Self-Triggered-Stress (STS)

Today I learned to identified and eliminate all the Self-Triggered-Stress (STS).  STS as I define it is any thing created by a person or a situation that I allowed to be blown-out-of-proportion if not accomplish according to my own set of standards that adds stress to my day or worse even made my day.  

Joshua and I agreed to undergo a marriage counseling at Pathways located in Jackson.  This morning we were scheduled for our initial meet and greet with the Institution’s representative.  

So last night before we turned off our light, we made plans for us not to forget anything and set our alarm clock.  We even agreed that he is the one assigned to carry the cellphone every time we are about to leave the house for us not to forget it.  Part of getting out of the bed early was for me to prepare the breakfast and a take-out-snacks for us not to buy our food outside which was more practical money wise. 

When the morning came, we already both knew each others assigned tasks.  While I was being busy preparing the breakfast at the kitchen and not forgetting to glance in the wall clock checking the time, my husband was the one who made up the bed, and after it, as usual, he opened the television and watched the morning news while sipping his freshly brewed coffee that made him the happiest person that morning.   I was confident that he folded the bed sheet and arranged the pillow well after all it was just a simple task.   My mind shifted to the breakfast I made: garlic fried rice, fried egg with spinach on it, pulled pork, freshly cut tomatoes, orange juice and last night left-over oven baked potatoes.  In the midst of our breakfast, I asked him what time we need to leave and he said, ” About an hour from now.”  The breakfast was a fulfilling one and made our tummy satisfied.  Ready to start the day.  

He went to the bathroom to had his shower and I went back to our room and to my dismay I saw the end product of him fixing the bed.   It was like, no effort at all.  He just lifted up the bed sheet and spread it all over the bed and hid the pillows underneath.  The scene of last night crime was still there.   My golly if you see my reaction, a big disappointment was ripped out from my face.  I just uttered, “Baba(the way I called him) hmp!”.  So my STS was ignited.  People who knew me well and I worked with in the corporate world were fully aware that I was a bit of perfectionist.  Of course my husband does but he was being a man and me being a woman.  Redoing it the way I wanted it to be was the solution.  I composed myself and prepared our clothes and lay it in the bed.    

I decided to kept my mouth shot and not to raise any complaint when he went out from the bathroom.  Though, deep within I was being stress already.  Though I still managed to tame my STS, handed him his shoes and paired of socks.  Before I bounce off to the bathroom, the phone rang and heard him talking with someone over the phone regarding the result of his blood test.    

I just had a quick shower and fitted my chosen dress.  I was rushing myself for being a time conscious.  Back to our room, I saw Joshua doing Facebook, too focused in writing a comment to the person who messaged him last night about God not being in throne. 

As I glanced at myself in front of the mirror, I saw a pregnant woman wrapped inside a bulky dress.  I turned to a clock and started cramming when I saw that it was 10 minutes to go before 9:30.  I only had 10 minutes left to fix my hair, to change clothes, and find a container to keep our snacks while Joshua was fully dressed and being busy in social networking.  My STS started to find its way out stimulated by pregnancy hormones.  But instead of letting myself to react on it, I remembered asking him about the caller.  1,2,3, 4 seconds were passed but haven’t heard any reply from him so when I turned to Joshua I asked him, “Is that important?” and he responded so calmly and said,“Yes this is important.”  When I heard it my STS already burst out and said with a bit of a high tone,“More important than talking with your wife?”   I immediately jumped into the bed and forgot the time.  He stopped on what he was doing and comforted me and said, “Come on, po, it’s just a small miscommunicationWe need to be on time.  No one made you react like that, it’s your choice what you will do Look, I am finished, we are both ready, let’s pray, and we will go.” Hearing those comforting words from him, I weighed what to choose:  Ignore him, let my pride stands, cried and made him feel guilty or be humbled and give in to his invitation to pray.  I chose the latter, one that eliminates STS and which was more peaceful, practical (no tears) brought us to oneness, a relationship builder and God honoring.  A day not starting with a quiet time first and devotion made the spirit weakened.   

