Coming Back by Sally Kennedy

I just received an email from my friend Mana ( Happy Birthday, Mana, its her birthday by the way). I found the article by Sally Kennedy thats been helpful and also very appropriate for Mariel’s Garden. Here goes:

“COMING BACK
By Sally I Kennedy

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were
taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Coming Back
The plant that “would grow anywhere” looked dead as a doornail. The
flowers behind it weren’t looking so good either. Limp and fading,
they appeared to be on their last leg, too. Ironically, the
surrounding weeds were thriving, growing great.
Fading, limp, wilting, or a goner. Have you ever felt this way, in
your spirit, body, or emotions? I’ve been there, and I have learned
the truth of the principle of being rooted in Christ.
This plant was sprayed with an insecticide, but the large dose burned
it. For us, circumstances, relationships, job situations, can batter,
or burn, us pretty good sometimes. That’s life.
On the surface, what is visible, is what I call “in the night”. Things
seem dim, cloudy, even dark. But God is not a God of confusion. No
matter what is going on, He is still sovereign, still watching over
you, and involved in every facet of your life, working all things out
for your good.

On either side of this burned-out plant are two sturdy, older bushes,
and the roots of the plant have grown deep down into the soil below.
This plant will come back. It will have fuzzy green leaves again. It
will have bold sunny yellow flowers.
Stay rooted and grounded in Christ. In Ephesians 3, Paul says, “May
your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”

Persevere, no matter what. Hold on to the hem of Jesus’ robe, to His
mighty and powerful name. We will not only be survivors, but we will
flourish.
That is good news.”

Thanks again Mana

Why Mariel loved flowers and why we love Mariel

Mariel with flowers in MalaysiaMariel loved flowers. She would try to have fresh blooms at our home whenever possible. She also loved to work with orchids at her mini pocket garden. Vandas, dendrobium, cymbidium and other exotic names gave her some bliss. For she had a way with plants and greenery. It was her caring and gentle nature that showed when she patiently arranges every twist and turn of some wayward stems. She would even just breath new life into a bunch that looked sad and somewhat dejected.

Of course, she cared for me and her daughter Sam very much more. Her caring and gentle nature came to surface as usual as she made us feel alright when we’re sometimes down. She however rarely called attention to herself. I was so clueless that she was starting to suffer from that strange “connective tissue” illness that took her from us. In the midst of this, she even arranged a short vacation to Singapore for the three of us and made us happier than ever.

I also later found out that she had orange “salsa” roses placed on her office desk almost everyday. Like her, orange roses represent energy and enthusiasm. Now I make sure to have these kind whenever I visit her resting place at Heritage Park. Flowers they say are a symbol of “welcoming”. They also perk you up and positively change your mood every time. I guess that also best describes my Mariel. She will cheer you up when you most needed it. That’s why we miss her so much. So we look to the flowers and remember that Mariel was the very best part of our lives.

(By the way, if you wanted to know, I only remember giving her some tulips once in our years together. She of course never complained, she was too busy taking care of me.)

One balmy January day in Phuket

 

Our Phuket Wedding

The first seeds of Mariel’s Garden were planted at Promthep Cape in Phuket, Thailand. On a hilltop facing the sunset and the clear blue Andaman Sea, Mariel and I got married some 10 years ago. It was in a garden too beneath a tree on a balmy January afternoon, that we said our vows to a small party of six people, and a thousand blooming flowers on the hill. Mariel looked radiant, as usual, in a purple ( her fave color) Thai princess gown, while I wore a gray suit and a white tie. We had a relaxed but very memorable Roman Catholic wedding ceremony. We heard Holy Mass at a nearby church, then exchanged vows witnessed by my buddies, Kiko as the best man and Albert, as designated driver and photographer. Both Kiko and Albert also were the wedding’s logistic planners. We rode in a teeny- weeny Caribian and Mariel never once commented about the inconvenience nor my “frugality” with the arrangements as we were stacked four- wide.

That’s how much Mariel loved me. She took me for what I was and made me a better person without ever nagging me about it. She leads in the best way possible, by example. After the wedding and raiding the hawker’s stalls in Bangkok, we went home and invited our family and close friends to a reception at Sukhothai Restaurant in Manila, where we showed our wedding home video midst giggles and tears of joy. We had the time of our lives, light and carefree as rainy showers on a December morning. It was almost as memorable as the first time we met at Gourmet’s Cafe, but I will reserve that for another time.

Mariel was the most “prim and proper” person you will ever meet but she took chances on new things. She would just dive into new hobbies like crochet, flower arrangement, paper tole and excel at it. She had the knack for learning something new, then quickly becoming an “expert” in a heartbeat. She was so thorough, very intelligent and did not mind putting in long hours on things she loved or found important.

Of course, she took her biggest chance on me. ( My friends ribbed me then that she should be given a helmet lest she knocks her head and wakes up ) For Mariel gave everything of herself to me and our daughter Sam. She would make daily trips to the mall to buy Sam another dress or book, and for me my beloved DVDs. She seldom bought things for herself anymore since we got married. She constantly looked after us as she found her happiness in making us both happy. Mariel did this in subtle ways. Assuredly but gentle as always. In fact, I never appreciated how much she had taken care of us, till now that she’s gone. She was the best thing that had ever happenned to me and I miss her so badly.

I can only promise her though that I will always take care of Sam and her “garden”. Mariel’s Garden grows here and in heaven. And I can’t wait to be with her, when she gathers some fresh blooms for our new “home” over there. I love you “Mommy”.

How’s Sam today?

Mariel and Sam in Baguio

I get queries on how Samantha’s doing much more than people ask me how I’m doing. But that’s ok because, right now really, Sam is all that I need to do. Being with her and caring for her eases somewhat the pain of no longer being with Mariel. I know Mariel approves(present tense) because Sam is everything to her. Everything.

Well today, October 16, Sam is doing her best to catch up with the barrage of missed quizzes and projects. She was absent for about two weeks. But I’m not worried Mariel has prepared her well for such things. Sam like her mom is very thorough with (school)work. Sam too can finally go back tomorrow to her beloved METTA practice (Assumption Musical Theater Program), and thus prepare for their December series of shows. By the way, Sam gets to play Annie in the Annie Musical. You know, ” I love you tomorrow… you’re only a day away”.

Please book early, call 8170757. I’m sure Mariel has already reserved the best seats.