When you don’t make it to your school of choice

First of all, apologies for the tardy reply.  I had started drafting this in early July and it has lain untouched in my draft box.  Life has taken me over as always, and sometimes, dishing out my two cents’ worth by way of giving advice is not always as easy as I normally would write something spontaneous.

I got an e-mail (actually, two emails) but didn’t quite catch the e-mails in a timely manner because I hardly check the email account associated with the blog.  Please e-mail me instead at pinaynewyorker@gmail.com.

I didn’t get much details except that someone was hoping to get to law school, didn’t get to the preferred school because of a fraction of a point difference in the required average.

Depressed and sad, what to do?

I had to let out an audible sigh after writing that question. It’s something we must all consider when we set our sights on landing in a particular university or college and we miss the mark. This is not only true for those seeking higher education but also for those trying to get into college (or had tried to get into college). Take heart!

So what do you do when you don’t land where you want to be, or get what you want… I have had to deal with that question many times over in epic proportions over the last two to three years.  And as the years went — it seemed to me that the disappointments became bigger and bigger.  The heartbreak became harder and harder to bear.

But I moved on.

Without pinning my hopes on ‘luck’, I instead pinned my hopes on ‘faith’ and ‘the universe’.  What is it that we say in the vernacular?  Kung para sa iyo talaga, magiging iyo.  Kung ukol, bubukol.  (If it is meant for you, it will be yours.  It is mean to be, it will happen.)

We have to determine what it is that means the most to us.  What it is that we truly want to achieve.  If one thing doesn’t work out, then move on to plan B.

Simply put, if your first school of choice doesn’t accept you (just as UP decided I wasn’t to be part of their student pool), move to another choice.  (And I embraced the blue..)  It doesn’t mean having to give up your dream — it just means adjusting it.

If it really means a lot to you to actually go to law school, the fact that you did not land in your school of choice shouldn’t shatter that dream.  It changes how you realize it, but it doesn’t mean that dream is now unreachable.

A former high school classmate (who is now 48 like me) with three grown children, a public service/media career she was appointed to, endorsements and an actor/husband who the ladies in our generation would not mind waking up next to every day, and whose celebrity has help spread cancer awareness and the message of hope to the public recently posted she was going to audit (observe/sit in) classes in law school.  Then followed the comment that she had always wanted to go to law school, and was wondering if she could do it.  Kaya kaya?  she asked.  We all pounced on the question and words of support chimed in from all over.  OF COURSE! Kayang-kaya!

First, age is never a detriment.  I’ve related this many times that when I took the bar in my mid-twenties, I was in the midst of adults old enough to be my mom and even be my grandma. Never too late to dream, or pursue a dream.

Secondly, her health challenges notwithstanding, she has the money and more importantly the brains.  Need I say more?

And that applies to everyone.  We have different ‘gifts’ and abilities. Our financial stretch differs from one person to the other, but the financial burden of pursuing ones’ dream can be adjusted.  If you can’t afford the more expensive school, go to the one that fits the budget.

“The Best” is not always for everyone.  Whether it’s because you cannot make it to that school because your scores or grades didn’t make the cut, or because you are otherwise constrained by other limitations, those are mere challenges that you should find a way around to get to where you want to go.  Those of us who are able to get up after a fall do so because we know how to make the most of what we have, and we never lose the hope that things will get better.

And while “better” is relative to how you perceive the world, it is never too far away if only you would look close enough to see how there is so much you have been blessed with.

So four or five years from now, don’t  be surprised if this once child star now celebrity mom and public servant in her own right, wife to the once heart throb and cousin to another, is addressed “Attorney”.  I know I won’t be surprised — I’ll just chime in and say “It’s about time.”

Related posts on the pursuit of a legal education can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE in the navigation bar.

Your heart today

One of my favorite Catholic Christian songs is “Your Heart Today” by the ever so prolific and talented Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J.  If there is one man who was put on this earth and given talent in abundance who has done more than his share to bless others, Fr. Manoling is that man.  And although the whole song is beautiful and truly touching, it’s the last line that has resonated with me the most:

“And when I’ve done all that could, yet, there are hearts I cannot move —  Lord, give me hope.  That I may be Your heart today.”

My favorite line from Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ's "Your Heart Today":  "And when I've done all that I could, yet there are hearts I still can't move-- Lord, give me hope.. That I may be Your heart today".  Amen.  #prayer #yourhearttoday #frmanolingfranciThis layout actually appears in two separate pages in my altered book.  It’s a ways away yet but I put the whole refrain in separate pages.

A prayer.  Words of inspiration.  Between me and my God.

A source of strength and inspiration both in good times and bad.

FAITH: Words and Pictures

There are things that I do online via Instagram, Twitter and Flickr which deserve a mention here but aren’t exactly front and center of my day.  Or sometimes there just isn’t more to say beyond the photo and whatever I had “scribbled” on to it.  For the most part, I do this only in prayer form, hence you will find a section on the above entitled WORDS & PICTURES as a page under a sub-category FAITH.

