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Thank you Lord

for these silent moments.

I am grateful

for the times I felt so down

and You made me feel Your

presence.

 

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Gosh,  how time flies!  I can’t believe that it’ll be summer in a week or two. Here comes the sun and probably a series of brownouts that the Department of Energy is warning the public since last year. And it is not a case of I hope we have enough supply because it will definitely happen (according to news reports). I am thinking of buying a rechargeable fan to beat the summer heat.  Despite these setbacks though, summer would always be welcome, never mind the heat, we are used to it. What I love about the summer are the varieties of local fruits you’ll find only during the season, mangoes (we produce the sweetest mangoes), star apples, santol (wild mangosteen) siniguelas (Spanish plum) rambutan, avocado, duhat (Java plum) and many more.  My annuals bear flowers during the summer months and I love the surprise I always see in my tiny garden during this season. I could now see a growing  kamantigue with its dark violet flowers.

This has been a productive week for me. I finished painting two spans of our fence grills, three more to go. I bought garden soil and did some repotting  and replanting of my prayer plants. I have three varieties of them. I found a white vinca growing outside and replanted it too in one corner together with the pink ones. Mom said I should take a rest because every day I am outside trying to refurbish our small garden. We have this old lampshade made of ceramics and  when the electrical wiring was not working anymore, I made it into a garden accessory and repainted it in black together with a water fountain that we no longer use but still a lovely accent piece in one corner. It’s hard work I know but the fulfillment one gets seeing a new look is priceless.

Of course the day would not be complete without taking a few shots.   Here’s a picture of my Shanghai Beauty.

Pretty in pink...

Pretty in pink…

 

It's called Mexican Firereplant or  Wild Poinsettia

It’s called Mexican Fireplant or Wild Poinsettia

 

How was your week?  Happy weekend to all!

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Maraming, maraming salamat LORD

sa lahat ng umaapaw na biyayang ibinigay Mo sa amin

na kasama si Pope Francis.

For all the inspiring and uplifting words,

for the messages of hope and love,

for making us feel so blessed,

Thank You.

We will continue praying for our beloved Pope Francis.

Please heal our hearts, heal our people, heal our land.

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There is no public event that the Pope has to go to  late this afternoon so I guess it is  time to update this blog  :)  I was glued to the TV since day one and that was when Pope Francis arrived here. It is now day three and I’ve played  couch potato to the hilt, drinking endless cups of tea and coffee in between, finding something to munch on and… reflect.

Kidding aside, I’ve never been busy updating my timeline on FB than the last three days.  I let my tears just flow and experience that wonderful feeling of being inspired, blessed and uplifted. Lots of thoughts are playing in my head but for now, they just remain beautiful moments that would make some beautiful memories to recall  when the Pope has gone back to Rome.  They are mixed emotions actually. It’s not everyday that the Pontiff visits a third world country like ours because he empathize  with the Filipino people and sympathizes with the survivors of typhoon Yolanda.  The latter is actually the main reason why he decided to visit the country – the highlight of his five-day visit.

Yesterday was the official start of the events that millions of Filipinos watched and enjoyed. Pope Francis made a courtesy call to Malacanang early in the morning and then later presided over a mass for the religious, priests and seminarians at the Manila Cathedral.  Everywhere the Pope goes, there are thousands and thousands of people lining up the roads, hoping to take a glimpse of him in an open pope mobile. It was a very solemn mass except that the priests can’t stop themselves to take pictures of the Pope via their tablets, cameras and cellphones. It was so touching to see the sea of humanity outside the Cathedral.

Here's what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace's guest book: "On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God's abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis."

Here’s what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace’s guest book: “On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God’s abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis.”

Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith.  Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary.  This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.  It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 122).  In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.

Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15).  Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters.  In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world.

This was part of his homily during the mass at the Cathedral. The beauty of our faith is shining through. He said, “do you love me?” as an intro to his homily quoting the gospel and everybody shouted, “we love you” then he answered “thank you very much”. I had a good laugh at that, he has a sense of humor.  Actually there are those moments that made me laugh and I clapped my hands seeing his lighter side. At the MOA arena, as he was  blessing the deaf-mute family who were privileged to share their journey, Pope Francis kept gesturing with his hands how to say I love you in sign language. Yesterday, while spending just a few minutes with the religious  at the Palo Cathedral, he asked them  to: first pray for him and second, to keep quiet as he smiled at them. That elicited a roar from the crowd. He blessed each religious and priests who came in wheelchairs. Unknown to the social media, he made an unscheduled visit to Manila  street children. During his trip to another event at the Mall of Asia arena, he stopped the pope mobile and kissed a child. He blessed each one of those in wheelchairs at the arena including a teenager with a cerebral palsy who gifted him  with a cross-stitch artwork with the image of Mama Mary.

