WHAT REALLY MATTERS AT THE FINAL MOMENT

Dreams have its own way of changing our lives. I am a witness to this truth. I remember asking God for two gifts from our Life In The Spirit Seminar: Gift of Prophecy and Discernment.

What makes this combination so powerful is that God speaks to me through my dreams and often make things come to pass as I dreamt it. These dreams also include many realisations that my conscious mind wouldn’t even process.

Just today I had a grim dream. A purely psychological battle.

It is about the final moment of my life just before the higher power takes me. Before, I often dreamt of me being dead and seeing my dead body lying in an hospital bed. Nothing much to discern or figure out. I can’t even recognize how old I look then.

But this one is different. I am lying in a boat, sailing freely into the middle of the dark sea, with a dark statue of a hooded figure — Death himself. After him, is a sea without a horizon but a dark abyss waiting for me. Moments before I come across death, memories keep flashing in my head.

I kept crying but without tears. I am anxious but without fear. I am surrendering but without loss.

And what of the memories? They were the little but priceless memories: from my childhood games, my college graduation, the hugs, the goodbyes, the laughters, the pains, a gondola in Venice, a sweet little girl, family outings, snowball throwing, the nightly cuddle, my first grandchild, a last cry, and a surrender to God.

As these memories gushed in like a river, I told death that I lived a good and happy life. I told him to tell my children these important realisations:

 

At the closing stages of our lives, what matters will be the simple yet meaningful memories you spent with your loved ones, friends, and family. You will never think about how much money you made or how many investments you put up. 

What matters is how many people you have served, not how many people you command. 

What matters is the smile from your child’s face, not the dress being worn. 

What matters is appreciation, not expectation. 

What matters is inspiration, not achievement.

What matters is being able to love wholeheartedly, not being loved with demands and guidelines.

What matters is dying a happy man, not a rich man.

At that closing moment, just when I am about to fall into the deep nothing, I found the boat rushing back to a river where the sun shone brightly. I saw leaves fall on an autumn sky, and I heard children laughing drawing close to me.

I closed my eyes and thanked God for giving me a second chance.

–end.

 

SLIMMER AND SEXIER BODY, CAN?

Did I get your attention? Surely it did, because many of us, at some point in our lives, have wanted the same thing. Whether ikakasal ka na or may pinopormahan ka, you want to look good – bawasan ang bilbil, iflex ang muscles, etc.  So tara, magpapayat na tyo.

Easier said than done, right?

It ain’t easy, believe me, but achievable. I don’t have to look further for an example, I will tell my experience. I’ve successfully trimmed down my weight twice already for the past few years. Starting at 148 pounds, I have successfully trimmed it down to 130 (125 lbs to be exact), in an average of about 4 months.  Currently, I am undergoing another weight-loss program that I created, starting at 148 pounds again and after 25 days, my weight is on the 140-pound mark. Not bad, right? And now I am ramping up my program for a higher degree of burn.

I have a good friend, Jeff Poblete (@jeffpoblete), who also got engaged in running a few months ago, and now he’s reaping the reward of exercise and strict diet. Like me, he shed over 20 pounds (I am being conservative with my figures) and I see a Derek Ramsey in him (pare, ok ba?) .Really, he is an inspiration to his fellow runners and currently a good motivator to her long-time partner Beth Gozar (@bethgozar) who also started running recently. They will have a blogsite setup real soon where you can get tips on training, food/diet and more – all for runners and active lifestylers! When it comes to health, you will always be happy for your friends. I am happy for them, and for sure you want your friends to be happy for you too.

Here’s the good news: You can do it also.

How? Remember the two things that will impact your weight: exercise and diet. You have to deal with both if you want a successful weight loss program. Here’s my personal take on this matter:

EXERCISE over DIET

Two-thirds of your efforts (or even more) must be exerted on improving your exercise regime. South beach diet won’t be that effective if you’re not exercising. Exercise improves your metabolism – as I often call it personally, the BURN mechanism. Lots of exercise will improve your body’s burning power. Yes, burning the fried chickens and the steaks that you love to eat.

Keep on exercising regularly and your body will achieve this so-called “burn equilibrium”, where in no matter how much food you eat, your body can burn it appropriately with ease – thus maintaining your weight. I’ve tried that before, eating all I want and maintaining my ideal weight of 135.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling in a gym. If you have the money, then do so. But there’s a lot of alternatives like sports, etc. To give you a tip, of all the activities I’ve done, running and swimming have always been the most effective workout for me to lose weight.  So if you have a favorite sport, start doing it again and do it often. “I have no time” is never an excuse for not working out. Even 30 minutes a day can work wonders.

Exercise is one thing, doing it right is another. I will discuss it on future blogs.

HOW ABOUT DIET?

As they always say, eat healthy stuff – and yes, the stuff that tastes boring. Right now most of my menu consists of oatmeal, cereal and lots of fruits.  I am not saying that you should limit yours to these, but make it a point that you always eat just the right amount. Short but frequent meals will do the trick, and yes, lots of water before and after meals.

Also, prioritize on nature’s broom – FIBER. If you don’t have a good excretion system, you will have problems later on. Visiting the throne must be often. If you can’t do it at least once a day, it’s time to re-assess the food that you’re taking if it contains enough fiber. It’s not just poop, guys. They are toxins that must be released out of the body.

You don’t even have to spend much for a diet program. Just avoid, as much as possible, processed foods. If you can prepare your meal from fresh and natural ingredients, the better. I am no nutritionist, but I am just keeping it simple. People nowadays have a shorter lifespan, and you guessed it right, at this commercial age, processed food are almost inevitable to take. Convenience with compromise.

Many people depend heavily on diet alone, taking merely crackers for their meals. This is not so good. Even worse, some don’t take any meal at all. Pointless. First, it will have a reverse effect on your metabolism, as it will slow down if there’s nothing really to burn. Think of your digestive system as a flame that needs to be stoked every now and then, give it FUEL for it to burn. No fuel, no flame, less burning power. That simple.

Maybe you’ve lost pounds due to diet alone. Bravo. But really, can you even run 100 meters without stopping? Being thin is different from being toned. Exercise and diet makes you toned. Diet only makes you thin – and it ain’t impressive at all.

Ok, exercise and diet. Again, easier said than done. How can one start, and how can one make this a way of life? I have three D’s to live with:

DRIVE

Drive, purpose, goal, ambition. These are the things that make us do what we need to do. As I have mentioned above, whether ikakasal ka or may pinopormahan ka, you can’t start something without a purpose. For me it’s simple, my drive is for longevity. I want to play with my kids at their teens, even if I am on my late 50’s. I still want to ride a bike and swim like crazy on my 80’s. It is possible. My grandmother still rides the stationary bike at age of 85. I am not surprised because she is a volleyball player back in her days. So what is your purpose for getting slim? Whatever it is, focus on it, and do everything to achieve that.

DETERMINATION

Never give up. Trimming down takes time. It may be fast for some, and slow for others. The important thing is you’re doing it. Fueled by your drive to lose weight, determination will always follow. No pain, no gain. Quit now, and you’ll achieve nothing.

DISCIPLINE

Of all the three, this is the hardest to deal with. Yes, you may have plotted your training program and prepared your meals for the week, but without discipline, you will end up jogging in bed and munching Cheetos while watching TV.

The only thing sweating then is your jaw. Good job.

Discipline entails a lot of sacrifice and mind power. It is really hard to say no (I am guilty of that from time to time) but it has to be done. Bumawi ka na lang on your cheat day.

So that’s it. It is never too late to regain your health consciousness and be the master of your own weight. How does it feel if you know deep inside that you can always shed those belly fats whenever you choose to? Great, right? It is your body. It is your health. No one will take care of that for you except yourself.

I wrote this with the intent of helping my friends and relatives to raise awareness on their health by watching the food they take and the pounds they gain. Health is wealth. Please share to your friends and loved ones. J

WHAT I WANT MY FUTURE KID TO KNOW

I am a 28-year old kid. I have no children yet. I want to have one, a pretty baby girl to be particular, but my fatherhood can wait I guess. I know parents will tell me that I have no right whatsoever to write stuff about dealing with children when in fact, I don’t have any.

I will write something anyway.

A while ago I overheard my cousin somewhat scolding her youngest kid regarding not doing his assignments first before playing video games. I let them finish first, and approached my cousin if everything’s alright. I offered to share a few words with my nephews.

You see, as a kid, I had my ups and downs in school. Even as a full-pledged Chemical Engineer as I am now, I still got 74 on my freshmen Algebra back in highschool. Sick huh? It is. After that shameful 74, I ended my highschool with a 98 on Mathematics and took on the toughest Engineering course later on. What happened? Trade secret.

Years ago I already prepared myself for fatherhood, really I did. Sorry kung nauudlot ha. But years after that, my principles just got clearer and firmer. Here’s what I want my future kid to know:

ABOUT STUDY AND PLAY

I will never tell you to stop playing forever. You are a kid, all books and no play makes little Paul a dull boy, or little Alex a lonely girl. I can provide you with all the high-end gadgets and video consoles you need,  under one condition:

Do your homeworks first.

Then play till your fingers can’t take it anymore. As a kid, I’ve spent most of my time playing, and still doing good at school. Why? I did my homeworks first.

Masarap maglaro pag alam mong nagawa mo na ang homework mo, db? It’s a winning situation: nakapag-aral ka na, nasarapan ka na maglaro, hindi ka pa namin pagagalitan ng mommy mo.

IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION

Para sayo ang grades mo.  Don’t study and don’t get high remarks just to please us. Rather, study hard because you know you will need that in the future.

Pag 75 kayo sa isang subject, wag ka mahiya samin, mahiya ka sarili mo. It’s your future that’s on the line, not ours. We will provide you with everything you need – allowances, tuition fees, mentoring, etc, but we can never ever fill in the blanks on your 100-item test for you.

Narating ni mommy and daddy kung san man kami ngayon because of prioritizing our studies. You want to be successful? It’s your responsibility. So study hard and study smart.

ABOUT LOVELIFE

For sure may pagkaseloso si daddy pagdating sa boys, or si mommy pagdating sa girls, pero please be open to us if you feel anything, kahit crush pa lang yan. Loving is such a great feeling, it knows no age, it knows no time, it just happens and it feels right.

But just like studies, be responsible with how you feel.

We will hone you to gain the right attitude when it comes to lovelife. Your upbringing will be key as to who you choose and how you love. Mommy and I will make sure that we will provide a home full of love, so that you will be enveloped in an atmosphere of trust, respect and love – which are the key ingredients sa mga relationships.

Parents know best. So if you’re planning for someone, tell us. We can give the best advices you can imagine. Expert ata parents mo jan. J

ON CAREER PATH

The best job in the world is when you are getting paid for the thing you love doing most.

Know your core gift. If you are good in basketball, finish your studies and be a basketball player.

If you are good in arts, mag artista ka.

If you like to be an engineer like daddy, then I will give you a high-five.

Follow your heart.  Just make sure you’ll have a business later on, ok?

ABOUT GOD

Above all else, He is the most important.

Our skills, talents, intelligence, toys, house, are all gifts and blessings from Him. Without Him, we are nothing.

God sees everything. So yes, you can lie to mommy and daddy, but you can never lie to God.

Pray to Him whenever you’re down. Pray to Him when you’re happy. Pray to Him if you want something. Pray to Him after waking up, before and after meals, and before sleeping.

Talk to Him anytime of the day, He is your friend.

Your parents do the same, and look at all the blessings that He gave us. Your parents are not devotees, but we fear and love God.

So that’s it. If my future kid happens to be a lovely, healthy baby girl… then this is I what I really wanted her to know:

Ma. Alexandra, daddy has been waiting  for you for a very long time, and to have you here in my life will the best thing that will ever happen to me. Your daddy will do everything to raise you and be the girl that every guy will respect… and your daddy will be the first guy to hug you when all those other guys break your heart. I love you.

If my future kid is a baby boy:

Junjun, be a better man than your daddy, ok? Wag mo ako tutularan. Lol.

Don’t look for mommy yet, she’s just out there somewhere. 🙂

Simplicity (by Bo Sanchez)

This is an article from Bo Sanchez that I keep reading over and over. This article proved to be a “reset” for me– after all the pressures, contingency plans, and checklisting of what to buy and do. My thoughts, same as yours, needs to be reset every now and then.. enjoy reading!

“SIMPLICITY”
By Bo Sanchez

My parents breathed simplicity. Oxygen too, but that’s
pretty obvious. Dad was an assistant vice president
for a humongous company, yet I didn’t “feel” like I
was a rich man’s kid. Because my parents made it a
rule to live below their means.

A millionaire’s son rode a sleek Benz; I rode our
sixteen-year old Toyota that sounded more like a drum
and bugle band, with its cacophony of bangs,rattles,
and whams.

An heir of the moneyed class was chauffeured to
school, but as early as Grade III, I was taking the
public jeepney– sitting, standing, or swinging from
its handrails like a flapping flag.

The wealthy dined on gourmet meals every day. But the
culinary highlight of my whole week was when Mom
bought Coke for our Sunday lunch– the only time we
tasted the stuff. I’m not kidding.

Rich kid wore outfits from America, England, and
Paris. I wore clothes from Avenida, Escolta, and
Pasay.

The mansions of the rich and famous are veritable
furniture showcases, complete with sixteen Egyptian
jars from the Nephertiti era. I learned that one of
those monstrous flower vases was equal to the price of
our entire house. But naturally, we too, had our own
flower vases. If my archeological knowledge serves me
right, they came from the Nescaf=E9 era.

Their estates have playrooms with life-size Barbie’s
and Power Rangers. But the way I played with expensive
toys was admiring them from the store shelf and using
my imagination to the hilt. That way, I owned all the
toys in the world.

You’ll be shocked by what I’m going to tell you, but
through all this, I recall never feeling deprived in
any way. Let me tell you why.

I remember my father coming home every night and we’d
go jogging together–around our old car parked in the
garage. (Dad says he wasn’t vying for the Olympics
anyway.) Then I’d sit on his lap and we’d talk about
how to solve the problems of the universe.

After dinner, we’d read the comic pages together.
Tarzan was my favorite, until I reached puberty. From
then on, it became Jane.

Almost every Saturday afternoon, it was father and son
time. We’d walk to the shopping center and Dad would
buy me a hotdog. Then we’d walk back home, bringing a
little something for Mom, usually a chocolate bar. To
add sentimental value to our token, I forced myself to
take a few bites from it.

I guess being with Dad and Mom were all that my little
boy’s heart ever wanted.

And I got it, every single day.
********

I believe that God chose to write the “map of
happiness” on the ordinary parchment of simplicity–
like a treasure map written on recycled brown paper.
Consequently, many people ignore that map, and are
attracted instead to the more glossy, loud, shiny maps
around. But when they follow these others maps, they
end up tired as a dog chasing its own tail.

I have a radical suggestion.

Simplify.

Simplify because you want to discover the depths of
your soul.

Simplify because you want to start living
deliberately.

Simplify because you want to love from an uncluttered
heart.

Remember that simplicity is only the first step of the
journey.

Holding the treasure map, memorizing it, photocopying
it a thousand times, and keeping it safe in a vault
won’t make you claim the gold. You actually need to
sail through oceans, climb peaks, cross valleys, and
explore caves.

Simplicity will point to you where and what and who
the gold is in your life.

Once you know your gold, the game has just begun.

Will you treasure your gold?

My parents knew their gold:

(1) each other,
(2) their six children, and
(3) their faith.

They tried to live uncluttered lives so that they
could have time for what was most important.

They didn’t busy themselves buying a bigger house,
because that would mean working harder to pay the
monthly amortization, doing overtime work or taking a
second job. Who would then go jogging with little Bo
every night? Who would read Tarzan for him? They
didn’t burden themselves buying a BMW because that
would mean laboring and worrying about installment
bills.

Besides, walking to the shopping center every Saturday
afternoon with his son gave my dad his needed
exercise, and made little Bo feel special.

One of the delights of my heart was seeing Dad and Mom
in their bedroom at night, after our nightly family
prayer. The lights were turned off, and I’d see the
silhouette of my father seated on his old chair and
mom standing behind him, gently massaging his
shoulders. I’d hear them talk about what transpired
during the day. Even as a child, I sensed their quiet
pleasure at being together. My question today: Could
they have done this rich ritual each night and
nourished their marriage if they had been busy paying
for designer outfits for themselves or their kids, or
if they had been worrying about monthly bills for new
hi-tech appliances?

I don’t think so.

And I’ve made the choice: I don’t want that kind of
life either.