The Lesson from the Socks and the Shoes

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I remember fifteen years ago. My youngest who was a cutie, little boy then, could barely open his eyes much less put on his uniform to go to school.

Every morning, from the bathroom, he sat down on a chair with his curly hair still dripping. His eyes drooped as I helped him get into his uniform.

I remember how I would kneel before him when I put his socks, and then his shoes onto his tiny feet. His helpless baby face tried hard to stay awake.

Now he has grown. He can do pretty much all things by himself. As I grew older, my power over him diminished by the day.


There will be challenging situations in our lives, when our human battery will be depleted, and only a higher power can recharge us.

It is our God Almighty. Not Bruce Almighty. Definitely not the Marvel Super Heroes, nor the Fantastic Beasts. 

God is the power bank to which we should be connected at all times.

Notice when, at our weakest, we instinctively call upon Him. Because deep in our hearts, we know God is ever present and powerful. That the mere mention of the name of Jesus, all the heavens hear.

He won’t hesitate to put our “socks and shoes” on for us when we need to, but can’t. So we can go forward.

For as much as we love our children, God loves us even more. 

Advertisements

Sink or Swim?

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

I have never learned how to swim. I have tried, many times. I usually end up being rescued. It’s embarrassing how my kids learned how to swim and I cannot. But it really doesn’t matter now. I’m already old. And we don’t have a swimming pool to begin with. So I never have to worry about drowning.

Then I discovered there’s such a thing as dry-drowning. It is when the lungs are unable to extract oxygen for a variety of reasons. Meaning even if you’re out of the water, there are instances when you may drown.

So I found out there are many causes of drowning. As many as there are people who are drowning and don’t even realize they are. Like when one drowns in debt or happiness or responsibilities of ecstasy.

There is another kind which we all suffer from at some point in our lives-the spiritual drowning. It’s when sin takes the better of us, it pulls us down to our own self-destruction. We feel the world spinning around us like we were sucked in by a devastating twister. We feel like sinking to an abyss of certain doom.

Through all these, we have a life-saver in Jesus. All we have to do is call out His Holy Name. Jesus is our lifeline. Only He can save us.

But we sometimes fail to call on Him. Instead, we rely on ourselves so that our pride just pulls us deeper. Sometimes we call on Him to save us. But we don’t hear his voice because we choose to listen to the sounds of the world. And we fail to acknowledge the lifeline in Him that He constantly pitches our way. And sometimes, Jesus already had us in His arms but we are too drained and weak to see.

I have been drowning for a while now that I became the pathetic and frail victim of my own folly. Only Jesus can save me now from myself, my lack of faith and my sins. He is my Savior. He is my life-guard. He hears my cry for help and will rescue me.

Never Empty

Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Acts 3:6

It was a great disappointment  that i gave in to my weakness on Good Friday.  Fasting was totally deleted as i hesitantly (with guilt that almost choked me), downloaded that salmon carpaccio and tonno. thanks to vapiano.  being in an Islamic country is not an excuse.  In fact, there are no excuses at all. The Muslims fast for forty days during Ramadan and I cannot, even for just one day.  Shame  on me!  God forgive me.

Yes I know if I prayed  hard enough, He will.  And maybe i can forgive myself too.  But not before I could sincerely ask for His forgiveness, do penance and make up for the grave sin that I committed.

So how do i do that?  I need the Helper, the Holy Spirit to get me through this.  Grace to sincerely ask for forgiveness.  Humility to do penance.  And charity to make up.  All these three, I need. Big time.

The first two is between my God and me. The third, I had to reach out to my brothers and sisters.  Be generous and kind.

There is a grave misconception about the word charity for me, that charity is an exclusive exercise for the rich.  So that it becomes synonymous with letting go of material  wealth or possessions.  Until I took into heart what Peter said.

I was waiting to get rich to be charitable and generous.  But i realized that even if I am not, I will never ran out of opportunities to be kind and giving.

My cup of blessings are full and overflowing.  And so does yours.  It  may not be quantified with monetary value.  But our cups are never empty.

IMG_2240

In the same way, that the recipients of charity should be restricted only to those who need money or things.  There is another class of poor in our midst.  There are those who may have all the riches in the world, but think they have no more reason to live for.

Even those who  are in dire need of someone who will listen in times of distress. Who will lend a hand in moments of weakness. Who will offer a smile when the whole world frowns upon him.  Rich or not, we need others to fill in a void in our lives.

