Friday, March 26, 2010

Tell Them Now

Let somebody know you're caring,
Take the time to listen to
What they want so much to tell you,
For the gentle folks are few.
You are not so high and mighty,
That you cannot spare a smile,
For you never know when you might
Need somebody after-while.

This poem reminded me of someone close to me before he died. This happened during my high school years.  I have been very close to this old man. He was a far relative. I really enjoyed talking to him and listening to his jokes and guidance. When he started to get sick, I visited him every Sunday afternoon just to spend time talking and listening to him. I was not weary traveling far just to listen to this man and read all the books he wanted me to read to him allowed.

Then I started to get busy with exams in school and I stopped visiting. Then suddenly, some of my relatives came to visit me and mentioned that the old man died months ago. I was really shocked that I realized that I totally forgot to visit him again. Then they mentioned that he was looking for me those past days before he died. He kept on mentioning about the girl who was always there to listen and talk to him. He wished that I was around to read him more books. Then they said that he was really waiting for me.

I really cried to hear everything they said. Somehow, I was, also, at peace when they added that before he died, he told them to tell me that he was really thankful that there was somebody who spared the time to be with him. He was happy that I read all those books for him. He wished of my presence but those days spent with him was enough to make him happy recalling those memories.

I wished that I didn't stop visiting but those last words of kindness made me happy that I did something good for that old man. How about you? Have you spent the time talking with your parents or family or friends? Life is quite short and you will never what you totally missed. Regrets will always come last.

Also, there will be a time that you will be needing someone to spend the time with you, too. So, give those smiles and time now while you can.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is Your Point of View?

I've heard it said it all depends
Upon your point of view,
the happiness you get from life, And how things look to you.
And the longer that I'm living,
I've really come to see,
That this is just as true a fact,
As anything could be.

If you always look for sorrow,
Then you'll have it seven-fold,
If you go in search of rainbows,
You will find a pot of gold.
If you have no time for dreaming,
The days that are dark and grey,
But with a little bit of  hope,
Your troubles slip away.

Don't waste your time in sighing,
When the world is full of song,
Don't live among the shadows,
That is not where you belong.
Lift your face and feel the sunlight,
Smell the flowers in the wood,
And be grateful you are living,
...And know that God is good.

by Grace E. Easley

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Insights That Would Touch Your Heart

I was so busy last month and on the previous days. I was busy with work and with some trials in life. Through those times I have learned a lot of things. Two good things when you undergo trials, you grow in your faith and increase your wisdom and understanding with life.

One of the books that helped me through those hard times is Heroes by Dr. Harold J. Sala. I will share to you some of the insights that I have read from this book and gave me inspiration.

"True greatness is not dependent upon accomplishments alone but in fulfilling God's purpose for your life."

"A person can have a profound influence in our world and never receive much publicity or notoriety."

"We are really much the same when it comes to matters of life and death."

"Putting ourselves in the position of the other person means that we will treat individuals with compassion and care."

"Just because you cannot do everything, you should not neglect doing what you can."

"Our greatest accomplishments in life are the result of great sacrifice."

"No matter what you need, the grace of God is sufficient for you."

"The true measure of a person is the ability to abide by his or her own convictions,  no matter how lonely he or she may be."

"Dedication and hard work will take you further than talent without commitment."

These are still more in that book that helped me when I was so down. I will slowly share that to you that you may be encouraged as well.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Common Illness in the Society

In the human race on earth, regardless of race, religion, culture and nationalities, it has a common illness: one mistake covers all good works.

Once a man committed a mistake all of his achievements and good contribution to the society will all be forgotten. Why? It is because the mistake is magnified more than his good works. Regardless of status in life, this common illness is prevalent and evident. Instead of just simple admonishment or reminder, gossipers became the jury and the person involved is convicted and left behind. Wounded that person may be but still that person is continually being hit by unseen arrows. Thus, that person became prisoner without a prison cell. An invisible wall of distrust and prejudice became that person’s prison bar.

