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The truly liberated human being is not always fighting against something, but more frequently is fighting for something or someone.
– Denis Waitley

I have decided to face my King Xerxes and let my request be known to the king and to all.  For and on behalf of my family, my two children and my people whom I love and in whom I have unwavering faith – my fellow Filipinos.  I am ready to be ridiculed and to be thought of as foolish, to be considered naive and powerless to change the course of this nation because I am but a tiny voice.  But I cannot make light the burden in my heart, the heaviness and the grief that would not lift themselves until I do what I know I should do.  Mordecai reminded me of the tribe to which I belong.  He reminded me that I will not be spared if I remain silent:  that deliverance will come from elsewhere if I do not take action, and that I too shall perish, either way.  But I would rather perish for a cause, to take a stand – for a people, for my children, for the next generation… FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.
– Kofi Annan

Esther, was a young Jewish girl who became the Queen of all Persia, the wife of one of the most powerful kings during that time, King Xerxes.  Her true identity was hidden from him for security reasons.  Because of the evil political maneuverings of Haman, the king’s right hand man at that time, the Jewish people were decreed to be annihilated. Esther, if found out, would not be spared.

For all of us who love and declare our allegiance to God, we know the heart of God for this nation and for our people. We know that His desire is for righteousness to be established in our land.  We also know that His ways are not our ways.  We know He uses foolish things to confound the wisdom of this world.  We know where he wants us to go although we may not always know how to get there.  Yet, we are not lost because He has given us a roadmap in His word to guide us every step of the way.  For those of us who identify ourselves with Christ, we know who we are and whose we are.  Therefore, our choices have to be in line with the one with whom we identify ourselves.

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Corinthians 1:27
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

I have to admit that I deviated from this Scriptural guidepost in my choice for President for this 2010 election.  Like so many, I told myself that I will no longer vote for the candidate I voted for last time because I was disappointed by the events that followed his loss.  I CONSIDERED the other candidates who were running this year, weighed their qualifications and narrowed my choices based on my own reasoning and just hoped that they would eventually align with God’s vision for this nation during their term.  I did my homework and I asked questions about the candidates I was considering – from people who knew them personally to those who worked with them & were in a position to testify about them.  I weighed all the reasons why so-and-so supported this candidate and that.  Perhaps I was starting to “consider … appearance or … height“. I leaned towards one candidate but I was still undecided.

I knew that I had yet to see if any one of them have enough character in them not to buckle and fold once the pressure of payback time comes, or the machinations and sheer politics not only demanded but are intrinsic to the position.

The tide turned for me after I attended an Intercessors for the Philippines Conference earlier this year upon the  recommendation of a very dear intercessor friend.  It was a prophetic conference about declaring the Jubilee of Jubilees for the Philippines.  At the conference, nobody approached me and asked for any solicitation.  Nobody asked me who I was voting for, although a lot of them came wearing shirts supporting their candidate.  If anybody did that, they would surely have had a hard time convincing me because I held my ground of past disappointment.  It was supposedly a spiritual conference and I had no plans of ushering in the political picture.

But during the worship and intercession time, God exposed and started a process of changing my heart.  I even told my friend who was with me that God was dealing with me.  We were both in tears as we prayed and interceded for our churches and for the Philippines.  By the time the conference ended that day, my heart was changed.  My intellect was telling me otherwise, but my heart was no longer the same.  My choice for President was no longer a question mark.

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
Chinese Proverbs

Does this mean I will be voting blindly based on an emotional experience or mere religious affiliation?  Frankly, I still went home with my mind debating with my heart.  My mind battled with all the reasons why I shouldn’t but my heart was at peace with the reason why I should.

The networks, newspapers and blogosphere are filled with qualifications and credentials of all the candidates – arguments for and against each one of them.  You can easily find whatever suits your fancy and whatever appeals to your political leanings and declare it as the absolute battle-cry for and on behalf of your candidate.  I am not here to contest any of those.  One way or another, the scales will tip wherever we want them to, depending on the glasses we wear.  Furthermore, I am not here to convince you to change your mind to agree with my stand.  I believe we have reached a place in our country’s history where we can enjoy the liberty of disagreeing with each other freely and not succumb to lowly name-calling and backbiting when we express our differences.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Yet there comes a time in one’s life when one is compelled to do the unpopular thing… to swim against the tide and to risk one’s reputation and in some cases one’s very life… in obedience to a Higher Authority.  With regards to this election,  this time has come for me.  In light of eternity, I am answerable to this Higher Authority alone.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down [
a] until he arrives.”

