Archive for July, 2010

Reflection in the garden: Will you take a stand?

Friday, July 30th, 2010


I’ve never planted a vegetable garden before, but this year, I decided I’d give it a go.  A few obvious lessons learned are: do NOT be too enthusiastic and buy too many seedlings; do NOT squeeze in too many plants in a small space; and do NOT plant anything in a pot which you will eventually forget to water!  Thankfully, I still have a variety of vegetables which have begun to bear fruit.

Today, I began to “sort through” the vegetable garden.  Two tomato plants had outgrown what little space I had originally offered them and they required transplanting to a larger spot in other parts of the garden.  The hand made trellis I built didn’t seem to work because the plants had a mind of their own.   It was obvious more frequent attention would have been helpful, rather than letting the vegetables grow “wild”.

With the removal of two tomato plants, I eventually had to figure out ways to support the remaining one.  It had grown larger than the other two.  Perhaps it is because the other two would bear cherry tomatoes while this one would hopefully bear the regular sized tomatoes you see in the grocery store.

Attempting to put  a month and a half old tomato plant through a tomato cage is futile.  It isn’t worth the effort.  Instead, I had to rely on multiple bamboo poles to stake and support the plant.  The plant had grown into such a weird shape, extending itself wherever it found the space to grow.  As I finally untangled the plant (I wonder whether other tomato plants get themselves tangled), I slowly found the most effective way to tie each branch up, hopefully providing the flowered branches the greatest support as the fruit begin to grow.

While I painstakingly supported one branch, I began to sense the Father saying that this is exactly what we have to do for our fellow Christians.  The Father may call one to the forefront to do the visible work, but like my tomato plant, many well anchored stakes are necessary to lift up the heavy branches so that the plant can successfully bear fruit.  I believe that without the intercessory prayers of well anchored Christians, the one called to the forefront would engage in more spiritual warfare, making the possibility of bearing fruit dismal.

May each of us be faithful as the Holy Spirit prompts us to intercede for another.

God bless,

Melissa  – July 28, 2010

REFLECTION: Thank YOU!

Friday, July 30th, 2010

After spending some time in the midst of the beauty of Newfoundland, returning home to Vancouver has left me gazing in awe at our beautiful mountains.  Often times, daily responsibilities and other extra-ordinary activities run us so dry that the beauty surrounding us slowly fade into the background.

Driving back home from my quiet time at McDonald’s, the beautiful mountains came to view once again and I sensed the Father saying that we each have so much beauty surrounding us, but we no longer have “eyes” to see them.

Each morning when we awake, nothing is required of most of us to get our body into “functioning order”.  Screws don’t have to be attached, springs don’t have to be wound up so that we can carry on with our day to the fullest.  Our eyes automatically open, our heart pumps, we breathe…functioning on their own without any effort on our part.

I often forget to thank the Father for the breath of life He has breathed into me, let alone thanking Him for my loving husband and our children, the safe and comfortable dwelling we call home, the many beautiful friends in our lives among so many others.

Father God, we ask for Your grace to be grateful for the bountiful blessings you shower over us and as we thank You, may we also lift up those who are without.  And Father, THANK YOU for all Your blessings!  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!

God bless,

Melissa – July 29, 2010

REFLECTION: What legacy will I leave?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I caught a glimpse of her as she tutored her second Korean student at the library today.  Our youngest had found a summer job, teaching 2 Korean children English.   I smiled as I watched, remembering her as a toddler while she somehow skillfully managed to pluck ripe berries from a prickly vine on her own!  I remember watching her with awe, wondering how a baby had the dexterity to do what I could not do without getting pricked by the thorns.

That little one is now 17 and will be finishing her last year of high school in the Fall.  How time flies.

While I waited for her, I read a book written by my new friend, Fr. Rocky, SDB.  Fr. Rocky’s real name is Marciano Evangelista, but he mentioned that one parishioner said calling him Fr. Marciano was  too difficult and long and so he asked if he could call him Fr. Rocky instead.  That began his journey as the well known Fr. Rocky of the Tuloy Foundation in the Philippines.  (http:// www.tuloyfoundation.org)

My walk with Fr. Rocky began on June 16th this summer.  I remember the date because he had inscribed it in his personal dedication on the flip cover of his book, “Finally I Am Home; The Adventure of Saying “Yes” to the Unknown”.  Fr. Rocky and my cousin, Cathy, had dropped by Vancouver enroute to their trip to Montreal.  He was the key note speaker for the International Rotary Club, speaking on housing street children.

As I dropped them off to their hotel, Fr. Rocky reminded me to read his book and to share it with others.  I can still hear his voice in my mind.  He had mentioned that he had no intention of writing a book, but because of  his enlightening homilies during Mass, many had encouraged him to write.  And write he did.  With passion.  He mentioned that his story was just a template for everyone else’ story.  I didn’t quite understand what he was saying then, but as I began to read his book, the reality of his words have come true.

Like many of the intriguing books I read, I cannot read “Finally I Am Home; The Adventure of Saying “Yes” to the Unknown” in one sitting.  As he said, his story is a template of my own story and I find myself stalling to reflect deeper on what he has written and what has taken place in my own life.

In his second chapter titled “Wisdom of the Poor“, Fr. Rocky wrote…

“Most days I hear myself echoing some of the lessons I heard from my father as much as I repeat Don Bosco’s admonitions to the children of Tuloy.

My father may not have finished high school.  But with his down-to-earth wisdom, I bet he could give
any self-actualization guru or life coach a run for his money.

Envy is a deadly sin that my father did not tolerate in his household.

We were taught to make the best of what we have rather than go looking at those who had more.  …he would tell us…’Do not compare the ten pesos that you have have to the one hundred pesos of our neighbour’, he would say.  ‘Rather, think of the best thing you can do with the ten pesos you have.  If all you can buy with that ten pesos is a kilo of fish, make sure it’s the best and the freshest fish your ten pesos can buy.’

Be the best in what you do no matter how humble it is

My father was a great believer in the dignity of work.  As long as it is respectable and honest and you try to be the best in what you do, there is no need to be ashamed of your job.

‘It doesn’t matter how menial your work is,’ he told us.  ‘If you are a construction worker or a  mason,
you had better be the best construction worker or mason there is.’

Being the best in what you do, that to him defines success.

…I would like to think that my father’s wisdom will not die with me and that I have passed it on to those who need it the most: the children of the streets.”

Fr. Rocky’s words continued to echo in my mind as I watched Michelle tutor.  I pondered over what wisdom and values of mine she has embraced and what she would pass on to others and her own children.

Father God, may the wisdom and honorable values you have taught us through our life journey be embraced and adopted by our children.  Teach us to instill a legacy of love and kindness, so that our grandchildren, the future, will live positive lives.   Father, for those who do not have children of their own, please help them see that they, too, can make an impact in the lives of our children as they interact with them.  As the saying goes, “it takes a community to raise a child” and so those without have just as strong an impact in the lives of our future.  We pray for all these in your precious name Lord Jesus Christ.  AMEN…

God bless,

Melissa – July 29, 2010

p.s. –  Would you consider visiting  http://www.tuloyfoundation.org .  Fr. Rocky mentioned that they work with the poorest of the poor.  The organization survives purely on donations.  If you feel led, would you consider donating to assist in this beautiful mission?  For those living in the Philippines, do consider purchasing “Finally I Am Home; The Adventure of Saying “Yes” to the Unknown” You will not regret it.

I conclude this plea with a further quote from Fr. Rocky’s book…“Every morning I wake up blind; not knowing where to get the 3 million needed every month to continue with the mission.

Every day I grapple with the need to depend on others for the sustenance of my mission.

Every time, my own helplessness pushes me thankfully on my knees.

Looking into the abyss of darkness instead of fear and despair, I learn to cling to faith and hope.  And it serves me now as it served me then.”