Friday, November 25, 2016

MOTHER NATURE - MY ETERNAL LOVE

 

 --- Do you know why I love road trips,especially out there in the provinces? It's the pleasure of gazing at a wide expanse of meadows and fields and of the blue skies that I love. Blue skies punctuated with clouds white and light, stationary or in flight. Add to that the landscape of mountain ranges and the rich greens of trees and forests and the magnificence of the plant kingdom. There's nothing like it.

These were my thoughts when I painted this back then. And it has been a constant theme in my paintings.... the diversity of Mother Nature's landscape. She's a beauty and always will be to my eyes, heart and mind. I love her and always will.

I'm bringing this here to share with you who, I believe, also share the love for Mother Nature.

Thank you.



BECAUSE LIFE TRULY IS NOT ALL JUST ABOUT YOU OR ME

 

--------- We know that life is short. That all that is given us by the Divine is ... today. The present time wherein we live our truest selves... good or bad. Yet I also think that we still are given the choice to plan or manage it according to our preferences or likes or dreams or goals. But when you or me or they are through with all of that and soon realize that, like it or not. life is not all about us though it seems or appears to be --- we come to a halt and think about it. Because life is truly not just all about you or me..... not about our individual preferences in clothes, shoes, books, cars, hobbies, talent, career, profession, food, vacation, job, travel destination, people etc.... Life is so much more than that!
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Because life is also about sunsets and sunrises... seas and oceans... forests and mountains... plants and animals of such rich diversity... countries and their domestic concerns... universal problems... diversity of culture and race... differences in all the areas of life and living where people inhabit... and so much more.
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These things fill up our day. With and through all these we learn... unlearn... and relearn. These are the very things that make up a day in the life of a person. And the very things which help or make us grow. But that also depends on you .. on us.... respectively. We alone can make our day matter... or not. We alone can make the day and life worth living... or not. We alone can decide whether to continue living in our ivory towers and comfort zones or go down and out where real living is.
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Still..... whatever may be there in our minds and hearts gathered through the years, we must each strive or aspire to live life today as if it was our last day on this lovely planet. Live ---- love ---- learn ---- and grow not just the self but for others, too. Because today... the present day... is indeed special. Special means, I think, living it with the rest of humankind. By God's design.




Friday, November 11, 2016

IT'S THE PERSON AND NOT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MATTER



 

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I certainly agree with the above quote.

It's the person not the circumstance, not his money nor connections, not his education nor titles.  These temporal material things don't matter really where it matters most although these may have their uses, too.  But when you are up with tough challenges, it's really who you are which will define how it's all going to end.  Or how the battles will be won.. or lost.

 




Sunday, November 6, 2016

THERE IS A STORY IN ALL OF US. THIS IS WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT



 
 

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I remember this from long ago........

One day I was at the window just looking out and watching the world and people go by.... feeling relaxed and good with the day. That's when all the chores are done, of course, and Mom's already at the kitchen cooking up something for the evening's meal. Oh yes, she always starts early; never on rush mode whenever preparing for the family's meal. 

Well, I was enjoying the view of lush trees at my neighbor's yard across the street ... quite amused by the lively chirping of birds flitting here and there among the branches ... when a group of people came walking by. Men and women in their middle ages and gauging from the chat going on have just come from a meeting at the chapel three blocks away. There was no missing that as they spoke in voices similar to that of teenagers with their voice boxes turned on 'loud' while chatting!

I sat there quite amused though admittedly mildly irritated too as they blew away my calm and peace. Oh well, another day........

So then my attention was riveted to them now. I saw this woman who was vigorously pressing a point she considered very important with hands flailing in the air as she addressed the group. One guy simply smiled and looked away. Another bearded gentleman argued without waiting for her to finish. The silver-haired woman walking beside her with deep frowns on her forehead shook her head slightly in apparent yet unspoken disagreement. Another woman in wedge shoes (I noticed because it looked too heavy for her thin small feet) listened intently behind the woman speaking. While the short heavy-set woman beside her walked poker-faced, not listening, I could see. Dead-ma. And this gentleman a few steps behind them (on purpose I thought) looked at them with or in utter amusement.

I turned towards Mom and said.... "What's with people?! Can't they at least agree to disagree?"

"Hold it there, young lady." she quipped still not leaving the kitchen as she could very well see the street from where she stood. Obviously she noticed what I was seeing outside the window and I was even sure that she caught the loud voices, too. She never misses anything. Are mothers all like that!?!

"Each one in that group is who he or she is because something or someone put it there. There is always some bias... prejudice... preference... judgement... insight... preconceived notion... expectation... perception... experience, or understanding behind every thought, word, or deed coming out from that person.  Those things and more have influenced or shaped that person and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. Perhaps adding some more, both good and bad, as new opportunities and challenges arise.

There is a story in all of us. This is what we're all about.

The exchange you saw were simply the display of responses by every individual in the group each lifted from their individual and personal memory bank of information gathered from day one of life. They respond according to what they know or to what or how they were programmed from birth.

Two things: 

One is the mechanical response. You turn it on like you do a car.... turn the key, it starts, and it runs. The other is the thoughtful response. You turn on your memory bank, sift through the data, select what is appropriate, and set it to work.

Experience will tell you that a well-thought out response will give you an edge of success over a problem. A thought response will help you evaluate the problem better and might even see the solution contained therein. A thought response gives room for creativity and a better-defined course of action."

"Wow! Mom, who wrote that? I'd like to have that book." I exclaimed wide-eyed and impressed.

"Experience." she smiled with a special glint in her eye as she turned back to her cooking. Oh it's a smile I'm familiar with whenever she scores a point. Bigger points, bigger smiles. I get that from her all the time. But you know what, I'll take that smile anytime-anyday-anywhere..! Happily!!
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Through the years, she was always there for me. Thanks, Mom!

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Love your mothers. Learn well from them


Friday, November 4, 2016

GIVING SO MUCH WITH SO LITTLE



This post is in remembrance of kind hearts and gentle souls who have touched my life through the years.  With their hearts spilling all over the place they gave me a glimpse of rainbows, moonbeams, lovely meadows, heaven, hope and faith where at times there seemed to be none.  They gave me so much with so little. With just being their simple, sincere, and humble selves they showed me and taught me about the beauty of the soul... of life... of the world... of a Magnificent God.

Thank you from my heart to yours.
God bless you.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

THERE IS BEAUTY IN DIVERSITY

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This morning went out for my usual early morning walk. As I was rounding the block and aiming for the hill... the rains came tumbling down! Ohhh.. there goes my early morning walk, I thought as I soft-jogged my way back to the house. And just when I was already in my house dress Mr. Sun came bursting out from behind the gray clouds shining brilliantly like he was enjoying the big joke he threw at me just a few minutes ago! Oh well.. !!

Yesterday's .morning walk was such a delight though. You would probably be thinking that walking these same roads, neighborhood, and hill repeatedly for so long now would have exhausted everything there was to see.

Maybe... or maybe not.

Things may look the same but not really.

Movement, Change, Birth. Growth. Decline.

Of such are the things of the earth and of life.

If you do not pay close attention, you will certainly miss its beauty, wonder, joy..... or miss to be awesomely amazed by it all.

Like this plant I saw up the hill.... a huge leaf standing tall and erect with its glistening young green color seemed to greet me with a huge "Hi five!!". And I hi-5'd back at it, grinning. Buti na lang walang tao sa kalye! :-D (Luckily there was nobody around that time of day!)

Not far from it stood this gorgeous flower ...once a shy tiny bud now proudly showing off its dazzling brilliant color in full bloom. Movement and change. It lends fresh color to the world.

Farther up ahead, I saw (again) this cluster of huge mushrooms (remember my post several months ago on the same mushrooms as large as my shoe?) ...but this time several have grown black in color (decline)... as new fresh ones sprouted nearby (birth).

Round the corner up ahead bloomed Birds of Paradise (thanks IC Guerrero for the name) standing proudly in a cluster, too, on the shoulder of the road. Birds of the same feather flock together, aye!? Just like humans do.

Then a handsome dog caught my eye as I continued up the hill. It appeared shut out of his human's home as he stood patiently waiting outside the gate hoping that somebody would open it and let him in. Just a thought here, if you can't take good care of your pets... don't get one. Don't even think about owning one. Because having a pet in your home is having another member added to your family. Be responsible for it. Love it like you would your child. My family has four dogs and eight cats. By the way, the word dog spelled backwards is God. It's just a reminder that nothing in God's creation is insignificant. Everything is .. for a reason. That means animals, too.

As I forced myself to walk past it (with a heavy heart), I came upon a middle-aged lady who was sweeping that part of the street fronting her house. When she saw me approaching she smiled a pleasant "Good morning!" That took the gloom out of my heart as I smiled back at her and moved on bouncing happily in my steps. Be generous with smiles; it can do wonderful things.

Walking downhill I saw a friendly neighbor who had a small bonfire going by the side of the road and under his fruits trees (several more I could see in his yard). I stopped to say hello. With a wide grin he said "Di ka talaga pumapalya noh?!" (You don't really miss your morning walks aye?!) I smiled even more with "Pwera lang kung umulan." (Except when it rains.) Stayed a few minutes more to admire his fruit trees now bearing fruits to which he said I was welcome to it anytime I wished so. Friends are the true treasures of a neighborhood, a community, a town or city, a country or of the world. They add to the spice of life and living with their own individual brand of uniqueness and with their blessed contribution to humanity.

As I neared my block and was just a few houses away from home ... I noticed the lush greenery outside a neighbor's gate. But these two particular bushes ... each different from the other in color and shape.... and yet sharing the same air, soil, and space stood side by side. Together. Happily. Humans can learn something from that.

There is beauty in diversity.

Have a lovely day and week. God bless you!


  

 

 
 

 
  



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

YOUR FAMILY IS BY DIVINE DESIGN


video

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- Sometimes we need to be reminded of things which truly matter in life. It's definitely not material things, they have their uses but it's not everything there is in life. 

Neither is it our jobs because we can always find another. 

Neither is it our friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, or husbands or wives because they are not forever and are also replaceable. . 

But if we lose our families... nothing can ever replace them. You won't get another one like them. Your family is tailor-made for you, by Divine Design. It's definitely flawed and imperfect and maybe farthest from your own personal expectations (maybe you have even considered your neighbor's family the ideal choice) ---- but to God's mind your family is what you need. 

God works that way most always --- He does not give you what you want but He gives you just what you need. When God says that is what you need, -- believe me, it IS what you truly need! 

Maybe it is hard to understand that. But you will if you would try to...... 

See your family through the eyes of God. 
Feel your family through the heart of God. 
Understand your family through the wisdom of God. . 

And know that God's wisdom works for your best. Always!
 
Love you all!





Thursday, October 20, 2016

IN THE TURBULENT WATERS OF OUR LIVES

 
 
 
 
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I was on the first leg of my early morning walk and was passing through the main street of our village. On the fifth house from the corner stood a middle-aged lady just looking out into nothing (as she appeared to be) from her house gate. When I got nearer I give out a morning greeting.
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She smiled and said "Tinanghali ka ngayon ah." (You're up late this time) .Hmmm... I guess I have become a familiar person in the neighborhood with my morning walks.
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I smiled back and replied with "Napasarap ng tulog kasi eh." (I overslept)
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"Buti ka pa di ka nababagot sa araw mo." she countered with apparent exasperation. (Good for you not bored with your day)
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I was surprised by that remark because we weren't close friends and yet she says something quite personal like that. I believe it's something only shared with friends. Quickly I snapped out of my surprise and said....
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"Minsan dumarating din yan sa akin. Pero nilalakad ko na lang yan." and smiled even more. (It comes to me, too, but I work it out with a good walk)
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She looked at me with disbelief and mumbled glumly.. "Sana ganun din ako." (Wish I was that, too.)
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Well, I won't go further into that encounter. It's enough that I tried to make a respectful exit and resumed my morning walk. As she too turned back into her house with her mood apparently unchanged.
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But it made me think........
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The lady depicted very well that part of our lives which we don't really want to talk about nor put out up front for everybody to see. It's that part of our mundane lives in which we come face to face with --- The turbulent waters of life and living.
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weariness, ennui, apathy, unconcern; frustration, dissatisfaction, restlessness, restiveness, lethargy, lassitude; tedium, dullness, monotony, repetitiveness, flatness, dreariness; informal deadliness, boredom, exasperation, dissolution, confusion, failure.
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It's known to self but not to others. Sometimes though it slips out, like it did with the lady I met.
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But we try to cope with all that with what we know... with our habits, acquired skills and resources, insights and knowledge, beliefs and faith. Others would resort to temporal measures or relief.... with alcohol, smoking, drugs, extreme activities, or seclusion. Some would go on further by putting up a ---- mask, facade, wall, cover and pretense ----- all meant to deflect attention away from their inner turmoil or misery. We tend to hide our tears, most times.
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Everybody does his or her thing when life is the subject. It's ups and downs are dealt with according to what one knows, have learned, or was taught.
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I have learned that when the negatives of the day or life assail you -------- you can either bawl your heart out or bang your head on the wall or vent it all out on family and close friends...... or ..... stop everything, be still, and know there is a God!.
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God bless you with peace, love, joy, and faith.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

MY PAINTING --- MY FAMILY


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This took several sittings before I got what I wanted from it. A good friend remarked ... "Wow! Isang upuan lang... painting na agad." (A painting in just one sitting. Wow!)


Well, that's not how it happens. Painting like any other effort or project takes time. Further, when inspiration comes it can also disappear into thin air without the slightest notice. Just like that. So sometimes it stays there on the table untouched until you're ready to take up the brush again. This can happen a few times more.

I work with inspiration; I don't paint for painting's sake. The result may not be a Van Gogh or a Picasso (from my tiny untrained hands) but certainly it will be one which would make my heart happy. I think that matters. :-)
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Allow me a few thoughts about this (watercolor) painting.
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That body of water there represents my family. Calm and serene waters. Of course it can be rough and unruly at times in rain and in storm. But that passes soon enough and goes back to its tranquil state. That place of peace is bounded by a mountain range, huge rock formations, and lush trees.These three things represent the three essential parts of our family life..... faith, love, courage.
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FAITH (the mountain range)
---- in a God whose great love makes all things possible.


LOVE (the lush evergreen trees/forest)
---- which lends all things its freshness, happiness, harmony, joy.


COURAGE (strong rock formations)
---- which keeps together the hope and belief that everything has its reason for being but that which faith and love can always conquer.
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God bless you, friends. Have a lovely and blessed weekend



Friday, October 7, 2016

THE POWER OF WORDS


 
 
 

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This is where we bright (that's what we think of ourselves) and yet puny (that's the reality in the spiritual world) human beings fail in almost all of our relationships every time. Sad but true.
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I had a niece, smart pretty intelligent successful, who can talk you out of anything... with her words. The thing is she thinks herself to be so good that she swims in that hostile pool of ego and pride without even noticing it.
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One day, she came to me with a satisfied grin on her face.
Seeing it I remarked.. "That face gloats."
She replied... "She was saying the wrong things and I simply corrected her. She deserved it. "
"According to you."  I replied.
"Awww c'mon, tita, don't give me that."  she countered pouting.
"And why not?! Did it ever occur to you to wonder what your words did to her?"  I questioned.
"Yeah, I made her realize that she was wrong."  she answered.
"Did you ever stop to think that she could be hurt very bad, right there in the heart where most everything in life matters?"
"That's her problem."  she countered still gloating.
"On the contrary, it's yours. One more thing, it takes so little to be kind."  and I walked away leaving her with her own thoughts.
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The post below was done in October 2013 and I'm bringing it back here to be reminded of the importance of .... words. So that I may avoid falling into that same hideous pool my niece has fallen into. It helps to be reminded often, forgetful creatures that we are.
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Here it is.....
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The new parish priest of our community was celebrating his first mass and with a homily on the subject of  'the power of words'. To sum up, it was truly a good homily delivered in a uniquely light hearted sincere manner yet made such a huge dent on everybody's thoughts if you could gauge it from the attentive response of the people there.
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Made me think................
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WORDS. What do we know about it except to speak it, to communicate with, or to express our sentiments with. We often take it for granted. Like it's part of our physical body of eyes, ears, nose, extremities, and mouth. So no big deal.
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BUT it IS a big deal!
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Do we know what words can do? It can make or break, build or destroy, make happy or cause someone to be miserable. 'Make' 'Build' 'Happy' would be easy to understand. Its effect is almost always visible. It's a no-brainer.
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On the other hand, 'break' 'destroy' 'miserable' hits very deep. That's a place nobody can see. Can be very hard to understand.
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When someone says to us... 'I love you', I am sure that would quickly transport us up to the skies rocketing even higher. Everything to our minds come out rosy and every living creature lovable. Oh I know because just like you I've been there too.
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Now when somebody else says... 'I don't like you', I am sure that we would according to our personality type respond to that accordingly. Strong types would deliver a straight punch to that person's (very ugly) face ..... while weaker souls would simply walk away and yes wither away with all that hurt and pain sinking lower deep inside. And if some still don't know it, bullying makes that happen.
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I have learned.......
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Words may be simply a tool, one of many, of our existence but it is such a powerful one. We should care for it as much as a handyman usually cares for his pack of tools with love and careful attention. We should use it with care, too. Unlike a fool who lets loose a barrage of anger, hate, or meanness through a language which belittles, disparages, depreciates and totally cuts down to size its object deliberately down to the ground... obliterating it with great force. Sadly, we do that often to our... families, spouses, children, parents, friends, the elderly, employees, students, equals, and even to strangers.
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We have hurt a lot of people with those ugly words and also at many times have been hurt a lot by those same words.
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So then ......why don't we be extra careful in our choice of words, in how we speak them. We should not try in any way be the cause, for any kind of reason thought of as just or something, of anyone's misery or heartbreak deserving or not. If we must say something, choose how to say it. There's enough misery going around in our world to think of adding more to it. Mother Earth is hurting from all the negativity forced down upon her.... 'let's cut her trees down', 'let's throw our trash into the rivers', 'let's bring down the mountains and build a mega mall', etc. Action springs out from words. We did that to her, we're doing that to her. Unless we seriously try to curb old mean harsh habits of speech we shall be doing it to her repeatedly until, well, she explodes. And we shall explode along with her.
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Remember the allegory of the ... rock or boulder and on it a continuing fall of tiny drops of water --- drip - drip - drip..... through the years. And then one day to everyone's amazement a hole was punctured on what was once solid rock. That's what words do to anyone or anything it touches. Words can pierce the soul.
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Let us try to help ease that pain or better yet to whack off the negative vibes to pieces with a good concentrated dose of positivity. We can do that with WORDS! .Words carefully chosen have the power to restore joy, good, well-being, hope, courage, inspiration, strength, love, faith, and trust. These can help create a better place and world for us.
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That, by the way, is also by God's design. HE wants us to be responsible owners and givers of the gift of words.


Be blessed, everyone. God pours out bushels of blessings right there into your day.
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(Thanks to the internet for these inspiring images.)