3 Days to Know God

…on a deeper level. 🙂

Day 1

Though I am on complete social media hibernation, I still felt the need to record these thoughts over my phone’s notepad. But if you saw my Twitter account active during these days with posts from YouTube, that’s because I was browsing and listening to worship songs for my prayer and quiet time.

It is Day 1 of the Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and after submitting an exam for a job application and before bedtime, hubby and I watched the movie John Q.

I was bothered how injustice and inequality can really make things look distorted. Thus, I had these questions in mind which were included in my prayers:

*Why are health services not free?

*What happened to EFA (Education For All) all throughout these years?

*Is life really unfair?

*Why should most things be about or are connected to money when money is the root of all evil? – Answer: We need money to survive but we also need self-control and discipline to have the right attitude in handling money matters and not be overtaken by greed and all sins related to money.

I haven’t received the answers for my other questions yet so I’ll just get on with how day 1 went. I was opting for a once-a-day meal but unfortunately after having an upset stomach with loose bowels for the past days, I need to eat regularly. But this time, I have decided to limit my rice intake to 1 cup per meal only. And no, I eat at least 2 cups of rice in every meal. I just don’t get fat and I don’t know why. 😀 Eating 1 cup of rice every meal though will send me to a major weight loss program towards anorexia. lol

Day 2

“Father, I come before you with a grumbling stomach…” 😀

I was browsing for recipes to cook for my husband’s dinner and I can hear my stomach grumbling its complaints. Imagine how hard it is to resist eating more than your usual food intake, but you had to RESIST the TEMPTATION.

It is lunch time but I’m still praying and having my devotion thus I blurted with a grumbling stomach and yet I had to CONCENTRATE. I had to wear earphones while I was about to start praying because the noise around, though very minimal, still distracted me.

But while I was browsing for instrumental praise songs, a recommended video/news about my favorite Korean actress Song Hye Kyo and Descendants of the Sun co-star Song Joong Ki getting married just popped up! An on-screen couple that turned to a real-life couple is just an amazing love story. So just imagine me beating those two, TEMPTATION and CONCENTRATION – the temptation not to log in on IG and all my social media accounts to share the news as I am on social media hibernation being part of my fasting and concentrate on finishing my devo. But if guided by the Spirit, you’ll know what to do – a rebuke will always be there. 🙂

I started eating my meal and I actually made a discovery. When you take time to appreciate every single item in the food before you eat it, it will give you that moment to savor every bite instead of gobbling all the food up. Appreciating every morsel and every ingredient from how God sent the rains to water the crops to the farmers who nurtured the crops, then the ones who transported it will help you resist man’s innate instinct of just consuming what its body desires. Our initial reaction when we see food is to eat it and consume right away.

On a side note, I also got news that I was scheduled for a job interview (a major career shift) and so I end the 2nd day with this and these running thoughts:

“Let the TRUTH be told in whatever season I am in, in whomever I become, in whatever I have.”

“More of you God and less of me.”

Day 3

“If love is so enormous in our lives, there’d be no space for hatred.”

I woke up with this thought in my head and just to give you a trivia, these are the thoughts that usually spark up an article. All my articles came from a single thought. But sometimes my thoughts can be so scattered. 😀

In another news, this day I was scheduled for yet another job interview for the next day which is Friday (today as of writing). This was part of my faith goals for this year and one of the things which I have been consistently praying for.

A thought also came during the praise and worship for the last day of fasting which was about praying for the community and I would just like to share the following experiences and musings regarding this.

I have made a discovery while I was browsing through new places around the neighborhood where hubby and I just recently transferred. I was a bit shocked and just a little bit dismayed that the community has been tagged as the “sex tourism” capital of the city. But upon seeing new establishments (and good ones they are) being built around the area from pretty nice restaurants to condominiums, I know and I am happy to know that God is going to do something great with this community.

The same thing happened to a situation wherein I almost passed up an opportunity because I saw something that I know will offend God. And yet if God brought me in these places and opportunities, I need not be worried, afraid nor doubtful about what I see on the outside. I need to see behind the enemy’s lies that this is corrupted and evil because in the eyes of God every single human being is beautiful, every one is given a chance, every thing has a GOOD purpose no matter how opposite the outside appearance or the first impression may look or seem.

I asked myself though, will this (being in a community/organization known to be corrupted) taint my reputation as a Christian?

The answer came just instantly: I was already made right in the eyes of God when I was saved, God already knows the condition of my heart I need not please the world. I will please Him if I accomplish what He has tasked me to do in this particular season, place and opportunity.

Reputation is something that this society is so concerned about and yet no one has the right to judge anyone except our God. This should not be an excuse though to sin and conform but to remain firm in the faith and become the “salt and light.”

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 

I can never judge the community I am in nor that opportunity which came along. In the same way that Jesus socialized with the drunkards and what society tagged as the “outcasts,” we must also do the same by helping and serving them while remaining true to the faith. Jesus never thought of them as different, He sees them as ‘sick’ people needing ‘treatment’ and yet He waited for the opportune time when God will change these people’s hearts. He was sent here not to condemn this world but to do only what He was tasked to do – share who God is and what eternal salvation is all about.

