Things About Christmas That We Don’t Know About

While most of us are eager for the upcoming Christmas season, there are some of us who dread the holidays:

  • that teenager whose parents just divorced and don’t know how to celebrate it because both parents have their own separate agenda for the holidays
  • that person who lost a loved one recently
  • that loved one who is far away from home and celebrating alone
  • those orphans whose only family they grew up with are also fellow orphans
  • that cancer or terminally-ill patient who dreads this is going to be his or her last Christmas celebration
  • that single person who’s been waiting for the love of their lives for decades already and been celebrating Christmas alone for decades too
  • or that street child begging for alms envying the shopping bags you’re carrying, and a whole lot more.

This Christmas tree has been with us for how many decades now. The decors were infested with termites last year but we were able to salvage some, but for the others, we have no other choice but to discard them.

It reminded me that indeed, everything and everyone around us are all but only temporary – they will all be gone one at a time. However, it is not about what we lack and what we lost that matters but more importantly, it is about what we can give despite our lack of a lot of things. Because that is the Christmas spirit – give LOVE to people who need it most.

How?

Visit a relative you haven’t seen for a long time, join a gift-giving Christmas event for orphans on the 25th, cook for your neighbors and give it to them on Christmas Eve…there are so much more that we can do to share the love and it is not just about money, gifts, new stuff, parties, Christmas lights, and decorations.

May we always be reminded that God is LOVE through the birth of Jesus and that is why we have the Christmas season – to celebrate God’s love for us.

So don’t be stressed with the Christmas shopping list or the holiday traffic or what to prepare for Christmas Eve – they are really not that important. Ask LOVE how He wants you to display it this upcoming holiday season.

And lastly, choose to be GRATEFUL over the holidays whatever your circumstance may be. ❤

Born three days before Christ,

CHRISTINE LAILANI GINETE-ROME

P.S.
This message is originally intended for myself actually. But I’m sharing the thought. 😉

Advertisements

Battle Scars: Loving Deeply | POEM

Hello, beloved fellow WordPress readers!

I came up with this title a few months back while I was sorting out my editorial calendar. Instead of a feature article, I felt it best to write a short free-verse poem. Hope you’ll be inspired by it. 🙂

jake-thacker-113197-unsplash

Battle Scars: Loving Deeply

by: Tin Ginete-Rome

What wounds did time not heal?

And what scars too deep that God did not mend?

Was it really God?

I bet it was.

Who carried you when you can’t walk?

Who lifted you when you stumbled?

Who held your hand when you were lost?

Who called you by your name when you felt like giving up?

“It is already finished.”

No pain, no struggles, no earthly death can separate us from the love of God.

Jesus already paid the price and bore the consequences of our sins.

Because God loves us.

Battle scars don’t define who you are.

Christ does.

Battle scars don’t change who you are.

God does.

Be proud of your scars for each one of them carries a story of victory.

A story of healing, a story of enduring, a story of freedom, a story of God’s grace.

Embrace your battle scars, for it is by them that you have felt God’s immeasurable love for you.

By loving you and me deeply.

Still loving deeply with all the battle scars,

It Is Not Labor Day But I’ll Honor Them Anyway

So I’ve been honoring our beloved and trusted farm workers over IG. I thought why not honor them on WordPress, too. 😉 I’ve known them since I was a kid and they are Dad’s best team. Farm work and copra production won’t be made possible without them and their loyalty to my Dad. ❤

It’s my Dad and Mom’s commitment when they were still working professionals that the families of all our coconut and palay heroes receive their annual Christmas Eve package as an appreciation for their hard work. And now that my parents are both retired professionals, my second sister and brother took over in upholding the family’s commitment to them.

We already regard them as a part of our extended family, too. I am praying that the future family project (if God wills it) will help them not just by receiving Christmas packages from us, but in giving opportunities for a better future to their kids, grand kids, and the entire community if possible. 🙏

I’d rather not have a better life if there are many who can’t have it. Better together as always. 😉

“And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!” – Psalms 90:17

If you and your family are into this type of business or you’d like to venture in on one, please also support these causes I am promoting: #sustainableagriculture and #localfoodmovement.

Also called to serve others,

P.S.

When they all saw me carrying a camera, they attempted to hide. lol They teased me that they don’t want to be discovered by a talent search. 😂 Ah yes, I love these people. ❤

Where Do Souls Go? | Allhallowtide 2018 Special

This was a topic that I already thought about when I was making my personal editorial calendar last July. I had no idea what to write for this topic back then but I just thought the title is suitable for the occasion. So methinks I’ll allow the Spirit’s leading. Little did I know God has already prepared the contents of this article beforehand. 😀

Last Sunday’s preaching was where I got the idea for this content. It was the part where Pastor Rev (as in Rev from “revelation?” I’d better ask him next time. :-D) explained the events in Revelation 21. He shared that when judgment day arrives, our souls will no longer go to heaven because there will be a new heaven and a new earth when God brings heaven here on earth.

But then, a question popped in my head and prompted me to ask hubby dear who’s seated beside me, “So, if souls don’t go to heaven, where do souls go when a person dies now?” My husband just smiled at me and I knew what he was thinking, “You need to ask God that because I can’t answer you.” 😀

Do Souls Really Linger in this World?

I searched the web all about where souls stay or go. I ended up reading the entire chapter of Revelation 21 yet again and all other sources I could find over the internet. Indeed, it was all a “revelation” to me.

Ah yes, 5 years of being a Christian and yet there are still a lot of things in the Bible that aren’t clear to me or have to be revealed to me yet. I guess this is part of every Christian’s walk and spiritual journey – wisdom is given not in one, single bulk, but through a series of learning.

So here are 3 ideas I have discovered today while doing my research on this topic:

1. Souls don’t go to heaven. Not yet.

So we have been believing in a misconception that when a person dies, his/her soul goes to heaven right away. There are verses in the Bible which explain that when our mortal bodies die, so do our souls. Our souls lie dormant waiting for Christ’s second coming, so to speak.

“The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” – Ecclesiastes 12:7

The Return of the Lord

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.

First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.”

– 1 Thessalonians 4:13‭-‬18

2. Our souls aren’t immortal.

This supports idea #1. According to Bible Info, if we think of our souls as two separate entities, then that means our souls are immortal. But we all know that God is the only one who is immortal. This article continued explaining that this is the reason why Paul said that “the righteous seek for honor, glory, and immortality.” It means, immortality is something that is yet to be granted to us once Jesus resurrects us from the dead, gives us a new body, and we become a new creation living in the new heaven and earth along with Him.

The New Jerusalem

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End.

To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

– Revelation 21:1‭-8

3. Not all souls will go to heaven.

Both evil and righteous souls lie dormant waiting for the resurrection during judgment day. According to the sources I have found, there are two places where people will go during judgment day: resurrection in the new heaven and earth or eternal life and resurrection in eternal condemnation or hell.

Indeed, heaven is God’s home and we can never go home yet without settling our “accountability” first in this present earth. 😉 But for now, let’s remember those who are with our Creator already during this 3-day observance of Allhallowtide. ❤

Feeling soulful today,

The Vine | Lens Culture Black And White Photography Awards 2018

Hello, everyone! I was supposed to write this yesterday for my #everyFridayblogpost advocacy but as you all know, I was a little bit down under the weather the past few days. Well, it’s an understatement because whenever I get sick, it’s usually a combo of illnesses a la one whole package. I had this cough and flu, then an infection, and a splitting migraine which lasted for about a week. 😀

I thought I needed to take a little break and allow myself to do the art of doing nothing. 😉 It’s a very hard task for me because either I do nothing physically but my mind is still working full-time. But yesterday, I was feeling a lot better so I did some photo editing for an invite I received about a photo submission for the Lens Culture Black and White Photography Awards 2018.

It was a great honor to be invited and if you’re wondering how it happened, it was through a black and white photo of our late pet dog which I posted on Instagram.

Who is Thirdie?

The story behind this snapshot is that Thirdie, our pet, was not your ordinary dog. We felt it that he has this human soul deep down in him. There’s this instance, for example, wherein he would always hide the shoes and slippers of Mom’s co-teachers every time they visit our house. So when the teachers were about to leave, here we were in this conundrum of figuring out where on earth did he hide the missing shoe/slipper. lol

Such a funny dog, wasn’t he? But the good thing about Thirdie was that he hid the slippers/shoes somewhere we won’t have a very hard time finding. Then he would joyfully and playfully strut around looking at us with such grinning eyes. It’s not the only time Thirdie did one of his playful jokes on us. Every time I am squatting in the garden to check on a plant, he would run this fast and bump me with his hip.

Of course, a dog’s bump is enough to knock you seated. When you’re finally half-seated and half-lying on the floor, he’d walk over and sit on top of your belly making it hard for you to stand up. You either push him away, which was hard because he’s such a big dog, or you wrestle with him, and that’s what he loved to do all the time.

This photo I took of him was my last memory of him when he passed away back in 2012 because of a disease. We were all heart-stricken and felt like we lost a family member so dear to us all. And yet, we felt like even if he’s already in pet heaven, he still watches over us. Thus, this invitation that I got because of his good-looking photo. 😉

The Vine

This made me think, might it be that he was an angel who lived in the form of a dog? Or maybe that song “One of Us” by Joan Osborne which goes like “what if God was one of us?” He’s always with us though through the Spirit, that is for sure. The Spirit whom Jesus has sent over when He has risen from the dead back to the heavens.

