Word Vs. Work

How many times have we wished for something to happen? “I wish I could lose a few pounds”, “I wish I could have a house of my own”, “I wish for a husband/wife”, “I wish I could change myself but I can’t. I was born this way.”

The truth is, humans by nature wish for the good, if not the best, for their lives. Nobody would wish misfortune upon himself. But the question is,

have we done something about it as much as we’ve prayed for it?

Have we intentionally done something to achieve all our prayers?

That’s when the word “intentional” comes in. But lo, recently, I’ve come to love this not just as a word but as its meaning – “work” that is “done on purpose; deliberate.”

OUR DESIGN

A few months ago, I watched a “top show” by Pastor Joe Mauk, who cleverly used his hobby as a well.. top-spinner, to talk about Jesus Christ.

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And apart from the many messages embedded in his show, one struck me the most. He says, the top symbolizes us, as humans – fearfully and wonderfully made, while the string symbolizes our connection with God – who in turn, pulls the string and moves our lives. The main verb here is move. Because although we were created fearlessly and beautifully, it won’t make sense if we stand there, watching, moreso believing but doing nothing.

WE MOVE FOR ONE PURPOSE

If anything, I have realized that our purpose on earth is not to be served. But to serve. Suddenly, it dawned on me – we are not the entitled millennial we thought we were. We’re not the sheltered people who always have other people look after us. We are not meant to stay in our air-conditioned room watching Netflix or wasting away our days. Instead, we are commanded to serve for the glory of our Creator. 

I’ve realized, that it won’t devalue us if we wash the dishes or sacrifice our “me time” for the people that God entrusted to us to serve. And open your eyes – there are a lot of people who need our love and service. It could start from our homes.

FAITH STIRS ACTION

But hear this, faith comes first before action. For how can we define the things that need to be done without our guide? Without the string that connects us to God, how can we move? Who will pull us?

Faith without action is a lost cause. Some people judge Christians for being hypocrites, and we can’t blame them. Some Christians are only about “real talk” but lack “real walk.” You know what I’m saying?

BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS

Let me be honest, a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel empathy toward others. I had this high sense of self that I feel disconnected from the people around me. Though I am aware of their sufferings – I’d be passive and think there’s nothing I could do. I only cared about myself and the people close to me.

Until God broke me and revealed to me that we need other people as much as they need us. We don’t exist for ourselves alone because we are human. We are meant to ask help in times of our weakness and to offer help in times of our strength.

In the past months, I have donated blood for the first time, held my tongue amid anger and frustration, forgave people while still in pain, held my ground on a God-driven decision that offended a loved one, overlooked minor problems, and was the first to reach out to someone who caused me confusion.

I know that all these are nothing to what others may have experienced in their lifetime but to think that I would never have done these things before speaks a lot about how much I am willing to change myself. To sacrifice my own selfish happiness for the commandment that God has tasked for me.

Some Christians fail to act according to what they hear in Church, despite knowing that they are poor in spirit and despite accepting Christ in their lives. Let’s strive to be unlike that. Let’s turn our words into God’s works, shall we?

INTENTIONAL SERVICE MAY CAUSE UNINTENTIONAL TRANSFORMATION

And hopefully, through our intentional actions, our hearts transform. And instead of wishing only the good things for ourselves, we wish for the best upon others.

Let our prayers then be “I wish my family would be healthy”, “I wish we could have a house filled with love and peace”, “I wish to become the ideal husband/wife”, “I wish I could change the bad things in myself so that I can be a blessing and not a burden to others.”

Talk to me a few months back, and I won’t be able to define what love is. I was confused. Now I learn that love is thinking less about ourselves and more about others – even if it means at our inconvenience. Loving is serving – and it isn’t easy. After all, it requires us to break a sweat and move.

But trust in God’s promise – that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will bless us with all our heart’s desires.

I am thankful that God slowly reveals things to me every day. I know dear reader that this entry may be a bit vague. But I tell you, God will continuously reveal His work in Your life.

Trust His timing. Everything will be perfect.

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Ask yourself, how can I be intentional for all my goals?

How can I intentionally finish my “to-do” list at work?

How can I intentionally achieve my goals for my family?

How can I intentionally help someone who is hurting?

♥ Jazz

These six traits are the most important things our children should learn.

If I were to choose only six traits to instill in my son, it would be these:

HUMILITY. SELFLESSNESS. WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE. RESILIENCE. DISCIPLINE. FAITH AND LOVE.

1. HUMILITY

Knowing that we are “nothing” in this world helps us be more empathetic with others. But the most important thing that humility brings is that DESPITE ONE’S STRENGTH (ie. successes, money in the bank, achievements in life etc.), one would know that in the end, HE CANNOT DO EVERYTHING WITHOUT GOD.

Believing in the power of God and allowing ourselves to succumb to His glory will get people through any form of difficulty in life.

Because in reality, I want my son to realize that the world is not perfect but we can rise above it perfectly with God’s perfect love and guidance.

Bonus feeling that comes with humility is happiness. “I got nothing to lose but more to gain” attitude.

2. SELFLESSNESS

The worst trait anyone could have is selfishness. Learned this first hand. The moment we become selfish, we become proud. And the higher we get, the more we realize our own destruction. Selflessness on the otherhand allows us room for improvement. Everyday we learn not just from ourselves but also from other people. Selflessness doesn’t mean undermining one’s self. But it means we do not exist in this world for ONLY ourselves. We have a community to take care of. We think about world-wide success and not just our own interests. We get involved. We reach out. We care.

3. WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge involves learning facts and ideas from school, from books, the internet and the people around us. It is hard based evidence that includes maybe trivia, science, technology, technicalities, math and all its branches. We need to KNOW how things go and (as much as possible, though of course, we have to be kind to ourselves) we have that responsibility to not get lost in any topic simply because we did not read up much on it.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is one’s discernment that influences his choice for the right thing – especially when faced with difficult situations. It’s when reason ends, and we are left grasping for the right answers. It could be tricky. Where do we find wisdom? From your own experiences and from others’ of course. Also in the book of Proverbs.

4. RESILIENCE

Of course, mistakes will be inevitable as we are only human. But I want my son to learn that mistakes don’t mean the end. It only is a stepping stone for more knowledge and wisdom. Mistakes, no matter how big and small, can be completely turned around if you are resilient enough to return to the good path and get the great life God has promised us back.

5. DISCIPLINE

I want my child to learn that the quest for knowledge MAY NOT BE EASY. The path to righteousness does not always involve rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes, it’s a difficult and a sad path. It will entail sacrifice. But because you trust in God, you are resilient, and you believe that things will be better, you will learn to endure the now. Use wisdom to discipline yourself. NOT ALL FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS ARE TRUE OR RIGHT AT THE MOMENT. Control yourself.

6. FAITH AND LOVE.
I combined these two because love carries faith with it. If you truly love someone, you are faithful in that love. But should you make a mistake, be wise, be resilient, have the humility to accept wrong, and the discipline to walk the right way again.

 

Book react: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Staying true to my new year’s resolution of reading one book per month, and after finishing the hilarious “Rich People Problems” the first month, I reached for The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, which I’ve had stuck in the closet for three years. But what’s more surprising though is that the world has had this book for about 100 years!!!!!! First launched in the 1920s! That perhaps explains why the name Dolittle is very familiar. But sadly this was the first time I got to read a book from its series.

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For those planning to read it, I am warning you of spoilers ahead.

The book follows the story of Dr Dolittle – the famous naturalist who can speak to animals, narrated through the eyes of 12-year old boy Tommy Stubbins. The first wow moment in the film was when Stubbins first set foot in the doctor’s house, which was filled with all sorts of animals – from birds, dogs, squirrels, mice, pigs, monkeys to a lot more. We see here a duck being able to carry a lamp and other animals able to cook. In my mind, it was as mysterious and fascinating as the scenes in our favourite Harry Potter movies.

Aside from the book being easy to read (where chapters are merely continuations of a scene), it’s also light to the heart. I am amazed at all the characteristics of the doctor.

Always smiling amid adversity, empathetic even at his own inconvenience (attending to the sick right in the middle of supper), happy even when there’s nothing left (Read the chapter where their boat got destroyed by the storm), good with words and conversation, strong, mean and fights when he has to, knows how to read people and is firm with what he wants (ex: choosing his travel mates), persistent, always curious, can still work in his best self and intention despite not wanting what he was made to do (like being king).

If anything, this book is not about a man who can talk to animals. Dr. Dolittle teaches us how to be and what to do when out on a voyage. It’s about how we should choose to go about our lives and reach our goals in general.

We need to be the calm, intelligent, and the resourceful person that he is. We need people, and animals too, who are willing to go out with us on a voyage; people of various backgrounds and intelligence who will trust us and be of help to us.

This story doesn’t promise us a smooth sailing journey – but it does tell us that with the right amount of attitude, skill, and friends, we will get to our destination, no matter how long or how hard it takes.

 

Some people can’t handle chill

While Social Media use is widespread today, only very few people know how it truly works.

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Zach, when you read this, know that not everything posted on social media is everything the person who posted them is. These are snippets of his break time amid the horrifying realities he faces daily – especially on Instagram where people are forced to curate for life.

If users are not into it, then they shouldn’t be on it. Uncomplicate things. Acknowledge that people go to the beach on weekends after they’ve worked their asses off all week.

There’s a time for everything.

Read between the lines. Social media savvy people know when and what to post, and you should be wary of that. Know the person for who he/she is before any virtual judgments, my love.

Don’t be someone who can’t handle others’ chill.

I forced myself to read “Rich People Problems”

Disclaimer: This blog is NOT for those who have not yet read the book. Spoilers ahead.

If you have all the money in the world, surely you could get anything you want and would never have to experience any problem in your life.

I wish I could say that. But surprisingly, NewYork Times Bestseller author Kevin Kwan was able to enumerate a lot of rich people problems in this third installment of the “Crazy Rich Asians” – “China Rich Girlfriend” trilogy.

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Before I continue on the spoilers of the book (but with very fitting insights), allow me to greet 2018 with a big fat HELLO! This is the first blog I’ve managed to write this year.

After everything’s said and done last 2017, I suddenly felt a wave of weariness to write any more stuff about my life. Heck, I even skipped my supposed annual blog evaluation of the year that was (which has been my tradition since 2006! what?!)

