Posted by Joseph on Jul 24, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments
Last week, I finished the book Rising Higher by Kelly Williams – PBA player with Talk ‘N Text, father, husband, and Christian. It tells his story from growing up in Michigan with his American father and Filipina mother to discovering basketball, going to school, and eventually making his way to the Philippines to play professional basketball.
I enjoyed reading this book because it allowed me a peek into a world that was so different from mine, but was criss-crossed by themes that anyone can relate with – whether he’s describing his sadness at the loss and pain he’d suffered or the butterflies in his stomach when he met his wife. While it’s about a high-flying professional basketball player, it’s also still very human.
posterize (verb) - to embarrass someone by dunking on them so that they are featured on a poster
Two words in particular kept coming back to me as I read: courage and generosity.
The book is full of courage – you feel it every time he bounces back from an injury or relational obstacle. You feel it in his ability to take a leap of faith and travel halfway around the world. I especially felt it in his willingness to write about very personal and painful memories.That took courage. I actually asked him about this after reading and he related how challenging it was to go back into certain frames of mind in his past and confront some ugly mindsets he once had. He could have given more time to the glamorous life of a PBA basketball star, but he felt that these moments were important to pass on to the reader.
And that brings me to generosity. Icko, a director friend, kept using the phrase “Be generous” to an acting class he was teaching. He later explained to me that people can act by just going through the motions, but when they give it that extra push, go the extra mile, give beyond what’s expected, dig a little deeper than necessary – that’s generosity. I realized that the concept applied to so much of life as well – in work, relationships, working out, performances, conversations, etc. You know when people are being generous because you feel that they gave you something. And that’s what this book feels like.
I started reading it out of curiosity, to get to know the man who lives 9 floors directly above us, someone I know from church and professional basketball. Then it became interest – in his life and the interesting perspective it provides. By the end it moved to gratitude. I was thankful to Kelly for taking the effort to record this story and being willing to share it to so many.
So I highly recommend you grab a copy! There’s a little bit of something for everyone. Basketball fans will be happy to get an inside look at the sport on the professional level. It’s a coming of age story, a love story, a fatherhood story and a travel diary of a Filipino-American who learns to fall in love with our country. Overall it’s a story of a man’s journey of faith that took everything life had to throw at him and kept going anyway.
available at Fully Booked for P1000, hardbound
Posted by Joseph on Jul 11, 2012 in Personal | 4 comments
It started out pleasantly enough. I had a dream that my wife and I were secret agents infiltrating a totalitarian nation to rescue students from government labs where heinous experiments were being done to them. So unspeakable were these crimes that the dream didn’t bother to explain them.
Going over the whole plot would take too long but it included double agents behind enemy lines, disguises, secret wings and hidden stairwells, tense moments with guards, and an escape by train. It had elements of Mission Impossible, Shining Through, and The Great Escape.
Something like this... but not quite
When I finally woke up, I was excited to face the day. After seeing my wife off to help some friends out and reading my Bible and praying, I got dressed for basketball. I don’t always play on Monday mornings, but I wanted this game because I hadn’t played in a while and needed to unwind from the weekend.
The game was a blast! Intense and competitive without being jerks. I’m not a fan of let’s-just-play-for-fun-and-not-try-to-win games because then I’d rather watch a movie. I do like playing for fun and winning is fun.
Afterwards, I grabbed lunch with my brother and some good childhood friends. It was great catching up and seeing how while lots of things have changed, lots of things also stay the same. Then it was off to the office for our staff meeting.
We had reports from Dan who had just come back from our campus ministry in Baguio. Perci who came from the US wowed everyone with his chocolates. And CJ gave a report on his trip to China. All of the updates were encouraging and were a great way to start the discussion. Three hours later we were done, primed to get things done this week. Dan and I caught a van at the public transportation hub in Market Market.
I got home, changed, and waited for my wife to pick me up. Together, we went to Bizu in Promenade, Greenhills for the food tasting of our friends’ wedding caterer. Bizu is expensive but very justifiably so. The quality ingredients, thoughtfulness of the menu, and blending of flavors are worth every peso for foodies.
Yum, yum, yum, and yum!!! The cakes have individual names - it's like they're your friends.
Our dinner was everything you could ask for in a meal with friends – great food, wonderful company, and a hilarious conversation. We finally and regretfully had to part at almost 11 pm. My wife and I drove home looking forward to resting after a long day, but the day didn’t seem to want to end just yet.
When we arrived, I realized that I wasn’t holding the house keys – our only copy. I knew my wife didn’t have them either so where were they? We checked all over the car. Not there. Did I leave it in the door??? We ran upstairs. Nope, it was locked. But were the robbers inside???
