Sunday, January 29, 2012

colored in between GreenS

taken in CEndet, Cebu City

like any other girls - pretty things like this amazes me

boring excitement

spent my whole 5 days in the confines of a conference hall listening to trainers from Compassion Manila office. learned a lot and it was not as boring as i thought it should be. when i asked margie to let me go i thought i was entering martyrdom... ask her and everyone else at work i'm not very good in blending in with the older crowds that composed the project directors of 20 or so local projects in the visayas region.

towards the end though i have had a change of heart, i felt excited of going back to the center and tell my team all the encouraging stuff the group did and learned. i was especially touched by this video of a korean pastor who did not think it beneath him to shine shoes in order to support the 7 children he was sponsoring. i cried buckets over that and i tell you im not a cry baby.

i work firsthand with the kids... doing field and hands on work and most of the time it feels kind of monotonous doing the everyday stuff we're doing at the office.... the letters, the case studies, the home and school visitations and usual weekly classes.... then with this training/conference i was reminded of the end purpose why i do what i do. the children have all big dreams... to be an engineer, to be a general in the army, to be a president like obama, to be miss Philippines, etc.... the poor children that are our beneficiaries have little or no opportunity at all to reach their dreams unless someone reach out and help them. thank God for kind-hearted, amazingly generous sponsors who never tire of giving what they can out of the abundance of their hearts. what we do on our end, as field people, are just a small portion of the whole thing that is :

... bragging would be a good thing if i say that we already have children who once were wide-eyes, runny-nose beneficiaries and are now co-laborer in the Lord... that's our proudest moments... if all the sponsor can only see the impact of what they have done and are still doing, the kind words in their letters, the small stickers they send, the small gift every christmas, the musical card they send for birthdays, the pictures - the offering of prayers for the family. its not just for their sponsored kids - i've seen mothers and fathers cried because the sponsor of their children told them, "you are my family" or you are my daughter or my son".

one sponsor sent a hundred bucks and was confused when she recieved a letter from her child that they are thankful that she sent them the gift because they were able to buy a house. a house!? she wrote back, "how come? it was only a hundred bucks!" Yes! they bought a small house... with leaking roof and holes on the bamboo floor... but it was finally theirs! they have been praying for it ever since they could remember and the the sponsor made the little boys and his whole family's dream come true.

"there is no thing as a small gift" --- in my personal opinion, appreciated or not every gift that is given makes a huge difference in the lives of every child - the child's family and ultimately the community.

like i said i change my mind about the conference. boring and monotonous? a tinies bit (lol). exciting and challenging? yes, check! check!
I am helping change the lives of the little ones and if that does not excite me i better find a thoroughly boring job like banking? (no offense meant, i hate numbers :-D)

Friday, January 20, 2012

rain on me, reign on me

okay, I said to myself, I'll take a cat nap just until it stops raining.... 2 hours after the "cat nap" it's still at it... so i changed my clothes and prepare for a long evening... i slept around 9:30pm and when i woke up .... TADA! its still pouring rain!... nearly 72 hours, give or take a few.

much too much? don't think so...

im a rain lover, well really if the weather is cool and breezy im sure to love it. a friend before told me that she doesnt care for rainy season as she feels rather melancholic if its raining... not me! love rainy seasons... "rainy days and mondays" does not get me down!

it has been raining a lot these days... climate change i guess. wet season that was supposed to have come and gone september to december is invading new year and im sure will stay until febuary... who knows ... we cannot predict the weather these days - they give us no heads up like the olden days :-D

rain always represents dull days, cloudy moments, extreme trials, life in a duldrom and many other "down moments"

"Smile when you're spinning round and round
Sigh as you think about tomorrow
Make a vow that your gonna be happy again

It's all right in your life no more rain"

he rather mean that its okay if youre gray and melancholy and is wishing for "no more rain".

there was a time before when i would wallow in self pity and desperation because i cant seem to  grasp the purpose that i know i should live for - i WISH and PRAY for the future to come.

and now the future is here. one ive longed and wished for -- not much exciting as i have hoped for but definitely more interesting in comparison to my past.

raining, if i agree and let it mean trial and testing,  so early in my life has helped shaped my character and the way i see things... it has strengthen my faith and me as a person and pushed me to trust and depend on Someone who knows my future wayyyyyy more than i could.

So do i want drizzle?

Certainly not! (My God, before i say the next sentence i want full immunity and total guidance and pretocetion... i know, i know you're already on it but it does not hurt to say it again. LOL)

I want a torrential rain!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

smile the size of the cantaloupe slice

God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him. Phil. 2:13

Tucked away in the cedar chest of my memory is the image of a robust ad rather rotund children’s Bible class teacher in a small West Texas church. She wore black eyeglasses that peaked on the corners like a masquerade church. She smelled like my mom’s makeup and smiled like a kid on a Christmas when she saw us coming to her class. Low-heeled shoes contained her thick ankles, but nothing contained her great passion. Hugs as we entered and hugs as we left. She knew all six of us by name and made class so fun we’d rather miss the ice-cream truck than Sunday school.
Here is why I tell you about her. She enjoyed giving us each a can of crayons and sketch of Jesus torn from a coloring book. We each had our own can, mind you, reassigned from cupboard duty to classroom. What had held peaches or spinach now held a dozen Crayolas. “Take the crayons I gave you,” she would instruct, “and color Jesus.” And so we would.

We didn’t illustrate pictures of ourselves; we colored the Son of God. We didn’t pirate crayons from other cans; we used what she gave us. This was the fun of it. “Do the best you can with the can you get.” No blues for the sky? Make t purple. If Jesus’s hair is blond instead of brown, the teacher won’t mind.
She taught us to paint Jesus with our own colors.
God made you to do likewise. He loaded your can. He made you unique. But knowing what he gave you is not enough. You need to understand why he gave it: so you could illustrate Christ. Make a big deal of him. Beautify his face; adorn his image….. color Christ with the crayons God gave you.

Don’t waste years embellishing your own image. No disrespect, but who needs to see you face? Who doesn’t need to see God’s?
Besides, God promises no applause for self-promoters. But great reward awaits God-promoters: “Good work! You did your job well” (Matt. 25:23) My teacher gave us something similar. Judging by her praise for our sketches, you’d think Rembrandt and van Gogh attended her class. One by one she waved the just-colored Christs in the air. “Wonderful work, Max. Just wonderful!”

I smiled the size of a cantaloupe slice. You will too.

Make a big deal out of God in your life.
… in everything that you do
… in everything that you are.
He deserves nothing less.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Hero is Born

Natalie's Note: I do not know what's up with our generation's craze with vampires and werewolves and horror movies... what about good old fashioned Justice League and other Super-Friends?

Thank you Jori Millan for indulging my insistent request to write about this. Jori is the Youth Facilitator of MCOF Youth Group and guidance counselor in University of Cebu -Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (if u have any concerns with all matters moral - ask him. haha.)
Seriously, this guy stands out because of the fact that he separates himself from the rest because of his kindness and  creativity and also because of his deep passion and unwavering commitment to God. 

Superhero Phenomenon: A Hero is born

Ever since I was a kid I really wanted to be a super hero. I’d wish on falling stars a million times hoping that someday there would be a “Great Phenomena” – a bolt of lightning of some sort would struck me and I would have superpowers! Alas, it still hasn’t happen yet… Seriously I really adore superheroes, be it in comics or in television series. 

One time a close family friend asked me a superhero-related-question (but it sounded more like a Ms. Universe Q&A). “If you were to have superpowers what would it be?” I paused and thought for awhile, the question reminded me of my childhood fantasy – to become a superhero.  Then my memory bubble was popped by my friend’s unyielding pushiness. So, I immediately answered “I want to have the same power as with Jean Grey (of X-Men) so I could control everything with my mind.” She replied “I like Wolverine”.

A lot of us think that only persons with superpowers can become superheroes. Well, we still have a few whose “superpowers” are their quick-thinking ability and their physical might and agility. Batman of course would be on top of the list. He has no super strength like “Superman”, high-speed ability like “The Flash”, will-powered ring like “The Green Lantern”, or perhaps “Wonder Woman’s” flying skill. Batman uses his clever thinking, wealth, and inventions and gadgets; and Viola! A hero is born! Just like the Dark Knight, we also have Iron man, Green Arrow, The Punisher, and the like who relies more on their gadgets.
So what makes a hero a Superhero? What could be a superhero’s qualification or Characteristic? Here’s a quick look on my pseudo-research survey I conducted at a school where I work.

The top Five (5) characteristic of a Superhero
1.       Can Save lives. Duh! Why on earth will he be called a hero if he can’t and won’t save lives?
2.       Have supernatural powers. Well, this is just to compensate the villain’s power…
3.       Has Super Strength. They’d be lifting a lot of damsels in distress, might as well have super strength.
4.       Can withstand tremendous pain. There is going to be a “weaking-hero” if he can’t endure pain.
5.       Can Fly. To add a dramatic entrance and exit of the Hero.

You might agree or disagree on the above-mentioned characteristics; but, it does make a lot of sense. To some they would say these are characteristics of a fictitious superhero. But I beg to disagree; the same characteristic or qualification does apply to real life Superheroes. This is the same Characteristic the Superhero that saved me possesses (believe it or not, I was saved by a Superhero!). My Superhero’s name is Jesus Christ.

Just like any other superhero seen on television and read in comics, He CAN and WILL save lives. In fact He was BORN TO SAVE (Luke 2:11) it was even prophesied in Isaiah. Most of our fictitious “superfriends” were born and raised to become ordinary citizens, and it was only during late adulthood that they encountered “an accident” that prompted them to become heroes.
Professor X can read minds and is a telepath, Storm can control the weather, and Cyclops has laser powered eyes. More than the X-Men, Jesus has supernatural powers too. In fact, it’s what we call “Divine Power”. With Christ’s power blind men were able to see (Mark 8:22-25), crippled men made well (Matthew 15:30), the dead rose from the grave (John 11), turn water into wine (John 2) and so much more. He can do everything… with him nothing is impossible.

If Superman is called the “Man of Steel” so is Jesus. Christ has super strength and at the same time able to withstand pain. Jesus carried the Patibulum (the cross bar) all the way to Calvary and archaeology has determined they weighed between 75 and 125 lbs. But it wasn't the weight of the cross that proved his super strength it was the weight of mankind’s Sins which He carried in his Heart. Furthermore, He had psy-war with the Pharisees’ and other government officials, was beaten, whipped, pierced by huge blunt nails, and verbally abused (mocked and put to shame). Yet, he endured them all. Now top that!

And best of all, He knows how to FLY! Oh Yes, you read it correctly (no typographical error) HE CAN FLY! (John 20:17). And a lot of people saw Him ascend into heaven.
Jesus was never born in a fancy hospital and lived in luxury like Professor X. He was born in a manger, but he never lived in misery like Magneto.

Jesus is and forever will be the Greatest Superhero mankind has ever encountered FOR REAL! He is not a fictitious Hero, and was never a byproduct of man’s imagination. He is the Son of the creator of mankind (logically that makes him our creator too). He is the REAL HERO with REAL POWERS that SAVE

our version of local heroes :-D

So what about you - Who is your Hero? Can he be trusted to save you?

welcome 2012 - resolutions (well, sort of)

If you know me you know that it won't be me  when I say I am ecstatic about 2012 :-D; so the right word to describe what i felt would be that I’m GENUINELY excited about 2012 about what my God has in store for me.
It's a worldwide thought i guess that New Years Resolution lasts only a week and others who are more purposeful lasts longer. There are even those who avoided resolutions on the premise of ‘make no promises, tell no lies’. I am one of those who can't follow through a resolution...Mostly because I bite off more than I can chew and then everything fizzles out....even with that discouraging habit of mine, I still think this is an exciting time of year to set goals and establish new perspectives
So what I'm gonna do is make my New Year’s resolutions this year on broad perspective... I want to establish goals which I believe will lead me to making wiser decisions throughout the 2012.  
Psalm 39.
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Show me, God, my life’s end. Show me the number of my days. Show me how fleeting my life is.

I want to live in 2012 with the awareness that my days are numbered.
Like everyone else I can get caught up in trying to rush through life acquiring things, trying to attain security, and achieving meaningless goals our culture has deemed worthy.  But so many of the things I focus on and worry about are simply futile.
I waste time regretting things from the past I can’t change. I settle for mediocrity trying to avoid difficult decisions and conversations. I get consumed with trying to be loved instead of loving others. I squander precious moments trying to control things I can’t control.
I don’t want that to be my life. 
So this year I’m making a resolution, a commitment, a promise to view my life differently.
I pray it will help me love deeper, pray harder, focus more intently, and seek to make the greatest impact with my one and only life that I possibly can.
And... Tada!!!
1) Read More. I've always been a book worm but lately a lot of non-sense has taken my time. Surf Less. This means less time in any sites which does not enrich me mentally and spiritually... or better yet, less time online. Period. (lol)
2) Eat healthy (eat more) - gain weight. Exercise more. I know being genetically thin doesn't mean that i have to be lazy and that i can eat all the junk food and calorie-overwhelming food that i want. This also means less coffee and soda (gracious goodness!)
3) Give more. Giving is a gift... i have to develop this attitude. Spend less. This needs a lot of work. 
4) Involvement.  In church, with friends, my family and at work. Be more open with others (though i have no idea how to do that)
5.)Worry Less. This is not easy... i do think i'm a pessimist. I know right? a christian isn't supposed to be this (more work for me). Pray More. 
6) Be grateful. For everything.
7) Journal Consistently. Read my Bible in a systematic way (re-learn my theology) and write about what God has impressed in my heart. 
8) Learn HTML and CSS (desperately want to...hopefully somebody will come forth and make an offer)
I still have a lot more written in my journal but this are the stuff that I'm comfortable sharing for now. I know, I know --- this will take a lot of effort (and that's just putting it lightly- whew!) and also i'll be begging for God's grace every step of the way. But i truly am excited about this and pray that God will help me through