Saturday, April 18, 2015

TOUCHING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE AROUND US



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Mr. Quote Man sent me this today..... to quote
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"Teach me to feel another's woe, to hide the fault I see,
that mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me."

----- Alexander Pope

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Unquote
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That's a beautiful poem, isn't it? It covers about most everything a human being would think... feel.... or do with life and people. I have to admit it that sometimes people can be quite irritating with their flaws and imperfections. Like I have good neighbors and bad neighbors. The good add to my joy and the bad just makes me pull at my hair in utter exasperation. But then again, maybe they also must be exasperated with some of my bad which I may not be aware of. That's how we are.... we think we're doing fine but if you stop and be still for a bit for some quiet retrospection, you might get to see that somebody is quite uncomfortable by what you did. But that's just it........ I have to remind myself often that people are imperfect and so am I. We're all the same in our greatness and our stupidity.
 
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And so it would take some good conscious learning to try to understand that on the broad spectrum of humanity, both good and bad walk side by side. That works true in every person anywhere you find yourself with on this planet. There's no perfection...... yet. What we may perceive as perfect isn't so. With the many layers enveloping an object, thing, or individual.... we only get to see a portion or one side... or several portions or sides.. but not really its entirety. The peeling off of layers is a continuing process orchestrated by Someone up there. Everything or everyone, I believe, is still work in progress... particularly human beings. 
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So I guess what the poem is telling us is to be magnanimous in our dealings with people, in our own inner circle of family and friends .. and outside of it with strangers near and far. Be kind..... kinder..... because somebody is going through a painful peeling off of layers. It's the same road we all are made to take towards perfection. Yes... by God's design. 
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Well, it's a lesson we each have to learn day after day. While there are people around us, there will always be lessons to be learned. Let's be kind to one another. It makes our journey easier.
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Blessings to you and your dear ones, my good friends. Blessings!




Thursday, April 16, 2015

YOU'LL NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CAN DO UNTIL YOU STAND UP AND TRY


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Was changing channels with no idea what I wanted to watch when I stumbled on "Dave". It was running half through the movie at that point. I know because I have seen it for the ___th time having a CD on file somewhere. It was at this scene when President Dave spoke the lines......
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"You'll never know how much you can do until you stand up and try."
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I like that. It should be our battle cry in life.
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We're not junk. God does not make junk. Everything that we need is given us in terms of talent... opportunities... our free will... and life. We're programmed for success. Believe it or not... we are!
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The thing is ....our perceptions of self-worth are so screwed up. Just when did being beautiful, thin-tall-white skinned, being well-connected, having more money, having an expensive car, living in a luxurious mansion, being in a circle of wealthy friends, knowing somebody powerful in high government be the benchmark of success?
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Well, those things have their uses, too, but they don't guarantee success and happiness where it matters most. It matters most when you can look everybody in the eye and say..... this is ME .... imperfect but definitely unique and one of a kind.
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Being me means that you can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do with who you are and what you have to help better you, your tiny part of the world, or of the bigger world outside. You may not achieve the big successes by the world's standard in your life time but .....you can be the success that which you are to yourself since day one of creation.
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It is what you think of yourself.... or what you actually do.... which truly defines your life on earth. And there is no benchmark to work with. You are your own benchmark. You compete with yourself. You travel at your own pace... at your own time... with your own set of talent.
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And God who sees everything makes sure that you get the corresponding complement of tools that you may be needing to help you along. But you have also to remember to ask Him for those or if you feel that you need more help. Do what you have to do while putting your faith and hope on a God who truly wants you to be happy and successful.
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Further, you can't achieve anything just sitting there on the fence trying to figure out how the universe operates. That's not the way it goes.
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Understanding that, you then can move along confidently to being the big success you were truly meant to be. You will 'soar like wings on eagles' and 'not grow weary or be faint'. By God's design.
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Don't settle for less. There's so much you can do.
Blessings, everyone.
 
 
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

YOUR EMPTINESS CAN BE YOUR GREATEST BLESSING




Mr. Quote Man sent me this quote today;  it's by Eric Hoffer
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Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide
the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness.
The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.