But you know life, despite the pressure and the failures, we still choose to fight back and… well, write!

Anyway, one of my resolutions this year is to have more books running on my system.

May I just say, that reading a book as a working mom has become a challenge especially when making time for it. It took me 30 days to read these 300+ pages!

I even joked to my husband: “You know what hope looks like? A big ass novel shoved in a lady’s bag every single day – brought only with the hope to be finished at any given circumstance.”

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Rich People Problems is a story of an ultra-rich Asian family who gathered in Singapore’s biggest, 64-acre property named Tyersall Park. This reunion happened especially because their rich matriarch Su Yi, the owner of this property, is on her deathbed – and the relatives are eager to know to whom she assigned the property to through her “last will.”

Throughout the story, we realize that despite the money that gets this family their own personal doctors, lawyers, dresses, and islands at the snap of their fingers, being truly happy with their life entails a lot of work. I have summarized the Rich People Problems into seven as listed below:

  1. INSECURITY

Some rich people, as seen from the characters of the insecurely ambitious “tito” Eddie Cheng, and the wife of a new billionaire Kitty Pong, cannot be truly contented with what they have.

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Despite Kitty’s billions in the bank, three airplanes she could use at her disposal, access to a private masseuse and other rich connections, her insecurity against her stepdaughter Colette, whom she hasn’t actually even met yet, sent her clinging onto the sleeves of the rich society – desperate to be a step ahead.

From owning a beautiful gown to having her own trust fund, gracing the cover the Tattle magazine, getting a royal title, and in the end, investing in Tyersall Park, she felt as though she was never truly part of the new world she’s living in. She’s eaten by this unofficial war against her stepdaughter until she realizes she can never be truly happy on her own.

Meanwhile, we learned that Eddie has always been treated less growing up as a Cheng compared with his cousins the Aakaras, Youngs, Leongs, Shangs, and T’siens. From his speech at the balcony with his mother, he confesses feeling left out (i.e. not invited to a party, being the last to hold a position, etc.) because of his surname, making him more conscious of other people’s richness and influence; which badly hurt him by comparison.

2. SELF-WORTH

If you come from a reputable family, you inherit not only their names, lands, and businesses, but also their problems. “My problems are my parents’, not my own.” as said by Astrid Leong, granddaughter of Su Yi, and having a secret affair with her first love Charlie Wu.

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This relationship has brought her family’s name to the front page of major tabloids, which her parents resented to the bones.

Because both Astrid and Charlie are married to other people, albeit the divorce agreements being settled, this created an even bigger problem for the family. Add that Charlie’s ex-wife Isabel went into a coma due to a failed suicide attempt and that a sex video of Astrid leaked for the whole crowd to feast on – it was just too much.

Sadly, most of the rich and famous have this as a “problem.” Everywhere they go, they are expected to behave for the sake of business, name and family reputation. They are instructed who to love, where to go, how to react at the expense of their “personal space.”

Stripped off of all the titles, what is left of them? Who are they really?

3. MONEY

Rich people having problems with money? Stop the press!

But it’s true. Take great-grandson Oliver T’sien for instance. In this book, he’s seen to be “faking it ’till he makes it” meaning his family’s been in serious debt for years and he’s never gone out of it.

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He feels the pressure of being part of that 1% super-rich society and fears that he wouldn’t be able to keep up. Yet, when you are rich (according to the book) in order to dodge the radar of the banks and the presses to avoid being found out as broke, you need to suck it up.

He’s been living in a flat, and taking economy flights as compared with his cousins and friends who take business or have their own planes. Here we see a character who works his ass off just like any of us common people to keep bills at bay.

He has a boss in the form of Kitty Pong whom he may have cussed in his mind one too many times yet he knows that he needed her monthly salary to maintain his lifestyle and reputation.

Another huge surprise is how Su Yi’s daughters, Eleanor, Catherine, Victoria, and Felicity, reacted when they found out that all her life, their mother had no money. It was only through the trust fund that she was able to live the life of a princess. But only to discover that the generous parties, lavish travels, food, and maids were not from her own money.

This discovery shook the sisters for a while thinking they’d go “poor” (yeah if you think living in an apartment is poor) as they’ve only been given equal shares to Tyersall Park and no money,  business or gold.

4. REAL ESTATE

Of course, as with any problems of the rich crowd, where do they put all of their land and money when they’re gone? This family expects that they can get something out of their grandmother’s will only to find out they get PERCENTAGES for Tyersall Park.

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They initially thought that their grandmother wanted them to sell the estate and profit from the gains – standing on a 10 billion dollar offer already.

But Nick Leong, son of Su Yi’s only son Philip, and considered a favorite grandson, was quick to battle his aunts’ wishes with the intent to preserve Tyersall park.

Due to his determination to keep the house, he was able to pass it off as a national treasure because of a history at hand detailing the house’s role in saving many lives during the Japanese war.

In the end, it was he who was able to devise a plan to keep the house in its current state, maintain it as such, and profit from it by turning it into a hotel. Making their income even more than what they could have shared from the 10B offer.

In short, even rich landowners get this “what should I do with this property” kind of question and are torn between selling it completely – giving up their memories of childhood, or benefiting from it?

It only goes to show that one of the major vehicles of financial success by rich people is really through real property development.

5. LOVE

Finally, being rich could mean any of the following:

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  • You can change your wife anytime. As the case with Kitty Pong’s husband Jack Bing, who said he could get another wife straight to Kitty’s face.
  • Or, you get disowned by your grandmother. As with Nick and his wife Rachel, whom Su Yi disliked from day one for the reason that she did not belong to the right family. It took Nick five years to come back to Singapore because of his fight with his Ah Ma.
  • Or, you get to be all over the news over a love affair as with Charlie and Astrid.

Overall, it’s important for a rich family to marry into another rich family. If you find yourself in the middle of disapproving parents, then you have a bigger problem.

Rich People Problems gave me an interesting peek on what people care about amidst all the money and resources in their world. Being with the one you truly love, acceptance, childhood memories, and family.

The problems of this rich family only prove that not everything can be solved by money. As for me, I am just glad that I am now rid of one pressing problem – carrying this heavy novel in my bag every day.

 

***Photos from the Internet.

Sigaw ng Surigao: Visit Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls

Amazing how we can be at one point one minute and miles away the next, just like that. I say this because my recent trip all the way South of the Philippines in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao sent me hopping on a 2-hour plane ride to Davao and enduring an additional 8-hour bus ride down military-trodden roads. It took my mom and I a total of 10 hours just to get to Bislig, which was 731 km from Metro Manila.

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Yet, this trip is proof that no amount of time and numbers ever become a hindrance for doing something you want so bad. And for me, that is to visit these top two tourist gems of Surigao del Sur – Hinatuan Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls.

ENCHANTED RIVER

A few months back, the Department of Tourism shared an advertisement video featuring Enchanted River, which immediately became viral due to its cheesy (but I dig it) story with the tagline “When you’re with Filipinos, you’re with family“.

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But more importantly, it was able to showcase the mesmerizing gatorade-blue waters of Enchanted River. Then I knew, I wanted to be there.

But what the video didn’t reveal is that getting to Hinatuan town where this river is located took another 2-hour tricycle ride from Bislig, Surigao del Sur!

When we arrived, we paid the necessary fees and walked for about 5 mins. down the ecotrail that led to the river. As we approached yet another entrance gate, we started hearing chants. “Simbahan ba yun?” mom asked.

Only to find out that we just made it to the historical storytelling and fish feeding where the “Hinatuan Hymn” is being played, detailing the history of Enchanted River.

Fish feeding at HInatuan Enchanted River

The river was obstructed from view by the fish-feeding spectators when we first arrived. I was like “ang daming tao!” I managed to still snap pics though.

When finally, the crowd subsided, I was left alone to appreciate the natural beauty and color of the lake. And it was then that I realized that everything that has been said and shown about Enchanted River is true.

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It’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous! The water really is gatorade-blue. And when the sun reflects on the surface, it creates a glistening effect that makes the water look even more crystal-clear and inviting.

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Its deep blue and aquamarine shade combination is a popular feature that displays a level of mystery as well. And, at exactly 12 noon, there suddenly appears a school of fish to feed on the scraps being thrown by the caretakers.

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They say the river’s enchanted because they don’t know where the fish comes from. The origin of its waters isn’t exactly clear as some speculate they’re from springs, others the ocean.

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Unfortunately for us, we can no longer dive or swim on this part of the river – as to preserve its beauty. However, the other side of the river towards its tail has been designated as a swimming area for those who wish to feel the waters.

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This could be good – as it means we can take unlimited photos of the river without people in the background.

Which was exactly what I dd.

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TINUY-AN FALLS

Tinuy-an Falls is just a 30-min. tricycle ride from Bislig. Upon arrival, it is obvious that such improvements to the place have transformed it into a park – with restaurants around the area, paved walkways and cottages available for the guests.

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But the star of the destination is this 4-tiered waterfalls that cascade a glorious white curtain of water through its 95-m wide first layer, which is the tallest of them all!

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Here, we had the option to ride the raft so we can come closer to the waterfalls. It would have resulted to having more majestic photos but I was fine with just appreciating it from the side. It’s already beautiful from a distance.

Rainbow at Tinuy-an Falls
Somewhere under the rainbow

And I just recently found out that a rainbow appears from a certain time in the morning only — that is, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. We were lucky to be in the place that early so we were able to catch its appearance! I love rainbows! 🙂

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Rafting to the rainbow maybe? Raft price: Php 50; Required life vest: Php 30

Getting to the second layer is a little tough as it requires guests to climb 93 steps and a 20m bridge.

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Climbing up 93 steps and traversing a 20m bridge to the second layer. Hi mommehh!!!! Pagod na? 😀

2nd layer Tinuy-an Falls

Tinuy-an Falls Second Layer

Here, the flow of the water seemingly is much stronger than the first one.

Because of its beautiful ladder of waterfalls, Tinuy-an Falls has been dubbed as “The Niagara Falls of the Philippines”

Tinuy-an Falls: Niagara Falls of the Philippines

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First layer of Tinuy-an Falls

One can actually visit Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls in just one day. My mom and I were able to finish our trip in just half a day – roughly about 6-7 hours in total.

But should you wish to visit even more sites – such as the Sibadan Fish Cage (which I heard is also as mesmerizing!) where you can swim with tamed water animals; white sand beaches and caves – a whole day is enough.

Surigao so far, is the farthest place I’ve been to in the Philippines. Yet, as previously learned and experienced, the best things in life are not just free but far! It would really just depend on how much you truly want to go there.

Visited our relatives! It’s the first time I met them!
View from the early morning bus ride.

I hope you too hear the call of Surigao – and take time to visit the place. I promise it’s worth the time and numbers.

Follow me, lol.

 

I don’t pray because I don’t want to be a hypocrite

A few weeks ago, my husband had a severe headache that needed medical assistance. I asked for a day off at work so that I can accompany him to the hospital. While we were waiting for our turn, we talked about random things, until our conversation turned into a more in-depth, life-level one. It’s about prayer.

I think that was the time when news about road accidents broke out on television – so naturally, I would often ask my husband to pray each time he drives off to work, or anywhere else.

It was natural for me to offer this advice because growing up as a Christian, I was taught about the power of prayer – the works of God and how it can help us have strength, wisdom, and protection in our daily lives.

And true enough for me, though some of my prayers have not been answered, I can say that it worked in my life. Prayer saved me (or keeps saving me) from going totally insane lol, it has protected relationships, and it’s what keeps me going during dark and emotionally-overwhelming situations. It’s like each time I face a wall or what seems like a cul-de-sac, prayer helps me get over it.

PRAYER IS NOT FOR THE SINLESS

But during our talk, one of my husband’s replies struck me:

“I don’t pray because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

My first reaction was ‘surprise.’ I thought, if prayer is not present in the lives of people, then how do they deal with seemingly impossible situations?

But then, later on, I thought, I can’t blame him. I get why he said that. Some people seem prayerful yet lead shitty lives. You know what I’m saying? It’s like seeing someone go out of the church feeling blessed and holy – yet, under the same halo, do not even take time to share blessings to the poor. Or could be someone praying and praising God, yet maltreat other people.

PRAYER IS NOT HYPOCRISY

I get it. But here’s something missing in that kind of thought. Prayer is NOT just for the righteous, sinless, and perfect. Prayer is for everyone – sinners and regular people like you and me.

Prayer is one’s inner voice – call it conscience, soul, etc., that knows the good and the truth, considers the bad you’ve done, and humbles one’s self to ask for forgiveness and guidance.

I know for a fact that I am not good person. I have a short temper and have bouts of rudeness. However, I also know that I am not a bad person. That at the end of the day, I recognize everyone’s struggles and aim for everyone’s blessing and happiness.

I recognize the terrible things I’ve done, the things I need to improve on, my lack of strength, my confusion, and other things that are not ideal in a human life and lift them all up to God in prayer.

Because as a human, I cannot handle things. But relying on a Supreme God, as if by magic, I can.

THE SPIRIT OF ANGER

When I was a child – there was a time when I found myself waking up angry – for no reason at all. I took every little thing as a big thing. I was jealous of my siblings. I hated my parents, as every child would, and I didn’t want to talk to people. I sleep and wake up with a heavy heart. I realized too that I stopped praying.

My lola, a devout Christian, would tell me. “Demonyo yang nasa puso mo. Resist it. Don’t let it stay”

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Funny how in the church we go to in the past, people would often consider every feeling and emotion as a “spirit.” For instance, when you feel angry, they say “Espiritu yan. In Jesus’ name be gone!”

PRAYER MAY SOUND RIDICULOUS

It sounds ridiculous. I mean emotions are perfectly normal human features. But now as a grown woman, it makes sense to treat every emotion as a spirit. Because feelings are fleeting.

At one point, you may get obsessed with being angry at one thing. But tomorrow, you feel less angry and more forgiving. It means that the spirit of anger has left you, and is overcome by the spirit of wellness. Ok, I’d buy that idea.

On another part of the plane, some of us choose to nurse our anger for a long, long time. This is perhaps why some family feuds last for years. Some of us go “bitter” over an event in the past. We choose to let the spirit of anger stay, instead of asking God to rebuke it.

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A prayer is a form of resistance.

I remember that during that time in my story when I was a kid, I didn’t want to pray because life felt unfair. Why would I humble myself for the benefit of life? Why?!

But I overcame the spirit of anger. I resisted it. Anger wanted me to lose in life.

So what I did, though I was still angry, was to say a one-sentence prayer before I closed my eyes to sleep. “Lord, tanggalin Niyo po ang galit sa puso ko”. I said it angrily and even cringed at the thought of praying, then went to sleep.

PRAYER EFFECTS MAY BE SUDDEN

But the miracle of God happened when I woke up the next day. SUDDENLY, my heart was not heavy anymore. I began to appreciate the sun peeking through my window. I greeted my parents with a smile – and all of a sudden I felt that they were kinder to me, more attentive to my needs. I felt loved. I destroyed the spirit of anger and felt lighter, happier.

God moves suddenly. He moves swiftly, unexpectedly and without warning. When you least expect, He’ll come shining through! – Karen Peavy

I emphasized the word suddenly – because that is perhaps one of the traits of God’s work in your life. Sometimes, we feel like we’re heading off to hopeless land. We’ve reached rock bottom, and we don’t know what to do.

But when we ask God’s help in prayer, SUDDENLY, miracles happen. Either we find a miracle in a co-worker or a friend willing to help, or we find the inner strength to get through our obstacles. Our fears become less scary, and we see the future with more hope.

This is the kind of effect of prayer that I want my husband and my son to realize and believe in. 

PRAYER DISPELLS FEARS

Sometimes, it’s easy to be rattled by life’s uncertainties and negativities. Debt (who doesn’t have debts?), a stressful situation at the office, bills, family problems, school requirements, societal expectations, and even self-doubt – all these things are rattling and may, at one point in our lives, make us go cray!

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But I want my loved ones to think, that any problem – big or small – can be lifted up with prayer. Regardless of what you feel at the moment – say a one-liner prayer on anything you need help in – and expect a SUDDEN change – in life, and in your perspective on the situation. Let God help you.

You know what I fear the most, in the absence of prayer? That people resort to hopelessness, suicide, anger, blame, desperation, drugs, and panic. In the absence of God and prayer, we don’t think that there’s any hope at all.

Imagine, people, feeling hopeless about their lives – saying that they cannot pray because they are bad people and that there may be no forgiveness bound their way.

Is that how we want out children to live?

Is this how we want the world to believe?

My husband is a kind man. His heart is gentler, more understanding and empathetic than mine. But I know where he’s coming from. He also knows my goal to raise our children fearing the Lord and knowing how to pray. Together, we aim to be a family that is kind to others, and prayerful.

PRAYER IS CONSTANT

As for myself, I know that my life is constant. Constantly messy, and with me constantly wanting to fix it (lol). I still feel anger and frustrations. So prayer will also be my constant weapon of choice to drive these spirits away.

Let me pray for you. 

May You be blessed with wisdom and discernment. Whatever it is that you are carrying at the moment – be it a problem, anger that has been nursed for a long time, doubt, disbelief, I pray that may you find that humility, that strength to surrender everything to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will take your load and trust that he will solve your problems for you. 

I pray that may we not lose hope in this life. That we realize how our lives matter and that good things are bound our way. I pray that may we all choose right in the face of adversity, and be open to God’s miracles in our lives.

JazzyHappy

** Some photos are not mine.

 

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Three harmless things that turn bad when done in the context of marriage

Girls,

A lot of infidelity storylines have already made it to local cinemas. Even on Facebook, we may have seen one too many threads on real-life affairs and betrayals for the public to feast on.

And it’s not a pretty scene. It’s almost always the erring woman who gets the blame. (I am not saying it’s right tho, but it happens). But have you ever realized that maybe some of these things happen because “How single women should deal with married men” was never a topic in school? *shocked face*

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We, women, were born to shine and lead in our own way. So we need to familiarize ourselves with our role of becoming BUILDERS of society and not destroyers of homes.

Did you know that some workplace affairs, for instance, happen unintentionally? The erring parties may have not planned any of it at all. But things only get worse because they have not been wary enough to catch the ‘signals’.

As a big ate (AKA tanders lol), I will share in this blog, some casual things we say or do with unmarried men that we should be more careful to say or do with already married men.

Because these seemingly harmless actions may turn bad when done with friends who are married.

  1. HITCHING RIDES

SCENARIO FOR THE LADIES: It’s late. And you and unmarried man office mate live in nearby villages. For the sake of practicality, hitching a ride with unmarried men office mates is a good idea. But there are some things wise men and women should ask internally.

“Is it awkward?”, “Will I be alone?”, “Will the office mate mind?”, “Is my drop off point truly along the way and will not be a hassle?”, etc.

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When the scenario involves a married man, we ask the same questions, and then some more. We add this: “Will the wife mind?”

Adding this small but important detail makes everything different. The seemingly harmless thing will be put to perspective. Thus the answer to questions like “Is it awkward”? will be YES.

And just to give you an idea – yes, the wife will always mind. If they don’t, they should.

Not because there is already a brewing love story happening. Or anything malicious. But because of this one unspoken but vital rule: Married men (or women) should make it a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to NOT be left alone with the opposite sex.

Book author, inspirational speaker, and a dedicated husband Dale Partridge shares what he and his wife did in order to “increase awareness and intention not to be left alone with the opposite sex” in his article”How To Protect Yourself From A Workplace Affair”

I am not naive to the many threats looking to plant seeds of destruction in our marriage.

Last year, my wife and I made an agreement to never intentionally be left alone with another person of the opposite sex. That means if I have a work meeting with a woman, I bring someone with me. If I’m working from home on a day we have a female babysitter; I work from a coffee shop. – Dale Partridge

He said this not because he’s crushing on the babysitter or has any malicious intent on a workmate. But because, as a married man, he should have a conscious effort to track whoever he spends time with. Keeping his guard up by not allowing the opportunity of “planting seeds of destruction” to happen in his marriage.

Now you may be thinking that this is too much and that it’s paranoia. But mind you, some couples who have experienced infidelities in marriages did not suspect or believe that such “seeds of destruction” was possible in the beginning.

Things may have started out casually – until such time they realize that “feelings” have begun to develop, and then it’s too late.

That’s because they allowed small and “normal” things to happen, such as maybe casual lunch dates or other forms of ‘spending alone time’.

So regardless of whether you and married office mate swear by being just friends – if you know you’re going to be left alone, stuck in traffic especially with a man that is married it’s best to just to take UBER or GRAB.

2. TEXTING OR MESSAGING TOO LATE AT NIGHT

Aside from work, what kind of message could you not possibly put off to tomorrow? If you’re messaging at night to talk about the cute dog video you both saw in the morning – the wife will mind. This is the same as saying “good morning” or “good night” without a follow-up, work-related agenda.

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Because chatting up anything late at night would mean only one thing: “thinkin’ of you.” And you wouldn’t want to be thinking about a married man at night, would you? Or, if you’re a guy, you definitely don’t want your wife to think you’re thinkin’ about someone else?

3. JOKING WITH INFIDELITY TONES

Pinoys, especially young ones love a good laugh. And it is not uncommon to put humor in devastating realities – including infidelity.

We may have heard it one too many times, especially for bf-gf couples. Sometimes, the joke “Uy pare, parang hindi siya yung kasama mo kagabi ah. Parang iba ah.” is acceptable – and the girlfriend would “probably” not mind. It’s a joke hinting that the guy is a “chikboy” seen with many girls.

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True or not, this seemingly harmless joke is NEVER acceptable with married couples.

A few years ago, when I was still single, my married woman friend shared with me that she felt bad and offended when an office mate of ours made this joke to her in front of her husband. The joke went “Ah siya ba yung asawa mo? Parang iba yung pinakilala mo nung isang araw ah”.

“Diba pag may asawa na parang hindi na pwede yung ganung joke?” my friend says.

And I remember that I did not understand. To me, it was just a joke! I hear it all the time. Why would she be offended, especially when it’s not true? She’s being too sensitive about it.

But now that I am already married, I already understand why these kinds of jokes are not applicable to married couples anymore. Here’s why:

The reason is that any joke that hints at infidelity is not something that a husband and a wife would want to make time for. “Graduate na tayo diyan.”

The only acceptable things that should make it into their conversations are bills, kids, work, and their future together. They have a different goal now, and any joke about infidelity could destroy that goal.

Besides, joking like this could imply that there is some form of truth in the joke.

If it were an unmarried guy being the butt of the infidelity joke, there is still room for understanding – because unmarried men are still in the dating scene and can/may still be seen with different women. [And yes, at this point I realize that the world needs to scrap stereotypes like this but that topic is for another blog].

But married men no longer have that privilege cloak of understanding because he’s expected to be loyal within a marriage. If he’s not loyal, that is a ground for termination of the contract of marriage (and of the love of his wife, charot!).

This is why marriage is not for everyone. If you think that you cannot build a dream or attain a goal with only one partner, then don’t get married. But respect those who choose marriage by allowing them to thrive together.

Marriage is not a joke and should not be taken lightly through condescending tones.

BONUS:

4. SLEEPOVERS

I am adding this because not many girls know this! Including me, when I was still single!

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In college and single, I asked permission from my mom if I could sleep over at my high school girl-friend’s place – WHICH WAS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING SINCE!

I was surprised that mom didn’t want me to sleep over this time saying “Anak may asawa na siya hindi ka na pwede dun matulog.” (She’s already married, you can no longer sleep over her house.)

During that time, I did not get whyyy! I thought “But she’s my best friend! And she invited me!” And duhhhh it’s not like I “like” her husband!

But now it’s different. It’s not that we plan on “planting seeds of destruction” on the husbands and wives of our friends. But it’s because we are respecting the unspoken marriage rules.

SUMMARY:

Married man: Uy, sabay na tayo hatid na kita.

Single woman: NOPE.


Married man: Uy kumain ka na? Tara libre na kita

Single woman: NO.


Married man: Nood tayo concert

Single woman: SNOPE.


Married man: *texts* Uy, san ka ngayon?

Single woman: San po asawa niyo?

HAHA!

Finally, when all else fails…pray intently to God to give you the wisdom to discern right from wrong.

But most importantly… for the strength to…

SAY….

NO.

 

3 ways to transcend your mom-limitations

Think about that one thing you want to have or become, and then think about what’s stopping you from getting there.

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People are bound by their natural limitations. More so, for us supermoms!

Our time is limited, our patience is limited, our friends, limited!, our finances suddenly become limited (can’t buy that pair of shoes?!), and our choices are limited.

So how do we keep the ball of life rolling and improving?

Here are three ways I learned that could help us transcend our mom-limitations.

1. Think about the LIMITLESS things (or make them)

While ‘countable’ nouns like our baby’s diaper, is limited, other concepts like faith, hope, and GOALS are unlimited. So that’s the first step – focus on your goals.

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Though we know that as mere humans, we don’t get to rely on any supernatural powers to transform ourselves into a billionaire in a snap; we can, however, visualize that idea and then set small specific ways to reach it.

And because no one restricts our imagination, we can conceive bigger, better dreams in life.

While values like ‘love’ and ‘patience’ may be ‘limited,’ it’s something that we can control and; as Gary Chapman would put it, “refill” to become full again. So as mommies, we can def. have more of our love and patience as we wish it. #SuperUnli

2. Ignore the haters

Let’s face it; moms will always have haters. Could be fellow moms or nosy neighbors, and could come in any form at work or in public.

But good thing that mothers naturally have an “I don’t give a fu*k” kind of attitude – especially when we are in the middle of house chores, commute, and (duh) growing another human being.

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Besides, haters and other spectators of our lives tend to box us in a frame that discounts our potential for success. Listening to them will only hurt our goals, so we need to filter out the bad things and look only to supportive or critical comments that help us transcend the hate.

3. ACCEPT your limitations and COLLABORATE

Ignoring others’ conspiracy theories against us doesn’t mean that we deny our weaknesses and constraints. It only means that we know of our imperfections, yet we choose to do something about it so we could rise in the end.

As a working mom, I consider that my time for doing specific things will always be limited. But it doesn’t mean I won’t get to do them all.

 

Because of my collaboration with my parents, siblings, husband, and officemates, I can transcend that lack of time and be able to do everything I need!

Thank God for the Internet as well. Now, working, being a mom, and communicating is made easier and more feasible when we connect through gadgets over cyberspace.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

On the topic of digital advantages, I also got to witness another magic of the digital world last night, at a fashion event presented by Norde International. It was a collaboration with fashion designer Happy Andrada.

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The dresses that were presented displayed a concoction of floral prints, wavy dresses, and edgy blazers that have indeed captured my young and feminine heart (wehe). I love them!

But what shocked me, even more, is the fact that all the designs were directly DIGITALLY PRINTED.

Those designs were expertly drawn and colored by Andrada’s team of artists, sent over to Norde office to be printed straight out from a big machine called Kornit Allegro.

“The Kornit Allegro is a single-step digital textile printing system designed for high-speed end-to-end production. It allowed Happy Andrada to directly print her artworks on different kinds of fabridc without losing its design quality” – words from the booklet.

And the finished products were stunning! I wouldn’t think that those dresses were digitally printed because of how precise they looked on the runway.

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It’s the first time that I have truly appreciated the marriage of three industries I didn’t previously think could happen – fashion, art, and print technology.

Being that I used to think fashion is only restricted to dress-cutting and sewing; art is just about drawing and painting while printing is merely a clever way of putting ink on paper.

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But now seeing these fashion pieces and hearing the story of its production has left me inspired. Imagine, what Happy Andrada took 3-6 months to do (from pre-prod to post) in the past, she was able to do in a month through digital printing.

That is surely one way to transcend one’s time and craft!

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No wonder that the event was titled “Transcendence,” which means ‘to cut across,’ ‘rise above’ or ‘surpass.’

Who would have thought that today’s fashion event could bring so much inspiration to a super mom like me.

At this point think about that one thing you want to have or become. Is there anything stopping you from getting there?

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Fashion designer Happy Andrada
Photographer: Shaira Luna

Kornit Allegro is distributed by Norde International Distributors, Inc.

Visit their showroom at 104 Kalayaan Ave., Quezon City.

5 Wonders of the Wunder app for Working Moms

At the height between the LTFRB and Grab/Uber clash on whether or not we should regulate these ride-sharing apps entirely, I just want to share my experience on the wonders I’ve had using another form of ridesharing app “Wunder”.

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Compared with Uber and Grab, the Wunder app focuses solely on carpooling with people within your area towards a common destination. The drivers you find here are common working men and women like you and me, who wish to earn tiny bucks by offering space in their own vehicles to compensate for gas.

When finally, I had the guts to try it, I realized that it is another effective, maybe better option that commuting moms could take over rush-hour metro rail transit or buses.

So here are the 5 wonders I’ve experienced from using Wunder:

1. We get to escape the horrifying lines at the MRT

In the many years I’ve treaded the metro, if I were given any other better option than taking a jam-packed train system on the way home, I’d take it. Not only does a suffocating train suck out the remaining energy you have at the end of the day, but it also won’t guarantee an earlier arrival time – especially during times of technical glitches. Lose-lose.

2. We get to leave at an agreed convenient time

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In your Wunder app, you get to input the time you prefer to leave home or the office. The app then sends a quick notification to all available drivers who prefer to leave at the same time you want – so it’s a win-win!

3. We get to arrive at our destination at a reasonable pace and price

Makati to Quezon City is charged for only Php 80. This price is nowhere near your Uber pool or grab pool’s offers – especially during surge hours where the prices get doubled! If you can spare an extra cash just to arrive conveniently to a destination 10 – 20km away, then go for it. And while we still consider the MRT as the fastest form of metro transportation, as it can still cut across EDSA in half an hour, carpooling doesn’t fall far behind in terms of pace. In about 1 – 1.5 hours max, you are guaranteed a safe(r), fast(er) and more convenient transportation option. (Traffic still exists!)

4. We get to be picked up at an agreed, convenient location

In my experience, I no longer need to walk to the jeepney stop (which is several blocks away from work). I simply ask the driver to pick me up at the nearest corner possible and voila! Within mins., I get to board the car.

5. We get to make new friends

Because you meet people from the same area as you live and work, and because you are all squeezed within the confines of a small car, you may be forced to chat with one another until you reach your destination!

But not all the time.

I mean, some people would still prefer to sleep on the way home. But for those who are extra chatty, Wunder may be a great avenue for you to meet new friends along the way.

When issues around the ride-sharing app world finally settle, try downloading the Wunder App to try it out for yourself!

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