A House Is Not a Home

A house is just a shell, I know.  A structure isn't a home. 

So why should anyone weep over rotting wood, and leaking roof?

Yeah, why should I? 

I went home to the nondescript town where I grew up over the Easter weekend to commemorate my mother's 8th death anniversary with three of my four siblings and their families.  I usually don't make time for this occasion because I want to remember my mother's life, not her death.

For the past seven years, only my sister Aie and brother Matt (and family) made the annual special trip (two of my brothers are abroad) to our town, to be with the church people who were my mom's family when all her children left home.

Why Easter Sunday?  Mom died on Good Friday and it seemed like a good idea that her death anniversary be on Easter.


Let Loose, Let Go

Twice a day I visit my FB account and while there, I greet birthday celebrators, click “like” on some messages, and type one-liners on others. In ten minutes, I get to know what's up with the world among my cyber friends.

One wall post particularly hit me hard one day.  It was by motivational speaker and author, Francis Kong: “Missing my baby. My 24-year-old Hannah Kong will be going to Paris to continue her studies in Fashion. Our kids, no matter what age they are will always be our babies . . . but got to let them go to pursue their dreams.”

I clicked on “like” and typed, “My thoughts exactly.”

My own baby, JR, will leave early tomorrow for abroad to take up his Master of Laws (LLM) degree.  After that, who knows where his dreams will take him? 


Most Eloquent Message

On Easter (last year), my email in-box got clogged with so many messages and commentaries.  The most eloquent for me came from the mouth of a special child. Let me summarize it.

At age 10 James was still in kindergarten; his motor skills and speech were way below everybody's.

That day, James’ teacher spoke about Easter and what it means to Christians. "Jesus rose from the grave," she said. "The only one nailed on the cross who did so. He lives." She also spoke of eggs, bunnies, white lilies, and all the symbols of Easter familiar to children.


From Chili to Coffee

The upside to living with three men (two sons and a husband) is you don't do groceries, nor drive.

The downside is, you never get to choose where to eat.  In group activities, the majority rules. 

Hey, I am not complaining. It so happens that all these men love to cook  (I don't) and are food connoisseurs (I am not).  I claim to be a foodie because I am basically adventurous when it comes to food; I gobble up everything served on my plate.     

Except hot cuisine and brewed coffee. 

First, the hot cuisine.  They have a favorite Chinese restaurant on a side street just off Makati Ave. called LSQ.  It serves northern Chinese food, mostly Beijing home recipes. Meaning, very, very hot.

Yes, those red things are chili peppers.  I choke and cough just by looking at them. Most, if not all, of the dishes are so hot you have to nag the waiter to please beg the chef to go easy on the chili.


Wedding vows and Eternal Love

Through many years of attending weddings, I have seen how the traditional vows have evolved.

They used to be sacrosanct classics and no wedding would be complete without these words—to have and to to hold; to love and obey; in sickness or in health; for richer or poorer; and till death do us part.

In this multi-polar, nuclear-endangered  world today, wedding vows are as varied as websites and URLs.


Teach and Die a Little

I am speaking for myself as a college teacher—a tiny part of me that dwells in a heart that is largely occupied by writing and book talking.

Although I teach only twice a week (total of six hours), this calling, for me, is rejuvenating grace, and I therefore take it seriously—so seriously I die a little when a student fails.

It feels like I have not given my best.   

This is a far cry from my experience as a student in UP, where some professors never cared whether I attended their class or not.  It never bothered them if the whole class failed.   

When I mope about a student in danger of failing, I hear these wise counsel from concerned co-teachers who are also my friends:


Storming Heaven

My friend Louie texted me this frantic message about her husband, “Hi, all! Please help us storm heaven with prayers.  Rey admitted to hospital after five weeks of recurring pain, diff. meds and tests.  This is the third hospital we've been to and doctors can't diagnose!”

This text message was oh-so-familiar! I sent a similar one years ago (via landline and email; cellphones were not yet in vogue) when Tony went through a colon cancer surgery, and again years after, when he had a quadruple heart bypass. 

Send a message like that and immediately, friends, friends of friends, relatives, and relatives of relatives go on their knees to storm heaven for God's mercy.  

The next text message from Louie came three days later, just when Tony and I were on our way to visit Rey in the hospital.  

“Hi, all! God continues to show His mighty healing power and love for Rey.  These past days, doctors continue to express amazement @ this latest miracle . . . we know it was all your prayers that pulled him through.  He's now walking, taking liquid food, and two more tubes were removed—praise God!  Please continue to help us pray for full recovery.” 


Song of Mateo

At the height of  the ruckus caused by six-year-old Jan-Jan* on Willling Willie, my friend Rose sent me a refreshing note on FB, reminding me of my song in Oh, Mateo! Book 11, “Crying Children.”   The reminder came at a perfect time.

Music is not my strongest suit, so I wrote the lyrics with some vague, forgettable tune in my head, hoping someone would compose the song for me.  

I asked a young friend to do it, but he was busy and was taking a mighty long time.  So when I bumped into Rose, who eats notes for breakfast, I dared ask her to please compose it in time for the book launch.