Onward

Time flies fast.

It’s now getting clearer.

This was never about me in the first place.

My biggest ‘why’ was slowly unfolding.

I know where I want to go.

I met a lot of passionate, dedicated and committed educators.

They are my source of inspiration and hope.

It was challenging but God sent me angels to guide me and to be with me on this journey.

He was there for me from the start, who am I to doubt His plans?

Onward, move forward!

He knows better than I.

Onward

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

TeacherPh shared these amazing tips to all newbie in the public education sector.

1. SMILE
When you start your day wearing this, you’re probably not going to lose. This attracts a lot of positivity and is known to calm those types of co-teachers who do not seem to see anything positive in anyone! Smile and the world will smile back!

2. GREET EVERYONE
Congratulations! You’re hired! You are now a professional teacher, a shaper of the majority of the Philippine population. Thousands of ideas and plans might be playing inside your mind now and you might be expecting the perfect first day of your public service. But uh oh! Before you expect anything, why don’t you stop and consider our top 10 advices for the first timers in the public school. We want to give you the most realistic tips and ideas about the world that you have just entered!

3. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY WORK
Yes, you want everything to go on very well and you do not like the good impression of your co-teachers to change that is why you keep yourself busy working even when you are at home already. You almost think about work for 24 hours and that can be draining. Remember that you will be able to do a lot of paper work while giving your best on teaching in the first few months, but then you will find yourself feeling tired and drained already. So be gentle to yourself and make sure you maintain a good balance between working, socializing, relaxing, and resting. The more balance you feel about these 4 activities, the more you feel positive at work.

4. EXPECT TO HEAR SOME GOSSIP BUT DON’T INVOLVE YOURSELF
Ooops! This is very common! Do not trust anyone yet. It might seem nice that some of your co-teachers let you hear the gossip they are talking about and they might want you to be a part of their group but think twice! Often, gossip becomes the reason why some teachers transfer from one school to another. Never ever involve yourself in such thing because you are PROFESSIONAL. Besides, a good person or a good friend is not someone who speak foul of others.

5. PREPARE YOUR SPEECH
Just in case your head teacher or superior introduces you to everyone! A well-thought self-introduction can give a good impression to your colleagues but “WAG MASYADONG GALINGAN” because teachers might think otherwise. Just be natural.

6. PREPARE YOUR LESSON PLAN
Do we need to memorize this? We have been trained from college to our first work experience that we have to prepare this very precious paper. You will be surprised when your superior asks you to submit your lesson plan to her on the first day of school!

7. ASK THE DATES AND CREATE A TIME TABLE
So this is it! Plan, plan, plan! Organize and list down the important things you need to accomplish as you will be overwhelmed by work once the first periodical test approaches. Being a public school teacher means having loads of paperwork so if you do not want to be stressed, make sure you follow a well-planned time table. You have to begin asking your superior to provide you a school calendar so you can mark dates and plan ahead your future activities.

8. FIND OUT A WAY TO HAVE A BUDGET FOR 3-6 MONTHS
You’ve already heard it from your friends who got hired ahead of you. You will not receive your salary a month right after getting hired. Expect a 3-6 months delay on your wage. Ayos! Bayad utang lang!

9. WEAR A COMFORTABLE SHOES
You won’t be able to sit down most of the time as you need to attend to a big number of students in each of your class. Sitting down in the class for a first time teacher is a no no!

10. PRAY
Of course, it’s always him who has a complete control of everything. You will need him not just throughout your teaching journey but throughout your life’s journey. You have the biggest responsibility in our nation now so you need the greatest ally. You are a teacher. YOU WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE and to do it successfully, you’ll need his help — THE ONE WHO SHAPED THE WHOLE WORLD PERFECTLY.

Read

One of the main thrusts for this academic year is to intensify the reading habits of our students.

I know it will never be easy but it takes a lot of encouragement and more push.

I was inspired by this article of Joby Provido on how spiritual reading leads to a balanced life.

Reading

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Every day we are bombarded with news that can be violent or depressing. Sometimes immersing ourselves in those kinds of stories can drive us to despair when thinking of hope for humanity. Those studying internet behavior say we tend to compare our life with others on Social Media. This can be very stressful if we consider we have to keep up with other people’s happiness. It can make our lives seem empty at some point.

The spate of celebrity suicides does not help either. While taking one’s life (or any life for that matter) is contrary to Christian culture, we cannot judge those who have fallen victim to mental illness for we don’t know what they were going through. Since Christ is all-knowing and all-loving, we leave it up to him because he is the best and only authorized judge by the Father. One thing we can say that may make sense is that there must have been a feeling of helplessness that drove them to do it.

