Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Two Rafaels

Tonight was date night for Boydee and I. We had a tremendously early dinner (5:30pm) at UCC in The Clubhouse, in White Plains. I had Sumiyaki Eel and Mushroom Spaghetti, Boydee had Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti and Shrimp in Tomato Cream Sauce. The latter was yummier than the former but what really caught us by surprise was the petite serving size! For my order which cost P419, the spaghetti hardly even reached a 100 grams! We could've eaten in Teriyaki Boy and paid half our bill and left with fuller stomachs. This branch of UCC was a disappointment. Nevertheless, because of its location, we may still end up coming back here. Hehe... Despite the let down, it didn't spoil our mood. I savor the chance to be just with Boydee and talk about lighter things in life - not work, not problems, just unimportant things. Then we took a stroll in next door Santi's and Rustan's Fresh Supermarket.

We came home with Bric at the dinner table already in his red pajamas and still in a 'newly awakened' mood. He was seated in his stroller beside Lolo Boy. Our baby motioned for us to carry him in my arms but I had to pee so Daddy Boydee whisked him off of his stroller. When I came back, Bricky reached out towards me. I carried him downstairs to our room. It was just me, Boydee and our baby Bric. We all three lay in bed, Bric occasionally moving about, but mostly drowsy. Boydee dozed off to sleep. Eventually, Bric went on light sleep mode, but couldn't quite get the position he wanted so he moved about, stirring this way and that, wiggling, scratching his head, moving his hands. Eventually, I took him in my arms and sat on our chair and lullabied him to sleep.

There is nothing more precious than cradling your baby in your arms while he dozes off to sleep. Just staring at his innocent face, eyes closed, interrupted by his mild snores, and his eyes holding on to yours while he is asleep is an experience, a moment that I'd always hold special. It's a sure heart-warmer.

I thank the Lord for the times I get to spend with my 2 Rafaels, whether separately or especially together. There's also a different warmth and kick at watching Boydee and Bric play together. Ahhh... to be surrounded with so much love and be gifted with 2 angels! What more can an ordinary wife and mother ask for?

The Coming of the Relics

The pilgrim relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus is coming on January 15-March 13 and her first stop will be the Shrine. We're part of the Steering Committee although Boydee and I were only able to sit in this late in the planning because we were in the US for a month. Thanks to Japa for filling in for us and representing MVC with Mario and Allan.

As the day draws near, we are cramming to do what else needs to be done. For one, the merchandising opportunity had been overlooked so today, we met with Nora and Elma to discuss what souvenir items we can sell so that the possible profit can at least defray what we are about to spend. We realize that it won't really cover our expenses but what little help we can give will go a long way. It's still better than nothing. We just hope we can sell all our items.

Tomorrow, we will meet with Father Ernie, vice rector of the Shrine, to suggest and discuss possible activities for the Shrine while St. Therese's relics are there. We want to at least be secure that a lot of people will visit her there. Brother Froilan Torres is helping us with the activities - from the conceptualization to the execution. We hope Fr. Ernie approves of our proposal.

TV and print ads are already in place with fliers and posters to follow.

We hope and pray her visit to the Philippines will be a success in the sense that a great number of people's faith will be renewed and rekindled. If even just one person will be inspired to do good things and affect others because of her visit here, then the trip will not have been in vain.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Realization

Had Christmas Mass at home at 10:30pm. While receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I thanked Him for choosing to come down on earth to be with us. He could've chosen to be born in a palace or even the lowly inn, but He chose to be born in a humbler place - a manger. He could've chosen to be born to a wealthy family, but he chose to be a carpenter's son. He could've chosen NOT to have been born here on earth at all because He knew what fate awaited Him. He knew the road was going to be rough; He knew He had to suffer and die for us, and yet, even if He could've just passed on the cup, He took it because of His great love for us. He knew the outcome and yet He still went on His mission.

I realized in life, it isn't the destination that matters most of the time, but the path towards it. In the past few days, I would be filled with questions and would feel sorry for myself and for our baby because of the fate that awaits him. I couldn't understand why I had to carry him if he were not to survive anyway. Why did God have to let me go through this pregnancy for nothing? Why did our baby have to be formed if he would say goodbye so soon? Why endure this 'waiting' when we know the outcome already?

Tonight, my questions may not have found answers but I have taken on a different mindset. Jesus knew He was going to be born, only to die for us. With his birth came the promise of a death so cruel and painful because it was His mission to fulfill. With my second pregnancy, although the choice of having to be pregnant with a 'dying' baby was not a choice we made, it is a fact that has been given to us. With River, we know that it will only be a matter of days or even hours before God will call him to heaven but it shouldn't mean that all is for naught. God has His reasons, and even if we can not find the answers right away, I will follow Jesus' example and embrace what God has chosen as my fate, as well as that of our baby's. Again, it isn't whether we reach our destination, but the path we take to reach it. I intend to reach the finish line, that of delivering River safely out of my womb and into heaven with his baptism, bravely, and in full surrender of God's will. I will try to conquer my doubts, my fears, my sadness and just lift all to God, trusting He will watch over us all.

Happy birthday Jesus! Thank You for Your example and for giving Yourself to us. May You find a peaceful home in our hearts as You come on earth to be with us.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Last Days Before Christmas

Two more days before Christmas... The gifts have been wrapped and ready for giving. Food to be served on the Eve and on the day have been planned, prepared, ordered, bought and some, ready for pick up tomorrow.

Today, we just spent an afternoon with the children ages 5-10 from Marytown, the squatters area behind the Gavinos' house. There were about 210 kids in all. What a riot! But it was fun. I miss those outreach activities we used to hold in Cebu. For the Zugbuanas, it was the Looc children which we celebrated Christmas with. Our SHS-G Alumnae would host lunch for the orphans of Don Bosco. My little foundation would spend an afternoon with the Busay kids complete with food, balloons and games. Of course, they didn't reach 200 but it was our little way of sharing the spirit of Christmas and giving back whatever blessings God has given us to the less fortunate.

When I have time, I'd like to choose a charity Boydee and I can help with - perhaps an orphanage or a center for children afflicted with cancer. Didn't have the time to scout around for one this year. But then again, we don't have to wait til Christmas to give, right? So, maybe after the holidays.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It'll be Bric's second Christmas. How fast time flies indeed. It only feels like yesterday when I held our little baby in our arms. Now, he's an 11kg baby!!!

As for our 2nd... Lately, I've been asking God why He gave me, He gave us, this painful reality of having to carry a baby (almost to full term) and not have our baby live. Each time I feel this baby in my womb move, I feel sad and helpless. It seems this littlest one is a fighter and yet, it really isn't in our hands what fate he has before him/her. More than the fear of the eventual delivery and the complications that may come with it, what pains me most is the outcome. River (that will be his name) wasn't even given a choice, nor the chance to fight it out. Just 5 months in my tummy and his fate had been sealed. How sad is that?!? And yet we can not question Him. There has got to be a reason. For now, the answer evades me.

This Christmas will be the first and the last our 2nd will spend with us. And he has no choice but to spend it inside me. For now, this is our complete family. Until our next baby or babies.

It's a happy/sad Christmas... but we always just have to look at the bright side. We just have to look beyond ourselves and focus on Jesus' birth. He came to earth to be with us, to save us, to guide us. That is more than we can ever be thankful for.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bric's Birthday Plans

I started planning early for what was to have been Bric's BIG birthday celebration. The concept was floating in my mind since September this year and I already had an excel file listing down props, the menu, loot bag concepts and food carts. It was to have been a beach-themed party - a summer party in the middle of December with beach balls lining the column walls, perhaps a sand bar or inflatable pools, loot bags consisting of a pail, shovel, groovy sunglasses and a beach towel, among others. Somewhere along the way, I got stuck and had second thoughts about the beach theme. It was going to be, after all, on a December day when perhaps the chilly wind would have found its way in. Summer in the midst of "winter" wasn't very apt. So, the brainstorming stopped and the concept was temporarily shelved. I was taking my time waiting for inspiration to hit me again.

Except that it wasn't inspiration that hit me, hit us. It was the sad news of our 2nd baby. Then we had to fly to the States. With only less than a week to prepare for Bric's birthday, I visited Blimpworks for a possible set up for a simple gathering here in La Vista. Helen of Blimpworks was very accommodating and I got excited when I saw their catalog for a 'jungle/circus' theme and a unicyclist/juggler for entertainment. With that, I wanted to move the celebration to the 16th so more kids could join. On the other hand, Boydee and I were amenable to having a 'simple' celebration.

When I got home, I told Boydee the concept. He was pretty practical about the whole thing and
expressed that perhaps by this time, Christmas parties would have been scheduled already, and if we were gonna do something half-baked, we might as well just go for the 'simple' celebration.

After a series of short discussions, we finally settled on having a just us dinner - meaning tayo tayo lang dinner with just the immediate family on both sides - Dizons and Uys - at a Chinese restaurant. We will, of course, bring Bric to Mass and have Father give him a birthday blessing.

So that's how Bric's 1st birthday will be spent. No lavish props nor hired entertainers. Just the family, and just Mass. But that's all that really matters. He will be surrounded by the people who truly love him, and blessed by the One who created him. It may not be a 'festive' birthday, but it will be a meaningful one.

To our beloved first born son, you have brought so much joy, energy, love and laughter in our lives. We can not thank God enough for the gift of your life in our lives. May God continue to bless you with good health and abundant love. May you grow up to be an intelligent, kind-hearted, handsome man who will serve God in the best way He wants you to serve Him. We love you, our little, smiling one.

Back to Reality

After a month in the States, we're now back home. After a series of check ups and consultations, after a pocket vacation with Rondic and Elizza with Mommy Shalene and Boydee in Virginia (Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown and Washington DC) with much thanks to Zendle and Patrick (sis and bil of Zhar) for welcoming us into their home with Tita Belle to take care of us, after a weekend trip to Las Vegas courtesy of Tita Belen at Mandalay with Mom, Roc, Randy and Stella, we are finally back in Manila.

Bric picked us up at the airport and at first, he didn't want to be carried in my arms. He would cry... And it literally tore my heart to pieces! Eventually, he warmed up and my heart was mended. I could finally hold our baby in my arms and kiss him all I wanted. He's now such a grown boy!!! He can sit up straight and crawl very fast! And my, what a noisy boy!!! He's very adamant when he wants something and would not settle until he gets it. Uh-oh, symptoms of a spoiled child? Hopefully not! Hehehe...

I just have to thank Ate Rona for taking good care of our baby while we were away and for keeping us updated with his developments through her blog which I read and re-read and checked almost daily whenever I could.

As for my pregnancy, well, our 2nd baby is still moving about in my womb. And there are times when explaining about our situation seems mechanical, just so we don't put too much emotions into an already painful plight. Fear and sadness still envelop me in my quiet moments but I am helpless to do anything. I wish I didn't have to carry our baby to full term, only to watch him slip away so soon, and for me to risk a caesarian operation again. I wish God would call our baby quietly and peacefully back into His kingdom with the slightest pain or suffering on our part. Of course, the most fervent prayer would be to have our baby survive and live a normal, healthy life. Nothing short of a miracle, but I don't want to hope and risk falling deeper into sadness. We've accepted our fate, and we've offered our baby to God. I just wish this in-between, middle state would be decided soon so life can go on and our baby will not have to suffer. And my heart wouldn't be soo torn for feeling sorry for our 2nd baby because he doesn't stand a chance on earth. I can't say sorry enough... although I know it isn't our fault. Tragedies strike sometimes. It just had to strike on us.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Boydee and I have felt at peace ever since we made the firm decision to keep our baby and continue with the pregnancy. And so far, we've been doing a great job in looking at the brighter side and cheering ourselves up despite our situation.

But there are lulls when thoughts turn to our baby and the tears silently flow. It is hard to look at this bump in my body with happy thoughts because we both know how it will turn out. I feel so sorry that I can't carry him nor hold him in my arms but I console myself and him that when the time comes, Mama Mary and the saints will cradle him in theirs. I'm sorry that he can't see our world, but that where he's going will be a much more beautiful and better place. I'm sorry we can not have the chance to watch him grow, or lavish him with attention or toys because he'll be taken away so soon.

Oh baby!!! I am so sorry for this but please know that you are loved. In fact, you must be very special, God wants you back with Him right away. He's only letting us borrow you for so short a time and here inside me.

I can feel our baby moving and kicking in my womb and I feel a certain kind of melancholy. This pregnancy can not be completely happy because of its outcome. It is a weird feeling to carry a living being, perhaps reaching even up to full term, and know that he will eventually be taken away after a few minutes. It's like you're supposed to move forward but you don't actually get anywhere. It's weird to be handling this pregnancy like any other normal one because the real motivation or purpose of doing so has disappeared.

Now, I take care of myself just so I'll have no or lesser complications when the time comes for me to deliver. I can not even use the term "give birth" because the life of my baby is so short lived. So, the excitement, the joy of progressing in this pregnancy is 'lost', and the essence has lessened.

I haven't really reached the point of self-pity, nor do I question God for giving us this painful cross to bear. I know despite all else, we are still so blessed. There are just times when I just wish things turned out differently, that things could've been better and we would have been gifted with a normal pregnancy, and a normal, healthy child.

But it isn't the case, and God has other plans for us. We just have to keep the faith, and trust in Him. I pray He take care of me and our baby. I ask the Lord to take him away peacefully and painlessly when He calls him back to heaven.

Friday, November 09, 2007


The next day, we were scheduled to visit Eve Surgical Center to check the facilities and talk with the doctors regarding procedure and experiences of Moms who have had to go through this. From there, we still had a few more days to decide but at least we knew our options. We set up an appointment and were on our way after a quick lunch.

Despite the GPS, and driving through the avenue two times, we couldn't find the place. We finally called and Sam, the girl I made the appointment with, got out of the gate to lead us the way. The clinic didn't even have a sign outside, just the number on the wall which was completely covered in ivy. Just the thought of going inside an 'abortion' clinic felt unsettling but we were there to 'explore' and for 'good and justifiable' reason.

Sam showed us in. She was Filipina, by the way, and I felt a little more comforted at having someone from back home there. She gave us some forms to fill up. The first two pages asked for my basic and medical information. The next few pages were 'agreements' detailing the procedure, the use of anaesthesia, and some sort of a waiver although it stated that complications arising from the procedure was very, very minimal. After scanning through the pages, I went back to Sam and told her I wasn't going to sign these yet because we were yet undecided. She said I had to sign it anyway to signify that I had read it. So, I went back to my seat to read it thoroughly since I had to put my signature on it.

While I was reading, Boydee had settled into a chair and started reading a magazine that was lying around. He found an article on Mother Teresa's letters to her confessors expressing her doubt on the existence of God because she's seen so much suffering in her life. One of those lines clearly said that she found abortion and youth addiction as condemnable. Boydee had me read those lines and said, "Love, I'm leaning more towards keeping the baby." I was half paying attention since I was reading.

As I was reading through those sheets, I came across a line that said that it was customary for them to euthanize the baby before they bring him out. I read that line to Boydee, too. As I tried to read more, I couldn't. My eyes were starting to fill with tears and I told Boydee I couldn't do it. He understood me completely and said, "Let's go! Let's get out of here."

We returned the forms, unsigned except for the registration, and told them we'd pass up. We didn't talk with the doctors anymore. There was no use for it.

Outside, I couldn't help but burst into tears. How could I have even considered 'harming' and even 'killing' our innocent baby? Sure, we know his fate, but how could we have been so selfish as to end it for him just because I might be at risk, just because he doesn't stand a chance? If he wasn't meant to live, it wasn't our decision to make.

After all the crying was done, we finally felt at peace. We were both convinced this was the right decision to make... that we were meant to continue with this pregnancy despite the expected and known outcome. It wasn't our decision to end our baby's life; it's God's alone. Who were we to intervene? God lent this baby to us and even if we can never hold him or watch him grow, I can feel him inside me. And he is alive. For now, my womb is the safest place for him and until the time God decides to call him back, this is where he'll stay... with me, with us, even for a temporary while.

Boydee and I are both convinced we had to go through this whole ordeal, including the thinking process of even considering abortion and visiting the clinic, so that we may come up with a decision that's truly ours, and something that we can be proud of and live with our whole lives. We had to go through it before He would show us the light, before the Holy Spirit would enlighten us. And He did. How great is it that He even showed us both the way at almost the same time through different mediums.

Whatever risks may come my way for choosing to keep this baby will far outweigh whatever pain we would've inflicted on our baby, and the damage to our souls. We trust that God won't allow me and my baby to suffer too much nor too long. We trust He will not abandon us. We are resigned to the fate of our baby, and we are relieved, glad and at peace with our decision.

Family and friends say, with good intentions, that perhaps God will perform a great miracle and our baby might live and be normal. While I believe in God's power and in His miracles, Boydee and I have psyched and readied ourselves with the eventuality of our baby's passing. But we also both realize that no amount of psyching will prepare us for that moment, nor soften the blow.

Not all of life is all joy, or happy endings. But that doesn't mean God isn't working His miracles. We have to accept what God gives us. There's always a reason for everything and God isn't the type who would leave us alone to fend for ourselves. Beyond all this grief and sad news, there will always be something better to come; something good that will come out of this. There's always a rainbow after every rain.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Longest Night

That night, Boydee and I had to face the looming question ahead. We were resigned to our baby's fate, having read about oligohydramnios and having talked to the doctors in Manila and here. We came here in the hope that the 'advancement' of the US might be able to offer us a solution but we knew in our hearts, our baby's future was bleak and we've surrendered that to the Lord.

We also knew we would have to face the option of 'therapeutic abortion' although I prayed we wouldn't have to face it. But the question was right in front of us, and time was ticking. We had 6 days to determine if we'd play a role in our child's fate.

It was clear to Boydee now that if the choice were between our baby and my safety, hands down, he'd choose me. That was my Mom's stand also. Given the risks, we were inclined to take the 'fastest' and 'safest' way out. I mean, why prolong the agony. I wasn't quite convinced of it although I could find more reasons to justify doing it. In my heart of hearts though, I wasn't sure I would be able to commit that sin.

In our Catholic faith, things are put in black and white. Not much grey. I realized that night that there are greys and that you can't judge a person for doing a 'black' action without knowing the real reason for it. If we went through this abortion, would it really be a grave sin, knowing our baby was going to pass anyway? Is keeping the baby who eventually won't live, worth the risks on my life? Why wait for our baby to suffer?

Boydee and I researched on the internet for articles on Catholic faith and abortion. While most articles clearly states abortion as sin, I found an article that was written by a mother who had just gone through almost the same thing. We also consulted with our mothers. While both of them were not for abortion, they were also after my safety and were supportive of what we would eventually decide on.

