Archive of ‘Happily Even After’ category

Chronicles of a Reluctant Widow #20: 2015, I’m Ready For You!

While I was scrolling through my instagram newsfeed a while ago, a post from one of the celebrities I followed there caught my attention. I guess it was meant to excite and send positive vibes this new year but it had a different effect on me. It caused my hair to stand on end. It reads: 2013 was practice. 2014 was warm-up. 2015 is game time. If you know me very well, you would understand why I had that kind of reaction to that post.

As much as I want to act all brave and positive about 2015, about the future, sometimes fear still grips my heart. Some days the memories of what we’ve been through the past 3 years still knock the wind out of me. I still wait with bated breath for the next big hurdle that life will throw our way and when nothing comes, I would let out a big sigh of relief. I used to chide myself for thinking this way but eventually I learned to allow myself to worry, be scared, and be stressed about the future because I am no God. I am no superwoman. I am not invincible. I am not indestructible. I get weak. I get shattered. I get hurt. A lot.

Fact is, I need God to strengthen me, keep me whole, and free me from all these paralyzing feelings. When I am blinded by fear, hurt, and worries, I see God more clearly. When I am in one of these states, I feel God’s love and blessings more strongly. For me 2013 and 2014 were both the same, they were full of grace. 2015 wouldn’t be any different. I shall welcome both the good and the bad of it with open arms, for I know either way, the Lord will not be far from my side and from my sight. It is not being positive or negative about the new year, it is being FAITH-full about the future.

Little Light

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And so the story goes that on the fateful night of August 1, 1978, when Manila was being battered by the worst storm ever, a mother gave birth to an eight month old, scrawny little baby who weighed no more than 4.5 lbs. As the baby came out of the mother’s tummy, the light too in the whole city went out. And so the baby lay there in the dark nursery, illuminated only by the nearby emergency light. The grandpa who was waiting anxiously in the corridor with the father, when he heard the baby cried, cannot helped but uttered in silence, “there goes the little light.” My name Blanca, said my lolo, means little light. And yes, that baby is me. Everyday for the past 36 years, I strive to live up to the name given to me. Even during the most difficult time in my life when I see nothing but complete darkness, I struggled for my flickering light to continue to shine. It is so easy to live in the shadow or fade into the oblivion that darkness offers but life or rather God doesn’t always include that in the many options he always presented to me. I guess because He wants the light within me to help fire the world up with His love. And so here I am today, stil trying to live up to the challenge that comes with my name, still trying to light up (your) the world, through the big or small roles that I play in your life. Thank you for giving me the chance and the opportunity to do that everyday. And for the warm greetings and heartwarming birthday wishes too.

Working Mom Magazine Feature

I am happy to share that my daughter and I are in this month’s issue of Working Mom magazine. In this article, I shared a letter I wrote for my daughter, Bianca, when she celebrated her 13th birthday last month.

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To know more about our story, please grab a copy. It is available in National Bookstore, Book Sale, Watsons, and Ministop stores.

Alex and Ani’s Mother Mary Charm

When I was a child, my parents would always bring my sister and I to the different shrines of Our Lady for a visit, we always look forward to these trips. My parents  also instilled in us the habit of praying the rosary daily to please Our Lady. Growing up, they also encouraged us to say the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Fatima. Thankfully, our  family’s deep devotion to Mother Mary was never left unnoticed as She granted us countless favors and blessings over the years.

Mother Mary has also been my pillar of strength and refuge when my husband passed away last year. If there’s anyone who can truly understand my grief and longing for my husband, it is Mother Mary, as she was widowed early herself. When my daughter was diagnosed with cancer recently, I also cried to her for help. I know she knows how difficult it is to see your child go through pain because she witnessed how her son, Jesus, suffered on the cross too.

When my soul gets weary from the heavy crosses that I have to bear, I draw strength from her. I try to learn from her gentle ways and unwavering faith. When I turn to her and depend on her for comfort, I find that somehow my spirit is renewed and uplifted.

I always want to be reminded of Mother Mary’s grace, compassion, and hope that is why this Alex and Ani’s Mother Mary charm is pretty special to me. I wear it everyday like a shield against despair.

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This christmas, give this as a gift to someone–your mom, sister, or friend who needs to be reminded everyday of Mother Mary’s unconditional love and unfailing grace. Give this to them to remind them daily how Mother Mary can be our source of hope and comfort in troubling times.

This  Mother Mary charm is available at Alex and Ani’s kiosk at the 3rd level, SM Aura. To check their complete collection log on to http://alexandani.com or follow them at instragram @aa_philippines. 

Book Review: A Doctor’s Secret To A Lifetime Of Clear Skin

I don’t know about you but I feel like much has been said about acne that I can’t even tell which one is true or not. Google the word Acne and you will be greeted with a long list of links you can choose from, from the most comprehensive to the most absurd. To a person like me whose brain can only process information in small bites rather than big chunks, the information from the net can prove to be very challenging and intimidating.

