Sunday, November 30, 2008

Matchmaker, matchmaker...

Joyce is a happily married mother of one. She met her husband through a matchmaking aunt who spotted her busily organizing an event in Davao. Not that Joyce is hard to spot—she is charming and vivacious—not to mention, pretty!

So she is a strong believer of matchmaking as a very valid, very effective way of finding The One. Not that she has actually hit the jackpot in that area—well, she did when she met her hubby—but I am talking about her own matchmaking attempts.

I once asked her, teasingly, “Aren’t you a bit discouraged that none of your matchmaking attempts have succeeded?”

Her reply? “Not at all! In fact, I am all the more challenged!”

That’s one of the reasons why she is one of my closest friends—her never-say-die attitude towards life, and her active desire for others to get the best out of life (marriage being just one of them).

I say active because she goes all out in helping others. Generous to a fault, she gives of her time in an unbelievable way. As if she is not busy enough with her work and her many ministry projects and preaching assignments, she would go out of her way to do things for friends, spend quality time on the phone with those who need wise advise or just a listening ear, and this is on top of family time. I sometimes find myself catching my breath for her sake as she talks to me about what she has been doing the past week. That is why I treasure all the more the Saturdays we spend together—talking, praying, sometimes crying and often laughing.

She is probably the only one who, aside from my mom and one other friend, I don’t actually mind fussing over me. But more than being the concerned mom, she has been a great friend in both rainy days and sunny ones. She cries with me and laughs with me—always ready to listen even when she has her own pressures that she needs to unburden. My eyes well up as I write this, because I remember those times when I badly needed someone to simply talk to and she, the ever busy mom, would go the extra mile—offering not just a shoulder to cry on but even opening her home to me as a haven to stay, rest, reflect or mend my wounds.

But aside from the rough patches, the sunny days are a joy to share with her as well. She can outtalk me, out-strategize, and outwit me at the best of times. Her charms border to legendary—how she manages to get people to do things for her is sometimes unbelievable. From her, I learn that charm goes a longer way that intimidation or anger. From her, I learn to make sure I don’t come out of the house looking like my passport photo. From her I learn how to handle sticky situations with wisdom and grace.

It has been 8 years now since I really got to know her. When I first came to Manila to work 8 years ago, she being a former churchmate from Davao who I didn’t really know very well, called up to ask me what I need and made herself available for me as I settled myself to city life. And since she is the kind of person that walks the extra mile, it was easy to see how our friendship deepened from there.

Being a matchmaker, of course, she just had to try her hand on me. And being a good friend, I just had to gamely play along! But this is one attempt I think she has given up on—though, to be fair, she has not given up praying!

It should assure her to know that even if she has not yet found success in the matchmaking department—unlike in all other areas—she has actually succeeded in one area that matters more to me—a good match of a friendship.


Thank you, Jenny for tagging me to write about a gift of grace. It has been a joy to write about Joyce!

Who is the person that you consider God’s gift of grace to you? I am asking this question to: Marilyn, Jophen, and Major Tom.

1. Put the logo in your blog.

2. Share a short story of someone whose life touched yours.

3. Add a link to the person who shared it with you.

4, Tag at least 3 other persons with blogs.

5. Leave a message on their blogs.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One of Those (Good) Days

You know when you have one of those days that you want to put in a bottle, save it for a rainy day pick-you-upper?

Today was one of those days. I slept in and the light rain outside made it cooler than most days and all the more comfortable to snuggle up for another hour of lying in.

I woke up to a still day: no children hollering outside, no carpenters hammering away, no radio blaring news of doom. I curled up with a cup of coffee, reading The Shack, where I am half way—and in a weird way, something in the book reminded me of the two boxes that I had shipped back from the UK, which was due a few days ago. It had been niggling at the back of my mind—with my imagination running wild, something from The Shack stopped me from my imaginings and caused me to just say a short prayer, leaving everything to God. And on I went with my reading.

An hour or so later, what do you know? The boxes arrived! And at just the right time—that is, me being actually home (a rare event) to personally receive it.

I spent part of the afternoon “reuniting” with my stuff from the UK, including a bunch of dried lavenders I picked from the school gardens—now I can enjoy a whiff of the England summer in my Manila abode.

Then it was off to meet up with a friend at the mall (in a taxi with the driver actually giving me back my change…!) for a cheesy movie followed by a simple dinner and good conversation. Then to our pleasant surprise, a live wind orchestra was playing at the mall’s activity center. And so we sat enjoying coffee with the orchestra playing Beatles, Abba, Miss Saigon music, movie soundtracks and Christmas carols.

Now I’m back home and have just successfully assembled a nice lamp I bought in the UK and enjoying its warm glow while listening to quiet music and writing this piece.

If you think of it, there was nothing earthshakingly fantastic about today. But I think of this day as one of those small “bottled” treats tucked in unexpected nooks and crannies of life’s road to help us along in the journey. They could be something as simple as enjoying a bowl of Lucky Me Pancit Canton while reading greetings from long lost friends on my Facebook wall or chatting away ‘til past midnight with a friend on YM.

