Happy Thoughts

(Day 7 – What makes you happy)

I was feeling a bit down the other day. Been dwelling too much on those un-fav’rite things maybe. So in an effort to cheer myself up, I found going through this crazy blog a friend of mine shared through Twitter. Oh. My. Dad. Super laugh trip. The guy had a lunchbox daily section as well and when I found myself getting started on those, I was hooked. My sad face was slowly turning into a smiley face and kept transforming into a hilarious laugh-out-loud face when certain illustrations hit close to home.

Most of the lunchbox comics were superhero, Star Wars, and cartoon mash-ups but they were still so very funny and I found myself relating to them. Haha. The effects of growing up with a kid brother and superhero-obsessed guy cousins. But anyway, I found myself totally amazed at how Mr. Busy Dad used his creativity to connect with his 9-year-old son. He’s one cool, cool father.

But wait, what did you just hear me say again? Uh-oh. I guess the secret’s out. Superhero, Star Wars, and cartoon mash-ups make me happy. Well, they do.

They do make me happy. Really.

But then again I’m not that hard to please. Simple things make me happy, little things make my lips curl up into a smile.

Having coffee and cake for breakfast makes me happy.

New-old (i.e. nostalgic) music makes me happy.

Sincere and even wala lang conversations make me happy.

Gabe Bondoc makes me happy.

Seeing dreams fulfilled makes me happy.

Realizing the goodness and greatness of God makes me happy.

Monkeys and monkey tales make me happy.

Listening to your stories makes me happy.

And you – dear reader – you, make me happy as well.

Let’s all think happy thoughts. As Peter Pan says, “They lift you up into the air.”

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Mud on My Shoes

(Day 6 – Pet Peeves)

Mud on my shoes and slime on amphibians,
Dark greasy kettles and sleazy ruffians,
Brown hair that splits and dries at the tip,
These are a few of my un-fav’rite things

Bland powdered juice and unsavoury noodles,
Head lice and house mice and fleas on pet poodles,
Roaches that fly by with germs on their wings
These are a few of my un-fav’rite things

Men who treat women with little respect
Women who live lives filled with regret
Children and teens tormented by sin
These are a few of my un-fav’rite things

Well, the dog bites
And the bee stings
And we all feel sad
But even with all these un-fav’rite things
We can turn it around and then it won’t be
So bad

Forever Faithful

(Day 5 – What song inspires you?)

“You know my future like You knew my past, Your word concerning me was made to last forever…”

The song starts to play and I cannot help but melt. This is it. This is the song that would never fail to bring me to the place of absolute dependence, absolute trust, of pure worship and adoration to Abba Father in Heaven. This is the song that would never fail to break me, but at the same time, inspire me.

I first heard the song mid 2006. I chanced upon someone’s old collection of CDs and immediately fell in love with the song. Apparently, the “Faithful” by Hillsong Australia has been around since 2002 (being the 5th track of their “Amazing Love” album), but I’ve never heard the worship team play it before. And so I tried looking for the lyrics in the net. Google failed me though and I came up with zero relevant search results (six years ago, yes).

But where there’s a will, there’s always, always a way. I transcribed the song lyrics on my own, made up some chords to go with it, and found myself whispering the lyrics whenever I got on my knees:

You know my future like You knew my past,
Your word concerning me was made to last forever
And I know Your word is Your integrity
And that You’d do just what You said You would
You are faithful

Heaven and earth will pass away
But Your word will remain
Your word will remain faithful

Now all I have be stripped away
But to you I remain
To You I remain faithful

I know that Your love is forever strong
And I will sing about it all day long
Forever

I know that there is no one else like You
And no one else can do the things You would
You are faithful

There were seasons of brokenness when I found myself trying to hold on to words and promises so impossible, so unattainable at the time. Will the dreams ever become reality? Will His words ever really, truly hold true? Or was I just disillusioned – believing, hoping, for something that was never meant to be?

And, to add to that, there were also months when I simply felt like I was stripped away of all the things that I had, all the things I knew, all the things I could find security in. I had absolutely nothing to hold on to. Nothing to hold on to, that is, except for God and His word.

I sang the song. I held on to Him. I believed in His word. I banked up on His faithfulness.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

Yes, His words will never pass away. He is faithful, faithful, faithful. Faithful to the very end.

I’m singing this song again. There are a lot of things in the future that seem so, so uncertain. But like it says in the song, He knows our future (Jeremiah 29:11), just like He knows all the things that happened in our past as well as those happening to us at present (Psalm 139:1-6).

I have nothing to be afraid of. You have nothing to be afraid of. If we love God and are in Christ, we are certain that all of the cosmos will work together for our future and our good (Romans 8:28).

And we have this simple assurance.

He will remain forever faithful.

Mornings.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercy never comes to an end. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

Credits: Faithful (2002) by Hillsong Australia

Prince Charles and Lady Di of Batch E

(Day 4 – Your Parents)

They were known as the Prince Charles and Lady Di of Batch E. They had the looks, the grace, the elegance and the love story to compete with the then popular fairytale couple. But though the aforementioned royal pair’s wedded life ended in a tragedy of divorce and death, Joel and Ma. Azucena’s did not. Twenty-six plus years later, their marriage is still strong, still becoming sweeter as the years go by.

The dashing Baguio boy and breathtaking Cebu girl met during their undergraduate years at the Philippine Normal University in Manila. They became college sweethearts. They graduated, got physically separated, but they battled it out for love nonetheless. Finally, on December 22, 1985, Joel and Ma. Azucena tied the knot. The pair got married in Visayan territory before moving and settling in Cordilleran terrain. Three years later, a siopao-faced daughter came into their lives, followed by a soyfee-hued son one-and-a-half year later.

They first lived in a closet-sized home affectionately called as the “sultan” during the “early years”. By the time Siopao Face turned one, they had however moved into their new home – the second floor of a former dormitory for students.

A framed picture of a brick abode with the words “A house is made of brick and stone but a home is made of love alone” hung on their house’s door. In actuality the residence was made of wood and metal shingles but with l-o-v-e saturating the rooms, it was indeed… a home.

When Siopao Face and Soyfee Hue (aka Mari Anjeli and Quantum Yuri) were old enough to listen to and understand stories, Ma. Azucena filled their nights with tales of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, Mowgli and Shere Khan, Kangaroos and Rainbow Snakes, of the King Shahryar and Sheherazade.

Joel in turn filled their skill bucket with the basic things they needed to survive life – bikes and bike-riding, balls and ball-catching, bridges and bridge-crossing, dishes and dishwashing, eggs and egg-cooking.

Together they taught the children about honesty and generosity, about patience and diligence, about dreaming and persevering. They were good parents and, though the two kids have almost grown up, they are that way – good – to them still.

And speaking of teaching and parenting, Joel and Ma. Azucena, through years of firsthand parenting, spent time being second parents as well. Both have become established in the craft of educating and inspiring college and post-graduate students. They taught them math, statistics, physics, and everything else in between.

Now, both have reached the golden years but are still filled to overflow with love. And, though their wedded years have just gone pass silver, they’ve still more affection to give out.

Sweeter as the years go by. :) Photo by Karl Michael Bugante

Cheers Papa and Mama! Here’s to the many more love-filled years to come! And so I attempted to spin a fairy tale of some sort given the handful of information that I have about your years together. I shall write a much, much longer one, when we sit down together and you share more stories with me. Love you!