Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Physical and Occupational Therapist Licensure Examination Results 2009 | The Composed Gentleman

While browsing around and searching for name in google (yes, vain, I know :p), I chanced upon my name listed in the results of the OT licensure exam for July 2009 and remembered I haven't even placed it here yet. So here it goes, and as usual, I'm too lazy to copy and paste it all here so I linked from a website of a fellow blogger who happen to have it in his. Here's the link, but mind you, you have to scroll down to the very end and 2nd to the last name because my surname starts with letter Y. :)

Physical and Occupational Therapist Licensure Examination Results 2009 The Composed Gentleman

Monday, December 21, 2009

With Hope

*another song by Steven Curtis Chapman, which is so timely.. my friend and sister in Christ, may you be comforted. :')

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope
We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Friday, December 11, 2009

How to make empanada dough for baking - Laylita's recipes

Stumbled upon this while on a search for the perfect empanada dough recipe.. m definitely going to try this! :)
How to make empanada dough for baking - Laylita's recipes

Friday, December 04, 2009

Interesting Psychology

What do we make of a boy like Thomas?

Thomas (his middle name) is a fifth-grader at the highly competitive P.S. 334, the Anderson School on West 84th. Slim as they get, Thomas recently had his long sandy-blond hair cut short to look like the new James Bond (he took a photo of Daniel Craig to the barber). Unlike Bond, he prefers a uniform of cargo pants and a T-shirt emblazoned with a photo of one of his heroes: Frank Zappa. Thomas hangs out with five friends from the Anderson School. They are “the smart kids.” Thomas’s one of them, and he likes belonging.

Since Thomas could walk, he has heard constantly that he’s smart. Not just from his parents but from any adult who has come in contact with this precocious child. When he applied to Anderson for kindergarten, his intelligence was statistically confirmed. The school is reserved for the top one percent of all applicants, and an IQ test is required. Thomas didn’t just score in the top one percent. He scored in the top one percent of the top one percent.

But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,” his father says. “Some things came very quickly to him, but when they didn’t, he gave up almost immediately, concluding, ‘I’m not good at this.’ ” With no more than a glance, Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t.For instance, in the early grades, Thomas wasn’t very good at spelling, so he simply demurred from spelling out loud. When Thomas took his first look at fractions, he balked. The biggest hurdle came in third grade. He was supposed to learn cursive penmanship, but he wouldn’t even try for weeks. By then, his teacher was demanding homework be completed in cursive. Rather than play catch-up on his penmanship, Thomas refused outright. Thomas’s father tried to reason with him. “Look, just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you don’t have to put out some effort.” (Eventually, he mastered cursive, but not without a lot of cajoling from his father.)Why does this child, who is measurably at the very top of the charts, lack confidence about his ability to tackle routine school challenges?Thomas is not alone. For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.But a growing body of research—and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school system—strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.For the past ten years, psychologist Carol Dweck and her team at Columbia (she’s now at Stanford) studied the effect of praise on students in a dozen New York schools. Her seminal work—a series of experiments on 400 fifth-graders—paints the picture most clearly.Dweck sent four female research assistants into New York fifth-grade classrooms. The researchers would take a single child out of the classroom for a nonverbal IQ test consisting of a series of puzzles—puzzles easy enough that all the children would do fairly well. Once the child finished the test, the researchers told each student his score, then gave him a single line of praise. Randomly divided into groups, some were praised for their intelligence. They were told, “You must be smart at this.” Other students were praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.”Why just a single line of praise? “We wanted to see how sensitive children were,” Dweck explained. “We had a hunch that one line might be enough to see an effect.”Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out.Why did this happen? “When we praise children for their intelligence,” Dweck wrote in her study summary, “we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.” And that’s what the fifth-graders had done: They’d chosen to look smart and avoid the risk of being embarrassed.In a subsequent round, none of the fifth-graders had a choice. The test was difficult, designed for kids two years ahead of their grade level. Predictably, everyone failed. But again, the two groups of children, divided at random at the study’s start, responded differently. Those praised for their effort on the first test assumed they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on this test. “They got very involved, willing to try every solution to the puzzles,” Dweck recalled. “Many of them remarked, unprovoked, ‘This is my favorite test.’ ” Not so for those praised for their smarts. They assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. “Just watching them, you could see the strain. They were sweating and miserable.”Having artificially induced a round of failure, Dweck’s researchers then gave all the fifth-graders a final round of tests that were engineered to be as easy as the first round. Those who had been praised for their effort significantly improved on their first score—by about 30 percent. Those who’d been told they were smart did worse than they had at the very beginning—by about 20 percent.Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the effect. “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.Repeating her experiments, Dweck found this effect of praise on performance held true for students of every socioeconomic class. It hit both boys and girls—the very brightest girls especially (they collapsed the most following failure). Even preschoolers weren’t immune to the inverse power of praise.
Jill Abraham is a mother of three in Scarsdale, and her view is typical of those in my straw poll. I told her about Dweck’s research on praise, and she flatly wasn’t interested in brief tests without long-term follow-up. Abraham is one of the 85 percent who think praising her children’s intelligence is important. Her kids are thriving, so she’s proved that praise works in the real world. “I don’t care what the experts say,” Jill says defiantly. “I’m living it.”Even those who’ve accepted the new research on praise have trouble putting it into practice. Sue Needleman is both a mother of two and an elementary-school teacher with eleven years’ experience. Last year, she was a fourth-grade teacher at Ridge Ranch Elementary in Paramus, New Jersey. She has never heard of Carol Dweck, but the gist of Dweck’s research has trickled down to her school, and Needleman has learned to say, “I like how you keep trying.” She tries to keep her praise specific, rather than general, so that a child knows exactly what she did to earn the praise (and thus can get more). She will occasionally tell a child, “You’re good at math,” but she’ll never tell a child he’s bad at math.But that’s at school, as a teacher. At home, old habits die hard. Her 8-year-old daughter and her 5-year-old son are indeed smart, and sometimes she hears herself saying, “You’re great. You did it. You’re smart.” When I press her on this, Needleman says that what comes out of academia often feels artificial. “When I read the mock dialogues, my first thought is, Oh, please. How corny.”No such qualms exist for teachers at the Life Sciences Secondary School in East Harlem, because they’ve seen Dweck’s theories applied to their junior-high students. Last week, Dweck and her protégée, Lisa Blackwell, published a report in the academic journal Child Development about the effect of a semester-long intervention conducted to improve students’ math scores.Life Sciences is a health-science magnet school with high aspirations but 700 students whose main attributes are being predominantly minority and low achieving. Blackwell split her kids into two groups for an eight-session workshop. The control group was taught study skills, and the others got study skills and a special module on how intelligence is not innate. These students took turns reading aloud an essay on how the brain grows new neurons when challenged. They saw slides of the brain and acted out skits. “Even as I was teaching these ideas,” Blackwell noted, “I would hear the students joking, calling one another ‘dummy’ or ‘stupid.’ ” After the module was concluded, Blackwell tracked her students’ grades to see if it had any effect. It didn’t take long. The teachers—who hadn’t known which students had been assigned to which workshop—could pick out the students who had been taught that intelligence can be developed. They improved their study habits and grades. In a single semester, Blackwell reversed the students’ longtime trend of decreasing math grades.The only difference between the control group and the test group were two lessons, a total of 50 minutes spent teaching not math but a single idea: that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores.“These are very persuasive findings,” says Columbia’s Dr. Geraldine Downey, a specialist in children’s sensitivity to rejection. “They show how you can take a specific theory and develop a curriculum that works.” Downey’s comment is typical of what other scholars in the field are saying. Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, a Harvard social psychologist who is an expert in stereotyping, told me, “Carol Dweck is a flat-out genius. I hope the work is taken seriously. It scares people when they see these results.”
Since the 1969 publication of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, in which Nathaniel Branden opined that self-esteem was the single most important facet of a person, the belief that one must do whatever he can to achieve positive self-esteem has become a movement with broad societal effects. Anything potentially damaging to kids’ self-esteem was axed. Competitions were frowned upon. Soccer coaches stopped counting goals and handed out trophies to everyone. Teachers threw out their red pencils. Criticism was replaced with ubiquitous, even undeserved, praise.Dweck and Blackwell’s work is part of a larger academic challenge to one of the self-esteem movement’s key tenets: that praise, self-esteem, and performance rise and fall together. From 1970 to 2000, there were over 15,000 scholarly articles written on self-esteem and its relationship to everything—from sex to career advancement. But results were often contradictory or inconclusive. So in 2003 the Association for Psychological Science asked Dr. Roy Baumeister, then a leading proponent of self-esteem, to review this literature. His team concluded that self-esteem was polluted with flawed science. Only 200 of those 15,000 studies met their rigorous standards.After reviewing those 200 studies, Baumeister concluded that having high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement. It didn’t even reduce alcohol usage. And it especially did not lower violence of any sort. (Highly aggressive, violent people happen to think very highly of themselves, debunking the theory that people are aggressive to make up for low self-esteem.) At the time, Baumeister was quoted as saying that his findings were “the biggest disappointment of my career.”Now he’s on Dweck’s side of the argument, and his work is going in a similar direction: He will soon publish an article showing that for college students on the verge of failing in class, esteem-building praise causes their grades to sink further. Baumeister has come to believe the continued appeal of self-esteem is largely tied to parents’ pride in their children’s achievements: It’s so strong that “when they praise their kids, it’s not that far from praising themselves.”By and large, the literature on praise shows that it can be effective—a positive, motivating force. In one study, University of Notre Dame researchers tested praise’s efficacy on a losing college hockey team. The experiment worked: The team got into the playoffs. But all praise is not equal—and, as Dweck demonstrated, the effects of praise can vary significantly depending on the praise given. To be effective, researchers have found, praise needs to be specific. (The hockey players were specifically complimented on the number of times they checked an opponent.)Sincerity of praise is also crucial. Just as we can sniff out the true meaning of a backhanded compliment or a disingenuous apology, children, too, scrutinize praise for hidden agendas. Only young children—under the age of 7—take praise at face value: Older children are just as suspicious of it as adults.Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer, a pioneer in the field, conducted a series of studies where children watched other students receive praise. According to Meyer’s findings, by the age of 12, children believe that earning praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well—it’s actually a sign you lack ability and the teacher thinks you need extra encouragement. And teens, Meyer found, discounted praise to such an extent that they believed it’s a teacher’s criticism—not praise at all—that really conveys a positive belief in a student’s aptitude.In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a child may be unwittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability, while a teacher who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even further.New York University professor of psychiatry Judith Brook explains that the issue for parents is one of credibility. “Praise is important, but not vacuous praise,” she says. “It has to be based on a real thing—some skill or talent they have.” Once children hear praise they interpret as meritless, they discount not just the insincere praise, but sincere praise as well.Scholars from Reed College and Stanford reviewed over 150 praise studies. Their meta-analysis determined that praised students become risk-averse and lack perceived autonomy. The scholars found consistent correlations between a liberal use of praise and students’ “shorter task persistence, more eye-checking with the teacher, and inflected speech such that answers have the intonation of questions.”Dweck’s research on overpraised kids strongly suggests that image maintenance becomes their primary concern—they are more competitive and more interested in tearing others down. A raft of very alarming studies illustrate this.In one, students are given two puzzle tests. Between the first and the second, they are offered a choice between learning a new puzzle strategy for the second test or finding out how they did compared with other students on the first test: They have only enough time to do one or the other. Students praised for intelligence choose to find out their class rank, rather than use the time to prepare.In another, students get a do-it-yourself report card and are told these forms will be mailed to students at another school—they’ll never meet these students and don’t know their names. Of the kids praised for their intelligence, 40 percent lie, inflating their scores. Of the kids praised for effort, few lie.When students transition into junior high, some who’d done well in elementary school inevitably struggle in the larger and more demanding environment. Those who equated their earlier success with their innate ability surmise they’ve been dumb all along. Their grades never recover because the likely key to their recovery—increasing effort—they view as just further proof of their failure. In interviews many confess they would “seriously consider cheating.”Students turn to cheating because they haven’t developed a strategy for handling failure. The problem is compounded when a parent ignores a child’s failures and insists he’ll do better next time. Michigan scholar Jennifer Crocker studies this exact scenario and explains that the child may come to believe failure is something so terrible, the family can’t acknowledge its existence. A child deprived of the opportunity to discuss mistakes can’t learn from them.My son, Luke, is in kindergarten. He seems supersensitive to the potential judgment of his peers. Luke justifies it by saying, “I’m shy,” but he’s not really shy. He has no fear of strange cities or talking to strangers, and at his school, he has sung in front of large audiences. Rather, I’d say he’s proud and self-conscious. His school has simple uniforms (navy T-shirt, navy pants), and he loves that his choice of clothes can’t be ridiculed, “because then they’d be teasing themselves too.”After reading Carol Dweck’s research, I began to alter how I praised him, but not completely. I suppose my hesitation was that the mind-set Dweck wants students to have—a firm belief that the way to bounce back from failure is to work harder—sounds awfully clichéd: Try, try again.But it turns out that the ability to repeatedly respond to failure by exerting more effort—instead of simply giving up—is a trait well studied in psychology. People with this trait, persistence, rebound well and can sustain their motivation through long periods of delayed gratification. Delving into this research, I learned that persistence turns out to be more than a conscious act of will; it’s also an unconscious response, governed by a circuit in the brain. Dr. Robert Cloninger at Washington University in St. Louis located the circuit in a part of the brain called the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex. It monitors the reward center of the brain, and like a switch, it intervenes when there’s a lack of immediate reward. When it switches on, it’s telling the rest of the brain, “Don’t stop trying. There’s dopa [the brain’s chemical reward for success] on the horizon.” While putting people through MRI scans, Cloninger could see this switch lighting up regularly in some. In others, barely at all.What makes some people wired to have an active circuit?Cloninger has trained rats and mice in mazes to have persistence by carefully not rewarding them when they get to the finish. “The key is intermittent reinforcement,” says Cloninger. The brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. “A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”That sold me. I’d thought “praise junkie” was just an expression—but suddenly, it seemed as if I could be setting up my son’s brain for an actual chemical need for constant reward.What would it mean, to give up praising our children so often? Well, if I am one example, there are stages of withdrawal, each of them subtle. In the first stage, I fell off the wagon around other parents when they were busy praising their kids. I didn’t want Luke to feel left out. I felt like a former alcoholic who continues to drink socially. I became a Social Praiser.Then I tried to use the specific-type praise that Dweck recommends. I praised Luke, but I attempted to praise his “process.” This was easier said than done. What are the processes that go on in a 5-year-old’s mind? In my impression, 80 percent of his brain processes lengthy scenarios for his action figures.But every night he has math homework and is supposed to read a phonics book aloud. Each takes about five minutes if he concentrates, but he’s easily distracted. So I praised him for concentrating without asking to take a break. If he listened to instructions carefully, I praised him for that. After soccer games, I praised him for looking to pass, rather than just saying, “You played great.” And if he worked hard to get to the ball, I praised the effort he applied.Just as the research promised, this focused praise helped him see strategies he could apply the next day. It was remarkable how noticeably effective this new form of praise was.Truth be told, while my son was getting along fine under the new praise regime, it was I who was suffering. It turns out that I was the real praise junkie in the family. Praising him for just a particular skill or task felt like I left other parts of him ignored and unappreciated. I recognized that praising him with the universal “You’re great—I’m proud of you” was a way I expressed unconditional love.Offering praise has become a sort of panacea for the anxieties of modern parenting. Out of our children’s lives from breakfast to dinner, we turn it up a notch when we get home. In those few hours together, we want them to hear the things we can’t say during the day—We are in your corner, we are here for you, we believe in you.In a similar way, we put our children in high-pressure environments, seeking out the best schools we can find, then we use the constant praise to soften the intensity of those environments. We expect so much of them, but we hide our expectations behind constant glowing praise. The duplicity became glaring to me.Eventually, in my final stage of praise withdrawal, I realized that not telling my son he was smart meant I was leaving it up to him to make his own conclusion about his intelligence. Jumping in with praise is like jumping in too soon with the answer to a homework problem—it robs him of the chance to make the deduction himself.But what if he makes the wrong conclusion?Can I really leave this up to him, at his age?I’m still an anxious parent. This morning, I tested him on the way to school: “What happens to your brain, again, when it gets to think about something hard?”“It gets bigger, like a muscle,” he responded, having aced this one before.

Interesting conversation

Here's an interesting dialogue we had with a seven-year-old boy we'll call Jeff.

"What would you think of a mailman who picks up trash on all the streets as he goes around the neighborhood?"

"That would be pretty good."

"But what if he didn't get the mail delivered?"

"He'd get fired!"

"That's right. Delivering the mail is his job."

"What would you think about the car mechanic who likes to talk to people and socialize but doesn't get the cars fixed?"

"He'd get in trouble."

"Yes, you're probably right because repairing cars is his job. You know, children have a job to do but sometimes they get distracted and do other things."

"What's a child's job?"

"According to Ephesians 6:1 a child's primary job is to learn to obey."

"Yeah, right."

"You don't seem too excited about that job."

"I'm not. My parents are always telling me what to do."

"Well that's their job. Let me help you understand why God gave you that job. Hidden within obedience are all kinds of principles that will make you successful when you get older. You will learn how to be a better student, employee, or boss by learning how to obey when you're young. You'll also learn to obey God, and that's very important."

"Oh yeah, how?"

"Well, some employees can't do a simple task without arguing about it. If they would have learned to obey when younger, they might not have such a problem following directions. Or, some students can't accept an assignment without complaining about it. If they had learned obedience when younger, they might be able to do a hard job without complaining.There's nothing wrong with evaluating instructions or helping parents with alternatives, but there's a lot of benefit to obeying just to learn obedience. God knew that and he hid many character qualities inside of obedience that will make you a successful person."

"That's interesting."

"The next time you're given an instruction, especially one you don't want to do, maybe you ought to think about obeying with a good attitude just because of what it will teach you."

The point of this conversation is that obedience has more benefits than many children realize and they have opportunities now to prepare themselves for a successful future.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1 Peter 3 bible study gleanings

Last night's bible study, we read 1 Peter chapter 3. These are the highlight verses for me.. I think they are very practical and applicable to our society today. May the Lord help me also to be submissive to Him as wives submit to husband (representing also the church's submission to Christ). May I set apart Christ as Lord and see Him sovereign over every little thing I encounter.
May you be blessed as well.
Wives and Husbands
1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Suffering for Doing Good
8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Magnificent Obsession

Lately, this song has kept playing in the automatic player in my head. As the chorus plays, I can't help but cry out to the Lord the lyrics so aptly the prayer of my heart.

*This song is called Magnificent Obsession by Steven Curtis Chapman, another one of my favorite Christian artists.

Lord, You know how much
I want to know so much
In the way of answers and explanations
I have cried and prayed
And still I seem to stay
In the middle of life’s complications
All this pursuing leaves me feeling like I’m chasing down the wind
But now it’s brought me back to You
And I can see again

This is everything I want
This is everything I need
I want this to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You, Jesus
Be my magnificent obsession

So capture my heart again
Take me to depths I’ve never been
Into the riches of Your grace and Your mercy
Return me to the cross
And let me be completely lost
In the wonder of the love
That You’ve shown me
Cut through these chains that tie me down to so many lesser things
Let all my dreams fall to the ground
Until this one remains

You are everything I want
You are everything I need
I want You to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You
I want it all to be for You

You are everything I want
And You are everything I need
Lord, You are all my heart desires
You are everything to me

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween Party 2009

We held our Halloween at Therakids today, November 3, 2009 because it was postponed from last Saturday (Oct.31) due to the typhoon. It was not that grand, the preparations were almost last minute, and yet it was tons of fun nonetheless. :)

Decors were recycled from last year. Displayed on the tables
are the kids' artworks and the prizes given away.

The kids go for trick or treating. :)

Face painting done by their parents and caregivers.

Dough designing contest.
Can you guess which one is the winning piece? :p

Best in costume

The kids, parents/caregivers, and the teachers and staffs. :)

There were even prizes for best in costume for both the kids and teachers. There was also the most active kid award. Best in artwork (Macaroni Skeleton Man) was also awarded. All in all, it was a great halloween party and the kids had fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hello world!

It's been 2 days since I deleted all my accounts at social networking sites. People have been asking me why and if it was difficult. So far, I've been mum about the real reason. Here's what the Lord told me Wednesday evening (and I recorded it on my phone in case I forget):

I am clear of this: the Lord wants me to focus on Him and serving my sisters. I cannot do that while there are still distractions present. Although I may say I am not moved by them, but the threat is still there. We are told to flee from temptations, to not even let Satan obtain a foothold. Therefore I am clear of this: God wants me to delete my fb, multiply, hi5, and friendster accts. Yes, even twitter.. no bargaining.. If I am to serve God, then let me do so wholeheartedly and pour out my time on this endeavor. The Lord who calls me is faithful. If I would lose contact to my friends and the bonds which I hold dear because of this, then so be it. If I were to lose everything for Christ's sake, no one is more worthy. "That is why I consider everything a loss.." as Paul so aptly put it.

I believe the Lord has different plans and requires differently of each of us. But as for me, this is what the Lord wants and I will stand by it. Praise the Lord, He gives me enough strength and grace to obey. I want to live my life for Him, and to please Him in everything I do. He is worthy, who died for me so I may live.

Jesus loves you all and God bless you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A month in the life of Joy

So what's been happening in my life lately?

I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Went to this newly-discovered place called Nomnomnom, which is an artsy, fun restaurant for those who want to try foods that are not your typical food. Sayang, have no picture of the Malinomnom which people are raving about. We tried it though, and it's perfect for my tastebuds. It's not your typical pizza bar, that's for sure! :D Yum! Am definitely gonna go back there one of these days for another serving of their Malinomnom, or to try other foods they offer.

Above are pictures of the pasta that we ordered. They were tasty and have really big servings!

We took our patients for a walk to the mall. Our goal was for proper observation of traffic signs, road/street signs, and even signs inside the mall, norms when going out and socialization skills in asking other people about directions to different places inside the mall. This was a fun experience, and one in which I really felt satisfaction as an OT! :)

Went to visit my friend, Stephanie. Turns out she is currently taking care of her aunt's 2-month old baby, so adorable! :)
New shoes that I bought. Love 'em! I actually had a hard time choosing the design because there are so many to choose from. It's light on the feet and can fit any outfit. I love loafers, especially stylish and colorful ones. So practical, yet so fashionable!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Something Worthwhile

Yesterday, I was once again reassured that what I was doing was right, that I was on the right path, that I was doing something worthwhile.

The Special Education teacher of my patient at his SpEd school noticed that he was different, that he was now more behaved, that his behavior improved. The nanny of my patient told her it was because he's now receiving occupational therapy.

Because of this small news I heard, I was surprised to feel a sense of accomplishment. It is rare in the pediatric setting that we hear of improvements, or if we do, it is over a period of years that subtle improvements are seen. But to hear that my patient improved noticeably after only about 2 weeks of therapy, that was really something! I was overjoyed! :)

Praise God, it's all You!

Monday, September 07, 2009

New Direction

So much has happened in such a short span of time.. Imagine, in 2 weeks I got my license, a really mean sunburn, saw 2 friends off to the United States and bonded with some old friends in a totally new way. :) I'm also starting to get over my dissatisfactions in life and learn to be content, to love the things I do have. Really, everything is GRACE.

One very important turning point and thing that happened over the days is that I obtained direction in life. I now know the immediate decision/choice I must make and take. Like the title of a book by Stormie Omartian so aptly named--just enough light for the step I'm on.

There are just some things I'm deeply contemplating recently. But as for me, it's enough to know that my Redeemer lives. He is in control of everything and He holds my world in the palm of His hand. I can rest assured, for I know whom I have believed and He is able to keep that which I've committed until that day. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow boldly and without apprehension.


Below: the pictures from the Occupational Therapy-Physical Therapy Oath Taking Ceremony @ Manila Hotel (9-6-09; 1-5pm)

with my girl friends! :D
with the guys!
look at the cool color combo green-black alternate :)
(it was not planned) ;p
the green girls!
standing @ the lobby of Manila Hotel

Lord, thank You. Your grace is still amazing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear reader,

Yes, YOU.

If you are living on this world, then you're probably like most people I know.
Skeptics, cynics, jaded by life on earth.
You probably think that if something's too good to be true, then it most likely is.

And if you've lived long enough, then you're probably part of the millions who experience the pain of living each day, or even of just surviving, barely.

You ask yourself, is this all there is to life?

Am I supposed to just go through each day as if being tortured, from birth to death, and then, nothingness?


Like others, you might have, at some point in your life, contemplated death.. of what it would be like to die and leave all these behind--the pain, the neglect, the past...everything.


It is unfortunately the life story of most of us. Why do you think so?

There seems to be something lacking from life that you can't quite pinpoint what.

Some may have strived and strived to reach that something you think will finally make you happy, but when you obtain it, it seems devoid of all joy.

True, you may feel happy, proud, and maybe even accomplished;
but at the end of the day, you crawl under the covers and no matter how much you deny it, you can't fool yourself--no amount of fame, wealth, power, honor, or even all of it combined will be able to take away the emptiness you feel.

It may mask it for a while, yes, but after the masquerade, there lies the undeniable fact staring you back at the face.


You may think, what gives me the right, in my 21 years of living on earth, to write about these?

Simply this, tonight I met a person who once again reminded me what has been staring me in the face and in this day and time is so commonplace to us all--skepticism, unbelief, doubt, faithlessness.. call it whatever you want, it's still the same.

This person said that she can't believe all that stuff about God being loving and that He cares for each one of us when all she sees in the world, the news, and everything around her says otherwise. She thought God is up there in heaven, we are down here. What's the connection? True, He created us, but we are like playthings for Him. We are none the more valuable than, say, the next accident of creation. She said she can't believe in the Bible, which is a mere book written by men, not any more believable than the fiction next to it on the shelf.

I simply couldn't help it, I shook my head. Her view of God is so skewed, so wrong. How can she let all these affect her view of God's character? The Lord is so full of love for the world that He would willingly send His only Son to die for us (John 3:16). He couldn't bear it that because of men's sins, we are separated from Him and now live this miserable life without any assurance of hope for the future, heck, without any future at all. How can anyone's heart not melt at the grace that was given us? The suffering that was supposed to be ours because of our sins have been placed upon Him, which was why He bled drop after drop of blood. Because of this, my sins have been forgiven and from the moment I accepted Him into my life, I am saved.

Saved by grace. That's what I love to call myself. I now have full assurance of heaven when I die, and even more so, of never being alone in the walk of life as long as I live. God's love leaves me speechless.

I used to be on the same path, bent on destruction, but God's love made a way for me to be whole. I used to be on the same road, chasing after the wind, running and running mirage after mirage in the desert; believing on the lie that if I do this and do that, and if I gain this and gain that, I will be satisfied. His love found me and pursued me when I was still running away, it was unconditional. He didn't wait for me to be a better person, He accepted me JUST AS I AM and loved me when I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8).

Now, I can't say I'm perfect but I want to be changed daily into His image, I want to be able to manifest Him more in my life, and to be able to glorify Him by how I live. I'm not surprised, and you shouldn't be if after you've turned to Him and accepted Him to be your Lord and Savior, your way seems brighter and your burdens seem lighter. Know this, He is carrying you.

~~~~Cast all your cares/anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.~~~~

I think this has been long enough, if you've managed to keep awake and to read up until this point, then I commend you. It was such a joy to write this, and I wrote with tears streaming down my eyes and with a fervent prayer that this entry move you to run back into the everlasting arms of Your Father. He is waiting for YOU.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And when you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit-

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twist and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When we might have won, had we stuck it out.

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow-

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

*someone emailed this to me, and I think it is fitting to keep in mind especially while running the race of life

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Letters of Ninoy Aquino to his son Noynoy and daughter Ballsy

Warning: prepare ur hanky...

August 25, 1973
Fort Bonifacio

Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III

My dearest Son:

One of these days , when you have completed your studies I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit many countries. And in your travels you will witness a bullfight.In Spanish bullfighting as you know, a man – the matador – is pitted against an angry bull.

The man goads the bull to extreme anger and madness. Then a moment comes when the bull, maddened, bleeding and covered with darts, feeling his last moment has come, stops rushing about and grimly turns his face on the man with the scarlet "muleta" and sword. The Spaniards call this "the moment of truth." This is the climax of the bullfight.

This afternoon, I have arrived at my own moment of truth. After a lengthy conference with my lawyers, Senators Jovito R. Salonga and Lorenzo M. Tanada I made a very crucial and vital decision that will surely affect all our lives: mommie's, your sisters', yours and all our loved ones as well as mine.I have decided not to participate in the proceedings of the Military Commission assigned to try the charges filed against me by the army prosecution staff. As you know, I've been charged with illegal possession of firearms, violation of RA 1700 otherwise known as the "Anti-Subversion Act" and murder.

You are still too young to grasp the full impact of my decision. Briefly: by not participating in the proceedings, I will not be represented by counsel, the prosecution will present its witnesses without any cross examinations, I will not put up any defense, I will remain passive and quiet through the entire trial and I will merely await the verdict. Inasmuch as it will be a completely one-sided affair, I suppose it is reasonable to expect the maximum penalty will be given to me. I expect to be sentenced to imprisonment the rest of my natural life, or possibly be sent to stand before a firing squad. By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into the very jaws of death.You may ask: why did you do it?

Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen. Futile and puny, as it will surely appear to many, it is my last act of defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.

You are my only son. You carry my name and the name of my father. I have no material wealth to leave you. I never had time to make money while I was in the hire of our people.For this I am very sorry. I had hopes of building a little nest egg for you. I bought a ranch in Masbate in the hope that after ten or fifteen years, the coconut trees I planted there would be yielding enough to assure you a modest but comfortable existence.

Unfortunately, I had to sell all our properties as I fought battle after political battle as a beleaguered member of the opposition. And after the last battle, I had more obligations than assets.

The only valuable asset I can bequeath to you now is the name you carry. I have tried my best during my years of public service to keep that name untarnished and respected, unmarked by sorry compromises for expediency. I now pass it on to you, as good, I pray, as when my father, your grandfather passed it on to me.

I prepared a statement which I intend to read before the military commission on Monday at the opening of my trial. I hope the commission members will be understanding and kind enough to allow me to read my statement into the record. This may well be my first and only participation in the entire proceedings.

In this statement, I said: Some people suggested that I beg for mercy from the present powers that be. Son, this I cannot do in conscience. I would rather die on my feet with honor, than live on bended knees in shame.

Your great grandfather, Gen. Servilliano Aquino was twice condemned to death by both the Spaniards and the American colonizers. Fortunately, he survived both by a twist of fate.Your grandfather, my father was also imprisoned by the Americans because he loved his people more than the Americans who colonized us. He was finally vindicated. Our ancestors have shared the pains, the sorrows and the anguish of Mother Filipinas when she was in bondage.

It is a rare privilege for me to join the Motherland in the dark dungeon where she was led back by one of her own sons whom she lavished with love and glory.

I ended my statement thus: I have chosen to follow my conscience and accept the tyrant's revenge.

It takes little effort to stop a tyrant. I have no doubt in the ultimate victory of right over wrong, of evil over good, in the awakening of the Filipino.

Forgive me for passing unto your young shoulders the great responsibility for our family. I trust you will love your mother and your sisters and lavish them with the care and protection I would have given them.

I was barely fifteen years old when my father died. His death was my most traumatic experience. I loved and hero-worshipped him so much, I wanted to join him in his grave when he passed away. But as in all sorrows, eventually they are washed away by the rains of time.

In the coming years, I hope you will study very hard so that you will have a solid foundation on which to build your future. I may no longer be around to give you my fatherly advice. I have asked many of your uncles to help you along should the need arise and I pray you will have the humility to drink from their fountain of experiences.

Look after your two younger sisters with understanding and affection. Viel and Krissy will need your umbrella of protection for a long time. Krissy is still very young and fate has been most unkind to both of us. Our parting came too soon. Please make up for me. Take care of her as I would have taken care of her with patience and warm affection.

Finally, stand by your mother as she stood beside me through the buffeting winds of crisis and uncertainties firm and resolute and uncowed. I pray to God, you inherit her indomitable spirit and her rare brand of silent courage.

I had hopes of introducing you to my friends, showing you the world and guide you through the maze of survival. I am afraid, you will now have to go it alone without your guide.

The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.

There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.

Son, the ball is now in your hands.



August 18, 1973
Makati, Rizal

Ms. Maria Elena C. Aquino
25 Times St. Quezon City

My dearest Ballsy,

