Category Archives: Creative Non-Fiction

A World Without Fathers

I must say the mere thought scares me.

Think for a moment of a world where there are no fathers to provide for the family, to enforce and uphold rules and order in the home, to train young men and young women to be noble and hardworking, to support the wives in their sacred duties, to decide firmly on how to face challenges, to encourage learning by experience even if that means you may get hurt sometimes, to correct mistakes with pure love and care, to inspire to dream and to actually make them happen, to teach how to fight and stand for what is right, to protect their families, to take part in creating and rearing children, to take upon them the holy priesthood, to offer a sturdy shoulder to cry on or a warm hug when you need it, to say exactly what you need to hear, even if it sometimes hurts, to walk you through and guide you during the shaky moments of your life, to show examples of courage, strength, and integrity, to serve, and to love.

If all these are not enough to prove that fathers are precious in this world, think of this:

“Of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to deity, He asked us to address Him as Father.”

So to all mothers and children, (like myself) let us give the fathers what they truly deserve: our trust, support, and love.

And to all fathers, please continue to be just that: Fathers – in the truest sense of the word. The world is a lot better because you are here.

My father is not with us anymore, and there are days when I regret that I haven’t been able to say I love him enough. So it’s a good thing that there’s eternity. I love him dearly and I will surely see him again. But I will not make the same mistake ever again.

To my dear Kuyas and to my friends who are already fathers – Thank you very much for being fathers to your children 🙂

To our beloved Bunsoy, to my brothers-in-law, and to my friends who will be fathers  – I am excited to see you rock it 😉

To the father of my husband – Thank you for all your hard work and for bringing him up so well 🙂

And to the one and only father of my little one – You’ve been great. Many more bumps and bruises will come but I know our child will be okay. I know he’ll learn everything he needs to learn to be a good father himself, because he has you. Thank you. We love you. ^__^

A world without fathers is unthinkably chaotic. So I will be eternally grateful to our Heavenly Father for bringing fathers into this world. He sure knows what we all need 🙂

Happy Father’s Day!!!

 

Life Lessons: The value of being organized

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It’s amazing how simple experiences can teach you complicated lessons in life.

Today I spent almost 15 minutes untangling the chains of my necklace. Had I spent 20 seconds placing it carefully in my small pouch the day I put it there, I would have been able to use my 15 minutes to converse or reconnect with someone instead.

Sometimes, we opt not to bother putting things in order for we fail to foresee the importance of organization in saving ourselves from future complications of fixing or worrying when things get all tangled up, or worse, lost.

3 Ways To Avoid Feeling Incompetent

My recent weeks led me to enumerate these 3 ways to avoid feeling incompetent. Lately, the stress of my different roles suddenly made me feel insecure about my skills and performance. For a couple of years now, I believe that somehow (though not perfectly), I have been able to do a lot of tasks and satisfy most expectations of my roles.  And so whenever I am faced with a new role, I almost always just accept everything. Lately though, I think I have been biting off more than I can chew. The results: mediocre outputs, unsatisfied peers and loved-ones, and a severely damaged ego. And so I put this list up so I can have something to refer to now and in the future.

1. Reassess your strengths. 

No one is good at nothing. I have always been a believer of that. We are sons and daughters of a supreme being and we are of divine nature. That truth alone should inspire us to look into ourselves in a better light. Review your interests, passions and skills. What are you good at? There must be something there. A hint is when you get acknowledgements from people because of something you’ve said or done. I am not saying that we should only rely on other people’s opinion of what’s good about us, but at the very least, we have somewhere to start. Introspection is also vital. As human beings we have the unique capacity to be self conscious – to stand outside of ourselves for a time and reevaluate our core. Have you ever tried to imagine meeting yourself for the first time? What would probably strike you in your first conversation? It’s a fun activity. And it’s a good exercise to start building self confidence and finding one’s strengths along  the way.

2. Accomplish something today.

There are days when we just feel stupid and useless. I know. I’ve experienced that a lot. The only way to counter that is to actually attempt to do something and finish it. Do you have a to-do list? Give yourself a confidence boost by checking off at least an item or two from that list. It doesn’t have to be grand. Simple tasks like finally organizing your desktop files or drawer, giving someone a thank you note, or updating your medical record can be counted. No accomplishment is too small. At the end of the day, when you look back and see  that you’ve failed your major  tasks, you have those small accomplishments to keep you from feeling so down. It’s not everything, but it’s something, and definitely better than nothing.

