Hope lives on

Monday musings in paper and inkIt’s less than an hour to midnight, and I’m going to write as spontaneously as I can and hit “publish” before the clock tolls the end of the day. I’ve been writing blogposts right and left throughout my day in my head, but I often get stuck with the thought and end up with no post written. I am trying. But here goes..

Passion project in the works. An idea which hit me last week has gotten me all excited, although it hasn’t turned out as easy as I thought it would be. But I am excitedly taking baby steps towards making this project a reality. I don’t want to write about it too much because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It’s just a good feeling to be working on something I know I can do, no matter that it isn’t exactly easy as pie. What’s more, I’m thinking about doing something I really would enjoy doing. While it is still in its infancy stage, I am very excited to be growing the idea in my head. It reminds me of a time when I was struggling to keep up with the expenses of being a law student in Ateneo and our resources were severely strained by business losses. I learned a lot during that time — and what I’m looking to do feels like a return to that first job I had, in a 21st century iteration. More to come..

Walking

I have been taking care of myself — even if it’s only walking. I’ve managed to go 13 out of 14 days straight, walking at least 5,000 steps, and getting some much-needed physical exertion in my daily routine. I’ve also been doing some mini workouts — and I know that doesn’t sound much for people who are used to spending hours in the gym or jogging miles and miles, but this is a big step for me. For someone who has abhorred the idea of exercise for decades, the fact that I’ve made this a habit the last two weeks except for that one day when the rains stopped me, is an accomplishment. I am proud of myself.

I gave in and started Noom. I am not quite comfortable writing about it yet, though, because I’ve only been on the program for two weeks. I was on the Keto diet for longer and although it did work and I lost weight, it was at a rather high price that made me drop the diet altogether. This one seems to be working just fine — and I like the way it’s structured. But more on that later..

I am picking up my tools again. It’s tax time and I get reminded during this time of the year how much I have literally invested in this business. It encourages me to try harder and I know I’ve been remiss with production, but I am hoping to get the shop going again soon.

Mask making has been put on pause momentarily. Just for a bit. I was cutting new pieces to sew last week — but I had decided to slow down, after the donations and then the batch I sent home with the balikbayan boxes. With the prevalence of Covid and the thought that this is really the new normal for the near future, I think wearing masks is something we really have to get used to. I am hoping to finish a few over the weekend. Taking my daily brisk walk around the community has also given me a chance to test which configurations work — and I’m planning to work on what I’ve discovered to make better masks.

Hope. I started this week hopeful. You know how sometimes you can’t help but be filled with dread and anxiety and all those negative feelings? While I am nowhere near giddy, this Monday finds me full of hope. Maybe I’ve found a sense of calm somehow — not that I am not affected by the rising numbers of cases in other states. New York continues to be in a cautious reopening phase, and we are nowhere near normal. But I am hopeful that no matter how difficult the challenges we face may be, the universe gives me a solution to help me pull through. The doors keep opening.

I am blessed to have that insight to find hope even when things can become overwhelming. And for that, I am grateful.

Here’s to an easy week for us — no matter what you’re doing this coming week, I hope you have it easy. I hope that you don’t get burdened by unnecessary stress. Take things one day at a time..

Happy Monday!

I like Sundays because..

Sunday sunrise over Bayside - terribly cold but I love the feel of the sunshine on my face.  Welcoming another week, looking forward to a new beginning.  Can't waste time on endings or what has yet to come.  Embracing what's here and now.. #sunday #sunris…it’s another day to a short but sweet break from the workweek.  It makes me want to wish for a third day to the weekend, but helps me to savor the quiet and the break from the usual.  My Sundays are usually made up of church during the morning and maybe catching up with errands in the afternoon, or just taking it easy at home which I don’t mind at all.

…it means another week is beginning.  And I don’t know about you but I like the thought of starting over.  I relish going back to routine and doing what I do very well.  Life has been good enough that I actually look forward to the start of the workweek.  (Must sound sickening to others, but I like what I do.)  And beginnings mean life continues — and that’s something that I can hold on to when things get rough and it seems like the bad things never end.

I like thinking of being given the chance to have a do-over where necessary.  It makes me hopeful and helps me move on.

