Book Review: Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God

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screenshot_2017-02-21-16-03-56-1-2I can’t be more grateful to have read this amazing book—Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God—just in time for Love Month! How sweet it is to be reading letters these days…

Reading the book felt like having a face-to-face conversation with the author. All throughout the read, it seemed like the author knew me personally as she’s gone through the same experiences I had. I’ve been encouraged and reminded of how much God loves me and how great and enough that love is. This made me realize that most of the disciplines that I have now are healthy, although I still need to work on some.

I love how she plays with words; Ms. Isa Garcia is a certified wordsmith! Reading the book made me want to meet the author in the near future as we have a lot of things in common—we share a lot of the same sentiments. I’m thankful for the author’s courage to share her heart with us, readers.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Love is the Man who takes the blame, who feels the whip on His battered back, and carries a wooden beam. He climbs the hill, and is nailed to the cross even though he did no wrong, all because of love.”


“Your heart’s not glass. It’s made of far better and tougher stuff.”

–> This one’s for those who are afraid to love again.

“Going along with someone is to know that to share love — no matter how brief or how long the moment — is always a privilege. The space we get to love somebody is always just enough.”

–> This reminded me to savor every moment.

“So many of the things you say Yes to in life will determine who you are and where you’ll end up. Your Yes is far too sacred to be squandered.”

–> This is something we should be reminding ourselves of every once in a while.

“When you leave, you begin to understand the worth of what you have walked away from.”

“I want to be sought after for the way that I love, for my capacity to inspire, for a big faith.”


“Truth is just that: The thing that stands tall even after everything else has crumbled away.”

–> I love how she defines truth in this book.


The calligraphy artworks included in the book are a breath of fresh air—wow! Check them out!

Found is available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshops and PCBS branches nationwide (stock availability varies per bookshop) and through their online store: passagesbooks.com.

It is also available as an ebook through the following:
Amazon
Google Play Books

[ I received a complimentary digital copy of the book. This review is part of the blog tour for Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God. ]

A Brother Worth Imitating

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In the past years, I’ve noticed that tributes have oftentimes been given to people when they are already dead. To me, that idea is as good as a chocolate teapot! The now dead person would have felt honored and appreciated if only the kind words have been told when he or she was still alive! Wouldn’t he or she?

Now let me pay a tribute to someone who’s very much alive!

…to someone who’s touched so many lives!

I’m talking about Mr. Dennis Rodriguez!!!!!

According to our mother, he’s the largest baby she’s ever delivered! He weighed 9lbs when he came into the world exactly 28 years ago today.

“He looked like a one-year-old baby back then,” she would recall.

He was BIG! Oh wait, let me correct myself here. He IS big for until now, he’s the tallest and the heaviest among the four of us. (Ooops… I think I’d have to apologize! I know I’m supposed to make him happy and not make fun of him today.)

Yeah, he seemed healthy during his infancy. However, something’s changed when he turned 4. He grew thin, so skinny that you would think he could make a great fit for your banana cues! Oh well, kidding aside, our parents thought he wouldn’t make it for he’s been coughing so hard and he’s really having a hard time to breathe. They’ve already tried almost every option to have him healed, but it just wouldn’t work.

Then one day, out of nowhere, it came to our father’s mind to take him to the Baywalk located just behind Quirino Grandstand. He’s taken him there for four consecutive mornings. He had to carry him on his back for he couldn’t walk for a long period of time. He would splash water over him and even take him to a ferry ride. The water there’s a thousand times cleaner that it is nowadays I suppose.

It was a leap of faith he’d made right there, and this faith made my brother well.

In his very first year in school (1990), there have been times when he would wake up, dress, and go to school all by himself. The other times, when our father wouldn’t come on time because he was recovering from lack of sleep due to work, he would opt to go home from school by himself.

During his elementary days in Shalom Learning Center, Inc. (now called Shalom Akademeia of Cavite), he would sell Dunkin’ Donuts and some toys to his classmates. Little did we know that this was already a sign that he would later venture into entrepreneurship.

We’ve got one young businessman in the making!

In the same school, his skills were developed which made his schoolmates and teachers recognize him. He’s been known for his creativity, diligence, brilliance, responsibility, leadership and many more. These characteristics he still possesses to date, and I can attest to that!

He really is amazing!

Even when he needed to transfer to a different high school, this didn’t make him any less of what he once was. He continued to show what he’s able to do regardless. He’s gained many friends and even teachers got fond of him.

He really is one sociable dude!

Before he reached his twenties, he’s already tried working for a number of companies. That hasn’t been a problem with him because he’s persevering and hard-working. This he did for the very purpose of helping our parents financially. He’s made a lot of sacrifices for us, which I’ll always be very proud of and thankful for.

I still remember how he would take care of us (his siblings) when our parents were not home. He would even cook for us. He’s started cooking at a very young age, which made him a good chef to date (even without a formal education). Actually, I’ve been missing the foods he used to prepare for us. They’re just so delectable!

He sings well, too! I don’t know if you’ve already heard him sing in the past, but he’s just got better! He sings with feelings. I suggest you try listening to him if you haven’t! Go look for him somewhere in Dubai! I bet he’s singing while preparing some pastries right now.

I’ve learned a lot through his life. I’m absolutely a fan of him. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to be just like him. He’s a living proof that educational attainment doesn’t define a person, but rather his faith defines him.

He’s the epitome of one who performs beyond expectations.

He has innate power to influence people in a positive way. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, a life or two is impacted by him. He’s also able to communicate his message effectively just like during our Bible studies, devotions and fellowships at church.

Despite his serious facade, he has a funny side. You may not be aware of it, but he does have that. When he went home from Abu Dhabi in 2011, he, along with Kuya Erwin and myself, would share a bunch of stories and jokes with one another. We would sing and laugh the night out and thus sleep in the morning of the next day. How I miss those very fun times!

At church, he used to take care of the Praise & Worship Ministry and Youth Ministry. He was also the one who kept the church documents. He’s just so organized.

He’s eager to serve God in almost every way.

I admire him so much. I wish I was as creative, sociable and flexible as he is. I’ve always wanted to be the leader that he is. I’m amazed at how dedicated he is to everything he does. Despite all these, he’s managed to remain humble. He knows that it is God who deserves all the glory in whatever good he does, and I couldn’t hold him in any higher regard for this!

He has this mark which he unconsciously leaves in almost every person he encounters. This is why his erstwhile classmates, teachers and Sunday School students cannot just forget him even after a few years have gone by. He’s just one of a kind!

Keep shining His light through your wonderful life!

Now, let’s see what some of our relatives, his friends, workmates, former workmates, former churchmates, former classmates, former teachers have to say for his special day!

To the coolest people in the world who have taken their time to send the birthday messages that are published here, I couldn’t thank you enough! May you realize how blessed you all are today!

Acknowledgements go out to Kuya Bobby, Ate CristinaKuya Rodel, Ate Aihlza, Ate Djherrie Lhynn, Kuya Jomer, Kuya Philip, Ate Rachel, Ate Mae, Kuya Frederick, Kuya Jesus Ray, Kuya Jonathan T., Kuya Glenn, Ate Cielo, Ate TereAte Yumi, Tchr. Alona, Tchr. Edna, Tchr. Perla, Tchr. Mary-Ann, Tchr. Glenda, Tchr. Minerva, Tchr. Alpha, Mam Mapanoo, Mam Simon, Mam Alvaran, Ate Lily, Kiko, Kuya Marlon, Marielle, Ninang Nheng, Tepp, Ate Isang, Hazel, Sarah G., Elaine, April, Elphee Heart, Tchr. Lumen, Ate Didang, Klause, Jane, Tiffany, Jenny, Kuya Christian, Ate Christian Joy, Kuya Jonathan A., Ate Jocelyn, Ate Zandra, Kuya Zenen, Kuya Duke, and Ate Ei Mon.

I count myself blessed to have known God at an early age, to have a family like the one I have now, and to have a brother like Kuya Dennis. He’s one of the reasons why I’ll forever consider myself blessed!

Here is a poem I have just made. 🙂

A Brother Worth Imitating

Related articles: http://papamusings.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/lives-worth-emulating/ http://setfreetoday.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/let-his-light-shine/

A Big Mess NO MORE!

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Life is unfair. Need I say more?

However, there’s good news for all of us!

Do you think God wasted His time when He made you?

Do you think you’re in the deepest of holes, and no one can find you and lift you out of it?

Do you think you’ll never get it all together?

Whoever you think you are…

Wherever you think you may be…

Whatever kind of mess you’ve become…

God can change you! He’ll stop for you! He’s got your back! You’re being watched. He’s got His eyes on you.

Cross by Catherine Partain

You’re not a ‘nobody’. To Him, you are somebody… somebody to love. He loves you, so much that He needed to open His arms far wide on the cross.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. – Psalm 40:2 NIV

Now tell me, isn’t that good news?

 

Related articles:
Steve Harvey’s Opening Remarks: God Can Change You | The person in side! | When You Believe In God But Don’t | Think You Can Change | God Can Change You! | If God Can Change Me He Can Change You | You Can Change 8: Change Is God’s Work

This is what LOVE can do!

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Among all the websites I’ve visited more than a week ago, this one struck me! Scenes like these not only put a smile on my face but also make my eyes brim with tears. It’s so delighting to see people doing good to others. It inspires me. It gives me hope. If only every person would do that for another…

There are times when I find it hard to believe that people can still get along. Our differences in appearance, color, beliefs… (Ooops! I’ll stop here because they are too many to mention) pull us apart from one another, but hey! We can stop this from happening! We can choose to overlook whatever dissimilarities we have! Here, we get to see a glimpse of many wonderful things that can happen if we do so. I’m so glad that there are still a lot of people who did. I may not know anyone here personally, but I’d like to thank all of you for doing what you did. I hope that you’ll continue to do so for the rest of your life.

With all the bad things that are taking place in almost every part of the world, this is one of those that we need to see in order for us to remember that there’s still good in all of us. Another good news is that we can choose to let it (the goodness in us) outweigh our evils.

Lastly (but the most important part), I believe in my heart that these acts of kindness have been prompted by love–the Love which originated in Him. Let’s not forget that:

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV

Related articles:
http://lovinggodwithexcellence.com/2012/03/17/god-is-love/
http://thedivineipo.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/show-love-show-god/
http://shelleywilliamsblog.com/2012/09/01/gods-love/
http://asianstalkingaboutsports.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/faith-in-humanity-restored/
http://howtolivehappily.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/do-tou-have-faith-in-humanity-this-guy-restored-his/
http://emilyalbaugh.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/jim-the-man-who-restored-my-faith-in-humanity/

The GOD of Forgiveness

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This I believe…

We are not measured as to how much of a sinner we are, but how repentant we are when we sin.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 8: 12

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Psalm 86: 5

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7: 14

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1: 9