Wednesday, August 27, 2014

APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'VE GOT WHETHER IT'S A LITTLE OR A LOT




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Good morning! The sun's out today and I got plans how to enjoy it. But allow me first to tell you a story...........

This was many years ago .. in the house of a friend. She was a housewife to an ailing husband but somehow managed pretty well with their not so meager resources. We sat around the dining table situated close to the living room and feasted on a native delicacy of ginataan she herself cooked. Conversation flowed naturally among good friends as it normally would.

Then she reached for her glass of water and drank from it. When done and with the glass still in her hand in mid-air she blurted out .....  'This is fantastic! Lorrrrrd.... thank you for water."


It was not your ordinary lip-serving praise or thanks rendered to the Divine. This was more than that, apparently. Her smiling eyes lighted up her whole countenance. The words came out strong and sure. The moment, ordinary to most, came out as so profound. Like she knew what it meant.... she understood its Creator as if she was there when He formed the beginnings of the earth.... her whole being praised the work of His hands.

I was dumbstruck by this sudden outburst of praise to her God who also was my God, of course. I know my God too; I know Him in my heart. But this lady....  her knowing oozed out from every pore of her skin, from every breath she took, and it seemed from every thing she touched-felt-experienced, from her very life. She looked at me and I didn't need to hear the rest of her words as I saw the truth in her glowing eyes telling me how wonderful this Creator was and is.

I think I learned more about faith and God in that brief moment of praise than from my catechism teacher-priest.

From then on, I made it a point to seize every tiny creation, moment, and experience with great respect, praise, and thanksgiving to an awesome Magnificent God.

And right now I am praising and thanking God for all you wonderful people with your equally wonderful friendships. 'This is fantastic! Lorrrrrd.... thank you for them all." And please bless them tremendously.




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PROOF OF HOPE






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"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Just like everybody else, I get ...disappointed - frustrated - exasperated - overwhelmed - irritated - annoyed... when things don't happen the way I expect them to. Particularly in world affairs. The world is in a huge mess but it appears that those who can are too slow in sorting it out or in working out solutions. They hem-and-haw, grandstand on some, and can't avoid dipping their greedy fingers into the pot of politics and funds. I guess we need not look far outside our borders to see that.

Reading this book 'Limitless' by Nick Vujicic led me to some unlearning of old ideas which no longer serve,  relearning of old wisdom, or the learning of new ones. Made me refocus to see that which truly matters. It is found right there on the ground among the people themselves.

This is what matters......

-----when individuals or families devastated by huge catastrophes yet stand up and courageously move forward to a future they believe awaits them. They hope to rebuild their broken lives once more.
-----when a laborer perseveres in his backbreaking job with his eyes set on his young children's future education. He hopes to give his children a better future.
-----when an OFW sets aside a portion of his pay as he builds his or her dream with every money added to it. He hopes one day to come home to reap his just reward and share the blessings with loved ones.
-----when a cancer patient goes through the utter discomfort of chemotherapy sessions. He hopes for healing one day soon. He believes he will be healed.

You can find other proof of courage and bravery, of faith and hope around us. This is what suffering - struggles - troubles teach us. HOPE.  We don't owe it to ourselves but to a wise God who put it there in our hearts for a purpose. And this purpose, I believe, is to enable us to get on with life and living regardless of circumstances.

Hope is a gift. God knew that we would be needing it to carve a better future for ourselves....  to unlock hidden potential and talent...  to believe in our strengths and courage...  to enable us to see the good in men...  to help shape a better world if we so much as try...  to live our faith.

Hope springs eternal, indeed.
Have a great day. God will bless you today. You gotta believe that! :-)




Monday, August 25, 2014

LIFE ISN'T ALWAYS HAPPY 100% OF THE TIME




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I was thinking about this...............  'No one is happy and perky 100% of the time.' Quoted from the book 'Limitless' by Nick Vujicic. (I haven't finished the book yet.)

That's true. But we try to be. It's also true that what we are on the outside is also different from what we are on the inside. Here's to remember that everybody on earth is fighting some battle, without or within. People try to cope with that in so many different ways. Some would seek help from others, several would share their feelings to release tension, and a good number would silently fight their battles while keeping a cheerful exterior with a prayer in their heats.

I find myself in each of these categories depending on the battle at one time or another.

One thing I have learned....  it's okay to be 'all of the above', so to speak. Humanly natural and real. Life is a leveler, everybody gets his share of ups and downs. None exempted. We cope in ways that we know or are available to us. That is the rule.  All is good.

