30 Minute Write: Family

funny pic during Honie’s wedding at the restroom 🙂 Couldn’t resist 🙂

It may be a cliche to say that “my family is the best one in the whole world”.  We are not perfect but I would dare say that we are rich in love.  My family has gone through a lot in the past 10 years.  We’ve faced bankruptcy, my brother had to give up school for a year or two so his two older sisters could finish college first,  fights (sibling vs. sibling), a period of 6 months without power because we did not have enough income to pay the electric bill but after all these shaking, tests and trials, I am blessed and happy to say that one of the joys of our lives is spending time with each other.

I especially love Sundays because this is when I get to have dinner with my nephew S and my niece A.  They’re my sister’s kids and they are just adorable and lovable.  I think every aunt or uncle thinks that way of their nieces and nephews. 😉

As for my dad and my mom, we have been blessed to have parents who raised us up “equally” and “fairly”.  For me that means parents who don’t compare us with one another and who don’t talk against the other child to another.  Respect, respect and respect were always the words my mom hammered unto us when we were still young and even now when we have disagreements or arguments.  She would always say that “even if you are siblings, you have to respect each other.  Respect your siblings even more.  Don’t just take them for granted just because they’re your siblings.”

One of my fondest memories as a kid was that time when my sister and I had the chicken pox and we were in danger of missing a summer vacation in Hongkong because we could not get into the plane for danger of contagion.  My dad cheered us up by letting us fly a kite under the heat of the sun.  We were supposed to be “hiding” or in isolation but he let us play freely and I will always remember and treasure those times that he ran and flew that kite for us.  Of course suffice it to say, he also got the chicken pox from us.

Another fun imprint on my mind was that time my feisty sister and I climbed up the Ford Fiera (it’s an Asian Utility Vehicle) that my dad and the mechanic-driver were repairing in the garage that was a bit inclined.  The gate was closed and the keys were not in the ignition.  But my very curious sister had seen my dad and the driver start the vehicle with a starter.  A button that one had to press that revved up the engine.  Vrroooommm…It suddenly started and we were moving!  I looked at my dad’s and the driver’s very shocked and surprised faces and we waved goodbye as the car started going down the inclined driveway and bang!  It hit the gate, opening it and down we went crashing into the fence of our neighbor across the street.  My dad and the driver went chasing after us.

Daddy was furious.  That was an understatement to say the least.  He was boiling mad.  “What if someone was walking along the road and you hit him or her?  You could have killed that person!  What if a car had passed by?  You guys could have been killed!”  Ooops, we had not thought about that. 🙂

Looking back to that time, I believe it was the hand of God that protected us or any passerby or car from an accident.   My mom wasn’t home at that time.  She was in Hongkong with some clients and after my dad called her to report to her what we had done and how furious he was, he was calling my sister and I with the loudest voice while we started hiding.  He took a piece of flimsy firewood and starting running after us.  I don’t know why that in our foolishness we were giggling and laughing while looking at Daddy chasing us with a firewood and running up and down the house.  Of course, we eventually got a hard spanking and we were “punished”.  Hahaha!  But still, that incident never fails to make me laugh thinking about daddy’s anger and how he looked running after us.  We were so young then.  I think Happy was 6 years old while I was 9.

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30 minutes + 7 more minutes for uploading photos 😦

“dream” guy

I did not have a good night’s rest last night as my dad and I were busy tinkering with his new gadget: the new iPad. It was 4am when I finally hit the sack and even then my mind and my eyes refused to cooperate. They wanted to stay awake. Finally at half past four in the morning I slept, I think. I woke up early again around 6am, went back to sleep and woke up again around 8 or 9.

But what struck me in those drifting in between sleep and waking up was that I dreamt of the “man” and he was nothing like the men who fit my type. Physically, he was far too different. I have always been drawn to skinny men. I don’t like men with extra “fat” on them. I have always been drawn to skinny, lanky men.

Next, the guy in my dream was not the sensitive, serious, artistic types that I like and prefer. He was outgoing, warm and funny and he liked hugging me in that dream. You see I have always liked serious men. Men who are more artistic and creative in temperament rather than the “hi, how do you do” types.

What’s more was that it happened in Thailand where I supposedly went to for an outreach with kids. When I met him there IN THE DREAM, I wasn’t even remotely interested in him because he was totally the opposite of what I wanted in a guy.

It was only when I woke up and thought to myself “what a weird dream that was” that it hit me that probably the guy God will give me will be far different from what I prefer and I’ll meet him during the most unexpected of times. Another thing that jiggled my mind when I woke up was that in the dream, my brother J liked the man and approved of him, telling me “he likes you, tsi” and “he will take care of you”. That is something. You see my bro is quite outspoken when he doesn’t approve of a guy I’m seeing and won’t mince words.

I said a prayer after processing the dream and how I felt afterwards. In my mind I kept telling myself “he’s not my type” but I felt loved, respected, at peace and unafraid. Some of the things I have been asking God to be present in my relationship with my future husband after quite a tumultuous and confusing experience in the past.

Lord Jesus, wherever he is, guide him, protect him and make him into the man You want him to be.:) Amen. I’m excited.

Covenant :)

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These are the gentlemen and the ladies I practically grew up with through the years.  Can still remember those times that we had prayer meetings aka sleepovers at the former prayer room now-turned Tabernacle.  We’d pray ‘til midnight and stopped after a neighbor threw a stone at the church’s roof because of the ruckus we made.   In my mind I can still see some of the men in this pic 10 years ago still dressed in their school uniforms.  That long and that old, huh?

Now, we’re all ‘grown up’ as Ate Sal puts it and all dressed up for a good friend, H.’s, wedding. No longer “youth” but thank God for covenant.  Different personalities, backgrounds and interests brought together by One Man – Jesus.:)

Thank You, Jesus, for brothers and sisters in Christ.

Photo credit {c} Ms. Mitzil L.

 

 

 

September: Life in Snapshots

Here are some photos of how September flew.  I think the song with the lyrics that say “Wake me up when September ends…” is somehow apt to describe how fast this month passed by.  It came like a dream.  Quite.a.rush.

But one good thing about being busy these days is that I’ve been busy studying, meeting up with long lost friends, cousins, bonding with my nephew and niece and good friends.  It was worth the full sched. 🙂

One Friday evening with my cousins, Joan and Ken {the one who took the photo} at SM City Cebu
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My sister Happy {the one beside me} and I had lunch with J., a good friend of ours from Manila. She tells me it’s been 8 years since we last saw each other. Surprisingly, it felt like it was only yesterday since I last saw her. That’s how you know you’re with a friend. 🙂
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Had a great time playing “Breakthrough” with M, a good friend & now-cousin-by-marriage, at Cafe Caw. :))
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One Sunday evening after our family dinner at my sister’s place, we played dominoes with the kids. Losers get lipstick streaks. Boo! The three of us lost to my sister {their mom} and my bro-in-law. It was a hilarious and fun time with family! Precious moments.
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This is how the Marvel dominoes look like.:) The cause of all those lipstick marks on our faces. ^_^

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I look forward to spending one hour with them every Sunday afternoon. Our church has scholars and as part of their scholarship privileges, we also have bible studies with them. I am blessed and privileged that God allowed me to be a part of their lives in this season. 🙂

Where art thou, Lady?

I thought it was only August that brought with it its own rush.  Also September.  What with all the Long Tests and projects of my tutees plus my mom’s birthday’s surprise {Her birthday is on the 22nd.  That’s Saturday here} and two weddings on the same weekend! Wooh!  Just thinking about ’em is enough to keep me busy.

But what’s actually keeping me busy these days is that I’ve started my self-review for the coming Teachers’ Board Exam this coming March or April.  It’s actually a face-your-fear turning point in my life.  I am baring my heart out here.  You see I’ve dreaded taking this exam since it’s been a looong time since I’ve faced major tests/exams since I last graduated.

Today, my motto is “I’ll study, do my best and GIVE God the REST.”  I’m actually excited as I’ve been studying almost everything from Math to Science to Professional Education subjects.  I study whenever I can.  And tonight, I’ve de-cluttered and rearranged my study table to give way for my reviewers and my notes.  I kept and phased out my teaching stuff from the two years that I taught preschool and put my reviewers and books on the limelight here on the table.  🙂

As I went back to studying Principles of Teaching, Teaching Methods and Strategies, Educational Assessment and the nitty-gritty details and technical stuff, God taught me one very important thing about teaching through my tutees, M.  I will write more about it when I’m not pressed for time and their LTs {long tests} are done.  He reminded me again that more than techniques, strategies and critical thinking activities, LO.VE is still at the heart of teaching and what’s really at the heart of His Kingdom.

Surely, surely, “Perfect Love casts out all fear.”  That verse became so clear to me tonight as He was talking to me about how to handle, encourage and just plain love my tutee…AS IS.

Like a Lion {David Crowder band}

Verse:
Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To see a revolution somehow.
Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To bring a revolution somehow

Pre- chorus
Now I’m lost in your freedom
This world I’ll overcome.

Chorus:
My God is not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Verse 2:
Let hope arise and make the darkness hide
My faith is dead
I need a resurrection somehow

Bridge:
Let Heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground
With the sound of revival

Here’s sharing with you guys one of my favorite songs that we sing in church.  It’s safe to say that this is one of my “theme songs” of my life in this season. 🙂 Enjoy!  OUR GOD IS ALIVE.  HE’S LIVING ON THE INSIDE ROARING LIKE A LION! Isn’t that just awesome and oh so mind-blowing!? 🙂

I could listen to this song for hours and sing this song over my nation whenever I’m so tempted to wallow in self-pity and hopeless just by looking at the social realities that “accost” me whenever I go out into the streets.

The teenagers who are strong but choose to beg in the streets.  Those two young high school students who flagrantly disobey traffic rules and walk across the flyover inspite of the speeding jeepneys and cars without a care.  The conductor and the jeepney driver who obey traffic rules only when the traffic enforcer is there and when he’s not around, ignore the traffic signs and lights.  When I see these things, despair floods my heart. Why? When we were in college, my sister and I were convinced that the traffic behavior and attitudes of a nation reflect its culture and how we look at authority, submission and obedience.  This was confirmed when a study came out about this.

But God…as always, without fail, tells me “don’t look at the physical.  Call out things that are not as though they are.  Set your eyes on heavenly things.”

Thank God for His Word or else I would have said things that would have put another nail on the coffin called “Philippines” but I refuse to dwell on what I see and believe that this nation has hope and that one day – soon – God is going to visit my beloved Philippines and turn it upside down, right side up.  I am hoping, believing and praying.  We need a love that is so bold that it will bring a revolution in this nation. Yes, I’m seeing trickles of change in the land now but I’m praying for a revolution that will bring radical change in the roots of our culture, our thoughts and our identity as a people.

There’s got to be more, Teacher

As a nation, we need a curriculum that demands more from our students than the mere memorization of facts, and a move toward a curriculum that supports deep and meaningful understanding of content, creative and critical problem-solving skills.

from Janet English quoted in “What is a Good Teacher Worth?

I think her sentiments are not only what’s needed for American education but also for the Philippine educational system, too.  As we are now implementing the K-12 program, there is still a need for teachers to focus on critical thinking and, I think, the more important quality to be developed – a love for learning – in the students.

I think students who are inspired to know more, learn to ask and probe issues and matters at hand rather than students who just memorize are the ones that will go on to invent new stuff, come up with new ways of doing things and shake the prevailing mindsets.

We must teach kids and students to think, dream and connect the dots instead of settling for just parroting us and what they read in the books.

one of my practicum classes in a public night high school 🙂

Clique: Time for the Annual Barkada Shot

I guess there are just some things (well, maybe lots) that we’ll never outgrow.

One thing I’ll never get tired of or outgrow are the barkada (clique or group of friends) and family pics. Hahaha!

So forgive my penchant for nostalgia as I post some photos of our high school barkada’s dinner and “reunion” last Friday evening. I consider them God’s blessings. We practically grew up together and have been friends through thick and thin (literally and figuratively). Our friendship go a long way back – wait, let me do the math. I think at least 20 years now. Hmmm, grade six until today. Go figure.:)

I still remember my dad fuming mad at us during our HS prom as we were all very late for the event as we got tangled up at the Colours Photo Studio along Mango Ave. beside Rustans supermarket then just to have our group pic taken. He was the one driving us to the event and he waited for us for a loooong time. ;D

Guess the younger kids don’t remember that place anymore. Now all they have is a smartphone + Instagram or Facebook and instant upload. Then we had recopies and negatives. Ooh la la! So old, I am!

Among the times we’d get to reunite and bond again are Annabelle’s birthday (August), her son N.’s birthday (October) and Christmas when our friends who are living and working in Singapore come home to spend the holidays here.

Here’s our latest pic together minus half of the group. Two could not join us. Two are in Singapore and one is based in Manila. So it was just the 6 of us but oh was it a noisy, fun and “bulabog” (unruly) 6. Hah! I dare say these are some of the times when I keep forgetting I’m in my 30s already and no longer in high school. ;D

My first time at Dolce last Friday and oh how I loved the interiors and the lighting! The place is one-of-a-kind.

Okay, now I’m going to post some through-the-years group pics that we’ve had every time we bond. As always, no matter how fun it is to catch up and update each other about what’s going on with our lives, the talk almost always goes back to our high school crushes, the fun that we had in school and the fond memories of old classmates and teachers! As if! We’ve been friends for so long that we’re already used to each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies and yet still discover new things about each other every now and then.:)

Thank You, Jesus, for friends who are like wine. The older, the better it gets. 🙂

UZ at Annabelle’s pension house last year – August 2011

Baby Eya’s birthday (Diya’s daughter) Diya is the sexy mommy in purple. 🙂

Nathan’s birthday, October 2011 with Aaliyah, our honorary member 🙂

our annual Christmas get-together, December 2011

Annabelle’s birthday, 2010 at Cafe Laguna

August 2010

Dinner with the hubbies, January 2009 🙂

UZ THEN…Brace yourself for some really geeky and old school pics. Hahaha!:)

Pics courtesy of our friend A.’s FB album

Look at them then 🙂 hahahaha! funny!

Senior year field trip at Philippine Dream (this is UZ with our male barkada counterpart) hahaha! so cliquish and childish that time! (That’s me at the rightmost side) hahaha

high school graduation 🙂

Quite an August Rush

August 1 came and I remembered a very good friend posting the line “august rush” on Facebook.  I clicked on the “Like” button not knowing that August would not only bring a rush with it but a “deluge” of stuff as well.

The floods in Manila, the death of a relative, an open door for volunteering (tutorials, I’ll write about this in a separate post), Secretary Jesse Robredo’s death – our Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, and the highlight of the month:  my first ever quarterly exams with the kids that I’m tutoring.  I didn’t know that would be a tough one.  Good thing we made it unscathed and with a lot of A’s. 🙂

What do I write about first?  I told my sweet blogger friend, Lydia of lifeloveandlydia that the right words still escape me on how to write about an uncle’s death.  This post will be an attempt to do so.  Tito R was my mom’s second cousin.  Her father and his mother were cousins.

He was only 44.  He would have turned 45 this September but one Sunday during the first week of August, death suddenly came creeping and he collapsed while he was biking in the recently held Ironman Triathlon here in Cebu City and was DOA (dead on arrival) at Chong Hua hospital.  The autopsy report attributed his death to an embolism that affected his lungs.

As soon as my parents and I got hold of the news, I was in denial.  “Maybe they just got the name wrong” to “No, his name is not here on the official list” as I was scanning the athletes’ names on the web.  All those “they’re wrong” denial stuff went into my head.

His family and our family were close when my sister and I were pretty much younger – school girls age.  We would spend Christmas and their birthdays at their house and we’d dance and sing for them and their parents.  We had fond memories of Tito R because he was boyishly handsome, warm and very nice to us kids.  They were a very close-knit family and Tito R and his siblings were always nice to us kids even when they were all grown up and working.

When we grew up and went to Manila for college, I guess we drifted apart.  We no longer had a chance to bond with them and the rest of the family.  The last time I saw Tito R was almost two years ago when I had a trip to Manila and he was there at the check-in counter overseeing the luggage check-in.  He was a load controller at Cebu Pacific.

When I got to my sister’s house for our Sunday family dinner we were still hoping the news that our family friend told Daddy was wrong.  It was only until my sister Happy read my Aunt J.’s (his sister) status update that the news was confirmed, “We will miss you, R.”  Shucks, it was him.  No amount of willing that it was wrong could not make it untrue.  He really was gone.

So many questions were running in our mind but the foremost and the biggest question was, “Why him, Lord?”  It was only when my dad, mom and I got home after our dinner and I was all alone here in my room that I finally got the chance to cry and pour out my resentment and my questions “Why did it happen?”

Now, I understand that we don’t really know when our time is.  That incident made me realize how frail life is and how someone we know can actually be taken away in a moment, in a blink of an eye.  As my dad put it, “you can be having breakfast with a person one day and the next hour or in the afternoon that person can be gone from your life.  There are things that are beyond our control.”

Yes, only God really knows our times and seasons.  One thing we can do though is ask ourselves “Am I ready to face my Creator and my God when it’s my time?”  “Have I repented and made peace with my Savior, Jesus, knowing that because of his death and resurrection I can live throughout eternity?

A photo snapped by a friend of Tito R before the incident

Tito R’s burial gave us the chance to reconnect with family whom we haven’t seen for a long time. We finally saw one of my aunts (the one in white blouse) after almost 20+ years after her wedding

While we were reconnecting with family, these two adorables (my nephew and niece) also had a whale of a time running around the memorial park and hiding behind and between the tombs. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two of them enjoying their time there just before the heavy rains fell.

Powerful, moving post. Good thing Lydia reblogged this on her site.

Marie-Ellen

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes.

Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark NightRises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort…

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Overwhelmed by Love

The love of God is so overwhelming.

It is the kind of love that transforms sinners into saints and calls back the prodigals home.

Nothing we’ll ever do will make Him love us less. It’s as perfect as perfect can be.

It does not love during the good times only but remains steadfast even when we’re at our lowest point, inspite the failures, wrong choices and what-have-yous.

Jesus continues to love.

He’ll whisper it to you while you’re walking, show it to you as you share His Word with someone in need of healing, He’ll write it in BIG letters up in the sky for all the world to see.

But the greatest demonstration of Christ’s love was on two pieces of wood, shaped as a Cross.

He didn’t only say it, write it, sing over us, shower us with gifts as lovers are wont to do, He did all those and beyond that…

Jesus gave His life. Willingly. With joy.

That, my friends, is what real love is.

Today, as His love overwhelms me that it just almost makes my heart burst, I feel myself loving Him more and more.

We love because He first loved us. 🙂

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Color my World

I’ve been scouring the net for watercolor techniques, inspirations and tutorials and stumbled on an interesting post about Life in Color.  The pictures they posted on the blog were grouped according to color and I did not know there were a lot of pictures from nature that did not consist of blue skies, green mountains and the cliche-d colors of nature.

For someone who lives in a country where there are only two seasons and the color of the leaves here consists mostly of those of the green kind, seeing the red and yellow leaves was a treat for me.  That’s probably one of the reasons why I’d like to travel to the U.S., Europe or Canada someday.  To see the different kinds of nature landscapes in various colors so different from mine here. 🙂

I was inspired to paint just seeing the burst of colors in the images.

yellow leaves strewn all over, covering the earth.

an umbrella of red leaves

warm orange skies looking over gray-colored waters

purple-andpink skies melding into dark blue mountains

all images via underworld magazine

In my mind, I imagined how God must have painted these wonderful scenes when He made the earth and when He did so, He wasn’t just limited by the primary colors in the wheel.

It’s amazing that like our world and nature, our life, can take on different colors as we go through different stages in it.

The colorful changes do not diminish its beauty or worth, instead they give it a different perspective and another side of its beauty.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

My happy thought: Teaching :)

There are a lot of things I don’t want to admit.

One of them is missing those teaching moments in a classroom and another one is missing the kids I taught.

I’m not teaching in the classroom set-up right now though I’m still “teaching” as a tutor. The set-up is quite different from the classroom thingy but I have to admit that the fun and the challenges of imparting what you know and understand to these kids are the same.

The “I miss ’em” syndrome hit me last Sunday when I attended a bash {quite a bash} of a former student who turned 4 years old. Most of the kids I had taught last year were there and it was such a joy and a privilege to hug them and talk to them even for just a minute. The hugs and the innocence and the refreshing candor of kids are just one of the many things that a preschool teacher misses.

Teacher Kha and I with E during C’s birthday bash. We had our photo taken since he’ll be leaving for the US for good. 😦 No smiles from E here. 🙂

Last night, I got to sharing what was in my heart with my dad and my mom about missing my former students and wanting to open a preschool. That is the second thing I have to admit. I want to start a school. Something that never crossed my mind in the last 12 years I’ve been a teacher.

I’d like to have a preschool or a daycare where children from less privileged families can go to school by paying a minimal fee of P300/month. How I will manage to operate in those figures will take a miracle from heaven.

For two years, I taught in a preschool that catered to kids who come from very affluent families – expat kids and children of businessmen and politicos. It was a delight and so much fun to teach in that environment where we had a lot of resources {papers in all colors, all kinds of art materials, educational toys and manipulatives and every learning resource necessary to catch the kids’ attention and inspire them to love learning}, meaningful learning experiences and good facilities but oftentimes I would catch myself dreaming and thinking “God, how do I make this available to those kids from the slums or from the streets?” I am praying and waiting that I’ll have wisdom and the answers from heaven to make this a reality.

It hit me then that God has a purpose why I’ve handled all four levels. In the past, I’ve looked at it as signs of not knowing what level I should be in but this time I am starting to see that God set me up. Now, it is a privilege for me to have taught 2.5-3.5 year olds, high school students for a practicum stint, college students for the most of my teaching life and now this new level, teaching or tutoring elementary students.

I’d like to confess that the times that I look forward to most when tutoring is that time when we’re done with all the assignments and it’s what I call “laughing time” where we horse around, they ask the funniest questions, goof around with my camera phone and just enjoy that time with each other. That is also one of the times that I miss with my college students. Me just sitting on a bench, them approaching me and talking…talking about everything and anything under the sun. I think it’s the humanity factor and stamp that we teachers enjoy the most. It’s relating and connecting with your students and enjoying that moment that leaves an imprint on you.

So as I enjoy this season of my life where I am teaching in a non-classroom set-up, I’d like to share some snapshots that always, always make me smile or laugh out loud when I look at them remembering those times I spent with young people. One of my regrets though is that the first five years I taught, camera phones were not that nice plus the fact that I didn’t have one so I didn’t have a lot of pics from my early teaching years. Still those moments are forever engraved in my heart and they will always be one of my happy thoughts.

Unforgettable photo walk aka exercise along Colon with my Philippine History class 🙂

Super loved this batch!

Practicum in a public high school 🙂 ’twas such fun and challenging!

My Abellana High {evening class} students, DPE Practicum

Silent Series: Cinemagraphs!

I came across Cinemagraphs for the first time in my friend Riza’s blog.  Tonight, while I was checking out the blog of a graphic designer who’s also from Cebu, I stumbled on her post about Cinemagraphs and loved the pics she posted.

A Cinemagraph is a combination of still images and videos; together it produces an image that has a “moving element” in it.

Taking inspiration from her blog post about cinemagraphs, I’m sharing with you some.  Hope you’ll have as much fun looking at them as I did.   I particularly love the one of the sidewalk cafe. 😉

Have a blessed weekend!

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This City that I love

There have been a LOT of times that I wish I could write and fill my blogs {I have three other blogs scattered all over the net} with just happy, cutesy and all things “crafty” and delightful but I never got around to it because somewhere in between the things like poverty, child trafficking, hunger and homelessness and a heart that’s crying out for the Philippines to be changed and to see God’s rule and reign overtake the desire to make a lifestyle blog out of my sites.  So I guess I’ll just have to say goodbye to that “lifestyle blog” desire and really stick to writing about the things that keep burning in my heart.

You’ll find a lot of Cebu and the Philippines stuff here.  This burning love for the city where I belong to is part of the DNA from both my physical and spiritual fathers – my dad and our senior pastor, Pastor Joe Di.  I’ve never met anyone who so loves the Philippines more than these two people do and from them I will always be grateful that the love for this nation and to see it change and transform was imparted.

Pastor Joe Di, last year, got a dream that turned our direction as a church as he received a burden from God to speak out and pray against the child/human trafficking problem in Cebu.  It has been an amazing thing to see a lot of child trafficking rescues by IJM and more children and women rescued from trafficking dens.

