Thursday, November 22, 2012

Right this moment, families in the US sit down to thanksgiving dinner, with plump, turned-juicy turkey at the center of the table. 

Never mind typhoon Sandy's recent trail of destruction, New Yorkers have taken the chance to be thankful; with leading retailer Macy's sponsoring the city's usual thanksgiving parade to lift its residents' spirits up.
Wikipedia says that this celebration goes back to 1621 when in the Plymouth Plantation, early settlers feasted after a successful harvest, a practice institutionalized by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a day of "Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Thanksgiving day or not, we need to be reminded that through thick or thin---and in spite of tragedies and calamities---  thankfulness is a good thing.

So many things to be thankful for:

That hubby and I woke up this morning, not yet in rigor mortis, but still kicking and strong for whatever needs to be accomplished today and in the days to come. "I'm not through with you yet,"  He says.

Considering that Jack's eye almost became blind because of a viral infection weeks ago---and is now back to normal---wow, thanking Him is the least I could do! Miracles do come even in the care of our doctors or the medicines they prescribe. Dr. Jesus surely uses human doctors to answer our prayers.

He daily provides our food---health supplements included, clothing, house (no matter how small). This place we can really call home---if Jesus is its foundation. Because in Him is safety, love, joy, peace.
We may in fact feast, not only on turkey or any of those expensive food, but on tuyo, saluyot or talbos ng kamote with bagoong---our mouths watering just the same! I may add  tsokolate e  (chocolate), yes Ricoa (not the imported kind), making it a treat worth its weight calories.
I wake up each day thanking God for my grandchildren---for their good health, that they would grow up God-fearing and parent-honoring. Yes, I thank God even now for what these little ones will become when they grow up. 

I thank God everyday for giving our children wisdom so that they strive for real riches---those that have lasting value and God-glorifying---and make their families their priority even as they make a living and strive to be prosperous.

That's thanking and praying it forward.

We also thank God for using us---though we are limited by time, space and material resources---so that we can make a difference in the lives of others. Everyday is an opportunity to bless others, however small or insignificant our effort may seem. 

And lest we forget, consider nature---the heavens, the trees, the oceans. How marvelous God's creation is! Might make us a bit conscious of being judicious with our use of water or our trash disposal, and even do our bit in lessening our carbon footprint. There's just no running out of thanks or praise for God who made everything so beautiful.

Enjoy the turkey and the party, or the thanksgiving parade and its amazing paraphernalia. But don't let the glossies blur the real meaning of thanksgiving. Or don't let just the material blessings mar the significant.

Our tables may be laden with rich and delicious things. But if we fretted and complained and sulked in the process of preparing for the party, then we really didn't enjoy thanksgiving day.

Because it's not what's on the table that counts. In Exodus, the Jews had been set free from Egypt and thus became a nation. In the wilderness, God daily provided them with manna and quail and water. Their clothing and footwear never wore out. Yet they kept on complaining and so missed their joy; more importantly, a whole generation failed to reach the promised land.  

Jesus gave it all up so that we can enjoy life. "I have come that you may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Another version says, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

And it's not something ethereal, it's for real! Psalm 34:8:  "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

So savor that turkey! More, savor His love and faithfulness. Savor the love of your family. Thanksgiving is not really thanksgiving if we don't get to taste the blessing and direct our thanks to the real blesser. 

Oh Jesus, you really are the God of more than enough!


Friday, November 16, 2012


Hack, a verb: to "chop, whack, mangle," per Webster's Thesaurus.

"You've been hacked!" This message, expressed in varying degrees of concern, filled my FB and email inboxes, as well as my cellphone, after friends and relations received a supposed message from me---that I was in London, trapped in some sort of predicament and needed money desperately, so could they please send some immediately. 

A few even called our landline to check if I was OK. Was I really in London or in Manila or in the US? 

Majority said they immediately dismissed the message as a hoax since we'd been in touch regularly through email and Facebook so they knew exactly where I was---in the comfort of home sweet home, probably ZZZzzzing my jetlag away.

"I was worried for some time, wondering what really happened to you," my sister-in-law Carmen said. 

Everyone's outpouring of concern---plus advice received as to how to remedy the situation---was quite heartwarming; and I thank God for all of you.

In techie parlance, "hacked" refers to one's website, address or computer system being broken into---its security safeguards compromised, so much like someone breaking into your home, ransacking and even stealing valuables from it. 

(Although says that the right term to use is "crack," so in my case, I should say, "My Yahoo account has been cracked.")

But for all the stress I went through---to change all of my internet passwords, assure everyone that I was OK, and experience migraine because of it---plus the worrying this "cracking" caused some loved ones (especially those who are not familiar with techie stuff), "hacked" could very well have been the word.

We've all, in a manner of speaking, been chopped, whacked and mangled. So what else is new? Our everyday teems with all sorts of cracking and hacking but we hardly even notice.

Flying home from the US, I found my hubby sick, needing medical attention and unable to work for sometime. Crack!