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Unquote
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People wear masks. Pretenses are masks. That's really unnecessary because masks no matter how elaborate or ingenious it all may be are quite flimsy and superficial. Easily anyone with a keen sense of observation can pierce through that mask and see the person for what he truly is. Further, uncannily the person wearing a mask will himself create unintended slip-ups which in effect peel off the layers of pretense bit by bit thereby revealing that which he so wishes to hide from the public eye.
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But emptiness.... what can I say?!
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Isn't it that we all contain a void, a space, or an empty place within ourselves which is in truth attached to our dreams? Until that dream, be it a person or a thing, is achieved........ that void or emptiness will remain empty.
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The longing, the pining away, the deep yearning, the painful searching, the fierce hopes cannot be denied. It will show. Always. It shows in that special look in your eyes, in the beating of your heart, in the words that spill out of your mouth. It reveals this emptiness wanting so much to be filled. This is you!
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No mask can hide it. It cannot stand against the pulsating energy, vibrant truth and fierce honesty of being humanly you.
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Don't hide away your emptiness; it's not a bad thing. It's simply a beautiful vessel waiting to be filled up. One day you will do just that!! Besides the Universe loves filling up empty vessels. Expect your blessings. Help it along by working with your God-sent gifts -- your abilities and talents. Your emptiness can be your greatest blessing.
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May our good Lord fill your life with blessings plentiful. In Christ.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

LEARNING IS BOTH GIVING AND TAKING



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Was in a chat with an old friend of many years. We talked about the old days, some good - some bad, and how time got us through the best and the worst of times. She loved people, a people kind of person so to speak. But I won't forget what she once said.......
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"You live with people who don't do something. Then you start thinking you can't do anything."
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Those lines seemed familiar to me from something I have read long ago. I was both amused and delighted though that she was able to get hold of it too and made it her own. That is what learning is all about. One day you come across a piece of wisdom or some enlightenment or some life changing experience which in such a big way impacts your life .... it's a learning moment. This now becomes yours. And when you quote it or mention it to somebody else you then set it free to move on to another student or learner that his or her life be enriched too as it did yours. And it also becomes his or hers until it is time to pass it on to someone else. It's nobody's monopoly; knowledge and wisdom must travel if the world is to become a better place and for its people to grow.
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Learning is both a giving and a taking.
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You give of your mind and heart to learning something. Knowledge and wisdom is what you receive in return.
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My friend learned an important lesson in life...... that there are two kinds of people in the world:   those who do something..... and those who do nothing. But I will add a third to that:   those who simply sit on the fence and watch.
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Now what we become as persons is defined by the choices we make.
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Wishing you all a lovely and blessedly productive day. In Christ.
 
 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WHY SUFFERING?

 
 
