Silly Pictures and Pretty Dresses

A couple months ago I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a wedding. 

Thing is, a few years ago, I kinda roped the bride into having me as one of her bridesmaids. 
Okay, that sounds bad. Okay, I can explain. I think.
Karla, the beautiful bride, is really one of the coolest adults I know.  
(I call her “Ate Karla”–“Ate” is a term of respect that you call “sisters” back in The Philippines”)
She loves being around people, and, honestly, I think everyone loves her company.
During the summers, my niece and I get to spend a couple days with her and act all silly and not think about tomorrow and eat too much and laugh ’til our cheeks hurt and take hundreds of pictures.
like this 
 (Left: my lovely niece, Mary. Right: me)
(Karla and Mary)
(I love this one hah)
 (top: us trying to look cool :P)
One of those summers, we parked in a commercial area, with shops all around us, probably eating ice cream, while trying to plan our future shenanigans.
I vaguely remember what we were doing there and where we were going, but vividly remember the discussion we had:
“Okay, girls! Where should we head to next!” Karla exclaimed.
We smile… and try to think of something fun we can do on a budget.
Then. Boom.
Mary and I start to nudge each other as we spot “David’s Bridal” a few stores down.
I was probably 14-15 (don’t quote me on that; I have a horrid sense of time hah.) and Mary was 11-12…
I think its around that age where girls realize that:
  1. Some boys aren’t so annoying after all; 
  2. Wedding dresses are real pretty and fluffy; 
  3. bridesmaid duty is a BIG step up from flower girl status; 
  4. getting your best friends to dress up in your favorite color and look gorgeous alongside you is awesome;
  5. maybe having a day where everybody gasps at how beautiful you are is even better.
So. We suggest the most rational thing any sugar-powered teen would.
And of course, the older, more mature one suggests it.
“LETS TRY ON DRESSES AT DAVID’S BRIDAL!!!” I scream, as if I spot the Jonas Brothers down the street (Yeah, Bieber wasn’t big back then).
“YES!!” Mary echoes. And I think we burst out in some equivalent of a happy dance in the backseat of the car.
Karla may have been in her early twenties and single, but obviously she’d be the more believable bride-to-be.
ideas started to pour out from the backseat like:
“You can try on poofy dresses!”
“And we can try on bridesmaid dresses!”  
“You can say you get married next month!”
“To…um.. a guy”… 
“What should be his name?”
I love how Karla laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, and presented us with reasonable gaps in our thought-to-be-perfect plan.
“What if they look for the engagement ring?”
“What if they ask how long we’ve been together or how he proposed?”
Which we respond to: “He can’t afford one… or it’s in the mail!”
And somewhere in there, I’m pretty sure I present the idea of pretending we can’t speak English or fashioning a trash bag into an engagement ring… or something like that.
(I’m just overflowing with brilliance, right?)
Reality sinks in eventually, (“It ain’t going to happen!”)
and we laugh a little to cover our disappointment.
But Karla asks us the most important question of our then 11 year old and 15 year old lives:
“You’ll be my bridesmaids, for my future wedding right?”
NO WAY. Flower girl status.. was sorta subjected to the cute little girl who could walk down the aisle to the music and not eat the flowers.
People liked you. 
That’s cause you were five… and they weren’t taking you home with them.
Bridesmaid– now that, was special. 
Of course we couldn’t believe it, so I told her, 
“When we get home, you have to get that on paper and sign and date it too!!”
“Of course, I want you two in my wedding! And you’ll like my futur husband too, okay? He has to be cool with hanging out with the family and you guys!”
Fast-forward a couple years.
Someone gets engaged on a starry night, on a hill overlooking the bright downtown lights.
“Did you ask my parents?” she says, trying to contain her excitement.
“I did! So what is your answer? To my question?” 
Meet the guy she said “Yes!” to- Patrick. 






He proudly serves our country in the military, likes football, legos and filipino food (any food for that matter). He’ll totally take you on in a dance-off, and will play video games for hours with Mary’s little bro. 
He and Karla are absolutely perfect together, and he is almost as cool as she is! (teheee ;))
We (Mary and I) adore them and look forward to our future summer adventures with these newlyweds!
Enjoy these shots from the big day!






Pssstt….matching dresses could only mean one thing, right? 😉

Lasagna Love // a poem


So. It seems that I was quite the poet back in Jr. High.

I posted this little rhyme on Facebook in either 7th or 8th grade… and then took it down as an absolutely horrified, matured, really cool 9th grader.

“Really? Put this up on the internet? Were you insane? People write poems about romantic things, Debbie. Not that.”

 was running through my mind.

Now, I revisit those days. Either with more sense than I had a few years ago, or really no sense at all.

I’ll probably have a different opinion on the subject…. just give me a few years. 😉


As lovely as a song,

that makes my belly sing along,

is a triple layer lasagna

with 3 layers of pasta.


Four layers of bubbling cheeses,

and sauce;

that can appease,

to much ease,

even a hungry beast.


