HEAVEN ON EARTH (August 24, 2013)
It began one evening in one of our church group meetings when I questioned God, “Why did He have to create us now when He could have created us after this sinful world is already replaced with His new kingdom?” There was a part of me that was clamoring “Unfair! Sin is too hard for me not to succumb to it!” and that protest was intended for God.
But God, always patient, gentle, and loving spoke to me. My questions was asked during a church group meeting; one week later, also in a church group meeting, He answered me. Because Jesus came to Earth and died for our sins, He brought heaven with Him to Earth, When He left, He didn’t allow heaven to leave our hearts, He sent to us the Holy Spirit, our most beloved friend and companion.
The moment we received Jesus is also the moment we receive His gift of eternal life. Eternal life starts now as we walk on Earth, as we eat and drink, as we celebrate His everlasting covenant with us. The new Kingdom is in me and the power to win over sin is in me because I have Jesus in my heart. He said in John 10: 27-30,
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
TO CHANCE UPON A. LINCOLN (June 25, 2013)
I was blown away by Lincoln’s life. His growth to maturity and Christianity from a boy living in the backwoods with no proper education to one of America’s greatest president truly earned him this phrase, ‘wizardry that has mystified historians of all lands.” I could not help but think -and laugh at the thought- that perhaps, someday, in heaven, I will have the chance to meet him and be at the receiving end of his famed wit and humor.
In the book, The Inspired Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, Philip Ostergard cited excerpts from his speeches and to my wonderment, his usage of biblical verses to facilitate his thoughts and decisions was truly noteworthy. It was said that no president has used biblical references as extensively as Lincoln did with the inclusion of his personal and private letters.
“He came among them unheralded, without pomp or parade. He walked through the streets as if he were only a private citizen, and not the head of a mighty nation. He came not as a conqueror, not with bitterness in his heart, but with kindness. He came as a friend, to alleviate sorrow and suffering, to rebuild what has been destroyed.” Such picture of humility and ‘servanthood’ was portrayed by biographers James Randall and Richard Current. This reflected the same picture when Lincoln several times declared to his nation to appropriate days of thanksgiving or fasting in honor of our God at the height of the civil war.
He thought of himself to be God’s instrument to do what is right for his nation. In his intimacy with God, he had preserved the Union and gave freedom the ‘liberty’ it deserves. Often in his speeches he declared God’s sovereignty in his life with this: “Without him, I cannot succeed; with Him, I cannot fail.”
DREAMING OF SUCCESS (June 21, 2013)
There will come a time when you would think success is just way out of your league. Well, as for me, I’d say, “Been there, done that, but here I am, back again!” It is even harder for me not to question God when I am having that ignominious feeling that I want to quit –again. My unbelief can hardly hide its sarcasm and long vitriol of disappointment. But pondering about it for quite sometime now, I think I just get easily bullied by the standard of success this world has got me into believing since I was a child.
Good thing to know that God’s promises exceeds beyond this life on Earth. There are several people from the Bible who didn’t get the chance to experience God’s promises fulfilled, yet they kept their faith ’til the end. Success awaits in heaven and how I paint this ‘success-in-heaven- canvass’ in my mind is generally inspired from the book of Ezekiel (34:26).
“I will place them about my hill, sending rain in due season, rains that shall be a blessing to them. The trees of the field shall bear their fruits and the land its crops, and they shall dwell securely on their own soil…I will prepare for them peaceful field for planting; they shall no longer be carried off by famine in the land, or bear the reproaches of the nations. Thus, they shall know that I, the Lord, am their God, and they are my people, the house of Israel. You, my sheep, you are the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord.”
TO SLEEP IN HEAVEN (June 13, 2013)
Life on Earth is indeed like a game -of thrones. You meet good and bad people. You start something and procrastinate to forward its development — just like what happened to me as I totally limp myself in updating my blog. So many day to day struggles yet so little hope and solution to win. I’ve got no army or strategies contrived by the royal counsel. But I realized that maybe all these are essential so we can look forward to what is at life’s end.
After an accursed life, after all these unstoppable problems, there is hope after all. So I devise an attitude of picturing heaven: what will it be/what will it look like if all my disappointment were turned into something so heavenly in that picturesque paradise that God prepared for us?
It was written in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This idea came to mind when I was all too afraid to sleep alone in my apartment. My housemate tend to overwork herself and prefer to sleep at her office most of days. Amidst the gory scenes I was picturing in my mind around that time, I thought that in heaven, I will never be afraid of sleeping alone anymore. No more darkness. No more bad people lurking in the dark. No more nightmares. At last! I will be able to doze off peacefully. How about you, how do you picture heaven?
LITTLE THINGS LIKE COOKING BURGERS (Apr 17, 2012)
Let me share with you this humbling commencement speech from Rico Hizon. If you’re on that phase in your life where your confusion is not letting you sleep at night, where you are anxiously fumbling for answers to these questions, “What is my next move?” “Should I wait?” “Is this job too irrelevant for my course?” here’s an article in its essence is truly godsent.
TRUTH BE TOLD (Apr 17, 2012)
How many instances in our lives have we found ourselves grappling our will to hide our true opinions and feelings? Afraid that the truth will reverberate back at us and hurt us, that it may serve as a catalyst to ruin an existing or developing friendship, we tend to twist the virtue of silence to match our cowardice. I am not well-trained in suppressing my feelings especially in my relationships. I must say it’s one of the areas in my life that really needs “technical support.” However, observing how a few people who happen to be close to me finds favor and peace in saying the truth, herein I realized that what most of us lack in telling the truth is the gentleness, understanding, and timing that go with it.
1. A friend’s receptiveness for criticisms
Jonah told me about her friend whom she really cares for. They have been working together for almost a year now. She’s been meaning to tell her friend how her worrying and panicking at work has contributed to her stress and a relatively important shift in her character. Her friend has become very irritable, blaming others when things don’t go the way she wants it too, and constantly complaining about problems which solutions are way out of her hands. She'[d kept mum about it, fearing that her friend might find her concern offensive. She instead prayed for it; asked God to interfere. Then came a time when the two of them were alone sharing their dreams and concerns about their future. Jonah felt that it was the right time to tell her. She knew in her heart that her friend’s interest weighs more than anything else at that time. She was careful and gentle. Her friend, she added, listened carefully too.
2. A colleague’s steadfast resolve for revisions
The Filipino Channel is changing its over-all look. From its juicy new year look (its 2012 broadcast design reminds me of refreshing soda ads) to summer fiesta look, we are all up for the daily and nightly grind. When pressure is up, bosses are scourging for perfection, this is broadcasting after all, people tend to harry each other to save their own asses. And if you are not the boss, the master of the house, you should seriously fasten your battle gears once you resume the post of a messenger and ask a handsome, nevertheless, tired and grumpy, graphic artist for some revisions. But isn’t it great when the horrible tales of graphic artists-turned-huntsman aren’t true at all? I appreciate people who are able to pull off a gracious countenance to accommodate changes in plans, designs, especially, deadlines; more so, people who act upon these changes cheerfully.
3. A comment for literature’s sake
The initial step in creating a blog is to make it an extension of ourselves. We blog because we are now in the position and power to be gatekeepers; we now enjoy that privilege of being able to decide which subject to feature, which stuff to talk about, etc. We blog so we can share information. Of course, we do want to increase visitors on our site, increase traffic and the number of people commenting and noticing what for others could be so insubstantial and dull. Where for some, commenting on other blogs seem like an effective way to link them back on their site, I think it is important that we, bloggers, keep that integrity and genuine interest in giving out comments. Truth first then marketing, next. And I suppose, we can keep our blogosphere untarnished by simply keeping up with the truth through smallest act of, say, posting a comment.
20 SECONDS OF GENTLENESS (Mar 13, 2012)
We are all familiar with the word “kindness”. It has always been a part of our expectations for people around us to never miss a second of giving or sharing a portion of their richness. But we aren’t really taking up an expectant’s place just to wait for people to give us money or gifts. Sometimes, all we are waiting for is for people to smile at us, render us some tenderness in the way they talk and deal with us. With their gentle manners, say, in the simple way they excuse themselves out of the elevator, we can feel the lightness of being kind to strangers almost without effort at all. A gentle answer, a friendly smile, or a light pat on the shoulder. Kindness isn’t just about money.
1. Not your ordinary grumpy driver
“It was the same old story: rush hour. traffic in EDSA. and an ill-tempered cab driver. The latter would even give a chill on your spine, taking into account that in his driving, his bad mood was actually in charge:” I thought so as I waited for a cab.
My then duel with rude taxi drivers had taken the toll on me. But this one was different. He was talkative. I was tired. I tried to make light of his attempts to make conversations. I was a hairbreadth away from snapping at him. But by grace, I appreciated what an amiable driver this man is. When he was asking for confirmation on which road to take, he even called me “anak” (child). He was respectful and gentle in his speech.
2. The moody guy
He has the machine, the editor, the brains, the perseverance to get all the work done, but sometimes his mood swings are just really getting on my nerves. He doesn’t have a lot of friends in the office. Most of the time, I would hear people crack jokes about him and that would likely prod my confidence in hating him more – a sort of validation to my irritability.
Come Thursday night, when all I did was fight Murphy’s Law, and when all that was left for me to do was ask his approval to use his editing machine (mind you, the idea that I would have to again endure his grumbling and temperament made me think of resigning), but to my surprise, he replied with a smile; there was that gentleness in the way he answered though I can see in his eyes how tired he felt that night too. He let me use his computer and that also made me realize that I do not intend to become “a walking counter of mistakes,” after all mood swings don’t just swing on one side — right?
ON THE HEDGE with DESIRE (Feb 27, 2012)
Do you know that He’s always ahead of our needs?
Who? God. I believe that no one in this world knows my heart’s deepest desires but Him. And seeing the greatness of a Provider is not easy especially when I am on my ultimate ‘acquisition’ mode: I just really really really have to get what I want at the time that I want! But character can’t be honed that way. So I figured that I’ve got so much to learn and re-learn. And what better way to learn patience and how to surrender all my worries but through the littlest desires of my heart.
At times, I can really be a stickler for details especially when it comes to pocket notebooks. I couldn’t leave home without them – yes, plural! The notebook I was looking for has to be light but thick enough for my daily dose of personal hullaballoo. I want it slim so I really don’t consider buying the ubiquitous spring type notebooks. I’ve visited quite a number of bookstores and I could find the ‘it’ notebook where I can put all my ideas and reflections other than this almost-perfect-one with the word “yeah” printed on each leaf.
But, you see, waiting and being patient will always be rewarded in the end. My sister whom I haven’t seen for a long time had the weekend off. I went to see her; after dinner, we went to her dormitory and as she was putting her stuff in place, she saw a plastic a bag (it must have been stuck there for months!) and inside were two notebooks. Trumpets!!! She gave it to me — of course, for free!
There will always be that time where one has to work on lunch breaks — as for me, that moment came and too bad, that I was really famished! I couldn’t leave my workstation even for hunger’s sake. Then came a good samaritan who gave me half of her food. That did put an end to my conquest in search of a good reason why I’m surrounded by good people– they are created so they can share their delicious tuna sandwich with me!
3. External Hard Drive
It was not a good day for machinal pranks! My temperament was put to a difficult EQ test when our office hard drive, where all the video materials to be used for editing were saved, won’t work on any of the Mac computers in our editing bay. I think by now that hard drive has its technical, antique value given its dilapidated case and unpredictable mood swings.
Gracefully, calmly, I first delighted on the possibility that I have to work again from scratch in the event the hard drive won’t mount on the other editing facility across our usual work station. I thought — acceptance in case things don’t go my way, grace to deal with it without spurting a contagious amount of irritability.
Ending: the hard drive worked on newer models of Mac. I was able to transfer all the video materials into a safer location! Whew! It’s a save!!
Before, as I stepped on my ‘work zone’ and started checking my list of responsibilities, unwittingly, I was compelled to finish everything on one sitting. Instead of dividing my workload into smaller manageable tasks, I tend to abuse time and my body too. Rest and working 8 hours a day are a big no-no.
Until God changed my priorities.
I am grateful that I’m given the rare opportunity to finish my work load within 8 hours. I am grateful that I don’t have to work overtime on a regular basis; worse, on weekends — not just because I’m not getting paid for it, but it has also given me time to bond with my family. I also get to have my quiet time with God, reflect, read books, blog, and have weekly night outs with my sister and friends.
“For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great.” – Jose Ortega y Gaset
A LITTLE BIT OF SHIRKING WOULD DO 😀 (FEB 17 2012)
Stealing a few minutes from the daily demands of just plain existing and surviving a methodical grind of labor, I could say that my saturnine days are over. There’s no better way to start a day than to greet the morning with a prayer. All geared up for work, it wouldn’t hurt to smile at my neighbor’s household helper and be more than observant to the little ways of strangers in the train and the waning, valued cultures and traditions I am happy to have glanced at and pondered upon as this day progresses.
1. A woman standing and reading a Filipino book amid the aggressive professionals and students that thronged the train
A month ago I went to an interview and the interviewer who happens to be an American asked me about the things I do in my free time. I said that I like to read and blog. Blandly, he commented that he finds it interesting how some Filipinos still take time to read books. He added that in the span of his stay in the Philippines, he have come to learn that reading doesn’t really make into the top of the list of hobbies of most his Filipino friends. Who could really say? I am hoping for more and more Filipinos to indulge in reading books or online articles.
2. A stranger doing just about everything to ask an old lady standing a few meters away from him to take his seat. The little windows of opportunity for knighthood are everywhere, gentlemen!
3. That victorious feeling over the tip-of-the-tongue annoying phenomenon
In my case, I was able to remember the details of my dream 😉
4. I’ve learned an interesting and gory word this morning: suttee. Suttee is “the former Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.” The things one does for love — that with a question mark.
5. I suddenly remembered the Chinese Math teacher who gave me a card in hopes of pacifying my rowdiness in class
Printed in the card was this verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As a child wanting to please a group of cool –cool, now being the subject of my sarcasm– high school bullies, I dismissed the gesture and the verse as some corny, unconventional educational trick! Years have gone by, whereas I struggled to silent myself from talking about what got me to give more importance to character than fame or superficial fanciness, what inspired me to take my studies seriously while I was still in college, what has gotten to me that I aspire to become better, this verse in a very mysterious way initialized that spiritual inspiration that has been the invisible force wheeling my life.
How can I not be grateful enough for having Math as a subject. 🙂
The ‘AWESOME’ Little Things (Feb 16 2012)
A colleague shared with me this article just when my other ‘manic’ blogsite — before, my blogsite was named itsaManic Addendum — was then going through some major and tough tweaking. Nah, I was thinking of quitting blogging. Then, I read this article and it inspired me to continue what I have already started.
Mr Neil Pasricha started blogging about the little awesome things in his daily grind and it has transformed (or perhaps even inspired many) to see beyond incidents, coincidences, problems, blessings no matter how irrelevant they may all seem to be as a great source of optimism. Let me share with you his blogsite http://1000awesomethings.com/ and this article written by Mr Bong Osorio, ABS-CBN Vice President for Corporate Communications:
HAPPINESS MEETS CHRISTMAS 😀 (Dec 25 2011)
I used to think that it is not only the spirit of Christmas that’s been doing its rounds all over the world, but also the menacing Christmas jinx so relentless in putting order to our vast black hole of sorrow and misery. I’ve just realized what a big pile of crap all these thoughts are. Whichever kind of ‘spirit’ we want to welcome in our door is still a matter of choice.
There are so many things that make Christmas merry. The least, the less, the unfortunate, of course, will thrive just behind our hopeful and optimistic attitude, but then again, gratitude for the small blessings in spite of scarcity and the scant resources in our avail must always prevail. Let us choose to be happy and let us start by appreciating the little things set just about everywhere (in the smallest little spaces) of our busy life.
The little things I’m thankful for as my family and I welcome Christmas:
1. The gift of music (corny, novelty music)
I make sure that my playlists are well-thought of, but come the merriment in celebrating any kind of occasions, corny, novelty songs are great expositions for jokes and laughter. The jeers that come along with it while being played in the karaoke would rouse a crank of boisterous laughter and rowdy exhibitions (poise and affectations forcibly drawn to moderation or zero at the most).
2. The stubborn 4-year-old cousins
Yes, they add up to the merry noise in our household. They are adorable creatures. Once they’ve soften up – their childish walls put down – a kiss and hug from them are the sweetest gesture ever to be made in holidays such as this.
3. The household helper
Being with my family this Christmas, our household helper does her job as gracefully and as effectively as she can. I appreciate the sacrifices she’s made for her family just so she can provide for them (done so by serving us the best way she can). Dinner is served and yes, with all the love and effort from our household helper. Her presence is part of the recipe that should spice up our noche buena.
4. Daddy won’t be going early to bed.
My dad usually sleeps at 9PM. He rises early in the morning (business matters). But tonight, he’s going to party with us, perhaps until 12 AM; by then, he’d ask us to turn the volume down but ignoring him would then be a top priority.
5. New acquaintances and their idiosyncrasies
Gone are the days when conversations spiral on mundane topics. I find it rather amazing that there are people who can endure long hours of unearthly conversations about life, arts, and err death. Their strangeness are actually the most genuine thing about them. It’s like they’re letting you peek through their sensibilities and experiences.
6. Mommy getting up from bed to prepare meals
I live alone and I mostly get my meals from carinderias or fast food chains. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing my mommy go gaga just to give us the best Christmas breakfast!
LOVING A BAD DAY ;D (Nov 2011)
We all have our bad days, but we shouldn’t let it paralyze us into forgetting that we have to celebrate life everyday. Even the littlest thing can drive a sulky mood into yet another ‘joy’ zone. The remedy for a moping-around-stressful-manic-day is to count and appreciate the unnoticeable little things that make us smile. Here’s my list:
1. Mommy bought an 8-inch round chocolate cake to congratulate me for being able to save and buy a small refrigerator for my apartment (if you’d know how much I’m earning every month, you would think that it’s impossible for me to buy even the cheapest appliance there is).
2. My aunt’s household helper smiled at me (she’s always cranky and grumpy).
3. I was able to go home early. I had time to visit my sister and we had a fun dinner at McDonald’s near her university.
4. My friend, Paz-Amor, shared a story about one of the managers in our office, who believes that success would come to those who fervently desire it; that with hard work, patience, imagination, and prayer, we can all achieve our dreams. It was a pretty inspiring talk as we trudged toward the production warehouse.
5. A friend of mine has finally considered to quit smoking and drinking. Though her thoughts of quitting are just on its elementary stage, that still earned her a light tap on the shoulders.