Love Like Bacon

Last Saturday, I ate slightly burnt, long and crispy, juicy bacon.

Seldom do I eat bacon because it’s not exactly and apparently healthy; even more seldom do I eat bacon in an eat-all-you-can-breakfast, so just imagine my elation when I found it on the buffet table. I was smitten for the next hour as I walked back and forth our table and the buffet table, heaping spoonfuls of bacon on my plate. Each bite was a delight to my palate and a burden for my digestive organs. After an hour, I sat lazily in my seat, thankful to God for the bacon, but surprisingly, not wishing for any more. At least not at that time.

Although this true-to-life example is a shallow comparison to what being in love is like, I think the processes involved in it is just as the same. Smelling bacon, much more to eat it, is as irresistible as holding his or her hand as you walk, mindless of the world save each other’s presence. (If you don’t find bacon irresistible, unless you’re really sick, something must be seriously wrong with you)  Being in love, or being passionate about someone or something, does not only exist in the context of romanticism (or else I can’t say I’m in love). For a new mom, bathing her beautiful child is a joy. For a writer and blogger, posting one entry after another is a delight even if it robs you of sleep.

But what happens when the feeling is gone? Should a man ditch his woman in midair and rekindle the fire with someone else? Should a mother cease to attend to her wailing child when she does not feel like it? Should a blogger (and here I’m speaking mainly to myself), or any writer for that matter, discontinue writing, thinking that “nobody cares about what I have to say anyway?”

Unlike the process of eating bacon, which has and must have a definite ending or else the body will retaliate, the lifetime process of love has no end. It must persist through time. Why, then, do marriages fail? Why do passions die down? I don’t speak for everyone, but based on my experience, my love for people and noble passions dies down because I based it on the feeling of being in love. The top reason I did not blog the past 2 months (although I did write in my journal, but still) is that I did not “feel like writing.” There are a lot of bloggers out there anyway. My absence won’t make any difference.

While it is true that by not writing I am not exactly doing others any wrong, I am doing wrong for myself, because I committed to this and I am not keeping my part of the bargain. Love, whether for spouse, child, country, or God–especially God–must be, according to C.S. Lewis, “maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit.” Feelings go faster than you can say Mississippi, but your will stays with you. Although we may think that people and circumstances make us do the things we do, it’s really us who choose what we do. They just influenced us to do them, but they did not actually make those decisions for us.

For me, I have decided today that I will encourage you all with these words. (I hope you were!) I believe it’s part of my commitment to write for a world that is in dire need of trustworthy words to hold on to. I mean it when I say trustworthy, because the One Who gives the words to say is trustworthy. And by the One I mean the Lord Jesus. Think about it: Do you think Jesus felt like dying on the cross (and I got this idea from Tom Holladay)? Did He skip and jump gleefully from the Passover room to Gethsemane as His time for excruciating suffering was coming to a close? Yet He went on anyway. He maintained His will because He truly, absolutely loves you and me. Just think about that for a moment and let reality sink in because that’s what true love is. That’s Who He is–irresistible, satisfying, and truly delightful.

Just like a good serving of crispy bacon. 🙂

 

Holladay, Tom (2008). The Relationship Principles Of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan

Lewis, C.S. (1952). Mere Christianity. United Kingdom: Macmillan Pub Co.

 

Emotional Roller Coaster

In the second TVC of Jzone Wired Camp (which was awesome by the way, more about that soon), I went all out in saying that I am a blogger. Since that video was posted on Facebook and aired in our church’s Sunday service, people never stopped addressing me as “The Blogger.” I’ve never felt more compelled to blog! I should have just said writer. That way a 3-week “leave of absence” can be justified as…well, an absence. #ansaveh

I apologize for failing to update The Lifeline regularly. I think I’m having my busiest, craziest, not to mention HOTTEST summer of my 17 years of existence (which will soon be 18. Yay). When adults (especially my aunts) remind themselves of my impending debut, they always tell me, “Aba! Dalaga ka na! Hindi ka na bata, ganap na dalaga ka na. San ang party?” Um actually po pag twenty-one ko na gustong samantalahin yung pagiging dalaga ko kasi surfboard pa rin dibdib ko (unless yan na talaga ang tinadhana sa aking ng aking Manlilikha) at hindi pa po ako marunong magmaneho. Party? Tinatanong niyo po ba kung may kakilala akong caterer para pag sinurprise niyo po ako at least man lang kahit pumalpak ang program at walang dumalo, okay ang food ? Italianni’s po okay lang? #uyjokelangto

Anyway, back to now. Last Monday, I came home from the Wired Camp. It was life-changing! Really. It was also my most memorable camp to date. Not only because I experienced God in a whole new level. Certainly not because I met a guy who swept me off my feet and promised to wait for me until God says yes. (Gosh that would be kilig but really scary. A Walk to Remember ba ang peg ng buhay ko kaya pinapa-aga ni Lord ang pag-meet namin ng GB ko? haha)

It was the first retreat when I came home not feeling so okay. Actually, I was not okay. In fact, if anyone asked me if I had fun during the camp and the bus ride going home, I would immediately burst into tears.

