Whenever I feel sad about my life, I ask God to give me a good reason to smile. And it never fails, being the great cheerleader that He is, He sends out the most outrageous perk me ups. No husband to talk to at night, He gave me a free iPad. Feeling the blues on my first Valentines’ day alone, He sent Bianca and I packing for an all expense paid trip with pocket money to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Missing having someone who makes me feel beautiful, He had me walking the runaway at a fashion launch abroad and had us featured in a magazine too (nevermind if I am a scoliotic case with a back hump the size of Mt. Everest and pimple marks resembling the craters of the moon). Wanting to do more and be more, He had my writing career in full swing. Dreading the empty days ahead, He instantly sends either crazy conflicts or crazy friends to occupy my time. And my list can just go on and on…Amazing how God has gone to great lengths just to see me smile and laugh again. Yes life has been unkind these past two years but God more than makes up for it. He sends out positive vibes my way all the time so that in the end, I can see clearly that the good far outweighs the bad, always.
Last Saturday, I met a fellow widow in a gathering. When she learned about my own status, she pulled me aside to engage me in a conversation. She immediately asked me, “Nung nililibing na ba ang asawa mo, nafeel mo ba yung gusto mo na ding mamatay, yung tipong gusto mo ng tumalon at sumama sa hukay?” I was so surprised with her question, I only managed to look at her in horror and say, “Noooooo!” a little forcefully. She seemed disappointed with my answer and so she tried another one, “Me days ba na parang ayaw mo na bumangon at harapin ang mundo kasi wala na sya.” This time, I really cannot help it, I gave out a laugh. She looked at me miserably and jokingly said, “Siguro di mo mahal na mahal ang asawa mo no kasi tuwang tuwa ka pa dyan!” Now, that had me doubled up in laughter. Maybe I became a little insensitive with my reaction back there but I was thinking, someday she’ll look back at everything that’s happened and be able to smile, that’s what grace do to you. Anyway, no, I didn’t die a thousand death when Nan passed away or even wished that it was me istead of him (hehe) who died. What happened in fact was quite the opposite, I felt the need to get more out of life, to live it more fully after he died. It is because I realized, I want to live life the way Nan did. I want more time to, like him, love deeply, give freely, and live with gratitude completely.
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.
To know more about our story, please grab a copy. It is available in National Bookstore, Book Sale, Watsons, and Ministop stores.
“Brothers and sisters, you call upon a Father who makes no distinction between persons, but judges, according to each deeds; take seriously, then, these years which you spend in a strange land.”
I remember years ago, I had this Grade 1 mentee who came up to me and whispered conspiratorially, “Mrs. Dela Cruz, did you know that doing good deeds is the easiest way to get to heaven?” I couldn’t help but play along and so I whispered back, “Really, so what good deeds have you done so far?” To my surprise, she straightened up, looked at me squarely in the eye and announced triumphantly, “I’ve decided that I’m going to heaven the hard way!” And with that she left me in a huff laughing helplessly after her. My friend and I have a challenge between ourselves, that is to do at least one unique, definitely not the usual, really-go-out-of-your-way kind of good deed everyday. Honestly it was quite hard to do at first especially when your instinct tells you to do otherwise but surprisingly, I realized it is possible. It is just a matter of training the heart, hands, and mind.
“Give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”
I can still remember clearly the day the doctor called me to his office to break the news that Bianca’s lump was positive for malignancy. I was in daze the whole day. Later that night I found myself crying to the Lord not because I was scared that Bianca might die of cancer (because I know she will not) but because I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able raise the money needed to put her in surgery asap as what the doctor advised. Our health insurance didn’t cover the cost of all the medical tests she had to do prior to surgery and this has left me financially drained. But of course the Lord, amazing that He is, responded instantly by sending forth His band of mighty angels in the form of friends and relatives to help me make sure Bianca receives the best medical care. In a span of five days I was able to raise more than enough money to cover not just the surgery but the radioactive treatment and all the others tests that folllowed as well. Relatives, close friends, and people I’ve met during the course of my work as a teacher in Woodrose generously offered their support and expert services. Though I know that God clearly had a hand in all this, I would still like to think that these people readily extended their help because at some point I have given them something of myself too, probably my time, attention, affection, or service and that they are simply returning back kindness for kindness. And as a recipient of such abundant generosity and blessings, this time around I will have to pay it forward too by doing the same good deeds to others so the cycle will continue.
“The woman saw that the fruit was good to eat, and pleasant to the eyes,and ideal for gaining knowledge. She took it’s fruit and ate it and gave some to her husband who was with her. He ate it.”
How clever and cunning is the devil, he knew exactly the influence Eve has over Adam so he got to her first. This only goes to show the important role that the wife or mother plays in the spiritual formation of the family. Let us pray everyday for emotional resiliency and spiritual tenacity so that we, women, can perform our responsibilty of bringing our family closer to the Lord well. May we continue to grow into mighty women of faith with the grace and love of Our Father so that we can overcome temptation and bring our family to heaven with our loving words and actions.
