Wednesday, November 30, 2005

At Stanford Mall

This place reminded me of Greenbelt IV. With Nordsrtrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's around me, I could only afford Macy's. Thanks for the Christmas present, Patricia. :)

With my Cousin Peachy

Posing with our Tour Guide for Wednesday - Patricia. We had an assigned tour guide everyday from Uncle Bert's family. We are having a great time. (Present tense because the vacation is still very much ongoing)

First Batch of Photos from US Trip

First Photo: Alcatraz in the background

Second: Waiting for the cable car

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Week that Was

Blogger is doing it again - making it difficult for me to upload photos. I don't have Hello by Picasa here as I'm using my cousin Peachy's computer and I don't want to install too many programs into her PC.

Since last week I've been to Great Mall, Union Landing, IHOP, Target, San Francisco, Cable Cars, Rainforest Cafe, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Macy's, H&M, Gilroy, Stoneridge -- actually it's been one mall after another. After-Thanksgiving is shopping season here, everybody busy getting Christmas gifts ("one to give, one to keep", as Bath * Body Works encourages us) at super low prices.

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and it was time to see relatives I haven't seen in years and to eat traditional food mixed with Filipino favorites. Pancit canton and turkey, anyone? Pancit palabok and pumpkin pie? We didn't eat much for a couple of days after that pigout day.

Last Friday was shopping day - from Target to Gilroy to Stoneridge - tiring both on the feet and the wallet. So I got me a new wallet, but not feet. Oh, I forgot about the shoes. My family and I could give Imelda a run for her money. Aerosoles seemed to be giving away shoes and my cousin just bought for all of us our new favorite pair each.

Yesterday we toured San Francisco. I saw the Golden Gate bridge but could not stand the cold!!! I froze and did not want to stay very long, although they said the weather was even cooperating with us. It was sunny and cold, weird for a Filipina. We ate at Japantown, passed by premium outlets at Petaluma, visited my cousin Peachy's school - Dominican College (or was it university?), and dropped by the beach. Yes, the beach! I saw the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I kept jogging around though because it was sunset and the cold wind kept slapping my face! We stayed there for two full minutes, took four shots, and trooped back in the van.

A week ago all I wanted for Christmas was something... and then I got it, and now all I want for Christmas are its accessories. Aah, I remember the tiny voice telling me that acquiring does not stop.

We went to Sunday Mass today at St. Bede's parish again. It's always beautiful to celebrate Mass in a different country. I am reminded that I belong to one holy, Catholic and apostolic church.

To friends back home, yes I'm having a great time despite the cold! I miss all of you though. Some more than others.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Day after Thanksgiving

I'm blogging from Union City, California. I had my first taste of Thanksgiving turkey yesterday and my first experience of after-thanksgiving sale today. Both were truly American sensations and even though I had a lot of fun, I felt like an alien.

It was fun to shop, I won't lie about that. But a tiny voice inside me told me that if I kept at it I could get caught up and pretty soon forget that all these - everything in this world - is temporary. I went to mass on Thanksgiving Day with my dad and uncle at St. Bede's in Hayward. While at church I felt guilty already, after only four days of vacation. I may have been guilty 50% of the time and just plain anxious the rest of the time. I know I'll be measured in heaven but I sure do try to do it myself sometimes. Or some people do it for me.

I feel so far away from home. I watch, I feel, I observe. I appreciate so many wonderful things like the autumn leaves and the amazing bargains at the outlet stores, and yet part of me feels homesick. I miss home. I was in heaven for a few minutes last Wednesday - at Chocolate Heaven in San Francisco. This country could be consumer heaven for me if I forget who I'm supposed to be - a pilgrim whose job is to wait.

It's advent and the waiting has begun. I am being distracted 24/7. I know I'm on vacation but I have to remind myself that I'm not on vacation from my relationship with God. I'm not on vacation from my prayer life. I'm not on vacation from my journey towards my God.

I have to erase the face of Santa in my heart and remember Jesus lives there.

