Monday, August 27, 2012

The Day I Traded Work for Poetry


I was supposed to get some work done today (i.e. work that actually pays), but reading the poetry of Mary Oliver and Louis Gluck this morning seemed to have awakened the dormant poet within me.  When writers hear the metaphorical "siren's call", they have to write or the words are lost forever.  So I packed up my "real work" for a while and decided to write poetry today.

Suggested steps in reading poetry:

Read slowly and let each word roll in your mouth before swallowing.
Let the whole thing dwell where your heart beats.
Somewhat, but not all together forget.
One of these days, start again.

Reading Poetry

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world  and lose his soul? - Mark 8:36

Reading poetry
is writing a poem
in your heart --

letting it beat into consciousness
and pour freely into the nothingness
of your very being.

It is finding your soul again,
becoming Love again
as you are when you see
with faith and are born again.

Reading poetry is renewing
oneness with what is Sacred --

you know joy;
you expect Grace

You breathe and awaken
to what had long been forgotten.

----

Viktor Shklovskly would say that poetic language defamiliarizes common things. It lets us look at this seemingly mundane world with fresh eyes. Sometimes faith seems boring compared to the lures of the world, and I pray that God will pour Himself out on me again in all His poetic splendor. I pray that I'll be reworked and reworded by grace to become His poetry.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... John 1:14

By Richard Lyall from engageworship.org





Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who's afraid of the big bad tiger?


disclaimer: no bad intentions or impressions meant on tigers...

At KIDS church last Sunday, one of the teachers asked five-year old Abby if she was afraid of tigers.

Teacher: Are you afraid of tigers?

Abby (intent on her drawing): No.

Teacher (surprised): You're not afraid of tigers?

Abby: Uhm...maybe only a little. 
(shows teacher how teeny-small little is by making a tiny space between her forefinger and thumb..then gives a big smile before triumphantly declaring...)


Because Jesus is with me!


Abby may be unsure of the intentions of the tigers that could come into her life, but she is certain of  her God.  Is my faith like that of Abby's?



Monday, April 9, 2012

lesson from a 6-year-old


Yesterday was Easter egg hunting day in KIDS Church.  As expected, the kids were all excited and kept asking us, their teachers, when the egg hunt would start.  One of the kids told me on the onset that she didn't like Easter egg hunting. Later on, however, she was just like every other kid on the egg hunt, excitedly running about trying to find a colorful egg filled with chocolate.  Sadly, she was also one of the few who wasn't able to find any. Unlike some kids who would resort to tantrums, this kid just quietly told me, "Teacher, I didn't find an egg."  I told her it's okay; we had something else for her.  I could feel though that she was disappointed about not finding a prize herself.  One of the other kids, a six-year-old named Elise, overheard her and told us, "Teacher, she can have my egg."  Hearing this, the kid who didn't find any eggs visibly perked up, said thank you, and happily clutched the gift.  Elise didn't seem regretful at all about giving her prize away. She was smiling as she took her younger sister's hand and went back to KIDS Church room.

I and the other teacher were so touched by this exchange.  How many times have I found it hard to let go of things I find pleasure in so that I could bless another person's life?  Would I have displayed the same humility  to accept if offered such a gift?  Why was it so easy for a six-year old to just give away something that was rightfully hers? I may not know the answer, but seeing the smile on Elise' face tells me that for this six-year old, there are more important things in life than eating a small piece of chocolate for herself. 



Thursday, April 5, 2012

a story I want you to read



One day a woman who didn't believe in Jesus Christ walked into church.  The band was playing, the people were dancing and singing, there was great rejoicing.  The woman couldn't understand it. Why did these people actually look happy? She found church boring.  She found Jesus to be beyond understanding, a possibly mythical man who wasn't even interesting in the first place.

