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I still think about him. He didn’t leave my mind since last Wednesday, the last time I saw him.

Woody, as we all know, is the cowboy rag doll and the leader of the toys in the movie “Toy Story”. He constantly saves his kid from any misfortune and time has come that his main purpose evolved to saving his fellow toys from getting lost.

Almost quarter of a century after I first saw Toy Story, now with wrinkles and a full pledge adult, I came to understand why Woody’s life is my own, too.

Toys come alive whenever their kid plays with them, holds them, spends their lives with them. It is how they are seen that brings life and purpose to them.

Isn’t it the same to me all throughout the 25 years of my life?

I got in the university after I was seen worthy of a full scholarship. I held and quitted jobs because of how I had been seen. I went to romantic dinner invites and the question that always came to mind, “Does this person see me?” I created relationships and celebrated those because they have seen me. I lost relationships and never dared to look-back because of how I was seen – not worthy of their time, not worthy of their fight and risk, not worthy of their best effort. Because I know, I am. I worth it.

But why do we strive to be seen by our value? Now, I have an answer.

When we are seen by our value, our flaws can be readily overlooked.

No one is perfect and in any given point of weak times, we can fail and commit mistakes, but, if our value is seen, we are understood. When we are understood, we are valued. Just like a century old jar crafted by a well-known artist, the value outshines the scratches and chips. It still is worthy of a high price. Its value is rooted on its maker.

We all strive, we all long, we all hope and pray to be seen by our value. Because we are created with a value. And every finite detail of our being speaks of how we are gloriously created.

I still think about him. He didn’t leave my mind since last Wednesday, the last time I saw him. Because, finally, I have understood the value of being seen.
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May you be seen by your value. May you never forget your value. Because you are valuable. Because you are bought with a price. Because you are worth it. Because you are crafted, shaped and seen after the image and likeness of the great Creator.

#SecondChances

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I myself often tell this to my female single friends to guard the heart. I say this to them and even to myself as if it is a regular expression like “hello”, “hi or “welcome”, until I spoke to a young lady who I met three months ago.

She asked me of the meaning of guarding the heart after I told her that line.

I stopped and realised that it really is a big thought to say specially, if it is meant as an advice or a loving prodding. While I searched in my heart the meaning of “guarding the heart”, it came to mind that it may be the probable reason on why people, myself included, find it hard to guard the heart is because, the meaning and intention of guarding the heart is incomprehensible, on why it is needful. Thus, do-able steps on how to guard the heart seem hard to do because the noble reason on doing so is something has not been pondered upon and has not been understood, With this, it resulted to failure to guard the heart.

The intention of guarding the heart is not to supress the feelings or treat your feelings to be invalid. It is not also the intention of guarding the heart to harden your heart from loving and enjoying the pleasure. Neither, guarding the heart promotes foolishness by considering what you are feeling to be not childish and is shallow.

But guarding is protecting your heart ultimately from lies.

If truth sets you free, then, lies hold you as captives. When we are captives, there is bondage…there is misery …..there is hurt.

Here are do-able and comprehensible steps of how to guard the heart:

  1. Guarding your heart is knowing your heart

It means knowing what you want, your purpose of wanting or doing what you are doing or wanting. It means knowing your limitations, your weakness, your strength.

Classic example: I would like to be married. So, knowing that in my heart tells me that I would only date people who can get married.

Classic example 2: You keep on asking a person out. You keep on calling the same person. There might be a good reason. Identify that reason and assess.

  1. Keep your eyes opened.

This is best achieved by eliminating day dreaming.

Classic example: In your dreams you and “your friend” who had just asked you out are already married, when you just dated once. Lol

  1. Hear in audible voice the words of God

Most of the time, when a girl/lady/person is filled with self- emotions, even when we pray, we will not be able to hear the word of the Lord or even determine in our hearts the will of the Lord. So, don’t just pray about it. Share your feelings/your thoughts to a trusted friend or family member who knows you and cares for you. They will most likely present to you the truth if the cloud of romance and the idea of being love has already clouded your right judgement.

  1. Ask the person

(This is my most dreaded recommended step.)

To be continued tomorrow.

Love and beauty,

B

I am back to this place of prayer and silence once again. I said my prayers and paused. I have almost the same prayers just like I had the last time I was here.

I know He had heard my prayers uttered in the deepest portion of my heart. I know being my wonderful Creator, He wants the best for me. Only the best. There is no way He is ignoring my prayers.

But, since He is also a loving Father, He granted me the gift of free will and thus, He needs my permission and freedom of will so His plans can happen in my life.

If this desire of mine has long been planned by my great Creator, then I submit to His will.

God, if it is me who is blocking to receive Your gifts, then, change my heart. This heart who truly longs for Your answers.

You can rurn water to wine. You can part seas and create a dry land our of it. You can calm the storm instantly. You can do all those things and I know You can change my heart, too,

Change my heart, Oh God, so, I can receive Your answers to my prayers.

I looked at the mirror today and found the person looking back at me, smiling. She has been at peace these days that brings her joy to the many new things happening her life. Future looks bright to her eyes. And this person went through the hardest of times over the past 5 years of her life. Sickness, loss, joblessness, heartbreak happened to her.

But, there is smile in her eyes today.

She looked back and all she remembers is the love of the Father to her. A love that is true, faithful and enough.

The love of the Father understands what we are going through. He is bigger than our insecurities, our doubts and fear. As He is much bigger than those, He can not only listen and but also answer those.

During those nights before my surgery, I did question Him but I only surrendered to His love. It is because I know and sure that I would find no wonderful love just like as His. That wonderful love of the Father filled me to endure the deepest pain of losing a body part and that same wonderful love filled me to restore that sick body.

The love of the Father comforts us. His love provides the inner strength of the mind that is needed at that very moment.

I thought not only air would leave my lungs but also my spirit as well when I reached the place of his death. I thought I would die there. But the grace to call the Father’s name was there and it comforted me as I sobbed “My God, my God please help us. (Dyos ko. Dyos ko tulungan Nyo kami.)”, while I brought to my chest the bloodied short pants of my dead older brother.
Just calling out His name at that very instant brought comfort, endurance and direction to take the first steps to getting back pieces of life to whole and working, with parents and the rest of the family.

The love of the Father provides the people that are best for us in a timely fashion. Time is a tool of the love of the Father.

I was told that I got the job of the same company that rejected my application during the last round of job interview of three years ago. I later found that person who rejected my application was transferred to a new job task and there was new person to consider my application. How the love of the Father orchestrates things to happen for our own good at His timing!

The love of the Father is the only love that can fill my deepest needs. I don’t have to search it anywhere, anyone and anything to have my my deepest needs met, it is in His heart that is always accessible to us and for us.

The love of the Father is the reason why there is smile at that person looking back at me at the mirror.. today and through all times.

______

May you be filled with His perfect love today.

Please like and share. Thank you for your kindness.

REFINER’S FIRE

As I sniffed my freshly sterilized laboratory gown, I knew I was up for another tiring day of chemical analysis. I don it and headed down to that big silent room of chemicals and equipment of where only running water and occasional ringing of the phone can be heard.

I thought I have graduated to this kind of work when I assumed the review and release of raw materials job of a chemist. But when my company started to cut down manpower which started a year ago and management learned that I have the background and expertise of chemical testing, with a heavy heart I said “yes” to the request of the management for what they said that it was a temporary dual role for me. It was a painful “yes” because I have never wanted to go back to laboratory analysis simply because it’s physically exhausting.

This day I silently said “Hello” to Loss on Ignition and Acid Insoluble Substances Tests. I scheduled these tests together as both use one equipment. Funny, but I can never dispel this observation that testing echoes real life. In real life, I tend to remember people on things they like to do and group them according to their likes in my heart and that’s how I scheduled work accordingly.

I started everything in a manner just like in the normal secondary science project. I turned on the furnace, then, set the temperature at 610 degrees. I placed inside the room-temperature crucible. The crucible that I used is heavily stained with black specks, as a result of frequent use. It is supposed to be white as it is made of porcelain.

As I opened the furnace, the glaring red heat of 610 degrees blew me away! I have encountered this kind of set-up before, but, back then it all seemed a regular and plain analysis to me. Not until today.

My crucible mightly remained intact at 610º even after 2 hours of heating, without a crack and and undeniably, it has somehow regained it’s whiteness.

The same crucible was re-heated at 825º in the same furnace. When I opened the furnace after an hour, the image was even glorious! Lo and behold, the light emitted from the wall of furnace can serve as the light of that dark box of fumehood. But my eyes got hooked on the image I saw in between the walls of furnace. That black little specks left from 610 degrees-heating were nowhere to be found. My crucible intact and whiter! It has regained it’s original color of white. Wow, here’s the light that melts the black specs and turned my powder to a white ash! What a physical and chemical transformation!

The high intensity of heating made it even cleaner and whiter….finer….shiner and now looks new without it breaking!

Chemical testing echoes real life.

All those high points in my life were preceeded with pain. The heat of pain has been a part of my life and it refined me. The time of rejections made me know myself and cling to the Lord, that one day I would see an open door, too. The time of loss made me value life and the people around me. The time of sickness made me think that life is temporary and short and make the most out of it. There are times when the heart gets overused that it begins to gain black specs just like my crucible but His fire regained its original color. His fire restores life.

My Master Chemist never promised an easy life but He promised He will take me through the pain. He was there in the fire but He was out for a refiner, cleaner and stronger me without my spirit breaking.

_________

“I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Dear Young Lady,
I have to take it here because I know you will get to read this. And I know that you will know that this is for you.

I want to let you know that we are here for you. You never were and never will be alone because we have always been here for you.

I am writing to make you remember your great dreams and all your achievements you have worked hard all through these years. Please do not give – up on those. Those dreams are counting on you to be fulfilled by you, because no other person in this world was created to fulfill those but only you.

Lies might be bombarding your young mind these days but take heart. One day, truth will be with us and that truth will be vindicated through justice. Just keep doing what you do best – that is to study and persevere and soon you will reap the fruit of your hardwork.

And if lies are just too hard to bear and words are not coming out from your lips, remember what you have been told before, the Man at the Cross inside the church, He can hear you even if you do not speak. You can always talk to Him and He will help you clear you thoughts, to gather your courage and restore your joy. He will guide you fulfill your dreams, after all, it is Him who placed those dreams in your heart.

You are in our prayers. Stay with good influence, kids who encourage and inspire you to keep doing your best with honesty.

That last name is built upon hardwork, integrity, honesty, music, simplicity and faith by our forefathers. No event, no name-calling can rob – off those virtues from that last name. We shall carry our shared last name with holy pride, with the mercy of a good God.

You know that you are loved and let me remind you with that again – we love you.

Laban lang tayo. (Let’s keep on fighting.)

Love,
Aunt

I joined a new company last March. After 3 months, I was transferred to a new location, physical location, that is. While fixing and installing my stuff in the new room, I can’t help but be sad a bit as I remembered I will not be working beside people who speak English as their speaking language, who through that 3 months I have become closed with. As I sniffed gently alone, I didn’t realise that my boss approached me. Gosh, was so embarrassed 😳 with my crying and we spoke. That’s a separate story to tell on what transpired with the conversation but on a hindsight.. That’s how I easily can get attached to people and their presence. Three months of everyday presence makes my heart home.
And I know I will find a home in this new area, too.
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“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13