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

Writing on the Stone

“Instead of focusing on that circumstances that you cannot change – focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” Joy Page

Bad days, we all have had our fair share of them. While we may envy others’ and wonder why do our days go wrong, what we have to think about instead is, why it went wrong. Sometimes the answer doesn’t lie with us, but in the circumstances that surround us. Either ways, when to know to let go is as important as when to learn to appreciate the good things that we are blessed with.

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” Jim Rohn

Setbacks are no stranger to each one of us. Every person has their own share of struggles, stress and worries. At some point in our lives, we all have been deceived, struck down and lost relationships. Learning to survive and cope solely depends on how much we let go and how much we keep within ourselves. Being at the receiving end of the “wrongs” hurts a lot, but remembering the “good things done for us” makes those setbacks seem less painful. Carve the good done for us in solid rock to withstand the troubled waters and gales when they strike again. As for the “bad moments”, learn from them and write them on the sand so that over time, the winds will ease the sorrows and pain, rendering the forgiveness that each one of us are due to receive.

“You can live your life angry, bitter, mad at somebody or even guilty, not letting go of your own mistakes, but you won’t receive the good things God has in store.” Joel Osteen

“Two friends were walking through the desert. At one stage in their journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand, ‘Today my best friend slapped me in the face.’
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to have a wash. The one who had been slapped got stuck in a mire and started drowning, but his friend saved him. After he had recovered from his shock, he wrote on a stone, ‘Today my best friend saved my life.’
The friend who slapped and saved his best friend asked him, ‘After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write in stone, why?’ The other friend replied, ‘When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.’”

“The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyze it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalize it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain. It is dead. It is over. It is gone. It is done. It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!” Shannon L. Alder

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Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes

From Bare to New

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll

As the white blanket starts receding and colours come to vibrancy, the landscape starts changing giving us new perspectives. While most of us welcome the spring and the break from the thaw, the stark beauty of winter will be missed for a while. As John Steinbeck once said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

The spring air speaks of new beginnings, projects and life experiences. As we venture into new territories, the lives that we lead often reminding me of the trees, bare and broken in winter but green shoots springing to life in spring. The resilience of human nature is amazing. We all have had our own shares of downfalls and setbacks; yet like the skeleton-bare eerie and snapping branches give to new life of crispy, silk-soft branches with the smell of baked apples growing stronger; our lives echo the same when we decide to move forward and ahead.

“Then spring came. The white blanket melted away, the evergreens and spruces scented the air with their new growth; the little streams rushed hither and thither as if they were joyfully carolling, birds sang and built everywhere. Children were out for wild flowers, and raced around like deers.” Amanda Minnie Douglas (From “A Little Girl in Old St. Louis”)

As Mr. Frost runs away for the youth of Spring to take over, the young buds protected from the winter come to life. In a way, nature teaches a few basic life lessons to man; the ability to stay strong and not quit as well as to survive the drought, keeping in mind that better days will come when we seek and yearn for it.

“Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness. At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow.” Gary Zukav

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

W for “Water”

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”  Lao Tzu

“Leave No One Behind”

On the occasion of the World Water Day, an annual UN observance day (March 22nd) marking the importance of freshwater, one is faced with the grave fact of the “rising scarcity” of the freshwater resources. Initially commemorated in 1993 by the United Nations, the theme changes every year, with the theme for 2019 being “Leave No One Behind”. The water crisis to be tackled this year, addresses why marginalized groups like women, children, refugees, disabled and indigenous people are often overlooked in their accessibility to save drinking water.

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci

Being a part of the global network and progressive species on earth, preserving the natural resources as well as attaining universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are in line with the target of the development goals across the world as outlined by the UN. While today, a variety of events ranging from educational, theatrical, musical, funding campaigns or lobbying are done to generate awareness and advocate sustainable management of freshwater resources; the realistic truth is that everyday is “water conservation day”. As they often say, habits made young are hard to break, advocating proper and conservative use of water should be initiated at family, school and community level. For conservation and preservation never happens overnight, but is always an ongoing process.

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” Jacques Yves Cousteau

The alarming misuse and wastage of natural resources is still at its’ peak. The sooner we reform, reuse, reduce and recycle; the longer we will be able to still avail benefits from what nature has provided us. Freshwater (2.5–2.75%) is needed for survival, more than saline water (around 97%). Thus conservation is mandatory by the hour. Else despite the presence of water, there would be not a drop to drink easy.

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Loren Eiseley

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”
From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834) “
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Part II)

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.” Laura Gilpin

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

Kindness Beyond the Haste

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” Henri Frederic Amiel

Among the many conveniences of the modern world, one of the qualities that is too often lost in the melee of achieving something in our lives, is true humaneness. Very often acts and events related to sharing in society happen, where it involves giving one when having two or giving away the “extras” or “what we no longer use”. Yet when we share while sacrificing a bit of the materialistic pleasures for ourselves and not bragging about it; that merits a true sense of humaneness not restricted simply to what we can share if we have, but lending a hand whenever and how ever we can.

“Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.” Stacy London

We all have our own set of people who we don’t really like or approve of. It may be true that they may done us harm at some point in our lives; yet we also have worn their shoes for time. As in there may have been many instances when we may have unknowingly caused hurt to others. No one can please everybody and one can never be always in everybody’s good books. We all have our days. Yet when ever we can, we should burn down all the grudges and learn to help. For man is a collective being, we learn from , through and with others. No matter who or what anybody has done to us at some time, be the reason to do them treat them unkindly when we can.

“It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be.” Josh Radnor

“In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. ‘How much is an ice cream sundae?’, the boy asked. “50 cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.
‘How much is a dish of plain ice cream?’ he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. “35 cents,” she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. ‘I’ll have the plain ice cream,’ he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents – her tip.”

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

Plans, Eternity and Time

Time and Eternity

A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?”
God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”
The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”
God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.”
The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?”
God said, “In a minute.”

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

The other day, as the family had gathered post Saturday weekend luncheon, among the various topics being discussed were the renovation of the family homestead, plans for the college admissions and the like. What surfaced to my mind, was the fragility of human plans.

“Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” Ramona C. Carroll

Many a time, man has planned numerous events, for the present, the immediate and the distant future. Little do we realize that most of our planning is based on chance. We base the future on a sequence of events believed to happen in a particular manner. When one block is pulled out of the regular, things may still go as per plan. But pull out a couple of them, then most plans come crashing down.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

On the other hand, plans are needed to sort out our purpose and drive in life. Yet the whole procedure can be done, putting our Faith and dreams in God’s hand and above all, plan and know one’s limits.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Man needs to plan to grow and progress with time, else idleness and monotony would set in. Yet the lines have to be drawn at when, how, what and which plans to dream of and which not to. We need to dream big; but also realistic, kind, honest and true.

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.” Marcus Garvey

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

Beauty Around Us

Recently as we were browsing for a gift for new home owners in the neighbourhood, the choices were based on whether to get a gift for its’ usefulness or for decorative purpose. Going through the choices for both, one would be struck on how has changed to match the beauty, aesthetics, colours and background of the new era; to the extent that most of our homes can be labelled “ancient”. Today the sense of style and beauty evolves at a fast rate, so that new of today is “old of tomorrow”, not “next month”.

“Walking in the mountains helps me unwind, but it also reminds me in a painful way that the real beauty in life is nature and animals, and that the human race, in all its arrogance, is intent on destroying it.” Sylvie Guillem

No matter how old we grow or how modern we become, nature in her elements never fails to make us appreciate the true beauty of life. From time to time when we stop with surprise at her magnificent marvels; we never fail to appreciate her wonder. The churning waves, the coloured hue of maple leaves, the first snow, the shining of the sun on frost, the changing shapes and white of the clouds, the colors of the sky are just few of the many artistic marvels of nature.

“I appreciate simplicity, true beauty that lasts over time, and a little wit and eclecticism that make life more fun.” Elliott Erwitt

We all are immersed in beauty for the world is unbearably beautiful; just that we don’t pay enough attention to it. True beauty is the world created for us. People with their lively nature of laughing eyes, songs and honest laughter, small children running about with joy and fun, birds chirping in the morning; all these are few of the many things that we miss or take for granted daily. Everything that is beautiful and wonderful is realized when we pay attention. For the artist is not the one who can draw, the artist is the one who is able to notice the beauty of the surrounding world.

“I think that it’s when we step out of the road, step outside the box, become our own person, and we walk fearlessly down paths other people wouldn’t look at, that true progress comes. And sometimes true beauty as well.” JohnMcAfee

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

Echoes In Us

“A boy and a girl were playing together. The boy had a collection of beautiful marbles. The girl had some candies with her. The boy offered to give the girl all his marbles in exchange for all her candies. The girl agreed. The boy gave all the marbles to the girl, but secretly kept the biggest and the most beautiful marble for himself. The girl gave him all her candies as she had promised. That night, the girl slept peacefully. But the boy couldn’t sleep as he kept wondering if the girl had hidden some more tasty candies from him the way he had hidden his best marble.”

Although this is a childhood tale; at some time in our lives, we would have behaved a little like the boy or the girl. For those of us who remember those moments, the niggling sense of unease fills us all, disturbing our inner peace and quiet. On occasions like these when one looks back, what comes forefront to mind is that, “Was the holding back worth it or would the peace brought by honesty made our day more beautiful instead ?”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

As we grow older and mature with age, we realize that there are many things in life that are more worth when shared than kept hidden. There would be occasions that would call for an honest response on one hand, but would cause unrest and distress on the other hand. Dealing with an honest attitude is like stepping into murky waters sometimes. Brute honesty while well appreciated can cause more hurt when delivered in a thoughtless and tactless manner. Being honest isn’t confined to being brute. Instead one can be honest with a heavy dose of kindness laced with gentleness. The endpoint is the clarity of the conscience. There is nothing more disturbing that having a niggling thought intruding the mind, like a pesky buzz near the ear. As we strive to make sure that the conscience is always at ease, life becomes simple, better and sweet.

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” Tagalog (Filipino) saying