Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Like Treasure Hunting

“Life is unfair!”

We always hear it. Your eldest sister has a voice that can put a man who drank liters of coffee to sleep. Your bestfriend is the star-for-all-season actor in your school. Your cousin is a Palanca award recipient. Your neighbor travels around the world performing the Philippine folkdances with her co-Bayanihan Dancers.

You? You can do a lot of things too! Like take charge of your yearly induction party in school. You’re the collector of noisy fees. You sing at the bathroom. You naturally make people smile by the mere way you talk. You write on your journal every night… You write every night how you want to be like those people you know who have talents and you keep on asking why life is unfair for not giving you talents, and then you suddenly crack a joke [to make an excuse], that perhaps you were just sleeping when God showered talents to His people.

Life is not unfair. It’s just about being different.

There may be people who were born with talents because their parents are both best at a certain field. But listen! Even the in-born talents evaporate when they’re not being used. They tarnish, they rust. And eventually, they decay.

There are a lot of people who aren’t born talented but emerged as the world’s best because they break away from their fear to commit mistakes, to be laughing stocks, and to fail.

Because of these people’s unwavering determination to grow and know themselves better, they explore, they try, they go out of their comfort zone. They play with people better than they are, they face failure head on, they laugh at their own mistakes, and they keep on trying to hit their target no matter how many times they’ve missed it…knowing that what matters more is the number of hits rather than the misfire.

In the process of trying and trying, they don’t know that they’ve invested time and effort already to what they’re doing… until such time that their ‘play’ is now their ‘expertise’.

Through constant practice Lebron James developed a muscle intelligence that even in a commercial shoot where he needed to miss a shot, he had to close his eyes and take roughly 10 shots before he missed one. Babe Ruth has the most number of strike outs, but he also has the most number of homeruns. The Beatles started as low key 8-hour a day local band performer in Germany before they became an international hit.

Finding our gift of talents is much like a treasure hunting—you have to dig more holes before you find the exact spot of the treasure.

We have to keep on trying so we know where we perform best, or at least find the thing we enjoy most doing and invest time and effort in it.

It all just takes a determination to say YES—to keep on trying and exploring no matter what happens around you—and your willingness to INVEST time and effort.

Finding your gift is like any other journey: 1. you discover; 2. you develop; 3. you deliver.

When you discover, you dig a hole, fail, dig another hole, make mistake, and FIND.

When you develop, you invest time and effort knowing that the sweet fruit is just ahead. At this stage, your availability is more important than your ability. Just DANCE, DANCE, DANCE or COMPUTE, COMPUTE, COMPUTE.

When you have ‘played’ well regularly, you’ll be surprised of the BIG returns of your investment come you deliver. You’ll be in awe about how big your audience is, how many projects arrive, how many invitations to perform you have.

Remember, it’s never too late to hit upon our undiscovered talents and to put them to good use, especially if we use them to bless others and to glorify God.

God doesn’t wait for you to be perfect. He is a proud Father who cheers you as you perform with your best even if your notes jump once in while, or you left foot dominates the right, or you write two-line poem in five days.

When we don’t use our in-born talents, we lose them. If we don’t put them to good use, they peter out and don’t reach their full potential.

Trust that the BEST will happen everyday if we just believe. Even our miss out with the first hole is there to bring us closer to our own talents and failures are there to improve us.

Talents, when put to good use, are built to last… no matter what your age is when you finally find it.

Life isn’t unfair after all. Now we know everything depends on us—our faith, our determination, and our execution.

Stand up! Play! Have fun!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wealthy and Famous? ...You Are Priceless.

Applause. Praises. Tokens. Followers.

These are what we get when we do good in the eyes of people. Well yes, we can be good in different ways. But our being good can be fueled by a range of motives.

In love, we step the best foot forward to impress and win a heart. In sports, we exert our best shot to knock out, hit a goal, or checkmate our opponent. In business deals, we exude confidence and display our expertise using jargons and figures to close a deal… and so on.

We feel high when we nail our target. Sometimes we get so attached to the feeling and becomes addicted to it, that even after few days, weeks, months, or years we still keep on revisiting the euphoria.

Yes that is good. You can use it to motivate you or simply make you smile at the moment.

However, don’t just let your earthly victory drift you to the point of stepping on to others, using others, hurting others just for you to get that feeling of elation again after the show of one triumph to another (at the expense of another person).

Just do what you think is both good and right—well yes, this is subjective I know, for there are a lot of ethical faculties. Just remember the universal law “what you do the universe will reflect back to you, sooner or later, whether you like it or not.”

Moreover, don’t make yourself too attached to secular or temporal objects to the extent of making them your drive why you jump off from bed every morning and drag yourself to the office. Don’t make your possession your idols nor make your fire-proof vaults your world.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s bad to be rich…na ah! Of course we need money to provide for our own basic needs and bless more people in need. What I’m saying here is, don’t let your life revolve around them and be sustained by them. Don’t just let your soul be bought by earthly things.

Hey! We are priceless! It’s important for us to know that… every day of ourlives.

If just in one blow someone or a certain circumstance tries to take away from you the things or people you value, yes fight for them. But if the tiniest voice within you tells you that you can no longer do anything but let them go (meaning, you already did your best or it’s just a plain you-can’t-do-anything-about-it situation), then let them go. Put the situation in the caring hands of God. For sure, He has a far better gift for you.

