Getting It

Reading a chapter or verse from the Bible does not automatically make you get it just as you can’t fly a plane after a 2-hour, one-on-one session with a professional pilot. Getting it, really learning it, takes time and constant practice depending on the subject matter. I remember when I was a little girl, about 7 years of age, I couldn’t read the clock properly. My knowledge was limited to hourly readings. I don’t think I really got it until I was ten or twelve. It took me years to read time–whether it be in quarters and halves–properly and correctly with ease. That was five years ago and the things I learned were simpler. Lately, things have been tough.

Growing up in a Christian home, I thought I already knew the Bible. I do know and understand Biblical doctrine (at least half of it) at the back of my hand and with conviction, but I didn’t know I haven’t gotten it just yet. How do I know? Well, for the past few months since 2011 started, I was compromising. A lot. I generalized one sin after another, saying it can be condoned because it’s not that bad. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until I found myself in the aftermath of all my actions. Bitterness, ill-thinking, gluttony (it was still there all along), selfishness, and pride slowly but surely paved their way into my heart one compromise at a time. The effect was staggering. Since my temperament make-up tends towards the introvert side, I don’t throw wild tantrums or instigate quarrels with my family and friends. I find it more terrifying to be the silent type. Ika nga, nasa loob ang kulo ko. When I reach my boiling point, instead of whistling, I well up with emotions–sorrow, bitterness, anger–you name it.  This is the same girl who grew up memorizing all 66 books of the Bible by heart, singing Psalty songs, and teaching young kids in Sunday school. Saints can get pretty messed up, too.

What I was trying to “get” was totally unreachable. God Himself already said it:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

– Isaiah 55:9

“Child, getting it completely is not the point. Obedience and love is.”

I can never fully understand God’s ways until I see Him face to face! 🙂  His love is unfathomable. In effect, I was trying to see if my knowledge can match with God. Obviously, my effort failed. He did not ask me to know Him completely in one sitting or in one year. For this reason, the Bible often makes use of the verb seek. “Seek and you will find.”  A stomach stops seeking food and water when it is full. The Bible says seek His face. Seek the Lord. Day in, day out. You can never be “full” with God that you have to pause and say, “I can take it from here. Thanks, God.”

” My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

– Psalm 27:8

A true child of God will hear and feel his heart cry this statement out: SEEK His face! A true child of God who has wasted plenty of time in worldly affairs will eventually hunger and thirst for true spiritual feeding. Getting it, coming to your senses, is the first step in true repentance. No matter how often you listen to Gospel sermons, unless you get it–unless the heart and the mind connect–there is no transformation.

Have you gotten it? God will wait. The moment you do start to go back to Him like I did, He’ll start running. Yes, God runs. It’s been a habit of Him ever since the first ear-piercing sound was heard: the crunch of a bitten fruit in the middle of  a beautiful and perfect Garden. And He’ll never stop running to you until you get it. 😉

I Left My Heart (and Stomach) in Balay Indang

Two days ago my family and I, along with my paternal grandmother and aunt, visited a unique and beautiful house in Indang, Cavite. Just 90 minutes from Manila (although it took us 2 and a half hours to get there), Balay Indang (“House of Indang”) or The Red Ginger Farm is a Filipino/Asian-inspired,  bed-and-breakfast destination.

went immediately to the dining area to eat. FOOD is the best welcomer ever, if I must say 🙂

baked Parmesan fish is love! 🙂 I ate gobs of it. It was that good!

twas my first time to see and touch records. 🙂

I love surprises. Balay Indang gave me this the moment I stepped inside her wooden gate. As you saw in the photos, the interior was decorated contrarily: Christian places all over and Buddhist statues inside the living room. However, that to me was no surprise compared to what awaited us at the dining table. Since we left our own balay early, my family and I (except for the golden ladies :D) had no time for breakfast. Thankfully, a Balay rule accommodated our physical needs: upon arrival (which should be reserved, by the way; they don’t accept walk-ins), breakfast/lunch/dinner is served immediately. Although your right in choosing what to eat is deprived of you inside their home, the amiable staff have already prepared delicious meals that would pull your heartstrings. The best part about it is all ulam (viands) are refillable, so in effect, meals are eat-all-you-can! 🙂 The Balay Indang menu varies everyday so that each visit would be unique on its own. As I mentioned earlier in a caption, I fell in love with the baked Parmesan fish! What seemed to be the “crust” of the cheese tasted like the fish’s belly (or maybe it really was the fish’s belly) and it just made my jaw drop in awe. The salad (not pictured) was simple yet tasty because of the nuts and finely grated Parmesan cheese. The dalandan-orange drink was also very refreshing and natural for it was made out of real dalandan and orange, squeezed and mixed to perfection by the staff.

After lunch we toured the rooms. Each room, named after a Bible character, was designed to accommodate 4-6 people and was spacious enough to move around and play board games (I can imagine my brothers and I playing Monopoly Deal and Pictionary). We did not check-in (boo) so we just went to the Pavillion and relaxed our afternoon away (for me that meant a siesta). =)) Come 3 PM merienda (afternoon snack)  was served. Our perpetually hungry family ate mini buko pies and bread topped with pesto, cream and shrimp. 😀 More memorable photos were shot and snapped before we said our goodbyes and wished the place success (we weren’t the only customers, by the way).

Balay Indang (The Red Ginger Farm and Garden)

88 Mahabang Kahoy Cerca

0917-8374261 or 0917-8665825

PLDT number: 775-6886

She’s The Best

Next to God, Jean Jarlego-Talam is the person who has greatly impacted my life for the better. (I know I should be mentioning Dad but it’s Mom’s Day today so for now, his name shall be mentioned less :))

The best people in my life are not those who always gave me gifts and made me feel good; they lead me to what is really good even if it drove them nuts. That’s exactly what my Mom does every.single.day. In case I haven’t mentioned, getting to know me is hazardous to your health. Over the 17 years that she has taken care of me (yes, I have aged once again today, but more on that later), however, she has grown immune. 😀 Since she’s perfectly human and thus perfectly imperfect, she drove me crazy too. 🙂

I received the most number of spankings from her–6 to be exact. I was around 10 or 11 at that time. I misplaced the “expensive” sharpener in school, the one where you inserted the pencil inside the “claw” then rotated the handle to sharpen it.

I had 6 charges to my name: 3 accounts of lying, 1 of disobedience and 2 other “sins” whose names escaped my brain. Thus, I received quite a heavy and painful belt beating. Afterwards, my Mom and I hugged and kissed each other like never before. I moved past the tampo (emotional tantrum) stage so I never harbored ill feelings against her. In fact, I thank her for that experience. I find it hard to lie (sometimes I still give in, though) and admit that I did something wrong even if it costs me another heavy beating. I have also grown to love mechanical pencils so that I won’t have to sharpen and lose anything “expensive.” There has been a rebirth of interest in wooden pencils, though, for the past few weeks because we forgot about Mr. Pricey Sharpener. 😀

God used Mom to bring me to life physically and to teach me how to live not only physically but also spiritually. What I love most about her is the fact that she will never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on me. Ever. 🙂

Mom, I love you. Thank you for being you. I praise our Heavenly Father for placing me under your care. Forgive me for my past, present and future disappointments, but by God’s grace, I shall strive to please you and make you proud until the end of our lives. 😀 You (and Dad) inspire me. I couldn’t imagine being with another mom.

PS: I’m sure Josh and James feel the same way. The just don’t have a blog they can use to broadcast their feelings. 😀

you can always hide behind me 😀

Disappointment is HisAppointment

Which hurts more: not getting what you expected to receive or getting something you did not want and expect to receive?

Last time (the post before the most recent post) I mentioned about my exemption in my Chemistry finals. Well, guess what?

I wasn’t  exempted after all.

When my professor showed me my real grade this afternoon, I was shocked, devastated (though I hid my feelings pretty well or else I would have bawled in front of him) and…regretful. I did not realize until I saw my grade that I was flunking chem (at least in my standards, which are pretty high). I cannot believe I performed poorly in my favorite science. Now I’m starting to think maybe chemistry and I never really had…well, chemistry. 😐

By the power vested in me by the Holy Spirit, I was able to keep my cool and saltwater intact in my tear ducts as my friends came up to me and made sure I was okay. Thankfully I did not complain, but at that time and even a few hours later when I got home, I was on the verge of complaining about my sudden misfortune and blaming my professor for misreading my grade. I am still thinking twice if I should take the finals because I need to reach my 93% cut-off mark or more in order to maintain or slightly improve my grade. The fact that I’m already in summer mode and that I still have 2 finals left to ace (although I’m surprisingly exempted–for real–from the other exam, which is Math).

When disappointments come my way, I am always reminded of these 3 Biblical principles:

  1. Your response is your responsibility – Whenever we face something difficult, we can respond in one of two ways: remain bitter and allow it to sink in our system or surrender your hurts and burdens to God and allow Him to work for you.
  2. Romans 8:28 – God is in control of my life no matter what happens
  3. What you sow is what you reap

The last point was the most difficult principle to accept because it involved my past mistakes. I knew that I slacked off this semester and cut several classes. I spent more time studying my Facebook wall than my chemistry lessons. I may blame about anything such as the professor’s teaching style and personality, but I would never win because I fought unprepared. The second semester was an avenue for hard work, and when judgement day came, I failed.

Whenever we face difficult and unexpected situations, we feel tempted to complain, nag and harbor bitterness so much so that we quit the task, subject or work. After what happened to me today, I realized that the only cure to this kind of struggle is surrender and humility. Letting go does not mean letting it flutter until you can’t see it anymore; letting go means loosening your grip on loose and lifeless living and taking hold of quality life. Let God, because the power and the values itself come from Him. “Without Me, You are nothing.”

When the negative expectations come your way, remember that God must be calling you to have an appointment with Him. God speaks to those who take time to listen. Are you going to meet with Him? 😀

Life Through My Father’s Lenses

Recently,  my Dad bought a Canon 70D. Just like any guy, Dad is crazy over his new toy. The good thing about him is that when he pours his heart out to master and enjoy a certain craft, he yields wonderful results. He’s been photographing people, places and things for about 2 weeks now and yet they look professional! 🙂  I am so proud of him (even if he takes candid pictures of me in my pambahay clothes) because I know that he can use this newfound interest not just to make money (which he plans to do), but to capture the beauty in God’s wonderful creation and give the Creator His deserved credit. 🙂

*all the photos were taken and edited by Ferdie Talam (I took one of my Dad’s photos, the one where he’s wearing black. haha)

Golden tinapa at Pancake House

Manila Bay

Welch’s wine in plastic cups

my adorable brother James 🙂 he’s such a cutie

josh feelin’ his cardboard friend

poor cat eating off the leftover palabok 😦

 

Mom and her bunso 🙂

gwapo 😉

Tay at Nay

 

2 Rangos and a Beans 🙂 (from the animated film Rango)

The photos are arranged chronologically (except for the Canon 70D, courtesy of Google Images):

1-2.  taken by Dad after work 2 weeks ago

3.  last Thursday during the family Bible study (which I missed :|)

4-8. Two Sundays ago at Bigby’s and SM Cinema in Megamall

9. Two Saturdays ago at Pizza Hut (Robinson’s, I guess. I wasn’t there either)

10-14. Max’s Megamall and the lobby of The Podium

I shall study photography very soon, right after HELL WEEK (which is actually this week). By the way, I just want to thank God for exempting me from my chem finals which, according to our professor, is really difficult. Woohoo! Even more good news: my Christian Civilization prof cancelled our exam this Friday because she was already exhausted from checking too many papers. HAHA! 😀 Only 4 more exams to go courtesy of Math and Theology.

And now for the best photo of the bunch! I saved the most gwapo for last. I love you Daddeh!  Good night!