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.

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“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 Sis B,
Shall I Date A Jobless Bachelor?

_________________

Dear Sister,

May the peace of Christ be with you.

The fact that you are asking me this question tells me that you have second thoughts of seeing or spending time with this guy and financial means is something essential to you. I take your concern with high regard and deep respect. Since we believe that the husband and father is the main financial provider, they must have means to be source of income, ideally.

However, we now live in the age where wife and mothers of the family have full time works and share the financial obligation of the family with the husband or father.

As dating means preparation for the future family and the one you are dating takes the frame of a future spouse, may I now ask you, “What are your dreams and prayers for your future family?”

Should the Lord allow me to be married, I don’t wish to work for another employer and I wish to stay at home and build a source of income from home, an endeavour that would come only secondary to my household obligations. This means that I am counting and praying that in my future plans, the husband is the main provider. I think that is the reason why I have never dated a jobless guy. I never dated when I was still in school.

However, I don’t consider, too, that joblessness is the ultimate criteria for a bachelor NOT to be considered a “qualified” future spouse.

Here are few points you can consider:
1. Does he plan for his good future?

2. Does he act and persevere on his plans?

3. Do you agree on his plans?

Before you respond, please do carefully and prayerfully seek an answer. Ask him with exact words revealing to him your purpose. Please do not be scared to ask and ask with purity of heart. Based on married friends’ stories , this kind of questions encouraged a man with pure and noble intentions to be more intentional in building his finances and not scare him off away from getting himself committed. Again gentleness will send our purpose across.

Gentleness. Girl, It Looks Sassy On You

It is always something I tell to myself and female friends that at one point or two of courtship and even dating period that ladies should continue to be seeking answer and act like you an HR recruiter. After all, you are recruiting a lifetime legal partner.

I believe that when we pray for a spouse with courage (faith), confidence (hope) and God (love) then, we will be led to the right man who will love us, protect us and lead us to our Lord.

God bless.

Love and Beauty,
B

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I mapped – out a 5-year plan for my life yesterday morning. Yes, I dared to plan my life for the next 5 years, carefully incorporating what I have learned in my Project Management program and after saying prayers for a year for guidance for a new mission. No, please don’t be under the impression that I have achieved everything that I have planned for last years. Sometimes, I feel that I am only good at life’s planning but execution is a class where I’m still a student and unceasingly trying my best not to remain a student.

Mapping – Out

I wrote Psalm 23 at the top of it as it was my guiding verse since the time I felt the Lord is preparing for something. Psalm 23 is about the Good Shepherd. I did not forget the set of values as a guiding ruler as wild planning can happen and drives a planner to desire the world but losing the self in the process.

As this is my first time to draw – out a five- year plan, I had to set the bigger picture but at the end asking myself what is the bigger picture. I felt it was the height of adulting calling for a mixture of fear and excitement. One thing I realized though, that as I plan through the years, fear is increasingly knocking at my heart harder each year. I truly used to be a dare-devil in my planning in earlier years, as early as university days, where I enjoyed bigtime whenever I ticked what I have accomplished. But through the years, I have found myself fearing my own blames whenever I didn’t get to do what I have planned to do.

The Fearless of Youth That I Needed
(The Lord Provided)

During the evening, I attended the first Liveloud Concert in Singapore. Liveloud is a Catholic Worship Band that has been singing the songs of the Charismatic community I belong to for the last 17 years. In one segment, the sign of Chi Rho was flashed. The lead worshipper explained that this is the secret code of the earlier Christians to tell fellow Christians that they are home and they have arrived in a refuge, as earlier Christians were persecuted. That sign is very familiar to me. (Not that I lived 2000 years ago. Lol. ) The sign of Chi Rho is the “rod” I saw from Bishops and the Pope, the Shepherds for the Catholic faith. The Good Shepherd is Psalm 23, the verse I wrote on my five year – plan earlier that day. Is it just a coincidence? Maybe, not. The moment Chi Rho sign was flashed, it occurred to me as “No Prisoner”. That thought reverberated in my mind while we continued to worship. “No Prisoner”.

When I got home, it dawn on me, that for “No Prisoner” to happen there is freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from the yoke of slavery that burdened a prisoner.

