What to do when there's a knee-deep flood outside your house

Think of deadly bacteria or parasites wriggling in the water.
Despise the piles of garbage trapped in canals.
Blame the government for not making better drainage systems.
Contemplate joining the half-naked kids who are swimming.
Don't mind the flood—or the rain—at all. You have two big exams next week.
Pray.

Wig

I haven't seen my mother in months, so I was excited to meet her last Monday. The timing was perfect: it was a holiday, and no exams were in tow for the week.

It's weird how I get to miss my mother so much when I'm not with her, the painful longing only to be displaced by a deep-seated familiarity once I see her again. Distance may separate us, yes, but my mother will always be my mother.

My parents' text messages

My parents were, for the most part, repulsed by technology. Only after my mother bought a cell phone a couple of years back did she realize it wasn't impossible to learn these things—texting, like almost everything else, can be mastered by practice. My father soon caught the interest and used a hand-me-down model from Sean.

Since then, it became easier to contact them, although my father usually leaves his phone at home when he visits the farm. I call them often, usually at times when the words on my books no longer make sense, or when I feel like the world is crashing down on me, or when I want to have a taste of home.

When I told them I passed the exam:
All glory and honor belong to God alone, keep up your good work. I'm proud of you, Lance.

When I told them I was bogged down:
Ok, have patience and perseverance.

When I told them I failed:
Lance, don't give up. Maybe God has a purpose. Don't be discouraged.

When I didn't text them for the day:
Lance, howdy? Hope di stressful ang araw mo.
Tatay makes me laugh like no other person could. He makes sure I have a stack of Sustagen and biscuits in my apartment. I think his greatest fear is to hear the news that I fainted in school because of an empty stomach. You see, that happened once in Kindergarten, and he's determined not to let that happen again.

Nanay likes hearing my narratives and always offers words of advice. Talking to her is better than the best pain killer. She's a better texter than my father.

I'm thankful for my parents, of course, and often, I feel that I do not deserve all their sacrifices. But I'm even more thankful to God, whose love for me is a gazillion times more. He, too, hears me out in better ways than my parents do, and I don't even need a Globe SIM to talk to Him.
"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with out weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Alex and Brett Harris' Do Hard Things: choosing a life of inconvenience to pursue God's agenda

Two weeks ago, I decided to leave my medical books for the moment and read something else. So I grabbed Alex and Brett Harris' book, Do Hard Things, from my brother's library. My original intention was only to finish a chapter or two, but book was—and still is—so relevant that I just couldn't put it down.

First, a word on the authors: Alex and Brett Harris are twin brothers who started the Christian teen website, The Rebelution, in 2005. In case you're wondering, they're the younger siblings of popular author, Joshua Harris ("I Kissed Dating Goodbye").

Their message is clear: rebel against the low expectations of today's culture by choosing to do hard things for the glory of God. The word rebelution has come to mean rebellion against low expectations, a call to the younger generation to step up to the challenges of life by doing the hard things, the things that truly matter. The ideas you'll read in the blog are essentially the ones you'll read in the book.

The book begins by arguing that the young can—and should—rise to the occasion to do significant things, debunking what is otherwise known as the myth of adolescence. Our generation often makes adolescence—this limbo between childhood and adulthood—as an excuse not to accept hard responsibilities or to act maturely.

The authors then proceed to encouraging the youth to leave their comfort zones. They cite true-to-life examples of teens who led massive political campaigns, initiated projects to raise money for the poor, and stood up against violence. I personally had a great time reading this because two of the more prominent examples are Filipinos.

The book ends by encouraging everyone to join the movement, to make a difference in this world. As a final word, Alex and Brett share the gospel, the story of Jesus Christ who did the hardest thing in the world—to die for our sins.

The book is easy to read but hard to digest. It's practical, theologically sound, and relevant. I highly recommend it.