Sunday, March 29, 2015

VICTORY IN OUR STRUGGLES



------------------
March 29, 2015 - PALM SUNDAY
.
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)
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Victory. Hope. Faith.
.
A blessed Palm Sunday to everyone!
God bless you.



Friday, March 27, 2015

CHANGE OF SELF MORE THAN A CHANGE OF SCENE





-------------------
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.....
.
'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.'
.
'Bayaan mo na. Nang matuto siya!' replied woman #2 ---- 'Let it. That she learn her lesson!'
.
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.
.
It got me to thinking.....
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
So what to do? As what woman #2 said -- 'Let it!'
.
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.
.
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.
.
Have a great day, people. Be there for someone.
Be blessed and stay blessed.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THOUGHTS -- WEEDS OR FLOWERS?




--------------------
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...........
.
Your mind is a garden,
Your thoughts are the seeds.

You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds.

--- Rito Chatourey

(Unquote).
.
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.
.
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.'
.
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.
.
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??
.
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)
.
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.
.
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.
.
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?
.
Wishing for you all of God's grace, peace, and light.


 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

CHILDREN CATCH THEIR PARENTS' DNA





--------------------
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...............
.
“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,
.
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.
.
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.
.
It made me think tho..........
.
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.
.
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.
.
These same things come into play at work, play, career, profession, business, family, and particularly in raising children.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Can it be helped? avoided? I have no answers to that.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Blessings, everyone! May God bless all the mothers and fathers in the world.




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE HARDEST VICTORY IS OVER SELF




------------------
Mr. Quote Man, a good friend of many years, has this 'bad' habit of sending me quotes with the evil intent of seeing it percolate in my mind like boiling water in a pot. He finds such utter delight over my battles with thoughts and words. Weird man - good friend.
.
Here's another he sent to my inbox this morning...... "Today I have got out of all trouble, or rather I have cast out all trouble, for it was not outside, but within and in my opinions." -----Marcus Aurelius
.
But this one struck me as beautiful. So I replied to him.............
.
That's a good quote. That's so much who we are: creating our own troubles through our own flawed thoughts and feelings, our inadequacies and shortcomings. But consider this, it's our imperfections which serve both as blessing and burden to us. And have you thought further that, surprisingly, burdens can be turned into blessings too if harnessed brilliantly to serve that goal. There is potential in our troubles --- potential to become better versions of ourselves. Isn't that what life and the pursuit of happiness is all about?
.
We search high and low, turn night into day, travel far and wide, spend our pockets dry --- to have better education, better jobs, beautiful homes, nice clothes, a grand car, take fantastic vacations to some exotic island, acquire gadgets to make our lives easier, etc. --- all these with the goal of making our lives and ourselves much better than we were yesterday.
.
All good, of course. One word of caution though... be master of your journey -- not let the journey be your tyrant. Success is a head twister. Because you could easily lose your mind and heart with just one sloppy thinking or neglect. Sloppy thinking is when you believe how great you are with your prowess - abilities - success - power. This will lead you to think you're irreplaceable, indomitable, indispensable, unique, invaluable. Caution, you might simply self-destruct with those thoughts. A better self doesn't mean an overblown self-evaluation. Human and spiritual pride quite easily can push you off the cliff.
.
A better self stands on firm ground in the midst of big dreams and lofty ideals............ understands well its strengths and weaknesses and acts accordingly........... knows that there will be both wins and losses and thereby adjusts its sails to address both............ is aware of its puny presence in this huge wide Universe but believes that its tiny insignificance as compared to its bigger and grander brothers and sisters is still a presence which help contribute and create the Universe. A better self knows its own value and asserts it in communion with God's divine design for life and the world.
.

Lastly but certainly not the least, a better self understands that its greater battles are fought within.
.
May your day be blessed with God's grace, light, peace, and immense joy for blessings beyond compare. May you have these and more, by God's design.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

EVERYTHING YOU GO THROUGH, GROWS YOU



 
 
