Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Form Of Dialogue That Targets Better Relationships

The word ‘Dialogue’ has several meanings. In ordinary layman’s term, it refers to an exchange of communication between two people. It’s like having a message you want to convey to a person.

Such person receives the message and gives a feedback or a response to show that he acknowledges receipt of that which was conveyed. What matters here is that the sender and receiver of the message understand each other. Period!

Nonetheless, there’s another form of dialogue with a much deeper meaning to people of a certain religious persuasion.  Vatican has created an office called the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Dialogue. It is an arm of their church tasked to reach out to believers of other living faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, other Christian churches, and so on.

It doesn’t mean though that said church is out to ‘convert’ believers of other religions into the said faith. Rather, this type of dialogue aims to foster a deeper friendship with the ‘others’ through whatever means. It could be through study of certain aspects of their respective faiths, through sports, ecumenical services, simple consultative discussions, even through fellowship meals.

I was lucky enough to be a witness to a real dialogue of life several times in the past between theologians of a major seminary and families in the Islamic areas around Davao City, in the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

For more than ten years since 2001, our local ministry in Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue has been helping the said seminary facilitate their Immersion Program to Muslim Communities.

In such program, the graduating seminarians are to spend one full week living with chosen Muslim families belonging to tribes like Kagan, Tausog, Maranaw, Sama, among others.

Imagine the fear etched in most of the seminarians’ faces when they learned that they have to stay for a week with their Muslim foster families! Of course, 99% of them have some sort of bias and prejudice against these people, for reasons they revealed later during the processing of such experience.

When processing day came, which is one day after their departure from the communities, the theologians were ready with their honest sharing and shocking revelations. All were positive ones but perhaps the most touching that was common among the sharing is that their foster parents cried on the day of their departure. Why? Because they have started to accept the guys, loved them and eventually missed their presence, in such a short span of time.

See what genuine dialogue can do to the lives of ordinary Muslims and Christians? Definitely Allah was in their midst when that life-in-dialogue was happening.

Entering into such form of dialogue certainly requires proper preparation, respect and an open mind and heart to be able to accept the ‘other’. With that, its goal of achieving better relationship is just an arm’s length.

How about you? Want to share your dialogue experience?

Excited While On A Waiting Mode

Have you experienced being on a waiting mode? Certainly you know how it feels to sit on hours at the departure area waiting for your flight, only to be told that your schedule will be delayed for maybe an hour. And all they ask of you is to be considerate for such inconvenience! Not exciting at all!

Another incidence of being on a waiting mode is during payday when all that’s left in your pocket is just a few small bills. Then all of a sudden, the company treasurer announces that there might be a delay in the fund transfer because of some technical problems with the ATM machine. How horrible!

All those waiting, causing you anxiety and great psychological disturbance (and financial as well)!  It’s a fact that waiting for something or someone can be quite distracting and irksome especially if all the forces are against you.

But there’s a kind of waiting that brings joy and hope experienced by some lucky women. Yes, waiting for a baby to be born! Getting pregnant no doubt gives the expectant mother joyous feelings to the highest level.  Just the indication of the first few days or weeks of pregnancy will be enough to send you reeling with gladness and excitement.

But nine months seem too long to wait. Unluckily, most women are not spared from the so-called morning sickness and the ‘blues.’ But, it pays to be in the best of health if you decide to conceive. At least, you’re able to manage the discomfort with ease.

Additionally, you should be at the proper age to be able to overcome the pain and discomforts. These are brought about by the changes happening to your body to accommodate that tiny life inside of you.

With technological advancement today, you have several options to make life better and enjoyable despite having limited activities during that period of waiting. It doesn’t mean though that you have to stay in bed all the time and forget about socializing. Of course, it’s reasonable if you’re in some sort of high risk pregnancy.

Why not start to learn some breathing exercises especially if you’re a first time mom? But remember to do it only with the supervision of an expert. Or how about learning to stitch some art into baby’s overall? Or spend some time browsing over those vibrantly-colored baby e-magazines so you’ll know how infants get their baths and their diapers changed the proper way?

Of course, so much can happen within those nine months and you can have all the time in the world to prepare for baby’s coming. There’s so much to thank the Creator for especially for making you a complete person.

On that big day when you hold your bundle of joy so close to your heart for the first time in your life, you would forget that you’ve been on a waiting mode for so long.

Do you have a similar exciting ‘waiting’ experience? Share it here. 

Do You Have A Passion For Writing?

Not everyone can write, there’s no doubt about that. Or shall I say it correctly- anyone can write but not everyone can become a writer.

