30 December 2011

Life Goals

A new year is about to come. It's always great to review this year, accomplishments and failures, new experiences and idle moments, and see what needs to be changed and get rid of the things that hold us back from living life to the fullest. It's time to set Faith Goals for 2012.
Reading some of my notes, I came across with a few guide to making life goals. I wasn't able to note who wrote it (it's not mine), but I just want to share it here.

 10 Steps to Setting Life Goals 

 "A grandmaster makes the best moves because they are based on what he wants the board to look like ten or twenty moves in the future." - Garry Kasparov

(most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning their life.) You can set goals that are absolutely unspiritual & you'd be better off spiritually if you didn't accomplish them.
"One of the primary reasons most of us don't accomplish more for the kingdom of God is we didn't have any God-ordained goals we're going after."

Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for." 

 You know why most of us never get what we want? Because we don't know what we want! We're more sure of what we're afraid of than what we're hoping for! 
One of the greatest shortcomings in most of our lives is that we don't know what we want. 

 Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish." 

 Vision is a preservative. Goals keep us young. You start dying when you have nothing worth living for. You start living when you find something worth dying for. 

 1. START WITH PRAYER. 
"Dreaming is praying." - Catherine Marshall 
Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming. 
There is no limit to what this combination of dreams and prayers can achieve. 
If all you do is set selfish goals then you'd be a better person if you don't accomplish them. 
Goal setting is a stewardship issue. 

2. CHECK YOUR MOTIVES
Make sure you're going after your goals for the right reason. 
The Creator wanted us to explore His creation. God couldn't wait until people started exploring planet earth so they could see everything He made. 
Travel can be one way to worship God. 
Here are some motives that "I" think are healthy and holy: 
 a. To honor God
 b. To maximize your potential. It's about taking care of the temple.
 c. To make a difference
 d. It will bring you joy
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 

3. GET IDEAS FROM OTHERS 
Goals create what psychologists refer to as "structural tension" in your brain. The brain wants to close the gap between your current reality & your goal. The brain is a goal-seeking organism. If you don't set godly goals, you'll pursue goals of lesser importance. 

4. THINK IN CATEGORIES 
 • family goals • travel goals • physical goals • experience goals • influence goals 
All of them are spiritual 
Physical discipline helps me be more disciplined spiritually. 

5. BE SPECIFIC 
Make goals measurable 
God doesn't answer vague prayers because they don't require any faith and God doesn't get the glory 
I think we're vague because we don't want to hold ourselves accountable. Or we're afraid. 
Goals are dreams with deadlines. 

6. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS 
Habakkuk 2:2 "Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets." 
The first step to accomplishing a goal is simply writing it down. 
The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. 

7. INCLUDE OTHERS 
It is about shared experiences. It is about creating memories! 

8. CELEBRATE ALONG THE WAY 
The best memories were once goals 
"Ebenezer" means 'hitherto the Lord has helped me.' 
When you accomplish a goal, it is an Ebenezer moment. And you need to celebrate it an commemorate it. 
Celebrate everything you can as much as you can! 

9. THINK BIG 
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it; but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo 
You need some goals, and they better be conceived in prayer, that are absolutely ridiculous. 
By faith you set the goal. 
Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God. 
"You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process you become someone worth-becoming." - Jim Rohn 
You need a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention because it will force you to get on your knees and seek God. 
Big dreams are the best thing for us spiritually. They make us pray. They make us seek God. they force us to love the way we ought to live - in complete dependence on God. 
Big dreams make you into a big person. 
We tend to overestimate what we can do in 2 years and underestimate what we can do in 10 years. 
Think long term! Think big! 

10. KEEP DREAMING 
It's never too late to be who you might have been. 
"One of the best things about aging is being able to watch imagination take over memory." - Harriet Doerr 

Year 2012 will be a great year full of Ebenezer moments! I am expectant an hopefully and prayerfully ready to elevate!

20 December 2011

My December

Here's a series of Christmas celebrations this year!
Christmas Date in Manila with Abby, Gianne and Lyssa  


 Kids Ministry Team 2 Christmas Party 
 
Volunteers Appreciation Night, with GiAnne and Abby. 

 and Christmas Celebration with my Bestfriends at Ace Water Spa. It was Karla's treat for us.




05 November 2011

Tree Top Adventure

This was my second Tree Drop experience, and it was all excitement and less fear. I was excited because I was with my family the second time, and am looking forward to sharing the experience.

My first try on the different rides was with my bestfriends. The original plan was to go to the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark, Pampanga, and maybe try Tree Top Adventure if we have extra time. So we left Laguna as early as 5am to get there in time, but there were so many who came earlier that we did not get to buy tickets and see the hot air balloons up close. Many of those who weren't able to get inside looked for their own perfect spot to take pictures instead, so we did too.

