Category: Teach Pray Run

COVIDiaries-19: Love in the time of Coronavirus

And the people stayed home. They rediscovered, among others, the joy of eating meals together and waking up leisurely to the sound of loved ones moving about in the house. They made time for work at home but also for taking the weeds out in the garden, cooking, and cleaning the house.

Parents engage their kids in unhurried conversation about anything under the sun while married couples, well, squabble because  they cannot stand each other anymore for long periods of time. Work has sadly made them drift apart. But during unguarded moments, when they think the other one isn’t looking, they say a silent prayer of thanks to heaven for their spouse. For clearly, they still love each other dearly despite always being at odds. All the while the children, in between reading, playing, and art, they look around them, and marvel in joy and wonder at the contentment and peace this situation has brought their hearts.

Those without spouses and children to think of, for the first time in their lives, don’t regret not having any. As it is, they have their hands full taking care of their aging parents.  When they are not in front of the computer doing work or binging on their favorite netflix series, they play with doughs, read a book, and dream of great possibilities.  In their solitude, they promise themselves that when this blows over and the dust has finally settled, they will bravely go after what they want.

And the people who cannot afford to stay home because they need to work and care for others, they wake up everyday with heavy hearts. Where they find the strength to get up in the morning to continue the daily grind, no one knows. It is especially difficult for someone who lives in a bubble to understand. And so, they quietly go about their daily tasks, driven by love and moved by a noble mission to serve others at all costs. Bone tired and weary, they fiercely pray that this soon shall pass so they may also have an equal chance to go home to kiss their loved ones a little longer and hug them really tight.

And most people stayed at home, and in their quiet moments, when fear and uncertainty boldly stare them in the face, they strip themselves off of pride and arrogance. They climb off from the high pedestal that they uncharacteristically and unknowingly placed themselves in.  They get down on their knees before the Lord in deep surrender to humbly pray for His grace and for His comforting presence during this difficult time. And finally, in all their human weaknesses, they acknowledge fully His authority, power, and dominion over and above all things.

And only then did earth and humanity begin to heal…

Inspired by a post shared by Fr. Declan McInerneys parish of Clonfert FB page

COVIDiaries-19: Manila, Philippines placed in Community Quarantine

I saw a random post that says, in times like this, you better start a journal to document everything. I am a Social Studies teacher and I know for a fact how important written accounts are when studying History and so, I decided to resurrect this space.

For the past two years, I have gone micro-blogging in my facebook and instagram accounts. This global crisis known as COVID-19 has forced me back to this bigger platform in the hope that ten years from now, when I want to remember how this decade started and how this fearsome coronavirus took the world by storm, I have this to refer to.

Today is Day 1 of the community quarantine in Metro Manila, Philippines. In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Philippine government decided to put the entire National Capital Region on a lockdown or community quarantine as how they would like to call it.  Other major cities and provinces outside NCR have decided to follow suit as well. While some were quick to point out that this should have been done sooner, most were just simply glad that it was finally done. In times like this, I guess, it is rather pointless to play the blame game.

Things are not looking good right now. There are about 140 positive cases of COVID-19 with only 2 confirmed recoveries as of 6 pm tonight. Hospitals are scrambling to get their hands on PPE kits for their health care workers and front liners since these valuable medical equipments are not easily available anymore due hoarding. A blanket of fear has enveloped the entire region and its surrounding provinces, if not the whole nation, as people start to become anxious thinking about what will happen next in the coming days.

Offices are being forced to adapt flexible work arrangements, some businesses are starting to close, and most schools abruptly shut down leaving students no chance to say goodbye to their classmates and teachers. Everyone is being forced to stay at home and social distancing has become the new norm.

At this moment, as the figures continue to rise, they remain just simply numbers to me since I have no direct relation to these figures..yet. What would frighten me the most is when one of these figures suddenly become one of my friends, workmates, neighbours or worse, close relatives or family members.  It scares me to think that one day, I will wake up to the news that one of the people I know or close to my heart has suddenly contracted this virus.  I shudder at the thought that when that happens, they might not survive it.  I feel sad at the thought that I won’t know exactly what to do to help them except hope, pray, and trust that in Jesus’ name, they’ll get through this and we’ll get through this.

But then in my state of frantic panicking, I would also remember this thought that got me through the worst of times: God is the one who calls the shots and when you know who your boss is, come hell or high water, you will remain at peace. Major slap in my face, I tell you.

In times like this really, we just have to seek God’s grace as we endure the wait and the not-knowingness of things.  We just have to simply trust that God is at work even if we can’t see or feel it clearly yet. Hang in there, people.








