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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Walang Sumpa, Meron lang Himala!

At Cha and Clarence's Wedding
December 29, 2008

Last Friday, Cha and I met with Dad for a dinner date he has been asking us for over a week now.

Had a hard time convincing my sister to agree to the dinner. It was just that Cha was getting really tired with all the emotional trauma my Dad had a knack of force-feeding us which I'd like to think is unintentional. 

Our kids Marti and Asti were happy they saw their grandfather after such a long time while the 3 of us exchanged the usual niceties. The dinner went on smoothly...well until it was time for desserts. As the kids went out of the restaurant to play, Dad sat nearer to me and Cha and started to tell why he wanted to see and talk to us and he summarized it in one sentence:

"Sinumpa tayong tatlo!" (The 3 of us are cursed!)

Cha and I looked at each other and we both laughed hysterically, with me almost hitting my head on the dinner table! What Dad told us was so incredulously absurd it became hilarious!

Dad went on that he believed that the 3 of us were cursed ever since Cha and I estranged ourselves from Dad's relatives almost 2 years ago. Why estranged? Because Dad's relatives meddled with his love life---all our lives actually as they always did---and the last straw was when his nieces posted our Dad's newest baby's (whom we had no idea actually existed) pictures in Facebook to show how much more clever they were than us, ignoring common decency (which was never common to them anyway). The incident almost caused my sister's and my nephew Asti's lives---after seeing the pictures, Cha got hospitalized due to hypertension and was in ICU for almost a week, on the brink of eclampsia. And yet after all of these, my Dad chose to side with his relatives. 

And as he claimed 2 years later, the 3 of us are now cursed. Cursed, because after that incident he lost his position in Makati City Hall which he held for more than 35 years and that his daughters are now so poor and I even converted to being a "Born Again". I almost hit my head again on the dining table, laughing so hard! I asked Dad who said we were poor and he revealed that his nieces reads my blog and they read there my stories about my finances, barely making it at times (unbelievably, Cha and I have lived gloriously free of them for the past 2 years and yet they were still hooked on us! tsk, tsk, tsk...we're not even movie stars :D). Dad went on saying the things I wrote on my blog about his family was what really "cursed" us. I wish to ask the readers to judge for themselves if anything in this post at my other blog is actually jinxing my family. If I get enough comments, my Dad would probably be convinced otherwise :D Funny how my Dad's relatives claims my blog as a curse while the rest of the world---well at least on the Feast's FB groups, my friends and my Mom's relatives--- considers the stories as testimonies to faith and hope. 

First, I told my Dad to thank his nieces for me for reading my blogs because they were making me rich. Then Cha told him there is no such thing as "sumpa" or curse because God NEVER ever punishes, only BLESSES. Also, I have not converted to being a "Born Again" (Dad thought I was because I would text him that Marti and I were attending prayer meetings every Thursday) although there was nothing wrong with that except my Mom would turn in her grave! We started telling him about the Makati Feast and how the Feast changed our lives and how we found a new family there. Cha and I declared that though our finances are not yet that established and we may be struggling now, we and our families have never been so happy! Why? Because we both learned that no matter how big our problems were, our GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER! We have renewed our relationship with God and have seen Him as He really is: a Faithful Provider and a Loving and Merciful Father. And it is in this conviction that we lead our lives with hope and determination.

Dad persisted, "sinumpa talaga tayo. Wala na ako, ako na ngayon yung wala. Nung isang buwan, mga pamangkin ko napag-birthday ang Papa nila at niregaluhan pa ng flat TV (we're really cursed. I am no one now; now I'm the one who has nothing. The other month my nieces and nephews gave a birthday party to their father and even gifted him with a flat TV)."

Cha and I started to pity him. After all these years of being an accomplished and well-respected electrical engineer, chief electrical engineer of Makati City for 35 years, elected twice as President of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers-NCR, electrical engineer contractor of Jollibee's first 50 stores, here was my Dad looking up to his nieces and nephews, some of whom he sent to school, who recently got jobs and whose father was just one of his employees in his contractor business. Dad never even realized that while he was looking up to these people, he was pitying his convinced-to-be-cursed daughters one of whom is a respected doctor in her field, married to a lawyer and the other an executive secretary-infopreneur-virtual assistant multitasker raising a son on her own. 

