I Can’t Change the World, But I Can Change a Part of It

Finally! I had some time spared to write. I haven’t been able to write lately because I was juggling so many things all at once. However, now as the holidays are approaching, I can reflect and write a little more.

With so many news about wars and so-called “wars”, political wins and losses, victories and defeats, opinions being thrown here and there online and offline (but mostly online, ha!), I realized something–that nobody can fully change the world.

And it’s all good! Perhaps you’re wondering why. It’s good because we can be more motivated to set a more realistic goal for ourselves. In our lives we have our own sphere of influence. These are people within our community that we can help, provide for or give other services to. This is our mission field and God called us in it. Now, some are called to step out to other parts of the world, but that’s a specific gift. For others, it is good to know that we cannot fully change the world, but we can change a part of it.

When Thomas Edison invented electrical lighting, it made an unforgettable mark in history. The day didn’t end when the sun set, and people can be productive even during the night. Now, it didn’t stop wars, solve world hunger or promote world peace–but it did make a difference.

And it made me think that even the most brilliant of minds cannot solve all of the world’s problems, then there must be a reason for that. Perhaps it is for us to understand that we are finite beings and that we all need each other to build a better world. That we need to trust each other that one is doing his or her best despite our doubts. That perhaps even working together, we still need to have faith in God who is sovereign over all.

I was given the privilege of having an outreach with my group for men and women with disabilities last week and I could say that despite 2016 being a crazy year for me, it is one of the best highlights. It made me realize that I can’t change the world entirely, but I can make “kuyas” and “ates” happy and remember God on that day. And that is one change that is worth every effort.

So I hope this season of giving and onwards, we remember that we have our own spheres to influence. So I hope and pray that I see that change in me and in others–that instead of complaining about what we (and others) cannot experience in this world, we become what we want the world to be one person at a time.

Red Flags Vs. Green Flags

Red Flag vs. Green Flag

One of the things during the day that make me smile (aside from my student’s progress), is looking at my engagement ring around my finger. It isn’t mainly because pretty to look at (though for me it really is), but it gives me a reminder that I made major decision in my life that I am completely sure. Four months into our engagement was fun, exciting and you could say a little bit crazy.

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As I was thinking about the things that made me sure about Charles and reminding myself of my friends’ questions about my readiness for marriage and what made me sure that he is “the One”, I won’t give a cliche answer of “You just know.” Though at some extent I would believe that to be true, but that little statement “You just know” for me is comprised of green flags interconnected to lead me to my final answer. And so, to help others, I have come up with some of my major red flags and green flags in a relationship that may be helpful for ladies to arrive to a sound decision.

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GREEN FLAG # 1 : You share the common core values

For me, faith was a big issue. It was important for me that my future husband shares the same beliefs, but not only that, it is important for me to be led in that area too. Men are called to be spiritual leaders of the household, and to spearhead the course of your relationship. I am always humbled and thankful that I have found a man who isn’t just in the same faith, but also someone who I know can lead me in that aspect. It is important to take note of other core values such as if you want to have kids, parenting style, finances, and other major values that might come into play.

RED FLAG # 1 : You argue with major core values

If faith is of importance to you, then do know that a spiritually weak man cannot lead you and you will end up leading him or be disappointed in what he cannot do. If he doesn’t want kids and you want to have one, if he has a different spending style with yours and he is unwilling to compromise, then it may be a red flag.

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GREEN FLAG # 2 : He treats you with utmost respect

He acknowledges your opinion, he doesn’t belittle you with his words. He supports your dreams and listens to you even at your worst moments. I am admittedly a very emotional person. Sometimes, even the little things such as difficulty from work or a bad traffic situation can upset me. I am happy that Charles tirelessly listens to my rants and never uses words to bring me down disregard how I feel. He is honest when he needs to be, but he is gentle.

RED FLAG # 2: He is disrespectful

If he uses words for the sole purpose of mocking you in a bad way, bringing you down or to insult who you are, watch out! It is a red flag. If you’re asking for an apology and he doesn’t acknowledge that it was a mistake to show you disrespect, you really have to think twice about your relationship. He can also be disrespectful not just with you, but you can observe this with how he treats other women in his family.

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GREEN FLAG # 3: Communicating with him is easy

Communication is the water that keeps your relationship blooming and alive. I can say that I was sure with Charles because I have observed how we communicate to one another. We talk easy, our humor matches up with each other, I can voice out my opinions without feeling judged, I can be transparent without feeling fear. I can talk about anything with him under the sun. He also makes it a point to talk to me whenever he can.

