Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Photography Art

Flexible through the Winds

In the areas where the winds are mighty, the tall palm trees often grace the landscape. Though there are hardly any oaks or similar tall stately trees to be found around. The strength and beauty of the tall palm trees to survive through the huge storms or strong gusts of wind lies in their ability to be strong and flexible. They sway with the wind, bending almost down to the ground at times and that ability allows them to survive the forces of nature.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. Tony Robbins

The Word of God teaches us to be resilient and pliant when we face the powerful winds that are part of life. When we put our complete faith and trust in His Word, we would be able to adapt to anything that comes our way. As the destructive forces and thoughts push us; lean to adapt keeping our principles and Faith strong so that we can be flexible to plan our sway according to the Lord’s Will. In fact, in doing so we learn to use the force of the winds to make us even stronger and sheltered under the Lord’s wings.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” Confucius

Have you ever observed children as they learn new things ? They don’t have any fixed notion or ideologies. They listen to what is told, the first words and sounds they say are what they hear when we as adults say them. When a child begins to learn to write and does not know what is expected of him, their hands are completely flexible and obediently controlled by the hand of their parents and teachers mother; as soon as they imagine what they understood and comprehend, tries to “help”, everything goes at random: that’s what I mean when saying that the power of God is accomplished in weakness.

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir

Like the sails of the ship, the wind can fill it so that it will carry the whole ship – just because the sail is flexible; if instead of a sail you put a solid board, then nothing will come out. One of the many things that God constantly tries to teach us instead of the imaginary, insignificant and anarchic “strength” that we hold to is fragility, flexibility, complete surrender to God.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’ James 4:13-17

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein

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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, 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

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life

Dealing with AIDS

Arthur Ashe, one of the legendary Wimbledon Players, the only African-American man to win the Wimbledon and the U.S. and Australian Open had died of complications from AIDS at the age of 49 years. In 1983, it was believed that Ashe had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion which he received during his heart bypass surgery. For in those days, screening of blood for transmissible infectious agents were not done. During his illness , he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed, “Why did God have to select you for such a bad disease ?”

To this Arthur Ashe replied, “50 Million children started playing Tennis, 5 Million learnt to play Tennis, 500 000 learnt Professional Tennis, 50 Thousand came to Circuit, 5 Thousand reached Grand Slam, 50 reached Wimbledon, 4 reached the Semifinals, 2 reached the Finals and when I was holding the cup in my hand, I never asked God, “Why Me?” So now that I’m in pain how can I ask God,”Why Me?”

“We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.” Bill Clinton

Yesterday had marked the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day with the theme for the observance this year being “Know your status”. The main focus is to contain the disease and reach the 90-90-90 target. The latter is a treatment target to achieve by 2020 which would help end AIDS epidemic. The three targets include that 90% of all people with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. While we are on this track, an important aspect not to be sidelined is how the present population who are suffering from this disease are holding up and facing their inner turmoil.

“Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me.” Ryan White

Sometimes we ourselves are responsible for what affects us. While we do bear the brunt of the bad decisions, choices and mistakes that we make; sometimes things are not in our hands. While some ask the question of “why me”, others condemn themselves for their past errors wondering how can they live or forgive themselves. Alone the burden of the disease is hard to bear. When we add the feeling of guilt and depression as well as melancholy, living becomes difficult. Forgiveness is not just a great gift to bestow on others, it’s also something that allows us to be free. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”(1 John 1:9)

Our God is a forgiving God as seen in the scriptures. For even when we pay the price for the wrongs that we have done, as long as we resolve to turn over to the right path, our Lord will protect us in His Hands. For forgiveness frees us to be better people through God. As John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Even when we suffer from the mistakes that we have made, when we submit to the Lord, we gain our strength from His Words. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“My name is Ryan White. I am sixteen years old. I have hemophilia, and I have AIDS.” Ryan White

For those who are affected by the disease for no known fault of theirs like Arthur Ashe, the question of “why me” lingers in the mind. Yet what we should remember is that, the Lord’s plan is not known to all. Many a time what happens may not make any sense, but when we look back and view the events that have taken place; we realize that everything had their own purpose. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” As the scriptures have shown that the Lord works in miraculous ways in His Time. What we as man can do is to put our trust in His Words, pour our hearts to Him and cloth ourselves with faith in His Words.

“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill

As time and again have proven, the Lord never abandons us as long as we keep our faith in Him intact. For He walks by us at all times and when we are tired He carries us mentally, spiritually, emotionally and even physically indirectly or directly. Despite being weighed down by disease, the Lord will give us the strength and courage to face each day. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”(2 Corinthians 4:8-11)

“The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart.” Nikolai Lenin