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:
 http://www.freeimageslive.com/galleries/nature/trees/pics/trees01830.jpg 
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. 

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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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