Monday, January 09, 2017

Lost and Found After 23 Years

I often wondered how Facebook and other social media enable people to reconnect with their long-lost friends and families. Much more amazing is the fact that the same platform also facilitated reunion of misplaced belongings to their owners even after years of losing it. The story of my husband and how he got back his class ring through Facebook was totally mind-blowing.

Early last week, he mentioned something about his class ring which I just simply shrugged off since I never really saw it. Initially, he thought that he lost it for 25 years then realized it was only 23 years. Then after several days, he received a message from somebody.

My husband decided to cancel most of our appointments that Sunday and we just stayed home after church to make sure we didn’t miss it. However, around 7 p.m., he started getting disappointed that he did not hear anything back from him. Around 8 p.m., he received the message telling him to check our mailbox. Finally, after 23 years, my husband was finally able to hold again the ring he lost for 23 years!

You see, there are still good people out there who are willing to do something honorable without asking anything in return. Buried under snow 23 years ago and finally found it through Facebook!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

American Husband/ Filipino Wife Food Galore

As the old adage says, "The best way to the man's heart is through his stomach." My American husband however, shows in his own special way that it’s the other way around, “The best way to the woman’s heart is through her stomach.”

Therefore, we have come into agreement to feed each other at our heart’s content. The best way to do it? A mixture of American- Filipino dishes on our table.

Here's to growing fatter together!

Corn in the cob is the best part of a dinner. I love spaghetti so I got my wish and of course we both love garlic bread.

This is a complete meal for us. Cole's garlic bread is the best. 

Italian spaghetti sauce. 

As a native of the Philippines, I never thought that I would be eating corn in the cob during dinner. But, I love it!

We love weekends where my husband makes me blueberry pancakes. 

I love veggies so my husband made this egg omelette with veggies. 

My husband doesn't eat veggies so it's obvious who this belongs to. :D 

Any meat must come with gravy. My husband is the best in making it. 

Cream corn. If there's no corn in the cob, then there must be cream corn 

In about two months stay here, I have learned to make just the kind of mashed potato my husband likes. 

Yummy ham. Our fave! 

Plain rice for me and rice with cinnamon and sugar for my husband. 

Rice for my husband with cinnamon and sugar. 

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Winter in Michigan

After living in two tropical countries, I've been asked many times how do I find the winter in Michigan. Well, despite of bone-chilling temperature when the wind blows, I love how the snow feels frozen lace on my skin. I specially love it when my husband and I can go outside and walk our dogs. This Sunday is just one of those days. After church, we took a nap and we were out for our winter walk!

My four babies. 

Dani and Zoie in their winter attire. 

My husband was forced to carry Alice because she started limping. 

With Dani and Zoie. Dani's a gift from Dad two years ago for my birthday. 

Surprisingly, the wind was not blowing so bad this time so I wasn't that cold. 

They also love our walk outside! 

Winter is beautiful in Michigan. 

Dani and Zoie loved walking on the snow! 

I love our area. Nice neighbors and great view! 

For many, snow can be such a pain. Imagine how you would scrape the snow from this car! 

My husband. 

I wish the pine trees would start to get snow all over. 

Then the unexpected happened, the snow started blowing on us! 

When it happens, it's hard to open your eyes. 

Zoie running happily. 

I need to get some rest.

Happiest Sunday ever. 

Our Sunday adventure did not end with our walk. My husband got his class ring back! It was lost about 23 years ago during winter time and a guy contacted him on Facebook this week telling him that he had it. They agreed to meet today and my husband was so disappointed when he did not hear anything back from him. At about 8:00 p.m., the guy sent a message to my husband and told him to check our mailbox. The biggest surprise of the day! My husband got his class ring back 23 years after losing it. What a blessed day. 

Thanks to Facebook. My husband got his ring back. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Best Student's Letter for a Teacher

I was going through my files trying to organize them when I saw this letter of my former student. I remember getting teary-eyed when I got this from my email. It's a beautiful feeling being a teacher. One that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Sharing this as an inspiration to all teachers who work so hard out there. Everything you do is not in vain. Believe it or not, these kids, as raucous as they may seem will always have that gratitude in their hearts.

"Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer; into a selflessness which links us with all humanity."
-- Lady Nancy Astor

Dear Ms. Nina Buena-Nichols,

I am writing in the format you have taught me for the whole year last year. My English may not be perfect but I can say that my English has improved due to your endless effort to teach me. Although you are no longer my teacher, but as what I wrote in my bucket list I will always remember who you are.

Firstly, thank you for being my teacher, mother and also a friend. At first, I admit that I was not used to your teaching styles as it was still new to me. I complained a little bit, especially when you assigned us journals. I have now understood that the journal was really essential to be able to communicate to you without feeling shy or scared. Now that we aren’t required to write journals, I missed writing them. Quoting my mom, we won’t be able to appreciate something we never lost. Not to forget your speeches, it contains a lot of good lessons we need growing up. In English, you were the one who told me what I need to improve and what I need to keep up. You have helped me grow not only academically but also as a person.

Secondly, you were always so caring to our class. You would interfere with our problems as if it were yours although you have nothing to do with it. You have exceeded your duty as our form teacher by giving us extra care. When you helped us talk to the different subject teachers to adjust our schedules. I remember those times when you used to always call my name every lesson and I would complain. I know those comments were necessary to remind me to control myself. I would always have your voice in my head reminding myself to behave. We have been through a lot of fun and problems as a class. Although we are all still in one class now, it would never be the same without you.

Lastly, I would like to wish you a very happy life with your husband. I hope you can have the family you always wanted and with you experience in teaching us you will be an excellent mother. I pray that you can be healthy and happy forever. I hope all of us will get a chance to meet you again before you go to Michigan.

As you said, “You may forget me as a teacher, but I hope you remember the lessons I have taught you.” Don't worry miss, not only will we remember your lessons, we will remember that there is no better teacher we could ever ask for. Before I sign off, I know you almost cried reading this miss. I know it’s too good. hahaha.

I wish you nothing but the best !!!

Your “bestest” student,

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Psalm 91 Testimony (Featured in the book of Dr. Chitra Soetoyo)

It was when I became a member of ESIS family that my relationship with God significantly deepened by memorizing and internalizing Bible verses. It was like learning how to walk, at times I grappled but soon enough, reciting verses became part of my daily life helping me to lead a more meaningful life.

When I first heard Psalm 91, I was amazed by the different testimonies of the students how it helped them when they were in dire need. It never occurred to me that one day, I would be needing it as well.
It was early morning when I left home that fateful day hoping to be at the meeting place that my friends and I agreed. We were planning to jog in a famous place in Jakarta (Ancol) and see the beauty of sunrise so we decided to make it the earliest possible. It was around 5:15 when I left home and I was greeted with stark darkness. The guard was nowhere to be seen so I just locked the gate and continued walking to look for a taxi. I was a bit inattentive with my surroundings since I never had any bad experience before in this country. Though it was dark, I was not bothered at all.

I was fixing my sweater when I suddenly felt the presence of somebody near me. I was momentarily taken aback when I saw a man on a bicycle looking at me. He said something in Bahasa angrily but I did not understand it. My heart started beating so fast the way he was pointing at my bag. Out of fear, I said something in Filipino and the man looked at me quite baffled. The moment his gaze locked on mine, I immediately started reciting Psalm 91. I had this split second to decide what to do, run or face him. Other neighbors have security guards as well but I didn't see anyone. It was still dark and I knew I was alone. I ran as fast as I could while reciting Psalm 91. The man could have easily followed me, but he was left quite perplexed also how I reacted. When I was reciting Psalm 91, I struggled to remember the words since I was so scared. Repeatedly, I have recited these lines, I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

The man could have easily followed me since he had a bicycle. However, when I looked back, he was frozen where he was standing. Thankfully, I was able to hail a taxi fast enough when I reached the main road.

In retrospect, we have no control of the situations that we may be facing in the future. But, the giant leap with my spiritual belief helped me to surrender my complete faith in Him knowing that He is ALWAYS in control.


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