Believe you me, when I start posting my photos and writing my adventures, you'll see why for a while there, I forgot about the Giver of the gifts and the Reason for the season.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Three Families Had Lunch

The family and in-laws, mga naiwan sa Pilipinas. My sister-in-law's family brought lunch as despedida for us. Celeste is now in Germany with Kuya Ric kasi. Also there were Kuya Dan's family and his mother-in-law, Tita Vilma (whose daughters are also abroad, Pauline and Roelle in Malaysia whom we visited last July; Tricia and Clay with Bree at Glendale whom we will visit on Kuya Dan's birthday December 5). Our family is scattered all over the globe so this despedida was like a semi - noche buena in advance. Wish we could ALL be together for Christmas. Wish I could explore Disneyland with my nephews. We can't have it all.

Lunch with Ignacios

Clockwise from left - Papa, Luigi, Tita Vilma, Tito Maning, Peeya, kuya Dan, Tita Marisa, Mimi, Lizette, Miko, and Mama. I took the photo.

Proud Ate

Our baby sister, Mel, now has a Ph D in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Arizona State University!!! That's a new tongue twister for our parents. Back when Jeb (her other nickname, such is the fate of youngest children, they get all the weird-sounding baby names) was still in college, our parents could not remember her course. She graduated with a BS in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB), cum laude, DOST scholar. Our Kuya Ric also had the same credentials over at the Department of Mathematics.

My parents are so proud they want to fly straight to Phoenix tomorrow. See her blog about her passing her dissertation defense:
the melldelrio blog: passed. She also partied aftewards.
Tomorrow my parents and I will fly to San Francisco first to visit some relatives while Mel finishes her job-hunting. Actually it's more like job-choosing. Then we'll see her for her graduation on December 15. I still don't know what to wear. I planned to wear jeans and she said that's ok but now I think that might be too underdressed for the Proud Ate.

How could I have two scientists as siblings? My Ate Lani and I could not understand a single word in the synopsis that Mel sent us from her dissertation. Ate Lani said, "Kaya mong intindihin yon, Ella, magaling ka mag-English."

My reply, "Ate, hindi ko kayang intindihin ang paper ni Mel! Hindi yon English!"

Just like Kuya Ric's dissertation when he graduated Ph.D. in Math, when all we saw were Greek symbols that just did not make sense. Somehow it seemed to work for other mathematicians as my brother is still working as one in Germany. But I heard that it's his wife Celeste who is doing well in her German language classes. Now she can converse while doing her groceries. Because we're flying tomorrow, Cel's family came over to throw a despedida lunch for us here at D.A. Papa ate kare-kare and liempo as if we won't see Filipino food in L.A.

I'm just in awe to be related to Mel and Kuya Ric. :) I grew up in the same house with them (5 siblings) but somehow not all of us ventured into the sciences. Ate Lani is now a CPA working for Apple Computers in Sydney. Our eldest Kuya Dan is an architect, married to architect Peeya, but is involved in many other things aside from architecture- like Digital Resource (internet service provider), and the arts.
Luigi and Miko, my two nephews by Kuya Dan and Peeya, have been exposed to all subjects then, from science to math to music to law.

We don't have a medical doctor in the family yet, could it be Luigi, who has the makings of a good student? We don't have a real athlete in the family yet, could that be Miko's dream as he loves all sports and prefers them over studying? Only God can tell.

We are all very proud of you, Mel. Save some champagne for all your aunts, uncles, and cousins who are coming with us to celebrate on your graduation!

Our family is just like any family in the world - full of tears, joys, victories, struggles, reunions, and goodbyes. Since God deliberately placed me in this particular family, quirks and all, I am reminded how blessed I have been, really. Despite all my dramas in life.

I have no choice but to rejoice!

Active Waiting

by Henri Nouwen

Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God's footsteps.

Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful - waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Malamig ang Pasko Ko

Ito na yata ang pinakamalamig na Paskong daranasin ko. ‘Di na makakain, ‘di pa makatulog, sa kakaisip. Napapakanta pa ako ng:

“Ang Disyembre ko ay malungkot

Pagkat miss kita
Ano man ang pilit kong magsaya
Miss kita kung Christmas…”

… Sa akin po iniaalay ang kantang iyan! Sapagkat ako ang aalis. At kaya malamig kasi Winter dun sa bansang pupuntahan ko. Jacket lang ang katapat nun. Tsaka yung tinatawag na layering. Ano’ng akala niyo, nagdadrama ako sa blog ko? Hindi no!

Aalis na kami ng parents sa darating na Linggo ng gabi. Marami akong mami-miss. Pinakamahaba ang Pasko sa Pilipinas. Pagkatapos lang ng Halloween, bumenta na ang Christmas decors. September 1 pa nga lang, puro Christmas songs na sa radio. Mga walang kamatayang “Pasko na, Sinta ko” at “Christmas in our Hearts” ang pinapatugtog.

Simbang gabi! Hindi na naman ako makakakumpleto ng “Nine Mornings”. Buti na lang all-year round may puto bumbong sa Don Antonio kaya hindi ko iyon mami-miss ngayong Disyembre.

Nalulungkot ako nang konti pag naiisip ko lahat ng Christmas parties at exchange gift na mami-miss ko. Pero konti lang, hehe. Sa Lingkod Office, Lingkod QC, grade school barkada, high school barkada, etc. Regalo ko na lang sa inyo ang ireregalo niyo sa akin. :) At least dalawang kaibigan ko ang ikakasal na hindi ko mapupuntahan, at isang pinsan ko. Hi Myra! Patawarin mo ako cuz. Advanced Happy Birthday! Disyembre, palibhasa balikbayan season, paboritong magpakasal ng mga Pilipino. Mas marami pang kinakasal nito kesa June. Yun ngang mga dadalawin naming kamag-anak sa L.A., mag-uuwian after Christmas para mag-attend ng kasal sa Pilipinas.

Ilan na nga ba ang inaanak ko?

  1. Kiko na anak ni Tito Noel;
  2. Clarisse na anak ni Cyrill;
  3. Renshi na anak ni Lorie;
  4. Luigi na anak ni Lourie (magkaiba po silang friend, di ako nagka-typo);
  5. Red na anak ni Philip;
  6. Miguel na anak ni Cindy (tama kaya spelling?);
  7. Kaila na anak ni Carla;
  8. Hannah na anak ni Lilet;
  9. MarD na anak ni Anne;
  10. Jiro na anak ni Yvesi…
Sampu pa lang? Bata pa ako, ‘no? I’m sure may nakalimutan ako niyan… Well ngayong Pasko wala po si Ninang Ella. Yehey.

Pinakamami-miss ko ang caroling. Ilang taon ko nang kinareer ang pagtuturo ng caroling sa Lingkod QTs. This year may bagong mga kanta, “Call His Name Jesus” tsaka “One Small Child” dagdag sa repertoire. Nakakatuwa sila pakinggan nung practice. Imagine ko na lang ang kanilang PL (Performance Level). Sing from the heart, mga kapatid! Paki-video, at pag nahuli kong bungisngis si Nik, lagot siya sakin. :)

Pangalawang Pasko ko itong malayo sa Pilipinas, ngunit pinakamalamig na madaranas. Summer sa Sydney nung nag-Pasko ako dun dati kaya 'di ako masyadong gininaw. Wala akong magagawa kundi harapin ang katotohanan, at ang malamig na hinaharap.

Matagal-tagal din akong mawawala. Pagbalik ko, sa Pilipinas naman yata tag-lamig. Sana masanay ako sa lamig-Amerika para pagdating ko sa Manila, deadma. Ice Queen.

Ang drama.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Kay Kristo Buong Buhay, Habambuhay
On the occasion of CYA’s 25th anniversary

Waring batingaw nang unang marinig
Ang tawag ng iyong Pag-ibig.
Ako’y tumakbo sa iyong mga bisig,
Puso’y nahaplos ng iyong tinig.

Kristo, buong buhay
Ipinangako ko
Kay Kristo lamang ako
Habambuhay maghihintay.

