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Posts Tagged ‘always a friend’


life

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Gosh, I was like “oh, oh, where have you been” upon seeing the faces of my three friends two of whom I’ve last seen almost a year ago. And to think this is the first time that they came over here at the house to visit me.

Thank God for surprises! When He tickles you with one, He makes sure that it is really something you will treasure, maybe long after the laughter, the giggles and endless smiles are gone.  Yesterday was another day “worth-remembering”.  That’s really my favorite line, the worth-remembering people, events and surprises in my life. There are moments when you just look up and say a prayer or two that He is giving you another beautiful day to put in the treasure chest of your memories.

Yesterday was such a lovely day spent with friends from my Catholic apostolate group, the Apostles Filipino Catholic Community.  It all started about two years ago when Fr. Louie  Coronel, OP created an online page at Facebook. AFCC has actually been in existence  as a Catholic organization in Rome for the last twenty years. We cater to the global Pinoys and share reflections, news, ideas, and ways of strengthening our Faith and our own journeys as Catholics.  We finally met some of the members  in two successive gatherings  last year at Bahay Dominiko, Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City. Meeting face to face, realizing that they were not just names and pictures on Facebook was awesome.  Truly, God works in wondrous ways.  Forming friendship with people younger than you are, (they could be your sons and daughters) sharing their own spiritual journeys in life, sharing their own pain with you and  sharing their thoughts and aspirations are clear affirmations  that everything is possible when you look together and look forward in  the same direction. Friendship is a lovely thing, don’t you think?

Imagine six hours of sharing and laughter, talking about anything under the sun, touching on such serious subjects like life’s travails and  journeys  and yes, we even touched on subjects  like the stock market and how it works, life in a bank as an employee,  life of a OFW,  photography, faith, and places we want to explore and dream of visiting – they are an eclectic mix of topics alright.

We had a yummy lunch of grilled pork steak, roasted chicken, grilled liempo, sautéed mixed veggies and the ginataang santol which I cooked earlier. Reymon, Joan and Lilet said that this is the first time they have tasted santol cooked as a dish. It went well with the grilled meat. I jokingly asked them, “Did I pass?” and Reymon laughingly  answered,“Wow, ang sarap po Mommy.” Late in the afternoon, we harvested calamansi in the backyard for Lilet to take home.  It was such a joy seeing them enjoying themselves  picking calamansi despite the afternoon shower which turned into a heavy downpour before they left.

Oh, the joys of meeting and hugging each other, and smiling at the thought of shared jokes remembered – what a lovely gift – having friends!  And I’d like to end this blog with these words for they briefly describe what friendship is all about. It was written by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik.

Oh, the comfort –
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words — but pouring them
All right out — just as they are –
Chaff and grain together –
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them –
Keep what is worth keeping –
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

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It’s been a long time, literally, that is! For the past few days, all I came up for a blog were one and two-liner features that made it to my most read list, just the same.  Anyway, I just thought of updating you all with the weekend I had.

Yesterday, I met a friend way back in college and I remember that the last time we had lunch together was a year ago. Although we get to text each other once in a while, it is always a welcome change to chat, giggle, reminisce, hold hands  and cry a little while drinking hot tea and making the big effort of finishing off the Shabu-Shabu plate she ordered at Gloriamaris  Restaurant at Gateway Mall.  Would you believe that we’ve been through the same predicaments and problems in life (not in the same degree probably) while counting the years being cancer survivors?  I’ve always said that the best people who would truly understand what you’ve  been through and what you are presently undergoing are those who are on the same road with you and traveling the same journey. Precy, a friend for almost forty years now is one such gracious and caring lady who is ready to help – a shoulder to cry on, a sister, family and all.

We attended a seminar on health and healing at  Noble Life International (Phils.) They develop and market organic healing foods endorsed by world-renowned medical researchers and doctors.  Their products are used by doctors and medical professionals as food therapy. Yesterday I learned a lot from one of their guest speakers, a neurosurgeon.  For the past three months,  Precy has been taking these  all-natural supplementary food medicines and she says that they really help in her recovery as a breast-cancer survivor. Having such toxic elements in your body as a result of six cycles of chemotherapy makes you so wary of eating unhealthy food. I’ve been so careful of my diet since I was diagnosed of stage three colon cancer almost three years ago. And again this brings me to some friends asking, “how can you talk freely about your illness and what you’ve been through?” Well, having a light-threatening disease is not the end of it as some people perceive it to be. It’s true, you have to go through the drastic measures of treatments, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and all but I am of the thought that sharing it through my blogs would somehow ease the pain for someone out there undergoing the same health problems as I am. And I feel happy that in my own little way, I am  doing a bit of helping these people cope. It’s the reason why I put up this blog in the first place.

