January 31, 2011

My Name Is Om....

Obviously, she's the youngest in my class but she wouldn't tell me her age. It could be that her parents told her to deny her age or she would not be admitted in my class. I accept only 6 years old and above. I couldn't accommodate all of them.  Om could wait for next year when we have more volunteer teachers.

She faithfully came to our center, not saying a word. She would wait in the library, reading quietly. I only knew her name from other children in class.

She couldn't catch up in class but she didn't mind. She would scribble and color. She would not call for help. My daughter Naomi was kind to her. She would come by Om's side to help her even without me telling her.

Om continues to come to my class with cooling powder on her face. She still doesn't want to tell me her age but she now recites and sings, and is no longer shy.  If you visit my class, you'll see her come to you and say, "My name is Om" with a smile.
If you want to know more about our community projects, or perhaps you are interest on finding opportunities to make a difference in someone's life like Om's, please visit us here.
Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness,
to pull another hand into the light. 
~Norman B. Rice

January 29, 2011

Doubts on Relevance

Do you sometimes doubt your relevance in the big picture? I do! Sometimes, worse. I feel like I'm just one of those world-fillers.... that I could just slip away unnoticed.

As I did my gardening today, my zinnias helped me pulled out thorny weeds of lies. Read me here...

January 23, 2011


There is no music during a musical rest, but the rest is part of the making of the music. In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests. During those rests, we foolishly believe we have come to the end of the song. God sends us times of forced leisure by allowing sickness, disappointed plans, and frustrated efforts. He brings a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voice must be silent....Yet how does a musician read the rest? He counts the break with unwavering precision and plays his next note with confidence, as if no pause were ever there. John Ruskin, Streams in the Desert

January 19, 2011

Thank You For My Childhood

As I wrote my stories from my childhood last night, it dawned on me that I have so much to thank God for as a child.

  • I thank Him for placing me to a loving family. If I were to choose my own family members, I would choose them all all again.
  • I praise Him for the experiences and memories I have in my childhood.They are not all good and happy ones but I came out whole as a person. The trials and hardships could have made me bitter and in despair.
  • I saw lots of perils and dangers when I was growing up. Those are the times when my parents were away and not on sight. But I know now that my loving Father in heaven have sent His angels to guard me at all times. I would never know what more evil the enemy had planned against me when I was a child, but God's wonderful plan prevailed and I can't thank Him enough for that.

 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 
Psalm 91:11-12

  • I Praise Him that I know better now how to take care of my own children. I know that my wisdom and power are not enough to keep them safe from evil and danger. But the same loving hand that protected my me in my childhood will also protect my children, and I can rely totally count on Him for that.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 18:10 
  • Today, my 8-year old Zoe told us all about stories of her experiences hearing God and angels calling her name.  She also told us that she would have a day of fasting tomorrow, not eating 3 meals but only water, prayer, and Bible reading. I was a bit hesitant to let her do it but her dad and I decided that I would also fast with her to guide and support her.  I thank God that my children have more spiritual awareness than I had before. And I take pleasure in knowing that He will be there with me as I lead my children to the path where He wanted them to be.
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
Mark 10:15

I'm joining my friend Judy in thanking God with my list today. Visit here by clicking on the badge.

January 18, 2011

The Girl From Nicaragdao

The live show I watched late last night brought back images in the past, images that a ten-year old child could not process and so she buried them deep into the abyss of her consciousness. Now they came back, so vivid and have not gone blurry after 3 decades.

We were in bed ready to call it a day. As usual, our neighbors were still wide-awake around the marble table under the lamp post just a few steps away from our fence. My husband made a side comment on how weird that the gambling seemed to become an every night thing. It used to be only on days after pay-day. We used to complain a lot about the noise of men and women talking and shouting right above our headboard, well it sounds like that, but we got used to it already, I think. So, last night, right after my husband said something about it, there was a sudden silence and quick shuffles of feet. We thought there was a fight, but then, when we peeked through our window in our bedroom on the second floor, we saw policemen running after men, women, and one in between. They came on a taxi and parked in front our house. Our neighbors were caught in the act. It was quite a spectacle to see familiar faces on handcuffs. We pitied them, white-faced in fear. Oh, how my heart went out to their families who never came out to help them. Houses in the whole neighborhood suddenly became quiet. But I knew there were eyes like ours behind those windows. So, the policemen took all of them, ten people I think. One man in uniform gathered all gambling paraphernalia left in a mess on the table. That could be a hard evidence once they get to the police station. So, we thought. But in less than 10 minutes, our neighbors, those who were just caught by men in uniform, all of them, they came back laughing, sat on the table, brought out those same paraphernalia, and resumed their game.

Whoa! What was that? Almost a mockery? Are you kidding me? What was that show for?  In my country, I've seen real shows before where bad guys went to jail and even good guys got killed!

Ok, here we go. That's how those images in the past flashed back to me.

