Dream House

Dream House
by Danny Tariman

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” – Matthew 15:28

“The Lord spoke to me through your reflection — to ask in faith regarding our dream house,” emailed a lady.

She was referring to my Didache story about how the Lord enabled us to purchase a 300-square meter lot in a nice village. In my reflection, I shared how the Lord provided so we could pay for the property without obtaining a bank loan.

“I believe the Lord is telling me to just trust Him,” she added. At the time, she didn’t have enough cash for a down payment on a property they were eyeing. Now and then, she would update me.

“The agent pushed the deadline for payment.”

“We sold the condo unit we were selling.”

“My husband was promoted.”

Then one day, she emailed, “We are moving to our new house next week!”

Wow! The Lord is truly awesome!

Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be yours.”

This woman’s dream was granted because of her faith.

Reflection: Do you have an almost impossible desire or need that you are praying for? Ask in faith.

Lord, strengthen my faith in you. Amen.

[This reflection was first published in Didache – Aug 5, 2015]

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Family Bonding Time

Family Bonding Time
by Danny Tariman

“Look how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

I am blessed to have a family that prays together, plays together, go out together.

We are so close to each other.

We go out together to explore places.

We go out together to enjoy the sun, the sand, and the seas – at a beach.

We go out together to satiate our cravings for food!

We watch together concerts, stage performances, and ballet shows.

We watch together movies too, even at home.

The best times of the week are the times when we are together. And we do this at least once a week.

We call this “family bonding” time.

We may be busy everyday with our respective work and activities. But we strive to maintain a common time for us all to be together – and without the gadgets (mobile phones, etc) in our hands.

Yes, at least once a month we go out – to the beach, to places we haven’t been in the past, to have dinner or lunch in a good restaurant, and other activities.

And I believe, this is a gift from God. We spend a bit of our savings on what we can afford, and enjoy these!

“You may spend the money however you wish… or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and enjoy it.” (Deuteronomy 14:26)

At times, we widen our “family bonding time” with our extended family – with relatives and their family. We all meet together and have time chatting, sharing, and have fun together.

We do this in the spirit of love and unity. We do this because we value relationships.

As the Bible says “how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”

May the LORD continue to bless our family and yours!

Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo

Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo
by Danny Tariman

My family had been to this beach front resort a few months back. We liked the beautiful marine garden which is just a few meters from the shoreline.

This time, we planned to stay overnight to have more time to enjoy the beach, the underwater marine gardens, and the sea breeze in the evening.

The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.
The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.

It was a much easier drive from the city: we passed by South Luzon Expressway, continued our highway drive via CSTEx (Calamba-Sto Tomas Expressway) and on to the STAR Tollway. We exited at Ibaan. From the highway, we turned left to Ibaan town then left to a “less-known” road to Lobo.

We liked this route: only few cars pass by this secondary road to Lobo. From Ibaan town, it took us only 1 hour flat to Lobo town, which is about 30-45 minutes travel time savings compared to Batangas City route.

Along this route, we passed by La Farge cement plant. From here, it was all zigzag up to the town proper. [There is also a long zigzag road via Batangas City.]

The Lobo beach in the morning.
The Lobo beach in the morning.

Leaving our home at 12:30pm, we arrived almost 3:30pm because of a funeral convoy we passed along the road, which slowed down our travel by about 30 minutes.

We were welcomed by the homey smile of Lea, the resort administrator. [You may reach her by mobile phone at 0932-326-3390. Tell her you got the number from this blog.] Immediately after settling down, we were offered our afternoon snacks. Just the right timing because we were all famished from the quick early lunch we had and long trip.

We promptly went to explore the marine garden because it was low tide. It was just a few meters from the shore. It was an amazing sight: all sorts of corals – from soft to hard, in various shapes and colors. We enjoyed viewing these, with our son explaining to us the names and other details of each specie, while our daughter took photos.

My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden
My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden

We also saw a baby octopus, a clam which attached itself to a rock, and many others. Wow, it was like snorkeling in a knee-deep water! You don’t have to swim actually.

Before retreating from the shore and swimming, my son and I gathered some dried wood from the beach to be used for our bonfire later in the night.

Come evening, we had our dinner prepared by the resort’s restaurant. It was a plateful meal composed of chicken barbeque, mixed vegies, rice, and desert. Nice one!

After our dinner, my son and I started to fire the dried wood we gathered earlier, while my wife and my daughter prepared the sausages and marshmallows on stick for roasting on the bonfire.

The bonfire was another experience for us family. While we enjoyed together cooking the sausages and mallows on “live fire”, we enjoyed much more eating it! Haha!

My family gathering around the bonfire,  broiling sausages
My family gathering around the bonfire, broiling sausages

Later in the evening, we strolled on the shore. The moon was very bright; it was almost full-moon. We took some night photos; thanks to my son’s SLR camera, the shots were really nice even without the flash, it fact it was much better shots!

An evening shot (no flash)  under the moon light.
An evening shot (no flash) under the moon light.

The following morning, the sea was so calm, and the water very cool. It was a lovely morning view!

After a quick breakfast of eggs, meat loaves, and fish, with hot coffee and hot choco drink, we immediately went back to the sea. This time, the sea was rising to its high tide. It was perfect for snorkeling!

We covered almost half of the width of the shoreline snorkeling at chest-level water. The underwater views was just great! The marine gardens we saw during low tide, were much more alive with fishes swimming around. Truly wonderful!

The beach just before sunset.
The beach just before sunset.

We withdrew from swimming at about 9 o’clock, and we just stayed on the shores until 10. I was just lazing on the sandy beach, enjoying the relaxing moments.

What a wonderful family time! Until next time, Lobo!

More of the marine garden
More views of the marine garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
Outdoor adventure, my family's favorite past time
Outdoor adventure, my family’s favorite past time
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden

My Parking Attendant

My Parking Attendant
by Danny Tariman

“We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” – Luke 17:10

“Your unworthy servant….” I was struck with these words as the Archbishop of Port Moresby was saying the prayer at a Mass referring to himself being Bishop of the Diocese. Maybe this is a regular prayer but this time, it rang differently in my ear.

On another occasion, the good Archbishop, who arrived a minute ahead of me at a Talleres Convent, guided me with hand signals as I parked my car.

“This is too much!” I mumbled to myself. “The Archbishop as my parking attendant?”

Considering his stature, the Archbishop’s humility and readiness to serve his flock touched me deeply.

As a servant-leader, it’s natural to delegate the “dirty jobs” to the “low ranking” servants. But not with this man of God. He really lives up to the title of “servant.” He lives up to what Jesus said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me” (John 12:26). Just like our Lord, He “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).

Reflection: Are you following the footsteps of the Lord whom you serve?

Prayer: Lord, I am sorry for being “title-oriented”

[This reflection was first published in Didache, November 12, 2013]

[Photo downloaded from dailyrecord.co.uk/news]

Procrastination!

Procrastination!
by Danny Tariman

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Prov 27:1)

The Webster defines the word “procrastination” as “putting off to a future time” or “delay”.

We are in the thick of testing a new system that is planned for implementation at the turn of the new year.

The project plan had been laid out; detailed work breakdown had been scheduled.

The testing team was able to finish 3 to 4 modules successfully. In fact, the last of the modules tested was finished ahead of schedule. Because of this, the testing team was “vacant” and had not been testing for almost a day.

I spoke to the project manager about pulling up some scheduled tasks for the next week, so the team can start ahead in as much as they are done with their scheduled task for the day.

However, instead of being met with eagerness, my advice was received with reluctance. He reasoned out that the tasks are yet to be started next week.

I could not let this happen, as project consultant, because the testing process is very unpredictable. I am concerned that the project could be delayed if issues come out during the testing.

I spoke to the project sponsors and reported the situation. Promptly, they called the attention of the project manager, who grudgingly started the testing process on my advice.

Three A’s to learn from this situation:

1.  Advance – do not procrastinate;

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

The verse says that we cannot tell what the future holds. Since we do not know about tomorrow, we should not procrastinate. Advance the work; do what you can do now. In project management, it is always best to finish tasks ahead to have more buffer time for succeeding tasks in case these meet some problems.

2.  Advice – seek it from your “coach”

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” (Proverbs 11:14 MSG)

As Christians, we have to seek counsel if and when situations arise. It is always prudent to get advice from experts in order to succeed in our endeavors.

3.  Accept orders gladly

“Obey with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord and not people” (Ephesians 6:7)

The Bible says we have to follow orders from our higher-ups eagerly, with gladness in our heart. Our focus of doing things should be the Lord.

I pray you will be victorious in whatever it is that you are undertaking, right now! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

The Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving
by Danny Tariman

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts20:35)

It was a birthday wish that my daughter told my family months in advance.

She wanted to organize a free dental outreach to benefit people who cannot afford to see a dentist.

She saved money for this dental mission of helping the poor. All we have to do is support her, prepare the logistics, and pray for the success of this mission.

Village folks gathering for the free dental services
Village folks gathering for the free dental services

I contacted a few friends who are in the dental profession. We are blessed that they accepted our invitation. One doctor was even very happy to render her services for free and gave free medicines too, because she will also be celebrating her birth-month on the same month as my daughter.

We organized a remote rural village to be the recipient-beneficiary of this family-organized outreach. We went to a far flung village at the foot of Sierra Madre mountain range in Laguna.

With the help of local leaders, one beautiful Sunday in October, we fulfilled the wish of our daughter to have an outreach mission.

Dentists treating a patient at the village hall.
Dentists treating a patient at the village hall.

We were able to provide free dental services – with free medicines – to almost 60 patients. I had the chance to roam around while the event was on-going, and was able to speak to local folks. They were all full of gratitude that their village was a recipient/beneficiary of this dental mission.

“I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

One elderly woman told me “It would be very expensive for us to visit a dentist to have our teeth treated. Thank you very much!”. Many people, including the village head were very thankful for this free dental services.

The "mission team" at work
The “mission team” at work

Out of gratitude, just when we were about to go, the local folks gave us generous portions of their local harvest: buko (young coconuts), rambutans, banana, cassava, lanzones, coconuts. Wow! It was overflowing! They we so insistent to give us all these stuff, we can’t refuse.

We are very thankful to the Lord for allowing us to be a channel of His blessings for our less-fortunate brethren. We thank the Lord too for giving us generous dentists who performed the dental procedure, and friends who helped us in this mission.

As the Bible says “it is more blessed to give than to receive”! Indeed we were so blessed to have organized this dental mission. Thank You, Lord!

The "mission team" composed of dental professionals and family friends, resting at a local village store.
The “mission team” composed of dental professionals and family friends, resting at a local village store.