Monday, May 26, 2008

Our worst days may be our best

I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10)

If only Job had known, as he sat in the ashes, troubling his heart over the thought of God's providence, that millions down through history would look back on his trials. He might have taken courage in the fact that his experience would be a help to others throughout the world.

No one lives to himself, and Job's story is like yours and mine, only his was written for all to see. The afflictions Job faced and the trials he wrestled with are the very things for which he is remembered, and without them we would probably never have read of him in God's Word.

We never know the trials that await us in the days ahead. We may not be able to see the light through our struggles, but we can believe that those days, as in the life of Job, will be the most significant we are called upon to live. Robert Collyer

This is an excerpt from Streams in the Desert. God has an amazing way of stilling us when times are difficult by reminding us of His faithfulness throughout the ages. Reading the life of Job makes the worst affliction in our lives so trivial. Job endured all unimaginable trials yet he never cursed God.

In the end, Job became immortalized through one whole book in the Holy Bible.

Since Star was diagnosed with a rare bleeding disorder, I have kept on going back to the Book of Job to seek encouragement. As we are encouraged, so are we able to encourage others. The Bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.

Indeed, it is in our most difficult times that we see God's greatest miracles. In our needs, His provisions. In our weaknesses, His strength. In our illness, His healing.

Praises and glory be to God!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kindness abounds -- THANK YOU!

To all who reposted my post and forwarded my email, THANK YOU!

Indeed, kindness abounds. Through the forwarded posts and emails, we were finally able to get in touch with an importer who helped us secure the blood factor that Star needs.

It turned out that Koate and Alphanate are from human plasma and both are regulated products. We cannot buy any of the two ourselves. They can only be acquired through a hospital or a hematologist.

God willing, Star will be able to have her transfusion by Monday.

To all who prayed with us and gave words of encouragement, THANK YOU!

It is the prayers of others that makes us strong amidst difficult times.

I believe all things work together for good and surely God has a reason for allowing this bleeding disorder in our family.

This is a hereditary disorder which caused the life of my mother. Thankfully, with the modern technology, Star may be able to live a "normal" life.

Please keep Star in prayers. She is a bit scared about the transfusion. But she is excited too. Her bleeding has caused delays in our travel (we were supposed to leave today.) On Tuesday, we will be off to our long-awaited family vacation. =) God is good all the time!

God bless you all and return your kindness with more favors.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Help! Star needs blood transfusion!

Hi everyone!

Anyone who knows anybody working with Bayer or any pharmaceutical company that sells blood by-products? Or where we can buy blood factors Koate or Alphante?

Koate and Alphanate are anti-hemophelic concentrates that can help regulate the clotting factor.

Our 9-year-old daughter Star needs to have blood transfusion ASAP to stop her frequent nosebleeding. As I have shared in my past posts (here and here), Star has a bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand Disease. It's a genetic bleeding disorder where the platelets are either defective or not functioning well.

Lately, Star has been nosebleeing more frequently again, and unlike in the past, there are now big blood clots. This afternoon, there were about four of those.

Thankfully, results of her CBC and platelet count today are good. No anemia. Platelet is high which means her "good soldiers" are fighting. But her bleeding has to be addressed, otherwise, it will lead to more complications. However, Koate or Alphante are not available in the Philippines. But in case you know of anyone in the pharmaceutical companies, they might know how we can buy them.

Both of these products may be available in Hongkong or Singapore. For those with kind-hearted friends or relatives in those areas, can we ask for assistance in finding out how much this costs and if they are willing to facilitate our purchase of the products?

Please PM me or email me at

Thanks a lot and God bless!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paalam, Ka Bel!

Today, the country has lost one great leader -- Congressman Crispin Beltran. He succumbed to internal hemorrhage after a bad fall in their home last night.

Ka Bel is one of the leaders I truly admire. Simple, humble, very unassuming.

Even though he was a national leader, he lived simply. Unlike many activist leaders who change when they rise up to power, Ka Bel remained the same.

There are many stories to tell about my personal encounters with Ka Bel. But what struck me most was his simplicity to the very end, and his love for his family. Aside of course, from his passion for the country.

Ka Bel was never pretentious. One time while I visited him at the Heart Center (where he was detained for many months), he shared how he and his family acquired their new home in Bulacan. "Naku, pinangutang ko pa yon." He went on to tell me of his little garden and how it gave him and Ka Osang, his wife, some peace. All the while, the home he was describing seemed like a mansion because it gave him so much joy. Then he goes, "mahal din yon a, mahigit P100,000."

And this was a congressman talking. Something hit me in the heart . My goodness! Here I was complaining at times, yet I was far more blessed than this congressman. I felt so rich that day.

I went to visit Ka Bel that day to encourage him. But I was the one encouraged. My mental picture of Ka Bel will always be the smiling, unassuming, simple leader. A leader that truly serves.

This is such a sad day. We will surely miss you, Ka Bel!

(Thanks to Tonyo for the photo.)

The day we quarrelled in front of our children

One day, my husband and I argued in front of our children. Hubby walks out. The eyes of our children were suddenly all on me. I was almost tempted to blurt out: "What did I do?" But I did not. Instead, I said what I thought was the right thing to do. Process them.

"Okey guys, what your dad just did was wrong." Then pause....

"But what I did was even more wrong. I should have just kept quiet."

Leadership, whether in the family or at work, is always lived by example. We cannot expect our children or our subordinates to do what is right when they see us act otherwise.

Thankfully, it is never too late to do the right thing.

The Bible gives us a lot of examples on leadership. Leaders of different types and characters. Thankfully, it also shows us that even great leaders are humans. And just like everyone of us, they commit mistakes. Take Moses as an example. Moses was a reluctant leader. He made all the excuses. He angered God to the point that God intended to kill him. (Exodus 4:24) Yet, God used Moses to bring Israel out of Egypt.

There are many interesting things to learn about the leadership style of Moses. I'd like to share an excerpt from The Maxwell Leadership Bible:

by John Maxwell

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heat. You shall them them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. -- Deuteronomy 6:5-7

An old phrase says, "The leader's job is to keep the main thing, the main thing." Moses attempts this in Deuteronomy 6 by reminding the Israelites that their existence revolves around loving God. He also tells family leaders how to transfer truth to their children. Reggie Joiner notes the principles Moses develops:
  1. Relationship comes before rules.
  2. Truth must be in you before it can be in them.
  3. Each day offers natural opportunities for teaching.
  4. Repitition is the teacher's best friend.
Make use of all of those opportunities. Decide on issues you can discuss and ask questions of each other. Pray about your priorities together.

POSTSCIPT: Catch John Maxwell live in Manila on June 10, Edsa Shangrila Hotel. For details, call 8132732 or 03. Look for Juliet. Or reserve online at

Photo from:

Are you an effective leader?

The 4 Voices That Help Find Your Leadership Vision
by John Maxwell

Where does a leader's vision come from? To find your vision, you must listen to...

  1. The Inner Voice: Vision starts within. Do you know what your life's mission is? If what you're pursuing in life doesn't come from the depths of who you are and what you believe, you will not be able to accomplish it.
  2. The Unhappy Voice: Where does inspiration for great ideas come from? From noticing what doesn't work. Discontent with the status quo is a great catalyst for vision. No great leader in history has fought to prevent change.
  3. The Successful Voice: Nobody can accomplish great things alone. If you want to lead others to greatness, find a good mentor, ad advisor who can help you sharpen your vision.
  4. The Higher Voice: Don't let your vision be confined by your own limited capabilities. A truly valuable vision must have God in it. Only He knows what you're really capable of. Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime as you've sought your vision? If not, you may be missing the true potential of your life.


This is an excerpt from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell who authored the best-selling Developing the Leader Within You, The 360 Degree Leader, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The Winning Attitude (along with more than 12 other best-sellers which have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.)

John Maxwell will be in Manila for the John Maxwell Leadership Summit on June 10, 2008. If you haven't registered yet, today is a good day to do so to take advantage of the May Early Bird rates so you can save P1,000 off the regular June rates. To register call 8132732/03 (ask for Juliet) or reserve online

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ATTENTION, NTC! Revoke Sun Cell's license!

We recently got a family pack from Sun cellular after reading their ad. P999/month for three phones. Not a bad deal. (Or so we thought.) With post-paid phones, we no longer have to perennially worry about loading our children's pre-paid phones.

The thought of no charges for Sun-to-Sun calls and texts is not a bad idea at all, especially that more and more friends and business contacts have Sun Cell numbers as well.

The application process was very easy. I only had to present my Smart monthly bill, fill up a form and give reference numbers of people who could attest to my identity. Voila! we got three brand new phones in two days.

Unfortunately, Ben didn't want to shift to Sun. Sofie's old phone broke down and was just excited to get a new phone. The hubby thought Star does not really need a phone so we both ended up getting an extra unit each.

Now almost a month after we got Sun, my and my husband's blood pressure rise everyday. We can hardly call each other. For the very few times that we manage to get through, the signals are either too bad you have to shout or pfft! - the line drops faster than it connects. And text messages get delivered after 48 years.

So much for better network, better value! PANA should revoke the airing of Sun Cell ads. There is definitely no truth to Sun's advertising. Too bad Aga agreed to endorse Sun. I'm sure he's using Smart or Globe.

We will be filing a complaint with the NTC this week. Sun users, unite!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A tribute to my mother

For two decades, we have not celebrated mother's day. My mother left us to move on to the other side of life more than 20 years ago. She was just 50. At the time of her death, I was barely off high school and in the awkward, difficult stage called adolescence. It was a bad time for her to go.

My mother was a career woman at a time when careers were not even called as such. This picture of her with all of my siblings and a nephew was so typical of her -- a super mom.

She practically raised us -- six siblings -- single-handedly when our father went into some sort of self-exile after his arrest
during the Martial Law years. Mama was working as a registrar and later on, finance officer, of a local Catholic school. On the side, she was an Avon franchise dealer, a Tupperware lady and at the same time, running our farm. On weekends, she would either be leading the affairs in our diocese or holding relief operations in our neighborhood. And she was raising six children!

It amazes me no end looking back at how our mother managed to juggle motherhood, career, side-lines, civic work, religious duties all at the same time. To think that she would never miss checking on us week by week in school. She was the only mother who would do parent-teacher consultation when hands-on parenting was not yet coined.

On t
he evenings before we went to bed, she would marvel us with stories of the war-times -- how the Japanese took their home and turned it into a garrison, her encounters with "santelmo's" (St. Elmo's fire), her family back in the Occidental side of Negros, and our lola's "third eye" and her encounters with dwende's and spirits. We would all be shrieking at the horror stories but nevertheless, we would beg her to tell them over and over again.

Mama almost never got sick. The only time I remembered her getting sick was when she came from Dumaguete, then about five hours drive from our town because of the rough roads. She probably got too tired from the travel.

It came as a shock to everyone in our town, especially us, when she died in a freak medical accident while undergoing
minor surgery.

Our life turned upside down when mama died. Suddenly, our home was never the same again. The orderliness of our mother. (She was definitely OC!) The discipline. The gentle reminders. The hugs and kisses. Suddenly the center of our lives, who put all of us in our right places, was gone. I supposed all of us siblings, and even our father, questioned God why. Why was she gone so soon? She was the best mother any child could ask for. I don't think I am even close to her as a super mom.

Thankfully, God knows the best timing. He took our mother after she had instilled the right discipline in each one of us. If God took her earlier, we would all have been ill-prepared. But if He took her later, we would have lost both our parents. Because a few months after her death, our home was bombed, and the shrapnels landed mostly in our parents room. Since mama's death, our father stopped sleeping in their bedroom. But had she been alive, she and papa would have died a brutal death. Truly, God has a reason for everything.

What I am today as a mother and as a wife, I mostly attribute to my own mother. She, who patiently read me bedtime stories amidst candlelight. (Electricity was only until 8pm then.) And I have five other siblings she would also put to sleep. She, who taught me mostly what I know -- from household chores to survival tips. She, who taught us to care for others. And most especially, she who taught us to love God with all of our hearts, mind and soul.

Mama was not perfect. But she was the best. I never had the chance to say Happy Mother's Day to her. But today, I honor my mother -- Sofia Lopez-Vito Hernandez for being the best mother we could ever have. I praise and thank God for giving us nobody less than her.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Selecta Choco Hazelnut Brownie is a downer

To "celebrate" my being home again, I treated my three not-so-little darlings with ice cream yesterday afternoon. In our household, when the "boss" is not around, we only eat choco-flavored ice creams. I'm a self-confessed choco-addict. And I only eat choco-flavored ice creams. Anything, for as long as it's choco-flavored. When something new comes out in the market, for as long as it's chocolatey, we try it out.

And so, for yesterday's fix, I grabbed a half-galloon Selecta Choco Hazelnut Brownie. The photo seemed so enticing - with real hazelnuts, chocolate chunks and brownies. Hmmm. My mind was all on the ice cream as I was lining up to pay. Good thing, it was a Monday afternoon and not too many people were shopping at SM North's Hypermarket. I couldn't wait to get home and partake of the find with my children. My kids were all as excited as they opened the can. Chunks of brownies greeted us at first glance. Seems yummy indeed. Real chunks of delectable brownies. But after a few spoons, I still didn't find hazelnuts and choco chunks. Maybe I didn't eat enough servings? Or maybe not.

My verdict: Selecta Choco Hazelnut Brownie is a downer. Very Rocky Road tastes better and it's even cheaper. Next time, I'll probably try the latest Magnolia choco-flavored offering.

Chowking Halo-halo

Nothing can beat the sizzling hot summer days than a treat of the best Halo-halo in town. My benchmark of good Halo-halo is Kabigting's, that dainty sari-sari store in the foothills of Arayat. But driving to Arayat is out of question. So off to SM North I went with the hubby. Before doing our weekly grocery's we dropped by Chowking, on the second floor of the main mall. The store was filled but we were resolved to have our fare of Halo-halo and so we patiently waited for our turn. Thankfully, we soon found two vacant seats. Maybe it was our craving or maybe Chowking really has better service now, but not too long after the hubby took his seat -- voila! -- our special Halo-halo appeared. Made of 12 yummy ingredients, Chowking's Halo-halo tastes a lot better than the last time I visited. The ice is finer now and the milk tastes better. The serving of each ingredient is just enough to get a balanced mix of taste. Hmmm! The best. Now we don't have to drive an hour and a half to Pampanga to get a fix of a great Halo-halo. I'll definitely be back before the summer ends!

Ben's Chocolate Cakes

I admit. I don't bake very well. But Ben does. Our 13-year-old chef does not only cook delicious pastas, chicken curry and menudo, he bakes the best chocolate-flavored cakes (brownies, fudge, plain choco cake).

A few days ago, I tried to bake chocolate cake for dessert. Without hesitation, Star blurted that kuya's cake tastes a lot better. Ouch! Talk about children's honesty. :-)

Last night, Ben baked choco fudge and we refrigerated it overnight. I had it for breakfast this morning to go along with my coffee. Hmm. The best! This is what I have missed the past four months. =)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I'm jobless, thank God!

It's my third day of being jobless and I've never been happier since I decided to give the corporate world a try.

Don't get me wrong. I loved the office I just left -- the work and the people I worked with. They were all so nice to me.

But at the end of the day, one has to decide on what is more important. No doubt about it, family comes first. When work comes in the way of family life, you have to let go.

Funny how my sisters and close friends reacted when I broke the news to them. They were all so happy for me. I am too! :-) Now I can say "hello" again to my kids as they wake up even if they do at mid-day. And I can't wait to have our long-awaited summer vacation! Thank God, I'm free again! :-)