Friday, December 31, 2010

Somebody's Child Beamed With Glee On Christmas Morn

Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas to commemorate the lowly birth of The Child in The Manger, we all believe in that! Christmas without Baby Jesus in the center isn't Christmas at all. It's His birthday and we want to make Him happy. Did you make The Child happy on Christmas morn?

My family just did that! We are poor and simple folks- no gold, no frankincense, no myrrh to  offer. We have no kingly treasures to lay by His crib. But on this cold Christmas morn in December 25, my daughters Pot, Kit, and I, believe that we made Somebody's Child beam with joy and probably,  He even joined the children in our neighborhood Children's Christmas Party.

Our family tradition of sharing our blessings received to the least of our relatives is focused  on promoting love and goodwill to all. The joy we shared together for the love of the Holy Child will continue to stay in our hearts and hope to spice our daily lives until the next Christmas and beyond.  Our family tradition will live forever!

With our deepest gratitude, I thank the Almighty Father for giving Pot, Kit, and I, this wonderful chance to show our love to Him through our relatives and neighbors in Baby Jesus' name. I trust and pray that God will continue to uphold this passion in us to share what we have to those who aren't capable of giving back.

I also acknowledge and thank the last minute gesture of my siblings Nela, Lina, Edna, and my nephew Mon, all living in Manila, for sending voluntary financial support because we were able to share more (packages of rice, coffee, sugar and creamer) and even prepare more food and  fed an unexpected big crowd of 22 families plus the neighborhood kids and adults who are not our relatives.

Our especial thanks goes to our guest sponsor, (who wishes not to be named) for sending cash money through Pot that was raffled out to poor deserving children.

 And lastly, Blessings be to our Clan! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to All!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bring Happiness To Somebody's Child This Christmas

I have surpassed many happy years of Christmas as a child so I know what Christmas means to children. I had celebrated Christmas with my school children for 40 years and learned wisdom from them as far as  celebrating Christ's birthday is concerned..  In retirement,  I still want to have children surround me in the celebration of Christmas. As long as I live, I'll never stop giving Christmas its renewed meaning each year by sharing the joy of celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus with children especially from the poor. I'm with this stubborn opinion that it's because of the children that Christmas celebration can be given more meaning if it brings laughter to every child, rich or poor, relative or stranger. In like manner, I hope to bring happiness to somebody's child, the poor child in the manger. 

A Family Tradition

Early in my childhood, Father and Mother had instilled in my consciousness that Christmas is an opportunity of sharing our blessings not only within the family but also beyond it. I'll never forget those Christmas Eve when Father would distribute food to every household nearby. Before our family could dine together, Tatay would be lost in the dark and when he returned, home I could see the glorious glow of joy in his face. If you think that the sharing stopped there, you're wrong! 

The following day, December 25, relatives from distant places came home with their young and shared with us whatever we had on our table. When they left, I could hear that they were also given little cash or took home some of our used clothing or anything that we no longer used but were still serviceable to them. The closet cleared, we, girls, would be thankful that the clutter was disposed off. It was not easy to clean house with those stocks lying useless in it.

Of the 9 siblings, I'm the only one left in our birthplace to continue our family tradition. I believe in my heart, that my late parents are now happy and at peace with the Lord knowing that their legacy is still alive and growing in meaning. Having retired from active government service doesn't deter me from perpetuating the legacy. My 2 daughters inherit this family tradition and are ecstatic about  our annual Christmas celebration with the kids in the neighborhood.

A Children's Christmas Garden Party

On top of the usual giving away of packages of rice and grocery items, used clothing, cash gifts to the deserving, and sharing of food, my daughters will again throw a Children's Christmas Party for the neighborhood kids. It will be held at the front lawn of our newly renovated ancestral house on December 25 in honor of our late parents. We have been doing this for four years now, but last year we missed it due to my hospitalization  when also a few days after, my eldest, was also hospitalized.

The party will be an extended thanksgiving gesture to make others happy this Christmas. The plan was hatched by my 2 daughters and I during our thanksgiving vacation. Upon returning home, I contacted a few reliable relatives to help me draft the activities. My 2 daughters are away from home and would be back in time for the Christmas. I can't do the work alone and many are happy to help. 

