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.

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.

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