Monday, July 14, 2014

Never random and always with a purpose....

How fast time flies! It has been almost three years since I last posted in this blog. A lot has happened since September 2011, most of them good only by God's grace and mercy. :)

Sabina will turning six in a few weeks! (that's a HUGE blessing!) Her daily seizures have been off and on the last few years, but have ceased to be an everyday occurrence since December of 2013. To date, Sabina's seizures are rare and only happen when she is: 1) either very tired or 2) is coming down with something. Thankfully, we have not had a number 2 in a very long time. Albeit a bout with UTI in September of last year, Sabina is relatively healthy and well as can be! Praise God! She also had a stye removed in the summer of 2012 (that was a horror as it was removed in the OR without any anesthesia. Poor Sabina!) Other than that, I thank the Lord for sustaining her this far since I last wrote.

This year, we started Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation (ABR) therapy with Sabina. ABR addresses fascia/connective tissue but you have to commit to doing the manual exercises with her at least 2 hours a day.. With ABR, there is a realistic expectation for Sabina to sit unsupported. (which is what I have been praying for) And while I am the sole "therapist" in this new endeavor, I really pray and hope that God does bless the work of my hands and through ABR, allow Sabina to finally sit on her own!  Last May, we also began Speech therapy. (our goal if of course for Sabina to talk and say our names, but for now, it is for her to be able to communicate with us and for us to communicate with her in a more tangible way). We also got an Occupational Therapist who specializes in feeding to address her feeding issues (choking on liquids and learning to eat foods that do not have to be blended or pureed). Both therapists have been such a huge blessing and are truly God sent!

So as I write a new post after so long, and hopefully will be able to start writing again regularly, I want to share what the Lord reminded me yesterday during church. I know this truth already, but yesterday it was refreshed and I was encouraged anew in this journey of life we have with my little Sabina.

Because we hold the Bible to be our absolute truth and authority. I know, that all things were created by God. The Bible says this in the book of Genesis. Because this amazing world was not created by some random accident or chance, what more people, who were created in the image of God! All human beings were created special -- in His likeness the Bible says, and therefore called for a purpose. So that means even children with disabilities and medical conditions whatever they may be, were created in God's image and likeness just the same. These children are not accidents or unlucky kids that got the worst end of the deal, or were somehow chosen in a life lottery. God created these children the same way He created you and me and they too have a God given purpose for being on this earth. Children with special needs are not any more different than you and I. They are just that -- different; like all of us are different in race, color, looks, personalities etc.. These children with handicaps and disabilities are highly valued by our Creator and Heavenly Father like any other human being. Jesus died on the cross for them too because He loves them as much as He loves the rest of us.

There's a verse in Acts that says that the Lord set and determined the times where people should live so that they may seek God. The Lord has determined Sabina to live in this time and in our family and for us to be her parents. He has made her the way she is for a bigger purpose outside ourselves. Our prayer is that through her life, we can point others to Jesus, that they may seek God! What a privilege to be able to live out that purpose and calling that we have received.

So my dearest Sabina... There may be people who think nothing of you. Who do not want to see that you are a person just the same. Who think that your value is less than the rest of us, just because you are not able to do what normal kids do. Sabina, you are created by the Lord and fearfully and wonderfully made just like any normal person. You are His daughter and His child and made to be special! You are not a random or an accident. You are a beautiful creation of our Heavenly Father and your purpose on earth is probably even higher than the rest of us. I praise God that despite your mitochondrial disease, you are able to give Him all the glory, honor and praise just by being you!

Genesis 1: 26-27

      Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. 

So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them. 

Acts 17:24-27

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if  He needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Privilege and a Blessing

Over the weekend, I attended a parenting talk for parents of children with special needs. It was spearheaded by a lady in our sister church who wrote a book about her journey as a mom with a child who has Down Syndrome.  As I went home that afternoon, after listening to a couple of speakers and hearing the testimonies of several parents who have children with special needs, I realized that being a "special" mom was indeed that --- special!

In the first year of Sabina's diagnosis, I will have to admit that there was a part of me that was embarrassed by her condition. I would hastily explain to people who did not know, why she could not respond or sit up like a normal baby her age. As the time went on, it was not so much embarrassment anymore because we learned to adjust and compensate for her disabilities; however I still did not like people seeing what a huge difference there was between Sabina and their normal children.

