Sunday, January 30, 2005

Second Chance and Secondhand Lions

Secondhand Lions was really a happy movie. Within the story is a story, this reminded me of my childhood days in Alaminos. I would listen to Tita Ching and Lola Abeng about their stories during the war in 1944. How the house I grew up was built in 1911 and that my great grandfather had helped build it.

As I had grown up with these two great ladies, Tita Ching and Lola Abeng,they had the most influence of how I developed my character and my love for nature. Along the way, in the many years of my growing pains, I realized that there are things to learn. Lessons which are more often learned by going through trials. And as Mr. Fulghum puts it "lessons are repeated until they are learned".

In the past three decades, I had many second chances. I thank God for always giving me the opportunity to re-learn my lessons. Lessons in loving, forgiveness and patience. Up until the other day I was struggling with issues of forgiveness. I pray for the grace to know that if situations calling for second chances comes by, I will be prepared. I just pray that when my time comes, I have learned well and hopefully "go with my boots on".

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Prayer Warriors

While having lunch and talking with Christine, the conversation turned into sharings of different martial arts. In the back of my mind, I am always proud to be Asian and that the culture of this region promotes martial arts.

Boyet was talking about Aikido being spiritual in form. He said that traditional Aikido do not use offense and mostly the movements are to help defend yourself by shifting and flowing movements. While Christine mentioned about "Kalimasada" martial arts from Indonesia. Her father teaching beginners three times a week. Kalimasada is a non-contact martial arts but very powerful. Without lifting a finger, someone was able to make the snatcher give them back their things.

Today as I reflect upon warriors and martial arts, I realized that prayer indeed is very powerful. There is no need for physical strength or contact, only focused mind and heart. We need not be martial arts students to be able to help others in need. Who knows what goes on when we pray for others? I could only imagine the pure energy that prayer warriors exude.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Sunday Morning in Madang

Work has brought me to many different islands. I love travelling and when I had the opportunity to visit the South Pacific which includes Fiji Islands 2003 and PNG 2004, I made sure I experienced the local flavors for I am always interested in the culture, food and people of the places I have gone to.

In my second visit to the South Pacific Islands in Papua New Guinea, I am thankful that I had time off during Sunday mornings to attend Sunday mass. I was in Madang Lagoon up in the North across the Highlands. It took quite a while and a long story to get there. I went thru Port Moresby. I did not stay in Port Moresby where we were always escorted everywhere by friends and we were not allowed to even walk the streets.

On that Sunday morning, I planned to go with some other fellow participants to church but at 8am, no one was up for it. Thus, I went alone. I rented a taxi from the hotel. Upon arriving I was amazed that the church was full that even mothers and children were sitting on the floor along the sides and at the back wearing their beautiful colorful Sunday clothes with their "bilums". The mass was in Pidgin, a local language of Papuan/French/English. I literally understood nothing but I was aware of the Eucharist celebration and it moved me. As I stood there at the back pew, I was swimming in a church full of "Bob Marleys and Lauryn Hills" singing praises to God in tongues ---literally :O) I felt very blessed by the experience.

On my way back, my taxi missed me and a good lady gave me a lift back for she lives near our hotel. She knew that I was Filipina and she said that Filipinos attend mass at 5pm English service. I was happy that she recognized me as a Pinay. I thank God for taking care of me in that remote island and making me experience His loving providence through our South Pacific brothers and sisters. Now as I recall that morning, I can still hear their drum beats and soulful voices singing praises.

Doc Arlene

Last Friday we visited Doc Arlene at the PGH, she has been confined for almost a week now but she was unwell since two weeks ago. When we entered her room at 433, she was awake and smiling, talking to her ward mate who was leaving that evening. We gave her a hug and talked a little while. There were other doctor visitors too at that time and it just struck me that doctors do get sick too. Doc Arlene said that is was painful to have an IV line stuck to you and she can't sleep properly there. Since she is specializing in Radiology, she saw something in her X-ray that gave her a cold feeling. As she narrates her story, we saw that there is still joy in her. I saw beside her table, her prayer and meditation guide "Word Among Us" on top of her medical book and this made me ponder that this sister indeed is a child of God. The joy of her spirit, even in sickness, shines through.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Spiderman and Stephen Chow

What is common between these two characters? (mwehehe) In both their movies, the phrase: "With great power comes with great responsibility". My tummy ached as I watched Kung Fu Hustle and this was mentioned again amidst the martial arts. It was said in jest but meant to be serious.

I have heard this used in several talks both serious and commonly used as punch lines. When I participated in a solemn ceremony in one of my organizations, Jamby mentioned this particular qoute--in my mind I smiled as the image of Spidey passed my thoughts (hehe) I thought as if the solemnity of the event was momentarily broken. It was said in solemnity but in my mind it was bit funny.

But recently, in one of my daily readings, I came across the passage of Luke 12:48b. And I realized that this particular phrase does have scriptural basis. I smiled when I realized that we do not have just a serious God but a loveable funny loving God. He sends His message across in the most uncomplicated and funny ways.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Jane's First Christmas

December 14th 2004, we welcomed Jane Allison Jaboli into our family. It has been a long while since we had a baby in the family and Julius, her older brother, is now 8 years old. Jinky my sister looked elated with her new born child despite the labor she had just gone through. I hurried to the hospital that day with the digital camera and took a few shots. While clicking away my thoughts pondered about the season.

At that time the Christmas season was in full gear, people rushing everywhere to buy gifts, malls are crowded, and the evenings' Christmas lights twinkling everwhere in the metro. In my own inner perspective, it was like another year ending and a season to go through.

Until that afternoon, when I saw my sister holding Jane in her arms. I was swept by a joy I could not explain, it must have been like that during the first Christmas --when Jesus was born. As the sheperds looked on at baby Jesus. Indeed one of the greatest miracles is a child born unto us.

That same evening all the nurses in that floor sang for the two babies in that maternity ward Christmas Carols. They sang Christmas in our hearts. Affirmations do come when you need it.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Moon River

"Two drifters off to see the world" tonight as we celebrate a friend's birthday, we sang this song. My mind travelled back to Alaminos. Recalling memories of Inay, I could almost see her face beaming and her eyes full of joyful melancholy as she sings her favorite phrase from this song. It is amazing how we associate certain tunes to certain people.

Now I only have the memory. What do we keep after a loved one has passed away? It would always be the times that you spent loving each other. Indeed love is eternal, neither death nor distance can keep you from people you hold dear when you have them in your heart.

The best way to spend life is in loving, though at times, the call to love others even those close to us might be difficult, it is best just to love. There is no tomorrow, there is only now to express our love. Our presence, our time, our attention to people is a concrete example of expressing our love. Time cannot be bought and cannot be given back.

To live passionately is to give of our time, where does our passion lie? Lord grant me the grace that I may keep this priceless learning that Inay Tita Ching has given me.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Chasing Butandings

May of 2004, after hearing about these great mega fauna--whalesharks aka Butandings in Donsol, Sorsogon, I finally had the chance to see them up close in the wild! Since 1998 when Joyce Javillonar talked to me about whalesharks, I am always in awe: How can you go near a fish with a mouth as big as a car?

Many of my most memorable trips are spur of the moment planning. Last year with Mirac, Melo and Jas together with Melo's father, we drove down to Donsol. Not one of us has ever been to the town of Donsol and although the family of Melo lived in Naga, still they haven't encountered these whalesharks of Donsol.

On a side trip, we went paddling down a river after sun down, not to see the sharks but to witness another of mother nature's shows. At around 8PM we saw pulsating fire flies enveloping the dark silhouette of trees by the riverbank. On board a small out rigger paddle boat, on the dark river, it was indeed a spectacular nature show.

In the morning, we put on our suits, sunscreen and carried our snorkel to the shores of Donsol, where we met our BOIman. Butanding interaction officer. He is the spotter and he leads us to the whaleshark interaction. During our first sighting, I was behind with Melo and since my vision is not 20/20 I am near sighted, I saw some dark thing swaying in the brown water and suddenly a caudal fin about 5 feet or more almost hit us. My heart pounding as we swam back to the boat. After that we interacted with 8 more Butandings chasing after them, trying to swim and snorkel fast to get a glimpse of these majestic gentle whalesharks. It was indeed a breath taking experience.

Two weeks later on another spur of the moment trip, Aimee and El ask me to join an overnight trip back to Donsol. This time we traveled overnight arrived midmorning then we go directly to the site and interacted with a dozen whalesharks. This time I got much closer to the whaleshark and even shot a few close up of its white spots :O) Still dazed, we got on the afternoon bus to Manila and arrive early next morning, the 10 hour bus ride was well worth the trip to see those huge fish, that comes by a few months a year.

Another morsel of adventure that renews me everytime I remember these time with friends. I am in awe of God's love for variety and beauty. I thank God for His wonderful creations that brings much joy and sense of adventure to a nature lover's heart

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A place called Anawim

Today, the Anawim of Montalban has called us, a response to a call of the past few days. A place where stories were unearthed, of a pioneer mission started and of a place abounding in grace. Armed with our well worn trek shoes and yellow and red umbrellas, we embarked on a journey together with our Lingkod QC brothers and sisters. Somewhere tucked behind those hills of Montalban is a sanctuary called Anawim.

Rare are the opportunities that came along that could have pulled me towards the direction of Montalban. Today, with our few sando bags of biscuits and fruits, we all came along and I sensed an eagerness and excitement to meet the residents of Anawim. Hearts are filled with hope that in course of our visit, we can bring some blessings. Spending time in Anawim, brought more blessings to us, I felt more blessed. I kept these in my heart--blessings far greater than what we thought we can share, we received more in return.

Many thoughts raced through my mind as we spend the day there. A recent death in my family, brought thoughts of lost time to show my love to Tita Ching, in the faces of the elderly, the lolo and lolas, I saw my Inay and I am thankful to God that He once again gave me the opportunity to express love.

Discerning for our life’s purpose...searching for answers to the question of why we exist or what shall I do now? ...might be stumbled upon in a small placed tucked in the hills of Montalban.

Friday, January 07, 2005

An Analogy

I was reading this book by Robert Fulghum and remembered something, he has a long discourse maybe a chapter if i remember it right, about the existence of God. He said that when we discuss or debate on the existence of God, its like we are fleas debating if there is a dog. mwe hehehe.

For the past three decades, I look back and thought it is so easy to be self centered and yet, I still exist because a Divine being has allowed me to. I am here for a purpose, a mission. And in hindsight, there are things that I thought I did on my own but shame on me because I didn't---like an ax delighting at all the chopped wood but without the woodchopper himself, there is no firewood.

Just remembered that at 33, Jesus completed His mission. And I am 33 and what?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

He Said...

Love one another,
as I have loved you.

John 15:12

No Fear in Love

At our wedding of November 27, 2004, Amats and I used this particular bible passage that we hold sacred and from which we draw strength for our love. And as the years will surely pass, we will always go back to this passage, that in perfect love, there is no fear. We draw strength from His words that if we remain in Him, we will remain in love--in His love...and that we should continue to love one another because He first loved us.

and from the letter of John:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He as given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:17-19)

Changing Names

As a child I used to practice a new signature, so that when I get married one day to my prince charming one day ( at that time my childhood crush that I cannot even remember the name) it would be easy to change and i'll be too excited to use my new name. Its like Fiona of Shrek writing in her diary hundreds of "Mrs Fiona Charming" ...hehehe how Holloywood affects us even more now that we are adults.

It did not occur to me, now that I am a married person that it would be hard to let go of things you got used to. Shallow it may seem, but the legal documents that you have to get around to changing names is really not something simple to do. I am not complaining and upon much thought, indeed it is both very challenging to take on a new name and be in a different state of life.

I thank God that He has blessed me with his son--Amats. Who is a man of God.