12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

Seven sons passed before the prophet Samuel hoping to be the one the Lord would anoint.  The Lord told Samuel not to consider appearance or height… not to look at the things man looks at.  The Lord sees what we fail to see.  He chose the least likely of them to lead his people.  He chose a SHEPHERD boy…a pastor of dumb sheep…to be KING.

On hindsight, what qualifications did David have back then that God would choose him to be king of Israel? This is what one of Saul’s servants said about David:

18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”

David was a harp player, a brave man, a warrior who spoke well and was a fine-looking man even, the Scriptures say.  No PH.D.’s, no Harvard/Yale credentials, no political savvy.  He was a shepherd boy who led sheep.  Yet, even Saul’s men recognized David’s anointing and recommended him to King Saul.

Fast-forward to 2010 and compare David’s resume with the rest of the candidates and what do you have?  He wouldn’t stand a chance against the sterling list of achievements of most of the candidates today.  What did David have going for him that set him apart from the rest?

GOD TOLD SAMUEL TO ANOINT HIM and THE LORD WAS WITH HIM. Not his brothers.  Not any other Israelite. GOD CHOSE HIM.

FOR WHAT REASON? THAT BELONGED TO GOD ALONE.  Yet we all know that DAVID WAS A MAN AFTER GOD’s OWN HEART.

Let’s backtrack a bit to the time when King David was already ruling Israel.  He made major mistakes during his reign. The anointed King chosen by God conspired to kill one of his special warriors so that he could take his wife.  At one point, he also became proud and started to rely on the strength of his military.  He had children who didn’t have the same heart for God as he did.  He was not perfect. Did God, then, make a mistake when he chose David to rule over Israel?  If you were living during David’s time would you blame God for choosing David?

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
— The Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

Friends, family and all those who chance upon to read this post:  The impact of this election is too great to pass up. There is a golden window of opportunity for us to choose what will happen in the next 6 years of our lives.  Let us not only think about the financial, social, or political impact of those who will lead this country for the next six years.  What is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.  Consider the unseen impact in light of eternity… in light of the higher purpose and destiny that has been prophesied time and again about our nation.  Those who love photography like me know what it feels like when they are not able to capture a specific moment because they were not prepared to take the shot.  That picture of the sunset that I failed to take a picture of today, will never be the same tomorrow.  It will never be the same no matter how many times I go back and try to take that shot again.  It is an opportunity lost that time cannot regain.

Right now, this opportunity is open to us.  Why settle for “puede na” when we can have ALL that has been promised to us?  Does that mean that the candidate I am voting for is the “only savior” of this nation?  By all means no.  But let us not forget that every time a righteous king ruled Israel, God blessed the nation.  I am FOR the purposes of God being established.  I want to see the destiny of this nation fulfilled in MY lifetime.  I URGE you to see what Samuel didn’t see. Who among them is “a man after God’s own heart”? So will all our problems be solved in an instant once this man is elected?  Is this a band aid solution to all our ills?  Again, no.  Yet, knowing that the one who will head this nation is not only concerned about protecting the reputation and the legacy of his parents but the HONOR and the NAME of our GOD, presupposes a greater accountability.

I did not give this brother candidate a second look at the start of this campaign although this brother who runs for the highest office is not devoid of political credentials. They are just not barked loudly  enough to the mass media. Yet like many well-meaning Christians that  have expressed that this candidate must stay in his calling because he is more effective by doing so, I had my reservations about his decision to run again because of the past. To me, keep the status quo. It’s safer and more peaceful that way.  But who am I to limit the sovereignty of the God of the universe to transform a man’s life and change the path he takes? to change his vocation and occupation at any given point? Biblically, David had a career change from shepherd boy to King. Peter, from fisherman transformed into a fiery preacher. Paul, from a respected Pharisee and teacher of the law to a rogue itinerant speaker. Even in 21st century context, how many people have shifted careers and are flourishing in their latter choices?  Be that as it may, to box a person by confining him in one place is to box our God who is able to use His people anywhere for as long as they are faithful and willing.  Isn’t He, after all, the God who enables; and, isn’t His Spirit the One who moves and leads? To the human understanding, such moves are either a promotion or demotion. Yet to our God, it is a masterpiece in the making.

I love this nation and have chosen to live here no matter how hard it might be.  I am sure a lot of you share this same sentiment.  Who would not love to see this nation flourish in all aspects of life?  Who would not want to see righteousness and honesty in all the land so that businesses can flourish and prosperity can reach the grassroots?  Who would not want to see this nation honor and love God and lift His name up in the truest sense?

I am not voting for a person alone.  I am voting for the opportunity to change this nation’s destiny in my lifetime.  I am voting for God’s will to be done and for His kingdom to come in my lifetime.  If my candidate wins, does that mean everything will be magically transformed?  That we can sit back and relax and let him do all the work and expect him to fix everything? within 6 years? No, it’s just like the ram’s horn being blasted across this nation saying to all that it’s time to rebuild. The work has just begun.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” — Henry David Thoreau

Think about it.  Why are we so eager to stop a person who is willing to face the scrutiny and ridicule of his former supporters just so that he can be given another chance to deal with the source of our country’s woes?  To strike at the root and not just settle for the branches.  The other candidates have noble intentions, if not noble propaganda, to rid this nation of corruption.  We know that corruption springs from the evil that is in all of our hearts and is impossible to get rid of unless it is overpowered by the grace of God.  Shall we settle for hacking just at the branches?

The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious.–Ted Levitt

Friends, family, readers and perhaps foes?   “If it pleases the king, may I find favor in his eyes… but if not then, let the axe fall where it may.” I URGE you once more to lift up your eyes to see the small cloud of rain in the distance. May we understand the time and the season we are in and see what this nation can be if we allow the fulness of God to move in our land.

For all the possibilities that I see in the future, I support Brother Eddie Villanueva for President.

I also support Ruffy Biazon, Kata Inocencio and Alex Tinsay for Senators.

GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

If you have read this far, allow me to share with you the thoughts of my children about this election, our nation and their future.

Its almost June so a lot of couples are most likely busy preparing for their weddings. A wedding is a public expression of a couple’s commitment for one another.  It is regarded as a Covenant, a three party contract between the bride, groom and God.  In a covenant, there is a set of terms, the commitment and the sign.  In marriage the terms are read in the form of a question. The spouses in turn express their agreement to the terms.  To seal this they give the sign in the form of the wedding rings.

I remember purchasing our wedding rings.  During this time, my parents still had some reservations to my marriage plans so I had to shop for the rings for myself. (I should have waited a few months later when they gave their blessing).  Naive as I was, I bought a nice looking 22k gold pair of rings in a trip to Malaysia.   They looked nice and elegant.  After the wedding, I realized that they were too soft and easily deformed.  Years later, mine accumulated so much deformation stress that the band just broke in two.  Another problem was that my wife started having allergies with her ring. The explaination is that the alloying agent used may have been a material she was allergic to.  So she wore her ring on a chain around her neck. I should have known that there were Jewelry buying guides online that I  could have checked out before buying those rings.

So I planned to replace the rings with something else. Something in silver or platinum. Something like this:

Platinum Engraved Wedding Band

Platinum Engraved Wedding Band

This unique hand engraved wedding band is crafted in beautiful platinum. 950  platinum.
Price: $3,500.00
(I found this online through Shopwiki.com)

Fortunately, after 10 years of marriage, my parents decided to give us their wedding rings.  While these are silver instead of gold, these carry more character, as they were passed on from one generation to another.   They are sturdier and neither of us have had allergies so far.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to pass on these wedding rings to one of our children someday.

Food pics for foodies out there! These are some of the food escapades we did with the grandparents during their stay with us early Feb. this year. The kids love it when the grandparents come because part of the fun is finding new places to eat around town.

First stop, TRAVEL CAFE PHILIPPINES – Greenbelt 5

Kids are the best sales people you  can find. We had tried Travel Cafe for a quick snack of pandesal and tsokolate é a couple of years ago so when we passed by the resto with the grandparents, they enthusiastically recommended the place to them. Of course, how could the old folks decline with two persuasive adorable little sales tots. Ü Lunch it is!

My son ordered the tomato soup in a bread bowl…

… while the old folks ordered this deconstructed kare-kare dish. In contrast to kare-kare being served stew-style, the meat and veggies were served on a plate with the kare-kare sauce poured on top like gravy. Quite interesting. I liked the flavor although I would have preferred it to be drenched with more sauce.

Aside from the above we also sampled their adobo and beef ( I forgot the name of the dish but it was yummy and it was gone before I could take a pic). The old folks ended the meal with a hot mug of Cordillera Coffee served in a clay mug with a cute little “pitsel” for the milk- extremely hot and a bit pricey. I’m no coffee drinker but I  sipped a little bit just to taste and boy! it was a like a shot of nicotine straight to my veins! (barako sa tapang! very brave – joke Ü hehehe)

Next stop, MINI SHABU-SHABU – Bonifacio Hi Street

I took a shot of the interiors, nope, these are not cardboard displays

… this geisha was directly above me Ü

Finally, the food… healthy and guilt-free…

…. a little bit guilty

Über guilty!!!!!!

… prepare to meet thy maker!

awww…

The kids had fun cooking their own food, although the little one had more fun cooking than eating.

You can almost smell it right?

One last look before they go into the hot pot!

Happy and satisfied! Ü

The old second hand 8-cylinder “bat-mobile” is gone. The red-plated Minica is no longer. The Mitsubishi lancer was sacrificially sold to pay for attorney’s fees to settle a sibling’s case. I remember these cars my father drove while I was growing up. I can still recall how big the “bat-mobile” was and how I would sink into the backseat and become nauseous. I could barely look out the window because it was too high. Or was I too small? One day it was no longer in our garage. Some time later, my father brought home a smaller car – a red-plated Minica. I remember my dad taking a picture of me in front of the car right before he drove me to PICC for my college graduation. Later on, he gave it back to the office when he retired and our garage was empty again. Finally, my father brought home a Mitsubishi Lancer. A car he bought with his retirement money. He lovingly took care of it. This car was his prized reward from all the years he had been working as a government employee. He would drive more than 40 kilometers just to fetch me and my dirty laundry from my dorm and then bring me back the following day. It didn’t matter even if it was already late in the night. I clearly remember those moments with him in the car. Everything was safe when I was with him. Unfortunately, there came a time that he had to sell it for a greater need. Without a thought he gave it up sacrificially to shoulder the legal fees of someone so dear to him. Our garage was empty once again. My father has since passed. I miss him terribly and though I’ve accepted the fact that he is in a better place, the pain is as real today as the day he left me.  Life is not the same.

Today, I have a family of my own – a husband, two kids. We have our own car, but it was just the other day that I realized something missing from it. I received an email that reminded me what it was. I quickly rummaged through our house to find it and when I finally did, tears welled up in my eyes. My childhood came flooding back to me and the little memento I found was the only witness to all those years of riding with my father. This little memento had been hanging in every car that we had. They are my old and tattered little red shoes that I wore when I was a baby. My father kept and preserved them and hung them on the rearview mirror in each and every car we ever had. Maybe my father wanted to remember me whenever he saw my shoes hanging on the mirror. Maybe he wanted me to be close by… to be within reach… to be his little baby even if he knew I was pursuing my own career. When we sold the Mitsubishi Lancer, I forgot all about those shoes. I got married, moved house and had kids. There was no place to hang them… until today. Thanks to that email, I can now hang my little red shoes once again. This time it’s to remind me of my father and how much he is still a part of my life. Hopefully, I can do the same for my own children – that they too will have many, many fond memories of riding with mom and dad in the car. Thank you, daddy. I love you and miss you.

(here are my little red shoes hanging in our car today)

Thank you Nuffnang for emailing me about this contest.

I used to work in the insurance industry many moons ago. I’ve worked for one of the oldest insurance companies in the country. I was also part of a a pioneering company in the pre-need industry dealing with pension plans, life plans, education plans etc. etc. You would think that coming from that industry, I would be a strong advocate of these products but up to this day I still don’t have an insurance plan or any other pre-need plan of my own. I even bought a few plans that I never finished paying because it simply didn’t fit the choreography of my schedules. I am not going to say that they are or are not important to those of us who have families whom we need to provide a secure financial future for. Whether or not we will get one we all need to know the importance of life insurance and how it will impact the future of our families. We all want to make sure that our loved ones will be secure once we go and this is what insurance plans or pre-need plans sell – the assurance that this personal concern will be addressed and taken care of when we are no longer able to do it ourselves. I have no problem with that actually. My only peeve about buying one is I don’t like overbearing insurance agents and the only time I gave in to getting one was because it was sold to me by a very very close friend whom I trust.