Love Letters to God (Lenten Devotion 2018)

40 Day Lenten Devotion 2018
Day 1: Dear Lord, help me fix my steady gaze on you this lent. May I develop a heart that longs only for you and a spirit that delights in pleasing you.
Day 2: Dear Lord, may we remain firm and committed in loving and honoring you this season of lent. May our choices be guided by your holy spirit, and our actions be blessed by your grace. Amen.
Day #3: Dear Lord, thank you for always anticipating my needs, for lining up solutions to my problems even before I bring them to you, and for being one step ahead of me all the time. May I always be aware and sesitive to your gentle insistent proddings so I won’t easily give in to anxiety, worry, and despair. As I affixed my steady gaze on you this lent Lord, may peace that you alone can give rein in my heart. Amen.
Day #4: Dear God, “what if your blessings come through raindrops. What if Your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near. What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?!”—-Then I welcome each and every heartache and all the sleepness nights. I won’t detest the struggle or give up the fight, if this is what it takes to have you and know that you are by my side, I welcome them Oh Lord, for I know these are your mercies in disguise.
Day #5: Dear Lord, may your loving grace sustain me this week as I try to accomplish all that you set my heart to do. When life tries to pull me away from you, may I hear your loving command to follow you more clearly.
Day #6: Dear Lord, may I always remember that it is you I seek and long to please. When the pressure of succeeding at something becomes too much, may I always remember that as long as I do everything for your honor and glory, all my efforts, lovingly made, will be enough to make you proud and happy.
Day #7: Dear Lord, may I never forget to offer to you each and every discomfort and difficulty I face each day. May I not succumb easily to discouragement and despair when they come. Instead, may I recognize them for what they are—my ticket to heaven and my only way to you.
Day #8: Dear Lord, thank you for getting me through the toughest days and for providing me with the strength I need when I feel like I have nothing left. You are indeed the source of all grace. I praise and honor you always.
Day #9: Dear Lord, today I choose to focus on the good that my cross brings. I choose to be grateful for the graces that come from it. I choose to believe that as long as I embrace it close to my heart, I will be blessed always and in every way that matters.
Day #10: Dear Lord, show me the way of love that I may always do even the hardest things with great joy. Show me the way of love so I may always respond to people, even to the difficult ones, with kindness . Show me the way of love that I may always see you in others.
Day #11: Dear God, this week I trust that you already have a ready answer to all my prayers, right solutions to all my problems, perfect plan to all my undertakings, and even contingecies just in case I mess up and fail to recognize your gentle insistent proddings. I trust that you will connect and lead me to the right people who will help me bring to fruition all that you have set my heart to do. I shall draw heavily on your resources, on your grace Lord, and trust that everything in my life this week and in the days to come will work in accordance with your own mighty will. Amen.
Day 12: Dear Lord, how swiftly you respond to my prayers, how sensitive you are to my needs. Many times, I do not have to ask, you just simply give. I am blessed and grateful to have you as my Father. In return, I promise to be as attentive, devoted, and commited to you.
Day #13: Dear Lord, teach me true humility so I may learn to do my work in quiet joy and be motivated only by a deep desire to please you and give you glory. Teach me true humility so that it is your affirmation and not some wordly recognition I will seek. Teach me humility that I may learn to follow the path of Christ, and remember that success or victory is a grace that can only come from heartfelt and humble service.
Day #14: Dear Lord, may my heart and mind remained siLENT and focused on you alone this blessed season of lent.
Day #15: Dear God, bless me with a kind heart that is slow to anger and is not quick to judge. A kind heart that can forgive and understand even those who appear too difficult to love.
Day #16: Dear God, in the face of difficulty and uncertainty, I choose to give thanks and praise to thee, and promise to trust where I cannot understand.
Day #17: Dear Lord, many times we’ve found ourselves in places we never thought we will be. I used to question things but then over the years, I have learned to just simply trust that wherever we may find ourselves in, it is your will and your plan we are living. We are exactly where you will manifest to us fully your blessings. Thank you for this trip, Lord and for the people who are with us in this blessed journey.
Day #18: Dear Lord, we take different paths to get to you. Some journeys are easy while others are not. What’s truly amazing is this, however different our journeys are, you have blessed each and every one of them so that in the end, we may all enjoy a life of full blessings and grace.
Day #19: Dear God, sometimes we get lucky and meet friends who’ll make us feel like we just had the best conversation with you after being around them. It is because when they speak of the faith, their words ring with sincerity, wisdom, and truth. They also live out the faith with so much passion, they radiate joy. I just want to say thank you Lord for blessing my life with this kind of friends. Friends who help me grow in faith, and make me appreciate and love you more.
Day #20: Dear Lord, when I find it hard to forgive and understand others, may I always remember how easily You forgive my own shortcomings and how generously you show compassion and mercy towards me everyday.
Day #21. Dear Lord, how swiftly you answer my prayers and how attentive you are to my needs. I am truly blessed to be loved by you. As I commit to a life that is pleasing to you, may I always live up to your expectations. You have my heart forever, Lord and I promise to serve you in any loving way I can, now till forever. Amen.
Day #22: Dear Lord, may my heart be moved only by compassion and a burning desire to love others at whatever cost and my spirit be strong and ready to brave and withstand even the fiercest of storms. May my eyes remain joyful and my smile bright despite knowing sorrow and grief, and may my lips speak nothing but faith and loving grace, even in the face of defeat.
Day #23: Dear Lord, may my heart and soul long for you alone, and my mind be filled with only thoughts of you. With every strength, may I learn to translate my faith and love for you in actions, blessing, inspiring, and enriching the lives of many so your name will be glorified. Amen.
Day #24: Dear Lord, may I always humbly seek your mercy so I will receive your grace. By your example of charity, patience, and understanding, and through your transforming love, may I learn to show compassion and mercy even to those who are difficult to forgive and love.
