Wednesday, February 27, 2008


From, I got the short paragraph about the "Life and Times of Hercules".

Stories about the gods, called myths, were made up thousands of years ago. Was there a real Hercules, a man behind the stories? We will never know. Yet, his story is of a man who was so strong and courageous, whose deeds were so mighty, and who so endured all the hardships that were given to him, that when he died, Hercules was brought up to Mount Olympus to live with the gods.

Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero.

= = =

Do these words describe our Hercules?

He is worthy of his name for he is so strong that he dragged my mom once and she sprained her shoulder. He is courageous that he barks at anything and everything as well as run after every cat and dog on the streets. Are his deeds mighty? He never got the chance to prove it but he often warns us about gates that were opened or calls our attention to the arrival of strangers in front of our house. He hasn't endured any hardship except maybe when no one was available to walk him, or to bring him outside to do the calls of nature. And maybe the time that he spent two nights far from our home and he barked and barked, rather he cried and cried. He had to be returned back to us and was depressed for the next two weeks.

No, he hasn't died. He is very much alive. Unfortunately, he no longer lives with the gods, that is, if by gods here we mean his masters. Circumstances in our lives have forced us to make a decision. It was also for his own good and that was our primary concern. For weeks, we prayed hard and looked for kind-hearted people who would be willing to adopt him. There were options but we desired what was best for him. And finally, two days ago, his new masters came to bring him to his next home. We fought hard not to shed tears but to no avail. They flowed. Especially those from my mother and brother.

He is famous in our neighborhood. He knows how to open our door and gate. He says hello to kids. He is so friendly that when asked he will offer his paws in a handshake.

And most of all, he is beloved. He has been a part of our family for the last six years. He lived within the house, ate nutritious food carefully prepared for him, got injections against any pests that may harm him, played with our little nieces, took anti-pest baths, became the center of arguments, got hand-fed when he had no appetite, became the best friend of our youngest cat, was hugged when we were sad and broken-hearted, got kissed just because he cheered us, and was just part of the family. We all wish he could live and die with us but life is full of changes.

God, please take care of our Hercules. Let him be loved the way we loved him. And let him love his new masters for they too deserve to be loved.

= = =

Proverbs 12:10 10 The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. (NLT)

Flowers to show for it

I and three other girls were pleasantly surprised to receive flowers as a token of appreciation for what we have done in organizing a seminar. It was really a sweet gesture. The company representative didn't need to do this but I guess they realized that we did our best to make this event a success.

I subscribe to God the miracle of reaching our target participants. Two weeks ago, we had less than 50% of the target. Those people we expected to register disappeared one by one. And so we had to look for other possible sectors that could benefit from this useful technology being offered. Fax and email messages were sent here and there. Though it is an exaggeration, it felt like we made a million phone calls! I had to send numerous reminders about early registration, discount for two or more participants, and the imminent arrival of the day of the seminar. No wonder the volume of my mailbox doubled and thus, our IT guy had to tell me to start cleaning up my files!

And all I could do was pray for God to make a miracle. He was my only hope.

Then last week, there was a surge of new interests. From unlikely companies and government agencies.

Our concern now was to get in as many registration fees as possible. There is always that possibility for a registered participant not to come at the last minute. They do not consider that we prepare kits, cds, and, the most expensive, food and beverages for the whole day. The latter requires reservation that cannot be cancelled and must be paid. But many of those who registered late informed us that they will just pay on the day of the seminar.

Again, all I could do was hope and pray. I was right, though. There were some who did not come. But I think there won't be any losses for us.

There were times that I felt like this project would fail. But my merciful God blessed this event. We even got beautiful flowers to show for it!

Thank you so much, my loving God!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back to the past for the future

I almost didn't make it. I was hesitant about joining. I was not sure if I would love to return to that chapter of my life. But I knew it was time to go back. To remember the past and in many ways, to move on to the future.

= = =

Many years ago, on the advent of my sojourn out there, a deep hurt was planted. I was put on a balance and was found wanting. The custom had been there since the beginning and maybe they could not help it. Their basis though should not have been superficial, but I don't think they ever considered the repercussions of their actions. I know that the pain never went away. I think I have never forgiven them.

In retrospect, maybe they did me a favor. The damage might have been greater. Thus, in fact, they helped save me. But I didn't see it that way before. I had to go back in order for me to grasp a different perspective. I may now start saying goodbye. And pardon.

= = =

From the unlikely person, I got a few lessons. Three, to be exact. On my reticence, I was told jokingly that we are too old to be shy. And I had to admit, in fact, there is no reason to be. Regarding the most unloved teacher, he had none. In fact, the person I had the unpleasant recollections of was the best one he had. Just goes to show that our experiences do not make up the complete reality. There is always another side to the coin. Regarding my skills, or the lack thereof, he remembered that I once gained an accolade. I needed to be reminded. It existed once. I know I can find it again. Or maybe, it was just meant to disappear. It was God's way to direct me to another path. Otherwise, I would have gotten lost.

= = =

Seeing how little they were, the new generation, I wonder, were we really like that as well? We were so small yet we acted like we were so mature. We took life seriously. We had the world on our own shoulders. Painfully, I realized also that there were no models available from whom we could learn about masculinity or femininity and thus, I see the heartbreaking results today.

Given the choice now, would I go through the same experience? I have to reflect hard. I recognize the knowledge I gained. There were many things nowhere else I could have learned. Many areas were stretched to be creative. Many encounters worth keeping and reliving. But maybe, I need not answer the question. It happened already. I have to see the good things which came from it. I must be thankful. For I am what I am today, in part, because I settled there for awhile.

= = =

With the melange of good and bad experiences, the pain and the joy, the happy memories and the anguished tears, I have to recognize : I was blessed to be there. There is no arguing about it. I am blessed.

Also, it only dawned on me now that I owe my country a little more than the usual Juan and Maria. Thus, someday, in one way or another, I hope to give her something in return.

Friday, February 22, 2008

God and coffee

I have been listening to the podcasts of Mark Batterson in It is in fact a coffee-house where they hold church services.

In his second preaching, Mark mentioned that Jesus is in fact the living coffee. Wonderful for our souls to be caffeinated. Way cool.

It was part of the three-series preaching entitled "So far, so God". It was a reminder to be always thankful to God for bringing us to where we are now.

Just sharing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My choice

My initial reaction was to burst in anger. How could she? Why put negative meaning to my words? They just mean what they mean! There was no underlying significance, no hidden agenda.

For five minutes I felt like letting my temper get ahead of me. To let my fury get loose (figuratively). But I settled on my chair and looked far into the distance. And thoughts flittered in my mind.

It finally dawned on me that she has always been like this. Seeing too much into anything and everything. Negatively. For so long I listened patiently, trying to understand, making an effort to show her the positive side of life. But I had to stop and distance myself. Otherwise, she would pull me down the abyss. And I don't want to go there. Ever.

So instead of allowing anger to flourish, I decided to gain knowledge from the situation. I, too, have been guilty of the same inclination. I also have the tendency to search too much behind the words and I get hurt or angry. But I have learned not to be like this. Though, of course, this propensity peeks once in a while. And today, I got reminded not to be like that.

I choose to learn from the experience. I cannot do anything about anyone's actions, thoughts or words. But of my own, I have the choice.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


It's part of the Christian life. The roller coaster ride of faith. The doubts that assail us. The questions that riddle our minds. To wonder when trials would end.

I am no exception. I go through the same ride.

I mentioned it to a friend tonight. Many fear death but in fact it is easier to die, especially if you know where you are going. Wonderful to be in heaven.

Life is harder. Especially if uncertainties assault your mind. But I remember what Paul said : to live is Christ and to die is gain. A good reminder. God has a purpose for my life.

Sometimes, I dare to ask, why. Especially when I read Solomon's words that everything is meaningless. But he himself said in the end: God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Trials make us persevere and develop our faith in Him. That I admit. That I know.

But still, I need to be reminded. I am special in my God's eyes. He died for me. I am loved. Thank God for magic tricks that allow us to remember this truth.(

Thank God for friends who assure me that nothing done for Him is in vain.

Thank God for a wonderful news that a love one is now finally a part of the King's family.

Little things. Big things. I need to know. I need to be reminded.

I need to remember.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Omniun-Gatherum (Random Thoughts 5)

There are wishes we dare not mention to anyone, not being sure that we truly want them. And so we utter them to the One who knows best. I have one such wish. No one knows it. I dare not even explicitly mention it in my prayers. I am not certain of what the outcome would be.

God seems to be granting the wish. But in a way I did not see. God really works mysteriously.

= = =

My voice is gone. Let me correct myself. I do have a voice but it sounds more like a croak. Unfortunately, it was not the result of a night-long singing at a karaoke bar, nor was it because of too much sweets or ice cream. Nope, it was because of the cigarette smoke which wafted inside our apartment-house. Our barangay just implemented a no-drinking rule outside your own houses. And thus, our neighbor, together with his friends, decided to drink for two succeeding nights on the little porch that our two houses share. And of course, for many, drinking is accompanied by smoking. Fine by me. Not my lungs, not my life. But not when the dreaded smoke goes into our house. Not when I am, in fact, allergic to cigarette smoke. Not when I had to shell out a thousand pesos for antibiotics and a special kind of lozenges.