A person maybe an eloquent speaker but it does not automatically mean he’s the one who writes his sparkling speeches. A preacher maybe able to craft a very good vision for his flock but if someone does not help him lay the blueprint, he may not get to see it come to reality.
Is it hard to write? And I mean putting on paper your thoughts, like writing an essay, poem, letters, reflections, realizations, and so on. If you feel you have a passion for writing, go for it no matter how old you are. It’s never too late to write!

They say that writing is both a talent and a skill- talent, if you were born with it and develop it through time; skill, if you take the effort of enrolling in some training or workshop and later on discover that you have the interest after all.
Of course, it pays to have a good teacher and a quality school curriculum to produce brilliant journalists. And that could be expensive. But luckily, there are people who really can write magnificent compositions in good English even if they are not professional journalists or writers.

I am one of the lucky few who can freely express what’s on my mind. I am not scared of being accused of bad grammar or wrong spelling and not following writing rules. Truth is, I have so many people in my life to thank for who have helped hone my writing skill.

First, there was my mom (may she rest in peace) who patiently corrected my writing home works. Secondly, my high school language teachers and college professors who instilled the much needed discipline when it comes to the subject.

Lastly, I had previous bosses (a priest and a nun) who believed in my capability and who inspired me to write my own reflections whenever our team had our retreats and recollections.

Furthermore, I happened to meet and became friends with an editor-in-chief of the longest running local diocesan weekly paper in my area. He has taught me all there is I need to know about writing for newspapers. And the rest is history.

Today, I can no longer keep track of the number of articles I have written since 2012 for the outsourcing company I’m working for. My happiness is indescribable whenever I see many of my works published on various websites.

Unfortunately nowadays, there are the so-called instant writers proliferating on the Internet. Many people claim to have an authority over a certain discipline or master of this and that and now are writing online. Of course, this does not include the legitimate ones whose articles are an important resource for those who need info.   
In all fairness, there are many individuals who have a passion for writing and it’s good to encounter them once in a while when you’re doing your search online. You not only get educated reading their materials but entertained as well. And most importantly, you can relate to that person.

How about you? Do you feel the same? Share your thoughts here.               

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Raising Happy Kids When You’re a Solo Parent

As a solo parent, did you ever experience headaches raising a bunch of little monsters? A solo parent or single parent is defined as one not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children.
Being a single parent is no easy job especially when you have 4 under your brood and with just enough income for daily needs. Single parenting is not something bad or unfortunate at all as some people view it. Once you’re able to handle the complex issues of money, childcare, and your relationship (if any) with your child's other parent, then single parenting can be a joy. Seeing your brood grow up to be happy kids is worth the effort, and the headaches of course. Here’s what I can share:
Communicate- Talk, listen, share, ask questions, SMS, call, chat, email- call them what you want. What matters most is that you have communications going on with kids anytime of the day. Caring parents take effort in contacting their kids whenever they’re at school, at work, or wherever. Who wouldn’t worry if it’s past 10pm and kid isn’t home yet? When my kids were small, we enjoyed talking at mealtimes. Listening to their school escapades and achievements made us proud parents. I made sure they feel loved through verbal and non- verbal gestures. Being free to communicate with each other is one good way of raising happy kids.
Share interests- Kids and I share the same interests- food, sand, sea, fun, etc. It’s a kind of bonding when you let them prepare their favorite barbecue while you whip up their favorite dessert. And yes, we do that—eat outdoors as in picnic, for instance. Then afterwards each one does her/his share of clearing away the area. At long vacations especially during the Holy Week (for Christians), we gathered round the living room to watch old favorites- movies with moral values. Or during Christmas season when they’re off school, we enjoyed watching funny movies together and laughed our hearts out.
Teach independence- Teach your kids independence at a tender age. As a mom, it was my pride to see my kids when they were 5 years old to bathe or do toileting by themselves. School was a source of excitement as they rose up early to bath. Also, ask your tot courteously but firmly to tidy up his closet or his toy box after playing. You won’t need to remind kids every time once they realize the consequences of not tidying up. Experiencing some degree of independence at a young age gives your child the chances to grow up well-adjusted. Today, my kids are a bit older, the eldest has married, the next a marketing professional, the third a psychology college major and the youngest a 7th grader. As I look into the past, I thank God when people remark how great kids I have. I feel proud I’ve been raising happy kids.

Do you have a story about raising happy kids? Please share your thoughts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bad Hair Day- Don’t Let Me Down

Bad hair day! Have you ever experienced a bad hair day? When you felt your hair was dry, brittle and dull? Is it because the shampoo you were using failed to deliver its promise of soft, shiny hair?
Say goodbye to bad hair day and hello to lovable hair. Nature has afforded us a surefire solution to bad hair days: the egg-coconut milk mixture. 