If people hurt you in the process of fighting for the things you value, don’t tolerate them, act on your unwritten social responsibility. Talk to the person personally. However, in cases that you really have no control over them, let them do it without you planning or doing revenge or homing grudge (oh, don’t your shake your head now, this is not martyrdom, wait! Just read on.)

Just let them give you more reasons to be mad and to plot revenge. You have the total control over your mind anyway! And I know your sound mind will tell you the better thing to do—take one-step backward by being composed as you mind your own business moving forward, and later on take two steps forward as God showers you His reward (the one which He intends you to have, not the one your mind told you you must have).

God Himself will protect you and handle the situation for you if you just whole-heartedly surrender it to Him. You will know you have given everything to God when you feel that the only thing you’re holding on is the strongest and biggest rope—your faith in His love and abundance.

Just be still. All these series of joy-pain-joy events happen so you become more creative in facing life; and because you’re more creative now, you will see things more wonderfully and bright… as you look at life that way, all the more the wonderful things line up and traffic themselves toward you.

Well, it’s hard to surrender (both in your quest for survival and in giving yourself to God). Just trust Him, He knows best. Besides, we own nothing here on earth for us to fight for these things at the expense of others. Even our lives He owns.

We don’t have to wait for a tribulation to happen in our lives just for us to know He’s there.

Remember and trust that God loves you! Endure everything with gladness and He will fill your life up with even more beautiful things. Leaping to thousands of years forward, He will bestow you with everlasting joy and treasures—much bigger and merrier than the applause, praises, tokens, and followers that you have now.

No need to worry about your ‘reputation’ here on earth brought by the applause, praises, tokens, and followers… If you have failed, been stepped on, or hurt, these are just merely what people think of you.

Value the strengthening of your ‘character’ brought by the series of joy-pain-joy events in your life. For your character is your reward which will bring you to your rightful home with the Father.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Feast: Six Steps to Optimal Health: 3. Heal Through Loving Relationships

*Genesis 2:18
-“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

*Ecclesiastes 4:9
-“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work”

*People get sick because they are poisoned by their bad/ill relationships or because they don’t have love

*Basic relationship on earth: how’s your relationship with your parents?

*Only LOVE heals


- In 1956, Harvard made a study on healthy men, asking them how their relationships with their parents are. Their choices for their answers were: close to both, only close to mother, only close to father, close to none. After 10 years, the researcher checked their health. The results are below:

>Close to both parents:
-27% sick
-53% healthy
>Close to mother:
-82% sick
-18% healthy
>Close to father:
-91% sick
-9% healthy
>Close to none: 100% sick

- Sickness is separation (sickness is caused by stress, worry, fear, sadness, and other negative emotions)
- Perfect love casts out all fears
- Celebrate. Love. Connect.
Separation LOVE Connection

- When you forgive, trust, and love, you walk towards healing.
- We are not wired for separation/quarrel; we are made for love.

-Some Italians from the province of Roseto migrated to Pennsylvania (that’s why there’s a place there not called Roseto also). Other doctors and scientists found a ‘medical anomaly’ in Roseto, Pennsylvania. All residents there are healthy and live longer compared with other Americans. It was later on discovered that the residents of Roseto, Pennsylvania brought their Italian culture of lovingness, cheerfulness, and close family ties and resisted the individualistic culture of Americans.


- When you love sincerely, you feel healthy
- It’s God who heals… He has given us everything we need, including the power of love to heal our bodies.


Heal Through Loving Relationships

I. Open up

1. Build a Roseto (close family) at your homes.
 build the capacity to give more love and to openly receive love
 spend more time with your family

2. Give more love
 S study was conducted among women with breast cancer. After the study, it was found out that those women with caring group (family and/or friends) lived twice as long; the other group without caring group, most of them died in less than 5 years, some a little over 5 years.
 With a caring group, joy and love are multiplied; and sorrows and sadness are divided.

II. Touch

1. Start showing your affection (go against the culture of individualism)
 Touch, hug, love
 It was proven that a pat on the back from loved ones lessen blockages in arteries by 60%
 Psychologist Sydney Gerard went around the world to observe people touching their partners in different restaurants. He found that:
- Puerto Rico: ave of 180 touches per hour
- Paris: ave of 110 touches per hour
- US: ave of 2 touches per hour
- London: 0

3. Create a culture that acknowledges one another (handshake, beso, hug)
4. Create a culture of “loving”

III. Volunteer

 Cornell University conducted study among 427 mothers with children. Researchers found out that longevity of mothers’ lives do not depend on number of kids, but whether they volunteer or not:
- who did not volunteer: 52% got sick after certain number of years
- who volunteered: 36% got sick after the same number of years

 The fastest and most effective way out of depression (thus, sickness) is OTHERS.
 Help others and you will help yourself.

IV. Accept more

1. Accept and give way.
 There are times that we are convinced that we are right; but we must also accept at times that the other person is also right (and we may be wrong).

2. Let the other person explain his side until he feels satisfied (for couples).
 Bro. Randy Boromeo and his wife never encountered a fight in their marriage life yet because they hear each other’s sides with patience, and whenever they feel that their emotions are mounting already they just hold each other’s hands.
 Make you own cues, be vigilant of each other’s cues, and understand each other.

3. If you want to be healed lose your need to defend your point of view.
 Surrender to God your excess pride
 Have a humble heart
 Don’t judge right away
 Remember that the quality of you life depends on the quality of your relationships.


