When I tell my friends who are not in academe that I am still studying, they look at me and think I’m crazy.  They would always tell me, “I’m done with studying.  I promised myself after I got my college degree that I wouldn’t study ever again.”  And then they ask me why I give myself such a hard time.

Sometimes I do wonder why I keep on pushing myself to achieve more and reach for a Ph.D.  Do I still need to prove what I can really do?  Am I not contented with what I have achieved?  Is it really about the recognition or is it about self-fulfillment?

Honestly, I think it’s both.  I do this because it is something I want to do.  I want to prove to myself that I can do it.  I also want the recognition and the respect that comes with adding three letters after my name.  But most of all, I want to learn more and be better at my field.  I want to be more confident with what I profess.  I want to teach again and mentor young people.

There are times when I really feel like giving up.  Today is one of those times.  I am at my wit’s end, trying to finish a paper, but I’m not even half way through.  I know I should be writing my paper, not blogging.  But right now, I’m stuck with my writing.  Maybe blogging would help.🙂

I guess I need to think again about the reasons why I am doing this – working my butt off on a weekend to get a paper done.

I do this because I love to learn and I can’t imagine myself not learning and improving.

I do this for myself and no one else.

I do this because I want to.

I do this because I know I can. 

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?” – Matthew 5:13

Whenever I hear or read these words from the Gospel of Matthew, I always remember the Commissioning Rites on the last day of the Life in the Spirit Seminars of the Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD) Covenant Community.  I recall how the participants are made to take a pinch (just a pinch!) of salt and made to eat it.  And then like Jesus’ disciples, they are told to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

It has been almost 10 years since I last served in a Life in the Spirit Seminar.  I know that there have been a lot of times when I have lost my “saltiness” and have failed to “season” the life of the people around me by my witnessing.  It is especially difficult to be the salt and light when many things are not going your way.  I don’t know if I still have it in me to serve the way I served before, to give till it hurts, to think only of  how else I can share God’s love to others, and not think of what I have to give up.

Sometimes I think that it was easy for me to serve way back when I was single, because I had only myself to think about.  Now, much as I would like to be a part of a community, I have to consider my kids and the time I would give up so that I can attend prayer meetings and join community activities.  But thinking about this made me realize that I don’t need to be in a community in order to be the salt of the earth or the light of the world.  I can still serve God and be His witness where I am right now – as a mom, as a wife, as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend, as a boss, as a co-worker.

I guess the challenge for most of us who are living ordinary lives is to live it in an extraordinary way.  My favorite saint, St. Therese of Liseux, said that to become holy, we need not do great things, but do our daily ordinary tasks with great love.  Yes it is not easy to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world if we think of doing great things the way the apostles did.  But Jesus is not asking us to leave our families and be missionaries in a faraway land (although some are called to do that).  Most of us are called to be witnesses for Christ wherever we are right now, and to the people we encounter each day.

“Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.” – St. Thesere of Lisieux

 

 

 

 

I’ve been thinking, why does everyone in Manila always seem to be in a rush?  When I take the MRT and LRT everyday, I see commuters walking a mile a minute.  I don’t know if they are just late for work or for an appointment, or they just don’t want others to get ahead.

Oftentimes, I find myself walking as fast as they do or even running to get to the turnstile first even if I’m not really late.  It’s as if being in a hurry is contagious.  But what are we in a hurry for?

Why do we have to be the first on the train or the first off the train?  Why do we have to be the first at the turnstile or the first at the ticket counter? Why do we push and jostle and weave our way through people on the escalator ?  Are we really that worried about the precious seconds we lose if we just stand still and let the escalator take us to the top? Or maybe, we simply don’t want other people to be ahead of us.

Sometimes I just get to thinking, is getting there FIRST that important? Isn’t getting there what matters the most?

 

If you’re looking for a good book on leadership that’s easy to read and not too long, then Dr. Henry Cloud’s 9 Things A Leader Must Do is for you.  It’s written in a simple, straightforward manner, but manages to remain personal at the same time.  Dr. Cloud gives enough life stories to explain his point, but not too much.

I’ve always loved reading leadership books by John Maxwell, but sometimes his books are just too long and could not be really considered “light reading.”  Over the Holy Week break, I read Dr. Cloud’s book and liked it a lot.  I found myself relating to his 9 principles/things to do.

I’m sharing just a few insights I learned from this book.

On Handling Difficult People

  • Take responsibility for your own reactions and how you let difficult people get to you.  There is always a better way to react to a particular situation or person.
  • Manage your expectations.  This is so true! I always expect too much from myself and put the same expectations on others – hence I always get disappointed.
  • Do not depend on them for things they cannot give – approval, love and validation. This is related to the previous point.  I expect others to like me, love me, validate me, give me their approval.  But maybe they are not the people from whom I should be looking for these things.
On Achieving our Dreams
  • We can achieve big goals by taking small steps over time.  This is actually common sense, but many people still find this very hard to do.  Dr. Cloud explains why:  “Wanting it all right now keeps you from having any.”
  • Do not take any action without considering its future implications.  We need to see not just the good that may happen in the future, but also the bad so that we can prepare ahead.
Although the title says “9 Things A Leader Must Do,”  this book isn’t just for people who are in a leadership position already.  It’s for everyone who wants to take hold of their life and lead it in the direction they wish to.  After all, you don’t need to be “Senior Manager,” “Director,” or “Head” in order to be a leader.

I’ve decided to end my Facebook hiatus.  Over the last two weeks that I deactivated my account, I had the following realizations:

1.  No one can make me sad or angry unless I give them the power to do so.  Just as no one can make me truly happy unless I am happy with myself, with what I have, with my own life.  I can’t force people to like me, but I can make myself think of what is good in me – and also of what is good in others.

2.  I can choose how I get affected by people around me.  I can’t control what people will say about me or my family, but I can choose to ignore negative comments and focus instead on the positive and uplifting ones.

3.  I really need to manage my expectations.  Sometimes I expect too much of people and place on them the same expectations I put on myself.  Sometimes I expect people to behave in a certain way because that is how I was raised to believe.  I’ve realized that a lot of my B.S. (belief systems!) have been deeply ingrained in me that I seem to think that the universe operates the way I think it should…pero hindi pala!

4.  I have so much to be thankful for – a loving husband who accepts me for who I am and who is not perfect but loves an imperfect me; two bright, loving and talented kids who think the world of me; parents who support me in everything I undertake; and two smart siblings who are not just my blood relations but my truest friends as well. And of course my good friends who are always there for me.  Truly I am blessed and I should not complain.🙂

This Easter season is not just about celebrating the Resurrected Christ.  More than rejoicing, it is also a time for us Christians to renew our lives because we who are risen with Christ must focus on things above, and not on things below.  Easter teaches us not to focus on sorrow, pain, and death.  It tells us that beyond the bad, the negative, and the painful, there is a resurrection; there is light, goodness, and joy.

I just pray that no matter what the circumstance I find myself in, I will always go back to these Easter realizations and dwell on those things above – the good, the positive, the uplifting.

Today is Good Friday.  Today we see the best example of how much it hurts to love.  The love that Christ has for us is not the kind of love that we see on television or read about in cheesy novels.

Christ’s love is sacrificial love, a love that gives without expecting anything in return, a love that accepts the beloved’s faults and yet continues to love just the same.

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another as Christ has loved us.  This is not the kind of love that media popularizes – love that is based on feeling and physical attraction.

It’s not easy to love the way Christ has loved us.  I know.  I’ve loved and I’ve been hurt, especially by the people I love the most.  It hurts to give so much of myself, and yet my love and giving is not appreciated so much.  I sometimes want to cry out and say “Enough!  I don’t want to give of myself anymore!  It hurts to love and not be loved back as much as I do!”

But as I reflect on Jesus’ Passion and Death this Good Friday, I realize that I have not loved Him enough if I complain about giving of myself.  If I truly love as Christ does, then I should be ready to get hurt.  If I truly love others the way Jesus Christ loves me, then I cannot love enough.  If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not real love.

 

 

Just read this article on Psychology Today about how women tend to obsess more about things and think too much than men do.  I guess our brains are wired that way.

I’m sorry I can’t help it!😀  Sometimes, analyzing and re-analyzing things in my mind helps me come to terms with the events happening to my life.  Hubby doesn’t really want to talk about it or to analyze things the way I do, so I’m left with me, myself and I – just thinking.

Aaarrgggh!  I know I think too much.  Gotta get out of this rumination rut or else I’ll drive myself mad!!!

 

 

I’m caught in between my best friend and two other very good friends who are not in speaking terms right now.  It’s not easy to speak the truth, but someone has to say it.  The gap has widened and no one is taking the first step to bridge it.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but this has gone on for too long.  I feel for my best friend.  I can’t stand seeing her hurt and in the dark about what’s being said about her.

Now that the truth is out, all we can do is wait.  Whatever the reaction of the others may be, I think it’s still a win-win situation.  Because even if the truth hurts, it still sets everyone free – including those who don’t want to hear it.

It’s official – we are now Metro Manila residents.  After a year of planning and anticipation, we finally made the big move.  I found it easy to decide to leave my job and my friends, but it was very hard to leave the parents.  I worry for them, especially because they are both getting old and Nanay still has not regained her full functionality.

For the last two weeks, the kids and I have spent most of our days cooped up in the apartment. They stay in bed, play, or watch TV, while I do motherly stuff – i.e., cook, clean, wash clothes, fix the apartment.  Since I rarely got the chance to do these home economics activities while we were in Bacolod (thanks to our very capable helper), I’m actually enjoying this. 🙂

I’m supposed to start work next week, but my contract hasn’t been finalized yet, so I’m given more time to spend with the kids.  No big deal.  I’m happy that I can still be here for them, if only for one more week.  Because the minute work starts, I know that my attention will be divided – into three!  That’s Dean, the kids, and work.  For now, I’m just enjoying being a mom and wife.  I’m happy to see my husband every day.  I’m happy that after a long day at work, he can come home to a hot meal and a family that he can enjoy eating the meal with.

Enzo asked me the other day, “Is our apartment a house or a home?”  I told him, a home is a place where everybody loves each other and where there is happiness.  No matter how small this space of ours may be, I still know that this is a home.

I don’t get it.  One minute everything seems to be falling into place, and then the next minute things are going out of whack.  What the..?

I’d like to think that the BIG decision I made this past year is in tune with what God actually wants for my life.  All of a sudden, it seems that I’ve been getting the wrong signals.  Or did I?

I just wish that things will fall into place.  Moving to a different place and transferring to a different job is not for the faint of heart.  I’m not scared of taking that leap of faith, but  I just wish things were clearer.

Can somebody just please tell me what God is up to?  Please.

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