Monday, September 17, 2012

Letter to Graciela

May 6,2011 12:05 a.m.
Dear Graciela:
Congratulations for reaching another milestone in your young life. High School.
 Now, you are just about ready to step into the college before you usher in full adulthood.
I really would like to applaud your mom for really pushing for this book of wishes and memories. It is such a beautiful mommy idea.
My daughter, your cousin, Marina just turned 8 yesterday....and I also wished that I could have thought of something similar.
  As parents, we wish for you, our children, to do spread your wings and reach new heights, but, at the same time, we want for you to have developed your roots...that will keep you grounded. Memories and links and bonds to your blood relations is one way of establishing this.
Soon, I will be giving birth to another addition to the clan. I am told it is going to be another girl. I prepared the name Ana Marcelina. Ana from my name Angelli Anne and Marcelina from your great grandmother in your mom’s side.
Mama Marcelina, as we call her is one strong character. I do have very fond memories of her. I was I think, 9 or 10 years old. I was somehow, so frail and thin. Result of being a picky eater.
 One night before bedtime, she gently pulled me to the dinning room, and offered me a glass of ice cold milk.
It was such a novelty. It was such a treat. I never took milk in a glass, nor with ice and at that time of the day. Ever.
And you know what, without any fuss, I drank it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe, because, I was in a very a rare situation. My grandmother mixing me a glass of milk, giving it to me tenderly...that I could not refuse...If I am not mistaken, I somehow was lactose intolerant until that point. Milk would make me gag and throw up. Wonders of wonders in that crystal did not. It was like those milk ad moments.
Goes to show, that any small act of kindness or love....will go a very long way in making the heart...really be filled with joy. Mama Marcelina did not say much. She just watched me drink the milk. Her presence that time and the lingering memory of that incident has made me feel loved and warm. Never alone. Never forgotten.
Now, I want to share with you a fond memory of your mom’s mom...we call her Auntie Nita. I remember your grandmother, my dad’s sister, as the one who was so careful with her appearance. I will never forget her instructions to us girls...or to the teenagers among us, not me definitely that time.. on how to augment your breast size naturally. She shared to us, how to do it. And, secretly, I did it...when, bra size, started to matter to me. Did it work? I am not so sure. But, it sure made me remember her so much. And there was the time, Auntie Nita, initiated the making of Persimmons jam. I think, if I am not mistaken, she brought a big bulk of tomatoes from Baguio that time. She was raving about how it can be made into jam as similar as Persimmon jams. It was such a by word. It clicked and we all ended up trying to peel soft boiled tomatoes while they were still a bit warm to the touch. She says, it was how it was supposed to be done. I think, I was about 7 that time. All the other Aunties were there, Auntie Lily ( Cid)...Auntie Cora (Paras) and maybe ( not sure ) Auntie Nedz ( the madre)....and most of my siblings. Amidts all the oohs and the ahhs of handling warm tomatoes to peel off....we soon realized, Auntie Nenita or Nita was nowhere to be found. I think, she slipped away unnoticed to do some shopping in the nearby Barter Trade Market ( the equivalent now of bazaars in Greenhills etc.) with great bargains of imported items. People would usually go to Zamboanga City just to do shopping in the then famous Barter Trade Market. This was around the late 1970’s. When her absence was finally noticed....her other sisters were already almost halfway done with the jams, figuring out how it would be done, on their own, without the expert tutelage of the initiator.
I learned early on, that was one of your grandmother’s traits. A trait, which somehow , finds it presence in most of my ways....I start then don’t finish ....most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was such a charming memory of Auntie Nita...who I noted to be a carefree spirit who loved to laugh and enjoy life. I will forever have her memory in Grandma Marcelina and Grandpa Calixto’s 50th Golden wedding anniversary, where her gown was really fetching.
It complimented her really slim and trim figure. It was a halter v-necked gown, bare back with a big rose in between her breasts. I think it was in brown. She was really beautiful in her gown. If I am not mistaken, your mom had a complimenting mother daughter gown with her.
I was still 4 or 5 at that time...but browsing through the albums....always made me so much in awe of her photo. Maybe something, I still have yet to find the guts and courage to put on something similar in the near future. Hahahaha....
I hope....I made you feel good with my short trip down memory lane with your direct ancestors. One thing is for sure, we may be separated by miles and miles of land and water....the bonds of blood will always be there. And they are as thick as we want to make it.
Again, I pray that the Lord keep you in His care, protection and mighty providence at all times. In all your small and big decisions, make your mom proud of you. She is your first and probably biggest cheerleader. I should know....I am a mom too. Do listen and keep her teachings to you in your heart. Always. It is meant for your good and nothing more. God Bless and God speed in all your endeavours. Yours, Auntie Ni-Anne de Leon- Espinoza

