Saturday, May 28, 2011


"No more being grumpy to get some stuff."

"No more fighting with anyone."

"No more being rude."

"No more tapping your friend's head."

"If someone's not being good, tell the teacher right now."

These are just a few of Charlize's "rules" which she proclaimed with some air of authority after learning from her kiddie bible that God gave Moses His laws.

I was amazed that my granddaughter could easily rattle off more than two dozen dos and don'ts she'd picked up from her parents, teachers and people of authority around her.

And it's quite funny that the first rule she blurts out is the one she almost always breaks. Before every trip to the mall, her Mom would always remind her to behave. "If you like something and we can't or won't buy it, no tantrums! No crying!" And she would, like a meek lamb always nod yes.

Pretty much like some of us. The difference is, Charlize is just a bit older than a toddler (and I believe she will behave better in the mall as she matures); but you and I--- well, we're supposed to be older and wiser.

David, dubbed as the man after God's heart, had his own lustful tantrum while he was already king. He definitely knew the rules and followed them. But after just one lingering stare at a bathing woman--- while he stood on top of his palace surveying his kingdom, he got snared, even masterminding the death of her husband.

Mall, palace or hotel--- it seems that wherever we are, some "nice" object can titillate our I-wanna-have pangs, launching us into more monumental tantrums.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York recently for allegedly trying to rape a hotel maid inside his suite, according to Time magazine.

No wonder there are rules. The bible calls them "law."

And rules are not just for kids. Rules are meant to save us from ourselves and and our own stupidity.

Those in positions of power think they're so smart. Surprise! It is when you're on top that you become most vulnerable. Add to the David-Kahn list Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Ferdinand Marcos. The list goes on.

Super tantrums emerge because of super egos. AKA pride.

The only pride buster? Brokenness before God. AKA humility.

Jesus offers Himself to be both our Savior and Lord--- assuring us of eternal life and offering wisdom so that we can order our lives pleasing to the Father. For He can calm even the most savage and insidious tantrums.

"Show me your ways o Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, my Savior. My hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hero or Overcomer

You bump into the most amazing folks even when you're up in the air, just twiddling your thumbs and bolted to your seat.

Meet Vicky, my seatmate as I flew home from Davao after two wonderful days with yuppies and women.

Vicky, an accountant, and her husband Ferdinand, a mechanical engineer, were en route to Saudi Arabia to resume their work after visiting their two year old son Jack. They met in Saudi Arabia, got married, and when Jack was born, brought him home - to be cared for by her sister.

Sensing the questions circling my mind, Vicky said, "Hindi maintindihan ng ibang tao kung bakit nagta-trabaho kami sa ibang bansa at iiwan ang pamilya. Hindi lang nila alam kung gaano kahirap ang buhay dito sa atin. (They don't understand why we work in other countries and leave family behind. But they don't understand how hard life is in the Philippines.)"

Vicky is quite fortunate because her sister loves Jack like her own.

We often hear of kababayans getting the wrong side of the bargain when they work overseas: Couples eventually split, with their kids going wayward - these in spite of the material abundance they've toiled for and lavished on them. Many bear with torment from abusive employers.

Again in this respect, Vicky and Ferdinand have pulled through.

"Dasal lang ako nang dasal. (I just pray continuously)," says Vicky. "Kahit palasigaw ang amo ko, hindi ako gumaganti. (In spite of my boss' verbal lashes, I never took it on their children." Mahal ko sila talaga. (I love those kids.)"

Yes, Vicky is a nanny.

And she goes where her ward goes, even in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she spends most of her time today, waiting on him as he attends Edinburgh's Royal Blind School.

The boy developed retinoblastoma - a common ocular malignancy in childhood - when he was two years old. He survived the malignancy but lost his sight.

Vicky makes sure that he lives as normal a life as possible. He is adept with the computer, skis, composes music and has remained at the top of his class.

Vicky a hero? Probably yes.

But see, I'm reluctant to call her that. Because I know the motivation behind the government's use of "hero" is pretty political - to applaud and appease a marginalized sector who wanted so much to improve their lives, but denied of prospects, was forced to go somewhere to get just a slice of that dream.

Emotionally, I believe Vicky is conflicted, leaving her baby in the Philippines while taking care of someone's elsewhere. I can't imagine what she might be going through every time she thinks of Jack.

For her devotion to duty, unconditional love and humongous faith, I believe God will honor Vicky's heart.

"Overcomer." That's how I prefer to call her. Vicky continues to stand on God's promises and waits for just the right time for her prayers to be answered.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Monday, May 16, 2011

Davao Treats

Such treats He pours on us daily! And I tasted these heart-tingling yummies these past few days.

Aside from my two older sisters visiting (we're now suffering from childhood kwentuhan blues) from the US and Australia, I traveled south last Friday, courtesy of my publisher OMF Literature.

Let's see, Friday night was gimmick time with the yuppies of Davao who relished our "No Way to Go But Up" discussion- on surviving and being light and salt in the workplace. I loved it that quite a number of call center gimikeros (the most stressed of today's workers) came!

The Edge Radio helped OMF mastermind this first ever Davao yuppie gathering.

Glen, my former Southville Foreign University student who chose to go back to Davao to build his career there, surprisingly showed up as promised.

"That was a great seminar," he texted me later. "Very fun and engaging, and it really looked like a professional (TV ) talk show."

Saturday was ladies' day out as Davao's SHE population (more than 600 of them, from teeners to yuppies, mothers and grandmoms) trooped to SheDay, an annual women-honoring event initiated by OMF in Cebu a few years back.

Theater celebrity and gospel singer Tricia Amper Jimenez wowed us all (and heaven I'm sure!) with her powerful praise songs and a hosting style so honest and heartwarming we felt Jesus' loving embrace as she emceed between presentations and her inspirational songs.

Author Ardy Roberto presented his "Ang Perang Hindi Bitin" tips. I noted the ladies briskly taking notes as he discussed practical, down-to-earth and God-wise breakthrough money management ways.

What a privilege for me to talk of God's wonderful purpose for today's women; and to end my part with a song encouraging the ladies to come to Jesus humbly, just like Mary who broke her expensive alabaster jar as a sign of submission to His will.

All these happened at Christ Fellowship Church where OMF, the Edge Radio and Davao's volunteer youth and women took time out from their busy schedules to demonstrate their caring for the yuppies and women of Davao.

Big thanks, hugs and big congratulations to Faye (who ably hosted the yuppie night), Karen, Elle and the other The Edge volunteers; and OMF's Mindanao Operations supervisor Aileen, her Visayas counterpart Lynnie (who helped in the production side and was the event's cool-as-cucumber-voice-over), plus the entire OMF team as well as the lady volunteers and sponsors.

Kudos to Madel, my lady in waiting! Joke! Can you imagine being assigned a PA (personal assistant) volunteer?! Madel was true to form, and praying earnestly besides!

M'am Glo, OMF's Sales boss flew in from Manila with Michael, my friend from OMF Pergola.

Breakfast before flying home was a rip-roaring time with Gay, one of Davao's Christian education advocates. Her big heart for children and families is as big as her laughter and her love for Jesus.

Definitely grander treats than Davao pomelo or durian ice cream and shopping at Aldevingco- though we enjoyed them too! :)
God alone deserves the glory for all these. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among
of people I will praise you. (Psalm 35:18)