Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Life, Stories Around the World

Of Request and Trust

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ( Phillipians 4:6)

From the very early years of childhood, the concept of prayer has been taught, explained and seen. Through the Scriptures, prayer has been a form of request, supplication, thanksgiving, forgiveness, help and many more. Prayer is the way in which one puts their complete trust and faith in His Love, His Guidance, His Mercy as well as ask for His Hands to be over us at all times.

“But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” (Psalm 22:19)

 

Yet man being man, the innate nature of trying to control every outcome to his own plan and purpose, little realizing or often forgetting that we ourselves are a part of His Plan. In fact, our lives are such that whichever way we go or whatever purpose or aim we try to reach, unless it is governed by His Will, all attempts or successes are in vain and in the long run, come to naught.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:16)

While man tries to define everything by rational thinking, controlling of the causes and nurture by evidence based principles, put on the armour of reasoning, facts, logic and proved theories; not all things happen by those clauses. Many a time, one is forced to revise the “proved” of find a reason to define the change. In stead, when one learns to combine these facts, logic and realism with faith in the His Will, one eventually realizes that good things do happen at His right time. Doing so, in the long run, the final outcome may be beyond our wildest expectations. One needs to work and pray, doing their own share of effort, burning one’s own energy and sweat for their purpose or aims in life; but always request in prayer to let our will be in accordance with His Will and His Purpose. When one starts putting this ideology in practice, one discovers that this path will be difficult. For to live by the principles of both Faith and Trust is never easy; yet the final fruit goes beyond one’s own imagination.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” (Psalms 18:32)

 

One monk planted an olive tree and began to pray: “Lord, send rain to my tree.” And the Lord sent rain upon the earth. The tree was saturated with moisture, and the monk continued to pray: “And now, Lord, I ask you to send a lot of sunshine – my tree needs warmth.” And the Lord sent the sun. The tree grew. The monk continued to pray for him: “Lord, send a little frost to strengthen the roots and branches.” The Lord sent a frost and …. the tree died. The monk was very upset. He went to another monk to tell his story and share sorrow.

“I also have an olive tree, look,” another monk replied. His tree has grown beautifully. “But I prayed differently. I told God that He is the Creator of this tree and knows better what is needed for him. I just asked God to take care of him.”
This also applies to us. We often ask for what we think we need. But only the Lord knows what we need. Trust Him completely!
– Rus Svyataya

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” ( 1 Peter 4:11)

 

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Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Mix Them as “Mock” or “Cocktails”

One of the social necessities of being a part of a bigger, corporate or franchise based workforce, is attending the social or business social networking, popularly under the banner of “cocktail” evenings. At times, the conversations are silently laced with hunger pangs after a long day or the stress of the day filtering through the thoughts, which can be quite dangerous especially when thoughts and words don’t really gel well with the situation. While primarily the whole purpose is to extend the social “work based” or business connections, one can hardly ignore the “hors d’oeuvre” or appetizers as well as the baseline of the gathering, “cocktails or mocktails”.

“If it’s a cocktail party, I generally make five or six different things, and I try to choose recipes that feel like a meal: a chicken thing, a fish or shrimp thing, maybe two vegetable things, and I think it’s fun to end the cocktail party with a sweet thing.” Ina Garten

 

While the inventor of the cocktail evenings is quite a controversial topic, with some believing it to be Alec Waugh of London or Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri (May 1917). The former had detailed that the Alec Waugh noted that the first cocktail party in England was hosted by war artist Christopher Nevinson (1924) while Mrs. Walsh invited 50 guests to her house on a Sunday at high noon for a one-hour affair. The St. Paul’s Pioneer Press newspaper had declared that “The party scored an instant hit,” and stated that within weeks cocktail parties had become “a St. Louis institution”.

