Wonder Skill: Listening

I’ve attended several meetings recently; most of which lasted way beyond the planned time period. Today’s was an exception though. We finished on the dot. Even more noteworthy, we  were able to reach a resolution by the end of the meeting.

How did it happen? Simple. People listened more than they talked.

With the earlier meetings, almost everybody came prepared with their own speeches. Mouths were charged but ears were obviously drained and shut. It was frustrating. Same question gets asked over and over again; same issues get raised over and over again by DIFFERENT people. They were like pawns on a SORRY! board game that never hit home. I actually felt sorry for them. I wish I could play “voice of reason” but I was in no position to.

I believe people who refuse to listen to others are egotists—to put it bluntly. These people are convinced that no other opinions are worth hearing than theirs. It’s a pity actually. While they maybe right, they fail to see what they lose when they don’t listen.

For starters, having shorter meetings. Today’s meeting’s the perfect exhibit. I bet we all had time for other tasks after.

Second and very important is new learning. People who shut their ears also close their minds. I think close-minded people evolve either poorly or not at all.

Third is the opportunity to display not only aptitude but commendable attitude. A person who listens, shows regard/respect for others. From this, better and healthier relationships also follow.

Lastly, a stronger output from combined inputs. All four pawns will reach home!

Imagine the benefits if people only listened more…

Meanwhile, I’ll be hoping and praying for those who are yet to acquire this wonder skill. I’m positive God can change people 🙂

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” – James 1:19

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2

Small.

This photo was taken last Saturday at the Saved Festival.

In one of the performances of Israel Houghton and New Breed, we were encouraged to light up our phones and hold them up. I think 80% of the crowd did as told and boy, was it a hair-raising sight! We were numerous. We were a thousand people in that dome, and our lit-up phones against the dark created an image of what seemed to me like a galaxy. So many tiny stars—so, so tiny in that vastness. I was—I am little. I am just one of the many itsy-bitsy specks. YET, the Lord knows me by name. The tiny, tiny me—He knows to the jot! What a prodigious truth!

PSALM 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Apathy.

My sister’s phone almost got snatched yesterday. She was on her way to the office when the passenger jeepney that she was in made a stop. She was trying to send a message to someone at work when a hand from outside the window grabbed her phone. Fortunately, my sister was quick on her toes. She held on to her phone as tight as she could, pulled down and then forward. It must be the years of strength training that she had and really, just God’s awesome protection that spared her from harm and from loss. The robber gave up and just let go. Shocked and shaken with what happened, she yearned for even a little sympathy—a simple “Are you okay?” to at least console her. But none of the other passengers of what she described as a jam-packed jeepney cared to help; none cared to say a word. They just stared at her like movie-goers waiting for the end credits to roll.

She wanted to burst and I wanted too when I heard her story. Since when did people become so apathetic? You see a fellow human being wronged and distressed, and you just sit there watching? But, you can watch a movie and allow its sappiness to get to you? Seriously, since when did sympathy and empathy become only existent in the realm of make-believe?

So, my sister didn’t die, and she only had sore muscles after but do these disqualify her from a little caring? This really saddens me. “Every man for himself” has just gotten real.

Just so we remember…

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Friday Favorites 04 | Boho Stuff

Okay, so let me try to get back to regular programming. Since today’s a Friday, I’m sharing with you another set of personal favorites.

People who know me well or have been around me for long know of my inclination to boho/hippie stuff. Tassels, prints, pops of color, and weaves truly, truly make my heart happy; and in terms of these things being available locally, I do not have a problem. The Philippines being composed of several ethnic and non-ethnic groups whose artisan skills are just superb, we boast of textile and handicrafts that will make every free spirit’s heart go ‘thump, thump’.

To prove that point, here are four local stores that offer quality products that basically make up 1/2 of my current wishlist.

1. Django Leather Arts & Crafts

When it comes to leather articles, Django says, “The sky’s the limit!”. Bags, sandals, shoes, hand cuffs, book covers—name it; they’ll make it RIGHT INFRONT OF YOU. Yes! While you can always choose from their products on display, they can customize stuff for you on the spot. Now, slurp that awesome sauce!

My eyes are totally on this pair:

2. Yakang Yaka Barter

Where do I begin? Prints on shoes, accessories, yoga mat bags, etc.! Yakang yaka uses Yakan-woven textile in all of their products. I am amazed at how this particular business promotes Philippine artistry and at the same time provide a means of livelihood for the Yakans, an ethnic group living in the Mindanao Region.

Excuse me but I want these badly:

3. Artickles PH

Arm party, you say? Artickles PH will give you a party like no other: weaves, beads, tassels, and charms all together! I cannot begin to explain how sweet they look together.

I wish to see these around my arms:

4. Wear Soul Flower

Theirs are products that instantly take you to the sea or to a meadow running free. I am in love with them! I kid you not, you will be too!

Someone buy me this:

I’ve used a lot of exclamation points in this post. Haha. Says a lot about my feelings for these things! So there, hope you enjoyed today’s favorites!

Paleo Day 7

My newly engaged sister just got back from her week-long Singapore-Malaysia trip. As a homecoming treat, she brought back a box of my favorite elusive-in-the-Philippines Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies.

Haven’t I gone Paleo, I would have jumped up and down gleefully at the sight of it. But like an ex-lover, I reacted quite densely. Of course, I am joyed with the sentiment that came with it but not with the sugar, gluten, and dairy that were in the package. I was partly proud of, partly weirded out by my reaction to it. Deep down my gut, I know I love it; but after all the Paleo research that I’ve done, I think knowing the fact that it is not that good for my body controlled my usual enticement.

Pardon the analogy but I can’t help but compare it to the temptations defined in the bible. Since we are originally people of the flesh, we love a lot of these things. But as we become enlightened, as our eyes become opened, we begin to realize the harm that they are to inflict on us and we develop a distaste for them. This is something to be grateful for really, cause while the ultimate purpose of this mindset and lifestyle change is the glory of God, the protection that it gives us is undeniable too. Just like how having open meals in paleo has consequences like returning cravings, indulging in temptations also has its repercussions.

So, curious if I dug in the box and took a bite?

I didn’t.  I enjoyed my zucchini spaghetti instead.

Hi.

Helloooo! It’s been a while. How have you been?

Since my vacation in Palawan, my behavior/attitude somehow defaulted to LAZY. Well, that is in terms of doing creative things. The last time I touched a pair of scissors was last week when I cut out square boards for a friend’s project, and that was it. So, I’m crossing my fingers that I get pumped again. I have been delaying my metal stamping goal far too long!

In case you’re interested, here are a few things that happened to me while I was away from this cyber world of ours:

1. I had my hair cut to its shortest by far and am in no way regretting it.

2. My sister got engaged. I am about to lose my longtime roommate to a wonderful man. So, no sadness really, only happiness!

3. My other sister passed the Radiologic Technology Licensure Exam. It’s really breakthrough upon breakthrough for our family. All praises to God!

4. I’ve gone paleo. I’m on my 7th day now and I feel great. I don’t intend to become an extremist though so I would allow myself the occasional chocolate chip cookie. Also, I’m attending a food expo this Saturday so I might just have to indulge myself a bit. With paleo, I’m becoming more creative with my food. The other day, I came up with a dish I dubbed “sunny potatty” which is seasoned sweet potato (grated) topped with a beef patty and then topped again with sunny side up egg. It turned out pretty awesome. 🙂 Hopefully, this will get me into baking!

So there! Let’s see if I can keep this blog alive again. 🙂

Busboy

I was having dinner, whilst doing my usual people watching, at a food court yesterday when a busboy caught my eye. He was a few tables away from me doing, well, what he ought to be doing: busing tables. The place was pretty full and he had a lot to tidy up; so, perhaps to maximize his time, he filled his one tray with as much used plates and cups  as he could. As he lifted the tray up, the stack of cups wobbled and fell. So, the poor guy had to put the tray down again, gather the cups that are now scattered, and stack them once more. He also had to take out his wiper again to dry up the spilled water/juice/soda on the floor.

Quick on his toes as he was, he was obviously tired already and that little brouhaha was the last thing he needed. There was frustration, exasperation on his face. Add to that, no one bothered to help as if thinking, “That’s his job anyway!” Heck, I also just sat there watching! I was trying to defend my apathy by convincing myself that I was seated too faraway and that he would be done by the time I get there; but there was a nagging, convicting tug that I should have at least asked him if he was okay. That was the least I could do and I didn’t do it. To be perfectly honest, I also cannot understand why I was that bothered. It was his job anyway. He should be okay.

And then, it hit me.

Most of the time, we assume that the people around us are okay just because we are used to them playing certain roles—just because we see them doing the same things,just because they don’t say a word, just because we don’t hear them complain. We assume that they are okay so, we no longer ask.

We grew up knowing that the answer to the question, “How are you?” is “I’m fine. Thank you!”

It was a bit shaking to realize that familiarity can actually make us care less. Dad’s been traveling to work 2 hours daily to work for a year now. He’s okay. Mom’s been doing all the household chores ever since. She’s okay. My sister has never been the type who gets emotional over rejection. She’s okay. My partner never complains. He’s okay. 

