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Archive for the ‘journeys’ Category


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 she surely looked at the world with open eyes and between the two of us, I was more of the dreamer than she 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. She 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. She was a friend, the big sister I never had.

“Live the dream”, she would  say. I do. I did. And I like to think that somehow, in between wakefulness and dreamland, life is  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. We used to walk and talk, and dream about big things that only the young would think of  and I suddenly pictured her 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’ve through a phase in my life full of so much pain. But I can hear her voice saying,  “Life is never perfect”. And she would understand.  And I would tell her that I am brave enough to face it all.

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Back in October  2012, I wrote about A Thousand Mornings, a title I borrowed from one of the books  of my favorite author and poet Mary Oliver. I still read it now  and then and my soul is uplifted every time I do.

Christmas.

Early this morning, I chanced upon  a radio station playing songs in between the recent news in our country. Then all of a sudden,  he inserted  a Christmas song in between. What? Christmas in August? Oh but he said it’s barely two weeks before we start the BER months. Believe me, here in the Philippines  Christmas celebrations start as early as October and end as late as February the following year.  I ended up listening to some Christmas songs on YouTube. What a joy to reminisce and remember those past days of celebrating Christmas.

Books.

I love visiting Booksale. They have so many branches in different malls here in Metro Manila.  Aren’t you thrilled going out of a book store armed with several titles of books you’ve found in your foray? They are not necessarily books by authors you love and follow but you find the texture of the pages and the  designs on the book covers so beautiful.  They speak to you of those lovely days you spent in your youth discovering new books at the library. Of course when you really want books, one could always visit National Bookstore but the books are quite expensive.

Flowers.

There was a time that I used to take shots of every bloom in my garden. I don’t have my camera now, it got broken and the other ones were destroyed during typhoon Ondoy back in 2009.  I use my tab and my phone cam once in a while but I don’t take photos as much  as several years ago. I intend to buy  a camera one of these days. Although cameras on cellphones are more convenient, I could not take those high-resolution photos that I love. I guess I have more than a thousand flowers shots saved on Photobucket.

My Garden.

And all because I love  the rich soil beneath my hands and watch things grow. Every year, I would plant bonito  ampalaya, a pot or two of chili peppers and turmeric.  Occasionally,  jute leaves sprout for a time, to grow again during the rainy season.  We have two kalamansi trees and two jackfruit trees in the garden aside from the ornamental plants that I cultivate.  Our Arius is like a  Christmas tree just waiting to be decorated with lights and tinsel.

Blogging.

But of course. I meet so many friends here. In Facebook,  my feed is full of hodgepodge of unpalatable news.  At times,  I just ignore them and make some shout outs to my friends. I don’t go public on Facebook.  I meet lovely friends here at WordPress, read beautiful blog posts and  see wonderful photos of other places that I haven’t been to.  The day won’t be complete without visiting WordPress.  I have 2,046 posts including this one for this main blog alone.

Family.

Family always comes first of course.  Now that we have Nate with us, it is always a riot when he is around. Smiles are not far behind.  I remember those days when my two kids were growing up and were left in the care of two yayas. It was always a problem for mom and dad to look for yayas for us in the province.  Nowadays, it is even harder to find household help that you can trust.

I remember those days when  I used to go up the stage every recognition day  and so proud of my kids receiving those medals. It was a thrill when my daughter graduated Magna Cum Laude  and we were given choice seats at the  venue.  Tears of joy for the standing ovation from her professors and classmates when she received that medal upon graduation.  We were so proud of her.

Clouds.

Did I say I like taking photos of clouds and watching them move when the sky is dark? I love though when the sun is hot and the day is just perfect for cloud-watching. They look so mysterious out there. These are photos  from  some years back.

I could go on of course with a thousand more mornings but I think this has gone long enough.

“All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing”
– Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

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This is one of the best quotes I really like. I don’t know why I have this sudden desire to blog about mirrors and reflections.  What we are and what we  want to be are sometimes reflected in the way we see other people. There are times when we feel so attuned with people  we just met because we are entirely in sync with them. Our thoughts are on the same wavelength, so to speak.  Sometimes, that’s where friendship begins.

