Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Quit!

After celebrating three New Year's away from each other, my husband and I finally celebrated it together to welcome 2017. With his family, we greeted the New Year full of gratitude in our hearts. Though our journey was not an easy one and we are still picking up the pieces of the last year, we have nothing but appreciation for the opportunity to live a life together.

We consider ourselves blessed in so many ways so on the first day of 2017, instead of making a list of new things to do, we commit ourselves to quit some negativities in our lives. The list is endless but the possibilities are infinite. 

Coincidently, the sun’s shining brightly today! A promising start of the new year.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

A Little Act of Kindness

The sight was something usually unforeseen in a first world country like US. A man, shoulders hunched up while pushing a cart full of assorted stuff was obviously fighting the vicious wind and bone chilling temperature outside. My husband told me he’s homeless and whatever’s in the cart was everything he has.

I looked at him with disbelief in my eyes. How does he survive out there during this winter? The car was in the busy road and there was no way we could stop immediately, but my husband suddenly asked if it would be fine to buy a meal for him. There were no words after that only a silent understanding because we were both emotional.

It took us a while before we were finally able to go back and the man was not in the spot where we last saw him but his cart was right in front of Arby’s. My husband went inside and it took him a while before he was back. The look on his face was enough to make us both teary-eyed. He got a simple meal and gave him a small amount of money. It may not be much but my husband told me how it made the man so emotional. Apparently, Arby’s took pity on him and allowed him to sit inside to warm himself. After he got the meal, my husband sat and talked with him for a while.

Sometimes it takes a little act of kindness in order to help someone. My husband and I went through a lot of ordeal getting our stuff together and had it not been for people who gave us a little act of kindness, we would’ve not been able to pull through. For some people, it may be nothing but what may be small is actually a colossal act of mercy making a big difference.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

On Leisure Walk and Asian Foods

After almost two months of being reunited with my husband, it still feels so surreal waking up beside him. Today’s one of those days that I remind myself how blessed I am to finally spend the rest of my life with the man I love so much. Doing ordinary daily activities with him becomes extraordinarily special since we have waited for it for so long.

When he asked me to go for a leisure walk today, I immediately agreed despite of the chilly temperature outside. That was before we feast on the sumptuous breakfast he prepared.

The moment we went out of the house for our leisure walk, vicious wind and chilly temperature greeted us. I forgot how leisure walk turns long brisk walk to my husband! We ended up walking more than two miles with the snow blowing on our face! By the time we walked back going home, my legs were sore and I was freezing! It was still a good walk though. 

I love this traditional inn! 

That's our house with the blue sidings at the back. Looks like calm temperature in the picture but don't be deceived! 

My husband challenged me to walk on top of this pile of snow but it looks easier than doing it believe me. The snow was hard and it's so slippery!

Our day ended with a dinner at Red Wok’s buffet. This is the nearest place to us where I usually indulged myself with Asian food. My favorite of course is pancit!

I love pancit so much. It reminds me of home. 

Meal at Red Wok's always ends up with this fortune cookie! This is so true! Our routine day ended up as an enchanting escapade! Live life simply and with a thankful heart. ALWAYS. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

On My First Month in Michigan

The old adage that says change is the only thing constant in this world still holds true up to this day. Who would have thought that fate would catapult me in the life that I have now? Well, I think I am just living up with the theory about change being the only thing constant in this world.

My journey from Philippines to Indonesia and Indonesia to U.S. is probably the pinnacle of everything I hoped for and dreamed of. Though there was this fear knowing that I was leaving everything behind, to be with my husband after such a long wait and knowing that we wouldn’t need to be separated again vanished all those worries.

With this blog, I want to share our beautiful story of togetherness. One that was written not with fear but with faith. From sun to snow is just one of the changes that I needed to face. However, any changes that I need to face will be without fear so long as I am with my husband.

Sharing with you some of our special moments...

Dec. 10, 2016
Yesterday was a bitter-sweet travel for us. Since I came here, I was having bad allergic reaction with the cats. I know that my husband loves them dearly but he decided to look for a home for them anyway. Thankfully, he found a nice couple from Kalamazoo willing to give them a home. The travel was about two hours and in some areas, it was snowing pretty bad.

