Friday, December 24, 2010

Night before Christmas

Christmas time is usually the best time of the year for me to slow down and think of how my life has generally been. As the year comes to a close, it is very helpful to pause and put plans and other things back into their proper perspective.

What I love about December is that besides being the last month of the year, it also signifies a period of transition into a new beginning. During this time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we also celebrate HOPE.

Hope for closer relationship with family and friends.
Hope for success in work and school.
Hope for better days to come.
Hope for God to see us through.

Holiday decorations at home.
Rudolph had a very shiny nose, indeed. Now, I have found him!

Wine red and sheer white curtains this year.
I kind of miss the traditional yellow Christmas lights, though. :)
Still, blue remains my favorite color.
2010 has been a year of firsts and lasts, of not nows and next times, of always and nevers...

2010 has been a friend and foe.

Now, 2010 has come and will be gone soon. Too soon.

But we were not meant to look back for much longer; so tonight, I lay down everything once more beside the manger where the Christ was born.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dress up your eyewear

This year's company Christmas party was so much fun! :)

Besides having FUNglasses for the party theme, the program was packed with group games, dance presentations, raffle draws, an awarding ceremony and more. The spirit of Christmas is wonderfully alive in everybody during the gathering.

I am filled with joy to witness the true essence of the season: togetherness in celebrating the wonderful gift of hope and love in our Lord Jesus.

I have so much to be thankful for tonight.

"Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite..."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kiddie Party

Adopted from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a bestselling 1989 children's book drawn and written by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Acrchambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert, and published by Aladdin Picture Books.
After more than a month of internet hiatus, I am pleased to share that the kids' Christmas party that my co-teachers and I have been preparing for day and night since the past month was a remarkable success. :)

Though I still have much papers to finish at work, lessons to study for school and other things to take care of before the Christmas break, this day is more than enough to make my smile reach from ear to ear. My heartfelt gratitude to the kids and their families who joined us is celebrating the warmth and wonder that children bring to the world. Congratulations to everyone at ACC who helped make this year's ACC Christmas party very memorable.

It surely is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music and me

It has been months (if not a year) since I last touched the family keyboard. Although it definitely is not the same as playing the piano, it is quite the closest thing to it.

I did my usual exercises to get a feel of the keys and to stretch my fingers a bit. I also played the only short piece that I have memorized [As the Deer - Martin Nystrom] but, alas!, it wasn't coming back to me as easily as I thought. Should I have seriously pursued piano lessons, I would be having a much easier time. There is truth, surely, to the saying: "If you don't use it, you lose it!".

Nevertheless, it was good to hear music coming from my very own fingertips again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holidays are coming

The first sign of the coming Christmas season...

As the year is drawing to a close, I am getting busier and more exhausted everyday - more so as the weather changes drastically from hot to cold and cold to hot. Nevertheless, it has been a wonderful 314 days so far.

I can already feel the holidays.

My everyday scenario on my way home from work or graduate school.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Food Colors

I just love the smell of onion and garlic sizzling in butter! :D

I don't know how or when I began to like eating them but vegetables sure are yummy. :D (And definitely healthy, too!)

The herbs make the main course smell so much better! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Faithful departed

Heaven and hell. Life after death. Judgment day. Where will you be after you have taken your last breath from this world?

All these thoughts come to mind more strongly at this time of year when the whole mother's side of the family goes to the cemetery to visit our departed loved ones. Each year, I experience a paradigm shift on this particular day, the first day of the month. Instead of seeing each day as one more day of living, I come to realize that it is one more day closer to dying. I do not wish to discourage or sound depressing; I just try to imagine what's it like seeing the half-full glass as half-empty.

I am lying if I tell you that I do not fear death. I do, especially when I think of all the possible aftermaths of my loss. On the other hand, this tiny fear is overpowered by a bigger sense of excitement for the life after life. Death is merely a phase, a transition. I believe all those who have gone to rest are in hope of rising again and being with the Lord Jesus Christ.

My favorite Filipino glutinous rice especially made by Lolo.

Though going to the cemetery may sound sad and mournful, it really isn't all that. There is much merriment and laughter, too, since the yearly visits are one of those rare opportunities when big families can spend some time together.

During this once-a-year tradition, each family in our clan brings food to be shared with the extended family. There was lechong paksiw (a pork stew), sopas (chicken noodle soup), rice, chips and so on. To my delight, my grandfather made and brought his specialty, biko [pronounced /bee-koh/], which I haven't tasted in a long time. What a treat! It feels so good to be around family and feel loved. It's a great reminder that Jesus has overcome the world and has overcome death.

"It's the heart that really matters in the end..."

"No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand..."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Trip

Veggies and Kimchi

Some scrumptious photos from Krazy Garlik located at Greenbelt 5, Makati City, where my friends and I have had several dinners already. :) A great place to hang out and have fun over and array of garlic-inspired meals. (Oh, and I don't do this to advertise. I just love good food!)

Oh yes, we eat to live but sometimes we also live to eat. :)
This one's for the food lovers!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

Cute little rascal resting on the greens in our 'little house on the prairie'.
A great way to start October!

