Archive for May, 2011

Some friends were asking how I’m able to come up with a blog everyday. Am I really that inspired to write about anything? Am I not tired of being in front of the computer screen trying to fill in the empty space?  Well, it’s just like asking, “do you pray everyday” or “do you eat dinner everyday”?  Yes to the last two questions. I would be a hypocrite if I say that I am always inspired because sometimes I couldn’t think of any subject to write about. Blogging everyday can be a bit stressful.  There is always the pressure of  thinking of   a good content which sometimes restricts you in being spontaneous in your writing.  I believe that when you read a lot, be it the daily news or your favorite book, it somehow gives you the idea on what to write about.  Reading other blogs sometimes  helps. Write about the book you have just read, or a quote that touched you, or a conversation with a friend that made your day.  I always find inspiration by staying in our garden for an hour or two everyday.  There was a time when I wondered why ants kiss when they meet and wrote about it. Surprisingly, it is one of my most read blogs.

I just spent the day arranging and uploading pictures in  one of my online sites. Having the Zoom browser of my Canon digital camera does help a lot. I could always edit, crop and put texts in all the shots I’ve done.  It is always nice to maintain your photos in high res. They accord you the joys of seeing them clear and  not grainy.  I’m getting good at macro shots, if I may say.  I am documenting every summer bloom in our mini garden. It always makes me smile to see the pictures I took a few years ago and compare them with what I have now. It’s a nice surprise to see some annuals showing their faces again.

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This was not the first time that it rained this month of May but it surely was the first time this month that I’ve seen this sudden lightning bolt accompanied by claps of thunder. Daughter asked, “Aren’t you afraid?”.  I thought she was asking if I were afraid of ghosts because we were talking of  her dreams the night before.  She was referring to the sudden storm we experienced last night. It was scary, alright, she never did overcome her fear of lightning and thunder.  I remember my maternal grandmother way back in the province when we were kids. She would always tell us not to stay in front of the mirror  during a storm and she would suggest that we cover the entire length of the mirror altogether. She said  mirrors easily attracts lightning. I never found out it  if that was true, sure thing I know, I am afraid to go out when there is a storm.  Sometimes, you never outgrow childhood fears. Then there was this sudden downpour, so I thought, I won’t have to water the plants today.

There is something so nice about waking up in the morning to the sound of bird songs and the fresh touch of raindrops barely hanging on the leaves.  It magnifies the soothing color of green all around.  I’ve always dreamed of taking  pictures of raindrops. I love those crystal clear water captured in photographs. Maybe this is how poets see the beauty of a morning after the rain – the sudden burst of color, the green countryside, the fresh dew of the morning.  If I were a poet, I would paint them all in different colors. That’s how we see life sometimes, we associate how we feel with colors. Color me happy for today. I see everything in a bright rainbow shade.

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We were asked in one of our games at AFCC Tambayan, “If you were an animal, what would you be?”  I thought of the yellow-vented bulbul I blogged about here a month ago. What’s so funny is that, they will actually judge who has the best answer among us five contestants. Well, here’s mine:

If I were an animal, I’d be a bird, a yellow-vented bulbul. I have personally encountered how these birds take care of their young when one nested in our garden a month ago. Just like humans, birds are so protective of their young. They could build a wonderful-looking nest just like humans do with their houses. You would think that birds have no important role if we compare them with household pets like cats and dogs, but they are nature’s way of telling us that there is a wonderful world out there that we could explore. It’s the wonder of flying. It’s the freedom of flight and discovery. Birds are wonderful creations that remind us how God loves us.

Dream. Believe. Discover.

It’s actually crazy and hilarious, Miss AFCC indeed, and you sure have guessed I don’t have much to blog about today because I was so engrossed at our site, AFCC Tambayan,  to do anything else.

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A lot of people I meet casually always ask why I retired from work early. They are curious how I spend my time staying at home. Gosh, it’s exactly  eleven years now since I availed of an early retirement and left Bank of the Philippine Islands for good. How time flies! You don’t need to reach the normal retirement age of sixty before enjoying life without the routine of a nine to five job. Sometimes in one’s life, you need to make a  major decision that would benefit the whole family better. The kids are always the foremost consideration. Of course, two breadwinners in the family are always the ideal set-up, but you can never compromise anything when it comes to your kids’ welfare and well-being.

You could not deny that during the first few years, there are times when you think of the life you left behind, your office mates, some of whom became close friends too, your demanding boss who would always reminds you that you could do your best in any situation as long as your heart is in it.  What I miss were those early morning walks going  to Greenbelt and attending the early morning mass at the Greenbelt chapel, the lunch break walk from the bank to the Ayala Center, the occasional night-outs with office mates, the community we have formed while carpooling with friends. Hmm, simple though they may seem, they were part of my daily routine for more than twenty-one years. The corporate look  became jeans and t-shirts, closed shoes were changed into Happy Feet and Havaianas slippers, pen and pencils were replaced by  pruning shears and shovels, and the wide corridors and office of the bank is now a garden with a small pond.

Being hands-on in taking care of the kids is the most rewarding experience when you are a stay-at-home mom.  We have this what we call power moments too. You can budget your time the way you want it, which is a bonus because you have all the time to pursue some hobbies that you’ve wanted to do. You have the luxury of experimenting in the kitchen, or reading all the books you’ve stashed for so many years but have no time to even open the first page.  You have time to be alone with your thoughts and just enjoy the passing hours and minutes of trying to be productive in your writing. You can get in touch with friends any time you want.

Some people think of retirement as something to be afraid of.  The usual question is, “what will I do at home?” My goodness, there  are more jobs of a full-time mom than an employee in the corporate world. And you are doing it gratis for your family. What could be nobler than that? Be proud, be proud of it.

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Aside from beach holidays and road trips with your friends, what does summer reminds you of? Here in the Philippines, summer  means a steady rise of temperature and an abundance of fruits that you can only find during the hot and humid weather.

Exploring the wet market gives you that pleasant surprise to find so many fruits in season.  It’s one thing I love about summer here. Never mind the heat, that is simply inevitable.  A few days ago, hubby took home a small basket of  Duhat, that’s black plum in English.  Our neighbor planted a small tree a few years ago and it is now bearing fruits. Fresh pick, so sweet and juicy. I haven’t tasted duhat for so many years now so it was kind of a thrill to satisfy my taste buds with it. It does reminds me of the early years. My cousins and I used to pick them in the province when we were kids. Climbing trees and eating the juicy black fruits were part of my colorful childhood life.

Yesterday, I bought a kilo of Sineguelas, those juicy and somewhat sour fruits which are good eaten chilled, with a dash of salt.  Sineguelas is a Tagalog term which means Spanish plum. Have you ever seen a sineguelas tree laden with fruits? The weird thing about it is,  it has to shed all its leaves before tiny buds appear in  small branches of the tree. Until the fruit ripens,  the tree remains bereft of its green leaves.

I don’t exactly know where this fruit originated, for more than fifty years, I know it simply as sineguelas. Sineguelas, anyone?

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What a lovely way to start another year in blogging by celebrating the feast of Mama Mary. Today, 94 years ago, Our Lady appeared before three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal. Here’s a picture I took of the image of Our Lady of Fatima three years ago in Binakayan, Kawit. Cavite.

Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima 

Dearest Mother, Queen of the Holy Rosary, who came to Fatima to reveal to all mankind the Divine plan for true Christian peace, of prayer, penance, and consecration, grant an abundance of grace, strength, and guidance to the members of Thy Fatima Crusade, here present and throughout the world. Inspire us to great zeal, oh great Mediatrix of All Graces, that we may be effective instruments in spreading devotion to Thy Rosary; that we may be faithful in wearing Thy scapular; that we may inspire our brothers in Christ to a life of sacrifice, penance, and modesty, and finally, that we may help to bring about that wonderful day when all men, through consecration to Thy Immaculate Heart, shall be one in Christ. Amen.

Hymn to Our Lady of Fatima

Dear Lady of Fatima,
We come on bended knee,
To beg Your intercession,
For peace and unity.

Dear Mary, won’t You show us,
The right and shining way,
We pledge our love and offer You,
A Rosary each day.

You promised at Fatima,
Each time that You appeared,
To help us if we pray to You,
To banish war and fear.

Dear Lady, on First Saturdays,
We ask Your guiding hand,
For grace and guidance here on earth,
And protection for our land.

Mama Mary, please pray for us, protect us with your mantle , just as you protected your son Jesus Christ. Amen!

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Here’s the second and last part of my blog for my second year at WordPress, glimpses of some blogs I posted from December 2010 to April 2011. I provided the links for easy access.

*When I look back, I just sometime smile at the thought of being so brave to face it all. I finally learned that having the big C as some people call it is not the be all and end all of everything. I finally learned that being brave is not just showing a big smile on your face but having the will to go on, despite the odds, that being brave is having enough faith in God that you will get well and being brave means thanking God that He has enough faith in you to carry on.  Reaching Out, Touching Lives (My Journey at AFCC )- December 08, 2010

* It’s a journey long enough to say, God has always been and always will be at my side. It’s a long journey of discoveries – a long journey of faith, a long journey of sharing. A friend once told me that she admired the way I am so open about my illness, what I’ve been through and I always say, if someone could be inspired and touched by what I am sharing, then I am fulfilled. Reaching Out, Touching Lives (My Journey at AFCC) December 08, 2010

*I’ve always been tempted to capture raindrops and freeze them forever in a photograph . There is something so refreshing seeing those crystal clear water droplets. Learning To Dance In the Rain – December 16, 2011

*Memories are sometimes a little tricky – they make you cry and think about the happy days, they make you reminisce and look back. And they make you wish that time could stand still. But amid the sadness is a quiet joy, a simple leap of the heart , a tearful smile of remembrance. There are moments when the happy memories stand out and this is one of those times that I remember him vividly in my mind. I hate saying farewell so I’ll just say, until next time! Long Way Home – December 28, 2010

*Have you ever sat very quietly in a corner and listened to a voice within? Have you ever closed your eyes and imagined that there must be something more fulfilling, more provocative and more challenging than the present journey you are traversing? Some of us probably made a list of New Year’s resolutions, those unending list of to-do-things and priorities that you promised yourself to follow year after year but when December comes, you ask yourself, where have all the days gone? Life In Snatches – January 09, 2011

*Sometimes, you let your mind wander while doing the laundry or watering the plants and it seems like you are multi–tasking on different topics in your head. Does that happen to you? You could write about your lightbulb moments, you could write about trees and bird songs, or the times when you feel deliriously happy and you want to shout to the world that you are just that – happy! This Is It – January 14, 2011

*Writing is definitely a joyous exercise when you are filled with inspiration and things to write about. You might be alone in your thoughts but you don’t feel lonely. Your thoughts become your words and your words become the colorful canvas which a moment ago was just a blank page, staring at you, silently challenging you to fill it up. It’s another discovery, filling your paper with your heart’s laments and joys! Blogging Blues – January 21, 2011

*Have you ever seen a mother gazing at her new-born child with awe and wonder? That’s love! Have you ever experienced that sense of belonging in a place that you have just visited or seen and you have that silly grin on your face because you were just happy? That’s God whispering to your ears to listen to the sound of the sea gently lapping at the rocks on the shore. That’s God whispering to your ears to feel the soft touch of the wind on your face. That’s God whispering to your ears to simply be quiet and let the music of a singing bird penetrate deep inside your heart. That’s God whispering to your ears to simply look around you and see those beautiful blooms on the wayside. God is always behind every breath we take. God’s love is immeasurable, it’s just that sometimes, we are blinded by worldly things and forget to appreciate God’s whispers. February, Here I Come – February 01, 2011

*Sometimes, we are reluctant to face change and turn our back on things which would derail us from the straight path that we dreamed of traversing. We sometimes forget that it is in the small detours and untrodden paths that we will find peace and wonderful surprises. Life As It Is – February 09, 2011

*“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.” Quoting Mary Oliver – February 15, 2011

*So that’s how an Indie film is made, a minimum of two characters but still can convey an exceptional storyline that would make you think about life in general with all its angst and broken dreams. I don’t know where they shot this film but the scenery was a joy to behold and so was the music.  Life is not a choice but a gift. I love that line, because it makes us realize that we are only here temporarily and that our given life is truly a gift from God. Still Life – March 18, 2011

*I feel so lazy when summer comes, there’s nothing productive there actually except perhaps tending the garden and making sure the plants don’t dry up in the hot sun. I still prefer the morning sun of course, because I am a “morning person”. Haha, what does that exactly mean, you ask? I just like to wake up early in the morning just to see the sunrise. There is something magical there, don’t you think? Dawn break, sunrise, sunsets, twilight , I love them all. It makes me think this world is a beautiful place only when you see what is beyond the daily grind of living. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the simple beauty of things around us. In An April Dream – March 31, 2011

*Ah, sometimes, there are moments that you want to shout to the world that happiness lies in small surprises, gentle touches from a Divine hand just waiting for you to explore. Amazing Grace – April 05, 2011

*He likens the craft of writing as a toolbox – with all the necessary accessible tools. First on the top shelf is vocabulary. And he says, “one of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.” Next tool is grammar. Bad grammar produces bad sentences. So true, I am not a perfectionist (because no one is perfect) but I cringe every time I read bad sentence construction. He says further, “one who does grasp the rudiments of grammar finds a comforting simplicity at its heart, where there need be only nouns, the words that name, and verbs, the words that act.” He is funny at times. I was laughing out loud when he said that anyone using the phrases “That’s so cool” or “at this point in time” and “at the end of the day” should be made to stand in one corner and should be sent to bed without supper. Haha! He abhors the use of passive tense and adverbs. On the layer beneath this tool box are the three elements of a story – narration, description, and dialogue. On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) – April 07, 2011

I’ll begin another year of  blogging tomorrow.Sometimes, I ask myself, am I growing here? Am I happy? Am I fulfilled. It’s a definite YES.

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520 posts. 35,940 stats as I write this.

Just like my blog on my first anniversary, I will just summarize some posts I made  the past year. My first year of blogging here was mostly about my journey as a cancer patient, this time though, most of my blogs were about getting on and letting go. Despite the setbacks, life is still beautiful. You can just click the links if you want to read the full article  for each quote.

*Spending the early hours in the garden, listening to the sound of water in the pond, greeting the day with a smile while waiting for the sun to rise – these are my morning fix. The simple joys of being alive!  My Morning Fix – May 22, 2010

*I love those imported ferns lining the walkway – everything is so eye-catching. I have this big dream of taking them all home and planting them there. Wishful thinking! So What Are You Doing On a Tuesday Morning – May 26, 2010

*Another friend dedicated his blog to me. Wow, I cried reading it. It is so touching and I am glad that in my own small way, I am touching lives too. I am chatting with a friend as I write this, exchanging TBR list and books that we have read, books that touched our lives and books that we would read again and again. And by the way, this month ended my year-long of blogging here.

Goodbye May, hello June! The Merry Month of May  – May 31, 2010

*I was lucky enough to meet a famous and talented artist/painter, Manuel Baldemor, last year when my friend Tobbie and I attended the unveiling of two of his artworks, Fruits of Labor and Good Harvest. My family and I have seen the art collections of the late Perdigon Vocalan which were displayed in their famous restaurant, Balaw Balaw in Angono, Rizal. I took shots of Botong Francisco’s murals two summers ago. And I’ve met another great artist online, Ms. Phyllis Zaballero when I made a blog on one of her paintings, The Lake Series I , Geyser #2. She left some comments there and I was pleasantly surprised. And More Books (Part 2) – June 04, 2010

*I saw this handsome and very-nice looking pair of Tone-ups, you know, that kind of ” you-exactly-fit-my-feet-so-I-have-to-take-you-home” way of thinking.I Love My Shoes – June  06, 2010

* When you are sick, you always look at life with renewed faith, trusting and leaving everything in God’s hands. It is quite scary though to anticipate the results of the laboratory tests. And you can only utter, ‘thank God, thank you Lord” once you see that your CEA marker is still within the normal limits. Yes, Lord, thank you! Happiness Is…  June 25, 2010

*You are stuck in traffic and there is an ambulance at a distance and you hear this wangwang, a signal for everyone to give way since it is probably an emergency. Then some unscrupulous drivers veer away from the line of traffic and follow the ambulance to save on precious minutes. Isn’t it annoying? Even in our subdivision, I sometimes hear people riding in motorcycles making use of it and they are not even in uniform. I am glad, just glad that P-noy is strictly implementing the anti-wangwang campaign. It’s about time we are taught these simple lessons. Wangwang, Limo, Counterflow – July 09, 2010

*A few days ago, I was looking at the neatly arranged shelf of one of the branches of Mercury Drug Stores while the hubby was in line buying my medications. Imagine that silly grin on my face when I saw a box that reads Tancho Pomade. And I asked myself, “buhay pa eto?”. The last time I saw a jar of that brand was way back in high school because my Dad used it to keep his short hair in place. Time changes things though, because the now generation uses all sorts of hair treatments – from gel to anti-frizz spray to hair mousse to styling wax. But Tancho, yikes, I didn’t even like the greasy feel of it. Guilty Pleasures – July 07, 2010

*The last year has been an eye-opener for me. I discovered that I am strong despite everything, I discovered that the presence of family and loving friends help a lot in one’s healing. And putting your complete trust and faith in a loving God is the greatest thing you can do to help yourself get well. Chemotherapy is no joke, it saps your body of strength and the costly procedures add to your financial worries. I know, I know, they would always say, concentrate on getting well, sometimes though you can’t help but think, you are luckier than most people afflicted of the same illness because at least you have an option to see a specialist and do what is necessary for your healing.  It’s My First Anniversary (Celebrating Life) – July 15, 2010

*How many of us cannot let go of our emotional insecurities, our financial worries, our fears of the unknown? How many of us are concerned about having less in life and yet we are still happy because we have enough faith in God? Most of us are fixated on material things that we sometimes forget that life is not all measured by what you have. Life could be whimsical at times, or perhaps full of angst but the best things come when we learn to trust and let go. Tying Loose Ends  August 08, 2010

*It is easy to do your bit of random kindness to people around you and you feel a certain kind of satisfaction in knowing that in your own small way, you have touched lives. And the smile that you receive from such act is like a ray of sunshine illuminating your soul. Small Miracles August 09, 2010

*You make me feel anxious when you darken the sky but there is still that feeling of happiness when I see you just passing through, like bright cotton candies, mysterious figures that brighten my world – for a few moments, for a day, for eternity. They’re Just Clouds  – September 01, 2010

*Have you ever wondered how you were able to get by when the use of typewriters, e-mails, texts and such modern way of communication were not yet in vogue? Or shall we say, do you still find it a delight to receive something from the mail, those seemingly heart-stopping-oh-so-exciting moments when the mailman hands a letter to you addressed in bold strokes of the hand, and not just your familiar utility bills? I still do and I still get excited receiving one. The Art of Letter Writing – September 02, 2010

*Letter writing is definitely an art and I don’t mean posting and sending them via the internet, it’s the art of choosing a good stationery, composing an interesting message and writing in a style that would enthrall and fascinate the receiver. I still get excited receiving one via snail mail. There are still people out there who prefer the good old-fashioned way of letter writing

*Memories –

Fleeting moments

You could run a mile

but they always make you look back.

Have I missed something?

Or was it just the thought of you

Running riot in my head? Ah, You Live Again In My Thoughts – September 03, 2010

*Yes, it was not just another birthday after all. It was a day full of blessings and prayers. Three of my priest friends offered masses for my personal intentions, I could not thank you enough. I love all those wonderful greetings from friends and relatives who remembered me on my birthday. It Was Not “Just Another Birthday” After All – October 29, 2010

*Have you ever wondered how a certain smile affects an attitude of a person? Have you ever thought how happy you felt because someone smiled at you? A smile costs nothing really but it gives so much pleasure to the receiver more than the giver of it. Try this experiment – today, smile at someone you don’t know and see how she or he will react because surely, he or she would smile back at you. Smile is something cheap and yet it creates beauty in all of us. Your inner soul is reflected in your smile. The Power Of a Smile – November 06, 2010

(to be continued)

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The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tomorrow is my second anniversary of blogging at WordPress.  I can’t believe I’ve churned out 520 blogs (including this one) in two years. Blogging has become a daily routine when they introduced the Post A Day Challenge 2011. It definitely has its advantage because I gained more readers since the start of the challenge. Sometimes I am simply amazed at the number of visitors I get here. Thank you dear readers. I will update you tomorrow on the blogs which were top-rated   and most-read for quite a while.

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