2019 Christmas Letter

bamboos

In the garden
The tall bamboos are dancing
The sound of the wind.

 

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The year started with a joyful note for us when we were invited to join a retreat by the Bahay Dalangin Zen Community. There, we met with Sr. Sonia Punzalan (Matthew’s Zen Teacher),  Fr. Momoy Borromeo, and the rest of the sangha. Matthew was given the chance to share with the group his Zen journey which was well received. During Mass, Fr. Momoy had a healing session and prayed over us… What a beautiful moment, indeed! Thank you Bahay Dalangin Zen Community for your warm welcome.

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The next few months were challenging. We are grateful to the Holy Spirit Sisters who offered their place for us to live in. Thank you Sr. Linda, Sr. Marijo, Sr. Mahil and the rest of the community of Sisters and the staff!

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We are deeply grateful to our dear, dear friends – Ricky and Corito – who were an answered prayer at the time that we so desperately needed it.

Your home, The Cabana, is so beautiful with a lush garden that makes it conducive for prayer and meditation. By the way, the Haiku posted at the beginning of this letter was composed by Matthew in a moment of inspiration in this marvelous home.

We would like to also thank Ronnie and Jimmy who took the time and effort to help us fix up the place.

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Last October, I rushed Matthew to the hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. The sun-less and continuous stormy weather during the months before that took its toll on his health. Thank God he was brought just in time and recovered quite well. Thank you so much Dra. Chona for always taking care of us.

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Sometime November, I was able to visit Manila to see family and friends. It was a short but hectic trip. My love tank is full !  Thank you everyone for taking time for me.

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During the year, Matthew and I had visitors.  Thank you for cheering us up and brightening our lives!

Finally, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its eleventh year, we have grown to have 368 followers and have surpassed the half a million hits at 520,269 views. As our cyber community continues to grow, we never expected this blog to touch so many people. Thank you for allowing us to share our lives with you.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and May you have abundant blessings for the coming New Year.”

~ Matthew and Jojang

 

2017 Christmas Letter

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

–Henri Nouwen

It was a delightful year of rekindling friendships for both Matthew and myself.

I was able to attend our 40th high school reunion to celebrate our 40th Ruby Year Anniversary. With lots of laughter and sometimes sentimental moments, I had a great time reminiscing about our wonderful high school years and meeting my high school chums.

When I got home from my short stint in Manila, it was Matthew’s turn to have his own wonderful reunion experience. Sr. Sonia came to the house for a visit. He was overjoyed to meet her, having not seen her for almost 20 years! Sr. Sonia is Matthew’s Zen meditation teacher, who played a major and transformative role in his life. Her guidance and encouragement has opened up new vistas, making him realize that there are possibilities in the spiritual life he never dreamed of.

Sometime middle of the year, we met up with Mel and Gie whom we’ve not seen in almost 10 years! We enjoyed catching up with what was happening in our own lives.

Another happy reunion for me was meeting up with Lolit, whom I have not seen in more than 15 years. After spending hours together having dinner and dessert, we both felt that time was not enough. How we both wish we had more time together!

Matthew had a celebration of sorts when he was again able to sit in meditation with a group of old friends after more than 15 years — something he loved to do. For many years, he was only able to meditate by himself. Thanks to the encouragement of endeared friends – Sr. Marijo, Flor, Nena and John, who made all this possible! Looking forward to more “sits in meditation” with you in 2018!

We capped off the year with an 80th-year birthday celebration of our godfather and dearest Tito Peter in a beautiful resort in Asin. It’s the first time I ever saw Matthew get sun burned. Needless, to say we enjoyed ourselves and the food was delish!

Of course, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its ninth year, we have grown to have 333 followers and have reached an exciting 450,800+ hits! We are happy because people are visiting our blog, liking our posts and our cyber community continues to grow.

May this holiday season sparkle and shine. May all of your wishes and dreams come true. And may you feel God’s presence in your life all year round.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

–Matthew & Jojang