Friday, November 18, 2011

Seek Ye First...

For weeks, I struggled to figure out a glitch that suddenly came upon my laptop.  Any external device I plugged into it (USB flash disk or SD card) would mysteriously become write-protected [however, the same devices would work in other laptops or computers].  I spent many long nights searching for a solution to this problem -- I checked out various forums and tried out things other people did when they too, encountered this glitch.  But I kept hitting dead ends.  They remained "write-protected." (note: my devices don't have write-protect switches on them that you could just slide back and forth, in case you're wondering).

This morning, I gave it another go; but after spending more precious minutes surfing, poking around, and ending up with the same results, I decided to finally forget it.  I was wasting too much time trying to find a solution to this problem -- I was fast approaching the fine, fine line between persistence and obsession!  And so I LET GO.  I told myself that if I can never again copy files off my laptop into an external hard drive, so be it!  I'd just have to burn everything onto DVDs! (but oh my, just the thought of this was already too taxing!)

So I proceeded to do something more productive with my time -- I began to put together a Powerpoint presentation for a group report in a Bible Study class that I attend.  I spent the next few hours looking for pictures, selecting verses, and carefully creating the presentation to the best of my abilities.  I managed to get most of it done before it was time for me to head to work.  

Before shutting down, I felt a bit of a nudge to go back to Google for the nth time and try ONE LAST TIME to search for a solution to my external device issue.  This time, I tried typing yet another set of words in the search box [I would always use different combinations of words when searching -- "how to remove write-protect," "write-protect on USB device," "how does a USB flash disk become write-protected?" etc].  Scrolling down through one of the forums I hadn't visited yet, I noticed one post that had a step-by-step instruction that looked very similar to the ones I had previously encountered... but it contained an additional step that I never saw before!!!  

With a hopeful prayer in my heart, I went ahead and tried this process -- the last step of which, was of course, to reboot my computer.  I think I literally held my breath as I waited for my computer to restart and come back on... as I plugged my [seemingly write-protected] flash disk into a port... and as I dragged a random file from my desktop to the F: drive.  VOILA!!!  It copied!!! [exhaaaaleeee]  I tried the same with another device and it also worked!

Instinctively, I bowed my head, closed my eyes and whispered, THANK YOU, GOD!  
* * *

Gosh, that sure felt like a prize from God for being diligent in the task that was set before me (the Bible Study group report thing).  For choosing to do that rather than waste time over my 'borderline-obsession.'  

Immediately, the following verse came to mind, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

Hear, hear! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Step at a Time

Sharing another entry from "Good Morning.... GOD" for reflection today.
October 12
"What could be overwhelming this moment?  Are you not overwhelmed when you are looking ahead, counting all the moments together instead of one at a time?  And how must these moments be lived, My child?  All at once of just one at a time?  Again you have fallen into Satan's trap.  He loves for you to see mountains, to think things insurmountable, to view all that you must do as one great unconquerable force.  But that is not the reality in My kingdom.  My reality is one task performed in My power, one moment, one step at a time.  Then on to the next and the next.  Put your priorities in order and go through them with the strength of Christ."

* * * * *

     Another timely message from our Heavenly Father for me!  Yesterday, I just concluded another semester of studies at the Divine Word School of Theology and with the sem-break up ahead, I've put together this rather massive "to do" list which I hope to achieve (or attempt at least) over this break.  Knowing that I now have extra time on my hands without a weekly Greek quiz to study for, or readings from the letters of St. Paul to read, I've naturally shifted my focus onto other things.  The ideas have been flowing and it's true, some of it can be overwhelming!  Especially since I tend to multi-task a lot and want to do everything all at once! This over-eagerness and sometimes "flightiness" usually becomes the very 'mountain' that gets in the way of things.
     So I'm glad to have read today's entry from this devotional!  It reminds me to: 
1) Take it one day / task at a time; 2) Put my priorities in order; and 3) Always make sure to hold on to Jesus' hand every step of the way and rely on HIS strength!


     No, I won't stop dreaming big dreams.
     No, I won't put away that "to-do" list.
     But I've got to make sure I keep myself grounded and do things in an orderly way... one step at a time!