It just blows your mind to see what God can do through a people who partner with Him in declaring His desires and dreams over a city.  It will change the atmosphere.  It will open prison doors and bring healing to hundreds and thousands of lives.  I am excited for what God has in store for us this year as we continue to pray, listen to His leading and seek His face for this fight against child and human trafficking.  There is so much favor! Doors just keep opening and people are listening!  Thank You, Jesus!

Will you be a voice for these children who have no voice?  Will you be their champion?

It is time to speak out.  It is time stand up and cry out for those who cannot. 

Silence is injustice.  Indifference is a crime.

What can I do?

I was browsing through a blog today and stumbled on this graphic designer‘s book cover design and this title immediately got my attention.

What can I do? by David Livermore {published by Zondervan}

Isn’t it amazing how God speaks to us in so many ways and not just once?  I remember Him asking Peter “Do you love me?” three times and Him answering Peter “Feed my sheep” thrice, too.

Today was the third time God spoke to me particularly about something this week but one’s that been burning in my heart for years now.  I’ve been meaning to blog about, ponder and plan about but never got around except to praying about it which is the first step, actually.

I’m talking about homelessness and poverty.  For years, I’ve always teared up or felt so down whenever I see a child or families sleeping on the sidewalks.  I’m teary-eyed because I don’t know what to do or where to start from.

The closest thing I’ve ever done to help them was almost 7 to 8 years ago when I required my Rizal classes in USC {University of San Carlos} to go out to the streets and help someone in need as their final exam requirement.  We went out distributing food like sandwiches, food packs like noodles but it was only a one-time thing.  What is in my heart is a long-term solution to this, something sustainable and one that can truly uplift and change the lives of the people in the sidewalks.

The first thing that God used to remind me of this desire and dream of mine was a video posted by zerothreetwo in tumblr about this certain, middle-aged man in his briefs washing his shirts in dirty, canal water in the middle of the streets with nobody even approaching him to hand him a shirt or do something to help him.

What should we do?  We must do something.

Second wake-up call was last night’s prayer during our cell group meeting.  Tita Nene, my cell group leader, shared how she noticed more people and families sleeping/living on the sidewalks.  We prayed that God would give us solutions and answers to this social problem.

I was crying last night because I didn’t just want to stop at praying.  I was asking God for a clear-cut solution to this.  I know our prayers were already moving the hand of God but I’m asking that God would awaken individuals, organizations, businesses and politicians to look at them through the eyes of compassion and DO SOMETHING.

I did not write about it last night when I got home even when I’ve been meaning to until this afternoon when I stumbled on this book cover and I knew – without a shadow of a doubt -that God was again reminding me of this.

The book was the third and last wake-up call.  Yes, I will continue to pray but starting today, I am going to write about it, discuss this with my dad {for the nth time} about what we can do and I’m going to start talking about this with my friends.

I don’t really know what to do but my eyes and my heart are on God because I know He has the answers and I know that He loves these homeless people and has great plans for them.

The world is groaning for redemption. Fatherless children long
to be loved. Trafficked women hope for freedom. Hungry families
crave food. There’s something desperately amiss in our world, but
there’s hope. A global perspective combined with your God-given
interests, relationships, and experiences is a part of how Christ will
redeem the world we share. – David Livermore, What Can I Do?

12 IN 2012

1.  Continue to paint. Hmm like every day.  Today I did four and found only two to my liking.

2.  If only I had the time I would like to write a children’s story and do the illustrations.  I’d like to write a story about Jesus, His love and His Kingdom in childlike terms.  Kinda like what Max Lucado wrote but more on the simple side like honoring parents, obeying God and Daddy and Mommy and being kind to cite a few themes.

3.  I’d like to start making  birthday or greeting cards regularly {handmade in watercolor + Sharpies}.  I’m thinking of making one for my sister for her birthday this July. 🙂 Cards that celebrate God’s faithfulness and mercy for you and for me!

4.  Make or paint artworks, bookmarks and note pads of flowers {‘coz they’re easy} and landscapes with Bible verses or quotable quotes about God, His love, His goodness and faithfulness!

5.  Go back to learning how to play the piano.  As soon as my schedule and budget will permit me, I’ll start to enroll in piano lessons. 🙂 tee hee!

6.  Ask my mom to let me do the laundry, rather, teach me how to use the washing machine.  Why?  My mom is an OC when it comes to washing clothes.  She never and I repeat never wants any other hand than hers to touch our clothes.  She does not trust anyone to do the laundry.  Well, I understand.  IMO, she’s the best laundrywoman there is.  Our clothes always smell fresh and clean since she washes them two to three times with soap before rinsing.  Imagine the hours she puts in, huh.

7.  Continue to write and do research about Cebuano history.  Just tidbits and pieces just to keep my historian-side-of-the-brain sharpened while I am on hiatus as a History teacher this season.

8.  Pray and Wait. 🙂

9.  Finally come up with a project plan or a framework for that daycare dream that’s burning in my heart.  Okay, the secret’s out.  I still dream of starting that daycare where parents who cannot afford the more expensive preschool setup can send their kids to school.  My friend and I are thinking of charging them like P300/month for 10 months.  The miracle here is to keep that rate and still come up with a good facility, resources and supplies for the kids.  That said I’ve yet to go to DSWS or the LGU where I’m part of to ask for the requirements.

10.  Pursue or enroll in graduate studies in Education next semester.

11.  Write my Jeepney Chronicles consistently.  Say like every week, perhaps?

12.  As early as now {June to July}, I’d like to scour the city particularly in Freedom Park for something I can paint on or decorate so I can give ’em as Christmas gifts.  Still thinking and looking at this time.

Wow, thinking about what to do is something but I think writing and stating them is a different thing altogether.  It makes it doable just because you finally see it in visible terms instead of all these ideas just up in your head.

Habakkuk 2:2-3:  “…Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” – ESV

Perfect Love

In the world, love is highly celebrated, extolled and talked about on Valentine’s Day.  In God’s Kingdom, love is a lifestyle.  It is our Heavenly Father’s banner over us.  That is also the lens He uses to look at you and me.  L.O.V.E.  Such a short, four-letter word but oh so powerful when we really ponder on and walk in LOVE.

Think about it.  People jump in and take the risk to commit and say “I Do” all in the name of love.  We do crazy things {at times} and the most extravagant of things for the ones we love.  Powerful.  It makes us step out of our comfort zones and go into the deep end.

Yes, we express our love in so many different ways yet inspite of all our efforts our love does not even come close to God’s perfect agape love.  The love that is unconditional.  The “as is” love as Sean Si, a blogger, puts it.  God loves us “as is”, without strings attached and without conditions.  He does not love us just because we’re  _______ {fill in the blanks:  good, beautiful, smart, etc.} or He loves us if __________ {fill in the blanks again:  you love me back, you’re always pretty, always nice, etc.}

No, sir, ma’am!  He loves us plainly because that is His nature.  God is love.  And in that love there is no hidden agenda except to love and give what’s best for us.  Sometimes my finite human mind cannot comprehend such love but I’m writing this now because these days this is what God’s been teaching me a lot – lo.ve.  I can’t say I’m there yet meaning I’ve really gotten it but day by day God is slowly showing me the depths and the facets of His love.

Tonight as I was reading through the prophetic words in Elijah List, a post blew me away as it captured the lessons that God was teaching me.  Here’s an excerpt I want to share with you guys.

You and I are loved.  More than we’ll ever understand.  It’ll surely take a lifetime for us to comprehend it as it is so deep, wide and oh so extravagant but we do have eternity to know God more and to bask in His love.  And when we get a deeper revelation of His love, our lives will automatically reflect the love that our Heavenly Daddy has given us.  It will touch the lives of the people around us because we’ve been transformed by a love that’s divine.

From a word by Bill Yount:

Years ago, I was frustrated because the Lord didn’t answer a certain prayer the way I thought He would. I confess that I was not only frustrated but I was mad at God all day as I struggled with it. That night as I was about to go to sleep the Lord began to speak to me very clearly concerning a church where I would be ministering the following Sunday. I was surprised He was even speaking to me since I was upset with Him that whole day and didn’t even talk to Him. I asked the Lord, “How come You are talking to me like this when you know I have been mad at You all day?” The Lord responded, “Son, you may be mad at Me, but I’m not mad at you! My love is different than yours. I love you whether you love Me or not. I love you no matter what!” I repented immediately, seeing myself the way He sees me and yet still loves me. I’m learning that God not only loves us, He even likes us!  – Bill Yount, “Throw Down Your Stones“, Elijah List word, 08 May 2012