Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Marriage to the brim

These 2 moving short documentaries will explain what marriage is all about. I got these from a co-blogger (feeling legit blogger ako.haha) whom I follow for all her inspirational posts. 

The first video is about an old married couple while the second one is about a young newly wed couple. They distinctly justify the meaning of 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.' 

Before you hit play, just a quick heads up. These two are tear jerkers so you might want to grab a box of Kleenex first. If this doesn't move you, then you're bound to single life forever. hahaha. Just kidding.  

May this be an inspiration to all of us to be selfless, loving, compassionate, kind, caring, patient, and most of all, COMMITTED to our better-half even in the most drastic turn of event in our lives. For those who care for their sick spouses, I pray that God grant you strength and vigor to stay true to the vow you made. For it is only through God's grace that this kind of LOVE is made possible. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On My Own

On my own, pretending he's beside me.
All alone, I walk with him till morning.
Without him, I feel his arms around me.
And when I lose my way I close my eyes, 
and he has found me....

Okay, this post is not really about the beautiful song from Les Miserables which is one of my favorite songs or to scrutinize one of the best musicals that has been brought to the big screen. This song has just been stuck in my head lately.

As many of you know, I am on my own again. I mean I'm not all completely on my own because I still live with my family. I am on my own because my husband has traveled back to the motherland for a while. 

Surprisingly, when I sent him off to the airport on Saturday, I didn't bawl my eyes out. In the past, I would literally cry a river every time we parted ways but this time was bizarrely a different story. It was odd because I was pretty much cool and caught myself laughing on some silly things on that day. 

Before we were headed to the airport, my family blessed and prayed over Alan's safe travel. In the middle of  a solemn and sincere supplication, my mom couldn't help but cry. She stepped out quickly to grab a piece of tissue paper, then dried up her tears and blew off her nose. Then my Lola got fascinated by her crying and she all of a sudden, without any inhibition, laughed out loud and told my mom, "hahaha nauna ka pa umiyak sa anak mo!" (you cried even before your daughter did). Then we burst out into laughter. My lola unintentionally exudes a lot of whims and she never fails to crack us all up. 

Then we were off to the airport and it helped that my mother tagged along with me. It was funny because from the moment she sat in the car till we got in the airport, till we went back home, she was constantly talking and randomly rambling on this and that. I believe we didn't even think of turning the radio on because it's just going to be useless. hahaha. Her being a chatterbox became very beneficial at that point when I had to free myself from sulking in to negative and sad thoughts. She distracted me from becoming emotional about the situation. 

Although before Alan had to go in the security checkpoint where we had to completely let go of each other, in my head, I planned on hugging him tight and kissing him like how the French people do it. lol. However, my plans badly failed because my mom was there. hahaha. It's like I want to tell her "you're not supposed to obviously look between a couple smooching you know" but I know I will just get smacked right in the head. hahaha. PDA is a no no.  

Then after we said our goodbyes, I bought my mom coffee to thank her for coming with me. Then she offered to buy me lunch at a Chinese restaurant as sort of a consolation to hold my spirits up. She knows me well that good food makes me all giddy and happy. I got my favorite Shrimp Walnut and a fortune cookie that stated "WAIT". What an affirmation. 

There's really nothing to be miserable about. I have a family who comforts me and a husband whom I know will be back before I know it. 

Also, I can also use this time of detachment from my husband as a time to focus on my journey with God and of my service to Him. I am guilty to admit that when we're together, we get less time for Him and that should not be the case. Gotta work hard on that. It's a good thing that I have plenty of books in line that talk about keeping God in the center of marriage and how to become an even better wife. Perfect time to meditate on them this Lenten season. I also need to start losing weight soon after all the calorific and delicious food we have indulged over the past 6 months. hahaha.

I am full of hope and excitement for my hubby's return. Those feelings overrule my sadness. I know God has great plans waiting for us when we get back together. For when he returns, it might be a start of a new chapter in our lives :)



Monday, February 18, 2013

Foodie Journey: Oreo Truffles + Valentine's Day

Truffles are the sweetest thing in the world next to my hubby :) I decided to make my own truffles made of Oreo cookies on Valentine's Day as a present for my Valentine. Usually, guys give chocolates to girls isn't? However, in Japan, where Alan grew up, it's the other way around. The girls buy or sometimes make their own treats for their special someone. Then a month later, March 14, it's the guys turn to give the girls back chocolates or presents. It's called the White Day. Actually, it was March 14 too when Alan first confessed his love to me and that was where our love started :)

So I thought of an easy DIY chocolate gift for my hubby since I am no baker at all. This truffles are literally a piece of cake! hahaha. It's also a no bake cake so you don't have to worry about burning anything and wasting electricity.  

I brought a box of these decadent little monsters for my coworkers and they wanted me to share the recipe with them, so here you go.

1 pack of Oreo cookies

8 oz. cream cheese

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

wax paper
lollipop sticks (optional)
mini baking cups (optional)

1. Ground the Oreo cookies preferably with a food processor or a blender.

2. Mix in the cream cheese until well blended. In my case I only put half. My cousin said putting too much would make the balls too soft and might break apart easily.

3. To make the balls, roll a spoonful mixture using your hands.

4. Put in the fridge for 30 seconds or in the freezer for 15 seconds.

5. Melt the chocolate chips (or candy melts) using a microwave oven. Do so at 30 second intervals, then stir and put back into microwave until completely melted. Putting it on a setting for more than 30 seconds without stirring could result in burning. (On my first attempt, I left mine on the microwave for 3 minutes straight and burnt it. Our house smelled bad. lol)

6. Put the sticks in the balls and dip in the melted chocolate then place them in a wax paper.

7. Let them cool completely, put them in the cups, and refrigerate.

That's it! I was so glad my hubby liked it! All my efforts were worth it! 

I would like to thank my sisters for helping me and my cousin, Kristine for all her tips (she's the pro when it comes to baking in the family). 

Then on Valentine's day, my hubby surprised me with a bouquet of my favorite pink roses, a set of tea from my favorite tea place and a personalized card. I really appreciated all the effort he put in his gifts. 

In the evening, we just chilled and watched a romantic movie, Safe Haven, and ate at a Korean barbecue restaurant. Movie+food trip=perfect date! :) 

For me, since we're not permanently together yet, as much as possible, we try to make each day a Valentine's day when we're together. We hope our love inspires and ignites your love for your better half as well.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Singles for Christ Georgia!

On my previous post, I mentioned that we went to North Carolina over the weekend to celebrate early Valentines. On that same weekend, we were asked to present in our Couples for Christ ministry in behalf of Singles for Christ, Georgia. Because we couldn't make it, we filmed a short video of our presentation. 

Special thanks to my sister, Jovy for editing the video again for us. We can't wait to have you in SFC.hehehe.  

PS: Please excuse our amateurish and awkward delivery. lol. 

We genuinely encourage all single men and women to go find and belong to a ministry. Whether it's Singles for Christ or not, there's a lot out there. There's a saying so popular now a days that goes, "YOLO, You Only Live Once" so let us all better make that one lifetime well lived, purposefully and meaningfully. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Journey to Biltmore Estate

Happy Monday y'all!

Alan and I had a great time over the weekend. Since it was our last weekend together and in celebration of Valentine's day, we decided to make a short getaway. I suggested to go to North Carolina to see one of the biggest and oldest mansion in America. Actually, one of my closest friends told me about this luxurious palace and we planned to go there but he had moved already so, quick shout out to Myk if you're reading my blog hehehe. 

Our trip up north to Asheville, NC only took us three hours by car. It's my 14th state to visit in the US and as of today,  I have 36 more to go. I found this cute little town so quaint and charming. It's so peaceful and everyone was so nice and friendly, just like in Georgia :) 

One of the major tourist destination in NC is the Biltmore owned by the Vanderbilt family. We had a tour of the mansion and what's cool about it was they gave each one of us a map and an audio device that looked like a mobile phone. The rooms had a designated number on the map so all we had to do was click on a number depending on where we were and listened to the audio guide. It's like a virtual tour guide. That was really a great idea for me instead of having an actual tour guide. It helped keep the tour very peaceful and organized. I guess they didn't want the place to get so loud to make all the visitors happy and comfortable. Sad thing was I didn't get to capture photographs inside the mansion. Photography and filming were not allowed. My hands had been itching to take pictures because every part of the house, every furniture, from paintings to their interior designs were picturesque. Everything was "instagram worthy"!!! The Vanderbilts exquisitely had an elegant and sophisticated taste in putting up together their one of a kind mansion. I learned a lot from this tour and I felt like I was transported to the 18th century. When I told my sister Jovy about the house, she told me "Oh it's like what I see in Downton Abbey". Now I got intrigued by that popular TV series and made me want to follow it. hehe. 

The tour also came with a complimentary wine tasting. I've never experienced one before and I've always wanted to go to one. I have to admit that I am clueless when it comes to wine so this experience taught me what kind of wine best suits me. Before this trip, when it comes to wine, all I ever drink is the one we have in our church and all I can ever get from that is a teeny tiny sip. That red wine is sweet and because I have a sweet tooth, I enjoy that. When it comes to white wine, I like Moscato because of its sweetness and fruity taste. When we had the chance to taste different varieties of wine, I enjoyed the sweet kinds of wine, just like what I thought. There were three categories of red and white wine to choose from; dry, semi-sweet, and sweet wines. I had 4 glasses of sweet and semi sweet wine and my most favorite was the Biltmore Chenin Blanc which has a delicate flavor of pineapple and pear. Gladly, I was able to handle myself well and my husband was there to drive for us. hahaha. 

