My Christmas people!

Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), Christmas will not be ChristmasΒ without dear friends and the most cherishing tradition of love and family.

I hope you had a swell Christmas! :)

Look back: March!

I’m posting this early, since I’m considering the Paschal Triduum as a month in itself lol (three intense days of worship can do that I suppose)!

March2013a

This March was all about

1 Rides to work with dad on certified Pinoy streets.

2 Puppies, puppies, and more puppies!

3 Kitchen experiments — that actually worked!

4 Marketing ads I was really really ecstatic about.

5 Meals and goodies shared with old and new friends. :)

6 An office surprise from a man in a coat and tie!

7 Precious family time!

8 Catching up with old friends over crepes and chocolates.

Striking a deal like a human.

If God were to ask me this week, “Have you been behaved?”

I’d answer, “This week? Generally, yes.”

If God were to ask me, “Have you been behaved this month?”

“I’ll get back to you on that.”

I have been in an irate bubble. For some reason, there is this specific person I just can’t seem to give allowances to. Normally, when new people come in, I’d be intrigued, and would be the most welcoming. Hosting hat on, shake a hand, and wish we’d be best friends the next day. Or, if best friends can’t cut it, at least I’d be chill about the person, whatever or whoever she/he may be like. That has always been me. Except for this one person who’s been making it so easy for me to act otherwise. And I’m actually serious about this.

I would enumerate the ways she gets to me. But from my readings, even shutting my mouth up in moments I’m so itching to vent can serve as an offering to God. Um.. Okay? I don’t know how saints did it but sure, let’s try that.

So I want to strike a deal with God right now. Not that I’m entitled to it or anything with how I’ve been behaving lately. But mostly because I now realize how trivial these emotions are in spite their compelling killer nature.

These are nothing compared to watching my real friends cry over obstacles and burdens I wish I had the capacity to take away from them.

Here is my deal with you, God, and I’m not taking no for an answer: these small inconveniences and little irritations that I now admit hardly amount to anything, please use them to purchase a family I have in my heart.

3 of a kind: heart-melting classic musical songs

I’m here to share with you my top 3 heart-melting songs from musicals I grew to love. Come and revisit the 1900’s with me!

1. He’ll always need your love, and so he’ll get your love.

This is Lady Thiang, the Emperor’s first wife, singing Something Wonderful to Ms. Anna Leonowens in the 1956 movie adaptation The King And I. Ms. Anna, having been disgruntled by the quirks of the Emperor, wanted to leave and head back to America. Lady Thiang went to Ms. Anna, begged her to stay, and sang to her about loving an imperfect man who merits her love because of the good he possesses, however small or meager.

“This is a man you’ll forgive and forgive, and help protect, as long as you live. He will not always say what you would have him say, but now and then he’ll say something wonderful… A man who needs your love can be wonderful.”

I always thought Lady Thiang was crazy. But now looking back, I realize maybe I was crazy for thinking she was. For one cannot say she has genuinely loved until she has learned to embrace the imperfections as well as the perfections of the person she claims she loves.

Listen: 3:02 mins!

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2. Her joys, her woes, her highs, her lows, are second nature to me now.

Meet bitter ol’ Professor Higgins from My Fair Lady of 1964! This particular song, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, gets me every time. It’s a scene of him walking alone to his house, after hearing the news from Eliza Doolittle that she was getting married to an English socialite named Freddie. In this song he swings back and forth hurt and angry to a man in slow but painful realization of Eliza’s importance to him.

“Damn! Damn! Damn! I’ve grown accustomed to her face… I was serenely independent and content before we met; surely I could always be that way again- and yet I’ve grown accustomed to her look; accustomed to her voice; accustomed to her face.”

It’s almost amusing — not in a mocking way — how some people (including me at times) realize the importance of a beloved once he or she has walked out the door; and how proud we are to admit to no one else but only to ourselves how much we need that beloved in our lives.

Watch: 7:25 mins!

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3. I should have had the whirl to change into a girl, to learn the way the creatures think!

“What’s wrong Jenny, where are you these days?” King Arthur of Camelot (1965) whispers to himself as he baffles his thoughts about Guinevere, his wife and queen. Here he sings and reminisces about a conversation he had with his warlock teacher, Merlin, about matters on How To Handle A Woman.

“How to handle a woman? There’s a way,” said the wise old man, “A way known by ev’ry woman since the whole rigmarole began.”

“Do I flatter her?” I begged him answer. “Do I threaten or cajole or plead? Do I brood or play the gay romancer?”

Said he, smiling: “No indeed. How to handle a woman? Mark me well, I will tell you, sir: The way to handle a woman is to love her…simply love her… Merely love her…love her…love her.”

Their story did not end on a happy note. But when you look closely into the highs and most especially into the lulls of their time together, you know for a fact that King Arthur loved his wife through and through — even though he barely understood her.

Watch: 4:18 mins!

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How about you, do you have a favorite musical song? :)

A time to weep and a time to laugh.

I believe in family traditions. They are what keep us connected to those who came before us — a strong bond reflecting our roots, of which not even time or distance can break. The advent wreath is one such. A tradition passed on by my late grandfather to our family; a preparation for Jesus’ birthday this year.

In High school, the “honor” of decorating the advent wreath was given to me by my older sister Julie. Work and weekend activities have been keeping me from completing the work in progress this year. Thankfully, I was able to finish working on it this morning — the third Sunday of advent that spells JOY!

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1(Yes, I was out in the front lawn this morning picking up twigs for the wreath’s center piece; aka THE manger)

Let me share with you today’s reading in our advent wreath prayer. It served as a strong reminder to me — as every word my older brother read pierced my reveries– to trust in God with a joyful heart whatever the seasons of life may bring.

Man Depends On God’s Providence

“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. A time of love, and a time of hatred; a time of war and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)

In the presence of the God of silence.

“Your life has been scaled in God’s scale; and it was found that your life has been lacking weight.”

I was due for a retreat.

Suddenly everything in my life started looking up and so before I never again look back to what was, I had to process past life events under God’s magnifying glass.

I’m not going to share to you the specific details of the reflections, resolutions and affections that were imparted to me in my 3-day silent retreat. But allow me to share with you my notes during our meditations with Father Perez of Opus Dei, as they were beautiful revelations to me:

ON INTERIOR LIFE

“If God gets me now, will He be able to say to me as he looks at the life I lived, ‘Well done, my child. Very well done’?”

“Take me Lord from what takes me away from You.”

“Interior Struggle is a commitment of the will to do what is pleasing to God.”

“You have to behave and talk in accordance to your dignity as a daughter of a King, as a daughter of God.”

“The rock of your faith is: God is YOUR father and YOU are the daughter of God.”

“There is such a thing called Radical Freedom — that we are all capable of taking a U-turn in our lives at any given time.”

ON LIVING THE FAITH

“A faith that is not shown in deeds is a dead faith.”

“Don’t allow your will to be attached to anything that is displeasing to God.”

ON HUMILITY

“Humility is to be simple, grateful, cheerful, and to be child-like.”

“To rely on our strength is to build on sand. To rely on God’s strength is to build on rock.”

“We have not been created to live for ourselves; we were created to turn ourselves into a gift to others and God.”

“Don’t be too dependent on the opinions of other people. We oftentimes complain, ‘how come she has more, how come she has the credit, how come she did this, how come she says this, how come my face is like this? SO WHAT. You are a daughter of God.’ “

ON OBEDIENCE

“The Lord became man to teach us how the children of God should behave, living in the spirit of obedience.”

“There are two things God wants for you in your life: 1) God wants you to be a saint; 2) God wants you to be very happy. Very happy.”

“Be forceful in following the commandments of God.”

ON PUTTING TRUST IN THE SACRAMENTAL LIFE

“Don’t keep conversations with yourself. Remember, you are NEVER alone. Pray. To pray is to love God.”

“NEVER allow yourself to believe that you are beyond redemption. God never gives up on us. It’s a never ending story with Him.”

“You cannot blame anyone for your personal relationship with God. We are responsible for our own decisions.”

“Sadness is a manifestation that you have allowed an obstacle between you and God.”

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Excerpt from my personal journal:

Me: Lord, please tell what you want me to do.

Lord: ARE YOU KIDDING ME. You already know what to do, my stubborn daughter.

Me: Right.

(Image above via)