Don’t worry, I was not bullied physically, verbally, or emotionally. My body was sorta bullied with food, though, and it was the only type of bullying I’ll ever enjoy. What went wrong?

After reflecting on my life during the camp, I realized the negative emotions I felt and sins I struggled with–loneliness, envy, self-seeking shyness–were merely the overflow of my lukewarmness prior to the retreat. Intimacy with anyone, whether it’s God or your Mom or your spouse, requires a daily effort to go deeper with a person. I allowed the fleeting pleasures of this life to fill in the gap that only the Diving Being could fill. And that, my friends, is a very stupid, foolish, and crazy decision. If you have experienced what I’m saying you could bear with me. I just proved to myself that I am human when I did such a stupid thing. Thankfully, my God ain’t stupid and He certainly won’t give up on me.

Remember my post on the 3 reasons why you should attend Wired camp (or any other Christian retreat for that matter)? If you don’t, do check it out. Basically I outlined 3 reasons why a college student should sign up for a retreat even if he does not know anyone. I am starting to learn that the things worth spending your money, time, and energy in are those that are very purposeful and soul satisfying. Did I do my post (and self) justice with the 3 reasons?

YES.

I may have cried–lamented–before my God, but I  found rest. Physically I was relaxed because the weather was very cool and so unlike the 39-degree Centigrade temperature here in Metro Manila. I may not have found all the answers to my questions, but I did find answers. When I asked God what was wrong with me, He told me that I needed to stop looking in myself for the answers because it’s futile to look for in a place that’s obviously empty. What I needed was HIM–His presence, His filling–Him. Just Him. I also found love. During the second night, I talked with a good friend of mine, Billie, and she encouraged me greatly. Also the girls who were under me (because I led a small group) encouraged me by listening and simply being there. A lot of times I don’t ask for answers from people; I just need their ears and heart. 🙂

Right now if you ask me if I’m okay, I’d say no. I’m doing great! I’ve learned (and still learning) that emotions will always fluctuate. You have a choice whether to let them reign supreme or to let yourself reign supreme over them. I serve and belong to a God Who is greater and more powerful than my emotions, positive and negative, Who understands my weaknesses and loves me still. Right now if you’re feeling down, depressed, or on the other side of the line–extremely happy and excited–fret not. Cry it all out to Jesus; share your laughs with Him. You’ll be amazed at how He will fill your heart with peace and joy incomprehensible. 🙂

Pictures, quotable quotes, insights, and other updates on my life shall be posted soon! I also have to tell you guys something but I can’t disclose everything right now. 🙂 But please do pray for me. Just pray for God’s approval. If it gets approved (or even denied, it’s okay), I’ll tell you all about it. Right now I have to go to sleep! 😀

How I Spent February 14, 2012 (and Why I’m Single, In Case You Wanna Know)

Most people would type ‘Valentine’s Day’ instead of February 14, 2012 on that title (which is the longest I have ever made in The Lifeline history). However, I decided to take a different approach. After having read various posts about V-Day on my Facebook wall, I realized that Valentine’s is the only worldwide celebration which you can call whatever way you wish, depending on your Facebook status (or where you spend your dinner). Unlike Christmas or Independence Day where a birth or death of a person, nation, or idea in history past is being celebrated, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and love is a notion that has baffled humanity since…forever. And even that temporal adjective is equally baffling (and almost unreal to some people) because it is not bound by time! It’s one of the words we use to describe God, and even the idea of God cannot be fully grasped. February 14 can be called Single Awareness Day, an ordinary day, Cupid Independence Day (this one I made up) or however you wish to call it because you and I differ in our experiences of love. My experience of love is different than that of President Noynoy Aquino’s (who I assume spent his February 14 in utter, unadulterated happiness with his new found sweetheart). Because my second Tuesday of February 2012 was not spent in blissful romance or in doleful meditation, I just named it how Time would call it.

