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One Fine Weekend

I went home for only two days over the last weekend of 2014. The whole trip was so fast and short-lived that I sometimes wonder if it was just a dream, if not for the pictures to remind me that it really happened. However, short as it was, I am grateful to be able to go home and hug everyone. I haven’t seen them for a year and miss them dearly.

My flight was delayed for two hours and I finally touched base around eight. Mom, Dad, Ate, Kuya, and my six lovely nieces and nephews fetched me. We went out for dinner straight from the airport, then we went to City Hall to see the Christmas lights, and passed by Paseo del Mar on a crowded Saturday night to buy knickerbocker, my favorite dessert. We went swimming at Regency the next day and shared heart to heart conversations with my sister for lunch and dinner. I had breakfast with a close friend who’s soon to be a doctor on the day of my return flight; took family group pictures in between massages and pedicures then off to the airport again. *Whew!

God was so gracious that even on my way back, while I was waiting to board the plane, I stumbled upon a good friend from Ateneo. We’ve been friends since I was in high school and we were in the same organization called Kabataang Samahan ng Magis at Animo (KASAMA).

I couldn’t be happier to see her! We immediately dove in to conversation to make up for the four, almost five years since the last time that we saw each other. Even though we still get updates about each other’s lives via social media sites throughout those years, nothing beats face to face conversations.

We were so engaged in conversation that we even requested to exchange seats with another passenger in the plane. The other passenger was also gracious to let us do so. We exchanged stories from our trip home to our current jobs; from reminiscing KASAMA moments to love lives and what not, but the best part is just sharing the moment with someone you know, trust and miss so much. It’s that elusive feeling of meeting someone from your past and sharing all your fears, successes, dreams and joys without reservation.

At NAIA 3, we bid our goodbyes and I’m back to reality. Hello, Metro City and off to work again in a few hours. It’s a manic Monday after all.

Nonetheless, I learned three things during this one fine weekend: 1. It is not how long you stayed, but how well you spent the time you had. 2. No amount of money is wasted when you spend it for family because nothing beats going home. 3. Friendship is not bound by space or time. You won’t know who God would make you meet today and so savor every encounter!

To Ate Pia, cheers to our next rendezvous!

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Here and Now

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Have you ever felt powerless? Insufficient? Lacking? At some point in time of our lives, we have those days when these negative feelings cover our minds and hearts. There are days when no matter how hard you try, it seems like what you’re doing is still not enough. No matter how much you give, it still doesn’t suffice.

However, despite all the negative thoughts, don’t forget to put room for a little sunshine. Think, “What I’m doing may not be enough, but I’m doing something.” Say, “I may not be giving much, but I’m giving nonetheless.” Acknowledge the fact, that you are in constant motion. Embrace the reality that you are doing so much better today then you were yesterday. You may still be far from reaching your goals, but you are living every day in a manner that will surely bring you to where you want to be.

So when all hope seems scarce and when you feel like the end is near, remember, here and now is actually just the beginning. Don’t give up! We are all in this together! ❤

xoxo,

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photo courtesy of: http://wpt.org/Here_and_Now/main

Forming the Habit of Celebrating Small Victories

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Photo courtesy of heallovebe.com

Growing up, we are so used to being told what “not” to do and what not to be. Don’t say bad words. Don’t stay out too late. Don’t hang out with that crowd. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t dress inappropriately. Don’t act like a kid. Don’t do this and don’t do that. Once we’re older, it kind of sticks in our system. I believe society as a whole has this deficiency.

People usually try to find fault in others first. Teachers would usually pay more attention on their students’ mistakes. Employers have more regulations focused on punishments instead of rewards for their employees. Advertisers would pick on their target market’s imperfections so they can sell their products that promise perfection. People would spend more time talking about everything that’s wrong in their lives and other people’s lives than what’s good. It seems like most of us are always looking at the negative side of life to such an extreme that we’ve forgotten to relish in the beauty that also exists.

With spiritual direction, I realized the value of celebrating small victories. This means, in every good deed that you do or positive change that you experience, no matter how small, savor it. You don’t have to tell the whole cyberworld about it but you should acknowledge it to yourself or share it to your closest friend. This is an attempt to look more closely in the brighter side of things.

When making goals, instead of I want to lose 20 pounds, make it I want to gain more muscle mass.  When searching for Mr. Right, instead of “I want to meet someone who wouldn’t hurt me,” say I want to meet someone who would love and cherish me.”

Choose more positive adjectives to describe your feelings, too. When someone asks how you are, choose to say, “I’m fine” over “Not Bad.” When giving instructions use more “dos” rather than “don’ts.” your subordinates will appreciate it.

When you fail in something, accept it, learn from it, and try harder next time. It’s still okay to identify the wrong things that you have done in order to learn from them, but don’t drown yourself in self-pity, worry, and self-deprecating thoughts to a point that you forget your value as a person and as son or daughter of God.

Celebrate your small victories. Your future self will thank you for it.

 

The Secret to Happiness

 

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If you want to be SAD, all you have to do is COMPARE.

She is prettier than me. She is effortlessly sexy but I’m fat. She seems to be going steady with her beau but I’m still single. She’s so popular with the guys  but I seem to repel them. Her bag is from the latest collection but mine is so last year’s. He has a thriving business but I’ve been struggling to keep mine afloat. He bought a new car but I’m still stuck with my old rusty ride. They went on another European tour but I haven’t been to a single one.  They bought another house but I can’t even afford to buy one.  The list goes on and on.

When you keep on looking at what others have and what you don’t have then you’ll really end up sad and pathetic. Also, don’t mistake identifying how fortunate you are than other people as counting your blessings. That is still comparing and you won’t really feel happy doing that. Comparison ends up negatively. Simply stop yourself every time you do it consciously and catch yourself every time you do it subconsciously.

If you want to be HAPPY, don’t compare yourself to others. The guaranteed path to happiness is to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.

I am blessed with a loving family. I have food to eat. I have a place to go home to. I have amazing friends who love me for who I am. I have a supportive work environment. I can watch the awesome sunset right outside my office window. I have a complete set of limbs. I can smell the delicious aroma of a home-cooked meal. I can hear the sweet voice of my one-year-old nephew. I can see the light of day. I am alive. The list goes on and on.

Before you go to bed tonight, count your blessings. Do it tomorrow night. Do it every day. You’ll be amazed at how blessed you are and how happier you’ll be.

Be happy for you are blessed. Here’s one for your list tonight-it’s a Friday!

Have a happy weekend!

A Piece of Advice from Fr. Chambers

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A True Israelite

“FOR GOD”

An Israelite was asked, “Why do you send your children to school?”

He answered, “So that they will learn how to read, if they already know how to read, they will be able to read the Bible, then if he/she/they read about the Bible, they learn about God, if they learn about God, they tend to love God, and if they love God, they are able to serve God.

He was again asked, “Why do you feed your children?”

He answered, “So that they will become strong and healthy, if they are strong and healthy, they can read the Bible, and then learn about God, then love God, then serve God.

He was then asked, “Why do you have a roof on top of your house?”

He answered, “So that something will shelter/cover my family from all outside forces that might harm them, and if they are protected, they could read the Bible, then learn about God, then love God, then serve God.

Everything he did was for God.

Everything we do is for God. 

I was fifteen when I encountered this one-of-a-kind teacher who taught me lessons that would last throughout the years. It’s been nine years since Fr. John Chambers SJ told his Values class about the story of a True Israelite. In his short simple story, he wanted to teach us that the ultimate reason to everything we do in this world is “For God.” Every day is an opportunity to show Him how much we love Him. Everything we do should be done for God. Indeed, He is the reason for living. Even though we get caught up with the things of this world, I hope we won’t lose sight of the reason we do the things we do: FOR GOD.

 

The Starfish Story

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Photo courtesy of http://www.wallconvert.com/

Happy Friday, everyone! It is really wonderful to be alive and thriving amidst the otherwise gloomy weather in my town today. Here’s a short story that reminds us that everything we do, no matter how small, makes a difference. Enjoy!

A Starfish Story

By Loren Eiseley

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

 

Kinda Book to Movie Review II: The Fault in Our Stars

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Four months ago, I wrote about the book  and now comes the movie. To be honest, this is my first time to actually watch a movie adaptation of  a best-selling book. I have always been a movie-buff. I only read one Harry Potter book. I wasn’t a fan of the Twilight Saga (Neither book nor movie). I watched the first two Hunger Games movies then only decided to read the last book so that I’d figure out the ending.

That said, watching the Fault in our Stars “the movie” was unfamiliar territory for me. I’m the type of person who would watch a movie and get lost in its world for a whole hour and a half (if it’s that good). However, I read the book recently and this made me “think more” than feel the movie in the whole 90 minute run. Every time something from the book happened differently in the movie, my brain would go like, “I imagined Peter Van Houten to be short and stout,” “There should have been flowers falling off the trees in Amsterdam,” “Didn’t she have a friend who she met up in the mall?,” “Weren’t they supposed to be kissing at the back of the church and not at the parking lot?” These little things that are totally acceptable to be different in the movie clouded my mind and just  hindered that lost-in-a-trance feeling I would normally have for a good movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie in it’s entirety (cried a  bit, too). It’s just that personally, I would have appreciated the movie more if I haven’t read the book because I wouldn’t have anything to compare it with.

Nonetheless, I give the movie 3 stars because I like the book and the movie made a pretty good job in  bringing the characters and their bittersweet love story to life. Plus, I like the soundtrack.

In conclusion, if you are just like me (who apparently tends to endlessly compare the movie to its book counterpart) do any of the two: Avoid reading the book before watching the movie; or hold off on watching the movie until you’ve forgotten the nitty-gritty details of the book. I think that I’ll be watching this movie again a few months from now and allow myself to get lost in the starlit story.

10 Camping Essentials Everyone Should Know

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1. A smartphone for an awesome sound trip

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while capturing the magnificent view;

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2. A good pair of shades;

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3. A sturdy tent;

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4. A nice hammock for a cozy late afternoon nap;

 

14570_10152182947878667_3787948213319987136_n5. Food&Water + kitchen stuff;

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6. A person who knows how to cook;

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7. But when that’s nonexistent, Instant food saves the day;

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8. A master card player + Cards for entertainment;

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9. A Bonfire for the full camping experience;

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10. And of course, People you love

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Because nothing beats great travel adventures with good company!

Seven Feel-Good Songs for the Weekend

 

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It’s Friday again!

Here are seven songs to boost your mood for a fun trip outdoors.

They work well for a fun spring day cleaning, too.

^-^

1. Paramore – Ain’t it Fun

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2.  John Legend – All of Me

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3. Clean Bandit – Rather Be

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4. Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty

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5. One Republic – Counting Stars

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6. Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing 

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7.  American Authors –  Best Day of My Life

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Let us enjoy life! It’s the only one we have!

 

A Stranger’s Story

 

Last night, while zapping through channels on the TV after the late night news show, I came upon “I love Pinas.” It’s a midnight travel show featuring attractions in the Philippines. That was my first time to learn about the show’s existence. I don’t watch TV much and I was curious with who the host was. I have never heard of him and I thought to myself, “Who is he and how did he get my dream job?”

So I googled Carlo Lorenzo today and I found his travel and food blog. His story was full of surprises. In a nutshell, he was a Broadcast Communication graduate from UP Diliman. He was a man full of ambition and worked as a newscaster for GMA Network. His ultimate dream was to host his own TV show. His work and ambition made him lose sight of the more important things in life. Then, in 2002, he was kidnapped which led to his epiphany. In his words, “When I was kidnapped, I was released from my other prisons: materialism, ambition, insecurities. In his Great Adventure story, he said, “My dream was big, but God is bigger.”

He resigned from work and tried to find himself again in God. He realized that for the longest time, his work was his god. His resignation paved way for him to realign his priorities and fully depend on God for everything. In 2010, just when he was almost broke, he got a call from the TV Network to temporarily host a show. One thing led to another and in 2011, he was offered his own show- I love Pinas.

As he puts it, God gave him the best version of his dream. God is really amazing. He has a great plan for each of us and He manifests this in extraordinary ways.

I don’t think it was just coincidence that I happen to watch the show last night and find out about this stranger’s story. It’s a reminder that I should let go of my worldly ways and have faith in God’s amazing plan for me, just as He did for this man.

Let’s keep the faith alive! Happy Friday!