Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Speaking to me

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 37:7 (NIV) Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)  16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So 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.


Today marks that half of 2009 is over. And if you’ve set deadlines for this year, you’d realize that you only have another six months to accomplish them all.


Deadlines. They are part of our lives. We hate them yet we live by them. Some people (like me!) may wait the last few moments before finishing what we need to do. This is because some of us can thrive when we are feeling the pressure of an approaching date. These deadlines could be personal or professional in nature. For something life-changing as changing jobs to something simple as choosing where to eat for dinner.


In my weirdness, I can sometimes put deadlines on my feelings, like  when to stop grieving and healing. Yeah, I know that emotions cannot be controlled so I know I cannot be rigid on the dates. What I do is to just extend the deadline if I feel it is necessary. I just like putting deadlines so that I have a goal to achieve. It becomes easier to see the end of the tunnel. To tell my mind and heart that there is an ending.


It works.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Just my take...

The first time I saw the trailer of the Taking of Pelham 123, my first question was why Denzel Washington didn’t sport his usual trim appearance. My next thought was that it would be a formulaic Hollywood movie: hostages taken, a ransom demanded, threats given in case the requirements were not respected, the delivery delayed, some casualties in the process, the money would arrived, the criminals would escape but then would get caught or killed in the end. 

The movie was indeed faithful to the pattern. The weight gain of Denzel even becomes clear when I realized that he was a playing the role of a middle-aged, regular guy who is working hard to pay his mortgage and give his kids a good education. Thus, it would have been so easy to just shelve the movie into oblivion and just wait for the next one that could provide another momentary diversion. Unless I let myself look beyond the superficial and see what I can learn from it.

The movie is a political satire. It was bitterly funny to see how the movie poked fun at politicians, politics and public affairs. The mayor who did not know the reason behind the ransom amount of $10M (cash limit that can be availed of within the day by the city comptroller). The policemen in their vehicles (a car and motorcycles) which figured in accidents on their way to deliver the ransom money whereas a helicopter could have been more practical (as later thought of by the mayor). The preoccupation over his appearance instead of in pacifying the people through a 30-second public statement. The journalists who were more interested in the mayor’s marital affairs than the current crisis (hostage situation and falling stock market). When the mayor easily chose to appease the passengers of the metro he was in instead of taking stock of the urgency of the hostage situation whereby he would have chosen to make the train an express one (popular opinion versus political will). Then, there’s the incompetence of the mayor’s adviser/s when they did not think of using the chopper to deliver the money and in telling Garber to lie to Ryder to get out of a difficult situation (better to lie to get what you want). The negotiator, up on a chopper, mentioned that the view reminds him of what he is fighting for. Do the others know what they are fighting for? Even with the superior of Garber who enjoyed putting people down but proved himself incompetent when he assumed the duties/responsibilities of Garber.  Even in the rare moment when the mayor slipped and admitted to not being a Yankee fan (unimaginable in his position!).

Ryder’s role is very crucial here because he personifies scorn. Even in how he played his cards well by scamming the city into feeling fear and thereby, making the stocks plunge and the value of gold to go up. He ridiculed anything and everything. He exposed human frailties and beliefs and discredited them. He made fun of the mayor who gets a dollar for his monthly yet wears a costly coat. He focused on the alleged mistreatment of Garber by his employers. He taunted the mayor (and what it represented) when he offered the deal of exchanging the 17 hostages.  Religion and life were not left unscathed with his remarks about the purpose of people’s lives and the simplicity of just following his orders. Or in considering the passengers as commodities with a price.

The first few minutes of the movie swiftly showed the seemingly random, almost blurred pictures of people on the platform of the subway. Their lives, miserable or happy, appeared to be detached from one another. In an instant, it was revealed how easily each existence could be or is linked to the other. The student minding his own business while talking to his girlfriend online. The technology he was using becomes the window for the authorities to see who they were dealing with. Garber is only considered as a demoted train dispatcher but his presence has become necessary in keeping the passengers alive. As Ryder shifted from one topic to another, from religious to political, to ordinary, to economic, to carnal, to financial, it really is clear for me that everything is connected to one another. The action of one will directly or create a ripple, albeit small, effect in the life of another.

There were other thoughts in my head. Was the black guy (former airforce) really being courageous or he took the easy way out by choosing to die (at least he saved another person’s life in the process)? It is often easy to judge when we do not see beyond what is obvious. We are sometimes forced to do things that we do not want. The question is do we really have a choice? The mayor could have agreed to take the place of 17 hostages if he really wanted to.  It is difficult to be objective because everything we do is affected by our personal issues.

It is interesting to note that an individual can embody two seemingly clashing forces. Garber was a good, regular guy. We hoped that he is honest and principled. But for a moment, he became corrupted when he was faced with the need to provide for his family. Yet, he revealed that he really wanted to do right when he chose to personally run after the criminals (to redeem himself or not). It is also interesting to see how the perception of the people around him changed when they realized that he did what he did only because he wanted to send his kids to college. They forgave him the means (accepting the bribe) for the ends seemed noble.

I am trying to analyze Ryder but I am not sure I am successful. Was he really evil that he could easily kill people in order to get what he wants? There is contradiction when he allows someone to pee yet chooses to point a gun towards a woman who is with her son. Was he just being sarcastic? How can he kill a man in cold-blood because he can’t talk to the guy he wants and yet later allowed this same person to shoot him in the chest?  Is Ryder simply scornful of religion or did he believe some of the things he said? Was he mocking God for he believed that it is man’s answer to poverty or did he have an issue with God when he discussed faith (or fate) and luck, purpose on earth (security woman to conduct the passengers to the platform), and simplicity of life (for the motorman to just do what he says)?  When he said that he wanted to talk to God (pray) but was in fact overwhelmed by the increasing value of his gold, we know that he was being fake. Yet he kept on harping about owing God a death which made me sad. Because I believe what Garber believes… that we were blessed by God with a life. Up to the end, I am not quite sure if Ryder encourages us when he declares Garber as his hero for in fact, he might just have be like a puppeteer controlling a puppet so that he won’t need to go back to jail.

In all these, there is a regular guy caught within a situation yet he rises up to the demands of the events and becomes a hero. He goes back to his normal life which he learned to appreciate more (though he already knew its value because of what he did).  Once more, we are encouraged to know that in each one of us, even when fall, there is a good side which would choose the right path. I enjoyed watching the movie. The action scenes, the play of words (financial terms), the bantering about issues that face the common man, the topics that haunts us who live in this modern day and age. More importantly, it is a movie that should make us think about our beliefs and perceptions.

Song in my heart

I Fix My Eyes On You

Tommy Walker, Bob Wilson

I fix my eyes on You
The author of my faith
Casting aside
Every sin and every weight
I fix my eyes on You
I lay my burdens down
Letting the cares
Of this world now fade away

One thing I ask
This one thing I seek
That I may dwell in Your house
O Lord my King
All the days of my life
I want to gaze upon Your beauty
And seek You in this holy place

All the days of my life
I want to gaze upon Your beauty
And seek You in this holy place

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Omnium-Gatherum (Random Thoughts 8)

It normally takes a month to organize. I was given just 10 days. And I had to arrange two sets of meeting programs. Thank God both went well. Even great. The clients were satisfied. I am happy. I am grateful.

= = =

Undergrad course: the political science subjects I took taught me international relations
Grad studies : I have chosen to take classes about local institutions and governance

I love learning. Especially about my own.

= = =

I was trying to think and write about an assignment. Guess what? A flying cockroach visited my room. On and on, it went circling very near the ceiling. I got tired of dodging it so I took a sweeper (walis tambo in Tagalog), and swiped against it as it flew towards me. Where it fell I don't know. I was just glad to see it disappear! (good thing it didn't suddenly visit me in my sleep! yikes!)

= = =

Terrible traffic in the last two days. I normally get home after a 45-minute bus ride. It has been taking me an hour and 15 minutes so far! That's 30 minutes less reading time for me! O well. At least, I got home before it rained.

= = =

I got reminded about how it felt. I was new in my job. Learning curve. Stressful first few weeks. The shock of trying to understand new things. Then everything settled down. Finally it hit me. I was missing my old friends. I was missing our habit of eating together and talking while working. I was missing the Christmas parties and company outings. It was almost the same feeling the following year. Then, slowly, I got used to the new culture and people. And so I missed my old world less and less.

It should be the same in this case.

= = =

No airconditioning on our side of the office for the past two days. The heat was taxing. I couldn't work the the whole day. My energy just ebbed away.

I am thankful that I don't live in a desert area.

I hope it'll get fixed tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Delightful company

I have been disregarding them in the past few months. But now I have a little extra time on my hands. Especially now that my hands are painfully complaining because I have been abusing them for more than a year. Too much typing. Too little rest. So I now force myself not to chat, text, blog too much. Of course, there are days when I am hard-headed and go back to my old ways.

Wait... let me go back to my original subject. My pets. Yeah, I have been amiss. I just pass them by when I leave in the morning and come back home at night. For the past few days though, I have been enjoying their presence.

Cashmere, my black rotteweiler, was in an uproar when I played the dodge game with her. She is a full-grown adult but she has never lost her youthful love for antics. I had to be careful though because her more than 30 kilos of weight could fall on my feet through her large paws.

Pretzel, the only male yet youngest addition to our pet brood, is all black. So full of attitude, he is the only one who can lie down beside Cashmere. I have been letting him glide against me. When I cuddle his chest, he jokingly bites me but never deep enough to hurt badly. 

Cherie, all white, is the oldest. She has been with us for more than 12 years. Her blue eyes complement her queenly and graceful movement. She often sleeps away the day, most often than not, outside our house to bask under the warm sun. She doesn't purr much so I often say hi to her and pet her head. What is most endearing about her is that she always acts the mother to her child, our last cat, Pinto.

Muti-colored (white, black and brown), Pinto has always been my favorite. She re-discovered the joy of jumping on my lap to curl and sleep. She is the sweetest when she does that and purrs.

It is a joy to have pets in the house.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They point me to Him

Apart from the Word of God and friends, what helped me remain sane in the past few weeks were the numerous books which cluttered my bed and room.  Once again, I make sure that a member of their kind is inside my bag. I tried not to keep my mind idle for there is truth in the saying “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Whenever grim or depressing thoughts enter my mind, I just open a helpful book to feed my mind with positive content.


The books which accompanied me :


Captivating : Unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul by John and Stasi Eldredge.


Rereading this book led me back to finding my worth in God’s eyes. I was reminded of who I am and what qualities I have as a woman which mirrored God’s heart. 

The best part? It finally dawned on me that my desire to be loved mirrors the mind-boggling desire of God to be loved by His creation, us, the human beings.


The Renewed Mind: Becoming the Person God Wants You To Be by Larry Christenson


I have always held the opinion that whatever we feed our minds become the contents of our hearts. My heart and mind needed renewing. Thus, I read and reflected on five spiritual experiences that the book offers : dependence on God, facing challenges with the authority of Christ, patience, discipline and prayer. 

I believe that there was transformation within me.


Windows of the soul: Experiencing God in new ways by Ken Gire

I am still reading this one. It admonishes me to actively look into the windows of the soul anywhere and everywhere. To receive and learn from what I see and do as Christ would have done. A personal application for me is not to just resist the entry of negative things into my being but instead, only allow the positive from God to come in and exude from my heart. A challenge, indeed.


Today, I bought two new books (thanks to OMF Lit bookstorewww.omflit.com): 

(1) On the Anvil: Stories on being shaped into God’s image by Max Lucado, a favorite author, and 

(2) The Spirit-controlled Woman by Beverly LaHaye.


I know these too will help me continue my journey. 

I am pursuing God, desiring to be just like Mary who stayed to listen and just be with Jesus Christ.  

Because why were we created? 

To love God.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I am learning: Choosing to love my country

In the last few weeks that I have been going to work, colorful banners have been catching my attention. They are all over EDSA, the main thoroughfare of Metro Manila. What really captured my eyes were the words “Pilipinas kong mahal” (The Philippines I love). These are words that should make each Filipino think. As citizens of this country, can we truthfully say that we love the Philippines?


Sometimes I find it hard to do so.


When I hear about numerous politicians who focus on their personal ambitions instead of serving their constituency. Or policemen and traffic enforcers who, instead of protecting the people, use their uniforms to solicit money, goods and services. Or when I see the lack of action of our government to solve crime, poverty, and violence among the most marginalized in our country.


I despair over the lack of discipline, the discrimination against our own people, the mediocrity of some government services. When you sense that there is a dominant perception that anything foreign, Western or Asian, is better.


But I cannot blame them. It took me some time before I finally saw the beauty of our country and our people. Several trips abroad made me realize that yes, there are wonderful things across the sea but we, too, have our own beauty to offer. We have beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, unique animals and fauna, awesome underwater creatures, delectable delicacies, mysterious caves, varied landscapes and temperate weather. Our land is filled with good-hearted people, warm, loving and forgiving (sometimes to a fault), flexible, resilient, industrious, and when given the right goals and opportunities, excellently crafting our products and services.


Many times though I wonder if we would ever reach the success that other countries have attained.


I remind myself: we are a young republic. Though we officially declared our independence on June 12, 1898, we were only able to run our country on our own in 1946. I often have to stop myself from comparing the Philippines with other countries because we are different. We were endowed with different gifts. We are not like Singapore , set in a much smaller area. We are not like Thailand or Vietnam, partly surrounded by other countries. We are not like Japan, speaking a common language and made up of mostly big islands.


Our geography has greatly influenced the birth of what is thought to be the Filipino of today. Living in more than 7,000 islands, coming from different tribes, speaking hundreds of dialects, we are unlike other any nation in the world. I am not sure if we will ever attain the sense of unity that other countries have. We are such a diverse nation. But we do recognize and champion our own.


Often we are haunted by our past. We sometimes blame the sufferings we have gone through. True, the Spaniards did abuse us and impressed upon us some of their negative attitudes but they introduced to a majority of our people the reality of Jesus Christ and instilled in us a faith in God. Yes, the language of the Americans connected us to their land and culture but this also helped us prepare for our future in the global scheme of things. As we sent our families and friends abroad, we also become the bearer of God’s Word. When we proudly say that we are the only Christian nation in Asia, we are in fact bringing His Light to some of the darkest corners of the world, unreached by other more advanced nations.


It really is hard to see where our country would be in five years time. With the elections next year, a lot of things can happen. But we need to do our share. Begin to love our country. Speak good words about our people and our land. Recognize the quality of our products. Visit our beautiful sites. And most of all, please pray for our country. Everyday. Pray for our government. Pray for our media. Pray for the private sector. Pray for each OFW we send out as well as for the families they leave behind. Pray for yourself that you can love the country that provided the environment, history and culture which made you who you are today.


I love my country. I love my color. I am a proud Filipina.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Listening to Josh Groban and not being overwhelmed by this spiraling down of a feeling means I am doing okay.

A question from a recent acquaintance which made me teary-eyed for a few moments just countered my initial thoughts.

So which one is it?


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Note to God by Charise

May her song and talent be used by God to speak to those who need to hear that we need Him. Only Him.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Half-full day!

Two weeks ago, at 7:00am, I was seated in front of some business people. Today, I exchanged that early "overtime" for some time off for school. Yeah, I woke up early but it was not necessary to get a vacation leave for today.

Two pre-enlistment stages. The second one was supposed to have been invalidated. I happily found out that the system took the changes I encoded!

The road became a one-way lane because of construction works. To make it to the assessment office before lunchtime, I opted to walk instead of waiting for the jeepney (mode of transportation here in Manila) that would go all the way around. My injured leg was aching again. The walk was slow. The cloudy skies shaded me from the sun. The rain did not fall. I made it in time. I completed the process.

I pre-enlisted in two classes. I planned to ask about the teachers and workload. I found out that my initial choice would be held in a distant building. I received some positive feedback on the second one. Good thing the system validated the changes I made.

I was about to leave my room. My eyes fell on my MRT card (metro transit system). There was a long line at the ticket counter of the train station. It only took me a minute to get in with my ready MRT card. I was downstairs. I realized I forgot the envelope that contains the paper I needed to submit to my advisers. I went to get it. My adviser asked me about the paper.

I arrived at 7:30am for an enrollment that was supposed to start at 8:00am. The filling out of forms started at a quarter-past eight. The advisers arrived at 10:00am. I had to wait. I had a few hours of reading and contemplation. And prayed. For me to finish the enrollment process. I did.

It only rained when I safely back in my office. While I was enjoying my aloha burger and black forest sundae.

My leg is still painful. I can walk. I have just eaten chocolates.

The cup is half-full.

Thank you, Lord.

Half of What He Has to Say (Mark Batterson)

Half of What He Has to Say

"He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth." John 14:17  I think most of us wish the Holy Spirit led us into all comfort. We might even settle for partial truth. But all truth? Most of us would rather surround ourselves with people who will simply validate what we falsely believe about ourselves. That isn't the Holy Spirit. Like a good counselor, He'll take you places you don't want to go so you can get where He wants you to goHe'll reveal things you don't want to know so you can become who He wants you to be. I think many of us get frustrated at times because it seems like God is silent. Here's a thought: if you cannot hear the voice of God maybe it's because you aren't willing to hear everything He has to say? You can't tune out His convicting voice and still hear His guiding voice or wise voice or comforting voice. You cannot listen to half of what the Holy Spirit has to say. It's a package deal. If you tune out His convicting voice you won't hear anything He has to say.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Constant reminder

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence

   or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

– Psalm 51:10-12


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 (www.evotional.com)