The Touched by Grace Blog


Close to You

I drove anywhere from three to five hours during weekdays when my sons were still in school, the longest stretch being from Cheviot Hills in the Westside for tennis practices to the San Fernando foothills where our family lives. I devised various ways to make my drive enjoyable. I prayed the rosary and listened to inspirational talks. In between, I played a selection of '70s and '80s music from The Carpenters, the Beatles, Diana Ross, and many other great artists. I had been

Feast of the Three Kings

Epiphany means a sudden revelation or insight into something. The three kings experienced their Epiphany when they saw the Christ Jesus in a manger. One personal note, epiphany is knowing that the uncanny timing of events is one of the many ways God lets me know that he is guiding me. Like when I seek an answer, and the answer comes out in a dream. Or when I need to talk to someone, and the person calls. Or when I seek help, and a solution presents itself. Many call these in

New Year's Eve

What has God blessed you with the past year? For many, it is difficult to see the blessings in 2020 and 2021. There could have been illnesses, financial hardships, and even death for some families. The dark clouds linger longer than we'd like it to. Let us not forget though that hiding behind those clouds is the beauty of the sun still shining. Was there an illness in the family? I pray there were people who prayed for them. Was there financial hardship? I pray that there w

Christmas Eve 2021

On October 19, my siblings texted that they have purchased their tickets to Los Angeles. Their families have finalized their plans of spending Christmas with our family! What a blessing! Then my mind raced to December. I knew that with 14 guests, plus the five of us, it was going the be all pandemonium, sleepless nights, and craziness! I have to finalize food, accommodations, and activities. For a minute I thought I should leave it all to God. Then on second thought, I d

On Patchwork Quilts

The beauty of patchwork quilts is fully displayed often only after the quilt and design is completed. Much like our lives. Many of the events in our lives do not match up, some quite incomprehensible, while others are like a thousand-piece puzzle. Only after we have lived much of our years do we understand why things happened. And for some, it may even take a lifetime to comprehend. Sometimes, not in this life. It is one of the lessons from Apple Steve Job's speech at Stanf

The Christmas Tree

Joyce Kilmer's poem "Tree*" reminds me of one of God's simple yet beautiful creations. And all the more during one of two most important celebrations we have of Jesus's life. Isn't it interesting that the two main kinds of trees, the deciduous and the evergreens, remind us of Easter and Christmas? The deciduous trees shed their leaves, signifying the giving up of the old, and then sprout new ones to signify new life. Much like the message of Easter's resurrection. The evergre

Have you a Gift for Jesus?

Where did time go? Christmas is around the corner, and if you haven't thought of your present to Jesus, below are some ideas that I believe will warm his heart. There's a whole month to do as many as will allow us. 1. Pack an extra snack or water bottle in your car. You might find someone asking for food or water on the road. 2. Write Christmas notes to people away from home. 3. Visit or call someone who is not feeling well in body, mind or spirit. Or maybe someone who

Top Ten Blessings in 2021... Plus One

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I thought it's the best time to reflect on God's blessings, big or small, that we have received this past year. As for our family, here are my Top Ten: Our oldest visited us for longer stretches of time thrice this year, and the holidays have not even started! Our youngest in college flew home to surprise us. Our middle child decided to continue to stay with us despite the enticements of being on his own. Hubby retired in January. God ha

More on Birthdays

As a child, I remember there were only two things I looked forward to: my birthday and Jesus's. For sure it was a time to get gifts, to have a feast complete with a birthday cake, and to act entitled was part of the day. As years passed and maturity grew (Thank heavens!), I learned that it was also a time of reflection and of much gratitude. Thanks to Mom, she lived a life of giving thanks especially on her birthday. She made sure she thanked God for the year that passed, for


Our family went on a trip to Singapore years ago. It's well-known that crime is very low in the city, though there were no policemen in sight. Someone said that they had a CCTV everywhere, and that anyone who does something illegal will be identified. Wow! That's one really good way of policing the citizenry. Maybe around a decade ago, the governor of New York was caught living a second life with the ladies of the dark. Unlike in Singapore, his actions were hard to trace.

