January 29, 2013
Summer is a-coming in,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the buck-goat turns,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t you ever stop now,
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!
(English Translation of “Sumer Is Icumen In”, a Medieval folk song)
It isn’t summertime in Manila yet, but there have been days this past month when I could’ve told you otherwise. Global warming much?
“Sumer Is Icumen In” is Middle English for “Summer Has Come In”, a 13th century pop song that I’ve been humming to lately while doing my editing work, thanks to a sweet 9 month old Golden Retriever named Summer whom I photographed a few weeks ago. (You can listen to the song here.)
During one long night of caffeine-induced insomnia I googled away and became strangely engrossed in the history of this medieval English rota. It was the coffee, I tell ‘ya!
Wikipedia and various other online sources say pretty much the same thing: No one knows for sure who composed the song, but it’s believed to have been written in 1250 at Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England where its manuscript was found. (View the manuscript here.)
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing Cuccu!
GroweÞ sed, and bloweÞ med,
and springÞ wde nu.
Awe bleteÞ after lomb,
lhouÞ after calve cu.
murie sing Cuccu!
wel singes Þu Cuccu
ne swik Þu naver nu.
Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!
(Middle English text)
In the manuscript you’ll notice lyrics in the vernacular written in black, and right below it, lyrics in Latin written in red.
pro vitis vicio,
non parcens exposuit
et secum coronat
in celi solio.
Why two sets of lyrics? The song, I learned, is an example of a “contrafactum”. A what??? A contrafactum, the practice of borrowing a song from one sphere and making it suitable for use in the other by the substitution of words, which apparently was a pretty common practice back in the middle ages. In those days, lyrics of songs were often changed either from the “sacred” to fit the “secular”, or from the “secular” to fit the “sacred”. So, that meant that tunes sung in churches would be the same tunes sung in local pubs and vice versa, but with very different lyrics to them. For this particular composition however, no one is certain which set of lyrics came first – the sacred or the secular.
Okay so before I continue to bore you with ancient dialects and dead languages… here’s a tiny sneak-peek of Summer’s photo session held at the La Mesa Eco Park, an awesome nature reserve surrounding the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.
“Summer is a-coming in… Loudly sing, Cuckoo! The seed grows and the meadow blooms, and the wood springs anew… Sing, Cuckoo!” (In this case… Peek-a-boo!!!)
Love the expression on her face!
Oops! There goes my lens.
Surrounding La Mesa’s watershed are 2000 hectares of forest area, the last one of its size in Metro Manila. How I wish we had more parks with trees!!!
Aww… isn’t Summer sweet? I’m humming again.
Thank you KC Casas and Pam Lu, Summer’s wonderful humans, for coming out to play that day. Summer is so obviously loved!
Okay now back to the song… (Haha! Kulit…)
I think the Latin lyrics are awesome! So, I’m gonna end this blog post with its English translation… just because… well… because it’s my first blog post for 2013… and I guess it’s always good to start the year by taking to heart how I plan to get through it: God’s grace!
Observe, worshipper of Christ,
what gracious condescension!
The heavenly husband, (another translation says “farmer”)
because of the vine’s imperfection,
not sparing His Son,
to death’s destruction.
who are half-dead
on account of the death sentence,
He restores to life,
and crowns them at His side
on heaven’s throne.
(English Translation by Ernest H. Sanders)
You see, it’s inevitable! New Year’s resolutions will most likely be broken this year. (I broke mine on January 1, hello! Fail! Haha!) But I thank God for the Gospel, the good news that His love isn’t ever based on MY resolve, but on Jesus’ resolve for me! Have a grace-filled 2013 everyone!
August 8, 2012
The sun came out today for a few hopeful minutes. But then the skies quickly turned gray all over again. May we be engulfed in God’s sustaining grace in these difficult times. May He be our strength and our peace, rain or shine!
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:10-11 ESV
January 11, 2012
The latin phrase “multum in parvo”, which means “much in little”, is often used to describe Pugs. This is perhaps because pugs have a whole lot of personality packed into such a small body.
Roxanne Lee, pet parent to five delightful pugs, knows this fully well.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of photographing Roxanne and her pugs Wagyu, Truffles, Chego, Duchess and Diana, together with her nephew Cole, 10, and her nieces Didi, 8, and Hannah, 6. Here are just a few sneak-peek photos from our session.
Thank you Roxanne for a pugtastic morning with your family! I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
New Year Thought Bubble: How appropriate that this pug shoot capped off the year for PPBD. 2011 was to me truly a year of “much in little”… with “much” blessings poured into this “little” life of mine.
Thank you, God. You are really so good and so faithful.
May 2012 be to all of us a year of “much in little”… and so much more! Happy New Year!
June 14, 2011
Here’s one from the archives! (Now that’s just a better way of saying, “I’m posting this old photo only coz I haven’t posted anything new in quite awhile!” Hahaha! Saaad!) I stumbled upon this photo as I was cleaning out my laptop. It was saved as “Elena.jpg”.
I feel like these photos evoke a certain sense of warmth and comfort. Quite perfect I think, since these past days have been so damp and dreary with the rain and all. How fitting that the name Elena means “sun ray” or “shining light”. Aww…
It’s been an extremely busy and physically (and emotionally) draining past month for me… uhh… hence this poor, neglected blog! I’ve been preoccupied with end-of-summer “soccer mom” and “back-to-school mommy” duties, ministry work, house-sitting chores for my Mom while she was on a much-deserved two-week vacation abroad, small group meetings we host at our home every week, a couple of long but fun whole-day photo shoots, hours and hours of post-production work, an irritating cough, a bad cold, and, the annoyingly inevitable symptoms of what I think could be carpal tunnel syndrome! (Nooooooo!)
My better half, Cisco, has also been preoccupied with quite a lot this past month with changes at work and all the pressures (and emotions) that come with those changes. It’s been tough. It has. And yet he has managed to be super supportive of me all throughout. He’s been my “human tripod”, as one client put it; well, also because at one shoot, he really literally had to be one! Hahaha! I hope that to him, I too have been that person to lean on in order to get a steady, balanced, clear and focused view of things. (Whatcha think, Cis?)
Seriously though, I am indeed blessed. We both are. In the years we’ve been married, and even more in this past year, we’ve learned how to be more intentional in facing life’s challenges together, hand in hand in Hand.
My son Franco is back in school which hopefully means I have a few more hours each day to concentrate on work. Here’s hoping I get to update this blog again before the month ends! Till then, I wish you warm and comfy feelings and a bright week ahead! See ya!
March 22, 2011
It’s been more than a week since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Like everyone else, I too have been tuned-in to the news more than ever these past days. There have been so many heart-rending images and stories of loss and destruction. Yet in the midst of all of them, there have been some heart-warming ones as well — images and stories not just of survivors or of the calm nature, resilience and discipline of a people, but also of family, friends, and rescue workers (human and canine), who have not given up hope.
Dogs to the Rescue
Earlier today, I caught this CNN video featuring Atticus, Byron, Tomo and Racker, four of the many brave and highly-trained canine rescue workers helping to save lives in Japan.
I came across some other dogs too! Baxter, Cadillac, Hunter, Joe, Pearl and Riley from America’s National Disaster Search Dog Foundation are six other dogs currently aiding search-and-rescue efforts in ravaged Japan. Click on their names to meet these brave ones!
God to the Rescue
The devastating events in Japan drove many of us to our knees in prayer. While I usually and almost automatically begin my prayers by saying “Thank You God”, on March 11 I found myself in front of the TV at a loss for words.
Today as I continue to watch events unfold in Japan, I’m reminded of a couple of sobering truths. I’m reminded of how sovereign God is, and how fragile life is — that anytime, anywhere, in the twinkling of an eye, my life and my world as I know it can all be taken away.
I’m reminded of how lost I too once was, how sinful I still am, and how I really don’t deserve any better.
BUT, I’m also reminded of the most amazing search-and-rescue operation ever — the one God planned out even before the creation of the world, the one He graciously began and the one He will faithfully complete. Certainly this is reason enough to be grateful, and reason enough for me to humbly pray and say, ”Thank You God”.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21
January 1, 2011
It was a cloudy day and the pool water was unkindly cold. Drenched from his first dive, shivering, teeth chattering, Franco hoped for the sun to come out from behind the clouds. In a terrycloth cocoon, he waited. And waited. And waited. Then finally, the sun peeked through the clouds and showed off its bright, warm face. Like Superman, (his all-time favorite superhero whose powers apparently get recharged by the Earth’s yellow sun), Franco’s “strength” instantly returned. He leaped up and out of his towel yelling, “POWWWERRR!!!” (at which time I grabbed my point-and-shoot and snapped this pic) then quickly, without a second thought, jumped back in the water.
The scenario was… well… sort of like LIFE! The freezing pool waters are like the harsh circumstances we face at times. More often than not, we want so much to dive in and swim, to live life to its fullest. But the thought of hurting again, or failing again, keeps us from doing it. So we choose to stay safe, stay away, stay dry. Pretty soon our protective barriers, our shields, and our comfort zones, cease to protect, to shield or to comfort. Instead they begin to hinder us from growing and changing, and from swimming in the fullness of God’s amazing plans and purposes.
What if we always saw and believed as purely as Franco did that day about the power of the sun and what it can do. Better yet, what if we saw and believed that way about the power of the Son and what He has already done! What if we always had that child-like faith to see and and believe that God is with us, and that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.
In 2010, I was faced with the daunting task of having to make some crucial life-changing decisions – in my marriage and family life, in my career, and most importantly, in my whole attitude towards God. The process was in no way easy. It was painful, humbling, and sometimes scary! But God was gracious, and IS gracious, enabling me to see Him at work in me and around me, and enabling me to believe that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and that with Him, all things are possible.
The pool water temperature that afternoon didn’t rise. It didn’t warm up at all. I dove in maybe 15 minutes after Franco did and it was still freezing! But for Franco, the sunshine on his face made all the difference. As far as he was concerned, he could overcome anything!
Now THAT is what I want for myself this new year. I want to start living more. I want to embrace God’s plans and His ways with more faith than ever before… His sufficient grace, His smiling face, making all the difference.
This is my prayer, and I hope it will be yours too! Have an awesome new year!
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”Numbers 6:24-26
December 25, 2010
From our family to yours…
“And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world his wonderful gift. The baby that would change the world was born. His baby Son.
“Mary and Joseph wrapped him up to keep him warm. They made a soft bed of straw and used the animals’ feeding trough as his cradle. And they gazed in wonder at God’s Great Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
“Mary and Joseph named him Jesus, ‘Emmanuel’ – which means ‘God has come to live with us.’ Because, of course, he had.”
(Page 182, The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones)