On Letting Go and Moving On

I recently read an except from the book Lament for a Son. The book is written by a father who lost his son through an accident.  I have not read the entire book but I thought the words written holds true for those of us who have experienced grief.
Rather often I am asked whether the grief remains as intense as when I wrote. The answer is, No. The wound is no longer raw. But it has not disappeared. That is as it should be. If he was worth loving, he is worth grieving over.
Grief is an existential testimony to the worth of the one loved. That worth abides. So I own my grief. I do not try to put it behind me, to get over it, to forget it… Every lament is a love-song.

The months following Tyler's passing, I remember wanting to cry.  And it's not uncontrollable crying. It's almost like I was intentionally making myself sad by remembering Tyler. Similar to how you want to watch sad movies and do a cryfest or tempting yourself to a horror movie only to scare yourself silly days after. I just wanted to cry. It's not because I am a sadist of some sort; but somehow,  I felt that crying validates my grief. And my grief, validates Tyler's existence.
This is one thing I came to realize. You should allow yourself to feel sad. Days after Tyler passed away, a number of well-meaning friends have said words like "You should move on" or "You need to let go".  I know it's good advice in the general scheme of my life. But during that season of my life, i did not want to move on. I did not want to let go. Moving on and letting go, to me, felt like forgetting Tyler.
I remember having the same thoughts weeks after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. I did not want to move on. It was a good relationship that just did not work out the way we wanted it to.  Moving on felt like forgetting the relationship. And I needed time to wallow in my sadness. And in hindsight, I think, that's all right too.
I like the line from the book that says If he was worth loving, he is worth grieving over.  When we grieve over someone, it just tells others that the person was loved by us. It's okay to be sad. And when you're done being sad, then that's the time you move on. And you don't need to force yourself to let go of the pain. Time, as I have come to understand, does that for us.
If you are still in the season of grief, let me tell you this: It's okay to be sad and it's okay to cry. It does not make you any less stronger. It just makes you human.  Take it from someone who still cries at random events and needs a box of tissue every now and then.


Mustela Did it Again!

I have been a fan of Mustela since 2011.  I first heard about the brand when my good friend Tammy Tancinco told me about a product they were bringing to the Philipines while I was still pregnant with Dawn.  I don't remember being that excited about the product at that time. You see, I have not yet experienced the magic of Mustela then.  It was just another baby brand to me.
Fast forward to 2015 and I am now a big believer. It has helped Dawn with her eczema-prone skin (read about it here) and I am happy to report that Dawn has been eczema-free since then. We have already moved from the Stelatopia line, which is best for eczema, to the regular Mustela Bebe line when Dawn turned one. Last month, we were re-introduced to our much loved Stelatopia.  Let me tell you why. 
After our recent trip to Hawaii, Troy has been complaining that his skin has been very itchy. I figured that this was due to severe dry skin. Aside from being under the sun for long periods of time during our trip, Troy also loves taking showers multiple times a day. He takes after his father and cannot sleep without taking a bath. He showers at least twice on a regular day.  While it's nice that he's always clean, it has taken a toll on his skin. We've tried regular lotions but none worked for him. Then I remembered Stelatopia. And that was how Stelatopia was re-introduced to our family.  I am happy to report that Troy has been itch-free immediately a day after showering with the Stelatopia Cleansing Cream.  He has also been using the Emollient Cream as his lotion on a daily basis. Yes, Mustela, you did it again!
Our family has been a fan of Mustela ever since. You can read about our experiences in previous posts here, here and here .
Note: I have noticed that I have written so many posts on Mustela through the years. Please note that these are not sponsored posts nor am I a paid endorser. I just really love how effective the products are and want to share the same with all of you!



Breastfeeding Rocks

I am a big fan of breastfeeding. I breastfed Troy for almost 2 years and Dawn for over 3 years. While I am an advocate of breastfeeding, I do not discount the fact that other moms just could not do the same for various reasons. And that's all right too.
I would like to share this video from #theperfectlatch campaign for breastfeeding. Here's to all moms out there who do our best for our children - through breastfeeding or otherwise.


