Thursday, May 19, 2016

WE ARE ALL SO MUCH THE SAME --- AND SO MUCH DIFFERENT TOO










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This early morning I was sweeping the patio of last night's rain which flooded the tiled floor about an inch high. Not much, I know, so not much effort either in performing the task.
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Almost done with the whole thing when came loud chatter floating into my direction from the street outside. Three middle-aged ladies were engaged in conversation in such high-pitched voices that easily anyone could hear what they were talking about. As they passed my front of the street I could catch snippets of their chat...... but I wouldn't put them down here as it would be very unfair to hear only one side of the story.
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Gossip. Bashing. Or whatever other name it's called is never fair..... is unkind..... is opinionated (To my young readers, that means --- 'of fixed views').
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No two persons are alike..... nor do they travel the same life road..... nor do they have the same life story. Each one is unique.... different.... an individual. Whatever he (or she) goes through in his own journey is tailored fit for him alone. His experiences, observations, perceptions, insights, opinions, challenges, or drama are all his. Love, laughter, tears, fear, embarrassment, confusion, disappointment, anger, bewilderment, doubt, joy, misery, sorrow, excitement, wonder, challenges...... the whole range of life and living are all lived in his own special individual character and nature. His own true form or template.
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It would be unfair to gauge his life through our own set of eyes, mind, and heart. Like my mom used to say........ "I am not her; she is not me."   Let that person be who he was or is meant to be. He will have his own set of mistakes, blenders, and lessons to learn. He will do it in his own pace and time and reason. 
 

The thing is every person is growing as he should preset by Someone above. Sure, he is going to fumble and his mistakes may be quite irritating to us -- we may fuss over his mistakes, fume at his imperfections, curse his stupidity. Sometimes it ruins the day for us. But heyy, we fumble too and our own blunders may sometimes impact the people around us the wrong way. So let's try to be kinder to their imperfections as we also hope that others may be kinder to our own. It's the same road we're taking.

As someone once said.....  'We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us.'  Besides we have no idea what people are dealing with in their personal lives.
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I guess what mom was trying to tell me was.....
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Let's try to be more gentle with one another. Be kinder. Be understanding and compassionate. Be aware that we all are, separately or collectively, living our own lives and writing our own life stories.
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That makes us all the same .... and that makes us all different, too. By God's design.
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God bless you.



Friday, May 13, 2016

WANT CHANGE? YOU KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN




https://scontent.fmnl4-4.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13165979_10154857739503626_3709328287345519814_n.jpg?oh=00d1710ca83ffca6b2f89e537f0c9e62&oe=57A5218C 


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Everybody is talking about change.... wanting change. Yes, the general perception is that we need change in every area of our lives.............. government, politics, public and private endeavors in business - banking - finance and in every industry meant to promote the country. Systems need changing and the people who run or operate it need some attitude revamping. too..
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Just an observation but I've been here long enough to see that we are a people of contrasts and contradictions. More often than not we don't really walk our talk. Or maybe that's a human frailty.
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When we speak of change, we think that it's the other guy who needs to do that (an external process rather than an internal one outside the self) ----- the government officials... the inefficiencies of public and private services... the system of governance... the policies in place which we perceive are no long relevant to the changing times... the institutions perceived to be corrupt... the foreign ideologies allowed to encroach into our territory... those and perhaps even more contribute to the mess we find our country and ourselves in. We point our finger to these reasons or causes.
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Honestly... that's only half of the story.
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Do you know what the other half is all about? Try these.........
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--- not crossing on assigned pedestrian lanes
--- not following traffic rules and regulations
--- 'tanim-bala' at the airport
--- throwing candy wrappers, receipts, cigarette butts, empty coke cans and water bottles on sidewalks and streets
--- sweeping dry leaves, twigs, plastic bags, trash into street gutters in our neighborhoods and communities
--- using dishonest weighing scales at the market place
--- overcharging goods and services
--- cruelty to animals i.e. abandoning them in their old age or when sick, hurt or wounded
--- not coming to the rescue or looking the other way when somebody is being victimized by thieves or robbers on the streets
--- vandalizing public and private property
--- unnecessarily cutting down of trees and polluting rivers, streams, seas with trash
--- kung may nangungutong na pulis.... meron ding nangsusuhol na civilian
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--- and so much more. You know it; we all know it. It's the little sometimes unnoticed and oftentimes taken for granted things being done in daily lives on the ground, visible and invisible, which show the character of a person, community, city, nation or country.
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Change can be pushed by a leadership but it will take its roots from the people. If they want it too..... hurray! If they don't...... then it's back to square one... again!
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That's our story. I don't care if other countries have the same story, too; that's their problem. This is ours... our story, our problem.
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Donald Miller says...... "Change the world around you by LIVING A BETTER STORY." --- That, I believe, is now our challenge. To create a better story for our individual lives and for our people and our country.
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God bless you.... our people.... our country.... the world.
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(Big thanks to the internet for these inspiring images.)



Friday, May 6, 2016

PEOPLE-WATCHING AT STARBUCKS




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My daughters and I love spending time at our 'adopted' HQ (headquarters at the mall -- Starbucks, but of course! There's a history in it and I think I have written about it before in previous posts. And that history lives on in the hearts of my family.
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Well, the one thing that I love doing .. aside from my green tea frappuccino and corned beef sandwich, playing games on my phone, reading or writing ... is people-watching.
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We know that looking at a landscape of evergreens has its delight and pleasure which only Mother Nature can genuinely give. Now it's a different delight and pleasure when looking at this landscape of people.
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They come in all sizes... shapes... appearances... dress style... hair cuts and dyes... in professional decorum or in the swagger of an "I"- "Me" - "My" - "Mine" person... in all the socio classes of wallets and purses... genders... color... and religion... parents... children... yayas... grandparents... aunts... uncles... professors... students... businessmen... employed... unemployed... priests... nuns or sisters... the loners... groups... the first wives club... the other wives club... singles... married... separated... bereaved... and many others more with all other intentions good or bad coming in and out of any Starbucks door. Well, this Starbucks door, too!
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Almost always snippets of conversation trail down to your table, like it or not. One thing I have observed is that Pinoys can't talk or chat in low voices (even on their cellphones); it always has to be amplified twice regardless of place or time.
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Aside from their vocal narration of life as it befalls them, their eyes visibly validate or corroborate it, and then sometimes it looks the other way. But as someone once said it ------ 'the eyes have it all'.
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In summary, my own understanding of people and of life grows exponentially with every person and life story heard. Wisdom in its barest. Fortunately or unfortunately but much to my advantage this apparently provides authentic seeds for the writing, too.
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That's all for now, folks! My green tea frappe is waiting for me.
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Have a great day!  God bless you!



Sunday, April 24, 2016

FAITH OR FEAR?






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Somebody out there, I know, is struggling with worries, problems, hurdles, challenges and is close to teetering on the so-called 'edge of the cliff of hopelessness'. Life, as we know it to be, is not all sugar and spice and everything nice. Sometimes it can be bitter and ugly and everything bad.

People react to this in a diversity of ways and means groping, stumbling, falling ... but amazingly rising up again and punching back at life even harder than before. Why? Because people are tough. It's in their DNA.

These make up stories of courage, strength, sacrifice, diligence, responsibility, hard work, sorrow, sadness, fear, hope, disappointment, misery, and the fighting against all odds scenario of life. I know; I have my share. But who doesn't?!

But whatever the things people go through it can never be denied that faith plays a huge role in their lives, be it in a small or great measure.

Faith, too, as many would agree is not easy. It can't be bought, haggled for, blackmailed into, coerced, forced, faked, pushed or pressured.

Faith is ---- your understanding of your God. And your response to that.

Be of good faith. The God you trust can be depended upon.

Have a blessed Sunday, friends!
God bless you.

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(Thanks to the internet for these wonderful images of magnificent inspiration.)



Sunday, April 17, 2016

----- YET YOU'RE NOT DONE GROWING







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There's an advantage in having or rather living close to the street. In fact, my patio is just about a few feet away from the road. That's how the residences are constructed in my subdivision area. Not complaining because it works to my advantage as it provides me with a vast source or inspiration for the writing. People, particularly, with their human quirks and uniqueness, make for a rich deep well of interesting thoughts, ideas, observations, and learning.

