Thankful (2016)

I have been floating around the web but not really quite here to finish a post.  I look at my draft box and see a slew of articles in the works, but none quite good enough to publish just yet.  So don’t be surprised if one day you find 5 or so posts published one after another.  There are as many and more in the works.  This time around, I am promising to hit “publish” in one sitting, graphics or no graphics– with on-the-spot edits.

I have been writing, but life in general has been grabbing me in so many different directions I have had a difficulty focusing.  Well, apparently, save for the annual thanksgiving post I usually get to write.  It helps that I had an instagram post on this which has inspired me to just expand on that, if only to keep with tradition.

I have never really been big on Thanksgiving, and being where I am right now at this point in my life has put major celebrations on hold — at least until that time when I can move on to the next phase unencumbered.  But while we don’t really celebrate this in my home, I can say for a fact I do celebrate it in my heart.

I have always been an advocate for everyone taking the time to stop and appreciate the blessings that one has in their lives.  I think a lot of people live in a perpetual state of unhappiness or sadness (two different things!) because they refuse to do just that.  One of the lessons of recent years I have taken to heart is that acknowledging that which you have will help you get over that which you don’t.  And here I speak both of material and non-material things, and yes, even people.

I skipped writing on Thanksgiving day itself as I got messsage after message greeting me with all these well wishes.  For all the messages I got, thank you.  The most heartwarming was the one that said “when I count my blessings, I count you twice.”  There are those people who shower us with so much love and affection that their very presence gives us reason to be happy.  And truth be told, sometimes a simple acknowledgment is all it takes to give that person a hug back.  For that hug to the heart, I am most grateful.. because that lets me know that though much is left unsaid, I am special.

And although I give thanks for having him in my life everyday, I am forever grateful that I have my (not-so) little guy to hold my hand.. who can hold me shoulder-to-shoulder now as we walk and who always looks at me with such love and affection, saying “Mama, you’re so sexy!”  

I am thankful for the scale that tells me I’ve been good (yay!) — ready to move ahead and try to push myself further to break my constant plateau.  Two vacations this year to Fiji and Manila made me gain over 10lbs each time, and trying to push that down back to my usual weight has forever been a struggle, and I’m happy my efforts have paid off.

Everyday, I am grateful for the family that may be on the other side of the world but whose love is just a heartbeat away.. for friends who make me smile and who assure me I’m okay right here where I am.  I have been lucky to have the right people in my life right now — who, even when we don’t see each other or keep constantly in touch, are always there.  I have selfies and photos galore, snippets of laughter and twitchy noses in my mind which surface time and again to remind me I have much to be thankful for.  People who will pop in with a sweet hello or a morning text with a virtual hug — which always helps me start my day right.  Or a simple “GM” before getting on with their own respective crazy days.

Being so far away from home (Manila) used to be so heavy on the heart when the homesickness crept in, but the past months have found me meeting new friends and reaffirming old friendships — making my place on this side of the world just a little cozier.  Be it through the sewing classes or through drinks or lunch, we connect and stay connected.

I celebrated my 50th birthday in April with a dozen guests who were the people who truly mattered– and who made my birthday a meaningful celebration.  It started a yearlong celebration of thanks for all that I have and continue to be blessed with at this point in my life.  There were those who weren’t here but who meant as much, if not more.  Their presence in my life continues to keep me going, even if they are just there– in my heart.

And I am grateful that there are people who have touched me in a myriad of ways that have helped me to know myself better– be it for words that were said, experiences shared, or simply for walking in ever so casually and changing the colors in the frame just by being in it.  For those simple acts of kindness like a message scribbled on a piece of paper,  or a warm and tender touch to say I’m okay, I say thanks.  It has made the ride more fun and interesting, and has given me something to truly smile about even if only but for a fleeting moment.

I am grateful for each day that promises me a new beginning, no matter how chaotic my world may be at any given time.  In the silence of each morning as I wake up before everyone in the house does, I try to frame it as a fresh start to try and make things right, or to continue to go on with whatever is good in my life.

And although I wish I had more time and energy to write, I am thankful for the gift of words to say thank you to those souls who make my otherwise ordinary life simply fabulous by being a part of it… I know I am blessed many times over, and every day I live I try to cherish that which I have and let go of the things I can’t and don’t– Thanksgiving or not.

A Prayer and Homage

A prayer and homage to Him who has brought me this far. Without You, Lord, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Thank You, Jesus, for all the blessings and for never leaving my side through the challenges life had brought my way. #prayer #sunsetinnyc #onmywayhome #thankYouLord #blessed #ny #mynewyork #gi
vingthanks #.

A terrible headache came upon me sometime midday. I stepped out to get some sun and grab a free bag of beads as part of an e-mail promotion of one of my favorite bead stores, got some chicken fajita for lunch and it hit me even before I got back up on 41. Two pain relievers later, I was just wishing for the day to end.

Getting off the bus I noticed the sky was a pinkish hue and decided to take a few snapshots. Gorgeous, don’t you think? So apt to use as a background for my prayer. You’ll find this on my Instagram and Pinterest pages. (Shameless request for followers.)



My Gratitude JournalI’ve long meant to write in a Gratitude Journal, but as always, the “form” was always much too much of a hurdle. This time around, the process was somehow reversed and I fell in love with the paper and the journal then I decided this would be my gratitude journal.

It is always good to think of our blessings, in good times and during the bad — more so when we are emotionally challenged because it helps remind us that life is not always “against” us. We often neglect to take the everyday joys we come across forgranted, because they don’t move us to jump up and down for joy or to swoon or gush — yet these little joys help to bring us to a good place.  “Ordinary” blessings from day to day, no matter how small they may be, are never insignificant in the bigger scheme of things.

We often fail to give thanks because that same feeling of contentment leads us to a sense of entitlement. And yet sometimes, admittedly, I know I come across a lot of good I have not earned a right to — but which are thrown at me out of the natural goodness and generosity of a higher being.

We are constantly in search of happiness, yet we fail to recognize that little things like a sunny day, or a warm greeting from a stranger as we walk towards our place of work — things that help make our day a little brighter if not easier — are things that we should consider blessings or things we should be thankful for.  I realize that “blessings” tend to have a religious meaning, and for the many who don’t recognize the existence of God or a higher being in some shape or form, then these blessings are ordinary things or happenings that come into our lives plain and simple.

If only we recognized them for being what they were, then the challenges we face might yet turn out to be not as big a challenge as we thought them to be.

It’s not a novel idea.  Many people like Oprah have their gratitude journal.  This is the journal that only lists what you are thankful for — it’s a little book of treasures of what you consider good in your life.  A fellow Pinay Swiss I used to follow used to list Five Things to be Happy About in her journal.  (Where art though, Jayred?)  And who says we have to stick with five?  I had started doing that at random but have not done the list in while.  (It has been ages!)

Gratitude Journal 00

I wrote: “I’ve always had a love affair with paper, and everytime I looked at the shelves withe the journals over at Barnes, I can’t help but pause and browse.  I’ve always been so impressed by these handmade paper journals which always stood out.  I’d always make it a point to open the sample and leaf through the book just to feel its pages.  The rough texture of the handmade paper has an elegance to it which I can’t help but admire.

Made in Nepal.  I remember the holiday bazaars I’ve been to in the Philippines which shocased similar products.  Can we actually come up with something like this and find it ont he shelves of Barnes, too?  I wonder.

I haven’t even made up my mind about what kind of journal this will be.  A gratitude journal… I can certainly use that.

Thank you. — Dinna”

Journals in Barnes and Noble

It was on this shelf that I spied my journal.  Sometimes we feel a pair of shoes or a bag on the shelf beckoning us.  This one, I felt, had my name written inside it already.

The handmade paper seemed thick enough to take on ink and paint — but the thickness of the paper made for a few pages only.  Somehow that didn’t bother me.  Besides, at roughly $10.00, I can easily get another once this runs out.   This is the one that swept me off my feet.

Handmade paper journal from Nepal

I like that even if it’s a little bit chunky, it’s lightweight.  I wouldn’t mind getting exactly the same book next time.

After two posts I’ve come to realize that paper is paper and the ink will seep through.  I’ve decided to do some stencilling for the next entry to “cover” what little did bleed through to the next spread.  I have also decided there will be no collages in this book. The binding won’t be able to take it, and I’d hate for it to get ruined.

My first entry started like the picture below but has now progressed to being colored in some places and written on in some.  I am thankful for having found my journal.
Gratitude Journal 01
Time to start on the next layout.  No pressure.  In between cooking dinner for the boy and catching up on my favorite TV shows, I have plenty of time.  It comes when it comes.

What are YOU thankful for?