Sunday, June 2, 2013

Are You in Your Happy Place?

2 cups of coffee
Yesterday after a month's hiatus from watching my favorite British TV series, Downton Abbey, I went back to Season 2, of course starting it from Episode 1. To say that I've watched this series at least a hundred times, is an understatement (ask hubby and my kids). I love everything about it. The whole production is excellent. The cast of characters, the costume, the acting, Highclere Castle -- as I said, everything.  
At any rate, as I was watching that scene where Matthew met Mary for the first time, since she rejected his marriage proposal (conclusion of Season 1), is really for the books. This is one love story that has more than its share of ups and downs in Seasons 1 and 2 and a bit more in the first episode in Season 3.  And since Season 3 has also ended, it's safe to say that they finally got married and then without any warning, Matthew met his untimely death in a freak road accident. ... So I am digressing... I usually do when I talk about Downton Abbey. Anyway, back to Season 2 Episode 1, that dinner table scene where the un-couple talked about them "being happy" or "about to be happy" kinda struck me differently.
The past two months have gone pretty fast for me.  
Having gotten myself a new job means encountering so many new things for me. New people, new place and a slightly new job description. 
Figures were mostly what I dealt with in my previous job, with my new one, it's words. Previously it was mostly MS Excel, now it's MS Word and MS Publisher.  I sure am doing a lot of re-wiring.
And I'm not complaining at all. What I'm just saying is that I did a whole lot of adjusting. 
And I'm also euphoric this weekend as I have accomplished a major task just as the month of May came to an end. So please allow me to have this moment...
I was made to understand that I was hired because I can write.  
I was like, "who me? write?" 
About a year ago, with so many things that was going on, I felt that I needed to give myself a break. That was when I started this blog.
How was I to know that my blog was going to be instrumental in my hiring process? Trust the Lord's sovereign ways. 
So when I came across that dinner conversation about the un-couple talking about them being "happy," it got me into some introspection.
Am I in my "happy place"? Yes, I am!
I'm having, my share of life's twists and turns and ups and downs, but in the end, I'd still say, I'm in my happy place.
Simple guiding principles like "choosing my battle" and "looking at the big picture" are helping me much in terms of keeping myself focused.
Having a family is also a boost. 
For the most part of 2012, I wasn't always in my happy place. But that's all in the past now and I've told myself that it's no use looking back.  
I know that I've been given a chance to move forward. And that is exactly what I'm doing! Yes, moving forward. 
So bring it on! 
Sadly I know of some people who are seemingly in their happy place. Yet when you dig a bit, you'd find out that they are only pretending that they are; or worst, they think they are.  
Sad, really sad.  
So just one last word on this... make sure that you're in your happy place. You've only got one life to live, too precious to be wasting it. 
You must be wondering about the photo above? My daughter and I had a cup each after lunch today -- just one of life's simple pleasure -- spending time with my family on a lazy  Sunday early afternoon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Red Watch and a Block of Cheese on a Sunday

First time I saw a red watch worn by a friend years ago, I knew I wanted to have one too. WANT being the  operative word. So it just made it to my mental list of 'things to buy when I have extra cash.' And then quite forgotten.
Last Saturday, hubby and I went to our neighborhood grocery to buy supplies that were already missing from our pantry. While we still have some small leftover cheese, I was already planning on buying a new block in preparation for another round of cheese-pineapple filling that I usually make during Wednesdays. Sadly though, cheddar cheese was "sorry, Ma'm, out of stock po." Too bad. Hubby assured me he'll buy one for me at the bigger grocery that he also frequents.
Then Sunday came. 
We were rushing to prepare to leave for our usual Sunday morning service when my uncle and aunt arrived at my cousin's house (we live in the same compound). Our visitors came from San Francisco City, where they are both permanent residents. I haven't seen them for quite sometime, so I just had to say hello. After a brief exchange of hellos and how-are-you's, my aunt handed me a white plastic bag. I stayed on for a few minutes for some more small talks, then my kids came over also to fetch me and to pay their respects. Then we left for church. 
After a few hours, we were back at home. I saw the white plastic bag and got curious about its contents. At the very bottom this is what I found...
A watch! A red watch!!
Oh wow! What a most pleasant surprise.  Then I remembered how much I wanted something like this years ago. 'Twas such a long time ago that I've almost forgotten all about it. But not the Lord, He just kept it in mind for me.
Before going to bed, I found out that He wasn't done yet.
Still on the same Sunday, after lunch at home, off we went to a family gathering. One of those who came is another cousin who also lives in the US. Again, after the usual hellos and how-are you's, she told me to make sure that I get the bag that she has for me. 
True enough, when it was time to leave, my cousin told me that she had already handed my "pasalubong" to  my daughter. And my daughter got very curious about the contents. She asked what was in it that's very heavy. No idea. Again at the bottom this was what we found...
Cheddar cheese! At 2 lbs it sure was heavy.
 The Lord is just so sweet! He catered to a WANT and a NEED at the same time. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Don't Leave Home Without Them"

