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Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Final Day of 2012, aka New Year's Eve

Good Monday, everyone! Happy New Year's Eve and Day! Counting the moments to bid adieu to 2012 and welcome a new year 2013! Thank you, good and gracious God! Thank you, Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, my Inspiration in life!

On this final day of 2012, aka New Year's Eve...

# I have just prayed the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, our Heavenly Mother, meditating on the Joyful Mysteries which  remind us of the happy times that Jesus and Mary shared together. Here are the Joyful Mysteries which are said on Mondays and Saturdays (except during Lent), and the Sunday from Advent to Lent:
1) The Annunciation of an Angel---Because Mary was a very special person, God sent an angel to ask her to be the Mother of Jesus. She said, "Yes," even though she was a little bit afraid. the angel told her to name the baby Jesus.
2) The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth---Mary was told by the angel that her cousin, Elizabeth, was to have a baby, too. Elizabeth became the mother of John the Baptist, who preached about the coming of Jesus.
3) The Nativity or the Birth of Jesus---Jesus was born in a stable/manger in the city of Bethlehem. when He was born, Mary and her husband, Joseph, foster father of Jesus, were very happy and promised to take care of Him.
4) The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple---After He was born, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. At the Temple, they presented Jesus to God and thanked God for giving them a Son to love and cherish.
5) The Finding of Jesus in the Temple---When He was a little older, Jesus went to a service at the Temple with Mary and Joseph. After the service, He stayed to talk to the teachers. Mary and Joseph thought He was lost, and were very glad to find Him there.

#I have just finished my 30-minute walk outside, by our deck in our backyard, trying to clear up my lungs and filled them with fresh, clean crispy air! What a blessed, lovely, peaceful day! Thank God and Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

#With my camera, I did take photos, too, of my cold, calm and a little chilly but bright surroundings, while in my backyard walking, enjoying the beauty and serenity of Monday morning--the wooden deck and the grass thinly covered with frost, leafless fruit trees around my yard, and the round full moon still up there in the blue sky, and some Canadian geese flying over my house and landed on the elementary school playground.

#I continue to breathe and to try to live life simply, with Faith, unless something happens to me, unexpectedly, that would end or terminate my existence on Earth.

#I continue to pray and worship and give thanks to our Almighty God the Father, Creator of the Universe. I continue to praise Jesus our Lord and Savior and my inspiration and salvation.

#I sit back, watch, observe, listen, meditate, relax and savor and try to enjoy the moment as much as I can with my family and friends around.

#I try to feel and think and look good, and to manage my chronic bodily pain (and other physical disabilities) by other means other than relying much on medication (which I don't like as much as possible).

#Carpe diem with my Faith! Life, I know, is short and fleeting. I try to remember the good happy days more, and live the present moment well, without regret and reservation.

#I thank God and Jesus for being alive and good, having lived my life so far, with my Faith, family, folks, and friends everywhere around the world.

#I am still chris a. quilpa (aka fernando), a sinner who wishes to be a saint someday, and I pray, "May God bless us all always! To all of us, Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tempus Fugit; Carpe Diem!

Tempus fugit! How time flies so quickly that, for all we know, soon we're bidding 2012 adieu and welcoming 2013 with optimism, I hope! Let's give thanks to God, our Almighty, Heavenly Father! And thank you, Jesus, for coming again into our lives!

Carpe diem! Seize the day, the present moment! Let's live the present moment well with hope, prayer and thanksgiving. Yes, life is short, too short to be worrying and stressing so much. The past is past. Don't worry about it. Whatever happened it's done and gone. It's over and done. We can't undo what is done. We can only remember what we want to remember out of our past. I don't live yesterday. I don't live tomorrow. I just live now, today, this very present moment.

Yes, time flies and nothing you and I can do about it. It's just the law of nature, I believe. For all we know, we're adding again another new year into our life-existence here on Earth. For all we know, we've missed some things in life and that's okay. For all we know, a moment has passed by with or without fanfare, not much celebration. So what do all these mean to us, earthlings? Carpe diem! Yes, (let's) seize the day, the moment, by enjoying Life this very moment with or without our family. Do what makes you alive and well. Pray for your salvation and for others'. Sing if you feel like singing. dance with or without the music. Eat if you feel hungry. Write and/or speak if you have ideas to say or share. Be out there in the open if you feel suffocated and breathe fresh air to clear your lungs. Remember this: Only you can live your life to the fullest. Only you can change your life-world for the better. Time flies so let's seize the moment!

Wish you all A Happy, Healthy, New Year! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!" Peace!-chris a. quilpa, 29December2012

Birds are Like Some of Us Free

At this moment, I see small birds in the school playground and also in my backyard. God bless them. They have the right to exist and to be free in the open. They're so calm and peaceful. They must be very cold. But, God, I believe, take good care of them and their needs.

We, humans, are not like all the birds. Some of us are not free. Some of us are deprived of the freedom that the birds have. How pitiful, the rest of us are! Why is the world so unfair? Why do some of us take advantage of others, our brothers and sisters who also wish to be free to live and dream a better life, and enjoy life to the fullest? Why do some of us take others for granted, yet they're humans like us, too? Why do some of us believe that we're better than others yet we're the same having life, breathing the same air, living in the same old world that's been transformed by technology and wars and violence?

Now, the birds are gone, out of my sight! They're nowhere in the school playground and in my backyard! They're somewhere...Lucky and fortunate those who see them. God bless them and the people who see them!

There are some, if not many, of us who are like the birds. They come and go..."Like friends, they come and go...And as they go they leave us/ memories to remind us..."(from my poem Like Waves). They soar high and travel miles and miles away from us. They seek new frontier, new places where they haven't been to. Like the rest of us, they seek and find new places of interests...They, like some of us, stick together, seek company of the same looks and outlook. They, like some of us, are playful, colorful, beautiful. They, like all of us, have gifts to give, to share...

These are my thoughts at this present moment, observing the world from my window. Outside, it's calm and peaceful. It's quiet, without sunshine. Though there are trees with leaves intact, there are trees that stand still and seem lifeless, leafless. I thank God for the serenity and simplicity of my life. Thank you, Jesus. You dwelt among us and let Peace reign in our hearts. I pray that the peace we hold and cherish so dearly will stick with us as we live our lives with Faith. May God bless us all always!-chris a. quilpa, 29Dec2012

Simply Living the Present Moment Well

Good Saturday, everyone! Do hope you have had a joyful, peaceful, and hopeful Christmas. In my case, I did try to celebrate it simply and serenely, but filled with Faith.

About an hour ago, I think, I prayed the Holy Rosary, meditating on the Joyful Mysteries. With my interest and/or commitment to renewing and relearning my Faith through the New Evangelization of the Catholic Church, I did invite everyone (via Facebook) to pray along with me the holy rosary, using one of the available videos on YouTube. I do hope somebody out there did.

Previous days, after Christmas, I've just been chilling out at home, resting and relaxing, just simply living the present moment well with the rest of my family. Glad and thankful that son Andrew and daughter Tintin are with us during the holidays. I can't ask for better holiday gift than to see all of us home together safe and healthy.

Living the present moment simply well is and will be on my mind every waking hour of my days. I'm so thankful to the Focolare Movement for this idea which I got when I participated in the GenFest 1980 in Rome, Italy. That experience has been on my mind, and I kinda think that that is one of the best moments that ever happened to me in life. There was that opportunity and I grabbed it. I can't believe that not even in my dream did I ever dare think I would be there in the Eternal City and the Vatican. But it happened to me unexpectedly. I won't ever forget this experience, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has deepened my spirituality and Faith.

You see, my dear folks and friends, as we continue living or shall I say having lived this life for over five decades now, I have observed so many things happening in the world. I have come to realize that there are few things that matters most in life while there are many that don't matter. There are stuff that make no sense and life gets complicated because of societal issues that need to be addressed by all nations on Earth. I've come to realize that the world is not fair to the less fortunate in our midst, to the underserved the marginalized in our community. It's so unfair to those struggling to survive, to those people wanting to be free, to those who aspire to live/get better but with not much opportunities for them, and to those who were just starting to live and enjoy life only to be taken away by gun violence, senseless people, war, poverty, disease, human trafficking, etc.

I'm glad and thankful that we have tools and role models that we can look up to while living life. Education, which is one of the keys to understanding ourselves and our world, is an avenue that help us in realizing what matters in life. On the other hand, we have less prominent or famous people (religious and spiritual, government), decent personalities/entertainers that somehow help influence our lives and the way we live. And in spite of the materialistic world we live in, we come to realize what is important and that is Life. In order for the world to survive and for the Earth to continue spinning on its orbit, we have no choice but to value Life. Life is the essence of our existence as one human family. Without Life, there's nothing, no world, no eternity. But with Life, we exist and experience all that Life has to offer to the world.