While we cannot remove these stressful matters from our secular life, we can balance it. How many times do we watch heart-warming videos of animals being saved, or fathers who are supposed to be away and make a surprise appearance, or mothers who prepare something her birthday girl enjoys? Don’t we press on the heart button and share them? Some even write a post: “faith in humanity restored.” In those moments, aren’t our spirits lifted?

Life is a constant battle and we need weapons to help us endure. Spiritual reading is one of these. It is the habit of reading something spiritual with the purpose of growing in holiness. By reading spiritual material, our soul gets buoyed so we can keep our head above the flood of depressing media, take a breath, and continue the struggle. It is like watching those heart-warming videos that bring back faith in humanity.

Spiritual reading is different from meditation. Meditation is a quest to find out what God wants us to do, feel, and be. Spiritual reading, on the other hand, is to reinforce our lives with enriching things.

One can start with ten minutes a day, then move on to fifteen minutes or longer. It would be nice to set a time to do this so it can be done regularly. It would also be best to do this in a place that has little or no distractions. Maybe a quiet room in the house will do.

What can a beginner read? The gospels are a good start. A slow prayerful reading always helps. The lives of the saints are extraordinarily good material. Get books on or by Teresa of Avila (The Interior Castle), St. Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux (The Story of a Soul), Thomas Merton (The Seven Story Mountain), John Paul II. While Fulton Sheen is not yet a saint, his life is a wonderful thing to read. Books on Our Lady are particularly enriching too. Find books on the apparitions in Fatima, Lourdes, and Mexico (Our Lady of Guadalupe.) Other good titles are: “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” by Louis de Montfort, “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton, “Mary of Nazareth” by Federico Suarez.

One does not have to “read” to do spiritual reading. Watching an enriching video or listening to a podcast is spiritual “reading” too. Find something that lifts your soul or educates you about the faith.

Make it part of a daily habit. Think of spiritual reading as the spiritual vitamins that keep us healthy.

Father

We always start our class with a prayer.

Today was special.

My student reminded me about the importance of praying the “Our Father”, which was the main highlight of the Gospel today.

It is called “The Lord’s Prayer” in that Jesus Himself gave it to us as a way of teaching us to pray. In this prayer, we find seven petitions to God. Within those seven petitions we will find every human longing and every expression of faith found within the Scriptures. Everything we need to know about life and prayer is contained in the wonderful prayer.

Father

We all have an innate desire to know our fathers and be loved by them. While earthly dads will fall short at times, we have a perfect heavenly Father who wants us to know Him and loves us immensely. He has gone to great lengths to be with us, and longs to spend quality time with His children.

Jesus Himself gave us this prayer as the model of all prayer. It is good that we repeat the words of the Lord’s Prayer regularly in vocal prayer. This is also done in the various sacraments and liturgical worship. However, saying this prayer is not enough. The goal is to internalize each and every aspect of this prayer so that it becomes a model of our personal petition to God and an entrustment of our entire life to Him.

The Foundation of Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer begins not with a petition; rather, it begins with us acknowledging our identity as children of the Father. This is a key foundation for the Lord’s Prayer to be prayed properly. It also reveals the foundational approach we must take in all prayer and in the entire Christian life. The opening statement preceding the seven petitions is as follows: “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Let’s take a look at what is contained in this opening statement of the Lord’s Prayer.

Filial Boldness: At Mass, the priest invites the people to pray the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…” This “daring” on our part comes from the foundational understanding that God is our Father. Each Christian is to see the Father as my Father. We must see ourselves as God’s children and approach Him with the confidence of a child. A child with a loving parent is not afraid of that parent. Rather, children have the greatest trust that their parents love them no matter what. Even when they sin, children know they are still loved. This must be our fundamental starting point for all prayer. We must start with an understanding that God loves us no matter what. With this understanding of God we will have all the confidence we need to call on Him.

Abba: Calling God “Father” or, more specifically, “Abba” means we cry out to God in the most personal and intimate of ways. “Abba” is a term of endearment for the Father. This shows that God is not just the Almighty or the All-Powerful. God is so much more. God is my loving Father and I am the Father’s beloved son or daughter.

“Our” Father: To call God “our” Father expresses an entirely new relationship as a result of the New Covenant that was established in the blood of Christ Jesus. This new relationship is one in which we are now God’s people and He is our God. It’s an exchange of persons and, therefore, deeply personal. This new relationship is nothing other than a gift from God to which we have no right. We have no right to be able to call God our Father. It’s a grace and a gift.

This grace also reveals our profound unity to Jesus as the Son of God. We can only call God “Father” in so far as we are one with Jesus. His humanity unites us to Him and we now share in a deep bond with Him.

Calling God “our” Father also reveals the union we share with one another. All who call God their Father in this intimate way are brothers and sisters in Christ. We, therefore, are not only deeply connected together; we also are enabled to worship God together. In this case, individualism is left behind in exchange for fraternal unity. We are members of this one divine family as a glorious gift of God.

New

A new journey began. It will be a different world. More challenging but rewarding. As I look into the new horizon, hope breams eternal.

I know this is Your will Lord, not mine. But, I surrender to Your Holy plan.

New

“The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want…” – Ps 23

In one of the Jesuit’s reflection that inspires me, they shared that discerning God’s will for me does not depend on the skills I have learnt, much less on the level of my knowledge, but above all on the quality of my heart’s listening.

A listening heart knows how to be sensitive to God’s presence. It is built on a basic trust in God’s faithfulness and to his willingness to communicate himself: it is indeed possible to seek and find what is God’s project for me.

As I listen to God, I discover that I need to listen more to myself, even though I might have started with the idea that I need to listen less to myself. It is God who created me and sowed the seeds of desire in my heart, so I do have to learn how to listen to and understand my deepest desires, my dreams, my strong points, as well as my mistakes and disappointments.

Just as I cannot love others unless I love myself, so also I cannot really trust God without trusting myself and what God is doing in me: God’s will is myself!

I do this not in narcissistic self-admiration, where everything is centred on my needs, but in a spirit of deep freedom, the freedom to serve and to love others even when it means carrying the cross and turning the other cheek.

Like all successful communication, this requires time and patient effort, perhaps with the guidance of someone more experienced with whom I share my quest. This can only happen in the context of a stable prayer life, that includes the daily examen of conscience.

As life becomes more complex, and as we become more allergic to rules, discernment will assume a much bigger role in our lives and in that of our communities, including that of the big community, the Church. We are blessed that many who preceded us, including Ignatius of Loyola, have left us many helpful indications on how to discern our decisions.

As I continue my journey, I will continuously yield to His plans for me.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Mt 7: 7-12

Eid Al Fitr 2018

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim friends!

I miss the Eid Al Fitr festival in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Communities and families usually gather to mark the start of Eid al-Fitr with a meal.

Eid Mubarak is a traditional Muslim greeting used during festivals such as Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

The word Eid means celebration and Mubarak translates as blessed.

Therefore, people wish each other a blessed holiday by using this greeting.

I celebrated this special day today with a thanksgiving lunch hosted by a dear friend and a brother servant whose love and passion for providing financial investment advice goes beyond earning commission but a call to mission.

Eid Al Fitr 2018

Cheers to long life! To more years of loving and serving the Lord – my dear friends from Riyadh, KSA.

Bro. Rommel Orpiada said that a good financial advisor is driven by a mission and not only by commission. Or someone who has more concern on your welfare and benefits, and of your loved ones rather than just marketing the products. He/she is someone that you can trust and has a good background and discipline, education, trainings, skills and experience. He/she can advise you on risk management and capital preservation, and can provide a financial solution personalized to your needs.

He aims to empower OFW around the globe in spending their hard earned money efficiently and effectively.

If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact Bro. Rommel for a “Let’s talk!” meeting and call him at 09176557477.

Empty

Life is short, let us not make it shorter.

My travel to Iloilo reminded me on what really matters in life.

Love and support from friends and family, a lot of food, great laughter and tons of fun memories to remember.

Emptiness

“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this”. – Don Quixote, de la Mancha

When the news broke that a successful businesswoman committed suicide due to depression, I felt numb.

You may have all the money and fame in this world but emptiness creeps in everyday.

A ‘big’ battle not seen by everyone.

Are you thinking, “I feel empty and alone?” Remember that other people are going through the similar emotions that you are struggling with right now.

Here are some tips from BetterHelp.com to keep you on the right track:

How To Set Life Goals That Establish Meaning

An important part of getting your life moving again and finding meaning is setting goals. A lot of the time we flounder and feel lost because we haven’t set goals for what is important to us. Without a plan, we could do nothing. Here are some steps that will move you toward finding your own meaningful goals and accomplishing them.

Feel Your Feelings

Many people who are suffering from emptiness are trying to avoid or disconnect from their feelings. They started feeling nothing because they reached a point at one time where their emotions became overwhelming and caused them anxiety. The first thing you will need to do after acknowledging your emptiness is to start reconnecting with your emotions; allow yourself to feel again. Your feelings may come out inappropriately at first, such as sadness being expressed through anger, and that’s okay. No feelings are wrong or bad, as long as you continue making an effort to recognize them and grow.

Start thinking about how you might feel about your life if it did not feel empty; it’s not a trick. Logically look at your life, since you cannot emotionally respond to it. Do you have an excellent job? Have you spent enough time with your family or friends? Did something happen that you want to forget about? It’s time to look at the various aspects of your life and whether they are related to positive or negative feelings.

