Monday, December 31, 2012

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Weekend

Woohoo! We were now married for a year! How time flies!

We'd like to share with you how we celebrated this significant occasion this past weekend. We didn't do something grand or extravagant. We just stayed in town cos there's still so much to see. 

We decided to avail our free passes to the Atlanta Botanical Garden- Holiday lights courtesy of my dear cousin, Kristine. She gave these to us as a birthday present and we were so glad to choose the past weekend to go there in time for our anniversary. It was so gorgeous, romantic and mystical. The garden lights were beyond my expectations. What a shining, shimmering, splendid night!

This tree looks like a cherry blossom, right? It reminded us of our wedding theme!
These perfectly choreographed dancing lights were my favorite!
Since we were in a botanical garden, there was an area dedicated for beautiful flowers that survive in the winter. Look at this humongous Christmas tree made out of Poinsettias. 
Then we capped Friday night with a romantic coffee and dessert date at Cafe Intermezzo. I loved my coffee, he loved his tea and we loved the cake!
The next day, Saturday, after an anticipated mass, we had a reservation at Medieval Times, Dinner and Tournament Restaurant. We felt like we were transported back into the medieval times! We had dinner and saw a live action tournament by 5 knights in shining armors. lol. I was so glad that my husband enjoyed this experience and for me, seeing him happy made me happy as well :) 
The dinner package came with a free night in a hotel nearby! How awesome! What a royal treatment especially with this very much comfortable king sized bed.
A free tunic and a sword for my baby boy! Sweet treat!
The next day, Sunday, we ate at Cho Won Buffet across our hotel. Literally, we call ourselves "Meat Lovers" LOL

The first year of our marriage has been surreal. Being together everyday gave life a different perspective and made our lives a lot colorful. I could not ask for a better partner than my husband. 

It's the small things that makes a big difference for me. Every single day, he joins me to eat breakfast at 6 in the morning although he need not to wake up early. When he's not busy, he drives me to work, joins me for lunch, and fetch me up after work. I always look forward to go home because I just can't wait to be with him again. We love doing all things together whenever there's a chance. A year has passed, I still feel the same up until this day and hoping that this feeling will last a lifetime. 

We aren't always on cloud nine.  Of course, there are bad days as well. However, through God's grace, our love for each other overcomes evil or everything that will try to break our vows for one another. 

We are overly grateful and thankful to every blessing God poured upon us on our first year. We look forward for more years of enriched and blissful marriage. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas Indeed!

From all of us, we would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas! We've had a lot of fun shooting this short digital Christmas card! Hope you enjoy!

We could not ask for anything else than to have each other this Christmas. Life and love are one of the best gifts that God has given mankind. We're so happy to celebrate our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez! 

To our families and friends, we want to extend our love and best wishes this Holiday Season! God bless you all!

Alan and Joselle

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Modesty is the best policy

When I was still in the Philippines, I remember from kindergarten to high school, the skirt uniforms were strictly 3 inches below the knee. In Physical Education, girls never wore shorts, instead they made us wear jogging pants regardless of the fiery temperature! In Sunday mass, church rigidly discouraged women to wear tops with low neckline, spaghetti straps and shorts. When I was young, I didn't quite understand. I thought I just had to follow our school principal and our parish priest's conventional rules because they were teaching us daintiness or delicadeza defined as an act of being refined or delicate in taste or manners. After watching the video, I fully understood that it was way beyond that. It truly was an eye opener. I guess when I lived in my country home, where most people around me dress conservatively, I think I was fine. However, when I moved in a place so free spirited and nobody cares what you wear, as time passed and as I have gotten older, it became a big challenge. 
Mark 12:3131 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[a] There is no commandment greater than these.”
The most important thing I picked up from this documentary, is that if we love our neighbor (our brothers most especially) and if we care for them then we've got to keep them from temptation. Studies say that it is in men's nature to be visual so the least we could do is to be modest. Thus we should dress up modestly.

What is modesty?

Let me borrow the definition from Wikipedia for a secular definition.
"The word is used, more about women than men, to describe a mode of dress and deportment intended not to encourage the opposite sex; actual standards vary widely. Clothing should not reveal parts of the body that society of the time and place consider immodest. A modest woman would not behave so as to encourage the sexual attention of men."
Now, here's the definition according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
Basically, secular and spiritual definition sums up modesty to keeping oneself reserved, chaste, and decent especially in clothing so as to not attract unhealthy sexual curiosity and attention from the opposite sex.

When my husband and I were on our early stage of relationship, he would give comments with the way I dress. Most days he would praise the way I carry myself and some days he would criticize. When I dressed too revealingly, he would tell me and that was one of the things I liked about him. I didn't take his judgment badly because I know he was just trying to protect me. Also, I am confident that he loves me just the way I am, without trying to dress provocatively to impress him or anyone. After watching the video, I had a better understanding of dressing up modestly for my husband. Would you like other men looking at us with malice? Would you like to be an object of temptation or worse, destroy a relationship?

Another thing I am grateful for is that I grew up seeing my mom set the bar high for modesty and simplicity. It is said from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that:
2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
The example I witnessed from my mom in my early years helped mold the way I choose my clothes. They say that parents are the first teachers of children which is so undeniably true. Every single thing they do has a big impact and influence to them. My mom's old fashioned style that I regretfully distasted in the past (now she's improved!) made sense to me now. I hope I can set a good example for my future children as a chic way :)

Now, I am a very grown young lady. It's no longer my mother who decides what clothes I wear. It now lies in my hands. Even if I live with people who explicitly assert great example, a husband who cares, it is still a struggle at times. *sigh* And now having watched this video, there's just no escaping from the truth!!  

On the other hand, I am just blessed that God never rests in reminding me on how to live my faith and I feel He tells me to share what I've learned. The intent of this blog is pure. We may all feel guilty of dressing up immodestly, trust me, I did too but let's not feel offended and hurt. To all the women, hope we take this advice, as a privilege to avoid being violated and harassed by men.  Also, let's do our share of dressing up modestly as a way to help our brothers in resisting temptations. We all deserve a man who will respect and love not just our physique but our whole being, to the very core of our souls. Also by showing respect to ourselves, we show respect to our God. In the past, I would think "who cares what I wear?" but now I know that someone up there cares. 

PS: I know the video runs a bit long but I assure you it is worth your time. I personally thank my aunt for sharing this amazing video to me. Thank you Tita Cathy! And also this morning I read about a blog shared by her husband that is just too good not to share. It is with relevance to modesty as well. Feel free to read. 

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012 by Johnny Tsunami


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Tradition

One of the things my husband and I like about starting up a family is that we can set up our own traditions. For our first Christmas as a husband and wife, we decided to focus on the Advent. 

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas -Wikipedia

Last Sunday we gathered together in our living room and started to light our Advent Wreath (a symbol to remind us of the four weeks of Advent). 

We pray our daily advent prayer usually before dinner time and it will run till Christmas Day. We use a hand out that will guide us through in our prayer. I got ours from the Daily Scripture and Meditation website by Don Schwager. 

We also include a scripture reading in our prayer that will help us feel and envision Christ's coming. To end the prayer, we sing a short song as a way of worship and praise. You just have to be creative especially if you have little kids, I suggest you make it more fun so they won't get bored. 

At this time of the year, I get so caught up in many different things. Mostly, I want to make sure that I get every thing done on my to-do-list. Things like Christmas shopping and presents to my families, friends and coworkers, Christmas decorations, Christmas parties here and there, the list goes on and on. 

However, this year, above all else, I choose to put utmost importance to the Advent season as a way to prepare myself in the coming and birth of the Lord, Jesus, who ultimately is the reason of the season. Through daily advent prayers and scripture reading together with my family, I wish to deepen my understanding of God's word and His promise of salvation. And in understanding them may I be cleansed from all sin, broken relationships, and everything that hinders me from  receiving His love. May this preparation touch my heart and help me not to be a captive of earthly material things rather inspire me to give back all the generous and sometimes undeserved blessings received from God to those in need. May this bring us closer as a family like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and may this tradition stand and be passed to our kids and future generations. 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of you!

