Monday, 30 December 2013

A Three-Legged Stool and Life: A Comparison

           While nearing the completion of this year, I reflected on what has happened on my life during its course. I was amazed on how blessed I am as I recalled back the events of this year. How precious the life is- that is one of the focuses of my reflections this year. Life just come and go so we must need to embrace every moment that comes each day.

Consequently, some of those reflections which I would like to share with you are the following:

A three-legged stool:
- each leg relies on each other for strength;
- on top of the stool is a space for a comfortable sitting;
- equal footing for each leg to stand in balance and in harmony;
- each leg's brace provides support and strength as the three of them       intertwined with each other
imagecredit:
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Relating it to life:
- we need support system such as each other, family, friends, relatives, community etc. Alongside with this, there is a responsibility to nurture and constantly check the stability of each one;
- we can't stand being on our own. We need others to journey with us especially in the fulfillment of our dreams and aspirations. We need each other for life's check and balance;
- we provide space for others so as to feel comfortable with us;
- we need to mutually show equal footing. As such, we are invited to render due respect to others notwithstanding any differences in terms of race, status, gender, age, and any other differences.



                                            

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The meaning of Christmas

          How do you define the meaning of Christmas? What is the importance of this season in your life and that of your family? Who do you spend your time with on Christmas time? At times, when you are obssessed with new things such as clothes and gadgets, what you look forward as a younger boy or girl at this season is the luxurious gift that you will receive from others.

          These are but just some of the questions that come to your mind when you think about Christmas. You may think perhaps of the times when you were still young and the idea then of Christmas was mainly focused on the following:
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a. receiving gifts and giveaways from loved ones especially from parents;
b. playing time with friends 
c. opportunity to go around and mill with friends to make carolling to various houses and even to strangers thus allowing the spirit of Christmas to be shared with everyone

          On the other hand, when you grow up and become more exposed to the world, your understanding and perception of what Christmas is changed as well. Driven by your interactions with others, you begin to learn Christmas on a much deeper level. Nowadays, as this world is challenged by both natural and man made calamities, as your day to day living is colored by both of your positive and negative experiences, you then realize that Christmas is sweeter and more meaningful when it is shared with others most notably with your loved ones  and with those people who are deprived of the resources to enjoy the season.

          In your life, you have so much to share and be grateful for everything that you have cherished for this year. Yes it is true that there is joy brought along by those big and small gifts that you give and receive during this season however, the most significant among these expressions is the sharing of genuine love for everyone. Learn to love and be loved genuinely.


                                           
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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Let Us Have A Meaningful Christmas

          It's Christmas morning! And many people in this side of the world are still sleeping at 8:09 am. I woke up with the priest's words during the Christmas eve mass still ringing in my ears. His main message centered on the theme: "Can we see Jesus who was born in lowliness and in poverty?" 

          In our culture, the long Christmas celebration which starts in October until January, focuses on the material aspects -- food, parties, new clothes and gadgets. If not for Yolanda, people would still have those annual big and pompous celebration. I believe that calamities do happen before Christmas to give us a message -- TO SIMPLIFY. 

          I remember last year, when I introduced a gift-less Christmas to my family in respect to the Pablo victims and survivors. It was done but was not well received. Nakasanayan na kasi eh (It has been a tradition.) . And worse, I heard "Si Tito Nel kasi eh...(It's because of Tito Nel....) "Ano ba talaga ang tunay na diwa ng Pasko (What's the true essence of Christmas)? Yun ba yung magagandang damit at gadgets, inuman hanggang malasing at katakot-takot na tawanan (Does it translate to the latest gadgets nowadays or the drink up to the last drop sessions)? Are we just using this holy celebration as an excuse to shop til we drop? 

