Friday, February 27, 2009

My Father's Daughter

It's a long way to go before Father's Day, but I miss my dad and as I was thinking about him this past few days, I thought of how can I thank my dad and let him know what his love and strength means to me. I guess I'll do it by recollecting events whose underlying message teaches the lesson of life to me.

When I was a little girl, I thought my dad was a big man. And being a little girl I had not yet learned about how to tell how tall a person was. I just knew he was the tallest man I knew. Even as I grew up, I remember him always being taller. And now at my age (45) he still looms over me.

In the case of my father ( he is just 5'5), I don’t think it is the height of a man that determines his influence and presence as much as it is his passion for passing on what he knows. And it seemed to me that my dad knew about a lot of things. He is smart and have that unshakable strength of character and values that we children really admired and has served as our guide in living our lives. We also hope to pass them on to our next generations.

My father gave me the ability to create important things out of nothing. There was a time when I needed a box for something. “Well, make one.” I remember he told me. I just looked at him. So he showed me how to make a box. How does that apply into my life? I have been able to look at a problem and analize them thereby finding a solution. Where there is a will, there is a way. That happens to be one of my strongest assets and has served me well in all endeavors I have taken on.

I guess the one area in my life that I still have to work by using that ability will be on matter’s of the heart. And I think that I also got that from my father. As a man, he may not have always shown his emotion or been able to express his feelings adequately but I know that he feels deeply and has passion. His whole life he was never afraid to try something new. Whether it was building something, influencing people, repairing something broken or being adventurous, he taught me that you can do anything if you literally put your mind and even put your heart into it because it is more satisfying if you do it with passion. And so that too makes me my father’s daughter. And I am proud to be his daughter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bato-bato Sa Langit!

In case you missed it on 60 Minutes, this is what Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes Correspondent (CBS) thinks about women over 40:

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

I hope men will appreciate this and have a good laugh too, hahahaha!.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who Can We Turn To?

Hard economic situation is really apparent anywhere now even in the well developed countries and U.S. which is the richest economy in the world is having a hard time finding a sure and short-cut solution. Places like restaurants, hotels, malls that were usually jam-packed with people especially on holidays and weekends are now less crowded if not almost empty. Things are very different now than how they were when I was here in 2005. Back then airports were always busy with travellers, restaurants were always filled with diners, malls were crowded with people who were not just window shopping but really buying things. There is a big difference now from those days; even on peak holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year...This afternoon I was at the coffee shop I have been going to frequently since I got here in the US. 4 years ago, I would see bunch (at least 5 of them) of retired people sitting on the couch and were having a very lively conversation while having coffee and there were still people queuing with me in the counter ordering coffee. But today as I entered the door, there was nobody there except the owner, Joe who is a very nice guy, retired navy, divorced & a father of 3. After retiring from the navy, he invested his money in this coffee shop and had since been his source of income. I asked him how the business was doing and he answered with a pensive look "I don't know Amie, I only had 4 customers since this morning including you. Business is really so bad and it seems that this is not going to end soon." I understood the worry and fear that he feels and yes, they are real. Everyday you read on the newspapers and see on tv the number of people losing their jobs, their homes, the plummeting stock prices, companies closing down or laying off employees by thousands, etc....retired people are scared to death that what they have saved for life will all be gone and if things get better, how many of them will have the time to recover what they've lost.

What can we do to stay grounded during these very difficult times? What are the alternatives--trusting in ourselves, the banks, your employer, the government?

As President Obama said, "this isn't the run-on-the-mill recession." This being the case, resorting to run-on-the-mill solution is not the answer in managing our responses to the situation.

I believe that keeping our trust in God will keep us from being crushed during this very hard times. The more we trust in Him, the more likely we’ll be less affected emotionally. Our emotional responses, if left unchecked, will affect us physically. An article in USA Today in Sept 2008 stated,

"as the market melts down, war grinds on and feelings of helplessness set in, stress goes up which can bring on a host of unpleasant physical symptoms, say health professionals. When we get stressed, our bodies naturally respond. Stress-related ailments include insomia, diarrhea, neck pain, headaches, restlessness, agitation, constipation, nausea, chest tightness and irritability.”

God knew what we are going through and He understood our fears. More than anything, He wants us to turn to Him as our source of strength when times are tough as they are now. Difficult times are opportunities for growth. Perhaps you are at the end of your rope in your life. You’ve tried everything… and nothing has worked for you and you feel discouraged.

