Monday, December 31, 2007
1. Buy Filipino. I'm so guilty of colonial mentality, and easily tempted by the lures of shopping malls when I'm abroad, whereas there are so many local brands to be proud of. I resolve to exercise my shopping skills in local retailers and stock up on homemade products.
2. Invest wisely. Some people my age have finished paying off their insurance, health care, and pension. This is my backlog.
3. Use my talents, and throw my excuses to the wind.
4. Believe in myself. After all that God has accomplished in and through me, I should be less prone to stress and anxiety, and more relaxed and focused, especially on my job.
5. Give in to discipline. Having a time in/ time out schedule at work is strange for me, but it's for my own good and I should exert more effort in this area.
6. Express love more. I've always thought, "If I love you, what's that to you?" More and more I realize that expressing love increases love.
7. Seek growth, not just wait for it. When people offer to help with my healing process, I should cooperate and not obstinately refuse to open up.
8. Be a radical Christian in a new way. I keep saying this and I've tried to yield to where the Holy Spirit had guided me in the past. This year I'm excited at what's in store, what kind of service I'll give, and what kind of lessons I'll learn.
I posted this before my year-end review, which requires more introspection. But 2007 helped rebuild me in many ways so that I enter 2008 with more hope than there ever was in me.
I wish you all a very blessed, prosperous, and wonderful New Year. Cheers!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Promises Like Pie-Crust
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?
You, so warm, may once have been
Warmer towards another one:
I, so cold, may once have seen
Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass,
And the fortune is not told.
If you promised, you might grieve
For lost liberty again:
If I promised, I believe
I should fret to break the chain.
Let us be the friends we were,
Nothing more but nothing less:
Many thrive on frugal fare
Who would perish of excess.
About six or seven years ago, we were together almost everyday in Lingkod QC - serving God, growing in our prayer life, and enjoying one another's company as friends.
God had taken us to different paths since then but it's still a joy just to get together and laugh, to be silly and remember "Friends ", "Harry Potter", the Service Council, countless meetings and fellowships, heartaches, and victories.
We are aging together, the Tiguls and I. "Mga Tigulang", we are called, especially with new Lingkod QT's in their early 20's, who can also dance hiphop, hit the high notes, and love God in a radical way.
We tried last night to stay up longer, but at 11 p.m. those with children to go home to, and/or work to attend to the next day, could no longer keep their eyes open. We just remembered fondly those days when we would go home at 5 a.m. and be up and ready for a Lingkod activity by 9 a.m.
It's time for the new generation of QT's to keep the fire burning.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
With Juan, Martha and BJ's handsome son.
Here I'm carrying Ava, my goddaughter by Arvin and Anj. In photo with me are Arvin and Martha, who were my classmates from grade IV to grade VI. Martha and I were also schoolmates in high school (Manila Science) and college (U.P. College of Business Ad).
Juan couldn't make it to this picture as the baby was fast asleep na. Ava gamely posed with ninangs, parents, and tita.
Monday, December 24, 2007
To Ric and Celeste who are in Germany, Lani and Danny who are in Sydney, and Mel and Josh who are in Phoenix, Cheers! Maligayang Pasko!
We loved that the mountains were blue and that we had Kuya Ric as a photographer. You could see the famous Three Sisters behind us.
Pardon the Nokia E65 video quality. This is a fundraiser for the World Youth Day '08 delegates - caroling activity at the CDO residence.
If you're interested to sponsor youth for WYD in Sydney on July 2008, please get in touch with me. Visit the Youth Alive, Parish of St Benedict, and WYD Sydney websites for more details (links on the left panel of this blog). Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
In limo - Ella, Danny and Lani.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
You may read more about the CD and the launch here.
The songs "Sing of Him", "How Beautiful", "Song of Ruth", and "Naaalala Mo", are now part of my advent soundtrack. You may buy from the Cenacle Retreat House, or wait for the release at the Jesuit Music Ministry stores.
The members are not the regular iPod- and PSP-toting kids who hang out at malls and live chauffer-driven lives. My kids, although mostly in school and living with their families, sometimes have to skip classes because they don't have enough money for their project, fare, or lunch. It breaks my heart every time I think about it, but such is life, and I, together with the core team of adult and youth leaders, try to help them as much as we can by supporting them in their Christian journey.
We had our last general assembly for the year in November, as we are taking a break this December, for most of the kids would be busy then with their respective church choir activities - Simbang Gabi masses, caroling, and Christmas parties. While we were saying goodbye, the kids asked me, "Ate, wala ba tayong Christmas party sa Youth Alive?"
I looked at the other core team members and we all sadly shook our heads. The Knights of the Altar, the Junior Choir, the BNP Choir, the OLA Choir, and the scholars would each have their own parties, we said. They said they wanted to be with the whole group (all 200 of them? I thought) and besides, "IT WAS CHRISTMAS!" I felt the same way, as if the last three words explained it all.
I approached Fr. Steve and he said the YA had been blessed already the past year, especially in the summer, so there was no real need for another big party, especially if we were not able to raise funds for it previously.
I texted my friends that if they were looking for a cause to support this Christmas, I had two suggestions - Youth Alive, and Noah's Ark (the charity my office is donating to this Saturday). One of my friends replied that she had tons of clothes and the kids could have a rummage sale to raise funds. I agreed to meet her to pick up the clothes, and we had a long-overdue lunch and coffee. We shared about our lives and what we were doing. In the middle of that late lunch, she blurted out that she was giving me money (a HUGE amount, by my standards) for the youth. She said she wanted a real party for them, not spaghetti with catsup, but real food, "something that you and I would eat". I was overwhelmed and cried on the spot!
Another friend of mine, let's call him Willie Wonka, sent me boxes of chocolate-covered pretzels for my two "charities" this Christmas. I could not believe how generous people could get. I was just thinking of a simple party at the back of the church - with sandwiches and juice. Now the kids were getting a Christmas party to remember. The core team immediately came up with plans on how to wisely spend the donation, and we're very excited about the ideas that now need a little bit of execution.
I know we should be doing something for them every day of the year, but with more reason, the coming of Jesus this Christmas just makes me want to have an extra special time with the kids - whether they be the kids on the street, at Noah's Ark, at He Cares Foundation, or at Youth Alive Manila.
As for the two kids closest to my heart - my nephews - I have a surprise for them as well. Wink. Wink. They might read this blog and get too excited.
Friday, December 07, 2007
You may visit http://cdasia.com for more details and product updates.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
-- Laura del Rosario
Monday, December 03, 2007
I eagerly raised my hand and when signaled to stand up, I proudly said, "Isang malaking istatwa ng Sto Nino po!" (One huge statue of the Sto. Nino.). My teacher's face went blank and then she asked for another answer. As I sat down, I was clueless why she didn't affirm me for my brilliant answer.
Then one of my classmates stood up and said, "Ma'am, I saw an advent wreath."
So I was eight when I first learned what an Advent Wreath was.
You can find s a simple explanation of the symbolism of the advent wreath here.
Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, also the start of the liturgical year. A couple of days ago, I attended an Advent Recollection with Lingkod QC, facilitated by Bro. Francis Iturralde of the Servants of the Word. Mass was celebrated by Fr Steve Tynan, mgl, who incidentally marked his 42nd birthday yesterday and his 15th anniversary as a priest on Thursday.
It's been months since my last personal retreat. When I heard Francis say, "Every transition is painful", I knew I would hear God during that recollection. By the second talk, I was reduced to tears and could hardly write in my prayer journal. I was enveloped by God's love and assurance, that even if I had many struggles due to the many changes in my life, He was with me. Lingkod QT's asked if I was ok, and I said, "Don't mind me. I'm experiencing God's presence." The sharing within our discussion group was also life-giving for all of us. It was a Spirit-filled recollection.
Francis assured us that as pilgrims on this earth, we're not meant to live a comfortable life. We're not supposed to settle down and be content with our earthly possessions; not even our earthly relationships. We're meant to hunger and thirst and wait for our union with God.
He led us through the liturgical year to explain the significance of Advent, how it points to the end. I was able to recite significant dates in the Catholic faith and to express what Christmas was all about- the incarnation. Thankfully, I was not as clueless as when I was a grade schooler.
But I was not content with mere head knowledge of facts and dates. I was searching for the meaning of God's word in my life, at this stage of change and challenge. God did not disappoint. He spoke with understanding and compassion. He made me see that I was on the right path - that a lifetime of waiting was nothing compared to an eternity with Him; that the challenges and crosses of this world were nothing given the fact that His Son had already conquered the world.
I almost didn't attend that recollection as I was physically tired and emotionally burdened, but I'm glad I did. Sometimes clouds don't lift all at the same time, but there are significant moments when we gather enough strength to endure.
It is not yet Christmas, but the fact that it certainly leads to Christmas makes Advent so very special. Every day is a step of faith, closer to where real hope, faith, and love are waiting.
Lord, I am once again blinded from seeing Your Love for me. Please lead me to get rid of the scales from my eyes. I want to see You clearly, and to love others as You love me. Amen.