“A cocktail done right can really show your guests that you care.” Danny Meyer

Whether purely alcoholic or fruit based, a cocktail is essentially both palate satisfying as well as a work of “art”. As defined, “cocktail” is an alcoholic mixed drink, which is either a combination of spirits, or one or more spirits mixed with other ingredients such as fruit juice, lemonade, flavored syrup, or cream. Technically it contains alcohol, sugar and a bitter or citrus. While there are various types of cocktails, based on the number and kind of ingredients added; their origins are debated.

 

Also, when a mixed drink contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, such as soda or fruit juice, it is a highball. When it contains only a distilled spirit and a liqueur, it is a duo. On adding a mixer to the duo, it becomes a “trio”. The additional ingredients may be sugar, honey, milk, cream, and various herbs. Mixed drinks without alcohol that resemble cocktails are known as “mocktails” or “virgin cocktails”.

“A cocktail can be made by the bartender. But the cocktail also can be made by the chef.” Jose Andres

The first use of the term “cocktail” is highly debatable. As per The London Telegraph, a satirical newspaper article (March 20, 1798) about what must have been a hell of a party had accounted the drinks imbibed by William Pitt (the younger) which included “L’huile de Venus,” “parfait amour,” and “‘cock-tail (vulgarly called ginger.)’” The challenge was whether “cocktail” in this article truly referred to an alcoholic drink, or something else. Another record was the article from The Farmer’s Cabinet ( Vermont, April 28, 1803), where to drink a cocktail was claimed to be “excellent for the head.” By 1806, the word “cocktail” had reached it’s current meaning as defined by the newspaper, Balance and Columbian Repository( May 13, 1806), the editor defined a cocktail as: “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.”

 

The exact derivation is attributed to multiple origins. One origin of “cocktail” is as a mispronunciation of the French word for eggcup “coquetier” (said as cocktay in English). In the late 18th century, apparently Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a New Orleans apothecary and inventor of Peychaud bitters had served brandy mixed with his bitters in eggcups. The second belief states that the name is derived from the term “cock tailings,” which was the practice of tavern owners combining the dregs (tailings) of nearly empty barrels together into a single elixir that was sold at bargain prices. In those days, the spigot of a barrel was sometimes referred to as a “cock.” Another reference was from the “cock tail” of regular “adulterated” horses entered into the races with the thoroughbred horses of docked tails, which during the early 17th century. As Liquor and races go hand in hand, this theory states that “mixed or adulterated drinks” were likened to the “cocktail” of the regular ( non-thoroughbred) horses in the race.

Whatever and however the origin may be, from mocktail to cocktails, the evenings for social or business purposes need them to keep the conversations flowing, mixing work with comparatively less stress of the regular work schedule. With summer in full swing, it would make these occasions more entertaining as well as in demand.

 

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Work

Restrain these “Feelings”

Delays not informed on time. Incomplete reviews and assessments. Incorrect information when collected and submitted. Snide remarks by colleagues, peers, juniors or seniors.

Regular parking spot occupied. Litter thrown on the sidewalk next to home. Incessant traffic queues caused by vehicles cutting in between. Grocery carts all used up and none empty. Regular groceries out of stock.

Socks on the floor. Dirty dishes in the sink. Laundry done with all colours mixed up. Bed not made. Toys all scattered on the floor. Mud tracks into the hall and kitchen.

One may be faced with some, few or similar situations as above, wherein the temperament has been sorely tested and one is struggling to rein in the anger and bitter words of resentment. In fact. these kinds of “irritation” is quite common. Each one of us at some point of our lives may have faced them, in some manner or the other. While the temptation to lash out and vent the bitterness, frustration and anger bred out the irritation is compelling; little do we realize the ramifications of indulging in so.

“The one who cannot restrain their anger will wish undone, what their temper and irritation prompted them to do.” Horace

 

Irritation in fact is one of the manifestations of bitterness, discontent and underlying pride or expectations that one’s words will always be followed. While “irritation” at times may be justified or understandable, keeping it in check will reveal the true character and personality within. If truth be told, with constant irritability, we devalue our work.

