Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a blue manila bay

I found this old photo in an e-mail and was pretty impressed by it. It's a capture of Roxas Boulevard taken some time in the 60's (it was then known as Dewey). It's quite refreshing to see evidence that those waters I've known to be black, murky and reeking used to be crystalline-blue.

I've heard old timers' stories of how the water there was so clean, it was safe to go swimming. I never imagined it to be a beach in the city.

No traffic, no vendors, no pollutants. No baywalk, no beerhouses, no obstentatious street lights.

I'd really rather not dwell too much on the fact how the environment was practically murdered in the past fifty years, but Id prefer to just admire that breathtaking view. May ganyan pala sa Manila noon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

galatians 5: freedom

I was reading Galatians 4 and 5 in another translation today, and I was so delighted at the fresh perspective I gained from an often-quoted passage.

Galatians 5 : 1-10, 13-26
The Message

The Life of Freedom

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ's hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.

You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn't come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don't toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

*emphasis mine

Aside from the brilliant manner of translation, I really appreciate this because I see the great, big grace-filled truth of it in my current situation. It is so not about do's and don'ts.

And I find a lot of comfort in reading that if I want to be loving, kind, charitable, etc. to someone, there is no law against that, i.e., it is not wrong to do that, no matter what anybody says.

This passage affirms that the Hubby and I certainly made the right decision about "moving". We've known these things for a while, but I've recently delved into a deeper understanding - a liberating, grace-filled rhema.

I love it! ^_^ The word of the week is freedom.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

they're not just words on greeting cards

I realize I've broken one of my own rules and neglected this blog for a little over two weeks. I made it my personal mandate to think and write at least one happy thawt per week, but hah, what's a happy thawts blog worth if I can't even break my own rules for perfectly good reasons, right?

The lack of new posts isn't because of a scarcity of happy thawts. On the contrary, my life has been filled with back-to-back happy thoughts lately. I am in fact still in the middle of enjoying them all, and haven't gotten to the business of translating them into coherent paragraphs yet.

Let me describe all this by stating two rosy words that seems to be resonating in my heart right now:
p e a c e and j o y

image from here

I know that kinda reads like a Christmas card, but I really have no other way to describe it. It's just great.

A friend I haven't seen in a while texted me to ask me how I was; I answered that things were going great, even almost perfect. I wasn't so sure about the almost perfect part, so I asked the Hubby if he agreed. Well, he seemed to think so too. Though if anyone looked at our life from a logical standpoint, it's kinda far from perfect: We aren't living in our dream house - not even close; we aren't working our dream jobs or earning big bucks or anything like that, we don't even have enough cash to but everything we need for most days. But for some reason we both feel quite content. Peace and joy - there you go.

I don't know how to explain it, but it's not quite an emotional state. I don't feel hunky-dory every time (in fact I had some slight dysphoria and slight depression lately), but I am hunky-dory beyond the feelings.

There's this overwhelming-but-sweet sense that everything's going to be alright. And not even just alright, but astoundingly, exceedingly wonderful. It's not just optimism, but a solid assurance within me that things will get better from now on.

I somehow even feel as if something big and good is on its way to greet us, and that the Hubby and I will be part of something big and good.

And just can't stop thinking about it. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

girls talk: my comfort food

Yumyum :) What a delicious topic for this week's Girls Talk.

Ice cream and chocolate are probably the easiest choices for most ladies (including myself!) so I won't be sharing about my fondness for them right now. I will instead share about my two other go-to foods for comfort.

(1) dried mangoes

Dried mangoes are slices of heaven on earth! I like eating fresh mangoes too, but there's just something extremely enjoyable about the chewy, bite-sized, textured and sugar-added sweetness of dried mangoes.

We Pinoys ought to be really proud of this product, I hear westerners go crazy about them.

(2) cute cupcakes

Not just ordinary cupcakes, mind you; they have to be the cute, iced kind with sprinkly bits. They're not just yummy to eat but lovely to look at too, so they really make me happeeee. Forget about using a fork - I'd much rather sink my teeth into them!


Another loverly entry for

Brought to us by the enjoyment of life in

Girls Talk