Two years ago, I was given a Pink Bear by a friend. We named the bear Giorgio – cute and stuffed like him (friend). Since then, I became fascinated with stuffed toys. I love having them around spending cuddly moments with each one. I have six so far… and counting.
However, it’s inevitable they get marred sporadically. So, here’s my little way of bathing them:
1. Prepare your Bear, a pair of scissors, needle & thread, and a plastic bag.
2. Make a small slit exactly where the stuffed bear was originally sewn. Pull out the fiber and place it inside the plastic bag.
3. Wash the outer fabric with soap and water. Hang to dry.
As I’m writing this entry, a little fete in the house still continues in honor of our Patron Saint. Kin and fellows come by round the clock to share sumptuous meal with everyone. Hankering for fresh air, I decided to stay in the vestibule earlier – not knowing a metamorphic conversation would take place there. Julius Perez, a distant kindred and an ex-con (as how he introduced himself) took my faith to the next level.
03 December 2015, Julius, together with a minor, has killed an allegedly male AKRHO Gang member. According to him it was a crime of self-defense since he was pointed with a gun first. Financially crippled to obtain a private lawyer fighting for his case, he ended up spending 12 years in prison with a tag– MURDERER.
“It was difficult. At times I think of his family. At times I think of my future. I was struggling the first few months in jail but I have had high hopes one day I can be free”, he reverberated when asked about the challenges he went through.
Determined to get out from prison with head held high, he behaved accordingly abiding all cell rules. From an ordinary inmate, he was chosen to become a commander (jail lead) from for he portrayed a commendable behaviour. He created fair rules and camaraderie among fellows. He also learned as much as he can, in fact, he was the very first detainee to graduate from ALS (Alternative Learning System).
Notwithstanding , the rumination that startled me most was when he shared HOW HE MET JESUS IN PRISON. Inside bars and in the midst of distress and anxieties, he found Jesus. He felt like a little voice was comforting him with powerful sweet words of fortification. By then, he never let go of the connection and worked so hard to grow his relationship with God. He started the art of silent prayers. He read all chapters in the Bible from Old to New Testament. He attended every Holy Masses celebrated inside the prison, and he led the recital of Holy Rosary – a life completely antithetical before his conviction- when all he knew was to have a good time (barkada, barrio disco and booze).
“God exists and so does blessings. I thought being in prison is the end of everything, yet, it became the beginning of all great things. God showed me his ways and I accepted it with open heart, and now I am trying to continue my very intimate relationship with HIM.”
Julius, is one of those stories that truly touched my inner being. His story is a testament that God reaches to us wherever we are under any circumstance. He never abandons His children specially the lowly ones.
Today, being a freeman, Julius relentlessly sustains his reverence to Jesus and even compound this to others. He is now teaching his girlfriend how to read the bible and to pray the Holy Rosary. He is also never embarrassed being called an ex-con for he’s aware that God has pardoned him.
Editor’s Note: Although, Julius is an ALS graduate (HS Level), he still finds hard to find a decent job due to his history of being an ex-con. However, from our conversation earlier, I can vouch that he is a man with good and pure heart. Definitely, full of gratitude. May all my blog readers be able to help him in his journey towards starting a new life outside the prison cell. Julius, may you be blessed even more and may God’s name be glorified because of your humility!
Years ago, I was not profoundly engrossed with reading. I detested it a lot especially prints of small fonts. The moment I open a book, I would feel like having mental diarrhea. Long passages and literary works are my prime enemy. They make me puke. This self-proclaimed diagnosis prompted me to create an excuse of not reading at all. Instead, I go to Youtube, grab graphic magazines, or watch movies to keep me lucid. For long I had convinced myself that I was exclusively a visual learner – deciphering and recollecting things by sight, and that I will never be a pundit in reading.
Momentarily it worked until I discovered my incompetence. I cannot write. I cannot put my thoughts into words. I cannot talk. I cannot convey my message. I was doomed! I got perturbed and so I started making a big leap. Reading is the only way, I extrapolated.
Start now. Start with a book that pique your interest. A book that when you close your eyes, you can visualise the trend of the story. The very first novel I read was The Alchemist by Paulo Cuelho. A novel you cannot afford to put down even for commode moments. I finished this in one day.
When ready, read another genre. If you’ve vanquished reading a certain genre, it could be the right time to try another class or style. Try to go deeper. I began reading Religious, Management, Economics, Finance, Literature, Memoirs and Fashion books the moment I felt too comfortable with fictional novels. History, Architecture/Engineering and Cooking books could be later since I do not have the acuity for it yet. You can choose what is your priority.
Patience. It takes a bucketful of patience when you morph from novel to business readings. Business books have to be read ofttimes to get authors’ point. Normally, I read it 2-3 times in order to get the gist of the piece.
Highlight. You may highlight words and phrases you do not understand. You can also check the meaning of strange words from Meriam Webster Dictionary (MWD). For convenience you may download MWD app from Play Store or App Store.
Take note and apply. Regularly, take note of phrases which move or impact you. Then, apply what you’ve learned but never exaggerate it. Always stay in context.
Makes you smarter. Reading books help you gain new knowledge and information you wouldn’t have known. It surges your deep understanding on myriad of topics or subject matters.
Fosters good health and improves your brain’s capacity. Reading keeps your brain cells alert preventing it from hibernating. It keeps memory and thinking skills unscathe. Research shows that reading can stave off Schizophrenia and Dementia in old age.
Improves Imagination and takes you to places you’ve never been to. Fiction books take you anywhere and everywhere. It allows you to travel to another world and get a glimpse of people’s culture and beliefs.
Improves oral and written skills. Reading definitely widens your vocabulary and ameliorate your writing skills. You’d be startled how you can effortlessly put your words together, thus, improving your relationship whether at work, home or school.
A rock-bottom recreation and productive hobby. Books are affordable and are for keeps compared to movie tickets. Reading also makes use of your time well since it keeps you occupied and diverts you from tedium. At times when you read a certain book and watch its movie, you will discover that some parts are omitted or never captured.
The list goes on and you will discover it once you start. I wish you well. Happy reading.
Editors Note: Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS attributes to the emotional and physical symptoms experienced by a woman a week before her period. The magnitude of symptoms differs from person to person and most common of all is the change of mood. Normally, this wanes after the first day of bleeding.
Unknown to few, today, June 19, we celebrate the birthday of our dear National Hero Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. Lolo Joe, as I name him, led Filipinos outset a revolution against the Spanish Government for us to attain freedom and gain control of our country.
Be it known to all, today, June 19, also happens to be the birthday of one of my personal heroes- my girl best friend for 10 years. J, as I fondly call her led me out from obscurity and brought back my guile and acuity.
Not by luck but providence did it on purpose both Js be born this day. They have so much resemblance. Few fun facts below.
Fun Fact 1: Lolo Joe is known to be a propagandist and for his manner of fighting the Spanish Government through his written works revealing Spaniards inhumane manipulation. He chose not to have a bloody war to fight for our freedom.
J is a propagandist by action since she is an advocate of silent wars. She culls to settle disputes through sending me long-sentimental SMS narrating my barbaric behavior. I end up ignoring her for I know hangry stomach has just took over her overall sanity. In other words, she’s in tantrums and the only antidote is good food.
Fun Fact 2: Lolo Joe is one of the few recognized “Renaissance Man” in the world. Editors Note: A renaissance man is a well-educated person and one who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields.
By description, J too. She is a teacher, philanthropist, dancer, singer, writer, theater actress, journalist, dramatist, enthusiast, traveler and more. She values education at a loft. In fact, our planned gala for this month has to be cancelled to give way to her TESOL classes. Yet, this exploit makes me even more proud of her. Go reach for the stars. Editor’s note: TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speaker’s of Other Languages, a teaching qualification in the field of English language learning and teaching.
Fun fact 3: At one time when Lolo Joe was a medical student in Madrid circa 1882, he didn’t take a bath for 136 days. He wrote his sister Maria about it for 2 reasons. First, he has not perspired because of cold weather. Second, baths were expensive and he must have been conserving his limited funds.
During our heydays in College, there was a time when J didn’t bathe for a week. She told me about it for 2 reasons.First, she had “patutho” from a Manong in her town to treat a quirky illness – fever! The tutho has to linger for days so to heal. Second, she is simply an obedient daughter following her parent’s instruction. I commended her humor and forbearance cautiously disguising my ridicule. Truce girl. At least now, after our recent trip from Divine Mercy, CDO, we knew seeing “quacks” is against our faith. Editor’s Note: Patutho is a style of quack healing in which a person spews spittle or saliva in your entire body. The spittle is believed to bring healing to any afflictions.
Kidding aside, the truest fact in a nutshell is… Like Lolo Joe, J is a very high-spirited warrior with so much vigor compound to everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day she will alsomake a history.