Friday, December 20, 2013

Savannah and Orlando Vlog

Good morning guys! If yesterday I shared a Throwback Thursday (TBT) vlog, Journery of Joselle in NYC, today, I will be sharing a flashback Friday (FBF) vlog! lol. The videos were filmed when our older sister visited us in August. I miss our fun times together! Thank God for technology because watching this video of us somehow takes me back to that precious moment. Hope you enjoy my back to back, Savannah and Orlando vlog. 



xoxo,
Joselle

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Journey of Joselle in New York City

Happy throwback Thursday guys! Here's a video diary I put together of snippets I took using my handy Sony Cybershot in the Big Apple three months ago. Forgive my shaky shots and the newbie's poor editing skills folks. Still navigating my way through the world of videography. Naks!hehe. I hope you all enjoy this.


xoxo,
Joselle

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Holy Hour

I'm supposed to be sleeping now after a relaxing warm bath and I need to recharge my body for another challenging day that awaits tomorrow but my spirit tells me otherwise. My physical body may seem tired but my spirit seems to be rejuvenated like no other. 

After work, I usually run errands for my family like going to the grocery store whenever my mom forgets to buy something, she calls me up to say "anak bili ka naman ng patis, saging, petchay sa H-mart or Kroger aka tindahan ni Aling Nena or anak pakikuha mo naman gamot ko sa Publix pharmacy. Another errand I do for them is picking up my sisters after school from the bus stop. Also, usually after work, since Christmas is already in the air, I frequently swing by department stores to fulfill my checklist of Christmas gifts to friends and family. Actually, I'm almost done with my shopping as I started hustling shops since Black Friday. hehehe. So today, I left work without getting a call from my mom, without picking up my sisters as they both didn't have classes today, and without a bit of interest to shop and spend money. I left work and told myself "I am going to have my 'ME' time tonight!"  

Off I went to a place I thought I can slow down from all the hustle and bustle of my simple yet swamped life. I went to Eucharistic Adoration at my own parish to do "Holy Hour".  

For those who are not familiar with Adoration chapel juxtaposed with Holy Hour, let me enlist the help of the ever reliable Mr. Wikipedia. 

Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic, Anglo Catholic and Lutheran traditions, in which the Blessed Sacraments exposed and adored by the faithful. Adoration is a sign of devotion to and worship of Jesus Christ, who is believed by Catholics to be present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of the consecrated host, in the form of hosts or bread. As a devotion, Eucharistic adoration and meditation are more than merely looking at the Blessed Host, but are believed to be a continuation of what was celebrated in the Eucharist.

Holy Hour is the Roman Catholic devotional tradition of spending an hour in Eucharistic adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The inspiration for the Holy Hour is Matthew 26:40. In the Gospel of Matthew, during the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:38) Returning to the disciples after prayer, he found them asleep and in Matthew 26:40 he asked Peter "So, could you men not keep watch with me for an hour?".

Before, when my grandparents were still alive, I would go with them to the adoration chapel so early on Saturdays. However, I have not felt back then what I felt today. Maybe because it is only now that I fully grasp how to do the holy hour fruitfully. In our small group, we draw challenges every time we meet. Challenges like to do random acts of kindness, go to daily mass, listen to only christian music, be a vegetarian, write a Christian song, etc. and one of them is to go to adoration. To prepare for when I get that challenge to go to adoration, I did a bit of research and thus my knowledge of the holy hour arose. So I googled it and this popped out first amidst the list. 

HOW TO MAKE A HOLY HOUR

By Fr. John P. Grigus, OFM Conv

The essence of our call to conversion continues to be reflected in the words which God spoke to his people of old through Moses: "Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy" (Lev 19:2). And in his encyclical letter on the Eucharist issued in 1965 and entitled, Mystery of Faith, Paul VI said that "The most efficacious way of growing in holiness is time spent with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament." The fruit of this belief has been attested to by many in recent times through the practice of opening chapels of adoration in parishes so that ordinary, common folks can spend at least an hour a week (a "holy hour") before the Eucharist presence of Our Lord reposed in a tabernacle or exposed on an altar.


One resistance to making a commitment to such a "holy hour" is a fear, present especially within those who are not used to spending regular quiet time in prayer, of not knowing what to do during that hour.


The following are suggestions adapted from a Marytown publication on how one may go about arranging one’s "holy hour" in such a way as to make it more spiritually meaningful and fruitful.


The first suggestion is: DIVIDE THE HOLY HOUR into four 15minute periods.

It is essential to take sufficient time to really visualize the purpose in each period. Do not proceed till you have made that particular purpose clear and definite.


The second suggestion is: for that first 15 minute period dedicate it to a REALIZATION OF WHO IS PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist.


