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



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

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


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. :-)

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."


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!

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... :-)