Sunday, March 27, 2011


Have you seen dust with an attitude?

I've discovered that the dust I sweep in the Philippines behaves differently versus dust elsewhere, say dust in Australia.

At first glance both types of dust are the same, but the more you confront the latter, the more sinister it becomes.

You see, the more you allow dust Down Under to lie around, the more gangster-like they become, clumping together, later disguising themselves as cotton balls. Dark but cottony, they tend to rebel and fly off when swept into the dust pan!

Well, I'm no scientist and I'm not about to do more research on why this kind of dust behaves a certain way.

For sure, this choice of topic probably shows you how down-to-earth I've become lately, seeing wisdom in dust and other mundane things as my Aussie days tick.

Quite a reminder of our true nature. We are made of earth- 96 per cent organic matter to be sure. The only difference is we're a bigger clump of dust. And probably with attitudes that suck bigger.

"The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7)

God's breath in us! That's the only reason we're alive. I often hear our pastor reminding us that man is a spirit in a body, and not the other way around.

But most of the time we forget that, running as far away from God, thinking we could make it on our own without Him. Just like that clump of dust, we hide and indulge in our own sinister ways- in our own dark secret place- little expecting that when the Sweeper sweeps, we would literally be swept off our feet.

God wants us to live in His Spirit and not dictated by this (flesh) clump of dust.

That's why we need to be swept daily with the Holy Spirit's refining yet gentle brush. As we seek Him daily, He exposes our shenanigans, even the littlest.

But it doesn't end there. We get refreshed and cleansed, because He promised to cleanse us of our wrongs. The blood of Jesus does that, if we have surrendered our lives to Him.

Psalm 103:11-12: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions away from us.

Oh well, as far as God is concerned, we're wonderful dust. And He will not dust us off yet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Right, Ta and Other Aussie Things

I'm still confused. Will I look right or left first before crossing the street?

After a few days stay in Sydney, I thought I've reoriented myself enough to look right instead of left, until someone called my attention: "You're still looking left first. That's dangerous!"

Oh, one of them Aussie ways!

Why don't governments agree to have cars traveling on the right lane to avoid these confusing driving and street crossing orientations? Better yet, cars could be manufactured with two steering wheels to give drivers the option to drive from wherever they'd be at ease.

I've once in a while suffered panic attacks here, seeing cars on the road with no one on the driver's seat. Multo! (Ghost driver!) Because an Aussie driver's seat is the right side, silly me!

Aussies, it seems, love to short-cut their talk. "You want more milk?" My daughter Lucci asks her little girl. "No ta," Charlize replies. "No thanks," I found out later.

"Uwee" for round-about or rotunda. "Barbi" for barbecue. "Mackers" for McDonald's. "Footy" for football. "Mozzie" for mosquitos. "Chips" for French fries. Up to now, I still have to understand what they're saying or selling in some Aussie commercials.

Aussie politicians? They're really no different from ours. Elections are due next week and Aussie candidates' TV commercials attack competitors' capabilities and personalities rather than tackle issues.

Australians, or at least Aussie media, toe the line of political correctness, referring to husband or wife as partner, apparently not to embarrass those in same-sex or no-marriage relations.

I believe though that this trend is catching fire worldwide; and if Christians don't take a stand,the truth as we know it (an anchor for right living) will pretty soon be eroded by what tickles peoples' ears.

I love Australia's beautiful parks. Anyone can use them (first come, first served), even for parties (but you need to clean whatever you use). Complete with tables and benches, and yes, clean toilets (with tissue paper!) and ample water, they even have barbecue pits (gas-powered, used free). Plus the ubiquitous children's playgrounds with their rubbery-soft floors to cushion toddler bumps.

The Aussie economy is in the pink of health it seems, with the Aussie dollar trading almost one to one US dollar. That's why I'm not so keen on shopping as Charlize (Her face lights up every time you mention "shops.")

I long for my P150 Big Mac, Manila-side. In Sydney, that's more than 400 pesos! Well, I could settle for Mackers chips. Come to think of it, I miss shopping back home.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I've mostly been talking the talk but not walking the talk as far as my physical health is concerned.

Well, because I'm more at home in the world of words. It's words words words from my rising to my lying down. From praying to reading, writing, thinking, typing, researching, blogging, storytelling, teaching, singing, etc. Not to mention chika-ing, telephoning, complaining (oops!). That's a lot already, don't you think?

I've talked and planned a lot about going into some physical fitness program but never got to doing it.

I begged Opal, our daughter-in-law, to go find a buyer for my hardly-used exercise machine and she did, hallelujia- to my hubby's raised eyebrows. So you see, my big talk about exercising never resulted into anything.

"Busy!" has been my convenient excuse for not engaging in my almost lost battle with the bulge. Uh, I'm not really doing that bad because I've followed someone's suggestion to fidget often, and that would do the trick. So fidgeting is what I do a lot of.

After dinner, I choose not to sit while watching TV, rushing to the toilet to brush my teeth or perform my skin-care rituals (this I cannot do without!) when commercials intruded. Couple that with some morning stretches and I feel I'm good to go.

But back in Sydney now with my daughter, and having made washing dishes and floor sweeping as my convenient excuse- er, exercise substitute, Lucci finally growled, "You have to exercise Mother!"

And so I did. I'm really quite teachable, you know. I did promise (words again, see!) to do it regularly, even boasting to Lojack (that's how our grandson Joaqui calls his grandfather) that when he finally comes to Sydney next month, I will be his jog-mate.

Jack's excited no end. I don't know if it's about the prospect that he would be on vacation and could therefore walk more often, or because he learned that I'm finally walking. (Didn't I tell you yet that he once did a 42-K marathon? No kidding!)

So these photos are a testament that I've finally walked my talk. If Charlize can do it, so could I. Charlize, our granddaughter, by the way, turned four last month. Oh, and she too has a way with words. But that's another story.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Under the Lens

Celebrity shenanigans.

Think Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan et al. Paparazzi are probably on their heels come rain or shine so their every misstep gets to be frozen in images broadcast, Facebooked or emailed daily to a celebrity-crazed world.

Well, at least that’s what I see on Australian television nowadays. The former has been the hottest item in the past four days, competing with the tons of reviews on the worst and best-dressed at the Oscars, along with the racist and anti-Semitic remarks of fashion empire Dior’s creative director John Galliano.

Sheen seems to have been booted out of his widely-viewed TV sitcom. Just this morning, networks and talk shows buzzed of his twin babies being taken out of his custody.

Too, commentators discussed a possible earnings loss of $40 million for ace golfer Tiger Woods because of the scandals and the aftermath of his womanizing ways.

What’s your first impulse to buzz like these?

Raised eyebrows? Indifference?

“Good for him, he deserves it!”

“These guys talk of an earnings loss of $40 million. Hello, he’s still rich even if!”

“Here they go again, cocaine-sniffing celebrities! When will they ever learn?”

I’ve probably responded with most of the above, shaking my head and dismissing these “types” as something out of my moral league.

Come to think of it, they’re so rich and famous and yet so damaged. Makes you realize that money and fame don’t make a man. They expose one’s real nature. What if I were in their shoes?

But instead of being sorry and praying for them, I have most of the time behaved like a pharisee− condemning, judgmental and self-righteous to a T.

These celebs get all the flak because they’re under the lens. You’d also be paranoid when paparazzi descend on you like vultures even in your supposed yawning or burping episodes. They’re guys out to make a buck.

As for the networks and publications− it’s simply about high ratings and newsstand sales. Money surely makes their world go round. And what vicious no-mercy go-round it makes.

There’s no excuse for their motives either.

But imagine those cameras endlessly trailing us too. Because whether we like it or not, a paparazzo lens of another kind is permanently trained on us likewise. We can’t hide from it. And it’s spelled with a capital P.

THE PAPA-razzo, Father God with His all-knowing, ever-present, ever-probing lens.

Magnifier so powerful, it scans even the heart and the brain, perceiving every thought, word, desire, plan, envy, lust, fear, worry, even deceits and schemes before they spew forth from our mouths.

While the buck-motivated small "papa" captures only the externals, with our PAPA-razzi, nothing is ever a secret, even our heartaches, pains and longing to be disentangled from bad habits which have led us to thorny paths− perhaps the very same prison these celebrities want to desperately break free from.

That’s why it’s stupid of me to raise an eyebrow on others while they too can raise theirs on my failings− if they knew my insides.

No wonder Jesus said (John 8) to those who were pursuing a woman caught in adultery, “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” No one dared.

Turning to the woman, he asked, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she replied.

“Then, neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Let’s pray these celebs seek Jesus. He will surely pursue them.