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Tonight, we gathered together to write your obituary. The words wouldn't come...at first. Death reveals everything, especially a family's imperfections. The theme of your passing is the struggle to be true...to you. Sadly, there are 2 different worlds colliding in your passing, Kuya but we are doing our best to listen, to be patient, to understand and accept. The words come easily now. We had a lot of great moments with you and we are thankful.


I came across a beautiful picture...

and I had a Mary Poppins moment. If you are a fan, can you remember when Dick Van Dyke's character tries to "magic" them into one of his sidewalk chalk pictures for a "holiday"? Gosh, how I wish I had a Mary Poppins to shrink me into this picture:

Looks so peaceful.

My mind is such a jumble lately. Regular memory lapses and just this constant feeling of "heaviness" in my brain. My speech therapist co-worker concluded that it's just my lack of sleep catching up to me. Diagnosis: "Sleep deprivation causing my mind to go wacky-itis". Treatment: Get some rest, mama!

Honestly though, I feel like I do get some good rest and sleep. Maybe I'm just not getting that quality stage 3 and 4 deep sleep where everything gets repaired and the clutter of the mind gets swept up, categorized and neatly tucked away to where they are supposed to be. Another co-worker of mine brought up another interesting question though: "What's so different this time? You've been sleep deprived for the past 8 years." Because I'm old...er now is my thought. I'm not as resilient or maybe it's more fair to say that I haven't been as diligent about taking care of myself. So much has changed between 28 and 35.

So here I am. Blogging when I should be...sleeping. See what I mean? But then again, writing has always been therapeutic for me so in a way this is important and necessary also. My husband just asked if I'd like to catch up on our DVR'ed episodes of Walking Dead. Quality time with my poor, long suffering and ever patient neglected husband is also vital. In conclusion, sleep will wait.

As good of a night as could be...

to start writing again. The entry always begins the same: "Gosh, can't believe it's been so long since my last post..." It's still early enough in the year to make a resolution about writing more consistently, right?

I'm not writing because I have anything in particular to say. I just love the clicking of the keys and it seems like the perfect compliment to drinking too strong coffee too late at night (a guilty pleasure for a mother of 6 who should still be "sleeping when the baby is sleeping") and just blasting music. It's amazing how incredibly focused, creative, and curious one can become with headphones barricading you from the rest of the world. It is a very sweet and rare feeling of freedom.

My morning today started with a conversation with a dear friend. We spoke encouragement into each other's lives. It's so important to have it especially when you are a parent. Outside of caring for a sickly parent, I don't know of anything more humbling, frustrating or important. Our conversation was about understanding why certain people are placed into your life. Why we are tied to others through situations and circumstances. How you think one relationship is going to be ideal but end up with something completely different.

It made me realize that we don't choose our parents or our children. They are entrusted to us and we become accessories to whatever their journey is going to be. We guide our children at the very beginning of theirs and carry our parents through the end of theirs. Along the way there is a lot of lessons about how to hold on and when you need to let go. I'm making a lot of mistakes, but I wouldn't ask for a different life. I pray everyday that I will do right by all of them.

matters of faith

It has been awhile. This is the thought that crosses my mind every Sunday, especially lately because it has really been awhile since we've been part of our worship community. Growing up in a very faithful and consistent Catholic home, you don't ever shake the guilt of missing that one time a week only commitment that in the bigger picture of things, should be such an inconsequential amount of time to eek out even in the most hectic lifestyle. l'm not here to list any excuses.

I guess I'm just placing it here, to think about it and to change it. Change it not out of guilt because it's something I feel like "I'm supposed" to be doing, but because there is a very deep significance and need to change it so that this journey that I'm on to know the Lord and to be known in return can continue to deepen and thrive. That is the difference at this point in my faith life. I don't answer to anyone or anything outside of what I already know to be true. 


Jul. 6th, 2013

“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you've got, say "Oh, my gosh," and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It's not a question of choice.”
Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In

Alijah (aka #1) celebrated her 8th birthday yesterday and I can't shake the wonder of how EVERYTHING about our life now, started with her and through her.

Life went into super fast forward from the moment we got the positive on that pregnancy test and although I know there was much more anxiety building drama surrounding that time, 8 years later, it almost feels like it happened to a completely different person.

In a way, that is the truth of it. We have come a long way and have grown a lot.

Parenthood changes life in all the ways people always say it will but it goes even deeper than just sleepless nights and zombie days, diapers and potty training,   babysitters and play dates. It is a constant dance between leading and surrendering, awe and fear, arrogance and humility. It's funny that along the way you'll struggle with worry, thinking you could have done this or that "better" but in the end, I think it is (for most people) the one thing in your life you will never regret. For all the fear and anxiety Ed and I had about being pregnant under not so "acceptable or ideal" circumstances, what a beautiful and awesome blessing Alijah and every one of our children have been to us and I hope to all those who know them.

We didn't know anything about raising a family and definitely didn't have the means outside of a very loving, accepting, generous and encouraging network of family and friends and a loving and faithful God who made ways to lighten the burdens and fears of our hearts. So we walked through that open door into parenthood, flawed and completely ill-equipped as we were and here we are now, 8 years later, richer in love multiplied by 5 and excited for the future. At any moment in time, we could have said: "Okay, 2-3-4 is enough. We're done." But then we may never have met Nina, there never would have been a Vivi-licious, feisty Er-bear, or the continuation of the Abellana blood line, Des.

This is who we are. This is what came with our "yes" on the parenthood table and what a glorious time it has been so far.

Happy birthday to our little ladies: #1 Alijah and her "twin 11 months late" #2 Nina. Thank you for coming into our lives and for giving us the courage to keep this door open.

And thank you Lord for another year of beautiful life under your care and guidance. All the glory goes to You.

35 candles

“Wishes of one's old life wither and shrivel like old leaves if they are not replaced with new wishes when the world changes. And the world always changes...The trouble is, not everyone can tell when they ought to launder their wishes. Even when one finds oneself in Fairyland and not at home at all, it is not always so easy to remember to catch the world in it's changing and change with it.”
(Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making)

I have had many different dreams throughout my life. Some really minor things like things I'd like to own and places I'd like to see to some really major things like how we will provide for our family and arrangements I'd like to have in place for our parents as they age. There have been a lot of set backs, derailments, and definitely changes and reconfigurations. There are dreams that seem like they will always remain in that unreachable place that we describe as "someday" and there have even been times that I didn't want to dream at all because to dream and not achieve just became too difficult to bear.

But it is important to dream. I think God placed all these little ones in my life precisely so that I wouldn't get rusty in the art of dreaming. Children are just so admirably resilient, even in moments of seeming defeat, they always find a way to just get back up again and find another way.  They always find another way to tell you and show you that you are loved and that you are worth it and that there is more to be excited about.

This year I got to make a new wish off of 35 candles (well 10 in reality otherwise it would have been a fire hazard).

I look forward to all that this year will bring.

good things take time

Time is such a funny thing. It's never exactly how you want it to be and then all of the sudden, completely beyond all of your expectations, exactly what it needs to be for all of the good and amazing things in your life. At least, that is how it has been for us.

This weekend, I unexpectedly got two days off in a row. I know it sounds like such an ordinary thing but if you have ever had a time in your life where you have taken work, almost any work, whenever and however it comes to you, you can appreciate how few and far between this phenom can be. If a day off is like taking a deep breath in, the second day is letting that breath out. Pushing all the stale air out to make room for all the important good air to fuel your next rampage through the new work week.

Today, I got to enjoy our morning routine versus rushing through it on my way to another destination.  Most mornings I open my eyes and I'm already feeling hours behind schedule. Today I got to give a few parts of the house a little bit of tlc. Most mornings, I'm mentally listing down "problem areas" with the very best intentions to attack them when I get home from work. Never happens, of course.

Even more so though, today, I got to sit criss- cross applesauce in the late afternoon sun rays right in front of our back patio door to silently and thankfully take in the view of the first really "grown up" home project Ed and I have ever undertaken. It is the first big thing we have ever dreamed, planned out, worked and saved up for and now get to see and enjoy for years to come. It is our first big gift to our family and to our home and it feels absolutely amazing!

I knew unconsciously that it has taken a lot of time to get here. Today was the first time I really sat down and looked through our clumsy digital photo journal and realized it has almost been a year that it all started. In that year, there was 7 months of absolutely nothing...no funds, no labor, no progress and it really seemed like we were just going to have a patch of concrete in a sea of rocks and dirt for a good long while until our HOA decided to fine us or something. How life, as usual, just happens and continues to present you with financial and physical decisions that always have a way of taking you off course, off budget, off the "timeline".

Yet, it always comes through. Just at the most beautifully unexpected time, it all came through. God and time, I tell you. It is something I will always be frustrated by and at the same time, completely awed and humbled by.

Those who do not know their opponent’s arguments do not completely understand thier own.

Opposing viewpoints provide us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. They can open our eyes to ways of thinking completely foreign to our own and are necessary in order to grow. I get more satisfaction from a conversation when a person doesn’t completely agree with me than one when they do. If I never wanted to hear a dissenting opinion, I would record, play, and repeat myself saying, “uh huh, yeah, true.” However, hearing these different views provides me insights to their value systems and logic, and provides a much richer conversation. Don’t be afraid of opposing viewpoints—encourage and welcome them as opportunities to expand and grow.

source: http://michaelbmaine.com/home/2010/11/11/quote-opposing-viewpoints.html

A well meaning and passionate (about their own perspective and beliefs) friend once warned me: "If you want to win more arguments, you're going to have to start abandoning your outdated views and realize that we have made progress as a people and as a nation and that there is no longer any tolerance for that kind of thinking."

Tolerance. It is a very interesting idea.

Well, outdated and all, I remain respectfully in opposition. What kind of world would it be if we did, even for the sake of peace/love/equality, just thought and believed the same exact thing all the time? Is it even possible?

There is something very comforting about "preaching to the choir" where your most dearly held beliefs are echoed, mirrored, and reaffirmed by the masses. It does feel nice and warm and fuzzy to be in that safe pocket of simpatico but is that real? And more importantly is it sustainable? Isn't there some cosmic law that says that we naturally trend towards disorder, imbalance and chaos? Out of those ashes, haven't we risen to such amazing heights and discoveries? I guess there is a wisdom to balance and moderation. A little bit of the good and the bad, the war and the peace keeps us on track.

I guess I can take the heat of dissent, even if it gets me emotionally and mentally hijacked sometimes, because I don't want to lose out on the "richer conversation." I want my ideas and notions to be tested so that I can stay attuned to the things that I need to be passionate about and have the chance to learn and experience the things that those around me are passionate about. We may never win each other over but when it is done right and with respect, I can't imagine how we wouldn't leave each other as better people.


Luke 18:9-14

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

For Easter weekend this year, Ed and I did a marathon viewing of The Bible Series that was shown on the History Channel almost around the clock. It was an amazing experience and so incredibly well done! Although Ed and I have left the Catholic faith, we have always agreed that we were thankful for the foundation that was set for us through the catechism.

Even with our foundation of faith it was so refreshing to become acquainted with these characters and these stories. There were things I had forgotten and there were things I was so grateful to be reminded of again. The Bible is truly an amazing, inspiring, comforting and convicting book of instruction. I feel that my love and appreciation for it is also even deeper because of where I find my faith to be at this very moment. Ed and I, with a lot of failure and distraction, still seek out and yearn for the person of Jesus coming into fruition through us. Watching a likeness of him on the screen reminded us again who we are now free to become because of his life, his sacrifice, his death, and his victory over death.  If I had the choice to conform my life and my soul to any other being, I think I could strive for much worse than the person of Jesus.

The bible passage I quoted at the start of this entry is one of my favorite parables played out in The Bible Series. Humility. It feels like so many of us are starving for examples of it. It usually goes hand in hand with someone who embodies qualities of servant leadership. Someone who labors sincerely for those he has been entrusted to care for or mentor versus someone who flaunts his position and labors only to secure that position and doing just enough to make others "feel good" about him being in that position. It is amazing how easy it is to forget what a true leader looks like when you go so long listening to the rhetoric of fools and pretenders.

I am hopeful this Easter season. I am hopeful that the sleeping giants are awakening.

there should always be time for music

There's this strange struggle that ensues when I wake up on a day off. It's like my "mommy radar" is on overdrive. I can't stop focusing on "tasks" and by the time I make it to the kitchen, I'm already overwhelmed by the long list of "to do's" that has already filled my day and put me in a bad mood.

This morning, I'm trying something different. The girls and I took our morning stroll to the bus stop to see Ali and Nina off and then we took a very very leisurely stroll back home. It's amazing how much I have to force my jumbled brain to just stop and take in the moment by moment beauty around me. It does not come naturally. So at first, it was a really conscious effort to take a closer look at the new buds on the trees, the little yellow buttercup-like flowers on the bushes, and (thanks to Vivi) the little ants busily marching in and out of the sidewalk cracks. After some practice and a few deep breathes, it becomes easier.

When we got home, the girls immediately went to the backyard which has become such a part of our daily routine now. It is amazing how much having a backyard space has changed (and enriched) our lives. I will confess, I did do some picking up and I do still have a "to do list" on my mind but I'm just trying to not let it consume this one precious day of supposed rest.

Nothing helps change your pace and mood better than doing things to music as a coworker of mine lovingly reminded me yesterday as she played music while finishing up her charting. It was a great prescription that I felt was fitting for today as well. So on goes our PS3 and through the wonder of Pandora internet radio, the youngsters and I are enjoying John Legend-ish, John Mayer-ish, and Sade-ish tunes for the morning.

I wish I could make time for music every day.