We drove back to Bizu, calling our friends to check if they saw it. We pulled up and I ran in to ask the waiters and staff about it. Nope, nothing was seen. Did they throw it out by accident? I was prepared to root through their garbage just to check. No, that was an impossibility, they said.
We checked the parking lot where we parked. I asked the guards if they saw anything. Nothing. We borrowed their flashlight and went through the car again. Every nook and cranny was inspected. I found a pair of clean black socks and a crumpled 20 peso bill, but no key.
Losing car keys = major hassle / Losing house keys = goodbye security
As we drove home, I ran through all the possible scenarios in my mind. (All but one) My wife was the picture of calmness and serenity. Never once dropping an “I told you so” or blaming me. Me on the other hand, my mind was whirring.
Did I drop it on the sidewalk on my way to my wife? Did the restaurant people throw it out unknowingly? Did I leave it in the keyhole and some opportunistic people let themselves in and were looting the house even as I was thinking about it??!!
For some reason that last scenario stuck with me and I called the building to ask the guard to post someone just outside the door to catch the thieves red-handed! Also, please call a locksmith because I might need him.
It was past midnight when we arrived at the house again. I spent a few minutes walking up and down the sidewalk to inspect it again. Nothing. The guard was waiting dutifully but looked a little confused as to his role there. I asked him if the locksmith had arrived. He was on the way. We would have to break the lock and hopefully install a new one so we could sleep.
Resigned to this fate, I shrugged, stuck my hands in my pockets, and my fingers closed around the keychain. I pulled out the house keys. I don’t know how I missed it when I patted my pockets down. It was like these jeans had a portal to another dimension where the key was deposited until I pulled it out again.
At that moment all over the world, everyone from the highest humans to the lowest creatures face palmed themselves though they knew not why.
Relief – That there wasn’t a thief right now on our beds, using my laptop and wearing my clothes, while eating my wife’s salted caramel chocolate.
Embarrassment – My friends who called the resto, the helpful guards in the parking lot, and the security people in our condominium including the one right in front of me who watched me pull the key out of my pocket and stare at it like it was a rabbit from a hat.
Gratitude – At my wife who patiently waited the whole scenario out, wanting nothing more than to go to bed. No negativity from her at all, even after I’d commented a few times before on her tendency to look for things instead of checking the things right under her nose.
Hilarity – I mean, who does that???
Epilogue: I texted our friends who made the call, apologized for my silliness and thanked them for their effort. They laughed as friends will. I went downstairs to drop something off with the security team and had a good laugh with them as well. Then I went upstairs, and after a well-deserved shower, told my wife how much I appreciated her support through this and held her close to me as we drifted off to sleep.
Posted by Joseph on Jul 4, 2012 in Uncategorized | 4 comments
Some great blogs I’ve been reading that might be interesting to some of you.
When Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Crash the Party - a great blog from the online Wall Street Journal about the need for evolving etiquette even as technology continues to develop. Check it out and try it in your next party of get-together!
Getting a Haircut - Our good friend and my wife’s mentor, Jenn Punzalan, blogs about how she finally got her four-year old son (our godson!) to agree to a haircut. Cute, funny, but there’s a good lesson in there for parents and leaders.
Why We Should Avoid Hyperbole in Church Communications - Great blog by media guru Thelma Bowlen! I found myself guilty of a few of the things she was mentioning and I’m glad she shared her thoughts. Check it out if you want to maximize your communication.
What I Learned From Disciplining My Kids - Another parenting blog, this time from our good friend, Thammie Sy! She is married to Dennis, our senior pastor in Victory Greenhills and they both have tons of great content on their sites. His list of blogs was the source of three of these links in this list. This blog gives a cute story, with a very powerful lesson at the end also.
Being a Pastor is a Strange Thing - Paolo Punzalan, Ate Jenn’s husband and executive pastor of Victory Fort, reblogs this amusing but insightful description of a pastor’s job. I really liked how it was able to gather different perspectives from the Bible and put them together nicely. You can really only do this job by the power of the Holy Spirit. Insightful readers will see that some of these aren’t just for pastors but for anyone who works and needs God’s power to do it. Original here.
Unequally Yoked – An ardent atheist blogger is won over by the Gospel and now blogs about her journey of faith. She explains here process here. I liked her tone of honesty and openness.
Video of our Mt. Bulusan climb a.k.a. the only video on the internet of me singing – My wife has tirelessly edited some of the footage from our recent Mt. Bulusan climb. Check it out to see our experience climbing that inactive volcano. Things to watch out for: the shot with a near-perfect circular rainbow looking downward at the clouds, the wild berries shown by our guide, Ate Virgie, and of course, my song number at the end. 1000 points to whoever can identify the movie the song is from.