The Soccer Cleats

The FIFA World Cup officially opened last June 12, 2014 in Brazil. Football fanatics waited for four years to witness this tournament. My husband is one of them.

Most relatives, colleagues, friends and acquaintances knew that we don’t have a child of our own. Though childless we are blessed with nephews & nieces as well as godsons and goddaughters plus the kids of our dearest friends.

Perhaps triggered by the on going World Cup 2014, my hubby dreamt that Bob and his son Toto Hanz were playing football with other children .Today, we visited Sports Authority in search for a pair of soccer cleats for Toto Hanz. It was already past ten in the evening in the Philippines but I tried to call Day Ann ( Hanz Mother) to check for Toto Hanz shoe size. Good thing Day Ann was still awake. We spoke to Bob and Day Ann. The soccer cleats that Chico ( my hubby) picked first and was holding on his hand was the exact shoe size of Toto Hanz, was it just a mere coincidence or a divine intervention?I believe ’twas a God given opportunity.

We left the store with a meaningful purchase. It was not only a pair of soccer cleats for Toto Hanz but Chico, my hubby was given a wonderful opportunity to have a glimpse of what Father’s do for their children. Toto Hanz was smiling from ear to ear when he saw the picture of his soccer cleats and same thing with Chico.

Chico was elated. It made his day.

This is how we celebrated Father’s Day.

Thank you Bob and Day Ann for sharing Toto Hanz with us on this Father’s Day. God bless you!

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Toto Hanz soccer cleats. ❤

My Father, My Hero

His definition of love is discipline.
He reminds us over and over again
that money doesn’t grow on trees.
He is one of the most hardworking person I know.
He is stubborn most of the time.
He never fails to surprise me.
He cooks the best dinuguan, kaldereta, nilagang baka, KBL and my favorite of all inubadan nga manok ( chicken with banana trunk).
Like a baby he cried when he knew I was diagnosed to have a tumor and more so when I can no longer bear a child.
He told me that he will never be a hindrance to my happiness.
He honored my decision to marry the man I love.
He’ s got a lot of shortcomings. He is not perfect.
But for me He is the best father in the world.
He is my father.
My Papa and my Hero.

Happy Father’s Day Papa!
I Love You!

Love always,

Nene

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With my Papa and Mama

My EDSA DOS Story

I bleed blue, red, white and yellow. The colors of the flag of my beloved country Philippines. Today marks the 116th Independence Day of the Philippines from colonization from Spain and United States of America thereafter.

Our forefathers fought by their sweat and blood. This was the war centuries ago. Today, our motherland Philippines is still fighting a battle that every Filipino should face. As long as the basic needs of every Juan is not met, the battle continues.The need for food, shelter, health and education to name a few.

I had my share of serving my country during EDSA DOS. My best friend Myra and I stayed in Edsa Shrine for a vigil and ready to March to Mendiola at day break. But our plans changed when I was instructed by our General. Secretary to stay put and pray together with Evangelicals for Justice and Righteousness. Elders are God given counselors, though with a heavy heart I obeyed.

It is when a member of the EDSA DOS Rally organizers approached our group at 0630 am that they need people to help guard the Edsa Shrine Stairs for lack of manpower. Since we were the youngest in the group, Myra and I volunteered. We took our place at the stairs near the EDSA highway. Two ROTC cadets joined us after an hour. It was quiet until we received the news that they had impeached ERAP and the Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will take oath as the President.

The people rushing to get through the EDSA Shrine stage swarmed like bees. We were instructed to issue a security pass and we should only allow dignitaries, media, performers to pass the stairs. We were confused on how are we going to do this to control the crowd. For media they told us they will be given Identification Cards so it was supposed to be easier for us. Reality bites. I can no longer count how many security stickers I had issued with my signature. The media arrived first, with their big cameras, CNN caught my attention. Then followed by a verbal argument with General Abadilla when I didn’t recognize him. He was not wearing his military uniform. (He asked me, don’t I recognize him? Duh? I only saw him on TV not in real life how will I remember that very moment. I was hungry, exhausted and under the scorching heat of the sun). I said my apologies, after him was almost a parade of military officials. I recognized General Wycoco.