What becomes a problem is when we cower and grovel in the dark utterly overwhelmed and defeated by our challenges.  We then begin to lose control or grip on life happening to us. It's the feeling that the world is oblivious to our misery and God deaf to our prayers. I've seen it happening to friends and I myself have been there before.

When this happens we need to push ourselves hard and harder. The battle is no longer with the issues confronting us but the battle is with the self. I have read somewhere, to quote .. 'we are our worst enemies and our biggest battles'.

But we can also be our own heroes.

Step up to courage, determination, hope, and a faith which God can be so proud of as He watches us. Happily He will bless our efforts far more than our weary hearts can hold.  Joy will be restored in our hearts. So much to be happy about!
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Hope you're all enjoying this long weekend. I did with mine. Yesterday was a lovely dinner spent with family. Precious.

God bless you and yours!




Friday, August 15, 2014

MY MAST TREE - MAGNIFICENT IN ITS PURPOSE

Seeing it from my front window.
Source: Internet

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Outside situated between the street and my patio stands a tree. A visible landmark perched on my tiny patch of a garden. Have you seen a mast tree? I think you have but you just didn't notice it for its name.

Allowed to grow to its original size, it can be a very tall tree. But mine is trimmed regularly for better management. Unlike the other trees in my neighborhood it is not broad in trunk and foliage but rather slim with its pointed leafy branches close to its body pointing to the ground. Actually, it looks more like a Christmas tree now after being trimmed just a few weeks ago.

I can't help but stand awed by this tree. When the hot sun bears down unbearably on that part of the patio, it absorbs about 40% of the scorching heat (have read that somewhere). When a typhoon pours out its fury, it blocks fierce winds and heavy rains from smashing my front window. A great wind breaker. And I have read somewhere too that a mast tree also absorbs noise. Such a wonderful blessing.

It stands tall, unbending, uncomplaining, and yet serving the better good. And I think... I really really think... that it communes with God all day.
How else can it be when I see it stand tall, like being cared for, nurtured, protected by some Unknown ....... with not an ounce of help from puny human me I think it enjoys a wonderful relationship with its Creator.

Amazing, isn't it? If an ordinary tree can do that, maybe man can be much like it too.... magnificent in its purpose. A creation meant to give glory to its Creator. A man of sterling character, of silent power, of generous giving, a blessing to others, of an abiding faith, trust, and love for God.


A man of silent strength and vision mindful of its real purpose on earth as defined in the heavenly blueprint of life and living.
 
How I praise and thank God for this lovely gift of a tree ..... my friend, hero, and mentor.

(The top picture was taken long time ago when new screens were being installed on the front window. There you can see the tree... untrimmed as yet but standing solid and strong. Like it always has been, is, and continue to be.)

Blessings, everyone! Enjoy your day; savor life. :-)

Oh, and thanks for dropping by.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TUNE INTO ABUNDANCE




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On the subject of abundance, people are used to talking about it in the material sense. The having of things, possessions, money at ready disposal and caprice or whim. It's flaunted... advertised... celebrated... gossiped about... or in some instances criticized for its source or manner of use. But regardless those too are blessings.

This morning after a breakfast of fruit and oatmeal I picked up a book which I haven't read for a long time, cruised through its pages not really intending to read it and stopped on the page which had this quote...........



"Not what we have but what we enjoy 
constitutes our abundance". 
--- John Petit-Senn

What are the things you truly enjoy in life? Let's not talk of money. Let's bring it to a higher plane of understanding this time.

While you ponder on the question, I shall take the liberty to list down a few things I enjoy most. Maybe you can find some of yours too on the list.

----- Books. I have boxes full of books in storage waiting for the library I had been planning for it. Some of them might get to the donation box perhaps but most will stay for a long long time yet. There are such books which you just can't part with, which you enjoy reading again and again. Timeless.

----- EasyStitchMax sewing machine. It's perfect for sewing together a purse, shopping bag, or tote bag out of old pairs of jeans. Creative juices burst out of the flood gates of creativity which could even surprise yourself as you bury yourself in it. It's always a fun and enjoyable activity.

----- Peace and quiet. Usually in the early dawn of sunrise. This is when the world seems to stand still.... before life awakens to the usual hustle-and-bustle of life and living.

----- Serenity. Just being there in the moment... calm, untroubled. Sometimes I get this just sitting there with my dogs... together we look out to the street outside or look up to the skies of blue I so love.

----- Mother Nature. Trees swaying in the breeze, waves splashing on the shore, mountains high and mighty, meadows of green and gold... every magnificent thing in our physical world. I run to her to be healed in my soul.

----- Gratitude. Oh but so much to appreciate and be thankful for! Tangible and intangible. The list can be very long and more gets added to it day by day. Always there will be something to be thankful for.

----- Blessings. They come in all sizes, shapes, reason, unexpected, timely, and many other wonderful things which point to one Magnificent GOD. He who showers on us his favor, love, and protection unconditionally. My cup runneth over with joy!

Have a great day, folks! Thank you for your friendship. God bless you with all good things more than your kind hearts can hold.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

BUT TO ACQUIRE WISDOM, ONE MUST OBSERVE




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"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook."  --  William James

Now that's not an easy one. Human nature dictates that we see the world as we are.....  our preferences, choices, insights, perceptions, and the like. Out there is both the good and the bad. We choose what we want into our lives influenced by our upbringing, education, the presence or absence of influences, and our experiences. All of those can be good or bad or both.

But if we had listened to our mothers (learning always starts from the home) we would be diligently and seriously learning our lessons down the road of life and living. Yet there are some of us who don't. With LACKADAISICAL (lacking in spirit or liveliness) attitudes and WHIMSICAL (unpredictable, capricious, erratic) ideas we go about aiming wildly for the stars. 

Wisdom or being WISE (having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment) won't be handed to you on a silver platter.  You work at it.

Meaning you don't go about your day just cruising but you let life touch you. You get involved in life and living; you get in there and get your hands dirty, so to speak, with every challenge, struggle, hurdle coming your way. There will be irritations big and small in things and in people. Irritations which serve no purpose but to mess up your life. Choose your battles, if you can. Face it with understanding, compassion, and a discerning eye. You may get bruised, hurt, burned, scarred but haven't you heard it said... 'no pain; no glory' or something to that effect. The best part of it all is to come out of it much wiser. And that's for having learned the lessons well. That's for paying attention to life. I have learned that much in my own.

One more thought --- you don't have to wait to be old or grow old to be wise.

Life is a great teacher -- and it also can tell you what to overlook, if you let it.

God showers blessings today.... catch a bucket-full!!
A blessed day to everyone!
(Thanks to Mr. Quote Man for the quote... and to the internet for the posters.)


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

NEVER-SAY-DIE SPIRIT

 

 


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 'When the archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim -- improve yourself.' 
--- Gilbert Arland
 
How many times in life do we miss our mark? Plenty, I am sure. That covers about every goal, dream, challenge we put out there. It touches most every area of our human and mundane lives. It causes our grief, sorrow, disappointment, frustration, misery. All these over fallen dreams.....  over missing the mark.

I know somebody whose story is about missing marks and it's also a story about trying it one more time or several times and each time much harder than the one before. Did she finally make it? Well, the last time I checked she's still at it shooting more arrows aiming for the mark. Looking like she has more arrows inside her sheath, more than the average number a sheath can hold it seems. I admire her spunk.

So what makes a person go at something so doggedly, determinedly, persistently, bullheadedly, or in some maybe stupidly (when the object doesn't match the effort in value)?

Nope, this time this piece won't be about self-improvement or courage. You already know that. This is about that friend's 'never-say-die' spirit. It's that tiny kindling flame inside which won't take 'no' for an answer. It stands on the foundation of hope and the fierce belief that something is worth fighting for. It's believing in one's dreams  ---- that one dream that will never die.

She will make it yet.... will still be aiming for a dream... even if she grows to be a hundred years old at it. Sometimes it breaks my heart to see her. But when I look into her eyes....  I become a believer.

Have a great day, folks; never mind the weather.
Remember ...  'don't let anyone rain on your parade'.
God bless you with so much more than your heart can hold!



Sunday, August 3, 2014

COME AWAY WITH AS MUCH AS YOUR CONTAINER CAN HOLD




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My good friend sent this quote to my inbox as he usually does almost everyday. So I've created a folder just for him; every quote he sends is deposited there. Then when the writing muses push me to write I go visit the folder and see what would ring the writing bell in my head. Occasionally the folder would undergo a sorting process: weeding out those which I think would be off my radar. Meaning if it does not bang that writing bell in my head then it's a no-go. Because I believe there is no better rule of thumb in writing than this ----- Write from the heart! Or with your heart! In short, when the heart does not feel it --- don't write it.

So this is what my friend sent me this morning........

"Some of us are like wheelbarrows  -  only useful when pushed, and very easily upset." ---- Jack Herbert
 
Wheelbarrow  - a small cart with a single wheel at the front and two supporting legs and two handles at the rear, used typically for carrying loads in building-work or gardening.

It does not run on its own; somebody has to push it. Can you imagine wheelbarrow lives? Well, sometimes one does need a push to get on with doing something but that's a different kind of push. In the absence of the sterling qualities of resourcefulness or initiative, it can be said that no amount of wishing will get them there .... wherever or whatever it is they want to be or achieve.

