Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't forget to remember....

Most of us are crucified between two thieves : the guilt of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow. Seven years ago my husband dropped dead on me from a massive heart attack and since then I try to live life with urgency. And by that I mean, petty stuff is just that...petty, and therefore doesn't deserve the front row seat in my life. Here's a few things I'm trying to apply to my life daily.

1. I try to free my heart from hatred because no one deserves that much attention from me.

2. I try to clear my mind from worries. The bible says, today has enough worries of its own, so when worry sneaks in on me, I recall what this old man said on his deathbed: "I have had a lot of trouble in my life, most of which never happened."

3. I live simply. I know this can be done because I do it. A person has 2 basic needs; food and clothing. Well, 3 if you include expensive vacations.

4. To protect myself from the cost of inflation, I give more. Giving doesn't make you broke, hoarding does.

5. Lastly, demand less. Most of our troubles begin when we try to win every argument forgetting that sometimes principles can be forsaken if for the sake of gaining a relationship.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What dya think?

An American author once observed that Americans are oversexed, overpaid and overfed. I'm not sure about that one, but you decide. Here in Cebu, a constant fixture outside my door is my adopted grandkitty. He's always begging for food and attention.. Here's my American grandkitty. When I asked Chat what's wrong with him, she said that "he's worn out from watching too much tv."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Might Be Today

Work like you have a hundred years more to live here on earth, but live each day like it's your last.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Later Jules

"Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7

This morning, my friend Julie's body is on her way to Bacolod, the place of her birth. I know she is watching from heaven, looking down at her remains being deposited back to the ground, but the pain I am feeling is not for her but for me. I won't see her climb over the fence anymore, calling out my name, we won't be going to eat lingua at our newly discovered restaurant and most of all,she won't be there to tell me to keep going because tomorrow is a new day.

I struggle with the loss because I feel sorry for myself without her, otherwise, how can you feel sorry for someone who's now with Jesus? I read a story about a young man who was weeping and sobbing, he didn't say a word, he was simply weeping with those who weep. When someone asked him what was the matter, he answered: "Well, it hurts, stupid."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Be Still My Soul

Soar as the eagles Jules. I know you are with God, the Holy One of Israel.Until I see you again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Note to Christians

I have walked through pitch black darkness when my daughter's father walked out on us, I have watched helplessly while my father lay comatose from a massive stroke, my sister's final days dying a painful death with cancer and my husband dropped dead in front of me in a remote island where we didn't know anyone and holding on to the coffin next to me in the car for 5hours. These experiences should make me hard or jaded, right? No, this makes me relate. And this also makes me fuming mad when someone minimizes someone's difficulty. Different people cope differently. Just because they're limping doesn't mean they don't trust or love God, it simply means they're wired differently.

So here's a note to so-called Christians: Especially those who have not experienced traumatic or tragic events in their lives, please do not minimize another persons emotional or spiritual difficulty. I can't say it enough:You can not deny another persons reality, you can only build on it. Just because you can quote bible verses or sings in the worship team doesn't mean you are Godly. Honestly tell me you are not shaken at the time when you are being shaken, honestly tell me you are standing firm, at the time when your spirit is being sifted like wheat and honestly say that you can see straight at the time when your brain can only process black. Until then, shut up. That's Godly.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to emasculate a Filipino male child

Let's get this straight right now---I love gay men. Not a bone in me fear or hate them, and all my gay friends and gay relatives will vouch me on this. But I have this question: Why so many of them here in the Philippines? Is the number really greater here than that of North America or Saudi Arabia? (Yes, I said Saudi Arabia.) Or does it only look like it because here in the Philippines gays have no closets to hide in.

I am no reseacher but I can calculate by simple observation. You want to emasculate your male child? Here's how we do it here in the Philippines: Before they're 1 year old, treat their pisser like it's a toy. An amazing toy that you and the rest of the village people finds so much glee when it squirts water. Even to your face. Then you and the rest of the village people show your amazement at this baby sea cucumber by kissing it, though not with the same reverence as when you kiss the foot of the Santo Nino (wooden baby Jesus). And if you're moneyed enough, hire a nanny for him who will spoon feed him his food until he's 15.
And fire the nanny if she forgets to keep his back dry from sweat when he plays too much. While all this time, showing him by example that he doesn't have to work until he's finished college, even if he has to cram 4 years of college into 6 or 8. And if this is not enough to show your love, go ahead and let him sleep in the same bed with you until he's married. Which by then, a good parent would have already provided for.....pawn the house and the rest of the children to pay for his wedding. Then let him and his bride live in the same house with you. Until they're dead or you. Or whichever come first.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When "Stuff" has you

I've once held this assumption that Westerners and "the rich" are a materialistic bunch, but I don't believe this anymore because I've come to know of very rich individuals who truly understands that if they're not careful, materialism can easily possess and make him a prisoner of his own money. Another misguided notion I had was that the poor are unhappy, implying that the rich are happy.

When we were at the garbage dumpsite last Sunday, one of the girls, a 15 year-old high school drop out who lives there told us that she believes God is unfair and unkind. "Why do you say that?" one of the pastoral students asked. "Because back in the province, I saw how my cousins had more than us," She said. "they had a carabao (water buffalo) while we didn't." You see? Materialism or greed lurks in every human heart; we envy, we covet and depending on how much demand (covetousness) and how much supply (one's ability to make it happen) is where we get in trouble, because materialism is not when you have "stuff" it is when "stuff" has you.

Monday, March 07, 2011

In This Lifetime

It was bliss. It was destiny. It was meant to be. On my way out to walk this morning I met the poet Cataline. With her permission I am reprinting it here. Cataline is her pen name.

In This Lifetime

It is not what there is for the eyes to see
But that you believe

It matters not that one can speak
But what is spoken about

It is not that a heart you possess
But how much this heart can feel

No matter how little you have
The hand that reaches out overflows with love

It is not how many a tear
But what made you cry
For true feelings they may not be
As one by one they die

It is not how heavy the suffering
But how you bear them

It is not how many times life could seem impossible
But if only you keep hoping

It is not how many times the praying
But how you mean them

It is not how saintly or sinful you are
But what made you become

It is not the legion of friends you collect
But how only a few can be that true to you
till the end

For whatsoever in this lifetime
One soul's destiny

Sunday, March 06, 2011

When I was hungry....(part 3)

I came home and went straight to the shower. I took a nice hot shower, bathe myself with soothing lotion, laid down on my nice comfortable bed in an air-conditioned room. I have this luxury and I thank God for it but I broke down because I could not reconcile in my head the images of the parents and the kids living in the dumpsite. You've heard me rant about being clean inspite of being poor....but in this situation how can you?

When I was hungry (part 2)

My friend Jojo is a pastor and professor at a bible college here in Cebu and today, I went with her and her students to the dumpsite where they're going to start a ministry because Chat is funding the mission. About 10 pastoral students came, and here they are in
the tricycle all ready to go. Up into the heap.

Because it's a Sunday very few scavengers were there. Here's one of the girls who live there with her find.
Here's Maricel 24 years old with her son Daniel and daughter Lyka. When I mentioned that I love her kids name, she said because her kids are "celebrities." Lyka kept falling down and kept laughing because she was drunk. Her father was inside the tent drunk and gave her sips from his glass. Ok, now Lyka is dressed so she can go with us. But this 2 won't even face me regardless how I coax them.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

When I was hungry.....

"When I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink......." Jesus said. And someone asked: Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty that we fed you or gave you drink? Jesus answer was: Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. (paraphrased) Matthew: 25:35-37. My friends and I have very little resources so we try to do what we can. We feed them God's word and chicken and rice soup.

Friday, March 04, 2011

True Freedom

True freedom is having no choice. Four days ago, while eating breakfast at a hotel in Leyte, I noticed this grungy looking white man busy with his pen and paper. "Are you a writer?" I stuck my nose into his business. "Why not?" was his friendly reply. I moved my food next to his table and I proceeded to interrupt his quiet morning, which he didn't mind, he said. He's Australian from Kangaroo Island and he's a farmer raising Heritage apples. Very Interesting. He was journalling about his day to day experiences in Leyte but he's really into Haiku poetry. Interesting. He talked about Issa and Basho, two Haiku poets of old Japan and when he gave me a sample reading of his own poetry, I could not believe it warmed my heart the same way how my foot reflexologist is capable of making me feel like my liver moves when he presses the sole of my foot.

Our conversation then meandered towards his pending divorce, his new perspective in life and then to the 23-year old Filipino girl he thinks he would like to take back to the farm. As a wife. He asked me to enlighten him about the Filipino culture and how Filipinos seemed to be happier than their Western counterparts. "Filipinos are happier, because they don't have a choice." I said. "They take what they're given and live with it." "Ahaah." He said. Our conversation was getting more interesting but I had to leave for the airport and he had to go see his kid...I mean his girlfriend. I wish I had more time to spend with him, because as always, an interesting company is more fun than fun.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Delayed? Who cares?

What do you call that which bleeds for 5 days and doesn't die? And not only does it not die, it is spitting fire. That's a woman with PMS. Well, I don't have PMS anymore; I'm past that age, but occasionally I still do...spit fire. And yesterday was one of those occasions.

I don't want to sound like a diva or that I'm too good for something, although I am justified if I want to claim both, because I have paid my dues. I also don't want to come out like I'm too hard on my people, or my country of birth, but I have to point out something. Filipinos are cursed with a colonial mentality, therefore, the average Filipino will consider any race besides his own, a better one, and because of this, again, the average Filipino will take a lot because he doesn't think he matters.

Yesterday, I was at the aiport waiting for my Cebu Pacific flight to another island. When I checked in, the ticket agent told me "the flight is delayed for 3 hours." The American in me started to huff and puff. I asked in a frustrated tone: "And Why?" "Aircraft issue." She said. Well, I had 2 choices: either strangle the powerless agent or go find a seat and wait. I looked at the other passengers and not one looked cross-eyed, convoluted or even a furrowed brow. Every brown skinned person around me sat there peaceful and happy, like they're waiting for their turn to receive a free sack of rice. While I.... was bloated with rage and anxiety.

Five hours later, we finally took off. Then I had a light bulb moment:A flight being delayed is nothing to a Filipino; 5 hours? 24 hours? that's nothing. Why? Because if you can't find one bolo- wielding-Filipino, hacking the employer to shreds for a delayed salary or paid on time but only a fraction of what he's owed --which is common here in the Philippines, I don't know of anything else that could make a Filipino flip.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Back at the Farm

Things reminiscent of what was my childhood.