Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Grazie, 2013

On the 30th day of December, a friend and I were talking over a bottle of wine. We were having a recap of what transpired during the year that passed: what took place beginning January 2013, how we began our year, how we carried on, and how we would eventually end another 365 and a quarter days of our lives.

While I munched on a slice of parmesan-filled pizza and took a sip of wine, I went on a trip down the memory lane.

If 2013 were a person, it would have two faces: that of a sweet lady and another of a tough man.

My first few months of 2013 were both planned and a surprise.

I began the year looking forward to a dear friend’s wedding where I would also serve as her maid of honor. Being her maid, I delved into every aspect of the preparation beginning from the dresses that would be worn for the pre-nup shoot, the storyline of the pre-nup, keeping in touch with the bridesmaids, arranging the bridal shower, keeping a backbone of support for both the bride and the groom -- the list was endless. Every detail was fun, though I had to admit I was also feeling gloomy throughout because I would be losing a very dear friend with whom I have spent sleepless nights with for some random conversation of anything under the big round moon. By losing, I neither mean dying nor moving out of the country. What I meant was: she was finally “settling down” in a new realm while I would be left in the world of single people who would always appear in pursuit of either love or adventure.

My girlfriend Ruthie and I before the ceremony
My body seemed to be both happy and sad as well. The night before her big day, I was suffering from whooping cough. I even buried myself under the comforter just to try to shield her from whatever virus I was emitting in our room. Luckily though, when I had my first ever maid of honor speech,  my lungs seemed to have cooperated. I nailed my speech for the newly wed couples, darling. Beat that, lungs.

The events were all planned (well, except for that whooping cough on my friend’s wedding day). What was unplanned? Our family’s trip to Hong Kong. This was one of the sweetest faces of my year. It was exactly a week before my friend’s wedding.

It's the Hong Kong Disneyland, baby!
The view from the Ocean Park tower
The loves of my life
Exploring Lantau Island via some 30 km cable car ride
In March, Papa urged Mama and my brother to finally get their passports while I renewed mine. He said at first passports were basic ID’s and so it would be important for them to have theirs. Little did we know he was already planning an out-of-the-country trip. We learned about it probably a month before our vacation.
We went to Lantau island, the Hongkong Ocean Park, and Disneyland. For four nights and three days, we were together round the clock. Papa would even make us coffee for our midnight snack (he would rarely do that back home because he would always be out for work). I was beyond happy. One prayer ticked off my seven dreams in my Novena to God’s love.

Another of the sweetest faces of my year was getting promoted at work – not once, but twice. This was among my biggest breakthroughs. From being a writer to a senior writer (promotion #1)  up to a junior producer (promotion #2). Everything seemed to have barreled past by me. During the first week of October, our boss personally talked to us and told us that we have already been promoted since the first day of the month.

The producers during our holiday gathering
The first thing in my mind was: this was never what I wanted. I wanted the other way. Nonetheless, I was still thankful. I was thankful for my boss who always got our back and who always believed in us even when others don’t. If there were tough faces in our workplace, my boss would both have a tough and sweet face. Tough love for us to learn, but sweet guidance to help us climb the corporate ladder. After all, what we were in has always been a jungle of sorts.

My closest friends surprised me at home on my birthday. And beginning June to December, I only had two things in mind: gratitude and love.

Thankful for all the people who have taken part in my year. And grateful for all the love I have been receiving.

And the items ticked off my bucket list?

  • Visit the Pink Sisters chapel and have reflection and/or prayer time there.
  • Maintain my blog (well, partly I did).
  • Beef up my savings.
  • Do zipline!
Conquered my fear! 300 m zipline with the awesome view of Taal lake!

Among my answered prayers?

  • Travel abroad with my family
  • Serve with my family at the Feast (taking part in the offertory a week after my birthday)
On the 30th day of December, a dear friend and I were talking over a bottle of wine. We were having a recap of what transpired during the year that passed.

We realized how blessed we have been beginning January 2013 until we end another 365 and a quarter days of our lives.

As we exited the restaurant, the waiters thanked us and bade us goodbye, "Grazie."

Cheers to another bountiful, love-filled, and successful year.

Thank you, Lord.

Grazie, 2013.

-----------------

And as you all can see, the ball has stopped half way to its perch. It's suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the new year, to stop, and reflect on the year that has gone by, to remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken, the times we opened ourselves up to great adventures... or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt. Because that's what new year's all about: getting another chance, a chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more, and to stop worrying about what if... and start embracing what will be. So when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let's remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other, and not just tonight but all year long.

Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world we can't control. Earthquakes, floods, reality shows... But it's important to remember the things that we can. Like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts... Because the one thing that turns the world from the longing place to a beautiful place... is love. Love and any of its forms. Love gives us hope... Hope for the New Year. That's what New Year's Eve is to me. Hope and a great party!

- New Year's Eve (2011)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Struggling, to begin with

I've struggled so much in writing the first line of this post. I did.

I usually get a boost from music, but I neither have my iPad right now or a good earphone that's compatible with my phone for a good, spontaneous, beautiful sound trip.

So I can't come up with a good introduction to let you know that despite the random, confusing, and baffling thoughts that are running in my mind, I am grateful. I have been counting my blessings daily since Monday. Today, I am already on my 4th day of my 30 days of gratitude.


