From Our Tree to Yours

Merry Christmas!

Having a Christmas tree at home is very important for our family not only for aesthetic purposes but also because every Christmas eve our family gathers around the tree to open presents.

Growing up, my parents has taught us patience by setting aside gifts under the tree as we receive them.  We can only open them together at the strike of midnight after we enjoy our annual Noche Buena (Christmas eve feast). Dens and i have instilled the same discipline in our children.  Troy has learned the art of self-control this year. I am fascinated at how he brings home unopened gifts from school and dutifully places them under the tree. There are still days when he tries to ask me if he can open 'just one gift, mommy...please!' but after several failed attempts, he has learned to stop asking and just patiently wait for Christmas.

So you see, our Christmas tree is more than just a lovely reminder of the yuletide season. It has been a part of our family's most anticipated christmas tradition.

Dens and i put up our first Christmas tree in 2008, the year Troy was born. We used stuffed toys as ornaments as we didn't want any broken ornaments that can be a safety-hazard.  This is to protect Troy from the tree...and vise versa.

This year we have been blessed with our first baby girl. So i thought a more feminine tree is in order. On top of our stuffed snowmen, bears, and moose, we added some precious moments ornaments for our little Dawn.
I am sure our tree will continue to evolve as the kids grow up. Maybe in a few years, our kids will have more input on the ornaments that will hang on our tree. So until the day when we will probably have hanging cars and barbie dolls on the trees, here's wishing everyone a merry merry christmas.


Ayala Triangle Light Show

December has been the usual busy season.  I love Christmas and always get butterflies in my stomach as the season approaches.  I kept on thinking to myself during the start of the month that i have been too busy with a lot of things and have not truly felt that lovely Christmas feeling yet. Christmas was fast approaching and it felt like i was in a race to finish a lot of things.

Last December 20, our family scheduled our first family Christmas activity for 2011.  We parked our car in Greenbelt and trekked to the much talked about light show at the Ayala Triangle.

We got there around 6:30pm and decided to have dinner first. There's a row of nice restaurants in the area but since most people were waiting for the show, the line to get a table anywhere was pretty long. We finally got a table at Amici and had dinner until around 8:30pm. The light show ran every 30 minutes so the next one to catch was at 9pm. That was the last show for the night and was a good one to catch since the lights would stay on after the show. This meant more photo opportunities.

The waiting did not feel so long as we enjoyed the park and cool weather (as cool as it can get in Metro Manila). I have to hand it to Ayala when it comes to developing and maintaining real estate projects. The park at the Ayala Triangle was pretty well maintained considering it is public and free.

The show started at exactly 9pm and ran for about 15 minutes, i think. It was a pretty awesome show of lights and sounds.

The green leaf things turned into bright stars
Dancing LED lights in multiple colors
Touch a falling star...
...and poke your hand inside
View from Ayala Avenue

I don't know if it was the magical musical score, the blinking LED lights, or being surrounded by my family and seeing other families embrace their kids and take pictures endlessly...but i finally felt the Christmas spirit that night. As my daughter, in her favorite baby sling, rested her tiny head on my chest and as i took pictures of the rest of my family, the butterflies came. I had that nice tingling feeling in my stomach once again. Christmas is here.



Ebenezer System

A few months ago, i read about a story of remembrance in the Bible. When God granted victory to the Israelites against the Philistines, Samuel took a stone and set it up in remembrance of the goodness of the Lord saying “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” - 1 Samuel 7:12(b)

Wikipedia defines it as a memorial established in remembrance of what God has done for a person or a group of people. 

The name Ebenezer was first mentioned in 1 Samuel 4.  It was a place where the Israelites camped and suffered defeat against the Philistines.  Three chapters later, the Israelites repented of their sins and God's blessing was restored to them. That was when they received victory against the Phillistines.

It has been said that Samuel named the stone of remembrance ‘Ebenezer’ to remind the Israelites that God can turn things around for them. What a wonderful idea, right?  So i thought, why not come up with our own 'stone of remembrance' as a way of reminding us of God's faithfulness in our lives? So before we end the year 2011, Dens and i started our own Ebenezer System at home.

It's a very simple concept of just writing down things that we are grateful for, whether big or small. This box will continue to be filled with thanksgiving all throughout the year.  Each time God does something good for us, we just write it down and drop it in our Ebenezer box. Don't forget to write the date too!

Here are a few of the things that we have written down so far:

  • Thank you for giving us a very healthy and normal baby Dawn. Feb 22, 2011
  • Thank you for a super fun-filled trip to Hong Kong with the family. October 27, 2011
  • Thank you for Troy's very good grades in school. November 2011

Now here is the fun part. Each time you're experiencing those not-so-good days, just pull out one piece of paper from the box and be reminded of God's goodness.  A simple reminder of our blessing is a sure-fire way to renew our faith and joy.

I end with one of my dad's favorite verses found in 1 Samuel 17:37 "The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Remember.  Believe.  God is faithful!


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