I was that woman.  Like many, I was an unbeliever.   I sought security in philosophies and theories...anything from Atheism, Agnosticism, Taoism, Buddhism, Sufism, and New Age spirituality.  But one day, I met someone (her name is Ching and she blogs from everyday sunday) who forced me to look seriously into the claims of Christianity.  Here was a Christian who was so unlike the other self-proclaimed Christians I meet.  I found in her joy even in the midst of our daily stresses in the office. I saw in her a compassion that went beyond my understanding of what was supposed to be "fair". I didn't agree with her worldview. In fact, I constantly challenged it. But I couldn't deny reality...where did she get  the hope that I was desperately seeking in my theories and philosophies?  What was the source of this hope that I wanted?

When this woman pointed me to Jesus Christ, I had to investigate.  As I got to know Jesus better through the Bible and by attending a Bible-based church, I saw in Him the picture of a powerful, loving, and just God. Jesus gave me hope that my fallen world -- me included -- could be truly transformed. At the same time, I found in the Bible (which the Literature major in me once considered as myth) a logical, coherent human history. I found it incredible that the Bible could be so logical and coherent when the books were written by different people living in different time periods.  I also found in the Bible the most precise understanding of the human condition and our human tendencies. Who else could understand us in such a precise way but the One who created us?

It wasn't an easy journey. I had many questions, and I still do.  But every time I feel lost or run away, God seeks me and exceeds expectations. He proves, as He has proven over and over again in the Bible, that even in our doubts, He remains unchanging, faithful, and trustworthy.

There are still so many things in me that needs changing. Our spiritual crosses are not easy to bear alone. Thankfully, I know many people who are so genuinely sold out on their faith.  Someone who declares himself a God must be mad or made-up.  But if He was either, why did the Christians who led me to Him seem so real?    What was it about Him that made them so joyful? What was it about Jesus that transformed the hopeless into the hopeful? What was it about these Christians that drew me even when I didn't believe?


This cross was very heavy and hurt my shoulder  To think that this was only 1/3 the actual weight of the historical cross that Jesus bore!  I am grateful that I had someone to help me though I only carried this a few steps.  

I am grateful, because when I talk to these people, I don't merely see them as friends.  I see the Jesus of the bible -- compassionate, non-compromising, loving. Admittedly, they are not perfect, but I know that God is helping them in their own personal journeys.

Jethro - an encourager and mentor

Like my fellow believers, I am not perfect. But I hold on the promise of the bible that I am being perfected into Christ-likeness by the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. - 2 Cor 3:18

There are times when people fail me.  There are times when my own intellect, emotions, and even people  I love and admire fail me. The message of the cross is simple -- we fail, but God still loves us. He gave the perfect sacrifice, so ALL our sins (past, present, and future) can be forgiven and we can be reconciled to Him.

Because He is holy and just, God had to punish us for our sins.  But because He is also merciful and loving, He found a way out of our punishment.  He sent His only Son to take our sins, become sin, and take our punishment for Himself.



 Because of Jesus' death on the cross, we don't have to reap the consequence of sin which is death.  The sacrifice is done.  The prophecies have been fulfilled. Jesus, victorious over sin and death, was raised from the dead and reigns forever! IT IS FINISHED.




We don't have to scourge ourselves anymore and feel insecure about our future! The gift of eternal life is offered to all those who believe.We only have to accept the gift for our own sins to be nailed on the cross. This gift is what we call grace -- it is undeserved and unmerited...but it is freely given.

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved ~ Romans 10:9-10





The message of the cross is either a grand story that man created to explain away the things he couldn't understand.

Or....it could be real.

It could bring repentance.  

It could bring reconciliation. 

 It could bring healing. 

It could bring hope.

It could bring love.




Because of how God transformed my life, denying Him would be the most untruthful thing I could do.  I can't imagine myself going back to being an atheist or agnostic when I've encountered God in such a transformative way. God is not memorized prayers or the rituals we are asked to perform. Nor is He the rules that seem to enslave.  God is our Creator, Provider, Strength, Deliverer, Friend and all the wonderful things we can attribute to God.  By believing in Jesus, I can have a direct relationship with Him.

When I reflect about all that God has done for me, I am given strength and hope for the future. When I let go of my selfish desires and focus on pleasing Him, I find myself complete and at my most joyful. I have more that I can give to others. My blessings and even my pains are given a sense of purpose -- they are all for the glory of God. Life is given meaning. Life is not wasted. Life is a delight when I live it for God.

