Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Single Bliss

Friday, April 21, 2006

Confessions of A House Plant Killer

I just killed another potted plant.

As I cleared a pile of files off the top of my office cabinet, a poor little dead houseplant revealed itself behind it. It looked vaguely familiar, then I remembered the robust looking plant my boss gave me a few months back. To brighten up my office, she said.

My officemates snickered knowingly. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they placed bets behind my back on how long before the plant dies.

I wonder how long it had been struggling for survival! The poor thing looked like it had been gasping for water for quite some time before it finally gave up its spirit. But it might not have been THAT long since there was still one tired-looking leaf left that remained green.

After pausing for a moment of silence in respect to the house plant’s demise, I dumped it in the thrash can with a twinge of regret. If only I had been less forgetful! Maybe next time….

Oh well, who am I fooling here?

I believe that what is important to you, you won’t likely forget, whether its an errand, an appointment, a pet or a plant.

Friends tease me and wonder if maybe it’s because I'm too much of a free spirit. That is, not wanting or allowing myself to be bounded by anything—whether it's a responsibility to another person, a plant or a dog.

That really unsettled me. I do fancy myself a free spirit, but I wouldn’t like to think of myself so free as to be irresponsible. As far as I can remember, I very rarely missed appointments, or deadlines.

I go back to my original premise. I think it is a matter of viewing something as important enough to merit attention. Not to say that keeping a spot of greenery in my room is not important—unfortunately, there were other, more important things that distracted me, like appointments and deadlines.

Oh well, keeping a goldfish is now officially out of the question.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Spider Solitaire.
Coke Light.

What do they have in common?

They are my addictions.

With any of the aforementioned games, I have to be mindful of the time spent on them or else I would use up half my waking moments playing, while downing Coke Light or sipping hot coffee. And if I am not careful, the other half of my waking moments would be spent watching TV or doing email, while downing Coke Light or sipping hot coffee.

On the bright side of things, I could be addicted to MORE stuff!

And I thank God I don’t have a TV—so coach potato-ing has become more of an incidental addiction.

Why is it so much easier to be addicted to “bad’ stuff rather than good ones?

Instead of being addicted to chocolates, why can’t we be addicted to vegetables?

Instead of being addicted to watching movies, why can’t we be addicted to helping the poor?

Instead of being addicted to on line games, why cant we be addicted to teaching kids at Sunday School?

Instead of being addicted to gossip, why can’t we be addicted to saying the nicest things to the most unlovable cad?

Wouldn’t this kind of addiction make the world a better, healthier place?

Well, at least, I have one newly-acquired “almost-but-not-quite” addiction that I certainly hope will end up to be a positive one: blogging.

And by the way, I have given up Coke Light…I have switched to Pepsi Max and had just triumphantly tore myself away from playing Bejewelled for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Come and See

Come and see, come and see,
Come and see the King of love;
See the purple robe
And crown of thorns He wears.
Soldiers mock, rulers sneer
As He lifts the cruel cross;
Lone and friendless now,
He climbs towards the hill.

Come and weep, come and mourn
For your sin that pierced Him there;
So much deeper than the wounds
of thorn and nail.
All our pride, all our greed,
All our fallenness and shame;
And the Lord has laid the punishment on Him.

Man of heaven, born to earth
To restore us to Your heaven.
Here we bow in awe
Beneath Your searching eyes.
From Your tears comes our joy,
From Your death our life shall spring;
By Your resurrection power
We shall rise.

We worship at Your feet,
Where wrath and mercy meet,
And a guilty world is washed
By love’s pure stream.
For us He was made sin—
Oh, help me take it in.
Deep wounds of love cry out
‘Father, forgive.’
I worship, I worship
The Lamb who was slain.

-Graham Kendrick

Friday, April 07, 2006

No Cellphone for A Day

“I left my cellphone at home!”

After a thorough combing through of my huge bag where a PDA, a coin purse, a wallet, a make up kit and other knick knacks jostled for space, I came to this realization.

Then came a slight tightening of the chest, a slight shortness of breath, slight blurring of vision, and a slight trembling of hands.

Overreacting? Well, I DID say "slight!”

This wasn’t the first time. But the reaction had not changed (improved?). That sick helpless feeling still trickled down my spine and set my teeth on edge.

“What if there’s an emergency?”
“What if it’s a one-of-a-kind call that shouldn’t be missed?”
‘What if….?”

I realized this right before the workshop I was attending started. So for the first 15 minutes, I stared at the facilitator, his mouth was moving and in my mind’s eye, it seemed like he was saying, “You have a dozen missed calls and a gazillion text messages!!!! Read them! Accept the calls!! Now!!” Aarrrgghh!!

It took a while before I could re-attach my soul to my physical body and really BE at the workshop and not miles away, in my house, beside my bed, where my lonely cellphone is dying for my touch.