"Problema sa iyo Daddy, hindi mo kilala mga anak mo.  (problem with you Daddy, you don't know you're own daughters)" And in one sentence, Cha hit the mark. Couldn't believe that after all the hurts and betrayal my Dad's relatives gave us and our Mom, they had one victim left: our Dad. They couldn't get to us so they got to our Dad, now convincing him that the misfortunes in his life was caused by his daughters' alienating his relatives. If you had dementors or even emotional vampires for relatives, wouldn't you run as far away as you can, too? We told our Dad that we have forgiven his relatives but for him to ask us to reconcile with them is like asking God to reconcile with Lucifer. Okay, not in those words but we told him it was impossible. Cha advised him to remove himself from the influence of his relatives, the same way we did even if only for a brief time, to improve his outlook in life especially now that he was raising a new family. He has to stop listening to his relatives convincing him that we will never accept his new family (dementors, remember?). We both reassured Dad that we do acknowledge his new wife and child but we need time to adjust; soon we would be able embrace them into our hearts  as after all they are a part of him whom we will always love. 

I gave the final advice: "Dad, patawarin mo na ang sarili mo. Matagal ka na pinatawad nang Diyos at matagal ka na pinatawad ni Mommy. Kalimutan mo na nakaraan at mag-umpisa ka ulit lalo na may bago kang pamilya (Dad, forgive yourself. The Lord has forgiven you a long time ago and so did Mom. Forget the past and start anew especially now you have a new family). And in unison, Cha and I declared to our Dad:


Mom would have been so proud of all of us, I believe she is. We hugged and kissed each other and parted ways all filled with new hope and greater love for each other. It seemed like a miracle so with that I'm tweaking one of the most famous movie lines in Philippine cinema by Ms. Nora Aunor:

"WALANG SUMPA, MERON LANG HIMALA!" (There's no such thing as a curse, only miracles!)
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Risking Heartaches

Was watching Harry Potter Deathly Hollows part 2 and as usual was crying at the part where all the people who loved Harry and died were talking to him. Made me think of the risk of heartaches when you love especially because of the loss of a loved one. 

Then a question popped in my head, asking me if this is the risk I was willing to take in the search for love? Am I still willing to risk all this pain just to be with my one true love? Then the answer came naturally: "Yes! My heart had been broken so many times, so what's another one? As they say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Tough question. 

Tougher Answer. 
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Solo, Not Single

Entering the PICC building, I was quite nervous. I bought my Kerygma Conference 2011 ticket only a day before, still not sure if I should attend until the last minute. I was thinking, I could have spent the day doing my usual chores but with my son Marti’s prodding, who even arranged his schedule with his Dad so I could have a free day, I decided to go and overcome my usual nervousness when attending an event on my own.

The moment I stepped into Meeting Room 11, I knew I was meant to be there on that day. I saw the same person who sent me the e-mail that changed my life forever! It was Rhoda, my former officemate who e-mailed me one of Bro. Bo’s newsletters which started me on my journey to self-awareness and renewed faith in God. After the niceties and warm hug, I found out that she was part of the Media committee of the KCon and I told her that it was because of her that I was there. She seemed to beam at that but I was more delighted because of this first sign that God gave to reassure me.

Bro. Rex’s worship was simply phenomenal! When he declared that solo parents are blessed with God as our partner and that He would never abandon us, never neglect, never disappoint us, the tears just started to flow. The best line he imparted was “Your setback is a set-up for a greater comeback!”

The talks were all enlightening and informative. The lessons that stuck to me were the ones of Michelle Aglinay and of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng. Really liked Michelle’s advice on revealing the truth to the children the status of their parents’ relationship as early as possible. I can attest to this as Marti grew up to be emotionally healthy despite not having complete parents. But my favorite talk was that of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng about remarriage and stepfamily. I guess most of the solo parents still aim to remarry someday that’s why a lot were attentive to this talk, not to mention the funny stories of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng. But what affected me most from their sharing was the grief process of Bro. Hermie’s and his family when his first wife passed away, that although he was already healed from his grief and ready to get married again, his daughter was not and that they respected the children’s feelings so much, they were willing to wait until everybody, especially the children, were ready for this new relationship. I realized then that despite the 9 years since my Mom died, my sister and I were still grieving but unfortunately our Dad couldn’t wait for us to heal before he got married again, or at least acknowledge our mourning. Through this talk, I became aware of my feelings of grief and could probably start to fully heal from thereon.

But the most amazing experience I had on that day was not only the talks but with the people I met there despite my early nervousness:

Rhoda, the person who shared a simple e-mail of Bro. Bo’s newsletter and started me on this spiritual journey.

Sister Faye, 20 years old and 8 months pregnant, who reminded me of the courage I had to pull up against all odds when I decided to become a solo parent.

Sister Bheng, a single mom to a 15 year old son, who taught me to live life one day at a time and give myself a chance to be happy, that it was ok to go on dates and even have a relationship as long as you are upfront about it to your child.

Sister Sally, a widow and mother to 3 lovely daughters, who showed me the true meaning of service; that even if dozens of people ask you to serve, it is ultimately yourself who can decide to commit to serve.

The Feast has taught me to be hopeful and renewed my love for God but the Kerygma Conference opened my eyes to the abundance of blessings that God can and will shower you with as long as you open your arms and your heart to Him.

I’ll definitely be back next year and hopefully bring more people to this marvelous experience! More power to Bro. Bo Sanchez and to the Light of Jesus Family!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011


My sister Cha and I throughout the years

My sister Cha and I have been planning to spend some bonding time and when she discovered Mojito Night at T.G.I.Fridays we gave it a go last Saturday. 

Having our own families now and living apart, it was always a welcome treat to spend time with just each other but last Saturday was probably one of the most heart-warming and enlightening talks we've had in a very long time.

We didn't grow up really close, having opposite personalities despite resembling each other that oftentimes we were mistaken as twins. Cha was the physically strong one, tomboyish, outgoing and had lots of friends. I was always sickly being anemic, very shy and an introvert and would rather stay at home, drawing and sketching in my room or listening to the stories of the elders. Even in our relationships we were different: I only had one boyfriend back in high school while Cha had a string of them all the way to medical school. But going down memory lane over bottomless mojitos, Cha and I realized that it was in our differences  that we would find solace for each other, especially now that we were orphans, physically and emotionally---with Mom passing away 10 years ago and Dad remarrying and starting another family.

Talking about Mom, Cha told me about the time when she had to live at our paternal grandparents' house in Sampaloc, Manila since it was nearer to University of Sto. Tomas where she was taking up B.S. Biology for her pre-medicine studies. Everyday at around lunch time, she would call up Mom and ask what she cooked for lunch and whatever it was, Cha would always say "ang sarap naman (how delicious)". So Mommy would tell her that she would come over and bring her some of the food she cooked. I asked Cha why she had to ask Mom to bring her food when our grandparents were Kapampangans, known for their sumptuous cooking. She said, "Minsan, di pala yung pagkain na niluluto ang hinahanap mo kungdi yung kasama mo sa pagkain (sooner or later you realize it's not the food that you crave for, but who you're eating with)" We both fell quiet with what she said, feeling the heartache and longing for our Mom all over again. Another round of mojitos, please.

Next we talked about my day at the Kerygma Conference's stream for Solo Parents which I attended earlier. Was fascinated by the talk of Brother Hermie and Sister Reng Morelos who shared their experience on remarriage and step-family. Inevitably, Cha and I started discussing my non-existent love life, with her telling me that it's high time I started dating. Cha asked if I was feeling guilty, that I would feel like I wouldn't be a good mother to Marti if I started going out again. Of course not. It's not as if I haven't tried but the men who asks me out are either too young (read: just wants to play around) or too unavailable (read: married) and the last date I went on was with a guy who the following day was scheduled to ship off for the next 2 years! The worst part of that date was what the first thing the guy told me, "naku mukha kang mayaman (oh my, you look like you're rich)" Cha laughed so hard at that! Geez, if this guy is already telling me on the first date that I may be too much work for him, then he is not worth it. 

Then Cha shared something I never knew about her. She said that for many years, she would always make a   prayer/ wish on her birthday and asked God to give her a husband who is kind, patient, loving and who doesn't have the womanizing qualities of our Dad. And every time a relationship with a boyfriend would end, she would thank God for the experience because she knew it was another step towards her future husband. God, I was blown away by that. All along I thought my sister was shallow when it came to relationships when we were younger, going through several boyfriends while I was the wiser one, holding off while waiting for the right guy to come along. I never knew that Cha was on a spiritual journey with those failed relationships and years later she would be richly rewarded through her faith in God. 

As we went home that night, I thanked God for the rewarding day at the Kerygma Conference and the night spent with my sister Cha who has profoundly humbled me with her wisdom and faith.  

Looking forward to the next Mojito Night!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me"

I stormed out of the condo, leaving Marti behind heading to the Shrine to hear First Friday Mass. Got so fed up asking favors from Marti and only getting annoyed reactions and to think I was rushed to the office clinic earlier due to dizziness and vomiting! I haven't gotten so angry at Marti for so long since I've been working on my temper but my son is the one person who could really get on my nerves! 

All throughout the mass, I could barely concentrate, mumbling in my head the usual litany of self-pity whenever Marti does this to me:

" I do everything for him and the small things I ask of him, he would not even do. If he does, it would often be with an irritated face."
" What an ingrate."

I didn't want to go home yet and was looking for a place to reflect when I saw that the Adoration Chapel was still open so I proceeded there. Just wanted to sit and be quiet but almost unconsciously I took one of the many prayer leaflets by the door before entering. After kneeling and sitting on the floor, I started reading the prayer which I thought was one of the 7 Last Words but it turned out the title was "I Thirst For You" and suddenly I found myself crying. 

It was as if Christ was talking to me personally, uniquely, individually. But how could it be when this prayer was quite old and printed so many times over? I was feeling unappreciated when I came there and yet He was telling me that very moment through this prayer:

"Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have loved you---even in your wanderings. I know everyone of your problems. I know your needs, your fears, your worries. I hear your every whispered prayer---always, unfailingly."
"Do you long to be appreciated and cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine---to the point of leaving heaven for you, and of dying on a cross to make you Mine."
"No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake. Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved." 

As I went through the 8 pages, I began to realize the true meaning of unconditional love. Love that endures, that is relentless despite ingratitude and pain. Love that reminded me so much of my Mom who did everything for us without any complaints, even in our lack of appreciation. In all the things that I have changed in my life, trying to do everything for my son and the rest of my family just as my Mom did, I was still a long way from imitating her magnanimity and capacity for love.

I came home and prepared dinner quietly and when it was time to eat, I embraced Marti and he apologized. Funny that whether in times of hilarity or despair, Marti and I continue to learn from each other and hopefully for the better. What's even funnier was I just realized then that it wasn't First Friday at all! But I guess the Lord really called me to come and visit Him that day.

So henceforth, I wouldn't wait to be depressed or angry or desperate before I call on the Lord for as he declared:
"I stand at the door of your heart and knock...Open to Me, for I thirst for you..."

Note: The prayer "I Thirst For You" is copyrighted for the Missionaries of Charity Fathers.
         Check out their website here for the full prayer.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Your children are not your children

Just wanted to share this from the book I'm currently reading:

Love is Separateness

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but not seek them to be like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bow from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrow may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran,
  The Prophet

Funny how that line "You may strive to be like them, but not seek them to be like you" reminded me of my daily prayers for my son Marti that he grow up to be better than his parents. And I'm hoping that I'm actually doing good in raising him a much wiser and kinder person than I ever was when I was his age.

Would recommend reading this book, "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. It may be an old book but the wisdom you can take from its pages are so relevant today and eye-opening especially to us parents.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

My Rock Bottom Became My Launching Pad!

Was channel surfing the other day and came upon The Oprah Winfrey Show where Oprah was interviewing JK Rowling in Scotland. Half-way through the show, I found myself sobbing and crying as I learned about Jo's (as she is fondly called) struggles before becoming the first billionaire author of all time. I was crying because our lives had so many parallels, I thought she was telling me about my life right now and rather than talking about her past!

Don't mean to brag or, worse, sound delusional but couldn't help see the common points in both our lives:

I loved what she said about the turning point in her life,
"My rock bottom became my solid foundation..."

But I had to rephrase that in a way that reflects my life now:
"My rock bottom became my LAUNCHING PAD!"

You see the person I am now vaguely resembles the person I was known since birth until last year. I was known to be pampered, lazy, physically weak, temperamental; probably it is best summed up as BRAT. To give you an idea this was what used to be my daily routine:
7:15 a.m. Wake up, take a bath, dress up for work
8:20 a.m. Drive to work
8:40-9:00 a.m. Arrive at work usually late, praying that I arrive ahead of my boss
5:30 p.m. Leave work
6:00 p.m. Arrive home watch TV or play PC games while waiting for dinner
7:30 p.m. Dinner with Marti
8:00 p.m. Wash up, watch more TV or more web surfing
12:00 a.m. Go to sleep
That's what I do on weekdays; imagine how much more idle I was on the weekends!

But last year, I hit rock bottom. The mounting tension between me and my Dad was becoming unbearable. At my sister's hospital room while she was on labor in April 2010, my Dad tried to strangle me in a heated argument about him always taking the side of his sisters and his mistresses over my sister and I. If it wasn't for my Uncle (my Mom's brother), it would have been a close call. He declared right there and then that he was abandoning us, particularly my son and I whom he promised to always take care of with me being a single parent. He knew it was the worse thing he could do to us since Marti and I had no one to financially depend on but him and he used that to hurt me in the worst possible way. I almost got convinced that it was the end of everything and I decided to leave everything behind; even my son who solely depended on me.

One evening, I sent a farewell letter/ semi-last will addressed to my sister and faxed it to my brother-in-law's office since they didn't have internet access. I bought a ticket and was already on a provincial bus heading north when God kept tugging at my heart, showing me images in my mind of my son when he was a baby. After the last call, I ran out of the bus as fast as I could ---God's working hand No.1.

But I couldn't go home so I asked permission from my boss' daughter, Mrs. Moras if I could stay at the office overnight as I was heading somewhere early morning. I think Mrs. Moras sensed my anxiety and offered me to stay in her house in Bel-Air and if I wanted to talk. I broke down in tears, feeling love from a person who was not even a relative---God's working hand No. 2

I politely declined, sincerely thanked her and spent the night at the office. At 4:00 a.m., I realized my car hasn't been picked up by my brother-in-law as I instructed in my farewell letter so I had to bring it home. I waited until 7:30 a.m. calculating the time, making sure I'd be there when Marti and my Dad left for school and for work. To my surprise, Marti stayed home and hugged me, begging me to stay---God's working hand No. 3

Was intent on leaving, despite Marti's pleas because I was thinking he'd be better taken cared of by my Sister and his Papa who are both financially capable. When my Dad leaves, I cannot risk dragging Marti with me to homelessness and bankruptcy. I tried to appear stern and quiet and ignored the phone calls and text messages from my Sister, my friends, my Ninang Joy from the States, my Uncle but the last text message I accidentally read came from someone I least expected: it was from Mrs. Peña, my boss' 80 year-old wife and to this day I have not erased that message from my phone that changed my life forever:
"M in bed still sick hv just read ur letter that JNP (my boss' initials) brought home. Sad not to hv noticed ur state of mind and offer u my shoulders to cry on but m offering them to you now everyone has problems n if u cannot find the silver lining look around u n see that u r not alone and that others r even worse off so cheer up n shove your troubles away if I were to tell u mine u would be shocked. take a few days n if u want to talk call me n we can hv lunch. take care now n b happy lv COP (her initials)"
And then I broke down. Apparently, the draft of my farewell letter ended up in the inbox of our office e-mail so my boss ended up reading it! What's even more funny, my brother-in-law left his office early the previous day so he never got the letter! My Sister only found out I was gone when Marti called her the following morning --- God's working hand No. 4

It was then that I literally and absolutely felt God's hand working in my life. He would not allow me to throw everything away because all this time "everything" was according to His plan and it was His turn to take over.

The first person I called was not my Sister, not my friends and none of my relatives. It was Mrs. Peña and I heard the overwhelming and sincere relief in her voice when she heard me on the other line. The next day when she invited me over for lunch and a heart-to-heart talk, Mrs. Peña gave me the words that became the fuel to my launching pad:
"To hell with everybody, it's you that is important!"
She told me that if you don't take care of yourself, nobody else will and besides who would take care of the people you care for so much like your son, your sister, your new nephew, among many others?

So with those words, I slowly changed and improved my life starting with my daily routine. The impact on just utilizing time was so great that it had a domino effect in the many changes in my life! I realized that if I wasn't so lazy, I had so much spare time I could use to develop my skills, improve my personality, and even earn additional income! And most of all, there is so much more I could do to find time and serve the Lord! So now this has been my daily routine for almost a year now:

5:15 a.m. Wake up, take a bath
5:45 a.m. Dress up, put on make up for work
6:30 a.m. Kiss Marti before he leaves, Leave condo, commute via tricycle
and jeep going to work
7:00 a.m. Arrive at office, eat breakfast while checking e-mail and
updating Facebook page of millicentmelissa (our handmade
accessories business), or work at oDesk (virtual assistant job),
buy or sell or review stock investment in Citisec online
8:15 a.m. Finish web surfing or oDesk job, start organizing office work
8:30 a.m. Office work starts
12:00 nn Lunch break (usually skip eating since I ate heavy breakfast), update
posts in earning blogs, review/ research on internet and social
network marketing lessons.
1:30 p.m. Back to office work
5:00 p.m. Leave office, go straight home or buy groceries for dinner or proceed
to Single Parents Care group (on Mondays) or fetch Marti then off to
Makati Feast (on Thursdays)
5:30 p.m. Arrive home and cook dinner while talking to Marti about our day
7:00 p.m. Dinner with Marti or Makati Feast or Single Parents Care group
8:00 p.m. Start oDesk job
9:00 p.m. Novena to God's Love prayer with Marti then back to oDesk
11:00 p.m. Finish oDesk then read book or crochet to unwind
11:30 p.m. Go to sleep.

So it's never too late to change for the better. I know because I went through it! But my Friend, I pray that you don't have to reach rock bottom before you find your launching pad. But even if you do, just trust God that there's nowhere else to go but up and He would always be there to make sure that your fueled enough to reach your star!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Manna Stories

In want of a good read, I went through my mini (more of micro-mini) library and decided to re-read all of my Bo Sanchez books starting with Simplify and Create Abundance.

I was in the part about the manna stories and suddenly realized that ever since I renewed my relationship with God with the help of the Makati Feast that my life is actually full of manna stories, more now that I am in the desert of my life: sole breadwinner and no one to depend on after years of support from my parents and relatives. 

Just a few weeks ago prior to the opening of classes, Marti and I went to the mall to buy school shoes, the only item missing from our list for school stuff. Checking my savings account I had P2,000.00 left. Wow. And payday was one week away! Bravely, I withdrew P1,000.00 and whispered a prayer to leave us enough for dinner and taxi fare. Guess what. The only shoes that would fit Marti cost P700.00! That night we went home with only P100.00 in my wallet, just enough for my fare going to work the following day. Marti saw the worried look on my face again and tried to comfort me saying, "don't worry Mom, God will provide!" I tried to smile because the worst thing I want Marti to feel is my panic and although he was trying to console me,  I saw a tinge of worry in his face too. Growing up, I experienced the same thing from my Mom and I dreaded seeing her worry so my sister and I grew up not asking for anything even when our family finances improved very well starting our high school years.

Following day Friday, I went to work almost in tears, desperately asking God for a miracle that day. Soon as I arrived the office, I posted in Facebook that I was praying for a miracle and several Makati Feasters offered consolation and prayers. Was so touched that they didn't even know what it was I needed and yet they were there helping! Moments later, the miracle arrived via e-mail and barely 2 hours from asking for it: 

Apparently, I earned a commission from promoting my internet mentor Jomar Hilario's seminars. An American visited one of my blogs and joined Jomar's Online Mentoring Club from within my site! As I told Marti about the story, he converted the commission less the taxes and told me that I would be getting roughly P900.00---same amount I spent last night on his shoes and for dinner. Yep, that's manna alright!

So the Lord has proven yet again that "You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it."---Matthew 21:22.

And once again, the Lord has shown me that He is busily although stealthily working His plans in my life and as long as I put my entire trust in Him, He will remain faithful to His promises.

So what's your manna story?


My title picture reminded me of the first story I had originally wanted to blog about manna stories!

It goes like this: on my 2nd day as a commuter---my car was being overhauled prior to finally selling it---I was counting my fare and realized that it was lacking P1.00 for my tricycle-jeepney-tricycle ride to work! So I had to borrow some coins from my Grace To Be Born piggy bank and headed out the door. I hopped on to a jeepney bound for Libertad and since I was the only passenger, I had to slid nearer to the driver to pay the fare. As I came near the driver, I saw something shiny on the seat: it was a P1.00 coin! Was smiling throughout the ride, feeling God's generosity in that single coin and later that night, this story was what I shared in the warm-up segment of the Makati Feast where the emcee asked us to share "what made you smile today?".

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When God Speaks, It's Rarely A Whisper!

Ok, this post has been long overdue. I've been writing it for almost 2 weeks and after several paragraphs, I had to scratch the entire thing! Much like the inspiring talk of our Feast Builder, Brother Randy Borromeo at the first-ever Makati Feast Sunday held last May 29, 2011 at the Makati Cinema Square.

As Bro. Randy narrated, he had been preparing his talk, "Ready, Set, Grow" (hope I got the title right) for 3 weeks and yet in the middle of it, he decided to throw away his script. He said "this is isn't working" and put aside the papers in his hand. I think I know what he meant. There was this heavy silence in the room which is so unlikely of our Feast gatherings. I thought I heard a tinge of disappointment in Bro. Randy's voice but it wasn't after all. Because when Bro. Randy raised his hand and claimed that there was someone in the audience desperately in need of healing and that his prayer was so powerful, Bro. Randy had to put aside his script, we were witnessing the true meaning of TOTAL SURRENDER to God's will! Literally, "Let go and let God"!

When Bro. Randy asked those people who needed healing because of the hopeless and terminal illness they were diagnosed with to stand up, several people stood up from our row and Marti and I prayed hard with the rest of the Feasters. I felt a little guilty again for despairing due to our financial difficulties when these brothers and sisters were experiencing far worse problems than we had. 

Suddenly Bro. Randy said, "there is someone here who has been ill in the stomach for so long. God wants you to know that there is hope and I want you to stand up and receive healing!" Marti looked at me with amazement, as I stood up, holding his hand and saying "Oh my God!"  It felt like I was splashed with a pail of cold water! I've lived with my digestive problems---IBS---for so long, I thought of it as not an illness anymore but something I just had to live with for the rest of my life! Until God called me out on that day...that Sunday that will stay in my memory for as long as I live! 

Brother Michael Angelo Lobrin put it best when he said, "I bow before your Majesty, o Lord!" With tears flooding, I was humbled again by the power of God's love. The Lord made me realize that He doesn't give up even when we give up!

So remember, when you think everything in your life seem hopeless, trust in the Lord because He will never ever lose faith in You!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Riding in Cars...with God
Woke up Sunday morning, almost dragging my feet to the bathroom to get ready for Sunday mass.

I was a little anxious again, seeing the mounting bills on my computer desk. Just the day before, the salary loan I got was almost depleted in an instant just for Marti's books, school supplies and uniform. Thinking back, his books and supplies cost as much as my high school tuition back in 1992! And by next week I would be needing another P10,000.00 to pay for household bills alone.

Felt a little ashamed of my anxiety, having thanked the Lord just a few weeks back that I am now paying all of the bills and not just my own. That was the first wish I crossed out from my Novena to God's Love: to become financially independent. I was independent alright, I am now the only breadwinner of our family when my Dad got remarried in December 2010 and moved out. What I should have wished for was to become "financially abundant" so that I wouldn't be a nerve-wreck every time a bill is delivered to my door!

Was close to tears again, asking the Lord what else did He want from me. Through the Makati Feast I learned to completely trust in the Lord. I felt my life~ actually my entire being~ transformed by the Feast in so many ways:

  • Depend on The Heavenly Father instead of my earthly father? Done! Everyday I hold God to His promise: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26)
  • Become more generous through the practice of tithing? Done!
  • Become financially independent by increasing my earning capacity? Done! Aside from my day job as the Executive Secretary to the Consul General, I took up internet marketing and virtual assistant workshops from Jomar Hilario so now I manage 12 earning blogs, put-up a promising handmade accessories business and recently became a virtual assistant, earning part-time in dollars.
So WHAT, WHAT, WHAT else is there left to do to gain financial abundance?!!

