Author: Unknown

There was a man who had four sons.
He wanted them to learn not to judge things too quickly.
So he sent them on a quest, one by one, to look at a pear tree.
The first son went in winter, the second in the spring, the third in the summer,
and the youngest on in the fall.

When they had all gone and returned, he called them together to describe what
they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent and twisted.
Pear tree winter

The second son said it was covered with buds and full of promise.
pear tree spring

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so
sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever
pear tree summer

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with
fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
pear tree fall

The man then explained that they were all right, because they had each seen
only one season in the tree’s life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season.
That the essence of who they are, and the pleasure, joy and love that come
from that life, can only be measured at the end when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring,
the beauty of your summer, and the fulfillment of your fall.
Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
Don’t judge life by one difficult season.
Persevere through the difficult patches, and better times are sure to come.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time.


Joaquin’s taking a nap. Janina and Ryan are out with Vanilla, our lab. Nathan’s at the internet cafe with his friends. Paolo’s at a cafe preparing for his message tomorrow for church. And I, I am enjoying this moment of peace… (but not for very long. Joaquin’s starting to stir) 😀lake


Nathan birth
Our first moment with Nathan

The day 15 years ago is still very vivid in my mind. I was sitting on our bed in our townhouse in Valle Verde 6 when I felt the first contraction, which signalled the start of a 23-hour labor for our firstborn. Paolo drove me to St. Luke’s as the intervals of my contractions got shorter thinking Nathan was soon coming out. Little did I know that we still had to wait many hours in the labor room. It was very confusing for us first-time parents, inspite of our childbirth preparation classes. I would feel cold one minute, then very hot the next. I would ask Paolo to massage my legs only to shout “stop!” when he touched me. It was quite an experience. By the time it was over, we were both very exhausted. But as everyone said, the pain was all worth it. Nothing could compare to the inexplicable joy of a mom when she holds her baby for the first time.

Nathan means “gift of God.” The more I get to know him, the more I realize what an apt name it is for him. He is indeed a gift of God, a blessing I didn’t deserve. A mom couldn’t ask for anything more. He isn’t perfect of course, but he’s more than what I expected.

Nathan 6mos
Nathan 6 months old
Nathan with grandparents
Nathan with his grandparents and great grandmom

It’s been a blessing watching Nathan grow up. He is an obedient son, an affectionate brother, a fearless giver, a loyal friend, a godly teenager, who loves God with all of his heart and desires to please Him in every way. He is a black and white guy, and is very passionate about doing what’s right. He is also our walking encyclopedia at home. 😀

I am so excited to see God’s plans unfold in his life.

Nathan 15


Whenever I smell peach potpourri, I am always reminded of my 18th birthday because my give-aways at my debut were little baskets filled with dried barks of peach fragrance. Isn’t it interesting when we walk into a room and smell something that triggers certain memories from the past? How often have you gotten a sniff of a particular scent and it fills you with nostalgia and brings back feelings from a particular experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant?

Scents have an uncanny ability to trigger memories because they are the only sense that directly connects to the part of the brain that stores emotional memories“. Because of this, I always use cinnamon-scented candles in our home every Christmas, and I don’t use it on any other time of the year. I want my children to associate that scent with happy memories from our Christmas celebrations. I want my children, when they are all grown-up already, to smell cinnamon and say “Hey, that scent brings back a lot of good feelings from our childhood Christmases!”

Cinnamon candleThe fragrance of cinnamon was not a purposeful choice. It’s just that years ago, when I first shopped around for red candles, most of them came in cinnamon scent. And we loved it! So we stuck with it and continued to use it for Christmas year after year.

So as you decorate your homes for Christmas, remember what a little fragrance can do. It doesn’t have to be cinnamon, it can be vanilla or pine, but whatever scent you choose, the more important thing is to build good memories that your children can associate with it.


I am not a morning person. I am usually the last one in the family to sleep , and I wake up in the middle of the night several times, hence, the last one to wake up in the morning too. Unlike some of you, I really cannot function effectively without my 8 hours of sleep. Honestly, I’d rather sleep in than do anything else in the morning. And my family over the years has realized that I am much happier when I am not disturbed during my beauty rest. 😀  Our 2-yr old Joaquin demands that I stay beside him in bed every morning which is a perfect excuse for me to stay in bed. Thankfully, my husband has assumed the role of “mom” in the mornings and has breakfast with the kids, does daily devotions with them and brings them to school. I am only woken up in cases of emergency, like when Janina’s hair needs to be fixed a certain way. Hehe…

GrumpyI remember when Nathan was in grade 1, he brought home his Filipino exam for me to see. One of the items in the test said : Use “bugnutin” in  a sentence. (Bugnutin is the Filipino word for “grumpy or cranky.”) Nathan wrote “Ang nanay ko ay bugnutin tuwing umaga.” (My mom is grumpy in the mornings.) Ayayay! I couldn’t refute what he wrote because it was so true. That was 8 years ago. Hopefully, he’s found another way to use that word again today.

Lamentations 3:22-24, says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’.”

I thank God that He is not like me who is sometimes grumpy in the morning. I thank God that every morning, He greets me with love and favor. I am thankful that whatever kind of mood I am waking up in, I know that that our Heavenly Father is so loving that every morning He blesses me with new compassion and mercy. I know that no matter how stressful my day will go, that God is right there with me, enabling me to do what I need do.

Let us start each day with Him.


Every year, we kick off the Christmas season by decorating our tree together as a family. It warmed my heart when Janina exclaimed how she loves our tree because of the different ornaments we have collected over the years and said that she wants to continue the tradition with her own family. This tradition was inspired by our pastors Steve and Deborah Murrell, and it gave a more special meaning to our Christmas tree. Our kids always look forward to opening our box of christmas decor and reminiscing memories attached to each ornament.

Decorating our tree is only one of the different activities we do as part of our Christmas traditions to make the holidays memorable for our children. Here are some of the Punzalan collection:

our first ornament
Our very first ornament from Shakey's Pizza 1995;D
Ryan's first ornament
Ryan's first ornament 2003
Paris ornament
Ornament from our Paris trip 2009
Disney ornament
Disneyland ornament from when we celebrated Christmas in the U.S 2005

Vanilla Ornament
Janina's 2010 ornament. This is the year she got her black lab, Vanilla
Piano ornament
Nathan's ornament because he loves to play the piano