TBR Dream Marathon: Day 5

My friend’s text to me this morning was, “Blancs! Did you know that Manila to Malolos is 38kms? Mas malayo pa yun run mo sa Sunday! ? Oh my gosh!” I never really thought of it that way. I never really map out how far 42 km. is. All this time, to me, it is just a number. Four 10 km and an extra two. Sometimes I measure it by time, 6 to 7 hours on the road. But to really see how far it is from the starting to end point, I’ve never really done that. It is because I do not want to start questioning and doubting myself. I don’t want a whole stretch of road. I want to take it by minutes and hours with the Lord. I do not want to focus on the destination but the journey because I know if I do it that way, I will surely get me to the finish line.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 4

Since it’s Ash Wednesday today, I wholeheartedly did fasting and abstinence as required by the Catholic Church. In fact, I was looking forward to it since I wanted to please the Lord in whatever way I can. I ate light breakfast and snacks, and was really planning my full meal for dinner. But then this afternoon on the way home, I started to feel my body getting weak and I was sweating cold. I was having hypoglycemia attack. I frantically searched for a candy in my bag but didn’t find any. Good thing I was able to drive myself to the nearest convenient store to grab some sweets.
Of course this set the stress button on again. I kept thinking, how can you survive a 42 km run when your body is acting like this? I was asking myself, are you sure you can handle it? It took a while for me to realize that it was fear and self-doubt talking. Of course I will finish the race, I have a good nutritional plan before and during the race day. And no doubt about it, I can handle it because I have trained my body for this rigorous activity for months. I am healthy, I am strong, and I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 3

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9)
How can I ever doubt if I can accomplish everything that the Lord set before me when He has already ensured my victory even before he birthed the dream inside me. When He promised a life made victorious on the cross, He wasn’t joking. He is faithful to His Word. As long as I do my part and place my complete trust in Him even if the task seem impossible, He will make it happen. He will bring my goal, my hopes and my dream to fruition.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 2

It was a wise decision to grab the book, I Declare by Joel Osteen, from the rack last week when Scholastic came to hold a Book Fair in our school. It is the perfect motivational book for someone like me who is about to pursue her dream of finishing a full marathon.
I am in Day 4 of the book and it reads, “I declare that it is not too late to accomplish everything God has set in my heart. I have not missed my window of opportunity. God has moments of favor in my future. He is preparing me right now because He is about to release a special grace to help me accomplish that dream. This is my time. This is my moment. I receive it today! This is my declaration.”
Such beautiful words. It reminded me of why I am pursuing this dream. It is because I want to bring to fullfillment exactly what the Lord wants me to be—strong, determined, and victorious. Indeed, I am going to stay passionate about what God put in my heart and I will accomplish everything that God placed in my heart.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 1

On Sunday, I will be running my first full marathon under the TBR Dream Marathon. To say that I am a bundle of nerves right now is to put it mildly. My stomach is full of butterflies and my body is riddled with tension everytime I think about how I might not finish the race, become injured, or get sick days before the race day. I’m driving myself nuts, I know. It suddenly hit me this evening that the biggest obstacle to our dream is really our own self.
When self-doubts and negativity start invading my thoughts, I try my best to stop them by reminding myself how badly I wanted to bag this 42 in the first place and how I have worked hard for this. I think about how the Lord has birthed and planted this desire inside me and how He has been greatly helping me inch my way closer to this dream these past months.
I really shouldn’t worry too much because I have His favor. God’s grace will help me make it to the finish line. He has seen me through the worst these past two years, from the death of my husband to my daughter and I’s battle with cancer. He has never once failed me before, and I know that He is not about to start now. I will make it to the finish line, we will cross it together, me and My God.

Nicole Scherzinger Sizzles as Proactiv's New Endorser

When my daughter Bianca was about 6 years old, she and her bestfriend, Kyla. went crazy over Pussycat Dolls, the girl group who made a big hit out of pop songs, Dont Cha, When I Grow Up, and Stick With You. They would sing and dance along with their music videos and would even (face on palm) dress like them. I remember her particularly gushing over how beautiful Nicole Scherzinger is that I had to go to google to find out how she actually look like. I must agree that she really is a beauty. Although my daughter has already outgrew the Pussycat Dolls, her face still lit up with excitement when she hear some good news about them especially if it’s about Nicole. In fact, she was thrilled when she learned that Nicole is the new endorser of Proactiv.