We should not lose hope. It is at times like this that we have an opportunity to turn to God. Speaking from my experience, I have found that during my trials in life, when I make a conscious decision to surrender everything to Him I have deeper peace. Through this, I gain a better understanding of who He is and how He works. And as a result, my faith grows more and more. God promised to keep us in perfect peace when we keep our mind steadfast and put our trust in Him. This is the truth and a promise we must cling to if we are going to maintain emotional health during this time and throughout the run of the recession the world finds itself in.

This economic turmoil is really a very stressful time. None of us can be certain about what will happen to the financial markets and the light at the end of the tunnel is yet to be seen. It's challenges and stresses are going to last longer if we listen to what many experts said. But, it’s a time that we can grow in our faith in God. As Christian, I believe that greater faith in Him will help us get through all these.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things That I Am Grateful For

Last Sunday, the homily of our Parish priest really touched me. He said something that really made me reflect and ponder about my life. He told us to take a few minutes to examine ourselves and count our blessings, I've heard this many times, but I was surprised that it means a lot more to me now than ever before. We left the church after Mass, but I had this intense feeling inside of me that I need to share.

In what I considered the most empowering feelings, this morning during my reflection, I journeyed back down memory to the time of my childhood. In that image a wonderfully exuberant, radiant, joyous little creature leaped and bounded through great fields and forests of green, growing things. She danced through skies, clouds, oceans and through fields of pure energy. My heart was filled to bursting with love and connection to this erupting, joyful creature...I was just so inspired I don't know where to start to count my blessings and thank God for all this life has given me. I realized that I have so many more blessings this year alone that I really have to thank God for. Usually we thank Him for all the good things that happened in our life. We don't count trials, frustrations and failures as something to thank for.
Here, I count my blessings:

I thank God for a Happy childhood
I thank God for my parents, grandparents and the life and love they gave me & the nurturing and guidance all these years.
I thank God for my brother and sisters, they are my source of support
I thank God for my Friends (they are so many)
I thank God for my teachers and professors for my education
I thank God for the not-so-good people, they inspired me not to be like them
I thank God for the good people I met, they inspired me to do good
I thank God for the friendship of Fr. Nonito, he reinforced my feeling that I am very special in the eyes of God, and that He wants me to be happy
I thank God for the friendship of Fr. Louie, he made me acknowledged my needs as a human being, and that as human I am sinful but is not a hindrance to my relationship with God
I thank God for Fr. James, he showed me the world where I learned to count even my smallest blessings
I thank God for the experiences, trials and failures, they guided me to the way I live my life now
I thank God for finally coming here to the States, now I have the best of both worlds
I thank God for Rey, for the love we shared, the life we had and all the lessons learned
I thank God for John, I've discovered how strong and firm I become
I thank God for the criticisms, they keep me grounded and aware that I am not perfect and I never will be.
I thank God for every morning, I have the chance to be a better person than I was yesterday
I thank God for those who gave me the privilege to help them, they gave me chance to do my responsibilities
I thank God for all those who helped me, they constantly remind me of my needs for others
I thank God for all the places I've been to, they showed me what a wonderful world we live in.
I thank God for Michelle and Rhea, for their love and devotion and for always being my best friends.
And most of all, I thank God, for His constant love and protection I always depend on, for keeping my faith inspite of some questions in my heart. I know there are more things I need to thank Him for and I thank Him for all of those...

And I thank you for sharing to you my blessings by reading this blog. Share your blessings too, you don't know whose heart you will inspire today!

Recados e Imagens - Fotos - Orkut

Recados, Gifs e Imagens no

Friday, February 13, 2009

When Life Ends Before It Begins

This is a case of my friend who was just diagnosed of Esophageal Cancer. He is also suffering from underlying hypertension and severe migraine. Aside from this physical pain that he is inflicted with he is carrying a baggage of living alone. After 2 divorces that left him broke and devastated, he had promised to himself never to get married again. He is 62 and he has been alone for 21 years now. He is the second of the 3 brothers, their youngest died of heart attack 5 years ago. Practically, he is living all by himself. I met him 3 years ago in the golf course and since then we became good friends. We became really close this year because we got the chance to play golf every weekend. After playing, we would sit in the clubhouse to eat and talk. Sometimes we'll spend the whole afternoon strolling down the old town Manassas. He told me stories of his childhood in Ohio and how Christmas Story movie touched him because that was exactly how it was when they were kids. He finds himself in the character of that young brother who could not get up after falling down in the snow because his snow jacket was so stiff and so heavy for a kid his size and age. He told me about his plans after he retires; tour the world, building a house with pool and big yard in Hill Country, Texas, an organic garden in his backyard, an outdoor kitchen where he can have barbecue anytime he wants because he is crazy about barbecue...

