Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Flower Picture from BK of Symphony of Love

This is NOT a free picture!
You will have to ask the permission of the owner
BK author of Symphony of Love

This is a blog that talks about love, inspiration and many more. Beautiful photographs are also featured which added more creativity to her blog.

Photo by BK

Visit her blog and

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Respite in the Forest

Adrian careened right into her. He was running the few remaining distance to the mountain crest, when she came out of nowhere and just stood there blocking his path. It was too late for him to stop. There was a loud thump and they both went down in a heap.

"I'm sorry, "Adrian gingerly helped her get up. "Are you okay? I didn't see you coming."

The woman said nothing. "C'mon, I'll ..." The woman turned, and Adrian stared at the wrinkled, ugliest face he had ever seen.

He almost dropped her arm, but he regained his composure and continued to help the old, ugly woman to her feet.

"Are you okay?" Adrian repeated the question, but she just nodded, and without a backward glance left him gaping at her departing figure.

"Wait," he called out to her, but the woman limped onwards not bothering to look back.

What was that? Adrian thought. The old woman seemed to be aloof, or was she scared? Who was she? Perhaps she was one of the natives who opted to live in the forest?

He remembered the words of the caretaker at the hacienda. "Don't stay late in the forest. Strange things happen at night." But this is high noon! He shrugged his misgivings and continued his ascent toward the peak.

The sight from up there was something he had never imagined. It was a taste of heaven! The air was nifty and fresh, peace and calm reigned. There were white fluffy clouds drifting by like white marshmallows, etched in the clear, afternoon sky. He wanted to reach out and stuff them into his mouth.

At the foot of the mountain, the village was dotted with miniature houses. There was a river that snaked its way around it, enclosing the small nipa huts in a tight cluster. Towering mountains stood all around it like silent sentinels.

He turned around and tried to locate the town where he had come from, but the sight was only of smog rising up in the air from the flat lowlands. He was between two totally different worlds. At The other side of the mountain was the town, polluted, civilized and modernized, and at the opposite side, the pristine, unadulterated village. Perhaps one day, he would have enough time to visit the village below.

The melodious chirping of birds brought him back to reality. He settled himself in the lush, matted moss opening his packed lunch to devour his food as nature watched over him. He basked in the marvelous, invigorating environment. How he wished he could stay there forever. This was his idea of peace and quiet. He needed these rare, serene moments as his job had been demanding much from him lately, and he had bouts of insomnia during the night which was work-related.

He sat there quietly assimilating everything into his burnt out system. It was so “silent” he knew that if he shouted, this would reverberate across the mountain ranges. He closed his eyes and listened to the calming sounds of nature; the hum of the cicadas, the whisper of the wind, the chirping of birds and the murmur of distant brooks. He was in this state, when he heard an audible, chopping sound. His ears prickled and he listened closely.

"Chop, chop, chop..." there it was, resounding in the stillness of the forest.

He stood up and cautiously approached the origin of the sound. "Chop, chop chop."

He came upon a clearing and to his surprise, he saw the old woman he had met earlier. She was painstakingly cutting up a big chunk of log into smaller sizes. Her back was bent at a dangerous angle, like it would break any moment. She seemed to be laboring under the weight of the ax.

Her abode was a small run- down house that had a big wooden door adorned with strange things: a deer antler, an apparent animal skin, and a roughly hewn digging tool. Piles of firewood were stacked on both sides of the entrance.

Adrian's helpful nature responded to the situation. He approached the old woman who seemed not to be surprised to see him there. She continued with her laborious chore.

"Let me help you, "he offered.

The woman cast him a strange glance and went back to her task.

Adrian ventured closer, "I can do that for you…" he said uncertainly.

The woman stopped for the second time and studied him closely.

Without a word, Adrian got the ax from her. His sinewy arms rippled as he swang the hatchet repeatedly to divide the big log into pieces of firewood. This was a better exercise than lifting weights, he chuckled.

It felt good to be able to help someone again.

When the log had been neatly cut into small pieces and stacked below the hearth, he viewed his work contentedly.

"Here, have some water," the old woman spoke at last, her hoarse voice quivered.

