Letter to My Ten-Years-Younger Self

Dear 7-year-old me,

            I miss you. You were a na├»ve child, full of pranks and you love to play outdoors. You didn’t care much about your education, food, and especially your looks. You didn’t even have a single crush. You were a very simple girl – you weren’t seen wearing a pair of Barbie boots and a single accessory. Your two front teeth were just beginning to grow, but you loved to wear your mischievous smile always. You didn’t care about anything. All that you complained about were the days when your little sister didn’t have classes while you did. You were happy-go-lucky. You just didn’t care about the world. You even dance to the songs of Sexbomb Dancers. You always sing every song that is pleasant to your ears. You were skinny, but the signs of health were seen on your rosy cheeks and lips, curious eyes, fast legs, and enthusiasm in life. You were still so little back then, but bravery was already seen in your eyes. Brave but vulnerable at the same time.

            I wish there really was a time machine and I could hand this letter from the future to you. This is the seventeen-year-old you. I know that you’re wishing now to grow older, probably about this age, to experience being pretty and having boyfriends. I tell you, do NOT wish to grow older. Enjoy the present. Learn anything that you can, whether it is from the classroom of from your own personal tragedies, because you will need the wisdom you would gain in the future. Life is about struggling, so you are lucky to be just worrying about being the “it” in playing tag. I am the result of what you are doing to yourself.

            Well, I still look much like you, except for a few changes. Your flyaway hair, which was once straight, and which you like to wear in pigtails, is now long, wavy, and brown. You would love how your hair would curl in the future. It really is a lovely sight, I tell you. You are petite now, right? Although I now have curves and a little fat in my body, I am still considered skinny. That’s why you should give up the hope of being fat. Many girls skip their meals to have a body like yours, though not as skinny as that, so love your body. You are actually blessed. I still have those chubby cheeks of yours. But it’s okay though, because it hints a streak of innocence despite my sort of matured face. People who don’t know you think that you’re snobbish, right? It would still be until the end of the days. But don’t worry, first impressions don’t always last. Those who try to harm you with their words are only threatened by you. Someday you will soar high above them. Mark my words. You will. Prideful people who have treated you like shit in your younger days have now not-so-successful life. They’re not as good-looking as you will be after ten years. All about you that you’ve hated are now your assets. Learn to love yourself, I’ll tell you why:

            The cause of your jealousy for your little sister is the way people treat you differently. It’s because she has a sweet face while you have a serious and snobbish one. Your natural expression probably irks some people. However, that was how God made it. Trust in Him. Your pair of Arabic eyes which you got from your father is an asset. You have a piercing and penetrating gaze. You nose which was too big for you when you were younger, especially the moment you were born, is now very beautiful and coveted by others. You have a high nose bridge which fits your beautiful “kontrabida” image. You sweet little lips are still small, and together with your chubby cheeks, they display your inner child. They are contradictory with the alliance of your nose, eyes and eyebrows, which are fierce and intimidating, but beautiful at the same time. You have a very beautiful combination of facial features. When you smile, your eyes give a piercing twinkle that is very attractive. Nobody would admit it, but some men have told me that they are so attracted to my smile. You do not display innocence in your looks; only sexiness and attractiveness especially when you smile. Your innocence is your charm, but it is only felt in your aura – but your aura is dominated by sexiness. Perhaps the most beautiful possession of yours is your hair. Its ringlets are very lovely and they add to your sexy look. You really are silly, but people cannot help but notice that trait of yours. Just endure the sexy jokes that boys will throw at you. They can’t help it.

