You Complete Me

These words became so eminent in the 90’s after Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise confesses his true feelings to Dorothy Boyd, the character played by Renee Zellweger. During that time, single women  including myself shudder at the thought of having someone say the exact same words to us. I mean, who wouldn’t? “You complete me” is the ultimate pick-up line!

That line became so endearing to many hopeless romantics, who wished someday their prince would come. Some of these women admittedly believe finding their one true love would complete their being, their life. I also had the same belief, that only the one person can fill the void in my lonely heart.

I may have shared in a previous post that I grew up with parents who fought a lot. They would argue about almost anything and that left me feeling insecure about their love for me and for my brother. As I grew older, unconsciously I was looking for love all the time. I would seek out new friends and hold on to them for as long as I can. I also looked to boys to find the elusive love I was looking for. I had my list of 101 crushes then and had a boyfriend at age 12. I have kept this relationship from my mom because I knew she would not allow it but it made me feel good at that time.

That relationship did not last long as my family moved to another city. In high school, I also sought other relationships until I met my first serious boyfriend during my senior year. The relationship lasted for almost three years and when it ended I was so devastated. I thought of ways of bringing him back but to no avail.  Just a few months after the break-up, he told me he already had a new girlfriend. That was a slap on my face. There was I was trying to win him back but he was so busy “getting to know” someone else already. It took a long time to finally get over this boy. I seriously thought we were going to end up together. I would picture him asking me to marry him and we will live happily ever after. He would be the one to complete me. Sadly, when the relationship ended, I felt incomplete again.

In each relationship that I had after that made me believe that the guy I was with was “the one”. Unfortunately, they were not. Many years had passed before I met “the one” for me. I met my husband in 2001 and got married the following year. It was a sweet and intimate wedding with family and friends to witness us exchange vows to each other. But soon after the wedding, I still felt incomplete. I began to doubt our relationship and thought that I married the wrong person. When our firs child was about 1-2 years of age, that discontent lingered. I asked myself why is there still that hole in my heart. I thought getting married would solve this predicament but I ended up being unhappy still.

I got reconnected with old friends from high school. They had invited me to join them in their game of badminton. Because I was out of shape that time, I excitedly joined them. We played Wednesday nights and after each game we would catch up on things over coffee. One of the persons in the group was an old flame. Little did I know that my old feelings for this person were coming back. That person was still single at that time and we just connected right away. We would exchange text messages or calls daily and that felt good. I knew the relationship was wrong but I thought, “Isn’t my happiness more important than right or wrong?”

I was talking about it to another friend in the group and I was sharing that I would be willing to leave my husband and go with this person. I also mentioned I didn’t care anymore if my parents or the people around me would hate me for it but I was willing to take the risk because being with this person makes me happy. I was surprised to hear her response, “Fix your marriage first”. I didn’t expect that from her since she was also in the same kind of relationship as I was. Not very long after that conversation, the person I was having an emotional relationship with told me that causing problems in  our marriage was not the intention and that I had be let go if it would ruin the marriage. We ended the relationship. I was rejected.

There I was unhappy with my life. Finding wholeness in other people. Finding completeness in being a mom yet none of them did it for me. I felt lonely, desperate and angry. Until a new couple friend of ours invited my husband and I for a bible study in their home. We agreed to join them every Friday and we went through the Purpose Driven Life. My eyes were opened to the reality that I exist in this world not for myself but for a purpose and that is to glorify God in all I do. I exist for his pleasure not mine and that it’s not all about me but about Him alone. We are recipients of His grace and mercy and instruments of his love.

I realized that the void I had in my  heart for a very long time could only be filled by the love of God. No person, position in life, riches or other tangible things can complete me. Only the Creator, the God of the heavens and the earth can do that. Because it was He who created that void in the first place. He put that there so that in His perfect timing, our longing to be reunited with Him goes hand in hand with His call to repentance.  I surrendered my life to Christ in 2004.

It has been 10 years since that couples’ bible study and my husband and I are continuously seeking the Lord in our lives. We don’t have a perfect marriage but God is fixing it supernaturally. I am still a work in progress but I am stepping out in faith to share what Christ has done in my life and my family. Now I can confidently utter the same words by Jerry Maguire to my God… Lord, you complete me!

