Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 21

We have a problem. 'Congratulations.' But it's a tough problem. 'Then double congratulations.'
-- W. Clement Stone

Auj says...

I guess when you have reached the finish line, there's nothing much to say.. but to savor all the learnings, the hard work and the tough times that you have to get through before you achieve the winnings.

If there's one most important thing that I have learned with this gratitude challenge is to learn to live my life again, one bite at a time. One kiss, one love.

Like what the rest of the positive thinkers in the world say: The end is just the beginning. :)


Dori says...

I just have two simple reflections at the end of this wonderful Gratitude challenge..

First, how we value time is reflective of how we honor life. Sometimes we get caught in physiological and emotional swamps that make gratefulness such a huge challenge. When things get rough and we're physically and mentally worn down, it's never easy to maintain that thankful aura and not let our faith wax and wane, but when we do soak ourselves in gratitude despite the difficult circumstances, when we focus on what's going great instead of what's wrong or lacking at the present moment, a spiritual shift happens and definitely there is clarity once more. A renewed spirit springs up.

It only takes for us to savor and cherish the wonderful times that life is treating us well and concomitantly be wary and receptive during times when it seems the devil's advocates are busy testing our very core.

Second, that time is getting shorter everyday and any moment we might leave this world with all the catastrophes going around. So after this challenge, I vow to travel light, take full swing of the ropes I'm given, be ready to meet my Creator anytime, and spread His word to as many as I can.

This challenge has profoundly deepen my outlook and I consider this such an accomplishment for us. Thank you Auj for always helping me fill up the empty spaces and for simply being there. ;-*

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 20

The alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to a purification of themselves..
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Auj says...

A gratitude message to Myself

You can only take so much. But still it’s that much. It is uncommon for anyone to be able to handle what you always dread. When everything seemed too bad for a news. But still, you remain grateful.

You wake up sometimes thinking if you could be normal. To just get out of bed, work not for the money alone, love without the intention of hurting or getting hurt, and live for just yourself – even just for once.

But you are born to this world different. Apart. Extraordinary. Dissimilar. You may feel down about it sometimes, but regardless, you should be grateful.

I know sometimes you just feel like wanting to seek what you want, do it without worrying about others’ feelings, or struggling to do what’s right. What is perceived as right.

I know sometimes that you just wish that you won’t be the one responsible to hold things together, but just be a part of those which should be held.

Thank you for being such a tough b*tch. I am grateful for being you. Regardless. :)

Dear Dori,

You've come a long way. Congratulations on the tougher faith, loyalty, patience, courage and resilience manifesting in your life right now.

Be delighted in the treasures bestowed upon you of unwavering love, stronger bonds and family ties. Take pride in your commitment to relationships, priorities and work.

Continue to find blessings hidden in every adversity and ever grateful for the joy of accepting life as it is, as it happens.

Give yourself a pat on the shoulder for the little triumphs everyday where you've grown in character and wisdom.

Spread the love virus to practically every being you encounter and reflect the Lord's goodness. May kindness be your middle name.

Hold on to your dreams and keep focused on them as they are your driving force to wake up revved up in the morning.

Remain believing in yourself and relying firmly in the Lord's mighty hand to assist you in every endeavor.

You are a champion in God's eyes. Remember that always.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 19

Dori says...

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we create our world." - Buddha

I believe in the freedom of simplicity and power of choice. Conscious living takes for us to be fully aware of our thoughts and how they affect our present reality. When we are triggered to recall or re-experience especially traumatic events, we get into this whirlwind of gloominess and emotions get the best of us that if not recognized early on will catapult into paralyzing and trapping us in the dark spaces of our mind. Our view of everything around us becomes so twisted and gloomy that even our loved ones suffer from the negative energy, which could be remnants of the past not forgotten, and so it creates a resistance so strong it hinders the joy of the present moment.

