Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Somebody sent this quote to me some days ago. It immediately set down my thoughts to a dance..... a happy dance. Why? Because those lines are just what I would have wanted to say myself but which somebody else had beat me to it :-) .........

To quote...

"The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises." -- Leo Buscaglia

Beautiful, isn't it? Spiritual exercises.

That's what we should be doing .. to ourselves and to one another. Sadly we often forget that in our daily lives. Instead we set our own sights to things outside ourselves applauding someone or something else when we should be acknowledging our own specialness first as being the work of God's hands. Have you ever thought that maybe God wants to talk to us about this?

I say this in the context of understanding our own birthright as children of God. We are special and in being so are equipped by the wisdom of God with all that is necessary to bring out that specialness to others and to the world. Whatever gift you have been blessed with has a built-in mission.... to help make this a better place with who you are and what you have, by God's design.

Remember this line? ---- "There are two ways to spread light; to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." (Edith Wharton) ....... And that, my friends, is our spiritual exercise.

Stand tall.... strong... brave... empowered to be who you really are -- a child of God. Be happy with that thought. Be HIS light to the world.

May God bless you with His Light and Grace for all times.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My two girls and I were at a wake yesterday. In a wake after going through the necessary courtesies, I choose to sit somewhere unobtrusively be with my thoughts in prayer or just watch the moving tapestry of life around death.

Life is fragile. Short. Fleeting. So what are we doing with it?

We hone our talents to prepare living our dreams which we strain so hard to reach. We also get into relationships and give it the best of who we are. We try to be good with the thought that God will be so pleased and take us into heaven someday. We get into physical programs or regimen to tone our bodies.. make it healthier, younger or tougher. We get into academic pursuits to beef up our intellectual vigor. We continually raise the bar of achievement with the thought that bigger or greater is better. All with the aim of making life well worth living.

All well and good. We carve out numerous successes from it. We become content.

But my aunt would say '.. Those things for which we drive ourselves to acquire or achieve are needs and wants personified.' 'Built-in', she says, 'for what is a human without them.'  But the so-called threads weaving in and out of our tapestry is loosely woven yet.. lacking some more thread.

So what does make human more human.. and life more life?

Maybe somewhere out there somebody else of higher mind-greater thought has found the answer. Let me know. Meantime......

- I will pay more attention to the birds singing in the treetops. Call up my dear friend often and not only when I want something. Buy gorgeous fresh flowers for no occasion at all. Express love in tangible ways to family often. Pass it forward without prejudice or bias. Take my morning walks and savor nature's warm embrace. Enjoy the moment. Eat ice cream from a cone licking it like a 5 yr old does. Be generous with praise, encouragement. Speak freely of words which build up people and not destroy. Not wait to be nice nor for the occasion to be nice. Be nice everyday. Be more understanding and forgiving of flaws in myself and in others. Be real. Pray for others more.. even if they don't need it. Tho I think everybody needs a prayer at one time or another.

I remember mom tell me this before.... 'a man is not just a mind, heart, and body... but essentially a soul'. And this, I guess, is the missing thread ... ofttimes neglected in weaving our tapestry of life.

There is the nice prayer I so dearly love. And I know you have come across this before too ......

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Blessings to everyone on this fine Wednesday. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We get plenty.... real people in our lives in the past and present and in the future (who knows who we'll be meeting) --- who in very special ways give us some learning and knowledge that help make a difference in our lives, one-way-or-another in-small-or-huge-measure.

I have my own share too. Some don't even know that they are to me. But they teach me so much more than what I have learned in school... just by living good lives, being led by good attitudes, taking on the challenges of life one day at a time with a good amount of positivity, and understanding the power of faith. Other than my parents and family and close friends, most of them are ordinary simple people... the young housewife who does nails on the side, the cleaning lady, the laundry woman, the 'taho' (soya) vendor, the taxi driver-friend (suki), the elderly jeepney barker at the terminal on the main road who never fails to give my daughters and me his great toothless smile... and many more spread out through the years of my life tapestry.

Somehow in some unexpected unplanned ways we get glimpses or snippets of teaching or learning from them. Unawares and without trying to they open up our world bigger and wider. We come out of each encounter much better persons.

And there is this other mentor or mentors.........