          I was talking to a Ob-Gyne specialist last weekend and he said he is so sad that his financial capacity this time of the year is so bad that he can't even give his clinic staff cash gifts. Looking at him, he is not just sad, he is depressed. Here is an example of a person feeling sad because he cannot cope with the wrong demands of the season.Yes, Christmas is sharing. In our own little way, we give. Even children and teenagers are encouraged to give -- LOVE. I am not saying that we spend all our hard-earned money and  endlessly swipe our credit cards. 

          What I am saying here is to truly recognize that Jesus is the reason for the season. A God-king who in his humility came down to be among us. Let us also try to come down from our high and mighty lifestyle to be among the suffering, the lonely and the poor today. It comes but once a year! Let us make it special. Let us do it for the birthday of the King... :)MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL 


Guest writer: Dr. Nelson De Castro Magnaye
                    Writer, Dentist, Recollection
                      and Team Building Facilitator
                Manila, Philippines


                                                 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Is It Ideal For a Family If Both Parents Are Working?

          Previously, it was typical for any family that a father goes to work and provides the needs of the family. On the other hand, the mother stays at home to take charge of the children. Nowadays, it is but prevalent that both parents prefer to work so as to provide the financial benefits of the children. These two contrasting realities both have their positive and negative effects.

          You may perhaps think that children with both working parents naturally receive the material benefits. As such, the parents can afford to buy anything luxurious like toys, modern gadgets, and can even send the children to exclusive schools. Moreover, proponents of this view argues that due to the family's extra wealth, it will enable them to go overseas for a holiday.

          On the other hand, one of the possible negative results when both parents are working is the deprivation of guidance and moral support to the growing children. On certain situations like fulfilling school assignments, extra curricular activities and exams, the children direly need the after school support of the parents. Consequently, the children would not excellently perform at school and what is worst is when they get involve with friends of bad influence. This type of friends endow no good result except trouble especially when they get involved with drugs, excessive drinking and the like.

                                      Stock Photo: Birds Picture. Image: 263900
                              © Photographer Jinyoung Lee | Agency: Dreamstime.com

          I remember one friend of mine in high school whose parents were working. It was true that they indeed provided her needs. She grew up in such a situation that she badly missed her parents' support on times of assignment making, accomplishing school projects and many more. Being on this reality, she felt envious with her classmates who rather performed well in class more than her due to their parents' help. Apparently most of them emerged as top of the class while she wasn't. Consequently, she lost her self confidence, became inferior in the class and aimless in life.

          Thus, if this day's trend that both parents are active in their careers continue to persist, one thing that should be given importance as well as never be disregarded is their major role and responsibility towards the process of growth of their children. The parents' positive role modeling plays a significant part in the children's life. 




Guest blogger: Myra Flor Jugan



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Friday, 13 December 2013

Salt for the Ultimate Chef

What would be food without salt? Salt, what an amazing ingredient. Can you imagine your favorite adobo without any salt? Salt is even added to caramel to give it a rounded rich flavour, don't believe me? Get a salted caramel ice cream or tart they're the craze nowadays, I've had an amazing, can't get enough of it popcorn that was sweet and salty. It was sold in this huge, plastic pillow case size bags and people where queueing up to buy not just one bag but two! 



Salt, what an amazing ingredient indeed. 

Ever wondered what it meant to be salt? In (Mt 5: 13) Jesus told us "You are salt of the earth but if salt loses its salty taste it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing. It must be thrown out for people to walk on."  

One of the functions of salt is that it helps preserve food. I know, I'm thinking of tuyo (salted pilchard or anchovies), dried squid man this writing is making me hungry!  

What salt does is it prevents the growth of food spoiling bacteria or nasties that can harm us. You see those nasties need moisture to grow and what salt does is it absorbs the moisture in the nasties.  No moisture, dead nasties. 

So salt does not only have what it takes to preserve the good stuff,  it also has what it needs to go on the offensive against the nasties. 

It's like spiritual warfare, we need not only have the right stuff for defending but also the weapons to go on the offensive against spiritual nasties. 

