Friday, May 29, 2009

My Favorite Things

It was overcast, chilly and silent as the church choir sang the entrance hymn, Morning Has Broken. I have been looking at the side yard of the church and didn’t pay much attention as Fr. John marches to the altar. My mind was captured by the birds as they hopped from one branch to another. I have been so impressed with the church’s landscaping. It was like a mini-forest and the glass wall made it very visible from inside.

I caught myself teary-eyed as the choir continued singing,
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

Wow! That was surreal. I felt a pure joy at the instant. It was very liberating as I embraced the whole opportunity of enjoying the moment.

Practice makes perfect, they say. If you handle all situations in life with optimism, then the harvest is great. My personal approach to a healthy self is simple- don’t overanalyze everything.

Here are a few of my favorite things!
*Watching the birds picking on the flying fish on the sea.
*Seeing beautiful dolphins leap in the wild, vast ocean;
*Playing with the waves;
*Hearty talk with family and friends;
*Fresh, green mangoes with vinegar;
*Summer escapade at the lake while staying in a cheap hotel;
*A bedspread of stillness and peace through the newly fallen snow;
*A midnight walk in the neighborhood with my husband and dog, Jake;
*A bike ride on the coast;
*Cuddling on the couch with my husband and our dog; Jake.

Happy weekend, everyone^-^

For Love of the Game

I was enjoying the fresh strawberries last night while watching the “Do or Die” game of Cleveland Cavaliers. They were up by 23-point on the first quarter but was down to 6 entering the second half. It was amazingly a one-man game of LeBron James, turning in his first triple-double of the 2009 postseason with 37 points, 14 boards and 12 assists. Ah, that was so fascinating.

Anyway, Lakers had done a great job last Wednesday. They had executed the triangle offense beautifully. I always loved watching the “pick and roll” strategy. Kobe Bryant, displayed big heart and leadership.

I would love to see the two teams on the finals^-^.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Giver

"The thoughts that come often unsought, and as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have. "
-John Locke

In high school, we have a retreat every year just before the school year will officially close. Our last year in high school was the longest one. We stayed in the building for 2 days and 3 nights. On the first night, we all gathered together in the mess hall for the dinner. We were grouped into five and so were five tables in the hall. After we prayed, we were so shocked to open the covered plates that we only have 3 pieces of small fish and a cup of rice! Oh no, why is that? Did they forget that we are 8 in the group? We really didn’t know what to do or how to handle it. We were so confused looking at the other table and found out that some have the same problem – a shortage of food while the 2 other tables had more than enough? What’s going on here? At first, we hesitated to ask for food. Some classmates share their blessings while some just said… well, it’s okay- that’s our food, why bother to share?

Some people I guess are just lucky to have been born in the US. Some are fortunate to have been born with silver spoon in their mouth. Some are unfortunate to have alcoholic parents. Some are unlucky to have been born in a Third-World country. Some are doing exceptionally good despite poverty while some are helplessly pulling themselves down even with their riches because they just fail to appreciate what they have been given. However, despite all these, we are still part of the equation. We can either choose to be the plus or the minus in our own family, in our community and to the whole world in general.

To me, the lesson for the whole dinner activity (retreat) is sharing- in the prefect sense of the word. I believe that what you have in excess is not yours at all. Life is not fair? Yes.

Kahlil Gibran of the “The Prophet” best described “GIVING” as:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

A Good Friend Never Gets Old

My husband was very excited to finally see his best buddy way back in high school. They had never seen each for a long time- ever since they moved back to California. His friend, John had found him through, a few years ago and they started communicating again.

I’m so happy for both of them. They have been financially blessed now. He’s in town for flying lessons from Washington State to California. He had bought his second small plane and decided to drop by and see us which is very nice.

I could tell they have a lot of things to catch up. They never seemed to get older, lol! I’m just amused at how the two talked about the good, ol’ days! Ah, a good friend always remembers what we were and sees what we can be:)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And Still In Love

It was a long holiday weekend for us. Our Sunday date was sweeter than ever. It was our second wedding anniversary. I always feel like we just got married. They said that things will turn sour after few months, but for us – our love is just getting sweeter and stronger everyday. Well, what could be better than to get a card that says “If my life is a pie, you are the biggest slice”? Sweet words always soften one’s heart. The necklace with palm pendant (engraved with diamonds) was sure a gorgeous gift too^-^.