Simply living the present moment well, with Faith, is what I intend to do for the rest of my life. As friends, folks, and years come and go, I have to acknowledge and accept and live the present moment simply well. If praying while living the present moment is all that I can do, then I have got to do it for my salvation and for others', too. Going against the current while living simply the present moment is somehow impossible but, I believe, it is achievable, if I put my mind to it. After all, He is with me, I believe. (He dwelt among us, gave us hope and joy, and life, and died for us so that we may live a new life with Him forever.)

Well, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone. As we wait for the arrival of a new year 2013, let's resolve to live a life of simplicity, in solidarity with the rest of our brothers and sisters who have been deprived of what we (luxuriously) have. Let's continue to pray for one another, to pray for all the deceased, and to pray for an end to (gun) violence and war. Peace be with us always! And may God our Almighty and Heavenly Father bless us always!-chris a. quilpa, 29Dec2012

While I was about to sign off with this blog post, my wife Freny just handed me a couple of Dove candies. Three to be exact. Thanking her and having eaten the candies with a cup of oatmeal, I couldn't help myself but be amused at the wrappings and the messages, especially, of those candies. Here are the nuggets of wisdom from those chocolate candies: 1) Holiday mood starts within you. 2) Togetherness in itself is a holiday treat. 3) A smile is the perfect gift, personal and encouraging.

Hope and pray that you're all doing well. Again, take care, my dear folks and friends, and have a blessed day!-chris (aka Fernando)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My Christmas Thoughts and Prayer

"Joy to the world the Lord has come, let Earth rejoice her King, let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and nature sing!"

Merry Christmas, everyone! Thank you, Almighty God! I love and thank you, Jesus! Now and forever. Amen.

Here's my Christmas Thoughts and Prayer: This Christmas Day, I am grateful to be alive and well with the rest of humanity. I am thankful that Jesus is among us all to give us hope and life again! I am filled with gladness and at peace with myself and others.My belief in the love and goodness of the Lord to all of us, people of goodwill, is overwhelming and everlasting. I intend to continue learning and re-learning about my faith and others' so I become more tolerant and respectful, and understanding of the nature of humanity. I aspire to continue to do good and to be good to everyone I encounter and come in contact with. I try to continue praying for my salvation and for others and the rest of the world. I would try to pray constantly for peace and unity of all humanity.

Today, I pray as I remember the unborn babies because of abortion,babies who would have been and would be beautiful and innocent children of God. Today, on Christmas Day, I pray and remember those innocent children, victims of that Connecticut school shooting massacre and I imagine they're now in heaven with our Almighty God the Father. God, bless and comfort the families of the victims, and also those volunteers, and Rev. Fr. Luke and Msgr. Weiss, and all who were affected by the said tragedy. I also think and pray for other innocent, and abandoned, children around the world.

Today, I remember and pray for and thank all the people who have helped shape my life, people who cared for and have loved me, and influenced me to do good and be good for others.

Likewise, this Christmas Day, I pray for our troops, especially those who were deployed overseas, like Jason and his group. I pray for their families and friends who were left behind, too. Also, I pray for those who were unemployed that they will one day gainfully find work. Lastly, I pray for our church and government leaders worldwide, especially to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI and our pastors like Rev. Fathers David, Chris, Anton, Gody, Steve, Michael, and our seminarians, and our missionaries throughout the world. May God bless them all!

From my family to yours, we wish you A Joyful, Hopeful and Peaceful Christmas! Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Mother Mary! Thank you, good and gracious God, our Almighty Father!

Well, I've got to sign off now because we're going to attend Mass on this Christmas Day. Don't worry, I'll pray for you all, my dear folks and friends. Hope you do the same for me and my family. Thank you.

Until next time around. Take care and Have a Happy Christmas, everyone. Happy Holidays! May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 25December2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Season is Here!

Good Monday, everyone! From my family to yours, wishing you all A Very Merry Christmas! And, Happy Holidays, too!

Let's remind ourselves that, per the Catholic Church's calendar, tonight ends the season of Advent (Preparation and Waiting) and begins or commences the Christmas Season (which ends Monday, January 13.) We're set to remember or commemorate the birth of Jesus and, hopefully and prayerfully, we're ever-ready to accept and welcome Him into our lives once again with a joyful heart, without fear, reservation and doubt. This means that our preparation for our salvation starts again tonight. And because of our belief and our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved. He is our hope and our comfort, despite all the events and happenings in our life-world. Through Blessed Virgin Mary and the power of the Holy Spirit, He was sent by our Heavenly Father and came down and dwelt among us to save and redeem us of our sins. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away our sins. He is the Messiah, the Living God. That's our belief. And we continue to believe because it's the best thing that we, mortals, have on Earth. By the way (BTW), my dear folks and friends, if I sound preachy, please accept my apology. I don't intend to but just to share my thoughts and views to everyone. I can't help it, you know.

As you know, we're out of town, miles and miles away on our Christmas getaway. I, personally, just wanted to celebrate Christmas serenely, for a change. Not  much with the hassle and bustle of daily living. Anyway, yesterday, we (my wife Freny, our daughter Tintin and I) attended the Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart, as what I've planned. There we came to know Rudy and Amy, Bud and Elaine, and Bill, in addition to meeting again Fr. Anton, the parish pastor and homilist. After Mass, we ate at an Italian restaurant where we also purchased two wine glasses, unexpectedly, as souvenirs maybe or probably. Then, we roamed around the strip malls, bought some stuff. (It's so tempting and irresistible! This shopping thing!) You see, it was not my intention to buy something but, being there shopping with our loved ones, I can't help it. I felt weak because we're human and still alive! What can I say? But I know my limitations. And I'm aware of that. I need to have a sense of balance in my life! I just need to focus on my intent this Christmas and beyond---to be with the world but mindful of the Beatitudes.

This morning, at about five, I couldn't sleep anymore. So, I rose up and prayed the Holy Rosary, focusing on the Joyful Mysteries since it's Monday today. Here where we are, BTW, it's rainy and cold. But quiet and peaceful. Thank God. And thank you Jesus. (As I continue writing this blog post, I've been listening to Christmas songs. I'm imagining our young carolers back in the Philippines, visiting one house after another, singing with glee! How I missed those younger years of childhood! I feel good, so blessed and inspired, this very moment! Thank you, Lord! I'm so glad for the opportunity to observe or celebrate Christmas differently this time, this year. It's certainly a Restful, Joyful Christmas!)

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a blessed and safe day, everyone. Again, we wish you all A Merry Christmas! Stay safe and warm. Joy and Peace be with us!-chris a. quilpa, 24December2012.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Different Christmas, This Time

Happy Holidays, everyone! Merry Christmas to You All! Maligayang Pasko sa Inyong Lahat! Naimbag a Paskuayo Amin! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Fröliche Weihnachten! Joyeux Noël!

As Advent is winding down (now it's the fourth and last week before Christmas Day), I have these questions for you, my dear folks and friends, and me: Aren't we already into the holiday mood, with all the Christmas decorations, the glitters of silver and gold everywhere we go these days? Can we say with confidence that we're now prepared to welcome Him once again, with open arms and a loving heart, the One who is yet to come, the only Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, our Lord? How ready are we for the joyful celebration of His coming again into our lives? Those are the questions only you and I can answer.

A different Christmas this time? What do you mean, you ask? Yes, I'm definitely sure that it's a different Christmas this time, for me. I've already made up my mind that it's different this time. You see, over the past or previous years, I've been very good at decking the halls or decorating the house, trying to look good and please others. What, no more interest this time? No motivation, eh? I don't mean to say that I don't celebrate Christmas anymore. I do. But in a more meaningful, spiritual way, I think so. Now, this time, my Advent is focused on myself and my renewal of my Faith. This is my take, my perspective with regards to Christmas preparation. It's me personally that needs preparation. As a sinner, I strive to be a saint someday trying to do good, to live my life that is, I believe, more pleasing to our God the Almighty Father. My gift to Jesus when He comes again is myself bearing in mind the Beatitudes.

This is just me now, my dear folks and friends. Frankly speaking, I'm not really that interested into the commercialism of Christmas this time. Although I try my best to practice alms/gift-giving, I don't expect anything in return. Yes, I'd rather give than to receive now and always. I'm trying to live a simple life  but it's hard to imagine when you're surrounded by a lot of clutters, etc. I don't have a need for more of this, more of that stuff, clothes to wear, anything that are mere decorations to my physical body.

What, a different Christmas this time? How come? As you know, I've realized that there's more to life than focusing on material things or wealth. And we know that we have only one life to live, that life is short and fleeting. I can enjoy life in varied ways, not in extravagant or luxurious ways, but in simple living. I, personally, am contented in having what I have, and not what I don't have. You know what I have? I have Jesus, my inspiration in life! He's all that matters to me nowadays. Don't get me wrong; my family and folks and friends matter to me, too. But, my Brother Jesus takes precedence over others. That's just me now.

