Monday, September 28, 2009

Angels Amidst the Floods (The Typhoon Ondoy Experience)

September 26, 2009, Saturday.Got a text message as early as 5am from my Executive Director telling that she needs the endorsement letter to be picked up by 9am. I felt the urgency so I did replied "Give me 30 minutes mam and i'll be at the office". I knew that the weather was not good for its raining already but having a typhoon signal no. 1 is typical and usually people still go to work and most of the students go to school too to attend make up classes.I gazed up on the wall clock and sized up my time. I decided not to take a bath and not to eat breakfast just to cope up with the 30 minutes time limit I asked.

Wearing a shirt,jeans, rubber shoes and my hood jacket with my body bag, off to go to office. I decided to buy two donuts and a 3n1 coffee first. At 6:40am I'm already at the office and following instructions from my boss what to do with the letters. My co-staff and a good friend ellen arrived around 7:30. Both of us stayed and worked at the office till 12noon. We were surprised upon seeing that surrounding area are already flooded and heavy downpour of rains with strong winds striking. Me and Ellen decided to go home. We were able to ride a jeepney but traffic are at worsts and no vehicles moving as the flood continue to rise.The driver made a decision to take another route far from our destination. Ellen and I decided to go down in the middle of the road knee deep with flood water. Both of us are confused where to go. My mind was trying to look for opportunities when my eyes caught the attention of the Pedicab driver waving to us offering his service to give us a ride. Ellen was hesitant because most of these pedicab drivers took advantage to ask for bigger fare payment during these situations. But still I decided to trust the pedicab driver and asked his services. A man who has mustache, skinny with an average height, all wet pedaled his pedicab toward us.He only asked us to pay Php70. pesos. With all his might with the help of two little kids the journey began.We passed several streets but all are flooded and traffic are stand still.We have to lift our butt higher to the seat to avoid getting wet.The pedicab driver advised us that he will bring us to Loreto St. and there we had to walk that long narrow alley in order to go home. I was hesitant to agree with his suggestions so I humbly told him that we might get lost and we need his guidance. He immediately answered "Mam, sasamahan ko kayo hanggang sa dulo." (Mam, I will guide you until you reach the end of the narrow alley.)The narrow alley trail was not easy.It was hip deep and have several manholes. God is good, people living there as well as the pedicab driver guided us and instructed us where to walk.Some gave us a joke and teased us to give our cellphone to them in exchange of help.Knowing that I have disability I set aside that fear, trusted my crutch and walked . Ellen fell twice good thing I had a good grip on her and was able to lift her up.At last we reach the end of the narrow alley. My eyes open wide upon seeing a more bigger flood of water in front of us. Its waist deep now and we had to cross that in order to reach the other street way on our home.Still the pedicab driver did not left us until we reached the other side of the street.My feet was getting numbed when we reached to other side of the street but very thankful that were nearer now to my home in Sampaloc.I gave the pedicab driver 100pesos and thanked him for being an angel to us. I felt relieved upon seeing familiar faces of my neighbors.My jaw dropped when I saw the street goin to my home. Since I am not tall its chest deep. Ellen and I began to crossed it and there tatay (the old pedicab driver who frequently gave me a ride) gave us a helping hand to reach our home. The daughter of my landlady help me too as I trail inside the house. Ellen stayed in my room. There along with my roommate we prayed and listened to the radio for the latest news. Our landlady cooked soup and shared it with us. The boys took over the cooking downstairs. I did not sleep the whole night and prayed knowing that many people died and stranded as I listen to the news. I recollected my experience and indeed it was really an unforgettable one. I was outside and experienced the wrath of the typhoon Ondoy. Thanks God me and Ellen are still alive.

From the pedicab driver,the little kids,people living in the narrow alley, tatay, Letlet the daughter of my landlady Nanay Letty and my housemates and Ellen. These are the angels who gave me hope to surpassed the wrath of Typhoon Ondoy.

