Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Safe Place

My father's arms.

It was his arms I slept to, which scent I breathed in every night when I was young. Once the clock struck eight, Papa would turn off the lights, and his three girls huddled toward him in the bed. I remember how excited I was to hear his story about their farm until sleep rolled over me.

"I pulled the marble hard with my slingshot then released it! Poom! The boys ran from the tree then off to their houses!" exclaimed Papa.

My eyes glistened with amazement in the dark. The whole scene was right in front of me. "Why were they hiding behind the tree?" I asked.

"Well, because they were trying to scare me."

"And you were not scared?"

"No. How can I be scared when I had my dog Blacky beside me and God watching over me?"

My sisters, cousins and I were fond of watching horror stories and films, so I used to fear darkness. I did not like the uncertainty of it. I would not know whose hand held my ankle if ever, or if the eyeballs staring right across me were my sister's. So I would curl up, hide in a blanket, and open my eyes really wide.

It was different in my father's arms, though.

It was the safest place I knew.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I Would's

I would fall for you
just as leaves fall from trees in autumn
or sunbeam lands on my windows in the morning.
It'll be patient and spontaneous,
it'll be in the proper time.

I would know you
just as my eyes read unfamiliar words in books
and my mouth tastes new dishes in a restaurant.
You would be there,
and I would be here.
Our limbs frozen, stuck in the ground
but our eyes would see beyond
as our hearts find each other.

I would dream of you,
as you would dream of me.
We would both feel that we could be
though we would know we could never be sure
until we choose to try,
and we won't help but choose to.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Where can I find meaning?

Where can I find meaning?
Is it covered by the clouds, or hidden behind the sun?
Is it at the end of the rainbows, or on top of the highest mountain?
Is it at the foot of a pyramid, or concealed in a rock or boulder?

How did others find meaning - such that lasts?
Is it under the priest's cassock or a nun's veil?
Is it tied in the string of a preacher's words, or squeezed between a writer's lines?
Is it at the tip of a child's smile, or in the breath of a dying old man?

And what if I would be able to see behind the clouds and the sun,
reach the end of the rainbows, and stand at the peak of the highest mountain,
lift pyramids, and crack all the rocks and boulders in the world?

Or what if I could look under a priest's cassock or a nun's veil,
unknot a preacher's words, and get in between a writer's lines,
touch the tip of a child's smile, and catch the breath of a dying old man?

Would I know if it's meaning I would behold or hold in my hand?
Would I know that I have found it?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Your Haven

Haven is a place 
where you can close your eyes, 
keep still, 
and listen to the chirping birds. 
Or where you can sing to the open sky, 
outstretch your arms,
 and twirl until you get giddy. 
Or where you can run fast along the cool breeze 
over the sweet-scented meadows!
Haven is where you can breathe,
and let God breathe on you. 
The thing is,
haven is within you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


I am still haunted by the remnants of our memories,
infested by their dusts latching on to my skin,
and blemished by the scabs and scars of my old wounds.
I have been refusing to remember you,
but your image is a fact hidden in my subconscious,
and a glaring truth in my dreams at night.
And now I have to face the remnants,
the pieces of what used to be and will never be,
wisps of the smoke of joys and sorrows,
and a speck of what once was a true love.
Remnants, which I am glad that just are,
for I know that soon,
these dusts will be blown away,
the scars will solely be patches that'll add to my beauty,
and the memories will fade like colors in photographs.
I am sure that soon,
my heart will be again clean and new
for a kind of love that will stay whole forever.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Who is Your Teddy?

"Who's that?" the four-year-old girl pointed at something among the stall of Christmas decors in the department store. In her left arm, she held her favorite teddy bear.

"Huh?" her uncle asked, peering at the direction the little girl was pointing.

"There," she pulled his hand, dragging him towards the life-size belen. "Who is this baby?"

"Oh, that's Jesus," her uncle answered, smiling to her.

"Why is he lying there? It's dirty there," asked the girl.

"Well," he scratched his head, "Because his parents cannot find other place for them to stay."

"Why? Are they poor?" she asked.

"Uh-huh," her uncle answered with a nod.

The little girl's lips quivered. She looked to her teddy bear then to baby Jesus. She held her teddy bear tight, grabbed her uncle's hand, and dragged him away from the belen.

While walking, the little girl looked up at her uncle with watery eyes and said,
"I'm not giving Teddy to Jesus."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Waiting with a Cup of Fruit Tea

Here's a cup of fruit tea.

It's supposed to be hot. Not anymore. She's been waiting for 2 hours now. Her yellow handbag sat on her lap, her itouch in her hand. She opened the iBooks app then closed it. She did not feel like reading at the moment.

"Traffic. Emergency meeting. Diarrhea," whatever reason that was, she understood. He promised to be there, so He will be. He never broke a promise, and He won't tonight.

She gulped the fruit tea until empty. Perhaps, the green tea would also taste good. She stood up, pressed the water boiler labelled Green Tea, and filled the cup to the brim.

It was quarter to 7, and she was firm on staying - on waiting. The chair felt good in her butt, and her favorite game show was on TV. While watching the girl lift the can with a straw, she blew the wisps off the cup and took a sip. Green tea tasted good as expected.

The tall, pretty girl won. Her favorite game show was over - it was 7:01 p.m. Her green tea's lukewarm now - her second tea, and yet He still hadn't come. She drummed her fingers on the table, thinking if she should wait some more or go and tell Him she needed to...because of traffic, emergency meeting, or diarrhea. She finished her tea. Now, she got an empty cup, a different show on TV, and an iBooks app she did not feel like clicking. She had to go.

She put her itouch inside her bag and zipped it. She stood up, walked towards the glass door, and pulled it open with the handle. As she went off, a piece of paper fell on the floor. A waiter picked it, pulled the door, and waved it in the air, "Miss! You left this!" But she was already too far to hear him. Maybe it wasn't that important. The waiter looked at the paper in his hand, which words read:

I'll meet you in the tea shop at 8:00 p.m. I have something for you. - Jesus

Friday, August 12, 2016

Float Along

Float along the waves.
Beneath you is the ocean of grace
Trust that you'll get to the shore
of the land you will most adore.

Be amazed, be amazed!
Upon the expanse of the sky, hold your gaze.
See through the clouds and pray
to the God who won't lead you astray.

And if the water breaks its stillness,
and the sky becomes a vast darkness,
Just float along, float along!
You'll come to the shore faster and strong!

Oh, float along the waves,
you are on the ocean of His love and grace,
Trust that He will bring you to the shore
of the land where there is something more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

When nothing makes sense, God does.

You wake up to an arid day.

The sunrays are dull, the billowing clouds move slowly, and your sister lies feebly beside you 
with her limbs spread out on the bed.

You wonder why today, everything is meaningless. The tasks you once perceived productive are pointless. You want to be nice and loving, but every person just leaves you in a fit of pique. Not their fault. You know you can't blame anyone save yourself.

You feel empty today. And it's a surprise that you are. Actually, everything's perfect this time but instead of seeing yourself on cloud nine, you're walking in a scorched land with no water to drink, wishing you will come to the end of the desert sooner.

It's okay. I tell you, it's okay that you're feeling this way. Probably, this is God's way of reminding you that there's something more, of redirecting you as the world blurs your way to ever after, and of telling you that He exists - that He wants to be sought after. By you.

Today, God whispers to you through the gentle wind, in the rustle of leaves, or through the soft chirps of birds. He teaches you how to see Him in the ordinary days, or in your worst - when nothing seems to be happening. It is today that He prefers to work quietly and imperceptibly, lovingly molding you in His hands. 

Today, you feel empty, but live anyway.


When nothing makes sense, God does.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Where is Home in the Convent?

I know no one here but You, Lord.
You've been with me even before my mother conceived me in her womb.

You saw me grow my limbs and teeth, heard my first words, 
and witnessed how I slowly let go of the things that support me 
so I can walk on my own.

And I'm glad to see You here, where I am.

Where even my mother cannot be,
or my father, and my sisters,
or my friends.

I wake up each day to walls I'm not familiar with,
eat my meals on a bigger table,
and live with people I met just a month ago.

But Lord, whenever I face the heavens,
and watch the clouds in the sky,
I feel home.

Whenever I look at You
through the San Damiano cross,
I feel a comforting presence,
I feel home.

During dark nights,
while I lie in my bed,
confused, lonely, and afraid,
I hold on to my rosary,
and I feel home.

I wonder, Lord, if
by the time the world mars
the beauty of the sky,
termites eat the wooden cross,
and my rosary wears and tears,
will I still feel home?

"And remember, I am with you always, 
to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:20

Friday, April 8, 2016

Let Her Come to Life

I do not want to be wasted.
Whenever I step into my inner world,
I see my potential greatness.
I see my ideal self slowly forming,
an image that's full and whole in the offing.
And I want her to come to life.
I want to know how she'll move her hands,
turn her head, walk and talk.
I want to breathe the air she'll take,
taste the words she'll speak,
and feel everything that'll touch her skin.
 And as soon as I feel her heartbeat,
that first gush of her blood into my veins,
I'll know, I won't be wasted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Last Crumb

I am at the last stretch of my journey,
and I have no bread left to sustain me.
Last week, I trod a tough road, and
the last crumb helped me carry the load.
Now, my body's sick and weary.
my lips are dry and thirsty,
and my mind's away from the journey.

Now I rest, mulling over the sky,
feeling the breeze and watching doves fly.
I listen to the earth where I'm lying,
and wonder if this halt would be worthwhile.
But time is running, running, and running,
and I wasted my strength chasing.

Oh Lord of all graces,
Oh God of beauty, songs and phrases.
I pray that manna would fall from heaven,
I pray for bread or fish to keep me living.
Now that I am at this point of exhaustion,
Jesus, nourish me until the next season.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Empty Words

One day, I found my words dry,
lying wilted on the sun-drenched ground.
I held its thin leaves between my fingers.
They were empty.
No beat nor breath.
No movement.
My words were lifeless.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

God keeps His promises

I dipped my hand in the basket and closed my eyes, "Please speak to me, Lord." 

I let my fingers run against the mound of scrolls then groped for one. I pulled it out and unrolled it.

"I don't get it, Lord."

We were at the Feast, and it was 2014. I was working as a freelance writer part-time and medical transcriptionist full-time. I wasn't so happy with my job.

"I think this is for you, Ate Nikki," I told my sister as we exchanged papers. She was a teacher.

March 2016, I saw the same paper scrolled up in a piece of straw on my desk. I unrolled it and read aloud, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

I was a preschool teacher. The school year was about to end, and I had 2 lengthy videos to create, portfolios to plan and write, narratives and checklists to accomplish, and a couple more of school works to finish for the next few weeks of class. My calendar was nothing but a throng of post-its. I was so stressed, I wanted a bit of inspiration. The verse gave me that. It reminded me of my purpose as a teacher. Then suddenly, everything made sense.

I realized that that piece of paper carried God's promise to me. On that day of 2014, He indeed spoke to me through that paper. He was actually asking me to have faith in Him. He was telling me to trust that, indeed, the best is yet to come! And He was assuring me that what didn't make sense that time will surely make sense soon.

Why doubt now? Truly, God keeps His promises.

Friday, February 26, 2016


My first ever attempt to coffee painting resulted in this imperfect work of art. It isn't done yet. I need to add more details, refine some edges, and put more shades. But I decide, I like it this way. I like that it still has space for improvement. As you look at it, I want your imagination to finish it or do the revamps. Let the possibility of perfection of imperfection be limitless.

Blossom. That's how I entitled it. It's my word for 2016. The day I walked into January, I told God that I want to blossom this year - just like a plant extending its roots deeper in the soil, and its flower outstretching its petals as if arms embracing the sunlight. And God heard me.

I'll be entering the convent this May. I have two months left to prepare everything. I'm enjoying this phase. I like the anxiety - that fear for the unknown. It strengthens my faith. I like the fear of loss - that uncomfortable feeling of letting things fall from my grasp. I now see more of what matters. It is but thrilling to empty myself of the temporary and fill myself in with lasting things. I have to learn my lessons. I'm starting to blossom.

This imperfect painting is now pasted on my calendar, reminding me each day that I need to blossom. And as I journey on, I fix my eyes to heaven. I know I'll be treading a path full of thorny branches, cliffs and traps, but from afar, I can see a beauty beyond me. This painting says that the possibility of perfection of imperfection is limitless. This painting says that someday, I can blossom fully into someone like Jesus.

My friend, how do you want to blossom?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Have your own love story

What is your love story?

Romantic love is strongly attractive. Be it in motion pictures or words, it can capture anyone. At times, it can get too attractive that it leaves you vulnerable to be slain or devoured. Even just a hint of it may be misunderstood and result to aching scratches or bruises. Romantic love is that enchanting.

You can't help it. It's mighty interesting how two hearts find each other in one such magical moment and be but one heart. Likewise, it's marvelous how a heart brings its pieces back together after the great pain of ripping apart. I admit, I too am romantic love's victim. One day, I just found myself daydreaming, directing sweet scenes with a faceless guy. From that day on, I described myself as a hopeless romantic.

Do seeing and hearing love stories from beautiful couples give you a knot in your stomach? Well, me too. But it's not the bad sort, right? I can't tell if it's envy or what. Probably, it's a mixture of "I'm so happy for you," and "I hope I have such a good love story too." It's not that it'll complete me, but I guess romantic love's too wonderful I also want to have one.

The fact is, I don't have one. But after accepting that side of me who is certain would wholeheartedly enjoy a life alone and for others, I decided to look to Jesus and figure out how to fall in love with Him. I've decided to shift all my desire, yearning and energy I reserved (and almost bursting!) for one such person to Jesus instead. How about giving efforts to really know Him through the Word? How about having breakfasts, weekly dates and frequent conversations with Him? Or probably, I could sing and write plenty of love poems for Him. I realized that if I want to, I could enjoy getting creative and serious in my relationship with Jesus, (probably) more than I could with a human being.

Truth is, single or not, you can fulfill your romantic dreams. Yes, it's possible! Start with working on your relationship with Jesus. Look above. That perfectly romantic Lover has been waiting for your "yes."

Friend, it's time to have your own love story.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Good bye, Mr. Right

I'm giving up that one fine morning
of waking up in bed with the guy
my heart would willingly
fall in love with and die for.

I'm giving up the sumptuous breakfast
we’d peacefully have on our dining table,
those sandwiches, fruits and milk
beneath a meaningful conversation.

I'm giving up that great company,
those hearty laughs, hugs and kisses,
those books we'd read in comfort and silence,
and our exchange of wise words.

I'm giving up those ecstatic Sundays
of lifting up our hands together in worship,
of uttering prayers, singing praises
and giving warm embraces.

I’m giving up that wedding ring,
that sacred promise at the altar,
those tears of overwhelming gratitude
and that loving and tender kiss.

I’m giving him up, Lord.
I’m letting go of “Mr. Right”
if he really does exist.
I surrender my romantic dreams to You.

I'm choosing You, Lord.
I'm choosing to have fine days, meals
and promises with You!
I'm choosing the cross and the habit.

Lord, You are my One True Love.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

He calls

It hit me like lightning, 
one sunset,
while I was on bed, holding my rosary.
I was talking to Him,
prattling, actually,
and begging.

Then, it paralyzed me for a minute,
my eyes and mouth agape.
It took the form of a song,
that old and very familiar one.
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Its words struck me deep, as always,
yet this time, 
it was sweet and piercing,
heavy yet weightless,
cold and burning!
But I held on to it,
and savored it in my mouth,
then down my throat.

It felt warm inside.
It went deep beneath my skin,
then into my bones.
Finally, it captured my heart,
every inch of it,
every valve and chamber,
every cartilage and muscle,
every vessel!

Next thing I know,
salty tears were streaming down my cheeks.
It was my longest one minute.

Yes, it hit me like lighting -
His voice.
Trembling, I acknowledged,
"God is calling."