*Proverbs 22:24
- “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered”

*John 15:15
- “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

*Ephesians 4:32
- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”


 Forgive! God wants to heal you.
 Live in LOVE
 Accept. Submit everything to God. Trust his love for you.
 Remove pride! Be GRATEFUL and HUMBLE.

It’s everywhere and it wears every face

It comes in the face of mouthwatering food. It wears the most enticing smile of the most beautiful creature. It comes in the smell of crispy money. It sounds like a voice of an angel. It comes in the photo splash of good memories of yesteryears. It’s a pair of shoes that tickles your feet in midst of frolic. It comes in the need to be needed… and more!

Temptation comes in different forms. It has a stash of various masks and it clothes itself with a range of beautiful and fancy costumes that lure our senses.

Sometimes we are strongly guarded by our convictions and principles thus we don’t fall in the grandeur display of the deceiving pit of evil. There are also times when we intentionally wear our vigilant eyes so we can protect ourselves from our weaknesses.

But there are just some times that, no matter how we guard ourselves, we stumble and give in to the bait in the midst of our consciousness.

Like when one knows he shouldn’t give up to the delicious roasted pork in front of him because he has heart problems. Some guys, even while their wives beside them, just can’t resist staring at hot legs when someone in miniskirt walks past them. When one who is in the process of stopping his smoking vice feels full, he would get a single stick and justify that he would just consume half… still, that’s cheating to oneself.

Yesterday had been a terrible day for me… I felt overpowered by evil and I felt weak.

I caught myself ensnared by the enemy when the person who I am avoiding so hard texted me as if he has a humongous problem and as if he needed me because I’m the only one who could give him the best answer. I prayed to ask for guidance—whether I must entertain the message or not.

Before the answer came to me, I already devised my own answer to my prayer and I interpreted it the way I wanted to (to favor my feelings). I thought I have the responsibility to help him as a friend (but it was not just like that… deep inside me I wanted to help because it satisfied my feelings as I revisited our old ways!) What a shame!

So to speak, I did not only talk to him to discuss his concern. We exchanged messages the whole day and we even talked over the phone for roughly two hours after work. Not only that, I almost gave in to his plea of seeing him.

Come bed time, I laid in bed feeling the heaviness of my shoulders, feeling weak, and I was dreadfully tormented. “I cannot forgive you, self! You are so weak! I thought you already entrusted to God everything, but now you’re doing things your way! I hate you!”

I cried myself to sleep… not just because of my guilt. To add insult to injury, I was crying because one, I still love the person who hurt me so badly and fooled me (I loved him unconditionally and sincerely); two, I want to get mad but I can’t (thinking this is more helpful for my moving on process and for my decision not to be maneuvered by anger. Just let God work things out for me.); three, my ego was hurt because I revealed to him my feelings for him; and fourth, I was so guilty!

I was able to manage to ignore him and to move on with my life happily for a long time already. But when he showed up and told me his confusion and suffering, I gave in. I still love him… and I’m loving the wrong person. And I’m loving him the wrong way.

Now, I’m immediately picking up myself again because I don’t want to go back to square one and to fall to the pit of evil—pain, stagnancy, and sin.

As I read my daily bread today, I can feel God tapping on my should telling me, “Daughter, don’t be cruel to yourself. Stand up again and walk in confidence with Me. Just do your best to be on the right track, keep your focus on the path of righteousness, and I will do the rest for you. Because you are my daughter and I love you, always remember that ‘I myself will look after and tend my sheep’ (Ezekiel 34:11).”

I found solace in His word again by reading the Bible. He once again proved to me that surely He is my only Refuge. I must always entrust to Him my circumstances and not be afraid of my walk though the dark valleys for He is there holding my hands tightly.

Now, I just see what happened yesterday as another trial and a chance for me to help the person—I still helped him, I just went beyond my limit. Moving forward, I have learned my lesson and I committed not to fall to the same mistake again. I'm just thankful it happened this early.

Failure is His way of reminding us that our wisdom is not enough for us to succeed if it doesn’t come from Him (if we just make things out of our own understanding). Trial is His way of proving to us that there are things that are impossible for humans, but with Him, all things are possible.

As I write this, I’m telling myself “Don’t be distracted by the things that satisfy your senses. All good things that are not done WITH HIM (assuming responsibility to help others to feed your ego) will not last. Do good things FOR GOD and WITH GOD so you actions can bless others and bless you as well.”

Oh humans! Don’t put your strength and wisdom in the head just like me… Otherwise, by only His single blow, you can ultimately feel weak and dumb.

Fortunately, God is a forgiving and loving Father, who reaches out especially to the broken and unloved, and an indiscriminating Healer, who touches those who aren’t supposed to be touched.

Now I feel energized again.

I smile. I pause. I retrospect. I smile again. Then, I pray.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wealthy and Famous? ...You Are Priceless

Applause. Praises. Tokens. Followers.

These are what we get when we do good in the eyes of people. Well yes, we can be good in different ways. But our being good can be fueled by a range of motives.

In love, we step the best foot forward to impress and win a heart. In sports, we exert our best shot to knock out, hit a goal, or check mate our opponent. In business deals, we exude confidence and display our expertise by using jargons and figures to close a deal. …and so on.

We feel high when we nail our targets. Sometimes we get so attached to them and we become addicted to them, that even after few months or years we are still addicted to that momentous moment and we keep on revisiting the feeling of ‘high’.

Yes that is good for sure. You can use it to motivate yourself or simply make you smile.

However, don’t let your earthly victory bring you to the point of stepping on to others, using others, hurting others just for you to feel good and get another victory. Don’t let your success get into your head.

