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Archive for the ‘Closer to God’ Category


Yesterday was another busy day for me –   doing  never-ending household chores, preparing meals for the day and tending my small garden. I had to trim the carabao grass because I could no longer  use the stepping-stones, they were almost covered with the fast-growing ground cover.  I think I sweated a pint (this is no exaggeration) when I finished trimming the front of the garden.  It was that kind of perfect weather, blue sky and a gentle breeze blowing softly  and the dogs were happy because they had company. Then I looked up and saw these clouds rolling by as if they were late for a rendezvous. I couldn’t run fast  enough to get my camera and take a few shots. See how quickly they move and change course.

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I am a cloud-watcher. Since I was a child I have always been fascinated by clouds.  I could not count the times I took shots of clouds and blogged about them. Next to my macro photos on flowers, clouds are my favorite subject.

Rabindranath Tagore described clouds beautifully when he said  “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

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October

I actually thought of posting a blog yesterday but things got in the way as usual, it was a busy, busy day. Finally, Josef  and I were able to finish cleaning the garden and trimming the carabao grass. It looks more like a garden now, thank God.

How I wish the thunderstorms we’re having every afternoon would let up a bit and let me enjoy the sun all day long. The heavy downpour yesterday made going home an agony for most commuters. My daughter and son-in-law got  stuck in traffic for around two hours when on normal days, travel time is only about thirty to forty-five minutes.  I  told them to always have something to munch on inside the car for such eventualities. I left the corporate world fourteen years ago, but sometimes I miss the daily commute, the camaraderie we had with fellow commuters and office mates.  Back in those days, we had carpooling , sharing a ride with friends who lived  in the same area so travel time was more enjoyable than the options public commuters have now, jostling with  a big crowd, waiting in line on MRT trains that frequently break down,  smelling the exhaust fumes of motor vehicles, buses and jeepneys in all corners of Metro Manila. These are those times that I am grateful to be in the comfort of our home sans the traffic and everything that goes with it.

I am glad October is finally here. It’s my birth month so I am excited.  Time flies! I don’t mind growing old really, I am just grateful  and thankful for all the blessings in my life. At  times though,  unseen problems show their ugly faces but what is life without challenges?  Wear age with grace – never mind the grey hair that show regularly like a proud crown on your head, never mind the aching joints that make you sometime sleepless, never mind the wrinkles that crop up before you can even say, “gosh, I am getting old”.  Two years from now, I will be able to line up at the senior lane in supermarkets. Two years from now, I will be able to buy medicines at a discount. Two years from now, I won’t have to pay Philhealth contributions so I could enjoy the benefits attached to it. Two years from now, when Nate turns four, I will be able to teach him to read by himself and appreciate nature through the camera lens. You see, happiness is how you make it. Getting another year older won’t be a hindrance though, it somehow makes life something to cherish even more.

Welcome October!

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♫♪♫All that I am, all that I have
I lay them down before You, oh Lord
All my regrets, all my acclaims
The joy and the pain, I’m making them Yours

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

Things in the past, things yet unseen
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true
All of my heart, all of my praise
My heart and my hands are lifted to You

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

What can we give that You have not given?
And what do we have that is not already Yours?
All we possess are these lives we’re living
That’s what we give to You, Lord

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You as a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer You my life
Lord I offer You my life♫♪♫♪

This inspiring song has played in my head since this morning. I was more inspired attending mass at St. Padre Pio chapel with Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD  as mass presider. Josef and I agreed to meet there before the mass but we saw each  other  only after the final blessing. There were so many Padre Pio devotees who attended –  people from all walks of life, people in wheel chairs, people who believe that there is a loving God who will always be there for all of us. I was touched listening to some of them sharing a bit of their stories  before the mass, some came from nearby towns and provinces just to attend the celebration.  We were on the same journey, seeking intercessions from Padre Pio. We each have our own personal intentions but we were there as one family celebrating his feast day.

The past week  was  not just busy for us, it was pretty tiring too. Come to think of it,  Metro Manila was not even under any storm signal but typhoon Mario wrought havoc to our town again, flooding most areas because of the monsoon rains. It  was typhoon Ondoy all over again. We are still thankful though that even if flood waters reached our house (almost knee-deep), it didn’t bring damage to properties. PAGASA said that what is supposedly an amount of rainfall for a month fell in a day. Five years ago, when typhoon Ondoy hit us, we had to renovate. I had all our cabinet changed and fixed permanently.  I am not yet done arranging and fixing our personal things which we had to move to higher shelves. Sometimes I feel physically drained, it’s like doing manual labor, cleaning the house etc. ( I haven’t touched the garden yet).