RED FLAG # 3: Talking to him feels like a chore

One of the things that I’ve been to is having a relationship that has very minimal communication. Because of this, we grew apart and I started to know him less and less. My friends and family also observed that our conversation was a bit “forced”, they somehow felt that I was trying too hard to match myself with his personality. We weren’t seeing eye to eye on a lot of our verbal and non-verbal communication. You also have to take note of this because when all the romance fades, you should remain friends with your future partner. Make sure that your partner can be your best friend.

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GREEN FLAG # 4: He gets along with your friends and family

He doesn’t have to be ultra chummy with your brother or know a lot about your mom, dad or sister, but you can sense some positive vibes between them. See if your family and friends like him for you. When you invite him for a meal with your family, you can observe how he gets along with them. Charles gets along well with all my friends and family. I guess it helped that he is quite easygoing with people that’s why people can be comfortable around him, but as a general note, if he gets along well, then this is a good sign.

RED FLAG # 4: Your friends and family doesn’t approve of him

There are some exceptions to the rule, but if I go by general observations, you would see if he’s right for you when your friends and family are happy to see you together. When people feel blessed about your relationship, when they see you happy with him, they approve of it. But when they see that you’re always depressed, problematic, they will not turn a blind eye on the relationship like most of us do when we are still holding on.

These are some of my own red and green flags, but I’d like you to take it with a grain of salt. Ultimately, pray that God will lead you to make a right decision when it comes to a future spouse because making a choice about it can completely change your life, for the better or worse. God is sovereign and He desires for you to allow Him to lead you to His best.


The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.

It’s Not an Easy Job, But It’s Worth It

I sometimes wonder if anybody else outside my profession understand the true extent when I say that being a speech therapist is a physically and mentally demanding job. I frown at people who might think that my job is easy or I just play with kids, because that simply isn’t true.

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Since it’s a job that focuses on treatment, parents come to us and ask for assistance to help solve a concern that they see in their child. While the concern is common for all when they come to us, which is, to help them communicate better, each child is unique. They have different temperaments, skills and interests and we always have to find various ways on how to teach them better in every season of growth. I have to think of each and every one of them and how to help them in their own unique path of learning.

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There are days where I wish it would be over soon–days of meltdowns, pinches, bites, crying or unruly behavior–not because it was tiring, but because I felt like I lost. I lost because my student didn’t like what we did for today, or his meltdowns won over his opportunity to be taught. This, however, isn’t mindset I should have. I should remind myself every day that it isn’t about winning and losing each session, but about how much heart and mind I put into my work.

Those days are meant not only to teach my students but also to teach me. To teach me not just patience but persistence, not to see the “what’s wrongs” but to see more of “who is this for” and “why I am here”.

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Because, after those days are over, the brighter days will come. The first sound, first word, first sentence and the first intent to communicate will always be a source of fascination to me, and is worth every tired throat, every aching back, or an exhausted mind at the end of the day.

Lately I have been receiving messages from parents that their students did well on the first grading. It puts a smile on my face (and my heart) that their moms and dads see our contributions as a part of their child’s success. It reminds me that I am making a difference one session at a time, and it reminds me that all my students are worth it.

To The Lady in Waiting: Four P’s You Have to Remember

Lady in Waiting Guide

Hello to my readers! I have a big announcement! Somebody put a ring on it! Haha! I am finally engaged. As most of my friends know the story, I won’t go into too much details of how it happened because proposals happen in different ways and what is important is the love and commitment that the engaged couple have for each other. So instead of focusing too much on the details of my proposal, I would like to dedicate this post to the faithful lady in waiting, or in other words the single ladies who might come across what I wrote.

lady in waiting

My relationship with Charles is truly a work of God. I can attest to this because of so many differences in our circumstances. He lives in the states, I live in the Philippines. We have no mutual friends. He speaks English, and understands very minimal Tagalog, and Tagalog is my native language. He hates onions and I love onion rings. Haha! But I guess when God works, He weaves everything together to make us meet the right person at the right time. I wouldn’t say that I sat around and suddenly Charles popped into my life out of nowhere. Having faith, as well as acting on my faith led me to have an encounter with him. I could, however, say that God gave a beautiful blessing, though undeserved.

So to the lady in waiting, to the hopeful single woman who is in anticipation of her very own God’s best, I dedicate this post by reminding them of the four P’s that I am encourage them to do in this season of their lives.