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Some of you might be wondering who Nicole is. Well, let me tell you that she is of Filipino/Hawaiian/Russian descent. As success stories go, her rise to fame wasn’t that smooth and easy. She was raised in a modest household by her mom and German-American stepfather. Her humble beginning didn’t deter her from pursuing her ambition to become a successful singer. She exploded into the pop scene as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls before embarking on a solo career as a recording artist, selling a total of 60 million records. And as if these weren’t enough, she also has film experience, won Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars and was a judge at the UK and US editions of The X Factor.
Though blessed with beauty and glowing skin, she shared that it wasn’t always quite like that, “I feel like in my line of work, I’m always under the microscope. It’s quite traumatic when you have an acne breakout and blemishes because you wake up and you’re hoping that your face is clear,” she confessed. Fortunately for her, she has found a beauty ally in Proactiv. She related, “I found Proactiv through a friend in my band. She had really bad breakouts and blemishes that it scarred her skin. She discovered Proactiv, and it’s just amazing how she’s blossomed.” It is because of this that she instantly became a Proactiv convert.
“They say that the eyes are the windows to our souls, right? But when you have an acne breakout, nobody’s looking at your eyes. They’re looking at your appearance. But when you get clear, they can see you for who you really are,” Nicole says. “With Proactiv, I’m empowered now. I can hold my head up higher. I can smile bigger. And I can put the energy on other people.”
Proactiv is Nicole’s beauty product of choice over other acne medication because the benzoyl peroxide formulation found in Proactiv’s 3-Step System works safely and more effectively than other products claiming to have benzoyl peroxide in the market. The Proactiv Combination Therapy acne management system combines finely-milled, prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide with sulfur and soothing botanicals like allantoin, panthenol, aloe and chamomile. Together these ingredients gently exfoliate your skin, unplug your pores, attack acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation.
Here is what Nicole Scherzinger, certified beauty icon, wants you to know about Proactiv: “What would I say to somebody who has gone through breakouts and blemishes? That there’s hope. That you can take control. That you can do it. That you can change. Proactiv gives you clear skin. It gives you clarity of mind and self and spirit. I would say that you can take charge of your life again. You can be empowered. You can be who you are meant to be.”
Proactiv Solution is available at all Watsons and SM Department Stores (Beauty Section) nationwide.

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.

Educating The Mind and The Heart The Paref Woodrose Way

“There, the child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was with him.”
It was when I became a mother that the decision to teach began forming in my mind. I wanted a job that would allow me to spend as much time as I can with my baby. I figured with shorter work hours and paid vacation, teaching was the perfect job for me. So teaching was more of a calculated move rather than an inspired decision. At the start, I told myself that I have to choose an institution where I would eventually want Bianca to study so everytime I’d go for job interviews before, I ended up asking more questions about the school than the interviewer herself. I accepted Growing Place Pre-school’s offer. It is smaller than Casa Montessori Internationale and less popular than Elizabeth Seaton but more homey and progressive, perfect for Bianca I thought. The following year, I enrolled Bianca in Nursery. That was where she bloomed and where I first fell in love with teaching.
It was when she was in Pre-Kinder that I started scouting for big schools where I can teach. Between Southville International, De La Salle Zobel, Seaton, and Woodrose, I chose the later because of its personal formation. I want a school that gives strong emphasis on family and values formation, I found that in Woodrose. A year after I joined the faculty, I enrolled Bianca in Grade 1.
When friends ask me how I managed to raise a well-adjusted, cheerful, and resilient kid, I always tell them most of the credit go to Woodrose. Our mediocre parenting is nothing compared to the doctrinal and personal formations that the school provides. In our family we taught her love and respect for others, in Woodrose she learned empathy and a much deeper sense of caring and responsibility towards others. We introduced her to our faith but it is really Woodrose that deepened her love for our faith.
I appreciated the Woodrose education all the more when my husband, Nan, passed away two years ago and when Bianca was battling with cancer. During those difficult times, her strength of character and steadfast love for God never wavered. In fact, between the two of us, she was the epitome of amazing strength and grace. I can never credit my genes or emotional parenting for that. I often tell this to parents deciding where to put their child: our children will spend most of their time in school so we have to choose the one where we can feel God’s presence the most.

