Live, Laugh, and Love

January 30th, 2011

Live….laugh…and Love
By John McLeod

Live well dear friends
In all you do,
Tho’ paths be old
Or paths be new,
But to yourself
Be ever true,
Live well!

Laugh often friends
Tho’ passing years
Bring, sometimes, smiles
And, sometimes, tears,
For mirth forever
Warms and cheers
Laugh often!

Love much dear friends
For love will bring
The healing joy
And hope of Spring,
Where pain and fear may never dwell
Nor anguish touch….

And so Live well,
Laugh often too,
And more, dear friends,
Love much!

What’s The Real Meaning of Christmas?

December 1st, 2010

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out next to the fireplace.

“What are you doing?” I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement . . .

“TEACH THE CHILDREN!” I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, “Teach the children!

Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten.” Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. “Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man’s thoughts turning toward heaven.”

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. “Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise.”

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. “Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness.”

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”

He then pulled from his bag an ORNAMENT of himself. “Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December.”

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. “Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, “Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son.” Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds’ crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s keeper.”

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. “Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men.”

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL,. “Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, “Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship him, our LORD, our GOD.”


First Love

November 26th, 2010

A glass of cool, crystal clear water after many days of wandering in the desert. That’s how yesterday’s activity was to me. Perhaps, I hadn’t really gotten over my first true love (Whoa, what an emotionally-loaded statement).

FYI, my eyes are heavy from constant lack of sleep and I swear, these eyelids would have stuck together. But don’t worry, my faculties are intact and I am still my normal self. Just a little overjoyed, I guess.

My job at the moment (I’m with a rice research and development institution) requires me to stay in the office most of the time. However, I was requested yesterday afternoon to accompany an agricultural engineer (and to serve as co-facilitator) in conducting an orientation on farming technology to one of the villages in San Jose. By my calculations, our vehicle traveled a good distance of 9 to ll km.

To be honest, my knowledge on the topic was very limited. How can I immediately transition from education/scholarship to agriculture/farming!? What amazed me though was my positive reaction to the situation. Shouldn’t I be fidgeting in my seat? Lack of ample time for preparation sends me panic attack. Instead, my heart was filled with an overflowing excitement.

Without a doubt, I still yearn for my first and one true love – socio-development work.

It can mean several things: temporary, but long periods of separation from family and loved ones, loss of regular contact with friends, exhausting travel to far-flung and remote areas, self-discovery and devotion, and understanding the virtues of patience, perseverance, and selflessness. I don’t mean to sound Mother Theresa-ish. Yet its a fact that becoming an instrument to breaking the shackles of poverty is beyond compare.

What I am doing nowadays is also set toward that direction, albeit, not as hands-on. Not exactly the same as before when I have to organize communities myself, form youth and children organizations, and coordinate local or national events. Or when I travel all the time to coordinate with the most intelligent young minds around the country who belong to the poorest bracket of the society.

Service to the poor have always been my passion. In fact, I am easy to get emotional with it. How many times have I almost cried in front of my DC100 students in all 6 years I taught in the university? Needless to say, it is something “sacred” in my personal vocabulary.

When I saw all the eager faces of farmer-leaders yesterday, young and old alike, I was once again filled with exuberance. These people are what drives our agriculture. These are the very same people who will help this nation achieve food security.

How I intend to contribute to their well-being. One day, I will see all of them shine…and become victorious in the fight against poverty…I fervently hope and thus, shall do my part for that…so help me God!

Friendship IXX By Khalil Gibran

June 14th, 2010

Sleep seems elusive tonight. The reason I came up with all these blog entries. By the way, here’s a poem by Khalil Gibran I like. Gibran was introduced to me by who else, but the hubby. In 1997, the first ever present/gift he gave me was a collection of Gibran’s wisdom in book form. Hey, now that reminds me – I have to find that precious little book!

And a youth said, “Speak to us of Friendship.”

Your friend is your needs answered.

He is your field which you sow with
love and reap with thanksgiving.

And he is your board and your fireside.

For you come to him with your hunger,
and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you
fear not the “nay” in your own mind
nor do you withhold the “ay.”

And when he is silent your heart
ceases not to listen to his heart;

For without words, in friendship,
all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are
born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;

For that which you love most in him
may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship
save the deepening of the spirit.

For love that seeks aught but the
disclosure of its own mystery is not love
but a net cast forth: and only
the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.

If he must know the ebb of your tide,
let him know its flood also.

For what is your friend that you
should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.

For it is his to fill your need,
but not your emptiness.

And in the sweetness of friendship
let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart
finds its morning and is refreshed.

Power Thinking and Positive Thinking

June 14th, 2010

nakakapanibagoT. Harv Eker, author of New York Times bestseller “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” offers nuggets of wisdom useful not only in matters of gaining financial freedom but more importantly in living a better life.

Gaining age *gasp* has made me appreciate more the beauty of mind, one of man’s best ally. The human brain fascinates me for it possesses infinite power. We learned that thoughts can determine or be supportive of one’s success and happiness. Or it can be the other way around. Yet it remains mysterious up until today, despite accounts and researches made from past to present.

Eker’s principles picked my curiosity as far as human thoughts is concerned. Consider these lessons he shared in his book.

1. You are not your mind. Our minds work like a soap opera scriptwriter, treading over areas that are not bound to happen and may never happen at all. It can wind up make-up stories which can slap us with a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Fortunately, we are bigger and greater than our minds! It is only a part of us just as our toes or heart is. I was particularly in awe when Eker posed a thought-provoking question. What if your hand is your mind, scattered all over the place (oh my mind is like this!), constantly beating you up? What will you do? Cut it? Amputate your limbs?

2. The mind can be trained and managed. This is actually an answer to the previous paragraph’s question. But how is this possible? One can begin by observation. Are the thoughts produced by your mind supportive (empowering) or non-supportive (un-empowering) to your success and happiness? Well listen. You have ultimate CONTROL over what thoughts will realize your overall well-being. You have the power to stop self-defeating mental habits you have in the past.

“No thought lives in your mind rent-free” holds true because we pay dearly for our negative thoughts with our health, time, energy, money, etcetera.

3. Power thinking versus positive thinking. For people like me who have drama queen tendencies, it’s pretty normal to encounter unsupportive thought bubbles. Maybe if there’s a scanning machine available in the Philippines to do just that with me as a subject, I wonder what the findings might be. Eker suggested disregarding negative thoughts by simply saying “cancel” or “Thank you for sharing!” then replacing it with a more supportive thought. Makes real sense huh.

So what sets power thinking apart from positive thinking? Actually there’s a slight but profound distinction. Power thinking purports that everything is neutral and that nothing has meaning except for the meaning we give it. Positive thinking on the other hand, pretends everything is rosy when they believe it’s not. Power thinking recognizes our thoughts aren’t all true, but since were making up stories anyway, might as well make up a story that supports us. Positive thinking believes that our thoughts are true. Period.

So, there goes. I hope you learned something from here. 🙂

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