Monday, January 2, 2017


It's the second day of new year, and here I am wide awake at 3ish in the morning. Nothing has changed. Still the old night owl me. Anyway, I was browsing my Facebook, looking at pictures from the year that has just passed, when I stumbled upon this article about a guy who live tweeted a love story that had unfolded before his eyes while in a cafe. A girl barista professed her love to a coworker. The coworker said he needs to go to the back to think about what to say. He came back and kissed the girl. Serious mushiness followed after. Long story short, they found love and happiness that night. That's two less lonely people in the world. Needless to say, the hopeless romantic (emotera) in me kicked in and nostalgia took me back to my own love story like it's yesterday once more. (Pardon my song references. I'm classic that way.)

Six days before Christmas eight years ago when my happy ever after began. A blizzard in Toronto brought me and Vince together. Yeah, mother nature had a part in it. From the time we first met to that fateful day, action had always spoken louder than words for us. We kissed on that snowy night, and when the storm had passed after a day or two, we talked about what had happened. It was hard for both of us to admit our feelings towards each other but to deny it was even harder. We weren't newbies in this game called love. He played his cards. I took a gamble. All is fair in love so they say. About a couple of years since our first kiss amidst the snow storm, we held hands and kissed in the altar and vowed to be each other's in this lifetime. Signed. Sealed. Done deal.

Grand Canyon West Rim Eagle Point, Arizona - November 2015 
We've been married for six years now. Not very long you may think but in this day and time when nobody stays together anymore (tell me what's forever for?), staying married is an achievement. I'm very happy and thankful for the kind of relationship my husband and I have. Our love for each other has never diminished and continues to grow each day, albeit our dynamics have changed a lot since we had a child. I love my son to bits and more but having a child was definitely a game changer, and I'm sure a lot of parents would agree with me on this. Honestly, at times, it's hard for me not to miss our pre-married days, our newlywed days, and our childless days. You know, those years when it was just the two of us... when we could have a quiet intimate moment at the end of the day... when we could bond and connect uninterruptedly for as long as we wished. Every now and then, I long for those and would draw from memory to relive those days. Now that we have a child to care for, it's just a challenge to find a chance to be alone as a couple, let alone do the things we used to do in the past.

About two weeks ago, Vince was on call at work. One night, we were all in bed -- my son and me on one mattress and Vince on another mattress right by our feet. I was the only one awake as usual when Vince's phone started to ring in the wee hours. It was the hospital calling. He picked up the phone and answered it in the bathroom so as not to awaken me and my son (well, I was still awake then). From our bedroom, I could hear him talking on the phone, asking questions, and giving orders. I dunno but for some reason at that moment I felt giddy inside me. It could be his muffled I-just-woke-up voice (which I find ehem sexy!), his inflection and intonation, or mainly his intellect that got me smitten all over again like a high school girl. I delighted myself in that moment realizing how in love I am with my husband that at the least moment when he was totally unaware, he made my heart skip a beat or two.

It's so easy to fall in love with someone who is a genuinely caring, loving and thoughtful person. My husband is. He brings me flowers and chocolate-coated strawberries, and all the makings of a sweet guy that could melt any woman's heart. So, when butterflies flutter in my stomach at the least expected and unromantic time of the day and I gush over my unknowingly husband, that's how I know I am STILL head over heels in love with the man of my life. We may not be the childless-couple-in-a-forever-honeymoon-phase anymore BUT the passion is still there. The flame is still well alive and burning. Regardless. Nothing has changed. The same old familiar feeling I felt when I first realized that I am in love with him. ❤❤❤

San Francisco - October 2016
Hambricks Christmas Tree Farm, Georgia - December 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Psalm 136: 1 - "Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever."

Over the past several weeks, life has been throwing us curveballs.

First, my maternal grandmother died from stage 4 lung cancer. All her family -- from my grandfather, their children, in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, plus her extended family, bereaved when she passed away last month, just a couple of months since her diagnosis. I was really saddened by this. She was a very selfless, caring and loving woman -- the epitome of a mother/grandmother. She cared for all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and even until her last days, she remained selfless. Through the pain she was experiencing, she stayed strong and maintained a good disposition. She was calling out the names of her grandchildren on her death bed, and at one point in her confusion probably, she even asked to go and see me. My mother was telling her that my brother couldn't come and visit her then as he was working in Clark, Pampanga at the time. My grandmother thought my mother was referring to me, so she said, "Puntahan natin si Karen. Malapit lang yun. Ganito na lang ako, hindi na ako magbibihis." ("Let's go see Karen. She's just close by. I don't even need to change my clothes; I could go dressed like this.") AND that really broke my heart. I wish I could have visited her and talked to her personally before she died, and not just over video chats BUT circumstances just didn't allow, which I would explain below.

Second, my husband and I are currently in the process of transitioning with regards to our status here in the US. While our visa application is ongoing and in process, we are limited to stay here in the country. We have been wanting to visit our family in Canada as it has been a while since we last did, however, we don't want to jeopardize our return here in the US. The same reason why I wasn't able to visit my dying grandmother in the Philippines. Sigh!

Third, we've been trying to convince my parents to come and visit us here in the US soon. A week after my grandmother's passing, we spoke to my mother and she requested that we hold off on any plans of them coming here soon. She said that my grandfather is also having health issues and she needs to take care of him and accompany him to doctor's visits. Vince and I understand but just the same we couldn't help but feel disappointed that they might not be able to come and spend time with Vonn Kaleb anytime soon.

Last month, we were in California for a week. That vacation was intended for Toronto in hopes that we would have received visa approval by then. Needless to say, we didn't get the answer we were hoping for. Last week, we were also on vacation. We again had planned to go to Toronto in anticipation of our application being finalized around that time, but alas, close but no cigar! So at the last minute, we booked our trip to Chicago, and celebrated Thanksgiving Day there.

In lieu of Thanksgiving Day, I want to reflect and contemplate on the blessings I am thankful for despite the curveballs and hiccups we have been experiencing:

I am thankful to God for His love, mercy, grace, and faithfulness. Amidst the hurdles and dilemmas my husband and I face each day, He has kept us safe and secured in His arms. He truly is an anchor -- One who keeps you afloat amidst sinking seas. He has never left us nor forsaken us. He is true to His promise that He will take care of His children. His blessed protection in our lives is incomparable. I am thankful to God simply because He is the Great I Am.

I am thankful to God for my husband. The Lord has been tremendously blessing Vince in all aspect. By God's grace, his practice has been doing so well. His colleagues and patients love him. He is hitting his goals and going over and beyond some -- all glory to God! I am grateful to have been given a very loving, supportive, caring, responsible, generous, kind, tenderhearted partner in life. I'm thankful for the kisses and hugs I get from him each day. It's such a blessing to be in a harmonious relationship with your husband during this day and time when a lot of married couples don't stay together forever anymore.
Twin Peaks, California - October 2016
I am thankful to God for my child, Vonn Kaleb, whom He has always kept healthy, strong and smart. I am blessed to be present and witness my son grow each day. I am grateful for the kind of relationship we have. The bond between us keeps getting stronger each day. He is growing up to be a very sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, and genuinely caring person. He never passes up a chance to say "I love you" to us. He is truly precious -- one of the greatest blessings I've ever received.
Millennium Park, Chicago - November 2016
I am thankful to God for my life. Every day that He wakes me up and allows me to spend with my family is a blessing. He has blessed me more than I could imagine and what I deserved. God's love is truly overwhelming! He sustains me each day. He is my strength. He is my Comforter.
Monterey, California - October 2016
I am thankful for my church, friends, family, and relatives. We are truly blessed to be surrounded with good people.

I am thankful for the tangible things and pleasant life experiences we have been blessed with. They are icing on the cake and do make life sweeter for me!
Downtown San Francisco, California - October 2016
BUT most importantly as now we are currently going through a storm, I am thankful that we can be still and know that He is God.


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