Thanks to the Proactiv Kit I’ve been using, it comes with this little orange booklet entitled, The Doctor’s Secrets To A Lifetime Of Clear Skin. Written by Standford-trained dermatologists, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, founders of the revolutionary acne product Proactiv Solution, this booklet contains 30 doses of skin care wisdom that would make you understand the root cause of acne, the proper attitude in dealing with this chronic disease, and the clear cut solutions in managing and controlling it.

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20131204-153522.jpgAll the information about acne are presented in a simple and straight forward manner in this booklet. The 30 vital nuggets of skin care wisdom listed here are all practical and easy to follow. All the things you need to know and need to do to enjoy a lifetime of smooth, clear, and healthy looking skin are wittingly enumerated in this booklet.

I am happy to note also that I found myself nodding my head a couple times while reading this for I can easily relate to most of what’s written and discussed here. And surprisingly, most of the new information I got from booklet debunked all the myths that I know about acne as well. By the time I put the booklet down, I was armed with the essential information and the right attitude I need to fight this pesky acne disease.

This fun-to-read booklet comes FREE with every purchase of Proactiv 30 Day or 60 Day Kit. It is included in the kit that you can buy in leading Watsons Store, SM Department Store, Proactiv Mall Kiosk, and Proactiv online store. If you have acne, tnis is the book for you, if not give it to someone who does.

Great Finds At L’Indochine

Last Saturday, my daughter and I spent some QT strolling along BGC. Since we’re from the South, we seldom go to this place so we really make the most of our day when we’re here. Of course trip to BGC will never be completely without checking some of our favorite shops in SM Aura. One of the novelty stores I’ve been meaning to go to here is L’Indochine since I’ve read and heard so much about this place. And what can I say, it’s definitely a shopper’s paradise if you happen to love art, fashion, and culture since the store is a beautiful fusion of the three.

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L’ Indochine sells unique, handmade and handcrafted items from Indo China. The store owners travel around the Indo China region and other places to seek inspiration. They personally handpick the items that they would like to sell in their store and get them from the artisans themselves so you can say that, every piece really has its own story to tell.

Here are some of my top picks. These are perfect christmas gifts to friends and relatives who are into handmade and handcrafted items. They are unique, affordable, and made of excellent quality.

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My daughter absolutely love the place too. She found a lot of artsy and crafty things she liked from the store.

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Do check out L’Indochine when you happen to be in SM Aura, they have great finds that you will surely love.

Pandora: Unforgettable Moments

Since christmas is just a few sleeps away, I am sure a lot of you are thinking of the perfect gift to give yourself or your loved one this christmas. If you or your loved one likes to collect mementos of special moments like me, then pandora bracelet and charms are the perfect gifts to give yourself or somebody close to your heart.

I started collecting pandora charms only this year. A few months before my late husband died, he promised that he’ll start my own pandora collection. One of those promises that he never did get to complete but still manages to keep despite his death.:)

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You see this year, my cousin from the States surprised me with a pandora silver bracelet. I thought I would never get to have one since I was reluctant to buy for myself here because it is expensive (4,500 pesos for the sterling and leather bracelet). So you can just imagine how totally thrilled I was when she gifted me with the silver pandora bracelet. Since the charms were a bit costly too(1,920 for silver charms regardless of size and design, 3,500 for danglings, 2,500-3,500 for muranos, and 4,500-6,000 for the two tones), I decided to window shop charms first at Pandora Resorts World.  I went there with my mom and daughter and guess what?! I went home with 3 charms. As luck would have it, the clown charm was on sale at 900 pesos and my daughter with a little prodding (*wink*wink) from mom decided to buy it for me.The clown reminds me of my late husband who filled our home with so much laughter when he was alive.  My mom got excited when she saw how cute the charms were too and so she instantly bought the Amore’ charm (her namesake) and the limited edition money bag for luck for me.

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But wait as if my luck with charm collection wasn’t enough, my friend’s brother went on a trip to Hawaii where there’s a big Pandora flagship store. He graciously agreed to buy me the love bouquet two tone charm that was on my pandora wish list. He bought it in its original price of $45. I was able to save 2,500 pesos since they sell it here for 4,500. The love bouquet charm is pretty special as it  reminds me of  my husband’s one special act of love a few weeks before he died. He gave me a big bouquet of long stemmed roses for the first time on my birthday. The love bouquet will always remind me of that.

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Pandora charm collection can be addicting I tell you. To make it worth your money and to make the charm collection pretty special, buy only charms that hold a lot meaning for you. Save up for that one or two special charms that will remind you of that memorable trip you took, that important milestone you completed or that special person in your life. If you have relatives going to the States, ask them to buy the charm that you want.  Beg, cajole, bribe them if you have too! Haha! Believe me you will save a lot of money since the silver, murano, and two tone charms are cheaper there.

