Photographs of our daughters, once a week, every week, in 2014. Week 11.
11/52: The four of us, back in the place where this whole journey began.
One Saturday afternoon in March, my husband and I took the twins with us to a wedding at Fernbrook Gardens in Alabang. The wedding was beautiful, and my husband was reunited with some of his friends from New York who were here for the wedding too. What can I say, it’s always good to reunite with old friends and to revisit old places.
Meanwhile, the girls totally loved running around the place! There was so much space for them to explore, new things to see. And in typical mommy-and-daddy-of-twins fashion, we followed them around (often in opposite directions), pulled them here, carried them there, wiped their dirty hands and knees while the ceremony was happening. Anything, as long as you’re happy, darlings.
A nice cool breeze accompanied the golden hour; making it the perfect time to take photographs and to just.. bask in the love and the memories of that place. I longed to tell Dawn & Rain stories of that day, except of course they wouldn’t understand or remember a thing. At least not yet.
It was the same venue of our wedding, almost 3 years ago, and for the first time since then, we’re back.
We’ve come full circle. Wow.
How do you handle days like this? It’s one of those days you wish you could just step back and watch your life from afar, rewind and replay over and over again. I was just getting married here! How did it all go so fast?
Fernbrook Gardens to me will always be a place where dreams happen.Once we were just standing there, committing our lives to each other before God and our loved ones. And suddenly we’re back with these two little girls who happen to be the greatest validation of the decision we made 3 years ago. What a milestone! I’m glad I took lots of photographs. This one’s definitely for keeps.
More about Project 52 here. View all posts in this blog series here.
I’ve been down with the flu the past week. It was horrible. To start with, I can’t remember coughing as much and as hard in my life! It was painful, and I was sleepless for days. On top of the on-and-off fever, the headaches, and the horrible coughing, I was so worried about transmitting my virus to the twins. So I subjected myself to a pseudo-quarantine, sleeping in the couch for 4 consecutive nights to lessen my exposure with them.
Fever, headaches, incessant coughing, lack of sleep, a hospital trip and a blood test, plus muscle pains (and lonely nights!) from sleeping in the couch.. I’m just grateful that it’s over now.
Last week, I held on to this verse like a lifeline:
It may have been the worst week ever, but it’s times like this that you get a better appreciation of things you otherwise take for granted, like good health, and a husband who takes care of you, and antibodies that protect your babies from viruses, and back rubs, and lemon juice, and cough syrup.
Last week probably holds the record also for being the longest time I was away from my laptop and my iphone. Everyone who knows me can attest to me being glued to my laptop most times, but last week, my head would feel like it was going to explode every time I tried to sit down in front of my desk. My eyes just couldn’t stand the sight of a bright computer screen.
I’m so blessed (again, things that normally get taken for granted) to have a super understanding boss, and the most understanding of colleagues and clients, for letting me get away with missed deadlines last week. I promise to catch up on work this week, y’all.
One other thing I realized this week is how low my resistance is to viruses. Everyone else in this house managed to fight the virus, including my husband who took care of me the whole time, and the twins who are supposedly more susceptible to viruses than I am. The realization makes me want to be better at staying healthy and taking care of my body, and resting when I need to rest. Some lessons had to be learned the hard way.
Finally, it’s times when you find yourself at the end of your strength that you feel God’s strength take over. It’s a humbling experience, to be rendered weak when you’ve always thought you’re strong.
Whatever situation you are right now, whether you’re physically sick or emotionally weak, always remember that our strength can only take us so far, but God’s strength is eternal and powerful. We only have to hold on to Him.
May 2005. I just graduated from the University—no job, no money, no bank account even. All I had were big dreams, loads of optimism and a burning desire to make my dreams happen.
One afternoon, Lola handed me Php1,000 as an advanced birthday gift. I was elated! Php1,000 was not a small amount in 2005, and it was just so random that Lola would think of giving me money. A great cook, Lola’s usual birthday gifts to us were something edible, not monetary.
I knew exactly where to spend Lola’s gift. Long story short, it was the money I used to apply for my first ever passport. Mom and Dad didn’t even know that I was applying for one. (You can read the long story here.)
Lola never found out how big of an answered prayer she was to me at that time, or how important her role was in making some of my greatest dreams come true. Her gift took me places, and I’ll forever be grateful for being a recipient of her love and generosity.
March 2012. My husband and I got the surprise of our life when we found out we were having twins. I never expected it, never prayed for it, never crossed my mind. We didn’t know we had twins in the family, and while it was undoubtedly God’s hand that made it happen, we Google-d and analyzed for days how it was biologically possible that we conceived twins.
