He who seeketh, findeth

March 10, 2010

Thank you, God, for this plentiful food!

Filed under: God,Happiness,Health,Meditation,Thanksgiving,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 12:53 am
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Today, I went to Whitespot and I ordered a pilaf dish to go… and when I got to my room, and opened the to go “box”, I thought the food was not as much as it would have been had I stayed in. A bunch of thoughts crossed my mind. Some good, some not; some analytical, some nonsensical. I was eating while reading something on the Internet and before I knew it, I was done eating. 20 minutes later, I noticed that I was pretty full. Not too full, but full enough. I also know that if I had a little bit more food, I could have eaten it all, and may be I would be a little bit fuller, but I like how I feel right now better. Full enough. I also noticed that I did not say Grace before I ate. So, I said Grace afterwards.

I was wondering why I evaluated the food that was in front of me depending on the quantity. Actually, this has been an on going thing for the past couple of months. I am eating more, I am getting hungry frequently, and I consider the quantity of the food I am eating. I will not go for quantity over quality, but when the quality is the same, my next thing is quantity. Price is not really a big factor. I am thankful that even though I have been eating more, I have not gained any weight, but that is a physiological thing. I am digressing from what I wanted to write about.

I was wondering if, regardless of the quantity in front of me, I could thank God for it, and look at it as plentiful. It is actually plentiful if you think about it. I had none, now I have some. In addition, eating, like living, is a matter of attitude. My thoughts will determine how much I enjoy the food. If I start off “unhappy” with the food, (quantity or other reason), I may miss out on other enjoyable things about it.

All I want is “enough”. Enough food. Enough friends. Enough money. Enough knowledge. Not too much that I don’t have time to enjoy it or that I take away from other people, and not too little that I envy or worry or strive.

Thank you, God, for this plentiful food!

September 5, 2009

God answers both hidden and unhidden prayers

Filed under: Happiness,Health,Reason for Breathing,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 7:20 pm

God answers many hidden (and unhidden) prayers, only if we learn to look.

Example 1:

A person, X, goes through a test for which one of the conditions for success is to be free from any life-threatening diseases. Most of the diseases being tested in this test are infectious. It will take months or years for the person to get results back as various people are testing the samples, analyzing the results, and sending their recommendation to a central unit that makes the final decision on success or failure of the test. X is worried that through contacts with another person or other persons, contraction of one of the diseases may have occurred. X starts to pray for mercy and grace that everything turns out well. At times X is worried and stops praying because, what can it change, and other times, prayers rules the day or the week, for another (selfish) reason.

Coincidentally, P, one of the people with whom X had contact goes through a test that has a few tests similar to what X had. P’s results will come out much quicker because for one reason or another, the decision-makers on P need the results as soon as possible. It is an expedited case. P is congratulated on being successful in the test. P shares the results with X. X is happy for P, and excited for X-self. God has indirectly answered X’s prayers, or has at least provided solid evidence for hope.

 Example 2:

P has a problem that will take several hours or days or months or years to be resolved. P prays to God for guidance, strength, faith, and a happy ending, if it is God’s will. Most prayers are like this one, whereby the solutions may be wanted now, but it usually will take a while for the situation to play itself out. Thus, when one prays for success or happiness in such cases, one is asking God for so many things, usually without knowing it, and God answers those unknown, but vital, prayers without the person knowing or acknowledging that tons of big time prayers have been answered. Let me go through examples of prayers which are loaded with hidden prayers.

Prayers:

–          A dear one is sick and everyone is sick. P prays for the dear one’s recovery. That is the unhidden prayer. Now with this unhidden prayer, come at least the following hidden prayers. That P lives long enough to see the recovery. That anybody who is negatively affected by the sickness, for example, caretakers, workmates, of the dear one, will be given relief.

–          P is waiting for interview results that will take weeks to come out. The results will be sent through international mail. Prays to get positive results and that the feedback period should be normal (that is, no delays). Here are some hidden prayers. That all the critical people in the process live, at least until they perform their part of the process. That all the hazards against the mail do not happen. That P lives to see the results.

–          P needs shoes. P prays for God to provide the shoes from whoever, soon enough, if it is His will. Other than the hidden prayer for life, there is hidden prayer for the legs to be there, and to be functional, and for the things that the legs and the person need the shoe for to continue being there. If it is to walk to a job, a hidden prayer is for the employer’s life, P’s continued employment, and so on.

 One can add more to the list of prayers and the hidden, tag-on, appended unexpressed prayers that go with it. A critical aspect of the hidden prayers is that if you remove the hidden prayers, the clear unhidden prayers do not make sense. Since God has purpose for everything, we have grown to assume that He will take care of all those other things as well. If one needed proof that God is Omniscient, the hidden prayers that are answered as well should provide a little bit of proof, or at least food for thought.

December 9, 2007

Thankful for good hearty laughter

Filed under: Fun (Jokes etc),Happiness,Health,Thanksgiving — Steve (Chessiq) @ 11:56 am

Yesterday, I laughed so hard, ~~I think I dropped a tear or two~~ at this Mourning Wood Extreme video: (thanks, Catdiva!)

Today, I have had several similar experiences… one was watching Stephen Colbert on youtube. Whether he is “praising” George W. Bush or talking to Charlie Rose or running for President, he is amazingly funny!

The other hearty-laughter times have been when reading A.J. Jacobs’ THE KNOW-IT-ALL. So far I have made it to baculum and you just have to read the story to see what I am talking about.

A.J Jacobs is my all-time favorite, funniest, and yet instructive, story-teller (both written & audio).

So, I am thankful for all the times that I have laughed – which is pretty frequent – and the many times that I have laughed so hard I cried with laughter, which is not as frequent!

November 3, 2007

Spirituality in cleaning a burned pot

Filed under: Happiness,Health,Meditation — Steve (Chessiq) @ 6:52 am

A couple of days ago, I think it was Tuesday night, I decided to cook for the week. I filled one of my biggest pots with meat and put it on the stove and turned on the gas as low as I could… I didn’t want to use the crockpot, so I thought I could just cook the meat for a couple of hours at low, and then the next day, when I had more time and energy to cook, I would finish off the cooking. (Browning, making soup, and freezing whatever I needed for the future.)

After 2 hours, I decided to raise the heat to medium so that it would cook quickly. I did this as I was getting on the phone, so I reasoned that I would attend to the stove right before I went to bed. That was probably around 9pm. It was a little cold, so I decided to get in bed to keep warm as I talked on the phone. The next time I got up, it was a little before 2am. I turned, but I could hear a “hissing” sound, and there was a very strong smell. The sound was drops of vapor that were falling from the top of the lid of the scorched pot, onto the bottom of the waterless hellishly hot bottom of the pot!

I turned on the lights to find that my place was filled with smoke and for some reason, the smoke detector didn’t go off, even though it was flashing (meaning that the battery was okay and it was “working”?). I turned off the stove, removed the plate from the stove, sprinkled a paper towel with a generous amount of lemon juice and covered the meant with the towel and covered the pot again. I had read somewhere that paper towels, and newspapers are good at absorbing smells, and lemon juice is also a good odor killer. Came back to bed, and I couldn’t just stand the smell of burnt food all over the house. I thought I felt dizzy at one point. I opened all the windows and the living room curtains. I came back to bed and I couldn’t sleep, so I spent the next 3 hours or so, listening to inspiring teachings from a retreat that I had found online. The windows were open for the next two days and the smell almost vanished. Oh, lighting candles overnight helped the other day.

Anyway, I had to come home for lunch on Wednesday to throw away all the meat – I was seething! I debated whether to throw away the burnt pot with the burnt meant or try to savage what I could from the pot. It was the worst burning I had every seen. 4 hours of medium gas heat is not a joke. I think the burning happened in the last 30 minutes to an hour before I got up, but still. I decided to try cleaning the pot. So after removing the black and dark brown meat, I filled the pot with water. I added a generous amount of soap, lemon amonia(?), Comet powder (with bleach), and left it alone for about 7 hours. When I cleaned the dishes at night, I decided to give the pot a shot and I was nicely surprised when I threw away the black water, that the pot was as clean as new! It was so unbelievable! I look forward to cooking in it again for many more times.