Here’s how to do it:

·  Beat 1 egg in a bowl (or 2 eggs for long thick hair)
·  Add 3 tablespoon of coconut oil (6T for long thick hair)
·  Mix well; Apply to hair by hand, making sure every strand is coated
·  Let it stand for 20 minutes
·  Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to rinsing water
·  Rinse hair well
·  Towel- dry and comb hair until natural luster shows

If the method worked on my daughters, why not on you? My 2 girls having thick long locks used to suffer from dry hair and flakes! We have tried different brands of shampoo and conditioner but each time, problem resurfaced. Sadly, hair treatment at the salon is very costly. So in desperation, I searched the web for an answer.

With this egg-oil mixture, the hair regains its natural shine and softness, making it easier to comb. You can even finger-comb it. The coconut oil keeps hair moisturized, the proteins in egg encourage growth of healthy hair, and the apple cider, a cleaning agent removes buildup from styling product. Apart from killing bacteria and removing dandruff, apple cider also strengthens the hair shaft, leaving you with soft, shiny strands.

What is hair made up of?

Real human hair is made up of the protein called keratin. Found also in human skin, teeth, fingernails and toenails, keratin is very strong and rigid when thick. But it can be very flexible when very thin. Our hair has natural oils responsible for its texture and a chemical called melanin. This one gives hair fiber its color based on the number, distribution and types of melanin granules.

Our hair is more than just a crowning glory. Hair on the head protects us from the sun’s heat, from ultra- violet radiation. It’s also the primary source of cooling, that is, when sweat evaporates from soaked hair. Just imagine how our hair is exposed to drastic conditions each time we go out to work, to play or even when just staying at home. So it’s our responsibility to keep it healthy all the time.

Today, we now have an option. You need not necessarily buy the priciest conditioners on the market to moisturize and rejuvenate your hair. Bring your hair back to life in a natural way. Don’t let bad hair day put you down!

Have you tried it? If so, please share your experience. Leave a comment.




Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Manage Your Pre-menopause Signs and Symptoms

One of the most disturbing episodes in the lives of women is the menopause period. Though dreaded by many, menopause is not an illness. Contrarily, it is a natural process that sadly enough is undergone by all women without exception.

The peri-menopause or pre-menopause signs and symptoms can occur as early as age 30 or as late as 50. And more often than not, brings forth tremendous changes in your body, sometimes causing confusion and exasperation. But instead of being scared, you have to prepare yourself, mind, body and spirit; so that when the time comes, you may not be overwhelmed.

So how do you prepare yourself for the inevitable?
  • Arm yourself with knowledge- Don’t be left in the dark. Research all you can about menopause. The web offers so much information from across so many channels. Update yourself about its causes, symptoms and possible remedies.
  • Seek medical help- When you’re starting to feel distressed without any reason at all and gets unbearable, it’s time to talk to your OB-GYN. It’s your doctor who knows best. The years around menopause could somewhat be mysterious as you can’t explain why and how come you experience all sorts of pain and maladies.
  • Find natural treatment- There are numerous herbal supplements available in the market today. These have been proven safe and effective in alleviating the most common of symptoms such as migraine, hot flashes and night sweating. You can go to your nearest health shop and ask what these supplements are made of. Certainly, there could be one that’s best for you. If sex becomes a problem because of vaginal dryness with itching and pain, you can try the plant- based vaginal creams.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy- Not all women are suited for HRT. Remember that some years back, such practice was put to a halt as it was proven to increase the risk for cancer and heart illness to menopausal women. To be sure, consult your doctor.

Nonetheless, you maybe relieved to know that not every menopausal woman share the same experience. Studies show that those who don’t feel the disturbing symptoms during the pre-menopause years will most likely enjoy a ‘normal’ menopause that is, without complications. Actual menopause starts when your period has totally been absent for 12 successive months. Severe bleeding, mental depression, insomnia and extreme fatigue are just a few symptoms considered serious enough to disrupt your normal routine.  

What’s important is to stay healthy at all times by eating a well- balanced diet, exercise and cutting off whatever is harmful to your body—alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar/fats/salt. Add calcium and Vitamin D to your diet to keep osteoporosis at bay. As you age, your bone weakens resulting to loss of bone density.

In the end, you might be surprised to know you don’t really need any medication at all for your pre-menopause signs and symptoms.

I’m sure you also have some bits of information to share. Please leave a comment.