Involve the Parents

With help from my organized work force, steering committees are being formed and plans are already taking forms, too. Arrangements had been laid out and assignments are distributed as follows:

- Program Coordinator - in charge of the general program for the party, to oversee the children's song and dance practices,  drawing of lots for the exchanging of gifts(personal expense by participants)

- Venue Arranger -  in charge of accommodation (tables, chairs)

- Light and Sound Installer - in charge of the videoke challenge 

- Venue Decorator - to prepare the garden lawn with Christmas setting

- Snacks and Refreshments Coordinator - in charge of the food preparation

- Catering Arranger - in charge of the  a self-help feeding arrangement

- Giveaway Packaging Coordinator - in charge of packing the rice and grocery item giveaways and to identify the most deserving recipients

- Games Coordinator - to take charge of the games for the contests

- Prizes and Cash Gifts - from my daughters Pot and Kit

The party won't be a big one, but I'm sure the kids will be grateful for this added  experience about Christmas and its true meaning of sharing within this cluster of the BEC, the Basic Ecclessial Community, of which most of the parents are members. It will not  discriminate against other religious sect because every child is a welcome participant.

Christmas In The Neighborhood

I have resided in this poor neighborhood since birth where families don't celebrate Christmas as pompous as the way they do during New Year. They say, they'd rather celebrate the 2 occasions together for economic reasons. So, it's on New Year that they give their best  by preparing especial food on their tables. They believe that this way, the incoming year will bring them more blessings.

As Roman Catholics, my parents believed that Christmas is held to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. If they could spend a little more for their children's birthdays, how much more during the birthday of the Child Jesus? And so, in the neighborhood, we are identified differently on the matter of preparing food on Christmas Eve. What is sharing a little of what we have to those who don't have,  do to us? It's the joy of giving that makes us happy, because  we know that at the same time we bring happiness  to somebody's poor child, the Child in the Manger.

The Child In Us Comes Out in December, Too!

The grapevine over the planned Children's Christmas Party had reached the ears of my friends in church, particularly the members of our choir. And they aren't one to be left out. So I suggested that we can have our group Christmas Party, too, in our backyard where the nipa hut (bahay-kubo) can accommodate our number. We will have our exchange of gifts and video singing challenge there with gusto!

I realize that Christmas is always the same in the eyes of a child and an adult. As adults, we want to relive  those days when Christmas was free from worries. Like the little children that we once were, we crave to bring laughter to each one of us. This year and forevermore, I'll always remember that on every Christmas, it's easy to bring happiness to somebody's child, especially to the most Precious Child, the poor Child Jesus in the manger. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All !

Saturday, November 20, 2010

7 Reasons for My Thanksgiving in November

November is about to end. It used to be the month I waited annually to start my countdown to the coming Christmas season. Now, that personal tradition has changed.  I hold this month close to my heart for the changes it brought to my life. Events and circumstances, both sad and marvelous, keep popping in. Today, I regard November as my month of thanksgiving- a time to marvel on these God-given blessings and trials. My reasons are very significant to me, where it seems common to the rest of my relationships- siblings, friends, and relatives. I want to put meaning to these events. On a personal note, I know God continues to pour down His blessings on me and my 2 daughters. I must, therefore,  give thanks to the Lord in humility.

1. November 1 - All Saints' Day , November 2 - All Souls' Day

Not until death found members of our clan in a row, these celebrations passed by barely unnoticed. It was just a welcome reprieve from work if these fell on working days and declared as non-working holidays. A decade ago now, in 1999-2000, we lost four of our loved ones, in a matter of 2 years,  the first incidence of deaths in our growing clan- Father, Dad(my husband), BenJun, and Mother,  in that order. Before long, an untimely death caught up with another family member, William, a brother-in-law. Then 10 months ago, in February, my brother Ben Senior(BenJun's dad), was taken away from us.

These sad circumstances brought me and my siblings together on these days to pay respect to our beloved dead,  in separate cemeteries.  But circumstances  dictate that I wait on my siblings in  our parents' resting place where my husband is also and offer prayers in the same place for them all, without visiting the others because  the places are far away from each other.  This November, I changed the tradition by my own, visiting 4 cemeteries including that of my parents-in-law's.  And it worked! I don't feel guilty prayer-hopping. It was a kind of rediscovering myself, that I can do things I perceive with freedom. I don't see anything wrong breaking away from a family tradition. I am grateful to the Lord who sustained my stamina to travel.

2. Pot's Birthday

After 3 years of marriage, our firstborn, Pot,  came into our lives. I was then advancing in age and my husband had a family history of childless fathers. So you can just imagine how joyful and grateful we are for this day. Her birthdays, as with her sister Kit's who followed 3 years later, are significant events to celebrate to pray together for these gifts of life.

However, as years rolled by, birthdays were no longer celebrated with pompous parties after their debuts. Wherever these days caught them up, it was where they celebrated them, and most often, with friends in their workplaces, which I never attended.  I just attend mass and  have  mass offerings for them in my own way.  This year, Kit celebrated hers  in October , 5 times in my count. Pot celebrated hers 3 times, all in different dates.  We  3,  celebrated Kit's  5th at Bangsal Lechon House and Pot's  3rd, at Dad's Saisaki,  together! I thank God for these welcome joys He brings to happen in my daughters' lives and mine.

3. November 8 -  I Had A Bad Fall!

I was in a hurry to reach the hospital for my monthly check up. I should have been  there by 1 o'clock pm, but my laptop read 3:45. Your guess is  as good as mine. It was late! When I crossed over my parents' improvised gate that  serves as temporary gate made  of  2 big recycled wooden doors and  2 wooden benches to close the property- a protection from chicken and dogs that play havoc in our gardens, I missed getting to the other side with my uplifted left foot. My right is no longer a reliable part- weak and painful as usual due to my diabetic peripheral neuropathy. So I dropped;  and instinct dictated that I grab a support. That door lying on my path on its side crashed down with me. I was lucky somebody saw me fell - flat on my back, writhing in pain, saying "my back, my back, my back" to keep myself conscious until help came, as lights flickered in my closed eyes. I was carried on a borrowed chair and was revived by a crowd of relatives. I heard some people  crying in panic!

I was able to reach the hospital and declared safe by my doctor. The accident left black and blue markings in my inner left  thigh, right knee, and right upper arm up to this time of writing. God saved me from a really bad fall. I'm living alone in my house. The accident didn't  happen inside my house where no one would ever know until it would be too late. I have another reason to thank God for, haven't I?

4. November 12- November 20 - Dagupan - Lingayen Archdiocesan Christ the King Celebration

This is a 9-day novena to honor Christ in the archdiocese, being  held in my parish, the Epiphany of the Lord Parish in Lingayen, the capital town of Pangasinan.  A big crowd of the faithful from 27 parishes covered by the archdiocese  are joining.  I'm a member of the church choir assigned to render services in 5 days  out of the 9-day novena. I'm glad I have returned in time to this service for the Lord. I went on an indefinite leave of absence as lector/commentator/choir member in December, 2009. I suffered from a mini stroke (TIA) while singing in the middle of the communion rites in church on the 5th of the "Simbang Gabi" (Evening Mass).  I was rushed to the hospital. I was advised to lie low and take a rest.

I tested myself for a comeback last July, and I'm so glad I am doing all right. Rather than sulk alone in solitude, think of the unthinkable past, and continue to rot in anger forced into my life by insensitive people, I braved my way back to church but of course with little apprehensions among my co-members because of the December incident. Once in a while, I would receive calls or text messages from them asking me how I'm doing at home. They surpassed the calls I receive from my daughters. Hahaha! The rigorous weekly choir practices are healing for me. I know. I should be grateful to the Lord again, for that, and for my friends in church, too. What is my pain, compared to these acts of loving-kindness they lavish on me? This isn't a miracle. It's God sending me messages, I'm not alone.

5. Eleventh Year Death Anniversary of  the Boy I'd Loved Before

When my husband died, I died with him. But because of my 2 daughters who were still in college then, I grieved  in silence and tried to do my double best  to them- as a  father and mother, working to make ends meet. Beyond that, I refused to socialize for fear that my usual activities might deplete fast the compensation  my husband earned as a government employee. It was a meager amount I was afraid might not be enough to see my Pot finish her law proper and my Kit to continue pre-law up to  law-proper. But we did it! My daughters helped me in secrecy when they worked their way and found  time as working students in a reputable law office cut for students like them during their last 2 years in law proper. They graduated in the same school year. Kit is now a lawyer with Pot to follow, too.

