1. It is wonderful to be back in my happy place. I gratefully caught up on my leisure reading, got much-needed advice from my spiritual parents (finish what you started!), and breathing in the clean cold air of Silang. Since the ongoing children’s camp took up all the available sleeping quarters, I end up spending the night in the library. This bookworm was ecstatic.
2. It is Sunday night, and I feel like I’ve returned to the youth choir. I am surrounded by a dozen or so young people, new recruits to the Vesper Choir. And two talented singer are in the alto section, yippee!
3. My Ian finds pictures from when we first met six years ago. I was brave and went to a retreat at another campus fellowship all by myself. I was a student-camper, and my Ian was the speaker. Then we had no contact until exactly eight months ago. I was brave again and agreed to a coffee date with a tall, geeky, salt-and-pepper-haired man who asked “Is decaffeinated espresso an oxymoron?” Truly, love doesn’t follow a program. â™¥
1.Â Time flies when I am productively occupied;Â Wednesday marked my first month at my new job.
2. At the Christian Writer’s Fellowship (CWF) meeting, two of my friends introduced themselves to my Ian by asking, “You’re Rita’s boyfriend, right?”
3. We had to cancel several dates because of Chedeng and her early evening downpours. After a week of not seeing each other, my Ian and I decided to meet come hell or high water. We were finally able to meet up after the CWF meeting. He gave me a lumpiang ubod (vegetable roll) and I share with him a song from Rent the musical.
1. Lunch is sauteed squid with rice. The inky black sauce contrasts with the pinkish tentacles.
2. Our office windows are almost obscured by the sideways lashing of wind-driven sheets of water. We reschedule our Tuesday BS; better safe than sorry. I end up waiting for an hour for the rain to subside enough for a safe trip home.
3. Before going to bed, I prepare next day’s lunch: steamed rice, fried tofu and bacon slices, with a generous sprinkling of ground basil leaves.
1. Despite the heavy rains earlier in the evening, I travel home through roads with minimal traffic and flood-free. Yey!
2. In the middle of a down moment, I hear a knock on my door. It is Papa dropping in for a visit, and we are able to have a long chat, the first in months. I miss those days when he would fetch me from school and we would walk from Taft Avenue to his office in Escolta. For a kilometer or so I’d skip merrily and chatter away while he’d listen to me with a grin. On the rare occasions that I’d pause for breath, Papa would share tidbits about the historical landmarks of old Manila.
3. My quiet time is about Esther 1-4, and I remember Mordecai’s admonishment to his niece:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your fatherâ€™s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?â€ Esther 4:14 NIV
1. To cap his message this Sunday, our pastor quotes Oswald Chambers on certainty:
“Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.“
2. While PD accompanies the worship team on the piano, Kuya Rael plays grace notes simultaneously on the upper part of the scale. Later, Kuya Pamfi plays the opening of “Prayer of st. Francis,” and I remember that it is the first song he conducted when he came back to the Vesper Choir, eleven years ago.
3. Exactly one year ago, the earth stopped turning. I miss my Trumpets Playshop MTA classmates. You definitely made my summer 2010 superb.
4. I am given three key words for this season: balance, relationships, and impact.
1. My Ian is positively glowing and gloating. Not only did he win 2 (make that 4) Munchkin games in a row, he has also converted Stephen and Glenn to the cause. Gunns and Chen introduce us to Mission Impossible, and the mayhem continues as the beach and sea go unnoticed.
2. It is a beautiful day to be baptized, with the seawater as clear and calm as glass. Darlene and Stephen testify about their faith, and we applaud as they emerge from the water.
3. Casting an envious eye at the real swimmers, I attempt to float on my back. Darlene reminds me to keep my head tilted up, while my Ian supports me with an arm under my back. Eventually he drops his arm, and I float unaided for the first time. I alternate between squinting against the sun’s glare, and staring in wonder at the endless blue sky.
1. The whole day is spent trying to ignore, medicate, and just survive a pounding MPS-induced headache. My left arm, neck and temple are all throbbing in painful time to a sadistic drummer. Thankfully, I manage to finish everything in my queue. Medicine and hugs from my Ian makes it bearable, plus the promise of a massage asap.
2. I have lost count of the pizza parties at work, and it’s been only three weeks since I started. This time, there’s vegetarian pizza with white cheese. I gleefully eat two huge slices with nary a twinge of guilt.
3. After my (guilty) catastrophically late arrival, we are off to Bataan. Sorry pips. =( We weave our laborious way out of the metro, zip through NLEX and SCTEX, and then pick our way through the dark country roads of Morong. After four hours, Stephen drives the van into (a canal) a borrowed private beach house. Safe and sound.
1. Our bible study group in Ortigas (for Spondazontes) meets for the first time, after weeks of prayer and deliberation. We agree to meet every Tuesday night and study the book of 1st Peter. Hopefully, this group will be just like Philadelphia at Mcdo Philcoa.
2. Adios, brewed coffee. Lemon chamomile tea has now become my drink of choice after sunset.
3. After work and the BS, I get my things ready for my second Bataan trip this May. As IÂ try to zip up my bag, I get a familiar sinking feeling: once more, I’ve overpacked.
1. I spy a big glass jar filled with hopia during dinner. Sweet and savory dessert to cap a nice sinigang meal.
2. We encounter a familiar passage in the bible study, Matthew 20:1-16, which my Ian preached about last Labor Day. It is a welcome reminder that God is generous and merciful, and that there will be a reversal of values in the Kingdom.
1. The whole office eats lunch out at Mr. Choi, where we feast on Chinese goodies such as dimsum, garlic shrimp, fried squid, lemon chicken, duck, yang chow rice and mixed vegetables. I watch in amazement as plates of food seems to evaporate in mid-air.Â I jealously guard my mango pudding since my first serving of dessert was snatched by my seatmate.
2. In return, the aforementioned seatmate treats me to a stick of honey. It is a nice sweetener for my instant coffee. She is forgiven.
3. It seems that the cure for insomnia is good old-fashioned fatigue. Instead of my usual hours of tossing and turning, I drop off to dreamland almost immediately after I bid my Ian goodnight.