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.