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Wednesday, 01 May 2019 01:16

Daddy's Girl

I admit. I am Daddy’s Girl. And I am proud of it.

But being Daddy’s Girl comes with expectations and standards. A lot of expectations and very high standards. Especially when your daddy is the Reverend Joey Umali.

As a pastor’s child, I was expected to behave appropriately (some even expected me to be holy). No clothes too revealing, no accessory too daring, no things too fancy or flashy. I had to be courteous, kind, understanding, compassionate. I had to bite my tongue and choose my words. I had to be a good example — an excellent student, an obedient daughter, an active member of the church.

When dad became the lead broadcaster for the famous radio program “Hardin ng Panalangin,” I was in for lots of surprises. Somebody always recognized him everywhere we went — at the mall, at the drugstore, in gatherings, even at a quiet resort we went to for a family outing. And of course, we were always recognized as his children.

Being dad’s daughter gave me opportunities I never would have otherwise. I had editing and translation projects not only for his books, but for other authors as well. I was invited to speak on his behalf, or with him, in lectures and seminars. People recognized my talents because they knew I was following his footsteps (just in writing, to be clear).

Just this week, I was introduced as the daughter of Pastor Joey three times in three different settings. When I introduce myself, people nod politely, but when I mention that he is my dad, their faces light up and their lips smile. There were even times when people took a photo with me, so they could tell someone else that they met the daughter of Pastor Joey. And I am proud to be able to make people a bit happy just by being my father’s daughter.

My dad taught me many things just by doing them. He never instructed us directly to be this and to do that. But somehow we knew because we saw him do it. He is an obedient son, a good brother, a great father. He is intelligent, firm, a good decision maker, a disciplined person.

He taught us respect by always treating people fairly. He taught us punctuality by always being ahead of time even when others were not. He taught us love by being faithful to our mom. He taught us principles by always sticking to what he believed in. He taught us obedience by following the path God chose for him, even when it meant giving up comfort and many other things. He taught us humility by never lifting himself up, but by always giving the glory to God. He taught us faith by being a man after God’s heart.

And for all these, I thank him. For what I have become because of his example. For what I have accomplished because he believed in me. For what I hold in my heart because he planted that seed of faith there ever since I was born.

Thank you Daddy. I am prouder everyday to be your daughter. I am blessed to have you as my dad, my role model, my Superman.

I love you.

Published in Tributes
Sunday, 17 March 2019 15:45

A tribute to my father

It has been three years since my father took the last breath of his life in this cruel world which took him away.

I held the cold body of my father with tears in my eyes and cried.

I still feel the touch of my father and I still remember the unbelievable feeling of that moment.

When thinking about the words to say at his funeral I thought  "What tribute can you pay to a man whose whole life was a tribute. A tribute to goodness, a tribute to kindness, caring and generosity."

There is really no need for words because my father's life spoke loud and clear.

My father Nicholson was born in 1975 in New Delhi , a developing area of India. Family circumstances were worst when he was under eighteen, but my father was a visionary person among his 4 siblings.

At the age of 23 he met with my beautiful mother in Calcutta and and married her. He tried his best to make her happy. I remember once it was a boring day and my father had an important meeting related to business in California.

I knew that it was my mom's birthday on that day and at 12 o'clock the bell rang and i opened the door. It was a birthday surprise for my mom. A new luxury BMW was waiting outside the door and on it was written "A sweet Happy Birthday for my Love". He left the meeting especially to come home for my mom's birthday.

He was unique among his siblings. Our uncle and aunt were never as generous he was.  He was everyone's favorite friend , everyone's favourite neighbour, favourite uncle, and favorite employer. He didn't have an enemy in the world. I don't think anyone who met him didn’t love him.

We really miss him. We pray every day that he will come back one day. 

Once I broke a precious gift which had been in the family for generations. I think it was a pot from my father's grandfather. After doing this crazy thing I was afraid of being beaten by him and  I hid myself but he found me, kissed me, hugged me and ignored what I had done.

I still remember today as  I realize that he was a blessed shadow upon us. the hospital he made for the poor and needy peoples was a blessing for them. they all praise him. I wasn't aware that father was not just kind-hearted to us but was really like a backbone for whole family, he made the whole family stable.

Last night I found a card from my birthday where it was written "A happy birthday that you will never forgot". I remember that it was an electric car which was more than our family budget to buy but he still gave it to me.

I know your kind soul is walking on paradise and you have been rewarded for your life. I know you are seeing us. I know you feel our happiness and sadness. I know you loved us more than yourself.

