interior decorating

Welcome to this heart of mine
I’ve buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
Inside of me, come decorate, Lord

Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain

Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls
Until the man I am has faded
No more doors are barricaded

When I was attending a training conference in Colorado Springs in March 2005, there was this CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) artist who performed one morning during the host publisher’s devotion time. I’ve never heard of Shaun Groves in the Philippines. Michael W. Smith, yes. Steven Curtis Chapman, I’m a huge fan of. Steven Green, I sang his songs effortlessly (until puberty hit). But Shaun Groves, no bells ringing.

Nothing was showbiz or fancy about Groves that one might expect of music celebrities (yes, even “Christian” ones). In his street clothes and out-of-bed hair, he could easily pass up for a university dude. He talked about his music and his life; how his songs were born out of his study of Scriptures and grappling with faith issues. His music and his stories made sense to me, even gripping me with their honesty and rawness. Took a video of him performing, using my PDA (I’ll have to scour my archives for it).

Here’s a vid of Shaun performing “Welcome Home,” one of his earlier hits. I’ve been playing the song over and over lately, making the words my own prayer. (When the melody gets a little tricky and the notes soar beyond my range, I just recite the words 🙂 ) May God speak to you through this song.

Take me, make me all You want me to be
That’s all I’m asking, all I’m asking

Check out Shaun Groves’s blog.

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tooth to tell

“Ouch, ouch! You’re biting on my finger!”

I had absentmindedly closed my mouth while my dentist’s left forefinger was still inside. “Oh-wee,” I apologized, mouth half-open. I felt my face getting warm. Great, I’m blushing!

“Do you have low tolerance for pain?” the pretty dentist asked. She has been peering down my gaping mouth preparing to extract a molar gone ugly. On the side table, her tools of trade—pointed and metallic (they should really try to make them look friendlier)—were lined up awaiting utility.

“I don’t know. I’ve never compared with other people,” I mumbled, starting to feel the anesthesia’s effect inside my mouth. “But, generally, men have a lower pain threshold than women, right?”

She nodded. “You should feel the numbness on your right jaw and tip of your tongue soon.”

But I wasn’t feeling it after a few minutes and told her so. She grabbed one of the screw-driver-looking implements and nudged my tooth with it, testing if my nerves had gone to sleep yet.

“Awww!” I jerked in pain, a bit embarrassed that I might have provided yet another empirical proof that men are cry-babies. Maybe she was just avenging her bitten finger?

“That hurt?” she asked—rhetorically, I decided. She injected more anesthesia, and I began to fear memory loss. After a few minutes, I was starting to feel numb where she said I should. Her gloved hands set to work with decisive swiftness.

Continue reading tooth to tell

getting hooked on books

Last night I was hanging out with co-workers at our publishing house’s bookshop. Near closing time, a lady customer took a seat by the counter, one book in each hand. She was torn: “Which book should I get?”

“Why not both?” volunteered my friend Gracia, who’s from Sales and a certified booklover. (I mimicked a game show’s theme music for effects. Pressure, pressure.) Both books were novels (I didn’t catch the titles) and the only copies left. There was no guarantee either one would still be waiting for her on her next visit.

Our customer, we found out, started to enjoy reading at twelve when she got an entire set of Christian fiction books as a gift. And there was no stopping her since. Years later, we meet her in a bookstore tortuously pondering whether or not to let go of a rare find. (I have a feeling this dilemma plays itself countless times in her life.) As a high school teacher, she said that she shares her books to teenage girls in the hope that they too would be ushered into the wonderful world of reading.

Ask the bibliophiles you know and you’ll discover that most of them started their love affair with books early in life. A parent read to them every night; a ninang persevered in giving them books on their birthday—every year; a teacher pulled them aside and lent them a classic to check out; a principal detained them in the library for bad behavior.

Continue reading getting hooked on books

a whole new world… er, blog

blue sea smiley designWell, not really. It’s the same set of furniture, just a different corner in the blogosphere. And a little bluer. Too blue for me, according to my friend Turkangel.

“Blue is not your color.” (Emphasis mine.)

Of course, I know it isn’t my color (emphasis still mine). So whose is it, anyway? I’d like to know who owns the color blue so I can say thanks. Harhar.

Corny. Yeah, yeah. I got that a lot today. Blame it on the only four hours of sleep last night. I stayed up until past 2AM migrating from Blogger and doing a bit of header decorating. I’m not really sure why I moved. It’s just one of those spur of the moment things. (Now Gypsy calls me the blogosphere gypsy!)

I was so tired on the commute home today I think I slept through most of the jeepney ride from the MRT station. I hope I didn’t snore though. Groggy from sleepiness, still all I could think about was my Blogroll. Must… put… up… bl..og…rolllll…ASAP… Zzzzzzz.

And so here I am. Droopy-eyed and yawning every ten seconds. But a blogger’s got to do what a blogger’s got to do, right?

Welcome to my new little blue patch of blog earth 🙂

(By the way, the sea background on my header – I took that myself onboard the Superferry. Then again, even the most unskilled of camera users seldom go wrong shooting at least these two: sunset/sunrise and the ocean. They’re too perfect that even photographic ineptness can do so little to degrade their beauty.)

philosophizing blogging

Once upon a time, the world was unimaginably vast. And it invited many explorers to brave its oceans in search of unknown lands. Today, the world has shrunken into a global village held taut by satellites and fiber optic cables. The only Explorer we know now is an internet browser (not necessarily the best of its kind, I might add) with which we navigate the world’s seas of information and ideas. Our time’s great voyagers go by a new name: internet surfers. And a distinct class of which are the bloggers.

In the comforts of our little corners, we bloggers turn on the computer, log on to the net, and the world is practically in our fingertips. Like children on Christmas day, we excitedly recount and read about seemingly trivial and mundane details of ordinary people’s lives. We get a thrill out of interacting with personalities, oftentimes veiled in screen names and online personas, most of whom we will never even meet face to face.

Blogs are as varied in subject, style, and substance as the diverse bloggers that author them. But where we might expect to find dissonance or discord—owing to a world of differences, the most apparent of which are geography and culture—we are delighted to stumble upon connection, a fresh discovery of our commonality as humans.

It appears that the more we share of ourselves and discover about others in these online journals, the more we feel under our feet the common ground on which we all stand—notwithstanding differences in location, culture, ideologies, beliefs, or even blog service providers. Our idiosyncrasies, we realize, have after all a generic value; we are surprised (sometimes even relieved) that a peculiar trait, a strange afterthought, a wild idea that we blog about oftentimes resonate with other people, somewhere in the vast blogosphere.

As modern-day creatures we have come to obsess over independence and privacy almost to a point of hermitry. And yet we must admit: we cannot truly thrive without connection. Away from any form of community, we inevitably lose parts of our humanity. So perhaps, just perhaps, blogging provides a workable compromise: we retain our privacy (which, for many, means anonymity), while still being able to engage in some form of human interaction.

Now, whether or not this techonologically-aided connection becomes meaningful and healthy depends on us as we swoosh the mouse and tap on the keyboard.

That which is most personal is most universal.
-Henri Nouwen.