"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." - 1 Corinthians 14:33


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thank God, I Changed My Mind!

Gospel for September 25, 2011 (Sunday)


Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
"What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.'
He said in reply, 'I will not, '
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, 'Yes, sir, 'but did not go.
Which of the two did his father's will?"
They answered, "The first."
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him."


- Matthew 21:28-32


* * * 

The other day (Wednesday, September 21st - UN International Day of Peace), the principal of the school (in Alabang) where I work, and I were supposed to go to Miriam College (in Quezon City), upon the invitation of the Associate Director of their Center for Peace Education, to view a film that they were showing to their students in celebration of the International Day of Peace.  However, the night before, my boss informed me that she had some urgent meetings to attend to and said that it was up to me if I still wanted to proceed to Miriam.


My first instinct was not to go anymore, since it was pretty far away (opposite end of 'my world'!), plus I also still had a lot of work to do at school.  However, I felt a strong prompting to make the effort and go!  So I changed my mind and went. 


Sure enough, the documentary was nothing short of inspiring!  I was soooo glad I decided to go!  It was the much-needed "boost" -- for me to start working on something that has been waiting in the wings for quite sometime now. (You Tube has a 3-minute summary of the 80-or-so-minute film which we viewed.  I invite you to watch it after reading this blog. Just click here.)


Anyway, that same evening, I was invited to a dinner for a priest-friend from Nigeria who was in town for a vacation (he used to be a guest priest in our parish a few years ago).  Since I already hosted a dinner in my home for this same priest about a week prior, I once again, thought of not going.  This time, it was my best friend who encouraged me to come along.  So for the second time that day, I changed my mind and went.


And for the second time, I was really "blessed because I came" (some of you would know that this is a borrowed line from a song!).  It turned out that it wasn't just any regular fellowship-type of dinner, but we also had a "caring circle" afterward. [A caring circle or CC is an activity where we read a Bible passage -- usually the coming Sunday's mass readings -- and then share with one another a line, phrase or sentence that "strikes" us the most and why.  Usually we relate it to personal experiences or what it means to us].  It had been sometime since I last attended one and it felt really good being able to share His Word with the people who were there that night.


In fact, this blog post is exactly what I shared with my friends in the CC that night.  I shared with them the two "changing of minds" I made that day -- and I further reflected on why I almost didn't go to both.  I realized it was mostly because of convenience and plain laziness. And this made me remember what I wrote in my previous entry about the Comfort Zone vs. the Courage Zone.  


Staying put in Alabang was the Comfort Zone choice while going to Miriam was the Courage Zone choice.  Staying home and doing other things would have been sticking to my Comfort Zone, but choosing to spend that evening with our priest-friend was stepping out into my Courage Zone.  But like I mentioned in that last post, great things do happen every time you decide to go into your Courage Zone... and this experience certainly proved it!  


May you too, be blessed as you continue to "change your mind" everyday and endeavor to seek His Will in everything that you do!

Monday, September 12, 2011

We Don't Have To Go Very Far


[Oh goodness, I'm averaging one post a month now... yikes! Must blog on!]


A few Sundays ago, I caught Bo Sanchez in a telecast of the Kerygma Feast (see www.kerygmafamily.com for more details on the Feast) in which he was preaching about how we all live in either of two "zones" -- the Comfort Zone or the Courage Zone. He explained that it is only in the Courage Zone that we can achieve all our successes in life... that in order to reach our dreams and goals, we need to take a step outside our Comfort Zone (i.e. take some risks!) and move into our Courage Zone.  However, he warned that we should also never step too far out, thereby leaving our Core Zone -- which is defined by our core gifts, talents, skills, knowledge and inherent characteristics.  


Here is the full article which he wrote (and based his preaching on): "Everything You Want Is Found In Your Courage Zone" (I recommend you take the time to read this later -- it's quite lengthy, but it's really inspiring and makes a whole loooot of sense!).


* * * * *


Hearing Bo's talk got me thinking and reflecting on which zone I am currently in, specifically with regard to my ministry life.  


In light of mission or ministry work, one's first instinct is to think that "stepping out into your Courage Zone" necessarily entails going off to a far away, distant (or even dangerous) place -- such as a very poor area of some remote province; or to the mountains (where the indigenous tribes live); or even to other countries experiencing extreme poverty or war.  Or it means leaving all your material comforts to go live with the poorest of the poor. 


Of course, there are some people who are called to actually do this kind of missionary work.  And I will always admire those who take on this challenge and persevere in their missions.  However, we are all called in different ways -- and geography or distance should never be a measure by which to judge anyone's (especially your own) "Courage Zone."    


* * * * *


At first glance, one might say that I've somewhat settled into a Comfort Zone -- considering that I live, work, and serve (in ministry) all within twenty minutes of each other!  The furthest I regularly travel to once or twice a week is to Tagaytay, where I study and also do a bit of volunteer work.  Admittedly, it's all very convenient, logistically.  There are days when I do ask myself if I've indeed stopped "pushing" myself to get out into this so-called Courage Zone, which I know God constantly calls all of us to do.  However, as I reflect on where God has led me over the past two years and a half, I can definitely say that He has pulled me quite far out of my Comfort Zone!  


It was certainly never in my life plan to work at a school or for that matter, go back to school myself (to study)... but this is where I found myself after deciding to leave my job at the top of 2009.


And after two academic schoolyears, I am still struggling to get a good "foot hold" at my school job (five-minute walk away from home!) -- trying to figure out how to do my work best, how to reach out to the kids in the flock that God has put under my care.  Everyday is a day in the Courage Zone -- a challenge to be more creative, more engaged, more attuned, more involved with these children.


Likewise, in my ministry work with the hearing-impaired (this is the one that's twenty minutes away!), God continuously calls me to new things, to come up with fresh, exciting activities for the kids.  
  
with the students of the Joseph Gualandi School for Hearing-Impaired


As for studying again -- while it has been quite a challenge (you know, having to use my brain like this once more, haha!) -- my once a week classes have definitely been a great source of energy and joy (aside from knowledge and hopefully, wisdom!).  Studying God's Word equips me in more ways than one, to face the challenges that the Courage Zone brings day after day.


* * * * *


Anyway, the point of this post is really just this -- we don't need to go very far to discover or explore our Courage Zones.  We don't need to make drastic moves or go far away to say that we have "stepped out of our Comfort Zones."  


Sometimes, it is literally just around the corner.  Going out of your way to help a neighbor in need is already "stepping out."  Giving up your precious time to serve in your parish is already "stepping out."  Spending your weekends in outreach activities is already "stepping out."  In fact, serving your own family in the very confines of your home is already "stepping out."


There are countless of ways of stepping out --- and they will differ for each one of us. Some will be called to do more, others less.  


"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required;
and from the one to whom much has been entrusted,
even more will be demanded." 
- Luke 12:48 (NRSV) 


The important thing is, that we do TAKE A STEP -- big or small, it doesn't matter!
The important thing is, that we GIVE BACK -- because we all have been BLESSED, one way or another.  
The important thing is, that we don't let our lives go by WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING -- that is, in service of Him and of others. 


So, whatever your Comfort Zone is, get out of it!  
And wherever your Courage Zone is, get to it!  
Remember -- "STEPPING OUT" also means "STEPPING UP"!


p.s. - don't forget to read Bo's article, if you haven't yet!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

God Plans the Most Perfect "Reboots"!

In my post last June 29 -- Learning Some Life Lessons...From My Laptop! (LESSON # 1) -- I wrote about the need to "reboot" every now and then, especially when you're starting to feel tired or drained from the busyness of your day to day life.


Well, over the past two weeks, what with the simultaneous activities in the school where I work and midterm exams in the school where I study -- I'd been feeling kinda "low batt" and quite uninspired! (thus, I haven't posted anything here since July 29).


