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The Rock

The Rock

Among all my travels and adventures, a good rock formation is always the best one to rest with. But more than the actual rock, I always put my rest to the Rock whom I can always find and rest my soul, the only strongest foundation that I have dug down deep in faith.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress” -Psalm 18:2

Dress Your Family!

Book: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Author: David Sedaris

Where to Buy: Leading bookstores

This book is brilliantly hilarious! I had a lot of laugh-all-by-myself moments while reading this book. The author is awesomely genius in compiling different events of his life with his family, making me regret that I was not able to write down the not-so-best yet one-in-a-million moments that I had with mine. Not all writers can mix wit, humor and heart, so I salute Mr. Sedaris for being one who made it possible.

This book is purely a compilation of different events, no intertwined stories here. Moreover, what makes me interested with this book is how the author shared his family, mind, heart and soul in this piece of literature.

I really don’t have much to share about this book aside from the laughter that I had flipping its pages, encouragement that you should read this if you want to see your family differently, and my applause to the author for being very fantastic. However, allow me to share here some lines that signaled a light bulb in my neurons and deserved a space in my journal of words for the brains.

“If finding an apartment is like falling in love, buying one is like proposing on your first date and agreeing not to see each other until the wedding.”

I’d read those lines thrice, I think, before moving on with the succeeding sentences. The author wrote these as he shares his feelings before moving in to a new apartment. Finding an apartment and falling in love, two actions that seems nothing to have in common to be connected as this one, but Mr. Sedaris made it. Brilliant!

Those two things do not really relate to me, for I know that the only reason for me to find an apartment is when my mom kicks me out of the house if I ever fall in love and decide to be with a man than with her. But, I realized that I don’t look like a two-bedroom flat, my worth is far better than that, so I won’t accept any proposal on a first date, and I won’t go into a wedding with a groom whom I only happen to meet once.

Well, in line with weddings, here are the lines that come from a psychic who ministered the wedding of the author’s brother. I find these lines very sweet to be part of a vow. However, remembering the fact that it came from a psychic who does tarot card or palm reading, I opted not to or else my soon-to-be Christian groom become a runaway one.

 “This love cannot be bought in a store. It cannot be found under a tree, beneath a shell, or even in a treasure chest buried centuries ago on the historic islands that surround us.”

A beach wedding is my dream one, so I really liked those lines, but I know I can make a sweeter one with God’s wisdom too. Hurrah for Mr. Sedaris for remembering and sharing this! I just hope that when my brothers’ get married, a pastor will minister to them and not a poetic psychic.

As I said, I don’t have much to share with this book, but allow me to share the best lesson I learned after reading this.

I only have one family in this world; I may have a very different one compared to the regular nuclear families for I have one real mom, one stepdad, two brothers, a dog and a snake at home, two other siblings with my one real dad whom I never met yet, and deceased legal adopted parents giving me three legal sisters and one legal brother. As peculiar as my family life looks like, they are and will always be my treasured possession. We had good and not so good days, memories and events in life that we faced together and apart, but the only thing that I’ll be always grateful for is the fact that they are my family no matter what happen and no matter how odd they or we are.

I pray that like me, after you read Mr. Sedaris’ Dress Your Family, you will be able to appreciate your own and treasure them just as they are. Remember that our family should be our first ministry, and we ought to love them even if they don’t seem to be lovable.

“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Timothy 3:5

 

Tuesday Mornings and Sweet Dreams

One Tuesday morning, I woke up with the sound of waves kissing the shore. I went out to greet the morning sun as she rise, but she was not there; the rain and the dark clouds covered her. I, a stranger in this paradise, did found comfort in a book and a cup of coffee with my best friend seating in front of me, making me feel that I was not alone.

Suddenly, a man arrives with his black jacket and yellow board shorts holding a bag on his right and a surf board on his left. He walked past me, gave me a stare for a second, that made me heard my heart saying, Im beating fast.