God sends us to fill in that void.  Let us be that angel.  Let us be that someone.  Let us be that friend.  Because if there is anything that we will not be short of, it is ourselves.  we will always have something  to give.  Because the Lord fills up our cup.  And refills it each time we pour ourselves to others.

All The Sweet Moves

“For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 1 Peter 2:15

Holy Monday, and here in Bahrain it’s business as usual.  I’m unable to go to Sacred Heart church all by myself,  yet thanks to technology, there is no lack of literature and videos that could somehow remind us of the importance of this week.  Not to mention the Holy Bible.

I’ve been distracted the past weeks.  Had recurring respiratory ailments, was busy with the tender , still concerned with Miguel’s pending leap from a career in films to a life in the kitchen, excited about Megan’s graduation, and worried about the hot weather when we come home for vacation in Pinas.

In similar situations prior, I vent all my perceived helplessness by binging on food.  They say sweets are great stress busters.  Especially chocolates.  But somehow added stress goes with the end result of having to lose the extra pounds later.  So eating just for the heck of it, is just a temporary relief.

8479_4589536180653_1048133137_n

Now I found another sweet way to battle my way out of  the “insanity” of  it all.  Who says only the young can play candy crush?  It’s calorie free, but it’s bad for my eyes.  And it makes my back ache.  Yet for some precious MY moments when I reach home, I transform from a middle-aged, tired, sickly, corporate lady to a fresh and vibrant girl again.  All because of candy.

As I play it over and over, I learned that no matter how I try, if I am meant to stay on one level for a period of time, my jellies won’t get crushed, even if only one has to remain.

It’s not about the candies. It’s how they fall on my favor.   Because even with candy crush, someone wiser designed them so.  I just have to persevere. But not lose the enthusiasm  to play the game.

IMG_2187[1]

Do you feel stuck where you are now? That you are heading nowhere despite the effort?  Do you instead get negative results after all the hard work and late hours? Do some obstacles block the plans that you so long prepared for?

We don’t have five lives.  But we have infinite chances to learn. We just have to try and try.  Even if all options seem exhausted.  We just need to wait. Try once more.  Until we got all the right moves. And everything falls into place.

Azkalius Patronum!

“For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways.  With their hands they shall support you, lest  you strike your foot against a stone.  You shall tread upon the asp and the viper, trample the lion and the dragon. 

Whoever clings to me I will deliver, whoever knows my name I will set on high.  All who call on me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor.

With length of days I will satisfy them and show them my saving power.”  Psalm 91:11-16

The Harry Potter fever and Azkal frenzy still linger in the air.  Though Harry had already found his patronus which is a stag, the Azkals are still in search of theirs, a dog from which they got their name.  I hope they find it just in time to ensure that 4 goals they so badly need tonight in their match against Al-Azraq.

A patronus is an animal protector created by a spell to defend against dark creatures or dementors.  we often forget that we too have our own “patronus“.  These are spiritual beings depicted as messengers of God called angels.  a guardian angel is assigned to protect and guide a specific group or person. But do we really need angels when God is always here and now? Of course, we could talk to God directly about our concerns. But do you hear Him answer back?

If we just look deeper with our hearts, instead of our eyes, we can feel our angels at work. At times of triumph, when we are too high with our self-indulgence and pride, it would never cross our mind that somehow, we made it because our guardian angels lent their wings in order for us to soar up high.  And when we fall from grace, who would have thought the angels were ready to catch us and break the fall.
Were your appointments cancelled because something suddenly came up? I bet they often do.  Not part of the plan. So you opt for plan B or C, if you have.  Happened to me, not once, not twice but zillions of times.  When I was younger, I do get furious.  And instantly.  But not anymore.
Those glitches in my planner made me realize that God is trying to reach me, but couldn’t.  Because I’m either out of the coverage area or I’m not yet in service.  So He sends his angels to get His message across.  Even if it means messing up with my time.  And my self-centered plans.  Now I no longer get frustrated.
Because delays, postponements and cancellations now have a different meaning.  It spells the difference between a better option and complete disaster; between a brighter idea and a so-so presentation;  between winning and losing.
football.philippinenewsdaily.com
Azkalius Patronum! I hope the Azkals win against Kuwait.  But if they don’t, listen.  God sends His message.
As for me, God pm’s me through St. Uriel – the guardian angel assigned to me because I was born on a Wednesday.

Harry Potter is my son!