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

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Passing on Lessons from Mom

I am the eldest and the only girl in a brood of three. Growing up, my mother would always ask me to do something for her. Whether helping her with the chores or running errands for her. I remember riding my bike to a small mini mart near our place because she asked me to buy milkfish for lunch. Of course, I didn’t get the freshest fish since I was only 9 or 10 and I have no idea what a fresh fish looks like. They all look the same to me, all slimy and…wet. Another time I was to get chayote (sayote) and I ended up getting the more green papaya, which was more expensive than chayote.

Even if she hired household help then I never saw her relax. She would still be cooking, doing other chores and checking what the help is doing. There were times when we don’t have a helper in the house and that’s the time, I would be assisting her most of the time.

I remember would always tell me, “How can you be a good mother if you don’t know how to do household chores?” As a teenager, I don’t like doing chores! I dreaded chores! I would rather listen to my music and write but I have no choice, I have to obey or else 🙂 But as the Bible says, everything turned out for the best.

My homemaker training as a young girl paid off. Now that I have my own family, I can manage without any help at all. I do laundry, clean, cook, homeschool, run errands, and work part time too. I do hire outside help once in a while to do some ironing but other than that, we’re okay. Tired but okay.

Of course, I pass on what I learned to my own kids. Though they can’t do the hard stuff, I have assigned them some tasks to do everyday. Both of the kids need to fix their beds every time they get up in the morning.  They clean up after breakfast and put their dishes in the sink. You have to remind them to do it everyday but their not complaining, thank God! Once in while Coby would wash his own dishes too, since he is the last one to have breakfast.

Jianne, our little girl is being trained as early as now to be a good homemaker. She helps me in the kitchen when I’m preparing dinner. She would wash the vegetables or get other ingredients I need. She wants to help out in the kitchen all the time. In the evenings, while relaxing and watching TV, she would see me fold newly washed clothes. I would put them on the bed and fold them one by one. She would volunteer to fold some clothes too so I taught her how to do it the Martha Stewart way…nah!  She’s a fast learner and now she is the one folding her own undies, shirts and pajamas. What a great help indeed!

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

step 2

step 2

step 3

tada! neatly folded undies :-)

tada! neatly folded undies 🙂

I am grateful that my mom taught me well. I learned how to be a great homemaker because she was my best example. I hope I could pass on the same values to my daughter and that she would imbibe the joy of motherhood too when that time comes.  But of course, I pray that the Lord would direct her to the right path, the right husband and right career. I trust that whatever career God places her in the future, she would not neglect her duties as a mom.

Have you heard of the Proverbs 31 wife? I would like to follow her example of biblical motherhood 🙂

What lessons did you learn from your mom? What lessons are you passing on to your daughters?

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm,     all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax     and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships,     bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;     she provides food for her family     and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it;     out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously;     her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,     and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff     and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor     and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;     for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed;     she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,     where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,     and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;     she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom,     and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;     her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,     but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,     and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31

A Forty-fied Woman

There was no fancy party. Nothing extravagant or out of this world themed celebration for my 40th year on this earth. It was like any other birthday. It was simple day of thanksgiving to God for capping the first 39 of my life with his love and mercy.  Family and best friends remembering my day is something to be thankful for.

Prior to celebrating D-Day,  I was sharing with my husband, Peewee, my thoughts about me turning 40. I was sharing with him some of 40th birthday questions: What will I do the rest of my life? Will I pursue the profession my parents want for me and the one I studied long and hard for? Will I take a different path and follow my passion and hopefully achieve the dream I wanted ever since the writing bug bit me. Or will I venture a different route with my husband and start a small family food business? Unfortunately, we were not able to continue our introspective discussion because we were just to sleepy and tired 🙂 Signs of old age haha

That weekend we had our regularly scheduled Discipleship group (D-group) in church. While doing our regular devotion, our leader asked us what our purpose in life was? Do we have life plan? I was fighting back the tears as he was asking away because I could sense God was impressing something in my heart that I really need to look at. He was using our D-group leaders to initiate a mini retreat for our group where our focus would be on planning our lives.

