The Passing Years

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“As the Wheel of Time turns, places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.”~Robert Jordan

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Christmas and New Year are the only two major events that spell #festivity to me, besides birthdays, of course. I await these two with great anticipation and joy. As the old year gives way to the new, I record my feelings and experiences of the past year and my #hopes and #aspirations for the new. They were almost the same; the same vein with a bit of variation or degrees of reactions or responses to life’s vagaries. The incoming new ‘decade’, however, brought in an absolutely unexpected, strange feeling.

The build-up to Christmas was like to any weekend – a holiday, yea! And it remained so through the run-up to New year and the start of a new decade. In fact, I went to bed at 10.30 p.m on New Year’s eve. That’s something I’d never do earlier. I’d be waiting excitedly to ring out the old and ring in the new. Then I’d wish everyone a wonderful year before falling into bed an hour or two later!

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“The lives of all people flow through time, and, regardless of how brutal one moment might be, how filled with grief or pain or fear, time flows through all lives equally.”~Orson Scott Card

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Not this time. I was drowsy and had to fight to keep my eyes open. So I flopped into bed. 

I was surprised by my lack of enthusiasm for Christmas too. I had to manufacture my happiness as an actor would slip into character or a called for emotion on stage. #Christmas is my most loved time of the year, and I was sad that I was numb to it inside of me. I went through the motions as required on cue.

I was numb to the celebrations, not in my spirit and worship. My prayer life remained steadfast and strong. My hope and trust in the Lord were firm. I was numb to social festivities. The shopping lacked the usual festive fever, something very not me. I am super elated when I shop on any day; it could be for anything and any time of the year.

I wondered if the changes in my situation were the reason. But I’ve had a major tragedy strike, faced major issues and changes in life, and still not lost the spirit of Christmas celebration. Why now? I found an old post from New Year Eve 2012 when I was uprooted from where I had lived since my birth. And I found the true ‘me’ still kicking and strong.

“Have I died?” I asked myself. 

No. not yet! I’m just tired. Very tired. I’m down but not dead.

#immovingon

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“She knew that this day, this feeling couldn’t last forever. Everything passed; that was partly why it was so beautiful. Things would get difficult again. But that was okay too.

The bravery was in moving forward, no matter what.”~Lauren Oliver

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Here’s a part of the post which gives a glimpse of a New Year past before life as I knew it was about to change.

“Unlike previous years, this year did not see me with regrets or longings for what could have been but wasn’t; where I could have gone but didn’t; what I should have done or could have done but gave up a step too soon. I surprised myself a bit, honestly, by the new perspective and the calmness I had as the year softly and silently slipped into my grateful, content, and not-so-perfect life. I was in a place of imperfection with peace, acceptance, happiness, and faith; and this made things good.

No one but God is perfect and in our journey towards that perfect love and light, we learn to appreciate more, to find peace in tumultuous times, to develop better attitudes toward ourselves, and the people we come in contact with. We begin to accept whatever comes our way… the good and the bad… with forbearance and hope.

It all sounds like a dreamer’s utopian musings, doesn’t it? I assure you, it isn’t. This is a seeker’s account of her experience. There is pain, there are disappointments; tears; loneliness; anger; frustration; regrets and all the lows that are a part of life. But once you begin to look through the eyes of steadfast faith, hope, and trust that “this too shall pass,” the cross is lighter. I believe that God is watching out for me and mine. And as we make progress toward our goals, slipping, sliding, falling, He walks along – lifting, carrying, prodding us. I cast my cares on Him and He takes the burden off. So, though my cross is heavy sometimes, the burden is light. My heart is lighter. My mind is less prone to worry, and I can be grateful and enjoy my life even when the chips are down. That’s how I walk into 2013!

The New year is a harbinger of new beginnings. Beginnings in new places; new faces; changed climate and weather patterns; with Christmas in Summer and a Winter birthday in the month of May! New language, different food, and flavors, with new inclusions in my diet. Making new friends. Building a new social circle at this stage, learning conversion of a new currency against a rupee (though I know it is not advisable to compare rates of another currency against the rupee, it’s depressing!), but old habits die hard, and that’s the truth in this respect at least!!

