Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Britney and Michael--Bring them back!

OMG. You've got to watch this video of Michael Jackson and Britney Spears singing "The Way You Make Me Feel"!!! Two superstars on stage, singing live, feeding off each other's energy--it's electrifying.

Really makes you long for the good ol' days when real singing sensations entertained us. Not the crap we get these days. Well, at least Britney's back in the studio recording an album again. I really liked Blackout, and the critics hailed it, too, as one of her best. Sad that she wasn't able to promote it because her life was in such turmoil last year. But she's much better now, healthier, hitting the gym trying to get back her old shape. And she'll also be part of Madonna's big tour next month. And her video for "Piece of Me" just got nominated for the MTV VMAs. People really still believe in Britney!

Now if only Michael will also come back...

Anyway, here's another video that I love. At least Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Missy Eliot's still in the scene. That's quite a comforting thought really!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I haven't gone to church in 6 years

Aside from the occasional wedding and funeral and christening, of course. If you know me or if you've read this blog for a while, you'd know I have this huge faith in God. I'm a Born-Again Christian, grew up in a Baptist church, and I completely believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior and that my life is meaningless without Him.

So why did I stop attending church? Oh, there are tons of reasons. Here's a good list I found from The Accidental Missionary:
10. I was only going to church to please others.
9 I want to spend more time with my friends.
8. I disagreed with the church’s stance on political or social issues.
7. I didn’t feel connected with the people in my church.
6. I became too busy.
5. I moved too far away.
4. My work responsibilities prevented me from attending.
3. I started college and stopped church.
2. Church members seemed too judgmental or hypocritical.
1. I simply wanted a break from church.

And then the blog's author surmises, "Why do they want a break? I think maybe #2 causes #1."

And that's why I ultimately left. Left the family I loved, the friends I grew up with, the church that formed my beliefs and my morals. Well, I didn't become un-Christian, mind you, I just left the church physically because it just got too confusing for me. It's like what Gandhi supposedly said, "I would become a Christian if it were not for Christians." I felt back then that I was surrounded by judgmental hypocrites and I wanted to scream my head off because I was so lost in a place where I should feel found.

So I wandered off. Shopped around for different churches and checked out a few "life-changing" seminars. Studied a bit of Buddhism and even found that very attractive. Except that I just couldn't shake off my one true love: Jesus Christ. I fell in love with Christ before and I asked Him into my heart and there is no way I'm asking Him to ever leave. Never!

Anyway, now that I've had time away and apart to live how I want, explore the world I was protected from, meet many kinds of people I never would've known had I stayed in my cloistered existence... well, I can't say I regret these past 6 years. Nope, not at all. I loved every minute of it! I've had tons of fun. I've grown a deeper understanding of myself, my fellow men, and of God.

And I guess I understand now that what I thought was judgmental and hypocritical behavior before was perhaps also growing pains, the same thing I had to go through. I guess if there's anything I love about getting older, it's getting more compassionate and understanding. Wisdom only comes with age. So yes, I will welcome the years.

Ah, but it's been 6 years, my friends. And I'm starving.

*song is I'm Going Home by Chris Daughtry; video features clips from Spirit, created by horselover1166

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding old friends is the best fun

In Facebook, an old classmate from Assumption Antipolo posted this photo last week:

That's me on the top row, third student from left (click photo to enlarge). I am 6 or 7 years old here and I have no front teeth!

Since Facebook allows you to tag people in photos, all of us who were tagged here left comments on the pic and that's also how we found each other again. I got such a huge kick getting updates from long lost friends--most of them are married, with kids or are pregnant, and juggling a career, too. We've been emailing each other (and that's a lot of mail that I've been cheerfully busy with!) and I just get soooo happy reading about them and setting up appointments to meet soon. Their lives sound so fascinating and it boggles me that they find my life exciting, too.

Okay, I love my life. I keep telling Vince that the life I have now is beyond my wildest imagination (and Vince would always chuckle back, "You didn't imagine much then!"). After growing up poor, to be able to buy my shoes and bags and dresses, eat at nice places, buy my medicines (I'm a health nut), live in a lovely home, travel, help my parents financially, and do all these and more without going into debt... this life is totally insane for me.

You see, I've been very selfish these past years, focusing entirely on myself. It's a survival thing, I think. I wasn't very happy in my youth so I've worked very very hard the last decade or so to get to this point where I am happy. But in the last year, I've begun looking outward.

Maybe because I'm so happy and settled down? Maybe because I'm older and finally wiser? Maybe because I finally listened to God's prodding and stopped focusing on me? I don't know. All I know is there is a hunger in me to be generous, to give, to love, to reconnect, to ask forgiveness and to forgive. After all, I wouldn't be where I am today if other people hadn't been so generous with me. Vince's parents gave us our home, my bosses at work have rewarded my service, my staff gives so much time to the magazine so I wouldn't need to, my friends and sisters-in-law and family made my wedding utterly exquisite, my husband continues to spoil me rotten by providing me my needs and my wants. I am so blessed because people around me, despite my selfishness, have poured out their lives and emptied their pockets just so I can be happy. God is too good to me and that humbles me a lot, you know?

Life really isn't about oneself; it's about sharing your life with others. I have finally found meaning in generosity.