However, after this weekend, the Lord reminded me what a privilege and a blessing it truly is to have Sabina in my life. Not just because of the many indescribable joys she has given us as our daughter, but truly what the Lord is doing, has been doing and showing in our lives because of her. In Sabina's disabilities, God is able to show me His ABILITIES! His ability to do GREAT things in our lives, our children's lives and in others.

Surely, God doesn't make mistakes. He did not create Sabina and go oops. Sabina is still wonderfully made. God reminded me that He did not make her for me. He made her for Himself; to be used for His purposes and for His glory. So even if I still to this day do not know the whys, I can trust Him with whatever the answer. I may not see it with my limited and finite mind, but the Lord knows the exact purposes for which He has called Sabina and myself.

Have you heard of Nick Vujicic? He is man born without any arms and any legs. And yet, this man is being used mightily by the Lord to bring so many people to Him. When you hear his testimony, you can't help but feel ashamed at how we who have everything, can complain about the littlest things. And yet, here is a man, who did not let his disabilities ruin him and is able to live a full life. Instead of grumbling at what he didn't have, Nick surrendered his life to the Lord and let God use him for big things. In one of his interviews, Nick says that it is not about capabilities. This earth is temporary, and one day all will be gone. In heaven, he will have arms and legs and it will be permanent and forever. For now, he doesn't need the circumstances to change, Nick just lets God take the rest.

Nick reminds me it is the same with Sabina. One day she will be perfect!!!!! and oh, what a day that will be!! In the meantime, I need to see that Sabina and our family have been called by the Lord to achieve something here on earth. It is a calling for others to see that in circumstances like these, God is able to do amazing things!!! It may not always be physical healing. It could be character changes in us to be more like Jesus; or simply living lives that point others to the Lord who sustains us each and every day. Whatever the reason, it is indeed a privilege to be used by the Lord for His glory. So yes I can now say with joy and excitement in my heart, Sabina is a special needs child and I am a special needs mom!! What a BLESSING!!!!

Psalm 127:3-5  Children are a heritage from the LORD,  offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Memories

The past month has been a flurry of activities. Aside from the usual routine we go through at home, this August saw exams for my eldest in school, my sister in law and her family were in town for 2 weeks, my tennis team joined a ladies' doubles tournament, I had to write an article for a parenting magazine, it was my mom's birthday, my brother in law's birthday, my father in law's birthday, we attended an out of town wedding, and my eldest just had a swim and slumber party the other day to celebrate her 9th birthday.

August also, being the birth month of Sabina, comes with several doctors check ups and tests. Sabina gets checked and worked up every 6 months. They check for several things in her blood, kidneys and urine. She undergoes ultrasounds for her heart, kidneys, and liver as well. Her metabolic specialist also does a review of all the vitamins and meds Sabina takes, and decides if we need to see her other specialists for other concerns. I like Sabina's metabolic doctor. She is very pleasant and good-natured and has a very positive outlook. This last check up with her, as we were discussing Sabina's everyday routine, she reminded me of 2 things:

1) To not discount that Sabina cannot understand things. Dr. B explained that even tho Sabina cannot talk or express verbally or tell her hands to do things, she said that we do not know for a fact that she does not comprehend what she hears and has learned from us over the last 3 years. Sabina could be a smart child and we just cannot validate it.

This is what Teacher Jing also tells me, because during her therapy sessions, Sabina can follow instructions. Maybe its because of routine, but she is able to cooperate and do what teacher jing asks her to do. We see this also at home sometimes, that Sabina knows certain things. So I figure, if she knows things, then my mother's heart believes that Sabina also feels things. She feels when we are happy and excited. She feels when we are sad, or tense. She feels when there is anger in the room. And I believe Sabina especially feels the love from people who have given her that warm, caressing touch, that sincere look of concern, that gentle voice that has said hello, the warm how are you's with the big smile, and the hugs and carrying on the lap that is not taken forgranted.  

