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Archive for the ‘trials’ 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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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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(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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People all around the world were moved by the recent catastrophe that hit Japan. I watched in the news a rescued man speaking about his survival experience and although he spoke in Japanese, I could feel and understand the sadness and trauma that he underwent after his ordeal. An old woman clung to a tree the entire evening for dear life and was rescued the following day. Buildings and homes were destroyed beyond anything anyone has ever imagined. The wrath and power of nature was only to be endured with utmost acquiescence and without question.


Through my years of existence, I learned that no matter what race we come from, whatever language we speak, whosoever we worship, we have similar innate characteristics that prove to me that we all come from the same source and are undeniably all connected as an entire human race.


In the midst of this calamity, tensions had been set aside for a moment among countries. Nations sent all they could to support and assist Japan in their current needs. The resilience of people was remarkable and it was touching to see the overflow of human kindness during this time of grief and loss.


Yet no matter how negative this experience was for many people, a lot of us also learned numerous positive things that will remain in our hearts for a long time. This experience taught me that even strong nations and seemingly independent, affluent countries still appreciate offers of assistance coming from their neighbors in times of trials and adversity. Similarly, our fellowmen who seem strong and independent will appreciate our support and encouragement in times of trials in their lives.


It was also admirable to see how the Japanese people remained calm and focused in spite of the overwhelming devastation that gripped their country. Collectively, they had the determination to rebuild their homes and individually extended help to those who needed it. Survivors orderly lined up and waited for whatever basic relief commodities were distributed to them. A spirit of unity was prevalent across the land.


In our times of trial, we can learn from their example by being still and enduring the tribulation with patience and faith and being grateful for the moral support of our friends and family and the Divine help that is always extended to those who seek it.


It may take a few months or a few years before Japan can get its nation back to where it was before the earthquake, but the lessons we’ve learned should very well not be forgotten.

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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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