Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tell me on a Sunday

Don't write a letter when you want to leave
Don't call me at 3 a.m. from a friend's apartment
I'd like to choose how I hear the news
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday please

Let me down easy
No big song and dance
No long faces, no long looks
No deep conversation
I know the way we should spend that day
Take me to a zoo that's got chimpanzees
Tell me on a Sunday please

Don't want to know who's to blame
It won't help knowing
Don't want to fight day and night
Bad enough you're going

Don't leave in silence with no word at all
Don't get drunk and slam the door
That's no way to end this
I know how I want you to say goodbye
Find a circus ring with a flying trapeze
Tell me on a Sunday please

Don't want to fight day and night
Bad enough you're going
Don't leave in silence with no word at all
Don't get drunk and slam the door
That's no way to end this
I know how I want you to say goodbye

Don't run off in the pouring rain
Don't call me as they call your plane
Take the hurt out of all the pain
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday please

Ella: I'm beginning to hate all these goodbyes. Tell me on a Sunday please.

His Lines Stink (or Why George Lucas Should Have Hired a Scriptwriter)

I finally watched Episode III last night, when a good friend (who claims not to read my blog, but reads other people's, especially Star Wars fans' - what a friend!) was kind enough to watch it for the third time just to accompany me.

In two words, I would say that the film is "not bad". Much has been said about it already. Lucas is a special effects genius and should be hailed for the awesome production that he once more signed onto the big screen. I could predict the lines, though, not because I'm a huge fan who knows his mind, but because the script was so predictable and anybody could have come up with that had George just given them the plot. He would have had more time on his hands then.

In fact, that probably should have been best. As my friend Ted already pointed out, George should have concentrated on perfecting his special effects and just delegated the writing to someone who could, uhh, write. It doesn't take a genius to craft the words the way George wants them anyway! My friend and I filled in the blanks and anticipating the characters' words while watching the movie last night, and it did not make a difference that it was my first time to watch it.

Some scenes were downright pathetic. I'm not quoting verbatim but I believe I captured the general idea of the first scene that made me squirm, to the amusement of my seatmate:

(Anakin to Padme, who was brushing her long curly hair with a Biiig Brush)

"You look so beautiful."

Padme turns around, smiles at him, and says, "That's because I'm so in-love."

Anakin, smitten guy that he is, replies, "No, no, it's because I'M so in-love."

Which reminds me, I was NOT able to predict that exchange! Nothing prepared me for dialogue that cheesy. The two lost me in their saccharin-infused language, and when I paid attention again, I could not believe they quoted Shakespeare by asking if love is indeed blind!

As I said above, however, the movie is not bad. My friend told me to watch out for more exciting lines such as "You're breaking my heart", so when I had significantly lowered my expectations regarding the script, I was able to enjoy the movie more. Thank you, George, for attempting to explain everything. I was not able to reconcile all the loose ends in my head but what the heck, just to see Master Yoda fly and kick butt is already relaxing for me.

So Anakin turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader. I could not relate with him fully, but I willingly suspended my disbelief. I would have expected a Jedi to battle with his own desires and feelings more successfully. Or in the middle of locking light-sabers with his mentor Obi-wan, Anakin could have paused to ask himself, "Why am I doing this?" Anakin was able to shut out his conscience fully, I reckon, enough to hurt those whom he loved the most and to "turn into the very thing he was fighting against".

Despite these comments, I'm still willing to suspend disbelief once more. I could say the lines with the characters then. Watch it again, I will.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Pearl

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. " Matthew 13:44-46 (RSV)

I am thankful that I had this verse in my heart as it helped me smile while explaining to my aunts and uncles earlier at dinner why I was setting aside my law career in order to serve the Lord full-time. I was prepared for their reactions this time and handled their questions with more grace than I thought I could.

Finishing my cases while working alone at the office the past weekend brought to the fore many realizations regarding my decision. I reviewed if I was indeed comfortable with it. Since I had too much coffee, I couldn't sleep and turned on the TV. "Laws of Attraction" was showing on cable, a movie about two hotshot lawyers who fell in love and got married while working as opposing counsels at a high-profile divorce case. One of Pierce Brosnan's lines was beautiful. He said, "Don't think that I married you in order to advance my career. I don't care about my career! I care about you." His wife melted. She had to.

