Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Local Christmas

Whenever I leave Manila during Christmas time, part of me does not want to go. Though this season brings a negative side, I remember the good things.

Gifts to open as early as December 1 if your company party falls on that day. Various savory foods to try because friends and family would utilize their culinary skills. Or enjoy the tasty meals offered by restaurants since the bosses or the company foots the bill.

What I delight in are reunions. People you have not seen for a long time would suddenly appear during get- togethers. The fellowship time during meal times is immensely filling, emotionally.

Then there is the joy of giving and receiving. I usually make a list of the people I want to bless and appreciate. Often, it can be challenging how you try to budget your resources and still make someone smile. The other side? I get suprised when someone hands me a gift since I often do not think that I would get something.

I will definitely not miss the daunting traffic, the crowd that fill many public spaces and the pollution that firecrackers bring (for New Year).

This year though, I will miss the people and celebrations. But then, one can be anywhere in the world and enjoy this important season. Just remember the reason we are celebrating and be with people you care for.

Merry Christmas! :)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Surreal yet real

The past week was partly surreal for me. The things I have been doing were so unlike of me. Joining a retreat even if I did not know anyone. Posed some probing questions to people I just met like my seatmate on the bus and my groupmates (on the first hour!). Asking a guy to have his picture taken with us because my groupmate likes him. Requesting the event photographer to take our group picture even if I do not know him. And etc etc.

On the other hand, I found something real. Apart from the spiritual renewal, what I like next about this retreat was that I met new friends. It was a prayer that I uttered to God in the past few months because I felt I needed new kindred souls. So I was happily surprised to receive a gift I did not expect to find.

I do not know if i would be able to completely write about what I have learned ove the week-end. I may not find the right words or sufficient time to write. For now, I would like to savor the reality that there are no accidents with God. And that He can orchestrate big and small incidents so that His purpose would be realized.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Being one with God

I do not really know what I was expecting when I joined the retreat. When asked directly by the facilitator, as part of the introductory questions during the first group session, I replied that I want to meet with God. It is not like I ran away from Him or that I got lost. It just that I wanted to have more of His peace and to lay down questions on His feet, hoping to find answers in return.

The past year has been filled with various transitions in several aspects of my life. The uncertainty in many things left me wondering which direction to take. Often, I just wanted to hear an audible voice from God so that I do not need to make any choice or so that my heart would settle down for knowinh what to expect. But of course, life does not happen this way. Most of the time, we find ourselves taking a step of faith. If we make a mistake, we take a step back then head towards a new direction.

Did I hear an audible voice on what to do? Yes and no. No, because God is still teaching me to wait for His revelations at His perfect timing. A day by day journey. Yes, because through His words and the messages of Godly people, I knew He is directing me to take a specific choice.

The year ends with at least one certainty. I know where to go back to when I return from my vacation. For that, I am thankful and at peace.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just Praise Him

As we were told to break out from the group and spend some quiet time alone, I wondered what should be the things to pray for. I did come here to ask God for answers and revelations.

When I checked a message that just came in my phone, I read a forwarded Bible verse. Colossians 2:1-2 says "You have been raised to life with Christ. Now SET YOUR HEART on what is in heaven, where CHRIST RULES at God's right side. THINK ABOUT WHAT IS UP THERE, not about what is here on earth.

The assigned Scripture passages for the day were from Psalms 146-150 ( These all talked about praising God.

So thus, I was reminded not to concern myself with the cares of the world. At least, not right now. Instead, let myself focus on God and praise Him for everything. Because of His attributes, His love, His creation, His being awesome and for His majesty.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that it is not about me. It is all about You. Praise be Your name!

Being courageous

If signing up to attend a retreat without confirming if anyone I know is coming means courage then I guess I have that. At least that is how a friend described my decision to join. I just felt that I needed to spend time away from many things and be with God.

The reality of my decision dawned on me when I arrived at the assembly area and saw almost a thousand participants and I didn't know what I was supposed to do. But I found myself smiling and amused with the adventure I got myself into once again. My rationalization? I wanted an encounter with God and thus, it does not matter if I am a stranger to everyone.