It was signal number 2 in Tacloban when the plane bearing Pope Francis and his entourage touched down this morning and they had to cut his trip  short to Palo, Leyte and go back to Manila at 1pm due to the inclement weather.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

This is my second chance to attend mass  (on tv) presided by Pope Francis. It was the best homily ever. Maybe it is even first in history for a Pope to celebrate   mass wearing a yellow raincoat and braving the winds and rains to give hope to the people of Tacloban and all the people of the Visayas region who are survivors of typhoon Yolanda. (I learned later that yes, it was his first experience to celebrate mass in a typhoon-stricken place).

It seemed like he also experience what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

It seemed like he also experienced what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

This is my simple realization while my tears gently flows as I watch the mass in Tacloban: I felt the presence of Jesus Christ in the person of Pope Francis. Even my  son unabashedly wiped his eyes when the mass ended saying “what a lovely homily”. 

“I have come to tell you that Jesus is Lord. And he never lets us down. Father – you might say to me – I was let down because I have lost so many things, my house, my livelihood. It’s true if you say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all the calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord. And the Lord from the cross is there for you. In everything the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who cries with us and walks with us in the most difficult moments of life.” – Pope Francis (part of his homily in Tacloban)

He stopped briefly  on his way to Palo Cathedral to talk to a family along the road, blessed them and gave them encouragement. What is more touching as told by Cardinal Tagle was when he met 30 survivors for lunch, some lost as much as seven members of their family, some lost their limbs, some lost everything. Pope Francis was speechless and told Cardinal Tagle later that he is learning a lot. The resilience of Filipinos are truly admirable.

When you walk through life with pain and suffering, God is there walking with you, holding your hand lest you stumble and fall.

When you reach your destination, He is there rejoicing with you.  The beauty of it all – the beauty of faith working in your life, the priceless moments alone with God in prayer. They make life meaningful.

 

(photo credits: rappler.com, Official Gazette of the Republic of the Phils.)

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I know some of you would now be counting not days but a few more hours until the last leaf of the calendar changes to another year. We greet each other happy new year. We find ways to celebrate and welcome a new chapter in our lives. We  are grateful for the year that is about to become history and welcome with open arms what 2015 will bring.

For those of you who regularly read my posts here, you may remember that I always greet and welcome another year in my life during my birthday and that is self-explanatory I guess. We count the years, comparing notes on what event touched us the most or what experience taught us the greatest lesson. We remember them sometimes with a pasted smile on our faces. Would that be what life is all about?

Being optimistic might mean a different thing from being happy.  The journeys we take are sometimes so rocky that we think they are just long roads without end. Strength comes in the face of adversity. We will never know how strong we are until we face something life-changing, something we never thought would happen, something that would change our attitude towards life.

Grateful!

I am grateful for everything happening in my life. No matter how mundane and boring it may seem to some people and trite as it may sound, life is what you make it.  Happiness does not come in pretty ribbons and  gaily colored  and wrapped packages. Happiness comes in simple things – love of family, friends, health, faith and a strong belief that there is Someone up there who will always  guide and love you despite your inadequacies and frailty.

I am grateful  for the things that happened in the past that hurt me so much but taught me how to cope and how to dream and believe.  Sometimes, I am reduced to tears just knowing that I could be strong too and could survive all the upheavals thrown my way. It is the joy in  knowing that the days ahead could be better than yesterday.

I look forward to 2015 with anticipation and look back with fondness to the days that I laughed and I cried and been blessed with so much happiness.

A BLESSED AND HAPPY 2015 TO ALL.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

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Sunset scene at Calayan

Sunset scene at Calayan

Lovell sent me this picture a while ago, a dramatic shot of a sunset in Calayan. He said it is his birthday gift to me.  Calayan, when will I see your shore?

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