God keep you under the shadow of his blessings.


Published in Tributes
Sunday, 17 March 2019 08:09

Farewell, Papa Micksey

When my husband, your firstborn son, told me you passed away in a foreign land, I did not believe him. I could not move. I was in shock. I sat on the stairs for a long time, dazed. Then hot tears came rushing down. What happened? Were you in pain? Were you alone?

I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. We were so used to you going on trips that I just took this one as one of those. I even said I will just see you when you come back. Feeling empty, I took to writing about you to somehow fill that void. I thought the piece I was writing would be sad, dark, lonely. But this came out – and I knew that sadness had no place in my heart, because you only brought us joy and pride – for just being you.

Your stories always amused me — from the one where the boat you were riding in capsized, to your missions in Africa and the Middle East, and everything in between. I actually looked forward to hearing them, never mind the whole family teasing me that I am the only audience you have.

Yours is a big big heart. You helped even when you’re busy or tired. You gave even when you didn’t have much. You smiled even when you were scared or doubtful.

We always teased you for being too cautious, for driving very slowly, for your Albert Einstein hair. But we highly respected you and looked up to you for wisdom and guidance.

In your most recent work, you rubbed elbows with ambassadors, but at home you hurt your back giving piggyback rides to your grandson. You shook hands with diplomats, but at home you burned your hands cooking the best banana cue. You traveled far and wide, to luxurious places, but at home you slept on the floor.

You captured the most beautiful images of people – each of them telling a story without words. The photographs you took gave them an identity, a personality. With every click, you captured not only a simple shot, but brought hope and life.

You were recently (posthumously) bestowed the Upsilonian Noble and Outstanding (UNO) award, the highest honor granted by the fraternity to its deserving members. Only 64 outstanding brothers have been conferred this award. It said you were a “luminary,” defined as either a person of prominence or brilliant achievement, a person who inspires or influences others, or a natural light-giving body. You were all those, and more.

I can only say thank you for everything — for your heartfelt concern for us, for your passion in everything that makes even the simplest things seem of great worth, for your selflessness, your humility, your love.

It has been two years and we still feel sad. Tears still come whenever we think of you. But after the tears, we smile as the memory of you fills our hearts. You will forever be missed, Papa. Like the song from your favorite musical, we say “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye. Goodbye!”

Published in Tributes
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 20:07

A tribute to a great teacher

While scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, a line caught my attention that “the influence of a good teacher can never be erased”.

These words took me back to memories of my tuition when I was in 8th grade and the subjects became more difficult especially mathematics. I also had to take the board exam the next year so my parents arranged a private tutor for me.

They asked the same teacher who taught my elder brothers to teach me science courses and he agreed. It’s not like I never had tuition before, but Sir Naveed’s teaching style was a little different from the others. I used to hate math but his way of explaining complex concepts in simple words surprised me sometimes. He never burdened me with extra homework and always boosted my motivation level.

After passing school, I decided to continue taking tuition from him in college too because there was no one who could teach me math better than him. But his teaching style was not what makes him stand out tall among my favorite teachers. I met many amazing teachers in my student life whose teaching style was remarkable.

In the educational stream, the most powerful force is the bond between a student and a teacher. This bond leads to academic success and student empowerment. What makes him special was his mentoring style. He was a supportive mentor who inspired me to be me.

Many of the lessons students learn from their teacher are not mentioned in the syllabus. I was never a shy or poor student but also never knew what I am capable of and was reluctant to show my skills but sir, you never pointed out my weaknesses to discourage me and made me more confident to show my talent.

He never imposed his opinion on me and always respected my viewpoint.

Many of his students know about his personal life struggles, but despite that he never gets tired of teaching and always come to teach his students in a cheerful mood. You are the teacher who always nurtures their students’ mind with positivity. Teachers who help students to grow as people impart some of the most important teachings of life. The student never feels shy to ask you questions.

I am thankful to him for going the extra mile. I want to tell him how his kindness, support, and interest in my character development has helped me in many difficult stages of my life.

Thank you, sir, for dedicating your time and energy in teaching for long hours without charging extra. Thank you for the pizza parties and never-ending current affair discussions. Thank you for gifting me the books of my taste and expensive pens. Thank you, sir, for calling me your sister and thank you for being my elder brother.

Though my words are not enough to appreciate all the hard work you have done for me I always remember you when I sincerely raise my hands for prayers and I feel so blessed and thankful to Almighty to have you as a constant source of motivation in my life.

