Monday, January 14, 2008

One Blessed Day

I woke up that day bathed with sunlight piercing through the blinds of the windows. I stared at the two angels sleeping peacefully in my two sides and hugging me tightly, Trisha and Shayne, my nieces who were entrusted under my care by their parents.

Their faces have that hint of smiles as if they were being lulled into the dreamy wonderland by unknown cherubs. Beautiful feelings embraced my heart.

Later that morning, as I was walking in the yard I smelled the sweet fragrant of the flowers. Some just opened their buds. Yellow, red, pink flowers and green leaves adorned what was once a vacant lot. What a beautiful sight!

As I sat on the grass still wet with morning dew calmness engulfed me. It felt like heaven.

I looked up at the white skies and I could feel a bright promise for my future. It was an amazing sight with flock of birds flying in harmony. As if an unknown melody beckoned them to fly in one direction only.

Then my gaze turned to a tiny spider working on its web. Slowly, he was able to complete it. It was a marvelous vista! One that won't equal to the most beautiful computer graphics ever created. A tiny being building something for its survival. Can't it be an inspiration to all of us?

The ants caught my full attention, too. They were awe- inspiring with their endless pursuit of hard work. Each one a part of the completion of the task. One that signifies not only industriousness but also unity.

I walked farther in the village. I was momentarily taken aback with mother animals protecting and taking care of their young. I was touched beyond details. What a mother wouldn't do for her kids!

The day ended so fast. I couldn't get enough of appreciating the panorama of wonders around me. The sun set came and darkness surrounded my silent reverie but not before I had a final glance to the turbulent shower of red, blue and black skies. It was simply magnificent!

As I tucked in the two kids that night to sleep, I uttered a silent prayer. A gratefulness from the bottom of my heart... for that one blessed day...

My Daily Prayer

"Lord, thank you for bathing me in another dawn of a blessed day. May I have today a grateful heart to value the wonders of the world you've created for us. May I also find the humility to pause for a moment and be appreciative of the things that won't equal to material things offered by the fancy world I live in. May I continue to grow in accordance with what you planned me to be, not to shrink to the ground but to soar high like an eagle."

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Endless Love

My love,
There's only you in my life
The only thing that's right
My first love,
You're every breath that I take
You're every step I make. 

The paper doll I was holding got frozen in the air. I lost myself to the melody of the song. I was eight years old. Still young to fall in love but old enough to understand the meaning of the song. I knew that it was a promise. A promise of infinite love. 

Some of my sisters were in relationship that time so I could comprehend already the meaning of love. It was crazy but I made this childhood vow that if ever I fall in love, it would be to a man whom I'll spend my lifetime. 

I won't waste investing time and love just for the sake of having a boyfriend. There would only be one and that one will mean "forever". 

Years later, when we were about to finish 6th grade, slum book became popular. That's a notebook where we got to answer some questions that will serve as souvenir to our friends. 

There was this question about "ideal man". While most of my friends wrote "tall, dark and handsome", I on the other hand answered, "intelligent". Funny but true. I was still that young but I knew I won't be attracted to a man with looks alone. 

Whenever I would hear the song, Endless Love, I was being reminded of that one afternoon about 20 years ago. My life was still with paper dolls but I was sure about where my love life was heading. 

Then I reached high school, college and until such time I was working already. The promise I made didn't change. My sister, ______, acquired quite a long list of boyfriends but I remained "zero" with my love life. (I need to make her anonymous or else there would be a World War III. It's a good thing I have eight sisters). 

It wasn't easy but then I'm always confronted with the question, "Do you plan to spend the rest of your life with him?", I knew the answer immediately. Thus, I remained unattached for many years. Investing time and emotions were not simply worth it. I want some sense in a relationship not only mere attraction. 

Many years later, as my "ideal age" written in the slum book was about to end, I've lost hope to meet the "right one". After all, whenever I would start talking to male species they just simply find me too boring (or intimidating?). 

They would stare to the ceiling or just simply try to steer the conversation into crazy things such as my favorite color or actress. They would nibble on their finger nails and pray incessantly for the sky to fall down...ending? even the friendship didn't work out. 

Thank God I've acquired a lot of female friends so their boyfriends and husbands became my instant friends also. That way, I was not completely alienated to the male world. 

The Story of Compassion

I clutched my jacket tightly as I went down the jeep. It was a cold day and the wind was blowing the strands of hair off my face making it hard to see where I was going.

As I entered the San Francisco church just like what I did every morning before going to work, I was momentarily taken aback with the sight of a man dressed in a filthy ragged clothes lying on a pavement still wet from the previous night's rain. He had that blank expression on his face as if his mind were in another world.

My hands suddenly became clammy. My heart was filled with that unexplainable sadness. Before I knew it, my eyes were teary- eyed. More than the pity was that profound feeling of compassion.

It was a very depressing sight. How could a person like him survived that chilly morning on a wet pavement? I had my jacket on but the cold seeped through my body. How much more to him?

It was also apparent with his very thin body that he had not eaten for days. I delved into my bag and looked for the sandwich I made early that morning. I used to have something to eat with me because break time means working in front of the computer so no time really to go to the canteen for snacks. I also included a wad of bill when I gave the food to him. He didn't ask for it but I knew I needed to do it.

As I knelt down inside the church, tears brimmed my eyes as I remembered the image of the man. Why is it there are less fortunate people like him? Was it a matter of choice or by fate?

It was not my habit really to give money or tolerate beggars on the street but that situation was just different. Something was touched deep in the core of my heart.

I have my own share to make and I owe it to people like that man in a grimy clothes one cold day. Someday...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fruit Cake Recipe

To all baker's aficionado, I thought of sharing my most favorite recipe of all, fruit cake. It's been a while since I've felt that adrenaline running through my veins brought by the excitement of the smell of cake fresh from the oven.

Though it requires lots of patience and time, the effort is worth it if you'll end up with delectable and irresistible best cake ever.

So, here it goes...

2 cups of all-purpose flour/ sifted (I don't recommend cake flour because it makes the cake very soft and not good to cure later)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. molasses
3/4 cups margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
walnuts (large pieces)
1/4 cup almonds
red and green cherries
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon ground
whiskey (or any cheap wine will do)

Preheat Oven to 250 degrees
Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, set aside
Use electric mixer in combining margarine, sugar, eggs, molasses and flour
Put the cinnamon ground, nutmeg and peanut
Mix well then transfer it to a medium- sized baking pan
(put wax paper on the pan)
Add almonds, cherries and walnuts on top of the cake as decoration
Bake for about 2- 2/12 hours occasionally rotating the pans
Set aside over night to cool
Put the whiskey and wrap it into cloth, set aside if possible to covered container
After a day, pour whiskey and put it back to the container
Set it aside until it becomes a bit dry but when you taste it, it sorts of melts in your tongue

Tips: Don't open the oven for the first 45 minutes. It's the time the cake is rising. Use that "100 strokes" where you'll mix the cake manually to make sure it's free of lumps. Use a toothpick in checking if the cake is fully cooked by sticking it in the cake

Best serve when refrigerated.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Waging War

War has been part of human existence since time immemorial. It only differs in form but usually bubbles up to one thing- that of a struggle to end something we abhor.

Hitler must have prophesied he would be remembered forever by launching the biggest war at all. A man whom many considered as embodiment of evil. Indeed, he's always being remembered- and utterly hated.

Through the years, people like him were born possessed with that lust to shed blood. This time however, the horrible acts committed are being camouflaged into terms such as national security and heroism. Terror, grief and antagonism are covered in the National flag hoisted with pride.

Influential countries thrive with influence all over the world while majority of poor countries that can't afford billions of dollars to powerful armors cowed in fear that they'll be the next in attack.

War exists not only between countries but in other forms as well. There's that war between families, friends and the list goes on.

But, inside all of us is the silent war we fight everyday. War whether to continue living or stop fighting. Life is a battle we fight everyday. It guzzles our whole being forcing us to wage war against ourselves.

Our armors come in disguise. Oftentimes, even if we try to hide behind our mask we can't really conceal what we feel inside. There's that war for something inside us that's dying to go out.

War with ourselves is without a doubt the most difficult battle of all. It's not just blood that will be shed at the end but heart will be ragged into pieces.

Now, that's quite more horrible, right?

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