Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A New Journey

We are all called by God, according to His good, perfect, and pleasing will. We hear this often, but for most of us we wonder if it is true. Personally, I did not expect to receive such calling from God. I thought His calling is limited only to the faithful men and women the Bible, and that my own puny private life will live a simple existence. But I was wrong.

January of 2008, doors of opportunity were opened for me. I was faced with three options: (1) take up my Master’s course in New York, (2) migrate to Australia, (3) remain in my company here in the Philippines, but transfer to a different department.

While faced with options galore, I was all the more confused. I felt I was walking on thin ice. One wrong step and I would drown myself down the icy waters. This got me afraid that instead of taking another step, I stood still, immobilized by my fear. To be safe, I chose none of the above.

I chose what I believe was the safest choice, which is to let things be. I do not want to rock the boat and disrupt the normal flow of things. I was ready to settle for the life set before me no matter how mundane things may have become. It felt comfortable.

But God has other plans. Nestling so peacefully and oh so comfortably in my in my world, God meddled things up. Everything in my life was besieged with unrest and instability – front, left, back, and center. I felt stripped off from my comfort zone – security at work, pleasure and thrill with what I do, even refuge and comfort from my family. I wondered why suddenly all at the same time these erupted before me. Why now? And why simultaneously?

Then I remembered the story of Jonah and the big fish. Like Jonah, I disobeyed God by choosing the “safe” side, by choosing not to move. Hence, everything in turned upside down. That moment was my big fish experience.

I was reminded of God’s specific direction for me during the week-long, church-wide fasting celebration we had in CCF. His words struck me in 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 “He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

This passage clearly spoke to me to go and start moving.

His words were further validated by circumstances and even people around me. Right within those days that He revealed His word for me, He complimented it with circumstances. Sporadic and successive situations, including fortuitous incidents with strangers all pointed out to one direction – Australia.

After realizing my guilt of disobedience, I decided to leave my comfort zone and start following God. I want to get out from the belly of this big fish experience, as soon as possible.

And so I geared up for my migration application process. As I started to gather my documents, I was faced with an obstacle and was inundated with fear. It dawned on me that I do not know anyone – no family, no relatives, no close friends in Australia. Logic stepped in and challenged my fancy pursuit.

I believe that if God gives His vision, He also gives his provision. The provisions in migrating to Australia seemed like a long and impossible shot compared to taking up my Master’s in New York. My mom is in New York, and talk about provision - she has a standing offer to finance for my masteral education. The provision is not only present, but abundant in New York.

I probably must have over-magnified Australia. I might have been more biased in attuning myself on Australia over New York. The verse in 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17 can also apply to New York. It tells me to stand, take my position and go out to face them. So where do I go now? To the West? Or to the South?

Running through the excel spreadsheets of scenario planning and cost-benefit analysis, I, I opted where the provision seemed evident. I chose New York where my mother was, where settling will not be an issue. My journey then took a detour – off to the West! I plotted my timelines, gathered my records, got in touch with prospective schools, and prepared to study for GMAT. I created a project charter, dubbed as “Project: American Pie”.

Then, another twist of fate came. My brother was hospitalized for two months and he was later confined in the ICU for another two months due to some unidentified malfunction in his brain. This once comic and energetic fellow has slowly turned to a raucous delirious monster. I witnessed his gradual deterioration. For his more than a quarter stay in the hospital, not to mention his daily expensive medications, I decided to give up my masteral plans in New York. There, I saw my plans to New York fading away.

Nothing I can do about it. God speaks through circumstances. And I took this as His way of telling me “No. I went back to 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. I questioned myself have I read it the wrong way? Have I misinterpreted it?

Then the third option came. The opportunity again arose for me to transfer in my dream department – Training and Development. Surely, this is where God wants me to be. I must have saved the best for last. And so, I left my comfortable territory and moved to face my new calling.

However, as days unfolded, I saw myself drenched in tears for some weird unexplainable reasons. I became melancholic and depressed. I am a Christian, a precious daughter of Christ. I walk by faith and not by sight. Christ has given me victory. But why do I feel otherwise? Something is still not right!

Then, I was once again reminded of Australia. That call of the South is whispering my name. Oh no. Lord, not again! … Everything I have, you have shaken. What else is left for you to shake? My love life? I don’t have any! There is nothing left for you to shake, but me.”

So I told myself, “Ok, stand up and start moving before God makes another move (and hopefully not at the expense of your invisible love life).”

The obstacles I encountered before could just be a test of faith for me. How can I conclude that Australia is not for me, when I have not actually applied yet? I will only say that it is not for me, if I get rejected by the embassy and not by the voices of fears and doubts in my head.

From Project: American Pie to Project: Kiwi. By faith, I started taking small baby steps in my application for Australia. I encountered some obstacles. But this time, I did not stop. I held on tightly to His words and His promises. The process of my application was a dark and bumpy ride. But this time, no pressure on my part. I was enjoying every single step of the journey, holding God’s hands, taking things one step at a time.

Slowly, things got better in my life. My brother miraculously woke up to his consciousness, the same way he slipped out of his awareness. Doctors could not identify the cause of his sickness, much more could not explain how he was cured. But praise God, all that matters to us is that my brother is healthy and well. Things at work have become better for me. I am back into the groove of drive and passion. I felt on top of everything. I love what I do, and soon enough I radiated confidence and authority over the things entrusted to my care. And here’s more. My parents both agreed to work on their marriage. They are now back together. I know it is difficult for them, but I praise God for working in their hearts!

Alas, the storms in my life are over. Thank you Lord for delivering me out of the belly of my big fish experience! And if course, I still continued with my journey of application for Australia – in obedience to His words. I managed to complete and submit all documents December 26, 2008. One month after, I was given a Case Officer to process my papers. This is the moment of truth. The Officer asked for a lot of other documents, including one that I cannot provide. I was told that if I will not submit that requirement it will have an impact on my approval.

But instead of panicking (which is my usual mode of response), I calmly went back to God, “Lord, you know I cannot provide for the document they are asking. If this is really your will for me, please help me find a way. But if it is not, then do grant me successful passage. I will do everything the best that I can, in obedience to you. I fix my eyes on you and not on the officers, not even my circumstance. All that matters to me is You and your will for me – nothing more, nothing less. If Your plan for me to Australia is only up to the application process, I still will accept it graciously. No matter how I have grown to accept the idea of moving to a new destination, I have come to love more the journey with You, Your sweet presence, and the joy of following You.”

In May 8, 2009 – I received an email from the Australian Immigration Office. My application was granted and I have to be in Australia not later than February 2010.

When I received the email. I froze in shock. I cannot believe how my approval process turned out to be faster than I expected. I really thought it would take me a minimum of one year to wait. Clearly, I can see that this is indeed what God has planned for me. And things are moving according to His timeline. It is God who worked behind the hearts of the regulating officers.

But instead of feeling happy, I was surprisingly sad. I was sad because suddenly it all became real to me. Deep inside I do not want to go. Specially not now, that things have become better for me. The experience I had earlier seemed to be just like a bad dream. Now, I am faced with another kind of reality. World-wide financial crisis. To magnify the situation, I received the decision letter – the day I received my bonus and salary increase. I even thought to myself how privileged I am to be working for my company, where amidst the crisis, is stable and still can afford good raise in our compensation.

Funny, how after all the horrific big fish experience I had, I still doubted. Will I go? Or will I not? I look at what I have right now. I work in a stable company; I have a job that I love; I have already built a good credibility - my name, in the office; I have my own car, I have my own condo unit, I have my friends, I have my family, I looked at the other side. What do I have? No job; no house; no friends; no family. Nothing. I imagined what will happen to me after I get off from the plane? Who will welcome me? Where will I go? I only saw two thins – darkness and crickets.

This sent me chills. Lord, are you serious? Do you really want me to actually go?”

I went through the journey of application, not really expecting to be accepted this soon.

Lord, why? ... Speak to me, tell me what I should do. I know you gave me 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. But this time, make it short and be direct.”

I wanted more validation from God, in the hopes that He will give me a new instruction to stop. That night, God led me to Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

This struck me. Wow, Lord, I did not expect your response this soon! I imagined a week-long hide and seek with you. God, you are scaring me. Lord, why Australia? And why me? I am not Abraham. Do it to Abraham and to some one else, but not me.”

