Banana heart by the road

My husband and I enjoy our morning walks daily around the Johnson’s Circle, or if the weather is too chilly in the morning, we prefer an afternoon walk.  Our main goal is not just to exercise to be physically healthy, but at the same time savoring our moments with each other which is part of our relationship building.  It is like our engine starter.  This is also one of my favorite times with Joshua, for I can open my heart to him and him to me, reflect back to what had happened with the both of us during the past days, telling him about my dreams the previous night and appreciating each other.  We can also call it our peace walk.  We release the baggage whenever the morning starts with a bad moods or unhealthy emotions.  

Yesterday, when we were about to walked up the curved in the hill heading the yield sign, we saw a Banana Tree Trunk laying down near the road.  The way it was cut, I guessed the one who did it dumped it had a purpose of disposing it, because it will not survive the changing weather.  It easily caught my attention for tree of its kind rarely grows in Tennessee.  I even asked Joshua for a confirmation, “That’s a banana tree right Bab’s?”, and when he agreed I immediately stopped his left arm for I saw that there were some young and unripe banana fruit and just near it were a familiar color of purplish banana hearts.
   

Whole Banana Hearts

 
My mind suddenly thought, “Wow!  An ingredient for a nutritious and delicious recipe.  Since Joshua didn’t have any idea that it was edible, I told him that we can bring it home and cooked.  

As of this writing, I can’t fully imagine how sweet God is in making our lives as easy and complete as possible.  He really knows how I want to be back in the Philippines for so many reasons.   One of it is simply missing Filipino food delicacy, the veggies and food cooked by my Father.  But there he is an all knowing God, providing all our needs even sometimes I was lacking in appreciation.  As my husband quoted the verse from Psalm 23, “You, Lord are my shepherd, I will never be in need.” (CEV)

But God is not a Father who tolerates his children’s ungrateful hearts, instead he is showing how mighty he is by leading us to our green pastures.  As we know that wherever we are, it is his plan.  If doubt arises, and we feel that we are not in a pleasant place, we should examine how we got there and repent.   Feelings are fickle, and heart can be deceiving.

Banana Heart Filipino Delicacy

Advertisements

PayPerPost, a quaff swims like a trash can!

With the desire of earning money without abandoning my primary role as a wife with my wonderful husband and enjoying our 5 months pregnancy while staying at home, I signed up with PayPerPost.com as a blogger.  Since I am into blogging and currently managing our personal blog, an online job is one of the best options for me.  

PayPerPost.com is an online marketplace that connects you directly with advertisers who will pay you to write a blog posts about their products, services and websites on your blog.   (For more details, visit payperpost.com). 

According to the company’s profile, PayPerPost is owned and operated by IZEA, a robust technology platforms that connect brands with social media influencers ranging from college students to A-List celebrities.  IZEA’s created the social media sponsorship space in 2006 and continuing to be the leading innovator in its own industry.  (Cited: http://corp.izea.com/about-izea/).

Signing up with PayPerPost is so easy and can be done in a minute.  I just clicked the bloggers tab located in the upper right corner of the site as shown below: 

And then I clicked the “SIGNUP FOR PAYPERPOST” and I was automatically redirected to a new link in which I entered my personal email and password.  After that I added my blog url, its description and some necessary information as being requested in the form.  

To complete the process of adding each blog, and for the company’s security reason they are requiring to claim the blog url that was entered by creating a new blog post, then copying and inserting the randomly generated sentence that appeared above the guidelines they provided.  The catch was to verify the url ownership authenticity, its cool right?  (Ouch, baby kicked!)  The assigned sentence to me was “a quaff swims like a trash can.”   

Before writing this post, I became hesitant where and how to start for I honestly don’t know the meaning of quaff.  My first option was to asked Google and I found out that quaff is to gulp.  But I am not satisfied, I turned to my husband who was peacefully sleeping, hugged him and whispered to his ears.  But he was too sleepy to answer my query.  I just prayed and asked God to help me, to give me an idea and to start this entry by refreshing my mind.  I uttered, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.”

I already did my part, praying and looking forward that my application will be granted. Still whatever will be the result, praising God that he sustained me in writing this post.  I gonna keep trying, and believing in faith.  

