Love…


flower-2Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

Scotch, Arguments & Birthday Candles…


Minion-Friends-1(G)Today was my birthday… no big deal as by now, I don’t pay much attention to it; except perhaps to note that it has been occurring for far too long… so faithfully my curmudgeon sliver of self-doubt observes, as it comes-up for air once every year around this time.

Still, no matter how much it moans and whinges about the uselessness of taking space and other esoteric meanderings, it manages to keep a mildly curious eye out for any acknowledgement that this day actually matters to someone beyond the expected (less than a handful) it deems to “have no choice” due to genetic and social responsibilities.

It follows that as evening descends, we settle to review the day we say… but, reality is that we know we’ll continue arguing about meaning, purpose and the very eminence of oneself over its sliver of doubt… all civilly accompanied by several double espressos with their scotch and cigar sidekicks.

We acknowledge and review the phone calls and private texts received from family and close friends; oneself smiles and deems each one of them memorable and wonderful, whilst the sliver grunts and views them as “default obligations” fulfilled and made irrelevant to any discussion due to their biases… so the argument generally begins…

Intensifying as we acknowledge the dozens of good wishes received through social media… what a fortunate man I am I say… Irrelevant, the sliver shouts as it dives into its monologue negating “remembrance”, on how algorithms actually instigate people to write something on these occasions so they don’t stand out as an “exception”.

It’s contrived and meaningless due to its selfish origin, it has nothing to do with you… it blasts pointing at me to emphasize its argument.

That may be so in a few instances I counter, but can’t be true of all of the good wishes uniquely worded to connect with me and share that I am on the writer’s mind; I said whilst quickly pointing to several texts, as significant evidence for my case.

Are you so naïve to not “see” the formula behind these snippets? It retorts with some disdain… when was the last time any of this folk actually picked-up the phone to call you? truly engaged with you? forgave, praised or shared something of themselves with you?

…why would they care now on this one day, if not for their own needs and devices?

I thought about this a bit whilst noticing the smugness that the sliver of doubt was beginning to manifest…
“if” there is some truth in your “exception” argument I start, why would that take away from the fact that; even if for only one minute or three, they thought of me… and such compelled each of them to express they wished me well?

How can such not be a meaningful example that at some point; perhaps even today, I touched and mattered to them enough, regardless of whatever means got them to express anything at all?
Well, not everyone you know sent you a message grumped the sliver…

As for those who didn’t express anything, if they arrived at it through their intentional decision to either hurt me or ignore me, even such would mean that I came to their mind however fleetingly… reflecting that I mattered enough for them to arrive at a conclusion regardless of whatever that was.

Is that enough for you? is that all there is? the sliver of doubt sneered looking askew…Minion-Friends-2(G)

Does it matter? I ask back… why is it so important to you to observe relevance in anyone else’s views? Is it not up to us how we choose to accept and deal with the joys and griefs that cross our paths each day?

Were each of us not designed for the greatness of being useful and whole and joyful and unoffendable? And as such is the case, doesn’t it follow that such greatness can only really be achieved through each of our individual relationships starting with our creator?

Are we not extremely grateful to be alive and lovingly thought of by ONE on such special day? …I shouted as the sliver of doubt was worming back into its tiny little box…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

I see you…


ND-Grass (Blog-7)Spanning continents and hearts with thought…
and a light touch of balanced fingers that know artistry;
flitting about… as comfortable composing equations
as bringing forth an emotion or as reviving
a dying flower back into life, hope and beauty.

But that isn’t the best of you.

You’re a foundation for life of all kinds…
air, water and earth beings all thrive by this;
some envying your strength, many taking from it…
whilst others, have overcome fears and choosing trust instead
would opt to shed their blood for you.

Even this isn’t truly awesome.

For you’re a dream; inspiring to those that hold you close,
a longing within the hearts that can only imagine
the true color of such spirit; reflected in eyes
as ever-changing as the rich light of day…

An enigma; carefully woven into the tapestry of time,
space and God itself… such is your essence.

No… to get to the best of you one would have
to remove all of the lenses that render you true.

And go to the place before the warmth of your mother’s
embrace ever graced your velvetic physicality…
before the miraculous “x” and “y” mix burst forth
a universe of micro-matter that established life and form
so creatively. To where truth and light and love springs;
a heaven so expansive yet intimately inconceivable.