Day #25: Dear Lord, I will start the week with a grateful heart. I thank you in advance for my prayers that shall be perfectly answered this week. For the unexpected opportunities that shall fall on my lap, for the little yet significant miracles that I shall witness, and for the big and small victories that I shall achieve in the coming days. A week may seem short to experience all these but I know that with you, anything and everything is possible.
Day #26: Dear Lord, I take your word that you will restore whatever is broken and heal whatever afflictions we may have. I believe in your wonders and miracles, Lord and I have complete trust in your saving word and healing love.
Day #27: Dear Lord, I am grateful that you’ve met every occassion of sorrow in my life with grace until there’s nothing left for me to feel but joy in your presence. I fear not the future for I know you have gone there before me and that whatever happens, it shall be according to your plan and in my favor.
Day #28: Dear Lord, teach me how to be as gracious and merciful as you, slow to anger, patient, understanding, and kind. May all that I do be born out of compassion and love. Amen.
Day #29: Dear Lord, when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration, I am glad there’s always heaven to look up to and you to call on. Thank you for taking care of my worries today and tomorrow, Lord.
Day #30: Dear Lord, that was some work week. I am thankful for every occassion I found myself stressed, mentally drained, bone tired, and emotionally weak this week, for they reminded me that indeed, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.🙏🏻😌❤️
Day #31: Dear Lord, I will stay where you’ve put me and allow you to direct my days. I will continue to trust and believe I am here because this is where I will be abundantly blessed, and that this place will connect me to greater opportunities ahead.
Day #32: Dear Lord, instead of making me weak, may my cross gives me strength and inspires me all the more to press forward and rise in faith this week. May it continue to open a lot of opportunities for me to live and receive your grace.
Day #33: I grew up near this old brickstone church in Las Pinas that houses the Bamboo Organ. That is where I was baptized and confirmed, and where as a teenager, I promised our Patron Saint, Tatang Jose, that if I ever find a man as decent as him to marry, I will personally drag him there and present to him. Truth be told, five years after leaving my hometown, I stood before St. Joseph’s altar swapping “I dos” with my own version of St. Joseph, Nan, my obedient, steadfast, and loving husband. The one I asked and prayed for from him and the one he faithfully gave to me.
Dear St. Joseph, I ask that someday, may you bless Bianca and all the young ladies with husbands who will protect, love, and care for the family the same way you have loved, protected, and cared for Mama Mary and Baby Jesus. Bless them with husbands who, like you, would seek, listen, and follow the Lord’s will with all their hearts too.
Day #34: Dear Lord, I love how you direct my steps and line up solutions to my problems even before I ask for them. I love how well orchestrated your answers to my prayers are, and how they always leave me dumbfounded in awe. Indeed, everything is ready in your plan, I just have to learn to trust.
Day #35: Dear Lord, no matter how uncertain things may seem, I shall continue to live with this expectancy that something good is coming my way, and that you are ready to amaze.
Day #36: Dear Lord, you said out of difficulties grow miracles. I’ll take your word for it. I won’t complain nor be anxious. I will just simply wait patiently for my miracle.
Day #37: Dear Lord, may I always remember to put love in everything I do for love is love, there is nothing attached to it other than, service.
Day #38: Dear Lord, it comforts me to know that you are a constant in my life and that your presence will always remain. I look forward to a future with You.
Day #39: Dear Lord, if there is one thing I learned from Jesus’ sufferings it is that, despite the circumstances, despite the pain, hardship, and sorrow, still do love, still do all things with love.
Day #40: Dear Lord, I underestimated your ability to deliver again. I once more gave in to that fearful, cautious voice inside my head that says, you are dreaming too big, you are aiming too high, you are not managing your expectations. I turned a blind ear to that gentle yet persistent whisper in my heart that says, trust, surrender completely, He will make it happen. Lord, thank you for letting me know today that you are aware of my petitions and that you’re always on it. Sorry for letting my fears and doubts get the best of us again.
Day #41: Dear Lord, sometimes your reasons are lost to me but I firmly believe that you know what best is for us and so, I choose to trust where I cannot understand.
Day #42: Dear Lord, today is mine but tomorrow is clearly yours. There’s nothing I can do but trust and believe that what lies ahead has already been blessed and planned beautifully by you.
Day #43: Dear Lord, I hope that when the time comes, I will be given the chance to spend my last night, my last supper with my loved ones. I pray that like Jesus, I may be able to share a hearty meal with them, and be given the chance to show them through my loving service just how much they mean to me. In my hour of death, may I be in the loving company of my family.
Day #44:”O all you that pass by the way, look and see, was there ever a sorrow to compare with my sorrow.” (Lamentation 1:12)—Dear Mama Mary, I never really knew how painful it was for you to see Jesus suffer on the cross until I stood beside the recovery bed of my own suffering child after her surgery and during the few times I’ve witnessed her battle illnesses. My sorrow even then was nothing compared to your sorrow. As I watched my child cry in pain, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for you seeing your own child suffer and die on the cross to save us. As I venerate the cross today Mama Mary, I venerate you as well for giving birth and raising our reedemer, our savior, Jesus Christ. You are the perfect example of deep courage, humility, and trust. May I learn to be the perfect handmaid of the Lord like you. May I learn to carry grief and sorrow gracefully, and may I learn to submit myself and surrender my child graciously to the will of God like you.
Day #45: Dear Lord, like Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome in the gospel today, may I always be amazed by your power to bring back to life whatever it is that is dying in us; flickering hope, failing health, diminishing dreams, and broken relationship. If there is one thing that your son, Jesus Christ’s resurrection taught me it is that with You, anything and everything is possible, the miraculous is almost always at arms reach, just simply waiting to happen anytime, and these awe-inspiring wonders that oftentimes leave me breathless, as long as we remain in faith with you, they shall never, ever cease.

Happy New Year!

Wherever you may find yourself this new year, may love, compassion, and kindness motivate and move you. Be a goal digger, opportunity seeker, and dream keeper this 2018. Grab every difficult task that comes your way, even the ones that you would rather not do, takes the most effort, causes the most pain, and is the greatest struggle, for they hold the miraculous secret to strength and unleash the beauty of God’s amazing grace.
If you ever find yourself in deep darkness because God is working in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Instead, rise up in faith and in love, never doubting Him, for His plan for you, even if they are presented differently at the start, is as always, great. As you move forward to this year, embracing the days, the months, and the seasons, may this thought always remain with you: No matter what happens, life is good, God is good, He loves you. ❤️😍

25 Day Advent Reflection

Sharing with you the 25-Day Advent reflection I did to prepare myself for Baby Jesus this Christmas.
Day #1: And then, it is December. May we hear and receive the same good news given to Mary: Hope is born within us through Christ.
Day #2: See Christ more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly.
Day #3: Lets live with intention in this season of waiting. Lets honor the story–the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth–with each choice that we make. Lets us be drawn closer and closer to the heart, the beating heart of the story, and not to the glitters, gifts, and parties at every turn, so that what matters most will become clear to us this season.
Day #4: There’s beauty in waiting because that’s when faith, hope, love, and trust blossom. That’s what the Lord wants us to learn to appreciate when He takes His time in answering our prayers.
Day #5: Life is a constant advent season: we are continually waiting to become, to complete, to heal, and to fulfill. May this season of hope be a time transformation, healing, and fullfilment for us.
Day #6: Hope is what gets us through desperate days. If we can just inspire hope in others with our simple words and actions, imagine the many joyful and grateful hearts celebrating the gift of Jesus this Christmas.
Day #7: Are you waiting with expectant faith for the Lord to bless you with that one thing you have been longing to have? Wait in hope, for in absolute quietness, in the most unexpected place, and unexpected ways it shall be given to you. Much like how the Lord gifted the world with the greatest blessing ever known.
Day #8: Today, we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mama Mary in the womb of her mother. She was born without original sin so she could fullfill her divine purpose of being Jesus’ mother. Until recently, I used to think that my purpose in life was to be a wife then a mother. But then, the events these past five years have made it clear to me what I am exactly here for. Not quite the wife but definitely a mother to my child. Since the Lord has entrusted Bianca in my care, it is my job to see to it see to it that she grows into the kind of person the Lord wants her to become. That’s my God-given mission and that’s what gives my life purpose.
To be chosen as mothers of our children is not an easy task. In fact, it is quite a tall order because in the process of raising our children heartbreak/ heartache is a given. My prayer for us mothers then is for us to be blessed with the same quiet confidence, courage, and grace like Mama Mary so we can fully embrace and carry out our mission of raising God-fearing, God-loving, and God-pleasing children.
Day #9: Advent is the season to give our faith a workout, to exercise our hope and love muscles. Some years make that difficult than the others so I am glad that advent comes every year to give us another chance to practice a hopeful and loving way of being into this world.
Everytime we sing songs from christmas past, put up decorations excitedly, tell inspiring christmas stories, surprise a needy, give lots and lots to charity, and use our special gift to inspire smiles in this season of advent, we honor the sacred story of hope and love that is the Nativity. Everytime we remember that God loves us and how we should extend this love to others in this season of advent, the joy and peace that the Baby Jesus in the manger brought into this world are born within us. So let’s try advent and live advent once again.
Day #10: Wherever you are and whatever you will be doing this week, dare to look for Jesus right there in the midst of it. Dare to find him in all things and you’ll be surprised at how often he’ll shows up.
Day #11: This season I’m letting go of the perfect holiday in my head. I won’t rush to every party, shop every gift, or plan the best christmas trips. Instead, I am choosing love, rest, and grace, affixing my steady gaze not on the glittering lights and extravagant sights but on that bright shining star that would lead me to the true reason for this season.
Day #12: More than our homes, lets fill our hearts with joy and expectation this advent season, for the best CHRISTmas trimming that we can ever display is a smile of great anticipation and gratitude for the gift of Christ, our Savior.
Day #13: In the middle of meditation in the advent recollection today, Fr. Penacoba jokingly exclaimed, “I am glad to see all of you resting there like a sleeping St. Joseph!” Rest is almost impossible these days. We are either chasing work deadlines, running errands, or beating the traffic and the christmas rush. But then, what if even just for this advent, we deliberately slow down or pause, and fiercely fight for our prayer time and quiet time with the Lord? What if even just for this advent, we find our way to a recollection, retreat, or mass, and try to be all there. What if even just for this advent, we choose love, rest, and grace? What a beautiful and meaningful christmas it will be for us.
Day #14: Embrace slow, savor stillness, and seek quiet. Prepare your heart for Him.
Day #15: Today, I got my christmas surprise early and it has reduced me to tears.
After being out of school for a good number of days for medical reasons, functioning literally with just 1 healthy lung for weeks, and dealing with a mountain of missed assessments when she finally returned back to school, she still managed to snag this.
Ginapang. Pinaghirapan. With single-minded focus, she painstakingly completed her missed assessments alongside the current ones, on one occassion even taking both midterms and finals on the same day; determinedly approached her teachers to request for coaching and one on one; laboriously poured over youtube tutorials and other internet resources to understand lessons she did not get to learn first hand; and even carefully planned her work schedule at home so she can finish her homework and meet my non-negotiable 10:30 pm bedtime. All this while recovering and healing from what to her was her most traumatic medical experience ever.
She is not the smartest girl but she has always been mentally tough, emotionally resilient, driven, and persistent. She has always been extremely motivated by this immense desire to rise above every challenging situation that comes her way. Life has never been easy for this girl but by God’s amazing grace, she always pull through, beautifully.
I am proud of you Bianca Angela for having the guts and the grit to go after your goal this year despite the odds. If there’s one person who truly deserve to be in this list, it is you. If in the future you begin to doubt your ability to achieve your goal or get past a difficult situation, you have this to remind you that you can and you will.
Day #16: It was still dark when I left the house this morning, rushing to make it to BCBP’s simbang gabi and breakfast in Alabang Country Club. In my haste, I didn’t get a chance to give the car a quick once over.
When my morning activities were done, I was itching to go home because I knew that Bianca was waiting for me and her friends I am bringing along for a sleep over in our house. Trisha, Bianca’s friend was already with me when Phoebe arrived. When her car pulled over at the driveway, I quickly ran to her mom to request for us to be dropped off in the parking lot. Normally I do not mind walking the short distance but for some reason this morning, I wasn’t up for it.
When we reached my car and were about to exchange goodbyes, the driver of the car beside me quickly lowered down his window to say, “Maam, iniintay ko po kayo kasi flat yung gulong nyo sa likod.” Unfortunately, I do not know how to change tires and doesn’t even have the tools for it. Good thing, Phoebe’s driver readily changed it for me. Good thing that at the last minute, they decided to bring him along. Good that the car beside me decided to park next to me or else I wouldn’t have noticed the flat rear tire. Good thing it happened when I was already parked safely and not when I was speeding along Daang Hari.
Clearly, this is God’s pattern. He always plans everything so well. He always rescues. He always saves. He always shows up at exactly the right time.
Day #17: Jesus wasn’t born into a perfect family. Before he came into this world, his parents had to deal with a lot of issues. Mary’s surprise pregnancy, Joseph’s initial fear and reluctance to assume the responsibility, and maybe their financial readiness too. But I guess in the end, what made them decide to work things out are two things: faith and love. They believe that building a family together is what the Lord wants from them and they love each other enough to rise above their personal issues. Although it wasn’t the most ideal situation, they made the best out of it by working hard to build a good life. May these two things guide us too as we face the many challenges of raising and keeping our families together.
Day #18: Amidst the whirlwind of christmas parties, get-togethers, reunions, special events, and shopping, my fervent prayer is this: Lord, unrush me.
Day #19: May prayer tonight: Lord, may I find the time, space, and energy in this busy season to prepare my heart for the coming of Jesus.
Day #20: Where did Baby Jesus go? I feared that the world had forgotten him.
I have always had this dream of making Christmas special for my students and so this year with the help of my colleagues in the level, I dared myself to achieve it, through service learning. Today, our Grade 2 students surprised the dedicated Outsourced Staff of our school from the auxilliary, security, and canteen department with gifts that they wish to receive this Christmas. Gifts as simple as pang noche buena, bagong helmet para mapalitan na yung sira, disenteng T-shirt, wall fan, laruang pambata, gift certificate sa isang restaurant para makakain sa masarap ang pamilya, nebulizer para sa 3 month old baby na kailangan pang ibyahe at dalin sa ospital kapag hinihika, at madaming pang “kahit ano po basta bukal sa pusong” hiling ngayong pasko.
To make Christmas special for my students. That was the dream, that was the plan and today, we achieved it. It became special because for a change, there was a reversal of roles. The ates and kuyas who provide them help, care, and protection in school everyday were the ones at the receiving end. They were the ones smiling from ear to ear, squealing in delight, tearing up in joy, not quite believing that the simple yet deepest desires of their hearts this Christmas were granted by the Grade 2 students. Special because for a change, it puts Christmas in a different light. My student, Neena, sums up the exprience beautifully when she said, “We did not get any gift from them. (Instead) We gave them gifts, (yet) it also feels soooo good. My partner keeps on thanking me and I (just) keep on smiling and smiling (at him) because I am thinking, I might have given him the best Christmas.”
Where did Baby Jesus go? My students have not forgotten him. In fact today, these kids just gave him the best tribute.
Day #21: Bianca woke up excited this morning because she’s going to spend time with her bestfriend, Cathy, today. They rarely see each other since Cathy goes to another school now and lives far from our place. They miss each other so much that each time they part ways, they would start counting the days till their next sleep over. They would both wait in joy and in quiet anticipation for that day to come, and when it finally does, I imagine, it must probably feels like Christmas for both of them. Are you waiting for Christmas the same way too? Four days to go before this much anticipated occassion, are your hearts ready for Baby Jesus?
Day #22: My fervent advent prayer: May the lost and missing find their way home. May their angels bring them safely home.
Day #23: Advent is a season of waiting and waiting is one thing we are never really good at. We often wonder, why do we have to wait long before we get the answer to our prayers? I guess sometimes God forces us to wait to remind us that it is His story, His plans, and His promises. He forces us to wait so it is clear to us that He is in control. He forces us to wait so we may learn to fully trust that He will deliver and save, as He promised.
Day #24: Tonight, I raise a glass of warm chocolate milk in holiday cheer and wish you and yours a very merry christmas. If you are lucky enough to be blissfully celebrating this special occassion with your whole family right now, I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and keep you together. If, on the otherhand, you are miles away from them, longing, or still grieving over their loss, or even lacking in want or in need, I pray that you find completeness, joy, and peace in Jesus. May He be enough for you this CHRISTmas and may you allow His loving presence to fill your heart with so much joy such that there will be no room in it for anything other than endless gratitude and love. Have a bliss/blessFULL CHRISTmas everyone.
Day #25: The birth of Jesus Christ, next to His crucifixion, was the most momentous event in the history of the world. It became the focal point of all history. Everything before Christ looked forward to His birth, and everything since then looks back at Him. It was such a crucial event that now all the world numbers years according to it. B.C. means “before Christ”, and A.D. means “anno domini,” “in the year of our Lord.” (John MacArthur Jr.)—His birth, which we know now as CHRISTmas, changed the world. Happy birthday, Jesus.

