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Archive for November, 2008

1000a-35

(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

I was driving down to work on Thursday morning when I saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky!! I couldn’t help looking up, gazing at it, and saying out loud “It’s beautiful, Father! It’s beautiful!!” I felt a childlike glee and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the many blessings He has given me and the wondrous gifts of His creations! J

 

Some would probably criticize me for not keeping my eyes on the road while driving that morning. But I couldn’t let that moment pass me by! J There are moments in our lives that are meant to be lived just like that—in the moment—because some of them happen just once. If we miss them, we miss them forever.

 

Most of these precious moments happen within the walls of our own homes and in the circle of our respective families. One cannot emphasize enough the importance of putting our families first on our list of priorities in life, because in the very end, they’re all we really have.

 

One young friend posted this caption on their new house photo on the web: “Home Bitter Home.” I hope she was kidding. The words of David O. McKay came to mind: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

 

Let us make time for our family members! Let us create warm and loving memories with them while we still have the chance. A happy family life doesn’t happen by accident. It is created by small, cherished moments that occur on a regular basis. Moments, such as when our son comes over to ask us to stop doing whatever we’re doing so we could sing with him while he plays a favorite tune on his keyboard. Or when our daughter asks our amateur advice in the kitchen while cooking her newly-found gourmet recipe. Or sleeping over at our sister’s place so we could join the singing of the happy birthday song that happens at midnight. Or being there for our little brother when he finally holds his very own baby. 

 

Moments, great and small, happen everyday! Let us not miss them! Let us set our priorities straight! It is with our family members that we will experience our deepest joys in life! Let us learn where to find the real joy in this journey! J

 

As President Thomas S. Monson said in the most recent general conference: “I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”

 

May we find the joy that we’re all looking for in this journey! J May we find it in the right places as we set our priorities straight. May we not let precious moments pass us by and lose them forever. Indeed, making a life is more rewarding than making a living! J

 

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chess

 

In the game of chess, players must layout a step-by-step plan in their minds on how to attack the opponent and consequently checkmate the rival king. While trying to execute the conceived plan during a match, a player is subject to numerous decisions in order to counteract the opponent’s moves—some absolutely predicted, while others completely unforeseen.

 

Having watched and played chess for many years, I’ve observed that the best chess players are those who follow their plans despite the distractions that the opponent’s moves create during the match. The best players act rather than react. They choose their battles carefully. They focus their moves on capturing the opponent’s king while surrounding their own king with guards enough to defend him in case of an imminent attack.

 

I love using chess metaphors in dealing with daily life. There are times when we get totally distracted from things that matter and get caught up in situations that tend to make us throw in the white towel a little too soon. When this happens, it’s good to remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff and focus our energy on the weightier objectives. Sometimes it’s wise to ignore the opponent’s move and charge to get that king!!! J 

 

Let us learn to act on rather than react to negative things that happen to us. It can sometimes be a very difficult thing to do, but it most definitely can be done. J

 

Ready… Steady… Charge!!! J

 

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1000a-31

(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

History was never my favorite subject in school. But I couldn’t contain my interest and emotions when a great moment in the history of the world was made last week! J Barack Obama was elected the very first black President of the United States of America!

 

Let me state that I have neither political inclination nor antipathy towards anybody in this election. I am not an American. But as I read how this symbolic change in leadership has been considered by many people as a personal triumph, I couldn’t help rejoicing with them and for them over what was once considered an inconceivable matter in this Land of the Free.

 

While reading a few of the many articles written about this man, what struck me most was his message of hope despite the pessimism surrounding his candidacy. He attempted to gather his nation together and permeated the invisible divide that existed within their society.

 

He said: “We are choosing hope over fear. We are choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that change is coming…” His campaign slogan states: “Yes, we can.”

 

Whatever happens during his presidential term is out of the question. I think we could all learn something from his determination, persistence, and courage. He took the focus off of fear and held on tight to hope instead.

 

In our personal struggles, let us be reminded of this fine example of faith and courage. It is in our deepest lows that we can show what we are really made of. Nothing is impossible. When we are against the odds and we know that what we’re doing is right, let us choose hope over fear and remember what another American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said: “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” J

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

Have you ever experienced the exquisite joy of lending a hand to someone who can never, ever repay you? Have you ever tried helping someone without thinking, “What’s in it for me?” J

 

If you’ve ever worked in downtown New York, you’ll know what peak hour means for pedestrians scattered all over the place, walking fast-paced, trying to get to their offices on time. It’s like watching an avalanche of well-educated people pouring down the streets in an orderly manner, trying to literally avoid stepping on anybody’s toes while attempting to sprint to their work building around the corner, before the elevator line gets too long. Unless you’re a tourist, you don’t seem to have the time to stop. You’re caught up in a stream of energy and vibrant force that could easily ensnare those who don’t exactly know where they’re going.

 

On one very cold winter morning, amidst this kind of hustle and bustle in Manhattan, a very old woman was crossing the street during peak hour alongside the avalanche of people heading to work. Most of the people passed her by, trying hard not to bump into her. She walked ever so slowly, fidgeting in the cold, snowy pavement with her bare hands. When almost all of the people have crossed the street, she was merely halfway the pedestrian crossing. The pedestrian light blinked, warning the walkers to prepare to halt. A stranger who earlier passed her by walked back to the crossing, put her arms around the old woman, and helped her cross the street. I have never, ever seen traffic stop in New York like it did at that moment!!! Although the stoplights already turned green, the cars cordially allowed the shivering old woman and the lady to slowly cross the street, one small step at a time. All eyes were on them. Not one car moved until they reached the other side of the street. Before they parted ways, the lady took her newly-bought leather gloves off and gave them to the old woman.

 

Can you imagine the joy that the lady who helped the old woman felt in her heart at that instant?! It was a feeling that I’m sure she will never, ever forget in her entire life!! She probably will not remember how the old woman looked like, or where exactly in Manhattan did it happen, but she will forever remember how her heart swelled and how her soul expanded because of that incident!! J  

 

Let’s discover the joy that comes from giving and helping others without expecting anything in return! It is a sublime experience that goes beyond the comprehension of those who have never known of it. It lifts us up to a great height that only those who are willing to share their blessings unselfishly can reach! J

 

So, the next time we are tempted to ask, “What’s in it for me?” remember the unspeakable joy that comes to those who are magnanimous is precious and priceless!!! J

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