Lola and my Dad are now home in heaven, but they left me probably the greatest inheritance they could ever give me: This twin-bearing genes I carry, which gave me Dawn & Rain. In essence, a part of them lives on in my daughters, and someday Dawn & Rain will know that they came from a line of generous, kind, twin-bearing, Jesus-loving people.
A life well lived
This past week was a time of mourning and rejoicing at the same time. My Lola passed away Sunday morning, in her sleep, just like she wanted.
You know, some of the greatest surprises in life are the stories you hear about a person after she has passed away. Good or bad, it’s like getting to know the person in a whole new different light, and you wish there’s more time for you to get to know her even more. We heard a lot of stories about Lola this week from people whose lives she touched, and I couldn’t help but feel sooo proud and blessed that she is my Lola.
She would have been 90 years old today. I will always miss her, but Lola’s life ended the way it should—people praising the Lord for a life well lived, celebrating the happy memories she left behind, and rejoicing for the lives that were changed because of her.
Thank you, Lola, for my passport money. And for Dawn & Rain. And for being instrumental to making some of my greatest dreams come true, even the ones I didn’t know I had.
I’m still totally smitten about this set of photos we took during our church‘s 40th anniversary. It was a special day, and I’m sure many people will remember this day with deep gratitude in their hearts, blessed to be a part of SBCC at such a time as this.
I myself am blessed to belong to this church for the past 30 years (that’s right, since birth); to have seen her grow to what she is now, to have grown with her, and through her. (Check out also my posts when SBCC turned 38, and 39.)
Aside from a few shots with Pacman, I realized I didn’t take a lot of pictures this year. I’ve always been the picture-hoarder type of person, making sure I was present in every group shot, or, that I got a picture taken with everyone. I guess that’s the memory-keeper in me, always finding ways to remember people, events, moments.
This year, we only took a handful of pictures but I’m happy with my remembrances. This is exactly how I want to remember SBCC’s 40th year: Celebrating God’s faithfulness with family. The family I was born in, this little family of four that God has so generously blessed me with, and my little spiritual family—these girls I disciple—whose lives have been such a blessing to me this year.
How about you? When was the last time you took a picture with your family? Do you treasure those photographs too?
It’s Sunday afternoon and it’s that moment when you start to wonder, where has the weekend gone? I know where mine went. It went to a place where time is irrelevant, me-time plans are given up to expend yourself for others, and hours fly by because you just never run out of things to do!
When I was single, weekends were for shopping, watching movies, meeting up with friends, going out of town, sleeping over a girl friend’s house, and staying up late. When I got married, D & I would watch last full shows or dine out on Friday nights, oversleep on Saturday mornings, and do whatever we feel like doing the rest of the day.
Oh how much has changed since then.
This particular weekend, the days seemed to have blended into each other, leaving me with a blurry recollection of things that made up my weekend—grocery shopping, cooking for and hosting a birthday lunch party for my brother, cleaning up the after-party mess, cleaning up the house, cleaning up the bedroom, endless Despicable Me marathons, nap times, playing forts, bed time stories, and sneaking in a “grown up” movie while the babies were asleep (we finally got to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire!) in lieu of a date night.
Seriously, I can’t even remember having opened my laptop the whole weekend. Except last night when everyone had gone to sleep, and I had to whip up a quick article for work. Even the last hour of my day was not for myself.
Today, the girls and I missed our Sunday worship. There’s some measles virus going around and my husband and I thought it best to put the twins on a temporary isolation. Just the same, in the quietness of our little home this morning, God’s message to me was to keep a spirit of gentleness, especially in times when I feel worn out and on the verge of losing it. I’ll never stop being amazed at how God knows exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.
I don’t know what my point is for this post, really. I just know that this weekend has left me feeling tired and wishing for an extended day of rest, and yet, I wouldn’t say that my weekend was wasted either.
How do you explain this feeling, anyway? I feel like there isn’t a word to describe this. I never felt this before I became a Mom. It’s like, you know you’ve set aside things that make you happy, in exchange for things that are more important and more meaningful, and while a part of you is frustrated over not being able do what you want to do, you know that your choice made you, surprisingly, happier. Anyone know what I’m saying?
We’re on Day 15 of our 21 Day Prayer and Fasting, and at this point I’m feeling very weak and tempted to devour the chocolates in the ref already! Chocolates and sweets are my greatest weakness, so are my worries and fears, so I decided to give those up along with food, taking only juices and soup, in order to hear God’s voice clearer during these 21 days.