Do The Things You Used To Enjoy

Right now, you may not feel like doing your usual hobbies or rituals but do them anyway. This is a part of taking care of yourself. Pay attention to how you feel when you are doing these things. You may be able to connect with some of the joy or peace you used to feel, or you may find that it is time to replace this activity with something else. Either way, doing things that are just for you establish the self-love you need to escape emptiness and find meaning.

Don’t Avoid People

You may not be ready to actively plan a time to hang out with friends or family. But if you get invited somewhere, go ahead and accept the invitation. Isolation will make your emptiness more. Your existing support system cannot support you if you alienate them. If you find yourself spending a majority of your time at home, go somewhere where other people gather. You don’t have to interact with anyone. Just put yourself amongst the crowd, whether that means going out to see a movie or making a trip to the coffee shop.

Make Lists

Start writing down potential goals and divide them into four categories: health, relationships, career, and personal growth. You can write down as many goals as you like. You aren’t going to focus on all of these at once. Some of them may be removed from the list later, but for now, you need to come up with ideas, so don’t be afraid to write down anything that comes to mind.

Once you have several goals under each category, divide those goals into short-term and long-term objectives. Some of the goals will be able to be completed within a few days or weeks; those are short-term goals. Other goals are larger achievements that may take a year or more to accomplish.

Ideally, your short-term goals are moving you closer toward the big long-term goals you have set. For instance, if one of your long-term goals is to become a personal trainer, a short-term goal may be to be able to complete twenty push-ups or to memorize the names of all the major muscles in the human body.

At the top of these lists, write down a simple one-sentence statement about where these goals are taking you. It is the reason why you are working toward them. The goals themselves are steps, but this statement of purpose is the real motivator behind them.

Prioritize

You can only complete so much at once, and having too many goals can overwhelm you to the point that you revert to an old habit of doing nothing about your feeling of emptiness. Now that you have a list of some short-term and long-term goals for the most important aspects of your life choose the top three from each category that is the most important to you right now. Looking at your statement of purpose can help you in narrowing down the top priorities.

Once you have these new shorter lists, you can rank each of the three sets of goals by order of importance. The top-most important goal in each list is your “gold” goal, the next is your “silver” goal, and the third is your “bronze” goal. You can work towards your gold goals pretty much every day, taking small steps toward these meaningful priorities in your life. When you have extra time, you can work towards your silver and bronze goals.

When you achieve a goal, move the others up in priority and add a new goal to the short list. The new goal doesn’t necessarily have to start at bronze level; it’s okay if you change your mind about what is most important at the current moment. Make sure you stick with any goals that have made it to your priority list. The worst thing you can do with goals is to get into a habit of dropping them when they get difficult.

Whenever your emptiness starts to rise and makes you feel like what you’re doing isn’t worthwhile, take out your list of goals. These are your reminders that your life does have a purpose and you do have a sense of direction. If you’re finding it difficult to take steps toward your goals, or you feel stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Wealth

During our gospel reflection today in the Diocese of Imus servant’s training, I reflected on this message, is it hard for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God?

The rich young man was an upright Jew who obeyed the commandments of the Lord all his life. Yet was attached to his wealth and could not follow Jesus as a disciple.

Wealth

Saint Paul tells us that nothing can outweigh the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But in this man’s case in the gospel, he had allowed something else to outweigh Christ. Comfort, security and material things beat the invitation of Christ to be perfect. Attachments lead to sadness; there is no room for God in a heart that is already full of the things of this world. Only detachment leads to true joy. God gives himself to the one who seeks him without any strings attached.

Wealth, if earned through honest means, is not intrinsically evil.

In fact, wealth can be used to do much good for others. Jesus does not demand that we give up all our wealth before we can become his disciples.

Jesus cautions us against attachment to our riches which limits our freedom to go where the Lord bids and do what the Lord asks of us.

I was inspired by the story of Sis. Siony, she was 84 years old, a retired public school teacher and chose to serve God more together with the senior catechist of the diocese.

They opted to serve God more than anything else and share the catechesis with children.

The Bible readings remind us that as Christians, we are called to go beyond just keeping the ten commandments to the point of being willing to surrender all that we have as we face trials and tribulations in order to follow the Lord Jesus.

We, too, are asked to do what is humanly impossible, but with GOD’s help is possible – to surrender our lives for the GOoD of others.

Let us be faithful to our calling to be disciples of Christ as we face the trials we face as His followers.

Let us also be willing to let go of our possessions so we can both follow the Lord Jesus more and also share with those who have less than us.

For us, it is impossible to love at all times, but not for God. All things are possible with God. If we ask the Father for forgiveness and lean on Jesus and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we become more loving. We become more heavenly.