Friday, June 1, 2018

Refresh



Ah!! It has been a long  time, my dear friend.  I miss you so much.  I miss those times when you just listen to my unending woes and brags.  I miss those times when you kiss my face and touch my hair with gentleness. I miss the quiet music you  sing to me and how it keeps my heart calm.  I am so glad to be with you again.
O sun and sky, you are forever the beauty that illuminates the breathtaking panorama before me. You complete the warmth my friends make me feel.
O look at the white fluffiness I love so much. The fluffiness that seems to give bounce to my thoughts and spirit!  If only  I can jump up and down in the unending shapes of your white fluffiness.  I wish I can hug you!
What is really beyond the vast blue sky? The mystery of the horizon gives me unending hope-as far as my eyes can see.   And meeting
of the vast sky in the horizon with the azure stillness. There is life beyond. There is heartbeat. There is beauty.
O wind and sea, my heart is at peace again.  My mind is calm.  The lapping sound against the giant rocks fill my being with great thankfulness to be alive.  The gentle rhythm rocks my soul to peace.
O, my gentle breeze.  O, friend who touches my skin with such gentleness and warmth.  Thank God for you! You let the leaves dance in thanks for their Creator. 
Let my spirit dance with you.  Let me sing praises as gentle as the sea breeze.
Ah, 'tis good to touch base.  Genesis.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 13: DIET STRATEGY

        





              I have been planning to lose weight on August...of every year.  I don't know why. Maybe to prepare for the Christmas gastronomic indulgence.  So today is the middle of August.
              I am sitting here, alone, in the dining room planning my next weight loss strategy.  Since it is a difficult battle, I should mentally prepare myself and "bribe" my psyche. I tell myself the health benefits of losing 10 lbs-  blood sugar will go down, cholesterol will go down, my spine problem will ease, hopefully I will lose those maintenance meds.  Naah- since heart issues are in the genes, my cardio said maintenance meds are for  life.  So, losing those pills is off the table.  Ah, how about the physical benefits?   Woot woot! 😉😉   My size will go back to a 6!  Come on!  I can never go back to the 2 or 4!  I am midlife and some things are just there!  Body sculpture and liposuction are not my cup of tea.        
               Back to my planning session.  First I brew a good Italian arabica, LaVazza. This is perfect after lunch treat! My mood gets excited.  I can do this diet thing!  O well, since I will really go on a diet, I just take a peek at the pantry for something to go with the good coffee.  Hmmm, a chocolate cupcake will do.  My mind goes back to plan A- lose the rice.  Easy-peasy, I can do that.  Next, lose the sweets.  Well, after some negotiations, it will have to be a slow and sweet reduction. I love cakes, pastries ( especially Segovia's or Purple Oven).   And because I will start tomorrow (yes, I promise tomorrow), and my cupcake is almost gone, I will do my last bread and condensed milk combo.  I did not put sugar and creamer in the coffee anyway.  Just one. Then there is the exercise.  Twice a week we have dance rehearsals for our Velada. Check on the exercise! The universe is congruent with my plans! 😇  I am so optimistic.  Size 6!
      The big challenge is the eating out to try new restaurants and hotel food.  Well less trips for the curious palate is good on the pocket. Easy-peasy again.  But good food and good company is perfect harmony.  I am a sucker for such.  
      I have heard so much of the vegetarian diet.  Many friends prod me to start slowly. The benefits are astounding.  Clear skin, losing of weight, improved immune system, and good number 2, among others.  I will seriously include that in my meal plans. But my hubby cooks good adobo, humba,  and sinigang.  I sadly need  a separate entree. How about cheat day?  Just an excuse.😊 
     Have you tried checking on the diet meals or the food that causes cancer, or removes belly fat and the like?  They are so so many out there you can never tell which is real!  At the end of the day, you get confused with so much info, you end up eating the comfort food you love.
     Just to warm up for tomorrow, after my post lunch snack cum planning, I will move about doing house chores.  Burn the calories!   Negative on that.  Right within the planning moment, I had to rush up and sit in front of the computer.  I have to blog and share my wonderful plans with you! May be you have plans to share too. I will listen or read them happily. 
    The thing is this.  I will face up to my challenge because I want to be healthy and enjoy my life longer with less joint pains and spinal issues.   The object is not to be sick. To enjoy life.  If this is what it takes, I will eat healthily.  I will start right after this blog. Meantime, let me finish my snacks. It will be a waste to throw them.  
                                                   
                                                              X    X    X


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Day 12: In Sickness & In Health...



Nobody wants to get sick or see their loved ones be sick.   But it is a fact of life. It is painful, emotionally & psychologically trying, physically draining.  However, in this dark hour, we chance upon the shining light of God's love. That light gives us hope and the faith that we are not alone. Whatever happens, God is with us. We surrender; we trust, COMPLETELY!

Do you know the poem, FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND?
The memories when my hubby was in the hospital bring chills to my spine until now.  It started with a headache. How we survived the horrific experience is a miracle. The same miracle, in another breadth, happened recently to a very good friend whose partner suffered the same fate. When I learned of his emergency, I just had to let him know I understood how he felt in that moment of uncertainty, fear, and despair.
Thus, flashes of memories came as quickly as my pulsating heart.
We were in a boat trip for Manila.  As usual, many people went to my hubby for quick chats or serious discussions.  Midway through the trip he complained of a terrible headache which concerned me because I had already given him anti-high blood medication and painkillers, to no avail.  Another scary sign was when we docked, he did not mind all the people greeting him as we went down the boat. I was bewildered because all those people were his friends & staff.  I just excused him to be tired and with a terrible headache. They also expressed concern because my hubby was usually talkative and full of life.
The 5-hour trip to Manila seemed an eternity.  When we got home at 3AM, I told our eldest son my observations and so we brought his dad to the nearby community hospital for first aid.  My hands became clammy, my heartbeat seemed to burst my ears when the doctor said his blood pressure was 200/120!  He was also disoriented.  He was under observation till we could transfer him to a tertiary hospital.  Instinctively, I whispered prayers. Then I  got in touch with my stepsister who is a doctor as I didn't know what to do next. She gave instructions and assured me she would wait in the ER.  But she warned that if my hubby starts to vomit, I have to go to the nearest hospital, STAT!  And it happened!  My daughter was with me and we rushed to the ER of The Medical City, the nearest hospital. Everything was so fast; the next thing I knew all my children (except for another son who was studying in the province) and I  were huddled & asked if we had a neurosurgeon.  My hubby's  headache was caused by the 70cc of blood dislodged in his head due to aneurysm.  My stepsister, waiting in the other hospital, gave a name and wished me the best of everything.
I went to the early Mass the  next day and was surprised to be asked as the First Reader.  How God assured me was overwhelming! The reading was about Abraham's offering of his son, Isaac, to God. It was about Abraham's trust test. I tried so hard to control my emotions.  As I went to my seat, tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt the immense love of God in that moment. Footprints in the sand! The Lord was carrying me! I wanted to share the ineffable feeling with everyone there but clasped my hands to my chest instead. Thank You, Lord! Here I am, Lord!  What do You ask of me?
Since we entered the hospital, friends, family, my HS best friend, high school classmates, priests and 2 bishops assured us of prayers.  Imagine, a province-wide Sunday Mass for my hubby!  Even the contemplative nuns of the 2 Convents of St. Clare were praying for him!  Profound kindness abound. How can  I not trust the Lord?  How can I question His Will?  As I have done in my adult life, Thy will be done, O Lord!
 After a week in the ICU, and  a month & a half in the hospital, my kids and I cannot believe we survived!  My hubby survived despite countless seizures and near death stages. My amazingly steadfast children inspired me and gave me strength.  So many helped us emotionally and financially. I will never forget them. Their names are all forever etched in my heart. Our neurosurgeon and cardiologist were God-sent.   In those moments of uncertainty and darkness, God was my light.  I just followed Him.  He sent wonderful people, inspiring situations, and even funny moments.
I think all normal people live surrounded by families and friends. We laugh and celebrate the peaks & milestones with them. We go through the deepest valleys of our lives with them.  We are all bound and inspired by God's agape love. No conditions are needed.  No judgments.  In sickness and in health, love strengthens everyone.  Through the people who truly love and care deeply for us, God is truly alive.  If you know what I am talking about, lucky you!  Let us spread this goodwill. Everyday is crucial for somebody, somewhere; or a time to celebrate.  Whether in sickness or in health, spread love. It is the best gift God bestowed on us.  It begets miracles.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 11: Why It is Cool to Keep Your Groove






Whatever and wherever you are , at this stage, you have somehow found your niche or your groove. The thing that makes you upbeat and perky.  The topic which lightens up your face.  Some lucky ones have known their place in the sun earlier.  The late bloomers are lucky too because they have rich stories to tell from their  journeys.  In any case, ain't it cool to keep your groove?