After the Military Dignitaries then came the former Chief Justice Davide and his colleagues. One of the witnesses, also came. I can no longer remember his name right now.Then someone approached me, he was asking for a name of an assemblyman. I asked him to wait, I went over to the organizer’s area and there I saw politicians being interviewed. I finally spotted him and I asked him about the name of the assemblyman. He doesn’t know that person and he wasn’t on the list. So I made my way back and told the three men that I am sorry I can not let you pass. There is no person with that name, I even added can you try calling his cellphone. Not for a moment that Myra and I have thought about our safety. What would have happened if they were armed men? We had been standing for hours guarding the stairs with only two ROTC Cadet Officers as back up. Then ten more ROTC Cadets were aded to our group to control the crowd.

I saw the arrival of Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her entourage. Not in my hundred dreams did I ever dreamt to be this close, to have witnessed the Philippine history unfolding before my eyes. More officials arrived. Myra and I and the two cadet officers that are with us hold the fort of guarding the the stairs until PCGG took over and relieved us.

On January 20, 2001, At noon, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo takes her oath of office in the presence of the crowd at EDSA, becoming the 14th president of the Philippines.

I sang the Philippine National Anthem that day with full conviction…
“…ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo” I was ready to die for my country. It fired the passion in my heart that no matter what we will survive as Filipinos and we will carry through our country Philippines by the grace of our Almighty Father.

There were no photographs to show what we have done that day for our beloved motherland, but it was engraved in our hearts. That moment changed our lives. We were never the same person again.

A year after EDSA DOS, I worked as a nurse at Philippine Heart Center. My best friend Myra, was a law student at San Beda that time. She finished law school and became a lawyer.

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With my best friend, Atty. Myra A. Bengan

I am thousand miles away from home right now. But I wish to return home one day. I will serve my country again in every way that I can. I long to teach the new generation of Juan’s.

I am proud to be a Filipino.

Mabuhay Ka Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang bawat mamamayang Pilipino!

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The making of the Philippine Flag. Painting by Fernando Amorsolo.

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I am proud to be a Filipino!

Solace

It’s been a few tough shifts at work plus me battling with estrogen withdrawal hormones. Last Friday, I felt the walls around me were crumbling down. That’s my sign to get out of my bat cave ( I work night shift), take a breather and simply enjoy the sun.

We had breakfast @ Cracker Barrel. I love their rocking chair outside the restaurant.

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I can’t resist but to sit on one of the rocking chairs. Love it!

As we drove to the beach and look for a good parking spot. This is what awaits us.

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Love mornings @ Deerfield Beach.

There is something about the beach, that can calm every troubled soul.Is it the color of the sky? The sound of the waves or the glistening sand?

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I love the feel of the sand under my feet, playing with the waves as it reaches the shore, basking under the sun. My spirit is free.

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My footprints on the sand. Deerfield Beach, Florida

I was sad when it’s time to leave but I know I can always come back. The beach is like an old friend. It doesn’t matter where it is. It’s arms are open wide to receive every soul that is lost and wandering. The creation offers that solace but think of how much more what our Creator can offer us.

I am blessed. Thank you Lord for your creation. Thank you Lord for being my Creator.

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Gratitude

As I continue to ponder what kept me afloat during the difficult times. I found another answer.

Gratitude.

Gratitude is a way of life. Not only when we are in abundance but also in our times of need as well as in the ordinary days of our lives. It is the shifting of our paradigms from looking at the glass half full rather than half empty.

When I wake up in the morning, I thank The Lord for another day He has given me. When I am faced with life’s giants, I thank The Lord for another opportunity to increase my faith, to trust him more and to show my obedience in every aspect of my life.

There are moments that I failed to live the life of gratitude too. It is when I let my problems overwhelm me. In moments that I relied on my own capacities and strength. In situations that I took control rather than seeking God first.

Everyday is an opportunity to learn. To learn to keep the faith. To trust God more. To let God be in control. To thank God for every predicament we are in.

And be excited of what awaits us. That is living life with gratitude.