This time, I'm on Christmas getaway, far away from my residence to a place that, to me, is a little laid back or country, in a way. Yes, I'm celebrating my Christmas simply, with Freny and Tintin, in D-ville! I just want to experience that different feeling of Christmas, reminiscent of my past in which there is this kind of innocence, patience and perseverance but with a sense of humility and simplicity, you know. (BTW, as I started writing this blog post, I've been listening to my Christmas carols, children singing Christmas songs with that kind of joy, passion and innocence, recalling by childhood days when my friends and young relatives and I went caroling from house to house way back in the Philippines. What a feeling of nostalgia, especially this Christmas season!

Well, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and be safe and have a blessed day, everyone! (It's getting late and, I know, I should have been in bed by now, and getting ready and excited for tomorrow's Sunday Mass which I'm looking forward to it. (Thank God, I'm alive and well. I'm grateful that I have my faith, family, folks, and friends everywhere who share some of my views, I believe.) As always, I pray, "may God bless us all!" Before I forget, please help me pray for the victims and the families and those affected by last week's school shooting in Connecticut. Likewise, please help me pray for Fr. Luke Suarez and Msgr. Bob Weiss of St. Rose of Lima parish, in Newtown, Connecticut that they continue to have the courage and strength to spread the Good News of salvation to all the parishioners there. Thank you. God bless and keep them always! On the other hand, let's keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS! Again, I wish you all the best this Christmas and the coming New Year! Vivat Jesus!-chris a. quilpa, 22Dec2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Wintertime, Already?

Good Friday, everyone! Brrr...its's chilly and cold, and windy, over here in the Northern Hemisphere! Other parts of US, like Iowa, have snowed already. Yes, it's undeniably wintertime, the coldest season of the year! It's time to wear those warm jackets and sweaters, mittens and gloves again! Are we anticipating a White Christmas in our area? Come what may, let's bundle up and keep warm, my dear folks and friends. But, wait a minute, to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, it's their summertime, huh? Well, as long as we have Light, we're gonna be fine. Anyway, in all fairness, let's live life and try to enjoy it with all its seasons and changes, shall we? Thank you, Almighty God.

How are we doing these days? Busy as ever making a living, living life? Well, I do hope and pray that all is well as we hurdle one obstacle in life after another. We're glad and thankful that we're alive with our Faith still intact. Thank you, good and gracious God. And thank you, Jesus, for your coming once again into our lives this time. We're happy to welcome you into our hearts for you are Love. You're our Comfort and Joy, no doubt. You're our Hope for a better, safer world.

This morning, I woke up so early that I couldn't get back to sleep. While still in bed, I prayed my rosary, concentrating/meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries. Then, I had an urgent call for restroom break. I continued praying (along with a video on YouTube) while using the restroom in our room. Back to our bedroom where my wife Freny is still in slumber, I started reading a couple of my favorite Catholic blogs,while listening to John Michael Talbot's liturgical songs. (In fact, as I continue writing this blog post, I'm listening to his music with gusto.) You see, from one of the blogs I just read, I learned something that inspired me to pray again for those victims and their families of the Connecticut school shooting. Also, I prayed for those volunteers there, specifically to these men of God like Reverend Fr. Luke Suarez and Monsignor Weiss of St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown, CT. My dear folks and friends, please include them in your prayers, too, as they continue to help the grieving families and friends of the departed, and to find comfort and joy in their pastoral work this Christmas time or holiday season. And let's pray for all the travelers, too, as they long to be with their families and friends this holiday season. Thank you, my dear folks and friends. May God bless us all always!

As we anticipate the joyous celebration of Christmas, let's ponder on the following reading from the Bible, from St. John 3:16-21:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Take care and have a blessed day, everyone! Stay safe and have faith! May God bless us all, as always! Happy holidays! Merry Christmas and A Happy, Healthy New Year! Peace, my friends I give to you!-chris a. quilpa, 21Dec2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finding Comfort and Joy in Jesus for US

Good Thursday, everyone! Do hope and pray that we're doing well in anticipation for the celebration of Christmas. (My prayers and thoughts are with the families and friends of all the victims of the Connecticut school shooting on 14 December 2012. May the souls of the innocent victims of the school massacre, through the mercy of God, our Heavenly/Almighty Father, rest in peace. Amen.)

Before I go further, I thank you, people of goodwill from different parts of the world, i.e., Russia, Latvia, Germany, Philippines, Italy, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Pakistan, etc. for visiting/reading my blog. I invite you to pray with me for a peaceful, safer world. Happy Holidays to all of us!

I know and am aware that most, if not all, of us have been so touched and heart-broken, so affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting-massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, 14December2012. Personally, as a parent of two young adults, I feel for those parents whose loved ones are gone and won't be able to celebrate all the holidays on Earth. (As I'm writing this blog post, I've been visualizing the photos of those innocent, lovely children, and the adults, too, whose lives were taken away instantly by whatever type of guns or assault weapons used in the shooting spree.) And one thing that's so sad is that it happened just days or a week before Christmas, a day supposed to be a joyous celebration, with our families, folks, friends, and our small children especially, anticipating gifts from Santa, to commemorate once again of the birth of Baby Jesus who is and will be forever our Lord and Savior and Redeemer! I could hardly imagine what the parents of the victims are going through these days, from the time they've reared their children to the time they bury them? I can't fathom the depth and breath of this sad reality. God, please help me to understand and please help these mourning parents/families! Why, why, why, on Earth do we have violence and not peace and order all the time? Why God do you allow evil acts to occur? Why?Why we have sufferings and sacrifices?

These past days, I have been contemplating on a number of issues including gun (violence, rights, control, legislation), mental health, school safety/security, family stability/solidarity, which I'd like to tackle at in my future blog posts, as I continue to update myself on what's going on in our world by listening to Morning Edition on NPR (National Public Radio) News daily and watching TV news broadcast frequently. Frankly speaking, for the past days, my thoughts have been centered on the Connecticut school shooting on 14 December 2012 that claimed the lives of twenty 6- and 7-year old innocent school children and six adults and the mother of and the reported shooter/killer 20 year-old Adam Lanza. I can't seem to process what went wrong that the deadly school rampage happened and why? What may have contributed to this unexpected tragedy?

Recall the Colorado theater shooting, Columbine and Virgina Tech and other shootings and public massacres involving guns and other high- powered ammunition-weapons. Now, this is my take on some of the issues I mentioned above. (I'm sure, there are already debates going on elsewhere, even in blogosphere and in other social media outlets about gun violence/rights/control/legislation, etc.) Let's look at ourselves and examine the kind of family we have and what we envisioned to have. Lots of stuff to consider here: If we are accountable and responsible for our own action/s, we dare should have paid attention to our lifestyle and planned ahead as to what family we should have, i.e., number of children. What kind of children are we bringing in to this world? What are we all doing to contribute to our children's future, to a better life-world? To help solve problems of our families, community/society, world? Are we giving our kids the best education they can possible have and that we can afford to give? How's our parental involvement in the rearing and upbringing of our children? How good are we parents? What changes, if any, do we have to adapt or consider if we aspire to be good parents and role models to our children? What are our rights and responsibilities, parents and children alike? What are our responsibilities towards others, too? As a family, do we have Faith? Do we have a belief in One Supreme Being, God, Allah, or other name? Does Jesus matter to us, to our lives? Do we practice our Faith? Does prayer matter to us? If so, do we pray everyday, always? If you don't have a belief, say you're an atheist, what kind of life do you want to have and why?

As a peace-loving, law-abiding citizen of the world, I am not in favor of having a gun at home. But I do believe that we have the right to bear arms to (privately) protect ourselves. I do believe, too, that there should be a limit, a control or a ban as to what type of gun we should own to protect ourselves. Assault weapons used by the military should not be in the possessions of private citizens. And prospective gun-owners should be screened or have a thorough background check to include mental evaluations before they can purchase a gun. If we have identified kids who may be in trouble at home or in school, we should constantly monitor and/or refer them to proper specialists or authorities for further help and treatment. We should be cognizant, vigilant, tolerant, respectful, and understanding of others who are unique and/or/but different from us.

I don't like violence, per se. I want peace and order in our world. I wish for joy and contentment in life for all of us, and I believe in the sharing of everything (material, spiritual) for the good of everyone here on Earth. Thank God that I have this freedom to voice out or express, and share my thoughts and ideas to/for others.

Finding comfort and joy in Jesus is what matters to me for others these days. Comfort and strength and joy for those families of the deceased and those affected, those volunteers, and men (and women) of the Faith, like Rev. Fr. Luke Suarez and Monsignor Weiss of St. Rose Lima parish in Newton, Connecticut (who all need our prayers and words of encouragement). Yes, we're in the midst of finding comfort and joy in the Baby Jesus to be born again in/for US this Christmas. I do believe it is also the wish for others and the rest of the world, too, who are longing for peace on Earth and goodwill to all men and women. Let us pray for peace in our hearts and peace for the world as we continue to prepare ourselves for the birth of the Son of God who will dwell among us and inspire us to live a righteous life. As they say, Jesus Christ is the reason for the (Christmas) season. Hence, let us keep CHRIST this CHRISTMAS and ALWAYS! Vivat Jesus!