Boydee and I cried our way to sleep. What a difficult choice to make!!! What did God want us to do? If He hadn't meant for us to take this option, why make it so easy for us - the trip of coming, the gestational age of our pregnancy, the people who were so nice and helpful? And if this was a test, how did He want us to pass it? Believe me, all logic were leading towards going through the abortion but something was holding us back.

Our Future Angel

The past two days since Boydee and I arrived were all visits to doctors, hospitals and check ups.

The day after we arrived (Nov 6), we went to my OB-GYNE, Dr. Artenos, where Roc had made an appointment for us. When he looked at my ultrasound, he was dumbfounded. He said "Uh-oh! This is very, very bad! You have no fluid at all! I don't know how you managed to fly all the way here." He said our best bet was to go to USC County because if he admitted us in Glendale Adventist, it would cost us hundred and hundreds of dollars and he still wouldn't be sure of our baby's fate. There, they would be able to give us the best care for me and the baby because they have all the experts there.

So, Boydee and I went to LAC+USC Women's and Children's Medical Hospital right after our visit, hopeful they might be able to give us definite answers as to what was really wrong, and how best to save the baby. When we went there, I was subjected to further ultrasound scans. I had three ultrasounds that day, but still same findings but no definite answers nor solutions. We were asked to go back the next day where the Genetics Director in the OB Department would do the tests and give her diagnosis.

The next day saw us staying in the hospital the whole day, mostly waiting for our turn with the Doctors. But at least, we got our answers. Dr. Giuliana Songster, head of Genetics Clinic, conclusively said that there is a problem with the baby's kidneys. It was not passing urine and by this time, I had absolutely no water in my uterus. The baby is surviving only because of me. On his own, he can not survive especially since at this stage, he would need the fluid for the crucial development of the lungs. To be without water for a known two weeks was already damaging to his development. Moreover, to be without water this early, there wasn't much intervention they could do because our baby was just developing. We asked about amnio infusion - putting water in me to at least give our baby time to develop, or steroid injection - to hasten development of the lungs, but the doctors all said that our baby was just too young and too small.

The options offered to us were: to continue with the pregnancy, meaning wait it out, or terminate the pregnancy. We asked if the baby had a chance at all of surviving. She said hardly any at all. We asked if she's ever handled cases like this. She said, yes and not one survived. Continuing with the pregnancy posed risks for me - diabetes, hypertension, a possible caesarian operation again, and all for a known outcome that's not happy. Given those facts, we were leaning towards the second option. They said it was safe and the most logical thing to do. They said that if there was the slightest chance our baby would survive, they wouldn't even suggest this, but that realistically and medically speaking, a few hours of life would be the longest that our baby could spend, IF ever he would still be alive by full term.

If we opted for the latter, we only had a window of 6 days to decide since the hospital only performs that procedure for mothers who are a maximum of 23 1/2 weeks pregnant. They asked if we wanted to talk more extensively about the process. We said yes.

We were endorsed to Dr. Ronna Jurrow, who explained the procedures to us and the options as to where we may have the 'termination' procedure done. She suggested Eve's Surgical Center, or their own hospital and assured us that she'll personally make sure we will be well taken care of.

The Doctors at USC County were very humane despite the sad news. We truly admire and commend them for really taking time to explain and show that they care. Dr. Songster was especially sympathetic and consoling. So were Dr. Ishimaru and Dr. Phatak. They've put concern and 'humane-ness' in their profession. There should be more doctors like them.

On our way home, we were faced with a BIG decision to make. But one thing was definite. Our baby won't be staying long with us. We don't know if he/she would've been a son or a daughter; or what life he would have made for himself because he wouldn't be alive long enough to live it. What we do know for sure is he/she will be a future angel. As to when, we would have to think about it that night and in the next few days.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Off We Go

Tomorrow, off we go to the US to find more answers, to know the fate of our 2nd baby, to venture into an uncertainty. Here, we leave behind our son, Bric, in the care of family and his yaya Mila. Boydee and I take with us our faith, our families' love and prayers and each others' love and courage. We pray for His guidance and His unwavering and constant love and trust whatever is in store for us is with His blessing and is His divine will.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Third Anniversary

Today, Boydee and I 'celebrated' our 3rd wedding anniversary. Yup, it's been three years but the love remains just as strong, even stronger as when we made our vows before God and our loved ones.

We celebrated a few days early by spending an overnight at Edsa Shang, thanks to Mommy Nonie and Dhia Louie. Then, today, we heard mass to thank God for putting us together and choosing us for each other.

Today, though, was coupled with such anguishing news that our celebration was dampened. We had a repeat ultrasound for baby number 2 this morning. It revealed that there was no improvement from the last ultrasound, meaning, my water therapy didn't work. The kidneys and bladder weren't visually clear based on the scan because again, there was too little fluid. This suggested that the cause of the oligohydramnios is most likely a congenital defect on the part of the baby. With that, and the fact that I could see him so clearly in the scan moving around and with a normal heartbeat literally tore my heart to pieces. And I am helpless. We are helpless.

In the same way that it was not anybody's fault that I lost most of my amniotic fluid, there is also not much we can do to have prevented it from happening, and not much we can do to 'save' the baby, for now. We were advised to go to the US because there, the baby might have a fighting chance of survival, if his organs are not in that bad of a shape. First step will be a diagnosis to conclusively determine the cause of the oligohydramnios. From then, we will decide what steps to take. I continuously pray that God will lead us to make the right choices.

Just as it is only God who can create life, only He alone can take a life, and more importantly, in this situation, save a life. No matter how much education, riches, sphere of influence we acquire in our world, we are still helpless and powerless when it comes to life and death. That power alone lies in God.

So, really, no matter who we are, what we've achieved, we can never be independent enough to live without Him. We aren't the masters of our destinies; God is. We can only bow to His will. We can only trust that He wants what is best for us. We will just have to learn to "enjoy" the ride, have faith, and be ready to deal with whatever blows are sent our way.

Today, Boydee and I dealt with one big blow - that of facing the uncertainty of our 2nd baby's fate. But as we memorialize our 3rd anniversary of love, I am grateful that God gave Boydee as my partner in facing this tough journey ahead. So, yes, we may be feeling really down now, but God always reminds me, through today, that there will always be countless more blessings He has given me. Perhaps, He will grant us a great miracle. Or perhaps not. Regardless, we submit to His will, and we thank Him for our faith. Without it, I would definitely lose my sanity.

For now, I place everything in His Hands. All in Your hands, Lord.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Looong Day...

Yesterday was Doctors day for me and our 2nd baby in the morning and for Bric in the afternoon. Much as I am very, very grateful to Doctors; visiting them is a bit stressful. Not only is the waiting time long, you also know that you're going there because something is wrong. I am just so glad that I have a very supportive, loving and strong husband with me.

The morning saw us going to Dr. Ma. Estrella Yu-Flores, a perinatologist in Capitol Medical Center with my ob-gyne, Dr. Mitch, who went out of her way to accompany us. Dr. Flores was very motherly and seemed to know what she was talking about it. Although we pretty much knew what was happening already through research in the internet, it still helped that an expert was talking to us up front. But what she gave us that was most important was hope. She said an amniotic level of 2cm based on SPV (single pocket value?) is borderline low but still acceptable for her, meaning there is still a chance the baby will survive. She advised me to drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day and lots of rest. We will do a repeat ultrasound on Tuesday to find out if my water increases enough for us to do a congenital anomaly scan. From there, we can determine whether our baby's kidneys are functioning or whether there is an obstruction in the ureter. If it is discovered that it is a congenital defect that's causing the oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid), then we wait til our baby surrenders. If not, we do careful monitoring until I reach my 7th month. Then see, if I can reach 9 months so that we can bring baby out.

I have surrendered our 2nd baby to God to do as He pleases. We will do all means possible to save him/her but if it is not meant to be, or if he will just suffer and not live a normal life, then we pray that God take him peacefully and without suffering. I know God has His reasons. Lord, our baby is all yours. Just guide us as to what decisions to take.

In the afternoon was Bric's doctor time. He was having diarrhea last Thursday, vomitting on Friday, rashes on Friday night and had no appetite. His weight dropped from 11.5kg to 10kg in a span of 3 days. It was very alarming. Tita Doc Jamie Agbayani asked for a stool exam to find out what's causing the diarrhea. If it was viral, it should go away in 3 days and he should be well in 5 days. If it was bacterial, then a more complicated treatment would be required than just hydrite and a lugaw-apples-banana latundan diet.

At 5:15pm, we tried to feed him supper and hydrite. He covered his mouth with his hand and wouldn't open his mouth. If we forced the lugaw in, he would spit it out. If I were more transparent, I would have been so hysterical. Why wasn't my baby eating???

Manang Linda suggested to have him "patawas" (not sure what the english translation of this word is - it's kinda related to quackery). We called Randy Kalbo whose neighbor was a 'mangtatawas'. He said Bric had a sprain on his hip and needed to be massaged. We asked him to come. Right after the call, Bric's appetite came back, and after his 'hilot', he went about sleeping so soundly. This morning, he's feeling better and his appetite's improving. I believe he's on the road to recovery. We also had his stool exam last night and it suggested a viral infection which means it should go away after 3 days which was yesterday. Is it science or quackery that healed him? Regardless, I am grateful that our baby is getting better.

All throughout these two ordeals, my heart has sunk many times and sometimes, I do not know what to think, what to pray for. I only lift everything to God and trust He will never leave us alone. I am also very thankful that I have so much love surrounding us - Boydee and I - through our families. We are consoled that our prayers are multiplied many times because our families and friends are praying for us. They cushion whatever blows come our way.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Boydee and I just came from what was supposed to be a routinary 5-month Congenital anomaly scan of the baby and to finally determine the gender. Last night, I prayed for a normal, healthy, strong baby girl and on the way, I prayed the novena to St. Therese. I asked God for a daughter, this time around. But perhaps, I should've prayed harder for a normal, complication-less pregnancy and delivery.

The whole pregnancy was too fuss-free. Too fuss-free, in fact, that there were times I'd get paranoid. So I was kinda anxious to have my ultrasound today to check if everything was 'normal'. Little prepared us for what we were about to find out. But we took it all in stride. We know God is still watching over us, despite the circumstances.

The sonologist, Dr. Alexandra Cruz found out that I had very little, hardly any, amniotic fluid in my uterus. This early in the pregnancy signals a bad sign. While the normal level would be at 12 cm, mine was at 2 cm. That is really, really low and really, really grim. Boydee and I were stumped. Literally. I felt dazed out, as if this wasn't really happening. I mean, I couldn't and didn't even feel any pain, or any abnormalities all through out this pregnancy.

Possible causes of this rare occurrence are: hypertension, diabetes, placental problem, leakage (all ruled out), and most likely a congenital defect of the baby. It is suspected that our baby's kidneys didn't develop properly. At this stage in pregnancy, our baby is supposed to help in the supply of water. Find out more in this link.

As of now, externally, our baby is growing normally and his/her heartbeat is normal. We don't know how long she'll be okay given this situation. We will be seeing a perinatologist with our ob, Dr. Mitch Dado tomorrow.

For now, we pray God will see us through this ordeal, however way He wills it. We trust everything happens with His divine knowledge; we know He is with us all the way.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meaner Than Usual

Is it hormones or pregnancy per se, or is this my baby's future feistiness manifesting itself through me? Throughout this second pregnancy, I am meaner than usual. Miss Sungit, in other words.

Just today, I felt like 'making parinig' this robust girl in the elevator who was standing right in the middle and not budging even when she saw that there were a lot more of us wanting to get in. I was almost this close to saying aloud to our staff, 'There's still space for one more (to Nelson who opted to just stay behind and wait for the next lift) but there are people here who don't want to move in." Of course, I stopped myself.

The 2nd instance was at Mercury Drug when this fat girl occupied so much space at the counter even when we were already there leaning on it. She just shoved herself in. I stepped back and tapped my fingers impatiently on the counter, feeling helpless but so wanting to make her sungit. I found my chance when I had to sign for my credit card bill. I intentionally expanded my elbow so that it seemed as if I was 'innocently' nudging her. Naturally, she moved. Hehehe...

And then, my conscience got the better of me and my guilt sinks in. Sigh... Why am I meaner this time? Waaahhhh :( I hope this doesn't mean our 2nd baby will be sungit too. Oh God forbid!!!

Looking back, I kinda think I was a sungit kid when I was much much younger, when I didn't know the value of friendship and pakisama. Being an only daughter with two brothers who got along with each other so well made me sort of a loner. But in the latter part of grade school, I realized through friends how the world could be so much better if you shared a part of your life with others. So, the Miss Congeniality in me started to blossom.

Perhaps it is ok to be sungit sometimes. As Ate Rona said, "You're pregnant! You have the most convenient excuse to be mean!" Hehehe... That said, I feel slightly better but the Dr. Jekyll in me still, thankfully, manages to win over Ms. Hyde.

Pregnant or not, excess of hormones or the lack of it, there will always be a constant struggle to be nice or to be rude, to be sweet or to be feisty, to be good or to be mean. It is our call, our inner conscience, self control and maturity that will determine what choice we take at every chance encounter we face.

In the end, if one wants to earn merits in heaven, we will always choose the harder way which is the way to goodness. Given that, there are gazillions of opportunities to earn our merits in heaven with each new day that presents itself. We just have to listen to our conscience most times.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Baby

It is so hard to picture Bric without a smile on his face. It is so easy to make the corners of his mouth curl into a smile or a giggle. I love my baby boy!!!

When Bric is asleep on our bed, I sometimes lie down beside him and just watch him. I can not help but thank God for this beautiful gift. Only He could have thought of making Bric the way he is - such a happy, smiling, adorable, cute baby! When I look at him, I wonder how this wonderful creature ever came out from me. I don't consider him mine, or Boydee's alone. I know he is God's son, no one else's. God made him. And I am just so thankful He entrusted this smiling baby to us.

When I was pregnant with Bric, I asked God for specifics. Now, on my second pregnancy, I still dwell on specifics but the details I leave up to Him. I know whatever I ask for, He can think of something better. I just really pray He'll grant us a baby girl this time. And perhaps, after I give birth to this one, I will give my body a rest, and devote my time taking care of my 2 babies who grow up sooo fast!

I hope our 2nd baby will be just as smiling as Bricky Boy!!!

ps Bric's upper tooth is showing!!! It's gonna come out soon!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thoughts on Turning 33

Nothing much.... Hehe.... Really. As the years go by, I become less and less excited about my birthday but more excited about the birthdays of my loved ones, especially if I have a gift I'm excited to give. Now that my birthday's just a few hours away, I feel "normal".

We're flying to Cebu tomorrow. By we, that's Boydee, Bric and I with Yaya Mila, of course; Daddy and Mommy; Rondic and Lai; Rod and Zhar. The boys are going to attend the JC Nat Con in Cebu while the girls are there to have fun. Hehehe... Dad and Mom are going to celebrate my birthday with me and to join the family since most of us will be there. Ate and Japa can't make it (boo hoo hoo) because it's Rogan and Raegan's portfolio nights. Randy and Stella, on the other hand, are on their honeymoon in Europe. Lola opted to stay in Manila.

Mommy Nonie and I are excited to have my family again in Cebu. More than my birthday, it's the trip I'm more excited about.

So anyway, my wish list...
1. A normal, healthy, strong, loving, beautiful, intelligent, kind hearted, happy baby girl who will get along with Bric and bring joy to her grandparents and parents. I hope she'll get my complexion, Boydee's happy disposition and heart, my discipline, Boydee's eyes minus the banlag, either of our noses, my hair!, my lips, my legs, fingers, toes and height, Boydee's butt!, his charm and my faith. If God decides to give us a boy again, then I wish for all things above except that he be handsome and straight. If you know what I mean. :)
2. Black skinny leggings that are ankle length and will fit me (maternity).
3. US Visa for Yaya Mila
4. To be able to leave for the US after Bric's birthday and party and still not be obvious especially to the immigration officials that I am on the way... A smooth entry into the US when I eventually go there to give birth
5. PEACE and Harmony
6. Good health, long life, continued blessings for Daddy Boy especially, our families and the people I love
7. Protection from harm for my loved ones.
8. for God to always be present especially in our family
9. success in our endeavors
10. A safe, normal, natural delivery :)

These wishes aren't particularly meant for my birthday. These are my daily prayers, minus the leggings. There isn't much I wish for myself because I am just so happy and content at where God has placed me now.

So, on my birthday, instead of wishing for stuff, I'd rather like to thank all those who've filled my 33 years with love, laughter and lessons. Most of all, I thank God for giving me a life so blessed with His presence. I thank Him for conjuring for me this dream of a life. I can not ask for anything better than what He has already given me. I thank Him for His friendship and for listening to me whenever I have something to say, for granting my prayers whenever my heart whispers to Him.

Thank You Lord for planting me where I am and for putting so much Love into my life through the people around me, through the little miracles You send me everyday. Thank you, Lord, for my life. I hope I will be a worthy instrument of Your love.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Birthday Gift for Mommy Nonie

This coming October 22, Mommy Nonie will be celebrating her 6-th birthday. She specifically reminded me not to get her an expensive gift. She said she'll appreciate a card or something simple more. So, I decided to give her an accordion album with scraps of her and her favorite apo (I'm just making the assumption here. hehehe), Bric! Here are the LOs!

Credits: Trish Jones Eclectic Mix Collection, Miles Kit, Road Trip Kit and Sun Porch Princess

Monday, October 01, 2007

The 1st Talulot Festival!

In the latter part of August, Mario Martinez and Allan Nataya were given the herculean task of organizing the 1st Talulot Festival by the ExCom. They were supposed to get it up and about in just a short span of a month.

Never the weak and the surrenderers, they willingly accepted the challenge, despite sleepless nights and a foot or was it finger operation for Mario. And my, my, did they pull it off!!!

To propagate devotion and awareness of Saint Therese in our community and the presence of the Shrine, we decided on introducing and organizing the 1st Talulot Festival - a mini-Sinulog of sorts, and hopefully to become THE banner fiesta of Pasay City. It was to be a rose parade/street dancing competition. After a series of meetings, we got the cooperation of Barangay Captain Castillo who also helped us with arranging a courtesy call to Mayor Peewee Trinidad. Both were very enthusiastic with the idea. Barangay Captain was, in particular, such a major contributor to the success of the festival. He got all his Zone Leaders to participate in both contest categories.

On September 30, it was all systems go despite the gloomy clouds and the weather forecast of thunderstorms. Albeit the occasional drizzles and the wet ground, all the participants gamely strutted about and gave their all especially in the street dancing. We had 7 float contenders and 6 street dancing competitors. In both categories, VAB's Zone 2 made a sweep winning P30,000 and P20,000 for the respective category.

