Entries from December 2007 ↓
December 28th, 2007 — Uncategorized
12 months. 365 days. And I’m still here. Amazing. Career record breaker ito.
My mind is groping for a song, poem, words, anything profound to express my feelings at this moment. It is searching in vain.
I’mÂ distracting myself with a lot of what-if questions,Â far off thoughts as I get voicemails on the phone, and a deep sigh every few seconds.
Wait. My tunelessÂ humming finally produced a song… from Points of Grace. What’s echoing in my head right now is the version sung by an a capella choir, Zoe.
For All You’ve Done
Oh cleanser of the mess I’ve made
Upon the hill our places trade
Stretched on a cross Your body crushed
By human hands You formed from dust
How wonderful Your mercy is
How awesome are Your ways
I come, I come
To worship You
For all You’ve done
Oh cleanser of the mess I’ve made
Your boundless love for me portrayed
With patience for my learning curve
By holding back what I deserve…
The nagging voice in my head has become a painful shout. Lord, what now? Please be patient with my being such a scaredy-cat. I feel like Jonah in the belly of that huge fish; it’s dark, smelly and nauseous. And I’m not even sure what I’m running away from.
2008 is almost here, and I’m more afraid than excited. Don’t want my last post for 2007 to be such a downer though. So i’ll think happy thoughts:
Breakfast with them in a few hours.
Going home to Tarlac for the 2nd half of my vacation.
Closing a big sale on Monday.
Getting VL and SL benefits by next week.
And … being loved.
Okay, I’m happy now. =)
December 27th, 2007 — Uncategorized
I don’t know why I keep on making this list when I end up forgetting all the items by the 2nd week of January. Like banging my head against a brick wall… But hey, while there’s life there’s hope.
1. Feeding. Daily QT, weekly CG or BS and quarterly SR. Back to “milk” for me.
2. Fellowship. Prayer. Maintain my accountability triad, find a Paul and a Timothy.
3. Rethink my ministries. Do I stay, go or change? Reminder to self: in kingdom work, you are NOT indispensable.
1. Spend less than I earn – the common thread running through most of the personal finance blogs and books I’ve read this year. So I have to make a budget and follow it. Save!
2. Financial education. Learn how to invest and look into enterpreneurship. I am not business minded and I hate math, but it is good stewardship to make he most of my savings.
3. Tithe. It’s not mine anyway
1. Eat healthy. I would have said “learn to cook” but cooking for one person is just not practical. So I’ll still eat out, but with preference to veggies.
2. Get enough sleep. And make that regular. I think this resolution would be the hardest to keep.
3. Walk when possible. Use the stairs or if it’s less than 4 blocks away, hoof it.
1. Family first.
2. Be present in the here and now. People come, people go, and they stay for a reason. Cliche, but true. Less heartache too.
3. Platinum rule: Treat people as they want to be treated.
1. Think outside the box. Just because I finished so and so course and I have these work experience does not limit me to yada yada job.
2. Think positive. There is a reason for the hope that I have…
3. Philippians 4:8 “… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableâ€”if anything is excellent or praiseworthyâ€”think about such things.”
1. Blanket victory. I came across this term in a book, basically, it means havng enough discipline to wake up on time and then STAND UP and not go back to sleep. Obviously, I have had blanket failure my whole life.
2. Punctuality. Tardiness has been my trademark since my elementary days. Tsk.
3. Learn to say NO. Enough with the Messiah complex, overcommitting, and hectic schedule. Multitasking can only go so far.
1. In everything, excellence. Stop whining about what I can’t do and focus on my strengths.
2. Check my motives. Who am I seeking to please? Other’s approval, their expectations, my enjoyment are all misleading.
3. Everything is educational. Learn the most from every opportunity.
Well, that’s a total of 21 resolutions. Is this too much? Uh-oh.
December 26th, 2007 — Uncategorized
The first half of my Christmas break is over. Definitely not enough; good thing there is a 2nd bout of downtime next week. Christmas 2007 was crammed with:
Eating. Waiting for food to be cooked. Eating some more. Especially Tarlac delicacies like bagis (carabao meat), burong hipon (fermented rice with shrimp), kilawin (meat with vinegar), my aunt’s nilagang baboy, etc etc.