Life, as it is, has daily challenges.  Whether it is the traffic, the helper at home, colleagues at work, your kids, your hubby, your in-laws, even bad personal decisions pose all levels of hassle. Overcoming them on a daily basis keeps your spirit high. You keep fighting!    No matter what, you get back on your toes.

Your groove keeps you sane and grounded. It enables  you to  know what you want and where your place is.  It is your anchor when there is so much going on around you.

In this fast paced world, love yourself and how you improved yourself through the years.  There are many things to share and when you keep your groove, you love what you do. Besides, how cool is it that you are where you want to be and more!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Day 10: 5 Reasons Why the Grass is Greener on the Other Side

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      This is a phrase often heard when comparing decisions made by different people or assessing one's status in life.  Of course we want bright green grass in our lawn.  Some even plant flowers in the garden!

Here's why the grass is greener on the other side.

1. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
            It all starts with a seed or the roots.  Literally & figuratively.  They have to be planted.  Goodness, do not keep them in the kitchen or garage drawer!  Plant them!   As in life, we all have a  talent.  We must hone it.  Whatever it is, you own that talent.  Nobody can get it; so, improve  yourself.  Whether you are rich or poor, that talent is in you and you have to develop it.  At this time  and age, opportunities abound.  Do not keep your seed in storage.

2.  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.  
         The time is NOW.  Stop giving excuses for postponing things.  Tomorrow may be too late or it may not even come.  All the very successful people I know have a common denominator; they all act immediately.

3. NURTURE YOUR GARDEN. 
       As printed up there, "Of course the grass is always greener on the other side- they water it!" Our mind should also be  nurtured. Cultivate your mind garden to have a positive mindset. Remove the weeds (literally & figuratively, again) everyday.  You will eventually attract happy thoughts. You will have the energy to do what is necessary to achieve your goals.  The sense of fulfillment will make you value yourself.  A ripple effect is inevitable and people will value you too.  People will be drawn to your wonderful world.  You may rest, but not stop cultivating your life.

4.  SHARE YOUR GREENS.
          When you are happy, you just want to share your joy with others.  You cannot help but grin. Smiling is infectious.  Even just thinking of your happy memories while reading this makes you smile.  A hilarious scene will even evoke a hearty laughter!  The green grass is nice to see. It is even a nice place to have a picnic with loved ones. Teach others how to plant in their lives. Imagine if the grass is green everywhere! 

5.  APPRECIATE!
     Those whose lawn has vibrant green grass know what I mean.  You wake up and see, through your window, a relaxing sight.  Thank God for the sun and the rain that help sustain the wonders around you.  Appreciate the gardener who tends to your garden.  In your personal life, gratitude is uplifting.  It blesses both the giver and receiver.  Our mentors, our parents, family and friends who stood by us are like the gardener who weeded, watered and trimmed so the grass remains green.

       Whether in career, in personal relationships, at school, and all else, the grass is truly greener on the other side because they water it.  No reason to be envious; do the same to yours.
          
        