Day 2 (November 26, Tuesday)

My officemate friend took a day off from work to have a check-up regarding her recurring dizziness. I was the only producer left for our afternoon news bits running every 15 minutes. We only had two writers; so technically, on this day, we were only three brains processing news bits to come up with two to three-minuter broadcast news productions. We began the grind at 2 pm and wrapped up our tasks at 5 pm.

I could say that even though we were apparently lacking in manpower, we did our job well. Every script was written well. Every production went by smoothly. There was not a single complaint from our anchor or any violent comment from any of our bosses. The two writers, Sarah and Luigi, cooperated well.

At the end of our Tuesday news bit production, I had to thank my two writers for doing well and a job well done. We were a good team. I was thankful for them, for everyone in the control room who had a hand in the on-air job, for our production manager who entrusted us with our job. I thanked God for my job and the dream He has placed in my heart that led me to where I was.

My family was well. All my loved ones were fine. I had a great, loving relationship. I was thankful for a tiring yet fulfilling day. Nothing I could ask for.


Day 3 (November 27, Wednesday)

As our coffee put it, "Good day."

I began the day in good light. I had my daily coffee and breakfast bond with Erika whom I call honey or baby. The day went by as it has always been, not until afternoon came, and my a cloud of doubt, fear, and anxiety cast my heart again.

Queen and I were prepared for a breaking news. We informed the anchor and everyone in the control room. Perhaps everyone knew what they were supposed to do. Not until someone sat in the control room and seemed to have taken the helm at producing the developing story. We surely knew what we would do, but this voice would mumble and command words that no one could counter; so we just abode by whatever she told us. Yet again, the command was ours -- is ours -- so when things went wrong, we were the one who answered for it.

That incident seemed to have creased or stained our clean and happy sheet of paper. Nonetheless, we chose to move on because it would do us no good if we would just dwell on it. So we continued with our afternoon obligations, and shortly before our primetime newscast began to air, one of our bosses gave us a waffle treat. A perk of having a friendly and cool boss haha :)

I had banana peanut. Jade had caramel. Queen had cream cheese. We had a great snack time together!

Before I capped off the day, I met a college friend for a quick yet sweet catch-up. It sort of turned into a pre-quarterlife crisis talk. She had just transferred to a new company whose office happened to be just a floor away from ours (reason why we finally found a chance to meet after over a year). She was missing her old job, and perhaps, the people in it, or most probably, a guy with whom she became really close. Based on her sharing, their relationship was a one-way love (where the love was coming from no one else but her). Anyway, in a nutshell, they didn't become lovers. Just friends.

I shared with her my current status and how happy I was. I also told her how I have been thinking venturing into a new job within the industry I have been accustomed to. We talked about our dreams, retirement plans, and the likes. More or less a really mature talk right there.

I was thankful for my daily morning coffee with my honey. I was grateful for people who challenge me to raise the bar and teach me to stand my ground. I was thankful for our boss' waffle treat. I was thankful for my night-talk with my friend.

I was thankful for everything.

I am thankful for all.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

I woke up to my usual morning lullaby that would never fail me to pull me up from my bed. I went to the office early -- thanks to the MRT that lovingly took part with my bagong buhay wag na ma-late (please) at magtipid na (please) goal. Everything was falling in the right place, when something seemed to have fallen out of the way. I received a text message from our executive producer:

"May emergency sa house. Di ako aabot... Text ko na lang later sina... kung makahabol ako sa... Tnx. Cc: Jam...."

Out of instinct, I kept my cool and chose to go by the day as it has been in the past months. Breakfast. Kisses. Hugs. Kulitan. Back to workstation. Do the day's line-up. Consult people. Confirm details. Cross-read news. Proofread scripts. Write (or rewrite) scripts. Follow-up stories. Ask for scripts. Seek guidance. Seek advice. Compromise. Write. Doubt. Pursue your work. Persist. Insist. Give in. Argue. Stand your ground. Argue. Question. Answer questions. Lead. Work well.

As one of our show's producers, I had to fill in the big shoes our E.P. left us for the day and assume responsibilities that could -- more or less -- make or break my career, my heart, and my dreams. Yet sticking to my instinct, I kept my cool. The day went by. 

We set sail. Blessed enough with a good day and a great team, we set sail together. It wasn't perfect. It has never been.

But we did it. We completed our noontime news program's production smoothly.

No loud voices at the end of the show. Quiet exit. And you knew, all things were ok.

Except for one (or maybe two). But that would hardly count.

We did it. And for that, I'm thankful,

Thank you for today's grace, Lord. Thank you in advance for better days.

Hold our hands forever. :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

No tallies. No countdowns.

How many bus rides,
how many spaghetti meals,
how many ice creams will I still have
with you?

How many more chances can I play
with the mole on your left hand?
How many times I can pinch
your fluffy belly and
poke your love handles
that I've ever loved to cuddle with?

How many more instances can I
hug you from behind,
or fiddle with your soft hair
or pull it -- just because?

How many more times will I go home
with your scent sticking onto my hands,
arms, and shirt,
or even to my water jug
which I've always wondered how you do so?

How many more mornings
will I wake up to your voice,
or laugh with you over Winnie and Piglet,
Tom and Jerry, Barney and Tweety,
and other innocent cartoons,
or simply adore Sulley and Mike
and wrap them around our arms
-- for real?

How many more chances
can we sing together
and blurt our hearts out to songs
that speak of our joy,
"Now that I have you?"

How many more times will we sit
side by side heeding to silence,
or talk over the phone
amid quietude at night
or in the morning?

How many more phone calls, messages,
e-mails, tweets, sweet words,
surprises, caresses, clingwraps,
tight embraces, gentle cuddles,
and kisses?

I feel like we're on a race with time
where I'd rather choose to lose
and come last at the finish line.
Looks as if we're trying to mangle
with the world where each day,
week, and month is like
a ticking time bomb
that can go off anytime
before our own eyes. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tulang wala lang

Nagbabago na ang ihip ng hangin.
Tila hindi na maganda ang mga nangyayari. 
Maaaring signos
o maaaring kathang-isip lamang.


Napakaraming bagay
Ngunit sa mga bagay na lilipas 


na lumilipad sa isip.
Maraming katanungan
na gustong sagutin.
Maraming takot
na gustong harapin.
At maraming bagay
na gusto na lamang palipasin.

mayroong ayaw pakawalan
ngunit mayroon din namang
mga hahayaan na lamang.

Sa pagpikit ng mga mata
tanging dalangin
ang mawala ang masaming hanging
nagdadala ng hindi magandang himig.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Questions. And Answers.



We came with questions in mind ready to be imparted to one another. As to the level of honesty to self and others, however, I could not exactly assess. I have my own biases and reasons to keep certain truths to myself. Yet one thing I'm sure of: we were all carrying something in us. A burden, a challenge, angst, anxiety, guilt-feel. We had questions we ought to answer.

The ball began to roll. What makes you wake up each morning?

Family. Dreams. Beloved, special someone. Upcoming events.

Megan shared a story about a colleague who passed away due to a blood clot in the brain. She said it was so sudden, that her friend's death hugely impacted her more than that of her mom's. She lost her mom to cancer earlier this year. Like any other stories in cancer books, they knew they had to face a day when they had to bid goodbye to her mom who fought the Big C very badly after remission. But her friend's death was, indeed, a thief in the night. "Kausap ko pa siya last week lang. Tapos biglang, wala na. Ambilis." It came to her that a life could get away in a blink of an eye.


Which led her to the second question for the night. What would you like to ask: yourself.

Am I ready to die? The question seemed to have unleashed a ball of fire directed at each one of us that we couldn't help but look down and utter an "aw" altogether aloud. It struck one of our friends most: Patty, who is now fighting cancer on her own.


After a nearly perfect and very blissful summer of travels and getaways, she found herself suffering from a dysmenorrhea-kind-of-pain which, after a quick check-up, was found to be the Big C. Like death, cancer was like a thief in the night which could hack your joy, hope, and love for the world.

But Patty was a different kind of cancer story. She admitted breaking down after learning from her parents that the mass taken from one of her ovaries -- which grew terribly big that we wondered how it fit her system -- was malignant. Nevertheless, her larger-than-life faith overpowered her fears and pains. Instead of sulking in the corner to wallow in misery, she sat with God in prayer and spoke with Him in silence. She asked Him, "Why me?" With which, she also answered herself, "Why not?" And that made all the difference.

How are you? It was what Patty would always hear from people, with which, she would respond with, "I'm OK." She admitted, however, that it was a question very hard to answer, because she wasn't sure if answering with an "OK" will spell the truth, or giving an "I'm in pain" would just make people bend with pity and sympathy. She said she's not in pain. But she was not completely fine. She said she was just happy with the overwhelming love pouring in from friends, acquaintances, and colleagues.

Where am I headed? Are we prepared? Uncertainty is one of the spices of life, yet if it was a taste-booster, it would probably be a bitter gourd, sea salt, or pepper. It was a query Ate Lissy asked herself -- bearing in mind that she and her boyfriend are now headed for the altar sometime next year. Good thing, though, she had already ironed out issues with her mom. The issues became matters-of-the-heart that her mom was completely unaware of. She and her mom have begun with a clean slate for another mother-daughter drama etched in the book of human history.
Tabula rasa.

How bad do I want this? I asked myself as I prepare to knock on a door I've been wanting to hardly pound on for the past years. I couldn't quite express my thoughts downright. At that moment, I couldn't find the right words to say: I've seen myself doing that all these years, that's what I'm born to do (or has been shaped to do).


Will you fight for it? Ate Lissy spotted the confusion in my heart.

And at that moment, I became honest. I knew all along, I wanted it badly.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Catch-ups and truths

I haven't seen my CG (caring group) friends for quite a while, and tomorrow I will be spending a night with them for a monthly sharing and meet.

There's a lot of catching up to do. From my last session with them, everyone was healthy, happy, and hopeful. As of Facebook news, text blast, and brief hi-hello-how-are-you, Patty - who has been a mighty, committed servant of God along with her family - is now fighting cancer. Ate Lissy and her boyfriend have stepped up for another level of lifetime companionship, willingly taking part in the Discovery Weekend. Gigi has joined a group of Bible-lovers who studies the Holy Bible in depth. The others, uhm, I barely know anything about them anymore.

Me? Let me put it this way.

Ate Lissy has given us a homework. 

Write down your own reflection answers then share natin:
1. What makes you wake up each morning?
2. What's your one big question to: yourself, others (identify to whom), God. Why?

If I have to answer these with no holds barred, I would straightforwardly share my current state of love and life and how this has been bringing light to my daily struggles and chores. I would tell them who I am committed to, who I love, and with whom I want to share my infinity. I would tell them what I want to ask her, and what I would also ask myself in relation to her, which I guess, in the end, I will still be unable to answer myself. 

But I know, everything will put a frown on their faces. Their blank stares will eat me up like a lion preying on a snake in the jungle. They will treat whatever I have right now as a disease that has to be cured.

Only a few people will understand. Even among my closest friends -- not all of them do. 

So I will probably give them answers that won't touch on what -- I believe -- they are unprepared for and will never want to hear. But I will still be real and true in sharing-- in other life aspects, at that.

But if you ask me right now.

Yes, I am in love. I am loving. And I am holding on.

Never letting go.

The boy who sang alms

He clung to the end of the jeepney. He sat on the platform where people rest their feet for a second before finally ascending into the vehicle for a convenient ride. For him, however, the way in is his couch -- a pleasing resting place where he can sit down for a while and heave a sigh of relief.

He mumbled words with a rather eerie melody. Oh, no. He sang. He was singing. He hummed notes that seemed to be going nowhere after giving away white, dilapidated envelopes. His friend alighted soon after he finished distributing his own set of envelopes. But this boy stayed and waited for strangers to slip even a penny into the crumbling pieces of paper.

A man seated on the edge portion of the jeepney alighted. The boy wasted no time to take his place for a brief comfortable ride. I caught a clearer, closer glimpse of him: he donned in brown shirt with gray neckline and sleeves. His shorts were white with stains of grease -- or whatever dirt it is. His slippers seemed to have chased pavements of a thousand miles. His feet were dark; his nails were long, jagged, and dirty. 

His collarbone vividly peeked into the open, while his shoulders held his shirt very loosely -- as if trying to mimic a hanger where an unwashed piece of clothing dangle freely. His brown skin seemed to have been made tanner by noontime sun washing his youthfulness away. If the eyes were indeed windows to one's soul, his soul was speaking of restlessness, grief, pity, and disgust. He looked hungry and tired. Yet helpless.

He got up to take back his white, dilapidated envelopes. He flattened every piece to check if anyone cared enough to slip a penny for a slice of loaf or a piece of pan de sal.

Yet no one did.

I carry your heart with me (E. E. Cummings)

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

God doesn't cough on you

There was a guy who needed a date for an event. He was asked by his friends to a dare: they will go to one of their girl friends' house and check whether she was a "date-able" kind. "If you don't like her, cough out," one of them said. So, they set off: a cough will make mark whether a deal was set -- or not.

It was the moment everyone was waiting for. They looked at each other on the eye as they stood on the porch. They rang the door bell. The gate swung open. A few meters from where they stood, a lady with a simple yet stunning beauty walked over. Porcelain white skin. Wide, brown eyes. A smile of a thousand words. Everyone was silent. All eyes were on her.

Amid the deafening silence, the girl let out a loud cough. A deal just fell through.

It was a gamble for both the guy and and the girl to come close to a deal just to get to know someone for a one-time date or a lifetime friendship. Nevertheless, when it comes to the Father, He didn't just gamble; rather, He gave in and gave out completely to ask us out for an eternity with Him. In last week's Makati Feast Legaspi, Bro. Jan Silan said God doesn't cough on us. Because at the moment He visited us, He knew exactly what He would see: the most beautiful creature crafted in His image and likeness. "In fact, He wants to reveal himself to you!" Bro. Jan exclaimed.

We see and meet Jesus everywhere, just as he is merely donned in blue jeans. Bro. Jan described Him as "transcendent" and "immanent". God is transcendent: He sees, hears, feels, smells, tastes everything. Just as the heaven is a vast space which is immeasurable in human eye, God is on top of everything. He assumes the top post of humanity, because people need someone to rescue them whenever they drown in worldly pleasures and problems.

In the same way, God is imminent. He is like a hanging vine ready for tight grips whenever one needs to cross from one tree to another. He is always ready to aim a beautiful word or song at us whenever we are seeking His wisdom. Above all, God dwells in us.

Bro. Jan shunned existing myths on prayer and said there is no such thing as a "right way of praying" for everyone. We can pray to Him as God, Father, Daddy, Aba, or Friend. Likewise, we can't measure how successful we are in connecting with Him by the words we mumble or the length of time we spend in prayer. As it is said, "The key to all success isn't the quality of your feelings but the quality of your faithfulness."

In the end, Bro. Jan wrapped up the talk by encouraging everyone to always ask God for His powerful message, "What is God telling me?"

And whenever you ask, prepare to act.


"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
- Romans 12:1-2

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Wrote this for the Makati Feast Legaspi bulletin's "Blast from the Past" for July 4 at midnight of July 3rd.

I was looking for other stories to place in the bulletin, when I chanced upon tweet from Time saying Pope John Paul II has already been cleared for sainthood. 

Completing the contents of Thursday's bulletin in the wee hours of the morning is strenuous and out of rhythm. Yet what evil intends for harm, God has purposefully designed for the better and best. I therefore included the John Paul story in the bulletin. Ain't it cool? :)

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My heart is in delight of you, Lord. I am never worthy to serve you, yet you never look at my frailty; rather, you look at me as your daughter who can do everything.  Many times I have wanted to give up. Yet your love lifts me up and your words push me to carry on. Yours are all the glory. May people get inspired by what they will read tomorrow. Amen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

6112013

                                   Jamelle Ann's 24th birthday in 14 frames.

                     
                                                     With Feast friends
      
                     
                       With office friends where I share the same birthday with Sir Ed


And... A bonus birthday last weekend. With my fellow June babies Tay Nin and Atty. Rhina with out good friend Terry.

                      
                                     Our foursome trip down south in Tagaytay ❤
       
Thank you Lord for a great 24th. I know 'tis just an awesome start :) Hawak-kamay!

Silence of lambs

A sign said, "Please turn your phone into silent mode." I turned my phone into vibrate mode and my ipad's volume at its lowest. Then, we went inside.

It was my first time at the Pink Sisters Convent in Tagaytay - one of those places I've been wanting to go to since last year. As we walked towards the center of the church, I could feel and hear the beat of my heart. It was beating faster than the usual - a sign of excitement and overwhelm for a dream coming true right before my eyes.

Atty. Rhina and Tay Nin went to the pew beside the middle aisle. Terry and I sat at the one beside theirs. They immediately knelt down and began their prayer. I - as astounded and amazed as I was - couldn't go down on my knees at once. For a few minutes, I was musing praises and thanksgiving in my heart while sitting upright. I turned my gaze to the nuns in pink - thus explaining how the convent's moniker was coined -  who were at peace while down on their knees before the altar. There was a great railing divide between their prayer area and the faithful's place. I thought, "How sweet and amazing it is to just praise, worship, give thanks, and talk to God for hours in a place as serene as this?"

I couldn't quite express my joy in words. Silence embraced me, and all I had in my heart were pure thanksgiving and praise. I thanked God for my friends who I have been with in that trip, for my family who has been there for me from birth until forever, for a simple yet love-filled birthday, for another year of breakthroughs, for my job and a career in the offing, for my spiritual family, for my angels everywhere. 

I finally found my good time to kneel down, close my eyes, and clasp my hands in a position of prayer. For a few minutes, I was away from the world. I was insulated from chaos. My heart was in real peace. 

All I could hear was my own voice uttering words in silence.

       
                                  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just the way it is

                                                       It is a love that's unplanned. 

It: Refers to two persons who have professed and confessed their feelings to each other. Since there are two parties in the "relationship", the whole cannot be monopolized for each side has her own story. You cannot say how much a penny is worth until you see both sides. You cannot say how beautiful a stretch of a shore is until you walk through it from end to end. You have to listen to their tales and understand the beauty of their personal lives. It is only by this way you will truly understand and appreciate the value of "it" -- no more, no less.

Is: A "be" verb in the present tense. It connotes time. It links the subject "it" to the predicate (which happens to be a complex one). 

Love: Merriam-Webster has nine definitions of this overrated, complex term. She says love is "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties." She also says it is an "an assurance of affection", as to the statement "give her my love". While it can also refer to a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion" as to "love of the sea" or "the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration" as to "baseball was his first love". Love can also be used as a term of endearment to refer to someone special. In unadultered terms, love is "unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another as to "the fatherly concern of God to humankind", "a person's adoration of God, or "a god or personification of love." In tennis, love is a score of zero.

So many definitions, explanations, examples. Be that as it may, in human terms, love can never be expounded in mere words. It has to be shown. Like how Elizabeth Barret Browning asked, "How do I love thee?" 

Let me count the ways. 
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 
I love thee to the level of every day's 
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; 
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 
I love with a passion put to use 
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. 
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 

You have to count the ways. Yet love blossoms even in the most unexpected place and at the most unfathomable time and way. In many cases, it is unplanned.

Unplanned: You may have seen it in the offing. But you cannot say love is until it is said and done. 

A nugget of truth:
Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused. - Paulo Coelho

Hands off on manipulation. No one will be placed behind bars. No analysis -- or over-analysis, at that.

Just plain, unadultered, pure love. Just the way it is.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Honeys :)

I was sifting through my inbox on my Facebook account -- which has some 20+ unread messages and I wonder why -- when I found this.

                          

It was Kai's message, linked as an attachment. I didn't see the pic at once because I read her message only via BB FB app which doesn't show attachments. Di ko tuloy na-appreciate agad kasi di ko agad nakita tsk. :)

It's me and my honey Kai. That's us, crazies nyahaha :) 
      

Lots of shiz at 2 a.m.

                                     Shiz n. \sheez\ Refers to anything. Synonymous to stuff.

                                   Ex. Shiz like that shouldn't be allowed to just come to pass!
                                             What are you holding? That shiz is adorable!


Shiz is a term I learned from my friend Queen. She uses it often during random conversations. As a noun, shiz is interchangeable with stuff. For example, she would say, "Ang saya non, Jam! Yung mga ganong shiz" or "Kulang sa thought, lagyan mo ng word, kahit anong shiz..."

Allow me to share the shiz I have in my mind right now.

