6 Memorable Things of My April 2015

Time flies so fast when you are having fun and I cherish every moment spent with love ones and friends. I invest a lot on memories and on learning about things that interest me. I do not mind not having a fat bank account, new car, new gadgets and other bright new things. As long as I have stories to tell and I learn new things, life is worth living.

I live each day trying to balance between earning a living and doing what I want to do in the hopes that one day both will become one and the same thing.  I try to explore the world as often as I can and if I can’t, due to some constraints, there are always books I can read that enrich my imagination. Life is too short to get bored.  I try to fill my minutes and hours with things that matter and  important to me like exercise, prayer, walking with the dogs, conversations with my loved ones and learning something new with art.  These were the things that kept me busy this April and there are 6 things that stood out in my memory.

1. Vacation. When my cousins and  I here in the Philippines learned that our cousin from Canada was coming home for a short vacation, we were already looking forward to the first week of April. It was a short stay but a fun and relaxing one.  I will talk  more about this trip in the coming days.

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2. Cousins. This is my  Canadian cousin’s 4th trip to the Philippines so I have to post a then-and-now photo to mark the event.  The photo on top was  taken more than 10 years ago.

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3. Art. I started to explore The Flourish Forum and The Postman’s Knock. Both are excellent resources I can use to improve on my calligraphy. I am interested in joining their mail exchanges that I signed up for June. I also made some birthday cards. My friend’s birthday was coming up so  it was an opportunity for me to practice calligraphy.

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I also made a lot of artworks to catch up with friend requests.  I am just happy that many liked my work. There are only two that are left unwanted. Poor artworks.  I will open an online store soon and I hope somebody buys my artwork.

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4. Flipping Ships.  Below is a photo of a junk boat that I posted here. Remember Edwin McCain? He was the singer behind “I’ll be”, a relatively popular song in the late 90′s (I think). He will star in a new reality show called “Flipping Ships” where he and his team revive old boats to their sailing glory. The show premiered last August 24 on Animal Planet. One of its associate producers emailed me to ask permission to use my photo of a junk boat as reference photo for an episode which might be aired on May 29.  It is cool that they made efforts to get in touch with me to ask permission to use the photo.

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5. Fixing the faucet. I have allowed my faucet to drip for a week until I made an effort to replace it myself. My cousin promised to fix it but forgot to return and finish the job so I mustered some courage to do it myself. And I fixed it! I am proud of this accomplishment.

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6. Photoshoot. I will have a photoshoot with a friend which I reluctantly said yes because if I say no I might be saying no to possibilities and challenges.  Besides, I think it would be a fun morning of catching up with a friend. We might even forget we are doing a shoot.   I am just thankful for the trust given to me. I hope I can meet expectations.

As I write this post, it is already almost the middle of May.  So far, May is treating me well. How’s your April and May?

8 Relevant Quotes for My Awesome February and March 2015

John Lennon is right. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. All the wonderful things that happened the past two months seemed like a blur now as I try to go back to my regular routine.  I finally had the time to reflect on those things. I am thankful for all the opportunities the past two months.  Here are some quotes that proved to be true for me:

1.  ”You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

One of my aunts was the youngest in the family. She never took interest in cooking since someone else in the family took charge of that task while she was growing up. My aunt is almost 60 but when there was a TESDA culinary training program in our barangay, she enlisted and learned to cook.  We were just too happy to be taste-testers.

This is the pasta dish she cooked.

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Because she gained confidence in kitchen, she cooked caramelized bananas.

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2.  ”No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

 I read this quote somewhere. I am not sure who originally said this. I have several projects for the past two months that sometimes, it felt like I needed a break. Sometimes, I fear that I might not be able to perform well.  But the trick was to just show up, do the best work and you get your rewards. Mine reward was in artwork and chocolate.

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3. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. -Gustave Flaubert. In my case, I was a small girl near a big tree.

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4. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell. I found time to practice watercolor painting, drawing and calligraphy. I tried a little poetry, too.

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5. ” The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart”. -Elizabeth Foley  

I got to go out with my longtime friend in Manila. I got to bond with my college roommates in Laguna. I have not seen them in 12 years.  I also visited my good friend in Singapore.  I met up with my college classmate here in Butuan.

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6. “OHANA means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”. -Lilo and Stitch My aunt volunteered to repaint my living room.

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 This was after I came back from a trip and found my entryway colorfully repainted.  I am blessed.

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7. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” Robert Collier

I have been religiously exercising in February and it felt great. Travel got in the way in March. I am trying to get back to the routine this April.

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8. “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer.

 I got to know Johanna Basford through a Facebook post by Patricia. I kept telling myself. Why did not I think of that? Johanna is an artist who creates intricate drawings using inks (pen). She published 2 coloring books for adults and I want a copy but they are sold out at Amazon.  The following are her books:Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book and Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book. I just made my own coloring page inspired by her artistic skills.

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I also discovered Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. Such refreshing talents.

Thank you, God, for the awesome two months!

Happy Valentine’s Day: #10daysofcrushing

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have combined my love for food, photography and lettering in this photo. My next post will be about that popsicle in the photo.  I did  the lettering  on paper, took a picture and did some tweaks on Photoshop.

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On Instagram, Fozzy started the hashtag #10daysofcrushing. If you join, you post a line from a song or a quote for your crush once a day for ten days.  Although I do not have a crush, I wanted to join to practice lettering, typography and calligraphy.  On the first day, I already listed  the lines from the song. There is nothing romantic about the process but it did bring me back to those kilig (rough translation: giddy, smitten) moments  when I had a crush on someone.

Before I even knew Fozzy’s #10daysofcrushing, I already posted this one on Facebook because I kept singing Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud in my head.  I posted this on Instagram a little later.

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Since I only own a 0.04 mm technical pen, I thought about just sketching the next song line. I have always loved melody of this song. It makes me happy. 

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Since I also see a lot of watercolor calligraphy, I wanted to try, too. My strokes are a little shaky.

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I love this song from the movie, “Anastasia”. My friend, Erns, introduced us to this song. For me, this talks about friendship more than romantic love because it was the theme song I used for the photo montage in one trip with friends.

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I found  sample sketches of flowers as embellishments to graphics. I wanted practice so this is the output.

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I wanted variations in the style I post everyday so I came up with this design.  The dried rose is just an added touch.

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While rummaging though my drawer, I found a purple pen so I wanted to use it this time.

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Finally, I got my brush pen from Daiso but I think I incorrectly inserted the ink. I might use up all the ink soon.  Uh-oh.

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I  am still in the process of learning how to do good calligraphy.  It is fun to combine it with regular handwriting.

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I ended the exercise with my own handwriting. This is my penmanship when I try so hard to make it nice.  hehe

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I suddenly thought of writing all those lines into one poem.

That maybe we found love right where we are
And I’m sailing through the sea to an island where we’ll meet
We can be them two birds of a feather that flock together
Unexpected, what you did to my heart
Though you never knew it was of you I’ve been dreaming
Who knows how long I’ve loved you, you know I love you still
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be
And who knows I might feel better if I don’t try and I don’t hope
And I know it’s only in my mind that I’m talking to myself and not to him
A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind.
You’re everything to me.

It does not make sense!

Hope your Valentine’s day does.

===== Addendum

Priscilla flipped around the lines to add sense to the  entire “poem”. Pretty cool!

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be
We can be them two birds of a feather that flock together
And I’m sailing through the sea to an island where we’ll meet

Though you never knew it was of you I’ve been dreaming
And I know it’s only in my mind that I’m talking to myself and not to him

That maybe we found love right where we are
Unexpected, what you did to my heart

And who knows I might feel better if I don’t try and I don’t hope
Who knows how long I’ve loved you, you know I love you still

A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind.
You’re everything to me.

Thanks, Priscilla!

 

 

 

 

January 2014 Wrap Up: 5 Good things that Happened

I completed my gratitude project for 2014.  This year,  I am doing a monthly wrap up on the good things that happened for the month. Time flies so fast. It seems that January went on a blur and, little did I know it, it is already February!

I am grateful for the past month. There were surprises and realizations.  When I look back on my January, this is what come to mind.

Tried the art of lettering.

Tried the art of lettering.

Friendship. I started the year with a lot of gatherings with friends. I am thankful for the friends I have. God sends people in my life who are angels in disguise. I never thought I can be this friendly but God has a way of allowing me to meet people who are genuinely nice and warm that I can be myself around these people. I do not have to exert effort to be liked and loved.

Fantastic news. I received a good news from a friend. It was an amazing story that I often see in movies. I promised to keep the news as a secret as requested by my friend. Besides, that big news is the kind of story that should be shared by my friend not me. l feel special for being entrusted with a secret. It is an honor to keep a secret for someone. One of the reasons I do not drink anything alcoholic is that I fear I might spill secrets I keep including  my own secrets if I get a little tipsy! Hehe

Food. I have been watching my food intake. I tried to cook healthier. It is a challenge to go on diet in our household because my family sometimes does not take my diet declarations seriously. They kept offering me food that are not allowed in the junk food challenge. They forget. They kept requesting me to make dessert which obliged but it was quite a challenge to resist eating the dessert after. It is sad I slaved in the kitchen to make those dessert and I do not get to eat them. But I prevailed.

Fitness. I started to join a fitness challenge. My friend, Grace, posted a video of herself doing some exercise sequences and it looked like I can do those types of workout. I tried one set of exercise and I liked it so I am doing this for 60 days. I am already on my 6th day. 54 days to go!

Faith. It was an inspirational month for many of us who followed the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines. I hope I remember the message he shared to everyone. With the sad news recently, it is really a test faith how we can unite as people of God. I pray for justice and peace in my country.

I am looking forward to February.

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10 Moments I Love When Pope Francis Visited the Philippines

I have always said that I am not a devout Catholic. I am guilty of doing things for “compliance”. I was already in college when World Youth Day was held in the Philippines in 1995. I was in Manila and in my youth but I did not attend any gathering. I was that type of Catholic. I cannot remember what I did during those times while my friends braved the crowd in Manila. All I remembered was I stayed in the dormitory. When I learned about Pope Francis visiting Philippines, I was thrilled but I was not as thrilled as some of my friends who went out of their way to go to Tacloban.

My friends, Maureen and Lestrel, was already in Tacloban airport the night before Pope Francis arrived.

My friends, Maureen and Lestrel, were already in Tacloban airport the night before Pope Francis arrived. I felt I was there because my friends were there.

When I told Maureen I used her photo, she said she has a better photo. The raincoat she was wearing already ripped. She said she was soaked in the rain for 7 hours without raincoat, not counting that she was already drenched the night before. Yet, she survived. Look at them! They are still high in spirits despite the storm!

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As for me, January 15 was a regular day for me. I ran errands. I was in BIR (yes, of all places). I was waiting for my turn. They were showing the live feeds of people gathering for the arrival of the Pope. Suddenly, I wanted the transaction to finish immediately so that I can go home and concentrate on watching his arrival in the comforts of my living room.

I worked in front of the TV for 4 days to watch the coverage of the Papal Visit.

I worked in front of the TV for 4 days to watch the coverage of the Papal Visit.

While waiting for his arrival, I quickly search for his schedule in the Philippines so that I can watch him on TV. I scheduled my errands and work around his schedule. Sometimes, I surprise myself.

I try to think about what I am going to reflect on his visit but I find myself in a loss for words.  There are so many wonderful moments of his visit and these are 10 things that affected me most.

1. When he peered though the airplane window, I wanted to cry.  It was the first sign that he was finally in my country.

This is the photo I found on Rappler.com

This is the photo I found on Rappler.com

2. He chooses a non-bulletproof pope mobile. He rides on vehicles with open windows. He does this to get close to people. He looks at people in the eye and he has the warmest smile.
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3. He quoted Jesus telling Peter, “Do you love me?” For which the mass goers composed of  bishops, priests and nuns replied, “Yes!” It was a light moment. He was amused and said “Thank you.” and clarified that he was reading Jesus’ words.

4. He is happy to be with children. He would stop the convoy to bless children.  He had an unscheduled visit to an orphanage. What a lovely human being!

Photo by: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Photo by Osservatore Romano/Reuters

5. I love how he gave spontaneous speeches. He ditched his prepared speeches to speak on how he felt at that moment.

6. He went to Tacloban even if there was a typhoon and it was signal number 2.

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7. On the way to Palo to meet disaster survivors, he stopped to bless a family living in a shanty.

8. He does not pretend to know all the answers.

I thank you Jun for talking about your experience so bravely. As I said, the heart of your question has no reply. Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question. Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. – Pope Francis to the UST crowd

So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you.  - Pope Francis to the Yolanda survivors
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9.  He honored the life of Kristel Pasadas, who died  after the Tacloban mass when a scaffolding blown by a strong wind fell on her. He met with her grieving father to console him
Yesterday, as Mass was about to start, a piece of scaffolding fell and, upon falling, hit a young woman who was working in the area and she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organization preparing for that Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services as a volunteer. I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven.

10. He always asks us to pray for him. There is really power in prayer. God hears our prayers.

Oh, I would add one more… he acknowledges the voices of women.

There’s only a very small representation of girls among you. Too little. Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we are too “machistas” and we don’t allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears. So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.

As I finished this post, the pope has already left. I am proud of the Filipino people for giving him a warm welcome. I love how organized the people are in lining up to see the pope. Congratulations to the organizers for this successful five-day visit.

Here are few words from Pope Francis when he visited the Philippines:

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2. When you lose this capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love, and this energy to love is lost.

3. Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us. But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us.

4. You must make time each day for prayer. Prayer is resting in God.

5. Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it. It’s very important. We must go deeply in the world, but with the force of prayer. Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

6. We have a high priest who is capable of symphatizing with our weaknesses but one who is similarly been tested in every way yet without sin. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us. Jesus is the same with us in every respect except sin. Because Jesus was not a sinner. But to be more like us, He assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself unto sin. This is what Saint Paul tells us. Jesus always goes before us. And when we pass and experience a cross, He passed there before us.And if today we find ourselves 14 months after, 14 months precisely after the typhoon Yolanda hit, it is because we have the security of knowing that we are not going to weaken in our faith, because Jesus has been there before us. In His passion, He assumed all our pain.

7. This is what comes from my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this: But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down. And holding on to her mantle and with the power that comes from Jesus love on the cross, let us move forward, always forward, and walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord forward.

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9. When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor.

10. What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. Harmoniously. What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel.

11. Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God.

12.  Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive with humility. To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us.

13. Reality is superior to ideas.

14. In the Gospel, Jesus welcomes children, he embraces them and blesses them (Mk 10:16).  We too need to protect, guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage.  Specifically, we need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected.  And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets.

15.  Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines, I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child.  May he enable all the beloved people of this country to work together, protecting one another, beginning with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace.

Pope Francis left us a challenge.

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Pope Francis is an inspiration. Thank you, God, for Pope Francis!

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