The Secret to Happiness

 

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If you want to be SAD, all you have to do is COMPARE.

She is prettier than me. She is effortlessly sexy but I’m fat. She seems to be going steady with her beau but I’m still single. She’s so popular with the guys  but I seem to repel them. Her bag is from the latest collection but mine is so last year’s. He has a thriving business but I’ve been struggling to keep mine afloat. He bought a new car but I’m still stuck with my old rusty ride. They went on another European tour but I haven’t been to a single one.  They bought another house but I can’t even afford to buy one.  The list goes on and on.

When you keep on looking at what others have and what you don’t have then you’ll really end up sad and pathetic. Also, don’t mistake identifying how fortunate you are than other people as counting your blessings. That is still comparing and you won’t really feel happy doing that. Comparison ends up negatively. Simply stop yourself every time you do it consciously and catch yourself every time you do it subconsciously.

If you want to be HAPPY, don’t compare yourself to others. The guaranteed path to happiness is to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.

I am blessed with a loving family. I have food to eat. I have a place to go home to. I have amazing friends who love me for who I am. I have a supportive work environment. I can watch the awesome sunset right outside my office window. I have a complete set of limbs. I can smell the delicious aroma of a home-cooked meal. I can hear the sweet voice of my one-year-old nephew. I can see the light of day. I am alive. The list goes on and on.

Before you go to bed tonight, count your blessings. Do it tomorrow night. Do it every day. You’ll be amazed at how blessed you are and how happier you’ll be.

Be happy for you are blessed. Here’s one for your list tonight-it’s a Friday!

Have a happy weekend!

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A Piece of Advice from Fr. Chambers

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A True Israelite

“FOR GOD”

An Israelite was asked, “Why do you send your children to school?”

He answered, “So that they will learn how to read, if they already know how to read, they will be able to read the Bible, then if he/she/they read about the Bible, they learn about God, if they learn about God, they tend to love God, and if they love God, they are able to serve God.

He was again asked, “Why do you feed your children?”

He answered, “So that they will become strong and healthy, if they are strong and healthy, they can read the Bible, and then learn about God, then love God, then serve God.

He was then asked, “Why do you have a roof on top of your house?”

He answered, “So that something will shelter/cover my family from all outside forces that might harm them, and if they are protected, they could read the Bible, then learn about God, then love God, then serve God.

Everything he did was for God.

Everything we do is for God. 

I was fifteen when I encountered this one-of-a-kind teacher who taught me lessons that would last throughout the years. It’s been nine years since Fr. John Chambers SJ told his Values class about the story of a True Israelite. In his short simple story, he wanted to teach us that the ultimate reason to everything we do in this world is “For God.” Every day is an opportunity to show Him how much we love Him. Everything we do should be done for God. Indeed, He is the reason for living. Even though we get caught up with the things of this world, I hope we won’t lose sight of the reason we do the things we do: FOR GOD.

 

The Starfish Story

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Photo courtesy of http://www.wallconvert.com/

Happy Friday, everyone! It is really wonderful to be alive and thriving amidst the otherwise gloomy weather in my town today. Here’s a short story that reminds us that everything we do, no matter how small, makes a difference. Enjoy!

A Starfish Story

By Loren Eiseley

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

 

Kinda Book to Movie Review II: The Fault in Our Stars

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Four months ago, I wrote about the book  and now comes the movie. To be honest, this is my first time to actually watch a movie adaptation of  a best-selling book. I have always been a movie-buff. I only read one Harry Potter book. I wasn’t a fan of the Twilight Saga (Neither book nor movie). I watched the first two Hunger Games movies then only decided to read the last book so that I’d figure out the ending.

That said, watching the Fault in our Stars “the movie” was unfamiliar territory for me. I’m the type of person who would watch a movie and get lost in its world for a whole hour and a half (if it’s that good). However, I read the book recently and this made me “think more” than feel the movie in the whole 90 minute run. Every time something from the book happened differently in the movie, my brain would go like, “I imagined Peter Van Houten to be short and stout,” “There should have been flowers falling off the trees in Amsterdam,” “Didn’t she have a friend who she met up in the mall?,” “Weren’t they supposed to be kissing at the back of the church and not at the parking lot?” These little things that are totally acceptable to be different in the movie clouded my mind and just  hindered that lost-in-a-trance feeling I would normally have for a good movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie in it’s entirety (cried a  bit, too). It’s just that personally, I would have appreciated the movie more if I haven’t read the book because I wouldn’t have anything to compare it with.

