Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Fun

Weekend is no fun without a bike ride on the Pacific Coast Highway on summer. We just can’t stay home all day. After doing the yard work and when it’s not too hot for a Harley ride, we headed to Laguna Beach. It’s pretty crowded and traffic jam as usual. But hey, everybody’s set to rock the summer at the beach, right?

The Sawdust Art Festival had started once again. We never failed visiting the event every year. It showcased over 200 local artists of Laguna Beach and their extraordinaire and very unique works of art. It also features demo booths like glass blowing, complimentary hands-on art workshops, children's art booth, refreshments from restaurants, live music and more. So, yeah-we did have a great time looking around and as a matter of fact, DH bought me a toe ring(wink,wink)!

We finished the night with a Haagen Dazs banana split and a relaxing walk at the beach. Of course, it won’t be complete without a picture with the tower, lol! We’re frequent to the place but never really had taken pictures (it’s just right around the area). We just took advantage of the tourists hanging around, taking bunch of pictures, hehe...
And oh, did I tell you awards had been pouring in last week? I would like to thank my blogging friends for these wonderful awards…

My grateful thanks to “”rare*jonRez”” of “Written Expressions” for the “Over the Top Award”; to Mae of “Touch of Life” for the “One Lovely Blog Award” ; to Chuck of “Secondary Roads” for “Your Blog Make Us Smile Award” and finally, to Joe-Ann of “My Life” for the “A Lovely Blog Award”. Thanks guys for remembering me. It’s very nice of you!

Goodbye My Love

This is what Pia remembers telling Francis on his deathbed: “I forgive you for anything— anything that you haven’t asked me to forgive you for.! I know you love me, and I’m also sorry if there’s anything that I did to offend you... I thank you for all you did for the family. The children thank you... Your country loves you so much. You did so much...! I know you love me and I love you so much...”

Repeatedly—she told him “You’re my only love. You’re the only one I really loved.”

Finally, she said: “If you have to go, you go now. You rest, you rest, ha. You rest for you can go home.”

When she had run out of words to say, she sang to him. She sang one of his compositions. Then it was time. She watched him go.

My heart goes to Francis Magalona’s widow, Pia and to the family. At the same token, I so much admired her strength and her clarity amidst the unimaginable storm any wife could ever handle and a Mom of 8 kids. She’s a brave woman, indeed. I have more respect of her even if I never met her at all.

I’m glad I read her interview of Yes! Magazine. As she had said, she doesn’t want to think highly of herself (brain-wise) but I do. She’s one of those women who have conquered one of the toughest evil in this world: depression.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Symptoms of Inner Peace

If you're having all these symptoms, then you are on the right track:)) Right now, I could honestly say... I have been experiencing these symptoms for years now. Thank God for the wisdom and the grace you bestowed to me- for helping me see and understand things. As the song "Amazing Grace" beautifully says...
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

So, here are the symptoms according to Peace Pilgrim:

- A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

- A loss of interest in judging other people.

- A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

- A loss of interest in conflict.

- A loss of the ability to worry.

- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

- Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

- Frequent attacks of smiling.

- An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Symptoms of Inner Peace

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Forbidden Love

There was a lot of noise coming out from the hallway. The two were sleeping and I felt a little sleepy too. The room’s smell made me drowsy- the sanitizers, the foods, the medicines. I reached unto my niece’s bed and leaned my head when that noise came in. The door opened and came 2 tall ladies, a guy and a kid. They brought bags of fruits and foods. I had never seen them before.

“Dad, how are you doing?” asked the other lady as she kissed my cousin’s husband.

I felt so small, so embarrassed but I can’t hide anymore. They never said “Hi” to me or to my niece who is lying on the other bed. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to go bury myself in the restroom but I don’t want to leave my niece.

They were talking for a while and laughing whilst we were 3 feet away, listening. They never bothered looking at us or to my niece. We were completely ignored. I wanted to cry because I felt so sorry for my niece but I can’t. I don’t know how else to handle the situation. It occurred to me that my older niece probably had known that they are coming and so she never came back to the room.

Finally, it’s time for them to leave. They gave him hugs and kisses and left the room without saying anything to us. Whew! That was a relief. There was silence for a while.

“You can open the can of biscuits and give her something to eat” he commanded as he pointed on the bags his kids gave him.