Photo: from Google images, not mine.
In early 80's, my family lived in a district called "Nicaragdao", named after strife-torn Nicaragua. Our place was also called "Killing Fields" (remember the film about Cambodia?) and there was actually a village next to ours that was called "Baryo Patay" ( Killing Village).  I was 10 and was already exposed to such ordeal where gun fires woke me up in the middle of the night, where Ma would pile everything up on our wall; tables, chairs and basins, just to thicken our wooden wall and at least make it a bit like bullet-proof wall to keep all 6 children safe until the break of dawn. I would be most glad when Pa would be away on a business trip when things like that happened because men would be asked to either join the insurgent group to fight against the military, or be searched  by the government armed forces. It depends on what group comes first. I feared more for my father to be caught in trouble with either group than for me to be hit by stray bullets. I remember one night, one very bright night, brighter than daylight because huge searchlights were installed behind our house. The military men, lined on the bridge behind our house, were aiming their guns toward our house while the rebels, grouped in the one-goal basketball court in front our house, were shouting in unison "US-Marcos ibagsak (overthrow)".The air was filled with smoke. I could tell it was marijuana. Maybe the smoke made that 10-year old girl braver because I refused my Ma's urgings to stay when I needed to go to the loo, which was outside the house. Our rented house was built by the river and the back house in stilts was on the river. So, you can imagine little twigs of legs shuffling on wooden planks to get to the loo on time. I've seen, through the cracks on the floor, armed men crawling to get to the other side. No one noticed me. Hah! I was invisible and invincible.

So, that show last night was a mockery; an insult to the blood of those men whose lives were sacrificed for the principle they stood for. At least, I've seen them true to the ideals they held on, foolish they maybe for not knowing what side was right and wrong but at least they were there fighting real battles.

Last night, I felt like my emotion was played at. I felt tricked. You know that feeling? My eyes were glued on the hands cuffed hard and tight but were instantly released after some whispered promises were made. What a scorn to the bullet stuck forever in the head of a childhood crush; and a joke to the "injan pana (Indian arrow)" that was stuck in the heart of the man I saw running for safety in our balcony!

My neighbors, they laughed, and they are laughing in convulsion as I type this. They are in celebration. They think they won the battle, that they outwitted the law. They don't realize that there are real battles worth fighting for. And may the oath those men in uniform made came back to them like "injan pana" which never rests until it is served.

After few years of watching my city battle for peace, I thought I was old enough to write something about it. So, I made an appointment with my father's younger brother to interview him for more details. I knew he could help me with information because he was involved in the operation to fight against the rebel forces in our district. I later knew about it when he was in the hospital gasping for his breath. He was a policemen on duty when a grenade near him exploded. My older sister washed his bloody shirt, tattered with holes. No one would believe he survived all the splinters that have gone to his flesh. (That my friend, is a real show of valor; when you are there on the ground, true to yourself and conscience.) 

I thought I would never be able to write about this. That interview didn't happen. The topic was too overwhelming for a teenager like me. But here I am now, unraveling stories never yet told. Perhaps you may find this heavy and strong, never expected as coming from a simple housewife and mother as I am. But there are issues that the girl in me needs to let go, some opinions never aired before, and maybe never again. So give this girl a chance....

To be continued....

January 15, 2011

Another Spice In My Garden?

I wondered why it was called garlic vine when it didn't look like garlic at all. There must be a reason behind it's name. When I accidentally bruised a flower and smelt my fingers, I, then, knew why. You would not expect that these sweet looking flowers would smell as strong as a real garlic.

Did I regret having them in my garden? Not at all! I just need to avoid bruising a flower or my garden would smell like a kitchen.

How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening. 
It makes it so lifelike.  
~Evelyn Underhill, Letters

  Macro Flowers Saturday              Flowers on Saturday    

 Mosaic Monday                    Today's Flower

January 14, 2011

Musings In My Garden

I wonder what my neighbors think of me as they often see me in my little garden turning pots here and there, rearranging flowers and taking photos of them almost on daily basis. Probably they know by now that it's more than just a gardening chore for me. It's actually one of my green pastures where I feel rested and my soul restored. My garden is a tiny corner in my own rented place, nothing special but birds and butterflies do love to come by and even passers-by take a second look and smile. For me, it is where my prayers are lifted, dreams are made, and God's voice is heard.

There is a plan to add a bench or a round chair in one corner where I can do my reading and tea time.  I hope that happens soon before rainy season comes.

This morning, as I took more photos, it came to mind that a garden must be place where human beings are most at home. Wasn't the first man's home a garden?

God Almighty first planted a garden. 
And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.
-Francis Bacon 

January 5, 2011

He Gives Because He Loves

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope this greetings is not too late. If you noticed, my last post before this one was dated December 17th of last year. So I was gone quite a while from the cyberspace. Well, 3 weeks is like forever for a serious blogger. Although sometimes I did pop up in my other blogs but, really, I would say that it was quite intentional. I was trying to bridle myself from things that I think I was doing too much than I was supposed to, and finding healthy balance of my everyday life. And, I'm glad to know that I'm still in control of things instead of the other way around.

As my first post of the year, I want to join my dear friend Judy in her thanksgiving celebration every Wednesday. Click on the badge below this post and it will take you to her blog where she and other thankful ladies share their lists of thanksgiving.

I thank God for giving me a home I can call my own. It's a humble home, simple, but it's a safe castle for my princesses, and a quiet studio for my young artist.  It's my heart's garden, and my man's peaceful domain.

I praise Him for everything there is in my home. They all speak about who I am. It's a picture of me, the personality God has given me.

I glorify Him for every single member in my family. I can't imagine how it would be like without one of them. Each is a piece of puzzle that completes the picture.

I'm always in awe of Him for the man He gave me to build this home together. I love the path we walk on, the things we share together, and the kind of life we have now.

I worship Him for who He is in my life; a loving and patient Father who loves and understands me, a Master who demands nonetheless yet equips me with everything I need to deliver the best.

All these He gives, not because they are deserved but because HE LOVES.

so that, just as it is written, 
1 Corinthians 1:31