---------
A friend asked me this question.............. 'What do you do when bad happens to you?' .I looked at her and said.. 'You've been hurt bad?' .. 'Hey, I'm doing the asking here.' she retorted in jest.
.
As every person is a story you can be very sure that hurt and pain along with other things complete a person's personal history. Each bit did its part to shape the person for better or for worse and this definitely will impact people who come close to the territory or happen to be near it or get drawn to it by some unexplained circumstance. People collide with one another by some mysterious force but its reason not fully or always understood. Not yet anyway. This human collision does get us bruised.. battered... shaken up... wounded and scarred. Unhappy memories are then created which sadly can still prick even long after the experience is gone. Some may say forgiven, but many more will say not forgotten.
.
Bad can hurt. We all know it as it comes to us in many different forms, ways, means, intensity, appearances, reason or intent, sometimes unintended, sometimes disguised, but with the sole purpose of hurting us and turning our world upside down--- rewriting our story in its entirety or in part. It doesn't draw a pretty picture, particularly if you can see it in the heart --- torn, tattered, messed up, beaten, weary.
.
It made me think ......
.
Maybe there is no answer. Maybe one just lives through the experience..... try to respond to it in the best manner possible..... draw strength where strength can be found from within or from without..... become the change which is eventually going to happen anyway like it or not. But something within, something bigger than yourself, makes you want to try to transform this experience into a treasure - your treasure - that would matter for a very, very long time. For you... for your life... Because, truth is, you owe it to yourself to do just that.
.
My friend threw me that question but I think she didn't expect an answer. The answer which, I believe, she wasn't seeking but one which she already knew ------ Bad has its way of making us grow.



Friday, March 13, 2015

THINGS CAN EITHER MAKE OR BREAK YOU - BUT IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU




------------------
Look hard into your day because you just might find or get your gold. I can say that because, more often than not, I truly find my inspiration which immensely feed the writing each time each day.
.
Like this quote which I saw this morning.............. "Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny." -- C.S. Lewis
.
Don't you think this quote is the story of most everybody's life?
.
Hardships .. it befalls each one of us ordinary people in our ordinary lives in our ordinary days. That's as old as the ancient ruins of Greece... as old as time. It comes to us in different shapes, sizes, predicament, inconvenience, discomfort and it minds not whether we like it or not. It just goes ahead and does what it does best... hurt us.
.
That can be a big ouch or a small one and a pain in the butt (pardon the expression) or a heartache. You will groan, whine, hiss, complain, bang your head against the wall, kick the furniture and end up with a broken leg, cry oceans of tears to drown yourself in, or jump from the highest mountain but you wouldn't because, as you stop to think, that can hurt bigger than your whining. Besides the tallest mountains are in Pampanga, Batangas, or Tagaytay and before you can reach your destination miles and hours away you would have met your future love in the bus you're riding and so together head back home for a nice date! Or get married! Destiny! End of story.
.
The nicest part though (not just meeting the love of your life) is having the power to turn things around to your advantage or favor. Yes, you are far more stronger than you think you are.
.
But... that would depend on your responses to your situation. The situation can either make or break you.... but it all depends on you! Really, it all depends on you.
.
You know the drill..... work harder, take positive attitude and action, push yourself to greatness, be creative and resourceful, hope bigger, pray harder, think-think-think, be fearless, seek the counsel of the wise, be mentored in the right direction, persevere, believe in your own strengths, build on who you are and what you have. Remind yourself not to let your hardships define you but rather to let it shape you into your biggest and brightest potential.
.

That may sound tough but truth is.... you're tougher than tough. That is by God's design.
.
May God bless you with the wisdom to see yourself as He designed you to be.... His obra maestra!
.
God bless you.

 


Monday, March 9, 2015

SUNRISE --- BREATH OF LIFE






-------------------------------------
Words are not enough to express its beauty.
Let these pictures speak for themselves.

(Big thanks to the internet and to the wonderful people who photographed these outstanding pieces.)


Saturday, March 7, 2015

FAITH OR NOT FAITH -- MAKE A CHOICE




---------------
Woke up to a lovely morning today..... the sun warm and shining brightly (although I may not be as perky with the sun as I am at this early hour when it gets too hot in a few hours, right?) And the thought came to my mind to write about just how wonderful life could be before the perkiness wears off! People never tire hearing or reading about joy, I believe.
.
Then she slid into my thoughts.. and my heart went thumping as it felt her pain. I know her story, I know her pain. Well, I reasoned to myself... 'You gotta be kidding! Yesterday's post was a bit on the weary side, to put it mildly. You don't intend to follow it up with another, do you?' .Yeah, I know and friends may think of skipping the reading on this one. That's okay, too.'
.
But....
.
The tiny unexplained nudge is there to write it just the same. I guess this time.. this is meant for her. So pardon me, my friends, but I have to write....
......................................................................
Dear Friend,
.
Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Jesus said something to Martha who was so busy with chores in the kitchen. Here's how it must have meant ..from the book 'Good Morning... God'.
.......
"As I said to Martha, I say to you -- don't worry so about all the little details of life. Leave those things to Me. Lay them aside, sit at My feet in your spirit and learn more from Me. That is the important part of life. Then the doing of My will, the obedient, happy trust will follow as a result of your following Me.
.
I know and care more about the details of your life than you will ever know. I am always there before you, working things out." ------ Ref: Luke 10:41-42

..............................................................................
.
Maybe this is not what you may want to here. Maybe you would rather hear someone tell you that he sent over some tangible thing to help you with your problems. That too is good; be thankful. But you can't have that everyday as you work out things hour after hour, week after week, day after day. It's not there 24/7... neither is it a bottomless pit of security and assurance, as the human mind would like to think it is.
.
Yet, on second thought, that too may be God working in your life. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. But definitely He works things out for the better good. Positively.
.
We see our troubles as pain, discomfort, struggles and strife.... He sees it as golden opportunities to transform a person to good.. better... and best.
.
Life, as we have been told often, is not easy; it never is. We all go through the eye of the needle before we can enjoy the rewards promised us. We all must go through the fire of testing. But what can get us from here to there? FAITH. Faith is our inheritance as children of God. It's God's gift to us. It's ours!
.
I write not to offer you magic solutions to your cares and woes, which incidentally I too have (and so do the rest of humanity), but to offer you ----- God's magnificent love for you. YOU!
.
We are just a speck -- a tiny dot -- as a minute grain of sand ----- in this whole wide immeasurably huge Universe but can you believe this??? ..... that God sees us? hears us? pays attention to us? and loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us? Oh wow, that is B-I-G!! ----- It's like that lab guy with his microscope zooming in on a tiny object under his lens --- magnified several hundred times?! The lab guy is God... that tiny object is you -- me -- and the rest of the human race. Isn't that fantastic!?! It's mind-blowing!
.
Think about it. And our problems... well yes, they could hurt us, beat us to the ground, make us cry rivers of tears, make us bitter till our eyes drop, rouse anger and hate within us turning us into monsters to our family and friends, and too make us wish that comets come crashing down on earth and splinter it to pieces along with our problems. Hey wait, us too?! Awww c'mon spare us, right?! But....
.
God is bigger than all those combined a hundred times over.... or even a million. He's not a small God. Don't make Him small.
.
Keep up the faith. It's the best you, me, and everybody can do. Without faith.. there is nothing. With God.. everything is possible. God bless YOU!
.
Hugs, friends. Thank you for being patient. Blessings to you all!



Friday, March 6, 2015

LIFE IS STILL A GOOD MIX




----------------------
Was in a conversation with a dear old friend on the phone... which after a bit was leaning towards loneliness and depression. Hers, that is. She's been through a lot; had her share of ups and downs.. missed chances and successes. Just like the rest of us. Yet she feels that she could have done more and because she wasn't able to now feels remorse over it. She rattled away with things she would have wanted for her life.... the things she would have loved to do. I sensed that every 'should have' and 'would have' simply fed her loneliness and bitterness even more so
.
I will not talk about her further; I've said much already. But her problem is one which we all are familiar with... or maybe have gone through in our own individual journeys, too. There is no perfect journey for any of us. We mess up some things along the way.... bungle up opportunities.... scare away good relationships and people.... at times refuse to grow.... at certain points get so puffed-up by our own perceived importance.... then too become humbled by truth.... made fools of ourselves.... and so much more. All those failed moments leave a bitter taste in the mouth and create in the heart a void.. a deep jarring hurting haunting void.
.
I know; had my share.
.
But we also have those sparkling wondrous breathtaking gems of joy. Those moments.... that lit up our faces... that bring the stars to our eyes... that shake up our whole being with laughter... that drench our souls with magnificent peace... that pour upon our lives the bountiful rewards of success and good fortune.... moments which make us feel good about ourselves, about the world, about people, about our life, about God!
.
It's a good mix. No matter how you may think or feel to the contrary, it's still a good mix. Because if you look hard enough and pay close attention... you will understand that all of the bad made you grow and all of the good made you wrap up everything in one good bag. That's who you are. It's made you who you are.
.
And if still that doesn't make you feel better.... read this quote -- "Don't look at how far you have to go, look at how far you have come." (Joyce Meyer)
.
Also, remember that there is Somebody up there who is running the whole show of our lives. His objective is and always will be that we grow better in character, better not bitter.
.
If we must work harder, let it be in learning how to see ourselves and our lives through the eyes of God.
.
Take care, my friends; and God bless you, your family, and everything else good about you. And that is great!