Just do what you think is both good and right—well yes, this is arbitrary for there are a lot of ethical faculties. Just remember the universal law, ‘what you do the universe will reflect back to you, sooner or later.’

Also, don’t make yourself too attached to earthly things—the object of your affection, your car, your job—to the point of making them the reason why you live, or your world, or your idol.

If just in one blow someone or a certain circumstance tries to take them away from you, try to fight for it. But fighting for it has its limit. If the tiniest voice in you tells you that you can no longer do anything about it except to let go (that means you already did your best or it’s just really beyond your control, the you-can’t-do-anything type), then let go fully. He will take charge. His hands must be at work on it. God surely has a better place for you.

If people hurt you in the process of fighting for it, let them do it without you planning revenge, homing grudge, or uttering curses.

Just let them give you more reasons to be mad and plot revenge (as you move forward and improve the quality of your life), but don’t entertain all the dreadful things that may run in your mind…just play with the thoughts and make better use of them, like make them your caveat and your cue when you have to slap yourself and jump back to reality.

(Hep, hep! You may be thinking this is martyrdom. But wait…)

God Himself will protect you and handle the situation for you. Just do your best to stay on the right track, and He will do the rest.

Just be still. All these series of joy-pain events happen so you become more and more creative in facing life. And because you’re more creative now, you will see things more wonderfully and colorful… as you look at life that way, all the more great things will line up and traffic themselves towards you.

Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to surrender (in fighting for survival and in giving yourself to God). But just entrust your life to Him, He knows best. Besides, we own nothing here on earth for us to fight for these good things until we hurt other people and even our own selves. The One who knows best owns all these things, even our lives.

We don’t have to wait for an ordeal to happen just for us to surrender to Him… our surrender can be a sweet surrender by accepting Him as our God and our Savior.

Remember and trust that God loves you! Endure everything with gladness. Build a strong character. And He will fill up your life with even more beautiful things.

Don’t settle for the good things here on earth…for they are everywhere and easy to acquire. Persevere and wait for the best things. Though difficult to achieve, these best things last forever.

In time, He will bestow you with everlasting joy and treasure—much bigger, more valuable, and merrier than applause, praises, tokens, and followers that you receive now.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The sweetest place to find it is right inside you, deep down…

The love that makes us smile and touch our hearts doesn’t always have to necessarily come from another person, just what many always think. The love that will ultimately make us smile comes from the innermost core of our humanity.

We cannot appreciate the love from another person if we don’t personally know, in the first place, what love really is.

Sometimes we cannot truly love person or a thing when we don’t have any love for ourselves. At times, we cannot be content with what we love or have right now if we don’t love ourselves enough, hence, we keep on loving and hopping from one person or thing to another, hoping to find the greatest love of our lives—when in fact it is just so near to us, just inside us. Sometimes we cannot love what we do because we don’t find enough reason why we have to do things for other people thinking we, ourselves, need help.

Some people tend to pity themselves, thinking they don’t have enough love. That no one values them. Others become promiscuous or polygamous thinking they haven’t found yet the real love that they need.

As it’s been said by the oracle in ‘My Life in Ruins’, “It wasn’t you he cheated. Some people cheat themselves out of living a life with a woman they love.” And my version is, “they don’t cheat to their wives, but to themselves, because they leave the real love of their lives.”

Well, at times we become blinded by our emotions, especially if they’re too heavy because our own love for ourselves has been shut by negativity and hopelessness. Love wakes up all our senses and moves our nerves to work at their best… when we love, we have infinite creative ideas on how to express our feelings.

Me, after putting all my love to a certain things and everything has just been broken, I resolved to love myself humbly first and make it overflow so it can touch many people and clothe many works.

When we gain love from loving…. Happiness, kindness, gratitude follow through from the fountain of love inside us. So do patience, understanding, forgiveness, and discipline. Of course they’re not perfect, but time is polishing them.

Now I learn to embrace and love more people and things and works without a blemish of expectation from their ends. In return, they reflect back to me the things that I give and so I receive more love and warm actions and words of care.

Truly, the two best feelings in the world are to love purely and to be loved sincerely.

(I wrote this after finding different joy, and realizing the love therein, as we cook up a compassionate activity for the “these abled” persons with down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. After all, love isn’t just for and from a certain person (I mean the romantic one); it could also be from an ‘act’ and for more people than one; and between more than two people with a noble purpose to carry out.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hope: No good thing ever dies

We watched the Oscar awardee movie Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King last weekend. I so like the plot, it is so good and realistic and the lines are wittily crafted. (Another movie to my short list of favorites).

One of the many good lines that struck me? “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” This is the line that Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) tells Red (Morgan Freeman) in a letter as he hopes that one day they will share the promising good life outside the prison.

The line is true in the real world, not just in movies or in books created by the ingenious human minds. We all aim for something, and we hope we receive or get it… right?

When my father died, everyday I hoped I could strengthen my mother and help her raise well my two brothers. Whenever I fall down and commit mistakes, I hope I can immediately stand up and avoid the same mistake again. Whenever I get hurt, I hope to heal myself soon, reap all the lessons the situation brings, and to have a forgiving heart so I can have peace of mind. When I’m left with couple of coins, I hope next time I will have more savings… and so on.

Everyday we are awakened, stirred up, and sustained by our hopes. As long as we live, whether we know it or not, we have our big and small hopes inside us. Without hope, our lives become meaningless… our spirit withers and eventually dies.