There… one will find the best of you.

Eternal and brilliant; a joyful being transcending
the concept of any one known bit… there,
in the intimate boundlessness of all nascent energy
the concept of this one YOU came to be.

Exquisitely singular, unique in all ways.

I see you…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

My Little Garden…


irina's letter (sml)My dear José,

From my first step on Portuguese land I felt so excited… me, in your homeland, walking same streets and smelling the same air.

I know that without you it won’t be the same.

But I am an explorer. Just like you. And I feel so peaceful here.

No excitement of Paris or Rome, no crazy crowds of Hong Kong.

Just peacefully at home…

It was about nine months ago; during the terrible experience of giving away and discarding the bulk of the contents of a home Irina and I so lovingly created and nurtured into the wonderful stage-set of our lives, that I came across this note… written with her usual flair and careless cursive style seven months earlier, during her short visit to the city of Porto ias portoon the way back to Hong Kong from her Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and, roughly two weeks before her untimely passing to God’s side.

Irina often wrote her thoughts on little notes she would mail or place in books or travel bags for me to discover but this one “felt” different; it read as an expressed wish and I have no idea why she did not give it to me when she came home… maybe because she too felt equally drawn to our warm and comfortable place at the foot of the mountains edging the South China Sea in the wonderful Three Fathoms Cove Bay.

Finding and holding this note; as people walked through our home looking at all of our things that I could not take to the little “cave” that was to become my next place, broke my heart all over again…

I felt the crush of her thoughts and very presence as I stood in the middle of the living room barely aware of all the strangers peeking and poking everywhere within our 3-storey Cantonese village house which had become a shrine to her memory; a place where neither our dog Max or me could make a turn without tripping on the fingerprints of her bigger than life self… her scent still prevailing and actively holding all of our spirits together… painfully, dreamily, peacefully.

I have treasured this one note closer than all of the others not only because it was her last, but perhaps because I sense it wasn’t finished… that there was more to her thought-flow which was left open; maybe as a sixth-sense over our unthinkable journey ahead, or maybe for me to influence its completion.

And so, when all the people, moving trucks and trash collectors left and all was done, when Max and I were finally alone; he in the very large backyard and me; as his “tenant”, in the sliver of a flat that sat within the walled-in compound, we sat together looking at the mountains and our new surroundings with a mix of hope and not small trepidation over the task ahead to heal our souls and rebuild our lives as I knew she would want us to do.

To that point, I had seven long months of getting intimate with pain and a terrible first Christmas/New Year season behind me but… I also knew we were being showered with prayer constantly as I felt a remarkable peace and clarity of purpose even with the absence of a considered script to follow.

That is when; as I placed the remaining “stuff” in its new places within the flat, that I felt Jesus’ presence guiding my thoughts, inciting me to transform Max’s yard into a garden where all of God’s life sustaining elements would be represented and celebrated, as a means of acknowledgment and gratitude for His loving gifts of pairing Irina’s short life with mine and of remaining side-by-side with me through the ensuing redemptive fire of her departure.

It begun with building a fountain with all of the elements that were so dear to Irina; the coolness and sound of crystal-clear waters cascading down rocks, the presence of plants and flowers and, the ethereal night reflection of living waters… strangely (for me who had never built a fountain before), I begun without drawing any plans beyond the image Jesus had placed and kept in my heart, as well as; for the next two plus months of long days, His constant “whispering” informing every decision on quantities, materials, plumbing, under-water electrics, and every cut and action as together, we slowly brought it to life without mistakes, electrocutions, material excess or shortages of any kind… He provided the know-how, I provided the labour.

It is perfect beyond my expectations and remains, as living proof of one of the many miracles I have had the good fortune to witness throughout my life… a healing thing of beauty filled with meaning, reflective of His Grace and Love.

Thus we; our Triune God, Max and I, officially completed and dedicated the works on the first anniversary of Irina’s passing… in the midst of a beautiful sun-filled day and clear evening with heartfelt scripture readings and the appropriate amount of Vodka toasting Irina’s bright spirit, my new lighter heart and my closer personal relationship with our Triune God… the renaissance of our “Great Dance” together as C. Baxter Kruger would refer to it.

Since then, Jesus and I have continued to evolve the garden to what it is today; all elements now present… water, fire, earth and air which, albeit still a work in-progress, has become a peaceful place filled with natural beauty, where we read, talk, laugh and cry with joy together… with Max always nearby, following with his beautiful brown eyes every reverend moment.

By our Triune God’s Holy Grace, this little complex Max and I know as “home” was transformed to become a place of peace and deep healing, a sanctuary where our hearts meet and where both her and I found ourselves “Just peacefully at home…” as our beloved Irina desired; Max and I here, and she on the other side of the stars.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2017-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

Remembering…


remembering

When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.

It means that if we meet again, you will know me.

It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

Your remembering is my consolation and helps remind me that I actually exist.

Frederick Buechner

My Father (upper left), My Grandmother (below my father), My Beloved Irisha (center), My Mother (lower right), Two of my Aunts (next to mother and father)

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

To my Daughters…


The Girls (small)Dearest Emily and Nina…

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning in Hong Kong and probably not the “normal” time to be writing you a letter but in-truth, I’ve been writing it in my mind and heart for a long time now so… it feels appropriate to do so whilst all is quiet; whilst the distance between us diminishes to only a memorial sliver without distractions.

The memory is sharp and clear still of that 2nd day of November in 1995 when my sight first kissed your perfect newly born tiny selves… Nina’s voice no more than a tentative “meow” (a brand-new kitten’s voice is what it reminded me of), whilst you Emily already carried a stronger timber as a prelude to the operatic and melodic quality it became shortly thereafter.

I held you both individually only for a little while before surrendering you to an incubator, but even then, I remained close and mesmerized by the perfection and the miracle of your lives. Supposedly all babies are beautiful each in his or her own way, but you two were beyond beautiful… you were perfectly formed; delicate, velvety, elegant; not just as far as I was concerned, but as an intricate part of my reality; in-truth, all that is sacred and matters to me.

From that point on and each year thereafter I saw you grow, form and evolve into the gorgeous, intelligent women you two are, in what feels now to have been, a lightning fast time warp continuum… a mere squiggle of life/light within God’s wondrous universe, which one can’t possibly grasp in the moment(s) until it’s past… until we are able to observe and digest those life moments backward. For each life leaves its unique imprint; a signature if you will, that is indelible… that never fades nor ever disappears.

I well remember and still marvel at the detail of your lives as seen from my soul… from the scissor haircut on the 2nd floor of Amy’s house, to you at the wheel of a white van rolling from one steep driveway through a street and into a house across that street with all of us adults chasing after you, to the braided corn-rows of your hair in Bali, to the feel and comfort of your arms as you hugged me, through the tears at several pet-funerals, to feeling your pain during all of your illnesses and hospital stays, to the pride of seeing you perform in plays and compete in track & field, to the softness of helping Emily arrange blue-blue and all of her sleep buddies whilst tucking her in at night, to the conversations with Nina in Chianti’s balcony in the middle of the quiet night, through the joy of finally seeing you ride a bike and jump into the South China Sea from the top of tall junks, to the pride of seeing your work on display at West Island and your graduation with honors from your Universities… and the “movie” goes on, frame by frame, detailed, crisp, compelling and clearly etched forever-more in my heart.

I have loved you steady… not always perfectly but always truly and, I love you still. Without doubts or reservations, perhaps now better than before if I were able to compare it.

I am grateful to God for you and your Mom that so ably raised you – nearly single-handed – to be all that is best in the world to be, all that you are. And, I am grateful to you and to God, that such received love bore fruit… that you picked-up the ball when it was passed to you, and you’re running with it boldly through the many scuffles and touch-downs already achieved and ahead of each of you.
Proving to yourselves and all that care to see, that Love is all that is needed and never wasted.

I sometimes sit in my little garden, think of you and feel sad that I’m still thousands of miles away from being able to look into your eyes and/or hold your hand on a walk and share these thoughts with each of you through touches, hugs, kisses and words. Although, as our hearts and spirits are linked – therefore – all between us is known deep within ourselves in real-time and always.
There is much comfort in that for me.

Now, at the end of another unexpected year; on this Holy Christmas time, I am at-peace with you and with all that is important for me to be at-peace with. I have tried to live my life without regrets, I have loved well; at-least as well as I have been able to, I have been loved back and granted more blessings than most people are able to experience in several life times and… I desire nothing, other than what God will have planned and in-store for me.