In Ephesians 6: 10-18, St Paul wrote: 

"Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with the flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the power, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and have done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones." 

We need those spiritual defences and weapons, to be the salt of the earth and only God can provide these. 

With these we can stand firm, preserving what is good, eliminating what nasties we have and helping others to do the same. 

The other function of salt is for seasoning, salt enhances the flavour of food. It is worthy to note that when salt is added to a dish, it disolves and is transformed and at the same time enhancing the flavours, enhancing what is good. 

imagecredit:
Exclusive image: ID 17261018 ©  | Dreamstime.com
It is transformed in a way that you no longer see it but only know and taste it. In a way it has given itself up for the greater good. 

We are also called to do the same, in whatever dish of life we are called to serve and be a part of. We are called to die from ones self for the greater good, transforming enhancing the dish of life around us. 

Ever noticed how someone describes a good dish? "It has a hint of nuttiness and red wine, caramelized onion, the vegetables cooked to perfection not raw but still crispy, compliments to the chef.....ya di da di da.....hey, what happened to salty?

Salt is rarely the centre piece of any dish, yet it can make or break a dish. Not enough and the dish is bland, too much and it is ruined.

Same with us and our service if we are lukewarm, we are ineffective and bland, too much or to full of ourselves and we leave a bad taste in someone's mouth. Our service should always seek to glorify the one and only Master (Chef), not us.

A well seasoned dish is when the ingredients are in harmony with one another, allowing the chef's intended expression to come through. 

So it should be with our life and service, we should allow the ultimate Master (Chef) to express Himself through us. Humble, obedient and ever sensitive to the Master's leading, less our will be done and not His. 


Salt, who would have thought; Jesus of course. 

May you always keep your saltiness, ever ready to serve the Ultimate Master (Chef). 




Guest Writer: Ed Canilao
CFC Melbourne

                                      Thanks a lot Ed for the inspiration



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Saturday, 30 November 2013

What Type of A Player Are You?

         When you're being a sports enthusiast, you would know that on each one of us, there stays a kind of player when you are into a game. No matter what your recreational activity is, from ball sports to cards and even to online games, one question that you ought to ask yourself is "Are you aware of your own dynamics when you are playing?

Just to point out certain types of player that you can be, you can either be one or more of the following:
1. passionate player
2. impulsive player
3. vindictive player
4. easy go lucky player
5. team player

1. Passionate player- you are into into the game...you put your heart in every game you play. You are willing to go one step farther from what others are doing....as they say, exerting extra mile. Moreover, you know the in and out of the game. You try and search for ways to improve your skills. You don't just stop while the practice is over, instead you go for extra effort to harness your skills. In spite of all the difficulties and challenges, you are always willing to proceed with your game. 

2. Impulsive player-there are two types of impulsive compulsive player as discussed by one study. These two are proactive and reactive- "Proactive cognitive control involves keeping information active in short-term memory for use in later judgments, a kind of task preparation. Reactive control is more of a just-in-time type of decision resolution." Dr. Craig Anderson- director of Center for the Study of Violence. Just try to check with yourself if you can identify yourself on any of these two dynamics. Impulsive player means that you play by your impulses disregarding on the process the consequences of such action. 

3. Vindictive player- are you the kind of player who goes for retaliation everytime you are hit whether it is physically or psychologically? If yes then you are this kind of player. Retaliation is the name of your game. As such, you will easily lose your focus on the game. For others, every sport comprises both the elements of winning and losing yet for this type of player, what is essential is to get even with somebody who causes him pain, intentionally or unintentionally. 

imagecredit:ID 35355557 © 
4. Easy- go- lucky player- if you are this kind of player, then you are that kind of participant who seems to not really care if he wins or loses the game. What solely counts for him is that he enjoys the game. Fortunately for him, he is not after any reward or return after the match. 

