Monday, December 31, 2012

One Last Note for 2012

It started with an unexpected turn at work. But God provides for He blessed me with a better job, a generous and wonderful boss plus the coolest, sanity-saving colleagues. Many of my dreams were fulfilled, a number of my prayers were granted. I met new people; was reunited with college friends and a certain person, who I don't often get to see but to my surprise, has been in my life all along -- and I hope and pray that it is also in His plan that years from now, this person would eventually be the answer to my prayer and that this individual will stay in my life for good. Yes, I am not expecting it in the soonest time for I believe that the things worth having will always be worth waiting for.

It is my ardent hope that the blessings will continue to pour for this coming yer. Nevertheless, indeed, God is true to His promises.

Thank you Lord for the blessings and for answering majority of my prayers. Sayonara and thank you 2012 for being so nice to me. I'll surely miss you. Looking forward to the beauty and the wonderful surprises that 2013 will bring.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A December Weekend Lunch at Italianni's

It's the last weekend of the year. And if there was one nice thing about going to work while everyone else is savoring their lengthy vacation, it's receiving unexpected surprises. Case in point, the following photo:

Another dream come true before the year ends. :-)
A few weeks before Christmas, one of our lawyers in the firm, Suzette informed me that she was coming home for the holidays. And as soon as I returned in the office last Thursday to work the last two remaining workdays of the year, one of the secretaries told me that I should really get in touch with her because she wanted to see us. And upon getting Suzette's number, we ironed out plans about meeting up.

Funny but I was both on work and planning mode at the same time. I was communicating between her, my other office mate Karla (the girl in pink printed dress) and Duncan who was unable to join us because he was spending the holidays in Pangasinan.  We only finalized the meeting place the night before our scheduled meet up.

I was up early last Saturday. Blame it with my working hours or out of excitement but I will not deny any of those; because when I first found out that Suzette was from Manila (she joined the law firm three weeks after I came in in March of this year), I already hoped that I would eventually meet her. And fast forward to nine months, it happened. The three of us met at Italianni's in Glorietta 4. And what more would be expected? I was in a way, star strucked meeting Suzette for the first time (yes despite when she told Karla and I that she sat next to Coco Martin on her flight from Hongkong to Manila).

Just like the other peeps in the Australian office, Suzette was so cheerful and was also excited to have finally met us because she only hears our voices on the phone. Of course, we talked about a lot of things mostly about how it was in the Land Down Under. But then, what happens in Italianni's stays in Italianni's so I could not divulge them here.

Our weekend lunch was one of the best things to cap off the month. And Suzette was hoping to meet up with us again before she flies back to Australia as work resumes on January 7.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Christmas Card for Dalton

To set a world record is this child's one wish. To some, this could be one out of whim endeavor. If not for one thing:

The little boy who hopes for it to happen only has days if not months to live.

While browsing news articles this morning, I came across the story of 9-year old Dalton Dingus. It was a story that was enough to bring me to tears. You see, this boy was given by his parents everything he wished for for Christmas. But his ultimate wish is that he live to break a Guinness record, and for a long, long time after that.  

To break a Guiness record, is this 9 year old's dying wish. Dylan is suffering from stage 4 cystic fibrosis and doctors had given up on him.

I know, Christmas was days ago. But when I read about this, realizing how people answered the call, I decided that I should do my share too -- after all, I knew I could do something. So before going home, I dropped by the bookstore and chose this card:

They did not give a deadline for sending the cards. But then, better late than never. Thankfully, the news article included Dalton's address. However, since the post office will be closed starting tomorrow until after New Year, I shall be asking my mom to mail this card for me. I had written a message in that card and I can't help but get teary-eyed as I jot the words.

More than being a part of Dalton's success in making it to the Guinness Book of Records, all I wanted was to fulfill a boy's simple wish in my own little way. Like what I have said, God also granted most of my wishes, and now that someone is asking for his own,  which I knew I could fulfill, I want to give it back. And I hope people too will continue to help him reach his goal.

It is my hope that my little contribution will make it to Dalton's door in time.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday Inspiration

Shot using my Nokia X2-01 in Sepia
Often the things that we don't mind are ones that surprise us; the person you thought was just "someone" may actually be "the one", and when you come to think of it, just when you never noticed, you'll soon realize the person has been in your life all along.

In the end, it hits you:  This is what "MEANT TO BE" is all about.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What I Got and Gave for Christmas

It's another Christmas Day! And one of the things that we all look forward are gifts. I have not wrapped gifts for quite a while. It only resumed last year and since then I thought of doing it as if it's a tradition.

I was not really anticipating a lot of gifts to be wrapped. I did some last minute gift purchases the afternoon of 24th. But my brother came home with the presents he brought and realizing that mom was still busy with preparing the food for Noche Buena, I just told him to leave it with me. I finished wrapping these three hours before midnight. And while I am not normally fond of wrapping gifts, (I always leave it with gift wrapping counters in the mall) I did the work since last year -- thanks to that episode of My Binondo Girl, I learned the tricks of the trade from Kim Chiu. These gifts range from toys, DVD, a watch, a huge pillow, books and dress.

I also received some tokens from my office mates. From chocolates, trinkets, beauty stuff, a very cute wallet and another year's supply of stationery and notepads (yup. I still have the gift from last year).

What's Christmas without the aguinaldo. I used to give out red Chinese envelopes but when my then office mate (who is Chinese) said those are for New Year and birthdays, I resort to using these money enclosures instead.

This holiday was also a time to fulfill both a wishful thought and a childhood dream. Two months before my birthday, I thought that I'd own an Apple gadget by the time I am 28; perhaps anytime in 2013. I finally got my wish three weeks before Christmas out of my 13th month pay. I just settled for an iPod Shuffle because aside from it's what I could afford, I knew I don't need something downright frivolous just for the experience.

Now, getting a snow globe has a different story. I had been fascinated with snow globes as a child and while it was years ago, I still get amazed whenever I see one so last Saturday, I finally got myself this Santa snow globe which sits on my table in my bedroom -- and it's enough to remind me of Christmas.

I hope your Christmas went as wonderful as you wanted it to be. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Promise

Dear ________,

Tonight is another Christmas Eve. How are you? I never thought that this night would come and I would find myself writing you this note. As I type every word, I wonder how your Christmas Eve is like – if it's the same as mine or if it is rather different.

As for me, I believe Christmas Eve is just the same to how it was years ago. I hate to take the seasonal joke that I am renewing my membership with the SMP group but then, it is somewhat true (at least weather wise).

More than thinking of how stagnant my Christmas Eve is, I can't help but think about you and how your Christmas Eve will be. And this is something new for me. Just a few weeks ago, I came across your page and read some of your posts. Some of them made me laugh, most of them left me amused, a few gave me a glimpse that you somewhat had a strong personality too.

Then there was this post that made me cry. I don't know why but it made me do two things that I have not done for so long. I could not even remember when the last time I sobbed so hard and so long was; but on the night I read what you have written, I found myself crying my heart out.

I just knew that unintentionally, I was shedding tears for someone else's grief and it's not a common thing. For the longest time I wondered how it is like coming home to someone else. Being welcomed by someone you see as significant after a long, tiring day and being asked how it has been. And coming across your words, I realized that in a way, someone else feels that way too. But I never expected that person to be you.

You have always told me that things happen for a purpose; I suppose there is one reason why just like you, I'm still on my own this Christmas Eve. I don’t know what will be in store for me for completing the nine evening novena masses this year. But despite finding it difficult to express my thoughts, I tried hard to tell God about my hope for an answered prayer to something I have been asking Him for so long. Years ago, I made a promise – to take care and stand by the side of someone I thought He had planned for me. While I knew I seriously wanted to fulfill this pledge, God has His reason why He declined. I told God I could not promise Him anything in exchange for my request. And this year, I asked Him again if He could grant me the opportunity to fulfill that once broken promise – this time, hopefully, with you.