And so my dear daughters, my dearest and closest friends, I wish you both well on this Christmas of 2018.
I know that God is with you and will continue to guide you and protect you so much better than I was ever able to do.

I know that God loves you and knows every single hair on your beautiful bodies. I know that you will never ever be alone… that all you will need to do is think of Jesus for Him to manifest His Godself to you and let you feel his loving arms around you. This is the only true gift and the greatest gift of all; that you and Him know and love each other intimately.

For this and you, I am eternally grateful.

With much love always… your loving Father and Best Friend King Daddy-O.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

Tonight I Can Write


Pablo Picasso-1A (Small)Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, “The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.”

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

That is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

 

“Tonight I Can Write” – Pablo Neruda, 1924

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

The Twelfth Month…


0-1st AnniversaryIrina transitioned to God’s side on the 15th of September, 2017.
Regardless of her short journey on Earth, she had a purpose, she made a positive impact on all that she touched and her Life mattered.
So, to mark the 1st Anniversary of Irina’s transition and as a last Goodbye from me and all of you that knew and cared about her, here is a short collage of images in her memory to a soundtrack written by Sarah McLachlan and rendered by Westlife.
Her Spirit is at God’s side shining brightly and all that needed to be done on Earth has been completed so, I moved-on with my life with Love in my heart and Peace in my mind that all was done well.
Thank you all for walking and sharing the weight of this cross with me. It is finished.
May God continue to Bless you all. ❤️

 

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

The Eight Month…


Woman and GodHeavenly Father, my Jesus and your Holy Spirit… mark these words of Love from my aching heart to your omnipresent being.

They are words that speak of your Power and your Grace. They are words of Hope, for you are the spring where-from such ensues.

They are words of submission; that your will shall be mine, your command my daily-bread and your Love, within me as you intend it to be…

I desire you, ALL of you. I desire the Life you grant by your Love alone, as I desire another breath… another day to discover your presence within me.

And, as I desire you my God, I desire your Creation and to feel its purpose within me. To feel your Peace and your Caring through the breeze that rustles the leaves and caresses my soul. Your Peace and Caring that carries within its God endowed Spirit, the fragrance of my Lover… now intimately part of you, within you and as such, equally part of me still.

A Gift. Your Gift of Life everlasting by your grace and presence alone.

Eight earthly months mark what to you is but a breath; a passing smooth and true from a flawed state to a perfect reunion. Eight months of aching for her presence only to realize she is more alive now than ever… present still in everything she touched, richer and brighter by the intimacy of your Light and Love.

It is all about Love… hers, yours, mine… intertwined and part of all seen and unseen; felt at times, hidden mostly. Waiting for a cry from the void of this reality to manifest itself brightly… yet, permeating all nonetheless in its patient expectation.

On this Eight month there is longing still… but there is also your touch smoothing its edges… bringing forth an “instinct”, an initial consideration that transcends and shatters death, to preview the true Life we are yet too dense to truly understand.

On this Eight month there is gratitude for all of the sheer pain that you and I have experienced together, through which and by your mighty will, I desire and care to enhance a closeness to its source; all of the life and love that is YOU my God… and thus; now that she’s an intricate part of all that you are, a closeness with her as well my God.

I am humbled and in your Peace this day.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2019

Grief…


BonhoefferIn his book “The question that never goes away”, Philip Yancey wrote; “Grief is the place where LOVE and PAIN converge…

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned some of his thoughts about the death of those he will always miss, he stated…

Nothing can make up for the absence of someone we love, and it would be wrong for us to try to find a substitute… we must simply hold-on and see it through. This sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation. As it leaves the gap unfilled and thus, preserves the bonds between us. It isn’t useful to say that God fills such gap. God does not fill it… on the contrary, He keeps it empty and through this, leads us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.

…I’m still stumping through this as one may imagine but, I do think Mr. Bonhoeffer ended his statement too abruptly. For to me, our awesome God does a lot more than letting us keep “the gap” open and memorable… He INVITES US to meet Him there – in the gap – and by this find healing and refreshment in His loving arms.

This I Believe…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

Merry Christmas


JP-Max-1BThe holiday season is here bringing to us all renewed hopes and desires to feel, receive and offer Love. But what is this Love we continually crave yet find so hard to hold on to?

Makes one wonder if it is actually Love we seek or if we are content settling for quick pain-relief from our fears and emotional baggage.

Love isn’t an object we can acquire, it is both; always here and born continually. It comes in moments when we are open to receive it… when we’ve placed the obsession with ourselves aside. Then, Love may suddenly flash on our awareness and remind us that it has been within us all along…

That it wasn’t Love that vanished, but rather our old habits and polluted ways of thinking and feeling that returned.

Unwittingly, many of us end up choosing suffering and pain over the joy of Love, mostly because pain and suffering have become familiar and thus, comfortable to handle… They ask nothing of us. Whilst LOVE asks for everything, it insists we remove our masks, so that it can shine through.

This holiday celebrates a birth; a transformation into human form of the greatest Love of all. A Love that came only to serve truth and be available to all, unconditionally.

It gave all that it had and took whatever it was given.

This Love… a priceless Comfort and Joy that is within us all and will never disappear.

Adapted from “THE BIRTH OF LOVE” by Brenda Shoshanna
Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

A conundrum…


The Thinker (JPsNotes)I am walking without direction, breathing without purpose, existing without joy.

I know it shouldn’t be so but I am stuck in this cycle of day-to-night; moving-to-sleeping, without a formal thought or idea as to why it should be so.

Why am I still here? What is the purpose for this “mechanical” existence so far void of any enjoyment?

I pray to God – perhaps not well enough – to help me “move on” … to help me rediscover purpose and meaning. All I can hear and feel is silence thus, all I can presume is to continue in faith.

And this I do… one foot in front of the other, trying to make something out of the emptiness around me and in me; a reality that I am seemingly stuck in.

This is the very thing; the condition, I have always sought to prevent. That I have prayed and warned others about for as long as I can remember… and now, it seems it is here and mine to undo or not… supposedly my “choice” … my “will”.

But obviously, it is not that simple a task. Not a matter of choosing one over the other.
It requires re-invention I think… the stripping and discarding of a reality for the establishment of a new and uncertain idea. And, although such in itself can and should be exciting enough to fuel one’s “will”, it has so far done nothing for me.

Do I wish to die? Have I had enough of this journey I’ve been on for so many years?
No. I can’t honestly state either is true. Albeit the thought has occurred more than once, it has always been shrugged-off as infantile and cowardly… more importantly, it has been shrugged-off as wasteful.

For life – all life – is precious and important in and of itself… such I believe deeply.

So, that said, what then is the problem? Or perhaps more appropriately, what then is the solution?

It isn’t enough to just keep moving and it isn’t sufficient to just wait. Both representing a state of limbo that holds no joy, value nor appeal to me.

And thus, the meandering comes around full-circle once again.

No “absence of physical presence” of one life should inflict such confusion and duress on another. This too I believe so, perhaps the very conundrum has always been here dormant within us, waiting for the right time to manifest itself.

To challenge us into seeing the “stuff” we are made of… to test what we have learned through the course of our lives.

I thought I was better than this; the present condition that has led me to write this drivel.
I thought I knew better than to allow my saddened “self” to cast such deep shadow on my God gifted “bright spirit”.

But obviously I am not as “wonderful” as I believed myself to be and hence, why likely I am still here going through yet another “desert”.

Maybe imperfection is the real reason; the key to being alive.

Or… perhaps, in some yet undiscovered ways, there is still more for me to experience and contribute here… sigh.

“Lead or get the heck out-of-the-way” … matters not which but, it would be good to get-off this quagmire of self-pity.

God only knows.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

A Grain of Sand…


I adore you my God in ways
that are incomplete for the
distance between us.

This should not be so, for you my God
love me perfectly and presently.

I shall not stop trying to reduce
this distance; although you
are God and I am just a grain of sand…

But I pray that this insignificant
grain of sand will find its way
to cling to you… to be a bother
under your mighty foot.

Constantly rubbing against you
gnawing at your Holy body
that you may not forget
that I am here… cozy
under your foot; bearing your
weight, waiting for your loving touch.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

Funeral Tribute


Service BookletPrayers for Irina were lifted at St. John’s Cathedral in HK:

English Service @ the main Cathedral officiated by:
Reverend Hugh Phillipson

Russian Orthodox Service @ St. Michael’s Chapel officiated by:
Father Anton Seraphimovich

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
my last thread, I shall perish on the shore.
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
and having done that thou hast done…
I fear no more.


John Donne


A Tribute to Irisha expressed at the Cathedral Service by:  Joseph Pereira

 

“Thank you all for joining me today to Celebrate Irina’s Life.

Irina Antonia Sitnicova-Smolina… Irisha to me, touched our lives in her distinctive way and I believe, her bright spirit, will continue to do so through the many fingerprints she left in them.

She will always remain close in our memories and hearts as the beautiful, intelligent and caring woman that she was, immensely proud of her Country and her Cossack lineage, even when such fact would sometimes expose her to hardships.

Her strength and determination was forged and grew from the guidance of her close-knit family, her inquisitiveness and strong sense of self. Irina loved to learn, to explore and was a star student from her early days, a fact that; together with her height and good looks, made her a target for school bullies who kept pushing and abusing her on a regular basis… no matter how much her Grandmother would appeal to the teachers.

As tall and as strong as she was, Irina was born with a faulty “self-defense” gene and was simply not able to physically hurt anything willingly… She couldn’t throw a punch if her life depended on it.

But, she never forgot the price she paid for persevering to be the best… Instead, she used this inner-anger to fuel her determination to succeed and along the way, always fought to protect the rights of those in abusive situations; whether animal or human and many in HK have been blessed by her actions and stubborn determination to do so.

Like our dog “Maximilian Mozart”; simply Max to us, for example… A young pure-bread German Shepherd that had been locked in a small cage, abused by unscrupulous breeders until they were raided and shut-down by the Police, who was nothing but a lump of hairy bones that could hardly walk when Irina saved him a couple hours before he was scheduled to be put-down. I just rolled my eyes when I saw her carry this hairy smelly bunch of bones into our car and wondered to myself, what on earth is she thinking???

But she wasn’t “thinking” … She knew her “NORTH” and was doing what she did best… She was caring and loving ALL life instinctually. And of course, she nursed Max back to the healthy and beautiful 4 y.o. 51 kilo (112 lbs.) mountain of a dog that he is today.

They bonded through the process… both remaining loyal and by each other’s side until the very end. Together, they formed an awesome sight; two mighty “Russian Bears” which; although both peaceful and loving, often seemed to intimidate more than attract those that crossed their path.

Irisha was immensely creative and everything she touched bore fruit and became beautiful… starting with her beloved daughters.

To the Garden; which she transformed from a field of weeds to planting beds that blossomed into beautiful flowers.

To the Sewing Machine; which she masterly used to craft her uniquely designed shoulder bags out of old neckties and other creations.

To recycling and refinishing discarded furniture she would find along her walks, to molding clay; which she used to create the most intriguing figurines and Christmas dolls.

To the Kitchen; where she loved to bake deliciously aromatic breads… Baking bread was as sacred a ritual as praying in this Cathedral to our Irisha…

She would have Chopin or Mozart or one of her favorite Russian Ballads softly playing in the background and loud voices were strictly forbidden in her kitchen as she kneaded the dough, softly talked with it and shaped each loaf into life most of which she then would share with friends and neighbors.

Yet, for all of her persistence, excellent upbringing, education, loyal character, professional expertise and diversified skills, she wasn’t able to significantly break-through Hong Kong’s professional “wall” and most often wouldn’t even hear back from the many HR departments or recruiters she tried to work with…

This fact deeply hurt her even as she tried to hide it deep inside herself.

Like all of us, Irisha desired to be DESIRED.
To be useful and wanted.

So, she loved St. John’s and all of the people within it that welcomed her with open arms and made her feel loved and worthwhile.

People like Reverend Hugh Phillipson officiating this Celebration and his wife Ruth… her team-mates that serve the CLARES and all of you here today.

It was the highlight of Irina’s day to be here as often as she could to contribute to the CLARES and to pray for God’s protection and guidance in her life.

She asked for very little, I believe she deserved everything and now with God; her purpose fulfilled, she is whole and complete.

And so, to Irisha’s St. John’s Family, to all of our dear friends and her Russian family here today, let us REJOICE for her spirit even if it hurts us to do so… for I have no doubt that is what she would want us to do.

May our Irina’s passage from this hectic place to the Peace of God’s side, be a Celebration of Life that brings HEALING and HARMONY and BLESSINGS to all that knew and cared for her.

Finally, know that your presence, your prayers and your unfaltering support continue to be COMFORTING and UPLIFTING to her Bright Spirit, to her family and to me.

They do make a difference and…

We are immensely grateful to you all.”

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2017-2020

NOTE: The CLARES is a 55+ year-old St. John’s organization, that raises funds for charities through their recycled article sales…

A Bright Spirit…


IAS JPsNotesDr. Irina Antonia Sitnicova-Smolina graced the world on the 2nd of March 1981 in the city of Vladivostok; within the Russian Far East.

She was awarded a PhD in Geochemistry and Geo-ecology, by the Russian Academy of Science and sailed around the world on the Russian tall-ship Nadezhda, as part of completing her thesis addressing ocean temperature fluctuations, tidal shifts, grey whale migrations, etc.

Irina was raised in a loving and close-knit family which fostered from an early age her inquisitiveness and taught her strong values, to be immensely proud of her Country and her Cossack lineage and to develop the brave and righteous traits we all noticed and loved about this amazing lady.

She was drawn to the ocean like her beloved grandfather who; from a very young age, would sometimes take her with him on his sea voyages and, she remained an explorer at heart, an avid reader, continuously fueling her never ending curiosity about everything.
A fact that in 2014, led to being selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and to remain until her passing, as one of the members of the global scientific research team on its ‘Environmental Solution Initiative’ (ESI), actively working on understanding and addressing the impact of the human footprint on the planet’s environmental envelop.

She came to Hong Kong seeking better opportunities, after investing 6 years of working in mainland China with the Chinese Government; developing its environmental awareness programs, and teaching Environmental Science at the Chongqing University. Sadly… she never did find the opportunities she hoped for here.

Instead, she did find a welcoming spiritual home and HOPE in and through St. John’s Cathedral, becoming an esteemed member of the CLARES; a 55-year-old St. John’s led organization, that raises funds for charities through their recycled article sales and… we found each other, fell in-love and built our life together rooted on the foundation of our deep caring and belief in each other and in embracing the wonderful joint journey of nurturing and supporting one another and our families as a team no matter what, as well as, our joint belief in a merciful God.

We enjoyed four wonderful years – of what we thought would be a lifetime – together; although they were filled with professional and financial challenges and disappointments, this only brought us closer and never once came between us… we faced everything jointly and loved each other deeply in-between and through the challenges.

Then, rays of hope begun to shine through as she was offered a position as head of a scientific research team in the University of Padua… we were preparing and very much looking forward to leaving Hong Kong and heading to Italy with plans to build our own home somewhere in Europe; perhaps Portugal, perhaps Italy… didn’t really matter much to us.

We remained excited preparing for the new adventure until the fateful morning on September 15.

Irina and I had a lovely breakfast, we talked and hugged and kissed like we always do. IAS+Max-1BWe did a bit of work together and then at midmorning she told me she was going to the beach near our home for a swim with her dog Max… she asked me if I wanted to go but I said no, that I had things to do. When she didn’t return in a reasonable time, I went looking for her and found Max with his head out of the water, ever faithfully guarding her floating body.

The sea that she loved so much, took and carried my love in its fluid arms to heaven and left me here, broken hearted and grieving to this day.

Most importantly, Irina was a doting mother of two beautiful girls from her first marriage, whom she loved more than life itself and who will miss her dearly along with the rest of us all.

May her Spirit continue to shine ever-brightly in God’s presence.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

No Point To It…


Droplets rolling down the span of glass between me and Namsan
race each other to the bottom edge
only to drop again onto the next span below.

Compelled by gravity…
No other cause nor point to it.
Sort of like this day…

on auto-pilot.
Passing because time does
with no cause nor point to it.

I had imagined something
quite different from this but
that’s just what minds do…

They are fluid and virtually give form
to impossible things from bits
of meaningless present conditions.

But hearts beat with fulfillment and ache
because they have been touched and…
that is how hearts react to touch.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

New Possibilities…


LoveMy girls have boarded Cathay’s flight to LAX, under expansive blue Hong Kong skies and majestic puffy white cloud formations.

A good morning to start their new adventure; lives filled with unimaginable possibilities…

May they dream expansively and all of their dreams come true.
Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2014

You are all you need…


At SMU Jul12Just had a delightful lunch with a good friend… unhurried quality time to let the mind meander and share what is individually important, what inspires and move us.

I am grateful for this and thought of you… my daughters; now wrestling with decisions that perhaps, you may not feel prepared to tackle.
Yet, you are so much better than the sum of such pointless fears and; when in-doubt, I know you to be Bold and rise above it all.

I am in a peaceful place for I know that YOU are all you need, all that is required.

May the short video below inspire you. You are much loved and never alone.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2013

A Brand New Day…


A Brand New DayOne of the many things my Father shared that made a lasting impression, was his views on the importance of beginnings and endings, these he felt to be key components for one to live gracefully… to accept “gracefulness” in one’s life.

Specifically, that being “graceful” was determined by how one chose to “start” and “end” everything one engaged with and did. Of the two, that the style and quality of how one chose to “end” something far outweighed all other circumstances. Becoming the very essence of what remained deep within us – and much less importantly – what others saw and remembered.

I have had many opportunities to observe and confirm the trueness and power of my Father’s wisdom, but also, to admire the difficulty of living such seemingly simple concept. This because we humans don’t exist in a vacuum… our conscious thinking, reasoning and resulting actions this moment, are very much influenced; not only by all that surrounds us in the present, but also by what we remember… all that we often subconsciously, have accepted and let “sink in”.

Thus, it stands to reason that it is our subconscious we need to be mindful of and keep in-check, otherwise, it (we) could naturally and “ungracefully”, short-circuit our own best present intentions, our very ability to believe in and/or accept ourselves and dare to dream beyond.

So, as we “archive” 2012 and start this brand new year, both my Father’s words and a collection of 10 simple statements from the works of Dr. Joseph Murphy, remind me and inform this note… my sincere and best wishes to you all:

  1. We have the ability and power to attract and choose everything in our lives.
  2. If we think “good”, “good” will follow… we are what we think all day.
  3. Our subconscious mind will not argue with us, rather, it will accept what our conscious mind establishes and directs.
  4. Our conscious mind is the “watchman at the gate”. Its chief function is to protect our subconscious from registering false impressions. Thus, and as our greatest power is our capacity to choose, why not strive to do it positively and well for ourselves?
  5. All suggestions and statements of others have no power to hurt us unless we allow this to occur. As we have the ability to choose what we think and do, the only power we must be mindful of and grapple with, is the movement of our own thoughts.
  6. We must watch what we say and strive to account for every idle thought or word. It is counterproductive to think or say; “I will fail” or “I will lose my job” or “I can’t pass the exam”… our subconscious mind does not know we may be kidding… and it will subconsciously; lead us to actions that may drive such things to happen.
  7. Yet, our minds are not naturally evil. No force of nature is naturally evil. But, the quality of what we think and do will depend on how we choose to use the power of our natural selves. What if we chose to use our minds and actions to bless, to heal, and to inspire ourselves and all people we come in contact with everyday?
  8. What if we were to eliminate “I can’t” from our vocabulary?
  9. We can choose… we are the captains of our souls (subconscious mind) and thus, the masters of our fate. What if we chose Life? Chose Love? Chose Health? Chose Prosperity and to be Happy?
  10. Whatever our conscious minds assume and believe to be true, our subconscious mind will accept and bring to life.

This I believe…

May you all live this New Year presently and one moment at-a-time. May you all not judge what comes into your thoughts and life as either “good” or “bad”, for you are bigger and better than a momentary experience.

May you all boldly craft and live your own versions of success, health, wealth, love… and let such, brilliantly shine as a beacon of light from the amazing human individuals you all are.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2013

Grand’pere…


Spike-1AA simple tribute to David “Spike” Shuppert… a.k.a. Grand ‘Pere, who – unexpectedly – rode his new bicycle from a park in Atlanta into God’s presence on the 18th of December, leaving us behind; a mesmerized group of family, friends and acquaintances… all touched by his life in our midst.

He lived and loved instinctively and all-at-once; as imperfect as the rest of us yet, undefeated by the fact, persevering onward and ultimately becoming the loving, caring and pivotal human being that we know him to be.

He moved-on in the same manner and we shall remember and miss him always as such.

To you my angel-friend David – and the rest of us here still – the final stanza of “A Hymn to God The Father” by the English poet John Donne…

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

my last thread, I shall perish on the shore.

But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;

and having done that thou hast done…

I fear no more.

Spike-2A

Rest in Peace and Love my dear friend.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2012

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