Well, my dear folks and friends, let's continue to pray for the victims and the families of the Connecticut school shooting. Let's pray for world peace and an end to deadly (gun) violence. Mother Mary, intercede and pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

This is all for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Take care and have a safe Thursday, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 20Dec2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Misa de Gallo" or "Simbang Gabi" and "Noche Buena" in the Philippines and Elsewhere

Good Sunday, everyone! Rejoice and be glad, amidst the trials and tribulations we have in life. (I know, it seems unbelievable and is just a wishful thinking, maybe. But, life has to go on...Hang in there and have faith, my dear folks and friends. Let's pray...) All we wish for, at this time, is that elusive "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men!" We'll surely have it when the Son of God will, once again, dwell among us soon! Hence, let's pave the way for His coming! Sooner, we'll be singing, "Joy to the World, the Lord has come!" (Actually, while I'm writing this blog post, I'm already listening to my favorite Christmas carols.)

I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss or talk/write about this tradition in the Philippines where I originally came from prior to emigrating to the United States of America in early 1980s. Heard of "Simbang Gabi" or "Misa de Gallo" before?  Yes? No? Well, let me tell you something about it then.

In preparation for (commemoration of) Christ's birth, folks in the Philippines, and elsewhere now, attend the so-called "Simbang Gabi." This is a series of dawn Masses that start today, December 16, each year. It's basically a nine-day novena of Masses that will culminate in the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

(I feel the nostalgia now because each time December 16 arrives, I remember my childhood days with my family and friends and neighbors back then when we start attending the dawn masses. So devoted we were that we have had that devotion, passion, enthusiasm, and perseverance to complete the nine day masses. Mind you, how long the distances we, as a community or a big group, have to walk from our barrio or barangay to St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral in Vigan City (Ilocos Sur) and back home afterwards. Five to ten miles? Young as we were, we never felt so tired of walking to and from the church. With that innocent faith that has been ingrained in us, we were so full of vitality and strength, and stamina! On the way home, by barangay Cuta, we always bought freshly-baked, buttery rice cakes. They're so good and yummy! And, by the time we reach home, we're so full and ready for the day's work, whatever chores or activities we have had in store for us! What a wonderful feeling to reminisce those moments with family members, folks, and friends, and neighbors sharing the same faith and tradition!)

As we know from history, the Philippines was colonized by Spain for over three centuries. Yes, over three hundred years! What an influence they've had, notably the Christian religion or Christianity, specifically Catholicism! Thus, in the 16th century, Christmas was introduced to the Filipinos. Eventually they began celebrating the novena with morning Mass to "give thanks for the harvest and hope for a good year to come." Now, a compromise was made to accommodate the farmers who have wanted to participate in the church worship. Masses, therefore , were held earlier in the morning. That's why we have what we call dawn masses, or Misa de Gallo (the Mass of the Rooster).

Traditionally, ringing of church bells start at three in the morning to wake up the devoted churchgoers. Other places in the Philippines, you see or hear musical band playing Christmas songs and carols for the townsfolk. While mass is going on, there are those local bakers-vendors having stalls near the church, getting ready with their various sweet, glutinous delicacies, newly-baked, buttery/sugary rice cakes or "bibingka" and "puto bumbong"  with grated coconut and/or brown sugar, for those churchgoers. And, as always, after the Mass, there's this cordial exchanges of greetings of folks, friends and relatives, neighbors as they walk out of the church feeling holy and contented.

There's this "panuluyan" which is observed on the ninth day of this novena Mass, on Christmas Eve, to commemorate Mary and Joseph's search for a place where the former would give birth to baby Jesus.

Now, comes the climax of the nine nights of dawn Masses which is the post-Mass celebration of Christmas Eve and the traditional "Noche Buena." It's the gathering of whole family around a dinner table full of food, desserts, including wine and beverages, etc. This festive occasion is an opportune time for family members and friends and other relatives to celebrate Christmas with fun, exchanging of gifts or gift-giving, Christmas caroling, singing and dancing.

Groups of young ones or old or members of an organization with a prospective community project do go out caroling from one house to another wishing every household a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

On Christmas Day, church is full in attendance with parishioners, visitors and guests attending Christmas Mass. Afterwards, relatives and friends, grandchildren, and/or neighbors pay a visit to each others' house then ask for their "pamasko" (Christmas gifts). Other families have parties. Younger generations go to malls or movies with their friends or just hang out in their houses.

BTW, today is the third Sunday of Advent. I woke up so early because my mind was focused on this Misa de Gallo. While my wife Freny was still asleep, I did pray the holy rosary along with a video on YouTube. I meditated on the Glorious Mysteries which are said on Wednesdays (Except during Lent), and the Sundays from Easter to Advent. The 5 Glorious Mysteries show us the great things in the lives of Mary and Jesus because they followed God's word. Here are the 5 Glorious Mysteries, with simple explanation:

1. The Resurrection of Jesus (for the virtue of faith)---
After Jesus died, He was placed in a tomb. Mary Magdalene came for Him and saw that He was not there. An angel told her that He had risen from the dead, just as He had promised.
2. The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven (For the virtue of hope)---
Jesus went to a place near a city called Bethany with His Mother and His friends. He held His hands out and blessed them. Then God, His Father, took Him up to Heaven as they all watched.
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (For love of God)---
Jesus promised His friends that He would always be with them. On Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to them. They were filled with God's peace and knew that they would never be alone.
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (For devotion to Mary)---
Jesus had a special love for Mary. When she died, Jesus took Mary's body and spirit to heaven to be with Him. From Heaven, Mary look down on all of us and cares for us.
5. The Coronation or Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary (For eternal happiness)---
When Mary entered heaven, she was welcomed by Jesus and the angels. Mary was crowned the Queen of Heaven and the Universe. In Heaven, she appears with a robe made of the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars on her head.

As usual, we attended the Sunday Mass in our parish, with Rev. Fr. David, our pastor, as our celebrant and homilist. He did mention about the Connecticut school tragedy, and we all prayed for the victims and their families. Mother Mary, pray for us all! We also attended another church in a neighboring city where our daughter Tintin plays piano for the church service there. (As you may know, Tintin, comes home every other Sunday because of her commitment to another Christian church in a neighboring city.) Then, we had lunch before Tintin drove back to D-ville where she works.

Well, my dear folks and friends, near or far, far and wide, this is all for now. I do hope you have a wonderful day. Until next time around. Take care. As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 16Dec2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Wish List

Prepare His way.
Prepare for His coming
into our hearts
this Christmas
and always.

Let hatred fade.
Let Love reign
in our hearts
this Christmas
and always.

Let war end.
Let Peace take over
in our world
this Christmas
and always.

Be the change.
Be the catalyst we need
in our world
this Christmas
and always.

Be the Hope.
Be the Joy we long for
in our life
this Christmas
and always.

-chris a. quilpa

The Joyful Mysteries, in Times of a Troubled World like Ours

Good Saturday, everyone! Peace to all of you, people of goodwill! (Note: As I'm writing this blog post, I've been listening to Catholic American liturgical singer-composer John Michael Talbot's songs on YouTube. Thanks, John. And thank you, YouTube. Thank you, good and gracious God and His Begotten Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior! Thank you all who read this post and to all (accidental) readers from countries like Russia, Poland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Qatar, Jordan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Philippines, etc. Thank you, my dear folks and friends. Happy Holidays!)

I've just finished praying my rosary along with a video on YouTube, this morning, meditating on the Joyful Mysteries which are said on Mondays and Saturdays (except during Lent), and the Sundays from Advent to Lent. They remind us of the happy times that Jesus and Mary shared together

To recall, here are the 5 Joyful Mysteries, with short, simple explanation for those of us learning and re-learning about the Holy Rosary of our Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother and Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior:

1. The Annunciation (For the love of humility)---
Because Mary was a very special person, God sent an angel to ask her to be the Mother of Jesus. She said, "Yes," even though she was a little bit afraid. The angel told her to name the baby Jesus.
2. The Visitation (For charity toward my neighbor)---
Mary was told by the angel that her cousin, Elizabeth, was going to have a baby, too. Mary went to visit Elizabeth to help her. Elizabeth became the mother of John the Baptist, who preached about the coming of Jesus.
3. The Nativity (For the spirit of poverty)---
Jesus was born in a stable in the city of Bethlehem. When He was born, Mary and her husband Joseph were very happy and promised to take care of Him.
4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (For the virtue of obedience)---
After He was born, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. At the Temple, they presented Jesus to God and thanked God for giving them a Son to love and cherish.
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (For the virtue of piety)---
When He was a little older, Jesus went to a service at the Temple with Mary and Joseph. After the service, He stayed to talk to the teachers. Mary and Joseph thought He was lost, and were very glad to find Him there.

I'll try my best to post the other Mysteries (Sorrowful, Glorious, Luminous) of the Holy Rosary on my future blog posts. Sounds like a good plan for me and you, my dear folks and friends. So, please, stand by...

Meanwhile, about yesterday's unforeseen and unexpected harrowing happening at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, in which nearly thirty young children and adults were violently shot and massacred by a gunman, the whole nation mourned and prayed for all the victims and their families.

Personally, here's my reaction about yesterday's deadly school tragedy: When I arrived home from an unplanned, unexpected luncheon at Ruby Tuesday's with my fellow buddy and neighbor having the same (nick)name as mine, (after having my morning walk around the neighborhood), I was surprised to find out about it once I logged on to my laptop and eventually to Facebook. I was dumb-founded that I turned on to the TV in our family room. There it was...TV coverage of the massacre. Then, the brief and emotional statement or message from President Barack Obama in The White House. I was speechless! And teary-eyed, too, like the commander-in-chief! Then, I prayed silently to God, conveyed what I was doing on my Facebook friends that moment...

Anyway, this morning, after praying my rosary, and while using the restroom in our bedroom, I stumbled upon this article from The Little Blue Book's Advent and Christmas Seasons 2012-2013 (Six-minute reflections on the Sunday Gospels of Year C), from the writings of the late Bishop Ken Untener of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI. Since it's December 15 today, I thought the thoughts of the short reflective article is worth-sharing and so appropriate for the circumstances we're all experiencing at this moment. Here it is..."...and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3:6)

"In the face of all that I see as wrong with the world, I have two options. One option is to see all these problems as fatal. The world is doomed to be forever unjust and tragic, so I should simply do my best to get the most I can for myself out of the situation.

The other option is to see all creation as the recipient of the overwhelming power of God's compassion and transforming love. When I look at the world this way, I believe that every struggle for peace and justice, however small, ultimately has an effect, and whatever energy I spend to relieve suffering is worth the effort.

Christian faith calls me to choose the second option---to live my life in this world with Hope.

Not wishful thinking. Not pie in the sky.

Hope. The hope that is the theme of this Advent season (of preparing and waiting for His arrival, His coming into our lives once again)...a flesh-and-blood hope that never fades because "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

In light of the hope that came into the world through Jesus, the words of Isaiah take on new meaning. Let me think about those words again: "Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made a smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

Well, my dear folks and friends, let's "Be not afraid" to follow Him for He gives us rest, strength, courage and hope, and life to overcome all the turmoils and turbulence, and vicious violence in our world. Let's be in the Light. Let's stay focused on His coming once again...

This is all for now. Thanks, everyone, for reading. Until next time around. Take care and have a blessed day and weekend, everyone!  As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!" May the souls of all of our faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Our Almighty Father, rest in peace. Amen. And, may the families of all the victims of the Connecticut school shooting find comfort and consolation, Light and Love. Amen.-chris a. quilpa, 15December2012

Santa's Story (After 12/14/12 Connecticut School Shooting)

Santa is sad.
His heart is broken.
He is disappointed.
His gifts will be there...
But where are the children
To receive His gifts?
Where have they gone
And their dreams and wishes?
He was unsure of their gift lists.
But He knew what they wanted.

Santa is devastated.
He can't contain His grief and sorrow.
He keeps on crying and weeping.
But He saw the Light in the Sky
And He was relieved.

He thought of other children
Who are waiting for Him.
He went around the world
And continued receiving gift lists.

Santa composed Himself.
He heard other children's stories.
He was saddened but at the same time amused.
He assured the little ones
That if they continued to be good
They'll receive their gifts
On Christmas Day.

Santa is hopeful
That the days ahead will be wonderful.
He is optimistic
That when His gifts are delivered
There will be smiles and tears...
Tears of redemption.

-chris a. quilpa

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut School Massacre

it happened
this senseless killing 
this tragic massacre
today, Friday, December 14th, 2012
the innocent school children and adults
at Sandy Hook Elementary School
in Newtown, Connecticut, USA
there is violence
there is turbulence
always brewing and lurking
in the minds of a few
who seemed to be
out of touch with reality?
did it happen
but in a different place and time
an unexpected rampage
in a school 
where kids play and have fun
learning everything they can
without fear of being harmed?
did we not learn 
did we not learn 
from the past
from the history of our past?
the unthinkable occurred
unexpectedly, without warning
the loss of lives
while we were caught up preparing
to celebrate and commemorate
for His coming?
the violence
the turbulence
the shooting
the killing...?

Let us pray:
Mother Mary, pray for us,
console the mothers and the fathers
of the deceased and the injured;
Gracious God, grant us peace
and send your Only Son again
to give us hope and life;
Jesus, gather us your flock
and lead us to Your Kingdom
where there is eternal joy and peace.

And may the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,our Father, rest in peace.
-chris a. quilpa

Of Praying, Eating Well, and Losing Weight

Good Friday, everyone! TGIF! Yes, Thank God, It's Friday!I know, all of us are looking forward to a wonderful weekend, as usual. Well, my dear folks and friends, I wish you all the best as we prepare ourselves for His coming! You know what I'm talking about. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, I'm doing well. Our Christmas tree, in our family room, is now simply decorated. Not much glitter, though, but that's okay with me. What's important is our own personal preparation to receive Jesus in our hearts again, especially if we've drifted away from the rest of His flock. Thank you, good and gracious God, for my failth. And, thank you, Jesus!

BTW, as I'm writing this blog post, I'm listening to church/worship songs using videos uploaded by certain Salesiankids, et al. Thank you for this playlist of songs. I know some of them by heart because they're sung during Mass. They're great listening. I love the selections. Again, thank you, Salesiankids, et al. And, thank you, Youtube. May God bless us always!

A few minutes ago, I just finished praying the holy rosary along with one of the videos (on praying the rosary) on YouTube. I tried meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, which are said on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the year, and every day from Ash Wednesday until Easter. They are: 1. The Agony  in the Garden   (for true contrition) 2. Scourging at the Pillar (for the virtue of purity) 3. Crowning with Thorns (for moral courage) 4. Carrying of the Cross (for the virtue of patience) and 5. The Crucifixion (for final perseverance).

Well, now, let me share with you what I've learned and read lately. Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only! It's about this AARP (Association of American Retired Persons)'s New American Diet by John Whyte, M.D. Although this applies to retired persons, over fifty, especially those sedentary in our midst, I believe it can also be applied to people less than fifty who have problems losing weight and/or with health issues like cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, etc.)

Food and losing weight? Sounds ironic, isn't it? There's a correlation or connection between the two with regards to improving our health and well-being. As we all know, we love to eat and we have this problem of obesity and overweight in the US, and even elsewhere around the globe, I believe. Evidently, we see it in schools, at homes, on the streets, in social gatherings, and even on TV shows, too. I, myself, am sort of affected or concerned because as I've been saying most of the time I love food and love to eat out, so often. I know, I have to make adjustments and some changes as to my eating habits. That's why I have to try to educate myself, empower myself and take control of my health and life if I wanted or wished to live better and longer. Previous days in my previous blog post, I mentioned about a documentary film Food Matters that I've watched. And, it's a challenge for me to try to eat good, healthy, nutritious food to keep me going and to make a difference still in the world. I know I can do it if I put my mind to it. I know you, guys, who have some concerns about your health can also do it, I believe. Let's try to eat well and live better, longer.

Without further ado, here are the guidelines or salient points about this New American Diet authored by Dr. Whyte for AARP: 1) Drink water. 2) Eat breakfast every day. 3) Sleep at least 7 hours a night. 4) Eat smaller meals, more often. 5) Eat fish two or three times weekly (and red meat at most, once). 6) Spend at least 30 minutes on a meal. 7) Drink two cups of caffeinated coffee daily. 8) Bring two small snacks---a piece of fruitt, a cup of low-fat dairy---to work every day (if you're still working). 9) Eat a small bit of dark chocolate daily. 10) Count steps---at least 10,000 per day. 11) Incorporate heart-healthy nuts and olive oil into your meals. 12) Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially berries. 13) Weigh yourself once a week. 14) Eat at a table, with your food on a small plate.