A ray of warm sunlight, drops of rain, a soft and gentle breeze, a budding flower, the bluest of skies, trees doing their nature dance in the wind, waves rolling to the shore, mountains marking the horizon with their greatness and splendor, or quiet gentle meadows and fields, a full moon on a starlit night, the twinkling of stars on a clear night sky, or a huge tree trunk standing -- bare quietly holding up its own testimony on the irreversible passing of time .....

We all sit at their feet as they teach us how beautiful nature is. We learn how so much similar to our human life is its own gift of life. They are born... live... love... die.

All of them.... precious mentors. All of those lessons learned... treasured gems.
And everything in summing up leads to this one simple truth -----
God, in teaching us, uses all of his creation to carry out the job.

May God's grace and light shine upon you! :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Here's something I have learned from an interesting interview on the radio today....

honoring parents and the elderly
good deeds
positive thinking

All these in essence are good guides to a good life. These are simple things which need no further explanation. We're quite familiar with each. Yet we unfortunately can claim only one or two on that list while the rest have to be relearned over and over... again and again.


At the start of the new year so much have been said about good luck and bad luck. I'm not a fan. You see, even while in our mothers' wombs, already God had our respective lives all figured out.... Everything down pat to our joys and sorrows... the challenges to face... the people to meet.... and the roads to travel. Even our myriad and diversity of successes and failures. I believe that everything in it in that long journey happens for a reason by God's design. And this I believe too... that whatever the trials there is not meant to destroy us in the end as what most would think after going through tough and tougher times most of their lives (as they perceive it to be). If that happens I think that it is more of our ignorance and not because of God's neglect.

Don't get me wrong, life has not been easy for me too and I just like you have struggled with my own fears and doubts, frustrations and disappointments, hurt and pain. I may have been oblivious to its merits then because when you are in something like that you see nothing, understand nothing. But you know what, in retrospect, that was the best thing or things that ever happened to me. Nope I didn't fight back, threw no rocks, punched no face (although it was indeed a big temptation). Why? God took control of my life while I sat humbly learning at His feet. All I did was to bring them all to His care. I just sat there learning from the Master. Through it all I earned my spurs .. of maturity and wisdom. Indeed HE's the GREAT TEACHER.

There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck. But there is such a thing as having the will to --- let go and let GOD --- as you go about the business of living by God's design. Blessings will come far beyond measure -- far beyond your wildest hopes and dreams. You don't need feng shui for that.

You can never go wrong believing ... GOD.
You gotta believe this, that HE will take care of everything -- if you let HIM.

Monday, January 16, 2012


"I have learned .....
That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain,
but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."
- Andy Rooney

Saw that quote in an email sent to my inbox on this sort-of-gray morning. But gray doesn't stop the birds from singing... Can even hear them chirping at the top of their lungs on the tree tops. Right now several have alighted atop my clothesline in the garage... singing too.

Back to that lovely quote. It's great.. the mountain top experience. Euphoria! It means goals achieved, wishes granted, dreams realized. But that's just part of the whole picture. The rest of it is that part wherein one travels from the beginning and upwards the climb. There with every determined step one takes is where one gets truly acquainted with the learning and growing and the happiness that comes out of it. The overcoming of doubts and fears, the beating down of frustrations and disappointments, the new-found strength, the birth of steady faith, the evolved unfaltering courage, the wisdom to know when to take that two-steps-backward and the one-big-step-forward thing. And if you have the right handle on ... it's going to be quite a life journey you will never ever forget. And the mountain top experience at the end of your journey.......... will be one you surely and truly will deserve.

And this is addressed to a good friend.....
So carry on with the climb. We all are.
God is watching with great love and care.
Good Luck, buddy! Blessings! :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This picture is a gem. It's been circulating and shared by many on the internet. (Saw this on a friend's fb page. Had to bring it here. Thanks, DB.) The picture tells us something, doesn't it? You know what, we each can do better with that picture... Make it real. First, print the picture. With a cut out photo of yourself (your face), paste it on the head of the nameless kind gentleman offering his slippers. And with pentel pen in hand in broad strokes write ---- ' YES I CAN! '. Then post this in your bedroom or office wall.

YES I CAN..... be kind and kinder, be more giving and forgiving, be free of biases and discrimination, be compassionate and gentler with suffering brothers and sisters, be generous in thought word and deed for the greater good, be proactive in addressing the immediate issues of my community-my country-my environment, be honest and true in all my dealings, be willing to be the channel of God's blessings to others, and be the steady light shining out to the world.

"There are two ways of spreading LIGHT:
To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
-- (Edith Wharton)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


"Every man has an obscure respect for courage in others, especially if it is moral courage, the rarest and most difficult sort of bravery... It makes the very brute understand that this man is more than a man."
(Passage from Life of Christ)

Courage... what a beautiful word that is! And who says it's only for the select few who eat challenges for breakfast. Courage -- you see it on the streets, you sense it in your friends and strangers alike. Because we all have our stories to tell. Our personal histories which stand as testimonies to a life splattered with all that you can imagine would happen-will happen. That's life.

Imagine a movie of your friends' lives and you sit there glued to what is happening or being said or done. You see the failed dreams -- the fierce struggles -- the unfairness and meanness of some hearts -- the frustrations that bring one down to his knees -- the silent tears, hopes and dreams -- the anger welling up from utter desperation -- the ebb-and-flow of faith -- the masks put on because he's been told that he can't let the world see his misery. You're seeing his life.... but you're seeing yours too. Because life knows no rank but treats everyone the same with trials, turbulence, struggles, and fierce challenges. Everyone. There is no trouble-free life... or trouble-free person.

Courage in whatever form, huge or small, is what takes us down the journey each time. It's what turns our eyes to the skies looking for that rainbow or searching the far horizon for traces of one's dream. Or looking for the sun behind or beyond the gray clouds of misery. It's looking into a stranger's eyes trying to see a friend. It's that hope attached to a resume for a job and future so-desired for self or family. It's that once flickering faith in the heart now reborn on seeing doctors, nurses, medicines working to help heal the disease shaking his body. It's the soldier at the forefront fighting a war that isn't even his. It's a old wrinkled farmer working bent and weary under the fierce noonday sun. It's a middle-aged woman washing other people's clothes for a measly sum to feed her fatherless children. And more... so much more.

Courage is what you see everyday. It's the face that makes life real. It's what we have plenty of. It's what life is made of.

Stand tall with your armor of courage. It's God's gift.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I watched the movie 'Smurfs' with my daughter last night in the living room. Cute entertaining and amusing lil' characters. But there was this line said by Papa Smurf in that scene with Neil Patrick Harris which stuck to my mind long after the movie was over.... Not verbatim but in essence it goes this way -- 'In knowing what to do, the small voice must come from the heart.'

But how many of us do listen to that tiny voice in our hearts? And do we ever listen? Easily we attach more importance to what the mind dictates. Like it never fails us. Well, sometimes it delivers where and when it should. But I have learned that some things are better thought of or lived from/with the heart.

Better exemplified with the people in our lives. People give life so much meaning. Reason enough that we should and must handle it with care. And it's better done with the heart than anything else there could ever be.

Oh sure we also get the 'unlovables' -- unpleasant characters to say the least. Nope, I don't pretend to love the hard-to-love characters in my journey. That's not how it usually works, in reality. But on looking at the bigger tapestry of life, that too (if you'll think hard enough) is part of our growing and learning. Nothing is ever bad if you try to look at it from the standpoint of God. After all there's always a reason for things happening, by God's design. You have to learn to look at it that way or you'll go crazy trying to figure it out.

When you deal with people, it's wise to think twice first. More often we get confused or bewildered as to what the right thing to say or do at any given situation good or bad. We can make mistakes with that confusion and risk hurt feelings or hearts broken. It's a pull between 'reaction' and 'consideration'. But if we stop awhile and listen to that small voice from within.... right there in the heart, you'll get things right more often than not. On the side of care and understanding.

The heart, as designed by God, speaks the language of kindness, compassion, sympathy, consideration, understanding, empathy, concern, gentleness, honesty, truth, humility, and more which altogether form the heart and person of a child of God. You do know we are created in His image. That's who we are.

That small voice within, coming from the heart, is the voice that makes things right. Let's pay more attention. Try to listen more. The heart, our heart, is the core of our being ..... and the heart is where God makes his home in us.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


In retrospect...........

"I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be." -- -- Ken Venturi

What are you good at? I know a friend who says that he doesn't have any talent to speak of, that there is nothing he can bring to the table or to the world.

Wow! Is he for real? Then maybe he does not know his God - the God who made him. Because God does not create junk.

When you first saw the light of day out from your mother's womb, your life has already been figured out by Him. He placed everything that you would be needing to carry out your mission order. Right, YOUR mission order. And when God does that, it only means that you have been equipped and enabled to work it.

But since He also gave you your free will, much of that will depend on what you intend to do with it. Or your understanding of it.

Your parents help you along to discovery by sending you to school, molding your character in the home, and you yourself get into the mainstream of gathering experience which in turn help shape your inclination. The hint is right there under your nose. Now the question to ask is.... where are your eyes set on? Or your heart.. and mind.

Let's make it simple. The goal of your existence, our existence, is to serve. Jesus showed us the way. But God in His magnificent god-ship decided to make it easier for us by blessing us each with talent. Talent which comes in many forms of thought, speech, and action. It's there for our enjoyment.. yes ... but solely not for our self-gratification alone. It has a purpose, by God's design. And that purpose is to bring God's magnificence out to the world.

Nope, I'm not thinking of doing it on a grand or grander scale. Although some others may or can. Saving the endangered species, preserving our forest lands, feeding programs for malnourished children, building houses for the homeless, and many other worthy causes. That also is part of the diversity of the gift. But to the greater majority of simple lives and simple people, we are matched with it in a more reasonable and realistic scale. Yet ordinary people who can do things extraordinarily well, by God's design.

We do it with our family, our neighbor, our friends, our community, and even to strangers who are called to our circle of life. We bring to them simple gestures of kindness, loyalty, responsibility, hard work, optimism, courage, help, inspiration, encouragement, faith, goodness, laughter and smiles, hope, strength... even our music and dance, our writing and art, our intelligence in science and mathematics, our inventions that make a difference in society, our friendships. There's lots more. You can see yourself in any of these. All with the aim of helping make this world a better place for everyone. Or perhaps just one person. That would still be good. Service with a higher goal. You see, we too are co-creators of our world.

That is God's definition of talent.

So.. the question again is --- What are you good at? Use it! No excuses now, you have to better than you ever thought you could be. God expects it. He planned it. And know what..... 'Whatsoever you shall sow...... so shall you reap.' (Gal 6:7) Blessings to you all!

(Photo courtesy of Mike Kinnaird)

Monday, January 2, 2012


There's somebody I know who faces this new year with such grim anxiety. She says it's going to be the worst of times for people-for the world. That so?

If it is, then we have only ourselves to blame for it. Who inhabits the earth? People. Who comprise life? People and other creations. Who manages the environment and resources? People. Who runs governments? People. Who fights ever so stupidly with wars? People. Oh the list can get long and longer. No excuses now.. it's people no matter how you look at it.

Therefore in simple language, if we do badly at our tasks and role the results will just as bad if not much worse. If we have made of ourselves such poor examples as human beings and of living, we shouldn't be surprised at the mess that follows it.

On the other hand, if we have been our best good selves we would be basking in the glory of our successes and Mother Earth -- she won't have to kick us hard in the butt no more. And God would be smiling happily and proudly.

But wait, there's a lot of good out there still. Individuals who stick out their necks to try to help save fellow beings, the environment, the animal world, work to bring about much needed change, brave enough to go against the tide, who lead with nothing but their own armor of hope - faith - courage - belief.

Because they believe in change. Change will and can get us the brighter future we so hope for. We need change to feed our highest goals and dreams for ourselves, for our children, and for the generations following. We must change if we are to thwart the effects of our bad deeds. Yes we can if we put our minds and hearts to it. Anyone who says we can't isn't trying hard enough himself.

This is the message of the new year. We are given a new slate to step up to our highest potential as individuals, as people, as human beings, as children of God.

And whatever other reasons, rhetoric, meanings ventured out by others, I believe in this simple thing .... the New Year means new start, new life, new hope, new dreams, new opportunity, new reason for doing things right for us and the world. Let's go back to the original plan, by God's design, to live right.