Oh how I love holidays and this day has become one of my favorites! It is the time when family and friends get together most especially in the dining table and dissect turkeys! lol. Seriously, in our family, it has been a tradition for the past years to come together to say our prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful blessings we received and to celebrate the gift of one another. Historically, day of thanksgiving originated to celebrate a wonderful harvest of the year. In my own version, I want to make a list of things I am genuinely grateful and thankful for:

First off all I am so thankful for my husband. For all the love, understanding, patience, and care he lavished upon me. It'll be our first year anniversary next month and we can't believe how fast it turned about. They say the first years are the most critical ones, however, we just agree to disagree. I have the very best ally, partner, housemate, driver, conscience, masseur, IT support, and best friend in the universe! Thank you so much my dear hubby!

Next is my family and my husband's family. Life could have been hard and sad if not for their love and support. For their significant guidance and their positive teaching, we are so blessed to have them as a part of our lives. For my sisters and my husband sisters, thank you for the joy and love. My family has gotten bigger and it's more fun!

I am also thankful for my CFC community. For keeping me grounded and always keeping me in God's service. For helping me grow in love and discipleship, for bringing great inspiration in our marriage, and for encouraging us to be good ambassadors of Christ's love, thank you!

I would also like to thank my friends, near, far, wherever you are! hahaha. You know who you are. Thank you for the loyalty and love. For keeping in touch and not letting the distance hinder what we have. 

For my employer, thank you for the source of our livelihood! For being the means of sustaining our daily needs and wants.  Thank you for all the good as well as the bad experiences which refine me in excellency and professionalism. I've met a lot of people from different places with different backgrounds and they taught me well about work and life.

Last but not the least, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the Lord my God. If not for Him, I wouldn't have all the people and things I mentioned above. He is the one true source of everything that is good! Thank you for all the great harvests in my life. 

All things will work for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

Likewise, may you get the chance to thank everyone that has made a difference in your life. 

Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday y'all!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Hubby!

November 1st in the Catholic Church is the feast day of the saints. In this same day, my husband was given life. It is an honor and a blessing for him that he shares this special day with the saints. Personally, I can proudly say that my husband is a living saint, in his small ways. (I don't know exactly what the qualifications are for that but to me I believe that). 
  • He has a heart so pure and genuine. He believes that all people are nice. Never thought badly of anyone. There was a time when a complete stranger knocked at their door back home asking for money because his daughter was hospitalized. He didn't think twice rather he gave generously without doubting if that person was telling the truth or not. 
  • He is obedient and selfless. Whenever he comes here to visit me and my family asks him to carry along with him their padalas, he never complains. He will even leave some of his stuff just to make sure all of the padalas can fit in to his luggages. 
  • He is very caring and loving to my family. He works from home so when I leave the house for work, he's left alone at home with my grandparents. He prepares their food, washes their dishes, and watches over them. Another thing is that he understands well my obligation in the family. He still allows me to support them even if I already have a family of my own. He simply loves all the people whom I love. 
  • He's simple and frugal. He keeps me grounded and reminds me to spend wisely. Naturally, girls love to shop. Let's all admit it. However, my shopping galore has been limited lately. When I'm planning on buying something, he will first ask me if I really need it. He constantly tells me that he appreciates natural beauty and he's not a fan of the superficial. On my birthday he asked me what I want and the first thing that popped out my mind was this branded purse. hehe. Although I wanted it so much and have been dreaming about it for so long, in the end, I told him that I'll be okay without it. I was beginning to think like him. We've got to take care first of our obligations, save for our future and learn to live a simple life. 
He's been really a good influence in my life and he makes me a better person. I am very proud of how the Lord is shaping you. I thank God for leading you to righteousness and to holiness. Thanking God as well for leading your path to mine. I'm blessed and eternally honored to be your wife. I love you so much. Happy Birthday Alan!

I prepared a little surprise for you. I gathered birthday messages from your family back home for your very special day. Hope you feel the warmth of their love however thousand of miles away they are.