Jesus saw in these people what our naked eyes couldn’t see, a beauty that is skin deep –  the soul. Whether someone is a drunkard or a prostitute, to God he/she is flesh and blood with a soul. He sees Himself in us because He created us. He sees the GOOD in every one of us no matter what ‘tags’ society has placed on us.

I am always fascinated by this quote ever since I stumbled upon it:

“It is easy to love a rose but it takes a great heart to include the thorns.”

God loves us COMPLETELY. It is this kind of LOVE that John says as NO GREATER LOVE than this. It was this kind of love that became a SACRIFICE and set all of us FREE from the sins of this world. And it is this very same LOVE that is working its way out through you and me each and every single day.

I can love a fellow Christian but I even have more love for those who are not because I saw my old self in them and I know that they, too, will experience this love that I have, they will be given a new LIFE and a new NAME.

If I speak of hope then they shall too. If I speak of life then they shall too. If I speak of love then they shall too. They will rise as I have risen in the same way Jesus have been raised from the dead. I have a GREAT HOPE that we will all rise with Him one day. Thus, we patiently wait. 🙂

P.S.

Great opportunities came along today too (7/7/17) career wise. And just to share, it was 8/8/08 when I got my first big blessing as a working professional. There really must be something with the numbers. 😉

Ah yes, the moments of His silence, my steady prayers and patience – the Lord is indeed FAITHFUL with His PROMISES in His RIGHT TIME. 🙂

What an awesome day today to break my Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and the start of the last 2 quarters of this year. My last prayer is that may God continue to speak through our lives and may we continue to bring Him all the GLORY and HONOR that He deserves always. ❤

Oh and one very, very last thing in this postscript. (Promise!) 😀

A praying mantis visited our bedroom walls tonight. It’s a very rare sight for me living in the city half of my life. I only see them when I am in the province in Bicol where the air is clean and less polluted.

Well, it seems to me that it says of only one thing – if this praying mantis made it alive in the polluted, dirty and chaotic environment and still remained as pretty and as unblemished of a creation as it is, then I guess it speaks the same of us. If God can take care of this praying mantis, what more of us, His greatest creation. 🙂

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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. 🙂

 

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. ❤

A Father’s Day Special: Courageous

This movie review is a Father’s Day tribute to honor the roles of the father in the family and in society. If you are wondering why I don’t have a Mother’s Day tribute here in my blog for this year, hubby and I went home to my province and celebrated it with my 69-year old Mom and 91-year old grandma – two great matriarchs in my family.

Time has it that I can’t visit my hometown again and celebrate Father’s Day this June 19 with my 76-year old Dad. I thought about honoring my Dad here instead. Since he is not updated with the technology-driven world, he’d probably joke around saying what I wrote about him over social media will already “expire”  before it reaches him. Yup, funny, my Dad is. 😉

Even funnier when you see this photo of us around year 2011. 😀

Before I proceed with the movie review, I’d like to share some snippets on who my Dad is. My brother wrote an essay about him 11 years ago which was selected as one of the articles read at the graduation rites of my brother’s class (Sanlingan 2005)  in the Philippine Military Academy. When the announcer started reading Kuya’s essay during the ceremony, there came the gushing and shedding of tears – our tears. It did bring us all to tears because my brother was right, our Dad is “The Unsung Hero” and yet loved and respected by all.

Taken inside the cockpit of the Cessna aircraft during Kuya’s Naval Aviation Group Graduation year 2010.

Our Dad is a man of few words and yet he cracks the silliest of jokes. He is seldom the disciplinarian and yet when discipline comes from him, we all remembered this need to hide as his discipline would mean leaving a mark for the rest of your life. He seldom gets angry but when he does, it is the kind of anger that you would not want to see.

I am grateful though to my Dad for this thing called “discipline.”  If it wasn’t for this, our lives might be in a total mess right now, without direction. Now that I am a believer, I have learned that discipline in a family is very important not to show who’s the boss in the household but for parents to guide their children in the right way and in the right things only because they love them and only wanted the best for them. Just like how God disciplines and rebukes us, a Father to His sons and daughters, so we could live fruitful and better lives.

My Mom is never the stage mom type and when I was in grade school, I was always invited to participate in dance numbers, presentations, oral declamations, etc. So you’ve probably guessed who was with me most of the time in those instances – my Dad. 😀

It is a #FlashbackFriday today so please allow me to backtrack a little bit further to when I was in grade school just to share some photos of moi and the extra curricular activities I have mentioned:

Sitting in with the Grade 1 class as I am still a year younger.

Preparing for an ati-atihan folk dance number when I was 6 years old. That’s me second to the right.

Before there was Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Before Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Grade 3, Star Scout Camping. There’s another star scouter wanting to have her photo taken with me before our dance number – except that she became a photo bomber. Tsk, too late. 😀

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls.

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls with childhood friends and classmates. That’s me in the middle wearing a white shirt.

