*FAITH, *MARRIAGE

Expecting

I’ve been M.I.A. on the blog for the past few months because as you read on the title, me and my husband are pregnant! And yes, we’re expecting a baby girl!!! ❤

It’s not exactly a “honeymoon baby.”  But when I took a home pregnancy test two months after our wedding, there they were: the most sought after “two lines” of married couples like us who already want to have a child. I was around 5 weeks then. The following week, I started to experience “morning sickness” (which actually lasted all day long!) until my 19th week!! To be honest, being on lockdown and working from home became a huge blessing in disguise for me because I couldn’t imagine going to the office during my first trimester until the early days of my second trimester. The nausea and vomiting, including some gastrointestinal issues, not to mention my allergic rhinitis that worsened during some of those weeks (I even had a swab test just to be sure! And thank God I was negative for COVID-19, and I claim in Jesus’ name that we’ll forever be negative from that virus!!), were really just excruciating and frustrating. The factors that kept me going were, of course, my faith (knowing that to suffer means to share in Jesus’ suffering, too), my husband’s unconditional love (he had to do everything in our humble abode since I had no energy whatsoever to do any chores! LOL), and the fact that they say “morning sickness” is a sign of a healthy pregnancy with surging hormones and all that.

On my 19th week (the last week of my nausea/vomiting), though, I started to feel my baby move in my tummy and that’s the silver lining of all that I’ve been through in the weeks before that! 😀 The rest of my second trimester is all about tests here and there, including the ultrasound that made us find out the gender. But overall, it’s my favorite so far even though I also started gaining weight already — no biggie since I know it’s what’s best for the baby and I’m trying to gain at a normal rate. I also try to still get some prenatal exercise, mostly low impact cardio which I can comfortably do at home. My favorite so far is “Body Fit by Amy” on YouTube — check out her channel, fellow preggy women! Haha! Just make sure you have your OB-GYN’s go signal, okay? 😉

Now that I’m about to enter my third trimester, of course, the best is yet to come! I’m due in December (yes, a “Christmas” baby!) and I’m really contemplating on requesting to play Jose Mari Chan‘s famous Christmas album while I’m in labor to somehow ease the impending pain! Wahahahaha! Seriously. I’m not joking. 😛 We’ll see, though, because as any woman who has given birth would tell you, no “birth plan” really goes according to, well, the exact plan! That’s why I’m already trying to set my mind to be open as long as me and my baby will be safe and healthy. That’s what matters most, anyway. 🙂

By the way, we decided to name her after the Archangel Raphael even before we found out the gender. These days, his intercession is often asked to help heal the world from this pandemic we’re going through. But to be honest, even before I met my husband, I already decided to name my first baby after St. Raphael because of the big role he played in my life when I was still single (my close ministry friends know this!). Thank God my husband agreed! Hehe!

our baby’s name is Raphaela Faith a.k.a. “Rafa”

And that’s my pregnancy journey so far. My husband and I still have a few months to go before we enter a new season in life: parenthood. We ask that you pray for us, our baby Rafa, and all my fellow pregnant women in the world during these trying times.

I, thank you!!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a real blessing.”
-Psalm 127:3

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*FAITH, *MARRIAGE, Down Memory Lane, Relationships

MIKAtolika: What’s in a Name?

Let me start by saying that this blog (which I started a little over a decade ago) isn’t new when it comes to “change.” It has experienced several theme changes, rebranding, etc. in the past years. But what makes this “new” different from past changes is that personally, I also experienced a major change in my life.

A new chapter. A transition. A change in life season — I GOT MARRIED! 😉

Photo by Creative Juices Photography

And with it comes a mix of different preferences and priorities compared to when I was still single — including the topics I want to write about. A few months into my engagement, I already thought about the word play for the topic closest to my heart: my (Roman) Catholic faith.
[I’m particular with the “Roman” part because the Catholic Church has other members who belong to other “rites.” The Philippines, though, predominantly practices the “Roman rite” that’s why we’re called “Roman Catholics” — but there are also Byzantine Catholics, Greek Catholics, Maronite Catholics, etc. who are all in communion with Rome — and that’s for another blog post altogether!]

Anyway, I prayed about it and true enough, I was able to incorporate my nickname into it with the help of the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

“Mika” is my nickname and “Katolika” is the Filipino term (I’m from the Philippines!) for “Catholic” —

Hence, MIKAtolika! ❤

YOUR NAME IS PART OF YOUR ANOINTING

I’m maintaining this blog so I can learn more and go deeper when it comes to my own faith. I don’t claim to be an expert nor a perfect person because just like YOU, I’m an unworthy and perfectly imperfect person who is loved by a perfect God! I’m a work in progress. What I do know is I’m a cradle Catholic who used to have weak faith — “weak” in the sense that I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus back then. It was only a few years back when I was “re-converted” to the true essence of my Catholic faith (thanks to my different Catholic charismatic communities — more about them in another post, too!), and I will be honest with you, it has been a daily (spiritual) battle ever since.

Even as of this writing.

But I’m always grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy that empower me every. single. day. Part of that is His daily reminders of what my life’s mission really is, which is already present in my given names.

In one of the Jesuit-inspired silent retreats I attended, there was one passage we were required to read and I’m convinced that God revealed to me who I am through my name because my fellow retreatants read the same passage but received different messages. The passage I’m talking about is entitled “Recover the Stars” by Fr. Jojo Magadia, SJ.

There’s a line in that passage that talked about the “tiller of the soil.” Fr. Magadia wrote that tillers of the soil learn to wait on nature, which teaches them that her cycles cannot be hurried, that she ripens the harvest in her own good time, if she decides to ripen it at all. The tiller still tills the soil, nevertheless, but with “great patience and great placidity,” willing “to watch the grinding mills of God.” They have this almost “blind belief” that in the end, nature, “lush, inscrutable, irresistible—shall work her will in the end,” guided by a God who ceaselessly labors in creation.

Tillers of the soil also labor tirelessly, who plant and water and weed, but in the end can only wait on God who alone can bring new life from the earth and make it bear fruit.

Since that retreat was Jesuit-inspired, I was also made aware of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual exercises and prayers, such as the Suscipe. I’ve always known that my first name, “Mikhaela,” is the female counterpart of the Archangel Michael’s name, which means “who is like God. On the other hand, I researched my second name, “Georgette,” before and I’ve always known it means “farmer. But when I Googled it again on the same day I read the passage, I was blown away to read its other meaning: “tiller of the soil. When I found that Google search, I couldn’t help but receive God’s meaning for my life through my two combined names, “Mikhaela Georgette.” I realized that I’m a “farmer” or “tiller of the soil” “who is like God” (as in holy or made in His image). Add to that the season I was in then, and having complete trust or surrender to God (the meaning of Suscipe) made perfect sense to me.

It’s like the nature in the passage means God in my life, the cycles as my seasons (pruning, waiting, etc.)—and I’m a tiller who surrenders all to Him!

Except surrendering to God isn’t easy. You and I know that.

And surrendering to God? That’s a whole new and wide topic to write about.

Well, I’m starting with THIS. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!


Do you know your name’s meaning?
What’s your reaction to God’s call for your life through your name?

P.S.: “Mika” means “beautiful fragrance”
when used on its own. Mine’s just a nickname,
but it’s still wonderful to know the meaning behind it.

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Down Memory Lane, Marked on the Calendar

#MikaIshTheOne: The Proposal

It has been more than six months since I got engaged. ❤ My fiance, Ish, and I decided to post about our engagement publicly only after two months (with the exception of our families and close friends) because we wanted to focus on the wedding- and marriage-planning (a.k.a. book our major suppliers, scout our launching pad, etc. — see previous post), and savor the moment.

Well, for those curious and who keep on asking me (haha), and since because I haven’t written on this blog for a while, here’s the version of our engagement story based on my perspective. 😉

❤ ❤ ❤

February 4, 2019. It was an ordinary February Monday — or so I thought. I woke up, said my morning prayers, prepared myself for work, went to my daily eight-hour grind, sweat some at the gym after, and even asked one of my female colleagues to grab some street food as a post-workout snack (isaw is protein, right? LOL!) because I wasn’t in a hurry to go home. Safe to say, I didn’t have a date scheduled that night because the day before, Ish and I had our #Sundate. I was all prim and proper in my maxi dress and “no makeup” makeup look, we ate lunch at a newly-opened Filipino-inspired restaurant, then visited one of my favorite jewelry stores, Pandora — but only to window shop, of course. So on that ordinary Monday night (or so I thought again), between biting and savoring one of my isaw sticks in the middle of Padre Faura, Ermita, I received a call from Ish asking if we could meet up at my house. I said sure, thinking that it was just one of those usual random visits we’re so used to because of our proximity to each other — a big plus in our dating season. Upon ending the call, my colleague and I immediately rode a jeepney and headed home.

I first arrived at my house, with only our house helper in the midst. It wasn’t long after when Ish followed and greeted me with a smile, kiss, and hug. He was wearing one of his white short-sleeved polo barong tops, and I was in my gym clothes — sweat and all. He loves me that much that he didn’t care, and I love him for that. We both came from work and upon entering our living room, he stood beside one of our sofas near the door. He started sharing how his day went, and I was eagerly listening while I multitasked in preparing him a glass of water. He even cracked a joke in between about him winning a very small amount from the lottery, and we both laughed. And then I noticed the change in his demeanor, his smile was still there, but somehow, I’d gotten the signal that he’s serious already — serious enough that I thought he wasn’t kidding about the lottery! 😛

And then he started telling me that he loves me… Not that that was unusual, but I knew something was up and my brain was trying to figure it all out. Haha!

To be honest, everything was a blur already. In hindsight, I just noticed that he had been standing there at one corner of our living room since the time he arrived. That must have been a few minutes already, so I walked to our other sofa, tapped the empty seat space on my right as a signal for him to sit beside me. He did sit, but on the other sofa near my left.

He was still speaking, but my mind was really trying to figure out what was going on during that regular “date” visit. I was that clueless.

And then he suddenly pulled out a white box.

For a second, I thought it was a Pandora box containing the pair of earrings I was eyeing the day before… Laughtrip talaga! When he said it wasn’t and further removed the packaging that revealed a purple box, I knew this was the moment.

But my mind still couldn’t fathom what was really happening!

Then he opened the purple box, and inside was a beautiful white gold ring with a shiny diamond in the middle. My mind couldn’t believe what was happening, and I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about his joke earlier and kept laughing.

I kept on yellling in a laughing tone, “TOTOO BA ‘TONG NANGYAYARI?”

To which Ish replied, “Sabi ko na nga ba ganyan ka mag-rereact [referring to my loud voice] kaya hindi ko ‘to ginawa in public.” Well, my friends would agree. Wahahahaha!

Then, he continued, “Will you marry me?” [I swear it was more romantic than the way I’m narrating it here! Hehe!]

To which I answered, “Teka, ‘di ba dapat luluhod ka muna?”

He replied, “Hindi ka kasi relax eh… gagawin ko palang kasi.”

And then while down on bended knee, he asked me again, “WILL YOU MARRY ME, Mika?”

Trying to compose myself (from laughing as a result of my excessive joy, mind you), of course I answered a resounding “YES!”

He put the ring on my finger, and I was amazed at how it fit perfectly. I asked him how he got my correct ring size, and he mentioned that he had help from a Saint. Just a little back story, I’m a devotee of St. Benedict of Nursia and I always wear a St. Benedict medal ring on one of my ring fingers. I remembered on one date, Ish jokingly borrowed it briefly from me, he tried to slip it on his ring finger but it fit only up to the middle of his pinky. Little did I know, he was already taking note of my engagement ring size then! *hint, hint to all the men planning to propose to their girlfriends* 😉

Anyway, two days after our fateful engagement night, we reserved our date and church.

Our engagement was very casual and personal, which made it more authentic for me and Ish as a couple. There were no cameras, no fuss, and we had an audience of One: God. At first, I asked Ish why he didn’t propose the day before when I was in my “prim and proper” outfit?! Hahaha! He said that he wanted to propose on a day that would really surprise me, and well, he sure did succeed in that! 😀

Almost two weeks ago, we had our engagement/prenup shoot. Just like our engagement, it was casual, fuss-free, and very relaxed. It also dawned on us that we have a few months left before our wedding… time flies really fast when you’re having fun. So yes, I can say that I’m enjoying our wedding preps and engagement. But more than that, we’re enjoying our marriage preps and we can’t wait to finally say our vows in front of the One Who orchestrated our love story in the first place. ❤

Having said that, Ish and I continue to ask for your prayers as we journey to God’s altar. Likewise, we also pray for our fellow engaged couples, especially the ones we made friendships with during our Discovery Weekend retreat — highly recommended for engaged couples or boyfriends/girlfriends serious enough to consider marriage, btw!!! 🙂

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

“…I found the one my heart loves.” -Song of Songs 3:4

 

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