I'm just glad we are more powerful than our emotions and our thoughts. It just takes for us to acknowledge and feel the hurtful emotion and let go of it as quickly as possible and let healing take its natural course.

I believe in love and every good thing that comes with it - peace, joy, prosperity and harmony. For these beliefs I hold on to, I am grateful.

Auj says...

It is through my growing years that bit by bit, I begin to understand why my mom is seen as crazy by many once she starts talking about God, the Bible, the ultimate purpose. At one point, I must admit that I was tempted to be like the rest who would want to laugh at my mom as if she looks like the insane street people who keeps on saying with their placards, "It's The End of The World! It's The End Of The World!"

But now, I completely understand. And I am grateful for the gift of anointing she may have always prayed to the Lord for me to have. Even without me asking for it.

Today, I would like to thank the Lord for putting that choice in my heart to read His words again. Amazingly, his personal way of conversing with me never fails. For the past several days, I became deeper. More than I was ever before. And there's just no stopping for hope. At least, things are more clear now. That He knows my pleas -- the people in my life that I cannot let go, the emotions I am privileged to experience to make me ever as tough, and the courage of the heart to stand my ground even when everyone else decides to move around.

The Lord's mighty message to me this morning:

Lamentations 3 (New Living Translation)

Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness

1 I am the one who has seen the afflictions
that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
2 He has led me into darkness,
shutting out all light.
3 He has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
he has made my road crooked.

10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He shot his arrows
deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.

16 He has made me chew on gravel.
He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.[a]
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:

28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.

31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.

34 If people crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the land,
35 if they deprive others of their rights
in defiance of the Most High,
36 if they twist justice in the courts—
doesn’t the Lord see all these things?

37 Who can command things to happen
without the Lord’s permission?
38 Does not the Most High
send both calamity and good?
39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain
when we are punished for our sins?

40 Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
Let us turn back to the Lord.
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
to God in heaven and say,
42 “We have sinned and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven us.

43 “You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down,
and slaughtered us without mercy.
44 You have hidden yourself in a cloud
so our prayers cannot reach you.
45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage
among the nations.

46 “All our enemies
have spoken out against us.
47 We are filled with fear,
for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.”
48 Tears stream from my eyes
because of the destruction of my people!

49 My tears flow endlessly;
they will not stop
50 until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51 My heart is breaking
over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.

52 My enemies, whom I have never harmed,
hunted me down like a bird.
53 They threw me into a pit
and dropped stones on me.
54 The water rose over my head,
and I cried out, “This is the end!”

55 But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
57 Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”

58 Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case!
For you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the wrong they have done to me, Lord.
Be my judge, and prove me right.
60 You have seen the vengeful plots
my enemies have laid against me.

61 Lord, you have heard the vile names they call me.
You know all about the plans they have made.
62 My enemies whisper and mutter
as they plot against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Whether they sit or stand,
I am the object of their mocking songs.

64 Pay them back, Lord,
for all the evil they have done.
65 Give them hard and stubborn hearts,
and then let your curse fall on them!
66 Chase them down in your anger,
destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens.

..if you'd know my struggles for the past few days, then you would know God really speaks.. but only when we stay quiet for a while.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 18

Dori says...

For the gorgeous soul in you.

Your empathic heart.

The unfathomable commonsense and sense of humor you possess.

For your unquenchable thirst for knowledge and wisdom.

Your quiet resolve amidst the restless storms of life.

The amicable style you handle contradictions.

Your flair in creativity and artistry.

For being a reservoir of joy.

Nothing is as witty as the way you conquer and challenge yourself and make the most of whatever is handed to you.

You see things in all of its perspectives and give it meaningful disposition.

You won't settle for mediocrity and wouldn't give up easily in aiming for what's upright, which you rightfully deserve.

You are a defender of the bullied, an uplifter of the defeated, and a healer of the broken spirit.

I hope this gives justice in describing how lovable you are. To encapsulate you in one word, charming is an underestimate.. astounding is.