  1. Pray

A few months back before I met Charles, December 2014 to be exact, my friend Yna from church encouraged me to make a husband list to pray for every day. So I made this list on a paper and prayed for my husband, claiming that he is just out there, somewhere and God was preparing him too. I prayed with a bold heart because it was my desire to be married and have a family. At the end, I wanted God to know that His will is above all, but I was honest with Him and I laid down my desires. I prayed that when this happens, it will be something that will bring glory to Him. James 4:2-3 says:

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Sometimes all we have to do is ask. And ask it with a pure heart.

lady in waiting

It is my great joy that the list is still in my purse, and I praise God because He allowed me to find somebody who scored a perfect ten, without a doubt! I am thankful to God every day for meeting my husband to be.

2. Prepare

I will be honest, I read a several books about how to have faith, and how to act on being single. Ladies, it is not enough that we pray but don’t have faith. If we have faith, we should also back it up with our actions. What stuck to my mind about books I have read is the story of Ruth and Boaz. When Ruth planned to be with her mother-in-law Naomi, she was uncertain of what lies ahead but she was prepared. She was ready to glean the fields for her and Naomi. When she met Boaz, she prepared by dressing herself and looking her best as well.

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trying our the bikes in Burnham Park Baguio! 😛

When we prepare, we prepare in all aspects of our lives. We do not let a single thing become left behind. We prepare physically and emotionally, we take care of our appearances, eat the right food, include fitness in our lifestyle, we check our hearts for unwanted baggage.

Mostly, we prepare our spirit. We equip ourselves with the Word. We study the Bible and we apply the Bible. We surround ourselves with people who do the same. We devote ourselves in ministering others. We don’t serve in the main motive to scout for a man, but we do it because of our love and obedience to God. And in doing so the preparation to make us godly women comes with it.

So to the lady in waiting, I encourage you to always prepare. Like the Parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) who prepared extra oil for the arrival of the bridegroom, we are to prepare not only for our future husbands but also our conduct should be in preparation for Christ’s return.

3. Position

As women, our role is not to pursue men. But our role is to allow ourselves to be found. How can we do that? When we let ourselves be seen, and be approached in places where we can develop friendships with godly men, then we are positioning ourselves to be found. When Ruth was gleaning the fields, Boaz noticed her from afar. He saw her determination and found out about her story and love for Naomi. That made him admire her and he eventually had an interaction with Ruth later on. If Ruth just hid in the comforts of the home, even if she prepared herself, she wouldn’t have been seen by Boaz.

lady in waiting
with friends from VCF!

I met Charles in an unconventional way, but I believe that being positioned had something to do with how I met him. He was able to talk to me when he was still studying (Masters of Divinity) in Liberty University and they were knowing about big churches in Southeast Asia, particularly about the Philippines. He saw a picture of me with my Victory Group in Facebook and that’s how he was able to interact with me. If it weren’t for those connections, being associated and positioned, and of course God’s hand into our story, then I wouldn’t have met him.

4. Patience

Last but not the least, is patience. The Bible talks a lot about waiting on the Lord:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25

If we desire for something good, we wait for it patiently. That’s why you are called lady in waiting! We wait in hope. If we trust in God’s timing then we wait in faith that God will deliver. Sometimes we wait as if we’re not seeing anything, but God is working silently ahead of us. Sometimes we are focused too much on what we don’t have that we fail to see what He is already working on.

lady in waiting
Acuatico beach resort

Do not give your heart to a man who is unequally yoked in the faith, or someone whose personality gives you unrest and lack of peace from the Holy Spirit. Listen to what God is telling you. It is better to be patient than to settle and fall into regret.

Down Syndrome: My Learnings as a Speech Therapist

Down Syndrome Awareness: My Learnings as a Speech Therapist

Throughout my almost 4 years of practice as a Speech-Language pathologist, I have always worked with children with Down Syndrome. Some might call it a coincidence, but I would say that it is no accident that I am “Teacher Geline” to five of these beautiful girls. Because of that, Down Syndrome awareness is close to my heart and I have always thought deeply and experienced each and every student’s character and strength.

My students have always fascinated me with how they are uniquely different and yet strikingly similar from each other and with other children as well. Even as a teacher, I learned that I am also a student. Each and every one of them has taught me a lesson not just about who they are, but who we are as people who have different roles towards each other.

Here are some of the things I have discovered being a therapist to my five amazing girls.

(Pictures posted with permission)

1. They have the bubbliest of all personalities!

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Gelli has a very bubbly personality! She uses very animated expressions when she talks and is such an adorable little lady.

With them, no activity is a bore. They will always find a way to cheer up people with their playfulness, their singing or just their laughter. They will laugh with you even with the simplest of things. They get excited about their favorite toy, book or show. Their enthusiasm is genuine as the smiles on their faces.

2. They like to do things for you.

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Sophia likes to do things for me like brush my hair or wipe my hands when we wash alcohol. She enjoys doing little favors for me.

They always like to include you with what they are doing. When they are playing dolls, they like to brush my hair or paint my nails. When it’s time for cooking set, they like to pretend that they are feeding me. They always want to do little things for others. With them, you’ll never be an outcast because they always like you to be a part of their daily activities.

3. They have special talents!

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Sofi is a very active type! She likes doing activities with movement and she is a good swimmer. She takes swimming lessons, too.

Whether it’s singing, dancing, or even swimming, they always have something up in their sleeve to show! I can think of many children I know that are excelling on the things that they love doing. They show deep interest with their hobby of choice and are passionate about it.

4. They are very sociable!

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Claire makes it a point to greet everyone that she sees. She says hi to people by herself and loves to play with her peers.

They always love to greet everybody and say hi! They are walking sunshines in their own right. They won’t wait for you to do the first move, they will approach you and talk or play with you first. Their smiles and laughter are infectious and they show no partiality–they don’t judge with looks or status in life. They will always try their best to be your friend.

5. They always love to laugh and smile.

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Erza loves posing for pictures. She would do her cute smirk or her own version of the peace sign when I tell her I’m going to take a picture.

I learned something about my students. It never hurts to smile and laugh a little bit more. To be a bit more positive. Sometimes we get jaded about life and our routines that we forget to be a little less serious and just take a break from all the anxiety. It never hurts to look at the little things and smile or laugh about them. Our outlook can change the way we cope with our lives.

I hope this post tries to shed a light on misconceptions about Down Syndrome. When I look at my students, I don’t see a disability. I see their potentials and I see their small and big victories. Not just in the area of communication, but their progress as well. I get to be a witness of genuine and sacrificial love of families toward each other. It’s what’s making my work a fulfilling one, and although I will say it’s not always easy being a speech therapist, my students and their families are worth it.

The Pain and Lesson of Loss

The Pain of Loss

For me, losing things can get pretty annoying. When I misplace my pens, cards or even my slippers, I annoyingly search there’s a sense of relief when it is found. It’s a small problem with a quick solution since material things can be replaced. There’s a whole lot of difference when we lose the people we love. I often had anxious thoughts about losing the people in my life, because I never really lost somebody through death within my first and second degree family. I always told myself that I wouldn’t know what to do if that day happens. I knew in my heart that loss is inevitable and someday I am going to face it. However, here I am in this moment where I finally faced the loss of my grandfather.

the pain and lesson of loss

I was in and out of the hospital, helping to watch over, visit and take care of my grandfather when he was severely ill. At home, I’d visit him and do therapy sessions for him. When he was sick, I kept asking everyone to pray for him. I was hopeful that he will recover. I even claimed by faith he would live to see my first child. But of course I knew it was all up to God and I surrendered everything to Him. However, like any other human, I was not invincible to the pain of the loss of my lolo.

the pain and lesson of loss

The moment I found out, I was at home and my mother messaged me that my lolo is gone. I was wailing, shouting and crying. It was severely heartbreaking. I knew his time would come and everybody’s time would come, but it did not stop me from feeling so much pain. I had thoughts that I wished I was there in the moment before he passed away, and wishing I could have done something more to help him stay alive. It was pain in the thoughts that from here on, something irreplaceable will be gone. Something irreversible just happened. From here, we can’t make new memories anymore. I allowed myself to feel these things. Even in my lolo’s cremation and burial I still cried because seeing his body in the furnace and his urn being laid to rest in the grave represented finality for me and my family that life from here on is without him.

the pain and lesson of loss

That’s the irony of painful things though. Like a piece of an ugly coal in a furnace, pain burns you the point that you are like a refined diamond. Pain transforms you. Your response to pain’s attempt of change is what matters. So here are some lessons I have learned through loss.

The Lesson of Loss

the pain and lesson of loss

1. I learned about my Lolo’s Life
I learned that he is a hardworking man, that he served his family greatly and loved them by giving them a comfortable life. When we were baking yesterday, my lola told me a story when they lived in Brunei. She wanted an oven for baking but they didn’t have money to buy yet as they had some debts before moving to Brunei. So he took a big metal can and lovingly made a makeshift oven for my lola until he is able to buy an oven. His love for my lola was immense, that even when we were in the hospital taking care of him, the first person he looks for is my lola.

the pain and lesson of loss

2. I learned that Family is My First Ministry
Sometimes we can get to busy with things which might seem like a priority. But when stripped of everything else, we realize that it isn’t as important as those people we love. We get busy serving other people and groups, get drained in our work, hobbies and other tasks that we forget to realize that we have not given time to our family. But deep inside when asked what really matters the most, it’s family. It’s strange how we love them the most but forget to spend time with them. And so I learned that we should spend time with the ones we love the most.