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For now, I am saving for the frog prince charm.  I have a penchant for kermit the frog and my husband used to indulged my addiction. He will always be my own frog prince. And I also like to have the cute little girl dangling charm that reminds me so much of my daughter.

If you want to express how you cherish the moments you had with your loved one or remember the unforgettable moments you had with them in a special way, say it with charms. Start your Pandora collection now.

Pandora Stores can be found in Fiesta Mall, Greenbelt 5, Resorts World, and BGC. To view the latest Pandora collection, you may visit http://pandora.net

Happy Teacher’s Day

It’s World Teacher’s Day. I woke up totally stoked. I secretly knew that my class was preparing something for me for days now and true enough, they had a little surprise waiting for me this morning. In my class today, I was Miss World complete with a sash and a crown. It was too cute!

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Actually I received the best teacher’s day gift earlier this week. My class was awarded the Most Organized Class among all the Grade 3 classes.

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I am totally over the moon with this award, not so much because we got what every class was working hard for but because it assures me that what I am actually doing have an impact on others.  To be able to push, inspire, and encourage my girls to be at their very best in whatever tasks they do in and outside of our classroom.  To teach them to do everything with love and enthusiasm.  To inspire them to always strive for excellence.  I mean this are what I try to do everyday as a teacher and knowing that somehow I am successful at it makes me feel pretty good and proud of  myself.

I’ve always said that teaching has been some sort of a happy accident for me. But then, as what Deepk Chopra would say, “There are no accidents…there is only some purpose that we haven’t yet understood.” I understand that now, I am here because I am called to change the world one student at a time. 🙂

To my fellow teachers, Happy Teacher’s Day!

Care to Share

I have always been very vocal about my support for anything handmade. I am a great fan of the creative minds and hands behind them. Recently, my friend Irene’s amigurumi dolls caught my attention not only because she did a wonderful job crocheting eleven of them but also because of her purpose in creating them. You see, these dolls were created to support the “I Share. You Share. We Care” project of her brother-in law, Gerry Lita. They represent the eleven beneficiary kids of the project. Here are some of them.

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I Share has been partially supporting the schooling of eleven kids from a marginal community in Cabuyao, Laguna for the past two years now.  I  Share provides them with complete sets of school supplies for the year including school uniforms and a small amount of at least 500 monthly for their snacks and other school needs. To date, it still continues to do so.  Sad  part though is it is running low on funds. These amigurumi dolls were lovingly created in the hope that it will help generate the funds needed to support and sustain the cause. Those who will make a pledge in kind or in cash, wether on a one time, monthly or quarterly basis in exchange will get one of the dolls.

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I always believe that it really doesn’t take much on our part to change the world. And that our actions need not be grand as well for it to be considered life changing. In fact, our little concerted efforts and actions can do the trick. As simple as sharing your extras to help others and living up to the teaching of 2 Cor 9:7-8 can make a difference already.

In case you want to step up and help, you may send me a note at blancnotes@yahoo.com or pm  I Share at their facebook page here. Everyday we spend a lot on little stuffs that give us quick dose of happiness like a box of insanely expensive J. Co Donuts and Starbucks coffee. We get googly eyes when we see expensive designer bags, clothes, and shoes.  We don’t even think twice in buying them. If we can afford such luxury I guess we can afford to help one child stay in school as well. We’re not asking for much, whatever you can give as long as it comes from your heart will do. Believe me, it will not only give you quick dose happiness but a lifetime supply of blessings as well.

Batu Caves, Malaysia

I know most you have already made plans for the summer but just in case you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I know just the place you can go to if you like temples/religious historical site.

When my daughter and I found ourselves in KL last month, I made sure that we got to visit the popular Batu Caves which is located just north of the city. It is a good 30-45 minutes ride from our hotel, The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.

It is a limestone hill which is made up of a series of caves. It got its name from the Sungai or Batu River which flows past it. It is one of the most popular  Hindu shrines outside India and is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Murugan.  It is also the focal point of  the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam  which happens during the months of January/February.

The world’s tallest statue of Murugan, who was a Hindu deity, is located outside Batu Caves. This imposing statue is said to have cost 24 million rupees.

Batu Caves rises 100 meters above the ground and is composed of 3 main caves and a few smaller ones. Visitors must climb the 272 steps to reach the top.  My daughter and I were deadset on reaching the summit despite our fear of the macaque monkeys who happened to be everywhere as it is believed that the Gods grant the prayers of those who pay respect at the Hindu shrines on top.

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There is not that much to see aside from the golden statue or the hindu shrines on top so at the most you can see everything here in an hour. The place is relatively well kept.  I suggest that if you plan to  visit Batu Caves do it in the early morning like 8 or 9 am as it tends get really hot by mid morning to noon. It is a captivating site but like I said monkeys are everywhere so make sure not to carry plastics with you and keep away your sunglasses as they are said to be well trained to snatch these away.

Batu Caves can be easily reached by commuter bus available at KL Central Station.

 

 

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