Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Breakfast Pancakes

Breakfast is my favorite meal.  It helps sets the tone for the whole day. Today I made pancakes!  I was so worried that I would add too much water to the pancake mix...or it would look like a scrambled egg like my previous attempts.

First pancake on the pan...so far, so good!

I like them golden brown.

Two pancakes on a plate.

Third pancake was burnt.  I found out too late that the pan gets too hot after a while.

Ready to eat! Yay.

Hmm..so I'm not really much of a gourmet.  But they tasted fine to me. Sure beats eating take-out food all the time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gifts from students

One of the best parts about teaching was being the adviser of the Journalism Circle, the club which produces the school paper.  It was a break from the monotony of school routine. Even though it was extra work, I truly enjoyed the overnights with my former students during our workshops.  Every year was special because of each student, but the most enjoyable year for me was last school year. Unlike the previous years, I made an effort to organize our bonding editorial sessions in school.

serious kunwari with Layout Ed 10-11 Jerome
Even though the paper still wasn't perfect, the work was also more fulfilling because we all worked hard on it.

hot off the printer

Big smile from Managing Ed 10-11 Pau -natapos din ang paghihirap
The Journalism Circle kids hold a special place in my heart.  Even though I may be forgetful, I still remember the dedication of our sports writer Rikki Lee Mendiola, the hardwork of EIC 09-10 Guia del Valle (who was still working on the last issue of the year during her graduation),  the awesome book reviews by one of our best writers Anna Sangkal, the great layouts done by Sandra Cutay and Regina Resol, the frontpage articles of Daryl Yang and Gab Morong (the two of them could fill out a newsletter on their own), the awesome art of Maureen Bombay, the creativity of Glenn Briones,  the speed by which Jerome Tagaro learned how to layout with Adobe CS5, the commitment of Elisha Ching and Pau Milante to their work, and much much more things and much much more students.

Just this morning, I was cleaning my stuff from work and saw these.  They were gifts from my students. It amused me to see how much these kids know what would make me smile.

Caricature from Marmi Lico

I love the chibi me!

Poem from Rikki Lee <3

Scrapbook and letters from Journ 07-08, the necklace is from Camille Virtucio

I love this writing notebook from Assoc Ed 10-11 Maxine

cute doggy pen holder from EIC 10-11 Pau R.

a letter and a bunch of Ohno Satoshi and Arashi Jpop pix from Pau M.

I love this picture of Ohno Satoshi from Arashi too XD

I don't know if I ever properly thanked the Journ kids for their gifts and their commitment to the club. Being the adviser of the JC seems to be an event from long ago.  We're all doing our own stuff and most of the students are busy doing greater things in college. But I don't think I'll ever get tired of being thankful for my students.  They are God's gift to me. Years from now though, I know I'll be able to look back at this blog and remember how significant and "newsworthy" it was to be part of these kids' lives even if only for a short while :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Worship song: Panginoon by Sesa

The worship song "Panginoon" performed by Yeng Constantino and Acel Van Ommen's new band Sesa really ministered to me during the Ignite 2011 conference.

Sesa (short for Prinsesa, that is, God's Princess) was formed by these young two singers/songwriters. Acel is Yeng's Victory Group leader in Victory Christian Fellowship. Yeng, of course, is popular in mainstream Filipino music for the song, Hawak Kamay.

I was particularly touched during the Ignite Conference when Yeng cut her performance towards the end and said this:

"Pag Siya yung kinantahan ko sabi ko kay God: God ikaw lang ang kakantahan ko ng ganito. at deserve niya yun! Deserve niya yun, kahit sintunado ka pa. Kaya naman, TARA NA!

Panginoon was also performed by Yeng and Acel during the Victory@25 celebration at the Araneta Coliseum and the Leaders Convergence 2009 at the Ultra.