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

It is my mom’s birthday today! I woke up very early with thoughts on her. I looked at either sides of me at my 2 lovely daughters in deep sleep. I remembered my be even just half of what a good mother my mom was to me to them. How could I ever forget what she did for me? It was 1997. A cyst in my right breast area was oozing blood and something else. Mom was with me processing papers so I could have it operated on. All throughout this going about...she was in a most serious countenance. Then when I had to walk into the operating room lost in the billowing thick green curtains, I had to go back out to the waiting room. I felt lost. I felt scared. That is when I caught sight of her. Clutching her rosary, she was in the deepest state of prayer. As I neared her..she opened her eyes slowly and looked at me. Sensing me even when I did not make any sound. She looked at me with such seriousness that made me a bit uneasy. She said, “ Ni, whatever that is, I already asked God to give it to me instead.” All I could muster was a weak, Ma! I wanted to tell her Dont! Take it back Mom! Almost a year after that she was diagnosed with Nasopharynx cancer stage 4. I saw her struggle bravely. She surpassed the time frame set on her. She even told me to hurry up on my wedding date she could still be part of it. Funny, our target was January 28,2001. I vacillated. I hesitated. Well, it was her scheduled time to meet her maker. Many , many times, she has made me feel her love for me, now that she is gone physically from us. Telling me how great and powerful a mother’s love is. It can surpass the barrier of death. Giving me no reason not to love my daughters more and more. And to correct them less and less. Over my hot cup of coffee this morning, as I watched my 9 year old go about fussing with her hair..I admired the curve of her calf and her shoes. I said, Mari, your legs remind me of grandma Lily’s legs. Then, I said, looking back, I have no regrets, Mari. I never broke her heart Mari. Silently wishing and praying that know, the same from her. In Jesus mighty name. We can really come to heads and horns with her a lot like a stubborn ram. Oh...just as well, love more. Correct less. Ma, I know, your are enjoying the distant, verdant sunny hills of heaven now. I just want you to know, that I am grateful...thankful, that God gave you to me. I was your Anna Banana. I now know how you felt, when people admired us for our being ourselves...without doing anything at all. I now know, but oftentimes forget....cause now, I am a mom now too. Twice over. Victoria Marina and Ana Marcelina. Mari and Lilli. Thank you Lord for the gift of mothershood. Greatness in simplicity.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Momentary Indiscretion

The K-Stew scandal over the fling with the SnowWhite and the Huntsmen director brought out a backlash of comments mostly centered on the not so naive 22 year old actress of the Twilight saga. A lot of comments and criticism came back and forth in all angles. Liberty Ross, the 4th party in the affair, was quite mum about it. I am sure, she has a lot stored in her chest. I am quite definite as well, she had to explode somewhere or somehow. Imagine!!! Your husband frolicking with a very young actress with the world as an audience, thanks and no thanks to techie cameras. So, did they really throw care and caution to the wind?? Or, did the cheating couple really wanted to get caught, so it may somehow help their movie rating go up? Was it all a ploy to make the box office bell ring? We really wouldn’t know unless we can see through their hearts and minds. Well, since my last health scare of August 4, my mother in law was so kind enough to come and help me care of the kids for 2 weeks. It was a very nice time for the grandmother to bond with her grandchildren. It was also a perfect time to get some things off my chest. I dunno. But, I felt, I needed to let her know, that I, too, in my 40’s almost got myself embroiled in a not so good affair. My husband , bless his soul, was in the know, from day 1. So, maybe, this is just my chance to come clean with myself and anyone who cares to listen and understand. No, this is not my attempt to get my 60 second of fame. Not at all. Like I have constantly said, my writing is my armchair psychotherapy. It makes me sane. It keeps me balanced. So, I write whatever I like too...just to get them out a deep cleaning exhale. And this is how it started... My husband has been working overseas for 2 years already. We were just rounding off his yearly vacation. It was a full packed one. We decided to get pregnant after 8 years planning and holding and deciding. I was going through the rough phase of infanticipating. I was a bit in a hormonal roller coaster ride. Terrible. I was missing hubby already weeks before his departure back to Doha. I was dreading the thought of spending Christmas without him while I was pregnant. Then we had a spat a few days before he left. It really hurt deep. I could not get over the words he lashed out. And so, we brought him to the airport, without a proper reconciliation. On the way back, while in traffic, a text message came in while I was still going through the pain and numbness of the goodbyes. Marina was crying. I checked the cel. I was blinking away the tears trying to figure out who was texting and digesting the message. Whew! A blast from the past. A past flame. A childhood crush. He came into my life with that text message and decided to stay a while. After the text, came an email detailing his life. Then online chats. More text messages. In short, he was searching for a life partner. And, I needed someone to talk to. Someone who is there to listen and who accidentally loves to read my blogs. I pulled up the S.O.S. flag to some chosen friends one of which was my good friend who happens to be a priest. I said, help! Slippery slope to a serious case of an emotional affair. I preferred talking to him than my husband. I told my aunt who happens to be a nun to storm heaven for me. And so, I knew what I was going into. And I knew, that each step I took would take me deeper into the snare of wrong doing. But, as in amazing grace... I was saved and prevented taking the next steps by many instances of grace. Then, I had to make the decision to cut off the communication. He asked me if I was sure. I knew in my head and mind to say YES...but, it was a weak one, since he got hold of some heartstring long long ago...still trying to cut off in those moments. And so, as they say, make the decision first, then everything will follow. Not without struggle of course. And so, it was a lesson learned. I was capable of being weak. But....the grace of God was sufficient. He blocked some avenues for me with blinking NO ENTRY signs. And I yielded. So, thank God, I never got to have coffee or anything else with Romeo Jose. Thank God, I did not expose my unborn baby to my occasion of possible offence. Which may have casted doubt on her conception. Heaven forbid. God is so good. God is so great. So, for Kristen Stewart, I understand how we can become weak in the knees if someone comes into our life giving us the very thing that we need. Maybe, a genuine smile . Perhaps, a steady presence that tells you are special or being thought of truly. Or even just a listening ear or an arm of support that may have been absent from your significant other. Or maybe just a bit of excitement...that make your heart throb faster....makes you catch your breath now and then in awe. So, my temporary indiscretion may not have played out in steamy photos in public...Thank God... But, it was more than enough for me to understand, how one can really get frail...but, the will is still there. Never give it up! Values of family and life are more important. God can just got to let Him.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Something Borrowed

