Monday, November 29, 2010

Again, December

The most exciting month is coming. :)

When I got home in Cavite, my parents shopped for the simplest Christmas decors--a thick glittery ribbon on that arc in our house and gold snowflakes and beads hanging on them. A Santa Claus sat on the bar and a belen stood in front of the wine glasses. That's about it. Haha. Dad is surveying us college students when we will be home for the holidays for a Christmas party with the neighbors. I'm not too excited with that, though.

I almost came home a little sad today from a practice. I had too much tasks during the weekend. And we chased a taxi in vain, in hopes of getting back my Economics book. Sigh, it's lost forever and it's not even mine. Replacements. But the past week reminds me that I have more to be happy about than sad, and everything is still under control. I won't let things slip away from my hands again just because something went wrong. SOOOO back to the readings and to the studying. Back also, to the excitement for Friday. :)

From Bea's birthday. I had to post this because they/we are beautiful! :D

Also, Thursday had its second worship service last week. I was with them because of the strike against the UP budget cut. RJ preached and WOW. We were really blessed. I guess I'd continue coming down to the services even at the last minute just to see how our housechurch is growing. The big number is consistent so far. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'Tis the Season


It took me a while to get that Christmas feeling.

The air finally has a cold hint to it, the street remain unlit though, and no Christmas decoration hung anywhere around our house. My folks grow old so fast. Haha. It's been a long time since we edified a Christmas tree in Cavite. But we're no Grinches. Christmas last year was the best because Mom and Dad played Santa. And they played it well. This weekend, I'll go back to my hometown. I wish I'd see a hint of the joyful season by then.

Before Christmas though, is another story. Academically, there are a lot of requirements to fulfill before the break, and a lot of events at school to cap off the year. In my church, there's this^ Glimmer of Joy! And of course the Lantern Parade (and Oblation Run) in UP. And many, many more.

I'm praying for a surprise. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Unpublished Weekend

Much of the posts I did this weekend remained in an unpublished status. I can't really say why I had thought of the future so much these past few days, hand-in-hand with torturing my eyes with readings. Truly the weekends gave a breathing space to be with the people I'm with the least: my brothers, my best friend who migrated and my high school friends (well, at least think about them. Haha).

Yesterday we went grocery-shopping with the boys and I missed having them around like that. Really. They might not notice it because I usually poke fun at them, but I'm one of their biggest fans (hey, did you know that having a sister makes you generally happy? Sisters foster social cohesion within the family.... hmm, anyway!). Ral did some tutoring for me with accounting, not as a subject but in practical matters. Kuya described in length what law school was like. And I wonder which path to take after graduation?

The day before that, Aya and I had a unique conversation not about how she's doing in Canada, but what happened four years ago, way back high school, which was the first time we met. Confessions led us to a deeper sense of friendship, despite the amusing mistakes of the past that only now did we sift through and apologize and thank for. I miss her. And my high school friends as well because I haven't seen them "complete" since August! I don't know what's going on with them anymore and those Facebook sidebars really make you reminisce out of the blue.

The element of the future that I'm thinking about is that whether I am happy at my current state. To be comfortable is excruciating. I long for more hardship than what I currently handle. Is that normal? There's this word that keeps me frustrated: fulfillment! And Philip Yancey said it's good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Service Comeback

After Economics, I headed straight to AS, where my next class is at. And I saw them, carrying the guitars and beat boxes, on their way to the worship service place. It was a bit heartbreaking because I'd miss the first worship service in monthssss. I know for a fact that everyone has been waiting for this to return. The music team had a good months' worth of rest and I could only imagine them sing. Take also the messages that we've been aching to hear as a housechurch, and the group discussions that allowed us to be more in tune of each other. I just never wanted to miss this. But I have class.