            I am not here to show you how pompous I have become. I am not. I know that you have a low self-esteem because you were frequently bullied in your early childhood. You also inherited your father’s shyness. Early on, you’ve felt you’ve experienced too many trials. You really have; and it would be more in number is time goes by. Wanna know why? You’re destined to walk on a tough path because you are destined to become a polished diamond, with your entire luster admired by the world. You’ll find how valuable you are later in life. Anyway, believe me when I say that you will be very pretty after ten years – or even prettier as the years go by. You are not a head turner, or a woman who’s attained society’s standards of beauty, because you do not look like a Filipina. People around you say so. However, you are the kind of person who’s exceptional, one-of-a-kind, and hard to get out of thoughts. People will hate you for your natural charisma that’s hard to define. You have a look that you are profound and principled. People will think that you are snobbish because of that. You always do things very well. You are not a performer, but you are born to be one. You just hide your charisma behind your shyness. You are often the center of attention without meaning to, because you emit a kind of aura that’s intriguing. Even in group pictures, you can easily be spotted because of your charm and beauty. You may not gain the world’s favor, but you know deep in your heart that you are not just an ordinary girl. Many will claim to be unique, but the one who’s truly unique is you.

            You’ll have many suitors and you’ll experience lots of heartbreaks. They will break your heart because of your weirdness and ugliness; but once the flower starts to bloom, bees will swarm again around the blossom that they once despised. Again, mark my words: people who have done you wrong will soon realize their mistakes and will try to make up but they’ll eventually realize that you’re already out of their reach. You’ll learn how to avoid toxic people in your life without letting them taste your revenge. The remorse that they’d feel once they lose a special person like you is enough. Through time, you will learn that you must be with quality people too because it is a disgrace to be treated like crap by people who are a hundred feet lower than you. Each time you are polished by trials, it shows on the outside. Despite your shyness, you have a natural luster that other people covet.

            By and by, you will idolize Britney Spears. You will love her prettiness, charm, and singing and dancing skills. By and by, you will also unconsciously become like her. You will bloom into a very pretty girl and have attention-devouring charm even if you are just quiet and reserved. People will praise you on how well you sing and dance, but you only do them just for fun. Nonetheless, they are an addition to your other gifts. I know how simple you are. Don’t you know that you will bring your simplicity with you until you grow up? I don’t wear accessories and I just wear my hair down. However, even natural simplicity still commands attention because like what I have said, you are on your way to become a polished and valuable diamond. Bit by bit, your sheen shows. It also shows on your face. You are weird and simple, yet pretty and charismatic.

            When you were five years old, you resolved that you would become an astronaut when you grow up. However, you may also notice that you loved drawing and coloring your drawings. You loved to read; and you search for the whole house for anything interesting to read. You also loved to write whenever your heart is bursting with feelings. Paper is your best friend. After ten years, you wouldn’t study courses that could lead you to high-paying jobs. You will pursue Literature. It suits you very well because you are as unique as your course sounds. You are profound, and in that field you will gain much general knowledge. You actually dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but you will just be contented in being a teacher and a writer because you have high morals and you wouldn’t settle for a dirty job like a lawyer’s. For now, I still don’t know further about your future – but you must believe in yourself, because you can do anything when you put your mind to it. Remember that life is about struggling and you must never ever give up. You are a very special girl and I love you so much.


17-year-old Anthea

The Joys of Youth

Youth(n) – the period of human life between childhood and maturity

Some people want to go back to their carefree childhood while some people want to grow up quickly to be powerful adults. While childhood is a happy life period wherein our innocence makes us blissful with our simple pleasures in life and adulthood gives us a sense of satisfaction after we finally finished schooling and attaining our dreams, although a very critical period, the best time of our lives is our teenage years.

In our youth, we can have the best of both worlds. We still have our childish, carefree, (sort of) innocent, happy, silly, and impulsive streaks from our childhood; but we already have advanced knowledge, developed (and beautified) bodies, more physical strength, leveled-up skills, and more feminine and masculine appearances brought to us by our inevitable development and maturity. It is the time where we strive to be the person we have always dreamed of. It is the time when our characters are developed by different trials and unexpected adventures. It is the time when we are allowed to become what we want to become, and pursue the path that we want to pursue. It is a period full of experiments, wisdom learned the hard way, infatuation and heartbreaks, and rainbows after storms.

In our youth, we can just happily trot around and never care for anything in the world. I am often absent-minded and I am glad of that flaw. Those moments of absentmindedness pave the way for my precious reveries that are soon forgotten. Even those fleeting things are a blessing, for they provide seconds of happiness and give no place to wrathful and jealous thoughts even for a short time. Taking long and quiet walks to familiar destinations is enjoyable in our youthful days, like just going to a plain cafeteria. With our remains of innocence, sense of awe and a bit of spirituality, nature still succeeds in bringing peace to our hearts. The sense of security brought by the lofty trees, the pleasures to the eyes brought by delicately tinted flowers, and the amusement given by the innocent and simple-minded animals – all of these contribute to our delight whenever we feel younger than ever. As youth, we still know how to have pleasant times despite hectic schedules, pressures of schooling, personal tragedies, and our little annoyances. We can just frolic around, go to any places unplanned, talk about silly things, guffaw and get laughed at for your guffaw, do anything you want, learn more about the things you are passionate about, open our hearts to any kinds of experiences, and forget to take a bath sometimes. Sometimes we just have to ignore for a moment the things which the world reckons “important”.

They say that humans are naturally egocentric, self-centered, or selfish. However, when we become adults, have a stable job, eventually marry and have our own families, most of the time we do things for our children, thus we could just barely buy things for ourselves. So, are you in a hurry to grow up? At least in our teenage years, we do most things for ourselves. We eat everything anytime we want; we could sleep for hours and hours depending on how much rest is coveted by our bodies; we could devour lots of books greedily for our pastime; we could frolic on the meadows and act like little children; we could learn endlessly about the kinds of knowledge our brains yearn for; we could buy anything that we believe would make our skin smooth and pretty; and we could try to be experts in certain fields. Sounds REALLY selfish? Fortunately, there is a good side to that. These pampering of ourselves, ways of satisfying our desires, and doing whatever we want is our way of preparing for the dull and toilsome adulthood. After you graduate college, believe me – you’d want a time machine to enjoy life again. Your need for endless hours of sleep and insatiable appetite for food is your body’s way of saying that it’s on its way to physical maturity. Your great passions hint on what you could be professionally doing when you become an adult. Your need to always take care of your appearance, spend hours in taking a bath, and knowing the kinds of clothing that suit you prepare you to look presentable like a respectable pretty lady or handsome gentleman on the years when you’ll fully become a woman or a man.

Youth is the most beautiful period in our lives wherein we are molded by our environment, but mostly by ourselves, to be someone with a good purpose in life and a valuable place in this world. This is the time when we unconsciously and bit by bit say “byebye” to our precious childhood and slowly proceed to another stage in life. This is the time when we gradually look like what we are supposed to look – complete with feminine curves, soft facial features, and other touches of beauty and grace for girls; and masculine countenance, gentlemanly manners, prominent jawline, and traces or strength and nobility for boys – but with the added glow of freshness brought by the youthful years behind. This moment is critical for our development and path to be taken in life is decided by us – for we have long ago broken free from the overprotective grasp of our parents. We are no longer the gullible and vulnerable little children whom we used to be. We are in between maturity and immaturity. This is the time when we progressively define who we really are.

It would be better if we avoid growing up too fast and just enjoy the present condition that we are in. Little children who act like adults and avoid running outside to play pretty much lose so much of the joys that childhood has to offer. Every stage of life has its own benefits, comforts, and happenings that suit us. Every stage of life has its own beauty. Being a seventeen-year-old lass, I love how these youthful years make me true to my personality and enjoy life while letting me grow up and become a better person as time passes by. 

The Moment

The Moment by Margaret Atwood (Analysis)

The MOMENT WHEN, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same MOMENT WHEN trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way around.

Poetic devices:

Form: Free verse

Theme: It is nature that has power over humans, and not the other way around.

The theme of the poem is nature ownership. Atwood’s father is an entomologist (insect scientist) that’s why she spent half of each year in the Ontario wilderness until she was eleven. Atwood’s fascination with the Canadian wilderness is present in so much of her writing. Atwood is an environmental activist; and environment is one of the things she shows support for aside from feminism and social justice.

The first stanza addresses someone who claims something that is of nature. In the second stanza, Atwood uses imagery and personification to convey that nature rejects the fact that mankind owns it. The third stanza reaffirms that humans indeed do not own nature and that it is humans who belong to nature.

The first stanza suggests man’s claim of nature’s ownership. The first and second lines “The moment when, after many years of hard work and a long voyage” is an emphasis on how humans strive to gain or have possession of something. Also, the phrase “a long voyage” may hint Vikings or some people of that sort who travel through seas to conquer lands which are not theirs. Notice that “room, house, half-acre, square mile, island, country” is written in an increasing size order that emphasizes how far or great the land area humans may conquer. The third line “You stand in the centre of your room” may just suggest man’s self-exaltation, or a feeling of being the center of the universe. And, believing that nature has been made to serve them or be their “slave”, men claims ownership of nature thus thinking that they have total control over it by doing whatever they want to do to it like abuse it.

The second stanza suggests nature’s rejection of the fact that mankind owns it. Notice the verbs used in this stanza: trees UNLOOSE their soft arms from around you (the trees are kind of hugging you at first but then stopped because unloose means to unfasten or untie esp. a knot, and it’s kind of stopped nurturing you and it’s supported by “soft arms”); the birds TAKE BACK their language (The language of the birds is literally their chirping, which is like music to our ears. When they stop chirping, our life becomes kind of dull.); the cliffs FISSURE and collapse (the cliffs started to have structural weakness and lack of support, thus leaving humans feeling unstable); the air MOVES BACK from you like a wave and you can’t breathe (the movement of a wave is kind of gentle, and although it is how the air moves in the poem, it is evident that even the gentleness of nature’s withdrawal has a great effect of humans to extent of being unable to breathe). The verbs are showing nature’s act of withdrawal from their responsibilities to mankind perhaps as an act of rebellion, for the moment men tried to claim that they own nature, it is also the same moment that nature try to abandon humans. The poem uses “enjambment,” or the continuation of meaning, without pause or break, from one line of poetry to the next, in the first and second stanzas. This application of enjambment shows that these two stanzas are closely connected, as they were being compared as the same moment happening at the same time yet there is a great contrast between them. The first stanza shows a positive feeling from men’s perspective the moment they proclaim that they have control over nature; however, the negative verbs from the second stanzas show nature’s refusal of that fact, and they show by their actions how they are the ones who really control men and not the other way around.

The third stanza affirms that mankind does not indeed own nature. “No, they whisper. You own nothing.” The nature in the poem may just openly say “No,” but it whispered because nature’s way is gentle, which can be seen on the second stanza. They just strike big blows, like throwing calamities back at us to release their bottled-up fury. “You were a visitor, time after time” suggests that even before we were born, nature is already there. They preceded our existence. Humans may die and just get replaced generation after generation. Humans are temporary beings on this earth, just like visitors on someone’s house, while nature’s existence is permanent. “climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming” is just a line of imagery used by Atwood to indicate mankind’s tendency of possessing something after conquering it – because after you’ve strived to climb a hill, planting a flag on it indicates a sign of ownership, and by “proclaiming,” men just have a tendency to show off or boast after achieving a difficult task. The last three lines “We never belonged to you. / You never found us. / It was always the other way around.” is the nature’s way of saying in the poem that mankind does not really own nature but it’s really the other way around. Men are just little beings living on earth that depend on nature to support their lives. The poem shows that nature has more power and significance over men. Also, when we die, we get buried under the earth, rot, and become a part of the soil; thus, it is really mankind who belong to nature.

© Anthea Cabrestante & Ulrick Fernandez

The Forbidden Kingdom

When man go through voyages, crazy about conquering lands
He’ll realize that the sublime kingdom is not where he stands
The greenness of foliage and the loveliness of flowers
Eventually wears out the eyes through the many passing hours.

Possibly the wonderful empire is very well hidden
But why should it be out of sight? Perhaps it was forbidden
The grandeur of the kingdom makes man literally breathless
Much powerful than your feeble form, it’ll get you in distress.

We have the sweet and harmonious singing of the little larks
But it has the always ravenous and murderous great sharks
It takes hours for the night to cover the sky with black linen
But it takes just an octopus ink for our world to darken.

Even pretty mermaids sing on rocks to cause the ship to wreck
To catch a glimpse of beauty under by the sea’s lure or beck
Just when strangers behold the signs of life beneath the waters
It robs them of their own lives – it’s how it silently batters.

It was indeed very magnificent, a secret little world
For you will find living jewels when the sea blanket is furled
As you don’t belong to that kingdom, it will get you betrayed
As the octopus hugs you, you will find your airway dismayed.

Compared to the ruined earth, its splendor is indeed unmatched
As to not spoil its beauty, it desires to remain untouched
It is the abode where mermen and mermaids sit on their thrones,
The forbidden dangerous kingdom is better left alone.



What caused Satan to fall?

We are quick to spot flaws in other people but are blind to our own. What hinders us from realizing our own faults is the same thing that caused Satan to be thrown into the earth together with the one –third of heavenly angels who partook in his sin. This is the one which we are made to believe normal in every individual, but the most dangerous of all. The most detestable thing ever, which most people stubbornly hold on to.

God cannot connect with those who live to please themselves, to make themselves first. Those who do this will in the end be last of all. The sin that is most nearly hopeless and incurable is pride of opinion, self-conceit. This stands in the way of all growth. When a man has defects of character, yet fails of realizing this; when he is so imbued with self-sufficiency that he cannot see his fault, how can he be cleansed? “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Matthew 9:12). How can one improve when he thinks his ways are perfect? – Testimonies for the Church 7:199, 200 (1905).

Britney Spears, Toxic

They say that by nature, humans are self-centered. Nothing could be farther from the truth; because anywhere you go, you can see traces of over-enlarged egos of humans: social networking sites, classrooms, or even in our own homes. We think that we ought to have pride for self-worth, respect, or for any other selfish reasons. However, when we see pride or self-exaltation present in other people, we couldn’t help but feel bad and criticize them. Pride is undeniably despicable, especially when seen in other people, because we are too proud to find faults in ourselves even though pride is also present in our rotten hearts.

Satan beguiles men as how he beguiled Eve in Eden, by flattery, by kindling a desire to obtain forbidden knowledge, by exciting ambition for self-exaltation. It was cherishing these evils that caused his fall, and through them he aims to compass the ruin of men. “Ye shall be as gods,” he declares, “knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Thus, in the place of righteousness and perfection of the infinite God, the true object of adoration; in place of the perfect righteousness of His law, the true standard of human attainment, Satan has substituted the sinful, erring nature of man himself as the object of adoration, the only rule of judgment, or standard of character. This is progress, not upward but downward. – The Great Controversy, 554, 555 (1911).

Cleopatra, Cleopatra

Surely, you have experienced talking to someone who keeps on talking about himself, about his glory, his achievements, his nice attributes, his possessions, etc. as if he thinks that he is the object of every individual’s envy. Perhaps it was hard for you to resist yawning while he recites his monologues about himself. Sometimes, the people who have the guts to brag are those who haven’t even proved themselves so much. When you think of it, they aren’t even leveled with great personalities known worldwide, and it’s absurd to know how great they perceive themselves to be like they’re ten times greater in their minds than in reality. They even have the guts to find faults in others when they aren’t even close to perfection.

It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters. The Word of God is plain, but often there is an error in applying it to one’s self. There is a liability to self-deception and to think its warnings and reproofs do not mean me. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Self-flattery may be construed into Christian emotion and zeal. Self-love and confidence may give us assurance that we are right when we are far from meeting the requirements of God’s Word. – Testimonies for the Church 5:322 (1885)

Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind

We can’t help but detest people who can’t seem to have any habit in the world than to compare themselves with others. Some people are just too proud that they tend to look down on other people. Others are too blinded by their “good” reputation and the fact that they are liked by people all the time when in fact they conceal in her hearts their secret pride which obviously cannot be forever concealed. Pride can always be easily detected through a person’s actions, speech, jokes, eyes, etc.

How vain is the help of man when Satan’s power is exercised over a human being who has become self-exalted and knows not that he is partaking the science of Satan. In his self-confidence he walks right into the enemy’s trap and is ensnared. He did not heed the warnings given and was taken as Satan’s prey. If he had walked humbly with God, he would have run into the trysting place God had provided for him. Thus in times of danger he would have been safe, for God would have lifted for him a standard against the enemy. – Lt 126, 1906.

Maleficent, Maleficent

When some people are not that intellectually great yet they have the guts to look down on other people and think that they are actually clever, we label them as fools whom we shouldn’t argue with because they’d bring us down to their level. However, pride doesn’t choose a social status, intellectual capability, or physical attractiveness. It is present in each person who chooses to have it; but conceited people are just equally foolish in the eyes of God.

Selfish interests must ever be subordinate; for if given room to act, it becomes a controlling power which contracts the intellect, hardens the heart, and weakens the moral power. Then disappointment comes. The man has divorced himself from God and sold himself to unworthy pursuits. He cannot be happy, for he cannot respect himself. He has lowered himself in his own estimation. He is an intellectual failure. – MS 21, 1899.

Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind

Humans harshly cause affliction to their neighbors, but wallow in too much anger and misery when they have been wronged as if they are very important creatures.

Cease sympathizing with yourself, and remember the world’s Redeemer. Consider the infinite sacrifice He has made in behalf of man, and think of His disappointment that after He has made such a sacrifice in man’s behalf, man should choose to ally himself with those who hate Christ and righteousness should become one with them in the indulgence of perverted appetite, thus bringing eternal ruin to his soul. – Testimonies for the Church 5:508 (1889)
Hatsumomo, Memoirs of a Geisha

Sometimes, the cause of man’s excessive pride is the compliments and flattery received from neighbors, especially after a job very well done. Then, we begin to get sensitive when other people are also being praised, thinking that it is only us who deserve praise. We also think that it is ourselves who deserve credit for our exaltation; for we think that the good things we have are innate in us.

If Satan can so befog and deceive the human mind as to lead mortals to think that there is an inherent power in themselves to accomplish great and good works, they cease to rely upon God to do for them that which they think there is power in themselves to do. They acknowledge not a superior power. They give not God the glory which He claims, and which is due to His great and excellent Majesty. Satan’s object is thus accomplished, and he exults that fallen men presumptuously exalt themselves. – Testimonies for the Church, 1:294 (1862)

Ravenna, Snow White and the Huntsman

Pride is not of God, it is of Lucifer.

Lucifer desired God’s power but not His character. He sought for himself the highest place, and every being who is actuated by his spirit will do the same. Thus alienation, discord, and strife will be inevitable. Dominion becomes the prize of the strongest. The kingdom of Satan is a kingdom force; every individual regards every other as an obstacle in the way of his own advancement, or a stepping-stone on which he himself may climb to a higher place. – The Desire of Ages, 435, 436 (1898).

Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Pride and Prejudice

The pride that we are talking to here isn’t just about pride itself, but other iniquities related to it like vanity, selfishness, self-exaltation, and conceit. Just as how these words sound sinisterly, so is how they’ll harm us when they let them inside our hearts.

The world, who act as though there were no God, absorbed in selfish pursuits, will soon experience sudden destruction, and shall not escape. Many continue in the careless gratification of self until they become so disgusted with life that they kill themselves.
Dancing and carousing, drinking and smoking, indulging their animal passions, they go as an ox to the slaughter. Satan is working with all his art and enchantments to keep men marching blindly onward until the Lord arises out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquities, when the earth shall disclose her blood and no more cover her slain. The whole world appears to be in the march to death. – MS 139, 1903. (Evangelism, 26.)

Madame du Barry

If people really want to develop greatness and be noticed for it, it is wrong to start at having great conceptions of ourselves and trust that people will soon think of us like how we perceive ourselves. Pride is not the magic word, but its contradictory term.

“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:6). “Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9). This conformity to Jesus will not be observed by the world. It is a subject if notice and comment. The Christian may not be conscious of the great change, for the ore closely he resembles Christ in character, the more humble will be his opinion of himself; but it will be seen and felt by all around him.
Those who have had the deepest experience in the things of God are the farthest removed from pride or self-exaltation. They have the humblest thoughts of self and the most exalted conceptions of the glory and excellence of Christ. They feel that the lowest place in His service is too honorable for them. – Testimonies for the Church 5:223 (1882).

Heidi, Heidi

In the end, it is still those little children who set good examples to us, and not the other way around.

It was not enough for the disciples of Jesus to be instructed as to the nature of His kingdom. What they needed was a change of heart that would bring them into harmony with its principles. Calling a little child to Him, Jesus set him in the midst of them: then tenderly folding the little one in His arms, He said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The simplicity, the self-forgetfulness, and the confiding love of a child are attributes that Heaven values. These are the characteristics of real greatness. – The Desire of Ages, 437 (1898).

The Last Bud

The sun came smiling upon a beautiful garden
Where lived all sorts of flora, like the rosebuds of ten
Of different colors, each concealing a surprise –
Their own kinds of beauty to be revealed at sunrise.
Came midnight, and then twilight, and then the break of dawn
Thrilled to gently stretch petals for the first eyes who’d fawn
Finally, by the touch of sun’s rays each rosebud bloomed
Showed nature’s bestowed beauty except for one thought doomed.
Three yellow roses bragged of their optimistic charm,
Three white roses boast purity and meaning no harm;
Three red roses crowed erotic beauty they were born;
While the poor silent bud was treated with tacit scorn.
The butterflies loved to touch the newly-bloomed rosies
And how the bud has envied the proud pretty posies
Blamed nature in her head for making her unsightly
I want to bloom quicker, she thought, to live life rightly.
Seeing what happened, the wise old sun just shook its head:
There’s something more in you, just sleep on your petal bed.
She took time to relax, took the dewy nourishment
And the strength to her frail petals the fiery sun sent.
The next day finally came after long hours of sleep,
She unfolded her petals and their hearts took a leap.
Even insects cried, She’s the loveliest flower!
That the butterflies and bees came to swarm around her.
Now envy’s gone, but pride had no place in her heart
Thanks to adversity, she’s the finest work of art.
The proud roses were not as pretty as yesterday
For as the last bud blooms, bit by bit they wilt away.
Still a trace of innocence seen at her shades of pink
You’re the prettiest, darling, said the sun with a wink.
Her given-off fragrance divinely touched every nose,
The most noticed of all was the pretty humble rose.
Her beauty delighted creatures after she awoke
And with feminine elegance she finally spoke:
At first I thought I’d forlornly wither on the mud,
But I see there’s much glory on being the last bud.

-A. C.

The Fiery Sun

This isn’t a comfortable planet to live in anymore.

As I am fond of reading the classics, I always think (and some people who know me very well know that I do) that maybe that I wasn't meant to live in the 21st century. I’d rather be glad to use a time machine to live one or two centuries earlier. And, if reincarnation was true, I guess I was reincarnated from the 18th or 19th century. Perhaps I was a princess in a castle or something of that sort. *wink* I have reasons to think that I really don’t belong in this time, but then maybe I was given a very hard mission, for society considers me weird and it’s really strange that I have foreign features when my parents are both Filipinos and all the members of my family ordinarily look like Filipinos while I do not. Someone told me that maybe I just have inherited the recessive traits of my ancestors for my beloved grandmother from my father’s side had a Spanish grandfather. Also, although my family is poor, some people mistake me for a rich man’s daughter and they obstinately believe that I really am in spite of my constant denial for my actions are contrary to the stereotyped actions of a poor man’s child according to them. Well, it may also be because of my face which was already seen as a bit snobbish when I was still a baby and which now still looks like a snobbish face of an accomplished lady who is aristocratic. (I am not too ambitious, am I? :p) I am not stating my misfortune of having these physical traits; but if I was just placed in Persia, I am sure that Persians wouldn't find me weird. However, I’d gladly inhabit Spain (one or two centuries earlier hopefully) so I could experience wearing a long and puffy silk dress with a petticoat inside, a flowery hat, and a parasol over my head even though I would just buy two pieces of candy on a store.

Anyway, I’ll leave the mystery of life to itself. Right now, I am thinking of one reason why this isn't a comfortable planet to live in anymore and why I’d like to go centuries back. I experience it every noon and afternoon. This isn't really like this when I was a child, you know. It feels like I already feel just a bit of hell with this unendurable heat that we experience. It’s a shame that until now I do not know the difference between global warming and greenhouse effect, but they’re the ones to blame for all the torturous heat we experience every noon and afternoon. It wasn't like this before. Decades or centuries ago, young ladies about my age still dare to go on picnics during the afternoons. They go out to expose their white and rosy faces to be illuminated by the sun. They still enjoy the gentle warmth of the sun and the soothing breeze, but the combination of the fiery sun and the outrageous blows of the wind nowadays just drive me crazy, for they are opposites which confuse my body. I guess I couldn't put the blame to women if their virtue of modesty has gone for the heat is really hard to bear – or perhaps the heat of the sun adds to the heat of moment, to the excitement that a man and a woman feel when they are together alone. Even my flushed cheeks are glowing hot now. I am not really sure what heat stroke is, but I know that it is deadly and I am now afraid to die. Right now, I am sorry for how much electricity I am going to waste for I really need the help of an electric fan. I used to hate electric fans because I am the type of person who shivers easily at the slightest touch of coldness, but they are really useful after all.

I wonder if the sun is angry to mankind or if it was just me who’s the object of its wrath. The sun loved me when I was a little girl because I used to refuse sleeping in the afternoons for they rob me of my liberty to go out and explore things, and to go on adventures of my own. Sometimes I couldn't really count on my baby sister before to accompany me in my imaginary voyage for she had a pleasant but frail disposition and was a lover of milk and sleep, while I always hungered for the things out in the world which are waiting to be discovered. Although my father used to call me “Theatot” for I was payatot or skinny, the sun loved to smile at me for I wasn't taking its presence for granted. A child really ought to go outdoors whenever possible, for the sun makes us happy. I just realized that I was happier when I was younger than now because I was always playing outdoors. I know that children who just lock themselves up in their rooms while playing computer games aren't having a happy childhood to be fondly remembered when they grow up for they choose to miss the opportunity of communing with nature and having adrenaline rush while playing tag. Well, as you know, the sun is emotional like a woman. If it gets too excited, it gives off more heat – and that is why I thought that she’s having fits of temper now for the heat now is really intolerable. Could the sun be mad at me for she’s missing being in touch with me? Okay, maybe I am just influenced by fairy tales and animism but the truth is that they don’t even know what’s going on with the world. Maybe God’s wrath is just beginning to pour. Perhaps the first angel has already been pouring the liquid contained by the vessel he is holding out into the earth. Yes, maybe that is the reason. Maybe this unbearable heat is just a tiny drop of God’s wrath and He just loves us too much that he wants us to be reminded that Jesus’ coming is near. He wants us to prepare as early as possible, and not in the last minute, for that would be too late. However, people just ignore the heat and proceed with their own business which is the most important thing for them. Little do they know that it is the invisible things which are eternal.

We are lucky that the sun still shines for us. What would we do if the Great One already permitted the seven plagues to destroy this planet and the sun would already refuse to shine to remind us of the joys of life? 
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