The answer to my Christmas request is still a work in progress. And if God would allow it, I pledge that Mickey Mouse will no longer be lonesome and lonely anymore because at the end of each day, I will be the Minnie Mouse who will welcome you home.

One Wish, Nine Lessons

A few hours ago, I just finished the nine masses of Simbang Gabi. I was able to do it for four consecutive years and the last time I accomplished the cycle was back in 2009. I had to set it aside for two years primarily because of work-related obligations.

But this year was different -- totally at that. A lot of good things had happened to me recently and realizing that my schedule finally allowed me to fit going to church for the said endeavor, I really blocked the dates of December 15-23 to perform a sacrifice. It was also more of an out of whim desire for me to do something which I missed doing. But as I get to accomplish one night to the other, I realized that in every mass, I get to pick up a valuable lesson.

I wrote each thought in a memo cube in my desk at the office every single day.
And since I'll be on vacation, I took this home to continue and 
kept it in 
the page of the Bible which was a wedding gift to my parents.

In case, you can't read my handwriting  the following are what I picked up in the nine nights I attended the novena masses:

  1. The best way to show love and respect is to be willing to WAIT for the right time.
  2. A legitimate child comes from the womb. But an adopted child comes from the HEART.
  3. A bad news could eventually become a good news.
  4. If you know how to believe in the impossible, that is when and where MIRACLES happen. CHRISTMAS is a time for miracles.
  5. Saying YES to God does not guarantee that you will be free from problems. Instead, God will assure you that He will be with you during your life's difficult times.
  6. If you serve others, do it wholeheartedly and God will take care of the rest.
  7. Christmas is not about fulfilling the needs of the world, but fulfilling our needs as individuals. It's not about the decorations. The real meaning of Christmas is about Jesus being born in our hearts.
  8. Greetings, more than just "hi" and "hello" are affirmations. And when you affirm someone, always look on the optimistic side. People who affirm with optimism creates a path that leads to meaningful relationships.
  9. No matter how wonderful things seem to be, we all have our own realities to face. Despite of unanswered prayers, remember that God has something special in store for us.
Now, they say that once you complete the nine masses, you are entitled for a wish. It was the least thing in my mind. I had a hard time searching for words to verbalize what I was to ask for until I was halfway through doing this form of sacrifice. I will be giving out a huge lie if I said I did not dare to wish for something. I admit, I did ask too. But what I realized in the end was that doing this as a sacrifice was worth it. It was not easy to wake up as early as 4:30 am to go to work and come home at 10:00 pm from the mass, but God provided me the strength and worked miracles on my schedule just so I will still have the energy to make it to church. And when I think of it, God has been so kind to hear many of my prayers and doing this act that comes once in a year is the least thing I could do to give back with all the blessing that He has provided me with.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday Pastime

This was how my office's computer screen looked like yesterday.

Try it for yourself. Click here.

That's what you call Google Gravity. Blame it on my office mate, Sunny, I found a new toy :-p

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking


"When a wife loses a husband, she is called a widow. When a husband loses his wife, he is called a widower. When a child loses his parents, he is called an orphan. But when parents lose a child, there is no name for it."

I first heard these words from a Homily in the mass Fr. Jerry Orbos officiated  years ago and it made a mark. Today, I ponder on it again as I read through the horrifying shooting incident at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.When I first saw the Facebook status of one of my friends living in the United States, I did not have an inkling of what was happening. But as days passed, I would read one article after the other about the death of 26 people, 20 of whom are children the same age as my nephew and my godchild.

As I read every news on the internet everyday, questions and convictions form in my mind. More than just a venue of learning, schools are supposed to be a place where there is a feeling of security as it resembles the home.These kids died young and could have made a difference if they were only given the chance to live.

But they died in a senseless, brutal manner -- and they don't deserve that.