And you know what? It feels good to be vulnerable. To be stripped off these things that give me comfort (yes, worrying comforts me the same way chocolates do) and allow God to speak to me and mold me during this time of inconvenience.
The lyrics of this song captures the prayer of my heart this 2014. Every now and then this song would play in my mind, and I’m immediately brought to a place of rest and profound assurance.
Oceans by Hillsong. Listen. You’ll love it, promise.
To be truly honest, I’m not sure if I ever stopped being a coward. I may have taken bigger leaps and bolder steps these past couple of years, but sometimes it feels like the coward in me is still lurking somewhere inside my chest ready to jump out every time I’m on a crossroad.
And yet, here I am, committing myself to a life of passion this year, something I couldn’t possibly live up to unless I let go of my fears and stop being a coward.
God is teaching me to let Him be God
You see, we thought we got pregnant at the start of this year. My period was 3 days delayed, and 3 days may sound a little too paranoid for you, but not to us. I never miss my period. Never. It always comes on the dot, and the last time I missed it, we found out the very next day that I was pregnant.
That’s not to say that we don’t want another baby (babies!), we actually do. It’s just that, we don’t feel like we’re ready at the moment. We worry about the financial, physical, and emotional preparations we have to go through, to think we haven’t fully recovered yet from birthing twins. We decided to wait maybe another year before having baby #3.
I know that may be too much info to divulge, but I find the need to share an important lesson that took me about 72 hours of delayed period to learn. I needed to learn to let Him be God. To allow Him to hold my timetable, and to leave it to Him to decide whether I’m ready for another pregnancy or not. My readiness is not my call but His; my job is to simply trust that He knows what He’s doing and His timing is perfect.
Long story short, I got my period the following day. My husband and I sighed in relief not because I wasn’t pregnant, nope, but because I knew that I got the lesson I needed to learn.
15 Days down, 6 More to Go
We’re sprinting towards the finish line of our 21 Day Prayer and Fasting. A part of me does not want this to end yet, but the other half of me is excited to celebrate milestones and answered prayers, and to receive clarity on important decisions we have to make as a family this year. God is going to make things happen in my life this 2014, and I’m confident that He will make me stronger and wiser in the process.
Free Mobile Wallpaper: Oceans by Hillsong
I made myself a mobile wallpaper with the lyrics of the song to put on my iPhone because I wanted to be reminded at all times. And while I was at it, I thought you might want to use it too. :)
To download, right click on the link and click Save: Ipad | Iphone 4 | Iphone 5. (Sorry, I’m an Apple person!)
I’ve been making lists my whole life—on paper, in digital notepads and Word documents, even in my head. I find that making lists makes me more organized and productive, which allows me to accomplish more. This year is no exception. Somewhere on the pages of my journal I wrote down my dreams and goals for 2014, and if I would sum up in one word how I want 2014 to look like it’s got to be this word: passion.
It’s a scary word to use, I know. Passion is such a heavy word, and it scares me that I may not be able to live up to it. Ohhh but I’m ready.
This year is going to be the year I will pursue what I’m passionate about, in the same way I will rekindle my passion for what I already have.
Embracing new passions and chasing new dreams
The truth is, for the past 3 years I feel like I’ve given up some of the things I’m passionate about: Travel, photography, gadgets, collecting pretty things, adventures. The other thing I’ve given up is my disposable income, which is not exactly a “passion”, but something that funds my passions. Being a mother now and raising a family, I have to be purposeful in the way I use time and money, and my “passions” have to take the backseat. No more travels, no more impulsive splurges, no more unnecessary spending.
But hey, how can I complain about losing so much when I’ve gained so much more? And then it hit me. It’s not that I’ve given up my passions. It’s more like, the things I’m passionate about changed for the better. And surely I wouldn’t trade what I have now with what I used to have.
Soon as I wrapped my head around that obvious truth, it became easier to focus on what matters most, and to know what I’m truly passionate about. Everything else I desire to do is hinged on those important things.
My husband and I are on day 4 of a 21 day fast right now. Yesterday as we were talking about our vision for this year, my eyes were suddenly brimming with tears. Happy tears. Expectant tears. Tears that come out from eyes that have seen in the past how God can make impossible things happen. Tears that bring forth clarity and assurance that God can make things happen again.
This is the year that I am going rekindle my passion for everything that God calls me to do. This is the year that I will pursue the things that make me restless at night, things that wake me up early in the morning eager to start the day. Anything short of that is not good enough.