Take Courage, I am Here

2016 is here.

What are your immediate thoughts, imagination,and or feelings, when you think of 2016?

Me? I want to make it better than 2015. For me and for my family.

2015 was riddled with different concerns, I was job-hopping, bills had to be paid, my resources were dwindling fast,we had family health issues..the list seemed endless.

But then, someone was looking out for me.  My Great Provider sent me the work that will help me continue bringing food, paying our bills, saving for emergencies, etc.

This 2016 there will be bills to pay, issues to face, problems to solve.

But just like last year, the year before that and way back more than two thousand years ago, we do not face it alone.

Today’s homily told me and all listeners that we have to take courage, for the Lord our God is here.  The priest talked about the Epiphany of the Lord. That He is introducing Himself to us as the new year unfolds.  Jesus is telling us that we have nothing to fear as He walked on water. Jesus says

He is the Great PROVIDER.

Mark 6:45-52 talks about the feeding of 5000 men, not counting women and children. Why do you worry about what you are to eat?

He is the All-knowing TEACHER.

Mark 6: 34-44 shows that Jesus “was moved with pity…and He began to teach them many things.” Why do you crack your brain, trying to solve it yourself?

He is a HEALER.

Mt 4:12-17, 23-25 paints Jesus healing “all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain. Why are you losing hope?

2016 may not be problem-free.

But remember that Jesus is our Teacher.  He will show us the way.  The solution to any problem is ready, even before you encounter the problem.

He is our Healer. There is no disease that He cannot heal. And healing comes in many forms.

He is our Provider. We have overcome any amount of bills.  We have not been hungry.  We have food on our table. We have clothes on our backs. We have roof on our heads.

All you need to do is accept that He has always taken care of all your needs. Until now.

CarryMeWithStyle&Grace

Recognize that He is always with you and because of that,  no amount of attacks can sap your strength. Because His Grace is Enough( according to St Paul 2 Corinthians 12:9). You can carry your yoke with grace.

Renew your mind

“Do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” .(Romans 12:2)

See your blessings. Accept them. Express gratitude for them. You’ll be surprised that you are actually inundated with, and swimming in a sea of blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of Storms and Ice Cream

Typhoon Nona has just left Manila.  The rains are no more.  But she definitely left some homeless here and there; some crops destroyed; establishments damaged; lives lost…

That is always the case when we have storms —and we have them the whole year, at any time… At least, nowadays, the government is more responsive and the people more alert…

And Christmas is just around the bend. All over the country, Catholics look forward to the Simbang Gabi–it started last night, and as I type on my pc, I can hear the mass going on a stone’s throw from my house.  The next one will be at 4 am later, which I also cant attend, for I work at home from 10 pm until 6 am.

I’ve been wrackingmybrains what dishes to prepare for our Noche Buena.  Ever Since I learned how to cook, I have been preparing meals for the family and the Christmas season is when I try out my experiments.

Then, I saw this on my fb  news feed  —  https://www.facebook.com/epicurious/videos/10156345691670204/

 

 

The Miracle of Tithing

I have to admit, I used to be one of those who would put coins in the basket.  The basket that goes around in church when it’s time to give your offering.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  On times when I’d put a paper bill there, that would be like giving too much from my pocket and it’s difficult to open your palm to let the bill drop…

I wasn’t a regular giver then. It would happen only when I had extra change in my pocket that I wanted to get rid off.  The pocket can bulge and it’s uncomfortable when you sit. Also, coins are heavy to carry in your pocket or in your bag.

I wasn’t a miser. I was just uninformed about the reason behind tithing.

Hey, but even when I already knew about it, and believe me, you can hear about it and pretend not to understand or attend Brother Bo’s talk about tithing multiple times and still not want to give. Up to a certain point. Like the new attendees who were only forced by their families to join them who refuse to sing along or to clap their hands, tap their feet or dance along. Or pretend not to be touched by the Spirit.  Hearts can be hard sometimes, but not hard enough for the Holy Spirit.

When I was very new to the FEAST and was just attending, mind you, attending is just being there. Waiting to be served, waiting to be taught–the most I would give was PHP 20.00. If you give that much every week, then that is PHP 100.00 monthly and that is  PHP 1200.00 yearly. Meagerly, yes, but for the uninitiated, it’s a lot of money, going –where…?

I can spend any amount of money- of course within my budget and my income — on me, or on my family–and I won’t mind too much.  Because, I spent it on me—or on my family.  But a thousand bucks on an anonymous purpose, that was like,  give money for what? Huh?

Oh, I know about the story of the widow who gave all her treasure.  Been hearing that story all my life.  But I think you will agree with me that no matter how many times we hear a story, unless you experience the same, you will never understand.

I’ve been tithing for some years now. Not regularly and not even the right amount every time. Sometimes, I’d forget to prepare the envelope before going to the FEAST. But when I remembered, I would always give.

And I was put to the test. Or  was it God  I put on the HOT Seat?

I have resigned from a lot of jobs before. WhenI was overseas, i made sure that when Friday was my last day in one company, the next Monday, I would report to my next job.  I wasn’t always like that though. And this time, I again resigned from my job without having found a replacement yet.

Tithing was not a problem at the start. But the more I kept giving, since my expenses were also continuing, the more I gave, it started to hurt. And when I was close to using up my savings, I prayed for help. Of course, I was also already looking for work and made it known that I was in the market. One Sunday, I was close to running out of savings and yet I decided to give 1k! That is a thousand bucks!  I prayed really hard after that.

Two weeks later, I got an email from a potential client. It led to an interview and the rest is history.

I work at home. I am able to cook food for my family and eat with them. I can watch DVDs with them too. And I work while they sleep.

Last week, I decided to give a bigger portion for my tithe.  We have this envelope to show our gratitude for the extravagant harvest of the year.  I know the amount I give is probably a pittance to what others are able to give on a regular basis.  But that is no longer my business.

I prepared my envelope a few days ago.

This morning, I remembered that I still have to give the regular tithe and I felt the pinch.  I even voiced it aloud in my room. But I took the money from my safe place and put in in my wallet to take to the FEAST.

Last night, I was overflowing with gratitude and a thought crossed my mind. I wanted to give 5 k for my extra tithe this year. Now that is a real punch in the solar plexus of my wallet. Crazy. But the crazier thought is what I shared with my friend this afternoon. That I wanted to be able to give 10k next December.  And my friend was telling me that she wanted to test God’s generosity.

 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  
Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
—Malachi 3:10

 

When I got home, I opened my Facebook account because one of my friends at POSH (Pray Over Shepherding and Healing) asked me to like a picture of her granddaughter. Because I opened by FB account, I saw my sister’s PM and she was sending me money, for pick up! I  have been thinking of asking my siblings to help me care for our parents, but I have not really asked them yet.

Alas! Who can outdo the Lord in generosity?  Can we ever do that?

The money I gave to the Lord today, was returned to me more than double the amount I gave! I am sure there will be more on its way!

Thank you Lord.  I want to share that Your goodness and mercy have been chasing me and my family.  I am ready to receive more blessings. I am ready to give more blessings. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness, Love and Mercy

I am a Child of God

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com

In all of God’s magnificence and mercy, we see all around us, mirrors of His eternal goodness and love, in our families, from our friends, and from strangers even.

But let us not forget that even in  Paradise Adam and Eve’s tranquil lives were disturbed by the serpent.  So if it happened in Paradise, what more in this world we live in?

There are people like Mother Teresa who grace this earth and share God’s love to the unlovable despite the selfishness, cruelty and chaos all around us. Perhaps, they are really angels sent to live with us as humans to remind us that there is a God who loves us unconditionally.

And there are also those who in their pain  forget that  they are God’s favored children and may get distracted and succumb to the temptation to be like gods, and in the process lose themselves to be tangled forever in the abyss of blackness where there is no possibility of leaving.

Somewhere in this world, there are people so afraid of  being controlled, of being unwanted, unloved.  They hide behind the wall of  superiority.   Averse to rules, they make their own to suite their needs. Feeling no compassion for others, they rationalize that they are bored and need to entertain themselves by playing with people. Fantasizing killing people they like, dislike and even those they don’t know to feed their need to sow chaos.

The need to manipulate and to control when we are scared.  We are all guilty of that at some point. I am. I forget that I am a beloved child of God. And I need to remind myself of the basic precept. That We are SACRED. We are all created in the likeness of God. He loves us so much, He sent His only begotten Son to save us.

He  has great plans for us.  According to Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God’s forgiveness has no bound and His mercy is everlasting. He loves us so much to leave us in darkness.

To you dear brother or sister, I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch your heart, open the eyes of your mind and give you courage to say no to the disturbance of your scared soul, that you will have the fortitude to control your urge to go wayward and that you will say yes only to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

You are loved even before you were born. You belong to the family of God. You are not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Fine Night

I have been working overtime lately so I have been coming home later than usual although not necessarily more tired. (Yes, that’s true!). One night, after leaving work, I bought groceries and went home.  As I was cooking dinner, while still in my office clothes, it occurred to me. Why not play dress-up that night with my folks?  I have always wanted to do that for the longest time.  So I told my parents to change into something nice.  Ma was doing her laundry while Da was resting on the bed.  I was beat that day and I sensed that they were, too.  But they humored me and so we had some picture taking while the food was cooking, and it was Fun!  Mom doesn’t know how to take pictures with the camera, although all you have to do is point and click.  That night, she learned how to use the digital camera and she enjoyed it!

I think this is the beginning of a new monthly tradition for me and the folks to add to the regular movies and dinner.  Something new to learn,to break the monotony of life, to reduce stress and maybe to meet new people.  Maybe we can go bungee jumping someday. =p

Here’s a couple of pictures from that experimental night in June 30.

DSC09197 DSC09200

Some Thoughts on Online Dating

online dating
credit:natachamah.wordpress.com

I have never gone online dating before. I did try pen pal writing when I was ten years old, but that was because it was part of our Social Studies class. You know, the UNESCO and all. When texting came to be, I refused to engage in random texting just to see who gets the text message and if someone would actually reply. Besides wasting good money, it’s wasting time, energy and really good brain cells.

Then came online dating. The mere idea was totally repulsive to me. It’s a big NO NO. That is the realm of pretenders and people of questionable repute.

But hey,I know people who found friends and love online. Some even got married.

One of my friends married someone she met online. She told me that she sort of waited after registering and there was one who persisted in writing. Theirs resulted in an exchange of I do’s. My friend is very pretty and very young. Their union is a May- December one. You already get who’s the December part. I wish she made her quest a little more fun by actively looking for The One , instead of waiting. I think she might have met a June partner if she shopped and if she took her time.

To get started, I consulted my good friend Google. He spewed numerous choices which included a brief description and a comparison of each site. The various sites opened my eyes to other worlds, for straights, for non straights, for beautiful people, where you can join for free and later upgrade by becoming a member.

It took a very very long time to complete my profile. I thought I was already applying for a job, a writing one. The psychological profiling resulted to a “book” of myself. Pretty comprehensive and could be upgraded to be more in depth. Then when my profile was about 75 or so percent complete, I got matches. I would be able to view their photos if I upgraded.

I found all the questions tedious. And the thought of revealing to the market my personality so someone who is shopping can take his pick wasn’t very appealing. But I wanted to try an experiment. So of course I didn’t just create any profile. In a way, it was like applying for a job and putting all my best qualifications forward. I had fun answering the basic questions. They made me look within and see what I liked in myself and what I liked to do or to have.

Reading through the matches’ profiles is fun. I didn’t realize the opposite sex who go into it are serious in finding their One True Love and I found one who admitted being nervous about online dating. I guess we all have our doubts and fears.

We just need to keep our heads on our shoulders, just like we do when on real life dating. Make sure you find the right site. Have fun in creating your profile. This is a venue to meet people. The idea is not to get married right away, or it may not even be about getting married. We need to remember that when we meet people whether face to face or online, it is not because we want to get married. It is about connecting with others. Getting to know people. Enlarging your world. Enriching your experiences. Having fun. Helping people. Sharing ideas.

Each person has an objective of course. But if you want to meet THE ONE, then you need to make sure you meet many and not only one. Don’t just make your profile and stay there forever waiting for your prince or your princess to accidentally walk by and find you. It is more like finding that dress that will make you look your best. Or finding your dream job. The quest for your One True Love is going to require work on your part. No stork will drop it on your lap. But hey, remember to have FUN.

Be aware also of “robots” online or of the miscreants. I have to say, this is similar to finding online jobs. There’s a lot of scammers out there. Bear in mind the Dos and Don’ts in making friends. Mind your manners especially when connecting with strangers.

 

Let Us Hope Again


X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST<

This is not a movie review. I don’t do movie reviews although I do watch movies a lot. I will admit also of my huge crush on Hugh Jackman. Only when he is in X-Men movies. All of us in my family are the best fans of comic book heroes since our childhood. Except my older sister. I am not really sure if she ever read our comic books back then. But this blog is about the message I got from the movie. I don’t know about other movie-goers but I was struck by what the older Professor X said to his younger self: It is time to learn to Hope Again. Both Professors at different points in time were at odds with life: the older one was facing a seemingly insurmountable nemesis bent on killing mutants to the last generation, the Professor still believed the mutants could survive while the younger Professor exchanged his powers for the ability to walk and be like the human species and closed down the school for the “gifted”.

It must be creepy to “meet” your older self who will tell you that you will overcome your obstacles, that you will succeed. That it is possible to believe again. That things will turn out okay.

The mutants in the movie had nowhere to go. The sentinels have been created with the best mutation ability to mimic its opponent and to to use the powers it has taken to defeat the mutant. This movie was the quantum leap result of the X-Men wherein Striker ordered the killing of mutants and the harvesting of their powers to be incorporated in one frankenstein mutant (played by Ryan Reynolds). In a way, since the power to copy was taken from Mystique, then the sentinels were duplicates of Mystique but more powerful.

When faced with such opponents programmed to relentlessly seek and destroy Mutants, even prior to conception, the human race and the mutants were helplessly being exterminated. Hopefully, the leaders of the Mutants, Professor X and Magneto have joined forces and Kitty has fully developed her powers so that she could tamper with time and buy them more of the same. We in real life can’t have more than the 24 hours that we have daily. We have different struggles. Some are practically racing against time, having been told of their poor health conditions, or of deadlines for payments of bills otherwise they will be evicted from their homes, or other conditions that aren’t normally heard of whether in Third World or in First World countries. Sometimes when we have our backs against the wall, we may feel like the same situation in the movie– just waiting for the sentinel to engulf us in flames, or be so hopeless that we’d drown all pain with the use of drugs or any other forms of excuse. But then, even in such dire situations, I want to believe that life has a way of balancing it out. I believe that there is that spark in everyone of us waiting to be reignited. There will be someone or something that can make us see again, learn to hope again. And we will prevail.