Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I pray for me

Today, I humbly approached God's throne and sought his guidance for the day.

Lord, I thank you for this day.  I thank you for allowing me to still be alive up to this day.  I am thankful for the gift of life, the gift of family and the gift of friendship.

I plan each day Lord but most of the time it does not turn out the way I imagined it to be.  You are the all-knowing God and you are the only who knows what is in store for me today.  You alone can see how this day would end.  I sometimes wish I could preview what would happen at lunch time today or would the kids be sleeping by 9pm.

Since you know what's going to happen to me every second of my life, I ask that you prepare my heart and my mind for it.  If you know that I would be impatient with my kids prepare me by calming me and whispering to me that its no big deal.  Drinks will get spilled, Coby will forget how to solve his Math problems, Jianne will not share.  Teach me not to be consumed by all these insignificant events today.  Teach me not to focus on the unplanned and allow these distractions to speak to me and teach me.

Lord, I ask that you shut my mouth so I would talk less and sin less.  Allow me to use my words with care and be careful not to scar anyone with my tongue.  I don't want to be seen as an angry person because you said in your word, "out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks".  I don't have an angry heart Lord.  I don't.  And as i talk less allow this silence to teach me how to listen.  Not hear but listen.

Teach me how to speak gently and listen intently, eye to eye.  And as you are muting me at that moment, allow other people's words sink in and resonate in my heart that I may respond in love.  Teach me to listen to my son when he wants to talk.  You know he LOVES to talk and he talks a LOT.  Let me see this as his way of expressing what is in his heart to his mother whom he knows would care to listen to how tractors move and what dinosaurs eat.  Just let me enjoy those magical moments with him as I get to know him more.

Lastly, let me know you more today.  As I read your word, allow them to penetrate not only my brain but also my heart.  Help me to keep them locked inside and never to be taken away from me.  Let your words be my guide in everything that I do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Duck Song

Thoughts on Paper

blog created October 17, 2005

I was introduced to Nancy Drew books at age 9 or 10. I was influenced by her love for mystery. In hindsight, I guess that is why I get glued at Disovery Channel’s Crime Night and New Detectives, not to mention CSI–Las Vegas and NY only please!  Sorry CSI Miami fans, but I would rather die in Nigeria than be corpse under the scrutiny of gloved hands of overly-moronic-acting-style of David Carusso! - ’nuff said._

As a freshman, i was part of the girls in shool who had the latest copy of Sweet Dreams in her bag.  Yes, i fell victim for this cutesy, teeny fiction for young girls. Though during that time Mills and Boon were read by the more "mature" girls in school and the adults say that those are meant for college girls and not for a freshman like me.  So sweet dreams it was.  I no longer recall how many P25 I had to save just to get a new pocketbook.  I have always kept mine neat with no folds and i hardly open it fully so as not to destroy the binding, so that was how i was way back… aint i the little O.C.  come to think of it, i still do that now. Even with magazines, i hate it when people borrow my mags then return later with folded or worst, crumpled pages! aarrrgh! Is that the way you treat someone who unselfishly shared a priced possession? hmmm maybe a little too O.A. dont you think?! ok lets move on…

So there i was reading the night away and hoping to meet this blond, broad-shouldered guy who smells like aftershave, wearing a blue sweater and preppy pants and named Craig or Mike.  sigh!… and there i was waiting in the cafeteria as Darcy with my long black hair and with pearly white teeth smiling with my girlfriends who also have pearly white teeth , by the way, then suddenly Craig appears or was it Mike, then calls me "Darcy" and i turn my head and i see him walking in slow motion towards me and the world stops revolving and it is only the two of us in this misty cafeteria.  Then i stand up, and he rushes to me and brings me closer to him and kisses me… ohhhh….Then something popped in my head.  Wait a minute, i can do this.  Since i have a very wild imagination and admittedly live in my fantasy world most of my waking hours, why not create my own Sweet Dreams pocketbook! That’s right. Create my own Darcy and Craig, but wait, hmmm.  I don’t think being a blond guy in Manila would raise some eyebrows back then, (now Dennis Rodman look is far by normal) so think think… then do a pinoy version, i said to myself. Though the kissing part will be done only after the marriage or after 10 years of dating, hey, philippine setting nga eh, but this was 18 years ago.  Armed with my Funny Friends pen and a whole new pad of intermediate paper, i was a writer in hot pursuit by my romantic fantasies. I created 2 or 3 of these imaginary romance novels having me as the basis for the lead characters (who else would it be) but of course, they were all improved versions of me.

Then after my secret success as a writer, i just gave it up.  I threw them out the window, why? I was scared that at a tender age of 12 or 13, i was creating stories in my head about falling in love.  Nothing wrong with that but if my mom finds out that is what’s keeping me up all night, boy, that will be the day… I could almost hear her berating about where i came up with such stories when i am inexperienced or worst "too young".  To end this dilemna, i threw them away for good.  I must admit, i have regrets doing this.  I wish i could have shown them to my daughter, when i have one, i dont think my son would be a fan.

As an adult, like 6 or 7 years ago, i started to put down my thoughts again on paper.  This time poetry was my line and just sharing my piece on the computer was therapeutic.  Since i was most motivated to write when i am full of angst and heart broken ( which was most of the time, thank you very much). Ironic at how my worst feeling ever, created mini masterpieces (for me).  I shared some of them to my friends and to my surprise they did not know i could write. Good reviews i must say.

Sad to say but I haven’t done any for the last 3 years. Duh! i have my hands full girl! A husband, a toddler–boy, mind you, an adolescent kid brother who listens to ACDC, 2 jobs, friends-on-call ( its my choice ok), and myself. Hmmm come to think of it, i maybe inspired by this chaotic yet fun life that i have now.  My husband who is my No.1 fan pushes me to give my writing another go. Thanks Mo for your support! Maybe I will… when everybody is sleeping…

Ode to Young Love

blog written December 26, 2005

Memories of my childhood springs back to life during the Holidays.  I have only fond memories of my childhood in our ancestral home in Quezon City. 

Every summer, my brother and I would spend our vacation in my grandfather’s house.  I enjoyed my stay there a lot.  Not only do we get to play all day with my uncle and aunt (same age kami), but that was were I met my very first crush.

Yes, you might say i started young in the love-crush scene.  I think I was about 9 or 10 at the time.  I woke up one afternoon from our usual nap and went outside the house because i heard my uncle, aunt and their friends were playing.  They were having fun playing cops and robbers, girls vs. boys.  I was just watching them run after each other when, at the corner of my eye, I saw him.  He was tall, skinny and nice hair.  My heart went flip flop when i saw his smile.  He was just the cutest, i said to myself.  He looked older than me though but who cares, he is hot! I cannot recall who introduced us, but they immediately made me join the game.  On the girl’s side, of course.  He, D, ran from their base and another girl asked me to ran after him.  So I did.  I ran as fast as I could, of course i caught him.  I was the fastest on our team.  When i tagged him, he said hello and asked if we are spending the vacation there.  I said yes, a bit shy back then. That was the start of my long journey to crushood for this guy. 
I remember having chills up my spine whenever I see him.  Apparently, he is very close to our family.  He lives just across the street and during that time, they were our party-line. Most of the time he would hang out with another uncle in my grandfather’s house.  My childhood was filled with memories of him. 

As we grew older, cops and robbers stopped and hanging out was our game.  He would always be in my grandfather’s house whenever and whatever the ocassion. He was a permanent fixture in my grandfather’s household, part of the family, so they say.  My admiration for him never faded.  I was 12 years old then when i believed i was falling in love with him.  We would always talk especially after dinner, laugh and exchange ghost stories most of the time.  He even gave a picture of him, which, for the record, i did not ask.  I still have that photo of him.  He had a pet name for me, he would call me "judiciary".  And at that time, i am clueless as to what that word means.  But i enjoyed it anyway. 

He finally found out i have a crush on somebody and he kept on prodding as to who the person is.  It’s you, dimwit! Of course, I did not tell him.  I just keep using codes for my "crush".  Everytime he sees me, he would stop me just to ask about my so-called crush and i would just laugh at him and tell him off.  Oh, if you only knew…
Then one afternoon, I was chatting with another friend in front of my grandfather’s house. As usual we were talking about him.  Then suddenly, he came out from their front yard and started walking towards us.  We immediately changed the subject.  As he was about to open his mouth and talk, the rain came.  So we all rushed to our own homes cutting all conversations.

I was hoping the rain would stop so i could see him again.  It took about 15 minutes for the sky to clear up.  I was about to open the gate when my friend came in giggling.  I asked her why.  She told me that when we all rushed to our homes, D and her went to her house.  Again, D was asking what were talking about.  My friend responded with a raised eyebrow and asked, why? Why do you want to know, she asked him.  D just kept quiet and asked again.  Then my friend blantatly asked him, "Why? You like her don’t you?".  My friend said he was taken aback and was silent.  She asked again, "Why do you want to know, you like her, huh?".  He replied, "Ewan ko".  My friend was so excited as she was telling me the story and i was at a loss.  So i said, "So?".  She replied feeling exasperated, "Ewan means yes".  What? I don’t get it.  Apparently for her, ewan means yes.  I don’t know, what do you think?

Years had passed and we seldom go and visit the house anymore.  My relatives who were staying in the house all left for the States and there is no reason to go there.  The house was being rented out and I see not that much also.  I would hear stories about him, that he was into drugs, he did not finish school, and that living with a girl.  Of course, my life had to go on.  It was really just puppy love then for me.

Then two years ago, i got a call from my uncle.  He told me that a gunshot wound ended D’s life.  He was killed.  I was shocked and I couldn’t believe his life would end that way. I felt sad, not only was he my puppy love, but he was a friend not only to me by our family.  When I told my family about it, they too were shocked.  I remember talking to him on the phone a few years back. It’s just sad day for friendship.

I wrote this blog because of Christmas.  Christmas very much reminds me of him.  He was part of my childhood, part of me growing up and having him as my young love.

Mother's Milk

Mother's Milk  (blog created November 25, 2007)

Breastfeeding is still best for babies…

I was a young girl when I first saw our helper breastfeed her baby boy.  Shocked by the exposed mammary gland, I tried to figure out what she was doing.  Oh, feeding her baby boy! I did not know that those two frontal bumps had milk in them.  The baby boy fell asleep after the feeding that signaled his mother to put him down and go back to work.
Fourth year high school, graduating, we are required to submit a term paper.  As I was browsing through magazines in our library to look for a topic that interests me, an article in bold letters struck me, it said, "BREASTFEEDING: BEST FOR BABIES".  I forgot what magazine that was but surely I found my topic for our term paper.  I researched on the topic and finally got to finish my paper in time.  My English teacher then asked us to defend our topic.  She asked me about the benefits of breastfeeding which I quickly answered.  Her final question was, " If you have a baby of your own in the future, would you breastfeed then?"  Without batting an eyelash I answered, "Of course!".  Then she followed it up with, "What if you have to work, how will be able to feed your baby?".  "If I have the chance to stop working for a year then I would do that to breastfeed my baby", was my reply.  She gave me a smile and gracious grade at that.

Fast forward, pregnant with my baby boy.  My husband and I attended a breastfeeding seminar at Asian Hospital.  There we learned how it really works.  We were coached and taught by the wonderful breastfeeding advocates who later became very good friends.  It was my goal to really breastfeed my baby.

I gave birth a few months after and tried to breastfeed him in the nursery.  I would go down every 2 or 4 hours and try to feed him.  Though I found out later that the nurses gave the babies formula in the nursery that is why whenever I try to nurse him, he does not seem interested.  But still I tried as per the nurses’s instruction.  We went home that afternoon and the baby was crying relentessly, I gave him my breast but he was pushing it away.  I tried for a few minutes still the same response.  I felt frustrated and cried because I felt he was rejecting me.  I asked the helper to buy formula because he would not stop crying.  I was so disappointed with myself and could not stop crying.  I tried to breastfeed him for 2 to 3 months only combined with formula feeding.  Until I finally gave up and let the formula do the feeding.

I was so envious of mothers who breastfed their babies for a long time. My sister in law who breastfed all her babies until they were a year old, a friend who breastfed until 3 years old (gosh) and my best friend who did it for 2 years i think. I secretly wished I did the same.  Though I knew it was the best food for babies, I failed to give my son the best.
Three and a half years later, I became pregnant again.  This time i vowed to give it my best in feeding my baby.  I had to undergo a C-section this time because of fetal distress.  I remember asking for my baby girl to be roomed-in just after a day.  I wanted to do things right this time.  The pediatrician asked me if I really wanted her to be roomed in despite my stitches and I said yes.  So there she was, my baby girl,so tiny.  I tried to latch her on and feed her.  And that continued until today.

She is almost 14 months now and still won’t let go of me.  Slowly I am trying to wean her from my breast.  I could still remember the engorgement I had when the milk was coming in.  I felt like my breast would explode because of the production of milk.  There were times I could not breathe at night because they feel so tight and painful.  Plenty of times I told my husband, I am giving up because of the pain but still I did not.  Teething is the most difficult time.  I thought all the nerves of my body connived to cause pain that I found myself crying like a little girl.  But all those pain and tears were part of it.  Now, she is very strong, active, talkative, and smart girl.  She may be a bit tiny, I don’t know if its because she is breastfed or she just got her mom’s genes… But she is healthy and I will surely miss our bonding moment together.

What? No TV?

Last Saturday, I got my own copy of Luanne Shackelford's book "A Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling".  Yes, I am a homeschool mom of almost 2 years now.  I started homeschooling our eldest son last year for Grade 1.  I have no idea what I got myself into really but as I always say, only by God's grace can I survive this rollercoaster homeschool ride.

After spending the whole Saturday at the 3rd Homeschool Conference, my husband and I were sooo tired that I was not able to skim through the book that I bought.  I only got the chance to read two days ago and I just can't put it down.  I probably covered about two thirds of the book when I read the topic on reading.  The author suggested reading aloud to your children.  I liked the idea so I tried it the next homeschool day.  I read a story from his Reading textbook and I think reading aloud to him helped him process the story since he is an auditory learner.  An auditory learner is one who enjoys learning by listening and talking.  Other types of learners are visual learners who understand lessons better when they see things.  And the other type is a kinesthetic learner who learns more by using his body or moves a lot.  Anyway, I can expound on that some other time.

Going back to reading, the author also pointed out the negative effects of watching TV to would-be readers.  When kids watch TV, their imagination is no longer tapped or stimulated since the pictures are already moving.  They can already see the color, the shape or even how things move, or how things happen.  Their thinking skills are no longer stimulated by the constant movement seen in the screen.  She confessed that they don't have a TV in their house.  This was no longer new to me since I have heard of homeschooling families even in the Philippines don't have TV sets at home.

Just imagine what my 7-year-old son had to do when school is done, yes, watch TV.  He will glued to it the whole afternoon until early evening.  This really bothers me a lot.  So in my mind, as I was reading Ms. Shackelford's book, I said I will try this no TV policy at home.

This morning while I was trying to help him out in his Language drills I find him having a hard time constructing sentences.  He rarely has trouble with this since he loves to talk and would come up with really great and lengthy sentences.  But this morning he seemed a little distracted.  Then for a moment, I think I saw him giggle.
Then I looked again, he was in fact giggling and trying to hide it from me.  Suddenly, the horns on my head started to come out and I called his attention.  He was giggling because he remembered the funny show he saw the other day.  That irked the mama duck! I told him no TV until I say so.  When he is done with school, he can either play with his lego, draw or play with his sister but no TV.

He agreed.  He survived the morning and afternoon without TV.    He just asked me to turn on the radio so he can have some music, the auditory learner kicking in.  He had snack around 5pm and he asked me if he could watch, so I allowed him and congratulated him for a job well done.  He was proud of himself too and said he will do it again tomorrow.  We even talked about reading aloud again after school without TV.

Thank you Lord for the wisdom you have given me.  Thank you also for the book you have allowed me to read to better teach my son to love learning.