So this was how I chose the theme for the single photo entry I sent for the contest – the vine. It’s a very meaningful and sentimental photo for me because it symbolizes who Jesus is in my life as stated in this verse:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

I would like to pray that this photo will make it to the 25 finalists. But I am already humbled and privileged enough to have my photo of Thirdie recognized among the billions of Instagram users all over the world.

It is always God’s will that matter and not mine in the end. All I want to do is to give Him the glory in everything I do and wherever I may be. 🙂 ❤

Always holding on to the vine,

P.S.

So, I am back in the grind of multitasking. If God wills it, I plan to review for the quiz in one of the online courses I am taking for the agribusiness next week along with more in-depth financial analysis. And I’m forever grateful that I have this job which allows me to be flexible with my schedule. I am earning not that much but not that less either, just enough to support me and my husband’s needs.

I’m also cleaning the house and rearranging stuff because a new set of furniture is coming in for my sister’s bedroom. Just one more month and she and her husband will be visiting from Norway for their Christmas vacation. Yes, family time is always the best time. Do you agree? 😉

What I Love About Being Sick

I have always been a sickly kid and even until now. And no, it has nothing to do with my sedentary lifestyle because I eat properly, I take multivitamins, I make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep, and I have an occassional physical activity.

I can remember how my first week in an office job last year started with an energy-sapping flu that lasted for more than a week. Also, when my husband and I were both diagnosed with dengue in 2016, I was confined for a week. He, on the one hand, wasn’t confined because his body was able to recover the lost fluids through the help of an IV in one hospital and managed to be an out patient.

Every time I have a cough and flu it lasts for about a month without the meds and not less than 2 weeks even with the meds. I believe this has something to do with the weak genes. But I cannot say for certain if it has something to do specifically with the cancer genes that runs in the family.

My Mom’s a breast cancer survivor and breast cancer has been consistent for every generation starting from my great grandmother. So the next generation is us. The question is, who among my sisters and me will be the next title holder? 😀

This is also probably the reason why God never intended I work in an office. All the stress of traveling and dealing with the traffic everyday will send me to the grave earlier than His intended timeline.

That is why remote working, too, is very suitable for me. I get to do everything that I needed to do because I don’t have to spend hours being stuck in traffic. And yet I can still do these tasks at ease because I get to plan them ahead of time and never in a hurry.

What I love about being sick though is that it gives me time to pause and contemplate about everything. Though I contemplate most of the time, I do it while multitasking. I am not used to just sitting and staring at the wall for hours or just being idle most of the time. It’s going to make me insane.

In fact, even if I’m sick and I know I still can move around, I will still do something. Like this article perhaps. 🙂

I have this mindset that being sick and not doing something will only make my sickness worse. I actually just got home because I went out and bought stuff. I would’ve walked 2 blocks to get to the grocery store but I was scared I’d pass out on my way there.

Not doing anything when sick means being able to feel the pain and that your body is getting weaker. I have a very high tolerance for pain and very strong-willed too, so unless I am dying, you’d still see me walking around even when sick.

I could still remember when both hubby and I were diagnosed with dengue. I was confined at the hospital because of it. And yet before hubby brought me in, I was the one taking good care of him the day before because even though I am starting to feel weak already, will power just got me going. He was rehydrated through an IV and given antibiotics because his blood platelets were going down.

I didn’t notice that mine was spiraling down way faster that after the blood test the next day, the lab tests showed that my platelet count was waaaaaay too low that the doctor insisted I be confined at a hospital. Otherwise, I will experience internal bleeding and hemorrhaging.

It was only when I was at the hospital lying on the bed that I felt the fever, the muscle pain, etc. Meds won’t work sometimes because I am allergic to painkillers so I had to bear all the pain. It’s a good thing my husband recovered quickly, he was the one who took care of my needs while I was at the hospital. And this included being by my side when I just sobbed the pain away.

Yes, I guess when your body said it had enough, no high pain threshold can ever keep you from not feeling the pain at all. So I learned, too, that getting sick is the body’s way to rest. Rest and do nothing even if it means staring at the ceiling the rest of the day. Just like what I will do after I write this. 😀

I am planning to sketch so I can rest my brain but the meds are making me drowsy. I just thought about finishing the new sketch I am making for Dad because I made such a mess of my first sketch of him.

Applied an expired fixative – spots are everywhere. 😭

Getting ready for the new sketch on Dad.

I’d better get the new sketch done with minimal errors because I’m on to the last page of my sketch pad. 😀

Do you have any ideas how I can turn it into a beautiful mess? 😉

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” – Psalm 73:26

Always writing in sickness and in health,

How Country Cats Roll: Animal Talk

Ever wondered how a day in a cat’s life goes? This made-up conversation I came up back in my hometown between our cats Polly (white cat) and Peekah (orange cat) might give you a clue. 😊

Polly: “Hey, Peekah! Come and check this plant out. Something’s peculiar about this plant.”

Peekah: “Why, what is weird about it?”

Polly: “I am not so sure. But do you mind checking it out?”

Peekah: “Hmmmm, lemme see.”

Polly: “Have you seen it already?”

Peekah: “I don’t see anything.”

Polly: “Try harder.”

Peekah: “Oh c’mon, Polly. That’s a part of the plant. That is the flower! A weird-looking flower. I’ll leave you there and smell some real flowers somewhere.”

Moral lesson: Cats do smell and check out flowers. 😅

P.S.

I’m writing this down because I’m on bed rest – I was struck down with a flu. Pls. pray for my healing and thank you for reading! ❤

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Took this some days ago but the cat filter is just perfect for today’s topic. Fyi, I take selfies far less than your average millenial. Because I basically look the same everyday. 😉

Cityscape: Heatwave Is On

While watching the church service today, this image of a beautiful sunset over a cityscape that I took a few days ago from our condo came into my mind. When we’re awestruck with nature, it automatically brings us back to the Creator – God.

Sunset and heatwave over skyscrapers.

But it also struck me that as inhabitants of this world, we also have an obligation to take good care of it. As the sun sets down, I wondered how long will nature remain to be this when the threats of climate change such as the heatwave are looming over all mankind? How long before man takes care of nature and be content to say that enough is enough?

CNN already released a report about the projection of enviromentalists and experts that 2030 is the saturation point. It made me think if we are making this world a better place for the next generations or making it worse. I’m not anxious on my end though but I am waiting on God. All I can I do, in my own little way, is just raise awareness as a nature advocate by taking photos such as these:

When night begins to fall.

Caught my attention from my room.

The cityscape under the stars and the moon.

How about you, my friend? What’s a sunset to you?

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11

A nature lover who chases sunsets and watches nightfalls,

P.S. I am praying the land developers of the condominium where we live will incorporate bigger gardens (I’ll hang out there every day) within the estate.

I believe that is what God wants us to do – strike the right balance between preserving what is God-made and adding what is man-made. ☺

When God Leads, How Far Will You Follow?

When something is new to us, these two are what we often feel – apprehension and fear. We automatically go through a moment of indecisiveness whether to try it or not, to follow or not. The question then is this, how many times did you push through with something you haven’t done before without any assurances of the outcome?

brian-mann-16600-unsplash_edited

Following His Lead: Where Will It Take Me?

If you are a risk-taker, indecisiveness is not much of a problem. But dealing with the consequences, later on, can come pretty hard. I used to be a risk-taker, I actually still am for the most part. And yet, taking risks for me now comes with a lot of planning and contemplating and yes, lots of prayers.

“Is this what You want me to do, Lord?”

Did you come to a point where you asked God this question? I did, thousands of times actually. I believe every day requires I seek His permission first before I do things. This included my future plans and endeavors.

And yet it also came to the point that I was having second thoughts on whether to share my plans here (and they are many). I was feeling a strong desire to share them and yet something is holding me back.

As we are all aware of, this world runs on a “to see is to believe” mantra. Posting my plans without the assurance of them happening in the future will only be boasting. True enough, after I prayed what to do, God gave an answer through a verse I stumbled upon while browsing Godpreneur‘s IG newsfeed:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

– James 4:13-17

Always His Will Be Done

I finally got the assurance – share your plans but share it in a manner that will honor God and His will, first and foremost. The verses reminded me that by sharing my plans, I have the responsibility to make them happen especially if they are according to God’s will. And yet it also reminded me that,

“You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

When I shared my plans, it is not about boasting what I intend to do. It is, in fact, relying on faith and WHAT GOD WILL DO. This means that if the plans I mentioned failed, God has other plans other than what I originally planned. And yet if they push through, the plans are aligned with God’s plans.

On a deeper level, sharing what I have felt in my heart that I must share is about asking God to work His wonders whether plans fail or plans succeed. It is about letting the world know that we do what we need to do because God intended that it is His Name, His Glory, and His Power that will be proclaimed through our lives.

Do You Have the Heart to Follow Even When Everything Fails?

Yes. I believe failures are a part of God’s will for us to reach our destination. But for the most part of the journey and for the entirety of His purpose for us, this is what will stand – God’s plans will not fail. In fact, Jeremiah 29:11 always assures us that,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Taking risks is tough, failing is even tougher. But what have we to lose if we do things according to His will and follow His leading?

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

 

Always ready to follow His leading,

 NewBlogSignature_edited_edited