All his plans are just a heartbeat away when he finally retired last Jan. 16, 2009. He was just so relieved not to deal anymore with the pressures and stress of a high profile job in Washington DC where he drives 25 miles everyday and which he had been doing since he moved to Virginia from Dallas, Texas 18 years ago. In Jan. 18, 2009 early in the morning, he drove to Texas with all the dreams and plans he held for so long and close in his heart. I was so happy for him that finally, he was on his way to finding those dreams...But three weeks ago, he called to tell me that he got an appointment with his doctor that day and told him the dreading news that he has cancer. I was so shocked then but I was even depressed today when he told me about the stage of the disease and the options available to him.

In a matter of minutes, I heard a man with amazing courage, grace and dignity in the face of the most challenging kind of existence and the most frightening kind of future. His doctor told him what they could do is for him to undergo a major operation where the doctor will remove his esophagus, take half of his stomach, make his new esophagus out of it and then he will eat baby food for the rest of his life. He told me this is never going to be an option he is going to take. He'd rather deal with whatever treatment available to subside the pain and just face death when it comes. My heart bleeds for this funny, vibrant, razor-sharp person who became my loyal friend and confidante. I am silently crying for him, for all his dreams and plans of a happy retired life; now left on hold. He really deserves to be happy after working so hard and a heartbroken past. Isn't it so cruel that you have worked hard and saved all your life in order to build a stable future and just when you are ready to make them all happen, you'll find death lurking at your door?

He remains so externally focused and completely in the moment. But of more significance was the lesson he unknowingly is giving everybody around him in how to prepare for a good death. By not changing. keeping courage, continually affirming that life with all its sorrow is good, and knowing that you don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now.

While it now may not be possible to see and talk to him anytime, to play golf with him, it is still possible to love him. I do and always will. I am praying for him. Please pray for him too...

His name is Ron.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bariles In Atlantic City

I am usually not a very sentimental person, I am more of a romantic than a sentimentalist...With letters, cards and souveneirs, I restrict myself to a memory box which is the size of a big shoebox and when it gets too full, I make myself go through it and throw things out that are no longer as important to me. It is amazing how something that you absolutely had to keep at a time can lost its sentimental value after a few years, after you moved on with your life. But if humans were entirely without sentimentality, we'd be like Finnish architecture- sensible, yet dull as tapioca.

Having said that, I don't think I will ever be less sentimental person when it comes to my home, family and friends, things that matter most to me. Last Sunday after attending 9:00am Mass at St. Teresa of Avila, at the spur of the moment, my friend & I decided to take a drive down to Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was one of those very rare, perfect, deliciously warm Sunday afternoon in winter. The city was not crowded, which didn't surprise us because of the economic crunch that's hurting not only Americans but everybody all over the world. We park at Caesar's Palace Parking and walk though the casinos, down the the restaurants on the beachfront side of the building. We knew where we were going. My friend was taking me to Japanese sushi bar because I was craving for sushi. I came from the Tuna capital city of the Philippines. In General Santos City sashimi and sushi comes in abundance and the cheapest in the world. WE ordered Magu sushi, $8 for a 2-piece serving! While picking sushi with chopsticks, i was teary eyed not because I put too much wasabi sauce but because I was strucked by a weird nostalgic chord in me. The sight of sushi and the sensational taste of wasabi that seemed to clear my sinuses, flashed floods of memories and with it so many vivid imagery of my times in GenSan Fishport and my Fishing Boat that catches this Tuna that I was eating on the other side of the world. I remembered Dodong my operator and our fishing crews who weather the storms and raging waves of the ocean and separation from their families for 21 to 28 days a month catching tuna. It occured to me that they didn't even realized, that maybe, just maybe I was eating what could have been one of their catch, at 100 times the price we get back home. An alpha grade tuna cost $7-8/kilo in GenSan. A tear ran slowly down my cheek as I started eating . The wind was whistling through the glass building...I was looking straight ahead, seeing nothing but the shimmering reflection of the winter sun on the Atlantic Ocean, like white sparkling marble. So mesmerizing, tranquil, deep, warm...I feel a little closer home, my eyes brimmed with tears.

My friend seemed amused...

One Day Closer

I hate goodbyes...Even temporary ones. It creates a vacuum, empty, lonely feeling in me. I dread the thought that the memory, experience, the reflection of all the time shared become suddenly, palpably absent. I wonder why we can't get all the people we love and just stay together. Why is it that someone always have to leave??? Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints in our hearts and we are never ever the same again. And there are those who are meant to stay forever but we have had to say goodbye no matter how reluctantly. I believe that we know the depth of love we feel for somebody in times of separation, because the more we love a person, the more painful it is to be separated from them even if we knew it is not permanent...

The only consolation is that; missing someone gets easier every day because even though it is one day farther from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will...