Nonetheless, I give the movie 3 stars because I like the book and the movie made a pretty good job in  bringing the characters and their bittersweet love story to life. Plus, I like the soundtrack.

In conclusion, if you are just like me (who apparently tends to endlessly compare the movie to its book counterpart) do any of the two: Avoid reading the book before watching the movie; or hold off on watching the movie until you’ve forgotten the nitty-gritty details of the book. I think that I’ll be watching this movie again a few months from now and allow myself to get lost in the starlit story.

10 Camping Essentials Everyone Should Know

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1. A smartphone for an awesome sound trip

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while capturing the magnificent view;

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2. A good pair of shades;

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3. A sturdy tent;

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4. A nice hammock for a cozy late afternoon nap;

 

14570_10152182947878667_3787948213319987136_n5. Food&Water + kitchen stuff;

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6. A person who knows how to cook;

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7. But when that’s nonexistent, Instant food saves the day;

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8. A master card player + Cards for entertainment;

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9. A Bonfire for the full camping experience;

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10. And of course, People you love

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Because nothing beats great travel adventures with good company!

Seven Feel-Good Songs for the Weekend

 

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It’s Friday again!

Here are seven songs to boost your mood for a fun trip outdoors.

They work well for a fun spring day cleaning, too.

^-^

1. Paramore – Ain’t it Fun

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2.  John Legend – All of Me

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3. Clean Bandit – Rather Be

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4. Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty

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5. One Republic – Counting Stars

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6. Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing 

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7.  American Authors –  Best Day of My Life

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Let us enjoy life! It’s the only one we have!

 

A Stranger’s Story

 

Last night, while zapping through channels on the TV after the late night news show, I came upon “I love Pinas.” It’s a midnight travel show featuring attractions in the Philippines. That was my first time to learn about the show’s existence. I don’t watch TV much and I was curious with who the host was. I have never heard of him and I thought to myself, “Who is he and how did he get my dream job?”

So I googled Carlo Lorenzo today and I found his travel and food blog. His story was full of surprises. In a nutshell, he was a Broadcast Communication graduate from UP Diliman. He was a man full of ambition and worked as a newscaster for GMA Network. His ultimate dream was to host his own TV show. His work and ambition made him lose sight of the more important things in life. Then, in 2002, he was kidnapped which led to his epiphany. In his words, “When I was kidnapped, I was released from my other prisons: materialism, ambition, insecurities. In his Great Adventure story, he said, “My dream was big, but God is bigger.”

He resigned from work and tried to find himself again in God. He realized that for the longest time, his work was his god. His resignation paved way for him to realign his priorities and fully depend on God for everything. In 2010, just when he was almost broke, he got a call from the TV Network to temporarily host a show. One thing led to another and in 2011, he was offered his own show- I love Pinas.

As he puts it, God gave him the best version of his dream. God is really amazing. He has a great plan for each of us and He manifests this in extraordinary ways.

I don’t think it was just coincidence that I happen to watch the show last night and find out about this stranger’s story. It’s a reminder that I should let go of my worldly ways and have faith in God’s amazing plan for me, just as He did for this man.

Let’s keep the faith alive! Happy Friday!

 

What to Do When You Feel Abandoned

 

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The Sta. Isabel Cathedral, featured in BluPrint Magazine circa 2014

 

In last week’s mass, the priest asked the mass goers what they do when they feel empty, lost, and abandoned. He then suggested that we GO TO OUR OLD FAMILIAR PLACE. Go to your old familiar place where you feel one with God.

Churches have always been a sanctuary to me. There was always a sense of security when I am inside a church, no matter where it may be. My old familiar place was our Parish Cathedral in my hometown. This was the place where I made friends with people outside of school. This was the place where I served as a choir member, psalmist, lector, and mass commentator since I was 10. I practically grew up here. Writing this post made me realize that my typical weekend hang-out back then was this Church.

However, everything changed when I stepped into University. I moved to a different city. I didn’t serve in the local Parish, didn’t join the University choir, and stopped regularly going to mass. I became a nominal Catholic. First, I felt betrayed by my religious community because of issues that emerged in my old parish. Then, I refused to attend mass because I felt like I didn’t deserve salvation. One reason (excuse) piled up another. Though, there were multiple attempts to go back on track, I kept falling off the wagon. I just felt lost in the end. I really felt spiritually empty throughout those years. Though I excelled in other aspects of my life, my spiritual growth was certainly stuck in the dark.

2013 was dubbed as the year of faith and it was truly a year of faith for me. I have slowly regained composure of my spiritual growth through a retreat, regular spiritual direction, and weekly attendance to mass. I’m trying my best to read a chapter of the Bible every day; pray the Trisagio; and start and end the day by thanking the Lord for giving me today.

Today, I know that God never left my side. He was always there. I was the one who left and abandoned Him. I was the one with excuses and I was the one who stopped loving Him. I kept denying Him the opportunity to show His grace so that I can sin sans guilt.

On New Year’s Eve, as I welcomed 2014, I went home and served as a lector in the mass. It has been six years. Going back to my old familiar place was so surreal that I kept crying. I never thought it was possible, but with God anything is possible. Redemption is possible. It really is never too late to change for the better. At any given moment, you can choose to make things better.

When you feel abandoned, go back to your old familiar meeting place with God so that you will find the courage to move forward. Salvation does not come at the end of your days. Salvation is a daily process. You don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to actively choose to be better, to love Him more, every day.

 

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Talk about surreal: my old familiar place featured in a magazine.

 

18 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

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Leadership Training Participants from Sitio Payong, Quezon City. The seminar was conducted by Idente Youth Volunteers Philippines

 

Someone once said that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” If you are tired of complaining of all the wrong circumstances you see and are ready to do something about the problems in our society, here are some reasons why you should finally make time to volunteer:

  1. It will boost your morale.
  2. It will give you a sense of purpose.
  3. You will have a reason to wake up in the morning.
  4. It will teach you to be selfless.
  5. You will realize how blessed you are.
  6. You will make a difference in every life that you touch.
  7. It will make you happier.
  8. You will know that you are doing something worthwhile.
  9. It will exercise your brain power.
  10. You will be more grateful of the things that you have.
  11. You are now part of the solution and not the problem.
  12. It will make you more human.
  13. You will meet a lot of inspiring people.
  14. You will have friends from all parts of the world.
  15. It will teach you how to be humble.
  16. It will broaden your view of the world.
  17. You will meet people from all walks of life.
  18. You become the change that you want to see in the world.

What is your passion? Are you into building homes? Do you like teaching arts and crafts? Do you like teaching kids? Are you into health-care? Choose a volunteer work that you love and join the NGOs that share your passion. Make things happen. “Dreams mean work.” You only have one life to live. Make it count.

How to See the Good in the Bad

 

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I fell down a flight of stairs and hurt my back the other day. I still suffer from the back pain and it’s quite annoying how much of my thought process resolves around how painful my back is. I can easily wrap myself in a self-pity bun and point out how unlucky I am, how problematic my life is, and how much the universe conspires to torture me. However, this back pain made me realize quite the opposite.

One. I have functional limbs.

Just imagine how your life would be like without an arm, without a leg or two, without your eyesight, without your voice, without any of the body parts that you take for granted just because you’re used to having them. Then acknowledge the strength and courage of the people who don’t have the luxury to have a complete and well-functioning set of body parts but still thrive for today and every other day of their lives.

Two. I’m surrounded by people who care.

After I accompanied my dad for a check –up, he accompanied me to the pharmacy for pain-killers. He has his own problems to think of but he still cares about my problems. My friends were also sympathetic about my misfortune and in their simple ways, alleviated my suffering. God is so good for blessing me with these people.

Three. It is not the end of the world.

No matter how bad my day is, no matter how unlucky I may seem, no matter how painful my circumstance may be, the world will not end if I still have hope in me.  “Hope is the only thing more powerful than fear” as President Snow in Hunger Games said. I’m simply letting the Katniss in me shine.

Bottom line. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. All the bad things in your life may be real but so is all the good. You just have to choose to linger on the bright side. Sometimes, you need to feel a little suffering to know how blessed you are.

Purple bliss says: Be happy! It’s a Friday!