Monthly Archives: April 2011
Summer is officially here in the Philippines after some serious, long-lasting rain that went on for several months. Although summer heat signals the start of fun in the beach and wearing light, comfortable clothes, one cannot help but wish for some coolness in the midst of a humid and hot uncomfortable weather.
Personally, I love summer because it is a time when I get to enjoy staying up late watching American Idol recaps and sleeping in later than my usual 3am work time. I don’t have to get up early to make breakfast for Josh and get him to school. I can continue working undisturbed until lunch time and get several hours off to play tennis in the afternoon. Sunset during summertime is the best with the color of the sky changing from hues of orange to pink to blue. Indeed it is a sight to behold! However, what I don’t like during this time is the heat scorching my back causing it to itch a lot. It is also a time when the water and electric bills shoot up because of the extra baths we have to take just to be refreshed and the electric fans working overtime. Because of the heat, all I want to do is just laze around, read a nice book and sip some cool refreshing drink! Lazing around is something I cannot afford as I have works to do.
Nevertheless with all the good and bad points of summer, I can say this year’s summer time is special for me. I bask in the love and attention given to me unconditionally by these two men in my life. Since Josh stays home because school is out, he is as always the sweetest boy who always care enough to ask me if I am okay while busy working. He would get me water and share with me some of the goodies he is enjoying from the ref. He can be a pesky kid too! Yet, I would rather have him at my side and enjoy his out-of-tune singing and funny, jumping dance steps than anything else. Indeed, my son is the joy of my life. The three of us may be living a simple life but our joy is complete because we have each other. Indeed, time heals all wounds and it is really our choice if we want to be happy or not.
Summer heat is made warmer because of the summer love we get from one another.
I opened my eyes from a deep slumber. A little disoriented from the aftermath of a blurred dream, I noticed the sun shining and the house is filled with silence. Josh is beside me sleeping ever so peacefully. I got up as I remember today is Easter morning. Too bad, we were too tired to wake up early to join the Easter morning service that happens every year at the park. It would have been a nice experience for Josh. However, being a special day today I decide to blog about what Easter means to me personally.
More than 25 years ago, every Easter Sunday my mother never failed to wake me up at 4am and we would go to this big stadium in our hometown wherein it was filled with so many people alternately singing and praying. There would be individuals coming up to do a short testimony on how God has changed their lives. The atmosphere was joyful while everyone eagerly waited for the sun to rise signifying the risen Christ. Every year, I would come home reminded of how blessed I am that God has chosen me to be a part of HIM. Being a serving Christian at an early age did not spare me from all the pain in life. Despite the fact that I used to live and breathe with church works that include being the soloist in the choir, Sunday School teacher, Discipleship leader of the youth and helper in the church service every Sunday, I still made some really seriously bad choices. I strayed away from what God wants me to do. I hurt a LOT of people and I suffered financially and emotionally.
Yet, more than ever I am thankful because every Easter Sunday reminds me that even if my life is far different from what it was 25 years back, only God has never changed in HIS love for me. He has been a loving, faithful, graceful and very understanding Father to me. I may be far from the teen who used to serve God but more than ever I am totally dependent on Him. I think the essence of my life is not on how I can be of service to Him with my talents but it is in my being broken, ugly and shattered that HIS strength and beauty can be reflected in me.
I have so much to thank the Lord for. He has never tired of being there to sustain me in all the “hell” I have been through. He keeps encouraging me to “take up my cross” and follow Him. Yes, we all know the significance of this day to all Christians. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead gave us the VICTORY over Satan and sin. It simply means that the one we believe in is alive and in control of our lives. For me, it is this and much more!
To all of you out there…..HAPPY EASTER! JESUS is ALIVE!!!
I welcome silence with a grateful heart.
It’s almost 12 midnight with only the whirring sound of the electric fan keeping me company. Even my pup is surprisingly quiet while she is sleeping the night away. Its been a dreadfully hot day today and after finishing up the last pieces of work I had to do, I can’t help but heave a big sigh of relief. Deep down, I have been looking forward for these four days of rest but it has been so uncomfortably hot! Weather like this has been going on the past week and while others welcome this as better than the constant rain, I can’t help but wish life shouldn’t be so extreme. Extremely hot, extremely cold, extremely tired, extremely stressed, extremely happy (which seems to last for only a few hours) and extremely sad. I guess, I should not be surprise since this is LIFE after all.
Other than the Philippines, there are other countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Spain commemorating “Semana Santa” or Holy Week. Although most Western cultures would give more emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter Sunday), Holy Week is a time of reflections, repentance and prayer that starts from Palm Sunday on-going toward Easter Sunday. Philippines is a Catholic country with almost 85% Christian population. Thus, it is not surprising that the week sees most people going home to their hometown and taking advantage of the 4 day weekend starting on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
In some parts of the country, Semana Santa is looked upon as some sort of “street opera” for tourists. You will see multiple crucifixion with people really getting themselves nailed to the cross; marathon chants that starts from Monday climaxing towards Friday with people taking turns praying, singing and chanting the passion of Jesus 24 hours. There are also myriad of flagellation especially on the Northern part of Luzon. Other people are kept busy preparing for their religious floats for the procession. These are mostly owned by the affluent members of the community wherein mostly were handed down from generations to generations. The figures in the carriage is being kept in impeccable condition with their carriage designed beautifully as the family believe that these figures guided them to a comfortable and bountiful life. Most processions happens starting Wednesday but the most awaited would be the one during good Friday with almost everyone in the city or town looking on. During this time,one can feel a seemingly sullen mood with priests continually praying and the crowd joining in. Most Catholics are forbidden to drink and be merry at this time. Those who are fasting and abstaining gain full force as a part of their sacrifice.
Easter morning ushers in a wondrous celebration of joy and merriment! Other than the early morning welcome church services with participants dressed in Roman costumes and children in angel attire, it is a sight to behold as people watches a little girl plays the part of an angel bearing good news that Jesus has risen again. Indeed, this whole week spectacle draws thousands of participants and spectators.
However with all the bustle and hustle of religious affairs going on, many would take advantage of this religious holiday to relax from work and go on a vacation. Mostly, families would go outing to beaches and resorts while others would visit other places out-of-town. Still some people like me who has been bogged down with work welcomes this time to stay home. I may not be a religious fanatic like most Filipinos but deep in my heart I see this time as a time for deep reflections on how much Jesus love and willingly suffered for me. It is also a reminder to forgive the people who have pained me in the past and have been stopping me from moving on. I thrive on this quiet time as I have been struggling in my heart, not because I doubt but because I seem unable to let go of the pain that has been blinding my heart to forgive others.
Can you share how I can forgive?
It is my desire before I can join in the joyful celebration of Easter, I can finally laid to rest the pain in my heart.
…..and I firmly believe the greatest that I can be in my whole lifetime is to be myself.
When I was a child and being the youngest of the brood of five, it is not surprising to be constantly compared with your other siblings. What they are and what they have achieved would always bear weight on important decisions to be made. I am blessed with really, really smart brothers and sisters. In fact, I am very proud of their achievements and what they are that I am not. I have a brother who is doing well in his business and comfortably off financially. I have a sister who is, I believe the smartest among all of us because of her tons of achievements. Another sister is very blessed financially and a family that is almost perfect and a brother who is doing well with his own endeavors. I love all my siblings and I am very, very proud of them.
Looking over my life in general would give me very few reasons to be proud of. I have always been struggling financially, physically and emotionally. Although I was an Accounting graduate in college, I hate this course and never even attempted to build a career out of it. Instead, I had no choice but to make use of my own Godgiven skills.
Physically, it has always been a struggle losing weight even when I was young. I was made to believe (and hate) that I was fat and big framed. Because of this, I never really loved myself and my body to the point of eating excessively for the heck of it. However, as I ventured into the late 30s and a near-operation scare due to gallstones, I realized that I need to take hold of my health once and for all.
I grew up to be a dreamer. I have always dreamed of meeting my handsome “Prince” and to be with him forever. Yet, almost twelve years after, I found myself rudely awakened from this dream and forced to face the harsh reality. Since then, I have struggled with insecurities, doubts, a lowered self-esteem and hatred. Nothing to be proud of–I know.
The other night, I found myself watching “Binibining Pilipinas”, a Filipino beauty pageant wherein the winner will be representing the Philippines in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant to be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil. There was a question posted to one of the 15 finalists asking her “since no one is deemed perfect, if there is one thing you want to change within yourself–what would it be and why?” With beaming confidence, the finalist simply answered, “If I am to change anything within myself, it would be nothing. I believe that God made me who I am today.” Her answer was met with a loud applause from the judges and the audiences.
