The Love Story

I have a blog post that has been sitting on my drafts folder for months now.  It’s filled with my raw emotions, because I wrote it hours after reading some posts on my Facebook newsfeed mocking God.  I read the posts during the time I was full of angst and almost had no passion for God.  But the funny thing was that instead of shaking my faith, the posts mocking God were what brought me down on my knees, back into His loving and forgiving arms.  I was hurt for my God.  I wanted to cradle Him in my arms and tell Him everything will be alright, and that these people will eventually discover how great He is.  I also asked for forgiveness because I know I’ve been hurting Him with my apathy the past days.

I was angry, and I wanted to call out:  Why do you have to lambast my God?  What is so great about it?  Why do you have to use Him?  To be controversial?  To be funny?  To show the world you are no fool for believing in “fairy tales”?  To make you look smarter?  I wanted to be rabid to defend the God who has always been with me.  I thought to myself that if I get angry it will be justified, Haller, kung ‘yung KathNiel at AlDub nga naipagtatanggol ng fans nila…e Diyos ko ito!  

Good thing I took a step back and talked to someone who also felt my pain, but now sees with clarity.  Respond with love, she told me.  Just as God responded to our many offenses.  We have undergone the same “rebellion”, right?  And I did, with the help of our loving God.  I’m no longer angry, and all I want is for these people to experience the glory of feeling Jesus’ love.

I admit that mocking posts about God made me step backwards—not in my faith—but in my enthusiasm to share His greatness.  To begin with, I was already a closet Christian.  In my heart, I believed in Him.  But I had so much difficulty sharing my faith to the world.

Two reasons, mainly.

First, I know how much of a sinner I am.  I know myself, and I know how awful I was. Am, and could be.  I feel like if I share the gospel, more people would be turned off to have a relationship with Jesus.  I’ve hurt so many people, and I inwardly cringe whenever I remember the things I’ve done. Remember when Georgina Sparks returns from a Born Again Christian Bootcamp in Gossip Girl?  Exactly.

But one day at church, something the pastor flashed on the screen shamed me, but then later gave me hope:


Based on human law, I could be a saint vis-a-vis many of these great men and women of the Bible.  For crying out loud—Paul, who wrote most of the books in the New Testament, started out by murdering Jesus Christ’s believers.

Indeed, God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

As for my second excuse, I was afraid that by sharing Him, I’ll be ridiculed and laughed at.  I will be “uncool”, backwards, and addle-brained (apparently studies show that people with higher IQ are atheists). If I were a doctor at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, I do not want to be the overly giddy and naive Christian April Kepner; I want to be a rockstar like Cristina Yang, getting nominated for (and rightful winner of) a Harper-Avery, (thanks to her abortion and divorce)!

But something that this atheist comedian Penn Jillette said struck a chord in me:

“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize…. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward – and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself – how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that. (Thank you Ernilyn Brown for sharing this)



Dear friends, I am sharing my God to you all not because I scoff at anyone’s immorality.  Neither do I think that by “converting” you, you will have a moral compass.  Nor because I believe that my beliefs are superior over yours.  Not because sharing the Gospel will make me look good.  No, no, no, no, no.

If you see me post more Bible verses, quotes about and praises to God, it’s because of love.  Love for you, and love for my God.

I honestly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, and that no one comes to the Father except through him.  I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and that believing in this and surrendering our lives to him will give us eternal life.  And because I love you, I just have to tell you that.

There will also be times when my heart will fill with an overpowering love for my God that I would NEED to share to anyone who cares to listen how great He is.  I would be full of gratitude and awe that would excite me to share my awesome God with you.  Parang ‘yung ma eskena lang ng AlDub na kinailangang mag-trending sa Twitter.  Ganun lang ‘yun, walang halong pa-holier-than-thou effect. 😉

It may irritate you when I do this.  But I will still do it, because of love.  My love, and His love.

The story of Jesus is no fairy tale.  It is the greatest love story ever told.

God is never late!

Happy Sunday everyone!

I was supposed to blog about the (long overdue!) details of Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Birthday Party, but then I was reminded of how much it almost never pushed through, and how much I just had to keep the faith in Him.

(Warning: This may be trivial to some, but I am grateful for little tests of faith like this. Such always, always reminds me that I have a living God whom I can still count on even in situations that others would deem trivial.) 


Here’s the deal: My son’s birthday party would “unlock” Gymboree Sta. Rosa on Dec. 21, 2014.  It was a win-win idea because:

1) Raviv would get to experience the fun of a Gymboree party (it’s only up to 4 years old, and he was turning 4)

2) Having a “deadline” is always good because it pushes people to work doubly hard.

3) We would have a “practice” as to how birthday parties are conducted.

Almost all of our guests were either from Los Banos or Metro Manila, so I know I have to make this party worth their trip.  That said, I know that the Gymboree playfloor will motivate them to come.  Thus, it was a must that the Gymboree playfloor be ready on his party.

Problem solved?

Remember THIS POST?  I would like to tell you that things started to sail smoothly after that.  Unfortunately, things would go from bad to worse.  Like, just when I’d start to heave a sigh of relief, something would come up again that would make my heart feel as though it would jump out of my chest.

So yeah, the first batch of equipment has been delivered weeks before the party.  Because of that, I was no longer nervous.

But into the second week of December, I still had no delivery schedule of the second batch, which contained the flooring!


Then five days before the party and still equipment-less, I started to seriously get worried!





OMG ‘di ba?!?  And on top of that, the Gymboree party host I initially booked got sick and couldn’t go to Raviv’s party!  Total disater!

Fortunately, I was able to convince Teacher Eli Santiago aka “Gymboree’s best teacher” (according to many), to host Raviv’s birthday.  But unfortunately again, Eli’s good friend passed away a few days before the party and she told me that if the funeral coincides with the party, she may not be able to host it.

I was left hanging for two things: my equipment and my host—the very essences of a successful Gymboree birthday party!



The following day, still no luck.  At that point, I knew that I needed nothing short of divine intervention.  While I’ve been praying the whole time, I also sought the help of my churchmates.



I had some good news:

I was overjoyed beyond the moon!  But I couldn’t help but still be wary.


When Mama Gi (my leader in our Victory group) said that “God is never late”, it gave me some sense of comfort.  All the more when Motherhood said the same thing to me when I told her my concerns.  Motherhood, who’s usually all about punctuality and preparedness, took my worries lightly and confidently told me to trust that God will deliver.  She just knew it, she said.

Moreover, Eli said that she would be able to host Raviv’s party, too.  Yahoo!!!


I was told that the truck will leave the port at 11 p.m. because it first had to be inspected by the customs, and then it had to wait until the truck ban was lifted.  That meant that the truck will arrive at our center around past midnight.  So technically, it would be there on the 20th—only a day before Raviv’s birthday!  But the utility staff of the Gymboree corporate office assured me that they will work double time to make it well before Sunday.


I woke up early on this day and eagerly called our staff in Sta. Rosa, asking whether they’ve managed to finish our playfloor.  But my oh my!!!  I was told that only one truck has arrived, and worse, this truck did not contain our flooring!!!

Que horror!!!  The truck that arrived at dawn contained some wood equipment and Gymboree toys only!  No flooring!!!  The flooring was the most important thing as it takes a long time to install!  Moreover, the equipment can’t be set-up until after the flooring is finished!  We surmised the flooring was in the other truck that was held by the Customs!  I wanted to bawl, but I also had to get moving because we had review classes that day (In retrospect, I remember that Dec. 20 was date I initially wanted Raviv to celebrate his birthday.  However, Randy vetoed it because we had scheduled classes on that day.  Buti na lang!  Nagalit pa nga ako kay Randy!)

In between my classes, I would call everyone: from Sandra (Gymboree Corporate Office personnel communicating with the Customs) to Cathy (Gymboree Corporate Office personnel doing the inventory of materials at our site) to Kuya Eric (Gymboree Corporate Office personnel who installed our playfloor set-up) and to Yuske (our staff in Sta. Rosa).  All of them could not answer my question as to whether the truck would arrive in time for the flooring to be set-up.  The broker in-charge also could not say what time the truck would be allowed to get off the pier.

We thought of sending our L300 FB van over to Gymboree Manila Polo Club branch to gather and borrow the foam flooring.  However, I realized that our L300 FB van was in Los Banos and Dodong was too busy with our classes to drive it over.  It may take several trips, too.  So I said we had no choice but to wait.  Again.  But I also felt that was God’s way of telling me to trust Him and resist my urge to meddle.

But at 10 a.m., Cathy called it.

What she was saying is that she thought it was useless to wait for the second truck, because we’ve been waiting forever.  She was thinking that the second truck might also arrive at dawn the following day and we will no longer have any time to install the flooring or assemble the equipment.  I felt the stirrings to gaining control again, but a small voice was telling me over and over again that I had to be patient because “God is never late”.  So I ignored Cathy’s text message and told God that I trusted Him.  I told Him that I did all that I could–I never slacked off–and that this time, the ball was in His hands.   [Read more…]

The Power of Prayer

As you may know, our whole family has been deeply traumatized ever since we experienced Glenda’s wrath.  Even Raviv.  Sometimes, even a gust of wind will stop him in his tracks, give him that faraway look and then he would say, “Nanay I’m scared of the storm.”  Randy has been preparing for Ruby for days now, giving our helpers instructions on how to secure our windows and roof.  We’ve been constantly monitoring weather reports, jumping onto our feet every time there is a development.  Paranoid na kung paranoid, pero buti na ang handa.

But more than any preparation, we need to pray.  I tell you, our prayers can do wonders.  Remember the miracle God has shown us—when Raviv dodged a major skull surgery?  I actually had an encounter with God’s power and mercy recently.  Not as major as what happened to Raviv, but I still want to share it with you to encourage you to talk to The Big Guy Up There.


Anyway, I told you some weeks ago my problems with my new business.  You know when I blogged about it, I was actually trying to console myself.  That’s why I seemed optimistic.  Ang totoo n’yan, I was carrying so much burden in me.  I no longer bothered telling Randy about them because I wanted to solve them myself.  Well, I did tell Randy pala, but only in passing—I just mentioned them casually as though they were no big deal.  I guess it’s pride—these problems that I keep to myself are problems I initially shrugged off as small problems that I could solve in no time.  And then they snowball into something big.

Teacher problem

I’ll be honest with you: when one of my teachers quit on me because she had a “miscarriage” (there are quotes because until now, she hasn’t presented a medical certificate yet.  She also does not reply to my text messages as to when she’ll give me her medical certificate and does not answer my calls. #shady), I did not worry that much because I have several other prospects (besides, I was told that she wasn’t “Gymboree material” anyway).  I had a very good prospect who was definitely Gymboree material and really wanted the job.  Unfortunately, her dad had other plans for her.  Then there’s another one who kept on postponing her interview until she just vanished into thin air.  Others naman, hindi talaga Gymboree material.  My training was impeded because I had to interview so many applicants.

Port congestion problem

And as if my teacher problems were not enough, I also struggled—no, wrestled—with the port congestion issue.  See, I scheduled Raviv’s Gymboree birthday party this December.  And then I heard about the port congestion issue.  I acted and started bugging our broker.  I learned that we have two shipments coming: one from Busan (South Korea), and one from the US.  At that time, the ship from Busan has arrived, but a week in the Philippines and still it hasn’t docked!  After docking daw, mga one week pa before the cargo would be delivered to me.  Then the ship from the US—the one carrying 75% of my play equipment—was supposed to arrive here on Nov. 26, pero malamang delayed daw.  The broker told me she thinks I would receive the cargo in the 3rd week of December paWhaaaat?!?  E December 21 ang birthday celebration ng anak ko!!!  I panicked but started to solve the problem again.  I asked the Gymboree Manila Polo Club to lend me their play equipment.  They initially offered to host Raviv’s birthday for free, but I refused because that’d be too far from my guests.  They said tatlong balikan daw para mahakot ko lahat ng play equipment, pero kebs na lang.  Anyway, they will close for Christmas break beginning Dec. 19.  I gave myself a pat on the back, telling myself I was sooo darn good.

