Mother’s Day: An Afterthought

It’s almost a week after people in many places around the globe celebrated Mother’s Day; it’s my youngest son’s birthday, too. He who once was my baby is now himself a father of two lovely, adorable little girls. And here is an afterthought.

In my heart of hearts, my sons will always be babies, as I’d often see them in my dreams…such until they entered their 30s, for now they have grown big.

Still in my heart, I cradle them close like I did when they were infants; In my eyes, I see the look they had when they’d beseech me when they were children.

Part of a mother’s soul perhaps would not let their children go, though grow they must to tackle their own.

A mother will always feel all the range of emotions she had when her children were still small because her love will always be.

Now am grateful for the care, support and love they bestow on me in turn…A mother’s heart flutters with joy!

While it’s almost a week after people in many places around the globe celebrated Mother’s Day, my celebration of being a mother continues each day.

To my son celebrating his birthday today, I love you with all my heart.

What I Like About Life

 

This article is an old one of mine which I already posted in a different site which I have no longer access to. I actually wrote this while I was still teaching at a language school, so I was writing this for the benefit of our EFL adult students who were of different language proficiency levels.
What I like about life, although it is a constant struggle, are the fascinating discoveries I encounter as I go through each day. Like jewels that shine, or spices that perk up, they come in different ways and forms and they provide me with something good to look forward to, day by day…like small things I learn about those around me, people I meet, especially those who have become special in more ways than one.

I have come to accept that life indeed is a great mystery and there are countlless things my limited human mind cannot easily comprehend. So I have learned to ask “Why” much lesser than i used to. I have learned to accept and appreciate more whatever comes my way. Sometimes, I tell myself to be careful for life is a big tease, full of sinful delights and life is like a bubble, too…hold on to something tight and it bursts. Continue reading “What I Like About Life”

Luke 15:1-32: A Reflection

 

Luke 15:1-32  presents three parables of Jesus Christ that revolve around one theme: the recovery of the lost. Something was lost, but it was recovered. What is very striking for me is the seeming incompatibility between what was lost and the manner by which it was recovered.

One sheep, from among a flock of sheep, strayed and the shepherd left his other sheep just so he could look for and bring home his one lost sheep. One against a hundred-it seems an insignificant number, negligible so to speak. Yet, for the shepherd, this one lost sheep was still his sheep, and it was worth his time of search.

Similarly, a silver coin from among ten got lost, and the woman owner had to spend much effort sweeping all over her house in order to search for her one lost coin. Today perhaps, the tendency for those who have plenty is to not mind such negligible loss.

Then we see the father of the wayward son, who even without any certainty of his son’s return, kept waiting, perhaps night and day, for his son. His son finally came to his senses and decided to go back home, and he was sill far-away, but the father already saw him. Continue reading “Luke 15:1-32: A Reflection”

3 Ways To Deal with Change

 

In my previous post, “Change: How To Deal with It” I shared 3 ways by which you can deal with unexpected changes in your life, to wit:

1) Be ready to accept the change, and embrace it for all it is worth.

2) Look at any change in your life as a reflective, learning moment.

3) Focus on and gather your inner and outer resources.

Life's twists and turns

Let us take a look at each of these more closely.

Accept and embrace change

Live each day with openness to all possibilities that may unfold before you. This is not to say you should not hope for or anticipate with eagerness the good that you desire to happen in your life. Yes, live each day with hope in your heart, but give space to the thought that change is inevitable: there are events in life that do happen when you least expect them; there are dreams you have carefully planned for that do not turn out as you like it. And of course, there are the unexpected joys that bring in change, a welcome surprising change that makes adapting to it a lot easier.

How can you accept and embrace change? Continue reading “3 Ways To Deal with Change”

CHANGE: How To Deal with It

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]” — an oft-quoted line from the  poem “To a Mouse,” written in 1785 by Scotland’s Romantic Poet, Robert Burns

 

Indeed, life is such that you can never be totally certain everything will turn out the way you have wanted it to be, for

Life is an adventure

Whatever its course,

At each bend, at every turn,

There’s a hurdle to leap

And some of those hurdles you meet may come in unexpected events in your life which you may be ill-equipped to deal with– like a sudden illness, or death in the family, or a change in relationships or jobs/workplace; whatever, the unexpected occurs; the anticipated doesn’t happen, or not according to plan.

Life is not complete without the changing seasons, and we know that things do happen out of season as well. Just observe the many climate changes the world is experiencing today.

So how do you deal with these unexpected turn of events in your life? As people are different in the way they handle changes — some are better than others at coping with surprises that life throws at them — there are also various ways of facing them.

Here are three ways of dealing with changes I personally observe:

1. First, you must be ready to accept the change, and embrace it for all it is worth, including your fear and anxiety over what is going to happen in the near future.