What would make a person give up a good job for something that would pay nothing, and is hard to explain to your relatives who are expecting you to be either a big-time corporate lawyer or an aspirant to the judiciary? If only I could tell them that I had indeed gone out of my mind, and thank God that I am back. I had around six pairs of titos and titas cross-examining me during dinner held in honor of my late grand-aunt who passed away one year ago. I brushed aside the questions about why I am not yet married, why I don't have a boyfriend, and why I have no plans of migrating to another country to earn dollars and/or meet a Caucasian future husband, in one fell swoop when I announced that I would only be working as a lawyer until June 15, to take up full-time service for Lingkod. "Lingkod ng Bayan ba iyan?" "Magmamadre ka na?" "Bakeeeet?" "Ipinagmamalaki pa naman namin na may abogada kaming pamangkin sa korte na magaling magsulat!" Smile, Ella, smile.

There was no easy way to break the news, but I had gotten used to talking about it. I was not offended. I did not want to offend them, either, by being preachy or high and mighty, for I knew that there were a thousand uncertainties about my future and I could not assure anyone, not even myself, that things were going to be perfect. I was confident, however, that God had everything planned out.

I looked at my mother and she seemed more used to the idea as well. I wanted to tell my relatives that I have found the pearl of great price, something I had been searching for, and everything else have paled in comparison to that knowledge in my heart that the Lord was calling me to serve Him. That was the truth deep down in my heart. I smiled and told them that this was what I wanted to do. Over the past few weeks, I have learned to coax different people out of their disappointment at my "poor career choice" by smiling at them and assuring them that I was not leaving the legal profession for good and that I was doing something that I loved.

I am doing something for Someone I love. I have tried to choose the better part, and even though it is causing me my sanity sometimes to try to balance everything, I still feel peace, joy, and excitement. Jesus suffered through death - that was the greatest price paid of all. Everytime I complain or am tempted to complain, I only look to Him and I remember what love really means and what is awaiting me after all these. That is the Pearl of Great Price.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Doing a Greg or Finding a Greg?

During the first part of a season of Dharma & Greg, I watched Greg question his reasons for becoming a lawyer. He became unemployed for a while. While the episodes were probably more about how their marriage, and Dharma, in particular, were affected by Greg's transformation from confident lawyer to aimless hunk (ok this latter one I made up based on personal opinion :D ), I could identify a little with Greg's career issues.

He became more aware of his humanity and vulnerability when he became unemployed. A homeless person convinced Greg that all he really wanted to do was to practice law. Dharma found Greg at the park at the end of one episode and said something like, "You mean you've found out that you do want to become a lawyer? Honey, that's great! You ARE a lawyer!"

I wonder how this episode, or season, would end in my particular story. Would I, like Greg, discover that I am doing exactly what I want to do? Or would I find Greg at the park too?

Guess which conclusion I prefer. ;)

Change of Seasons and a Season of Change

The rainy season has come, and they say that it came on time this year. I am so glad that the dry season is over because our Meralco bills are at a record high, with one month's bill overtaking the previous one's. Migraines and splitting headaches have been more prevalent in the city due to the intense humidity. I'm thankful we survived the El Nino months. I will miss the beach but not the heat.

Changes are also taking place all around me. People are moving on, moving up, moving backward and moving forward. I myself am in the midst of several changes taking place in rapid succession. On my own, I cannot handle their effects, but with God's grace, I hope to survive this. Things would fall into place at His appointed time.

I am on top of some of the changes, while with the others I am simply learning to cope. I am helpless and clueless as to a whole lot of things. God is teaching me to fix my eyes on Him alone and to be grateful for His blessings despite things being so out of my control. I feel indifference, excitement, anxiety, worry, and frustration in my family, career, and service. I pray my strength won't fail.

I also had a spiritual dry season for some time. I found myself in various states of distress in the recent past. I only felt my prayer life picking up during the last few days. I kept my conversation with God ongoing, but I've had better days, when I felt that I was so attuned and connected to God. For several weeks, however, I seemed to have slowly stagnated. Aside from my IQ being endangered by constant texting and e-mailing for several years, I felt I had also stopped growing in the things I used to experience amazing advances in.

Now I'm back hungering for growth and dynamism as a Christian. I want to study Scripture, pastoral care, Cathecism, or related topics. I need to equip myself more, for I cannot share what I do not have. I remembered all the unread books on my bedside table and all the journals I received as gifts but have remained blank due to writer's block. I have an untouched guitar which I bought impulsively when I had a huge argument with one of my best friends. I have, to date, not practiced the piano.

Perhaps my remaining workload as a lawyer is holding me back. I have to finish these cases before I can claim some rest and then start a new life. I might have been postponing my own creativity and happiness. I do not know what I am waiting for. In prayer, I heard the Lord's command to sing praises, dance, and make music. I can do these things regardless of the people I am with, the work I am doing, or the places I find myself at, for God deserves praise and worship despite how I feel and what the circumstances around me are.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for Him. May I learn to be productive while waiting.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Parang kailan lang, ang mga pangarap ko'y kay hirap abutin... Ito namang si Jopeng parang tatakas pa ako, hindi na... I said I Do na. Wala nang atrasan. :) Posted by Hello

Caroling at Mel Tiangco's House, 2003 Posted by Hello

Ang sabi ko kay Jopeng, sa SECO, sa Lingkod National at kay God, I DO! Posted by Hello

Has it been two years? My acceptance speech as BWM of Lingkod QC. And now, the end is near... I did it my wayyy... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hillsong's Araneta Concert

Hillsong's Reuben Morgan will perform at the Araneta Coliseum on June 11. I'm watching, thank God! Visit the concert blog here.

Now Playing in My Head: Follow Your Road

sung by: Pauline Wilson

With so many roads that seem to lead down to the sea,
I wonder which road will be the right one for me.
Others may fall away, dead ending left and right.
But there is this one road that journeys far out aside.

Have you wondered where your road will lead you?
Maybe to a bright day of sunshine,
or a starry night in heaven.
Or it might be you're afraid to go, afraid to go,
But you've got to follow your road,
or you'll never know, never know.

We are all but travelers living in a foreign land,
Just trying to find our way best as we can.
Looking for an answer, trying to find some light
And though we have journeyed far,
it?s not quite far enough..

Have you wondered where your road will lead you
Maybe to a song that needs singing, or a summer rain
(don't be afraid to go)
Or it might be you're afraid to go, afraid to go,
But you've got to follow your road, or you'll never know.

You've got to follow your road, follow your road, follow your road. (3x)
And maybe someday your road will take you far away.

You've got to follow your road, follow your road, follow your road. (3x)
And maybe someday your road will take you far away.

Keep following, and you'll find it,
And someday you will get there
Don't be afraid.

You've got to follow your road, follow your road, follow your road. (3x)"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Family Frenzy

It felt like Christmas. In fact, from May 12-24, we celebrated twelve days of Christmas in our family.

We left our lives as we knew it and spent time with one another like we haven't done in a very long time. I had to take leave off from work and Lingkod, which the regular readers of this blog (naks!) would understand as a big deal as I had been breathing Lingkod for the past five years and only absented myself from its flurry of activities and concerns for urgent and important reasons.

My family coming home is one of the most important reasons to drop everything, that's for sure.

Now they have all left and the house is very quiet. Next week, two family members will move to Germany to live there for a year. We've had a lot of comings and goings, hellos and farewells.

We'd like to think that we're immune to the sadness of goodbyes. Once in a while, one of us gets teary-eyed at the thought of separation, and the others look the other way. We'd rather say "see you soon".

When my kuya left for the US almost thirteen years ago, we all bawled because we thought we'd never see him again. Overseas calls cost an arm and a leg then and we've never heard of email, chat or blogs before. Now the world is smaller, thanks to Cyberspace and PLDT phone cards. For sure we'll all maximize our yahoogroups, webcams, IMs, and digicams. It's so much easier to keep in touch now.

Still, for the past 12 days it was great to hug my sisters and exchange senseless banter with them. It was fun shopping with my cousin Raquel and Auntie Nene, playing with my nephew Jonathan, and listening to Uncle Bert's commentary about the state of the nation. Nothing beats the physical presence of the people you love. Next week I'd probably wonder how life would be without Kuya Ric and Celeste at the dinner table.