Live with the End in Mind

Last week, my consciousness awakened to the thought that our life on earth is limited, and that we do not know when our dear Lord will call us. (Yes, I've known this for the longest time, but it just stays as a thought.) Though I try to live life with what I think makes God happy, I realized that there is no urgency in my actions. I act as if I will live a hundred years. In a little over two years I will be 65, and I wondered how I could make the most out of that time. Well,

On the Communion of Saints

As All Saints' Day draws near, I am reminded of the "communion of saints" that is mentioned in the Apostle's Creed. These words bring lightness to my soul, a smile to my face, and joy in my heart. Imagine all the saints* we know who are with us during Mass, and I believe, with us whenever we whisper their names. I once thought of researching foods that are related to saints. I thought that maybe St. Patrick liked Irish soda bread. Julia Greenwood in her blog** mentioned tha

Best Advice

Everyone has been on both ends of an advice. What are some of the best advice you have received? Do you remember some of the best advice you have given? Mom often told me to give thanks to our Lord. Her mother taught her that living a life of thanksgiving is the only way to live. An aunt said that it takes only a few seconds to make a call, so not being in touch with our loved ones is inexcusable. How many times have we said we will call someone and procrastinated? My freshm

Journey or Destination?

Asking which is more important - journey or the destination, is like asking which is paramount: is it nature or nurture? One cannot have the best with just one. The two will need to balance each other to bring out the best. Think about it. A journey without a destination is simply being lost... which may be okay when traveling because at least one can enjoy the sights. Focusing on the destination without enjoying the journey can cause one to miss a lot of precious moments

What's in a Name?

A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. - Romeo and Juliet If you had a choice, would you choose the name you carry now? I know my boys will have second thoughts. Because the ones we gave them all spell and sound close to each other, that even I get confused. (There should be a mini lesson on how to choose the name for your child.) I'm not sure Mom would. She never really used her baptismal name except for legal documents. She preferred her nickname Ningning which meant

October Feast Days

February and October are the busiest birthday months for our family. But October seems to outshine February because of my many devotions to saints who celebrate their feast days in October. Whenever we pray the Apostle's Creed, I love the part that goes, "I believe in the communion of saints..." Being people who lived holy lives for Jesus while on earth, I believe they are enjoying their eternity in Heaven. I also believe that they are given grace to help those on earth... Oc

On Milestone Anniversaries

I thought we'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. Apparently, it will only be our 29th. I was never good at math. God knows best. Hubby is good at it. Our oldest son asked his dad what is the secret to a lasting marriage. (I did not hear the happy part, but I suppose that part was understood. After all, rarely can one last this long at this time and age without being happy.) He said he will ask his dad because I am the vocal one, and I usually provide the answ

On Real Problems

Today is the death anniversary of dear cousin - more specifically, a generous, selfless, magnanimous, kind-hearted, loving, and dear cousin. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 58 and passed away within eight months of diagnosis. A 38-year-old friend with two young sons was diagnosed with breast cancer about six months ago. The previous month, I learned that her cancer has metastasized to the brain. Numerous tumors detected. Surgery was cancelled. Two weeks ago, she

On Gentle Proddings and Mysterious Ways

It's been a while since I went to confession. I have it on my weekly calendar, but it seems something always comes up when the day comes. (Could this be the case with most things that people, subconsciously or otherwise, do not think urgent or important?) One Sunday, our family livestreamed a Mass so that we could join the celebration as we were in different locations. I chose the shortest one at 30 minutes, thinking that the boys will want something short and sweet. (Anythin

Labor Day and Mother Teresa of Calcutta

As we celebrate Labor Day weekend, let us remember Mother Teresa who labored countless hours helping the poorest of the poor. September 5 is her feast day. In a way it is similar to the way the laborers worked 12-14 hours daily seven days a week just to bring the basics to their homes. Their protests gave way to the better work environment enjoyed these days while Mother Teresa's deeds brought the plight of the poor to light. On the occasion of her feast day, let us visit a f


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