A blessed day

Everything about the day was perfect. The sun was shining, there was a slight warm breeze, the church was quiet. The shop was so low key I got instantly relaxed. I didn't mind that I was not attended to right away. I lingered a bit.

They said I needed to have the ff medals: the Holy Family, St Benedict to protect us from evil, and St Joseph. Added Our Lady medallion too- some in silver, some in gold. 4 pcs per post, for a total of 15 posts as advised by the architect.

I asked the shop lady if there was any priest available who could bless them for me. She said I can try and go to their office. I was worried I won't be able to do all these on time. Or that if I go home to Alabang the church there would be closed already.

But God knew this was important to us. While paying, the lady signaled to me and pointed to a man in green polo barong and said he was a priest. She was the one who called him to help me with the blessing.i asked him if it's ok to bless some coins too and the lady gave me a bunch worth 100. Plus a prayer card that she said I should put in the front/ main door.

Father laid out everything in front of him and said a prayer. The prayer was just perfect- for our family, our health, our protection. The lady remarked after father left that the prayer was indeed very special. I said I was lucky.

Thank you God! This is a clear and assuring sign of blessed things for me and my family.

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and the time finally came
they say everything happens for a reason, and that it happens at the right time. today, after 12 years of hoping, daydreaming, fervently praying, and agonizingly waiting, we finally start building our home.

the term they call it is "groundbreaking". how apt. literally and figuratively. the owners are asked to "break the ground" with an actual shovel, with soil and rocks to dig through. the whole family did so, with 2 of us holding a shovel each. but the very word itself holds so much meaning. it is life-changing, and a day i will never forget. 

we thank God for this blessing.

"Maybe One Day"
If I were in his memorial service, I would have shared this:

Growing up, I have memories of my mother constantly talking about her long-lost father. Saying one day, she would save up enough money to find him. When that time finally came (it was to be used for a grand wedding anniversary that she wanted for her and my father), I was the lucky one she chose to come along with her. We didn't have enough to bring the entire family along (we were 4 siblings) and I don't know why she chose me, but I am glad she did. Because that was the first time I met my grandfather. The only grandfather I got to meet and know.

I will never forget the anticipation - those last 7 minutes that the flight attendant announced, aboard American Airlines, while the plane taxied around - my Mama said it was the longest 7 minutes of her life. In her anxiety, I kept reminding her, what's 7 minutes compared to the 42 years you waited to see  him again? The moment we got out of the plane, I thought I was very well prepared with my video camera to record this expectedly tearful reunion. When you view the tape, you will simply see how I dropped the camera, while I watched in flowing tears and dropped jaw, that unforgettable scene of my mother, who has longed for her Papa her whole life, and my then-stranger grandfather, locked in the tightest embrace you will ever imagine. I remember everyone was crying. We just stood there watching them hold on to each other as if it were the last time they would do so. It was such an urgent and tight embrace, I know now it not only made up for those four decades, but perhaps it was everything they wanted to give to each other - for the past and then something more for the coming years.

I remember how my Lolo Tony has showed me off to his family, saying he finally has a grandchild to bring to gatherings (the other grandchildren were 6 year olds, I was 20). I wish I had the chance to bring my own children to meet him. He would have loved knowing his great grandchildren. If he was proud to have his granddaughter back then, imagine how he would show off the little ones.

I cried (again) reading the memorial service. I cried another time reading Uncle John's note. And then cried some more reading his eulogy. And I know I'll cry again thinking of my mother, that special first trip to New York, when she finally felt she belonged, seeing how even the little things she shares with her father -- how their hands looked so alike, how Lolo would always ask us if we wanted ice cream after every meal... and the most special things - how Mama's eyes stared back at her as if a reflection; how they sing and blend so well together.

During our last night in Lolo Tony's and Carol's home, the 3 of us were watching tv, when I caught sight of Lolo with tears trickling down his cheeks. I had to look again because the scene was not at all sad, and he was not looking at the screen, but instead looking at my mother, who was curled up on the sofa asleep. I asked, "Lolo why are you crying?". He answered, "don't tell your mother. But that was exactly how she looked when I left."

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There are 2 things that make me high. Singing and fashion. And it may well be in that order in terms of what I have discovered first. Though both have been acquired passions. 

I still remember when I was in grade school, when I was handpicked by my nun teacher to be one of the representatives to an interaction with an exclusive boys' school.  I was asked to sing, and blame my undiagnosed short-term memory, I couldn't remember why I was chosen to do that. I couldn't even remember actually singing that day, perhaps because it was drowned out by the memory of this Bedan boy (who I think was my earliest crush ever). But what I do recall is standing on my bed, inside the small room my 2yr older sister and I share, while she teaches me how to sing. The song was These Dreams by Heart. My sister was totally training me with all the right inflections, and breathing and eye-closing effects and hand motions. 

Years before this, and like any younger sister, I looked up to her in almost everything. Most especially when it comes to singing. She was my mentor in so many ways. And from that time we had that soul-wrenching song practice, I never stopped singing.

Fashion is another story. Somehow still related to my sister, unlike singing which she has done much better and earlier than I have, my fashion style has developed all on its own, almost no influences, no muses. I can remember my high school self trying on different clothes, layering items and measuring up myself in the mirror. And I know I may sound like every other girl who thinks she's invented something, but I swear, a week or 2 later, a new trend comes up which I've already tried in front of my good old mirror. I guess the only thing lacking with me then was confidence. I've never tried these looks outside before. 

Now years after, I'm enjoying so much experimenting, almost never worried if what I'm wearing will look good or not.  And every day I find myself looking forward to my next outfit, one that I secretly know that the girl subtly eyeing me in the elevator, will turn up in a similar skirt the following week. 

The best thing about fashion is the process -- from getting inspired by what you see in the streets, what you read in magazines, what you see in the movies, to unearthing a most fashionable find that costs so much less than the next door fashionista may be owning soon. And even my sister asks me how to wear a shirtdress.

I'm your anyday shoppingera, same as any girl of any age, getting euphoric when they fall in love with that new pair of shoes, or see the word SALE in red bold letters that looks to her like a beating heart. But I'm not your everyday working mom, who appears to be a career-driven person in a highly competitive environment. For secretly, while in a brain-squeezing planning session or a highly-strung argument, I am either styling you in my mind, or thinking of what to wear the next day.


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