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

Raise the Curtain

“Circling easily and awkwardly,
Snowflake sat down on the glass.
It was snowing thick and white during the night.
From the snow in a light room
A little newly-fallen snow flying down,
And the winter sun rises.
As every day is fuller and better,
Fuller and better is the New Year … “

A.Tvardovsky

And 2019 has arrived in its’ own time. One of the greatest gifts that time has given us is its’ ability to throw some hope as it moves forward. Every new year is rich with hopes, desires, dreams and goals. While the days or months leading to it may have been of realizations, trepidation and incompleteness. Although man knows that not all disease can be overcome, despairs wiped or lack of money solved without divine Grace, miracle or help. This understanding is what lies behind the expectations of hope for tomorrow.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.” Alfred Lord Tennyson

As we wait and hope for the miracle to happen, the feeling of despondency fills us at times. Yet once we light the flame inside the us, we discover that there were miracles all around us that were happening which we had failed to comprehend. For miracles and hope comes from the Grace above, it happens through our thoughts, words and actions by our hands. The sooner this “knowing” comes to us, the more beautiful life becomes.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from. All that matters is where you are going.” Brian Tracy

Venturing into this new year, sharing the traditions across the globe; from the Russian custom of drinking the “wished” champagne to stew of black-eyed peas (Southern States of US), eating twelve times (Estonia), releasing wishing spheres onto the river (Singapore), dropping dollop of cream on the floor (Switzerland) or creating our own traditions in the family; the real miracle starts from above and grows in us garnering the hope for the dreams and desires of tomorrow.

“You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”
Rumi

Advertisements
Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

Transition: From Old to New

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on.” Hal Borland

Approaching the last day of this year, flashbacks are imminent and although the proportions may vary by marked degrees, both happiness, contentment laced with sorrows and regrets cloud the mind. As the New Year celebrations swing into full force, there is an underlying feeling of “expectations of something new” in the mind. Yet when the first day of the next year turns out to be something of the normal or later as the month returns to the normal tune; one has the tendency to be swamped by the “absence of something” which is of course our expectations. Despite having the fun and partying to ring in the year, eventually when things return back to the usual; one often wonders what all the partying and revelry drew in. On one hand, we we do celebrate the new, yet on the other hand; the newness wears off, too quickly at times.

“Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude This Year, And Give Thanks For Everything That Happens To You, Knowing That Every Step Forward Is A Step Toward Achieving Something Bigger And Better Than Your Current Situation.” Brian Tracy

The beauty of the new year lies in welcoming the coming days with grace, gratitude, love, thoughtfulness and kindness. Celebrations have always been a part of our days since the formation of societies and building of civilizations. Yet it is when we lose sight of the ground that we fall too hard into the monotonous tone of the usual. Even though we partake in the fun of the New Year, recalling to mind the Grace and Blessings of the year gone, helps us to start the fresh year with new perspectives, hope and dreams.

– What happens in the world? – And just winter.
– Just winter, you think? – I guess.
After all, I myself, as I am able,
lay traces in your early sleeping homes.
– What is behind all this? – And it will be January.
– It will be January, do you think? – Yes, I think.
I’ve been reading this white book for a long time,
this old snowman with pictures of a blizzard.
– What is all this over? – It will be April.
– It will be April, are you sure? – Yes, I am sure.
I have already heard, and this rumor is checked by me,
as if in a grove the flute was ringing today.
– What follows from this? – It is necessary to live,
sew sundresses and light dresses from calico.
– Do you think all this will be worn?
– I believe that all this should be sewn.
It should be sewn, because, no matter how blizzard or circling,
its bondage and opal are short-lived.
So allow me, in honor of the New Year’s ball,
to offer your hand to the dance, madam, to you!
The silver month, the ball with the candle inside
and the carnival masks – in a circle, in a circle.
The waltz begins. Give, madam, a hand,
and – one-two-three, one-two-three,
one-two-three, one-two-three! ..

Yuri Levitansky

Posted in Christian, poetry, Stories Around the World

On Christmas Eve

“… and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” “(Mathew 2:2)

As written in the Gospel of Matthew, a mysterious star had appeared over the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, there by leading the wise men (the Magi) to find the baby Jesus and visit him. While many have debated about what the Star of Bethlehem really was; some believing it to be a fable or a North Star, planets, comets and the like. Also some astronomers believe that evidence proves it to be a “nova star” originating at that time and at that point. Either way, the star proves as a guiding light not only to find the baby Christ but also as a reminder that His Birth will bring us light in the gloomy depths of the World. As said in the scriptures, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

On Christmas Eve as we remember, narrate and read about the birth of the Lord, knowing that God’s gift has to be lived and shared will help us live the gift of Life as well as the blessings He has bestowed on us.

“God’s Gift” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

An angel-child on Christmas Eve
Did God send to the world.
“As you walk among the pines,”
He said and then he smiled,
“Do cut a tree and, in my name,
Do give it to the kindest
And the sweetest child on earth.”
The angel-child was puzzled deep:
“Whom shall I give it to?
How shall I know which of the babes
Has earned the prize of our Lord’s grace?”
“You’ll know,” was all God said,
And the Heavenly Host did part.
The moon stood high and lit the road
That led into the city.
The air was full of happy song,
Joy awaited every child…
So with the tree upon his back
The cheerful angel boldly strode.
Now, take a look in every window:
What cheer in every room!
Christmas trees all burning bright
As they do on Yuletide night.
The angel now began to rush
And made his way from home to home,
So as to find that special one
Who would receive God’s gift.
And everywhere he looked, he saw
Such fine and mindful girls and boys.
But each, on seeing the Christmas tree,
Forgot their manners and their poise.
Some said, “That tree’s for me!”
Some answered, shameless as could be:
“You aren’t worth half a tree,
I’m better than you, you see!”
“Oh, no, I say, that is my tree
You are not half as good as me!”
The angel listened quietly
And looked upon them sadly.
Every one was full of boasts
And each did praise himself the most.
Their eyes did squint with envy,
Their gazes — black with fear.
The angel ran onto the street,
And heaved a sigh, “Oh, Lord, my dear!
Do tell me which of them deserves
Your kind and precious gift!”
Then on the street our angel met
A tiny boy, at best knee-high.
He stared right at that green pine tree
His face did glow and shine.
“A tree, a tree!” he clapped his hands,
“Oh, what a shame I don’t deserve
This gift — it’s not for me…
But won’t you take it to my sis,
Who lies at home in bed so sick?
It would make her happy! Yes!
No one deserves it more than she!
She earned it with the tears she shed!”
The boy then poked the angel-child
And the angel-child did smile
And gave the boy that Christmas tree.
And then, as if by miracle,
The stars fell from the sky,
And sparkling like green emeralds
They encircled that Christmas pine.
It shimmered, twinkled, winked and gleamed,
For it wore the mark of grace Divine
That little boy stood struck amazed
And trembled in his rapture…
The angel witnessed that boy’s love
And tears streamed down his face.
And the angel brought to God that news
That was the greatest grace.

(Translated/adapted by John Freedman)

Posted in Daily, Food, Musique

The Muffin Man

Do [or “Oh, do”] you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane?

Yes [or “Oh, yes”], I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane.
(Source: Opie and P. Opie, The Singing Game (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 379-82))

One of the traditional nursery rhymes of English origin, “the muffin man” was recorded around the early nineteenth century as confirmed by British manuscripts circa 1820. Towards the mid-nineteenth century the rhyme as well as the game had spread over to other countries with regional variations in the lyrics as well as the game altering as a forfeit game, guessing game and a dancing game. Whichever style it may be in, as long as the children have fun, it doesn’t matter.

Interestingly, the muffins in the song were based on the English muffins, not the sweeter American cupcake shaped variety. The muffin is an individual-sized, baked product which refers to two distinct items, a part-raised flatbread or a cupcake-like quick-bread. The former i.e. the flatbread version is of British or European origin dating from at least the early 18th century or even earlier. While the latter i.e. the quick bread muffins originated in North America during the 19th century. Like all bread related products, muffins were an evolution over time with human ingenuity, local ingredients, sudden requirements, cultural expectations laced with technological advancement as well as creative baking styles.

I believe the world to be a muffin pan, and there certainly are a lot of muffins here. Aaron Funk

As far as the origins of the word “muffin” goes, it can be traced to old French word “moufflet” applied to bread meaning soft, or even Low German word “muffe” meaning cake. Initially it started off as small yeast cakes light textured roll, round and flat and commonly enjoyed during winter when they are slit, tasted, buttered and served hot with tea or jam. What initially started off as a basic recipe, towards the twentieth century, they varied from the type of flour (white, graham, rye and corn) to add-ons’ from handful of chopped dates or raisins to the base being of bran, blueberry, corn, apple, oatmeal as well as being bigger in size.

I’m all over the place with muffins. Carrots are great. Banana, chocolate chip, they rock, too. Shawn Mendes

Into the final month of this year, there has to be something special on the table once in a while. The beauty of muffins is that they are so quick and easy to make, particularly since the ingredients are only lightly mixed, not beaten smooth and can be made in a pressure cooker as well. Besides making a good snack while counting calories, the variety of tastes and mixes that can be experimented on are quite interesting. With today being the “National Oatmeal Muffin Day” in the west, it would be fun to give a try for some simple homemade muffins- cupcake style or the “English muffin way”.