Sa paglalim ng ating pagkakakilala.
Paglilingkod di ko ininda.
Di nakaramdam ng pagod at luha.
Mga kapatid sa Iyo, kapiling sa saya.

Kristo, buong buhay
Ang siyang panata ko.
Kay Kristo lamang ako
Humihimlay, habambuhay.

Nagtapos ng kolehiyo sa tulong mo
Hinanap mga pangarap sa malaking mundo.
Iadya sa masama, panalangin ko
Ngunit sa kahinaan ay nadapa ako.

Kristo, itong buhay
Na ipinangako ko,
Bakit tila kay hikli,
Habambuhay ko ba’y sandali?

Sa gitna ng aking pakikisayaw,
Mga luha’y pumatak sa pagsunod sa layaw.
Narinig muli ang Iyong tinig
Nadama ang naghihintay Mong pag-ibig.

O Kristo, ako’y Iyo
Buong Buhay na ito.
Kay Kristo hindi ako
Mawawalay, Habambuhay.

Kristo, buong buhay
Ipinangako ko
Kay Kristo lamang ako
Habambuhay, maghihintay.

-- Ella del Rosario; UP Diliman CYA 1993-1995

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Make My Toothache Go Away!

I have been going regularly to an orthodontist for almost three years now. Last year, I felt severe pain coming from one of my right upper molars and I went and consulted another dentist, one who was authorized by Sandiganbayan’s health card. She discovered a gaping hole in my tooth and put three permanent and two temporary fillings’ worth. At least that's what she charged to my health card. She said I should observe if the pain would come back and then I might have to undergo root canal.

Root canal. The name itself sent shockwaves to my brain. Thankfully my tooth behaved afterwards and I forgot about it. I didn’t even mention it to my orthodontist, who to my mind was in-charge of a completely different set of teeth, and should concentrate on the braces on my lower teeth that I wanted to get rid off soon.

A couple of weeks ago The Pain returned with a vengeance. I couldn’t eat ice cream or drink iced tea without getting “electrocuted”. I tried to track down my orthodontist but he was on vacation in faraway Marinduque where he engaged in his other passion, farming. I have surrounded myself with people busier than me (my spiritual directress is a concert singer on the side, so it’s also a challenge to set up appointments with her; my CEFAM counselor is also in-demand, elusive and busy; my travel agent has a full-time job aside from her business… I could go on and on), so I tried to wait patiently for my dentist to come back.

The day he reported to his clinic here at Don Antonio I came knocking at his door. One look at the source of My Pain and he immediately injected me with anesthesia and proceeded with the root canal thing (RCT, as he wrote down on my card). He gave me 50% discount on the procedure. I wish the pain was lessened by 50% too.

I asked him how come I discovered the decay in the tooth too late. He said that was the tendency for dentists like him who were so preoccupied with braces that they overlooked tiny signs of decay. If we had been in the States, that would be called an admission of negligence and would then be obvious basis for a winning lawsuit. I pushed those thoughts at the back of my mind and just said we should be more careful next time. I have always taken care of my teeth so the numbing pain was foreign to me. The next two days I tried to stand it, but last Saturday it became unbearable and no pain reliever could help. I returned to his clinic and he did some magic.

Today while I was helping prepare our lunch I felt as if I got punched on my right cheek. How could one small tooth cause so much damage? Since it was a Sunday I didn’t have the heart to call up my dentist and disturb him on his personal time. I took all sorts of pain relievers – Biogesic, Alaxan, Ponstan - yet here I am still bothered by this blasted tooth.

First thing tomorrow morning, I don’t care if he’s still on the golf course, I would call him. He has the responsibility to make The Pain go away. I missed out on my friend Ria Apostol’s birthday party because I was bedridden in pain today.

So much of pain is like this toothache. We try to maintain our sanity and health by going to doctors and counselors and confessors and trainers, but we always miss out on tiny things which turn out to lead to bigger problems later on. We discover them too late, by which time we would be reeling with pain and angry at ourselves and looking for someone to blame. Toothache is considered on top of the list of physical pains that cause the most discomfort and distress. I have right now several other aches and pains that no amount of anesthesia or pain reliever could cure. Even my spiritual band-aids don't work. I'm confronted by ghosts I have left behind.

This healing process is taking much longer than I wanted. I’m supposed to be excited for my US trip already. My relatives are. My parents are. Yet I haven’t packed a single type of toiletry for this vacation. I’m too busy sulking.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Non-Golfer Emcees a Golf Tournament

Prior to November 2005, the longest exposure I’ve had to golf was when I played mini-golf with my Travelers friends from law school at Camp John Hay ages ago.  I think I made a mini hole-in-one then as well!  So when Vannie Siloterio, Lingkod Fund Development Head asked me to co-emcee this year’s Tee Off for the Mission:  Hole-in-One for the Holy One, I hesitated.  My golf vocabulary was pathetic and my knowledge of the game was non-existent!  How could that glorify the Lord of the service?

But I could not say No to Vannie.  Who can, actually?  Have you tried it?  It’s a futile exercise.  She’s very persuasive and that’s why she’s doing a fabulous job with Fund Dev.  She said that Joseph P., my Kuya Jopeng, would be my co-host.  I presumed Kuya Jops had played golf sometime in his life.  I was wrong.

At the Pizza Hut fellowship of Lingkod QC last week, I unburdened my work-related woes (I know, lucky me) and the people around me were very supportive.  Both Ted and Fr. Steve had the same quotation from Mark Twain, the one about the definition of golf being a good walk spoiled or something like that.  I could not use that as an opening or as a joke lest I wanted to risk being dragged off the stage by the good-hearted players who would support our fundraiser.  They tried to give me a crash course on golf but it was funny listening to them, a priest and a lawyer who obviously did not like the game anyway.

I met briefly with Vannie and Jopeng before the program started and they said I could survive hosting while understanding only “Mulligan”, “Hole-in-One”, and “Tee Off”.  Jopeng researched a golfers’ joke and found one from Mon Samson’s dad who texted, “They say golfers don’t die, they just putter away”.  I think a wine bottle (one of the raffle prizes) should go to Jopeng for the effort in delivering that joke!

The Golf Team worked hard and it paid off.  God answered our prayers for golfing weather, because the sun was up all day on November 8.  There were 80 players who turned up, three of whom are my former bosses.  We had more than enough minor and major raffle prizes and a significant amount was raised through sponsorship.  Lingkod staffers arrived to lend support to the team and we served in various capacities, from cashier to cameramen to singers.  Bheng, Ate My, and I sang along with guests Allen and Glen, through the help of Jet Sitaca on keyboards.  It was pretty difficult to sing on two hours of sleep, as our call time was 5:30 a.m. at Alabang Golf and Country Club, and I was very relieved when the deed was done.

It was my first time at the AGCC and my first time inside Ayala Alabang.  When I got home that night, and my parents asked me where I came from, they thought it was a non-Lingkod activity.  They had never associated golf and Ayala Alabang to Lingkod.  Oh well, Ma and Pa, I’m from Lingkod QC, a branch without golfers, but there are other branches whose members played and even won (Congratulations, Roman!) in the golf tournament.  

This is a very interesting job you have, my parents said.  I agreed with them, for I also saw the mansion of Jose Mari Chan at Ayala Alabang for the first time that day!  The Lord sends generous people to support His mission and these were the sponsors, donors, and players for this year’s Lingkod Golf tournament.  The partners from my previous law firm said that they would play a better game next year so I should just inform them about it.  I wasn’t sure about a next year, but I heard that Vannie and Tito Randy were already planning to top this event.  

Hopefully by then I would have read a proper book entitled Golf for Idiots, not that the fundraiser needs it, but for my own personal satisfaction.  

Friday, November 11, 2005


For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;

but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.

If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.

And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them.

For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.

Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.

For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?

-- Taken from the 1st Reading Today: Wisdom of Solomon 13: 1-9 (RSV)

The Much-Talked About Shirt

The shirt as worn here by Abby and Ted... you've seen it in many photos throughout my blogs since April. We wore it all during the NLTC E-night presentation. And the Lingkod staffers and servants wore it for the Lingkod-Ligaya Golf Tournament last week. Hindi kami sponsored by Tide and Rejoice! The shirt says the theme for the Easter celebration, which is a spinoff of QC's theme for the year, "Joyfully We Proclaim God's Glory!" Posted by Picasa

A Story of a Shirt

A Story of a Shirt Posted by Picasa

This is a story of a SHIRT
That was made last EASTER by the Lingkod QTs!
While not all could wear the baby tees,
I absolutely love it.

When I wear it…

How many people this year
Wanted to buy, not just in the NLTC, but also during Golf Day?

We were just so unsure
How many shirts to print then
But now so many stand there waiting
Wanting to buy blue, violet, orange and green

How many opportunities disappear we look in the mirror
So many of us who have more than one shirt
Your clothes never wear as well the next day
But this shirt’s color and design stay the same way
They never seem to run out of good things to say
This is a story of a SHIRT…

Rejoice and Be Glad!
Shirt Design by Nick Servino (in photo)
Supplier Contact by Maye Padilla
for the GMMACQ Easter Celebration last April 2, 2005 held at the Xavier School

For orders, please visit and post a message at our Tagboard!

Tee Off for the Mission - Registration Table, opened at 6 a.m. Posted by Picasa

Two NWMs - Ate My and Tita Nerry, National Women's Moderator Past & Present Posted by Picasa

Wacky Pose: Kids, the files are too big, will just burn a CD for you, ok? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When I'm Real and Unlikable

People who regularly come here looking for something to read have been fairly disappointed probably because I have been unable to write down anything coherent in the last few days.  Even my latest entries have fallen short of the standard I had wanted to set for this blog.

I can’t help it if my brain is not working properly.  And it’s not because I’m overworked.  Most of the things in my head right now do not deserve to see print.  I dare not publish my thoughts for the blogging world to see.

I thought maybe I could just write about the lack of anything substantial to write.  I’m editing my own life because I know that its less than perfect moments won’t always glorify the Lord, especially when I’m not in the right condition to express myself clearly.  This blog is not a mask meant to project a happy, blessed life and to screen the ugliness that often creeps in through the cracks that I had not foreseen. I just want to be more careful about what I write lest I reveal too much, offend some people, or waste other people’s time.

I wanted to become the kind of person who was more grateful, positive, and cheerful.  Well change doesn’t come overnight.  Just this morning, as I was battling with my blues, I noticed something while driving along Commonwealth on my way to work.  I saw huge cumulus clouds splashed across an unmistakably blue sky.  I froze in my thoughts, though not in my driving as I couldn’t make a sudden halt in the middle of the road.

Before I could wallow too much in self-pity, worry, guilt and regret, God showed me something beautiful.  Right in front of me, the clouds seemed like cotton, just the way I wanted them.  I had to pause and thank my Maker for moments like that.  I also had to pray to be more sensitive to the beauty around me.

  • Why is counting my blessings such an effort?

  • Why am I not bothered enough that that work is piling up and time is running out?

  • Why do I habitually waste my time on stupid questions?  I should exert more effort to rise above this bout of stupidity.

  1. I’m leaving with my parents to attend my sister’s graduation in Phoenix, Arizona next week.  Our youngest, Melissa, has earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology.  That is something to be thankful, cheerful and grateful for!

  1. My relatives are waiting to celebrate Thanksgiving and my father’s 70th birthday with me.  They will tour me around L.A., the bay area, and the Grand Canyon.  I won’t be spending a single centavo.  I’m a lucky girl.

  1. The fundraiser of Lingkod and Ligaya, the golf tournament, was a huge success in terms of sponsor support, player turnout, and raffle prizes.  I emceed the program and even sang a couple of songs.  My parents could not believe why people kept asking me to be emcee and to sing.  They thought I just volunteered for those things.  Of course I didn’t.  I had stage fright and felt like a frog was leaping from my stomach to my throat the whole day yesterday!  It was my first time at Alabang Country Club!  Ligaya and Lingkod people were there, not to mention three of my former bosses in the law firm!  I absolutely did not volunteer to humiliate myself.  It was through grace that I survived.  I’m thankful, Lord.

  1. While I was sick I had people fussing over me and checking up on me.  I should be thankful for that, instead of resenting the attention and the fuss.  If those people could read this they would probably want to take back the love that they had given me.

  1. Love is all around me.  Really.  Despite the rotten feeling I carry inside me most of the time these days, God still loves me, blesses me, and sends me people to share that love with.

  1. I can move on from this.  That knowledge gives me hope.  I could be healed of the memories I can’t shut out.  I could move on from the oldest of wounds and become a better person out of this.  God did not bother me through the topics at the NLTC and the books I have been reading just because He wants me to be miserable.  I just need to cooperate and stop being stubborn.

Lord, you said that you could make all things new.  I know you won’t just put me back together again til I’m “as good as new”.  I believe you when you said that you would make me even better, for the old has gone and the new has come.  I believe that I can be a new creation.  I believe, despite my heart’s opposition to what my mind is saying right now.

People who don’t like to read other people’s less than presentable musings could go and hop to the next blog.  I won’t pretend to be Ms. Sunshine for a while.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dan at ang mga Kaberks niya sa Batasan Posted by Picasa

Teenagers Today, Lingkoders Tomorrow: Hyvy, Gerry, Joseph, Jobelle, Patrick and Adam. Saan nagmana ng kashowbizan? Posted by Picasa

Posing While Watching a Performance Posted by Picasa

Iba't Ibang Pagdarasal... Pwede naman Diba? Posted by Picasa

Kailangan Kita... sung with an accent, hence the need for sign language Posted by Picasa

Daniel and the Pasaway Kids Posted by Picasa

MGL Manila with the QT's Posted by Picasa

Lingkod QT's and the Posh Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Message Straight to the Heart

Haven’t paid attention to my health this week so I ended up sick with the works again. Headache, fever, cough, colds, body aches, the works! I’ve had one or two of those symptoms for weeks now but this morning I woke up at 3:16a.m. feeling like my body was burning with fever. I consulted Lingkod doctors and then dutifully took my medication and bed rest, even if my mind rebelled against canceling three appointments today.

Finally after lunch I felt I’ve had too much sleep already so I turned on the TV to EWTN. I caught the last few minutes of a special about St. Bernadette. Her impact on the world, especially in Lourdes, was featured there. Her uncorrupted body was shown and while watching, I told God that there is a certain degree of holiness that saints possessed that I could never, ever hope to achieve in my own life. I’ve been having some difficulties this week and I lifted up a prayer to God to help me see His love through my struggles.

At around 6 p.m. I had enough strength to have my prayer time. I wrote a simple reflection in my journal and asked God if He could love me despite my inability to even remotely exhibit saintly qualities on this earth. Then I had a sense of His presence! I don’t know how to describe it, but it was Love that I felt. I wrote about it – that I felt God enveloping me in His love, answering me with an immediate Yes that He loved me despite my sinfulness.

That strengthened me enough to make it to Lingkod’s First Friday mass. Fr. Steve gave a homily that left many bloodstains on the QT’s. He spoke about the call that each of us had to become saints. Then he asked us if we believed that we each had the capacity to be a saint. We either shook our heads or bowed them down because we could not say yes to his question. Then he decided to preach about that more as it seemed like a struggle for most of us. What he said wasn’t earth-shaking. It wasn’t rocket science. But it was the truth, and it was God’s Word, and it certainly landed on our hearts.

He preached about the kind of response that God expects from us. He said that we couldn’t plan our lives without giving room for the Holy Spirit to work in us. He said God would be pleased if we would stand before Him to say, “Here I am, Lord. I am a sinner. Use me.” He repeatedly said that we were called to be saints and I remembered my prayer after watching the life of St. Bernadette. I felt God responding to the question in my heart about His love for me.

What happened next sealed my fate, at least as far as God’s message for me went. Fr. Steve said, “God does not want a perfect heart. He wants your surrendered heart. God doesn’t want a perfect Ella. He wants a surrendered Ella”. He looked at me while saying this. Perfectionism has always been my struggle and it has been a hindrance in my service, my joy, and in my healing. There it was again, on a night I least expected it, drawn out from me and turned around in order to see what God was simply asking me to do.

A surrendered heart... My process of yielding has not ended. It has taken on a more difficult turn.

I thanked Fr. Steve for his homily. In fact, majority of the brothers and sisters approached him after mass and up to the fellowship to thank him for the message that they needed to hear today.

He smiled at me and said, “Just don’t blame me for the bloodstains on your shirt”. So he deliberately used me as an example, knowing I would be bloodied by the message.

But it was exactly what I needed to hear. It may take a lifetime for me to realize the unconditionality of God’s love for me, but moments like these bring me one step closer to appreciating such love.

Here I am, Lord. I am a sinner. Use me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm Being Stubborn Again

Off-topic.  Hmm as if this blog ever had a definite scope and limitation.  

Lately I have been playing hide-and-seek with God.  He seems to have remembered that I have scrapes, bruises and wounds that have accumulated over the years.  I thought he forgot about them already as I had carefully applied concealer over them.  Who likes to dwell on the past anyway?  I thought He wanted me to move on.

All was going well for me then, except for the relative tiredness in my new job – it’s different when you work at something with all your heart all the time, as it could get exhausting – until I recognized the almost daily invitation during my prayer time to look deeper into some areas in my growing up years that I’d rather forget.  

It was Jesus who was inviting, so I should not fear Him.  But just like a child who refuses to let her father touch her wounds after she made a bad fall, I did not want to show Jesus my deepest pains anymore.  I grew tired of them already.

I talked these out with a priest.  He said I was letting Jesus down by giving up.  What if the invitation is for my complete healing, on top of the forgiveness I thought I already gave before, on top of the understanding and acceptance I thought I already mustered before?  I know it’s not just me but human nature to want to cover up, using layer upon layer, through the years.

The parts of me that I had forgotten through all the masks I had built even as I served God are catching up somehow.  

I thought I was ok.  I don’t like to be X-rayed this much by my God.  I know He’d find the water in my lungs.

Lord, I pray for the grace to truly hope in You even in the most painful of memories, the toughest of insecurities, and the deepest of wounds that I have carried inside me.  I don’t even know where to begin to ask for help for this.  You alone could see through me.  You alone could like what you would see. And you alone could heal me.  

I trust that You agree that Merthiolate has been banned already ha.

Despedida for Daniel-san

The theme song for the night was a song the first line of which went:

"Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane..."

The teenagers from Banal na Puso chapel could not help singing it; neither could the Missionaries of God's Love and the Lingkod QT's. The words just clicked, except the part about Spain.

Now, thanks to the royal delay of Royal Brunei airlines, Daniel's flight was actually delayed by seven hours. He's traveling today on a plane pala.

When young Adam sang for Kuya Daniel "All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..." , the latter could not relate. He is the world's worst packer. I know, I saw him in action. Or inaction. I think he spells packing as p-a-n-i-c-k-i-n-g. He spent more hours worrying about how to fit all his souvenirs from the Philippines into one luggage than actually sorting them out into a logical conclusion. Pasaway to the very end. The Posh Kids should be proud.

It was a great despedida, if I may objectively say so. All the guests were entertained, thanks to the six kids who took after their ate's and kuya's in talent, showmanship and stage presence. We stretched the definition of youth, from 14 to way beyond 40 last night, but it was a blast. The magic mic only started it all. Later on, people sang a capella or accompanied by the talented Mr. Jason De Asis on guitar. Food and drinks flowed and laughter filled the air as brothers and sisters, friends and mentors came to honor Daniel, who's now going back to his homeland of Australia after less than 11 months in the Philippines. It was the night before his actual flight, though, so people were nagging him left and right to be done with his packing already. But he chose to party first.

And party we all did. Blogger's image uploader is giving me a hard time. Will blog pictures when I can make this work. As of now I'm too sleepy to tinker with this.