I went to my Lipa City home with co-teacher friends from Makati and spent barely a two-day weekend with them and my family. In spite of the short span of time, I had one of the most eventful but relaxing weekends of my work life. Quality over quantity goes a long, long way.

The famous Taal Lake with the Taal Volcano rising in the distance.
Nothing like serenity within reflected on the outside.
I could only follow with joy bubbling in my heart.
I remember Narnia but under the warmth of the sun.
What a lovely venue to begin a new chapter in life.
Ready to take flight to set things right.
The artist in me was happy to look through rose-colored glasses.
Wash away the tensions of the past and focus on life ever flowing.
I couldn't be happier for when I followed my feet, they brought me here.
To thine own self be true.
Being outside gives a whole new perspective to 'looking in'.
Being HOME changes a lot of things: the way you think, the way you act, the way you look at life. Everything seems to be so much simpler.

Places we visited this weekend were The Shop Around the Corner in Lipa City and Club Balai Isabel at Talisay, Batangas. :)

Ahh, there's simply no place like home. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Open up

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anais Nin

Be not afraid to burst with life.
Be not afraid to shed some light.
Be not afraid to embrace the world.
Be not afraid to take flight!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mama! I love you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Time and again

Live like there's no tomorrow...

I'm sure this statement has crossed your mind at one time or another or you might have heard it from someone or somewhere at some point in your life. I have been pondering on this statement for almost a week now and I am quite disturbed myself when I realized what it can mean if you really try to digest deeper into the words.

I have arrived at one conclusion that the earlier mentioned statement has probably been used and abused for the longest time that is why people who 'live like there's no tomorrow' literally never got to see the light of day again. I imagine that there's a pretty thin line between "seizing the day" and "living like there's no tomorrow" but still a line that one ought not to cross nevertheless. For me, carpe diem suggests making the most of your day while live like there's no tomorrow implies no boundaries, no limitations, no nothing whatsoever, which is a really dangerous hidden message.

We are already living in a world that's moving and changing quickly, I don't believe we need to add any more swiftness to the passing of time or to the loss of life. There's a practical and important reason why we only have 24 hours in a day. One day is not designed to capture in summary all of an individual's life events. What sense is there, then, in being given about a hundred-year lifespan if we only wanted to fit it all in one day?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Clean FUN

Who knew cleaning and organizing can be so much fun!? Not to mention, artsy-fartsy, too!

I clean our city home as much as I can: fom the ceiling down to the floor, from air-conditioner filters to toilet seats, from replacing curtains to changing bedsheets, from scrubbing tiles to wiping furniture - you name it, I've probably done it.  I know I can be overbearingly organized sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time) but there's just a certain feeling, not of control, but of peace brought about by a settled environment. To quote Eckhart Tolle, a German-born writer, public speaker and spiritual teacher:

"Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without: If humans clear inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution."

I couldn't agree more.

Going way back, there were several moments when I [out of stressful circumstances] thought of this need to be meticulously clean as possible as a sort-of tendency towards an obsessive-compulsive personality. Then, I had an epiphany. I realized that a perfect example of order is the universe, which was created by God in a deeply systematic fashion. Thus, it only makes sense to keep the world in harmony if we were brought into it that way.

Nevertheless, there is another line of caution. Peace and order does not begin and end only with objects or places. The Bible in 1 Peter 3:8 also tells us this: "[Suffering for Doing Good] Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."

With this, suddenly, every day feels more like HOME. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010


There is only now
Only now that we can be
Be and see beauty
Beauty in simplicity

Simplicity in living and loving
Loving ourselves, our neighbors, our world
Our world that has forgotten
Forgotten how to love and to live

To live with optimism and gratitude
Gratitude for the miracle
The miracle of each day made by God
God, who looks after me and you

You, who know better than anyone
Anyone, anywhere, doing anything
Anything worth this or that
that there is only now

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Free falling

I have been to a steep valley these past couple of weeks.

Although I haven't full recovered, I am content to say that I am optimistically facing my fears and persistently doing the climb back to where I was - and possibly climb up higher to where I can be better.

The slightly funny thing about the whole ordeal is how I have realized that the drama which happens on television is nothing like the real drama in real life. (Of course, I didn't find it funny at all at the time I was going through the ordeal because I was concocting all these worst-case scenarios in my head as I tried to deal with the problem I was facing.) I even actually thought during those trying days that it couldn't be happening because those kind of things only happen on TV or in the movies. Well, turns out, and I believe, that real life has more drama than anything on television, no matter how sensationalized and romanticized they are. Even Shakespeare once said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." I guess that makes life the biggest 'production' of all, whatever genre it may be.

Anyway, I am not here to dwell on the drama of my past weeks nor on the mishaps of life in general. After all, it's no use to cry over spilled milk, right?

What I want to share is this:

We fall apart to figure out how we can put ourselves back together again and discover something we haven't seen before because we thought we already have everything we needed. And when we feel like we've broken ourselves beyond repair, all we need to know is there's nothing the One Who Made Us can't do - especially when it comes to fixing something that He created out of Love...

A friend of mine reminded me one day when I felt the world was slipping off my fingers: "Don't worry about it too much; think happy thoughts." I couldn't agree with her more - no matter how hard it may be most of the time.


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