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  : )

UPCAT and other admission tests

“Because He himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”  Hebrews 2:18

as graduating students this school year, Miguel and his batchmates have prepared really hard for college admission tests months ahead.  for UPCAT, he attended Brain Train review classes instead of enjoying his summer vacation.  for the test, together with other families, we travelled four hours to Riyadh and stayed overnight to prep the kids for the early morning schedule the following day at the embassy inside the Diplomatic Quarters.  the same for USTET and Mapua exam, just minus the travel time and overnight stay, but equals the stress, and excitement – or anxiety, depending on the level of preparedness for each student.  and the months of waiting for the results were just as heart-pounding as the exams themselves.

The Oblation

sadly, Miguel did not pass the UPCAT.  it’s human to feel so. but he did Mapua and we’re happy about that.  now we’re still waiting for USTET results.

when Miguel goes back to the Philippines after graduation, i can just guess how many more college admission tests he will take, and which university he will eventually enrol in.  at the end of the day, it’s really up to the Lord. our absolute trust is in Him.  His will be done…

it is understandable for the children, and for us parents, to be excited and hopeful about exam results.  although the outcome will not define their future, it is a crossroad where our children would inevitably have to decide on; to which direction they would take.

as parents, we too are given tests on and on.  some are easy, some are agonizing. some we pass.  but there are those that we fail miserably.  and when we do, it looks like we reach the end of the road and all we want to do is stop.   wouldn’t it be a shame to give our children that example?  that instead of us being their guide when they reach that crossroad, we, ourselves, drift away in our own road to perdition. 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became man.  and because he became man, He was subjected to tests.  like we are. no exemptions.  and He passed each test, to show us that we can too.

so next time we are given one, don’t hesitate to take it.  because if we pass, then we move on straight away. but if we fail, we will be given our second chance, and review where we went wrong.  both ways, we learn our lessons and become better persons. if we remain steadfast and constantly strive to be the best that we can for God, then we would surely pass the HAT – heaven admission test. 

when lions roar

 
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

the lion king was the first movie that my then baby, megan ever watched.  i’m not certain if she ever recalls that experience.  but that movie changed how we perceive these creatures from then on. from fierce and savage beasts, to sweet and loving living beings.

thus i pay tribute to the Lions of Al Andalus International School in Al Khobar, who for the second year in a row brought pride and honor to the institution with which they belong.  the Philippine Embassy at the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh was transformed into a jungle (pun intended) when the cheerdancers roared their way to the first place, beating the two other groups who had the hometown advantage.  the teamwork, grace and intensity of their performance left the spectators in awe, as the Lions raised the standard for the succeeding teams, who obviously were not able to meet.

as in every competition, some other factors led the champions to victory and made them stand out above the rest.  let us acknowledge the Rafikis, coach/trainor/choreographer who taught these lions the moves and the grooves. 

then there are the  Mufasas and the Sarabis, the ever supportive parents, who despite their hectic schedules and the stress that a lengthy travel from Khobar to Riyadh entails, still manage to be the source of strength and courage of their children. 

but above all, thanks to the LORD for having gifted the Simbas and Nalas with intense passion and superb talents.  yet, intense passion alone cannot sustain the fight.  so does superb talents on their own.  but with these two gifts together, where can they go wrong?  hakuna matata

our son Miguel did not take part as cheerdancer, but was with them all along to  capture their moments in photographs. but as we all go back to “Pride Rock” in khobar, i pray that these young lions, including our own simba, continue to carry in their hearts the inspiration of that twice-in-a-lifetime experience. 

they brought home the bacon indeed, but with it are the most flavorful lessons on friendships, family (as an ever dependable support group), hard work, unity, honor, sportsmanship… and God who made it all possible…

Unto Him we give back the glory.

(photos courtesy of 4Ds – daisy, diane, duchess and derick )

love and bad hair days

“Remember the days of old; consider the years long past.  Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you.” Deuteronomy 32:7

megan had a bad hair day. literally and otherwise.  the other day, some newbie in the salon she went to, did quite a job on her crowning glory and caused her tears to fall.  not to mention strands of hair too.  it was such a mess that she can’t help but  write about it.  what disasters can do to ignite that passion to write!

what was remarkable was this particular line which i quote“I was one of fortunate people on earth who might run out of hair, but not of the people who would love me and care for me no matter what.”  OMG! her hair taught her a lesson 🙂

i had my share of falling hair too.  but just the right number of strands that are due to fall like leaves in autumn.  and i’m amazed that these too can motivate us to reflect past the hairstyles and hair color.

megan will always be our sweet baby with that pretty hair and perfect eyebrows (no need to have it shaved little lady).  but she’s eighteen now and in love with a guy.  and we are happy that she’s happy.  though there is concern over the sudden change in her behavior and taste.

like her delicate hair, love can make her shine.   some other time, “exposure to harsh elements” could break her. but as long as she remains rooted to what she learned at home, school and her Catholic teaching, she will always “grow back” to the same sweet human being that we always know.

now my hair is tri-color (black at the tips, white at the roots and gray in between).   my mommy, almost all white. my prayer is that when megan look our way again, she would  find the wisdom in each strand that age had rebonded…and eventually relaxed.

the suit

“Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.” Ephesians 1:4

in two weeks, my son Miguel will attend his JS prom.  though he won’t admit it, we can see how excited he is.  that is the first major formal gathering where he will wear a suit. 

last night, we finally found one shop with a Saudi tailor.  he can speak a bit of tagalog, which made us feel comfortable with the thought that he might have many Filipino clients to be able to learn it.  first thing we asked was if they accept made to order so that the suit would fit better.  he said no and suggested that maybe one from his collection would fit Miguel like so.

after trying on two black suits and the pants that go with them, one fitted him handsomely except for the sleeve which was an inch too long and the pants likewise need a bit of cutting.  after necessary measurements for alterations, we went home with the hope the when we pick up the suit tonight, it would fit Miguel perfectly, as if made only for him in mind.

human beings are custom-made for God’s purpose.    He created us in a mold which is unique and different from each other.  He created for a specific reason. 

it does not matter how insignificant we may seem in the eyes of men or how unpopular we have become.    we may have sinned in the past, and therefore think that even God had turned His back. but sincerely pray for his forgiveness, beg if we must and surely we would taste the fruits of the sacrifice of  Christ on the Cross.  then, we will be even more beautiful in His eyes again.

we fit in God’s grand plan, a living testimony to God’s endless love and mercy.

a RUBY by any other name is still as sweet

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for Thou alone, Lord, makest me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8

flowers111

one of the saddest realities of life is dying.  it comes in different forms and circumstances.  sometimes slowly, but more often than not, just suddenly.  there was a time when i see death as a possibility that can happen only to a generation ahead of us.  a remote eventuality for the much younger generation.  as i stand in the middle, i found out this glaring truth- that we are never too young to die, nor are we too old to live.

roobee-and-me3

she was a childhood friend, a next door neighbor, a classmate, a kumare.  we were together since 4th grade until high school graduation. we went to school together, played the same games, ate the same foods, enjoyed the same music, even shared secrets. we practically grew up together. our daily routine together changed only when we went to the university.  though she had a love life way later than i did, she got married long before i did.  she chose to be a full time housewife to her husband and mother to 5 wonderful kids.  but our friendship stayed on, though we no longer see each other that often.  we knew in our hearts that our love for each other remains.  but death snatched her away.

they say she was too young to die.  yet if we believe that our lives are already pre-destined by our Creator even before birth, so does the fulfillment of our life’s purpose, no matter how much time we have.  how we accomplish that with the given time, the Lord gave us free will to decide.

reunion1

last week, we were all unprepared.  Roobee passed on so quickly.   we never had time to say goodbye.  we could only stop and look back at all that we had shared together, and just imagine how it would be like to grow old with her.  but no matter how briefly we had her, in God’s eyes she had already completed her purpose.  what most mortals see as Roobee’s unfinished business, is now the life’s purpose of  those whom she left behind.   it would make her happy to see all of us to realize our own regardless of how many years we still have to fulfill it.

roobee1her first name was Rubira.  her childhood nickname was Rubie.  some spell it as Ruby.  when she got back from Thailand, she preferred to spell it  R-O-O-B-E-E.  but no matter how we call her, she remains my sweet and dear friend (actually there’s just too many beautiful words to describe her) who is always  in my heart.  she had so much love to give, and she gave it all away.  those  of us who have known her, are just so lucky to have received a piece of that unselfish kind of love that inspires us to also give a part of ourselves.  so that when the time has come for us to go,  love would still remain and live on.