I never mentioned to our D-group leader nor his wife about my mid-life predicament. But hearing their planned retreat got me excited. I am praying that at the end of this sojourn I would be able to discern what direction the Lord wants me to take. Although, God will not be as specific as I want Him to be by telling me exactly, “You go back to being a dentist” or “Pursue a writing career.” What I know is that He has a wonderful plan for me and a purpose for my existence. I just need to be aware of his leading and follow the path He wants me to take.

I have blogged about my love for writing and sharing my thoughts on paper even at a young age. This is the path I wanted to take when I was younger but I did not get the necessary support I needed then. I was not also given sufficient advice from career counselors who could have suggested other alternatives for me and to top all that, I was only 16 deciding on my future.  And besides, I was too ashamed to show my writings to other people especially my mom, because I was afraid I would be scolded for creating teen love stories at the age of 11.  It was also during this age that my parents were having problems in their marriage, I didn’t want to add to their issues at that time.  So I shelved my writing pen and paper and pursued other things.

But then again, the Lord allowed me to shift to a different course and transfer to another school after a year in college. This time, I just obeyed my mother and followed the direction she wanted for me. I took the course, completed it, took the board exam, passed it and practiced my profession. Since 1998, I was doing the work assigned to me. I was treating patients at my clinic the best way I know how. Through the  years I have received positive feedback from patients but there were also occasions were I knew I was wearing the wrong hat. Overall, I continuously do it because I have to not because I love to do it. I wish I could have the same gusto and passion as my other colleagues have. Unfortunately, I can’t fake passion.

On the other hand, writing brings joy to my soul. Knowing that readers get to hear my story and be blessed by it is enough compensation for this wanna-be-writer-mom. Whether I’m blogging about homeschooling, my kitchen adventures or simply letting others see my life as a mom and a follower of Christ is already a blessing in itself because I know there is one soul that I get to encourage to be the best person they can be for themselves and for God. I am also hoping also that whatever they season in life they are going through, they can always find joy knowing that the God of heaven, the Creator of all things is willing to have an intimate relationship with them.  And that as a mom, a professional, a woman, we all need God. We all need a higher being who is wiser than us to guide us every day of our lives.

I am a fortified woman not because of what I did in my life but because of what the Lord has done in and through me. My mistakes made me wiser and more discerning while the hurts made me stronger and more forgiving. I am still imperfect, a sinner in this body but the love of Christ made me who I am today. I am forgiven and being transformed daily when I obey Him and His Word.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

with Maida my college friend and her kids Bettina and Bea

with Maida my college friend and her kids Bettina and Bea

Our kids: Coby, Jianne, Bea and Bettina

Our kids: Coby, Jianne, Bea and Bettina

How do become a fortified woman? How does the Lord help you to become one? I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Love for Vintage

I used to believe that I was an old soul because of my fondness for everything old, classical or vintage. As a teenager, I don’t mind listening to the tunes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and other Motown Artists. Somehow I was drawn to this soothing and nostalgic genre.

In the recent years, my love for the old intensified with the advent of vintage photography. I particularly like themes that include nature, women, dresses, writing and food. Staring at these photos literally take me back in time, the simplicity of life then. The faint colors really appeal to my eyes as dainty and delicate.

I’d like to share some of my favorite vintage photos to include typewriters which I found on the net.

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But one of my favorite vintage things are typewriters. We had an old typewriter when I was in high school and that was my favorite “gadget” back in the 80’s.  I love hearing the sound of the keys being tapped and that familiar *ting* when you’ve reached the end of the page.  If I could only see, touch and use one now, that would totally take me back to when I first began writing 🙂

Are there any obsolete tool or old gadget you would like to use again today?

 

Now What?

Ephesians 4:29 says, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Has anybody said anything hurtful to you? Are you a victim of people who are just irresponsible with their words that they have scarred you for life? How about receiving comments that made you doubt your worth, your abilities even your character?

My answer would be YES to all.  I was at the receiving end of nasty comments, criticisms and gossip in the past. Some comments affected me too much that a sense of insecurity enveloped my personality as a teenager. The comments made me believe I was not good enough, I was not pretty enough. Then, as an adult I experienced being accused for things I didn’t do. It hurts. It hurts really bad.