After reading this far, you’re probably thinking “So should I get one or not?” It’s like a chicken and egg thing, really. For us, health insurance is primary for now because that is the most expensive part of life, young or old. Hospital bills, medication, doctor’s fees, laboratory tests and what nots are what cause your life savings to dwindle to a few measly coins. If you can find a health plan that will cover all your major expenses, in case you get sick, then that would be a very good investment. Even if you save so much for your twilight years, the cost of getting sick is like a little matchstick that can burn your whole bank account to ashes. It’s a little bit morbid but getting sick and dying are two of the most lucrative businesses ever. There will always be sick people and everyone will eventually die. It IS a business. Like they say there are only two sure things, TAXES and DEATH.

Of course, there is also an insurance that provides you peace of mind no matter what sudden tragedy may happen to you. It is the insurance that assures you of a future that is unshakeable. 100% return on investment-guaranteed, full coverage against sickness, death, loss of property, theft, fire, flood, tsunami, earthquake and Acts of God. No expiration date, one-time payment. There is one thing though, it is non-transferable and good for one person at a time only. Here’s the best part though, it’s the best bargain of all time. You can have all those benefits for free if you follow the terms and conditions simply and clearly stipulated in John 3:16. No hidden agenda, no hidden fees, no need to worry about the fine print. And no pesky insurance agents hard selling on you. Think about it. In case you’ve seen it before but may have forgetten, here’s the stipulation again. Consider it, peeps. It’s the insurance bargain of a life time!

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I was watching the Oprah show earlier today. She had as guests, Dr. Oz and David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine and author of  “Eat This, Not That!” series. Their topic was about obesity in kids and the discussion revolved around the how’s and why’s kids end being so overweight. David shared a lot of information about the food choices that are out there in the supermarkets and how to choose wisely.

As parents, we all want to raise normal, healthy kids and sometimes our food decisions aren’t always the best ones simply because we lack information. We have evolved into a “fast-food” generation where everything is quick and easy but not necessarily healthy. Hence, the rise of liposuction, diet pills and all sorts of weight-loss products. Although, these books are geared more towards the American consumer, still, there is much to be gleaned from them because a lot of these products are now available locally in major supermarkets. If you want to know if ‘regular bacon’ is healthier than ‘turkey bacon’, you gotta read the book. You’ll be surprised. So before you reach out for that bag of chips and that box of “multi-grain’ something, read the back label or better yet get yourself a copy of these books.

Check out these books. They are available at Amazon.com and you can read more reviews by those who have bought them. You might even qualify for their Free Super Saver Shipping. (Click on the links to get there)

Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds–or More!

Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block!

I was just browsing around for Vaganova Ballet Schools in California specifically in the SFO Bay area or Los Angeles and I found one this one in L.A.  – > Masterpiece Dance Theatre. Check out their ballet mistress!

Nadezhda (Nadya) Koscuik has been teaching the “Vaganova”  syllabus for over 30 years and she is the only recipient from  both the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Vaganova Ballet  School, St Petersburg, Russia to be officially endorsed to not  only teach the authentic and complete Vaganova curriculum  but also to teach all nine levels. Her extensive international  training, performance experience, and professional contacts  and relationships make her an authority in the world of  Classical Ballet.

Nadya received official permission from the Russian Ministry  of Culture to write her book titled “The Vaganova Legacy”. In  addition to her extensive training, receipt of the entire and  complete Vaganova Curriculum from her friend and mentor  Ninel Kurgapkina (former pupil of Vaganova) further  establishes Nadya as an international authority on the  Vaganova system of teaching. Nadya is now in the process of  editing the first complete draft of the textbook named “The  Vaganova Legacy” which will also serve as a reference manual  on the subject.

Isn’t that impressive! Of course, if ever the kids decide to pursue ballet professionally I wonder what it would cost to uproot ourselves from here and get the service of moving companies Los Angeles Hollywood style? hmmm… that’s still a half a decade away so for now, I’ll settle for Vaganova on youtube. LOL

The past few days my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride. I have been quiet on this blog. The death of President Cory stirred up so many emotions I have tried to manage for the past two years. August 4 marks the second death anniversary of my father and I couldn’t help but go back to those moments while I was watching the necrological service of Tita Cory at the Manila Cathedral late this afternoon. The circumstances have been so similar it just brought me to tears. I am reminded of these two verses that somehow give me a glimpse of what still needs to be worked on in my own heart.

Genesis 32:28 (NIV 1984)

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

2Corinthians 12:7 (NASB 1995)

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself!