Most of all, you now exactly know when milk is good for you and when it's time for beer.

Cheers to maturing ahead of your time! I am so proud to be part of your everyday and a witness to your beautiful unfolding. I am ever more grateful because of your love that refreshes like a long-awaited rain on a dry summer's day.

Auj says...

I have been doing this 100 things/reasons about you for the past week of why I love you in and between work. And here goes:

1. You accept me entirely as I am.
2. You would risk your being naturally frugal just to make me happy. I sense that. *lol
3. You make me feel so much loved that I get to accept easily my own imperfections.
4. You never fail to make me a wake-up coffee in the morning.
5. You value my thoughts and opinions.
6. You are willing to arrange the bed before I go to sleep and after I wake up.
7. You fight your own fears as long as it is for the relationship's survival.
8. You give me a good massage everytime you sense that I am overworked.
9. You laugh at my jokes.
10. You have a unique pair of eyes. It is either you look as if you lack so much sleep or you simply overslept.
11. You pick the hairs that grow out of my arm pit.
12. You stay calm and never show any sign of worry each time I get sick.
13. You can tolerate my mother.
14. You can tolerate my crazy family.
15. You listen unceasingly to my deepest rants and raves.
16. You always remind me how it is to be kind.
17. You always drive me to destinations that I need to be in.
18. You appreciate my love for books, movies and music.
19. You cook like a true cook. *deliciosa *raises a scorecard of 10
20. You drink hard with me, even if it gets you drunk too.
21. You appreciate my being weird.
22. You act cute like a little kid when you want some good amount of attention from me.
23. You try not to appear or sound biased but you still always make me feel that you take my side.
24. You forgive easy unlike me.
25. You make me feel listened to.
26. Your huge appetite keeps me healthy. *LOL
27. You listen attentively to weird and eccentric dreams at night that I tell to you in the morning.
28. You are the more balanced version of myself.
29. You've erased your fears to try.
30. We get scared together.
31. You encourage me by giving me strength.
32. You try hard being cruel. *lol

You know this is never easy once you get to try. Then suddenly I thought I just want to make this list endless for as long as we are together. This time, I am not putting an end to things. ;)



For others, moving forward might mean that the more time you spend together, the more pain of the past you would have to endure. But for us, moving forward would mean more time to recall all the wonderful memories we have had made together. I can say that the best and most unforgettable moments of my life were spent with you.

So here's to the space I once devoted to you which shows the rest of my gratefulness of having you in my life -- Reader By Night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 17

“I learned just enough in school to figure out that everything is not all there is to know.

Dori says...

Today I am most grateful about Auj's gift to Pio of a new appliance, a study table and chair combo. Now Pio has a specific place he can call his own in addition to his mobile home (the tent where he plays and watches TV during daytime and sleeping at night).

This gives me renewed faith and that there is hope after all for Pio to at least be motivated to study at home and have an interest in schooling. It will indeed be a glorious day when he finally learns to read fluently.

The table, though, is multi-functional. See how eating, playing and learning ABCs can be incorporated in such a small space :D.

Thank you for being such a Dharma in our lives and for treating Pio like your own. You make my life so poignantly sweet.

Muchos gracias Tita Auj. You make my life joyfully bittersweet. - Pio

Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.
- Henri Frederick Amiel

Auj says...

I want to be grateful today for work. Yes, it has been such an exhausting week but no matter tired I get, there must really be something different when you love the work that you are doing. And when you are particularly good at it. The fruits of this labor reaches out to more people than I can imagine. It enables me to raise a so-called 7 year old son who knows how to claim his benefits from me everytime he is home and to family and a few friends that always make me feel needed, even if it is merely about finances.

I learn a lot from working. Not just because I write about a wide array of topics each day, but because I learn a lot about others and myself. Who would ever thought online freelance writing would be God's major means of blessing me? And now that I have embraced this line of work, each day, each month, and each year is a brand new one I look forward to.