Below is my second entry.  I’m not going to do this regularly so I am just posting each graphic as they are created onto the page.   Please feel free to pin or share but please give credit.


Sunset over the Poconos and reflections this Holy Week: Lord, help me to welcome YOU into my life. #sunset #reflection #prayer #lentenreflection #HolyWeek #poconos #pennsylvania #Faith #religion

A matter of faith

Ash WednesdayI went for ash at a nearby parish which was a short walk from my building, like I had done the last 3 years.  There was this pair of ladies on the church stoop with a camera on a tripod, and I was curious but had secretly hoped they wouldn’t stop me for whatever it was they wanted to ask.  But stop me, they did.

They were doing market research and putting together a documentary in the process, and would I be willing to answer a few questions about Ash Wednesday for a talent fee of $10.  I don’t know what made me sign the release form pronto, but I said yes, took off my shades, and waited as they got set up with the rest of New York walking past me.   I was lucky that it was a sidestreet and not a main thoroughfare, but this being New York City, the traffic was pretty brisk during the lunch hour.

From the first question of what is Ash Wednesday to whether or not the Pope’s admonition about Ash Wednesday brought me here (and no, it did not — I go for my ash whoever the sitting pope is) — I’m glad I took the time to answer the questions, because it was a reaffirmation of what I have grown up to believe all my life about my religious leaning.

Like all other surveys and interviews, there is that question that sticks with you:  “How would you define faith?”  And spontaneously, I replied, “It’s believing in something or someone, a higher power or being even if you cannot see Him or physically feel him.”

That is the kind of faith that I am trying to teach my son, and it’s a kind of faith that you cannot give to someone if you don’t have it in your heart. 

I did a Lenten fast yesterday which was rare and not easy for me, but I made it through the day with a few slices of bread and water.  At night, I made do without the meat and had grilled cheese.  For the season, I’m trying to give up red meat.  So far, so good.

This Lenten season is more solemn to me for many reasons, and I want to make the most of this season or repentance and renewal and flesh out my relationship with God.  Faith has always been a very personal aspect of my existence, and while I wear my faith on my sleeve literally, what goes on and what I think and say to Him stays between Him and me. 

I am also trying to find the courage to forgive and to not let anger or pain crowd my heart.  It is not easy but I know it is the only way to find my way to inner peace and calm.  I try to be more introspective now, thinking before I say or do something — and reminding myself of what is right and just according to His word.  I am trying.  I am praying.

The past few months have seen me feeling closer to my God and I have never been more reassured of His presence in my life than at this time.  I feel blessed. 

I wish you all the blessing of that kind of presence and reassurance, and hope that the Lenten season will find you having a closer and more meaningful releationship with Him.

Art Journal Every Day: Just Believe

Art Journal Every Day: Spiral

This layout picks up from the previous multi-page layout, BELIEVE,  which had a dangling letter on the front and back end.  Because I had an “e” dangling from the “BELIEVE” layout, you see the back of that letter as the first portion of this next spread.  It was a watercolor background which made for easier journaling, and I played around with shapes and writing directionally — literally.  Somewhere in the midst of completing the days you see here, I wrote the passage on the right based on my daily readings as a reminder of the verse which resonated with me.

“Change my heart, oh, God.  May I be like you.”

But the title of this layout is “JUST BELIEVE” because of the admonition you see around the spiral on the left side.  I find that these days, my faith has become stronger even if I have put the blind faith hat on — where I don’t go beyond believing.  I don’t even think about it… I just believe — and trust that all will be taken cared of.

Your Presence in my day

Another DayI just missed two buses and I am certain one of them was what I needed to get to work. It doesn’t help that they hit the bus stop when I was still too far away that it wouldn’t have mattered if I broke into a sprint to catch them. I let it go. I was praying.

“Lord, help us to feel YOUR presence in our day today.”

I had to pause after that line when I realized that we often get caught up in our day-to-day existence and everything becomes routine and we forget He is there with us. I prayed that others feel His presence, too. At a time when many feel alone in their struggles or when help from the usual sources doesn’t appear to be forthcoming, we often forget the one presence that is guaranteed — come what may. I say that because I believe. I, too, have to remind myself to acknowledge He is there, as I sometimes fall prey to forgetting or taking it forgranted that He is.

More so during those times when I feel anger or desperation crawling out of me, I just close my eyes, breathe deeply, utter a prayer or a silent cry for help — and I let it go. When no one else can hear me cry out, I know He does.

Another Monday, another week — the world seems a little more peaceful today. At least from my point of view, that is. The sun seems to be feeling lazy and has been hiding behind the rain clouds. Perhaps it’s because I started the day feeling assured I am not alone. Despite the grey, I see the sunshine even when I can’t feel it on my face.

I know He is here with me as He is there with you, holding your hand, Sis.

Because I believe..

My “catch up” day is usually Monday, but because of the observance of Martin Luther King Day yesterday, I got a reprieve and had an additional day to laze around.

I don’t want to give a progress report on my list of things to do over the weekend because suffice it to say, I didn’t quite get anywhere with the list, but I did get to accomplish a lot. For starters, I have upped my list of items for sale in my shop from 8 to 24. (!) I had more to put up, but one thing about etsy listings is that timing, as well as volume, work together to increase a store’s visibility given the huge population of sellers and stores. So I’m trying to spread out the timing and volume of listings.

I didn’t get to bloghop much, but I did visit two or three favorite blogs this morning just to see what’s up with my usual reads. It’s not just to snoop around but sometimes, like today, I pick up a blog prompt or two. I don’t always leave a comment when I blog hop, often because I’m zipping in and out of a screen. And sometimes my thoughts are too long to leave as a comment, so I try to make it a blog post if I can.

I came across a young blogger currently in dire straights because of a choice of faith. I cannot say I empathize because I have been born and raised a Catholic and continue to be one, out of choice at this point, no longer by force of circumstance. I have always said that religion is a personal choice, and I have always been tolerant and accepting of other’s personal choices. I have friends who are born again Christians, protestants, agnostics and atheists. I always tell others that this open-mindedness is a result of having been subjected to a rather academic exposure to various religions as part of my 7th grade Religion classes with the nuns.

I live by the simple rule of thumb that I respect your choice of religion for as long as you respect mine. So the minute I hear that I will not be saved if I don’t accept your faith and beliefs, I tune out.

I have been fortunate to have had a solid Catholic education. Beyond the teachings of the Bible, I have had the chance to examine my faith against other religious beliefs, not to see that mine are better or the right ones, but to see the difference in the ways we recognize a higher power and show our devotion to our God, whoever He may be. I am trying to instill the same open-mindedness and religious tolerance in my son, more so since he is growing up in such a diverse mix of religious persuasions. Unlike his father and me, my son is in a secular school where religion is not part of the curriculum due to the separation of Church and state. He does go to religious education class, but there is only so much they can impart in almost two hours each Sunday and the succeeding eucharistic celebration. Still, I try. In my heart I wish he could benefit from the same religious upbringing that his father and I were blessed with in our formative years, but that was in another lifetime.

As a parent, we want our children to grow up nurturing the same faith in their hearts as we do in ours. But like most things, as a young mind starts to grow and develop into its own person, faith is something that we can try and help shape, but which in the end is a personal choice of the individual. I dream of having my son grow up to be a good Catholic Christian, but I cannot just wish that — I have to foster that and imbibe that into his life by being a good example of my faith and by teaching him about my faith. I cannot expect my son to go to Church if I don’t, so we try to go to mass more often now that he is cognizant of his responsibilities as a young Catholic. I try to teach him about Jesus’ role in our lives and why prayer is very important. I tell him as often as I can that I start my day by thanking God for giving me a son like him and asking Jesus to keep him safe and healthy always.

I have always said that there is only so much that we can control as parents, but those things that I can control and stir as his mother, I will do my best to keep a firm grip on. I know that when he goes out into the world and he hears about other faiths, he may choose another leaning. But I believe in my own resolve to teach him about my Catholic faith extensively to make his own faith steadfast — no matter what doubts or choices are put before him. I wouldn’t want to force religion upon him, but that is not going to be necessary if I succeed in making him love and live the faith I breathe.

I imagine it will not be easy for me to accept if he chooses some other body of beliefs to live by. In very elementary terms, we want to be sure we land in the same “heaven” or after life. But that’s over-simplifying things. But I always tell him all I want for him to be is a good person — in his mind and heart — and even when I’m gone, I know he will be fine.

Our personal choice as to how we worship our God comes with many responsibilities and challenges. It is no different from the disciples of old who were thrown to the lions literally and who were subjected to religious persecution. While wars helped to fight the advance of other faiths and fostered others to grow exponentially, as an individual, we are all tasked to take the humble route and bow our heads down in the face of dissent. Anger leads to hate — and no faith in its pure form fosters hatred. We have to live our faith with dignity and with humility — in total surrender. And part of that surrender is not giving in to hating others who do not choose the same faith as ours, even if they are forcing their faith and beliefs on us.

As a Christian friend used to say, sometimes it’s not always easy to do the Christian thing — but we have to go that way.

I have to admit that while I say I respect all faiths and ways of believing, I feel a tinge of sadness for those who do not have the faith to believe that there is a higher being whether he is the God I know or not. That is the essence of faith — believing that God is there, whether we see Him — feeling His presence even when we doubt. I had a Catholic friend in law school who invited me over to her house because the block Rosary was stopping by, and she didn’t know how to pray the rosary. I easily obliged, and I prayed. I feel blessed that He is a part of my life — and I want to give that gift to my son, too. I want to plant the seeds so that he may not share that agony of being torn between what he wants to believe and what I believe.

Because at the end of the day, my son is one reason I feel closer to my God. His very being and his pure heart has shown me God keeps me close to His heart.