 
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In last Sunday's mass (Easter Sunday), the monsignor posed the question.... 'Why me?' ... He was referring to man's reaction to suffering. I waited for the answers to that much overused line with bated breath. But the homily went on for extra more lengths yet... it looked like no answers were forthrightly coming. Instead he went on to extoll the significance of the Risen Lord. He pointed to the cross but didn't make the proper effort to jell the whole story (suffering and salvation) into one neat package the parishioners would likely understand. To make a long story short, I came out of it with the same fuzzy brain on the subject as when I entered the church earlier.
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Anyway........
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Why do we suffer?
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Allow me to venture my own thoughts on it...
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We all go through the sieve of suffering. I had and have my share. Through it all I have learned a few things which I would like to share with anyone who would care to stop awhile and listen.
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Suffering has its own significance as joy has when it comes to us. It's significance rolls out greatly to our favor if you pay it close attention.
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THROUGH THE FIRE WE ARE TESTED. ---- Like gold is tested through fire, we are made to go through trials with the sole purpose to bring out the best in us.... new and better strengths, courage, hope, faith, resilience, focus, determination, enlightened spirit. Struggles bring out innate talents and abilities, brilliance and resourcefulness which we thought weren't there at all. We then begin to see ourselves as who we really are.... worthy children of God.
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NO GUTS - NO GLORY ---- We get or receive from life what we put into it. If you are content just watching the world revolve by your lonesome self, nothing great will come to your table. On the other hand, if you believe in big dreams -- in the universe's promise of fulfillment to those who bravely reach out for the stars -- to pushing your gifts and talents towards the goal -- and emblazon the skies with confident prayers of trust and faith, things will begin to shape up and honor your belief.
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DIVINE BLUEPRINT OF OUR LIVES ---- No matter how you see it, no matter through whose eyes you see.... you cannot escape what is very clear -- that life and its struggles are just the blueprint of our lives BY DIVINE DESIGN. Struggles though may come in a diversity of rhyme or reason, size or shape, intensity or importance.. but all of that still are called struggles. Others may call it difficulties, trials, tests, hurdles, hardships, affliction, persecution, discipline, challenges..... different words, same meaning and intent. And it's there because Somebody of great wisdom included it in His divine plan.
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MADE TO GROW ---- Simply said... we are made to grow. It's not a request. Rather it's an expectation coming from the Big Guy upstairs. He expects us to grow. Every time He sees us ---- lazy .. nonchalant .. irresponsible .. content in mediocrity .. foolishly proud and conceited .. rejecting change ----- He pushes the button 'Grow'......... and immediately the trials come pouring down on our stupid and stubborn heads all meant to force us to grow up and grow.
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It might hurt, sure it does. I gnash my teeth, clench my fist, curse the high heavens, blame everybody but myself, cry floods of tears, and ache deeply in my heart....... and yet nothing is changed -- it is still part of life and living.
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BUT for a wonderful reason! By God's design. We have a wise and magnificent GOD! His thoughts, not our thoughts; His ways, not our ways. Thank God it is the way it is.
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I wish wonderful blessings for everyone. God bless you!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

GOOD MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD - NO DOUBT ABOUT IT




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... When a fireman plunges into a flaming building despite its dangers and saves a person.... when a miserable dog is rescued from its cruel owners by a stranger unmindful of the risk of harm to himself.... when persons, friend and strangers alike, persevere in saving lives in the great flood regardless of the danger it poses to their own.... and many other unselfish acts done by amazing people --- one can't help but be downright touched and immeasurably impressed by such show of courage and selflessness.
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When desert flowers thrive despite its dry and harsh environment.... when trees hold up their faces defiantly against the strong stormy winds.... when waters roll down towards the shore and then retreats back to the ocean.... when the sun rises in the morning with its glorious light... and sets quietly at sundown yet promising to return in the morn... when the skies fill up with gentle clouds in the day.... and fill up with brilliant stars at night... when Mother Nature weaves her magic around us reflecting and deflecting both good and bad --- one simply stands in awe over such precision and order.
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Then one begins to think..... and thank
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--- the person or persons who gave of themselves so that others (animals included) may continue to enjoy the gift of life. Thank them for their unselfish sharing of their talent, energies, resources, brilliance of mind, strength of heart, and goodness of spirit.


..and

---the One GOD who sets down all of creation and their limits but weaves them altogether into a magnificent masterpiece.
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But above all, thank this same GOD --- the creator of all things visible and invisible who makes life and people sooooo beautiful!!! Man's basic good is a gift from God. Mother Earth's bounty is God's blessing beyond compare. Everything works together, directly or indirectly BY GOD'S DESIGN.
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Which reminds me of this wonderful line spoken by a good person and friend here in Fb....... "Thank Him always but also give credit to where it is due." Thank you, Maria. Keep shining with your light.
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May the blessings of the Holy Week observance renew your lives and spirit. In Christ. Be blessed and stay blessed.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

VICTORY IN OUR STRUGGLES



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March 29, 2015 - PALM SUNDAY
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Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, according to Christian belief. It marks the beginning of Holy Week and always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. (Unquote)
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Some of my friends say this about its significance in our lives seeing it through their own eyes of understanding i.e. it gets better first before it gets worse... joy always comes with pain... the alternating good and bad, etc.
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If you look at those lines and then look hard into your life, you could say that it's true... negatively true. In some of our life experiences we do get to have a taste of the unsinkable duo -- joy and pain. Then too we ride high on good times and in the next beat of the heart plunge down to the bottom as misfortunes assail us unexpectedly and mercilessly. Just like the highs and the lows of a roller coaster ride. Yup, that's life.
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But it doesn't end there. My friends' interpretation of the significance of Palm Sunday is a half-picture view of the full glory of Jesus' final walk on earth. They could only see the pain and misery of His journey and the sad end on the cross. What they may have missed is that the story continues and ends in full glory. Glory......... magnificence! That magnificence is in Jesus' finishing his job of winning our salvation and winning his rightful seat at the right hand of the Father.
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We're free... sinless! Until our free will (both a blessing and a bane) pulls it down to erratically sin-no sin conditions on this planet. Now....... it's our turn to fight our battles to get back our old glory. A battle being fought everyday... nonstop.
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So I guess the story of Palm Sunday tells us that there is victory over our struggles in life. Small victories or big ones.... victories coming in-between the beginning and the end of our own stories... or victories waiting at the end of our journey.
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Victory. Hope. Faith.
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A blessed Palm Sunday to everyone!
God bless you.



Friday, March 27, 2015

CHANGE OF SELF MORE THAN A CHANGE OF SCENE





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Was at the patio sweeping up leaves fallen from my solitary tree when I overheard this conversation between two women out on the street walking by.....
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'Ayoko na. Kahit ano pang sabihin ko, gagawin pa rin niya ang gusto niya. Di niya makita na mapapasama lang siya sa ganun.' says woman #1 ---- (I give up. Nothing that I ever say would make her change her mind. She can't see that nothing good would come out of it.'
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'Bayaan mo na. Nang matuto siya!' replied woman #2 ---- 'Let it. That she learn her lesson!'
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Does that sound familiar? Happens everyday to people around us... family, friends, and strangers alike. Not just without but also within ourselves. Sometimes or rather most times when we make up our minds nothing or no one can make us want to change it. We just don't or won't listen. For good or for bad. Period.
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It got me to thinking.....
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An objective view, I think, most times is the better view. Being free of attachments, emotions, sentimentality, expectations enables a person to see a situation for what it truly is. Decisions are best made in such an environment. Thus an objective view is better rendered by a person who is standing on the outside looking in. A role best played by psychologists and psychiatrists and middle men.
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I have learned, too, that if change were desired or where it needs to happen, this will not without the consent of the person or leading player in the issue being played. In short, change won't come to that person who does not want to change.
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No amount of sweet talk, bribery, coaxing, threat, grand promises, or drama can push the correct button to get a person off his ill-decision once made, especially when he or she believes it to be the right one.
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So what to do? As what woman #2 said -- 'Let it!'
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Sometimes for our own good it is best to make our own mistakes. We must learn it by our own lonely self. Nobody can or will do it for us. We on this lonely planet are each given our individual lessons for learning and corresponding homework to do. We are expected to make mistakes but we are also expected to learn from them too.
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So when somebody bullheadedly and stubbornly is holding on to not-so-smart decisions, let it be. Just be there when she (or he) falls to help pick her (or him) up.
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Have a great day, people. Be there for someone.
Be blessed and stay blessed.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THOUGHTS -- WEEDS OR FLOWERS?




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I wasn't planning on writing today. Just felt like cruising casually on the internet boulevard not stopping for anything... just enjoying the view, so to speak. Until I stumbled on this, to quote...........
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Your mind is a garden,
Your thoughts are the seeds.

You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds.

--- Rito Chatourey

(Unquote).
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Just couldn't let that one pass me by. Besides my thoughts were quicker than my reflexes and sooner than soon found myself pounding on the keys. Habits die hard, it seems.
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The mind is a garden -- I agree. What you think into it defines the quality of your thoughts ...and words ...and deeds. I remember mom say.... 'You think trash, you speak trash; you think good, blessings come out of your mouth.'
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Almost always the two are connected... the thoughts come first but it must travel. It's not meant to be a static thing. Words are to be spoken and spoken means communicate. It has to find its expression, it has wings that make it fly. So where and how does it do that? Easy. It flows out as speech through the mouth and flies out to the world and the universe doing its work. What is its work? To affect, to move, to influence, to initiate change, to join that which welcomes it.
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Can you imagine what effect it has if the words we put out there are words of destruction, defeat, fear, cowardice, hopelessness, or any other kind of negativity??
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Can you imagine too what potential for good we can create or cause to be if the words coming out from us speak of what is --- good, true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of virtue, of praise? Words that build lives and not tear it down. (Refer to Philippians 4:8)
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Thoughts are the seeds which dribble, percolate, simmer in your brain. Good thoughts grow into flowers which brighten the landscape of life. Bad thoughts grow the weeds which alter beauty even in its purest form. We have seen what it does around us in this huge spectrum of life.
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Yet sometimes we can turn those weeds into flowers -- if we but sprinkle or nurture it with positive water. Also, on the other hand, those flowers can wither and die if we so neglect it or feed it with negative intent. It's all up to us really --- the gardeners --- tending the garden of our thoughts.
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Still, here's a tiny thought, weeds can be gems in disguise if we try to peel off its ugly layer to reveal the flower within. There's no such thing as a hopeless case. It could be lots of hard work for our puny strength but maybe it could be worth all that trouble in the end. God did it first.... with us -- weeds in the bigger garden called earth. HE never gave up on us. Maybe we are asked to do the same?
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Wishing for you all of God's grace, peace, and light.


 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

CHILDREN CATCH THEIR PARENTS' DNA





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We know about parents loving their children with all of their hearts... that we want nothing less but everything good and best for them.... that we would go through the 'highest mountains and the seven seas' (a friend loves saying this) for them --- meaning, sacrifice. And that we think we are doing just that. Of course we are but also we are doing something which we may not even be aware of .... until Mitch Albom wrote this...............
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“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” ------- Mitch Albom,
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Sent by Mr. Quote Man (as usual) this morning as the sky begins to shift from white to gray. Gee, now I see thick clouds hiding the blue skies that I love. But as all things in life do.... this too shall pass. Now back to the quote.
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Have you come across similar quotes before or heard somebody say something like it? I think we did and do at some time or another.. but we take no heed nor pay attention because we are so darn set on our children... rather than on how we directly or indirectly influence them in not so pleasant ways, to say the least.
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It made me think tho..........
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Life has its good and bad. Everything comes in pairs, as another friend would say jokingly..... opposites, particularly. In the same way as there is day and night, joy and sorrow, beautiful and ugly, tall and short, fat and think, sunrise and sunset, smiles and tears, man and woman, young and old, sweet and bitter ... etc.
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A person has his own store or pairs of opposites, too. Both joy and sadness... strength and weakness... bravery and cowardice... intelligence and stupidity... compassion and callousness etc... as situations or circumstances roll out in everyday life. In one instance he is one and in the next moment he is the other according to what would trigger such responses in that particular moment.
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These same things come into play at work, play, career, profession, business, family, and particularly in raising children.
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Although we try as best as we can to raise them up in/with good character values, admittedly we cannot, under the same breath, be just as confident and assured that they will not also catch the negatives of who we are. Because they certainly will, no doubt. They, just as Mitch Albom says, will absorb the person that we are or what we show to them.... both the positives and the negatives of who we are. In short, they will catch our DNA.
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Remember these remarks..... "Manang-mana sa tatay yan..." "Eh ganun din ang nanay eh..."   "Like father, like son.....or like mother, like daughter" --- and that could mean either good or bad or sometimes both.
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Can it be helped? avoided? I have no answers to that.
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What I do know is............. teach your children that simple fact as mentioned in the quote ----- 'Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers.' Help them understand also much of what life is all about....... that it all boils down to making the right choices or decisions for the self and for the people we love. This works for them as it had worked for our mothers before us and their mothers before them. It's all about responsibility, accountability, focus, priority, selfless sacrifice, and love.
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Mothers need not be hindered nor should be hindered by the bad within or by the bad without. Instead set her eyes on the better good that must be served, by God's design. We, as mothers, do just like what we do with the rest of life...... give it our best shot! We try to teach them what they should be learning......... and hope to God they catch it really well.
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Then when our work is done.... we can sit back and watch as our children make something of what they have learned by also serving the bigger and better good in their own lives and in the world as well. Still by God's design.
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Blessings, everyone! May God bless all the mothers and fathers in the world.