I am grateful that the Father knows enough to keep these “treats” sweet and simple, lest this pilgrim takes it all for granted and sets too high a bar on contentment.

The grass on my side of the fence is green!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Big Four

It seems to be tagging season again! And so typical of me, I take (too) long to get to wonder it took more than a year for me to get tagged again! Anyway, Major Tom has not lost faith in me in the tagging department, so he tagged me with four questions.

4 Things Meme

Here’s the rule:

Click copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your blogroll! Don’t forget to change my answers to the questions with that of yours.

Question # 1. Four places I go to over and over:
Office, Megamall, my Prayer Partner's house on Saturdays and Davao...!

Question # 2. Four people who e-mail me regularly
Hmmm...come to think of it, with the advent of YM and Skype, I think I should change the question to four people I YM/Skype regularly! So with that, it's Marilyn, Bebbs, Beng, and Rita.

Question # 3. Four of my favorite places to eat?

McDonalds (for spaghetti and Longganisa Meal), Kalye Juan (for their palabok and breakfast fares), Likha Diwa sa Gulod (at Krus na Ligas , UP), Davao's Penong's (Chicken BBQ) and...I could go on and on (I will have to do a few posts on food pretty soon..)

Question # 4. Four places you’d rather be?
Davao, Baguio, Thailand, and Palawan (the forth one's an unfulfilled dream)

Question #5. Four TV shows I could watch over and over.
Third Rock from the Sun, Bubble Gang, 24, Without a Trace

Okey,your turn: Aleks, Abaniko, Single Guy, and Lazarus.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Pink Sisterhood Meme

I've not been tag in ages so I'm happy to be tagged again after a long time, by Leah and Janeser for a good cause, that is--focusing on Breast Cancer Awareness and how important it is to catch it in the early stages.

* One in eight women or 12.6% of all women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.
* Breast cancer risk increases with age and every woman is at risk.
* Every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer.
* Seventy-seven percent of women with breast cancer are over 50.
* Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 15 and 54, and the second cause of cancer death in women 55 to 74.
* Risks for breast cancer include a family history, atypical hyperplasia, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), current use or use in the last ten years of oral contraceptives, and daily consumption of alcohol.
* Early detection of breast cancer, through monthly breast self-exam and particularly yearly mammography after age 40, offers the best chance for survival.
Facts taken from Women’s Health

And now here is the tag and the rules:
1. Put the logo in your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who shared it with you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add your link to the list of participants below
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

1. Fara 2. Massy 3. N.O.Y. 4. Maruica 5. A Great Pleasure 6. Lady Java 7. Kim 8. Pink Thoughts 9. Turn-U-Off 10. Roxiticus 11. Stay At Home Mom 12. Fida Abott 13. href="">Also Mommy 14. Janice Ng 15. Juliana 16. The Painted Veil 17. Heart of Rachel 18. Mga Muni Muni 19. Gypsy 20. YOU

I am tagging:
1. Beng
2. Jenny
3. Verns
4. Annamanila
5. Carlotta

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just one of those days...

By the time I saw my long lost uncle with his son in the crowded fruit section of SM megamall, it was too late to turn around and duck behind the pineapples. I knew by the direction of his eyes that it would just be a split second before he spots me. So I brave a delighted smile on my face and wave, “Uncle!”

As expected, the look he gave me was a cross between being pleasantly surprised and mildly exasperated. The last time we saw each other was gazillions of months ago at his daughter’s wedding. And even then, while he was enjoying the role of the proud father of the bride, he looked at me with mild exasperation.

Nothing has changed. For both sides, I guess. He is still mildly exasperated with this wandering gypsy of a niece who should set her priorities straight, get a life and settle down. I am still the wandering gypsy of a niece who has a life and probably may not settle for anything less than a better life than the one she already is enjoying!

True enough, the usual, almost one-sided conversation ensued,

“So where have you been these days?”

Singapore? Thailand?”

“Oh, you just came back from the UK?”


“No nice guys there?”

“Didn’t find any?”

As I gritted my teeth and smilingly replied to his questions and found a nice opening to say goodbye, I braced myself for the final usual goodbye my Uncle gives me.

“Get married! Okey? Don’t wait too long!”

So, off I went. Back to my lonely, rootless, crazy life—my uncle must presume.

However much I enjoy my own company, his exasperation put a damper on my good mood that day, which I spent on my own--having just left a friend right before I saw my uncle. It’s not that I don’t appreciate his concern, however misplaced it is. I do. But what gets me is me. Why do I get upset just because I cannot please him? Why do I let it affect me?

But hey, that’s life, eh? You can’t please everyone—whether you’re married or single, fat or thin, tall or short, somebody’s bound to have an opinion.

So long as I am fulfilling His (He not being my uncle…) purposes in my life, I am fine.

I will be fine.

And so will my uncle.