Think of the marvel of this great reality: Christ, the God-Man, is truly present in his divinity as well as his humanity, body and soul. Even substantially present: not just the presence of God but the presence of God as the God-Man via the substance of bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Think of it until there is in your soul a response of wonder ("is it possible?" "How can that be?" and yet "it is true") and admiration (how wonderful: Jesus is really, truly present here!).


Make use of some familiar prayers and songs of adoration usually found in any church missalette to reflect more deeply on that presence, such as "Down in Adoration Falling ..." " Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," the "Holy, Holy, Holy" of the Mass, "Now Praise We All Our God," or any Benediction hymn. Read the words slowly, with great, deep understanding, making them express the sentiments of your own heart.


A suggestion for the second 15 minutes: devote the time to thoughts and prayers of THANKSGIVING to God as you grasp the wonder of who is present Really: God is with us! The Emmanuel of Christmas.


Momentarily give some fresh thought to the fact: God is with us in this special, most remarkable way. Now let words of thanksgiving rise up in your soul, or just simply give thanks to God for his presence here in such a remarkable way. Thank God for the great Sacrament of the Priesthood and for vocations by which he perpetuates his presence in the Holy Eucharist.


In a parallel situation think of our Blessed Mother's joy when she realized that Christ, the great Messiah, was present within her, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Realize how the same Jesus who was present there in Mary’s body is now here hidden under the form of bread.


You might also take some time to recall and thank God for other special blessings and wonders of God: your family, vocation, gift life, opportunity to be in his Presence, special friends, etc. Thank him for his love for you, for his unfailing help in trials and difficulties.

A suggestion for the next 15 minutes: Dedicate this to PETITION.


First of all, ask Jesus here present in the Holy Eucharist for the grace that is dearest to him, the grace he wants most for you and others: the great blessing of redemption and eternal salvation.


- Just think, for some time what that means ... for you, for each member of your family, your friends, people of you neighborhood and parish, for all mankind.


- Think of how marvelous that would be if all would be so blessed: to be in heaven for all eternity!


- Pray for that! Beg for it: the fulfillment of Christ's greatest desire and the main reason for his coming, for which he is present here – "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you" (Mt 11:28).


Pray for conversions. Pray for particular people, those who are away from the Church and the Sacraments. Pray for the sick and lonely, the discouraged, our youth, the unborn, our country, its leaders. Pray for our Holy Father, and for all priests and religious... Pray for vocations to complete the work of Christ. Pray for the grace to know the will of God always in your own life. Pray for peace, God's peace in the hearts of all.


Dedicate the last 15 minutes of the Holy Hour to ATONEMENT.


Why atonement? A look into one's own conscience and the conscience of the world gives the answer. A mere glance at headlines and you see insults, blasphemies, defiance thrown by man into the face of God, the injuries of man to man. Think of the sins of injustice that cry to heaven for vengeance, the sins against life, the slurs and insults against the virginity and Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, the sins of disregard, of refusal to recognize and obey the Holy Father, Christ's own spokesman and Vicar on earth.


You might wish to express your thoughts of sorrow for all these sins. You may do so in your own words or make us of the liturgical words of the "Lord, have mercy," the "Lamb of God" or the hymn "O Lord, I am not worthy." You might pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Litanies of the Sacred Heart or of the Holy Name of Jesus. Also most appropriate is the Litany of our Blessed Mother, asking her under all her titles of honor and power to "pray for all of us." The Litany of the Saints and the Prayer to Saint Michael could be expressive of the hopes in your heart.


A slow, thoughtful saying of the Rosary would be very helpful during any phase of a Holy Hour. With our Blessed Mother and with Christ present there before you in the Holy Eucharist, recall and consider those events in his life. Ponder all those things in your heart as you ask our Blessed Mother to pray for us.

I followed the guide (you can opt not to follow this guide cos there are really no rules in praying, however it would truly help especially for people who are new to Eucharistic Adoration, like me), did what it suggested, and after I finished, looked at my watch and indeed, it took me exactly an hour without even realizing it. The hour went by so fast. It's my first time experiencing adoration by myself in Jesus' sanctuary so extraordinarily. It was awesome! If only I can put all the details of what I felt and saw in the stillness in God's holy presence into words I would but it's unexplainable. It's in the safekeeping of my heart though. But I will tell you, tears ran down my cheeks! Maybe because I couldn't believe how loved I felt by Him despite of my unworthiness. Maybe because I was just happy and grateful for all the blessings he'd showered upon me. Maybe because I felt the pain of those people who are lost in spirit, those who are ill, those who have conflicts in their relationships, people desperately looking for their heart's contentment and not God's, people who lost all they had even their loved ones from calamities, and here I was, truly just blessed, perfectly complete and well because of the Immanuel, God is with me, the everlasting and all powerful God. In return, I pray that I can do this quite more often and visit that blessed place to show the awesome guy up there how I truly appreciate His love for me.
I pray you find this blog helpful, as always. May you have a fulfilling and rewarding ME time like I did. Especially that the season calls us to be quite busy with all the preparations for Christmas, may we never forget that Christmas is Christ's birth and He is basically the reason of the season. May we find time to slow down and think of how we can incorporate Christ in our celebration. 

xoxo,
Joselle

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratefulness



Mmmm. 

My blog? It's my happy place and because it's where I can freely express and share my gratefulness to God, to every circumstances, whether good or bad, and to the people dear to my heart. It has been my way of life to honor people that I admire and that helps me focus less on myself. Thankful that I consistently kept my blog a medium of positivity rather than daily rants and complaints in life which sort of suck the life out of you. The same goes with my social media eg. facebook and IG. Reminding myself each day to be grateful than resentful brings out the goodness, happiness, and positive vibe in me. Thank you to the 10 followers who somehow find interest in reading my thoughts. Last year, I only had 1 reader which was no other than my husband.hahaha. This year, it multiplied to 10. My mom, my sisters, my bffs, my aunts and my cousins.hehehe. Thank you guys so much! Di bale, next year, I might do a giveaway to the most loyal subscriber.LOL. Kidding aside, thank you really to all your kind words, sweet comments and for wasting your time in reading my happy place. I don't know each of you but I know where my blog gets viewed. This year, other than here in the US, it was viewed in different parts of the world like Philippines, Canada, Russia, Australia, UK, Germany, UAE, Poland, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, South Africa, Bulgaria, Guam, and Italy. O diba. International! Thank you po! It inspires me to write more uplifting messages and be a better follower of Christ. 

To you who reads this post now, I am thankful for you! May you also find things to be grateful for.


Good night friends! Before we get together with family in the evening, we need to wake up early and swing by to church first thing in the morning to give thanks to the awesome guy up there. For a great life, loving family, best husband, good job, and faithful friends, I am forever grateful! Although life is not perfect, I am perfectly happy because I am grateful. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18


xoxo,
Joselle

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy 20th Birthday, Jonah Mae!

I kid you not. Jonah, our bunso (youngest sibling) is the sweetest bunso ever! Why? Because now that she just turned 20, she has no plans yet of moving out of our mom's bedroom. She still chooses to sleep beside her. hehehe. Sorry to embarrass you little sis, but for your Ate, I find this so adorable. Grateful that you are there for our mom as her pillow and comfort each night. Sweet bebe!

She's so responsible, very much so for her age. Last weekend, she had the opportunity to serve in our ministry's youth camp and one mom told me how well she did and how she was touched by her talk/sharing. Every compliment I hear about my sisters is music to my ears. When my Lola was still with us, Jonah took care of her really well. Walang arte kahit sa pagpalit ng diaper. She offered her nothing but love, compassion, respect, joy and treated her grandmother like her own mom. At home, she helps vacuum the house every week and does other assigned chores responsibly. She makes sure her things are in order and there's no need for me to tell her to tidy up. 

She's simple. Au naturel look is her go to style. Except for BB cream, which is her no. 1 staple make up product, she doesn't like to cover her face with too much cosmetics. She's beautiful inside and out :) 

She's hard working. She puts a lot of effort in studying and values education so much. We are so proud of her as she's close to finish her degree in Finance.  

She's pure and she promised to keep herself chaste until marriage. At 20, like our other sister, Jovy, she's a member of NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth) club.  Lucky is the man who can wait for my sister and wins her heart. Patapusin mo muna ha. hehe. :)

She's my barkada. Lucky to have sisters to hang out with, mess up with, talk to about anything and everything, borrow clothes from, share secrets with, and what not. I guess the secret to a long lasting, solid friendship and sisterhood is to always forgive and not hold grudges. 

Happy Birthday, Jonah Mae! Ate is very proud of you! I'll always be here to support you and guide you. May you continue to grow in faith and may you always be blessed as you follow whatever God wills for you in life. We love you! 


xoxo,
Joselle 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Welcome Zion! Hillsong United in Atlanta

I was in awe and was so delighted that last night, I,  together with my sisters found ourselves in a sea of youthful, energetic, and good-natured people. Like us, they were there to attend the Welcome Zion tour of Hillsong United. I just recently became a fan of them when my heart melted to their new song, Oceans, that I mentioned earlier on my blog. I just couldn't believe my eyes when I read on their website that they're going to Atlanta and will be performing on Gwinnett Arena which is roughly 13 minutes away from where I live. I just knew I couldn't pass on this great opportunity to see them perform live. 

