Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't Live a Life with Regrets

Have you ever wondered why things didn't end up the way you planned it to be? Your career, your possessions and even your love life?

Since childhood, I already planned my life. I wanted to be a teacher because I love the feeling of influencing other people, especially kids. At 25, I will get married  and I will have two kids before I reach 30. I will marry my childhood classmate and friend. Our wedding will be in a beach during sunset. I will wear my self-designed wedding gown. Our childhood best friends will be there to celebrate with us. We will spend our honeymoon in Europe. We will live in a two-story house in Metro Manila. This is a picture of a perfect life for me.

But like what the Bible says, God's plans are different from ours. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We may have planned our life ahead of time, but if it's not aligned to God's will, it will never happen. And I accept that. However, I still can't help but wonder about "what could have been" if the events in my life were different. What if my family didn't move to Manila when I was in high school? What if I answered yes when he asked me to be his girlfriend? What if he's not married? What if I enrolled earlier? There are a lot of what ifs and if onlys. But no matter how many times I would ask those questions, I can never turn back the time.

To live a life with regrets is the most miserable life any man could have. And with all those questions running in my mind, I learned these lessons.

  1. Seize the day. You only live once. Tomorrow is not promised. Whatever offer you have today, grab it. It may be lost later. I realized this when I remembered the day he asked me if I could be his girlfriend. With all the reasons that I thought were valid, I said NO. Because I was thinking that one day he would ask me the same question. But he never did.
  2. Don't assume. Clear things up. The way you understand one thing may be different from another person's understanding. Like the example I gave above, I assumed he would ask me again. However, he assumed that it was my final answer. We never gave each other a chance to clear things up. So we ended up living our lives separately.
  3. Be honest. Life is unpredictable. You can never tell what tomorrow holds for you. So in every chance you get, be honest of how you feel. If I were honest back then, when he asked me, we could have ended up together.
  4. Ask questions. It's hard to walk away wondering about something. If you don't understand one thing, don't be afraid to ask questions. One day, he called me early in the morning to tell me that he passed the board exam. He shared his success with me and I was happy. A question was left hanging in my mind, "Why me? I mean, you have a lot of friends, you have your family. But why am I the first person that you called to share the good news?" I asked him just recently and I got his answer. But it's too late.
  5. Be you. Don't allow the opinion of other people affect the way you live your life. You are the master of yourself, don't give them the right to meddle with your affairs. It's only him and me who know our story. We may have shared some pieces of information to some of our friends and heard their opinion, we still chose to remain friends. Because that's what we are. Friends.
  6. Be humble enough to say sorry. All people are capable of committing mistakes and hurting other people's feelings. But only a few ones are capable of acknowledging their faults and saying sorry. Be one of those few. You may not know if you will still be here tomorrow.
  7. Be grateful. Yes, our lives didn't end up the way we planned it to be. But I am grateful. I know that God is too wise to be mistaken. In our plans, we will end up together. But in God's plan, we will be friends forever.
  8. Trust God. We may not know God's reasons why he allow things to happen, but we have to trust Him. He knows that He's doing. He know what's best for us. I enrolled in college, 5 days after my scheduled enrollment. The college of Education has closed because they've reached their limit. So I ended up enrolling in the College of Office Administration. Now, I am working in a corporate office. But I'm happy because I trusted God.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kelly Mayer in the Eyes of KatMatilda

Who is Kelly Mayer?

She's a super active ISF supporter. She founded the @ISF_BeTheChange crew. She's 32, from New Hampshire, USA. A loving mother of three adorable little boys. A The Vampire Diaries Super fan and a Somerholic.

Just like any other friends of mine, we started as strangers. We started chatting when we found each other on Twitter and we realized that we share the same interest - Ian Somerhalder Foundation.

She patiently answered all my questions about ISF. Then she told me if I wanted to join her crew. I immediately said YES. Weeks after our chat, I received an ISF shirt from her.

I was so happy to wear a the same shirt that Ian Somerhalder is wearing!

Kelly is a passionate lady. She does things that make other people happy, she spends dollars on tokens for people who make her happy as well. She even had her hand hurt when she made Afghan blankets.

When she went to TVDNJ Convention, she was on her ISF shirt while carrying around 31 ISF shirts to be given away to Ian's fans. Kelly is selfless. She makes other people happy. She has her down moments when she felt like no one is supporting her desires.

She's like the big sister that I never had. Yes, we're miles apart but distance never hindered us to be friends. She understands my Somerholicism. She supports my cause. I support hers too, I believe in her.

She will always be in my prayers. I know that God sees all her good deeds and He will reward her in due time. Her labor will not be in vain. She may not have any idea, but she is the change that the world needs. She is my inspiration, my example.

I am forever grateful that our paths crossed. I learned a lot from her. I admire her energy and commitment in changing the world.

She is Kelly Mayer. And I know that I would get to know her more as time goes by.

Everyone is A Hero

When I was a kid of six, I learned that Heroes are the ones who offered their lives for their country. In Philippines history, we have Dr. Jose Rizal. He's our National Hero because he fought against the Spaniards with the power of his pen. He expressed his rebellion through his novels and poems. We also have Andres Bonifacio, who fought with all his might using the sword.

There are a lot of heroes but they never knew that they are heroes because they died before they were proclaimed as one.

In this modern times, you don't have to die to be called a hero. Your little acts of kindness, your wit, compassion and generosity can make you a hero because there's Goody Awards.

I never knew about Goody Awards. But because of my friend, Kelly Mayer, whom I met thru Twitter, I got to know about it. Well I don't know Goody Awards that well. All I know is that it's an organization who recognizes people's efforts in making the world a better place to live in. They are selling #HeroGoody necklaces. You can buy the necklace and give it to someone whom you consider a hero. Like the ones we're wearing on the photo above. It's a way of letting that someone know that he/she is appreciated.

I got my #HeroGoody necklace thru Kelly. She recognized my efforts in teaching the children here in the Philippines. Here's the link to the story -

Being recognized and appreciated helps boost our confidence. But we should be very careful that these won't get into our head.

Let me tell you my story.

Since I was a kid, I dreamt of becoming a teacher. Because I wanted to influence other people, specially the children. But as I grew up, my dreams changed. I went to college and took up Office Administration because I wanted to work in a corporate office. Years passed and I finished college, I got a job and enjoyed the corporate world. But God's plans are different from mine.

In 2011, me and my parents started a Saturday Bible Class in a fish port in Manila. The place is dirty. The children are wearing worn-out clothes, they don't go to school and they attend our class because of food. Their parents are unemployed and they are illegal settlers in the community. They are poor and they need help.

I asked God, of all places in Manila, why did He send us in a place like Navotas City. Drug addicts are everywhere, houses are made of light materials and children are disrepectful. I never understood God's reason for sending me there. I dreamed of a life in a Corporate world, me wearing a pair of killer heels and a decent corporate attire. But God sent me in the opposite direction.

I accepted the job. Yes, I considered it as a job. But after several Saturdays of being with the children, my perspective changed. I learned to understand that God wanted to use my life to influence the children and their parents. I started praying for God's provision so we can have the classroom renovated. After a few months, a friend helped us pay for the expenses in having  the classroom renovated. Some member of the church helped as well.

Every Saturday, the number of kids grew bigger. From ten children, they became thirty. After teaching them Bible stories, we feed them. I also asked them if they have school assigments that needs to be done. My love and compassion for them grew bigger, it went beyond my duty of teaching them Bible lessons.

I noticed some changes in myself. I learned to put the children's needs before my own. I became selfless. Our lessons were all about the Bible. Until one day, I got to know the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. I learned about its mission and vision and I noticed that I can help ISF if I would teach the children to take care of the environment.

And so it started. The children were taught to always keep their surroundings clean. They are young and they think that they can't do anything to help. But I made them understand that taking care of the planet is for all, young and old.

I saw myself in them. At first, I feel like I'm useless until I started teaching. The children taught me lessons I never knew before. The smiles they give me everytime the class is over is priceless. From then on, I felt responsible for the children's well being. I need to influence them to become the better person than they were before they attend our class.

I never asked for recognition because I know that my labor is not in vain in the Lord. But Goody Awards and Kelly Mayer called me a Hero. I'm grateful.

(Now, we are praying for sponsors to feed the children.)

You can be a hero too. Everyone of us can be a hero in our own little way.