Showing posts with label Journey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Journey. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2022

3 Tips For Making A Milestone Birthday Special


As we get older, we tend to place less and less importance on our birthday celebrations, even if it can be nice to head out for a meal with our family, or receive a few modest gifts and congratulations. But of course, there’s not really that much difference in turning 47 than there is in turning 43, you’ve seen a good amount of birthdays by then and probably don’t make too much noise about it.

Milestone birthdays are different, of course. This might involve turning 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, and certainly each 25 years as well. If you’re heading to one of these milestone birthdays that not only signify a year in age but also a new chapter in your life, it’s fun to plan a little more to make things special and worthwhile.

In this post, then, we’ll discuss how exactly to achieve that, without having to ruin your bank account or make the event ‘too ornate,’ as it were. With that in mind, let’s consider:

Catering With Care

A beautifully catered event can be perfect for larger events, especially if you hope to rent a private space. It will also work out cheaper for each person than paying for a full restaurant meal for everyone in attendance. Catering for a birthday can be a wonderful experience, especially if you’re doing so for a surprise birthday party, and the food can be tremendously shareable with nibbles for eating while standing. This food can come in many forms, from course meals to barbecue you can eat at social events. Great food helps an amazing birthday stand out in the best way.

Inviting Extended Family & Friends

If you just wish for a peaceful birthday and for no one to kick up that much noise about it, that’s fine. But it can also be nice to invite extended friends or family if you feel up to it - you may be surprised how many people will be happy to travel to celebrate such a milestone and to do so with real care. Inviting extended family and friends can feel both enjoyable and fun, and perhaps connect you to people you haven’t seen in some time also. Plus it’s not as if you have to be connected to them hip with them the entire time, or see them for longer than a weekend. A special effort like this really does help you enjoy this experience for all it’s worth.

Be sure to make the venue where you keep your party as festive as possible by adding balloon towers and milestone themed decorations as well. By making the venue inviting it will not only make your party more special but it will also make your guests feel happy and comfortable as well. You can explore several different themes ahead of time so that you select the right one for your big day

Opt For A Special Treat

It’s good to spend a little on yourself, and so planning for a special trip during a milestone birthday is certainly justifiable in the best way. This might include heading on a special overnight luxury train through Europe, heading on a cruise, or simply enjoying a fantastic hike in a remote village you’ve been wanting to enjoy. Heading to the theatre, or the opera, or the local sports game if that’s what you enjoy can be a fantastic use of your time too, and they may even reserve you special seats if you book in advance.

With this advice, we hope you can make your upcoming milestone birthday the best one yet.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Fun Activities for Grandparents and Grandchildren

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There are many advantages to your children having a great relationship with their extended family. In particular, their grandparents. This relationship can help the children to feel safe and loved, increase their experience of the world around them, and help them to learn more from their grandparents own experiences and opinions. It can also help the grandparents to feel like they matter and to live a longer and happier life. Spending time with their grandkids could even help to prevent long term health conditions and keep them active and healthy for a lot longer.

While there are obvious benefits, grandparents often struggle for ideas of what they can do with their grandchildren. We all know how hard it is to keep up with children’s interests and fashions after all! Here are some great ideas of things grandparents and grandchild could do during their precious time together. 


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Who bakes better than granny? Cooking with kids is an enormously enjoyable experience, and grandparents have generally got more patience for the mess than parents, seen as they get to send them home at the end of it! Baking is a fun, cheap and safe indoor activity. Perfect for a rainy day at grandma’s. Check out Pinterest for some great ideas on baking with kids. 


Dancing is a wonderful way of highlighting, and bridging, the generation gap! Get the kids and grandparents to show off their moves. They might even teach each other a thing or two. 


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There are tons of crafts kids can have a go at with their grandparents. They could even spend the time making some cool gifts to take home to mummy and daddy. If at some point the grandparents struggle to get out and have Live in Care Services to help, this would be a great option. Some great ideas include:
  • Papier Mache
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Photo frame making
  • Colleges

The messier, the better!

Build a Family Tree

Who better to help the kids research their family and plot a family tree? Kids love finding out about their relatives and what they got up to, and it can be an excellent way to teach them more about history and the world around them. 

Play Video Games

Playing video games with grandparents can be hilarious, especially if they haven’t done it much in the past. Let the kids introduce all their favorites and find fun games that everyone can enjoy together. You never know, grandparents might surprise you all.

Go to the Library

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Going to the library with the kids is something we should all do. It’s a wonderful way of introducing them to new books and authors and getting them excited about reading. But, many of us don’t have time to do it as often as we would like to. Going to the library with nanny and grandad could become a weekly event, something they do together. 

Having a large, loving family is great for everyone and the older generation have so much to offer our kids, it’s important that we give them the chance. Encourage them to spend as much time having fun together as possible.

Garden Toys 

Finally, if you are looking for some wonderful things that your children and their grandparents can do together then invest in some cool garden equipment. Getting the children out of the house and away from television and technology is the best thing you can do for them. It isn’t healthy to be cooped up indoors all day. If there is nothing for them to play with in the garden then the grandparents will have a hard time keeping them engaged. All it could take is a simple ball to kick around or play catch with. You can go one step further with this and get the kids a goal if they enjoy football. If you have children with a vivid imagination then you could get them a playhouse. If you are wondering which playhouse to buy then there are some helpful guides online. You can put books and cushions in your child's playhouse so they have somewhere to escape the heat in the garden. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Giving Myself Time To Read

I love books. Reading is one of the things I really enjoy. I liken myself to a sponge, eager to absorb new information and draw inspiration from great literary works.

I do not favor a particular genre when I sit down to read. Anything would do - a paperback novel, a compilation of short stories, old magazines and cookbooks. I share the same passion with my husband who introduced me to the exciting world of crime and suspense bestsellers. Lee Child, James Patterson, Mario Puzo and John Sandford are now included in my list of favorite authors.

On the other side of things, I have always loved reading inspirational books. In my lifetime, there are but a few books I have read and re-read with as much joy as the first time.

Let me share with you my favorite Inspirational Books List and the unforgettable quotes that have created an impact in my life. Let's do a countdown from the "Best" to the "Greatest"

This is a book about a poor young camel boy named Hafid who found success as a salesman by understanding, applying and living the lessons inscribed in ten scrolls.

The Ten Scrolls
An excerpt from Scroll IX
4. THE PEARL - John Steinbeck
This is a story about Kino, a pearl diver of Mexican-Indian descent, his wife Juana and their infant son, Coyotito. It is about how a young family, although living in poverty have learned to cope with whatever little possesions they have until that day, when Kino finds the "Pearl of the World." The family started to live with fear, and was exposed to the evils of greed. "The Pearl" is an excellent book that teaches us that about the evils of the world and how it can destroy one's humanity.

A beautifully written fable that teaches us about breaking out of the daily struggles of monotony. It inspires us to break out of our shell and strive to achieve our dreams, to rid ourselves of limitations, and to go after a more meaningful life.
"For most seagulls, life consists simply of eating and surviving. Flying is just a means of finding food. However, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. For him, flying is life itself. Against the conventions of seagull society, he seeks to find a higher purpose and become the best at doing what he loves. 
This is a fable about the importance of making the most of our lives, even if our goals run contrary to the norms of our flock, tribe or neighborhood. Through the metaphor of flight, Jonathan’s story shows us that, if we follow our dreams, we too can soar."

2. THE LITTLE PRINCE - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This is a story about a pilot whose light aircraft crashes in the middle of a desert. In this same desert, he finds a little boy who fell to earth from his home, an asteroid. The reason this book is so heartwarming to read is because of the portrayal of the child's innocence. It is also about how grown ups tend to see things superficially. The Little Prince is a book that helps us to understand that in order to appreciate the true worth of anything and everything, we must look beneath the surface.

"Here is my secret. It is very simple. 
It is only with the heart that one can see clearly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye."

The best and greatest book ever written. It is my go-to resource for guidance, comfort, happiness and love. If any one needs an instruction book to live a meaningful life, pick up the Bible. Everything we need to know is there. 

And no matter how many times you have gone back to the Bible for guidance, there is always something new you can learn from it and from the gospels. Picking up the holy scripture and re-reading a passage may offer you a different point of view on a situation. You might also find a different interpretation of a concept, such as end times that you had not thought of before. What a great opportunity to learn something new.

May you all have a blessed weekend!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Essentials for the "New Normal"

This is the third time the Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ has been extended in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces. We have named it "Season 3 of ECQ" to make it sound less stressful.

Everyone seems to be calling this "the New Normal," but honestly, I cringe when I hear people mentioning that term. This thing isn't normal at all!  Public transportation has been suspended and since I don't own a car, I have to walk 1.6 miles to get to the supermarket. Walking back home with two heavy bags of groceries is not easy. So I decided to buy myself a trolley.

This is a big help for when I need to go to the wet market for meat, fish and vegetables. The wet market is only half a mile from home, so that's easy peasy for me. For the first few weeks of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I also used this trolley when I needed to get stuff from the supermarket. However, this trolley can only carry about 55 pounds (25 kilograms), and if I bought items that would weigh more, then I would still have to carry another bag over my shoulders.

Although it has been my family's goal to live frugally during this uncertain time, I took out part of my savings and bought a bike.

Yes, I did. And I named it "Quarantino." I made sure that the bike I bought was sturdy but light weight. It did cost me quite a bit of money, but now, it is easier for me to get the stuff I need, when I need it.

My bike is a Clifton 27.5 rim, alloy frame, Shimano 21 speed mountain bike, and I am glad that I chose this model. I can just shift gears to adjust to the inclination of the road to make pedaling easy. I now can go to the supermarket, get the groceries I need, stuff it in my backpack and ride home. It is good exercise too, so it is a win-win for me.

I also added a bike rack rear carrier if in case my groceries won't fit in my back pack. I just put them in a reusable bag, strap it down, and off I go!