A broken spirit and a contrite heart, I know God will not despise and that is what He so desires. It is the best heart jewelry one can wear and worth more than all the jewels in the whole wide world. It is what pleases God. The question is, is pain necessary to achieve closeness to God? Is the path of sorrow and suffering the only way to be near God?  In my opinion, my answer would be yes. It is necessary.

We do not need Faith if we have the ability to do things on our own. It is the impossible that requires the divine to be employed. Faith is what moves the mountains of pain and suffering aside and parts the sea of sorrow so that we can take one more step closer to the promised land. Faith enables us to struggle and wrestle inspite of the thorns of imperfection and the flaws of our character. It is the adrenalin that pushes us forward to overcome all odds and step into victory. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Unfortunately, this does not happen overnight. This is where patience comes in. Through plodding and perseverance. Mountain after mountain, valley after valley, struggle after struggle… day after day. Through faith and patience we will overcome. It has already been two years since I have started on this road of coping with the grief and pain because of my father’s death. I am reminded more so today because of President Cory’s death.

My father was working for the Marcos government during that time when the People Power Revolution happened. He was the Chief Engineer in charge of setting up the government transmitters all over the Philippines. How he got into government is a whole other story but I knew he was a man of integrity and uncorrupted by what was around him. He knew what was going on when the transmitters in Malolos were taken over by the military sympathetic to Cory. He told me how crucial communications and media were that’s why these were one of the first things that were taken over aside from power and transportation. He often told me inside stories about media and propaganda and the psy-war tactics that were being employed by both sides. Aside from being an employee of the government, he was also a son of Tacloban and a kababayan of Imelda Marcos. A lot of what I know about government and country I have learned through him. His love for country and integrity in fulfilling his duties have been imparted to me and have made me come to love this country as well.  This is his legacy to me. Every province where I see a government transmitter, I am reminded of him. It is a struggle to hold back my tears…to wish for him to still be here. It is a journey that anyone who has lost a loved one deals with everyday. And I guess a “thorn in the flesh” to ground us and remind us of our need for God each day.

Yet inspite the pain, the thought of knowing that the memories and the legacies of our loved ones will live on through us they have left behind, is an assurance that their lives are not in vain. Thank you Tita Cory for reminding me about my father once again. My father is not a well-known figure. He lived a simple quiet life. A life of faith. A life of patience. A life of forgiveness and generosity. A life that overcame self and became selfless for others. A life that mattered to me. A life I will remember always and will be grateful for forever.

Remember this?

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

(from the Musical – The Sound of Music)

I have a few of my favorite things that make me feel happy on the inside and no, it doesn’t include the latest tech gadgets today. I was thinking more of the “rustic, make you feel warm and cozy” type of stuff much like patintero, kite flying and playing on swing sets make you feel.

So what are some of my favorite “comfort” things:

  1. Chocnut – who needs See’s or Godiva when you’ve got chocnut! The fat one of course.
  2. Lugaw Tokwa – I miss the authentic probinsya lugaw-tokwa with lots of browned garlic on top.
  3. Rain – not the typhoon kind or the ones that cause flash floods but I remember growing up listening to the raindrops pitter-pattering on our roof. Music to my ears.
  4. Fresh bedsheets – especially when they’re cool because of the rain in #3. 🙂
  5. Fishballs in UP – I’m not a UP grad but I remember going to UP with my roomate and just pigging out on fishballs and sago. I loooove it when my little fishball swells up with vinegar and the sweet and sour sauce. yum!
  6. Chinese garter, tumbang preso, patintero, sipa and piko – nope. no Counterstrike for me.
  7. Ice drop with munggo, keso, beans or buko – they used to make it with those metal molds.
  8. Chikam – a word coined by my little girl. It’s actually, pork adobo fat cut up into little pieces and fried till crunchy before adding rice from the night before – something I learned from my dad. Singangag to the max.
  9. DZFE FM – there’s something soothing about classical music. I love listening to the classics especially on a rainy day.
  10. My dad’s keys with his dogtags – I miss hearing the sound of the clicking of those keys with his dogtags. Once I hear those keys, I immediately know my dad’s finally home. I miss you, daddy!

So these are some of my favorite things. How about you? Care to share what your favorite things are? Just leave a comment if you do.

I had no intentions of being heroic but I literally did “stand in the gap” or was it “stand in the way” yesterday and it hurt like hell. We went to a children’s birthday party at Hotel Kimberly in Amadeo yesterday right after church and of course being a children’s birthday party, there were games… not just for the kids but for the mommies and daddies as well. The host called my name to join one of the games and I obliged. I’m normally a reluctant participant but I wanted to be a little “game” this time and so I did. It was a mini race where you had to circle a chair twice, write the word SOS with your butt and then pass on the hat to the next person. I did my part as fast as I could and as the last person turned the corner to run to the finish line I saw her body headed for a fall. Being a dancer, I instinctively recognized that her body was going to crash into the tiled floor and she was going to get hurt pretty bad. So I poised myself to catch her. Unfortunately, the force of her fall was so strong we both crashed on the floor with me hitting my tailbone so hard I was stunned and couldn’t get up. I remember something hitting my cheekbone as well so hard I was in a daze for a few seconds. The first thing that crossed my mind when I was down on the floor was “Oh no! I might not be able to dance tomorrow!” The people around us tried to carry us up. I was disoriented but walked to my seat as if nothing had happened but I felt everything as I sat down. The hubby tried to do TKM (The King’s Method) on me and it did relieve me but it made me want to close my eyes and just sleep. I was scared to fall asleep because I feared that I wouldn’t wake up. My kids were so surprised and couldn’t believe I did what I did. They had mixed feelings of anger and concern… anger at the person who crashed into me and concern for my well-being as well. That made me think hard. I needed to teach them something. They needed to know why I did what I did.

I had one of those “my life flashed before my eyes moments” and “what is the purpose of my life conversations with myself” running through my brain as I was trying to find a little relief from the waves of pain and disorientation. The hubby who’s been studying on kinesthetics and all that dance physiology blah-blah-blah assured me that my tailbone was the location of hundreds of nerves that’s why I was feeling that way and it had just gone thru trauma so it was normal for me to feel that way. I was having a spiritual moment on the other hand. LOL

These are some of the things I learned, realized and remembered all at once:

  • Standing in the gap is hard. I realized that what Jesus did on the cross was so hard compared to what I did. I had it easy. I had a thick layer of fat on my butt to cushion the fall. It still hurts the day after but compared to what Jesus did for us, this is a walk in the park. Jesus had nails thru his hands and feet. His pain was so much greater than mine.
  • Standing in the gap saves lives. I’m no savior but had I not been in her way even if I did not intentionally try to help her, she would have crashed her face into the concrete floor. Newton’s first law of inertia says “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Jesus is the force that stops us in our tracks and saves us from crashing into whatever.
  • Standing in the gap is not faceless. I hardly knew the person who crashed into me. We saw each other just minutes before the game started. No heroics. Just instincts. Standing in the gap is also commonly interchanged with intercession. Many times I receive prayer requests for people I have never met and yet I still pray for them. Sometimes God puts people and circumstances in my heart to pray for whom I have no inkling about and yet I know it is not in vain. This has been my training hence this is my instinct.  Jesus loves us and knows us by name. We are not faceless to Him.
  • Standing in the gap is a choice. My children kept asking me after “Why did you do that, mama? I don’t like it that you got hurt…”. My kids are the sweetest kids in the world and I know they are and will always be protective of me. What I want them to know is that Jesus chose to do what He did. He died on the cross to save us from our sin, by choice. Why? Because He loves us. I can’t say I loved that person. I hardly knew her. I don’t think she realized she needed any “saving” from me. Does God love her. I’m sure He does. But what about me? I’m the one who got hurt? Doesn’t He love me? Why didn’t He spare me from the pain? This passage came to my mind:

New International Version (©1984)
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

another version says this:

Bible in Basic English
That I may have knowledge of him, and of the power of his coming back from the dead, and a part with him in his pains, becoming like him in his death;

Sometimes, it’s the painful times, the seasons of hardships and the difficult moments that yield more insight into another person’s life. These times create deeper bonds, deeper friendships that transcend time. They give us a peek into the other person’s heart and soul. We all have friends but those who share their most intimate thoughts and share their deepest pains with us are those who regard us as true friends. We end up “knowing” them beyond words. This incident has made me “know” God more and has made me appreciate and love Him more. It allowed me to peek into His heart and understand why He did what He did for all of us.  I know now that I am His friend.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Both of our kids are sick today – coughs and colds. So this necessitated a trip to our family pedia. After ds had her check up and prescriptions we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of authentic Bikol “pinangat”, crispy pork, corned beef omelette, atsarang ubod topping it all off with homemade avocado ice cream served by our gracious host Dr. Ninong as we fondly call Dr. Almelor.

Our discussion turned to anything and everything under the sun – from the endless stream of patients that kept pouring in to food and even the Katrina-Hayden-Vicki issue.  It got me to thinking later on about women’s rights and who had the real right to sue. I have not seen the video and don’t have any intentions of watching it. I have been asked twice already why I haven’t and my answer to both was a simple “no”. I have a daughter myself and I wouldn’t want her to undergo what Vicki and Katrina are going through.

Who is the real victim and who is the perpetrator? Either way, both have lost a lot already. Who’s rights have been trampled on? Most, if not all of us, know who got trampled the most. Who will win in the courts? A whole team of Mesothelioma lawyers is not enough to sway the court of public opinion. Who stands to benefit after all has been said and done?

If laws are given more teeth to protect women’s rights from being violated in whatever form, most especially in this digital age, then my daughter has a safer future ahead of her. If women will be wiser and more discerning in choosing who they will trust because of this incident then bravo to us. Hopefully, this case will not just be one of those fleeting sensational issues that are forgotten after it doesn’t make the headlines and sell the newspapers and magazines anymore… Hopefully, we won’t just watch from the sidelines and allow any woman to be treated less than how our Heavenly Father has created us… for our sakes and for the sake of all our daughters.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this thing but reminding my eldest son to brush his teeth is a daily tug-of-war. Although he does do it when I remind him to, he doesn’t do it well and now his teeth have a yellowish tint to it already. I inspect his teeth all the time to see if there are any food particles left near the gum and in his molars. His baby teeth have fallen out already more than a few months ago and he is sporting his “hammy look” with his two front teeth sticking out like Bugs Bunny. A regular checkup at the dentist’s office is certainly a must and I’m glad we don’t have to go all the way to a Plano Dentist in Texas just to do that. We found one in our church and the kids really like her and are not scared of her and that definitely is a good thing.

Our lifestyle is ever evolving. As a family, we are transitioning into a more fast-paced routine because dh and I have taken on new things while we increase the extra-curricular activities of our kids. Ever since they started ballet class (yes, both my kids-boy and girl) and dh started teaching in De Lasalle and College of St. Benilde this term our schedules have become so volatile. We’ve had to work around time constraints and travel time considerations just to fit all these. It’s a good thing that we are a homeschooling family so we can take our “school on the go” anytime, anywhere. I’m not quite there yet but I think we will be needing a laptop or probably a netbook especially for the kids so that it’s a bit more convenient for all of us (especially mom and dad who have to lug around those books once the little hands get tired). In fact I checked out this Sony Vaio laptop at Buy.com to see if the specs will fit our needs. Hopefully, when the budget permits we will be able to have all the resources we need to support this lifestyle.

Sony VAIO NS290J/W Notebook

It’s the week after our kids ballet recital and were still trying to get back to our normal routine.  The little ones got back to their Kumon spiel today with our 9 year old taking (and passing) his level FII exam for reading. This now puts him as a Gold awardee for both Math and Reading. Our six year old, however, was leisurely going back to her thing.  Not a problem really, just like carefully shopping for industrial equipment supplies.  You just have to focus on the long term results. On our end, we had to catch up with the laundry and finish up on some project backlogs.  While the recital was an interruption, it was most welcome since it gave the kids the exposure and experience they will cherish for a lifetime

Just popping in to say that we are about to have one hectic week ahead. Kids recovering from sudden cough and colds due to the erratic weather, a death in the family, visiting grandparents from Davao, visiting family relatives from Cebu, a just concluded summer dance workshop in Sta. Rosa, an unfinished article, layouts to finish, a costume to paint, a surprise party for a dear, dear person, technical dress rehearsals and a photoshoot, of course the first two-day Noah’s Ark ballet recital of my kids at the CCP no less, costumes and makeup to attend to and would you believe after 10+++ years of not dancing, I and a few of my dance ministry friends will brave a dance for a friend’s birthday…. whew, are you still breathing while reading all this?  All of that in 7 days!!! I feel like I’m riding a tiny little scooter and am about to have a head on collision with a ten-wheeler truck in the middle of the freeway! Get me an Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer, pronto!

With a gazillion more things I might forget, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me. To my mind, I need buckets and buckets of it but it is amazing how He can quiet down your soul and order your world if you let Him. I heard someone say this long ago ” I have too much to do today, I think I need to spend more time praying.” And so I shall.