Yes we may still be physically present, but our minds and hearts stop working when we stop hoping.

As we hope, we are able to utilize our potentials, and even discover our untapped abilities. Our hopes enable our mortal selves to make things happen.

Once this powerful optimism and anticipation is coupled with love, whatever we hope to accomplish becomes light, easy, and fun to complete.

But once our powerful optimism and anticipation is partnered with our strong faith, God Himself becomes more compelled to bring about for us what we think are impossible.

Hope and love make us do our best. While hope and faith makes God do the rest for us.

It’s never a waste of energy to hope (ask), love (feel), and trust (faith). Just sit back and gloriously wait for what you hope for… No good thing ever dies.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Say “I’m better and wiser than that!”

Oh it’s been almost a month now since one of my, if not the only and the most, excruciating and obnoxious encounters with… let’s just say another mortal being, capable of being taunted by mundane things and giving in and leaving you hanging just like that, had passed.

To be fair though, a month before that obscene experience was the doom of our 10 years 8 months bond. Let’s just call it that way. So maybe, just maybe, for him he has now the total freedom to do whatever pleases him, whoever gets hurt or affected. End is end. Hence, so be it.

By the way, it was his personal decision to cut the strings. He welcomed me with that good news (as I see it now) the very day I arrived from a good vacation with my family back home.

Sure things were hard at first. Initially, I had a lot of questions to ask and things to say to practically almost every person in front of me, not discounting him. But I’m wiser than that… I kept my mouth shut and just rolled with the punches.

I have a good friend who stayed beside me through and through my journey in that dark tunnel of adjustment, perhaps. No no no, let’s call it… my journey along the foggy avenue of adjustment.

She never got tired of asking me how I was. That time, I didn’t feel like verbalizing all that I felt and gone through thinking that my feelings’ natural death would just be delayed.

Yes I opened up. I needed  that. But only vague ideas and only a fourth of my experiences had I unlocked.

I was already okay with seeing people or being surrounded by a friend or two. I was fine with that. I wanted to keep my mouth shut and just open up few things when my chest almost outburst.

The only One whom I was spilling everything to was my Man, my God. Whenever I felt like crying or panicking or shouting or asking a lot of things I just went to His place. The solemn Adoration Chapel has been my comfort zone and courage zone, at the same time.

His place was a couple of blocks away from home. I enjoyed every walk to the shabby chic place. As I walk I could free my mind up. I could think better and breathe comfortably. There I could think of gradually forgiving and even thanking him for what he had done to me.

Just like my easy walks, the days passed unnoticed. The keen-to-details in me knew its place. Since I told myself to train my mind, my sharp memory just operates when necessary and hibernates when becoming unhelpful.

Since day one until now, my safest and most comfortable refuge is Him. After all the pain the separation had caused me and the fast-paced, faster than a bullet train, events that really overwhelmed me, only Him gave me a total power-rest and freshing up.

Fortunately God is in the business of filling up vacuum and empty spaces in our lives.

So instead of just letting my energy fritter away and letting myself drown into the murky situation, I went to Him and decided to give up everything and to give my all as I raised the white flag.

Only when we totally, as in totally, surrender to Him all our worries and fears can He totally work into our lives—filling us up with all the strength and wisdom we need so we can turn the situation around and still be grateful about everything.

Now I see the situation as a blessing in disguise.

Early this year I sincerely and completely decided to serve Him and know Him better, by then I said we would do it together. But then we went separate ways, but it’s all fine now. Maybe if things didn’t happen two months ago, maybe by now I am still be figuring things out on how I will better serve and know Him.

In the last two months, I was always greeted by surprises each day how He revealed Himself to me… without effort, I have adjusted very well and progressed every day. It’s because as He unfolds my days, He draws me closer to Him—wraps me with the sweet protection of His word and lays me to the comfort of His unconditional love.

There are things that we tackle with friends and loved ones. But there are also things that we only discuss between Him and ourselves. Just like what Abraham did when he was asked to offer Isaac in the mountain.

I am wiser than just depend on y own strength and on mortal’s understanding.

God is asking us to give our all to Him so we can tap all our potentials, and when we feel drained that's the time He steps in so He can provide us with more of His abundance.

With all that happened, I lost one thing but gained a looooooot of great things—know myself better, closer to loved ones, opportunity to correct my mistakes, brighter and lighter life, and most importantly, the Source of all things is holding my hands tightly as I am knowing Him deeper.

Then it’s not that bad to give up some not-so-good-but-feel-good things after all, no matter how short or long we’ve been holding on to it.

That decade? Oh, it was not a waste of time. He was cooking up a good big platter of life’s best for me. Now, it’s freshly served and I’m enjoying and sharing it with you.

Oh I forgot to mention him. I think he’s now enjoying the life he's long been wanting to have (if only he had been honest with me, I could have understood him better and given him earlier what he wanted and we both could have refrained from investing into the relatioship and from hurting each other). But God knows best. He is never late. He's not in a hurry. and He's always on time.

Snapping back to my sanity, I took the courage to talk to him and I told him "I am not mad and I am wishing you well." It helped me to cope with and advance in my life better.

One thing! God is more concerned on changing YOU than changing your circumstances. He is just building your faith and perseverance as He prepares you to receive more and more blessings without getting puffed up and overwhelmed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Level Up and Roar

There are a lot of things—both pleasant and unpleasant—in life that escape our senses from being recognized as the actual answers to the ones we had long been yearning for.