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Playing the role of a bridesmaid.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role Thisbe in the Greek story "Pyramus and Thisbe."

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role of Thisbe in one of the stories in Greek mythology, “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

I’d just like to give credit to my Dad for being our all-time photographer – these photos and memories wouldn’t have been made possible. Nope, I am not a Daddy’s girl and I do not consider myself as one. I never experienced being so absolutely clingy to my Dad but at some point I did feel a deeper connection with him more than my Mom when I was in high school. But when I got into college, I felt that both my parents did so well in raising us all and they never had any favoritism on any of us five siblings.

I believe one thing that I am forever grateful to God is the fact that I grew up with both my parents present through every milestone that we went through. Though we all had to leave home when we all went to college, we always look forward to the days wherein we will all come home together and both our parents are there to welcome us.

As for my Dad, I admired him for being a civil engineer by weekdays and farmer by weekends (tending farms is difficult)  just to make sure we have enough for all our expenses as a family while Mom was a grade school teacher on weekdays and stayed at home cleaning, gardening, cooking and doing take-home work on weekends. But this kind of setup didn’t mean Dad had no time for us at home. It was, on the other hand, quite the opposite. Despite juggling through a lot of responsibilities at work and at home, my Dad made sure all our needs (not just material things)  were well provided for including emotional support, bonding time, etc.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ;-)

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. 😉

I’d like to share at this point a little trivia on me – I was Daddy’s little maid. We all are actually but I believe it is more of a “youngest”  thing. *wink*  Yes, every time he is cutting grass in the garden with the lawn mower and he was all sweaty, here goes him calling out to his “errand girl”:

“Nen (my nickname which is short for Nene)! Please get me a glass of cold water and towelette and wipe my back dry from sweat.” 

Then after a hard day’s work at the farm, here comes Daddy calling me out to give him a back massage while he is resting. When I was little, back massages for my Dad means I am to do my “cat walk”  on his back while he’s lying face down. Well, that was before I was skinny and little. When I grew older, it became the regular back massage.

It was only when I was in college and the only child in the family still studying that my parents were able to gather enough funds for our house to have it completely constructed – the product of all their hard work, patience and persistence. But it is more than just constructing a house that they have built for they have actually built something greater in us over the years.

Reminiscing our younger moments spent with our parents, we saw and we were taught how to value hard work over riches and accumulation of possessions, quality time with loved ones than splurging and being with a lot of people on grand occasions, and being content with whatever we have. They didn’t particularly instruct us with bible verses on how to live our lives but now that I am slowly learning the bible day by day, I realized that my parents brought us up according to the Scripture – live life simply with fear in the Lord.

To end this part, I’d like to share this text message that my Dad texted me about a current challenge that I am going through. This was in the vernacular (Bicol), so I’d just translate it for you:

“As long as you trust in yourself, you trust in God and if it is meant for you, it will and it will come.”

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Of course, Mom also has something similar regarding another event which I informed her yesterday:

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Never mind the exclamation point because my Mom wasn’t angry nor excited, she just wanted to emphasize the last statement. That is how my Mom texts – stressed words in capital letters accompanied by exclamation points at the end a.k.a. generation gap. lol I’m just kidding. It’s a good thing my Mom doesn’t read this. But if she does, errrr, love you Mom! 😀

Another thing, praise God for Skype – long distance relationships now have been made easier to deal with. My Dad, through me, might sound like such a perfect man to anyone reading this. But honestly, like any Dad in this world, he is not perfect either. Well, let’s just say he’s just close to being perfect. I chose to see him that way despite his imperfections. He is our hero, anyway.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

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Year 2012 portrait of Mom and Dad. 🙂

Now on to the movie review. This is by far one of the best movies I have watched with the main focus on fathers. If I have to commend the Kendricks brothers for producing such great Christian films, that is for the reason that majority of the scenes portrayed all depict real-life situations. Although we can say that some were tweaked to fit the entire theme of the movie, I wouldn’t give it much of a consideration actually. Moreover, if all the scenes were to happen in real life, some may take quite some time to take place and not according to how the movie scenes have been sequenced and yet what is important is the lesson behind it according to the Christian faith.

Not all relationships and marriages are the same. It always is a case to case basis and yet watching it now made me know what to expect and what to do if time comes I’m walking on similar shoes with that of the movie characters. I highly encourage all the young men out there, fathers, and soon-to-be fathers to watch this film and I am praying they, too, will step up to the place that God has called them to be – to be Godly leaders or future leaders of their homes. My husband and I watched it together and what he blurted to me after watching was this,

“Honey, can you look up on the internet for more movies like that?” 

Ah yes, that’s an affirmation, a positive response. I was just glad that was the kind of response that the movie elicited from him. I wasn’t expecting anything at all regarding my husband’s reaction though I did my research what the movie was all about prior to watching. I just thought we’ll view it like any regular “chill time”  movie that we come across and watch during rest days.

