Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10

I woke up today at 6:04 AM. It's a bright Friday morning, but I got out of bed with a heavy heart. As I tried to pull myself up to face another day, I told myself, "This was exactly the same time three years ago." And I never wanted to get up.

It's December 10. For the past two years, as if by some unknown ritual, I get up at the exact same time, I feel the exact same way, and I tell myself the exact same thing. Then, flashes of memories of this day, but way back in 2007, come rushing in.

As I slowly inch my way throughout my room, preparing for the day ahead, I can still hear the loud knocks on my bedroom door; it was my Tita Liz telling me to go down immediately because my Tita Lyn just got into an accident. I can still remember her panic-stricken voice and intermitent sobs. And I thought that something must have gotten terribly wrong.

I tried to return to my senses and hurriedly got ready for work. But I guess memories are really the most difficult to erase. I got into my workstation and turned on my PC as I used to. I got a glance of her pictures posted on my cubicle wall. There she was on my mom's 50th bday. Then, there were the two of us on her last Xmas alive; it was Xmas 2006. And there was yet another picture of her and me; it was an old photo, still in sepia tone, of her in her teens as she was carrying the baby me. And what followed was a well of tears.

Has it really been three years since she left? Then, why does it feel like it was just yesterday?

Miss na kita Tita Lyn. Sana nandito ka.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Exhausted

I'm exhausted.

I'm exhausted because of everything that I do: work, ministry work, freelance work, work-at-home editing.

I want to rest. I want to take a vacation. I want to set off to some beach to relax. I want lazy weekends, when I can just sleep all day.

If only all those are possible.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Pink Clearbook and The White Carton Board

A pink clearbook with about 20 pages of colorful construction paper. Yeah, that was it.

My friend Laie has always brought that pink clearbook with her whenever we'd meet up for casual dinner and a movie; it was much like an extension of her. The unassuming obsession had always left me dumbfounded...until she handed it to me for a closer look.

In each page were pictures of a pretty supermodel, of a happy family, of a fabulous wedding gown, and of sunny Singapore. Every once in a while, as I scanned through each collage, I found glittery flowers, colorful butterflies, and cute thingamajigs, proof of her creative juices. In a few corners and in some edges abound cut-out letters from magazines that spell EXCELLENCE, BEAUTY, SUCCESS, and HAPPINESS.

After going through the last page, I realized that it was true; it was indeed an extension of her. The pink clearbook was her: the future her.

I then told myself that I wanted something like that. I wanted a dream book. I wanted to have dreams and to put them in writing and in pictures. I wanted to visualize my future as if it was already right before my eyes. I felt excited. Excited about the possibilities. Excited about the journey to reaching those dreams. Excited about the happy life ahead.

For sometime now, I have been pulled down by recurring bouts of nothingness. One dreary morning, I asked myself, "What am I waking up for?" I'd often think I'm a zombie, just waking up day in and day out, waiting for nothing specific to happen and just going with the dull flow of my life. Seems just melodramatic chit chat, huh? But it is actually true. I thought I've already gone past what they call quarter-life crisis, but I guess there is no certain end mark to a period of not knowing your goals and your dreams. Even if you already have dreams and have attained some of them, there will always come a time when you'll reach a plateau and want new, better, or way different dreams and wishes.

When I got home from that I-need-a-dream-book day, I told God to please reveal to me my biggest dreams, to give me more than pictures and cut-outs but the actual desire and the courage to work for and fulfill those dreams. I asked God to affirm to me that I really needed to have dreams to hold on to, so I could wake up from zombie mode.

So imagine my surprise when, last Sunday, at the Feast Alabang*, together with more than a thousand attendees, I was handed a dream board. Yeah, it was far different from the dream book I wanted to have, but the two were basically the same: both were visual reminders of fulfilled wishes. The dream board I got was like God telling me, "My dear Osy, stop being a zombie. Here, doodle, write, picture your biggest wishes and dreams here." It was the affirmation I was asking for.

Now, I am no longer a zombie. I already have dreams and wishes. I have yet to finish up with my dream board though, but I have rummaged through the dusty stack of old magazines at home, trying to find the most accurate representation of that dream Tagaytay weekend home, that job I wish to have, that book I want to write, and that future husband and kids I'll be taking care of. Those are just a few of the dozen wishes that God has recently revealed to me, revealed through my past hurts and wounds, and I am excited to work on them. I know my wishes and dreams will entail a lot of work and a mighty long journey. The road won't be easy, but I'm sure my Big God of all dreams and wishes won't fail to encourage and equip me. Thank you my Big God!


*FEAST ALABANG is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am, 1:30pm, and 4pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Heart That Worships

Last Saturday, I joined the Feast Alabang* Music Ministry in attending a worship concert of Citipointe Live. How often does one get to worship God with more than a thousand other people? Not often right? So when the opportunity came along, I knew I just had to grab it. (The fact that the tickets are free furthered defined the conviction. LOL)

my free ticket!

I came in late but was just in time for the main act. The stadium was already filled to the brim. In attendance were mostly teenagers and young professionals, which was perfectly understandable because it was a Christian rock band performing. I personally don't know most of their songs, but I still sang along and sang at the top of my lungs at that. I lifted my hands as high as my chubby arms could take. I did several attempts to jump, hoping to be in sync with the upbeat music, but I guess defying gravity (even for a second) is not my best talent. I shouted words of praise ever so loudly I could sense the eardrums of the girl next to me shattering to bits. All these I did in praise for the God who loves me unconditionally, unmindful of the people around me. Why? Because they did not matter.

Coming to the concert, I brought with me a life that has not been a fairytale, where everything is perfect. I've had emotional highs and lows, and endured heartbreaks and failed expectations. I've undergone bouts of impatience and doubt while waiting for some of my prayers to be answered and most of my dreams to come true. But still, I, together with more than a thousand other people, chose to worship and be thankful. Why? Because all of these did not matter.

ULTRA was filled to the brim.