Stop over at Kalamazoo

My husband trying not to be sad after giving up Jack and Trudy. 

It was my first time to see this much snow at Kalamazoo. 

Trying to make snowball. 

While at Grandrapids, we had stop-over at a beautiful bridge where people were fishing despite of the strong current and it was in front of that bridge this picture was taken.

"I have no fear of making changes because the painting has a life of its own."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Words Created Me (When God Made Teachers Book Series)

When God made teachers, He intricately designed them with FORTITUDE- the kind that will open gateways of opportunity so they will find their place in the field.

“Ms. Buena is a potential teacher in the field. She is talented and has great enthusiasm to learn.”

These words pierced my heart in the most beautiful way conceivable. I was young, full of dreams, and hopeful that I would find a place in the field of teaching. But, to be fully certified as a teacher, I needed to face the harsh reality of disappointments, committing mistakes, and at times inimical people who were not willing to share the limelight.

I lost count of the times I got sick because of that appalling gut- wrenching feeling in my stomach whenever I think of facing intelligent students under the scrutiny of my cooperating teachers. It was not a very pleasant feeling to recall because I had all the apprehensions of an inexperienced teacher.

Apparently, that was not what my cooperating teachers saw. The words written on the comment box for my evaluation form brought tears to my eyes. I remembered the sleepless nights, the countless sickness, the pain of humiliation whenever I would commit a mistake, and the horrible feeling of realizing I might not make it.

The positive comments did not conclude my stint as a practice teacher. The high evaluation also encouraged me and put a strong resolve in me that I have what it takes to be a teacher.
Yes, I did make it. The words created me a teacher with fortitude.

To survive the sea of challenges may not be that easy. The roads would always be long and arduous. But, God planted the seed of fortitude in every teacher’s heart so when they are called, they will have the resilience to face the multitude of barriers and heed God’s plan.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
-Romans 8:28-

(When God Made Teachers is a series of articles taken from my book. It encapsulates my experiences as a teacher and my journey of learning while teaching.)

Friday, December 09, 2016

Note of Thanks (When God Made Teachers Series)

When God made teachers, He intricately designed them with the virtue of INTEGRITY- the kind that will leave a mark of infinitude.

Note of Thanks
March 24, 2013

Teacher Niña, I promised myself that I would send you a note…note of thanks but not of goodbye!

Thank you for sharing your talents and goodness of heart. Thank you for the honors you have brought to the school. My many dreams were realized with your expertise. Thank you for all the extras-
late sleep
tired mind and hands
countless lay-outs, etc.

All sacrifices for the love of work, passionately done!

God bless you wherever you’ll be. If you need a home, a family, come home to us. With love, we’ll always welcome you.

God bless you. If you’re happy, I’m likewise.

Teacher C

The old adage says, behind every man’s success is a woman. I say, behind every teacher’s success is a person of wisdom and integrity who trusted you without questions. Thus, I am grateful for the opportunity of meeting somebody who believed that there is nothing that I can’t do. That belief sprouted into something great and inspired me to live and leave with integrity.

“The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.”
-Proverbs 20:7-

(When God Made Teachers is a series of articles adapted from my book. It encapsulates my experiences as a teacher and my journey of learning while teaching.)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Good Teaching

What's a good teaching? Here's something to inspire teachers.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Why We Need to Embrace Change

I’ve always been afraid of change. I find comfort in stability and when I need to face change, I feel scared that things will not work out according to my plans.

Looking back, I remember holding on to something for so long just because I was anxious to face the reality of life. I don’t think it’ll ever get easy.

However, there is also this realization that change is the only thing constant in this world. We live relentlessly trying to improve ourselves and it won’t happen without change. Everything that I have achieved in life, it is because I bravely faced the challenge of uprooting myself from what was comfortable over what’s more promising in the future.

The beauty of life lies in the constant change that happens around us. As I leave another chapter of my life behind, I am thankful for the memories and the people which became instrumental in changing me to be a better person. The future is unknown and my plans may not work, but just like in the past, I’m holding on to my greatest anchor, God’s perfect plan for us.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

We Were the Champion!

Hard work does pay off! 

I am not the type who would engage in sports activity. The only game I play is chess. When I was asked to be a member of the volleyball team for the President's Cup, a competition of the different campuses of Bina Bangsa School, I was very stern in saying no. But, the sports coordinator told me that it's not something serious and he assured me that almost everyone who was part of the team didn't really play. So, I said yes.

What a big surprise! Ms. Jenny's a pro and she's amazing. Then, there's Ms. Marissa who doesn't play joke either. And of course, Ms. Emily's power play. So, I didn't need to do much. One practice which made my arm so swollen and a little effort to be part of the team earned me this great reward. A medal and a gift certificate for being over-all champion!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Teacher's Day!

Teaching was not my first choice. The decision was made by my sister who supported me financially with my studies. However, it was a decision that I would always be grateful for the rest of my life. It is probably the only job in the world that you see the profit not with the monetary compensation you earn but from the lives that you change.

Today, we celebrate Teacher's day in Indonesia. A time not only to remember our sacrifices but to remind ourselves the big responsibility where the future of the students is at stake. Happy Teacher's Day everyone!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Why Faith is Important

Faith is the sole driving force with which things deemed impossible become feasible. The lack of it cannot be attested to a weak belief but merely an affirmation of our human frailties.

To say that my faith has never faltered would be a lie. Many times, I found myself grappling for control as my faith slowly crumbled. However, it was also in faith that I have found the strength to hope that things will happen in accordance with His will.

My 2015 was welcomed with a test of faith when I first talked about getting married. Majority of what I heard was dissuasion and utter disbelief in what David and I were about to do. I was disheartened but remained steadfast with my conviction to do what I felt was right. They said it was too early. David and I answered, we were too in love.

When we started the process, we realized it would be impossible to get married here in Jakarta because of so many requirements. Neither could I go home and get married there since I needed to stay for ten days and I could not leave school for that long. Still, he was so sure we would be able to get married. I asked for the help of a friend since they know some pastors (Only Religious ceremony is allowed here). In turn, my friend asked another friend. We were unaware that ‘friend’ she asked actually lived in the same building of the apartment that David rented. Coincidence or not, the rest is history. She and her husband took care of our counseling schedule, the church, and our baptism.

But, my faith started to waver again when four days before my wedding, I have not received yet my papers from the Philippines. We could not book the hotel for reception nor we could confirm the invitations. Three days before the wedding, my papers were delivered in school but it would be too late to bring in Philippine embassy. The following day Thursday, I finally got to bring my papers in the embassy with a sad news. I would be able to get it Monday. I frantically begged for it to be released the following day since our wedding was Saturday. Apparently, God really wanted the wedding to push through because my papers were released a day before the wedding. We bought my wedding dress Friday night and booked the hotel Friday afternoon. Thanks to some friends who stayed and prayed with us during the difficult process.

That magical moment when everything ceased to exist and I was only aware of my husband’s gaze will forever be embedded in my heart. When I saw his tears, I thought of how his faith helped us to be strong. On that day, I felt everyone’s happiness for us. On that day, I saw how our faith helped us to make our dream a reality. When he enveloped me with his arms, I was reminded of how faith can move mountains.

Perhaps, it was also that faith which helped us to be stronger as we faced the daily struggle of the long battle to finish the processing of my papers so we could be together. When one of us starts to break down, one remains strong.

Nine months after our marriage, my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas and New Year as a married couple- about ten thousand miles far from each other.

It’s probably the saddest thing that could ever happen to a husband and a wife who just tied the knot. When the dawn of realization finally hit us that we wouldn’t be able to spend the holiday as planned, we were both devastated. The circumstances were doubly hard for me since I have never spent Christmas or New Year away from home.

The celebrations were definitely different this year. My husband and I had two Christmases and New Years together- his and mine at different side of the world. During Christmas while my husband was reading a Bible verse from Daily Bread, we finally broke down. The heart is hard to console when faith is at its lowest point. But, God has held our hands for too long so we took comfort knowing that.

When we ended year 2015, my husband and I both uttered a prayer. We know that we don’t have control of how long or what other difficulties we might encounter before we could be together. Faith however whispered to us, so long as we believe, it will happen. Fate made us as one and faith will bring us infinity and beyond.


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