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 9: Finding In-Law

          Many of us have children who are ready to leave the nest. That scares us, parents, unless the person they will settle with is somebody who can really "settle down" and provide the best for our children.  Again , we define provide as the act of supplying or giving what is needed.  People need love, care, house, clothes, money, attention, moral support, etc.  C'mon, all our parental life was devoted to ensuring that  nothing bad happens to our treasures! Getting married is a lifetime choice (cross fingers) for them- without us hovering over their shoulders all the time. So, after school & work, praying, hoping, and finding the right in-law is the next in my parent's list.
            I did a little research and found some engaging courtship & marriage traditions from the other parts of the world.  Here are some:
         1. CONGO:  Beware of those pearly whites!  The bride and the groom cannot smile on their wedding day lest they be accused of not taking their vows seriously.
         2. ARMENIA:  Men and women eat a slice of high sodium specialty bread baked by a happily married middle-aged woman or their grandmother.  When they sleep they can expect to see their future spouse in their dreams.
        3. PHILIPPINES:  This dream version in the Philippines is like this.  Every eve of the First of May, the woman should wait in front of the mirror for the clock to strike 12 midnight.  When it strikes 12, the woman will see her future hubby's image behind her.  (Ladies, hope  gallant men appear and not one from the Walking Dead!)
        4.  FIJI:  When a man courageously asks the hand of his beloved lady from her father, he must give him a whale's tooth.
        5. BHUTAN:  Called BOMENA, it is wont in Eastern  Bhutan where, in the dead of night. a man sneaks into the room of the lady he likes. It is an old practice of courtship.  If caught, three things face him: he will marry the girl, work in the family's  field, or leave her to be pregnant. Though still occurring in a few places in Eastern Bhutan, the people have enacted laws to protect women, DNA testing, and the practical steel locks have been inherent in the structures of the houses.
       6. SW CHINA:  During April, women cook sticky rice, and dress ornately to excitedly celebrate SISTER'S MEAL FESTIVAL ( Valentine's Day). The sticky rice cooked in four colors based on  the seasons in a year, is rolled in a handkerchief and given to the suitors. If a man gets 2 red chopsticks inside the sticky rice package, it means YES.  One chopstick means a kind NO.  A garlic  or a chili means a blatant NO. A pine needle means the girl will wait for the man as long as he gives her gifts.
      7. CAMBODIA:  In the  Treung Tribe, the father builds a love hut for his daughter.  She invites as many men  she likes to sleep with.  Although this may seem promiscuous, incidents of rape are low and divorce is not heard of in their tribe. Collect and collect and then select?
     8. EUROPE:  In some parts of Europe, a guy puts his handkerchief in his armpit before attending a dance. Thereafter, he will use this sweat-scented hankie to wipe off perspiration from the face of the girl he likes.   In Austria, the girl puts a slice of apple in her armpit  then feeds her unsuspecting prospect with the laced apple slice. Presumably, the prey falls madly in love with the person because of the sweat-scent. O my!  The nose knows.
         There are more ways to skin a cat, they say. The bottom line is finding the appropriate in-law.  Who doesn't want the perfect boy or girl for our child?  Is there such a thing?  All parents wish their children a stable, and happy family life.
        What would be your criteria for your future in-law? In my order of things I watch out for manners & language, respectfulness, integrity, attitude in life, attitude towards others, and tell tale signs to be wary (coached by some elderly in the family).  But of course, the most important is still love.  How about you?


     
       
       
         

Friday, May 5, 2017

Day 8: ASSUME = ASS U ME


        He thought, she thought, I thought, we all thought but we were all damn wrong!  The damage has been done. Boom!
        Familiar?
        How do we repair lost relations because of too many assumptions.  Good if they are correct or at least positive.  What if your assumption was wrong and hurt someone deeply, or destroyed a colleague's career, or a friend's family, or your own?   What if you assumed wrongly what your client meant?  There are agents I know who are blabbers and put words in the mouths of their clients.  They went way ahead and beyond. Because they forgot to listen well, deals went awry.
       Why do some people carelessly assume and judge?   Why are some people able to hold their thoughts & bite their tongues before blurting out some things?
       When I was younger I did a lot of guessing why and what happened.  I thought the directions in the exam meant this or that.  With my assumptions, my grades assumed to fail too. So I learned to ask clarifications when I don't understand some thing.  It turned out most of my classmates had the same queries but were either too lazy or afraid to ask.  Some didn't ask for sheer lack of interest.
      Same when travelling.  I prefer to ask for directions than guess and go down a road only to find out we were supposed to traverse the other way!  What a waste of time and gas!
       I'm sure you have your own situations when assuming made an ass out of you, as it did me.
       I thought about this.  I think if people will practice active listening it will be evaded, or lessened.  What is active listening?.  It is when you really pay attention to what a person is saying. There are times when we are talking to a person and we think that person is listening attentively, nodding his head as we speak only to realize he was spacing out! In the end, he did not understand what we meant and just assumed his interpretation from parts of the conversation.  So, with active listening, when there are unclear things, you can ask for clarifications right away. Thus, less misunderstanding and less mistakes, less arguments, less stress.
     Now what if you don't know a person and just overheard something he or she did?  Then from that situation you just assume his or her personality.  That is outright prejudice. You did not assume; you prejudged a person you do not even know. Worse, you were either eavesdropping or overhearing people talk.  Overhearing  happens sometimes and we should take things with a grain of salt or just be amused.
      What is assumption?  According to Merriam &Webster, assumption (noun) is defined as:
1. taking to or upon oneself (new position);  2. the act of laying claim to or taking possession of something (assumption of power);  3. an assuming that something is true (our topic).
      On hindsight, often, people assume to pretend to be  knowledgeable and not ignorant. The consequence of this is stupidity, or  embarrassment.  Knowledge is simply to know that  you do not know when you do not know;  and to know that you know when you know.  Easy-peasy distinction between assuming and knowing, right?
     I estimate that  2 out of the 5 people we talk to or give orders to come back to us with a question, "What was it again?".  Though, at times, it is annoying, it is better than assuming something else and doing what they thought was right when actually it was wrong.  Though fallible, we can practice to be careful. Nothing wrong with that; rather than be an all-time ass!