Friday, 15 January 2021

THE NEW NOTEBOOK

This is not a sequel of “The Notebook” ,the best-selling novel of Nicholas Sparks.  This is just a regular notebook that could be used as a planner or journal. 

Every new year all of us get a new planner or a new notebook; others get so much more than one.   We feel excited and we take time to decide  how best to use them. 

On the flip side, you may argue that you do not need one; “I’ll use my phone, I prefer to go paperless”.   Of course that is always an option.  But isn’t it more exciting to hold that beautiful notebook; run your fingers over those soft blank sheets? 

It maybe great to make a family recipe notebook out if it.  Or will you use it as it is meant to be; a planner where you log your plans, appointments and other work-related matters?  Shall you use it as a personal journal, as in a diary? 

Actually we can do all that and more because we usually get more than one and its a pity to leave those beautiful pages blank.  We just have to decide which ideas will best suit our lifestyle. 

Every year, I add one to my notebooks. Most of my journals maybe called “perpetual” because they don’t expire.  I continue  to log my notes as there are ideas or info warranting documentation.  I also intend to add more and revise, customize and improve what I already have. 

Health-medical history notebook-
A priority for a senior like me especially that we feel new aches and pains everyday. Doctor’s appointments,  test results, medical prescriptions, maintenance medicine are vital info needing reminders. 

Notebook for expenses-
 I log all my expenses; those that are paid in cash and another for those charged to my credit card.  This comes in handy because I  like to stick to a budget. I also use my list to cross check those that come out of my credit card bill. 

Locator notebook- 
I list where I keep important items. This saves time to find them or just to assure me that I did not misplace them.  However, this year I intend to include a diagram of where exactly things are located. 

Recipe and meal planning- 
a) Family recipies from my Mom and mother-in-law. 
b) For daily meals and special dinners. This is useful when I’m running out of meal  ideas. I have on log what I served some Christmas dinners ago.

Personal info notebook-
Passwords,usernames email addresses, membership and  ID numbers. 

Book on Birthdays- 
Birthdates of people that matter to me. 

This year I’m adding three notebooks: 

Reading list-
I’ll list all the books I read and their authors.  I intend to include a list of favorite blogs and articles. 

Blog notebook-
Although all my blogs could be accessed on icloud, I still want to go through them written down. I may put my comments as to why I’ve written them. 

Quotes and affirmations -
Though I remember some quotes occasionally; now I’ll log all my favorite quotes, bible passages and inspirational phrases.  This is a great tool to go to when I need inspiration while going through a rough patch or when i need to lift my spirits 

Actually there are as many journal topics that you can think of; the ideas are endless.  We also do not need to wait for the New Year to start one. 

So good luck and wishing you joy in filling up those new and  lovely pages. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

HOW TO REGAIN SELF-MOTIVATION WHEN YOU LOSE IT





Motivation has become a by-word in recent years; it being one of the most sought-after mindset.  Without it, we are unproductive; our work is mediocre because we cannot function fully.  Why do we sometimes lose our motivation?

Could it be that we are over-whelmed with numerous distractions all around that prevents us to focus on one specific thought at a time?  

Think of this, when I open a blog, advertisements pop up before I could even open the first paragraph;  thereafter pop-ups appear in almost every paragraph.  

When I open the news, other topics come up as well; some ads are even blinking that they easily catch my attention.  When I go back to the former news, sonetimes I lose my train of thought that I can’t even recall what it was all about. 

What should we do when we lose our groove?  How do we regain our motivation?    Experts say that we should learn to keep our focus on that one thought we want to pursue and be determined not to entertain any other thought or idea but dwell only on our goal. 

Over-whelmed with numerous tasks and you don’t know where to begin?  Make a to-do list and prioritize; try to tackle the easy ones first to give you a feeling of accomplishment and be encouraged to go on. 

However there are times when nothing is easy. You are in the brink of giving up what you started because nothing seems right.  You are stuck and you are wasting time.  Can you relate? 

Don’t think that only you experience this lack of motivation.  Even famous writers go through the so-called writer’s block.  They, along with other artists alike often need a “muse”; someone to inspire them to start their creative juices flowing again. 