"Thank you." Adrian drank thirstily from the plastic cup.

"Thanks for the help, but you have to go now," she said.

Adrian was curious, "don't you have anyone else here with you?"

She did not answer his question.

"Go now, before it gets dark,” she insisted, pushing him firmly out of the clearing.

Adrian left reluctantly. The old woman’s face became contorted and she was wildly motioning with her hands, urging him to leave.

He found it strange that an old woman would be living alone in the middle of the forest. Was this one of those Hansel and Gretel stories that he had read when he was a child? He enjoyed those bed time stories but he knew they were pure fiction. Witches and the supernatural just weren't in his vocabulary.

Shaking his head in disbelief, he trekked back as the setting sun cast an orange hue in the approaching dusk.

The descent would take an hour at the most, he thought. As he was nearing the clear, bubbling stream which he had passed earlier, he heard singing.

The flowing, vibrant voice came from a woman seated in a gleaming stone. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on. Her toes were immersed in the water and she was playfully wiggling them.

He stood transfixed for some interminable minutes and then willed himself to move on.

But the woman noticed him, "Hello, are you new to this place?" He stopped in his tracks and looked back.

She had stood up and her flimsy, flowing clothing could not hide the voluptuous figure she had.

Adrian stared and became speechless, he nodded his assent.

"Come sit with me for a while, I need company."

He could not take his eyes off her. Am I being hypnotized? Or being enchanted perhaps? What's a beautiful woman doing in the forest alone? He asked himself.

He wanted to refuse but the woman pulled him closer and held his hand tenderly.

He went willingly. Vestiges of night shadows were beginning to take shape. The air seemed charged with numerous atoms that began to collide with each other.

As she sensuously caressed his hands, his pulses quickened and his spine tingled. When was the last time he had been with a woman? He couldn't remember.

Just then, a piercing scream rang through the air. Adrian bolted up, like he was struck by lightning.

The scream echoed in the distance, he was almost certain it was the old woman! What was happening to her?

“That’s the old woman I met earlier. I have to see what's wrong with her." He blurted out and started to disengage himself.

The woman restrained him. "She's just an old witch," she said scornfully. "Stay here with me and I'll make you happy."

Another scream reverberated in the evening air.

Adrian firmly dislodged the woman’s creamy hand from his shoulders and ran. "I will have to see what's wrong with her," he insisted.

It was easier for him to go back to the old woman’s hut. It felt like he was going home. The old woman had her back to him and was staring at the distance. Adrian was at her side in an instant.

"What's wrong?" He asked breathlessly.

The old woman turned and to Adrian's utter amazement, her face transformed slowly into a lovely, young woman's face. "You have a good heart that transcends the mundane. You have opted to help an ugly, old woman," she said. ”And because of that, you have broken the evil spell. From now on, no one will die in these mountains, ever again."

What's this, the Lord of the Rings? Adrian thought. Am I imagining all of these things? He held back an urge to laugh.

"I met a young woman at the stream..." he said, wanting to know all the answers.

"She won't bother anyone anymore with her deadly enchantments," she smiled at him.

"Here take this as a reminder of the good you have done here." She pressed something into Adrian's hands.

"Hey, Adrian, wake up."

Someone was shaking him not so gently. A bright light was shining directly into his face.

He sat up disoriented, and recognized his two friends hovering over him.

"Where is she? I was just talking to her," he queried.

"Who?" Paul, the raconteur of the group asked, "the princess from far, far away?" and he laughed heartily.

"C'mon, you have fallen asleep. Who wouldn't be? This environment is conducive to sleep," Pete seconded. "You were dreaming, my friend."

And together they helped him to his feet. "You were not answering your cell phone. We were worried. You're lucky we found the man who saw you come up here."

"But, I have seen this woman. I had talked to her, talked to them," Adrian insisted.

"Hey, no one lives in this forest. Let's get moving. It's getting really dark. "

"Wait," Adrian remembered what the woman pressed into his hands. He opened his palm and saw the tiny flash of light.

He scrutinized the object and noticed a tiny diamond winking at him beneath the dirty exterior. "Look," he shouted jubilantly, "She gave me this."

The three of them peered closely at what was obviously a diamond; caked with a little mud, but a diamond nevertheless.

"Why, yes, it's a diamond,” Paul exclaimed. "Where's this woman?"

Without replying, Adrian ran back towards the house in the forest, while the two were in hot pursuit. They arrived breathless at the clearing.

"Where is she?" Peter asked excitedly, "We'll get rich."

Adrian looked around him puzzled. The small house had been right there in the middle of the clearing. Now, there was only an enormous tree. There were fireflies on the tree making it appear like it was lighted with small incandescent bulbs.

"It was just here," Adrian whispered. “She was right here."

"Perhaps, this is not the right place."

"No, this is the right place. I am certain." Adrian stated positively.

Finally they decided it was futile to search for something that was apparently not there, so they hiked back to town cloaked in silence; each to his own thought.

Paul was thinking, "perhaps Adrian got a little mad, because of his insomnia? …But how could the diamond be explained?"

Peter was thinking, “We should trace where that diamond came from. Perhaps he just concocted that tall tale so that he would have an excuse not to reveal the source of the diamond? "

Adrian was thinking: "The two women were real. The diamond in his hand was proof. But would anyone believe him?"


Every year, Adrian went back to seek solace from that forest. He never came across the two women again. Whenever someone asked him to recount his "diamond story", he would say, "a fairy gave it to me." Everyone would laugh thinking it was a joke.

But to him nothing was more real than the two women he had encountered in the forest.

Photo 1 by Matt Phillips
Photo 2 by Fr Antunes

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Angel Cuala, One of My Guest Bloggers, Needs Help

Angel Cuala has been one of my guest bloggers and contributors to the Inspirational Book. His wife is in the hospital right now, down with dengue fever.

Dengue fever is a condition which usually plagues the country during certain seasons of the year.

He needs all the help we can. It maybe in the form of prayers too.

Here is a link to a post which describes in full Angel's dilemma. Thanks in advance for any kind of help. God bless.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Let's Support Our Friends in the BLOGGER CHOICE 09 AWARDS!

Click on the links to vote for them.

Eric of Chihuatude

Best Animal Blogger

(His stories about chihuahuas are interesting and worth a read)

Ken of Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff

Best Blogging Host

( He replies graciously to each of his guests, need I say more?)

2. Best Blog of all Time

(Variety of superb stories I have heard for a long while, the unique content of the blog is priceless and makes it worthy of the title Best Blog of all Time.)

Patricia Rockwell of Communication Exchange

Best Education Blog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

FREE PICTURES , The Living Room

FREE PICTURES, The Dining Table

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Simple Theory of Communication

By: Patricia Rockwell

Language scholar and philosopher Paul Grice developed a theory of communication in 1975 that linguists use today. It is such a simple, elegant theory that it goes beyond the realm of scientists and teachers, and truly enlightens the daily communication activities of everyday communicators. Grice describes one common underlying principle—what he calls the cooperative principle and four conversational maxims. He suggests that all communication can be understood by understanding this principle and its four accompanying maxims.

The one underlying principle of all communication, says Grice, is that we use language to accomplish goals and we do so by sharing information (the cooperative principle). We (or rather our ancestors) devised language and communication in order to get things done. Obviously, some of our ancestors wanted to accomplish some things and others wanted to accomplish other things. Today, we probably want to accomplish things our ancestors never thought of. In other words, in any language act, there are multiple goals, for a person and for people in general. However, language would not have been invented (if that is the best word) if our ancestors had not needed it to accomplish something (e.g., maybe warning their neighbor of an approaching wooly mammoth).

Today, language works as long as it satisfies this cooperative principle. As long as language allows us to accomplish our goals, we continue to use it. In most instances, our goals involve sharing our ideas with others and language allows us to do that. It would be difficult to share our ideas with other people without the use of language. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your language is or my language is, if we do not share the same language, we will not be sharing our ideas.

Of course, communication doesn’t stop there. Just the fact that we share the same language doesn’t necessarily mean that we will understand each other completely. This is where Grice’s four conversational maxims come into play. These maxims are the specifics of how we put the conversational principle into practice in every day communication. Grice says there are four conversational maxims: 1) quantity, 2) quality, 3) relevance, and 4) manner. Let’s look at each one and see how each can both enhance and diminish communication.

First, let’s look at quantity. Grice tells us that all messages should contain the appropriate amount of information—not too much, not too little. If, for example, you are trying to bake a cake and the recipe calls for flour, sugar, milk, butter, and chocolate, you would probably say to yourself, “well, that’s not enough information. I need to know how much of each ingredient I need.” In this case, the message producer has not supplied the necessary amount of information. On the other hand, if the recipe gave the ingredients and the amount, but then went on to describe how the cake was originally developed and what famous people had eaten it, and multiple different sources where you could purchase the ingredients needed in the cake, you might think, “that’s nice, but I really just need the recipe.” In this case, the message producer has given more than enough, probably too much information. I am certain that you have experienced both of these situations many times (maybe even while blogging). If there is too much information, you have to wade through a lot of extra stuff until you find the meat of the message. If there is insufficient information, you cannot use the information you are given because something is missing. Quantity is a maxim most of us take for granted. We don’t recognize its importance until we discover a violation against it.

Second, we have the maxim of quality. Here, quality implies truth. Grice suggests that all communicators are expected to be truthful. Of course, this does not always happen. However, he argues, it is an expectation of normal conversation. For example, when you stop and ask for directions, you don’t expect that someone will intentionally give you false directions. When someone asks you if it’s raining outside, you will more than likely answer truthfully. When we lie, we generally do so for a reason that has something to do with our relationship with the other person in the conversation. People list numerous acceptable reasons for lying—typically to prevent a person from suffering hurt feelings is often listed. However, most research indicates that the most common reason for actually violating the maxim of quality is to protect oneself from losing face. Other acceptable reasons for violating or flaunting the quality maxim include humor and sarcasm. However, with sarcasm and humor, most individuals indicate with nonverbal cues that they are providing false information so that the listener will not take them literally.

Third, Grice mentions the maxim of relevance. That is, communicators are expected to provide information that is relevant to the conversation at hand. If you ask me what time it is and I respond, “I like bananas,” then you might say my answer is not relevant. The maxim of relevance is violated rather frequently in conversation. Obviously, what is relevant to one speaker is not always relevant to another. However, speakers who constantly fail to maintain relevance in their conversations will annoy (at the least) their conversational partners. Often, failure to be relevant in a conversation can be traced back to poor listening habits. People become wrapped up in their own concerns and worry more about what they are going to say next rather than listening and understanding what the other person is saying at the moment.

Finally, the maxim of manner is described by Grice. Whereas the other three maxims involve content (the what), this maxim involves procedure (the how). Grice says that effective communicators use a manner appropriate to the situation. For example, if speaking to a child, communicators should probably use shorter sentences, simpler words, and speak more slowly than they would with an adult. Or, if a man is proposing marriage to his beloved over a romantic dinner in a restaurant, he should probably not use the same language and style that he would when cheering at a football game.

Choosing the best style for communicating a particular message is not easy. Should you be energetic? Relaxed? Friendly? Reserved? Just how should your message be conveyed? Obviously, the more important the message, the more effort you will put into determining the manner of its delivery.

It’s amazing how one simple principle—the cooperative principle (language allows us to accomplish goals) and its four subsidiary maxims of quantity, quality, relevance, and manner, work together so beautifully to explain how communication functions in our daily lives. We have Paul Grice to thank for these ideas—and good ideas they are for all of us to remember if we wish to be better communicators.


Patricia Rockwell
is a retired professor from Illinois and is the author of two blogs , Subjective Soup and Communication Exchange .

These two blogs are rich in significant information and well written articles, that I could not refuse her entry to my soon to be published book. I guess without good communication, inspiration can't take place, right?

She says, "Life is a bowl of soup, chock full of adventure. Here is my take."

Thanks Patricia for being a contributor. I am honored.

If you want to be more informed about academics and on a lot of a variety of topics visit her dynamic blogs.

Patricia's Post about this article .

Photo 1 by pedrosimoes7
Photo 2 by Dru Bloomfield - At Home...