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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." 
Today, we learned about one of God's lovely creatures, the BUTTERFLIES:
  • Some people call them "winged flowers."
  • Although it may seem that butterflies have two wings, they actually have four wings (two big and two small).
  • God gave them a job to do, and that is to spread pollen!
  • Butterflies start as caterpillars. An adult butterfly would lay egg in a leafy spot. A very hungry caterpillar would then come out of the egg. It would eat and eat leaves for about 14 days. It will then wrap itself with a blanket called chrysalis. One day, the chrysalis felt so tight, and a beautiful winged creature then broke free out of the chrysalis. What happens inside the chrysalis, no one knows! How a caterpillar changes into a butterfly is a miracle. A miracle is something that only God can do.
Using this plastic orchid and butterfly decor, we demonstrated how a butterfly sucks nectar and then spreads pollen from one flower to another.

Speaking of miracles, although not included in the book, I mentioned to my son that he is also a miracle. My womb was his chrysalis for nine months until he was ready to be born. How he changed inside me over time from a very tiny cell to a fully formed little human being was a great miracle of God!

We then played a little game. I wrapped my student in a big comforter and pretended that he was a caterpillar trying to come out of his chrysalis. We then pretended to be butterflies fluttering around the house.

For arts and crafts, we painted a butterfly garden. I pre-cut a "stencil" and my little boy used washable paints and sponges to paint a garden scene.

My little boy insisted on writing the word "butterfly." So proud of him!

We also did a little coloring, and he practiced writing his name:

My boy was wondering why we didn't practice writing letters today. I just thought I'd give him a break especially that he was the one who initiated on writing the word "butterfly" and I saw that he had put great effort in doing so and accomplishing the task :)


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