Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Are Your Favorite Gospel Songs?

I enjoy listening to gospel songs for many reasons; a few being the message, the rhythm and of course, the artists. These days, popular music is just everywhere: in the streets, on TV and radio, in cars and iPods. Why is it popular? Well, probably because texts are unsophisticated, do not make you think about their meaning, and their melody is entertaining.

However, gospel songs talk more deeply. They are the kind that moves you on the inside. As they are becoming more popular too nowadays, the choices are endless. They go from overdramatic to low key, from old fashions to christian rock music.

But so far, these are the songs that have struck me the most.

Here In My Life by Hillsong

Hossana by Kari Jobe

Grace Flows Down by Christy Nockles

Aren't they amazing? What do you think?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pinterest Friday Finds

Have you seen Pinterest lately? It's another interesting way to explore the Web visually based on interests. Lets you save or share images easily. It's totally free!

Aren't these prints interesting?

Pinterest got you covered from food to fashions, people and places and practically everything under the sun. Check out their fabulous recipes and easy to follow DIY's.

So? check it out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

‘Ma, How Did Red Riding Hood Get Inside The Wolf?’

I am jealous of Silent Night song. You know, the part where everyone sleeps in heavenly peace? My home has been the scene of frustrating walk-offs and glares across the ceiling whenever the children are difficult. We have times of calm and lots of fun, but what concerns me is the rivalry between the two kids. At ages 2 and 7, often the competition among the two escalates to shouting matches or bullying. One of my children is so loud and stubborn that the standoff drains every bit of resolve and patience from my soul. Sometimes, I scream, glare and bully back. Sometimes I give up and walk away.

These are not my proud moments, I tell you.

And that’s how I realize why fairy tales are invented: to sedate fighting children.

Last night, to stop the kicking and yelling, we had Red Riding Hood. Since my children never bother what stories to read, it’s easy to pick from our Reader’s Digest’s The World’s Best Fairy Tales, and so I went for this one. As a standard in children's literature, Little Red Riding Hood is a little girl who makes her epic quest to her grandmother's house to visit her ailing grandmother. Along the way, the girl meets a wolf, who discovers her intent and runs on ahead to Grandmother's house. The wolf then eats Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother and awaits the girl’s arrival.

Yes, children, the wolf gobbled up Grandma.

As I continued on with the girl on the hoodie, we got to the part where Red comments on "what big" arms, legs, ears, eyes, and teeth the wolf has, which ends with the wolf saying "The better to eat you!" The wolf then "threw himself upon Little Red Riding Hood and ate her up."

Yes, children, the wolf just committed a double murder.

By this time, I came to realize that some Fairy Tales are not for kids.

After the wolf ate Little Red Cap, he fell to sleep and his snoring drew the attention of a hunter. The hunter enters the house, sees the sleeping wolf and says: "So here you are, you old sinner... I've been looking for you for a long time." Then, instead of shooting the wolf, he cuts open the wolf and lets out Little Red Cap and her grandmother.

“Ma, how did that happen?” I wish I know the answer, kid. By this time, I was as confused as them. Boy, what was I thinking..there's Cinderella, Snow White, etc..

The hunter then puts heavy stones in the wolf's stomach. When the wolf wakes up, he drops dead. The hunter then skins the wolf and goes home.

“Ma, wha—“

“I have a headache. Let us all go to sleep.”

Its on page 204!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Saying

I see children with Ipods, laptops, high end cellphones and gadgets,that were downright classy and glamorous as compared to my own children’s cars, dolls and boardgames. Yes, touch-screen cellphones are glamorous to the stuff-totting, budget-conscious, working mother-of-two like me. And I wonder if I'm setting my own children up for failure by not providing as many opportunities. Truthfully, I am sometimes bothered that my love and affection aren’t enough. And though I treat them with new books and toys occasionally, I feel that they deserve more.

Intellectually, I know that we live well. I have seen families that rely entirely from support of other people to survive. We are not like that. We hold our own and earn our keeps. Not that it is impossible to buy them these things, but in a household where milk and diapers are indispensable, these two are my top priority. It’s hard to be steady all the time, and that’s why effort to save is a must in between times of excess and need. I’ve told my eldest that sometimes things come, and things happen, along with time, patience, hard work and determination. I really hope he gets that one.

Honestly, I want our kids to be good people who are intelligent and awesome, but school, TV, playmates can be cruel, and I want to shelter my children from as much of these as I possibly can. Easier said than done, I know. I know just how crappy and ugly other kids can make you feel. I will fight anyone who makes my children feel inferior!

When I compare myself, then I find my lack, the gap between me and another who has more. How foolish of me to dwell of what I don't have rather than all that I do have! But altogether, comparison never leads to anything good. It is overall unhealthy and a habit that only feeds on itself. I don't want to gauge my life by looking at others to see 'how I'm doing.' Also, I want my children to be grateful for what they do have.

What are some ways to train gratefulness, contentedness and joy with what you've got?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Margj!

Today, friends, you got to know Margj. Her name spells a little different. Others ended with e like Marge of The Simpsons, or the more common Margie. She is, by birth, Margarita. We know each other for good 16 years now. She's also a fantastic writer, and, like, me, isn't afraid to admit that, during younger days, she was socially awkward too especially in front of her crush. However, gone are the days of boys and crushes but we remain friends even now that she lives half way across the world. If anything, she adores cats, loves chocolates and would die for anything “romantic”.

Happy Birthday.

Payat ka pa dito!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sister!

My sister turned big 4-0 today and whether she admits it or not, we are the same in many ways. Although she sported longer hair these days, and is (argh!) slimmer, we are difficult to tell apart, like peas in a pod. We both have short frames, prominent jaws and chunky built. We are also both conformist, traditional in life views. I suppose that’s part of the reason why our handwriting are quite identical. Because, I am, like what Sharon Cuneta calls it, her second-rate, trying-hard copy cat. Back in the days, I just want to be like her. Oh, she sings very well. She’ll kill me for telling, but I remember her in a singing contest. That night, she came home with a movie ticket as a consolation prize!

Ate, from too many years ago with baby Mike

Psychology and child experts tell us constantly of the importance of the older sibling in a child’s life – how they teach the younger one about life and the world, how they set an example and how those sibling bonds only strengthen with age.

I agree 100 percent with that last assertion, though the hardness of time taught us to become self-contained and not too “clingy”, she lends stability and security that are usually seen on mothers, not sisters. Only, she cracks the corniest joke, and sneezes almost annoyingly. She wouldn’t stop until she wet her eyes.

But now, more than ever, I want her to be happy. I want her to fully believe in herself. I want her to see how beautiful she is. I want her to see herself as others see her. I want her to be proud of herself because she’s grown into one amazing woman, sister and friend.

Once a teacher, always a teacher!

Happy Birthday, Ate. Your little sister loves you dearly.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year That Was 2011

While others are busy making resolutions this time, well, I thought of why not do a Year In Review? And since this will be a start of a series for many a year to come, you can take it as a year-ender or something like the kind you see on TV. Only, there aren’t many highlights. Thanks to my husband who did not even attempt to take me anywhere.

I don't need to chronicle the events of 2011 in detail since most of the major ones are listed in the archives. You know, those little boxes with caption down below that says “You Might Also Like”. Instead I'm going to reflect a bit on how those events affected me.

I would like to believe that I am better with words, than with numbers. And so, reading and writing has always been a huge part of me. I remember getting addicted to comics when I was eight. And that’s when my parents taught that some good spanking would served me well. I likewise started young scribbling words to complete a story. And these unpublished stories are what my children look up to every night. They have now become the giants, and fairies, and princesses in my own fairy-tales.

Unfortunately, since I seemed to have a natural gift for writing pretty well, I took the skill for granted and never pushed myself to become better. I think this had to do with my most hated emotion and the one that I seem to be constantly battling: fear. I was afraid to find out that "pretty well" was the best that I could do. I was afraid that, while I might be a star in the Little League, that I could never compete in the Majors. I'd done too much stagnating for many years though, and it was time to either face the truth if I stop making excuses and write like I've always wanted to do. For whatever reason, I chose to blog as a means to figure out if my writing was totally skipabble, forgetabble, or not.

It was about this time last year that I took blogging a bit more serious. Although some of my posts can barely pass for school essays, and my stories weren’t funny and exciting like others, in any case they were honest and sincere. To fully appreciate what is it for me to bare myself open, you would have to know how impossible it is for me to talk about Missing Father and Senior Moment, let alone personal fears and insecurity in If I Have No Fear and Does She. My apology for babbling and emoting.

2011 also saw the dawn of my new vocation, well, this time in teaching. I was tasked to talk in the church every third Sunday and not a quitter, I hate averting challenges. So I faced it head on but there are days that my uncertainties storm my head like giant hails. It made me completely mental as told in Quo Vadis, but fortunately things turned out in ways that I could have never imagined. Sorry for not making sense here, I’ll probably discuss this in future posts.

What I'm getting to in a much longer route than I had anticipated was that this blog has made the difference for me this year. On a writing level, it helped me to maintain a better--though still not brilliant--writing schedule. It's also given me some confidence that my writing might not be completely crappy given the positive feedback that I've received about it. I am so grateful to entertain you people.

On a personal level, I am thankful for the friends I did not know a year ago. Andy of Jec and the Beans Talk and Dai Ling and just recently Sagittarian. And to people I have forever, my BFF, my support system, my friends for life, Margj of Between You and Me and Dio of Sense and Sensibility. Thanks for all your comments. They made me feel I am not blogging for myself alone. They, and all of you dear readers, are a blessing that I never, ever saw coming.

So here we are, one more trip around the sun, one of several billion before and several billion to come. I pray that everyone will have a blast in this 2012. If anything, this New Year is a reminder of the fact that somehow despite of the many mistakes we’ve had; we are really doing just fine.