Throwback sa Buhay Kolehiyala sa Peyups: A Letter to the Graduates

Hindi man makabagbag damdamin ang aking karanasan sa kolehiyo bilang iskolar ng bayan, nais ko rin itong ibahagi nevertheless bilang pagpupugay sa mga magsisipagtapos ngayong darating na Linggo and because I went through a similar battle some 10 years ago. 🙂

It took me 2 years to finish my undergraduate thesis. Sabi ng iba mahirap daw makapasok ng UP at ‘di hamak na mas mahirap daw ang lumabas. Kasama na ako sa porsyento ng mga isko at iska na sumasangayon sa paniniwalang iyan. Ngunit ano pa mang karanasan ang danasin nyo sa unibersidad, alalahanin na the university was just there to prepare you for the outside world. In my case, muntik man akong naging dropout at na-delayed ng 2 years, naintindihan ko ngayon na will pa rin ng Dios na grumadweyt ako. Pero kung sakali mang hindi, alam ko rin na God has better plans for me na Sya lang ang nakakaalam – not my timeline but God’s; not my plans but His’.

Ika nga, “Many are the plans of man but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

This is just one battle that God has used to test our faith and yet there will be more battles in which the world will ask you to conform to its patterns and standards and deviate from your faith. Your heart will be put to a test between what is right and what is wrong sa mata ng Panginoon, you will rise and fall along the way, your priorities will change as seasons shift, you will weigh opportunities that could’ve made you look great in the eyes of the world but with a corrupted soul and you will be torn between pleasing this world or pleasing the Lord your God.

If we were given wisdom, it is not for the sole purpose of just gaining knowledge. If we were given power and influence, it is not for the reason of proving how mighty and popular we can be. If we were given provisions, it is not so we can be secured with our future. They were not given so we can use them according to our ambitions and wants but they were given so we can glorify God’s name, His will and His plans.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13 

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.” – Proverbs 15:33

UP, in all its diversified community and culture, has taught me the early doctrines of freedom by being a nonconformist and yet it is faith which molded me that it is God whom I should please by not conforming to the patterns of this world.

Thus, through the bittersweet memories with our UP Naming Mahal, I took an oath to serve God, serve my family and serve the country not through the standards of this world but of God’s. 🙂

Lastly, why God?

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” – John 15:5

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Matthew 16: 26

As you embark on yet another season in your life, may you not depart from the greatest wisdom of all time even greater than what the academe has taught you – His Word. 🙂

Praying with you in faith,

Christine Lailani G. Ginete-Rome ❤

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BA English Studies major in Literature, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman (04/28/2008)

Gifted: Extraordinary Trying To Be Ordinary

It is one thing to be great and yet it is another thing to be happy and fulfilled. Which of these two are you after? 🙂

Hubby and I watched the movie “Gifted” starring Captain America’s Chris Evans. I was captivated by the movie’s portrayal that not all individuals who have the potential to be “great” are subjected to society’s dictates that they be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates. It depicted how parents overlooked the fact that greatness is not equated to a life well-lived but only if the child be given the chance to live life by his/her own choosing – a great life or a life lived otherwise, simple and normal devoid of titles.

The story was set in a small town in Tampa, Florida and revolved around the life of 7-year old Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) who’s been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). Mary’s remarkable talent in Math was discovered by her 1st grade teacher and raised this concern with the school’s principal who then proposed to Frank that Mary be sent to a school for the gifted. However, this setup changed when a battle on custody between her uncle and grandmother took place. Mary’s grandmother intended on giving Mary full access on all resources to maximize her potential while her Uncle Frank, on the other hand, wanted to fulfill the request of his late sister (Mary’s mom) that Mary should experience a normal childhood. The story ended with the court’s decision that Frank be granted custody over Mary and Mary taking regular classes in a public grade school in the morning and taking high level college courses in the afternoon.

Special Education gave way in addressing these problems regarding special children or children with special needs. I was very curious regarding this branch of education back in 2008 when I worked as a communication assistant for the deaf and mute which then prompted me to pursue a graduate study in this field. My eldest sister graduated with a degree in Special Education also and I’ve heard her recount stories and experiences in dealing with special children.

Out of my curiosity to understand them better and the dire need to alleviate the challenges they go through, it led me to finding out that there are actually more of these children who are trying to live ‘normal’ lives out there. It is not only a constant challenge to these children but to their parents as well who try all the best they could to give them a normal life.

Nowadays, the idea of Special Education is not so new anymore in our society. For those who haven’t been truly exposed in what Special Education is all about, the general objective of it is good in all aspects. However, as practitioners of this branch of education, there are some challenges that Special Education still has to address in which researchers are currently exploring. This ranges from teacher competencies to the after-school support programs because education for these children doesn’t end in the four corners of the academe.

The demands are greater – demands for better understanding on a holistic sense i.e. emotional, social, biological, intellectual, behavioral, etc. Indeed, their education is referred to as “special” because they are not regular students who fit more or less in a standardized curriculum. With these children, however, the Individualized Educational Plan addresses their needs best, academically speaking. But there are other needs that should be met as well i.e. emotional, social, and behavioral development in which a Special Education school with special students alone may not be able to cater.

As with the case of Mary, she is intellectually gifted. But if we will focus on just unleashing her full potential just like what her grandmother wants, she truly may miss a lot most especially her childhood. It was portrayed in the movie that Mary’s mom committed suicide which, I assume, has something to do with her low emotional quotient though considered as a Math prodigy. This low EQ, I believe, has been sidetracked as the school for the gifted she attended focused more on improving the technical side of her intellectual giftedness not taking into consideration the other essential factors needed in order for her to function fully and normally as a human being.

This movie is an eye opener most especially to parents either of a special child or a normal one. Though we all have dreams for our children to have the best in life and give them the best opportunities around, what matters still is not the achievement nor success (worldly definition) they could have in this life but to live it according not to our standards as parents nor of this world’s but that of God’s. God knows His plans for our children. We just need to trust in Him that He will give us, parents, the right instructions to raise them well according to His plans.

And what does God say about gifts? My previous article will answer that. *wink* Or better yet, watch the entire movie. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer of the movie below. 🙂

 

Good Stewards of God’s Gift

This is a very quick article as I’ll be preparing for an exam and I am looking forward to busier days with (prayerfully) writing and teaching. In whatever case, all glory to God as always and may His will be done over all my plans. 🙂

To set the right tone for this article, allow me to share this bible verse first:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I consider writing and teaching as gifts wherein God has called me to serve Him and fulfill the mission He has tasked me to do. It has always been my all-time prayer that if God will give me a professional career, it will cater both the fields I am passionate about – writing and teaching.

I may not know how it will come about but my constant question too is how I could glorify His name in these fields. This blog supports my passion for writing and contains my testimonies about faith and been ‘teaching’ about it one way or the other.

But it also contains all the things that I am passionate about from hobbies, advocacy, quality time with people I love, movies, literature, cooking, etc. I am pretty sure you’re familiar with the term “hobby hoarder”  and I must confirm being guilty of that. 😀

However, it is not my intent to be a “jack of all trades, master of none” but it is out of my passion for learning too that’s why I became interested in learning these crafts. Some of them I may have acquired as a skill, some as a talent, and some out of diligence in being able to create something for someone.

The latter, I believe, is what 1 Peter 4:10 is all about. It’s never about the many things you can do and never a matter of glorifying self but how can you help others with what you have or what God has given you. Think of Albert Einstein or Bill Gates and other “gifted” inventors who contributed so much for the convenience and betterment of the human race and society. Though their achievements were recognized, I believe the “geniuses” in them aren’t just about being born lucky with it but that it has already been predestined by someone more genius than anyone else He created the entire universe with all its intricacies. But even if gifted with such great talent, it still depends entirely on how God will use that talent according to His plans.

