Miming

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I just want to write something about Miming..

She came from generations of cats bred from 1 cat – a gift from my bestfriend, 20 years ago – Miming was the last – unfortunately she wasn’t able to breed. She had been with us for 13years – she was a granny at 94 – she was family.

She had messy all-white fur. Attentive blue eyes. She liked staying outside. When we moved to our new place January last year, she was gone missing for 2weeks but managed to get back home. She was Chico’s bestfriend (Chico was our family dog for 10years) – she was lonely when Chico left us.

She was mostly quiet – loved to sleep, liked making friends with stray cats. We’d hear her meow mostly when she’s hungry. She was a low maintenance cat – but a fighter.

It was before Christmas when she started showing signs of losing appetite. She refused to eat. Last week we decided to bring her to the vet. She was very weak. We let her stay there for 3 days until we decided to bring her home this morning. It was only a couple of hours after when she finally left us. I guess she was just waiting to be home – I bid farewell to her in my heart. I couldn’t bear to look at her one last time – I was not brave enough to tell her thank you and goodbye..

Rest in peace Miming – I know you are up there now with Chico and the rest of your family. I will miss you a lot..

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Mama

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A lot have been written and featured about mothers and their great love for their children. I would like to share my own thoughts too even if I maybe repeating what have been told a thousand times, I wish these words would resonate to all the corners of the universe…

My mother, Mama, is like any nurturing and loving mother. She sacrificed a lot of her time and emotions just to make life better for us, as best as she could. She tended to us. She cooked our meal. She taught us many things. She does all these – whatever it is that a mother has to do for her children.

For me, Mama is more than that.

I love the sound of her voice when she sings, she is a really really good singer. As a little kid, I remember tagging along with the family so we could watch her sing for an audition – I cannot remember for what show or TV station it was. One of her dreams was to be a singer, she may have been a great one out there but she had only sung lullabies for my nieces, or when we do videoke at home. She likes to sing old ballad songs both local and foreign, and there is this song she could not finish singing because she would cry in the middle! Like 100% of the time! The song is “For You” by John Denver.. lovely song.

“She cooks” sounds plain because she doesn’t only cook, she does magic! Even the simplest dish is savory. I cook when she is not at home or when I am away from home, but whenever she is home even if I volunteer to cook she would insist of doing it. Too bad I could not gain more weight to prove how much I love the food she cooks. Her specialty which is the family’s and relative’s favorite is latik – it is a local delicacy which hailed from Samar, her hometown. She prepares it during the holidays – makes me eagerly look forward to the Christmas holidays!

She is strong and tender-hearted at the same time. During the time when we were financially challenged, Tatay was an OFW with no stable compensation, it is during my childhood to pre-teen years, when I thought it was over and no more hope, Mama would find a way so that we could pay our school tuitions, so we would have food on the table even if it was just steamed rice mixed with milk or sugar, so that our landlord would not kick us out. She must have felt all alone in that battle and I knew, in silence she would cry and pray hard so that we will all be okay. Now, how I wish she would not find any reason to shed a tear…

She is a dependable counselor. No matter how big or small, my sisters and I can share our burdens with her though I try not to trouble her I still let out my problems when I could not handle them anymore. Whether she just hears us out or she gives a piece of her mind, it is always a relief to have a mother to talk to during those times. She also gives sound advice to my cousins when they come to her with their own problems. She also gets affected when one of her brothers is going through tough times, she makes sure she is there for them even if it just giving words of comfort.

Even now that my sisters and I are all grown up and my sisters have kids of their own, my Mama still worries about us and continues to love and nurture us. I think that is something that no one could take away from her, ever.

With that, on her special day, today – I wish she knows how much we love her that we only want her to live a happy and comfortable life. To let her know that I get her, I may not be a mother myself but I understand her and everything she did for me and my sisters, I appreciate them all. To let us worry and take care of her needs so she could grow old gracefully.  I pray that God will grant her good health and a long joyous life.

Thank you Mama for everything! I love you dearly! We love you so much! Happy birthday to you! ❤️

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It Started With A Dream

Let me tell you a story about a girl and her dream.

She was born out of poverty with her two younger siblings. Her parents only had each other when they married, no money, no property. Their love for each other and their three kids and their faithful God are the only driving forces that held everything together in the family. As a young child, she had no idea what being rich or being poor means, she just quietly knew that they have to live within their means. She never complained about not having enough – whatever material things they lack, the abundance of love in the family makes up for all of it. One of her vivid memories was moving from one place to another. She lost count on how many times they moved, how many cities they lived in, how many schools she transferred to. Despite that, she enjoyed the pursuit of searching for houses and the packing and unpacking of stuffs. Along with this extraordinary experience are memories of scary landlords pushing them to leave even in the middle of the night because rent was overdue. From all of those, in the deepest recesses of her heart, she dreamt of having a house that her family can call their own and a comfortable life for her family. Inspite of it, she always felt that they are not alone in their struggle. Divine help always, always, always came when they need it most. God has always been their Great Provider.

Just like with any poor family trying to survive in this world – there were bills to pay, tuition fees, debts, setbacks. Right after the girl graduated from college, she set out looking for a job so she could support her family. God has been good and not long after, she found a really good company and a monthly Php 6,000.00 gross pay that time was more than she could be thankful for. Out of her first bonus she bought a washing machine because she could no longer bear to see how doing laundry breaks her mother’s back. Little by little she learned to save and acquire things that they need. She helped in sending her youngest sister to college, extended help to relatives and friends too. She generously gives because she knows how it is to have nothing. Those who do not know her would think that she has things in abundance and that life is easy on her now but she does not think so, just like before she and her family are just living within their means.

All those years, despite all the difficulties and challenges, that dream inside her never got discouraged, it grew steadily. It may have taken decades, some would think it has taken almost forever, but all the good and all the blessings in disguise conspired for her dream to come to be. Her dream was just waiting for God’s perfect time to be realized.

I decided to share this girl’s story, which is my story, to inspire you, dear reader. Those who are struggling to make both ends meet, who are working hard towards the realization of their dreams – I sincerely hope my story will inspire you to not give up.

No dream is too small or too big as long as you believe in it.. With perseverance, faith, and support from family and friends — through God’s will, my dream has become a reality. The cliché “do your best and God will do the rest” resounds with truth. For God helps those who help themselves and who never doubt God’s goodness and generosity. “..God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9‬:‭8‬)

I cannot describe how much my heart overflows with joy right now! I would like to express my sincerest gratitude..

Praises and glory be to our one and only God – the God of possibilities, our generous Provider and great Protector. To our merciful Mama Mary, our loving intercessor. A huge thank you dear Lord God and Mama Mary – for never letting me and my family down, for always being there with us – in times of trouble and in times of convenience – maraming maraming salamat po. Because I believe in the power of prayer – I also sought for the intercession of Archangel Jhudiel and St. Jude – thank you my holy patrons.

I also would like to thank the people who helped me and my family through this journey. My auntie Lorna Carbonel who patiently toured us to different locations and open-houses until I finally decided to buy – believe me, it took me years! My uncle, Engineer Dindo Conge for the kindness and support. My uncle, Architect Carlo (Marc) Navarro, who tremendously helped us from the designs to buying the materials and supervising the actual work. To our family friend’s (Norina) contractors who finished constructing our house. To my Conge cousins, and to tito Erick and tita Allen Navarro for always being ready to lend their time and effort by helping us during the move. To my supportive friends. To my family who has been with me through ups and downs and never gave up on our dreams – especially my parents. I thank God for bringing all of you into my life. God is truly good, always!

#sepanx

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My best friend for more than twenty years is migrating to another country with her family. Eventhough we do not always talk because of how busy our lives have become, eventhough we seldom see each other because of the growing number of priorities in our life, the thought of her being so far away makes me terribly sad. Most of my closest friends are now living abroad. Most of them I do not get to talk to anymore, like a falling out. It is sad.

I am not really good with goodbyes. Right before anyone leaves me, I have a tendency of shrinking back inside my comfortable shell trying to avoid any further contact and will not reach out to get in touch. Until it is almost too late and the person is gone.  Is it just me? Maybe because I am not comfortable at verbally expressing my emotions and admitting defeat over such emotion. Maybe I just hate goodbyes. It is difficult.

 

Proverbs 17:17

 
My friends matter to me that I know I have to get over myself. I know I will not just let her go like that. Somehow I will find a way to let her know that I will miss her so bad and that I still would love us to be friends even though we are far apart. Hopefully there will not be any falling out, but if ever that would happen, I will always be thankful for and cherish the great friendship we had.

I would love to hear how you deal with sepanx or separation anxiety with your friends..

Two Decades

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It was “eons” ago today when I started my career as a programmer trainee, and looking back then I did not know what or where I will be now. I just knew then that I had to work hard and earn a living so I can support my family, pay the rent, put food on our table. Each day I would come to work early, no complaints to whatever task comes my way, code and debug for hours until I find the null pointer assignment culprit. Even came to a point where I dreamt of a coding solution to such bug which (guess what?) actually worked!

From programmer trainee, it was not long when I got into a senior then to a supervisory level. I knew I was still lacking and there were still a lot for me to learn but still I took the challenge, thankful that I had a great team and a boss who believed in me. Then shortly after that the great transition happened, I was moved to a start-up account. It was huge! It gave me a lot of opportunities including the chance to travel to which I initially refused to do, afraid to be separated from my family for 3 and 6 months in a row. Now, I am just laughing inside thinking how silly I was then.

I am glad I took that assignment – I learned new technologies, developed codes, built processes, trained fresh graduates – I did not know that I was helping build that start-up account which is still thriving successfully to this day – I just knew that I was only doing my job diligently. The travel part let me explore great places and opened my eyes to how diverse people are. I stayed for many years in my first company and I thought that was where I will retire, because everything was going well. The environment and people were perfect but I have other priorities so I left and moved on.

The other companies I have been to would be where I grow my soft skills, slowly I fell apart from the technical roles – I did not deliberately choose to but opportunities just presented themselves for me to take on new roles, new challenges and I did not seem to know how to say “No” because I did not want to say “No”. I just knew that in every opportunity there is uncomfortable change and a chance to make things better, I know that in every opportunity there is always something new to learn. That was what I kept on doing. I trained. I learned through experience and other people’s experience. I make sure that I enjoy what I am doing. Thus from development, to QA, to production support and maintenance, to process management – I moved around. I met difficult people, to the point when I wanted to give up – yes there were some dramas – but I am grateful because they made me realize what kind of a person and leader I want to be. All of these kind of reminded me of this principle.. 

Bloom where you are planted.

  
It is also quite rewarding when people I worked with would, out of nowhere, tell me that they are thankful for my part in their career. This reminds me that whenever we interact with someone in our work place, that our actions, our words, and intentions all together leave an impact to that someone – and we have to make sure that it is a positive impact we are leaving behind.

Lastly, working hard and smart are not enough though, there are tons of praying too – for things I have no control over, surrendering to a greater Power – and there is a bunch of help from the people I work with. I will always look back wistfully to where I started my career, and on this special day I want to pat myself on the back, say you have been doing well, Kristine, hang in there and keep it up!

Cheers to all!

Haters Gonna Hate

Quite recently I heard about people spreading false rumors and trying to ruin my reputation behind my back. I was surprised for a lot of different reasons.

I was surprised with how I handled the news. I did not run amok right after, I did not confront anyone. I just listened to every single detail like I was competely detached from myself. I reacted, I am human after all, but only to make comments about the absurdity of all of it. The fact that these people have been so long detached from my life, what they said did not fully affect me. 

I was surprised because whatever allegations made were related to events that was soooo almost-last year! I do not dwell in the past and I pity those poor souls for being trapped in there. They should start living their own lives instead of talking about me. Move on.

Human nature kicked in when I started wondering what I did wrong, what kind of person am I that there are people who dislike me. Then again, I was reminded that what they did is not a reflection of me but of themselves. I know myself better than anyone else. Whoever will believe them surely do not know me at all. They do not know the truth. This is maybe why I am not too bothered about it.

Knowing myself, I will not just stay quiet. No, I will not wage war. I will just subtly let them know that I know and I do not care a single bit.

Life is too valuable to spend on hate, to think about people who do not deserve a bit of our time. 

Book Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

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Tuesdays with Morrie

Alright, let me get my thoughts settled for a minute. The thing is, this is my favorite book but it does not mean I will be able to write a perfect book review about it. I want to, yet the words in my mind are racing fast, forcing my fingers to type them all at once! There is so much in it that I would like to share that I might end up re-iterating the book itself. It is an exceptional book and most of the people I asked have read the book and they like it too.

I guess I can just share why I like it. Aside from being a non-fiction story, there are so many quotes and words in there that are relatable to me, lots of aha! and yes! moments, it touched my soul and made me cry too. Maybe a great deal of people who read it will agree that they were able to connect with Mitch’s story. We have, at some point in our lives, lost touch with friends and loved ones who are very close to us, who have inspired us – only few have the opportunity to keep them for life, and far fewer get the chance to reconnect after falling through the cracks. Mitch got that chance with his professor Morrie – their second encounter may have been a life changing encounter for Mitch, and I am so glad that he has decided to share it with us, dear readers. As they say, we learn from our mistakes, and it is equally important that we learn from other people’s life experiences too.

It is also inspiring that Morrie happened to live a life that does not follow the norm dictated by society and he was able to live an extraordinarily contented life. Countless of us get pressure in fitting in, worrying about other people’s opinions of ourselves. We are afraid to step out of the box and be different. All of these somehow restrict us in discovering our full potential. Only if we are all brave enough to do what we are supposed to do and be the person who we are supposed to be, there is so much we can do and offer to the world, and maybe we can be happier.

Lastly, the photo above is one of the best parts in the book that I like, the tension of opposites. Taking a step back and reflecting on it, he is right, love always wins. It is sort of a reminder when torn between two things, that we will end up doing and fighting for what our heart strongly desires.

If you have not read this book yet, then you are missing a lot.

Reflection: Quandary

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Off the unbeaten path

Off the unbeaten path

Have you ever come to a point when you are tired of thinking, tired of feeling, tired of caring? Not in a general sense and not necessarily tired of living. Maybe, it is just specific to a certain person or situation in your life. Feeling it is hopeless.

Yet you continue to hang unto some words that were said, some promises left, maybe a gift given, a simple gesture, or even just one smile that came your way — any tiny freaking bit — hoping there is more in it, hoping things will change, become better. You are afraid that letting go of that tiny bit of hope will mean giving up or surrendering to the inevitable. How would you know when to keep holding on? How do you know when to let go?

You may have read a lot of self-help book and articles, even memorized some motivational quotes — they are good. Sometimes human nature just kicks in. You sought and heard advices from every single best friend but you don’t easily heed them, because you are stubborn by nature. You sometimes think that maybe one more, one last time, maybe things will go my way. If it doesn’t, you will think maybe this time, just one more. Then it becomes a cycle.

I have had my share of that. What is important is we learn and re-learn each time. Do not make it a habit – that is when it becomes perilous. I believe in second chances, or third chances or even more chances. I believe in doing what I need to do to save a situation or a relationship – not being passive, but participating and engaging. I believe in compromising or meeting half-way, that if both parties are willing then things may work out. I believe in talking things out – communicate, don’t assume and presume things are good or things are bad – take them as it is and talk about it. Still communicate. Lastly, pray – for whatever makes you sleep at night. Sounds simple, but not really. Emotional investment may take a toll specially for prolonged battle and can be a big factor in making and not making rational decisions.

When all things have been said and done yet situations remain the same then it is time to pause. I believe in self-respect. Defining your limit will let you know when you should stop hanging unto something that is not worth the fight. When to accept the inevitable. It may seem you are giving up, but not really. In a general sense it means just accepting what is – whether or not it is in your favor. Accepting that things are what they are supposed to be. Then you move on and hope for something better to come your way.

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I remember watching the movie but could not quite remember the ending or if I even finished watching it. It may not be as interesting as the book. I read the book twice. The first time, I was not able to absorb everything but it made more sense on the second round.

The push and pull of emotions in between Charlie’s letters made the story interesting. You look forward to his next interaction with Sam, or the next book he will be reading, or when his next episode will be. If you don’t understand what he is going through and why he is special, you will find a lot of things in the book disturbing. Like how he over analyzes everything he sees and hears. How he can accept certain situations passively, without anger or resentment. How easily he cries. How his mind works. It is amazing though that he has his family and friends who understood him and accepted him for who he is. I can only imagine how difficult it must be if he is not surrounded with love, he would be distraught and destroyed.

I like books that do not only have a single twist in them, and where the twists are not easy to guess. This book has that. It will make you wonder why Charlie is the way he is. His relationship with all the main characters will pique your interest. Each character was given their own story and life, which made the story not only revolve around Charlie. You will look forward to what will happen to these characters too.

This is a great book, the author’s wit and talent are reflected in it. If I would want to read a book and have nothing new on my book shelves, I will pick this one again and read it for the third time.

Reflection: Be Still

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As a person who loves to read (and to write), there are several quotes, books, and articles that leave me inspired. I also take comfort in reading the Bible regularly before bed time, and there are tons of verses in it that I keep close to my heart.  Whatever circumstance I am in, my mind will linger and my heart will reflect on a quote or a verse that will hold me together.

I am not religious, my faith is not perfect, I am a Christian. I like empowering people, encouraging friends, giving advices, and I look at the positive side of things. With this said, I thought of sharing a quote or a verse and write short blogs about it, and why it inspires me .

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10)

The first part of this verse has been playing in my head, lately. I am faced with struggles like any normal person, I am faced with indecisions at times. I worry and I get anxious too. When a certain situation is too much for me to handle, when there are things that are beyond my control, I just repeat this verse in my head.  My heart is comforted with the thought that God’s hands are at work. I may not understand what is happening, the outcome may not be what I want, but when God is in control, I know that nothing can go wrong. This verse keeps my heart calm, it takes the worries and anxieties away. When I am too excited over something that has not happened yet, when I am overcome with emotions and become impatient or eager over something good to happen, I also think about this verse. Lest, I start taking control of things and will mess up everything.

Being still and knowing that my God takes everything in His stride helps me to patiently wait to experience His blessings at its fullness and to witness His handiwork. So, worry not, fret not, and control your excitement – just be still.