The zone residents patiently sat on the streets to watch and cheer for their respective zones. It was a successful 1st festival considering the short time given to both Mario and Allan. So, to both of them, congratulations!!! And to our MVC staff, the community, Tita Cora, Barangay Captain Castillo and his zone leaders, thank you so, so much for sharing our vision and your support!

Lastly, let us not forget the whole reason for this celebration. Let us remember St. Therese and continue to ask for her intercession. May more people come to know of her little way towards heaven; may more people be showered by her talulots (petals) of blessings and miracles; and may we, who have been touched by her love, always remember and remain grateful of her intercession.

Mid Autumn Festival

It has been a yearly tradition in our family in Cebu to play the game of dice every August moon Festival, when the moon is supposed to shine the brightest in that year. It falls every 15th of August in the Lunar Calendar so it keeps on changing in our western calendar. This year, it fell on September 25.

I was set on introducing this family tradition to my family in Manila. Being the only authentic Chinese in our family (I say "authentic" because both Japa and Lai look kinda Chinese too!), I felt the pressure to familiarize myself with the rules of the dice game since they were depending on me to be the 'game master'. I had volunteered, even offered, to organize this game because I think it would be fun especially for the kids. My childhood memories always included this experience - of winning hopias (and eating the smaller ones right away) and most of all, receiving those crisp, new bills and keeping it in my locked safe. Up to now, I still have my winnings. I know because the money is just so new - although some have been outdated, meaning the bills have become obsolete and therefore, not legal tender. Still, I think they'd be great souvenirs and glimpses of the past for our kids.

Back to the story... I began my search for the hopia set by asking Dexter Go of Sulpicio Lines. His parents play the dice game with us in Cebu. He referred me to DEC and Salazar Bakery. While waiting for Yaya Mila to apply for her US Visa, Manuel and I went to Binondo to see for myself the hopia set, the dice and the rules. The rules sheet was very important! That was to be my kodigo! The DEC hopia set cost P1,250 but their dice looked ugly and the rules were in Chinese!!! My next stop was Eng Bee Tin, home of my favorite hopia. There I found the perfect hopia set - P1,000/small set, P1,500/big set. The instruction sheet was both in English and Chinese and the dice were decent and presentable. I have found my hopia set!

The Dizon clan are a very game bunch that's why I just LOVE organizing parties with them. My siblings are very helpful and supportive. To complete the theme, I prepared a full Chinese menu and asked everyone to at least wear a Chinese-themed outfit.

That day, Ate helped in writing the rules on the white board and served as my loud speaker that night in explaining them. Boydee and Lai actively helped in the drawing of lots while Rondic was quick to know the rules and served as an impromptu game master. I became the treasurer and hopia distributor with the help of Stella, 'waitressing' the 32 and 16 pieces hopia. Our dinner was mixed with lechon since Lola insisted in adding a dish for RJ's birthday which happened to fall on that day. So, we had a feast!

Lai won the jackpot that night of P2,000 and the giant hopia. I hope everyone had fun and that maybe, we can do this every year. I, for one, would like my kids to grow up having this memory too. And I'm only too glad to be able to share a part of my culture to my other family. Till next year!!!

Our menu: Chinese lumpia buffet from DEC, Wilson @ P50/piece
Sweet and Sour Pork from Wan Chai
Dragon Balls from Wan Chai
Pata Tim by Melinda
Steamed Grouper with ginger and soy sauce by Melinda
Yang Chow Fried Rice by Melinda
Crispy Fried Chicken by Melinda
Lomi by Elmer sponsored by Tito Rey
Black Gulaman with Almonds and Nata de Coco by me!
Mango Sago by Melinda
Fresh Mandarin Orange, Fragrant Pears and Pomelo from our new Binondo supplier referred by Dexter
Lechon from Lola Nene

Congrats Lai! And, to RJ, happy, happy Birthday!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Union of Two Families Yet Again

Last Monday, we all trooped to BSA Towers' Upper Penthouse to finally meet the Carbonell family for the first time (for most of us). By all, I mean the whole Dizon family. Only Bric was missing in action because he wasn't able to nap in the afternoon. So, there we all were, on top of a building, two families meeting for the first time, while rain drizzled outside.

The Carbonells are a funny bunch. Kalog, loud, very open and funny. A lot like our family too. After the night was over, I actually had a sore throat from all the laughing and shouting. It was fun!

Thanks to Zhar for the dinner which could've been served warmer (attention Ponzo's!) and for the fun time we had with your family. I'm sure Rod's wish will be granted - that our two families will have a close and lasting relationship. Again, we look forward to our completed sisterhood... as if hindi ka pa welcome no! Hehehe...

Marriage is a beautiful thing. Not only is it a union of two souls joined together by love, it is also a coming together of two families, establishing a connection because of the love of two people. "Strangers", now families, all bound through love.

To the Carbonells, it was a pleasure meeting you. Till the next 'family' gathering!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It's been weeks since Ate, Japa and their kids moved in with us in La Vista. Their house is undergoing a major renovation, and I hope it will still be some time before the house gets fixed. Hehehe.... It's just more fun with more 'housemates' here in this huuuge house; moreso, with family housemates of brothers and sisters.

Bric's morning ritual includes an additional stop in the Gavino's Family Room. After waking Lolo Boy and Mamalyn up and greeting them good morning (more like a uh, ah), Bric and yaya go visit the morning family. It's just great that the Gavinos are morning persons. They're up at about the same time Bric is up. As for me and Boydee, well, let's just say we're more like owls. Awake at night, sleepy during the day, well, at least for the early part of the day. We usually wake up at around 9am. So, Bric has bonding time with his cousins who just love the youngest addition among their cousins. Raegan, Rogan and Raine know how to make Bric laugh, not that it takes a lot to do that. Even Ranger plays with Bric sometimes. Bric has gotten attached to Ate Rona and Japa, always making sure they make him pansin whenever they're around.

It wasn't a few years back when Rondic, Lai and their brood were also here. Those were fun times too, with usually midnight snacks at almost every weekend. Reese would be a frequent visitor then.

I just love it when our brotherhood and sisterhood are here. It just makes the house more 'homey' and meal times more 'alive'. So, to the workers doing the Gavino house, take your sweet time.... but don't up the labor and price! Hehehe.... As for the Gavinos, we LOVE having you here!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Caught With His Hand in the Cookie Jar

The headlines in the newspapers these days are all about the involvement of Commissioner on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos on the controversial and highly disadvantageous broadband contract with China's ZTE.

Once again, Abalos is in the limelight and right at the forefront of blatant corruption and yet, he still manages to smile in front of the cameras and in effect, the Filipino people, and deny the allegations and accusations. Even if he is literally caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he still can lie and squirm his way out of the mess and seemingly come out "clean" and "free"! Of course, if you're talking about at least P10million pesos inside the cookie jar, among other things which may not have been exposed yet, then, you can pay anyone to defend you, or ask others to look the other way.

In the Philippines, our justice is relative, based 'on popular demand', and highly dependent on who is in power at the moment. Our government, which is supposed to serve, is ruled by people who are out to make a fast buck to the detriment of the people. Our so-called leaders are no longer concerned about values such as honor, dignity and reputation, because what drives them is self-enrichment.

So even if you're the leader of the land and thus the guardian of the 80-million Filipinos, you don't really care if good morals and values are being lived and upheld by your subordinates. Who are you to care when you're blinded by greed and thirsty for power?

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Abalos has the daring to lie and wiggle his way out because he knows he has a strong backer. Mike Arroyo, the 'father' of the Philippines, despite a wake up call on his conscience via a heart operation, still has not learned his lesson. GMA, whether aware or not of her husband's dealings, still looks the other way. Silence is tantamount to support. Three leaders of our country. Three obvious examples of why our country is not going anywhere, except down under.

Let them have three more years of stealing, cheating and lying. Their actions will catch up with them. Even if our justice system is ruled by people; there is but One judge for all. Unbiased and untainted, God will hold them accountable. They will have their day in court. Perhaps not now, not soon; not in our local courts; but there where it really matters. If only the Filipinos can witness that, will we have a field day seeing them wiggle their way out of this one!


After the novena to St. Therese and a rosary, our yaya Mila still got denied of her US Visa application. Surprisingly, I didn't feel as devastated as expected. I also have not lost faith nor felt disappointment towards God just because my petitions were not granted. That would be too shallow and lame. Instead, I am looking at the brighter side of things. As my sisters, Ate Rona and Lai texted, it is an opportunity for me and Boydee to bond with our adorable Bric!

The burden would most likely fall on Boydee's hands especially since I will be heavy on my 7th month of pregnancy all the way till I give birth. And Mommy Nonie and her friends are already telling me that I shouldn't even be carrying Bric too much and for too long since I'm in that delicate stage. But how can I resist my baby when he looks at me or reaches for me?!? I have to admit that carrying him too long is kinda strenuous. He is after all already 20 pounds!!! So, good luck to me and most especially Boydee.

I am comforted that when I am about to give birth, my Mom would fly to LA to be with us. Hopefully, so will Mommy Shalene and my four-time-mothers sisters. Hehehe....

While Boydee and I will think of other ways to let Mila be issued a Visa, if and when all possibilities are exhausted, or none will present itself, then we will have to face the music. Leaving Bric behind is out of the question. We will bring our baby along... and trust that all will go well, and that we can handle him especially when he's super playful. (Perhaps by that time, he can already walk... and fast!) If we get through this, we can get through anything. Hehe... And when we all get back with our 2 babies, we will be a closer, more bonded family.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tomorrow's D Day

Tomorrow, at 1:30 pm, our Yaya Mila is scheduled to be interviewed at the US Embassy. We are applying for a US Visa for her so she can go with us to the States when I give birth to our 2nd baby. Hopefully, God willing, she will be issued a US Visa. Pleeaassssssssssssseeeeeeeeee....