Nissa and Obet came over yesterday to have dinner with us!  They brought with them ingredients for a yummy dinner, pork sinigang in guava.  And Obet could cook, we let him labor in the kitchen, churning out a tasty and indeed yummy sinigang sa bayabas. It was a lovely Saturday, alright:) And I had the chance to see the photos forwarded by their official wedding photographers. They haven’t chosen yet what to put in the official album from around 2,000 photos which will be narrowed down to about 150 at the most. I suggested that we have the candid shots printed and have them made into one lovely family album, after all, it’s not every day that your one and only daughter gets married:) .

It was a quiet Sunday and I almost cried listening to Fr. Leo’s homily today!

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Your  presence is enough because sometimes words are inadequate but silence says a lot!

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I am re-posting this  because it exactly echoes what I feel at the moment, the trying times of seeking answers and finding everything jumbled.  I wrote this more than two years ago. I am glad though of having friends around who care, praying for me every step of the way.

I remember an old friend who used to say, “The journey to life is an endless struggle on  perilous paths of treacherous stones and storms”. For one so young he surely looked at the world with open eyes and between the two of us, I was more of the dreamer than he was.  I had this penchant for collecting quotes from almost every book that comes into my hands,  filling up three full notebook of quotations my entire college life. He was really a big influence to me -  appreciating  good poetry, good books and  yes, quotes that somehow played a big chunk of what I called my “sentimental” moments.

“Live the dream”, he would  say. I do. I did. And I like to think that somehow, in between wakefulness and dreamland, life was real. Why am I remembering?  Why the sudden recall?  Or is this one of those moments that makes  one wander far beyond, going far off to a place of childhood dreams?  I really don’t know.  I just saw the place where we used to walk and talk, and dream about big things that only the young would think of  and I suddenly pictured his smiling face, creating a sense of sudden longing. Memories sometimes have that power to make one lonely and alone.

I would have liked to share that I am going through a phase in my life full of so much pain. But I can hear his voice saying,  “Life is never perfect”. And he would understand.  And I would tell him that I am brave enough to face it all.

How true, life is never perfect and when you expect too much from it, you’ll just be disappointed.  Special thanks to my ever thoughtful friends Lovell, Lilet and Fr. Louie, thanks a lot for listening!

 

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The other day, I met a friend whom I haven’t seen in years and she asked how I was. I told her, I am sharing my journey now as a cancer survivor. Whereas before my blogs were all about my treatment and chemotherapy, now I get to meet lots of people through an online Apostolate, the Apostles Filipino Catholic Community and it makes life more meaningful!

Despite all the setbacks, life has to go on. And I am now beginning to realize that He put me here for some other purpose and I am doing it the best way I can. Reaching out, touching people and I get a real high when I hear from them and they treat me like I am a long-lost relative – a mommy to most, a tita to some, an ate to everyone . And to all of you there, even if not all of you have the chance to visit my blog, I’m grateful. You add meaning to my life.

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The stars are out tonight sending sinews of hope for a better tomorrow.  Just looking at the pictures of the victims of typhoon Sendong and listening to the news  of  how more than a thousand died  and many more missing makes me feel depressed somehow.  As I have always said before, you can never really empathize  unless you were a victim yourself and experienced the same thing they are experiencing right now.  Typhoon Ondoy made me wary of the things it brought and the lessons learned and until now, every time it rains, I still feel that uncertain fear.  But life has to go on despite everything right?

Yes, in times like these, I resort to  reading poems or sometimes just focus  on inspirational books to get by. One of  my early favorites (aeons ago, since I was still in college when I found him) is Rod McKuen.  It’s a little uncanny when you find an author who exactly echoes your thoughts and what you feel right at that moment that you need to reassure yourself that everything is well. I miss my only book I had of his works but at least I could google him up and still enjoy reading his thoughts.

There should be some silence in this place so thought can harvest things it’s lately caught. I hope that you will take this as a resting space. A bench provided just before the clearing up ahead.

Arms around me these past years have not been commonplace, your comfort passed to me from out there, somewhere – dare we call it outer space, has kept me safe. Your thought embraces better than the memory’s triumph over time. I have longed for you, thought up songs for you, missed and mourned you as the times passed past. Here you are. Brought back to me by your wish mixed with mine. Noise cannot touch us here. I will try and make for you the calmest place there is within this loud and getting louder world.

No map to help us find the tranquil flat lands, clearings calm, fields without mean fences. Rolling down the other side of life our compass is the sureness of ourselves. Time may make us rugged, ragged round the edges, but know and understand that love is still the safest place to land.

The journey back is always longer than the forward run.

Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.

Once I thought ideas were exceptions not the rule. That is not so. Ideas are so plentiful that they ride on air. You have only to reach out and snatch one.

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.

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Oh well, the past few days have been simply that – happy to some extent. What a difference a day makes and what lovely thoughts one holds in a heartbeat.

  • receiving an e-mail from a friend whom I haven’t seen for the last ten years.  She said she reads my blogs and I was surprised. “So I am updated on what’s happening in your life more than you know.” It’s indeed so touching to learn that although you don’t  talk much and communication is just a text or two once or twice a year, she never forgets.
  • hugging a recently found book that I dreamed of buying for the last few months and it turned out that I enjoyed every page and was delighted in every stringed word. It’s one such delicious read that the characters linger long after I have read the last page and closed the book.  Sigh with a smile :), and that reads,  “Could I ever write something like that in my lifetime?”
  • waking up early to see the sunrise I’ve missed for so long because the rains chose to linger, drenching everything in the garden. Even the Koi are probably happy to feel the sun on their backs while they are busy swimming back and forth, back and forth  until I give up watching because my eyes hurt.
  • thinking of that one summer that I felt the touch of raindrops on my face, diffusing the heat for a while.
  • counting the days till Christmas. I’ve blogged time and again that the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year.  And these are happy times that one cherishes and treasures.
  • making my countdown on the big day – my daughter’s wedding. I am excited to see her walk down the aisle with the man she loves. A lot of friends are teasing me, “Would you  cry during her wedding day?” I probably would but they would be tears of joy.
  • the joy of meeting new-found friends and seeing them finally after several months of online chats.  I could still remember the shared laughter and the spark in our eyes just being together – no holds barred, no rules followed.
  • reading a tweet from someone I  never thought would read my silly posts on Twitter. :)
  • experimenting with a new recipe in the kitchen and having that big smile on my face because the hubby and the kids like it.
  • replenishing my TBR list and remembering to jot down lovely quotes while reading.
  • ah, yes, eating dirty ice cream in  a hamburger bun instead of ice cream cone. It makes me remember those high school days in UST when having one during recess time is total bliss. That was how simple life was back then.
  • dreaming of having my favorite Jubileum ensaymada for afternoon snack. It’s the best in town.
  • Sunday mornings with hubby and the kids – lingering on the dining table while sharing cups of coffee, scrambled eggs and hot pan de sal.
  • playing with our dogs in the garden – the errant Suki always trying to find an opportunity to run wild outside when the gate is open, our half-breed Rottweiler dog Meatloaf  slowly inching her way inside the house and stopping at the rug near our kitchen door, waiting for a signal that she could come in and stay inside for a while. Our aging dog Boo which has been with us for I don’t know how long. She’s the only one that never venture out of the gate because she’s really growing old. And of course, our youngest dog Gray always wagging his tail and sticking out his  tongue until we call his name.
  • the sweet scent of Gardenia in bloom and the flowers growing in our garden. I recently bought some hanging plants and they are thriving nicely despite the rain.
  • listening to the sound of those tiny birds outside our bedroom window early in the morning.

I could go on and on, there are just so  many things that make my day complete. Life is good, thank God!

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“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”- Anais Nin

Things always get a bit hectic during Mondays.  Since  we consider Sunday as family day, we just relax and enjoy each other’s company but when Monday comes, household chores are a little tiring. But with it comes little surprises that gladden the heart.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a friend whom I haven’t seen for quite some time. Leng, also used to work at Bank of the Philippine Islands but she left ahead of me, I think. She recently subscribed to my blog here at WordPress and told me that she regularly read it every week.  Joey, who is still with BPI, Leng and I were carpool buddies aside from working at the same bank in Makati. Everyday, we would go home together and an hour of travel, (make that an hour and a half when there is traffic) usually becomes a lively sharing, or a heated discussion or plain laughing with each other while remembering some old jokes.  Our favorite topics of course are our respective families. There are times when we come to the office early and spend the morning sipping hot coffee and eating burger and fries at the Jollibee branch at Enterprise Center.  Those were the days that I miss today.  And I wish I would be able to see them both sometime.

Another friend shared a lovely video by the group Bread. I am listening to it as I write this.  Clouds – a favorite song from way back and I just love the intro music . He personally dubbed it. Clouds, aside from flowers are my favorite subjects in photography. They always fascinate me.

 

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It was a lovely day alright – celebrating  the Feast of Our Lady of  the Rosary, touching base with friends and just enjoying the cool weather without rain.

Did I tell you that October is my favorite month? It’s for the simple reason that it is my birth month. It’s twenty days more to go and I’ll be turning 54 55 56. Never mind, I don’t feel like I am turning 55 anyway. They always say that age is just a number besides your name. Trite as it may sound, having added numbers to your age does not guaranty that you are matured and wise enough to face life.  Life  should be  lived  day by day, no matter how difficult it may seem. There is always something to look forward to, something to reminisce and something to enjoy. Friends do play important roles in one’s well-being. And friends somehow make our day complete.

This morning, I went to LBC  Express to send a rosary to a friend. I promised her the last time we saw each other that I’ll make one in her favorite color which is pink. She asked me why I chose today to send it to her so I just said, it’s kind of fitting for her to have another one on the Feast Day of the Holy Rosary. The girl at the counter of LBC was smiling when she asked me the content of the envelope lined in bubble wrap.   We talked about our devotions to Saint Padre Pio and she told me that she goes to the St. Padre Pio Chapel  to hear mass with her son. Then she said, “Swerte naman ng friend niyo ma’am, may nagmamahal sa kanya”. I laughed and when I left she said, “Ingat po.” How nice to meet people who have ready smiles on their faces, friendly enough to talk to and never hesitate to say thank you. Such simple gestures that could really make your day.

Four years ago today, I met a friend online through Friendster.  He is a friend of my daughter , met him during their college days in UST back in 2001. So I sent a few lines via text to remind him of how we met.

“It’s been four years since someone asked, “How can I help you”? over at Friendster and that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Do you remember?”

And he texted back, “Haha, happy friendship day! Things are still vivid to you. It is just like yesterday. Maraming salamat sa presensya.”

Back in 2007, Friendster was the only social media that I knew and while my daughter was scanning her friends’ list, I saw Lovell wearing a cassock so I looked at his profile and he politely inquired how he can be of help. So I told him that we met back in 2001 when they had their trip to Davao with my daughter sponsored by the university. He was still a college student then and that’s how it started. After four years, I now have another son because we have adopted him into the family. He told me once that I am his spiritual mother although I could not completely grasp what that means. He is now a Dominican brother and will probably be ordained soon.  I am praying hard for him that he realizes his dream of becoming a priest.

Going to the mall won’t be complete without visiting National Bookstore. I saw Samantha Sotto’s book Before Ever After. I was curious about the book since I read one of my friends’ book review and how she  met Samantha Sotto and had an interview with her.  Samantha is a Filipina,  great-granddaughter of Sen. Vicente Sotto. Before Ever After is her first attempt at writing a book. So there it was on NBS’ Bestseller list. I was thinking, I could buy it as an advance birthday gift for myself. At the price of P499.00 , a trade paperback edition, it’s reasonable enough.Then one of the staff of NBS saw me and she said there will be a three-day sale at the mall starting October 16 so she suggested that I come back since they might mark it down a bit. I waited all these months to get a copy so another week won’t make a difference. And it’s a good reason to justify a little splurge on books since I intend to add a copy of one of Max Lucado’s .

It’s my birthday after all!

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