Posted in Christian, Daily, Random Thoughts

Words To Remember By

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them… Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will. Michel de Montaigne

As Ralph Marston had said, “If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.”

Are we important ? 

We often stumble across this thought at our various stop points or crossroads in our life. Sometimes the feeling that we are of no importance in this world engulfs us. Yet despite the pep talk we give ourselves, there will be days where the feeling that “we are not worth a story” haunts the inner recesses of our emotions. That is when we have to remember a few things.

When we may think that we are not at all important in this world. Remember that someone drinks coffee every morning from their favorite cup which you gave them.
Someone heard a song on the radio that reminded them of you.
Someone saw a picture or message from you and smiled.
Someone read the book you recommended to him and plunged into it.
Someone had chuckled to themselves while waiting at a traffic light thinking of their good times with you.
Someone remembered your joke and smiled, returning in the evening from work.
Someone keeps the notes you have written, the messages you had sent, the emails that you had forwarded or archived the conversations and emails for rainy days, to live the hope they recieved on reading them.
Someone now loves themselves a little more, because you had given them a compliment.
Someone thought of you while shopping in the grocer’s knowing how much you loved their cookies.
Someone misses the good old days where you were a part of their circle.
Someone suddenly remembers the parking space, the directions or guidance that you had given without a second thought.

There may be many more instances that we may not even be able to think of, where others have often thought of us even we may have merely met them just once in our lifetime. Never think that we don’t have an influence on anything.Our traces, which we leave behind, even with small acts of kindness can never be erased.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. Saint Basil

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Posted in Daily, Food, Personal Musings

All in Moderation

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates

One of the most conflicting emotions that often run in the mind, especially the woman’s mind is whether one is fat or thin ? To be honest, fat is essential to diet and all products or diets that state to eliminate fat is dangerous. Besides being good energy sources and cushioning the internal body organs, certain fats are essential to the brain cells, nerves as well as to fight infection and inflammation. The key lies in moderation and to recognize the bad fats namely “trans-fat” and “saturated fats”. Besides these highlights to look for in the food labels, remember that the more processed, the more sparingly we should eat it. Yet that doesn’t mean we have to avoid the occasional splurge once in a while, not daily.

“These small things – nutrition, place, climate, recreation, the whole casuistry of selfishness – are inconceivably more important than everything one has taken to be important so far.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When the USDA declared January as the “fat free living month”, it was a little weird decision to make as we can’t live without fats. Yet we can regulate the fat intake especially the bad types. Unfortunately weight loss, fad diets and abstinence from fat doesn’t solve our problems unless we find out what makes us unhappy or dissatisfied or triggers the emotional eating binge.

“Weight loss is not the key to your dreams. The truth is there is no lock and the door is flimsy.” Golda Poretsky

We are all beautiful the way we are. Healthy doesn’t mean thin sized nor does it mean running between the goalposts of diet and binge eating. The easiest way to healthy eating is to be mentally happy and enjoy the food. Food serves to sustain and to revel in the tastes offered, but too much of anything honey or salt spoils the beauty.

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

Keeping Our Dream Alive

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” Albert Einstein

From the very early days of school, in the course of growing up and gleaning knowledge we all dream of doing something or being that someone. In the course of time, some of us follow up on them while others shelve them waiting for the right time or completely foregoing them. During the period of achieving the dream, we come across various faces of people, some who burst our bubble, a couple of people who try explaining the practical aspects so as to make sure we know the reality and “hard facts” while others just watch to criticize and the very few who observe and offer unasked help or when requested.

“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”  Unknown

What happens when someone tells us that our dreams will never happen? Despite all the facts of reality, when our dreams come from an inner belief, no realism will put out the fire. To question our dream, the ideal response is to either ignore but what really happens is that we break down our dream to smaller sizes or forego it completely. But when we silently work and prove ourselves right would be like the cat that got the cream. Just as the story “Keep your dream” says, strive to prove that your dream will happen, not simply to set others right but also to keep your inner light, desire and wish burning bright.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S. Lewis

 

Keep Your Dream

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs. The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up. That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch. He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’ The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all. He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.’”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving, the teacher said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’
“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.” – Jack Canfield

If your mom asks you to do the dishes, do not pull out your pirate attitude. But if someone tells you you’re not good enough, says your dreams are too lofty, or claims there is no room in showbiz for a dancing violinist – well then, by all means, pull out your eye patch, my friend, and take to the high seas. Lindsey Stirling

Keeping our dreams alive despite all odds is never easy. Yet the fruit of the toil is worth the sweat and the efforts as well as the dust and the grime. For all of us who have shelved our dreams, restore them and start off working on them so that we can look back and cherish the happiness of our hearts’ desires. To quote Emma Heatherington, “Life is, most of all, about love – follow your heart, live out your dreams, smile, be happy, see the good in everyone you meet and rise above those who try to make you feel low. Fill your heart and fill your soul – love, no matter what, is always the answer.” 

