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Archive for February, 2013


I am sad, I would surely miss the smiling face of Pope Benedict XVI. He will no longer be seen in public starting today. Last night, I watched the live feature of the final  public Papal Audience on television and his message made me cry but it inspired me so much.

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“I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!”

I am praying that he would be in good health and will continue to pray for the whole Catholic Church and the world. I also pray that the College of Cardinals who will be choosing the next Pope  will be guided by the Holy Spirit and that the conclave will be a success. News say that our very own Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is a strong contender. He is the second youngest cardinal among the  117 cardinals who are qualified to choose a new Pope.

Even his Pontifex at Twitter will no longer be updated unless the new elected Pope would continue posting inspirational messages and prayers.

Here is a stunning picture  of St.Peter’s Square shared by Vatican Radio -English Version taken last night by AP,  with less than 24 hours left in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. And I thought, the moon shines in splendor just as much as in Rome, giving an uncanny feeling that I am closer to the place.

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I am also sharing some of his  inspiring  messages on Twitter.

We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful.

Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you.

Everyone’s life of faith has times of light, but also times of darkness. If you want to walk in the light, let the word of God be your guide.

We do not possess the truth, the truth possesses us. Christ, who is the truth, takes us by the hand.

In this Year of Faith, may every Christian rediscover the beauty of being reborn in the love of God and living as his true children.

If we have love for our neighbor, we will find the face of Christ in the poor, the weak, the sick and the suffering.

I like this best,  he said that he is “not stepping down to travel or go to receptions. I will continue to be dedicated to the Lord.”  We will miss you Pope Benedict!

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Are you the adventurous type? Do you look forward to new challenges in life, be it simple things or some unknown fear of heights  that you want to conquer? Challenges are part of daily living and it’s up to us to meet them with a smile hoping that  everything would be okay in the end. Three years ago, the whole family went to enchanted Kingdom as part of the family day  celebration of  Bank of the Philippine Islands where I used to work and where my daughter and son-in-law are presently working as bank officers. I am  afraid of heights (until now). My knees always wobble at the thought of  all those head-spinning rides but my kids  enjoy them. They’ve been to Enchanted Kingdom more than I can count.

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And they always say, the thrill is in the ride. Yeay…way to go….forward!

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I must really be getting old. No, let me amend that, I am definitely growing older. And I always think that growing older is always getting wiser with age. Got this throbbing headache  that won’t go away or maybe it is just a sign of normal wear and tear. I was exchanging texts with a friend  yesterday  (we are both cancer survivors) and I told her, I easily get tired nowadays  and I need to catch up on my siesta every day. Make that an hour or more instead of the usual thirty minutes shuteye that I used to have. She told me she underwent Zometa infusion just last week.   Her doctor advised her to have it when she had a recent bone scan. And I thought, I am not going back to the hospital just to learn that you need more series of tests despite the fact that you are now living a normal life being a survivor. The last time I found out that everything was back to normal, including my CEA marker, I left everything to God. He will take care of me because He gave me a second chance. Living in faith and believing in God’s will.

I spent  part of the morning reading articles by Barbara Gonzales. For the past years, I’ve followed her writings under her byline called Second  Wind every Sunday. I like how she touches on her hobbies, writing and how she get on with life despite living alone. She said that one of her favorite books is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy written by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I can’t help but smile at the thought that it is one of my favorite books too. When I am feeling so low, this book always gives me a lift. She always put her contact number at the end of her posts so I tried getting in touch and wrote:

Read your article with interest Ms. Barbara. Re: Simple Abundance. I have that book  too for several years now. It’s like a daily bible  for women like us. I even blog about it from time to time. I am a cancer survivor. It’s the reason why I keep a blog because I have this dream of inspiring people through my journey, that life is even more meaningful when God gives you a second chance. Thank you for your nice articles, I am a fan.

She texted back and said thank you. One other writer that I admire is Lucy  Torres. I don’t care much about her political career but I love how she shares her thoughts and family life  in Love Lucy at Philippine Star. Somehow, every time I read her posts, I always get the feeling that she is a close friend, the way she talks about anything under the sun.  Reading her posts also makes me feel that she is writing about my own experiences in life, they’re closer to home, so to speak.

Having no internet connection for the past several days gave me the chance to watch a little TV and catch up on my reading. I watched Maid in Manhattan a few days ago  (for the nth time). I am in the middle of reading Exile by Richard North Patterson, a thick book on Israel’s history as background.  Now I understand why the Jews and Palestinians don’t see eye to eye.

How was your day?

 

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It’s been a while and I really missed WordPress. There is something wrong with our server. For more than three  days now, the connection has been quite erratic.  When you’re blogging every day your thoughts come in burst of inspirations and it is easier to share. A week’s lapse seems a long time. I feel as if I have forgotten how to blog 😦

Would you believe if I say that one of the highlights of the week is discovering new and old things in the wet market? I like going to the wet market twice or thrice a month with my son in tow, of course. Fruits and root crops are in season nowadays. I’m beginning to think it’s summer now because you can see summer fruits like mangoes aplenty.

IMG_4355 IMG_4373 Yeay, we bought fresh green mangoes to go with the bagoong alamang which I plan to cook with lots of chili. Sweet potato comes in different varieties, I bought the yellow ones. There are so many ways of preparing this, you can have it baked, simply boiled, make it into fritters or just mix it with other vegetables.  Turnips or what we locally know as singkamas are also in season now. I mix diced turnips with ground pork to make a simple siomai which is a favorite in our household.

I remember the times when I was in grade school and every summer break, we go to our relative’s farm in our place in Pangasinan and help them harvest peanuts. By the time we are ready to go home, we are loaded with a sack of freshly dug  sweet potato and peanuts. We boil them together in a large pot and enjoy eating them at night while we just relax and exchange ghost stories with my cousins.  Mom used to buy them in bulk and save them for rainy days for everyday snacks.  Those were the days when life was simple. I was fascinated seeing this sticky black rice and asked the vendor how it is cooked. He said that it is prepared same way you cook the white one. I bought half a kilo of this and two pieces of panocha, a type of mascuvado sugar made into rounded blocks and used for making sweets. This is the first time that I made use of  black rice, it needs more cooking than the regular sticky rice sold in the market.  Using two pieces of coconut and one piece of panocha, I made a rice cake which in our native dialect is called binanlay or biko in Tagalog. I love its purple color and the taste is a little different compared to the regular sticky rice sold in the market. It’s  another successful kitchen experiment, I guess 🙂

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It tasted so yummy that I intend to cook more of  it and top it with latik.  My son is also interested to learn how to cook  so I taught him how to make a simple vegetable lumpia using the fresh ingredients we bought at the wet market – carrots, Baguio beans, sweet potato and turnips. I love any kind of lumpia and this is good with spicy vinegar used as dip.

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It’s what I like about observing the season of Lent because we get to eat lots of fruits, fish and vegetables and a little of meat on the side. Abstaining from eating meat  most days of Lent and all Fridays of the year, we get to invent recipes that  need simple ingredients.  Eating healthy is eating well, don’t you think?

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Even the wind

sometimes whisper a sad song

And my heart grows quiet

listening ….

remembering….

And loving the silence.

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We stand here encompassed by winter; the barren trees with their fallen leaves, the silent riverbed. Nothing is more certain in life or nature than death. We accept it as the way of things. Perhaps we are able because we have faith in spring. Yet somehow it seems different to us when death comes early. Much as we might bemoan an early winter, we feel robbed of something due. We feel cheated. Sometimes we rage. And sometimes we blame. And in doing so, we say to God, “My will be done, not Thine,” and we forget about the promise of spring. In the cold of our soul’s winter, we bury our hearts. And when we wonder why it is dark and why we feel alone. and we risk spending so much of our lives occupied with our loss and what we have not, that we forget the beauty of what is and what we still have. And this is sometimes, the greater loss. – richard paul evans

A week ago, I cried at the loss of an online friend who has been a part of my life for the past five years or so. We have known each other exchanging comments and views at our Multiply sites  learning life’s angst and lovely dreams of tomorrow.  Bella was so supportive of me when I underwent chemotherapy around the time we were so active at Multiply. We formed a close group, some of whom I eventually met personally.  Even then, she always said that she had a delicate health, she came home from a teaching job in Thailand  and enjoyed gardening and writing about her thoughts on family life, love of music and anything that we could touch under the sun. You might wonder, is an online friendship possible?  YES, it is. My only regret is that, I only talked to her once, over the phone, a surprise call which she appreciated very much.  Reading the outpouring of grief and offer of prayers on her wall at Facebook, I realized that when you are not afraid to reach out to people, those same friends would remember you with fondness and love.

Life is short. We always say  that and it is more felt when we lose someone dear to us, the feeling of loneliness is so acute that you recall your own pain and you cry silent tears of goodbye.  Then you begin to see at some inspired moment that you are lucky you’re still alive, well and kicking as they say. You begin to see that life is a life of second chances. You begin to appreciate the things that you somehow take for granted because they are always there at an easy reach.

What makes one happy?  Friends give us that feeling of being special,  more so when they appreciate what we do and what we share. And no matter what mundane things we do, there is always that feeling of joy because our friends accept us as we are and  give us words of encouragement to go on. Happiness depends on our outlook in life. We could choose to be in misery or always to be happy, because in the end, happiness is a choice.

Life is short, value it. Happiness is sometimes fleeting, grab it. Trite as it may sound, the blue sky is just behind the clouds.

 

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Short of saying I haven’t read in quite a while, I am happy that since the start of January, I was able to catch up on my reading. It’s now a feat for me to read five books in a span of  almost two months because for a while there, reading has taken a backseat although I have accumulated  and bought more books that would last me the whole year, I think.

I am a fan of Richard Paul Evans. Since I found him more than a decade ago, I enjoyed sourcing bookstores to look for more of his books. Luckily though, even some of my friends joined in the search and sent me hardbound copies of his books from abroad. And as if that is not enough, Richard is an online friend at FB so I am always updated on what is new and what I’ve missed. Last night, I finished reading one of his earlier published books, The Looking Glass. It’s a re-read actually but like the first time that I encountered it, it never fails to give me that smile. One becomes reflective when you read about life and all its angst. One becomes a mirror that reflects how life is, at the moment, in a heartbeat, for a lifetime. No, this is not a book summary, I’ll just want to recall all the beautiful quotes I marked with pencil while reading it. You might have noticed that I regularly post quotes here from his timeline (with his permission, of course).  And I love those diary entries every start of each chapter of all his books.

-The dreams still haunt me, leaving me in the dawn wet with tears. It is true, there are moments in one’s life more memorable than entire years. But these moments are those usually wished forgotten.

-I do not wonder at the cruelty of this world, as it seems the nature of it. I find myself more perplexed as why there is good at all.

-I have learned a great truth of life. We do not succeed in spite of our challenges and difficulties, but rather, precisely because of them.

-Oftentimes  it takes the darkness of another grief to shed light on our own.

-The truth of ourselves is too often blurred  by the capricious image  of our self-perception. I believe it is among greatest  quests of life, not just to see life as it really is, but to see his part in it.

-Until you see yourself  worthy of love, you will forever be chained.

-Not all pain was equal. That there could in fact, be delicious sorrow.

-The greatest shackles we bear in this life are those forged by our own fears.

-The measure of a person’s heart, the barometer of good or evil, was nothing more than the extent to choose life over death. That the path of God was simply the path of life, abundant and eternal.

-Though one does not forget the wounds of the past, scars can bring gratitude if we will consider the healer.

-Nowhere does man err more greatly than when he looks to see the reality of what he is.

I have just started on another Anita Shreve book, A Change of Altitude.  I hope it will be just as good as her other books.

 

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