Others are undeniably good (or sometimes sugar-coated bitter gourd) that we easily discern, or claim, them as the answers to our yearnings. Some have façade that are rather unfamiliar, gloomy, scary, and sometimes pain-inducing, that just by the mere sight of them we shiver.

Nonetheless, only when we have already gone through the frontage that we come to realize that inside there is an overflowing abundance of great things that are just part of the answers to our prayers—more wonderful things are yet to come. We just have to take some courageous steps forward to experience them—God doesn’t want us to just see them from afar, but to experience them and own them ourselves.

I wouldn’t appreciate the value of challenging moments—melancholic, scarcity, chaotic—if had easily thrown my hands up and go back to my comfort zone.

Because of those moments I now see things more beautifully; I have more patience to wait; I have more energy and reasons to inspire myself to keep going; I become happier; and I don’t easily get worried nor easily get mad.

Certainly life has become brighter and lighter for me.

In times of surrendering things, I wouldn’t realize the genuine and wonderful freedom I am entitled to have, which I enjoy right now, if I tied myself to a certain sugar-coated, glazed with honey and strawberry uninteresting routine. I could have blinded myself and regret my life years before I pass.

If I didn’t take bold steps forward perhaps until now I am stuck with round-about questions and deceptively see the putrid fantasy as the nirvana, when in fact it is just the distorted shadow of reality.

Life is much much more meaningful than my own fancy, than the life in the cave.

It’s a wonderful feeling for once in my life I have my own time and I don’t have to worry about someone or something else before the right time when I will forever be committed. It’s nice if I can responsibly freely do whatever I want to do which I could no longer enjoy when I grow old because it may no longer be inappropriate for my age. It’s wonderful to break free to give other people and other hobbies importance than just focusing my energy and time to one person or thing.

It’s beneficial to note that without the uncomfortable feeling induced by the unfamiliar façade, I wouldn’t be able to clearly see and optimize my ‘built-in healer’ [of emotional and physical infirmity] and to realize more fully the essence of ‘enjoying and loving ourselves in generous and humble manner first so when our happiness and love overflow we can reach and touch more and more people.

Now I see it better…

Good thing I wasn’t specific with my prayer that time, when I was still unripe and a cab asking God for happier life, more meaningful moments, and enjoyable youth. I wasn’t specific because I wasn’t sure if I was genuinely happy with where I was. Now, I have unlocked my life for and welcomed more loved ones.

The deepest fibers of my humanity have now been awakened to enjoy the reality, no matter how sour or spicy they get.

If I didn’t break free and didn’t take bold moves, I would certainly catch myself right now sitting on the corner still bargaining for more interesting and meaningful life—I mean the one which is anchored to His word and has limitations, for only when you know your boundaries that you can actually act in liberty.

When things are really not meant to be, the more you try to fix things, all the worse and complicated things get.

It’s amazing that God gives us a birth right to be constantly in molding process until we become who He intends us to be. No matter how painful the process is, He keeps on pouring us strength and wisdom. No matter how many times we turn our back from Him because of pain, He keeps on coming back to our heart just to give us our gift of eternal wonderful life.

Like a potter, God constantly moves and tosses things until we become the kind of person He shaped us to be and until we receive the ever-wonderful life He designed us to have.

It only takes a faith like a mustard seed that flourishes into a humongous tree of enlightenment and victory for us to enter into the paradise He prepared for us.

At last, like a cab turning into  lion I have transcended the hill of the unfamiliar feat and now roaring triumphantly on the peak of the mountain of victory.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Money Matters: Tips by personal Finance Expert Francisco Colayco

Money Matters
Tips by personal Finance Expert Francisco Colayco

 We work hard to provide for our loved ones and keep their future secure. However, we sometimes fall victim to our own pecuniary crimes, such as impulsive buying, living beyond our means, investing in pyramid schemes—the list goes on. We lose our focus, and our heard-earned money along with it.

There’s also the recession, and the attendant inflation, layoffs, company shutdowns, and corporate bankruptcy.

In these times of economic difficulties, a good trick is to start and save early and invest wisely. Having another source of income thus makes for a sound financial management.

 The 20/20 Rule

We often ask, “How can I save with just this amount of salary?” In an interview with Francisco Colayco, author of several financial guide books especially designed for Filipinos, he responds to the question with basic answers: “At any income level, one can plan, execute, and achieve comfort if one has common sense and the right mindset.”

Even if one earns a hefty sum every month, if one overspends, nothing will be left to save. On the other hand, a person with a smaller salary and spends judiciously could have more savings.

To ensure that your basket is never empty, follow the 80/20 rule: live within 80% of your salary and pay yourself with the remaining 20%.

Put another way, it’s like having two horses—one that you ride, which is your income from work; and another that runs with what you pay yourself with (passive income from investments). It’s now easy to build wealth because you have two horses building your wealth for you, he says.

Just let your earnings from passive income roll, until one day you will just be surprised that your money can buy you a new house or a new car. “It’s so easy to build wealth! It’s so easy to get rich!” Colayco added.

So why are people not doing it? Because some are not aware of how they should look at money or generate wealth, while others who are aware don’t know where to put their money.

Furthermore, some people are hesitant to bring out money because they’re afraid of risk and failure. For my fiend who has her own business, “ there are no failures, only learning experiences. But never leap without a safety net. At the same time, always be ready to seize opportunities.”

 Trip to Financial Freedom

“Investing is like going on a trip, you have to know where you are and where you want to go,” shares Colayco. Then figure out how much speed and time you need to get there regardless of your income level. Set a destination (the kind of investment to take) and determine your pace (the kind of lifestyle that will fulfill your needs as you build your wealth).

In planning your trip (business, stock market, trust fund, time deposit, T-bills, etc.) you have to consider three things: distance, speed, and time. Their equivalents in investments are: returns (the promised earnings at a given reasonable period), risk (the capability or the person or company to perform), and liquidity (if you want to pull out your investment, can you sell it?). the three must always go together if you are to avoid most, if not all, of the unforeseen mishaps along the way.

No matter how near of far the trip is, get rid of unnecessary luggage. Pay off debts and increase your net worth (Asset – Debt = Net Worth). Your net worth tells you where you are right now and how close you are to your destination.

Unfortunately, many people continuously look for new investments even though they’re still deep in debt. “If you have debts, you’re not in a position to invest,” Colayco warns.

Leverage is different from debt way before the business starts.

When you pay off your debt which charges, for example, 3% interest per month, you are free from that monthly debt interest and can now save or invest the money, he says.

In deed, you don’t need to be a CPA, a summa cum laude in Finance, or an MBA graduate to secure your and your family’s future. You just need to plan your “trip” by doing a little tightening here and loosening there and by using part of leisure time to look for extra income.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Appreciating the rough sail out of the old wharf

(While writing this blog I’m sitting next to my friends who are drinking, smoking, and eating pizza and pasta.)

Many times I attempted to put an end to several things—vices, habits, relationships, recurring thoughts. In the same way, I also budged myself a lot of times to put my hands on something and get rolling—work, assignments, keypad, book.

Now I’m in the middle of a stash of different finales. Sometimes I catch myself already totally on my back on one thing. At times, I spot my other foot trying to step back to another thing.

(Now, one of my friends talks about how she stopped smoking for 3 months… and now she’s back on the coffin nail due to some personal reasons, which I myself used also to justify my puffing.)

Going back… I’m glad I’m surviving this self-made ordeal [on a lot of things]. Although at times I swag, fortunately, I still manage to immediately get back up. All this is just a war between two internal factors, between level of determination and level of resistance to external pressure.

When I finally decided to stop some of my pernicious habits that I know, though others don’t manifest yet, cause my body to deteriorate, I started seeing the rough sail away from the old wharf as fun and enjoyable.

I challenge myself. If I stagger, I immediately pick up myself and find reasons to laugh at myself while challenging myself even more, rather than blame myself and totally give in.

When I overcome the temptation, I feel great and empowered—which pumps me up even more to continue overcoming some more temptations. “Keep coming bastard, make me feel even better and victorious!”

There were times that no matter how determined I was, my pernicious habits kept on pulling me back after couple of weeks, days, and sometimes after few minutes of supposed to be fruitful struggle.

Things are different now.

Yes, I can honestly feel the distinction. I am more focused and enjoying my move forward. I discovered a powerful spur. However, I really have to dedicate myself to this discovery if I want to see myself a victor in the end.

I discovered the power of ‘loving oneself and life’.

Of course I love myself even before. That was why I’ve come to a point of confusing ‘loving oneself’ with ‘excess pride’. Now, correcting the level of my pride is also part of my ordeal.

Through experience, and surely through His works in my life, I found out that I just have to truly know my priorities (short-term) and my goals (long-term) to align my stars and serve myself well. Part of this self-appraisal is the discernment of pure and benevolent core of priorities and goals.

While helping myself to leave my chain smoking vice, I’m respecting my friends’ smoking habits. Sometimes, I still do social smoking. I’m still looking for an alternative feat in place of smoking.

As I gradually shift from porky and beefy meal to fish-and-vegetables, I don’t care about my friends’ food choice. What is more important is we eat together and enjoy our own meals.

In closing my doors and windows to a surrendered relationship, I respect the other person’s individuality and character. I no longer care if he’s good or bad, or has been an angel or a pain in the ass. I just mind my own business and move forward composed, focusing only on wonderful things, and with an excited heart that is ready to receive more graces from Him.

With my struggle to drink more water and pee more often, I set my mind to fight against my own will. Whenever I control my bladder, all the more I drink water and hurry to the toilet.

In times when I feel more like holding on to my stuff—money, food, time—all the more I share it with others.

If I love myself and I love life, then I have to live a better life with a happier relationship with more people. Only by training my mind to be sincerely dedicated to my priorities and goals will I achieve my targets. And by becoming victorious over my duel against myself will I feel more empowered—without having to intentionally annoy, hurt, use, or step on others.

Every battle to be won is just a battle against oneself.

When you totally become the master of yourself, no matter what other people will do or say to you, though you may wobble, you can handle well. No matter what you decide to do about yourself, you can achieve with a happy and grateful disposition no matter how long or short it happens.

Be your own captain! Enjoy the sail to the island of abundance!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Difficult beginning is not that bad after all

Some people say, ‘beginning is always difficult.’

It may be true… but now I believe that it’s always relative with one's perspective, with one's priorities, with one's strength, with one's wisdom, and most especially, with how much one trust God’s abundance.

In times when we are surprised by circumstances, we may become more vulnerable or we may become indifferent. When unwanted things happen deliberately, we can be prepared to face everything or we can be resistant to what we know will happen next and plot our counteraction to protect our egos.

Others say live life like Teflon, wherein you just let things slide off. No sticking to the situation nor persons. Some may advise us to get on our knees, close our eyes, clasp our hands together, and pray sincerely.

Whichever we decide to follow, in the end it’s still up to us to decide how we will let external factors affect us and how we will live our lives moving forward.

Me, being a person who distinguishes special from general or common (why is there such a word 'special' after all?), there are persons and circumstances that I treat like a Teflon and there are things which I willingly endure and joyfully see difficulty as a sandpaper or a coal-transforming-to-a-diamond until their accompanying pain and pressure come to their natural end, believing that through my strong faith in Him I will attain progress everday and through my sincere prayer God will overflow His abundance upon me.

I’m surprised that now even though I still randomly feel the pain brought a specific subject, I just see it as part and parcel of the necessary process for me to gradually achieve my full potential and experience the wonderful life at its best.

We just have to believe that through our good stance about life, we can heal our own selves through the help of God and the prayers of our loved ones. Truly our trials are just avenues for miracles to happen in our lives.

Now I can say that difficult beginning is a premise for a sweet surrender towards a wonderful and blessed life. Let’s perk up our cheerful hearts and open our grateful eyes!

Monday, August 2, 2010

When pain becomes a tool...

As human beings, we are capable of being hurt and of hurting others—deliberately or not. Our emotions prod our imaginations to create various things in our minds that almost burst our thought bubbles. Sometimes our emotions stir us to plan things that we don’t normally think of.

In times like this, it is most appropriate to pause, breathe deeply, and close our eyes for a moment… not thinking of anything. Then poof! Jump back to reality, and tell ourselves, “I’m not okay, but I know I can bear all this. I am bigger than the situation and I have a God of abundance. Wonderful things are on their way to me now.”

I have been hurt a lot of times. By people I value. By strangers. By circumstances. By objects. And even by myself. There are millions of reasons why we get hurt—sometimes because hurt is inflicted upon us and at times because our own pride creates it for us.

The good news is, whatever the reason why we get hurt is, we can always go to family and friends and solicit words of encouragement; and we can always spin around the situation 360° by turning to God and listening to his word. Only the word of God can provide us real confidence and security as we journey through life everyday.

Family and friends are heaven sent to accompany us and walk with us, while God is our light and our safe destination.

Just recently, I have been hurt by the person I valued most in ways and degree unthinkable. I struggled to stand up again after I fell down. I staggered. I faltered. But only when I decided to bring everything to Him and let His hands hold me tightly as I walked down Trial Avenue did I found courage, freedom, and real happiness in the middle of difficulty. I managed to have a cheerful heart and a pair of grateful eyes knowing that everything will be fine and something great is being cooked for me, I just have to wait.

Between the beginning and the end (when I already fully understood ‘it’s over when it’s over’), I’ve been playing tug-of-war with anger, bitterness, and indifference—which I believed was the best gameplan, but was just so hard to execute.

I left our longstanding paradise which straight away turned into haunted house for me. I walked away declaring to myself I was no longer mad. I bid goodbye and said, ‘I’m not mad and I wish you well.’ Nonetheless, I could still feel in the deepest fiber of my humanity the pushing-and-pulling of the tiny pinch of deep-seated resentment and of love, which I homed for more than a decade at the core of the layers and layers of the protective shell of my heart.

Finally, after two months of restless night and days and glorious days of constantly finding refuge and comfort from Him, I told myself ‘I could decide better than make myself be soaked in the toxins of anger and bitterness’ and ‘I can do better than being indifferent.’

Believing that now is the perfect time for things to fall into their places, I mustered all of my courage and held my emotions together as I decided to face the person and the situation head on—sheathed with faith in God and driven by a forgiving heart.

We talked heart-to-heart. Courteously took turns to talk. Listened intently. Admitted our pains. Declared our forgiveness.

I begged that we not just dwell on the things that have hurt me and I admitted that I’m still wounded. I re-assured the person by finally acknowledging my ace... that I never blamed the person—he hurt me but I immediately saw God’s hand in the situation. I kept it from the person thinking that the he may just feel good about what he did and move forward without even a tiny bit of remorse.

At last, I’ve broken the shell of my deep-seated pains… I totally let go of everything I kept about us—both love and hurt. I’ve had loved him in the face of sweet joy and in the face of hurt. I accepted him and forgave him time and again. I’ve loved him in his worst and in his best.

Now I’m letting God to be totally in control of the situation, believing my place of desperation is just His way of making me stronger, wiser, and more prepared to receiving His truly wonderful blessings.

Subsequent to our talk, I felt relieved and happier... It's a wonderful feeling if you don't hold on (too long) to your negative feelings and thoughts just because you were hurt--deliberately or not. It takes courage and willingness to face it, and even discuss it with the person who offended you. But in the end, you just don't help and free the person, but also yourself.

Now I can say, our emotions and circumstances are just God’s tools in awakening and strengthening our faith in Him—the key to releasing His power and abundance over our lives.

After more than a decade of believing God has blessed me with a great gift, which is him and the life we shared, now I see and understood more clearly that those 10 years and eight months of good life is just His preparation for our sweet surrender to God and far better life.

God uses our emotions to hone us into our better versions… we just need to keep moving forward and stay focused on our destination, which is God’s sweet blessings and embrace.

Now I remind myself, ‘Don't toss away your sight from the shattered pieces of glass that pierced your feet... Pack the fragments in the small chamber of your memory to serve as your roadbook and sweet wound memento as you take your journey to the paradise, and never let them annoy and hurt others you will be with like how it hurt you.’