But then two days after I “solved” my equipment problem, I learned that someone booked a party at Gymboree Manila Polo on Dec. 20.  Hapon pa ang party.  That means male-late ang hakot namin pag nagkataonSabado ito guys, malapit na sa Pasko.  Malamang alamang gravity ang traffic nito papuntang Laguna!  I was really, really, really down.  The birthday party is very important to me because:

  1. Raviv is so excited about his birthday party.  Dati kebs siya sa party, but now almost every morning when he wakes up he would ask how many more days are left before his birthday party.  What kind of mother could stomach not pushing through with her son’s party given that?!  Raviv hasn’t had a “proper” birthday celebration since his 1st birthday party so deserve niya ito.
  2. As bad as it sounds, this is also a business decision.  Birthday parties are a major event for parents, so we don’t want to bungle our first party clients.  Better to “practice” on Raviv’s party rather than on a paying customer.  Moreover, we could use Raviv’s party’s photos to give parents an idea what to expect from Gymboree Sta. Rosa parties, right?

Tables problem

And there’s also my problem on where to get my tables.  See, Gymboree requires us to use a specific kind of table and chairs set.  And they’re quite difficult to find.


I was advised to order from China, pero helloow, yun ngang equipment kong antagal nang na-order waley pa rin, paano pa itong table na ito?!  Then I was told by the Gymboree Alabang branch that they got their tables and chairs from the Gymboree Eastwood owner.  Yipppeee!!!  I contacted them with glee, only to shatter my hopes again:  they are no longer selling these tables and chairs. #basagnanaman  I found a supplier online that was selling something slightly different from this at P19,800 per set.  Ang mahal di ba?  I told myself that if I don’t get a supplier soon, I have no choice but to close my eyes and buy 4 freaking sets of this.

One time I just burst and told the people at the Gymboree back office, “Lahat na lang ng kamalasan ibinigay sa akin dito.  Akalo ko solve na, ‘yun pala hindi pa rin.”

I was sooo tired worrying and troubleshooting problems that just grew worse every day.  Then the Metro Manila commuters’ problem also took a toll on me: waiting for taxi for almost an hour, riding a taxi for almost two hours (from Forbes Park to EDSA Shangrila lang ito!), then paying almost P300 for that snail of a ride.  Then the next day, I would wait for a taxi to take me to Forbes Park for more than an hour again, battle heavy traffic, and then pay an exorbitant amount.

I was mentally and physically tired.  I tried everything in my power to troubleshoot problems, but there was nothing I can do.  One evening while I was travelling back to our condo during heavy traffic, I started meditating on His Word.  This was what struck me the most:

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Acts 16 : 31

I should be working now but I can’t.  I am so down.  Ironic, because in my last post I was expressing how very happy I was.  But I got a phone call early this afternoon with terrible news.  Dears, ibigay n’yo muna sa akin ‘to, ayoko munang i-share.  Baka naman (sana!) wala lang.  What’s holding me together now is God’s promise.

Acts 16:31, New International Version (NIV)

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Anyway, I’m trying to be positive today amidst the negativity.  For one, I’m looking at this as an opportunity to rekindle my fire to be in His presence, just like what happened with Raviv before.  These past days I’ve been backsliding…this is probably brought by the fact that I haven’t been attending weekly Bible studies.  The schedule of my group went from Thursdays to Saturdays and you all know how crazy my Saturdays are.  But I hope I’ll be able to attend again.  You know, attending these groups are a lot of help.  When you’re in a pickle, your group mates would not give you just ANY kind of advice but advice that’s from the Lord.  Your fire for the Lord also shines more brightly every meeting as you hear and witness how God works in your group mates’ lives.  Being a Christian is tough—your group mates are there to cheer you on and remind you that everything is worth it.

