Gratitude

As I continue to ponder what kept me afloat during the difficult times. I found another answer.

Gratitude.

Gratitude is a way of life. Not only when we are in abundance but also in our times of need as well as in the ordinary days of our lives. It is the shifting of our paradigms from looking at the glass half full rather than half empty.

When I wake up in the morning, I thank The Lord for another day He has given me. When I am faced with life’s giants, I thank The Lord for another opportunity to increase my faith, to trust him more and to show my obedience in every aspect of my life.

There are moments that I failed to live the life of gratitude too. It is when I let my problems overwhelm me. In moments that I relied on my own capacities and strength. In situations that I took control rather than seeking God first.

Everyday is an opportunity to learn. To learn to keep the faith. To trust God more. To let God be in control. To thank God for every predicament we are in.

And be excited of what awaits us. That is living life with gratitude.

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Every person in this photo has a different story to tell. But one thing I am sure of, we are thankful of how God brought us to where we are right now. Taken 4 years ago during our West Visayas State University College of Nursing Grand Reunion at Chicago,Illinois. We belong to Class 1998.
Photo Credit: Joe Belandres

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
― Thomas Merton

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The traditional jump shot. At downtown Chicago.
Photo Credit: Joe Belandres

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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Simple Fidelity

The theme of my blog is about positivity but it doesn’t mean that my life is perfect. On the contrary it is full of detours, I walked through fire and I crossed the deepest waters. I have a late onset asthma and on allergic march. I am suffering from an early menopause due to a TAHBSO surgery caused by recurring ovarian tumors. My father is battling with an autoimmune disease. This is my reality.

I woke up early today, I asked myself how I was able to manage through the years. That I am still here.

First, my faith in God. There are times that I cried before The Lord for answers, for relief but it never came. I am hanging by a thread yet I kept on. My faith in The Lord is one of the non negotiable things in my life. It kept me sane in my darkest moments. Even I can’t see and feel that God is working it is by faith that I know God will send me my breakthrough. God hasn’t answered my prayers directly but He had sent people to journey with me. Then I realized, this is not about me anymore but about what God wants to do and will be doing in my life. Total surrender to God.

Second, my roots. These are the people in my life who knew what kind of person I am since I was a child or my life before I came to America. They are my family, friends, mentors & prayer partners who never gave up on me. They continue to believe in me. They had opened their heart, their homes and even their resources to help me stay afloat. I will be forever grateful for their presence in my life. They gave me the reason to keep on fighting.

Third, my vocation. Not every person can become a nurse. For me, being a nurse was my calling. I may not have chosen it as a profession initially but because of the influence of my parents, I took this path. When I am frustrated, exhausted and ready to give up. God sends me miracles. Even a simple thank you from my patient’s family is enough to keep me going, to fire my passion and to keep on serving humanity through my profession.

I am weak. I am human. But God’s design for me is to be an overcomer. So I shall overcome.

We need to be strong to meet the day with self-control, to find our reason and purpose, but more important, to leave behind us the heavy and darkened thoughts that kept us from seeing the breathtaking beauty of the most important time—this morning. From the book Think on These Things by Joyce Sequiche Hifler

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“Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them, is simple fidelity to what each day brings.” -A.E. Dunning

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@Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida

Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Reflection

Depression hurts. You might have seen this as an ad on TV, heard on the radio or read it in an article or a magazine. The past 10 years I saw it crippled a loved one then transference took hold of me. Like a shadow it followed me. The things that I used to enjoy no longer interests me. I can no longer recognize myself on the mirror. I have this unending feeling being in a black hole. I have no more tears to shed, they were dried up. I feel this pressure on my chest that’s about to explode. There is always this elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

I felt that I am fading away. Lifeless. Hopeless. Barely Breathing. I was worst than the comatose patients that I am taking care at work. Withdrawn from the world…shame…fear…anxiety became verbs in my life. And one day, I realized this has to stop, I don’t want this kind of life. This is not me anymore, I am turning into a monster. I sought professional help, I reached out to mentors and spiritual elders for counsel and prayers and started to talk about it with my friends.This happened five years ago. I am forever grateful to everyone who journeyed with me these past years. Due to the side effect of my surgeries, I am battling with an early menopause. I see it happening again.

I remember a very close friend called me the job in real life. I am not ashamed of it. It is true. My life is a roller coaster ride. But what I am thankful the most is the legacy of faith that was passed on to me by my parents. The God who brought me this far is still the same God I served and believed. My quiet time with The Lord is more meaningful everyday. Every battle I face, increases my faith. And more so another opportunity to enjoy God’s faithfulness and grace.

I am still me. Wounded. Scarred. But it doesn’t define me. In my Heavenly Father’s eyes, I am His child. His beloved. Today as I look at myself on the mirror, I have to make a mental note of this truth.

God isn’t finished with me yet.

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Reflection. Photo Credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

“First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

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@ Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida. Photo Credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Sunsets

We all toil during the day. When the clock strikes signaling that our shift is over, we ran as fast as we could to get out of work. We walk hurriedly to our car, to the bus stop or to the train station. Our eyes glued to our smartphones, tablets or an e-reader. We barely strike a conversation with the person next to us. How many of us do ever look up and watch the sky changes it’s color as the sun sets down at the western sky.

As the sun sets down, that is a means of grace. It is a sacrament. It is the visible sign of an invisible grace. It is a symbol for mediating God’s grace to your heart. ( The Meaning of Sunset by by Charles E. Jefferson (1860-1937). It is impossible for man to make sunsets only God can do it and to behold its beauty everyday, free of charge, is already a living example of God’s wondrous grace.

Sunsets are miracle. What is a miracle? Wikipedia’s meaning of Miracle is an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine.
It points us back to our creator, no human being can orchestrate something grand and amazing. Only God. If you love nature, you can not deny the existence of God.

It is my hope that even in our daily activities no matter how busy we are, let us pause for a moment to appreciate what God has created for us. As we marvel at the grace and miracle of sunsets, let us take time to worship the one who created us…GOD.

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At Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota Florida. Photo Credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

Psalm 65:8


Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

You are valuable

Two major surgeries, work injuries and an asthmatic. That sums me up. I’m suppose to be writing something optimistic right? Be patient with me. I will get there. I haven’t mention that I am the major breadwinner as well. Go ahead. Do the math. Yes, I have been there , worrying if the check will come in the mail or there are more additional documents to submit before I will receive my disability pay on time. I am out of my wits and wondering if we will live on the streets. I had my second major surgery a year ago, for the past 6 months my asthma attack is mild compared to the previous years, and my work injury was more than 3 years ago. We have a roof above our head, a warm bed to sleep on, food on our table and money to pay our bills. Yes, I am still here. I still have my sanity. I have a family who loves me. And above all it is because of my Heavenly Father who watches over me. Who knew every detail of my life, every tear I shed and every pain I suffered. I am a sinner yet saved by grace. I am valuable in my Heavenly Father’s eyes and that’s what matters most at the end of the day. He is my peace.

Photo credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.

Photo credit: Franklin A. Gerochi Jr.


Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”