Because God is Faithful

photo (2)

A good friend gave me this bracelet last weekend and I’ve been wearing it everyday since. The past weeks have been a bit tough for me personally with a slight health scare. I’ve been feeling better enough that I’ve gone back working at the office but it’s not over yet. I still have to undergo a minor operation on Friday early morning but it’s been such a huge comfort to be surrounded by supportive and encouraging family and friends who pray for me every single day and strengthen my faith.

Because I’m a realist, I play through the worst case scenarios in my mind – from being physically altered, to being terminally ill to dying. Drew hates it when I talk to him about these things that go through my head but because I’m a little bit emotionally retarded I feel like I have to do it in advance so my real emotions can come to the surface. Weird huh? Kanya-kanya lang tayo ng topak! But funnily enough, after the initial fear, I realized that my main emotion was that of confidence that God was in control so it doesn’t really matter what happens. Of course, I’m asking family and friends to pray for the best case scenario. But then what in my head is the best case scenario may not necessarily be the same as the one God has in mind! I simply have to trust in His goodness and his promise that the plan he has in store for me is one that will give me hope and a future that is good for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

So yeah, just breathe, Lea. Breathe.

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Goodbye, Bo

I’m heartbroken today.

The nightmares I had when I wrote about leaving my Rottweiler, Bo, came true. He passed away today after a day of unexplained stomach pains. Our veterinarian recommended the medicines to give him but when my family found him the next morning, he seemed to have died while sleeping. He was buried in the spot of our garden where he loved to play.

Thanks for the many wonderful memories, Bo. You were such a great dog. I’ll always think of you when I go to the garden and remember the hours we spent there, just hanging out. I’ll be missing you so terribly.

Bo as a puppy. Those eyes!
Bo as a puppy. Those eyes!
Bo knows "green grass" is play time. And the spot to poop.
Bo knows “green grass” is play time. And the spot to poop.

Weighty Issues

Last Sunday found me in the most comfortable bottom pit of abysmal sloth. I literally didn’t get out of bed the whole day except when we had to go to church early that evening. I didn’t even have an excuse of a late night out. We had house guests the night before and I shamelessly fell asleep upstairs while my poor husband had to entertain them (and wash the dishes alone). I can whip out so many excuses to validate my behavior (I had a long drive to Batangas and back earlier that day, allergic reaction to the vetsin of the Bonchon chicken we had for dinner, general all-around stress — we had a fire, you know) except that they’re really not acceptable even to myself. But there I was, seemingly drugged into hugging our bed forever. (In fairness, we really do have the most amazingly comfortable bed. Both Drew and I struggle to get out of its warm yummy cushions every morning).

Today I had a check up with my OB-GYN and I found out I gained 3 pounds in one month! Three pounds! One month! Without a baby to show for! That’s eating 10,500 calories more than I should be! Crazy. But honestly, I don’t think its just my diet. It’s the plain lack of exercise, of movement-less still days. Sunday was a perfect example. It’s 10,500 calories that I used to burn that I’m not anymore. I really need my gym routine back!! I keep stopping and starting and stopping. I guess that’s alright as long as I keep starting again.

I’ve long accepted my body was never meant to be skinny and my husband claims to love my thunder thighs and jiggly bits but I guess I’ve also used that as an excuse to slack off the discipline. I’m grateful for having the right perspective and acceptance of my non poster-girl-material “assets”. In this day and age of troubling self image, I seemed to have blessedly gotten away from a lot of pain. But I have to keep my focus on being the healthiest I can be.

Over the holidays, I found out that a younger family member was confined in the hospital for anorexia. She was confined there for about two weeks. She’s only in her early teens. That gave me a pause and, the habit of all women, I felt so guilty. I thought that I had been such a poor role model. What if she had gotten anorexic because she said, “I don’t want to be like Ate”, not really rejecting me but our genetic inheritance. I wish I had been a better model of how to deal with what our bodies were predisposed to look like. Of course we only saw each other once a year, on Christmas day, but maybe I could’ve made a better impact on her. I certainly won’t be able to do that if I keep loving our bed too much.