“The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.”  Exodus 34:20

SPECIALIS REVELIO! This is a spell which causes an object to show its hidden secrets or magical properties. One of many in the Harry Potter series. Maybe, the very spell which causes HP followers to yearn for more.

When the first film was shown in movie theaters years ago, my children were then 9 and 6 – old enough to understand the story despite the accent, but young enough to be bedazzled with its awesome special effects.  From then on, our household increased by three – Megan, Miguel plus Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.  My kids loved their new-found siblings, and in Hogwarts, they would meet new friends with whom they would grow up with in time.

My kids indeed have grown now.  So did Harry, Hermione and Ron.  It is amazing to note the physical transformation.  But it is more noteworthy how their bond grew stronger through the years.

10 years, 7 books and 8 movies after, JK Rowling did a great job to steer our kids’ imagination towards a love affair with books.  Such that national bookstore was like a candy store to them.  The significant influence is written all over our children’s chosen career path.  Megan is a prolific writer with a passion for creative production layouts.  Miguel, on the other hand, dreams of becoming a filmmaker.  Thus, Harry Potter casts his spell .

We knew someday our kids would go and follow their own calling.  But Harry Potter had to go too, and we are sad that it all ends now.

On the contrary we are blessed, that in our time, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, their masters, friends and villains, came to life. Our household had been stupefied by their presence, and like a son, Harry Potter would live on in our hearts.

Thanks to GOD who is ever greater than magic and the creator of JK Rowling, Harry Potter would triumph over all evils for ages to come.  EXPECTO PATRONUM!

how to turn nightmares to sweet dreams

“Be brave and steadfast, have no fear or dread of them; for it is the Lord your God, who marches with you;  He will never fail you, or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

i just love suspense and horror films.  especially the part when the lead actor runs for his life, stumbles and looks back to find the serial killer in whatever form (human or otherwise) within arm’s reach.  he then struggles to get back to his feet, runs again for dear life, until another obstacle gets in his way. then again, he overcomes, when i guess it is already his end.

through these series of what seems like a roller coaster ride, my heart beats as if i’m on a treadmill.  only, running is good for my health; and the “surprise!!!” scenes on the contrary, almost always give me a heart attack.

don’t get me wrong.  in life, i hate violence and gore.  the sight of blood even. and i’m afraid of the dark especially during the birthday or death anniversary of loved ones who already passed on.  so what’s with my preference with such film genre?

actually not all suspense and horror films satisfy me.  aside from those that keep me from falling asleep within the first fifteen minutes, which drama usually does to me, those of which good triumphs over evil are what i favor.  even if takes on to succeeding episodes or versions, i knew that in the last one,  only the good will prevail.

i remember the first time i learned that i’d be assigned in our office located abroad.  there were doubts in my mind and  intense fear in my heart.  i was so overwhelmed that one of my colleagues remarked that i asked too many questions which on hindsight, now sounded really silly.  he told me not to worry at all, and that everything would be taken care of.  i realized my doubt and fear caused me undue anxiety that obscured the great prospects that go with my new assignment.

sweet dreams

sometimes we create nightmares in our life that are in fact, unreal.  the only way we can overcome the torture and terror, is to wake up and find there is no need to be afraid.  the Lord is an ever-seeing and all-knowing God.  He sees past the limit of our boundless imagination.  He knows what lies beyond the road we are to take.  and the only way to overcome, is to surrender.  then nightmares would be no more.  only sweet dreams that can actually come true…if we just believe.

spring cleaning for body and soul

“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning;  and rend your hearts, and not your garments.”  Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and repents of evil.  – Joel  2:12-13

spring cleaning is the season of the year when we focus all our energy into cleaning our house, top to bottom, room to room, corner to corner.  the purpose is to put order where there is disorder.  simplify the complicated.  eliminate clutter. give up excesses.

the first step is to stop and take a closer look of what had accumulated over the year.  then plan up a strategy on which stuff stays and which should go.  organize whatever is left.  then it’s time for the main task.  

to execute the strategy, it’s helpful to assemble an army of tools (vacuum, dusters, rags, trash bags…) and products (baking soda, vinegar, polisher, glass cleaners…) to carry out the job easier and faster.  after all is done,  it’s almost like you just moved to a new and better home!  and we all know how that feels like, right?

our body and soul need spring cleaning too.  and today, ASH WEDNESDAY, is the best day to begin.  stop and take a closer look at ourselves.  we would find beneath the surface all the negativity that had accumulated over the year – anger, frustration, despair, jealousy, envy and more.  they are the clutter that need to be eliminated.

deep inside we also find dreams, hopes, drive, anticipation, compassion, inspiration.  these we need to organize and put into their rightful perspective and at healthy doses.  in this process of introspection, we discover what we had become.  and to what extent we need to clean up. 

when the home is clean and clutter-free, it is always fun and refreshing to live  within.  so with the body and soul. 

today is the first day of Lent.  Ash Wednesday reminds us that By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”  Genesis 3:19

and because we are just guests in our earthly guesthouses, might as well make the stay worthwhile and the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross for our salvation worth it. 