So one day while watering my thirsty plants on the patio two middle-aged ladies sauntered down my side of the street engaged in earnest chatter. In their unhurried pace easily I could hear snippets of their conversation trailing down to my ears. Also because Pinoys have this not-always-pleasing-sometimes-irritating habit of talking in very loud voices I wasn't missing anything at all.

Lady 1: ..Uyy alam mo bang si Selya ay kumuha ng cooking lessons? Ayun, twice a week ata ang class niya. Komyut pa siya puntang Makati para lang diyan. ----- (Hey did you know that Selya's taking up cooking lessons? Commutes to Makati for her classes twice a week.)


Lady 2: Ano ba! Pinag-aaralan pa ba yang pagluluto?! Aba eh sarap na nga yang puchero niya eh. Walang tatalo din sa kanyang lech flan. ----- (What for?!.. she needn't take cooking lessons! Her puchero's superb and her leche flan's unbeatable.)

Lady 1: 'Sabi niya marami pa daw siyang dapat matutunan sa pagluluto. May balak yatang magtayo ng carinderia. Tapos restaurant din balang araw. ----- (She said that there's so much yet to learn. Plans to put up a carinderia and perhaps a restaurant one day.) - A carinderia is a small local eatery in the neighborhood selling and serving food.

Lady 2: Ay ewan, aksaya lang yan ng pera at panahon! Yang si Selya oo, di na makuntento. Tsaka, tanda na niya para mag-aral pa noh! ----- (Gosh, that's simply a waste of money and time! That Selya has never learned to be content. Besides she's too old for that.)
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And the rest of the conversation trailed away as they walked farther and farther from my house.

That got me thinking.................

Tell me, is it really a waste of time to seek further growth.. improvement.. development.. more education?   Should one be content with what he has achieved this far?    Does learning have to stop at some point in our lives?   Cannot one build new goals, ambition, or dreams?   Or perhaps pursue old ones that yet haven't found its day?   Does age have to stop you from learning?

Well, while going through my old files I found this one (though how I wished that I knew who wrote it) and probably is the answer to those questions.........


"NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU THINK YOU ARE -----
YET YOU'RE NOT DONE GROWING." 


Have a great Sunday, friends. Don't let anyone stop you from reaching for the stars. God bless you.

(Big thanks to the internet for these wonderful images.)



Friday, April 8, 2016

BE OF GOOD COURAGE AND BE KIND





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Life is not all fun and stuff. You know that. I know that. We all know that. There are the times when you wished you were somewhere else... perhaps the moon or mars!? I do. Particularly when people come into my space without the slightest good intent. Oh yes, the world is made up of both the good and the bad. A famous writer (whose name I forgot now) once said that "..... a person has both the good and the bad in him and he is defined by the choices he makes".
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Okay, following that line of thinking -- then when that person who with all of his sanity and humanity chose to be mean to me -- therefore he is a bad person. On the other hand, another person who chose to be kind, sympathetic and helpful to my plight -- therefore is a good person. And then when I want to bash into smithereens the head of the bad person and reward with kindness the good person --- I am then both good and bad. Simple lang noh?!!
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But... I chose not to be bad in my responses to such situations; I wasn't raised that way. Besides I believe in a Divine Presence who sees everything and gives to every person according to what he or she deserves, both good and bad. So there!
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I have learned so much from Mom. She was all-patient, forgiving, generous, tough, resourceful, long-suffering, but of such staunch faith in her belief in the Divine whose fairness in all things can be depended upon. The results she may have expected or prayed for may have come not promptly as she hoped for but her faith always was proven right. God has His ways, in His time. I saw that in her life. I was made sad though that she didn't live long enough to see her vindication. But I was glad that God honored her faith. In all things.
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I have loved this from the first time I heard it from the movie "Cinderella" ---- "Be of good courage and be kind". That movie now is among the very top on my list of favorites.
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It reminded me of Mom... the story of her life. Courage in a tough life and kindness of a heart which knew how to understand.
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Never mind the bad people and things and stuff which come into your life. But choose your responses to it. Your responses will define who you are. And.. God sees what people may not see nor understand. That is sufficient.
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God bless you.



Friday, April 1, 2016

A TRIBUTE TO OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS




---- A pet dog loves you for whoever you are... whatever the color of your skin... the race you belong to... whoever you pray to. It don't matter if you are blind... crippled... deaf... mute... single, married, divorced, or betrayed, brilliant or intellectually challenged.  It won't matter if you feed him steaks or food scraps. Your anger or ugly mood won't stop him from loving you. He follows you everywhere you go, content and happy in your company. He won't leave you not even for the slightest reason or whatever his mood is. He is happy when you're happy; sits close beside you when you're lonely and blue. He protects you and your home from strangers, rushing to your aid at the slightest sign of threat. He has no issues with whether you are rich or poor..... a high and mighty king or a lowly street-sweeper.  He doesn't care a hoot if you are the CEO or the janitor of the company. Those things mean nothing to him. All he knows is that he loves you --- and that's forever!!
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If humans could do those things, too....... Imagine how good and wonderful this crazy world of ours could and would be!!
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Meet Maxi, my adorable companion (shown in picture). I love her, too .....and that's forever, too. And in case you would wonder, more canines and felines have made our home their home, too. Ain't that just crazy?!?!
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Enjoy a great weekend up ahead, folks. God bless you!!



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A LIFE BIGGER THAN OURSELVES


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That was a long vacation, wasn't it? (Lenten season) Now we're back down to our regular normal routine. Live, work, play, pray, and love. I'll add one more thing to that --- write.
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Awhile ago with nothing much to do I sat on the sofa and watched the CNN interview of US presidential candidate Kasich. I was impressed in some by the man but what truly stuck to my mind was this line.....
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Kasich: "We need to live a life bigger than ourselves.".
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I like that. He spoke my own thoughts. You see, after we're done with our personal pursuits (all are good; don't let anyone tell you that it's bad) and come to that place in our lives wherein we feel content, happy, accomplished..... then the time becomes ripe to set our sights on something else other than ourselves. Or bigger than ourselves.
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We now should begin to put to use what we have become (mature, wise, learned, educated, enlightened, smart, etc) .......and with what we have (talents, skills, wisdom, resources, wealth, etc) for something bigger. Or in service to a bigger cause..... or with each other.
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But wait...... When we speak of 'serve'... you must be thinking along the lines and likes of ----- philanthropists..... Mother Teresa..... charities..... NGOs..... medical or humanitarian missions..... or tangible substantial donations to a worthy cause..... and more. Yes, to all that -- Well, maybe one or two or a bit of everything on a grand or grander scale, if you can. All is well and good. But really not necessarily in that manner prescribed every time. Admittedly some can and some cannot.
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Maybe this is what it means, too....
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- A nurse who goes out of her way to care for a patient or who never lacks a kind word to say to his family
- A doctor who goes the extra mile to help restore his patient back to health without thought of added compensation
- A teacher who on seeing a student's potential pushes him or her to become better or best in class
- A person who does not throw his trash unto his neighbor's garbage can or gutter or yard or property
- A driver who obeys traffic rules and respects the rights of fellow motorists on the road
- A pedestrian who crosses on the proper lanes set for pedestrians
- A taxi driver who turns over to the proper authorities a bag left behind by his passenger
- A businessman who does not overprice his goods
- A person who does not cheat or steal or lie or bully someone
- A person who understands and cares for the environment
- A person who cares for our four-legged friends
- A person of faith in thought, word, and deed
- A person who strives constantly to give his best to every task
- A person who is kind and compassionate to the underprivileged
- A parent who disciplines and teaches his children to embrace good character values
- A politician who works for the greater good putting his interests last
---- and many more.

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Deeds or actions which may even be considered by many as insignificant or taken for granted ofttimes unnoticed but truly in serious retrospect are worth more than all the gold in the world combined!
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"Take time to be of courage and be kind." ---- Beautiful lines spoken in the movie "Cinderella" shown on TV two nights ago. I watched it with my eldest daughter. In fact, we saw that movie twice already.
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I also remember this from Mom long ago .... " Caring for others is caring for yourself, too. But caring for yourself does not always redound to caring for others. "

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Oh but we need to live a life bigger than ourselves. We are children of God and we are created for greatness, right? Don't sell yourself short.
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May God bless you with good health, great opportunities, and joy for every good reason and in every measure big and small. In Christ. 

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This photo was taken by my eldest daughter at the Shrine of St. Therese (in the airport and Resorts World area) .. one of the seven churches we visited (Bisita Iglesia) during this Holy Week observance.

  



Thursday, March 17, 2016

CARPE DIEM -- Seize the day


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-- Haven't written anything for a week now. Well, the nudge wasn't strong enough to make me want to write something or anything. Instead I got busy with each day that came to me. And you know what... it felt good. Being busy with..... Carpe Diem. Carpe diem in simple language means 'seize the day'.
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I got acquainted with that word in the movie 'Dead Poet's Society' which starred Robin Williams. That was years ago and to this day it is still on my list of great movies.
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Carpe Diem. But if you expect it to be doing grand or grander things every time to make the day special, far from it because life doesn't always happen that way. Yet you can make the ordinary mundane things of life special..... very special. Oh sure, at this age and point in time and having traveled far down life's beaten path you could easily say 'been there-done that'. You pride yourself then in knowing so much about places... people... life... living. Well, I remember this from long ago when Mom said to me ----- "Honey, to know everything in the world will take you more than just a lifetime." ..and.. "People don't live long enough to do that", she added with a wide grin. "Don't even try to squeeze it all into this lifetime. What you can do is to make each day that comes to you ...special. Seize the moments."  Carpe Diem.
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A friend loves saying this to me with smug confidence 'Been there-done that.' -- So then does that mean that when you've 'been-there-done-that' then nothing else is left to do or see or discover? That nothing will more or less surprise you.... amaze you..... astound you.... thrill you... mystify you?? That nothing else matters anymore because you've seen them all, know them all, done them all. Really?
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Last night I was on a dinner date with my family at this fine restaurant down Ortigas in the vicinity of the Marco Polo Hotel. You would think that all these many years with my family that this occasion would no longer exude that same excitement felt on the past many dates spent with them. Quite the contrary. You see, the magic is still there as I watch my children and wonder greatly amazed at 'how they have all grown' and at how life has taught them well. 


My thoughts now at 70 are far different than when I was 20 or 30 and admittedly have lost quite a few. But with great joy and humility I give thanks to the One above because the magic's there ... still there Life is beautiful. And always will be..
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Carpe Diem. And the picture below (one taken after quite a long while; courtesy of my eldest daughter) will tell you ... this is me -- your ordinary human being but happy with my day. Big thanks to Someone up there.
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Wishing you all great blessings from the loving heart of God.




Sunday, March 6, 2016

THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ARE........





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I was on the phone with a friend who suddenly appears out of the blue after several years of absence in my friendship world. Been missing this girl for a long time.
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''Been busy with life", she says with a chuckle.
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"Well, I'm pretty sure life has been pretty busy with you, too. You sound happy", I kidded back at her.
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"Well, not a bed or roses I'll tell yah.... but they can throw at me all the bumps, bleeps, and bang but not enough to mess up my world", she replied back with a merry lilt in her voice.
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I believed her.
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You see, my friend (let's call her Jane) is quite unique. She's not like many of us puny little human beings who easily buckle down with every test, challenge, trial, or difficulty. But oh sure problems do assail her...... makes her rage, worry, stress out, and cry. So much the human reaction, right? All of that in the moment it hits her... then... wait a minute... she becomes still. And then the transformation takes place.... followed by...
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"C'mon, let's get ourselves a burger! I'll race you to the car.." And off we fly!
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Yeah I did once thought if she was an alien or something. But I must admit that she's one happy human being.. regardless.
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I only really understood when one sweet day I stumbled on this quote....
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"The happiest people I know are the ones who have learned how to hold everything loosely and have given the worrisome, stress-filled, fearful detail of their lives into God's keeping." --- Charles R. Swindoll
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That's Jane's secret. She connected with her God. But it's not a secret. We all know that, don't we?

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(Once more, thanks to the internet for these wonderful images)