My God is alive! He is a great friend.   He is faithful even when I am not.  He always comes through.  And I know, I am not alone.

---------

If you do believe that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected from the dead, the Bible promises that the old has gone and the new has come.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor 5:17.

------
Photos are from Walkway, an art installation/exhibit in Bonifacio High Street by a creative group of Christians called Church Simplified.  The Walkway event runs every Holy Week at Bonifacio High Street Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

All photos were taken by Gail Bitoon of Foreveryday Photography 

station 8

Please pray for this kid






Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wedding Preparations


Are you dreaming of the perfect wedding? 




Me, I'm excited for everyone who's getting married.  I also have this feeling that God has been strategically placing all these friends around me who are connected to all preparations and requirements that have to do with weddings. lol.

Wedding Event Planner, Wedding Give-aways and Wedding Invitations - My Little Craft

For example, my friend Bel Mojica and her partners have a cozy little shop that brides would just love.  It's called My Little Craft Bridal Boutique and they offer wedding supplies/event planning for all your wedding needs.

Sample invitation from CreativePrints, one of My Little Craft's partner stores

Another invitation from  CreativePrints

Custom-made wedding cords from Islas Aromaticas, another partner store

Another heirloom wedding cord from Islas Aromaticas
 You can drop by My Little Craft Bridal Boutique at Unit D, G/F Magnitude Bldg., 186 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., QC. or call 440-3659.

Wedding Photographer - Foreverday Photography

One of the most important things you need to think about would be your wedding photographer.   My friend Ching and her passionate and talented photographer hubby Gail  would gladly document that special day for you.  Gail is one of THE Pat Dy's apprentice wedding photographers. More than that though, he's skilled, extremely nice, and very professional to deal with. You can be sure your wedding will be most beautifully photographed.

Gail captures the beauty...
...the love...
...and the fun of weddings.


Check out more of his photos in Foreveryday Photography or add Foreveryday on Facebook.

Wedding Singer - Phoebe Bitoon

Then there's Gail's sister Phoebe who is just an awesome jazz and anything-romantic singer.  This pretty and petite songstress will capture your heart I'm sure.  You just have to listen.




Engagement/Wedding Rings - Glitz of Bitz

It seems like the whole Bitoon family is into weddings.  Not only is Gail and Phoebe's dad a pastor, their Mom also makes the most beautiful engagement and wedding rings.  You can probably have similar pieces made, but I'm sure they'll cost more than what Tita Portia Bitoon is offering.  You can contact Glitz of Bitz through Tita Portia's facebook page.


blue sapphire, diamonds, and white gold

two-tone diamonds eternity rings in 14k white gold
Wedding Cake - Sweet Afters

Need a gorgeous wedding cake?  Try Sweet Afters by Ayee Venida, my friend Ven's sister.  Ayee launched her first wedding cake during Ven's wedding, and it was a hit.  Sweet Afters also makes the cutest cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, baby showers, and other events. You can contact Sweet Afters at sweetafters8@gmail.com

Red Roses Fondant Cake

Groom - looks like he's all dressed up...



LOL. I'm sorry Echo. You're as beautiful as a wedding day, but God is not finished with me yet! Harhar.

Feel free to comment away if you know any other people to contact for weddings...it might be handy for the future :D

Happy wedding thoughts everyone!



So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.- Matthew 19:6

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. - Solomon 2:7








Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How do I know if it's love?


What is love?  It's Valentine's Day and couples everywhere are probably saying "I love you" to their special someones right at this moment.  I wonder what they mean by "love".  We hear that love is blind, love is like a rosary full of mysteries, love takes time to heal if you hurt so much...

What is love for you?  Have you ever said I love you to someone? Are you confused about the meaning of love?  How do you know if  your love is real?  Bible verses contain much wisdom about love. Read these and you'll see that much of what we want out of love and a great love is written  in the Bible.



My Lover is mine and I am his. - Song of Solomon 2:16




So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. - Genesis 29:20




Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Song of Solomon 8:4



Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover? Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you, there she who was in labor gave you birth. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. - Song of Solomon 8:5-7




And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. -1 John 4:16

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. - 1 John 4:19-20



A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.John 15:12-13

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. - Leviticus 19:18

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.  -Ephesians 5:25


however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. - Ephesians 5:33


Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God - 1 John 4:7


After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
   “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
   “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. - John 21:15

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. - Romans 5:8

The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:31

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; - Romans 12:9

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.- 1 Peter 4:8

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!  1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:18-19

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8

Aren't these love bible verses beautiful?  I pray that everyone finds the Greatest Love of All Today (and no, it's not learning to love yourself).  Happy love day to everyone! :) 



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Of love, little girls, grandfathers, and fishball


I was buying fishball when this cute little girl sidled up beside me with her lolo in tow. She was asking him to buy her fishball too. Everyone (one girl -- that's me -- and 5 men) around that fishball stand was looking at the little girl and smiling.  I felt that no other face could look at that little girl with more love than her grandfather. For a while, it seemed as if the world had stopped. There were no rushing cars and loud horns; no litter on the streets and people hurrying to get home.  It was only that little girl and her lolo waiting for the fishball, while the rest of us remembered how simple and beautiful and in love we could be.  



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Naming


I fancy myself to be a writer.  There’s a marketplace out there teeming with opportunities for people like me.  It’s a creative process to shove what I am in the background and focus on the ones that would sell:  the techie, the businesswoman, the analyst.  I never thought I had them in me.  I look at my simulacra with wonder and ask them, “Where did you spring from?”  They’ve expanded what I am, and I greet each one like someone I’ve met for the very first time.  There are times that I enjoy playing with the various aspects of my persona.  I delight that I can take on new forms. It’s my dream to cosplay strong women characters with super powers and long hair.  I just never thought I would don the garb of a techie-guru-slash-businesswoman of sorts.  It can be fun, but today I am saturated.  And I see myself for what I really am:  a poser; a jack of all trades, master of none.

Kazuo Inamori, the founder of Kyocera and other highly successful enterprises says that one secret to success is to focus on doing one thing well.  He believes that at the heart of everything is that one truth that we’re all searching for.  I haven’t thought about it enough to believe what he believes.  But oh, how I long for that one truth in me to be free.  I don’t want to be just a writer.  I want to be named.  And this does not mean something as shallow as getting a by-line or gaining recognition.  I want to be able to write as naturally as a caterpillar spins herself into a cocoon, as languidly as a cat cradled by the afternoon sun, as bravely as a woman warrior arms herself for battle.

Sometimes, in my simulated writings, I see vestiges of who I am.  In titles like On Love Letters and VoIP and in the humor which no one except my editor will probably read. How does one weave herself completely into work?  How does one show who she really is in absolutely everything she has to do?   When inspired writing comes, is it okay to hush every other voice inside you?  They speak in whispers, all buzzing at the same time like students waiting for the professor to say something.  Are they talking to me? Are they me?

Then You come.  And You tell me You are my Truth, my Comfort and Defender, the Lover of my soul.  I can be what I am in You.  Some of my questions remain, but the turmoil has passed.

I have been named.  



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My New Year Song


I just just love Today is the Day by Lincoln Brewster. It's full of faith, encouragement, hope, assurance in all that is good in my awesome God, it makes me want to shout and praise and worship....it's definitely my 2012!  Sing it OUT LOUD with all the oh oh oh oh's! c'mon!

video

Today is the Day - Lincoln Brewster
buy the song/iWorship album

Here we go!
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
I'm casting my cares aside
I'm leaving my past behind
I'm setting my heart and mind on You 
Jesus

I'm reaching my hand to Yours
Believing theres so much more 
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good
Is good 

Chorus:
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
And I won't worry about tomorrow
I'm trusting in what You say
Today is the day

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Today is the day
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
I putting my fears aside
I'm leaving my doubts behind
I'm giving my hopes and dreams to You
Jesus

I'm reaching my hand to Yours
Believing there's so much more 
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good
Is good 

Chorus

I will stand upon Your truth.
(I will stand upon Your truth)
And all my days I'll live for You
(And all my days I'll live for You)