Praise God for sending the Spirit and the guidance (preparing the hearts, minds and souls) how to take the movie in. I only recommend movies if I rated it with 5 stars (very good)  meaning it made such a life-changing impact on me i.e. how I view things, my perspective and reactions on certain things, my lifestyle, attitude and character, etc. No second thoughts, no hesitations, I am definitely recommending this.

Hubby and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and we both agreed this is such a perfect movie to watch on Father’s Day. Thus, I’ll cut this short for now and let you watch it but first, don’t forget to shower your Dad with much love and appreciation on his special day as a father. 🙂

The Ginete family at Dad’s ancestral house circa 1993 and my favorite sheepish, no-teeth smile which I never seem to outgrow. 😀

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE FATHERS and most especially to my ONE, GREAT FATHER from up above, FATHER GOD! ❤

RESOLUTION

“…I now believe that God desires for EVERY father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven.

A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women, who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this, and mock it. Or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.

Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead, they will live for themselves, and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did NOT do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same.

And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives, but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous, to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will.

Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will.

I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say I will. I will. I will!”

– Adam Mitchell, COURAGEOUS

Do You Have A War Room?

For I certainly need one. 🙂

First, my apologies. I promised to write this after the “tugging” article and yet another article came before this and another one more.

God’s plan – additional relevant info came in along with the recent events which will be discussed at the latter part of this article.

So I thought it better there’d be a “war room”  in churches. If Muslims have a mosque, Catholics have a confessional, I believe born-again Christians should also have a “war room.”  We are all united by one God and we all serve one God. If I am not mistaken, we have been called as “The Prayer Nation” too.

This “war room”  will offer 3 options to believers whichever they are most inclined to do:

1. Pray in the war room alone if a quiet, personal time with God is needed and yet a war room is not available at home, at work or in school during the midweek.
2. Beside a war room there is a prayer box in case they felt the need for more members of the spiritual family to pray for them and yet do not have the courage to meet them personally.
3. Beside the prayer box is an instruction what to do and who to contact when a dire need is there to talk to a spiritual leader regarding a very urgent and pressing concern i.e. life and death, demonic possessions, safety, hopeless cases, etc.

I have envisioned “war rooms” placed in every city which would be similar to the garden that Jesus went to before the crucial moments of His arrest. I thought it better that every church in every city would build what I call a “A Place of Serenity” where it’ll give peace and solitude to those who desperately seek it.

I got this idea from Sagada in the Mountain Province in the northern part of the Philippines wherein it is flocked by visitors who needed to break away from their busy lives and busy environments and I personally call it as “The Prayer Mountains”  based from the experiences of friends who’ve had their “enlightenment”  there.

Unfortunately, it is a 6-hour drive from the metro – something that not everyone have the privilege to do on a regular basis. I thought why not create something like it within the metro but as compared to Jesus’ garden and Sagada, this place of serenity within the metro will be built adjusted accordingly to the demands of the city lifestyle – crowded, busy and noisy.

It could be a small parcel of land, turned into a garden i.e. landscaped and surrounded by trees and at the center will be a building or any structure that holds cubicles built in the same way as recording studios (sound proof) with nothing else inside it but a chair, a table, a pen, a paper and a bible.

Why these 5 things only?

First, God will give His instructions as prompted by the Spirit through the Holy Scripture. Second, a chair and a table are another option if one does not want to kneel while praying, there is a physical disability or an elderly. Lastly, a pen and a paper will be needed for documentation if one needs to write a specific bible verse that the Spirit has prompted or if there is a need to write down his/her prayer requests so more members of the spiritual family can pray over them. This can be dropped in a prayer box which I have mentioned in item 2 above.

This idea of a “war room”  came after watching none other than one of the best Christian films I have watched so far which is War Room: Prayer Is A Powerful Weapon.  It is also because I am in need of one being situated beside a very busy street and neighborhood wherein you hear all sort of sounds and noise any time of the day and night. Our living quarters too come in the form of a small apartment wherein there is use for every nook of the place that does not elicit solitude. So I wondered where would I go if I wanted to seek for serenity within the metro so I could hear God’s instructions clearly.

After our volunteer work at the home for the aged, one of the outreach coordinators asked us who would be willing to volunteer as intercessors to that “special ward”  which I referred in the article. Three of us volunteered and they are my church mates, my sisters in Christ and my former bible study group mates. I just thought I’d totally appreciate finding a place that I can call a “war room”  as being an intercessor would mean I need to have a more quiet and personal time with God so I could present all these prayer requests, be more in tune with the Spirit and discern His instructions – I have so many to pray for in every area of my life and in everything and everyone around me.

In case you haven’t watched the movie War Room: Prayer Is A Powerful Weapon yet, I highly encourage you to watch it for it’s message is just so powerful, it is so real and yet tells so much of the Truth. 🙂

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” – Matthew 26:39 (The Prayer in the Garden, Jesus Prays in Gethsemane)

“But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6 (The Lord’s Prayer)

In case you have been called by the Spirit to intercede for someone or something, this article might help in preparing for the work:

http://www1.cbn.com/questions/what-is-intercessory-prayer

“Lord, we need an army of believers. Lord, call us to battle. Raise them up, Lord. Raise them up.”

