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!



Sunday, October 5, 2014

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE




 
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This morning I saw this print out of a piece written by Chris Assaad in July of 2013 laid on top of my books beside the laptop. Apparently my daughter put it there very well knowing that such things I don't want to lose though at times I would forget. Crumpled at the edge but intact had this title -- Remember Who You Are. It's a long piece, so I'll just take you down to the last paragraph which is its essence anyway. Here it is.........

"All is well, my beloved. You are accounted for, and you are being provided for in abundant measure. Breathe deeply and slowly. Return to this moment, and you will see that all that your heart desires is here for you and lives within you. You are one with the Divine, and your prayers are always being heard. Listen and you will hear that they are always being answered beyond your wildest imaginings. Listen and you will hear that you are being guided at every step. Trust in the perfect timing of your life's unfolding. Remember that yesterday and tomorrow are not real. Only this moment is real. In this moment, life is perfect. You are perfect.

Remember who you are"
                                                                                     - Unquote

That says it all, doesn't it? Those who may doubt or perhaps wonder on the meaning of life and everything happening to us, this is your answer. I believe that when we forget who we are in the bigger scheme of things... in the bigger tapestry of the Divine... life becomes quite a huge mess. We get caught in its maelstrom (chaos) and much of it we have only ourselves to blame.

I always go back to that piece every time I feel the rug seemingly pulled from under my feet or when burdens overwhelmingly hover above my head.

Then I am restored... to who I am.... and most importantly to WHO my GOD is!

I am. And so are you. By God's design.


(Thanks to the internet for the lovely pictures.)


Monday, September 29, 2014

WORDS THAT HAVE MADE THEIR MARK







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Well, has it ever occurred to you getting hooked by something someone has said? That's what Maya Angelou's words did to me. 

Many, in fact dozens, of Maya Angelou 's quotes have bitten off a huge chunk of my heart and mind ... replaced them with her wisdom. Here are just a few which I bring here to share with you. I appreciate and thank Maya for putting these thoughts brilliantly together in such a wonderful piece.. or pieces.

Let's see.... beginning from the top....

1)  
Admit that on this planet not everybody is your ally or friend. And people as they are have their own individual lives to live and agenda to pursue. Remember how often we've been told and reminded by the wise that life should be lived positively and not to allow any of the negatives to anchor itself on you. Sometimes I forget that rule because I just do what we ordinarily do.... trust. Realizing soon enough and too late that I was just an option. Sad but I have learned since. God is good.

2)   Friends have always warned me to be careful of 'friend requests' here or on any social site. They're talking about 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. Honestly, it's a fact in and out of connections and contacts. There will be good as well as bad in most everything in life. Yet I won't ever want to miss the chance to meet someone who God might be sending into my life as a friendly blessing. Or maybe meant to be both to each other. By God's design.

3)  
Everyone is born with talent. But receiving this gift from God doesn't end there. Use it. God blesses you with a kind heart, be kind.. super kind. God gives you the ability to paint, paint masterpieces. God equips you with the skill to write, so then write till your fingers drop - write your heart out till it bursts. When you receive, learn to give back. You see, it's a wonderful way of praising and thanking a Magnificent God.

4)  
I keep hearing this from my relatives who believe that success is measured on how much you earn or how much is in your bank account. But as a teenager I was bothered by that and felt that something was wrong in there somewhere. If it was all about money and looking from where I was starting, it would surely use up all of my lifetime to get where I wanted to be. But Mom would always remind me that ... 'it's what best you can put on the table which truly would define your success. The kind that matters.' -- And it's not always all about money.  
  
So there you are. Am sure that you have your own lists and corresponding insights to words of wisdom from people you admire. Indeed they too help us understand much of what goes on in life.



Friday, September 26, 2014

ALL FOR A GOOD REASON --- YOU





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'Everything happens for a reason.' -- I have heard that spoken and written about for hundreds of times then and now.

When fortunes crumble, relationships disintegrate, dreams melt away, or hopes get snuffed out just like that....  they say it must be for some reason. But even to the wisest of men its reason or reasons may not be known right away, except for those already visible to the eye. Oddly its true understanding enlightenment or explanation would come much much later when the dust would have already settled down, so to speak. A dear friend, who I will always remember, said this .. 'Wait and you will know.'

 
I  have always thought that waiting would be too late. Because the hurt, pain, disappointment, frustration, sadness, sorrow experienced would have already taken its heavy toll and leave deep scars both in the mind and heart.... and to the body as well as anxiety would have worn it down, too. All seemingly beyond repair. Or so it all seemed.

But my friend insisted... 'Wait and you will know.'

To cut a long story short, I did wait.

Time took over.

And one by one the reason or reasons unfolded itself to me. Amazingly.

I have learned....  It is when one has learned to receive peace, learned to forgive, learned to adjust one's sails on the turbulent seas of life, grown by leaps and bounds in maturity, gained a better self-worth, and seen the world and its people for its myriad of flaws and imperfections that one is able to see... truly see beyond all of that pain and hurt. And finally begin to understand the why's of it all.
And best of all learn even more.. so much more. To be healed and joy be restored abundantly is its reward.

Everything happens for a reason. Definitely it's for a good reason --- You! By God's design. 
Be kind to yourself; wait where the waiting should.
Don't lose your smile. God will make the waiting worthwhile.
Blessings, everyone!




Thursday, September 25, 2014

BEHAVIOR OR SPEECH TELL LITTLE OF WHICH THE EYES CAN TELL MORE







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Standing by the window to make sure that Bk the cat won't get into his usual early morning feline mischief was futile effort as it proved to be because as soon as he was let out the door off he ran, jumped up to the ledge of the fence and jumped again up to the roof - agile indeed with his usual brand of bravado. Well, that goes to say that I won't be seeing him until feeding time..... That's BK!


Bravado - audacity – boldness - daring. Humans do that, too, and for a diversity of reasons. Even mischief, as BK the black cat was predictable in his own.

For whatever the reason, humans meaning you and me and the rest of mankind, are indeed brave, audacious, bold, daring. It’s what we know best how to live this life. We do it in different measure or degree of intensity, purpose, and will. Some of us may be transparent in our efforts and then some just quietly struggling behind masks which admittedly we also put on our selves sometimes. But the effort is the same.... brave.

Here in my place and out on the main road one could easily be eaten up by the busyness of life carried out by every two-legged creature moving from one place to the other and back. And then back again. On one side of the street stands the Jeep terminal where a Jeep barker reigns supreme with his voice calling out to would-be passengers to take this ride down to wherever it’s heading for. Mang Amboy stands tall in spite of his thin wrinkled aged frame and always with a friendly smile every time my family and I pass by or take that ride. Just like every friendly face you see in the neighborhood.

Does my story stop there? No.

I like looking into people’s eyes. Be they near me or far, and why I love the malls. It’s the perfect landscape for studying eyes. Nope, it’s not for or on a scientific or medical point of view. I’m neither of that. It’s from the standpoint of the eyes being the windows of the soul.

Behavior or speech tell little of things which truly matter or would make serious sense. When I want to better know a person I look into his or her eyes -- the so-called windows of the soul. Because truly behavior or speech tell little of which the eyes can tell more ... so much more. The eyes can never mask what is felt in the depths of one's heart. Eyes do not lie. The eyes tell the truth.

Mang Amboy’s eyes belie the smile on his face.

But brave definitely he is. His future may be dim, his problems plenty and challenges mountain-high, his family perhaps dysfunctional, and maybe he has health issues, too, on the side. Yet he carries on day after day after day. Because that is what he knows best --- to carry on even with these burdens on his frail back. 

Does that remind you of somebody you know or.....maybe yourself?

If that isn’t brave, what is??
Life is tough but people tougher.
God bless you!