 It was a good thing that we did not get there early. As soon as we got good shots, with the balloons up in the sky, we decided to leave so we won't get caught up with the traffic once it's all over. We then went around Subic Bay, took pictures, then to Tree Top Adventure. It was our Valentine's gift for our then 9-year friendship.
We tried these rides: Tree Drop (free fall from a 60ft high tree), Superman Ride (Che and I rode together), and the ride where the three of us together (I forgot what the ride is called).
I enjoyed the whole experience! I was never afraid of heights and love trying out new things and discovering more about myself. That was (then) the most death-defying stunt I have tried.

I went back New Year's eve of 2010 with my family. Subic was our second stop after Baguio. Almost everyone tried the Tree Drop, and the Superman Ride.



All, except Mama, Papa and Ate Monique rode the Canopy ride. I thought this ride was scarier than all the others, although all we had to do was sit and enjoy the view, and transfer seats at each stops. Maybe because  it was slow and we were hanging higher than the other rides. 

Jumpshot in Baguio. (^___^)


07 October 2011

Mindless Words

More mindless airing of opinions and frustrations, and insensitive arguments.
 It's painful to hear because each one's aim is to win.
  Nobody really ever wins an emotional fight.
   You will not be awarded a medal for dominating the argument, just hatred and discord.
    Who would want that?
      Why can't it all just  be passionate and loving discussion?

Conflicts may be a natural part of any relationship, but arguments and fights aren't/
 You talk about the problem with the goal to solve it with less-to-no injury for both parties.
  But most times, there are casualties and lots of blood.
   Everyone ends up wounded and injured.. =(


"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." 
Matthew 12: 35-36                                      

06 October 2011

Life's Change Agent


I was never really into knowing the genius behind the gadgets I have. But today was different. Almost every page and website I visited today showed Steve Jobs picture. So I read some of the notes and captions to find out what all of it was about. 

"R.I.P. Steve Jobs." That caught my full attention. The last news I read about him was shocking, as he resigned from Apple, the company he founded. Now this!

The only Apple product I have is the 3rd gen iTouch, which is turning 3 this December. It's old but the new apps make it new every time. It can only be replaced with another Apple gadget.

So, I watched some of Steve Jobs' videos and interviews. Here are some of my favorite quotes from him:

From the Stanford Commencement Speech 2005:
You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards.                                                
It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. (on getting fired from Apple at 30)                                                
Sometimes life's gonna hit you in the face with a brick. Don't lose faith.                                                                        
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
Don't settle.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.                                        
If today were the last day of my life, would I wanna do what I'm about to do today?                                                                                 
Almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment and failure, these things just fall away in the face of death; leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.                                        
Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
Your time is limited. So don't waste it living someone else's life.                                                                                      
Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the result of other people's thinking.                    
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
 More quotations:
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful - that's what matters to me.
The thing that drives me and my colleagues ... is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don't quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it's within your grasp. And it's worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence.

Money was never Steve Jobs' key motivator.

03 October 2011

Preparation

I now know how Morpheus feels. Yes, the Matrix fever is still on. And I just came to a realization as to why I had to watch the trilogy a week before today.

Believing in something that doesn't make sense, something that defies what the mind can comprehend, and what science can explain, is a challenge. Why? Many people settle with the tangibles because we don't want to be disappointed. As much as possible we would avoid persecutions and rejections. We seek to please, leading to compromise.

Morpheus believed in Neo. He was certain he is the One. He has complete faith that Neo will end the war between Zion and the machines. What I love about his character is that he stood firm in his faith despite persecutions from the Commander, and even when the situation seem to present every reason to think twice and doubt. He endured everything. The ending of the Matrix Trilogy was a glorious moment for Morpheus. He must've been waiting for the shocked look in the Commander's face with the thought "It doesn't make sense."
"I have imagined this moment for so long. Is this real?" - Morpheus

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." - Hebrews 11:1            
I prayed for a deeper level of faith. Now I am given the opportunity to do so. Challenges. Persecutions. Rejections. In the end, FAITH is all that will matter.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18

30 September 2011

The Matrix Revolution

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."

And what a way to end the Matrix Trilogy. This has to be my favorite of the three, or did I say that to for the first, too? What about the second?

Well, I love the part where Neo chose between saving the system and saving Trinity. Love conquered! It's also the part where everything was explained about the Matrix. I was trying to get something from the Architect, but I ended up staring at him most of his speech. :p The good thing about Matrix Reloaded is that the movie was concluded the same year. Good thing I wasn't a big fan back then, I would've rallied the Wachowski Brothers to release the last part the moment it ended. Now I just had to watch this last part immediately after Reloaded.

My favorite part has to be when the machines finally breached the walls, with every soldier and a few civilians ready to defend Zion. Each one played their part. Captain Mifune and the Kid Neo saved has to be my favorite characters, and the three brave women of course, Niobe, Zee and her partner.

No one can see beyond a choice they don't understand. - Oracle

If you tell me we'll make it, I'll believe you. - Trinity to Neo

28 September 2011

The Matrix


I can't remember when I first watched this movie. I love the parts whenever Neo and Morpheus do the "talk." Most of my favorite lines in the movie come from Morpheus. He is just so certain that Neo is the one. His faith even got Neo convinced even when he can't see any reason to believe. 

