Thursday, March 08, 2012

Learning dependence

Oftentimes, it is hard to learn to be dependent on someone else. Especially if you have spent most of your adult life being independent. Many things that you have taken for granted now become precious.


These days, I miss most the times when I can just easily go out of the house and go anywhere I wanted to. Meet friends, buy grocery, see a movie, go to the bank, or even just to chill out inside the mall. I could still do these things here but because I couldn't drive yet on my own, I have become very dependent on people around me like my husband, my mother-in-law, friends from Bible studies, or friends of those friends who are kindhearted enough to be a blessing to a previously unknown person. It is even more challenging to worry that you are becoming a burden or a bother to them. Back in Manila, I was used to doing things for other people.


I was reminded today that sometimes we find it hard to receive than to give. I guess we took to heart the saying about giving is better than receiving. At the end of the day, though, I should just consider it as another manifestation of God's goodness for, in fact, everything comes from God.


It is a lesson on humility. I am learning to accept the goodness of people here. Thank God that there are still people like that. And hopefully, someday soon, I too will be able to pass forward the goodness that I received and give it to those who are in need.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


It is a little late for posting but here is the turkey we had for Thanksgiving. It weighed around 22 pounds! That is almost 10 kilos! Just imagine how heavy it was! Happily, 9 people shared in eating half of it and the rest were eaten by us for the next 3 days!

I heard so much about how people eat too much on Thanksgiving. Maybe it was just our group but I think we showed some moderation and just ate a little more than usual.

What I enjoyed most this day was the time each one spoke about what they are thankful for. Thanks to the idea brought up by a little sweet boy! For this year, I am so thankful for my husband and his loving family and friends. And of course, so much grateful to God for all His blessings!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have been practicing how to drive the past few months. It's fun and frightening at the same time. I remember the first time when my husband brought me to a university parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. There were no cars so it was safe (for others!) while I tried to figure out once again the lessons I learned from the driving school. I made left turns, right turns, while making sure I did the correct turn signal. The next time, we went to the empty Miller Park (before the baseball game began!). I was able to practice driving at 25 miles/hour. For a newbie like me, that was terrifying! I could feel the motor revving up and it made me feel shaky.


Then, we started driving on the road. And practiced doing the Y-turn, the parallel parking, backing up, and of course, the normal parking.


These days, 25 miles/hr is normal for me. When I an supposed to  do 50 mi/hr then I get shaky. Twice, I was allowed to drive for a mile on the freeway which required 65 mi/hr. That distance was sufficient for me!


I am still learning how to correctly change lanes. This one is never easy because you have to consider other drivers' speed, direction and distance from you. You also cannot slow down because the car coming behind might hit you.


Driving is one of those things I wanted to learn as part of my bucket list. This time, though, I really have to know how to do it. There is no way for me to go around on my own unless I drive myself. Amazing how things turn out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Omnium-Gatherum (various 2011-01)

So here it is, one of my meanderings. I want to write something each day, especially the first time experiences but somehow I can’t put them into pretty words. But who said that they should be pretty?

It is 16° C and I am very happy. It was 7° C yesterday and I was a bit chilly. Even with a heater, there are certain moments that I was really cold because I had to wait for it to automatically turn on when it senses that the temperature inside is going down. So there I was, with 4 layers of clothes, socks and a pair of soft, warm fluffy slippers cum shoes.

I think that if I were not basically an introvert person, I would be really lonely here. As it is, I can find things to entertain myself. Like what I wrote before, learning how to cook and bake. I can easily borrow books and movies from the library but then, I have come to dread the 20-minute walk. Not because of the distance but because of the weather. Anyway, there are still some interesting shows on the television. I only wish that there are not too many live jury and reality shows. I can’t bear those. Why would anyone want their private lives to be known publicly?

We went shoe hunting last Friday. Just getting prepared for the cold winter. I am amazed though how sales are being done here. The products are already on sale but you get an extra 30% off. After all the discounts, a pair of shoes would cost $20 instead of the original $60. And so I wonder how companies are earning. Hmmm… but since products are mostly from China, the original price could very well be $5. And there goes the profit. Just thinking…

I was raking leaves a few days ago. I never thought I would do that one day. But there I was, making 5 piles of dry leaves. There is some satisfaction from doing some hard labor (hard? Hahaha).

A friend brought me to the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes). Three domes, each with a specific theme : a tropical jungle, a desert oasis and floral gardens. It was lovely to see familiar plants from Manila. I loved best the floral gardens. Here are some pictures:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another journey

A little more than three months have passed and yet, a lot has changed when I embarked on the 2nd most important adventure of my life (the first was when I gave my life to Christ). I now have to think in miles and Fahrenheit. I check the hourly changes in temperature each day. I wear more layers of clothes compared to some people around me because I am not yet used to the cold. I sometimes forget to get the change from the coin dispenser because I didn’t know that such a thing existed before. I am learning how to bake and cook healthy meals as I wait for the washer and dryer to make a sound to signal that it is time to get the clothes. I now bear a different surname and speak a language that is not completely my own. And, of course, I hold the hand of my wonderful husband every time we pray together.

The steps that led me to this path were not easy. Doubts and fears assailed me as I constantly conversed with God. Back then, the idea of leaving everything that I had known all my life was somehow unthinkable. Thinking about what challenges I would need to face was sometimes too frightening that I had to stop and just ask God again and again if I was hearing Him right.

We do know that people have taken their bags and left what they call home to pursue dreams and follow their hearts. I did the second.

I am still amazed sometimes that I am here, living with my husband, being loved and loving in return. In the beginning, I often asked him if I was really here and that I was not dreaming. These days though, we are finding it hard to imagine what it was like when we were not together.

And for all these, I have God to thank for. I know that it is a miracle how He orchestrated everything and He let everything fall into place.

As I continue this adventure I have taken, I hope to put into words the things I am discovering and learning. Like seeing fall colors for the first time. Or relearning how to bike. Or just savoring the joy of cooking.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Little things matter

Whenever I am asked what my purpose is here on earth or what I want to do, I have a standard reply: to make a difference in people’s lives (aside from loving God). In any way possible. Often though, I wonder if I am able to do that. Compared to what so many famous and rich people are doing, what I am able to do seems paltry. Think about the amount of money Bill Gates and Warren Buffet donate to charity. How about when Oprah gave away houses, cars, and scholarships? Or when an organization feeds hundreds of hungry people or sends poor kids to school?

I know though that little things matter. Even by just forwarding a website. Or giving a book.

I was reminded by this when a friend told me how the book (Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson) I wrote about in this blog helped invigorate God’s vision for her life. She shared the content in her mission trip to Indonesia. One of the attendees heard it and felt it was a confirmation of a call from God. He joined a mercy ship.

A book (The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson) I gave to this same friend fell into the hands of her brother. His dreams were reawakened. He decided to shift his career direction and is now going through training to pursue his dreams in computer art.

In our quest for healthy activities, a friend and I attended a yoga class. I felt it wasn’t right so I researched for a Christian alternative. I forwarded the website ( to my friend and her interest was piqued. She bought videos and books. To make the long story short, she is now the first certified Praisemoves instructor here in the Philippines.

I emphasize that what I did was very simple. God anointed the authors of the books and the creator of the new exercise. My friends and those connected to them were already seeking God’s direction and were ready to listen. I know that God could and would have still used various means to speak to them. I am just glad that I somehow played a very small role.  Just goes to show that everything we do for God has meaning. Even just by passing information.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just a piece in the Story

This month will go down in history for the devastating quake and tsunami in Japan as well as the political upheavals in the Middle East. These events were and are subject of many news reports and conversations. We read about miraculous survivals from the deluge of seawater, the sacrificial work of employees as they try to fix the nuclear plants, and about the fortitude and calm reaction of the Japanese people. In another part of the world, we hear about the devastating effects of the push-pull movements between government and rebel groups as each try to gain and extend their control on territories. We still do not know what would be the end result of such big stories that would someday be turned into novels and even movies.


All these makes me wonder sometimes what is the place of my tiny, little story in a world that seems to be going through the birth pains of what many say is the beginning of its ending. Concerns about my shoulder spasm, career direction and personal status may seem like irrelevant compared to a nation who lost so much including the life of thousands of people, or to battles for ideologies related to democracy and individual rights.


Yet, I know that God is concerned about my personal story. How?


From Bible stories. Jesus took time to talk to a Samaritan woman, who wrongfully lived with five men, so that she would receive the Living water. He called on to Zacchaeus and visited his house so that this tax collector could repent and give back what he took. Jesus personally spoke to Saul for him to change from the wrong path to the True Way to follow God.


From stories of people I know. Friends who were finally healed from common and dreaded diseases. Women whose wombs were opened. Stories about hearts and lives who were transformed because of the saving grace of Christ. And most especially, the life testimonies of those who remained faithful even though they cannot see or have not received yet the promises given to them.


From the storytelling of nature and animal kingdom.  Each time the sun gloriously shows its color while it sets. Through the wonders of color and movement of creatures under the sea. When I see the ever changing shapes and arrangement of clouds in the sky. Whenever a cat purrs and stretches out its furry and flexible body. When I hear the melodious chirping of birds.


I know that there is one great story unfolding. It is the story of God and His love for humanity. But like any completed puzzle, each piece is still important to the Maker. Thus, I know that my little story matter to Christ. I should not hesitate to come to Him with my requests because I know He is listening and He cares. What I need to do is to wait, have faith, and most importantly, live out my story. Because He is weaving it. A story of love, forgiveness, grace and victory. 

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (