, the world is indeed new and exciting. We are blessed to have such an even-tempered child (so far that's how she seems to be emerging as in terms of temperament and disposition). She greets each morning with a smile and now even though she has a cold, she's been quiet and just trying to get by and not fussing a lot.

I too have a bad cold which unfortunately I have passed on to her. I pity her sniffing and trying to breathe through a clogged nose. Its times like this that you just wish you could take on your child's illness instead of letting her suffer. Since she doesn't know how to blow her nose either, she just takes it and cries a little when she can't take it na.

Last weekend, Junby and I visited Costco to stock up on stuff here at home. Costco sells stuff in bulk and therefore it comes out cheap. While walking the aisles, Junby was carrying Therese and as is her fashion, she just drifted off to sleep :)

That's how easygoing she generally is. Then Junby put together the high chair that was a gift to us during one of the baby showers for us. See her delight? :) Makes me smile in response. :)
The next day I was able to sit her there while I did some chores. She found a way to occupy herself with a teething toy I had given her..

Ah, my little joy :) Thank you Lord for smiling back at me through my daughter. :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time does indeed fly by fast...

It's been almost two months since I last blogged. That does not mean nothing has been happening in my life. To the contrary, a lot of milestones have come and gone, most especially when it comes to my daughter, Thérèse. She turned 5 months a few days ago and she has come a long way from the time we brought her home.

A few months ago, my greatest concern was how I was unable to fully satisfy her nutritional needs through breastfeeding. Since then I've made peace with the reality that I need to supplement her feeding with formula. If it's for her betterment, I'm willing to let go of the 'shoulds' and live with the 'coulds'. These past months my concern has been her need for quality sleep. She's a light sleeper and the slightest noise wakes her. After two hours of trying to get her to sleep, having her wake up so easily was kind of frustrating. I remember many a nights wherein I found myself crying out to Mary to help me put Thérèse to sleep. Nowadays my concern is how to teach her how to soothe herself to sleep when she wakes up. I don't remember how I was taught to go back to sleep by myself so Junby and I are reading up on the methods. There are the Cry It Out Methods and the No Cry Methods. Hopefully by next week we can decide between us which method to try with Thérèse.

We started Thérèse on semi-solids last week for breafast. So far she's getting the hang of it. She now opens her mouth expectantly when we sit down for breakfast. She has better control of her hands now and finds her toes fascinating.

Last Wednesday she was also blessed and signed with the cross in ashes.

A lot is still to come and I am just grateful I have this chance to take care of her full-time and to be part of her wonder at the world. Thérèse's delight at most things helps me see why God calls us to be like little children. A sense of wonder cannot fail to bring us to an experience of the Divine.