3. Use criticisms positively.

There will always be critics. No matter how simple your tasks are and how good you think you are at what you do, at the back of your head you are really afraid of people who would say “You could have done it this way” or “This is not good enough”. The hardest part is to reconcile what you and what others believe to be satisfactory. Things will be more difficult and you would feel more incompetent if you believe that comments are given to put you down. More often than not, we can use criticisms to improve the way we work and even our outputs. If you believe that people have good intentions when they suggest improvements, then you will be able to accept and use criticisms to your advantage. Otherwise, you would end up feeling defeated and laughed at. It’s really a matter of perspective.

When I was writing  this I thought of the different hats I wear so I hope these things would apply to most, if not all.  🙂 But when all else fails, you can always take a break and get your minds off all the stressful things for a moment. Personally, it helps when I remind myself of this wonderful quote:

Don’t you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.”
― Jeffrey R. Holland

Thankful Tuesday: My Loving Mama

Every Tuesday from now on (hopefully) I’d like to post a blog entry about people/things/blessings I am grateful for. There’s actually tons of them it would take a lifetime for me to even get close to half of the list. Needless to say though, I won’t get anywhere unless I start from somewhere.

So today I would like to shine the spotlight on my mother, Candelaria Conde Solivio. She won’t be able to read this, but I do let her know how much I love her vocally and in letters. This time I just want the whole world (wide web, that is) to know how great she is. The woman who raised me, Mama, as we call her, is without a doubt the best in her field – motherhood. Let me share a few reasons why.

Mama serves selflessly.

Pride? Time? Work? Relaxation? Friends? Herself? Name it. I’m sure one way or another, she has given up everything that is required for her to take good care of her family. After the death of my eldest brother in 1987, life has been rough for us. Mama needed to think of ways to feed 2 high schoolers and 2 babies (I was one of them ^^), not to mention my father who went through depression and couldn’t work back then. She gave up all earthly vanities and just got up, stared trials in the face and got to work. She did not have a real work, but for about a year, she kept the family together by plain diskarte and some really good pakikisama.

Mama forgives wholeheartedly.

She forgives everyone. When people hurt her, she doesn’t hurt them back. She would cry though, a lot. But regardless if the person asks for forgiveness or not, she just forgives. That’s how forgiving she is. There were people and  events in her life that caused her unimaginable amount of pain. I would sometimes hear her recall those memories but I never see anger in her eyes. Just sadness. Many people, including myself, ought to learn a thing or two from her about forgiveness.

Mama loves unconditionally.

All mothers do, I think. And everyone has this potential. But growing up, Mama gave me the best possible example of unconditional love in action: her life. I will never succeed in putting into words how deeply she shares her love, and shows it in her simple ways. I am blessed to witness her devotion up until this very hour.

I am so grateful for having been raised by a wonderful mother. And my child is lucky to have a grandmother like her. It would be an honor to be even half the mother she is. She doesn’t just know best. She is the best.

Mama and me
Mama and me

Comfort playlist: “Musing mood”

We all have that, I believe. Once in a while we set back and enjoy a set of songs that allows us to sink deep into the realm of pure thoughts, or lack thereof. Music is one of the most magical things on earth. You can be reminded of your distant past, be hopeful about your future and enjoy the emotions of the moment with melodies. My playlist aptly titled (I believe) “Musing Mood” does all of these for me.

Allow me to share  part of it with you. It’s my loyal company in times of meditation and dead serious work. ^__^ Songs vary from sweet and slow to fun and fast. There are times when I actually stop working and just feel the words or the rhythm. I believe those moments are not wasted, since I get to take a break from thinking and just enjoy listening and feeling. There are a lot of songs included but below are the 10 11 most played ones, in no particular order:

1. Deep by Binoculars
2. Samson by Regina Spektor
3. Sweet Disposition by The Tempre Trap
4. Out of My League by Stephen Speaks
5. Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones
6. Quelqu’un m’a dit by Carla Bruni
7. Chasing Pavements by Adele
8. Ang Huling El Bimbo by Eraserheads
9. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
10. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
11. Penny and Me by Hanson

These songs are just…treasures, in a way, for me. I can’t really sing along to all of them (which is a shame) but the melodies and messages are all imprinted in my memory. I never get tired of listening to them. In fact I listen to them so I don’t get tired. ^___^

Of course there are days  that I really really just want to listen to melodies and I can’t afford to get distracted by words. That’s when my Sungha Jung playlist comes in handy. He’s a really young talented Korean guitarist who has done covers of so many songs. You should check him out!