We've actually grown so spoiled by Yaya Mila, it's embarrassing. Hehehe.... But for all the time and care she's given Bric, we really are just so thankful. Of course, that is her job, but still, there are some nannies out there who are just diligent when someone else is around, but when no one else is watching, she becomes neglectful. I feel Mila really cares and has grown attached with Bric, whether we're there or not. Hopefully, this is for keeps.

Speaking of our baby, he has grown so fast! How time flies. He now has 2 bottom teeth; can crawl 'snake-like'; giggles, as usual; clings and reaches out to people; cries when someone dear leaves; knows 'where's the light?', 'appear' and 'close-open'; his byes are an inverted wave with matching close-open of the hands. He's so much heavier and very full. Oh, we just love our baby!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lost in the Heat of the Moment

Just had an emotionally draining conversation with my brother. What he expected to be an understanding sister on the other end of the line turned out to be the outspoken, tactless monster. That was me! That’s how I turned out.

Discussing about his upcoming plan became an exchange of heated, emotional words, bordering even on drama. Out of frustration at not being able to express myself, I let out an uncalled for statement. Totally wrong statement, and now that I look back, something I totally regret. I didn’t mean it to come out that way. What I meant to say was for him to please, please think things over and not arrive at a decision simply because that’s what your heart tells you to do. But what came out were those hurtful words. Of course, he didn’t let that slip. Of course, if I were him, I also wouldn’t, and would, of course, take offense.

I realize that in many conversations we have with other people, especially people most dear to us, when discussing topics that are ‘delicate’ and ‘sensitive’ and, in this case, ‘high risk’, an exchange of words may be unavoidable. Because emotions are high, we may let out words that are hurtful, but aren’t totally meant; we may say things but state it the wrong, hurtful way. What gets lost in the heat of the moment are actually what is in our hearts.

And in our heart of hearts, what we really want to say is, we are really just concerned for your welfare and your family’s, we love you; because, really, if we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t be that emotional and frantic and paranoid.

But then again, if we had approached it more calmly and rationally and less emotionally, then those words which I want so much to take back wouldn’t have been said at all. And if there were total trust, the whole conversation would’ve been just a confirmation, not a confrontation.

For now, I’ve said my sorrys, although I know that what I said isn’t easily forgivable and forgettable. I shall sit in misery as I deal with my guilt and remorse. But then I should move on, forgive myself and hope my dear brother will forgive me. After all, when all is said and done, blood IS thicker than water.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still As Special

I had my ultrasound today. I am now almost 4 months pregnant and so far, still have the same weight at **secret**! Hahaha....

Admittedly, I am not as 'careful' and watchful of my diet, as when I was pregnant the first time. Perhaps, it's because I already know what to expect. In fact, praise God, I didn't spot on my 1st trimester, nor did I faint. I had dizzying spells, and a few mild nauseous moments, but otherwise, I am so 'normal', maybe because my body has recently just gone through this whole cycle, it's still fresh in its memory. So, it's easier to adjust.

It kinda makes me guilty that I am not as studious and as super excited and expectant as my 1st but that doesn't mean this baby is less precious.

When I saw her (hopefully!!!), she was still small but she moved a lot. There is always that feeling of awe when you see that there is actually a life growing inside you. It is just so magical and humbling. Imagine, God giving and entrusting His own child to an unworthy person such as I. How can we be so blessed?!?

Each pregnancy is special and unique, even if the excitement is seemingly less. Each baby is a blessing and precious gift. And we eagerly await the coming of our 2nd, just as we were excited with our 1st. Hopefully, we will be blessed with a normal, healthy, strong, intelligent, loving and beautiful (or handsome) baby!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pregnant Again!

Last July 4, I invited Boydee to witness my pregnancy test, just the basic P99 per box Medic pregnancy test kit. I had a feeling I was pregnant because I was just so hungry for sleep. Imagine 10 hours a day!!!

So, there we were by the bathroom sink. A few drops after, the test registered two lines. We were stumped! We looked at each other with mixed emotions and Boydee said, "You're pregnant!!! You'll be a mommy again!" I didn't know how to react that time. I was just so surprised that it came to us that soon, that easy. Dr. Artenos said we could try making a baby within 6 months to a year. On our 6th month, I texted Dr. Mitch if we could start trying. She said, "ok". Little did we know that we'd get it on our first few tries.

I was quite scared for my stitch more than anything else. I wanted to go for a natural child birth, the second time around, but if I gave birth this soon, would a natural delivery be possible without my scar giving in? How could I give equal attention to Bric and our new baby?

After a visit to Dr. Mitch and several "interviews" with Moms who had c/s operations and kids right after, I felt a little more comfortable with my pregnancy. They reassured me that no harm will happen to the baby inside me, and that no harm will keep to me. The worst thing that can happen is for my scar to tear in the latter part of the pregnancy when I'm just about full term. I just have to be carefully monitored during the last trimester.

Worries put aside, I am happy and excited for the next baby. We pray God will gift us with a baby girl this time around. Then, perhaps, Boydee and I can rest in that department.

This pregnancy came so fast, so soon. We are still quite amazed at how God has blessed us. Every once in a while, I worry if something should go wrong. But I am comforted. God has willed it that we be sent another angel in our lives, who are we to question His will? We can only be very grateful and trust that everything is according to His plan. We are but His instruments. I know He will be with me, with us in this interesting phase in our lives, just as He was so present when I was carrying Bric in me.

We will continue praying for a normal, healthy, complication-less, safe and happy pregnancy and delivery; and for a normal, healthy, strong, happy, beautiful (if girl, hopefully, please let it be a girl.... hehehe...) or handsome (if boy), intelligent, kind-hearted baby who will grow up enjoying God's friendship. We also pray that Bric and Baby 2 will get along. Amen! :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Love!!!

It was a Mexican Fiesta themed party we threw for Boydee as he turned 37 yesterday. As is typical of our family, nothing can spoil our spirits for as long as there's good food and great company. So, when the rain started pouring on the poor jet-lagged lechon that we flew in from Cebu, we decided to move all the dishes which was set up in the tent in the garden to the Lanai area. So, our Mexican hats and my precious food labels didn't achieve their purpose! But as I said, it was still fun as we all gamely dressed up in ponchos and cowboy costumes and Tito Lito's cooking weaved all of us into a Mexican spell!

Our buffet table consisted of the following:
Rejy's Seven Layered Dip
Nachos w/ 3 Kinds of Salsa-Tita San's, Jack's and Mango Salsa (the latter 2 bought in the US)
California Mango with Shrimp Paste
Quesadilla with Meat from the LV kitchen
Quesadilla from the LV kitchen
Taco Salad by Tito Lito
Rondic's Chicken Wings ala Hooters
Shrimp and Chicken Fajita by Tito Lito
Balbacua by Tito Lito
Mexican Rice by Tito Lito
Lechon de Cebu from Rico's, my supplier in Cebu
Tocino del Cielo from Des Rodriguez - discovery of Lai in Salcedo Village Market
Caramel & Brownie Bars from the LV kitchen
Lemon Torte from Rod & Zhar
Cherry Cheesecake from Anabelle

Of course, after seconds and third helpings, we were all stuffed. Then we sang Happy Birthday to my dear hubby. A few hours after, we called it a night.

I have to thank those who helped in their own little and big ways in staging the themed party. So, muchas gracias to Tito Lito for efficiently and generously sharing his culinary talents as he whipped up the dishes for our feast and downloaded Mexican songs as if a real Mariachi band were playing; to Rejita for her yummy dip and for her artistic skills in painting the hats and decorating the tent; Zhar, Rod, Raegan, Raine and RJ for painting the colorful, festive hats; Elizza and Zhar again for buying all the materials needed for the decors and for being excited about the theme; Rondic for cooking the chicken wings which was a huge hit!; Mommy and Boydee for shopping for the ingredients needed from the US and bringing them here; the LV staff for helping out; and all our guests for the gifts and being part of Boydee's celebration.

Lastly, I can not thank God enough for the gift of Boydee in our lives, in my life!!! I thank Him for making him the way he is; and for choosing, of all the billions of people in this world, him to be the man I should spend the rest of my life with, and with whom I would raise a family with.

To Boydee, I love you. That simple word sums it all up for me, love. My heart is yours to keep forever; my whole lifetime is devoted to you and our children for always. Thank you for being born for me and making my life a kaleidoscope of beautiful memories and experiences!

P.S. Boydee and Ate Rona share the same birthday, so.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU TOO ATE RONA!!! WE LOVE YOU!!! Ate spent her birthday in the States so she wasn't here with us to celebrate. She would've LOVED the Mexican spread here. WE MISSED YOU!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Looong Wait Is Over

Just a few hours more and Bric and I will be on our way to the airport to meet the most important man in our lives. After three exruciatingly long weeks, my Love and Bric's Daddy will finally be with us, and we'll be a complete family again.

It's funny, though. As the day draws nearer, I find the waiting seem longer, unlike in the past weeks he was gone. I presume this is because the anxiety and excitement is already there so it's harder to keep it in. So, I pray to God, He brings Boydee home to us safe and sound where we'll be waiting to welcome him with all our love.

