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A reflection I had after having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance or Confession) and during the mass last February was on the Cross.  The message I received was very brief and yet, so powerful.  I was drawn to look at the Cross where Christ was crucified and was reminded that the Cross 

  • means PLUS
  • means POSITIVE
  • means upward to GOD and sideways to our NEIGHBORS
  • and ultimately, it means HOPE


Let the Cross be our reminder that:

  • When all else fails and everything has faded away, only God and His Son, Jesus Christ, will remain steadfast and unchanged.
  • With total trust and surrender to God and our Savior, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  God knows what is best for us.
  • God is present and all around us.  He is up there as Someone who can see every detail of our lives and watches over us; firmly rooted on the ground as our anchor and everywhere when we come in contact with the persons we personally know and don’t know.  The Cross embraces us!
  • God and Jesus Christ will forever be faithful to us, no matter how many times we turn our backs against them.  With their love never diminishing, they are our constant source of hope in life, especially during the many times of trials, falls, and our acts of betrayal.  They will always welcome us back with open arms when we run back to them with contrite and humble realizations, just like The Prodigal Son.


On Sunday, we will be celebrating Easter.  Let us look at the Cross again.  Let us see it more closely with our eyes, and feel it as something alive with our hearts.   We have all the reasons to celebrate and be hopeful…HAPPY EASTER!




Last February 23, we all went to Mike’s parish church to celebrate the anticipated mass for that week.  We all also had the chance to catch a priest, go to Confession, and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  A tradition that we are mindful of every Lenten Season.

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Personally, I had a good Confession and a quiet, reflective time at mass.  More than  the traditions and going through all the motions of Catholic practices during Lent, I believe and prefer a more solitude kind of faith practice that really shows sincerity and authenticity between me and God, between me and my neighbors.  In silence, I poured out my heart to God, Mama Mary and the Holy Spirit, and asked for my favorite saints’ intercession to help me become a better wife and mom.  And instead of just saying my penance after having gone to Confession, I took a step further by saying “Sorry” to each of my family members during the peace-giving part of the mass.  I said “Sorry” to Kayla.  I said “Sorry” to Arielle. I said “Sorry” to Mike, and kissed each one of them the way we always do it when we’re at mass.

Saying sorry to another person is liberating.  It is humbling and gives one peace within.  So is forgiving another person.   I’ve read before and remembered it since that when one forgives, it is actually the forgiver who experiences freedom, and not the person who has done wrong or is carrying the burden of guilt and asking for forgiveness.

This Lent, why don’t we ask ourselves:

  1. if we have asked for forgiveness from God and from our neighbors and
  2. if we ourselves have granted forgiveness to those who have wronged and hurt us.


May we all have a meaningful personal Lenten journey especially this week, no matter where we are and whatever we may be doing.  I believe that our faith and our personal relationship with God should be alive and in action anywhere and anytime, and not just inside the church or in keeping traditions.



Litrato mula sa:


Ang isa sa mga ugaling Pilipino na gustung-gusto kong ibalik at muling isabuhay nina Arielle at Kayla ay ang PAGMAMANO SA MATATANDA O NAKATATANDA sa kanila.   Marunong naman sila kaya lang, siguro, dahil sa iba’t ibang klaseng tao ang nakilala at patuloy na nakikilala nila na may iba’t ibang pamumuhay, mas madalas silang humalik bilang pagbati o paggalang kaysa magmano.  Eto rin kasi ang nakikita nila sa kanilang mga kaibigan.

Pinaalalahanan ko sila nung minsan, pagkatapos namin magmisa, na gusto kong MAGMANO sila sa amin ng Papa nila, PAGKATAPOS NG MISA at TUWING HAPON.   Nung sinabi ko ito sa kanila, parang naalala nga nila na hindi na nila ito nagagawa.  

Ngayon, dahan-dahan naming ibinabalik ang pagmamano sa aming tahanan at buhay.  Mas maganda lang kasi at mas nararamdaman ko ang respeto o paggalang, MALIBAN SA PAGGAMIT NG “PO” AT “OPO.”   Sa sobrang makabago at mabilis na pag-ikot ng ating mundo ngayon, naniniwala ako na may mga bagay pa rin…makaluma, tradisyon, at nakaugalian na…na dapat panatilihing buhay sa ating mga Pilipino.

Maidagdag ko lang.   Medyo tama o akma rin pala itong “post” ko sa aking or aming goals para sa taong 2013…na magpakita ng pagkamamamayan at maging mas makabayan o maka-Pilipino.


“Ma, aren’t you glad Kayla and I get along?”

“I don’t understand when my friends tell me that they don’t get along with their brother or sister.”

“You two are not sisters.  You are best friends.”

The first two were remarks I’ve been getting from Arielle lately.  The last one (which I would cherish the most!) was by my dad. 

Seeing Arielle and Kayla bond these days is one of my greatest joys.  I used to wonder when these two girls will get along when all they did before was tease each other and bicker.  Yet things have changed.  For the better.  Into something beautiful I probably won’t be able to put down in words.  

How did this come about?  The only answer I can think of is because of the lifestyle we’ve chosen. The decision we’ve made six years ago…to homeschool.  

With homeschooling, they have lots of time together.  To interact.  That includes the quarrels, misunderstandings, arguments, and coming into an agreement.  To have family meals together.  To tell stories.  To tell jokes. To share secrets and dreams.  To pray.  To laugh and cry.  To do high-five’s and other gestures only the two of them could understand.  To do hobbies.  To shop.  To read.  To doodle. To watch shows.  To share a glass of milkshake or a slice of cake.  To defend and cover for each other.  To encourage.

Arielle and Kayla spend most of their time together, even if they have their own set of friends.  They have each other as playmates.  As each other’s number 1 fan.  As each other’s cheerleader.  

Yes, they are sisters.  And they are best friends ❤



Beyond Books and Walls.  Thinking of a domain name for my new blogsite surely gave my brain a good amount of stretching!  After coming up with a list of about 20 names, I finally chose Beyond Books and Walls.  Why the name?  Simple. It’s an offshoot of my tagline “The world is our classroom” from my previous blogsite, which I decided to keep.  Call me Ms. Sentimental but I would like to take something with me here from my old blog.  I really think the name Beyond Books and Walls best captures the kind of homeschooling we try to live out.  It paints a picture of the kind of learning we want our girls to have.  Not only learning, but also living.

Arielle did a clean and pretty design of my header and logo 🙂  I’m so thankful for her!  Her work is a showcase of what “beyond books and walls” mean.  She wouldn’t have learned real-life skills had she been confined to the four walls of the classroom.  Not only skills but the self-initiative and discipline to learn more what she needs to learn and what she wants to learn.  For more of Arielle’s artistic self, click here (for her personal blog) and here (for her homeschool blog as her portfolio for this year).  I’m telling you, she’s doing a lot, lot better than me in designing her blogs, keeping them and making them blogworthy!  Doing my header and logo gave Arielle the experience to work on a real application (not a homeschool requirement), with a deadline, and also, to think things through and make improvements on her own work and not just settle for what’s good enough.  Her first rendition of my header was the traditional watercolor paint on paper, pictured and then, edited using Photoshop.  But I gave her my feedback (just like a client but I may have sounded more like her mom though) that I personally would have wanted the colors brighter and bolder.  So, changes were made to what you see now on my homepage.

That’s my handwriting there on “The world is our classroom!”



As for the small logo that you see on the upperleft corner, I gave Arielle my idea after seeing an image that served as an inspiration.  We talked about using colors from the header to give the space some consistent elements or continuity, and that’s what she finally came up with.  An open book against or positioned slightly on top of a wall, with the sun shining from behind the open book, and the letters B B & W at the bottom.

So, there!  The name and images behind my new blogsite. It may not be as eye-candy as the other blogs, but I’m happy with it!  It’s something very personal, a reflection of our lifestyle,  which I would now like to share with you.