Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘gifts’

The DIY Experience

Looking for a good gift this Christmas? Why not try making one? Making a DIY project unleashes both your creativity and passion for uniqueness.

I just suddenly discovered my inner creative self once again. I love it when I had just finished decorating the notebook with all those colorful bits and pieces from Ms. Patricia Paterno’s box. Like a little kid, I was excited when I finished my first project at Papelmelroti.

Popular as a DIY (do-it-yourself) shop, Papelmelroti caters to art lovers, gift buyers, and all kinds of people who would love to unleash their creative selves. For forty years, Papelmelroti had been unique in its kind, as its organic products promote a clean environment and nationality at the same time. Ms. Paterno, one of the five siblings who owned Papelmelroti (she was the one from whom “Pa” was named after), was kind enough to share to me the store’s humble and blessed story, as well as her love for the arts.

She lets me try my own DIY creation. From a plain notebook, I sorted out paper cuts and stickers and other items. Tada! I made a girl who left her basket just to chase the butterly. But Ms. Paterno had a different interpretation. It’s a girl who left her baggage of problems to chase her dreams! I love it!

Watch our interview and my DIY trial in Dec. 24 only on Newslight, 7:30-8pm (Manila time). It will be aired on Light Network (channels: 33 = free channel in Manila, 161 = Sky digital cable, 93 = Cignal cable). There’s also live streaming on http://www.lightnetwork.ph.

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Receive Much When You Give Much

‎It was a cold and friendly morning, bringing in whisps of that early Christmas sensation once again. As usual, I greeted neighbors on my way to work. I was startled when one of them said:

“Good morning! Cold, isn’t it? It’s gonna be Christmas soon! Why not throw in some gifts to us?”
I only grinned, bluntly said, “Budget’s tight,” and went my way.
I was quite disturbed at that kind of greeting. Do I look like Santa’s daughter? Sorry, I don’t wear red.
Ok, I can pass that out as a joke. But I wonder why it is a common mindset to most of us to ask for a gift this Christmas instead of the other way?
Somehow, her greeting’s a bit off. Maybe because I’m too thrifty (and I admit that), but being generous dosen’t mean you can throw your money to everyone in the world.
Somehow, I can’t help but think that the poverty mindset had made most of us obsessed with the hope of being treated by another well-off person in your neighborhood. It’s a sad thing to use the Christmas season as an excuse for asking “aguinaldo” or gifts for the sake of self-gratification. We have had much of the culture of receiving rather than giving. The worst thing is when we receive we ask for more without ever thinking of giving back.
In the Philippines, parents accompany their children during Christmas to their “ninong” and “ninang” (godfather and godmother). When your inaanak or godchildren dropby your house, you have to give them gifts or money. But my mother taught me differently. Whenever I dropby to my ninong or ninang, I give them a gift. Usually, it’s a chilled refrigirator cake that I made myself (yummy!)
Remember the cliche it’s better to give than to receive. I guarantee you that when you give, it’s equally fulfilling as receiving — much better actually.
But when I give, I think about it. I don’t just throw boxes in the neighboor all around while laughing, “Ho ho ho!” I make sure that my gifts are given to the right people: ones who are good stewards of it and to your generosity, and not the abusive receiver. These are the ones who are always thankful whatever they receive. Much like planting a small seed on good ground.
I guess we have to shift mindsets. It’s time we give for the sake of love. Whenever we do, we receive much more than when we ask to be given.

 

Aging Better Than Wine

IMG_0765[1]I can’t believe it was my birthday last Sunday. Surprised, not because it is a special day, but because it is an ordinary day that it was supposed to be special.
I tried to make it as special as it could be but the day ended without something surprising. I tried to console myself by the greetings through social media. Add it up with my mom’s spaghetti and cake. But it does not mark anything at the end of the day.
I wonder if this is the sign of aging. When people tend to expect more but receive less.
When everybody around you is too busy to buy you a gift.
When we realize that there are only a few people who love you as you are.
When age is not counted but dreaded.
In my 29 years of existence, I never felt so deprived. The child in me rebels. But the adult in me tries to justify.
One by one, I realize I am just being stripped off from the unnecessary fringes in life. The noise of parties, the prominent people who pretend to be close, the pride of life, all these vanish through season.
I then see who are left by my side, which are only a few.
But the greatest, though not the most accepted fact, is having the Lord.
He’s the firm foundation. Take everything away, but in Him I have it all.
No need to ask for a flower, a cake, or an expensive gift.
Maybe what I should ask as a gift is for me to become a completely strong person, filled with His love and Spirit.
Thus, I shall age better than wine.

A Time to Share

It’s natural for us to love receiving. A lot of people, especially kids, await Christmastime because of the gifts we would be receiving. It’s a really a blessing to receive a lot. But actually, it is more blessed to give (Prov. 22:9).

In my first year in the media industry, I’m so blessed to receive a lot from a lot of people. From make-up kits to seedlings, and even winning a new pseudo-SLR – that’s a lot of blessings. These are gifts and blessings that I did not ask for and yet the Lord opened up His storehouse for me. How good and generous is my Father. But here’s one overflowing gift I’ve received of this season: sackloads of rice.

One of them I won from a raffle in a Christmas party and the other smaller package was a gift from big people in my beat. That was not meant to bribe, since it’s a tradition that these people should give. I had a hard time planning and bringing it home, as I had it carried from our service car to another car and then to my big brother’s tricycle back to our house (and it took a couple of weeks before it got to our house). Looking at the weight and quantity of the rice I brought, my mom and I thought it was too much for us. And yet, we did not hesitate to give so much of it away.

The small bag was our share (and it was overflowing on our table haha). As for the bigger sack, half of it went to my big bro. As for the other half, my mom had an idea. It was through this that I saw her heart for giving.

For a long time, my mom dreamed of sharing a lot to other people. We are not a rich family and yet in whatever she would receive, she would share it to me, to her grandchildren, her family, and even to friends. Whenever we would have shortage in our resources, she would be saddened, not because she had not enough for herself, but she had nothing to give to others. She shared to me just this morning that giving rice to our neighbors was one of her prayers. Oh, blessed be my generous mom!

Rice, candies, other goods, these are just simple gifts for the needy. But we wanted them to receive food for their hungry souls

I loved the idea of sharing what we have to our neighbors. But my mom had seven families in her heart to whom she wanted to share. Three would be from my Kuya’s apartment. The other four would be from outside.

We had parted the remaining rice into seven parts. I believe each had one to two kilos. Along with each pack is a bag of candies for the children and a canned good. But material gifts is not what she really wanted to give out. She had another thing in mind. And I almost cried when we put them into the bags.

There were gospel tracks. Yes, the ones given out with God’s salvation message inside. As there were no Christmas gospel tracks in the Christian bookstores in the nearest mall, she had her own copied xeroxed. She would admit that she is not as bold as any preacher to speak out with words of fire on the salvation message. Yet, it is her heart’s desire to see our neighbors surrendering their lives to Jesus.

My oh my…how generous is my mother indeed. Lord, bless her dear heart.

A gospel track that my mom had readied for this day. In it is a timeless message that feeds your soul.

We prayed for the bags and then set out on dark. As a natural reaction, the neighbors were grateful. But I prayed that they would take time to read the track and that the Holy Spirit will move into their hearts.

I do not write this to brag how generous we are. Actually, it was my mom who was the more generous one between us. I was just so blessed to see her heart for our neighbors that I wanted to share to others. When I saw the tracks for the first time, I felt guilty. What she did seemed small, and yet the Lord saw her big love to the unsaved. I believe she had reaped a lot in heaven for she had sown so much for His Kingdom. I did not even had the heart to do such a thing, even though my effort might seem so small. What is the quantity of our efforts if we had enormous sincerity and passion for the reason we do it? Truly, the Lord rewards these passionate people in unexpected ways, and somehow, I could sense that my mother will be blessed enormously.

In our culture today, we view Christmas as a time to receive and receive. Families would go out on the 25th to do the modern tradition of “namamasko”, going from house to house expecting to be given gifts. But my mom taught me that we should reverse that and instead, we should go from house to house to give not only gifts but also Jesus’ pure, unrelenting love. What we did yesterday was just a glimpse on how big and genuine is my mother’s heart to share.

May many see God’s great love through the birth of His dear Son on earth. May the whole world feel the Father’s love when His Son died on the cross for all of us. May the Lord bless people just like my mom who wanted the world to see His love through giving. And may the young generation like me become generous just like my mom. It is indeed more blessed to share. We cannot keep what we receive to ourselves or we’ll receive no more.

I’m sure there are other “secret santas” out there who anonymously give what they have out of love. May you be blessed abundantly! Merry Christmas to all and may the heavens pour out on everyone! 🙂

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