Monday, December 31, 2018

THE ULTIMATE GIVER

Have you ever heard of Monito Monita? It is a traditional game in the Philippines particularly in December approaching Christmas where a group of individuals (friends, classmates, office-mates, etc) agree to give gifts anonymously with each other. Usually, it starts with writing down in a piece of paper  each others name, roll it  and put in a small box. Each takes turn to pick out a piece of rolled paper in the box. The name in the paper each has picked out is its monito/monita. The simple rule is that no one has to let each other know who the giver is until the revelation day ideally on Christmas day.  In the game they will give their monitas/monitas gifts everyday with an agreed price range.  There will be different theme in each day of giving such as giving, something soft, something sweet, something long and hard, something green or blue, something round, something you make /cook /bake, something pink, something useful, something wet, something made of wood/fabric, something you can wear in your head, something made of glass, something with a handle, something sour, something that grows and so on. There may be a day that you miss out giving. You may give the missed out gift in the next day together with the gift meant for that day. It is not a good practice to miss out many days and then give the accumulated gifts in a day which makes your monito/monita  wondering that he/she has been neglected or has been had. It is a fun game. It is a chance for bonding between the giver and the receiver especially when exchanging small notes to read attached to the gifts.
I wonder if there is such a game when one has received a gift from someone who remains anonymous. Or is there a game where the giver gives all he/she got and consider it a great joy? I haven't heard of one or with similar nature. But I have heard it as an act of kindness preached and lived by the Wise Man in the Bible. He set the poor widow as an example who gave all she had to live on which was a greater sacrifice than the gifts out of the wealth of the wealthy men combined. He looked not at the outward actions, but at the heart. The recipient has received and the giver with the true heart is transformed.
Bill and Melinda Gates established a program encouraging billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charity.  And so some of the billionaires joined them in this great act. That is a huge gesture of kindness in the eyes of the many.  I admire what they have done.  No doubt. Would it be more virtuous  if the gesture has not put into media for everybody to know? Jesus has told that when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets just like the hypocrites do in the synanoge and be honored by anyone to see. There is an essence why Jesus wants it that way. There is a spiritual transforming experience out of it. When the recipients wouldn't  know whom on earth to thank for, they directly attribute the blessing to the one above.  Blessing from above. Everything we have is blessing from above. And so when we give, you give a blessing that it is coming from above. The anonymous giver has just eliminate himself or herself in the equation and direct all the attribute to the ultimate giver.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

CACOPHONY

Cacophony.

What is irritating nowadays to me at least? What level of noise would I say that I would be prompt to cover my ears? We got used to too much noise and somehow we are in the loop of getting used to it. I am driving going to work, engine roaring, city traffic. I turned on my music player to listen to favorite song. I should say there are sounds I can hear but they are not irritating. I can live and they don't harm me. When in a club or a concert, I can hardly hear what people are saying when they talk to me. Does it bother me? No. I work my way in hearing it by bringing my ear closer to the speakers mouth. 


There is another noise that has nothing to do with hearing and more to do in clutters in the mind and spirit. Too much thinking. Too much distractions. Noises such as worries, fears, habits, addictions. We work our way to get by in the midst of those noises. We work our brain to get used to those noises and that's how life goes on. We compromise. We take the high maintenance . We juggle. We multitask. And somehow we get the skill and live in exercising the skill. We take pills. We got use to it and somehow we find that there is no reason to escape to something quiet or peaceful. Some of us think that there is no choice to tone down the noise because of career, bills to pay and raising a family. Noise becomes normal. Noise becomes new home. And then some of us almost forget that there is such thing as serenity that empowers. And then we wonder "Why do I feel good when I hear the sound of the waves in the beach, the touch of my barefoot in the sound, the chirping of birds in the forest or lying on my back in a lawn while looking up in the sky?" These are not new. I have been there before but I have forgotten the feeling. Places that are not lost but has lost me.

There is also what I call noise to the eyesight. My wife and I are fond of watching Clean House, a TV series that attempts to redecorate the cluttered house of hoarders or people who have very emotional attachment to many things. Home owners are in deep ends and don't know anymore how to save themselves. They find that they don't have time or resources or energy to get rid of all the rubbish in their house. Rubbish that they have been attached emotionally and haven't realized that it is not practical anymore to keep them: clothes that they don't fit any more and are still hanging in the closet for ages, rocking chair that their dead mum used to sing lullaby to them, an over-sized desk which occupies humongous space.

Distractions are obviously evident all around replacing nourishment. We attend to something trivial because it is out there and forget to listen to the qualms of the body and spirit that need rest. And then we wonder why we are having body aches, nausea or anxiety. All it takes is to listen to our body, mind and soul. Are they in pain? Listen. Listen. Listen. When will we find time to listen?

We thought that there is not enough time to listen because we are always on the go. But the only way to find out if there is sufficient time is to stop. Stop. Look. Listen. Go. Why am I heading towards a cliche? That is what the traffic lights are for. To avoid chaos. We ought to have a traffic light in us.


We should not be always on the go. Step on the breaks. Find time to get out of the world and listen within. Breath in and out. In and out. You may realize that you still have a heartbeat that pumps the blood circulating all throughout your body. That is wonderful. You should be grateful. Brain still works although sometimes running in a funny way because of what you are feeding it. Anxiety. Anger. Frustration. Noise. Noise. Noise.

Find silence. There is a power in it. Make time to silence and discover that time is still manageable. You might be surprise.

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 WRAP UP



Obvious it may seem, many of us have regarded what have transpired over the previous year. We all had ups and downs. Some had more ups and some had more downs but I guess that will be subject to one's outlook.

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Opera in the Garden for me is the start of establishing my highlight of the year. Rehearsals kick started in January in preparation on the big event in March. Those were the days were I had pages of music sheets to study. I prefer that I home study in addition to what had been thought during rehearsals since it was potential that I might not catch all up. Most of the time I study before a music was thought. This Year, on the big day itself, the weather was mean that we were not given the chance to sing in the garden and so it was decided that we held them in ASB stadium. One good thing about it was that the acoustic was great.
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Adele concert. My wife won the Adele Concert tickets when More FM chose her submitted recorded voice singing an Adele song that I accompanied with my guitar. She was put up in the video online by More FM receiving her award which made her famous to whoever watch the video online. Before this happened we really were about to buy tickets even the cheapest ones but in a matter of minutes the tickets were immediately sold out in each show. Both of us love Adele and watching her perform in a concert was one of the biggest treat that we had. The surrounding stage was massive inside the stadium. And Adele has shown that her presence and talent were bigger than the stage. Claire sang along with Adele the whole time for she knows most of the songs by heart.

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Being part of the Mamma Mia as one of the stage characters and ensemble was one joyride that I treasure for the rest of my life. It was a delightful and fun experience working with some of the most talented people in Northland. We have developed friendship with one another and have regarded our closeness as a family. It was a huge success. The best show that I have ever been with in Northland.

I decided this year that I will make time for salsa dancing. I reckon that dancing is an effective way of keeping my body and soul balance. It is rejuvenating, invigorating and soul feeding. My soul is always satisfied. My whole being was lifted.

My wife and I have a couple of weddings that we sang with but the one that was most memorable was when we sang in the Te Whai Bay Wines Vineyard which is a privately owned boutique vineyard with views to the Brynderwyn Range in a valley described as Northland's Tuscany. BEAUTIFUL!!!!. It was a long and winding and nauseating ride going to the event but the travel paid off. The weather was perfect. The crowd was delightful to watch. The beautiful bride and her entourage. The handsome groom and his groomsmen. It was flooded with photographers bringing most upgraded SLR cameras and drones. We sang all the songs relatively good. There were touching moments when we sang the first songs and the bride marching shed tears listening us singing her requested songs.

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Our house caught on fire. My wife left the stove open which she forgot she opened while she joined JC and I cuddling in the masters' bedroom. The smoke alarm was the hero of that day. It was good thing that we had replaced them after many months of having a dysfunctional ones. Our content insurance covered our batch/motel accommodation expenses and damaged items while the owner's house insurance covered the repair of the kitchen. The repair took so long that we spent time hopping from one place to another for over a month. It was not that easy to get a batch/motel for a good number of days especially weekends when people booked ahead of us. That was the reason why we hopped from one place to another. The hopping was excruciating when talking about bringing our clothes and our kitchen from one place to the next. Not to mention tidying up the place before we leave. While we were homeless we were also house hunting not because we were being kicked out. Claire and I already have plans for buying a house even before the fire. House hunting was a bit challenging when we were also thinking of what batch to move in next.

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And then we found the perfect place for us. A three bedroom house with beautiful garden which was the one that attracted us. In the past Claire and I had discussed a number of times our dream house should be a beautiful fully fenced garden where JC would spend time playing. And we found the one. It was a dream come true. Claire has never never stopped until now how to beautify the place. Mitre 10 and Bunnings are the shopping places we frequently go nowadays. Carpets, Lights, Fences, Portable swimming pool, sprinkler. Christmas Tree was put up beside the television which we are planning to wall mount soon. It was first Christmas and New Year to our new house.

So many lessons learned from good and bad experiences particularly bad experiences. We gained new friends. We lost friends. There were friends who stayed close to us and made a point to catch up. There were false friends. There were people who uplifted us. There were people who pulled us down. I consider 2017 as a stepping stone to what's comes in 2018. From the good and bad moments, from the happy and sad moments, from the joy and challenging moments, I will bring them all to 2018 as a foundation to what I can do better.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Absence of Accolades

I believe anybody has something to show and be proud of. I am no exclusion in saying that I have some tricks under my sleeves worth checking. But sometimes I am not so keen on showing of. I am not alright when people misconstrue that my action is all bragging where in fact I am just happy showing what I can do. Some people find what I am capable of as a threat. And just by saying that sounds like I am full of myself. Anybody is a threat with anybody. But come to think of it I find that people who are threatened are not so quite secure in what they have. I know people who are on top of their game yet they are being demoralized by others who have something that they don't have. I'm okay with exhibiting my talent just to my pleasure. The same thing when I was doing something when I was a kid. When I was kid I did what I like doing. Sometimes, no one needed to know what I was capable of doing. I was just in my room, in my secluded place, in a small corner, sitting in a small plastic chair, with a paper on top of a wooden portable board that served as a table with no legs that was on top of my bed, and a pen or a pencil, water colors, poster colors, notebooks, sketching, drawing, comics writing, script writing, journal writing or painting. I enjoyed the mere activities in the absence of accolades. I kept the results of my work hidden in a small shoe box, folder and bags placed them under my bed. Sometimes I got to indulge myself in checking my little masterpieces lying on my bed and I thought then it is much more entertaining than watching TV or hanging outside. Sometimes I let somebody see them if they were worthy enough to call as close friends. But even some of my close friends did not care that much and so it was almost always that my works were just on my own entertainment. I was just a kid putting in hard copies of what I have been day dreaming - playing with imagination that I and my shadow had fun with and no one else is part of this game. I began wanting applause when I began to be recognized and appreciated with what I got to offer. It was a new kind of motivation to make others see the results of my small masterpieces. Frustrations got attached to the new wanting for there are times I am not that good to anyone. It is worthwhile to go back and learn from my younger me. Life was simple back then and life should be that way. Knowing too much on what the world can offer complicates things. I want to go back to what I used to enjoy. I used to enjoy me more than I enjoy acceptance of people. I am me. I know me. I like me. I love me. I love the One who created me. I celebrate me and how I was evolved regardless of the approval of others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

KNOWING GOD IS KNOWING ME

There may be a more than one related messages from different consecutive encounters that is undeniably far from coincidence. The divine being is speaking strongly that pierces my heart. Different medium such the video that I watched, the chapter in a book that I have read, the cruelty of peers who are up to no good, the challenges at work, the situation at home are being intertwined in order to come up with a clearer understanding of the issues and solutions. What am I going to do about it? For a start, I need to reflect on them and see what messages can come up with. I know that there were small whispers that can give a big impact in my life once I deliver the message into action.  The ball in now in my court and I got to do something about. It is time for me to score some points to win.

I was part of the Mamma Mia Musical show. One of the characters Sofie was trying to find who she really was by knowing who her dad was. Sky her fiance did not seem to agree that she would find her by knowing her dad. I believe him that I only way to find yourself is to search it within oneself. The worth of we are is how we acknowledge it.

Who am I? To know God is to know myself. It always goes back to God. He knows me more than I know myself. To know God is accepting who I really am. To know God is to embrace God's will and in order to fulfill the will is to accept my capability of attaining it. God's will for me is attainable only on what I am capable of doing. It is a match. What I am capable of doing is God's Gift. He has provided with what I need to go forward. He has equipped me to the direction of where I am meant for.

Do not conform to the standard of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your my mind. Many has suggested of who I should be but the creator has already defined me. Most of the time I am better than what other say. They want to put me in the backseat where in I am meant to rise. Rise above the cruelty. Rise above the funny business. Rise above the silliness. The truth shall prevail.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

MY BEST IS A BOTHER

Another Month is soon to end the the most exciting month is ahead. That is what I look forward.


Cruelty is still around the corner. I don't know how to correct it. But somehow it corrects on its own and another nuisance coming forward. It never ends. Though most of the time it's a waste time worrying about them. God is dealing with it. But it is very important that I Listen to the guidance of the Lord for there may have action to take. Prayer is powerful tool and It has been a number of times that it works in an amazing way.


Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. I like that line in the song. May the Holy Spirit fill with love, comfort and joy.


I need to be reflective in every reading that I read. That way, it will embed more to my mind and soul.  Most of what I have read is forgotten in a way. Or it is already in my heart. It is just that I can not express them explicitly most of the time.


Deadline is up at work. There are people in my midst who are up to no good. I am surrounded by wolves and it seems that it is the reality in everywhere I go. When in this going to end? I tried to do my best of it. My best effort is a bother to someone. I can't understand the thinking of many people. But then it's their thinking not mine. But their thinking can be transformed to action and then destruction. The ball is in their hand and they are too many. They want to project what they want to project but they are ruining the truth. Where am I at this moment? I would like to rest my head on My Lord's feet and seek guidance and strength.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE STORM



There were times when I was pushed and pulled down on the ground by the cruelty of people who have twisted intentions. To fight back is hard sometimes. But there is the urge to do it. When and where? Only God can tell. My strength always tells me to back off. My anxiety tells me that the storm is too big for me to handle. The Lord is asleep during the storm as if He doesn't care. The battle is on and I am not in my complete gear. I need the Lord to complete me. The Lord is asleep not because he does not care. He is at peace during the storm because no one can move Him in low or high waters. I too should be at peace with Him. I too should not be weary during the storm. My strength may tell me otherwise but Lord is too big for any Tsunami that comes my way.

Sometimes all I need to do is nothing but to let it ride and trust The Almighty. Sometimes I don't need to close my fist, to raise my voice, to complain, to rant nor to curse. All the time I need to be at peace. There is always a place for peace. Even in a wild tornado there is a center of quietness and peace. All I need to do is to go there. All I need to do is to be with my Father.

Whatever happens, whatever it takes, I continue to dwell in the presence of my Lord. I would like to allow myself to consume the joy of being with the wonderful and glorious God who is the source of my being alive and hopeful despite the storm that pushes me down. I raise my hands and shout for joy for my God is mightier than the storm, mightier than my adversaries, mightier than life that is treating me badly.

My Lord is kind and merciful. He let me lie down in green pasture, rest in his arms and envelopes me with His Love. I have never been disappointed in the provisions that has revealed to me. There may be some questions left unanswered but I never doubt the Lord who have already designed my future. Maybe the unanswered questions is the way God wants it because it is a way for me to go forward to the right direction. I have faith in what God is doing in my life whether in the rainbow or in the storm. The Glory of the Lord never changed. The joy of the Lord is my strength.