Title are in quotation marks as I "borrowed" it from that very successful 1975 ad campaign done by David Ogilvy for Ogilvy & Mather for American Express Traveler's Cheques. Remember Karl Malden (yes, same guy in that 70's police drama TV series, The Streets of San Francisco, with a very young and handsome, Michael Douglas, as his partner), was in their TVC? In case you haven't seen or can't recall it exactly, here's the link
At any rate,  I have my own version of "don't leave home without them." 
I am referring to 
my watch, my rings, a pair of earrings and a handkerchief.
Not sure exactly when this habit started. But am thinking it didn't happen overnight, might have been an evolution of some sort.
Dunno about you, but to me, wearing a watch's been always a big deal. More than a necessity, today's watch has evolved into more of an accessory, you might have one for sports, one for everyday wear, another one for dressier events. No,  I  don't have one for every occasion. But I must admit that I own about 6 of them and they're all gifts, save for one, which I bought almost 19 years ago (yes, they can last that long). :) 
I have several rings in my small jewelry box, those 3 pictured above are my wedding ring, and my Mom's two rings-her engagement ring and a puzzle ring my Dad gave her during the 80's.  When my Mom was diagnosed with the dreaded C, one of the things that she did as soon as my sister came home (she lives abroad), was  to divide her jewelries between her two daughters.  
According to my sister, a pair of earrings will always complement a woman's beautiful face. 'nuff said.
Self-explanatory when you make your abode and livelihood here in  Metro Manila. 

What about you? What made it to your "don't leave home without them" list? 
Let me make guess... wallet and cellular phone! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wedding Rings, Anniversaries, New Year's Eve

Photo was taken while we were waiting for the clock to strike 12 to usher in 'year 2012'.   Hubby and I try to come up with something unexpected for our two kids (okay, they're not kids anymore, they're officially teenagers) during their school breaks; nothing fancy or expensive... just something to perk 'em up, and hopefully add some wonderful bonding moments in their chest of childhood memories.  And so for last year's New Year's Eve, we opted to wait it out at Eastwood.  It was dinner first at
It's almost always Italian food for us whenever we eat out. Must make mention here that pasta is a staple in our pantry.  Pasta is to me what pansit was to my Mom and Dad (can't live without them!) and I was able to pass on this partiality to my children. One time, my son and I were discussing our favorite foods and we both agreed that, taking only food as the main consideration, I'd probably survive more in Europe than in any part of Asia--I have no penchant for anything spicy.  Anyway, after that sumptuous dinner, we walked around a bit, took a lot of photos of ourselves and then went to 
for our traditional after-dinner drink
'Twas double-chocolate latte for hubby and my daughter, caffe latte for my son and mocca latte for me. 
And there we waited and waited and waited for the clock to strike 12.
And it was a pretty long wait. We talked, exchanged jokes; each one with a smart phone, pretty much left us on our own world to play games, update our FB status and flood our timelines with tweets. 
And oh yes, the digicam came in handy too!
That was when my daughter took a photo of  our hands--hubby's and mine. Actually we just wanted to show off our wedding rings.  
A bit of some side story here... While we were planning our wedding (circa 1991), a good friend told us that we shouldn't scrimp on our wedding rings; the gown, the flowers, the food, and everything else might be forgotten, but certainly not the wedding rings. Wise words.  
And so prophetic of how we got it. During our wedding preparations, we got a request from one of our principal sponsors, asking us to visit him at his jewelry shop. He specifically asked what we wanted as gifts--a honeymoon package or wedding rings. At that time, we still didn't have both, but of course, we chose the latter. He then handed us some thick catalog of rings to choose from; and all  I had in mind was a two-tone band. We, of course got what we wanted and much more!  
2013 brings us to our 22nd year as husband and wife.
So why did I end up talking about this? Maybe because this weekend we join the celebration of my Uncle and Auntie who are celebrating their 5oth wedding anniversary. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lessons from My Dearest Mother - Part 1

  My Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer sometime in May 2005. Life was never the same for us since then. 
   Being the eldest I felt I was the closest to both of my parents, years later I realized how mistaken I was. I might be the closest to my Dad, but with my Mom, I realized that the three of us (I have a brother, of whom I am four years older and a sister who is seven years younger than me) have our own special relationship with her.  Reminds me of this anecdote I read years ago about some curious neighbor asking another neighbor blessed with so many children: How on earth do you divide your love among your children? And the couple's reply: "We don't divide, we multiply!" This is, in a nutshell, how I would describe my Mom.  She multiplied her love among us her children and her husband.
  My Mom, with her tremendous faith, prayed hard to her Lord and Savior, to be given enough strength to fight her cancer cells.  And to much extent she did.  Having also lost her older sister (our favorite spinster aunt, Andrea) a few years before her diagnosis, to breast cancer,  she didn't want to go through her doctor's chemotherapy program.  Instead she opted to take the path of the alternative medicine.  It must have been an effective medicine and coupled with her tremendous faith, she was spared any cancer pains.  In fact she was able to resume most of her activities prior to her diagnosis.  But deep down, we also knew she was on borrowed time.  One of Mommy's passion was visiting the sick and the dying. This she continued to do as soon as she was well enough to do visitations.  She would tirelessly share her faith, the story of Jesus Christ and would not renege until the sickly makes their peace with their Maker.  
  Last 24 Jul, my Mom would turned 76, she joined her Maker on 7 Jan 2009, she was 72 years old. I've been wanting to write a fitting tribute for her last January on the occasion of her 3rd death anniversary, but I was pleasantly distracted by how the Lord compensated my loneliness through the addition of another member of our family.  My sister-in-law gave birth to a bouncing baby girl on that special day.  Then came July, but I couldn't get myself to start as I found myself crying. How I missed her terribly!
  Today, more than three years of her death, I wouldn't be exaggerating when I say that I think of her each day.  Two months after she passed away, a very close friend of mine (who also lost her mother years ahead of me) told me that the pain doesn't go away, you just learn to live with it.  Sad but so true. 
  I miss her when I have good days and when I have bad days.  
  She has so much wisdom in her to have the right words during my good days and my bad days. 
  But I have absolutely no bitterness about the timing of her demise.  I'm so sure that she lived a full life and that when the Lord took her, it was His perfect time.  I'm sure she also wanted to be reunited with her own parents, siblings and all those friends who have gone ahead of her.    
  I'm sorry, but I have to stop now as tears are streaming down my cheeks.  I haven't even really started on the actual meat of my story, i.e., the lessons I have learned from her. Yet, I must stop, writing about her makes me miss her more.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


It was unintentional on my part to be this quiet these past weeks.
It's just that recent changes in my environs have kept my waking hours pretty much occupied.  And I mean that in a good way.  Of course including the usual daily concerns of being a wife and a mother.
That being said, I've actually taken photos of one of these homemade sandwich fillings that is becoming a staple in our family.  We've had it in our lunch boxes since last week.  I am in fact making another batch tomorrow morning.  Hopefully my weekend won't be as full as last week's, which means that I'd have the time to post those photos.
Let me say goodbye for now. It's been pretty much a long Wednesday for me.  From house chores during the mornings, then work from mid-afternoon, and a power stretch class, to cap the day, I'm so dead beat.
Hope everything's going well from your end!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Loving Surprises and Hating Democracy

Did a friend of a friend a favor and yesterday, as generous and thoughtful act of returning that favor, this friend of a friend surprised me with this
Overjoyed that it's a pack of purely dark chocolate! Dark chocolate is everyone's favorite at home (I've been a dark chocolate fan for the longest time).  
This is the "loving surprises" part.

Hubby and I have two grown children at home (ages 19 and 14).  Almost everything about them is "adult."  Well, maybe because even when they were kids, we treated them like adults in every possible way, foremost of which was valuing their inputs.  Mind you though, we believe in the Biblical principles (read: using the rod then was part of our disciplining process, now they're too old for that).  Anyway, the "adult" that I mean here is that we divide food, in this case, this pack of Hershey's miniatures into equal parts.  After opening the pack, the first thing to do was to count how many pieces are inside.  Can you guess?  ... 
So this

Became this

And that is what I mean when I said "hating democracy"!

Parenting is certainly the most challenging of 'em all (once a parent, always a parent).   As a Mom, I try my best to teach my kids life lessons every chance I get.  This one's about sharing.

How's your week coming along?