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The Difference Between Strength and Courage



It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains,
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to endure abuses,
It takes courage to stop them.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

by David L. Griffith


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What Is…



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What Is…
What is within …
What is within the depths of my soul …
What is …

What created what is.

What lies without …
What lies in the serenity of a morning
hike through the forest, along side a
mountain stream, slowly and steadily
cascading a bed of mountain stone.
What is mighty and majestic as
the roar and tumble of the ocean’s
tide at storm.
What is as gentle as the touch of the gardener,
tending the rose.

What is …

Gentle, Calm, Mighty,
and Majestic from the depths of my soul
to the world around me…

God is All-Surrounding.

Magnificent, Unfathomable, Astonishing…
His vastness is beyond comprehension…
His mercy unceasing …
His love…undying.

By Robin M. Ferguson

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Look to This Day!



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Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
lie all the verities and realities
of your existence.

For yesterday
is already a dream
and tomorrow
is only a vision;
but today, well lived,
makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.

from the Sanskrit

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How Are You?



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Nobody wants to hear you complain;

Nobody’s interested in your aches and pains;

But if you are willing to stand still and listen

With a look of dismay as a slight tear glistens,

You will hear all about how someone else feels,

About where they hurt and about all their ills;

And your attention will earn you a brand-new best friend—

But beware… their tale of woe will ne’er end!

There’s no way to escape, once you show that you care,

So be cautious when asking how someone’s health fares.

By Elizabeth Ruth

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How Large Can a Heart Get?



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I have an enlarged heart, but it isn’t what you think.

According to Dr. Joseph Toscano in, cardiac enlargement is abnormal and accompanied by additional cardiovascular problems, but the one exception is regular aerobic exercise, which produces a beneficial enlargement involving both hypertrophy and dilation of the heart.

I’ve found out that, when it comes to things of the heart, God is our personal trainer.

When my husband, Em, and I had Gabby, our firstborn, I was so in love with him that I thought that it would be impossible for me to love another child. In fact, I began reading up on how to raise an only child. I thought that there could be only room for one child in my heart. But, after almost 5 years, I gave birth to a precious baby girl whom we aptly named Manna because we knew she was a blessing straight from heaven. These two kids filled my life, and when my husband and I separated just before, they were the ones who kept me focused and grounded. I settled down to what I thought would be the life of a single mom.

But, by God’s grace, my husband and I reconciled after 5 years of separation, and Gabby and Manna were the two happiest kids. We were a complete family again. We decided to move the whole family to Cebu in 1992 to start all over again.

And God showed us that He had other plans for us.

Soon after our reconciliation, we had Joshua. It was a simple case of “love is lovelier the second time around” kind of thing, and we were ecstatic! What better way to seal our newfound love than with an adorable baby?

But, God again had other plans!

In just a few months, I found myself expecting another child! This kind of threw me off my guard because I was re-starting my career but, when Sarah arrived, Em and I knew that the family was really complete. Two boys and two girls? Two pairs of each! What could be more perfect than that? Did I love them all? Yes, of course! Did I love them exactly in the same way? That would have been difficult because each one was so uniquely different. But, yes, my heart had grown to encompass each one with a love so strong, I thought it would explode.

God had other plans…again!

In 2007, God showed us that we were to take care of 4 siblings whose Italian father had died suddenly. This is a really long story but to “make a really long story short”, the eldest was already a member of our church and, when the father passed away, the two younger siblings started coming to our services too. Soon enough, they became really close friends with Joshua and Sarah because of the closeness in their ages. When we were told that they had no one actually taking care of them, and it was just Nana (the second brother) who was trying to keep their dad’s business afloat, Em and I felt compelled to begin helping them. Within the year, the 2 younger ones, Savina, and Luigi began to live in our home so that we could monitor their schooling. After that, the elder boys, Maurice and Nana, moved in as well. So, our brood doubled within a year.

Our house is an average size – just 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. When we got it, it was just right for 2 boys and 2 girls doubling up in each room Today, it is filled to the rafters (even if we don’t have any of those!) with kids (THAT we have a lot of!). Amazingly, they all blend so well with our “original” batch. Even their ages intersperse– Gab (28), Mao (24), Manna (23), Nana (22), Josh (17), Savina (16), Sarah (15) and Luigi (15). With four twenty-something kids and four teenagers, all of them active, our house is like a dormitory on steroids. Mealtime is always like an eat-all-you-can buffet.

In our church, I have been given the esteemed title of “Mother of Multitudes”, making me feel so much like Abraham’s wife, Sarai. I think Em feels like Abraham as well. People always ask me, “Can you love children not born from you?” I’d jokingly reply, “Do I have a choice?” But seriously? My answer is, “I’ve learned that my heart has grown proportionally to the number of children God has given us.”

And still, God had other plans.

Last October 4, 2009, we found among the bushes across our house the newborn baby girl whom we named Faith Makana (Hawaiian for “gift”) or as everyone calls her, Baby Maki, and we had formally adopted her, bringing our kid tally to a whopping, – ta-dah!- 9! Do I love her? With such a passion that, again, I feel that my heart will explode.

Being a quack doctor on the side, I have diagnosed myself to have a cardiac enlargement but of a beneficial kind, the kind that enables me to embrace all the children that God has given us. It is the kind that has stretched my heart with the exercise of loving unconditionally each child though they have different personalities. And just like any exercise, there is some pain involved, some stretching, and some resistance but the benefits far exceed the discomforts. My Personal Trainer, in His wisdom, planned it all. I have an enlarged heart and I’m glad I do.


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