Spending birthdays with the Helms

I managed to attend a lovely party down Mt. Pleasant here in North Carolina over the weekend, a double birthday celebration of CJ and Brad Helms, the sons of Chris and Jeans Helms.

March 15, was a beautiful day, neither cold nor hot. The ride was perfect going there. It wasn’t the first time I attended there and for whatever reasons Ronnie my hubby always finds it welcome to visit the Helms at their home.

One of the reasons of course is the food since the Helms are great cooks. But we talk about the family first.

Jean is from Guimaras, an island in the Visayas region of the Philippines famous for its sweet mangoes. The island is located between Iloilo and Negros, separated and surrounded by water.

“Maraming tourist beaches doon (There are lots of tourist beaches there),” she said. As a fellow Filipino, I like that she promotes Guimaras which Jean said is visited by people from all over the world during the Holy Week.

“There is a big church and a big cross on top of the Holy Mountain,” Jean said. Jean said she came to the US in 1996 and stayed in New York and New Jersey for a couple of years before moving to the South where she met her husband Chris.

The Helms have been married for 15 years and will celebrate their 16th months from now. Chris has a sunny disposition which draws people to him. He often leads prayers during gatherings as I saw during a party at the house of the Kremers. 

At first I thought he’s a pastor because he led the prayer at the party of Faith ”Bing” and Brian Springborg.

He’s not but I learned later that Chris came from a family of pastors.

Now about their sons; CJ is 15 years old.

I suppose his name stands for Chris and Jean and I didn’t verify.

CJ likes to read suspense and mystery books and he likes science and solving mysteries.

The scientist part came during his childhood and persists in his adolescence, according to Jean, who said CJ always does experiments at home. CJ was born at a Presbyterian hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina in March 1999.

Athlete, surgeon
As a little boy in primary school, CJ likes to draw and paint and write stories. He’s also an active participant in the story of the month in his class. Now in his teens, CJ likes music.

“I think right now he likes hip hop music, he can sing too,” his proud mama Jean said. A well-behaved child, CJ is loved by his teachers. His dad and I always thought he is a soft hearted person.

CJ is now in 9th grade and ranks high in his class. He’s also a school athlete and a member of HOSA-Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). 


When I asked Jean what HOSA is, she said she forgot (A look at Wikipedia helped me uncover what it meant).

Hold your breath, CJ wants to be a forensics expert or a surgeon. In fact he’ll represent his school in the HOSA state competition.

The second Helms boy is Bradlee. I love this boy. Brad is CJ’s opposite. Jean told me that Brad reasons out and tells you what he wants at five years of age.

He likes going to school and watches Sponge Bob, Dora and Diego. He also liked Thomas the train when he was smaller.

Jean says Brad is an outdoors boy because he always wants to be outside which is typical for a child I guess. He doesn’t care much about video games because he'd rather be outside and play.

Brad likes to sing too and play the drums. Born in Feb. 2009 at Carolina Hospital in Cabarrus County, Brad is the kind of child that will make you laugh due to his charisma and cham, according to one of his pre-school teachers. 

Take it from me- you would love the boys. My conversation with Jean ends with her saying “I hope and pray my boys will grow up into fine young men.. that is all I'm asking for.”

I greeted CJ and Brad happy birthday. As to the menu what can I say—it’s both a visual and gastronomic feast especially the greens. Ronnie ate the barbecue while I loved the munggo (mung beans).

I almost forgot; the Helms are blessed with the presence of grandmother ”Lola Rachel” from the Philippines who’s staying with them. Until the next party, I bid you a good day. 


(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas. Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis.

You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046580074350/)https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-from-the-Carolinas-/49415695067…. )

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