It is a story of Rachel who was almost 30, successful yet overworked. A single lawyer and wondering about lost chances. The movie opens with Rachel nonchalantly getting into a restaurant to her surprise 30th birthday party being thrown by her best friend since childhood, Darcy. Rachel has forever been the best friend, even the mother, as Darcy claims to her. She even sacrifices her blossoming feelings for Dex, her Law school study buddy and friend because, Darcy set out to claim him for herself. Rachel did not like to put up a fight so she bailed out even before the balloon had the chance to lift off. Rachel later confides to Ethan, another long time childhood friend, " What Darcy wants, Darcy gets!" So, with a little too many drinks, Rachel awkwardly finds herself making out with Dex at the back of a taxi, where the next stop was her home. Rudely awakened by Darcy's frantic calls and voice messages the next morning, she finds herself in bed with Dex In the mad scramble to gain back their balance, Dex and Rachel, slowly reclaim, what once was about to kindle...a romance based on a lot of similarities. Darcy candidly admitted that if people do end up together based on this principle, then Dex and Rachel would have long been a couple. Putting her foot in her mouth again because, if she did not intrude into their celebratory dinner, then surely, Rachel and Dex would have long been an item. Darcy put her friend in a spot when she reveals that Rachel has been talking about Dex for the past 9 months. A dead giveaway to her friends feelings. Rachel quickly extinguishes the flames by declaring they were just friends. Dex, volunteers to bring Rachel home to which she refused cause she already knew, her friend or maybe not so good friend, already put a stake on Dex when she challenged Dex to date her instead. Dex tries to catch Rachel outside the bar, making sure it was alright. She said yes even though it made her die inside . And thus, 4 years later, after her post birthday party blunder, she slowly acknowledges what has long been there...her desire for Dex. Who has and was always hers from the start. The pre-wedding weekends in the South Hamptons were nerve wracking for Rachel. It pained her to see Dex frolic with Darcy and hear their climactic nocturnal activities together. Dex had to first overcome his dad's pressure on him to act based on what is expected not on what he wants. After their Labor day weekend together their yearnings and desire for each other thickens as the plot twists and lead to the week before Darcy and Dex's wedding. I love this movie because it has made me laugh a lot of times even when the reality and pain of Rachel having to choose between being the eternal BFF or reclaiming what was lost to find her true love was chokingly difficult. The actors were so perfect for their parts. Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel, evoked a charmingly sweet yet strong character. Kate Hudson as Darcy was the perfect bitch that you love and so hate. Colin Egglesfield as Dex has a close resemblance to Tom Cruise giving the movie the Jerry McGuire feel that made it a romantic comedy hit. John Krasinski, as Ethan was the perfect best friend and confidante to Rachel. The confrontation by the beach during the badminton match was so hilarious it made my stomach cramp. I vote 5 popcorn buckets for this movie. Not so innocent but oh so sweet.

My Religious Conversion

My Religious Conversion Nominal Catholics? Devout Once or Ones? Angelli Anne DL. Espinoza, Yahoo! Contributor Network I was born a Roman Catholic in the year 1969. Does that automatically make me a religious person? Does that make me a real convert to a belief system that traces its roots to Jesus Christ? Not really So, what does religious conversion really mean? Wikipedia defines religious conversion as the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion.[1] If that is the case, then definitely I am not a religious convert. I have been a Catholic ever since. It does not mean of course, I was an exemplary one all throughout. I had my doubts and questions and string of sins along the way. But, the real question I would like to propose here is...have I really had a religious experience that has changed me to being a better Catholic? I'd say, I am a work in progress. The rites of baptism and confirmation and other sacraments do not necessarily bring about real profound conversion. Our choices between good and evil do spell the difference in not so grand and outstanding ways often than not. It is choosing not to throw your candy wrapper out of the car window not just because you might be caught. It is choosing not to bring home some paper clips from the office because you want to respect yourself and others. Or better yet, refusing another serving of rice, not because it will look unflattering later, but because our bodies are not just flesh and bones but is also a shelter to our spirit. In 1976, a very strong earthquake shook my birthplace of Zamboanga City. The temblor made me realize that I could die anytime. Then what happens next? Thus, at 7 years old, huddled and shaking to the bones with my parents and 8 siblings at the bottom of our long and dark staircase..I boldy required my mom, who was almost panicky and in lead us in prayer... she refused. No one else wanted to volunteer. Each to his own thoughts of what just happened...and so, I said, "Let us pray..." and have always been the moral compass and crusader of our family There is the rub. Exactly spelling the big difference between being popular & accepted or a devout Catholic consistent to it's teachings and practices. Is that religiosity or spirituality? Maybe or maybe not. •1.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dog Scraps...Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones

In today’s gospel, the faith of a woman is expressed in the following words: “ Lord, even the dogs eat the scraps of food from the children’s food under the table.”
Very hopeful.
I have been avoiding FB like the plague lately because it can consume my depleting energy and time.
Somehow, I had to communicate with a friend regarding something urgent. The news that met me was a bit thought provoking.
I seemed pigued.
I felt empty.
I felt hungry.
I felt unhappy.
I still want to thank the Lord for this feelings of desolation cause I feel and believe that I am being emptied to be filled. I am made hungry so I can be fed. I am experiencing sadness to savour happiness fully.
This are the temporary spells that will spell fulfilment in the fullness of God’s time.
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pride & Prejudice

Binibining Hypokrita
That was my character in a high school play I was made to join. It was one of the baptisms of fire I experienced. You see, I detest being in the spotlight. I abhorred being on stage for anything. My fright was so sky bound.
Somehow, I managed.
Whenever I look back at pictures of the event, I still cringe in embarrassment.
My hairdo was terrible.
My slip was literally showing.
I was not comfortable at all. Maybe I was not able to be true to the character. I dunno. Perhaps to some, I was authentic. Depends on what glasses they were wearing .
Lately, I was admonished by my always disapproving sisters.
I shared to them about an incident where I let it all hang out again.
I said, I am a very revealing person. In terms of facial expression etc. Without a word, my thoughts and feelings do really shine through.
It would really be duplicity and super plasticity if I pretended otherwise.
So, I merely went on ahead and acknowledge that what had been experienced was unpalatable to say the least. Thus being said, these and these are my other thoughts and feelings.
Again. Perhaps, my sisters could not understand me. And maybe just shook their heads in desperation and frustration at me.
It made me feel good to be one with what I felt, thought and said.
Yesterday’s readings had something to do with the hypocritical attitudes of the Pharisees who judged the people joining Jesus for a meal with unclean hands. Jews had so many rules in almost everything, washing hands and utensils included.
Yesterday was quite a challenging day. I had to deal with some pressing financial issues that head to be dealt head on.
Unfortunately, here came 2 people, one after the other, knocking on my door asking for help.
I dunno why I seem to be a magnet for mendicants?
Here I go explaining to them my predicament rather than shoving them away like pesky flies.
I was quite frazzled later on.
They somehow thought I was lying.
Well, I was sobered by the thought of last Sunday’s homily.
The priest said, it is better, that you are in the position of be able to help than of the person in dire need of help.
Actually, there is the rub.
I do need help. A whole lot. And these people think, I am not being true to them.
Hmmmm….do I need to put on tattered clothes to show them what I meant?
Maybe not so extreme. Besides these are some of the small stuff I should not sweat over.
Tall order.
How about people who ignore you and hurt you in the process?
Give them a dose of their own medicine.
Perhaps without saying a word, they will realize their folly.
Perhaps…maybe not, if they are so wrapped up in their prejudices and judgement.
With that, I breathe out.
Ah Ohmmmmmmm…..

Monday, February 6, 2012


Today’s gospel reading tells us about Jesus’ healing presence. The mere touch of his clothes tassel brought efficacy and healing for those who sought healing and wholeness.
These past several days…I have been in much want.
Time and energy runs out on me as quickly as water in sand.
I have to then prioritize things.
Seeking God’s abiding presence in my own prayer time is such a challenge. That I do have to find the discipline and effort to carve it in my schedule.
I now bask in His presence.
Jesus was a crowd drawer and traffic stopper everywhere He went as He did His business.
People were drawn to Him.
Before, when we went to the celebration of the Holy Mass, it meant fasting for at least an hour before and putting on our Sunday’s best. But these days, not so much maybe. Mass goers can done some walking shorts and some sneakers and they’re good to go.
One cannot judge the book by it’s cover though. Yesterday, I came in at Homily time already, pushing my baby’s stroller with her still half dazed with sleep and the bumpy and almost rapid ride to church. You see, it is quite challenging to prepare with a baby in tow.
Sometimes, I wish and pray for a full time maid. Hmmm… sometimes.
Anyway, my collar was still half folded around my neckline…sheepishly, I had to fix it in the early minutes of us zooming in and finding the nearest available seat. Good, we got one near the window and a good spot with a strong electric fan.
So? Do I reflect the Holy presence of Jesus in my daily round?
There is the rub.
Jesus, I seek you.
Jesus, abide in me.
So, I can bring your healing presence in all my tasks and especially within my home where my daughters and husband may see You in me.
Emmanuel, Jesus, I trust in You.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

To Win or To Win Over?

To Win or To Win Over ? To Eliminate the Enemy or to Eliminate Enmity?

The other night, my husband and I just quietly observed and rejoiced over our 10th year anniversary as partners for life.
The following day, yesterday, my youngest daughter turned 8 months.
My by line for my eldest was: Lilli is 8, Mari is 9, Dad & I are 10. We are 8,9 and 10.
Neat row of numbers.
But life is seldom neat.
Oh, how I wish it was always like a glossy cover of a Interior Design Magazine.
But, the snags and tears of day to day living do make us ragged.
In fact, physical stress is already taking it’s toll, what more for emotional issues that really burden.
Lilli woke me up early for her bottle.
And I thought of doing my Kerygma Bible guide and reflection. Only Jan.31 was available.
The skies in the horizon are cloudy and grey.
Tsk. A reflection of my harried soul.
This moments of “alone time” is quite a luxury.
My to do list is quite formidable. Baby care and house work do really demand time and attention…and the rest are relegated for the later when time and extra energy permits.
The pesky alarm turned on.
Baby Lilli is now crying for attention.
Let me try to ignore her a bit.
Last night, I brought her up early to bed as soon as she fell asleep.
Mari and I were sharing the laptop screen with some barney video and my backlog EDR 210 Lessons.
Lilli interrupted us with her groans and moans. She did not cry. She just changed her position and tried to beckon for us with her unusual sounds.
Okey. She has stopped cry. It wasn’t the full blown COME HERE NOW type anyway. Just the one two type that says where art thou?
Just in the next door room my dear.
Thanks for giving me this moments to clear my head and heart.
So thus here I go:
I forgive quite a number of people for playing with my emotions which has involved my young ones. I forgive you and forget this incident. In Jesus might name.
I forgive E for her snobbery and indifference. In Jesus mighty name, let the enmity be eliminated for the nth time.
I forgive P,J, D, W for ignoring my plea. I forgive you in Jesus mighty name.
I forgive M for being so unwieldy and stubborn. I forgive you in Jesus mighty name.
Finally, I forgive myself for my string of failures. I forgive you for not living up to my diet resolve. I forgive you for entertaining a mild health scare just for you to go on a regulated rice intake diet.
I forgive you for getting into a financial mess with a credit card company that finds ways to really skin you alive.
Thank God we are out of it.
I forgive you for being a little green, not the positive kind, and giving in to the gloating and jealousy targeted actions of some people that try to rub it into you that you are part of the “have not” phase. In Jesus mighty name, I forgive and let go.
The mighty glorious sun is once again streaming into this east window.
Timing is just perfect.
I feel the Lord’s wonderful healing touch permeating into every pore of my body. Ridding me of tough psychic toxins. Enveloping me with his love and blessings as I let go and Let God take over.
Jesus let me win over enmity that has taken a thresh hold in my heart over my not so amiable relations.
The way of God’s kingdom is to win over by reason, dialogue and love. Winning over also “eliminates” the enemy because it resolves the enmity, and so the enemy is transformed into a friend.Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: In resolving your conflicts with others, do you try to win or to win over? Do you try to eliminate your enemy or the enmity?

Lord Jesus, Prince of peace, transform my heart after the pattern of Your own heart. Amen.(Kerygma Bible Guide and Reflection, January 31,2012)