I am planning to speak to him. I do pray that he will take it kindly. I don't want to have enemies. I just want to breathe normally. I just want my voice back.

= = =

I am thankful that I have the choice to change. Otherwise, what a sad, sad life it would be! Change opinions. Change perspectives. Change personalities. Change friends (yes, it is possible!). Change life. But always, always, always for the better.

= = =

With all the problems besetting our country today, I can't help but wonder when all this would end. I have come to love my country more and more as I grew older and I truly desire to see it out of the grasp of corruption, mediocrity, self-interest, in a word, sin.

I joke around sometimes that, in fact, we are slowly taking over the world by sending to all four-corners of the earth our OFWs. But I have seen families ravaged because of separation, kids who are lost without the guidance of parents, of lives becoming second-class because of financial needs. You get to wonder, how we reached this situation? When will all these end?

Against all hope, I dare to hope that one day, there will rise a leader who will spearhead change because he/she himself has been changed.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Goals for a lifetime

I am not Chinese but I claim this date as mine to celebrate. I was supposed to finish my goals last month but as usual, busy lives hinder us to do the things we want to do. But I want to finish this. I wrote something like this so many years ago but I lost it. I tried to recover that list but I can't find it among my stuff. : -)

In a previous blog, I mentioned that three among the five things in my miracle list were granted. And then I read Mark Batterson's blog ( about setting goals for our lives. I won't repeat what he said but suffice to say, I was inspired to make my own. What's there to lose? This will be my faith list. If God grants half of the things in my list, I would be so happy! But my God is a generous father and thus, I am assured that He can make all of these things happen. As He wills.

I divided them into 3 subcategories : family, experience (includes learning and traveling) and influence goals. Some appear to be very simple while others seem so impossible. They range from learning how to put on make-up to teaching a class, from a cruise for my parents to sending students to school, from having a helicopter ride to having a year-long vacation, from a Batanes tour to entering the pyramids of Egypt, from dancing under the rain to owning my company.

By the way, I am not limiting myself to these things. The list can change each year.

I am too private to tell all of them here but for sure, every time God blesses me with an answer, I will celebrate it by writing it here. For what else can I do but declare His goodness?

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Just a treat

Hmmm... I am not supposed to be blogging. I am supposed to be translating. But hey, am happy. Just finished the first chapter! Yey!

And to treat myself, I have to post something. Even just to talk about nothing. For tomorrow, I will start with the second chapter. Hay, my eyes are tired.

= = =

The songs of Girl Valencia have been my constant companion for the past few months. Her cool music is just right for someone like me who needs concentration yet requires a constant sound to accompany me in my travails every night. The melody and the words are not cloying. I can play them over and over and over and over and over again. Enough. :- ) I think my fave among her songs are "Sisters" and "Driftwood." Get hold of her CD! It's really wonderful!

= = =

Carla sent me a voice recording of Pablo Neruda's poem. Beauuuutifuuuuul. It reminded of the TV series Beauty and the Beast? I don't recall too many from my childhood days but I don't think I'll ever forget the hauntingly touching theme song "The First Time I Loved Forever." Posting it here, including the poems in-between. Again, beauuuutifuuuuuul.

The First Time I Loved Forever

Lyrics by Melanie Safka
Music by Lee Holdridge
Sung byLisa Angelle
(From "Beauty and the Beast")
With excerpts from the poem “Somewhere I Have Never Traveled, Gladly” by the American poet E.E. Cummings

“Somewhere I have never traveled
Gladly beyond any experience
Your eyes have their silence
And your most frail gesture of things
Which enclose me
But which I cannot touch
Because they are too near.”

The first time I loved forever
Was when you whispered my name
And I knew at once you loved me
For the me of who I am

The first time I loved forever
I cast all else aside
And I bid my heart to follow
Be there no more need to hide

And if wishes and dreams
Are merely for children
And if love's a tale for fools
I'll live the dream with you

“oh, if your words be to close me
I, my life will shut, very beautifully
Suddenly, as when the heart of this flower
Imagines the snow carefully, everywhere

For all my life and forever
There's a truth I will always know
When my world divides and shatters
Your love is where I'll go

“I do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens. Only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.
Nobody, not even the rain has such small hands.”

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 (