If you don't know Hillsong United, they're a band from Australia creating and performing inspirational Christian music. I am quite familiar with some of their songs as I try to listen daily to Christian radio station on my way to work. Also, we sometimes incorporate their songs to our praise and worship in our church and community. 

What I thought was a concert, turned into a night of praise fest! Everybody unhesitatingly sung their hearts out, danced, lifted up their hands and just went all out in praising God through Hillsong's heartfelt music. I genuinely commend this band for bringing in some new flavor to Christian music. Their Christian contemporary modern pop songs were probably what drove young peoples' attention to dove in to praise and worship. Before (a little bit today sometimes), like any other teenagers, I used to love listening to chill R&B and to some cool pop music without really looking into the meaning of the song. As long as I loved the beat and the melody, I didn't really care if it had sort of distasteful meaning underneath. But as I grew older, with the grace of God, I started to develop an understanding that the lyrics do matter! Now, I try my hardest to choose only the kind of music that brings inspiration and glory to the Lord and hopefully, if it's God will to grant me children, that I may teach them the same. 

Going back to last night, God amazingly filled the arena with his presence and definitely my mascara ran out. I was also happy and proud of my sisters that at their young age, they are not afraid to show how much they love the Lord and that we all share the same passion. Our ticket was really worth it and it was a 'win-win' situation too. Hillsong was able to promote their songs, and as for us, our hearts and spirits got consumed by the powerful messages God conveyed to us through their music. 

Lastly, at this day in age of secularism, God reassures that there is hope!

Sisters United
Welcome Zion Tour 2013
xoxo,
Joselle

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

Typhoon Yolanda also known as Haiyan, one of the strongest storms hit the Philippines on Friday, headlined all over the world. When I learned about the news early in the morning, first thing I did was to contact my dear husband and check on my family's status. I'm glad that Metro Manila was spared and my husband affirmed me that all was well with them, however my heart just breaks for the people in Visayas and Palawan. Each day, the number of dead bodies arise, families mourn, clean water and food become scarce and power remains down. My countrymen desperately need help! 

Sympathies and prayers mean a lot but it would mean so much more if we could act and do something to help. Thanks to technology, reaching out was made easy. We, here in the US can quickly give donations online. Our ministry, Couples for Christ together with ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) are raising funds to aid the needs of the victims. 


On a lighter note, it is just so nice to know that a lot of Filipinos are quick and eager to give help. Even other countries have kindly extended assistance. In the office today, I did a favor for one of my coworkers and she asked me what she could do to repay me. Instead of saying "you owe me lunch", haha, just kidding, I immediately thought of soliciting funds for the victims of Yolanda. hehe. I sent her the link where she could donate and she said she was glad to share. Although I am not the kind of person who expects anything in return, I thought, the heck with that, (kinapalan ko ng konti face ko.hehe) it's not for me anyways but for my fellow kababayans. We may all be in different financial situations. I know that times are tough these days and it doesn't exclude us here in America, but each one of us can help in our own little ways. Just being alive is enough reason to be grateful and give back to those in great need. If you are Filipino, if you love Filipinos, if you are a Christian or if you just have a heart for humanity, show it! Donate now. Give till our pockets hurt! 

Dear God, use us mightily to comfort all of your children in need. May you always instill in us charitable and compassionate hearts. Help us be cheerful givers and sensitive to the needs of others. May you help the Philippines recover and may you console the people who lost their loved ones. Please give our country fortitude and may we not lose hope that in your perfect time, you will deliver us from this wrath. In Jesus name, Amen.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Cor 1:3,4)


xoxo,
Joselle

Friday, November 1, 2013

Soft spot

Sharing this cute video to my hubby who is like me with a soft spot and a sucker for babies!!! He loves loves loves movies with kids on it and even movies made for kiddos. hehe. When he sees them cry, he can't help but cry as well. How cute! I hope ours will be as cute and sweet as this little one! :)


My Prince

Until now, I still can't believe how lucky and blessed I am to be his wife. 

The Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Channing Tatum, John Lloyd and even Sir Chief of my life! :D

Other than he is good looking (naks!) and smart (cos he chose me.hahaha), I fell deeply in love with this dude cos of his pure heart. They say when you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. That's my husband. I've never heard him say or think of anything bad about anyone. Whenever I pester him with chismis (gossip) he would give me his I'm-not-interested-look or sometimes I feel like he pretends he doesn't hear what I say. hehe. Since I met him, our conversations have always been mostly positive and encouraging. When he speaks, he's ever so gentle. He's careful with his words, cautious not to offend or hurt anyone. He's so impeccably polite and treats everyone with respect. I haven't seen him lose his cool even in an offensive situation. I feel like he was raised by humble royalties cos he acts so graciously refined ;) Being his wife literally gives you a feeling of being a princess! Thank you for inspiring me and making me a better me. 

Happy happy birthday dear! I love you and can't wait to see you! :)



"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the 

Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." -James 1:17:

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." -Matthew 5:8

xoxo,
Joselle

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Track

Before my husband went to bed, I sent him the link to the song below that put his mind and heart at peace. It's a heartwarming mellow song from Hillsong that just gives you the chills. I am just thankful for my cousin for leading me to this song on Sunday when we had our worship for Singles for Christ. I can't wait for the time where my husband and I would be singing and crying out loud songs of worship together! 

I was immensely touched by this song for the words and the melody. It's my favorite song from Hillsong from now on. Good job guys! God has really blessed these men with extraordinary talent and had moved so many hearts including mine. They're coming to Atlanta on Nov. 21st! Wish I could go! 

Now, the next tiny part is all mushy and it's okay if you wish to hit "x" button right now. Thought I should at least warn you. This song makes my eyes well up and my heart pound loudly every time I play this song. My husband and I have been abominably apart for almost 9 months now. I hope that gave you the idea. That's why we can totally relate to this song. Gratefully, we have found ourselves in the presence of our Savior where we find rest no matter how unsure or unknown our future may be. Our relationship, like any of those in LDR's, could be in a terrible mess right now, but it is sailing in the ocean serenely and smoothly. All thanks to the greatest captain of all, Jesus!      

Oceans (Where feet may fail)

Oceans (Where feet may fail) Live

xoxo,
Joselle

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Older, Wiser, & Stronger

Few days days before my birthday, I recollected things that happened to me this year and walking down memory lane was not quite enjoyable. Here's a quick rundown:


 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.Matthew 5:4
Last week, I was humbled by a call from a dear friend for telling me how she and her friend were in awe on how I was coping up well in the midst of these daunting setbacks. At once I was reminded of my everyday prayer which I got from one of the daily devotionals I subscribed myself to:

 "May your light shine through me that others may see your truth and love, and find hope and peace in you".

This just validated my prayer! To bring honor and glory to God, even in the most difficult times of my life is beyond price.

It is only by God's grace I was able to recover. It is only by Him, my heart is at peace. It is only by Him, I feel complete even when the love of my life is not around. It is only by Him, I am celebrating death of my grandparents knowing that they're in a happier place together, forever with God, with all the saints and the angels. It is only by Him, I find hope that I will see them and my dad again in my next life. 

Also, it is only by Him, I find myself learning from the trials I was faced upon. 

I learned to be more patient in waiting for God's perfect timing.
I learned to completely put my trust in God and not on my own for He knows what He is doing.
I learned not to take family for granted. I learned to spend quality time with them.
I learned to forgive and to love unconditionally, to not hold grudges and bitterness in my heart.
I learned to keep on looking at the bright side and to be always positive.

Most especially, I learned that life isn't about me, but it's ultimately about Him. What better way to celebrate my birthday today than to honor the one who gave life to me. 

Thank you dear Lord for the gift of 27 years of existence and counting. Each year, you've tenderly shaped me and formed me wiser and stronger. Thank you for deeply sewing your words in my heart each year. Thank you for picking me back up and sustaining me with wisdom and grace. I am forever grateful of your love and your faithfulness! 



Thank you Lord for the people who made me feel special on my day physically and virtually. Felt your amazing love through them! 

Birthday lunch with coworker at North Point Diner :)
Birthday dinner with my family at Raku :)

xoxo,
Joselle










Birthday Song!

While driving today to work, this song came up on the radio and I told myself, "This is exactly the perfect song for my birthday this year!". 


xoxo,
Joselle


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Remembering Remy

Here are some photos of my grandma from when she was young till her old age that I compiled for her funeral. She was fond of posing in front of the camera. One trait I got from her :) Isn't she adorable and lovely? 


This was a pose I instructed my Lola to do :) Also, one thing I would always remember about my Lola is that she cannot go out of the house without her hat and accessories! Kikay!

xoxo,
Joselle

My Lola, My Idol

My dearest and my most favorite grandmother died on October 1st 2013 at the age of 91. It's the day we tried to prepare ourselves for but still couldn't grasp the unbearable thought. It still all hasn't sunk in yet. She died Tuesday morning in the hospital but before that, on Friday, she playfully pulled my pillow in the middle of the night and woke me up. On Saturday, she even asked the return date of my husband. Sunday, she went with us for a despedida party for one of our leaders in the community. She loved parties and was greeting everyone with her infectious smile. Monday morning, before I went off to work, she sent me kisses through her fragile hand. And Monday night, at the hospital, we told her we were going to come back and didn't know it was the last time we could kiss her warm and soft cheeks and tell her we love her. Everything happened too fast. However, we were not left regretful. We thank God for allowing us to care for and show my grandma how much we loved her every single day. She died peacefully in her sleep. She had a happy, full, and well-lived life. 