Albert Pine once said “what we do for ourselves die with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

life is a sentence

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25

today is supposed to be my dear friend roobee’s 45th birthday.  but we all stopped counting at 43, because she died almost two years ago after a fatal seizure.  last week my nephew Banjo, who is in his early twenties, passed on due to a lingering illness.  and just this week, my son’s former schoolmate and good friend, Kent, suddenly died in iligan because of a car accident.  he was still in his teens. 

in daddy’s case when he battled the big C,  he was given an estimated time when he was expected to die.  but nobody could really tell. he too, could have figured in an accident long before that.  then the doctors’ estimate would have been a gross mistake. and our family, unprepared and devastated. or there could have been a miracle, when the mistake would be most welcomed.

it is unbelievable when death cheats his way and no one else is looking.  it leaves everyone stunned and numb. unable to comprehend what is going on.  long after we moved on, the sadness lingers. 

at school, we were taught that “a sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete idea and includes a subject and a verb“.  in life we learn that it is. 

life is a sentence.

life is sentence whose subject is us.  and the verb, what we do with “us”.

 “a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark.”

our life begins with a loud cry.  and when it ends, only God knows.   but certainly, it will.

life usually ends with a period.  this is when life ends how and when most expects it to end – live a full life, die naturally and happily at old age.

life sometimes end with a question mark.  when someone who is young and full of dreams gets sick and die, we often ask what if and what could have been.

life, on rare occasions, end with a punctuation mark. we all get this shock and disbelief when one dies from an accident, a crime or a suicide.

in between, we may pause with a comma or a semi-colon, to give order to our compound or complex lives.

and when we finally reunite with our Creator, our sentences end with a . . .

for with the Lord is unending joy and love.

but for us who are still under construction, let us always be thankful for all the other sentences that we connect with, whether the past, present or future tense.

together and in harmony, we could create a paragraph or a novel even.  a love story that would highlight God’s glory in all our lives. and punctuate it with  : )

a broken heart

“And He said, ‘What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”  Mark 7:20-23

when we heard about the tragic death of Retired General Angelo Reyes, we were all shocked.  of all people, we never expected him to end his life with a single shot to the chest.

how ironic that  a week before valentine’s day, the officer and the gentleman died with a broken heart.

his achievements were eclipsed by the turn of recent events.  highlighted with scandal, his last episode was only a chapter of his life’s book.  we would never get the chance to read its entirety because it is in God’s hands now.

it is now futile to point out exactly who or what led him to do what he had done.  weeks before he died, he was maligned and verbally attacked in a senate hearing.  he was already judged by publicity in media, in streetcorners, in workplaces, in households.  he was betrayed by colleagues and fellow officers.  the final blow was the implied threat that his family would likewise be subjected to the same.

all these so-called ‘attacks’, he tried hard to battle.  his bravery as a decorated officer made him look like he would get through. 

yet he lost.  for the real war was waging within.  whatever his reasons to commit suicide were, only he and the Lord know now.

the general may have messed up.  but the senators did too.  and so did the officers who accused him.  everyone of us messes up.  who doesn’t?

what’s vital here is not to allow ourselves to be instruments of another’s heartbreak ever again.  let us not cause anyone to stir up any evil within that may yet cause him his life.

the truth is there will always be someone or something that would tempt us to mess up with our lives.  that’s okey.  as long as we DO NOT conform with them. our resolve, rooted in faith, would be our best defense.

but in moments of weakness when we do give in, let us not give up.  there is no power greater than the Lord’s.  let Him be our dependable ally.  our best buddy.  our personal savior.  our BFF.  our true love.  He will never, ever break our hearts.

in the spirit of our unity in Christ our Saviour, let us all pray for the soul of Angelo Reyes.  may he rest in peace, and may we all learn from the tragedy so that his death may not be in vain.