Skepticism and Religion: A Take On the Movie GOD’S NOT DEAD

Tin Ginete

GOD’S NOT DEAD

No, I am not a theologian. What I am posting here are all personal insights learned from several Christian articles wherein the apologetics are the ones I find extremely interesting. Why?

Let’s just say that I used to be a skeptic, a cynic when it comes to faith. Someone who sees faith as a religion – a name you put in that portion of any application form that requires your religious background. I used to question the existence of God. Yes, to me back then, God was distant.

I am writing this article in light of the movie God’s Not Dead. Not a spoiler for starters as I’d be tackling mostly sensitive and controversial issues that I believe have been the challenges of most Christians, new and old, in the faith. This won’t be very technical but purely reflective. 🙂

Being a Literature graduate way back college, we were bombarded in my major subjects with theories by philosophers like Descartes, Focault, and a whole lot of great thinkers who are responsible in creating the set of perspectives, ideals and approaches I have in life right now. Or I used to.

It was only after I got saved and was doing my Foundations for Victory classes that I came into a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian not by name but by faith. It first starts with having a personal relationship with God through accepting Jesus as your Savior, something that requires a personal encounter with Him. Most definitely you’ll be asking me, “What personal encounter are you referring to, Tin?” This is your personal experience as to why you made that 180-degree turn from your past and commit in striving to live a life of purity – your testimony to a changed life and a changed you.

I am not an atheist. I did not become an atheist even when I entered University of the Philippines Diliman which is known to many as a breeding ground of atheists and agnostics – well as far as stereotyping is concerned. But it is actually this diversity of cultures that made me appreciate being part of the institution. Because I have learned to be this – flexible and discerning. I would like to say I am critical but then again, the definition of critical is relative. Some view it as something negative in a way that it becomes synonymous to being judgmental. Some would view it though as something positive – an attitude of learning.

It is the latter that I see myself in. I question thoughts and beliefs to learn and be knowledgeable. Well of course, in my field of expertise, we were trained to be that when we do our research and criticize the works of selected novelists coming up with our own interpretation of the story. We learned that discourse of analysis which is very subjective – opinion-based most of the time.

I have nothing against philosophy. In fact, I love philosophy. Some great writers are part of my philosophical influences up to now and as much as I would like to unlearn their ideas, I know I couldn’t. 🙂

BUT this is where I would like to thank God. For He has given us the free will and the freedom to choose which would benefit us in the long run and would foster the kind of healthy attitude essential in living the kind of life patterned according to His will. And this is where He offered the greatest wisdom – His Word, which is the truth.

Sharing the Word is not as easy as typing it down and posting it on social media sites and that’s it. Even right now, I have to take responsibility for this write up and defend with utmost conviction every single word I have written here. More so when some of you would question the beliefs I have presented.

There is so much in the bible that skeptics and atheists would definitely question. The bible is His Word. But it is seen as a literary piece that is subject to all forms of interpretation. In fact, it is. Reading the bible without praying first to God to let the Spirit lead you while reading it will present more questionable and confusing ideas.

But this is where faith comes in – trusting that God will give you the clear answers through the Scripture. That is what the bible is to me – a guide, an answer key, your fall back when criticized for your faith and your bridge to firmly establish that connection with God.

But who is God?

The debate between Science and Religion regarding God and the origin of man will, I believe, continue from generations to generations. But I will be tackling more of these very controversial issues in my next article after the movie God’s Not Dead has been shown here in the Philippines on November. I do encourage you to watch it. 🙂

But for now, let me end this article by saying that pursuit of wisdom in this world is futile for the greatest wisdom can only be found in His Word. Godly wisdom is wisdom that gives life. Worldly wisdom gives death to your inner peace for oftentimes it creates chaos. The multitude of perspectives that the world offers are enough to make you discouraged, lost and unguided for they all are contradicting and they change through time.  Choosing to hold on to God’s wisdom is more than enough – it replenishes your spirits, gives you guidance, renews your strength, gives you a calm heart, an open mind and a gentle spirit.

Why seek for the worldly and temporal when God is offering you something that is solid and eternal? My prayer is that may you use your God-given free will to choose the BEST wisdom you can possibly attain in this life. 🙂

P.S.

You don’t need a degree to learn His philosophies. It’s as simple and as easy as that. It is only man who complicates what should be easy. 😉

An Explosive Ending – Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

I would like to start this write up with a reminder that this is not a “spoiler” article. So no reasons to hate me, alright? lol 😉

I was actually thinking if my title will be giving away so much of the movie’s much awaited ending. But I believe you really would have to guess if it ended with a bang literally or figuratively. Well, that is already one reason for you to not miss it.

BUT all I can ever promise is that watching the movie is ALL worth it. Though my bf and I had to bypass one city after the other (4 all in all) just to watch it first as only a few selected SM Cinemas will be showing the film, it was all worth the hassle of traveling that far, getting lost PLUS all the rain.

