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Archive for the ‘Closer to God’ Category


I was watering the plants early this morning when I noticed this single lovely bloom of our gardenia shrub. Pleasant surprises await when you least expect them. It’s only the middle of April and gardenias usually give that lovely scent during the months of  May to June.  I remember three years ago when this same gardenia shrub surprised us with a bird’s nest with three eggs right in the middle of Holy Week. It’s really amazing when you find something like this. I took a photo to remind me yet again the wonder of nature and the gifts it brings.

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Gardenia is one of my favorite flowers. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, it reminds me of the times when we used to grow them in our old house in the province.  We had so many shrubs in front of the house so you can just imagine the intoxicating scents they have when they are in bloom.  It also reminds me of the times that mom used to grow flowers in pots in every window of our old house. We used to have this what we call barandillas  and they were full of flowering things like Hoya orchids, hydrangea, different colors of Bougainvillea and every flowering plant that I could think of.  Summer  brings back those memories.  I love summer and the different colors it brings to my small garden. Here are a few shots I took this morning.

a hodgepodge of flowering plants from crossadra to lilies

a hodgepodge of flowering plants from crossandra to lilies

 

bleeding hearts

bleeding hearts

shrimp plants, some call them golden candles

shrimp plants, some call them golden candles

bromeliad

bromeliad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

begonia blooms

begonia blooms

 

who do i always forget the name of these flowers. i only planted them once but they bloom every year.

why do i always forget the name of these flowers. i only planted them once but they bloom every year.

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Woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:30am. Son has to leave the house at 5:00am so for three days each week, it’s a struggle to open my eyes and try to ignore the alarms from my two cellphones on my night table.  This morning, I felt as though I haven’t slept  for over six hours so I went back to bed and woke up at 7:30am. So much for dreaming of catching at least 3 more hours of rest.

Our two dogs are at the door waiting for breakfast and my plants are waiting  for that much-needed morning shower.  It is definitely summer here and it’s hot. The previous week has been  a busy one  so far  and it’s now Holy Monday. Holy  Week began yesterday with the blessing  of the palms. I was at the church early because yesterday, one of our new junior admins  at our Catholic page visited me. Ninia and I had a good laugh exchanging news and some tidbits of her life in Hongkong away from her family.  Sharing with friends is such a joy, never mind that  sometimes, the topic was serious  and painful enough and the tears fall, unheeded. Doing an online apostolate is definitely fulfilling. As  you journey through, you also grow in faith and yes,  in your own little way, you get to inspire others. We will be celebrating our fourth year of being online this coming Friday.  When I think  of the times when we were just making our presence felt with a little more than a thousand members, I am grateful that so many people from all walks of life found our page. We now have almost 66,000 members who visit the page each day and share our posts.

I would love to go back to St. Padre Pio Chapel  this Holy Week, they have several things lined up for the celebration. My only problem is I am afraid to mingle with a big crowd because I have to wear face mask  and I can’t stay under the heat of the sun for long. We are planning to have Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday maybe in some churches in Manila if we have the time.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.  It's vvisited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC. It’s visited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one's path is  so uplifting.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one’s path is so uplifting.

Some people say that the facade of the chapel is an exact replica of the  Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Last week I watched a feature on Mang Ramon Rodriguez, founder and president of  the Philippine Center for St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Inc.  He is a devotee of Saint Padre Pio and was cured of partial blindness years ago . It’s the reason why he put up a small chapel which is now a house of prayer visited by thousands of pilgrims all year-long.

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio's tomb and cell.  (Photo credit: sacreddestinations.com)

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio’s tomb and cell. (Photo credit: sacred-destinations.com)

Have a blessed Holy Week!

 

 

 

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Rosaries left by Padre Pio devotees at St. Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.

Rosaries left by Padre Pio devotees at St. Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.

They speak of love and faith -

A love that endures

A faith that sustains

They speak of a loving God

whose open arms

welcome everyone.

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Yesterday, my son,  her girlfriend Jovy  and I visited Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, Quezon City. This is Jovy’s first time to visit the place so we toured her around the gardens after spending some time inside the chapel and at the prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi. I always feel blessed and energized every time I visit this lovely place. Never mind that I am still dragging my left foot while walking. I haven’t been here for a year and I really missed the place. One thing that I enjoy  and always look forward to  is writing prayer petitions. It was a wondrous communion with God. Despite the  knee pain, I found it easier to kneel and the flow of words kept coming. Mere thanksgiving is not enough, asking for more blessings  seems a little selfish but that is what I did – praying for the family and for my health.

I took lots of pictures  which I will use for my online apostolate.  One thing  that I found so amazing and so beautiful  are the pictures of a dove perched at the statue of an angel in a corner of the garden. It seemed as if it was saying “welcome” to us.  Don’t laugh but I said “hello” and it just turned its head the other way, maybe acknowledging our presence there in the heat of the morning sun. Doves have long been depicted as symbols of  love, peace and as messengers.  White doves are often used during weddings too.

Perched atop the head of the image of Padre Pio.

Perched atop the head of the image of Padre Pio.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that that there is a dove gray color like this.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that there is a dove-gray color like this.

 

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, "Isn't she lovely?" while looking at the angel figure behind.

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, “Isn’t she lovely?” while looking at the angel figure behind.

 

Will post more pictures of Padre Pio chapel in my next blog. Just could not get enough.

 

 

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It’s supposed to be the start of summer in a few days but it rained the whole day yesterday and when I woke up this morning, there was a drizzle that made  the morning a little cold, perfect time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee. I welcome the rain at this time of the year but I pray  that the low pressure area would leave the country soon.

Welcome summer! I’d like to feel the sun on my face again. Here’s a prayer I have for you today: May you be filled with God’s blessings.

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I know, I know, this comes a bit late again but I just have to post these two pictures that I took of one of the lovely places I went to with the whole family. The Farm at San Benito is located in Lipa, Batangas, a three-hour drive from our place in Rizal. One thing I do remember so well is the night swimming at their Secret Pool with the lush green all around. It was so relaxing and it makes me smile thinking about my reaction to the place when I first saw it, the “oohs and aahs” and the excited anticipation of exploring it.

...then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

…then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

...and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

…and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

 

 

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day and I wish you these old but familiar Irish Blessings.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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Inside

It’s been a while since I last posted something here for the Weekly Photo Challenge. Sometimes, I just forget, at other times, I don’t have the resource photo to upload here. I have several shots on this subject but I’d like to zero in on this particular shot since it makes me remember those days that we used to visit several Catholic churches for our Visita Iglesia during the season of Lent.

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My Mokara orchids are blooming nonstop, same with my Hoya. I noticed two more buds while the last bloom is drying up. It’s such a joy to watch them unfold into lovely blooms.  When you are lucky to have Nature’s gifts, you can’t help but smile.  I am using most of my shots to make quotes for our Catholic page at Facebook.  This is one of them.

 

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