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My 2014 Milestone Markers

It was over an afternoon snack a few years ago with my close friends that I learned about noting your life’s Milestone Markers. These were events that left significant marks in our lives, the times when we learned, led to change and to take note of God’s sovereignty over our lives. This year was notably worth remembering because of the many events that truly changed my life and to have something to look back to about how great this year was.

January

Mark and I got married on the first Saturday of the year under the cool afternoon sun. Saying “yes” to Mark agreeing to his courtship (2010) was also my “yes” to becoming his girlfriend (2011) and wife eventually. Thank God we stuck together and chose to grow up from our differences. We are grateful for a lot of things especially to the people who guided us throughout our relationship.

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I made this DIY signage above, back to back with the “Yes! We’re married!” It was truly one of the best days of our life, shared with the people we love. We truly have a lot to thank for our wedding. Our wedding photos were captured by our friends Paolo Gonzales, Erikson Tacason, and Eds Horca.
Cherry and Riza
My Twinie Cherry helped me out with the DIY items for our wedding; she stayed with me overnight to finish all other small items, and for that we are truly grateful. There were also a lot of people we thank God for.

February

A welcome surprise came when we found out we’re pregnant! I remember waking up one night after we got married and seeing Mark laying his hands over my tummy, praying for a baby boy. After a few weeks of suspicion and me having some hints that I may be pregnant, we did the pregnancy test. I was giddy and excited and nervous as I watched the line on the test being doubled. I ran to Mark and my parents crying happily and announced that I’m positive. It may have come too soon but we believe it was the perfect time and our hearts have been prepared for the baby’s coming.

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I did the test early morning of February 18. After I saw the positive sign, I thanked God in prayer and then rushed to my parents’ bedroom and squeezed myself in their middle on the bed as I shared to them the good news. Then I told it to my husband on our room as I hugged him. I left him there. He was silent for a while, thanking the Lord, he shared later on.

March

We first spent the few weeks after our wedding at our home in Antipolo, set to eventually find a place to rent near our workplace in Paranaque. The travel from our home to work and back was quite exhausting. When I was confirmed pregnant, we hastened the search for a new home and thanked God for the favor of leading us to a studio-type apartment in Rivera Village just a walking distance to work. I am also thankful to my husband who’s really a gentleman when he kept me from doing work as we transitioned to our new home. He cleaned all corners, moved the things around and all.

This is my masipag husband scrubbing the tiles in the toilet. :)
This is my masipag husband scrubbing the tiles in the toilet. 🙂
Dorm ladies at the Rivera household
I spent a couple of my years as a single person living at the CSM ladies dorm. There, Mark and I were also neighbors. We shared good times together with the ladies, fun celebrations with food of course. So when we moved in to our new home, they visited us and we relived those moments in another setting. At salamat naman at nagkasya kami sa bahay!
Our little nook, our first home as a couple
Our little nook, our first home as a couple, where everything we need inside is just an arm’s reach (medyo literal)

April

Amidst the new adjustments—living together on our own, being pregnant—I was challenged with a new task at work as a Marketing Officer in Charge. I never wanted to lead and felt more comfortable in my current position. But God, through our wise boss, spurred me to evaluate myself as well as I accept this new responsibility. It was another moment of surrender to and confidence in the Lord who was in the first place the one who positioned me where I am and the giver of my abilities. I guess this was also the time when we first saw the baby via ultrasound.

First peek at 9 weeks
Here’s a first peek at 9 weeks. We received a lot of well wishes when I posted this picture on Facebook. How amazing it is to know how life is intricately and purposely formed in a woman’s womb.

May

It has been a long time since our whole family took a time off for a family outing. It was also doubled as my sister’s birthday and mother’s day celebration which Mama and I (an upcoming one!) share. I was close to the end of my first trimester and our baby was strong to endure the uphill travel to Antipolo and all the swimming I did that summer.

Family outing 2014
Papa, Tita Nene, Mama, and Me at Villa Cristina in Antipolo. I’m almost 3 months pregnant in this picture.
Mimi (my sister), Aldo (my sister's boyfriend), Mama, Mark, and Papa
Mimi (my sister), Aldo (my sister’s boyfriend), Mama, Mark, and Papa

June

Finally, this was the time when we found out what the baby’s gender will be. My husband was high in his anticipation of a baby boy. Almost all the things we bought when we moved in to our apartment were blue to suit the upcoming baby as he said. So I had my ultrasound and learned that we were having a girl. Yes it was not what we hoped for, honestly, but we were all the more thankful that God still knows best. We were just as excited to finally meet her!

At 28 weeks pregnant
At 28 weeks pregnant

July

Few months before, I accompanied my parents to get their passports then my sister came with them to apply for a US visa. I asked my colleagues to pray for favor on this matter so my parents could visit my brother’s family in the US and assist them in taking care of their kids even for just 6 months. Then I received the envelope for them. Their passports got the multiple entries visa with 10 years expiration. As soon as this good news came, my sister in law got their tickets and they were scheduled to leave on September 28. I was happy for my parents. It was such a huge favor, though we know that we will not be physically with them on my giving birth and the coming holidays.

I placed my nephew's picture side by side papa's picture in his passport. Look how the mag-lolo resembles each other!
I placed my nephew’s picture side by side papa’s picture in his passport. Look how the mag-lolo resembles each other!
Parents heading off at NAIA Terminal 3
This was actually a September picture nung hinatid namin sila Mama at Papa sa NAIA Terminal 3. It was also Papa’s first time to ride an airplane. I’m on my third trimester here. Ready to pop anytime soon!
Inside the boarding area, the airport personnel suggested to put Papa in a wheelchair since he's a senior citizen even if he can walk well. Na-enjoy naman nya ang pagsakay at nakakatawa ang experience.
Inside the boarding area, the airport personnel suggested to put Papa in a wheelchair since he’s a senior citizen even if he can walk well. Na-enjoy naman nya ang pagsakay at nakakatawa ang experience.

August

I was entering my third trimester and my husband and I decided to look for a bigger place to make room for the baby’s things. He was the busy one asking around and looking for a place weeks before August. Finally, we went back to the 1 bedroom apartment unit in a 3-storey building that we got a chance to see months before we married. One unit on the third floor is still available and we reserved it. We didn’t know how we pooled together the downpayment we needed but the Lord provided exactly how much was required. We were even able to shell out some help to a family need.

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Here I am not-so-glamorously posing inside our new bare apartment. We bought a divan on sale as addition to the essential things we already have at that time.

September

This was an important month for the whole CSM family as we joined the annual Manila International Book Fair, and I was nearly on the last stretch of my pregnancy. So much work has to be done and it was a challenging time for the Marketing team as well. God sustained us still and allowed us to make things done while I did not reach the point of exhaustion. The month ended with the CSM 25th anniversary celebration banquet and Mama and Papa’s Departure for US. This was one of the busiest months.

Here we are at the back area of our booth last MIBF. We are posing with Ms. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto who is also an author CSM and which her first book was launched during the book fair. It was one I also coordinated.
Here we are at the back area of our booth last MIBF. We are posing with Ms. Miriam Quiambao-Roberto who is also an author CSM and which her first book was launched during the book fair.
We are privileged to celebrate with Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM Publishing) in its 25th year in the ministry. This is during the anniversary banquet. My parents will be leaving for US the day after this (September 28).
We are privileged to celebrate with Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM Publishing) in its 25th year in the ministry. This is during the anniversary banquet. My parents will be leaving for US the day after this (September 28).

October

On October 9, I gave birth to a beautiful chinita Baby girl. We named her Lauren Maria Elise, which meant “noble/wise, satisfaction in God.” The labor was excruciating and the effort was so worth it. I praise God for the graceful entry of our baby into this world and sustaining me throughout the labor and the recovery. I commend my husband for enduring the process as well and my family and friends who supported us all the way.

Lauren Maria Elise
Our beautiful baby girl graced her way into this world on October 9 at 5:20am.
Rivera Family
One of our first family pictures!

November

This month was an extension of my maternity leave. I enjoy every moment of motherhood for the first time while recovering my full strength and learning step by step in nurturing a newborn baby. Mia and I established our time of breastfeeding, sleeping (a lot), and getting to know each other more. We celebrated her first month and my husband and sister were just so sweet to add surprise to my idea of just a simple celebration when they invited our friends over.

Celebrating Mia's 1st month
With my high school friends Hannah, Roche, Harvy (Roche’s nephew and my inaanak), me and Mia, and Isaiah. I praise God for friendships like this. I’m also thankful to this bunch for their efforts to be connected with one another in spite of our individual lives.
Mia's 1st month
As we celebrate Mia’s 1st month, we also celebrate our first as parents. We are thankful to God for such grace that He allowed us to have in being parents for the first time.

December

I was welcomed back to work on December 9, joined the zumba session at the office, had a Luau Christmas party, and of course, the celebration of both Mark’s (December 26th) and my (5th) birthday. I have to thank my in-laws for taking care of our baby while we work. We celebrated our first Christmas as a family.

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Happy 27th birthday to me! My husband surprised me with a gift (tsinelas), a cake, and a love note (this one was required, hehe.)
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Happy birthday, Mark! Look at “The Amazing Spider-mark” poster behind him–it was drawn by our office mate artist Nadz for Mark’s despidada.
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Tita Aida, Ate Joy, Ate Daff, me, Ate Cora holding Mia and Ate Menchie–all dressed to a Luau Christmas!

There are things that are truly worth remembering. But besides these events, it’s God’s hand at work in every situation, whether big or small or good or bad, that deserves acknowledgment and thanksgiving. Despite my shortcomings, it is still the most important decision to surrender your life to the Lord and all He will not fail in giving you the best days of your life each year.

“Lord, you are my God;

I will exalt you and praise your name,

For in perfect faithfulness

You have done wonderful things

Things planned long ago.”

Isaiah 25:1

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