2) Time with Sabina is limited. This we know all too well. But Dr. B put in another perspective which I thank the Lord for. She said, while she understands our need to protect Sabina from viruses and bacteria she may catch from enclosed public places and overcrowded areas, it will still benefit Sabina (and us) to be able to take her places away from the home where she can get fresh air and also see people interact. Dr B. reminded me to make memories with Sabina while she is still able to get around and is relatively healthy and well. Making memories with her will be good for her sister and for us as a family.

And so, I am glad and thankful that we decided to celebrate her 3rd birthday this year with both immediate families, her godparents and our special friends who have been with us since the beginning of Sabina's mito journey. At one point, we did not think Sabina would live past the age of two. But God has been good! And tho this past 5 months of seizures has brought about regression on Sabina, we thank the Lord for the good days, and the memories that we have been able to make with her everyday this last 3 years. I think about the numerous beach trips with her, the walks around the village and to the park, times spent splashing in the pool of our nearby club, and just times we would huddle around the bed with Sabina on our lap trying our darndest to make her laugh or smile and then crying with tears of joy when she does flash that adorable, bright smile. The last 3 years have seen God's goodness, faithfulness, mercy, lovingkindness and numerous amounts of GRACE. Thank you Lord for another year in Sabina's life! We look forward to more special days with her, as we fill our albums, our minds and our hearts with many priceless pictures of Sabina.

Psalm 143:5 "I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done."


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mother's Song - A Traditional Lullaby

I heard this poem over Disney Junior and immediately fell in love with the lyrics. It conveyed perfectly how I feel about Sabina. Despite what the world may view as imperfections, Sabina is the most beautiful baby to me. (of course, so is my eldest, if she's reading. :)

When I looked up the poem on google, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was written in 1890 by a woman named Sabine Baring-Gould. :) (she was a Reverend too).

I have read and re-read this to Sabina many times since finding the lyrics, and I always tear and choke up as I recite the words out loud to her. For maybe this poem, written more than a century ago by a mother with the same name, was meant for my little Sabina today and now.

And so, this poem/lullaby is dedicated to my dearest, precious baby girl, who by the way, turns three in a few days. I love you Sabina. And if I may borrow the words of Rev. Gould, this is my mother's song to you ----

My heart is like a fountain true
that flows and flows with love to you
as chirps the lark unto the tree
so chirps my pretty babe to me 

There is not a rose wherever I seek
as comely as my baby's cheek
there's not a comb of honey bee
so full of sweets as babe to me

There's not a star that shines on high
is brighter than my baby's eye
There's not a boat upon the sea
can dance as baby does to me

No silk was ever spun so fine
as is the hair of baby mine
My baby smells more sweet to me
than smells in spring the elder tree

A little fish swims in the well
So in my heart does baby dwell
A little flower blows on the tree
My baby is the flower to me

Ten thousand parks where deer do run
Ten thousand roses in the sun
Ten thousand pearls beneath the sea
my babe more precious is to me.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Poem from Sabina

I may not talk, walk or crawl,
I may not be able to stand 3 feet tall.
I was born with a disease that has no cure,
Yet I am special in God’s sight, that’s for sure.

Because of my sickness, I have seizures everyday,
I am turning 3 but unable to go out and play.
The things that other babies and kids do I cannot,
I have several disabilities, yes lots of those I’ve got.

My mito disease is a progressive one,
Certain things I was able to do before have now come undone.
But that’s ok because I know,
The wonderful love of Jesus before me goes.

My family surely love me and provide the utmost care.
I dwell and live on their kisses and hugs like teddy bears.
I enjoy being cuddled just like any other baby.
I thrive on the sense of loving touch that mommy gives me daily.

I enjoy watching Disney Junior and having books read to me,
I enjoy splashing in the pool with Sophia and daddy.
Three times a week, I see my Teacher Jing.
Even though it’s hard, my therapy is everything.

My food is always mixed with vitamins and meds galore.
Yet I get a treat once in awhile with my favorite ice cream and more.

I may be different, I may not smile as much.
I may not respond to laughter and such.
But please don’t think I don’t understand or feel,
I am a person too and can cry sometimes still.

A person with a disease needs lots of care and love.
Not charity or pity but real love from above.
Special kids are people just the same,
We live in your world too, but just belong to a different ballgame.

So when you see me, please don’t just glance.
I may be having a good day, and show you my bright smile by chance.
When you look at me, I may not giggle or hold out my arms,
But deep inside me, I know God’s blessed me with a special charm.

But please don’t be sorry too for how I am today.
Just treat me like you would any other toddler that’s all I can say.
God has a higher purpose for me this I know.
His mercy and grace sustain my life as I grow.

When one day in heaven with Jesus, my family and friends I’ll be.
I’ll be able to walk, talk and finally say -- 
"Despite my disease, thank you all for being so loving and kind to me."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


A little over a month ago in a birthday dinner, I met the wife of one of the guys in our village tennis club. As I said my goodbyes that night, this sweet lady gets up, tells me it was nice meeting me and then wraps her arms around me to give me a really big hug. As I left the party, I realized how nice it was to get a hug. And her hug I felt, had so much warmth and love despite only meeting that evening. As i prepared for bed that night, it got me thinking that -- 1) A hug can instantly brighten your day 2) A hug speaks a thousand words 3) Hugs are not given as much as they should.

Filipinos in general i think are not huggers. We aren't touchy people. Filipinos brush cheeks with each other when they greet and hugs are not part of our culture. When I was living in the States in my pre-teen years tho, everyone in school hugged each other. It was a way to say hello and express friendship. In my mother's side of the family, (who all live and grew up in the states) we all give each other a big hug when we see each other. In fact, hugging cousins and aunts and uncles were something my husband had to get used to in our family.
In good faith, hugs mean hello, nice to see you, thank you, see you soon etc..  In the lonely and sad times tho, a hug can mean so much more. It can say a whole lot more than words can express. It says I love you, I am here for you, I feel you, I am praying for you, I understand, I care about you, and I may not have the words to express what's in my heart, but know that I am thinking of you and beside you in your struggle.

In our dark, confusing and sad moments with Sabina, the times I felt great encouragement were when friends and family just gave a big hug, an arm over my shoulder and held my hand. No words needed to be said, but were all spoken through a simple touch. Sometimes, for us moms in our own special situations, a hug is all we need to get us going, and nothing more.

Thank you Lord for the gift of hugs and the friends and family who have given them along the way. :)

Isaiah 40:11a "He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day happened a week right after my grandmother passed away; and with the other tragic deaths that also occurred during the same time, I didn't get to write about the one father in our lives who is to be truly, truly appreciated and acknowledged for all the effort and love he puts in to being one great father. This person is none other than Sabina's daddy.

Sad to say, I know of quite a number of dad's who have never changed a nappy; or never wiped poop from their child's butt; never fed their 10month old who splattered food all over the floor; or have never given their child a bath; or have stayed up for 3 o'clock feedings and colicky babies. For all intensive purposes, these dads prefer to do the "fun" stuff with their kids and have left the "dirty" and exhausting work to the mothers or yayas.

Not so with Sabina's daddy. Sabina's dad has not only done all of the above with both my girls (plus more); he has happily volunteered to do them many times even when I have not asked. He is certainly a wonderful dad to my daughters and is extremely hands on with both of them. There is nothing he wouldn't do for his two princesses.

In Sabina's case especially, both parents need to work together to be one good, solid team. We need teamwork to be able to adjust and manage her many needs. I cannot do everything on my own; and in our situation, I can always count on Sabina's dad to be able to be a great partner and teammate. In Sabina's first year and a half, it was his job to give her daily bath. And he did not do it grudgingly. That was his one way of bonding with Sabina. Many times, he would give her late night bottle of milk with her meds; and to this day, when I am too exhausted to get up when Sabina needs the extra comfort she needs from seizures or an illness, he will carry and rock Sabina to sleep in the wee hours of the morning without complaint.

Sabina's dad will never refuse to change her diaper with poop, suck the mucus from her nose, or stay up with me if I asked. He helps me keep track of medicines, and vaccinations, and takes the initiative to remember what routine tests Sabina needs to do next. He is one SUPER dad! I sure hope that Sabina and our eldest daughter know how blessed they are to have him. :)

Belated happy father's day to the best dad the two girls could ever have!!