So how did I spend my February 14, 2012? Love still maneuvered its way in my roster of activities: from attending my Marketing class to my refusal to Dad’s offer to sing in his new videoke toy to my belting out of contemporary songs an hour later after lunch to scooping coffee-flavored ice cream to my mouth to singing more songs before dinner to watching the last 15 minutes of 50 First Dates to watching Father of the Bride for the first time with my father. I did not include the habitual things I did, but basically, these events comprised my ‘Valentine’s Day.’ Romance was nowhere to be found (except between my parents probably), but even they did not really take V-day as seriously as other couples I know, but they sure–we sure–did not miss out on what we were celebrating in the first place: love.

Dad showed his love for his gifted vocals by effortlessly singing his favorite tunes such as Sting’s “Englishman In New York” and Apo Hiking Society’s “Kumot At Unan” to GenY songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are.” His love for the gift of music brought out the concert king and queen in us as well. Mom showed her love for God by conducting a Bible study with my lola, our helper, Anne, and Anne’s friend. Josh expressed his love for diligence by answering his PACEs (school workbooks) while the rest of us sang. Like our father, James sang to his heart’s content; like his sister, he ate until his stomach waved the white flag.

How did you express your love (aside from your love of food), you may ask. This is the part where I begin explaining the reason behind my singleness. I am what society calls “single since birth.” If you fall under this category, you probably blamed nature for making you that way or Cupid for forgetting to hit you with the right arrow (or any arrow for that matter). While God may have really never planned to include marriage in your list of things to be while living on earth, He also gave you a choice. And that’s what I am attributing my singleness to. It’s my choice.

It was a choice greatly influenced by my loving parents who explained to me the downside of being involved in a romantic relationship while studying and the scar that came with it after the heartbreak (which almost always ensued). They warned me that they would be extremely disappointed if I chose to be more than friends with a boy. Fearing to lose their trust, I obeyed. The second influence that shaped my decision was my dreams for my career. I actually want to spend the next 9 or 10 years of my life being single, earning money, giving back to my parents, and enjoying my career (whatever that may be). The third and most important factor that influenced my decision was my commitment to God. About five years ago, I offered my whole life to Him–my time, wealth, brain, talents, my wants, dreams and desires including that of marriage. Well it took me a few years before I finally surrendered my romantic life to Him (that is, whether marriage is for me or not, I would still follow Him).  This commitment also included not to have sex outside of marriage (or even a first kiss outside the altar for that matter). That surrender, as releasing and joyous a surrender it might have been, was difficult. Difficult because I believed (and still believe) in marriage. I adore the whole idea of romance not just on a spiritual level, but also in a personal level. I desire to grow old with the man (aside from my Savior & my Daddy) who vowed to stay with me in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, till death do us part (or whatever vow he will make to me because I like us to make our own). I want to pick out my wedding dress and organize my own wedding. In fact, lately, I am obsessing over prenup photo shoots and wedding photos and videos of different couples in wedding blogs & photography sites! And frankly, I want to experience pure and rightful sex with God’s choice guy (after all, sexual activity is the greatest form of pleasure for us homo sapiens).

There is another factor that influences my decision, and that is the fact that I have never been asked out or pursued by any guy (at least none that I liked back) . There have been mutual understandings, but no one attempted or dared to take the mutual understanding to a mutual standing on love. Could it be because God wants me to stay faithful to my commitment so He purposely keeps pursuing guys off my radar? Maybe, I don’t know. But I know what I’m capable of. I (think) can make a guy fall in love with me superficially. Some of my friends who asked me how many boyfriends I had in the past were surprised when I said, “Zero.” Such a human being, and a teenager for that matter, exists! they probably thought. When they asked why I was SSB (single-since-birth), I always replied:

“It’s my choice. I have a commitment.”

In my head I wanted to say, “Wala pang lalaking nakaka-abot sa level ko kaya; lahat bagsak,” but my heart overpowered my brain: “Say the truth. It is beautiful. Don’t be ashamed of it.” This was a rare moment when my heart did not deceive.

A friend of mine once asked me why I was SSB, and as usual, I replied what my heart told me to say. That time, however, I decided to throw back a question at my friend: (in Tagalog) “Why do pursue a relationship with a guy? What’s your purpose?” Her reply was probably molded by the hundreds of movies she has watched in the course of her lifetime. She said:

“I just want to be happy.”

