Sunday, December 27, 2009


Still – quiet – serene – calm…..just the right place to be to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the city. I took a long sweeping look from the left to the right taking in the walls and the dome over my head. It literally took my breath away – stained-glass windows – its colors heightened by the glow of sunset. Built atop a mountain this cathedral stands proudly in its old world charm attracting visitors from as far as the outskirts of the city -- a handsome structure which has stood the passing of time and inside its walls nothing less in beauty. The main altar stretched out to the dome ceiling with a masterpiece of art etched on its stained-glass wall. My gaze followed the intricate lines from the floor to the top and down again. Here a little to the side stood a long-legged candle-holder - its flame glistening softly from a candle held by a glass holder (yes, in stained-glass too) - a small unobtrusive presence in the midst of such towering magnificence.

I was made speechless in the moment and in the presence of such exquisite beauty. Yet as all good things must come to an end, like coming to the end of a good show, a gentle curtain of extinguishing glow fell into the room. The sun was disappearing in the far horizon. Light was snuffed out in all of the glass walls in a falling curtain of darkness except for one solitary lighted candle holder. Surprised I gasped in awe amazed at the sight of the beautiful play of light and colors from a small stained-glass candle holder -- unremarkable just a few minutes ago but now a burst of brilliance unmatched by all the glass on the walls of the cathedral!

People – they come in different sizes, shapes, colors, temperaments, attitudes, in myriad colors of character and eccentricity, and personal histories. They touch our lives in many different ways when they cross paths with us. They sparkle and shine as life carries them through the many stations in their journey. Each come to interplay with various experiences which lead to a colorful display of emotions, wit, brilliance, expression, opinion, insight, belief, perception -- and on the opposite end bias, prejudice preconception, presumption, and more, These make up the whole person with whom we interconnect with day by day. Beautiful, isn’t it? But true beauty ---- where does it lie??

When fortunes turn sour, when failure looms high above you, when the small irritations of the day gnaw at your calm and composure, when relationships disappoint, when dreams shatter, when debts soar, when spouses betray trust, when your own stable world is unhinged at the seams without warning, and when you are there tittering on the edge of indecision – when all of these dark forces threaten to snuff out the light and brilliance of your day and of yourself, what do you do?

My mom summed it all up with how she lived her life. It was a life strewn with all conceivable trouble and distress. And looking back now I wonder just how God can sometimes be so unfair heaping up all the burdens on the shoulders of this small fragile gentle woman. Well, did she cry? Complain? Get mad? Get gloomy and depressed or bitter and resentful? Yes, all of that and yet everything too were left at His feet in prayer. Then she carried on with her life with what she had. She rose with every fall, trudged on doggedly with courage and strength and remarkable faith renewed each time, I wondered how. Through my child’s eyes I watched her drag her weary feet through the hills and valleys of a sparse life as she took on the role of raising a family. I saw her in my young child’s eye astoundingly as the most beautiful woman in the world. She still is even long after she has gone. But I see better now and understand the wisdom of God’s outstanding work.

This is true beauty – the beauty of the soul - beauty which shines even more brilliantly even when darkness sets in. True beauty as revealed only when its light is from within. Indeed.

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in; their true beauty is revealed only if their light is from within.” ----- (Elizabeth Kubler Ross)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


On this day, December 24, 2009

Wherever you are or whatever the time of day or however you may be feeling, I would like you to feel there in your heart just how wonderful you are and how great Mother Earth is and most of all that GOD LOVES YOU!




From my heart to yours, Ellen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


What is essential and precious is invisible to the eye. So tell me please,

what do you see in that picture?


pearl said...

peace, stability and growth!Delete

Blogger A New Beginning said...

Peace in unity and selfless love!Coz trees truely shower us with selfless love, blessing us with beautiful fresh air...hundreds of them united on a mission to make this world a beautiful place!!

Peace in unity and selfless love!Coz trees truely shower us with selfless love, blessing us with beautiful fresh air...hundreds of them united on a mission to make this world a beautiful place!!

Blogger Jack said...


Serene surroundings to be in without any worry of climate change. How I would love to settle there!

Take care

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see hope and courage to be who I am -- standing tall no matter what. A tree holds its own - tall and strong, solitary or with other trees like it. I feel comforted to know that I can be that too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


No writing, no article this time. But just this question ---

Do please tell me, what do you see in that picture?


As you cruise down this part you will discover and derive immense pleasure, interest, amusement, fun, and definitely precious wisdom ---- just as I have enjoyed it all the first time I saw it. Such treasure! Do please read on. :-)

Blogger KParthasarathi said... Cactus?

Blogger Vamsi said...

@ ellen,

its like a desert, with rocks, grass and cactus and sand.

the big rock over there, is like "seat" wherein one can sit on the ground and lean his back to the rock ... the cut of the rock is perfect for that.

cheers !

Anonymous lostpatrol said...

You need some help clearing your back yard to plant some lettuce...:P

Blogger indrablog said...

Hi Elen,
It's a cactus.

Wish you and your family a very happy Christmas.

Hi Ellen:)

Very interesting. I love challenges like this.

The photo shows life in adverse conditions. It shows the will to survive. It shows that the tough conditions make tough plants which can with stand and bear difficult circumstances. It shows the survival of the fittest. It shows even plants can survive difficult conditions with minimum requirements. It shows the need to adapt to survive.

All this applies to people too. A boat becomes sea worthy only when it is exposed to storms and not when it is sheltered in the harbor.

The photo shows God's wonders, marvels, beauty and glory. Even in a place where no one lives, God works HIS wonders.

And I saw a lovely red cactus flower blooming. I hope my eye sight is good. The most unique thing about a flower is that whether it blooms in your garden or in a remote place like the one shown in the photo, the flower never reduces its beauty. It is the same whether some one is there to see its beauty and appreciate it or not. It serves the purpose for which it was created and that is to sing God's praise in its short but beautiful life.

I have only scratched the surface and I am sure those commentators who will come after me will have a lot to say.

This photo has lot of lessons for us human beings to see, learn and put into practice.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a very happy, prosperous, healthy, peaceful New Year:)

Joseph Delete

Blogger A New Beginning said...

I can see the beautiful pink flowers..its amazing how God has placed them in a cactus..its teaches us that when our heart and soul is pure, no matter where we would be able to find peace..I can feel the peace in the flower. May we all be like the pink flower :) thanks for the pic Ellen.. everything you post has a lesson in it!Delete

Anonymous pearl said...

Hi Ellen,

I have tried to notice every single detail about the pic, and wat i see is each identifiable thing there is significant to the eye in its own way. They live by their properties, have a peculiar place to be - like one would find cactus rocks only in isolated, un treaded spaces / places. A cactus is such a plant which would grow without being nurtured or watered unlike most of the other plants. That flower which we see there blooms only when the cactus is matured so which is quiet after many years unlike other flowers which would have a consistent and fast seasoning. As far as the rock is concerned i would say its something which is out of our daily pathway. Again when we crozz of horizons or leave our comfort zones we happen to come across them.

ellen, i have just tied to put a view thinking in un visual terms, just not going by what is visible to the eye at a go, but why it is visible so??? Hope you get my point.

Good luck and good times ahead!

Happy to be with you here~Delete

Blogger Amritbir Kaur said...

I see a reflection of life. Let me expand a bit as you have woken up my philosophical self (thanks for that).

I see life because we have all read that life is not a bed of roses. There is greenery amidst the stones. First of all stones are heartless people around us, those who care a fig for others' emotions. The greenery implies the good things of life. But they come with a price. The thorns symbolize the price that we pay. And finally the flowers of cactus is the ultimate hope of finding some good even amidst the thorns of life.

I am reminded of P.B. Shelley's lines from his famous 'Ode to the West Wind': "I fall upon the thorns of life I bleed".

Recently I too penned down a poem about finding hope in the worst times. If you like you can read it here: 'I still believe'

Finally, thanks for the inspirational post.

Blogger Jack said...


I see unfriendly surroundings with flowers as surprise attraction.
Take care

Friday, December 18, 2009


I am doing a test of posting a picture gallery, something I've never done before. So if this does not come out right, then it will be removed. Let's see how this will turn out. Thank you :-) - (Pictures are courtesy of my daughter Amchit and her digicam)

About the afternoon walk, we do it everyday sometimes alternating it with morning walks. It's always wonderful this time spent together.. talking, talking, and more talking Lols! That's what most women do when they come together. The thing is far better than we would normally experience alone... and is made even more alive and interesting as seen through two different pairs of eyes. One older and the other younger - One a teacher and the other a student. - One a mother and the other a daughter. But both eager to learn, see, savor, and treasure another of many precious moments together.

Nothing insignificant ever eludes our watchful eyes... from wild flowers blooming on the shoulder of the road to odd looking birds hopping from tree to tree. -- From noticing how one neighbor keeps his yard clean to another's broken down fence bare and lean. -- From blaring music rocking a blue painted house to another's lonesome home quiet almost like deserted. -- From the awesome interplay of sun and clouds to lush trees bearing witness to such a magnificent display above them. -- From leaves turning dry and brown to new plants rising from the ground. All these and more are seen, noticed, and understood. All are cherished and enjoyed.

I may not be able to guess what goes on in her pretty head but as far as I am concerned - afternoon walks with her is where my happy heart dwells. And I think by looking into her pretty brown eyes I can very well say that she feels the same way too. So why don't you give it a try - take that afternoon (or morning) walk with your kid -- and you will know just what I mean. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Whether you're 16, 46, or 60 there's enough learning you can do to fill up your lifetime. In fact, to learn them all you will need a thousand... naye ...a million lifetimes.

I like that idea. I think life is one huge basket of lessons that very well teach me bout things, people, nature ... it shows me how an angry sea would lash out at the shore, or why people cry at silly things sometimes, or why poking your nose in other people's lives would get you a black eye lols! It tells me that in all things there is an ebb and flow which cannot be avoided or ignored. That people are born, live, and then die. That life can be both a burden and a blessing or one and not the other, but that is all up to you. That we have control of our lives and that if we allow others to do it for us, things can go crazy. That we may look different, behave differently, believe in different things and stuff, but in things which truly matter we are basically very much the same.

But even if I may know all of that there is still so much more I'm so ignorant of. I can't fathom nor imagine the mysteries of the universe... and too wonder about the secrets of the immense span of space or the depths of the oceans and seas. I can't see what feelings are written in a person's heart or the myriad of memories and thoughts interspersing in his mind. I can but only guess. That is not always enough.

And too I have so many questions unspoken and real which answers I have yet to find. But whether I find them or not, this journey I am taking is even far more richer than the end-all of it I begin to realize.

Now I know that this huge basket I so speak of is one bottomless vessel of precious treasure ripe for the picking. Then maybe... just maybe... I can pick those I want and discard stuff I consider trivia. But you know what, in some mysterious way these unwanted lessons I've chosen to ignore find their way back to me again and again until -- I become more inclined to learn them well, like it or not.

Nope, learning does not stop.. ever. I'm glad it's that way. Because life is measured not by days, weeks, months, or years... but by how much you have grown closer to that person you were meant to be --- by God's design. How do I know that? Easy. Life taught me.

(Picture forwarded to me by Parth)

Monday, December 14, 2009


When your bones ache, or your head does, or your insides rock and your limbs feel like crumbling... when nothing comes close to easing your pains, you feel like screaming your lungs out -- and you do! Well, maybe not literally but it finds its way in fury which is often meaninglessly and unnecessarily heaped upon the person or people near you or who by chance happen to be in its way. That's sad, because you have not only added to your misery but made others miserable too by yours.

Suffering in whatever form and of any kind is difficult. It is hard to imagine what goes on in that person's mind or what is being felt in the heart. Physical or emotional pain is a burden that runs deep and intense that it upsets everything else within and without. The strong are reduced to putty and the weak are made even weaker. The world seems to crumble down with that person along with it... or so he would think.

I will not venture to give advise on this matter because the lesson here is better understood when one has already mellowed in years and gained much in wisdom. But there are some though young are so blessed and filled with the spirit who would understand -- as the saints have shown us.

So what am I driving at here?

I am simply sharing an observation --- that people who suffer pain tend to vent their frustration and helplessness in serious expressions of anger. And this often leads to hurting others more than we imagine. But there is no point in bringing in other people into your suffering. They, just like the rest of humankind, have their own crosses to bear too. We all have and all do. Thus it would be best to remember what Maya Angelou once said.....

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one..'

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Many of us go through life not understanding ourselves well - we have so little regard of who we are. We think that there possibly can't be something good in us. We believe that when God poured out talents for everyone -- it went through our fingers thus we missed catching some for ourselves. And so we see ourselves as just nothing. Nothing. How do I know that? Simple. I have friends who suffer this 'disease'.

So then we think that when we did something clearly brilliant that we were simply lucky? Or that when the soufle came out so perfect that it was because we had a good bake oven and not because we bake so well? Or that when a thief turns a new leaf that it was because he got scared of jail and not because we managed to talked him to change?

I'll tell you what. God never misses a target even if you think he missed you or that you missed catching it. Talent is a blessing God pours out in generous portions on everyone. But this too is true that oftentimes blessings come in plain wrappings, most times contained in very ordinary vessels.

Allow me to refresh your memory to this that "the 'essence' of a thing is far more valuable than its 'form'.."

That's how we should see ourselves. We have been blessed with gifts of talent, wisdom, goodness, intelligence, abilities, empathy, understanding, discernment, gentle demeanor, humility, strength of character, ingenuity, creativity, and so many more which we foolishly take for granted or are quite oblivious of. Or simply said just don't get it.

That's just the problem.. We think we're like empty vessels. Plain ordinary vessels maybe but certainly not empty. We have within us the essence of everything that is good, noble, genuine, and true. That no matter how we may appear on the outside it does not reflect who we are on the inside -- where essence resides unmatched by the form of our existence.

We are blessed far more than we realize or think or feel or deserve. But blessed we certainly are. So blessedly special - so specially blessed. That's who we are!