Sunday, August 2, 2015

OF BLOGGING... STORIES.... AND STORYTELLERS

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There is a diversity of reasons why people do what they do. In every area of our lives -- the whatever-however-wherever it may be -- is what makes up your story. Every bit and piece in it is everything that tells the world who you are. Because everybody is a story.
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But -- that is just one part of the whole..... Completing that is the listener. One is nothing without the other. Somebody tells -- somebody listens. Somebody writes -- somebody reads.
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Try cruising down a blog site, stop awhile and visit a blog or blogs and you will know what I mean. You will begin to appreciate such display of diversity, of interests, and the wide range of expression in telling it. The thing to remember is that it's not just all about words or pictures but it's all about people and their stories. and how it's told.
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Some people, as I have heard them say, remark that it's a frivolous or flippant world and is such a waste of time. I will disagree to that. If some blogs do appear as such it does not necessarily reflect the site or the activity itself but rather it simply points you to the person writing it. The work is reflective of its creator.
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Each day adds another page to our life story. Make it count, make it matter. Learn whatever there is to learn every time the learning comes to your doorstep. Recognize and appreciate the carrier of the lesson -- acknowledge its presence... the person who is simply sharing his or her own story. As you have yours and share it too in your own special way in your own corner of the world and universe.
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Blessings to you and your dear ones. Great day ahead; enjoy! God bless you.




 #learning   #writing   #blogging   #storytellers   #blogworkshop 
The What:  Blissful Blogging Workshop
  
The Where:   Tweedle Book Cafe
The food --- but of course!
  
The organizers.. and speaker.
The storytellers.
 
New friends.. seatmates.. teammates.
  
#TheLearningJunkies

 

Friday, July 31, 2015

DON'T WHITTLE YOURSELF AWAY


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I thought that I had lost Mr. Quote Man (and worried a bit there) for there weren't any quotes in my inbox for some weeks. But this morning I got one from him with a brief explanation that he had just recovered from the sick bed. Not serious but enough to get him resting as advised by his doctor.
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Now the quote...... "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." --Raymond Hull (1919–1985) - Canadian playwright, television screenwriter, lecturer, and author.
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Unquote.
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Does this strike you as something familiar? But before we come to that.... In a popular sense, trim would be something like trimming a bush, a hedge, or a small tree in trying to remove run-away branches or leaves which are considered unnecessary or not helpful or useless to the overall aesthetic appearance or value. It's almost the same in the human world at the work place where companies retire or fire people they consider unproductive or liabilities to the grander common objective or goal. Sad but true.
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When I was in my early teens, I remember being so insecure that I would give my allowance (a pittance compared to that of my best friend who seemed to receive a fortune from her dad everyday) ... to whoever could make me the big superstar on the school campus. But none volunteered for the job as they too were being busy trying to be one themselves. Well, high-school is just the perfect setting for the battle of insecurities from one teen to another in every time or clime.
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Hilda (not her real name) was your ordinary teenager but a notch different from the rest... in a strange kind of way. We sat in the same class so I practically had her under my microscopic sight wherever-whatever. At one time she acted like a bitch because her gang of cool chicks acted like one. Then again when she hung out with a bunch of nerds she practically borrowed books from the school library but which she never really read but held in her arms as she chatted with the nerdy bunch. When in the company of boisterous rowdy school mates she talked and laughed the loudest. She was everything you wanted her to be it seemed.
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You think that's being adaptable? Naah... she looked more like peeling off parts of herself to fit into the group she was wanting to belong to. Whether she was peeling off much or too little isn't the whole point of the story. What she was doing was trimming herself too much just to fit in or be accepted until nothing was seen left of the original to thrive, nurture, or survive. She was shaking off values which started off her young human life and throwing away the potential to be someone worthy of life. She embraced the superficial thinking that it would lead her to better things and better times. But did it or does it? She was many persons other than Hilda.
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But it's not just teenagers who do that; adults do it too. And I have learned from life that if you really need to trim out anything .... just make sure it's something you are better off without permanently. That it's loss should not diminish you but rather would transform you into your best potential. By Divine design.
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Have a great week, folks! Be blessed. Stay blessed.



Saturday, July 25, 2015

PRAYER IS A PATH WHERE THERE IS NONE





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Have been reading a book this past few days. A book I have read a dozen times before. Why do I keep coming back to it? Because it IS good. Not only that but also because it is short, only 113 pages composed of 43 chapters... short chapters. I have an array of 'shorties', which I call them, lined up in my mini library. Long stories and thick books have no place in it except for an encyclopedia or a family album. Written in simple English .... (as a rule I shy away from long big complicated words; have always believed that there is always a simpler less complicated way to express yourself verbally or in writing) ..... so simple that if I gave this book to my seven-year-old nephew he would be able to read it in one sitting. Except of course when he needs someone to guide him through the wisdom parts of the book. --
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"JACOB THE BAKER -- General Wisdom For A Complicated World" Author Noah BenShea --- Here in the author's own words is a brief description: -------- "Jacob is a poor but pious baker who lives an anonymous life in a timeless world. While waiting for the ovens to rise to baking temperature in the morning he writes little notes to himself trying to make sense of life. Unknown to Jacob, one of his notes falls into the mixer and is baked into a loaf of bread. It is then sold to a woman, who comes upon the note, reads Jacob’s thought, is dumbstruck and rushes to the bakery to see who wrote it and where it came from.
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Soon word is out that there is a special person in the community who has been ignored, and now everyone near and far comes to see Jacob with their questions about life, prayer, love, family, growing older and…and…Without any sense of hubris, Jacob answers the growing line of visitors with his parables and stories. Even the children come after school and sit on the flour sacks to listen to Jacob."

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Unquote.
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I finished the book in just a few minutes (yes, that short and will pick it up again another time you bet) and went through every piece of wisdom like I was seeing it for the every first time. Wisdom never grows old; we do. And if you are wisdom's good student, it always seems new each time you meet it.
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Like this one on page 36 -- PRAYER IS A PATH WHERE THERE IS NONE
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Is there anyone out there who has not acquainted himself with prayer? No matter your color, race, or creed....... no matter how independent you believe yourself to be....... no matter your titles or string of degrees attached to your name........ whether male, female, young or old, rich or poor........ you have spoken a prayer sometime somewhere there in your life. Probably it was just a sigh, a tear, a whisper, or simply a thought of God when you suddenly find yourself in a place similar to this.....
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"What if neither my heart or mind can help me find a way?"
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And Jacob answered, "Prayer is a path where there is none."

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I end this post with that thought. And I pray that prayer leads you to the path or paths to your dreams... essentially to His Throne. God bless you. Have a pleasant weekend, friends! 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A DAUGHTER MAY OUTGROW YOUR LAP... but SHE WILL NEVER OUTGROW YOUR HEART



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Each day which unfolds in my life brings with it lessons and I appreciate that. Always has been back then and still is now and I guess will continue forward as life moves me along with it.
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As family comprises about 80% of our full existence, most of the lessons are thus packed into it undeniably by a higher divine intent and wisdom. If you will pay close attention you will discover that to be true. Therefore, it behooves me (and so would everybody else I believe) to strive to see or better yet understand the lessons sent within that mold, sphere, and environment. Could it be that all these are really intended to serve the higher divine agenda of becoming a better human being.... the goal of our temporary earthly lives?
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Have you also thought about this? That the goal comes forth for two reasons. Firstly, for the development of the self (quite obviously) .... and secondly, to serve others with (this though not often well understood). You may have also read this somewhere in the Book... of what use is new knowledge or talents, insights or experience which undoubtedly enrich our lives (the lessons aim to achieve that) if it be not used to serve others with too? Correct? So then whatever is gained from the learning is not meant solely or exclusively for self-consumption. Although for awhile it may be and is by all intents but you will be nudged on to move forward with it sooner or later. In that context, self is just one part of the learning. The other part is service. One isn't without the other. And it's in the realm of family that initially one gets some serious practice.
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You might think that after churning out two posts on family that I would now run out of things to say for a third post. (Did it on another site. Sorry.)  Well, on the contrary and at the risk of losing your interest I will venture out to write another sequel on the subject. Because I love the subject of family.... I love my family. And this is like the tons of family pictures I see posted on Fb everyday by countless people of different race-color-or-creed over the various important milestones in their lives or over simple ordinary mundane things as eating a cone of ice cream or of baby taking her first step. And.... honestly -- it's all great because I see people who in their own special ways love their families tremendously and show it. Carry on, people, it's a beautiful life with family!!
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I have written about two members of my family God has so generously blessed my life with. There's a third one to whom I dedicate this post.
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Well, she loves springing surprises on her family like swooping down with goodies .. or a birthday cake where there isn't a birthday .. or a trip to some place never-been-there-before .. or shopping for nice stuff when you least expect it .. or a gorgeous bouquet of roses delivered to your doorstep! Further she's a bundle of crazy antics which always brighten up the house anytime she turns it on. And oh boy how she turns it on full blast everyday!
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With her older sister now married, she without any further ado stepped into her shoes or rather should I say glided into her shoes with ease like a ballerina with her ballet shoes. Gracefully, responsibly, with hard work and with her heart all over the place you simply can't miss it. She provides, nurtures, supports, protects her family with everything she is and has. (Proud is this mother!) Furthermore, she is an 'encourager' -- a beautiful soul who inspires one to be more or better than one could ever be. She helps nurture dreams.
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Again my thoughts and heart run through awesome once more! All three blossoming into their fullest potential under God's careful watch. Makes me think how sometimes God sends in trials but not to defeat you ---- but to make you stronger. That's what He did to my girls. I am a happy and proud mother because God blessed me with my three Steel Magnolias!
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I suppose you will ask 'What's a steel magnolia?' As I have read it somewhere, it is this  ---- Combining the contrasting images of steel (strong, durable, unflinching in character) - and magnolia, a beautiful flower. Steel Magnolia is beauty which shines from within and without.
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By God's design.
What a wonderful God we have!

Friday, July 17, 2015

LOVING YOUR JOB IS THE PREREQUISITE FOR A JOB WELL DONE





Many years ago when I was in my first job, I would often sit by myself wracking my brains dry trying to figure out the what-and-how of doing a great job. One day Mom, having noticed my bewilderment and anxiety, came to me, sat down, and said............. 'The only way to do a great job is to love it and give it your best shot. Even the geniuses of men with all their brilliance won't make it if what they do is simply out of the exercise of competition and rivalry. That would simply be a display of lame motivation. Because the truly motivated person knows that only by genuinely loving your work..... being passionate about it..... by learning something everyday..... and sincerely caring enough to put out the very best can performance be said to be truly outstanding. So whether you are a simple janitor, street-cleaner, salesperson, the office clerk or the president of your company, loving your job is the prerequisite for a job well done. The rest will follow.'
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I still miss her today as I did that year she left me and my brother. Life would have been so much lighter and grand with her by my side and with her bottomless stack of wisdom and care. She always had the right words, encouragement, strength, hope, faith, and positivity when my own failed. I remember best what she would always say to me............ 'Press on, Honey, got you covered with prayers.'   That made a great deal of difference in my life back then. But I have with me all those wonderful memories she left behind. I can say that with those golden memories inside my backpack, my life journey would be a breeze.
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"Older and wiser voices can always help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen." -- Jimmy Buffett



Monday, July 6, 2015

ENGINEERED FOR ONE PURPOSE -- OUR BEST SELF





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-- You know what, our life journey serves just one purpose.... and that is to work us towards our better self. Every bit of joy, sadness, success, failure, trials and difficulties are all engineered for that end purpose of shaping us into the best person, individual, creation we were meant to be by design. The self is engaged not for any selfish agenda (although many mistakenly read it as such) but to materialize the hopes and intent of the Great Designer himself. Not even our human frailties or imperfections can keep us from it.
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Until we learn to think out of the small negative box of our mundane lives we will always see ourselves as small.. helpless.. powerless.. inadequate.. ordinary.. trivial.. mediocre.. useless.. worthless.. failures... devoid of talent... and everything else which we negatively call ourselves as we drag our feet down the dusty road of life and living.
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Now do you still wonder why some people make a living and even get rich by telling us to get up and be somebody!? They know what ails us.
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Because we forget, easily forget that we are somebody. But we ARE somebody. We just keep forgetting that we are children of GOD! God's children ----- and that, in any language, is SPECIAL!! That is where our self-worth and self-confidence lie. Let no one tell you otherwise.
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God bless you.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WORDS DERIVE LIFE FROM THE HEART


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This is a repost from long ago in the blog (year 2012)... one of posts that got a hundred views in just a few hours. That was a pleasant surprise and made me realize how so many believe and agree that words do influence our day to day lives. I want it back here just so I be reminded about the power of words once more. It's something which I strongly believe should be learned again and again.
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WORDS --- They can build you up, take you down, disappoint, make you happy, hurt and sad, wonder, and too scare you. In short, words are powerful. Putting it to the test, I paid attention and listened intently when people talked to me. Indeed, I was affected or influenced by the words they spoke. Their words pushed me to think... react.... pay attention... consider.... talk back or nudge me to some action. Words which also gave me a window or glimpse of what was in the heart. And that mattered.
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Words alone have no life, but derive life from the content of the heart. Goodness rooted in the heart translates itself in the words one uses ------ these words which fly out on virtual wings of compassion and truth. On the other hand, bad intent makes even the sweetest word ring untrue as it operates under the shadows of venom nestled in the heart. It stings hard and deep.
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Be particularly careful the words you use with young children. What you say will determine the attitudes they will be carrying with them unto their adult lives. It will influence their perception of the world and the people in it, shape beliefs of right or wrong, their relationships, work habits, ambitions and dreams, and how they would relate to their God. It will definitely define their personality and character. So be careful the words you use with them - it can either make or break them. And, will eventually redound to yourself, too.
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Be careful what you speak. It can mean the world to another person. It can truly build him up or destroy him. Be careful what you write. It can influence great minds and poor minds alike. Both lives will be affected in some way you will never know as their minds 'wrestle' with the words sent out by your heart. They won't be the same person again after that.
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Someone wrote a nice quote which in essence says - .....
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'Be wary of what comes out of the mouth as it would always spring from the heart. The content of the heart determines the genuine quality of words spoken.'
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Blessings, everyone. Be kind and kinder in the heart.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

WAIT FOR THINGS TO TRULY UNFOLD



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THE FOUR SEASONS --- THE MEASURE OF LIFE
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Here's another one coming from the same pile; I found it closer to the bottom and was dated June 01, 2004 - Word Ministry. Unfortunately, the first two paragraphs on the sheet were torn off and the rest had turned brown with time. But as far as I can recall the article is about a man who sent off his four sons into the woods and to this particular tree and to report back to him their observations about it.
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The succeeding paragraphs unfold like this...... and to quote
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--- "When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The FIRST SON said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The SECOND SON said no --- it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The THIRD SON disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen,. The LAST SON disagreed with all of them; he said that it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
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After listening to their feedback, the man explained to his sons that they were all right, because they each seen but ONLY one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season. And that the essence of who they are -- and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life -- can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.
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He further said...... If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, the fulfillment of your fall. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come at some time or later."

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Unquote.
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And that is so true, isn't it? We each go through the seasons of life. Each season comes to touch our lives in ways authentic to its own purpose. Maybe what the father is trying to tell his sons is that life should be viewed not from the constricting point of one season or one event or one experience. Not to think that the end of the world has come because of one failure or mistake. Not to pack up our bags outright defeated just because things are not happening the way we want them to. Not to consider others as less than ourselves just because they don't think, speak, or act the way we do. Not to be too quick to push that 'react' button.
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Instead to wait for things to truly unfold. Wait for explanations. Wait for the story to finish. Wait for the dust of aggravation and strife to settle down. Wait for the time when truth reveals itself in all of its splendor.... or its opposite. Well, sometimes truth can be quite unpleasant to see or hear. But then truth is truth and off it we can better make honest judgement or measure and its corresponding course of action, be it pleasant or otherwise.
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Life is beautiful. But we must also understand that life too has its rough patches. There is both good and bad in it. Yet we shouldn't allow negativity in any form, ours or that of others, to spoil what we have in terms of joy, fulfillment, and happiness.... or quench our hope of having more of those we treasure and value most. God planned us for happiness. Happiness is indeed our worthy portion. That is truly by divine design.
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Blessings, everyone!
 
 

Friday, June 19, 2015

LEAN INTO THE PAIN




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As is the old habit of sorting through old files with the intent of trimming it down to the essential and getting rid of the unessential, I made through the files before me with clinical precision which led to the trash can filling up so quickly. Half way through the mound of papers though... I came upon this sheet with an article on it from July 26, 2004, written by Susan Titus Osborn, "Rest Stops For Single Moms". Yes 2004 -- but it's wisdom is timeless! .. Here's why..
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The title:   "I LEARNED TO LEAN INTO THE PAIN INSTEAD OF AVOIDING OR FIGHTING IT."
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Here's what it says........ and to quote
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A good friend quoted to me the above phrase. Well, can you show me a woman who hasn't shed a tear (quietly or not) for self, parents, husband, and children. But you can't because none exists. Pain rides the whole crest of the various roles a woman plays in life.
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How does a woman survive all that? --- Simple. She leans into the pain. Like a single mother picks up the pieces of her life and valiantly builds a new life for herself and her children. Like a woman playing both father and mother roles in the home because her husband is in Saudi working for the money he sends home. Like a daughter bravely carrying on with a boring job all because she has to pay the hospital bills of her terminally ill parent. Like a steelhearted mother who seeks out help from individuals or institutions for her physically impaired child. Like a wife betrayed by an insensitive spouse yet finds the strength to shield her children from its pain.
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They all lean into the pain. Not running away, not avoiding it. Like the Blessed Virgin who stayed close by her Son. Mary always reflected on the events of her life and knew all were for a reason known only to the mind and heart of an All-Knowing and Mighty God. She leaned into her pain because there she found the knowledge and understanding of her role in the divine plan of God. She didn't avoid it nor run away. She simply said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word." And rose to be the bravest woman in the history of humankind.
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One late afternoon, I saw this woman waiting for her bus at the same terminal I frequented. She looked like any ordinary person in her late forties. But it was her face that I couldn't take my eyes away from. Truly her life was visibly etched on her face ----- fine lines that ran deeply across the width of her angular face and yet seemed to proudly say "I've been through bad times... and survived it all. I'm not afraid if there are more." Here was a woman who probably knew how to lean into her pain. Who probably also knew that the Blessed Mary has done it before --- and she can, too. No doubt about it.

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Unquote.
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It's a beautiful one, isn't it? .. and why I have kept it for so long.
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Yet, pain is not the monopoly of women. Men feel pain, too. And maybe there are no stories like this to tell us how men do that... but I dare say that men too lean into their pain. Otherwise, how can you explain a husband and father holding on to his job or two jobs for his family's sake, or a son who carries on with a college course not of his own choice but which will help support his aging parents in the shortest possible time, and so much more that could also fill a book.   And how you wondered about St. Joseph?   How he set aside his personal pain of being the brunt of the people's censure and ridicule for taking Mary and her baby Jesus for his own? He loved Mary and Jesus and he also understood his role in the divine scheme of things. He leaned into his pain for something bigger than himself.
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Pain is also felt by young children. Have you ever thought what goes on in the mind of a young street child? How his young innocent heart aches to play, go to school, or celebrate birthday parties? His heart aches. But he carries on walking the streets begging for money or food which apparently he will bring home to his family.  He leans into his pain too and in the only way he knows how.... survive. 
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Pain, as we all know it by now, is both a human blessing and a bane or tribulation. Pain has its own purpose too... some we may not fully understand. But definitely pain is part of that package called life.
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Be a hero to yourself. God bless you.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

YOU CAN'T BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE




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I was cruising down the LinkedIn site and stumbled on this these beautiful lines. It's just a part of the article '8 Behaviors of Phenomenally Successful People', (By Jeff Haden. Ghost writer, speaker, LinkedIn influencer, contributing editor for Inc.) The article makes for a good read but these lines at the bottom struck me the most....... to quote'
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"You worry about what other people think. (Don't feel bad -- I'm sure I do that as much as anyone
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I have singled that out because it resonated well with a chat I had with a friend a couple of months ago. She's one who worries a lot about what others may say about whatever she does. Drives me crazy listening to her list of -- 'what if' -- 'would they like it' -- 'am I doing it right'.
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She is a people pleaser but is overdoing the whole thing much to her own discomfort and misery. Sad?.. but don't worry, she's quite an intelligent person too and will in good time realize what she should be learning and change what should be changed. Just needing a gentle nudge perhaps in that direction. Sometimes change comes slow and the transformation slower to some people.
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Jeff Haden said it perfectly.... 'Yet no matter how hard you try, you can't be all things to all people.' -
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So why even try? Every person on this planet sees the world, life, people through his own set of eyes.. brains, and heart. He thinks, sees, and acts off his own set of insights, perceptions, measure and standards. So whatever he sees it may not really be all about you (if you happen to be in the picture); rather it's dictated by his own set of rules by which he evaluates everything, tangible or intangible. Remember this? -- That 'we see things not as they are but as we are.'
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The best way to live life is how Jeff Haden puts it ---- 'And you can be the best you. Be yourself. That is the one thing you can do better than anyone else.' ---- And I agree 200%. And don't listen to people who say that you can't... because you can!

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By the way, it's still the month of June; I know somebody out there has this as his or her birthday month, too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May you be blessed with wonderful things to last you a lifetime.