The One With The Proposal

I thought I’d make my first blog of the year memorable, so I’m sharing with you the proposal that happened in Alabang Town Center last Tuesday, January 24 — my own proposal story. May the photos speak of the blessing and beauty that came with seeking His will and believing in His perfect timing. Hope you enjoy! 💛

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I thought I’d make my first blog for the year memorable, so I’m sharing with you the proposal that happened in Alabang Town Center last Tuesday, January 24 — my own proposal story. May the photos speak of the blessing and beauty that came with seeking His will and believing in His perfect timing. Hope you enjoy! 💛

Note: Everything happened in Alabang Town Center, hehe. We’ll definitely have a great time sharing this to our future kids some day. 😄

The Surprise Team Meeting Place at CBTL (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) around 1PM

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By 2PM, the titas were off to prepping that bridge at Corte De Las Palmas (the one connecting Vanilla Cupcakery and Family Lounge) — at this time, Josh and I were still in Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo.

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On their assigned spots by 4PM The Will You Marry boys standing at the middle of Starbucks and Mary Grace; Sam and Jikay waiting in Seafood Island; Pepay, Sofia and L.A. standing near Pinkberry; Rob waiting beside Starbucks cos his part was to go up through the stairs and hand the sunflowers to Josh — everyone on standby, waiting for us to go out from Vanilla Cupcakery supposedly going to the Family Lounge cos as per Josh, his tummy was acting up😂

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Here’s a picture of me, still no idea of what was going to happen. Then I saw a crowd below the bridge and a kuya with his phone up high, taking a video of something, so I said, ‘Uy bat ang daming tao sa baba. Ano kaya meron?’ 😅

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And then I saw this…

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….. ‘TEKA FAMILIAR TONG MGA LALAKENG TO HA!’

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Then I looked at Josh and asked: Totoo ba? Totoo ba? Totoo ba?’ He smiled, nodded and kissed me on the forehead. Jikay, Sam and Rob started coming in the scene and the rest was epic…

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Just speechless when I saw the ring cos it was really what I pictured on my mind. Not too big, with stones around the band, unique. And it was exactly what I wanted, just the perfect fit.
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‘Babe, this is me giving my everything to you. This is me wanting the rest of my life with you.  Svetlara Mae Visaya, will you marry me?’
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‘Of course!’

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And wow, everyone was there! Our friends made time and even filed for leaves… 😭

dsc05387dsc05420dsc05424dsc05430dsc05434dsc05409dsc05406dsc05496dsc05499dsc05634dsc05646dsc05639dsc05575Thank you to my tita friends — The Titas of Naic lol — who were part of the entire proposal, I’m super happy you girls were there! To Jikay Laborte  who captured the best amazing moments (and made sure everything was documented including the SAME DAY shots!) and Leizl Ocampo who had the best lovely long shots during the proposal. To Faye Navarro, who knew me and Josh from way back Kids Church when we were still around 7 years old, and Sofia Day, one of my closest disciple, who helped with the preparation and materials. To my bestfriend Samirah Al Hamsi who I think (next to Josh) had the most stressful time making sure everything was perf haha and took a video of the entire thing which is now 2.7 views on Facebook (grabe lang!). AND THE BOYS! Of course the boys, who supported and helped Josh with the entire thing! The Will You Marry Me boys (Tan, JV, Tim and Jun) who were game to stand there in the middle of Corte De Las Palmas even after the crowd started happening. Haha! And to Rob, who witnessed Josh & I’s lovestory since Day 1 in Tsunami Camp, who people thought was the guy who is going to propose since he was the one holding the flowers the entire time lol. To our Koya and Pastor, Pastor Brian Kairuz, HUHUHU I cannot thank this guy enough for investing so much in Josh’s life and I, praying for our relationship and guiding us especially during our challenging times.AND MY BROTHER LA, thank you for playing a huge part in Josh’s plan. For being his contact when he talked to mommy last December, for driving us to Antipolo, for keeping everything a secret and for being there to witness your ate getting engaged. I love you, Panget! To everyone behind it all, thank you for celebrating this milestone with us.  And thank you for being Josh and I’s support system all these years up to this day. We really love you all. ❤️

And to you, Josh Hernandez, you never fail to surprise me in the most unpredictable way. ❤️ More than winning my heart, thank you for winning the heart of my mom and family. I know for sure my dad is happy up there in heaven —in fact, if there’s Facebook heaven, I bet he’d be commenting and sharing the photos too, hehe. Here’s to a new season, future hubby. Love you! 💛

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January 24, 2017 💛

And.. Here’s Josh with my mom and brother, last December 30, when he asked for the blessing of my mom. 😃

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Thank you Jesus, You really make all things work out for the good of those who love You. ❤️

Video Link: #JashgotMaengaged Proposal Video

Overcoming Fears From The Past

We all have fears we need to conquer. Some we can move on from in an instant, some we’ll need forever to understand. But the same God who has carried me through the most meaningful experience of pain I had when I lost my dad is the same God who can show you that there is hope after every losing battle.

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Disclaimer: This will be a long post since I’ll be sharing a personal experience. Please be patient or not, you decide. 😆

Last week has been the longest week of my life – okay I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. 😂

Josh had dengue. His fever started Saturday after lunch and continued on until Sunday. He went to the hospital Saturday late afternoon but was told to go back Monday since he still cannot be tested for dengue (he was told that it takes 2 to 7 days incubation of the virus before it manifests, or something to that extent, please don’t quote me though 😁). By Monday morning, he had a blood test and was said to have a 129 platelet count. He was then asked to return the next day for another blood test so they could see if his platelets will go down from there. Monday night came, he was already vomiting. So Tuesday morning, his parents already brought him to the hospital, had a blood test and yep, his platelets decreased to 110. That same day he was admitted.

So with all that happening, of course the girlfriend got terribly worried. Overthinking and paranoia does not really go well together. (So friends remember, don’t feed those thoughtsBe careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. – Proverbs 4:23 NCV) But I am not here to talk about myself as a girlfriend, or about how hard it was for me choo-choo. This is not a mushy post about my boyfriend. I wanted to highlight something else here. I am writing about this because I want to share something more important, I want to talk about fear and what the Lord has revealed to me about my heart through this experience with the hope that it could help you in some way.

[The very reason why I am overly affected is because] Ever since my dad died, I had this fear of sudden death. When my dad died, it caused me too much pain. Too much that in every corner of our house, I would stop and just cry. I also stopped keeping a planner and remembering happy moments. For years, I protected myself by practicing to easily forget anything that makes me happy. I thought to myself that at least when someone else dies, I won’t remember that much and the pain won’t be as much as well.

[Here’s the backstory, allow me to waste your time a little bit longer] My dad died while he was away from home. He was aboard ship in Russia, veryyyyyy far from us. Heart attack, as his death certificate indicated. But based on the hospital’s record, he was admitted for more or less 8 hours before he passed on. And the battle of not knowing what actually happened was the hardest. That feeling that you just have to accept things as they were and just move on. My mom, my sisters and brother did not have much choice but to move forward and just accept the fact that dad is gone THAT FAST. Thirty-three days after niya sumakay ng barko, twenty-one days after his birthday and just nine days after my college graduation. It was a terrible terrible terrible feeling. Even up to this day, I still remember how heart-wrenching that experience was for us – personally for me, especially as I was the closest to him, I was the youngest daughter, his favorite [they say]. It was then an ongoing battle in my mind. It was a struggle. To trust the Lord and to get over what had happened. I realized how short life was. How things can change in just a span of 8 hours. How your plans can never go your way and how sometimes, you won’t have a choice but to work your way out through the dreadful circumstances life throws at you. After three years, by the grace of God, I was completely healed. I can declare with all of my heart that God is still good. His plans are sovereign even at the times that we do not understand, and by faith, all things work together for the good.

But you know fear has its own way of slowly creeping in. When Josh told me, he was positive for dengue, my mind got way ahead of me. I started thinking of the worst scenarios (blood transfusion, critical blood test results etc.) based on the stories of the people who had dengue. I started worrying so much and before I knew it, fear has already taken over my mind and my heart. I could not get any sleep. I woke up every two hours, checking up on Josh even if I know he wouldn’t be able to reply because he feels too weak. I was even checking up on my mom if she was okay, checking if everyone in the house is still alive and breathing. I was just so paranoid to lose another loved one that I already forgot about God – to submit to His sovereignty over my life and the lives of the people around me.

And the hardest thing about the whole situation, dengue has no definite and medically-acclaimed cure. Day after day, the nurses will just check you for a blood test, check your blood pressure, check if you have no signs of bleeding and check for signs of neurological changes or if you’re already becoming lethargic. They’ll double check if you still know your complete name and birthday, in short, kung aware ka pa sa sarili mong katinuan. And as the patient, all you have to do is….. Well, wait until the platelets will go up again and make sure your immune system is strong enough to combat the virus. Drink water, eat fruits, get enough sleep. But because the nurse comes in and out of the room for the daily check-up and blood test after 12 hours (every after 6 hours on Josh’s day 4 and 5 as it were the critical phase, his platelets went down to 44 and 38), its not easy to get that enough, uninterrupted sleep.

Now here’s what I realized from the entire waiting experience – a different kind of waiting experience I must say:

1. You have to leave your fears of the past in the past. The wife of our NewGen pastor told me, “Not all situations are the same”.  Yes, you may go through the same things at different times. You perhaps experienced a same situation in the past and the outcome then was heartbreaking and painful (just like what happened to me) that it has now created fear in your heart. It greatly affected you, the way you think, the way you relate to people, the way you react to situations. You’ve built walls, you’ve been consumed by your worries and doubts. And without you noticing it, fear already has a foothold in your heart and have overpowered your faith. I repeat, NOT ALL SITUATIONS ARE THE SAME. Learn how to trust the Lord as you go through that trial (again), learn to surrender the pain and the anxiety it caused in the past so you won’t have to carry them to the present. The same God that have saved you then is the same God that will lead you through the current valleys in your life.

2. Prayer changes our hearts. Most of the time while we wait, we pray not because we come to God with a genuine heart of submitting to His will. We pray demanding that He should do something for us and expecting to have something good to come out from it – “because we prayed”. Day after day, I was praying to the Lord that the next blood tests will have better results. And day after day, I was let down. Platelets are still decreasing. While it is good to have faith in the Lord, to declare Him being in control of every situation, we have to realize that prayers are not magic pills. Not because we prayed about it, we’ll already get the result we expect to have. Prayer does not work that way. Instead, we should pray because we want to invite the Lord as we go through a disheartening or challenging situation. We should pray because we want the Lord to give us peace. We should pray because we trust the Lord and His will over our life. Yes, we may not all the time get our expected result but it will give our heart peace and courage to face what we are and will be going through.

3. Wait with faith. I was doing my own research and consultations from my friend in med school and while everything Josh was experiencing was really part of the dengue phase, I was getting impatient. I wanted to fast track everything. I believe in my heart that Josh will be safe and he is in good hands, I was telling myself, its just dengue Mae, compared naman to other sicknesses and diseases some people are going through. (But I cannot also dismiss the fact that in snap, a lot can happen) My bestfriend, being the supportive that she was, sent me a verse and was rebuked by the Lord through Psalm 112:

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. [Psalm 112:1, 6-8 NLT)

Even if I have been a Christian and have become a leader for more or less 6 years now, the Lord is continuously teaching me new things. I was reminded to not let current circumstances dishearten me. He revealed to me the importance of having to wait with faith – to be faithful in prayer even if the situations don’t get better. Wait on the Lord with faith. Whatever your fears are, lay it down at the foot of the cross and believe in the power of His Word: Put your confident trust in the Lord for He will take care of you.

We all have fears we need to conquer. Some we can move on from in an instant, some we’ll need forever to understand. But the God who has carried me through the most meaningful experience of pain I had when I lost my dad is the same God who can show you that there is hope after every losing battle. 

My fear from the past still stings from time to time but I know for a fact that it could not and should never hold me down. Remember if God is for us, who can be against us?

PS: Josh has been discharged already last Sunday and is now in Cebu with our NewGen pastor ministering to a youth camp. Thank you for everyone who prayed!  💪

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💛⚓

Valentines 2016 💙

Josh has always been a man of surprises and he gives me the most random gift at the most random times. He always gives me chocolates, with or without occasion. He buys me my favorite bottled coffee almost every Saturday on the way to church. He treats me to dates for no reason at all. Sometimes, he would go pick me up in my office, willing to wait for me for almost an hour and then when I can finally get off from work, he’ll ask me out for dinner just to spend a good 30 minutes together and minsan mas matagal pa yung inantay niya sa ikinain namin. At times, when we’re going around the mall and I find something I like, he’ll offer to buy it even if its not Christmas or my birthday. Kahit I will refuse, he will ask a second and third time if sure na ba ako and still insist to buy. He has never given me flowers because he knows I don’t appreciate it so much. Don’t get me wrong though, I do admire flowers. I mean its beautiful, it looks good but I’m just not that  type of girl. I’m actually the gosh-so-in-love-with-balloons-let-me-take-a-picture-with-it type, and he knows I like balloons and he makes it a point to always incorporate them during his birthday surprises to me.

Josh has been so generous in giving me the things that I want, may it be a material need or an emotional desire. He always tries his best to make me feel secured in our relationship. So how can such man make Valentines even more special if all our days together he has already been doing his best at it?

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Today, I was not expecting anything. Really. It was the first Valentines in our relationship that I never felt the need to celebrate it because I (especially after One Seminar) feel so contented with what I have with Josh and where we are in our relationship right now. And I praise God for it! The Lord has brought us to this level of our relationship all by His grace. Basically the plan today was to spend Valentines with friends and have a good full lunch, hehe. But I guess when you really do love someone, you can’t just let an opportunity to make them feel special pass, right? So this morning at church, after I went to sit beside Josh, he handed me a paper bag. No stir, walang halong kapabebehannagulat ako. I opened it and saw a set of colored pens with mini post-its. And that even got me more excited. No kidding. This person really knows me so well. (If you’ve known me and have been seeing my Facebook and Twitter posts for quite a long time now, you’ll understand my fondness towards colored pens and washi tapes, and you’ll get why this makes me so happy.) It was the set of colored pens that I still do not have – colored twin markers. FYI: I have a loooooooooot of pens. Twistable crayons, double-tip fine pens, Staedlers, Sharpees, color pencils, Muji gel pens etc. 

But this what really made my heart skip a beat. He wrote me a love letter.

“To the one and only love of my life,

Words are not enough to show and express my love and appreciation for you. But may this simple card and gifts along with it say how important you are to me not just today but for the rest of my life… You will always be the one and only exception.”

Melted my heart. And that’s not even the entire thing. ❤

I thank the Lord that even after four years in our relationship, I still get kilig and he still makes me feel like I’m the luckiest girl in class. One generation after another may come, and texting, viber messages and social media posts can change the nature of how love is expressed nowadays but love letters will never ever go out of style.

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Hi hunny, I know you’ll get to read this. I want you to know that I thank the Lord for you. I praise the Lord for restoring me and giving me the chance to be loved by someone like you. I know you are not perfect and never will be, but you will always be my confirmation that the Lord makes everything beautiful in its time. Remember almost ten years ago, the time when you asked me to dance without music a few weeks before my first prom? We were not schoolmates and I told you how I wish you’d be my first dance but that’s not possible because outsiders are not allowed in my school. Then, right there, you stood up and asked me to dance. Para tayong mga baliw, yung mga mala-Kimerald sweet-sweet movies hehe. But let me tell you that no matter what happens, we may have grown so much different from that time and we may never be the old Mae and old Josh, I will still never hope for a better first dance than ours.

If I am your only exception, you’re my only option. Happy Valentines day, looove! 💙 ⚓

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Four Years 💚

Today, my love and I are celebrating our four years of being together. 💓 And I praise the Lord for His faithfulness! Really, if it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t be together today — so happy sitting beside each other. 💑

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The past year has been wonderful, amazing and challenging for us. Had more responsibilities for us at work – he had a lot of out of town trips and I took over a higher role in the office – and those took a lot of energy and time from us but the Lord has been gracious, we were able to pull it off! Plus, the highlights of all is that we’re done with One Seminar 😊 And I am just so excited for this 2016, for all the things that will happen and for the things that we will get to experience as individuals and as a couple. 😄

Sometimes, I still cannot imagine that this person who I have met more than 15 years ago will fall in love with me and pursue me and actually stay in my life. Our story is like an endless strand of chances, but its actually more of a God-written fate. Our paths keep on bumping into each other until it was finally time to be together

Thank you my love, for never giving up on me all these years. Most especially for pursuing the Lord, because along the way, you found me pursuing Him as well — and the rest was amazingly crazy. 😚

Here’s to us, looking forward to more lunch dates together. ❤

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