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 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 😀

Brotherly Love

“Jenny, keep an eye on your brothers. Take care of them, okay? Don’t leave them….I trust you….Alagaan mo mga kapatid mo.’Wag mo silang pababayaan….”

For weeks  Mom kept repeating to me until the day she and Dad left for Australia two weeks ago. Being the responsible, oldest daughter that I was (no pride intended–that’s what they called me),  I took these words to heart, thinking I would never break them even if it cost me my happiness. Last Sunday I was tested to see if I passed or failed the Brothers’ Keepers Test. Whatever comes out of it is a matter of life and death because two precious souls are at stake.

The “test” (at the time that it happened it was simply an incident) began the moment the 10 A.M. worship service concluded. About a thousand people made their way out of the 5th floor auditorium and headed in different directions: the parking lot, Megamall, Podium, St. Francis food court, restrooms and Sunday school to pick up their children. I belonged in the last category except I wasn’t picking up my children but my brothers. My cousin, Rej, accompanied me to the 3rd floor. For some reason we separated, she heading to the elementary rooms where my youngest brother, James, and our family friend, Arman, were, while I headed to the intermediate  rooms where my 12-year old brother, Josh, was. I went to the Grade 6 room only to find it dark and empty, so I immediately went outside Sunday school. Upon exiting, I found Ate Rej, James and Arman, but not Joshua. Whatever happened to that absent-minded guy? It took us 2 minutes to finally locate him and because I was in a hurry to eat (it was lunchtime already!) I forgot where he went and where we found him. That was only the first of his escapades.

Right after locating Joshua, we met up with the Evaristo family, other relatives of ours. Together–me, Miko and Rej–mounted and dismounted escalators and made our way outside St. Francis Square. I distinctly remember Joshua, again absent-minded, trailing behind us. Making sure of this, I conversed with my cousins (Miko and Rej), laughing and teasing each other like we used to. James and Arman were held by our cousin Kuya Renjay so I relaxed. I was taking care of my brothers without sacrificing my happiness and comfort. Or so I thought.

Three minutes have passed since we entered the doors of Megamall when we reached Pizza Hut Bistro located in the 3rd floor. Kuya Renjay, the younger kids and other relatives arrived earlier to save two tables and order the food. My cousins and I talked some more, then I checked on James, Arman and Kurt (the younger brother of Miko, about James’ age). I asked James where his kuya Josh was, but he shook his head and said, “he’s just around.” I looked around but found no sight of Josh. I did not worry…not yet anyway. Maybe he’s in a store somewhere. Oh there, in Blue Magic. My cousins Rej and Miko went right to locate Josh while I walked left towards Blue Magic. The store replete with stuffed toys and “love” items probably did not attract my brother (like me) so I left it immediately. After three minutes, Yaya Aida, the helper of our aunt Jayjay, called me and asked if we have found Josh. News spreads fast nowadays, doesn’t it? Calmly, I said we haven’t, but assured her we will. Or was it myself that I assured? Either way, we just wanted to locate my brother.

The rest of the brood that were not part of the search-and-rescue team rested on the chairs, waiting for the ordered food. I instructed James to stay with our other aunt, Tita Judith, while I go look for our brother. Where could he be? The last time I saw him was in National Bookstore. I dashed to the ground floor.

As I brisk-walked to NBS, I couldn’t help but worry and imagine the bad things that could have met my brother. Episodes in CSI and Law and Order of 50-year old pedophiles abducting and taking advantage of young boys flashed in my head. Oh Lord, please, no. Not Josh. Not when our parents are thousands of miles away from us, enjoying and having fun. Oh God, no. Please, help me find Josh. Make our paths cross. At the same time, I told myself: This is all your fault. I should have paid attention to him. I should have watched him. I’m such a bad sister.

Immediately I entered National Bookstore upon arrival and searched for a boy in a blue and green striped Gap shirt, denim shorts and red-and-black basketball shoes. No match found. I stopped beside the Teens shelves and contemplated at his present location. He was trained well; he should have stayed here and waited for us to find him. Oh Lord, please keep my brother safe. Please–

*insert CSI: New York theme song* It was my phone. An unregistered number appeared, but I assumed it was my cousin Rejoice. For once, my presupposition was true.

“Hello Jenny? We found Joshua na. “

Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanksgiving. The episodes quickly faded. “Where did you find him?”

“In National Bookstore. We’re in Pizza Hut already.”

He was trained, after all. “Oh…haha, I see. Andito ako ngayon. Sige, aakyat na ako.” (I’m here now. Alright, I’ll go up now.)