So does this mean I (and other SSBs out there) are unhappy people? I am more than happy. I am joyful. Happiness depends on happenings so when the happenings are absent, so is happiness. Joy is present in Christ’s presence; wherever you find God’s presence in life, there you shall also find joy abound. Joy persists through trials, valleys, and life’s lows. Joy is a gift. It’s something only God can give because He does not break people’s hearts. As a line in a Christian children’s hymn goes, joy is the flag that I fly in the castle of my heart when the King is in residence there. And through this post, I hope I am letting the whole world know that, as cliche as it may sound, that there really is no love worth comparing to the love of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. 🙂

I hope this month of love, you would discover True Love. Even in a broken world, I am glad to tell you that He exists. True Love is not just a philosophical idea or concept that you need to draw to yourself; you must choose to seek Him with all your heart. And when you do, you will find Him because He has been waiting for you. Jesus is more than just your one-day Valentine; He’s yours (and you’re His) forevermore. 😀

For all the SSBs out there, I leave you with these encouragements. Belated happy hearts day! 😀

On Delay & Learning It The Hard Way

If there’s one lesson I learned the hard way this week, it is this:

Do not delay doing the things that you can finish today.

What if paramedics stopped over in a convenience store to grab something to eat instead of heading straight to a car collision scene? What if a weather forecasting agency decided to announce a strong, impending typhoon a day before it wiped out a city? What if Jesus arrived one year late because He wanted more time to prepare for His hard life on earth? Delay does not travel alone. It carries with him uneventful or even downright painful consequences for the one who bears him and those who have been robbed of time opportunity because of him.

When you attach delay with obedience, it sounds even more awful because it equals a grave and serious sin. Delayed obedience is disobedience, my parents always tell me. I used to ask myself, “Why is this so? I mean, it’s not that I’m not going to do what I’ve been told to do.” As I grew older, I learned that obedience consists not only in doing what you have been told to do, but in doing what you have been told to do at the prescribed and desired time by the commander.

Sadly, even this post is a product of delay. Not that I really owe anyone an apology for not posting for 2 weeks since this is my blog, but I did not listen to my gut feeling when it told me to post an entry. A woman’s gut feeling is right 99% of the time (based on experience), but because I mishandled precious time, I “disobeyed” myself.

Another product of delay (that I am still working on and paying the price for) is a video for a special someone. Not a romantic special someone, but a blood-related special someone. Today I was having thoughts if I should even continue with the video, but then again, I thought, better late than never.

I may suffer from acute tardiness (delay’s alter ego), but I consider myself utterly blessed because I belong to a God Who does not delay. A God Whose timing is impeccable; He is neither early nor late, but arrives on the scene at the exact hour, minute, second, and nanosecond that He planned. He does not schedule His day or race against time, rather, time submits to His plans. He did not put me on hold when I cried out to Him for help. He did not think twice in sending His only begotten Son to earth when it was time for Him to go.

If my Father does not delay, why should I? I must learn to be a good steward of time–His time. And I will. I don’t promise perfection, but I do promise diligence & resistance to complacency. There are activities that can still work out even if they are delayed. You can still shed off excess weight by proper diet and exercise today even if you failed to do them in years past. Others, however, don’t share the same privilege.

Would a doctor still be needed if he is one minute short of meeting the victim–alive?

“You may delay, but time will not.”- Benjamin Franklin

PS: I want one of these! Serves as a reminder for procrastinating folks like me.

[2011 Recap] Highlights Part 1

(Belated) Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Please do pardon my inactivity the past several days. Christmas and birthday parties, meetings, and shopping activities left and right flooded my schedule. My body clock also changed drastically to the point that 2 AM is the new early (because sleeping is too mainstream :D). Oh and don’t even get me started with the food. I don’t think our refrigerator was never not brimming with delicacies and viands the past several days. Christmas has gotten the best of us!

Can I just say how grateful I am? Truly, truly grateful.

This year was super. Nah, I didn’t feed a hundred hungry children with my  money or located one’s missing pet. But through grace and the working of my Lord Jesus Christ, I was privileged to feed spiritual food to hundreds of people and lead them to Jesus. I myself was fed and found by my Savior when I got sidetracked more than once. More than twice. Yep, lots of times.

2011–my 2011–was super.

Here are the top 7 reasons that made it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  🙂

“It ain’t the end of the world!!!”

Although I’m not a huge fan of Jay Sean, I shared his sentiments in his song “2012” last May 21, 2011. Lest you have forgotten what occurred (or did not occur) on that Saturday, then maybe the name Harold Camping would jog your memory. How about Doomsday? End of the world? Turned out it wasn’t the end of the world…well, not yet, at least.