But I raise a toast to new beginnings, to life and its vagaries. Cheers!”

With this, I send out good wishes to all my blog members and hope you have a good year! #2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chile Diary- 12

“I go to sleep alone and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I’m tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that’s been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?”-Audrey Niffenegger

Volcan Mocho-Choshuenco and Lake Panguipulli, on the way to Huilo-Huilo National reserve.

Volcan Mocho-Choshuenco and Lake Panguipulli, on the way to Huilo-Huilo National reserve. The visible volcano is Mocho, the second one Choshuenco isn’t in the frame.

I’m back from my ‘workation’. I was away in my home country visiting friends and family. I did a bit of blogging on the side, whenever I found some spare time. But this story was on hold! I’m back now and trying to catch up with my blogs.

This chapter carries on from the previous one and surprises me. Click the link to read an introduction to the mom’s guests in Chile Diary-11.

The Mom’s Guests

I set up my computer on the dining table and began to write. If I was looking for common sense to guide the mom and her guests, I was disappointed. Common sense was conspicuous by its absence.

They continued to sit around the table and chat in the high-pitched, sing-song tone most Chilean women use. My head was beginning to ache. Just as I thought I should pack shop, the whole jingbang got up and left; mom included.

Hallelujah! I broke into a happy song. It was a premature celebration!

About half an hour later, they trooped in and the women began setting the table for tea. It was past 7.00 p.m. OMGosh! I moaned, not again.

The gossiping, laughing, and chomping went on and on. I glared at them from time to time but it was useless. Their total concentration was in the cake, bread, ham; the paltas (avocado), crackers, butter, and the tea and cold drinks they were walloping as they kept up the steady high-pitched conversation.

By then, my head was throbbing. I held my temples and looked directly at each one. I saw their mouths open and close but I couldn’t hear them talk! It was that bad. It was time for me to get up and leave. I wasn’t in good shape and if I stayed longer, I knew I’d say something and it wouldn’t be anything very nice.

I’m over that rant. It’s over. The day’s ended and with it the mood.

Or is it? The next day didn’t help. Looks like I’m in a mood these past two days! I discovered today that Indian beauticians are way ahead of their Chilean counterparts. Besides, they charge so little for the amount of work they do. I needed to give some attention to my feet so Manu took me to a salon nearby. I got a less than satisfactory pedicure. I’d have paid this amount for more and better quality of work back home.

If it weren’t for my back and knees that prevent me from cleaning my feet thoroughly and cutting my toenails, I’d skip a pedicure in Chile. Thank God, Roxanna colored my hair at her place! I’m glad Manu warned me not to even try the manicure. After the pedicure, I wouldn’t have anyway!

So, thus went my day into the dumps.

No more to write so I’ll wind up. Then what? As usual, I’ll stare at the walls and then lie on my bed and try not to think sad thoughts. For some reason, these words of an old Hindi song pop up in my mind. I’ve written it in the Roman script and I’ve tried to give you the best translation of the song. The lyrics are beautiful though melancholy!

 

“Aye mere dil-e-nadaan,

tu gham se na ghabrana.

Ek din toh samajh legi, duniya tera afsana.

(Oh, my naive heart,

don’t let sorrow worry you,

one day this world will understand your story.)

Armaan bhare dil mein,

zakhmon ko jagah dede,

Bhadke huye sholon ko,

kuch aur hawaa dede.

Banti hai toh ban jaye, yeh zindagi afsana.

(In a heart full of dreams and expectations,

allow a bit of space for hurt and pain.

The embers have burst into flame,

fan them a bit more.

If your life has become a story; let it be so.)

Faryad se kya hasil,

rone se natija kya?

Bekaar hain yeh baatein,

in baaton se hoga kya?

Apna bhi ghari bhar mein,

ban jaata hai begaana.

(Nothing comes from complaining,

and tears bring no results.

These are useless things

and nothing is achieved by it.

In a split second,

even our own become strangers.)

Aye mere dil-e-nadaan, tu gham se na ghabrana.

Ek din toh samajh legi, duniya tera afsana.

(Oh, my naive heart, don’t let sorrow worry you.

One day this world will understand your story.)

 

“I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us.” -Hermann Hesse

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Chile Diary- 11

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing,” it waits on the right time to act; for the right principles and in the right way.”-Fulton J. Sheen

Chapter 11 brought back the mixed feelings of that time when all plans began to fall apart. Hopelessness enshrouded me and I was at an all-time low. It also brings home the truth that although the plans were right, the timing was not! That’s why I had been not just nervous but “scared” too about moving.

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The building in the background is where the Company Guesthouse was.

 

The Chile Diary Chapter 11

Hitches and Glitches

I had many apprehensions about coming to live in Chile. I even recall repeating that I was scared. Unfortunately, the people I spoke to think in narrow grooves or are eager for fresh gossip. So everyone, without exception, wanted to know why I was “scared” to live with my son. I had not mentioned my son! The inference was wrong and born of deliberate misinterpretations.

I shook my head and smiled wondering how could they dig for gossip and create mountains out of non-existent mole-hills endlessly; year after year. But many people thrive on malicious, irresponsible natter.

I wanted to answer their queries but I could not understand why I was using such a strong term for my apprehensions. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the reason for my fear.

Why was I scared?

It isn’t in my nature to be scared of traveling to a new, unknown territory. Nervous, perhaps, but frightened? No! It was definitely too strong a word to describe what I was feeling about my pending travel.

I made sure to shoot down the insinuations and gave all the practical reasons I had to feel nervous about.

I was closing home in India. Everything I had worked for and built laboriously and lovingly through the years was gone. I would have no home to return to. No place to call my own. I had left myself bereft of all options. Wasn’t that a scary situation? It certainly did sound like one to some who agreed while others directed their minds elsewhere. But here’s the thing… I still wasn’t sure if this was the reason why I was scared!

One month later, with the benefit of hindsight, I realized it must have been intuition. (You can read about it here.) I had been begging Ranjit to let me stay in India for three or four months more. I wasn’t comfortable with the haste. There were many questions that were either not being answered to my satisfaction or answered too soon.

Four weeks later, of which three I’ve spent being in a refugee status, stressed and in nervous tension, I know why I was positively scared to come here. I’m isolated; physically, emotionally, spiritually… I cannot get through to my own.

But, surprisingly, the Chileans can feel my anxiety. They have been warm and supportive. Friends and strangers alike have extended encouraging moral support. Yet, Chile has been scary and terrifying in spite of the warmth and help extended by the hospitable people in Viña del Mar.

I want to fly out to Canada where my other son lives! That had been a part of my travel plans. In fact, I wanted to stay back longer in India to apply for my visa.

The latest information that was conveyed to me yesterday was that I wouldn’t be able to go to Canada from here. My return ticket had been booked by the company. So if I did not use it, my son would have to bear the cost of the same! He asked if the destination could be changed to Canada. They said it couldn’t.

Both my boys were okay with that thinking they would get my visa and I could meet my first and only grandchild in Canada. So bearing the cost of the cancellation didn’t seem to matter.

Before they conveyed their decision to the company, we found out that a particular document, necessary for my Canadian visa, was in the vernacular. We had to translate it in English and get it notarized by a government-certified notary. As luck would have it, I hadn’t submitted my visa application, yet. Thank God for that!

Getting a document translated from Hindi to English in Chile would have been impossible. At least now, I can think of returning to India! I’ll present my documents to the embassy there.

Many important details were not checked earlier making things difficult not only for me but the others too! I was to come here to settle for good as a dependent. Now, my son finds out that will not be possible as birth certificates of both mother and child must prove the biological relationship. This means that both the certificates must have the child’s name too.

Well, at the time of my birth and that of my sons, birth certificates did not carry the name of the child. Children, in India, were named formally only after a month or two. So it would mention a girl child or boy child born to so-and-so at such-and-such place, on such-and-such date and time. And this is how ours were too!

I’m sure I’ve made my point clear about my intuition of “scary” situations turning up with all the haste. I remember telling my son that they were “jumping to X, Y, Z before going through A, B, C.” Well, short-sightedness has taken its toll.

Granted the earthquake of this magnitude could not have been anticipated, but the quakes and tremors situation is constant. Problems coming up concerning me being left alone almost all the time should have been anticipated. The problem of language and communication should have been considered. My need for entertainment and company is real and should have been thought about. That I’d be a part of their outings, if not all the time, then quite often until I settled in properly was also an obvious given; a situation that should have been anticipated. These are predictable situations. Previous knowledge grants that this isn’t the best place to leave me alone at this time.

That’s the mood Saturday sees me in; despondent and disappointed. But one must go with the flow… always. I’m in God’s hands and though I might feel let down at times, that’s not the permanent attitude. My sons are trying to do the best they can and I appreciate all that they are doing. It’s just that they are too headstrong to listen to reason at times. I still have hope. God will show us the way where there seems to be no way… it’s only ten past one in the afternoon. I have a long day ahead of me!

That’s me venting and I’m done.

Early morning, Ranjit and I went to see the house on 15 Norte. It is beautiful. The houses here are on a rocky hill and made in the terraced style where the houses are built along the slope of the hill and do not rise up in one perpendicular block. So it seems to be a hill of jutting terraces and the terrace gardens add to the beauty.

Although it is smaller than the present apartment, it is well-planned to provide sufficient space for a neat living-dining room, a small but adequately-planned kitchen, two bedrooms, bathrooms, and a good-sized walk-in wardrobe. They have selected the furniture with taste keeping the limited space in mind. The best part of the house is the terrace in front. Location is also great; sea-facing, the view is simply amazing. But there are some hitches.

Like most rented apartments in this area, the apartment is on rent for only ten months; from March to December. This means another change of house at the end of the year. That’s the minor snag.

The major issue is, it’s on the 4th level. Being built on an incline, each level has more steps and more flights of stairs than the previous one, according to the floor they’re on; less on level one and more added as you progress to the higher levels. So this one is ruled out.

Back in the guesthouse, the other mom staying here was trying to ask me something. The only word I could comprehend was “problema.” 

What now, I thought while I threw up my hands and shook my head and smiled a helpless smile, hoping she’d understand that the only problem was that I couldn’t get a word of what she was saying.

She caught on and indicated that I should wait until she got her son, Mauricio, on the phone. Now I was sure she had a major problem and was keen to know if it involved me.

As it turned out, she was getting her friends over for lunch and wanted to know if that would be a problem for me. And, if necessary, she would call off the lunch. How considerate and kind of her to make that offer!

I told her son that since I was, at the time of speaking, a permanent fixture at the dining table, I’d be the problem to his mother and her friends. And since I was in the mood to write, I had no time limits. I could close shop in ten minutes or continue till the evening. So, if the group could carry on around me, it was fine with me. This brought an overly demonstrative response of gratitude from the mom who hugged and kissed me profusely!

Anyway, neither of us had to bother about it. The Indian group, comprising us, had a lunch of rajma-chawal and after a short nap left to pick up my track pants and buy some stuff for the house. The other mom’s guests hadn’t arrived until then! That’s when I learned that lunch ‘parties’ in Chile started very late… late afternoon; actually early evening! By the time I returned to the guesthouse at six in the evening the guests were leaving. What a relief!

I thought it had worked out fine for all concerned. But that was the forethought. Once again I have to remind you that ‘relief’ isn’t a long-term companion in Chile. I walked into the apartment to find there were still more people in the house and although I hoped against hope they would leave, they didn’t. 🙂 

But I didn’t mind that… much! (Read more about that here Chile Diary-12)

 

Glossary

Rajma…………… Rajma is red kidney beans. It’s cooked with spices and tomatoes to make a thick gravy dish which is usually eaten with rice.

Chawal………… rice.