And though my dog,

sits as still as a log,

he jumps like a frog,

for a triple layer lasagna

with three layers of pasta.


Spaghetti may come and go,

ravioli may taste so-so,

but nothing will shake my allegiance

to a dish with five bubbling cheeses.


So now I sit,

and will close my lips,

but will open them wide,

for a triple layer lasagna

with three layers of pasta. 


Note: The author has since then discovered she has an intolerance to dairy. This deeply saddens her.

(That’s ok, you can laugh.)

 image: credit to

Love Makes You Vulnerable


I believe the reason why people stay guarded is the fear of being hurt again. 

Sometimes I feel that I’ve found away past all the drama and the heartbreak- stay closed up.

Put all that is important to me in a fire-proof and water-proof safe, bolted to the center of my heart- where no one can get to it.

It’s really quite selfish.

As C.S. Lewis says,

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.

If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.

Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements;lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.

It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.

The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” 

to love at all is to be vulnerable… is one of my favorite quotes.

It’s because I need to be reminded of it constantly.


Was not Jesus completely and utterly vulnerable as He hung upon the cross to bear my sins?



An enigma to many.

Rejected by most of society. 

But He radically changes the lives of those who choose to live in the light of His sacrifice.

Maybe the areas where we feel most slippery, weak, and inadequate in,

are the places and spaces where He chooses to work? That’s where awesome things happen!


But how will I ever get there if I am too busy guarding my heart from rejection?


Island Dreamin’

(Note: this was originally supposed to be a “Throwback Thursday” post… but I forgot about it yesterday :D)

I have been missing The Philippines way too much this week, so I’d thought I’d blog about it. My dad’s old job required him to go back and forth from the U.S. to The. Phil. so I grew up in both countries (seriously, it was like 6 months in each place!).

It was lots of fun. I got to play with monkeys, pigs, and go on caribou rides… collect sea shells… ride on a canoe.. learn another language… and climb trees!

I’m so glad that my parents gave me the opportunity to explore the outdoors and release my energy chasing chickens! (Okay, that didn’t sound right… but you get the point haha).

We didn’t live on a farm, but my family owned one pretty close to the city (where we lived), so they’d take me- (I rode at the back of the pick-up truck!) whenever they could.

So, here are a few photos from our old family album and a few new ones from my iPhone from our last visit!


I will never forget these two gals. They taught me a bunch of card games and tried (yes, I failed hehe) to teach me how to swim. We’d have sleepovers and I introduced them to Disney Channel 🙂

001This looks cool, but I was really freaked out 😉 makes for a great picture though!

005006(my big brother is on the top; i’m at the bottom) Clearly, our family has a thing about chasing chickens. Great exercise, people! 😀

004 the domestic airport Tacloban, Luzon- (it’s below sea level :O)- with my precious nephew and our beloved nanny!

009This boat (?) had a name! I forgot it… 🙂


These are just some random airport/airplane pictures…



Now for some when cameras got a lot better 🙂

IMG_0680The man got up the tree WITH NO LADDER// and here we are enjoying the fruits of his labor.



out and about… this is what you’ll usually see if you’re driving from city to city.



(yes, that’s a guy sitting comfortably on a moving vehicle…. let’s take a look closer, shall we?)


I could not get over people riding on top of their cars! It was an inside joke for the rest of trip…..

“Hey! look! It’s someone being unsafe- do you want to take a picture?!” 😀 😀





That’s it for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed getting a peak into another country… and my family album… 🙂

BUT…….. I can already hear my sisters saying, “Not all of The Philippines looks like that! How about the hotels, the malls, the food?! AND how about pictures of us?!”

We’ll save those for sometime in the future….stay tuned 😉

Zac Efron Indirectly Saved The Dog



Zac Efron indirectly saved the dog

I kid you not.

Without him, sweet dottie would be out in the cold all night…. Or worse.


It was a night a couple weeks ago where Kate and Maddie (names changed for confidentiality’s sake 😉 and I had an impromptu sleepover since our parents all happened to be out of town.

It was 1 am,

We were watching “The Lucky One” (efron is the leading man, of course)…
And he worked at a farm…
Where they so happened to train dogs.

in one scene, Efron (not so ‘high school musical’ looking anymore; think ‘navy seal’) was walking around with his very well-behaved German Shepherd.

Kate remarks, “when I move out one day, I hope to get a dog as nice as his.”

(When I was thinking, “When I move out, I hope I marry someone as good looking as Zac Efron”….
But– Kate is married to a really sweet guy. )

then she goes…”hey, has anyone seen Dottie (the family dog)?”

Maddie and I in turn respond,”No- wait- I think we have- no, actually we haven’t”

Then while Kate panics and checks every room of the house, screaming dotty’s name… And I’m pretty sure checking every crevice that dog could fit in..

Maddie and I walk up and re-check those rooms and echo her name.

I was filled (and I am sure the feeling was mutual) with guilt as my mind replayed the events of that evening:

-fun time cooking dinner-we didn’t burn the down the house- baked BBQ chicken and quinoa!
-funny stories like this
-looked at wedding pictures and sighed
-watched wedding clips and sighed
some more
-watched Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke’s wedding video and sighed even more
-talked about life
-talked about books (my favorite)
-spent more time then I would like to admit taking a perfect funny picture for instagram
-talked about sending texts to the wrong people
-one of us talking to her mom (kidding),”We burned down the house!”
… Little did she know she would lose the dog.

Now back to finding Dottie-

We concluded that she was not in the house the whole evening, (while we laughed and giggled and took pictures) since she didn’t touch her food.

(Aren’t we wonderful people?)

Kate rushed to the room to grab her gun.

(My internal dialog: “COYOTES!! Oh no!! Poor Dottie!
I am too young to have blood on my hands! Noooooo.
I can’t go to jail.

I need a good lawyer.

What will the jury think of me?

I need to become a nurse!

Kate’s mom is going to hate me!

I love her!

Remember to google “lawyers in the area”

Dottie! If we find you alive, I will love you forever”)

Maddie and I were also armed,
a rake and a flashlight, respectively.

(We were so like the Charlie’s Angels-
A blonde, brunette and an asian!)

We screamed her name out (yes, at almost 2am at this point- sorry neighbors) and checked around the yard multiple times-

And Kate was fearful that at each turn that she would find a dead animal carcass.

When we exhausted our search of the yard, we returned inside and (hopelessly, I think) re-checked all the rooms and the garage.

“Has anyone checked the front room?” One of us question.

I open the dark room to find the window blinds open, and step in…
I thought I saw some movement on the other side of the window…

“Could it be her?”my heart quickens with expectancy at the possibility.

Now, In the hallway, Maddie says, “She must have gotten out when we went to the video store- when the garage door was open-”

“-that means-” Kate counts,
“5…6..7 hours. She’s been out there in the freezing cold for 7 hours.”

Ours hearts were filled with dispair.

And I exit the front room, to join the girls, putting to rest any hope of finding dotty alive;
blaming the movement on the front porch as my reflection.

“Has anyone checked the front door?” Kate asks, as a last effort;
As if she was ready to be met with disappointment, once again;
Ready to swing the front door open, and feel the cold winter air and envision her poor, lifeless dog in a ditch someplace holding on to dear life.

While she and her friends laughed and ate BBQ chicken and looked at wedding pictures; all in the warmth of her own home.

Her opening the door, I do not recall,
But all I remember were the screams that followed.

First Kate screamed as if she saw a ghost.
Then, followed Maddie.
And finally, me.


“Why did you scream, Kate!”

“I thought it was a coyote!”

Just know that belly rubs and hugs were abundant that evening (morning?).

she even got some of the leftover chicken from the night.

And Kate held her in her lap, for the remainder of the movie.
Dottie stayed still (which she never does!) and you could see the terror in her eyes and feel chill on her dark, black fur.

(Did I mention we were only about 15 minutes into the movie?).

Lesson: In the words of Samuel Coleridge,

“He prayeth well, who loveth well, both man and bird and beast”

So. There you have it. Thank you Zac Efron.

Ok, not really. Thank you God.

Friends, hug your loved ones pets tonight.

Confession: Yours truly was inspired to write this post because she loved the title so much. 😉

And just ’cause she was out in the cold for 7 hours… another one of Dottie:


Failures Aren’t Forever


I hate it.
Screwing up-especially when I knew what I was supposed to right.

Like that time my dad forgot to turn off the oven and left the meatloaf inside.

It’s easy to tell someone, to get back right back up after they’ve fallen.

Sometimes, when I hear people tell me that, I scoff.
“That’s not going to make me feel better,” I say.

But what happens if the person who screwed up royally is you?

I wish that we could just forget- the past failures- and not let the guilt hang over us (me!)

You know when people say, “Ok, lets start out brand new- a clear slate” ?

That’s sweet. And sometimes it’s true. But most times, we just really can’t do that.

Because the consequences of our actions don’t just go away.

Like the meatloaf (more like a black, shriveled, piece of something that once resembled some sort of meat) won’t unburn itself, even if my mom will ever forgive dad for almost burning down the house.

But, even though people can’t just forget all the time, and consequences can’t just be wiped out,

I find it comforting that God can just forget.

Over and over and over again, we can see in the Bible, reminders of His faithfulness in spite our our unfaithfulness.

When we wholly confess that we have done wrong,
And are truly remorseful for it,
And ask for His forgiveness,

He puts it away and doesn’t bring it back, and dangle it in in front of you and make you feel like a loser.

“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Is. 43:25

Now it’s one thing to say,
“I will speak of it no more”-
But it’s something completely different when you “think of it no more.”

(Who can do that?! I want to know!)

Then, maybe I can start to brush off the dust on me and slowly get up after all.

Because God isn’t high up on the clouds with an arsenal of lightning bolts, ready to aim at me.

He is willing and ready to forgive and forget

-And move on.

Even if I am not.

My parents were rushing to the E.R. since a loved one had an emergency.
My dad just doesn’t randomly leave the oven on when he leaves the house :))