“I get irritated, I get upset. Especially when I’m in a hurry. But I see it all as part of our training. To get irritated is to lose our way in life.” Haruki Murakami

Each one of us has their own share of trials, misfortunes, difficulties, struggles, insecurities as well as stress. All the talk of love, kindness and humaneness is lost, unless one learns to understand and accept the differences of the other. What makes one different is when we learn to control the “irritation”.

” As a human being, anger is a part of our mind. Irritation also part of our mind. But you can do – anger come, go. Never keep in your sort of – your inner world, then create a lot of suspicion, a lot of distrust, a lot of negative things, more worry.” Dalai Lama

 

Controlling the irritation when one is over worked, stressed and trying to meet deadlines isn’t easy. But once we learn to breathe and let go; the next time it won’t be difficult to do so. In fact, that’s how one gets the hang of de-stressing the mind and not letting inconsequential things affect it. Even though things may go out of hand, getting irritated would never help. Instead facing the problem ahead and outlining the solution does wonders.

“If someone irritates you, it is only your own response that is irritating you. Therefore, when anyone seems to be provoking you, remember that it is only your judgment of the incident that provokes you.” Epictetus

The best memories, things or even feelings of life are never easy to attain if we constantly hang on to the emotional stress at each point of time. Learning to be gentle, less expectant as well as more patient will weed out the “irritation”, helping us to reduce the dreary days as well as the turbulent negative that may completely swamp us. Life is simple, once we learn to chose the most important things that it offers us.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi

 

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Photography Art, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Learn to “Notice”

Very often, when rushing for the next appointment or meeting, we often hunt for the needed items of the hour, but fail to notice the rest, like the fact that the main laptop power switch was on, the colleague next door was on leave or that the driver of the car parked nearby was having abnormal movements, most likely that of an early stroke. While these details may be excused when overlooked while in a hurry, the mind has become accustomed to seeing what it wants to see. Sadly with the rise of modern era, one of the most frequently lost out art is the power to observe and notice the details.

“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
-Marilyn vos Savant

Are the other details important ?

One of the most common feelings that often swamp one are the feelings of regret, guilt and lost opportunities. Unfortunately all these can be avoided by observing the details that may seem unimportant then, but later becomes vital. Time is one factor that will never wait. Besides it’s always the details unasked but observed that make the difference, build and sustain relationships or clinch the idea as well as effect the change.

“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” Susan Sontag

The observations made by one will be reflected in their words, actions and thoughts later, many a time unknown to them. While we may miss them out at times, learning to look for the bigger picture will help us prevent regrets and fatal errors. Hindsight is a keen thing. Once we reflect back and retrospect and learn from the errors, the more progress we can make ahead in our lives. Each day, hours and minutes of observation are lessons as well as occasions to make our life worth living and making memories to treasure.

“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.” Haruki Murakami

Once a teacher said to his student: ” Look around you, and then tell me all the white objects.” The student looked around. He saw a white ceiling, walls, white window frames, a tablecloth, curtains, book covers and many other things.
“Well, Now I want you to close your eyes and name everything in this room that is yellow,” said the teacher. The guy was at a loss: ” But how can I answer you, I did not notice anything!”.
– Now open your eyes and see how many yellow things here !!! Yellow pillows, a yellow frame with a photo, a yellow pencil stand, a yellow rug …
– “But it’s not fair! You yourself told me to look only for the white color,
but there was not a word about yellow!” – the student was indignant.
– That’s what I wanted to show you! You focused and searched for objects of only white color, but did not notice the others.

“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.” Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

Facing the Day Ahead

“Love yourself. It is important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out.” Jenn Proske

One of the most difficult tasks face especially when juggling between career and family is enjoying life along the way. One of the common scenarios faced in many homes  from dawn to dusk, includes checking off each activity off the list as a part of the routine job, making sure that everything is on time as per the schedule and above keeping things together. Along the way, the worries build up, stress accumulates and one is always constantly “at the list or schedule” looking for the next thing to do.

