Sunday, September 7, 2014

Matron of Honor to Bride

I know all of you will agree that Nina looks very stunning in her dress and Marvin’s barong looks like a million dollars :) You two look extra ordinarily great together. 

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I am Joselle, the sister-in-law of Nina and her BFF. Today, I am no longer her BFF because I am now giving that role to Marvin. 

I’ve known Nina for 10 years now but it seems only yesterday and I feel like I’ve known her forever. She was the reason that I found my soulmate, her Kuya Alan. 

Nina has the most genuine heart and has no pretenses. She’s humble, warm-hearted, beautiful in the inside and out, and a woman who has great love for the Lord. 

When Nina told me she was going to break up with her former boyfriend of 2 years because she wanted to go through her state of life discernment with Lingkod ng Panginoon, I was tremendously proud of her. It wasn’t an easy thing for her but she bravely and selflessly put God first before herself. In honoring the Lord before anything else, she was pleased to know that her vocation was for marriage and blessed to be pursued by a likewise faithful brother in the community who is no other than Marvin. 

Nina also told me that they have never kissed on dates and that their first kiss will be on their wedding day. Her kuya and I were left astounded. We couldn’t believe that it still happens nowadays. We have nothing but great respect for Marvin also for protecting and keeping my sister pure before marriage. I believe that if a husband loves God, he will love and respect his wife even more so like how Christ loves the Church. 

You two are indeed a match made in heaven and it was even proved better when you exchanged vows to each other. We know that this marriage will last a lifetime and will be enjoyed to the fullest because you keep God’s word close to your hearts.

Nina, sis, I’m so happy for you. I am glad that through this community that you are blessed with, you found your soulmate and your true best friend forever. The greatest thing about the sacrament of marriage, especially with God in the center of the relationship, is that every time you see the love of your life, you see a glimpse of heaven. Whenever I am with your kuya, I see Jesus. I feel truly loved by God with the way he treats me. Life seems serene no matter what challenges may come our way.  And I wish you both the same. That every time you look into each others eyes, you see that glimpse of heaven on earth. 

Nina, it is a real honour to be your Matron of Honour. I am deeply moved and so blessed for even being your friend, and even more so that you granted me this opportunity. Thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand and raise your glasses once again for Nina and Marvin.

xoxo,
Joselle

Monday, September 1, 2014

Somewhat Housewife

Recently, I get to be what I always wanted to be. A HOUSEWIFE.  

I'd like to share my sentiments and give you updates on how it is like being a somewhat housewife. I say somewhat housewife because I get to do this for a few weeks only, too bad. hahaha.  

Here are 10 things I enjoy doing:

1. I wake up next to my husband every single day and I don't worry if I'm late at work or that deadline that I have to finish. I just wake up and kiss my love good morning :)

2. As soon as my husband leaves, I run and work out.

3. I have longer chance to do my prayer time after a nice exercise and refreshing bath. 

4. I eat and enjoy my fresh pandesal with queso de bola and occasionally, taho!

5. I enjoyed volunteering to cook.  I cook lunch for my retired father in law, eat with him and discuss about his new endeavor and other sensible topics. I wish I could have done this with my papa but since my father is no longer with us, I'm glad I get to this with Daddy.

6. My favorite, I take afternoon naps! 

7. I read and able to write blogs.

8. I cook dinner for the rest of the family members and brunch on weekends.

9. I'm glad when my husband gives me a break from home and asks me out for a date night.  

10. But if I have no plans at all, I'm just glad to welcome my hubby and greet him "okaeri" (welcome home in Japanese) when he arrives home. He's appreciative of the fact that for a month, he's not suffering from and coming to a wife-less home.

That is the day in the life of a superficial housewife. I'm glad God allowed me this break and understand that being a housewife takes a lot of patience and understanding.

In Manila, crazy traffic jams, inefficient MRT (it used to be nice but now it's falling apart), overcrowded public transportation, long working hours are some of the realities you have to bear. My husband will normally get up at 6 am, leave at 6.30 so he can get to Taguig from QC not later than 8 am. That could have only been 30 mins if there's no traffic. He's only suppose to work till 5 pm but if there's a need to work over time, he's required to stay for a couple more hours. So he gets out at 7 and commute for another couple hours so he gets home at around 9 pm. We only have more or less 2 to 3 hours of quality time before he dozes off to sleep. 

Back in Atlanta, I get off at 5 pm, I go to the gym for an hour and eat with the entire fambam at 7pm. I've been way too spoiled with the Southern lifestyle I guess. It's nice to eat dinner together as a family and catch up on each other's day. I think it is essential. I'm glad my employer has great respect and gives value for time with family. 