The sun came out at noon, just in time for me to marvel and explore the entire island ‘til my body aimed for rest. I slept without even saying goodbye to the sun. I was about to call it a day in this lovely place, but it was not over yet.

From our window, I saw him holding his tablet reading an e-book with a cup of coffee. I shook my head and talked to myself, “Don’t be bothered with his presence. You dont even know him.” I grabbed a chair at the dining hall where he was seating, but I made sure he was far from me or he might hear the roaring sounds of “lub-dub inside my chest. He was sitting two tables behind me, facing the shore while I’m facing the opposite. For hours, I was not at ease, for I can feel a pair of eyes on me, so I look around and caught him staring at this bothered bookworm then he went to his room, and I guess, we both called it a day.

Another morning came, and the sun was still hiding in the mountains asking her spectators to wait with their shutters. I went to the shore alone, feeling the sand and the tiny waves on my toes. My bible was waiting for me in the terrace, so I went up to feed my soul. The wisest man wrote, A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. I hold this verse for a moment, but when I looked up, there was me, him, and the morning sunshine. I uttered a short prayer, asked God to take away the butterflies with this stranger.

My best friend arrived just in time. She walked with me on the sands – an escape to that moment of tension. My bible was still on my hand, as my heart begged for wisdom. The waves were threatening, so I went back to secure my bible, then I heard him said something from above the terrace or maybe it’s just my illusion though I pretended not to hear him or should I say I was just afraid to know what he’ll be saying. I ran from him, knowing that his eyes were still on me, running barefoot. I went back to the shore with my heart, trying to find where my skipped beats went.

I need a coffee that’s what my system says until I was calm when he walked past me again, this time with his board on hand. I’m not bothered as I saw him set forth to embrace the waves. The butterflies were gone, and my heart maintains its rhythm but my eyes were fixed on the shore among the surfers, searching for a particular one, as if looking for a pearl in a vast ocean.

“What was that?” my rational mind asked.

Science answered, “Law of Attraction maybe”.

Arts says, “It cannot be, for he looks like a mural painting, an artist’s masterpiece, which is the exact opposite of your favorite form of art – abstract, something that only your own eyes can appreciate. Many may fall for his beauty, but that does not include you.”

I agree with Arts, that physical attraction is not the reason of this strange feeling. What is it then? Infatuation? Negative. Love at first sight? I don’t believe on that.

 After much arguing in my head, I got ready to say my farewell to this paradise, so I went out for my last look on the waves, the sand, the mountains, and the Pacific Ocean then I saw him coming out of the shore, and I felt like there was something that stabbed my chest, as the thought that it was also the last sight of him sink in. I ran away as he took off his wet blue shirt and hang it in a chair to dry, for I can’t afford to have him noticed me staring at him.

All my bags were packed, and I was waiting for my best friend to get ready. I was sitting inside with our door open then the boy next door, a surfer boy, the man who stole some of my heart beats walked past me for the very last time. He gave me a stare and a shy smile then went towards the bay to get his board, that was it, the very last butterfly went away with him.

I bid the hall goodbye, saying to myself that what happened in that place will remain there like hidden carved names on a trunk of a tree. A part of me wanted to stay, to wait in the hall while he’s out in the shore. However, my rational mind says it’s time for me to go. I was not able to know his name. All I know is that I shared a night with him, reading books in a dining hall with our cups of coffee, exchanging glances.

Another morning came, but there was no sound of waves, no photographers waiting for the sun to show its picture-perfect rise, no sand beneath my tiny toes, no best friend to comfort me, and no man to hide from.  I was back in the city, and the paradise where I’d been is now a place where I discovered that I’m still a human; a woman capable to have this unexplainable feeling of elation and anxiety, and a child who runs away from what she thought as falling and hurting. Mornings must have come and go, but the butterflies still come with just a thought of the man who came on a gloomy morning, the man left in a paradise with a majestic morning sun.

I woke up today as fresh as it was that Tuesday morning when I opened my eyes feeling the sun, the waves, the shore, the sand, remembering the smile of the stranger with the morning bliss. My desk calendar says it is Tuesday today, my alarm clock then apologize saying, “Sorry if I have to wake you up from a deep sleep.”

I asked, What was this all about?

Reality answered, “It was all part of a very sweet dream.”

Lost and Found: Love at First Sight

Book: The Bridges at Madison County

Author: Robert James Waller

Where to buy: I really don’t know, one of my College thesis mates just lend me this book, and the price tag says, “Book Sale”.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t, maybe with the 2nd sight.

Do you believe that real love can happen in a span of 4 days? I don’t, maybe with 40 days.

But a while ago, in just one sitting, a cup of coffee, and 3 slices of bread, I suddenly believe that this kind of love is possible with tears flowing down my eyes, as I read a strange yet one-of-a-kind story of love that happened in 1965, that was 4 years before my mom was born and published just before my 3rd birthday in 1992. Indeed, I’m fortunate to be able to read it today, 48 years later after that awesome love-at-first-sight affair happened in Winterset, Iowa.

Yes, I wrote it right; it was just a 4-day affair, but reading the entire book, the writer’s researches, her journals, and his photos, I should know and believe that Robert James Wallers’ whirlwind kind of love in this novel is possible.

(I’m still in tears writing this…love stories like this one can really make me cry or maybe the hopeful romantic in me hopes that my love story will be as awesome as what I just read, worth reading through the years.)  

He was a traveling photographer for National Geographic, and she was a farmer’s wife. He was tasked to take photos of the bridges at Madison Country, and while looking for the last bridge, he got lost; he stopped and asked for directions. Fortunately, the wife was alone at home, she was sitting at the porch when this man came and asked her. She gave him the directions, and even offered herself to bring him there. (Take a note of this scene, for this is same as mine.)

As I read it, I know they complement each other in a thousand ways that I couldn’t write, that was their love and no writer can really bring justice if ever he/she attempted to do that. They were poetic, artistic, and full of passion and love. He made her live who she really is; he brought out her identity and characters from a shell and her childhood dreams that she once felt dead already. She made him feel that he was not lost and that he found what he has been searching for all his life.

Here’s an awesome description of what they had as he said it, “I think we’re both inside of another being we have created called ‘us’. We’re not really inside of that being. We are that being. We have both lose ourselves and created something else, something that exists only as an interlacing of the two of us. We’re in love, as deeply, as profoundly, as it’s possible to be in love.”

May be you’ll be asking me, 4 days? Is that they call love, for real?

Well, he said these lines that even I will never forget, “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

 They were certain that they have love in just 4 days. But as I understand it, they just had each other physically for 4 days, but they love each other until their deaths.

He asked him to run away with him, but she already has a family, a husband and 2 kids that she had responsibilities with, so she stayed. They never kept in touch after that 4 days, yet they remain to love each other until their last breaths, which made me conclude that no amount of distance, communication barriers, and physical absence can put an end to a love that made two hearts beat as one.

Let me share the lines they had in their dying hand-written letters; him for her and hers for her children…

He wrote:

To the universe, four days is no different than four billion light years. I try to keep that in mind. But, I am, after all, a man. And all the philosophical rationalizations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my head. I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will. (1978)

She wrote:

In four days, he gave me a lifetime, a universe, and made the separate parts of me into a whole… I gave my family my life; I gave him what was left of me.  Though we never spoke again to one another, we remained bound together as tightly as it’s possible for two people to be bound. (1987)

If you’ll ask me, How come that was love? Or maybe you’ll say that’s adultery, pure lust, or whatever. My answer to you will be – I believe them that it was love. Her love for her husband and children prevailed than her love for herself and the man whom she fell in love with, that was a selfless kind of love; and as for him not destroying her family, her reputation and the lives of her children for the sake of his personal happiness, another selfless love.

Lovers need not to be together physically, what matter is that they keep the love in their hearts wherever they are.

 This love story is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional. However, I wanna share with you a real love story kind of similar with this, my love story.