Gospel Reflection: “If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me.”
Reading the gospel today reminds me of the late Fr. Lisa, Paref Woodrose’s chaplain of many years. He used to say, “With joy, not a single day without cross.” St. Josemaria Escriva explained as, a day without a cross is a day without God. Our own cross that we bear everyday with so much strength, grace, and dignity is what will keep us close to the Father. And as we carry our cross well and as we offer it up to the Him, you will be surprised at just how easily His own cross takes it all. You will be amazed at such healing and abundant blessings that He will give us for it in return. So lets take up our cross without thinking and without complaints, and bear its burden so that others who will see and know about it will learn about God’s love and mercy as well.
Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow you.”
I understand why a lot of people choose not to follow the Lord. It is because the path that leads to Him in heaven is not always easy to take. We take different paths to get to the Lord, some will have it easy at the beginning while some will have it hard. Either way it will definitely take a lot from us. We often talk about finding our purpose in life, well for me it is actually this, to follow where the Lord will lead us, which is in all cases, to heaven. In the course of following the Lord, He will ask us to use or give up what we are, where we are, who we are, what we have, who we have in order bring ourselves closer to Him in heaven. So, being God’s follower is not for the soft hearted, faint hearted, or weak hearted, it is only for the faith-hearted. If there’s one thing we should work on, it is to develop a heart filled with faith so that following Him will eventually be less of a struggle but more of a joy.
I was at The Proactiv Kiosk at Glorietta 2 last weekend to personally consult with a Proactiv Skin Care Advisor. I heard that Proactiv recently launched a Skin Care Advisorship program whose main objective is to provide customers with the best information on acne care. Skin Care Advisors are technically sales representatives who have undergone training using the module created by Proactiv founders themselves, Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields. Unlike ordinary sales personnel or promodisers, Skin Care Advisors are trained to offer free acne care advice and after-sales support. They are all knowledgeable and well informed about Acne and Proactiv.
The Skin Care Advisor I consulted with gave me one on one guidance on how to best use the Proactiv products that I already have aside from the three step combination therapy. The Skin Care Advisor explained to me how the Daily Oil Control, Moisturizer, and Refining Mask work to target my acne problem with proper use. Turned out I am not using them well to my advantage. She also gave me tips on how to prevent my pores from clogging so I wouldn’t have to deal with zits as much. I am happy to note that it sure was a pleasurable experience consulting with the Proactiv Skin Care Advisor.
If I were you, I wouldn’t miss this chance. The Skin Care Advisors are deployed at selected Watson Stores and Proactiv Mall Kiosk im Trinoma, Glorietta 2 and Marquee Mall. Come visit them soon, they will be happy to assist you.
I know this post comes late for christmas shoppers out there but for some people like me whose family and friends like to schedule get togethers and do exchange gifts right after christmas, you will still find this post useful.
I like shopping for gifts after christmas because I hate rushing to find things to give to my loved ones. I like to take it slow and easy when shopping for gifts and what better way to do it than right after christmas when all the hype has died down. Besides, I love how post christmas shopping brings forth the best that each store has to offer. Plus they bring out the good ones and put red tags on them too. (*wink*wink)
Post christmas brought me to Fab Manila’s new stand alone store in ATC. I just love how Fab Manila has kept all things nice and pretty in their store over the years. I usually linger a wee bit too long when I’m there. At 35, I haven’t really gotten over my love for floral, pastel, and prints.
They have cute coin purses, pencil cases, bags, desk organizers, boxes etc. that left me gushing like a teenager. I suggest you go here for some last minute gift shopping or self-indulgence, you’ll love it. My daughter who had some christmas money to spend went home with this uber chic sling. Perfect with jeans and casuals.
As we all know, Fab Manila is known to produce well crafted bags, travel accessories and organizers. Each design is a celebration of all things feminine and beautiful. It has managed to artistically combine pretty fabrics, unique textures, and fresh colors in each of its product. There’s always that touch of whimsy, dash of fancy, smidgen of cheer and good dose of fun to an otherwise plain and ordinary piece of bag or accessory.
Fab Manila is the brain child of sisters and travel buddies, Jen and Shiela. Their love and passion for all things pretty extend to every product line they make. Each product is a celebration of uniqueness, femininity and creativity. The way they have seamlessly fuse their love and passion for travel and art to create products that are functional yet fashionable, and practical yet pretty. And the way they have successfully showcased Filipino talent at its finest by producing products of excellent taste and quality, truly worthy of the tag Proudly Philippine Made is indeed remarkable.
And now on to the best part, Fab Manila and Blancnotes are giving away these pretty Fab Manila items to one lucky instagram follower of Blancnotes and Fab Manila. Simply follow @blancnotes and @fabmanila in instagram, repost the fabmanila giveaway picture there, tag 3 of your friends, and use the hashtag #blancnotesfabmanilagiveaway. Contest ends Dec. 31.