Anyway, to keep my mind off that problem, I took time to check messages on Facebook that I have not opened since my birthday.  And as usual, they cheered me up.  Truly, when the going gets tough, kind words from appreciative people keep me going.  The gloominess in me was diminished.  For one, I am surprised again that my blogging makes several people happy.  I blog because it’s really therapeutic to me—it’s an outlet for me to take whatever’s on my chest:  extreme happiness, extreme anger, extreme loneliness…whatever!  And after blogging I usually feel a lot better.  Ergo when other people express how my blog also relieves their stress, I feel an extra surge of glee.  So indulge me in sharing with you the messages I opened today that made me feel my special day is far from over yet.

bday roi Roi, I feel happy too that you eagerly await my new posts.  Thank you so much!!!

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When God Parted Our Red Sea (Part 3)

continued from When God Parted Our Red Sea (Part 2)

The next day (Wednesday), we brought you to Asian for an available anesthesiologist to check you.  The anesthesiologist who checked you was so very nice (too bad I forgot her name!  I’ll try to check who she is).  She looked so gentle and compassionate.  She cleared you and asked why you were to undergo an MRI.  She told me, “Pray lang kayo.”  Again, I felt God’s presence in her.  She even praised your nose, “Grabe ang tangos ng ilong!” she said.

Feb. 3, 2012

Dear Raviv, 

That Wednesday night (Feb. 2, 2011), you slept with your Yaya Michelle (she was your first long-term yaya–she was a gem!  Too bad she had to leave to care for her own children) and Ate Alona.  This was because your Tatay and I had to sleep well for we will have to wake up early to bring you to Asian.  Still, I kept getting out of our room to check on you…I can’t sleep fitfully without you by my side.  Moreover, I had to make sure that your last feeding would be four hours away from your scheduled sedation (I pumped my breastmilk).

At 1 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2011, I rose and checked on you.  You underfed yourself–you didn’t finish your normal bottle, and this was supposed to be your last feeding!  This had me worried: ever since you were born, you’ve always had a voracious appetite!  Infants are supposed to feed every 3-4 hours, right?  But in your case, you start wailing for your milk less than two hours after your last bottle, begging to be fed.  You were such a pleasant baby, but when you’re hungry, all hell broke loose!  You cry loudly and start kicking!  Thus I was worried, because that was supposed to be your last feeding and yet for some reason you dud not finish it!

At around 4 a.m., we roused you from sleep.  I was so nervous of waking you up, because when you wake up you usually ask for your milk.  We tried to feed you water (which was OK up to two hours prior to the sedation), but you refused to.  To add insult to the injury, the onesie I prepared for you to wear was already tight (it was the first and last time you were able to wear it), and we had trouble putting it on you.  I was panicking that you would be irritable, especially because you were supposed to be very hungry…but you were not!  I started to be amazed…little miracles were already taking place!

The onesie Raviv wore (for the first and last time) during “THE day”

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When God Parted Our Red Sea (Part 2)

continued from When God Parted Our Red Sea (Part 1)

…A few hours after, she came.  I told her about what the neuro-pedia said.  She told me to pray, and I told her I didn’t want to because I think it’s futile.  She explained to me that God wants us to ask from Him, to put our faith in Him, to be closer to Him.  Before Li’Ann left, she laid her hands upon your lump, and we prayed.  That jumpstarted my deeper relationship with Him.

Jan. 31, 2012

Right after Li’Anne left, I started to pray.  Other relatives called, and I still cried whenever I talked about it.  But then when I was alone, I’d pray again.  I finally took you from your nannies, looked at your face, touched your lump, and prayed while I cried.

The following morning (Sunday), we were able to get your X-ray, urinalysis, and CBC results.

Urinalysis, X-ray, and CBC results

[Read more…]