I write you this letter with tears in my eyes and as if steel fingers are crushing my heart because I wanted so much to be with you as you celebrate your legal emancipation. Now that you have come of age, my love, a voice tells me that I am no longer young and suddenly, I feel old.

An old poet gave this advice very long ago “when you are sad, remember the roses will bloom in December.” I want to send you bouquet of roses, big red roses from my dreamland garden. Unfortunately for the present, my roses are not in bloom, in fact they have dropped all their petals and only the thorns are left to keep me company. I do think it is fitting to send you a thicket of thorns on this memorable day!

I am very proud of you because you have inherited all the best traits of your mother. You are sensible, responsible, even-tempered and sincere with the least pretenses and affection which vehemently detest in a woman. I am sure like your mother, you will possess that rare brand of silent courage and that combination of fidelity and fortitude that will be the life vest of your man in the tragic moments of his life.

During my lonely hours of solitary confinement in FortMagsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija last March and April with nothing else to do but pray and daydream, with only my fond memories to keep me company, I planned a weekend barrio fiesta for you in Tarlac for your 18th birthday. I fooled myself into believing that my ordeal would end with the fiscal year. I planned to invite all your classmates and friends and their families for the weekends.

The schedule called for an early departure by bus from Manila and the first stop will be Concepcion , where lunch will be served by the pool. And after lunch, you were to visit the SantaRitaElementary School to distribute cookies and ice cream to the children of that public school where you were first enrolled.

I guess sheer nostalgia prompted me to include Santa Rita. We were only three then: Mommie, you and I. Those were the days of happy memories little responsibilities, tremendous freedom, a great future ahead and capped by a fulfillment of love.. You are the first fruit of our union, the first proof of our love and the first seal of our affections.

From Concepcion we were to proceed to Luisita for the barrio fiesta. I intended to invite a friend who could roast an entire cow succulently. Swimming, pelota, dancing and eating would have been the order of the day.

Sunday morning was reserved for a trip around the Hacienda and the mill and maybe golf for some of the parents and later a picnic-lunch on Uncle Tony’s Island . Return to Manila after lunch. I am afraid this will have to remain as one of the many dreams I had in Laur.

Our future has suddenly become uncertain and our fate unknown. I am even now beginning to doubt whether I’ll ever be able to return to you and the family. Hence, I would like to ask you these special favors.

Love your mother, whose love for you, you will never be able to match. She is not the greatest mother in the world, she is your sincerest friend.

Take care of your younger sisters and brother and lavish them with the love and care I would like to continue giving them but am unable to do so.

Help Noy-noy along and pray hard that he will grow to be a real, responsible man who in later years will protect you all.

You are the model for your three younger sisters. Your responsibility is therefore great. Please endeavor to live up to our highest expectations. Be more tolerant to Pinky, more accessible to Viel, our little genius-princess, and more charitable to Krissy, our baby doll, and make up for my neglect.

Finally, forgive me, my love, for not having been an ideal, good and thoughtful father to you all as I pursued public office. I had hopes and high resolve of making up, but I am afraid my destiny will not oblige.

I seal this letter with a drop of tear and a prayer in my heart, that somehow, somewhere we shall meet again and I will finally be able to make up for all my lapses, in the kingdom where justice reigns supreme and love is eternal.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Officially OTRP!

I passed the Occupational therapy board exams last july 25-26, 2009. Results came out July 29, 2009 at about 8pm. When I saw my name there, I was ecstatic! All glory be to God!!! The next day, I had a job. It was so surreal. It's all You, Lord, it's all You. September 6, 2009 is our oathtaking at Manila Hotel. By that time, I'll be officially a licensed Occupational Therapist, Registered or Joy Ann Yu, OTRP. From start to end, it was the Lord who guided me thus far, and I have no doubt He'll continue to guide me all my life. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness. You never give up on me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Occupational Therapist’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of my profession.
Thank you for my education and training.
Thank you for the daily strength to address the challenges of disability and despair.
Thank you for the joy I feel in watching my clients progress toward independence.
Thank You for being my Advisor when I creatively solve a problem.
Thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ and my salvation.
Grant me the wisdom to understand my clients and fellow workers.
Grant me the patience to wait for Your healing of the whole person.
Grant me the opportunity to witness my love for You Through my lifestyle and my daily work.
Grant me the fellowship of other therapists that know and love You.
Grant me the humility to work as a team player with other professionals for the good of those we serve.
Grant me the peace that comes through knowing You during these turbulent times of change. Cover me in the precious protective blood of Jesus on a daily basis.
In Christ Jesus I pray.
*as taken from www.otforchrist.org

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You never give up on me

We watched the movie "Facing the Giants" again last Thursday night. If I'm not mistaken, this is already my 2nd or 3rd time watching it. A song caught my attention though, with the words "You never give up on me". I was touched by this song because I've personally experienced the reality of God never giving up on me. Here are the lyrics, hope you'll be blessed.

Never Give Up (Josh Bates)

Time after time you’ve been left behind
like the sun when it’s starting to rain
Time after time you’ve been forgotten
like a picture that’s faded with age
Time after time you ran after me
when I was still running away

You never give up on me
No, You never give up on me
Though I’m weak you are strong
You told me I still belong
No, you never, never give up on me

Time after time I’ve used your grace
as a way to do what I please
I’ve taken for granted prayers that you answered
never been all I could be
You are holding out your hands
and now I clearly see


You always erase all my mistakes
You lift me up when I'm down
Through all the ages, Your love never changes
You welcome me just as I am


never give up, never give up on me...

To watch the music video with lyrics, click on the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DlrpTUENSI&feature=related

Thursday, May 14, 2009

While I'm Waiting (Fireproof)

This is my current favorite song ever since end of April when I first watched the Christian movie Fireproof. *the aqua-colored highlighted parts are the ones which touched me most and they became my prayer before the Lord*

While I'm Waiting
John Waller
The Blessing

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship

While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy, no
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience, yea

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

To see the music video, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3b2jw1rjBc