Tag Archive | fun

A Bundle of Joy

Children (1).jpg

To some extent, I do agree.

Last week, I was browsing my Facebook account and saw a very touching video about parents’ sacrifices for their children.

After watching the said video, I wept discreetly.

I suddenly missed my mom. As you all know, I am here in Bangladesh to support my husband in doing what God has called him to do. It is inevitable that I get homesick at times and it hits me out of the blue.

My daughter came to the room where I was, minutes later. She noticed that my eyes were wet with tears.

Joanna (my daughter): “Why are you crying Mom?” 
Me: I just miss your Lola (grandma). She’s so far. 
Joanna: (hugged and kissed me).

My daughter ran to the open window and started shouting.

“Lola, Mom kande for you.” (i.e. Grandma, Mom is crying for you.) She thought that her grandma can hear her.

She came back to me and sat on my lap. She said with all her innocence and sincerity.

“Mom, don’t be sad. I’m here. Don’t be problem.* Don’t be silly.”

I got so moved by my daughter’s effort to comfort me. I know that her grammar is not perfect since her first language is Bangla. What she said, though, made me realize is that she’s, indeed, a bundle of joy.

I guffawed at the end because it’s true that I shouldn’t “be silly” anyway. Someday, in God’s time, I will see my mother again. I just need to trust God as He shows my family the perfect timing to visit her again.

If you, like me, have a daughter who is there for you when you are despondent, rejoice! Remember that God has blessed you with a very loving child!

It’s undeniable that children are reminders of God’s love and comfort. They are indeed, a reward from God (Psalm 127:3).

What are the funny and yet moving conversations you had with your child? How many times has God comforted your soul through him or her?

I hope that you can appreciate God’s reward (i.e. your children) to you daily. You are blessed. 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

P.S: I think she meant, “Don’t think about your problem.” (lol!) Isn’t my daughter funny? 🙂

 

 

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What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 1

“Are you really in Bangladesh now?!?”

“What are you doing there? What is life like over there?”

I know. It’s a little fascinating at times that most of the new people I meet always get shocked, or I should say, excited when I tell them that I am living in Bangladesh! I really would love to give them a detailed answer but normally, we just have a limited time so I can’t really elaborate my answer.

Considering the aforementioned situation, I had a meeting with me, myself and I in the conference room of my brain and I concluded that it would be interesting to write out my answers so I can also give a much better thoughtful response using a good chunk of time.

Now, it’s finally here. The answer to the top FAQs of every person I meet the first time, after mentioning that I live here in Bangladesh, a beautiful green pasture. Green Bangladesh “Wait, did you say ‘Green Pasture?!?'”

Yes, you heard it right. Bangladesh is literally covered with green meadows especially in the rural areas, but this isn’t what the world considers to be a so-called “greener pasture.”

Alright, enough beating around the bush since I don’t want to make you wait too long. 🙂

1. Why do you live in Bangladesh?

This is the top question I am asked in any first time conversation. Well, I came here first of all because my husband is a local of this country and I am here to support him in his desire to do his share in penetrating this nation with the seed of the gospel. That was the theme of our sacred union anyway–to join as lights together for Christ. 

2. What’s the general flavor of Bangladeshi food?

Bangladeshi food is generally hot and spicy. The main spices present in every dish here are onions, garlic, plain cumin powder, plain turmeric powder, plain chili powder. bay leaves and garam masala, a fragrant blend of ground spices used in Indian cuisine, often containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric.

I have learned to cook local Bangladeshi dishes and they are pretty simple and easy.

Watch out for some recipes I would share with you in the future.

Now, I have to debunk the myth that Bangladeshis, just like Indians, eat just chicken curry everyday. I would say that it might be true for other families but not for ours and the other Bangladeshi families I know.

We have what we call “Daal” or Lentil soup, “Shak” or sautéed greens, “Alu Vorta” or mashed potatoes, “Daal Vorta” or mashed lentils and many more for lunch and dinner.

Bangladeshi Food

upper left: Fish Curry; upper right: alu vorta (mashed potato with fried onions and mustard oil) lower left: crab curry; lower right: sautéed water spinach (kangkong)

Daal Vorta

Daal Vorta–mashed lentils in mustard oil and chopped onions

normal Bangladeshi combo meal

Here’s a typical Bangladeshi set of meal: chicken curry and shak (any vegetable tops). Chicken curry can be replaced with fish, shrimp, crab or assorted veggie curry.

Fried eggs and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don't have so much spices.

Fried eggs, boiled tomatoes and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don’t have so much spices.

In our family, we usually prepare Biryani (see photo below) and fried aubergine when we have guests at lunch or dinner. If we serve Pulao rice, we pair it with chicken or beef curry.

biryani

Yummy Biryani-a mixture of steamed aromatic rice, meat, spices , potatoes and other optional vegetables.

I hope I didn’t make you drool by showing these mouthwatering dishes. Please come and visit us sometimes and I’ll be more than willing to cook these dishes for you.

3. Describe Bangladeshi people.
Bangladeshis are beautiful people in and out if you get to know them deeply.

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These are friendly college girls I met years ago in the village and I praise God for the privilege to share the gospel with them. They were quite receptive to the gospel. They did not outwardly profess faith in Jesus Christ right there and then, but I was thrilled to hear them ask questions about God.

Generally, their generosity is displayed when someone visits their house. They wouldn’t come to your house empty-handed. If you invite them for lunch or dinner, they will give your household some sweets in return.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavor but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavors but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

They are also very hospitable. Take a look at the caption of the photo. While coffee is popular in the US or in the Philippines, tea is the common drink served to their guests.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they offer and serve whatever they can despite their poverty. Sometimes, that's all they have.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they serve whatever they can despite their poverty.

People here are creative. Their love for arts is depicted in their folk dances, music and clothing. (I’ll talk about clothing later.)

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Part of any program intermission is either a folk song or any traditional dance number.

4. What’s the primary religion of people over there?

Approximately ninety percent of the people here are Muslims, most of them though are just nominal ones. In the village where I stayed, people are mostly Hindus. It is said that around 8-9% of her population is Hindu. Only a little percentage of people are Christians, Buddhists and of other religion. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I learned later that you can tell a person’s religion in this country by his or her name. No wonder my husband’s name has a Christian influence.

It’s our earnest prayer that we could reach a few of these unsaved souls with the gospel.

Alright, I guess these would be all for now since I know that you might need to run an errand after reading this but please consider praying for us as we continue to stay here and shine as lights together for Christ.

Watch out for the next part of this post.

With love,
Nance

5 Time-Tested Tips on Wedding Planning

While preparing for my own wedding, I had two dreadful dreams.

First, our wedding day finally came. All our guests were so excited to witness our most awaited day but to our surprise, there were no flowers in our wedding venue. In my next dream, my groom and I had finally exchanged our vows but when it was time for us to exchange tokens of love (i.e. wedding bands), our officiant informed us that the rings somehow are missing!

What horrible dreams they were!

Thank God the opposite happened on our wedding day. Of course, there were elegant multi-hued flowers and setting that day. Needless to say, we had our wedding rings secured in the right place!

Now, how many more days or months do you have before you tie the knot with the man you want to grow old with?

Yes, it’s fast approaching and it is but natural to feel some tension as you look at your calendar and budget. I would like to share with you some consoling and unwonted wedding planning tips I personally learned in my own journey of wedding planning.

I also earnestly hope you’ll read until the end because there’s a special surprise for you over there. But for now, let’s start with these ones:

1. Pray for God to bless and anoint every detail of your wedding. 

The best stress buster is prayer.

There are things that you may overlook but as you entrust everything to God, He will help you remember things that need to be done.

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

2. Focus on what’s important.

Why are you getting married?

Yes, it’s because you want to mark this as a memorial when you commit your relationship to God before the presence of the people you love.

I hope you also have God’s glory in mind, first and foremost.

Pray that God would draw people’s attention to Him as you and your groom honor each other with your vows.

3. Trust that God will provide all your needs.

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33

Deciding to marry your best friend is a leap of faith. You may not have all the exact money you need but as you pray for God’s provision, He will use people. 

My husband and I were in awe of God’s tremendous blessings upon our wedding preparation. Since our friends were excited to see us finally walk down the aisle and be pronounced as husband and wife, they offered help which we did not expect. I am persuaded that God was the One who burdened them to help us in their special ways.

Please remember to give them thank you notes later. 

4. Do things part by part.  Now that you have committed all your plans to God, it’s time to implement them. Try to sit down, take a deep breath and make a check list. Make sure you have the list of the following:

  • Legal Documents–Secure your documents (e.g. Birth Certificate, Certificate of No Marriage [CENOMAR] in the Phils.) and check them off as soon as you finish. 😉 This might help you if you are a Filipino and this one if you’re in the USA. Since my husband and I are from two different countries, he had to ask his parents to send him a notarized CENOMAR from Bangladesh. We had to ask them to send it by mail.

The point is wherever you are from, take some time to visit websites that will help you get your documents ready so you can apply for your marriage certificates.

  • Entourage–Involve your close friends and family members. One of the tips I learned from my married sisters in Christ is to ask your friends and family members to be a part of your entourage by approaching them personally and handing them a note so it can serve as their reminder if you think that they are pretty busy.

You may also ask them to be in-charge of their dress’ cost and let them know that you would count it as their early wedding gift. 😉

  • Guests–This is one of the most challenging decisions to make–choosing whom you should invite. Everyone wants to see your wedding and you also want everyone to witness your special day of exchanging vows with your husband to be. In our case, we asked at least two members of our friends’ and relatives’ families to come.

Take advantage of this ceremony to preach the gospel to your loved ones who are not sure of heaven. Ask your pastor to include the gospel in the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would tell you later that your wedding day became the day of his/her salvation?

  • Delegation–You might be good at multitasking but you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Welcome help and ask your friends and family members to aid you if they are willing and available. In our case, we had our delegates fully in charge of music, flowers, food and event planning.

Our wedding coordinator was kind enough to take care of looking for a good reception venue and we got it a reasonable price of Php 5,000 (around $113)! Learn to communicate with the people whom you have delegated to undertake certain responsibilities and it will contribute a lot to what you have been waiting for! 😉

  • Wedding Program–Borrow a few people’s wedding program copies and try to revise the order of the ceremony according to your preference. You may ask your pastor or someone trustworthy to do this for you as well.
  • Suppliers–I assure you that God would lead you to the suppliers you need. Ask your flower suppliers if he collaborates with a credible catering service. More often than not, they will give unsolicited (in a positive sense) suggestions on how you can avail of different wedding services at reasonable prices!

Don’t forget to take a break and give attention to all the other people around you. 😉 Spend time with them and talk about stuff other than weddings.

5. Expect the unexpected.

Yes, you read it right. On your wedding day proper, there are a few details that won’t work as planned but take it as part of your wedding story. Let it go and relax. Enjoy your day and make your guests feel welcomed to your wedding party.

I know, there may be things I forgot to list down but I do hope that the aforementioned reminders would calm your soul. 🙂

Now, here’s the surprise I told you about. I asked a few of my married friends and fellow bloggers to share their stupendous wedding pieces of advice with you and here they are:

“List every detail, even to the simplest one. After everything is planned, everything is listed, BE FLEXIBLE, RELAX 🙂 Expect disaster or any tiny error. Things will not really go as planned sometimes. A realistic expectation is better than a super perfect wedding but with a bride who can easily go insane with just one tiny detail or delay in the schedule.” -Mrs. Daisy Mae Aguinaldo Eugenio

“It’s been three months since our wedding day and we don’t regret that a big part of our wedding budget went to the photo and video expenses. As many people would say these are the only things that will really stay with you when the wedding is over. Once in a while my husband and I browse our beautiful pictures or watch our heart tugging wedding video and it never fails to bring us back to that very special day. It still gives us chills in a good way. These memories can also be passed down through generations. So I advice to hire good and professional photographer and videographer that’s within your budget.” -Mrs. KC Suk De Guzman

“Leave it to your wedding planner. Focus on your husband to be. The color of your flowers don’t matter so much as your love for each other.” – Mrs. Abra Marie Carnahan of Cafe Mom

“Don’t get lost in the little details so much that it takes your mind off the big picture. In the end the marriage is what matters most, not the wedding details.” -Mrs. Kay Cee Groves of Moral Morsels.

“You will need a small purse the day of the wedding. Be sure to fill it with make-up for touch-ups, gum, a small mirror, safety pins, bobby pins and a small perfume. I thought I had everything planned, but had forgotten this majorly important item! I figured my mom would have everything I needed, but I failed to realize she wouldn’t be with me at all times.” -Mrs. Jessa Nowak of In Wealth and Health.

“Number the RSVP cards and save the names and numbers in a spreadsheet. People constantly forget to RSVP with their name and we got blank cards back.” – Mrs. Abra Marie Carnahan of Mere Breath

“Be prepared for the worst but expect for the best. You are to begin a life together. You will have bitter-sweet experiences. Yes, you will see flaws and faults along the way but you must also believe and trust God’s work in both you and your partner. Both of you are work in progress so be willing to let God work. God will be the One to mold your husband, not you. So there’s assurance that He will be better. And remember to allow God to work in you first before you expect your partner to be better. Most of the time God wants to change us first before we expect the change in our partners. He wants us to be fully dependent on Him as we allow Him to deal with every area in the relationship.” -Mrs. Cath Quizon

“Just be yourself. While it’s great to look at wedding blogs to get inspired, sometimes you end up copying, or trying to make your wedding like someone else’s. Take a step back. Remember that, aside from the fact that the primary goal of a wedding should be to picture Christ and His bride, this day is about you and the man you love. Celebrate what makes you unique… don’t try to impress others or think that you have to make your wedding fit into a certain mold.” -Mrs. Julia Potts Valle

“One of my friend’s advice? “Open your legs.” I hope I’m not shocking you, but it was so funny. Especially with her strong Dominican accent. You don’t have to use that – just thought I would add a touch of humour here.” -Mrs. Jennie Lawlis Goutet of A Lady in France

Think carefully about what you want your wedding to say about you and your future husband. Even though this is “your” day, you want everything that is done to glorify your Lord. In addition, your wedding should reflect who you are – music that you have chosen, colors and styles that you prefer, vows that mean something to you, traditions (even new ones) that reflect your personality. Your wedding says something about you – it can be a testimony of God’s grace in your life, and a meaningful event that speaks of who you and your groom are as individuals about to become one. Mrs. Ruth Bachorik

“Ask around at your church to see if anyone does cakes, photos, or other services. We were blessed with our church family’s talents. Look online for deals (80% of our wedding supplies came from online for much less than we would have spent on it finding it in stores).Take time to savor every moment of the special day, it flies by fast. Don’t forget, your wonderful groom to be will not ever be enough to fill your God-shaped hole. That’s my top advice, you can use any or none of it….Don’t lock your knees…people pass out in ceremonies all the time when they lock their knees while standing….” -Mrs. Robbi Bittle of About a Chick.

Eat a full meal before you put on the dress! Even if you have a dinner afterwards you will either A) be too nervous that you will make a mess on your uber expensive dress or B) like Samantha Ford-Godette said, be too busy to eat at all! My wedding day I got a handful of almonds, one bite of cake, and a bag of jalapeno chips.” -Mrs. Amy Dickerson of Accidental Happy Baker

Please get these words of wisdom “with all thy getting.”

Before I forget, congratulations on your wedding! May God bless you and your husband-to-be!

Please keep in mind these consoling and unwonted tips on wedding planning. I hope they indeed helped you! ❤

Written with lots of love,
Nance 😉

It’s Never Wrong to Learn Wisdom on April Fool’s Day

It’s April Fool’s Day! I believe that many pranksters are bursting into laughter after seeing their friends’ reaction about their Facebook posts or any form of mischief.

Well it’s never wrong to make pranks once in a while. Laughing is good for the heart anyway. 😉

While many are getting fooled, I thought that it’s never wrong to learn wisdom on April Fool’s Day.

Who doesn’t like to be wise? Everyone does!

Now, where can we learn wisdom? Many people learn it from experience while many learn it from reading books.

I am sure that one of the exigent situations one can have is being faced with a tough decision to make. But what do we need to do to make a prudent decision? I am persuaded that you know the answer–yes, it’s the Bible.

Here are the common factors where we tend to base our decisions on–people’s opinion, circumstances, feelings.

What’s the problem with the said factors though? You are absolutely right! They all change!

I didn’t intend to discourage you if you, just like me, tend to make some of your decisions on the things I mentioned. I am writing this to give you hope that we can make decisions by doing the following:

1. Ask God to give wisdom.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Here’s the good news! God gives wisdom to those who request him to do so and He does in a generous way. Not only that. He also munificently provides wisdom without reproach (i.e without mocking and disapproval).

2. Seek godly counsels.

“Without counsel, purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22

Many of the prudent people I know did not make wise choices because they are naturally prudent. Most of them have sought the wise counsels of the godly authorities they have.

Now, who are the qualified people who can give us godly counsels? Those who have set a good example of wise choices in the past. They can be our pastors, our parents or our godly friends who earnestly seek God’s will in His word everyday.

3. Follow God’s leading.

As God shows you His will through His Word, godly counsels and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, do your part and leave everything in God’s hands. His will may not be as pleasant as our own choice but we have to trust God’s best.

If He asks you to wait, wait. If He asks you to do it, do it now. If He shows you that it’s not His best for you, surrender.

Here’s a familiar verse you can print out and post on your fridge to remind you to trust His leading in your life.

Trust His choice for you!

Trust His choice for you!

That’s it for now. I did not mean to make your day so serious today but as I said, it’s never wrong to learn wisdom on April Fool’s Day.

I Got a Liebster Award!

I’m so thrilled because of an exciting news!

Yes, you read it right. Leaning on Jesus got a Liebster (a German word in origin which means beloved, sweetheart, lover, darling) Award! So you are asking in your mind, “What’s a Liebster Award?” It’s an award given to new bloggers by other new ones.


My humble blog has been nominated by Cynthia Lee, the author of “What the heck’s a bonbon?” Thank you so much for nominating me. I also would like to take this privilege to thank my family, friends and relatives who continue to read whatever I write on my blog. Thank God for the inspiration most of all. Since I love to read, I have also loved to write.

Now, one of the tasks I have to fulfill as I receive this award is answer series of questions asked by my fellow blogger/nominator Sis Cynthia:

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?
It was difficult for me to decide. Originally, I used my plain name and then I changed it into the current one because I don’t think my name sounds attractive for a blog. Since Jesus, to me, is my everything, I want His name to be on my blog’s title. I owe Him everything anyway.

2. Elephant or giraffe?
Giraffe. I find giraffe’s print on its body fascinating.  Did you know that a giraffe can sleep standing up and its tongue is long enough to clean its ear? Well, I just learned about it a while ago while browsing for a giraffe’s photos. 😀 

3. What is your favorite food?
It varies depending on my location. When I am in the Philippines, I love Tinolang Manok. When I am in Bangladesh, I prefer to eat Pulao rice with fried eggplant.

4. Who do you look up to the most?
I look up to my mother the most. She is not perfect but I know in my heart that despite all her struggles in the past and at present, she tries to remain strong for us, her children and grandchildren. I can testify that she is the strongest and the most beautiful woman I know on earth.  

5. Would you rather cook or clean?
Both. I love eating even though I struggle to gain weight. Since I love eating, I also love cooking.

Why do I love cleaning? Well, the post-cleaning part gives me such an ineffable peace! ahhhh…. 🙂

6. Soup or salad?
Soup. I love it even in summer. 

7. What’s your favorite type of sandwich?
I love Big Mac with lots of cheese, although I rarely can afford to have one. There’s no McDonald’s here in Bangladesh. 😦 

8. If you had the chance to change your first name, what would it be?
I would love to be named Daphne. I just deem that having an /f/ sound on my name would be interesting.

Thank God, He blessed me with a husband whose name has an /f/ sound at the end of his first name–yes, his name is Joseph. [JOH-zef]

9. Tea of coffee?
We used to have a coffee farm but I never loved coffee. I go for a cup of tea and my favorite is Tulsi tea from Bangladesh.

10. What’s YOUR favorite blog post you’e ever written? Give us the link.
My very first blog: Good Works Cannot Save You, Jesus Can!

11. If time travel were possible, would you do it?
Yes, I would love to see my parents’ childhood days. I would love to play with them.

Now, here’s my nominees’ list:
1. Sis. Gema at Beloved Gems
2. Sis. Rae-Ann at Hello My Name is Redeemed
3. Sis Krizzia at Pilgrim’s Journey
4. Sis. Sofia at Little Miss Pilgrim
5. Sis. Eu at Teacher Yuyu
6. Sis. Laura at Live With a Mission
7. Sis. Andrea at Stumbling Everyday
8. Sis. Keishawna at The Jolly Moments
9. Sis Jessica at Polished Arrow
10. Sis. Suzanne at I Speak His Name
11.Sis. Heather at The Urbane Flower

Now, here are the Liebster Award Rules:

1. Acknowledge and link back your nominator–that’s me. 😉
2. Answer 11 questions given by the nominator.
3. Nominate other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
4. Here’s the challenging part: Think of 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
5. Let your nominees know that you have nominated them.

Here are my questions for you:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. When did you understand love?
3. What  is your favorite book? Give an excerpt in one sentence. 🙂
4. When did you first start reading a blog?
5. What is your best blog? Share with us the link.
6. What’s your favorite dish to cook for your guests?
7. What’s the best gift you have ever received?
8. Potatoes or rice?
9. How many books can you read in a day if you have a day off?
10. What is something adventurous you would like to try on your birthday?
11. Ice cream or cake?

I had so much fun doing this! I hope you’ll have a blast. Make your readers get to know you more.

In Christ with love,
Nance

Our Engagement Story: “Do You Know That Guy?”

Love Month is coming over and many couples are getting engaged. It is inevitable that some young girls turn to me and ask, “How about you Ate Nance? Tell us how Kuya Joseph proposed marriage to you.”

Soooo….here’s our engagement story:

Just like any other couple, it is but common for us to talk about excitement to grow old together. Of course, prior to that long commitment is marriage proposal. All the while, I knew that my husband would give me our engagement ring but the question was how and when. 🙂 My mother and Joseph’s parents, our ever-loyal love team fans, had given him their blessings and so did my pastor.

rana & nance

Upper Left, Right & Lower Right: A usual visit of Joseph to our house means my mom would cook special dishes which she would not cook for me. That’s how special he is to my mom–I’m jealous. 🙂 Lower Right: A shot from our Bridal Shower.

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“Did you know that guy?”

Last New Year of January 2010, it was expected of my first and last boyfriend who is now my husband (Joseph) to come over and celebrate New Year with us. His family is in Bangladesh so we got used to having him over during special occasions.

He then came over to see my mom and me. A few minutes after our chitchat, he called my mom and discreetly talked with her. Clueless, I just stayed quiet in one corner.

A few minutes later, my mom was blushing so much in excitement that she told me that Joseph is finally giving me my engagement ring in a restaurant. She’s also invited! She said though that she wants us to go by ourselves. I took a deep breath and acted as if I don’t know what would happen next. 😉

Joseph then invited me to go to Dencio’s restaurant. The stunning view of the Taal Volcano and the cool breeze of Tagaytay made our day very special.

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Taal Volcano View

During our meal, he asked me whatever I would like to eat so, thinking of our limited budget, I ordered stir-fried shirmps and adobong kangkong. Please don’t laugh. Those were delectable for me! 🙂

Next, he asked me to order whatever drinks I would like to have so right away, I thought of having Buko (Coconut) Juice in its shell. Of course, while eating, we talked about many things. In the middle of our conversation, he asked me to look behind and asked me, “Do you know that guy?” I said, “No.” So he added, “I thought he is from your church, isn’t he?” I laughed and said, “Of course, not. There’s no one who looks like him from our church.”

After that short “out-of-the-blue” interruption, we kept on eating. The food was so enjoyable and to end our meal, I sipped my favorite Buko Juice up until it was finished.

To my surprise, there was something in the Buko shell!

Eventually, I learned that my husband mischievously dropped the lovely gold engagement ring into the Buko shell. After finishing my coconut juice, he initiated to take the ring out of the shell and put it into my ring finger.

I think he was so nervous that he forgot to ask “Will you marry me?” He said from his heart “I love you so much Sona.” Later, he told me that the ring was made from his childhood necklace. His parents had it made into my engagement ring.

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A personally customized engagement ring from my husband’s childhood chain.

I was so touched with what he and his parents did just to be able to give me an engagement ring.

On March 6, 2010, we had our pre-nuptial arrangement in my church with my pastor, my mother, two of our Bible College professors and their family.

Prior to that pre-nup arrangement, my fiance and I, along with our American college professors, climbed up the mountain beside Taal Volcano. The funny thing is, a week later, people were prohibited to hike that mountain for a while since it was showing signs of possible eruption.

hiking before our pre-nup arrangement

Sweaty and yet more than happy after an hour long hiking to the top. Taal Volcano is the smallest volcano in the world. Glad to have made that memory with my fiance. ❤

Anyway, it was decided that our wedding day would be on April 9, 2011, a year, three months and three days later. I praise God for giving me a wonderful engagement! The lonely part is that we lost all the pictures in the restaurant due to the virus on his old laptop. 😦

All we have is the memorable moment of being engaged in our hearts. ❤

How to Enjoy Your Earthly Gifts

“How much money will make you happy?”

This is one of the conversation questions I sometimes ask my online Japanese students who want to have a free conversation lesson. Most of my students’ reply to this silly question of mine is, “Just a few yen.” (Shocking answer, isn’t it?) Well, the reality is this isn’t their common answer! Many of them answer to this effect,  “A million dollars!” 🙂

Now, let me ask you. “How much money will make you happy?” You can keep your answer to yourself for now. 🙂 Actually, it’s just natural for any nationality to want money to sustain their needs. It’s not evil at all! Possessions and wealth are not evil in themselves but the Bible says that the love of it makes it evil! (1 Tim. 6).

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20,

“18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment[h] in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.”

Now, the question is “Is it bad to enjoy your possessions and wealth?” The answer is obvious from these verses. It is God’s gift to be able to enjoy His material and financial blessing.

Now, why is it that some extremely rich people still can’t enjoy what they have? Some want more. Some envy what others have. They exert their full effort to have what others have until they forget what they have in their hands, in their pockets, in their lives.

Ironically, why are there people living hand-to-mouth who are enjoying a contented life?

What do you think?

Interestingly enough, attitude towards our possessions makes a HUGE difference.

Anyone who doesn’t recognize the Giver of his or her gifts don’t enjoy what he has. He ends up being discontented, depressed and worse, unhappy!

However, only those who recognize God to be the sole source of all his wealth and possessions are the ones who are capable of enjoying His blessings. The more appreciative a person becomes, the happier he can be!

Our enjoyment actually should not be based on how much we have. In contrast, it should be based on the attitude of our heart towards the Generous and Gracious Giver of our blessings.

Abundance in material, physical and financial blessings is futile without the ability to enjoy it. So after seeing Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, what do you think is the key to enjoy your earthly gift?

Yes, you got it! Recognize the Heavenly Giver of your gifts and stay grateful to Him for what you earn after all your toils!

It is God's gift to be able to enjoy His material, physical, and financial blessings.

It is God’s gift to be able to enjoy His material, physical, and financial blessings.