A Hope Fulfilled by Love

It is the first day of the Love Month and I am curious. Are you in a relationship? If yes, I rejoice with you! If no, are you hoping to be in a relationship? Do you refuse to give up the hope of being pursued and loved? How long have you been waiting for the answers to your longings of love?

I understand how it is to remain hopeful in the midst of pain from a broken heart. I know how it is to wait for years for the answers to prayers. And I experienced how it is to have a hope fulfilled by love.

Here is a love letter I have written in 1996, ten years before I got married to Mosler Paul Lapore. Little did I know that ten years after crafting this love letter, these lines would be spoken by Hazel Lynn Maghuyop as introduction during my wedding ceremony in December 30, 2006 .

Read through, my friends, and realize that God has a way of fulfilling our hopes beyond what we expect or imagine.

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Using the Power of Words

Today, I choose to muster enough courage to break my silence especially on issues that have repercussions to a great number of people. I choose to develop my competencies by leaps and bounds so I can be in a better position to tackle  social concerns. I choose to equip myself so I can stand for my convictions without worries of being hit. I choose to develop my character so I will have nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to lose.

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Why I Blog

Connecting is my heartbeat. Interacting is my joy.

Public speaking is my comfort zone. Hosting is my turf.

Among the communication skills, speaking is on top of my list. However, I could not allow my other skills to remain underdeveloped.

It was not by accident that I started blogging. As a lifelong learner, I conceived this blog on purpose.  Wanting to unleash my gifts, I gave birth to this blog on November 11, 2010.

Here are three main reasons why I blog: Continue reading

What Do You Dwell On?

These past few days, I have been thinking a lot about what I have been thinking and why I am thinking what I am thinking. As I assess my thought life, I have found out what dominates my thinking. This is part of my commitment to practice and develop good thinking daily.

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Read As Much As You Can!

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. ~Mark Twain, attributed

We are more than halfway through the 1st month of the year. And I am thinking: how can I make the remaining days of January count? In solitude, I figured out that I need to make some adjustments, especially after coming across this reminder by Edward P. Morgan, “A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

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Time to Think

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recognizing that life is short, I could not allow time to drift without achieving something essential. I want my life to matter. I want my days to count. As part my 12 Big Decisions for 2011, I see to it that I practice and develop good thinking daily. In John Maxwell’s book “Thinking For A Change”, 11  different types of thinking are discussed. The book outlines how one should go about disciplining oneself to use these thought methods: Continue reading

Blessed Beyond Measure

There are times when envy tries to seep through our being. There are times when we long to possess what others have. We battle the temptation to accumulate more material things. There were times when we gave in to the craving. We grabbed the latest gadget or the coolest outfit – even if we did not need another one. Along the way, we realize that things cannot satisfy our emptiness.

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Of Pruning and Growing

Growth is the only evidence of life. ~John Henry Newman

One of the things that I will always remember about my father is his passion for plants. With his green thumb, he made full use of our limited spot in the subdivision where we my brother and I have grown. My Papa Joe planted just about anything- from orchids to okra, from avocado to pomelo. Continue reading

Twelve Big Decisions

The way you choose to invest your time today directly affects your future. ~John Maxwell

Taking the cue from the lessons learned during the John Maxwell’s Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2, Notebook 1: Today Matters, I am making the decision to focus on these twelve big decisions:

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Crawling Back to Work?

The holidays passed like a whirlwind. Everything and everyone seemed to be screaming to be put on top of the list. I have to give up some hours of sleep to accommodate some urgent demands and pressing requests. It was only last night when I realized that I was not able to prepare myself to go back to my workplace. I humbly recognize that I have deliberately scrapped it from my list.

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2011 Wildly Important Goal: Blog Daily

One of my Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) for this brand new year is  to BLOG DAILY. I have decided to blog more as part of stretching and growing. Rather than just thinking about doing this particular goal, I am starting during this wee hour in the morning of the first day of the year.  I will be posting on this blog once a day for all of 2011. Continue reading

Enriching Gifts Via Blogfest 2010

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”

~Ruth Ann Schabacker

This Christmas, I take time to ponder on how God has manifested His great love for me throughout the year. In the silence of the night, just before everything turns chaotic for the last minute preparations for Noche Buena, I breathe with gratitude. Thanksgiving is my heartbeat as I take stock of God’s creative expressions of His unwavering commitment to transform me from glory to glory.

One of the best things that I experienced this year is being a part of the biggest and grandest blogging event on this side of the planet which took place on December 11, 2010. Continue reading

Let Go, Let God

The Book of Psalms has been my source of comfort  in times of trouble and confusion. When I was lost for words, the Psalms gave life to my deepest longings, my heartfelt desires. I remember how I was liberated from my anxieties, fears and worries when I prayed the Psalms as if they were written by me. The Psalms succinctly captured the songs of my heart.

It is the 21st Century and the songs of our hearts keep finding ways of being expressed. Each time I am in the thick of trouble and confusion I am reminded to make a choice — “why worry when you can pray?” As I let go and let God, the prayers of  my heart find their way into my fingers as melodies of praise and thanksgiving keep ringing…

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Of Stars and Beauty Queens

I was fresh out of college when Mama Nanie told me to accompany my cousin to an interview at Dole Philippines. I was supposed to be her coach and chaperon to the screening of  Mutya ng Dole 1993. I decided to dress up and look sharp, secretly planning to submit myself to the interview process. There were more than 50 ladies who showed up. I decided to give it a try, thinking that it would be a great avenue to enhance my ability to handle questions. I savored every moment believing that it was a chance of a lifetime.

A month after, Mama Nanie received a phone call about the interview results. Bad news: my cousin did not make it. Good news, she joyfully declared: I made it! I was shocked! All I wanted was to be interviewed by the managers, hoping that they will convince me to apply for a job instead of pursuing a slot in the pageant. Mama, sensing my apprehension, pushed me to go for it! Gipiyungan ko na lang gid kay palangga ko si Mama!

So there I was— Contestant #8. The smallest in the group. The odd girl in the midst of the 7 other contenders who were  titlists, beauty queens in their respective barangays and municipalities. Ang tapang ko!

And then the Big Night came. I walked in high heels. I moved like a pro. I swayed like a queen. I gained momentum for the Question and Answer Portion, my favorite part of the pageant. 17 years have passed but I will never forget how it was like…

Host    : Miss Banting, according to your bio-data, your favorite hobby is stargazing. Does it have anything to do with your height?

Joana : Stargazing as a hobby does not require any height requirement. All you need is a good pair of eyesight.

Host : What I mean is- don’t you wish upon the stars that you are a few inches taller?

Joana : Well, I don’t make my wishes and prayers known to the stars but to the One who made the stars. (At this point, the crowd was in uproar!I paused and I continued…) Besides, small is beautiful!

You saw me? Yes, I was THE smallest in my nursery class.

When the audience broke into a pandemonium after my answer, I felt like I was the tallest among the girls. Who would have thought that the girl whose nose was a laughing stock to her elementary classmates would end up joining a prestigious beauty pageant? Who would have thought that her perspective of beauty would be challenged? Who would have thought that she would end up as 1993 Mutya ng Dole 1st Runner-up?

Oo, ako yang nasa kaliwa na may clip sa buhok! I used to be insecure with my height and my nose. God engineered circumstances that challenged my concept of beauty.

Well, the Star Maker did! God, in his infinite grace and mercy, knew it from the start. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts!  I will always be grateful to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, far above we could ever ask or imagine!

Aside from being 1st Runner-up, Joana was also awarded as Miss Friendship. She received a total cash prize of P18,000 (only P2,000 away from the cash prize received by the Mutya). Over and above the cash reward, she gained a valuable experience that she will cherish for the rest of her life. Thank you, Mama Nanie, for pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. Thank you, Lord, for making me secure in you.

Times of Refreshing at Lemlunay Dive Resort

About a year ago, I won a prize from the the blogoversary contest of  www.gensantos.com: an overnight stay for two at Lemlunay. Lemlunay Dive Resort in Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani Province is the Home of South Point Divers.

My crazy schedule and multifarious commitments stopped me from availing the prize. During a session with SOX bloggers at Little Dubai, I was prodded by Sir Avel Manansala that it is high time to claim the prize.

I won! I won!

When the opportune time came, I seized the moment. I coordinated with the beautiful and vibrant Michelle Solon who made sure that her staff in GO Sarangani Travel and Tours will provide the much needed assistance. Since friends from DBC were coming with us to Lemlunay for a treat and a staff meeting, Geraldine Oville and Carla Geane Fernando facilitated the group’s reservation. Michelle’s staff were very accommodating, providing us with all the necessary information.

Lemlunay, for the B’laan and T’Boli, refers to “the good place one goes to in the afterlife”

Paul and I decided to bring with us our little girl, Duday, since kids below 12 years old are free. Together with Auntie Susan in the first trip, we looked forward to times of refreshing in the much-talked about destination.  It was about 5:00pm when we arrived at Lemlunay. To my delight, Sir Avel Manansala was there with Marz Fernandez Bendol and Sir Marthin Millado!

Sunset at Lemlunay

The efficient staff welcomed us and directed us to our rooms. Immediately after settling our bags, we went around the area.  Sunset at Lemlunay was a treat!

Duday with the Blue Turtle that holds the key to Ocean View Room #16

Just a few minutes after, Ninang Pastora Edna Garces and Ninong Dr. Felix Garces arrived. They decided to celebrate a memorable anniversary there. After dinner, we had another treat,  a romantic moonlight!

Romantic Moonlight at Lemlunay

My Piao and I gave in to Duday’s persistent request to try Lemlunay’s Infinity Pool by night. The experience did not disappoint our little girl. She was delighted!

The team from DBC arrived before midnight. We had our brainstorming session until 2:30 am. With only a few hours of sleep, Piao and I decided to wake up and get going at 5:30 am to catch the magnificent sunrise. Our little girl tagged along, excited to have another round of pool experience.

"Times of Refreshing, here in Your Presence. There's no greater blessing than being with You. My soul is restored, my mind is renewed. There's no greater joy, Lord, than being with You."

"Thank You, Lord. I just want to thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord!"


Duday by the Infinity Pool

We explored the area and took advantage of the great view. What is a trip to a new place without loads of photographs to document the experience?

Duday and I at Lemlunay

Lemlunay is a refreshing place despite the humidity. It is a great place to savor gastronomic treats.

Special Burger that will make you crave for more! Delicioso!

Breakfast at Lemlunay

By the Pool Side Rooms with Auntie Susan, Ate Judith, Honey and Duday

Duday loves Honey! Honey loves Duday!

Thank you, Sir Bing Cariño, for the conical hat (Non La) from Vietnam!

Auntie Susan: Vietnamese?

This Lemlunay experience helped my husband and I realize the value of mini-vacations and fresh perspectives. While there, we were so fired up in planning our next escapades. We decided to be intentional in exploring new destinations. We wanted to be more aggressive in launching new adventures. We will stretch ourselves some more!

I will never be the same again!

Lemlunay is also where fresh insights were discussed and the theme for DBC’s 48th Anniversary was conceptualized. The theme, thanks to the wisdom from God, was put together through the brilliance of Honey Arreglado and key people in the DBC leadership. I have realized that the theme is not just applicable for the anniversary celebration but is so appropriate for my personal declaration.

Yes, it was in Lemlunay when I first took hold of the lines: Leaping Forward, Leading Change.  The Lemlunay treat was availed at the appointed time by the Lord. He engineered the circumstances and has beautifully woven the details. The days that ensued after the overnight experience were simply amazing! Now, I am convinced that times of refreshing can do a lot of wonders!

We are definitely coming back!