Many a time, we fail to enjoy the atmosphere at home, with family or even at work. Consequently we often fail to enjoy the happiness which is silently waiting at hand. Balancing is never easy, which is why unless we stick a few facts into our minds, living each day would be in a mundane manner, unknowingly breeding the stress within and cutting off our chances in living life as well as cherishing time and making moments and memories.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” Earl Nightingale

Mistakes do happen. No one is perfect in each and every walk. Know this and let go. Try but enjoy. Worry but don’t overdo it. Give effort, time and God a chance.

Time is precious but so are memories. Spending time with loved ones may mean incomplete yard work or laundry done late or the like; but decide and prioritize. Few things in life that always run it’s due course irrespective of anything is time and age. They always go on.

Schedules do matter, but hand in hand with priority. Going to work on time, making our children reach the school on time and getting for the day as well. Yet prioritize and plan ahead. While one may make leeway for delayed or extra time, it mayn’t happen. Then improvise and modify. Getting stressed, losing the presence of mind or ranting and grumbling never works out. In fact, we lose more time and add to the inherent stress; not solving anything but adding to it. Stay calm, breathe and think. Life will go on.

” Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Let’s live, love and wonder,
Let’s believe, remember and regret,
From happiness to cry, laugh heartily
Let’s live, so as not to grow old in our hearts.

Let’s just admire the Fields,
the sky, the silver of the dew,
And if it is difficult, still do not give up –
Go ahead without lowering your head.

Let’s be sincere in communication,
Honest in words, deeds and deeds,
Let’s believe, holy, without doubts
To live in vain, openly, not in dreams!

Let’s honestly admit
In your mistakes, envy and lies,
Let’s live, love and admire –
Spread your wings with your soul!
– Rus Svyataya

Posted in Daily, Food

Puddings..of Chocolate and More

[1730]
“Chocolate Puddings. To a Pint of Cream take eight Eggs, the Whites of four, beat them well together, and mingle with your Cream; put in some Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Ginger, a quarter of a Pound of Naples Bisket, and a quarter of a Pound of Chocolate grated very fine, put in a little Orange-Flower Water, and a little Citron minc’d; mingle it mighty well together, and if you bake it, put a Sheet of Puff-paste in your Dish, and raise a little Border in the Rim, put in your Pudding and cross-bar it, and ice it with thick Butter and Sugar, and bake it in a gentle Oven, and when bak’d serve it away, or you may boil it if you please.”
—The Complete Practical Cook, Charles Carter, facsimile 1730 edition [Gale Ecco Print Edition:Detroit] (p. 106)

One of the highlights of having warm weather is when impromptu visits are possible, especially on chance meeting of old friends or neighbours. With plenty of delivery services available at ” the fingertips or touch of thumb pads”; it’s often the desserts that need to be made or created in a jiffy. Which is why, certain desserts especially custard, ice cream, puddings to name few easy ones are one of the necessary knows for every “fledgling” cook.

 

One of the easiest desserts to make with the ingredients of cornstarch or flour, cream, milk, butter and vanilla for the most simple and basic puddings. Adding in cocoa, bananas, battered breadcrumbs and even eggs are the small variations that make an entirely new recipe and flavour of the “new pudding”. Few “pudding pointers” to keep in mind include:

  • Although easy to make, complete and whole attention is required from making the batter to setting it to chill or baking it.
  • Constant stirring is needed while cooking the pudding to avoid lumps or burning.
  • The flavours, texture and consistency is very adaptable, so don’t be afraid of experimenting.
  • Make sure the flour is sieved properly because no matter how it is whisked, if the flour is not smooth it will give you a lumpy texture.
  • To store it, cover it with a plastic wrap to avoid the formation of a layer. The same applies while chilling the pudding too.
  • For baked puddings, grease the tin with butter and then refrigerate it for few minutes. This will form a layer and avoid it from sticking to the base.