Kindly pray for our country and for the victims of this recent calamity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Look with the Right Eye

Yehoshua ben Perachya said; "Always judge other people favorably..." (Avot 1:6)

He saw a whole caravan of donkeys coming his way, loaded with sacks of food and jugs of wine
Once upon a time there was a man, who was so poor that he had to leave his home, and go far away to find a job working on the lands of a very rich landowner. He worked for many years, hoping that some day he would be able to return to his wife and children, and buy a small farm of his own.

The whole time, his employer took care of him, feeding him, and giving him a place to stay, but he did not pay him for his work. Finally after three years, the man went to his employer, and asked to be paid. The wealthy landowner however, pulled a sad face “I’m sorry,” he said, “I have no money to pay you.”

The farm-worker was very surprised. How could that be! The landowner was so rich!

“Maybe you could pay me in fruit, if you don’t have any money,” said the poor man. “ I could take the fruit and sell it.”

“I haven’t any fruit,” said the rich man.

“Then maybe you could give me a field,” said the laborer.

“I don’t have any fields,” said the rich man.

“Then give me your cattle.”

“I have no cattle.”

The worker didn’t know what was going on. “Then pay me with pillows and blankets,” he said. “At least my family will keep warm.”

Again the landowner said, “I can’t. I have none.”

The hired man turned around silently and walked away. After all his hard work, he went home empty-handed.

Still, he did not get angry. “There must be a reason why he didn’t pay me,” the poor man thought. “I am sure he did not mean to cheat me.”

After a long trip home, the man went back to his poor little piece of land.

One day, as he was working, he saw a whole caravan of donkeys coming his way, loaded with sacks of food and jugs of wine. In the lead was his former employer, the rich landowner. The poor farmer ran to greet him, and invited him into his house.

The rich man was very happy. He unloaded all his sacks of food, drink, fruit and sweets for the children. Together the whole family had a wonderful meal.

“All this is just a present for you,” said the landlord.

“Now here are the wages I owe you,” and he took out a big bag of golden coins. “Tell me the truth, what went through your mind, when I said I couldn’t pay you?”

The poor farmer began, “I was very puzzled, and disappointed, but then I thought, you must have had a chance to invest all your money in a great deal, and so you couldn’t pay me.”

“And what did you think when I said I couldn’t even give you fruit?”

The farmer answered, “I thought maybe you hadn’t yet given one-tenth of the harvest for your ma'aser (tithes) and so you couldn’t use it.”

“And when I said I didn’t have a field, then what did you think?”

“I thought you must have hired someone to work in the fields for you this year, and so you couldn’t give them to me until the year was over.”

“And when you asked for cattle, and I said I had none?”

“I thought you must have lent the cattle to someone.”

“And when you asked for blankets and pillows, and even that I did not give you, what did you think?”

“I thought you must have promised to give all your possessions to the Temple in Jerusalem, and so you had nothing left to give me.”

“That is exactly true, to the last detail!” exclaimed the landlord. “And now I am so glad that I can pay you all that you deserve. Believe me, I cannot tell you how troubled I was that I could not pay you on the spot. And now, I don’t know how to thank you enough, for having understood!”


After I read this article, How I wish many will adopt the perception of the poor man. He did not immediately judged the rich land owner. He chose to see the positive side of it and the good heart of the poor man remains. He think first that others will benefit as he patiently waited. I experienced being judged immediately not once but thrice by someone whom I cherished in my heart even for a short time we get to know each other. I chose not to judge that person because I saw the goodness in his heart. But sad to say that person did not saw my heart and did not Look with the Right Eye and he chose to judge me.It was a sad and painful experience but I learned from it. Like the poor man I will still choose to Look with the Right Eye. I don't hold grudges.That person is still dear to me and I just wish...a blessing of good life to him.

"People are eternally divided into two classes,
the believer, builder, and praiser, and the unbeliever, destroyer and critic."