In my previous article, I mentioned that it was my brother who inspired me to play the guitar as a hobby. He got the inspiration from my Mom most likely and out of his passion to learn the craft, he has learned the art of music by playing the guitar good enough to inspire someone like me.

I got influenced and had the same willingness to acquire the skill so he passed on the trade by giving me my first guitar and allowed God to teach me what I needed to learn along the way. Now married, it was my husband who showed his interest in learning the craft through me and so came the birth of his very first guitar. *wink* 😉

I believe it is a question of who do we serve with the gifts/talents that God gave us with.

NEVER should the talents be used to glorify self nor fulfill our own desires because it will root in on pride, selfishness, greed and discontentment. Pursuing ambition by means of talent can never be the case as well. Again, if God’s gifts were used solely to satisfy our own selfish needs, then we are not maximizing what God originally intended those gifts for – for the benefit of all.

For it was written,

John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Luke 9:23 [Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”]

Denying ourselves pleasures that only us will benefit makes us obedient to the calling that God has called us out. For it is only in the act of doing things out of love to our gift-giver can our talents and skills have complete meaning by aligning them to their purposes and roles according to God’s plans.

These two sketches are a request from hubby for his family which I was very hesitant to do at first as I feel inadequate in meeting their expectations. But I finally had the courage to do it because of God’s grace, my husband’s encouragement and my life verse which is, “For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13.”

Honestly, I hate to part with each of my art work as I feel a part of me has been embedded in every piece. lol Yes, I believe I really am that sentimental.

BUT it is of greater joy and complete happiness knowing that you are using what God gave you not for your glory but for His glory being good stewards of His grace – again, 1 Peter 4:10. 🙂

P.S.

I believe everyone has been gifted by God with something and it is not only through the hobbies in which one can serve the other.

If you are unsure what God may have given you and where He is calling you to serve Him and others, I encourage you to volunteer in one of the church ministries. The ministry may not be exactly what you had in mind as the avenue for you to completely use your gift in serving others but it might serve as the instrument in knowing completely where God wants to put you.

Of course, prayers mean a lot. I did mention in one of my previous articles that I was asking for God’s guidance and clarity in what He wanted me to do with the gifts He has given me.

I am praying you’ll find the right turf where you can serve others too may it be at home, at work, in school, abroad or in your homeland. 🙂

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Bro-in-law (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

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Parents-in-law (12″ x 18″ Pencil Sketch)

Resting in His Saving and Amazing Grace

“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.”

– Manuscript of Accra, Paulo Coehlo

I can see the cursor blinking in and out like an ellipsis….

So many words and yet so many ways to tell, undecided…

….how do I begin? 🙂

Yes, how do I begin testifying to a series of events that piled up already and yet I couldn’t find the “tugging” to post them until just now? *wink* Honestly, I still don’t have the slightest idea how to arrange the thoughts which have been sitting as a draft since February here in WordPress and share them. Yet I can only trust the Spirit’s leading on how the wordplay will come about in this post.

The posts in this blog for the past 2-3 years have been about nothing else but faith. This was how God intended it to be. Though for the first year of this blog I was grappling on what to write about, now, it is the other way around – I am battling with time for the numerous pending posts that I needed to write and post.

For March, it’ll summarize what went on from February until March. My January post summarized what transpired in the months of December and January. The month of March was about marching forward and yes, the character trait for March is CLARITY. As for February, it was AFFECTION  (do read January post for this one.) 🙂

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February: AFFECTION

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March: CLARITY

This might explain why I was missing in the blogosphere for the month of February and why this post is super long (sorry about that, friends). February was the month of settling things – again, not a coincidence, but I have learned to rely on God’s plans all along even though some are hard to accept, some are hard to understand, and some are impossible to achieve. But then, that is one tough responsibility of a Christian and that is everyone’s calling too – live by faith and not by sight.

Last December, everything was unraveled. It was a moment of choosing among a multitude of choices and tough decisions. Every flaw, every need and every concern were brought out in the open. I have thought for that moment it might seem such an endless feat of emotional roller coaster and yet God had been faithful enough.

Fast forward to January, the start of 2017 was also the start of the turnaround of events. When seasons change and the comfort zone is no longer part of the next plans, it could be daunting. But as it was written, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

February was a month jam-packed of events. When you are caught in a whirlwind of events, oftentimes a “soul check” may come as the least of your priorities. But in faith, it is the other way around – a “soul check” is necessary and should be the top priority before everything else. That was what happened in the last few months, a question of am I doing it God’s way or not. I’ll just mention a few and most of them actually were answered prayers – prayers that I never thought I have prayed and yet silently in my heart, I did. Only God sees our hearts, anyway.

Maybe that is the reason why fulfillment in those answered prayers never really came from receiving the actual answer to the prayer per se but more about how God listens and how great He is to provide even the most impossible. It was all about God in the end, never about our desires but a satisfied desire on both our end and God’s that thru this fulfillment, we have established a kindred spirit and a deeper and personal relationship with our Creator. It is all a matter of communicating between Him and you alone – the ONLY thing that He asks from us.

So let’s begin the long journey of disclosing in this online journal what traversed in my moment of hibernation in the blogosphere starting February.

The incident:

A convo between my husband and I took place wherein I asked him what is it that he wants best in this life. His answer made me smile and speechless at the same time making me wonder where he could possibly be generating all these answers. My best guess – the heart. Who really am I to judge, indeed? I don’t see the heart, God does. 😉

“I don’t want material things but eternal rest.” 

We came to that point wherein we had that (serious) husband and wife contemplation about priorities, the future and life in general. I can say that throughout the moments since I got saved, I did not regret any decision I have made which included my decision to marry. It is only through the entire duration of our years together as a married couple did I get to see why God gave me my husband in particular – I had so many answered prayers through my husband. It is either an answered prayer to that change I have been rooting to do internally but don’t have the guts to discipline myself or the big and small things that I have been wanting in my heart but never expressed them openly.

But God, once again, proved Himself faithful all throughout.

I have always wondered what if I married another man. Will he be patient, understanding and forgiving enough as my husband is right now to me and my circumstances? I oftentimes ask my husband how he feels regarding our situation and ask him to be patient with me as well and what I am going through. His answer was always a gentle, “I understand.” Though he would always say that, I know that he is sacrificing so much for both of us and as his partner, I have felt this inadequacy when it comes to fulfilling my role and my duties as a wife.

Starting the month of January until now, this was personally, for me, a season of instability. Firstly, every married couple gets to deal with financial difficulties and this season, my husband and I are going through with our own fair share. We have decided to finally move out from the apartment that my sisters and I have been living in for the past 20 years though it was only me who lived in the place for the last 7 years. We have decided to relocate near his workplace as it is more convenient for him and he gets to rest right away after work.

But this posed as a problem since I have no work when we both decided to move out and we are relying on my husband’s income alone for our daily expenses. If you’ll do the numbers from bills to necessities plus all the home stuff that we have to buy, the total suggested more funds. I did get a job. It was a convenient one but, unfortunately, it was not from my field of expertise and ironically, my water loo too – finance. Yes, it has something to do with numbers and money.

If you are wondering how I ended up in that job, I don’t know too. 😀 But I know God has a reason why because I got that job just 3 days after we moved in our new apartment. We were able to buy some of the basic stuff that we need at home. But as you all know it, I had to let the job go. I will not be able to give my best if it is something that I am not familiar with or is not my cup of tea. Numbers make me cringe and the fear of committing a mistake when it comes to computing plus the fact that it deals with money just proved that I might regret it later if I stayed longer.  Another thing too, the worry of it all just took the better part of me and stress replaced what used to be a hopeful and positive attitude – I first thought I should give it a try. Employment equates to stress but when I started having stomach problems, difficulty sleeping at night and puking for no reason at all, I know I have to make a decision.