For our accommodation, we found a $39 suite outside but close to the estate. We booked it via Expedia's unpublished hotel. It was a decent and affordable hotel called Guesthouse Inn. They also have a hotel inside Biltmore property called Inn on Biltmore, however, it's $299/night. E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E! 

For dinner, we went to Texas Roadhouse just next to our hotel. This was the highlight event for my husband and the most memorable one. If you wonder why, it's because he just loves steak and he remembers all the best steaks he had. hahaha.   

There's a lot more to tell about our trip and I know my brief review doesn't make enough justice to it. We hope you get the chance to visit it too so you could see for yourself.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to deal with drama

Today, I find myself bewildered with thoughts and emotions striking like lightning through my mind. Usually, I get excited whenever happy and inspirational thoughts come across. I like it because I get to write it down into my blog and the world gets a dose of that happy pill too!

However, today is not like one of those days. I feel afraid, confused, surprised, vulnerable, crushed, discouraged or if I put every emotion in a phrase, it would be, "what-the-heck"!

I don't normally feel like this. Where is my positive mojo when I need it the most? I am sheerly a happy, jolly, no-first-nor-second-nor-third-world-problem-bothers-me kind of way. I am thick skinned and would laugh on every silly and shallow thing. 

But like you, like any other normal person, I get hurt too. I hit rock bottom too. I just don't show it sometimes. I don't overkill my FB page with post like "I am sad and I need a bucket of haagen dazs" to make me feel better. (See how I'm still trying to cheer myself up despite being miserable.lol) For me, it won't do much but chismis. Mmmmm, aminin!

I choose not to tell anyone how I feel (before I decided to post this here). Sometimes it's better that way. I didn't want anyone to think badly of the other party, no matter how deeply hurt I was, care, love and respect is still there. However, I felt so alone and pathetic. 

So on my lunch break, I went out and breathed some fresh air. Eventhough it's raining (felt like the weather sympathized with me), I drove to one place I knew I can only find refuge and answers to my bewildering questions. A place where I don't get judged and hurt, my happy place (besides my blog), my parish, St. Benedict. The peace and comfort I got from hearing God's word was inexplicable. Truly, it's the most effective and most affordable way of all therapies and spiritual healing. 

At this point, I feel better and wiser.

Struggles, I believe, are necessary sporadically to help us grow stronger. From being discouraged and gone to pieces, I now feel fearless and more confident because I know God's love for me is absolute and unconditional. Man's love wears out, but never God's. 

To those who hit rock bottom too and can relate to my experience, hope this blog helps. 

Saying hello to good vibes again! 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Love Love Love

Today is the first day of February. Shortest month of the year yet it's the sweetest month of all. However, I've got feelings of happiness and sadness at the same time about this month.

Happy because it's the LOVE month where love is being celebrated in a special way. My hubby and I put together plans to go out of town somewhere charming and romantic for Valentines.

On the other hand, it's sad because he leaves in 2 weeks! :( Unfortunately, he is only here for 6 months because of his tourist visa so he needs to return home.

However, I still feel thankful because not every Filipino gets a chance to be granted a US visa, you know (Hope Obama does something about this!lol). It made our loooong distance relationship bearable and possible by his constant sojourns.

Since 2009, he's gone here to visit me back and forth 5 times already. Imagining how much of his fortune he had spent on me, I just couldn't find words. In casino, it's like giving away all your chips and risking it all. Did I just compared his love to a poker game? I didn't even know how to play? hahaha.

Anyway, that's what love can do. Love is a big risk and a huge sacrifice. Even Christ made a big risk of giving up his life just to save us from our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). God wouldn't be able to sacrifice His son's life as well if not for His great love for humanity (John 3:16). As we all know, love conquers all.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
Flashback 5 years ago, I recall that it was at this month where we had our first date ever. We were just friends then and it's not that we planned to go on a date but it all happened out of the clear blue sky.

It was on February of 2008 when he invited me and my cousins to go see a movie because he got complimentary passes (courtesy of Ninang Doris). For some reason, my cousins weren't all available to come because they got stuck at work so it was just us two who went and see the movie. It's like the universe conspired that night to bring us closer. Here is our first ever picture together:

This is our first dorky picture on our first date.  lol 
Incidentally, it's our 5th year in the US this month. We applied for US citizenship already and currently waiting for our interview appointment to pop up in the mail around this month. After that I can finally petition my husband so he can live here permanently too! All our waiting will finally pay off in just a few months. Hang in there! Sharing you my favorite verses that guide me to patiently wait.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12 
"And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:15
So please bear with me my dear readers if you find my next posts to be all mushy and overly sentimental in two weeks. However, I will try my very best to stay positive and not dwell too much on my solitariness. 

We still have 2 weeks and there should be no time to waste. Carpe diem! We will seize each day!