For Yeng's solo acoustic version of this song, click this


Ako’y walang saysay
Akala ko ako ay tunay
Pilit na nilalakbay
Ang aking buhay
Ngunit nag-iingay
Ang aking kahapon
Paulit ulit bumabalik
Nakikita ang sarili
Lumalangoy muli sa putik
Ngunit iba Ka
Paano Mo ‘ko nakita?
Pinulot Mo ako
Noong akala kong ako’y nag-iisa
Kulang pa ang tinig ko
Para awitan at purihin Ka
Ngayon alam ko na
Ang ibig sabihin ng mabuhay
Ngayong kapiling Ka
Hinding-hindi na magiisa

Dahil Ikaw ang liwanag
Sa gabi kapag ako’y tumatangis
At Ikaw ang umagang
Sa pagmulat ko’y nakangiti
Ako’y nasasabik sa Iyong pagbabalik
Pinulot mo ako
Nong akaala kong akoy nag-iisa
Kulang pa ang tinig ko
Para awitan at purihin Ka
Kulang pa kahit ibigay ko ang lahat
Maging ang buhay ko’y hindi pa sapat
Pero hayaan Mong ibigay kong lahat
Nang ang puso ko saYo’y maging tapat
Oh oh
Pinulot Mo ako
Noong akaala kong ako’y nag-iisa
Kulang pa ang tinig ko
Para awitan at purihin Ka
Pinulot Mo ako
Noong akala kong ako’y nag-iisa
Kulang pa ang tinig ko
Para sabihin kong mahal Kita
Mahal Kita
Panginoon, Panginoon
Panginoon, Panginoon
Panginoon, Panginoon
Panginoon, Panginoon

Sesa will be performing in a free gig for freshies in UPLB on July 5.

Vocals: Acel Bisa-van Ommen
Vocals and Rhythm Guitar: Yeng Constantino
Lead Guitar: Julie Samonte
Bass: Edrei Olarte
Drums: Karmi Santiago

Thanks to the following for the extra info on Sesa:
Ignite video- meibu@youtube
For more about sesa in the ignite con-thr33strandedcord@blogspot

Monday, June 13, 2011

Going home

Today I was at a reputable University to decide on a job offer. As I passed by the school's halls, I couldn't help but take a glance at what was happening inside the classrooms. I was curious at what the professors were up to during the first week of classes.

Let me tell you that I was quite excited about this job. I felt that I liked it so much, I rescheduled another job interview with a company offering quite a high pay. Still, I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy as I watched these young professors leading their classes. Some were sitting on the tables (ahh...the benefits of being a college prof) or some were writing down course requirements on the board. The job I applied for was also connected to teaching, but it wasn't like my previous job as a high school teacher.

Anybody who has done any sincere teaching will tell you that being a teacher is special. It is not only a simple job, it is an advocacy. I love teaching. I love thinking about how I could make the complex simple, and when I fail, I love thinking and researching about how I can improve my lessons.

This year though, I had to leave teaching. I didn't have to if I wanted to, but for some reason, I just knew I had to pause for a while. I didn't want to stay where I was. I didn't want to get caught up in the daily grind for yet another school year. I had to plan and think and be more deliberate.

It was during the last months of summer that I enjoyed myself the most. I was active in church, I made new friends, I ate out a lot, I bonded with some of my students. This was the time that I focused on God the most. The joy I felt made me think that maybe I had made the wrong decision.

But all doubts were dashed when I reached home, unpacked my bags, and had a long rest in my own bed. For 11 years, I escaped from home. I wanted my freedom and independence. The circumstances haven't changed much. But now, I didn't have to escape to have freedom. The freedom I felt inside of me because of Christ was enough. I loved teaching, but if I stayed, it would be for the wrong reason. It was time to take that step of faith.

I am adjusting to being home again. I have just learned to appreciate God's comfort and provision during these silent times. Some may say I am a fool for leaving a decent job which I loved and which had all the chances for worldly promotion and reward. But my work is done there; it's time to move on.

Now, when I have breakfast with my mom everyday, and when my sister wakes me up in the middle of the night so that we could eat a choco and caramel sundae or watch a sitcom, and when I get to hug Chichi and Shobe everyday, I know that I am at the right place at the right time. And I could just thank God for this change of heart, because I never appreciated my family fully until this moment that He brought me home.

I love teaching, and God willing, I will be one of the best teachers I could be to my future students. But everything will be accomplished in God's time, not mine.

Regarding that job offer, I didn't accept it. I don't want to be arrogant, but as a good friend advised, I had to be at peace before I said yes to anything. When I heard their terms and conditions, I wasn't at peace at all. I wanted to pray and think before making a decision; they wanted me to sign the papers. Old me would have signed right away because of worry. I've learned though that making decisions on my own (without Godly friends and God) always got me into trouble.

So now here I am. And my two dogs are somewhere in this room snoring contentedly away. And I have all the time in the world to eat and write and blog and read and decide and pray. My mom's room is just at the end of the hallway, my books are within hindsight, my bible is on my own bed. I am home.

