Praise and Worship

For my TT a post down I listed the things/thoughts I have wanted to post about but have not gotten to. Today, as I was bloghopping (late TT visits and going through my blogrolls), I chanced upon http://www.gannsdeen.com/ and read beyond his TT post.

At first I only thought of linking to his page for his David Cook Always be my baby stream because although I followed AI this season, I missed the Mariah episode. I am rooting for Cook. Archuleta is adorable but really, Cook has got it.

Then I read about the best decision he’s ever made.

Here’s item 5 on my TT: My thoughts on being a non-active Church member who does not attend Sunday mass (or any mass for that matter). I specifically want to dig through my thoughts and feelings about what I can do to be part of either the Youth movement or Sunday School. I know I have something to contribute, I’m just not making time.

See the connection? Okay, maybe you don’t because it’s all still in my head, and in my heart. This piece is probably just going to expose one part of it. I know there’s more.

It started with the music. He’s TT was about Christian songs that you should hear. One of which was his own composition. I listened to it and liked what I heard. Understand too that’s it’s early afternoon here and the toob is tuned to ASAP and they just had their GaryV 25th anniversary tribute/celebration. I have been singing along and my parents have had no choice but endure the sound of my voice. Hehe.

I went to an all-girl Catholic high school. Whether or not you were Catholic, you had to be around to attend the mass that would be celebrated every month or for every special occasion. I seriously didn’t mind because the services were much like our own Church services, they provided an opportunity NOT to be studying, and I liked singing along and learning their Church songs. That was really what I enjoyed most about having to attend mass with a multitude of girls – praise and worship through song. Mass without singing is just plain boring for me.

At Church, we sing hymns and people read the music from the Hymnal. I like those too. There’s also local, relatively recently composed songs that go into the Sunday Liturgy. I like listening to everyone’s voice mingling with each other. As a kid I wondered whether the older people actually attended classes to learn those hymns, everyone just blended perfectly.

In Sunday School, we would listen to and learn Kids Praise (another memory of my Aunt I wanted to write about last month but didn’t get to) – yes, Psalty was my friend and I am so going hunting for his CDs – the complete collection.

Really, isn’t singing praises like 5 times more wonderful? I mean compared to just sitting and listening and reciting stuff at Church?

Anyway, so that’s what got me to thinking (again) about what my beliefs are and how my faith manifests. I belong to a Church denomination that’s fairly small – The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, part of the Anglican Communion. My family history is intertwined with this Church’s history. Really, it’s more like an extended family. That’s what I like about our small Church, we are found scattered throughout the country from up north to down south, but it’s all just like one big family. Growing up in what I consider the heart of the Church just gave me an awareness of its life.

I distinctly remember the last summer I spent active at Church. It was the summer we moved house. I was with the SKEP, the Church youth group, and we sat with the Cathedral choir. Really, I went to rehearsals and sang at the Sunday Mass. We even had an Easter Cantata, I think the first and last that it was done. We had an awesome conductor. I truly enjoyed that time. It made me think that perhaps that was my place, my ministry – in music.

My Cooking Master Boy and Thursday Thirteen #11

Cooking Master Boy – that is Alfred’s favorite anime. I enjoyed watching it too when it was on ABS-CBN but for Alfred, it’s like a how-to guide for cooking. Seriously. He’s been watching the series again, but this time through Youtube.com or Crunchyroll.com or some other video site that carry the any or all 52 episodes of the toon.

He’s been wanting to cook the perfect Yangchow fried rice, or even just to simply perfect the art of adding egg to rice. The other day, after watching an episode of Cooking Master Boy, he claimed to know the trick to get it done. For breakfast yesterday morning, he got up and tried his newly learned trick. In fairness, he didn’t disappoint. So breakfast was a big, fun event yesterday. 🙂

A couple of hours later, while we were at the mall looking for a chopper/food processor to make crushing Oreos an easier task for me, he still couldn’t forget about his wonderfully cooked fried rice. He was disappointed at not having taken a photo; I said we’ll capture it on film next time – if he can recreate it. 🙂

Today, I am bummed about NOT being able to post a decent TT in the past 3 or 4 weeks. Really, I had several ideas and posts written out in my mind but I never reached the keyboard to get them all out. Does that happen to you too? I think it happens to many of us – we actually think about stuff that’s happening around us and react to them, and then later think what a great post that would turn out to be – and then not get to post.

So here’s my thirteen posts I have yet to write.