Published in Tributes
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 11:29

This tribute is for my Lubly a sweet cat

Alas! You have left me today.

I remember the 20th of October 2015. It was on a dark street in Mian Channu and I found you shivering in a box. I came towards you and you gave me a sad and stray smile.

It was such a special feeling. I never imagined that we would form such a deep bond.

It was the first time that this naughty careless boy thought about someone in his life. I can't even think about caring for someone but you were such a beauty which compelled me to hug and kiss you. I picked you up and took you home and gave you a warm bath which I still remember.

You were such a pretty thing that I can't forget your blueish eyes. It was just like you had a diamond in them. You were anonymous for me but your innocent face (was naughty actually) made you a family member.

I know you used to walk in the streets like a queen. I still remember those flirty doggies that used to stare at you. Every friend of mine loved you.

I know you cheered me up when I was unhappy. You seemed to be sad when I was in trouble. Your emotions were a big thing which delighted me everyday.

You were like my child to me. Don't you know that my father says that I look after you like my mother used to do for me!

Do you remember our dog who was a big fan of yours? He used to care for you, and walked with you whenever you went anywhere. Now he is missing you too. He doesn't play with anyone now.

You are a diamond among thousands of people. My darling I am now alone without you. You were my companion. You know you were a stray but believe me you won our families heart.

Sharing a bed with you (and you would not be moved), brushing you and watching your golden hair fly away. I know you liked to play video games. You batted the paper ball and watched while I crawled all over to retrieve it.

When I try to eat beans I still remember you because you used to snatch them from me. Every night when I change my side in the bed I miss you. The 3 years that I spent with you was an amazing time for me.

Once you sent an MMS to my ex girlfriend with a video that contained many very sad feelings. On that day I was laughing at this act and I can't explain as even I have no words for what I should say in your honor.

My mom was missing you too as if you were a naughty child in our home and used to break her plates and cups. You used to make her busy in your works.

She was saying that no more punishment will be given if you came back. Yesterday Hamza (my brother) was talking about you and that he had made a small home for you.

Lubly, you will be missed forever.

I know you have found your family that is more loving, more prioritized, more blessed than us.

But don't forget us. God keeps you in the shadow of his blessings with His magnificence.

Published in Tributes
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 10:29

To my teacher

The profession of teachers is considered noble and appreciated. It is not easy and requires substantial effort, both physical and emotional.

 When looking back for many years, I was in second grade in the preparatory school. There was a science teacher named Haneen. She was not only a teacher, but she was also a sister and mother for me.

 I remember well when I got sick. She came to my house every day before returning home. She loved me so much, made a big effort to help me.

 She had no children. So she looked after the students like a mother.

 The most important thing I have learned from her is giving. Her words are still in my memory so far.

 She told us:

 Give everything you have to those who do not have anything, and you will feel happy.

It is a good way to forget your worries and problems.

 I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned from her

 I have learned that it is always good to help those we love because it makes us happy to see them well. It is also rewarding to help those we do not know, as this can increase our relationships and friendships.

 Helping and giving will make us stop complaining about unimportant things, and help us to have a more positive vision in life.

 When you see how much you can do for the other, you will fully enjoy everything you have and you will become more optimistic.

 When you help people, the brain receives a feeling of reward, which translates into instant joy.

 Giving is a fundamental part of life to get everything. When we think about what we want out of life, whether we talk about the material or things like love.

We simply keep thinking about the part where we are rewarded and many times, we even ask ourselves why we have not achieved what we want, without realizing that we may be falling into selfishness. But we should realize that giving is a fundamental part of life to get everything.

 Love attracts more love, abundance grows more abundantly, and gratitude is rewarded with love and greater gratitude.

Scarcity can attract more poverty; hatred only causes misunderstandings and greater resentment. What you give is exactly what you receive.

 Do not be afraid to give your best, if you want to receive something good in return.


 My beloved teacher, I hope you read my warm and honest words.

 You make me understand myself. And helped me to understand the others and their needs.

 I want to thank you for the care and warmth you gave me. You were not just a teacher; you were a mother and sister.

 You always tried to reach everyone with innovative strategies in order to make our learning easy.

 Thank you for providing us with new knowledge.

Thank you for respecting us and taking into account our previous experiences in the learning process and incorporating them into new learning methods.

 Flowers in the world are not enough to collect a bouquet for you.

 I wish you good health; want you to have many beautiful, happy, sunny and bright days in your life.



Published in Tributes
Sunday, 10 March 2019 22:24

Tribute To Bobby

Growing up as a kid in an environment where the security situation was terrifying, most households lock their kids inside the house. They are allowed to step out of the house only when they are going to school or going somewhere with their parents. Same applied to my siblings and me.

As the youngest of the family, to find someone to play with, was a difficult task because my siblings are either busy with their homework or watching movies. That was an annoying situation for a little guy like me. I told my parents that I would like to have a friend to share my leisure with and they went to get me a pet, Bobby! Setting eyes on Bobby was love at first sight; this not just because of the desire to have a companion, Bobby is one of the most adorable creatures have ever seen. The beautiful brown and black fun is just perfect.

Puppy, Bobby was said to have been picked up by a good Samaritan woman who saw him hiding under an abandoned vehicle beside her house. The woman took Bobby to the animal welfare unit, where they tried to find the real owners but to no avail. After a long period of search for the owner, they decided to find another suitable home for him and give him out for adoption. My dad was right there on time to adopt him for me.

Bobby had this natural calmness in him; it was evident that he was well trained because he would never harm anyone compared to other dogs that went through similar situations like Bobby did while he was wandering about and been under the care of the animals' welfare agency. There was no sign of aggression nor fear in him on our first meeting. He ran into my waiting arms as if he had met me before, wagging his tails to and fro. It was clear that he was happy with his new home.

The very first night Bobby spent with us in the house was terrific. I could not get much sleep as I was excited to have a new companion. I was amazed when the dog wanted to pee. He did not want to do the business inside the house, so he went to the main door and started whining and scratching the door with his paw until I opened the door and he went straight to a corner in the garden to relieve himself. Although I initially thought he wanted to run away since the gate to the compound was locked, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After he had relieved himself, he ran straight back into the house. And I was happy to know the dog wanted to stay.

Bobby would follow me everywhere and would sometimes run a few miles after my school bus before returning home. Everyone admires him because he is not just a beautiful dog, he is brilliant! Sometimes, I wonder how Bobby could behave like a human because Bobby understands different moods and knows how to lighten up my mood when I am down. Even when I do not want to talk he understands some of the commands given to him just by reading my facial expressions. Whenever I am ill and unable to eat, Bobby would refuse to eat his food until I start eating mine, what a magnificent creature. I wanted a pet, but I never knew I would have more, I found a best friend! Love you, Bobby.

Published in Tributes
Thursday, 07 March 2019 21:03

My Happy Mothers Day

What does it feel like to be a Mother? I can tell you for sure, It's a great power that comes with great responsibility.

Motherhood is one of the best gifts to mankind, A good and loving woman such as a Sister, a Friend, a confidant, a wife, a shoulder to cry on when you have lost your way makes a Good mother.

Motherhood could also be a burden, not just any burden but one a good woman is ready and willing to carry, There is a price being a mother and it's an expensive one.

The price of Selflessness, it's not what anyone can give because it's Priceless and only great women such as our Mother's bear this upon themselves because they choose to protect everything they love and cherish.

Motherhood is every woman's ambition, to have a suckling child at the end of her breast is the greatest Joy ever, to look into the eyes of her seed and smile with knowing that life of selflessness has taken place.
The Love a Mother gives cannot be compared to anything in this world, A mother's Love makes you feel alive, makes you stronger,
A Mother goes out of her way to give you all that she has even if it's her last, I remember when I was a little boy My Mother would take I and my sisters out to give us a treat either it would be shopping for new clothes, shoes or yum yum goodies. We always felt special and we would be the envy of all the kids, one day one of the kids approached me and told me he wished he had a mother like mine and he wouldn't mind trading places and I asked him what he actually meant?

He opened up to me and told me how he lost his mum back then in Cape Town, His Mother was a victim of Xenophobia at that time when the Great Nelson Mandela a.k.a Madiba fought for the Independence of South Africa, he worshipped and adored her and as he said these words of Love, Loss, and Pain about his Mother. Tears streamed down my eyes with the outburst rush of catarrh from my nostrils like that of a wet Camel.

I thought to myself if this Kid could still love his mother even in her death, then I would have to love my Mother 10 times more. Motherhood is a Journey that has to be integrated into every girl child because Patience and Motherhood are intertwined sisters, they can't work without the other and not make an impact.

One of my Mother's Strengths was showing compassion for others even when she knows she's been wronged by the other party, She is an amazing Cook OMG... Try Edikaikong soup (A delicacy from Akwa Ibom Southern part of Nigeria)garnished with snails, Perri winkles, Beef, stockfish and locally made Akpu(Cassava flour) with a cold glass of chilled water, after consuming all these beautiful delicacies just be prepared to lay your head and smile away in your slumber.

The Beautiful part about my Mother is she is a very devoted Christian, She could Pray and the heavens would know an answer just had to be met, the fact she could pray didn't stop her from giving yours truly a beating with the Stick of life(Turning Stick for Cassava Flour).

Mother is an amazing woman, and She has always been my backbone asides from God. As I got to learn and understand Motherhood I also had to tell myself that every moment with your mother counts. Love and cherish your mother, respect what they stand for in every area of our life.
Motherhood is a Gift to every living being and must not be taken for granted, not every mother gives that Motherhood experience and when you have one that does Protect her because she would do more than that for her child.

Love you, Mum. Happy Mothers Day.








Published in Tributes
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 20:42

Believe in yourself

People  always think that the most painful thing in life is losing the one you value .the truth is, the most painful thing is losing yourself in process of valuing someone too much and forgetting that you are special too. Our self- confidant came from our believing on our self, and that will not coming from nothing, its need hard work from our parents and good knowledge of how to upbringing children.

 In my case I was unfortunate  having very hard heart parents that destroyed my personality ,myself- confidant  and my soul. They formed me as they want, they dream for me and plan my future  without considering my attitude. day after day ,  i don’t know who am I ,  myself ,my dream and my attitude all became theirs dream not mine  .

 Dad ,mam I'm  so sorry ,I will not be able to continue this way , not  any more ,  I  lost everything when I wanted to do everything I could to make both of  you happy , but look for me now, couldn't you see?, I became an empty  person I didn’t know how am I ,feeling so sad, hopeless and not sure about anything , I  always feel panic if I had any conflict with any one.

Some time I wished I was stronger than that , wishing  I could be like this image in my eye, a stronger  women that  know how to get through life conflict ,  struggle for having what she want  and deserve to be happy in the end. Everything will change now, I'm  starting doing what make me feel save and happy, I'm building myself again , try to love myself, try to  believe that I'm  so special , try to know myself  better and know what I want .

I have promised myself that I will not repeat  the same mistake with my children. I will love them any how they are, I will let them know they are unique person , and they are so special, and I will teach them how to love themselves and love others .this point of view was  came from believing that the light will came first from our heart and our soul and spread after that everywhere.

Published in Tributes

Death, you are never a friend, you snatched away my best Friend Tim who walked with me through thick and thin. Life has never been the same, but I thank God that your memories never fade away.

It still seems like you departed from us yesterday. Fresh memories of the good things we did together still linger in my mind day in day out.

Born in the same year with Tim, we were brought up in the same village and schooled together during the tender age; we knew each other when walking to school without shoes and back in the evening. But this did not stop us from accomplishing our mission. I vividly remember you encouraging me to put more effort to ensure that in a short while, we will be proud kids to our parents.

Our High School years were still our teen years, and our parents became proud of us. We never engaged in bad peer habits even though at times we felt compelled to divert from our daily duties; we still upheld our principles. This led us to obtain good grades, and we were admitted to prestigious Universities in the country.

This too came to pass that after we graduated in, we happened to secure jobs in neighbouring banks. This was a dream come true. And in a short while, Tim started driving. That was the end of my tarmacking to work. I remember the bright mornings you would pick me up at our gate, drive me to work and later pick me after work as we proceeded home.

We could have wonderful weekend’s outings together, travel to different cities and observe sceneries, take our best meals and give surprises to our old friends too. People took us for twins rather than friends.

Life was enjoyable until that fateful morning that the helicopter you were travelling in decided otherwise. The skies were so heavy that the pilot could not view them and within a short while, it crashed in a thick forest. The bodies which included Tim’s were burned beyond recognition. I could never believe what I saw but all in all, it was finished.

This was the most trying moment in my life. Tears ran dry, I lost my voice crying to God to bring you back but it was too late, Gods will had already been perfected.

Tim, you gave me a reason to live, to endure hardships and to work hard in an independent manner, though you are gone forever, your memories are still fresh within me. I wish I could get another chance to see you, to walk with you on the slopes of the mountains, and to have the swimming competition on the beach.

If only life was reversible, I could reverse yours and enjoy for only one day and get a chance to say goodbye, but my last wish is, may you watch over us, we are taking care of the baby girl you left behind, and Your Mom can’t let her miss the good life you so wished for her.

Tim, remember that you are irreplaceable but may you continue to rest in peace.


Published in Tributes
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