Wednesday, June 21, 2017

THE WAR IN MARAWI CITY

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Good morning, friends!
I found myself thinking these thoughts this morning ... re MARAWI

We are in big trouble. Marawi City (in Mindanao) seems to be far from us here in Luzon but it can get to us. The trouble in Marawi can pose a huge threat to the rest of the country and essentially to our freedom. That is the truth and the uneasy reality of the whole thing.

So the government is trying to contain it but the goal is to eliminate it. And why martial law in Mindanao was declared and why our soldiers are there fighting the visible and invisible enemy.

Their job, sure, but we have our jobs too as citizens of this country. We cannot just sit on the fence and watch the action akin to our sitting inside a theater watching an action movie while munching on popcorn with a cola on one hand.

This is serious business.

So what can the rest of us do? What can ordinary Filipino citizens do? Let's think about it.

Maybe we can..................

-- Raise up notches higher awareness of patriotic and nationalistic pride. - This is our country and the only one we've got. We belong here. This is our land and our culture. God's gift to us.

------ Be pro-active towards problems and issues assailing our country and our people. - The country's problem is the problem of every citizen who live, breathe the air, swim the seas, walk the meadows and mountains, and fly the skies. Whatever happens to it concerns us all. We can help; we can if we put our minds to it. No to 'kibit-balikat lang' ..... Yes to 'may magagawa ako para tumulong; sa maliit o malaking paraan may magaggawa ako'.

------ Cast aside our political views in times of national strife. - No matter our geographical divisions as a group of islands comprising the whole... no matter the diversity of the many peoples inhabiting the many regions... no matter the differences of insights and opinions... no matter the differences of religions and beliefs... no matter the division of the rich and the poor..... we must act as a whole to address the common good. (To quote Malen: 'Hey guys! Let's set aside our political views muna
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------ Be supportive of one another in good times and in bad whenever the country needs it.

And our country needs it NOW!!
Our president needs it NOW!!
Our soldiers need it NOW!!
Our future depends on what we do... TODAY!!

God blesses and watches over you..... everybody. In Christ. 



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL IN 'OLD'




This morning....... I had an early call from a good friend and along with it a long list of misery and unhappiness. Younger than me by a few years but old enough to own a senior citizen card, she bemoans her life and everything that’s in it. Except her children and grandchildren, but of course typically the doting parent and grandmother that she is. . We each have our stories, our history. She has hers. This time she’s feeling old and sad. Well, we chatted for a bit, until she had to go back to her morning chores and I went back to mine.
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She reminded me of a neighbor and a post written a year ago. Here it is…….
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With the sun shining warm and bright, puttering in my tiny pot garden on the patio was pleasurable made even more so when a tiny cool breeze came blowing my way. I was in the middle of trimming dried-up branches in one pot when a neighbor living just across the street strode down casually to the side of the patio facing the street and happily extended an invitation to her birthday party on Sunday which she’d rather call her Thanksgiving Party. She further added that she’s so grateful to be 75 and healthy. Indeed Amen to that! Bless her and do have many more!

50, 60, 75 or beyond ... admittedly it is that time in life when everybody, both young and old alike regard you derisively, condescendingly, patronizingly, sarcastically, mockingly, irreverently......‘old’. It means just one thing to them --- old... and that to them means shriveled, bland, boring, useless, ugly, and irritating to their perceived landscape of life and living. Really some people can be both mean and cruel sometimes. That is sad.

Allow me to say something.....

Well, I think they just do not understand. A good friend once cheerfully said ….... 'It’s not how they look, it’s what they have made of themselves. It's essence not form, mi amiga!'. .....So then never mind the aching bones, the weak joints, the slowness, the failing eyesight or hearing, the pills nestling permanently in one’s pocket-bag-drawer, and the embarrassing memory lapses. All that and more is just the natural physical journey of the human body.

Rather it's what or how a person has made of himself or created for himself from the snippets of life presented to him that truly defines the person and his life. There is something special in 'old'. Here's why…

It is special.......

1.............to have better learned to consider a fellow being as an equal and loved by the same God. To see him not only through human eyes but through the heart of God and thus understand the struggle, burden, misery or pain behind those sad eyes. And then quickly shoot off a prayer to the heavens above which in turn creates a grace-filled path leading back to that person. It’s special because you have understood well.

2.............to have better learned to act kindly and patiently towards the young whose brazen and foolhardy behavior often get on your nerves. And instead seek to help, enlighten, uncover their potential, unobtrusively train them into the way that they should go, as designed by a good God. It’s special because you have learned to understand the young as they should be understood. Been there-done that.
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3.............to have better learned to accept life with both the good and the bad in it, to have understood that both are requisites for growth. That failing can be a stepping stone to greater success. It's okay to make mistakes, too, but not over and over again. Perfection is not the goal; excellence is. It’s special because you have learned to move in step with the music of life’s universal dance and essentially to God’s design for your life. .

4.............to have better learned to be friends with the sun, moon, stars, trees, seas, rivers, oceans, and the animals of land-sea-air, all the seasons and its changes and that you have a part in its preservation and continuance. It is special because you have understood your role as a steward of God’s work.

5.............to have better learned to separate the wheat from the chaff, to recognize those of true value in the midst of those things which only serve no good thing but waste. It is special because you have gained the ability to peel off unnecessary layers or masks which hide truth. Truth is and always will be the better choice.

6.............to have better learned that everything in life passes through heaven’s doors. Joy, sorrow, misery, success, failure, laughter, tears, and fear --- all can find its solution – hope – inspiration – comfort and consolation when it is passed through faithful prayer. It’s special because you have understood very well that nothing is or will be without GOD.
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If we can be masters at one, at least, then life's journey would be a gem and truly worthwhile. For then we have served some greater purpose. By God's design.

Old is a journey we all take. None exempted. Better to create or recreate it to be the best years of our life yet. We can still be so much more. Blessings from on high. Living it well is our gift back to God.

So then here’s for a ‘Happy Birthday’ to anyone and everyone who may be celebrating a birthday today or in the days ahead before the year ends. Don’t count the years in numbers but in how much and how well you have lived and learned. That is by God's intent and design.

Blessings to you all! In Christ.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

WHAT CAN WE GIVE?

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If there is anything I, in my humble capacity, would encourage you to do... for yourself and for the world ----- it's to give. And give generously. Not so much materially. Oh but if you can afford it, please do so. But what I truly meant was ---- give of ... YOU!

At this point in our lives, at 40.. 50.. or older, we may have most everything in the I-Me-My-Mine of life already sated or settled. Now life may be subtly coaching or coaxing us to look outwardly, away from the 'self', and more on to others and to the bigger arena called the world. I say subtly because it is 'something that is hard to detect or that is not standing out or bold'. To quote Mr. Webster.

We may not notice it or sense it perhaps but it's there. A nagging presence, a biting dissatisfaction, a tinge of frustration or disillusionment about a lot of things in our world, outer or external world, which does not even concern us personally (or so we may think).

But translated in one word or phrase --- it is asking for 'something' from you and me. This 'something' may or could be the only thread that perhaps could or would keep it going in a crazy or tough world or life. And it's trying to find it in --- you, me, us. It may not or cannot say it out right... but it is sending out feelers, desperate feelers, directly or indirectly. But are we paying attention?

Like it or not we all stand connected. What happens to the other guy on the other side of the neighborhood could happen to you and me. What happens to places in other parts of the world could happen in our own turf. What happens to the world will affect everybody... everything.... touching our worlds within and without.

The next question would probably be ..."What can I give?"

If we think of great or grander expressions or responses, sure we can. In fact, there will be opportunities to do so and some of us in magnificent manner will respond gallantly. All good.

But stripped of that, we will find ourselves down to the simple ordinary puny individual and persons that we all are ..walking the face of the earth shoulder to shoulder.

So then ..."What can we give?"
And there is only one response to that --- give of ourselves.

As a line from an old song goes..... let me count the ways ---

Give with who you are and what you may have in your god-given-talent or skills... (Let's cast the material stuff aside in this one. Yes, it has its uses, too).

--- inspiration, hope, courage, compassion, empathy, encouragement, responsibility, good character, excellent values, kindness, humor and laughter, brotherhood and camaraderie, gentle hearts, sympathy, trust, faith, loyalty, friendship, talents in dancing - poetry - writing - sewing - acting - painting - teaching - healing - etc, ..... excellent skills in carpentry - house design - landscape gardening - pet care - care giving - leadership - organization - policing - etc.

At this point of our lives, life is not all about I-Me-My-Mine... anymore. Life is now seeing your fellow brother, sister, friend, or even enemy with the eyes of your heart. Respond to life with what it is and not necessarily with what you want it to be. Life is what it is; so is the world. Change will not come unless change begins with you. Give the best of who you are. You don't have to be qualified to give. Already you are, by God's design. And you begin with one small brave step at a time... one day at a time... over and over ... repeatedly ...for the rest of your life.

Give generously with who you are. That, I believe, is God's plan for the world. God's plan for you, me ... everybody.

God bless you with everything you may need for a blessed life. In Christ.



Sunday, June 4, 2017

THOUGHTS SPOKE -- THE HEART RESPONDED



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Thoughts Slid Into My Mind
And My Heart Responded

I may have wanted things moving faster today to get to the point I wanted to get to pronto. I wanted things to happen fast.... progress quicker..... and move along without delay.


But no, it would not do that. At least not today.

Instead today I was made to be still and watch the clouds go by..... listen to a gentle breeze blowing..... catch a yellow butterfly flit quickly by my window..... hear the chatter of humans going about the clutter of their day..... listen to a beautiful melody on the radio..... share smiles with friendly neighbors walking by my house..... and listen to my heartbeat saying "Be still."

So I did.

It took much effort because I was weary, exasperated, and drained by the slowness of the day..... of life.

And I met God. He asked me this question.....
"Why do you fret and worry?"

I replied, "There is so much to worry about. Life is not funny. I respond to it in the only way I know how. How else can I not be?"

He smiled and softly said, "Try responding with a little bit more of faith."

And added with a noticeable tiny yet gentle reproach.....
"Be still, my child, and know that I am God."


Indeed God is there even in the slowness of the day or hour. You will find Him when you seek Him with your heart.
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE ALONE. IT'S A PRECIOUS GIFT, TOO.


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This is an old post but I'm resurrecting it here for a dear old friend who I think needs to see this. Hey girl, I know how you feel. I'm no stranger to loneliness, too. Read and let your heart see what I mean.
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DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE ALONE. IT'S A PRECIOUS GIFT, TOO.

It’s not all the time that I want company, or listen to the noise of endless banter, or watch the chaotic human parade of other people’s lives. It’s vexing to the mind, is wearying to the heart, and tires the soul down. It leads to confusion and troubling vibrations in the air turning my world upside down. It’s startling how all these can touch your own sphere of life and leave you so drained by it all.

Sometimes … I simply want to be alone. To be there in the my-own-moment just being - To feel the soft breeze on my face – To feel the warmth of the sun on my skin – To hear birds chirping on the trees – To feel the waters under my feet walking by the seashore – To touch the petal of a flower – To watch the sun go down on the horizon – To let the rain touch my skin – To write my dreams on clouds of flight – To be still - To hear my heartbeat.

I remember being that little child in prayer on God’s lap long long ago telling Him -------- 'bout Pete and Jana being mean to me in school -------- asked Him to make Bobby the bully a good boy na so that he won’t bother me again when I walk by his house -------- tell mom and dad to stay home and not leave for the office because it makes me cry -------- tell Santa how bad I felt when he didn’t give me a puppy for Christmas -------- asked Him to make grandpa well again so that we could play -------- thanked Him for letting Mom cook my favorite spaghetti with huge meatballs every Saturday (and getting an extra meatball everytime!!).

And now that I'm older I ask Him to stop sending me problems because it makes me lose sleep many nights. But of course you can't tell Him what to do. We know that. But I have learned this well enough that talking with Him honestly sincerely humbly takes me easier to that feel-good-moment I so seek.  


Also being alone is simply wanting to BE – with my flaws, mistakes, imperfections – seeing how fragile and vulnerable I truly am – looking at my limitations, my borders, my walls – and yet understanding that I too have my own strengths, potential, and the power to dream. That everything there, good or bad, has shaped who I am. That all that I was, is, and will be is the story of my life.

I simply want to be with my thoughts sometimes – thinking of the past and the things it has left me with – thinking of the present and how it’s forming my tomorrows – wondering what my tomorrows will be like or when I will be finally gone.

Sometimes all I ever want is to be simply here – with nothing – doing nothing – yet loving everything.

Here's a quote that's closest to my heart......

"Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.” ----- Pearl Buck (1892 – 1973)
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Learn to treasure your alone moments. Be a friend to yourself. Do not be afraid to be alone. It's a precious gift, too!



Friday, April 21, 2017

COUNT THE YEARS NOT BY WHAT YOU HAVE LOST BUT BY WHAT YOU HAVE GAINED



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It's always a relaxing moment seated in a quiet corner of my favorite coffee bar which my daughter and I often frequent.. and just simply 'watch the world go by', so to speak. Nobody knows me except of course for the friendly baristas who consider me and my daughter as regulars to their store. With my favorite green tea frappe paired with a delicious slice of chocolate cake time simply slips by unnoticed quite peacefully. And I love it…

Until something catches my attention and shakes up my thinking cap.

Just a table away from me sat four middle-aged ladies. Apparently long-time friends and still at it through the changes of life and time. Have gathered that much from their conversation which trickled down in my direction. Quite obviously, no doubt. Alam nyo naman din ang Pinoy.. maingay yan kapag nagkikita-kita. Ang lalakas pa ng boses, akala mo sila lang ang tao sa kwarto o sa mundo. But you can tell they were having such great fun! So then it was difficult not to hear or ignore them sounding like that. Was quite amused by it all, in fact.

They were at it for some minutes until their mood turned serious; no more banter or laughter seen or heard from them. The talk turned different. So then I turned back to my drink and cake, too, while waiting for my daughter who had to run errands inside the mall now seen teeming with people chasing after promo sales.

A few minutes went by then I suddenly heard this lady from the group speak up loud and clear:

"Eto yun at tandaan mo: Don't look at how far you have to go, look at how far you have come!"


That made me smile. I've heard that line before, spoken by someone... and read it somewhere, too.

I think sometimes such familiar lines come to us at some point in our lives when confusion and frustration assail us. Although meant to inspire or encourage us yet it does not always work that way. Because when you’re hurting you cannot understand anything else but your hurt or pain. And all that you can see is that long tough journey still stretching out ahead of you and which makes you wonder just when or where it will ever stop or end. Because it’s truly tough --- you’re hurting and crumbling under its burden, and it feels like you have reached the end of your rope.

But here’s what…..

Breathe deep. Deeply. Just breathe. Tune in on your senses. Pay attention to what it’s telling you. What does it say? It says you’re alive! With eyes that see, ears that hear and listen, nose that smells fragrance and otherwise, hands that touch and feel, legs that can walk many distances, and your sense of taste that leads you to scrumptious food which ends up having heavier numbers on the weighing scale! (Geeez I agree!)

And being alive means......…

That you have new tomorrows waiting for you... that you can try again... that you can pursue your fond dream another way... that you can build and rebuild... that you can pick yourself up each time you fall – over and over – again and again... that you can find and meet new people who will be kinder to your dreams... that you can choose what to do next... that you can learn new things and grow with it... that you can create or recreate new opportunities for yourself to work on.

Being alive means that you don’t and won’t give up. Being alive means that you are darn so good but you can also be so much better or the best. And that is the goal!

Count the years not by what you have lost but by what you have gained. Big or small. They’re all significant. No matter what people may say, you deserve your glory. And keep counting because more is yet to come. God bless you!



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WORK IS NOT ALL OF LIFE. NEITHER IS LIFE JUST WORK.








Here’s a thought……..

Work is good, whatever work you do. (We need it.) But truthfully it does not need you. Because if you can't do the job, it will find somebody else who can and will. There always is a long queu... a very long one... outside the company door waiting and wanting your job. Harsh but true.

So...

Work with your very best, give it your best shot but do not let life pass you by stuck at your desk or something. -- Work is not all of life. Neither is life just work.-- There's more out there in this big wide magnificent world... there's more you can do with who you are and with your God-given talents. There are people waiting to be part of your time -- of you (your family is one). Time becomes precious in good precious friendships, communities, etc.. Enjoy it.

Most of all God didn't say that life should be spent exhausting or slaving yourself over one thing alone. He intended you to enjoy life to the fullest (there is a verse in the bible about that). And that means to experience and relish life's vast potential for beauty and good. Bask in the glory of nature, such beautiful and amazing diversity. Connect and interact with good hearts and kind souls. And remember that living those wonderful moments with your family can give you a delicious taste of heaven here on earth. That’s a most precious gift.

Grow as you should but not only with charts, statistics, reports, data, or picks and shovels, etc. Grow as God intended you to grow --- in your fullest human potential…. being a delight to the people around you…… and most of all --- a bigger delight to His heart.

So what’s keeping you? Time waits for no one. You decide. :-)

May the good Lord bless you with the choicest of blessings, friends.
 
 

Friday, April 7, 2017

CHANGE IS A NECESSARY PART OF LIFE

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I was at the tail-end of my usual morning walk and was nearing this middle-aged woman who looked so intent in her task of sweeping up the dirt in front of her house. She was doing quite a thorough job of sweeping going through the grounds with her broom. As much as I admired her sense of thoroughness at the job, I cringed at the possibility that she could be sweeping away the tiny minute unseen-to-the-eye creatures of the ground. 

Anyway, I slowed down my pace as curiosity got the best of me. Just as I thought-- she left no stone unturned, no stray bit safe..... even the ground seemed reduced in size with the passing of her broom.

Now can you imagine this........

if we could sweep away the debris of our lives in a similar manner? Certainly it would have to take a magic broom, of course. But have you identified the ‘debris’ cluttering your life? I’ll bet you would put in a lot of ..... bad events, situations, experiences, people, bad habits, and other things besides in that category. How about prejudice, bias, attitudes, addictions, perversions, greed, and corruption? Oh yes, the ills of the world, too. Don't you wish that we could sweep them away too, right?

Sometimes ‘junk’ of all sorts seep into our lives and chip at our values too. Small things which may seem trivial at a glance thus ofttimes ignored and unnoticed. But these very small yet unpleasant things slowly gnaw at our values like termites do on wood. Pretty soon unknowingly bits and pieces are being altered in our minds and hearts. What used to be good, whole and wholesome has become shredded, tattered, and cluttered like garbage. Eventually turning into ugly debris stored up within and taking its hold or grip on us thus influencing our everyday lives.

We move around our lives carrying this garbage not recognizing it as 'garbage'. We utter words of hate and division.... we think thoughts of bias and prejudice.... we do things which hurt our neighbor, friends, and families for no just reason or cause. We transform into monsters of negativity, ill intent, lopsided views and opinions. And the sad thing about it is feeling good about ourselves! We think we're defending our right to be heard.. but has it also crossed your mind that you could be simply defending the.....ego? Ego knows no right or wrong, no good or bad. It's goal is self-satisfaction. Period. The termites have indeed done a good job of gnawing at the wood of our character.

We do need to be aware of our internal garbage and work to sweep it up out of our lives. Determine to throw it into the bin of extinction. Tough job, I know; but at least let it be said that we did try and will persevere until every last bit of garbage is gone! We take back our true selves.... as God originally designed.

Change is an internal job. Nobody will or can do it for you. We can work at change bit by tiny bit, one step at a time, one day at a time, pulling ourselves away from the unnecessary and unpleasant comfort zones of negativity and trash.

May God bless you with His love, peace, grace to do good things for yourself and others







Friday, March 31, 2017

PRAY TELL ME WHAT MAKES A MOMENT FOREVER

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A friend asked another "What is forever?" The other friend replied "It means for always." 

Experiences which delight the heart -- or expectations met -- or struggles rewarded -- and many more which take you up to cloud 9 in utter happiness, making you want to stay in that moment without end.

'Forever' has been carelessly thrown around and about in telenobelas, movies, celebrity interviews, chats, reminiscences, expectations, and is contained in young hopes and dreams and longing.

But life, in spite of its nuggets of wisdom and feel-good-lessons, won't always agree with you as you will discover soon enough. 

Because.......

Marriages and relationships crumble. Couples separate or divorce. Fortunes are lost. Financial charts perform dismally. Homes are broken. Families become dysfunctional. Health falters. Plans go awry at that point when you begin to think everything is going well. Good becomes bad. Laughter turns to tears.

Pray tell me then, what makes a moment 'forever?

Perhaps this ..... ? .....

--- When couples work hard to keep the relationship going,   when the team knock their brains out in solving problems at the workplace,  when a husband or wife work together to preserve family,  when options are created even if doors have closed,  when courage and strength is renewed again and again... and again!

And not because they have to or should, but because of what is felt in the heart. LOVE. Pure plain simple... love.

The love to help... to share... to succeed... to survive... to foster peace... to care and protect... to be faithful, truthful and honest... to rise with every fall... to pray unceasingly... to understand and act accordingly... to build and not to destroy. Love makes the doing special. Love makes it worthy. Love makes you want to do it over and over, again and again . And happily at that.

But, I think, still that does not assure forever in the external meaning of things or in the general expectations of many or most.


Rather it does this ------ it keeps the moment alive and strong for the longest possible time. The special and treasured moment lives on longer in the heart where it is nurtured and fed with love each time. Every minute, every hour, every day, every year of your life. Wonderfully enduring moments to last you possibly a lifetime if you strive to work at it.

Moments endure where love is.

May God bless you with His love, peace, and the grace to endure through life's journey. In Christ.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

LIFE IS A JOURNEY -- BE IN IT WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, WITH ALL OF YOU

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Do we really need to get so worked up? ..... ??

Know that life is a journey. A time put there for all the stages of our life. Whatever stage you are in now, be in it with all of your heart. Live it with all of you.

Don't be serious; BE SINCERE.  Be sincerely happy, hopeful, content, positive, helpful, considerate, compassionate, supportive, understanding, funny, interested, loving, appreciative, kind, thoughtful, and prayerful. Put your heart into it. When the day is done, then you can say to yourself --- "I gave life my best shot!"

Blessings, everybody! :-) .May God bless you bountifully with His promises. Remember.... ask, and you shall receive.

May the good Lord bless you with His grace, love, peace, and balance in life. Blessings to you all, in Christ.