Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Puppy Princess

I recently acquired (for a relatively low price) a new shih tzu puppy and she is really adorable. Her name is Princess, and she just turned three months old last August 21. Its my first time to have puppy, let alone a "breeded" one, and she is as cute as a stuffed toy. That's why its called a toy dog.

I got her from my friend Silke, and she has five other siblings, all given to different owners. I should say she is the cutest, with my own personal bias, since she is a tri-colored one, and she has the best paws of the brood. Her eyes are very expressive and you could see emotion in them.

She likes to eat the meat Pedigree as opposed to the regular pedigree dog food. I got her a plastic bone where she would gnaw all day and when she gets tired, she takes a nap. I think she is sick with hyperactive syndrome! She is WILD!!!

One thing I enjoy most about her is that she acts differently from a regular dog. She likes attention, and she is super playful! She can fetch her toy soccer ball, which I play around with her, and I "drag" her around the village when I want to take her for a nice short walk.

In this entry, I suppose I can link it to my relationship with Jesus, my God, wherein He adores me, and He loves me, and gave everything for me. And I, the puppy, sometimes is wild and makulit, perhaps giving my Savior a headache, (but I guess not because He never gets weary), and yet He loves me.

I love my Savior Jesus, who bought me with a high price!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Flirtng Game is ON, but not for me

"If I were Santa, you would be in my wish tell me, are you naughty, or nice?". This pick up line is so cheesy and funny, it'll probably result in making the girl laugh with her friends and dump you in an instant. I heard that from the movie White Chicks. Very funny movie.

Flirting for me is an awesomely risky game where you risk your reputation as a person, and prepare to get labeled once you're turned away. Pick up lines usually do that, and it may determine the success or failure of a flirting game. But, its a no-no for me, since I am married!!!

I heard of a new flirting scheme and its by the use of your hair style!!! Check it out your hair! If you got a sexy style hair, and you meet another person with a sexy style hair, and suddenly attraction starts, things happen like lightning, become physical, and the result is (not a long lasting relationship), but a NEW HAIRSTYLE! That's what we call Victory Hair with Extreme Style by VO5! The style you get after moochy-moochy!

Since I cannot participate in this game, if you readers want to join in, there is a Flirting Game and it sounds interesting for single persons! Just grab a widget and join in the "spray"... I mean fray!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Dad: Jules Amper Jr.

My dad is now 64 years old. Still married to my mom Aurora, and he still kicks like a horse! Three of his four kids are now finished with their college studies, working, and are all technically married. I wont get into detail into why I said that.

This blog is about my dad. My great dad Jules Amper. In the point of view of some people, they might see my dad as a failure, or an unsuccessful man. And to a degree, there may be truth in those statements. But amidst all our frustrations I choose not to look at his shortcomings, rather, I chose to celebrate all his accomplishments...thus my blog.

Let me begin with his very first success... he made all four of us siblings possible! His sperm cells were indeed strong swimmers, and all of us are normal, awesome kids! Its only now that my wife and I realize that its not that easy to make kids. That is a feat on its own!

Next, it is by providing us siblings and my mom the love and the financial support we needed growing up as kids. I know with all my heart that Papa worked hard (and enjoyed too) abroad and sacrificed a lot just to get my mom a good, nice life. In fairness to my mom, she could manage equally well (if not better) if she were alone!!! She's a toughie, that's for sure.

I'll write more of my personal experiences with my dad and inject some stuff including my siblings. So, the earliest recollection of my dad is that I admired his singing voice and how he drew pictures. I was amazed as a kid and I always wanted to be like him. I practiced drawing and I tried to make them as lifelike as I could. About singing, I admired his confidence and how he drew listeners to his guitar playing and his great voice. I also breezed through a lot of his songbooks where he hand-wrote all the songs he loved, cowboy songs, Spanish songs, folk songs, etc. I remember listening to the car stereo of our old red Lancer as we sped through the former smooth Marcos Hi way, and I loved hearing my dad sing Spanish songs and I sang them quietly with him.

Another thing I learned from him early on, is him faithfully bringing us to our church. I hated church when I was a kid, all the kids smelled terrible and my Sunday school teachers were boring, and they prayed too long. Besides, Sunday mornings were cartoons time and it was so hard to get dressed and squeeze into our tiny car. However, I did learn a lot of stuff (basically because the stories were constantly repeated!) and I found great friends at church. But my dad put great value in spiritual things as he invested in books I loved to read as a child, such as Children's Literature and the Bible Stories. Man, I loved those stories. They told the Biblical accounts in such a way that you wont forget them and as a result you'll know them by heart! That's one reason I got bored with Sunday School...

Another thing he did for me was getting us books about sciences and arts. I believe he wanted us to become smart kids, as he and Mama bought us encyclopedias! I remember Papa helping us with the Cyclo-Teacher Learning Aid, and patiently assisted us and checked our answer sheets. He always said "Correct Nicanor!" whenever I got a right answer. Not only that, but my Papa always had a way to explain concepts to us with the use of illustrations and also a system of teaching. He taught me the concept of human reproduction(among many other concepts like Space, history, etc). By the way, about the reproductive "process", I clearly remember reacting: "You mean you and Mama did that?! Yuck!!"

He also handmade our flash cards and constantly drilled us with math and he even bought maps so we could be familiar with the cities of the world and of the Philippines. He also bought us listening tapes from Rodolfo Torres, which helped us big time in our reading, diction, math, etc. Aside from that, he also invested in buying tapes of Kids Praise, where I owe my English speaking skills and diction, which is only secondary to the lessons those tapes taught me about God, His people, His Word, and Christian values...and also SINGING!!! He brought us to Meralco to watch the free film showings, and just enjoy a day at the bowling alley and the billiards, also in the tennis courts and the canteen.

I also loved the way Papa encouraged us to go hiking and appreciate nature. I always looked forward to those hiking trips as a kid. We walked and walked, and we went to places where we could swim and climb trees.

I also remember my Papa teaching me to play basketball, tennis, baseball (we always threw catch in front of our house) and he sent me and my brother to Karate and Taekwondo schools, basketball clinics, tennis clinics, etc. He also loved to tickle us and make us step on his back. I always remember the "octopus" where he wrapped all four of his limbs plus his head for added "grip" over us and counted to ten. By that time we must escape or else he would tickle us!

He taught me how to ride a bike, how to drive, how to solve my homework assignments. He made us a beautiful model house for my brother's assignment and he always paid attention to precision and detail. He worked carefully slow but very professional and clean. He always helped me in making my parol (Christams Lantern), and in almost all my art projects he assisted and guided me so I could develop my own creativity.

About music, he taught me everything. And though he didnt directly teach me guitar, we used HIS guitar when we practiced. Oh, he did teach me a classical piece "romanza de amor", the year I started learning guitar. More than Words was next, but my brother taught me that. He and Mama bought me a nicer guitar (after I broke the previous one), and they encouraged me to join our church's praise team in my senior year in High School.

I pretty much owe him everything I am because he enrolled me in Ateneo as a grade school student, fixed all the necessary procedures to get us into Manila Science High School, and also for me, he was the one who suggested to me that I try UP College of Music, playing the cello.

As I grew up, of course the picture of a perfect Dad faded and as an adult, you slowly replace the beautiful image to an image of all the things you don't want to be. But in reality, my dad was a great dad. Much less, a great man. He instilled in me a deep love for music, science and arts. But one of the most beautiful gift he gave us was his faithfulness to my mom. And they stuck together through thick and thin... mostly thin... and I would always see the constant nights where my Papa would take mama in his arms and dance with her. They sang duets together, and they always kissed each other. What a dad.

I love him and I will always be proud of him. I'm not half the man he is, mostly because I will never be him, 'coz I'm a different person! But all those beautiful lessons he taught us I will try to teach my kids. And my prayer is that he would always show his bright smile and encourage others around him to cheer up and live life!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My trip to Palawan

On August 10-13, I was privileged to join the Breaking Point Team in sharing the anti-substance abuse program that could help the lives of young people in their awareness to this malignant social disease. Our focus, was giving the good news of a change of heart to these young people. And this change of heart could only be a result of a life lived under Jesus' control, by simply making Him your Lord and Savior.

We were partnered with a team from Sagemont Church, based in Houston Texas. They sent a total of 18 delegates under Rev. Sandy Baird and his wife Karen. On our arrival in Palawan, we were again partnered with a local Palawan Team, delegates from Family of Christ Church, under Rev. David Quiocson. It was at first a super pleasant trip because we departed from the newly opened NAIA Terminal 3, and was safely transported to Palwan via Cebu Pacific. The upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Family of Christ church with leis and were transported to our beautiful hotel, Fleuris Hotel.

We had a great room (though the view was a blank wall) as Pastor Alvon, Pastor Jeff and myself were comfortably lodged in three nice beds! The dinner was sumptous, and the welcome service was truly, "new" to us. We then rehearsed our Taekwondo demonstaration, and also the dramas in which I played the Money Person in the Redeemer.

After a good night's sleep, we woke up early and had another great breakfast, and also becoming more acquainted with our American partners. We had another training and run throughs of the program, and by lunch time (Jolibee) we were ready for our first school, Sicsican National High School.

Going there was a short 20 minute drive, and we were welcomed by a beautiful school (relative to Manila), and the kids were all excited to see us! The program went really well, and after the whole thing, we started packing up and went to the next school, Palawan National High School. We arrived a little over 4pm, and set up as quick as we could, and we let the ball roll for another great action packed program!

We didn't feel the exhaustion only until we were done with the dramas. There was a classroom interaction up next... Praise God He manipulated situations and gave us a good break by letting a large group presentation of Breaking Point take place instead. It saved us a lot of saliva and throat pain.

It was so rewarding to see the kids so encouraged specially when in my group, I shared the hope you had in Christ, and also the life you can have if you had a real relationship with Jesus. It was hard, but great. I told them that they had to be good in their studies, avoid drugs, and substance abuse, avoid sexual relationships, and just be nice kids. I told them what God did in my life, though Im not the best (but I want to be) in my field, I still get a lot of clients and God provides for my needs! Their faces just lit up as I felt their eagerness to start(or continue) living a clean life and get Jesus in their life.

We ate dinner at a great restaurant, where they served Filipino dishes for the American visitors, and we had a great time of fellowship. By the time we were back at the hotel we desired nothing but a clean bath and a great sleep. However tired, we had to sleep later because we had to read and tally the comment cards.

Next day... we're not fired up. At least not me. My eyes were as heavy as iron bars and my body felt like it was glued to my comfortable bed. But, I'm glad I was used to getting up early at home, so I still got the strength to get up, pray and prepare for another day of hard, physical work.

Breakfast was grrreat! And we hurried to our first location and we arrived on time! We again set up and the energy again was pumping for a great day of evangelism. After the program, we had to pack up and set up at the next scheduled program only one hour away. The school was near but setting up the stage and all was as tiring as doing the program itself. Upon arrival, I was so encouraged to see a small auditorium, no stage, and dirt floor. Hehe, how sarcastic. But in the ministry, you had to look at things in a different perspective. It is always with a servant heart, a love for the people you want to reach, and an attitude of being a part of the solution, not the problem.

Turned out to be a great presentation, (because we got the dramas and the taekwondo perfectly) and a lot of college students were challenged and encouraged to start a relationship with Christ. I met great people in this trip, and mostly my American partners. Their testimonies were movie-like, and their lives were really changed... Some of the guys I met were Stanley and Chuck who were my best buds during the trip.

Stanley is a bagpipe player and he does that professionally in the States. Its somehow interesting because Im enchanted with the bagpipes and it's the first time I ever heard one played live! It's really LOUD! But, as amazing as it is, it's better to meet the player than the instrument! Stanley is amazing and he is very passionate about what he does. Drawing, playing the bagpipes, just sharing his thoughts about life, but most of all, sharing Jesus to others.

The same with Chuck, or Carlos. He is an Italian, first time I ever met a true full blooded Italian! But he grew up in the States and he is a very learned man, being an aircraft mechanic, he is amazing as well! His life story is also very inspiring and he loves the Lord very much. I thought of him as my very own dad, and I love listening to his stories, his insight, his thoughts too!

The best thing about the mission trip is sharing Jesus to a lost people. And seeing them having hope is the greatest reward a missionary can have!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Uncle Who is Challenged

I had the privilege of "acquiring" an uncle who had a special case in his mind. He is actually a direct uncle of my wife and I had the fondest memories of him whenever he was around. However, it turned out to be difficult when you had to take care of him yourself. I had these images in my mind about how inconvenient, how it wasn't my responsibility, and why the burden was placed on our shoulders...

All those images were false though, and even if they had some truth in it, it wasn't about him... it was about me. It's me who is supposed to learn and grow with these circumstances. Uncle Gilbert is already like that...that is a given. But I can change, that is the variable factor. And God can bless me tremendously, that is another variable.

My ninong Daniel had it said plainly in a rebuke of love, that it is easy for us to love those who are loving us back. God, people around us, wife, children, people who are normally responsive. Even those who are difficult to love is easier to love than uncle because we can have hope that they will change and might love us back. In Uncle's case... he never will. Unless some miracle happens. It is a true challenge to us as Christians to love those who are unloved, and those incapable of loving us back. He will never naturally hug you, or tell you he loves you, or offer you help, a drink, his food, offer to do you favors...nope, he may never will. But in return I must hug him, tell him we love him, offer him help, drink, food, etc. That is a case where I must learn, (and honestly I'm getting the hang of it) and relearn all the stuff you read in the Bible, and all the stuff you learn in Sunday school.

I was looking at his pictures after I took him to bath, and we were sort of having guessing games who's who in the pictures. He can recognize key people like his dad, of course himself, my wife, etc. And as i was looking at his kid pictures, it dawned on me that he was a happy kid. He really was. I saw his genuine smiles in the pictures, he seemed to enjoy himself growing up, he was also kinda fit! I was wondering what happened along the way that caused him to be angry and unresponsive. He actually went to Rome and all those places, and I could really see that he had a great childhood.

I again wondered if Uncle had a normal mind. What would he be doing? What was his line of work? Would he be a godfather to my future kids? I don't know...

I heard him singing just now... I wonder where he learned that song, and when? Who taught him? Was he happy at that time? What images flash in his mind whenever he sang?

I also started thanking God because he gave me a "burden" not too heavy to bear. Uncle Gilbert knew how to take a bath, to take a dump and wash himself. He didn't splatter his pee all around the house. He is quite easy to get along with, and he doesn't know how to hurt people. The only problem with him is even too small to mention publicly.

In this life, as I always say, it doesn't get better. In fact, it gets harder and harder. Its only us who must learn to grow stronger, and be more mature, and to depend on God more as the storms of life continually come.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Google playing God

I've been thinking about why my blog went back to PR n/a. Man, I am so disappointed and of course the reasons for this will never be disclosed. Whatever you do, you wont know the reason why this happened. Its some sort of " I play God... I have reasons you dont have to understand" mentality. However, God knows that its the best for you and that He does things because He loves you. In their case however, I dont know.

My sponsored posts of course went from alot to almost nil. Whatcha think? Anyway, I still praise God He allowed this to happen. And though I dont get income from blogging nowadays, He has given me other sources. Ha! Bless the Lord!

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tamperproof worshipper
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