 

When you don’t make it to your school of choice

First of all, apologies for the tardy reply.  I had started drafting this in early July and it has lain untouched in my draft box.  Life has taken me over as always, and sometimes, dishing out my two cents’ worth by way of giving advice is not always as easy as I normally would write something spontaneous.

I got an e-mail (actually, two emails) but didn’t quite catch the e-mails in a timely manner because I hardly check the email account associated with the blog.  Please e-mail me instead at pinaynewyorker@gmail.com.

I didn’t get much details except that someone was hoping to get to law school, didn’t get to the preferred school because of a fraction of a point difference in the required average.

Depressed and sad, what to do?

I had to let out an audible sigh after writing that question. It’s something we must all consider when we set our sights on landing in a particular university or college and we miss the mark. This is not only true for those seeking higher education but also for those trying to get into college (or had tried to get into college). Take heart!

So what do you do when you don’t land where you want to be, or get what you want… I have had to deal with that question many times over in epic proportions over the last two to three years.  And as the years went — it seemed to me that the disappointments became bigger and bigger.  The heartbreak became harder and harder to bear.

But I moved on.

Without pinning my hopes on ‘luck’, I instead pinned my hopes on ‘faith’ and ‘the universe’.  What is it that we say in the vernacular?  Kung para sa iyo talaga, magiging iyo.  Kung ukol, bubukol.  (If it is meant for you, it will be yours.  It is mean to be, it will happen.)

We have to determine what it is that means the most to us.  What it is that we truly want to achieve.  If one thing doesn’t work out, then move on to plan B.

Simply put, if your first school of choice doesn’t accept you (just as UP decided I wasn’t to be part of their student pool), move to another choice.  (And I embraced the blue..)  It doesn’t mean having to give up your dream — it just means adjusting it.

If it really means a lot to you to actually go to law school, the fact that you did not land in your school of choice shouldn’t shatter that dream.  It changes how you realize it, but it doesn’t mean that dream is now unreachable.

A former high school classmate (who is now 48 like me) with three grown children, a public service/media career she was appointed to, endorsements and an actor/husband who the ladies in our generation would not mind waking up next to every day, and whose celebrity has help spread cancer awareness and the message of hope to the public recently posted she was going to audit (observe/sit in) classes in law school.  Then followed the comment that she had always wanted to go to law school, and was wondering if she could do it.  Kaya kaya?  she asked.  We all pounced on the question and words of support chimed in from all over.  OF COURSE! Kayang-kaya!

First, age is never a detriment.  I’ve related this many times that when I took the bar in my mid-twenties, I was in the midst of adults old enough to be my mom and even be my grandma. Never too late to dream, or pursue a dream.

Secondly, her health challenges notwithstanding, she has the money and more importantly the brains.  Need I say more?

And that applies to everyone.  We have different ‘gifts’ and abilities. Our financial stretch differs from one person to the other, but the financial burden of pursuing ones’ dream can be adjusted.  If you can’t afford the more expensive school, go to the one that fits the budget.

“The Best” is not always for everyone.  Whether it’s because you cannot make it to that school because your scores or grades didn’t make the cut, or because you are otherwise constrained by other limitations, those are mere challenges that you should find a way around to get to where you want to go.  Those of us who are able to get up after a fall do so because we know how to make the most of what we have, and we never lose the hope that things will get better.

And while “better” is relative to how you perceive the world, it is never too far away if only you would look close enough to see how there is so much you have been blessed with.

So four or five years from now, don’t  be surprised if this once child star now celebrity mom and public servant in her own right, wife to the once heart throb and cousin to another, is addressed “Attorney”.  I know I won’t be surprised — I’ll just chime in and say “It’s about time.”

Related posts on the pursuit of a legal education can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE in the navigation bar.

Your heart today

One of my favorite Catholic Christian songs is “Your Heart Today” by the ever so prolific and talented Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J.  If there is one man who was put on this earth and given talent in abundance who has done more than his share to bless others, Fr. Manoling is that man.  And although the whole song is beautiful and truly touching, it’s the last line that has resonated with me the most:

“And when I’ve done all that could, yet, there are hearts I cannot move —  Lord, give me hope.  That I may be Your heart today.”

Amen.
My favorite line from Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ's "Your Heart Today":  "And when I've done all that I could, yet there are hearts I still can't move-- Lord, give me hope.. That I may be Your heart today".  Amen.  #prayer #yourhearttoday #frmanolingfranciThis layout actually appears in two separate pages in my altered book.  It’s a ways away yet but I put the whole refrain in separate pages.

A prayer.  Words of inspiration.  Between me and my God.

A source of strength and inspiration both in good times and bad.

Counting the days yet again

I’ve been hoping to write a post here for ages but it has been a very busy past couple of days.  When the opportunity came, I opted to work on the Gotham Chick post first because that blog has been badly neglected and I feel bad about it.  I am trying very hard to jumpstart that corner of my webspace but life and work and life again get in the way.

Soon.

You know how you wish you could tick off even just half your list of “to do’s” and then find yourself unable to even write that list?  It can be paralyzing at times.

These days I just want to space out.  I have been thinking of hopping on a subway line and taking it from end to end over and over again.  But I don’t have the time.  I used to feel that way every time I got on e a long-distance bus ride — I just kept wishing I could just keep going without stopping.

In between ordinary chores like washing the dishes or just putting the dry ones away, I think about taking a trip some place on my own and just “disappearing” into a sea of tourists or like travelers.  Some place new where I’ve never been before.  I wish.. but I can’t.

I sit at my craft corner and start organizing the beads hoping the inspiration to create would come but I get stumped.  Time seems to be dragging its feet one minute and then slipping by too quickly in the next.

I want to jump to May.

This time of the year hasn’t been very good for me because celebrations have been non-celebrations for the longest time.  What should be Happy moments turn out to be numb if not sad.

I had to pause after that last line.  A half smile forms in my face and I try to remind myself I have been blessed.

Someone’s been telling me I have won.  That I should be happy because I have won.  Yet I am reminded of those Pyrrhic victories which were indeed wins but which were achieved at a terrible, terrible cost.  These days I often have to remind myself the reason for why I fight for what I fight for.  Sometimes I stray into a gray area and I find myself looking for some sense of balance which I shouldn’t be looking for — because I should be viewing it from another perspective.

I have to remind myself of the reason why I am where I am.  I have to remind myself of the choice I made and why I made that choice.  Forget about the ones that caused me pain and sadness. I look to the one who has given me my greatest joy.

Another pause.  This time I smile.  A real smile.

There are many things I dread coming to pass these days.  Birthday being one of them.  I get hundreds of greetings thanks to the automatic reminder feature of FB, but I don’t quite get all the ones that really matter.   And much as I would love to respond to each and everyone, I never quite get around to doing it.  (Too slow, I know.)  It’s not so much that I’m turning another year older and I am getting old — but all the “happy” associated with birthdays ring hollow to me more so at this time.  I used to hear people wanting to sleep through Christmas or whiz by their special day for some reason or other — and I never quite understood what was wrong with these people.  Now I understand why.

And remembering certain things associated with past birthdays — more so last year’s — makes it really hard to look forward to this coming one.  I’m tempted to say that after everything that had taken place, I cannot go to anything worse.  It can only get better as they say.  But I had said that of my life in general over a year ago, and 2013 proved me wrong.  It did get worse — so now I try not to tempt fate by proclaiming a hollow optimism after the storm.  I have learned that the pragmatic thing to do is actually just brace for whatever else life throws my way — be it good or bad.  More than hope for something, I need to pray and pray hard I must.

I am trying to count my blessings.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or unappreciative of the breaks life has thrown my way.  It’s just that I’ve fallen very hard the last two years, my knees are still smarting from the deep cuts — and the aches and pains haven’t quite gone away.  Who was it who said scars make you beautiful… they are reminders of how strong you are… they probably were looking at someone else’s scars and did not suffer that kind of a fall themselves.

Spare me the birthday greetings — not because I don’t like getting them — but because I’d rather ask for your prayers.  I’m two years shy of the next milestone agewise, and I would like to think I’ll be at a much better place then than where I find myself now, whether or not things do get better or things get worse.  (Does that make sense?  It does to me.)

I have realized a lot of things more so in the last six months which I sometimes wish I didn’t uncover or have to face.  We sometimes find that illusions or the way we’d like to believe things are are safer than the truth that they mask, just under the surface.

I want to go on a short trip to this resort hotel and book a room and just lay there in bed, staring at the ceiling.  To feel how it is to be there in that place..  and to just see the sun rise outside my window.

I want to believe in me again the way I did before my illusions about my world were shattered to bits.  Sometimes that is the hardest because I am my own worst critic.  I wish the pain would go so that “happy” can have room and reign again.

I am trying.

Even as I count the days to one of the occasions I dread — for many reasons, in many ways.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE (A multi-page layout)

I have several of these multi-page layouts in my altered book but I tried to think of words which evoked positivity and then executed it in different ways.

This layout started out as this:

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - original multi-page layout before journaling
The left hand page was a watercolor layout I pasted on the book page, and I picked out four different fonts for the individual letters of “HOPE”. I painted the pages and concentrated on the fourth of the right side page that I needed and then traced the letters onto the page and cut them.

Because the pages with the letters had acrylic paint, I had to use permanent ink to draw and write on them.  Note that ordinary black signpens will not adhere to the paint and tend to stain the other page. As this was already a rather “colorful” layout, I decided I’d stick with an all-black border and background theme.

I did the first layout with doodled flowers and hand-drawn dates.

Art Journal Every Day -HOPE

After I finished the first entry, I then started drawing on the empty spaces behind the letters to make the multi-page layout more cohesive. I also made sure each journal block had a distinctive border to frame the entry.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I also maximized the blank spaces behind the letters as much as I could. Black worked for the most part but I needed to use silver and/or gold for the darker page painted with violet. I kept the floral embellishment to black, though.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

For the final layout below, I decided to use some spray painted
filofax grid pages I had sprayed with ink. I simply pasted it onto the blank center and wrote on it.  I wanted to do more journaling than drawing on this particular spread, and it was just easier writing on a water-color or ink painted journal space than the practically whole two-page spread that was painted with light purple acrylic paint.  I drew randomly on the other blank spaces to fill it in.Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I am very heavy on the written journaling and have yet to move on to symbolic or art-based entries. I am trying, but this works better for me.

I’m finishing another multi-page layout again right now and will probably be able to share that next week. (If not sooner.)  Some of the entries are short and other go on from page to page.  I don’t necessarily choose to confine my entries on one page.  I let it flow and just move on to the next page if I’ve run out of space.

I’ve tried to work on part of a layout or a layout every day but I don’t stress about “catching up” if I miss out on a day or two.  If I do, I just write when I can.  I write in the “now” so whatever day it is when I finally write again, I pick up from there.

Time to do today’s entry.

Five things to be thankful for

It’s Sunday evening and like every Sunday in my daily readings from Kerygma Family, I look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I was sort of sidelined by a bad infection which threatened to take over my immune system but I made a strong come back after resting it away at home.  No fever, but my neck ached liked crazy due to swollen lymph nodes.  I’m okay now but still exhausted — so I’m trying to take it slow.

Tonight, I’m thankful and happy about…

1.  Finally some good temperatures that are not in the teens and which actually allowed us to go out with jackets but no scarves today.  (40s!)

2.  Getting Angelo’s science project going.  (We conducted the experiment but still have halfway to go with his partner, Ryan.)

3.  Finding a ring I had misplaced.  I wear three rings daily — and I take them off when I do my chores.  One, somehow, found its way to another bin away from the two, but they’re a happy threesome again.

4.  Family lunch at Waterzooi, a place we used to visit and went back to again.  Loved their Baked French Onion Soup (upper right picture in the collage below) and shared Alan’s Paella Moules Frites (bottom pictures).  Ended up eating Angelo’s burger, but I’m not complaining.  The promise of doing things differently.. keeps me hopeful.
Food trip: Waterzooi Belgian Bistro fir lunch and Banana Nutella Crepe for snacks on Super Bowl Sunday

5. Completing my “HOPE” multi-page layout for Art Journal Every Day in my altered book.

Art Journal Every Day: Hope Multi-page Layout (pre-journaling)This one was done quicker than I had thought it would be, although I’ve had to retake the layout graphics over and over again because of changes to the drawings. The journaling pretty much stayed as is, then I had to blur them out.  I’m happy to be able to work consistently on journaling no matter how short my window to work on the pages may be.

I’m now working on another multi-page layout, “BELIEVE”, but will write a feature on “HOPE” before I post anything on any other work in progress.

