A Retelling of Life


The Layout to Love

Six months after our wedding and a few days before our relatives arrived for my sister’s wedding, our wedding scrapbook arrived.  This is what a DIY Boracay wedding looks like.

beach wedding, Raymund and Valerie

The Little Things That Make a Wedding

Knowing we had only two months to plan, hubby and I made the most of every waking hour.  We employed the help of family and friends.  It was amazing how things fell into place.  We only made one visit to Boracay to meet with our suppliers and yet we pulled it off. It really was because our Lord guided us every step of the way.

What a blessing Nonoy (our make up artist) was to us.  Before him I had had at least 3 trials with 3 different make up artists.  Luckily, hubby and I bumped into his Tita who was also a wedding organizer.  She referred us to Nonoy and that was it.  A match made in beauty heaven. 🙂

Sibling Love

As early as 6:30 am, hubby and I were already up preparing for our 2:00 pm wedding.  Make up session began at 7:00 am.  My sisters Kaye and Mimin joined me on my last night as a singleton.  We were all exhausted from all the travelling we had to do.  Suffice it to say that we just slept the night through.

The Holy Rosary Chapel, Boracay Island, Philippines

Since we were staying at the Boracay Plaza Resort, which was located right in front of the church, I opted to walk to my wedding.  With my brother holding an umbrella to shield me from the warm rays of the sun and my younger sister holding my train, it was a fitting start to a beautiful new life.

The Groom – My hubby, a loving, kind and adventurous man who takes good care of me. =)

The entourage – Our hearts swelled at the sight of relatives, family and friends who came all the way to Boracay from the Philippines and all over the world despite the short notice.

A Walk to Love

Mixed emotions..that’s what I felt.  I was certain that the man standing, waiting for me at the altar was the one but still, it was a little sad kissing my mom and dad and leaving them, to walk toward him.

“When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven and come and sit in that house and sing for joy.”  ~  Indeed, it was a joyful affair.  I’ve always loved weddings and I’m proud to say that I loved mine the most. (haha, love your own.)

Love is beautiful and weddings, well, they are the most definitive form of celebrating love.

A wedding is not just joining of two souls.  It too is the joining of families, the union of two houses.  I am now not only a Parreno but also an Alova.  🙂

We hadn’t thought of how we would get from the Church to the venue.  We figured we could easily walk to the reception.  After all, it was just across the Church! However, Ms. Vicky of Boracay Plaza Resort lent us her car and driver for the occasion.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a wedding car waiting to take us to the venue.

Boracay Plaza Resort

Our 90 or so guests were treated to cocktails and some light snacks while we went off to the beach in search of the perfect shots.  We prepared a hosts of things for them to do, a jigsaw puzzle, a DIY photo and video booth.  However, the concept of Do It Yourself in the Philippines hasn’t quite caught on.  While we had put signs asking them to record a message for us, no one actually did.  Still, it was a pleasant exercise in understanding the pysche of the Filipino wedding goer.

Our host and my maid of honor Kaye, kept the mood light and breezy.  Also, since only close relatives and friends were there, they  knew each other and were excited at the opportunity to reconnect.  Besides, Boracay is a paradise, guests pretty much entertained themselves.

It was a beautiful night filled with lots of singing and dancing.  Laughter filled the air as we celebrated love, the love between a husband and wife, the love among family, relatives and friends.

Boracay beach wedding

The Greatest Adventure of Our Lives

  And this is the story of our love. 🙂

This my friends, is the start of our greatest adventure yet.  Hope you enjoyed viewing the pictures.

Grateful and Blessed

I am 38 years old now.  I think I was about 20 when I first made a list of all my dreams.  Through God’s grace, I seem to have achieved it all.  I became a lawyer, travelled the world (having gone to more that 5 countries being my goal) or at least a part of the world , married a good man and became the mom of two precious sons.  I have all that I need, a beautiful family, a house and our own car and a career I love, I am happy and content.  While I know it is time to write down new dreams, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I have now.