God, in His goodness, allowed me to get a seat beside someone who was also on her own. 2 minutes later, we were talking and laughing. And throughout the first day, I saw 3 other people I know. By then, I was already at home with my assigned groupmates.

I have always considered myself as shy around many people. I guess though that I have grown a lot since those days when I would just remain in my quiet corner. Or maybe, I just felt at home with fellow believers who gathered together to be one with God.

Being courageous takes time and learning. I know that I am still growing. I am joyful and grateful though for the little victories I am experiencing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Omnium-Gatherum (Random Thoughts 12)

23. Just 23. Compare that with 46, 49, 80, 170 and 139, then the mixture of these two numbers seems paltry. What does 23 mean? The number of articles or entries I did for 2010. And that makes me a bit sad, realizing that I haven’t written that much this year. I know that I blog partly because I want to practice writing but another reason is it helps me remember good things that happened in my life.


O well. I do have a reason. 2010 brought about shoulder pains that hindered me from using the computer at home. Why? Because I wrote too much in 2008 and 2009 (170 and 139 entries, respectively). Which explains the pains.


= = =


I read yesterday that the rains would continue on until May of 2011. Because of the La NiƱa phenomenon. So what happens to our summer then? Will we miss the heat that begins mid-March and continues on till late May? Probably not. But then, there wouldn’t be reason enough to enjoy the beaches and sea breezes. I remembered the people who got affected by Ondoy and realized what they must be feeling. Nervous whenever there is a hint of flooding. I would feel the same.


= = =


Piolo Pascual officially opened the Christmas season in the Ayala malls two weeks ago. Together with Agot Isidro, they sang various Christmas melodies. Yeah, it was kinda early to a lot of people’s standards but here in the Philippines, it is just normal. We do have the longest Christmas season in the whole world. Christmas songs would start playing on the 1st of September. Recently, Halloween  decors began sharing space with Christmas ornaments and trees.


I often feel the Christmas season when I sense the cooling of air, when the traffic worsens and when I see Christmas lights and poinsettia flowers all over the Ayala streets. December will begin next week. The get-together and eating will also commence!


= = =


The last three evening had been a bit tiring as I packed and unpacked my father’s bags. Trying to make sure that the suitcases won’t go beyond the allowed weight. Checking if the bottles are well-protected, the medicine well-packed and the space rightly utilized.


Interesting what a visiting Filipino has in his bags when he goes back abroad. Dried herbs, fish and squid. Favorite soap brands. Carica Virgin coconut oil and toothpaste. Chinese medicine. Goldilocks polvoron, chocnut, Mulach ensamada, boy bawang and of course, the Magic Sing. Don’t’ forget the delicious dried mangoes and tamarind candies! Only the Filipinos! We are so unique!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Owning Thanksgiving Day

I greeted several friends in the States a Happy Thanksgiving Day. I know from history that it is being celebrated every fourth Thursday of the month of November and that it started from the time the Pilgrims from England, settled in America, and were thankful for their first bountiful harvest. I’ve read and watched on TV and movies about preparations and eating of turkey, sidings, desserts and most importantly, the gathering together of families.


Considering the many challenges the U.S. had, is having and will face in the future, I know that many of my friends in the States, of whatever nationality or origin, are celebrating this day for what it is : to be thankful.  And even though I know that it is not my event to celebrate, I am taking this time also to be thankful. Lord, thank you for :


-          the protection You hedge around me and my loved ones as we face each day of uncertainty

-          the provision of our needs and for lavishing us with our wants

-          the wisdom to decide on what to say, to think, to feel and to do

-          the limbs that allow me to write, eat, walk, run, stand, dance, jump, etc.

