An Open Letter to You on Mother’s Day…

Dear Mom,

A few things I remember growing up, mostly the times I used to come to your office after school to go home together. When we stopped by the church every single night after work on the way home.  Watching you pray, not fully understanding why we need to be there. The exhaustion, the hunger, not knowing what lies tomorrow but there you are kneeling and praying.

There are so many things I used to hear you say. Words of Wisdom that, honestly at that time, sounds more like a long painful sermon. Funny, isn’t it how those words still linger in my heart and in my mind to this very day?

So, in honor of those Words of Wisdom, let me share a few in this list:

  1. “Put God first in your life.”
  2. Matthew 4:4 “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
  3. “Persevere in life for nothing comes easy.”
  4. “Trust no one, rely on no one – only in God.”
  5. “Pray, Pray, Pray each given moment.”
  6. “Ask the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom to make the right choices in life.”

The next one is how to live my life; I hope I have captured the important ones I have learned from you:

  1. “Be proactive and not complacent in life.”
  2.  “You are who you hang out with, so choose your friends wisely.”
  3. “Have patience, patience is a virtue” (you particularly keep reminding me of this).
  4. “It is not how you look or your outward manifestations that matters; it is what is in your heart.”
  5. “Not everything you see on TV and not everything that looks good, and tastes good is good for you.”

Wow! There are many more to this list, and each day I wake up, your words echo in my heart and in my thoughts. It is like an automatic switch that turns on that guides me to remain true to my Faith.

I am so blessed to have you, you are a wonderful, insightful person. You have expressed your love and affection so differently.  For we never hugged and never said “I love you” to each other. Your expression of love is sharing the gospel and the truth. For you knew that I shall carry this throughout my life.

I made a lot of poor choices in my life growing up. I dismissed your words and heard it as a long boring sermon. Perhaps, because of my immaturity and stubbornness. I had difficulty understanding what it meant.  But you knew in your heart that God will draw me back to the right path of life and He did. You are always right on the target, Mom.

You have shared the best of your life and the gift of wisdom that surmounts all suffering and sacrifices you have endured in life.

When you passed almost four years ago, there were mixed feelings of loss, grief, and relief. I know that you are finally resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

This Mother’s Day and in the days and months ahead, I want to say, “Thank you” and “I Love You.”  I am so blessed that you left me with your words of wisdom and the living Truth of God.

©fm1 5.12.23

“WOW” Moments

Recently I was assigned to review and approve claims for our senior patients. My first reaction was panic! I saw how many of these dated back to the summer of 2022.  At a glance, I saw it was 300 and each service date is only given 5 days to review. The feeling of being overwhelmed struck my head calculating – “How am I going to finish 30 claims per service date within 5 days on top of projects and other day-to-day stuff?”  After a few minutes chat with my supervisor, we both agreed that I just do the best that I can.  

Each day, I squeeze in 10 claims in-between my regular projects and I started working 2-3 hours each Saturday from 7:30 AM through 10:30 AM while running my laundry and listening to my Christian radio for inspiration, working my way throughout the morning cranking as much as I can within the three hours.

Yesterday, the person in charge of uploading these claims chatted with me on Slack and I discovered that the claims are not just 300 – it is 2800 and continues to flow in volumes. I was staring at my computer on the Slack message, just shrugged my shoulders and smiled, and said to myself “It will be okay.” She also mentioned that she is the only one uploading the claims by herself in her department. I just responded, “There goes our weekend.”

Later in the afternoon, she sent a heads-up to the group for awareness advising everyone that we would need to pay the additional interest charges since this is a special case. She also captured in the email that 800 claims were reviewed and approved in less than a month. “Did she write 800?” looking at the numbers, I was in disbelief and felt “Wow!” I never imagined that I would be able to do 800 in three weeks!

One lady responded in the email thoughtlessly “What’s our expected internal timeline for review and to get these processed?” then a thoughtful and kind response from the same lady I was working with responded back with “5 days once we’re caught up, but that’s not humanely possible for one person, even if poor Des didn’t have other duties. Once we resolve their backlog, we should be good to go.”  I stared at her response, “Did she just say my name? Did she just express compassion on behalf of my predicament?  Another unexpected wow emotion just crept inside me and left me in amazement.

God puts an army of people in our lives who protect us from the harsh thoughts, actions, and words of others.

He showed the goodness in people around me; my supervisor and the lady who spoke with compassion expressing her inner thoughts on my behalf – I saw the action and love of God in them.  

How beautiful to witness that in times of uncertainty. There are people around us whose kindness flows from their hearts and brings peace to others. They are the Armies of God amongst us.

© fm1 5.6.23

In Psalm 91:14-16

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 19

Unified In Spirit

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could choose the people we work with? or work with people we enjoy being around?  Most probably we could have more fun accomplishing a lot of tasks if the team you collaborate with shares a similar interest with us.

I once worked with a group of chaotic people, we even attended an outside team-building workshop not by choice.  All senior and middle managers are sequestered for the weekend to collaborate with each other, and I was one of them.

It looks like an episode from “the survivors” except the challenge is withstanding each other’s idiosyncrasies. As I gazed at the group photograph taken thirteen years ago, I vividly remembered the personality of each person and how it made us uncomfortable being all together.  I guess we all pretended to like each other because everyone was smiling at the photo.

The truth is that even if we work with the best group of people or with our best friends, there will be times of challenges and differences of opinion. Anger and frustrations will still erupt in a discussion. It is in our human nature to feel in control without realizing that sometimes, we are brought together to bring balance, exercise patience, show humility, learn obedience, and allow others to be heard. To resist judgment, exert our opinions, or criticize, but to practice acceptance of who they are and how we can all fit in the same square without harmful thoughts or adding to the chaos of life. To live in peace and in accordance with God’s will. No matter what our differences, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are, we are here to follow and serve one Shepherd, one Leader, and one Master – our Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you think when Jesus said, “Come follow me” and chose his twelve apostles He picked the best of the best?  Or in the world of sports, select the most outstanding players? When they came, they followed as they were – with brokenness, weaknesses, and strengths. Jesus knew exactly that there is a lot of “team building” that needs to be done. He has put together people from diverse backgrounds, with different personalities and unique talents. That despite their idiosyncrasies, He knew well who would abide by His teachings and who would continue to fulfill His mission to spread the WORD.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

He chose those who will bring out the best in each other; the doubtful one, the one good with numbers, the ones who will be His writers of the NT for future generations to study and spread the WORD, the ones who will shepherd the eleven, and even gave an opportunity to the one who will fall astray and betray Him. Jesus was a brilliant teacher. He lived by example and came to fulfill His Father’s will.

Matthew 5:17-18

As I now sit in a room whether in a church community or working with others, I have come to appreciate and respect the people around me – broken and all, just like me.

fm1 3.27.23


Who Are We Becoming?

One of my Sunday practices before my day gets caught up in the busyness of schedules is watching this one Sunday service online that I have been following for over six years. The only caveat is getting up so early to catch it live because they are opposite from my time zone which means I must be up half an hour early to be mentally awake by 6 AM when it starts.  Of course, I still go to my local weekly Sunday service to join my community.

Lately, I have been watching the recorded version for an hour or two. My mind is more awake and ready to discern. 

It is not that I need to listen to different churches or act so holy and righteous, I find this online service as a study guide for me. They take a particular scripture story (like the Book of Daniel) and expand it to a four to six-weekly series and each one provides a clear understanding of each verse.  

It is like when people listen to their favorite podcasts. I am sure you know someone who has subscribed to more than one podcast.

Why may you ask do I need to watch an online service? Honestly, this is the first time I am revealing this nerdy part of me. I love learning!  I was always a Christian and was raised in a religious family. But I must admit that even though I read the Bible when growing up, there are stories and scriptures that I still struggle to understand. Just in the past three years, I decided to go back to discerning the WORD and how it connects to my life – our lives. I began to bury myself in books to enrich my understanding and the online Sunday teaching adds to my learning.

Today, a new series started about “struggle is real.” A segment talks about “who you are is more important than what you do.” Simple concept but I found it profound. Because a lot of times we are so centered on the idea of accomplishments. We feel so proud when our names are tagged on titles, but we lose track of how we grow as a person. How we relate with others as human beings.

As achievements and successes pile up, as investments and assets grow and reach value, the more it draws us into isolation. Because we are becoming the person identified by what we do and what we have acquired instead of who we should become – the person who values kindness, friendships, and service to others and to God. We dismiss the fact that the other stuff we get busy with most of the time is just that – stuff.

