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The Sunday Currently, Vol. 28

reading Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby. Here’s a true to life story of love between two individuals who genuinely desire to let Jesus known through their ministries, including marriage, including all the struggles they have to go through and how they continue to overcome them. Giving it two thumbs up as early as now, and seriously considering writing a book review about it, even if I really just prefer to read and remember their story or any book for that matter.

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writing various (Christmas) lists, as usual, as well as new posts such as this one. I was very frustrated the past couple of months that I was unable to write or finish writing certain articles. Aside from getting easily distracted, my WordPress account was a mess that it would not allow me to write or edit an article. I had to go through an app called Blogo to start a draft and use the WP app on my mobile phone to edit blog titles and add photos. In the end, I would just abandon it altogether and leave unfinished articles in the drafts folder. I’m really grateful now that things are finally back to normal, and I hope it would stay that way.

listening to Pippi Longstocking on YouTube Kids–Lil Sis is trying to watch all its episodes on iPad whenever she had the time.

thinking about how long it has been since my children and I last went to TimeZone to play together. We went there this afternoon and invited one of my friends to join us, and I was reminded again of the saying that one of the secrets to staying young is taking time to play. Now that I have experienced it again, I must say that I really felt young while we were playing and even after playing.

smelling the coffee but refusing to drink another cup today. I had a strong brew this morning and it was a mistake, it seems, for I felt nervous almost the whole day for no apparent reason. The good thing about it though was it urged me to pray the whole time and kept me vigilant.

wishing I’ve been a really good steward all these years. I’m finally seeing my flaws and I have come to accept them too. I may be a good steward in certain areas of my life, but not in all. I have come to acknowledge that the problems my family and I have encountered the past few years have something to do with how poorly I’ve handled certain situations, relationships, finances, and other resources, including time. Now I need to do something about it, and I reckon it’s not going to be easy. I’ll need courage, determination, focus, and God’s grace.

hoping to finish all the lessons we have left for the first grading period. As it is, we’re cramming again. Although I am hopeful that my girls’ first portfolio review would be a good one, I’m behind once more in recording their grades, not to mention we still have lessons to study.

wearing my three-toned brown sleeveless housedress, which I bought at an ukay-ukay 2–3 years ago. Come to think of it––it must have already been a year since I last stepped inside a UK store and interestingly, I don’t miss it at all, even if I always see their sale and huge discounts signs.

loving the fact that I feel a lot better now these days. A week before my birthday and our scheduled outreach program, Lil Sis got sick. Then almost immediately after getting home from the outreach, which was the day before my birthday, Big Sis got sick too, while Lil Sis had already started recuperating. We had a dengue scare, and almost as soon as we were certain that it was a false alarm––I still don’t understand why the doctor insisted Big Sis had dengue and must stay in the hospital––I got sick too, leaving Big ‘n Lil Sis to look after themselves as they also recuperated, while we ordered fast food delivery twice for three consecutive days in order to eat.

wanting to finish decluttering and cleaning the whole house now, but I kept postponing it because we couldn’t just bring the trash outside the house. The dogs might tear the trash bag, and if we leave it just outside the gate, some ill-mannered neighbor might try to vex again by throwing it back to our garage, making the dogs go after it. Speaking of neighbors, one of the things I really want to do right now is to move my girls out of this place the soonest possible, to the best neighborhood there is. Unfortunately, there’s really no guarantee that I would be surrounded by amiable neighbors, won’t I?

needing to be more intentional each day, especially as a homeschool parent-teacher, and create more wonderful memories as well as teachable moments with my girls. Although I’m truly grateful that we’ve made new friends in the homeschool community this year, and we meet regularly twice a month, I acknowledge the fact that there are so many areas that we still need to work on, and I’m willing to put in the work needed.

feeling tired and sleepy now. The effect of the coffee I had this morning has finally worn off, it seems, and all I want to do right now is go to bed and sleep.