A change of scenery may spark creativity or solve a problem. You can leave your home office and sit on the coach or sip tea in the balcony or garden.  Most people suggest that the best place to get good vibes is the coffee shop.  Go work out your problem there, it maybe busy and noisy as it often is but they say that there is a lot of energy going around there. 

You want solitude or privacy?  Then get on the move, go for a run or a walk.  Fresh air is invigorating and exercise often stimulates the mind.  When I walk, I get ideas out of the blue. 

Not employed but a housewife who can’t get things done but tired?  Everything seem  too hard or boring?  Then a change of environment or routine may do the trick; it could give you a different perspective.   Go have lunch with friends; get a mani-pedi; go window shopping, better yet buy new shoes. 

Fond of gardening?  Grow your own veggies.  Cultivate flowering plants; flowers are known as uppers thats why they are often brought to sick people.  They  bring brightness and cheer all around.   I love my flower garden, it is always a delight to go and look how beautiful and colorful my new bougainvilleas are. During the day, I am often lured to see the garden. 

Start a notebook for affirmations and quotes to boost inspiration so you have something to turn to when you feel so low and unproductive. 

Not one of the  above works?  Someone suggests to do a self challenge; do a 7-day challenge doing something consistently.  Chances are it becomes a habit that easily incorporates in your routine. 

I am a homemaker and after I retired and sold my store; I thought life would be boring.  But I plan interesting things to look forward to after my chores. 

I look forward to relax and read, catch up with news, watch tv, write my blog and even watch a movie. These activities are what motivates me to finish my chores. 

Whether we are employed or not, we need motivation and inspiration to function fully.   The new year is often the time when we decide to improve our lives.  And as we purge the challenges of the past year; we need motivation to meet our new goals; to keep us on track and stay in our game. 

The following image was borrowed from the “300 + quotes to reach your potential in 2019”.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

THE MAGIC OF THE THREE KINGS (A childhood memory)

 
As we celebrate the Epiphany,  the feast of The Three Kings, childhood memories are awakened in me.   

After I got my gift from Santa Claus, I still anticipated the coming of The Three Kings. 
My older brother and I used to put our shoes with our socks on them by the door so they would be accessible for the Three Kings to get to them. 

For Christmas we got  what we wished for; we sent our letters to Santa via the postal service.  But we had no wishes from the Three Kings since they usually give us money, coins and lots of coins!!  

One morning though, I was surprised to see my older brother’s sock full of colored marbles.  I guess, the Three Kings knew that he was fond of playing with them during that time.  Though he got coins too, but I got more since i didn’t get marbles. The Three Kings are fair.  

When I got older, I realized that he already knew the magic of the Three Kings but they gave him anyway since his socks were there. 

Every Three Kings morning, after I get my coins I looked out down the street and I always saw three men wallking away and it always looked like they just left our home.  

From my recollection, i must have seen this for at least three consecutive years and the three men always looked the same. My belief must have been so strong that it manifested in my imagination.  

I don’t recall why I did not continue this practice with my children. This is one of my many regrets as a parent; and I have a lot. 

From today’s homily of Fr. Tito Caluag on his online mass, he made a parallel  between the star of Bethlehem guiding the path of the Three Kings to Jesus to that of our lives guided by the same star to do good always. 

He also couln’t forgeta poster in the seminary that says: “we may not reach the stars but they are always there to guide us”, 

This new year, may we be guided by the Star of Bethlehem always. 

FRUITCAKE, THE CHRISTMAS CAKE





Every Christmas  in recent years, my older daughter and I buy fruitcake.  I dont know why we found the appetite for it again because in earlier years, we just took it for granted. In fact my husband used to order about 50 from my niece for his give-aways. 

Last Christmas, I was at a loss what gift to give my daughter.  While I found a simple gift on line which I eventually ordered; still I wanted to give her fruitcake. 

We found the fruit cake at Figaro to our liking so I thought I’ll definitely buy from there.  Unfortunately the establishment closed shop in the branch near us.   I then wondered where I can get a fruitcake she’d love. 

I checked the village markerplace online looking for the advertised fruitcake but I couldn’t find it anymore.  Since I am one who do things early, I knew I had  still time to look for one before Christmas. 