Is this sign speaking to my plan?
Have I been drawing out a plan which based on fear?
Then, let there be freedom! Call the deliverer, Christ the King.

This morning I took that as a sign to declare and plan out what I really want to happen in my life – 5 years down the road of life. Let there be no fear to work on my desires which Christ, the Lord God has placed in my heart, today on this Feast of Christ the King, the Deliverer.

As I put out a new plan and pasted on my wall. I, too, signed it with Chi Rho. No prisoner.

_______________
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Thank you. Continue to be blessed.

1. May you find someone worth keeping and may you find that someone keeping you back.
2. May your eyes be opened to the truth and believe that truth will set you free.
3. May you find someone who recognises your light and takes care of your scar.
4. May you find true friends who can speak word of truth to you and can determine the time when to speak it.
5. May you find time to take care of yourself.
6. May you find reasons to protect yourself.
7. May you find ways to celebrate your giftedness.
8. May you draw your standards and create an invisible but felt line around it.
9. May you be drawn deeply into the image of the lady our Creator has planned for you.
10. May you find a lady smiling back at you when you look at the mirror.

All these I pray in the mighty name of Your son Jesus who lives with You together with the Holy Spirit. One God. Forever.

Hail Mary..

Saint Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.

Amen.

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In my bible reading of the gospel according to Mark, I encountered this verse again. This time it spoke to me in a different way. It spoke to me about signs and our judgement, even in our romantic lives. I went back to a video of Nicole Kidman, one of my favourite actresses, when, she guested in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for the first time, sometime 3 years ago today.

I can’t help but picture it in my mind while Jimmy Fallon tells his version of the incident and Nicole does hers, too.

Here’s the link. You will certainly enjoy.

Jimmy Fallon Blew A Chance To Date Nicole Kidman

This is a story that creates different reactions from different type of singles.
For waiting singles, they will say “That’s a big near miss! Sayang”. For heartbroken singles, they will say “Men, they just do not see who are the one! Ugh”. For steady and ready-to-mingle singles, they will say “OK, let’s move on from here, next!”, without even asking themselves “Did I just had a T.O.T.G.A?

(T.O.T.G.A. = Teh, one that got away.) L.O.L.

This true story between Nicole and Jimmy never leaves my mind without me smiling… with relief.

When things are not falling into proper places and falling into places means falling at the right time, it only goes to show that the universe is helping to translate the situation that it is not meant for my good.

This thought was validated in this event with Jimmy and Nicole.

Here are my points:

First, I put the crucial point to Rick, the common friend. I must say that Rick did not deliver completely the task of a wing man. He did not tell Jimmy to order some nice foods and be at his best when him and Nicole arrive. He must have reasons for not doing so. That night might be not so romantic for him, that he did not see the the big picture of love happening between his well-known friends and doing great favours for them. He must have reasons.

Second, I agree of how Nicole assessed Jimmy’s wardrobe and look when they arrived at his apartment. If men are visual, all the more women are. The only difference is women can be  quiet about it and have the power to still consider giving a man a chance of being together who does not meet her physical standards but appeals to her higher needs like security or life’s purpose. But, at this time, Nicole felt that Jimmy’s wearing of cap is an absence of interest. To share a bit of my own story. The Lord knows how I assessed (a few) men in the past and even in  the present times, that men who meet me without even trying to look at his best, physically are not into me, simply, because they are not trying to impress me, not at all. Although, this is not the singular criteria of assessing whether a man is into a lady and vice-versa, a decent OOTD greatly matters for a first – time meeting between singles from opposite sex. That happened to Nicole for felling that way. She must have reasons.

Thirdly and most importantly, had Jimmy really liked Nicole and not just like having i-am-not-worthy-fan-admiration, he could have called Nicole and asked her number from Rick and call her with lines like “Oh, hi there. Thank you for your visit last night and I felt I missed to prepare you something great to eat, you know that kind of stuff. Err.. Would you like to have a dinner with me, sometime?” That’s not even 50 words including the shy-expressions! Why didn’t he call? He must have reasons.

OK, that first meeting might be tragic for Jimmy to prepare and be at his best. But, c’mon, man, ladies like Nicole can very well understand the situation that they’ve just walk-by without a prior notice so they can give this man a chance. Afterall, she liked him! But, Jimmy did not call and ask the universe to give him a chance to impress Nicole. Jimmy must have reasons for not doing so.

Or… the universe knew and whispered to Nicole as earlier at that time that few years down the road someone else is meant for her, who the universe will help to translate that he is the one for her and in the same way to Jimmy, too.

God is merciful. God sends signs so we will be aligned with him.

So, me and fellow waiting people whether single or married, waiting for a dream to transpire, be still and have faith.

When things are not falling into proper places, it is not yet time. When it is not yet time, be still and wait with anticipation for that time of favours to come.

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Thank you for reading.
May God be praised.

Love and beauty,
B.

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Since the start of the year I have been living with a family with two children. The eldest, Anton, is my godson.

Lately, I get to talk to him before I head to work and praying with him is how we end our conversation. (Sounds like we had a serious talk, right?) It has never occurred to my mind that talking and playing with a 5-year old boy can really be the happiest moment of the day for single person having 12-hour shift work (yeah, that’s me).

Praying is not something new to Anton as he normally does this with his parents, my friends. But for me, praying with a child is something very unfamiliar to me. So, my usual prayer goes like this:

Dear Father God,

Thank You for (his parents and all the people in the house). Please bless Anton who is a sweet, healthy, thoughtful and good boy.

And each and every time that I speak these words, he rolls while smiling. I can tell his face is bursting with joy! Then, he will be back in his sitting posture as I end with “Amen”.

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People Change When Someone Believes

People decide to change when they are happy and they are happy when someone, even a single soul believes in their goodness. Let me paraphrase that.

Believing is valuing and valuing causes someone to be happy. When someone is happy, it triggers change.

Though change can transpire in varying period of time. Some people can change overnight while for others may take a longer time, however, the decision to change happened when someone believes in them. I have observed this way of pattern during the last 17 years of serving adult singles in the church and proved to be what happened to me as well.

And seeing a 5-year-old child gets happy after hearing someone believes in him tells me that valuing a person does not see age!

A Learning And A Conclusion

A regional quality leader once told me during one gruelling laboratory investigation meeting, that no matter how strict quality is imposed to products and system, everyone should believe that every person who comes to work has the intention in mind to work productively.

Be someone who believes in the goodness of another and witness the change.


 

Dearest Father God,

May I never ever forget that there is YOU, You who always value me, You who always believe in me. You are the first one who believes in me. No matter what I do, nothing and no one can separate I from You, from You believing in ME.

 

Thank You.

Amen.

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Thank you for reading. God bless.

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The other day I published a blog about Pia.

What’s With Pía? #exesbaggage (Girl, Don’t Give Your Pearls Away)

IF YOU LIKE IT

Today, it’s time for her one of her lovers. Nix is the male lead character of the movie, Exes Baggage. Pia has 7 ex-boyfriends before Nix came to her life. While, Pia walked into Nix’s life after his girlfriend, Dwein.

What I like about Nix is … actually… I can’t think of anything aside from he can drive car well. (There were a lot of scenes that showed he was driving. Lol)

OK. Here is the serious part.

Nix is a guy I would not like for a caring and loving Pia, specially, at that point of his life when he met Pia. I really think Pia was right to believe that he is not yet completely over with his ex – girlfriend, Dwein. Unlike, Pia , whose reason of believing that Nix is still not over with Dwein is because of his seemingly intentionally delaying the project so he can get to hang-around Dwein’s presence. My reason of believing that Nix is not yet over with Dwein is he has not done yet anything to prove his sincere love for Pia. Him introducing Pia to his mom is not enough to convince me of this. (I know someone who has a cousin who brings different girl every family yearly reunion. She has been wanting to tell every girl that he brought “Hey, you are not the first one. We see different girl every year.”, to dispel any idea of the lady guest that something serious is going – on between her and her cousin. )

Nix did not even try to win her back. Something is holding him back when he seems to be liking the set – up of their togetherness?

I am with Pia when he left Nix. “You go, girl. Get his act together.”

Hello, Nix! If you truly love the girl, then, you should have put a ring on it.

 

 

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