Lenten Diary 2017 (A Summary)

Dear God, we’re still able to smile despite difficulties because your Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior (and not some easter bunny), has shown us clearly that at end of each season of suffering comes resurrection. Victory is indeed ours, thanks to your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.????????
Dear God, I pray that when the time comes, I will also be given the chance to spend my last day, last night with my loved ones. I pray that I will be given the chance to share a loving meal with them, serve them, and for care for them much like what Jesus did with his apostles during the last supper. May my last day, last night be something that my loved ones will also remember, Lord, not with great pain and sadness, but with deep love and fondness. I pray.????????????
Dear God, sometimes I catch myself wondering why others seemed to be more blessed than I and why they can easily have what I’ve been wanting, longing, and praying to have. I cannot help it, I get shamefully jealous sometimes of the way why you seem to favor others. What actually stops me from feeling sorry for myself is the thought that all good things in my life right now also came from you. There is no reason for me to feel this way for you have also showered me with blessings, attention, and love many times like no one else existed. For this, I am extremely grateful.????????
Dear God, bless me with a strong mind that will always choose you over anything else. Bless me with a strong heart that will forever please and love you. Bless me with a hopeful spirit that will soar with so much strength, nothing in this world can weigh it down. Bless me.????????
Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses but not once for my thorns. I realized what really changes me for the better, moves me to persevere in life, and drives me close to you are not really the comforts in this life but the discomfort that comes with every trial, failure, sorrow, or defeat I face each day. Teach me then to love and value my thorns as much as my roses, Lord. Make me realize that it is through tears that I will see my rainbow. Remind me each day that for every thorn that pierce my heart and soul there is a (Your) corresponding grace.????????
Dear God, today I witnessed another batch of students graduate. It is funny how the most common thing I hear parents say during graduation is, “how time flies” when in reality, time has been moving at the exact same speed our whole lives. Today, it dawned on me that time has always been faithful to every heartbeat. It isn’t moving at a rapid rate as what we want to believe. It moves in a set pattern, rather leisurely, like how it has always been. As a parent, I pray Lord that I may learn to cultivate a mindful heart that purposely seek and desire only the things that matter, so I won’t completely miss out on my child’s growing years. Please send your holy spirit to guide me, so I won’t become too busy building a career I would forget about building a good life for my family. When the time comes that I see my child all grown up, Lord, may I marvel not on the years that may seem to have gone in a blur but rather, on the years that I have personally witnessed my child grow into the person you want her to be come. ????????????
Dear God, bless me with your grace so I may learn to cultivate a grateful heart that always seek to magnify you. When I find myself in difficult circumstance, Lord, send me your holy spirit so that I may focus on your goodness and speak only of gratitude and praise. ???????????? #
Dear God, today I was with my doctor and we were discussing the impact of my activities and non activities these past 3 months to my health. As a woman, I have this automatic and instinctive way of nurturing and caring for others but sad to say, I tend to neglect caring for myself. Bless me with the strength and willpower Lord so I will be disciplined enough to feed my body with the right food and commit to a good form of exercise. Bless me with wisdom and prudence so I will be mindful of the attitude I adapt and take everyday, and the nourishment I give my soul. May I never forget that my body is your temple. You dwell within me therefore I should learn to care for it properly, make it strong, and keep it healthy. ????????????
Dear God, I read somewhere that life is a series of happy accidents and chance encounters. Personally, I think it is more like a series of Hand-written stories and events lovingly authored by you. Things, good or bad, unfold not because the universe conspires to make them happen but because Your mighty and divine intervention cause them to happen so that we can receive the fullness of your grace. ????????????
Dear God, today an old friend asked me, has it ever occured to you to remarry and start a new family? Don’t you long for another partner who will take care of you? Kawawa ka naman. For a while there, I was taken aback not by her questions but by the way she seemed to perceive my choice of staying single pitiful. Thanks to you Lord, I do not feel neglected at all nor missing out on anything. I am not saying it does not get lonely because it does sometimes but at this point, there is nothing I desire more than this relationship I have with you. In you, I feel blessed and complete. In you, I find contentment, joy, and peace that no other man can ever give. Continue to strengthen me in your word and spirit Lord, so I may remain faithful and devoted to you always. ????????
Dear God, when you delay, I often forget that You know what is best. Today I am reminded of this…you are never late, I just have to learn to trust and wait. Your timing is perfect, I shouldn’t run impulsively ahead of you. You know the precise moment I’ll be needing your blessing and grace. ????????????
Dear God, today I lift up to you my dreams. I believe no desire will ever be placed in my heart unless You intend for me to fullfill it. All I long to be and long to do for you are within the possibilities of faith. Since you have it all for me, I can make each of these dreams to come true. ????????
Dear God, today I realize something that I wish every teacher would know as well. I realized that my mission as a teacher isn’t really to teach, it has always been to love. For when it is love that moves me inside the classroom, it becomes easy to do more and be more for my students. It becomes easy to stretch my patience and to seek better ways to enagage my students in learning. It becomes easy to assure them, to affirm them, to understand them, to listen to them, and to help them in the classroom. Stretch our hearts teachers as wide as possible Lord, and fill them to the fullest with love.????????
Dear God, today I was with a friend and she was having one of those desperate days. I saw despair in her eyes but also, this glimmer of hope. She said something that truly struck me. She said, sa awa ng Diyos makakaraos din kami. At that moment I realized, hope finds its strength in helplessness and faith is what really sustains us through desperate days. I pray Lord, that every person who finds himself having one of those desperate days be able to draw strength and hope in your mercy. ???????? #Lent2017
Dear Lord, last week, I decided to write in my prayer journal the exact amount I need to cover the cost of my car repair. I remember asking you intently for it. Today just before the week ends, I received a dividend from one of my investments and true enough, the envelope contains the exact amount I need to cover the impending expense. I realize, it is really the aimlessness of my prayers sometimes that accounts for so many of my seemingly unanswered prayers. For really, if I make my request earnest and my petitions specific, you’ll give me definite answers and if I take your word and your promise that you will always provide and care for me, not one of heaven’s blessings will be denied to me.????????????
Dear Lord, when I fall into the trap of negative thoughts, make me realize that whining and complaining about my situation will not do me any good. Help me instead to draw strength from everything that comes my way. Whether good or bad, right or wrong, may each circumstance I find myself in turn me into a better person.????????????
Dear St. Joseph, may you continue to watch over us, widows and orphans, the same way you watched over Mary and Jesus. We entrust our needs to you, during times of uncertainty and trouble, we rest in the knowledge that you are present always to keep us from harm. May all fathers develop the same quiet strength and loving devotion that you have for your family. Continue to intercede for us and bring us closer to Jesus more. ???????????? #Lent2017 #LettertoStJ
Dear God, when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration, I am glad there’s always heaven to look up to and you to call on. Thank you for being just a prayer away. ????????????
Dear God, help me fix my eyes on you. Help me focus on your graces and not on my problems and difficulties. Help me focus my attention on your blessings and not on the missed chances or opportunities. When I am starting to get discouraged, send me hope and when my patience is wearing thin, stretch me with your love more. Help me fix my eyes on you Lord.????????????
Dear God, you clearly own my tomorrow. I have complete trust in your great design for me. I know you always have my best interest at heart. You’ve brought me this far and I am sure that you’ll take me even farther than my hopes and dreams.????????
Dear God, train my eyes so I will learn to see the beauty in others. Train my tongue so I will learn to speak only the language of respect and love. Train my mind so I will have nothing but good thoughts about others. Train my heart so I will learn to easily forgive and understand shortcomings and mistakes. When I thread the path of self-righteousness, Lord, let your Holy Spirit guide and lead me back to you. ????????
Dear God, teach me how to demonstrate love in big and small ways. Teach me how to be humble enough to admit and owe up to my miatake. Teach me how to speak only with kindness. Teach me how to value people the same way you value me. Teach me how to show genuine mercy and compassion towards others so they may always see and feel your love through me.????????
Dear God, teach me to find miracles in the mundane and ordinary so I won’t have to demand big things from you before I believe in your capacity to meet my needs. Train my eyes to see the blessings that you so generously give everyday so I won’t need convincing of how a great a Father you are. Open my heart and mind so that I may understand that the wonders and signs of your love aren’t always spectacular. In fact, they are oftentimes quite plain and simple, yet amazingly wonderful and beautiful as the great ones. ????????????
Dear God, with your grace make me into this kind of woman everyday: Firm yet loving. Strong yet compassionate. Fearless yet wise. Gentle yet tough. Turn me into the kind of woman who is not afraid to fully embrace triumph and defeat, and joy and sadness in her life. Inspire me to be the kind of woman who deliberately works at creating for her family a home of quiet refuge, where faith, hope, love, and charity thrive. ????????
Dear God, sometimes I feel anxious when you do not respond to my prayers quickly. I have to remind myself a dozen times that you simply don’t do things in haste because you want everything to be perfect when you finally grant my request. When I start to become impatient Lord, please bless me with forebearance so I may learn to joyfully wait for your answers. When I start to lose hope, bless me with wisdom so that I may understand that I will get my answer in YOUR own perfect time. ????????
Dear God, you’ve been attentive and faithful to my every need, how can I not feel loved by you?! When I feel small and insignificant, your grace moves me to do great things. When I feel discouraged, your spirit fills me with joy. When I feel worthless, I only have to look at you on the cross and I’m reminded of my value. Your sufferings and death alone show just how important I am to you. Clearly, I belong to you and for that, you have my heart forever. ????????❤️
Dear God, I trust and thank you for everything you permit me to go through. I know that in the end, they will work out for my good for nothing comes my way that has not first passed through the filter of your love. ????????❤️
Dear God, in the face of difficulty and uncertainty, I choose to give thee thanks and praise, and a promise to trust where I cannot understand. ????????❤️