We ended our conversation and I went out of the bookstore–thankful, relieved and almost teary-eyed. I hated these incidents, but it is in these adrenaline-pumping moments where I see how good God is and how much attention I gave or have not given my brothers. As I walked to the third floor, I resolved in my heart not to scold my brother. I’ve had enough sermons and worries for the day. (Besides, it was Tita Jayjay who did the scolding. Haha!)

While my parents were away, I kept asking God what His purpose/s is/are for not allowing me, Josh and James to visit Australia with our parents. I guess I had to learn a lot of lessons–lessons I would learn only apart from my parents, to see how their 16-year training will be translated into proper application. Over all, I believe God wanted to teach me the value of brotherly love–literally. 🙂 After that incident, I never took my eyes off my brothers except when they bathed and in the evening when we slept. My momentary lack of attention to Josh did not mean that I didn’t love him, but that I chose to focus on myself. My comfort, my happiness, my time. After all, I took care of them very well when we were in our Tita Amy’s house. But that’s the thing about love: it’s inexcusable.  Love suffers long. Come to think of it, I was not going to “suffer” for watching over my brothers! Thankfully, God never kept His eyes off Joshua. 🙂

You may be the bunso (youngest child) in your family, the middle child (like Josh) or the panganay (eldest) like me. If you have a sibling (siblings), choose to love them. Trust me, I’m not that loving now towards my brothers, but I can tell you that by the grace of God, I have changed for the better. I was more patient than I was a year ago or two years ago. Love ought to be practiced faithfully today. Now is the time. You may say, “Well, my siblings don’t care if I exist. We’re on our own now.” The truth is, they do. They desire as much affection and love as you do. Oldest children, our younger siblings look up to us. On the outside, they may be rebellious, disobedient, naughty and stubborn, but really, all they’re looking for is an ate or kuya (older sister or brother) who would love them no matter what. Family members look only for love outside the family when they can’t find it inside the family. Be the first one to initiate the love. 

Here are pictures of me with Joshua and James. I love ’em!

proudly wearing his medal on him! forgot which award it was, though. Haha!  🙂

smartest boy. evarr. 😀

with our cousin Rej. Our missing footwear is a sign of respecting holy ground. Seriously. :)))

CUTEST!!!! 🙂 :>

Love Believes The Best

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once wrote that “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  After listening to our pastor speak yesterday morning, I found that one thing a hundred times mightier than the pen or sword combined: the mind. The destiny of a man lies in the course of his actions; his actions are bred by the thoughts spurred on by his mind. In other words, the way we think matters. It matters not only because it affects our behavior, but more importantly, our thought life affects our relationships with the people around us.

In Godly wisdom and through the power of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Peter preached yesterday morning:

“To fall in love is nothing; it’s easy, shallow. But to stay in love for a long time–that is another story….It’s hard; it takes more effort and discipline.”

Fairy tales have mastered the art of concealing this basic principle, the commitment to stay in love. One applicable and practical way of staying in love is by believing in the best in people. Love believes the best.

“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NASB

I found this message comforting and at the same time rebuking mainly for 3 reasons:

  1. I realized that I have been subjecting my thought life to wrong masters, namely Vain Imagination (including those daydreams such as when my crush talks to me one-on-one and hugs me from behind :|), the Worst is Yet To Come and Miss Pity.
  2. God believes in me–He sees the best that would come in time as I grow in Him. He will never, ever give up on me or YOU. 🙂
  3. People can change. In God’s vocabulary, you won’t find incorrigible (unless the person’s dead). There is hope for every person no matter how utterly terrible his past, how numerous and grave his mistakes and how late he was in life to realize his need of a Savior.

“You cannot be lazy in the way you think,” Pastor Peter exhorted. “Every Christian is responsible for the way he thinks.” When I heard this, my soul twitched and my heart jumped as if a needle pricked it for a millisecond. I recalled the instances in my life where I concocted a vain thought, warranted it search my soul and allowed it to govern my actions. The consequences were destructive–at least for me. I lost, to some extent but not completely, in the sea of awkwardness, a friend. I developed this nasty habit of avoiding people because I allowed my vain (and stupid) imaginations to determine my perspective and govern my actions. By God’s grace and with the hope I have in Jesus Christ, I’m coping from a mild deluge. 🙂

So how does one believe the best in people? To avoid confusion, Pastor Peter differentiated believing and trusting people from being gullible. Trusting people is accepting what they tell us regardless of the truth value and leaving the judgement to God. After all, judging is not our role. Being gullible on the other hand is to believe what people say and live by them instead of living securely in what God says is true. Believing in the best is giving people the benefit of the doubt; being gullible is doubting the benefit by allowing doubt to cloud your thinking. Believing in the best is not raising your voice or replying in all caps when your friend does not respond to your messages or calls; being gullible is ignoring the truth so that you let your friend keep on doing what she/he does without you asking her/him gently or helping her/him fix with a problem. Difficult, huh? I realized that differentiating between trusting and being gullible requires the exclusive wisdom available only to God’s kids. Apart from the Holy Spirit’s leading, a person can still fail to hope and believe in the best (especially if he has all the reasons not to).

This morning God reinforced this message to me. 😉 Thanks, Father. Another Godly and wise man, Tom Holladay, wrote a book entitled The Relationship Principles of Jesus. I highly recommend this book if you desire to grow deeper and deeper in your relationships. The principles are life-changing, applicable, simple (though not easy to do), tested proven and reliable. Anyway, there’s a part of the book which I heard God tell me. Don’t ask me how I heard it, but this I tell you and it is true: When God speaks, He makes sure the hearer hears Him loud and clear. When I read this passage I felt my heart pricked with needles, that twitch:

“You may be right on the edge of quitting in a relationship…..I’ll face this with you. I believe in you. I’ll look forward to the future with you. Even when every bone in my body wants to run and hide, we’re bound together. I will stay with you and we’ll overcome together.”

Although that passage was directed to Christians and their relationships with the people around them, it was first directed to the Christian from God. For the past few days, I have been feeling lax in my walk with God because I allowed my mistakes to define me. Don’t allow your mistakes to define you! You are who God says you are. When God sees us, He does not look at our sins; He sees what we can become. 🙂 God is a Judge, but He does not condemn us. This is precisely why we should not judge others; a sinner cannot judge another sinner.

If ever you feel like giving up on life or a relationship, do not despair! Believe in the best. Jesus said,

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 NASB

Tom Holladay wrote, “I was taught to trust God instead of myself for forgiveness. God has plenty of good things He wants us to do, but these good deeds are a response to His grace and not a way to earn His grace.”

God believes in you and me. He is at work in our lives. He told me not to focus on myself and to focus on Him so that I won’t lose hope. He tells you the same thing. 🙂 Hold his hand; give Him your mind so that your actions won’t go wayward. Give people the benefit of the doubt and leave the judgement to God.  God bless you!

Love? God? I don’t get it. I would love to tell you more about establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ here.

PS: Watch this music video! May Josh Wilson’s track entitled Before The Morning encourage you today. 🙂


Holladay, Tom. The Relationship Principles of Jesus. Singapore: Campus

Crusade Asia Ltd., 2009.

Tan-chi, Peter. “Love Believes the Best.” 40 Days of Love Series – Sunday

Worship Service. Christ’s Commission Fellowship, Ortigas Center, Pasig

City. 3 April 2011.

The New American Standard Bible. Ed.

( 1995.

Who’s Sitting At Your Heart’s Stool?

While my professor wrote motion problems as calculus applications on the board, I struggled in a war between priorities and whims in my seat. Seriously. Last week, right after we watched Unknown (another movie premiere), my Mom showed me the ticket to this awesome movie:

I was eager to see this movie because of Natalie Portman, an actress I so dearly admire and respect. She’s got brains (Harvard alum and Hebrew-Japanese student, thank you very much), beauty, talent and a big heart for people and animals (she’s been a vegan since childhood). Since Thursday evening, I was looking forward to this premiere. Then Monday came.

My professor in Filipino 2 unexpectedly required us to submit the 3rd chapter of our research this Thursday. She usually gives us a week to do it, but since the semester has only less than a month before it officially ends (and summer comes in! WOOHOO!), she rushed the deadline. Then there’s the debate on Monday. Although I could really squeeze in the premiere in my schedule, my heart, soul and mind told me that it’s not a good idea (this is one of those rare moments when those 3 elements agreed on one thing. Hallelujah) The words  “priorities”  and “love” played in my mind the entire time as I meditated on what to do. Should I text my Mom that I would attend the premiere and my Dad to meet with me in Ayala or go home immediately after class? As I mentioned earlier, I struggled. Do you know that feeling when you want to do something you know you shouldn’t do even if you can foresee the negative consequences that would result if you push through with that bad decision? The situation is as complicated and complex as my previous sentence. 🙂 Anyway, I think I brought home the point. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this tug-of-war. Although no longer living, the Apostle Paul knew and experienced exactly what I was talking about when he wrote the following words (Romans 7:21-24):

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am!”

Not only am I wretched and held prisoner–I am a fool, too. As my math professor scribbled derivatives of functions on the whiteboard, I addressed my dilemma on paper by constructing the following table (in spite knowing the right thing that I should do).

Now that I think of it, I realize that this work of art is not so foolish a masterpiece after all. As I pondered on reality and truth, I realized that at that time as I struggled and desired “earthly things,”  I loved activities and fun more than I loved God and other people. The left column manifested the black swan in me–selfish, greedy (in a subtle way) and proud (because I wanted to take control of my life…again).  Had I obeyed my feelings instead of my feelings obeying me (well, God), then I stored earthly treasures, acted selfishly and contradicted my own words to my brothers and to myself: Know your priorities and ACT on them!

By God’s grace, power and Holy Spirit, I turned down the premiere. I knew that the best thing to do at that time was to act by faith and not by sight. By doing what is right even when I didn’t feel like doing it, I became the real me.

An hour and a half after this struggle in Math class (I usually struggle in Math class with or without a “black swan” temptaion. HAHA), I arrived home. I decided to knock on my grandmother’s house first before knocking on ours. Mama opened the door, greeted me cheerfully and announced a piece of news that took me off guard:

Andyan si Daddy mo, may sakit.” (Your Dad is there at home, he is sick)

Oh. My. Goodness. Just think if I texted my Dad during Math class (thus causing me to sin) and told him if we could meet in Ayala before the movie started. If I were in my Dad’s shoes, I would be disappointed because my daughter texted me only when she wanted something. This news further exposed my selfish attitude. 😐 Thankfully, there’s grace. Thankfully, there is no condemnation for me. I am forgiven and loved. 🙂

I grabbed the opportunity to serve my Dad and my brother who was also stricken with fever and headache. Later that afternoon as I sat in the couch, I read a book entitled The Relationship Principles of Jesus by Tom Holladay. Again, God struck my heart. Though the “pinch line” (as in the painful pinch mothers gave their naughty children) hurt, I was encouraged too:

“God does not demand of me that I accomplish great things. He does demand of me that I strive for excellence in my relationships.”

Whenever I triumph over sin and temptation or do a hard thing for God, I think that God was extremely happy over my achievement. Well He is happy since everything I do for Him is not in vain, but His joy is made more complete when I value my relationship with Him and with others above things, tasks, money, time and even my achievements. All this world needs is love. We are made for relationships. The best way to successfully murder a man physically and spiritually is to alienate him from all forms of human contact. Relationships are necessary for man to truly live.

So whenever you face a similar, less difficult or more difficult “black swan temptation” like I did, ask yourself: “Is this decision rooted out of love? Who am I showing my love to when I make this decision final?” Because whether you like it or not, you are always showing “love” to something or someone: whether God or money or yourself. I’m reminded of the video I saw in my Sunday School class a few weeks ago about who sits at my heart’s stool.  Is it me, money, fun, activities or JESUS? Remember that elementary principle about matter because it also applies here: Matter cannot occupy the same space (heart) at the same time. 🙂


And now, the video!

The Showroom

“Father, where are we going? I should be going back to my paper.”

Silently, He kept on walking until we reached a white bungalow surrounded by a vast  garden dotted with red and white carnations and  various colors of roses–my favorite flowers. Although I was glad He intervened in my hysteria over my paper that I cannot seem to write perfectly (which I always do), I was anxious about visiting another person’s showroom. Upon adopting a child, Father made him or her a showroom where He hammered away the nails, painted all the right, beautiful colors, exterminated all pests and embellished the entire house at the right places until perfection emanates from all its [showroom] angles.  Once He took me inside an extension room of twin brothers (they each had separate showrooms) where I learned how shallow my life was in my own little world back in “the real world” and how I was victimized by the world’s low expectations of me. I got mesmerized by the beautiful, exciting, disciplined and different lives on display across the red walls of the room that I vowed to step in the “rebelution” myself. Right now, though, all the passion and zeal contained in me two years ago slowly faded away as I encountered tough challenges. Maybe–just maybe–I wasn’t made to be that different at all. Father fumbled for the key in His  bag, and having found the right one, He unlocked the showroom and opened the door. “If I were you, I would forget about that paper for a while and enjoy this showroom. Leave your bag by the porch.” So He heard me after all. Although He did not intend to comfort me (or maybe He did because His tone was gentle),  for some reason His words brought consolation to my weary soul. I removed my heavy backpack and left it on the porch. I walked to the showroom frowning, but when I entered inside, I smiled. Make that beamed.

“This is my dream design!” The thick cement walls were painted white with a wooden design like old bungalows on a private beach. Vintage and femininity marked every item, painting, furniture piece, appliance and object that were neatly and correctly designated in different areas. A large, square colorful sketch on a canvas of my family of five–Dad, Mom, Josh and James–hung on the wall facing the door. “I always wanted a family painting in my house.” Below the gigantic picture were two pictures half the size of the first one which showed the beaming faces of my relatives from each parental side (the maternal side seemed smaller from afar, though, because we had to squeeze in all 20-plus of us while on the paternal side, we are only 11). I continued tinkering with accessories, toys and other objects that I had back at home which reminded me of my elementary and high school years: the glass plate I received in grade 4 for having the best-looking cubicle (only this time, the plate was marble and my name was engraved in Old English font) and the many 1st-place medals I won for Poetry Recitation, Storytelling, Singing with 3 other girls and memorizing and reciting five books of the Bible. My favorite part was the diploma display above all the other medals and certificates in a staircase style–the first one back in preschool was on the lowest stair, followed by the elementary diploma then the high school diploma. The empty case above the high school diploma inspired me all the more to work hard in college because I was only 3rd best in high school. After a minute passed, I walked to the adjacent area near the dining room where pictures attached in strings hung from the ceiling. Memories flooded my mind as I held each photograph: my firsthand experience in government under the Arroyo administration; the various retreats I’ve attended and enjoyed, my evolving style and physique (from “What was I thinking” to “I’m in my right mind now, thank you very much”); receiving my gadgets from my Dad; birthdays in hotels and fancy restaurants; roles in different plays, performing at the Araneta Coliseum during our church anniversary and so many other memories. After what seemed to be an hour or two of beholding this showroom–my showroom–I heard that deep yet gentle voice calling me from a not-so-distant room. I totally forgot about Father.

I followed the path of His voice and arrived at a small room. “Do you remember this, honey?” What He showed me awed me. I held a 3D and 4D LCD replica of my church’s previous architecture back when the main auditorium was smaller and was situated in the 4th floor. Inside the hall, it was dark, but light emanated from a stage where I saw a familiar man speaking.

“Oh, it’s Kuya Ryan! He used to be Jzone’s youth pastor.” His voice sounded exactly the same as if today was five years ago–February 25, 2006 to be exact. “I remember this very much Father! This was the time I became your daughter!” It was indeed a glorious time for Him and a comforting moment for me as I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart that day. Father hugged me tightly and at that moment all the stress, fear and anxiety I stuffed inside me vanished. Finally, I was free. I cried in His arms, mumbling sincere confessions and breathing deeply every once in a while. After a few minutes, I let go, wiped off my tears and smiled. I looked up to Him and saw that He did exactly the same. He cried when I cried. I couldn’t be any more joyful.

“I saw a while ago that you’ve enjoyed My design for you. But that’s not the best part.” He closed the windows and shut off the lights until the room was pitch black. He switched on the light and suddenly, stars appeared on the ceiling.

“The dark room!” I exclaimed. It was indeed wonderful. The pictures floating in midair seemed to be generated by some highly advanced computer software where the people in them moved. I watched the photos intently as they passed before me. Each passing scenario flashed a moment when I encouraged someone in one of many ways: staying up late to help a brother with his homework; nursing my Mom when she was sick; listened to a friend who was burdened with so many problems; or simply smiling to a child along the street.

“Don’t you ever dare say you are insignificant, child, because if it weren’t for you, these people would have missed out on the most important person in their lives: Me.”

“But Father, you were the one Who sought them out. I mean, You  died on the cross,not me.”

“But you let yourself be used by Me. I want people to be members of my team. You stepped outside your comfort zone and bravely shared My Word to broken people in spite your fear and own problems. You depended on Me every step of the way. And I commend you for that.” Immediately Father switched on the lights and the images disappeared. I looked past Him and saw an unpainted wooden door with  “Progress” written on it. “What is that room, Father?”

“That needs yet to be furnished. If you continue to trust Me, this showroom–and in the future, a house–would grow more beautiful than it already is.”

Wow. More beautiful. Anything far more beautiful than what I just saw exceeds the capacity of my imagination. “But why is the door different? I mean, it’s so shabby and holed.”

Father looked at the door, then at me. “Everything you saw a while ago and the things I plan to do in the future are all made with joy. Once the termites set in, they start corrupting.” I looked down and knew exactly what He was talking about. Why didn’t I think of that? Worry should have no place in my life.

Before I could even ask Him more questions, the house vibrated. I wished it didn’t, but I knew that we had work to do. This was Father’s workplace. “It’s time to go back now, my child. Do not be troubled. I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. I love you.”

“I love you too, Daddy.” The showroom faded into black and then into my room. I stopped my vibrating phone and looked at my word-free paper in front of me. Finally I can write a creative narrative of my life–perfect, just the way I like it. 🙂