So there – tired, sleepy, bored or happy, there’s just nothing like a good old playlist to keep you company. What’s your comfort playlist?

3 things to look for in a husband (a.k.a. wedding anniversary realizations)

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Credits to Kuya Felvir Ordinario for the picture 🙂

Ito ang nagagawa ng first wedding anniversary. You suddenly become a guru…not.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert of some sort on such colossal topics. In fact if I were to write self-help books they probably wouldn’t make it past the editor. But being married for a year now (yep, this exact same date last year! hurrah!) and already with a little infant as an addition to the family (baby bear Iko!), I should perhaps, at the very least, have valid basis for my opinion. My husband has taught  me, sometimes on purpose and most of the time without him knowing, a lot about what one should note down when trying to find someone they’re willing to get stuck with for all eternity. ^___^

Find someone imperfect with a desire to be perfected.

My husband is not perfect. Let me start with that. Well, I know no one who would claim otherwise when they speak of theirs. I married him with flaws and he married me with flaws (with more, I believe) and we recognized those and decided to work on them together. A year later, he still plays DOTA every now and then and I still raise my voice every now and then. But we are each other’s constant reminder, because we know we are not perfect and we need to be reminded.

Find someone with a heart of a child.

I know, I know this is hard, and cheesy. But this is true and vital. With marriage there is a tendency to just get tired of things and of routines especially when the going gets tough. But when your husband is a child at heart, surprises will never run out, fun will never stop, and laughter will never be missed. It’s refreshing to live with someone who can turn an awful day upside down just by his antics (Ex. a really loud and looong fart. Hah!) . And lets face it, in this life of demanding work and exhausting troubles, we all need play, and who knows play better than a child’s heart?

Find someone who loves you, and I really mean Head-over-heels/You are my world/I can’t live without you kind of love. 

News flash: This kind of love exists and it’s as real as the pain in your in grown nails. Love songs that tirelessly talk about such kind of devotion are not there for nothing. When you find and marry someone who actually makes all the love songs finally make sense to you, then half of your quest is made light. To me, everything can be a lie but my husband’s unconditional love for me will always be my basic truth. And because he loves me the way he does, doubts and fears take  the sidewalk and faith and happiness run the main road of my life.

Marriage is not easy, and to have the best companion is a must. When we make our choice, it always comes with the other end of the stick. I’ve realized that acceptance and learning are both important. And because I have my husband, I’ve realized that in the end, happiness becomes a constant choice, with conscious effort from both of us to make it last for all eternities – because that’s how much we love each other. 🙂

Of things that matter most

It bothers me  to think that there’s just too much of the self-appreciation, celebration and pride going on in the world  today that the most vital and beautiful of all truths is overshadowed by the most mundane, deceitful, pointless facets of human interests.

Take for example, fashion. I whole-heatedly  have nothing against dressing up and looking good. When I know I am about to see someone I love dearly, I would think of looking my best. I know my husband likes the way I look whatever the season, but I want to look extra special on some days just for him. I would dress up nicely and pick my clothes well when I would go to church, as if I’m meeting my Heavenly Father. BUT this I don’t get: To post what you wear every single day with details on where you bought them and how you chose each item, especially having that anticipation at the back of your head that people you care less about, or hardly even know would praise you, is just a little over the top…for me at least. In essence, making yourself look “special” gets digested in the routine of the ordinary. I know some people claim fashion to be their passion, and that’s all fine. I just don’t get why there seems to be an irrepressible urge to parade and overdo stuff. I’m not saying I don’t get that urge every now and then. Social acceptance in form of compliments can make anyone feel good. But perhaps it takes a lot to refocus on things that matter most sometimes.

So that got serious. Okay. (-_-)

On an entirely different note, Christmas is coming!

(^__^) CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!!!!! (^___^)

Hurrray! ^_____^ This quote from PresThomas S. Monson inspired me so much, and reminded me of what I should and shouldn’t be stressed about. Maybe we need that once in a while; A gentle reminder.

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All the beautiful photos came from A Beautiful Mess blog by Elsie and Emma: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/

I pray that this Holiday season, we would all be blessed with wisdom to prioritize the important over the unimportant and to discern between enough and too much.