My Daily Prayer

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Though I may be far away
I pray for you every day.
That you be without strife
and overcome challenges in your life
as you be guided by the Spirit’s light.

Though I may be far away
I pray for you every day.
That you be safe and strong
Amidst times when things go wrong
So you feel you’re never alone.

Though I may be far away
I pray for you every day.
That you take care and be healthy
In mind and body
I raise up to God that you may never worry.

I may not be there beside you
Your needs I may not have a clue
But a prayer is said that’s true
Offered each time the knee is bent
A blessing asked, to your way a blessing sent.

So, though I may be far away
I pray for you every day.
As you are held as someone dear
by Him I pray that you feel He is near
The One who wants you to know, “For you I am always here.”

Yuletide Gifts

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(picture from http://media.photobucket.com/user/dingsdb/media/Jesus/1f97.jpg)

For nine days I listened
To Your words thru your servants
A wish to be enlightened
My Giver a gift You granted.

On day one, You taught humility
To Live Your word with simplicity.

On day two, You sent a lamp
Lighting up the darkness in this life has encamped.

On day three a genealogy with bad fruits You came
But then you were born without blame,
So who am I to question a Giver of gifts
Who, my soul to Heaven He lifts.

On day four, a man took a woman to be his wife
A God-given family this man protected without strife.

On day five, You ask for silence
A peace within so that to You we may listen.

On day six, a lady was chosen to bear
The Child…the Man… the Giver…
Who spoke the Word and is the Savior.

On day seven two women met,
The mother of the Lamp,
The mother of the Giver,
Unfailing faith and trust set
A life to be reunited to God as yet.

On day eight, Mary’s song of joy and praise,
To God her love and life she raised.

On day nine, Zechariah speaks again,
His son’s name John, God is with him,
The lamp God has chosen
Before the Giver, His Son, he sends.

In these nine days of worship and prayer
I offer as my gift for my Giver
His word through my life, my deeds, my actions,
To show, to share, to live without pretensions.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao

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Paquiao makes me proud to be a Filipino

We’re in the papers almost daily as well as in Yahoo News since the proclamation of our new president. As said in my previous write up, let’s give the man a chance. He’s not been in the post a year and he obviously knows a lot more than we do anyway. A fighter, a man who knows what he wants and will move heaven and earth to make that happen.  I think he’s doing his best the way he knows how for his countrymen.  But I digress. Let me move back to the distinctive person I referred to in my first sentence.

Manny Pacquiao, like the President has also been in the news, but write-ups about him are more positive. His life story is an inspiration and the man is awesome. He may have his faults but these are outshone by what he does for his constituency and the public in general. True, he may also have been neglectful of his duties as a congressman – being one of those who have been more absent than present during sessions. He may have prioritized his boxing bouts and basketball coaching then but what he earned from those activities, he shared it with his constituency as a congressman. His salary from the government wasn’t enough to see to the needs of the locality he represented. He gave bonuses to the players of his basketball team – giving them rewards when they performed well… but obviously, a newly formed basketball team wouldn’t really make it big in the professional basketball league yet.

What really is so likeable about this guy is he doesn’t just get into something without doing what he needed to do first. Some years ago, he studied English so that he would be great at doing interviews during his boxing bouts. He also finished high school via an alternative learning program. Next, he continuously improved his craft as a boxer which was how he scaled up the ranks. Mind you though, he wasn’t always a winner. He was also defeated but he never gave up. And all through his fights and wins, he never did become an airhead.

When he became a congressman, he did his homework by learning the craft of good government, learning about the law and surrounded himself with mentors so that he would not only have an idea but would know and do the actual work of a congressman. And by this time he was being awarded Honoris Causa by universities. Beat that!

Now that he is a senator, he continues to learn – about the law, about good governance, rights and all there is to know about being a senator. He’s still in that stage though. So far when listening to his privilege speech, the man’s got substance. Here’s hoping his perspective wouldn’t become jaded.

Going back to his life story, his is one that tells of how to better one’s situation in life, a case of living out the axiom, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” His is the example of we may not like how our life is right now but we can always turn it into something better for us if we just persevere and endure while not losing hope and faith. Most of all, his life is the best example of getting up even if he got beaten; keeping that self worth intact no matter how hurtful the words other people threw at him.

And all these is because Manny Pacquiao has a mom who raised him the best way she could – she raised him to become the decent, religious, family-oriented, and focused man that he is. Truly a role model and somebody I’m proud of to be a fellow Filipino.

Just Random Thoughts on Changes

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Way back before there were cellphones, computers, iPods, compact discs, home theaters and social media, people like me had some kind of order in our lives. When I say I’m going to meet somebody at a particular time, day and place, I confirm that date to at least a day before via a landline phone. Then, I watched movies in movie houses or movie theaters, and looked forward to trailers before the main screening. When we wanted to listen to music we had a record player for our vinyl records. We had a stereo if we wanted our music to sound better. We then had a deck tape as well which we used to record our music of choice if we wanted to. Then came the tape reorder which had either the 8-track or cassette tape, still for recording our music. When we wanted to say something to our friends , we talked to them either personally, by phone or by snail mail. I remember that we had fancy stationeries then, some of which were even scented. Or, if we wanted to say something about a public figure, we did it through the newspaper or magazine. We’d be lucky if our opinions ever get enough attention to get published. What all these amounted to was in those days, for things to happen it took time. But no matter because then it helped build character. It also instilled self-control/discipline. Further, there’s this attitude not only for me but practically almost all people during my time, that we anticipate the effects of our actions, somehow having a plan b, or even a plan c if things didn’t go the way we thought they would or wanted to happen.

What is this all leading to? Well, I think a generation ago when things such as the above gadgets, appliances or mode of interpersonal relationships via i.e. Facebook and Twitter, weren’t invented yet, people were more considerate and more patient about almost everything. There weren’t any earphones stuck in our ears and so we didn’t bump into each other when walking the streets. We didn’t have cellphones that distracted our driving. There was much appreciation of movies like a standing ovation and applause when Rocky Balboa finally beat Apollo in Rocky 2. Also, we tried not to make the inane and mundane rule our lives. These were just some kind of stress reliever. However, now there seems to be much attention given for example with a TV personality who got robbed and talked much about or even written about. Almost everybody and their sister had to say her piece about this in Twitter, and there’s all sorts of real time reactions from people from all places. Quite amazing, really. I guess our world then individually was too small and that we concerned ourselves with our and not others’present life and how it could affect our future. There was always this exercise in schools like, “When I grow up, I like to be…”. There was that focus and determination and most of all hope that our future would be better; that we would live our dreams, plans.

Yes, that did happen for me at least. However, as I’ve said the gadgets really made a big difference. Things are a lot t easier, supposedly. You just hit the keys on your smartphone, iPad or computer and you can express your ideas either publicly or privately depending on your preferences. I seldom watch movies in the movie theaters anymore. I just wait a few months and I can watch the movies in the comfort of my home. But I really miss substantial reading materials – those that I can leaf through page by page, not on a computer but an actual book.

Gone were the days when students have to extend their school hours to go to the library and do some actual research, leafing through reading materials. Those were the days. Now classmates meet, divide themselves into groups, divide the research into chapters and do their research via Google and other search engines. That’s one modern method I particularly know. Easier, yes, it seems. Substantial? Well, I have to qualify that…

Probably the most thought-provoking practice I’m observing is this very reactive responses to almost any news item that comes up. News travels fast these days via social media mostly, and it is always accompanied by comments and replies to comments. If you have sensitive feelings, you will react to these reactions you received; thus, a cycle has begun. Vicious? It depends.

When a politician says his government would be aligning with communist countries and cut ties with the former champion of democracy, this issue got a lot of reactions worldwide. I can’t blame everyone though as it seemed a little drastic. Commenting on this – no reply necessary though, let’s give this leader a chance to prove himself. He’s newly installed and not yet half a year in his elective position. I was told that a year is too short a time to adjust to changes – that’s nationally. Give it perhaps 2 years and allow the leader to carry out the reforms he promised his people. We may react but let’s be proactive rather than reactive. Let’s see if he can move his country forward in the next year or two with his promised commitments and changes.

Going back to that TV reality show actress who got robbed in her apartment abroad and had all her precious jewelry taken at gunpoint. That also got much reaction. What’s up with that? There are more pressing issues than this one. The damage brought on by the typhoon Matthew needs some attention. People in Haiti need help … let’s react so they can recover. The irredenta problem in Asia where Vietnam, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia versus China over the scattered islands in the South China Sea is another issue to talk about and to try to resolve.

But of course, people are more concerned about the latest gadgets, the coolest places to be seen, who are exchanging heated words in Twitter, who’s got the most number of views in YouTube. Tell me… are we escaping from something that we prefer trivial to significant matters. I guess that needs to be qualified.

Now I wonder what the future would be like. Sure hope I could still cope with it.

A Daily Routine

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Every dawn I arise
a yawn and a sigh
I get up and stretch my arms high
To embrace a new day ahead lies
As the sun creeps in the east side.

With thanks for this gift
Of another beginning,
My spirit You uplift
A soul worthwhile, redeeming,
Rectifying as You see fit.

Your grace leads me
To care for others, of so little I know.
To inspire, to guide, to let them see
The work of love You sowed.
And carry this on prayerfully.

Time and again myself I offer,
And to Your will I surrender
Armed with blessings sent
To make each day my moment
To shine for my Bestower.

Amen.

Forward to 2017

The countdown to the new year has started; and to think I just had my birthday.

It has been a challenging year for me.  I quit my job at the start of the year and started a new one which I’m enjoying because it’s much easier and I have more time on my hands.  The only thing is, like every other job there are some things hazardous to one’s health.  My job calls for excellent listening skills, good English language skills, knowledge in medical terminology and of course, typing skills.  However, doing this since 2002, I’ve changed my specs four times, been taking higher doses of vitamin B complex and have asked people to say stuff to me not only twice, up to four times as I can’t really catch what they’re saying.  Oh, well.  I guess it’s not only the job really… probably due to age as well.

I’ve also started a new part-time work.  As I said I have more time on my hands and now I’m able to do what I’ve always wanted to – that of baking bread.  I took a comprehensive bread making course early this year to complement the free cooking lessons I took some years back.  I’ve been able to sell some bread to my neighbors and so far I’ve had no complaints of any stomach ache, or anything of the sort.  I’m hoping that before the year ends, I could open up my brick and mortar bread store – keeping my fingers crossed on this.  It would be a very good transition from my current job to my “retirement”.  But of course, here’s wishing… and more learning – the process really doesn’t stop, just like the days of the year, it goes on and on, never going back, just forward.

This year has also been a reunion of sorts for my mother’s side of the family.  It seems that the older one gets, the more sentimental one becomes about members who have moved away, who have been “called home” and those who have opted to stay away, never heard from anymore.  Thanks to Facebook, Viber, and the like we got reunited, sharing pictures, stories and quotes relevant to family and relationships.

Now speaking of the new 2017, I have below some print reproduction of my dear sister’s paintings.  A budding artist who,  when she was in preparatory school won a national art contest sponsored by Caltex.  She has finally gotten the time to hone this artistic talent through her paintings.  I wish to advertise her paintings and so I have come up with 2017 calendars – A4 size, a one pager and a set of three which has four months of the year per page.  The one pager costs $3.00, while the set costs $8.00.  I have also come up with gift tags, 25 cents each.  In case you opt for her paintings, do indicate in your comments and I can forward this to her directly.  I will ever be so grateful if you could at least give this form of exposure for my sister’s works as I am really very proud of her.  Here they are:

The following are the one pager.  I could remove the “Your company logo here.”  if it’s for your personal use.

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Below is a sample for the 3-piece set.  Again, I’ll remove “Your logo here” if it’s for your personal use.

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And, here are the gift tags:

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Thank you!  It’s been awesome!

Glory In Passing

 

To them who went before us, O God be glory.

I’ll start off by quoting paragraphs about how we go about observing the rites for our dead.  The following was taken from “What Catholics Need To Know About Funerals”.

God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all 1 John 1:5.

In the funeral mass, you see how the symbolism is rooted in the Eucharist, which is a source of life, a source of strength and nourishment, but also an offering of thanksgiving.  While it may not have the same joy and jubilation, even at the funeral mass, when the community of God gathers together in sorrow, part of the consolation is the gathering to offer praise to God and an offering of thanksgiving, being focused not just on the deceased  but on Jesus.

The casket is brought to the front of the sanctuary and positioned in front of the paschal candle which is another reminder of the light of Christ dispelling the darkness of death and promising eternal life.

The casket, or cremations is covered with white linen, known as the pall, which evokes the white baptismal gown.

The casket is also blessed with holy water, another reminder of the person’s baptism, the day they were first given the promise of eternal life.

It is also worth noting that the priest celebrating the mass approaches the casket wearing white vestments.

It’s what we do as Catholics.

– Brian Fraga, OSV at OSV.com

_________

I’ve been to six different, but there were actually seven funeral wakes in the past year with the last one being yesterday, all of which are less than six months apart.  Let me just write the word”Sigh” for lack of a better expression, as I can’t make it audible enough that could be heard while you read my piece.

First was a cousin-in law’s wake, Noel but I wasn’t able to attend due to work constraints and heavy rains.  His wife, my first cousin died earlier, and they have two children who are now making something of themselves.

My Tita Caring’s wake last year had that intimate and personal touch. It was an opportune time as finally we were able to drop by our dad’s place. As with with every funeral gatherings, relatives came from different parts of town and different parts of the world, to pay their last respects.  We got there around the siesta hours as we had to endure 5 hours of travel time.  My sister and her husband from New York were here for a vacation at that time.  She and my eldest sister planned this trip to represent our dad, who passed away years before. Please take note of this detail in the coming paragraphs.

A few months after, the mother of my sister’s husband died.  He and my sister came back home again from New York to arrange his mom’s funeral as now he is the oldest living son.  The wake was a little different as the family were observing the Chinese tradition.  My husband and I went there at night.  There weren’t any crying ladies though but they had the writings on the wall on which were written the donations of the people who attended the wake.  These were in Chinese characters, by the way.

As I’ve mentioned the funerals I attended were barely six months apart.  This next one was really dumbfounding as our dear eldest sister was just with us the day before she passed away.  Our last conversation was that we will be meeting up again on All Saint’s Day, which was two months later.  Little did we know that she would be one among those we would be visiting on this occasion.  I remember that one last time we were together, she was complaining of some stomach pain and I asked my brother about it -he being a doctor.  We all thought that it may have been something she ate.  She had a schedule with a cardiologist that same week and would then be undergoing some tests.  But I guess the Lord had a better plan – gave  her the best cure which is to go home to Him where she wouldn’t have to experience any more pain, no more undergoing medical tests.

So it was my sister’s wake that I attended next.  She died on the eve of my nephew’s birthday, 4 days before mine, a date that will certainly be remembered.  Hers was a funeral attended by the different Chruch committees, her classmates from high school and college – she was an active Mother Butler and alumna.  Being the eldest among the De Guzman cousins, relatives came from nearby and out of town to pay their last respects.  This last, my sister from New York had to come home for the third time this year together with my niece.

Christmas last year was a little bleak.  Aside from the missing members of the family, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law were talking about their dads who were seriously ill and have been in and out of the hospital.  Both were of advanced age already so the risks were really high.

Early this year one of the dads of these two in-laws of mine passed away. It was the dad of my eldest brother-in-law, whose wife, my eldest sister, died late last year.  It’s tragic really for him, having had two deaths in his immediate family, and our hearts go out to him and the children.  My son and I went to pay our last respects.  It was an eerie experience for us as we were the only ones there in the funeral parlor- that was after one of the-I guess they were people working for the family, who recognized me as a relative of the dead.  They left after fixing up and so only  my son and I were there.  We stayed and watched for a almost an hour, but still nobody came.  And the wake covered two chapels so just imagine how eerie it was for us to be there with my brother-in-law’s dad.  Tatay Pacheco was a jolly person when he was alive.  I guess and hope he was jolly for us to be accompanying him at that time.

Soon after, my cousin Danny died.  I haven’t seen him for years, the last time being in his mom’s wake, my aunt, several years before.  When we were younger, Danny and his youngest sister, Lenny were playmates of mine.  It’s really sad that they’re both gone now.  Way back in high school, sometimes Danny would just appear by my side when I was on my way to school.  He was then dropped off by his dad, My Uncle Itoy.  My family of 3 had a funny experience when we went to his wake.  We were an hour early for his viewing so we were sitting there in the lobby together with other guests of the other dead.  These guests were already whispering to one another about who we were and are we relations or friends?  Anyway, when Danny was finally ready for viewing we met and sympathize with his wife and daughters.  Danny is finally peacefully resting with God.

This last wake was very touching for my family.  It was now my sister-in-law’s dad who passed away.  She said that it was the first death in their family so it was a new experience for them.  I just told her that everything’s going to be all right as my brother would know what to do.  The rites yesterday was exactly what were quoted in the first part of this article.  The wake was personal and intimate, no frills, no fuss, and my family felt the solemnity and simplicity of it all.  Indeed it was a glorious occasion for the Pineda family with their dad finally gone home to God, no more pain, no more staying in the hospital. And, as my sister-in-law said, they now have somebody up there to welcome them when their time comes to go home.

The glory in the death of each of these people is in what they have done for us. As how Pope Benedict has challenged us to do, they were able to carry out.  And, that is – “each one of you must have the courage to promise to the Holy Spirit that you will bring one … person to Jesus Christ in the way you consider best.”  As you do know that your efforts will bring Jesus abundant joy.

Let me end my tribute to those who have passed away before us by quoting from 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought  the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

 

I’m Asked For Verses

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I’m asked for verses,
As I quote from a hero;
By a person I know.
But for words I’m pressed,
Not deserving of less
Because he deserves the best.

When as a wee boy
With me watched Sesame Street
And cartoons galore;
Not lacking for toys
He opts to talk, not a bit
Of stories with much color.

He grew up but he’s still the same
Story telling was his game.
Thus, reunions are never plain
The tales he says, inane or mundane
Seemingly true as he tells them,
Elicit much laughter from us then.

Miles apart now, I hear only of him
From relatives’ homecoming
Or from FB messaging.
This I can only say, too true
The road is long, for my nephew,
In my prayers, God be with you.

I’m asked for verses
I quote again from a hero.
These words don’t express
The best yet in him I saw.
Deserving no less
Him, from his youth I know.

You and Me

You and me
We met
In a world of many
Maybe accidentally,
Or perhaps
We were meant to be

Your quirks
And a weird me
Poles apart maybe
But arose a pair.
In each other finally
Found company.

Not me
Not you
Our differences too
Defeated what we built.
For God’s blessings we sought
And our family’s support.

Time passed
And knowingly
In our hearts
Promised lovingly
We’re joined as one
In this life’s journey.

You and me
No longer alone
But as one.
You love me
I love you
Simply, the way it should be.

For you and me.