Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Second Chances

Can I say I am happy? I guess I am. :) Why? Because of second chances.

I was raised in a family that just had enough. I was never spoiled and was happy with hand-me-downs from cousins. I appreciated simple things and was easily content with simple pleasures. Climbing trees and breathing in salty air from the beach were glorious moments for me - rather than attending expensive concerts or eating in fancy restaurants. This simplicity defined me as a person and I am proud of that.

I cannot say that money was not an issue. It was always an issue. My parents thought I did not understand the reason behind their quarrels before - but even as I child, I already had the hindsight for such things. Despite our stature in life, I always had a positive nature and have always believed in second chances.

Looking back, it was hard, real hard that I can't believe I am in the position I am in right now. My father has always told me that people at the bottom would always have the chance to go up, and people that are at the top do not have that chance anymore. One day, the ones at the bottom will be at the top and the ones at the top would have to eventually give way for the ones going up. I have witnessed that happening and with all these opportunities, I am glad. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just For You (The English Translation of Para Lamang Kanimo)

As requested by julian =P Here goes the English version ...

Here I am pondering if the right time has come
For this heart of mine to beat again
If this feeling has direction or will this just be flung into the far horizon?
I am praying for this dormant heart of mine
Not to be crumpled and to be forever loved.
Are you the long-awaited answer to my whispered prayers?
Or are you just an illusion, a never-ending experiment?
You are that far-away star that is occasionally looked up to,
The flower mindlessly caressed on the palm of my hands
Yesterday you were just a dream -
And from this heart of mine happiness pours - just for you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Para Lamang Kanimo

Ako nagahinuktok ug gapangutana kung angay na ba -

Angay na ba kining pagdalugdog sa akong dughan

Kung naa ba ni'y padulngan o molagpot ra sa kawarangan.

Ako nagaampo na kining kasingkasing kong dugay nang natulog

Dili pagakumoton, ug unta hantod-hantod higugmaon.

Ikaw na ba ang tubag sa akong mga pag-ampo?

O isa ka lang ka ilusyon ug experimentong niabot kanako?

Ikaw ang akong bituon na kanunay ginahangad hangad,

Isa ka bulak na ginahawop-hawop niining mga palad.

Kaniadto isa ra ka ka damgo kanako,

Ug karon malipayon na ining kasing-kasing ko - na para lang kanimo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rat Loves Cat

Awwwww!!! This Video is sooo amazing!! I mean, not only does the rat loves the cat but also the cat loves the rat - not for food of course! Reminds me of the "lion falling in love with the lamb" phrase in Twilight. Vampires falling in love with a human. I know I would never fall in love with a brussel sprout. Hahaha. Well, as they say, love your enemies however difficult.

Video source:

My Favorite Shots of 2008 (taken from the pool of pictures I've taken for the past year)

Destination Spring Break 2008 - Chicago Illinois. Taken from the water shuttle from Navy Pier to Shedd Aquarium.
Svimse the Seagull (Little Mermaid) off one of the docks in Chicago. Must be looking for Ariel. :)

The Spotted Beauty. Taken Iowa Summer 2009 at Waterworks Lake.

Rays of Hope. Twilight at Fairfield, IA near the town square.

Lover's Bench. Early morning setting at Waterworks Park, Fairfield, IA.

The Sun's Awake. Waterworks Lake, Fairfield, IA. This is probably one of the best photos I have ever taken.

Bellagio Lobby, Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV. A sea of umbrella-like decors sprinkle the lobby of one of Vegas' most famous buildings.

Bulbs Literally. Pella, IA's pride - a sea of tulips.

Town Square, Pella, IA. Spring 2008

Butterfly Flowers. Homegrown at Pella, IA. Spring 2008.

The Dutch Doll. Taken from the tulip spreads of Pella, IA. May 2008.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Vicious Cycle

And they say that loving is a decision. Then people would just say "sometimes I do make stupid decisions." ... that is, only when the relationship fails.

And I observe that people make innumerable stupid decisions in their lifetime.. pounding their poor hearts to unrecognizable pulp and forever damaging their wailing souls; with the extracts of experience feeding their lives' resurrection. Oh poor life.

But then, people are ever too willing to go through their lives all over again - just to experience a never-ending travesty ... and be engulfed in this wonderful feeling-turned-decision - throwing themselves at the mercy of love. Immortal love.

And the vicious cycle just goes over and over and over.

Will we ever tire out?

Will you?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Accident

I just want to share this short story I have read this morning from the online version of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I always have been a fan of this book series. Really warms up my heart .. and my soul. Life is .. strange and so full of surprises and .. so full of signs. Do you believe in signs? Like asking from God a sign before making a momentous decision? For me, I have asked God super multiple times for signs .. and I guess I was just too blind to see the signs or maybe my faith was enough to generate the sign. In due time, He will show me the sign.

So here it goes. May your heart and soul be warmed up ...

The Accident From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith

It was, after all, a mistake. It had been one of the worse nights of my residency. There had been so many admissions that I had virtually lost count, and I barely was able to keep up with the needs of my own patients, much less all the other ones I was cross covering. I was desperately rushing to finish checking labs and ordering tests before hurrying off to morning report.

Later that day, I was struggling to fight back fatigue and finish rounds when I received a page to report to Radiology immediately.

“Oh great” I thought. “Now what’s wrong?” However, upon my arrival I was the sudden focus of congratulations and pats on the back.

“Great pickup!” they said. “Look at that,” one of the radiologists said, pointing to films from an upper GI series hanging on the view box.

“A small bowel tumor, classic appearance!” I stood there dumbfounded; I had no idea what they were talking about. I picked up the chart and leafed through it. Yes, I had ordered the upper GI, but it wasn’t my patient. Then I realized what had happened. In my haste to keep up with everything the prior evening, I had ordered an upper GI on the wrong patient!

Looking closer at the chart I learned that the patient was a priest, and director of a local Catholic college. He had been complaining of cough and fever, as well as nonspecific malaise and therefore, as was common in those bygone days, was admitted to the hospital for an evaluation. After the upper GI revealed a cancer of the bowel, he was operated on the very next day. The surgeon had paged me to the operating room to show me, saying, “You really saved this guy. I’ve never caught one of these this early before.” I was too embarrassed to say anything, so I nodded my head politely and walked out. I didn’t tell a soul what had happened.

The hectic pace of residency quickly resumed and the incident was soon forgotten.

About a week later, I was paged to the surgical floor. When I returned the call, a nurse informed me that one of the patients wanted to speak with me. I told her that I didn’t have any patients there. She replied, “It’s a priest, and he’s quite insistent on speaking with you.” I froze and felt a deep sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

In a near trancelike state, I slowly made my way to his room. As I entered, I had a sudden urge to throw myself at his feet saying, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” but instead I quietly introduced myself and took a seat by his bed. A distinguished-looking man in his late fifties, he had piercing eyes that seemed to stare directly into my soul.

“Were you the one who ordered the test on me?”

I nodded my head and said nothing.

“Why?” he asked.

“It was... an accident,” I stammered. I told him everything, the words almost pouring out of me, a relief to finally tell someone. He appeared pale and said nothing for a long time, the two of us sitting in utter silence. After a while he finally spoke. “The last several months have been something of a spiritual crisis for me. I had begun to question how I had spent my life, and the very core of my beliefs. I was offered a new and important position, but I didn’t feel capable or worthy of it. Then, I began to feel ill and I was going to turn the offer down.” He paused, “Since the surgery my symptoms seem to have disappeared. I now know what I should do. You see, my son, I believe there are no accidents. When they came to take me for that GI test, I knew that something was amiss, yet at the very same time I felt deeply that I had to go.”

He seemed to sit more erect in bed and his voice gathered force. “The day before I had prayed for some sort of sign to guide me, and now I understand that you were chosen to be its instrument.”

As he spoke, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise and a strange sensation came over me.

I sat there stunned, not knowing what to say or think. The priest smiled. “Such talk troubles you, doesn’t it?”

I told him of my own inner struggles trying to reconcile reason and faith in the context of my own religious tradition. “Ah,” he replied, “one of your people grappled with such questions long ago. I will introduce you to him.”

My beeper summoned me. As I rose to leave he asked that I wait for a moment and sit on his bed. He placed his hand upon my head and said, “I offer you my thanks in the words your people once taught us. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may He lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace...”

Several months later, I was called to the hospital’s mailroom to sign for a package that had just arrived for me from Europe. I was shocked to see that it had come from the Vatican. Opening it I found it was from the same priest, except instead of Father his title was now Monsignor, a special assistant to the Pope. Inside was a short note that said, “As you once helped me through my spiritual turmoil, may this aid you through yours.” Enclosed was a beautiful bound English translation of the great physician/philosopher Moses Maimonides’ monumental work on the struggle between faith and reason, The Guide of the Perplexed.

I walked to the small patient garden next to the hospital entrance, sat, and heard the soft songs of the birds and caught the smell of the spring blossoms in the clean air.

I sat holding the book and was lost in thought for a long time.

Maybe there are no mistakes.