What kind of sucks is that my last class has a population of five. But FULL attention has to be given to each class until it ends. And when it did, I hopped on the next jeepney and inside the room I saw it: a huge circle of chairs whose "sitters" I cannot even scan/count as I enter the room. Lots of people and a half-finished message was all that's left (plus a treat from a belated celebrant afterwards)--to my delight. It was such a great experience to take even a small bite on. Until I got home the overwhelming blessing is still with me, and I know that in this I am not alone. Based on Facebook, they, too, are rejoicing with it. Haha. The Power.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First BS this sem

Military Tactics No. 1
Never play the victim


When the ugly part of life kicks in, it's easy to feel bullied by circumstances. To cry foul when you try to understand people and they still treat you badly. 'Til you're so full of anger and resentment that you quit trying to understand them and give them a taste of their own poison. After all, hurt people hurt people. It's a natural thing.

But today, I understood that I'm not in a war against other people, but an even greater enemy. I was under attack. Caught off guard, unarmed, and taking the role of a victim when on I'm the winning side. It just took all the power away from me into the hands of circumstances. What a powerful day this has been to strengthen me into not conforming to do what's natural.

NISSIN LULZ. That's me and Jian. :)
This sem so far, I enjoy meeting new faces on and off classes and watch how bonds begin to form. Also, tomorrow will be our first worship service after a very long time! But I can't be there, perhaps for the whole semester because of my schedule. It's okay, though I have to make a great deal of asking how things are going during those times. Seeing new people preaching, playing music and facilitating the activity would be nice. And Christmas is coming soon. There are lots of people to be thankful for this year. :D

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sweet Little Cousins

Aww. Felice
 For some reason, I get really close with my young cousins. Young being nine and below, which is about the mean age of ALL the cousins I have. Mom found this out long ago, as Tita Arville's girls would insist on accompanying her when visiting us in Cavite, how they were pulling my arm to play with the teacups, badminton or crayons. On my Dad's side, how, in their PJ's, Tita Lea's kids would ask to be taken to Lola's house (where we're staying when in Laguna) just to play with us before they sleep, and how they affectionately call me Ate Spam (not related to food. Haha. They have problem with pronunciations then).

During the semestral break, we didn't really go anywhere out of town, but we did have mini-family reunion by the side of my great-grandma's grave. The kids I ignored before have all surpassed infanthood and have grown quite close to each other. I somehow envy this because my brothers and I are the "first batch" of the third generation, so we didn't enjoy the luxury of having many blood-related playmates. So instead of being the quiet some-daughter-of-another-Tito-and-Tita, I tried talking to them. Really talking. And listening. For the first time. At first they were sheepish about it, the way kids are when an "adult" talks to them, but I guess the "We're cousins, not aunts and nieces," advocacy rubbed off because soon we were adding each other on Facebook. Great! More cousins to play with! And less boring grave visits next year.

This delights me. I technically don't have a sister, but at school and in my extended family, I clearly have an abundance of em. Sweet and talented ones (see below) at that. :)










      Tintin's diorama of my debut. VERY accurate. And she's only seven

!










Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Momentum

Contrary to the tradition that professors usually don't hold classes during the first days, I had my schedule full of running to and fro buildings yesterday and today. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed every bit of it and have seen this semester with a whole new light, that is, an opportunity to really learn more, more than academically. A new sense of eagerness overcame me, especially that my impression that my profs are pretty challenging, better than boring. Having profs who are going to give you a paper a week, are strongly antagonistic towards plagiarism, firm and clear with the grading system and willing to introduce novel methods should be enough to equal to a better sem!

Another thing that I enjoyed was seeing my friends again, and the anticipation of handling discipleship groups next week. It will be my first time to do so, and I think it's a huge responsibility and a ground for having fun with the freshies. :)) I'm also excited to work with my co-leaders-in-training as we had our first on-our-own meeting today. We never really were together last semester, but having a goal or an objective to fulfill and brainstorm together is quite EXCITING. :D This is the best time to be purposeful for everything I do. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good Receivers

T. Harv Eker gave me a lightbulb moment upon reading his book tonight. It was not a Christian one, but a book on mentalities on success. He said that most people have not much problem in being good givers. After all, philanthropy is good for the heart. But being good receivers is something we do not do that well. How true that is!

