Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teamwork in Marriage

In this age when women have become recognized to be playing an important role not only in the country's economy but also in the household, it is no longer an issue if the woman earns more than man.

Even if say I earn more than my husband, I have to support my husband how he can maximize his earning capacity. For example, I encourage him to further his post-graduate studies so that he can maximize his earning capacity.At present, we're working as lecturers at the same university but because I finished my master's degree long time ago, it has an effect on our salary but thankfully the gap is not that big. It's also because we supported each other in working things out together on the signing of contract so we were able to achieve our desired salaries. In effect, there is no comparison on our earnings.

I am aware of the need for a man to satisfy his ego in being the major breadwinner so I really do my role in propping up my husband to realize it although he is not bothered about it anymore. I am happy that I showed him before that I could live content by just his earnings but if we would do that this time, of course, we have to sacrifice quality of life especially now that our children have growing needs. He understands that having three children to support is not easy so he gives up his ego by allowing me to use my God-given gifts to be his helpmate. I do appreciate that he recognizes my potentials in pursuing a career that would keep us supporting each other. He does not see me as a competitor but a team-mate to realize our common goals. He allows me to be me so I am thankful to God that our disparity in earnings is no longer an issue. I have noticed, of course, that having almost equal salaries now makes hubby a more fulfilled man so I have to keep helping him until he would become the major family supporter. After all, our teamwork apart from our love for each other determines our success and happiness in marriage.

For more interesting posts on this topic, please visit Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What makes teaching noble?

Many people think that teaching is a lowly profession and it is for the second rate who cannot take up other degrees such as engineering, law or medicine. However, time is evolving and many countries such as USA and UK have made the requirements for entering the college of education tougher and governments have also made big steps in making the teaching profession more attractive including raising salary for teachers. So, what makes it noble now? Teaching students life-long skills is in itself noble. Of course, we don't have to discount the fact that teachers make engineers, lawyers, doctors, scientists and all sorts of professions on earth. Without teachers, there would be no succeeding professions and even skilled workers.

I really admire teachers who handle the nursery and kindergarten. They are commendable as they don't only act as teachers but also as nannies or parents to their pupils. One of my friends teaching in the nursery complained of doing even the dirtiest job of changing the nappies of children if they poop or pee. Then she has to teach them how to speak, write, read, sing as well as how to eat, behave or how to be polite. Many teachers are entrusted by parents their very young children at the care of these nurseries so the job of teachers makes it very crucial. They are expected to form not only young children's literacy but also their character. Whew! Isn't this nobility when teachers shape the future of the generations?

In the international conference I attended recently, the participants were reminded of the role of humanities and social sciences in making responsible, ethical and caring for humanity engineers. If we just allow students to develop just their brains but devoid of feelings or care for humanity, we develop monsters or robots. So, isn't it too demanding for educators or teachers to do all these things?

With too busy parents in this highly competitive world either making both ends meet or just satisfying their ever increasing  and endless needs and desires for earthly fame and pleasures, and who just  rely on teachers to develop their children's life long skills, values, morality and ethical consciousness on teachers, what would the world be like without educators? So, aren't teachers really noble?

Monday, November 19, 2012

My husband's greatest gift of all

 It's the musicality of my husband I was first drawn to him. It's this same gift of musicality that drew him to Jesus as well. And, this is his very gift  that has strongly united us as a family as we sing together or play musical instruments as a family to worship God. If not for music, where would my husband be?

If God didn't use music to let my dear hubby feel the Holy Spirit working in him through songs in the church choir 6 years ago, he might be somewhere else this time (or might be with someone else:). Probably, he's somewhere else singing worldly songs with a microphone on one hand and a bottle of intoxicating drink on the other hand, (with a sexy entertainer in front, LOL).  That's his kind of former life without God but now he's willing to share his testimony on how God has transformed him as well as our marriage and family life. Thanks be to God for his wondrous working in our lives.

So, as our gratitude to God for His gift of music to my husband that has united our family especially in our spiritual life, we let our kids learn musical instruments they can use in serving God. All our three kids love music, both singing and playing musical instruments and they have been gifted with a missionary heart. In fact, our daughter has been offered a scholarship to take up music and render back service as a missionary in a non-Christian country when she finishes her degree. Despite her wish to be a medical doctor at an early age, she doesn't mind taking dual degree and spending two years later to give back service in the music ministry. She, being a daddy's girl, is of course very grateful on the way God used music for her dad to be drawn to Him so she strongly believes in the power of music to touch the hearts of the unbelievers.

Click this banner for more interesting Marriage Monday posts and be blessed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not Known FMD Symptom, thanks to the Internet!

The other night, I and hubby became panicky when we discovered that our son's fingernail peeled off. We thought it's only one fingernail coming off due to injury when he had slammed the door. What made me freak out was when we found out that all other four fingernails also loosened. We checked his other hand but thanked God there was no sign of peeling off. Then, we looked at his toenails and amazingly, only one foot toes got affected. I stared at my husband and he understood how a mother felt worried about her little one for unknown symptoms to the point of imagining, leukemia, heart failure or any worst illnesses only God's intervention can make a great change. As a habit, I immediately turned to my best friend Google for an answer. And lo, Google's master, the Internet as ever, calmed us down with a very surprising answer! FMD or Foot and Mouth Disease was the culprit!

I'm so grateful to this thread by webmd for the forum by parents whose kids got affected with FMD that confirmed our son had been infected with it too, 6 weeks ago. It was only when our son's fingernail peeled off that we realized he had contracted FMD. I was in India attending an international conference when my husband called me to let me know that our three year old son got fever and had skin rashes on his arms, feet, bottom and some on his face. He thought it was allergy due to his eating egg almost everyday. Hubby rushed to the nearby pharmacy to buy an ointment for skin allergy and paracetamol. As the fever was not too alarming for him to take our son to the doctor, we concluded it was just some kind of simple allergy or German measles that would just subside right away. And it's true, the fever lasted for just a day and the blisters somewhat responded to the allergy ointment. When I arrived from my trip, I noticed his scaly skin. His hands and soles were peeling off like a snake changing its skin. Both hubby and I were baffled and still wondered what it really was.

Upon reading the numerous comments at webmd pointing to the same symptoms we observed from our very own toddler - fever, rashes/blisters, weakening and the later manifestation which is the fingernail peeling off - we have been very much convinced that it is really FMD. It usually affects children and is even deadly if it develops complications especially if the child gets blisters in the mouth causing inability to eat. FMD can cause terrible sore to the throat, so the child won't be able to eat or even drink milk and other liquids which can extremely dehydrate and weaken the child that may affect his/her immune system.

What struck me is that many parents reported that when they brought their child to the doctor about the shedding off of fingernail case, most of the doctors do not know its cause. So in case we didn't see the forum here on the net, what could have been prescribed to our son? Last time, he was misdiagnosed causing his case to worsen so sometimes, I am more scared of seeing the doctor, except our very trusted one.

I have been relieved with lots of health problems, such as my hand injury before and my tennis elbow through the Internet. I always prefer natural remedies, the reason I also share my wonderful experiences here by blogging so others may turn to the wonders of nature. In the case of my son, if we knew the symptoms at early stage, there was no need to panic as it could just heal naturally unless there would be complications. But if taken with proper care through awareness, complications can also be avoided.Now, with all my positive experiences using the Internet to carefully diagnose some health problems, as long as the remedies are natural and I feel that there would be no side effects such as eating lots of pineapple when I got my hand injured by playing volleyball and even medical checkup and drugs didn't heal it, I will always turn to what God intended to heal us - the healing wonders of nature!

Let's keep posting our experiences to help others especially to explain some uncommon phenomenon as well as using natural remedies. Thanks to the websites with these kinds of advocacy as they save lives and calm down panicking people like me. I am 101 percent pushing and supporting them. For the readers, just try to be careful and critical enough in using the information that you get from the Internet. Check out how reliable the information provided. For instance, it's not only 10 parents who testified about the FMD symptom of peeling off fingers, it was over 50 cases so it was highly reliable. All the manifestations the forum participants described were all consistent with my child's. Hope medical practitioners are updating themselves so they won't make parents freak out for such unknown cases like FMD causing peeling off of fingernails. They should also get information from the net as some diseases such as FMD are just developing like FMD, they might have not learned it in med school at their time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Say NEVER to Fixed Bridge

I went to visit the dentist yesterday with my family. When it's my turn, the dentist told me that both my fixed bridges' abatement teeth have developed abscess and they need to be treated not just in one session but four. And, they require a big cost! How come the dentist who offered to do my fixed bridge never told me about its possible effects? Now I'm suffering a lot from gingivitis. Whenever I eat something hard, my gums where my fixed bridges are swell and sometimes bleed. I was trying to call this greedy dentist but he never takes my call or reply my SMS.

Too bad there are doctors or dentists who are just interested in how they can earn even if it means suffering for their patients. They don't practice the ethics they learned and swore for. Now, I can no longer bring back the three good teeth used as posts or abatement for my two sets of fixed bridge. I spent much for these fixed bridges yet I'm now suffering a lot. Even my dentist cousin said, she will never advise anyone to have one. So, if you're contemplating of having a fixed bridge, don't listen to your dentist. Think a million times about it.

Having a fixed bridge is one of my worst nightmares I can't get rid of! Nothing can take the place of anything natural. My son who was with me in the dental clinic and heard the comments of the dentist swore to himself, "I will always brush my teeth and get regular dental check-up before it's too late!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What not to expect from MEN?

After quite a long time that Marriage Monday hibernated, here it is back again with the topic on gender differences. Glad it's here again as I missed reading encouraging MM posts.

Yesterday morning,  I was surprised with what I confirmed to be gender characteristics. I woke up a little bit upset upon noticing that the clothes I hanged at our backyard were drenched by the heavy rain. I was expecting that our teenage son would get them before the rain would pour as I and hubby were out the whole day and came home late. My irritation came from my presumption that he had seen me hanging them while he and his dad were cutting the grass in our backyard. When I asked him how come he didn't get the clothes, "I didn't know you hanged some clothes outside, I thought everything is hanged here inside these rainy days," was his answer. Then, I shot back, "but you and dad saw me hanging them while you're cleaning the backyard," and turned to my husband. Surprisingly, both of them didn't notice me hanging even if the clothes I hanged outside were so colorful and large enough to capture their attention.

There's one generalization I draw from this observation. Males are generally not multi-taskers like females. It explains why both father and son did not notice what I was doing even if I was just a few inches away  from them while they were so focused with their cutting the grass using pruning shears and big scissors that can be harmful so they had to really set their mind to what they were doing. That's why, if hubby is reading a newspaper or watching TV. I don't expect that he would divide his attention for me.

This also explains why they don't remember dates especially if they are busy. They are too focused on their own business that they can't recall birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. They are generally not particular of details as well.  So don't expect them to surprise you on your anniversary all the time. It's good to remind them ahead of time. It's not that they are not thoughtful or romantic. It's just because they are differently wired to be not futuristic like we women who care for what to cook the next day or even what to wear at the party next month. Men don't think of these.

Such experience has opened my eyes to be more understanding of males and be more specific in communicating for an expected outcome. My son reminded me to tell him what I exactly want him to do next time especially if it's something unusual. I should not assume and expect next time so I won't be disappointed. With hubby, however, after 17 years in our marriage, I have learned not to expect some surprises anymore and I'm happier accepting just what he is, a man, God created differently.

Now, I'm excited to blog hop to Marriage Monday posts. Click HERE to read them with me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Raising Boys

Raising kids is not easy. If a parent has a girl and a boy, s/he might compare them in the way the two genders behave. Generally, boys need a lot of activities to release their energy as their testosterone dictates. This is not the same with the girls. Thanks to Steve Biddulph for his book, "Raising Boys" which made me understand the difference between boys and girls. In this book, he explains that boys are so loaded with testosterone that controls the way they behave. The girls are not that's why they are easier to manage and less aggressive and impulsive.

Biddulph explains that boys who cannot release their testosterone in a healthy way have the tendency to do adverse things like smoking, turning to drugs, having sex with a girl, masturbation or any unwholesome activities. Fearing this could happen to my own boys prompted me to  give my boys more activities to do in order to release their testosterone aside from making them healthy and productive. So, I don't mind buying what my early teen boy asks me to buy to get him occupied such as turtles for aquarium and maintenance thereafter, table tennis rackets, balls and the table itself, tennis racket, football, badminton, basketball even piano and violin just to make him use his time and energy wisely. And, oh, my little boy has different needs to release his energy - toy cars and any machine that he can manipulate. So, my toddler is showing a high level of testosterone as well that calls for more attention from us, parents. This means that we have to take heed of this need for them to release in a healthful and wholesome way their testosterone without any bad effects until they are grown up when they are in full control of their behavior.

If Biddulph's book is taught in school before, educators like me can be more understanding such needs of boys to release their energy as dictated by this hormone called testosterone. How I wish this is included in the curriculum of every university or college offering education so teachers will be aware of it. Parents should also read this book so that they will know how to address the differing needs between boys and girls.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Natural remedies for tennis elbow

Three months ago, I went to see a doctor to get my aching elbow for over 5 months checked up. Why did I wait that long to get a check up? It's because I was hoping that it would just heal one day. But it didn't. The doctor said it's tendonitis or tennis elbow and I was frightened he told me that if it won't get healed with the medicines he prescribed, he would inject my ailing elbow with steroids. The thing is , I really hate all kinds of medicine. So I was in a dilemma as the pain got worse to the point of I was no longer able to do my usual work even carrying my little boy. Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, is a very common injury that results from overuse, injury, or strain of the tendon that attaches the forearm muscles. It could really be debilitating. So how did I treat it?

I was prescribed by the doctor with Arcoxia (etoricoxib, MSD) 90 mg and after taking just 2 tablets of it, I got a terrible gas pain and felt dizzy. I already told the doctor that I have allergies with amoxycillin and other antibiotics. I also told him that I have very bad gastritis yet he emphasized that I must really completely take the 5 tablets once a day. As the adverse effects were terrifying, I immediately stopped taking it after the second dose. Then, I had to search for alternatives in the net. Fortunately, I found natural ways of curing tennis elbow.

I already forgot which websites I visited but I combined the various ideas suggested. One thing I did to cure my tennis elbow was by using hot compress. I had to do it several times at night time when I was about to sleep. It was so relieving! I tried ice pack suggested by some bloggers but it didn't work for me. Then, of course, as commonly advised, I had to rest it from lifting heavy stuff. I also took fish oil and collagen. I stopped collagen after finishing one bottle but have continued with fish oil. Instead of the over-the-counter collagen, I followed one blogger who suggested for bovine or beef bone soup. Until now, I still follow the steps for preparing good bovine bone broth. I boil the bones with a little apple cider vinegar to leach out the minerals from the bones. I eat the softened cartilage, suck out the bone marrow and sip a lot of soup after I scoop out the fats. There's a lot more collagen in the interior of the bones or the bone marrow so I also scoop it out and eat it as suggested by one blogger specializing in medicine. I also blend pineapple with basil leaves and add a little honey. All these three have been reported as having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

Now, I feel so relieved that I can carry my little boy again and do my normal tasks at home and at work. Before, even using the broom at home would make me cry and waiting for it to just heal in time never happened for 5 months. Thanks to all these natural alternatives my tennis elbow is gone. Although it's a combination of natural remedies in which I cannot point out which single remedy cured my tennis elbow, I would say that not any of them harmed me anyway unlike the drugs prescribed to me by the doctor. I believe, however, that the bovine soup and the heat compress did help me the most as every time I had either, without the pineapple and basil juice and the fish oil, I could feel the effect right away.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On being proactive

I appreciated the coming over of our Bangladeshi friend to our house recently. I got inspired by her being proactive. She and her husband are in the management fields so I have learned from both of their perspectives. They both have a definite plan how long they will be staying here in Malaysia like my hubby but I didn't have.; I was some kind of uncertain. I might have been affected by some factors but my friend's being proactive has moved me a lot. I finally registered for a PhD program and I'll be starting classes this coming Sunday. This is what I'm thrilled about right now, going back to school after quite some time but I'm more thrilled about its results. Proactive means projecting what lies ahead and Stephen Covey says, it's visualizing your goals like you're seeing the results ahead.

Aside from the upgrading for a stronger credential before it's late (before retiring???:), hubby and I finally decided to get a new car because my university is in another state and there is no public transportation such as bus from our place going there so we had to seriously reassess the practicality of buying a car. We, of course, found out that staying here for a couple of years really necessitates us to have one. And as we prayed hard for it, it seems that God is answering our prayer. Oh, yes, we really should be proactive!

Thinking ahead, planning well and working hard as well as praying for God's guidance will secure our family and our retirement.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Benefits of Homeschooling

At first, I was resistant of the idea of homeschooling. So when my son expressed to us that he wanted to be home-schooled even just for a year, I was apprehensive. Why? First, I was not sure if I and hubby could teach him well all subjects. Secondly, I was afraid he would gain much weight again if he just stays at home with a sedentary life. In his school, he could play a lot and control his diet by the dormitory cafeteria. Thirdly, I wanted him to develop more social skills by mingling with his dorm-mates, classmates and friends and by lots of school activities. But all of these fears have eventually been eroded as we have finally found lots of benefits of homeschooling.

Homeschooling, as long as there is good planning and cooperation between parents and the child, is beneficial in many ways. My son is enjoying his lessons at his own pace. He's also learning responsibility over himself as well as honesty as answer keys are provided at the end of every module. That's actually the covenant we made before we eventually decided to let him home-school. I told him that if you cheat by looking at the answer keys, you won't learn anything and you're cheating yourself as well. His social skills have been enhanced as well by being able to relate to more mature people around him as well as other kids of our host country so he has more international and cultural exposures.

The most significant benefit I'm very happy about his homeschooling is the fact that he has been learning the values firsthand from us, his parents, so we are assured that he's learning lifelong  treasures he can keep until he grows old. He now knows the value of hard work.  In fact, at his young age of 13, he can now cook his own food, wash his own clothes, clean the house, fix some broken things at home, even take care of his dear little brother. He knows how to budget and make wise purchases as I always take him whenever I  buy our groceries and when we go shopping. I show him how to choose quality but well-priced stuff as well as looking for on sale goods that we need. He has learned how to save money and to control his appetite. He grows as a God-loving child and this is what I really want him to be. Having observed him on a daily basis since he has been with us closely, I'm assured that my son will become a good man. Hope he will not change.

Homeschooling is not bad after all. In fact, it has served us more good especially that we have found a good Maths teacher to assist us in teaching him foundation subjects. We want our son to be prepared with the necessary skills he needs when he goes to college for him to have a bright future but we also want him to be responsible, respectful, wholesome, honest, hardworking and God-loving. I'm not saying though that he won't learn these values in school but with our close supervision, constant reminder and modeling, we are more assured that we get what we want as we can observe him more closely than when he is far from us studying. At his age, he needs special attention, love and care from us, his parents.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What it means to be Ecclectic as an Isolated Christian

While taking a walk with my hyperactive toddler outside after work today , the prayer alarm here in our community sounded and all the neighborhood kids went inside their respective homes. This confirmed my husband's observation about the religious commitment of our Islam brothers in our new environment. Everyday at the same time men groomed for their daily commitment  rush to the nearest masjids to pray, usually evening. Family members who are left also pray at home. It's a wonderful religious orientation that has strengthened my commitment in praying and worshiping God on a regular basis with my family.

We thank God for bringing us to this place that even if we sometimes feel isolated having no church around where we can worship, we have become even closer to Him for the serenity of the place for prayer and the good example of our neighbors to be dedicated in praying to God. Whoever they conceive Him to be, I and my family have been so encouraged by our new community's act of faith in their day and night worship of Him. We need to thrive in a place where we are marginalized and we have to pick up the good things we can learn from our surroundings yet holding on to our faith steadfastly.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Life begins at forty?

When we're getting older, usually starting from 40 years old, we suffer different kinds of illnesses that we never did when we were young. So, is this what it means by "Life begins at forty"? There can be a lot of positive implications for this saying, of course, but there are also a lot to be warned of. Physical changes are inevitable, not to mention the wrinkles that can be readily seen on our face many of us are worried about trying hard to prevent or hide them but what about the normal degeneration of the body from natural wear and tear or sometimes from overuse (or abuse)?

Such a coincidence that hubby and I both feel the same symptoms on our elbow but mine has been prolonged, his has subsided earlier. Normally, women suffer more from osteoporosis or any calcium and blood related problems because of the monthly period which men do not have. I've been suffering this joint pain since January this year. I didn't know what it's called until I went to see the doctor and I was told that it's tennis elbow, which means my elbow tendon got injured. I got an advice from the doctor to rest my elbow for at least two weeks but how can I? It's my right (dominant) hand and just typing here on my laptop requires me to use both hands? I was given medicine but sad to say, after I took 2 doses of those strong drugs not even approved by US FDA, I got some hives on my face so I immediately stopped taking them. Now, I'd rather rest it for a while and eat more pineapple or drink lots of pineapple smoothies just like what I did with my injured finger before. I do hate drugs and I always prefer natural medications. Medicines can be harmful to our kidneys and liver so if there is natural remedy, why use synthetics?

Thanks to net's very useful pieces of advice, too, now I'm not much worried about my hurting elbow for I know it will heal soon just like my severely injured finger before which lasted about a year to heal by just relying on Internet helpful advice. This time, I especially thank webmd for the sound information.

Change is the only permanent state in this world so as our body degenerates, let's go on enjoying our life but tempered with moderation in everything including choices and amount of food we take as well as work and activities we do. Less food intake choosing what our body needs and more exercise but not overdoing it are the keys for a healthier and happier life. Have plenty of rest especially good night sleep at least 8 hours. We don't even have to wait when we become 40's to practice a healthier life. See? I overused my elbow even when I was younger so I'm now suffering it. We reap what we sow!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Growing Up Together

Hey, dear readers! We found a contest for mom and child here in Malaysia and we try joining just to exercise our brains especially with the 400 character limit. So let me share you what I and my little boy love doing together by clicking this:

Growing Up Together

Hope you will enjoy reading it even if it's very short. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Getting rid of insomnia

Insomnia kept me awake again for two weeks so I was not able to reach my goal of at least 8 hour sleep every night. If I don't get my 8-hour goal, I feel that I'm not very effective at work and even with my family. I even sometimes try to take a nap at work during lunch break but it doesn't help much. All I need is the complete night sleep!

What caused this disruption of my sleeping pattern? After thorough observation of my patterns, I realized that 2 things are causing my insomnia. First, I can't sleep immediately if I go to bed late (after 11pm is late for me!). Second, I don't get a full night sleep if I don't take my multivitamins with ferrous sulfate.

I already tried not thinking at all so I could fall asleep or go back to sleep if I wake up at the middle of the night but it didn't work. I also tried drinking milk, thinking of very nice thoughts, serene and green places, and things like that. Nothing worked for 2 weeks. I started to feel like my head was empty or I would feel like it's shaking although there's no earthquake. It's only after I went back to my normal routine of going to bed on time and taking my vitamins that I'm back to my normal good night rest again. Thank God! There's no substitute for a complete night rest for me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Effective home remedy for burns

                                                              Picture from Gay Carillo
Calamansi is not only good for making juice, for sinigang or tumyam instead of the bigger lemons like manao or dayap, but it has more uses. My scientist in the kitchen friend, Gay Carillo, has mentioned a lot of uses of calamansi (lemon, commonly grown in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia like in Malaysia). Its uses  include marinade, deodizer, dip sauce, etc. but let me tell you something else. As it is my son's favorite neutralizer for pancit or bihon, both Filipino-style noodles, we always have it in our fridge. As usual, we cooked a lot yesterday as we always do every weekend, and while experimenting my champorado making it a lot healthier for the entire family including our picky toddler by mixing it with monggo (mung or green beans) and red beans, my hand got burned with the boiling champorado. I looked around the house for something to soothe it. I tried putting on toothpaste, which I learned before, but the pain was getting more severe with it. I opened our fridge and saw the calamansi. I rubbed my hurting finger with it and amazingly, the pain was gone so quickly. I was also surprised not to suffer from blister or even redness and swelling with the pain I went through. So now, it's not just my favorite mix for my tea, marinade for fish, chicken and beefsteak and neutralizer for our pancit but is a home remedy for cough and colds, rub for insect bites AND NOW it's also an effective cure for painful burns. Thanks, wonderful calamansi!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to journaling

Since I created this blog about three years ago, it has been my intention to make it as a sort of journal for me to vent out myself, and of course to make sense so it's worthy to share my thoughts here . Now, it seems that I'm caught up with my busyness (kids going back to school, new workplace adjustments, researches) a lot of things have taken my time. But of course, I miss my blog and YOU, my dear readers and friends.

I need to get back to my track again as I really have a lot of nice thoughts thrilling me that need to be expressed and shared.

Oh, I miss Marriage Monday! It has always revived and inspired me here, now it seems that e-Mom has been hibernating just like me. Hope this meme will be back soon to give more meaning to my blogging experience.

Another summer has gone but I would say it was very well spent with my family. When I sent back my daughter to her school, I did some exciting community service, also met great old friends, spent time with them and updated with each other. What about you, friends? It might be too late to ask but how was your summer?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Does money matter in Marriage?

I can't remember I and hubby ever discussed money matters prior to our marriage. However, I do believe that money issues should be dealt with before marriage such as in the case that one party has tons of debts before the tying of knot; otherwise, it will create conflicts later. A big number of divorce/separation cases is related to money so the key here is honesty through open communication to come up with an agreement, understanding or a compromise.

In my own marriage of 16 years, I and hubby have many downs in terms of money but we've never allowed money issue to ruin us, instead it has made us even stronger in our relationship as we figure things out and together we find solutions.

It is not necessary to have the same spending habits or styles to have a harmonious marriage. What is important is, both should agree about short term and long term goals that involve money. For instance, if eating out regularly say once a week is one spouse's goal but the other is not happy about it as s/he prefers to just cook at home which is less expensive and where they can bond together freely, then this issue should be discussed openly and come up with the best solution or a compromise as the issue here is not only about money but also the psychological aspect of destressing oneself. Another example is purchasing gadgets. If one spouse loves to change gadget every new model comes out, this has to be seriously considered and each spouse should learn how to identify needs and wants, frugality and luxury. In our case, for example, I and hubby never change our mobile phone or laptop unless it's broken or no longer usable so that we can use the money in other things such as for our savings or for our long term project.

No matter how we agree or disagree in terms of money, as husbands and wives, let's NOT allow money to be the center of our relationship. Yes, MONEY is quite important but our happiness in marriage should not revolve around it. Afterall, it all depends on HOW we deal with money matters in our relationship. As long as we have each other, and of course, if Jesus is in our family, we are happy, content and blessed because we will be filled with LOVE, not just with fleeting material things.

Even if my post for Marriage Monday is a bit late, I've still tried to catch up as I want to read more about this interesting topic. Hop on with me to different posts by thinking Christian women all over the globe over at Chrysalis.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marriage Monday: Sexuality in Christian Marriage

One of the greatest blessings in marriage is enjoying sex. But how come there are many broken marriages because of dissatisfaction in this kind of gift? In their book, Intended for Pleasure, Ed and Gay Wheat point out the reasons why many couples are not satisfied. One big reason, according to them, is the lack of communication between husband and wife. Especially in Asian culture like ours, talking about sex seems like a taboo. Openness regarding sex would be regarded vulgar. So, even if one party is not happy in bed, s/he would just keep it to her/himself until the issue becomes worse or worst.

One wife whose husband left her explained that she regretted she was too frigid in bed that her husband had to look for another partner. As it is her wifely duty to fulfill such basic need of her husband, she should have asked for counselling when she started to feel the problem. But again, counseling in our culture is not known as most of us are so reserved opening up our private issues. If only she was open to her husband regarding her frigidity in sex, they could have solved it before the marriage collapsed. The husband warned her many times but she ignored it and that was only the time she sought help yet it's too late.

There are other couples out there who are suffering from dissatisfaction in this God's gift to marriage. Just to keep the relationship even if they're not happy in this area, they stay together. But being open in communication to improve each other's performance in bed in order to satisfy each other, they should follow Ed and Gay Wheat's advice. Husband and I both read the book and we both benefit from it. After reading it when we were just married, it has become easy for us to affirm each other such as what feels good and what we can improve or try next time. So hubby and I have no inhibitions in this area of married life. We also followed their advice that there is a need to precondition the act such as giving signals earlier. For example, a phone call at lunch suggesting it or simple sweet gestures as preludes to condition the wife. Remember, women's sexual psyche is different from men's so it takes some time to set their mood for sex. Men should be sensitive about this need. Some men don't know this magic of romance they can do outside the bed. Any annoyances they might have caused during the day would affect their wife's response and performance. There is a lot to learn from this bestseller so I recommend this book especially to those  struggling about this issue and to the newly-weds so they can truly enjoy God's gift to the union of husband and wife - intended for pleasure.

Do a blog hop to enjoy more about this topic by visiting Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis where thinking Christian women meet every 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Losing Weight in JUST a Month

I could not believe I've lost about 5 kilos in just a month. But it's not without effort. First, I have given up meat particularly beef as part of my usual diet. (I'm not a fan of chicken and I never eat pork!). Meat is not easy to digest and it's fat-loaded. As I mentioned in my previous post, thanks to gingivitis I was forced not to eat meat any more except occasionally. Secondly, I included more fruits in my diet especially pineapple which is one of the foods containing lots of enzymes to get rid of fats. Thirdly, since I moved to my new workplace, I have more opportunities to walk and to use the stairs so I have regular exercise. So even if I don't have to go back jogging the way I used to do before I got pregnant 3 years ago when I was only 53 kilos, my going up and down the stairs to and from the 3rd floor is sufficient to burn my fats and calories. Finally, I eat on time and regularly now so I avoid the starving after effect which makes you want to eat more. Easy steps, aren't they?

I really want to celebrate for this remarkable achievement. And hurray, I can now wear the clothes I couldn't wear when I was 59 kilos yet! I so missed those clothes that I had to keep them to make me inspired to keep losing weight. Oh, well, I realized that losing weight without exerting effort and discipline is close to impossible except probably when you get seriously sick or if you have nothing more to eat:)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Submission to bosses and spiritual leaders

Since I already exhausted my discussion about submission in marriage  at Marriage Monday about 2 years ago, I'd rather deal with submission to leaders this time and I will focus more on the job and in the church. The Bible says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17). It's so easy to submit to leaders who have strong and sound leadership and management but what if your leader is questionable in many aspects? Take a look at the second statement, "They keep watch over you as men who must give an account." But what if he is not worth in giving an account?  How do you deal with such a weak leader or manager? Still obey him/her as the Bible commands?

If you're a proactive member of an organization, you can complement with the imperfections of your boss. If you do this, you might improve your relationship with her/him and s/he will become nicer to you as well. As a Christian, you don't have to fight with your boss to show him his/her weaknesses but you can contribute to the productivity of your company and eventually to his/her growth and development to become a better leader. For example, if you are not always getting clear directions from him, you may clarify things with him often accepting that he is really like that. Or use your own initiative to come up with ideas to help your company (and your boss) significantly. Who knows he may change sooner or later! Our human tendency in situations we don't like is either "fight or flight".If we don't like the system of our boss, it's either we try to fight and if fighting doesn't work, we leave our job immediately . It's easier to look for a new one. But remember,  our character is shown in our resume if we keep changing our job in a very short period of time.

We can never find a perfect leader. Even Moses and David were chosen by God, they had their own imperfections so it's up to us how we deal with our leaders. Neither "fight" nor "flight" is the best answer. As I always say, it's better to change your own perspective than to change someone else. Although your relationship with your boss is different from marriage which should be till death do you part, try all the possible positive ways in dealing with your boss first before you finally quit. After all, fighting will not give you a graceful exit so it's good to stay with him harmoniously with all endurance and creativity to make things work between you until you call it quits. If we apply "fight or flight" in marriage, there will be more unhappy homes and divorces in the world.

What about submission to church leaders? Like obeying your boss who does not deserve obedience, it is more challenging to deal with such a situation in the church. Church leaders such as elders or pastors have been ordained and I've heard it many times that disobeying them is like disobeying God. So how must we deal with church elders or pastors who don't act the way they are supposed to act or are abusing their spiritual authority? Challenging, isn't it? Of course, good shepherds should lead their flock to the right way. Jesus exemplified what leadership is by becoming a good and humble servant. But they must argue that they are not Christ so they are not perfect. If the lapses are tolerable, we can focus on the strengths of our spiritual leader but if the weaknesses are insurmountable and intolerable that can be stumbling blocks to the members, then how can we submit or obey to his authority? A servant who is given the authority to shepherd church members should be a good example. If this is not the case, then it should be properly dealt with. Pray for God's intervention for nothing is impossible with God. Ask God to guide you as members to deal with him. We did it in our church before and we let one of his respected elders to talk with him but that elder refused to. Later, as we continued to pray together as church members, God made His own miraculous way in dealing with the tough situation. We didn't know that he was also suffering with his own marital relationship. We just found out one day that  he had just lost his own spiritual authority as our church pastor at the same time his own family.

Let's then do our best to be submissive to our leaders and God will do the rest.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Changed diet: thanks to gingivitis!

If not by voluntary choice, circumstances can change our lifestyle. In my case, my very significant change in diet recently was brought about by my fixed bridge that irritated my gums leading to gingivitis and tooth sensitivity. I noticed that every time I ate my favorite beef dishes, I would suffer toothache. Oh, I would rather have headache than toothache! Because I hate to take pain reliever ( I hate any pills actually!), I rather changed my diet. So I had to say bye, bye to my darling beefsteak and other beef recipes I used to cling to. Well, it's not only me who has benefited from this change but my beloved hubby. As he got inherent high cholesterol and triglycerides that only healthy lifestyle can help him survive the risks of hypertension and heart-related illnesses, my diet shift has impacted him the most.

So, how has our diet change impacted us? Because I really care for balanced diet, I research a lot about anything that I put into my mouth. I was, of course, very particular about the 3Gs in the diet: Go ( carb group), grow (proteins) and glow (fruits and vegetables). How do we compensate for the absence of  meat in our present diet? We now resort to legumes, tofu and fish. Oh, we really always love fish and thanks it's abundant here in our area and they come to our market fresh! So, it's only meat we get rid from our regular diet.

Most legumes  such as kidney beans and lentils do not only help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils and other legumes have to offer. They also provide good to excellent amounts of important vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat.

As to our choice of tofu to replace our meat loss, although tofu has lesser nutrients than legumes, research on soy protein in recent years has shown that regular intake of soy protein can help lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 30%, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 35-40%, lower triglyceride levels, reduce the tendency of platelets to form blood clots, and possibly even raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol).So including tofu and other soy products in our diet is really perfect to address hubby's high LDL and triglyceride problems which are inherent from his genes.

It's barely about two months since we changed our diet but hubby feels very positive about it as he now feel even more active. Gone is his feeling of dizziness probably brought about by his high LDL and triglycerides. Aside from letting my gingivitis heal when we abstained from meat, of course, I also do feel better for at least losing some weight as meat is much longer to digest and will add up to our body mass. Remember, it's a GROW food that's why meat is highly recommended for growing children. And as we grow older, our body enzymes degenerate so our digestion of proteins such as meat is also slowed down. So no wonder that if we're getting older and eat meat but don't take in more food with lots of enzymes to digest our protein intakes such as pineapple and papaya, we gain more weight!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marriage Monday: Overcoming Boredom and Apathy

This is another challenging topic at Marriage Monday but because I missed a couple of topics already, I can no longer skip this one. So I must face it and be able to come up with something worth sharing here with my marriage of 15 years. I think even the marriages experience boredom and indifference sometimes.  Our first goal in marriage should be to keep the marriage exciting like the first moments we knew each other. But if boredom sets in, what should we do?

Having fun together as a couple will keep the romance and the union exciting. Although sometimes hubby doesn't want to go out, we can just have fun together at home like having movie marathon while enjoying our favorite food or just having tea together while chatting. Going places at least once a year also rekindles our happy moments together just like when we were sweethearts yet. Building memories together can seal your love for each other and it will help prevent boredom. But there are really times that one gets bored in marriage. In times like this, what should we do to set it off and to keep the fire burning?

First, identify what's causing your boredom with your husband. It might be something that you cannot change in his behavior or character. Of course, it's not easy to change a person and it's always easier to change our own perspective. So when this happens, it's better to shift our focus on his strengths, not on his weaknesses.

One effective way for me to bring back the warmth and excitement into our marriage is giving myself a break. For instance, I go out with friends for a dinner, shopping or just hanging out with them talking. I even go for a night out with special friends sometimes. Once I  feel relieved and recharged, I go back home more loving and caring. We, women, sometimes need a vent out or a release of overwhelming stresses and undefined emotions. Unloading ourselves to some trusted friends can ease us and make us back to our self again or be a better wife with the insights gained from sensible friends.

One ultimate and best way of overcoming boredom and apathy in marriage is through reflection and prayer. If I feel like I'm sick and tired about hubby, I pause a while and reflect then say a prayer asking God to let me see the beauty of His gift of marriage, to let me overcome my feeling of boredom. I also ask God to remind me how good it felt to be just around him during the first days, months and years of being sweethearts and at the onset of our marriage and to let Him bring back that kind of feeling. Also, getting down on our knees together as husband and wife makes both of us recognize our vulnerability in our marriage that only God can keep us together, forever despite our differences and weaknesses. 

Have a wonderful Marriage Monday, everyone! (Better late than never:)