Probably all these happened because it was their Dad's ultimate dream for them to be lawyers. But most importantly, my deep faith in God, and my daughters' strong-willed determination were put to work. And I admit, too, that the song he left behind,  one day before he died to become our new theme song - "My Love Will See You Through"- worked miracles in us 3. Thank you Lord for my daughters who supported me in our darkest days of uncertainties and grief.

6. November 21 - Christ the King Mass Celebration and Procession

I belong again to the 60-member choir for this big occasion! I will sing songs of praises to Christ the King  and God the Father! It will be held at the Capitol Grounds 1 o'clock pm. I'm so proud to have  my spic-and-span new uniform ready for the occasion. It will be the biggest ever crowd in the annals of our parish since the last in 2004. After the mass, the crowd of the faithful will walk back to the church in town. I'm a member of the prayer warriors who will recite the rosary on patrol cars. I'm grateful to the Lord for calling me back to serve Him!

7. Cebu, Here I Come! ! !

November 25 is Thanksgiving Day and to celebrate this Pot, Kit, and I are booked for Cebu for a thanksgiving vacation to this picturesque tourist spot down south. They literally twisted my arm to join them. We have been living our separate lives since they started college and this is a chance for us to bond again, free from pressures of work and the ordinariness  of life, both said.  If in the past, I revolted against any expenses I called luxury,  now I welcome this rare chance to be with my darling kids. Secretly, I'm rediscovering, reinventing my priorities that will make my kids happy. "I'll live today as if tomorrow  I'll die".

I now smile and say, "Dearest  Lord, thank you for giving the gift of life to these 2 wonderful ladies who happened to be my own, who  are always grabbing their chance to make life easy for the 3 of us, to a point of pampering me. I will praise You Lord, forever! AMEN."

'Till my next account, dear readers/followers/guests! Light and Love- Lita.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Police: Why Do We Need Them? (part 2)

We need the police for the people's general welfare.  As you continue  reading this sequel of part 1, the delicate task of the police is hereto briefly laid out for a cursory look. This part becomes the meat of the entire blog, in answer to the question used in the title.  Let this be a reminder that as much as we need police services, we also have our prime duty to trust them and support them for the greater good.

As an educator, I always want to reach out to the youth, sharing them my thoughts, and encouraging them to pick my challenge for support. The way I taught my students in the classroom along this issue, I'm reiterating this for my online youth readers. I'm positive that the greater independence among majority of the young along the use of the internet nowadays can  be tapped for instilling in them added knowledge about the work of our police and how  this  can eventually encourage them to do their share in securing peace and order in their immediate locality. But of course, this blog is for adults also.

 The Hierarchy In the Armed Forces- A Must-Know Information for the Public

It is of great importance that all citizens be involved in helping the police in keeping peace and order in their own locality. A working knowledge of the hierarchy of our government armed forces and what they do for the people will be of great value to all of us. We must understand that the defense of our country from our enemies inside and out is the main duty of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The President of the Republic is the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP. The AFP is divided into 2- the regular force and the reserve force. Those who belong to the regular force are the soldiers in active duty. Those who belong to the reserve force are those who trained and are on stand-by status who are ready when called to duty anytime they are needed.

The Regular Force is composed of 3 units of soldiers with their distinct work briefly described as follows:

1. The Philippine Army- (or Ground Force)- These soldiers guard people on land. They protect the country against land attacks by enemies. This unit takes charge of the training of land soldiers.

2. The Philippine Navy- These soldiers guard the waters around the Philippine area of responsibility against sea attacks by foreign invaders. This unit takes charge of training the naval soldiers.

3. The Philippine Air Force- These soldiers patrol and guard the skies. They protect the country from air attacks. This unit trains our pilots and airmen.

by Trishhhh@Flickr
The Work of the Policemen

It's important that every Filipino must have a good knowledge of how our government promotes our general welfare, how it protects and secures us through the police force. By knowing how the police work with the government in maintaining peace and order, we will, hopefully, be more aware and sensitive to their delicate roles. The police is divided into 2, namely:

1. The Philippine National Police (PNP)

The soldiers of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) make up the national police. They are stationed in every province all over the country. Their primary duty is to protect the people against robbers and outlaws.

2. The Local Police

Soldiers stationed in every municipality, town or city are our local police. They are the armed men working closely for the people, to protect their life and property.