When somebody grants us a favor, we are too quick to deflect it and throw it back as if the act would compensate for the good deed done! We hardly say a wholehearted "Thank you" without an awkward pause or thinking of paying the kindness back. Maybe we don't even think we are ever worthy of an unconditional blessing and suspect motives or good luck to be what is behind them. Either way, it sabotages the giver's intentions and the receiver's benefits.

Many times in our worship services then, we emphasize the weakness of "performance". All the time we are expected to perform, to prove our worth and to maintain our positions. Yet this only exhausts us: giving immensely without receiving immensely. One of the first acts that a Christian does is to receive, and that really is something we do not only do at the beginning. Constantly, we should receive--blessings, counsel, lessons, opportunities, which are all from the ultimate Giver.

Tonight had a way of saying that Someone already took care of the bill. All we had to do was keep our palms open and savor the feast. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Redeemer



The ineligible status has been lifted and enrollment is only a payment away. By tomorrow we're officially geared for another semester! :D

As I waited in line early in the morning last Friday to have a word with the *whatever-the-title-of-the-person-in-authority*, I took out Tim Stafford's book called Personal God, where I learned that God is willing to go through the bureaucratic process before me. He already captured the details of that day, whether I'll be able to enlist CWTS 2 or not. He already knew the outcome of whether or not Socio 182 would be dissolved. He assigned the adviser, register assistants and blockmates I would ask for assistance from. Yet, He is willing to go through enrollment with me like a parent ushering a kid towards a kindergarten classroom. Whispering words of assurance, He watches hidden from the door, patiently waiting to have me fetched after the day and realize that His words are true. I'm sure this happens every day without me realizing it.

We emerged victorious, Lord, you and I. Let's go through second sem together! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Delinquency

I had to try not to go "saving faces". The issue was hard to deal with, costing me much of my pride and self-confidence. I never thought in my whole college life that I'd have problems concerning academics. It was supposed to be a breeze and I know I could take on anything except mathematical equations and Chemistry. Unfortunately, it is the truth that for the first time, I earned a grade of 5 for Chemistry and Physics, and I have an incomplete grade with a major. My units last sem reached only up to 15 (after being advised of not taking another subject because of conflicts). So when I tried enlisting CWTS 2 today, I was marked ineligible for enrollment.

And then the College gave me the label. Delinquent. Or DQ.
Last year I was US. Or University Scholar.
How did the acronym change so fast?

I know for a fact that it's mainly my fault, and that's what's keeping me down right now. The "what if's" and "how could you's" and more pointing fingers to myself. More difficult it was to try to tell it to my friends, especially those who place a high value for academics. Nobody wants to receive disapproving looks aside from what you already have for yourself. I am thankful, though, for those who were comforting. Really.

I also know that next semester, and for the last year of college for that matter, I will never be negligent again. I have learned my lesson. The only thing I have to learn now is how to forgive myself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Soul's Day Cleaning

This afternoon, I did what every good sister does--fix the things my younger brother left at home. Ral has been staying in Manila since college. In fact, the family distribution along Metro Manila is quite complicated.

Venturing through the desks and cabinets to rid of the dead batteries, dried pens and old receipts, and dust off the stack of K-zone magazines, I found his Pokemon toys that he never manages to let go (someone should watch Toy Story 3, haha), also the Magic Cards in their plastic covers, the DVDs of various animes and notebooks filled with cheats of Naruto combos in PSP. Few interesting things that I happened to fumble upon were retreat letters. Without having any interest to read them, I noticed that the letters from the family were outside the envelope. Perhaps he reads them from time to time when he's here, if he's touchy-feely like that.