It was all so awkward but I just did what he told me to do. I was glad my cousin wasn’t there when they arrived. She was gone to process the documents for the police and for the insurance agency concerning the accident. Or perhaps, she already knew that his kids (legal wife) are coming to visit their Dad in the hospital.

That was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. I don’t blame his kids for hating us so much that they can’t even display civility. Of course, they felt my cousin stole their Dad away from them. And my cousin’s relatives felt like he ruined her life and her career. It’s no surprise to me that their theme song is “You and Me Against the World”. On top of it all, I can’t totally understand the depth of their love. I don’t want to put myself in a position where I felt I knew everything better than them. Honestly, I don’t really know; let alone explain the mysteries or misconceptions of Love. The whole scenario left my young heart so confused and yet, awakened. It was very complicated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Enchanting Paradise

Summer is officially here! I'm mostly excited about going to the lake or to the river- boating. As what Russel Baker had described, "Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. "

How about you? What's your plan for this summer? You know, I have looked through some of my husband's photos during his vacation in Asia. Okay, I'm talking about Boracay. Though widely-known for its magnificent white sand and a pretty sunset over the ocean- I'm so curious about its history. Do I sound like a stranger to my own country? You're right. I have never been there. I was even telling my husband if we can go there for the summer vacation. He just told me it's not the same Boracay he had known 10 years ago. A very charming, virgin beaches and very natural. Here's what he got from that vacation:

According to Wikipedia- Boracay is a tropical island located approximately 315km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2km off the northwest tip of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The island was originally home to the Ati tribe. It is part of Aklan Province which became an independent province on April 25, 1956. Formerly undiscovered, it wasn't till the 1970s that tourism began to develop in Boracay, and the island became popular with backpackers in the 1980s.

Its pure, white and cottony-like sand had charmed the world and made it to be one of the world's finest beaches.

(See how that guy being carried to the shore coz he doesn't want his shoes to get wet? Take a closer look..)

Now, it is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. It has become well-commercialized. High-rise hotels, expensive restaurants and crowded beaches overwhelmed the whole idea of summer vacation in Boracay. It has helped the country economically but did it really help the residents? They got the jobs but are their salaries good enough to survive from the high-priced prime commodities? Probably not, it's more pricey compared to the local grocery store in the other provinces.

Anyway, here's what Boracay looks like now. After all, I don't blame my husband. To each its own.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Walk In The Mountains

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

Curious, he yells: "Who are you?"
He receives the answer: "Who are you?"

Angered at the response, he screams: "Coward!"
He receives the answer: "Coward!"

He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"
The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."

And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!"
The voice answers: "I admire you!"

Again the man screams: "You are a champion!"
The voice answers: "You are a champion!"

The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains, "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give you back everything you have given to it."
---Author Unknown

Friday, June 19, 2009

Screwed Up

Finally, I had cancelled my credit card. I don’t want any of those recurring monthly payments ($35) from my Bally’s membership. I can’t believe I was screwed up in that deal. It seemed as though I signed a contract for life with them. There’s no way out! Geeeee… I never thought those kind of unethical, dishonest contracts do really exist! I guess, you can just make any contract you want and as long as there’s somebody who signed it, then it’s good to go! It’s unbelievably true and frustrating. I had sent them another mail and based on what I’ve read from, they’d be sending me to collections if I don’t pay it. Thus, ruining my credit. Those who were screwed up like me just pay the monthly payments coz they don’t want a bad credit. Right now, I’m just building a credit and it’s ruined right away. Too bad. Well, I don’t pay mortgages and car loans and my husband buys things for me. I think, it doesn’t matter. I’m expecting the worse and hope that they will cancel my membership. Fingers cross!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Tender Keeper

As far as I can remember, I always start my day with my head bowed down, eyes closed and a simple whisper “Thank you God for everything”. After a while, it has become a second nature to me. Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t mean it anymore. That’s when I asked myself, what is it really that I’m thankful about? I’d searched within me and couldn’t even think of any reasons except I’m grateful for being alive. I realized living with a feeling of gratitude for nothing in particular and everything altogether will fill you with a sense of abundance, despite of your tangible possessions.

Yes, viewpoint is something we all discern and experience in our daily lives. There are events which bring different responses in all of us, which oftentimes; you just can’t despise any of these as incorrect.

My Auntie, who is on her mid60’s would wake up so early in the morning to fetch a pale of water in the neighbor’s well. She had to fill the few buckets at their house for her husband and 2 unmarried sons. She cooks breakfast and prepare their lunch boxes. After they’re all gone to work, she’d clean the house, do the laundry, take an afternoon nap, cooks dinner and the routine continues the next day. I can’t believe after all those years, my Auntie still manage to do things for her kids. I remembered her doing the same routine when I was only 5 years old.

I was caught off guard about the thoughts running through my mind. Absolutely, we have different perceptions in life. At that time, I can’t even justify if I’m happier than her. I am full of ambitions, I struggled to fulfill my education and I felt like I’d become slave to my own wishes. Looking at her, I can only see a picture of a Mom who is willing to give everything for her family. I had seen an honest smile and a cheerful person. I never heard of her complaining or nagging. Too shy to ask, I just told my Mom about my observations of which was relayed to her in my presence. I blushed. All she said to me was “I’m happy doing all these things”.

She must have laughed at my ignorance. All this happened long ago, on my college days- and now, in God’s time, I had understood those things she was trying to tell me.

Flowers in Bloom

He was walking with his dog and when he saw my husband taking the groceries out of his car, he stopped.

“Do you have a minute?” the guy asked.

“Sure!” my husband replied.

“Hey, your landscaping makes the whole neighborhood. Every car that turns around in this corner can’t help but appreciate your lawn. It’s a beauty! It’s not only me who said that, all the neighbors in the street. That’s why your house makes the whole neighborhood.” He cheerfully reported.

My husband was speechless. Well, he only shared that conversation to me in the kitchen. They talked a little bit and found out he’s a surgeon at the Mission Hospital.

How about that? I couldn’t agree more with what the doctor had said.

Whine & Grapevine

I had mentioned few months ago on my excitement of enrolling myself in a gym. My husband had warned me concerning the financial trouble I might encounter along the way. Yet, I was optimistic and jumped right into the wagon. The receptionist gladly assisted me with my application. My first question was of course, if I wanted to cancel my membership- can I do it anytime? Yes, sure! Okay, so I signed the contract for one month but I had to pay 2 months in advance. In case I’ll cancel my membership, they’ll give me a credit for that.

Anyway, I sent a letter to them 2 months ago requesting for my membership’s cancellation. They replied and even called me that I’m getting a credit come May 21st. Much to my surprise, I didn’t get the credit but instead, my credit card was charged. Oh my, oh my. My husband is right- they don’t make it easy for me:(

Now, I caught myself frustrated with the whole process, especially after reading all the online reviews of Bally’s Total Fitness. Geeee…, one customer was even sent to collections for not paying the bill after her request for cancellation. Darn, I learned my lesson.

House Renovations

The flowers in the backyard had started to bloom. Too bad, there’s only a few of them left since the bunnies had slowly eaten them. After a lot of thinking of whether we’re going to replace the other bushes in our patio, we finally decided to plant jasmine. That was after 2 years of taking care and spraying- hoping that the aphids will go away. Well, the new plants are looking so nice now. It may not be that fabulous but it’s quiet green.

On the other hand, the house renovations had finally come to an end. But still, we have painters in the house doing the entire prime. It’s a little expensive but we don’t do it often. So far, so good. It looked like a new house now. The downside though is we will be receiving the new custom-made draperies in a few days. I was a little excited coz I hoped it’s sewed properly this time. They’re replacing it for some poor work. In short, we’re going to do all those ironing, taking the valance away, and putting it all together in the right height. Ah, such a pain.

All in all, I loved all the outcome. I love sitting by the fireplace (in our bedroom) looking through the window and watching the birds hopping from one tree to another. Hey, it's very green outside!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Awakening

A time comes in your life when you finally get it... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere, the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening...
You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world, there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process, a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process, you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything; it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love; and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy.

You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right, to want things and to ask for the things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his touch and in the process, you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul; so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that for the most part in life, you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time; FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear, is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions, you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers; it's just life happening.

You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state; the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted; things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind, and you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can. ---Author Anonymous

Monday, June 8, 2009

Forgiving to Be Forgiven

I loved this answer from a reader's question on Liguorian, a religious publication.

"When I pray the Our Father, I have no problem praying “and forgive us our trespasses,” but I really struggle with “as we forgive those who trespass against us" Can you help me?

You have identified a teaching of the Lord that is truly astonishing both in the simplicity of its words and in the difficulty of the response it demands. Our human experience of this almost- daily struggle is something we should be familiar with.

The essential teaching about mercy and forgiveness contained within this prayer defines what it is to receive mercy. Jesus taught us that the full experience of “mercy cannot penetrate out hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed (sinned) against us”. In other words, we cannot experience the fullness of God’s mercy unless we, too, are merciful, as it says in 1 John 4:20: “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

All Christians should have the same struggle when they pray the Our Father, but some never think about what the words actually mean. It’s through the power of God’s grace that you have arrived at a point in your spiritual journey where it’s impossible to just rattle off a bunch of words. “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God... partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life”. The difficulty you’re having in the prayer is in and of itself the profound grace you need from God.

Be confident that the Lord who has given you the grace to come to this awareness is the same God who will give you the grace necessary to practice what you pray. That gift of grace will come to you in the moments it is needed. ---Fr. Tom Santa


Life Well Lived

When I came back to my hometown for a vacation, I was so impressed at the new Municipal building. The whole project was completed at the span of 6 years. You might think it’s a long time to finish a building but at least, its well- furnished and done as planned. You know, I was only 11 years old when they start building our Municipal gymnasium. Until now, the building is almost destroyed long before it’s completed. Ah, politicians!

(this is inside the gym)
Well, our previous Mayor (my Mom’s Boss) is such a very honest man. Is there still an honest politician that exists? Yes, of course. He used to be our school Supervisor (grade school). I remembered how my school teacher just hide through the bushes and off to the back gate (with a hole on it). She’s always late and our Supervisor is always outside his office after flag ceremony. He’s been a disciplinarian not only to his colleagues but to his family and to himself. He was already on his 70’s when he became the Mayor. He became intolerant sometimes and just shouts when he’s pissed. He is known to be a “trash picker”. You can hear him screaming at kids when they just throw their trash anywhere. Maybe he doesn’t know how to separate himself from others -he’s being so disciplined. He wakes up so early in the morning and visits his farm before he goes to his office by 7AM. He certainly doesn’t associate with other politicians and if there’s some funds that should have been a personal one- he just want it saved for the municipal funding in case of emergency.

One time, they were on a convention in Manila. He never stayed in a hotel when he travels. So, he doesn’t know anything about the key hole that serves as the switch. For the whole night, it was so dark for him and he never asked. One friend dropped by and asked why it’s so dark? He said- he’d no clue! Okay, you might think it’s funny but I guess, he belonged to the older generation. He’s very strict, very disciplined and stingy. They said, that’s how they were being taught during the Spanish era. His kids are all successful now but still he remained so humble and never settles for luxuries or comforts.

Oh well, does he deserve an award? Of course! He won National awards. He’s the Most Honest politician I have ever met. A picture of a man who had lived his life to the fullest- filled with full passion, service and integrity!



Oh, you just don’t know how happy I was yesterday to see the Filipino restaurant at the mall’s food court. It feels like home, lol! The first time I visited the mall, I felt I was just in Manila. I heard a lot of Tagalog conversations. I guess, most of the Filipinos in the area are working in the Leisure World- a retirement place.

The roasted pig is very delicious. I ate like a starved kid, haha! The good thing is- its just 5 minutes away from my work place. Awesome! I can just grab some pinakbet, pancit, palabok, adobos during lunch. Yumm, those are just a few of my favorite foods.
And oh, have you watched the NBA-Finals last Sunday? Oh my, I was shaking on the remaining 20 seconds of the last quarter. Definitely, a very thrilling game! Well, Orlando is hoping for a vengeance on their home court comes Tuesday. We’ll see^-^

An Upcoming Trip

Wow! What a day! As always, it’s a very busy Monday. It was a little frustrating to drive a long way since the directions that I had printed are outdated. Ah, what a waste of time.

Anyway, I’m so happy that finally I can visit my friend in the East Coast. My boss-husband allowed me to take a 2-day off including weekends plus, a free ticket and allowance, lol! We haven’t seen each other for a long time. Actually, we’ve only known each other for a little than a year but we hit it off right away. Since then, we just continue communicating through emails. We seldom talk on the phone coz she too is very busy taking care of her 2 kids.

So, yeah, I’m very excited about it. Her husband will take us to the museums in D.C. which is very interesting. I’d be staying in their new house and I hope to meet their church community too. Oh, I can't wait!=))

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Letter Written by Fra Giovanni

I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

Letter Written by Fra Giovanni
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