These children died happily anticipating Christmas with their families which will never happen. It is a sad thought that the Yuletide season will never be the same for those they left behind.

My best friend and even my mom once told me, (in the event of) death of a child, half of a parent's life dies with them too -- and it's among the hardest part of being a parent. The other day, while I was in the supermarket fetching the items I was to donate for our company outreach, I could not help but discreetly shed a tear. Despite that I don't have kids yet, I felt like maternal instinct hit me. For the first time, the thought of "what if one of those kids were my son or my daughter?" entered my mind. The thought was enough to throw my heart in a pit of inexplicable grief.

I've always had the belief that children are supposed to outlive their parents and not the other way around. And it is every parent's earnest wish to be able to see their kids grow up and be who they could become. If only that could remain the same way forever. Recovering from a harrowing ordeal as this would take years. I pray that the families of the victims would somehow find comfort from our prayers and in the assurance that in time, Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What's Your Christmas Anthem?

Aside from the prevalence of shoppers hitting the malls, the presence of  Christmas decorations and the cold mornings (which does not seem to be so lately), you would know that Christmas is just around the corner if you get to hear Yuletide hymns being played left and right.

I've been so used to hearing a lot of those Christmas songs. From the the old ones of the Jackson 5 (yeah, it's revealing how OLD I am) to the likes of Mariah Carey and Britney Spears. But if there would be anthems that would remind me of Christmas, it would be these two:

Whenever I hear Merry Christmas Darling by the Carpenters, that's the right smack sign that tells me it's Christmas time. Yes, the message itself is somewhat gloomy (READ: the song that fits the members of Samahan ng Malalamig ang Pasko) but thankfully, our own OPM artists came up with their own rendition. Right now, I prefer Kitchie Nadal's version as it gives the song a cheery, hopeful vibe.

See? You would just want to dance with it rather than sulk and be depressed in bed -- which is not the spirit of Christmas.

Another one that I love is Last Christmas by the group Wham. I know for sure that there are some people singing this and hoping that, just like how the lines in the song says, this year their heart would go to someone special.

I'm not really thinking much of the message of the song but this reminded me of this weird and funny side story. In January of this year, I had this out of whim, (as in wala lang) thought in my head that if I do hear any Christmas song played not during the Christmas season, I'll finally "have someone special" next year. I did not take that seriously, but guess what? I heard this song being played on the radio, not during the "ber" month but in a warm summer afternoon. And it happened not just once but two times--April 26, 2012 and May 30, 2012 and it really made my goosebumps rise in disbelief. But then again, while it made me smile, I would rather dismiss the thought and take it as just a silly coincidence.

How about you, are you humming to any Christmas song as well? Do you have a Yuletide playlist that you listen to nowadays? Drop me a line and let's sing to that! :-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Know I Should Start Preparing

It's going to be Christmas in 10 days and seriously, I seem to have forgotten how each day passed by. It was that swift. While today is a Friday and I am home, I feel like I have left my mind at my desk at work. I still have not thought of how I'm going to spend the short Christmas break that I'm about to have, the gift has not been purchased, the appointment that I should make to meet my dentist and my optometrist still has not been made.

If there is one thing that's easy to accomplish is what to give the kids.

I have the weekend to fix a few things on my list although I don't plan to stay for hours outdoors because I have a personal mission to accomplish. I hope that God will give me all the strength that I need. After all, I have not done this form of sacrifice in years.

This note is going to be useful in a lot of situations!
I better get a restful sleep tonight. For sure, that's all I need and my brain's regenerated to think by tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Cents Worth Wednesday: Fifty Shades of Grey

"Katherine often teases me that I'm missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven't met anyone who... well, I'm attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.

Sometimes, I wonder if there's something wrong with me. Perhaps, I've spent too long in the company of literary heroes, and consequently, my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody's ever made me feel like that."

-Anastasia Steele, female protagonist, Fifty Shades of Grey-

These are mushy lines of fiction I know. But who would have expected that what I have always thought of my current state could be found in the page of a rather controversial best seller.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Appeased by the Butterflies

I had a somewhat stressful day at work. And while I'm not much of a fan of Tori Amos, her voice singing Sleeps with Butterflies brought relief to my nerves. I particularly loved the following lines:

You say the word, you know I will find you
Or if you need some time I don't mind
I don't hold on to the tail of your kite
I'm not like the girls that you've known
But I believe I'm worth coming home to

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nine Months...and Counting

Photo: Google Images

Yesterday, I reached my ninth month of working for the Australian law firm. I joked to one of my friends that if I were pregnant (which I thankfully am NOT), I would be on full term by now and ready to welcome the delivery from the stork.

But for the past nine months, I had been blessed to receive surprises -- and by that, I mean a lot, not from the stork but from above. If you were to ask me how am I feeling now that I've reached this point, nothing has changed with the way I see it. I may not be earning money in hefty amounts but I am rich when it speaks to career experience and the professional and personal side of relationships. Most of my friends are both happy and envious (in a positive way) when I tell them of both the environment and the people that I work with. And if before, the word stress became widely used in my vocabulary, it has been replaced by challenge.

And just like my previous profession of being a writer, I have loved the adrenalin rush my job has been giving me. While I only get about six to seven hours of sleep a day (and would mean less once I start with my personal sacrifice next weekend), I don't mind coming home bone tired because at the end of the day, I get to lie down in bed complete with a fulfilled feeling and a restful mind knowing that I have accomplished something meaningful.

Nine months met and I am eagerly awaiting for three more for another milestone -- reaching my first year and if God would allow it, I'll hopefully be off to my first overseas business trip.

I know The Force will be on my side.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Two Cents Worth Wednesday: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers

"Prayer means placing ourselves at God's disposal so that, for a moment or two, He may accomplish what He has always wanted to do in us and what we never give Him a chance to."

-Louis Evely- 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Turning Tables

Photo: Deviantart

Even now, there are times I would wonder
How could it possibly be that a day like this would come.
It was both funny and odd;
For we knew each other for long.

We would meet at random circumstances
On the streets, on wakes and even on different events
We knew each other's past loves and how things went;
Regardless of how good or bad it has been
And yet, we called each other as friends even back then.

Yet here we are now years after
Renewing a friendship
That I never knew could really exist 
Laughing, talking and exchanging stories
That took years to be told
A bond that is filled with memories that who knows
We could share to each other together
Until we grow so old.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advocacy: My Dream in a Shoebox

One of the things that I await during December aside from parties and the Christmas bonus is doing something for charity. And this year, it's going to be my second time to join the project called My Dream in a Shoebox.

Taken from their websiteMy Dream in a Shoebox was the brainchild of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and TeamAsia's partnership with Children's Hour and Department of Education (DepEd). Now on its fourth year, it has become a Christmas tradition of collecting and distributing shoeboxes filled with school supplies to less fortunate Filipino children.

Just a few things

Aside from the usual wording, I just wrote
Merry Christmas from your secret Santa :-)

It caught me by pleasant surprise to find out that the charity event I am supporting is spearheaded by TeamAsia. I am familiar with this marketing communications firm because they were the organization we featured in 2010 when I was assigned by my then managing editor to be the mentor to our then neophyte writer, Jeff Zapanta for what happened to be his first writing stint and my final project (after four and a half years) with the magazine of Meralco Development Center (which is now First Pacific Learning Academy).

Anyway, we were given four options to show our participation for the project. I chose to DIY my box and shop for school supplies to be given. Mainly because I find huge delight at the sight of shopping for school supplies and because the bookstore is my happy place (second to Jollibee). And for this year, I did a little extra special by sending out a Christmas card for the child who is about to receive my gift. This is just a little share of what I could do given the blessings that I received this year.

I'm off to send this to our client services division tomorrow morning and the distribution will start on December 19. I am also in support of another organization which I will tell you in my next post.