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Archive for the ‘friendship’ 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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wicked

Last night, I had the privilege of watching the award-winning Broadway and West End musical Wicked. One could easily be deceived about its plot because by looking at the posters where a green, wicked witch was portrayed, one would think it was about potions and magic spells similar to Harry Potter.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was about something much, much deeper than that. It was about being accepting of other people who are different from us. It was about loyalty and friendship. It was about tolerance. It was about defying the odds and focusing on our individual talents. It was about love.

I guess I needed to see that show last night. Someone pointed out to me this morning that people have their own different ways of dealing with things and what works for me might not work for another, and that I have to be respectful of that. Point very well taken.

And so I wanted to share that with all of you today. Let’s remind ourselves every time we are tempted to judge other people that we are all unique individuals. Oftentimes, there are no right or wrong ways. We just need to be accepting and allow others to grow at their own pace and by their own means.

As the Beatles say, “Love is all we need.”

A very happy advanced Valentine’s Day everybody!! Here’s wishing you all lots of love on that day and always!!! 🙂 ❤

*hugs and kisses*

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I was once enjoying late lunch with a friend when out of the blue a large fly swirled around us trying to get its share of our exotic meal! The waitress at the restaurant was embarrassed yet attentive enough to see our situation and immediately brought a medium-sized candle on our table –apparently to help shoo away our uninvited guest.

But instead of avoiding the clear sign of danger, the impulsive insect dove straight into the candle light as if toying with its fate. It naturally burned its wings and within a blink of an eye dropped onto the plate of my horrified friend. We couldn’t believe how fast things happened. We found ourselves trying to get the fly off the table while its body wiggled and struggled to get out of its predicament. It dropped onto the floor and while my friend told me to step on it, I only watched it literally “walk” its way out of our presence, limping and squirming with pain. It must’ve been terrified by the thought of its imminent death as well. We never knew if it made its way back home, or if its wings ever healed again, but it certainly suffered the excruciating consequence of its action.

We paused for awhile and thought how foolish that fly was for going straight into the candle light without thinking of the consequences. Yet between the long pauses, all my friend could utter was this: “Temptation.”

How many times in our lives have we acted like this foolish fly? We recognize danger and yet we sometimes think we are strong enough to withstand it so we head straight towards it and eventually burn our “wings.” Hopefully when this happens we won’t be placed in a situation where it’s too late to turn back and like the foolish fly suffer the consequences of our actions. I pray that in our dealings with our weaknesses and temptations we can gather the essential courage to mend our ways, get back on the right path, and be given enough time to eventually make amends and set things right.

Enjoy the weekend everybody and keep these thoughts in mind the next time you see a fly swirling around a candle light.

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I strongly believe in the message of this video clip. I believe that for relationships to work, we should spend time with, cherish, and express love to the people we hold dear. Enjoy watching! 🙂

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(Photograph by Melanie Gapiz)

After three years of planning, preparation, and thousands of cumulative hours of participant rehearsals, the Jubilee celebration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has finally come!!! 🙂


As I sat on the edge of my seat watching the festivity and cheering the other participants, I was extremely grateful and my heart was overcome with emotions for having had the privilege of being part of the momentous occasion! 🙂


Throughout the course of the rehearsals, I witnessed how the opposition worked his way through various means, using different people and their weaknesses, to try to stop this effort from progressing.  I have seen many frustrated faces, and people quitting in the midst of all the preparations due to disappointments and discouragement. Some left simply because they got exhausted and did not see the grand outcome that was meant to be. Many cynics doubted and some begrudgingly supported the event.


Yet a great majority withstood the test and endured to the very end. These are the ones who enjoyed their journey and learned the sweetness of its value as they looked forward to their destination. These are they who, despite their mortal differences, learned to exercise the virtue of patience, long-suffering, forgiveness, and humility. They are the ones who experienced the joy of service, unconditional love, and found among themselves new and lasting friendships.  


At the end of the celebration, I realized that all the grand preparations made were befitting the occasion. It was a token of gratitude from the Filipino people to our God and King, for all the blessings we received on this land since the preaching of the gospel 50 years ago. It was worth all the hard work putting everything together—our talents, our time—to come up with the best that we could offer Him. Hence, I was moved and most grateful to hear, by the mouth of one of His servants, that our offerings had been accepted.


I think that life in general will be like this Jubilee celebration. The preparations will not be easy for the glorious end. Many will fall and lose their way. Yet those who will endure to the end will receive their sweetest reward—much more than they have ever imagined.

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(Painting by Greg Olsen)

My heart is brimming with happiness during this most festive season!! It also coincides with the month I am celebrating my birth on the earth! As I celebrated my birthday, I was filled with so much joy and gratitude for all the wonderful blessings I have received; for the countless greetings from family and friends; for the warmth, love, and kindness of the people around me; for the opportunities to serve and the inexplicable feeling of bliss which comes along with it! Oh, how my spirit swells!!! 🙂

I’d like to wish you all the same feeling of joy and happiness! May you find peace, love, and a feeling of gratitude that will make your hearts swell as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ this season!


A very merry Christmas to all!!!

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

I don’t watch a lot of TV so I was oblivious to the heartbreaking tragedy that took many innocent lives on Monday until a co-worker pointed it out to me when I arrived at work later that day.  Just a couple of weeks prior to the incident, I was at the exact location where the hostage-taking unfolded, sight seeing and touring the area with a foreign friend. 

In retrospect, I thought how desperate a measure it was that the man took hostages in an attempt to bring back whatever dignity was left of him. I wonder if he had a chance to ponder about the serious repercussions of his plan. Was he able to think about the numerous lives that might have been lost? The many hearts that will be broken? I wonder if he had a chance to get down on his knees to pray for guidance and comfort. I wonder if he received enough support from his family and friends before he committed his fatal act. Clearly, he wasn’t in his proper frame of mind when he did what he did. It was an unfortunate tragedy that left many people saddened, angry, and some scarred for a lifetime.   


In a similar scenario this week, I witnessed how an act of unselfish service blessed the lives of two women who had been through a recent traumatic shooting incident themselves involving loved ones and friends. Someone in a position to help quietly went out of their way to offer comfort and lift the trauma off these women’s distressed minds. I witnessed the real meaning of charity come to life and was deeply touched by what I saw. It was the gospel in action. I wish the hostage-taker had someone like this person reach out to him during his contemplative moments so he didn’t end up doing what he did. But then now it’s too late.        


I sympathize with the families of those whose lives have been lost in such a senseless manner. I wish that those who have passed on have already lived their lives to the fullest and have already accomplished what they came here on earth to do.


In the darkest moments of our lives, it is good to remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. That we will not be given anything we won’t be able to bear. That there is help if we but seek it. Heavenly Father is there for us. He is the Father of our spirits and He loves us beyond our comprehension. He will help us when all else fails and we’ve done all that we could. Despite our many challenges and trials, our lives don’t have to end in any kind of tragedy. We can rise above the blues. Our Father wants us to succeed in all aspects of our lives. And He is there watching…and waiting. We just have to reach out to Him.  

  

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