Life must move on in spite of what is happening around us but those wounded persons, most of the time, has to crawl up all by himself. What is humanity by the way? Is this really being human? Is this why we were made from the very beginning? Or, is it that human values are rotting out and there is no morality anymore? The fact is human nature is totally sinful and selfish. We tend to look on other people’s mistakes and magnify it even more to cover up our very own flaws and imperfectness.

Can we not salvage moral values for the good of mankind? Nowadays, a lot of people think that moral values are old fashioned and it has no effect for modern society. If that is so then the school, church and the court of law has no value anymore. Why? It is because this is where values are taught and given high regard. Do we really allow that kind of thinking to prevail? Are we going to allow the future generations to live life in such a manner?

Forgiveness and acceptance is important to each one of us. We cannot continue living if forgiveness is not given. A life without acceptance is like living in an island where the only human living is you. Everyone wants acceptance. Everyone needs to be forgiven. Somehow, we just want it for ourselves but we do not willingly give it to others. Thus, we should learn to change that kind of mindset. From here on we should start all over again and try to change our very own way of thinking. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Strangest Secret

Hi, everyone! I have been away for quite some time. Just a little side track here. I usually don't do this but I find myself inspired and I wanted to share this to everyone. A lot of times we need inspiration and we couldn't find the thing we wanted. So, I thought why not share this. Maybe, out from this, a life will be changed as well. This is not all about money making success stories. Anyways, check this short inspirational video by Earl Nightingale and be inspired by it.

Earl Nightingale is a legend in the personal development industry. His recoding of The Strangest Secret has sold over 1 million copies. It has changed many lives, and it could change yours ...

My friend DJ Gabe send this to me since I subscribe with his newsletter. I receive a lot of gifts from him and they are really wonderful and inspirational. You can check his site and subscribe, too, so that you will receive the same thing.

Be Inspired!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Together Again

“First love never dies.” That is one of the well known quotes about love. Well, this story that I will share to you validated the said quote through the lives of my grandmother and second grandfather.

This story started way back before the Philippines was colonized by Japan. This was the time when the Americans started to introduce their own system of education to the Filipinos. Lola Memeng (grandma Memeng) was trained by American educators to become one of the local teachers in remote areas. She was sent to a remote island called Camotes. This is now one of the tourist spots in the Philippines. As she went there, she became one of the belles in the area.

She was pretty, tall, smart and had long black hair. She met a man, named Bador, and they fell in love. Unexpectedly, Bador had to go to the capital and study in a university. They were separated. As years gone by, communication was not well established; so each one went to their separate ways. The man got married while working in the city while Lola remained single. Then time played a joke on them and they met again. This time Lola Memeng saw Bador with his wife and children. From then on, Lola Memeng, decided to forget the man and got married to another who became my biological grandfather.

As the Japanese invaded our soils, my grandfather died inside the prison cells. He was suspected as one of the revolution man since he was one of the prominent and well respected men in the area but he was not. At that time a lot of the prisoners escaped and he was one of those who were left behind and died. Lola Memeng was left with three daughters, the eldest is my mother. Life moved on and the Japanese left. This time, Bador was required by his job to go to Lola Memeng's place. There they met again and he told Lola that his wife died due to sickness. 

To make the long story short, both of them realized that they were still in love with each other and decided to get married. The children opposed to the idea. Most of all, Lolo had a dozen of children and my mother was the sole hard worker in the family. It means that she became the man in the family by doing hard labors in the farm. Somehow, no one can stop their decision and they were tied as one. Later, the children accepted the fact that they are now one big family.

As the title implied, they were together again. Yes, time and circumstances separated the two but as people said, first love never dies. In a day, the clock moves as it should be but in the end it goes back to where it started for another brand new day. Indeed, together again and a new start.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love that Supports Remains Strong Forever

Tatay came to know Nanay through a friend who introduced them by letter writing. They didn't meet yet. He started to get interested so he communicated right away. (Take note: no computers yet at that time, only letter writing by post. It took weeks before they received the mails.) Thus, they became pen pals from then on. He was still studying in Cagayan de Oro City while she studied nursing in Iloilo City. To be exact, they were islands away from each other.

Later, Tatay came to Cebu to venture for a better life. He worked in a non-government organization and studied through correspondence course at the same time. Unexpectedly, Nanay went to Cebu and became a volunteer worker in the same institution that Tatay was working. What a surprise for them. Nanay didn't even know, even though they are corresponding, that he was working there. What do you call that? Fate brought them together or God's will? I choose the latter. How about you? I really enjoy true love stories. Let us continue.

From then on, they fell in love and started dating. Their relationship went well but with twist and turns, too. Aside from being tall and having good leadership characteristics, Tatay was good-looking. He was actually very attractive to girls. “A lot of pretty girls tried to flirt with Tatay just to get his attention,” Nanay said once. However, Nanay was not intimidated for she knew Tatay really loved her. Tatay said that he was only looking straight on one strong-willed woman. For him, she was the woman of whom he can fully trust. He, also, saw that she was the right woman who will support him with all his dreams and plans in life. Nanay was not bad looking either. Sorry for the other girls. No chance.

They decided to get married later and brought forth two daughters and two sons, who followed their passion in life, helping others. I saw them worked together in every endeavor that they made. Tatay was not wrong for choosing Nanay. Indeed, I really saw her supporting him all the way until her death. She never questioned him with his efforts. He was, also, a loving and caring husband. Nanay was diabetic and she was hospitalized a lot of times before she died. For all those times he was always there for her every day. They are really a good example for couples. 

For them, a couple that supports one another will remain strong forever and a couple that builds on love and trust will stand on a firm foundation.

(Place photos later.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Learn From the Little Fish

(I do believe a lot of you out there are waiting for additional posts about Tatay and Nanay (father and mother). So, here you are. By the way, I will be away for days, so I made sure I have a lot posted for your reading purposes. Enjoy!)

This is one of Tatay's unforgettable and inspiring stories that he shared to the people wherever he went to encourage young and old alike about not giving up as long as you are living. 

One day, when Tatay was still 12 years old, he went to a nearby river bank to pick firewood. As he was passing by, he saw that the current was very fast and strong at the time. A lot of logs and wood debris were floating downstream. He even saw dead animals floating, too. May be there was a strong rain on top of the mountains that caused such sight, he thought.
He was amused on the things he saw. He, almost, forgot the purpose why he was there. While he was trying to jump on the logs near the bank, something caught his attention. He saw a very small fish, as big as a man's little finger. It was trying to swim upstream. The current was strong at that time, yet, the fish kept on swimming. Tatay noticed that its progress was so slow; still, it did not give up. It kept on swimming, inch by inch.

As he was staring at that fish he realized that it was almost night time. He needed to go home, soon. He then started to walk back but he noticed that a lot of the things he saw earlier had vanished. Probably, it was swept by the strong current, yet, he can still see the fish striving and slowly progressing.

Thinking of the situation of the fish, he thought that, indeed, the logs and the others were swept away by the current because they are already dead; but the fish strives on and progressing against the current because it is living. We may think life can be very hard at times but as long as we are living there is still hope. As long as we are alive, we can tackle all the hardships, problems, and struggles in life. Today will be better compared yesterday as long as we do not give up.

Lastly, the sun shines for the dead and the living but the living will progress while the dead will stay six feet below the ground and will just remain a memory. Who of the two are you today? YES, YOU ARE ONE OF THE LIVING because you are reading this post. So do not give up as long as you are living.

Children of Divorced Parents are Strong

It is really sad to see the rate of divorce is getting higher. Marriage seems to be a joy ride to some of these couples but not all. It seems so easy to march down the aisle and say I do. To make a commitment without firm foundation is like building a house on a sandy land. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who suffered the most. Unknowingly, these children mature faster on the way they think. In fact, with proper guidance, they can be as strong as a Mahogany tree when it comes to life principles and become better citizens in the future.
I can say this with much confidence because I am one of them. My parents separated when I was still nine years old. Life seems so hard to understand at that time. My hopes went to the drain when my parents announced that they were separating. Divorce is not practice in the Philippines. Annulment of marriage certificates is allowed now but not before. So, my parents made an agreement to get separated. It was not legal but a lot of couples are doing that, even until now. 

