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The Power of Friendship



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Over the years I’ve realized that there’s nothing quite like friendship, nor anything quite as special. I was a particularly difficult teenager: I privileged my own emotions in a way that was selfish, masochistic, and volatile. I didn’t have mood swings so much as I had the kind of moods that dug a hole instead, clawing away at my feet until I had a hole so big it made climbing out of it difficult.

Moods like these often tested my friendships: some gave up on me while others persevered. Some left my life while others chose to stay in it. And those who stayed in it have shown me compassion and kindness at a level only romantic relationships could ever dream to aspire towards. But love was difficult. And friendship – if you let it – can be so incredibly easy.

I knew what true friendship was at the age of 17. As a guy I’d always have difficulty communicating with other guys; it was a different sort of friendship, one punctured by excessively casual attitudes towards sex, and they only ever seemed to want to have fun, and so nothing could ever be remotely serious. And then I met a girl named P, and another named S, and together we formed a trio of sorts.

P was incredibly intelligent, and so was S. But P was intelligent in a way that made her sparkle, while S’s particular intelligence was of a dark, dulling quality; the more P knew the more she seemed to glow, while S only seemed to grow increasingly skeptical about the life that revolved around her. I had intelligence too, but with none of the curiosity that seemed to drive P and S towards reading more, knowing more, dispensing with more knowledge. I was simply content to be in their company.

I remember the day S told me that she was cutting herself, just small, barely noticeable cuts on her upper arms and her inner thighs. I remember looking at P, a little speechless, not fully sure what to do with that information. If S and I were in a relationship, I might have done something about it – but as a friend I felt bound to simply hold on to this piece of information, to simply accept it and nod my head. A week later the three of us hung out, and I began to cry. I told her I was under a lot of stress, and under a lot of sadness as well.

A month later, S and I were standing at the side of the road, waiting for the lights to change. Just before it did, she turned to me and said, “I love you, D. I smiled and told her I loved her too. And then we crossed the road together.

There are two different kinds of love, I realise. One is that love we’re taught to love – it’s the love between heroes and heroines, of romantic comedies – it’s the kind of stuff that we sometimes confuse with sex, with sexual desire. The other love is the love that simply hands itself to you: all it asks is that you have wide enough hands to receive it. This other love is the love between friends.

Allow me to relate one other incident. I have a friend I’ve known since the age of 10. We met in church, just two kids who liked sulking at the back. We shared our fantasies at the time, and liked to pretend we were older than we were. For some reason we remained friends, even after we’d started to attend different churches. We kept in touch.

When we turned 21, the pressures of adulthood made us tired, fatigued, prone to temper tantrums. We kept discovering new things to be disappointed in the other about – about how we were changing, about how we weren’t – about how we were meant to be adults now, but a part of us will always remain as children, sulking at the back of service.

Once we had a fight, a really bad one: the kind of bad fight that lovers would break up over, but because we were friends, we simply stopped talking. During our silence I’d look up articles on the Internet, about the particular pain of losing a friend: how it was sharper than losing a lover, how it was strangely more painful, more total. It was a blow that struck both soft and hard on the heart.

We didn’t talk for a total of four months. One night I remember, just looking at her picture. I used to text her all the time, with random, inane observations about the life that was happening around me. But now there was nothing but a void, a vacuum into which thoughts get sucked into and become lost forever. Friendship was meant to be easy, I thought. So why was it so hard? And then I realized: friendship is easy. It is easy. Friendship isn’t hard.

I typed her a message. “I miss you,” I said. “I’m sorry that we fought. I think about you all the time. I hope we can talk again.”

She sent me a reply almost immediately afterwards. “That’s funny,” she said. “I was just thinking about you too.”

Fifteen minutes later she was sending me links to funny videos on YouTube, something about talking ponies and a candy mountain. It was hilarious. And that was all it took to get us laughing again, loudly and raucously like children. #throwback

By Daryl

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?



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When you’re struggling to drop off, or if you’re battling the demands of work and home life, you can find yourself wondering how much sleep you can get away with. Is it ok to have just four or five hours or must you get a solid eight or nine hours every night?

If you’re suffering from insomnia, or just the demands of a newborn baby, you may be wondering – how much sleep do you need?

How Much Sleep Do You Need on Average?

This is a difficult question to answer as the amount of sleep a person needs depends on a lot of different factors like age, health and lifestyle.

Many people think staying up through the night to get work finished or to meet a deadline means they are being more productive but the science shows the opposite is true.

Without enough sleep, you are sluggish and impaired which means you work slower and make more mistakes. So, next time you’re struggling on a project, take yourself to bed and get some sleep. You’ll wake up refreshed and more creative – producing better work in the long run!

There is also a difference between the amount of sleep you actually need and the amount that is recommended for you to work at your best. While you can survive on fewer hours sleep, that is only a short-term solution and you should aim to get the optimum amount.

You might be able to carry on with only six or seven hours sleep for a few days but over time this will take its toll and you should be spending more time resting.

Some inherited factors like your genes can also affect how many hours of sleep you need to function at your best.


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In many official forms today, people are given gender choices: Mister, Miss, Mrs., Ms. plus that ambiguous word “Other,” about which I have always wondered. I know it to be a gender-neutral honorific but who actually ticks it off?

I need never wonder again.

According to Merriam-Webster, “Other” refers to those who do not identify themselves as belonging to a particular gender—or those who don’t want to be identified by gender.

Can you guess what this world-famous dictionary did to acknowledge “Other?” While we weren’t looking, it added an honorific just for him/her/whomever.

Pronounced as mix, this new word has been in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged since April 2016 and added to their online dictionary last September 2017.

While the word isn’t used as an official title globally yet, it is already recognized and adopted in the UK and soon other parts of the world may follow suit. Men and women can then freely use it.

And men and women will completely be mixed up. No more shall there be bad and good, rude and polite, correct and incorrect, man and woman, black and white—just all shades in between.

2018 will be cluttered and mixed-up with new words and new identities, reminiscent of our famous Filipino dessert called “halo-halo” (transliterated as mix-mix).

In one tall glass are many kinds of fruits and some vegetables in various colors and shapes with bits and pieces of native cakes thrown it, plus milk and sugar mixed in crushed ice and ice-cream.

More and more people will demand for ways to acknowledge themselves, their individuality, their  me-ness.

This is not at all surprising; it is not going to get better. Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “. . . that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.”  1Timothy 3:1-2 (NLT)

By grace, we can keep the faith.

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The Unspoken Word: Aging



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People often say to me, “You don’t look your age.” I don’t quite know how to react—smile or smirk. I am sure they mean well and want to make me feel good, but somehow, there’s a disconnect somewhere.

feel my age. Every single year of it. I feel it in my bones, in my muscles, in my eyes, in my ears, in my gums, on my scalp and on my skin—in every place of me.

Does that mean my body parts have aged before my looks?

Sheila Nevins (aged 78), an American television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films, calls this “compliment” to women of a certain age as fairy tale. In fact, she wrote a satirical and hilarious book about women in this late life stage. She titled it: “You Don’t Look Your Age and Other Fairy Tales.”

When (or if) I get to be her age and still writing or training young writers in workshops and seminars, I will probably be hearing more “You don’t look your age.”

Our late househelp Manang Vi, whose oral bluntness was unrivaled, had doused my delight, “When people say that to you, they’re wrong.”

I replied, “You mean, they’re lying?”

She said, “No. They just don’t know what they’re saying.”

God bless her soul.

There’s a statement that I wish people would say instead, “You’re aging with grace.” But there’s a stigma attached to the word “aging.” You don’t dare speak it to other people’s lined face, unless you are a physician specializing in geriatrics.

The word grace does not come naturally in conversations, either—unless you are in Sunday school or a prayer meeting.

But since “You don’t look your age” seems to be the “in” thing to say to people whose looks have obviously transformed from a fresh plum to a dried prune through the years, I should be grateful.

Whatever changes my body (or mind) has gone and will go through, the only One that matters remains unchanged.

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” I Isaiah 46:4 (NLT)

 Grace D. Chong

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Source of Security



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During my first year of marriage, Raynie asked me the deadliest question spouses could ask one another: “Why do you love me?”

Now, I know that many of you think this question is sweet or cute or harmless. But I assure you, this can be a trap for any person’s insecurities. So before I tell you my answer, let me talk about why this question can be dangerous.

So many people judge themselves using worldly standards. That means they look at the mirror and assess themselves according to their looks, their accomplishments, their fashion, their intelligence, or even their social circles. That’s how the world judges.

When it comes to relationships, this becomes the standard by which people judge themselves and one another. I know it can happen to both men and women since both put their hearts on the line when they get to know one another. The man risks getting rejected while the woman risks feeling unwanted. So let’s ask the question again: WHY DO YOU LOVE ME?

When a girl asks that question to a guy, she is usually looking for security. For a christian girl to ask that from a christian guy? Oh, that’s a relational death trap. Here’s where the cycle of insecurity comes in.

Girls tend to think:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m not kind enough.”
“I’m not pretty enough.”
“I’m not smart enough.”
“I’m not intelligent enough.”
“I’m not successful enough.”
“I’m not sweet enough.”
“I’m not sporty enough.”
“I’m not sexy enough.”
“I’m not independent enough.”
“I’m not strong enough.”
“i’m not feminine enough.”

And guess what. At some point in your life, one or more of these statements will be true. There will ALWAYS be someone smarter, richer, prettier, funnier, sexier, stronger, kinder, etc…

When you compare yourself to others, you will ALWAYS lose. When you use the world’s standards to evaluate your desirability, you will always lose. When you use the world’s standards to find security, you will always lose. AND WHEN YOU ASK THE OPPOSITE SEX THIS QUESTION, and expect him or her to evaluate you based on worldly standards, you will BOTH lose.

Take at look at this cycle:
1- Why do you like me? (the girl is using worldly standards)
2- The guy thinks she’s pretty (the girl got her wish and got judged by worldly standards)
3- Someone prettier comes along (the girl loses and feels insecure)
4- She then gets angry at the guy (she blames him for using worldly standards to judge her)
5- She then looks for a guy who has lower standards, or improves herself to fit that standard
6- Repeat step 1


The solution? Stop judging yourself and evaluating yourself using worldly standards. Instead, judge yourself based on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are valuable not because you’re rich or funny or successful, BUT BECAUSE THE GOD WHO CREATED THE UNIVERSE DEEMED YOU VALUABLE ENOUGH TO BEAR THE CROSS OF CALVARY. We are sinners, deserving of wrath, yet received grace from God when we repent of our sins! How does that change things when it comes to our relationships? Well, for starters, we realize that we do not and will never deserve a spouse. We will never deserve receiving another human being as a gift, to love us despite our sinfulness. AND YET GOD BECAME MAN TO LOVE US AS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. The result is humility. Not pride. We won’t feel that we deserve to be loved, and yet will receive love with a humble and grateful heart!

Secondly, because our value and security is in Christ and His cross, we won’t feel threatened that others are richer, smarter, funnier, and etc because every other person is just a richer sinner, a funnier sinner, a prettier sinner, a more successful sinner… and when we see this, the playing field is leveled for everyone. We are all in need of grace. We are all the same. And in that sense, there’s no need for competition.
So please, don’t settle for a guy or a girl who loves you based on worldly standards. You might think it would be better than being lonely, but trust me. Marrying a guy or a girl for the wrong reasons will only INCREASE your loneliness. Why? Because you won’t be with a guy or girl married to you. Not really. Instead, you’ll be with a guy who is married to your face, or your bank account, or your sex appeal, or your wits, or whatever it is that he married you for.

Don’t judge or evaluate yourself using worldly standards, and don’t ever allow others to do so. Rather, base everything on Christ’s Cross. And be with someone who wants to be with you for the right reasons. But what are the right reasons? Well, let me answer the question my wife asked me: Why do you love me?

My answer?

“Because God placed a love in my heart for you.”
“Because I see Christ being formed in you.”
“Because I see Christ being formed in me through you.”

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