Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Openness, acceptance & non-judgment can bring love to anyone - Deepak Chopra
I received some painful, shocking news today. It doesn't affect me directly, I am but on the fringes, but it concerns a family very close to my, to our, hearts.
How do you handle a life-changing event, unforeseen, and completely uncontrollable?
"We are a team, and this is our mission." These are unprecedented fighting words of peace and unity and love.
When the ball's in your court and there are tough decisions to be made, you can waver and continue undecided or you can take the more difficult paths of love and reconciliation, stand your ground and carry through in faith and prayer.
Thank you Papadios for this courageous woman, whose strength and determination and pure love are a quiet example of what it means to be woman, wife, mother, and true Christian in the 21st century. She is an inspiration, a reminder that all you really do need is love.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I've always been an avid bookworm: reading books over meals, late into the night, in the shower (!), on the throne, pretty much anywhere except in a moving car (I get horribly sick). I much prefer to read than to talk.
Well, for someone who once couldn't go a day without devouring several chapters, if not an entire book, I realized that the past few years were filled to the brim with being married, raising kids, trying to run a household, trying to make money, endless surfing online, and the iPad... pretty much everything except reading. I've recently just started once again and it's a relief and a comfort to hold a good book in my hands: the anticipation of the world awaiting within, the feel of the pages, the cover design, and the smell! The smell of books (and magazines) should be bottled and sold!
Growing up, there was just a handful of bookstores in Manila, and these stocked more office supplies than books. My mom would lug home dozens of paperbacks each time she travelled, and that's how I met Anne Shirley, Ramona and Beezus, Judy Blume, Enid Blyton (The Naughtiest Girl in School, Famous Five!), Laura Ingalls, and countless others.
Thankfully, it's much easier to come by good reading material in Manila these days. There is a second-hand bookstore close to us. It's tucked into the corner of a decades-old grocery. A tiny place with books on shelves, stacked on the floor, overflowing out into the aisle. It's no Strand, or Three Lives, but it does get a surprisingly good selection of children's books. The kids know they get unlimited treats there as long as I deem the books are suitably educational, and entertaining but not silly (I try to steer away from character books).
Yesterday though, it was my turn. One of my favorite booknooks was on sale, so N and I walked over after lunch and I picked up a stack of books for myself: favorite authors, some new ones, a parenting book highly recommended by N, and one that I haven't decided whether to keep or to give Ninong M.
What a blessing, to find and be able to afford these treats! I can't wait to burrow down in my cozy armchair with these. And hopefully it's the push I need to get out of this reading slump.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Home becomes a zoo each evening when S comes home. The kids (and dog) are so excited to see him and it gets pretty wild in our tiny flat. Any calm which I had managed to restore after their afternoon in the playground is erased by his arrival, and somehow these little people find their second wind and turn into individual monsoons. Exhausted as I usually am, it's a lot of fun to watch S join in the fray, alternately shielding himself from their agitated approaches (they're like affectionate battering rams) and chasing them for the dreaded tickle attack. It's loud, but these are happy, irreplaceable noises of home and family.
Today I had lunch with N, someone I can always count on for sympathy and wise words, during which we discussed being married vs. being single vs. being separated at our age of nearing-forty.
And over our shared slice of key lime pie, we concluded that being married takes work and care, but that playing tic-tac-toe (hers), coming home to dinner (mine) and happy voices shouting, "Mommy!" (ours)... these are things to be grateful for everyday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sometimes family is not composed of people bound by blood or law but by the bond of laughter and tears.
In the past months, I have been witness to upheavals and tumultuous events in the lives of K and I who are like family to me. The pain they are going through is incredible. Friends are unable to fix circumstances but we can walk through it with them and even cry with them.
Anyway, in the midst of all this, those two friends, plus another, threw at me the age-old cliche: Count your blessings. They repeated, with voices raised: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. So I cried with K, went home and yes, I counted my blessings: this and most especially this.
Thank you, Papadios!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Standing in line in the crowded grocery, Sunshine stands up in the grocery cart, throws his arms around my neck, gives me a dozen slobbery kisses and announces loudly: Can I marry you when I grow up?