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

Eyes That Watch Us

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” W.E.B. DuBois

As the little toddler grows up in the family, certain mannerisms and phrases have been coming along too quickly for his age. From putting into place a cushion seat for his tiny legs during the allotted television time to aligning his shoes, experimenting with his father’s hair gel and picking up phrases of “Wipe your feet”, “no phone during meal times” and the like; highlights how much more they learn as they watch and observe the adults around them.

“What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

As time flies, being parents or guardians of these little wonders, one never realizes how much they significantly imbibe more from the world around them, than what they have been taught in the kindergarten or later even in school. Like the old adage goes, family is the first teacher of a child; the little things that children pick have an immense effect on their future. Whether it be the physical, emotional, mental or social aspects of their life, parents and elders are their first educators.

“Children or babies learn to mimic the vibration of the adults who surround them long before they learn to mimic their words.” Abraham-Hicks

For adults knowing this matters the most; for this silent teaching is what determines the future of those little ones. The errors of the present would require a huge effort in the future to be corrected then, instead of now. Realizing this significance in the present would shape their future thinking, behaviour and character. Time will always go ahead as always. Let the present memories not be those of regret and guilt; but treasured ones as they move ahead in their future lives.

“Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live, rather than what you say.” Wayne Dyer

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned most of life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.’

– Mary Rita Schilke Korzan

Posted in Daily, Food

Add the “Cheese”

Being the lone one in the house, as a result of over time and off hours being allotted accordingly, enough and more time was spent on the ads section and advertisements were marked. Imagine when the leaflet advertising the discounted cheeseburger rates for the whole week ( in lieu of the national cheeseburger day, Sept 18th) were seen. As the hunger cravings rose to a peak by noon, the big lunch was foregone with the craving for cheeseburger. With a sparsely stocked larder and takeaway not an option in the downpour (besides being miles away from the town roads), creative cooking was the only option. Considering the leftovers and the supplies in the fridge, it was time to make something light. What happens when one places two mince meat patties with sliced tomatoes, crisp onion rings with a nice helping of cheese between two bread slices (out of buns). Voila, the homemade version of cheese burger is ready.

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” Matthew McConaughey

Essentially, a cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Although the slice of cheese is added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before serving, which allows the cheese to melt; variations exist depending on choice of having it melted solid or double extra. As for the cheese, from processed to melt-able cheese, options range from cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, blue Cheese or pepper jack being the popular ones.

With the rise of cattle ranching, fast food chains, commercialization of food industry and rise of fast food; hamburgers had risen in popularity. The late 1920s saw the adding of cheese to hamburgers. Though several competing claims exist as to who created the first cheeseburger. Records repute that Lionel Sternberger (1926) had introduced the cheeseburger at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father’s sandwich shop (Pasadena, California) “The Rite Spot” and “experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.” Another similar mention of a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents was listed on the menu of O’ Dell’s restaurant (Los Angeles, 1928). However the trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.

“You dont have to eat a whole cheeseburger, just take a piece of the cheeseburger.” Guy Fieri

Variations like steamed cheeseburger, soy cheese and vegan versions have been seen across the globe, with the ingredients adapting to the local cuisine and customs. All said and done, the cheese part has stayed on. There’s something fun about indulging in the occasional cheese burger ( homemade, fast food franchise made or deli made) once in a while. No matter how old or busy one is, the delights of the cheeseburger do stay strong.

“I take pleasure in the little things. Double cheeseburgers, those are good, the sky ten minutes before it rains,the moment your laugh turns into a cackle. And I sit here, and smoke my Camel straights, and I ride my own melt.” Ethan Hawke

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

Maintain the Balance

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius

Of recent, few multinational companies have been allotting compulsory leave days for their top employees. These few days after every four months or so, come with a half pay and an order not to be seen in the company premises for either completing the new projects, clear the back log or develop new ideas. The whole idea was to “take a break” from the professional life and grow the personal one. In a way, these organizations have done this so as to increase the employee productivity as well as better the general work efficiency on the whole.

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay

When a young adult enters the modern career world, the importance is laid in establishing a good professional life, earning good money and save for the future. As time goes on, one may start a family or become a part of one. Being social beings, we crave for close relationships and bonds as thick as blood. Yet once family and friends arrives, certain things may be taken for granted; especially time spent with the latter. When one realizes the error soon, time may be left to pick up the broken links and rebuild them.

“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In the process of rebuilding, the metal once scarred or bent mayn’t be as strong as it looks. For the builder it involves immense effort to re-link the chains as compared to when building in flow with the fresh meta links. While wealth, riches, fame and materials are necessary for the social or professional order in life; it is the close knit web of family and bonds that help one to heal, grow, nurture and flourish away from the outside world. As one nurtures or is being nurtured by the family, the children of tomorrow are minor extensions of today. These inquisitive minds learn more from actions and deeds than words. In order to live life to the fullest, learning to balance the entire framework of professional as well as personal life is what brings fruit to the former. Time is always there to reform as long as one decides to put their priorities and focus in the right manner.

“The single most important factor in our long-term happiness is the relationships we have with our family and close friends.” Clayton M. Christensen

‘So now you have a farm, two houses, and four cars, correct?’ asked Marcelo. Ivan nodded. ‘Well done!’ Marcelo smiled amicably to his old friend. ‘And what else have you got? A master’s degree from University of Chile, a good and stable job, and what else? Money, ah, how much money have you got? More than a hundred million pesos, I suppose?’
Ivan did not reply, but his smile meant a ‘yes’ to all of the questions. ‘And with all of these in your hands, you’re still the first to arrive at work and the last to leave, yes?’ For the second time, Ivan nodded. ‘For how long?”Three years and a half.’ ‘Oh, poor Ivan Espinoza,’ Marcelo sighed. For a moment he stopped talking. The conversation that previously was filled with laughter and jokes suddenly turned itself into a deep silence. Marcelo gazed over Ivan and tapped his right shoulder tenderly. An air of confidence was transpired from the light of his eyes, despite his graying eyebrow. ‘My friend, did you see that table?’ ‘Yes,’ Ivan glanced to a table next to them. ‘How many legs?’ ‘Four’
‘If you break one of the table’s legs, will you have a balanced table?’ ‘No’
‘So is life. It’s got four legs: education, money, a job you love, and a family you adore. If you break one of life’s legs, you will have an imbalanced life,’ remarked Marcelo. Sighing, the man paused for a little while before continuing. ‘Now you have a good job, money, and proper education, but you don’t see your children except when they are asleep before and after work. Is that a balanced life? You work for your family, don’t you?”Yes.’
‘So why do you work so hard but spend less time with them?’
Written by Subhan Zein

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

The Mark Left Behind

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare

Walking into the shopping centre (similar to Walmart) downtown, unknowingly one would be found scanning their eyes at random for the familiar face of the friendly store clerk. On spotting that familiar “friendly face” shopping becomes easier especially when figuring out the offers. One longs for that similar friendly face in public offices, the court as well as at the municipal office, to get the unfamiliar procedure, forms, certifications and the rest sorted out to the layman.

In this era, where time always runs short for everybody; offering help, being kind, of grace and courteous isn’t always easy. Amidst loads of paperwork, targets to be achieved, over time hours, less holidays, rushing through two to three jobs to make ends meet; doing a job with utmost professional gains at time more importance than being kind, helpful and humane. For those who learn to balance both; their faces leave a distinct impression in the minds of those who meet them.

“Some people come into our lives, leave footprints in our hearts and minds and we are never the same again.” Jared Leto

Besides the work that we do for the basic bread and butter, the individual prints of approaching each turn that life takes one through, shows hint of the true character and underlying personality. Our every action, word and deed echoes more about ourselves than the promises that we make. The inner person reflects what it is within, for the world outside to see. Just like every vessel will pour out what it has or contains, so will a person leave their prints behind. While the first impression may be the best one; if the ones that follow aren’t true, losses would happen in the long run. Being kind and true within is what makes the difference in the lives of each person, whether it be their social, personal or professional life.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” Harold S. Kushner

The old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted and shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried step. His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn out shoes, and warm personality made him stand out from the usual Saturday morning breakfast crowd. Unforgettable were his pale blue eyes that sparkled like diamonds, large rosy cheeks, and thin lips held in a tight, steady smile.
He stopped, turned with his whole body, and winked at a little girl seated by the door. She flashed a big grin right back at him.

A young waitress named Mary watched him shuffle toward a table by the window. Mary ran over to him, and said, ‘Here, Sir . . . let me give you a hand with that chair.’ Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. She pulled the chair away from the table. Steadying him with one arm, she helped him move in front of the chair, and get comfortably seated. Then she scooted the table up close to him, and leaned his cane against the table where he could reach it.
In a soft, clear voice he said, ‘Thank you, Miss . . . and bless you for your kind gestures.’ ‘You’re welcome, Sir.’ She replied. ‘And my name is Mary. I’ll be back in a moment and if you need anything at all in the mean time, just wave at me!’ After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes, bacon and hot lemon tea, Mary brought him the change from his bill. He left it lay on the table. She helped him up from his chair and out from behind the table. She handed him his cane and walked with him to the front door. Holding the door open for him, she said, ‘Come back and see us, Sir!’ He turned with his whole body, winked and smiled, then nodded a thank you. ‘You are very kind.’ he said softly.

When Mary went to clean his table, she almost fainted. Under his plate she found a business card and a note scribbled on a napkin. Under the napkin was a one hundred dollar bill. The note on the napkin read . . . ‘Dear Mary, I respect you very much and I can see you respect yourself too. It shows by the way you treat others. You have found the secret of happiness. Your kind gestures will shine through to all those who meet you.’ The man she had waited on was the owner of the restaurant where she worked. This was the first time that she or any of his employees had ever seen him in person. 

Written by Steve Brunkhorst


Posted in Daily, Food

“Mix” Along the “Trail”

Couple of almonds or cashews. Legumes (peanuts or baked soybeans). Dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, apricots, apples pieces, gooseberries or candied orange peel. Throw in a few chocolate chips, chunks, and M&M’s or pretzels along with crystallized ginger. One is good to go.