So when I got news from my Bestie last Saturday afternoon, that there was going to be free ballroom dancing at the Club here in Alabang later that evening -- I instantly knew, this was God's answer to my silent prayer!  I'd been quietly asking Him for "something" to help me recharge and this was obviously it! :-)


Ballroom dancing has always been and [as long as my knees & legs will allow] will probably always be one sure-fire way of "rebooting" my system!  The ballroom dance-floor is my "happy place."  


Sure enough, I enjoyed the night TREMENDOUSLY!  From swing, to boogie, to reggae -- once I got started, I couldn't really stop!  In fact, even if I didn't have a partner to dance with, I just kept going and going and going... (yes, like an Energizer Bunny -- see previous post for reference to this).  It was definitely a recharging night and I was really in awe and grateful about the timing of it all. 


But wait, the story doesn't end here!  God had something else up his sleeve! Though I was already "full" from all that dancing, God decided to give me a little piece of "dessert" (yep, He's a really sweet God!).  


You see, throughout the night, not once did they play tango music -- which happens to be my all-time favorite dance.  And so I was quite resigned that I wouldn't get to dance it that evening (and I would have still been happy anyhow).  But, at the very end, just before we all called it a night, I heard the first few notes of an unmistakably tango musical piece fill the air...I literally jumped in delight!  Of course, as I 'took the floor,' I savored every moment of the dance -- every step, dip and turn. :-)


It was truly a perfect way to reboot (and you can expect no less if it was planned by God!).


* * * * *

Speaking of the tango, I just had a thought while writing this post.  The cliche goes: "It takes two to tango" -- in every relationship, both parties need to put in the effort to make it work.  Both have to give, and both have to take.  

I just realized this evening that this applies too, with God.  Sometimes, we think that it is only us who should be doing the 'serving' -- that the effort should only come from our end... because well, He is GOD.  Because of this mindset however, we sometimes don't realize the many things He actually does to serve US!  We miss out on both the big and little things our God so lovingly and meticulously orchestrates -- just to make us happy.  Just like my little night of dance. 

We shouldn't forget that "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." (Mark 10:45)

May you always experience dancing the tango with God and savor every moment... every step, dip and turn. :-)


Friday, July 29, 2011

P.S. - Feast of St. Martha

I just discovered (while praying in my "purple prayer corner" this morning!) that today, July 29, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Martha.  It turns out that the post I wrote yesterday was very timely!


Luke 10:39-42
"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


This Gospel passage really reminds us how we always need to strike a balance between our work/ministry/mission lives and our prayer lives!  Ora et Labora.*

* (Latin) - refers to the monastic practice of working and praying, generally associated with its use in the Rule of St. Benedict.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Out-of-Focus!


Focus.
Focus.
Focus.

This has become a mantra of sorts for me over the last several weeks, as tasks and activities started coming in all at once, from all sides. Years of experience in "juggling" various roles and responsibilities taught me that there was only one thing to do: "focused multi-tasking." I know that sounds like an oxymoron – but it basically means that given the multiple tasks that need to be done, one has to prioritize and then focus on doing things one at a time.

So that’s how it’s been these past weeks – focus, focus, focus.  Do this, then check off the list.  Do that, then check off the list.  And so on and so forth.  Systematic and productive! 

But at morning mass today, as I was praying after communion, Jesus reminded me ever-so-gently  Shouldn’t I be your ONLY focus?

Bam!  That sure hit home!  

I realized as soon as I 'heard' Him whisper that line to me  that in the whirlwind of activity day in and day out (and in my eagerness to 'get it all done'), I actually began going out-of-focusI’d stopped beginning my day in prayer the way I did just a few months ago.  Back then, I’d even make it a point to get up extra early so that I would have longer prayer time.  As soon as I got up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning and make my bed, I would immediately sit in my little prayer corner and have my morning chat with God. [see photo on left: my "purple prayer corner"; my regular prayer books -- the SVD Vademecum (Latin for "walk with me"), where I get my morning prayers; God's Word Among Us Prayer Journal & The Word in Other Words, where I read the daily readings & some reflections; and "Good Morning...GOD", which is my favorite devotional]

Lately though, even if I managed to wake up at an early hour, I would go straight to my laptop...right out of bed!  Tsk, tsk!  No wonder I haven’t been quite "in sync" with the flow of the Spirit these days.  No wonder I haven’t been feeling that kind of energy I used to experience, which I know only comes from Above.  It's because I haven't been focusing on the right thing! (or more precisely, on the Right One!)

