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Showing posts from November, 2012

Every Doubt, A Dare

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I remember the walk up the steep Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna on our 5th day of the pilgrimage.  I could no longer count past 10.  My feet were aching from the long day of touring Rome. There were rose vendors who suddenly handed us roses and asked for change to pay them for a stem.  But we had to reach the top by 5pm or we will miss the bus back to the hotel. 
I find myself reminiscing these moments because they're the most recent memories that offer my mind a place to breathe.  I found this lost petal in the photograph enchanting with a backdrop  view of the Vatican panoroma.  I took this photo because I wanted to be reminded that even fragile things such as crumpled petal is gifted with beauty when seen against the whole landscape of the city of Rome.
Nothing is wasted in His creation.  Everything is touched by His fingerprints.  So everything bears a mark of His glory.  
These are heart whispers that help me surmount the doubts that have been nagging at me the past f…

A Blurred Vision of Grace

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I'm writing to catch up.  I'm writing because I've again lost track of the rhythm.  That rhythm that always saves me from losing my sense of grace.  This is how I fight for joy.  I write.  
The days have been burning with the heat of pressure in the work place.  I spent the weekend in the plant.  Going through large rolls of paper all lined up to the ceiling.  Hearing the printing machine buzz out sheets and sheets of copies to catch up.  We are always catching up.  Absorbed with a lot of worries  the rhythm of catching up has been the drum beat we've marching to.  
There were tears of frustration and some voices rose to their breaking point.  I watched and absorbed it all.  And I am grateful that these days pass away.  That there are moments, although few and far between, where I can be silent and walk my own rhythm to catch up with my life. But how long do I have to keep catching up? 
My vision blurs to the sight of grace.  But even in its blurred beauty the truth r…

That Impossible Day of the Week

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The smell of printed paper and freshly poured ink permeate the warehouse.  The machines buzzing noisily echoes around the walls.  We were on an intense race to reach our delivery commitment the past few days and everyone is on their toes.
The environment was tense.  It had started yesterday.  Phone call after phone call.  It never seemed to end.  All I could keep thinking was, I just wanted it to be over.  There's one more day to go this week and if I had not written that post last Sunday, I don't know where I'd be as of this moment.
But all is grace.  He is faithful in His silent whisperings.  Reminders nudge deep inside the heart where the clamor of problems that need for solutions reverberate. 
I don't know how long I can last an environment like this.  But grace helped me rise above what I felt was an impossible situation and deal with it.  It burns, oh how it does.  When questions are not answered and when people pass their own questions to you--it feels like an …

Breaking Through Fear

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There is nothing safe about this world.
Things change almost every minute.  People can say things that harm your soul  and break it to pieces in many different angles.  A job can make you lose your values and question your ideals.  A friend can make you feel like you're the most undesirable company.  A circumstance can be so overwhelming that it can make you feel your strength slip away and that fear of losing your grip on life, an insurmountable wall to climb over.
Fear rules with each chance it can take to rob you off the certainty that there is a hope that does not ever disappoint when your life can be hanging by a thread.  When your story seems to keep repeating like an endless transition played on loop.
Fear is loud and overbearing.  It makes you cower.  It makes you aggressive.  It makes you steal the control you do not own and end up distorting the graceful rhythm that is inherent in your life.  It makes you doubt that there is ever a chance that you will win and find joy.…

Staying Still in the Moment

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It's the last few minutes before I can exclaim "Thank God it's Friday!".  Usually I'd hurry to wrap up and get my stuff packed so I can rush out and breathe the night air to end the work week.  But this afternoon I'm taking it slow.  This was my first week back since my vacation and I've been challenged to keep my joy and my peace.

I would say that I almost lost.  With the things that I've encountered and the issues that have piled up.  I could have easily let those burdens bury me beneath.  Whatever joy I've received and whatever peace I've embraced could have easily been stolen.

This morning I suffered an almost losing struggle to my own feeling of "annoyance".  I was running late because I had so many things to prepare and I had to pass by carpoolers on the way to work.  I was running late for my mentoring session and I didn't want to be.  But I was.  Yet, that was my first encounter this Friday with grace.  My mentor said, …

Receive Grace to be Graceful

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While the past two days of this work week has passed by so swiftly than I expected, I am pausing tonight to go back into the silence before sleep.  The moment where I commit to rekindling the moments where I discover the places of joy tucked between the busy hours or the day's work.


#160.  The call to pray before our meeting acknowledging the presence of God#161. Protected by God's peace the whole day despite work issues.#162. The momentum rolling with newly discovered opportunities.#163. My parents' appreciation and interested in what I've been writing of late. #164. The delight of my parents as they learn how to use iMessage.#165. Rekindling the dream of building art foundations.
Last Sunday I was anxious to experience the possibility of encountering so many unresolved issues that have piled up while I was away.  And though they continue to exist, I am wrapped in a place of peace. Steadily keeping my eyes on Him, the Giver of peace.  
I realize that keeping a sl…

The Journey Back to Rome & Meeting the Saints

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The day started at 5:00am.  Saint Peter's square was dimly lit and graced with the cold air of autumn. I counted cobblestones till we reached our place of waiting.  Our tour guide Massimo was confident that this was going to be the gate that would be opened first by 8:00am.  45 pilgrims from Bus number 5 walked eagerly up the railing that divided the rest of the square from the much desired seat quadrants near the Basilica's steps.





There was a silent anticipation.  "Anybody want coffee?"  Massimo calls out.  He comes back with a liter of espresso poured into a plastic bottle and passed around small paper cups.  A cheer cuts through the silence and we merrily sipped what we can from the deliciously hot coffee that warmed our moments of waiting.



I stood there and stared at the wide area of St. Peter's.  Seven portraits of Saints hung on the entrance of the basilica.  To the far left was our Saint Pedro Calungsod.  The brave 17 year old catechist who gave his life…

Into the Stillness

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This evening I find myself silently huddling close to the Word.  I'm stuffing myself with everything I could ever chew on that I feel would "protect" me from the "snares" that will attempt to steal my newfound peace as soon as I step back into the work-place tomorrow. 
I've been working on this page for the past  hours or so.  Thinking that I cannot get enough of this "creative breathing space" once I find myself locked within the demands of my job.  So I work on it and change the banners and the fonts like I'm changing living room furniture and upholstery.  Silently I think to myself, I might not be able to do this ever again.So I binge.  
I'm trying not to be frantic but inside, I know I am.  
I take a deep sigh and let my anxiety exhale.  There is nothing much that I can do.  I'm going back to a place that I know I will never quite fit.  And while I know God's grace will sustain me, the fragile human responses react in automati…

Remembering To Walk on Water

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This banner hangs on the wall across my bed.  The tape almost peeling from the wall it has been attached to for the past 5 years or so.  It calls out to me when I wake up or before I sleep.  It wasn't until this morning that I've realized how little I've paid attention to its silent command.   
Remember!  To walk on water.
My friend Adi  hung this on the wall when I gave my room a make-over.  She decided to stencil this on a simple stretch of cartolina.  She said she wanted it to remind me of how to walk on water especially on days when I forget about it.  
Walking on water is a phrase I always tell myself when I'm experiencing almost impossible-to-deal-with circumstances.  It triggers my hope that when these circumstances come, I can arise above them for God calls me to "Come!" and walk over the impossible situations in my life.
One of the most impossible situations I've felt in my life was/is my job.  The environment I live in.  The culture that I walk t…

Quiet

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The week ends for me.  The blessed week filled with quiet spaces and longer breaths.  The week that gave me the pause  to rest tired pilgrim feet.  The week that gave me the time to think about everything again and finger printed photographs and let the memories fuel my own spirit's restoration.

All I needed was the quietness to hear my soul speak.  The quiet to hear the voice of God.  And I rise from the silence to find the words to speak here in this space all that I've heard.  To write all that I am beginning to believe.





Remember Surrender

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Eight of them sat in the round table with heads bowed.  We prayed for a good dialogue, an open heart and a willing spirit.  
When you witness young people called to serve in a ministry to help bring young people to God, you ask yourself only one question.  Am I really equipped to help these people draw closer to God?  There are actually 9 of us but one was still at work so only eight came and they were all there seated with their heads bowed in prayer.  And I prayed earnestly for a spirit of surrender.
When you're serving part-time in a youth ministry it becomes a great challenge to learn how to balance all other areas of your life.  I listened to the young ministers speak of their challenges and I realized that we are not giving enough support to young ministry leaders when it comes to helping them learn how to sort out their time given all the activities they have to do in school, their family and church work. 
For the first time, I saw them as I saw myself.  They were going th…

Everything is Grace: Where Weakness becomes Strength

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I spent time with a friend this afternoon.  It has been a while since we spent time and just talked with quiet hearts.  I was listening to her story.  It was so similar to mine.  The way she felt tired with serving and working.  The way her strivings have caused her soul to be callused.  The way she gave so much endlessly only to find herself spent at the end of the day without anything in-filling.  
Her story was all too familiar.  In fact it continues to be my story till today.  But I shared with her the one thing that has kept me from spiraling into a downward cycle that would have been my plight had I not allowed myself to be touched by women who were looking to be awakened to the present grace and who continued to fight for joy in the middle of the difficult & messy moments of life.
That one thing was learning    gratitude.  
Oh, I still continue to see the things that "could've been better" or "should've been done" or "would have been smooth…

The Breathing Rhythm of Scrapbooked Photographs

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Oh am I awake.  Wide awake.  And I'm not speaking of jet lag.  But I have realized that since I came back, I've gone into this rhythm of listening to myself and allowing a meager creative experience to arise from the ordinary act of scrapbooking.  
For many years, I've told myself that I try this out.  I probably did when I was a lot younger but when you're life has been overtaken by the need to pound your fists at the boardroom tables and hit a 12 hour workday with no pat in the back, scrapbooking has no choice but to take a backseat. 



It's a big mistake, I would say, when you let your life be robbed off the balance it rightfully needs between work and the perimeter you keep for your own self.  I think for the first time in my life since I graduated business school I have felt more fulfilled tearing blue masking tape with my fingers than finishing a budget justification that was approved but that was barely read, hurriedly skimmed through and sits lazily inside a …

I Write to Pray: 5th of November

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- in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Spirit -


I've decided to write prayers in the past but never quite made it come to pass.  The recent days since I got back I realized how writing has helped me believe and affirm what I believe. So I'm trying to start a prayer habit by writing them down here.  That I may grow in my belief.

Mosaic Hearts of the Young

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Last night I was with some of the young people from our Youth Apostolate and I asked one of them a few questions about why they like being in Youth Ministry.  
She paused and gazed at a spot beneath the tree.  "I like the care circles.  I learn a lot from other young people when they share what they've been through.  Then I realize stuff that I haven't understood because I had a different perspective."
I'm musing about young people today because I've been a youth minister for the past 6 years or so and while I think to myself that young people seem to be different now than before I stop and pause.  Young people now take time to articulate what they want to say in person because they fear the judgment of adults.  They seem apprehensive to open up their thoughts because they fear it will be insignificant or irrelevant.  They would rather express themselves to a certain few because the comfort of acceptance is less risky and the words they type on Twitter are s…

The Song of Assisi

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It's been 3 days since I got back and I have one more week to gather and complete what this pilgrimage has begun.

The journey to fully entrusting my life and everything in it to the love of an ever relentless Soul Lover-God.  

I've been sitting on my desk almost day in and out until the wee hours of jet-lagged mornings sifting through photograph after photograph.  Trembling at the beauty of memories and how faith spilt stories through time to make sure there remains testimonies from the remnants of the lives of those who witnessed God.

And He is Real.  They say.  

They speak of His beauty and the calm of His peace on the walls of Assisi glowing in soft pink.  Walls that traced the lives of Saints Francis & Claire as they walked in surrender of their wealth and belongings in return for a life complete in Him.





They spoke of His everlasting embrace in the wide expanse of breath-taking view from the Basilica of Francis that sits at the top of the hill I traversed through a s…