When you sing praise, nothing else matters but the One you ever try to worship as He truly deserves. Never mind the irritated stares, possible ridicule, or labels of "weird" or "crazy". Forget the hardships and remember all the blessings. Focus on the God you sing and dance (and even jump) for, and know that He is pleased with you and is blessing you as you worship. He looks beyond the missed tune, the wrong lyrics, or the croaking voice, for all He sees is the heart that worships, the same heart that may be broken but still chooses to give Him praise and thanks.

*Bro. Arun talked about the importance of praise and worship last Sunday at the FEAST ALABANG. FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Long Weekends

I look forward to long weekends. I am one of those who, at the beginning of the year, are very anxious to know all the declared holidays for that year, just so I can start planning trips and scheduling gimmicks on foreseen long weekends.

But the long weekend that just recently passed was spent most differently. There was no trip to the beach and no prescheduled out-of-town gimmick. But unusual as it was, it was one great weekend.

Friday was spent rendering overtime work (yeah, bummer), working with the Feast Alabang Media Ministry on an upcoming event, and practicing with the Music Ministry right after. Yes, my day was jam-packed, and I ended up clamoring to get to bed as soon as I got home. I was tired, but it was the happy kind of tired (if there is such a term). It was great to work with people who voluntarily give their time and talent in serving God the best way they know how. The Feast Alabang Media and Music Ministries are a bunch of hardworking servants.

The Closer to Yahweh Silent Retreat was organized by the PICC Feast Intercessory Ministry.

Saturday came and I found myself in Antipolo, together with some 90 people, hoping to spend the entire day just experiencing the Lord more intimately. As I've said in my previous post, my life has been a roller-coaster ride of emotional ups and downs (mostly downs) recently that I felt I needed a break. I needed to silence myself for a bit just so I could forget all the noise in my life. (Those who know how madaldal I am can attest that this is pretty hard for me.) And the silence felt good. For 5 hours, it was just me and my God on a date, having a quiet conversation. It was an exchange of worries and assurances; I offered Him my worries, and He assured me of His promises. He revealed to me how immense His love is, and however "unworthy" I felt, there was just no changing that love. At the end of the silent retreat, with swollen eyes from crying, I fully accepted that love, and sheer joy and thankfulness followed.

Citipointe Live in Manila

But my Saturday wasn't done yet. After spending the day in silence, I then proceeded to ULTRA to join the Feast Alabang Music Ministry in watching a worship concert. It was my first time to attend such an event. Since I came in late, the stairs was the best available seat; the stadium was that full.

Throughout the concert, there were moments when I found myself just amazed at the sight of God's young people praising Him together. Everybody was up from their seats, singing in praise, lifting their hands, and jumping for joy. It was a sight to behold. I was imagining the Lord smiling ear to ear, pleased at seeing His people sing and dance for Him and adoring His children very much.

As I looked around, I told myself that these are a thousand people who may have failures and ongoing difficulties, who may have broken hearts and broken relationships, and who may still have unfulfilled dreams and unanswered prayers. But these are also a thousand people who still choose to praise God and to thank Him for everything. It was amazing.

Sunday was Feast Alabang* day. Bro. Arun talked about the importance of praise and worship and had us, the music ministers, sing a lot more songs than usual. It was great seeing everyone sing and dance for God. It was like everyone had become a music minister. After the Feast, I attended our Caring Group after. Our caring group is composed of single wonderful people who want to share with each other how God is touching them everyday. I am blessed to have a support group from whom I learn so much and who help me grow in my relationship with the Lord. With the sharings and the never-ending chat, our group session ended at about 10pm.

That's it. Three days of fatigue. Three physically draining days. But three days well spent in service to God and in praise to Him. That was my long weekend, and I loved it.

*FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Father's Love Letter to Me

I have been listening to a lot of worship songs for the past few weeks. These are the songs I have accumulated while serving with the Music Ministry of Feast Alabang*. My life has been topsy-turvy recently that I just find solace in songs of praise, and I have made most of them my personal prayer.

Yesterday, while listening to my set of mp3s, I stumbled upon an entry in my playlist that I didn't even knew I had. It isn't a song. It's not an audio book either (coz I have a few). It's a love letter. I first heard it and saw the corresponding video at the afternoon session of Feast Alabang*, and I remember shedding buckets of tears after seeing it.

Upon hearing it yesterday, my tear glands, once again, went on overdrive. I was reminded that I have a Father who loves me unconditionally (in the truest sense of the word) however unlovable I am. I was reminded that I was created wonderfully by my God and that I remain in His great love.

This is my Father's Love Letter to me.


My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Listen to the mp3 here.



*FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Perfect

Today had been a very wonderful day. Got to do a number of things from my 25-itemed to-do list. I am truly blessed. End the day with the following to make my day even better:


Perfect. There is no other way to describe my GodWhispers today but perfect. This is further affirmation of what God had already instilled in me after this morning's confession. Trust Him. Just trust Him.

Thank you Lord for this day. Sobra.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grief, Greed, and Giving

Pain. I don't like pain. Who does anyway? If I can escape pain in any way possible, I would.

But as much as we try to avoid it, we actually need pain. Pain prevents us from spiritual hypothermia, that which makes us like zombies with no dream, no life, and no direction.

At one point in my life, I think God has thought I was suffering from spiritual hypothermia that He needed to do something major major to wake me up and shake me off my being a zombie.

It was the morning of December 10, 2007. I can still remember vividly the sight of my Tita Lyn lying on the road with her lower extremities smashed into bits. (Morbid as it may seem, but that was exactly how she looked.) She was crossing the street that morning, on her way to work, when a rushing bus counterflowed and hit her. She struggled for her life, but as the witnesses had accounted, the bus driver continued to go back and forth her already crushed body, causing her immediate death.

Tita Lyn and I lived in the same house and shared the same room for 13 years. She was practically the sibling I never had. She was more like my older sister and was my super best friend. She was my constant kakampi and ka-inuman. I was even closer to her than to my mom.

So seeing her die, and in a very devastating way at that, really crushed and destroyed the life in me. When she was still alive, we agreed that we'd grow old together since we were both okay being single and, at that time, really had no plans of marrying. I was ok. I was satisfied. But when she died, she took with her not only that plan but also our travel dreams, our Sunday movie dates, and our buy-one/get-one (she does the buying, and I do the taking) shopping sprees. She left me behind. She left me alone.

I was the worst person after her death. I didn't know such kind of pain existed. And I didn't know I was going to experience it. This pain went on for a year or so. I wore black to signify my GRIEF. I didn't attend Mass. I didn't pray. I was angry at God for taking away Tita Lyn, my security blanket. I was angry that I was left behind with unfulfilled dreams, ended habits, and no one to grow old with. I was just angry and in pain.

During the wake, my inang (grandmother), who was a devout Catholic, said that, yes, she was mourning but she had no anger in her. She readily forgave the bus driver and remained faithful to God. She believed that Tita Lyn was, first and foremost, God's child and not hers alone. My Tita was only lent to her by God to take care of and to love, and at that time, God wanted Tita Lyn back because it was His turn to take care of His child. It was very hard for me to accept that. I wanted Tita for myself. I wanted my older sister back. I don't want to be left alone. It was GREED that overpowered me. And because of that greed, I remained the angry person I was long after she died.

In March 2009, I attended a crossroads retreat. During the retreat, the most explicit message from God came to me in the form of the priest's homily. The priest told the crowd that he had just gone from a tragic vehicular accident, but forgiveness abounded the moment. There, I claimed that it was God's way of telling me not to be enslaved by grief and greed anymore but to let go and move on. It was time to let go of my Tita and of the secure future that we planned together. It was time to finally GIVE her to God and to empty my hands of my security blanket. It was time to GIVE God those unfulfilled dreams and plans that I kept holding onto so He can give me new dreams and plans. It was so painful to finally GIVE her to God because that meant that I have to start anew. But God still saw me through the new life He wanted for me.

Soon after, I started to open myself to other people. I joined different groups and made new friends. I began going to church again. Yes, there was still a little pain, and my eyes would still well up when memories of her suddenly some rushing in. But I realized that I had nowhere to go but to God. Running away from Him was no use because He will just continue to embrace me. Why then should I continue to run away?

Grief, greed, and giving - all these caused me so much pain with Tita Lyn's death, but the pain just woke me up to realize that I can still have my own dreams and my own plans. I can have my own path to follow and my own life to live. And though the future is not crystal clear, no need to worry because God has that covered.

*Grief, greed, and giving are the sources of inner pain, as talked about by Bro. Arun during the FEAST ALABANG last Sunday. FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Photo source: womensavers.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Of Hypocrites and Unconditional Love

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. - Matthew 23:27-28

Had I not known that the passage was written long ago, I would have thought that I was the prime subject of today's Gospel. Much like the scribes and Pharisees at the time of Jesus, I am a hypocrite myself. Some think I am a good person (I don't know why, must be because I attend Feast Alabang*), but I'm NOT. I fall into sin every now and then, and I feel guilty right after. I am not perfect, I am not holy, and I am definitely not saint material (well, not yet).

This fact, though not really acceptable, is the same reason why it amazes me that God still loves me. My being unholy yet still embraced by God is a testament to how unconditional His love is. I am a hypocrite, yet I am still loved by my God. Isn't that amazing?



*FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Photo source: fineartsamerica.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten Thousand Hours

10 thousand hours. That's what it takes to be the best in any area of your life.

If you want to be the best husband or wife, invest 10 thousand hours on your spouse. Appreciate not only the big things but also the littlest gestures. Be more understanding and less demanding. Express love in different ways. Be your spouse's best friend.

If you want to be the best mom or dad, allot 10 thousand hours for your children. Spend time with them. See them grow up. Listen to their needs. Do not hesitate to show them your love.

If you want to have the best relationship with God, spend 10 thousand hours knowing Him. Just like any other relationship, give time to your God. Listen to His words through prayer and reflection. Know Him deeper by reading the Bible. Live a life that is of service to Him and to His people. Plant seeds in Heaven.

10 thousand hours. That's what it takes to be the best in any area of your life. Your time starts now.


*This is Talk 2 (Give Time) of the T3 Series held at FEAST ALABANG. FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

(Photo source: paper-money.blogspot.com)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Complete


Thank you Lord for Your grace.. Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness and for Your unconditional love.. Thank you Lord for Your saving hand..

Complete

Here I am, Oh God I bring this sacrifice
My open heart
I offer up my life

I look to You, Lord
Your love that never ends
Restores me again

Chorus:
So I lift my eyes to You, Lord
In Your strength will I break through, Lord
Touch me now Let Your love fall down on me
I know Your love dispels all my fears

Through the storm, I will hold on, Lord
And by faith, I will walk on, Lord
Then I'll see, beyond my Calvary one day
And I will be complete in You

(Photo source: http://blog.usa.gov)

Worship @ Feast Alabang

It was a blast. No, it was far more than that. It was an amazing display of God's grace.

Most of the music ministers had stuggles as the Feast Alabang Anniversary celebration neared. Some had health concerns until the night before the event. Some had personal concerns that also needed attention. And still, some had too much in their hands. But throughout all these, all music ministers, and servants as well, knew that God's grace is sufficient. And indeed, it was.


The worship leaders as they invite the Alabang Feasters to give praise to God

Feast Alabang music ministers

I have recently learned that, when you come to worship the God of all heaven and earth, you need not burden yourself with thoughts of your current situation, however unpleasant they are. You just come into His presence, leave behind everything else, and offer your most sincere praise to the One who deserves it most.

I have been reminded also that worship is not an act that needs a seal of approval. We do not need to be tagged "holy" to worship the Lord because, whether we "deserve" it or not, God is due our praises and songs.

Give our all as we worship the Lord.

Thus, our worries and personal concerns should never be a hindrance in giving our all in praising the Lord.

How about you? How do you praise your God?

*FEAST ALABANG (formerly called the SOUTH FEAST) is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

(Photo source: Feast Alabang FB page. Add us up!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Get Up and Enjoy God's Blessings


Life is indeed an eat-all-you-can buffet. You get to pick from a wide array of blessings all laid in front of you. You get to choose what you most desire without worries. You get to enjoy the best of the best blessings God had prepared for you.

But the thing is, in a buffet, before you get to enjoy the sight of a table full of wonderful goodies, you need to get up from your seat first and leave your table. In life, you need to do the same. You need to get up, leave your comfort zone, and traverse the thin line that separates you from your courage zone and, hence, from the blessings awaiting you. And THAT, for me, is the tough part.

For the longest time, I have not been a big fan of risk and drastic change. I forego taking decisions that would make me leave what is familiar and plunge into the unknown. I have dreaded the possibility of not knowing what to do next, of having to endure difficulties and sacrifices, and of leaving "the good life I know." In short, I never choose to get up and leave my comfort zone.

I realized that I have long been stuck sitting by my table and missing out on plates and plates of blessings that I might have enjoyed had I only chosen to get up. Most of us are like that too: just comfortable with where we are and passing up on each new opportunity given to us to make our dreams come true and, thus, letting go of the chance to be a blessing to others.

The most recent change in location of the South Feast* is a fine testament of getting up and choosing the best blessings prepared for us. Everyone knew that a new home for the South Feast would entail a huge sum of money and a ton of effort and time. But everyone knew as well that this would be a great blessing to more people.

Between the hindrance of budget and time constraints and the vision of more people being blessed is the choice to get up and leave the table. The South Feast* family took that choice. And the result: a brand new home we can call our own, one that will be home to more relationships reborn, more lives and businesses blessed, more dreams fulfilled, and more prayers answered.

Now, get up from that seat, and enjoy God's buffet of blessings. (That goes for me too!)

*The SOUTH FEAST, now FEAST ALABANG, is a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ). It happens every Sunday at the Feast Alabang Center, 2nd floor Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

South Feast First Anniversary




Has it really been a year?

It seems like it was only yesterday when I wondered what "South Feast" (then) handwritten in white placards placed near the escalators meant.

After a year, "South Feast" has become crystal clear to me.

South Feast is my family and my home. It is my source of encouragement, my teacher, and my personal cheerleader.

How about you? What has the South Feast been to you for the past year?

Join us on August 8, 2010 (11am and 3pm) at the newly built SOUTH FEAST CENTER at the 2nd floor (beside Tony and Jackey Salon), Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, as the South Feast celebrates its first year of awakening the healer in us, making us believe in our dreams, helping our relationships get stronger, and encouraging us to live a life of no regrets.

Happy 1st anniversary, South Feast!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Eat Plants


Okay, okay. I admit it. Of the nearly 365 South Feast talks that I have heard, last Sunday's talk on eating right was the most difficult to digest (pun intended).

I absolutely love food. Isn't it obvious? :D I'm not really a meat lover, but I'm not into vegetables and fruits either. I love love love crab (I know this restaurant in McKinley Hills that serve terrific crabs. The price is terrific too. LOL.), and I used to think shrimp is a gift from heaven (Hello Bubba Gump Greenbelt!). But after hearing Bro. Jon Escoto speak on better food choices, I think I just might say goodbye to a few of the best gastronomic things I love. *insert sad face here*

The main message last Sunday at the South Feast* was proper nourishment. By properly nourishing our body, we reduce our chances of acquiring diseases. But how do we go about this? God has three prescriptions.

1) Eat plants. Did you know that our digestive makeup is more similar to that of herbivores than that of carnivores? This supports the fact that we are designed to eat more plants, i.e., fruits and vegetables. Thus, it is recommended that we make fruits and vegetables our main food. So go right ahead, and dig in to as much salad as you can. Don't forget the vinaigrette!

2) Eat clean. The Bible has long discussed the difference between clean and unclean animals. But science also supports this teaching: that poultry and beef are better choices than pork because pigs eat absolutely anything (including nasty stuff), that shellfish are the scavengers of the seas and are thus infested with toxin, and that fish is the cleaner choice among seafood since it releases its toxin through its scales. For the non-scientists in us, it's just saying avoid pork and shellfish as much as possible. *insert sad face here AGAIN*

3) Eat "other" food, with other meaning oxygen, movement, sunlight, and sleep. Yes, the stuff that we almost always neglect.

The recommendations:
  • Inhale more oxygen. Take deep breaths (and always thank God after, because you're still breathing).
  • Move. Move. Move. Play sports. Jog. Swim. Run. Do anything to keep your body going.
  • Expose yourself to sunlight. Vitamin D is always best taken naturally.
  • Get adequate rest. The body actually replenishes and heals itself during sleep.
Okay. That's it. Notice anything?

These are actually old stuff. We knew these from Health 101. We heard these from our moms. We learned these from our doctors and nutritionists.

But do we follow?

As for me, that's a big NO. But learning that both science and religion agree that this is the way to go, that NO may somehow inch its way to being a YES.

*This is Talk 4 (Nourishment) of the Awaken the Healer in You Series held at the SOUTH FEAST. The SOUTH FEAST, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Photo source: www.you-stylish-barcelona-apartments.com

Friday, July 9, 2010

UAAP Season 73


It's the time of the year when eight of the top universities in the country battle it out to be the toughest, the brighest, and, simply, the BEST name in collegiate sports. It's Season 73 of the UAAP!

This year's much-awaited event will officially kick off tomorrow, July 10, with host school De La Salle University (DLSU) showcasing the theme "Heroes" during the opening ceremonies. Animo La Salle!

The battle for basketball supremacy will start right after with the first game between DLSU and the University of the Philippines, and the second game between the Univesity of Sto. Tomas and the University of the East.

To catch all the action live, be at the Araneta Coliseum at 1pm tomorrow. Or if you can't take the massive crowds and the extreme show of school spirit, just tune in to Studio 23.

As for me, Araneta or no Araneta, school spirit pa rin! Animo La Salle!

(Photo source: www.uaapsports.com)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bingo 101



Where was I? Gone on a vacation? Well... kinda. Out of the country? Nope. Out of town perhaps? Well, yep.

Had gone to the province last Monday afternoon and just got back at about lunchtime today. The drive was ok, except for the TERRIBLE EDSA traffic (read: 2.5 hours from Balintawak to MOA). That wouldn't have been a problem had my car been an A/T. So now, my fresh-from-PT knees are about to give in.

But despite the ultraheavy traffic and the aching knees, I so enjoyed the past two days I had spent in Bulacan (tumpak, taal po akong Bulakenya). Monday afternoon was spent buying pasalubong for my cousins and Inang (grandmother that is); visiting my aunt's tomb (the primary reason I went home as it was her birthday that day); receiving hugs and kisses with my just-turned-three cousin John; eating cake with my favorite cousin Maraj; and exchanging so many stories with my inang, uncle, and aunts. I also rediscovered TV that day. Oh how I missed watching primetime soap operas! :D

Much later in the evening, in the midst of stories, gossip, and whatnots, Inang asked me if I could probably stay longer and not go to work the following day (as I had initially planned). That was a very tough decision to make. My heart was absolutely torn. I didn't know what to do: should I take a leave of absence or should I take a leave of absence? It was just difficult to decide. LOL.

Kidding aside, the decision to stay for another day was as easy as 1-2-3. I wanted to stay longer as well. It had been a while since I was there, and I felt that I also needed a break from all the stress here in Manila.

The next day, Tuesday, was spent exchanging even more stories with them, receiving even more hugs and kisses from John, digging into a big gallon of chocolate ice cream with all of my cousins, and playing bingo in the nearby SM mall with Inang.

If there was one thing Inang would probably thank Henry Sy for, it would be the in-house bingo. Yes. Bingo. Think cards, the numbers 1 through 75, bingo callers, and the infamous reminder "just shout Bingo!" Inang loved the game, but she would only have the chance to play whenever I took her to the mall. Whenever she's here in Manila for a vacation, I would take her to the nearest mall and play bingo with her. My primary task was to double check that she had marked the correct number what with her slowly blurring vision. In the midst of the game, we would chat even more (there is just no stopping us). Then, after the game, win or lose, we would grab a quick bite in our fave fastfood chain. That had become our bonding tradition.

Yesterday's bonding was extra special. I won twice in a single Bingo session! For those who do not know, there are about three to four sessions in a day. A bingo session is composed of three main games and about three or four special games. Okay. That's Bingo 101 for you. :D

As I said, I won twice. The winnings weren't really lotto material, but it was more than what I paid the cards for. And a little extra money isn't really bad, is it?

But more than the money won, it was a fun afternoon because of the time we had spent together. If asked if I would take another day off from work just to accompany Inang, I would absolutely say yes. She will always be the best lola for me, and I will always try to be there for her if she needs me.

Okay. Enough. My eyes are already welling up. Just wanted to share that I had a great two-day mini-vacation. Thank God for the stories, the hugs, the kisses, the laughter, the food shared, and the time well spent. I look forward to my next vacation at home.

(Photo source: virtualbingo.org)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

To the Best First Friend Ever

me and mazel

Seldom do I (seriously) thank her for everything that she has done for me. She has always been there to lend a hand, to comfort, to give advice, and to correct. She has always been the constant chatmate and email-mate when I get super bored at work. She has always been the logic when I am extremely emotional, remaining objective and above the situation. She was the first friend I had in college and will probably be the last one standing when I die. She never fails to listen, never judges out of context, and never grows tired of being a friend.

Today, on her nth birthday, I honor her for her generosity with her time and resources; for her love for her family, friends, and future-husband Conrad; for her very very deep vessel of patience (especially with me! LOL); and for her unfailing faith in God.

I pray for all her heart's desires to come true. I pray for even better relationships, good health, and more answered prayers. I pray that everything that heaven can provide be upon her.

Thanks Pare for 11 years of enduring my being spoiled (pero hindi brat ha! LOL), leading the Kai Kada (este Bitter Girls na pala), and just being there. Thanks for being the best first friend ever! Happy birthday Mazel!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You are a Healer

God gave us the power to heal ourselves.

Ever wondered where the nasty bruises and cuts we've incurred during our childhood go? Ever wondered why that overly painful wound we got on our right knee stopped bleeding? Ever wondered why we have fever yet we are still able to do certain tasks?

The answer: Healing mechanism.

God has instilled us with it. Yes, we have a powerful army within us that fights off bacteria and viruses. We have the best pharmacy inside us, bringing just the right amount of healing for our physical ailments at the right time.

But because we have not yet grasped the idea that we have a built-in healing mechanism, we have somehow adopted the alcogel culture. Notice that hand sanitizers and wet wipes have been a necessity these days; it seems like we are so afraid of getting germs into our bodies. Prevention is always okay, I agree. But, as Bro. Arun puts it, too much of it actually weakens our healing mechanism, making it lax in fighting off bacteria. The key is still to strengthen our bodies against diseases.

Okay, I've done that, you say. I have been taking care of myself. I have been strengthening the healer in me. But why am I still sick?

The answer: Toxins.

But what exactly are these toxins?

When we are gripped with hate or anger that our blood pressure rises up to the heavens, that's toxin. When we are depressed and continue to wallow in sorrow that we feel that our body weakens, that's toxin. When we worry too much and fear everything that we eventually experience headaches, that's toxin. Remember that our body and our soul are one. Our soul, when wounded by such toxins, manifests its pain outward in our body. So when we remove the toxins in our soul, we remove the sickness in our body.

But apart from believing that we have a healer within us and removing the toxins inside us, let us also change our mindset and our expectations. With a strong healing mechanism should come the right expectations. Expect to live a longer life. Expect to live a stronger and brighter future. Expect to have more years to make our dreams come true, enjoy happy relationships, and create lasting memories.

So there. Three points to remember: 1) We have a built-in healing mechanism. 2) We should remove all toxins in our soul. 3) We must have the right expectations.


*This is Talk 1 (Healer) of the Awaken the Healer in You Series held at the South Feast. The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Awaken the Healer in You


Just this morning, my mom was admitted to the hospital for the continuous chest pain she has been feeling the past week. To some, this may elicit gasps, maybe a little shock, and an enormous amount of concern. To me, this is old news. Not that I am not concerned with my mom's welfare, I am and severely at that; it's just that her being confined to the hospital because of her heart ailments has never been new to me. She has been going in and out of such gloomy institution for the past months now, and I've learned to adapt (not that I want to) to the situation.

For the longest time, my family has been battling it out with various sicknesses of different levels. My mom, at a very young age, had been diagnosed with heart ailment. Her blood pressure tends to rise more that usual, even when relaxed. And just recently, her heart was seen to enlarge at a slow rate. She also has diabetes, taking in maintenance drugs to control her blood sugar when reaching past the heavens. Add to her very elaborate medical history the two major operations she had undergone for the past five years: one with her gall bladder and the other with her ovaries. My dad, never to be outdone, had just recently undergone a major operation, which also led to the discovery that his blood sugar is way high and that he is in the onset of being a diabetic himself. I myself am undergoing therapy for my knees, which have been giving me significant pain for months now, disabling me from doing certain activities and limiting my already-limited physique.

So you see, health problems are never new to me. I have been used to the sight of sickly people in emergency rooms, have made friends with doctors and nurses in clinics, and have been at home in both hotel-like and dreadfully looking hospital rooms. With that, my constant prayers have always revolved around healing and recovery of my loved ones and myself.

But God has His ways. It couldn't have been any more timely. Yesterday, at the South Feast*, a new series entitled Awaken the Healer in You was started. The series is broken down into six parts: Healer, Emotions, Relationships, Nourishment, Protection, and Faith. Each talk intends to teach us to bring out the healing power within us.

With that promise and with my constant petitions for healing in my family, I know that this new series will help me tremendously. My body is God's home address, and I know that God wants to heal me. I am ready to be healed and to heal.

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shrek 4 and the Joy of Intentional Living

Shrek getting tired of his domesticated life.

After ten thousand years, I've finally seen Shrek Forever After (the fourth installment of the Shrek series) in the cinemas yesterday. The movie tells of Shrek's domesticated life. After rescuing Princess Fiona and saving the kingdom of Far Far Away, Shrek suddenly found himself a domesticated family man. He would live each and every day doing the same things for his family and friends, feeding them, taking care of them, and spending time with them. However, as time went by, it dawned on him that gone are the days when he felt like "a real ogre," feared by villagers and doing things just because. With this longing for his past self, he made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, a magical creature who makes wishes come true, for him to have just one day to be "a real ogre" again. But with such deal came more loneliness than the happiness he wished for. (I won't give more spoilers that I am entitled to for the sake of those who haven't seen the movie.)

Shrek making a deal with Rumpelstiltskin.

In the movie, Shrek was surrounded by a loving family, best friends, and adoring villagers, but he gave up all of these for just a day to be back to his old self. We sometimes do the same. We exchange long-term happiness for a moment of pleasure. We exchange our greatest treasure for a minute, tiny, microscopic piece of gold that life offers us. We give away everything that we have and everything that is important to us for something that is not even worth it.

Last Sunday at the South Feast*, Bro. Arun talked about living deliberately. Let us not make unworthy deals and regrettable exchanges. Let us not just accept what life brings us but learn to choose wisely. Everyday, we are confronted by life's tests. We are always given options, and from these options, we are called to make decisions. Each decision that we make and each answer that we give to each test determine our destiny. God never holds the steering wheel of our lives; He only clears the path, gives us signs, and guides us on our way, but it is still always us who are the driver of our lives.

But what if I made a wrong turn? What if I made a wrong decision? Am I doomed? Is my life over? We may ask ourselves these questions, but let us be assured that, if we fail in one test, if we made a wrong turn, that doesn't mean that we failed in life altogether. Our God is a God of chances. God never runs out of chances to give to us, whether it's our second, third, or nth chance. He will never grow tired of guiding us as we hold the steering wheel of our lives.

So don't fear. Live deliberately. Choose wisely. Take the steering wheel of your life.

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

(Photo source: Yahoo! Movies)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BIG MISSION

A Walk to Remember. That would be my answer if asked what my ultimate favorite love-na-love best movie of all time. (Okay. It's a girly movie, but hey, I'm a girl, so there should be no problem with that. LOL.)

In the movie, Jaimie, the main character, was dying of leukemia. She had a list of things to do in life, like spend a year in the Peace Corps and make a medical discovery. Though her list was deemed ambitious, her to-do's were mostly for other people and she believed that she can somehow accomplish them during her lifetime.

Last Sunday, during the South Feast*, the talk was about No Small Living. Jon Escoto said that there are two important days in one's life: the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.

When we were much younger, we believed that we were destined for something big. Some of us may have wanted to be a superhero, so we can help others. Most of us may have wanted to be doctor. Why? And we would answer in our most pang-Little-Miss-Philippines way "para po makapagpagaling ako ng maysakit."

But we have all grown up. We have been made aware of the reality that is bills, utilities, debts, and mortgage. We have been made to join the rat race in order to satisfy our needs and wants.

True, we each have our own lives to live and our own problems to solve. But we should be reminded that we are not living only for ourselves. We have to realize that our lives can be solutions to other people's needs.

But how can that be, you say? How can your life be a solution when it isn't perfect at all? Remember that God can use your painful experiences as an answer to someone else's questions. God can use our failures and your mistakes as a source of help for those in need. In the same way, God can use your talents as a blessing to others.

With that, begin to look at yourself. What are your experiences? What are your failures? What are your talents and gifts? How can you be of help to others through all these? When you have the answers, then your MISSION will be revealed to you. Remember, you have a BIG MISSION. We all do.

If you ask me what my BIG MISSION is, I have yet to find out, but with last Sunday's talk ,I might just begin working on discovering it.

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

Monday, May 31, 2010

No Rush

Arrived extremely late at the office today. When my work schedule is really FLEXI 12nn, I came in at 2.30pm. Talk about punctuality!

But however late I was, I do not regret having arrived late for work. I do not regret having to sleep a little more in my comfy bed, even if it was Manic Monday for every other employee there is in the entire Metro Manila. I do not regret having waken up at 11.30am to have brunch with my mom, who almost always eats lunch by herself at home as my dad and I are already at the office come lunch time. I do not regret getting out of the house at 1.30pm, not getting stuck in the usual afternoon heavy traffic and enjoying the sight of the clear sky above me.

Yesterday at the South Feast*, the talk was entitled "No Rush." Through the talk, I was taught that it is okay to be late a few times. It is okay to not hurry and to slow down a little bit. It is okay to "stop and smell the flowers" and not rush in finishing each and every task in my daily to-do list. I was encouraged to LIVE IN MY NOW.

Further during the talk, it was emphasized that where we are now is exactly where God wants us to be. If there seem to be interruptions or stumbling blocks on our way to finishing our tasks or reaching our goals, think that these could be God's gifts.

And while we are where we are, let us really "be here" (seems like a tongue twister huh? LOL). If we are attending mass, let's fully participate in it and not think of our bills. If we are with family or friends, let's fully enjoy our moments with them and not momentarily think of our personal struggles. If we suddenly get stuck in heavy traffic, let's just take the opportunity to, maybe, say a prayer or listen to good music, and not dwell on how ruined our day's schedule would be. If we are waiting in line in the grocery, let's take the chance to, maybe, clear our mind or hum a song, and not get irritated of the seemingly endless wait this brings us. When we enjoy where we are, we never feel like we are waiting.

With all that, I learned that life should not be such a RUSH. If we constantly just move from one task to another, get from point A to point B, and go from stage 1 to stage 2, without enjoying the journey, we will just let time pass us by and never enjoy life itself. Get rid of hurry. Slow down.

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.

(Photo source: www.writingthoughts.com)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just a Thought

Worrying is an insult to God,

because there is nothing that God cannot do.

He is the God of impossibilities.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dirty hands


I am stumped.

How do you solve a problem that never goes away? How do you help someone who constantly rejects your help? How do you care for a person who doesn't want to take care of herself?

I am stumped.

Why do certain people require love from you yet find it so hard to accept your love when you give it to them? Why do certain people set expectations from you yet reject you when you're trying to meet, precisely, those expectations? Why do certain people set standards or goals for you yet never believe that you can achieve them?

I am stumped.

Then, I remembered: Love is the ultimate goal. It should be the only reason for everything. And because love is a decision, a loving person never grows tired. He never stops loving, even at the face of rejection. He never surrenders but decides to still love. After all, love is about dirty hands, not beating hearts.

I am no longer stumped. I choose to dirty my hands.

(Photo source: http://www.christendomreview.com/)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Love, Memories, and Blessing


Last Sunday, at the South Feast*, an AVP presenting pics of Tito Andrew was shown as a form of honoring for his service to the LOJ Family and to God for the past years.

Tito Andrew passed away last Tuesday of cardiac arrest. He had been battling with heart problems for years until the traitor of a sickness finally took hold of him.

I had only known Tito Andrew for a short span of time. I got to know him as he was the husband of Tita Ross, another LOJ servant, with whom I have tight bonds. I would remember him as the quiet Kids Ministry servant who would always smile his best whenever I'd pass by him in front of A-Plus Festival Mall (where the Kids Ministry always converge). He wasn't that servant who was always under the limelight or who was known by everyone. He was always in the background, quietly serving by tirelessly driving his L200 to provide transportation for fellow servants during community events and gatherings and for the equipment used by the Kids Ministry. Everyone remembered him as a silent but faithful servant who, despite his sickness, never said no to any opportunity to serve. He was always ready to be of help to anyone who needs it.

Then, I thought, when my time comes, when I'm the one inside a coffin, being exposed for everyone to see, how would I want to be remembered? I saw how Tito Andrew was dearly loved by his family, friends, LOJF, among others. Would I receive that kind of love when it's my turn? I saw how Tito Andrew was appreciated for his service to the community, to his family, and to God. Would I be remembered for such service as well when my time comes?

I was then reminded that, truly, in the end, it is not the wealth that we possess, the money that we have, or the physical beauty that we are blessed with that people will remember us for. It is the love that we had given in our lifetime, the memories that we had spent with the people we value, and the blessing that we had become to others that will make us memorable.

Tito Andrew had shared love, spent memories with friends and family, and become a blessing to others. I hope to be same when my time comes.

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus Community (LOJ), happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna. LOJ is a Catholic charismatic community led by Bo Sanchez.


(Photo source: http://bookingshub.wordpress.com/)

K for K


So want to go here, but my knees are failing me..

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blessing or Burden?

(Photo source: http://digital-photography-school.com)


See the blessing in the burden.

It was only recently when my family has been caught in the middle of a not-so-good situation. I have lost buckets of tears contemplating on what is currently going on and asking God for protection and assistance. Human as I am, I have, at times, wondered how all these can be happening to our family. I have asked God what could be the reason for all these, but I have yet to understand... until late this afternoon.

I sent my dad a text message telling him to take care as he goes home. I'd be coming home at a later time, so we won't be traveling together. My SMS was simple: "Pauwi ka na ba? Ok. Ingat. Godbles" But it was way different from the usual SMS I'd send had not for the current situation, which would be more like "Pauwi ka na? Ok." Yeah, that's it. Just two sentences and a period.

It was then that I realized what a blessing this burden of a situation has brought us. It has made the two of us more expressive of our concern for each other. It has brought us closer to each other faster than we had tried in 27 years. This is the blessing: my dad and I having a better relationship because of this burden.

Yes, I still do not like everything that has been going on. I still am not sure why all these are happening. But I am secure that God has a reason for all these and that He will never let go of us. I can choose to focus on the burden, or I can choose to look beyond it and see the greater blessing. I choose the latter.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I thank God today.

Today has been a day of tears. My tear glands had been on high gear almost the whole day for a couple of reasons. I needed a hug but didn't want to bother people of this need. Everyone seems a little more busy than usual (me included). But I am glad I still got a hug, although a virtual one, from my bestfriend Mazel, who's in Japan. I thank God for that today.

Today has been a day of reconciliation. Went to Greenbelt Chapel to attend First Friday mass with Joanne. Cannot help but cry even more during mass (darn these tear glands!) but had a great confession afterward. I say great, because, for a long time, it is only now that I actually enjoyed talking to a priest over confession. My bad, I didn't get the name of the priest, but he was full of wisdom, practical, and straight to the point. Hadn't there been a ton of other people waiting outside the confession box, I would have asked a lot more questions and had a longer conversation with him. I related well with his comments, learned so much from his advices, and was affirmed of my beliefs. I thank God for that today.

Today has been a day of terrific crepes. After draining my tear glands dry, had a huge plate of mango crepe from the nearby Cafe Breton at GB3 with Joanne and Veena. I love crepe! I enjoyed my La Pinay and I thank God for that today.


Today has been a day of lessened expectations. I have always been reminded to lessen my expectations of people; I just fail to keep that in mind, so the next time something happens that falls short of such expectations, I get seriously disappointed. But today is a reminder that to have less expectations of people is to live happier. I thank God for that today.


Today has been a day of love that is better expressed. He has always been the quiet type, never inquisitive and often only silent. He cares but never shows it explicitly. He protects but never too obviously. He worries about me but never admits it. He loves but never conveys it in words. Today has been different; he showed his care, protection, and love ever more fully. He is my dad and I thank God for him today.

(Photo sources: http://www.nottingham-therapy.co.uk, http://www.ssmaryandjohn.co.uk, http://blog.lib.umn.edu, http://visitpinas.com, http://www.allfunnystuff.com)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Of Death

(Photo source: http://www.gmanews.tv)


Press Secretary Cerge Remonde's untimely death came as a total surprise, as Jen was telling me about it on the way to ATC yesterday. I don't know the man personally. Heck, I don't even remember his face! Lol. I haven't read any of this articles nor watched him intently in the news.

OK, what actually caught me by surprise was the fact that he died alone in his bathroom at a very young age of 51. I haven't read or seen much news about his death (because I haven't been watching TV recently), but Jen was telling me that the Press Secretary lived alone here in Manila and that his family was based in Cebu. Upon hearing that, I thought that his passing was such a sad way to go; he died without his family by his side. And he lived his recent years just working and working away from his family.

Some of us, we work hard in building our careers or in engaging in our businesses. We sometimes fail to spend time with family and friends. We fail to create time for recreation. We think, "I'll just relax and spend time with friends and family when I retire from work. I'll have the time then." But this sudden passing of Remonde should remind us that time is of the essence and that life is truly short. We do not know when we'll go and how sudden or how prolonged death will come to us. The retirement age that we envision may not even come upon us. Our time may be up before we know it.

So live life NOW. Spend time with people who are important to you NOW. Yes, do not forget responsibilities, but do not also forget your loved ones. Try to always be happy and to feel blessed and grateful (I'm also saying this to myself! hehe).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nakokonsensya


(Photo source: http://www.uwsu.com).

This is a long post. Brace yourself.

Yesterday was a day of correction for me (I think!).

Scenario 1: Morning Mass. The priest says "Tanggapin natin pagpapala ng Panginoon" as he always does. I was suddenly struck by this. It was like actually "hearing" what that statement meant.

Scenario 2: South Feast*. The reading was Hebrews 4:16. It went, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." The only words that got to me were "approach with confidence and receive."

"Why all these scenarios?," you say. Well, I think I was being corrected yesterday for not being accepting of the blessings that are given to me.

Last week, I was chatting with Mazel regarding Jennina's donations. The latter was planning to give the kids a bottle of multivitamins EACH. So that's 35 bottles. And I was telling Mazel that I was nakokonsensya. I meant I'd be happy with just 15 to 20 bottles, but 35 was just way over the top. I was nakokonsensya that I'm asking for way too much.

Last Saturday night, I received an email from Ate Lyn, saying that she would be sending X amount to my account as her donation. And my reply was, "ha??? as in X amount??? ate lyn, sobra naman un. masaya na ko sa 500pesos. promise!!! baka wala ka na magastos sa new home mo.. naku naman..."

Last Friday, I received a pledge from Rechelle; she's going to donate all 8 boxes of juice drinks I needed. And I answered, "NO! ang mahal nun! maghati hati na kayo." Imagine someone saying NO to a great blessing. Ang wirdo di ba? Ako lang ang pwedeng maging ganyan ka-weird! I was just amazed and guilt-ridden as to the tremendous generosity that people have been showing me. I feel nakokonsensya because I feel like I'm robbing these people of too much until they assure me that it is OK.

It finally got OK with me, i.e., this great show of support and help, only yesterday. In the two scenarios above, it was like I was being reminded that, "Hey, you asked. So I'm giving it to you." I felt like I was belittling God's power to give. I forgot that I can ask BIG and I can receive BIG. The only problem with me is I ask but I'm NOT ready to receive. I feel like I do not deserve this huge kindness. And then I remembered that, heck, God is just good. Whether I deserve all these blessings or not, God will give and give. Nothing that I do or do not do will ever change His generosity. It is just plain His nature. Ang galing no?

So given that, I will not hesitate receiving anyone's help anymore. I will let God showcase His goodness. That means I am SO ready to receive your donations! hehehehe

*The South Feast, a weekly gathering of the Light of Jesus (LOJ) Community, happens every Sunday at Festival Mall Cinema 10 at 11am and at 3pm. It is led by Feast Builder/Main Preacher Arun Gogna.