 

With National Chocolate Pudding Day tomorrow, one can go a step further with whole or shots of “pudding cakes” or “pudding shakes” with whipped cream, sprinkles and M &M’s to add on; not to forget the ice cream too.

“Life’s a pudding full of plums.” 
W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

 

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

“Dreams” Grounded in “Reality”

As children, one of the most common essay topics was to write about what we wanted to do in our lives, our dreams, aims and visions of our lives in the future. Ranging from being an astronauts to travelling around the world or being a chef or baker par excellence, the possibilities were endless.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” Lao Tzu

 

As we grew older, practicalities marred by realism as well as distractions and disappointments tempered by changing dreams set in. Along the way some changed their dreams, few lost them and some of us held onto them. As we nurtured the dreams and made them big, at times we lose the touch of reality and get dejected by the disappointments and setbacks. Life always has its’ own curve-balls that it often yields. It’s how we tackle them that makes one’s dream grow strong and live on.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” J.K. Rowling

Very often, the dreams of childhood are like the sandcastles, that we build as children. As we strengthen the fortress with walls and moats, having most fun by building and creating with sand; deep inside one knows that eventually everything has the possibility of being washed down by the sea. Though one knows that all can be gone with a wave, we still build the sandcastles on the beach, for that is the fun of playing with the sand.

“Dream becoming reality runs like water between the fingers.” Willem Elsschot

 

Likewise when dreams are there deep inside, one should try to make them come true; nurturing them slowly, not losing hope, letting them build their roots strong, knowing that all dreams do come to an end or branch out in a different turn. Doing so will help us face life, so that as and when life takes it’s due course, one stays happy within both in the heart, mind and soul. Dreams are meant to be build and strengthened, but unless one enjoys the process of building and living the dream, there’s no point in chasing them.

“When you have a dream that you can’t let go of, trust your instincts and pursue it. But remember: Real dreams take work, They take patience, and sometimes they require you to dig down very deep. Be sure you’re willing to do that.” Harvey Mackay

 

Just as the child on the beach building life size castles becomes an engineer in real life. However on growing up and living the dream as an engineer or builder by career doesn’t merely involve juggling paperwork, new assignments, delegating the work or signing new contracts and raising new projects as well empires of financial investment, profits and capital gains; but also to enjoy the art of building them. Instead one is often submerged by the amount of stress, financial hurdles or losses as well practical constraints; such that one forgets to enjoy the gift of home, family, relationships, joy, life and talent given to each one of us. On building dreams, staying grounded in reality helps one to not only to achieve them better but aids to live life to the fullest in the process.

 

On a warm summer day at a beautiful beach a little boy on his knees scoops and packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bucket. He upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created. He works all afternoon spooning out the moat, packing the walls, building sentries with bottle tops and bridges with Popsicle sticks. With his hours of hard work on the beach a sandcastle will be built. In a Big city with busy streets and rumbling traffic, a man works in an office. He shuffles papers into stacks, delegates assignments, cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. He juggles with numbers, contracts get signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he will work. Formulating the plans and forecasting the future. His annuities will be sentries and Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

The two builders of the two castles have very much in common. They both shape granules into grandeurs. They both make something beautiful out of nothing. They both are very diligent and determined to build their world. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the little boy sees the end of his castle while the man ignores it. As the dusk approaches and the waves near, the child jumps to his feet and begins to clap as the waves wash away his masterpiece. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He is not surprised, he knew this would happen. He smiles, picks up his tools and takes his father’s hand, and goes home.
The man in his sophisticated office is not very wise like the child. As the wave of years collapses on his empire, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He tries to block the waves with the walls he made. He snarls at the incoming tide. “It’s my castle,” he defies. The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs.

“Go ahead and build your dreams, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home with a smile.”