Eulogy for Lola:

I am Joselle and I am one of her 7 grand-daughters. 
Thank you for giving me the chance to speak in front of you today and share with you some few words to honor my Lola (grandmother) in behalf of her grandchildren. 

Actually words are not enough to describe my grandmother. 
To be honest, 2-3 minutes of honoring is too short as the memories we've shared were too many.   

But if I could sum up my grandma, I guess I would break it down to three things: 

Generous. My grandma is the most generous  and selfless person I know. 
Every dinner time, she would tell us with pride, over and over, stories of her past, her accomplishments, and it was truly inspiring. 
Her parents died at her early age thus as the eldest child, she took up the role of a mother and a father to her 6 younger siblings.
She made sure all of them finished school even if she had to sacrifice her own. 
She only finished 3rd year in college and chose to prioritize work to provide for her family.
My grandpa waited a long time until he got my grandma's hand cos her family came first before anything else.  
No doubt, she's also been generous to my family.
She unceasingly helped my mom financially in raising my sisters and I. 
One of her dreams and goals was to get us here in the US so we can have a comfortable life and so she filed a petition to get us here.
That took 16 years and we were all thankful to the Lord to be given the honor to give back everything she's done to us. Now, we all just pledged to be American citizens and we owe it to her. 
Thank you for teaching me the meaning of generosity and being responsible as an Ate (older sister).

Family oriented. Her family defined her existence.
She's at her happiest when she's surrounded by family.
She would all wait for us for dinner and welcome us with her pleasant smile when we arrive home from work or school.
She would do roll calls and would get disappointed when we don't come home early.
She would also always look for her brother and sisters and would be very happy everytime her siblings, relatives and friends pay her a visit. 
It's funny cos wherever she lived, whether in the Philippines, in New Jersey, or in Atlanta, there would always be family around. 
Until in her last days, she was and cared for by family. 
Nursing home was never an option.
There was a time when we were changing her diaper, she shyly uttered,
Sorry my dear if I was bothering you, and I replied, you deserved to be taken care of cos u were a good grandmother. 

Woman of faith. Each morning before I go off to work, I would see her with her prayer books and rosary. 
Sunday is her favorite day and happiest day of the week cos we would get together and would go to church altogether.  
When she was at the prime of her health, she would go to mass everyday.
Her faith was what made her into a beautiful and wonderful woman. 
My mom, myself, my sisters, my aunts and all of us would not become who we are today, if not because of her. 

You're my idol Lola for living well a full Christian life. Thank you Lola for inspiring me and leaving me with these legacies that I would forever keep in my heart. Our dear Lord, our Father, must be very delighted to welcome a saint in her kingdom. Till we meet each other again. I love you and I will miss you.

*****
Alan, my husband's eulogy:

Lola Meding was the best grandmother-in-law one could ever wish for. Like Joselle said, she was the number 1 fan of our love team. I also heard she always asked Joselle when I would come back. I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to see her again. I wish I could have spoken with her one last time. Even if her body is now cold, I know that a part of her lives in Joselle and all of her siblings, children, and grandchildren. The moments that she would smile when we see eye to eye, I remember that similar smile in Joselle as well.


xoxo,
Joselle

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Journey to NYC day 4 & 5

On our fourth day, I woke up to this breath taking view from our hotel and took a second to reflect on what life must be like here in NY. Nagmuni-muni in tagalog. haha. Then got kilig and squealed "Hello Man'hatn"!!! 


From Manhattan, my bff Mike and I hopped on a subway and went to Brooklyn. 


After walking through the bridge, we headed off to another tourist spot, Ground Zero. It was just so heart breaking to be here around the memorial date of 9/11. 


For late lunch, we went to another recommendation restaurant from Patty, The Spotted Pig in Greenwich St. As the New Yorker claims, this is a place where normal people to to feel like celebrities and celebrities go to feel like normal people. We did spot some pigs but we were hoping to spot some celebrities too and unfortunately, we failed. hehe. This was my last meal with my bff before he went back to LA. Hope to see you again and thanks for being my travel buddy and my solicited photographer! hehe. 


At National Public Library.


Met friends from Singles for Christ for dinner and they took me to Serendipity! Another food trip highlight for me. We had their famous must-try Frozen Hot Chocolate!


Had a short tram/cable car trip to Roosevelt Island.


For my last day and last meal in NY, the newlyweds and Elle took me to Jollibee and Red Ribbon in Queens which rounded off my trip. I love you guys and I love New York! This city definitely feels like home. See you next time, Big Apple! :)


xoxo,
Joselle

Journey to NYC Day 3

The condo that we booked was owned by a Korean guy right smack in the middle of K-town! For brunch, Sheila and I had Bonchon chicken cause we don't have this yet in Atlanta while Mike stepped out and came back with a box of Halal cause there's none like this in LA. He loves it and had been eating Lamb Halal from food carts everyday since day 1. haha.   


Thank you to Sheila's friends who lives in NY and they took us to my dreamland. Laduree french macaroons, bon jour! 


Central park proved that NY is not plainly a concrete jungle. We had the perfect weather to stroll along this iconic movie public park and wished that I was HHWWing (holding hands while walking) with my dear hubby. hehe. 


If LA has In N Out, NY has their Shake Shack! This is a must go to burger place in the city. I had the Shack burger and cheese fries and it was so good! However, Farm burger in Atlanta is still on my no.1 list. Love your own right? hehe


While we were digesting that calorific meal, we wandered through Fifth Avenue, the most expensive shopping street in the world! One of the stores that captured my attention was Tiffany. It reminded me of my fave movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. I stayed true to my goal and window shopped only. hahaha. 


Thanks to Mike's friend from LA, Allan, who requested to buy him some Potatochip Chocolate and that's how I found this new baby. We were lucky that the sales lady was a Filipina and she let us taste test an array of chocolates to our hearts' content. Royce's originated in Japan and in the US, it's only available in NY. 


For dinner, I recommended Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown. The first time I went here was on 2009 with my husband and we ate here out of curiosity cause of the long cue. Most people come here just to eat their famous pork and shrimp soup dumpling (xiao long bao) and that's what we ordered too. After my first dumpling, it changed my life forever. haha. 

After dinner, Mike pleaded that we go to McGee's Pub. It's the bar where How I Met Your Mother TV series got their bar set concept.  


For our third night, an angel came down from heaven and gave us free 2 nights stay at Marriott Residence in by Time Square! The angel is from Atlanta who leads Singles for Christ and had to travel coincidentally to NY for work. Thanks a bunch Sandra! :)


xoxo,
Joselle

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Journey to NYC Day 1 & 2

Hello there everyone! I'm so excited to blog about my incredible adventure to the Big Apple to attend one of my best friend's wedding. My first travel to New York was with my husband when we were still dating 4 years ago. With us was my bff, Ate Beng, my very first girl friend and household leader in Atlanta. She went to NY to visit Chris, the guy whom she met in a Singles for Christ conference in California in 2008. On 2009, they became officially together and after 4 years of dating, discernment, and prayers they finally tied the knot! I had a very memorable time and I hope you let me share it with you.   

I flew out Saturday morning and very so timely, I found a Manhattan wedding chick flick in the plane called Bride Wars. It's about two best friends who wanted to get married ever since they were little girls in a hotel called the Plaza in Manhattan but got into some major fight because of a conflict in their wedding dates. The brides in this movie were the epitome of a 'bridezilla', it's scary. It's sad that they put a lot of their efforts and frustrations in having a perfect wedding and missed on important things in life like nurturing their relationships with their future husbands. Wedding planning is blood and sweat and so can sometimes either make or break a couple. I'm glad to hear that my bff was a very relaxed bride like me. hehe. We both are very blessed to have very good and godly men. They're also lucky to have a lot of friends and family who lovingly and willingly helped them achieve a very elegant but simple, love-filled and heartwarming wedding. 

The day before their wedding, as soon as I landed in the hustling city of Manhattan, I attended an anticipated mass at Church of St. Francis of Assisi with my other two bff's Myk and Sheila and prayed for a safe and meaningful vacation. 
Chris and Ate Beng invited us to attend their rehearsal dinner held in an authentic NYC pizza place called Grimaldi's. I loved that their pizzas were thinly sliced so I was able to fit 2 big slices in my tummy. I also loved their espresso gelato truffle! Haaay I was hoping that my dress would still fit me after that super delizioso dinner.hehe. After that, we had some bonding time over karaoke with Singles for Christ New York. Blessed to meet new friends and to have mingled with these awesome people.
Here's our home for the weekend that we booked via airbnb.com. We were very satisfied and impressed with this affordable and cute condo centrally located in Midtown Manhattan. I recommend airbnb.com for those of you who travel on a budget. 
Most of what was on my itinerary were recommended by Patty Laurel, a Filipina blogger/jet-setter (I can't believe she replied to my email! kilig fan moment right there.hehe). Thank you Patty! 

Early Sunday morning, we went for brunch to a very cute and very native market place a few blocks away from our condo, Chelsea Market. Sheila and I felt for a second that we were real New Yorkers and not tourists. haha. I fell in love this place, I can live here! lol 
They had the biggest Anthropologie store I had ever seen!!! I was day dreaming of an Anthropologie inspired house while I was window shopping. hehe. I told myself that my extra luggage room was only meant for food pasalubong and my money was only for food tripping so I had to control myself from shopping. It was an absolute torture!
Right outside Chelsea Market was The Highline. A public park elevated above the streets on Manhattan's west side. 
In the afternoon was Chris and Ate Beng's wedding ceremony held at St. John the Baptist (Padre Pio) few blocks away again from our condo (happy with how convenient our place was!). It was a very solemn and spirit filled wedding centered in the presence of Christ. I am sure it was a dream come true for my dear friend to have walked down the aisle towards her groom and towards Jesus on the cross. I'm amazed on how much she's patiently waited for the right guy to find her. She's a testimony that true love waits and that it is possible to set high standards in looking for our future husband and have faith in God that He will grant them. I'm glad she didn't settle for anything less than she deserved.  

In the evening was their reception held in Pennsylvania 6 few steps away from the church. We had the bar all for ourselves and partied the night away. Congrats again Mr. and Mrs. Metzger! 
And because the city never sleeps, the tourists barely get sleep too! After the wedding, we still had the energy and went sight seeing and bustled through the glittering lights of the concrete jungle. We walked to Grand Central where I imitated Serena walking down the stairs (Gossip Girl.haha). Then we dashed towards the hypnotizing lights of Time Square. Ang ganda! After all the walking, we stopped for hotdogs sold in street carts then hailed a cab and finally hit the sack. 
xoxo,
Joselle

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happiest Place on Earth!

The 4 J's: Jovy, Jonah, Joselle, and Joyce :)
Finally, I am happy to be back in blogland! Debbie downer hung out in my mind and kept my mood down for a while. But she just left for good and now I am inspired to write again! The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me. As some of you may know or may have heard, the reunion my husband and I anticipated and looked forward to was obstructed and had to be delayed. It did take its toll on both of us. I felt so bad for him for what he had to go through. When you're married, you feel every ounce of pain your spouse feels. It's like your hearts pump together as one even if you are miles apart. However, by the grace of God, we have recovered quickly from such a heart breaking misfortune. Although we unfailingly believe that God's plan for us are always good and He makes all things work together for good. So the trials and disappointments that come our way, as bad as it may seem, could be for our good, could not be so bad after all.  Of course, we won't see it yet now, but later, it will all make sense. Just keep the faith and be positive!

I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the people who lifted our spirits up and for all of your encouraging and kind words especially from our families, dear friends, my CFC family, Ligaya ng Panginoon, and my coworkers who all felt our pain from this nightmare. Much love from my husband and I to all of you! Mwah!

No matter how much emo time I'd like to indulge myself upon because of the heart breaking circumstance, I just found it impossible for me to do. God may have allowed for me to go through such a trial but He also allowed so much blessings to rain down on me and I cannot complain. I guess when the Holy Spirit dwells within you, you see blessings shine so brightly that it leaves no room for negative thoughts. I'm so blessed and just thankful for the opportunity to be reunited and to spend some precious quality time with my older sister, Ate Joyce before she goes back to the motherland. 

Last week, we wandered and took a road trip to Disney World, the happiest place on earth, with our two younger sissies. It was indeed the happiest place and it took all my predicaments away as we felt like princesses in our magical kingdom. Originally, this trip was intentionally planned for my sister 'cause she had never been here but little did I know that it was also for me. My second visit to Disney surprisingly felt like the first time again. It was a much needed trip for myself! I was so thankful for the company of my jolly and crazy sistahs! We had so much fun on the road, singing, laughing, reminiscing the good 'ole days, and catching up, thus I felt not the tedious drive. What would I do without them? 

Here are photos of us, forever Disney babies in Disney World.    

Day 1: 7 hour drive to Orlando and Downtown Disney


Day 2: Disney's Hollywood Studios
My Ate's favorites were the live shows!
Day 3: Drove home sweet home and passed by an outlet store.
Day 4: Mass at St. Benedict Catholic Church with mama-mia!
Now, my sister is back home in the Philippines and we miss her already! See you next time Ate! Love you! 

And guess what. Another blessing just dropped from the heavens to our mailbox yesterday! The schedule of my naturalization oath ceremony already came in the mail. Things can start to move forward now. Hang in there my love and we'll be reunited real soon! For with God, nothing is impossible! Thank you Lord for the strength and the wisdom! 

xoxo,
Joselle