Be Stress-Free and Acne-Free Christmas

It’s that most wonderful stressful time of the year again. Yup, you read it right! Christmas, the holidays, is synonymous to S-T-R-E-S-S. But wait, before you condemned me to grinchdom, let me explain myself. Christmas is all kind of stress. Good stress what with all the excitement brought about by christmas shopping, family reunions, gift giving, etc. and well, bad stress due to traffic, christmas rush, tying loose ends before closing the year, and scrambling to finish the work week before going on vacation! Let me tell you that both good and bad stress may aggravate Acne.
How’s so? You might ask. Well, the increased levels of stress stimulate the body’s production of various hormones and trigger different changes in the skin. Sometimes it causes the skin oils to become more viscous making you more acne prone. Stress also reduces your body’s natural immune defense. As a result, your skin doesn’t fight off bacteria build-up as well as when your body is out of stress. When these happen, we become more prone to breakouts. Acne begins when oil collects at the base of the hair follicle and becomes trapped by dead skin cells. Bacteria flourish, form a plug and swell beneath the skin. Stress can make acne worse, causing more anxiety, and creating a vicious cycle.
At the risk of sounding such a pimple errr party pooper, here are some tips on how to stay STRESS-FREE this christmas:
1. Get a good night’s rest. There’s nothing like an eight-hour sleep to ward off stress. This will pack you with enough energy for all those endless christmas parties and get-together.
2. Do your christmas shopping early. Saves you the trouble of braving the crowds in the mall and elbowing your way to the long line in the cashier.
3. Carpool to and from work. Traffic is inevitable in this crazy jungle we call home. Make getting stuck in traffic fun by having some good company with you.
4. Focus, focus, focus. The jolly christmas atmosphere at work can prove to be a total distraction. Who wouldn’t want to linger over coffee breaks a bit or check out what gifts your officemates receive? Although it is perfectly alright to get into the christmas spirit, this can cause some delay into our work making you in the end, more stressed to the nth power. Manage your time wisely and do first things first!
5. Use Proactiv Solution Combination Therapy to prevent acne before they begin. Proactiv’s Combination Therapy treats acne and prevents future breakouts. It is a 3-Step System that work together to cleanse your skin, fight the blemishes, help stop new one from forming, and gently heal damaged skin.
Step 1: Renewing Cleanser. This medicated Renewing Cleanser is made with exclusive micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide – featuring smaller, finer particles designed to quickly penetrate pores to start killing acne-causing bacteria on contact. Tiny exfoliating beads gently remove dirt, excess oil and dead skin cells to help keep pores from clogging.
Step 2: Revitalizing Toner. This refreshing, alcohol-free toner helps remove impurities and excess oil so your skin looks and feels clean, soft and refreshed – not tight and dried out. Soothing botanical agents gently balance skin tone.
Step 3: Repairing Treatment. The repairing acne treatment is a feather-light medicated treatment that gets deep into clogged pores faster but is designed to be gentler on the skin. It’s an oil-free formula that’s safe for your entire face.
Bonus: Refining Mask. This rich, deep cleansing mask uses sulfur, a proven acne blemish- fighting ingredient that reaches deep into the pores, heals existing blemishes, pampers inflamed skin, and softens and refines the skin’stexture.
Ongoing PROACTIV Promotion: The Proactiv 60-Day Limited Edition Pack with FREE Proactiv Advanced Daily Oil Control 50ml is available at Watsons and SM Department stores (Beauty Section) nationwide.
So, what are you waiting for. Follow these tips and have very merry stress-free Christmas!:)

Tukod Foundation's Christmas Gift Card

If you are looking for gifts of “great value” or a thoughful way to say you care to your loved ones, consider giving them Tukod Foundation’s christmas gift card. When you purchase one, you will be making a donation in behalf of your loved ones. Proceeds from the sale of these gift cards will help fund the renovation of PGH-CPU (Child Protection Unit), the only child-friendly unit in the Philippines that provides comprehensive medical and psycho-social services to abused children and their families.

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As you know, PGH is close to my heart since my daughter’s surgery there last year. I have witnessed for myself how this medical institution has been striving hard to provide excellent service to our fellow Filipinos despite the little funds that they have. Lets genuinely share and spread real love this christmas by supporting this great cause. For inquiries, you may contact Ms. Bambi Manosa through Ryan Vicente at 0917872519.