Thank you, Lord for reminding me to "focus, focus, focus"...only on YOU! 

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matt 6:33 (NIV)

"I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." – John 15:5 (NRSV) 

* * *

As I was composing this blog post, one of my favorite worship songs came to mind, which perfectly fits the realization I had this morning at mass:


the heart of worship

when the music fades
all is stripped away
and i simply come
longing just to bring
something that's of worth
that will bless your heart

i'll bring you more than a song
for a song in itself
is not what you have required
you search much deeper within
through the way things appear
you're looking into my heart

chorus:
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
and it's all about you
It's all about you, Jesus
I'm sorry Lord for the things i've made it
when it's all about you
it's all about you, Jesus

King of endless worth
no one could express
how much you deserve
though i'm weak and poor
all i have is yours
every single breath

(chorus)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

God, the Master Weaver : Part 2

Our lives are truly like a piece of fabric woven carefully and beautifully by God, our Master Weaver... if we let Him.  

In one of my previous posts (God, the Master Weaver), I shared how my "training" from being involved in countless extra-curricular activities throughout my high school and college years really helps me in the various ministries I am involved with today. Now I realize yet another way that He has woven together my past [experiences] into my present.  


From about 2002-2007, my friends and I ran a small graphic design business.  We designed all sorts of print materials from posters, to flyers, to banners, to business cards, etc.  I was one of the Account Executives in our team -- the person who had to shuffle between the clients to our artists and back (and forth).  Throughout several years of doing this day in and day out, I eventually learned to use the software for layouting (Adobe Illustrator).  I also picked up a few design techniques from our artists (including keyboard shortcuts -- thank you, James Lo!).  In fact, when our team was swamped with work, I would end up doing some of the layout work myself.  Also, I learned how to work with printing presses and learned their 'language' (Final Art, Proofing, Pantone Colors, etc!). 


Fast Forward to the Present.


I am sooooo thankful to have had those 5 years of experience in the graphic design industry.  While I will never reach the level of skill our team of designers possessed (James, Nenkers and Mic -- I'm not worthy!), I find myself constantly able to use this skill in my various ministries today.  


Just this weekend, I was part of the OrgCom of the 12th Annual CBAP (Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines) Convention and one of my tasks was to produce some streamers for the event.        



I'm also regularly coming up with designs/layouts in the school where I work part time (The Learning Child School), or in the school for the deaf where I volunteer in (Joseph Gualandi School for Hearing Impaired) or in the school where I study (Divine Word Seminary).  I even get to help my best friend's catering business (Your Moveable Feast) with this skill!  

Thanks for being an awesome Master Weaver, God!!! :-)


"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (Prov 16:9 NIV)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Learning Some Life Lessons... From My Laptop! (LESSON # 2)

In one of my previous posts, I shared about the need to "REBOOT" ourselves every now and then.  Here’s another life lesson my laptop taught me that day…

DON’T MULTI-TASK (if you can help it).


There are times when I find myself running one too many programs at once on my laptop – I’m designing something on Adobe Illustrator, editing a picture on Photoshop, typing an article on Word, checking out Facebook on Chrome, playing music on Windows Media Player, etc etc etc.  Naturally, when I do this, everything just slows down…big time!  (especially since my laptop is quite old already). 

That same day when I was reminded about the “secret of rebooting,” I was also reminded how much more efficiently my computer could work with less programs running.  After rebooting my laptop, I decided to open only one program at a time.  Sure enough, it ran much faster than it did previously!

Once again, this taught me another valuable life lesson.  As mentioned in my “God, the Master Weaver” post, I am currently involved in multiple organizations which require me to juggle my time and energy between them.  Sometimes, I try to do several tasks at the same time – almost like how Windows operates on our computers.  When my mind races, I get an idea for one thing and start on that, but in the next minute, I get an idea for another thing, so I start on that one too. Later, I realize that I’m either not getting anything done, or that everything is taking too long to accomplish, simply because I’m shifting back and forth between tasks too much!