When I was in highschool, I used to fear the future.  In college, I wrote a lot about death and had a morbid fascination with what lies after this life.  I don’t know what changed my perspective.  All I know is that slowly, life turned out far better than I expected.  Whoever that person may be or whatever that experience may be that turned me towards the direction I am now in, I am thankful.  Thank you Lord for my 38 years.  I pray that you continue to bless me and my family all the days of our lives.  Guide us all that we may live a life pleasing to you. Amen.

In Moments Like These

A feeling of unease, an unsettling in the air.  There are moments like these in one’s life.  Indeed, life is not perfect and when I feel this way, I take comfort in the song “In Moments Like These” by the Maranatha Singers.  Whatever I may be feeling, there is one thing of which I am certain.  The Lord loves me and I love Him.

“In moments like these
I sing out a song
I sing out a love song to Jesus
In moments like these
I lift up my hands
I lift up my hands to the Lord
Singing I love you Lord
Singing I love you Lord
Singing I love you Lord
Singing I love you”

Thank you for your enduring love Lord. I pray that you continue to bless me and my family as we try to live a life pleasing to you. I surrender all my cares and ill feelings to you Lord. Amen.

A Season of Living with the Lord

Yesterday, I flew home at 4’o clock in the morning.  I was so sleepy that despite my clogged nose and itchy throat, I fell asleep the moment I sat on my seat in the plane.  Next thing I knew, we were in flight and the attendants were serving food to us.

Then, my left ear popped.  I could feel it happening, a gradual buildup of pressure in my ear drums until one ear popped.  My hands got clammy.  I felt like it would be a repeat of my July flight experience when my blood pressure went up as 150 over 90.  I calmed myself, prayed, invoked the Lord’s help.  My inside voice talked to my body, assuring it that the worst that could happen was the loss of one ear’s hearing.  There was nothing to fear.  Fortunately, my body listened and I calmed down.  For the rest of the flight I just sang silently, leaning on God’s sustaining grace.

I am turning 38 years old in a few days.  I tell myself that this must be why I have new fears.  The adventurous Valerie who could climb cliffs and dive into waterfalls is gone.   I never used to overthink trips, I never used to consider that something could just go awry.  Now, I do.  I am not as spontaneous as I used to be.  In order to be a better wife and mother I have had to change, I have had to learn to plan, prepare plans B and C.

I worry about this new change but I have to embrace this new me and learn to manage the accompanying side effects of becoming a planner.  I realize now though that even if I become a planner, I should plan keeping in mind that I am not in control of things.  Yes, plan hard and the surrender it all to the Lord knowing that His plans are far better than our own.   As I write this, I take a deep breath.  This is my new mantra, prepare for the worst and expect that the best things are going to happen.

Indeed, all things happen for a reason.  I haven’t written in a long time.  In part, because life has been good.  Mom is in a good place now health-wise.  Daddy too.  I love my job, I can imagine myself doing what I do for a long time.  My little family is all that I have ever prayed for and more.  I have a doting, loving husband, a talkative, creative but stubborn almost 6 year old son and a sweet, precious one year old son.  Life with them is a joy.  We have enough, a house and car that are just right for our needs, dependable helpers plus lolo and lola live next door to us.  I realize now that I shouldn’t abandon this.  This is essential to my emotional health.  So thank you Lord for leading me back to this place of comfort and introspection.

“May the God of peace…equip you with every thing good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Hebrew 13:20-21

Where Are All the Bloggers?

Hubby is joining the Capiz Triaksyon, a triathlon organized by the Capiz government and I’ve been for nice places to eat in Capiz.  I’ve noticed though that there are fewer blogs out in the google results page.  Nowadays, people often just share their favorite trips/eats in their social media accounts.  It’s such a shame.  While I seldom blogged, I loved reading blogs.  I like how you could just silently and vicariously live through the experience of someone else without the fanfare of say a “million” other people chiming in their thoughts or the noise that come with a vlog.

Come back bloggers, the world needs you…I need you.

New Year’s Resolutions

Two days ago I went to the ER after I felt prickling in my nape.  True enough, my blood pressure shot up.  It seemed that the post-partum hypertension I had been diagnosed with a month after giving birth was back.

On a regular check-up to my OB-GYNE, my bp was measured at 150/100.  After that, I took maintenance meds for about two weeks, lay low on taking care of the baby at night and tried to get enough sleep but I didn’t change my diet rationalizing that I did not need to because I was still breastfeeding at that time.

This time, I really have to change my lifestyle for myself and most especially for my family.  Thank you for this wake up call Lord. I know it isn’t too late yet.  Bless my days.  Help me that I may achieve a work-life balance and that I may live a life pleasing to you. Amen.

An Intentional Life

“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3:6

I thank you Lord for my beautiful life.  I pray that you make me your instrument.  May all my works always be guided by your hand.


A New Year

On a long weekend with my old housemates, I realized how I’ve missed blogging.  I miss being alone with my thoughts.  I realize now that writing calms me, it gives my day purpose.  It allows me to do more than just juggle family and career and instead do things intentionally.

Thank you Lord for reminding me of this part of myself that I shouldn’t let go.  Thank you for this gift. Amen.

Maturing in the Spirit

Recently, an incident involved me calling out a person for interference in something said person was not responsible for.  I was surprised at the vehemence with which I spoke.  Afterward, I felt a little guilty.  I asked myself if it was the right thing to do.  I seldom speak in anger or in whatever strong emotion and am often described as a mild-mannered, soft-spoken person.  That person didn’t feel like me.

Then again, I prayed for the gift of wisdom in discourse and eventually because I called out that person, said person left, and the matter was resolved.  Maybe, these are the changes I need in my life.  I pray Lord for your continued guidance.  I pray for wisdom and discernment.  Thank you Lord for a wonderful family, a fulfilling career and a new religious community and of course our coming new baby.  We offer all that we do to you. Amen.


A Jesse Tree

E is turning four in two months and he’s one creative and imaginative kid.  Yesterday, I overheard him and his Daddy arguing over who the guy in green (in his superhero book) was.  E insisted, “That’s Green Lantern because he’s wearing green” while his dad insisted, “No, that’s Mr. Octopus.”  I’m glad that he’s so sure of himself and a little bit cocky some of the time.  Like telling me that an Octopus has four tentacles then clarifying that he was talking about Mr. Octopus and not a real one.

Earlier, he was pretending he was a master builder building things out of his Lego (and he hasn’t even seen movie yet),” oh Dad, you have to build something to cross a river full of punching frogs, or Dad, I used my tool to raise the water up so you can’t cross.”  We can’t keep up with all the names he has given these machines he has been making.  In my heart, I say a quick thank you to our Lord for giving me a hubby who makes time to play with our little-big boy.

Our son is a sponge and is so receptive that I have to be careful with what I say.  He calls our new P a bad man  (My, oh my, I wonder where he heard that.)  and has now taken to saving up money for KinderJoy for our trip visit Tita Mimin.  It is a joy learning with E and growing as parents with hubby.

Which brings me to my title “Jesse Tree”.  I commit to doing this this Christmas.  It is a beautiful way of commemorating the birth of our Lord and I can’t wait to begin.  So this is me, motherhood has cured me of my restlessness or rather allowed me to redirect it.  That’s why whenever I feel the lure of procrastination, I look for stuff to do with E and I’m motivated again.







It is back again.  Maybe I am just too excited for tomorrow’s trip.  Maybe I am just overwhelmed by all the changes/happenings in my life, M’s wedding, Manang A’s arrival, a temporary LDR relationship with H, N and H’s 70th birthdays or maybe it is just as simple as E not adjusting to preschool so well.  Now that I’ve written it here, I think it is the simplest answer, I am restless because E is unhappy.  How the mighty have fallen.  I always told myself I wouldn’t be that kind of mom but I am becoming one….his happiness really is my own too.

I have to reassure him that his Dad will be back and soon enough.  Just 45 more days and he will be back home with us.  I guess this is the main stressor that has had him become a clingier version of himself.  I pray for patience Lord.  I know I haven’t been patient with him as I should have.  Thank you for this reminder of my weakness.  Bless me Lord, give me the grace to be a better parent.  Amen.

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