Tin Ginete

Another Kenshin Himura fanatic.

Lucky me I have a companion who, despite all the odds, had the will to watch the movie BY ALL MEANS. 😀 (Thanks, Hon! I salute you.)

But that is because we both LOVE Kenshin Himura that much we are just on energy booster, high-spirits-filled-stamina we just don’t care how we will get to the destination as long as we get there and be able to watch the movie. Yes, that is how I define a DIE-HARD fan. Absolutely. 🙂

General Overview

It was the well-carried out plot that fascinated me most. All 3 Rurouni Kenshin movies satisfied my expectations on the filmmakers’ ability to deliver a movie played in different eras. The movie is an interplay of somewhat similar events dominated by upheavals but socially, politically and historically all differed in context. Oftentimes, the problem with a flashback or a replay of the past or history can sometimes complicate or totally cloud not just the story in the present time but the overall plot thus confusing the viewers.

As for the characters, it was a perfect choice of actors which totally and I must say TOTALLY captured the persona of the characters that they are trying to portray from aura, to looks, and to attitude or behavior. Watching them perform is an exact adaptation of the manga series itself except that the characters are now more “alive” as portrayed by the actors.

This is an action-packed movie thus this review won’t and cannot end without giving credit to the superb fighting scenes set in just the perfect locations. Superb is an understatement actually as I was all mouth agape the entire movie time. Speaking of being totally caught up in the scenes, eh? 😉

So there you go. I will cut this short lest I divulge too much details about the movie already. It deserves my two thumbs up – let the legend live by watching it too. 🙂

Tin Ginete

Two thumbs up!

RUROUNI KENSHIN: The Saga Still Continues

2002…

This was the year that I fell in love with Kenshin Himura also known as Battousai “The Slasher” of the Samurai X manga series shown in Studio 23.

I was a first year college student back then and I must say I instantly got hooked to this series and never did I miss a single episode. It was my daily routine – go home before 6pm after classes so I could watch every episode. I thought I was the only one, until I found out, it became a SAGA.

Samurai X stuff were sold everywhere, from VCDs to wallpapers, posters, bags, notebooks, wallets, everything! I could not help not buying myself one memorabilia not because I was a true-blue Samurai X fan but because I loved the story of the manga series THAT MUCH.

I bought this wall hanging and placed it inside my bedroom just above my bed so I can see it every time I wake up. Yes, really addicted to the manga series. 😉

Tin Ginete

Samurai X Wall Hanging

AND, the series just influenced me totally I took “arnis,” a type of Filipino martial arts similar to that of “karate,” “judo,” and “eskrima but uses two canes or “rattan” sticks as its primary weapon, as one of my PE classes in college. Somehow very similar to what Kaoru teaches in her dojo. 

Tin Ginete

8/23/2014 (Reliving my “arnis” days way back college for photo ops purposes.) 😉

 

And I got quite a high grade for it. A real Miss Kaoru fanatic there. 😉 But not too good grades in my other classes. 😦

Tin Ginete

PE 2 class: ARNIS

 

You can refer to this article for more information regarding the manga series which is also known as Rurouni Kenshin.

And if you want to watch the animated manga series, you can watch the episodes here:

 

Due to popular demand, the creators of this phenomenal manga series decided to come up with its first film adaptation on 2012 which instantly became a popular hit not just in Japan but in several other countries including the Philippines.

 

After the success of the first Rurouni Kenshin movie, 2 sequels followed which featured the climax of the manga series. The first of the sequel is Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno which was shown starting August 20, 2014. My bf and I watched it and now he is a Samurai X fan too and we are both watching the animated manga series together – his first, my nth time. 😀

Tin Ginete

8/21/2014 (Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno movie date)

 

So yes, we just could not contain the excitement of watching the second movie of the sequel to be released on September 24, 2014 which is Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. Here is the trailer:

I believe “the legend” will never end. 🙂

 

It All Started at Sonya’s Secret Garden

Brian and I @ Sonya's Secret Garden

Brian and I @ Sonya’s Secret Garden

 

Now, it is no longer a secret. The garden, that is. 😉

And who Brian is. 😀

 

Coffee table book.

Coffee table book.

 

I met him when I was selected to be one of the study patients of a research at the Asian Eye Institute. It was an answered prayer – for my eyesight to be healed. I have God to be extremely grateful for with this blessing. And yet, the “package” did not stop there. Little did I know that I am soon to be partnered with my nurse in this thing which we call “love.” Oh Father God, You are indeed the great matchmaker and composer of everything. 🙂

Okay, now this is the part where it gets cheesy and cheesier. You might as well grate me or just allow yourself to be melted away. 😀

I waited for 2 years before God has given him to me. That was a long wait, for me. But the wait never really mattered. Because I was passionately driven in pursuing a personal relationship with God and in serving Him in those two years that I was not in a relationship with anyone. That should be what comes first – serve God, find your mission and then find your mate.