Sure, there will be times when multi-tasking is necessary.  But there are really many other times when it can be avoided.  So when possible, just do one thing at a time.  Focused work is definitely the more efficient way to go!

* * *

I can imagine this is how Jesus went about His ministry as well.  He focused on one thing at a time… He cleansed a leper… He healed a centurion's servant… He healed Peter’s mother-in-law… He stilled the storm… He healed a paralytic, then two blind men, then one who was mute.  We don’t read any account in the Gospels of Jesus multi-tasking, like feeding the five thousand while healing all of them at once! (although He could have!)

One of the reasons why I believe Jesus went about things that way, was because He was a very personal Messiah.  He wanted to give each and every person (especially the least, the last and the lost) His full focus and attention. 

For me, one of the most striking accounts in the Gospels that shows this trait of Jesus, was the story of the woman with hemorrhage who touched His cloak along the road.  Jesus actually took the time to stop, find out who it was, and even talk to the woman. (Mark 5:24-34)

Jesus was and continues to be our Good Shepherd who would go out of His way to find the one lost sheep that goes astray (Luke 15:3-7). How blessed we are to have such a God, who can focus His mighty love to touch each and everyone of us!

P.S. – Here’s a beautiful reflection about the Personal Heart of Jesus.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prayer Post # 3: Faith That Rocks Your World! (Literally)

Once again, from the book "Good Morning...God" by Pamela Steinke. :-)


"LIFE CHANGING FAITH"
July 6


"The faith you seek is the faith that changes lives -- the faith that turns your world upside-down and brings it back upright, the way it was meant to be.  This faith can only be received through the conscientious search of Me.  This is a part of the hidden treasure of wisdom and knowledge."


* PERSONAL REFLECTION: 


Don't you just love that line? -- "faith that turns your world upside-down and brings it back upright... the way it was meant to be."  


Deciding to follow in Jesus' footsteps can really shake up our world!   When we first take that 'leap of faith,' nothing seems to make sense: "love your enemies"... "turn the other cheek"... "enter through the narrow gate."  Errrrr. The temptation to say, "thanks, but no thanks" comes up at every twist and turn, every time we are faced with a challenge along this path.  


However, if we persevere to grow in our faith, we will begin to see the big picture.  We will begin to figure it out.  And when this faith has brought our world back "upright, the way it was meant to be" -- we can be confident in the face of any trial; because then, we are certain that we have an awesome God who loves us and watches over us.



Sunday, July 3, 2011

God, the Master Weaver

Back in college, my friends and I had a joke among ourselves that when we are asked what we were majoring in (what course we were taking), instead of our real course codes, like AB-OCM (Major in Organizational Communication) or BS-ECO (Major in Economics), our answer should be, “AB or BS - EXC” – that is, Major in Extra-Curricular Activities.  You see, we spent far more time in meetings, planning projects and executing them, than in our classrooms or in the library studying.  (But apart from Accounting and Calculus, I got pretty good grades in all my subjects and even made the Dean’s List one time!). 

My involvement in (and love for) extra-curricular activities began even in high school.  Through both stages of my school life, I was a member of multiple organizations and held multiple officer positions, simultaneously.  In short, I was well-trained in organizing activities and in juggling my time and responsibilities, doing everything as efficiently as possible.

Fast Forward to the Present.

Being very active in extra-curricular activities throughout my school life was no doubt part of God’s plan for me.  It was my “training” – to prepare me for the kind of ministry work that He had in store for me. 

Today, I find myself simultaneously involved in multiple ministries.  I’m always in meetings, planning projects/activities and executing them (sounds familiar?).  And since I’m studying again, it pretty much feels like being back in those days, balancing my study time, my extra-curricular activities and of course, my personal time. 

But more than being able to apply the time management training from all those years of extra-curricular activities in school, to all my involvements these days… what amazes me is, that my actual work in the school where I am employed at (my “paid” ministry) and the school where I volunteer in, specifically requires me to organize some extra-curricular activities for their students!  

How perfect is that!!! :-) :-) :-)

I am once again, in awe at having realized this recently.  It is really such a blessing to discover and witness God’s plan unfolding in your own life!

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.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

* * *



Sharing this poem I found online by an unknown author, which is perfect for this entry:

"The Plan of the Master Weaver"

Our lives are but fine weavings,
That God and we prepare,
Each life becomes a fabric planned
And fashioned in His care.
We may not always see just how
The weavings intertwine,
But we must trust the Master’s hand
And follow His design,
For He can view the pattern
From the upper side,
While we must look from underneath 
And trust in Him to guide.

Sometimes a strand of sorrow
Is added to His plan,
And though it’s difficult for us,
We still must understand
That it’s He who fills the shuttle,
It’s He who knows what’s best, 
So we must weave in patience
And leave to Him the rest…

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why—
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
And the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

- Anonymous




Saturday, July 2, 2011

Prayer Post # 2: Be Overwhelmed By Him!

From the book, "Good Morning...God" by Pamela Steinke. 
This has been my favorite devotional over the last 5 years or maybe even more!


"OPEN YOURSELF UP"
July 2 


"Open yourself up totally to Me; give yourself totally to Me; let yourself be overwhelmed by Me, by My spirit within you.  Do not back away as you always do when you reach that point of immersion in Me!  That is the place where I want you to live all the days of your life.  Not on the edge, but in the very center of My being -- in the midst of My flood of Living Water.  No sideline seat is good enough.  You don't want to touch faith, you want to be engulfed by it totally.  Then jump into the river!  Be one with Me.  Then there will be no forlorn search for faith, for all that is necessary is already in Me.  Open yourself up to more of Me and you will have that which you so earnestly desire."



Friday, July 1, 2011

P.S. - Reboot Technique # 11

I just realized!!!  
I forgot to include a VERY important and VERY effective "rebooting technique" 
in the list of "my favorite ways to reboot" (see previous post)...


11. Getting a massage! :-)


* * *


I remembered this, coz I just got one last night.
See, I think I went on overdrive again the other day,
so I was kinda running on "slow-mo" toward the afternoon of yesterday.
That massage definitely did me well. 
So now the Energizer Bunny can once again keep going... and going... and going... :-)



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learning Some Life Lessons...From My Laptop! (LESSON # 1)


A few days ago, I ran my laptop non-stop for about 3 days without shutting down, putting on sleep or hibernating.  Even when I wasn't actually in front of it, I left it on because I was downloading something (I know, I know, my carbon footprint is awful -- to my environmentalist friends, I promise to be more cautious of this!).  When I went back to work on it on the 4th morning, I could really feel how "tired" it was... it was starting to run in 'slow mo'!  Hmmm. Actually, it wasn't exactly "running", it was only jogging or maybe even just brisk walking!

For most gadgets, the quick solution for behavior like this (or other similar problems) is simply to reboot.  And so that's exactly what I did -- close all the active windows and click "RESTART."  Sure enough, when I used it again, it was running probably more than twice the speed it was before rebooting!  Hallelujiah!

This got me thinking... what a precious life lesson this actually is!

REBOOT.

There are times when I find myself "running" non-stop for a couple of days -- working on multiple things, rushing to this place and that, holding meetings right and left.  I'm so focused on the never-ending "to-do list", that I sometimes forget to breathe, to stop, to rest! (though I rarely forget to eat, haha! When the tummy calls, I usually answer…at worst, I end up taking very late lunches or dinners if I have deadlines to meet).  

I've been like this pretty much since way back in high school.  But don't get me wrong.  I don't consider myself a "workaholic"; and I am rarely "stressed out" even if I have many, many, MANY things to do (pressure, sometimes... but stress, hardly -- I'll share my thoughts on the difference of "pressure vs. stress" in another post).  

Rather, I liken myself more to that Energizer Battery mascot, the "Energizer Bunny" -- for those who aren't familiar with this, watch this original Energizer TV commercial  and a few other succeeding commercials, to get the point more - 1989 Commercial  and 2000  Commercial.

But naturally, after some time, even an Energizer Bunny runs out of well...energy! The usual case of "the mind is willing but the flesh is weak" kicks in and I find that I'm no longer as productive or efficient as I was a few days before.  The solution? -- REBOOT!  

There are tons of ways to reboot, its really just up to you to get creative and find out what works best for you.  Here's a shortlist of "my favorite ways to reboot" -- some being quick fixes, while others require a little more planning (and expense):

(in no particular order)

1) having a simple dinner or movie night out with friends
2) if the opportunity is there, ballroom dancing  
3) going to daily mass or dropping by the adoration chapel
4) a long night's sleep!!! --> often the best way to reboot
5) going to my school in Tagaytay
6) watching "downloads"
7) looking through photo albums / archives
8) reviewing Hebrew vocabulary words (yes, geek!)
9) recently, writing this blog ;-)
10) and if i need a major reboot, going out of town for a few days 

Like I said, the list can go on and on.  The point is, we all need to reboot, re-charge, re-energize ourselves every now and then, in the midst of our busy, busy lives.  Not only does this give us renewed inspiration, zeal and clarity of mind to do the things we have to do... these activities also inject the much needed "happy hormones" into our system which ultimately make us more creative...and less insane! :-)

So go ahead, if you're starting to run in slow-mo, reboot today.


* * * 

Jesus Himself "rebooted" a lot during His years of ministry...

"After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone." (NASB) - Matthew 14:23

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (NIV) - Mark 1:35

"It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." (NASB) - Luke 6:12

"Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples." (NIV) - John 6:3



It All Sounds Greek To Me... NOT ANYMORE! :-)

Now Greek doesn't "sound too Greek" to me anymore (haha!). It's beginning to make sense.  
* * *
Studying the Biblical Languages (Hebrew in 2009 and currently, Greek) is one of the most unexpected, yet one of the most awesome blessings that God has given me! :-)

I just finished another afternoon of Greek class earlier today... and while my brain is super mushy, I find that my heart is super happy! :-)  

(oh and my tummy gets super hungry after 2 1/2 hours of lessons & exercises!) :-)

It's not just the challenge of learning a new language that gets my adrenalin going... but the prospect of someday being able to read and understand all the original Biblical texts... gosh, this just fires me up! :-)

Buuut... I have quite a ways to go in this journey (for both languages, which I am striving to learn simultaneously -- one inside and the other outside the classroom!).  I have tons of vocabulary words to commit to memory... tons of conjugations, declensions, subject-verb / noun-adjective agreements, parsing and ultimately, translating to do :-)

However, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow (for lack of a more creative line -- like I said, my brain is mush right now)... I am certain that it will all be worth it. 

Baruch Hashem! ( "Blessed be the Name" or "Blessed be God") :-)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Who Says Disneyland Is The Happiest Place On Earth?...

...not in my book! :-)  


Welcome to MY happiest place!



This is my school -- the Divine Word Seminary (SVD) in Tagaytay City.
Every time I'm here, I feel God's awesomeness...
and learn about it too :-)


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Prayer Post # 1

I'm currently reading a book on prayer (The Only Necessary Thing, Henri Nouwen) and I can't help but share some of its entries!  Here's one that really "struck" me:

Reaching Out to God

Don't we use the word "prayer" mostly when we feel that our human limits are reached?  Isn't the word "prayer" more a word to indicate powerlessness rather than a creative contact with the source of all life?...

Prayer is often considered a weakness, a support system, which is used when we can no longer help ourselves.  But this is only true when the God of our prayers is created in our own image and adapted to our own needs and concerns.  When, however, prayer makes us reach out to God, not on our own but on God's terms, then prayer pulls us away from self-preoccupations, encourages us to leave familiar ground, and challenges us to enter into a new world which cannot be contained within the narrow boundaries of our mind or heart.  Prayer, therefore, is a great adventure because the God with whom we enter into a new relationship is greater than we and defies all our calculations and predictions.  The movement from illusion to prayer is hard to make since it leads us from false certainties to true uncertainties, from an easy support system to a risky surrender, and from the many "safe" gods to the God whose love has no limits.