Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas musings

"What is the best Christmas gift you received this year?" posted one member in a parenting e-group I belong to.

Hmmm... Well last Christmas I got cutie pajamas, John and Stasi Eldredge's Captivating, a Kenneth Cole keychain, a tie-dyed top and shorts set, and food items--all welcome gifts. :) I could have wished for a kiss and a hug from my big 10-year-old son but he has declared that he is already "almost a teenager" and therefore is way past the kiss-and-hug-parents stage. Poor me.

So, what are the best Christmas gifts of all? For me, they're the ones that last: my intact family, my supportive friends, my loving son (in spite of the No Kiss, No Hug rule now), the privilege to write, and an awesome God who loved me so much He sent His only son so I can know Him.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: After reading all the books in the Left Behind series, I knew I had to read Babylon Rising, the first in the new fiction series written by Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Greg Dinallo is his co-author here. This is not really a Christmas read, but it's quite a pageturner, perfect for whiling the time away during the Christmas break. Follow Biblical archaeologist Professor Michael Murphy's exploits as he goes from an abandoned warehouse in North Carolina to the deserts of Samaria in search of centuries old artifacts.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas wish list

It's two Saturdays before Christmas and I'm not done yet with my Christmas shopping! That's why I'll be braving the human megatraffic at SM City North EDSA today at 10 a.m., about an hour away from now. It's also a three-day sale weekend. But our trusted driver Jamin is here, which means I don't have to drive and line up forever for parking space, and that makes shopping more exciting today.

While in front of my dresser mirror the other day, I glanced at the various bottles on my table. As of last count, I have six perfumes/colognes, of which three are still unopened for more than a year now. One is still wrapped in a fancy giftwrapper. I do appreciate these gifts and the people who gave them, but I'm not really a perfume person. I like light colognes better.

And that got me thinking, if I were to choose my own Christmas gifts, what would they be? And so here's my list.

1. Perfumes: They make me dizzy.
2. Stuffed toys: They just gather dust.
3. Horror/sci-fi books: I'm just not into them.
4. Jewelry: Nice to have, but for years now, I rarely wear anything beyond my stud earrings and watch. Rampant crime made me paranoid, I think. So, it's something I can live without.
5. Brand name wallets: I still have some unused brand name wallets, simply because I can't use them all at the same time. So I wait for the current one I'm using to get old or to get ripped, so I can use the next new one. I don't want to add a new one to the queue.

1. Clear books: Not something you'd expect, huh. But just recently, I had to go over my portfolio of published works (1989 to 2005) and there are so many articles not in clear books yet. I think I need at least 10 new ones to accommodate all.
2. Books, books, books: I again spotted Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, which I've been wanting to read for a long time now. I'd also welcome books on art, Christian living, writing, personal finance, classic novels, fiction, etc. Oh that reminds me! I have to get The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis for Alec.
3. Food: Always welcome, whether home-baked or store-bought.
4. A spa gift certificate: I'd love a massage, a foot spa, a facial, etc.
5. Photo albums: In 2006, I hope to be able to put every photo in an album for easy viewing. Right now, all our photos for the past 2-3 years are in two boxes. I'm being realistic, so I've set a doable deadline for that project: Dec. 31, 2006.
6. A knockout sturdy chair: Away with these computer ergonomic chairs! I need a chair with a full backrest for my back problem.

WHAT I REALLY WISH FOR (I can dream, can't I?)
1. Free unleaded gas for life
2. A bedroom makeover
3. Jobs for the jobless
4. Help for all the sick who can't get treatment due to poverty
5. for people to realize that at the end of their lives, it's not fame, riches or good works that matter. It's all about your personal relationship with God.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: A little book with the title What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend caught my eye at National Bookstore a few days ago. What do you really do in such cases? "Draw closer [to God]! Love God in that situation," write the authors. Makes sense.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: Last Friday, I was asked to fill out a survey, slumbook-style, at school (more on that in another post one of these days). I was asked what my principle in life is. This came to mind: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23

Monday, December 05, 2005

My Tiya Pacita

"Alec! Alec!" My Tiya Pacita would call on my son as soon as she would step in our home. She would usually come once a week or once in two weeks to go to the mall with my mom, her younger sister. Always, she would bring little treats for my son, like chips or chocolates or candies.

Sometimes when we had some clothes that needed alteration, she would use my mom's sewing machine and cut the hem of pants, and sew on zippers that work to replace those that don't. She loved to sew, and we have curtains, pillowcases, and pajamas that show off her handiwork. Just last night, I complimented my mom on the new orange plaid duster she wore. She said my Tiya Pacita made it and gave it to her a couple of weeks ago.

Among all my maternal aunts, I was closest to Tiya Pacita. And more so when she became a born-again Christian. We would lend each other Christian books, talk about my mom and how we pray for her, and talk about her daughter Tess, my cousin. She is my Tiya Pacita's only daughter, and Tiya Pacita stood by her during those difficult times when her marriage crumbled.

Tiya Pacita was a loving, generous woman. She lived a simple life. She was not rich, yet she lived a rich and fulfilling life. I can see her smiling now, thanking God for a wonderful life. She went to heaven last week at the age of 79. And though she had to share a tomb with my lola at the cramped North Cemetery, I know she has a better home up there, where there is no more crying, no more sickness, no more pain. To God be the glory!

P.S. In this photo, that's Tiya Pacita, my cousin Imelda, and me

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Anyone who wants to be a good writer has to read On Writing Well by William Zinsser. First written in 1976, the book recently had its 25th anniversary edition. Although it tackles principles of writing creative non-fiction, it does so in a non-textbook-like way. Worth reading and rereading.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10