Sleeping. Nighttime sleep in total quiet, then waking up to the chirping of the birds and the noisy vroom of tricycles.
Singing. I had the videoke to myself for 2 hours last Saturday. A wonder it did not rain.
Reunions. Maternal and paternal side. There is an marked exponential increase in my nephews and nieces and godchildren.
Yearning. I was not able to go to church for Christmas, and I have not done so in almost half a decade. My family’s religious beliefs are… diverse. Contented myself with a very long QT, and finished “Made for His Pleasure.” Lotsa changes for 2008 coming because of this.
Till the next 4-day weekend…a belated MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
December 21st, 2007 — Uncategorized
My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercyâ€™s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again
Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
â€˜Cause Your grace still amazes me
Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say
I know thereâ€™s no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise
Itâ€™s deeper, itâ€™s wider
Itâ€™s stronger, itâ€™s higher
Itâ€™s deeper itâ€™s wider
Itâ€™s stronger, itâ€™s higher
than anything my eyes can see
December 19th, 2007 — Uncategorized
I just slept over at my brother’s dorm so that I can wake up on time. For what? Well, are required to write a reaction paper on a cultural event in UP. While I was tempted for a moment to give my academic take on the Oblation Run, I realized my innocent eyes can’t handle that kind of exposure. So that left me with the Lantern Parade.
But … the Lantern Parade reaction paper is reserved for another blog entry. This one is about me and my younger brothers.
Roy is… Roy. Our family’s special gift and my youngest brother. He is going to be 18 in February, a day before Valentine’s. My mom had timed his birth on a salary day, or so the story goes. I miss his renditions of commercials and the sweetly manipulative ways he makes me sing for him the same song over and over and over (repeat 10000x) again. Truthfully, he is the tie that binds us together. And while part of me is hoping and praying that someone out there will find a cure for autism, I love him for what he has. Is it different to have a special sibling? I really can’t answer since I know no other kind of life.
Bryan and I were born a year and 3 months apart; my parents I think were making up for lost time since they married quite late. A decade’s worth of memories is filled with sibling conspiracies, squabbles, going to preschool together, playtime in the streets of Sampaloc, and food-sharing (agawan) sessions. Then I started living in a dormitory in highschool, and now we have grown quite apart. Well, we can still talk about anything under the sun, but we are not that close. I am sure that he has friends that he would run to first in case of trouble (the non financial kind of course), and I tend to be more open to people outside my family. This Christmas, my prayer is that this situation would change. I’d love to know this grown-up sibling more.
Staying at my brother’s place I remembered how different we were. He is neat, well-organized, and cleans his room everyday. The books on his desk and the shirts hanging in the closet are lined up just so, and everything has a place. Bryan can also keep plants alive, while I kill them off after a month. He is also very focused on finanancial stability from an early age, while I spent my allowance like there was no tomorrow. Bryan is also very independent and has few, but very close friends. And yeah, he has a girlfriend already. That is a huge difference.
But we are still so much alike. We both love to talk and can blabber on for hours on end about random topics. We also share the same aversion to certain … um, things. We are both Iskolar ng Bayan and have lived away from our parents. We both like to read, eat and sleep, and would do all 3 at the same time if we could. Even the way we say “I’m hungry” is eerily alike, according to one of my officemates. Blood will tell.
In short, what is this entry about? The fact that I miss the older/big brat and the younger/small brat a lot. It’s been months. Thank God for surprise vacations and the Christmas break.
And here we are, dressed to hilt on our parents’ silver wedding anniversary last October:
From the left, that’s me, Roy and Bryan.
VACATION, HERE I COME!
December 17th, 2007 — Uncategorized
Last Sunday was not spent in my usual chores-church-choir-comatose routine.
First, we had to perform the Welcome to Our World cantata again during the morning service, with a smaller stage and a much smaller cast. Managed to pull it off despite being absent for the Saturday rehearsal, waking up late, and committing a few blunders.
Then had an impromptu coffee date and technical writing consultation with Rahrah at Rob Midtown. Introduced her to the joys of waffle with caramel and whipped cream,Â exchanged unrequited love/crush stories, and in somehow helped do a reaction paper on an indie film I have not watched.
Then came Vesper services; during rehearsal, the choir had a vote and chose to sing “Simbang Gabi” by Lucio San Pedro for the anthem. The song starts with this line: “Ikalabing anim ng Disyembre…” Timely, ain’t it?
But wait, there is more! After a hurried dinner by the church door,Â 3 of us skipped choir practice and went gallivanting. Around 20 members of the joint choir crammed into 3 cars/vans and went to the Center for Arts in Timog. Direk Mark had invited us to sing excerpts from the cantata at their weekly Gospel Jam. I was very glad I came… a group called the Cov’nant Singers performed several acapela pieces. Wow! I love listening to choirs, acapela singing groups, etc and theirs was quite good. Ended up buying their CD and music book. Also, it didn’t hurt that some of the guys not only sang beautifully but looked cute too.
To end an unusual Sunday, I then met with my IVPM prayer triad: Carmi and Darl. Spent several hours planning our lives, since we been sharing our experiences of being stressed, confused and floundering the past year. We recognized our common lack of direction and that we all had varying degrees of the Messiah complex. Basically, we all treid to do everything and thus spread ourselves too thinly.
Also, God created me for a purpose. I believe there is a reason why I like to do certain things and have a certain set of skills and talents. While I may be asked to do things I dislike or feel incompetent in for the Kingdom, He has designed me with a specific calling in mind. I call it a sweet spot, or:
“A sweet spot is a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution.”
How did we determine ours? Partly, by drawing out we considered important, or our life values.
Here are the guide questions we used:
1. What are the top (past) experiences in your life?
2. What do you value now?
3. How do you see yourself — years from now?
We wrote each response on a slip of paper. My answers were scattered, numerous, and covered half the living room floor. Then we grouped similar or duplicate ideas to just 3-5 categories.Â I ended up with 5 values.
In no particular order, they are:
1. Strategic ministry – I value my involvement in church and campus ministry, especially with the youth, musicians and profesionals. May opt to branch out into teaching too.
2. Meaningful relationships – Camaraderie is important to me and is a major factor in deciding whether I stay or go.
3. Dynamic learning – I learn to teach, and I teach to learn. I love reading, discussions, debates, etc.
4. Financial freedom – I’m still thinking if the better word for this is stewardship, to show God’s ownership and sovereignty.
5. Artistic Expression - I am exhibitionist and I crave the spotlight… joke. Well, at least I have a healthy dose of self-confidence and a dormant sense of shame. Thus I can sing, act, write blogs, declaim, etc., if not with spectacular talent, then at least with some modicum of skill.
We then listed the structures we had right now. That meantÂ all the organizations, institutions, groups, etc that we are currently involved in. Mine were all over the solar system. We discarded the ones that did not fit into the values. Then we drew up a weekly schedule. When two committments were in conflict, we chose to keep the ones where we would have more impact. A lot of my current activties have bitten the dust, while a couple that I wanted to let go suddenly got a new lease on life.
Of course, the caveat here is that people change and so their values and schedule. We’ll have to reassess the lot after a quarter, and make small tweaks as needed. But it would be effort well spent.
Whenever we have our bimonthly meetings in 2008, we have to hold each other accountable for:
1. Have you added/removed anything from your schedule? Why?
2. How is your QT / devotions?
3. How is your heart? (love life discussions are inevitable so might as well make it an objective)
Other values that are important to me but did not appear in the exercise:
1. Health – this really is taken for granted…. until you lose it
2. Time - my attention span is miniscule and tying me to a long term routine is akin to murder.Â So I need flexibility time-wise.
3. Rest and recreation – actually, it did appear as one entry: sleep. My friends reminded me that I NEED free time to do these, and that they should also be part of my schedule, not just a happy surprise.
My schedule now looks sane, amazing!Â And my heart is now at peace… at least until March. I just realized that I do not have one single Christmas ornament in my pad or workstation. Where has my Christmas spirit gone? Well, it’s right where it is supposed to be: in my heart.
December 14th, 2007 — Uncategorized
by Collective Soul
Are these times contagious
I’ve never been this bored before
Is this the prize I’ve waited for
Now as the hours passing
There’s nothing left here to mature
I long to find a messenger
Have I got a long way to run [x2]
Yeah, I run [x2]
Is there a cure among us
From this processed sanity
I weaken with each voice that sings
In this world of purchase
I’m going to buy back memories
To awaken some old qualities
Have I got a long way to run …
As I have been told so many times, I have no right to complain. I’m better off than 99% of the people on this planet. But I just hate this feeling, building up over a quarter of frustration and second thoughts (and third and fourth and..).Â Venting is better than keeping it all bottled up, or being so numb that I can’t change anymore.
