#Thankful For YOU

Dearest friends,

THANK YOU for spending a few moments of your busy day to let me know you thought about me today. I TRULY appreciate that GIFT of TIME that you gave me, which, if you think about it, is really more valuable than money. A wise author, community builder and friend, Carissa Villacorta, once wrote: “You can always replenish money, but you can never replenish TIME.” Indeed, I cherish your precious gifts. My heart is full!

This morning I woke up with the chronic numbness and pain due to CHD, but as the day progressed, and with each note of encouragement I received from you all, the day became lighter, better, brighter.

Dad, Ysrael, Bituin, Rajah
My Dad holds my chin as I am squeezed by my younger brothers Ysrael (of blessed memory) and Rajah.

The first text message I received was from my Dad who lives hundreds of miles away. In an instant, I was transported to my childhood when he and my late mom would tell me and my siblings, “Remember: Respect your Lolos and Lolas, because without them, there would be no Mommy or Daddy, and without your Mommy or Daddy, there would be no you.” THANK YOU DAD, I wouldn’t be celebrating today if not for you and Mom. I love you!

Then my husband surprised me at lunch, by going all the way to another city, in the pouring rain, to go to that one place in a radius of about 100 kilometers, just to bring me a treat taken from yet another page in my childhood: KFC. Original Recipe. Growing up we had no universal healthcare, so whenever I fell seriously ill, my parents would bring home some KFC for me, and like some kind of magic, that OR-1 would always drive my sickness away. My man gets me, and I am thankful!

Armeda's Cheesecake
Ate Armeda’s Blueberry Cheesecake = Love.

My sister-in-love topped that with my favorite cake, which as a Gen-Xer I forgot to take a picture of until we were more than halfway through it… 🤣 Thank you Ate Armeda! I am not biased when I say our Ate Armeda makes THE BEST. BLUEBERRY. CHEESECAKE. EVER. I wish I could share it with all of you, because it is that “so-good-you-forget-every-heartache-you-ever-had” kind of good.

I also thank my sister, ang Mutya ng Buhay Ko, for her gift of love, laughter and faith that reminds me to “see the silver lining” in everything. All who know her will agree: if every girl in the world had a sister like my Ate, the world would be a kinder, and more compassionate place. Now that our Mom is with the Lord, she takes it upon herself to reflect the love of God into the darkest places of my heart the way my Mom once did… and I am a better woman and mother because of it.

Gift from Jude
Jude’s gift – five different mathematical equations to get to the year I was born.

And then my son presented me with his gift – five different mathematical equations to get to the year I was born. For privacy and security reasons, I had to cover the answer up, but I know I have a lot of mathematically-gifted friends here (including a distinguished Math Professor who will always be Tonton to us G.E.S. kids) so PLEASE DON’T COMMENT with answer, haha! THANK YOU.

I will shamelessly plug that my son was inspired by the journey of an Oxford graduate and multi-awarded Filipina scientist who is passionate about STEM, that her love for Math and Science overflowed to me and my family. This was one of her ideas that I didn’t know my son was paying attention to (behind my back), while I was designing some of the slides she used to show how parents can help their kids to love Math. (Since nag plug na rin ako, please Like her new page @SoulfulSTEM na and join her #MathMovement!).

As I was writing this, I received several touching encouragements from people I admire and aspire to be like. First is from a Tita whose family became like my second family when she gifted me and my husband a cherished Bible on our wedding day, inscribed with these words of wisdom: “The secret to a lasting marriage is this: Be a little blind, be a little deaf, be a little dumb.” BEST MARITAL ADVICE we have ever received, one that my husband and I have been following for the past 15 years. Thank you, Tita Loida!

Then a super-talented photographer friend surprised me with his greeting and promise of a gift for my son, and made this thankful heart overflow with grateful tears. You know who you are sir, so please know we appreciate your gesture of kindness and generosity. Mabuhay po kayo, and keep on helping us see more beauty in this world through your lens, from NYC to the world!

IMG_4116Lastly, I thank God for my loving husband, who took me out on a dinner date so I could wear my Tangkulo-inspired scarf made by Lumad women, from @Xabukid. I teared up when he prayed for God to bless me with more time, so together we could enjoy our grandchildren. What a man! Every time God answers his prayers, I feel this man’s love and respect for me. I am reminded of 1 Peter 3:7 everyday. While enjoying great Korean food (I was craving for glass noodles), we laughed as we both realized that it was actually our first dinner date without the kids, in 3 years.

Again, dearest friends — THANK YOU for taking the time to greet me today. I am thankful to God for each and every one of you, whether we’ve met in person or became friends in cyberspace. I want you to know: Your presence in this world is a blessing to me, and I pray that our Heavenly Father will repay the kindness you have shown me today, with a thousand kindnesses going your way.

With much love,
Bituin

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