So why do I spend my time enriching my understanding of the WORD and learning the TRUTH? Because aside from the fact that I love learning, I know that He is transforming my heart to become a person of God.

Have you pondered on this question in the silence of your hearts, who you are becoming?

©fm1 2.26.23


“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:13-14

Why do we struggle when this word pops up in our minds?

…our hearts harden on the idea of acceptance.

…we cleave and harbor bitterness, lose the essence of God’s love in us, and allow the enemy to take over our hearts.

Our human heart is so vulnerable that we overlook the essence and the significance of forgiveness in our lives.

…breaks barriers to receive inner peace that brings us joy and sets us free from the chains of anxiety and worries of life.

…opens our hearts to new possibilities where God may lead us next.

Why do we allow pain to linger just to bind us in misery? When God’s true love is always there ready to entangle us.

I could count the times when my life has been shredded into pieces by people around me throughout the years; deceived, betrayed, and abandoned.

I chose to live my life according to where God leads me. I chose to forgive. I chose to live free from bitterness and allow myself to be released from the barriers of attaining inner peace. I chose to accept and love others unconditionally.  For I know that God’s love and mercy will lead me to His kingdom.

©fm1 1.27.23

Matthew 18:23-35

Sentiments …

Have you listened to an orchestra that literally moved you to tears? You closed your eyes and as you listen it takes you to a soaring height of emotions that it is so beautiful you couldn’t physically move and yet your heart floats and lifts you up to a wonderfully tranquil place….

It is when you recognize how powerful LOVE can be, that even the sound of a beautiful crescendo of an orchestra can lift your soul to the summit then tears fall down your face. Then, as you open your eyes, there is a great incredulity of peace, and you tell yourself – “WOW!”

It is when you discover how to appreciate life and what it brings to you. Then, you envision yourself in a room with people you have imagined being with exactly at that moment, a room filled with peace, love, and joy.

“God’s love for us shall take us to the great pinnacle, an unimaginable place that will bring a feeling of “awe” for we will never be able to explain that breathtaking moment of joy. For His promises will be fulfilled and on that day, we will see Him face-to-face, with such beauty. A place full of love and serenity that has no end.”

©fm1 12.3.22

Revelation 21:6,22:17,22:4,22:20

What’s Next?

People often say, “It is the journey that is important.” How do you know if the road to your journey is where you should be?

When you are amid struggle and challenges and life seems discouraging; when people around don’t seem to recognize your existence, you can’t seem to reach the goal you have set in life, and you find yourself stuck in circumstances. How do you proceed?

Journey – passage or progress from one stage to another is the depiction from the dictionary.

Then you look at the word progress in the description and wonder – –

Do you sometimes feel that there is progress in your life? You wake up each morning and do the same routine repeatedly. It is comfortable, isn’t it? You say to yourself, “It’s life, just embrace it” and you wait for that precise breakthrough to happen. You know inside you, that change needs to happen.

Courage, where do you find it? How do you attain it?

You pause for a moment and reflect…what’s next? Are you ready for that change?

Breathe in and exhale one more time. Look up! He is there!

©fm1 11.18.22

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

Betrayal and Sorrow

In one of R.C. Sproul’s Expositional Commentary in the Book of John, he wrote “betrayal is one of the most devastating experiences any human being can endure. The prevalence of betrayal is understandable in light of the prevalence of sin.” He was referring to Peter’s denial of Jesus in John 18:15-27

I couldn’t help but feel this deep cut in the core of my heart and in the pit of my stomach each time flood of ugly memories of betrayal occurs in my mind amid my suffering at the hands of my oppressors. Betrayal occurred a few times in my life, and I cannot tell which one is worse. It is a hideous and agonizing experience anyone can be subjected to and yet because of the darkness of the human heart, rarely we find an escape. Sadly, at one point in our lives, we will fall victim to betrayal. Somehow when your thoughts take you back to the scene, you can’t seem to find closure in each angle because there are no answers to the “whys and hows.” 

Imagine how Jesus felt at that moment witnessing the betrayal of his closest friend. Envision the stare when their eyes met during Peter’s denial. One could imagine the sorrow, the guilt, and the pain.

Where do you find refuge? How do you cope, and how do you survive?

