Pandora’s Box of Memories

Some people are good at chronicling events. Others are good at keeping souvenirs.

One of my high school besties is a master of doing the latter. Pictures and letters from way back when, various memorabilia — you name it, she has it. She has a treasure chest of high school souvenirs which can put our school museum to shame — that is, if our high school even has a museum!

How she kept and preserved them all these years is beyond me. Simply amazing.

She can blackmail all of us in our little clique with those photos that she keeps… And I am pretty sure the thought had crossed her mind more than once.  Continue reading

Sunsets and Friendships

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

I saw that as caption to a photo posted by a Facebook friend. It was a picture of five people in silhouette, watching a beautiful sunset by the beach. 

The picture was truly breathtaking… and the message equally inspiring.

It made me think of my high school friends and all the sunsets that we shared together — as well as all the times we waited for the sun to rise. 

If there are people who know me the most, these would be my high school friends. I can say this because we practically grew up together. And growing up together entails knowing each other’s quirks, each other’s habits and hobbies… It means meeting all your friends’ love interests, both the good and the bad ones, and they meet yours, too… Through the years, you share life’s ups and downs… You know what buttons to push to irritate or compliment the other…

It’s about knowing their life story — and accepting and loving them just the same.

My high school friends are the ones who call me Gorgeous, instead of calling me by my name.  They can also proudly and boldly call me vain and narcissistic without me being the least bit offended.

They have seen me at my best and still loved me at my worst. 

Like I said, my high school friends and I don’t just watch the sunsets… we share sunrise, too…

hs-1997

January 1, 1997

Taken almost 20 years ago, First of January, 1997. Coming from the house of another friend, we waited for the sun to rise and had this picture taken in front of St. James church in Alabang.

The night before the photo above. New Year’s Eve, 1996. 

And 20 years — and pounds — later… we still do Christmases together…

hs-2015

Christmas Get-Together 2015

hs-2016

Post-holiday 2016 Get-Together

I don’t always get to see my friends much. I know I am partly to blame because I allow the busyness of every day life to get in the way.

Yet whenever we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed. We are still the very people we once were. We just easily pick up where we left off. We update ourselves with the things we missed, we celebrate each other’s successes. 

And as we got older together — and hopefully more mature, we know that we are done with petty things. We still tease each other, yes, but we don’t bicker. We now talk about serious stuff… our families, our fears, insecurities, goals and achievements, even our mistakes. And we can still laugh at shallow, silly things (and people) — just like when we were 15. 

My friends and I are secure in the knowledge that we accept each other for who and what we are and were. Each of us with our different moods, strengths, flaws and all.

Because that’s the thing about true friendship. Neither time nor distance can change how you see the other person, nor how you feel about them.

With real friends, you can never lose the love, the respect and that feeling of being home.  

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With three of my high school besties, Jeg, Liesl and Sandee. Homecoming 2014.

I originally captioned this, “Mean Girls,” but they objected. They said I was the only mean one. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

*****

photos from the ’90s — which I grabbed online — i think came from our friend Joel.  All other photos are mine!!

Them. In no particular order: Jeg, Liesl, Sandee, Kokoy, Myla, Patrick, Manny and Joel

What matters most

red-rose

A rose for my friend…

The thing about Facebook is sometimes you find yourself friends with people you don’t really personally know so well.  They may be mere acquaintances… people you met at work yet you never really talked to much… or they are parents of your child’s friends… or your friends’ friends… or people you went to school with many moons ago.

Facebook reconnects people.  Facebook allows you to be privy to someone’s life events. You know of them based on their status posts and the pictures they share. Sometimes you don’t really talk to a person yet you feel you know so much about her because of what you see online. You feel you know the person’s family even.

Over the weekend, I came across a Facebook post that made me literally stop and stare at the screen of my iPad for a good ten minutes.  I had to make sure I read the post correctly.

It was a notice of someone’s passing.  It was a message from a mother, bidding her 20-year old daughter farewell for the moment, with the promise that they will see other again soon.

My heart bled.

***

I met the mom in my son’s elementary school. She was a teacher.  During one of our Parent-Teacher conferences some ten years ago, we got to talk and we found out that we came from the same high school. She was a year younger, but we had friends in common. I think she even dated one of my guy friends back in high school.  We instantly became Facebook friends after that meeting.

Over the years, I learned more about her not because we talked to each other but because I see her FB posts on my newsfeed. Though I hardly saw her in person and my son has already moved schools, I still knew what goes on in her life because of the posts she shares. And I am pretty sure that she is updated with mine, as well.

She shares photos of her girls — two young adults… She has photos of her adorable students and their school activities… she shares shots of her dog…

Mostly she posts her adventures and travels with her two girls. I haven’t personally met them but I know their names and I feel like part of their family. 

Three of them together, always with big smiles. Always happy, carefree.  Living life. Enjoying moments. Being together. 

Until the notice last weekend. Her youngest, gone too soon.

***

heart

... and the greatest of all is love

If you read a post like that and not get a jolt, I don’t know what will.

I can only imagine how she is feeling. No, I won’t even try to imagine it. Heartbroken would be an understatement. Maybe it’s more like experiencing the world crumbling down on you, both literally and figuratively.

Parents should not be burying their children. It should be the other way around. Our children should live long, full lives. We should be the ones to go first, prepare the way for them in heaven as we do on earth.

I don’t really know the circumstances that led to the young girl’s demise. I only heard bits and pieces. The girl got ill, there were complications, she didn’t survive.

It was every mother’s nightmare. My heart goes out to my friend.

***

ireland-2

Find your peace… Love what matters

 

Life is short. A lot of times we bother ourselves with the mundane that we forget to appreciate the important stuff.  We obsess about things we don’t have, people we don’t like… We get petty, we waste our time and energy on things that won’t do us any good, people who bring out the worst in us.

When you hear about someone you know losing a person really important to her, you get jolted awake. It hits close to home.  Somehow you realize that you want to make the most of whatever time you have on earth with the people you love… You realize that you want to get the most out of life. 

As we get older, the days seem to move much faster. And we find ourselves questioning — are we living the life we want to live?

So, go — Spend time with your friends… Reach out… Make time for people… Show people you love that you love them… Hug someone… Laugh…. Laugh hard…. Take selfies… Capture the moments… Don’t just connect on Facebook, connect in real life…

Love your pets… Experience how it feels to be loved unconditionally… Put a smile on someone’s face… Allow someone to make you smile… Have a purpose… Be someone’s sunshine… Feel…

Live each day knowing that time is fleeting. Because only then will you value that which is truly important.

Live with no regrets.

*****

photos via google images

First of June

And just like that, it’s the first of June.  Five months have already passed… we are almost at the halfway mark of 2016.  Where has time gone??

I can still distinctly remember celebrating New Year’s Eve with my family and friends. Then came a series of post-Christmas reunions.  Then came Valentine’s day — which I honestly have no recollection of… Then Holy Week which we spent here at home. Then the national elections which happened first week of May.

And now it’s June 1.

Did I spend the first 150 days of the year well? Or did the days just pass? I wonder.

***

In the beginning of the year, I embarked on a personal project.  Amid the usual day to day tasks required of me, I challenged myself to do something I have long wanted to do… Something for, basically, myself. And no, it’s not a fitness challenge… and I’m not 5 lbs lighter or anything like that. This project has something to do with one of my first loves– writing.

Like what I said in one of my essays, when God puts a seed of a dream in your heart, He also gives you the tools to help you make it grow.  He will give you the inspiration, He will connect you to the right people — people who can help you fulfill your dream, and I believe He will also give you the courage and the strength to finish what you have started, despite the fear, the insecurities and all the uncertainties you have in your head.

And then there’s time. Time to work, time to pray… and time to wait.

This — where I am right now — is waiting time.

It can get so tiring to wait. I get impatient. I get antsy. I get all the more insecure.   But then I hear this Bible verse in my head telling me to just Be still...and to know Who my God is. 

My God who provides the seeds of my dreams.  My God who connects me with people.  My God where I derive my strength from… Who tells me to just press on.

***

It’s the first of June.  This morning after running my usual errands, I passed by my favorite coffee shop for a few minutes of alone time.

I looked back at the past 5 months. I thought about the progress of my personal project.  I drank my favorite drink. I said a little prayer.

I thanked God for the days, months that have passed, the provisions and the favors, and I thanked Him in advance for the bountiful blessings to come.

I also thanked Him for the Now.

***

Of course, I had to do this before leaving the coffee place…

June 1

But first, let me take a selfie…

the view

view from my favorite seat / work place

photo 2

June 1 breakfast

All’s well. 🙂

***

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” – Philippians 1:6

Harvest time

full grown

Every good thing takes time.

When God plants a seed of a dream in our hearts, I believe He also gives us the tools that we will need to see that dream grow and come to fruition.

  • God gives us the talent. Talent is innate.  Because each individual is different, we each attach our identity — or own mark — to the talent given to us.  Our talents are uniquely ours.
  • God gives us passion. There’s a fire inside of us that burns.  A fire that drives us to do the things we dream of doing.  Sometimes we don’t feel it right away, but a simple spark can ignite that passion.  There is a stirring in our hearts that is just waiting to be ignited.
  • People.  In the process of fulfilling your dream, you will realize that you are given the right people who can and will help you in your journey.  People you never knew nor heard of before suddenly appear in your life, ready to help you realize your dream. There is no other term for this but divine connections.
  • Time Planting comes before harvest. Sowing comes before reaping. And in between is Time.   Time to toil, time to labor and learn.  Time to rest. Time to wait.  Waiting is the difficult part, and yet we have to wait. We respect the waiting time because for a fruit to grow to its fullness and its best state, it should never be rushed.

Some dreams take longer to fulfill than others. But be patient.  Wait for God’s perfect time. Because as we wait, we also grow. We nurture our own selves as we nurture our dream.

When the time is right, that dream which was but a seed planted in our hearts will turn into reality. It’s harvest time.

Throughout the whole process, we give thanks. 🙂

*****

image via google