I have no idea if there will be a "Season 4" of this Enhanced Community Quarantine. Hopefully not. But if we do get another extension, I am ready for it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Getting Older? Here's How To Cope

Getting older is often something that is dreaded, however, more than anything, ageing is a state of mind. Yes your body will get older and you’ll develop more wrinkles, but you don’t have to adopt that ‘old person’s mindset’. Mindset is so powerful. A study was conducted where a group of older men had to live like they were in their 20s. They read papers from that era, listened to music from that era, and did everything possible to convince themselves that’s the era it was. By the end of the experiment, many of them felt better, were walking taller, and were even going without their canes. 

If you’re worried about coping with ageing, below, you’ll find advice that could help you: 

Keep Your Mind Healthy 

Start by keeping your mind healthy. From the intro you can gather how important your state of mind is, so work on keeping your mind healthy and strong. You can do this by brain training, doing things like crosswords, sudoku, and other games. Do this rather than watching TV or scrolling the internet, at least for a while. The earlier you start, the better! 

You can also keep your mind healthy by making sure you get plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods, and reading self development books. Everything works together holistically, so taking care of both your physical and mental well-being is important. 

Credit: Pixabay
Ask For Help If You Need It 

You might realize that you need a little more help as you get older, and that’s normal. You may not be able to walk as far as you did once, or even get around your house the same way you did. Maybe you could use help moving into a bungalow, or perhaps you want some help from a place like Senior Life. Whatever you think is best for you, make sure you speak to those closest to you and get an idea of what you can sort out. 

Stay Active

Make sure you do your best to stay active. The longer you stay active, the more mobile and healthier you’ll be later on in life. People accept things like bad backs, aches and pains, and slowing down as a normal sign of ageing, but the fact is, they haven’t done much exercise. Go for regular walks, try swimming, and if you feel up to it do a gym class or go on your own. Try to incorporate some activities into every day. 

Eat Well 

Balanced meals are the key to health and happiness - don’t let the pendulum swing too much one way or the other! You want to get plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Learn how to read nutritional labels and what each macronutrient does for you. 

Let Go Of The Need To Look ‘Perfect’ 

No matter how great your skincare routine is, how much you exercise, and how hydrated you stay, your body will change. Let go of the need to look perfect and embrace these changes. Many people report feeling much happier and more comfortable with themselves as they age! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

3 Concerns To Think About As You Get Older

Once you start to get a little older, you need to start thinking about a number of things which would not have been an issue in your youth. That is obviously not a surprise to anyone, and yet many of the specifics can be if you haven't spent much time thinking about it. The truth is that being prepared for such changes can be an important part of aging well, and remaining happy in the process, so this is all important to consider as early on as you can. In this article, we are going to try and make this a little easier by taking a look at just three of the big concerns that you need to think about as you start to get older. Take care of these, and you will find that you can actually find much more peace in your daily life.

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Your Wishes

Once you are starting to think about life after you have gone, the main thing you will need to be sure of is that you are clear about your wishes when that happens. In other words, you need to write out your last will and testament, and make sure that you keep it somewhere safe for after you pass away. That is not something that many people like to do, but it is always going to prove necessary if you are keen to make sure that you are approaching these things in the right manner. What’s more, this is not something you have to do alone, and in fact it would generally be advisable to get a loved one to help you. You might also want a lawyer to help you, just to ensure that it is all as it should be.

Life Insurance

Again, you know that you are starting to think about these things when you start wondering about life insurance. This is of course something which is not so much for you, but much more for the people you leave behind, who are going to be a growing concern for you as you get older. You want to know that they are going to be well looked after long after you have gone, and the best way to make sure of that is to find some life insurance for seniors which seems to suit you best. Once you have got it, you will find that you have much greater peace of mind, so that is absolutely going to be worthwhile.

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Bucket List

If there are any obvious things that you know you would like to do that you have not yet done, then you might start thinking about those and trying to find some time for them. That could include visiting certain countries or seeing a singer you like live, or it could be anything at all, even something very simple like learning pottery. Whatever you want to do, make sure that you do it, while you can. You will be glad to be doing things that you enjoy, and it will feel good to be able to tick those things off your list.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Dear Unknown Japanese Soldier,

I know, it has been about 75 years since that day. Long time, huh? Well, I don't know if you are still alive, but I just wanted to let you know about a few things.

You were the one who shot and killed my grandfather. A man I never had the chance to meet. Were you also the one who pushed his body into that deep well along with countless other men and women you massacred? 

Did you know that the man you killed had a pregnant wife at home and 4 young daughters all under the age of 10 who were too young to understand why there was a war?

Did you know that my grandfather had a very good singing voice and was the lead singer in the church choir?

What did he do to hurt you? All those men and women you rounded up in the town plaza, giving them false hopes of peace and free rice? And what did you do? You mercilessly gunned them all down. Why?

My grandfather worked hard to raise his daughters, hoping to give them a bright future. With your bullet, you put an end to his dreams.