5. Team player- with this last type, you stand by the team. It goes well that everything that you do is for the team. Consequently you disregard any personal desire and put the team's goal as forefront. Everytime that your team engages in a match against an opposing team, you always give your best. Notwithstanding the odds at hand, you always seek for what is the best for the team. For you, team first before your personal satisfaction. 

          In such a way that if you can identify yourself in any of these types (for sure there are other unmentioned ones there), that can be a positive point for you but if not, it would be best if you will discover what's your type. By knowing your type, you will learn to understand your own impulses and aggressions thus having enough control over them. 



                                     
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Saturday, 23 November 2013

How To Be A True Friend?

          Do you have a true friend? Do you consider yourself a close friend to somebody? What is a true friend by the way? You may perhaps think of many diverse meanings on what a true friend is but the best part of this is for you to be one real friend to somebody before you could really tell that you have one.

          Allow me to share with you two quotations on friendship which I considered to be undoubtedly instrumental in establishing and maintaining friendship. First, this one by Nerrisa Nam as she says, " Always be there". Yes, giving quality presence is a very essential ingredient to a true friendship. Nowadays you are pounded with lots of technologies that keep much of your attention that at times, you tend to neglect in staying focus on your relationship with a friend. Physical presence counts a lot in progressing one's friendship. However when friends are separated by some distances or even a thousand miles away, there are always available means to stay in contact with each other. A true friend therefore is one who unceasingly makes himself/herself present whatever the circumstances are- whether in joy or in sadness, in abundance or in scarcity, in ups or downs.

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           On the other hand, Kimberly McCarthy says, " A true friend is someone who always listens and is genuinely interested in the good and bad, and someone who calls or writes just to say hello." Thus, to be a true friend, you need to invest yourself into a relationshiop with your genuine intentions to look after the welfare of the other rather than your own. Perhaps, you can now count with your own fingers your considered real friends. Have you ever encountered people who come to you and introduce as friends yet they are just after their own vested interest at your own expense? What a seemingly sad reality but very true. In this world that you live in, there are people who disguise as friends yet they only take advantage of you and when the going gets rough and tough, they abandon you. Beware of those people and be smart to identify them in your life.

          Hence lucky are those who have savored true and lasting friendships in their lives. After all, life is something that is ought to be shared with others- especially with a friend- a real friend.




                                         


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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Where Do We Go From Here?

          One could not hold back tears and emotions while watching the current news on the recent catastrophe that struck the Philippines. Amidst the chaos brought along by Typhoon Haiyan, one could simply ask himself/herself, " Where will I go from here?". Perhaps this may even end up as a very vague question for much uncertainty is what lies ahead as an aftermath of Haiyan.

          However, you could also find the resiliency and firmness in the hearts of the Filipino people that in the midst of this disaster which claimed thousands of lives and left a large score of homeless people, many still chose to continue with their journey in spite of this seemingly dark chapter of their life.

imagecredit: By tungphoto, published on 08 February 2011
          The Philippine government through its president, Pres. Benigno Aquino Jr. is trying its very best to restore order and hope on the situation. On the other hand, local governments are extending various ways to provide assistance. One among the many local governments that responded to the situation is Taguig City which initiated the movement " Bayanihan Ro-ro Mission" that aims in bringing immediate relief supplies. As reported on Philippine Inquirer News, the Taguig local government hired ro-ro vessels to deliver goods to the much affected areas in Leyte such as Guian, Mercedes, Quinapondan and others.

          On the other hand, you could also laud the huge amount of efforts put up by the international community to rush aid to the victims. Countries like US, UK, Australia, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, and many more have contributed huge amounts of money, food, shelter kits, medicine to augment the worsening conditions of the victims. 

          With a disaster of such an unprecedented scale hitting badly most especially the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc, you could see the distress call for help everywhere. Dead bodies are still left unattended in some areas while scores of children, women and old people are seen moving around aimlessly. You could just feel the sense of helplessness around  the hardest hit areas. 

          What has been giving a consolation to all the victims is the kindness and love extended and shared by people coming from all walks of life, races, denominations, status, lifestyle etc. and it just manifests that in one's heart, there is that innate kindness as well as love that resides deep within.





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Saturday, 9 November 2013

Are Men Turned Off By Women with Strong Personalities?

          While having a conversation with a friend, the idea that "men are turned off by women with strong personalities" came up to my mind and then I started to share and asked her opinion about such notion. Thus, I came up with this post just to contribute thoughts about this familiar belief.

          My friend, being a girl with a strong personality herself, affirmed this notion. Experience wise, she observed that men around her felt uneasy and uncomfortable dealing with her. Consequently, she felt inside herself being unwelcomed and unsupported.  Being an outspoken and witty girl, she declared that those men just felt overruled by her and took them out of their safety zones.

          Can you relate to such scenery? Is it a cultural thing, or why is this so? Being involve in this complicated world, you can think of many reasons and you can even add your own experience to agree or the other way around. Our present world is one that has plenty of prejudices, misjudgements and labels. Men are categorized as strong, dominant, leader, opinionated, etc while women are seen as submissive, weak, gentle, etc. However, is equality between these two sexes (male and female) true or not? Is mutual co-existence just a myth or a reality? 

          Shared below is a borrowed food for thought. You can attest it to yourself if you are practicing this in your life or not. 

                              
imagecredit: (Image found via Google Images)

          Either one is a man or a woman, you will feel it deep inside if you are at home with your own self. Learning to speak out is not morally wrong or socially unacceptable as long as you are doing it not at the expense of somebody else. To add, you should also have a room for listening to other people's opinion. Being open to criticism is productive since it allows for self growth. It could only become counter productive if you are visibly hurt and negatively affected by criticisms. 

          Guys should never be intimidated by girls who possess strong personality and beauty. What should be ideal is that guys should live and work comfortably with these kind of girls. There has to be a mutual understanding for both sexes. As I mentioned in my previous post, one reason, I believe, why men and women are created unique from each other is for them to offer compelement  for what is lacking in the other. Competition among people (guys vs guys, girls vs girls, or guys vs girls) is beneficial if at the end, no one is look down or being judged as a person with less dignity. 

imagecredit: By Tina Phillips, published on 27 April 2009
          Moreover, at times in workplaces, men are threatened by women in top positions or handling equal footing. You can affirm this statement or deny it BUT reality would tell us that it is true. One of the reasons being identified on such event is the insecurity of this fellow in accepting that this lady functions a much greater position and responsibility than him. 

          Or it is due to the gender bias that has been passed on from one generation to the next that men are of superior race to women. Somehow presently, there has been development on this perception. All mankind are ought to be equal- no one is superior. Though there could be differences in terms of status, standard, lifestyle, skills etc yet at the outset, men and women are equal thus they both deserve respect, dignity, wellbeing, fair treatment, care etc. in the society. 

          Having said that, you will most probably react positively or negatively to what I presented nevertheless as the shared food for thought tells us- we are called to be true to ourselves- to speak up and be heard. And if others can do and show equality to both sexes, then you can possibly do it too.


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Monday, 4 November 2013

No One Owns the World




I have so much in life
I have wealth of the world
No one can harm me
No one can win over me
This is my destiny
And this is my life.

Now, my world has changed
I'm running out of defense
I never know anyone
Not even myself I knew
No one can see me
No one remembers me.

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Where is your claim?
Is it a scheme or a dream?
You own nothing
You owe everything
Touch your heart
Down to the deepest part.


Life, life must go on
I bring nothing for fortune
I am blessed with my nothingness
It’s a grace; I have emptiness
I am great with my little things
I am rich with what I have left.


No one owns the world
nobody has the hold
It is a gift and a grace
Share it and take pace
Don’t tire of giving
many are earnestly waiting.




Author: Bro. Romel Tampus Valen, SC
             Brothers of the Sacred Heart




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Saturday, 2 November 2013

How Could We Consistently Believe That Life Is a Never Ending Education?


          Life is a never ending journey. And as we progress with our life journey, we undertake to reflect on previous events of our life then realize that we are actually reading our own book of life. With such realization, we become so glad to be active participants to this journey. Everytime we wake up each single day, new and fresh learnings embrace us and they support us in our personal development.

           On the other hand, we all know that life learnings are beyond any limit or bondary. It only takes one's responsibility to participate unceasingly in this journey that will make a corresponding difference in his/her life. One positive point in life is when we exchange our various giftedness with each other. As you and me go on with our everyday learnings, we grow the more when we exchange life's wonderful stories.

           Every individual chapter in our life entails huge amount of lessons that when utilized properly, they will lead us to a further colorful and fruitful journey. In life, there is no greater love than to offer oneself for the sake of others. Altruism as such is indeed a great virtue that when diligently practiced in a person's life results to a positive way on every neighbor's life. Yet, as human as we are, there are self- serving tendencies that we need to own in ourselves. A couple of times, we have the tendency to merely concentrate just on our own nourishment (nevertheless I am not saying that it is completely wrong) that at the end, we become indifferent to other people's growth. And if left unmonitored, this will resort to self destruction.
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           Meanwhile, have a look on this insight from Isaac Asimov when he said that, "Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." Personally, I nod positively with him since as we enter each new day, we also commence to learn new things that multiply colors to this journey. Numerous individuals have shared the road with us on this life, first and foremost our considered significant people in our life like our families, relatives, friends and many more. Hence, we should be thankful to them as well as to God for these gifts.

          Finally,as we continue with our varying journeys called life, let us also persevere in internalizing Isaac's words above and may we remind ourselves that life's education enables us to be the best persons that we can be. By this, we can become agents of joy and change for others. After all, life will always be a meaningful gift for you and me.





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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Be Responsible of One's Action

          "Shall I go to work today or not?", "Will I marry this girl/boy or not?", " To whom will I entrust my career?", "What will I do with my life?"......

          These are but just some of the questions that we may encounter in life. As we continue with our life journey, we also proceed making choices and decisions for its betterment. As one famous philosopher said, " Man is condemned to be free; because once he thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give LIFE a meaning."-  Jean-Paul Sartre

          What Sartre shares here is something which I deeply treasured in life. Every now and then, we take responsibility on decisions that we make either good or bad. Yet while we are free, we nevertheless are constantly guided by the basic reality that everything aims for goodness. Consequently, for every bad decision that we make, we take full responsibility of that. We are endowed with the will, wisdom and the intellect to weigh actions whether good or bad.  

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By graur codrin, published on 13 October 2010
          Experience will tell us that sometimes in life, we come up with decisions that are against our norms and values, or standards and beliefs. Instances wherein we really are not at ease and glad to be involved to. Somehow, in all those occasions, what counts most for us is that we are able to stand on our own and that we own total responsibility of such decisions and situations. 

          Regardless of its outcome, we are never in the position to put the blame on others. As Sartre said, we are the ones who will give meaning to this life so that then it will become worth living. We are created unique from one another and this allows us to appreciate each other's uniqueness. Further, being different enables us to realize that we need each other ---that we don't really have to exploit and downgrade each other to reign supreme in our life. 

          On the other hand, we are constantly invited to utilize our resources to progress peace and harmony among us. Sad to say that in this world's present reality, this is far from what's going on in some places around us. However, I still firmly believe that inside our hearts, there is still lies our innate goodness. With this, a world that is colored by love and meaning is still reachable. 

          Thus, what will help us reaching that world is by being responsible to every action that we will take with the consistent consideration to a life that is aimed for goodness.    

          Anyway, are we responsible enough in life?



                               
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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Life: A Wonderful Gift

          LIFE- what is it anyway? There have been so many meanings and attributions to it yet personally, I claim it as a gift --a very precious gift from somebody up there. Hence for being as such, I am also called to positively extend it with others. Every single day, countless world events unfold, both good and bad, and as I take notice of them, I could not help myself but be reflective on them specifically with the negative events that struck our great world nowadays.

imagecredit:By Matt Banks, published on 13 March 2010
While I could not contain myself from feeling pity to all those helpless victims above, the more that I become appreciative to my own life that I have the privilege to wake up everyday. The unfolding of each new day bears personal memories so worthy to cherish. This day is parallel to a great day- the outstanding weather, such fresh air, clean environment, the serenity of the place-they usher me to treasure any day. 

          On the other hand, this day further develops into another occasion for me to exchange laughters and joy with people, both significant and ordinary, in my life. As it is, I am aware that life would never be the same from one person to the other and I can fully understand that there might be people out there who are not that enthusiastic about today due to illness, problems, stress, poverty, disillusionment and other reasons like natural calamities.

imagecredit: 
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           With this reality in hand, my heart goes along with them on their plight and on their struggles in their journey. Thus far, what is noteworthy in all of these, both for them and for me, is the sensibility that we are still alive this day---that is one great reason for us to be grateful each day.



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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Where Do You Get Your Inner Strength?

          Recently, I had the opportunity to join our household community in one of its regular meetings. And the gathering allowed me to gain further strength in the midst of my own life's struggles. Hearing from the prayers and sharings of my brothers and sisters in our group, I realized how marvelous life is. Being with loved ones and with friends are favorable circumstances that enable me to go deeper of myself and look back if where am I leading to in my own journey.

          Having said that, I know beforehand that my time is not wasted unlike when I will allow it to just stay idle thus allowing me to just dumb myself with nonsense things. Moreover, I admire the candidness of my brothers and sisters in our sharing for this openness allowed me to have an outstanding sense of themselves and of myself.

imagecredit:By Christian Meyn, published on 08 April 2009
          Treasured moments like this are nevertheless imprinted in my heart and when I go back to my own self, this will serve as one experience that I can recall and extract strength. "I gain my strength from my husband and he does the same. Yet at one time, I realized that it is actually from God whom I am getting this real strength to face this life's struggles and trials"- Thus came one of the realizations of our sister in the group. While listening to this, I continued closing my eyes and inaudibly murmured to myself, "she is not alone in that predicament for that is exactly what I'm doing in my own trial stages". 

          Yes, everything lies in my God. He is my  main source of strength aside from my family (wife and little boy). Knowingly or unknowingly, He consistently guides me into the right path. To boot, He draws everything in me. Without His guidance, I am nothing.  "In Jesus, and through the relationship He offers me, I find my hope…He is my strength — my peace, my purpose and my power.:-Sylene Mack- president-Transformed by Grace community.  Thus, I offer to Him everything in my life-my joys, my treasures, pains, aspirations etc. Going back to our community, I am so grateful to have encountered the bond of friendship with these people. And as we proceed with our respective journeys in life, may the guiding hand of our Divine Creator continue to inspire and mold us into persons whom He wanted us to be.







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Sunday, 13 October 2013

How Does You Tube Affecting a Country's Politics, Culture and News?


          Since its foundation in 2005, Youtube has gained enormous amount of influences to viewers like me. And citing as an example the situation of my beloved country, the Philippines, I would claim that Yuotube has much impacted the world of politics while culturally also, it has emerged as one of the top influences when it comes to promoting the Filipino culture. Then next the area of the news reporting which for me, came as least affected among those areas (politics, culture) 

          Though I am now presently living abroad yet I keep myself updated everyday with what is going on in the country.Youtube videos showed how the Philippines emerged as the top economy in Asia this year.To put a further meat on the said comment, more Yuotube videos explcitly showed why the Philippines through the initiative of the president, Benigno Aquino Jr., was able to outgrow other performing economies in Asia. And it is such a source of joy to learn such accomplishment when I am far away from home that it is performing positively amidst the present crisis in other Asian countries. It is then my prayer that this positive growth will also benefit the lowest members of the society. (reference 1)  

          With regard to the Philippine culture, Youtube also brings a lot of help in its promotion since through this site, one can view and comprehend the various cultures of the Philippines which makes it a unique country. Eversince its occupation by the Americans, Japanese and finally by the Spaniards, it has made efforts to free itself from all those influences. The country did not stop to regain its freedom and continued with its own development. Thus today's social media becomes such an effective tool in spreading the vastness and richness of the Filipino culture.  (reference 2)


imagecredit: By digitalart, published on 03 August 2011
Stock Image - image ID: 10052038
          And going now to the least affected by Youtube in my country, I would still claim that Youtube's news reporting contributions are relevant for they enable viewers to own updates on the daily events all over the country. What made Youtube news relays more atractive to the viewers comparing to print media are the accompanying videos and footages that happen during the actual event. Thus just by acquiring access to the internet and viewing Youtube, any Filipino or even non-Filipino then becomes aware of today's happenings in the country. (reference 3)


          To end, I would say that since the beginning of Youtube in the early months of 2005 up to this time, much has been evolving in the world of the internet video. As Robert Kynel puts it, "There's a lot of work to be done....."- 

(Reference 4)  ((http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook?currentPage=all)....hence with his words, we can expect for more surprises and developments in the internet tv world-Youtube.



References:
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl_PSHXAqq8- Philippine Politics
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7iwmL13B0c- Philippine Culture
3.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoO3mAKqvpQ-Philippine News
4.  “It’s certainly not going to be easy,” Kyncl said of the new venture. “There’s a lot of work to be done, to make sure this works. But, as a friend who just landed a job at one of the networks said, ‘At least you guys are swinging for the fences. There are a lot of other people who are just sitting around and watching things happen.’ ” ♦- Robert Kynel- senior officer of Youtube.(http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook?currentPage=all)




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Saturday, 12 October 2013

"Is Google's Intention to Digitize the World's Books a Good Thing or a Bad Thing, and For Whom?"

          As I keep  myself busy with my online course, the more knowledge that I received consequently by the resources and reading we have on this. We know how powerful the influence of the internet nowadays and that's exactly the focus of this university-level study as we discuss on the topic, "Understanding Media by Understanding Google" by Prof. Owen R. Youngman under Northwestern University. Hence, I would also like to share with you my reflection on our subject. 

          Quoting from the question itself, "Is Google's intention to digitize all the world's books a good thing or a bad thing, and for whom?, my answer would be both good and bad. On the first place, I would say that it is good. Why? As Google emerges as a leading contributor to the world becoming a global village, the more that relationships among people of different races become augmented since the distance among nations both near and far becomes a "mere" closer one due to innovations brought by Google like Gmail, Blogger etc. To cite another example, allow me to share with you this resource, 

          "Google will help ........and set up a €60m (£52m) fund to finance digital publishing innovation......"- 
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/feb/01/google-52m-fund-help-french-publishers

          Seeing the contribution of Google on this quoted news release, the recipients then of this act will benefit and reap the fruits of such a genuine contribution. 

          On the other hand, Google's intention to digitize all the world's books could also have some repercussions as I quoted it below:

           "If Google is the main source, what picture of reality does it give us? It is “sometimes harmful when people [..] trust a simple Google search as the first step towards the truth” (p. 78) because the results have already been filtered by your preferences, location and previous searches. You never know what Google doesn’t show you."- Book Review: The Googlization of EVerything (And Why We Should Worry) by Siva Vaidhyanathan By: Floris Spronk....

          Thus it could also be bad for anybody if he/she will just absorb everything what Google say without weighing first other resources. Yes it is true that Google has made enormous contributions yet we could not deny the fact that there are other possible resources of what could have been considered as TRUTH.





                                                                
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