I was becoming exasperated...

Then, in my sanctuary~in our condo that would be the bathroom~ I saw the free May 2011 issue of Kerygma I got from the Feast and from its pages God's answer suddenly hit me like a lightning bolt! As soon as I opened it, this was the passage I saw:
God calls you to be the driver.
God wants you to hold the steering wheel of life
Okay, I might be taking this literally but it suddenly dawned on me that I may have improved so many aspects of my life but I haven't changed at all as a driver!

Filipino drivers are one of the worst in the world but I tell you I'm up there in the list of the worst!
- Never observed speed limits
- Cussed at every bus, jeepney, tricycle, motorcycle drivers I encounter. Even told myself that if I ever become a serial killer (that probably comes from watching too many episodes of CSI and Criminal Minds), I would mow down those pesky motorcyclists who think the 1-foot gap between vehicles is their designated lanes!
- Yellow-blind when it comes to traffic lights
- "There is no law against swerving" is my mantra
Okay, okay...when God makes a point, He really does and most of the time with an exclamation point!


Hahahaha...just kidding! Will choose the first one to help me a lot in my transformation as a better Christian.

So when you're down, always find time to talk to the Lord because rest assured He is there listening and if you open your eyes and your heart, you might instantly get an answer!

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Best Mothers' Day So far

May 8, 2011 was the Mothers' Day I will never forget.

The day started out as bleak. Short in cash for the past few weeks, anxiety was eating me up so I had to pawn my gold dangling earrings for us to have enough for groceries and bill payments for the week. I know it's just jewelry but my heart was breaking because it was the first set I bought for myself, a gift for finally getting the high salary grade I deserve. Pawning it gave me a feeling of defeat and desperation.

I was almost in tears on our way to Sunday mass at the the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart when Marti tried to cheer me up saying, "Don't worry, Mom, God will replace your earrings with diamonds!" My son's faith and hope almost made me smile. I'm proud that I was able to raise him that way.

Inside the church, it wasn't fully-packed as we were attending the lunch-time mass and we had a full 30 minutes to wait. I was admiring how beautiful this church is and saw the Marriage Banns on the LCD screen when I told Marti that when I get married, I'd want to get married here at the Shrine. He asked if I was sure even if the aisle wasn't that long---he remembered our conversation about the Royal Wedding---and I told him that it was okay, what's important was what the church meant to me.

I suddenly remembered that we've been going to the Shrine for the past 7 years and my first experience here wasn't a good one. Our first Christmas eve mass there, I was approached by one of the usherettes and asked if I could be the wine bearer during the Offertory and I gladly accepted. But when the usherette asked where my husband was and I told her that I wasn't married, she hurriedly took back the offer---without even apologizing. It was one of the rare moments I was discriminated against for being a single mother. And it was Christmas eve on top of that.

Nevertheless, it was here that made my relationship with God more profound than ever, even compared to my Catholic-school days. It was where I went to mass more than once a week, heard confession monthly, where I got inspired to join a weekly prayer meeting at the Makati Feast and where my son and I became closer amidst his academic and our personal problems. I thanked the Lord for bringing us to San Antonio Village and making the Shrine our refuge.

In between my silent prayer, an usherette came to our side and asked if me and my son would agree to be the bread and wine bearers for the Offertory. I had to ask the lady twice considering my previous experience, even told her I wasn't married and she replied, "it's okay ma'am, we'd like to ask you and your son to be the offerers for this mass since it's Mothers' Day."


I looked at the image of the Sacred Heart and He was smiling down at me! I had to fight down the giggle from the surprise that He gave me on that very day. And as Marti and I walked down the aisle, bearing the wine and communion wafers, he whispered to me, "So how do you like Jesus' Mothers Day gift to you, Mom?"

I couldn't ask for anything more!

So Happy Mothers' Day to all the Moms and remember that no matter how desperate and hopeless your day is, have faith that the Lord is watching and is about to give you your best day yet!

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