Early morning and sugars low. Throw in dry breakfast cereal for the sugary crunch. More salty feel or crunchy feel, add in banana chips or carob chips. For high fibre effect, add in the rye chips. Enrich the antioxidant feel with pumpkin, chia or sunflower seeds.

Little did hiker and outdoors-man Horace Kephart, know that recommendation of “scroggin” or “trial mix” in his popular camping guide (1910s), would lead to the snack becoming ever popular or more varied over time. The original “trail mix” was more of a combination of granola, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes chocolate developed as a food to be taken along on Besides being quick and easy to carry along, the wide variety of mixes as per as own personal choice makes it’s popularity still stay.

Interestingly, the name “scroggin” or “schmogle” as used in New Zealand may have arose as an acronym from it’s ingredients of sultanas, carob, raisins, orange peel, grains, glucose, imagination(?) and nuts or alternatively sultanas, chocolate, raisins and other goody-goodies including nuts; although these facts are up to debate. Across continents, America’s gorp ( acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts” or common ingredients “granola, oats, raisins, peanuts) and Europe’s “student fodder”, “student oats” or “student mix” in the local languages show essentially how the same thing stays across the different cultures.

For snackers globally, the National Trail Mix Day (August 31st) would give a reason to go the extra mile for an exotic, unusual trail mix style ( cranberries, gooseberries, gummy bears and cornflakes dried anyone ?)

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

Balance the Scales

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe

The day before the weekends or sometimes the weekends themselves, bring out the cleaning spree in me. Bitten by the “cleaning bug”, from the curtains to the upholstery as well as furnishings including all the mats and the carpets are brought out, aired, sun dried and brought in, especially before the dark clouds start hovering around. When bitten bu the bug, the entire household tip toes around fearing the retribution of a spilled cup of water on the floor or even those muddy footprints around. Yet by sun down, the shining and polished furniture starts showing a scrape of grime brought by little hands after their outdoor (or attic) fun. While slowly the red fiery steam starts rising within, a heavy dose of temperance is brought out from within to quench the flames, lest the gleeful smiles and childhood memories are lost for the day.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

There will be days in each of our lives, where one goes out of the way to do everything in the right manner. Despite all the efforts, there would be no returns but regrets and inner unrest. Those days, when one learns to take events in stride and move on, those perceived unhappy moments turn into blessed ones. In the light of the events of those days, the attitude that one chooses and the perceptions used to colour the day brightens up the gloomy mood, bringing forth the inner light.

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” Stephen R. Covey

Each one is in the rush to lead their own lives. While each one may seem to measure the other, in the end it is the personal happiness and the inner peace that each one strives and craves for. Knowing when to remove the dust, leave it on or capture the muddy prints makes the difference in the day. To redefine the angry moments of the day by changing the perceived notions is important. Finding the balance between the “to do”, would like to do and long to do, is important to live our lives to the potential that one was born to.

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . . ” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake a cake or plant a seed, or even ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time, with rivers to swim and mountains to climb, music to hear and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the worlds out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind, old age will come and it’s not kind. And when you go – and go you must, you, yourself will make more dust! It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived … and remember, a layer of dust protects the wood beneath it.
Author Unknown

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections

Power within Self

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

Unlike the monsoon rains of each year, this time the town had witnessed less amount of water clogging on the roads. May be the reason can be attributed to the spaced out rains as compared to the previous years or less plastic logging the drains, non clogged roadside drain outlets and the like. Whatever the reason maybe, the final result was better for all. Who was responsible for this difference? Whether it was the awareness combined with effort and environment humaneness, of the municipal workers to keep the roads clean and drains unclogged or less dumping of plastic roadside by the public, numerous cleanliness drives by schools, organizations, town corporations; better road maintenance by the public works or other campaigns; each one had a role to play. Each one made a difference in their own way. Ultimately, each one of us has the power to make a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Very often, one undermines their own power, potential and ability to make a vast impact in the future outcome. A little child who is taught and does throw their trash in the proper bin subtly teaches a host of unseen observers environmental humaneness. An adolescent who is polite at the grocers’ brightens the day for the cashier and the customers in queue. A simple thank you to the waitress or the security manning the apartment block entrance brings a lightness to their weary burdens.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

One doesn’t need to start big or huge, need a huge barrage of resources, conveniences, fortunes or luck their way to make a difference. Being nice, doing the right and just thing doesn’t require a lot of effort or hurt the doer. Instead it sets off a chain of events which brightens the days of those around them.

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.” R. Buckminster Fuller

The Power of One
One SONG can spark a moment
One FLOWER can wake the dream
One TREE can start a forest
One BIRD can herald spring
One SMILE begins a friendship
One HANDCLASP lifts a soul
One STAR can guide a ship at sea
One WORD can frame the goal
One VOTE can change a nation
One SUNBEAM lights a room
One CANDLE wipes out darkness
One LAUGH will conquer gloom
One STEP must start each journey
One WORD must start a prayer
One HOPE will raise our spirits
One TOUCH can show you care
One VOICE can speak with wisdom
One HEART can know what is true
One LIFE can make a difference
– Author Unknown