My Mundane Life Today

My daily life has tremendously changed ever since my husband and I decided I stay home and leave my teaching career for a while. Consider this my LOA (leave of absence). I have had LOAs in the past when I was in college. Twice I stopped school because of some health issues. Twice it pained me to stop doing what I thought I love to do best – being in school.

Now that I’m married, I am more at peace with this LOA. In fact, I’m beginning to love and embrace my new mundane life. Less  stress and less health concerns and less complications to deal with.

celebrateI get to wake up later in the morning. I then cook our dish for lunch. I run errands for my mom and my sis. I do my grocery and bank transactions. I enjoy sipping some hot coffee and delving on a crispy crepe at my favorite restaurant. I get back at home to cook dinner for the family. Then I blog away my thoughts and feelings. I also get to watch my ‘kiligserye’. Best of all, I get to talk with my husband nearly every night. Isn’t this the blissful and blessed life?

Yes, I may not be financially productive these days. But I have more than my share of true wealth – family, friends, good health and a whole lot more blessings from God.

That’s my mundane life today. And I’m surely loving every single minute of it. 🙂

 

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Photo credit: theyearofdenise.com

 

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“Lola Belay”

HPIM1486I never knew who Lola (Grandma) Belay was. All my mom would say was that I looked like her in this picture. I did not know if that was a compliment or an insult, considering that at the age of four, I already looked like a lola! But of course, it’s my mom. She loves me to pieces. She said I looked like a lola with her most endearing tone.

Maybe I was the earlier version of Aleng Maliit (small lady). Ryzza Mae Dizon only took after me. 🙂 Ha! But seriously, my parents would say I have an advanced mind for my young age back then. I’m a curious child with lots of questions and tricks. I play blocks and make colorful geometric designs with it. I love my animal toys. I swing at our back yard. I play hide and seek with my neighbors. I play kitchen-kitchen. I pretend I’m the bus conductor. I act as teacher to my playmate-students. I read my storybooks. I put color in my coloring book. I play in the sand. I dance to the bubuka ang bulaklak, sasayaw ang reyna (the flower will open, and then the queen will dance) song.

Needless to say, I have a very happy childhood. 🙂 I did what I loved to do as a child – play! Isn’t that my job as a child? To play endlessly. Because that’s when I learn best. That’s when I grow to be smarter, not only intellectually, but also physically and socially. (Uh-oh, my inner Early Childhood Development persona is creeping out. I’d let you in on that side of me some other time.)  

I wish that I will be able to give the same happy childhood memories to my future child. Only then will I be able to say, I’ve come full circle. 🙂

Sianse

food turner1In my years as a single woman, I seldom cook and hold a sianse (kitchen food turner) in my hand. Until I got married. I had to learn how to cook, whether I like it or not, or my husband and I will go hungry. 🙂

The very first few dishes I learned were the easiest ones – fried foods. All I needed was some cooking oil, my sianse and my ever dependable kawali (pan). And voila, there’s our dinner matched with some cucumber salad.

Then I experimented with dishes that require some sauce mixture, such as caldereta and afritada. My caldereta wasn’t a smash hit. The beef cubes needed much more boiling than what I have done. My afritada was much better. I knew this because of the way my husband appreciated its flavor.

While my husband had the opportunity to work out of the country, I, on the other hand had an opportunity to learn more dishes. I was able to hone my cooking skills even more. I began searching for easy-to-do recipes that will ensure my success in cooking. My caldereta improved a lot and I discovered cooking techniques. I perfected a chicken adobo aloha, to which I am very proud of. My chicken tinola can be likened to a Hainanese dish, what with all the ginger I poured into the dish.

All these I did with my sianse. She’s now my best friend in the kitchen. My dishes are waiting for you, honey. 🙂

 

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This post is in response to the weekly writing challenge in the Daily Post: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/writing-challenge-object/

 

Photo credit: www.susology.org

Tainted Love: A Farewell Note

Breaking-Up-CoupleWe all had our first loves. We all had our first break-ups. This poem was buried in my chest of written treasures only to be released just now.

A FAREWELL NOTE

By Leah Lyn E. Albano

The symphony’s been playing our song.

It seems to be the same melody

That swept my heart away.

It seems to be the same rhyme

That made me fell for you.

Yet all these sameness

Is a bit different now.

The melody carries a lonelier tune

And as I listen intently,

I find that there’s no more rhyme.

The promised waiting

Isn’t over just yet.

But I can no longer

Hang on much further.