Circle Maker Series: Step Into Your Next Miracle

 Are you still waiting for that miracle you have been praying for? Let me fill you in on a little secret I discovered recently. Some miracles require a step of faith. 
Allow me to explain. Remember the Israelites? They have been walking around for 40 years and have not reached their destination. When they finally reached the land that the Lord has promised them, there was a problem. A huge wall protected it. God tasked them to take a step of faith. Circle the wall for seven days. After they obeyed, the miracle happened. The wall fell and they were able to conquer the land. But you know what? They already had some practice as far as stepping into a miracle is concerned.
Joshua 3:11-16
Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead across the Jordan River. Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.  The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall."
So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenent went ahead of them.  It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river's edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan.  And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry.  Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
Now let's focus on the Lord's instruction in verse 13. He asked that the priests get their feet wet in order for the water to part. Don't we often want it to happen the other way around? "Lord, part the waters first before I will step in!" We lack the courage to obey before the Lord shows us a clear way.
God required a step of faith from the priests. A lot of times, He also requires the same from us before our miracle happens. Have you been asking for a friend's healing? Well, pray over that person. Take a step of faith. What has the Lord been prompting you to do lately? Listen carefully and obey. It is often our unwillingness to take a step of faith that prevents us from reaching the miracle we have been asking for.
The Israelites were just a river away from the promised land. Had the priests not taken that step of faith, they will not have been able to conquer God's blessing.
Here's something from the book that I want to share with you. "Some people spend their entire lives on the eastern shore of the Jordan waiting for God to part the river while God waits for them to get their feet wet. We're so close to the dream, so close to the promise, so close to the miracle. But we aren't willing to get our feet wet"
Think about it. What has God been asking you to do? Are you willing to get your feet wet? Are you willing to take that step of faith? Obey.  You may only be a step away into your next miracle.



Circle Maker Series: When God Says No

Do you remember a time in your life when God said No? I do. Most of you who have been following this blog knows our journey with Tyler back in 2006. We prayed hard for his healing for over two months. We fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. But God said no.

Receiving a No answer can be a test of trust. Do you still trust the Lord even when you did not get what you want? Do you still trust the Lord even when He does not reveal His reasons to you? Do you still trust that His plans are better than yours? The hardest part about receiving a No answer is enduring all the unresolved questions that we have in our hearts. Sometimes, we may not admit it, but deep inside we may even feel betrayed and hurt by the Lord.

But you know what? Someday, when we finally understand God's reasons for saying No, we will start thanking Him for those seemingly unanswered prayers. Maybe the reason will not be clear at first or even a few years later. In fact, maybe it will never be clear in this lifetime! But here's what we need to remember.

Our Heavenly Father is far too wise and loves us far too much to give us everything we ask for

Do you know the story of Balaam and the talking donkey found in the book of Numbers chapter 22? Balaam was tasked by the King of Moab to curse the Israelites. The Lord already told him not to do it. But he was persistent and he went anyway. While on his journey, his donkey saw an angel of the Lord with a sword on his hand.  The donkey suddenly stopped and turned off the road. Balaam started to beat the donkey several times for he did not see what the donkey was seeing. He did not see the angel in front of them. After several beatings to get the donkey back to the right path, the donkey started to talk. Yes, seriously! The donkey said to Balaam "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in front of them with his sword. And this was what the angel told him "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.  The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by  now, but I would have spared it"

Isn't this a funny story? I can easily see it as a Disney cartoon show. A talking donkey!  But you know what the real miracle is in this story? It wasn't the talking donkey. The real miracle is a God who loves us so much that He will get in the way when we are already going the wrong way.  The angel of the Lord would have killed Balaam had the donkey continued walking. 

Divine Detours often get us to where God wants us to go

Many times, what may seem like a No answer to us only means that God has a better answer for us. He gets in the way to show us the way.

Remember the time when the Egyptian army was chasing the Israelites? They were already at the border of the Red Sea and they can see an angry army charging after them. They cried out to Moses, their leader. But the Lord's instruction to them was to just stand still and stay calm. When you're at a dead end in the midst of charging army, probably the most difficult thing to do is to stand still and stay calm. But that's what the Lord asked of them. And as most of us know, a few minutes before the Egyptians got to them, the Lord parted the Red Sea.
A lot of times we want the Lord to part the Red Sea while the army is still far far away. But sometimes the Lord waits. And then He waits longer. But once again, the God who provided the Israelites with just enough (meat to eat), parts the Red Sea just in time. Yes, God's timing is perfect.

Keep Calm and Be Still

There is no need to panic. Praying hard is trusting that the Lord's got our back. I will end this post with a statement from the author of the Circle Maker. If the Red Sea is a scene from the movie, this can very well be Moses' line to the Israelites as they feared the charging Egyptian army.

"I don't know what we're going to do, but I do know what we are not going to do.  We're not going to be afraid. We're going to stand still.  And we're going to see the deliverance of the Lord"

Wait for it. His deliverance is coming. 


My Introduction to Calligraphy

My handwriting has always been pretty bad. It's true. Even my mom will confirm it. So when the Calligraphy craze hit Manila, I was immediately interested. Maybe I can finally write beautifully.
Last Saturday started my journey to better letter writing. My sister and I signed up for a beginners' class with Life After Breakfast. It was a half day class from 9:00am to 12:00nn at the Pipino Vegetarian restaurant in Quezon City.
The class fee was P2,500 which already included two pens/nib holders, 3 nibs, ink, gold leafing glue, gold leaf sheet, instruction booklet and a lot of worksheets.
What sets this class apart from the other classes that i have inquired with is that it does not only cover calligraphy but also introduces the class to gold leafing.

Here are the results of my three-hour workshop. You can finally understand my handwriting! Hurray!
Practice is the key to beautiful Calligraphy. I write a little bit better now compared to the above output. Once you get the hang of holding the pen and positioning the nib, you can start crafting your own style and be creative at it.


Common Sense Media

This week my friend shared this App with me that I think every parent should have on their smart phones. With the amount of screen time our children have these days, it is almost impossible not to be affected by the things they see on TV or play on their devices. The best thing we can do is to filter the movies they watch, know the values they get from watching certain TV shows, and learn how the online games they play affect their personalities.  This is where Common Sense Media comes in.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music. 

During our weekend family movie time, we have both kids with us so we need to ensure the movie that we will be watching will be appropriate for our four-year old yet still entertaining for our seven-year old. Common Sense Media allows you to filter through a given age range. In my case I always set it to 4 to 7 so that it covers the ages of both my children. 
Now another great feature is that you can customize the App to your own child's gender and age. It will then select shows that are good for them.

You can also do searches of the shows or games that you kids love. The site will give you a good indication of what the programs are teaching your child.

There is no doubt that traditional and digital media gives great entertainment value. But it is important for us, as parents, to use it wisely. This way our children will be able to use it as a tool to learn new skills and accomplish amazing things.

Now don't you agree that all parents must have the Common Sense Media App on hand? Because, admit in, in this crazy parenting world, common sense is sometimes not so common.



Circle Maker Series: Praying Through

Every night before going to bed, I would pray and lift up my concerns to the Lord. I have a number of prayer items that have been there for as long as I can remember.  Do you also experience drought in your prayer life sometimes? When it feels like you are just going around in circles and nothing is happening? Well, you need to read this.

I will start this post by sharing two stories. One from the Bible and one from the Circle Maker book.

Story 1: Luke 18: 1-5    
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
One day Jesus told his disciples of a story to show that they should always pray and not give up.  "There was a judge in a certain city," he said, "who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, 'Give me justice in this dispute with the enemy.'  The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, 'I don't fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I'm going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!'"

Story 2:  In standardized math tests, Japanese children consistently score higher than their American counterparts. While some assume that a natural proclivity toward mathematics is the primary difference, researchers have discovered that it may have more to do with effort than ability. In one study involving first-graders, students were given a difficult puzzle to solve. The researchers weren’t interested in whether or not the children could solve the puzzle; they simply wanted to see how long they would try before giving up. The American children lasted, on average, 9.47 minutes. The Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes. In other words, the Japanese children tried 47 percent longer. Is it any wonder why they score higher on math exams? Researchers concluded that the difference in math scores might have less to do with intelligence quotient and more to do with persistence quotient. The Japanese first-graders simply tried harder.
Now do these stories tell us? Success is, more often than not, a product of persistence.  In the story of the persistent widow, the Bible was silent on what sort of injustice took place. Maybe her son was falsely imprisoned or maybe a man who molested her daughter was still walking free. Whatever injustice she was facing, it is apparent that the widow will not stop until the judge grants her the justice she is looking for. That is what makes her a circle maker.

In my previous post, i talked about dreaming big and praying bold prayers. Now here's the question we need to answer. How desperate are we for God to fulfill those dreams? How many times are you willing to lift that request up in prayer? How long are you willing to wait?

We all know that God is sovereign and the answers to our prayers do not depend on us. Ultimately, the answer will still be God's decision. But it is also up to us to show the Lord how serious we are with our request.

Pray like it depends on God (because it really does!)
If I tell you now that I know a person who can grant your deepest request, wouldn’t you be curious and immediately schedule an appointment with him?  Stop for a moment and consider this.  God CAN answer that desperate dream that we have.  Why aren't we constantly seeking the Lord for the answer?   If we do not pray and seek God like the miracle depends on Him, then our answers will always be out of our prayer reach.

In 1 Kings 18: 41-46, the Bible talked about a story of drought. Very similar to Honi's story.  Elijah went up to Mount Carmel to pray for rain. After each prayer, he would ask his servant to go and look out toward the sea and check for rain. When there was still no sign of rain, Elijah would pray again. He did this for seven times before God sent a terrific rainstorm.

This story reminded me of a story I previously shared about the Jericho Wall. The Israelites had to circle the wall of Jericho for seven days before they were able to break through the wall conquer the promised land. Similarly, there was no tangible difference after Elijah prayed for the first, second, third, until the sixth time. But he persisted until the Lord answered his request for rain after his seventh prayer.  Just like the Israelites, Elijah would have forfeited the miracle had he stopped praying on the sixth time.

Now in my prayer list, there are big and small items. I have a few friends who tell me that they only pray the big-ticket items so that God is no longer bothered by the smaller ones. Here's the next point that i want to share with you.
God is great not only because nothing is too big for Him.  He is also great because nothing is too small for Him.

The bible said that there is no sparrow that falls to the ground that the Lord does not know about. I recently found out that the maya bird is a type of sparrow. I guess the reason why the Lord used a sparrow to explain this point is because there are just a lot of sparrows in the world. With all the seemingly more important world events, can you imagine why God would even bother knowing each one of the sparrow?

A few weeks ago, our Pastor shared something with us that made me understand God's heart more.  The Bible says that the hairs on our head are numbered. The Lord did not say they are counted, but that they are numbered.  This means that when a hair falls, the Lord does not say "Minus 1 hair from Fan's head", the Lord will say "Hair #2546 has just fallen". Our hairs are numbered.

Isn't it amazing how God is into the details of our lives? There is nothing too big for him and yet there is also nothing too small for Him.  The Lord listens to all our concerns. May it be our parenting struggles, healing from a serious illness, career choice, or finding the love of our life.  The Lord is interested in all of them.

I urge all of you to pray through the tough times and not give up.  Because, who knows? You may just be a prayer away from the miracle you have been waiting for.


  © Theme Designed by Fancy Girl Designs 2011 for Breakfast with Tiffany

Back to TOP