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Posts Tagged ‘friends’


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 then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
-  Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

I’ve been a lazy bug lately. No, don’t get me wrong. I am just resting my weary body from fatigue. The last few days, I was so busy that I was not able to check my blog and post something.  Finally, I found time to sit here for a while  and update my blog. When you haven’t been blogging for a week, it seems as if you’re starting all over again.

It’s all worth it though because our little potluck  lunch party was a success – lots of food, laughter and sharing. Those precious and priceless moments that only friends can enjoy together, something worth-reminiscing and the thought of it makes me smile.  We were joined by two priest friends, Fr. Tacky, a Franciscan and Fr. Boy, a Dominican. Not that it matters that they belong to different congregations because  they both studied in Rome and met there.  We took lots of pictures of course, what’s a party without those wacky poses and shots that make us laugh. We even have to use a tripod so we could all fit into the frame. There is this picture window  at our house that never fails to attract our friends and visitors to have their pictures taken there. Believe me, it has become some sort of trademark for the members  of our Catholic community  who drop by when they are on vacation.

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We had an exchange of gifts just for fun. Imagine the laughter we had when we simultaneously opened them and found things like a roll of tissue paper which Darlene said she will take with her on her trip back to Abu Dhabi, a small bottle of efficascent oil from Reena  which Matt got, packs of marshmallows  and so many more. What do you think, the gift should only be worth P30 and what can you buy with P30?  Reymon, aside from bringing three whole roast chicken gave us individual bags of gifts from Bench.

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They were surprised to learn that eating green mango with the skin on is the best way to eat one. I asked Joan to bring me some and when they saw me eating a slice, they all tried it  except Matt :)  Endless laughter!

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We can’t get enough so the party extended on to early dinner with ice cream, Fuji apples  and suman na pinipig (the best  suman I’ve tasted) for desserts. And they all said, “sa uulitin”.  Until next time guys.

One of the best gifts that we could ever have is the gift of friendship.

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Call me a little OC when it comes to entertaining but as much as possible I see to the tiniest details that are sometimes overlooked when one is a bit busy in the kitchen. This morning, I made a list of the things I need to do and posted it where I could check everything before my friends arrive tomorrow. Earlier on, we have decided on a potluck lunch and merienda  but I will prepare baked macaroni with meatballs and marble potatoes with ham and cheese spread.  I was busy the whole day despite an occasional headache that makes me rest after each task that I finish. They say they are okay with disposables – paper plates, plastic spoons and forks and whatever you can use to save on washing later. I am not used to it though so I washed two dozens of china ware, several Pyrex  trays, three dozens of spoons and forks  and lots of drinking glasses.  Never mind that there will be chaos when the party is over, I just don’t want to balance my food precariously on a delicate paper plate, one wrong move and everything topples over.  Neither do I want using plastic spoon or fork that sometimes breaks  in the middle while you are eating.  I think that’s more practical when you are attending a children’s party or a pica-pica type of food, when kids can’t handle a big plate nor hold a glass safely in their hands.

I’m looking forward to meeting all of them again.  Hopefully, this would be a success. There is always a certain kind of joy in meeting friends, kindred souls who would make you smile even if they tell  and share with you the ugliest anecdotes , repeated stories that become longer with the retelling.  At least four of them are coming here for the first time.

I am excited.

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One of our members from Rome sent this pic to our group. I simply love it.

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I am sure you’ll either laugh or just find the title a bit ridiculous blogging about new year when it is not even December yet.  It’s actually the eve of my birthday and I vividly recall what a friend told me before that having another birthday is also a new year of celebration in one’s life.  I could not begin to describe the happiness I felt the past few days when some friends chose to celebrate my birthday early.

Tuesday was one of those days I’ll never forget. I’ve finally met Odette, an online friend  who is also a member of our Catholic page at Facebook. She came over together with two more members of our group. I haven’t seen them for more than a year and it was such a joy to reminisce and talk about, what else, but  our online apostolate. We touched on  the early days of AFCC when Fr. Louie and I were just busy inviting members to join our page. As they say, the rest is history because after more than two years , we now have almost 11,000 members – people who share the same faith and love for God.

I am now a proud owner of a dozen books most of which are on my wish list, six thick journals for my writing (with matching pens to boot)  and other lovely gifts which they brought with them. It is so overwhelming to be showered with all these blessings. I guess those books deserve another blog. I don’t even know which to read first because I like them all.

The day was not enough for all the “kwentuhans”. Just imagine a group of friends just enjoying  each other’s company with home-cooked food to go. It really was a lovely  early birthday celebration.

The following day, we trooped to Saisaki/Kamayan/Dad’s  at SM Megamall to have lunch with other members invited by Odette. We all enjoyed the buffet lunch of course but the company was even better. It felt like we haven’t seen each other for such a long time. We had games  and sharing initiated by Fr. Louie and it was fun. Even Fr. Louie’s mom was game enough to join us.

Fr. Louie and Odette seeing each other at last. See the joys on their faces.

And this sketch of St. Therese is an original artwork by Paul (in red shirt),  professional artist/painter/photographer  in our group. It’s a gift for Odette who is based in the US.  And if that is not enough, he also gave Charlene another sketch. Charlene is a St. Therese devotee so it was really a welcome gift for her.  When they give, they truly give with their hearts.

Here’s one of our group pictures,we were not complete here since some of them haven’t arrived yet.  The highlight (at least for me) was when the group at Saisaki sang a birthday song and two Beatles songs. We were all smiling  when

they could not even recall the exact lyrics of the songs. It was part of the fun though. I didn’t know that Odette bought a birthday cake for me with matching candles to blow. I was so touched I was teary-eyed. Well wishes for health and happiness, I could not ask for more.

And to think, my birthday was two days away when we had our lunch at Saisaki. This is one of the most fun-filled birthday celebrations ever.

Look at our happy faces. Fr. Louie said, “make a wish, make a wish“. I did of course, why not, wishes do come true right? Much as we want to linger and have more fun, the buffet lunch was only open until about 2:30pm. It was all worth it though, seeing each other again was such a blessing!

This is not goodbye, it’s more of “till next time”.

And what a way to celebrate a birthday :)

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And I’d rather call this album, the language of cats. We used to have three  cats in the house. They multiply rapidly so one time I even thought of having them neutered. We never got the chance to name them properly except that  they were called  Uno, Dos, Tres.  Not very original I guess, but the easiest to remember.

Yes, they were all females  and they all answered to the name Miming. They are all gone now, they just upped and left, one by one. I wonder why, in all the years that we had cats as pets, we never saw them die inside the yard. An old friend said that if they fall ill, they  leave the house and stay somewhere else. All we have now is an all-white kitten which my mom adopted a month  ago when we saw it lodged near our overhead water tank, crying and probably looking for food.  I have around fifty pictures of them, taken at different days but I love the following shots when they were not just sleeping or staying in a corner at peace with the world but busy  climbing our ampalaya trellis and exploring.

What’s in there?

I am all alone here, they won’t see me….

Then there were three. This is a favorite place, our concrete garden set where I sometimes read and update my journal.

Looking for what?

And she said,  “better make it good” when she saw me with a camera.

Don’t disturb, can’t you see I am having a nap?

Oh no, don’t….I am camera shy!

This is my space…..

Ah, the adventure begins!

Uno said, I can do it…I can climb too, better than you can….

Tired finally and the cats’ day out is over.

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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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I actually have lots of materials for this topic, pictures of friends that go back almost forty years – high school classmates, college chums and former office mates who have become close friends over the years but I prefer something like this  – a symbolic picture of what friendship is all about, reaching out and slowly getting to know someone you can call a friend in the end.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

What a lovely day to start the month!  When you are simply blessed, you can’t help but share your blessings with others. I was perusing my earlier posts because I was looking for something I could share at our segment “Health Watch” at our Catholic  page in Facebook in which I am one of the admins. I recall I did a  blog two years ago on herbs and spices so I have to  search the exact date that I posted it here.  Perfect time to read my previous blogs and 2010 seemed to be so full of reflections, maybe because those were the days that I have to struggle with  my health. And I always say that this blog exists because of my journey, health-wise, although lately it has become an eclectic mix of different subjects.  A friend asked if I’ve changed my site to a political blog. Nope, it’s just that, since January and the 44 days that there was an impeachment trial, I was glued to the television. I jokingly told him that I had perfect attendance and  blogging about it was like taking exams whether I actually understood what was going on or not. Mind you, I kept notes.

Odette, my friend who sent me those Richard Paul Evans’ books two days ago told me that she’s coming home for a brief vacation in a few months. She told me, no, it’s more like she commanded me to shop online at Barnes  &  Noble so she can order them early. Gosh, when it comes to books, I really can’t resist. Some titles are hard to find here though so I have written my wish list last night. Never mind the fiction books, we have a lot of them here but the truly lovely titles are nowhere in site. So here’s my list:

  1. Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice, hardbound. Back in my college days, I used to collect quotes of Rice, even those I saw printed on greeting cards.
  2. Alone by Rod McKuen. I’ve always wondered if I ever get the chance to own another McKuen book.  His Seasons in the Sun was a rare find and I enjoyed every word.  I even blogged about him here.
  3. New and Selected Poems – Volume One by Mary Oliver. I never owned a Mary Oliver book because I can’t find one here but I enjoy her poems and writing by searching the net.
  4. Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver. There’s a paperback copy of this at B & N
  5. Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. Back in college, I devoured Merton’s books in the library. How come I could not find any copy here?
  6. Facing Your  Giants by Max Lucado. He is one of my favorite inspirational authors.
  7. Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings. Who could forget the lovely lines “the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses?”
  8. The Christmas Box Collection and Lost December by Richard Paul Evans. I’ve read almost all of his earlier books except these.
  9. QB VII by Leon Uris – a wonderful work of fiction about the holocaust and lots of nerve-racking courtroom scenes. Would love to have a hardbound copy for a change.

What about you, what’s on your wish list?

 

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It’s raining heavily outside as I write this and the time says it’s 2:14pm.  I wonder if the rainy season has officially started because it’s been raining cats and dogs almost every afternoon.  It’s a boon for my plants but it is impossible to remove those stubborn weeds when it is raining. I really need to root them out because they are now taller than my peanut grass.

Well, consider this another month-ender blog. The month of May has been a kaleidoscope of events that will not only affect the nation as a whole  but the way we see how important  political maturity is. Take that to mean that finally we are seeing the dawn of having some of our politicians set aside their self-interest and think of their constituents for a change.  And I really hope this would serve as a catharsis for us, to heal the wounds of a broken nation, sparring and tearing each other apart by barbed words freely posted everywhere. Enough said, I guess! Life no matter how we see it, will always be a constant journey of challenges and contradictions.  The way we face the journey would spell the big difference.

Yesterday, I finally received the package sent by Odette, an online friend from our Catholic site on Facebook.  We’ve known each other for less than a year but I feel as if she is the sister I never have. She made me choose what books I wanted to have and I told her, it would be by Richard Paul Evans of course. He’s been on my mailing list for several years now but his books are hard to find here. I was lucky enough to buy a copy of the first series of The Walk, then a close friend from Canada sent me Miles To Go last January as a Christmas gift. The third book came out last May 12 and I am now the proud owner of a hardbound copy of  The Road To Grace along with two more  paperback copies that I haven’t read yet.

I finished reading it last night. It was a light read, all of  234 pages and I was somewhat disappointed that  the story has to end the way it did. Or maybe, the author is saving the best for last because there are two more books in the series  that I have yet to wait for, still unwritten, as of now. I found myself  though reflecting on so many things while reading.When we are hurt, forgiveness is something so hard to do but unless and until we forgive,it would remain a tight bind that would affect our lives forever. When we forgive, we free ourselves from hate. You might say, it’s easier  said than done  but we have to do it if only to make our life normal again, the way it was, without hate and betrayal always lurking around.

I love to share with you some worthy quotes I found in Richard’s book:

  • One can never know what a new road will bring.
  • Once you have opened the book to another’s life, the cover never looks the same.
  • As we walk our individual life journeys, we pick up resentment and hurts, which attach themselves to our souls like burrs clinging to a hiker’s socks. These stowaways may seem insignificant at first, but, over time, if we do not occasionally stop and shake them free, the accumulation becomes a burden to our souls.
  • To forgive is to unlock the cage of another’s folly to set ourselves free.
  • The trapped are less concerned with rules than escapes.
  • What we feel to realize is that, grace is a destination, it is the journey itself, manifested in each breath and with each step we take. Grace surrounds us, whirls about us like the wind, falls on us like rain. Grace sustains us on our journeys, no matter how perilous they may be. We need not hope for grace, we merely need to open our eyes to its abundance.

It’s raining still and  the month of  May will be ending soon. And it was not so long ago that I was humming the tune  of First of May by the Bee Gees then Robin dies and it will never be the same again because only one brother is left.  The days end so soon and June is almost here!  If my friend were here, she would say, “happy new month”. That was our standard greeting years ago when we were still students. And here’s the last line of the book by Evans. He shared this from his wall at Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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I remember taking this shot at a  casual get-together with some high school classmates at Shakey’s Espana, in front of UST where we finished high school. Those bracelets were gifts from one of our classmates who makes jewelry as  a hobby. I do remember the laughter, the camaraderie, the game I posted at Facebook if they could recognize whose hands and arms  are in the picture.  Cherished memories, lovely thoughts shared!

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