I don't know where God intends to take me. My family has plans for a US and Germany trip this December, which I already closed my eyes to the moment I resigned from my job and said yes to do volunteer service, full-time. I know He could take me to places if He wanted to.

It's also amazing how God has blessed me. I spent long months preparing my heart for a simpler lifestyle. Then I was gifted with Ralph Lauren purses, a year's supply of toiletries, and a trip to Singapore/Malaysia this coming July. My father intends to sell our car which I had been driving for the past four years. I'm a little sad, but the upside is, I could, once in a while, drive our other old car, which is all-power and automatic.

One of the lessons that I have learned is that we really do not need to worry about what we are to eat or wear. Such things are for God to provide, as long as we fix our eyes on His work and our hearts on His voice. For the past 12 days, I didn't spend much but was able to eat at good restaurants and visit beautiful places, while traveling comfortably as I was not on driver duty all the time. The most important thing that God blessed me with, I know, is a generous, loving, and sometimes a bit hyperactive family. I have challenged their understanding by my recent decisions but they have all been supportive in their own way. The journey has indeed begun and the waiting is over.

My job may change. My career may shift. My family, however, will never change, and I love them for that.

I love The One who gave them to me more because of that.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Idol Ko Si Rizal

Idol ko si Rizal, our greatest national hero, pero nung panahon niya wala pang text kaya nabuhos ang panahon niya sa pagsusulat. Ngayon kaka-text at e-mail ko, delikado na ang aking IQ! Nakakababa raw ng IQ ang mga gawaing ito, according to unimpeachable sources, two people with high IQ who are close to me. ;)

This photo was taken without me knowing it. Kuya Dan saw the parallelism between my stance and that of the genius'. Hehe. Sino nga ba katext ko nun? Posted by Hello

At the Fort Santiago Fountain - Ninang Lani, we miss you Posted by Hello

Lunch for Uncle Bert's Birthday, before Ninang Lani's departure Posted by Hello

Riding the Carriage for the Royalbloods Posted by Hello

Tita Ella and the Boys at Fort Santiago Posted by Hello

Too Much for One Week

As my cousin Myra said (ayan may special mention ka na sa blog ko), I had been photoblogging the past week because I had been too tired to write anything. My apologies for reneging on my blogging duties but the events since May 12 have been too much for one heart!

My two sisters who live in the US and Australia, respectively, arrived together with some of our closest relatives from California. So for one week our family had a wedding, a reunion, a death, two birthdays, and two anniversaries. We've been to Subic up North and to Cavite City down south. We've strolled at Hyatt, Gateway, Greenhills, Greenbelt, Galleria, Glorietta, Power Plant, Fort Santiago, Boardwalk, and Megamall. We've cried and laughed, fought and made up, as families always do. It had been a physically and emotionally taxing week and we're starting a new one! God's grace abounds, as always, and we are all thankful for this chance to be together.

I have some reflections but haven't had time to write down anything. I need a vacation after this vacation. We all do!

So until I recover from this roller coaster ride, I'll keep updating our family pictures. Just two more days and we'll all go back to our usual routines. Only for me, it won't be the usual routine for long. On June 15, I'll be out of Sandiganbayan and on June 17, out of Lingkod QC as BWM.

I definitely need a vacation before my heart bursts.

Instant family reunion Posted by Hello

The del Rosarios at the beach Posted by Hello

Lolo Bert and his favorite grandchild

Hanging out at Greenbelt Posted by Hello

Jonathan with his best friend for the night, Tita Celeste Posted by Hello

The Balikbayans at Greenbelt Posted by Hello

Still at Hyatt, after the party Posted by Hello

At Tita Cely's 60th Birthday Party. I was behind the camera. :) Posted by Hello

With my Officemates and Friends at a Wedding Posted by Hello

Stepping Fourward - the anniversary cake of Lingkod QC last year. I'm reminiscing as I step down and forward... Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tito Ric with his two fans Posted by Hello

The boys in black and white Posted by Hello

Jonathan & Mommy: Angel with her little angel Posted by Hello

Miko and Mommy at the dressing room before he walks down the aisle as coin bearer for Tito Ric and Tita Celeste Posted by Hello

At the Garden of the Nurture Spa, relaxing on a hectic weekend. Miko and Jonathan have become the best of friends, as expected. They are first cousins with the same birthday, only one year apart. Posted by Hello

Mel, Ella, Lani & Ric without Kuya Dan Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Torn Between Two Loves

If this blog had tools for moods, my current mood should show: TORN!

