The talk on The Feast two Sundays ago dealt again on relationships. Bro. Bo Sanchez talked about the power of compounding and how compounding can make or break our lives. Compounding, in finance, is how one small amount can double again and again through time. To elaborate, he talked about a love account, similar to our bank accounts, but instead of making money talk, we’re either making deposits or withdrawals on our relationships every day. Some accounts can go on starting with a whopping amount but remaining dormant for years, while others may make one big withdrawal to the point of closing the account. Yet, the worst account of all is the one that keeps the account going and makes tiny, minute withdrawals every single day. These withdrawals can be in the form of hurtful words, mistrust, indifference, infidelity, and so on and so forth. Ouch, right?
As a parent, it hit me hard. How many times did I make withdrawals from my love account for my kids? Oh yeah, the time I scolded my kid for spilling his drink for the nth time. And the other time I pushed my daughter to rush when it was not in her nature to be rushed. And what about that time my son wanted to play with me but I was busy on Facebook? GUILTY!
As a wife, it hit me harder. Have I been making enough deposits to my spouse’s love account? When WAS the last time I cooked him a meal? As in really cook him a meal not because I was obligated? When did I last massage his feet or give him a back rub? When did I last drop everything and snuggle up to him? Worse, there’s the list of withdrawals I made. The time I complained about this, nagged about that, expected him to do one thing and yet ignored the many other things he has already been doing for me…the list can go on and on. I felt so small at the moment I just wanted to crawl under my seat and cry at how selfish and ungrateful I had been.
I also did the worst thing unimaginable. I tried to list everything my husband deposited to the love account. I felt so ashamed! He has been filling it up, day in and day out, making deposits to my account and to the kids’ account. Nothing grand, I must say, but constant, consistent, and compounding (e.g., a trip to the playground, bringing home fruits and buko juice, helping with the chores, saying yes once in awhile to the kids’ whims, saying yes to my crazy wants). Thank God my guilt and shamefulness turned to gratitude and hope. Gratitude for all the “deposits” made and hope for more deposits and lesser withdrawals from now on.
My daughter Zoe, who attended Awesome Kids, The Feast’s kids’ ministry, also brought home a “Love Account” passbook. The kids were told to keep a list of every good deed they made and to write them down under the “deposit” column. They were to list down every not-so-good thing on the “withdrawal” column. I guess the love account also did my daughter good because everyday I would see her listing down her deposits, and making more effort to write down a deposit. So far these are what are in her deposit: greeted family and friends, talked politely, packed away gift wrappers, played with little cousins, helped little brother, prepared water bottle (a chore I entrusted to her every time we went out), folded underwear, helped unpack groceries, ate my veggies, drank buko juice (something she’s really not fond of), kept self busy, helped make breakfast, set table. I’m loving how she’s been more helpful around the house and more cooperative lately, probably because of the love account. She’s also made a few “withdrawals” yet her deposits far outnumber her withdrawals. I am praying this will be a continuous thing, or she will have the habit of counting blessings and being more of a blessing to others.
So this 2014, I’ve resolved to fill my love account to overflowing. To make deposits every day. To make the power of compounding work positively in my life and for it to have a ripple effect on my husband, my kids, and all those around me. I know, with God’s grace, this is possible. 🙂
Finally, after long months of hoping for another baby, we are pregnant again! We’ve been wanting to get pregnant when PHX turned 3. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very cooperative in monitoring my fertility cycle that we ended up just trying and trying without hitting the target. I also went through moments, albeit fleeting, of disappointment and frustration every time I would miss a day or two of my period, only to see it greeting me month after month. My husband was there to knock some sense into me and make me realize that there’s Someone else in control of things and it would be crazy for me to expect that everything I wished for will be given to me according to my terms. He was right. I was acting like a brat and thought that conceiving would be something we could take charge of. I was wrong. God had other plans for us and His timing was always right. God first made me surrender everything to Him. I never really did. He asked me to relax, let go, and let God. Honestly, although I wanted a child, I never really bothered to ask Him for one. I just kinda assumed He knew. And I just expected.
So I started asking and praying silently, even including it in my birthday wishes this August. My prayer was for another child, but if it is His will that two children are enough for us, then His will be done.