Even if we were alone, Bric and I weren't lonely. First of all, we had each other and he had his yaya also. Hehehe... Secondly, thank God for family!!!! I am so indebted to Rondic and Lai, Rodney and Zhar for keeping me company all these days. We had numerous bonding sessions, usually dining out or hanging out in the house. Once, they even had to be Bric's babysitter in Ponzo's while I was attending the dry run of St. Alphonsus Parish's Dedication Rites and Yaya Mila was on her day off. Super duper thanks to my siblings!!! I super love you!!! Hehehe....
Thirdly, thanks to our extended family... Tito Lito, the Sargan kids, RJ, Robin and Rejy, Tito Rey, Tita Tinggoy, Gelo, Avic for making the house not seem empty. Thanks to the lovable Gavino kids too for keeping my nights and weekends more colorful and 'challenging'. Hahaha... Fourth, our house mates... Marivic, Melinda, Sinny, Ringo, Irene, Roland, Polids and everyone for keeping the La Vista Household in order, despite Mom or Lola's absence. Hehehe... Fifth, me and Lai being the only bosses here in the MVC office, we had lots more work to do (issuing memos, for instance... hehehe... and chairing the ExCom). Sixth, Tita San's passing kept us all preoccupied with grief and the preparation of the wake, etc... :( (Although this event made me miss Boydee more. I'm sure he would have wanted so much to be here, too.) Seventh, my pregnancy makes me so takaw (greedy) with sleep that I usually spend 10 hours a day with my eyes closed; which means I cut down my waking hours. Hehehe... Eighth, Harry Potter kept me busy for a few nights. Hehehe...

Now that Boydee's going to be back soon, I'll miss having to sleep with Bric beside me. Our nights will be more noisy because Boydee keeps the TV on most times; but it will be complete because we will be all together. Our bonding sessions with our siblings will be more fun (but less juicy... hehehe) because of Boydee's silly antics when he's full. The house will be more homey because I'll have my partner back; and my heart and my hand won't be empty anymore because finally, after days and weeks of missing Boydee, he'll finally be back tomorrow morning. Whoopppeeee!!! :D

I love you Love... Welcome home to our loving arms!!! We missed you super!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

God Is So Alive

I was privileged to have witnessed the Solemn Dedication and Consecration of a church twice this year. First was our very own Shrine of St. Therese of which Boydee and I played active roles in its fruition. Second was yesterday's dedication of the church of which Fr. Benny is the parish priest, the St. Alphonsus de Liguori Parish in Magallanes.

This time around, I was able to concentrate more on the ceremony than its execution (unlike in St. Therese). Despite the long wait, we were asked to go at 4pm but the mass actually started at 5, I was thankful for being there. Despite my aching flat butt and my uneasiness in wearing heels now that I'm almost 3 months pregnant, and despite my hunger, I patiently watched, listened, sang, participated in the 2-hour ceremony of dedicating the newly built church to God.

The whole ceremony was not without its share of long rituals, cute gimmickry (children singing), long, unfamiliar songs with a choir that sad to say had more soloists than the beautiful, pleasing blending of voices (but their song arrangements were really noteworthy!), meaningful speeches, chants, and of course, the usual mass proceedings.

Still, the whole set of unique rituals like the lighting of the altar, consecrating of the altar table, incensing, etc., performed by the Cardinal and his assisting Archbishops and Bishops, with their Master of Ceremonies and other priest concelebrants was amusing and educational to watch. Each ritual had its significance for being part of the whole and I can only thank the Catholic Church for preserving these rites through the ages so that we may get a glimpse of our culture, our history and an appreciation of the richness of our religion.

As HE Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales wiped oil on the altar table that was to be consecrated, I could not help but feel so blessed to see and feel God so alive in one place, in the hearts of so many people. This was the birth of a new house of God in its physical aspect, but more than that, this was the re-birth of a community. This was a community intent on re-building the structure that burned down 3 years ago and yesterday, on the feast day of their patron, through the kind and focused leadership of Fr. Benny, a new edifice stands. And you can see in the faces of the people, that there was joy... and fulfillment for being part of something good and something for His glory.

The church is done but the work never stops. Everyday, we are part and instrumental in the building of churches within our community. We may already have the structure but the real church is really its people. We are the church and each one of us is the brick, the hollow block, the nail; and our own construction is an on going thing. But it's not the money that oils the work-in-progress. Oh no! It is the love towards our brothers and sisters; it is our common faith in the Lord Almighty; and it is our commitment and strong resolve to always strive to be good and devout Catholics - all for His glory!!!

Congratulations Father Benny and to the Magallanes community and parishioners!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Final Goodbye

Tita San breathed her last breath on earth yesterday morning at 11:20; and then she slept, and slept, never to wake up again except in heaven. Finally, she can rest... but not after putting up such a great fight.

Rosanna Eloisa Papa Sargan was 50 years old when she passed. She left behind her three children, and her partner of many, many years. She also left us, family and friends, whom she has touched. She left us a void; but she also left with us beautiful memories. And for that we are grateful.

I will always remember her as a woman who lived, loved, and laughed. Here was a woman who embraced life, fought for it until the very end. Here was a woman who loved, totally, unselfishly, selflessly, generously, protectively, fiercely and loyally. Here was a woman who laughed... at life even if times were tough; and smiled; unfailing in making others' lives a more joyful one. She was always one who never ran out of things to say; not that she was talkative. She always just seemed interested to know about people, to put them at ease, to share her own experiences and thoughts. She was open; she was warm; and she was so loving.

To Boydee, she will always be his second Mom, who took care of him when he was in the States studying. Both Tita San and Boydee would tell me that they've gone through a lot together. She would tutor him, help him with his homework, and would always, always prepare his lunch pack for him every single day, without fail. She imposed a curfew on him and disciplined him, just like a mother. She said she was more strict towards him than towards her own children because she owed it to her sister, Mommy Shalene, to take care of Boydee in her absence. But how she loved Boydz and all her nieces and nephews and the partners they chose. Love was always something Tita San had in abundance of and she gave and showed it so often, to so many.

We are very privileged to have been touched by her life and to have been recipients of her love, even if we wish and pray that we could have enjoyed that privilege longer. We thank God for letting our paths cross with hers, for planting her into our family, and for making her such a big part of our lives.

Now, as she journeys towards the better world, we ask God to send His angels to guide her path towards Paradise. Our world will be less animated without her, but we are consoled that we have found yet another ally in heaven who will watch over us. This time, even if we don't see her physically, we know she is there. She's not just in our hearts, she is up there in heaven, spreading her love and the best part is, wherever we go, especially to her kids, we will never be separated from her again. She is here with us; she is free; she is more alive than ever before.

Tita San, friend, sister, daughter, lover, mother, room mate, tita, thank you for the gift of your life on earth. Thank you for the memories. You will be greatly missed... You will never be forgotten. Go, be free, and soar to Heaven where Jesus is waiting to welcome you in His warm embrace. You are in a better place now. We love you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Goodbye for now....

Just came back from dropping Tita Belen and Boydee to the airport with Bric. Boydee will be gone for 3 weeks. We'll miss him sooo much. Boo hoo hoo... :(

While he's away, I plan to use this opportunity to bond more with Bric and devote more time to doing things which I've successfully procrastinated on. I'll also be in the office more because Lai and I will be the only bosses left. Hmmm... should we impose longer lunch hours? Hehehehe... Just kidding! Anyway, here's a tentative list of my to-dos to keep me preoccupied and productive:

1. design Chateau de Busay website - Long overdue, so sisterhood, if you have any ideas!!!
2. design Chateau de Busay's menu - Again, loooooong overdue. Again, sisterhood, ideas are sooo welcome! Although I'm scheduling a photo shoot for the food in Chateau when I go on August. Per Lai, a menu is always more inviting for her if it has pictures of the dishes in it. It makes it easier to visualize. Point taken :)
3. renew my driver's license. This has been expired since October last year.
4. renew Yaya Mila's passport. Since I'm carrying baby number 2 (more in a separate blog), we're planning ahead and thinking of bringing Mila with us to the States, which leads me to the next to-do.
5. apply for Mila's US visa.... wish us luck..... (keeping my fingers and toes crossed!)
6. bank recon in MVC - ok, won't elaborate since Mommy Shalene might think I'm revealing too much :)
7. clean our room!!!! This time, I've asked permission from Boydee to clear out some of his clothes; clothes he hasn't worn for 2 years but are still hanging in his closet. Perhaps by the time he comes back, he'll only have 2 closets left for himself. Bwahahahaha!!!! His advantage is, I don't have too many clothes, so perhaps the closet count will remain the same. Status quo...
8. more office work... Since Randy will be leaving for the US and staying there longer, plus he has an upcoming honeymoon, that's added responsibility for us. To Randy and Stel, have fun!!! :) We'll man the fort!
9. take care of the Gavino kids. Bonding time for me and Raegan, Rogan, Raine and Ranger as I play mommy to them while Japa and Ate are taking a break to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a couple. Happy Anniversary to you both!!! May you continue to be an inspiration of good parenting and cool 'couple-hood'. heheheh....
10. whatever else i can think of or whatever else needs to be done. Of course, part of this will include helping Rod and Zhar with their wedding plans however way they want us involved :), bonding with the remaining brotherhood and sisterhood, spending more time with Tita San, reading with Bric, sleeping with Bric, playing with Bric, taking care of myself for the baby in my tummy...

All these while thinking of and missing my love. All these while counting the days til he comes home in my waiting arms and Bric's warm laughter. Bye for now, Love. See you in 3 weeks... We love you!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Yaya-less and Loving It

Today, Yaya Mila went on her day-off to be a wedding godmother to a friend. She left at 9:30 after she fed Bric breakfast and bathed him. I told her I'd be the one to feed him milk and put him to sleep so she can make it in time for her 'date'.

I was actually dreading this day when I would be alone and yaya-less. Boydee went to Taiwan to attend the JCI Asia Pacific Conference and will be back on Monday. I was tempted not to let Mila attend the wedding but at the same time, a small part of me looked forward to having Bric all to myself. Still, the past days, I was hounded by doubts on whether I could handle Bric through an entire day. I had prepared a back up plan of hanging out in Apitong where Yaya Jen and Yaya Dee could watch over Bric, to which Lai readily agreed. (Thanks again, Lai!) Then, there was the idea of letting Zenie and Vicvic substitute as yaya. Boydee also suggested letting Marlyn take over for awhile.

But all the plans were shelved in favor of Bric. I am his mother, I have managed to be without a yaya when he was a baby, and what is a day without a yaya anyway? If we survived the States, what more in the Philippines where family and help is just an intercom away? So, it was me and Bric on this lazy Sunday.

Our routine consisted of eating, sleeping, playing, doing visitation rounds to the family members who are here, watching his Praise Baby vcd, and lots of kissing and carrying. In times when I have to eat upstairs in the dining room, or shower, Yaya Zennie or Irene take over. Today, Bric's been in the arms of Lolo Lito, Yaya Dee and Yaya Jen and under the watch of Raegan and Raine. We've also played with Robyn who was here for a few hours.

It is now 5:15 in the afternoon. At around 6pm, I'll be feeding Bric his solids for dinner. So far, so good. I am actually enjoying our 'us' time, our Mommy and Baby bonding. Thank God Bric is such a happy, no fuss baby. Thank God there are so many people here to help out.

There should be more days like this! I am yaya-less, and I'm loving it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Do You Know How to be a Mother?

It's been several days since the Solemn Dedication and Consecration of the Shrine of St. Therese, May 17 to be exact, but up to today, I still haven't found my groove in getting back to work, nor found my mojo for digiscrapping and blogging. It seemed that all the pressure and stress leading to that event had died down all of a sudden and left me lost and disoriented. After having been the focus of months of preparation, it ended in one single day. I am relieved but I miss the 'stress', the adrenaline rush and the thrill of organizing an event. So, now, I'm slowly picking up the pieces and trying to find my old rhythm.

Mommy Nonie sent me pictures of her grandparents, a family portrait and a beach outing. She wanted us (the sisterhood) to clean and polish it since most of the pictures had 'age spots' and creases already. Lai cleaned the family portrait (thanks Sis!) and I was left with three. I decided to do it myself. After the Inauguration, I worked on that since Mom was asking me to rush it all in time for her Mom's birthday this July 17. Her voice cracked a bit when she said it's the first time they'll be celebrating their Mom's birthday after so many years. Although I could not relate, I can only imagine what it must have been like to lose a Mom during those growing up years.

My Mom's mom, therefore my grandmother, died when she gave birth to Mom's youngest sister, Auntie Aning. Mom was the eldest of the brood of seven. Since she was the oldest, she probably had the most memories of Mommy Anita.

During our casual talks, she would fondly speak of how her mother used to sew only the "in" clothes for her. Her Mom was a trendsetter and was, even in their time, a feminist. She was very capable and able - managing her time between work and raising a family. Mom also said she was very pretty; robust but pretty. Judging from the pictures, I have to agree.

When her Mom passed away, their siblings were 'distributed' and willingly taken in by their Uncles and Aunts - brothers and sisters of Angkong Teodoro and Ama Anita. They grew up with family but not their own. Mom practically grew up with her grandmother. Angko (my grand aunt Engracia, sister of Angkong) is considered by my Mom as a mother to her too. So, although she didn't grow up in a typical family setting, I'd like to believe she grew up surrounded with love too. (Thank God for relatives!!!)

Now that I am a mother, I look back at how my own Mom raised me. How did she know what to do, how to raise us, what to teach, what discipline style to use? I can only imagine what it must have been like for my Mom. She didn't grow up with a mother to take care of her, no mom to help her decide what clothes to wear, no Mom to talk to when suitors came knocking, no Mom to share joys and heartaches with. There was no mom who can guide her and set an example of how to raise children, no mom to protect her when the world becomes too harsh. And yet, despite not having her own mother as an example of how to be a Mom, she still managed to become such a great Mom to us and even to our friends.

When we were younger, she would feed us breakfast one minute, then be off to our office (which was just next door) the next minute. She would bring us to and pick us up from our schools. She was my hairstylist when I was below ten years old. She used to cut it as if she had the pope's round hat on my head as her pattern. My hair looked like a bagul (coconut) and being that I wasn't exactly the prettiest girl then, I was usually mistaken for a boy in my kindergarten days.

She was the disciplinarian, and me being somehow the one who needed the most discipline, was always the one being scolded (which led my young mind to think I was adopted! hehehe). So to me, she was my Hitler, yet I was sooo attached to her. When she'd leave town a few days, I would cry every single day. I used to have this nightmare as a kid of her leaving us, oh how my heart broke to think about it then.

Things took a turn for the better in my teen age years. I think maybe Mom thought she had house-trained me well enough already. We weren't just mother and daughter; we were friends.

Through the years, especially after God called back my Dad, Mom and I became the best of friends. She was my fashion consultant, my constant companion, my harshest critic and loyal adviser. I talked to her about anything and everything. We travelled together, dined, shopped, watched movies, plays and concerts, ballroom danced, and so much more. In her trying moments, I was her sounding board.

Not exactly graduated from being a mom, she is also now a beloved grand mother to Miggy, Audrey and Bric. But as she always says, you never stop being a mother... even when all of us are married, even if we're miles apart.

Mommy Nonie learned how to be a Mom when she had us. I, too, will have my turn to learn more about motherhood as I continue my journey with Bric and our future kids. There are no clear cut rules nor black and white guidelines when it comes to raising your children. Having lived with, and having been raised by my Mom has armed me with a free demonstration on how to be a mother. I just know I will be a better Mom because I have Mom's example to copy from.

Motherhood isn't only learned by example. Nor can it be mastered through textbooks or lectures from so-called psychologists or experts. Motherhood can be taught, theoretically. But in actuality, to be a mother, one just has to trust her inner voice, listen closely to her own and her child's heart, and let her maternal instincts take over.

I asked Mom how she knew how to raise us. She simply replied: You just have to raise them with LOVE. All the rest will follow.

That will be how I intend to raise our children.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Old Hag, atbp...

We came from a Homeowner's Associaton meeting here in our village to talk about our Entrance/Exit Gate which was supposed to have been closed temporarily but which, from the looks of it, was becoming permanent. But thanks (kinda) to the Board who listened to what we had to say and took notes of our grievances and suggestions, the gate might not be permanently closed anymore, after all.

Anyway, there was this aged, mestiza lady who looked mataray from the very start. Not one to judge by appearances only, I quietly observed her while listening to what was going on. When at last she finally spoke, it wasn't to say very nice things. Her tone was condescending and mocking and she carried herself with an air of superiority. It was quite unbecoming of an officer serving her equals.

Then I wondered. Who is this woman who speaks so confidently as if she were the boss of the people around her? What makes her treat people that way? Is it her name, her social status, her wealth, her stature, her education, or is it plainly her style, her way of carrying herself and she really does not harbor any ill feelings?

It is hard to read people and judge them by the way they look, or the way they act at a single given time. There are perhaps reasons for the unpleasant way they carry themselves given a certain situation. We really can not tell. Perhaps, under normal circumstances, they are actually nice people, or beneath those tough, suplada exteriors, are sweet and caring men and women, whatever the case may be. I really can not tell.

But her actions of that night got me thinking. There are really people who act like her. There are really people who rub others the wrong way, who carry themselves too confidently, it affects the others around them, who speak with a not so friendly tone, who say things or do things that 'hurt' people or step on them; who seemingly look down at people. Intentionally, or unintentionally. It might be their nature, their upbringing, their mood for that day.

Admittedly, nobody's perfect, and nobody is genuinely 100% nice and sweet. Not everyone can be as patient especially when one is fed up with issues (perhaps the officers received a lot of flak already from some home owners). But it never hurts to make the extra effort at being nicer, being the better person, being more smiling. These efforts are appreciated and spell a big difference especially if you occupy a position of service (and I realize it is a thankless one, at that). So I truly commend the chairperson of that meeting. He was patient and accommodating.

What do we do when we meet people like the old hag? Do we give them a dose of their own medicine? Or do we choose to be the better person and kill them with kindness? Show them that we are the more educated person by treating everyone nicely and equally. Smile more. Perhaps it will warm their hearts. If it doesn't work, we can ignore them and go about our business.

What do we do when we are that old hag? Whew! This calls for some deep introspection. Someone should tell us we're being nasty and then we have to constantly pray to ask God to humble ourselves. We have to pray to the Holy Spirit and Mama Mary for guidance and to melt our icy hearts with the warmth of the love around us.

It isn't easy. We all have times when we're like the old hag, but we have to try to rise above it and strive to be a better, gentler person. I always think a smile is always a good start. And, although difficult, we have to always look at the brighter side, find the good in each person, and magnify that. It is hard to do and I have my own struggles within, but I just have to keep on trying... Lest I become an old hag myself!!!