 

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Quotes

Bring the Warmth to December

As the days go by, entering into the last month of this year brings to mind hours of being busy with festive, celebrations and thanksgiving. Despite being busy, the time can be considered well spent as long as we root ourselves in reality and open our eyes to what is happening around us, instead of getting completely lost in the gaiety.

“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.” Sarah Kay

The cold wintry days of December and the overwhelming feeling of the year end closing in, can be made warm by the human attributes of love and kindness. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, it would be better to not lose sight of the true spirit of humaneness. For then we would realize, that joys shared are memories to be cherished for rainy days of the future.

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Such a warm December. And so hopelessly cold.
Heartlessly stiffens under a crust of ice.
People are like cars. In the crazy bustle of the New Year
All are running somewhere. It is not clear why and where.

Here is a game. The one who knows the rules is playing.
There is no life outside the game,
everything is decided by skill and rank.
Who is not too handsome and not too smart – leaves the
game and lives on the side of life alone.

I used a little heat – warm up, and a little light.
I see a hearth in the temple and collect rags running.
But the guard at the entrance mutters to me that the entrance with tickets,
Who is rich and handsome, bought up places to the hearth.

Such a sad December. And so hopelessly cold.
All who thirst for warmth, all those who have not got a place,
In poverty there is hope for the goodness and mercy of  God

Margarita Kolomiytseva

Posted in Family and Society, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

Blinded by Emotions

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge. Plato

One of the great teachers and thinkers of the ancient civilization, Plato’s words have held true through the trials of time. Almost in the same order, desire and emotions have always ruled above common sense and knowledge. Even if these emotions have set man apart from the other animal creations; it has often blinded him to other beings even of his own kind, to the point of destroying himself in the process. As truth is bitter, many of us fail to acknowledge that we are often swayed by emotions instead of logic.

How many times have we been passed over others not due to lack of skill but over personal preferences, likes or dislikes of the selectors? How many times have we prejudiced others based on their attire, colour, backgrounds and appearances when they put us to shame with their behaviour and nature ?

When we begin to build walls of prejudice, hatred, pride, and self-indulgence around ourselves, we are more surely imprisoned than any prisoner behind concrete walls and iron bars. Mother Angelica

The gilded cages that we build around us in all glory keeps us in one place, not letting us to fly and explore the world around us; unless we chose to open the door to use our wings. While we can’t control what is happening, we hold the key to our own behaviour in our dealings with others, at work, neighbourhood and wherever we go. Either way as the poet Robert Frost had said the world will end in the fire of desire or the ice of hatred; though both ways are disastrous, historical and anthropological evidence has proven through the ice ages which is more terrible of the two.

Awareness is realizing that our life could always be better. Growth is doing what it takes to make it better. When we choose the positive over the negative, liberation over repression, truth over illusion, we become real creators. Danielle LaPorte

Fire and Ice 
By Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

 

 

Posted in Daily, poetry, Reflections

Raking the Thoughts

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honey-sweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” Rainer Maria Rilke

With the leaves of autumn and its winds brushing by, it brings to mind of the years that have passed by. While looking down the memory lane, one often recalls the dreams and hopes of childhood and what we had dreamt of the big world out there. Many of us had our own visions and dreams of what we would want to be as we grow up. Yet life has its’ own funny twists and turns. Some of us have stuck to the plans of high school, others have modified it while few have shoved them under the carpet of what they then believed was something better. While some of us have carved our own niche in the today’s world, the rest of us are still journeying enjoying life’s moments as they come. The final crux of living is to be happy.

Yet among all this, there are few of us who have had cherished desires and hopes of doing what we love. Some of us have taken those aspirations as hobby or hobbies, while the rest haven’t yet found the time to do so. Even worse, there are other who are stuck in the rut or chaos, too hassled to find time of their own. Amidst all this, what we have to realize that no one is going to give us a push or shove all the time. Sometimes we have to buck up ourselves and secure our dreams by moving in their direction, not by standing still. For time will go on its’ merry way and there is only one life. If we don’t try to find our dream, no one will ever do it for us. Instead of storing up the regrets, spend that time doing a little of your own everyday no matter how small it may be. For no matter how busy the harbour is, there is always activity in the waters but we never find it by rooting ourselves at the shore.

Follow Your Dreams

If while pursuing distant dreams
Your brightest hopes turn to gray.
Don’t wait for reassuring words
Or hands to lead the way.

For seldom will you find a soul
With dreams the same as yours.
Not often will another help you
Pass through untried doors.

If inner forces urge you
To take a course unknown,
Be ready to go all the way,
Yes, all the way alone.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t
Draw lessons from the best;
Just don’t depend on lauding words
To spur you on your quest.

Find confidence within your heart
And let it be your guide.
Strive ever harder toward your dreams
And they won’t be denied.

-Bruce B. Wilmer