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)



Thursday, March 3, 2016

HAVE YOU TRULY FULFILLED YOUR MAIN PURPOSE IN LIFE







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'Twas the time of day when time seemed to stand still. Some people may try taking a nap to ease the sluggish hours away through sleep. Others watch something on TV. Still others would raid the cupboard for a huge snack to munch on. I wouldn't hesitate to do any one or the other but this time I decided to cruise down the internet, not sure what to look for, but just coast along hoping that I hit the jackpot of catching a worthy item to read or learn from.
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And this caught my eye......... an excerpt from Pastor Jason's blog post. (a blog I stumbled upon). To quote:
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"Fulfill God’s Purpose for You in Your Generation: ---- I love what the New Testament says of King David, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36) .
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What part of God’s purposes are you called to fulfill in this generation?
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God made you like no one else, to do something no one else can do. Never underestimate the importance of your life. If you were unnecessary, you would not have been born. Discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life, and your legacy will be fulfilled!"

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Unquote.
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That is a good question, isn't it? Have you ever thought about that?
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Allow me to share my thoughts.


I believe ...Man does not think about that at all.... well, not until he is old or older. Let's be honest with ourselves, when we were young all that really mattered to us was making it big in this life i.e. a good position in a well-paying job..... a bright career and profession..... a great marriage..... a big house, flashy cars and all the trappings of wealth..... being popular in the social world..... being famous..... receiving dozens of titles or recognition..... making a name for ourselves..... fulfilling our goals and dreams, and etc. It was all and everything about  "I" .. "Me" .. "My" .. and .. "Mine".
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And we all get to have it in different measure, package, and level or degree. True. And we're happy. Satisfied. Sated. Content.
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Then Father Time begins ticking loudly. So loud that it bothers even our sleep. Father Time seems to be in so much a hurry, we now notice. We're growing older.
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Then all that is left for us now are just memories. And........
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this question............. "Have you truly fulfilled your main purpose in life?" To some this question may come early and then to others quite late. But definitely there must or should be an answer to the question.
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Because it matters. By God's design.
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Blessings to you and yours, dear friends. God bless you.



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

STRESS CAN BE A NUDGE TO GROW




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This Tuesday morning is quite different from other days only because this time two carpenters are working on the rain gutter (alulod) on the roof. So that means a lot of hammering is being done up there and this in turn affects the residents of this household. That is even saying it in milder terms. Because as far as I am concerned I would gladly fly up to Jupiter for the duration of this alulod project. But since I can't.... I decided to cruise down the blog world in a leisurely manner to amuse myself with the writings of fellow bloggers while hoping to myself that time would whiz by as a rocket does!
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Anyway.....
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Glad that I did because I stumbled on these two lovely lines which I would like to share with you.
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"STRESS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SOAR"
--- JasonTourville, Building Champions 4 Life
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"TIMES OF STRESS ARE SIGNALS FOR GROWTH"
--- Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, on JasonTourville's blog
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Have you ever considered stress in that manner?
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When I was younger I had buckets-full of stress (oh not that I don't have any right now but somehow I've learned some lessons) ... So then stress was there even for the slightest reason as not finding a cab under a heavy downpour just when something important was waiting for me. Then followed the stresses of wifehood... motherhood... parenthood... and of course adulthood. They come one after the other, sometimes all together. No place is sacred because it happens in the home, at work, or even in church when unruly kids scream their hearts out in play all throughout the mass, at the mall, in a party, in a meeting, shopping for the right birthday gift, applying for a job, or with carpenters' non-stop hammering on the roof!
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On looking back I now realize that each time I made to address the problem some new or additional skill or ability surfaced which helped me deal with the issue at hand. Or better yet it pushed me to learn new skills or abilities to deal with the issue and in turn resulted in diminishing or eliminating the stress. New skills or new abilities always lead to growth, right? So it also follows that with the solution of a problem comes the feeling of exhilaration -- you feel like soaring up in the air with happiness! I was growing..... I was soaring.... I was happy.
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So I guess that's what stress does to us --- it gives us the DESIRED OR NECESSARY PUSH to try --- to do things better or best..... to respond to it in a smarter way..... to develop..... to improve..... to progress..... to adjust..... to learn..... to think better..... to mature..... to grow. PLAIN SIGNALS TO GROW!
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Amazing, isn't it!?!



Friday, February 26, 2016

BE STRONG TO LIVE LIFE




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Do you know why I love my early morning walks? It's because I get to know more about life through it. Oh of course there are also the books... but sometimes out there one gets a lot more of stuff that feeds the mind, heart, and soul. Oh sure, some would say there's nothing special there but ordinary normal mundane puny lives and living. Well, if you stop awhile to think --- our lives, none exempted, are nothing but ordinary puny lives. We eat, work, play, sleep, hurt, cry, laugh, hate, and all the other things found on the emotional scale. And we do this over and over, again and again from sunrise to sundown.
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Like these three middle-aged ladies I saw outside the gate of a nice house. Ordinary people in an ordinary neighborhood living ordinary lives. One was looking so bored, another looked flustered, and the other couldn't quite decide what to do. And their conversation, in loud ordinary voices which is the trademark of Pinoys huddled in an invigorating conversation, male or female.... trailed down inescapably to my ears. Yup, you guessed right... my radar was tuned-in on the trio. My radar, as you must already know by now, is primed to zero-in on new learning, observation, information, insight, and awesomeness of both living and non-living things... no matter its size, race, color, or creed. What they said caught my attention. To catch more of their chat I stopped, bent down and pretended to tie my shoelaces (both shoes). Kinda lame don't you think? But they were quite oblivious to me. So there!
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Lady#1:      "Hhaayy... Wala na bang maibibigay sa atin ng buhay kundi puro problema?" --- (Can't life give us something else other than problems?)
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Lady#2:      "Umasa ka pa! Walang alam pang iba ang buhay kundi ang tambakan tayo ng problema. Heto katatapos lang ng isa... may bago na naman." --- "You kidding me?! Problems are all that life can offer us. One problem finishes.... another crops up!"
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Lady#3:     "Kayo naman! Hindi naman siguro ganyan. Nakatutok lang kayo kasi sa problema." --- (C'mon, can't be that bad. You're focusing only on problems.)
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Ladies#1&#2:     "May bago ba!?!"  --- (So what else is new!?!)

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At that point I didn't wait to hear the reply because I was there long enough and might get noticed by them, so decided to move along.
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But what I gathered from their chat made me think.............
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Is that all there is to life really? Problems?
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Looking back at my own life journey I can say that yes I too have had my share... and new ones do crop up now and then. But that's the same with everybody else.. And problems come in different sizes.. shapes.. color.. and in varying degrees of intensity, force, or severity... rising from a diversity of causes or reasons. It will make you cry.. or anger you.. can be so frustrating, disappointing, irritating.. can arouse depression, self-pity, anxiety, hopelessness, fear, sadness, confusion.. and some seemingly mean and cruel will bash you to the ground utterly defeated. Or so it seems.
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But life does not stop there. Nor does it end there.
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You are here. I am here. Problems notwithstanding. What does that tell us?
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Life may be tough....... but people are tougher.
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By God's design.