I believe we need to surround ourselves with our "Morpheus." People who know and believe what we're capable of, build us up, and guide us in the right path to discover who we really are, or simply remind us who we are meant to be. Like Neo we can be confused or misled; and while we are on our own quests to finding out the truth about life and what lies ahead (in Neo's case, the Matrix), be discouraged and settle in the comfort of the reality we know or what the world offers. 

Here are some of Morpheus' lines I love.
"Don't think you are. Know you are."                                                                                                                                   
"There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."                                                                  
I also love the conversation between Neo and the Oracle. Why do you think the Oracle said Neo is not the ONE? As Morpheus told Neo, "She told you what you needed to hear." I had to replay the scene of their talk, and I remembered the part when the Oracle predicted what Neo's response would be after the vase fell. You may not remember that part, it's the part I did not pay much attention to until after the part where Neo and Trinity saved Morpheus and the she-told-you-what-you-needed-to-hear part. Here's the line:
"What's really going to bake your noodle later on is would you still have broken it if I hadn't say anything."
That really baked my noodle! Sometimes we just won't be able to grasp it if it's handed to us as it is: The TRUTH. There are times when the truth is laid bare and we just seem to find a way to resist it and doubt, most especially when it defies what our mind can comprehend.
"Being the One is just like being in love. No one can tell you you're in love. You just know it... through and through." - Oracle

So the Oracle laid it down the best way she knew. Neo, in the end, believed he's the One. But he had to die to "really" be the ONE.

To be the what we really are meant to be, we too, have to die. Not literally, of course.
Know the truth. Seek for a guide to get to the right path. Believe you are chosen. Die in your old self. Let the new come. Be what you are meant to be.


12 September 2011

Fear of Greatness

Nelson Mandela wrote,
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us... And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

22 August 2011

Amici & Caramia Experience

Tried out Amici and Caramia Gelateria in Alabang Town Center with Che and Karla. While I love pasta, Che loves pizza and Karla loves ice cream. It's what this restaurant serves best, as their logo indicates.

And since it's our first time, we agreed to choose from the best sellers in the menu.
Insalata con Ricotta Fritti
 Fried ricotta topped over mixed greens, served with balsamic dressing. I was never a fan of salads of greens until Ate Lea's dressing, so when they chose this I was like, I would just try the dressing with tomatoes and cabbage and the "chicken." Little did I know that it's fried cheese. Well.
Linguine Fantastico
Linguine tossed in a tangy, mouth-watering blend of proscuitto, stewed tomatoes, black olives and garlic. This has to be one of our favorites. Loved the stewed tomatoes.

Toni di Maiale
 Roast pork slices with tuna mayo dressing and fried capers. Another favorite. The pork was roasted perfectly! Yum!
Tutta Carne
All-time Amici favorite. Italian sausage, ham and pepperoni.

Now, it wasn't difficult choosing our appetizers and pizzas and pasta. Those were unanimous choices. Until.... DESSERTS. We had to try Caramia Gelato's best sellers, and it was a battle of fruits and nuts. Since Karla loved ice creams she insisted on trying Black Forest. But it was not available. Then we had to choose a cake. Che wanted to try the Pistachio cake, I wanted the Nocciola Gateau. Here's what happened:
Pistachio Gelati e Sorbetto
 Karla's choice was not available, and I won the cake challenge. And since we love Che, and her love for pistachio, we chose this. It is also one of Caramia's best sellers and we loved it!
Nocciola Gateau
Hazelnut cream cheese and rich dark chocolate in layers of crunchy meringue. A Cara Mia favorite. We loved the texture of this cake, and it melted in our mouths. 
We were all nuts with the desserts!

We would definitely try the other Cara Mia gelatos and cakes. You may visit their facebook page where I got the roast pork and pizza pictures.


20 August 2011

Dog Whisperer

You cannot create peace with frustration.

I am officially a Dog Whisperer fan. I love how Cesar Millan rehabilitates dogs and teaches the owners to be the pack leader. What I look forward to in each episode is whenever Cesar gives pieces of advice to the owners, making them realize they were contributing to the problem dogs. The episode last night was so inspiring I had to blog about it.

The above quote is just one of the many advice Cesar gave to his clients that I love. It's applicable not only in interacting with dogs but with humans as well, especially with kids. I've witnessed parents getting so frustrated when their children don't obey. They discipline them out of frustration, when what they need is just to be calm and assertive. You can never put down fire with fire. What you need is water, to cool it down.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - Proverbs 15:1 
Most of our dogs are on a leash. Two pitbulls, a Japanese spitz, a mixed Japanese spitz and dachshund, and a mini pinscher. Dog Whisperer makes me want to just let them loose and practice the "TSST!"

15 August 2011

Phlegmatic

I have been reading Tim Lahaye's book The Spirit-Controlled Temperament for quite a while. It's the second time, actually. Ate Ria introduced the book to us, I guess 4-5 years ago during our small group meetings, and it has been quite useful up to this day, and I believe, for the rest of my life. I found it very helpful that I decided to share it with my victory group as well.

What is it about? The temperaments. We have been introduced to so many psychological tests and explanations of our characters, why we behave the way we do, suggestions to improve our personality, and ways to make us understand ourselves and other people better. And while all those were informative, i found the explanation of the temperaments simpler yet accurate.

The book explained what the differences with temperament, character, and personality are.
Temperament is the combination of inborn traits that subconsciously affects all our behavior. These trait, which are passed on by our genes, are based on hereditary factors and arranged at the time of conception. It is a person's temperament that makes that person outgoing and extrovertish or shy and introvertish.
Character is the real you. It is the result of your natural temperament  modified by childhood training, education, and basic attitudes, beliefs, principles, and motivations. It is indeed the net result of all the influences and religious commitment on your life. It is what you really are when there is no one else around.
Personality is the outward expression of oneself, which may or may not be the same as a person's character, depending on how genuine that person is. Often personality is a pleasing facade for an unpleasant or weak character.
We were handed out a checklist, from Florence Littauer's book, Personality Plus. And while it's a different book, it also discusses the temperaments and was written as inspired by Tim Lahaye. After we answered the checklist, Ate Ria made us read the result and what our temperaments are, our weaknesses and strengths, according to the book.

There are four temperament types: Sanguine. Choleric. Phlegmatic. Melancholy.

I am, as the title indicated, a Phlegmatic. It was surprising how accurate it was. It was like the author knew me. But I wasn't just a Phlegmatic. There are 12 temperament blends, a combination of the temperaments. We all are most likely a combination of two or more temperaments. The book described a 60/40 blend of two temperaments, that is why some people might find it not so accurate.

As I re-read the book and answered the checklist again (since I have to share the results to a new group of friends) I found out that my temperament blend was not what I thought it was. All the while, for the past few years, I thought I was a combination of the Phlegmatic and Sanguine. Sanguine is an extrovertish temperament. And somehow, I tried to live up to that result of the evaluation. There are strengths and weaknesses in both. I am shy and reserved, and knowing I have it in me to be bubbly and talkative (a sanguine trait), I was able to let it out. Only to realize after I took the exam for the second time, that I my secondary temperament is Melancholy. Introvertish. The mind is really strong.


So, here it is! I decided to choose Beverly Lahaye's presentation of my temperament in her book The Spirit-Controlled Woman. A woman's point of view of the temperament.
Strengths of emotions: Calm and dependable. Good-natured and easy to get along with. Cheerful and pleasant even if she doesn't have much to say. Kindhearted. Peace-loving
Emotional weaknesses: Lacks confidence in self. Pessimistic and fearful; worrier. Rarely laughs aloud (i don't understand why this is a weakness). Passive and indifferent. Compromising. Self-righteous.
Strengths in relationship to others: Pleasant to be with. Has many friends. Dry, witty sense of humor. Softening and conciliating effect upon others. Constant and faithful. Diplomatic and a peacemaker. Good listener. Faithful friend. Gives advice only when asked.
Weaknesses in relationships: Doesn't allow herself to get involved. Selfish and stingy. Studies people with indifference. Unenthusiastic. Stubborn. Teases others who annoy her. Not very cordial. Attitude of superiority.
Strengths in activities: Works well under pressure. Practical, easy way of working. Conservative. Neat and proficient. Plans her work before beginning. Stabilizing influence. Dependable worker.
Weaknesses in her action: Calm, serene, uninvolved spectator in life. Slow and lazy. Reluctant leader. Lack of motivation. Indecisive. Overprotects herself from involvement. Discourages others. Opposes change of any kind.

 There you go. Most, if not all, is quite accurate. Those who really know me can testify how the presentation fits their description of me. But I am a combination of Phlegmatic and Melancholy temperaments. The more I know of my weaknesses, the likelier the chance to turn things around and enhance my strengths instead. 
Yes, Garfield is Phlegmatic.

(photos not mine, unless indicated.)

04 August 2011

White As Snow

by Eric and Leslie Ludy


Alone and confused, your heart is bruised from sin;
Your joy is gone from love gone wrong
And you're longing to start again.
I know that you've been hurt, and you don't know whom to trust;
I won't pretend I understand your pain.
But I can see repentance in your eyes, and I know it's not too late;
I hear Him calling your name...

White as snow, He has made you white as snow;
The moment you confessed, His heart forgave.
You might think you've ruined all the plans He had for you,
But it's for that very reason Jesus saves.
Pure and innocent like a dove,
Though you have done nothing to deserve His pardoning,
You've been purified by Jesus' blood -
White as snow.

The guilt and shame, keeping you chained,
Not wanting to let you go;
It's not how you dreamed, not how you planned,
And you can't see that still there's hope.

Receive His healing for your bruises;
Receive His riches for your rages.
You cannot imagine all the plans He has for you,
So take His hand, and don't look back.


