Unexpected “Visitor”

Treat a visitor as though Jesus came to visit you.” Those were the words that came in my mind when I started getting worried about a number of missionaries and mission volunteers from Middle East coming to our area in Pretoria, South Africa in a few days. I must admit I didn’t have the right posture of heart since my body and mind and spirit was really exhausted after a series of weeks serving both in the Archdiocese Family Life Desk, our mission in CFC plus recently, I was just appointed by the Archbishop to help around as his secretary because his former secretary already retired from work. It was one of the most challenging yet exciting new work for me and my husband while on mission. And since all these are still new to me, I thought it was too much to handle mission and work and being a wife all at the same time… Now, I understand why God hasn’t given us yet our bundle of joy.. Maybe He is giving us a chance to learn more! Hehe..  🙂

 

But what really struck me during these past 3 weeks was that, it really doesn’t matter how delicious or tasteless the foods we prepare will be, it really doesn’t matter whether the house is neat or “deurmekaar” (der-ma-kar -an Afrikaans expression meaning “all over the show”), or it doesn’t even matter if we have so much to give or nothing at all! But what really is important is that we are there – not just physically but spiritually, emotionally, mentally there for our brothers and sisters. Our storytelling has the sweetest flavor than any mouth-watering cuisines that we can cook! Our service is more meaningful than any paintings or photos ever be printed and decorated in our homes! And lastly, our love, friendship and prayers are always worth keeping than any souvenirs that we can buy from anywhere!

 
And I really thank the Lord that He has brought us such wonderful missionaries and mission volunteers from the other end of the world to remind us how much He wanted us to be dependent on Him, to be relaxed with Him, to be peaceful with Him, to be friendly in Him.. for there is no better way to serve and love God but through our love and service with and to the people He sends us along the way, whether at home, at work, in the streets or abroad. The missionaries have really allowed us to see that in them with their “YES!” to come to this mission to south Africa and to do whatever was tasked of them with cheerful hearts. Their simple joys, the sharings they gave in our CLP’s and camps, and the service they have extended in the community like the painting of one of the orphanage’s room was really inspiring. Their laughter was contagious! And their never ending photo shoot with everyone they meet here was breathless!! Over all we really had a joyous 2 weeks with them and we really pray that may they continue the good work they have started and really inspire more young adults around the globe to do the same – share God’s message of love through
their life.

with CFC & SFC Middle East Mission Volunteers, and local (S.Africa) Mission Volunteers at our place in Pretoria 🙂

with co-missionaries L-R (Me, Errol, Dana, Maan, Vince, Ruel, Zee)

with co-missionaries L-R (Me, Errol, Dana, Maan, Vince, Ruel, Zee)

The missionaries have long been back in their respective areas now, but their life stories and faith in God will always inspire me to do even better on my mission in CFC and with the Church and basically, in everything that I will do. Their presence here was one of God’s affirmations to us that He really is the God who calls, forms, provides, sends and enriches us at the end of it all. Thank you all and may you continue to ablaze in God’s love.

So, the next time they come home again or anyone comes for a visit, I’ll gladly say, “Jesus, come in, you are most welcome!”

In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16

Video

Longest Day

It was the 1st day of January 2012, I remember wishing for the day to be longer because tomorrow is yet another day at work. But when my sister, Millie, phoned me from Singapore that afternoon.. my wish was (painfully) granted.. it was, indeed, the most dragging/longest day of my life because t’was the day my mom passed away.

My mom, Praxedes Campoy Bernardo whom most of her friends and relatives know her as “Praxie” or “Praxy” was only 63 when she died. I remember sending her a video as a gift for her 63rd birthday last July 21, 2011. For some reason, of all the years it was only this time that I was really able to get photos of her from our family albums and other digital photos from our PC in Bulacan (that’s where I grew up in the province next to Manila, Philippines). Actually, I have been wanting to make a video as a gift for her on her 60th birthday but I believe God meant for me to give it that year. When I went home with Errol and 40 other delegates of CFC South Africa for the 30th Anniversary of CFC in Manila last June 2011, I was really happy because we were given a chance to spend time together with my mom and our family. It was then that I was also able to take as much photos as I can with Momie and from our albums. I remember having that mischievous smile while scanning them one by one..and even told to myself, “this one is going to be perfect for my birthday video surprise!”. And little did I know, it will be the first and the last video gift I’ll ever give her. (here’s the video: Momie’s 63rd Birthday )

There’s so much to miss and honor my mom for and to name a few, she’s very very workaholic! If it wasn’t for her hardwork I really don’t know how the 5 of us siblings will be able to finish or even experience studying. As most of the people know, my dad passed away cause of lung cancer when I was 9 years old. With Michie, Millie and Minnie in highschool plus Mikko and I in elementary – she knew it was going to be a tough life for her. But boy, she tried hard..as in really really haaaarrrrdd to bring us through college. she tried everything and I mean every single sideline just to bring food to our plates and for our everyday “baon” (pocket money/food for school). I can still vividly remember her selling different stuffs like gold jewelries, life insurance, tupperware, chocolates, etc. Plus she and my dad had opened a sari-sari (merchandise) store with lots of stuffs in them (not just foods or softdrinks but even stuff dolls, shirts, firecrackers, we also have family computer games and betamax/VHS tapes rentals and the like!) it was an all-in-one store, I think that’s why at the beginning they named it Store Stuff. hehe..
And yet, even when she was a “busy bee” she’s still very sentimental especially when it comes to her family. Every year she would prepare a family outing and will even invite relatives and friends to come along. I really don’t know (I wish I knew!) how she manages to budget for everybody! Wow! And to me, each outing is special because she made it really special going to different resorts and eating her specially marinated meats &  fishes with matching mangoes and the like! I also get so amazed with her whenever I reminice those days when she would still show up and take photos of our “Foundation Days” in school (that’s when we celebrate our school’s anniversary with dance presentations from each level – with all its colourful costumes and make-ups, etc.). Browsing our albums at home, never ever did she miss a foundation day – never ever did she miss watching us dance or sing or “show off”, she loved every minute of it. I can say by the way she took our photos, whether we were laughing or crying, in the mood or not, she got everything captured for us to remember how much she adored and enjoyed each one of us. To her it was all but precious moments…and as I grow older each year, all of it became as precious to me as well.

And speaking of being sentimental, my mom even when she grew a little bit older, never missed a chance to greet anyone of us on our special day! Whether it was our birthday, our anniversary or a big break from work or school, she would always greet us and would even buy us cake on that very day to celebrate. She would always offer mass for us on that day even when we are not around, otherwise she would go with us in the church then treat us somewhere after or go straight home and cook something “long” like spaghetti or pancit for long life. And not just with us but also with all our relatives and her friends..she never misses a special date and never misses to pray for each one of them, too! Maybe that’s why I can still remember my classmate’s & friends’ birthdays even from elementary! haha! I got that from her! Thank God! 🙂

Like I said, there’s so much to say about Momie. But one thing I really admired about her aside from her faithfulness to God (like saying the rosary, leading us to novena, sending us to mass every sunday and every special holy days, devotion to saints like Padre Pio and St.Peregrine, etc…) is her love for the poor or less fortunate. She was a great example of loving someone sincerely even with nothing. I can vividly remember those times when we were growing up, every after Christmas season she would always ask or advise us to de-clutter our stuffs and look for things that we want to give to the poor. It was from her that I learned that when I receive something, I must give away something as well. She would of course leave the sentimental stuffs given by us or by a special relative/friend of hers but she’ll give anything that she thinks she can for those less fortunate people who from time to time visit her at our place every after Christmas or anytime during the year. It was from her that I learned to let go not just of material things in life but as well as my personal desires/wishes/dreams. I guess that’s why she can move on easily in life and also has that strong spirit/willed personality. And i firmly believe it all comes with such deep faithfulness in God to have such trusting and giving attitude. And for that, I will always be honoured and grateful to God for blessing us with such a generous, loving and humble mom like her.

She may have hiccups, too, like any other moms who gets “highblood” at times. She would also scold us, or become over protective, or have even hurt us with her advices or comments just like any other moms, but that’s only because she cared so much for us and she loved us so much that she didn’t want us to get hurt. I have misunderstood her a lot of times but I really respect her..we all do.

One email of hers touched me, she said, “all of these I do in Jesus name, all for the glory of God to heal me and give me enough strength to go on with my life…to give me more time in this world to serve HIM…to be with you my loved ones…and for sharing whatever I can, with all your support, my children, my friends, my family…so many really loves me..I get to cry every time somebody shows how much they care, their concern..kasama na kayong lahat dun mga anak ko…thank you Lord for all, for everything, I still ask Him to show me, tolet me know how to serve Him, to be worthy and deserving of all the blessings and graces He sends us all the time…” 

It just shows how big her heart is even when she was in great pain. I’ll always bring that in my heart.. actually now, every time I’m in pain or I want to complain I just think of her and how she went through all of it with such great trust and love for the Lord and for all of us – now I try to just shut up and count my blessings they way I think Momie would do.

I really believe that Jesus’ face clearly showed and radiated on Momie’s face.. to me she was and will always be a touch of God’s Pure Love (like Jesus) from Heaven to us. Because just like Jesus, she denied herself so we (her children & loved ones) can all live.. 

Momie & Me (Dec 2009)

Thank you so much, Momie. I will really really miss you. All your hardships and love will never go to waste because we all learned from it. And we will try all our best to keep your legacy of compassion, faith and “family bonding” alive with our families, down to your apos (grandchildren and greatgrandchildren) . And for whatever pain I may have caused you (for not being there physically when you needed me the most) I hope you have forgiven me and will continue to pray for me..and for all of us your children (& all your loved ones). Enjoy your rest in heaven with Dadie, the angels and above all, with God! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOMIEKO!!! Mwaaahhh!!!

Poops Moments

Just some funny and profound moment i had last Tuesday. Errol and I were waiting for a bus [van] (they call it taxi in Pretoria and ‘kombi’ in Joburg) back home. And while waiting, a bird suddenly flew from one tree to the tree where we were standing and dropped it’s gold on my shiny hair! (had to say shiny ‘coz I’ve been experimenting on using african hair food these days…oh! and i love it! makes my hair look great.)

So anyways, at first I showed it to Errol with a frowning face..then after a few minutes we just started to burst out laughing! Then began taking photos (facebook material! facebook material! hehehe… nah!). It was great fun taking photos of it.. hehehe..  it could’ve been the worse thing that can happen to some who just had their hair done from a salon. But we just laughed our lungs out (LOLO..hmmm that’s new..) ! But this experience made me reflect, too, yeah believe it I did! That it’s like God’s love for me in a very specific place and time. You see it was a looong day at the office, because I tried to finish the diocese’s newsletter (and not just any newsletter, it was a first in this diocese and I had to make it readable as possible so people will come and take the next issue) to be printed on that day. It was hectic because the articles came in at the last minute..so you can imagine how stressed I was to finish it on time..but managed to email it, so Praise God for strength! But I was so drained and I just wanted to get home and lift my feet up just to relax a bit before I start cooking for supper. So I really didn’t have the energy to smile even, but then as I mentioned earlier, this bird sent by God came to lighten me up at that perfect time and place.. of all places.. and of all people (it could’ve been Errol, he was just 2 inches away from me)..but no! The bird chose me! God chose me to remind me to smile, to laugh, to forget and set aside the busy day and just appreciate that distinct happy moment! 🙂

It reminded me  of so many specific moments whenever God calls my attention right back to Him and His beautiful smile for me. It could be when I needed someone to cheer me up and suddenly I get a funny forwarded SMS or a phone call from a distant friend or a surprise bear hug (or even a bar of chocolate) from Errol. It could be when my purse is empty and then suddenly an aunty will come by to drop her homemade curry meal for supper or a generous stranger will allow us to get a lift back home for a minimal fee or even for free! Or God will just lovingly remind me (by allowing me to see people (even little kids) living on the street), that I’m still overly blessed while some experience worse.. Or like when one day I’m so happy then suddenly a friend or a family phones to say something unexpected has happened (whether it was who and who broke up or someone got very sick or passed away, etc.) and at that very moment God was reminding me to be an instrument of comfort, love and prayer warrior for that specific person.

Specific experience in specific moments tells us specific meanings or better yet, specific message or wisdoms of God. That’s why I believe when everything is a mistake, everything can also become a blessing.. of lessons, of treasures, of God’s whispering voice of “Hey Miggie, I’m here.”

tried to take off some of it.. glad i didn’t turn into stone..Lol! 🙂

I don’t know with you, but boy,  I’m glad He brought that bird to remind me that. 🙂

God bless you more poops moments!  🙂

St. Nicholas’ Note…

I got this from one of the Advent reflections I read by Fr. Edward Hays, founder of Shantivanam, a house of prayer sponsored for 23 years by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the archdiocese in which he was ordained. Shantivanam, whose name means Forest of Peace in Sanskrit, is located in Easton, Kansas, less than an hour’s drive from Kansas City. Father Hays is known for his work in two areas: prayer and contemporary spirituality. His approach to prayer is an unusual one. While most spiritual directors and writers on prayer encourage people to incorporate prayer into their daily life, Father Hays directs us to do just the opposite: to incorporate our daily life into our prayer.

 

 “It is fitting that the feast of St. Nicholas comes at the beginning of Advent and the beginning of the shopper’s season. As the patron saint of shoppers he proclaims, ‘Keep it simple!’ Keep it simple enough to fit in a shoe or a stocking.

   “One gift that could fit in a…shoe, or in a stocking hanging on the fireplace, is a note that speaks of one of our most precious gifts, the GIFT OF TIME. Such a St. Nicholas note might read: ‘The gift I give to you is half an hour of quality conversation each night right after the dishes are done.’ Or, ‘The gift I give to you is one Saturday a month to be with you and do whatever you want to do.’ We can appreciate the value of such a gift if we keep in mind that according to a recent survey, the average married couple in America has only 30 minutes a week of communication outside of exchanges that take place at the dinner table, and between parent and child is only 14 minutes.

  

 

 

 As you can see, the possibilities are almost unlimited for these St. Nicholas shoe gifts.

 

 

   “Come, St. Nicholas, patron of shoppers and gift-seekers, and make Christmas this year fun, creative and love-filled.”

 

 Amen. :)God bless you even more!!! 🙂                                                                                                                    

*thanks to mondane web for the photo..heheh*

Peacemaker

I was browsing my notes and found this in one of my “notebooks of wisdom” (from God of course!) 🙂 Here goes:

8th November 2010/ Monday/ Florida -Joburg Mission House

Ok Lord, I get it. I really am sorry.

Yesterday, at mass in Geluksdal (Far East Rand of Johannesburg), Fr.Joseph Wilson’s homily was short and simple – “Give your peace to everyone you meet. If that person refuses to take your peace then keep your peace. It shouldn’t stop you from being at peace inside (and out). ” It reminded me of Errol, my loving hubby.  Every time we argue or fight and he apologizes, and I would refuse – most of the time. Until I get tired after a day and then talk to him again. Then, he would act naturally and carry on with his day as if nothing happened. And you know what? That would irritate me, I mean, Really?? Here I am feeling hurt and angry about what he did (or so I thought he did) and here he comes so peaceful and jolly?? Grrrr…  (hehehe.. ok, I’m exagerating..)

But God made me realize that  it is (peace) a gift that God gives to those who can easily ask for forgiveness. “Happy are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God..“, which was by the way, the Gospel today[Luke 17:1-6]. It’s about forgiveness and having faith! God is really teaching me deliberately and patiently to learn these two important attitudes in my life as an individual (not just as a missionary, but as His daughter, too.). For the past weeks, my husband and I have been having weird terrible fights over petty things – even if we swore not to argue so much or raise our voices, we obviously still fail. And I, on the other hand, unceasingly refuses to talk to him for days (only when we had to talk about work then we talk). And I, for some reason (ok, that’s my pride, alright!), would refuse to forgive him easily.

Today, I was tasked to give the session for our evangelization in one of the parishes in Florida, Johannesburg, because both of the speakers we asked were unfortunately unable to do it due to heavy schedules. Anyways, guess what the title of the talk was? Yup, it’s “Repentance and Faith“. It’s so timely that I have to give this session. And it was also affirming because today’s Gospel talks exactly about forgiving the person seventy-seven times and having faith as uprooting a mulberry tree and be planted on to the sea! Oh yes, Lord! I do get what you are trying to tell me now. 🙂 I am a servant just like my husband and just like everyone else around me. We are all on the same level before you, so who am I not to forgive easily? And not to have faith that people, no matter how difficult or hard they are, can change. Exactly! Like how YOU, believe in me.

Who am I? I’m just your creation – trying to be the person/image you are forming me to be since the beginning – in the image and likeness of You.

And so I rest my case. After writing this, I gave my hubby a big hug and kiss and a sumptuous supper, which of course he enjoyed… 😉

Thank You, Lord, for not giving up on me. ♥

Fond Mosaic

I complain a lot.. but thank God, His mercy is everlasting. He never gives up on me. I’m a saint in progress. I’m a handmaid, a servant. I’m blessed with a loving, funny, simple and faithful husband. A very supportive family. And loving and thoughtful friends. I’m God’s work of art. I was and from time to time still torn by life’s challenges but I always am beautifully knit together just like a mosaic. And every time I acknowledge God’s presence in me, my life gets even better (well actually, even if at times I don’t)… God’s love manifests in many forms in life.  Just like how life can be different beautiful pieces put together, so is me, my life, and the people around me..and I call that, Fond Mosaic. And I guess, that could be me to Him as well. 🙂

Fond of Mosaics!

Fond of Mosaics!

I’m not a blogger. I just love writing and I love reading, too! But I have my ways on writing stuffs.. from a pad, to a notebook, to a carton box, to a tissue roll, and even to a piece of leaf.. Yup, I’ve tried them all! And it just dawned on me that, “Hey! I can write!” And I can bless people (through God’s grace) with my writing. I may not use deep meaningful words from the dictionary like eveyone else, but yeah, I will try. It’s also a blessing for me that I can take lots of photos. Oh! I love photos! Most of the time, I’d rather take photos than write.. be’coz it’s true that a picture can describe more than a thousand words! So, i also hope to share them here with you. 🙂 (By the way, this is my 3rd attempt to open a blog.) I just wish and pray that this time, it’s for real.Not for anything else, but just to free my thankful heart to God for His abundant blessings to me, my family and those who have become part of my life. And hopefully, be able to inspire someone to be thankful to God, too.

To my Bestest Friend, Jesus, this is for You! 🙂

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog! yiheee!! 🙂 i’m excited to share with you everything under the universe that God has been blessing me! Lessons, new insights, feelings, thoughts, joys, pains, experiences (mission or day-to-day basis..well actually, everyday is a mission!), travels, photos (lots of ’em!), smileys :), songs (probably, even compositions..hehe), recipies (hmmm…), cooking and baking adventures, favorite arts and crafts, hobbies, inspirations and a whole lot more!

Because everything and anything can be a blessing!

Hope you enjoy it!

God bless you even more! 🙂

Miggie ❤

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