I wanted to go back to teaching. It was actually the very reason I stated when I resigned. The calling of being a teacher is greater. But then again, we all know that a teaching job is even more challenging when it comes to classroom management, multitasking, time management, etc. Again, no employment is ever easy and stress-free. But then again, I did want to try it out. Here came the opportunity – I had everything carefully and perfectly planned out so I’d get the job. But here came unprecedented circumstances which for the first few, I was able to gain control over but it required my husband and me to stay up until past midnight. I was able to pull it off. The next day I woke up with my estimated schedule. Everything should be smooth sailing until news came that the MRT 3 broke down and became operational only at 8am. I didn’t give up. If commuting was not an option then I’d go for the GRAB car – I was wrong. Since majority of the stranded commuters chose other alternatives of commuting, traffic was inevitable and it was worse than the usual. I decided by then that I had to let the opportunity go because it only means that it wasn’t intended for me. If I still pursued it then most likely I’ll be going against the grain of fate and will meet more unfortunate events along the way.

I am well aware of the idea to keep on swimming ahead even if the vision before you is hazy or the waters seem to be too deep and troubled or the shore is nowhere to be seen, figuratively speaking. But I am also well aware that from what I have experienced so far, if everything seems to be failing even if you have tried all possible attempts in getting things right, it only means it is beyond your control and God has intended a different plan for you. It could be God’s way of preventing you from any future loss/failure, future pain, even more hassle and inconvenience than intended.

So I asked God why I can’t have a regular office job. That moment of quietude with Him and me asking all these sort of questions trying to make sense of what has happened and what is happening came to a final halt – a matter of life and death.

I have already mentioned this a couple of times in my previous blog posts and health wise, I know I have nothing to fear. In the recent medical checkup I came clear but if I am not cautious enough i.e. check my lifestyle, sleeping patterns, food intake, physical activity, etc., and all these accumulated through the years could mean my ending up in a hospital bed earlier than expected.

I have to be cautious with everything.

I am not claiming it but I know it as a fact that I am a carrier of cancer genes. It was a generational curse – it didn’t skip a generation starting from my great grandmother (we don’t know if it started even way before her generation) to my grandmother then to my Mom. They were all breast cancer survivors. Most likely you’ll tell me I will survive too. 🙂

Yes, by faith and by God’s saving grace I know I will. But then it should not be reason enough for me to be complacent. My great grandmother, grandmother and Mom spent most of their lives in the province – a laid back lifestyle, pure simplicity, a fresh and clean environment and less complicated than city life. I spent half of my life in the metro starting college which was the opposite.

Again. I have to be more cautious.

If you will notice, I referred to breast cancer in the past tense because I am declaring that starting from my generation, not one among my 3 sisters and I will have breast cancer how many years from now and that the future generations of our family will be free of this generational curse.

There’s another generational curse too that I am declaring for my family and relatives and the future generations in our blood line to be free from starting with our generation but due to its sensitivity, I chose to keep it confidential.

These generational curses have no cure – ONLY God can deliver us from these curses. Not even the fields of medicine and science have the capacity to provide a lasting treatment/solution.

But,

“We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.” – Our Daily Bread

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Another thing too, my husband and I have been trying to have a child but time declared we can’t have one as of yet. We did talk about it and he told me that whatever God’s will is, he is happy and content either way.

That, I absolutely and unquestioningly agree upon. I did tell him though that as much as I’d want to have a child, I wouldn’t want to raise a child and let him suffer in this world or be punished for the mistakes that his parents did or bear the generational curse passed on to him. If part of the sacrifice that we have to make in order to break the generational curse is to be childless, then we have to honor it.

But then again, it entirely depends on what God’s will is and what His plans are. Indeed,

“As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

The generational curses and the current situation my husband and I are going through both have one thing in common – stress as the triggering factor.

Looking back to what I had to give up, they were standards that this world dictated as what should be accomplished and yet it all equated to stress. When I gave up my graduate study, I asked myself if it is worth it especially when my eczema attacks started showing up again, I had to deal with black spots in my legs which lasted for how many months and I experienced tension headaches/migraines which lasted for 3 days twice a month. I also had to give up the liberty and privilege of working in the corporate world or in my field of expertise.

Do I have regrets? Certainly not. My decision to not conform to the terms of this world won’t rob me of my dignity and make me less of a woman, will it? My identity no longer is attached to those titles that this world offer but to the title that God has given me – His princess and His loving daughter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My situation now? God showed me other alternatives. I know God did not give me skills just to see them all go to waste until I die and not be able to contribute to this world and help humanity in any way – it’ll make Him unhappy. 😀 I told my husband he need not worry because there are a lot of home-based jobs available for me in the fields of teaching and writing, my two best fortes, if I really need to get a professional job as a means to get an income. There are so many of them actually in different fields of expertise and if I will be “takaw tingin,” I’d prefer having at least 2 since their schedules are usually flexible. BUT, God will definitely say “No.” 😀

In addition, I have witnessed a lot of female friends who shifted from being corporate employees to staying at home, being a full-time Mom and housewife with a home-based job, stressed also but FULFILLED receiving the same salary that she gets if she works in the office spending energy and time commuting, coming home extremely exhausted and has no time for her family.

Yes, fulfillment makes all the difference, right? Even if you are paid triple of what a regular wage earner gets if the fulfillment isn’t there, work will just be equated to work per se in all technical aspect of the term. Aside from that, “whatever it is that our hearts value, there our treasure will be also.” The bad thing about this is if we’re putting our hope on treasures that are temporary and will eventually fade away. Building relationships with people I love are important to me – quality time is my love language. I want to invest more in it – being with my family.

What else?

As of the late, my husband asked me if I could do commissioned work for my sketching hobby after I posted the sketch (next blog article) I did of him during his birthday last May 4. He told me that one of his Mom’s friends asked if I could do their family portrait and his Mom and brother also requested the same along with a few of my relatives and friends ever since I posted some of my previous sketches. My answer was an unsure “let’s see.” 😀

If God gives us a talent as a gift, He has a very good purpose behind it all and honestly, I am not yet confident enough to take my sketching hobby to a higher level. 😀 It’s been 15 years since I started this hobby out of my need to have an outlet when things and times get rough. I am not confident as well to tag a price in each of my art work. I intended to give them for free actually and make the recipient of the art work happy – my ultimate goal as an artist. But if God instructs I have them paid, then I believe I should. Now this, I need to really pray hard as I don’t want to disappoint those who have requested to have their sketches done and there are a lot of them pending requests already. I just need more time to pray to God about it and wait for His answers. *insert wide smile here*

Another opportunity also came about my putting up a restaurant/café after hubby and I made this special burger recipe and his brother insisted we make it as a business as he knows someone who can be our supplier.  I told him we talked about this option but we have chosen my hometown in Bicol as our business location – yup, you guessed that right, too far. My 3rd sister and I have actually planned about this already and came up with the concept for the café and went through the basics of business analytics and management and the only thing she said was that it won’t materialize if I am not there with her to get things started and to keep them running. One of my hobbies is cooking and experimenting with different recipes but eating the food I cooked is not part of them. lol I believe I am to blame if hubby gained a lot of weight after we got married. Ooops, not my real intention there though. 😀 I just want to cook for other people and it makes me happy when they are happy with the dishes I serve them. Again, this is another prayer for my prayer line when it comes to wisdom, guidance and instruction.

Honestly, I was never after the money nor the recognition – getting compensated for the things I love to do and the things that God has gifted me with in terms of talents and skills. I’d like to contribute and share them to society and be able to make every individual happy and fulfilled or if what I contributed could help them in any other way regardless if I’d get anything in return or not (awards, recognition, money, etc.). I only needed money for survival and for now, that is what my hubby and I needed – for our daily needs but never to satisfy our wants and live in excess.

Moreover, I told my husband that if time comes God blessed us with more than we needed, I will retain the kind of lifestyle I have now and would still prefer the same living conditions – not a lavish nor grand lifestyle but a simple, minimalist one. Again, by having only the things that I need and never the things that I want.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

But as we all know it, I can plan so many things, have so many choices and wonderful opportunities to choose from and small and big decisions to make and yet, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Thus, I rest my case. 😀

For all the generational curses, the lifestyle check, the shift in opportunities, the continued pursuit of God’s will in my life – they were not because I live in fear but because I have fear in the Lord and if obedience is what He requires of me in this season so He can usher me towards what He desires for my life, then I should, by all means comply, stop figuring out this life on my own and rest in His saving grace.

Solution? Pray harder and trust God and His plans even harder.

[In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”] – Ephesians 3:20

Oh and I think I forgot to mention that in my Paulo Coehlo planner-turned-spiritual journal, April’s character trait is COOPERATION and May is FAITH.

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April: COOPERATION

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May: FAITH

Did God say, “Tin, you must cooperate with me and have faith?” I think He just did that’s why I wrote this. *insert wide smile here again* 😀

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

P.S.

For the first quarter of year 2017, my life/planner went from having TOLERANCE (January), giving AFFECTION (February), to achieving CLARITY (March), giving COOPERATION (April) and last but not the least, having FAITH (May). 🙂

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promises.” – Hebrews 10:23

“God can be trusted to guide us.” – Our Daily Bread

“…the challenge is to trust (in) God’s ability to lead rather than in our ability to follow.” – Genesis 12:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Sweet Groanings of the Heart in The 4th Year Anniversary Special

Before anything else, I’d like to share this insightful article from Forbes especially for the young professionals:

“The Top 5 Regrets of Mid-Career Professionals”

So my Mom and I had a serious heart-to-heart talk about some things especially about my graduate study. It’s been taking far too long years are passing by fast and it seems I haven’t done anything productive at all nor made significant improvements not just in it but in my life in general.

So questions like what are your plans, what do you want to do now, where do you want to be when you get older, etc. came popping up.

Truth is, I wasn’t totally pleased with how my life has faired throughout these years. To most people it seems like I have wasted 6 years to nothing. But I think I am going to take back that word “displeased”  because doing a self-assessment, I am happier in those 6 years wherein I am in a limbo and in shambles or I thought I was.

First and most importantly, I found God along the way – I was born again. Second, I found love in this world and my better half unexpectedly – I got married. Lastly, a lot of changes happened internally – major heart reconstruction. These 3 are now my priorities which I was called to serve first.

So my Mom went on, “As parents we only wanted what is best for all of you and your siblings, a better and more successful life.”

I do appreciate this kind of love from my parents. I know when I become a parent I wanted what is best for my kids too.

She continued, “If you wanted to have a simple life though, nothing is wrong with that.”

Now this I loved from her even more. So I smiled and agreed:

“Yes Mommy, that is all I ever wanted in this life. I actually wanted to go back home in our province and raise my family there if God wills it. We wouldn’t have these ideals and values in life if it wasn’t for the humble beginnings of you and Dad in which you have raised us all. City life has far too much temptations and is way complicated.

I want my kids to have the same values and ideals in life too and I think I won’t be able to do that if they will grow up seeing that Brian and I pursue what this world offers as the meaning of success like wealth, possessions, achievements and titles.”

A “higher”  and more successful position/career requires more time at work and more work load. This is practically what graduate studies are for – promotion at work and/or career advancement. I may be earning much and I now have a title that society declares as prestigious but I have less time with my family because either I am too tired when I get home, I am bringing work at home or I have longer working hours in the office. My kids will only be young once and my husband is my top priority next to God.

Then memories of the day I had my altar call which was during the Singles’ Getaway in church back in year 2012 reminded me once again about what Pastor Dennis Sy discussed regarding priorities. He shared an experience between him and his wife who wanted to pursue her dream to become a medical doctor.

What he said made a mark in me as well (paraphrased already),

“Your degree/profession won’t be able to hug you in times that you are sad nor will it be beside you in times of trouble. But I can.”

She chose to let go. Priorities-wise, when we are called to be married and have families, they are to be on top. Indeed, these are the sacrifices that born-again spouses and parents have to make when it comes to priorities. I have read an article (I couldn’t exactly remember the title) by Mrs. Marie Bonifacio, wife of Pastor Joey, regarding the hierarchy of priorities: God, spouse, family, career and ministry.

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A great reminder. ❤

I love God, I love my spouse and I love my family – these are what matters in my case now. My career will have to come next and maybe my other ambitions will have to fade away. I am still seeking for God’s direction in this area though, a period of patiently waiting and enduring.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

There are those who were called to a life of leadership and excellence in the corporate world and professional industry among men and women alike. There are also those who were called to serve the ministry. There are those too who were called to serve their families. These are just some of the areas we were called to serve and we all fall in either of those categories one way or the other.

I believe this is the season that God is slowly clearing the view from obstacles so I could walk the path straight and yet asking me to get even closer and more in tune with Him. I trust God that He will guide me and my future family according to His plans. It may mean denying myself what this world offers at this point going against the norm and maybe going against the wishes of many which can be heartbreaking but I know in the end it will all glorify God.

I am, in fact, happier where God has put me now as long as it gives Him all the Glory and Honor He deserves. 🙂

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

P.S.

This might be my last post for this year or for a couple more years even (only God knows) because I am planning to do a social media hibernation in most of my social media accounts for I don’t know how long as part of my personal prayer and fasting. There is so much I need to pray for in my life including my current health condition, my family, my country and this world and I need to seek for God’s will and instructions without distractions and temptations just like what Jesus did.

So I am temporarily ending my 4-year activity in blogosphere and passing on the baton to the new generation of faith-based bloggers. Today’s the 4th year anniversary of this blog too and I got this notification the other day about reaching 500 readers who stayed patient enough in reading this faith-based blog. Kind of a great way to end a season, eh? *wink*  I believe this particular season has come to a temporary halt and God is calling me to a new season, a new task. Who knows, I might be back in just a week. lol 😀

( To God be all the Glory!)

But I am definitely sure I will be reconnected with you all again in God’s perfect time. So ciao for now my dear readers. Keep praying, keep on blogging and keep the faith always! ❤ 🙂

Sentimental: Who Am I?

I am down with my usual migraine attack (on its 5th day now) but this time accompanied by a high fever and eczema too. Whew! Kind of difficult to manage when every illness you have bolted in altogether. Though I have taken medicines yesterday, my husband nurse and the doctor at the university infirmary advised me to take a 3-5 days of bed rest for my follow up check up on Monday – limit physical activity. While in bed, I thought about writing something.

Speaking of my husband though, I appreciate him for his nonchalance. That is one thing I wanted to learn from him – how to maintain a worry-free attitude despite the disarray or when things have gone awry. I am, on the other hand, the exact opposite – I worry about everything! 😀  But through time, I have learned to control my worries and I’ll share how in the succeeding paragraphs.

I know there came in your life wherein you have never felt good enough – as a spouse, as a child, as a parent, as a student, as an employee, as a friend, as a relative, and ultimately as a person.

As a Christian teacher, I have learned that it is even more important to speak life than to criticize students. We might never know, we are already crushing the dreams of a young spirit because of the negativity. Though trials produce resiliency, positive reinforcement is still best. The world is already complicated enough, mainly because we, humans, made it to be that way.

Every person is different. Just like how every seed grows to be a different plant. Every plant has its own tender and loving care requirements. Yet all plants need sunshine, they all need light.

When I was a grade school student, I had my first taste of disappointment when I didn’t win as president of the student council and I was reprimanded during campaign along with the rest of my running mates for being late in Math class for just a few minutes and we weren’t allowed to enter the classroom. I took it as my responsibility to take the blame being the running President and seeing your peers crying out of shame was enough to make your heart broken to pieces.

When I was in high school, I had another major disappointment when I only graduated as “special mention”  in class after consistently being in the top 3 honors list from 1st year until 3rd year but failed to meet the criteria for the extra curricular activities which comprised a huge percentage of the final grade among other issues. One of my high school best friends suffered the same fate. We were advised by our parents to never receive the award during the graduation ceremony though our names were called because they said that we do not deserve it but we were there.

When I was in college, I wasn’t able to finish my thesis on time because I wasn’t assigned the right adviser from our concentration. After submitting my first draft, I got it back only to see red marks written everywhere and the one thing that was retained in me was this comment, “How did you reach this far if you don’t know how to make a research paper? This is not the work of a UP student!”  I thought, maybe I should also ask my former professors why they passed me in all my other subjects if I am undeserving to be in UP. Little did I know that is how that professor motivates her students – all of us, if not, most of us in that class received the same exact comments as I later found out from classmates.

Then I worked, a dream job it was. But disappointment once again arose. The mission and vision of the workplace weren’t met because one of the figures of authority behaved otherwise. I was the recipient of that unprofessional behavior and many have seen it. It happened a couple of times. I stayed and chose to keep quiet. But after praying about it, I had to let the job go.

So these were all hang ups of the past which I am sure most of us have experienced one way or the other. Others may have gone through even worse than all these and if given the chance, they are very much entitled to unleash their grievances as far as this world is concerned. But unfortunately, as much as we want to shake them off, they are already embedded in who we are.

All those years I have struggled with the need to impress, to meet expectations, to be perfect, to excel always and to prove myself to people. I suffered from anger and resentment boiling in me and the need to take revenge and retaliate is so strong. I blamed life for bringing me people who did nothing but criticize me for my weaknesses and only that and went beyond in criticizing who I am personally without even the slightest hint of who I really am and what I can do. This resentment and anger included some issues in other areas of my life too which I will not share due to their sensitivity. I really thought I was the unluckiest person alive back then.

For 27 years I have battled with insecurity, the by product of low self esteem and poor self image and self worth – the mentality that “I am never good enough.”  Failures, wrong decisions and disappointments became the stronghold that corrupted my entire being until it led me to a major depression – the breaking point as they say.

Depression robs you of the beauty of life. It makes life look bleak, bland and distorted. It affects your every decision and it just kills life itself.

No, I do not easily give up. I did arrive to that breaking point on the verge of quitting everything but I still fought hard against it.

I had two options: let the darkness corrupt me and become those people who plagued others or themselves with it OR choose to search for the light, the hope.

The opportunity came for the latter – I was given HOPE.

The greatest moment of my life was when I was born again through my faith. Why? It’s because when I found out who I was in Christ, that was the greatest and the best thing that I have heard about myself for 27 years.

It was on that day when I surrendered myself to Christ that ALL chains got loose – I was set FREE.

The moment already came for me to look at things in a very different perspective – a total paradigm shift. It wasn’t everything I hoped for BUT it is exactly what I NEEDED which no one else could give me except God.

This HOPE taught me even more than what I have learned in the academe or even from life itself. It taught me how to patiently wait for the right opportunities and how to patiently endure every set back. It taught me that there is a time for everything. It taught me to decline job offers and business opportunities that could’ve made me rich in wealth and possessions. It taught me to pass up on chances of earning titles that would have given me some sort of self-entitlement and self-fulfillment. It taught me to weigh options, sacrifice if I must. All of these if they will, in the end, forfeit my soul. 

It taught me to choose God’s will over mine. It taught me to rely on God’s plans than rely on my own understanding of the circumstances around me. It taught me to relinquish control and allow God to take over. It taught me that GRACE is a gift freely given even if undeserving. It taught me how to love others even when they do not deserve it too. It taught me to find joy, peace and contentment even when darkness, chaos and bitterness are all around. It taught me how to let go of the past and forgive. 

It taught me what true humility is all about. It taught me to be grateful always. It taught me that simplicity matters most in life. It taught me to look outwardly and consider what others are going through as well. It taught me that if there is a void that the atrocities of life have caused in me either by wrong choices or by fate, no one and nothing can fill it up except God.

I found this hope in Christ alone and I find strength in the Word every day which is my guide in this life – not any textbook, novel or company brochure.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Faith did not make my life free from criticism, condemnation, trials and suffering. Yet it gave me a way to view life beyond that – salvation in eternity.

I still find myself in situations I have stated in the first part of this article. But this time, I hear and watch them with a smile – they don’t know (yet) but now I understand. I have learned to understand that they, too, are still in the darkness driven perhaps by the need to compete, to be the best and to meet expectations dealing with insecurities and personal struggles too or to instil exactly what they went through to the next in line because they are still belonging to this world and its standards. I have learned to understand first where they are coming from and why they are that way.

There are times the past comes all rushing back, it haunts. Another disappointment will ruffle your feathers. The need to lash out and punish calls. But I choose LIFE. I will speak LIFE.

Because Christ has given me LIFE. He, alone, gave me LIGHT. It is my duty as His follower to use that light so others can walk in and with Him too despite the darkness around them.

Ah, yes. Them.

One day, they will be brought out in the light too. They will break standards, cultural traditions and not conform to this world wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing. They will choose to fight for faith and spread light when hope seems dim. That was the reason I was smiling because I was praying for them silently and I am claiming it all in the Mighty Name of Jesus who made it possible for me too. 🙂

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

P.S.

It’s been 3 years now since I got saved and when things don’t go the way I’ve expected them to be, I have this bookmark to remind me of who I am. I thank the sister in Christ who gave this when she facilitated a talk during my baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have carried it with me since then. The last verse listed is my life verse. 🙂

What matters – who I am in Christ. 🙂

Oh and yes, one new thing I have learned too from our couples’ bible study vgroup 2 Sundays ago (thanks Tito Tony and Tita Len for the wisdom) – the boiling water concept. If you put eggs in boiling water, they become hard. But if you put the potato in it, it becomes soft. I choose to be a potato – a couch potato. Kidding. *wink* 

Seriously, it only means that when life and circumstances knock you down, don’t bear any grudge and don’t be hard on yourself and on others. Instead, let it soften you, let it refine you and let it make you better. Be a better potato, I mean, a better man/woman. 😉

Last but not the least, reach out to God then God will send His people (spiritual family) to help usher you out of the ordeal. I am praying over your struggles too, my dear reader and brother/sister in Christ. ❤

Classics: Of Reading and Writing

While fixing my stuff, I came across an old textbook of mine we used way back undergraduate days. I browsed through it and while flipping its pages, something caught my eye. It was an excerpt and then I found yet another excerpt from major names in the field of literature. Beautiful essays, they are. I thought I’d share it with you just to have an idea where my passion for reading and writing came from. But in intellectual discussions and conversations, I merely listen. I listen, then I write. 😉

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Engraving of Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, writer, lawyer, and statesman. His philosophy of science concerning the use of inductive reasoning for scientific inquiry had a significant influence on later scientific methods of investigation.