After the garbage was put to the bin and the old things restored neatly on their place, it was time to hide them from sight, buried under the stuff that the "present" things have occupied.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Combined Strengths

Free Coke Float! :))
Tonight as I was reading the evaluation of the delegates of Square One, I just had to laugh in remembrance of the days that the team and their teammates were planning (especially how we had such a difficulty coming up with a theme! Hahaha!) Square One was very student-led down to the details of scouting for a venue, budgeting the collected money, formulating a food menu, negotiating for transportation, creating training materials and devotionals, securing musical instruments, personalizing promotions materials and waivers, shopping at Divisoria for the cheapest items and fixing time slots for activities. Initiative-taking was highly encouraged! :)

On a personal note, it was nerve-wracking. I was in charge of the program and I have to say that I love the job of going down the tiniest details only because I'm paranoid about them and making sure they're set in place is the only thing that gives me peace. Haha! To say I never could have made it without my Square One teammates and Program teammates is an understatement. There were a lot of times when our brains were swimming in a mental soup because of the things that we have to secure, conflicts we need to iron out, etc. Working with them was such a great experience!!! Plus we had a very powerful Teammate. :) It contributed to a great and different Square One for me. :D

Also, every delegate of Square One was willing to help. Tapping people on the day itself to help out was a breeze. Out of the blue, they even offered assistance voluntarily. This was truly our Square One. It was not an event that we would only attend and leave. We owned God's event! :)


Next week *surprise surprise* second sem starts! Now what effect will this event make? :)

First Day!

1st day: Send off ceremony
Definitely, the highlight activity of the first day was the faith walk--a Square One tradition held earlier than it used to be. It was crazy. At nighttime we all gathered around listening to music projected on the tarpaulin. So I was sleeping lightly when someone placed a blindfold on my eyes. I know the drill. I know what's gonna happen. Or so I thought. Withdrawing the details.. imagine muffled voices, suspicion, tightly clasped hands and elbows, lost slippers and hidden teammates. It was like never before. The strength was worth remembering--to have only hands and voices to lead you the way.

The first day was a light one. We had group dynamics, swimming, singing, a send-off lunch for Ate Cheng, Ate Kim, Matt as well as Ate Sarj, and S'mores. But before everything else we had a house church time, which is a time to share our expectations of Square One. These were meaningful times to me, especially that there were a lot of first-timers and freshies who felt the sense of accountability for the church. :D

What were my expectations? To be refreshed, mainly. The reason why I cried so much during other people's baptism was that I realized the year-long faithfulness of God to me. By year-long I mean the time that I first realized it--last year. My walk has been very nourishing. Like I said before, I never thought this would last. I thought it was just camp fever or something. But looking back, wow.. this is definitely not a fever anymore. It's commitment. His, not mine. From the start God has captured my whole life and continuously conquering it. There were old things I let go and new things that I value. This faith walk is exactly what we go through everyday.

When darkness falls on us, we will not fear. We will remember.

The tools in the box


Devotionals, prayer times in the morning and plenaries in the evening have begun during the second day. Same with the trainings on Prayer and Bible appreciation, which is something aimed to aide us on our personal walks with God. Our teachers were among our peers also, so the discussions were lively and conversational, more of a mutual-learning sharing than a lecture. During the prayer training, we had an activity to write our prayer concerns and post it on envelopes. I loved the idea since one would know the another person's issue, ask about it and pray for it together. This is something we often do even without the papers, as an avenue of encouraging each other.

The Basic and Leader's training were also held this day. The extremely clammy weather almost interrupted us, but soon we were back on track. We were asked to break into small groups and reveal our decision--a yes or a no for the leadership training next semester. The truth is, while this would sound nice, we had our hesitations because we honestly wanted to be the best we can for the church. I myself hesitated because I do not like to be set apart, as the reasons why someone would be called a leader is strange to me. There were people who accepted the task enthusiastically, ready to face the challenges next semester, while there were others who had to view this as a leap of faith. It was an enlightening gathering. I wonder what's going to happen in my house church next sem. But with God's grace I know that we would emerge victorious by March. :)

2nd day: Plenary