2. You can look at any change in your life as a reflective, learning moment, for one thing is sure: change always teaches a lesson. You can look back, ask yourself what you did, or what went wrong, and focus on how to correct and make things better. Or you can just reflect on it as a natural part of the rhythm of life.

For example, if you somehow find yourself unable to work due to a sudden illness or health condition, it may be a call to live more in the present, and to not worry too much about tomorrow. Most illnesses, according to medical studies, are caused by too much stress, thus weakening our immune system.

It is time to “stop by the roadside and smell the flowers” — indeed, life is too short, and so precious to just let it pass us by. We need to balance between ‘hurrying’ and ‘staying in the moment’…between doing and being.

I remember my tendency in the not so distant past to always move about quickly, and hurrying through the myriad of tasks at home, and in school. So perhaps, this physical pain that I now have — an unexpected happening in my life,  is such a reminder for me to slow down, not just in a physical way — but rather, in a more spiritual way to appreciate each moment as I lose myself in it, freeing my mind of any disturbing negative thoughts, as I try to make the most of this new pace as I live in transition.

3. Finally, you focus on and gather your inner and outer resources: your innate strength, sense of adventure, optimism, and most of all, your faith; your family and other support groups like your closest friends.

Believe that you have the strength to carry on; take it as an adventure. Just like me now — due to my present disability, I have to stop classroom teaching and continue to teach online. I also have taken up an online writing job, both of which I hadn’t anticipated I’d be doing.

Look forward to each new day; it may not be easy at times, but just flow naturally with the ebb and tide. Open your heart to the blessings of a new day, new hope, and soon, everything will be much easier to bear. More so, if you have faith: in yourself, in the people around you, especially your loved ones, and in God, then life still remains as beautiful and blessed as ever, and you emerge a stronger, better person.

In the end, it is all about being positive about change. You cannot control everything that happens in your life, but you can do much to withstand the challenges that change brings.

MY MOST SPECIAL EVENT by: Sr. Vimonrat

 
Sr. Vimonrat Sretaraksa is one of my most avid students in English writing. Her main problem in the beginning was to express herself more spontaneously and in a more vivid way. After some lessons and exercises on free-writing, and “show, not tell” — she feels that it is now much easier to describe her thoughts and feelings. This is the final draft of one of her descriptive paragraphs. She mostly revised and edited her previous drafts with the help of some guide questions.

 

The picture of my perpetual vow ceremony is still colorful in my memory. This is the most important event in my life, the day that I have become a bride of Christ forever. I am led to the Eucharistic celebration accompanied by the beautiful song of the Sacred Heart Choir. In my hand, I hold a lighted candle that is decorated with little white and green flowers; I remember the wise bride who waits until the bridegroom comes. When a grand door opens, I walk on the red carpet that directs me to the sacred altar. On the way, I hear many people sing a lively song as in a big party in heaven. I am like a princess in a long white dress who promenades to the wonderful party. As I bow down at the altar, a spray of sweet floral fragrance greeted me. White lilies, pink roses and purple orchids are bunched together like a lovely garden. I cannot imagine, if I were a tiny butterfly. I would sniff all of the flowers. The significant part of the ceremony is coming, when mother superior calls my name. When I hear her call, I do not hesitate to answer, “I am here.” I have to step out in front of the altar. My left hand holds the lighted candle, while my right hand clutches my statement of vows. My hands are shaking, my tummy grumbles with so many butterflies, but I try to remain calm. I talk to God with my whole heart, yet I cannot do anything even to say “I will love and be honest to you forever; Please help me.” Now, I walk up I walk up the beautiful steps leading to the altar, gaily adorned with white flowers and green leaves. The grand hall is overwhelmed with silence. All eyes are staring at me, as I kneel down in front of the altar. Then, in my hushed voice which echoes around the silenced hall, I profess to obey, and to live a chaste and poor life for Christ my beloved Spouse. “May Lord help me to be honest for the profession forever.” Soon after, I stand up, and bring that piece of paper containing my profession of vows to the bishop for me to sign in front of him. But I cannot even write my name because my hand is shaking. I have to take a long breath to get rid of my agitation. Next, my mother superior and the bishop sign their names signifying their approval of my professed vows. Moments later, I step back to the altar, kneel and let the bishop sprinkle Holy Water onto my golden ring. My ordinary golden ring changes into an eternal bond between my God and me. My name is then called out by the bishop, so I approach him to receive the blessed ring. As my blessed ring is gently laid on my palm, a golden light glows from my ring and I see “Sponsa Christi” etched on its surface. I am now indeed a Bride of Christ, forever!

 

Journeying with My Students Through the Travails of Writing

 

Free Writing Exercise: Free write as if you are leaving your home and taking a journey you’ve never dared to take before.
 Source:http://www.deborahdavisauthor.com/writersworkshop.html#w4

I came across this site once while looking for fresh materials for my writing class. Although I had my own teacher-crafted lessons and exercises to give my students, I found the activities that Ms. Davis shared were very interesting. Thus, I decided to join one of my classes in doing some of her suggested exercises, so here goes:

August 2, 2013

Start: 11:07 AM

Here I am, one small overnight bag in my right hand and a backpack slung on my shoulders, standing at the threshold of my home. I can step forward onto the main gate, and out onto the street, or I can go back to the house while there is still time. I wonder what has led me into taking this journey into the unknown. I didn’t even bother telling anyone in my family, but I feel this is right for me at this point. I feel that at this moment in my life, I must go deeper into who I am and what I want from life. Unless I go away, and far from anyone close to me, I shall never be able to seek what I am seeking.

So with another small step, then another, I now find my way through the streets in my village. Time is running out as I feel my heart already aching to rush back to my family, so I must be brave and continue walking onto the terminal.

Finished: 11:14 AM; 176 words

 

My reflection on my freewriting exercise

In my experience, when I first started at 11:07, I was a little critical of my ideas, but I continued and after two minutes, I felt I was another person, no longer Marichu, so it was easier for me to go deep into my very short story. But after 7 minutes, I felt, I had to grope for ideas and words, so I stopped. Now, I will have to go back to it later in the next few days.

At the same time, while doing the exercise with my students, I could just imagine how it must be real challenging for them who came from non-English environments, and who were only beginning to appreciate writing in English.  Also, at the time,  perhaps because the topic was something I had not touched on previously, I realized my own difficulty — hence, I came to understand my students’ own struggles as well, more clearly.

The most important lesson for me here as a teacher is to be able to empathize more with students’ situation, their learning contexts and capabilities. This is indeed essential to avoid exerting undue pressure on them.

I have always found it to be truly effective when students observe me drafting examples on the board, and revising/editing along with them, yet I would just take this for granted. My own experience that morning, however, has given me a fresher perspective, and newer impetus.

The good news is my love for writing often spills over in the way I teach them to write. Hence, in no time at all, most of my students in writing come to enjoy crafting interesting, vivid compositions. Not only that, they declare that they have come to love the language itself. More so now, when they see me eager to learn more along with them!

 

 

 

 

 

My Saturday Epiphany

We are blessed differently — we Christians recognize this. Yet, this seems easier to think about in the abstract, for what makes it difficult though, at times, is not being truly grateful for whatever we have, — or being unable to accept the situation we find ourselves in.

Times when many ‘whys’ — borne of envy, fear, insecurity — assail our minds and erode our faith in God. Times when anger replaces the love that should fill our hearts, and we turn to put the blame on others, on things, and sometimes, on God Himself for the kind of life we have, never on ourselves.

It’s times like this when we need to pause, and reflect more deeply on how we can overcome such doubts. Where is the envy, or fear, or insecurity coming from? Are we  lacking in self-confidence; do our values lie in only the material? What is in the other that we value so much that we fail to appreciate our own? Do we use them as benchmarks for our lives? Don’t we recognize God’s intended goals for us?

Is God truly present in our lives, in ourselves? Perhaps, we  lean only on our own understanding without relying on His guidance. That is perhaps the reason we commit so many blunders. On the other hand, we should know that from the mistakes we make, we can learn our lessons.

God allows us to run the course of our lives through our free will –and when we fail, or stumble, He only wants us to stand up and try again and again. Like a child who is learning to walk by himself, he slips, stumbles, falters – with his mother or father silently watching so the child can get up by himself, and walk again. Like a baby bird who hesitates before he can fly on his own, we are just the same. Through our weaknesses we become strong. Through our mistakes, we become a little bit more perfect each day.

At the same time, too, God invites us to listen to Him, to let Him lead us, or let Him walk with us — yet many times we run away, or hide from Him. Then when we fail to reach our dreams, our goals in life, we start asking — why?

On the other hand, we may indeed be faithful, putting God at the center of our lives, and living the Gospel values. Yet, the more we seek Him, the more we feel God is nowhere — we experience what St John of the Cross calls “the dark night of the soul.” Hence, in our self-pity at times, with weakening trust, we cannot but feel unloved…

I for one have experienced many times being assailed by my fears and doubts, by my lack of faith. I sometimes feel so unworthy and so much unlike the great saints of the Church — that I cannot be like them, and so much away from God. I truly admire those whose faith is unwavering, whose faith even gets much stronger in the midst of suffering — physical or spiritual.

Yet, how good my God truly is — for on countless times in the darkest of nights, He makes His presence known to me. Like the glint of the early morning sun after a night of rain, God comes to freshen my soul.

I love you, O God. Amen                                                                                                

Without HIM

Without Him

My Life is hollow

Like a bottle

My Mind trips as a running brook.

Without Him

Who gives Beauty to

My Soul?

Yet, how Great is my God

For He fills in the

Emptiness in my Heart…

Though shadows lurk

In the path I walk

His Love protects

And shields Me

From every evil

I meet…