I expected my monthly period to arrive last week. I was a few days delayed but I didn’t get my hopes up, although hubby was already keeping his fingers crossed and would ask me everyday if I already got my period. Last Sunday, at The Feast in PICC, the topic was about surrender. He says we can never really be out of control because the moment we aren’t in control, God remains in control. It made perfect sense. Bro. Bo talked about the miracles waiting to unfold in our lives, and how, before a miracle becomes visible, it starts with being invisible. He talks about how, during the times we question and cry and doubt, God is already cooking up something exciting for us. We just don’t see it yet, but it’s already there. He then compares a visible miracle to a baby, one that you can hold and cuddle and see, and tells how it started as a fetus in a pregnant mother’s womb, still invisible from our eyes. The words “baby,” “fetus,” and “pregnant” gave me goosebumps. He goes on to say that we are “pregnant with God’s miracle.” I started getting emotional as I heard God speak to me. My thoughts were racing. Could it be that I was, indeed, pregnant? Was this the sign I was waiting for? I wanted to believe it was.
The next day, hubby and I gathered enough courage to take the pregnancy test. And there it was…two strips on the pregnancy test! I was positively pregnant! My period wasn’t just delayed! We were crying tears of joy! Then, after we composed ourselves, we called on Zoe and PHX to share the wonderful news. Zoe was ecstatic and PHX was also pleased. I know PHX doesn’t quite comprehend it yet, because he thought the baby was gonna come out already that evening, but I saw he was excited, too. I can’t wait to see him as a kuya!
God never fails to amaze me with his miracles! During the times I doubted and cried out in despair, he was planning this surprise all along. Always, always, in His perfectly sweet time.
Our kasambahay is back from her much-deserved holiday break! Hooray! Although I’ve enjoyed our bonding time as a family without any helper in the house, there has got to be some normalcy in our lives again. It was getting pretty toxic that I found it hard to breathe. Now the house is at its passable spic n’ span…still not squeakingly clean (that will take my mom or a miracle to do it), but tolerable and liveable just the same.
One week without help also gave me a chance to domesticate myself once again. My husband kidded me and feigned astonishment that I could still cook after all. Somehow, ages of not cooking made him think I must have lost my touch. The truth is, I miss having all the time in the world to cook. I remember when life wasn’t as busy at it is now, I would spend the night playing the recipe in my mind. Yes, even picturing myself chopping garlic and actually smelling the dish I’m cooking. My husband, then-boyfriend, was at his heaviest then because any dish I would cook, well, he’d eat with much gusto. After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. He must have loved my cooking so much that he married me! Now in our 4th year as a married couple, my husband reminisces those tummy-filled days and tells me jokingly that I’ve been so good campaigning at what I could do as a wo-man, but now that I’ve got him tied for better and for worse, I suddenly forget him and his hungry tummy. Ouch!
And so in the long one week all alone, I went back and got dirty. My daughter even complained that my hands smelled of garlic. I cooked our family’s traditional miki for our New Year’s Eve feast which we spent as a threesome, four if you count Bailey, our dog. And he loved it! Then there was my first attempt to bake babyback ribs ala Kenny Rogers’. I marinated it in the red wine that was left from our New Year dinner and added honey at a little bit of everything. I didn’t taste like the resto version but he loved it just the same. The marbled potatoes which I sauted in olive oil, garlic, and seasoned with parmesan cheese, salt, and basil was such a hit with him, too. Ooh I just love cooking for him and watching him eat what I’ve prepared. Hey, I’ve missed that.
Halfway into the first month of the year, I resolve to cook for my family more and to spend more time in the kitchen like I used to. How I’ll do it, I still don’t know. But I’ll find a way. Even if it means it’s just SPAM I’m frying.
Yesterday was our 4th wedding anniversary. Can’t believe it’s actually been 4 years since we’ve tied the knot and actually a decade of being in each other’s lives. It’s amazing how you can stay in love with one person as if that’s what you were meant to do for the rest of your life, comfortably and rightfully so. I’m just thankful God has blessed me with such a wonderful partner who can keep up with my irrational train of thoughts (haha) and who keeps me company in good times and in bad.