Life is a bit hard sometimes but we have to move on and move forward. The uncertainties, the fear and trauma of dealing with such natural  disasters are still there but we are thankful that we are alive and enjoying moments with  the family. There are more things to be thankful for than to complain about. Fr. Jerry said in his homily this afternoon, “Offer your pain to God, be thankful for all your blessings. When the burden is too much, let Him carry it for you”.

Sunshine comes after the rain.

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Maria1

Hail Mary, full of grace….

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen, another favorite writer has exactly describe what a real friendship is – those moments when just being there for a friend would be enough, those moments when just holding their hands is a comfort in itself.

I meet lots of people at the Catholic page I manage with a priest friend and a lay minister, most of them OFW workers from different parts of the globe. Through the years that I help manage the site (it’s been four years now), I have met a few who have become close to me where we manage to see each other once in a while. When we do,  the day is not enough to catch on with each  other’s news. We share on how life has been but often we  talk about our beliefs and our joy in our journey with God.  Last Saturday is one such day I will treasure in my heart. Visiting Padre Pio Chapel always gives me a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness and it was even more magnified spending it with a few close friends that I treasure.  They call me Ate, Tita, Mommy and Ms. A. I don’t mind really because they are affectionate ways  of telling me I am loved. It’s more  of  sharing and laughter, sometimes we cry at those moments of weakness remembering what we’ve been through, sometimes we laugh our hearts out telling simple stories. We cry, we laugh and embrace each other in a show of faith  and love.

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese food. We tried their Pomelo Shrimp Salad (the best there is) with a simple dressing, fresh spring rolls, grilled chicken and grilled pork with fried spring rolls, noodles, mango crepe with ice cream, buko pandan salad.  I love the banana fritters with caramel.  As if the fulfilling lunch was not enough, we had a quick snack at Yellow Cab Pizza. We laughed at some remembered moments during our first two gatherings at Sto. Domingo Church, we talked of catechism 101 (seriously).

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Moments of bliss. And when friends meet, hearts warm.

BTW, this is my 1490th blog per WordPress count. Happy Tuesday to all :)

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You speak of sunshine and blue sky

You speak of blue waters dancing on a fountain

You speak of  innocence, of gentleness and peace

While  you watch the doves dip their noses and wings

in the blue water.

What a lovely moment to feel serenity within.

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I have often raised my hand in the silence of the night and in my solitary cell, blessing you all and presenting you to Jesus and to our seraphic father, St. Francis of Assisi. – St. Pio of Pietrelcina

I have often said in my previous blogs that when you are touched by God’s graces more than you ever expect, your heart sings with joy and gratitude.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice the hundred of rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice  the rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

Yesterday, I was so blessed to be able to visit St. Padre Pio Chapel again after more than three months. This time, I was with some friends and a healing priest. Fr. Cris Bautista, MS  belongs to the congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.  I was there earlier than the appointed time because I want to pray the rosary inside the chapel and write my petitions at the prayer room of St. Francis  of Assisi. I am always touched by the silence and beauty of the place.  I saw some visitors too wearing head gears, hats and caps with matching face masks. Deep in my heart I know that some of them are cancer patients or maybe cancer survivors like I am. Until now, I still wear face masks too when I am in the middle of a crowd and when I am traveling in a public conveyance. There was even a patient in a wheelchair being fed via an intravenous tube attached to his body.

The silent moments, the peace within, the joy of visiting a sacred place to pray.  I always feel so blessed every time I have the opportunity to come here. This time though, I call it a truly blessed Saturday for me and my friends. Fr. Cris prayed with us, anointed us with Holy Oil and we sang with him songs for Mama Mary  (Salve Regina) , we prayed in thanksgiving  for our health and healing – memorable moments that made my day complete, and the tears flowed freely while Fr. Cris was praying with us.  What a beautiful message faith brings, trusting in the Lord’s goodness, secure in His love.

I posted this simple prayer at our online page this morning.

I choose to be brave

I choose to be strong

I choose to have an unshakable faith despite the raging storms in my life.

St. Padre Pio, please pray for me.

Mama Mary, thank you.

Lord Jesus, bless me.

Fr. Cris gave us rosaries and prayer pamphlets of  Padre Pio. September 23 is a special day for Padre Pio devotees. It is his feast day. I’ve long wanted to buy a biography of Padre Pio. One of these days, I will visit St. Paul’s publication to find one.

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