praying that we’ll have a peaceful and joyous Christmas and New Year celebration and that all the bad people surrounding us would finally come to know God. You have no idea how much I pray every day that the LORD would make their knees bow down before Him! Not that I’m wishing for the end times to come sooner, though. Okay, maybe just for them.

thanking God for all His blessings, how He continually tries to mold me to be the person I ought to be. I’m a work in progress, as my husband would tell my kids when I’m not being very loving and patient to them… ❤

 

(Featured photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash)

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Gateway Gallery presents “Mga Kwento ni Nanay: A Storytelling Workshop”

The Gateway Gallery, managed by the J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF) and is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the Araneta Group, strongly believes in the importance of reading and literacy. Its reading program aims to foster literacy or love for reading and books among Filipino children. It supplements the current DepEd programs on improving the literacy rate in the country, with an emphasis on promotion of Filipino history, arts, and culture.

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GATEWAY GALLERY PROGRAMS

On 12 June 2017, the Gateway Gallery unveiled the Liwanag Reading Corner, a 7-piece mobile wooden sculpture inspired by the story of “The Lamp and the Moth” as told by Teodora Alonzo to the young boy Jose Rizal. This one-of-a-kind art piece aims to promote the Filipino heritage and encourage reading by showcasing select books on Philippine history, culture, and arts for all ages.

The Gateway Gallery also offers Kwentuhang Adarna, which is a monthly storytelling session for community children that aims to promote book enjoyment through animated storytelling and activities. The stories are told by storytellers from Adarna House using Adarna books. Every session at the Gateway Gallery ends with a distribution of snacks and educational gifts.

The Liwanag Reading Caravan, on the other hand, is a storytelling school campaign where celebrity storytellers visit nearby schools to promote the value and habit of reading. It also encourages the students to visit Gateway Gallery’s Liwanag Reading Corner for some after-school reading.

Lastly, Gateway Gallery holds Mga Kwento ni Nanay, a one-day storytelling workshop designed to strengthen the reading campaign of the Gallery by enlisting parents, guardians, teachers, and volunteers in the community. Participants are briefed on the value of reading and the use of helpful techniques to become effective storytellers. The activity not only emphasizes the benefits of reading, but also spending quality time with the children for their overall development.

In the last five months since they launched their reading program, Gateway Gallery was able to reach 230 children, trained nearly 100 storytellers, and distributed more than 150 books.

This November 24 and 25, as we celebrate the National Reading Month, Gateway Gallery will hold its 2nd Mga Kwento ni Nanay: A Storytelling Workshop in partnership with Adarna House. Registration fee is PHP350.00 only, inclusive of materials. To pre-register or for more details, please visit http://www.facebook.com/GatewayGalleryPH.

( Featured image by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash)

 

National Music Competitions for Young Artists presents “Anyaya sa Musika”

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The National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) presents Anyaya sa Musika this November 21 to 26, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Young artists, musicians, trainers and teachers, who have reached the finals level in a nationwide competition that started early this year shall be recognized in a series of programs that coincides with the celebration of the National Music Week this year.

The week-long events will include competitions, outreach performances, and awarding for both solo instrument and group concert winners. Newly commissioned works by Filipino composers will be premiered at the Final Competitions, whereas six ensembles presenting their region’s local traditions will be the presented in the Traditional Music Concert.

The NAMCYA 2017 Finals Week Schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2:00 PM Opening Ceremonies, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Woodwinds, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Piano, CCP Main Theater

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5:00 PM Senior Voice, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Strings, CCP Main Theater

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2:00 PM Children’s Solo Rondalla Instrument, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Youth Rondalla Ensemble, CCP Main Theater

Friday, November 24, 2017

5:00 PM Children’s Choir and Adult Choir, CCP Main Theater

6:00 PM Traditional Music Outreach Performance, Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium

Saturday, November 25, 2017

10:00 AM Traditional Music Concert, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Concert of Solo Instrument Winners, CCP Little Theater

Sunday, November 26, 2017

5:00 PM Concert of Group Winners and Closing Ceremonies, CCP Main Theater

The NAMYCA is supported by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

Admission is FREE for all events. For inquiries, please call the NAMCYA Secretariat at (02) 836-4928 / 836-4929 or visit www.namcya.com and their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using #galingNAMCYA and #NAMCYA2017.

 

(Featured image by Valentino Funghi on Unsplash)

#Kanser2017: Noli Me Tangere today

We learned of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s staging of the four literary Filipino classics, namely Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere, and El Filibusterismo a couple months ago. Since we have an 8th grader, who has started reading novels, such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities, and the like, not to mention she has Ibong Adarna and Florante at Laura as part of her Filipino reading materials for 7th and 8th grade respectively, my husband and I deemed it proper to watch those plays not only for her to appreciate more these great Filipino classics, but also our culture and values too.

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Last August, we watched Florante at Laura, and it had been a fun and enlightening activity for my daughters and me. It was their first time to watch a Tagalog play, and though it wasn’t exactly for kids, it was wholesome enough for them to watch. On September 17, we trooped back to SM Southmall, this time to watch Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s last staging of #Kanser2017 or Noli Me Tangere for the season. Read More

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 27

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Sunday Currently post. I opted to discontinue doing it for some weeks because I no longer wrote anything for a time except about my Sundays. A lot of unfinished (travel) stories and articles remain in my drafts folder, waiting to be completed and polished and posted, and in a way, writing only for The Sunday Currently has kept me further from finally getting those things published. But here I am now, back at it, because wouldn’t you know it, I actually missed writing on Sunday nights!

reading the drafts my daughters have each written for their respective books. Oh, you have no idea how proud I am of them! Speaking of books, I still need to revise my husband’s book too, which has already been published online via Amazon and will soon be in paperback. I guess I’m the only one in the family not writing a book because my role is to read, edit, and get their books published.

writing this. Like I said, I actually missed The Sunday Currently. Weekends have been the busiest days of the week for me lately–more than ever–and usually, after coming home from church and malling with my girls, I would go straight to bed to nap before preparing dinner and watching movies online with the family.

listening to our adopted Alaskan malamute play with the water in his tub just outside the girls’ bedroom. Today has been a very warm day and I cannot blame him. I wish we have a bathtub too. I’d probably soak in it for hours, maybe sleep in it too! Read More

Florante at Laura

Did you know that Florante at Laura was recently staged by Gantimpala Theater Foundation at various theaters in the metro? My daughters and I were privileged to have seen it on its last show at SM Southmall Cinema 3 last August 18 for only PHP300 per head. We were apparently the only homeschoolers at the 2 PM time slot; everybody who came to watch came in big groups representing various conventional schools in nearby areas, not to mention they all came in their respective school uniforms. Since there were only three of us in our group, we were allowed to enter first and choose the best seats in the house–front row, middle, that is.

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The good thing about homeschooling your kids is you get to enjoy doing things with them while learning too. I suppose I was the only parent present there who accompanied her children in watching the program. And, mind you, I didn’t feel too old at all, being in the company of kids from both high school and upper elementary levels. Not to mention, I really enjoyed watching the play as much as I enjoyed seeing the animated looks on my daughters’ faces as they were also entertained.

I was a little worried at first that the Tagalog words they’d be using might be too difficult for my daughters to comprehend and they might not appreciate the play. After all, it was the work of Francisco Baltazar or Balagtas we are talking about and kids these days have an altogether different way of talking, using entirely different words (i.e., from the time of Balagtas). Many are not even well-versed in Tagalog. In fact, both our homeschool academic advisers and my daughters’ former teachers from the conventional school they used to attend have shared with me that school subjects that use Filipino as a medium of instruction appear to be the most challenging ones among students these days. Read More

Into light

I’ve been attending Glorious Hope for about twelve weeks now. It is a recovery program initiated by Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), the church my family and I have been part of for about a decade now. Glorious Hope aims to help liberate the families from the bondage of destructive hurts, habits, and hang-ups through our Lord Jesus Christ and to equip them with tools to overcome them in order to be productive in the community.