Furthermore, here are suggestions as to what to eat and what to avoid, as much as possible:
EAT THESE                   INSTEAD OF THESE
Figs                                 Cookies 
Brown rice                      White rice
Oil and vinegar                Prepared salad dressing
Sweet potatoes               White potatoes
Whole wheat bread         White bread
Unbuttered popcorn        Potato chips
Whole wheat pretzels      Regular pretzels
Grilled/roasted chicken    Fried chicken
Piece of dark chocolate   Milk-chocolate candy bar
Handful of blueberries      Cereal bar
Whole wheat pasta          White pasta
High-fiber cereal              Sugary cereal
Broiled salmon/fish           Fish sticks
Steel-cut oats                   Instant oatmeal
Nuts or seeds                   Chips or crackers
Greek yogurt                    Ice cream
Olive oil                            Butter

To recap, Dr. Whyte encourages us to Have breakfast every day, Drink more water, Get fishy, Embrace whole grains, Fill up on fruits and veggies, Include low-fat dairy foods, Be wary of "diet" foods, Don't eat out for two weeks, Inspect food labels, Snack often, and Chew gum.

The above information was culled from AARP Magazine, December 2012/January 2013 of which I'm a subscriber and member.

Before I sign off, I'd like to thank my sister Betty and Bro-in-law Dennis for that package containing their produce: persimmons and citrus fruits. I love them, especially the persimmons. Thank you guys for your love and thoughtfulness. May God bless you and your family!

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. (I have to get ready to take a walk outside.) Take care and have a blessed day and a wonderful weekend, everyone! As always, May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 14December2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Food and Movies

Good day, Tuesday, everyone! How's the weather in your area? Here in Hampton Roads, it's cold and chilly! Temp has changed drastically, from mid to upper 60s to mid to upper 40s! Well, what I can say but to welcome the cold season, as expected. For all we know, winter is just around the corner. And, the Son of Man and of God will dwell among us soon! The question is: are we ready to welcome Him with open arms and a loving heart? I know, and I'm sure, we're all working on it as we prepare the way for His coming into our lives once again!

Now, let's move on to my main topic for today: food and movies and their influence on me, personally. For those of you following my blog posts, recall what I've posted a couple of days ago last week? I talked about Movies but didn't mention  what movies I've watched lately. Well, I'll mention one: Food Matters, a documentary film that is slowly but surely impacting what type of food I take in to improve my health and well-being. Yes, I'm beginning to pay close attention to what food I eat because I realized how important nutrition plays in our diet. I know, it's never too late to make a change in the way we take control of ourselves with regards to healthy living. As the adage states, "health is wealth." Yes, food matters in our life. The right kind of food we eat can make a huge difference in improving our health and life.

Yesterday afternoon, inspired I was to eat good, healthy, nutritious food, I went to a grocery chain store and bought fresh vegetables and fruits, with the exception of a baked chicken. Yes, fruits and vegetables were on my mind while at the store. I'm glad that I also have pomegranate and avocados on my shopping cart. As soon as I arrived home, I made homemade guacamole dip for our tortilla chips. What a healthy feeling when you've just tasted the meal that you've prepared! Add to that a small glass of red wine to wash down the homemade dish you've prepared for dinner!

Today, I did my routine or daily habit---praying the rosary while in bed. (At times I pray the rosary while using the restroom in our room.) Then, I had my breakfast of  a piece of fruit (a banana) with a cup of milk and a slice of bread and aeat  guess what I prepared for our dinner, my dear folks and friends? Chunky vegetable-rice and chicken and sausage soup (or casserole?) for a cold weather like today. Since we have left-over steamed rice and baked chicken, and Italian sausage yesterday, I just mixed all of the above-mentioned ingredients with vegetables like green beans, chopped celery, white onion, green bell pepper, two pieces of sweet potatoes cut into cubes, and carrots. I used one 32 oz. of Swanson's 100% Natural Chicken Broth, with two cups of water with it. To add flavor and taste, I added a tablespoon of oyster sauce. In about 20-30 minutes cooking time, there you have it---my hot chunky vegetable-rice-chicken and sausage casserole! It's plainly my simple but nutritious recipe, a modified version of that arroz caldo (because of the vegetables I added to it) we're familiar with way back in the Philippines. So yummy! Bon apetit!

Believe me when I say that I have had the opportunity (or luxury) to also watch movies on my laptop while preparing for and cooking our dinner? Yes sir! I did watch two films from the time I was cooking to eating my dinner. As always, I eat after having cooked even a simple, easy-to-prepare dish. To complete my meal, I always try to have a cup of hot green tea and an Italian biscotti or a small slice of cake or marzipan from Germany. Thank God for globalization or global marketing!

Well, this is it for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a good day, everyone! As usual, I pray, "May God bless us all always!" And, thanks for reading.-chris a. quilpa, 11Dec2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings during (Second Week of) Advent

Good Monday, everyone! How are you guys doing today? Hope you did have a wonderful weekend. I did. Thank you, gracious God! And thank you, Jesus!

This is the second week of Advent. That means we have plenty of time to prepare ourselves for His arrival, our Brother Jesus. Welcoming Him into our hearts and homes is what we've been trying to do since we're all caught up in our day to day business of living life and making life worth-living. As a believer, He is an inspiration in my life. (He gives me hope when I'm down. He lets me see things to test my resiliency and my vulnerability. He inspires me to be good and to do good, not only for my self but also for others.)

So how do we prepare for His coming into our midst, into our life? What do we do to let Him in to our hearts and minds? Let us count the ways...Praying? Praying, praising and giving thanks to God, our Almighty Father for our wonderful life? Asking forgiveness and be sorry for what we've said and done that may have caused or inflicted pain and suffering to others? Attending and participating in church services? Confessing our sins to our pastor? Reading Bible passages and scriptures, articles and books and reflecting or meditating what we've read? Cleaning and decorating our houses? Doing household chores, i.e. cooking, doing laundry, etc.? Volunteering? Donating money, or in kind, to our favorite charitable organization? Et cetera, et cetera...

On the other hand, now, let's see what we did this weekend. Saturday, as usual, I prayed the holy rosary while still in bed. I had a cup of oatmeal with milk for breakfast. Thanks to my loving wife Freny. Then, Freny and I went to a store and bought some goodies, munchies, using her discount coupon. Back home, we had dinner. Then, I read a couple of my favorite Catholic blogs and did research and write something about Hanukkah. Then, watched some of my soaps and videos on YouTube. Thanks YouTube.

Yesterday, Rose, Freny and I attended Sunday Mass at our parish, St. Paul's. Our parochial vicar, Rev. Fr. Chris was our celebrant and homilist. BTW, while in the church awaiting for the Mass to start, Freny and I had the opportunity to meet and talk to a lovely couple Dana and Dave who has a young daughter serving as one of the altar servers. They were sitting in a pew next to us. I came to find out later that Dave isn't a Catholic, yet he's been attending Mass with his family for years? I also learned that their daughter goes to the same Catholic school where our kids went and graduated. Likewise, I learned that Dave was also retired from the US Navy, like myself. See, God works in ways that we come to meet and get to know people of faith or who share common family values, like the importance of a good education for our children. After the Mass, Freny and I thanked Dave and Dana for having met and known them. Then, outside, in front of the church building, I shook hands with our parochial vicar and said, "have a nice day, Father!" Following that, we had a little chat with our friends and fellow parishioners, the Rileys. Afterwards, the three of us went to NEX/Commissary where we had lunch at Subway and did a little shopping there. (I bought some bottles of wine at the package store, after getting gas for our mid-size car.) Then, drove back home...Rose went to her part-time job. Watched a couple of movies while Freny was preparing her stuff for school. Had dinner with that half of my foot-long Subway sandwich I had during lunch at NEX. Continued watching a movie that I started later. Then, went upstairs to bed.

This morning, I prayed my rosary along with a video on YouTube, meditating on the Joyful Mysteries. That is, while I was in the rest room, doing daily routine. You guys know what I mean. Anyway, Mother Mary, pray for us! Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you, good and gracious God!

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Take care and have a nice day, everyone! May God bless us all always!-chris a. quilpa, 10Dec2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

About Chanukah or Hanukkah

Intro: If and when we're open to and accept (new) ideas and knowledge, we grow and develop, and ultimately become mature and responsible citizens of the world. Since we live in a multifaceted environment, so colorful and diverse, it's interesting to know and learn other traditions, other than our own. By learning other's cultures, we become more aware of each others' life-experiences. Eventually, we make efforts to work together to solve our common problems, issues and concerns that affect the whole community and the world as a whole.

As a student of life, I try to find out about things and/or events that interest me. So this time I found some facts and information about the title above that I'd like to share with you, my dear folks and friends. Check it out:


For Jewish community, Chanukah, or Hanukkah (HAH-nu-kah), is the Feast/Festival of Lights. It is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. It's a time for family and friends, lighting the Menorah, games of Dreidel, songs with children and sizzling potato "latkes." The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel. Chanukah is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight (8) days. Thus, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. It begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls in November or December. (This year, Hanukkah is observed on December 8-16.)

In the land of Judea, Judah Maccabee and his brothers fought against the Syrian king, Antiochus. The king had ordered the Jewish people to reject their God, their religion, their customs and their beliefs, and to worship the Greek gods. The Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees cleaned the building and removed the hated Greek symbols and statues, and they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid. The eternal light is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished; however, only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough oil for a single day. They filled and lit the oil lamp, and a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil kept the eternal light not for one day, but for eight days! The word "Chanukah," or "Hanukkah," means "dedication or re-dedication."


The Chanukah Menorah is called a HANUKIYAH. It has nine (9) candle holders. There are eight candles, one for each night of Chanukah. The ninth candle is called SHAMASH. It is lit first and then is used to light the other candles. The candles are placed in the Menorah from left to right.


Every night during Chanukah, the candles are lit and the evening prayers are recited. Each night of Chanukah, another candle of the Menorah is lighted until all eight lamps shine on the eight night.

Here's the prayer, with English translation:

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam,
a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mits-vo tov,
ve-tsi-va-nu le-had-lik neir shel Han-nu-kah.

     Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe,
     by whose mitzvot we are sanctified
     and who commands us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

Ba-ruch atah, Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam
she-a-sa ni-sim las-a-vo-tei-nu
ba-ya-min ha-heim ba-ze-man ha-zah.

     Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe,
     who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors
     in days of old, at this season.

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu me-lech ha-olam
he-heche-yi-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu
ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-seh.

     Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
     who has granted us life, sustained us,
     and enabled us to reach this occasion.


One of the best known symbols of Chanukah is the Dreidel (DRAY-duhl). The Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. On each side is a Hebrew letter: Shin," "Hay," "Gimel," and "Nun." The letters mean "A Great Miracle Happened There."

Dreidel is a popular game played during Chanukah. Its origin dates back to Syrian rule. Children used to study the Torah in the secret. The TORAH is the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud.


On Chanukah, it's  traditional to give all children Chanukah Gelt (money). Of course, this beautiful custom adds to the children's happiness and festive spirit. Today, some Hanukkah Gelt comes in the form of chocolate.

There you go, my dear folks and friends. To the Jewish community around the world, Happy Hanukkah!-chris a. quilpa, 08Dec2012

Movies, Movies, and More Movies...

Good Saturday, everyone! How are we all doing today? Hanging in there, huh? That's good. I'm doing well, just to let you know. Thank you, good and gracious God! And thank you, Jesus!

To those of you reading my blog posts, on a daily basis, thank you for having the time and efforts. To our accidental readers from other countries such as Russia, Poland, Vietnam, Germany, Canada, Qatar, Philippines, etc., I do appreciate and thank you very much. God bless you all!

As you may have noticed, my dear folks and friends, I haven't been blogging for the past days. Well, the reality is I've been watching movies, and more movies. Yes, I've been catching up, you know. (I have bought DVDs in the past that I haven't seen or watched. They're still have their price tag on, can you believe it? Anyway, I'm planning to keep and watch some and give away the rest this Christmas. How's that, huh?) I'm thankful for having functioning eyes especially (even if I've got problems with them, especially my right eye that's tearing all the time), and the opportunity to see and have seen movies of different genres and categories. Personally, I do appreciate and thank these movie producers, directors and all the actors/artists, and production staff-personnel for all their efforts in the production of these films.

Movies, to me, are far from being entertaining. They are a powerful tool or instrument that can inform and educate us, influence our ways of thinking and living, either positively or negatively. They can also unite us or divide us. But, overall, I believe that movies are made and shown to present what we do and what we think of ourselves, and what we are capable of as human beings. There's that word creativity. And artistry in the movie industry. Amazing, and unbelievable, what we can do!

I tend to believe that movies are prophetic and timeless. As I've observed, there's always that portion of any movie that I have watched so far that applies to everyday life. Whether that movie is sci-fi (science fiction), documentary, drama, comedy, action thriller, a cartoon or animation, there's always one general theme: Life. I don't know about you, folks and friends, but I tend to believe that movies, all movies for that matter, reflect our lives...who we are, what we are, what we can be, and will be. Heard of that statement, "Art imitating life; Life imitating art?"

I know. Movie-goers or people who have just seen or watched a movie/film have always something to say about what they've seen. That's always the case, I believe. In my case, here are some of my reactions to the movies I've seen or watched for the past two days: "Funny, hilarious, sad, tragic, inspiring, controversial but real, scandalous, meaningful, entertaining, challenging, thought-provoking, thoughtful, cheerful, uplifting, witty, very educational and informative, motivational, highly-recommended to those who care about their health and well-being; violent, bloody, explosive, adventurous, compelling..."

From the movies I've watched so far, these are just my thoughts...On my composition book, I've written the following: "Limit not your possibilities ,for a better life, for possibilities are out there and limitless. Explore these possibilities and you'll be better than you think or what you have at the present moment. Cheer up and Smile! God bless you!" (29Novv2012); "Stories are wrought in wars..." (02Dec2012); "This Advent season/ we're waiting for you to come/ Jesus, our Brother." (02Dec2012); "The moon is up there/ silver-white covered with clouds/ alone in the dark." (02Dec2012); "Though it may not be spoken so often, my love for you is beyond words." (04Dec2012); "I don't like tags/ And labels.../ They're disgusting/ And demeaning..!" (06Dec2012); "Observably, we love to get sick. Why? Because we love to take drugs and medications. And we're not getting well or better...Let's stop taking drugs/medications. They're not making us well but sick!" (07Dec2012); "We need education, not medication." (07Dec2012); "Take responsibility of your life and health; you are your best doctor." (07Dec2012); "To improve your life, consider the alternatives." (07Dec2012); "Nutritional therapy is overlooked, and underrated, in our patient care, treatment, and healing. But it is as important as medicinal/pharmaceutical/drug therapy. Come to think of it."(07Dec2012); "Let's eat good, nutritious, healthy food! Let's consider fresh, clean vegetables and fruits in our diet...If we have swing moods, let's get up and grab a fruit to nibble or eat." (07Dec2012); "The more I learn, and know, the more I am puzzled/confused about life..."(07Dec2012); "You can choose what you like and love because you're free, with rights. Be responsible and deal with it."(08Dec2012)

I know what you'd like to ask me now. What are the titles of the movies I've seen or watched so far? Well, I am sorry but I can't tell you right now, my dear folks and friends. Probably next time, who knows. But as of now, let your mind work or your imagination run wild, huh? In short, you just have to figure them out (based on some of the info above), okay?

Anyway, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful weekend. As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 08December2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Good Wednesday, everyone! Hope you're doing well. I am, thanks to God.

Food, food, food...That's what I have in mind for this post. What do we have for dinner today, my dear folks and friends? Before I answer the question, let me recall what food did I prepare the past couple of days. (BTW, I'd like to learn to cook (from) other simple, easy-to-prepare recipes.)

Well, on Monday, we had baked fish, pork scallopini, and sauteed onion with beans, and steamed rice. I had a small glass of dry white wine, Vidal Blanc from Tomahawk Mill Winery, Chatam, VA. I bought this bottle of wine one Saturday morning while at a Community Market in D-ville. The wine was kinda sweet which matches, in my  taste, the baked pork scallopini and fish. For dessert, I had a handful of California Whole pitted dates and that Ghirardelli milk chocolate. I had a cup of green tea after my meal. Two hours before bedtime, I had a small glass of organic milk, while watching  my soap on YouTube. Now, since we have left-overs, we had the same for dinner on Tuesday.

Today, Wednesday, I prepared spaghetti with Italian sausage, and baked garlic bread all from the Commissary. (I went to buy some grocery this morning before lunchtime, or noontime. But prior to that, I already have thawed that one pack of hot Italian sausage. I also bought some ingredients for this rice cake recipe that I've planned to bake. I was looking for pomegranate, but they don't have it there at the Commissary.)

After cooking, as usual, I ate my "early" dinner. I said early because it wasn't 5 pm yet when I finished cooking. Except that glutinous rice cake which is almost done. (BTW, the recipe for this came from my brod-in-law Dennis in California. Thank you, Manong Dennis! And Manang Betty! Hope and pray you're doing well, with grandkids Apollo and/or Mara.) Oppps...I forgot to buy that vanilla extract! Well, it's okay, I guess. As long as I have the main ingredients: a small bag of that glutinous rice flour from Thailand, three cups of fresh milk (but I used organic milk, though), three large eggs, 2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1/2 table spoon of baking powder, one stick of unsalted butter. While pre-heating the oven set at 350 degrees, melt the butter on the baking pan. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, then transfer the whole thing on that baking pan. Cooking time is one hour.)  It's still in the oven when I started eating dinner.

What else did I have for dinner, in addition to the above? I had a small glass of inexpensive ZAZO's Moscato Mediterranean Wine Spritzer (Sweet little wine, with hints of citrus), All Natural  (Product of Spain). I could have a red wine but this one I just mentioned went well with my spaghetti. As for dessert? But of course that homemade glutinous rice cake I just baked. With a cup of hot green tea. Thank you, gracious God.

That's all for dinner, my dear folks and friends. I do hope you have a wonderful day. Until next time around. Thanks for reading this post and my other blog posts. As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 05December2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday of Advent Thoughts

Hope and pray that you've had a beautiful and blessed Sunday, everyone!

While our daughter Tintin and her Aunt Rose attended a Christian church in neighboring city where Tintin plays piano there every other Sunday, Freny and I participated in today's Mass at St. Paul's. We did distribute to our fellow parishioners the consecrated wine, the Blood of Christ. Reverend. Fr. David, our pastor of four cluster parishes, was our celebrant and homilist. Words that resonate in me from his homily: "Don't let your sins separate you from God." Overall, the first Sunday of Advent Mass was solemn and inspiring.

This Sunday thoughts came upon me while on the road home from D-ville with wife Freny (driving our van), after bringing our daughter Tintin back to her apartment this late afternoon...

Jesus our Brother
we are preparing ourselves
we're waiting for You.

This Advent season
we're happy to welcome You
Jesus the reason.

I have to clear up
my mind is full of clutter
before Jesus comes.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Perspectives on The Season of Advent

On the first day, Sunday, of Advent, it's time for us to pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!" Then we sing in unison...
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear!
Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel! Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and discord cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel! Shall come to thee, O Israel!

There goes our opening prayer and opening song or hymn on the first Sunday, first week of the four weeks' Season of Advent.

Advent---what is it? In his article The Season of Advent in the Catholic Church, Scott P. Richert of Guide, wrote, "The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenio or ad-venire "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to the celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ into our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and finally, to His Second coming at the end of time."

The Magnificat's Advent Companion (2006) notes that Advent is that sacred season of anticipation and expectation in which we come to terms with the deepest yearning of our soul---a yearning fulfilled only in Jesus Christ. As we wait in longing for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas, we turn over to him all the false satisfactions---the compromises---of our life. To live Advent is to live in the awareness of a Presence that changes us. Our Advent preparation is marked by vigilance---custody of the heart in which we keep our soul fixed on the Lord. for what we see incarnate in the infant Jesus we desire for ourselves: purity, innocence, childlikeness restored. In the birth of this child we know the promise of our own spiritual rebirth.

In the first paragraph of the editorial page written by Alton J. Pelowski, managing editor of Knight of Columbus's Columbia magazine, December 2012 edition, we read: "The Season of Advent is an important time of spiritual preparation each year as the Church anticipates the celebration of Christmas. The call to pause amid the busyness of the holiday season and reflect on the Christian mystery takes on even greater significance during this Year of Faith and in the wake of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization."

Pelowski further wrote in his editorial quoting Pope Benedict XVI's homily at the opening Mass of the synod, "We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion. The best path to the new evangelization is to let ourselves be reconciled with God and with each other."

As for me, personally, Advent is the time to prepare ourselves to receive the child Jesus into our hearts. That means that we have to wait, as we long for His arrival. How? By preparing ourselves through constant prayer and doing good deeds to our fellow men and women. We also have to undergo reconciliation, confessing our sins (to a priest or our pastor) and be sorry for them.

In our Cluster Parishes's bulletin, November 18 and 25, 2012, we read: "In this season of (vigilance and) preparation, we are compelled to clear our minds and open our hearts to the grace of the coming of our Lord, Christ Jesus. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we respond a resounding "YES!" to God's invitation."

One Christian writer once wrote that Advent is a time to repent. Another said that it's a time for re-commitment to good, healthy habits---prayer, acts of charity and justice, and greater awareness of God's presence in our daily lives.

The United States Catholic Bishops Conference, in their Advent Page, states that Advent is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ's second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary to the Lord's birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas)."

Well, my dear folks and friends, whatever perspective/s you have about Advent, let's continue to do good deeds for the sake of others, and for God's sake. Let's clear the way, in our lives, so that when He comes or arrives, we're ready to welcome and receive Him with clean hearts.

This is all for now and until next time around. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a great Sunday, everyone! As we prepare and celebrate for child Jesus's coming, I pray, as always, "May God bless and keep us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 02Dec2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Post from D-ville

Good Saturday, everyone! I wonder if others out there miss my blog posts for I haven't had blog posts for the past three days? Well, I'm okay, doing well actually. Thank you, dear and loving God. And thank you, Jesus!

Yes, my dear folks and friends, we're out of town since yesterday, and spent the night at our favorite "da Best in the West" hotel in D-ville. Got it? I personally don't want to go to other hotels in D-ville, except at "da Best in the West." I love it here, matter-of-factly. We've been here before and if you guys happen to visit D-ville in Virginia, da Best is the place to stay comfortably. Excellent, clean and spacious rooms, excellent food (free continental breakfast, with free daily newspaper, courtesy of the hotel), excellent staff-personnel and excellent service! Their free breakfast (served between 6 am to 10 am) is absolutely great! Free tea and hot chocolate 24/7, by the lobby. The price to stay per night is reasonable, under $100. You can't beat that. Just for their free breakfast you'll be contented and, I believe, this is what people like me keep on coming back to this hotel. (Please don't misconstrue me if you think I'm promoting or advertising the hotel. No. I'm just sharing with you my "boarding and lodging" experience, away from home.) Check it out yourself and you'll thank me afterwards. "Yeah, Chris, was right!" you'll remark.

Just to let you know, I just had my breakfast downstairs in one of the lounges of the hotel. Now, as I got out of the elevator, going to our room on the second floor, guess who I met? My wife Freny and our daughter Tintin. They're going downstairs to have breakfast, too.

Here, in our hotel room, I'm writing this blog post of mine while the two are having breakfast.

First things first. This morning, as soon as I woke up, I grabbed my laptop and my rosary, and used the rest room while Freny was still in bed but already awoke; Tintin still asleep in her bed. So, while doing my daily routine in the rest room, I listened and prayed along the rosary using one of the videos on YouTube. BTW, thanks, YouTube, and the uploader of the video (I believe, he's a priest or a lay Catholic person very much devoted to our Blessed Virgin Mary.) Since it's Saturday today, I meditated on the Joyful Mysteries which are prayed on Mondays and Saturdays, fyi. (The Joyful Mysteries are 1. The Annunciation 2. The Visitation of the BVM 3. The Nativity or Birth of Jesus 4. Presentation Jesus in the Temple 5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.) While my blog post is in progress, I'm listening to Catholic Church songs/hymns playlist on YouTube, of course. I'm so inspired. Thank you , gracious God! Thank you, Jesus!.

Afterwards, I took a quick shower and prepared myself for today's happenings. Had breakfast downstairs, with sausage and eggs with bacon, one piece of bagel, a cup of orange juice, and waffle! (You make your own, it's easy. Just pour one small cup of that prepared liquid mixture on the hot waffle maker. Rotate it 180 degrees and in a few minutes, there's your waffle!) Yummy! I'm full! Thanks to God!

Previous day activities of mine? Well, I did prepare and mail our bills, paid our property taxes in the city's office of the revenue/treasurer, for four vehicles (all Toyotas, BTW. That means we're a Toyota family, eh? Dunno about that but we love the cars.) And, I also went to pay that semi-annual storm water bill, in a neighboring city where we have that rental house (since 2001, and managed by a realty company). I dropped by at the library and read the local newspaper. And, of  course, I did prepare for our dinner in those early or late afternoons, and watch my fave international soaps, again on YouTube. Ah, life is good. I can't complain. As I've posted in my Tuesday's post, I have "to live life and enjoy it as much as I can with all its perks and problems." With my faith, family, folks, and friends, I am so thankful to be alive and well. Thank you, God, for all your goodness and blessings!

On Thursday, 29Nov2012, I drove to the Car Dealership and Service Station for that regular maintenance/oil change on one of our cars. There I came to know a FilAm family for the first time and found out later that they live in the same subdivision as we do, only in the other end of the cul de sac. The service station's assistant manager Kevin interrupted my conversation with the family when he came to me, telling me about a couple of things recommended to be done for my car. I told him that I have to discuss it with my wife. He then printed out a copy of that list of recommended things to be done, not necessarily at that time. I thanked him for accommodating me, even if I didn't make an appointment. Just plain walk in at the service station. I guess, I'm familiar with some folks there at the office.

Yesterday, I went to one of the world's largest chain retail stores and bought some Christmas gift stuff for a kid (size 14-16) for the Giving Tree Outreach project in our parish, St. Paul's. I could imagine, he'll be happy this Christmas 2012 when he opens his gift from me and my family. God bless this boy and his family!

Well, what's for the rest of today, the first of December, at D-ville? We're planning to go around the city and at a Community Market, prior to leaving D-ville for home this late afternoon, probably. Anyway, I've got to sign off now, my dear folks and friends.

This is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonder-FALL weekend, everyone! Just a reminder to us all, tomorrow, Sunday, starts the Advent season. (I'll talk about it next time.) As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!" Peace be with you all!-chris a. quilpa, 01Dec2012.