First of June

And just like that, it’s the first of June.  Five months have already passed… we are almost at the halfway mark of 2016.  Where has time gone??

I can still distinctly remember celebrating New Year’s Eve with my family and friends. Then came a series of post-Christmas reunions.  Then came Valentine’s day — which I honestly have no recollection of… Then Holy Week which we spent here at home. Then the national elections which happened first week of May.

And now it’s June 1.

Did I spend the first 150 days of the year well? Or did the days just pass? I wonder.

***

In the beginning of the year, I embarked on a personal project.  Amid the usual day to day tasks required of me, I challenged myself to do something I have long wanted to do… Something for, basically, myself. And no, it’s not a fitness challenge… and I’m not 5 lbs lighter or anything like that. This project has something to do with one of my first loves– writing.

Like what I said in one of my essays, when God puts a seed of a dream in your heart, He also gives you the tools to help you make it grow.  He will give you the inspiration, He will connect you to the right people — people who can help you fulfill your dream, and I believe He will also give you the courage and the strength to finish what you have started, despite the fear, the insecurities and all the uncertainties you have in your head.

And then there’s time. Time to work, time to pray… and time to wait.

This — where I am right now — is waiting time.

It can get so tiring to wait. I get impatient. I get antsy. I get all the more insecure.   But then I hear this Bible verse in my head telling me to just Be still...and to know Who my God is. 

My God who provides the seeds of my dreams.  My God who connects me with people.  My God where I derive my strength from… Who tells me to just press on.

***

It’s the first of June.  This morning after running my usual errands, I passed by my favorite coffee shop for a few minutes of alone time.

I looked back at the past 5 months. I thought about the progress of my personal project.  I drank my favorite drink. I said a little prayer.

I thanked God for the days, months that have passed, the provisions and the favors, and I thanked Him in advance for the bountiful blessings to come.

I also thanked Him for the Now.

***

Of course, I had to do this before leaving the coffee place…

June 1

But first, let me take a selfie…

the view

view from my favorite seat / work place

photo 2

June 1 breakfast

All’s well. 🙂

***

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” – Philippians 1:6

#Thankful

rainbow

Life is beautiful

Truly there are so many things to be grateful for.  Sometimes, though, certain situations wear us down.

I have those moments, too.  Moments when life’s uncertainties just sow fear in me, enough to make me feel sick with worry. Sometimes I end up feeling sorry for myself.

When I go through challenges, no matter how trivial they may be, sometimes I find myself asking, “Why this? Why me? ”

But then, when I stop focusing on myself and my woes… When I stop and look around me, these are what I see–

  • I see people carrying their own share of burdens.  Sometimes lighter, oftentimes heavier than mine.
  • I see people who may have less in life yet who also have bigger smiles. 
  • I may see people who are proud, yet I also see selfless and loving ones. 
  • I see the opportunities that have been laid down in front of me.  Opportunity to help a brother in need… opportunity to showcase talent… opportunity to be the best Me that I can be.
  • I see all those times I surpassed a challenge — and came out stronger, better, wiser. 
  • I see all the answered prayers.
  • I also see the innumerable blessings that I have been showered with all these years.
  • I see all those times that my God pulled through for me.

And I go back to being thankful.

***

Be still and know that I am God. – Ps. 46:10

*****

photo via google image

Today I pray…

it's a wonderful day

it’s a wonderful day

 

Today I pray for patience.  Patience to understand people.  Patience that will give me strength not to answer back or say something that I might eventually regret.  Patience that will keep me from stooping to someone’s level.  Patience.

***

at 8am?  Seriously??!

at 8am? Seriously??!

8 o’clock in the morning, I received a call from a delivery guy asking for the complete address of the person I sent a package to.  There was nothing wrong with him wanting to know all the details — house number, street name, etc.  What ticked me off was the way he answered back.  His manner of speaking, his tone of voice… it was like he was talking to an idiot.

But wait, the last time I checked, I was the client.  I was the one who paid for their services… so basically the company he works for was servicing me.  Talk about courtesy and politeness.

I replied to delivery guy with a voice several volumes louder and the tone higher than normal.  I could feel myself ready to talk down to the guy…

And then I paused… took a deep breath…  and firmly and calmly answered his questions.    Without the drama.

***

It happens.  Some people rub you the wrong way.  And yes, some people can be just plain rude and discourteous.  But I guess the challenge is for us not to take the bait and mindlessly react.  We don’t have to be like them.

So I pray for more patience.  Patience towards difficult people.

Let me be the bigger person.  

********

photos via office.com

Why I am Thankful

beautiful…
simply beautiful

I spent the day with my dad visiting his doctors — three of them to be exact — for his scheduled consult.

It has been almost a year since he had that routine colonoscopy where his doctor discovered several tumors in his large intestine.  Right away he was advised to have a surgery for the tumors to be removed.  After they removed the tumors, a biopsy was made and eventually we were told that he had cancer.  To be more precise, my dad was diagnosed to have Stage 3 Colon Cancer.

His surgeon explained that they were able to take the tumors out, along with the nodes surrounding that part of his large intestine.  But one node tested to be positive of having cancer cells.  So my dad was referred to an oncologist for “preventive” measures — that is, to arrest the scattering of cancer cells in his body.

Our world seemed to have turned upside down.

***

My dad has always been our pillar of strength.  He has a very positive outlook in life, his faith in the Almighty being his anchor during tough times,  and he has always, ALWAYS been there for me and my siblings — guiding, protecting, supporting.  He is what his label is — a father.  So when we learned that he was physically ill, we were all at a loss.  Our main question then was, “What now? What do we do?”

Yes, we were fearful.  I was fearful.  And I had a lot of questions.  How can this strong man be sick?  Who will hold our family together should anything happen to him?  Why him?  Why now?  Why cancer?

***

It was a rollercoaster year for our family.  My dad started with his chemotherapy treatment a month after his surgery.  He was supposed to have 8 cycles of combination IV treatment and oral medication.  He will be on medication for two weeks, have a week’s rest, then start the cycle all over.

The first three cycles were bearable.  His only complaint then was that he was losing his sense of taste — and his appetite, eventually.  It was getting harder and harder for him to take food in because he couldn’t taste anything but his medicine.

It was after his third cycle that the treatment started to take its toll in his immune system.  We had to rush him to the hospital due to intestinal problems.  He had a barrage of tests and the doctors searched high and low for whatever was causing the infection.  He stayed in the hospital for ten days.

He was told to rest from treatment for about two weeks after that.  Once his blood test had normalized, he then went back for another cycle of treatment.

After his fourth cycle, he contracted another infection.  Once again, he had to be hospitalized.  This time, he was there for almost two weeks.  He underwent all kinds of tests, they had to monitor his platelet count, at some point they had to do blood transfusion.

That was a very difficult time for all of us.  More than just being tired and weary, shuttling back and forth to the hospital, taking turns watching over him, there’s also the pain of seeing him lying on the hospital bed weak and frail.

***

It was after that hospitalization that his doctors decided to change his medication, remove the IV treatment and just retain his oral meds.  Their rationale being the combination treatment is just making him weaker, keeping him from living.

He continued taking his oral medication for another four cycles.  He didn’t have any episode of threats to his immune system and eventually he began eating well, his appetite little by little had gone back to normal.  He also started gaining back the pounds he had lost.

After several months and several blood tests, my dad’s blood count (RBC, WBC, platelets) had gone back to normal.  His tumor marker lies between the normal reference range.

His doctors told us that, as of this moment, my dad is cleared of cancer.

***

It was quite a year for all of us.  First the shock that the news of my dad’s ailment had brought really caught us offguard.  It has caught me offguard.

It’s like, there I was, living my day-to-day life, concerning myself with such mundane issues, then BAM! we are told that someone in the family is sick… someone had cancer.  And then the reality hit me — I am not in control of the things that are to happen.  There are things that I cannot do anything about.

It can happen to anybody, at any given time… even at the times least expected.

You try to be strong, yet you know that you have so many unanswered questions.  You keep your faith in Someone bigger than you, yet you still find yourself in one corner at times, doubting and asking what if everything goes not the way you hoped or wanted?

Yet you still keep the faith.  You hope, you pray and you stand in faith because you know that your faith will see you through.

***

I am thankful because of the good news that my dad’s doctors gave us today.

I am thankful because despite everything we have been through, our family stood strong and stayed together.

I am thankful because although there’s sickness in this world, there’s also cure… and there are people (may the heavens bless them) who will share their knowledge, their support and their care to help you get through whatever it is you are going through.

I am thankful for life.

I am thankful for hope.

I am thankful for tomorrow, simply because I know that it is a brand new day.

***

photo via google images

Someone to watch over me

someone to watch over me…

On any given weekday morning, my regular routine is to do errands — either go to the bank or do groceries after my son gets dropped off in school by the driver.   Then I pass by the mall to have lunch with a friend or grab a cup of coffee — at times i just walk around by myself, go to the bookstore and read a bit.

I normally leave the house around 10am, do my errands and by 11am I head to the mall just in time for the mall doors to open.  Sometimes I am even there 5 to 10 minutes before mall opening.   

I say hello to the friendly mall guards  — people I have known and who have known me already, being the mall rat that I am.  We exchange pleasantries, the guards ask how my son is doing, we sometimes talk about the weather, and all the small stuff.  And then I proceed to either my favorite coffee shops or to my favorite stalls — where I spend a few minutes chatting with the servers or the sales people I know. 

Truly, the mall is like my second home… its tenants like my extended family. 

***

I was invited to a friend’s company event last Friday morning for some group discussion/survey.  My plan was to go to the event and then pass by the mall afterwards to have lunch with another friend that I was with.  I was also supposed to meet with my husband there so we can change cars.

I was still in my friend’s event when I heard the news…

There was a robbery that took place at the very same mall that I frequent.  Several men tried to hold up an armored van that was supposed to deliver money to the foreign exchange branch situated near the entrance of the mall.

Gunshots were fired.  A robber was shot and was killed.  A couple of mall guards were wounded in the process…

These were the same guards I knew and say hello to at every single visit.  The incident happened at the very place where I go down and enter EVERY time I go to the mall.

I would have been there — or at least on my way there — if not for the event that I was invited to.

I shudder at the thought of how it would have been if I was indeed there at the mall when the whole heist happened.

Someone said that my guardian angel directed me elsewhere that morning.

Truly I can’t help but feel blessed and protected.

***

i prayed…

The details of the heist only became clear later in the afternoon.  The whole day I was thinking if my guard friends were the ones who fought it out and got wounded.  When one is at a loss, there’s nothing left to do but pray… and so I prayed.

I prayed that the guards that were shot would survive.  I prayed that no one else got hurt in the encounter.  I prayed that the sense of security and safety in the area will be restored.

And more than anything, I prayed to give thanks… I simply cannot express how thankful I am to be delivered from such scary and unsafe incident.  I knew that I could have been there in that mall that very morning.  But I wasn’t.

Somebody up there must be watching over me.

How can I not be grateful?

**********

photos via google images