John Ruskin (1819-1900, British Critic, Social Theorist)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Angels at the Big Wheel Truck Stop (Christmas Story)

MY boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.
Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.
Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.
He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.
Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.
If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded
Them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.
The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.
No luck.
The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn
Or do anything. I had to have a job.
Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in t hat had been converted to a truck stop.
It was called the Big Wheel.
An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.
She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.
She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.
I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night...
She could arrive with=2 0her pajamas on and the kids would already be
This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.
That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.
When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I
Averaged every night.
As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.
The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.
One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!
There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.
Had angels taken up residence in Indiana ? I wondered.
I made a deal with the local service station.
In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.
I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.
Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids.
I found a can of red paint and started repairing
And painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.
Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank , and Jim , and a state trooper named Joe .
A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.
The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up..
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.
I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.
Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.
Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!
I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.
Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and
canned vegetables and potatoes.
There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.
And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the
most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.
And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop....
THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:
1. "Yes!"
2. "Not yet."
3. "I have something better in mind."
God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar.

You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine.

Anonymous Author

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mission, Devotion and Angel

I'm on my way going to Quiapo Church.What will I do there? Well, a sort of little mission. I will help Ate Mila to do some pro-life information dissemination around the vicinity of the church as part of the Family and Life Ministry activity. The church was filled with devotees as expected since its Friday. So I tried to pushed myself inside with so much effort in order to reach my destination where I should meet Ate Mila. Ahhh! Finally I am in front of the parish office and lucky to see Ate Mila. She let me sat on a chair and told me to wait for her as they set up the booth and exhibit we needed for the information drive.
As I sat in the corner, I quietly listened to the mass and observed each people who made their way to go there not only to attend mass but also to see "Poong Nazareno". I was so amazed on their devotion to the Black Nazarene and each one of them moved their lips whispering their deepest prayers and intentions hoping to be granted someday.The humbleness and meekness are seen on their faces. Oh I wish I have that kind of devotion! Honestly, I'm having a hard time of saying my prayers now. I'm on the desert and wandering. Kindly pray for me. Yes, I do have struggles,but one thing that keeps me moving on and continue my journey is Faith. A faith even as size of the mustard seed....I will still hold on to that. As I gazed at the picture of Poong Nazareno, I whispered a prayer that He will grant more prayers on that day as I offered up the pro-life work we will be doing.
Weather did not cooperated and poured out heavy rains and strong wind that made us difficult to stay on our respective booths. Ate Mila and I decided to distribute leaflets as we squeezed ourselves in the crowd. A young woman who just quietly standing at the corner smiled on me as I gave her "Responsible Boy and Girl" bookmark. As I continue distributing leaflets, my eyes caught the young woman again. Still standing but this time quietly crying as she carefully putting the bookmark inside her bag. I wanted to approach and comfort her but in the end I decided not to do it. I just gave her a comforting smile and node telling that it will be fine soon.She smiled at me and continue praying with a hope in her face. I encountered ladies on their wheelchairs and gave me their sweetest smiles as I gave them the bookmark. Probably they are happy seeing me in spite of my disability too,I was able to still do such work.
On my way back to the office, its still raining hard so I made great effort to walk slow and be careful for I was afraid of being slipped.My dilemma started when I arrived at the underpass. I had to go down knowing that each stairs are slippery. I know I can do it but I decided to asked help. A young woman with a little boy came near me and I knew from my heart shes the one. I hold her arm and asked her " can you please help me to go downstairs? " She smiled at me and gently assist me as we go down slowly.Finally, we reached the exit of the underpass.Before we separated, I asked her name. I told her, "Daisy your an angel!Thank you so much for helping me." She smiled and said "Your welcome! Take care."
Mission, devotion and angel....all happened to me on this day. All I can say is "What a JOURNEY! GOD IS GOOD!!!!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Making Music

On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap -- it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.

People who were there that night thought to themselves: "We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage to either find another violin or else find another string for this one."
But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity, as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.

When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life... not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.

Barefoot Lass's Favorite
Heart Warming Stories


It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.
Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn't see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes.
I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort...trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods.
This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.
I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands! ! . When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don't really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that...I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like that actions of one little boy saved another.
This story was written by a wonderful mother to honor the memory of her beautiful Billy, who was taken from her much too soon.... But not before showing her the true face of God, in a little sunburned body.

Barefoot Lass's Favorite
Heart Warming Stories