I wondered what could have happened if I had thrown it away. I could have lost a “good” pot. The fact is, it was not a good pot, but the truth is, it was a good pot. Zengani explained to me the difference between facts and truths years back.

If I had thrown away the pot, I would never have known that it would have been so easy to clean. Not that the knowledge matters much for its own sake, but it changed the fate of my future pots, should they burn.

How is this related to spirituality?

Well, when we sin or do something wrong, we become scorched one way or the other, in the eyes of some of our fellow men, and possibly in the eyes of God. It may be easier for men and God to write us off than give us another chance. It may be even harder for ourselves to give ourselves another chance, to say that something good may become of us, only if we could find a way to clean the burned pot that we have become. How does the cleaning happen? Well, it may start off by us recognizing that something bad has happened and we need to take some corrective action. May be ask for forgiveness, may be commit to not committing the mistake or sin again. May be we need to change our mindset and look at the possibility of things being better instead of throwing the soul away together with the man/body which would have happened if I had thrown away the meat with the pot.

That was my small moment of spirituality as I meditated on the significance of the burnt meat, pot, and how I was able to give the pot a new life.

Of course, later on I realized that I could have died from the smoke inhalation. I could have become sick at the least. But none of that happened. Why am I still alive? It is a question that I try to answer each day when I make it home safe, when I consider the many times I could have died on the road, etc. A fire could have started from the burning of the pot – I don’t know how, but it seems possible that it could have happened. It didn’t. So much grace, so much to be thankful for. So many reasons to try to live a better life each day. So many reasons to embrace life and appreciate what I have.

October 20, 2007

All they MAY DO is say “NO” – (Saving money by calling customer service).

Filed under: Happiness,Health,Money — Steve (Chessiq) @ 7:42 pm

When it comes to Banks and other services providers (SPs), there are times when I “lose” money because of my own fault, sometimes because of other people’s fault. For example, there was a time when I transferred money from one bank to the other about 10 days prior to the day that I was going to write a check from the latter bank account. The transaction was supposed to clear both banks within 5 (business) days. It cleared the first one within 2 days, and it took a long time to clear the second bank because the paperwork was sitting on somebody’s desk for over a week! In the mean time, the check I had written was returned, I was charged all sorts of fees everywhere. To add salt to the wound, the bank that was sitting on my check charged me overdraft fees! After fuming and everything on the side – (this is very important, don’t be mad at the customer service, even when they are behaving like jerks) – I called the payee to find out if they could waive the fees, since it was not my fault. No they wouldn’t. What could I do to make sure that my record was clean? A letter from the second bank, stating that they had messed up etc. I had called my first bank during the 10 days to find out what was happening and I had detailed notes on when they made the funds transfer etc. Then I called the second bank to tell them what had happened… they did an internal search for the transaction and found the hangup. They offered to process the transaction ASAP. I said thanks, and then got the details of the person I was speaking with and reference number for the problem – and then continued to tell the person how the delay had impacted me. I started with something that the person could help me with, waive the fees at the bank. She did that for me. Many thanks. At this time, the only thing that was remaining was the fees that the payee (of my check) charged me. I went on to ask for a reimbursement of those charges. I was told to go to a local bank (branch) for some paperwork… anyway, after things didn’t quite work out here, I spoke to the regional manager and then emailed her proof of all the charges and reversed charges and remaining charges and she decided in my favor within 24 hours. It’s been a couple of months, but I am sure I saved over $200 in fees. ($35 overdraft fee, $50 returned check fees, $30/day late fees, and other ridiculous fees that you agree to when you don’t anticipate things getting that out of hand.)

The one thing that I usually get in trouble with is “free-trial” stuff. Usually, it is stuff that I don’t NEED, but I just WANT to try (so that I know 😉 ) – the latest incident was stamps.com – I have AVG anti-virus software. The “lean” package is free for home use, but you could get the full package – anti-virus, firewall, spy-ware, etc for a year, free of charge, if you try out a bunch of things. So I choose to try out stamps.com for a month, “risk-free”. I knew that I could cancel the same day once I got the activation code – but I was like, I may print some free stamps, or I may …. I don’t know. I guess I can cancel when everything is good – I feel like calling customer service and answering all the questions about why I was canceling (before the free trial was over) etc. I waited too long even though I knew it was getting really really close, and then it was a weekend, and stamps.com customer service does not open on weekends! Anyway, I called in on the following Monday or Tuesday to cancel, and the guy was gracious on the phone. Asked me why I was canceling, told him that I never send anything in the mail. That’s true. I was never going to use the service. I thought everything was okay until a couple of days later, I see some charge, $15.95 or $15.99 had hit my credit card! Nice. I had dealt with this before, only this time, I thought the problem was that I had canceled the service late. As usual, I told myself, I don’t make $15.95 in 5 minutes, so I might as well take the chance to do that for once! Call customer service and see if they can refund me the money. All they may do is say, “NO”, but I could save money if I convince somebody to do it. The CSR told me that the service was not a free trial, it was a risk free trial! What’s the difference? I cannot remember the details, but they charge for their service in advance, so once I exceeded the 4 weeks, I got billed for that. AND they were about to bill me for the next period that had started when I called them, but they decided to give me a courtesy one time waiver etc. (I could have been billed over $31 for something that I never intended to use! I considered just dropping the request, but I was like, let me press and see what he says.) So I apologized for my misunderstanding of the situation, and asked if he could do me a big favor by refunding me the money. He sternly refused. There are times when I dislike male CSRs and at other times I dislike female CSRs! At other times, I love them both! Thing is, most of them are good. It’s just that sometimes these things will go your way, sometimes they will not. So I asked him one more time if he could do it, he said he could not. I thanked him for his help, asked for his name, and then asked to speak to his supervisor. After a minute or so, I was on the phone with his supervisor, and I explained the situation, what I had understood from my talk with the CSR, and what my position was. I told him I understood their position, but I needed a favor – a refund of the fees, as I never intended to use the service. “Okay, can you hold, I will see what I can do.” “Thank you very much.” I meant it each time I said thanks – when I was given the opportunity to speak to the supervisor, to when the supervisor told me he would see what he could do – sometimes it may be too late to reverse stuff. A few seconds later, he told me he had reversed the transaction and it would appear on my card in 5 to 7 business days. “Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.” He offered to give me the reference number, normally, I would take it, but this one time, I said no – I told him that I trusted him, so I didn’t need the number. I hope I will not need the reference number!

So, I figured I could just share these two of the many experiences I have had, whereby calling customer service for whatever needs, be it reversing outrageous charges, to canceling your cable (and you end up getting one or months free of charge), to asking for a lower interest rate on your loan or credit card – pays off. After all, all they may do is say “NO”.

September 23, 2007

All Things Milk – Reading up on Lactose Intorelance

Filed under: Happiness,Health,Thanksgiving — Steve (Chessiq) @ 1:58 pm

I was diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance a couple of weeks ago… since then, I have made a commitment to watch what I eat, I have also forgotten that I am Lactose Intolerant and indulged myself in Ice-cream and cake “binges”! After a couple of days of that, it caught up with me this weekend… and it took a while for me to figure out that the pain was related to the tons of lactose I had consumed. Anyway, I was talking to my best friend while in bed and … soymilk came up in the conversation. Today, I got Lactaid (looks like Milk to me) and soymilk… but I wasn’t sure about the SoyMilk. I bought it anyway! I kept wondering if I should have done my research beforehand! So I was researching Lactose Intorelance, SoyMilk, etc. I found a very good article at dietician.com. Actually, it’s question and answer post(s) on Milk (allergies and more). I would strongly recommend reading it if you have any issues with Milk or you just wonder why you should drink milk, or what you should do if you are not drinking milk but you are wondering if you are losing out on some essential nutrients, or if you are wondering what’s up with Horse Milk -;) You can copy this and paste it in your browser, http://www.dietitian.com/milk.html or just click here.

Who know who reads what I read and what they are going through. I just thought I should share… it might help somebody. Oh, no regrets on the SoyMilk! Thanks for the suggestion!

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