1. I had one of the toughest week I ever had at work. Well, it was a rollercoaster ride. We had a new producer on Monday, we were informed about a possible promotion on Tuesday, we had a terrible and tiring Wednesday and Thursday, and we had a smooth-flowing and easy Friday. While en route home on Friday, I could barely resist my eyes begging for brief shutdowns while I was on a cab. I could feel my body being literally pulled down to the hearth for a much-deserved rest. When I arrived home, I laid down and slept for about two hours - with my work clothes on - before I finally mustered the energy to wash-up. Dead-tired, truly.

Nonetheless, I am thankful. God pushes you to your limits and rocks your boat for you to look farther and go beyond the horizon. I was never expecting the announcement from my boss. I have been pondering of expressing my intent to do something else at work. But then, we have been offered this. I'm giving it a try, so I can learn the ropes even more and see how much more I can do. I learned you won't always be given what you want, but the world will give you options to help you get what you want. I'm making the office my professional playground where I can compete with myself, and at the same time, goof around with my colleague-friends. I will always have to bear in mind that everything I have right now are answered prayers. Even if some have yet to be answered -- still, they are answered, but in a manner of "wait".

2. Eraserhead's "With a Smile" just popped in my mind. 

Lift your head
Baby don't be scared
Of the things that could go wrong
Along the way
You'll get by with a smile
You can't win at anything
But you can try

My brain is a DJ-radio tandem of sort: it plays a song that expresses what I feel. So there, we'll get by with a smile.

3. Our new producer is really getting into my nerves. I dislike many things about him. Professionally speaking, he rants about so many things very publicly that I am often tempted to ask him, "Sir, gusto mo pa ba yung ginagawa mo? May choice ka naman e." Yet I realize that at times, we just have to let go of what we can't change and get by with them. In this case, the above-mentioned attitude of my co-worker. Again, we'll get by with a smile.

4. I am blessed with good people wherever I go. I got new friends in the office who are gradually becoming so dear to me. And they actually helped me live in the week that passed. Angels abound!

5. Mama and Papa are not in good terms for more than a week now. Before Mama went to sleep, she told me, "Kausapin mo na yang Papa mo...." Et cetera et cetera. I am not used to things like this. I don't like being caught in the middle. Yet being the panganay, I have to step forward and make a move to patch things up. Oh, boy, I hate family issues. Let there be peace on earth.

6. I'm gaining weight again. I can feel my shorts and jeans getting more skimpy. Muffin top bulging. I have to get back to jogging again.

7. So far, I haven't read as interesting and can't-put-down book as "The Fault in our Stars". Though I'm in the quarter of "Abundance of Katherines" (also John Green's) and a few others of Green in my stash. In line are Murakami and Hosseini.

8. I went up our rooftop because I wanted to get a feel of a quiet "outside". I was actually longing for a good convo over coffee with a friend or two, yet I'm already home. I miss honest and sincere talks over coffee or milk tea. Maybe that's why I am writing shiz right now in lieu of midnight talks. 

9. My birthday is fast approaching. I have no idea what to do on that day. 

                                         

Madness begets madness

Lightning streaked through the dark evening sky, yet no rain came. I was fretting over treading on wet pavements while walking home. Since no drop fell from the heavens - despite a stark warning of a looming storm - Jigs and I got home dry, happy, and safe. 

We came from a friend's birthday bash. It was Mark's birthday - my GF Ruthie's hubby. I was actually supposed to attend to another friend's baby shower, yet I had to fulfill a promise to my brother that we're gonna watch Hangover 3. Because Ruthie's place is nearer to Greenbelt, I chose to go there. By the way, I still have to get to the Tolentino couple to say sorry that I didn't make it in their event. Why is it that some days are events-heavy while others are plain and dull and lifeless? Test of will in times like this haha.

Anyway, we did watch Hangover 3, but we ended up watching it with the gang at the Sy's home. Jow downloaded a good copy of it, so we just watched it together. Jigs and I were supposed to watch another movie after, but since it was already late, we just decided to go home. 

It was a good, steady Saturday. I got to clean my room. I got to bond with good friends. I got to see my GF who I terribly miss (see previous post). I got to watch Hangover 3.

And now, I got the luxury of time to stay in our rooftop, feel the cool breeze, and look at the skies that display a mix of velvet clouds against the black blanket of eternity. There's silence.

At night, the world is at peace. Everyone is dreaming. And souls are searching for meaning.

Before everything snaps back again to reality, when the sun illumines the sky again and wake the world up for another day.

--------

Lingering thought on Hangover 3: Madness begets madness. 

Random sweetness, yeah?

Someone who will stay up late with you over endless talks in the moonlight. Laugh out loud over inside (and outside) jokes at any given time. Do even the most nonsense things for both a laugh and an adventure. Random texts over smalltime and bigtime kiligables, good mornings, and good nights. Movie marathons, book readings, swimmings. Stories of utmost importance and kakornihan.

This girl has instantly promoted me from being a flowergirl to a maid of honor. I had a great time carrying your trail even though its weight was - I guess - a quarter of mine. Haha, kei, I'm exaggerating. But we all know that it was damn heavy, yeah?

This is weird, but everything seemed to have flashed back when I saw you a while ago. Nyahaha emo :)

Some friends will always and forever hold a dear place in your heart. My dear darling GF, you're amongst them. To infinity and beyond :)

I frakkin' miss you! 

                           

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 160: Thankful in the Midst of Suffering

The Bible encourages us to always be thankful. That's easy when God answers prayer and delivers us from problems. But it isn't always easy when things go wrong. So how can we remain thankful in the midst of suffering?

We have two choices to make. The first is to praise God in spite of what's going on in our lives. Or another way to say that is, in the midst of our troubles and hardships, we can rejoice over the things that are not wrong in our lives.

The second choice is to ask, "God, what can I learn from this? What do You want to teach me through this so that I may be closer to You and rejoice more fully in Your goodness?" Those are not easy questions, and the answers are often hard to hear.

Sometimes we can only grasp the important lessons in our lives when we go through difficult times. Thank God that the hard times will lead you to better things.

In the midst of suffering, give thanks to God and trust Him to lead you to bigger and better things.

Prayer Starter: God, I'm thankful for Your love and Your presence. Forgive me for grumbling when things go wrong, and remind me of how many things go right in my life. I want to rejoice in You always.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good morning, post-it.

                              

What greeted me in my desk this morning. Sweet nothings give you every good vibe you need to rev up for another working day. 

Thank God for sending me angels wherever I go. You never fall short of blessing me with good friends.

Thank you, my honey Kai :) You are amongst my sunshine in our daily work ❤

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LRT: Life's Rail Transit

Life's rail transit is never a perfectly convenient ride. At times, you have to wait for the coach to arrive amid a sea of impatient people wanting to get inside the train first. At other times, you have to queue with everyone else who eagerly and saddistically make their way out of the crowd to make it to the frontline. There are also some instances when you have to go down the coach and walk beside the railway because the train's engine bugged down - or somebody else jumped off the mezanine for the nth time to take his own life.

Be that as it may, we still choose to ride, because you will lose the joy and satisfaction of having tried riding a transit system that fuels both your humanity and vulnerable soul.

Life's rail transit is a good vehicle to be in, but there are risks that you have to consider once you immerse yourself into the busy transportation.

One of which  - albeit this happens very seldom - is when a train loses its way and gets derailed. The driver might have been too preoccupied that he overlooked the railway he's driving on. Or maybe the train's computer and engine just went on a haywire and paralyzed the entire system. Or it's just fate for train to go out of the way because the passengers aboard need to learn a lesson which only such a tragic incident can teach them.

Riding life's rail transit is exciting, time-saving, fun, and hilarious - yet at the same time, hazardous and deadly.

But as dawn breaks, you wake up, and leave for somewhere else, you still opt for life's transit system, because it's the only way to get by and get there - wherever you wanne be.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Anong plano mo?

When the lights have shut down and all the people have left, there are many things that remain - but only one: MEMORIES.

Memories of people you've talked to, hold hands with, embraced, set your eyes into, laughed with, wept with, shared stories with. At the end of each working day, when all the laughter have subsided and all the jokes have dissipated into thin air, what's left of me - aside from memories - is a query I always ask myself.

Anong plano mo?

I've been in talks with colleague-friends for days now, and all we've been talking about are our present (what's happening, how do we get by, how will we deal with this) and the future (what will we do, what's our next step, what's your plan). The last item have been sending chill to my spine since yesterday.

Anong plano mo?

Yesterday, Jodey muttered, "Bakit ganon, tuwing aalis ka, ang tanong agad sa'yo ng mga tao, anong plano mo? Hindi ba pwedeng wala? Wala lang, gusto mo lang umalis." I told her that questions as such - more often than not - pertain to one's capacity to sustain finances. We work to earn money, we earn money to sustain our needs, we need to sustain our needs to grow. It's a simple logic, yet at the same time, a complex system of thought.

Yet it dawned on me that those questions aren't only asked to those who are leaving. THAT question is also directed to those who are staying.

Anong plano ko?

Clearly, I have plans. I have A PLAN. But I still have to muster courage to explicitly express my intention to take my life to a higher level.

Or maybe, I will be able to do so when I'm prompted by chance.

No more thinking. Just saying.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Backtrack

There are some people 
you wish have just stayed
and have never left. 
That you often find yourself
Seeing how things could have been
With them around
- laughing, playing, weeping.
Or simply,
Just there.

The law of the world on change
is oftentimes cruel
- as it can even break
the bones of thy soul.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Food. And Family.

The weekend that passed could be summed up in two words: Food and Family.

Saturday was well spent with my Makati Feast Media Ministry friends for our planning and team-building. It was a no grand out-of-town, detaching-from-the-world team-building; but it was an awesome, hilarious, productive, and fun session. I am blessed to have been serving with them all. It made me realize - even more - that I have made the right decision to stay in the ministry and not give up.


God doesn't call the qualified; rather, He qualifies the called. Where He sends you, He equips you.

Whenever the going gets tough, God will be there. And when the group succeeds, God will be there. All the glory goes back to Him. As Paul's letter to the Colossians (Col. 1:17) says,  ""He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." 

Food was overflowing. And the way each one treat another, it was a family.

-----

After the Ministry planning, I went straight to Ruthie's home. Rain was pouring hard; I got stranded for quite some time in one of the stores nearby, as well as in her brother's computer shop. Nonetheless, what welcomed me when I stepped in their house warded off any storm in my heart and dried up my damp spirit: the Juanson family and Sy family flashing their best smiles for a photo before dinner.



I haven't seen the couple for about two weeks. I missed them dearly. 

And again, there were lots of food. For me, they are a family.

-----

On Sunday, the Cataps went out to hear mass and dine out for lunch. For a change, we went to Solaire.

No casino, just for lunch. Though I am really curious, so I asked Papa a few questions about how you play there hehe :)


Again, oveflowing food. And family. <3

My Dear Baby Juanson,

How are you there?

Your mommy told me that you're still small albeit growing, and by the way she said it, I could feel her excitement and joy for your coming. So many people are looking forward to see you, hold you, carry you, kiss you, and embrace you. Many kids are also squealing in excitement to play with you, learn the alphabet with you, do math with you, and learn languages with you. You are indeed a gift - a present - that we look forward to having in the very near future. 

In the meantime, while you are forming and growing in Mommy's womb, we hope and pray that you will always be well, and your growth will be in rhythm with Mommy's health and condition. Just take one day at a time, no need to hurry, because we are all willing to wait to see you. Okay? Just enjoy your formative months, and while you do, we're gonna prepare for your coming in the Juanson home.

It was your mom's birthday yesterday. You are an advance birthday gift to her :) Thank you for coming just in time, because you are her greatest reason to be happy on her special day. You are indeed a blessing to your mom and dad.

As I write this to you, please extend my message to your mom. Your mom has been dear and special to me. We've been girlfriends for over year now, and we were both amazed how this friendship has grown in just a short span of time. I pray you, too, when you grow up, you'll find many girlfriends and best friends to keep - to laugh with, weep with, share stories with, and share sleepless nights with - both in happy times, and most especially, when the going gets tough. Give her my hugs and kisses to make her feel how much I love her.

When at times I don't appear, or just dissipate into thin air, tell her not to worry, because I have an alarm in my girlfriend-room that rings loudly and violently whenever I have to be around. And if a day comes I really won't able to make it, or I will be missing in action, extend my big warm hugs to her. 

Tell her as well I intentionally didn't put up any surprise for her birthday, because as much as I want to, I cannot yet outdo myself from previous surprises. I guess she'll understand, because I'm competitive - your mom is MORE competitive (I think you need to imbibe that attitude, darling). Be that as it may, tell your mom with or without surprises, my love for her remains - in leaps and bounds.

Baby, I'm looking forward to have you as my future-daughter's girlfriend (If you're a boy, then my future-son's dude). 

Here's to healthy pregnancy, good health, more love, and a life being lived well for your Mom and Dad whose joy is overflowing to have you around.

I love you. I love your Mom who I call Mommy-GF and your Dad who I call Papa Mark.



To infinity and beyond,

Tita Jam

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nick Vujicic: From a life without limbs to a life without limits

30 years ago, in the land down under, a child without limbs was born. No one could explain what happened to him. Even the best doctors in town could not tell why he did not have arms and legs. Nonetheless, he lived.

At 10 years old, he tried to take his own life by drowning himself in a bathtub. Yet just as he was about to take his last breath, an image popped into his mind: his parents and siblings were crying on his grave. He thought of his mom and dad who insulated him from the pain of being 'different' yet did not isolate him from the joy of normal living. He thought of his brother and sister who never left his side through all the ups and downs. He woke up, got up, and lived.

Nick Vujicic speaks before thousands in the Big Dome on Monday
Today, Nick Vujicic has been inspiring thousands of people around the world. He has been touring from continents to continents to share how living a life without limbs transformed into a life without limits. Over the weekend, he shared his story to the Philippines.

"As a Christian, you are not immune to ups and downs," he said. He stressed on the need to have an unstoppable faith in God, and believe in what he has in store for us, in order to endure the pains of the world and surpass obstacles. He also said that while it is fine to look up to preachers, motivators, and celebrities as idols, we must not forget that there is only one Christ we must look up to. He said, "When it comes to example of how we should live, how we should serve, Jesus Christ is the only one we should look up to." Everything and everyone else come secondary. He urged everyone to bear in mind what the song of Psalms say, in times of doubt and unbelief: The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

Vujicic highlighted the importance of focusing our gaze on Christ through the story of Peter when he walked on water. The Gospel of Matthew said Peter was able to walk on water for some time. The apostle got out of the boat, stepped on the sea, and walked on the waves towards Jesus. But when he noticed the waves and the wind, doubt and fear crept in; therefore, he sank. Vujicic said if we are not going to keep our eye on Christ, we will also submerge into the sea of fear and uncertainty.

Vujicic also called on everyone to offer their all to Christ and give Him the key to their house to prevent the evil’s attacks. Homes where Christ dwells in are spared from the devil’s assault. "Give the key to your house to Jesus. He will never outchange you," he exclaimed. Vujicic likewise advised servants to prioritize their families over their ministries. And for those who are in pain, he said, "When brokenness is upon you, hold on to the truth. And the truth will set you free."

Vujicic may have physical lacks, but he did not allow them to prevent him from living the life of a fully able human. In fact, he used those "lacks" in his advantage: he allowed Jesus' light to shine through him. As he said, "Whatever broken pieces you have, if you turn them up to God, He will transform it into an unimaginable beauty."