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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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Mango

Last Sunday, a friend who came over for lunch brought a bagful of green and golden ripe carabao mangoes. We could not consume it in three days so I decided to make some smoothie drinks by simply adding a small can of evaporated milk, a few spoons of sugar and crushed iced. There you go, a sweet and refreshing glass of pure mango.

Most people say that the Philippines has the best sweet and delicious mangoes in the world and I agree. Summer is the best time that you’ll enjoy this fruit. I am planning to make a mango jam out of the remaining ripe ones. You might not believe this but I love green mangoes more. I enjoy eating them fresh, sliced with the skin on and just sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Heaven!

I also baked chewy oatmeal raisin cookies using yellow raisin instead of the dark ones. Yellow raisins have more natural taste, not too sweet and not too dry.  Preparing  something in the kitchen need not be that elaborate. It’s Holy Week  and I suggested to my son that we do away with meat for the whole week and eat sea food and veggies instead.

Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Tuesday!

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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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How far could you go?

Maybe as far as the eyes can see

Your world can be as big

As your dreams can hold.

 

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You dream of one day having your own place

under the sun,

like a bird that glides its wings and soar

Why should you look for more?

If  you could feel the  honeyed breath

of the morning on your face

and the softness of wet grass on your toes

wouldn’t that be enough?

But you look for more

because love is never constant

and life is not perfect.

Still, you dream of one day -

finally finding peace at last

finally smiling at yourself

finally knowing that happiness

lies within you.

You cannot conquer the world

but you can dream, still!

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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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Four years ago, I blogged about my niece and her fascination for coloring books. Do you know that coloring books and the time you spend making a magical picture out of the pages are stress-busters too?  A friend of mine  swears that she gets to relax while coloring a picture and being busy with choosing what colors to combine. She suggested that I buy one too but I cannot find something that would suit my desire to color. Either they are too complicated or too simple for my taste which I think are understandable since they are intended for kids, right?  There are times though when just like kids, we want to have a stress-free life and going back to old favorites (when you were five or six) help save the day.

This morning,  Josef and I spent a few hours just relaxing at Eastwood City after visiting St.  Padre Pio Chapel nearby. It would not be complete if we can’t visit a bookstore (that’s a given) so off we went to Books For Less and later at National Book Store.  I found another book by Lincoln Child, an author I discovered a year ago.  Terminal Freeze deals with climate change. I don’t even have to read the whole cover summary to convince me in buying it.  I’ve been reading  e-books for the past month and  it  is a nice change to be able to hold a real one again. The smell of a new book never fails to make me smile.

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“I bet, when we reach home, you will start coloring this“, Josef said pointing to the paper bag from National Book Store. I laughed and told him, “You guessed it right”.  You see, I was excited to start.  I actually took a shot of the three pages  that I started coloring. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, they are just simple pictures that probably a seven-year old can color but then it is the thrill of making those pictures more vibrant and lovely that counts. I was even in a quandary whether to use dandelion or apricot for the faces. Back when I was into cross-stitching about a decade ago, I have memorized the chart of colors for the thread that I used. There are as many variations of one color, different shades  on the color wheel.

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Some relaxing moments – priceless minutes spent coloring.  Why don’t you give it a try? Unleash the child in you once in a while.

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I knew that I won’t go back to being 100% fit the first time I heard the word “cancer” more than four years ago.  I have enough of hospital and doctor visits so I gave up visiting one. A month ago, I felt an excruciating pain on my left knee so I have to look for a doctor near our place and it was my first time to visit a government hospital. Consultation is free of course but there are charges for laboratory tests. Compared to private hospitals, they charge a bit lower than the normal rate. It turned out I have gout and I have to take medications for three months before I go back there again.  Visiting doctors and hospitals always reminds me of the ordeal I went through when I was having chemotherapy.

Last Sunday, I underwent Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analysis. The QRMA is a rapid (it only takes a minute), accurate, non-invasive testing method. “The main analysis items are over 30, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular condition, bone mineral density, trace elements, blood lead, rheumatism, lung and respiratory tract, nephropathy, blood sugar, stomach and intestines, liver and gall, cranial nerves, gynecology, prostate, bone disease, the trace elements of selenium, iron, zinc and calcium, etc.”  Suffice to say, I need to have a detox for three days and have to change my diet and eat more fruits and vegetables. I’ve been so careful with  my diet since I had surgery for  colon cancer so I’ve wondered why there are still so many health risks that need to be addressed. It is so frustrating to know that  despite being so careful about it all, the results are not good.  Lack of calcium intake when I was a kid contributed to the weak bones that affect me now. I don’t drink milk  and I never like its taste and mom used to say that I was completely breastfed as a baby. I could tolerate milk products though as long as it is not pure milk. 

The things you do to stay healthy but then how sure are we that the things we eat nowadays are free from chemicals that ravage our bodies? Even fruits and vegetables are not safe unless they are locally grown in your own backyard.

Health is wealth so they say and I agree.

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