There are moments though that all we see of ourselves are what we believe we are but they are just reflections we borrow from other people. We tend to gravitate towards those who have the same interests and aspirations like we do. I don’t actually believe in the adage that opposites attract. It’s  rather, you see something in the person that you admire so it is easier to befriend him or her.  Deep within, you have something in common and the mere fact that you are also different in some ways makes  the encounter a little something to look forward to, it makes the encounter a little more interesting.

So what do you think is the best mirror where you can see yourself as you truly are? I think close friends fill that role in your life. They are our daily mirrors where the truth is reflected, the truth that we normally don’t recognize ourselves. Sometimes, we see a little crack at the edge but that’s part of the journey, it’s kind of dull when everything is smooth, we need to be reminded that life is a challenge that we need to face.

And let me end this blog with a lovely quote from Edith Wharton, “There are two ways to spread happiness; either be the light who shines or be the mirror who reflects it.”

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I was reminded of these song lyrics while I was doing the laundry early this morning. and it kind of stuck in my head. I was still humming it while I was cleaning the house later.

♫ ♬When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
 
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone. ♪♫♩
How many times have we encountered storms in our lives? How many times have we been resilient enough  to face them?  How many times have we faced the consequences of our actions?
We can’t avoid problems. I guess they are necessary parts of our lives so we’ll be able to know how strong we are to face them. Faith plays a big role too. Reaching out to people close to us, letting them share our plights sometimes ease the pain and the torment of facing those burdens. Listening to their words of wisdom helps a lot. Just sharing what we feel does the trick  of carrying it lightly on our shoulders.
We all know that the sun, no matter how dark the sky is will always be behind the clouds waiting for such time it will appear again during the day.  Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain as the song says.
Let’s walk on and hold our heads up high. That’s the way to do it.

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Dreams. Curiosity. Exploration. Friendship.

Discovering life’s simple pleasures through the eyes of a child. This is one of my favorite shots which  I  took during our trip to Tanay one  December barely a month after my last chemotherapy.  It was one  of those times that one feels so relaxed just enjoying the cold breeze and exchanging pleasantries with a friend. Nissa brought a book to read while Jane and I were just contented inside the tent looking after the two kids – my six-year-old niece Bobic and her three-year old daughter Jaden. They were looking for spiders and ants. I told my niece that spiders don’t normally stay on the ground and that ants are seldom found on the grass. They were so disappointed. They just watched some crawling insects outside the tent. And before I knew it, I was laden with gifts of dried leaves and wild flowers.

How simple life could be if we let it.

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There is a soft breeze

making the curtains dance

And our dog Noki

is gently snoring at my feet.

What a blessed day.

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Hear His voice, He speaks to you in silence, gently, with such sense of humor sometimes that you find yourself laughing with Him.  The first time I learned that I need to undergo surgery, I asked Him these simple questions:

Lord, would I have to bear another scar? He answered:  Yes, but this time I’ll make sure that it would look better than the first. True enough, though it reached a long 9 inches, the cut was clean, it was a long straight line.

I am afraid Lord, I don’t want to undergo  another surgery. Then He whispered, Don’t you worry, I’ll hold your hands and will carry you when it’s done.

I lost weight when I was  at the hospital, 10 lbs. to be exact and I was worried I’ll lose even more if I have to undergo further treatments and He assured me by saying, Oh come on, you need to lose a little more. By the time you’re done, you’ll be able to wear all those medium size dresses, and those dainty Hang Ten T-shirts that you love. He had me laughing so much  and right there and then, I wanted to hug Him and embrace Him tight.

The nurse at the chemotherapy unit briefed us on what to expect after each session of treatment.  Some chemotherapy drugs have that immediate effect of losing one’s hair and the wise recourse is for you to have it shaved, as in bald head?  Then I heard Him whispering in my ears again: Why, don’t you want to wear those trendy and fashionable  head-gear?  But I assure you, you won’t lose your hair. So I asked my oncologist if I won’t go bald and she told me that medications for colon cancer are quite safe from that.  Then I felt  Him nudging me, I told you  and you won’t believe. Forgive me Lord for doubting you  even for a minute.

At some moments when I feel so down, I remember that  God  chose me to share His suffering and I am privileged that He trusts me enough to bear my cross.  Dear Lord, thank you for making me so special in your eyes.

(P.S. This is a re-blog, a post I made when I was just starting this blog back in June 2009, a month before my scheduled  sigmoid surgery.- arlene)

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