From Daddy:
On Alan's 30th birthday, here's something I'd like to share:
At two years old, Alan could speak clearly. Pretty soon, he could say a few prayers, as well as sing. He sang "Bahay Kubo", nursery rhymes, and top tunes of the day. And how well he could carry a tune! How can I forget how he sang "Stuck on You", Lionel Richie style! 
Alan, may you use these and your other gifts for Our Creator and others. God bless you! Happy Birthday! 

From Mommy:
When you were born, you got a perfect Apgar score of 10. You did not cry immediately but your eyes were wide open and alert because you were a Lamaze baby and you got the best start in life. In spite of that score, we could not take you home when I was discharged bec you had ingested blood that showed in bloody stools and the pedia wanted to be sure the cause was not internal bleeding. I went home but was back at the hospital daily to breastfeed you until we could bring you home a week after your bday. As firstborn apo and nephew on the Ochoa side, so many women doted on you but Lolo Fred was happiest bec finally there was a male in the family.Happy birthday dearest Alan! 

From our Ninang Doris and Ninong Ting:
Happy birthday, Alan, our #1 pamangkin born on 11.1! Always remember that you already have one of the greatest gifts, that of the love of a good wife. Nurture this love, and happiness will be yours on all your birthdays to come. With good wishes from Ninang Doris and Ninong Ting <3

From your Ninang Ces:
Happy birthday, Alan! Seeing you grow into the intelligent, responsible and loving man that you are now has been such a blessing. Never forget to keep growing, to keep caring, and to keep learning. Love you! 

From Tita Beng, Celine and Simon:
Happy 30th birthday, Alan!
I still am not used to calling you Alan. You have always been Owie to me, the first grandson and nephew of the Ochoas. I still remember how excited we all were every time you visited Lozano back in the days, when you were still a toddler. You were always so well-behaved, never pilyo.
Now, you have grown up to be quite the young man - so talented, smart, kindhearted. True, you have the Ochoas' DNA...but you are also a testament to how great Kuya Ton and Ate Nanette are as parents.
It was a treat to see you in Anaheim this year with Joselle. Keep safe in Georgia.Labsyaaaa!

From Mabear:
Happy 30th Alan, may you continue to be blessed with everything your heart desires :) We will celebrate your birthday tomorrow here at Lozano for lunch, and tonight the Fernandez side will celebrate your birthday at Ojeda naman. Ang daming celebrations! Ang saya-saya! Stay happy and healthy!

From Mayey:
Happy 30th birthday, kuya Alan! Happiness always to you and ate Joselle. God bless you more. :)

I thought of surprising him with a gift but in the end, I was the one who got surprised because he knew about my plan by accidentally reading my FB chat with my friend. This is him acting surprised. LOL


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Birthday Weekend

Tomorrow is Halloween! Can't believe October is coming to an end. I guess time comes by fast when we get very occupied. Just this weekend, happenings were all over the place. It was super packed but it was fun, as always! These are the memories that are definitely going to my blog (:

Saturday, we had dinner with our friends at J. Alexander's Steak house to celebrate my birthday and Alan's as well. We also had karaoke after at Ai-tunes. We're thankful for our friends for making it memorable for us.

Sunday morning, I had my marathon relay run together with my friends in CFC. Actually, one of our friends was supposed to run but she can't do it so she had me as her back-up. I thought it would be challenging and I was right. Love challenges and adventures! Glad I was down for it. This run was different from my past races. It was different because we ran as a team. I knew someone was waiting for me so I had to work extra hard. Sometimes pressure is good when it pushes yourself to do things you thought you couldn't do. 

Right after the run, we rushed home to prepare for Alan's big 30 party. Big thanks to my family for helping me in preparing the food, decor, table set up, photobooth, and everything. One of my aunts suggested to do a costume party as it is Halloween weekend. Dressing up is always fun! This year, I just made my own costume. I got my inspiration from the viral Youtube video, Gangnam Style. It was the outfit of the girl in the subway. Then got my wig from a grocery store for $3. Alan was wearing his wedding suit and borrowed my lolo's bow tie. He was the lead guy, Psy. 

All the kids danced with us to beat of Oppa Gangnam Style! hahaha

Thank you to all my family for your presence and all the gifts as well. We love you!