I tried to bargain with the Lord. It is bad, I know. But praise God for His love for me. This time, instead of hurling me again to the big fish, He was gentle. He just asked me this question, “Why do ask? Have I not asked you to be strong and courageous? I called you, just as I called Abraham because I love you. I plans for you, and I will go before you. Abraham willingly gave up His Isaac for me. Now, will you give me your Isaac?

I felt ashamed because I realized my Isaac. It was revealed to me where I anchored my security and confidence in life. It is in my career, my possessions, my family and all the things visible to me. I lacked the faith to put my hopes, my life, my everything, to the Lord. At that moment I bowed in humility and decided to obey. In faith, I will follow the call of the South.

From that moment on, I was encouraged by many other validations and sweet encounters from God. He sent me more of His words. I got my parent’s blessings, my D-Group’s support. And now, I have peace.

In obedience, I submitted my resignation letter. By the end of December, I will be leaving my company of almost nine years. This has been my first job, I have been working here right after I graduated. Parting ways with my work is difficult for me and so is looking for a new employer, in the outback. I feel like going back to square one – resumes, cover letters, interview …. Going back to the horrors of it, makes me feel young again, like a fresh graduate.

I never thought of leaving the things I that I have right now. But I must cleave to God’s calling. Just as I thought that I already knew God, I realized there is more of Him that I still do not know, and yet more to discover. Truly, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And His ways, higher than our ways.

Then an opportunity arose to help in the our church’s retreat. I purposefully did not sign up to volunteer in any of the ministries, because I wanted to be devoted to the timelines I plotted in my Project Kiwi. By this time, I should be starting my job search and house hunt. But lo and behold! God intervened and placed me in the fray of the Writer’s Pool, and eventually inching my way in the Training Group. Just as I am about to take things in my hands, God took it. He ruined my timelines. He is telling me, not my timelines. But His. I am bound to leave by January 26, 2010. Up until now, I have not done anything yet in preparation for my migration. I leave it all up to Him.

I still do not know what awaits me. I still do not have a job, still no house, but have made some few contacts already. This may be a little progress, versus the big change I am about to embark.

While I am preparing for this testimony, I tried to bribe God. "Lord, if you want to make my experience as a testimony of your love, power and grace - provide now the evidence of your reward, by giving me at least a prospect of a job or a house, that I can share to them, so that they will really see your work, and they will be blessed.”

But God said, "My Child, - you miss the point. The point of this testimony is faith. And faith is being sure of what you hope for, and being certain of what you do not see."

This experience has taught me humble submission and complete abandonment to the Father’s will. We all pray for God to give us our life’s direction. But we have to make ourself available and useable for Him. If we pray for God to guide our footsteps, then we must be willing to move your feet.

We are all called by God. If we want to walk on water, then we must get out of the boat.

For the nth time, I take look at what I currently have: a thriving career, a name, a credibility, a car, a house, my friends, my family. And I look over the skyline and ask myself what I have in Australia? Nothing but His words, his promises, simply, Him. All glory, honor, and praise to our God!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Day of Calamity

Praise God, the approaching storm, Pepeng, took a diversion in its path. Our land is safe. Indeed, our God is mighty to save. This is what happens when all people pray together. I believe yesterday the Filipinos joined hands in praying for typhoon Pepeng not to encroach the area.

One typhoon after the other, this situation reminds us of the human frailty. Typhoon Ondoy has left over 200 people dead and a thousand - homeless. The tragedy beset the poor and the rich alike. The gush of muddy waters infiltrated all throughout the humble shanties and the posh subdivisions. We are at the point where we realize that we are completely hopeless. Who can deliver us from Pepeng, amidst the aftermath of Ondoy? In the heart of our hopelessness, we realize that on top of our humanity, we see the great chasm between God and Man in four points:

1. Nature

God is the Creator of the land, sea and air. While we are the steward. When God assigned Adam to name all the animals, He also gave man the responsibility to take care of the land. But how have are we as stewards of the earth?What have we done with the environment? We have cut the trees, bull dozed the mountains, and polluted the rivers. The rising waters were clogged by the same rubbish that man capriciously littered here, there, and everywhere.

As we see on TV people running and climbing for dear life, let us remind ourself that when nature strikes back, we are succumbed from stewards to victims. So let us take care of our environment. Even the simple act of segregating and disposing our trash in the right places. Please?

2. Riches and Wealth

God is the Giver and we are the receiver. We hear accounts of villages submerged: houses, appliances and cars - Volvo, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz. What probably took years to accumulate vanished in just a few hours. This reminds us where do we focus our investments on? "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21).

While it is good to enjoy material blessings, after all they are still a blessing, we should not make it our focus and source of happiness. Loosen the tight grip on your possessions. Because God - He gives and He takes away. And if He does take away, continue the faith. We ought to have the right perspective in focusing on the Giver and not the gift.

3. Power

God is the Ruler and we are the follower. Now it makes sense why we have laws. It is not to make our lives difficult, but to protect us. The simple moral laws of integrity, honesty, responsibility. Looking at the TV it is a pity to see that we have limited equipment and other resources for rescue. Where is the government fund to buy adequate motorboats, life vests, emergency lights, etc. Where did out tax money go?

One good thing I witnessed from this event is the nation's unity in helping out the victims. There is no one I personally know that did nothing to contribute to the relief operations for the flood victims. It feels like brown christmas. Instead of snow, we have mud. But the spirit of giving is present and alive. It is blessing to bless others. It feels good. Here's hoping that those who breached the tax payer's funds would for once be moved to give back to the people. There is still a lot of work to do in the evacuation areas and in the post-flood clean ups.

4. Life

God is Eternal, we are temporal. The deluge felt like the days of Noah. For some, the time of life is over. Indeedm life is short. We can never tell. Question is, are we ready? By the way we live our life at present, are we confident of a brighter after life?

I have some friends of those who befell the toll of Ondoy. Friends, trust that my prayers are with you. Keep the faith. Things happen for a reason. There is no problem to deep, God cannot solve it. There is no problem to big, God cannot move it. I know it is difficult but always remember the Lord's goodness. God is too wise to be mistaken, God is to good to be unkind. So if you don't understand, and cannot trace His hands, trust His heart. He will carry you through.

Calamities are really not calamities. To forget the Lord is the greater and more tragic calamity. Fortunes are not really fortunes. To remember the Lord and walk in His way is the real fortune.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bad Weather Weekend

Last Saturday I woke up and was greeted by a dark gloomy room. I checked my watch it’s already 9:00 am, and it seemed like it’s still 5:00 am. My room faces the east and everyday I am greeted by the morning sun. But not this time. I stood by my window and saw the gray clouds in tears. Oh, it is going to be a bed weather weekend for me.

Miraculously, it was one of those rare days when no external appointment nor meetings were scheduled for the day. Before I decided to go back to bed, I decided to take a quick look at my facebook. And to my surpirse, I read through accounts of rising waters and people stranded here and there. My bed weather weekend slowly turned into bad weather weekend.

I suddenly became worried, I glued myself in the net waiting for updates. I found reports of cars and even houses submerged under water; people running at the roof tops; men walking over electric posts. I whispered a short prayer for them… and suddenly our lights went off. We had no electricity. I wondered how come we have no electricity when we have a generator set in the building? I checked the hallway.. Yep, it’s definitely brown out. Elevators are down. I panicked for a while. What shall i do? I sat in total darkness, staring at the wall. My flash light ran out of battery. I found myself in the middle of nothing to do, but pray. After an an hour, the generator started to work. Hurray! I can go back on line to check the bad weather weekend.

Suddenly, I felt hungry. Only to realize I have nothing in my ref but water and bread. In fact, I should already be thankful I have bread. I wanted to call in for food delivery. But I fear for the delivery man. He might be harmed on his way here. For his safety, better contend with the bread. I had bread for brunch and dinner. My stomach is grumbling. Oh, this hungry and bad weather weekend for me!

But these are only minor inconveniences compared to the rest who were badly affected: wet, stranded, damaged, and some of them dead. My prayers are with the victims of the typhoon Ondoy. I pray for their strength and faith; May they see the beauty of God even amidst the deluge. I pray for their fast recovery. May they see that despite the bad weather, we have a good and mighty God.

While another typhoon is said to arrive tonight at 9:00, I am praying that we spared from the second “super typhoon”, who is reported to be gustier than the one who visited us last weekend. I am praying that we be spared, and may the typhoon be diverted from passing through the land fall. May we be spared from another bad weather weekend tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

All the Single Thirties

I already turned thirty around three months ago. But I am not alone. Most of my friends too are either just have turned thirty (like me) or just about to. Birthdays are expected and the annual age increment is but a normal predicament. However, from the vignettes of anecdotes I encountered, there is something about hitting the big three-zero. It is somehow monumental, as it signifies another milestone in ones life. Nevertheless, turning 30 can be emotional - specially if you are a woman and if you are still single.

I have seen enough tears, heard enough heartaches, conversed enough pep talk for me to conclude about this phenomenon of the single thirties. Yet even I struggle to encapsulate it into a definitive sentence. It is an enigma of its owJustify Fulln. All the fears and insecurities while one is about to turn 25 pales in comparison to being 30.

Basing from the trend that I have seen and even experienced myself, the emotional accompaniment of turning 30 is like a taboo, a hidden secret locked within the hearts of many ... until it suddenly bursts out in rage, forcing a downpour at the most unexpected timing. Call it exaggeration, but it happened to one of the ladies I know. The bewilderment of this mixed emotions sometimes acts like a silent stalker. You do not know that it is there. It follow you like a shadow. You begin to feel the blues: sad, depressed, insecure. The sadder part is you do not know why. You see yourself crying for no apparent reason. And the thought of this makes you want to cry all the more. You look at your life and begin to question the decisions you have made in the past. You recount your accomplishments, you wonder if you have already achieved something great and worthwhile? Then you look at your current life and ask yourself where you are heading next. Do you like the vision of your direction? Most importantly, do you know where you are going?

As if that's not enough, for most single ladies (like me), they cry over our unfulfilled dreams of walking down the aisle in a white gown and a veil. Most of them grew up in a society that espouses a culture of settling down before 30. Don't get me wrong here. While they are happy being single and content with the situation they are in, there is just no other perfect timing to reminisce their childhood love story fantasies (not to mention compare themselves with the married peers, or worst the married ex) but on the days just before their 30th birthday. More than just longing for love, I guess the thought of marriage is like a trophy, a status symbol... An accomplishment on its own. An accomplishment still unticked from their bucket list. And so t feel sorry, they feel they have accomplished nothing.

This is a very classic experience. I call this the single lady's 30th birthday blues. Aside from its symptoms most ladies are not even aware of it. They may also deny its existence, even to themselves. But their puffed eyebags and grouchy mood swings betray their claims.

After sporadic coffee talks with different ladies on several occasion, I begin to notice the collective pattern. What a relief to know that what I went through is not an isolated case. It is normal and there is nothing wrong with it.

But the greatest relief comes from soon discovering that being 30 is actually fun, fantastic, and fabulous. It is in fact surprisingly much better than being 20. The fear of 30, alluding it to be boring, dull and old is absolutely a myth. When I was young, I lauded 25 as the life's turning point, the mark of one's maturity. Boy, how much did I put too much pressure on that stage? If 25 is great, 30 is even greater!

Now on my third month of being 30 I have soon discovered that I am more confident than ever. I have come to know myself more - my strengths, my weaknesses. Things are clearer now. I know who I am and what I want in life. There is this newfound confidence that makes me claim that I have matured in wisdom ... I have come of age ... and yes, I am happy.

Being single at 30 does not scare me at all. I realize I still have a full life before me. And definitely I am still youthful and young... Young enough to fall in love, old enough to make the right choice. Although I have to admit that finding a partner at 30 can be a little bit more challenging. Like in my case, I have come to know myself more. I can no longer content myself to settle for less. I used to be so fed up with some people telling me that I have high standards e. Five years ago, I would deny it. I may look and act intimidating but little do they know that beneath that facade is a girl. I may be worth something but I would shrug the standards away and fall for any Tom, Dick, and Harry that would shower me with attention and make me feel special... I am not difficult to woo. I fell too fast, I felt too much, only to realize in the end that they are knights in tin foils and not in shining armor after all.

Now, at 30, I have come to know my worth. I realized how people are right in saying that I should have standards. If a man wants me, he has to meet the standards. He has to step up , say it and show it. If he thinks I come at a cost, well, he must be willing to pay the price. He has to show that he can afford me - and I do not just mean monetary maintenance, but more: emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Unlike before, I cannot make excuses for the guy anymore. I cannot just lower my stakes for him. I do not want a boy, I want a man ... So he got to stand up and be a man ... Catch me, if he can.

Does any single and available man like him exist? ... Let's wait and see... One thing for sure, he is worth the wait. I already waited for him for 30 years, no harm in waiting a little bit more (but hopefully sooner!) ... But what if he does not come, it is still perfectly fine with me. I am completely happy - contented and complete on my own. Besides, I have Jesus, my true lover of my soul. Everything will be all right.

To all my single 30 friends, we are in for a greater ride! ... Live, love, learn!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Meet the All Star Cast

These days, meetings are inevitable. Despite the technological advancement looming in this You Tube generation, still nothing beats a fact-to-face interaction. More so with the multiplication of available information, the need to meet is crucial.

Basing from my personal experience, I attend meetings on an average of two times in a week. I have attended enough meetings for me to witness different personalities. Taking a closer look and viewing the dynamics of meetings from a different lens, I have come to realize that meetings are actually star-studded, sans the glitz and glamour.

Meet our all star cast …

The Departed: the “late” Mr. So and So

Always late on meetings. His tardiness can be caused by either

- inherent tardy habits

- forgetfulness (forgets there is a meeting)

- occupations with other tasks (that the meeting called for is not one of his priorities)

- caused by setting back-to-back-to-back meetings, of which the first meeting got delayed.

The Invisible: Ms. Abs Cynth

The one who is not present in the meeting. Either she is:

- sick

- on Vacation Leave

- attending to something more “urgent”

- attending another meeting

If she’s a main stakeholder or a key decision maker in the topic concerned, and she’s not present, this leads the group to call for another meeting.

The Snooze: Mr. Sandman

The one who drifts away and takes on a mental vacation (worst form is sleeping) on meetings, specially on a whole-day-big-audience meeting. Sometimes, it’s not his fault. His part in the meeting is only 10% and half of the topic in the agenda is not relevant to him. But still, he is forced to be there.

The Shadow: Ms. Terious

The lurker. Present in the meeting but is silent the entire time and makes no contribution to the meeting. Usually she is occupied with her laptop and/or cellphone. More often than not, she is called in the meeting on “stand by”, in case something operationally specific is asked in the meeting. In most cases she knows the answer but hesitates to speak up to the large group. It is much better for you to ask her, than to wait for her to talk.

The Lost: Mr. Duh

Does not know why is invited in the meeting, and worst, what the meeting is all about. Sometimes combines forces with the Shadow and the Snooze.

The Unprepared: Ms. Leigh Ter

Goes to the meeting unprepared. Her favorite line is “I’ll get back to you later.” She is not ready with her date for several reasons:

- new in the position

- functionally incompetent

- data in the system (like SAP) is not yet ready for generation

- thinks other stakeholder is responsible for the report

- the meeting was unplanned, thus no time to prepare

- not aware that it will be needed for the meeting (due to unclear agenda or no agenda at all)

The Talker: Ms. Chat

Loves to talk in meetings. Has the tendency to talk in circles and give extemporaneous speeches. Thinks that talking is same as contributing. Presentations are mostly 50 slides or more. Has the tendency to spend more of her allocated time slot. Or worst, eats other’s time slot.

The Astronaut: Mr. Galaxy

The one who goes off track . Brings in or reminds issues and comments outside from the main meeting agenda. Thus, discussions deviate from the meeting’s main objective.

The Showbiz: Ms. Holly Wood

Attends the meeting or calls a meeting “for show”. Want to let everyone know that she is in charge or she is doing something. She uses meetings as a sign that she is busy. She could also use it as an excuse not to do other admin tasks, or potentially to skip another meeting. In higher levels, participants feel she is bored and has nothing to do, that calling for a meeting makes her feel important. Another variation could also use meeting as her venue to plan, strategize and do her own functional work – at the expense of the time of her staff.

The Assassin: Mr. My Way

The opinion leader who is a sharpshooter and shoots down other ideas contrary to his. Aggressive and talks openly of his opinions. Sometimes plays the devil’s advocate. Participants find value in his thoughts. Brings to light some factes in the issues. But if taken to the extreme, he can be dangerous. Has the tendency to argue to win the argument, and not necessarily find a solution.

The Gravedigger: Mr. Histor Yan

Comes to the meeting with excess baggage of the past. His favorite lines are “Well, in the past we did it this way…” or “When we tried that before…” He is the librarian of the past and keeps an archive to remind everyone about it. Can be helpful in avoiding past mistakes, but usually kills fresh, new and original ideas.

The Forgetfull: Ms. Ame Sia

Is notorious for conveniently forgetting what was agreed from the last meeting. If she’s the boss, she takes on different directions every meeting. Thus, subjects the team to plan and re-plan their work, present and re-present their proposal. If she’s a staff member (Co-Stakeholder), she fails to implement some key action points. Thus, issue remains unresolved. Prescription for Ms. Amne Sia is a tablet of meeting minutes after every meeting.

The Yes Man: Mr. K.Ass

Always says “yes” to everything. Perceived to be the most cooperative in the group. But actually deeper than that, he is just afraid to rock the boat, specially if the boss is The Assassin. In high ranks, Mr. K.Ass saya “yes” even at the expense of his and his team’s workload. And in lower ranks, Mr. K.Ass says “yes” even when he means “no”.

The Microscope: Ms. Nitty Gritty

Just loves the details. She loves to be on top of everything. Wants to inspect every nook and cranny of things. Calls for a series of meetings for reports on research, evidence, benchmarks, and continuous updates. Sometimes her staff thinks she is very cautious and wants tobe very very safe before she makes a decision. While others think she lacks confidence and trust in her team.

Do they all sound familiar? Funny as it may seem, but when you are in a meeting with them, it isn’t funny at all. It is a good thing though that our story does not end here. The saga of our meetings is not all that bad. Let us not forget our heroes and heroines who take the frontline to ensure our meetings turn into a successful blockbuster hit!

The Contributor: Ms. Baya Nihan

The attentive and cooperative participant. She is every meeting facilitator’s dream come true. Goes to the meeting on time and well prepared. Knows what (and what not) to say and when to say it. Takes down notes and hold accountability for her tasks. Values the meeting well and takes on full responsibility in ensuring that the meeting objectives are successfully met. After the meeting, she acts on her deliverables and brings all her pending issues to a resolution.

The Influencer: Capt. Planet

The key participant who can influence the decision of the group, the team, the stakeholder (and the entire planet). The Influencer may not necessarily be the boss or the meeting facilitator. The can be played by different people in the meeting at different times, depending on the topic. Usually, though not a default, this is accorded to the subject matter expert. Over and above experience, credibility and interaction/communication skills are the anchors to his captainhood.

So who are you in the meetings?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What Lies Ahead

I am about to make yet another life changing, earth shaking, mind boggling decision. I always believe things happen for a reason. But not all reasons are reasonable.

When things do not seem to make sense... This is where faith comes in. And as long as I know that I am at the center of God's will, everything will be all right.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)

In the mean time, I wait on Him. In daily dependence, I take things one step at a time ...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guys, Let's Talk About Love

Love, love, love … They say it makes the world go round. But for some, the world freezes.

Two days ago I spoke to a very good male friend of mine. We just realized how he has remained single for now already nine years. Wow, for a guy, that’s quite long already.

I know for a fact he still keeps in touch with his ex, who apparently is also single. As much as he would like to hide it, I can sense that he still cares. And so, I tried to ask him some questions that might help him process his thoughts and sort out his feelings:

R: How’s X? She’s also single still, right? And you’re still in constant communication. Haven’t
you both talked about getting back together?

F: Nope. We are good friends. We haven’t talked anything about the future.

R: Maybe she’s just waiting?

F: Maybe … Maybe not.

R: But do you still care? Do you want to get back with her?

F: Maybe … Maybe not. I am just taking things one day at a time. I do not want to rush things. I would like to go with the flow and see where it may lead us.

Woah! Hold right there. “Go with the flow” is a woman’s thing, but definitely not a man’s thing. Men are born hunters. They thrive for conquest. Waiting has never been a man’s specialty, specially if you talk about nine years.

R: You know what, one of the important lessons I learned about love is that if a man loves a woman, he would do something about it. He will find a way. Nothing will keep him from pursuing the woman. So, if no concrete action is done, if the guy is considering “waiting and seeing” for over an extended period of time, then most likely the man is not just into her.

F: I am not in a hurry. Who knows, I might end up single forever?

R: Here’s a tip, if you feel she’s the one already, go follow your heart. Pursue your love, before
it’s too late. But if you feel she is not the one yet, don’t force yourself. Look around. Wait … No, don’t wait. Find that one special person that would really turn your world upside down. The one who can add color and spice to your life… She’s the one.

F: For now, I like the way things are. I learn to enjoy what I have for the moment, and I am happy.

R: Good for you. I just hope someday you will find that one person who will shake you and compel you to move outside your comfort zone; the one who will make you happier.

End of conversation.

I had to leave. I think I have given enough unsolicited advice already. I know how much men hate to receive counsels as these, and coming from a woman at that.

But I would still give my advice to all men out there. If you’re the type of guy enjoying the sweet bachelor life - party on! But I do hope someday you will find that right woman who will rock your world, more than the music that’s being played by the DJ. Because there will come a time that the party music will stop. You can stay right where you are and bask in silence or you can enjoy the new melodies of that sweet love song.

And if you feel nothing but only some friendly affection and nothing more to a particular woman, be clear about it. Do not give her any room for her to hope and dream, or you will crush her. Don’t be too sweet with someone you could not love.

Lastly, if you love a woman, tell her and show it to her. Make her feel secure. Be gentle, be caring, be loving. Give her the attention she needs. Listen to her. If you love a woman, don’t just stand there and wait. Do something. Initiate... Move... Go... This is how you make the world go round.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Turning Around

These past few months I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's like a dark cloud has hovered over me. Harassed by demands and deadlines; bruised by worry, adversity, and failure; broken by disillusionment, I was living in between dull discouragement and sheer panic.

I do not like the person I am becoming. I want to get out of the mold. I want to change - to be a better person. I want to find myself .... again.

Sure, I am rising my way to the top. But I am not as happy as I expected to be. Why? Because I am too focused on the destination, I failed to enjoy the journey. Too focused on perfection, that I viewed failures as a dead end, rather than a detour that leads to a better and more exciting adventure.

The things that I pursued in the hopes of making me happy, are the very things that make me miserable. My goals and aspirations are genuinely good. There is nothing wrong with them, neither are my motives. What makes it bad is my grip on these objectives. So passionate I am with my causes, I got myself attached - to the point of making things personal.

But today I am making a choice. I choose to be positive an happy, let loose and even let go. There are more important things higher than my trivial pursuits. So, is this how it means to "walk by faith"? The journey starts now.

Walking by faith will not change my circumstance, but it will change me by showing me to rely not on my own, but on God's wisdom and provision. He knows what's best for me, more than I do for myself. And should things start to shake, faith will give me the tenacity to hang in there. Faith gives me the fortitude to endure things around me. Faith is confidence in the fact that God is at work and He is with me, every single step of the way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quick Blog


Hello blog world, it has been ages since I last dropped by… Life has been extremely busy, wild and crazy that it has deprived me the luxury to visit my little pink patio - my place of solace, my outlet of emotions, my garden of thoughts.

And as I write now, I wonder… Does anybody care?...  But it matters not. My main motivation for blogging is actually for myself.  I just wanted to own a space for me, a lair I can dominate, a kingdom I can own – if I cannot have this, under the sun, at least I can recreate it here in world wide web.  It feels empowering knowing you have your mark in this side of the world.  

For me, it’s not about being read, it’s more about being written…So even if I am the sole reader of this blog, I will still continue to write. But while I would love to write more, the realities of the world beckon.  Got to go!  But oh, how much I miss to blog.  Space I now have.  But time... time is a different story :(