Reflection time came upon me since that night and I have been wondering indeed, if I am given the chance to change anything about myself, what would it be? Thoughts of changing decisions made, the course of actions and the many “faults” I keep finding within myself came to mind. I could have been more insistent with following dreams to be a guidance counselor and a worker amongst special children; I could have been more patient and selfless before deciding to leave my ex-husband and I could have been more disciplined with the food that I eat and the exercise regimen that I seem to be always starting but never seeing it through. In the end, I would have end up being more confident and never the emotional and self-analytical person as I am now. I know….I would have been GREAT. My parents, my siblings and my children would have been very proud of me.
Yet I realized with this musings, I don’t want to be great. All I ever want is just be Me. Be the person I am now with all the fats and failures. Why? Because in all my weaknesses, I know that I am strong because of the omni presence of a God who keeps me going. I couldn’t go on with this life on my own and never was I alone. Someone up there has always helped me see EVERYTHING through. I may not be a successful accountant now but with my skills as a cook, I was able to support my family financially with the food business I started. After its downfall, I was able to use my writing skill to work as a freelancer and God has never stopped giving me continuous work since day 1. Despite the fact that I have always been struggling with insecurities and pain because of others, I hold on desperately for sanity and strength from God who never fails to supply me with HIS grace. I have learned to accept that I will never be the thin, model-looking girl I have always dreamed of; instead beauty will always be within myself which is more lasting.
This is me. I am not great but I am proud to say–I am and will always be ME.
It can be a frustration to any man or woman once the body starts showing signs of aging. Admittedly, everyone would do anything to stop this progression. Sometimes they even go to the extent of dressing and acting like a teenager just to show other people they are cool.
Compare these two women. Both have long straight hair, wearing T-shirt and shorts and flip-flops on their feet. At a distance, one looks older than the other. Looking closer, the one who seemed older is actually years younger than the other one. In fact, the younger looking one has visible lines etched on her eyes and face yet, she is often mistaken to be at her early 30s instead of her 40 years of age. Although we cannot stop time but we can feel and look young while aging. Here’s how:
As we age, our lives become more complicated due to the many responsibilities we face each day. Problems at home and at work can take its toll on us. It is how we perceive things in life that we can avoid being stressful. Take the first woman. She’s only 28 years old but she likes to whine and complain. Every little problem that comes, she makes a whole big deal out of it. If things don’t work out like she wants it to be, self-pity comes surfacing. This attitude in life causes one to look and feel old.
As we grow older our body changes. The usual agility is diminished in half and more often than not we tire easily. We can only counter the aging process if we do something about it like getting into a daily exercise routine. Doing some walking in the morning or enrolling yourself in aerobic classes are some of the things that would get your body moving. My dad who is 80 years old now still plays tennis every day. Although at his age he doesn’t move as fast as he was 40 years ago but mentally, he is still quick and witty.
Change in Lifestyle
Someone close to me passed away recently at the age of 50 due to several complications brought about by his constant smoking and drinking alcohol. The human body if not properly taken care of breaks down easily. Amazingly, it has a built-in automatic warning device that will let us know something is wrong. It may be due to extensive smoking, alcohol intake, drugs and even our daily food consumption that is filled with Fatty food and high sugar intake. Yet, when we ignore the warning and still go on with the lifestyle we are so used to, the body breaks down and even stop working. When to change our lifestyle? Now is the best time.
Smile more often, pamper yourself and be surrounded by people with happy disposition.
We cannot avoid it. We all go through the process of aging. Yet we can take hold of it and do something about it. There are a lot of people who age gracefully and the common denominator one will notice is that they may be old physically yet mentally and emotionally they are young. Thus, the term “young hearted” is often used to people who may be old in age but the attitude in life is that of a young person. Smile more often even when life isn’t so great. Pamper yourself and take time outs. Indulge in those body spa and facial treatments. You deserve it! Most of all surround yourself with happy people. Toxic ones would simply drag you down and without you wanting it, you feel a lot older than you are.
In conclusion, we are in control of our lives. We are the only ones who know what is best for our bodies. Even if we may not be able to stop ourselves from aging but with the right attitude we can look and feel young even when we grow older.