Sunday, February 23, 2014

Five Things I Learned from Allergic Rhinitis

Due to the frequent occasions that my allergic rhinitis is bugging me, I am writing this post not as a tribute to AR but as a note to self that even the bad times are good, not the song okay, that would be so 60's.

Seriously, instead of sulking myself when allergies hit me, I know better now why it keeps pestering me, because one day I'll be blogging about it. So far here are my takeways from my pesky allergies.

1. Know your enemy
Understanding your body is the first step. Identify conditions that triggers your seasonal or perennial allergy. Once you've isolated those cases, stay away from your allergens. Prevention is better than cure.

2. Rhinitis can be treated
In case that allergens already got in your way. Do not loose heart, there's a wide range of antihistamines and nasal sprays. Pick one that you are not allergic of.

3. Tomorrow is another day
AR thought me to be hopeful for the coming day when this allergy will surrender through the night and tomorrow my body will recover. AR made me realize that each morning is an opportunity to be grateful.

4. Complete sleep and proper rest is essential
Rest is the antidote of AR. Dozing yourself with proper amount of sleep is the most organic medication you can give to your body. One interesting fact, people don't sneeze when they are asleep because the nerves involve in nerve reflex are also resting. So yeah, your allergies cannot track you down in your sleep. :)

5. Your heart does not stop when you sneeze
I heard other people say that the heart stops when you sneeze. This is just a myth.

Title says 'Five Things..' but since I am the author of this post you cannot stop me from adding one more item. :)

6. You cannot sneeze with eyes open
I could say based on personal experience but if you're skeptical, feel free to try it for yourself the next time you feel a tingling sensation in your nose. Then if you are good enough you might be able to disprove this sixth item as another myth and tell me that this should not count, making the title Five Things I Learned from Allergic Rhinitis, still appropriate.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Status Quo

Are you in a relationship because you love him? Or you're just afraid to be alone. Or maybe, just maybe, you are too insecure and having someone beside you somehow boosts your alter ego, knowing that you are wanted. Or could it be, considering it's what the world expects you to be in this particular chapter of your life. Or perhaps you're still unsure of what you want and you figured it's safer to be in a relationship now than have nothing at all.

At any rate, your relationship status does not define who you are.

Status is a phase of life. Enjoy it while you can. Endure it because it's worth it.

Status is like a merchandise label, yes it gives description but it's not the product itself. Your experience with the actual item can be way abstract from its label.

Status is a responsibility to cultivate yourself or cater to the needs of others. More often, it is both.

Status should never be viewed as a restraint to happiness, understanding your status at certain stage of life could be the most liberating idea you could give to yourself, making it an advantage to appreciate time and know yourself better.

Status is not all about your relationships. It could represent the holistic state of your heart, body and soul.

The way you live and connect to people best describes you than your status. If you are married be a loving spouse to your partner. If you have children be the coolest parent you once wish you had when you were a kid. If you have a siblings make the most of your childhood and teenage years together, you'll miss that once you get yourself buried in jobs. If you are an employee, support your boss and help him achieve his goals.

In whatever page you are right now regardless of your relationship status. You can always choose to be happy.Cheers to life!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Greed

Here's another entry to my one-word-project which is a take away from my reading of Cure for a Common Life by Max Lucado under Section One: Use Your Uniqueness, where an excerpt from another book, Money: A User's Manual by Bob Russell was quoted:
A farmer once grew discontent with his farm. He griped about the lake on his property always needing to be stocked and managed. The hills humped his roads, forcing him to drive up and down. And those fat cows lumbered through his pasture. All the fencing and feeding -- what a headache!
He then decided to sell the place and move somewhere nice. He called a real-estate agent and made plans to list the farm. A few days later the agent phoned, wanting approval for the advertisement she intended to place in a local paper. She read the ad to the farmer. It described as a lovely farm in an ideal location -- quiet and peaceful, contoured with rolling hills, carpeted with soft meadows, nourished by a fresh lake, and blessed with well-bred livestock. The farmer said, "Read that ad to me again."
After hearing it a second time, he said, "I've changed my mind. I'm not going to sell. I've been looking for a place like that all my life."
*****
"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." --Philippians 4:11
Greed can disguise in assorted shapes and forms. We meet him face to face in our everyday struggle. Sometimes he even lurks us in our dreams. Greed for greener pastures. Greed for a more comfortable life. Greed for higher position. Greed for bigger house. Greed for better paying job. Greed for power. Greed for relationship.

Greed cover up many faces but speaks one language -- the language of more. Just a little more of this and just a little more of that then I'll be content. Until we get what we think we want and realize that 'just a little more' will no longer satisfy us. Honestly, how much 'little more' will be enough?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Choose Your Mood

Every day you play the role of small time fashion stylist by mix'n and match'n apparel that you feel would suit your emotion for the day. No one forces you to wear that posh red dress and high stilettos or that unpretentious white blouse, blue faded jeans paired with Chuck Taylors sneakers.

Similar to dressing up, you and only you alone, have the power to choose the aura you want to express today. No one can dictate your mood. That's the good news.

Image courtesy of http://franciskong.com
The bad news is, unintentionally your mood(particularly bad ones) may influence the temperament of the people you get to deal with.

Grumpy-ness, tantrums and gloomy feelings are no doubt genuine emotions of a warm-blooded human being. No one can judge you for that, because at the first place they have no idea of what you're going through. But guess what? I'm sorry if I need to spill this harsh truth, believe me I also had a tough time absorbing the principle - It's not always about you, your feelings, your emotions. If you think that outburst would settle for what is best and build up your self worth and relationship with others then I don't see anything wrong with it.

I heard a very practical suggestion when you reach the tip of your self-control - have a good set of friends, the real ones, who would accept you when you are at your best and when you mutate into a monster. Friends who can take all your flare ups in life but will not let you dwell on it. Then after exploding all your negative into the universe, gracefully slide and move on.
“He who gains victory over other men is strong but he who gains victory over himself is all powerful.”  --Lao Tzu
You are responsible to the energy you bring into this space. Pick a good one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

He will Quiet You with His Love

Here's one of my devotion this week that truly caught my heart. An excerpt from my February 9 Streams in the Desert devotional.

An old story of a woman's dream.

In her dream was three women praying. When they knelt the Master drew near to them. As he approached the first of the three. He bent over with tenderness and grace. He smiled with radiant love and spoke to her in tones of pure, sweet music. Upon leaving her, He came to the next but only placed His hand upon her bowed head and gave her one look of loving approval. He passed the third woman almost abruptly, without stopping for a word or a glance.
If you're the one having this dream, how would you interpret it? Would you be like the old woman who said to herself, "How greatly He must love the first woman. The second gained His approval but did not experience the special demonstrations of love He gave the first. But the third woman must have grieved Him deeply for He gave her no word at all, not even a passing look."
But the Master replied, "O woman, how wrongly you have interpreted Me! The first woman needs the full measure of My tenderness and care to keep her foot on My narrow way. She needs My love, thoughts and help every moment of the day, for without them she would stumble into failure."
"The second woman has stronger faith and deeper love that the first, and I can count on her to trust Me no matter how things may go or whatever people may do. Yet the third woman, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has love and faith of the purest quality. I am training her through quick and drastic ways for the highest and holiest service."
"She knows me intimately and trusts Me so completely that she no longer depends on My voice, lowing glances or other outward signs to know of My approval..."
"My love is silent because I love beyond the power of words to express it and beyond the understanding of the human heart. Also it is silent for your sakes -- that you may learn to love and trust Me with pure, Spirit-taught, spontaneous responses."
_____


No matter what situation you are right now, or to whom of the three woman you can relate, it is comforting to know that God thinks of you. He knows the very condition of your heart and responds with His best intentions for you.

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Zephaniah 3:17(NASB)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Walk Worthy of Our Calling

This Sunday, CCF was graced by the presence of Pastor Sam Lim as he discussed how we should walk worthy of our calling as believers of Christ. His singlish suggests that he is a Singaporean local, which is for me a great blessing seeing Singaporean pastor speaking in front of a Filipino congregation church.

He started the message with the main Bible verse:

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:25-32 New International Version (NIV)

In a capsule, he summarize the topic in three bullets:

  1. Our lives reflect the God we worship - sometime the only chance people know and see Jesus is through our lives.
  2. Putting off and putting on - putting off our bad habits and putting on Christ-likeness.
  3. Highly personal but never private - we are saved as individuals to be placed in a community.
Pastor Sam not only teaches Bible scripture he also shared with us practical ways how we can walk worthy of our calling. There are four ways, he highlighted:
  • Put on TRUTH. Put off FALSEHOOD (Ephesians 4:25)
 For love to be meaningful, it has to be expressed with the presence of truth.
  • Put on ANGER that is righteous. Put off ANGER that controls (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Just a single angry person affects the mood of the entire community, which could bring division to the congregation. He suggests that if you are angry, have a set of close friends to whom you can express your anger. Friends who would understand you. Friends who can tolerate your temper but will not tolerate your misconduct if you act on it.
  • Put on GENEROSITY. Put off THEFT (Ephesians 4:28)
Theft or stealing does not mean only taking things that are not yours. Theft comes in different forms - misuse of the property entrusted to us; extortion; not returning lost items etc. Generosity is recognizing God's authority to all the blessings entrusted to us. We should always remind ourselves that we are owners of nothing and stewards of everything.  We should ask ourselves, are we only generous with whatever is left from us? Because the true measure of generosity - it's not how much you give, it's how much left after you give.    

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:43-44 (NIV)

  • Put on BLESSING. Put off CURSING (Ephesians 4:29-30)
Some people majored on spotting the mistakes of others. As child of God, be the person who speaks of encouragement and blessings to others.

But among all these ways, if there's one thing he wants us to remember that Sunday:
Put on CHRIST-likeness. Put off OLD SELF

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sam Sums Up Life

I once heard from a pastor that life is not measured by the quantity of years you spent in this planet rather by the quality of your existence.

Then I met Sam Berns, the public face of progeria, a genetic disorder of childhood that accelerates body aging process. Sam passed away last January 10 at the age of 17.

Though his time was limited, his influence became limitless. With the support of his parents Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, both physicians, he advocate people awareness to progeria syndrome, an extremely rare disease showing an incidence of only 1 out of 4 to 8 million births. Patients with progeria live in an average of 13 years, most of them die from complications such as heart attack and strokes.


At age 13, he was featured in an HBO documentary Life According to Sam.



“I didn’t put myself in front of you to have you feel bad for me. You don’t need to feel bad for me. Because I want you to get to know me. This is my life.” --Sam Berns
"Everytime I see Sam, it's some sort of a moment, he gets off the bus, it's a moment I treasure it." --Leslie Gordon
"There's a lot going on around us that we easily miss." --Scott Berns

October, 2013 Sam spoke at TEDxMidAtlantic regarding his philosophies for a happy life: Be okay with what ultimately you can't do instead focus on things you can do; surround yourself with people you want to be with and finally keep moving forward.


“No matter what I choose to become, I believe that I can change the world, and as I’m striving to change the world, I will be happy.” --Sam Berns

Sam Berns indeed is the epitome of a well lived life. Short but genuinely remarkable. RIP