In these past 12 weeks, I have started to recall and humbly acknowledge all the things that hinder me from growing emotionally and spiritually, from becoming a mature Christian, a more effective wife, mother, sister, friend, leader, etc. It was painful having to recall all those circumstances and people that caused me pain as well as all the shameful and hurtful things I’ve done to another person in the past.

I have realized that I continue to do the things I do, which I never really wanted to do in the first place, and could not seem to overcome these bad habits, destructive hurts, and hang-ups because I have not fully surrendered my life yet to Jesus… Even if I have prayed to receive Him (several times) and have even gone through water baptism.

I keep taking the wheel from Him whenever I find myself in the middle of a crisis, whenever I have to make tough decisions in life, whenever I struggle with temptations. I somehow never fully understood and accepted the fact that I cannot change on my own, and that’s just insane. I keep forgetting that I have to rely on God’s grace and allow Him to change me, mold me into His likeness. I just happened to know that for a fact, but failed to apply it (consistently) in my life. I keep trying to change on my own and I keep failing. I envy those who testify that God’s love has changed them and has become passionate to share the Gospel. I want to experience that same passion for Jesus, too. Read More

Ramblings of a tired mom

I thought the week would never end. Or rather, all the challenges I have to contend with lately would never end. There have been triumphs, mind you, but it’s taking me a huge effort to focus on them at times, and right now, I still feel a little overwhelmed. I guess I’m just never that good at handling family situations involving sickness, even if I were able to take charge of everything just fine while in the middle of it.

For one, my husband returned to Singapore in a much better health. He was home only for a few days, sick, having probably the worst skin asthma attack he has ever had in years. It’s a good thing I have made good friends with a couple of dermatologists in the area, when I was still very active in the anti-aging business, and we were able to meet with one of them the same day he arrived.

While my husband was home recuperating, we were also rehabilitating an 8-month old Alaskan malamute–my eldest brother’s dog. We have officially adopted him and are now house training and taking care of him. I, myself, am still getting used to his massive size and constant shedding. I wish my brother brought him to our place when he was at least three months younger. Despite being very active, he’s actually sick and my brother seemed totally oblivious to his health condition.

Speaking of my brother, there’s also the constant worry about his safety, giving me sleepless nights. I have already asked nearly all my Christian friends to pray for him and his family. Day and night, I would pray for his and his children’s safety too. Honestly, I’m becoming so much more prayerful these days because of him! Read More

When the dead comes back to life

Lately, it seems like I’ve been encountering people who are supposed to be already dead coming back to life. I’m not sure if I just became aware of it after watching Now You See Me 2 on cable TV, with Atlas’s line stuck on my head: coming back from the dead is something that no magician has ever performed, but… or something to that effect.

Or, maybe because I’ve been reading The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews, where the main character travels through time to meet prominent figures in American and world history to learn a very important lesson from each of them. Obviously, these people are already dead, literally, but they’re the kind I would love to meet and learn from myself. I imagine meeting them, with the experience being fun, exciting, and enlightening.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for the other kind of dead ones that seem to have resurfaced recently too. Take for example our enemies who live next door to us. Somehow, I’ve become adept at tuning their noises that I was no longer bothered by them. Further, it has also been a while since I last saw any of them walk in the streets, much less hear their taunts. I have come to regard them as long since dead.

A few days ago, however, I saw the wretched male creature looking at our house as he passed by and murmured something unintelligible while wearing a wicked grin on his idiotic looking face. I immediately recoiled at the sight of him, and the incident ruined my mood the whole evening. It seemed all I could do then was look up to the heavens and wonder why he’s still alive. Seriously, I wish he would just vanish into thin air by some very powerful magic! I don’t think anyone would miss anything like him anyway.

Of course, the wretch must still be around because God is giving him a chance to reform, to change. That must be the only logical reason, especially that the poor soul is known to have many enemies and could really be dead anytime now. Yet, as I thought about it, something was impressed on me: Malot, instead of spending your time and energy hating this poor soul, why not pray for him? Better yet, pray for his live-in partner, the owner of the house he lives in, that she would come to her senses, get to know Jesus and follow Him…

Brilliant! If the woman becomes a true Christian, then she would most likely kick him out and hopefully, that would mean we’d finally be at peace in this neighborhood, with him gone, right? Or, she would most likely finally influence him and her lot of wretched relatives in a positive way, at least?

I think this would be the first time I’d be praying for someone’s salvation so my family and I (and the community) could ultimately benefit from it, and not because I genuinely care for the person. As you can see, I have used a few colorful words when describing the creature and I’m not even big on adjectives. And, no, I can’t even begin to call it a man or a person. I guess you’re not being blessed right now by what you’re reading; pardon me, but I really need to let it out and I need your help too–pray that I would be able to forgive fully these vexatious neighbors and trust God (and the law of the land) to deal with them.

Curiously, after this incident, another seemingly dead person has resurfaced: my eldest brother’s ex-wife. Apparently, she has saved my old mobile number and has started to contact me. Interestingly, it has probably been five years since she sent me a text message, and it was not even on a positive note. Now she’s asking me to help her. I was tempted to recount to her the past and how she continues to put in danger my brother and nieces’ lives with her waywardness.

However, something tugged at my heart and I felt compassion for her. I somehow felt compelled to help her in any way I could, except give her money. I knew it’s what my parents would do too, help her, that is. They always told me to help those who are in need, especially family members or relatives, regardless of how poorly they have treated us (and do not deserve our help). So far, I’ve only been helping her through prayers, that she would realize how much she needs Jesus to be her LORD and Savior.

Lastly, there’s another kind of dead that I wish would remain dead, but I must now simply dig up and acknowledge if I were to start healing properly and thoroughly. These are the painful memories that I had since birth, which I must recall now and write down. It’s one of the activities I must go through at Glorious Hope, a Christian recovery program that intends to “…help liberate families from the bondage of destructive hurts, habits, and hangups through our LORD Jesus Christ…”

By acknowledging my past, including getting to know my ancestors, I have begun to understand myself more, even forgive the relatives who had hurt my parents and me, as I go through the process. I have also learned to control my temper, especially around my kids, knowing now where it’s coming from and how it is triggered. Indeed, this is the only kind of meeting with the dead that could be a truly life-changing encounter, helping me deal not only with the present but also with the future.

It’s interesting that despite their differences, there is only one way to deal with these dead ones effectively: acknowledgment and forgiveness. I need to acknowledge the fact that they are real, things really did happen, and I got hurt in the process, with or without these people involved meaning to.

I also need to acknowledge that I am a sinner, I live among sinners, other sinners have sinned against me, and I have sinned against them and God, too. I need to acknowledge that as much as I need forgiveness for my sins, they need forgiveness too. No one is perfect or sinless, and I shouldn’t be so hard on others, even on my own self.

I can’t continue living in the past, thinking about what I should have done instead in certain situations, either. That means I must forgive myself too.

As I see it now, it looks like I’ve been standing by a grave for too long already, making sure that the ones I’ve tried to bury there do not miraculously rise and try to hurt me again. But by doing that, I’m actually giving them power over me, as I’m always worried about what would happen if… No, this must end now and be buried like a real dead one for good. I need to decide to forgive all these people who had hurt me or anyone in my family.

I can no longer allow their sins to occupy both my time and my mind and affect my emotions and my relationships with the most important people in my life. I have already started to acknowledge all the things–both good and bad–that happened to my family and me. Now I need to learn to forgive (fully) and move on.

I guess having the dead come back to life is a good thing then. So long as you know how to deal with them, that is. Besides, what am I really afraid of, when I know for sure that God would take care of me, not to mention vengeance is His?

(Featured image by JJ Thompson on Unsplash)