Thursday, November 20, 2014

ALWAYS A SURE FIT



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Went through my old files with the sole intent of ridding it of accumulated 'junk'. What are these, you might ask. It's stuff that when you first saw it consider it essential and then as time goes by you finally realize that it is not. So off it goes to the trash bin.

But I found this gold nugget of wisdom......

"If your parents ever measured you as a child, they had you stand against a wall, and made a little pencil mark on the wall to show your growth. They did not measure you against your brother, or the neighbor's kids, or kids on TV.

When you measure your growth, make sure to only measure your today self by your past self. If you compare your relationships, your success, or your anything against anyone else, you are not being fair to you. Everyone has a different path, a different pace, and different challenges to face along the way." 
  --- Doe Zantamata, author-artist-photographer

Oftentimes I hear of people saying they wished they were somebody else..... that they had somebody else's beauty, money, title, position, or fame. That they feel themselves and their lives so unworthy and miserable as compared to those they admired. At a certain point of my struggling youth and years I thought so, too. Everybody else were simply fantastic in their own respective lives except poor ole' me with the challenges life seemed keen on hurling in my direction. Dodging it was out of the question because it had such perfect aim no matter how I tried to duck it. Darn!

Until I found my own groove.... When I began to use my mind more and understood with my heart better. I finally learned.

I was traveling my own road, just as everybody else was traveling his or hers. Each of the roads a sure-fit to the persons traveling it respectively. Each living his own story. There will be good times and bad times in proportion each would require for his joy and too necessary learning. There will be different talents finding expression in many diverse ways.....  fast or slow....  weak or strong.....  big or small....  humble or grand. There will be different challenges as well as different blessings. All these and more will be on everybody's table in the portion or measure each would require --- always a sure fit. Somebody up there is running the whole show.

I learned with appreciation and gratitude for everything that was...  is... and will be.  Recognized and fully understood that both the good and the bad are there to serve a purpose. Separately or together will continually serve to shape me into the person I was meant to be, by God's design. 

"Everyone has a different path, a different pace, and different challenges to face along the way."

So don't ever wish you were somebody else. Because you are just where you are meant to be.....  to learn and learn some more.... and become better, in God's perfect time. While you are at it, enjoy the journey and remember to count your blessings.



Friday, November 14, 2014

WE EACH ARE BOTH TEACHER-AND-STUDENT TO ONE ANOTHER






Learning does not stop when we finally receive our diplomas and bid school adieu. Learning continues. In fact, somebody once said that it is a life-long endeavor or pursuit because there is so much to learn in this world, in this life, and from people we chance to meet at every stage of our mundane existence. Things not taught within the four walls of a classroom or in interactions with other students or on the campus grounds. Essential things which amazingly bring added color, diversity, interest, wisdom, adventure, and greater possibilities for you. Thinking about that now, I feel that it just might take us a thousand life times to learn it all or maybe even more...and still that wouldn't be enough.

But learn we should. It is a waste of this precious god-given gift to allow our brain cells to atrophy or our hearts to harden with old jaded blood. There is still more that we can do to and with our lives. All that we need to do is .... learn and learn some more! When you do that you will be in for plenty of surprises unimagined nor ever dreamed of before.

Now this 'teaching'.... As we are eternal students of life, so too are we as 'teachers'. Not as our teachers of those good old days of school but as teachers of life and living. We teach by the way we live our lives. It is true that we all stand connected. Whatever you do with your life will impact, affect, or influence another person in his own, for good or for bad....directly or indirectly. As says this beautiful quote...........

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a cloud be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” ― John Donne, No Man Is An Island 

In short, we each are both teacher-and-student to one another.


Monday, November 10, 2014

WHAT YOU DO WITH PAIN RATHER THAN WHAT IT DOES TO YOU IS FAR MORE ESSENTIAL


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An online friend once remarked in jest.... 'You smile to the world like you never knew pain. What a good life you must have.'
That's farthest from the truth; simply absurd. But if you don't mind I will consider that as a compliment though. You don't get to hear something like that everyday! So thank you, just the same.

As it's been said 'everybody has a story and is a story', right? I'm not different because I also have my story.

But I don't do Facebook to tell my story. It has its own place and time. A public place such as this is definitely not that place and time.

Pain. Now that is among the most spoken of or written about word in every history. It's experienced by every living thing, two-legged or four-legged, on our planet. Pain comes in many ways, in different seasons or time, for a diversity of reasons or causes, and in different shapes, forms, or sizes. 

It holds tightly in its grip the whole range of human existence..... the emotions, intellect, spiritual, physical, social, and every interaction feasible to our existence. Am I saying where there is interaction there will be pain, too? Following the principle of cause and effect, I'm saying possibly yes. Pain is an effect (one of several others more) caused by something or someone or sometimes even by the self. 

What do we do with pain? As we see it in people around us or in our own lives we either react to it ...or respond to it... as in fight it or take flight far away from it. 

I have learned through the years that.....'Reacting' could maybe make us even more miserable as it's done with the absence of thought. 'Responding', in effect, could take us to a higher plane of understanding and growth. 'Fighting' it could achieve for us strength of character... while 'taking flight' makes us even weaker in mind, heart, and spirit. 

Pain simply sits alongside its buddies... hurt, sadness, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, bitterness, depression, resentment, discouragement, confusion, and its other members of the same negative pack. They may seem or mean to break you but it can't succeed when you don't let them. They can't hurt you when you won't give them consent to do so.

Therefore, It can be said that what you do with pain (and its friends) rather than what it does to you is that which matters most, in any language. You define you. Nobody else will or can do that for you. 'Life is what you make it', so said a wise person.

And I would like to add....
Let your heart smile through all of life. There's always some reason to smile.

Blessings from above to everybody!



Friday, November 7, 2014

TASKED TO BE BETTER AND BEST FOR SELF AND OTHERS



A friend shared this on his Fb timeline. I like it. Truth is, I like every post shared on his page. If it isn't about lovely pictures of the Pakistan landscape or some other place he so beautifully highlights, it would be words of wisdom such as this shown above. Wisdom which admittedly we often overlook, ignore, or scuff at because we think we know better. Do we really know better?

One other reason that I do fb is because it allows me tons of opportunities to learn. Particularly from people. People make for an interesting study. Myself included, if I were to learn seriously. Studying people gives you a glimpse of what life is all about. Life is all about people. It's actually people creating life, not life creating people.

People make up a huge kaleidoscope of color, emotions with its good and bad, vibrations, diversity, energy and the lack of it, opinions, insights, impressions, contradictions, biases and prejudices, preferences, choices and decisions, moods with its highs and lows, and certainly not the least experiences of both right and wrong.

Looking at everything one can easily say 'flawed'. Yes we all are flawed. Perhaps the reason why God left it at that is because He wants us to grow some more. This He shows us how to do by utilizing not only our brains and hearts but also our body parts. The bottom line is we are tasked to love one another and help create a better world.

And to do that we start with the self. That, my friends, is by God's design.

My God pour out His grace, light, peace, and love into your lives, families, and homes.





Friday, October 31, 2014

WE MAKE A LIVING BY WHAT WE GET -- WE MAKE A LIFE BY WHAT WE GIVE








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I'm not done yet with the sorting of books since yesterday. It's a modest collection of books I found interesting through the years, not necessarily best sellers, but stuff which lent me wisdom or insights into life and living. Some of its authors are unknowns and as a good number are famous writers. The books have turned brown on the edges but I don't mind it. They have stayed good friends who have stood the test of time and have stood as silent witness to my dreams.. one of which is to have a book out in my name. Ahh but what is life without dreams!!

Here's a tiny book I found by author Maya Angelou " Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now"..  a pocketbook with just about 139 pages. I would like to share with you these lines (my favorite) lifted from page 15.......  to quote

'............ giving liberates the soul of the giver. The size and substance of the gift should be important to the recipient, and more important, that intangible but very real psychic force of good in the world is increased.

     When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor's gift.'


--Unquote.

Giving need not necessarily be on a grand or grander scale. It can even mean a tiny act of kindness, the happy thought you cause in another person's life, the comfort you add to another person's painful existence, the encouragement or strength or inspiration you cause to spark in a weary soul... and so much more. Neither does it require applause or need the spotlight on you standing on center-stage. Giving does not require thank you's either.

Giving, one which Maya prefers, is that which comes naturally. It gives without thinking, as a familiar phrase goes. It's giving from where it matters most.... the heart.

A heart that cares can do wonders not just to the people around him but farther down the line and beyond. Its good flows like a happy stream running merrily  through its winding course nourishing every living thing it passes as it continues onwards and out to the sea. It doesn't stop for a hug, appreciation, or someone's thank you. It's happy with its own thought that it's doing someone-something-somewhere some good. And the universe is made even happier with that one unselfish act. How much more happier with many more!! This can create a happier world.

A giving person is content with the idea that it is doing what it is supposed to do. By God's design. And the prayer is to be transformed into that divine design by God's guiding grace.

Wishing you all a pleasant and blessed day.
Keep looking for blessings;  expect it.
God bless you, lovely people.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

DO WE KNOW OUR BLESSINGS






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Scruffy, our newest addition to the pack, is a rescue dog who has found his forever home with us. One of my favorite things to do in the house is to sit beside him on the marble floor by the doorway stroking his fur while looking out on the garage and to the street outside. Out on the street it can be so quiet and busy depending on the time of day. But sunset is my special time with Scruffy.

A thought struck me....  Does Scruffy know his blessing? I wonder.

Looking down into Scruffy's eyes I see an affirmation to that. He looks back at me with love and devotion etched right there in his doggie eyes. Love for his forever home. Content and happy. Yes, Scruffy knows and shows it in his doggie ways - the language of his heart and soul.

Do we know our blessing?
In good times it can be so easy to say yes. In bad times, do we even recognize it?

Sitting there with Scruffy leads me to different threads of thought. One is about blessings. Life is truly tough and it tells us in so many ways. I struggled with mine and so did mom before me. But she taught me one simple lesson with this..........

'Look for the blessings. No matter how you feel or whatever you are going through... blessings are there for you.'

 
I didn't always understand that. What I could understand about life was that life is mean, hard, unforgiving, unmerciful. Because it was all that to me. My heart broke into pieces and my soul wearied from the solitary struggle. Yet Mom's words kept haunting me like she was herself pushing me to look for the ... blessings.
 

One day I stood by the window (always my favorite spot), took a deep breath, closed my eyes for a bit second and then opened it again. I saw how pretty blue the sky was... how gracefully the clouds glided by... how so green the leaves on the gently swaying tree tops... how nice and gentle the breeze blew... and how it all gave me joy!

Then it dawned on me what a blessing was. That made me happy.

The next day I was ready to grab another dose of happiness. But things began to happen. Problems, disappointments, frustrations, worries and anxieties, loss of strength courage hope and even of faith.. all came hurtling down on me like a comet at loose careening through space. I hurt and cried.

But mom, bless her soul, pushed even harder.

Once more I stood by the window, took a deep breath, closed my eyes,  and opened it again. I felt tears falling down my cheeks,  I sensed the beating of my lonely heart,  I felt life throbbing through my veins,  I saw the day unfolding still with all of its glory,  I sensed the presence of the Divine......  I was alive! My tears rolled down even more but this time.... with praise and thanksgiving towards a loving and merciful God, my God!

I finally knew what blessing was.

A divine gift ....  to lend us strength, courage, hope, faith, love, joy, inspiration. To help us see beauty where we thought none existed. To see ourselves as an important part of this universe. To see God and His great love for us. A divine gift to reaffirm our importance in God's eyes and heart.

Mom was right. We need not search far and wide for our blessings. It's right there in our day... within us and without... in our lives. All that we need to do is ..... stop -- look -- and listen!

Have a great Sunday, friends. See your blessings with a grateful heart.





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MUST LOVE BOOKS




Got this from Mr. Quote Man today..... to quote:

Readers may be divided into four classes:

1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.
2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read. (Dregs - residue, remains, sludge)
4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.

--Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Unquote.

I remember mom saying this about people.....  'Different strokes for different folks'. An expression meaning that everyone has their own way of doing things or approaching life.

It's the same way with books...  reading books. Anyone of us can be one or the other on that list..... or maybe even all of the above at different times in our lives. But as human nature is always wanting something beneficial or meritorious or advantageous to the self, I would say a good number of us are #4 on that list.

Here at home for lack of sufficient storage space, the books I have acquired through the years are all stored inside a huge storage plastic bin. I go back to it every now and then to be reminded once more of good book experiences. Yes, you guessed it right... I don't throw away good books. I don't borrow books either because if I happen to like it very much, I would keep it. Just fortunate that the ones kept (about two of them and three years long now) weren't even missed by its owners. :-D But I think that's absurd --- books are like family... you'll miss them if you don't see them.

There's this book I keep returning to and miss a lot when I fail my regular reading date with it. 'Good Morning.... God' by Pamela Steinke, bought in 1995. Only 8x5inches in size, about less than a hundred pages, and It's heavily lined with a green pencil marker. Sometimes it gets a ride in my tote bag on Starbucks dates with daughter. Yes, I read it while sipping my green tea frappe. :-)

Remember that movie "Must Love Dogs"? Let's tweak that a bit to ---"Must Love Books".


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I AM DADDY

 
 
  
 

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Hi to a rainy morning! I wonder .. what is one supposed to do with a day like today? Well, I do have a couple of things up my sleeve but let's get the writing out first. I'm doing this for a dear old friend.

Life, as we know it, is tough yet sadly and disconcertingly too is the fact that some individuals have it so much tougher than the rest. My friend is just that person.Though she may not lack in sympathy and compassion as close friends try help ease the burden or burdens, still undeniably she must rely on her own puny human strength to sort things out herself.

She's a prayerful person. But let's admit it that on some days everything comes as a huge rock over your head seemingly like the proverbial 'sword of Damocles'. And become stunned... numbed.... frozen.... in that one particular scary moment.

Allow me, my friend, to point you to this one big small thought........... to quote

I AM DADDY

"Never feel overwhelmed. You are small but I am big! You are weak but I am strong. The strength of a 'Daddy', a dear loving Daddy, is yours, My child. Yes, I am not just Father -- I am Daddy. People do not understand this because they have not the child-heart that I long for them to have. But My people, great and small, young and old -- they all need a daddy to run to. A lap to climb onto to, a shoulder to cry on, a chest to burrow into. Is this not the only comfort, the only answer when life gets tough? Just hide yourself in Me."

(Lines lifted from the book 'Good Morning... God', by Pamela Steinke)

Unquote.

He is a big God! But He leaves His mighty throne and comes to us all with a big hug! How can we lose when a Magnificent God is on our side?



Thursday, October 9, 2014

TODAY IS YOURS - SEIZE IT


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Moved a few books which were laid down beside the laptop and sat on top of the couch content yet still innocent of the fact that it was being eyed by my daughter for 'killer extraction' soon. Like a dentist would extract an aching bum tooth! She hates a messy sofa. So had to rush to its rescue before it was sent to the store room and be stuck there forever. In the transfer, a small book slipped out of my hands and fell down to the floor. A tiny book of about 165 pages, authored by Norman Vincent Peale, titled 'Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Positive Results'. Decided to peek through its pages which content were intermittently lined with a green marker pencil (yeah, it's a habit) here and there.

This book is already several years old but I can remember why I bought it. It was that time in my life when everything that was so-called negative assailed every most area of my life. Making it even more exasperating was being surrounded by ... yes, you guessed it right... negative people.
 
So I decided to spend time inside a book store with the aim of throwing out the turmoil-attack-on-my-senses on the dozens of books which lined up the shelves and hoped to heaven that it would all get stucked in there for good. And that I would finally come out of it free and back on track again.

Anyway to cut a long story short... I found this book. (Yeah, I needed some positivity... every wee bit of it that I could find.) I bought the book, not because it was by Norman Vincent Peale (I never knew about his other books back then) but because on its cover it said that positive thinkers get powerful results.   

 
Well, to sum up that book experience, I learned so much from that tiny book than I ever hoped to learn in a school year ..or a teeny-weenie semester of learning ..or in one portion of my life.

These lines from that big little book stuck like glue ........ to quote

"Today is yours. You must seize it because it is fleeting , only twenty-four hours that are soon gone by. If you live to be eighty years of age, you will  have only 29,200 days. Each of them, therefore, is a precious fragment of a gift called time, your time. It only makes sense to use every day well. Today is yours. Use it well"   - Unquote

Today! Seize it! Grab it! Love it! Live it!
And I will add..... Pray with it.
Love your book or books; it was once a part of you.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

RUN THROUGH THE RAIN




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This short story came from Mr. Quote Man this morning. It's so good that I had to share it with you. Unfortunately, he didn't include the author's name or probably it was 'author unknown'. Here it is............

Says Mr. Quote Man -- "Loved this - hope you like it too...."  Oh but I do... I DO!!!

NEED WASHING??

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in

...'Mom let's run through the rain,' she said.
'What?' Mom asked.
'Let's run through the rain!' She repeated
'No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit,' Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: 'Mom, let's run through the rain,'
'We'll get soaked if we do,'
Mom said..
'No, we won't, Mom.. That's not what you said this morning,' the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?

'Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain.. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

'Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,' Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.     

Unquote.
----------------------------------------------------

Yes, Mr. Quote Man, you are correct..... many of us don't appreciate what we have right here right now. We get too engaged with the so-called big things of life ---- on being successful or popular, making money, acquiring possessions --- that our moments pass us by. Unfortunately we can't get them back when already they have gone. But....  we can create new moments! Right here, right now!

Let's start now. Blessings, everyone!