Of paper airplanes and little boys

I have an ongoing love-hate relationship with this boy because he won’t write properly and would purposely make his answers wrong so he can annoy me. He came home one day with papers screaming red marks and smugly told me he would tell his wowa his tutor sucks. I knew better than to argue with him. The next day, I found him crying because he just learned that instead of 3 days in a week, her wowa wants us to tutor 4 days instead.???? Talk about major backfire.????
Most of the time we want to strangle each other, but there are also those rare moments when we would find ourselves doubled up in laughter because of some funny joke or pausing in the middle of studying to do a quick game of tic-tac-toe. When he’s not crying and whining, I think I love him and when, I am not nagging and bossing him, I think he loves me too.
Yesterday, before I left him for summer, he gave me 2 paper airplanes and when I was getting inside my car, he told uncharacteristically he does not want to see me again. But then, as I was slowly driving away, I caught him in my rearview mirror with a sad wistful look on his face. And, just when he thought I wasn’t looking, just before I made a turn to speed away, I caught him making quick gestures. He was blowing kisses towards my car. Sometimes I really do think he loves me and you know what, just between you and me, I think I love him too. ????????
Dear God, thank you for this little boy who stretches my patience and tests my limits. Thank you for the opportunity to teach him, however hard and trying it may seem sometimes. Thank you for giving me the chance to mold him into the kind of boy you want him to be. I believe that out of difficulties grow miracles. Let him be one of my miracles.????????????

This 2017…

I pray that you will have a blessed, wonderful year ahead. May you continue to dream big with the Lord and allow His mighty presence to fill your hearts and home with joy this new year. May you grow and bloom in faith and be filled with a burning passion to do good and be better than you once were.
Sometime this year, I hope you commit to a scary goal and with the boldest of courage, dare to achieve it. When things do not go as planned, may you discover and realize how beautifully mysterious and amazing God’s plan is, and with blind faith and trust learn to fully embrace it. Wherever you may find yourself this year, may it be at the peak of happiness and success or at the depth of grief, despair, or sorrow, may this thought always remain with you: no matter what happens, life is good. God is good. He loves you.????????????

Proudly Woodrose

A former student once asked me, what makes you stay in Woodrose? I’ve but one answer, family. Woodrose is where I found my family and family, it isn’t always blood.
Families take care of their own, I have witnessed this many times in this institution. I remember when my husband was rushed to the ER following a massive heart attack, it was Mrs. Tina Elloso, then Level Coordinator for Administration and present Grade School Principal of Woodrose, who readily accompanied me to the hospital. As traumatic and heartbreaking it must’ve been for her to see a fellow wife lose herself in grief, she remained by my side in that moment of deep sorrow to provide the strength I needed at that time. On the eve of Bianca’s surgery, it was Mrs. Au Sergio Katindoy, former Grade School Principal and now Head of Administration of Woodrose, who sent me comforting words thru text. The thoughful way she checked on us that midnight before Bianca went under the knife meant a lot because it made Bianca and I feel less alone. When things took a turn for the worse, it was Mrs. Luz Illagan, Director for Finance and Administration of Woodrose, who reassured me right away that she will always extend whatever assistance I need in the best of her capacity, and to this day, she remains true to her word. Bianca’s first visitor at home after she was discharged from the hospital was surprisingly Dra. Severina Villegas, Paref Woodrose’s Executive Director. Like the others, she took time to travel all the way to Cavite to show Bianca how much she cares. “To lead is to serve” is not something that we just simply recite in Woodrose, it is what everyone does in Woodrose wholeheartedly.
I will always be grateful to Woodrose because this where I have grown professionally and spiritually, and true to its familial nature, it still continues to nurture me. Under the expert hands of Mrs. Santos Ca, I’m slowly turning into the kind of teacher I’ve always wanted to be, and given the spiritual guidance of Mrs. Anne Adizon, I’m also growing into the kind of person the Lord wants me to become.
I have been blessed with life long friends from the day I started working in Woodrose. Friends who I know will continue to be with me through the best and worst of times. Friends who treat each of my life’s journey, struggles, and triumphs as their own. These past couple of years I have been called inspiring many times, what others do not know really is behind this woman you call inspiring is a strong community of prayerful women in Woodrose who never gets tired of celebrating the goodness of the Lord. I am just simply following their lead.
A prophet once said seek the treasure that the Lord has prepared for you, and there you shall find your heart. My treasure has always been my family. Woodrose is my family. This is where my heart will always be. Others who have left said the grass is greener on the other side, well I say from where I’m standing in Woodrose, the grass has never looked this greener and more beautiful.
Thank you Woodrose for the 10 wonderful years. I look forward to more. To everyone who have been part of my 10 years in Woodrose, thank you. To the parents I’ve worked with and who have done more for me, thank you for the genuine care, respect, and trust. To my present and former students and mentees, thank you for bringing so much love and joy in my life. You make me proud to be Woodrose’s “Mrs. Dela Cruz.”