30 Minute Write: Family

funny pic during Honie’s wedding at the restroom 🙂 Couldn’t resist 🙂

It may be a cliche to say that “my family is the best one in the whole world”.  We are not perfect but I would dare say that we are rich in love.  My family has gone through a lot in the past 10 years.  We’ve faced bankruptcy, my brother had to give up school for a year or two so his two older sisters could finish college first,  fights (sibling vs. sibling), a period of 6 months without power because we did not have enough income to pay the electric bill but after all these shaking, tests and trials, I am blessed and happy to say that one of the joys of our lives is spending time with each other.

I especially love Sundays because this is when I get to have dinner with my nephew S and my niece A.  They’re my sister’s kids and they are just adorable and lovable.  I think every aunt or uncle thinks that way of their nieces and nephews. 😉

As for my dad and my mom, we have been blessed to have parents who raised us up “equally” and “fairly”.  For me that means parents who don’t compare us with one another and who don’t talk against the other child to another.  Respect, respect and respect were always the words my mom hammered unto us when we were still young and even now when we have disagreements or arguments.  She would always say that “even if you are siblings, you have to respect each other.  Respect your siblings even more.  Don’t just take them for granted just because they’re your siblings.”

One of my fondest memories as a kid was that time when my sister and I had the chicken pox and we were in danger of missing a summer vacation in Hongkong because we could not get into the plane for danger of contagion.  My dad cheered us up by letting us fly a kite under the heat of the sun.  We were supposed to be “hiding” or in isolation but he let us play freely and I will always remember and treasure those times that he ran and flew that kite for us.  Of course suffice it to say, he also got the chicken pox from us.

Another fun imprint on my mind was that time my feisty sister and I climbed up the Ford Fiera (it’s an Asian Utility Vehicle) that my dad and the mechanic-driver were repairing in the garage that was a bit inclined.  The gate was closed and the keys were not in the ignition.  But my very curious sister had seen my dad and the driver start the vehicle with a starter.  A button that one had to press that revved up the engine.  Vrroooommm…It suddenly started and we were moving!  I looked at my dad’s and the driver’s very shocked and surprised faces and we waved goodbye as the car started going down the inclined driveway and bang!  It hit the gate, opening it and down we went crashing into the fence of our neighbor across the street.  My dad and the driver went chasing after us.

Daddy was furious.  That was an understatement to say the least.  He was boiling mad.  “What if someone was walking along the road and you hit him or her?  You could have killed that person!  What if a car had passed by?  You guys could have been killed!”  Ooops, we had not thought about that. 🙂

Looking back to that time, I believe it was the hand of God that protected us or any passerby or car from an accident.   My mom wasn’t home at that time.  She was in Hongkong with some clients and after my dad called her to report to her what we had done and how furious he was, he was calling my sister and I with the loudest voice while we started hiding.  He took a piece of flimsy firewood and starting running after us.  I don’t know why that in our foolishness we were giggling and laughing while looking at Daddy chasing us with a firewood and running up and down the house.  Of course, we eventually got a hard spanking and we were “punished”.  Hahaha!  But still, that incident never fails to make me laugh thinking about daddy’s anger and how he looked running after us.  We were so young then.  I think Happy was 6 years old while I was 9.

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30 minutes + 7 more minutes for uploading photos 😦

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Covenant :)

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These are the gentlemen and the ladies I practically grew up with through the years.  Can still remember those times that we had prayer meetings aka sleepovers at the former prayer room now-turned Tabernacle.  We’d pray ‘til midnight and stopped after a neighbor threw a stone at the church’s roof because of the ruckus we made.   In my mind I can still see some of the men in this pic 10 years ago still dressed in their school uniforms.  That long and that old, huh?

Now, we’re all ‘grown up’ as Ate Sal puts it and all dressed up for a good friend, H.’s, wedding. No longer “youth” but thank God for covenant.  Different personalities, backgrounds and interests brought together by One Man – Jesus.:)

Thank You, Jesus, for brothers and sisters in Christ.

Photo credit {c} Ms. Mitzil L.

 

 

 

September: Life in Snapshots

Here are some photos of how September flew.  I think the song with the lyrics that say “Wake me up when September ends…” is somehow apt to describe how fast this month passed by.  It came like a dream.  Quite.a.rush.

But one good thing about being busy these days is that I’ve been busy studying, meeting up with long lost friends, cousins, bonding with my nephew and niece and good friends.  It was worth the full sched. 🙂

One Friday evening with my cousins, Joan and Ken {the one who took the photo} at SM City Cebu
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My sister Happy {the one beside me} and I had lunch with J., a good friend of ours from Manila. She tells me it’s been 8 years since we last saw each other. Surprisingly, it felt like it was only yesterday since I last saw her. That’s how you know you’re with a friend. 🙂
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Had a great time playing “Breakthrough” with M, a good friend & now-cousin-by-marriage, at Cafe Caw. :))
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One Sunday evening after our family dinner at my sister’s place, we played dominoes with the kids. Losers get lipstick streaks. Boo! The three of us lost to my sister {their mom} and my bro-in-law. It was a hilarious and fun time with family! Precious moments.
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This is how the Marvel dominoes look like.:) The cause of all those lipstick marks on our faces. ^_^

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I look forward to spending one hour with them every Sunday afternoon. Our church has scholars and as part of their scholarship privileges, we also have bible studies with them. I am blessed and privileged that God allowed me to be a part of their lives in this season. 🙂

Quite an August Rush

August 1 came and I remembered a very good friend posting the line “august rush” on Facebook.  I clicked on the “Like” button not knowing that August would not only bring a rush with it but a “deluge” of stuff as well.

The floods in Manila, the death of a relative, an open door for volunteering (tutorials, I’ll write about this in a separate post), Secretary Jesse Robredo’s death – our Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, and the highlight of the month:  my first ever quarterly exams with the kids that I’m tutoring.  I didn’t know that would be a tough one.  Good thing we made it unscathed and with a lot of A’s. 🙂

What do I write about first?  I told my sweet blogger friend, Lydia of lifeloveandlydia that the right words still escape me on how to write about an uncle’s death.  This post will be an attempt to do so.  Tito R was my mom’s second cousin.  Her father and his mother were cousins.

He was only 44.  He would have turned 45 this September but one Sunday during the first week of August, death suddenly came creeping and he collapsed while he was biking in the recently held Ironman Triathlon here in Cebu City and was DOA (dead on arrival) at Chong Hua hospital.  The autopsy report attributed his death to an embolism that affected his lungs.

As soon as my parents and I got hold of the news, I was in denial.  “Maybe they just got the name wrong” to “No, his name is not here on the official list” as I was scanning the athletes’ names on the web.  All those “they’re wrong” denial stuff went into my head.

His family and our family were close when my sister and I were pretty much younger – school girls age.  We would spend Christmas and their birthdays at their house and we’d dance and sing for them and their parents.  We had fond memories of Tito R because he was boyishly handsome, warm and very nice to us kids.  They were a very close-knit family and Tito R and his siblings were always nice to us kids even when they were all grown up and working.

When we grew up and went to Manila for college, I guess we drifted apart.  We no longer had a chance to bond with them and the rest of the family.  The last time I saw Tito R was almost two years ago when I had a trip to Manila and he was there at the check-in counter overseeing the luggage check-in.  He was a load controller at Cebu Pacific.

When I got to my sister’s house for our Sunday family dinner we were still hoping the news that our family friend told Daddy was wrong.  It was only until my sister Happy read my Aunt J.’s (his sister) status update that the news was confirmed, “We will miss you, R.”  Shucks, it was him.  No amount of willing that it was wrong could not make it untrue.  He really was gone.

So many questions were running in our mind but the foremost and the biggest question was, “Why him, Lord?”  It was only when my dad, mom and I got home after our dinner and I was all alone here in my room that I finally got the chance to cry and pour out my resentment and my questions “Why did it happen?”

Now, I understand that we don’t really know when our time is.  That incident made me realize how frail life is and how someone we know can actually be taken away in a moment, in a blink of an eye.  As my dad put it, “you can be having breakfast with a person one day and the next hour or in the afternoon that person can be gone from your life.  There are things that are beyond our control.”

Yes, only God really knows our times and seasons.  One thing we can do though is ask ourselves “Am I ready to face my Creator and my God when it’s my time?”  “Have I repented and made peace with my Savior, Jesus, knowing that because of his death and resurrection I can live throughout eternity?

A photo snapped by a friend of Tito R before the incident

Tito R’s burial gave us the chance to reconnect with family whom we haven’t seen for a long time. We finally saw one of my aunts (the one in white blouse) after almost 20+ years after her wedding

While we were reconnecting with family, these two adorables (my nephew and niece) also had a whale of a time running around the memorial park and hiding behind and between the tombs. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two of them enjoying their time there just before the heavy rains fell.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Painting/Drawing and playing an instrument like the piano are two of my frustrations now that I’m older.  When I was a young kid, my mom enrolled me in music classes every summer but I never finished any of my piano and guitar lessons.  The reason?  My old and strict piano teacher frightened me.  She was like straight out of a “A Little Princess” scene with a stick in her hand.  I never went back after she hit my fingers with the stick after she caught me daydreaming and unfocused during piano class.

That was the last time I ever said hi to a piano again.  Today, I regret giving it up and not pushing through with the lessons inspite of that stick.  But of course crying over spilled milk doesn’t help.

Good thing Lydia – a sweet blogger friend of mine – said that it’s never too late to learn playing the piano again.  So I’m planning to take one lesson at a time once I’ll be able to fit the lessons in my schedule. 🙂  I’m really excited.  Playing the piano is sweeter the second time around, I think.

The guitar lessons, on the other hand, were a different story.  I quit playing it after my short fingers could not quite get the chords right and the strings left painful marks on them.  They both have the same story as the piano.  I gave up on the first sign of pain. Ugh.  In retrospect, that would have taught me well if I didn’t give up despite the pain as it is somehow like life.  Pain makes us grow and makes us better people if only we’ll face it and learn from it instead of running away.  Kinda like the muscle pains we feel when exercising or hitting the 3k, 5k or 10k mark.  🙂

Well, I’m digressing from the Create challenge.  You see like playing an instrument painting and drawing were also two things I “skipped” as a child.  I did not believe I could draw at all so I did not even think of learning how to.  But two years as a preschool teacher taught me that all it takes is guts and taking a step.  That’s what my students taught and showed me.  They never thought they could not draw so they did not have limitations at all.  They just drew from their imagination, from their hearts and from what they could see.  And ta-ta!

So here I am sharing some of my drawings with you.  I dabbled on painting, drawing and doodling last year and got hooked.  Here’s a “Get Well Soon, Anna” drawing that I made for my niece when she got sick last weekend and had to be admitted to the hospital.  🙂  Of course, it’s pink since that’s her favorite color.  It’s just a pity that the scanner and the camera cannot quite capture the vibrant pink flower.

memories

my sister Happy with her kids Samuel and Anna (Fathers' Day 2010)

with Anna in one of our "art classes" last year

with the aunties (Aug 2010)

Happy's birthday July 2010

Nappy family's despedida *Sep 2010*

miss my Sunday School class, seriously (my kiddos last 2010)

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my 2010 birthday celebration with Grace, Ann and Tabz

smilebox test: family dinners

having so much fun making photo collages in Smilebox 🙂

Okay, I’m supposed to be preparing for my talk about the Public School Teachers’ Magna Carta but I couldn’t resist making these collages in this program I found while I was looking for ideas for teacher-made materials.  Check out Smilebox when you have time. 🙂

I super love it!