  1. A post for or about my Mom and our relationship. Of course with Mother’s Day last Sunday, I thought about how we didn’t grow up as ‘good friends’ but having an ok relationship nonetheless. Instead of posting those thoughts right away, I stopped to look for her pictures that I can scrap and include in the post.
  2. My top freebie hunts for digital scrapbooking. I have long wanted to feature maybe two designer blogs at a time, as my little way of thanking them for all the wonderful designs they give away to cheap-o’s like me who grab every freebie that comes their way. 🙂 When I get to do this, the first one I would write about would be Susan of Raspberry Road.
  3. My follow up post about our day at the beach waves of Club Manila East. I have not finished my layouts of our pictures. And I MUST talk about the indestructible paper bracelet.
  4. Ramble about what I’m going to do for social change. As a young girl I was involved in many activities that contribute to society. I really was a child rights advocate and not just one who would talk about it. Now, I don’t really do anything in that front and I wish I could change that.
  5. My thoughts on being a non-active Church member who does not attend Sunday mass (or any mass for that matter). I specifically want to dig through my thoughts and feelings about what I can do to be part of either the Youth movement or Sunday School. I know I have something to contribute, I’m just not making time.
  6. Our third anniversary in the company. On the 23rd, Vanette, Edsel, Bea, Joey and I would be celebrating our 3rd year at NCO. We’re down to 3 from the original 24 (am I correct?) who started training as L2 TSRs. We were the special class that spent one week at Camelot Hotel. We were the class with a lot of potential.
  7. I wanted to share an inspirational video that I watched while I was at work the other day. It’s about how our attitude towards events and things in our everyday lives could be key to what becomes of us . At least that’s what I remember about it. I will watch it again and get the link up here someday.
  8. Ramble about friends and why I am not like others who spend so much time with friends. This is something I think about very often.
  9. Budgeting and saving money; making money. I really would love to travel and go on trips but don’t have the resources for it. I’ve been earning three times as much as I did three years ago and yet my bank account doesn’t have much. I know I can be thrifty if I wanted to, so why am I not so? I also make a little money through my blog over at http://verabear.bravejournal.com but I’d also like to explore how else I can earn online.
  10. Marriage/Wedding plans. Okay, there are no concrete plans yet
  11. I have not added Steve Berry’s The Third Secret to my bookcase. I read this weeks ago.
  12. How my luck is turning and my team is performing well at work now. I wanted to write about each team member to go with the pictures of our videoke night. That’s another item on my “to-scrap” list.
  13. The baking courses and schools and I read about online and why I want to sign up. Last month, I had plans to sign up for baking courses (which would have started in May).

I will post about these things SOON. If not, well, at least they’re on this list already. Hahaha!

Read my past TTs here and here.


Myanmar and China need aid

I am working on the pictures from yesterday, I’ve decided to scrap them rather than simply posting the photos up here.

All night I’ve been tuned to CNN and getting updated on the crisis in Burma, and now also in China. We have had our fair share of disasters here in the Philippines, and I sure pray that we won’t be next. Summer is almost over and we do have occasional torrential rains, still I pray that no big disaster comes our way anytime soon.

There’s a page in CNN that has a collection of links to charity organizations that have the capacity to give aid in Myanmar. Please do consider visiting any of their web sites and make a donation.

From there I found a link to the diary of Save the Children’s director in Burma. In the beginning when the cyclone just hit, it didn’t sound as if there’s much to worry about. But soon enough, his posts talk of his personal experience putting together teams to assess the situation, and eventually, the relief efforts. Save the Children also has a page with children’s voices in the wake of disaster.

It is sad that in the face of disaster, where tens of thousands of people have perished and more in danger, Myanmar’s military junta refuses to let aid in.

China has just been hit by a massive earthquake and an estimated 9000 people have already died. There’s news of two chemical factories going down – that in itself could be a different disaster too. There was also a school where they estimate about 900 students are trapped; 50 bodies have been recovered from there. China is no stranger to earthquakes but we don’t know how prepared China is to respond to a disaster of this magnitude. I pray that they are quicker and more capable to bring aid where it’s needed and accept international help, unlike the Burma junta.

Sunburn, waves and water proof paper!

I feel like I’m on vacation right now but I’m just on my regular weekend off. I had such a fun day yesterday – water fun under the sun! I had the best company ever – boyfriend, my friend from work Vanette, my niece Dalnes and my nephew Esban.

Vanette loves swimming. She’s gone to two swimming courses in the three years I’ve known her. We’ve been talking about taking a dip for the whole month of April but didn’t get to go then. Oh when we finally got to go, the sun was really on it’s brightest and hottest! Yesterday seems like the only day in the past week that didn’t have rains in the afternoon. There were threatening rain clouds at around 4PM but they didn’t blow over Taytay (the municipality where the resort is at), and even when it started drizzling as we were on our way home, it was just brief like the wind just blew them over there.

We went to Club Manila East, a resort that’s about 35-45 minutes away from here. This was the same resort that Vanette and I went to 3 years ago with 3 of our other guy batchmates from work (who are all no longer in the company). This visit was in stark contrast to the first one: we were practically alone there on that Friday afternoon while we shared the resort yesterday with hundreds of people! They have more pools this time around though so it didn’t really feel very crowded, except perhaps in the Beach Waves pool.

As my dad drove us in to the entrance of Club Manila East (CME), we were overwhelmed by the number of people hanging around at the gate and the vehicles that filled the parking lot. Thankfully, the queue for tickets wasn’t that long so we were in after about 5 minutes. While waiting, Alfred lifted Esban to see the people on the kayaks. We also saw the sign for surfing lessons up front. At first we wondering, how could they do it? Surely, the artificial waves wouldn’t be that strong. Later in the day, we learned just how possible it was to really ride those waves!

The only thing that kept me from really enjoying the trip to the max was that I caught a cold the night before and it’s just no fun swimming with colds. I also couldn’t stand the intensity of the sun’s rays. It was really awesome that one of CME’s maintenance guys put up our table and chairs about five feet from this pool that had the least people in, and right under a mango tree! Shade! We had the coolest spot ever and we only had to pay 100 pesos for it. Before we got that spot we wanted to rent a hut or a cabana but all of them were already taken. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise really.

The kids really maxed themselves out swimming, it was fun to have them because they could both swim already so we didn’t always have to fuss about them. All we had to was just make sure we had our eyes on them. They did venture out on their own to the Kiddie Pool on the other side of the resort. Dal is very capable to watch her brother though so I didn’t worry too much. They came back in less than 15 minutes.

The first pool we checked out was Beach Waves. Of course, within 5 minutes of our arrival, the kids were on there. Good thing too because the waves just started. Us three adults didn’t get to experience the waves yet in the morning, it’s like the waves went on break or something. So we checked out the other pools and found our awesome shaded spot.

When our pool (yes, I claimed it) was closing at 5PM, we decided to go back to the Wave Pool. Vanette and I would not leave without getting a taste of it (not literally okay). Alfred and the kids went there after lunch so boyfriend already knew why Esban just couldn’t get enough. So off we went and WOW, those are some waves. The whole time I was thinking, real waves are more forgiving! Haha. We stayed for like three cycles, the last one were just at the “shore” where the waves break. It was so much fun. I kept worrying about Esban though because as violent as the waves were, he kept taking them on and pushing forward! I had Alfred and Dal alternately chasing after him. Near sundown though, he was the one who said we should go – he was hungry and looking forward to going to SM Taytay!

The shower rooms weren’t crowded as I though they would be. Thank God. There wasn’t much hassle getting the kids cleaned and dressed up. Esban even came back for me asking me to hurry – that’s just because we thought it was going to rain. We had to take pedicabs to the main street as the shuttle was no longer available (too bad, we were looking forward to taking a ride on those). And then we took a jeepney to SM Taytay. We really just wanted to check it out a bit and maybe find something other than Jollibee to eat, but we ended up eating at McDonald’s! I figured it would be easier to get a cab from there too. Okay, it wasn’t easy, but we did get a cab that agreed to take us home.

Esban fell asleep on the ride home, just as expected. He came up here after lunch to tell me he liked it at CME and wants to go back. That’s just as expected too. I want to go back too sweetie 🙂

Any regrets on the trip? I guess only that I didn’t borrow Edsel’s camera pack to get the digicam water proofed. Another would be that we didn’t ask other friends to tag along. There’s always a next time. 🙂

Oh, this has turned into a long post and I haven’t even mentioned the water proof paper bracelet they make you wear upon entrance. No worries, I’ll have another post on this later with pictures! I’ve just transferred them from the camera and checking them out!

The 7th Regular Synod of The Episcopal Church in the Philippines

In this pre-dominantly Roman Catholic country, belonging to a different church is to be part of a minority. I was born into an Episcopalian community – my grandparents served the Church and are known figures in its history (in the background, of course), and my parents also served the Church and the community. I grew up thinking that maybe someday, it will be my turn to serve too.

Last night was the opening night of the 7th Regular Provincial Synod of the ECP. This is an event where delegates from all the dioceses of the national church would come together and talk about issues confronted by the church and society. This is also where they talk about their vision for the Church and its people, and in turn chalk out plans to reach that vision.

This year, they will be electing a new head of the Church, a new Prime Bishop.

Just as mom asked me to help out with their website, she has also asked me to help out with a special newsletter for this momentous event. I went to work early yesterday so I could catch the opening of the Synod last night. I didn’t make it to the mass and the PB’s speech, but I did sit down for dinner and the wonderful Entertainment Night. There were performances from all Dioceses present.

It was a fun night, it reminded me of what makes our church special – the sense of family.

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