I am grateful that my work pushes me to try. And in one point in the middle of the way, I learn to decide on not failing. To choose to succeed always. I learned in this career that the probability of succeeding gets greater when there is less safety nets in place. This very concept keeps me grounded and lets me aim for the higher cliffs. Survival will always kick in.

Most of us only learn from our mistakes just when the bubble had already burst in our faces. I am really not sure how I would describe the interesting points that get inside my brain everyday which makes me decide on how I would want something to happen, and it happens. All I know is that when you think deep inside you that you are doubtful and unsure, then everything about you in your life would surely agree on the same concept.

As always, like what the experts say in self-help books, it does not matter how you will get to your desired destination. All that matters is knowing that you will get to that place, no matter what happens, no matter what it takes. When we free ourselves of excuses, we eradicate all the heavy weight of indecision.

And then, just like me, you'll reach a point where success becomes inevitable. And that you are just waiting for the right time when it finally takes place.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 16

"Eto Aujan ang mahiwagang salamin sa harap mo. Ano ang nakikita mo?" - Boy

Auj says...

No matter how much I claim of knowing myself well enough, I still find it too daunting to talk or write about myself. What's more, the good points about me. If I would follow the gratitude challenge by the letter today, then this might sound all too boring, for I have never really seen or imagined myself as like those who are truly headturners.

Hence, I would just choose to make this short and live up to the instructions for today, still, at least, by making a message for myself:

"I would like to congratulate you for a job well done. Others may not be aware of it, but the mark of your tired eyes is everything that makes it all too worthy for you.

Thank God for your pimple-free face even without the regular facials. It reminds you of your stressful days that make you feel grateful of how they have been all gone and over.

No matter how others say that you won't live long for your ears are too small, just think that everything would be just fine. Everyone dies in time anyway. And if you ever die ahead of everybody else you know, I am sure you would have already lived most of your life and did already what you have ought to do.

No matter how weird looking your extra toe can be, it will always be a point of envy for others. Why? It is one proof that you deserve a life of luxury that just like your delicate extra toe, you cannot and should not settle for just anything ordinary. To provide for its comfort demands time, patience and a high cost. Just like you.

I wish you had smoother soles though. If this is your own 'catch', then maybe you were really some kind of a farmer in another life.

But I think you're funny and that you are okay. Really you are. Try not to forget about it. Do not worry too much about being a wreck. Always remember to believe in love, to never get too hokey, to take care of yourself and to not be a f*cking pedestal bitch. I love you and care about you."

I am grateful to have heard from myself that she loves me. It's been a long time. :)

Dori says...

This challenge I call Vanity Day since it calls for looking in front of the mirror and reflecting on 5 things I appreciate about myself. When I did actually take a look while chopping garlic and onions (since the only big mirror we have is placed right at the sink), I made a laughable, really huge smile and felt grateful that I still have most of my teeth intact even though they seem to be talking back saying a visit to the dentist would be a great idea for some oral prophylaxis and a few permanent filling. They're way better off than having dentures which I might misplace and Pio mistake it as a toy, put on his mouth, and eventually destroy. Just the thought makes me shudder.

I then looked at my eyes. Nothing to appreciate much especially in the morning when they look like quarter moons and my eyelids are still lazily hanging over each other, my eyes peaking through the tiny slit. What I am thankful for, though, is I still have 20/20 vision even with a decade past of being in front of the computer and straining them at work. Good that I love carrots and pumpkins and anything orange.

My hair? What can I ask for? They require the least of my attention as they fall in the right places and even if they don't, they still look fine especially now that morning look is in and thanks to Lady Gaga, bangs rule.

I have two moles on my face right on the nose which my late Aunt Remy told me was good luck for business. I held on to that insight since then and I guess subliminally prepared me for the little businesses I have tried before including the foot pedal venture.

Lastly, I am glad for this wonderfully made body frame that Auj thinks is cute and a lot warmer to hug. I am working on it, though, really now. :p

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