3. I learned that Loss is a Shared Experience
I learned that I am not alone in losing. I have friends who lost fathers, mothers, grandparents and siblings. Sometimes we experience pain so that we can also experience the comfort and sympathy given by others. It’s a shared experience that makes us bond, that makes us identify with one another.

4. I learned about Life through Death
It’s a sobering realization for me that we as humans won’t live forever in this earth. So given this realization, we ought not to place our hope on everything that’s temporary. Let’s not place our hope in materials things, fame, and earthly success. It taught me to place my hope more on things that are eternal. It taught me to place my hope on God more. In my heart there is peace because I know Lolo placed his hope on God and trusted in Jesus’ salvation before he died. I am thankful that despite the pain, God is good because my grandfather died peacefully in his sleep. He is now free from pain, discomfort, sadness and infirmity.

the pain and lesson of loss
The sky when we buried Lolo. It’s beautiful and pristine and a wonderful reminder of where he is right now.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

What a comforting assurance. Just like my lolo, I am secure in this life and the life to come. I hope this post helps you out if you’re also going through a difficult time in your life. If you’ve learned something too from losing someone and would like to add more, please let me know through commenting below.

Overwhelmed and Burned Out Feeling: 5 Ways to Defeat this State of Mind

Overwhelmed?

That’s what I have been feeling these past few weeks. Overwhelmed. After long vacation, which I enjoyed a little bit too much, I worked consistently to the point that I got sucked into the routine again and had that thought that “This happens over and over again, day in and day out”. Coupled with a few things I had to adjust about, places I have to go, people I have to meet, and tasks I have to finish, it was all just too much for me that one weekend I just broke down and needed a good cry.

You could say I was really overwhelmed. But the truth of the matter is, I realized that there are more people who work harder than me. It’s not like I don’t undermine the physical and mental demands of my job (I have to think and talk all day and carry some little children around), but some people are driving all day, or out in the sun, or carrying heavy weights, enduring filthy or unsafe environments just to get a day’s pay. No complaints. And I realized that what I am feeling is partly valid, but it is also partly a state of mind. So after much thought, I came up with 5 ways to help myself (and hopefully you) to get out of that overwhelmed and burned out rut.

1. Train your mind to think of one thing at a time.

When you’re doing something or you’re currently in the moment where you are right now, only have thoughts related to your task or activity. The problem with me is I always try to think of my day as a whole all the time. While at work and talking to my students, I think of the meeting I have to be in, and the chores I have to finish at home, plus a report I have to submit too. That gives me the feeling that it’s too much, but in reality it can be done. I am in the process of training myself to minimize thoughts about other tasks, and focus on the present task that I am in.

to do list

2. Plan ahead and write it down.

The reason why we shouldn’t keep our tasks in our head too much as a big picture is because we have a planner to do that for us! Before your day starts, write down all the things you have to do to avoid slip ups and overlooking things on the way. It doesn’t matter if it’s a planner, a journal, a notebook or a piece of paper, it will help you organize and is also a good reference so you won’t have trouble recalling your activities the whole day.

Get Organized with a Small Journal

3. Really take a break.

Make your me time a priority. There was a point in my life that I worked seven days a week and I couldn’t take it anymore. After much thought, prayer and through reading God’s Word (about God resting after His creation), and constant unrest in my heart, I decided to really carve out a day just for myself and not to do anything related to work or tasks. Just hobbies and interactions with my loved ones. I try to do something novel for this day to break the routine. This helps me get charged for the rest of the week.

4. Appreciate the little things.

When we think that our day is just the same over and over again, we tend to overlook the little things that we’re blessed with everyday. When I see my students, sometimes I forget to see how cute he looks when his two front teeth are now missing, or how adorable she was when she wore her toy tiara and tutu skirt to therapy. I forget that I had a good meal of pasta, liempo, ice cream and cake the other night, that I get to have these little moments of joy with the people, things and places I love.

seek God

5. Seek God for peace in your heart.

This is one thing that helped me the most. When I worked, I forgot to rest in God and depend on Him for strength and motivation. I relied on myself. But when I ask for peace and strength, He provides. When I asked for joy in my work and other responsibilities, He gives. Don’t let God be set aside in your life when you are busy. In fact, that’s the time you need Him the most and the truth is you need Him all the time, busy or free. Not just because He can give you these things, but because He holds your life. When you seek Him and stick to Him, that’s the time you experience true joy and peace no matter what state you are in at life.

How about you? What are some ways that you do to keep yourself from being burned out from your routine? I would love to hear it through your comments below.