First Christmas Without Her

When we go to church every Sunday, I always notice a couple who I think are on their 80’s. Although they’re very old, I can definitely still see and feel their love for each other. They look very happy.

I remember in July 2016, they had to sit close to us because the church was packed. I could hear the old man singing so beautifully. Before leaving, the old man handed us a prayer pamphlet. It was a devotion to St. Joseph. The old lady had a very sweet smile.

Sometime in October 2016, the church recognized all the couples who celebrated their wedding anniversary. This couple was one of them. I heard they celebrated their 57 years together. So after the mass, I came up to them to congratulate them. I told them that they are an inspiration to young married couples like us. I saw the old lady’s face beaming and they proudly talked about their kids, grand kids, and great grand children. I gave them a hug and said bye.

In November 2016, I noticed that the old man was alone. For a few weeks, I wanted to come up to him to ask how he was but never got the chance. I had a feeling and I hope I was wrong.

Last night, my eyes were fixed on the old man. It is a week before Christmas and I decided to greet him a Merry Christmas in advance after the service. His name is Raul. It is the first Christmas without her after 57 years. He said he always sees her in spirit.

We talked for a while. I mentioned about my Dad who passed away last year. Somehow when I see Raul he reminds me of him. Same age. Both wearing their favorite beige/khaki jacket. After mentioning about my Dad, Raul said at age 82. I was so shocked how he knew that my Dad was 82 when he died. He said it just came to his mind and that the spirit works in mysterious ways. I gave him a hug and told him that I’ll pray for his  beautiful and sweet wife.

I know I will be seeing Raul by himself every church time, and I pray that I will see him for a very long time. I can’t help but think again about the bitter reality of growing old, death, dying, and being left alone. And for us who are left behind, we have to live and keep going.

I also remember my Tatay (Dad) and Mommy who were together for 53 years. This January 2017 is supposed to be their 55th Anniversary. Here is a photo of them taken by my sister that year  before he passed away. One of the most beautiful and meaningful photos I keep.

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Loving Each Moment

One of the perks of being a stay at home mom is just being there for them, when they’re not feeling well or when they’re just chilling out.

Sometimes I complain about the stress of raising kids especially when they fight a lot or when they’re being difficult.

I just say that. I know the the time will come when they will no longer need me and I will miss every moment they were little.

I will have all these memories when they were growing up.

It is a nice cold morning today.

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Random Thoughts On CHANGES

Change is the only permanent thing in this life. We have seen it from books, photos, and films how the world around us has changed. Industrialization. Technology. People. Way of Life. Everything changes. Everyone does.

Based on my own experience, there is something else that has remained constant. It is the “inner SELF”. I am not sure how it is called. It maybe a person’s spirit or soul.  I feel exactly the same way ten years ago and even twenty years ago. And as far as I remember. I am me.

I grew up and learned more things  from school. I am continuously learning from my everyday experiences. Although there have been changes in the environment, in my situation, status, in the physical world, somehow there is still that core being which  has remained the same all through the years.

I close my eyes and I have always been that same person. Although when I look at photos of me, I look different each time. I am getting older. And that is something that we can not escape. No matter how rich and beautiful we are. We all do our best to prolong our life. We take care of our bodies. We exercise. We try to look our best. Some are even more fashionable. More luxurious. But we can not stop nature. We will all look old someday. And we know what happens next. Then we are all the same…

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Photo Credit: www.cylviahayes.net

 

Plain Day

When I started blogging, my mind was filled with thoughts, filled with words. My heart felt a lot of things. I could not wait to write them down each day. Writing about my thoughts and feelings helped me resolve some issues I had in me. It taught me a little about forgiveness, about imperfections, humanity, about love. It also helped me discover my passions. It is still helping me get to know myself more and the life around me.

I just noticed one thing and maybe it happens to other people too. When my father went to heaven, it suddenly felt like there is nothing more I can write about. No inspiring stories or reflections in my head. I was not sure how I was feeling. For a long time I just went on with the flow. It has been a year now. I don’t feel the same. However, I find delight in interviewing people who inspire me. Maybe this is a way to get me inspired again and get me back on track.

For now, I will keep looking for that inspiration.

The Happiest & Saddest Time

Next week will be my first born’s birthday. Followed by my second child’s. They are almost 3 weeks apart. Both are born on Summer time during the Olympic games. I remember taking care of infants while watching games on TV. Both of them also have Barrack Obama as their first President when they were born.

Every child’s birthday is special. And for every parent, it is a moment to celebrate and commemorate the day they  received their special gift from heaven.

