Things I Realized This Christmas (2017)

After a recent period of time, a period of time which also includes reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ multiple times in the Rosary, I have come to a bunch of realizations about this season where those Joyful Mysteries should get more focused on by our spiritual magnifying glasses and such:

About Santa Claus:
I owe a lot to those grumpy nuts who like to claim that Santa Claus isn’t real, because Santa Claus isn’t the center of this religious holiday, this holiday which a lot of us these days don’t like to call religious…and heh, we also claim to fight for religious freedom with that sort of attitude!

About dreaming of a “White Christmas”:
And since Christmas isn’t about that magically sledding psychic old man and his buff reindeer and skittering elves and pocket-dimensioned gift boxes going down snow-battling chimneys, this Filipino doesn’t need to worry about not having snow in his tropical archipelago of a country! The seasonal cold breezes are still likable, though… ^_^

About holiday decorating:
I should remember to keep my future Christmas decorating simple and religious, alright…I can sense incoming headaches and explosions from all those balls and stars and spikes…Wait, maybe I should maintain the parol habit for some Filipino flavor…and maybe I should make something more fun out of it for better Filipino flavor…

About gifts:
My presence made someone’s Christmas and year-end so much, so much that I don’t feel much of the need to worry about buying presents beyond proper spending power. Giving seasonal presents still can work as nice supplements to personality development, alright…and sure, I’ll still take all the money you’d like to give me, my dear family and relatives. And, uh, to my ninongs and ninangs? Please don’t forget your main and spiritual job. Don’t worry, I know you can do it! I know one priestly ninong of mine who’s been doing a great job, see! 🙂

About romance:
My love life (yes, I’m talking about romance, but do remember that that’s not the only form of love) may have gone through some very interesting developments this season, but it’s not the main trigger of me feeling happy this season. Humbling myself for the sake of a healthy romantic relationship, though? Well, that’s a main trigger, alright~ 😀

About family, feasts, and vacation:
To chomp or not to chomp? That is the question. I’m in danger of chomping off all of this archipelago’s tables, which is obviously beyond my human carpenter capabilities. And resting is my current occupation, not for as long as I like, but for as long as I need. And hey, Jesus was raised by family here on earth, so I better not consider my own family insignificant, even when it’s not Christmas! But, uh…that’s easier said than done…Welp, shattering these glass barriers of mine will involve me feeling pain, alright…God Almighty help us some more…

About Christmas Specials in entertainment and all them commercial stuff:
I do enjoy Twice’s “Heart Shaker,” but if I were to make some Christmas Special sort of artwork and business, then I think it would be better for my soul to get you to reflect on your own soul and how it’s doing and all that. Higher chance of lower profit? Uh, we’re talking about spirituality here…and haven’t we been yelling about how we should become better people online and offline? That’s, like, better than profit, to the point that it’s essential. I know it’s hard to actually do it, fellow fool, so don’t worry, I got your back, and I’ll help you out there to the best of my abilities! \(^o^)

So yeah, aside from the usual request for honest constructive feedback, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, peeps! God Almighty keep on helping us all, too! \(^o^)/

Advertisements

Knighthood in the Modern Age

Being a truly good knight is freaking tough, yo.

Medieval Otaku

My first question received under the “Ask Medieval” feature came from Gaharet and concerns how knighthood can be carried into the modern age.  To paraphrase, what are the essential features of knighthood and how might one be a modern knight?  The first quality of a knight is to be able to fight.  All other qualities of a knight surround the central fact of the knight being a warrior.  A knight may hesitate to strike a blow, but will not hit weakly when his hand is forced.  To that end in modern times, knowledge of how to shoot and martial arts are eminently desirable.  Next there comes keeping fit and healthy for action.  Thirdly, a knowledge of Historical European Martial Arts, though archaic, help in staying fit and better imagining what combat was like from a medieval knight’s perspective.

knights horses mountblade artwork medieval 1920x1200 wallpaper_www.wall321.com_97

The central virtue of the knight is courage.  The word…

View original post 956 more words

Fading into the Starry Background

The title of this piece isn’t really as severe as it sounds, but still, I have decided that this will be my last entry in the Beauty through the Ordinary series.

See, lately, I’ve had some particular changes and experiences in my social life. I won’t tell you every one of those, but the point there is that I’ve realized that I try to stand out too much.

And sure, being an artist means being under the spotlight, but reflecting on how I worry too much about what others think (and why I’m not getting much about what others think) along with getting insight from praying the Rosary about how to be properly ordinary by God’s standards, I’ve realized that maybe this sort of publicly posted reflection series would seem more like me just putting on a facade and being arrogant. That, and I think I’d be more interesting if I wrote about funny and/or wondrous events that happen to me every once in a while, as after all, that sort of stories, be they fictional or nonfictional, are the stories I’ve been living for ever since my childhood.

Hm, perhaps that’s what it means to be an artist, then? To show others the beauty and wonders of life? Perhaps that beautiful and wonderful quest is the ordinary of an artist, no?

Anyway, thinking about how I’ve been going along with this series before and how I’ve been going as Tobby online and all, I’ve also realized that I should focus more on the ordinary life I should live as a student, a brother, and a son. The time for me to be a professional artist will come, but for now, it won’t be healthy for me to try doing stunts with the arts without knowing where I’m jumping off from (and that’s something that all those academic paper requirements, among other things, are whapping my face back and forth about). And sure, I’m striking out on my own some more now, considering my boarding house stays, but I can and should be of more help when I’m at my family’s house, for what’s the point of dreaming to have a good family of my own if I don’t put effort into learning how to have such from my elders and my siblings? Like, really, I want my youngest brother to keep away from enjoying morally questionable things, but when there’s a chance for that, I’m just in my room, clattering my keyboard away…and also going through morally questionable things as well.

So yeah, this series shall come to an end with this entry. Don’t worry, though, since you’ll still find me making art, but again, I have to remind myself that stuff like this should be extracurricular for now. That, and I still have a lot to learn…God Almighty keep on helping us all, alright.

And with that, I’d like to remind you all again: Honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated. ^_^

Why We Have a Large Family

If I hadn’t known about my dad, his siblings, and their parents, then I probably wouldn’t have even considered reading this in the first place. Such wonders, indeed. 😀

joy of nine9

Even though my large family has faced hard times and even suffered, I could not imagine life without every one of my kids in my life.

I did not plan on having a large family; I had never even held a baby before our firstborn. I had moved east with Michael after our first baby was born which cut me off from daily contact with friends and family.

mother_and_child2c_1912

Although I enjoyed living in the country, raising our own vegetables and later even all our own meat, it was an isolated existence. I felt like Ruth in a foreign land but without family support because Michael’s mother was busy with a huge extended family. In addition, my husband struggled with depression. Worldly opinion screamed we should not have any more children.

The question we had struggled with for years was,“How could we remain faithful to Church teaching when Natural…

View original post 471 more words

Lola’s Additions

On another Monday, a usually no-class day in which I would be available to pick up my youngest brother from school some barangays across my family’s house in the morning while my mother was out doing consultancy work and such, I was sluggishly preparing myself for that aforementioned task yet again.

Sure, I can go say “Mondays are horrible and are the worst day of the week for every person ever,” but then again, I had been up way late the night before that Monday, also sluggishly processing how the rest of my life would go, all while the majority of my mind was preparing its amateur promotional activities for my comeback as Tobby Who Tries to Sing.

And hey, it should be noted that those activities, along with all my activities as Tobby, are currently extracurricular. Not like losing sleep as a professional would be healthy, though.

Anyway, with me building and wrapping that chain of sluggishness around myself in my complex relationship with idolization, that Monday morning then had me staring at the monitor of my computer and doing extracurricular activities some more for seemingly short but actually long periods of time. Prayer ended up feeling more like a useless thing to do, especially when I and my rushing habits wanted me to pray the Rosary right when the clock was ticking for me to get to my youngest brother’s school already.

So yes, resisting further indulgence in digging through the highlights of the historical-to-the-world yet extracurricular-in-my-schedule performance of the Bulletproof Boy Scouts in the American Music Awards during that Monday morning, I managed to get myself bathed and dressed up for the task I had to embark on, along with swallowing my bitter pride and deciding to just discreetly use my Rosary beads while on a jeepney ride that will certainly be taking more than fifteen minutes because of expected traffic.

But before that, my dear maternal grandma asked me to buy squash at the supermarket, squash to mix in with the pork to cook for the next mealtime.

Also, before that request, she asked me to buy Cornettos as snacks for when I and my youngest brother got home as well.

It should also be noted that my rushing habits combined with my chain of sluggishness still aren’t totally dead yet, so yes, the pile-up quickly had me groaning when Grandma asked me to buy squash.

She then took back that request for squash from the supermarket, just letting me remember as far as the Cornettos while I focused on the urgent task of picking up my youngest brother from school. She didn’t shout at me when she took it back, though. To be more specific, the speed of her speech went up when she did the takeback.

Once I went out of the house and walked and commuted my way to my youngest brother, though, I guess my focus on the task at hand upped my focus on other more important things…things like what I should be doing once I really go out and be a young professional and more in the future.

I do feel thankful for Grandma understanding that my head was feeling piled-up already back there before I left the house, but then I thought of the inevitability of dealing with people who would also deal important tasks for me to do but won’t be as lenient as Grandma usually was to me. She also didn’t know that I was like that because of my own actions as well, actions she’d certainly fuss over.

I want to be a good citizen, a good family member…but how can I do that if I don’t put effort into serving other people? How can I do that if I don’t put effort into making sure that I would be fit enough to serve other people?

And certainly, I would need to stop doing certain things I’ve been quite into. I’d certainly need to spend less time reading fanfiction. I’d certainly need to admit that uploading Tobby works online takes chunks of time that are bigger than I think. And I’d certainly need to admit that I’ve been slipping up with this, stuffing thoughts about this reflection series in between my thoughts about the task of picking up my youngest brother and other important tasks I also want to finish in a flash.

And so, because of all those struggles, because of all those chores and errands being pushed to me, the most convenient and the most proper option my elders could find at the moment…well, I think I should be thankful for all that, especially to God.

Still, I have a long way to go.

Case in point: Grandma still packs the clothes I bring to my boarding house.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

And to my dear Grandma, whom I usually call “Mama” (while I call my mother “Mom” or “Mommy”)…Thank you very much for the inspiration. 🙂

We’ve Forgotten How Great It Is To Be a Catholic Woman

Mama Mary comes to mind, by the way. 🙂

joy of nine9

It is difficult to be a woman today, especially a Christian woman. It’s no wonder Catholics are confused about who they are. The Church boldly declares feminine traits are part of a woman’s core identity, deeply rooted in their souls, not just apparent in their physical appearance. Saint John Paul II, in his letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, explains God created women to be different but equal to men as complementary partners, be it as married or religious/consecrated or single women.

Our contemporary culture opposes this view as misogynistic. Some feminists promote the idea that women are born as blank slates with exactly the same traits as men, dismissing femininity as simply learned behaviour. If this were not confusing enough, society now toys with the idea of a blending of genders. We have somehow lost the truth about how great being a woman actually is.

25638-woman-praising-facebook-800w-tn

Nature…

View original post 951 more words

Unchecked Suspension

The day’s preparation for class started off with me hurrying to have a fried rice breakfast, buying puto and kutsinta for snacks, and walking fast to the jeepney stop and to the classroom.

I put effort into keeping myself calm and not being like most people I’ve met, though, silently admitting my fault of putting unnecessary focus on writing a fill for a writing prompt in a fanfiction site forum thread to myself, followed by reminding myself to just acknowledge the fact that there will be consequences. Good actions get good consequences, and bad actions get bad consequences, although some would say that good actions usually get bad consequences, but I would bet that that sort of thinking isn’t really God-centered.

Things started going strange, though, when the jeepney I was riding entered the university premises. There was a noticeable lack of people waiting for the jeepney, and in hindsight, I should’ve seen the signs back at the avenue outside it, where lines were usually long and barkers were standing by for the next available jeepney to stop by.

Still, I guess my efforts at trying to keep myself calm as I thought about going to class again kept me quite distracted from thinking more about that strangeness. Sure, I was expecting my professor on Shakespeare to just pause for a while or note my tardy presence from his peripheral vision as he discussed about stuff related to As You Like It, but I still couldn’t stop myself from imagining him sputtering and groaning at some latecomer interrupting him, even if he was more likely to just snark at me with a level voice and a straight face if he were feeling that offended.

Hm, come to think of it, that irrational imagine spot sounds more like something I’m likely to do if I were in his shoes.

Anyway, I then went on the classroom, my backpack for provincial return commutes on my shoulders, while my traveling bag of the current week’s dirty school and boarding clothes was gripped by one hand. Along with that blue and black traveling bag and its logo similar to one of the logos of K-Pop boyband Seventeen was a plastic bag containing some pricey chemistry lab equipment bought from a store within the campus, equipment which I bought for my homeschooled younger sister upon my mother’s request because such stuff were cheaper in the city of my university. There were also scattered thoughts in my head, such as thoughts about how my Poetry professor would zigzag yet entertain with her discussion before, during, and after a pair of students did a report on a poetry guide chapter. There were also memories of watching celebrity intrigues – particularly of separated couples and scandalous individuals – being talked about on TV back when I was a child. And then there were the plans regarding upcoming groupworks, and there were the expectations regarding praise from fellow fools on that writing prompt fill I had cut myself off from writing more of before posting it and logging out to keep myself from going late for class any further.

But when I entered the first classroom I had to go to for the day…I found it empty.

That was when I really took note of how the halls had a lack of students sitting down by its walls, how the construction workers and their roadwork didn’t have the chatter of university students and faculty blending into their noise, and how there was a security guard who noticed me looking into an empty classroom, asking me “May klase ba po kayo ngayon, sir?”

That was when I found out that classes were suspended on that day because of a recent typhoon.

And upon the advice of the somewhat uncertain yet pretty polite man with the tight, armed, badged, and embroidered white shirt, I even went through the trouble of asking some faculty at my course’s department to confirm it.

I pretty much let out some awkward laughs and apologies as I was reminded about how I needed to be more attentive of the news.

Still, would it be abnormal if I worried about how the teachers won’t be able to give us students enough of a challenge because of the disrupted schedule?

Breaks and Sudden Changes

I haven’t updated this reflection series by the usual weekly frequency lately, and it’s honestly something that’s been irking me. Furthermore, I considered ending this series because of that.

But now that I think about it, perhaps such breaks and sudden changes are part of the ordinary as well, no? I was thinking about saying that I write better with fiction, and that I only write about extraordinary things, but this sort of writing I’m trying to do tries to draw techniques from writing fiction, and writing about ordinary things would lead to realizations about extraordinary things.

I am uncertain about how I would update this from now on, though. But who am I writing for, anyway? What am I expecting? Am I expecting the world to change greatly and for the better overnight? Am I writing for a large audience expecting me to post something regularly? Really, even though I thought of ending this series by saying that I feel like I’ve been showing off and being hypocritical and such, that attempt at an excuse also sounds like a hypocritical statement now, as I think of myself as an entitled celebrity or something.

I also have more important things to do outside this as well. There’s school, there’s household work, there’s Mass (and in fact, I ended up being really late for Mass because I put more vigilance into working on my previous entry to this series), and so much more. It’s easy to blame society for this being delayed and even ended, but to be fair, this is more of an extracurricular activity, and I can still have conversations about spiritual things with other people outside the Internet.

With how I’m doing now, putting my daily responsibilities at risk for the sake of activities like this, I end up falling deeper into laziness through frustration over inabilities with continuing this, an example of such falling having happened recently, when my mother called me about buying some chemistry equipment for my sister. I know the importance of it, and I understand that said equipment are cheaper in the university store, but I easily became irritated when I stuffed in thoughts about whether or not I have enough money to afford the equipment I needed to buy. And at the time of the phone call, I was working on this entry as well.

Yes, I think I should change up the way I write my next entries for this series. I am not sure about whether or not there would be people who would care to comment on this right now, but regardless, I need to do deeper reflections, and a change of routine here is important, I think.

Indeed, I need to practice what I preach.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

The Not-So-Flashiness of Godly Glory

In my reflections on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, there’s something I realized as I thought more about the surrounding circumstances and the more specific details of those Mysteries.

See, one thing that probably makes them labeled as Mysteries…is how much ordinary they had.

Think about it:

  1. In the telling of how Jesus rose from the dead, there was no vivid and close-up depiction of it. He was shown again resurrected, sure, but the Resurrection proper was never shown past the whole earthquake and message at His tomb (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-18). Even Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus appeared to on that same day, did not recognize Jesus so easily, thinking that He was just some gardener when she saw Him after she wept to two angels about His disappearance (John 20:11-18).
  2. The Apostles were reminded by angels to get to work with preaching and all after Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:6-11). In other words, ordinary life still went on, even after such marvelous events.
  3. Of all the amazing abilities to particularly show the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles having right after they got descended upon by the fires of the Holy Spirit, emphasis was put on the ability to speak well in other languages (Acts 2:1-12).
  4. The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven, body and soul together. In other words, she didn’t leave a corpse behind when her life on earth reached its end.
  5. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of All Saints, and where you would find her speaking in the Bible, you would also find her being confused about God and His actions, followed by obeying, supporting, and even praising God without so much question.

Now, if I were to think about those with the mindset of someone looking for blinding lights or, at least, empirical evidence in the search for the existence of the great glory of God Almighty, then I would probably find myself doubting and disappointed. And if I were looking for a whipping woman with a mob under her heels, then I would also be doubting and disappointed by Mama Mary.

Like, really, the hatred held by that proud being named Satan makes more sense that way. With that sort of thinking, followers of God Almighty would seem like practically invisible and nodnut followers of some faceless ruler dude who makes the citizens underneath him do mundane and dirty work over and over until they die.

So yes, believing in God and following Him really is like walking on water while facing the wind, which dear Saint Peter failed at before (Matthew 14:29-31). Oh, and it also makes me think that God really has an awesomely humbling sense of humor, considering how doing ordinary duties extraordinarily well (which was notably encouraged by Saint John Bosco) can be compared to walking on water while facing the wind.

And yes, being properly ordinary still feels that way to me. I don’t know everything that’ll happen to me next, and the twists and turns of life still are quite a puzzle. I wish I could finish everything in one fell swoop, but that sort of thinking would just lead me to square one at best or Hell at worst. Being properly ordinary feels even more challenging when I think about how to do it while being an artist as well.

But still, I do believe that I’ve been helped by God before, and that I can prove that in ways so many more than I think, especially since He values the ordinary so much.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all. 🙂

As Basic as Eating

It was just recently when I began to seriously wonder about why Jesus Christ decided to have something as ordinary as eating as the core part of a Sacrament.

Yes, I do know and believe that the Mass is one sacred activity, but if I were someone looking forward to more explosive sounds and blinding lights in our quest for divine salvation and eternal life, I think I would also end up questioning the worth of gathering in one place, listening to readings, and then eating.

Yes, eating. After that and everything else that came before it, we go back to our regular life programs. There’s the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass, yeah, but it can be easy to take for granted, especially since there’s none of those flashy and spectacular sensory effects accompanying the Consecration…well, unless you count the sacristan’s bell-ringing as flashy and spectacular, but that would probably be considered negligible by the popular lover of bright sparkles and booming shockwaves.

So yeah, during my continued endeavors at praying the Rosary daily (which is tough, even if I haven’t exactly broken my current streak, mostly because I waste my time on things like hanging around with questionable people and material online for the sake of pride and such), I had those thoughts about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Not like I felt disappointment, though, as I actually realized more about the true level of difficulty that we need to face to truly get to Heaven when I had those thoughts.

Think about it: Eating is pretty much the most basic form of nourishment, and we people have to eat three balanced meals a day. And then there’s Jesus, instituting the Holy Eucharist as one of the essentials in Catholic life, the core of it all being a mealtime with His Body and Blood as the main course. And sure, Sunday Masses are the required Eucharistic attendance, but don’t you think there’s something to be said about something as basic as eating being that important a task?

And hey, don’t we easily take the basics for granted? I can remember how easy it has been for me to have an eating routine that goes from not eating much to eating too much like a seesaw. I don’t eat much when I want to focus on my studies and my Tobby stuff without a lot of disturbance, and I eat too much when I come to eat after those periods. There’s also my choices of food, which has a load of carbs, oil, and sugar lately, tipping the scales out of balance. And then there’s socialization during mealtimes, which I haven’t been appreciating as much as I should, considering things like my annoyance at my family complaining – even if they’re mostly through jokes – about diet struggles and such.

Now, my dad’s talks about less fortunate people come to mind again, with them eating the scraps they can get, and then there’s me, putting myself in a cycle of fattening up and then lazing around.

Yeah, the Eucharist got me thinking more about properly appreciating the basics, alright. Oh, and in the Eucharist, we eat, and we eat something that doesn’t seem much. It’s easy to question it, to call it a cheap lie, but in that, we can see the everyday challenge that God presents us. It reminds me of John 20:29, which is Jesus’ response to the once doubting Thomas after He appeared to him and the rest of His disciples: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Indeed, it makes me think more about how there really is beauty in the ordinary.

So yeah, God Almighty help us some more. 🙂