"Forget about what's happened; 
                                     don't keep going over old history.Be alert!
 I'm about to do something brand-new.
 It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is!
    I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. 
~ Isaiah 43:18-19 (The Message Translation)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Your Amnesia Girl

I often get teased because of my forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a hassle because I can misplace the most important things - keys, wallet, cellphone. It got so bad that some of my former co-workers would hide my stuff just to teach me a lesson. What was worse though was when they started leaving things that were misplaced on my work desk. They thought it was but natural to assume that these misplaced things were mine. I found a drumset stand on my desk once...that was really weird because I DON'T play the drums. You might think that it's nice that I get to keep some cool stuff. It's not so cool though when you find some dirty men's long shorts on your table. No siree. That wasn't a pretty sight (and don't ask me how I managed to get it off my desk).

Being forgetful can also get embarrassing. I remember people's faces easily, so I'm being honest if I smile in recognition. But I'm really bad with names. You can imagine the agony when I have to introduce people.

Scenario: Abby Gaby with friend meets acquaintance on the road...
AG: Hi~! (rapidly searching brains for roster of names)
Acq: Gaby!!!
AG: Hi...errr...hi~! 'musta? (has to make a quick decision..introduce friend or not?)
AcQ: I'm okay! You?
AG: Ok din! (praying for an interruption)
After a few seconds of awkward silence (the decision DOES NOT come quick at all)....
AG: Ummm this is...(name of friend)
AcQ: Hi (name of friend)
AcQ continues smiling, waiting to be introduced
AG: Well...nice seeing you! See you around okay? Bye!!! (runs off quickly, dragging friend with her)

This is why I can understand it when people forget MY name. I can empathize with the moment, so don't you guys worry.

Forgetfulness is not really an admirable quality. It's something that God is still working on with me. Still, there are times when I can be grateful for my forgetfulness. When I tell you that I've forgotten a hurt, I can assure you that I've really forgotten it. We can sincerely be friends again. Or I can sincerely forget that we've been buddies in the past...the emotions have also been forgotten. Being forgetful helps me forgive; it helps me move on and celebrate what is ahead.

I can be thankful to an important Person for this forgetfulness that helps me let go of regrets and petty emotions. Many times though, I forget Him. I denied Him many times. I thought it insulted my intelligence to believe in Him. The Literature major that I am believed Him for a myth, etched in man's archetypal memory.

He continued to chase after me though. Until now, He draws me to Himself until everything but Him can just fade away into my forgetfulness.

This Man on the cross did not just forgive me. He took all my wrongdoings upon Himself. People might ask how I know that He is real. I know because I've walked with Him. I know because I've come to believe in His word. I know because I've experienced His faithfulness. I know because I can see the changed lives of those who believe. I know because I've tasted and felt how it is to be loved deeply by Him. He is the only One who will assuredly never forget forgetful me.

"So heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way
that He loves us..."

Can a woman forget her nursing child? Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb? Although mothers may forget, I will not forget you.~ Isaiah 49:15 (God's Word Translation)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pleasing the Master

My two dogs and I were out playing catch in the garden one morning. I threw their tan ball (which actually looks like a football), and the two doggies ran wildly after it. ChiChi the shih tzu got to it first though. Poor Shobe the half-breed didn't know what to do while I patted and hugged Chichi. A few seconds later, Shobe also ran to my side. She too had something in her mouth -- it was a small brown mabolo fruit (velvet apple)! The little runt didn't want to disappoint me, so she had taken one of the fruits which had fallen from the Kamagong tree. Laughing at Shobe's cleverness, I hugged the little puppy while she wagged her tail in pleasure.

football vs. mabolo

Dogs are a delight to train and play with because they aim to please their master. This is why puppies would sometimes eat their own poop. They don't want their owners to know that they had an accident somewhere restricted.

After that incident, I couldn't help but think of how I had pleased my own Master that day. If I could be amused by a dog's cleverness, what more of God who desires nothing more than my undivided love?  But I often don't think about pleasing God in my everyday activities.

It was hard to obey and please God when I didn't even know who He was. I prayed hard to get to know Him intimately, not just intellectually. Last month, God answered my prayer. My eyes were opened and I was able to finally feel the fullness of His love for me.  When you know God, you would inevitably want to please God.  Sometimes, I still fail and flounder. But now I know I have a great God who loves me so much. I am still getting to know Him everyday. And everyday, I pray that I would be able to please Him in many ways.

It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6