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Archive for the ‘challenges’ Category

bone cancer ribbon

I visited my college best friend who is suffering from stage 4 cancer in the hospital and was a bit surprised at the changes that happened to her in almost two weeks that I haven’t seen her. I was pre-occupied with a couple of wonderful things that happened at our home front that I didn’t get a chance to drop by.

Just a couple of weeks ago, she was saying that her hair was too long and that she wanted to get a haircut ‘coz her natural curls were showing. I told her to just leave it alone and I was glad that she listened, because then she was able to enjoy her hair for a couple more weeks before they all fell out after her chemotherapy. Her cheeks were puffed from steroids. Her amputated leg rested on the bed. Her platelet count dropped to 14—way below the normal standard count of 150. I could say that she had all the reasons to complain—but she didn’t.

She welcomed me with a warm smile and I knew that if she only could, she would leap out of that bed to give me a big, tight hug. I was humbled by the sight of her. Such a strong spirit who refuses to give in to the frailties of this mortal existence.

We talked for a couple of hours to catch up on things that happened for the past couple of weeks. Her illness has not changed her outlook in life. She spoke about her husband and children with a twinkle in her eye—proud of their achievements and a deep love for them that I could sense as she described their activities. We laughed about personal jokes and discussed things that we planned to do in the coming days. She is the same person that I’ve known for more than three decades now despite her missing leg and hair. I quietly admired her strength of character and faith in God’s eternal plan.

I came to visit her that day in the hope of cheering her up, but it was me who benefitted more from that experience as I left her room and felt gratitude for all the things I have been blessed with that matter most in life—health, family and friends.

May we continue to treasure the things that matter most in life. Let’s have the faith and courage to face our challenges with a hope that these things are but for a small moment, and that our eternal rewards go beyond what our human minds can truly comprehend.

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bdayrose

I’m one of the few people who still play Candy Crush. I know there are a lot of other interesting games out there, but this game is something that I like keeping at. There are times when I get stuck at a certain level and can’t seem to move on for several days, or weeks (I once got stuck at a level for a couple of months!), but I just kept playing it; and when I was not expecting it, I passed! All I needed was to persevere and I made it!

I think that such is life as well. Sometimes we get into a level of trial that seems to be most difficult, but we just have to keep at it, and persevere, and then when we least expect it, we get to pass it—to our surprise!

Sometimes we just need to be still and let all the chaos around us flow. And we stand our ground. And remain patient. And try to learn our lesson from the experience. Sometimes we even have to close our eyes to concentrate and not let what’s happening around us affect us. And just focus on all the positive things in life and keep going. Because just like playing a difficult level at Candy Crush, we will one day pass it (trust me!)—even if it takes many days, or many months, or even many years.

Have a fabulous week everybody! Keep on  keeping on. 🙂

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clover

There sometimes comes a point in our lives when we get discouraged and quit doing some of the noteworthy things we’re doing, thinking that they might just be a waste of time. And then sometimes, out of the blue, by some stroke of fate, a stranger comes up to us and encourages us to dust our shoes off, get back on our feet, and keep going.

The words of an ancient apostle ring true: “Be not weary in well doing.”

And so I will try to write again! 🙂 Wheeee!! 🙂

THANK YOU, Art, for knocking on my car window that day and encouraging me! My heart is filled with gratitude for you! 🙂

* – * – *

Life has been quite interesting for me lately. I got into a myriad of challenges that I thought were pretty intense, until I had the opportunity to sit down and listen to an old friend’s troubles and mine immediately shrunk and suddenly seemed so trivial. I guess it’s Father’s way of comforting me and making me feel more grateful for all the blessings that I have.

So, I got up and brushed it off, shrugged my shoulders and told myself to carry on. C’est la vie!! 🙂 We can choose to be happy! We can choose to appreciate the rainbow after the rain!! And to look forward to the sunrise after the dawn!!

Life is meant to be a test, yet we are designed to be happy while we are here on earth! (Yes, despite all the trials 🙂 ) Let us all strive to live up to our potential and be the best that we can be—no matter what our circumstances are.

As I always say—we just need to keep on keeping on! 🙂

Have a fabulous week everybody! It feels good to be back! 🙂

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In 2009, when typhoon Ondoy devastated cities and towns (including mine) with unprecedented number of deaths in Metro Manila, I thought I already saw the worst—and then came typhoon Yolanda.

Super typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) was declared as an “Extremely Catastrophic Super Typhoon” by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) a few days before it made its landfall in Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. At its peak wind gusting up to 380kph (235mph), it registered as a Category 5 Hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson Scale and was declared the fourth most intense tropical storm ever recorded and the strongest to ever hit land.

As we watched from a distance here in Manila how the affected families rose above the situation—with an estimated death toll of 5,632 (as of this writing and climbing), damage to properties and agriculture amounting to PHP 30.8 billion, many missing members of families, children’s education standing at a halt, people sleeping on the streets after losing their homes with no food and water for many days—we cannot help but reach out to find ways on where we can extend assistance and provide support and comfort, even from afar.

I had the privilege of volunteering for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their effort to donate 10,000 personal hygiene kits and 10,000 food kits from Manila to the survivors of the calamity a couple of days after the typhoon hit.  A total of 1,500 volunteers from different ages, races, and backgrounds came to the Aurora and Quirino meetinghouses to repack goods which were afterward picked up by Alagang Kapatid Foundation and the Philippine Navy for distribution to different parts of Leyte.

I also had the opportunity to assist in the interview of the first batch of missionary survivors who were evacuated from Tacloban to Manila and to listen in as they shared their individual stories that helped increase my faith in God and in the goodness of the human race.

Despite the bitter pain and trauma that most of the survivors experienced, they were extremely grateful that they survived the ordeal and that their lives were miraculously spared. Most of them lost all of their material possessions, but they were still very thankful that the most important of all their possessions were still with them—their families.

In this season of Thanksgiving, may we remember the things that matter most in our lives and have the heart to share some of ourselves—be it our time or material possessions—to those who are in need. Many lives have been lost and even more lives have been changed by this recent calamity. We are in a position to help lift heads that hang down and provide comfort to those who are in need of comfort. May we find time to reach out and offer a helping hand. As we do so, I know we will find joy in our hearts that no amount of money can buy and appropriately express our thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have.

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Christmas is a time our hearts turn to the Savior Jesus Christ. This is a true story of one woman’s experience as she learns that the Lord loves us and knows our specific circumstances.

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Two days ago, I was requested to participate in a series of corporate training called the “Fearless Leadership Program.” At first I thought it was a waste of my time. I was already being pulled in many different directions and I thought that one more training—with many succeeding sessions—was too much for me to bear. I thought I had more important things to do, but I was wrong.


I didn’t know what to expect from the training. The title itself sparked my curiosity. Fearless Leadership. Will they be providing a lecture on how to become fierce in implementing mandates from executive management? Or teach us how to be tougher or more strict towards our team members? I couldn’t wait to attend and find out.


All my qualms were quenched after the first session. To my surprise, it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. The initial session focused on understanding our entire lives—from childhood to present—and analyzing situations that happened in the past that influence the kind of persons we are today. I was very uncomfortable at first. I didn’t want to reveal some things about the past—my childhood, my family, my experiences—that I’ve always kept hidden, even from myself. But as I saw how the other participants opened themselves up and shared their experiences freely, I allowed myself to open up and share my experiences as well. By doing so, I was able to understand myself a little bit more—why my priorities are such; what motivates me; why I react to certain situations the way I do. It was, I should say, a liberating experience.


As I listened to the stories that were shared that afternoon, I learned that people have common experiences—albeit different scenarios—that either make them or break them. In most instances, seemingly negative experiences that each participant overcame brought about success beyond what they expected or imagined. Those who thrived during the trying moments came out victorious as they looked at their previous challenges as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.


Some of us may be in a similar situation today. Some may be struggling to overcome certain challenges that may appear to be too negative at the moment. Let us keep in mind that these circumstances are temporary and if we gather the courage to overcome, we can look forward to that day when we could look back and stand, having a better perspective that these things will be for our own good.

Enjoy the rest of the week everybody! And remember, there’s always a rainbow after the rain! 🙂

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(Photograph by Stephen Felix Ambrosio)

A story was told of a group of people who were each given a piece of candy to eat and a pebble to put inside their shoe while they walked around a large hall for a few minutes. Each participant was asked to write down their impression after the exercise. Most did not mention about the candy and focused more on the discomfort of walking with a pebble inside their shoe.


The person who related the story went on to describe how we, as human beings, have the tendency to focus more on the uncomfortable pebbles of life (our challenges) rather than enjoying the sweetness of our candies(our blessings). Sometimes we get caught up with our daily struggles that we forget to count our blessings and look at the brighter side of things. There are moments when we give more attention to our flaws and weaknesses rather than our strengths and qualities. We sometimes give in to the lure of criticizing rather than commending.


What a great reminder for us to start looking at the glass as half full and not half empty! 🙂  I believe that as we strive to do so, we will live happier lives filled with love, peace, and contentment.


Have a fabulous week everybody!!! 🙂

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