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 😦

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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.

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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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