Today’s devotion (June 1)

Hello, everyone! I would like to share with you Dr. Charles Stanley’s daily devotion from InTouch Ministries.

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Our Protector

Psalm 121:1-3

Psalm 121 describes the safety that is found in the Lord. Today and tomorrow, let’s look at several verses to better understand our security.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord” (vv. 1-2). When this psalm was written, robbers dwelled in the mountains, waiting for innocent travelers to become their unsuspecting victims. Not only that, but wild animals also posed a threat. Needless to say, journeying on these remote hilly roads must have caused anxiety and fear.

Our lives can be like mountainous territory. Do you look to the future and wonder what dangers lurk? The Lord is our helper; He alone is able to protect us, regardless of what lies ahead. Friends and relatives can offer limited assistance, but God knows everything and has all the power necessary to rescue us.

“He will not allow your foot to slip” (v. 3). God has provided everything we need in order to avoid sin. The Holy Spirit directs and empowers us; the Word lights our path so we do not slip. Yet at times, we choose to sin. Almighty God could stop us from disobeying, but He doesn’t interfere with our free will. Instead, He upholds us, enabling us to walk in His way.

These opening verses focus on the Lord’s ability to protect us in treacherous times. Whether trouble originates with others, external circumstances, or our own sin, we can find ourselves in danger and afraid. Thankfully, we have a loving Father who leads us to safety.

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

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On students’ security

Schools are called a children’s second home for a reason. A school is an institution where a student learns and is developed. It is a place where he is protected and safe. Some twenty years ago, the reputation of schools being a student’s second home started to erode what with mass shootings, violence involving guns, and gang wars. In order for schools to be a place where safety abounds, they need to have security measures. It is in this light that I would say that security measures not only are a good idea but also are a necessity in schools.

School administrators and parents alike will have peace of mind if the school’s security system is in place. They will be more at ease knowing that equipment like metal detectors, electronic turnstiles (for proper identification of students and visitors as well), and CCTV cameras will prevent potential harm. Besides acting as preventive measure tools, these equipment can also be relied on to in terms of identifying perpetrators, as in the case of CCTV cameras. This is very helpful in cases like gang wars and bullying. However, a school needs to ensure that the equipment they use are fit to their needs. A CCTV camera needs to be working properly, otherwise it will defeat the purpose of ensuring safety in a school. It is apparent that not all students like the idea of having their bags checked every time they go inside the campus, or having to walk through an electronic turnstile to enter the portals of a school. In the long run, students are assured of a safe and secure environment.

Some private schools in Southeast Asia hire security guards in order to ensure that people who go inside the institutions have no guns and other weapons and that they have proper identification before they be allowed entry. It is an admitted fact that students do not like wearing uniforms. Instead of schools requiring students to have uniforms, they can have a “No ID, No Entry” policy. Anyone without an ID will not be allowed to enter the school’s premises. Even this ID policy needs to be applied to school employees as well. A holistic way of ensuring the safety of students also means making sure that people who are working in schools are safe. Even guests and visitors coming to schools need to be checked for security purposes. In the long run, having efficient security measures in schools may be costly at first, and may be inconvenient especially for students, but will be beneficial for all.

Of teaching

       It all started with a call. One day shy from an interview at a business process outsourcing job in Manila, my former dean called me. I found myself accepting the teaching opportunity she offered. Ten years after that phone call, the work experience I had made me realize my passion for teaching.

       At the young age of twenty one, I committed myself to a field that is oft-neglected in my country, the Philippines. I was the only person among our high school class of forty-five who ended up teaching. Most of my classmates devoted themselves to either the Sciences or allied medical profession.  I was, at some point, questioning myself in my first few years in the field of education. To help me in my journey as a teacher, I finished a master’s degree. I assured myself that doing that might help me. And it did. But at the same time, it also paved the way for hardships and challenges as I worked to try to become the “best educator”. I have realized that to get there, my work needed to depend on many factors such as my students’ vision, the academic institutions’ goals, and my adaptation techniques among others.

       One of my favorite techniques in teaching was using research writing as a requirement for an English subject. The research topics were latched on to the students’ fields of specialization. For example, I assigned second year General Engineering students to develop a prototype-based research proposal as major output for their Technical Writing class. Meanwhile, a couple of second year Bachelor of Science in Psychology classes were given the same requirement for their finals. To fine tune it to their course, I asked them to write case studies. All those groups were asked to defend their research proposals and case studies. While writing them, some of them approached me for consultations. They made remarks like “the requirement was somehow difficult because we are not writing majors”, but that the idea of a research in-line with their future jobs made the experience rewarding. To support them in such activity, I shared with them some rubrics for writing research. Majority of them found research writing activity a tool to prepare them for their thesis writing and for their actual work. I realized how useful it was to include activities that helped the students engage in concrete and relatable outputs. The students built a connection between their school activities and the real world they would face as professionals. I met some of them years after their graduation. What an amazing feeling it was seeing them land their dream jobs in different countries in the world.

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       My experiences in teaching English, ESL and EFL, Literature, and Introduction to Journalism courses provided me with various strategies essential to students’ success. Students found it comfortable expressing themselves on activities which contexts were familiar to them. For example, students in Literature classes exhibited attachments to texts closer to their own experiences. While they showed appreciation of other cultures and traditions, they manifested empathy to stories and activities closer to home. To my Filipino students, I have given them token literary texts on the life stories of Filipino-American authors like Bienvenido Santos and Jose Garcia Villa. To Korean students, I have used a clip from an online newspaper. It talked about the effect of pop culture on the study habits of college students. To Vietnamese students, I have used several Viet Cong songs written in English and let them cull post-colonial and reader-response perspectives from them. As a teacher, I helped them have affinity with the texts. Through that, students talked with pride and enthusiasm. It gave them more confidence to express themselves and to collaborate. I am grateful to my former employer for it gave me the chance to teach in other countries like Vietnam and South Korea, through its global partnership program. The exposure to students of different nationalities and different learning backgrounds served as a platform to develop authentic teaching materials.

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       In order to integrate classroom instruction with the demands of the industry, I devoted some time to attend research conferences and write and present some papers. My attendance to those conferences were helpful in such a way that I discovered other areas of growth and expertise. For example, a textual analysis of student newspaper editorials served as one of the materials in teaching argument and voice in writing. They also helped students understand that textbooks were not the only materials for learning.  The exploration of other possible teaching materials diversified students’ views and outlooks. Research made that possible. It was not easy to write and publish research. And it could be costly to go from one country to another to present research without funding, but they are beneficial to both teachers and students.

       Many events have transpired since that phone call from my former dean. One of the reasons why I accepted the teaching job was because I believe that being in the academe would make you credible and intelligent. I kind of laugh at myself now. The superficial reasons I used to ascribe to being an educator were now replaced by a sense of urgency and a renewed level of commitment. I still a have a PhD to pursue. Papers to publish. All that and new sets of students and peers and colleagues to work with. It would be my first shot at teaching in the US, if I would be given the opportunity. While I am aware that I have a lot in my plate now, I am excited about the experiences coming my way. I am positive that this is another venue for friendship, collaboration, and learning.

Takeaways from The Fred Factor

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Labor Day weekend starts in a few hours, and a great way to welcome it is by sharing with you valuable lessons from my latest read “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn. I have seen this treasure in my husband’s stack of books. I am thankful he buys this book, from which I have gained the following insights on loving your job and improving the quality of your life:

  1. In building relationships, “Be real”, “Be interested”, and “Be a better listener”, among others. One of the strategies in having great relationships with colleagues and coworkers is by showing your true self. By genuinely sharing with others your passion and commitment in a way that is empathic and sincere, you are contributing to a more healthy relationship. Meanwhile, being interested is also a key factor in success as it makes the other person feel valued. The tendency is for him or her to feel important, thus creating a ripple effect on the way he or she delivers a job and the manner he collaborates with those around him or her. Add to this being a better listener which actually tops my list as it is a strategy I personally love doing. One learns best by listening and gains heaps by pausing and giving value to what the other person has to say or is saying.
  2. We can be a Fred, too — enthusiastic; artistic; and committed. Our work should not depend on a reward or a recognition. It should, above all, hinge on your goal of exceeding your own limitations. “Benchmark where you are against how far you’ve come and where you want to go,” says Sanborn. Such can be achieved through the implementation of your ideas. Yes, action is the key. One task at a time and one great relationship at a time are starters. Here are some of the practices Mark Sanborn shares with his readers:
    1. one thoughtful remark to a loved one each day to enrich a relationship;
    2. one exceptional performance a day to get the right kind of attention from your boss; or
    3. one unexpected act of service a day to turn the life of another in a positive direction.
  3. “You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips,” Sanborn quotes Oliver Goldsmith on one of the book’s chapters. A person is loved by his example, not by his or her self-serving ways. A wonderful approach to influencing other people to live a purpose-filled life is to lead by example, in a sincere and loving way.

Happy Labor Day weekend! God’s blessings!

Oh, how I miss these!

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Sisig, a popular Filipino dish

  1. Four-dollar one-hour whole body massages;
  2. Coffee and pastry with my friends;
  3. Sisig at The Other Place Restaurant in Batangas City;
  4.  Baby sister’s home-cooked meals;
  5. Laiya, Bohol, and Boracay beaches;
  6. Busy crowds in the cities/downtown areas, malls, churches, wherever;
  7. Home-service manicure and pedicure;
  8. Sago at gulaman and palabok at Goldilocks;
  9. All-natural Buko (Coconut) juice; and
  10. One-dollar hair cuts.

Thank you, dear Lord, for my Filipino roots. Amen!

photo credit: http://www.mykusinamasterrecipes.com/easy-sizzling-pork-sisig-recipe/

Thankful Angel

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It is the first day of August and just like every day, it is timely to thank God for His blessings! The half of 2016 goes by so quickly — like a vapor, they say. So here are ten reasons why I am thankful and feeling blessed by His love (I am thinking of doing this every beginning of the month):

  1. Receiving His healing and sustenance for my family and loved ones;
  2. Having a grace-filled first three months of marriage;
  3. Meeting my sister’s medical needs through the love of family and friends;
  4. Having a peaceful and promising life in the US;
  5. Keeping in touch with family and friends all over the world;
  6. Going to church fellowships with my husband on Sundays (when his work schedule allows);
  7. Sustaining the commitment to a prayer-centered life;
  8. Starting my blogsite (www.faithfulservantweb.wordpress.com);
  9. (Finally) beginning to read the Bible; and
  10. Having His peace and love.
photo credit: CCF Philippines