He prayed for me to be wise in choosing how I will react to him and rightly measure the gravity of situations.  He confessed that social media is not so important and reminded me that we weren’t leaving until ten minutes before 10am.  All that fuss for no good reason!

Our captured photo after the initial marriage counseling session

 Psalm 31:18-19 (KJV)
Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!


Morning Coffee and Sluggardness

My husband is always an early bird.  He gets up from bed earlier, does stretching and push ups, and after it, he takes a shower.  His morning wouldn’t be complete without sipping a hot and freshly brewed cup (or 2) of coffee.  While me, I am an exactly the opposite of him.  I am a sleep lover.  Before getting up, I love to cushion myself inside the blanket and do the fetus position.  Its like a warming up for me.  So whenever his body clock is set for up, he will automatically eject himself from the bed after he greet me, “Good morning,” with those I love you words followed by “would you like to fix me coffee?”, of course I love too though it was challenging for my body to do something so early in a cold weather rather than to stay in  bed.  
In tolerating myself, I developed a delaying tactic which all the while I thought he was not aware but he said he always knew (LOL).  Whenever I sense that he is about to get up, I will immediately wrapped my hands around him and asked him to stay in bed for a few minutes and another 5 minutes and more.  It works!  In the first few months he always granted my request.  But now, he is becoming more firm in his words.  Whenever he needs to get up from bed, he will do it.  No more bargaining.  No more negotiation. 

One morning, Joshua woke up so early and asked me if I wanted to make a cup of coffee for him.  I responded saying, “yes in a minute” but in my mind, “if you only knew I still wanted to sleep.”  He told me he can make his own coffee and no need for me to get up but I insisted that I can do it for him.  He bounced on up to the bathroom and had his shower.  I was thinking, it will took 10 minutes for him to finished his shower so I stayed 5 minutes more in bed and by the time he got out, a brewing coffee was waiting for him. 

In a glance there is no big deal, because I still made him a coffee.  But if
there was an instrument attached in the kitchen wall to measure and check my heart
intention in performing that action, it might reflect that it wasn’t pure with a capital letters for instead of doing it out of joy, it’s becoming an obligation and a task to
do.  Or in a simple words, just doing to finish it!  A repetitive daily

My husband and his favorite blue coffee mug

I know
that attitude of mine is not a healthy ingredient towards our marriage. 
If I justify myself, its just a little thing no harm done but actually
its a blemish that if not exposed to light has a tendency to become

Acts of Service is one form of Joshua’s love language which I mentioned in the article  “Give in Love Language”.  In simply serving him even in small thing I can show my love for him but being submissive and willingly following his instruction without making him wait is a prime thing that I need to put into practice because its acknowledging his leadership in Christ in our marriage.  It doesn’t mean that I need to be a doormat and Joshua being an alpha but through submission to his leadership I will honor Christ by following his example.  Also in doing it I will encourage my husband to be strong in his leadership by taking his words seriously and prioritizing his needs through modeling it in our marriage and practicing it at home.   

Remembering this scripture from Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Doing a family devotions and praying together helped us to confessed and repent from our sins.  Our Christ-Centered Family Devotions provided free online by Christ Commission Fellowship which has a topic of “The Sluggard and the Diligent helped us to evaluate in which area of our lives we are becoming sluggard that affecting our marriage and in which we need to be diligent.  By doing this we pin point in which area we need to be diligent.  On Joshua’s part, he confessed that he needs to be diligent in the cleaning area mostly in picking of after himself and not being sloppy, to be diligent in cleaning up his mess.  While me, I confessed that I need to be diligent in getting up early and not sleep so late.  We concluded that both of us are being called to be more diligent and that we need each others help for us to change our these things.  

Recently taken Photo

                                                Proverbs 13:4 (KJV)

4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Liver Biopsy

This coming November 19, my husband is scheduled to undergo a Liver Biopsy.  At first I was the one eager for him to have it before starting the treatment for Hepatitis C-genotype 3.  My main concern was to know exactly the medical status of his liver as supported with medical test and to know where we are at in this condition but when I became technically aware about the procedure and how will it be done, hesitation arose on my part.

Joshua already had his first liver biopsy year 2009 and the result was amazing.  He had a healthy liver.  The recent record of blood test he had showed that the amount of Hepatitis C virus he had in the blood increases by which his doctor made his suggestion for him to start the treatment the soonest in which I was not fully satisfied.  But the result of the latest blood sample taken for him is not yet released.

All the while I thought liver biopsy was just a simple procedure wherein patient’s body will just pass through a medical scanning apparatus and then diagnosis will come out  (I don’t know where did I get this idea).  I was thoroughly enlightened when after Joshua’s semi-annual appointment with Trans South Digestive Disease Clinic in Jackson, we were  handed with two pieces of papers printed the explanation of the procedure and preparation to do.

What is a liver biopsy? 

According to, liver biopsy is a medical procedure used to remove a very small piece of liver tissue that is studied in the lab to determine the liver condition.

Its an out-patient procedure in which a small medical biopsy needle is being inserted into the liver to obtain the tissue sample. Understanding the whole procedure and all the needed preparations is an advancement for the patient and of course with the family.  

The attending Physician may obtain a liver biopsy to determine the cause of liver disease, its current condition and the extent of the damage.  In the case of my husband, only the virus in his blood increased but the blood sample showed that his liver is doing fine.  In starting a treatment, it’s very important to learn about it and the disease.

Understanding the liver

The liver is located in the upper right abdomen just under the diaphragm.  It lies almost entirely within the rib cage which provide some protection to the organ.

Haltom Family_Liver

Source: Relay Health & or its affiliates.

The liver is critical for digestion and metabolism.  Its vital functions are:

  • producing bile which is necessary for fat absorption
  • producing proteins from Amino Acids, 
  • packaging fats for storage or transportation in the blood, 
  • regulating blood sugar levels, and 
  • processing substances such as alcohol and drugs. (Source: Nucleus Medical Media)


Preparation for Liver Biopsy

  • You must bring a driver, if you do not have a driver, your procedure will not be done. Inform them they will need to stay with you until you are discharged.
  • Eating or drinking is prohibited the midnight of the day of your liver biopsy schedule.
  • If taking medicines for the heart, blood pressure, seizure, anti-psychotic, or anxiety medication are needed, just have enough water to swallow it. 
  • Stop aspirin, ibuprofen and arthritis medications 3 days prior to the procedure.
  • Stop blood thinner for 5 days prior to the procedure.
  • Bring all medications or current list of medications to procedure with you.
  • If diabetic check your blood sugar prior to coming to procedure.
  • Discuss your feelings with your family and let them be part of it. 

I asked my husband about his feelings towards the liver biopsy procedure, he said it looks like it is more serious or it seems so in the video animation than when he had it years ago.  The only thing he vividly recalls is after he had the anesthesia, he had a crazy talk and didn’t the pain.  The procedure will take only 5 minutes including the incision and extraction.  After the procedure the patient must stay inside the recovery room for a matter of 4 hours but it depends upon the call of the doctor if the patient needs to undergo further observation.   For detailed information of the procedure, please see the video animation below courtesy of Nucleus Medical Media.

Even liver biopsy is considered to be an out-patient and simple procedure we need not to be lax.  In times like these, my full support is needed by my husband as well as our prayers with one another.  I honestly don’t like the fact that something is being put inside Joshua’s body but its part of the protocol that we need to have.

My prayer is both of us will be strengthened and not be afraid, that his liver will be found to be healthy, by faith he will be healed and the doctor and his crew will do it with care.  I know God is with us and our savior Jesus Christ knows what he is undergoing because himself was bruised and nailed on the cross.

Isaiah 63:9 (KJV)
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence
saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare
them, and carried them all the days of old.

A letter to Abigail Exodus

“Finally, the moment of truth had come.  We waited to know your gender for so many months and now that your father and I found it, bundles of unexplainable joy filled our hearts.  The first time we knew that we are having you, your father and I became speechless, being overwhelmed by the fact that God has rewarded us a heavenly gift that not just anyone can receive.  

I am blessed to have you, and so excited to be called by you “Nanay” (Mom).  It was so silent inside the ultrasound room the first we had a glance at your face. 

Say hello to Abigail’s first photo 🙂

I even heard my own heart beat.  It was like dug, dug, dug, dug (Ayeehh).  If you asked me about the reaction of your father, the moment the ultrasound technician brought out that you are a girl he became silent at first.  Then he asked the technician how sure she was, she said she was pretty sure that you are a girl because of the three lines. Before we went to the Ob-Gyn, we both thought that we were having a boy.  But really it doesn’t matter with us, what matter most and praying for is that you will become a healthy and joyful baby.” 

Can you see Abigail’s little foot?

Going back to your father’s reaction, when we were heading back to home it felt like the atmosphere suddenly changed.  It became so exciting, it was like we were surrounded by millions of colorful butterflies and pretty pinkish flowers.  We were singing and laughing at the car on our way back.  At home, your father showed your first captured photos to Aunt Kathy and Grammy they were happy and excited. 

After that, your father made some phone calls and announced to his best buddies that you are a girl.  He seems really so excited, and that was the very first time I ever saw him like that.  He can’t contain his happiness, his hazel colored eyes can’t hide the joy he has inside.  I even saw your father smiling and almost teary eyes while listening to the song entitled “Marvelous Things by Eisley”.

I once heard an old woman from the Church saying that a couple of things can move a man’s heart, they are the death of nearest kin or a birth of new baby. 

Right now, the old things in our lives were gone and the new things has come and big part of it is you.  Our daughter, our lovely Abigail Exodus. 

Your name Abigail was a personal choice of your father.  He first fell in love with the name through a devotional reflections from the Bible I posted in the Facebook page Ayin-Bet: 72 Names of God ~Reflections.  It is Hebrew in origin meaning Father rejoiced or Father’s joy.  One that will gives joy.  A biblical character of a woman, described as “good in discretion and beautiful in form.”  While your other name Exodus, my personal picked is derived from a Greek word exodos, which means “exit” or “departure”.  The book of Exodus in the bible records  God’s deliverance of Israelites, his chosen people from 400 years of slavery in the land of Egypt through a series of supernatural interventions and acting upon it through obedience to God’s revealed law. God’s words in this old testament book has a personal calling in my life, to get up by obedience, leave without a doubt and take off by faith.  I am telling you my daughter, with God’s guidance that came to me and your father in His words, urging me and him to move from our comfort zone in the known towards an uncertain future and us acted by faith and given instructions, the three of us are not here. Your father first flew and went to the country, Philippines which was at first foreign to him just to meet me, and me travelling miles away from my country birth to the land which I became a foreigner, an alien…United States of America.

This photo was taken after we found out Abi’s gender!

The third person from the family who knew your gender is your Tita Beejay, my ever so kind sister.  I immediately messaged her through Facebook.  Surely, she is being excited and cant wait to meet you too.   Your Lolo Balagtas, my father when I texted him he replied back with an excitement saying he was so happy for us (for your father and I) with a reminder of to be careful.  He wants to see you soon.    

Truly, your father, I and you went through a lot and we are both praying and soaking ourselves to God’s words and teachings for us to become a parent like the character our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ modeled to us.  We know it will not be easy.  Both of us are novices in this very special task God has entrusted with us so we really need a lot of obedient hearts, discipline, love, patience, deeper faith and God’s grace.   

Before we left the Ob-Gyn, we were asked if we are willing to have a Quad Screening.  Its a blood test that measures the levels of four substances produced by the fetus (you baby) and passed into the mother’s bloodstream: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), hCG, estriol, and inhibin-A. (Cited:  What to expect when expecting).  

The conditions it screens for are Down syndrome and trisomy 18, which
are chromosomal abnormalities, as well as neural tube defects, such as
spina bifida. (Source:

Your father and I agreed to have it, they just drew a vial of blood from me.  It was so easy and almost painless.  As your parents, we desire that your development will become healthy and be well monitored.  The results will be out a week from now so we are trusting God that everything is going well with you.  You are always in our prayers and the church are praying for you too.  

Upon writing of this letter, your father and I just had a few talks about what the color of your eyes might be?  A blue one like your beautiful cousin Cobie has?  or will it be color hazel just like your father?  

Our prayers is that we will be prepared to be a parents that will teach and model to you the fear of the Lord and that even in your development God will greatly blessed you with abundant joy and wonderful health.  And while growing up, we pray that you will posses the blessings and meaning of your name.   

                                                     Psalm 118:24 (NLT) 
                 This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Pregnancy Fashion Tips

Are you experiencing a little hardship in dressing up yourself because the baby bumps are becoming obvious and bigger?  Is pregnancy fashion becoming so tough to achieve?  You’re not alone!  Believe me, at 5 months I myself needed to take out some of my dresses from the closet and tried different outfit in front of the mirror four times before I finally became comfortable with myself.  

I couldn’t believe it is happening.  I was confident that my baby bumps would not affect my own style and clothing preference.  Before going to Church today, I felt so limited because of my changing and shapely body.  Literally, I wasn’t even putting myself inside the garment. My husband, Joshua even helped me and suggested some pairs of dresses and jackets and even said that I was looking fine but still something was not right with my body.  I was not comfortable.  I couldn’t breath!  I uttered a breath prayer and asked God to helped me to be dressed appropriate for him, at ease and not dowdy.  

At this stage of pregnancy, I felt like I became stranger to my own body.  Before, my body always had a connection with the dress.  The  moment I saw a clothing being sold, I just looked at it and paid it without trying it.  But now, oh goodness it took a lot of several breathing and changing. 
So the question is how to feel good about your pregnant body?  

  • According to Liz Lange, a fashion designer “The key is to stick with the same kinds of things you wear when you’re not pregnant” For example, if you love wearing jeans you can go for stretchable jeans specially designed for pregnant woman.  Don’t try to wear clothes that you are not confident and comfortable with.  

In my case, I wear a lot of dresses.  I don’t conform to what is in,  instead I go for something that suits my style.  It doesn’t mean that I need to be fancy or eye-catching.  Knowing yourself deep within, will make you knowledgeable in what you should put on your body.  My husband said,  “that the way you dress is a reflection of the way you feel inside“.  So if you don’t feel good within you, it reflects outside.

Mixed & Match old Clothes

  • You’re  not limited to maternity clothes.  If it fits, wear it, even it it isn’t from maternity department.(Cited: What to expect when you’re expecting).  

In my case, whenever my husband and I go for shopping clothes I always looked for a dress that I can wear even after pregnancy.  Something that is stretchable dresses.  In fact, until now I didn’t even visit a maternity clothing nor online store.  Again, knowing yourself deep within, will make you knowledgeable in what you should put on your body. Trust me, it will save time, money and effort.  

  • Be practical, accept used maternity clothes then sort it.  

Though my body is undergoing different transitions, our pregnancy is always a blessing.  We just received two boxes filled of pregnancy clothes from Joshua’s uncle’s wife.  We don’t really need to allocate too much of our budget just to squeeze in myself to new purchase bigger clothing.  There are still some dresses that I usually wear even before pregnancy that I can still use now.  All I needed to do is to sort it out, and do the mix and match.   My husband did say he will buy me new shoes since my feet are swelling  (lol).

Beauty is a state of grace, not a certain look, size, or weight. You’re glowing, you’re pregnant, and you’re beautiful. (Cited:

Job 40:10

American Standard Version (ASV)
10 Deck thyself now with excellency and dignity; And array thyself with honor and majesty.