Plus the Biblical verses about sleeping keeps haunting me:

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 24: 33-34)

Laziness brings on deep sleep and the shiftless man goes hungry.
(Proverbs 19:15)

Sige na nga, Lord! Ayaw ko maging ugly and poor!!!! Gym na tonight!

haaaay

After 10 years of driving, it was bound to happen sooner or later. But why it didn’t happen to my second-hands or my 7-year old little City, I can’t fathom. Manong Drayber just had to hit the jackpot in choosing my two-month old mini SUV to repaint with his.

manong says hello

It’s really painful that it happened, but I couldn’t work up the energy to scream and get mad when I finally got down from my car. After all, I always do better at getting mad in hindsight. I always come up with better lines to spit out when I retell the tale. And in this particular case, I guess I always think there’s not much point in getting mad at a human over an object. It’s just a scratch and dent on your car, anyway, and everyone has a stupid moment.

So, chill.

ondoy

On the last days of being in Beijing, a typhoon hit Manila.

Knox and I watched from the sidelines the horror of houses being submerged in feet and feet of water and cars floating around like weightless toys, dragged along by the flood.

It’s been two weeks since then and I’m back in Manila where many people are in restart mode, having literally lost everything but the clothes on their back and their lives. Relief efforts continue and I hope to help out this afternoon at our church in repacking goods to be delivered to those affected by the flood.

Tragedies like this help us take stock of the important things in life.

SONA

We leave in three days for our Beijing-Tibet duo adventure. Knox lent me Pico Iyers’s Kathmandu Video Nights and Other Stories, prodding me to read the articles on Tibet. I dutifully did so, grateful for a deeper perspective on the land we hope to get a permit to enter, but as soon as I could, I raced to the back pages and settled down to wear a stranger’s perspective of 1980’s Manila.

Iyer painted a harsh reality of squalor, broken dreams, music and the Filipinos’ brilliant smiles.

I was mentally gesturing to myself that he writes about 1980s Manila. I was consoling myself that it’s been twenty years; we’ve grown as a people since then. But this morning, as I drive to work, I was shocked to see a deranged man, standing in the middle of the street, pointing a make-shift wooden rifle to an unknown target. Three other disheveled dirty men were holding up tin cans to solicit coins from the cars driving by. A woman does her laundry by the side of the railroad tracks while a little boy in ragged clothes plays with a starved-looking dog. At the corner is an ambivalent police station.

A few days ago, CCP gives a red carpet treatment to Imelda Marcos. An Aquino is standing again at the foot of Philippine Presidential elections. De ja vu?

September 1, 2009: RIP Alexis Tioseco

No matter how much I smile, the sternness of my natural expression usually intimidates the hell out of people. I know this because most of my friends tell me this about our first meet. Masungit, mataray, bitchy, masyadong matalino. Hay nako.

It has its filtering benefits. But unlike Amazon, I don’t think I’ve mastered the proper logarithms and derivatives.

I’m grateful, though, that it didn’t filter out one Alexis Tioseco. He left this world all too soon, but the shortness of his life did no way lessen his impact on an entire industry. He was a true influence. He did for me what I hope I will always do for the rest of my life for other people: change paradigms. He did this through the films he shared/insisted I watched, the random mp3s he would email out, the intense conversations we had about his passions; but, most of all, he influenced by being who he was.

Thank you, Eggy. I was going to have one more argument with you, darnit. Do you know that my first ever blog entry in this cyberspace was about you?

Laugh with life, Lei! Laugh with life!

It was a surreal morning, surreal because of its beauty.
I laughed with a friend, realizing how wonderful it is to be alive.

I wrote this on Tripod back when that space was still cool and we had to know html codes to make edgy-looking posts. We were impressionable college students then in 2001, almost to the day I write this, 8 years later. We miss you, dear.

– Ms. Sio.