I was more than amazed when just a few weeks of being friends , I can tell that we are match-made to be partners. *ehem* Oh really now, Tin. 😉 Kidding aside, exactly the qualities I asked for and every time I make that exciting discovery, I can’t help but smile a very amused smile and think, “My Father, You and Your ways never fail to amuse me though I am completely thrilled for what else You have in store for us.” Brian though is never perfect. He has his own weaknesses and personal struggles same as I am. We are all a work in progress when it comes to being the persons that God wants us to be. But we both rejoice in what is good, in what we have learned, in learning and where we are happy the most – pure and genuine happiness because we know it makes our God happy too.

I know that if I am to list down all the qualities, it will be endless. But just to name a few that really stood out when we were just getting to know each other, I’ll give a brief rundown:

  • We both love the color blue.
  • We love viands that are not sweet.
  • We prefer communing with nature than spend long hours at the mall.
  • We love the simple things.
  • And lastly, we enjoy each other’s company.

Now, that last part is the one thing that I love the most. Why? Because it only means I could get to be who I am when I am with him. We don’t care if we look silly at times or if we crack the silliest jokes mindless of other people who would think we are being overly “corny” or hilarious. No pretensions so to speak. He accepts my eccentricities (mildly put, not exactly the medical term) and vice versa. The same as our relationship with God. We have to be as sincere and as open to Him as possible, connecting every single moment of your life with Him from the moment you wake up until the time you lay your head down the pillow. A personal, loving and lasting relationship – that is how you get to know Him more.

And that is how I got to know Brian more – a personal moment at a secret garden (that is not really secret because it is well-known among the locals and tourists alike. 🙂 ).

 

Lovely blooms.

Lovely blooms.

The entrance to Sonya's restaurant.

The entrance to Sonya’s restaurant.

One of the lodges.

One of the lodges.

Morning Glory garden. The other two are The Conservatory and Sunflower.

Morning Glory garden. The other two are The Conservatory and Sunflower.

 

The place is very memorable to me. I have always been in love with gardens. They are my places of solace and comfort. I feel calm, at ease and more at peace with myself when I am surrounded by the best that nature could offer – simplicity.

 

Flower in bloom.

Flower in bloom.

Feeling like a princess. *wink*

Feeling like a princess. *wink*

The photographer taken by the photographer too.

The photographer taken by the photographer too.

 

Though I dressed up too “colorful” for the date making me look like one of the flowers at the garden  and making me wish I’d never worn something as vibrant as that, I pretty much enjoyed the ambiance of the place. It is very RELAXING. I didn’t skip that opportunity to take more photos of literally anything I could lay my eyes on.

 

Sonya's chair.

Sonya’s chair.

Coffee table book.

Coffee table book.

Birds of paradise.

Birds of paradise.

Superb drapery for their banquet hall.

Superb drapery for their banquet hall.

 

And yes, though they offer their menu in buffet style, you won’t feel “heavy” afterwards nor feel guilty of having eaten too much. Why? They serve vegetarian dishes. Most of their dishes are very light and their pastas are not heavy on herbs and spices. Just a little bit of them to tease your palate. You have an option if you will have white or red sauce. Of course, how could I forget how Brian and I made fun of the chamomile hand wash/sanitizer because I thought it is just for decor of some sort or I will wash my veggie food there and I had to ask the waiter what is it used for (oh if embarrassment could kill, I’d be dead already. 😀 ). But it smells SOOO GOOOD!

 

The Menu.

The Menu.

Buffet corner.

Buffet corner.

Lettuce and arugula.

Lettuce and arugula.

Garnish your salad with a selection of fruits in season like mango and pineapple.

Garnish your salad with a selection of fruits in season like mango and pineapple.

There he is with his jicama/singkamas.

There he is with his jicama/singkamas.

Fresh flowers in a vase centerpiece.

Fresh flowers in a vase centerpiece.

Relaxing ambiance.

Relaxing ambiance.

 

I also love how they kept our bread warm. They rolled it in a piece of cloth (linen, I presume) and served it in a basket along with the spread and other spices. Oh I love their salad dressings and spread too! But just a piece of caution to those of you who are not veggie lovers, they offer quite A LOT of greens in their dishes. I am a veggie lover so I enjoyed making that munch and that crunch in my every bite of their salads. And to end it all, a nice serving of chocolate cake and tarragon tea.

 

Whole wheat sesame bread.

Whole wheat sesame bread.

Sonya’s Secret Salad Dressing, Balsamic vinegar/extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese.

Sonya’s Secret Salad Dressing, Balsamic vinegar/extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese.

Basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, tomato salsa, mushroom pate, black olive tapenade, and fresh green peppercorn in olive oil.

Basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, tomato salsa, mushroom pate, black olive tapenade, and fresh green peppercorn in olive oil.

Homemade choco cake.

Homemade choco cake.

Tarragon Tea

Tarragon Tea

 

Overall comment? It was a very happy and relaxed eating indeed. 😀

I adored every nook at Sonya’s garden. Aside from the restaurant, they also have the Panaderia,  and a store where you could buy goodies, memorabilia and pasalubong for your friends and family. It is also a very suitable place for wedding receptions as they have a separate private venue for that near the restaurant.

 

The way to the comfort rooms.

The way to the comfort rooms.

Chandelier.

Chandelier.

Native finds.

Native finds.

Capiz hanging decor.

Capiz hanging decor.

Organic scents, trinkets and other good finds.

Organic scents, trinkets and other good finds.

For Wedding Receptions

For Wedding Receptions

The Walkway

The Walkway

The Panaderia

The Panaderia

Me trying the hat.

Me trying the hat.

 

I wished for my own home someday to be surrounded by lots of greenery too. Like what we also have in our home in Bicol. I believe it is what makes every home a home – it looks natural, no too much synthetic ornaments.

Just like our relationship with God – you are more at ease with Him when it is genuine. 🙂

Every love story is created differently. But the one thing that they should all have in common is this – God at the center.

I believe I have to end this “date” on this note for now to save some memories for Brian and I to cherish. I hope you would give us that privilege. 😉

And this too, a poem which I made especially for him. 😀

 

A Blanket of Love by Tin Ginete

A Blanket of Love by Tin Ginete

P.S.

We ended the date by watching Ronin 47. Yes, how could I ever forget the last lines. Just the perfect cheesy but romantic lines to end this cheesy but romantic article. 😀

Kai (Keanu Reeves): I will search for you through 1000 worlds and 10000 lifetimes!

Mika (Ko Shibasaki): I will wait for you in all of them.

(Thank you so much for the wonderful time, for the lunch treat and movie date, baby! I love you so much!)

Cine Europa 16: “A Royal Affair”

I was checking Facebook’s news feed when I came across an advertisement regarding the annual Cine Europa Festival here in the Philippines which showcases international films from participating European countries.

Being an Anglo-American Literature major back in college, I was of course thrilled I will get to see European films again – for FREE. 🙂

One movie caught my interest and of course it has to be set in 18th Century Denmark, the period of Enlightenment and a historical drama wherein most details in the movie are based on historical facts – A ROYAL AFFAIR.

"A Royal Affair" (2012)

“A Royal Affair” (2012)

It has received several awards – Satellite Award for Best Costume Design and Robert Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Perfect choice as this movie had its free screening in my university’s film center which is synonymous to this – I don’t have to travel far to be able to watch it. I have God to thank for that. 🙂

Cine Europa 16 @ UP Film Institute

Cine Europa 16 @ UP Film Institute

GENERAL CRITIQUES

The movie indeed is deserving of its Best Costume Design award. Costumes are not too lavishly done and yet nothing too dull either. Details of 18th Century costumes were particularly followed and it did not rob the classical essence of the designs with gaudy styles or excessively vibrant colors. I have always been fascinated by the fashion of the early century Europe. The evolution of the dresses clearly depicted the changes in society’s standards as well as with the political reformation. A particular dress will tell a lot about the history of a nation.

There are limited instances of a landscape scenery which is in accordance to the movie’s plot as most of the scenes are set and captured inside the castle. The sequencing of the events are carefully delivered which is what I admire about the movie. It doesn’t set the audience in that moment wherein a particular scene will make you recall the previous scene in order to connect the current scene and limit the “WH” questions. I must admit that when I have those questions in mind while watching the movie, it only means that there is a scene that I am baffled about, I am assessing the relevance of it to the entire movie and how it is connected from the preceding scenes. 

In other words, every scene in the movie is crystal clear. 🙂

As for the acting, the actors perfectly fit in the roles that they portrayed – appearance, aura as well as delivery of the lines. I must say the actors were indeed successful in internalizing their character roles in the movie. The age of Enlightenment has been one of my favorite eras in our study of European and American literature, political and social history. It deals with idealism, reformation towards a positive change, among many others. Although this is also the time wherein a lot of revolution took place, terror and violence erupted, conflicts arose wherein majority are unresolved but I may say, that still, the events are exemplary of a society being changed from a state of dystopia to almost utopia.

Ahhh yes, now maybe this is the reason why I became an idealist. 😉

I was greatly influenced by my long years and extensive study on Anglo-American Literature which would usually be associated to the social and political history of Europe and America. I have always been fascinated by Kings, Princesses and knights not because I love fairy tales but because it is just interesting to learn the origins of a foreign culture, most especially that of Europe and look into the totality of the transformation of a certain period/era in connection to the people and society in general.

After watching the movie, I rated it 4 out of 5 stars, 5 being the highest. If I would be given the chance to be transported back in time and be an onlooker while events are happening for real, I definitely would choose the early centuries. Suppose there is a parallel universe for that, it would be this – incredibly awesome. 

Well, what we need now is a “time machine” by H. G. Wells where we can teleport and time travel. 😀

And speaking of time traveling, because I love anything antique and vintage, and being a fashion lover, I wore something from the past when I watched the movie – a vintage dress that belonged to my Mom designed by her. If you want to know how old it is, it was worn by my mom when she was in her 20s, exactly 4 decades ago.

I hope I did give justice to my “hippie” look with matching fuchsia pink nail polish . 😉

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