With my husband arriving home late, I need to adjust. It's not his fault that he gets home late. I am absolutely sure he works late not because of greedy intentions (like getting a promotion or a raise). No matter how badly he desires to come home to me, he's not able to do so because of his work demands. When he works, he gives his best so he won't leave till he gets his job done. Then after a stressful day in the office, he has to deal with the pain of long commute. 

I'm a bit irked and sad about it but I need to be extra understanding and patient.  As hard working as he is, the last thing he wants is a nagging and needy wife. I should not be jealous of his work and should be grateful instead for being a great provider. So in return, I need to please the hubby with my home cooked meals,  relaxing massages and some TLC from the wifey. hehe. 

The heart of her husband trust in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:11-12



xoxo,
Joselle 










Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Afternoon Tea Party!

Hi everyone! I am back in Manila my friends! I'm very blessed to be home once again and be reunited with the love of my life.

Anyway, the ultimate reason why I am here is because my BFF/sister-in-law, Nina, is getting married and I wouldn't want to miss this once in a lifetime event for the world. Moreover, I was also humbled when she asked me to be her matron of honor :)

The past few days I spent in Manila, aside from having some quality time with my hubby (hehehe), I was busy planning for her bridal shower with the help of her sister, Nerisa, and all of her family and friends. When I got married, my family and friends threw a very memorable shower for me and it was one that I would never ever forget in my life so I thought how nice it is to pass this feeling to another bride to be.

The theme of her bridal shower was Afternoon Tea Party and the concept came from my older sister, Ate Joyce. I've been also wanting to experience afternoon tea myself and that's why my eagerness to put together this party was very high.

Before organizing the party, I did my research and googled away some food and decor ideas. Youtube and Pinterest came in handy :)

Nerisa, the bride's younger sister/maid of honor and also my little sister in law, went with me to Divisoria. Divisoria market is a flea market that can be found at the heart of the capital, Manila. To be honest, I've got quite mixed feelings for this place. Before, I try to avoid going to Divi because I heard few horror stories like pick-pocketting. But now, I appreciated Divi more because I had a nice experience shopping and haggling around with my sister in law. The only place I know in Divi is 168 mall but there were things we couldn't find inside the mall and we were clueless on where to go. However, the people were very friendly so we asked for directions and they pointed us and showed us exactly where we needed to go. There was this section in Divi called Tabora. It's a street dedicated for weddings and other special events! We got what we needed for a great deal and we came out of Divi safe and sound. The only tip I could give is to not wear flashy clothes if you want to go to Divi. I didn't even put make up on. haha. I wore simple top, shorts, and tsinelas! (flip flops) It is also hot and a lot of walking is involved so make sure to dress up comfortably. 

After Divisoria, we went to Dapitan Market. Another place to go to if you're looking for materials you'll need for catering and special events. We were looking for a three layered cake stand to put the afternoon tea sandwiches into and was lucky to find it there. Going to Dapitan, we passed by Dangwa, a place where you can get different kinds of flowers in bulk perfect especially for weddings.


For the decor, Nerisa and I with the help of some of our artistic family helped us achieved this dainty and cute table set up. We were happy to see the look on the bride to be's eyes.  She seemed surprised and pleased :)




For food, since it's an afternoon tea party, we thought of making finger food like hor d'oeuvres. Everything turned out good and it was so easy to make. I made deviled eggs, egg sandwich, cream cheese sandwich, crackers with cream cheese and strawberry preserved. Mommy served fruits and cheese, Tita Clair made spicy tuna sandwich, Mayey made oreo truffles, and some guests were so nice to bring more food like doughnuts and empanadas. They were light but we were so stuffed! 



For the program, and what made the shower most special was honoring her. We put words that best describes Nina's character in the doughnuts and explained why we chose those words.



In the evening, we had another batch for the rest of the family and I cooked Penne Pesto Cream Pasta. It was a wholesome, fun, love and spirit-filled day!

9 more days Sis till the big day! :)


Thanks to all of you who helped us make this shower a special one to our beautiful bride to be, Nina. Special thanks to our preppy tea master, Alan! hehehe.




xoxo,
Joselle





Monday, August 4, 2014

A Letter to Mommy from Son and Daughter in Law

The first flower that comes into my mind when I think of my mom is a Sunflower because she is a cheerful person.  She is hard to ignore because of the bright aura that surrounds her.  And she always enjoys the good sides of life like the sunflower enjoys the sun.



Surprisingly enough, mom's birth flower is also the Sunflower according to the Japanese.  The Sunflower has flower words or meanings like Radiance and Loving Care in Japan.  I think this is also true for my mom.  She has a radiant personality and gives us her love and care everyday. 


The Sunflower is known by its name because it always faces the sun.  This way it fully receives sunlight and gets the energy to grow tall.

I think what this teaches is, to fully receive grace, we should always face God, our sun, and that we must have a positive attitude in life.  My mom has been like this and I am grateful that we have received the same grace through her.


So mom, thank you for your love and care and may you always be the radiant Sunflower that you are!


Happy Birthday!!!



xoxo,
Alan
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mommy,

I am so grateful and blessed to be your daughter in law. Thank you for trusting me to care for your one and only son. Alan has grown to be a good, kind, loving, intelligent, righteous, God-fearing man and I will be forever grateful to you for teaching him such values.

My two sister in laws, Nina and Risa have grown to be both graciously kind inside and out, and no doubt it is because of your loving upbringing. I hope I would be able to raise our future kids the way you did. Daddy is blessed as well to be your husband for giving him your superseding support as a wife. I hope I would be able to give Alan all the support that he needs too. 

Not all gets along well with their mother in laws for many reasons but not us. You've never demanded anything from me and never have I felt that I am not good enough for your son. Thank you for accepting me, treating me and loving me well.

I honor you for being  a mother so gracious, generous, selfless, simple, and most of all, godly. 

I love you and happy birthday! :)


xoxo,
Joselle

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Real Housewife of Atlanta

Tita Cathy is not only my pastoral leader but a dear aunt of mine. For her birthday, we honored her on our household meeting and I would like to share it to my blog (with her permission also). 

- I honor her for her great faith in the Lord. She's one of the gracious women I look up to. Her words of advice and encouragement are wisdom from above. I couldn't forget what she told me when we first moved here in the US. She said something like: Do not make your relationship with your boyfriend your world cos when you and him fall apart, your world will crumble as well. Instead, make God your number one and whatever happens, you'll be fine. Now my boyfriend we're talking about is my husband. Alan knows God is my first love and my husband is my last :) Our long distance relationship survived because we acknowledged that apart from Him, it just wouldn't work. 

- I honor her for her kindness and gentleness. People who doesn't know her fully might think of her as snob maybe because of her chinky eyes (hahaha) but to those who know her personally, she's the nicest woman you'll ever know. I don't know how she keeps her cool when surrounded by 4 children, her husband, her grandson, her parents, her sister, her nephew, a dog, and a cat all in one roof. Her love for her family is truly unconditional and knows no bounds. 

- Lastly, I honor her for her simplicity. She dresses up simply and modestly, she doesn't carry designer bags, she drives an old car she's a very humble lady but simply beautiful, inside and out. She doesn't need expensive things to validate her worth because her heart is set to what truly matters. Her relationship with God is her greatest treasure.   

I wish you happy birthday Tita Cathy. May you never grow tired of inspiring other women and may the Lord continue to use you to spread the joy. Thank you for the pastoral care, inspiration and light you bring to us.



xoxo,
Joselle


Friday, August 1, 2014

Affirmation

In retrospect, if my husband met me before I knew Christ, I don't think he would like me. I am completely a different person back then. (Thank you Jesus for your saving grace!) Back in my juvenile days, my old self would curse, would put others down with hurtful words, would bully, would dishonor her parents, and say other stupid-unkind things without thinking. I've never realized how much trouble I've done and relationships I've broken because of my tongue. 

My husband, on the other hand, is very gentle, kind, sensitive, and polite. When we met, I was already on my journey towards having a relationship with the Lord and so my choice of words started to change. He told me he liked me because I was nice. I was like, really? me? nice? wow! Not even my family would say I was nice. It is really by God's grace that a person can completely change. After college, I started attending bible studies, prayer groups and it had a positive impact in my life. I realized how unbecoming the way I communicated before. It wasn't like Christ at all. Through daily prayers and surrounding myself with positive people, I became more pleasant. Likewise, I attracted a nice guy! :)

Words can either build or destroy a person. Growing  up, we were 4 girls with interesting hormones raised single handedly by my mom. When she's stressed out and getting attacked by high blood pressure, she would blurt unpleasant words and we grew up thinking it was normal. Our mom loves us so much and would give her life for us so we know she only tried her best to discipline us. Parents only correct their children because they love them but adding unkind and punitive words is unnecessary and ungodly. I grew up to be very insecure because I lacked affirmation that I was good, I was beautiful, and I was loved. And this also made me awkward in affirming how much I love someone. How can you give what you don't have?

When my sisters, mom and I moved to the US, we joined a community and our relationship bloomed like never before. We still occasionally fail in affirming love to one another but it had gotten a lot better. We had gotten closer. We now give cards with warm messages and gifts every birthdays and special occasions to one another. We go to mass together every Sunday, eat together every supper and are more open to one another. Affirmation is still an area we really need to work hard on and we cannot do this alone. We have to constantly pray for humility and God's grace.     

With my husband, I am bombarded with daily praises and affirmation. I have never been celebrated and cared for. He makes sure that my love tank is full with affirmation. He tells me he loves me everyday and his love for me grows stronger each day. He is the cheesiest husband ever (and I'm the cheesiest wife) and I am totally buying it. 

Husbands, pursue your wives everyday like the way you courted her. Wives, affirm your husbands because there's nothing better for a guy than us wives boosting their self worth. Let us respect and honor one another with our words and through this, we honor the Lord. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10.

When the time comes that God grants us children, may we shower them with love and kindness. May He guide us in every step in discipling them. May God use us purposefully as an instrument to let them know how much they are precious to Him. May we demonstrate to them how much their daddy and mommy loves one another. May we show them an example of our love for each other that it may inspire them to find someone that reflects the same love.   

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6 NASB)

 xoxo, 
Joselle 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Journey to Chicago!


Chicago is a wonderful place but my journey to the city is beyond wonderful. As much as I enjoy traveling with my husband, friends or family, sometimes traveling alone is a good thing. I've learned so much just in my journey but I would like to share 3 most important things with you:

We can never out give God. He is generous.
I was supposed to take Friday off so I could drive with the rest of the participants. Our conference for the Singles for Christ this year was in Chicago and I needed to go as their coordinator. We planned to drive midnight of Friday and arrive Friday afternoon (12 hour-drive). Month prior, I learned that it was my boss' birthday and she had planned to take a day off too. My hopes were down and was thinking of giving away my registration to someone else. This stressed me out a little and so I prayed. God quickly came to the rescue. I found out that I have accrued enough mileage to cover a round-trip flight to Chicago.  My flight was FREE! So I got to go to work Friday and flew out Friday evening. This trip was truly a will of God. I made it without hurting my pocket and my job. Thank you Lord for your generosity and faithfulness! 

Small talks can be big.
I decided to go straight to the airport after work and so I figured taking the train to the airport will be the smartest way to beat the Atlanta traffic. Inside the train, there was an interesting group of young men and women that caught my attention. In America, small talks are part of their culture. Especially in the South where you'll meet the friendliest people of all. I don't think the saying "don't talk to strangers" apply here. For instance, you are in the supermarket and a cashier asks you, "hi how are you?", you should respond, I'm good how about yourself?". Even though you don't really want to know how they really are, it's the norm here and I think it's nice. Anyway, a girl from this group approached the guy seating next to me. Out of the blue she asked him what he was reading then I was dragged in to the conversation.  Long story short I found out that they were from another state attending a Christian conference in Atlanta. Before she stepped out of the train with her group, she gave us a card with her church information. That young lady inspired me with her boldness in her faith and fearlessness to evangelize. I pray that I could have the confidence to be able to do that too. I should probably get myself a business card as well.hehehe. 

Entitlement is not good to your soul.
On the plane, I was assigned to seat in the middle. On the aisle seat, there was a lady who told me it's her first time to fly (here goes small talks again). A few minutes later, a guy in a crisp business suit came and he's claiming the aisle seat. Well, originally its his seat but the lady was scared to seat by the window. For a little bit, there was an awkward commotion. Flight attendants tried to fix the situation but they couldn't do anything because the flight was full. I offered my seat but she doesn't want to sit next to the entitled, arrogant guy. In the end, the lady with tears on her face sat by the window and the guy won his aisle seat. I felt helpless and there was really nothing I could do. All I did was pat the lady's back and told her everything will be fine. For the entitled guy, all I can say is bless your heart. Entitlement is basically putting yourself on the pedestal thinking you are awesome but cannot be awesome for others. For me, the most awesome people are those who can be selfless for others, just like Jesus. 

In my journey along to Chicago, I felt that God was always with me keeping me close to Him through all the circumstances that came and through all the people I've met along the way. Sometimes not reading a book or carrying an iPad is good to avoid shutting people out. I learned that He was present everywhere because I kept myself open to my surroundings. Jesus is present everywhere if He is within you. 

Behold I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15


xoxo,
Joselle