Is there hope for wheelbarrow lives? Probably if they attach an engine or a motor to their wheelbarrow. Seriously, when one recognizes where he is at - when he comes to a slump in his life - and admits its harsh reality and then revamps his way of thinking... that now will inject that much desired push to move forward.....but this time he does it to himself. As a friend defined it .... 'it's an internal job'. Meaning nobody can do that for him; he alone  should work on his own transformation. It may be slow work but truly rewarding in the end. (Thanks, Mr. Quote Man, for the quote.)

Still on the subject of wheelbarrows but on a different thought. Remember the book I was reading last week? Here's a lovely line from page 23.................

"Think bigger thoughts; paint grander dreams.You can go to a gold mine with a tiny wheelbarrow or a huge one,  and you will come away with as much gold as your container will hold."  --- Mr. Everit, a character in the book 'What I Learned From The Richest Man In The World' by Alan Cohen.

Bigger thoughts, bigger dreams, bigger wheelbarrow.
Makes great sense, right?
That works too with blessings.
I've got a wheelbarrow this B-I-G!!!
Get yourself one, too... if not BIGGER!!!
Have a great weekend!  :-)



Friday, August 1, 2014

SO WHAT KEEPS A BIRD UP IN THE AIR





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Have you ever wondered what keeps a bird up in the air in flight....? Is it the aerodynamics of its wings (the study of the properties of moving air, and especially of the interaction between the air and solid bodies moving through it)  ... or of the kindness of the wind giving it its necessary lift? But honestly to those who believe, it's more than just aerodynamics or the wind that keeps it up there. It's bigger than both!

Try following that thought and you will come to a wonderful awakening.... realization.... enlightenment.... understanding.... of creation, its creatures, and of life.

What you choose to believe will certainly define the quality of your life. Have read something like that in a book somewhere sometime back. But it stuck in my mind since and had helped me understand some odd challenges at certain stations in my life as I looked back. Suffice it to say that a better understanding of what transpired raised the value of the lesson or lessons placed there by some Unknown and which were meant to be learned. Thus have reaped its benefits far more than desired or expected. I came out much wiser (I hope).

What keeps us at life is more than just being smart.. intelligent... lucky... hardworking... privileged... and other things more attached to being human. Just like the bird up in the air in flight, it's not just the aerodynamics or the generosity of Mr. Wind that keeps it up there. It's bigger than that!! As something bigger is at work in our lives.

Good morning, everyone. Have a great day!
Go joyfully to your day and be blessed. He's just waiting to bless you. :-)



Monday, July 28, 2014

UPGRADING YOUR LIFE IS AN INSIDE JOB





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You know what, there isn't really much one can do with a rainy day. Oh, maybe you can cook up a nice dish... or paint something new and creative... or take down a book you probably have enjoyed reading for the __th time.... or watch a movie on DVD -- something you may have seen for the __th time too!! Have I mentioned all of the options? I guess not. Because we each deal with a rainy day in so many different ways wherever you are in the world. Oh well! :-)

Well, this time I got out my file of old notes. But first to explain why I have a 'file of old notes'.....  You see, I have this tiny habit of writing down anything I have heard or read which would ring a big bell in my head. Wherever I may be ... Starbucks or some other coffee shop which has a convenient magazine stand for its cafe habitues, or in some restaurant with great writings on its walls as part of its decor, or in a book store browsing through rows and rows of books and stumbling upon a nice phrase or line, or in a movie theater listening to a character's dialogue which strikes that big bell in my head. They're all down on paper, that's for sure. And which explains why I always have a note pad or notebook inside my tote bag... and two pens. Why two? Just in case one runs out, the other fills in quite conveniently.

Now that's the 'why' of it, the 'what for' is simply to feed the writing bell in my head. As you may have guessed it correctly, it then translates into the posts I write here or in the blog.

So this one was written on a piece of paper, a page off the familiar note pad beside my bed,.... and to quote

"There are two ways you can change your life", he answered. "You can change your environment or you can change your mind.  Sometimes you can change your environment.  Always you can change your mind.  It's the one thing you have always power over.  Successful people find ways to shine where they are." -------  the character Mr. Everit in the book 'What I Learned From The Richest Man In The World' by Alan Cohen.

Further, Mr. Everit says (on that same chapter) that.....  "Upgrading your life is an inside job.  If you make cosmetic changes only, you're just rearranging chairs on the deck of a sinking ship".
Unquote.
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By the way, get hold of the book if you can. It's a terrific read, rain or shine, with pen in hand or none. Blessings, everyone! :-)