Saturday, September 17, 2016

A PERFECT FAMILY


 
 
 

At the usual coffee bar I go to, I sat about two tables away from a group of young girls and boys who were spilling out their frustrations over the flaws seen in their families, respectively. It all seemed so huge hearing them talk about it. They all pined for perfection and yet according to the standards they each had set for themselves. That already by itself seemed shortsighted to my mind. I could be wrong but

That made me think.....

Really, if on some days they get on your nerves or if they seem to impede your progress in whatever you have set out for yourself or when they seem to be oblivious to who you are and what you do..... think again.

If you wished that you had your friend's family as they seem to be so adorable and perfect.... think again.

If you feel that your wings are being clipped unreasonably (that's what you're thinking anyway).... think again.

If you feel that God isn't fair because He gave you such a not-so-cool family..... think again.

And THINK you should.

Wanting a perfect family? Don't sweat it at all because you can't and because you won't have one. You can't choose them as they can't choose you either. God had other things in mind when He gave you to each other. So if you're seeing flaws in them and you feel that you could be better off without them.... think again.

As a mother (as all mothers would agree), I die a thousand deaths to my own dreams, goals, preferences, and plans...... everyday. I can't be myself sometimes but I am me where it matters most to be me ----. a mother and friend. Aside from being the maid and yaya..... driver (to school and back)..... cook (well, pancakes at least)..... laundrywoman (hankies and socks matter too, right?)..... seamstress (broken zipper and missing buttons)..... and other dozen-and-one things they can think of for you to do for them. Not discounting too those times of feeding bottles, diapers, and thermometers of long ago years.

But that's okay because that's what mothers do. So much the same way that fathers have their own tasks rolled out for them, too. So do children... they too have their own respective roles to play as members of the family. That is by Divine Design.

God had something else in mind when He gave you your family and It may not fit your own set of standards and expectations of what a family should be. But whoever told you that HE has to consult you for everything HE does, particularly in your life!?

You don't get to choose your family, really. Somebody up there does that for you. HE is better at it than we could ever be by ourselves. Like many things in life ---- it may not be what you want but maybe it is what you need!

Further, allow me to quote these lines from the prayer of ST. FRANCIS...

LORD, make me an instrument of your PEACE.
Where there is hatred, let me sow LOVE;
where there is injury, PARDON;
where there is doubt, FAITH;
where there is despair, HOPE;
where there is darkness, LIGHT;
and where there is sadness, JOY.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as TO CONSOLE;
to be understood as TO UNDERSTAND;
to be loved as TO LOVE.
For it is in GIVING that we receive;
it is in PARDONING that we are pardoned;
and it is in DYING that we are born to eternal life. Amen
-------------------
Unquote

And THAT is what we do to each other in our families inside the home. Humans are not perfect but FAMILY LOVE IS!

May God bless you and your family. 


(Thanks to the internet for these lovely images.)

WHERE IS NUMBER 3?


  
 
 

 

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Mr. Quote Man sent me this story and I promised him that I would share it with everybody here. It's a good one and I think that you'll like it, too. It had no title to it, so I'm going to call it ...... 'Number 3'.
------

NUMBER 3

It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in a small town near Toronto in Canada.

Two school-going friends had a crazy idea. They rounded up three goats from the neighborhood and painted the numbers 1, 2 and 4 on their sides. That night they let the goats loose inside their school building.

The next morning, when the authorities entered the school, they could smell something was wrong. They soon saw goat droppings on the stairs and near the entrance and realized that some goats had entered the building.

A search was immediately launched and very soon, the three goats were found. But the authorities were worried..... WHERE WAS NUMBER 3??? 
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They spent the rest of the day looking for goat No.3. The school declared classes off for the students for the rest of the day. The teachers, helpers, guards, canteen staffs, boys were all busy looking for the goat No. 3, which, of course, was never found.

Simply because ………… IT DID NOT EXIST!

Those among us who, in spite of having a good life, are always feeling a -- “lack of fulfillment” -- are actually looking for the elusive, missing, non-existent goat No.3. Whatever the area of complaint or dissatisfaction -- relationship, job-satisfaction, finance, achievements .....


-  AN ABSENCE OF SOMETHING IS ALWAYS LARGER THAN THE PRESENCE OF MANY OTHER THINGS.

Let’s Stop worrying about goat No.3. Let's enjoy life instead !!!


---------------------- End of Story ----------------------
Thanks, Mr. Quote Man. And thanks to the internet for these wonderful images.
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May God bless you all! Enjoy your day.





Monday, September 12, 2016

THIS LIFE --- WE DON'T RUN IT, WE JUST LIVE IT. BE BRAVE






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This is Celia's story but it could be anybody else's.
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She's your ordinary person... perhaps your next door neighbor.. or office mate.. or passenger sitting across you in the jeep.. or the person behind you queuing at the cashier's counter.. or one walking beside you, behind you, up ahead on the busy sidewalk or street .. people coming and going.
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She and life have never agreed on anything. She has her dreams but life sends her different things which take her off the desired path and keeps her busy with stuff that every ordinary mundane person does on this planet tending to needs which, as we all know, dictate priorities.
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Live, love, work, smile, cry, hate, fear.... or be disappointed, embarrassed, feel sad and lonely, know what it's like to have hopes shattered to the ground, know about rejection and betrayal, know about the helplessness of watching life move along without any help from yourself. And sometimes she even wonders if it ever knows that she wants certain things changed....and pronto!
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"Oh well, some people have control over their lives and some don't. But life definitely is a hard taskmaster." she would rationalize to herself. But a kindly old priest and good friend of her father, who visited her family one lovely summer's day before her father passed, corrected her with this....
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"This life.... we don't run it. We just live it. What you see before you is all that you should do or be doing at that moment it is asked of you. It may not be what you want but definitely it is what you need. Set your eyes on the present. Live it though without losing sight of your dreams and goals. It will come in its own allotted time. Understand that you are put there for a reason. Maybe for yourself... maybe for others... maybe for the world or even mother nature... but definitely it is a part of the whole tapestry put together by divine intent. You must do your part. Nobody can or will do it for you. Everybody has his own allotted task. Be you in the present. Bravely."
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Celia's story doesn't end there. The last time I spoke with her, she was beaming with quiet confidence and joy while still tending to the business of life and living. I asked her for its reason. She replied..... "I am me."
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I think I understand now.



Thursday, September 8, 2016

TRUTH, LIKE ROSES, HAVE THORNS ABOUT THEM



-----------------
Remember my dear friend from India.. Mr. Quote Man? Not his real name, of course. He is a longtime friend since my early days in the blog at Indiatimes. That's about a decade ago. We haven't skipped a chance to connect every time we're online, in both highs and in lows, in all those great years of friendship. A treasure, indeed.
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Well, in the past two years or so he somehow made it his mission to pass on to me his favorite quotes the goal of which is to make me write, particularly when I'm down to a 'writer's block'. He knows how it is because he struggles with it, too, being a writer himself.
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Making the selected quote the subject of the day we then bombard each other via email (back-and-forth) with insights, perceptions, interpretations enough to fill a book. A thick one, I should say.
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It's always such fun and a wonderful learning moment every time because he is such a rare specie of open-mindedness, is broadminded to a fault, unbelievably selfless, and is the least concerned with the usual I-Me-My-Mine of life and living. (Hmmm... I remember someone say this before .. "At this age you don't bother about that anymore.")
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Can you believe that!? Yeah, sometimes it does make me think maybe this guy might be from some strange planet in the galactic realm out there.... an alien! A nice alien... so much like some nice earthlings that have crossed my path, too.
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Well, this was another quote he sent to my email.........
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Truths, like roses, have thorns about them."   -   (Henry Blinn)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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That's right, isn't it?
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Truths are not always welcome and why we shrink or shirk from it with elaborately cooked up excuses.  Motivated by so much an aversion or diversion from what could be apparent challenges to one's preconceived notion or notions.  But all for naught because truth will seek you out. Always. Sooner or later.
Know that to be true?


 (I found this lovely quote/poster online and loved it. Again true, right?)


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WHEN AUGUST COMES, DECEMBER CAN'T BE VERY FAR BEHIND







------------
A friend called me up on the phone just to say.... "Len, pasko na! Asan na pamasko ko!?" (Christmas is hear! Where's my gift!? ) ... and gave out a huge hearty laugh almost blowing out my eardrums! That's a Pinoy for you! The country is the only country (I think) which runs the longest Christmas celebration on the planet. In fact, check out the malls and you will find (this early) Christmas items and trimmings on sale lining their shelves. Sometimes a Christmas song or two rolls out on their sound system filling up the halls non-stop till your ears drop.
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Since I was a kid I hear of ... Winter Wonderland. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Let It Snow ..... Christmas songs from the land of Uncle Sam and winter snow. My favorite? - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
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I remember Tagalog Christmas songs, too..... Pasko Na Naman, Pasko Ay Sumapit, Sa Paskong Darating, Pasko Na Sinta Ko, Mano Po Ninong, Paskong Anong Saya. My favorite? - Pasko Na Naman.
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Truthfully, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Have you noticed that at this time of the year people smile so much more and often --- that people become so much kinder and giving --- that even strangers out on the streets have that happy glint in their eyes --- that streets, buildings, houses are all brightly lighted up with Christmas lights (whether they can afford it or not) --- !!! That everyone and everything is spelled --- g-e-n-e-r-o-s-i-t-y! That's the best part of the season that I love. Everybody is... feels... becomes... so GIVING. So generous!
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Now I won't take any argument about the kind or of reasons for the giving because I don't care. Simply put, I'm just a big sucker for a person who gives and gives...... even if it hurts their pockets, egos, hearts, minds, and time. And I like it best when someone is kind to others by saying the right things not because he or she is smart but because the other person needs to hear kindness and love. It's beautiful to see kindness and generosity in others... and lovely to strive to grow in generosity in our own.
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The idea that you are able to give of your time.. of yourself -- that already is a big deal to me. Though I have been chided plenty of times that I will be disappointed just as much. I know and I have been hurt dozens of times then and now because of generosity under false pretenses. Meaning that the giver cares more about self than about others. It's still the I, ME, MY, and MINE of things that eases quietly or loudly into life and living.. But of course I know that.... we know that, don't we?
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Still that won't change the message of the season, that is... giving and being happy about it.
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The Christmas spirit can be very contagious. Indeed! It's that spirit lovely to see all year round. Maybe we can; it's up to us.
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But of course we all know the main REASON for the season. I'll reserve that for another post.
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Enjoy these times of the maybe slow (oh yes, some people can still be so impatient about this) but the sure unfolding of..... Christmas! God bless you with lovely days and precious memories.



Friday, August 12, 2016

FRIENDS DON'T LEAVE - THEY COME BACK. BY GOD'S DESIGN


 
 
 
 

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A best friend from high school back in Tacloban City sent me a private message here in Facebook. She stumbled on my fb page but was hesitant for a bit quite unsure if I was the girl she once knew. So she cruised down the Photos and saw that picture of my kid brother and his girlfriend. That then sat the wheel in motion of forgotten-friendship-now-found.
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'Forgotten' wasn't really anybody's fault. Life as its nature always takes people away from each other and into different adventures, directions, and pursuits. She had hers and I had mine. The friendship took a backseat as we wrestled with our challenges and with our lives, respectively. But who would think that our paths would cross again several years after.
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As expected, we threw questions back-and-forth at each other.... about family, children, old friends, joys, sadness, travels, frustrations, successes, and every other stuff best friends would talk about. Then she asked me if I was still designing dresses, gowns, particularly. I replied that it had been quite a long time that I hadn't done any. In fact, had forgotten all about it. It was a hobby that was indulged in whenever the mood presented itself or after homework was done with back then. I had also lost my sketches in the big flood which hit the city in that particular year. Everything was swept away or destroyed by the rains, my high school photos included.
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Occasionally though I would take up a pencil and sketch pad and leisurely do a sketch or two in the years that followed. But not as regularly as I should have because life gave me other things to focus on and do.
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She asked.. "Have you some in your file now?"
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"Nowww?... why do you ask" I countered with my interest tweaked.
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"Well, there's an event I'm preparing for and I'm looking for something to wear." "I'd like to see them." she wrote.
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Okayyyy... I'll email them to you." I offered.
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"No! Now. Here in fb." 

Gosh, she hasn't changed a bit. Just like an old song goes.... 'whatever lola wants --- lola gets'.  But other than that she's a darling. And she doesn't mind my writing about it. I even suspect a chuckle or two from her right now.
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So bear with me, folks, just for this post and for my friend. But wait.... I think it would be nice to share the sketches with everybody, too. So here they are.
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By the way, friends don't leave (even if life takes them to America); they just wait for the right time to come back into your life again. By God's design.
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Blessings, everyone!!




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BOOKS, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS




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A rainy weather doesn't give you much to do if you plan for outdoor activities. But indoors, that's a different thing. I have about a few things lined up for this kind of weather i.e. arrange my closet (which I have been doing for the __th time because I mess it up just as quickly as I arrange it)..... sort through old clothes and move it to the donation box (the kids do the same)..... sew the frazzled seams of my favorite maong shorts..... scrub the bath tub (baking soda is a good cleaner) but I think I will dish this for another time because it's too much effort, so then na-ah to this one..... do some Tai Chi moves in lieu of the regular morning walks...... or clean up the shelves of my small personal library of selected treasured books. All three shelves filled with books I keep coming back to again and again.
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The last item on that list won over the rest, for obvious reasons.
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I love books. Mom's words and my favorite line from her was..... 'You don't stop learning just because you're done with school. Books, more than anything else, are your best friends. It won't let you down.'
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It never has. What classrooms didn't teach me I have learned from books. What teachers failed to expound upon, books gave me its better explanation or version. Confusion, fuzzy principles, insufficient insights were eased up or resolved by the right books on that subject or subjects. And if I wanted to delve deeper into the secrets of the universe certain books easily would take me there. If the what-why-where-when-and-how-or-who of life and living seem like a huge puzzle to me, books would gladly lead me to its understanding and clarity. If I wanted to know my God better to grow my faith, the bible would gently take me there. And if all I ever wanted was to be entertained, there were the word puzzles... adult coloring books... Sudoku... humor books... travel books.. hobby books... and DIY (do it yourself) books.
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Through the ups-and-downs of life's journey books have always kept me company. Mom was right.... "Books, more than anything else, are your best friends. It won't let you down."
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How did I get to be this way? Credit goes to Mom, a teacher by profession; she started us young. Mom would buy us books, picture books when we were kids. We could easily say 'railroad track' and point to its picture while the other kids in nursery were just learning their A-B-C's. (Even before we got into nursery.) As students, we would hie off to the school library at the slightest chance we could get. That love affair with books continued in and through our adult years.
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One love affair that is forever.
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May God bless you with all things good .... and great books to last you a lifetime. 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

YOU MUST AND SHOULD INDULGE YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS OF TALENT - IT'S GIVEN YOU FOR A PURPOSE




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If only to prove my point that you must and should indulge your gift of talent, I am posting here paintings (in watercolor) which I did the past few weeks or so. I am showing you that talent is a gift from a magnificent God who simply wants you to enjoy life through expressions of your heavenly gifts.
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Now this gift which I speak of varies from person to person. Things such as the gifts of song... of writing... of poetry... of dancing... of designing... of needlework.... culinary skills perhaps.... of creative ideas which turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Or the gifts of leadership... teamwork... compassion... kindness.... vision.... management... teaching.... healing... organization... of being a visionary... an inspiration... an encourager... a brilliant builder.... or being simply a Pollyanna to the world.
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These gifts are not there or given you just for the heck of it. They are given you... or us... to serve a purpose. But I'm not going to tell you what your own purpose is because I think and believe that Somebody up there will lead you to discover it yourself. As He had given me opportunities to discover mine.
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With no formal training in the art of painting, one day several yeas ago I decided to give it a try armed with just a simple desire to paint. My daughter seeing that I had more free time in retirement gave me a huge nudge or push to get things done pronto before and to quote her.... " the desire gets lost or vanishes in thin air." Yeah, it was a push I could no longer ignore. I guess its time had come. And so I did!
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I can't tell you in sufficient words the satisfaction and delight felt in accomplishing something you thought you never knew or had. Through the years that followed paintings in watercolor came out from my first fumbling steps and on to honing my newfound craft while growing too with every canvas finished. And now trying my hand at acrylics. Still so much room to learn and grow... and happily at that. Thank God.
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I urge and encourage you to seek out your gift; it's there waiting to be discovered. When you soon discover your God-given talent, do remember to share the precious moment and experience with us, your friends. We'll be expecting it. :-) God bless you.




Friday, July 15, 2016

IF YOU ARE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM --- YOU ARE IN THE WRONG ROOM



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Tacloban City --- I lived there for some few years with my parents and kid brother in my granny's home. I'd rather call it a house. Granny wasn't the granny people picture grannies to be. She was a mystery to me.... distant, circumspect, and I perceived her to be cold. So I never had that grandmother-granddaughter relationship which I saw in my friends' families. She never made a dent on my young mind back then except that she was cold. So much for granny. I hope she's having a great time up there. Maybe she would finally learn to party with the angels and saints.
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My kid brother was a nerd. Intelligent, even-tempered, good with people, great with books, and with his guitar. He could sing, too. Looking back at it now I think he sounded more like Don Maclean. My fondest memories of him were those times when we would butt heads exchanging facts.. insights.. observations.. opinions.. while doing our homework. Now our house was small that wherever you stood you would have the great advantage of seeing the living room, the kitchen, and the bedroom in one momentous mind-boggling instant. (we lived on the ground-floor) Before they invented the word 'open concept' in interior design, we were living in it with the bare necessities of life.
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But in that precious house and home I had the best moments of my life. And the biggest lesson learned from a mother who had the mind as expansive as the universe and a heart as limitless as deity.
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One evening, my brother and I were at our usual mental butting as we defended our respective turf on subjects which turned incessantly on the I-know-better-than-you wheel. We created quite a rumpus with our voices. Dad, with a knowing look in his eye and a secret smile on his face, simply took his cigarette out to the yard. But Mom, who was cooking my favorite chicken adobo in the kitchen, stopped what she was doing and turned to us with this........
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'I hate noise.. and you two get on my nerves like hell. But.... if that is the price to pay to see you learning. Carry on. Just lower your voices a notch, okay?'   (Spoken in waray, the dialect of Taclobanons)
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And I have never stopped learning hence.
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Love life.. love your home.. love your family.. love learning.
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God bless you, your family, and your home.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

BE GENTLE AND KIND WITH A CHILD'S HEART


 


Yesterday at dusk, I stood just outside the door of my home wanting some breath of fresh air. But.. Nahh .. not the slightest breeze at all. So I turned to go back into the house when suddenly a child's crying pierced the humid air from out on the street. I went to the patio to see who it was. It was easy from there because I wouldn't be so visible to whoever was passing through. Yup, 'twas a child of about five or six being towed by her mother who appeared flustered by it all.

Mother: (Tersely) Tara na. Uwi na tayo!
---- (Come! Let's go home.)


Child: (Crying) Yokooo! Sabi mo punta tayo Jollibee..
----- (No-ooo! You said we'd go to Jollibee.) 


Mother: (Angry) May gagawin pa ako sa bahay. Tara na!
----- (Got work to do. Let's go!)


Child: (in between sobs) Sabi mo kakain tayo ng spaghetti...
----- (You promised me spaghetti!)


Mother: Hay naku! Tara na! Dali-iii!
----- (Hurry up! Let's go!)

That made me think.......

The scene broke my heart. Little children have simple hopes... simple hearts. They trust fully.. completely. They cling to every word spoken to them... good or bad. They hung up their own tiny world on it. Be careful what you speak or promise to them. It is easy to make them happy as it is easy to break their hearts.

In some measure it is the same in the adult world. Through the years many have made promises to me, many kept it, many did not. Happy over those kept, sad for those which failed. But Mom, as always, would assuage my disappointment with -------- 'Do not hung up plans, hopes, or dreams on others. They have their own way of doing things or looking at things. It may not always jive with yours. So learn, too, not to make promises you cannot keep. Always be kind.' ........ And I listened to Mom, because I knew how it felt to have a broken heart, too.

Looking back at that child, she cried as her little gentle heart broke over a broken promise. But there was nothing she could do. She was just a child. But I think that when she grows up she would be careful with words... promises. Lesson learned.

Take care please. Be gentle and kind with your children.
May God bless you and your family.