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Glossary 

Rajma-chawal………….Rajma is red kidney beans cooked with spices and tomatoes to make a thick gravy which is usually eaten with rice (Chawal)

When Mummy Sang A Song

JI heard a song by Bill Anderson: Mama Sang A Song, and it struck a chord with me. My mama sang hymns too, all day. And as the song says, I think a lot about the time back when I was a girl.

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Mummy was a #SAHM (stay-at-home-mum). Back then the term was not in use because in my country, in those days, most mother’s stayed at home. So it was no big deal. But unlike most mothers, mine had been a working girl before she married!

She was a #WRIN. That’s what the women working for the Women’s Royal Indian Navy Service were called. Since Daddy didn’t want her to continue working, she resigned herself to being a housewife. The term ‘homemaker’ was not in use then. But Mummy didn’t seem to resent that.

However, life didn’t prove to be what she had dreamed it would be. She grew up in a well-to-do family. Although she was an orphan, she was the child of rich parents who left her for a ridiculous reason. Her foster parents were affluent too.

My father, on the other hand, grew up in a respectable family but ‘rich’ or ‘well-to-do’ were not ascribed to it. His father was a school teacher, then, with ten children, though respectable and certainly not in a hand-to-mouth situation, the family was just getting by comfortably.

Mummy grew up in a different society and their cultures and traditions were poles apart. But then, opposites attract (they say!). It didn’t matter much though. What made it difficult was the lack of luxuries she had been used to as well as the extravagance she enjoyed as a single working woman.

She told me how annoyed her mother was when she learned of Mummy’s decision to chuck a college education (her mother had registered her name for admission to a prestigious college in their city) and take up the Pitman’s Secretarial Course, instead.

My grandmother warned her that her salary if she worked, would be less than her monthly expenses. But Mummy was adamant and did what she wanted to do, and landed up as a WRIN. She found out soon enough that she couldn’t manage on what she earned!

How could a stenographer who wanted to eat breakfast in Taj Hotel, Mumbai, off and on, survive on a steno’s salary! Sometimes, she’d take along a friend or two, too. And let’s not talk about shopping! She realized that her mother was right. Her salary wasn’t enough for her extravagant nature. When I heard this story as a wide-eyed girl hanging on to every word, I thought this was the point when Mummy would say she curbed her lavish lifestyle and became financially wise. Was I in for another wide-eyed revelation!

Her mother sent her a handsome amount of Rs. 100/month as pocket money so she could continue living the way she wanted. BOOM! She laughed rather triumphantly when she saw my expression. I guess she knew what I was expecting.

Daddy gave her the best he could. There was no lack of domestic help; people to help around the house and kitchen and at most times, two people on twenty-four hour call. Not that they were called at odd hours but in an emergency, they were there in the servant’s quarters behind the house. But that compensated for little. Her expectations went beyond the domestic arena. So life was difficult for her. There was a lot of adjustment involved at every step.

But Mummy sang. She sang to build up courage; she sang to console herself; she sang to rekindle joy; she sang to calm her soul; she sang to cheer up her sagging spirits; she sang to fill the home with melody. But most of all, she sang because she loved to sing.

When she was at a crossroad and didn’t know which way to turn, she sang, “Lead Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on…”

She cooked and baked her way through delicious meals for the family and filled the kitchen with tempting aromas and heavenly tunes: “The chimes of time ring out the news another day is through, someone slipped and fell was that someone you? You may have longed for added strength your courage to renew, do not be disheartened for I have news for you: it is no secret what God can do, what He’s done for others, He’ll do for you…”

When daddy put in for premature retirement from the Navy and moved the family to his hometown in Punjab, she was devastated. Did she crack? No.

She took it in her stride. She took to rural life; pumping water from a hand pump, washing, cleaning, and cooking with no domestic help. She was not one to sit pretty even though she had lived with help around the house all her life. But neither did it mean she never felt the strain or that the transition didn’t take its toll. She calmed herself with: “Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder, why it should be thus all the day long while there are others living around us never molested though in the wrong. Further along, we’ll know all about it. Further along, we’ll understand why; cheer up my sister live in the sunshine, we’ll understand it all by and by.”

When she was lonely; had no one she could befriend in this Punjab town, she went through the day happily humming: “I’ve found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me, he tells me every care on him to roll, he’s the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star, he’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.”

And when she lay down tired, at the end of the day, she’d fall asleep singing: “Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on his gentle breast, there, by his love o’er shaded sweetly my soul shall rest.”

Mummy sang some other songs too not just hymns, but her favorite and most sung songs were hymns. I have mentioned situations and some hymns she would sing to show how she built herself up and how she looked to God for peace and strength to keep her happy, smiling, joking (yes, she laughed and joked a lot!). This, however, isn’t the only reason she sang. She sang because she loved singing. She sang Alto in the church choir.

Mummy actually taught us faith. Not in sermons, not in speech but through her songs. She turned to God every time to replenish hope, love, and joy, not only when things became difficult for her but all day long. In doing so, she taught me a valuable lesson.

Mummy’s singing brought peace and calm then, and today the legacy she left carries forward in my home and life. I sing too. I sing a lot of songs from different genres, unlike my mother, but like her, I sing a lot of hymns too. Like our home when I was a girl, my home is also filled with songs. I am grateful for her singing. It made me happy when I was a girl and it makes for such precious memories now.

These lines from Mama Sang A Song sum it up:

God put a song in the heart of an angel, and softly she sang it to me…

I get to thinking lots of times…of the old home place where I grew up, of the days both good and bad…

Our home fire never flickered once, ’cause when things went wrong…

Mama sang a song…And those were the greatest days of all, when mama sang a song…

No voice is left to fill those halls, and no steps to grace the floor,

for you see my mother sings in heaven now, around God’s golden throne.

But I’ll always believe this world is a better place (for me)

because one time my mama sang a song.

I am a grandmother now but the memories of mummy singing as she carried on faithfully with her chores and duties, still motivate and inspire me.

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Thank you for the songs Mum. Thank you for your faith.
“Sing again, with your dear voice revealing a tone of some world far from ours, Where music and moonlight and feeling are one.”~Percy Bysshe Shelley 
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Choices!

There was so much going on in the past few months, that’s my explanation, not an excuse for why I couldn’t write something! Am I kidding myself and making a play on words to justify my apathy towards my blog?
Honestly, I’m not sure whether my passion was on the ebb or moving to a new place, and all the adjustments were taking their toll. But this feeling kept sneaking up on me that I was using it as an excuse to not write, that I was not disciplined. That made me feel pretty low. It’s not that I was not on the internet at all. I was updating my pages on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/dstepladder2hope  and also http://www.capturedjoyaimshoot.wordpress.com but I wasn’t consistent with my blog http://www.chef-on-the-run.blogspot.com  and my other cookery blog. It all boiled down to the choices I was making on a daily basis…and if truth be told,  https://joyclarkson.wordpress.com  lost out. #truth 
But here I am with something interesting.
While hunting for quotes about choices, I picked a few, which resonated with me. Later, when I read them all together they seemed to be contradicting or supporting one or the other. So I reorganized them and got some paragraphs on CHOICES which ran like an article! Here it is:
 
There are no safe choices. Only other choices.’ ‘When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.’ ‘Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to relieve yourself of responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.’ ‘You can’t cross the sea by merely standing and staring at the water.’
What happens if your choice is misguided? You must correct it. But what if it’s too late? What if you can’t? Then you must find a way to live with it.’ ‘The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.'”

 

Never compromise your values. Do what you think is right. Don’t let people make the decision of right or wrong for you.’ ‘I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.’ ‘You have to choose the best, every day, without compromise…guided by your own virtue and highest ambition.’

 

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.’ ‘It’s choice, not chance, that determines destiny.’ ‘A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.’

 

Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.’ ‘I guess, in the end, it doesn’t matter what we wanted.’ ‘What matters is what we chose to do with the things we had.'”

 
{Quotes in respective order: Libba Bray, Anthony Burgess, Patrick Ness, Rabindranath Tagore, Libba Bray, Elizabeth Gilbert, Steve Maraboli, Oprah Winfrey, Philippa Gregory, Neil Peart, Jean Nidetch, James Allen, Stephen R Covey, Mira Grant.}
 
Gosh, I need to make the ‘choice’ of being more disciplined! Help!
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He Is Risen!

“A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” -Mahatma Gandhi

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“Here is the amazing thing about Easter; the Resurrection Sunday for Christians is this: that Christ in the dying moments on the cross gives us the greatest illustration of forgiveness possible.” – T.D. Jakes

To those who believe and revere the day: Have a blessed and joyous Resurrection/Easter Day!

 

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Thank God It’s Friday – and it’s ‘GOOD’!

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When I was a little girl, I never knew whether to be sad or happy on this day. The visuals and the story of the crucifixion did nothing to convince me it was a day to “rejoice” or to be happy. I was too young to comprehend ‘God’s love’ in connection with ‘sacrificing’ His son for a whole bunch of ‘sinners’ who would happily save a Barrabas and let an innocent, no less God’s son, hang on the cross.

So I would try to tone down my play and general joviality in keeping with the solemnity of death (and worse, a death that I too was somehow responsible for.) I just didn’t get it…any of it!

Then there was the three-hour-long church service I’d go through playing with things my mother would make with her handkerchief to keep me engaged. I loved the kerchief mouse a lot! I made it hop and pounce all over and crawl under benches to retrieve it! And the little kerchief purse came next. And when I’d be exhausted and bored with this, she’d have some snacks and orange juice ready for me, and I’d munch my way through thirty more minutes!

The next thing would be to curl up on the bench with my head in her lap and drop off to sleep. That was the spiritual part of my day.  And that’s how it remained until I turned eight. From the age of ten to fifteen, church-going became a sporadic exercise because we moved to the country and our church was about twenty-two miles away.

It was only after I began going to church regularly, at sixteen, having returned to the city once again, that I began to understand a lot in the service and sermons; things that had gone over my head earlier.

Now, many of my non-Christians friends or acquaintances ask me why we call it “Good Friday” when our Lord was so cruelly crucified. They listen to the simple explanation and nod their heads as if they understand, but I can see the confusion in their eyes. Their next question is, “Then why doesn’t He just punish everyone? He’s been doing that too!”

I’m can’t get into a deeper discussion. I’m not sound in Bible studies to elaborate the deeper, spiritual meanings. I’m not so learned in scripture.

They just don’t get it.

For me – It’s enormous! This love and sacrifice… and often I wonder – “How?”

I don’t see myself or the human race worthy of such a huge sacrifice. God’s own son sent to die on a cross for my sins! I’m just zapped by the ginormous love God has for us, rather unworthy humans! Every year, come Good Friday, it comes into greater focus – this love divine, this love sublime.

Thank God we have a Good Friday!

 

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A Bit of Christmas Every Day

Yes, another ‘Christmas’ post! Why? You might ask. The day has come and gone.

Not for me. The so-called “Holiday Season” carries on for me through to New year, as calendar days go. I love this time of the year and loathe letting it go. So…

I wish I could bottle the spirit of Christmas in jars. Yes, and open each jar every month for a dose of ‘spirit’!

Actually, I do. I do store a bit of Christmas in my heart. Little pockets of the cheer, the joy, the hope and the love; the promise. Life for me is a celebration of all these things that culminate every year, in Christmas…a date; a day on the calendar, when everyone who believes joins in a common celebration and in gratitude for God’s love towards mankind.

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Unless you have carried Christmas in your heart, throughout the year, you’re not going to find it under a tree! Sure, there’ll be gifts, the kind you can buy off, of shelves in a store.

The gifts of true value, however, cannot be bought but they can be received because they were paid for a long time ago. All you have to do is open your heart to get them. And the best part is…they’re available throughout the year!

You don’t have to stand in long queues, wait for sales, scout for them in a hundred shops…you just have to ask and receive.

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The babe whose birth we welcome and worship, on Christmas, came to give us those gifts of love and salvation. He paid a high price. Now… It’s yours for the asking.

Just believe.

 

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