Thursday, May 23, 2013
See this punctuation mark? #. For the longest time, I called it "Number."
Now here's a newer monicker with yet another usage: "Hashtag."
I don't do Twitter so I missed Hashtag's birth. But on FB, which I do daily, I began noticing the "Number" or "Pound" or now "Hashtag" appear in a number of messages, especially photo captions.
For instance, a young friend posted a photo with his family. Before the photo were these gobbledygook:
#Happiness #Family #Rare Occasion #Great Place
Another one posted a photo with:
#Loving you #ROFL #TGIF #See you soon
Duh. Am I missing something revolutionary here?
I asked a tech-savvy young friend, whose opinions I respect and who is grace personified, what the # was doing in those confusing FB messages. She explained:
"This mark is called 'Hashtag' and it is being wrongly [her word was 'ignorantly,' unusual from the mouth of a gracious girl] used on FB. A Hashtag is used in Twitter as a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #American Idol, you'll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won't get are tweets that say 'You are my idol' because 'idol' is not preceded by the Hashtag."
She added, "Some people boldly use things they know nothing about, thinking it is cool, but they are simply baring their ignorance (that word again!). Then others, who are just as clueless, follow suit. That's why FB has so many of them. The confusion gets more confusing."
I thought to myself, I don't need to worry about ever using it then—in the manner that it is used on Twitter.
From that conversation, however, my curiosity was piqued. I googled # and found out more about it: Twitter was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
Hmmm, maybe it's not a good idea to use it in my blogsite even if I am able to classify my posts.
At this age, I can take being branded as techno-challenged, but . . . uh . . . ignorant? Ouch.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Today, the thinking, “Believe in yourself” is a campaign, or maybe even an ideology, to raise one's self-esteem, which is seen to have paramount importance in building a person's confidence.
We live in a complicated, competitive world so we do need to highlight how much we have done. Eventually, our own mind leads us to conclude that we are a legend, a head above others.
In my business writing class, I advocate writing resumes tailor-fitted to a company's business or requirements. “Highlight your strengths,” I advise my students. “Downplay your weaknesses.”
Resumes are important in the business jungle. They can determine the attention or salary we receive; they are used to introduce us when we get invited to speak or do something for a certain group. They show our worth.
Well, resumes, per se, are harmless.
It is when we begin to believe everything in the sheet(s) of paper—how we accomplished them through our own effort—that conceit lodges in our head and swells.
Conceit brought to successive ruin many kings in the Old Testament, beginning with the very first one, Saul. Even wise Solomon was not spared.
It is my belief that no success in life can happen unless we are enabled by our Creator. Every talent, knowledge, wisdom, strength, and smarts stem from His grace.
The president of Compassion International, Dr. Kenneth “Wess” Stafford, has a string of degrees to his name and has the distinction of leading the biggest child advocacy Christian organization in the world. Yet he replies only to the name “Wess” among the people at Compassion—from the Country Director down to the messenger. He refuses to be called Dr. or Sir or Mr. President. His lack of conceit makes him render everything he has been gifted with, not for his own glory, but the Giver's.
It is only by appreciating the goodness and generosity of God, the One who dispenses talents, can suck out conceit from our system.
Jeremiah 9:23 reminds us, “This is what the Lord says: 'Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.'” (NLT)
Image credit: http://grewordlist.files.wordpress.com
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Spelling is kinda' complicated. Especially now that we have developed new, appalling habits of misspelling everything in text messages (which also often take the form of email and FB notes).
Yet we have the compulsion to make it even harder.
Cirio is a simple enough name. But it can still get mangled along the way:
Now, think about the confusing ones.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The intense, oppressive afternoon heat made me closet myself in our bedroom with the air-conditioner full blast.
I visited a cabinet unopened in over a decade. Surprise! There sat manuscripts, clippings, and files I had stashed away for reasons I can't remember. One of them is a copy of a letter dated July 1999, which I wrote to the 15-year-old daughter of a family friend.
My friend was extremely distressed when her daughter joined the Atheist Society. A faithful Christian, my friend cried on my shoulder. Since her daughter was quite close to me, I decided to write to her:
A wise old man told me when I was your age, “The day you stop questioning is the day you die.”
I choose not to die before my time, so at age 54, I am questioning still—no longer about the existence of God, but about other things: 'If I ate 12 peanuts instead of eight, will my joints ache?' 'Have I taken my maintenance pill?'
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I was ten and in 6th grade, and after class, my friends and I decided to spend our allowance that day on knowing our future. We had heard that the seeress had beautiful fingers and a crystal ball that gleamed.
Five giggly girls heard all we wanted to hear. She told me I'd marry a foreigner and that I would have a stormy marriage. At age 10, nobody worries about marriage, but I was excited to meet the foreigner I was to marry.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Today, we thank the Lord for the grace of an active little boy who has just turned six.
We haven't seen him for 771 days, but he is in our prayers every day. May he continue to grow up knowing and loving Jesus more and more.
Our thanksgiving offering to Him who keeps us from falling:
For Adrian, this is what the Lord said about little ones: Mark 10:14 (NIV) “. . . Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Happy birthday little one!
Top photos: Gianina Chong
Friday, May 3, 2013
Some people don't like going to church.
“I can pray or worship God anywhere,” they would argue. In fact, some of them just turn on the TV set in their bedrooms, sing hymns, and pray with the people in the show, which is “exactly the same as being in church.”
There are many verses in the Bible that remind God's people to get together and build relationships. One is found in Hebrews 10:25 (NLT), “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
But the most surprising reason for going to church for me came not from the Bible but in a testimony of one of the members of our youth group in church.
In a halting voice, Olim said in words that I now paraphrase:
Monday, April 29, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Here's an invitation for all kids to come and listen to the story of a great flood in Mateo's town—and how great grace flooded our little hero instead.
Mateo, the puppet, and I will be there to welcome you and listen to the story as well. Please bring all your friends so we can have a noisy chat while I sign your books. If you wish, I can also let you in on my about-to-be-released new book.
It'll be fun!
Friday, April 26, 2013
It must have been something I ate which rendered my total being totally useless in the last two days. I was a Person With Disability (PWD).
I missed an important event that I looked forward to for one whole year (gown all pressed), missed writing my column for a magazine, missed reading my daily Bible, missed my appetite, missed my computer, and missed my humor.
There was this constant sick feeling at the gate of my tummy, aggravated when I so much as moved vertically. So I had to lie flat, except for those hurried trips to and from the bathroom. Only by grace, sent through a kindly doctor name Perry, a solicitous Ate Vi, and a supportive family, was I able to pull through this energy-sapping ailment perilously close to life-threatening dehydration.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I just had a junior moment.
Huh? How can that be possible when you're a senior, Mom! My sons are most likely saying in their minds.
Before I speak of that embarrassing episode, let me just say that I've been having senior moments for as long as I can remember. A senior moment is defined as, “A momentary lapse in memory, particularly one experienced by a senior citizen.”
Half truth. Senior moments are not the sole domain of older people; my young sons forget their cellphones, shades, people's names, and other details as often as I do.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Does waiting still infuriate and frustrate you?
Try crossword puzzles.
You are probably saying, "Not again?!"
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
"Lola, I need a new book!" were the first words that Trista, a grandniece, said when I hugged her, not having seen her for over a year. "I have finished reading all the books you gave me!"
"Oh, I need to keep writing faster then," I said. "I have to keep pace with you."
Friday, April 12, 2013
One of the greatest pleasures of walking at dawn is watching the birds wake up with the morning light and make their first flight for the day. They sing and hover over me; they perch on electric and telephone wires in a row; then they fly and chirp around again.
Alas, in my neighborhood, I see only birds of one kind. These are the same ones that constantly visit our garden and sometimes, one or two mysteriously make their way into our house.
As soon as this one flew in, we let it fly back out. I don't even know what it's called. In my dialect, we call it billit balay (house birds).
Monday, April 8, 2013
Here's what I do when something honorable becomes so popular and people start trivializing it: I stop listening.
This was what happened to the song Let God, Let Go by DeWayne Woods after the record was launched in 2007. It hit the top of the charts and won multiple awards. Pretty soon, thousands of images of the title crammed the Net and everyone had everything to say about it—from left to right, and back.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Everyday you meet one or two (the number is not very big) people who can make you laugh with the way they say a word or a phrase. There is usually one in a group. Wish there were more of these perker-uppers!
Many of my favorite public speakers are those with a sense of humor. They have an uncanny ability to make the audience ROFL (Roll On the Floor Laughing) and therefore hold their interest.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
In Bible times, execution on the cross was the cruelest, most unforgettable way to punish the worst criminals—totally humiliating and dehumanizing.
And yet, Jesus chose the cross to redeem us from the mire of sin. Galatians 3:13(ESV), “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree' . . .”
“From this cross He would rob hell and populate heaven,” wrote Joseph Chambers, a preacher.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Writing is not a duty for me. It has always been a privilege, a time of great feelings, a mountain-top joy, and . . . an undeserved grace of a lifetime.
Some of my friends in church say it is my assignment from above, and therefore I am duty bound to do it well. I try.
My writing hours are thus: the actual computer time is all day; the thinking time is all night.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has commented on the current hot issues involving Sultan Kiram of Sulu, Kristel, and Kris Aquino.
Some blame the Media for sensationalizing all three. Some blame the militants for agitating the student population. Some blame the politicians for taking advantage of the situations. Some blame President Aquino for not showing enough concern.
Some blame the government for everything, period.