In the midst of anxiety and discouragement, I found myself in Psalms; Psalm 140:1-13Psalm 143:1-12, and Psalm 3:1-8

Looking back, I will never have learned to let go and released myself from bitterness if I did not reflect on the Love of God  Proverbs 3:5-6

To this day, each morning, I start my day with thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty God who surrounds me with His protection and unconditional love.

“Lord, you are my portion
and my cup of blessing;
you hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”  ~ Psalm 16:5-6

©fm1 10.13.22

Perpetual List

Are you like me who likes creating lists and relying on a list to accomplish daily tasks?

Lists of any kind (notes, post-its, calendars, memos) can be helpful in our daily lives; to-do lists for home, to-do lists for work, grocery lists, travel lists, lists of birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth – these are all good lists. It is a wonderful tool that helps us to remember all important things that require our attention.  And don’t forget, the list of people who we pray for and lists of our own personal intentions that we bring to the Lord, most high – do you have a list?

God should not be just on the list. He should be in us and with us – the focal point of our existence – on our conscious level, in our words, and actions.  Our mere existence comes from Him. We are on His list of creations. But we can not put Him on a list of our to-do things. 

Every action, every thought, and every word that comes out from our being must bring honor and glory to His name.  Our character must be built based on our true foundation in Him. Every expression of love and reverence belongs to Him. Our list will not exist if He did not give us life as His expression of love for us.

When you pray, you do not need a list to present to Him for He knows our desires, struggles, and needs, even before we speak. You need to praise and glorify His existence in your daily life. To tender your thanksgiving for all He has given you – and yes, including those challenges and struggles, for those, are the precise motivation that brings you back to Him.  It is when you remember that there is a loving God who is consistently there in your life, who understands you and knows your pain.

God is never a part of any list. He is the breath of your life.

©fm1 8.12.22

“What is the focus of our life? What do we think about all the time? Are we preoccupied with goals and ambitions and the desires and appetites of this world? I am not asking whether we simply think about such things but rather what our minds are set on. What is our focus?”

R.C. Sproul. Romans – An Expositional Commentary

Food for the Soul

I came across a very interesting article “Your Intimate Relationship with Food.” It explains the intimate connection between what we eat and how we feel. Wow! Quite insightful – it connects the nutritional components in food to power not only our body but also our mental state.

We often focus on maintaining the balance of our mind and body, but we leave out the part of our soul. We follow all kinds of fads on diet and practice all different styles of exercise for our body to keep it in shape, we also dive into modern books to activate the critical thinking of our minds. But the truth is if our focal point is only on these two parts of our wellbeing, our character remains stagnant, our maturity becomes stale, and boredom continues to grow in us. Then we look for other things to challenge us, not realizing that it is our soul that is hungry and needs to be fed. Our soul is craving for the real food from the “Spirit”, for real knowledge, and the practice of living a more “Christ” life.

Peace and Hope written in Romans 5:1-5 provide us a better understanding of embracing suffering and fostering our character from inside our soul to the outside manifestation of our being; mind and body. In one of my favorite books written by R.C. Sproul “The Righteous Shall Live By Faith” a book that is centered on the Book of Romans in the Bible, he wrote –

“that faith looks to what has already taken place, and we put our trust in it. Hope is merely faith looking forward. Hope is created by the Holy Spirit within us. Tribulation puts muscle on our souls. Tribulation makes it possible for the people of God to persevere rather than to give up. The result of character is Hope.”

He also wrote “When God enters into a peace treaty with His people, it is a permanent peace. He may be displeased with us, and we may grieve Him, but once we have peace with God through the work of Jesus Christ, that peace is ours forever.”

His sentiment is beautiful, profound, and “true.”

What our being requires is more than the physical food that we take or the rigid exercise that we submit our body to.  We need Jesus Christ to be our source of life. For the “death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God [Romans 6:10]”

Jesus is the main component that connects our soul to God.

If you ask yourself, where do you find your inner peace? What brings inner joy to your daily life? Why is it that even when you follow the structural routine that you have set for yourself, you still fail? You still want more and never reach a point of satisfaction?

The supplemental source of all your emotions foundation is set on the tangible things in life.  Our spirit is not designed to rely on what is set in front of us. It is not something we see and touch – it is what we desire in our hearts that feed our souls. Therefore, the question is, do you desire to be in the presence of our Creator? Is He the foundation of your life?


“Dear Lord, set my heart on you alone. Be the foundation of my life and lead my life according to Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen”