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.

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

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Painting/Drawing and playing an instrument like the piano are two of my frustrations now that I’m older.  When I was a young kid, my mom enrolled me in music classes every summer but I never finished any of my piano and guitar lessons.  The reason?  My old and strict piano teacher frightened me.  She was like straight out of a “A Little Princess” scene with a stick in her hand.  I never went back after she hit my fingers with the stick after she caught me daydreaming and unfocused during piano class.

That was the last time I ever said hi to a piano again.  Today, I regret giving it up and not pushing through with the lessons inspite of that stick.  But of course crying over spilled milk doesn’t help.

Good thing Lydia – a sweet blogger friend of mine – said that it’s never too late to learn playing the piano again.  So I’m planning to take one lesson at a time once I’ll be able to fit the lessons in my schedule. 🙂  I’m really excited.  Playing the piano is sweeter the second time around, I think.

The guitar lessons, on the other hand, were a different story.  I quit playing it after my short fingers could not quite get the chords right and the strings left painful marks on them.  They both have the same story as the piano.  I gave up on the first sign of pain. Ugh.  In retrospect, that would have taught me well if I didn’t give up despite the pain as it is somehow like life.  Pain makes us grow and makes us better people if only we’ll face it and learn from it instead of running away.  Kinda like the muscle pains we feel when exercising or hitting the 3k, 5k or 10k mark.  🙂

Well, I’m digressing from the Create challenge.  You see like playing an instrument painting and drawing were also two things I “skipped” as a child.  I did not believe I could draw at all so I did not even think of learning how to.  But two years as a preschool teacher taught me that all it takes is guts and taking a step.  That’s what my students taught and showed me.  They never thought they could not draw so they did not have limitations at all.  They just drew from their imagination, from their hearts and from what they could see.  And ta-ta!

So here I am sharing some of my drawings with you.  I dabbled on painting, drawing and doodling last year and got hooked.  Here’s a “Get Well Soon, Anna” drawing that I made for my niece when she got sick last weekend and had to be admitted to the hospital.  🙂  Of course, it’s pink since that’s her favorite color.  It’s just a pity that the scanner and the camera cannot quite capture the vibrant pink flower.

Jeepney Weird 101

Lately I’ve been taking more jeepney rides than taxi rides.  Why?  Way cheaper.  And since there’s a need for a lifestyle change {or more specifically, a budget change}, I’ve subscribed to riding in jeepneys than hailing a cab though the latter is always too tempting for me.

Just to give you a comparative “study” of the great fare difference, this is how it costs when taking a jeep vis-a-vis taking a cab to that part of Talamban.

Jeepney fare from Echavez to Petron Nasipit, Talamban – P9.00 at the cheapest.  Some drivers don’t give me change whenever I give them P10.00 or P11.00 like I did today.

Taxi fare from Echavez to Petron Nasipit, Talamban – minimum fare which means not including the traffic jam factor:  estimated fare = P140-150.00

In my almost two to three weeks of riding a jeep to and fro somewhere in Talamban, I’ve seen and heard people from all walks of life.  I’ve fashionista jeepney-mates {that’s what I will call the ones I take the jeepney with}, noisy, brash and rude jeepmates, the cute guy with the boy-next-door look or the artsy gutsy type of guy who always seems to look mysterious.  Then there are the middle-aged women lugging their heavy plastic bags filled with vegetables and, sometimes, meat fresh from Carbon.  Or the yayas with the kids in their care in tow dragging their humongous bags behind them.

Then there was this weird thing I saw last night.  Maybe to me it was the weirdest incident I’ve ever seen but maybe to the others in that jeepney it was just something out of the ordinary.  Their eyes did not even blink when it happened but I could not hide the shock and the surprise on my face.

As I boarded the 62C jeep last night, a girl across me looked at me and I looked back.  I then looked at the kinda cute guy beside her but there was something unsettling about her.  Too much makeup and a too tight blouse.  Too many excesses.

My gaze went next to the girl seated beside her, near the entrance of the jeepney.  She had a haunted, glazed look on her face that I could not explain and something about her – to be honest about it – really frightened me.  Her straight, relaxed hair was plastered on her head and some strands covered her forehead and there was just an air of anger or something dark in her expression.

The girl with the too tight blouse leaned forward and for a moment it dawned on me that they were a couple.  I was shocked.  I tried to hide it by looking away.  It was the first time I saw something like that so closely.  Like across me.

The jeep was already infront of Gaisano Countrymall, its driver calling out to the people at the jeepney stop when suddenly everything happened so fast.

The girl with the plastered hair suddenly puked and threw up on her left side, her vomit hitting a man in his 40s standing near the jeep, trying to get in.  I was so aghast and did not know how to react.  But what was worse was that the people across and beside me did not even react visibly.  Maybe they were like me too – trying to hide my shock.

I looked at the man who had been “hit” and our eyes met and I saw that he knew I sympathized with him.  She did not even apologize or acknowledge him.  She just kept right on looking at us across her as if daring us to say or do something.

I felt like a coward for not rebuking her or for not saying something.  My fear of being attacked by a weird person like her overcame the urge to say something.  As for my jeepney mates, silence was the order of the day.  I don’t know if it was just nothing to them or they, like me, also pretended to ignore it.

My mom said, when I told her about it today, that maybe she was an addict or a drunk and that the ones beside me might have already known that fact and did not want to interfere.

I was just grateful the man didn’t get the full brunt of her “puke”.  But for me the whole thing really weirded me out and scared me.  I have had a lot of amusing jeepney stuff happen almost every day but that was the first time I encountered something gross and upsetting as that incident and without remorse at that.

So there, this probably isn’t something shocking to you, my dear reader, but to me it was. 🙂