There is one man who died and lives again and went up to His Father in heaven, but I can still feel His love surrounding me now. I may not be able to love Him just the same, but I know that He is love and that is the greatest love that I have – a selfless kind of love that didn’t exactly transpire in a bridge, but happened in Calvary where my Lover bridged Himself between heaven and earth.

Like the story above, my love story also begins when I found myself lost before and then I met Jesus; He just not answered me with directions, He also offered me Himself to be with me where I’m heading.  And there, I found what I had been looking for – one true love.

What happened with the lovers with the story? They were both cremated, and there ashes were scattered at Roseman Bridge, 7 years apart. He passed away in 1982; she died in 1989, still loving each other despite never seeing or hearing from each other after their 4 days of being together. His name was Robert Kincaid, and she was Francesca Johnson.

There’s also an award-winning movie for this novel showed in 1995; I haven’t watched it yet, but I know that the story is pretty good. I hope, like me, you feel and believe in what real love can do with this classic love story.

#7 That Scenario

A frightening scenario and God’s comforting words…

After my adventure today, I head home straight. While stepping out of the tricycle, Cass (my 2-year-old cousin) welcomed me saying, “barbecue”. She doesn’t look hungry, yet she wants one. With some spare coins in my pocket, I bought her a grilled hotdog.

While we’re waiting for her “barbecue” which is a hotdog, I talked to God.

Me: “Good Lord, as much as I wanted a hand to hold for my mountain adventures, please give me the ability to feed a child first before giving me a boyfriend. Cass pleading looks did scare me. What if I didn’t have coins? How will I buy her a hotdog? What if Cass is already my child? That scares me God.”

God: “I know my plans for you. (Jeremiah 29: 11) Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) I am the God who showered manna and quails for my people. (Exodus 16) Don’t worry my daughter, for I hold your future. (Matthew 6:34)

Me: I know God. Thanks for reminding. ♥

Jack’s king and my King

Movie: Jack the Giant Slayer

My rating: A for Awesome!

One of the casts of this movie that I liked the most is Ewan McGregor as Elmont, maybe because he is Princess Isabelle’s best friend, her rescuer at all times and performs his duty to the kingdom, his men, and to the king very well. Truly, he’s a knight and shining armor. Sadly, Isabelle fell for the peasant-turned-hero Jack. If I was her, I’d choose Elmont.  Anyways, too much of my fantasy, let me move on now to my main point.

If you’ll ask me where do I see God in this movie? My answer is: I saw Him with Jack’s king, Mr. Ian McShane as king Brahmwell. Here are my three awesome reasons why…

First, king Brahmwell sacrificed the life of her daughter for the sake of his kingdom. It was hard for a father to let her only child die with that giant tree or whatever you call that thing when he commanded his men to cut it before any giant could find their way down first.

My King did the same thing for me two thousand years ago when He gave His son, Jesus Christ to save me before death could find its way with me.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten son, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life. – John 3: 16

Second, king Brahmwell did the first move. That’s a real leader! After one giant fell in their kingdom, the king held an ax and did the first cut. He takes the initiative; he commands and then he acts.

My King is the one who always takes the lead. He’s in charge with everything. He’s a God who does mighty acts, who performs signs and wonders, and who created everything from His own hands. He’s not a God who just commands and let His people works; He’s a God who works with His people.

So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”- Exodus 13:18-19

Lastly, king Brahmwell never leaves his men behind. That scene when the king was fighting already side by side with Elmont in defending the gates of their kingdom, I really feel like crying as he fought with his men. He holds the rope with all his strength. He fell a lot of times and stand up again to fight.

My King never leaves His people throughout history. In the beginning there was God and even until now there is God, for God is omnipresent. He fought for and with His people. He never fell, for He always holds His people whenever they fall; He gives the strength for His men to continue the battle that was already won by His son, Jesus Christ.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

See how great my King is? He’s far greater than king Brahmwell of Jack the giant slayer. After all, my King, God is the King of all kings.