I’ve waited for you

To write me a letter,

To call me on the phone.

I have always waited for you

But you no longer seem to care.

Has something happened to your heart?

Have you forgotten our covenant?

I can no longer wait for you

Unless you break the cold silence

Unless you affirm your devotion to me.

I shall stop longing for you.

I shall begin opening up myself

To other people

Who are more than willing

To get involved with me.

I shall begin a new journey

Without you.

I shall be listening

To the new song

The symphony is playing

For me and for me alone.

 

February 15, 2000

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Photo credit: www.mehek.in

Open Up My Womb

“It takes time for seed to come up. You don’t expect carrots to come up the day after you plant them, do you? Pray now for tomorrow’s needs.” – Marilyn Hickey on Make Your Day Count

HPIM1471I was looking for inspiration when I came across this passage from the book my friend gave me. Suddenly, it hit me. I may be a wife of nearly three years already. But I am not yet a mother. The closest thing I have become is being a second mom to my preschool students before. But being a mother to my own child is a different matter altogether.

For those years that I have been married, my husband has only been physically present with me for a year. He was destined to work overseas. In the year that we were together, part of those months, I got sick. We’ve been trying to have a baby, but we have not been blessed – just yet. I’ve been frantic about not having a baby, since I’m already in my mid-30s. But my husband will always assure me that it is God who decides when to give the baby. He even assured me, baby or no baby, he will love me no matter what. Isn’t that what matters?

DSC_0204

As I read again the passage I shared earlier in this entry, I realized I should have been praying to God for this desire of ours to have a baby, even when my husband is away. I suddenly prayed to God last night, that He opens up my womb in His most perfect timing, so that I will be prepared to have a baby soon after my husband comes home to be with me, if God wills it to be so.

I think no husband and wife  would desire no children in their family life. That’s why I feel for those who have been barren or those who have been longing to have a child but have not been blessed yet. The Lord only knows and understands their pain.

And so I say, pray Leah for tomorrow’s needs and desires. It takes time for seed to come up. This might be yet another journey that the Lord has in store for you – that of waiting to have your little Randy or little Leah. Just wait and pray.

 

Photo credit: Rommel Quimson

 

Overcoming Depression: A Glimpse of Death

lifeThere is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There is always a God of hope who is ready to embrace those who’ve succumbed to depression.

This is the second part of the story I shared with all of you yesterday at https://thevelveteenleah.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/depression-breaking-the-silence/

Written in poetry form, I penned this after going through what seemed to be an endless experience of agony. It was quite cathartic for me to write out what happened to me back then and the lessons I’ve learned in the process.

Here it is.

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GLIMPSE OF DEATH

By Leah Lyn E. Albano

Tragedy struck in her young life.

Hopeless, desperate, depressed,

She attempted to end all the pain.

 

Caught unaware that her dreams will be shattered.

Taken by surprise that her life will be put on hold.

She was a soldier caught without her defenses.

 

Blinded with the sinfulness of her nature,

She hid in her cocoon,

Not speaking a word, holding it all in her heart.

 

Confused, overwhelmed, frustrated.

No one can paint a smile on her face.

Tears…all tears were flowing from within.

 

Abyss of depression, the horror of it all!

She was in the valley of the shadow of death.

“Where was God? Why me, Lord?” she asked.

 

The questions were difficult,

And the answers remained elusive.

She was at the tunnel, waiting for the light to dawn again.

 

Life, for her, stopped.

But the clock remained ticking.

Her loved ones remained loving her.

 

Amidst the void she was feeling,

God was miraculously at work.

Angels protected her from dying.

 

The journey uphill was a difficult struggle.

It was not without much pain and crying,

When she emerged from the deep recesses of her sorrow.

 

It was not without doubts and much questionings,

When all the anger and bitterness surfaced.

The ugly side of life haunted her to no end.

 

But the terror of it all had to happen,

For her to fully face her sinfulness,

For her to fully receive God’s grace and mercy.

 

“Christ died for the real me,

Wounds, bruises, scars and all!”

A declaration of hope … the light is finally seen.

 

Traversing the road leading her to a glimpse of death

Was no defeat at all.

That death led her to savor the sweet taste of life anew!

 

January 25, 1998

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Photo credit: http://hdw.eweb4.com

 

Depression: Breaking the Silence

depression

Apparently, I wrote sad stuff when I was much younger. My poems and journal entries speak of anger, frustration and sadness, to say the least. I had a lot of hang-ups back then. Little did I know that I was being pulled into the abyss of depression. Until I finally succumbed to it. There were triggers that led me to the hell that was depression. Few people understand this condition. Fewer people even accept what it really is.