As much as it warms people’s hearts to know that they are loved and appreciated, people, especially those that we are so accustomed to already, want to know that they are cared for. People want to feel that others are interested not only with what they do but also, with how they feel.

Dad’s not okay today because he felt dizzy  during today’s bus ride. Mom’s not okay today because her back aches. Sister’s not okay because it was her dream job that she got turned down for. Partner’s not okay because he’s actually so exhausted from work.

So, you said, “I love you today. You said, “Thank you.” You might have blurted out an “I’m sorry too but have you asked someone this today: Are you okay?

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

  

Friday Favorites 03 | Coron, Palawan

Deviating from my usual design favorites this Friday to share with you a fresh pick:

Yes, my newest destination of choice! Admittedly, I am not well traveled but I don’t think that is a slur to this personal claim: Coron is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world!

Last week, I was blessed enough to spend 6 days in Palawan for free. More than providing rest and relaxation, the experience was a satisfying visual buffet. I was surrounded by beauty and I loved every bit of it!

Perfectly painted skies.

The clearest of waters.

Impressive rock textures and formations.

Mountains standing mighty and proud.

Fishes of different colors, forms and sizes.

Greens on, beneath and away from the water surface.

Beautiful, happy people.

It was a natural museum where the Lord’s works are on display. Everything’s breathtaking; everything’s with the Lord’s signature on it. It was awe-inspiring and at the same time, humbling. As my eyes feasted on my surroundings, I told myself: “So, all of these the  Lord had done? I don’t think I could ever come up with something that’s even an inch close.”

Somehow, it made me realize that really, the ultimate job of creation is the Lord’s. It is His role to craft and orchestrate things for us—places, people, circumstances because only He can do it oh, so beautifully. Meanwhile, our role is only to CAPTURE, to EMBRACE them. We are asked simply to respond to His creation—with praises, with thanksgiving and with the desire to share (through photographs, paintings, and our own humble, inspired re-creations) so others may see His glory.

Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you– majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? – Exodus 15:11

Tuesday Type | Aeropostale

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE!

I am back and breaking my two-week hiatus with Tuesday Type.

I found some really impressive chalk hand lettering at the Aeropostale store in Glorietta 2. I’m particularly fangirling over the shading. I bet you would to!

Enjoy!

Friday Favorites 02 | Design Inspirations

Counting hours to the weekend?

Well, I’m sharing yet again five rousing sites that will take your mind off the clock.

1. The Fresh Exchange

Familiar with the app OVER? If you are using an iPhone, you must be.

The creative force behind The Fresh Exchange Blog made the awesome text overlays there!  The husband and wife tandem of  Mike and Megan Gilger describes their blog as a space where they create and catalogue their design ideas.

Personally, I can say that everything you’ll see there is tastefully done especially the photos. The photos will wow you! They’re coming up with an online studio which they will call WILD MEASURE .  I’m guessing, it’s going to really live up to its name.

2.  World Label Blog

World Label is actually a manufacturer of Blank Label sheets for use on IDs, CDs, Food, Electrical Stuff, etc. They have an A-U list of where their labels can be used!

Perhaps, as a marketing strategy or simply as a gift to their customers, they created a blog where they feature label designs that are free for download. The designs are so stunning that you would really want to use them!

3.  Sugar Paper

Oh sweet, sweet paper! The classiest, prettiest stationery can be found on Sugar Paper.

Borrowing the words from their website:

Connoisseurs of correspondence and self-proclaimed traditionalists, Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker believe that personal stationery makes a deep, lasting impression. These close friends and graphic designers founded Sugar Paper in 2003 after falling in love with the simplicity and nostalgia of letterpress printing. Their mission was simple: to design exquisite social stationery that would be a distinctive stamp of style for their chic clientele, and shine a spotlight on a beautiful and underappreciated art form.

4. Carla Hackett’s Blog

Carla Hackett is another soul with a wonderful pair of hands. Her hand lettering is extremely impressive and delightful! I am especially liking her chalkboard drawings. One day, some day, I hope to come up with pieces as beautiful as hers.

5.  Best Dressed Signs

I don’t know about you but I have always adored hand-painted signs. Apart from the obvious creativity, I am amazed at how neatly and accurately done they are. Sign painters probably have the steadiest hands in the world!

Best Dressed Signs is a tumblr blog dedicated to the art of  Sign Painting. It has features and reviews on hand painted signs,  painters, and techniques. If you’re an enthusiast or simply an admirer, I’m sure it’s a site you would enjoy.

There goes today’s five favorites.  Have a good time!

Missed last week’s five? Go here.