One day the offer came up again on the post of Marinel Gee Emm of B’s Treats. I didn’t lose time; I ordered right away.  I also ordered for myself and I found it fairly good. 

Why do we even eat fruitcake on Christmas?  They say that the tradition originated from Britain.  It seems that it is considered a celebration cake, not only for Christmas but for special events.  It is known that Princess Diana and also Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge served that on their respective weddings. 

Fruitcake is known to be the most lasting cake ever made because of the dried fruits and nuts pre-soak in rum or whisky.  Ben Chapman, a food specialist from the University of North Carolina claims that its dried fruit and nuts does not give enough moisture for micro-organisms to generate. 

Because of the sweetness, it is usually cut in thin slices or in small cubes and eaten with cheese.  Goes well tea, strong coffee and even with ice cream. 

Friday, 11 December 2020

SIMPLE PANDEMIC CHRISTMAS



If you have been wishing to simplify Christmas for years but never got around doing so, I believe that in keeping with the pandemic protocols, this year maybe the best time to modify the tradition. 

Oftentimes we are overwhelmed with Christmas in our attemp to achieve what Kristine at itsmyfavoriteday.com calls  “our preconcieved Christmas perfection”.   But the hassle is leaving us drained and exhausted when we should be joyous and happy during the most wonderful time of the year. 

This is what I think would make a simple pandemic Christmas. 

Decoration
Let us keep our decorations minimal.  Just choose a room to decorate; not every nook and cranny of our home.  It could be the living room where we set up the tree and hang the stockings.  Or we can decorate the front porch;  but we don’t a porch so I just decorated the front door. 

Gifts?  
This year we seem to be limited to on line  shopping.  Why weather the crowds in Divisoria or rush to shops and malls for gifts when it is risky to expose ourselves to big crowds?  Why not limit gift giving only to people we are likely to encounter this season, like friends and family nearby. 

Activities
Nowadays out of town trips are out; buffet dinner in a hotel is risky which leaves us with family activities in our homes. Sing Christmas carols while someone plays the piano.  Board games, anyone?  Netflix? 

Bar hopping? Yeah, possible!  Prepare a charcuterie board, glasses and drinks in every room and change rooms after every drink.  Fun, right? 

Zoom, facetime, viber with family abroad?  Sure, on Christmas Eve.  For other relatives we schedule that between Christmas and New Year when lines are not too busy. 
 
Food:
Simplify the menu, let’s minimized food this year.  This pandemic made a lot of people hungry that it would be sensible to forget a Christmas table over-flowing with food.  Perhaps two main courses will do and dessert maybe store bought.  Remember, we are not expecting guests. No gatherings, parties or reunions, right?  

Want to try doing the above?  It may work , you know.   Hopefully next year, we can look back to find that Christmas is not as overwhelming and stressful as it has been in earlier years.   We may even realize that being with family is what truly makes Christmas. 

From this experience, we can come up with a better Christmas celebration next year if we incorporate what made sense and add them to the usual traditions that are meaningful to the whole family. 

Finally, think of what is important during Christmas, let us be grateful as we commemorate the Birth of Our Lord Who was sent to redeem us. 

And oh yes!  Don’t forget the memories, take pictures. Send them to family and relatives abroad. 

Friday, 4 December 2020

2020 vALNA KRIS KRINGLE



Look below what I got on the first day of the VALNA Kris Kringle!  VALNA (Victor A Lim Neighborhood Association).  Something round is the gift for today, the first Friday of Secret Santa.  Something sweet, then something soft for the following  two Fridays

When this dynamic and moving couple , Edward and Lyanne, who live across the street from us proposed a Valna Kris Kringle, I immediately signed up.  The whole family were invited to join, the more, the merrier, as they say. 

Look below

at this lovely little girl so happy with what she got today. 

 It is just the right distraction from our pandemic routine.  I know that it will provide a bit of excitement among the neighbors.   And hopefully this will start December to jingle all the way to Christmas. 

Since the lockdown in March, the VALNA Neighbors have been constantly communicating and networking without   face to face interaction.  Communication was made easier with nessenger.  

This is our 5th Christmas in the neighborhood and I find the pioneers very welcoming and supportive. They immediately included us in the chat group as well as in other activites.  