My poor grandfather did not live long enough to even see his youngest daughter. You robbed my mother and my aunts the chance to grow up with a father to guide and protect them. 

Don't you have a father yourself? How much hate did you have in your heart when you did this? I cannot understand your lust of bloodshed. What made you so evil? I want to know. But it is too late now. Way too late to know the truth.

We only have one photo of my grandfather. 


In the photo, he was tall, dark complexioned, with black wavy hair and beautiful deep set eyes. I wish I met him. I wish I got to know him. But all I have is that one photo. And his name, Casiano. 

He missed seeing his 5 daughters graduate from college. He missed walking them down the aisle when they got married. He missed getting to know all his 13 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren (plus one great-greatgrandson)

My grandfather's 13 out of a total of 18 great grandchildren.
(13 girls and 5 boys. Missing 3 other girls and 2 other boys not in the photo)
We can no longer change the past. The war is now etched in my country's history. I can only pray that that would be the last war, and the last foreign invasion that would come to our shores. 

So to you, Unknown Japanese Soldier, I hope you were given the time to repent for the atrocities you committed. I hope you at least felt sorry for all that you did. 

And despite all the hurt you caused my grandmother, my mother and my aunts, I want you to know... 

I forgive you.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

15 Years Ago Today: My Taiwan Journey

April 4th, 2004. 

15 years ago to this day, I left my family for a two-year work contract in Taiwan. It was the first time I have ever left my children behind to work in a far away land. 

Those were the two longest years in my life.

I reluctantly boarded that Cathay Pacific plane for a 90 minute flight connecting flight to Taipei, stopping briefly in Hong Kong. 

I even doubted my decision of working abroad. What was I thinking? I have a college degree, I was employed in a government office, I was doing fine.

However, my eldest child, my daughter, was about to start college and my meager salary as a government employee would not be enough to send her and her two brothers to school. My ex-husband offered no help financially. A boy with his toys, trapped in the body of a man. 

When I submitted my application for work abroad, I was hoping my ex-husband would "man-up" and say, "Let me be the one to go overseas to work," but that never happened.

Oh well, past is past and that is all he is. An X. He eXited my life when I was barely a year into my work contract. He eXcluded himself from all responsibilities of raising our kids. So in my heart, he ceased to eXist. He left in 2005 and we have never heard from him since then. I have no regrets with ending the relationship with a bum.

Anyway, living by myself, working my butt off in a foreign land was a learning experience for me. I learned a lot about sacrifice, about frugality, about establishing friendships and looking out after each other, and about adapting to a foreign culture.

I learned Mandarin which was good, especially if you want to haggle for the price of an item. I learned to drink more tea instead of coffee, how to cook delicious, authentic Taiwanese food, and to travel that small island all by myself during my rest days.

Me (in blue shirt) with my workmate, Rosie at the facility's park
However, I would love to go back to Taiwan for a visit. I would love to see my friends again and visit the places where I used to hang out when I was there. I would like to see Tao-Yuan City once more - my home for two years. I would want to spend a few days in Keelung, Yilan, Taipei, Shilin, Songshan, Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung! I want to travel to Danshui, sit by the riverbanks in the early morning to watch the sunrise, then enjoy the street party and night market in the evening. 

At the National Cinema Park in Shilin, Taipei
This is one experience I will treasure forever. Would I wish to do it over again? Maybe, maybe not. If I would, I'd rather work as an English tutor instead of doing another nursing home stint.

I flew home on the 29th of March, 2006. The feeling of being with my kids once again was indescribable. I could not speak. I just hugged them all tightly.

15 years have gone by so fast.

What has changed? I am older, a little heavier and so much wiser. My kids are grown, now all college graduates and two of whom are gainfully employed. I am now a grandmother to one charming little boy.

What has remained the same? I still practice my Mandarin, I still cook Chinese stir-fry, and I still love Jerry Yan. Yeah! 😍

There is just no place like HOME.

Friday, March 29, 2019

About 3 years ago, I was caught in a daydream brought about by being unable to get out of the house because of a terrible tropical storm. My mind was filled with thoughts of my dream house and I found myself writing a post about it. 

Fast forward to the present time. 

I still don't have that dream house but I am still dreaming of making improvements on my "virtual property." Hey, it is free to dream, right?

I have always wanted a tree house since I was a little girl, but at my age, I think that would no longer be something I would find enjoyable. I am seriously taking into consideration certain physical limitations once I get into my senior years so my dream house should be a beautiful and "Person-With-Disability" friendly. My dream home should enable me and my husband to move around freely and enjoy the outdoors without posing any danger of a slip or a fall. It should also provide us access to natural light without requiring us to go outside. Growing old can be so complicated!

So putting these wishes in mind, my dream house will undergo some renovations. I would love to have a conservatory or a covered patio, or even a living room with an aluminium lantern roof. It will be a place to relax, with a fantastic view of the outdoors in the daytime and a perfect place to sit to watch the stars at  night. 

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A lantern roof would be a great way to get natural light into my home. Aside from its aesthetic feature, it is also an efficient way to reduce energy costs. When installed professionally, lantern roofs help keep the heat in during winter, and provide a nice well lit room during the summer. 

Natural light has health benefits too. It has been known that it is a good source of Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," which is essential for bone health. Vitamin D can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  

Natural light can reduce the effect of SAD (Seasonal Anxiety Disorder). Many of us experience some sort of anxiety especially during the autumn season. Having a lantern roof and getting as much natural light into my home as I can will help keep anxiety at bay. Furthermore, without anxiety, I can sleep better too! We all know what a good night's sleep can give us - increased productivity during the day, a happier disposition and better health.

While I am still day dreaming about lantern roofs and natural light flooding my home, I might as well add an indoor garden in my dream home too. A little space near my living room filled with tropical flowering plants, orchids in particular, a zen fountain and a hand-carved wooden bench. Of course, to keep those plants alive, I would need a lantern roof over it too! What an wonderful way to see green plants and flowers blooming all year round! 

My dream home is complete at last! I know it is a far cry from reality but no one ever knows what the future holds. For now, I will dream and work hard until the dream becomes a reality.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Breast Cancer Claimed Another Beautiful Soul

My mother when she was only 19 years old
February 12, 2019 at 9:55 am, one month ago today, my mother lost her battle with Breast Cancer. We were with her when she breathed her last.

Her cancer has spread to her hip bones which gave her so much pain with the slightest movement. I cared for her every day, kept her company, fed her through the tube in her belly, changed her diaper, watched TV with her and responded to her questions even if it was no longer in line with reality. I checked her blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels at regular times during the day.

I even argued with her when she asked for coffee. She was not allowed to have anything by mouth, because of the risk of aspiration. I just told her she'd have coffee when she was well enough to sit up.

Five days before she passed, Mama lapsed into a coma. She was no longer responding, no longer complaining of pain, no more struggling every time I had to change her diaper. She started getting a high fever, which did not go back to normal even with anti-pyretic medications. 

Then I noticed her oxygen saturation level was dropping. It went down to 84%. I told my sisters and brother that it was not a good sign. Her blood pressure was on the low side too. The following morning, my brother bought two medical oxygen tanks, a regulator and cannula. We immediately set it up to get some oxygen into her lungs. I took a reading after a few hours and her oxygen saturation went back up to an acceptable 95%. Mama's vital signs were stable the whole night. I then went home to attend to my own family.

At 5:00 am of February 12, my sister called me and told me that she took Mama's oxygen levels and it was down to 72% despite having oxygen supplementation. I rushed back to Mama's house and stayed with her. My sister started making calls to my aunts and cousins. Mama was slipping.

I sat on the couch beside her bed and turned on the TV. I then noticed that Mama's respiratory rate was getting slower. There was a long pause between breaths and I shouted, "Mama!" I took her vital signs again. She had high fever, her blood pressure was down to 80/50 and her oxygen saturation was 46%

My sisters and I held her. We knew it was time. Mama took her last breath at 9:55 in the morning. I thought I was prepared for this. In reality, I was not. No one is ever prepared for a loved one's passing.

I will miss my Mama for as long as I live. 

I will miss her cooking. 

I will miss our lively conversations about politics, college sports, current events and showbiz scandals. 

I will miss seeing her cuddle and kiss her great-grandson. 

I will miss everything about Mama.

I will seek comfort in the thought that she is now together with my Daddy. Mama has gone to a happier place, with no more pain and suffering. She is with God and with all her loved ones who have gone before her.

I love you Mama. I love you Daddy. Please do watch over us always.

No goodbyes. Just "See you again sometime" and "Till we meet again."

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Live in the Moment: Life Is Just A Single Journey Ticket

Rummaging through old stuff, I found an expired single journey train pass. I have no idea why it is with me. It should have been captured at the turnstile if I used it. Maybe I changed my mind and took the bus instead.

Maybe this is a reminder for me. That this is what life is all about - A SINGLE JOURNEY TICKET.

A reminder to make the most out of this life that I was given. To be more loving, more caring, and to make use of the gifts I have received to show compassion towards others.

There is no point in having regrets for opportunities missed, for keeping grudges against others. A minute lost will never be recovered. As I move forward, all I should focus on is the present. The past can not be changed and the future is not assured.

Live for the moment and make every minute count, because life if just a single journey ticket.

Peace, Love and Light.

Friday, January 18, 2019

What Are You Trying To Teach Me, My God?

Image Source
This is going to be a short post. I just need to write my thoughts and feelings about something that happened to me.

Two days ago, I was worried about our financial state. There are so many medical expenses we need to take care of, then the bills for utilities, even the budget for food was a concern.

I whispered a prayer. "My God, please give me an opportunity to earn a steady income. You know my needs, Lord. Please lead me to the way where I can provide more for my family."

In the afternoon of the same day, I lost a thousand pesos. I was so upset, trying to budget everything and then BANG! I lost my money. Maybe it was because I paid it for my tricycle fare (and never got change back) or misplaced it (impossible for me because I always keep track of expenditures).

My hard earned money that was supposed to go into the food budget for the week is gone. I will have to offset some payments first because food is a priority.

I asked myself, "What is God trying to teach me?" I am confused. I asked Him for an earning opportunity, and yet I lost money instead.

My husband said, "Pray. Ask God to make you understand. Just pray."

I know it is just money and that I can still earn it back somehow. Sadly, I had to accept this unfortunate incident. I am still praying for guidance, for peace in my heart. 

I am putting all my trust in God. He has plans for me. I may not understand it now, but I know everything happens for a reason. 

Come into my heart, O God and dwell in it. Make me understand your Divine Plan for me. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018: A Year of Challenges
Dear 2018 Self,

It is the first day of 2019. What are your expectations for this year? I know you have a lot on your mind, but it would be best to reflect on the year that passed. 

It seemed like there were more trials than glories last year. Experience is always the best teacher. To recap your 2018, here are some of those events that made up your year. Hopefully, you take these things to heart to make you wiser and stronger in facing life this 2019.

During the first 11 weeks of 2018, four of your family members were hospitalized.
  • Mama: University of Santo Tomas Hospital for Modified Radical Mastectomy of the Left Breast. (Breast CA, Stage 3B)
  • Douglas: The Medical City Hospital, for severe pain in lower back
  • Bianca: National Kidney Institute for Acute Gastroenteritis
  • Heidee: World Citi Medical Center for Hypocalcemia and Hypokalemia
You received fewer offers for writing jobs and paid guest posts. Earning money was a a major concern and opportunities were few. You even seriously considered going back to a regular 9-5 job.

In April, Mama underwent a bone scan. Sadly, there was a metastatic lesion found in her hip bone. 

It was mid-May when your empathy and parenting skills were put to the test. Aton and his girlfriend of 6 years split up. Reason? The girl moved to Australia to study and found herself another man there. It broke your heart to see your grown up son crying. 

In July, your one and only grandson Amo was admitted to the hospital for high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Dengue was ruled out. The pediatrician found out he had a bad throat infection and antibiotics were started.

Enter September. You woke up to the dog barking hysterically and you find your husband on the floor convulsing. For two hours, the seizures went on and on and you did know what to do. You took him to the emergency room of The Medical City Hospital and he was immediately whisked into the Neuro ICU for left sided weakness and decreased sensorium. As if that was not stressful enough, you found so much difficulty asking his health insurance provider to cover for the hospitalization costs. Those 36 days in the hospital were to the most stressful 5 weeks you ever experienced. It was at this time that you learned to pray really hard for a miracle. And you were granted the blessings you fervently asked from God. Thank you, my Lord.

In this same month, Mama had to undergo a second bone scan to check her responsiveness to the treatment plan by her oncologist. Another major setback - the lesion grew in size. Your mother had to do another 6 months of Osteomet.

September brought good things as well. Mickey started training for Hotel Housekeeping. He is hoping that this will be his ticket to land a job on board a cruise liner. Aton seems to have recovered from his failed relationship and has finished the required number of hours for his on-the-job training. He is done with college now. Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Yay!

October was smooth sailing too. Aton got an offer to work in one of the country's best tech companies. Of course he accepted and his first day will be on December 3rd. Two children now officially a part of the workforce. Yay! Thank you God.

November. Your birthday month and Mother's as well. Despite the pain she is feeling in her hip, your mother still wanted to cook a special dinner for the family. You went over to her house to volunteer with the cooking. A simple, home cooked meal for everyone. Your mother is now 80 years old and it breaks your heart to see her getting weaker day by day.

December. Whew. Finally, we are at the last month of the year. Heidee planned a trip to Mama's hometown in Lipa, Batangas. She wanted Mama to meet up with her cousins and relatives whom she has not seen in many years. It was only a two hour drive from home but that was very exhausting for Mama. It made you happy that Mama enjoyed being in the company of her sisters and cousins again.

Amo celebrated his 3rd birthday on December 6th.  You daughter and son in law decided to take him to Manila Ocean Park. Amo was over the moon happy. He loves fishes and to be that close to them, watching them swim around was an awesome birthday celebration for him. However, on the second week of December, Amo got sick once again. He had a cold and was running a fever. A viral infection, the pediatrician said. He did not feel well until after Christmas.

Your laptop of 5 years "resigned" on the 17th of December. You hoped it was something that could still be repaired, but it was way worse that you expected. Thankfully, your daughter offered her credit card so you could buy a new one. Whew. Relief. Even if the monthly payments are a little pricey, it is still a big relief that you can continue working.

New Year's Eve was not like the years that passed. Mama was not able to prepare a feast for the family to enjoy. She was too weak to do anything, even walking from her bedroom to the living room was a task in itself. My sister and I made sure there was food on the table. A simple meal to mark the occasion of welcoming the New Year.

2018 was a challenging year. With God's Grace, I claim that 2019 will bring better days.

I will be hoping, praying and keeping the faith.

With much love,

Your 2019 Self

Friday, August 17, 2018

The 4 Way Test

It suddenly came upon me the other day... I have not been seeing these signs that used to be all over the main thoroughfare in Metro Manila. Have they been taken down? If so, then why?

I loved those signs, they were little reminders of our calling to serve. I am not a member of the Rotary Club, but I just find this particular campaign of theirs really appealing.

When my eldest child was in Nursery school, she participated in a special activity sponsored by the Rotary Club. All the little kids in her school were given t-shirts with the print "I am a Rota-kid." The activity for that day was to interact through play and little performances with children their age who were students at the public elementary school nearby. I found the activity very good, because it bridged the gap between children from private schools and those in the public education system. There were no inhibitions, there was no racism. The children had a good time and the activity ended with the private school kids giving a little "loot bag" to their new found friends. The whole day was filled with smiles and laughter. Years from that heart-warming activity, I wonder where those kids are now. Do they remember? 

The 4-way Test tugs at our conscience. These 4 simple questions can be used to improve our daily relations with the people we love, the people we work with, and the people we meet on the street. By keeping these little reminders in our minds and hearts, we can strengthen our morals and ethics. 

In our every day battle of survival in the modern world, we must never forget about how we interact with other people. Were we kind? Did we do something to make someone else's life a little better? Did we share a smile today? We must always work towards going the "right way" and this may be accomplished by having a "yes" response to all the 4 questions. Our actions are dictated by our thoughts. If we keep positive thoughts, then our actions will provide positive results. A concrete example would be the practice of "paying it forward." Did we serve others without expecting something in return? Did we put service above self?

Our children deserve all the good things we enjoyed when we were their age. Let us set an example to them and rid the world of divisiveness. They will inherit this earth in due time. Give them a peaceful world. PLEASE.

It has been almost 5 years ago since I wrote this post. Sadly, nothing has changed. I live in a country riddled with corruption, distrust in the government and poverty all around. It saddens me to think about of the kind of world will my children and grandchildren have to live in. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

3 Reasons Why I Gave Up My Dream To Travel

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"Nothing is impossible."

Nah. I don't believe it. There are things in this life that are impossible to achieve. For me, it is traveling that is now close to being impossible. I know, some of you are now raising your eyebrows, but it is true. I am giving up my dream of traveling and these are the three reasons why.

1. I don't have the money.

Really, I don't. Surviving every day is a task in itself. Trying to make the budget last to cover all the necessary expenses - food, utilities, doctor's fees, maintenance medicines is a mind-boggling thing. Despite having a job (online work-at-home gig), I barely have what you may even call "savings." 

Why won't I get a regular 9 to 5 job? Well, there's an explanation to that and read on to reason # 2.

2. I am homebound

I am tied down to responsibilities concerning the health and well being of my family. My mother has Stage 4 Breast Cancer with Bone Metastasis. My husband suffers from a myriad of chronic illnesses which gave him mobility issues. I babysit for my grandson everyday so his parents can go to work. I cook, clean, do laundry, buy groceries, run errands to the drugstore, and do other tasks as needed, as well as trying to earn my keep by doing my online job. 

I barely have enough time to spend for myself. No "me time" ever. None. 

With all these going on, traveling has been pushed out of the picture. The only "traveling" I do is going to the market, the grocery store, and the pharmacy. My travel radius has been reduced to within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from my home. Once a month, I take my husband to see his pain doctor, that is about 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) away from home. That's it. That's about as far as I get.

3. My wings are broken

I am the dragon with broken wings. I have lost the fire in me. Since I gave up my corporate job, I no longer have friends to talk to. My days are full of worry and stress. There are days when I just want to hop on a bus going to wherever. I need a break, I badly need a vacation but with everything that's going on, I simply cannot. 

And so I go on everyday, dreaming of places I wish to see. I long for at least a weekend in a far away place, without having to worry, without being rushed, without thinking about making dinner, scrubbing the toilet, and tidying up the house! 

In my mind I sing a stanza of the song, "Part of your world," "What would I give if I could live out of these waters? What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand...."

Am I being selfish? Am I only thinking about me?  

It is early morning as I write this post. Another sunrise. It is time to start the daily grind. 

Today my mind will entertain me with the wanderlust for Santorini.

Come travel with me. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

If you are a parent with a child (or children) in college, you would have been wracking your brains trying to figure out how you will survive financially for the rest of the year. The first semester of School Year 2014-2015 has started for a majority of universities in Metro Manila and the budget crunch for parents has begun all over again.

It is a known fact that in the Philippines, a degree earned in a reputable university instantly assures the graduate of a good job later on. However, not every Filipino parent can afford to pay the tuition fee. Some parents planned ahead and bought an educational insurance plan for their children to pay for college fees. This group of parents is the ones who had disposable income when they were starting off as a family. However, a majority of parents are the ones who take on private loans, sell farmlands, or take on second jobs to make ends meet. As a popular Filipino saying goes - "Ayan lang ang kaya kong ipamana sa iyo, anak." ("That is the only inheritance I can give you, my child."), which is probably the reason why parents tend to give up everything for a child to get a college education. To give you an idea of how much tuition fees are, check on the infographic below. That is the cost per unit, so if your child enrolls in 21 units (or credits), you'd have to multiply that amount by 21. I am sure these figures are higher now, considering this infographic was based on 2014 statistics.

Infographic designed by Jonathan Asuncion, and reported by AJ Abando (

Before the K+12 program was implemented by the Department of Education, high school graduates in the Philippines were 15-17 years old on the average. Eager to enroll in college and sensitive to their family's financial standing, these kids try to find employment to help out. 

Here are their options:

1. Apply for a part time job. Great. Workers get a decent per hour rate. However, most businesses that employ student workers would require "at least two years of college education." 
My questions are:  (a) Why would you need at least two years of college education to flip burgers and clean tables? (b) Would you need college algebra to bag groceries or work in a department store as a sales clerk? I am not stereotyping, however, there are some businesses that really require this, together with tons of licenses, permits and documents.

If you’re pursuing an online course or study, it will be easier for you to work part-time without worrying about missing the lessons. Another great thing about getting a part-time job is that this option is open and available even before you start college, as students can enroll in online high schools and combine their studies with easy-to-get part-time jobs ideal for their age. This way, you can start saving money through high school before you apply for college, so you’ll have some money available before college starts. Of course, how much you can make while still in high school level may not be much, but it can go a long way to lessen your college financial burdens. 

2. Apply for a job in the college/university. When you’re doing those student tours Washington DC. See if there are any vacancies available. These are mostly clerical jobs - filing, typing, encoding. However, a grade point average should be maintained, and it does not pay much. You can perform a college search to find the right colleges to suit your job preferences. From there, you can seek a job and help out financially.

3. Offer tutorial lessons. Those students gifted with above average IQs can offer tutorials to their peers, high school students or grade school students in their neighborhood. 

4. Start a small business. They can save some of their allowances to use as a capital for a small business. They can sell goodies to their friends, like packed lunches, or cupcakes or homemade cookie cups. Those into arts and crafts can make things to hold gadgets in, like a pretty crocheted pouch, or make trendy loom bands.

5. The last and the best option they have is to study hard, get good grades and apply for a full academic scholarship. This way, they not only relieve their parents of the financial burden, they also bring pride and joy to the family. To see a child graduate with honors is one rewarding experience for parents. 

To conclude, I would want to applaud all parents out there, for their selfless work and sacrifice. I also throw up a prayer to God to bless all the college freshmen, that they take advantage of the privilege that has been given to them and to move forward to the future with gratefulness in their hearts. 

My dear children, go on and reach your dreams. 
Mama will always be here to support you in every way I can. 
That's my pinky promise!

Suggested readings:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

It’s easy to take your parents for granted, and because they’re the parent in this relationship, you might forget that they often need your help and support too. That’s why you need to be ready to help them look after their health and general wellbeing as they get older. It doesn’t have to be a burden for you, but even helping them out in small ways can make a real difference to how they live their lives. So read on to learn more about the specifics of all this.

Start by Talking More

First of all, you’re going to need to get into the habit of talking more to your parents about the situation they’re in with their health. That means the conversation you have will be entirely dependent on what situation they’re in right now. Only when the dialogue is open is it possible for you to be truly helpful to your parents. Nothing gets archived when nobody’s talking.

Don’t Let Them Rely on Public Transport

One of the things that gets harder when you’re a little older is getting from A to B. It’s one of those things that seems so effortless when you don’t have to think about it. But getting around and trying to navigate public transport can be difficult for people who are a little older. So get into the habit of taking them to where they need to go as often as you can. That way, they won’t have to rely on public transport so much.

Ensure The Care They Receive is Up to Scratch

If your parent is already receiving care of one form or another, it’s important to make sure that they’re being cared for in the right way. Check up on them and get to know their carers. That way, you can be sure that nobody is mistreating your parents in any way. If you do find examples of mistreatment, visit Gray Law Group and get legal advice from there. You can’t just accept things like that.

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Listen to Their Wishes

They’re the ones who should be in the driving seat when it comes to how you help them. You shouldn’t assume that you know best because that’s not necessarily the case. It’s important that you recognise the types of roles that you’re going to have to assume. Being a good listener is where all that begins.

Take Steps to Help Them With Mobility

Mobility can be a big problem, and it’s often biggest in the home. Even simple modifications to the home can make it so much easier to get around for your parents if their mobility is faltering a little. It’s also a case of confidence. With the right support in place, they’ll feel much more confident on their feet, which has to be a good thing.

Looking after your parents in their older years is not always easy, but it’s a challenge that you have a responsibility to take on. After all, they were always there for you when you needed them most, so it’s only right that you should help them out in any way you can now that you have the chance to.