Say Thank You, Satan Hates It

“Contentment means suppressing the desire for more and more. And it means recognizing that we are God’s stewards of our possessions.”

– Donald M. Geiger

Television has a way of making complaining and ingratitude look okay. Look at the chick flicks. The audience pities the 16-year old teenage wannabe who rattles her insecurities to her best friend because she’s never been kissed. Yesterday, I chanced upon Modern Family and the episode was set on a beach. A couple was swimming and enjoying themselves when their teenage daughter suddenly interrupts them and asks if she could spend time at the hotel of the new friends she met at the pool (friends I assume to be boys). The Mom was very hesitant, but the Dad reminded her to be a “tigress” and to “let their daughter go.” Probably because they can’t handle their precious angel. I’m not judging them, but do they fear their angel would retaliate? Anyway, my point is, ingratitude seems okay nowadays. If that’s the case, then earlier today, I was not okay.

Being a melancholic, criticalness is one of my chief weaknesses. I tend to over analyze and criticize everything. Earlier this afternoon, the monster got the best of me. Well, almost. 🙂 Ingratitude is as despicable as the fury in Greek mythology or the first installment of the Percy Jackson novels. 😐

Utterly horrid. Any sin can turn a good person into the worst monster he never imagined he could be. I have to be careful.

Thankfully, my God is so powerful, gracious and loving. I immediately sought His help, Holy Spirit refill and strength to say “NO!” to ingratitude. A tug-of-war ensued in my heart. Because of His power in me, I was able to count my blessings and not my problems, and attributed all of them to Him: Jesus Christ. 🙂

“Always be full of joy in the Lord; Again I say, rejoice!” the Lord commands in Philippians 4:4. Joy is the antidote to worry; thankfulness is the pathway to joy. 🙂 Whenever you feel like the Fury leads you into a private room and attacks you from behind, practice the 222 Principle, based on 2 Timothy 2:22: Run, Follow, Pursue.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith, love, peace and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

To close this entry, I shall type a short, insightful story I found in our quote book.

There is a legend of a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart, and on finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When Satan was questioned he reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive.

“And where is that?” asked the man.

Satan replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful man.”

All the more we should say…


Heaven's Grocery Store

I want to share a poem I found on a website called Imag-e-nation. Read it and be encouraged! 🙂

I was walking down life’s highway a long time ago.
One day I saw a sign that read “Heaven’s Grocery Store”.
As I got a little closer, the door came open wide.
When I came to myself, I was standing just inside.

I saw a host of angels.  They were standing everywhere.
One handed me a basket and said, “My child, please shop with care”.
Everything a Christian needed was in that Grocery Store.
All you couldn’t carry, you could come back the next day for.

First, I got some PATIENCE; LOVE was in the very same row.
Further down was UNDERSTANDING, you needed it wherever you go.
I got a box or two of WISDOM, a bag or two of FAITH.
I just couldn’t miss the HOLY SPIRIT, for He was all over the place!

I stopped to get some STRENGTH and COURAGE to help me run this race.
By then my basket was getting full but…I remembered I needed some GRACE!
I didn’t forget SALVATION, for SALVATION was free.
So I tried to get enough of that to save both you and me.

Then I started up to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
for I thought I had everything to do my Master’s will.
As I wind up the aisle I saw PRAYER and I just had to put that in.
For I knew when I stepped outside, I would run right into sin.

PEACE and JOY were plentiful; they were on the last shelf.
SONGS and PRAISES were hanging near, so I just helped myself.
Then I said to the angel, “How much do I owe?”
He just smiled and said, “Just take them everywhere you go.”

Again I smiled at him and said, “How much do I owe?”
He smiled again and said,

Reasons To Be Thankful

The temperament I was endowed with sometimes makes me throw a pity party, wallow in depression then suddenly “find myself again” and become really happy. I learned that the best antidote to this tendency is a grateful heart. Before I typed this entry, I was thinking of scars and heartbreaks, and I realized it wasn’t healthy to discuss that (I think I’ve had enough with negativity in my previous post about my “thorn in the flesh.”) So I believe it’s just right and appropriate to write about good stuff. 🙂

Last Friday, 12th of November, was the 18th birthday of my dear HS batchmate, Nomel. It’s debut season for me–that is, attending debuts. I enjoyed talking and seeing my classmates and schoolmates again.

Of course, there was the Sunday victory. Up to now I still cannot explain the feeling of pride and triumph over a foe I didn’t lift a finger to defeat. We call it national pride. Well, I don’t really care how it works; all I know is that, finally, we Filipinos have something to be proud of. Actually, it’s not just the victory I’m proud of: it’s our HONESTY. Margarito was a cheater. Unfortunately, he had to learn his lesson the hard way and in front of millions of people worldwide.

Poor guy.

Manny, why you so rich?

Yes, the wealthy Pacman  has become even richer! I hope that he does not fail to give God the 10% and even donate to the building fund! 😀

I also received money last Sunday courtesy of my grandmother/aunt (only one person). Of course it’s no match compared to Manny’s 43-million prize (according to reliable sources), but I thank God for it. I needed it to buy gifts for special people in my life for their birthdays.

Lastly, I thank God for today. Using the money I received from my Aunt Zeny, I bought gifts for my youngest brother and a close friend who celebrate their birthdays TODAY! 😀 It was a pleasure buying gifts.

Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful weekend and a nice head start. Tomorrow’s another rest day!

My Dystonic Affair

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced its mild yet very noticeable attack. I was 12 then. It was an ordinary Saturday. I was in my room when my mom called me from the dining area. As I walked to her, I suddenly lost control of my legs, feet and arms. I limped slowly towards my mom. She watched me perform this epileptic-like act for about 3 seconds, then laughed. The thing about my mom’s laugh is that it so contagious you can’t help but laugh yourself. So I did. And we just laughed it off. Just like that. Only to find out it was a neurological disorder that is permanent, incurable and…weird.

About a year and a half later, my parents and I visited a neurologist. The way she mentioned my disease was very casual as if she would when she’d say, “it’s just a common cold.” That simple. She enumerated the pluses and minuses of FG (my Mom coined it after seeing me during an attack and realizing I resembled Forrest Gump). FG (dystonia) is not lethal; it does not lead to death or worsens so as to lead to death, at least in my case. Attacks may fluctuate and increase over time, but those are the worst cases. It also does NOT impair my memory, personality and other brain functions. However, dystonia is still incurable. There are drugs to help ease the attacks, but not to eradicate the disease causing them.  There are only 2 probable causes: genetics and trauma. Since I don’t recall any traumatic experience in my life, I’m guessing my case is a cause of genetics. But how come none in my family has the disease? I was handpicked for it. 😐

An attack varied in the areas it affected, the times it occurred, the duration and the personal effect on me, which I think bothers me the most. There were times an attack would be precedented; sometimes it’s not. Before a major performance or a strenuous activity, I relax and breathe deeply several times because it relaxes the nerves. Sometimes, I can get an attack while lying down in bed or even reading (my eyes blur for a very few seconds). I hated it whenever it haunted me during a conversation, meeting, class discussion, performance or whenever I needed to move really quick (e.g. getting out of the MRT, writing in a contest). I remembered the time we were in a quiz bee and my teammates told me to write the answer. I mumbled words of rejection and a command to let the other person write. He did. By the time the attack ended, we scored a point, but I felt ashamed of myself. “How strange must have I looked!” I always thought to myself. However, the people who see me get attacked don’t seem to notice. Except for my parents. They usually reenact the scene jokingly. Although there were times when I just wanted to tell them, “It’s not funny at all!” I thanked them because it made me forget of the past and move forward.

I always refer to this disease as my thorn in the flesh. I don’t think of it as God’s punishment (He never does that to His children), but I do put it in the “humbling” category. I am thankful that it keeps me from being proud and claiming my achievements for myself, but sometimes I scorned it when I could not do things my “normal-gened” friends could do. Although I disliked doing military stuff, I really wished I could have joined the Flag Corps back in high school. FG kept me from doing so no matter how much I wanted to. Thankfully, military is not my only option. And praise God because dystonia does not and will not destroy my brain’s functions and parts. There’s just a “miscommunication” between the brain and muscles, but that’s all it is: a miscommunication. 🙂

I am still learning to deal with it. I know at times the problem lies in my perception of myself. I tend to think very lowly of myself because of FG. I was encouraged by the words of a website made for helping dystonia “masters”:

“Teenagers with dystonia are just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than others their age. Dystonia may make you look or move differently than other people, but it does not affect your ability to be liked, make friends, or date. Dystonia does not affect your personality, creativity, imagination, sense of humor, or style. The fact that you have dystonia does not make you who you are. Young people with dystonia succeed at school, make friends, learn to drive, get dates, have sex, graduate from college, develop fulfilling careers, get married, have families, and accomplish great things. Although living with dystonia can be confusing and difficult at times, it is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.” (Dystonia Foundation)

Please pray for me–not that I be cured, but that I would walk and live by the Spirit in spite of my challenge. The temptation is for me to complain, sulk and throw a pity party. My Father hates that. I should, too. 🙂

Be Careful What You Wish For

Two days ago  (Wednesday) was one of my best school nights. Dad brought me to school; I did not have to sweat like a furnace going to school and at the same time, I can save the money (the very few money) I should use for transportation. Although I ate lunch alone that afternoon because I was ashamed of opening my lunchbox inside a fastfood (and not buying any of their food), I ate happily and contentedly. Late afternoon, I attended a symposium and managed to rest–again, peacefully–thanks to the monotonous lullabies of men and women in  corporate suits and the 24-degree Centigrade temperature. Ah, life was good for me that day, but the goodness had not stopped there. In the evening, I met with my Mom and together, we went shopping! She bought me a pair of brogues (my first!) and lingerie. (it was something like this, the BROGUES)

We had another successful and fun mom-and-daughter date which consisted of an eat-all-you-can salad dinner plus two other dishes and two cups of topped with Baby Ruth chunks and Smores respectively. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without us going home in our silver, 4-wheeled carriage with the queen’s knight in shining armour driving it. It was amazing. Until I got home and slept.

We arrived late–around 11:30–so by the time I got to bed, it was already 12:30 (I’m the usual type of girl who usually takes at least an hour to get ready for…almost anything). My class the following day was scheduled at 7:30 which meant I had to wake up at 5:15, which meant I would undermine my health because I will lack sleep. That I hated.

I really wished to attend my morning class even though that was the subject I sucked the most at: Math. Actually, the lessons we had were quite easy and our professor was female and very courteous, but it’s the schedule I hated. So I did what any child of God would do: run to Daddy with arms open wide and a wish that he/she knows the answer to, but for some reason she still tells Daddy. (I felt like this kid below, tugging God’s heavenly clothes)

I appealed to God.”Lord, please, ayoko na pong pumasok bukas.” (Lord, please, I don’t want to go to class tomorrow). I disliked attending class the next day because I will lack sleep. As I prayed that prayer, the most clever idea entered my mind. grins

The only way I would wake up early was if my phone alarmed. So if it didn’t, I would sleep long.

If anyone asked why I woke up late, I could just tell them, “My phone did not ring.” This is totally true.

So I wished upon a God–a real One. “Lord, I will wake up when you want me to.” That means my body will dictate the time I wake up and not my cell phone.

A deceitful wish, that’s what I would like to call it. Thankfully, God is not Zeus who would probably throw lightning bolts at me or send me straight to Tartarus in Hades for wishing such a thing. It’s not really that bad, but when you look closer, you can see my motives: ny selfishness and irresponsibility. I realized that sometimes, God would give you what you want even if it will do you harm because He wants you to learn your lesson the hard way.

The following morning (Thursday), my body woke me up at 8 AM. I was half asleep when I saw the clock; that time, I stupidly concluded my first class was at 10:30. The next time I opened my eyes it was 8:30. After three seconds of deep thinking, I jumped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom. But later, I realized (I’m having lots of realizations lately) that I was not going to make it to my morning class, so why hurry? My next class won’t start until 1:30. However, I promised my science groupmates I would arrive at 10:30 to finish our project. Again, I did something at the wrong time. I arrived at school at exactly 11:30, an hour late. 😐

While you were reading my experience, you probably thought I was such a baby for making ‘small’ matters look incredibly bad. The truth is simple; you can’t modify  it. Sin is sin no matter how small. I was clearly at the wrong and I knew it, but I chose to stick to it. I used God to my advantage so that I could “rightfully blame” Him if I wake up late. Now that’s something I should not have done. I tell you, don’t do it! Don’t play games with God. He’s a fun Person, but that’s not His idea of clean fun.

I wish I was more careful for what I wished for…

because as it turned out,

I got it.

And it wasn’t good.