But the lockdown has shrank our world that we can only turn to our neighbors.  It is a blessing in disguise in this regard because I got really acquainted with most of them.  

So this Kris Kringle is a fun way of "socializing" with you, my neighbors.  Let\"s be childlike and enjoy the surprises and the fun that this activity will bring.  Being 75, 80, 20 or  otherwise wll not hinder us in finding joy through a kid\"s perspective. 

For this exercise the organizers used an App, we just "RSVP-Ed" online to signify our participation and indicated our home addresses to facilitate delivery of gifts. 

The App randomly assigned each one a gift recipient.  On the same link, one may mark his wish list for the final gift on Christmas Day, though givers may also get the gifts elsewhere.  The giver will personally deliver this final gift for the great reveal. 

The organizers pegged the final gift at USD 5 and encourage everyone to stick to this spending limit.    What can five dollars buy? You ask me.   Looks like nothing, right?  But converted to pesos, it can be a bit significant.  Besides, we should not expect a significant gift, it\"s  just for fun, isn’t it?   I believe that this is where our creativity will come in handy. 

A neighbor was at a loss yesterday not knowing the approximate age of her recipent.  I believe she just wanted to ensure that her gift fits.  Then there was the suggestion to post our wishlists in the open but in the end the concensus was to keep the element of surprise. Why kill the fun?
 
Earlier on the same day I got an email looking for clues, asking what my drink is;  coffee, tea or chocolate?  Definitely coffee.  Next secret Q & A: what are my 3 beauty products must haves?  Rose hip oil, face cream brush and day cream SPF 50. 

So the App works! Anyone can do that too. 

I guess everyone is feeling a bit excited and like me p, we are all looking forward to more little surprises on this Kris Kring.  Hopefully, pandemic notwithstanding, we will have ourselves a merry little christmas after all.  

And on Christmas Eve while we gather with family, we can even dance to the tune of "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree".

Sunday, 29 November 2020

SO YOUNG, SO COMPASSIONATE



Can you believe that my 6-lyear-old grandson solicited donations for the typhoon victims of Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses in the Philippines?  

Yes!   He did just that!  My grandson lives in Singapore but due to frequent visits to Manila, he can relate. 

During dinner this week, my grandson and his parents were talking about the sad and unfortunate plight of these typhoon victims. 

"Consider yourself lucky",  my son, his Dad told him.   "They lost their homes, they nearly drowned due to flooding and they only have clothes they had on", my son continued. 

After dinner, my grandson left the table and they later found him in his room sorting clothes, toys and books he intend to 

donate to the typhoon victims.  

The next morning he asked his teacher if he could solicit donations from his classmates.  His Mom was surprised when his teacher called to confirm his intention.  His Mom was happy for this gesture and readily agreed if it were possible. 

That afternoon after school, my grandson made a poster with the help of his Mom depicting three pictures of the flood, the devastated homes and  rescue activities by the Red Cross.  
The next morning, he presented the poster in class and requested for donations of clothes, toys, books, etc from his classmates. 



Then donations came pouring in!  

Now, they have quite a heap neatly arranged in their living room.  They are waiting for more donations after this weekend to give time for the Moms to go through their stuff at home.  A parent or two even went out of their way to bring their donations in their Condo.  

Then he remembered two former classmates who became friends, that maybe able to donate as well.  But his Dad cautioned him not to stretch his efforts too much and to better concentrate on his classmates. 

His Mom will ship the donations to a former household help of his other grandparents who now resides in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines; one of the provinces hardly hit by the three typhoons.  She has a son as old as he is thus making the effort more relevant knowing where the donations will go. 

Now I\"m wondering what gave my grandson the idea of soliciting donations.  Maybe he remembers that his Mom occasionally ships his outgrown clothes, toys and some personal and household effects to Manila for donation to charity.  Sometimes when we visit, we see balikbayan boxes waiting for pick up.

In retrospect, I realized that my grandson is his parents\" child after all; they being sensitive and compassionate to the need of others.  They can never turn a deaf ear but instead they always want to alleviate the hardship of others in whatever manner they are capable of doing.

Once again, we can never underestimate what children can do to help our unfortunate brothers.   If only others, especially adults would think and act in similar ways, then this would surely be a better world for everyone.