Another crack: Nowadays, I find myself waking up to no-purpose though activity-filled days. While I'd been busy in recent months---finished writing my third book, became expat Lola to new granddaughter Natalie and did seminars and ministry work besides---I now hover between thumb-tweedling and pining for my usual routine, which probably won't come any time soon. 

I suppose Jesus allows us some blah days to let us know that whether days be bland or blazing, He remains in control.

source: megamartyblogspot
Everyday, television ushers in more discouraging news into our bedroom or living room---crime, politics, corruption, poverty, war. A world of instability and dysfunction. 

The apostle Paul says (Ephesians 6:12), "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Hacking may appear to be just a security glitz. Yes. But it is what evil-intentioned people---prompted by the  rulers of this dark age---use not only to steal our money but to put our lives in disarray and assault our joy, and thus shake our faith in God. Otherwise, why did it cause loved ones to worry, and me to fret so that I had migraine headache as a result?

Imagine an unseen parallel world where spirits hover, working double time to chop, whack and mangle us with all sorts of sensory experiences: The bad news. Our sorry state. Our dwindling finances. Our failing health and aching bodies. Etc. That's not fantasy. It's reality. 

If you're the if-I-can't-see-and-touch-it-I-won't-believe-it" kind of guy, open your eyes.

2 Kings 6 recounts the story of Israel surrounded by a conquering army. The prophet Elisha's servant expressed awe of this army's might. But Elisha said, "Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (v.16)

Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (v.17) And the assaulting army was struck with blindness.

Take Psalm 34:7 to heart: "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." The Lord fights our battles but as "soldiers" in His army, He wants us to "put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

Be self-controlled and alert because, "...Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). 

The Word of God, our only weapon against hackers. Confess it. Believe it. Pray it. Live it. 

But it all starts and ends with Jesus. Have you received Him as your Savior and Lord? If so, then you have eternal warranty against pesky hackers. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Ferdie used to call the Oval Office his turf.
I seem to have been caught in a fog recently---unable to blog as I used to; but hopefully I'm back.

Even with my jet lag from an excruciating return flight (20 hours more or less including layovers) from the US, my eyes still continued to be riveted to things and events stateside.

Because, frankly, with my son's family in the US, I've taken interest in everything affecting his and his family's future. 

The US sorely needed a change in leadership to turn its ship of state around. President Barack Obama has been given a second chance. 

Let's pray his bluster is matched with lustrous solid performance this time around; because honestly, the entire world's power cords are plugged into the US main frame---economically, militarily and in a lot more areas than we could ever imagine.

But if I may downshift, while we're still on things "White House..."

Did you know that a Pinoy used to call the Oval Office his turf?

Meet Ferdie Garcia, currently US Navy Master Chief, then President George W. Bush's personal valet during his entire eight years at the White House. He likewise served Bill Clinton eight months prior to the Bush presidency and Barack Obama six months after he occupied the Oval Office.

"I was excited and eagerly looked forward to working everyday," Ferdie refers to his stint with George Bush, whom he fondly refers to as "Tatang." The latter always called him "Son."

In Ferdie's sanctum sanctorum or man cave, his house basement, White House mementos abound. One photo shows him in action with a flyswatter, in the oval office (with President Bush at the background), with the President's note attached: "Fine form but you missed, (signed) George Bush."
Another photo with GB: President and Senior Chief in boxers' cloaks and gloves---in a sparring pose.

With our hosts Ferdie and Cora (center)
His photo albums reveal a close bond between the President and the First Lady and their children, and Ferdie and his wife Cora and kids, with photos upon photos to prove the relationship. 

Some personally scribbled notes from George and Laura Bush:

"Dear Ferdie, thanks for the lovely tie. I will wear it with pride. GB."

"Thank you for the fine looking tie and shorts. You were kind to remember me on my 60th birthday. I am grateful for your dedicated service at the White House and am proud  to call you friend. Best wishes. Sincerely, G.W. Bush."

"To Ferdie, with thanks and love. Laura; the President." 

Of her character, he says, "Very motherly, hindi mataas (not haughty)."

A page in his album detailed his Commander in Chief's last appraisal of Ferdie's outstanding performance: "... will be an outstanding senior chief. He should be promoted now. GB."

And to complete what I dubbed as our White House treat, Ferdie and Cora gave us a garden tour of the White House south lawn, with Carlo, Opal and our granddaughter Natalie; and my new-found friends Bessie and Horst Friedrich.

On that fine fall morning, The White House looked glorious. 

But one wonders, does the glory of God still rest here? Do its residents still bow down to the sovereignty of God in their lives? Or are they listening more to the voice of the multitude, like lobbyists fighting for legalizing abortion, gay marriage, and banning God altogether from public places? 

We need to continue to pray for America, as well as leaders of nations and nations elsewhere. We need to pray for the Philippines and our leaders! 

Proverbs 29:2: 

"When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan." (New International Version)

"When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan." (English Standard Version)