We spent the day with a lunch at Sonya’s Garden, where we had our wedding reception, reminiscing how we couldn’t taste anything that day even when the guests were all raving about the food. Sonya’s has been our favorite date place eversince. We just love everything about the place, from the food, to the garden, to the bed and breakfast cottages. Although Zoe has been there a few times already, this is actually our first time to bring her there as a “thinking” toddler. She felt right at-home with the place and loved being in “a restaurant with a garden”. It was a bonding moment for the three of us and another first for Zoe…her first photoshoot. I think she’s inherited her dad’s love for taking pics. Because it was just the three of us, our first pics were mostly of me and Zoe, or Zoe alone, and so we decided to well, let Zoe try taking a picture of me and her dad, because it was our anniversary anyway. Wonders of wonders, her shots were not bad at all. It amused us so much, and made her trigger-happy too, so we kept on smiling for her and she kept on shooting our pics.
I’m sharing with you Zoe’s pictures at PictureTrail. Now she’s discovered a new toy and she carries the digicam around the house taking pics of anything as out of this world as the caller ID, the computer mouse, and an empty Starbucks praline mocha frap cup.
Let me tell you a secret—I sleep like a log. Yup, I guess I’ve been sleeping alone for the longest time, so when my husband came along, I just wasn’t used to having someone in bed beside me, skin to skin, limb over limb. Sure, I can snuggle, but only when I’m wide awake or, perhaps, half-asleep. When it’s serious sleeping we’re talking about, I’d rather hug my pillow or turn the other way. My husband would always tease me about this. The teasing got stronger now that Zoe co-sleeps with us because Zoe has inherited her father’s knack for snuggling. She sleeps with one leg over her dad’s, an arm over my body, or whatever suits her fancy. Sometimes she would even sleep on top of me! She doesn’t mind if her dad would wrap his heavy leg around her tiny body. It is only me who objects to this act of endearment for fear that my husband, all 160 pounds of him (Hunny, if you’re reading this you better thank me for keeping your old weight even if the scale says otherwise!), would squish her bones in the wrong places. I would let out a holler whenever the two would gang up on me and snuggle me to death. My husband would ask me if I belong to their tribe, treating me like some alien from outer space. Each time this happens I try to come up with some sort of rational explanation even to a point that I would demonstrate how I would want to be snuggled. But my husband would just let out a sarcastic laugh and blatantly tell me that what I want is not snuggling at all. “You don’t know, eh,” he would say humorously and I would feel so left out all over again. Some nights I would give in to the twisting limbs but wake up the following morning complaining of a backache. It’s just not me. Or is it?
My husband is out tonight on a drinking binge with some old friends and I am wide awake at 3 a.m. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss him and his snuggling dearly, even if I know he’ll be home before the sun rises. He doesn’t go out that often and I’ve gotten used to having him around and seeing him before I go to sleep. So on the few occasions that he’s out, I end up staying awake, awaiting his return. I sent him a text message letting him know that I’m still wide awake and that I’m just too used to having him asleep beside me. And he texted back with a smiley, “Now you know.” Yeah, I think I do : )
We are so different, my husband and I. His likes are so unlike mine. He can’t stand seafood; I love pusit, bagoong, and shrimps. He likes beer; I like coffee. He likes eggs, potatoes, mayo, and anything that goes well with his beer; I like sinigang, mangga, and anything that goes well with my coffee. These are just a few reasons why we couldn’t get along. Sometimes we differ so much in points of view that we end up arguing, only to realize that nobody’s wrong, we’re just plain different. And so we now agree to disagree. And we cherish the things we love both, like our love for Zoe, our love for good food, our love for going to places we’ve never been to, and our love for each other.
We started our marriage sharing blankets. It was an adjustment for the both of us to share our space with the other. It got to the point when my husband would get the blanket all to himself (of course, this happens when both are asleep and snoring the night away), and I would wake up in the middle of the night cold and grumpy, looking for the blanket that was supposed to keep the BOTH of us warm. The morning would start with an argument: “where’s the blanket? (where’s the stolen blanket)” and “why did you keep the blanket all to yourself? (how dare you leave me cold!)”. Now, we’ve decided to have separate blankets. At first the idea of having separate blankets left me queasy and made me feel that we were doomed to splitsville because we couldn’t get along with just one blanket. I felt that there must be something wrong with us. But then it dawned on me that having two separate blankets does not make us less of a couple. We do many things separately and we’re cool with that. We have different friends and various activities without the other and that doesn’t make us less of a couple. In fact, it makes our relationship healthy. The time spent apart makes us miss each other more, and we look forward to swapping stories about how our day went. Once in awhile we snuggle up in just one blanket and sleep with our toes touching, until one of us wakes up looking for the missing blanket.