For all the people whom we've met in the past, in the present and those who have been with us forever, we're so thankful to all of you. Know how we value so much our relationship more than anything else. 




Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Blessed Birthday

Yesterday, I turned a year past my silver year. As always, I am glad that I was able to celebrate this special day with my family. Not only that, I'm even more happy because of the presence of my most loving husband.

Let me walk you through how my special day turned out. Early morning upon arriving at the office, these gifts welcomed me and they were from my sweetest co-workers!   

It has been a tradition to us ever since to offer mass on our birthday so at lunch break, I attended the Holy Eucharist with my hubby. I thanked God for the gift of fullness of life and for all the wonderful blessings he gave me. 

After work, we took everyone at home to a Korean restaurant to celebrate and eat some Korean BBQ! I don't really know why but I love love love korean bbq! It might not be a healthy choice but might as well enjoy them while I'm still young. hahaha. 

My hubby got me this cute and yummy chocolate cake from a Korean bakery. The reason why I love Korean cakes is because they're not too sweet so no guilt feeling after the indulgence. It's just perfect! 

Time to make a wish and blow the candles! 

Mr. & Mrs. Fernandez
Famlove <3
It was a very blessed and momentous day for me. I was touched as I got hundreds of overwhelming birthday greetings. As I posted on my FB last night:
Thank you everyone for all your birthday wishes! Feel greatly blessed and can't ask for anything more. God has been way generous to me on showering me with amazing people/relationships and at the end of the day, that is all that truly matters. Love you all! :)

As we grow older, we become more mature and we start to realize what's more important in life. According to the priest's sermon yesterday, each one of us should understand our priorities in life. In my case, choosing to put God above all else, I gained a lot of wisdom, peace, love, joy, serenity, and many more. If we all walk through our way of life with the Lord, all else will follow. Good life, job, friends, and most especially, family, all these will turn out well because of the wise choices we make. Our choices, our thinking, our heart will always want to please God in everything. We will become more loving and compassionate toward others and we will build great relationships with our family, friends, and all God's children. We will learn how to live simply, humbly and generously. Of course our lives won't always be as colorful as rainbows and butterflies. We will pass through hardships and we will make mistakes along the way but that's okay. Allow those to serve  important lessons in life, know that God allows second chances, and keep up the faith. I know that God works wonders! Thank you Lord for standing by me in my 26-year life journey and happily looking forward for more years to come! Thank you for allowing me to age gracefully :)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our first baby pumpkin:FURnandez!

Last Saturday, our sweet friends invited us to carve pumpkins! Pumpkin lanterns are very famous here during Halloween season. They light them and put them in front of their door steps at night and I've seen some cool ones when I went with my little cousins for a treat or trick one Halloween night. Don't ask me the history of it though. Hahaha. Maybe someone can comment down below?

Anyway, Alan and I haven't tried this before so we thought we'd give it a try and maybe we can teach our future kids how to make them. I seriously thought it'd be hard but trust me it's easy!  Whether you have God given creativity or not, you can definitely nail this. 

Here's how:

First we went to a church to buy some pumpkins. Ping suggested it's better to buy them from a church cos the money will go to a good cause/fundraising. Better than buying them from Walmart right? :P So we went ahead and bought the $10 one.

Alan and Ping
Maria and I
We saw cute little kiddos having their picture taken in the pumpkin field with the scarecrow man. Hope they weren't scared. 

Now, time to work it!

Make a hole at the top of the pumpkin. Inside, you will find tons of gooey seeds and strings. Remove all that away so it'll be nice and clean. Don't throw away the top cos you'll need to put it back once you're all done.

Then choose whatever design you want and start carving. Since we're beginners, Ping bought us tools and it came along with a carving book! We chose this cat in a hat design (master level 3) and traced it in the pumpkin. I hope that wasn't considered cheating. LOL. That's why I'm telling y'all it's so easy :P

Finish product! Say hi to a new FURnandez (:

Ping and Maria's pumpkin: Mr. Owl

Thank you Ping and Maria for a very fun DIY pumpkin lantern! We had a great time!