While I was going through that difficult period in my life, people closest to me would say, “You just don’t pray enough.” Or perhaps they would utter, “Maybe you are harboring an unconfessed sin in your life, that’s why you’re depressed.” Or they would say, “That’s just momentary.”

They did not help me in any way. They even added to the hurt that I was already feeling. At some point, I would like to believe them, until that fateful day happened.

I realized I needed professional help when I found myself attempting to end my life. I was already  crying for desperate help! I have been silent on this area in my life for so long, since I know that not all would understand, especially I am of Christian background.

But I am now ready to break my silence. I would like to put a real face to what depression really is.

I was diagnosed to have clinical depression last 1997. There was a chemical imbalance in my brain and I was treated for it with oral medications combined with a series of psychotherapy sessions to deal with my pressing issues at hand. It recurred in 1999. And reappeared many years after. It was safe to say I was struggling with the condition. Research says, that once a person was diagnosed with depression, it is more likely that he or she  will experience a recurrence. It may also be genetic in nature.

Tell-tale signs of my depression was lack of appetite, inability to  sleep, lack of interest in the things that I previously enjoy, fear of people, anxiety over the future, crying bouts and the angry, emotional outbursts I would often have.

My family and friends did not know how to handle me anymore. Till I realized that only few people stayed with me during this dark night of my soul. That’s when I discovered who my real friends were. They were the ones who would sit with me in silence, offer me a comforting prayer and embrace, and visit me at home even when I couldn’t relate with them normally. They were the ones who loved and accepted me for who I really was. Stripped of my usual, smart, confident self; they came to know the scared, insecure self that  I really was.

Depression may be ugly. But it brings out the beauty in every person that goes through with it. It sheds off the mask that most people put on to gain acceptance in society. It brings forth compassion for the unloved and the unaccepted. It gives new meaning to deliverance from darkness after one has gained victory over that condition. It assures you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am now in my mid-30s. I am still under maintenance medication to ensure chemical balance in my brain to prevent me from having to succumb to depression again. But what gives me joy now, is that I have learned to develop coping mechanisms to deal with my daily struggles. I have faced my issues head-on. I have a loving, supportive family who completely accepts me. And I have a God of hope bigger than any depression.

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Photo credit: imgfave.com

A Poem for Ahniemay

HPIM1443She was my DGmate (discipleship group mate) when we were in college. I think she was three or four years younger than I was. But the age gap did not stop us from building a long-lasting friendship. We bonded easily and we were vulnerable enough to open our lives to one another. I wrote this 14 years ago especially for her.

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A POEM FOR AHNIEMAY

By Leah Lyn E. Albano

You asked for love once in your life

And you got it with open arms.

You asked for happiness in your love

And you got it with open heart.

You thought all will be well

With your love and with your life.

At the forefront, you were abundant

With joy, with laughter, with warmth.

The storms set in, thunders roared.

Your life were clouded with doubts.

Heartaches were near,

Tears were not far away.

The love you once had

Is soon slipping away.

The life you hold dear

IS beginning to shatter into pieces.

In spite of these turmoil,

I know you will emerge

As a victor, as a winner

For your strength lies in Christ.

In Christ and in Christ alone,

You shall rest in true love.

True life you shall experience

When you end searching for human LOVE.

February 3, 2000

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Lover of My Soul

lover of my soul

At the height of my Christian walk with the Lord was borne out many poems pertaining to my Beloved Christ. His complete work of redemption from sin and eternal damnation makes me ever grateful as I recall His ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.

Here’s one of my poems about the Great I Am.

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LOVER OF MY SOUL
By Leah Lyn E. Albano

You have been the Lover of my soul
The Redeemer whose grace overflows
The Healer whose hands soothe.

You have been the King of my heart
The Prince of Peace calming my mind
The Rose of Sharon stilling my soul

Never will the enemy snatch me from You
For never will you leave me
And never will you forsake me

Stumble and fall, that’s what I do best
But You have always been a Helper to me
You give me wings like eagles so I can soar on high

Disappointments and pain abound in my life
But You have always been by Source of Joy
You give me a cheerful heart in spite of every tear

You are the Great I AM
The God in whose life I owe
The Lord in whose blood I am redeemed

February 24, 2000

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Have you been redeemed by Christ already?

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Photo credit:  christiancollages.com