The policemen  perform their duties in various ways. They see to it that laws are obeyed by the people. They keep traffic on busy street and see to it that traffic flow s in orderly manner for the safety of both motorists and pedestrians. They catch drivers who break traffic rules.

Policemen patrol the streets for bag snatchers, pickpockets, hold-uppers, gamblers, troublemakers, and all kinds of lawbreakers. They catch these lawbreakers and send them to court.  They are on duty day and night under the scorching sun and the biting cold of rain.  While we sleep soundly, these guardians of law patrol the streets. They are on the look out for thieves who enter our homes and rob us.  When they notice a suspicious character, they interrogate them to find out who they are and what they are doing. If enough  information is established that they are bad characters, the policemen arrest them and keep them in jail for safekeeping.  They are dealt with the following morning according to law. This way, they are prevented from committing crimes.

Policemen meet various dangers in the performance of their duties.  Humans as they are,  they aren't invincible like Superman or Wonder Woman. Robbers may fight back and engage them in fights and even shoot-outs. Criminals and prisoners they guard sometimes overpower them, kill them, and make their escape. Many policemen had lost their lives this way. Despite the many dangers, the police still perform their duty because they are under oath to protect people's life and property.

A traffic policeman may be injured in chasing a motorist who has broken a traffic rule. Even an innocent one mounted in his post can receive a bullet from any lawbreaker who hates the men in uniform. Today, there had been many incidents of policemen whose homes are being riddled by bad elements who may have an ax to grind against these guardians of law.

Children Can Help the Policemen

The children are not spared from their duty to help prevent problems that add to the work of the police. The dangerous and difficult work of the policemen can be lessened with help from everybody including the youth.

1. Children can help the policemen to prevent accidents. Streets are not playgrounds, so children must stay away from busy streets while at play. Many vehicular accidents happened because children chase balls, ride their bikes, ride their roller skates, run after a running playmate. These add work of the police on patrol. These activities of the children when left unchecked may also cause trouble for the police, their parents, and the children themselves. Many accidents that happened caused  pain of loss of young  family members.

2. Children should not spend idle hours outside their homes in the streets. It is here where many bad habits are formed by them. They may create unnecessary noise that disturbs people in the neighborhood who may be are at work or are sleeping. They may also exchange bad jokes that almost always end in a fight. They may gamble, steal, use prohibited drugs, and participate in many forms of activities that will pause dangers and problems to the police. Rather than be out there, children are better confined by their parents in the safety of their homes, engaging themselves in worthwhile hobbies.

3. School children must learn to follow traffic rules in going to and from home and school- to walk on the left side of the road to see oncoming vehicles; to walk carefully and not to play; to cross the streets only at designated intersections; to use the pedestrian lanes, if there are any; to understand and obey road signs; to wait for a moving vehicle to full stop before alighting or riding it; to keep their arms and heads out of the windows of running vehicles, etc, etc.

Adult Citizens Can Help the Policemen

If children can help the policemen keep peace and order, so much more can the adult citizens. They can best help by obeying the laws against gambling, stealing, destroying property, injuring or killing others, etc.  Since not all adults obey the law , crimes are mounting every now and then. Civic-minded and law-abiding citizens have important duties to perform when a crime is committed. They should immediately report it to the policemen. The lawbreakers must be arrested and tried in court. Those who actually saw the crime may go to court and stand witness  and tell the truth so that the judge can render a speedy and wise decision.

People can help the policemen by protecting our own homes from robbers. We must secure our homes before going to bed, or before leaving the house. Never leave doors and windows unlocked. This invites bad elements to break in the houses. We must always check our stoves to be safe from fire, to see to it that  we don't leave food we cook unattended. We must  unplug appliances like the flat iron when not in use. Ohh, there are many ways we can do for ourselves to be assured of a peaceful mind that we are secured in and out the house.

Who says, he is afraid of Who says, he is afraid of the police? If every individual knows how and why the police is there on patrol, each one will be more than willing to help them. Meantime, the beleaguered police of this country need our help. Let's help put our guardians of peace back to the pedestal of public trust.  Let's help them cleanse their tarnished reputation and public image. Let's be glad to see them face the world with heads high with dignity and continued valor. The police count on You and Me! We need the police!


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