Recently, I received a comment which did not bother me at all. But after contemplating on that specific comment, it started to hit me.  The insecure part of me was all set to have a pity party. Unfortunately, the comment came at a time when I was seriously contemplating on what I want to do for the next 40 years of my life (if God permits me to live till 80). I’ll be turning 40 in a few days and I’m seriously planning the rest of my life 😉 Should I pursue my profession and really take it to the next level? Or chase after the dream I wanted for a very long time and at the same timed doing  what I really love doing?

The person’s comment made me doubt myself, my capabilities. It made want to turn the other way and just move on. Now, I am all the more confused! But then I thought that that’s her personal opinion, that’s how she sees things or how she sees me. I know who I am. I know what I can do. But what if what she said was true. What if I’m not really good enough? Am I living in mediocrity?

The way people see me is different from the way I see myself. More so does my Creator, my God. In times of doubt, I only see the ugly, rotten and wretched parts of my being but the Lord has a different view of me.  First of all, all  of God’s creation are beautiful. Everything he created has a purpose and a specific design. The Psalmist says this well in Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know them full well.

Second, He know who I really am because “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:15 He loves me for who I am and He is in the business in changing me and molding me to the woman of purpose. The woman He wants to use for His glory alone.

at_the_Crossroad_by_Hermanne_Allan_Poe

I am seriously in need of some soul-searching. I need to know where the Lord is taking me. What does he want me to do? What road does he want me to take? Regardless of how people see me or what people say about me, I should first and foremost focus on how God sees me. After all, whatever He wants me to do for the rest of my life, I am accountable to him. I am not answerable to my husband, my children, my parents, my mentor. Ultimately, I am answerable to my Creator.

I could never nor would I ever please everybody and that should not be my goal. Because no matter how hard I work, there will always be people who think I cannot measure up. I will fail them for sure and I would never achieve their expectations of me. All I need to do now  is to find what God really wants me to do. I need to focus on finding this path I have to take. I may be in the path already but have been distracted or delayed along the way. I pray that I be in that path He has set

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

How I Find the Time to Blog

This is an official entry to Dainty Mom’s guest post challenge, on “How to Find the Time to Write or Blog.”

This question really got me thinking…I must confess that in the past, I have failed to write anything on my blog. The reason would be is that I was busy…really? I think the word busy is mostly overused these days and I am guilty of that. I have to schedule everything because I run a tight shift.

First and foremost, I don’t have a helper or maid in the house so I do everything that needs to be done. My mornings are pretty busy because aside from the daily housework I also homeschool our two kids. In the afternoon, when school work is done, I get the chance to relax for a while and watch reruns of my favorite show, “Friends.”  But at times, I cannot afford to watch my show nor blog because I have to attend to my patients after school.  And when the patients leave I have to prepare dinner and plan the lessons for the next day.

But when I have no afternoon schedule, I sit in front of my laptop and write.  I usually get inspiration from our homeschool lessons, or some random thoughts the kids may have had that day or any insight they have learned from me or vice versa.  At times, I would recall what I have learned from the Father in my morning devotion or quiet time. But when my afternoon is full, I would set aside a time after  dinner to type away my thoughts. This is the time, the kids are relaxed and are busy watching TV with their Papa.

So, how do I really find the  time?

First, if I say find time, I could never really “find” it as time sometimes is elusive. It’s like my quiet time or spending time with God. I have to MAKE time for him and focus on him alone because if I don’t would never find the time to do it. Same is true with blogging or writing. I really have to make it part of my daily or weekly schedule, whatever works for me. Blogging should be part of my itinerary. It’s a must that I blog!

Second, because I take blogging seriously, I don’t want to be disturbed! Yes, I am that serious about it. As soon as an idea comes rushing to my brain I have to write it as soon as I can. I don’t want to thought train leave me at the station.  I get easily distracted too so I have instructed my kids not to bother me when I’m blogging. If they need anything or have questions, they can ask Papa or wait for me to finish what I’m writing.

Third, just like Martine de Luna of Daintymom.com, I too keep a small notebook with me wherever I go. I jot down ideas I might have for future posts. When I can’t get to my laptop right away and I am so psyched to type, I use the WordPress App on the iPad and just blog from there, which I find very convenient too.

Lastly, I just do it! When I find myself having some sort of free time and just staring at the Facebook News Feed, I close Facebook and open my blog. I force myself to write. I just do it. And you know what, I get inspiration from some of the FB posts too 😛

Admittedly, I have been consistently inconsistent in blogging in the recent past. I realized that I need to change my ways and commit to writing on my blog again. How about you? What do you do to keep blog rolling?

No Woman is an Island

When I look back at the faithfulness of God in my life, I couldn’t help but stand in awe. He has indeed been the one who brought me out of the rut I was in before.  However, I also believe that God used other people to minister to me, to encourage me, to get me frustrated, to have pity on myself or to just be brutally frank with me.

I would like to honor a few women who have been all of the above to me. They have pushed me to be better. They have tested my patience. They have encouraged me to be the woman God wanted me to be. Don’t get me wrong here. I haven’t “arrived” at the level of spiritual maturity. As the apostle Paul also says, he does not claim to have known it all or achieved a level of greatness with regards to his Christian walk. But like Paul, I am also still struggling. Still being pruned by our heavenly Father so that we can finish the race He has set before us.

Here are the outstanding woman who became instruments of God’s love in my life.

Women are the flowers in the garden of life

My Mommy. She was only 17 when she had me and she had to go through a lot early in life. Yet she stood strong amid all the trials that came her way. She is not perfect. But she tried her best to be the perfect mother for me and my brothers.

I attribute my domestic skills to her. She is a domestic goddess, not diva because she never was one. She dedicated her life to raising a family. Her priority was and is her family. She “forced” me to take up Dentistry because she already had in mind what my future would be. She doesn’t want me to work in the media because of the long hours, which was what I wanted, because according to her, I should be at home taking care of my family. Hey, look at me now, I am at home with my family and I could still work part time in my profession.

Even if she is a stay-at-home-mom she would always be busy doing something. She helped worked for  our education. She is generous with her time. But she would also find time for herself. I remember back then, she would be irritated if you wake her when she is napping. Sleep is a priority to her. She never stays up late because she wakes up early to work the next day. She pampers herself too. She is a regular at the parlor because I think that is her downtime. Now that she is based in the states, she makes it a point to go to the gym regularly.

She is dedicated to anything she gets her hands into. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or caring for other people, she will be there and she will perfect the task.

She influenced me to be close to God. She was a prayerful woman and would share how God answered prayers. I appreciated her more when I became a mother myself.

Mayeen Ilagan. I met Mayeen when I was pregnant with our first child, Coby. She and her husband, Francis were giving a breastfeeding workshop to would-be-moms in a hospital. After the sessions, she did some follow up with us and we found out that we have a lot of things in common. She and her husband invited us for a couples’ bible study in their home. This went on for months until I finally realized what Christ has really done on the cross. And that the world does not revolve around me but God alone. I am glad that during this time of awakening my husband also accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Since then, Mayeen and Francis have become our spiritual parents. Mayeen was so patient with me, well, up to know. I would run to her before especially when I’m too crushed or too weak. She would encourage me to look to the Word and our conversations would always close with a word of prayer.

She became like an older sister to me. I  would watch her every time she talks to her boys. I would never hear her or see her shout at them, but she would just call them to her side and whisper or talk quietly to them. How could you be so calm? 🙂 I wish I was that calm.

Our friendship means a lot to me and I would always be grateful to God for them.

Girlie Argosino. She is one of the pioneer homeschooling moms in the Philippines. I met her when we were on our second year or third year of homeschooling. She is the busiest woman ever! She would be my go-to-gal when I need some inspiration and just somebody to talk to when I’m about to burst in anger. She talks sense to me all the time. The times when I told her I would give up on homeschooling, she would not convince me otherwise but she would quietly be praying for me, I know. She is truly an inspiration. She is like a mother to me too because I could feel the sincerity in her heart. Where would our homeschooling be without our Teacher Girlie? 🙂

These three important relationships have been developed through the years and I’m praying that our relationship will continue until we are all together in God’s kingdom.

I have made connections with other women in the recent years and some of them have also inspired me in their own special way. I hope I could make an entry about these women too in the future.