Another week and another month ahead… can you believe January has ended?  And yes, we’re officially into the Year of the Horse which is my year although my element is Fire…  That only means I’m turning 48 (because I’m certainly not turning 60 YET)… another year.

Thankful and happy, and feeling blessed I am.

 

Art Journal Every Day: I will overcome

Art journal Every day: I will overcome

I finally found an app that will help me blur the journaling around the actual layout after searching high and low in the app store. Thank you, Photo Blur!

Can you believe the layout above began with the pages below?
Art Journal Every Day: original layout before journaling

I’ve been trying to spend a little time each day working on multi-date layouts (where I put a sentence or two about a given topic featured on the page) or in completing actual journal entries.  I just finished working on a multi-page layout and will begin another one, and I can’t wait to see how that progresses and turns out after I am done.  It’s very refreshing to see something which I thought was already “done” get totally transformed into something different once I finish working on it.

I like the way I have made it a routine to pray, journal, pray, journal, pray, draw.  And then when I can, I try to get some reading done.  The downside is I haven’t had much time to write the cards and letters I have been making a mental list of, and neither have I been good with the e-mails.  I am trying to structure my time in such a way that I make a habit of beginning my day with my usual prayer/s and then I try to get some reading done if I wake up early enough.  (Today was a struggle, though, because I didn’t get up until almost 7am!  I know I should’ve straddled out of bed at 5:10am when I woke up..but I was summoned back to bed, and it was too tempting not to catch some more sleep before the day began.)

At lunch time, I try to catch up on my daily readings from KerygmaFamily if I haven’t already done it by then.  And if I still have time, I write on one of two journals that preoccupy me in real time writing.

It takes me time to finish a layout but I try to be good about it.  There are times when the journaling is done for the day but it takes me a day or two more to finish the actual page.  I like seeing the book taking shape… I find it so inspiring to even just glance at it on my desk without opening it, seeing its many colored pages.  I like that someone who can’t even draw a face without the help of tracing an outline can come up with this.  It’s something very personal that shows me what I am becoming and where I’ve been. 

My first layouts in 2012 were mostly symbolic without much journaling, but these days I find a greater need to write.  Sometimes in ways only I can understand.  I layer writing over writing and then just trust that I will understand it if I ever go back to it.  Otherwise, I am happy with the way it has come together.  It doesn’t need to be read, it only needs to be seen as a whole.
Instagram Buzz
I posted this on my Instagram with this caption:

Art journal every day: I will move on – I started doing #artjournaleveryday in 2012 when I first bumped into @balzerdesigns, Julie Fei-fan Balzer’s website . To this day, she is an inspiration to me as a non-artist trying to come up with personal art. She has generously shared her comments and techniques. I recently returned to #artjournaling using my #alteredbook which had lain dormant for most of 2013. This year, I promise to take better care of me and focus on myself while taking care of others.

I got the biggest surprise of my life when Julie left a comment and made my day. She truly inspires and makes a difference in so many people’s lives.

Your Presence in my day

Another DayI just missed two buses and I am certain one of them was what I needed to get to work. It doesn’t help that they hit the bus stop when I was still too far away that it wouldn’t have mattered if I broke into a sprint to catch them. I let it go. I was praying.

“Lord, help us to feel YOUR presence in our day today.”

I had to pause after that line when I realized that we often get caught up in our day-to-day existence and everything becomes routine and we forget He is there with us. I prayed that others feel His presence, too. At a time when many feel alone in their struggles or when help from the usual sources doesn’t appear to be forthcoming, we often forget the one presence that is guaranteed — come what may. I say that because I believe. I, too, have to remind myself to acknowledge He is there, as I sometimes fall prey to forgetting or taking it forgranted that He is.

More so during those times when I feel anger or desperation crawling out of me, I just close my eyes, breathe deeply, utter a prayer or a silent cry for help — and I let it go. When no one else can hear me cry out, I know He does.

Another Monday, another week — the world seems a little more peaceful today. At least from my point of view, that is. The sun seems to be feeling lazy and has been hiding behind the rain clouds. Perhaps it’s because I started the day feeling assured I am not alone. Despite the grey, I see the sunshine even when I can’t feel it on my face.

I know He is here with me as He is there with you, holding your hand, Sis.