                                                           James 2:17
                        Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Give in Love Language

It’s my husband’s 30th birthday today.  After 2 years and 3 months in being a relationship as a couple, its the first time we are celebrating it together, physically near, and not being separated by thousand miles of distance.  Finally we graduated from our skype and yahoo video chat days.  (Hooray!)

Months prior to his birthday, I was thinking to surprise him big time with budget wise and practical gifts.   I was considering to get him an office chair which he can use daily while doing his online schooling.  The black chair that he was using for a year suddenly collapsed, though we fixed it but the fabric carrying his seating weight was ripped at the side and the screw became loss thread.

chair 1

In planning and choosing a birthday gift, I considered the following:

    1. Budget: Since we have a baby coming, budget always needs to consider.  Every dollar that need to spend counts a lot.  What I did was to saved every dollar spare from our daily needs and monthly bills.

   2. Wise People Input: 
Seeking suggestions and referrals are a smart thing to do.  I asked few
persons where to get an office chair that would be comfortable for
Joshua’s need and fitted to my budget.

    3. Taking Notes: In choosing a gift for my husband, I made sure that I was not being overwhelmed by my desire to express how important he is and that he is being minded by me (because that’s the fact) but also, what I needed for him to receive was something that he really needs to have and not just based on materialism.  So what I did, I listed down all the things that he was lacking and needed to have that he can use in a daily basis. I took down notes.  

    4. Knowing your husband’s love language:  Knowing Joshua’s love language helps a lot in expressing my love to him and making him special not just on his birthday but on our daily interaction to nourish our marriage, friendship and oneness.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, a christian counselor and author of the Five Languages Book, all of us feel love and giving back love to others through five different ways.  But each of us has a primary love language in which we greatly feel loved.  These five love languages are: Words of affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.  (Cited: About.com marriage).

  •  Words of Affirmation:  These are the words we use and express to boost our spouse self-image and confidence. Words like telling your mate how smart looking he is, how romantic he is, how sweet and loving he is.  Its more on appreciating all his efforts and actions through words.  Don’t forget to mention how beautiful his physical asset is. 
  • Quality Time:  Is giving and spending your undivided time with your spouse. intentionally and sincerely.  Such as watching movies together before retiring to bed, eating together and staying with your spouse till he or she finish the meal, and listening attentively to your spouse.  In our case, Joshua loves to asked my opinion towards the article he was writing.  What I did, I stopped what I was doing that moment, listened and give my input. 
  • Gifts:  Dr. Chapman says, “Gifts are visual symbols of love.”  Its a  physical representation that the receiver or our spouse are being remembered and not neglected on their special day or on your anniversary.
  • Acts of Service:  This requires time, creativity and effort on your part.  Since this is Joshua’s one form of love language, what I did was to intentionally made him coffee daily, cooked breakfast for us and give him a back or full body massage. This is not an easy task to do, wives will agree with me on this.  This must be done with a joyful heart, and remembering that in everything we do, whether we eat or drink do it for the glory of God.  It will be a burdensome and tiring once we lose the joy in doing it. 
  • Physical Touch: As time goes by, I discovered that this is  one of Joshua’s most important way of being loved.  Specially as he said, when I pulled his hair during bed time, holding his hands, stroking his back, giving him a massage, and our physical intimacy as husband and wife and a lot more. 

Going back to the chair replacement, since Joshua found a new study chair that replaced his old one I came up with a decision of giving him new set of gifts items that he both needed and wanted.  Well we are talking about option B now.  Tip, one thing that I learned in making decision, small or big (make sure that you are always equipped with list of options, so if the first option didn’t work you can jump to another option.  This will avoid cramming).  Now I am talking about my own experiences.  But whatever works with you will always be good.

The first one was the car key holder or the cross key chain for practical reason of securing our car key.  I will reveal that my husband had a tendency of being forgetful sometimes.  (lol).  For his comfort while driving, I got him an orange pillow from gleaners. A set of sweaters to keep him warm in cold weather.  And finally, a nice outfit that he loves specially the corduroy pants that he hand picked.

Car key

Cross car key holder, first birthday surprise

Car Pillow

Car pillow, for his comfort

Clothes

Set of sweaters, protection from cold weather

Pair of shirt and pants

Paired of brown corduroy and long sleeved shirt, a basic needs.

To sum it up in choosing a birthday gift, the cost is not the important thing, and don’t over think it.  Believe it or not, we only spent $12 dollars and some change and we found it all here in our hometown.

What he likes best for his birthday is for me to speak his love language fluently and joyfully.  Plus our baby is the best reward that not just him is to and from both of us.

 
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that
whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.
 

 

Hepatitis C, unmasking deception!

Re-published:

Thinking how to express my deepest gratitude to God for everything he is allowing my husband and I to experience including all the daily blessings, all of the answered and unanswered prayers that made us to seek and put our confidence in Him.  There are no suitable words that I can write to bring back my thanks to Him for the guidance He is giving for our family, in re-polishing our plans and making it happened, in sustaining us in our monetary needs, our health, for our pregnancy, and surrounding us with people that entrusted their stories of faith in God to us.  People who underwent and shared with us their physical pain and past-aches that made them more closer to God knowing that only by His grace and love can sustain them with strength to combat the agony of physical pain, and filled the void in their hearts.  Their stories encourage us to love Him more.

Almost everyone knows that we just got married, but being newly weds does not mean that we are excused from undergoing situation that is worry free.

Haltom Family_hubbyandwifey

With the permission of my husband, I will unmask some happenings in our lives as
a couple that made our love for God increase deeply,  and commitment with each other and to our marriage salted greatly  . Last September 19, my husband supposed to start his preliminary treatment for the Hepatitis C (I will continue the story).

Months before the schedule, we were advised by his primary care nurse physician that he needs to start the treatment as soon as possible for the reason of viruses in his blood increasing to an above normal level.  This added pressure into our relationship, though my husband became honest about this matter the first day we met still I felt worried thinking how serious it might be and the effects of it towards his health.  Joshua remained calmed outside, but his action in being healthy confirmed that he is taking it seriously but with less worries. It was like a doomsday for us the first time we talked with his doctor who had specialization with Infectious Disease.   The doctor was like dropping a bomb every time she discussed the side effects of the medicines to combat the virus.  Well what will you think if you heard these statements:  “The worse side effects might be, depression and fatigue.  Depression that might lead the patient to think, “his  best friend will kill him or worse he will kill his best friend.  I actually thought of these, “Is she just trying to scare usDoesn’t she have any good news to say?” At first, Joshua was hesitant and not bold enough to share this story not even to our closest friends.  There was a fear of receiving judgement that haunted him.  I fully understood him, it was not something to be proud of nor to flaunt with.  This was a consequence of the sin his flesh had indulged when he was still wondering in the wilderness (which is another story).  But the moment he humbled himself and confessed it during our prayer time with the Church and lifted it to God, we were encouraged.  The deception of satan, the accuser was unmasked. It also helped when we started to educate ourselves on how to be prepared for the treatment.  All of our fears were replaced with right and positive attitude for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.-Romans 8:28.  

For the deeper understanding, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of liver disease, and is the leading indication for liver transplantation worldwide.  Identified in 1989, HCV was originally named post-transfusion non-A non-B hepatitis.  By the time the virus was identified, millions of people had already been infected, many of whom had advanced stages of liver disease.  (Cited: An Essential Guide for Nurses And health Care Professionals by Suzanne Sargent. 2009).

Myths and facts about HCV:

  •  The Myth: Hepatitis C virus can be transferred by using the kitchen utensils of person carrying the virus such as cutlery and crockery specifically cutting instruments, spoon, fork, drinking glasses and plates.  Fact:  Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection and is not transmitted on household items where there is no blood-to-blood contact.  However, items that may be possibly contaminated with blood, particularly razors, nail scissors, and toothbrushes is strictly shouldn’t be shared.   (In our case, Joshua have his own nail cutter and our toothbrush are color coded).
  •   The Myth:  The virus can be transmitted through saliva or semen.   Fact:  As I mentioned earlier,  only through blood-to-blood contact the virus can be spread from the body of virus carrier to other body.  The risk of sexual transmission is low but not zero.  In monogamous relationships, couples should be reassured.   But high risk with multiple sexual partners.  Hepatitis C virus cannot be transferred from casual smooching, hugging, sneezing, coughing, or either food or drink sharing.  (In our case, hepatitis C virus test performed to me during the series of pregnancy laboratory exam found to be negative, PRAISING GOD for it).
  • The Myth:   There is a high percentage of transferring the hepatitis c virus from an infected mother to newly born baby.  Fact: The risk of transmission of infection from HCV- infected mother to newborn is low, particularly in women with low levels of virus.
  •  The Myth:   HCV is transmitted through breast-feeding.  Fact: Breast-feeding is not thought to transmit infection as long there is no bleeding from the nipples of infected mother, and the skin is not cracked.

Part of the preparation we did was the self-awareness and knowing the information needed before using INCIVEK, the treatment Joshua was supposed to have.  According to the brochure and study aid provided to us, INCIVEK is a hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor indicated, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in adult patients with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are treatment -naive or who have been previously treated with interferon-based treatment, including prior null responders, partial responders, and relapsers.  Joshua’s doctor suggested this medication because on his first diagnosis, result shown he has Hepatitis C-genotype 1.  The first time it was introduced to us, the doctor didn’t mention the possible negative effects towards pregnancy.

But when we did our own study about it and watched the DVD provided to us it was repeatedly mentioned that Ribavirin may cause birth defects and fetal death in female patients and in female partners of male patients.  This became our main concern, not to mention the other side effects we were about to face once Joshua undergo the treatment.  Both of us needs to team up with God for us to be prepared, not to worries and combat the unforeseen effects of undergoing the treatment.My husband became hesitant towards the treatment.  The first option was to start it after the pregnancy, he wanted to be okay physically and not experiencing fatigue (he was advised that the treatment will be as serious as chemotherapy) once our baby is delivered.  I can only imagine as a novice father how he desire to be strong in attending all the needs of our first born child.We know what to do, to treat the possible spread of the virus but what we were not sure about was if we are making the right decision towards it.  As the doctor mentioned, it depends upon how Joshua’s body will respond to the treatment.  The only thing that we are sure about is God will take care of us, he will take care of my husband body and our future.   Even if we equipped ourselves and yes it helps a lot to know what we are facing still its not enough.  Its not by our might nor to our own power, we don’t know what the future has for us but God knows.  To him we entrusted everything. We eliminated the first option, in our prayer we lifted all of our concerns with a thankful hearts to God. One morning we received a call from the physicians office informing us that Joshua’s doctor transferred to other place and the change was he have a new physician regarding hepatitis C.  They asked him if he still wanted to start the treatment and he agreed.

September 19, the day of the treatment.  Silently, I prayed inside our room and my devotion was the verse in Exodus 14:14 says, The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  Then I shared it with my husband.  We met his new doctor, he informed us that he reviewed the test done to my husband and calmly he mentioned that my husband hepatitis C virus is not genotype 1 but genotype 3.  He also explained that INCIVEK in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin is clinically tested for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C with liver damage only.  In Joshua’s case, the new medicines for genotype 3 will come out on December, 2013 and his liver is doing good. Praise God.

He gave us two optionsFirst to start the treatment using INCIVEK but with lower percentage of cure in the type of genotype he has.  The second option was to wait for the new medicines that just right for the hepatitis C-genotype 3.  It was an impromptu decision,  Joshua looked to me, hold my hand and turned to his doctor and said, “We will wait.  When the doctor left the small room, I asked him, “Are you sure we will wait?”  He firmly said, ” Yes”.  Outside I asked him what was the basis of his decision, and he said,” God said, we shall hold our peace”.   We perceived the illness us one of the ugliest thing that could happen to an individual but God don’t.  In his power, he can turn beautiful things out of the dust.   He can turn beautiful things out of the viruses in my husband’s blood.  We will hold our peace.  We will keep our faith to the healing power in Jesus name, we will lift our hands to praise and give thanks to God for what we have and what we are going to be in his presence to our lives.  Your prayers will help us in this.