-          the ability to understand and have compassion for the weak and the needy

-          the blessings so that I can bless those who are lacking

-          the faith to trust in You and believe always that You are in control

-          the heart that can be sensitive to Your moving and direction

-          many friends who are journeying with me as I travel through life

-          my family who loves me and care about me

-          my job so that I could exercise the skills You gave me and receive compensation for it

-          the beautiful earth, every sunset and sunrise, the refreshing water, colorful fishes and graceful mountains

-          learnings, experiences and even trials that enrich my life and matures my faith

-          the forgiveness of my sins and the grace to love me continuously

-          unexpected gifts and surprises

-          my health, delicious food and tasty fruits

-          technology that makes distance shorter and communication better

-          books that teach my mind and heart to believe, trust and dream


The list would be too long if I jot  down all the things I am thankful for. Surely, God knows what is in my heart and what I want to thank Him for. I know that it is important to do this because we can always take for granted the blessings that we receive and forget  to be grateful.


Dear Lord, help me to always have a thankful heart. For the pain and pleasure. For the lack and the blessings. For the correction and affirmation.  For everything. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Love for learning

I love reading. I remember that I spent most of my college days inside the library. Many would think it a boring life but I had a blast while I saw the world through the eyes of writers. Through those stories I have read, I saw and “experienced” a world of adventure, knowledge, discoveries and dreams. I cried, laughed, loved, dreamt, planned, prayed, and many more with the characters. There was joy in reading and then later on, seeing, visiting and experiencing those places.


Through the years, I have come to the conclusion that a love for reading meant a wider perspective and a teachable mind. I believed it to be so because I see it in my life (I hope that it is true!). Recently though, I have come to a better conclusion when I connected the dots that should have been obvious to me : we have different learning styles and there are different mediums to pass on information. The conclusion? There should be a love for learning. Through reading, listening, interacting, touching, observing, etc.


I hope I will always have that… the love for learning!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mangoes and surprises

Our country is famous for our delicious ripe mangoes.


I love eating this sweet and juicy tropical fruit. As part of breakfast, combining it with salad or pasta, as an afternoon snack, a dessert delight after a sumptuous dinner or to assuage midnight pangs.


At the other side of the spectrum is the green mango. Still very firm, light green in color on the inside, very sour with just a hint of its budding sweetness. I like it better when it is transformed into a sweet-sour fruit shake.


Which one do I like better? The ripe, yellow kind or the sour, green one? It depends on what I am looking for.


Sometimes though, eating ripe mangoes can surprise you. It can look very ripe and yellow, yet when you eat it, you will find a sour taste inside. Mainly because it was forced to ripen early. But then, who is to say that the initial sourness you tasted is not good? One has to appreciate it because it contrasts with the sweetness that you could find as you bite more into the inside. For the sweet taste might just be hiding inside. And also, there is that promise that the next mango you get has attained that sweetness that you are yearning for.


But with the sour, green one, you are fairly certain what to expect and it is what you get.


Life is like eating mangoes. You really do not know what you will encounter. You just have to trust that somehow, whatever you find inside would be delicious. Sometimes, the outside would be a bit sour and it becomes sweeter as you bite more into the inside.


Unless you just remain safe and satisfy yourself with the sour one.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Time does not heal

We’ve heard of the old adage : Time heals. I learned though (thanks to Boundless!) that it is not true. It is not time which heals us. It is God. We have heard of many stories wherein decades would pass by yet a hurt person would not be able to forgive another person or even himself/herself.


And thus, I do agree. Time does not heal. God, who controls everything including time, is the only one who could. But for God to heal us, we too need to give up the pain and more so, the pride that is in our hearts when we feel we were wrongfully hurt.


I have learned to forgive others and myself. True, through the passage of time. Only because each day that I live life, God is teaching me and showing me His perspective. Many times when we are too deep in a situation, we do not see the big picture. We are not rational. As days, months and years go by, we then see the past objectively. Only then would we see that it is easier to forgive… and forget. For in the context of eternity, nothing else matters except if we loved God and loved our neighbors.


Thankful that God created time. Most importantly, that He could heal pain. Any pain.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Err in assumptions

The verb form of the word says it all : to assume. We make assumptions based on perceived meaning of each word, action, facial expression, tone of voice, and physical appearance. Unfortunately, we make these based on our past experiences, background, educational attainment, interaction with people and personal dreams. And because of this, we err. Why?Because they, too, come with different and varrying experiences and backgrounds.

What was meant as friendship could be mistaken as courtship. Words of concern could be considered as meddling. Expressions of dissatisfaction could be just a sign for more learning. Or for all these, it could be the other way around.

My experiences have brought me face to face with both kinds. When good intentions were looked upon suspiciously. And when attempts to correct a mistake not taken seriously. I try not to fall into the habit of making assumptions and instead look at everything positively. A Herculean task, it's true but we still try.

Someday, I might just succeed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two faceted change

Change is constant. There is no use trying to stop it from happening. It would be like pushing yourself against the strength of a powerful tide.

I like change. Often I crave it. There is beauty in seeing new things happening in our life. For together with change, there is learning. We are pushed to go beyond what we have known. We get to see and experience the "new."

Yet, the other side of change also bring sadness. We long for the days we have enjoyed, the friendships which flourished, the past which could never be again.

So we learn to accept the bitter-sweet change. Hoping that the next one to come would alleviate the longings and even make your life richer than before.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Books that speak to me

The books in my room somehow reflect the things that I am dealing with right now.

The Me I want to be - John Ortberg
Infinite Impact - Stu Weber
Imagine your life without fear - Max Lucado
Keep a quiet heart - Elisabeth Elliot
My dream map - John C. Maxwell
The DNA of faith - H. Maurice Lednicky
A Million miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller

The last one has been haunting me the past few weeks. It talks about living a story worth telling. And I do want to do just that though I do not know where to start. And that is where Elisabeth Elliot has been been helping. Her words remind me that I need to be still and just wait upon the Lord. Often It is not easy. We often want to just jump into action and do the first thing that comes into mind. For what could be wrong with that if our objective is to honor God? A lot. If God wants us to remain quiet in His presence and wait for His direction. Especially if He wants you to just spend time knowing Him and loving Him.

So here I am, trying to be patient. Letting Him speak to me from His great book and other anointed people's books.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A catty night

I paid for the ticket many months ago. I considered it as my birthday gift to myself. It did not come cheap. But famous musicals are not so common here. I thought it a good investment.

And it was. I totally enjoyed the show. Part of it, I believe, is because I am a catlover. It was marvelous to see the cat-like graceful movements that the dancers recreated. From the twitching of the nose, to the brushing of the paws against the cheek, to the twitching of the whole feline body. They all reflected the movements that my cats make every single day. Even the distracting activity that the actors did at the side stage was reminiscent of the playful antics of my pets.

Some people I know have declared their dislike of cats. They do have a point. Man is the master when it comes to dogs but cats? They are the king and queen of any humble abode or kingdom here on earth. Still, there is something endearing about them as they brush against your leg, or when they settle in your lap to purr and sleep.

Lovely show, beautiful voices, great set. Of course it is not perfect but it was a night I immensely enjoyed.

An except of a lovely song which reminded that we could always look something forward to because there is a tomorrow.


I must wait for the sunrise

I must think of a new life

And I musn't give in

When the dawn comes

Tonight will be a memory too

And a new day will begin

Shoe Transitions

One of the things I listed as a goal to do this year is to wear normal shoes. Sounds weird? Is there such a thing as abnormal shoes? For more than 10 years now, I have been wearing boots. Day in, day out. Rain or shine. For local or overseas trips. I made a few concessions, like rubber shoes when I go to the gym. The farthest I could do was to wear glittery and flat sandals for a few hours when there is a formal affair I have to go to. And when I do this, I make sure that I have a ride to and from the event place.

Friends have tried to convince me that it is okay start wearing “normal shoes” again. It was not easy to do though. I have to consider the dangers lurking around that may bring about a little accident or pain. I do battle everyday to get a ride inside a bus. So for safety reasons, I chose to have a boring shoe life. Practical reasons though are cramping my style. It has become difficult to find good shoemakers. The last time I tried, I had it remade 3 times.

Thus, the goal for this year. Nope, I haven’t totally succumbed to my desire to be normal again. Unfortunately, my feet have become uncooperative. They have become sensitive to discomforts that come from shoes. So I compromised. I am wearing sneakers to the office. That is why I hide my feet under my chair whenever the bosss comes to my office.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Independence day

July 14 will always have a special meaning for me. Not because it is the independence day of France. Somehow, absurdly, a lot of things had happened to me on this day. Especially the last two years.

So once again, I look back and enjoy this day. I am remembering God's faithfulness and control over my life.

Happy independence day!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Half over

Where did the past 6 months go? It flew so fast that I do not know anymore what happened. All I remember now is that I couldn't wait for 2009 to be over. And here we are, 2010 half gone.

I finished my thesis, defended, revised and bounded 5 copies of it. I graduated. I been to France twice in two months, visited Amsterdam and Berlin. I struggled with the preparations for an office audit and got through that two difficult days of speaking in a foreign language. It did not end in flying colors but it was well enough considering that we still need to do many improvements. I started learning about financial planning and got certified as an associate financial planner. And now, I am trying to learn how to write better.

A lot has happened. Yet, it feels like my life is at a standstill, waiting for something to happen, yet not knowing what I am waiting for. I know though that God is teaching me to wait for His direction. Not an easy thing to do. For the meantime, I repeat to myself all day what I have learned to be the most important thing I should always do : Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cooking again

I haven't done any serious cooking for the last 3 years. Nothing beyond reheating left-over food or boiling an egg. I've good reasons and I will not delve into that but instead would just document my attempt to cook again.

My first step? Call my sister-in-law to ask.... how do I cook an adobo? :) So off she went and enumerated the ingredients and the steps. The cooking went quickly. So there I was, taking a breather after cooking my chicken adobo. My brother calls to ask why I called his cellphone and I recounted the story. He repeated the instructions. I quickly cut him off to say good-bye. And ran to the kitchen to add the oregano leaves. Whew!

The other experiment I did was buttered chicken. (Isn't it obvious that I love chicken?:)) The secret? A Thai mix I just bought from the grocery. Unfortunately, I forgot the required yogurt. So there, I have a soupy instead of a thick sauce (I used liquid milk). It tasted delicious though.

A good first attempt. I still have next week-end to do another experiment. That is, if I did my first cooking well and not die of food-poisoning. :)

Disclaimer : blurred image... I couldn't find the camera flash of my cellphone. This is about cooking and not photography! :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stretching me

“I didn’t sign up for this!” This was my complaint during the audit. There were so many things brought up that were not mentioned when the responsibility was given to me. I felt overwhelmed.

Reading through the Bible and some of the personal reflections of some people, I saw a different perspective. Through the many months of learning this new responsibility, I realized that God has been stretching me. He is giving me greater tolerance for people who are difficult to work with. He is strengthening my emotional stability when facing struggles. He is making me more confident in dealing with people. He is making me more observant so that the wrong procedures and practices could be corrected and improved. And finally, He is making me more proactive so that I would find solutions instead of faults.

I wouldn’t volunteer to do what was given to me. Thank God that the decision was not given to me. Thank God that I have become dependent on Him and not on myself. Because I definitely don’t feel able to do what was expected of me.

God stretches us. Our abilities, our emotions, our talents and skills, and most importantly, our faith in Him.

* image from

Friday, June 04, 2010

What to do?

I was naive.

I thought that by finishing school I would have a lot of idle on time on my hands. Okay, I do not want to complain. I am grateful that I graduated. But suddenly, I realized that there are so many things I want to do. Read more than a dozen books that piled up inside my room. Watch more than fifty movies that I never had the time to see. And some more are added each week as new movies are released. I want to blog about my trips early this year and what I went through in the past few months.

There are seminars to go to so that I could learn more. Art exhibits to see so that I could appreciate art more. There are personal research and planning that must be done for the future.

And of course, there's work. Very important. And then, there's the ministry, too. Time to pray, read the Bible, fellowship with other people.

So many things to do and so little time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Should not have

Too late.
I shouldn't have.
Put people on a pedestal. 
I should have remembered
We are all the same.

I am human.
Weak and frail.
Natural to fall into sin.
The same as everyone.

I forgot.
So I get disappointed.
I become disillusioned.
Too late.

I should only look to God.
And be forgiving.
So that I too could be forgiven.
Again and again.

Remember the lesson.
Do not forget ever.
Humans err.
God is loving and forgiving.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A vote for our future

I casted my vote today. After six long years, I was once again asked to choose whom to trust. It was a difficult decision. Up until last night, I struggled between two candidates for the presidential position. They both seem worthy of my trust. They have performed well in the past.

The counting of the ballots started already. I have to admit that I am nervous. Among the top contenders for the presidential position, I only pray that two people would not win.

It seems so small... my one vote. But I know that together we would be putting someone who would lead us in the future.

The Lord's will be done.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Like Joshua

It's the name of my brother. The name of a friend. The name of a friend's son. Somehow though, I never fully appreciated the original Joshua.

Together with many other readers of the 1 year Bible plan (, I just finished the last chapter of this book in the Bible. And thankful for it.

His was a great life. Because he chose to follow the God of his predecessor (Moses). Though he had so many challenges (what with the complaints and disobedience of the Israelites!), he led the people through the many miracles God blessed them with. There's the fall of walls of Jericho. The defeat of other nations. The sun that did not set while he held his hands up. The parting of the sea while the people crossed. The reason for this great blessing? He heeded the commandments of God. He was courageous. He was strong in the Lord.

In the last chapter, he asked the people to make a choice. To serve other gods or to serve the only true God.

I choose to follow the true and living God. Like Joshua.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Celebrating in heaven

I heard her name mentioned but it didn't register anything in my mind. Part of me, I think couldn't quite believe it. So I analyzed again the words I heard and when I realized what I was hearing, I was shocked.

Ate (big sister) Corly died last week. She was part of our young adults ministry in church. She was 52 when she went back to God. Quite young to our earthly standards.

I felt sad to hear the news and got teary eyed when we went to her wake this afternoon. I was not as close to her as others were, mainly because of age. And also because we didn't spend too much time together. But I've always liked her. Because of her sweet countenance, her smiling face and her helping hands. She often has a appreciative word directed to anyone.

I know though that we are assured that she is in heaven. Celebrating with God and finally healed and free of any pains. From her life, I have learned certain things. I would want to be remembered as she had been remembered. And to have her happy disposition and forgiving heart.

Bye ate Corly. I know we will see you again someday. We will celebrate then.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Smiling through my tears

For the first in many years, if not the first time ever, I found myself crying and smiling at the same time. Maybe it was because of the blessings in my life these days. Maybe it was because I have gained a better perspective of the world as I invested more time in reading God’s words. Maybe it was because I was feeling better physically today. Or a mixture of all these things.

As I read the message and looked at the pictures sent by a friend, as I experienced joy for her joy, I suddenly felt this happiness and peace that everything would be well. My lips widened into a smile, my eyes became teary eyed and I said with conviction to myself, “God, You are truly in control.”

How could I have doubted it? How could I have worried and feared about the future? When I should know in my heart and mind that I have a Father who already sees the life ahead of me. Good and bad things happen to us. People enter into or depart from our lives. In each situation, we should remember that we do not see yet the ending. We do not see the whole picture.

I want to capture this moment as I smile through my tears. Even though words cannot describe what I am feeling.

So that I will remember.

He is in control.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Back to the present

It feels like I haven't written for a year. It hasn't been that long but with all the thoughts turning in my head and words I wanted to write, it felt like that.

Two trips a month apart, preparations and finally transferring to a new place, finishing touches on my thesis, procedural requirements to finish school, short and long-term projects at work. These made my life a little crazier than usual for the last 3 months.

And here I am. Installed in our new home. Finally blogging even though I should be organizing boxes of the years gone by. Stopping myself from venturing too much into my past for I might just find myself shedding some more tears. Forcing myself to let go of so many documents and objects so that there would be space for new things to come in. Still finding it hard to throw away bus tickets, restaurant bills, boarding passes, songbooks, big shirts, etc. Because they still bring to mind sentimental thoughts and memories.

I am thankful though. For those people who helped me get through the past 3 months. My family and relatives, my friends and certain colleagues at work. And especially to God. For He sustained me. He strengthened me.

So here I am again.


* picture from

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I was hoping the new year would bring me many writing moments. The few articles I posted testify to this unrealized hope.

Thoughts in my head.

How do I write them down considering that I cannot pin down the swirling thoughts? I should remind myself that writing helps stabilize my beliefs and cast away my doubts. The written word somehow concretizes what I should remember: that I can trust God, that I should doubt my doubts but never doubt God.

I should write everyday.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Linking above

Each year must begin with a time of prayer and fasting. To seek forgiveness for past sins. To allow God to purify the heart. To ask for God’s direction.

= = =

The week-long prayer and fasting was helpful. It is the only way to start the year right.

= = =

One of the disciplines in my faith walk that I found difficult to learn is prayer.

When I was younger, I’ve had moments when I would fall asleep while a passionate soul would pray for more than 10 minutes. I have to confess that I sometimes felt like banging my head against the wall (or table) because I couldn’t bear the long wait. I felt guilty for not being faithful enough to muster the required attention. I felt inadequate that I could not pray as long as the others nor be as eloquent as they could.

= = =

In my interaction with other believers and groups, I have learned to appreciate an intimate conversational style of prayer. To pair up with one person (or 2) and each one would utter a few sentences of prayer. In fact, it is more like a ping-pong style of prayer. Back and forth, back and forth, until we have mentioned all the items to be prayed for. I can concentrate and agree on whatever the other person would say. This also allows me to remember the things that have been prayed for and just focus my thoughts on the next topic to be lifted to God. The intimate setting allows me to be open to say what God is leading me to say. And most importantly, I am still awake at the end of the prayer time.

= = =

My personal style of prayer is simple. I just talk to God whatever comes to my head. I say simple words. I sometimes forget the words I would like to say and even things I wanted to pray for. So I just pray whenever I remember something I need to bring to God. Any time all day.

= = =

Corporate prayer is very different, I have learned. There should be structure. There should be preparation. Our Father is a God of order. But we should also be open to the moving of the Holy Spirit as He gives us the words to utter.

= = =

It’s going to be a prayer year.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

My first love

I will always remember 2009 as the year I first fell in love. I wish I could say that it ended happily. It did not. Tears flowed. Hearts got hurt. Goodbyes were said.

The journey of heartache was difficult. I still wish that it didn’t have to happen but I now value what the experience taught me. Truly, there is no greater learning than that which we go through ourselves. It is more real and the lessons learned would remain unforgotten.

I came face to face with my tendency to seek validation from another person. It was completely wrong. I should only seek this from God. And so I learned, the hard way, my real value. I matter to God. He loves me so much that He chose to die for me. He forgives me and He showers me with His mercy. There is no need to find meaning through another person’s approval, affection or devotion. I have found that in God.

My friend wisely told me that at least I now know I am capable of loving another person. Though I prayed and dreamed about having that special someone, it was often hard to imagine how it would happen. I was afraid to risk my heart and be vulnerable. I hid behind my mantra of waiting for God’s will while maintaining my distance from interactions and relationships with men. Because of what happened, I am sometimes afraid of risking my heart again. What for? For another measure of pain and tears? But I am refusing to be bowed down by my fears, imagined and real, because there is that possibility that God would allow me to find the promise He has reserved for me. And even if I do not find an earthly mate, I know that my heavenly groom awaits me.

The best insight? I got a glimpse of what God feels when we reject Him as He offers His love to us. Only now could I fully understand how I daily break His heart and the longing He feels when I disobey Him and do not love Him in return. I repeat, I got a glimpse. For the love I offered was not unconditional and selfless. His is perfect. There is no comparison. Somehow though, I can fully appreciate the extent of God’s love and grace. And be more thankful by trying to know and love Him more.

Yes, I fell in love and got my heart broken. I needed God’s refining. I had to find my meaning in Him. I needed to see and appreciate His perfect love for me. Through the months of pain, many only saw my smiling lips and cheerful face. Some probed the reason for my blooming image. They didn’t know. I was falling in love all over again. To the one who deserved to be loved first of all.

I still dream that someday God would allow me to fall in love again with the man He has chosen for me. I would be wiser then. But when I look back to 2009, I would remember how by having my heart broken, I finally found my place in God's loving embrace.

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 (