Archive for November, 2013

image courtesy: @earthpix

image courtesy: @earthpix

Life is good yet on one end we hear people say life is not fair.

How can a life described as good become unfair?

We are brought to life into a world and family we didn’t choose. If you are less fortunate (for now), sometimes you find yourself wishing to have been born into a wealthy family. If you are born to a well-to-do family, you might have also wished to have been born where your parents aren’t so busy with business so they could have more time for you.

This is not a question about contentment. It is just how it is.

We often question life’s goodness every time we get into the brink of the cliff of trials. And during this time, it is so easy to miss the valuable lessons we can harness from it.

Our journey to life is not about hoarding things and accumulating wealth and telling ourselves, “Life is good to me.”  Our journey in life is about finding who we are and sharing our lives to others.

The troubles of life didn’t come in order to steal away our joy but for us to learn peace. Because real peace is experienced at the time when you are surrounded with catastrophe yet you are fully aware that you are safe under the mighty hands of God.

And when all those troubles have gone by; leaving you scarred, bruised and broken, you look back the past with gratitude because it counseled you with life’s meaningful lessons. And you openly tell to yourself, “Life is good to me.”

That same setback you are reeling today could just be your promotion in disguise. Have Faith and Be Strong. 

Jennifer Bodek before and after photo

“If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don’t work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!”
– Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

This quote could probably be the best way to describe the life of Jennifer Bodek, 49, a Brit. I have known Jennifer now long ago online. In fact, I have not yet even met her personally. She is one of those long lists of people I made friends with through social media. I was inspired by her story. It was an incredible success not from battling a Goliath of outside forces but the force that is “herself”.

Jennifer suffered extreme obesity for most of her life. I am not sure how one person really becomes obese; I mean, I know that their diet plays a very important role but it could also be the crazy wiring in their brains that constantly fires-up cravings for food. And as we all know, when we get cravings for food, the next thing we know is that we’re munching pizzas, quarter pounder and those sorts of food – fastfood.

Jennifer told me, she sought comfort from food after losing her brother. It is the kind of deep loss and frustrations that drove her to seek for temporary ways to forget and in this case food. Jennifer even admitted to me that food is one of the worst addictions. It’s not hard to imagine though as she grew 39 stones out from that.
Jennifer describes to me her ordeal being in a situation like hers. She remembered being in the hospital where she has to be weighed no longer by an ordinary weighing scale and took her to a loading bay type of scale commonly used for machineries. The pain and humiliation of a woman to be called fat and too big to fit a CT scanner is powerful that is ripping her spirits apart. Sitting on a chair is one of her greatest fears – the fear of smashing the chair on the floor and being scorned by those who see. There could never be more depressing that becoming a laughingstock of others even by those close to you – especially in a society where women are seen beautiful if they are sexy and slender.

Jennifer's Advocacy

But Jennifer did not stop there. She knew that if she wills to make a change in her life, she could create a positive impact not only to her person but also to others. She knew that it won’t be easy but she is determined to do it. And throughout the process, she maintains a eupeptic attitude that the change she wants will manifest indeed.

As of now, Jennifer is down in her weight. From 39 stones, she hopes to lose 17 stones. There has been a dramatic change in her body as well as her life. Her story and determination is a force to be reckoned with, worthy to be a role model to others. I asked her, what’s your most profound learning experience from all these?, “To love myself , to not take life for granted, to take the bull by the horns and fight to LIVE. Being 39 stones is a very dark place not being able to do the simple things people take for granted like walking through the door of a shower and having to squeeze the fat in each side to get through the door”. Jennifer answered.

Jennifer is now graciously spreading awareness to social media and to reach out to others who are still in the same situation she has been through. When asked how she plans to help others, Jennifer said, “I hope to keep inspiring people through showing my pictures from before to now, to give people HOPE, to keep running my obesity campaign and representing my lovely members on Facebook group DIET or DIE and to get celebrities to support my campaign highlighting Obesity.”
Jennifer’s story may be unique to all of us but there is one common thing here. The common realization is that, as long as we have the will and the guts and the strong determination to change our body, our health and our life, no one can stop us for that to happen – proving that human spirit is more powerful than anything that can bondage and limit us with.

Please support Jennifer Bodek by following her on her twitter account or liking her facebook page DIET or DIE campaign.

 

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban City Philippines, a mayor of a prominent city in the south was interviewed upon arriving in the airport. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City said that it seems like God is somewhere as this super typhoon wreaked havoc an entire city and leaving thousands of dead bodies on the streets.

As a matter of fact, netizens mentioned that if you want to see what a zombie apocalypse really feels & looks like, come and visit Tacloban City.

The mayor’s comment came from his observation and verily this could also be what others say.

Where is God in all of these?

How could a God that is good have allowed this to happen to people?

I don’t have a direct phone line to God in heaven and call Him for a quick phone interview. If I do, I could have also easily asked the whereabouts of a lot of missing persons that is still yet to be accounted for.

So if I’d have to answer it, the quickest reply I could say is, “I don’t know?”

But here is what I believe; God is with us in every moment of our lives. He is with those people in fear of the terrible storm, He is with those children crying for help, He is with those cold and trembling orphans, and He is with those mothers who lost husbands and kids.

We often say that there is a reason for everything.

What could be the soundest reason for this?

The first tweet I read this morning is from Pastor Joel Osteen, he said, “A setback is simply a setup for a great comeback. That adversity could be the very thing that will help promote you.”

It is for us as individual person and every survivor to ask, to seek wisdom for that we may understand. I strongly believe that one day, things will all make sense, no matter how great is the loss or how painful is the struggle. Our faith in God that there is still good after all this will help us strengthen ourselves and come out victorious after a one dark episode in our life. Get that adversity to launch you up; not push you down.

It is my earnest prayer today along with other people in the world for a Godly comfort to the typhoon survivors, to envelope every aching and anxious heart. May people offer more prayers and may our loving God touch everyone in pain.

God Bless the Philippines. God bless the world.

There are only two perceptions you could make when going through life’s troubles. Either you see it as an OBSTACLE or an ADVENTURE.

Problems are realities of human life. Most of the problem we experience is a result of our wrong choices, bad relationships, and dysfunctional associations with others. In other words, whatever situation you have got yourself into today, you drive yourself there. The responsibility of driving out from it is your sole accountability.

But going about your problems is a process. For it is in this process that you become more powerful.

Each pain makes you more strong, each betrayal more intelligent, every disappointment more skillful & each experience more wise.

If you see your problems today as an obstacle, you will always find yourself struggling. You will continually push a wall that’s not moving no matter how hard you try. But if you see your problems as an adventure, you will not only become stronger with it but you will learn to enjoy the lessons it tells you to absorb.

Right perceptions matters a lot because the thought that you focus on expands.

Decide today to see your problems as an adventure rather than an obstacle.

She gave me permission to post her photos her. She managed to get rid of her shyness for a while to ask for your help. Gieve her not your pity but your kindness instead.

She gave me permission to post her photos her. She managed to get rid of her shyness for a while to ask for your help. Give her not your pity but your kindness instead.

Just recently I was invited to teach in the public school in the Southern part of the Philippines. The place is called barangay Libertad of the Municipality of Dimataling, province of Zamboanga del Sur. At first I was kinda hesitant about this invitation as I knew from the news that insurgency is rampant in this place. It is an impoverished place not even having a decent highway to get there. At first the experience was pretty uncomfortable for me since it is a very rural place where you could hardly find a cellphone signal. As someone who is used to tweeting and getting connected with my friends and family over the social networking sites, I comforted myself that I would not be able to use it. A couple (Mrs & Mrs Fuerzas) who are also teachers in that local high school was very kind enough to shelter me in their house.

The school is fine and clean (although somehow outdated), the principal was very accommodating too, and of course the students are very much polite and sweet.

I was told that I will be handling the second section of fourth year students in that school (I have an incredible experience with these students which I will promise to tell you in my other blog entry) who is known to be undisciplined with above average absences. I told myself that indeed this is a challenge for me and I met the challenge head on like a speeding truck. I am very sure that I am there for a Devine appointment, so if God asked me to be there, His grace will be enough to see me through (I never doubted that).

But this blog entry wishes not to describe my experience there. I would like to devote this post to one of my students who in a lot of ways bothered me. Bothered me not because she was unruly but because she was shy and timid. Her name is Maila; sitting on my far right corner, quietly listening to me and sheepishly smiles whenever I crack some old jokes in front of the class.

I am normally boisterous when I discuss lessons in the class and pride myself to be the walking “visual aid” as I make sure to engage my students in the discussion granting the whole learning exchange free from boredom. Maila seldom participates in our graded oral recitation. So after discussing something in the class, I told her to follow me in the faculty room.

I said, “Maila you are getting good grades from me in your quizzes but I seldom see you raise your hand during our discussion, what’s wrong?” Maila looked down and answered me, “Sir I am ashamed because my classmates might laugh at me.” “Why would they do that?” I replied. She took a deep breath and answered “….because of this mass in my face.” And I can hear between those words her feelings of desperation and self-pity.

I realized then that, yeah! I can’t blame her. She has a physical deformity in her face possibly caused by a disease she doesn’t even know what. I probed further if she has it checked by a physician but I was surprised by her answer NO – for lack of money. From the looks of it, it may require a surgery.

As she graduate in High School next year, it would still be a struck of luck if she can go to college but even then, that outgrowth in her face would always kill her self-confidence especially that she is a woman.

This may not be an accident why you are reading this now. Why you found yourself still reading up to this part of her story. Maybe this situation is touching your heart as much as it touched mine. Maybe it just knocked in the door of your mind to give her a little of your kindness.

I told Maila to do what I could to help. I asked her permission to post her photo here.

My dear readers, I am doing this not for myself but for the benefit of my student. I want her to believe that God can work miracles through the hands of kind people like you – and that God answers prayers.

Please let us help Maila.

If you wish to help her please email me at fjaymoli@hotmail.com and I can send your help in your behalf. Or if you wish to help her personally, just inbox me & I can lead you to her and her family.

This could probably be her best breakthrough ever.

May God touch you and Bless you.