Dios Ti Agngina

Thank you in Ilocano

A gathering place of great ideas, inspiring stories, faith, family, fashion, food (with a slant on CLEAN, healthy Filipino cooking), and much more!  Welcome to Dios Ti Agngina!

Let's Go Fly A Kite

Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I regrettably was pro-choice.  Like many Americans I had been brainwashed in believing that every person has a right to choose what is best for him or herself.  I didn't believe it was any of my business what people wanted to do with their lives.  We live in the United States, the Land of the Free, for crying out loud!  Never did I imagine how dead wrong I was in this mindset.

Towards the end of my banking career I distinctly remember siding with the pro-choice argument in conversation.  I can't forget what a bank associate and friend quizzingly said to me, "Isn't that an oxymoron?  I mean coming from a Catholic!"  He certainly had a point.  Oh my gosh!  Could I be a hypocrite?  

By now I think people have heard and seen the two shocking undercover videos on Planned Parenthood's top women executives caught speaking so nonchalantly about the selling of baby parts.  The first woman, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, is casually eating her lunch while talking about the destruction of fetuses yet salvaging baby organs to sell them.  For people who have no idea what an abortion is, these videos are mind boggling.  For people who have never heard of Planned Parenthood and thought that it's just a women's clinic that saves lives by conducting mammograms, this is new news.  At the end of the first video, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards comes out and says how wonderful Nucatola is.  

Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene.  How timely and fitting her commemoration comes!  St. Mary Magdalene was the sister of Martha and Lazarus, the man whom Jesus raised from the dead.  She was also a prostitute, who was possessed by at least seven demons. However, Jesus had pity on her just as He has for all of us sinners and casted out the demons. St. Mary Magdalene's story of conversion is so powerful.  So it is good to ask for her intercession for all those in the abortion industry like Cecile Richards, Deborah Nucatola, and those who are pro-choice and pro-abortion.  Abortion is heinous, evil, and sadistic, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deeply conflicted and brainwashed (like I was).  Even a small, innocent child can tell that the killing of a baby in the womb is wrong.  May the Lord raise abortion leaders and supporters up from the dead.  May He help them see the truth because nothing is more important than saving souls!

You may be wondering about the title "Let's Go Fly A Kite".  I've been watching the movie Mary Poppins these days because of my little boy and I can't get the song out of my head.  He loves the movie and the songs.  One of his favorite scenes is the one with the penguins dancing in the animated sequence.  He gets right up every time and dances along!  If you haven't seen the movie Saving Mr. Banks, the story behind Mary Poppins,  it's a must see as well.  I have a wish, more like a vision.  I'd love to see the day when abortion is abolished in the United States.  On that wondrous day I'd love to see 55 million kites up in the sky to honor those 55 million children murdered in the wombs of their mothers here in the U.S.  At least 55 million babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade.  What a happy, happy day that would be and not to mention a most beautiful sight!

I urge you to talk to your children (even if they are grown) about the evil that is abortion.  Have that conversation.  If you don't, then they will eventually believe it is okay, as I once did.  It really is a hard conversation to have because the thought of it is very saddening.  Say a prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your discussion with your children.  He will be your help and lead the way.   Every life matters from conception to natural death and for God's sake let's instill this truth in our children.  


First and Second Planned Parenthood Videos

I have a wish, more like a vision. I’d love to see the day when abortion is abolished in the United States. On that wondrous day I’d love to see at least 55 million kites up in the sky to honor those 55 million children murdered in the wombs of their mothers here in the U.S. What a happy, happy day that would be and not to mention a most beautiful sight!

Six Years

The most important thing that I've learned these past six years of marriage is that God's love knows no bounds.  We cannot count the blessings He has given us.  Our life has flourished because of Him.

We've certainly had an eventful time together.  We were unemployed at the start of our marriage, relocated three times in four years for Martin's job, had financial challenges, and dealt with illness.  In times of difficulty and uncertainty, God has provided for us and has answered all of our prayers.

I can never forget one life changing event.  Martin's job in Dallas was eliminated a couple of months before our wedding and he was left unemployed.  He called me right away to tell me the bad news.  I happily replied, "Oh, good!  I don't have to move then!" (I was living in Virginia.)   That was not exactly the response he expected!  He called his mom in Manila next to tell her the news.  She cut the conversation short saying, "I have to go.  Don't worry anak (child)!  The Lord has been looking after you your entire life.  He won't stop now."  Click, dial tone.  No sympathy there!

Mom got it right.  The Lord has truly looked after us.  Being unemployed was an unexpected blessing -- it brought us closer.  Somehow, despite our adversity, God took away our burdens.  We prayed the rosary, were able to attend daily Mass, and had lots of quality time not only with each other but with our dearest friends and family.  We were even able to go back to the Philippines for Martin's father's birthday.  We like to call this time in our lives our extended honeymoon!

When we were preparing for our wedding, I used to ask Martin if we could celebrate our wedding anniversaries lavishly.  I had all sorts of extravagant ideas floating in my head.  Martin would just smile in reply but I'm sure he was worried!  Thankfully I don't think like that anymore.  While weddings are truly special and unforgettable for the bride and groom, I've learned that there is much more to an anniversary than having a party.  Our anniversary is a reminder that our life together is sacred, blessed in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

There is no doubt in my mind that my life has never been sweeter since marrying Martin. These past six years have been the best six years of my life.  And I know that the next six years, and beyond, will be even sweeter.


The Mass


The Reception


Dios ti agngina!  Thank you to all of our loved ones who devoted themselves to prayer during our wedding preparation and who continue to pray for us!  And to all who celebrated our special day with us, thank you.  We love you!

There is no doubt in my mind that my life has never been sweeter since marrying Martin. These past six years have been the best six years of my life. And I know that the next six years, and beyond, will be even sweeter.

Comedy in the Confessional

Have you ever heard laughter from a confessional before?  I know it sounds so bizarre but it really did happen.

A few years ago before my son was born my husband and I were new to Delaware and discovered a small white chapel not too far from our home.  It's named after the Immaculate Conception and it happened that the feast of the Immaculate Conception had just been celebrated.

It was also time for me to go to confession since it was about a year since my last one.  As we walked in we saw that it was very quiet and peaceful just as it should but there was no line.  We were the first to arrive.  The parish priest was just coming out to greet us.  We told him that we had come for confession and he told us he was happy to hear ours.  I decided to go first.

I have always preferred face to face confession for some reason.  I like to see my confessor's eyes and read facial expressions.  I think it helps me to make a good confession too.  I feel relieved when it's all over and the priest grants me absolution.  It is the one special moment to have with God and He makes everything right again.

I remember Father Roark, an older, kind priest.  I started off with my most serious sins and then talked about my venial ones.  Well, the one about ice cream really threw him off.

I told father that I was home that same week having some Ben and Jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream.  It had not been opened yet but I took the whole pint out and started eating.  This was really good ice cream.  I consciously kept reminding myself to stop halfway so that Martin could enjoy some too.  The problem was that I never stopped.  I ate it all!  And I knew that Martin would feel bad too.

The next day I did my usual routine of walking on the treadmill and watching EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).  Father Mitch Pacwa was saying Mass and then the homily.  It was as if he was talking straight at me because he was talking about the gluttonous behavior of finishing a whole pint of ice cream.  My mouth dropped.  I couldn't believe it!  It was also the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As I was recalling all of this to Father Roark he just burst out laughing and then laughed even harder.  He threw his head up in the air and could not stop laughing!  I found myself in an interesting situation and I thought that this certainly does not happen every day -- I started to laugh too.  I must say that we had a pretty good laugh together.

Poor Martin was left outside to wonder what was happening.  I walked back to pray at the pews to finish my penitence. As he entered the confessional, I completed my prayer and kept smiling to myself.

This was the most lighthearted and surprising confession I've ever had.  Not every confession will be as lighthearted as mine, but the feeling of forgiveness, the sense of relief, and the gratitude of being reconciled with our Lord will always be experienced.  

If you ask me if I still eat ice cream, I would tell you no.  But I'm so wishing to try this refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free ice cream in Venice, California called Kippy's Ice Cream.  The reviews and pictures say it all.  Umm, Martin, when can we go?  :) 

 

It is the one special moment to have with God and He makes everything right again.

Nepal

Nepal.  I have never been to Nepal but I would love to go there some day.  Why?  Because Nepal reminds me of my beloved Philippines.  From what I hear,  it is an enchanting country and the Nepalese people are so warm and friendly.

My first meeting with a Nepalese was nearly ten years ago when I worked for a community bank in Northern Virginia.  Her name was Mrs. Thapa.  I remember a petite pretty lady filled with vibrancy, a shining spirit, and a smiling countenance.  I remember thinking after that meeting that I'd really like to get to know her.  As the days and months passed I saw her more and more at the bank.  She applied for a position and became an employee at my branch.  She eventually became a very good friend.  Today I simply call her Anjana.

Anjana is from the heart of Nepal, the capital Kathmandu.  Recently, she contacted me about the tragedy that has taken place in her beloved Nepal.  We've all experienced devastation in some form or another.  It's frightening and sickening all at the same time.  These horrific events remind us how fragile humanity really is.  But we can overcome and triumph in tough times.  The human spirit is stronger than what we think.

Today I would like to offer a simple prayer to all the Nepalese people and for their crying country.

Lord God,

Please look upon the people of Nepal and send Your healing hand on every single person especially those who have been wounded and have lost their homes and/or loved ones.  Grant them courage and strength to rebuild their country to give You honor and praise always.

Amen.

Friends, let's lift up Nepal!  If you have not yet donated and would like to help, please consider giving to www.gofundme.com/nepalhospitals, a site that Anjana's daughter Devina has created to help those who are in most need of being cared for in Nepalese hospitals.  Every dollar counts so please know that any amount is deeply appreciated.  Also, please continue to keep Nepal and its people in your prayers.  God bless and thank you!

Attached are pictures that showcase the beauty and color of Nepal before the earthquake disaster that occurred on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

 


The human spirit is stronger than what we think.

Happy Easter

"We are Easter people," the priest from Kenya prodded the parish this morning during his homily.  "Our faith is in the risen Lord."  When I entered the church and was greeted by the beautiful Easter lilies and spring flowers at the altar, St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, came to mind.  Her simple, little way so inspired the world. Little things done for the glory of God can be great too.  I'm reminded that the saints lived joyful lives even though many suffered greatly on earth.  Joyful because they understood the promise of Christ.  The Eucharist is all we need to be complete.  The Eucharist is central to the teaching of the faith.

These days we rarely eat out.  If we do it's because it's a special occasion.  Easter Sunday is the most important day for all Christians so to celebrate we decided to try a local, quaint restaurant in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania called The Garlic Poet.

I must say that I think I've found the place where I'd like to celebrate my birthday for next year.  The Garlic Poet is the first in the area to incorporate the farm to table concept, an increasingly popular trend.  I felt at home in this cozy, relaxing space, which is reminiscent of an artsy library from old days past.  Garlic because it's a universal food and poet because poetry a universal language.  Our server Ed was accommodating, friendly, and very knowledgeable.  He sat us at a corner where the Spanish poet Luis de Gongora's portrait graced the wall.  I appreciated this since I was a Spanish major and I'm sure I had to have studied Gongora's work at some point in my Spanish classes.  I love the intimate setting, perfect for small dinner parties, serving up to 12 to 16 persons.

Back to the food!  I was served an appetizing plate of sea scallops, spring risotto, and sweet roasted carrots.  This is gourmet at its best.  This entree was total bliss.  I was able to enjoy a tiny bite of my husband's entree as well, a delectable cut of filet mignon, and some of his Italian red wine.  All food is local and organic so that's more bonus points for this establishment.  Their featured menu changes by the season so you know you get the freshest food possible.  We will certainly be by again to savor new Garlic Poet creations that any foodie would love and crave.  Hmmm, till next time.   

Please support local, farm to table restaurants in your area.  The food is healthy and made from scratch.  The ingredients are sourced from local farms which use very little to no pesticides and chemicals.  Many chefs can cater to your specific food preferences too.  This is a win-win for everyone.

 


We are Easter people. Our faith is on the risen Lord.

My Catholic Story

As we begin Holy Week, I am reminded of a moment in time when my world stood still,  a defining moment in my life.  It was a time when I realized how great God's love is and how His love transformed me.  This is my reversion story.

April 3, 1997.  I was a junior at the College of William and Mary in the midst of exams.  I remember answering the telephone and hearing my dad’s voice -- he sounded so sad,  so broken and so exhausted.  I could tell he had been crying.  I had never heard him like this before and so I immediately became alarmed.  I braced myself to hear the worst.  My dad began by telling me that my mom underwent surgery to remove three large tumors on her spinal cord.  Wait!  This was news to me; I knew my mom was undergoing surgery but I had been told it was for a relatively minor procedure, not major surgery!   I held my breath, waiting for the reassuring words that everything was ok.  Instead my dad's defeated voice continued.   “Your mom is resting now…”  At that moment came an outpouring of grief and pain.  I began to cry uncontrollably and  could not listen any longer.  All that was registering was that she was gone so I told my dad, “Dad, I have to go!”  I quickly hung up the phone.  I had never dealt with losing a loved one, much less losing a parent.  I was too young to lose her!  What made it worse was that I had not known about my mom's condition, how serious it was, and had not spent any more time with her.  I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye.  So I stood in the middle of the room feeling guilty and lost.  I didn't want to see anyone nor did I want anyone to see my grief.  But my loss was so overwhelming I could not weep quietly.  My cries escaped the solitude of my room, worrying my hall mates who kept knocking to see if I was ok.  I could not stop the tears.  

Some time passed and then a thought came to me.  I recalled something that my mother had given to me and told me to keep with me always -- a   simple, wooden Rosary.  I had never prayed the Rosary on my own before but this was a time when I felt I needed to.   I knelt down next to my bed and began to pray still crying.  In the middle of my prayer, I suddenly felt consoled and my crying ceased.  A calming peace passed through my whole being and I had faith that my mother was in a better place.  This was the first time I found consolation with the Blessed Virgin Mary and I felt thankful.

The next day my dad called again.  To my surprise and great relief, I learned that I had misunderstood him.   The sadness in his voice and his choice of words made me believe that my mom was gone.  I was so happy to realize that my mom was alive!

 I needed to see her.  Fortunately a good friend agreed to drive me to the hospital.  I cannot describe the feeling of seeing my mom again after thinking she was gone.  She was calm and beautiful, resting quietly on the hospital bed.  My sadness completely gone now, I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude.  Gratitude that she was alive, gratitude that I was able to see her, and especially gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This experience was a real awakening for me. I had a new appreciation for my family and my life.  Most importantly, my faith had been shaken awake.  My tears and sadness had not been wiped away by chance, but by God's gracious mercy.  I realized for the first time the great power of the Rosary and the Blessed Mother's intercessions.  Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a beautiful relationship with my Lord and my God.

 

A calming peace passed through my whole being and I had faith that my mother was in a better place. This was the first time I found consolation with the Blessed Virgin Mary and I felt thankful.