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Jump With Faith

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” ( Luke 12:25-26 (NIV))

When we always enter unknown territory, from being simply new at the workplace gatherings to high school reunions or settling into a new town to relocating to a new profession or hearing bad news in the hospital; the feeling of wariness transcends in all of us. In those times, there is nothing more comforting than having someone familiar or something familiar to lean on to. The pillar of support can range from family, friends, our church or community to our memories of good times, our old comfort blanket or even our treasured memorabilia. Yet what we often fail to realize is that the strongest comfort comes from none other than Our Father in Heaven. The gentle calmness in the restless mind, the sudden peace that flows through us, the strength to brave the new day and the hope of the new dawn are what we get when we read and understand His Word. Through centuries, the Word of God has withstood the test of time. Yet of all the things fickle in this world, His Word will never change like the weather nor will His Hope ever leave us when we put our entire trust and faith in Him.

“..But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

One day late in the evening a fire broke out in one of the houses. The whole family – the father, mother and children, shocked by what was happening, ran out into the street and watched the fire flare up. And suddenly everyone understood that among them there is no youngest member of the family – a five-year-old son. Most likely, he, frightened by the flame and smoke, instead of going down, climbed the stairs to the very top. One could not even dream of finding him. Suddenly, a window opened and a child’s distorted face appeared in it. In desperation, the father shouted: “Jump!” The kid, seeing only smoke and flames in front of him, shouted, “Dad, I can’t see you!” His father replied, “But I see you, do not be afraid, jump now!”
The boy, having gathered his courage, jumped and found himself right in the arms of his father. It is this faith that God expects from us!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Like the times when we cast our hope on our firefighters, emergency personnel and technicians, when the going gets tough and shoulders are overburdened; the sooner we cast our cares on to His Shoulders, the lesser will we be troubled and the lesser the hardships will seem For just as the song goes, “our God is an Awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, With wisdom, power, and love, Our God is an awesome God”, so will we be able to face what life throws at us.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” ( 1 Peter 5:7-10)

Posted in Daily, Food, Photography Art

Art of Chantilly Cream

Whipped cream also known as Chantilly cream or crème chantilly, is one of those discoveries whose origins have been lost in obscurity. From being attributed to accidental discovery in the ancient times, to whipping instead of churning the cream for butter or the common folk tale of a fast horse ride with a half filled container of cream, whipped cream has become an answer to transform the boring mundane to fresh, new and exciting view.

Essentially whipped cream is made by whipping the cream by a whisk or mixer until it is light and fluffy. It is often sweetened and flavored with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, orange to mention a few. The colder the equipment, ingredients and the cream, the easier to whip and better the results. Cream must be below 50 degrees to whip, for at 50 degrees or above it gets churned into butter. From whipping siphons to food processors and electric mixers, the hand whipped cream has progressed with time and technology.

Popularized from the 16th century onward, whipped cream became aromatized and sweetened. Then it was added to various desserts from pyramidal shapes with coffee, liqueurs, chocolate, fruits and so on, to make either as a mixture or poured on top known as crème en mousse (‘cream in a foam’), crème fouettée, crème mousseuse and fromage à la Chantilly. Modern mousses including “mousse au chocolat” have continued this tradition. As written, “Mousses are made with sweet cream, not very thick; one whips it, which makes it foam, and it is this foam that one uses: one may give it whatever flavor one wants, with aromatics, flours, fruits, wines, or liqueurs.” M. Emy, 1768

Continuing through the years, whipped cream still remains a popular topping from fruit to desserts of pie, ice cream, cake, puddings, waffles and even to beverages ranging from coffee to milk or plain hot chocolate. These days imitations of whipped cream, for those with milk allergies or vegan diets, extended shelf life and convenience have been made available as whipped topping or squirty cream. Although the original whipped cream is the best, whichever way it may be made, whipped cream makes a good treat for the eyes as well as the palate. So in honour of National Whipped Cream Day (January 5th), I’m planning to shut down the inner calorie counter, to have whipped cream on any topping like, cake, pie or even coffee for a delicious weekend splurge.

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

Our Civic Duty

Children need to get a high-quality education, avoid violence and the criminal-justice system, and gain jobs. But they deserve more. We want them to learn not only reading and math but fairness, caring, self-respect, family commitment, and civic duty. Colin Powell

During my school days, we used to have certain phrases painted on the walls. Among them, one was “cleanliness is next to godliness”. From the very early days of our foray into the world of learning, my school had taken the duty of educating us for society and the neighbourhood very seriously. While in smaller classes it was morning prayer followed by song and then the checking of our general appearance and neatness by our teachers as we sat down for our classes, it was more than that as we entered the higher grades. The early morning assembly which was marked by the prayer song, concise news headlines, thought for the day and school happenings in brief ended with a brief inspection by the prefects or senior class leaders as we headed to our classrooms.

“By its very definition, civic responsibility means taking a healthy role in the life of one’s community. That means that classroom lessons should be complemented by work outside the classroom. Service-learning does just that, tying community service to academic learning.” John Glenn

The message underlying all this entire proceedings was to be involved in our surroundings as well as that neatness and cleanliness should arise within us and spread over to our environment as well. One of the defaults of the present day is that we neglect to lay stress on the civic duty we all have being a part of community, society and country. By turning a blind eye to our civic responsibilities, the effect will impact not just the present but the future societies too.

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy

Contrary to common thinking, civic duty doesn’t need much effort if everything does their own bit. It can start from the grass-root levels of family, neighbourhood and schools. As history has proven time and again, the essence of strong civilizations and countries lies in their commitment of its’ people as well as their civic sense. When the fellow-feeling strengthened by kindness and mutual respect with sense of common duties and interests is strong, then the social life would be both healthy, comfortable and invigorating.

“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.” Aberjhani

This is one of the posts I had read through my social network pages, (translated to English) which prompted me to think that unless we start to educate our children about their civic duty and environment, we would pay a heavy price either now or later.

As I taught my son not to litter

When my son was about seven years old, and we all went to a small picnic place somewhere outside the city, stopped at a gas station and bought ice cream. As we were going in the car, we were enjoying the journey with my son having the ice cream. Then my son opens the window and throws the wrap. As the speed of the car was low, I was able to very quickly navigate and park the car on the side of the road. Silently I got out of the car, opened the trunk and freed one of the packages from the products. I took my son out of the car and asked to him collect all the garbage from the curb. My son’s pride was affected and my wife also tried to reason with me. Finally she went to the car and explained to her son that until he brought me a full package of garbage, we would not go any further, and accordingly all the fun we were supposed to have will not be there.

My son first with tears, and then with some kind of excitement in his eyes went to collect garbage. I took the second package and went with him. In less than half an hour, we cleared a small stretch of road of the traces of our people’s livelihoods and returned to the car. Then I explained to my son why he was sent to collect the garbage, because Russia is his homeland, and he must love his homeland. I spoke a lot, tedious (as my wife thinks) with examples, so that he understood why he was made to do so. In the end my son asked: Why did you go to collect for me?
“The fact that you threw the wrap out the window is, first of all, my mistake. I missed something in your upbringing, and therefore should have been punished along with you.”
Soon my son will be 13 years old, he has two little sisters, and yesterday I enjoyed watching how he tells them not to litter.

Posted in Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Building the House

There was a foreman. All his life he built houses, but he became old and decided to retire. “I quit,” he told the employer. “I am retiring. I will be with my old woman with grandchildren to nurse. His boss was sorry to part with this man, and he asked him: ” Listen, let’s do it, build the last house and we will retire. With a good premium!” The foreman agreed. According to the new project, he had to build a house for a small family, and it began: coordination, search for materials, testing. The foreman was in a hurry because he had already seen himself in retirement. If he didn’t finish something, he simplified it, bought cheap materials, as they could be delivered faster. He felt that he was not doing his best work, but he justified himself by saying that this was the end of his career. Upon completion of construction, he called the owner who inspected the house and said, ” Now this is your house! Take the keys and move in. All documents are already completed. This is a gift from the company for many years of work.” What the foreman experienced was known only to him alone! He was standing red with shame, while everyone around them clapped their hands, congratulated him on his new home and thought that he was blushing with shyness, and he was blushing with shame for his own carelessness. He was aware that all the mistakes and shortcomings were now his problems, and everyone around him thought that he was embarrassed by an expensive gift. And now he had to live in the only house that he built poorly.
Today we are building a house in which we will move in tomorrow. And how your house will be depends only on you.

Like the foreman, we all are involved in our businesses, work, neighbourhood and various other activities that set off a chain reaction. When we don’t resolve to put our heart into our work, actions and words; considering that the outcome will not affect, we would have never been more wrong in our estimation and forecast.

Everything we do matters. Going about our lives as we see fit, if not right may dearly cost us. Whether with passion or disinterest; with desire to excel or with carelessness; with effort or a lazy attitude, in the end what goes around comes around.

We are all in the process of constructing something in life. When we are not happy with what we see or the consequences of what we have been building over the years, its’ time to change before it becomes too late. Time never waits but when it gives us an opportunity for corrective measures, grab it with both hands before that too is taken out of the picture.