I was so thankful that I was blessed with more time to invest for eternity. 🙂 Although “the world is full of tribulation,” as Jesus said, I am thankful to Him for giving me more time to grow as a person–and you as well! So whoever said that the world will end sometime 2012,

I still plan on graduating. And I will. Hopefully by 2013 or  2014. 😀

Hate-and-love relationship with my body and with food and ended up loving both

There was never a year in my past 17 years of existence when I have struggled intensely with my body than 2011. However stressing this struggle might have been to me, I still consider it a blessing for three reasons:

  1. I drew closer to my Heavenly Father and bonded with Him in the process.
  2. I experienced His grace. I finally learnt what other people meant when they said that God’s grace is awesome. And it is! 🙂
  3. I learned to love food the right way and the food I should prioritize: the spiritual.

Frankly, I still struggle with my body and food.  Jesus never promised me a bed of roses after all. I am doing my best to keep it fit and in good shape by making healthy food choices and exercising regularly. If I put my guard down, I can be overweight, but I don’t think I will ever be anorexic or bulimic because I just love food too much! 😀 (Never lost my appetite even when I was sick) Because I also discovered a passion for cooking (another blessing!), I get to prepare meals healthily and enjoy them with family and friends. 🙂

New school, new relationships, fresh new insights and knowledge

The main reason I transferred university was time constraints. We–Dad, Mom, and I–thought that our family would migrate to the United States of America by the end of my 1st semester.

Clearly, God had other reasons because after a semester and 2 months, we’re still here. 🙂

I believe one of those reasons is that I could meet new wonderful people whom I can establish relationships with and go through an okay semester. People I can listen to and vice versa; boys and girls who, like me, are perfectly imperfect and in need of heavy doses of grace.

Thank you for making me laugh, smile, study hard (so I can teach others, haha), and sharing meals with me in and out of class. You may not know this, but you taught me a lot on dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and with differing personalities.

Another reason I’m thinking God allowed me to transfer schools is so I could face realities I was good at running away from: accounting, basic law, school uniform, and evening classes. (6-9 pM, twice a week–waddup?!)

More hosting and storytelling opportunities

Tron motif hosting

at my high school friend, Camille’s debut

telling about Naaman’s story during Summer Adventure (May 2011)

hosted with my cousin, Miko, during our high school’s talent night

a short spiel with my cousins at our aunt’s birthday last December 13

The gift of speaking is one God-given possession that I take seriously, use correctly, and ameliorate constantly because I know lives are at stake–mine and those around me. More importantly, I want to be able to hear from my Lord and Master, the words every servant is dying to hear:

“Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

So if you’re in Metro Manila and you are in need of a host for your party or a storyteller for your outreach program, contact me! talamjenny@gmail.com 😀 chos biglang nag plug

Jedi

If you chanced upon my blog around September, you would have probably met my gorgeous, then 2-month old puppy and prince, Jedi. He is a bundle of joy to our family even if he was the primary cause of my mom’s asthma.

When he was brought to us by mom’s friend and her husband, he fit perfectly in a small box. He was about the size of a small pillow and, if you’ve got well toned biceps and triceps, can be carried with one hand. My brothers and I huddled quietly around him as he slept peacefully in his basket or underneath our sofa. I delighted whenever he ran and slipped, then rose to his furry paws and ran again. To say that Jedi was cute was an understatement.

Although he spent most of his days at my grandmother’s house (his official master), I watched Jedi grow, and boy, did he grow quickly. I smiled when he smiled at me (or at least that’s what I thought he did). Whenever I used our Air Climber, I saw him bark at me angrily and run far away from me because (I learned later) he disliked vacuum sounds. Even if he peed and pooped wherever he wanted, I still loved him because I knew he is still naive. And even if he’s doing absolutely nothing, one look at him makes me smile and gush about his adorableness.

Only lately have I realized that in some ways, what  I have felt for Jedi is what I believe God feels about me as His daughter. He watched me grow–and made me grow! He smiled whenever I smiled at Him and especially if I caught up with His commands. Instead of looking at me condemningly because of my sins, He sees His Son’s righteousness in me and smiles, confident of the fact that I belong to Him. He knows my weaknesses; He remembers that I am dust. 🙂

But just as I undergo training, I believe Jedi must also undergo dog boot camp. And I’ll be needing the help of Cesar Milan. Haha!

Let’s take a breather. I fear overwhelming you with words and photos! o___o

Part 2 coming right up. 🙂