To make a long story short, I survived the day. Got home and read four (!) not-so-earth-shaking messages and zero missed calls.

No ego trip here, since my ego just tripped…and fell flat on its face. Hah! As if people’s lives would fall apart just because I can’t reply to their text messages A.S.A.P.! Who's important now?

Anyway, thank God, we don’t need cellphones to get to Him and thank God no human is put in charge of holding the world together in the first place.

Today’s forgetfulness did my soul some good.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Non-Negotiables (Revised)

As you can see from the title, I have revised this list. After much thought, I realize these are not values in the sense of 'being' or character values (what makes you tick or what ticks you off) but these are aspired operation values, that is, values of 'doing' (how you tick). As for character values, am going on a retreat, so will think through that list and blog them one of these days...meanwhile....this it it! I hope that sharing these will help you think through your own.

Caveat: Some of the operational values listed are already in operation in my life, while others are those I aspire to have and am committed to work on. After all, we are all works in progress, aren’t we?

1. Honest Self-Evaluation--Aware of my imperfections and wanting to always be made aware of my blind spots, I constantly seek to evaluate myself, my actions, my reactions and motives in the light of what blesses people and helps me grow as a person.

2. Liberating Boundaries--I want to rid myself of the “Messiah” complex. I understand and accept my limitations and release matters that are beyond my control to God.

3. Responsible and Strategic Stewardship—My fear is that one day, I will look back to a life full of “if only's.” I seek to wisely manage my time, talents, relationships, resources, and health in the light of what benefits the Kingdom.

4. Synergistic Relationship with God and Man—With an understanding that God is an all-wise, all-knowing Father who wants ultimately what is best for me and for His Kingdom, I constantly strive to know Him more, love Him deeper and seek His counsel in all things.

I also understand that no man is an island. Man thrives and grows in the context of relationships. I seek to learn to love, encourage and bless others—helping them bear fruit for His kingdom.

5. Sense of Humor--Humor has been a healing balm that cured many a heartache. It is a gift from God. I insist on using it. I insist on looking at the lighter side of life…to laugh at myself, laugh with others and be reminded to take myself lightly and take God seriously.

6. Analytical Mindset--Modern society offers many attractive concepts and trends. Some of them seem right superficially, some seem wrong at first glance. I fear finding myself following the Pied Piper and regretting too late. I seek to think through and analyze ideas, concepts and trends in the light of Scripture and God’s character.

7. Apportioning God’s Boundless Grace—I am keenly aware of my own imperfections and know that there will be times when I will fail. Instead of quitting, I unashamedly insist on going on, understanding that God in His grace extends forgiveness and gives second chances to those who fail.

I realize that there are operational values that I am holding on that may not be helpful in my growth as a person--these I have resisted putting into this list. I am symbolically (and hopefully in practice as well) letting go of them.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Conspiracy Against the Carless

As I edge my way to the footbridge after work, I find myself a hair’s breath away from speeding buses and motorcycles. If they swerve just half an inch on my side of the road—well, we will then have to include “humans” somewhere in the definition of roadkill.

If you’re thinking, "Hello! Why don’t you use the sidewalk?” Then, you, dear reader, are obviously not from my beloved motherland, the Philippines. In most streets here, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) deem it more “efficient” for pedestrians to “share” their paths with motorists, food vendors, ukay -ukay entrepreneurs, vulcanizing shops, PLDT and DPWH diggings, carparks for shops and banks, etc etc etc. Sigh.

Anyway, once I get to the footbridge, I prepare for a long climb. For some of us who lead somewhat sedentary lives, this exercise may be welcomed—but I wonder about the old man with a limp who struggles his way up with his cane, or the vegetable vendors who have to heave their carts and goods up the stairs—if you are on a wheelchair, forget about crossing! Because pedestrian crossings, along with traffic lights are fast becoming extinct…all in the name of less traffic, never mind the pedestrian.

When you get on the bus, there is a sign that says, “Sa Fast Lane lang po tayo pag hindi pumayag ang MMDA mag ilalim.” (If MMDA does not allow us to use the underpass, we will have to use the fast (ehem) lane.) Meaning, the bus you ride will have to shoulder its way through millions of other buses that bottleneck at EDSA-Cubao because the underpass is just for private motorists, company vans, and anyone who can afford to take the taxi! Sigh (again).

And please don’t get me started about what the situation is like when there’s a downpour!

Sometimes, I have the blessing of hitching a ride with a “car-red” friend, and as I gaze out to the pedestrians and commuters edging their way down the roads or frantically dodging cars to get to the jeep they want to ride, my heart goes out to them.

Well, there are two good things that come out of this which the anti-carless conspirators can never rob me of:
A. Developing a sympathetic spirit (at least to fellow carless citizens)
B. Deeper understanding of what it means to step out in faith!

So there!