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Every person in this photo has a different story to tell. But one thing I am sure of, we are thankful of how God brought us to where we are right now. Taken 4 years ago during our West Visayas State University College of Nursing Grand Reunion at Chicago,Illinois. We belong to Class 1998.
Photo Credit: Joe Belandres

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
― Thomas Merton

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The traditional jump shot. At downtown Chicago.
Photo Credit: Joe Belandres

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Simple Fidelity

The theme of my blog is about positivity but it doesn’t mean that my life is perfect. On the contrary it is full of detours, I walked through fire and I crossed the deepest waters. I have a late onset asthma and on allergic march. I am suffering from an early menopause due to a TAHBSO surgery caused by recurring ovarian tumors. My father is battling with an autoimmune disease. This is my reality.

I woke up early today, I asked myself how I was able to manage through the years. That I am still here.

First, my faith in God. There are times that I cried before The Lord for answers, for relief but it never came. I am hanging by a thread yet I kept on. My faith in The Lord is one of the non negotiable things in my life. It kept me sane in my darkest moments. Even I can’t see and feel that God is working it is by faith that I know God will send me my breakthrough. God hasn’t answered my prayers directly but He had sent people to journey with me. Then I realized, this is not about me anymore but about what God wants to do and will be doing in my life. Total surrender to God.

Second, my roots. These are the people in my life who knew what kind of person I am since I was a child or my life before I came to America. They are my family, friends, mentors & prayer partners who never gave up on me. They continue to believe in me. They had opened their heart, their homes and even their resources to help me stay afloat. I will be forever grateful for their presence in my life. They gave me the reason to keep on fighting.

Third, my vocation. Not every person can become a nurse. For me, being a nurse was my calling. I may not have chosen it as a profession initially but because of the influence of my parents, I took this path. When I am frustrated, exhausted and ready to give up. God sends me miracles. Even a simple thank you from my patient’s family is enough to keep me going, to fire my passion and to keep on serving humanity through my profession.

I am weak. I am human. But God’s design for me is to be an overcomer. So I shall overcome.

We need to be strong to meet the day with self-control, to find our reason and purpose, but more important, to leave behind us the heavy and darkened thoughts that kept us from seeing the breathtaking beauty of the most important time—this morning. From the book Think on These Things by Joyce Sequiche Hifler

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“Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them, is simple fidelity to what each day brings.” -A.E. Dunning

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@Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida

Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Reflection

Depression hurts. You might have seen this as an ad on TV, heard on the radio or read it in an article or a magazine. The past 10 years I saw it crippled a loved one then transference took hold of me. Like a shadow it followed me. The things that I used to enjoy no longer interests me. I can no longer recognize myself on the mirror. I have this unending feeling being in a black hole. I have no more tears to shed, they were dried up. I feel this pressure on my chest that’s about to explode. There is always this elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

I felt that I am fading away. Lifeless. Hopeless. Barely Breathing. I was worst than the comatose patients that I am taking care at work. Withdrawn from the world…shame…fear…anxiety became verbs in my life. And one day, I realized this has to stop, I don’t want this kind of life. This is not me anymore, I am turning into a monster. I sought professional help, I reached out to mentors and spiritual elders for counsel and prayers and started to talk about it with my friends.This happened five years ago. I am forever grateful to everyone who journeyed with me these past years. Due to the side effect of my surgeries, I am battling with an early menopause. I see it happening again.

I remember a very close friend called me the job in real life. I am not ashamed of it. It is true. My life is a roller coaster ride. But what I am thankful the most is the legacy of faith that was passed on to me by my parents. The God who brought me this far is still the same God I served and believed. My quiet time with The Lord is more meaningful everyday. Every battle I face, increases my faith. And more so another opportunity to enjoy God’s faithfulness and grace.

I am still me. Wounded. Scarred. But it doesn’t define me. In my Heavenly Father’s eyes, I am His child. His beloved. Today as I look at myself on the mirror, I have to make a mental note of this truth.

God isn’t finished with me yet.

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Reflection. Photo Credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

“First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

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@ Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida. Photo Credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”