It is ironic for me. I am very happy to celebrate my children’s birthdays but at the same time I feel sad because it brings back the most painful memory I had on my journey. This started last year in 2015. It all began from my first born’s birthday and ended on my second child’s birthday. 

I am sure people have forgotten. They have moved on and lived their lives. But as for us, we are not sure how. We will always feel and remember as long as we are here.

July 19 was my first born’s birthday. It was the last time I had a Facetime chat with my Father. Up to now I remember the conversation that we had. His words I can still hear.

July 21. He was sent to the hospital and got intubated.  He was unconscious for 3 days. He woke up on the third night and was terrified with his condition. He could not speak anymore. He did not like the tube and the wires.  He and my brother had a moment together. My brother told him I was coming home. And he nodded. He knew I was coming home. But early dawn the next day…

July 25 He had a cardiac arrest. They revived him after a while. But he was believed to be brain dead then later on into comma. I had to fly right away to see him. It happened so fast.

And we were in the dark for the next 14 days of my life . I stayed in the hospital did not go anywhere. https://partandparcel2014.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/14-day-journey/

August 5. I went out and saw the saddest sunset. I was on the phone with my sister telling her that the “takipsilim” or dusk looked very  sad. All our hopes were going down with the sun. That night, almost midnight, he passed away. First time to go to the house where I grew up. But it was dark and empty. I fell asleep on his bed.

August 8. It was my youngest child’s birthday. It was also my Father’s burial/interment. Part of my heart was buried with him. After a few hours I had to fly back to my family. It was night time when I arrived at home. It was not too late to watch my 3 year old blow the candle on her birthday cake.

 

 

Words from Daphne Oseña-Paez

I feature my favorite people here in my blog site. They inspire me in so many different ways. The next person I will be presenting is someone I admire not just for her beauty and style, but also for her brain, talent, and confidence. Her works reflect my hobby and interests like blogging, travel, home, fashion jewelry, and inspiring stories about women and motherhood. I am very blessed that she responded to some of my questions. She even gave me some advice for my blog! I remember first seeing her from the show, “F” which she co-hosted with Angel Aquino and Cher Calvin! Meet the lovely and very smart, Daphne Oseña-Paez!

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“Daphne Oseña-Paez is a TV host, producer, and businesswoman from Manila.  She is known for her production and hosting of television programs  Urban Zone, Proudly Filipina, and F. She is the first Filipina ever appointed Special Advocate for Children by UNICEF Philippines.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daphne_Ose%C3%B1a-Paez)

“In May 2011 she founded Auction for Action: A UNICEF Fundraising Online Auction to benefit children’s programs in the Philippines and worldwide. It was the first online auction for UNICEF Philippines. It features work from noted local artists and designers in the hope of raising money that would benefit programs on maternal health and education in the Philippines’ poorer areas.”   She was also featured in Vogue in 2011 (http://www.vogue.it/en/people-are-talking-about/vogue-features/2011/12/daphne-osena-paez#ad-image145665)

Here are some answers straight from Daphne.

What were you doing before your TV appearances?

Urban planning

What course did you take in College and where? Did you really dream of hosting and being a public figure?

University of Toronto. Bachelor of Arts, specialist in Fine Art History, minor in Urban Studies. No dreams of TV work or public life. I was working as an urban planner, managing Canadian-funded programs in developing countries. Everything else was a happy accident.

With all the shows, TV hosting that you made what was your most favorite and why? Urban Zone – its my own show/creation. I didn’t just host it. I was producer, writer. It was a successful attempt at a late night lifestyle show. It was very influential.

What was the hardest challenge you have encounter? – life is full of challenges. In my darkest hour I turn to prayer. I’m never alone. I put full trust in the Lord. (As for sharing actual challenge, it’s too personal)

What is it you fear the most? – only God knows.

Do you consider yourself a hands on mom? How do you balance your career and family? — I don’t like the term “hands on mom” I don’t think it should exist. Because whether you are working or not, you are a mother just the same.

What is the most important thing you want your children to learn? What is it that you want to impart to them? – that they are loved by us no matter what. That they find joy in what it is they choose to do.

You are beauty and brains! In terms of beauty and appearance, are you high maintenance? How do you take care of your looks? What is beauty for you? Beauty tips you can share? – Be kind to your skin and body. Rest a lot. Don’t expose yourself to the sun too much. See a derma every month for cleaning. I go to Belo for facial and power peel every month.

What are your hobbies? – learning more dishes. I just learned how to cook. 

For more information and update of her works, you can visit her website  http://daphne.ph/.

It was really my pleasure to have an exchange of words with this super talented and very nice lady!

 

Catching Up With Cindy Kurleto

Thanks to writing. I started to see through things clearly. I am able to look deep inside and know myself a little bit more. I have become aware of my existence, of the life around me, of living, of being human, and even of my greatest fear, death.
One of the many things I have come to realize is that my life is too short to be mad, sad, or miserable. I have to overcome these emotions as they exist. I have to find out an outlet, my passion, and do things that make me happy. I have learned that playing the flute and blogging are one my favorite things at this stage of my life!
Moreover, I also realized that it is important to surround myself with people and things that will make me grow, that will inspire me, and make me happy. People and things that give out positive vibes and make us realize more the kindness and beauty of life. We can not always choose 100% of the time but we can still do something.
Even in my social media account (Instagram), I only choose to follow people who inspire me. There are indeed a lot of great people around the globe, and I wish I have all the time to write about them.  These inspirations crossing my path are part of my journey. Thus, I recognize and appreciate them through writing.
For instance, I wrote about the flutist who inspires me to do better, Bevani. Please read about her and check her Youtube Channel (Bevani Flute). Now, it is my pleasure to feature this wonderful lady. I never knew her personally but when I was younger I saw her from TV commercials in the Philippines.She was a VJ, model, actress. She has one of the most beautiful faces in Philippine Television. Meet Cynthia or better known as Cindy Kurleto! I do not remember how I found her in Instagram but when I saw her, I left a comment on her post about how glad I was to see her. She responded and she was very nice to everyone. We found out that we have the same birthdays too (and year)! What struck me was seeing how she has found love and happiness in her private life now. She has left the world of show business to fulfill her destiny to be where she is right now, a loving wife and mother. So let’s catch up with Cindy! 

“I’m A Stay-At-Home Mom. Got A Problem With That?”

My hands are tired. As soon as I was done with my work, I had to sit down and write this down.

I just finished with my general cleaning in the kitchen. From the fridge to the freezer, to the tiles, cabinets and floor. Scrubbing. Mopping. Add all other details that has to do with the inside of each drawer and cabinet.

A lingering thought suddenly crossed my mind. I hold no grudge on these people but to be honest, their remarks annoys me very well.

This post is for all the stay-at-home moms like me. Sometimes we are called housewife, full-time mom, home-maker and others.

When I stopped going to work (the one where you get paid money), I had to focus on my growing son. Then followed by another baby girl. So I have been out of the work force for five years and 7 months now. When a cousin found out that I stopped working to take care of my child, he teasingly said “Wow, Doña.” In the Philippines, when somebody said that you’re a Doña, it means you’re rich and you’re living like a Queen. I do not remember how I responded to him but I can not forget that remark until now.

Another incident was when I brought my first grader to school while tagging my little girl along. This is a common sight in school. Moms with their  little ones  dropping off and picking up their older kids to school. Rain or Shine. Through the years,  I bonded with other full time moms too. And sometimes we would be in a group. As I and some other moms were approaching, a  friend who was a nurse jokingly told our other friend, “Eto na ang mga walang trabaho!” In English, it means “Here comes the ones who don’t work/jobless!” What did that suppose to mean? Of course it was petty. We did not have to confront her.

What are these remarks? I usually  hear people asking about what job I do since I had a Master’s Degree in Psychology. And when they hear that  I am a home-maker, one of the common reactions is “Wow, sarap!” In English something like “Wow, you’re lucky”.

I will be straightforward here. Yes, I am lucky because of one thing. I get to be hands on with my children. I see them grow each day. I personally take care of them. I am lucky because I now my kids feel secured and confident that I am there when they need me. A couple of instances my son was brought to the school clinic, in two minutes I am there to pick him up.  Child care is a lot of work especially when you have babies, toddlers, or preschoolers. It is more work if you have two or three or more kids. With the demand for constant attention, and responding to different needs, you have to have all the energy and patience in the world.

Home care is another thing.

Yes I will feel like a queen if I have a helper in the house. Or have someone else do all the daily chores inside and out of the house. Keeping the house clean and in order is an everyday thing. It actually feels like never ending. I even have a list of things to do for my home projects just like when I was going to a regular job where I got paid.

Yes I will feel like a Doña if I have a cook to take care of breakfast, lunch and dinner, a driver to bring my kids to school and to pick them up, a tutor to teach my children or a nanny to give them a bath and other things that they need.

I do not have all these help, and I do not get paid for every single thing that I do. I do not complain (sometimes to my husband), I feel happy that I am given this mission right now. It is all labor of love. Mind you, I do not just sit in the house and  have idle times. I do not sleep in the daytime because time flies and there are lots of things to do. But sometimes I need to recharge and have a break too. So I play the flute for a while or I write.

This is just a glimpse of what we do. This is the life of  a home-maker, a full-time mom, a house wife. I am not saying that we are better than moms who go out and work (the one you get paid money). They have different challenges too. I was once working out of the house.  I am just hoping that others will be enlightened that even if we are at home, WE ARE WORKING TOO!

Kudos to all women, to all mothers.

Now nap time is over for my girl. Have to wrap up my chores and time to get ready for school : )

 

The Bird Who Can’t Fly – Part Two

Yesterday afternoon, we let baby bird out. We were all hoping that he would fly away. Unfortunately it was still the same. It just stood there in front of us. He can’t fly.

Before night-time, we put it again in the little open box. We secured it making sure no predators could get it. I was alarmed since I saw a big cat and a rat somewhere on the wall. We live by the park so those creatures are free to go on the other side of the fence.

It was fun yesterday. My kids loved the baby bird. I took some photos of it. It is so adorable. Such a sweet little creation of God. We have been wishing that it will just be strong to fly high and be with its family.

This morning, I went to check on him but he was gone. The little baby bird was lying down with eyes closed. I could not look any more. I cried. I just realized the reason why I refuse to have pets. I am afraid of this feeling of loss. It reminded me of my Dad in the hospital. We gave him everything he needed to get better. The most expensive medicines each day. No matter how much you try to save the life, death is inevitable if the body is weak. It is just really extending the life. I just find it a comfort that at least the big cat, opossum, and rat did not get it.

I did not take a photo of it lifeless. I just want to  keep the good memories although they were short. Just like how I stopped and avoided looking at my Dad’s photos in the hospital.

Life is precious. It is a gift. Life is short. Enjoy each moment. Love with all your heart.

Here is the video I took of our baby bird the first day we found it. Bye baby bird… : (

 

 

The Bird Who Can’t Fly – Part One

I do not have a pet. I do not really consider myself as an animal lover. I might find them cute but I can not take care of them (especially dogs and cats). I always think that they will bite me! I think fish and birds are fine. Just don’t make me touch them.

Yesterday, my husband noticed a gray and yellow baby bird in our backyard. It was on the same spot for a very long time. We were thinking the bird was hurt and it can’t fly. We called in our kids to help us “rescue” the baby bird. True enough, it can’t fly and it looked sick/weak. So we put him in our little yellow box, gave it water and rice. It was almost night-time and we did not want to leave it there alone. We wanted to keep it safe from its predators (particularly rat and opossum).

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After a while, we heard a lot of “tweets”. We saw two big birds of the same kind. We were thinking that it’s the parents. And on one of the plants another baby bird fell. Same with the previous one, it did not know how to fly. We took it and placed him with the other baby bird in the yellow box. They had to stay with us for a night. We put a protective cover on the box and surrounded it with blankets so they won’t get cold in the night.

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Early after breakfast, we checked if the birds were strong enough to fly. The other one kept moving and looked liked it was ready to fly. As I opened the cover, it flew quickly and all up on the tree. It looked like it can fly although not too high. On the other hand, the other one just stayed in the box. It did not move. Guess it was not ready to go out and fly.

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At lunch time, I checked if the bird was ready. When I opened the cover, it jumped out and slowly flew up on the green onion leaves. It stayed there for more than an hour. I kept my eye on it because I think it can’t fly yet. I was scared that a predator will get him for lunch.

I tried to put him back in the box but I was scared. It did not like it. It was threatened whenever I tried to. I wore my gloves but I really get scared when it tries to peck me!!! So I had to wait for a while. Then from afar I witnessed something great. A big yellow bird  swiftly flew by the baby bird and placed something in its mouth. The mommy bird fed its baby! It was really amazing. I was debating myself if I should put it back in the box or just leave it there by itself. At least it’s close to its mom or dad and they can see him.

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There was something in me that did not want to. I was afraid that it will be helpless when a hungry animal comes. So just right in time, I saw a big rat running close to where the bird was. I had to make sounds to shoo it away! I felt so terrible. I was scared to find out what happened. It was my nightmare. My baby looked for the bird. She said it’s gone. I was feeling awful. Then we heard a tweet. We found it on the other plant nearby. Maybe it was able to escape. Although I was scared, I hurriedly got the gloves and a little stick to help me put it in the box. I had to do it to keep it safe!

I felt good that I did it! Now he is again safe in the yellow box. We will try again later to see if he can fly. If not, it has to stay for another night. We can see its mom/dad just flying around lingering in the backyard. Maybe they’re keeping an eye on their baby. I hope they understand that we are just keeping their baby until its strong enough to go back into their wings.

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