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Archive for the ‘Closer to God’ Category


It’s not an easy task, gardening I mean. Finally, we’re done trimming the carabao grass which briefly hid the concrete footpath. The  grass seems to grow by leaps and bounds now that the rainy season is here. We have to trim it at least every three weeks.  Even a tiny garden such as ours needs a lot of care and maintenance.

These bamboo cuttings were recycled from our trellis posts at the back of the house.

These bamboo cuttings were recycled from our trellis posts at the back of the house.

Our front garden is all green now except for a few blooms of my Shanghai Beauty plant.

Our front garden is all green now except for a few blooms of my Shanghai Beauty plant.

I also trimmed my gardenia shrub  because it was leaning sideways.  I hope it won’t be completely uprooted  in the next two are three months.

I have plenty of these pink lilies but they are mostly in pots scattered around the garden.

I have plenty of these pink lilies but they are mostly in pots scattered around the garden.

I guess it is time to tackle another area outside our perimeter wall. Who knows, one of these days  I’ll be able to plant some leafy greens to use in the kitchen.

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sunday

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Happy New Month. I’d like to bring back the days when blogging  was such a joy because every day, there is something you can share even such a simple prayer like this.

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You always get that nice smile on your face once you see a lovely surprise in your garden. I love flowers, they have that allure and beauty that are pure delight to the senses. There was a time when I used to document every lovely bloom in my garden and ambitiously thought of researching their growth patterns, what time of the year they usually show their faces but then being busy with everyday life sometimes keep one from doing just what you want to do. It is more of doing what you need to do.

This morning, I was watering the plants when I saw these lovely blooms growing side by side with my cacti plants. It hasn’t rained in our neck of the woods for quite sometime now although every afternoon, you’ll hear thunder when the sky gets dark. Rain lilies usually grow during the summer months when there is an occasional rain. Rain lilies belong to the hybrid Zephyranthes and this particular variety is called Zepherantes Beni Tama,  a Japanese rain lily hybrid. The small clumps of bright pink, goblet shaped flowers have prominent  yellow stamens at the center. They grow in full sun. I fell in love with these flowers when I saw them at a garden center in a large pot  with pink flowers in almost every tip of the slender leaves.

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Even my Mokara orchids are blooming non-stop. I saw several buds in different branches early this morning.  It makes me remember another quote from Emerson, “Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world”.  When life seems a  little hard to bear,  a garden is an Eden where peace, delight and peace reign.

Zephyranthes ‘Beni Tama’,
Zephyranthes
Zephyranthes

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It was another experience that I will never forget. Jut like the first time that I viewed an exhibit on John Paul II celebrating his feast day almost three years ago, I was given another opportunity to see one, Totus Tuus Tour on the same venue last April 24, 2014.It was held at the activity area of Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City. Totus Tuus  was the apostolic motto of Pope John Paul II.  It is a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours” and expressed his personal consecration to Mary. I am always awed and inspired  every time I have the opportunity to do this. This time, when I saw some of the first class relics displayed there, I cried. The way he touched people, the way he inspired the youth when he was alive  and now, he is a saint. What a lovely journey!

Just like his beatification three years ago, he will be canonized on a Divine Mercy Sunday together with another beloved pope, Pope John XXIII. Unlike the later who is not known much to our generation, Pope John Paul II is so much-loved by the youth of today.  I treasure the only memento I had of his beatification, a rosary given to me by Fr. Louie, a student priest friend in Rome when JP II was beatified. I took some pictures of the exhibit but I am limiting a few here because I have a separate album posted at my FB timeline.

Some of the relics displayed at the exhibit. ©Dreams and Escapes

Some of the relics displayed at the exhibit.
©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

The reliquary where Saint Paul II first class relics are displayed. ©Dreams and Escapes

The reliquary where Saint Paul II first class relics are displayed.
©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

I love this Zucchetto. I could just imagine JP II wearing this on his head. ©Dreams and Escapes

I love this Zucchetto. I could just imagine JP II wearing this on his head.
©Dreams and Escapes

A first class relic - a piece of cloth imbued with JP II's blood. ©Dreams and Escapes

A first class relic – a piece of cloth imbued with JP II’s blood.
©Dreams and Escapes

Another first class relic - strands of hair of JP II. ©Dreams and Escapes

Another first class relic – strands of hair of JP II.
©Dreams and Escapes

The rosary in the picture reminds me of the gift my priest son gave me several years ago which came from the Vatican. The beads are the same and the crucifix is quite similar too. ©Dreams and Escapes

The rosary in the picture reminds me of the gift my priest son gave me several years ago which came from the Vatican. The beads are the same and the crucifix is quite similar too.
©Dreams and Escapes

The Papal chair was the same thing JP II used during his visit to the Philippines in 1981. ©Dreams and Escapes

The Papal chair was the same thing JP II used during his visit to the Philippines in 1981.
©Dreams and Escapes

Totus Tuus Tour

The office of the Vice Postulation for the cause for canonization of Bl. Ivan Merz is blessed to have in their custody various relics of St. John Paul II. From first to second class relics, major to minor kinds, these are offered for the veneration of the faithful. All are authenticated and recognized by the Church Pastors,most especially by the Archbishop of Krakow – the former secretary of Pope John Paul II.

On the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s canonization (April 27, 2014, in the Vatican), the Office of the Vice Postulator of Blessed Ivan Merz has organized the Public Exposition and Veneration of his Relics. From his blood stain and hair strands to his papal zucchetto and part of his cassock (soutane), and other important relics and memorabilia, the faithful will have access in praying before these sacred remains to deepen their love and devotion to our newest Saint.

It was a lovely journey, seeing all these and praying for family and friends.

 

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wine

We were supposed to make our yearly Visita Iglesia early today but Josef has to do an overtime work till the wee hours so we postponed it for tomorrow and attended the Last Supper mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish near our place. It was a two-hour solemn and meaningful celebration of the mass.  It was followed by a short dramatization on how Jesus chose His twelve apostles and the actual commemoration of the last supper. Each apostle was introduced by a short biography culled from the Gospel. For the last four years or so, the Parish distributes crates and baskets of  pandesal after the mass. We brought home plenty, good enough for a light breakfast tomorrow since Good Friday is fasting and abstinence.

Early this morning,  I was able to clean up my  almost three thousand messages at my Yahoo account, some of which I haven’t read in years. Imagine finding yourself reading a birthday greeting that you have missed the last two years. I just have to adjust the setting of my WordPress notifications so I won’t be opening and deleting so many messages on my Yahoo mail. I left the personal e-mails sent by friends and relatives. It is sometimes so engrossing to re-read letters and greetings from close friends.

These are quiet days for me – no TV, no radio, just  visits  at WordPress to update my blog, a few inspirational read and a visit at Facebook to update our Catholic online page. We will be celebrating our fourth year doing apostolate at FB tomorrow.  I wrote a short article on my journey there  and how it changed my life for the better.

Have a blessed Holy Thursday to all!

Photo credit goes to my co-admin at AFCC, Paul Cardenas. Thanks Paul :)

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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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