OF STUDIES by Francis Bacon (excerpt)

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning, by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores [Studies pass into and influence manners]. Nay, there is no stone or impediment in the wit but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the Schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores [splitters of hairs]. If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers’ cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

WHAT IS A CLASSIC? by Charles Augustin Saint-Beuve (excerpt)

A true classic, as I should like to hear it defined, is an author who has enriched the human mind, increased its treasure, and caused it to advance a step; who has discovered some moral and not equivocal truth, or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered; who has expressed his thought, observation, or invention, in no matter what form, only provided it be broad and great, refined and sensible, sane and beautiful in itself; who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style, a style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new without neologism, new and old, easily contemporary with all time.

This last one was my professor’s paraphrased version of Francis Bacon’s “Of Studies.”  I loved her own style in rewriting it.

Of Studies by Francis Bacon

Studies are for amusement, for showing off one’s education in social institutions and for getting along with skill. For the purpose of amusement, studies are for occupying one’s private, leisure moments. For social situations, studies will allow one to show off how well he can engage in conversations. Studies can also help one make the right decisions, but only within each one’s limited field of expertise. But for more extensive advice and ideas on how to manage in different situations, the advice of the learned may be taken from different readings.

To spend all of one’s time doing nothing but studying is a form of laziness.To display how well-read one is in conversations is a form of pretentiousness or vanity. But to base one’s judgment on what one has learned from reading is all at the same time the sudden whim, the source of excitement and activity and usual habit of a scholar.

The writings of learned men show a way of improving oneself. These writings contain good advice which have been derived from experiences. The natural tendencies and abilities of man may be improved, disciplined or controlled by the knowledge gained from reading. Studies serve as a tool for self-discipline in the same way that pruning makes a plant grow better. Readings in themselves may give too many ideas, directions or advice. But they are to be taken according to how they have been used according to the writer’s experience and according to to how they can be used according to the readers’experiences.

Cunning men look down on what they read. They do not generally put a value on reading. Men of lesser intelligence admire what they read. Readings do not limit their value to teaching how valuable they are or how useful they are. Instead, they teach lessons and even encourage readers to observe and discover truths beyond those contained in the readings themselves.

Do not read only to argue against and disagree with everything that has been read. But do not accept and believe everything that has been read. Do not read for the sake of finding something that can be talked about. Read to understand and consider the value of what was read.

Books are food for the mind – some are to be tasted, meaning, read only its parts; some are to be swallowed, meaning they should be completely read without thinking deeply about their contents; and some books are to be chewed and digested, meaning they should be carefully analyzed, understood and appreciated. Books may sometimes be read through digests, summaries or commentaries prepared by others, but these are good only for less important ideas and works. Not reading a book completely and directly, and relying only on the summaries made by others deprive the reader of the full flavor, full essence and full mental nourishment that can be had from a thorough reading of the work. This can be compared to drinking distilled water, which is purified or strained. It is still essentially water, but all the flavor and mix of mineral elements are missing.

Reading makes a man well-rounded or well-developed. Discussion makes him alert and responsive. Writing makes him an accurate and critical thinker.

Sources:

http://grammar.about.com/od/60essays/a/studiesessay.htm

http://www.bartleby.com/32/202.html

Communication Skills, UP Open University

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: The Celebration

Hola, my dear beloved readers! 🙂

I’d like to start this very LONG article with a note of gratitude to God for making things possible from provisions, clear weather, safe travel everywhere and everything else in between. I’d like to thank my dear husband as well for every small and great thing he did for us. I do not intend though to share every wedding anniversary celebration that hubby and I have as there are some moments that make it to social media and there are those which do not. But I thought I’d give credit to our first year wedding anniversary considering that the first year for newlywed couples is the hardest when it comes to adjustment and settling of differences.

Thus, this article will be a testimony on how the grace of God manifested in our first year as a married couple but most especially how God made our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration extra special.

As it is written,

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

Amazing it is when a couple makes a really big and extra effort in putting God at the center of their marriage even though circumstances and schedules permit otherwise. If you are to ask me what are they, I’d give a few instances. One would be temptations. Numerous situations will tempt you and your hubby to behave in a manner that is not right with God. This does not just pertain to temptations of the flesh like lust but other temptations like fits of rage, harsh words, doubts, impatience and a whole lot more.

Another would be priorities. I believe most of us are guilty of this: prioritizing those that shouldn’t be. One example was when hubby and I were so engrossed watching movies or checking out social media stuff and then when it was time to hit the hay, we’re both too sleepy to pray. Or that moment when we’re supposed to go to church but we kind of miscalculated our schedules, we ended up doing household chores first.

For us, these were mistakes and/or realizations on how to put God at the center. Going to church is not enough. In fact, we learned that putting God at the center of our lives meant every single thing that we do whether at home, or in work or in school whether we are with each other or with other people, God should always be included. It has to be Him whom we should think about first and consider whether it would be pleasing and honorable to God or whether it is in accordance to God’s will.

I have shared in my first article regarding our 1st year wedding anniversary (1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: Mister and Missus) the nitty gritty details of our lives as a husband and a wife. But in this article, it’ll be more of the “greater learning”  that Brian and I have gathered in the 1st year of our experiences together. I haven’t mentioned yet the really not-so-good-stuff that he and I went through although I thought I’ll just give an overview on how most of them went – never good, always bad and sometimes worst.

The worst so far is something that you could think of as unbearable. Not just for us but for those who loved us too which made them intervene so it wouldn’t turn out to be THE worst. I am referring to our parents and our families. They are our mentors in this season. They’ve been there with us since the first day that Brian and I got married.

I couldn’t imagine my life as a wife and we wouldn’t be where we are now after multiple attempts of separating if it wasn’t for God sending these mentors and for all the advice, the encouragement and words of wisdom that our families have shared especially on my side. I felt I had to share some of the tough times that Brian and I went through with them to seek for counsel right away lest I become too emotional over matters and I would overlook important and necessary things.

It has always been my belief to seek wisdom in a matter of different perspectives and never one sided only. Relying on one’s own interpretation of situations could lead to a clouded judgment and in decision making, it is crucial that we get to see the bigger picture of what really goes on. Being a woman, my emotions tend to get in the way thus accountability partners are very much well appreciated on my part.

If there’s one prayer that I have for now, it is that God would continue to protect our marriage and continue to prepare me and Brian and provide all that we needed holistically so that we would be ready in any given circumstance when the enemy strikes. We always remind each other during a heated discussion that it is not one another that we are against but the forces of evil in this world.

I can only love and thank God that through our very trying times being married, God answered our call for help. All those desperate and hopeless times felt like there’s no better way to go through them but to quit and yet God never fails, His love never fails – He always remained faithful and true to His promises and His reminders are always there.

Thinking back of those times when we thought we were the cruelest, most selfish of people going through the most challenging situations ever did God teach us all about humility and submission. Forgiveness makes a whole lot of difference most especially if it is accompanied with sincere apologies and sincere actions of change.

Ahhh yes, those days were over. If they do come back, we know how to deal with it. We may not deal with it completely as perfect as how we should deal with it, but I know and I am positive there will be changes. This is God’s way of perfecting our faith in us. There will be more to come, but looking back, all I ever saw was one set of footprints and that is enough assurance that I have such a powerful God who can lift me up in whatever circumstance I am going through.

Now on to the testimony of our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration, I just don’t know how to express my gratitude and my happiness on how the Lord our God moved in behalf of us. AMAZING. Though this is not enough to describe it, that is the only word from my human vocabulary that I could think of to describe what transpired over that weekend.

August 17 was our anniversary date. It fell on a Wednesday. Brian and I planned our celebration the 1st weekend after that date. I was the one who made all the arrangements as Brian was busy at work and I, on the other hand, had an ample time to spare to inquire about this and that. I was also in charge with the budgeting and it is only Brian’s income that we’re relying on so I need to make sure we won’t go over the budget. So there was me searching all kinds of great but budget-friendly options.

The plan: have a dinner cruise in the evening, then an overnight-stay at the hotel. So there were only 2 items in our itinerary. Then came the cancellation of the dinner cruise as yacht was under maintenance so we were given options to choose among the dates they have offered and August 28 was the nearest from our wedding anniversary though it’s already 2 weeks away from the actual date.But I thought it wouldn’t matter anyway as it still falls on our anniversary month. I am not really particular about dates I even forget them, the special ones included. *wink*

So came August 17, and I thought we’re gonna treat it as a regular day since we’re going to celebrate it anyway. But lo and behold, to my surprise, Hubby arrived home from work braving the heavy rains and all the traffic with something in his hand – a bouquet of assorted flowers. Okay, now he and I had an agreement that I will only receive one flower from him in our entire lifetime together and that will be the first and the last as I will be preserving it – a memorabilia on preserving our love together as a couple. This was the rose that he gave me on our first Valentine’s day date back when we were still dating.

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When I saw the bouquet of course I smiled my widest, gave him a tight hug and a sweet kiss and then told him that he doesn’t have to. His answer was that he knew I will like them. So I teased him that now I have so many flowers to preserve and I am running out of glass canisters to put them. lol

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Well, I guess both of us knew what each of us wanted because I also made him a video which was a compilation of our wacky shots since we first met up to now. I showed it to him that night as well when he gave me the bouquet.

So now came the week before our final schedule for the celebration. That week had a pretty rough weather we were really running out of hopes that we’ll be celebrating the anniversary with a clear weather which means our plans will be ruined or we’ll make do of what we can. I never thought about canceling our plans but Brian wanted to move it to a later date.

Unfortunately we have limited options in doing so so I assured him to have faith, be patient, trust in the Lord and that we’ll continue praying. Come Thursday Brian was having pressing moments at work. I was sure he will really appreciate being able to do some adventurous stuff knowing the sporty person that he is. So I thought about coming up with another item in our itinerary – go to Rizal and have some nature and adventure fun in Daranak Falls. It was so out of the original plan but I checked the budget, we’ll still make it. I suggested the idea and he approved, excitedly approved actually.

I checked out reviews and blogs about the place and we came up with an itinerary. A few hours before we left, heavy rains still poured every now and then that my husband had dampened spirits too. I cheered him up when we woke up in the morning and saw the sun peering out. But hubby still told me it might rain hard for the rest of the day. We’re going to be doing a lot of road traveling and sight seeing and doing it on a rainy weather is a no-no as roads are slippery and we won’t enjoy the view anyway.

I once again comforted him that God has already answered our prayer request for a clear weather which we’ve been praying for how many nights in a row already. I told him that we should never give up along the way as my mentors would always remind me to look at the bigger picture, never on the road block or the problem that’s blocking the road or the view and to continue focusing on the goal and not on the journey. Our goal was to enjoy our wedding anniversary celebration in whatever circumstance.

So we ate an early breakfast and started heading out. Indeed, the Lord was faithful. For the rest of our first day/part 1 celeb, we’ve been given a clear weather. We’ve enjoyed nature at its best on a sunny weather. Just right because the falls were cool. If it was raining that day, we wouldn’t be able to withstand the cold water for long. But since it was a sunny day, hubby and I just had the best time having a hydro massage at the mini falls across the huge one.

Usually the place is flocked every weekend since it is just an hour ride away from the metro. But I guess since nobody expected for the weather to clear up right away on that day, there was only a small crowd (about 10-15 people) who was enjoying the resort with us. You could choose to roam around downstream, the huge falls, the river bed, the two smaller falls and you’ll still get a space for a nice shot without a photobomber. *wink*

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The splendor of Mother Nature.

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A very beautiful specie of butterfly fluttering around me while trying to take a good shot of her – the first of its kind.

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Here goes hubby’s epic jump!

 

Here’s a short video of our escapade there (do watch it at 480p):

God is good all the time, eh? But wait, that’s just the beginning of our itinerary. Because the 2 events we originally listed became 8. Well, I couldn’t count exactly because it all just happened out of the blue. We’re like going along the flow whichever God would want us to do and want us to have.

So we got to visit the windmills farm, the parola beside the lake (which I thought was a sea growing up in a coastal area), checked out the old historical church nearby and tried some local cuisine for snacks.

Everything went perfectly well even with how we managed the time (and expenses) and no traffic! Ha! Hubby was sure glad to drive with ease the whole time being surrounded with all the greenery. The car we used was Brian and his brother’s as they have another one for the family car. They share in using it but I told Bri to let his brother use it as they already have a baby and commuting with a toddler is tad difficult. Told him we will just borrow when there is a pressing need like this anniv celeb which happens only once a year. So praise God that the car was good to go as well for this event. 😀

When hubby and I got home, we started preparing for the part 2 of our celeb the next day which fell on a Sunday. Of course, Sundays are meant for God so if there is an itinerary, ggoing to church should be the first priority or if not, it should be included. We planned to stay at a hotel around Ortigas area after our dinner cruise so I suggested we attend church nearby or along the way to Manila bay.

Searched the Victory church website and found one at Robinsons Galleria mall. It has always been a habit for me and Brian to find a church nearby if we have activities lined up on Sunday. It was our first time at Victory Ortigas and every Victory church has their own communion schedule if I am not mistaken. We missed having one in our home church at Victory Katipunan for the month of August. But to our surprise, on that Sunday, it was communion day for Victory Ortigas. Yaaaay! Oh, the goodness of the Lord just goes on and on. A blessed Sunday it was as the events lined up on that day was also the “meat”  of the celebration.

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Early birds at Victory Ortigas.

After church, hubby and I decided to go directly to Manila bay for our dinner cruise. Guess what too, the new yacht assigned to us caters only a small group of people meaning it will give the guests a more exclusive experience. The yacht looked great too. We were supposed to be served a full-course plated meal with iced tea but since the yacht was small, they changed the caterer and the sea was expected to be rough these months too so they served them in bento boxes. But I preferred it this way because I don’t like my food spilling over my plate when the yacht changed courses or worse, spilling them over my dress. That is my worst nightmare during a date. lol BUT the best part which was not included in the package was a complimentary refillable glass of wine being offered to guests. Yaaay again!

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Welcome aboard!

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Aboard M/Y Selina.

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God is so full of surprises, ain’t He? So hubby and I were enjoying our dinner cruise moment and 1 hour was just not enough especially if you’re gonna take photos around the yacht, eat and drink. Or maybe we were having so much fun we totally lost track of the time. *wink*

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The view of the bay from the yacht.

So final verdict? We’re definitely going to relive the experience but on a summer night AND when there is a pyromusical event at SM Mall of Asia. Now that gives you an idea how you could spend a romantic date with your special someone too. Let’s share the love, shall we? We say, cheers to that! 🙂

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After dinner we went to SM Mall of Asia to catch pokemons. lol But nope, I am no pokemon go player. My husband tried it out of curiosity thus tried to catch some while we’re still in the area and ordered our favorite fraps at Starbucks located along the boulevard. Now it was late already when we got to Richmonde hotel where we will spend the night away.

Entering this classy hotel will make you lost in translation. I was totally loving the hotel’s elegant interiors probably because I like earth tones when it comes to color choices and gold never fails to magnify the sophistication of every item like black. It was actually the color motif of hubby and I for our dinner date – yellow/gold and black.

We went inside our room which was very cozy by the way and it matched the elegance of the hotel’s lobby. Since we were dead tired because of the previous events especially hubby who was diving and swimming his heart out in Daranak falls, we’ve thought about having a massage. We tried the 90-minute Swedish aromatherapy massage at Nuat Thai near the hotel and I found myself giggling, not because of the massage, but the snoring client beside my room. lol

Well, I couldn’t blame him. The massage was so good, so therapeutic and relaxing it’ll really make you doze off. I am not really a massage lover but I appreciated it so much in a way that it made me so calm and relaxed after the session. Hubby said that he, too, fell asleep. Hmmmm, was he the one who snored?! lol 😀

I didn’t know massages can make you go hungry. *wink*  So afterwards, we went ahead and had a tapsilog meal at Rufo’s. When we got back to the hotel we were just so drowsy and we understood why, it’s already 1am! Okay, it’s really time for taps.

The next day/part 3 of the celeb we had our sumptuous and delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel’s cafe. We had no photos as we don’t want to break the sophisticated atmosphere with us taking selfies everywhere. We felt like it’s inappropriate especially when expats were eating beside your table. *wink*  We then decided to take a swim at the hotel’s heated pool and we couldn’t capture a pretty decent shot lest some of the guests might be irritated if they’d find out their faces were included in the photo without their permission. I happen to have one taken but a lady just made it in time as a photobomber. lol No offense though, it oftentimes happens. *wink*

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His signature squint, my signature pout. 😉

By the time we finished our morning dip at the pool we headed back to our room and prepared for the check out. We decided to have the car washed, loaded up and went on our way home sweet home. Then, it began to rain. 😀

Alas, we’re now finally at the comfort of our quaint little home. This home of ours was a little apartment that my siblings and I shared starting when we were all studying in college. When my eldest sister and brother got married, my second sister worked in Norway and my third sister went to our home province to be with our parents, I was left alone. So now my hubby and I are occupying this place.

I always tell my husband that it is such a privilege for us to live in this minimalist and simple home. We had nothing to worry about the stuff that we needed and my siblings and I used to take turns in doing a house makeover every now and then. So many memories are in here thus it is always a reminder for us to take good care of this humble abode. I used to hate cleaning but I love it now especially when I see the aftermath. We do have plans of getting our own house but we’ll have to wait and trust God and His right time with that. 🙂

The events during the weekend went on smoothly and we’re still right on track with our budget. The provisions of God do overflow when you share what you need to give and you have faith that only God is the sole provider of everything. Besides, it’s better to give than to receive anyway. *big smiles there*  Everything was planned out perfectly because God planned it that way. I am just extremely thankful for everything. We just have a great God, haven’t we?

I couldn’t imagine how Brian and I managed to celebrate it with so much ease, no worries and no hassle knowing we were relying on his income alone for our expenses; secondly, his schedule at work was difficult to arrange and lastly, the weather didn’t go well a couple of weeks prior to the celeb. It was a combined celebration of simplicity and elegance, adventure and sophistication, nature and man-made – the perfect balance.

It actually doesn’t matter what are the particulars when it comes to celebrating special moments with a loved one. The good and bad memories that you and your spouse build every single day are enough to remind you of the love that you have for each other which is more important than any celebration in every marriage. Love rules, love wins, and love is all that matters. (I think I heard myself singing that. lol)

But the truth of the matter is that a marriage requires this – FAITH. When it comes to faith, I only have these two to think about:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. – Hebrews 12:22

Keep the faith ALWAYS too, my dear brothers and sisters! ❤

Much love,

Tin and Bri

For The Love of Teaching

I am a teacher and yet I am also a student. That is, a student of life – I learn from life experiences. Technically though, I am a student.

I was advised to take a penalty course alongside my thesis for overstaying in the university where I am taking my graduate study. We have the privilege to choose which subject are we going to take and I opted Art Education being a lover of arts in all medium – visual, dance, language, music, etc.

We haven’t met our professor yet but when I saw our course syllabus, I smiled and thought, “I like this professor.”  Not that there are professors that I don’t like because honestly, I loved them all even though back in college I had harsh experiences with some of them. I love them for the sake that without them I won’t be where I am now and I won’t be who I am now. I appreciate what they teach may it be in a terrifying or encouraging manner. It doesn’t make any difference at all anyhow – the important thing is I have learned. But if I am to choose though, I’d still want to be a teacher who uses positive reinforcement. 🙂

Going back to Art Education, you might have wondered what made me assume that I am going to like my professor. It is because of this, the one which I encircled in red. It may sound simple enough but we share the same advocacy:

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Amazing our God, isn’t He? He not only gave me the course I wanted, but even more than that. It is always hitting two birds with one stone when God does His ways. I can only hope and pray though that more educators will become like my professor – teaching how to set the limit and the balance in preserving and conserving the natural in the midst of the ever developing modernity through man-made technologies.

I saw myself in my professor. I was given the opportunity 3 years back to teach Grade 3 and 4 pupils in a private school as their sub teacher in English. I have always loved reading and writing even when I was a kid. Why reading? It enhances critical thinking skills and improves vocabulary, creativity, and imagination. Why writing? This is the avenue to use the vocabulary learned while reading so it would be stored up in the memory bank.

I wanted to gauge the students’ English vocabulary so I gave them an activity which will test their visual learning and writing abilities. In a sheet of bond paper, I printed various photos of different kinds. I asked them to write their answers at the back of the bond paper to encourage recycling. They are to write a paragraph of at least 5 sentences wherein they will make a story out of all the photos coming up with one coherent essay. In short, they have to connect each photo with the other to come up with a story line.

I advised that the mode of writing is freestyle meaning they do not have to follow any criteria other than what I have instructed above. I personally love learning outside the box so I am in favor of social and experiential learning wherein learning is not just limited inside the classroom nor textbooks. I tend to miss out a lot of details in the instructions when I was a student so I know how it feels for a student to strictly adhere to teacher’s instructions and guidelines. *wink*

When it was time for the worksheets to be submitted, I couldn’t contain my excitement to read all their works. I was expecting I’d be seeing really fascinating stories knowing that children of today’s generation are more cognitively advanced than the generation my age. My expectations were all met – I found myself laughing out loud with all their brilliant ideas. That is, when you let kids be kids. *smiles*

Most of the kids had fun doing the activity even for those who were kinesthetic learners and opted to add more to the illustrations in relaying their stories or those who preferred to share them verbally just because they learn best when there is physical activity or movement. Now for this latter, this is a challenge since in teaching, there is no “one size fits all”  medium of instruction. Lesson plans and activities have to be prepared and presented in a manner that will meet the needs of most students regardless how diversified they may be and depending upon their learning styles. Not to mention the values and discipline that they have to acquire in class.

This may sound too challenging to a teacher and even more challenging if you are to teach in a public school (my next article). BUT if the passion for teaching is there, the greatest reward is nothing more and nothing else but to impart knowledge. 🙂

P.S.

Sharing some of my former Grade 3 students’ works:

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Movie Feature: “Homeless to Harvard”

I was browsing YouTube for music videos when I saw this in the recommended list. There were about 3, 903, 503 views already when I checked it out. The first few scenes made me a bit sentimental already but the scenes portray so much of what real life is all about it is such a total miss if I do not watch it – the more realistic, the more interesting and inspiring. It is in actuality a true to life story. 🙂

I do not plan on making this article as a movie review so you’d watch the whole thing, but I just want to highlight the role/s of the teachers in this film. I can totally relate to them. Though I do not have an extensive teaching experience (yet) in my work background, I do felt that it is my calling to teach and not just teach but teach those who have only smaller chances of making it out to a better and brighter future. It is about giving chances and about the fact that our circumstances can never define our destiny. It is actually our choices that lead us to our destiny.

This has always been my prayer – not for me but for these young minds and young hearts. ❤