I just found out that Hillsong Music Australia is coming to Manila. I've been a fan for several years now yet I've never been to any of their concerts. It's going to be on June 11. And yes, there is a catch, that's why I'm torn. That, unfortunately, is also the schedule of Lingkod Quezon City's Lord's Day Celebration and E-Night for our Fifth Anniversary. :((

We could sing Hillsong hits during the E-Night...
I could be a rebel without a cause and not attend the E-Night (and defy who I am? naaah)...
Or we could change the schedule of E-Night...

Dear Lord, hear my prayer. I want to watch this concert AND attend Lord's Day and even perform at our E-Night. For with you nothing is impossible. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Starry Night with Divine Secrets of the QT Sisterhood

I bought 25 plates, forks, spoons and cups, hoping 25 women would gather for Sisters’ Night. It was just an estimate as the number could go higher or lower, with a Monday night schedule.

The sisters of Lingkod QC, new and not so new, all with star material since they came from the City of Stars, arrived. We shared a lovely meal and got to know each other better. We dined with Jobelle Salvador, Maila Gumila, Caselyn Francisco, Sushmita Sen, and other celebrities. We saw the usual faces and some comebacking queens.

We worshipped God as His daughters, and as one proclaimed Him as our Lord and Savior. We lifted our hearts to Him and leaned on His grace to sustain us through our troubles.

We played a game, Christian Guesstures, which I made up. Categories like the 10 Commandments, Beatitudes, Fruit of the Spirit, Armor of God, Story of Creation, Peter, Paul, Joseph and Mary, gave us a mini-Bible Quiz slash charades under extreme time pressure. It was hilarious. Most unforgettable actresses were Uma Thurman, Mia Prats, and … gosh I can’t remember the lookalike of Vine (Rock, Baby, Rock!).

We also celebrated the birthdays of Darleth and Maye, two of the younger sisters whose passion for God has served as inspiration for most of us.

Mega did not disappoint… she sang a couple of numbers, but it was only when most of the other sisters had gone home. Abby’s baon made the night different from all other nights. :)

The immutable F3 went out of their way to welcome us into their home. They cooked pasta and dessert, and even sang some of the night’s more memorable songs. The head-bangers met with the lovelorn and together came up with an interesting repertoire. We all have to thank the Lingkod QT women for the rains that poured last night. Cindy Crawford started it all, but Aiza Seguerra and Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) added to the downpour.

There were some starlets who joined us too but their names would be part of the Divine Secrets of the QT Sisterhood. It was an unforgettable night. Some announcements as to the future of Lingkod QC’s women were made, and we hailed our incoming leaders and new action group members.

When I got home, I counted in my head how many sisters arrived to party with us. The Holy Spirit must have whispered it to me previously, and He is never wrong – twenty-five women, to be exact. The Shepherd knows His sheep, and we know His voice, and we follow Him.

In today’s Gospel Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, making sure that they lived purposeful, fulfilled lives even after He is gone. He showed me once again an example of what I should be praying for, that the welfare of my sisters even after I have moved on should be foremost in my prayers. Jesus walked where I walked. He felt how I feel. He understands. That makes all the difference, and spurs me to face the future with anticipation and hope.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mind Over Matter

I have been battling with my body since last week. Or maybe my body has been the one rebelling against me. Whichever is closer to the truth, I find myself on sick leave again today. I had a migraine that threatened to split my head into two last night. I could neither understand nor believe it was happening to me. Yes, even when I get sick I want to know why. I was told that I get migraines because I think too much.

I don't think I think too much. I think I don't think enough. Maybe by attempting not to think, I end up thinking at the back of my mind. I think I've just gone mental. The priest at our healing mass said that healing is an ongoing process.

The heat is not helping. I get waves of nausea just thinking about the heat.

How does one stop thinking? Maybe I know the answer but it's buried neck-deep underneath all the anxious thoughts I've accumulated about the future.

Lord, I pray for the grace to wait patiently and joyfully for every day to unfold. Amen.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Well if Mirac could pose like this for me, she wouldn't mind if I post it for all the world to see! Posted by Hello