Reminder to self:
I am NOT in control. So what? The only freedom I have is to choose my attitude in any given circumstance.
“Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Acts 27:25
December 11th, 2007 — Uncategorized
This song played in the cab in sync with my random, wandering thoughts:
So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
What have I done? A lot; I’ve covered this year’s hecticness in a previous post, When I remember 2007. I am amazed though at how time flies.Â A year ago today, my batchmates and I were in training. Only 5 of us are left here at the company after 12 months.Â In addition, this December, I have attended 2 Christmas parties, given only 2 exchange gifts, sang in a cantata, worn a long gown, saved money, spent more money, posed for some crazy pictures, dated my sibling, got 50% of my sales goal, cut several class, joined a prayer triad, praying to establish a new cellgroup, lost weight, skipped a wedding, read more books and asked for vacation leave. I have also lost some of my sanity, gotten rebuked, misplaced my passion, sought joy in the wrong places, regained my quiet time, and guarded my heart.
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
In two weeks I can finally be with my family for more than a few hours. I have not been with them for months already, we are scattered all over Luzon since this summer. My parents are retired, my youngest brother is in the province and the older one is staying in a boardinghouse. And I have been alone for the past half year.
Â And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
That last line is so true. Sadly every year I find myself growing more and more apathetic to other people’s problems and to the suffering I see around me. I have always found it difficult to put myself in another person’s shoes or intuit other people’s thoughts. Caring is an effort. And yeah, I am ashamed to admit that I am still a basically selfish person. Lord, grant me a heart for the lost…
Â And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight
In stories and in real life, there are several kinds of conflict. We fight against nature, with each other and we are in conflict with ourselves.Â 2007 had wars, bombs, murders, coups and terrorist threats galore. Add the weird weather and the economic mess that has been going on for decades. And we constantly fight with ourselves, the good in each one warring with the bad, with numerous conflicting needs, want and desires demanding to be met. Complex humans are. And we can’t stop any of these conflicts… at least, not on our own.
Â A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
So what will happen in 2008? For myself, I’ll reserve that for another post because I still don’t know. I have learned the hard way about the folly of making my own plans and not depending on God, of doing what I think was needed instead of relying on His calling. Whatever He has in store for me, I’m sure it’s for the best. No fears, only hope.
Told you my thoughts were all over the place. For me though,Â this is Christmas:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Merry Christmas to all.
December 6th, 2007 — Uncategorized
My 13th month pay has come and gone in a few hours. Where did it go?
Responsible Ways of Spending my Holiday Bonus
1. Save – for my tuition, field trip, summer shennanigans and to fend off the threat of starvation.
2. Bills – while I can still contribute to them.
3. Investment – after dipping my toe in the exciting, scary world of investment, I am about to take the plunge and invest some serious money on high yielding investment vehicles. Okay, this is somewhat risky because only bank savings accounts are PDIC insured, but I am fed up with 1% pa interest rates! Also, I’m thinking of reviving my buy and sell business. With a roomful of hungry officemates and a ton of monitos/monitas to give gifts to, sales opportunities abound!
4. December Expenses – required gifts for various Christmas parties, making myself look human and female for December 8, various logistical costs for our Christmas church activities and support for missions.
5. Facts of Life – daily expenses for food, transportation, load, school supplies, and groceries.
Not-so-Responsible Ways of Spending my Holiday Bonus
1. Entertainment. At last! After years of not seeing a professional production, I watched Into the Woods this musical play last Saturday with my officemates at the Music Museum. The story, a crazy-funny-adult mix of traditional fairytales, was great! The actors were the best; singing, acting and dancing well all at the same time is no joke. The bad effect is: I miss theater.
2. UP Centennial Planner – where do I order? Definitely a better deal than that much hyped and overpriced St******s planner. My alma mater is going to be a hundred years old next year!
3. Body Spa - halfway done. body scrub and massage – check. foot scrub and rebond – pending.Â Â face transplant – I’ll think about it.
4. Coffee – I couldn’t resist the siren call of hot caramel macchiatto. Also bought several liters ofÂ fresh milk for my homemade brewed coffee. Anyone knows where I can buy a portable coffee press that is reasonably priced? So I can brew coffee anywhere.
5. Eating Out – Got several eat outs lined up this holiday season. I so crave garlic shrimp pizza from Yellow Cab! And Korean food! And pesto pasta!
So where did your holiday bonus go?
December 3rd, 2007 — Uncategorized
SAD Wilderness period. Like the Israelites, I wandered around not knowing when and how Iâ€™ll get to the Promised Land. Spiritually speaking, I felt like I was climbing a very wide staircaseâ€¦ just rapidly moving horizontally across a single step, but rarely moving upward. A lot of activity but no real progress. Mostly my fault; I do not handle waiting very well. And I have allowed myself to be distracted from the important things.
Ningas cogon. Thatâ€™s a Filipino term for not finishing what is started. Literally, it refers to grassfires that blaze up rapidly, then just as quickly burns out.I have made a lot of commitments that I failed to follow throughâ€¦ mainly because I made too many. My attention is easily caught by a new project, or an unfamiliar face, then once the novelty wears off I search for something new. Tsk.
Health. I now realize that I am flesh and blood. This year was a nuisance in terms of health issuesâ€¦ not major ER episodes, but an unending flood of minor aches and pains. My asthma came back after a 2-year hiatus, headaches and body pain are a weekly companion, and my back is a knotted mess. MPS, anyone? And never mind my sleeping schedule; that has always been chaotic anyway.
Family. I have not really prioritized them or spent much time with them. Sadly, I am happier outside our house than in it. High expectations and constant criticism are not my idea of a home. Maybe that is why I am not good at showing appreciation or affirming others. Gotta learn asap. Too late though in one aspect; we are now reaping the consequences of our collective neglect.
Career. Sales. Attendance. Enough said.
HAPPY Treasure. I put it where my heart is. Last December 2006, I committed more than 10% of my gross income to kingdom work. This year has proven the promise in Malachi right; I have been blessed more in giving than in receiving. Israel, Japan, Thailand and Korea are no longer names on the map for me, but are places where Iâ€™ve partnered in missions. The campus ministry initiatives of IVCF and SVCF have been an encouragement and Iâ€™m always refreshed when I spend time with the students. And Cosmopolitan Church has been my â€œrefuge and strengthâ€ for seven years and counting.
Graduate School. Finally! After 2 years of post-graduation confusion, I got the go signal to take up my Masters. I am now in my 2nd semester of MA major in Language Education. I now realize that I find joy in learning new things, being with people, in knowledge, discussions and reading a lot. My classmates and professors are really inspiring. 2007 I when I took the first steps to my calling as a tentmaker.
Personal Finance. Needless to say, my job now is the best I ever had salary-wise. But all that moolah would have been gone in a flash if my financial education hasnâ€™t started this year. It all started with a session on Personal Financial Management last May in the IVPM Graduates Conference. Inspired by my new mentorâ€™s example, I started it simple: made a budget, tracked my expenses and saved money. Then two wonderful things happened: I discovered this website: www.thesimpledollar.com and I was invited to join an investment club. My goal right now is financial freedom: I want to be free from the 15/30, 8-5 box, and to be able to follow my heart without having to worry about my stomach.
Friends. I reconnected with some of my college org friends and spent more bonding time with my choirmates. I was a bit aloof before, but circumstances such as months-long preparations for 4 Christmas concerts tend to make choir mates closer. I also met a lot of new friends through IVPM and established a new accountability triad. And honestly, my officemates are one of my (if not THE) top reasons for going to work everyday.
Little Things. And a lot sprinkles made 2007 a joy. Chocolate caramel cake with vanilla ice cream. A silver icthyus pendant. Singles club. Moving into a new place. Starbucks. Meebo. Fazoliâ€™s. Multiply. Coffee-maker. Dennisâ€™ book library. Tagaytay. Contiâ€™s. Let the People Rejoice Cantata. Caramel macchiato. Sales goalie. Hawaiian ginger. Jamming with them. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Regularization. Night class schedules. Something Fishy. Silver Wedding Anniversary. Sweet Inspiration. Lipa. Into the Woods. Welcome to Our World Cantata. And so another year nears an end.