Marriage, brings out a lot of surprises, they said – good or bad – between two people. I am surprised at how I genuinely enjoy being a wife, even if that means having to follow two steps behind sometimes. I was surprised to learn that I find contentment in doing things for my husband – just because. I have learned to be a better communicator just as much as he pointed that issue to my face. I really appreciate the way he respects my "Catholic" faith and how he takes time to doubt about it. I realized our imperfections could not outweigh our common grounds, at least there is^-^. Well, there's a lot really. He is the one that I've been hoping and praying for. Someone whom I know I can pour everything and I can surface effortlessly without being scared of rejections. And we became the best of friends. Yes, I take a lot of pride in who he is and what he does. It is something that I always knew I’d need from my man. I know I am strong by myself but I also need an anchor.

Almost There

My husband and I are getting tired of the whole renovations. Unfortunately, it took over 3 months to finish it all. Hopefully, next week we’ll have all the recarpeting done and the wrought iron stairs will be finished. We’re planning to put the kitchen renovations on hold. All we want right now is a peaceful, comfortable house. The great news though is we both loved our new steam shower. It’s excellent specially that I had the rain shower, lol! We may not have rains here in CA but at least, I had rain showers twice a day (wink).

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Simple Twist

A young clerk who worked for a department store had an idea for a store that would sell only items costing a dime or less. The clerk approached his boss and asked him to invest in his plan, but the boss dismissed the idea as being too risky. "There aren't enough items to sell for five to ten cents, he told the clerk.

The young man opened his own store without his boss' help. Eventually, F.W. Woolworth's stores stretched across the nation, and his former boss commented, "As far as I can figure out, each word I used to to turn to Woolworth down cost me a million dollars."

Studies of older Americans have shown that those who take risks are the healthiest, live the longest, and remain in the best of spirits. Extreme risk taking has its own hazards, of course, but a moderate level of risk taking is crucial to emotional and physical health. Too much self-protection can hinder our growth.

He that would catch fish, must venture his bait.
-Ben Franklin

Caught in Film

Every picture tells a story. I can’t help but stop and look at this picture of ladies doing the laundry. I was laughing hysterically when my husband told me the story behind this simple photo taken 10 years ago in Boracay.

He was looking around at the beach resort where he was staying at. Then, he was so surprised looking at these ladies.

“What the heck are they doing to my clothes?” he wondered.

The resort manager said that’s how they do the laundry. There’s no washer and dryer in that resort. It was pretty shocking to him then. But he said all the clothes came in clean, well-ironed and smelled fresh.

It very much reminded me of my childhood days. The whole supply of water is not enough for the whole community especially during summer. So, we have this place- a tank full of water with only one faucet. All neighbors go there to fetch water and do their laundry. Most housewives will do their laundry together and listen to the drama-series or some sort of soap opera in their favorite radio station. Eventually, every conversation lead to gossips.

Oh well, what else can you expect from people who just lived all their lives in a small island with no TV?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Simple Guide to Myself

There are days when I wake up in the morning and things are not the way I wished it would be…
That’s when I have to tell myself that things will be better and the sun will still shine.

There are times when people hurt me and let me down…
That’s when I keep reminding myself to trust it all to my God and offer all of it to Him.

There are trials and challenges I have to face along the way,
That’s when I have to be strong despite my meekness for I will always choose to stand and not to veer away on the wayside.

There are changes that I make in my life,
That’s when I have to struggle a stronger sense of myself. I always tell myself to grow up and it’s always not easy.

Life is a game, an endless journey.
I have to play otherwise; I will just stumble in the dark.
I have choices and it’s all up to me.
Somehow, I keep telling myself to stick on the good choices.

So when days come with frustrations and disappointments,
I will not quit. I will survive.
It’s not only me, it’s not all about me and mostly, it is what "living" is all about.

Choosing to Live and Love

Life goes on whether we like it or not,
We cannot turn back the hands of time.
For my 30 years of existence,
I have come to know the different types of people.
I’ve met some men who are very passionate and gentle,
Men who are selfish and rude,
I’ve seen smiles full of untruthfulness,
And tears wet with truths.

I’ve met women who are intelligent, humble and caring,
I’ve met women who are envious, jealous and unhappy,
Women who are helplessly insecure and hateful,
I’ve witnessed the tears of a heart-broken woman,
I’ve seen faces of older people who just wanted to be touched,
I have known my parents to be who they are,
And respected their judgments because I choose them,
And I believed they did the best they can.

I’ve found myself learning the reality of living,
An inner part of me longed to always meet people
Who believe in life’s passion,
Of being grateful,
Of being so sincere,
Of being so forgiving,
Of being so selfless,
And above all, I long to know those few people
Who really know what love is,
And how to be a loving person
Where friendship and love are far more important.

Fruit of Labor and Love

My sister-in law is so proud to tell us that her bookstore had won a prestigious award. Mrs. Nelson's is the 2009 recipient of the Lucile Micheels Pannell Award for Children's Specialty Bookstore. They are so proud to be chosen from entries nation-wide for showing excellence in promoting children's books and literacy.

Each year the Women’s National Book Association awards the Lucile Micheels Pannell Award which honors excellence in children’s bookselling. There are two awards – one for general bookstores and one for a children’s specialty bookstore. The jury chooses winners based on creativity, responsiveness to community needs, passion, and understanding of children's books and young readers. Established in 1981, the Pannell Awards were created to publicly recognize the work of booksellers who are committed to promoting children’s books and encouraging young readers. The award is named for Lucile Micheels Pannell, a founding member of the Women’s National Book Association and a life-long advocate for children’s books and reading.

Yes, she’s very excited about it and so is the whole family! She's the top store in the US! She has been giving new books to us to send to the Philippines through the balikbayan boxes. Besides, I’m so grateful my husband is very passionate about sending boxes full of canned goods to my families, relatives and neighbors in the Philippines. I can’t thank them enough for being so charitable!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Art of Simplicity

Simplify, simplify, focus, focus… that’s the lesson I have learned when I was in college. The Math problem can be tricky. The problems are sometimes stated in a confusing way but if you’ll learn the art of simplifying- then identifying the real problem and working on the solution will get easier and easier.

Dealing with real-life problems is just like that to me. I always go through the basic principles and simplify things. However, as I get older- things are presented to me in different ways. The solutions that once solved my problems were not working anymore.

And who was there to the rescue? It was my dear husband. I admire his clarity despite the mixed emotions involved. I’m so impressed at how good he’s able to detach himself on issues. He’s very good at simplifying things and identifying the real concern. You know, when you’re mad, you lose focus, you lose ground and you become unreasonable and yet, he remained so focused. Yes, he’s my diplomatic best friend and a great coach^-^. I think that’s one big reason why we only had a number of fights after 2 years of marriage (not that long but it’s the most critical years of marriage, right?)

Having a simple mind is not the same as being simple-minded. Simplicity of mind is revealed in clearness of thought. As André Conue-Sponville described it:
"The simple person lives the way he breathes, with no more effort or glory, with no more affectation and without shame., . . Simplicity is freedom, buoyancy, transparency. As simple as the air, as free as the air.... The simple person does not take himself too seriously or too tragically. He goes on his merry way, his heart light, his soul at peace, without a goal, without nostalgia, without impatience. The world is his kingdom, and suffices him. The present is his eternity, and delights him. He has nothing to prove, since he has no appearances to keep up, and nothing to seek, since eveiything is before him. What is more simple than simplicity? What lighter? It is the virtue of wise men and the wisdom of saints".

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flying Without Wings

“Tata, bring your younger siblings here! I’ve got tons of crackers for you all!” she shouted.

My friends were giggling. “Oh, there’s your step Mom calling you!” they all teased.

Hungry from the hard day’s playing around, I hurriedly picked up my younger brother in my small arms and run toward her modest house. True enough, she had a lot of crackers and breads in different shapes and colors.

That was the routine every afternoon. She would call all of us (my sisters) every time she gets off the jeepney with her daughter. Everybody knows that she came from the church begging. I could understand why all of my friends were mocking at us for eating those breads and crackers at their poor, tiny home. She’s filthy, ugly-looking, smelly and hunchback.

I never mind all of those things. I thought she’s being very nice and sincere.

“How did she become a hunchback?” I asked my Mom one time.

She just told me that she was being punished and cursed by her Dad. She wasted the money her parents sent to her for her school requirements. She was very spoiled then. Her Dad did a witch craft/ black magic on her.

My light brows raised high with total confusion. “How did she arrive here? Where is she from? Where is her family?” a series of questions come one after the other.

“She was out looking for your Grandpa. She came from the other side of the island- around 20 miles. When she arrived here, she looked so tired, so stinky and can barely stand up. It took her few days to finally see your Grandpa,” she narrated.

My grandpa was a quack doctor known to do some herbal healings as well as reversing the spell or black magic or witch craft or whatever that is. So, he did help her.

“Her condition was worse when she came here. Bit by bit, she was able to move and walked. She got married, had 2 kids and after few years, her husband left her” she continued.

“Wow! That sounded like a story I read on the books!” I quipped.

She was always a victim of discrimination, abuse and rejection. The society treated her scornfully. Nevertheless, my Mom was never one of them. I can always see her big respect for her as another human being. She was even considered a relative. During those times, I have questioned my Mom’s dedication for helping her in every way while other neighbors despised her because of her being unlovable and unlikable. As a matter of fact, my Mom took care of her funeral and my Aunt adopted her daughter.

Her family never visited her nor attended her funeral. It was a sad life swathe in physical and emotional pains but she never gave up living. Most of the time, I remembered her being happy and always ready with her big smile every time she invited us over at her humble home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Broken Woman

"Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain."
- Helen Keller

It was such a sad interview I saw last night on Larry King. Dealing with infidelity in a relationship is everyone's worst nightmare. After trust has been broken, it can be hard for a relationship to move forward. In fact, many couples never recover from this muddle and separate for good. How much more to a high-profile couple where the whole country had known about it?

Okay, I’m talking about Larry’s interview of Elizabeth Edwards- her dealing with the cheating spouse John Edwards who admitted in August that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, then 42. Hunter was hired to make a movie about Edwards, then making his second try for the Democratic presidential nomination. It is definitely a tough spot to be in- a cheating spouse (the affair had apparently been known to everybody in his staff except to her and he later denied the allegations) while at the same time, battling with incurable cancer. Although, she kept saying she had forgiven him and that she had bounced back- thus the title of her book, Resilience- she still sounded like she’s not healed at all. She said she’s a different person now which I took as a “broken woman” trying to be whole again.

You know, I’ve witnessed quiet a few of these “cheating” scenarios" before. Two of my close friends (whom I’ve known since high school & college), were separated from their cheating husbands. While it’s very easy to say, “it’s over” and be bitter about it; the options are quiet difficult though when you have kids.

The cheating husband is more prevalent in my culture than a cheating wife (yeah, double-standard). The society can’t seem to tolerate the fact that a wife is cheating. Worst scenario, you have to stay married all your life despite the infidelity and abandonment; unless you have thousands of dollars to file for an annulment since the church doesn’t allow divorce. I’m a big believer of “marriage should last a lifetime” and “no divorce under any circumstances” but seeing the suffering of my friends, I thought they deserved to be happy too.

“What would you do, if it were you?” a close friend had asked me few days ago.

Sure, she was fishing for some answers but when the question sank in, I was lost for words. Then, I remembered the prayers I’ve been reciting ever since I was a kid: “That God will give more strength to those broken-hearted”. Something that you don’t want anybody to undergo but it happens.

The part where I liked the most about Elizabeth Edwards responses is “things just happen”. She had forgiven herself and freed herself from the burden and guilt of “not doing the right thing” and dealing with it takes time, patience and dedication.

The Four Degrees of Prayer

The Lord showed me that there are four degrees of prayer that are applicable to your life. The first is the Prayer of Strength. It comes when you begin to realize that God is your Father and you’ve got this vacuum in your heart. You’re full of sin, you’re full of anxieties and frustrations, and you have nowhere to go. The thirst you have gives you a sense of repentance, which enables you to “open the door” to God’s heart. Then once you repent, comes a prayer of the heart.

The Prayer of the Heart looks at God with a humble heart saying, “Lord I leave everything to Your will. I love You enough to accept all the nos and all the yesses. The Prayer of the Heart demonstrates a deep commitment that you are going to live a Christian life no matter the temptations or obstacles

The next prayer is the Prayer of the Mind, where you begin to examine yourself. This is where dryness comes in—that kind of empty feeling where you sense that God is far away and He’s not listening. Did you ever feel that way? It’s a good sign because it calls us to rise to a higher spiritual level. The Prayer of the Mind helps us dig into our own conscience and rid ourselves of all the junk.

And finally there is the Prayer of the Soul, when you feel a very deep presence of God, a deep sense of love. You begin to sense God’s presence in your neighbor. It’s the Father in you loving Jesus in your neighbor. That’s the highest form of prayer, because it’s unceasing.
---Mother Angelica, Little Book of Life's Lessons and Everyday Spirituality


Ode To Mom

“Nay, have you told me before that if people who come and ask for help, you shouldn’t say-No?” my nephew asked my Mom.

My Mom’s face turned red in front of a neighbor.

“Didn’t I tell you not to associate with older people’s conversations?” she commanded.

My Mom is very domineering all throughout her motherhood stage until she had grand kids. She is known to be very straight forward, sarcastic, fearless and yet, generous. She’s very generous to a fault that sometimes her actions can be unreasonable.

She knew she doesn’t have money for her own needs but when somebody would come and ask for a favor- she won’t hesitate to help even if that means she will borrow money.

“I can still remember those times when I’d have to wait for the collectors. I can’t go home because I knew there’d be no rice for dinner. It always breaks my heart every time some employees would come and borrow money because they don’t have rice or medicines for their sick child”, she reminded me once again. “I know how it feels and even if I don’t have enough, I make sure- I still can help”, she continued.

Having been a Mom for 8 kids in her early 30’s and married to a somewhat immature husband was quiet a story to tell. No, I never blamed my parents for having so many kids and yet, they can’t afford to raise. I remembered being so sad when they have fights because of money. It was a chaotic childhood, imperfect and yet guided and loved. She is our biggest advocate and a true pillar for the family. My Mom never failed to stand up for her family whether it’s stormy and calm.

I appreciate her optimistic attitude and her being very pushy; although the latter was such an ordeal to me when I was younger. She was one of my biggest influences, one of my best friends, filling my mind and touching my soul. I don’t think I can ever do what my Mother had done.

As what St. Francis of Assisi had said, "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms and may every breeze of affluence bears the scent of your love and caress!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can A Song Make a Difference?

On the first few months of corresponding with Jim, I was completely fascinated with Luther Vandross’ version of the song “The Closer I Get to You”. In fact, I used it as my ring back tone just so my boyfriend can hear it every time he calls.

I was strolling at the mall one afternoon when I received a phone call from him. With a sad voice, he told me he just lost his Mom. I know how close he was to her. On the other hand, it was a joyful death. She died few minutes after he left her house.

Two months later, I was thinking of something to give for his birthday. I wasn’t so sure about the idea but since I liked Luther Vandross, I sent him a CD. Little did I know when he received it, he was crying.

“Hey, did you know that the song “Dance With My Father” was played on the car when I was driving home after visiting my Mom? I never heard of that song before but as I listened to it, tons of happy memories were coming back,” he said.

“And soon as the song ended, my sister called and told me about Mom’s death,” he continued. I could hear his lamentation.

Before his Mom died, she kept telling them that their Dad visited her and that they were dancing. His parents were active in church, they started a foundation and his Dad was one of the founders of Craft Industry. He died early though but had left a life-long legacy to the Craft business.
"In the mid 1940s, it was craft classes offered by the USO that lead Jim Gick to open a craft shop when he returned from WWII and led him to start working with others to develop what would become a global industry. "

Anyway, here's the song's lyrics^-^

Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
How I'd love love love to dance with my father again

When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way I would run from her to him
He'd make me laugh just to comfort me(yeah, yeah)
Then finally make me do just what my momma said
Later that night, when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me

If I could steal
One final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
Cause I'd love love love to dance with my father again

Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I'd pray for her even more than me

I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she' s dying to dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep
And this is all I ever dream

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Romance Interrupted

“Have you ever thought of becoming a priest or a nun? Have you ever asked anybody that question?”

I so loved hearing Fr. John’s homily. It’s always a combination of authority, of compassion, of dedication and wit.

“A neighbor asked me that question before”, Fr. John continued.

They thought he can be a good priest since he had the leadership skills and he’s very friendly. They didn’t mention he’s religious though. Apparently, during those days he was not. He was even dating a girl.

After years of battling and looking for life’s deeper meanings- he decided to be a priest. He called his girlfriend about his thoughts.

“Oh, the last guy I dated went to the seminary”, she said.

He faced tremendous temptations on his first few years as a seminarian. Moving to Newport Beach doesn’t help at all.

“Why did you want to be a priest?” he asked his Spiritual Director.

“Well, for 2 reasons. First, no woman would want me. Second, I don’t want to work my butt off all my life”, he joked.

Somehow, Fr. John was ordained as a priest. In fact, he celebrated his girlfriend’s wedding.

“Ohhhhhhhh,” the community whispered in chorus.

I admit that put a smile on my face considering it has been 40 years down the road. I thought that was a tender, cute story that is worth sharing ^-^

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Way of Wisdom

This way of wisdom is no dream, no temptation and no evasion, for it is on the contrary a return to reality in its very root. It is not an escape from contradiction and confusion for it finds unity and clarity by plunging into the very midst of contradiction, by the acceptance of emptiness and suffering, by the renunciation of passions and obsessions with which the whole world is “on fire.” It does not withdraw from the fire. It is in the very heart of the fire, yet remains cool, because it has the gentleness and humility that come from self-abandonment, and hence does not seek to assert the illusion of the exterior self.

Once a man has set his foot on this way, there is no excuse for abandoning it, for to be actually on the way is to recognize without doubt or hesitation that only the way is fully real and that everything else is deception, except insofar as it may in some secret and hidden manner be connected with “the way”.
---Thomas Merton, Choosing to Love the World


Weekend Updates and Awards

There’s nothing special about our weekend except we had accomplished a lot of things. The things that we always put aside. Jim had finished the mantle, cleaned the garage and I had cleaned my closet and the utensils on the kitchen. When I arrived here, the housekeeper asked me if I would want her put all my clothes after drying. I’m not comfortable with that and I don’t want to be so bossy- so I always do it myself. After several months I find myself spoiled (wink) and busy. Yet, I still I can’t tell Rosa about some other things. That’s fine though. So, yeah I did some spring cleaning- put aside all the winter clothes and cleaned my desk. And oh, did I say I’m addicted to my new hobby- the mosaics? I have been going back & forth to the craft store yesterday for some supplies^-^.

Anyway, I don’t want to spend money for the Pacquiao boxing that I just called my Mom. She told me it had not started yet. After few minutes of talking, I just heard- it’s over! Wheew! That was quick. I bet most of those who watched on the movie theaters or restaurants didn’t even finish their pop corn or beers. I just watched it on YouTube though.

Finally, a great “Thank You” for Duni from “Lovely Purses” for this beautiful award “Works of the Heart”. Ladies, if you haven’t checked out her blog- I think you better do. Her blog had a parade of those cute, beautiful and unique make-up bags and purses- made by her. Truly an artist.

Another big “Thank You” to Chuck of “Secondary Roads” for another- One Lovely Blog Award. There have been thousands of existing blogs but I have some favorites. His blog is one of them. Its contents are both witty and very informative. You may check it out yourself:))


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu Update

Don't do this and you should be OK!^-^

This swine flu pandemic outbreak pretty much reminded me of SARS few years back when I was working in Taiwan. It was very uncomfortable and panicky most of the time. We have to wear masks everywhere we go and if somebody got sick or having cough, they're being sent immediately to the quarantine. And who wouldn't? I mean, it's inevitable. Hopefully, we'll get through all this.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Touched by An Angel

I was bummed yesterday when I dropped Jake at the Vet. Jim snaps at me when I was teasing him if he could just drop Jake before he goes to work. It was a bad-timing, my fault. He was grouchy when he woke up. It’s been 3 days that he never had enough sleep. I understand all his stress at work and all the hassles with the house renovations. I just give him a cold shoulder for the next few hours. He knew me and yes, I was hurt.

I wasn’t on the right mood when I picked Jake. Then, there is this charming, little girl who was trying to help the lady who worked at the reception. She’s the Vet’s youngest daughter.

Can I help you? I’m available!” she told the lady.

Okay, you can take the meds out of the box and put it in the table”, she replied.

Then, she realized I was there.

Oh, hi! How are you? What’s your name?” she asked.

I’m Sharon, what’s yours?” I replied.

I’m Carolina.

She was busy putting all the meds on the table. Then, she got the plastic bubble wrap from the box.

Do you wanna take this at home?” she asked innocently with matching high-brows.

Your kids can pop it, it’s real fun!” she exclaimed.

I was so stunned at her and when I asked her age; she said she’s 4.

Anyway, the drama between me and my husband ended after a thorough discussions and apologies before dinner. Thanks to the sweet, little angel who was sent to put smile on my lips which makes my day better. It was pretty simple and yet, touching.