Ministry of Eric and Leslie Ludy
visit Leslie Ludy's website

What God Promises

by Barbara Cage

He doesn't promise sunny days, just a rainbow at the end of the storm.
He doesn't promise silver and gold, but to provide for your needs.
He doesn't promise to make your life trouble-free, just to give you the strength to see things through.
He doesn't promise all the answers, just that He'll direct your path.
He doesn't promise you understanding, but faith that will see you through.
He doesn't promise freedom from despair, only joy and peace in believing.
He doesn't promise that you'll never fail, just that your strength and hope will be renewed.
He doesn't promise you'll have no fears, but that He's always there.
Most of all, He promises unconditional and everlasting love.

The Benefits of Boredom

This is an excerpt from Carolyn Johnson's "The Joy of Boredom"

Boredom's doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life's most quintessentially human moments... A long drive hove after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective. 
Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication and the digital distractions by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices. 
But are we too busy twirling through the songs on our iPods - while checking email, while changing lanes on the highway - to consider whether we are giving up a good thing? We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life's greatest luxuries - one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival. 
To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in these times of reflection that people often discover something new, whether it is an epiphany about a relationship or a new theory about the way the universe works. Granted, many people emerge from boredom feeling that they have accomplished nothing. But is accomplishment really the point of life? 
There is a strong argument that boredom - so often parodied as a glassy-eyed drooling state of nothingness - is an essential human emotion that underlies art, literature, philosophy, science and even love.
This should not be an excuse to do nothing, though. It's just an appreciation of every season we are in.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

03 August 2011

A Woman's Question

- by Lena Lathrop

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman's heart, and a woman's life - 
And a woman's wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy.

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart be true as God's stars
And as pure as His heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing.
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts -
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man, that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as He did on the first
And say: "It is very good."

I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From this soft young cheek one day;
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves,
As you did among the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean, so strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All the things that a man should be,
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you can't be this, a laundress and cook
You can hire and little to pay,
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

The Interview with God

I dreamt I had an interview with God.
"So you would like to interview Me?" God asked.
"If you have time," I said.
God smiled, "My time is eternity. What questions do you have in mind for me?"
"What surprises You most about humankind?"
God answered... "That they got bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again."
"That they lose their health to make money... and then lose their money to restore their health."
"That they live as if they will never die, and die as though they had never lived."

God's hand took mine and were silent for a while...
And then I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons You want Your children to learn?"
"To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved."
"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others."
"To learn that it only takes a few seconds tobopen profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them."
"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least."
"To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply have not yet learned how to express or show their feelings."
"To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves
."
"Thank you for Your time," I said humbly.
"Is there anything else You would like Your children to know?"
God smiled and said, "Just know that I am here... always."


(this was an e-mail message sent by a friend. just sharing)

What will be said of me?

This is my journal entry dated January 29, 2009.

It is not a tradition here in the Philippines to speak eulogies when someone dies. Perhaps some practice it, but most don't. I've seen eulogies on movies, where a family or a friend of the one who passed away gives a short speech about the deceased. Most of the speeches are composed of old memories, bloopers, achievements and the legacy left behind by that person; that is, if there's much to say. I was wondering what would be said of me NOW if I die this instant, when God calls me back home. I would love for someone to speak about my life and how I lived while on earth, but what will they say?

It's one of my goal in life to age gracefully and be able to tell stories to my grandchildren, see them grow, give them pieces of advice, tell them of my love story, be their personal guidance counselor, and many more. But to be that kind of a grandma, I need to start now! Live the life of adventure and it's challenges with my heart set on that goal, with God's help. Then I'll leave this tent with my husband at my side, or maybe alone, not with him, but peacefully. But, I don't want to live just so people can say good things about me. Becoming a lasting legacy is not just to be our goal, it's our destiny. God wants us to excel in everything so we can bring glory to His name. That means He'll help you excel in everything you do if you seek His help.

We don't have to wait for the parting time when we're back to ash-mode; we don't even have to wait 'til we're old just so we can leave a legacy. Every day is an opportunity to leave something to someone they'll remember you by; which they may also pass on to the next generations to come.

1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Ephesians 5:15-16 "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity..." 

02 August 2011

How would you feel if someone tells you these words?
- I will not forget you
- I care for you
- You are mine
- I love you

You would feel great, right?
You are remembered, cared for, and loved...

These words are for you...
From God.

1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

Isaiah 44:21 "I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you."

Isaiah 43:1 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine."

Isaiah 43:4 "Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you..."


--- text message---

Cars


"It's just an empty cup."

That has to be my favorite line on the movie. Here are some of the lessons in the story:
      You can't work your way to anywhere alone.
      The proud will be humbled and the humble made proud.
      There's no greater reward in this world than knowing you took part in making life better for someone.
      It's not so much about winning...

Lightning McQueen has his eyes set on his goal. To be the first rookie to win the Piston Cup. He had to be humbled. He took all the credits for winning and failed to acknowledge the help of his team. Fame and glory was all that mattered to him.

And so, the detour. On his way to get the prize, he is about to discover what he's been missing. He found what he never expected to find; what he is really longing for.

His change of heart was evident when he chose not to win the Piston Cup and helped "The King" instead. It's not about himself anymore. The cup wasn't the ultimate prize for him.

Friendship. Love. Humility. Learning to appreciate the people who has always been there to help you win.

I appreciate the detours and delays in the fulfillment of my dreams, and unanswered prayers. Sometimes it's just what we need. God allows it for us to check our hearts and reveal its contents. Is it purposeful or just for a boost of ego?

The King has to be my favorite car.

27 July 2011

The Placebo Effect

A placebo is a medicine that is ineffective but may help to relieve a condition because the patient has faith in its powers.

As a nurse, I have had experiences with clients who have low pain thresholds; complaining every waking hour of their stay in the hospital even when you just gave them their dose of analgesics. Pain is subjective, and we can never really tell whether a client is really in severe pain or just opiate dependent, or diva-ish. But there's one test that helps medical professionals to test if the complaints are real. The placebo. Instead of giving the dose of the prescribed medication, as needed, a medication of lesser effect (or no effect at all), will be administered. Once the patient  respond to that treatment and claim to be relieved of the symptom, then it's not real pain.

I was reminded of this term as I watched one episode of National Geographic Channel's Taboo series. They featured what the society proscribes as improper or unacceptable practice regarding food, health, well-being, and healing.

Taboo will test your boundaries and push beyond your comfort zone. Understand seemingly bizarre and shocking practices from around the world.
One high-class restaurant in Beijing serves a traditional dish they call "hot pot." It's an expensive and popular dish with the male reproductive organ of certain animals as the main ingredient. There is a deep belief in the Chinese culture that eating the animal part will heal the same part of the body. And although there has been no scientific proof to this belief, the traditional medicine, which has been proven effective by many, is where they put their faith in. But does it really heal? Or is it placebo effect?

Another story was about faith healing. I remember a time, watching news in the television featuring faith healers. I was in primary school back then. I've watched healers, without any other equipment but their hands, pulling out of a person's belly something like deceased meat, claiming it's what he extracted from the body of the sick. During the "procedure" blood would gush out of the operative site, which makes the whole thing look so real. Then all the blood would be wiped out, and whalla! No wounds or openings. No stitches and expensive professional fees, and you're healed! The customers believed so. And they felt better... for quite some time. Is it just plain optimism that prolonged their life, certain that their health was restored? Or is it really effective? They were not called "faith healers" for nothing!

It just goes to show how powerful our minds are. And that where we place our complete faith to, we surely will see some great results, even beyond belief. The world will give us alternative cures to our problems and answers to our questions. Although it may bring relief, it will be temporary. The danger is when we become numb to the pain because we're given "placebos" that we don't feel the need for real medicine anymore, and stick with the cure that doesn't really have any effect. Like any client in the medical field, we will never be told it's placebo we're getting.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
We all have mountain-moving faith. The problem begins when we put our faith on people and things of this world, finite and changing as they are. We can be easily deceived into believing that a certain gem will give us luck or better future; or that following cool and trending styles will make us more likeable. Tell you what: you became more confident while wearing what you think will make you so; and confidence is the best wardrobe you can ever wear. But the future will always be filled with uncertainties and problems, and gems won't help. You can't please everyone, then you'll realize it's not about what you wear.

Put your faith instead in God. He is unchanging. He is the miraculous healer. He is pleased with you and loves you unconditionally. He knows your future. He wrote about our stories even before we came to be. We don't need placebos. God is offering the CURE, we need only claim it. He will restore you. Life may not be problem-free, but like a water-proof watch immersed in water, we can be secured under God's sovereignty.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
 Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God, all things are possible with God."

Who Am I?


Our dreams and desires are always BIG! These are things we have to work hard for to get, not something we easily achieve. The only problem is when we finally realize how big our dreams are, we get discouraged and question our capabilities.

Who am I? Why do i dare dream this big? Or when given a task that seem beyond what we believe we can do, we ask: Why me?

Where do our hearts desires come from? It sometimes is frustrating when we don't get to be what we dreamt of becoming. As children we have the biggest dreams. We want to become doctors, a president, lawyers, superheroes, astronaut, a popular actor or actress. Then, we grew up. We realize that it's never going to be as easy as we thought it would be when we were younger. The world does not welcome our dreams as we imagined; it even seems to shatter any possibility of even getting close to it. Our deep desires are keys to unleashing our true potential, our purpose. It is from God. And so the enemy will do anything and everything to keep us from getting there. We will be offered alternatives; detours. We will be discouraged when faced with challenges. We will lose heart. It would be enough for the enemy of our hearts if we settled to mediocrity. It doesn't matter to him if we still have that dream, as long as we are disheartened enough not to continue our pursuit.

2 Chronicles 20:15b 
This is what the Lord says to you, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's"
The title came from one of the more popular men in the Scriptures. Moses. We know of Prince of Egypt and the Ten Commandments, right? This part was when God called Moses to lead the Israelites out from slavery. This was his response:
Exodus 4:11
Moses protested to God, "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?" 
Who is he? He was once Egypt's prince! He cared for his people, the Israelites. I wonder what might've happened if Moses did not kill the Egyptian slave and used his authority instead. He was next in line! The next Pharaoh. There must be a reason why he's in that position. We have Esther and Joseph, who have been placed in a high positions as well, and used their authority wisely. Still, God has a great plan in which Moses would have a big role to play.

The part I love most in this part of Moses story, was God's response:
Exodus 3:12
God answered, "I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain."
Okay, what's that got to do with my question? Moses might have asked. God always points us to Himself. Moses will not be the "Star" in the story. It was never meant to make Moses look good. It's for God's glory. It may be one of the reason why Moses did not become the Pharaoh. A person with authority and control over the situation of God's people would not need God. The glory due to the Lord might be given to Moses if that were the case. Ordinary people are the ones tasked to perform extraordinary tasks, so people would know that there is a greater Power making such miracles possible.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
The next time you feel inadequate or incapable to live your dreams and be obedient to what God has commanded, do not question yourself, your capabilities, talents and knowledge. God wants to be glorified through you. Submit all your cares to Him and He will supply you with all the necessary tools to succeed in life and be able to reach your big dreams.

19 July 2011

All About Steve
Yes, I just watched it on television and this film was on cinemas 2009! Thank you Star Movies. And this will make it's way to my favorite movies list. For the past weeks, I was just starting to appreciate the crossword puzzle. It is challenging and always makes me cheat my way to browsing my phone application's encyclopedia. Whoever constructs those puzzles are geniuses. Now, I have seen this movie played in cable channels before, but never really gave it a chance and watched it. It may be the same reason why I don't go inside a movie theater when the movie has already started, or I just wasn't interested back then. Tonight, I gave it a chance, just when I was planning to watch the first part of The Lord of the Ring trilogy. And I can say, it's not a bad decision.

Mary Horowitz is an eccentric character. Smart and not afraid to let herself out. She's bold and bubbly, and can be so annoying in the sense that she talks too much. Her lines and quotations of different authors made me want to take down notes. But she just talked too fast for me to do that. Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie:

Words. There are meaningful words, there are pointless words, and then there are words that hurt.
You know what my favorite part of doing crosswords is? When you know something you didn’t think you knew.
Why should you have to change to be normal? All you have to do is find someone who’s as normal as you are.
"In life, as in crosswords, some days are harder than others, and that’s what keeps your brain alive. The key to surviving those tough days is to pick yourself up and stay focused on your life’s purpose."
"If you quit a puzzle, you can’t finish it. Sure, every once in a while, you run into a doozy, that you don’t think you could ever solve in a million years, but if you stick with it, you figure it out eventually. Worst thing you can do is leave it unfinished. It’s never the solution, is it?"
New York Time’s crossword editor Will Short says we have a natural compulsion to fill empty spaces. I like to think he means not just crosswords, but the empty spaces inside of us that come from making your way in a world that doesn’t always embrace unique."

The last quote just made me love it more. It was kinda in line with VCF's Crave Series. We all have something we long for. We fill that void with the things this world offers. We are trying to find our worth. You might find what you long for, but that wouldn't stop the cravings to look for more than what you already found. The endless cycle goes on. Well, not if you would find the ONLY ONE who can complete you. Not a man, no. God.


What Do You Long For?
helpful PODCAST

09 July 2011

Power and Love

"POWER can do everything but the most important thing: it cannot control LOVE."
                 - Philip Yancey (Disappointment with God)

Parents have different ways of disciplining their children. Some use force; making sure their kids acknowledge their authority and power over them. Others choose teaching by example. Still, many exercise both. And if you would ask parents why they discipline their kids, their answer would most probably be: "because we love them."

God is illustrated in so many ways in the Bible. He's our Heavenly Father, Lord of lords, Provider, Savior, Almighty God, Creator, Lover, Friend and many more. I was asked before, what God is most in my life. He is all those mentioned and more to me; but He is most my Heavenly Father, lovingly disciplining me. God is the kind of Father who gives His children freedom to choose, making sure He laid down the options. And there's just two: close to Him or away from Him. I sometimes wonder how the world would be like if God did not grant us freedom. It would be such a great place, this world. We all have tendencies of choosing the wrong path, which most of the time, if not all of the time, seem to be the safer, easier, and more appealing way to take. Whenever I'm faced with crossroads, I was hoping God would just choose the right road for me. And, He does, but unlike the wrong path, the road seem so unappealing and hard and challenging. God never forced me to go His way, although I wish He did. I realized freedom isn't always good. Can't God just pull the strings and make me a puppet. Knowing Him, I know I'm in good hands even when His way isn't the most glamorous.

Why did God give us freedom? Can't He just take mine? I would gladly give it to Him. I'm better off controlled by Him than me.

"We see in the first glimpse of God's wildness the goodness of His heart - He gives us our freedom.
The wildness of giving us freedom is even more staggering when we remember that God has already paid dearly for giving freedom to the angels.
The reason He didn't make puppets is because He wanted lovers."
                    - John Eldredge (The Sacred Romance)

Yes, God is our Father, demanding obedience for our own good. But, He is also our Lover, wanting to be loved in return. A child may be completely submissive to his parents' commands, obedient to their every plan and strict discipline, but they can never force the child to love them. They may reason the ever popular phrase: "we did this because we love you" because at the end of the day, they would realize that it's not just obedience and respect they wanted, but love in return as well.

07 July 2011

Prayer

God, I don't want to be even a step farther away from You by pursuing things not in Your masterplan. Guide me in my pursuits and desires, Lord. Without Your leading, even the greatest dreams with the best intentions will be pointless.

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

Proverbs 16:25 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

Waiting on God for His answer may just be the only thing to do at this point. But there must be a preparation to be made as well. What if God's answer is the exact opposite of my plans and desires?

We seek God for direction and leading. We want to hear what He has to say. The real challenge begins when we finally got His answer. We'll have to obey. Will we follow His counsel or not?

06 July 2011

Anawangin Adventure

April 12-13, 2009. Lenten Season   

This was the first ever out of town adventure I had with just my friends. We've been out of town before (to Baguio, Quezon, Rizal, Bolinao) but it's for our college's medical mission and retreats. I have also been to Lucban, Quezon with them, but don't find it that far from home, since I live in Laguna. 

This trip's mastermind was Karla. When she told us about Anawangin,  I never really knew where that is, or where Zambales is in the Philippine map. I was never a fan of geography. And when I finally got hold of a Philippine map, I realized I need to muster all the courage I have in asking for permission from my family. I have thought long and hard to choose the right words to say. It's not just about strict curfews and prohibitions and rules set at home, it's because I'm not used to going that far. To cut the long story short, I went to my uncle and my brothers, told them about the 2-day, 1-night trip and all went blank. Looking back, I don't believe I asked for permission. I just told them about it, went on my way to prepare my things for the trip, then breathe out with a sigh of relief.


And so, we were set to leave home early morning of April 12. I was with Karla, Che, Mark and Enzo. We took a 4-hour bus trip going to Iba, Zambales at Victory Liner Terminal. The bus left around 4 in the morning and we dropped off in San Antonio at around 9am. We had to buy some water, food for lunch and dinner and the things we forgot to bring. When we were all set for Anawangin Cove, we took a 10-minute tricycle ride to Pundaquit.


You would have to take a 20- to 30-minute boat ride to get to Anawangin Cove from Pundaquit. And there are a lot of resorts there with boat rentals. I think it cost us 1500Php for the two-way ride back then, and we paid additional 150 pesos each for the island hopping. We had to wait 30-45 minutes for our boat. When we arrived at the resort, the boat was currently guiding a group for their island hopping. So we decided to have our lunch there while waiting.
And so, our boat arrived. James "liit" and James "laki" took us to the island, and to the other islands before we went home.
As soon as we set foot on Anawangin Cove, we set up camp. I remember carrying the heaviest tent, ever! It's my uncle's. It's big. The five of us fit in, and we can even stand up inside. It was kind of unfortunate for me though, since Mark and Enzo carried the water and some other bags, so I really had to carry it myself. :(
After we set up camp, we prepared our dinner, took some pictures and took a swim at the beach. After our dinner we set made a camp fire and cooked hotdogs in the fire. We were taught the right way to cook the hotdog. It will get burnt before it gets cooked if you would stick it into the fire. So we put the hotdogs on stick around the fire, and whoala!! it's perfectly made! We were warned beforehand, and have read in previews reviews about the strong current in the beach. But that did not stop Che, Karla and I from swimming in the dark of the night, with the moon as our only light. It was scary! I was scared not of the current, but with my crazy, wandering imaginations of sea monsters and sharks and little creatures like "undins". Haha! But my girlfriends were kinda carefree, and I don't want to be a "kill-joy." So I set aside all my fears and just had fun!

The next morning we woke up early to take a tour on the island, trek the mountain, snorkel and prepare for island hopping. If there's one thing I regret in this trip, it's the group decision not to finish the trek up on top of the mountain and going beyond the streams to see the Tamaraw. 

Before our boat arrived, our things were already packed, and we're ready to go. After the Camara and Capones Island stop-overs, we're off back to San Antonio and then home. 

 Capones Island Lighthouse
 Snorkeling at Camara Island

There has been a lot of upgrades in Anawangin since our visit. I've seen pictures of friends who just went there recently, and there were huts and cottages beyond the streams. It's great to see improvements in the island; I just hope they preserve it's beauty.
That's us, on our way home. You can say we abused the beach with our sun-kissed skin.
(^___^)
More exploits followed this trip.