I cried a lot of times after my father left. Sixteen years of marriage went to history for nothing. Infidelity, committed by my father, was the reason of the separation. We are five in the family. I am the fourth. I was still very young when it happened. I, almost, run away because I could not find any joy anymore with my life and studies. Thank God, my teachers guided and helped me. Then I realized later that it seems I am no longer a child on my way of thinking after seeing such pitiful marriage. A result of anger toward my father, I made a resolution that I will not choose a man like him when I get married. That I will prove to him that he is totally mistaken on his decision.

As I look back on that part of my life, the only thing I can say is that thank God for having such teachers in my life. I, almost, made a wrong decision that I will regret all my life if not of them. I am, also, thankful to my mother that in spite of being in pain, she tried her best to guide us though the Bible. She did not teach us to have hatred toward our father. She tried to bring my father back to us. She even tried to make their marriage work again. My father's pride is just as high as a mountain that he is not willing to humble down but I have forgiven him. I can heartily say that.

The effect of my parent's separation was different to each of us. Somehow, I can only say that all of us became serious with our studies and on the way we look life. We started to have goals and aspirations that are totally different from other kids. We tried our very best to make life easier for our mother. We learned to survive with little that we had and created new things to make life enjoyable. There were some setbacks to some of my siblings but it was not as bad as making life miserable to live.

Children of divorced parents can be strong and they can be better parents someday but with proper guidance. They are not hopeless and helpless beings but they are individuals that can be reliable and trustworthy. All they need is a shoulder to cry on, a person, who has good moral standing, to become their mentor, and lots and lots of words of encouragement. In fact, you can be that person if you are willing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Preparing for Marriage? Things to Do Before Saying I Do (Part 2)

        2.  Lack of Communication. This is one of the marriage killers in the history of mankind. Men tend not to openly communicate their feelings while women are very expressive. Also, women, most of the time, assume that the partner understood their actions without verbally explaining it.  See the big difference?

Counsel: Human beings are quite like idiots a lot of times. How can one understand the other person without saying it through words? That is exactly why we should verbally communicate what is in our hearts. My husband always says he loves me every day on a lot ways.  I know what these actions means because he told me his codes. One of his codes is that he just simply taps me three times and that means “I love you.”

Course of Action: We were told by our counselor to share the things in our minds to our partner without thinking of rejection and we treat the other the same way. We were told to think of it as a way to improve ourselves. At the same time, to try to listen first what the other has to say without reacting negatively right away. With this practicum, we were able to practice sharing our thoughts with each other. This practicum always reminded us on how to communicate well until now.

 3.  Money Problems. This problem can, also, be part of lack of communication. Budgeting is a major issue as well.

Counsel: In marriage, there is a possibility that either one of the couple is careful when it comes to money matter while the other is the opposite. Each should learn to communicate when money is concerned. Both must learn to live according to their means and not through their wants. Both must talk first if one will purchase a major item for the household or for personal use. Even if the couples earned from their own jobs but sharing your thoughts to your partner is all about trust and friendship as a couple.

Course of Action: We wrote down our incomes on paper. Then we prepared a list of expense priorities for the family. We, also, wrote the things we wanted to see in our household, like owning a house, and the preparations for the future, like insurance. Then we tried to budget our money based on our priorities first then for the other things. This experience enabled us to go back to this course of action every time money problem comes in and before we make major decisions.

I can keep on writing but to cover the major issues is an accomplishment as well. Hoping this article will help you as you prepare to be tied forever to your special somebody. These counsels are also applicable to already married couples. I hope this helps you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Preparing for Marriage? Things to Do Before Saying I Do (Part 1)

A lot of marriages failed, mostly in their first five years as a couple, because of unpreparedness before saying their “I do”. A lot of couples fell in love and directly thought that this is the man/woman they are looking for. After the wedding and a blissful honeymoon, everything became a nightmare because of a lot of reasons. Some of the main reasons are high expectations, lack of communication, money problems, and the worst, an illicit love affair.

Let us not talk about the last reason above. Rather, let us understand why these things happened. Since this article is all about readiness before marriage, then we will focus on this side of marriage.

Preparing before marriage must be taken into consideration. In fact a lot of divorce or separation could have been avoided if couples went through counseling sessions or seminars before the wedding. My husband and I went through these counseling sessions before exchanging our wedding vows. The only thing I can say is that I am really grateful that we did it. Now, I will share the things we have learned:

1.  High expectations. A lot of marriages started nice and good but when the wife/husband realized the weaknesses of the partner, things started to change. “This is not the kind of woman I wanted to marry.” “I never expected that my husband snores a lot.” The complaints will not end there. Slowly the other looks on the other in a negative manner.

Counsel: Think of your partner as a unique/special person. Your partner has good points, too. That is the reason why you fell in love in the first place. Rather, think on how you can complement your talents and gifting with each other. Try to look on your partner in a positive manner.

Course of action: After the counsel we were required to write down all our expectations with our partner and, the things we like and dislike as a person. We, also, wrote the good and bad points that we saw toward our partner. Then I shared my list to my husband and he gave his list to me. Think of our reactions as we read the list. Through those lists, we talked about how to work things out even we were not yet married at that time. Then we kept doing this course of action once in a while, even until now. My husband and I will be having our wedding 18th anniversary this December and our relationship is getting sweeter in every moment.

(This is just one of the three guidelines for Preparing for Marriage.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vengeance is not Mine

As a social worker, Tatay always meet and help people as much as they can. Aside from being a social worker, he is a God-fearing man. For him, whatsoever the circumstances he is in, he will always go back to the Bible for guidance with his family and work.

One time, a woman, with four children, went to Tatay and asked for help. This woman told Tatay that she was a battered wife. She described her husband as being sadist. The husband was a pilot of a private plane. He was so proud of himself and shamed his family at the same time. The woman said that she and her kids had been punched by her husband for no reasons at all. She cannot bear it anymore; so she ran away with her kids.

Tatay cannot let them be that way so he sent them to an orphanage run by his eldest daughter. They stayed there for a while, at the same time, he was still thinking what to do with the situation. Then, one time, Tatay went to the place where that woman lives while he was checking a different family sponsored by a non-government foundation. As he was waiting in a tricycle (a three-wheel ride run by a motorcycle at the side, right photo), a man sat beside him. As Tatay was conversing with the driver, the man beside him overheard his name. Then he suddenly spoke, "So you are Mr. Bacarro, who took my wife as your mistress." Then the man beat Tatay badly. Tatay's face was covered with blood. He, almost, fainted. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Living Heritage of Love and Kindness

Luciano & Araceli Bacarro, a couple who devoted their lives for the people and for God. They are known by everyone as Tatay and Nanay (means father and mother.) A couple of social workers.

These couple fell in love and engaged as pen pals. They got married last January 15, 19.... Don't ask about the year. Okey, I am not so old yet. Don't get me wrong. I just forgot. Just think that I was not born yet when they got married. Of course, that is because they are my husband's parents. In fact, Tatay is now 87 years old and Nanay passed away last October 4, 2007. God blessed her fully.

What is so funny about them was that Tatay usually teased Nanay that she purposely chose to be born on Tatay's birthday. Yes, they have the same birthday but of different years. They have 5 years gap in age. You seldom find a couple having the same birth date. The photo at the right was taken on their 50th Wedding Anniversary last 2003.

Friday, January 29, 2010

20 Tips to Strengthen your Relationship with Your Children

As I saw my children reaching the age of puberty, then entering adulthood, I realized that I need to strengthen my relationship with them. At the same time, I will be improving myself concerning parenthood. So, these are the list of reminders I made for myself.

Tips to strengthen my relationship with my children:

1. I need to be strict to have a Family Day every week. This is an exclusive day for family fun time and spending time with the kids. No interruptions through calls or of any way to interfere my time with my children.

2. Family Devotion. To spend time reading the Bible with my children to build each one of us through God's word. At the same time, guidance for my kids as they grow.

3. I must keep my promises whenever I make a promise. Whether be simple or major things/affairs, I must keep them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Friendship Can Give

One day, when I was a freshman in high school,

I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.

His name was Kyle.

It looked like he was carrying all of his books.

I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?

He must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.

They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him...

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes