Monday Musings: Unexpected Hellos, the Glass Half Full, Cheesecake Babka and I Pray..

Untitled Is it Monday already? Last night, I was transfixed watching these men on skates fight for their lives. And when they won, I felt triumphant and proud even if I am just beginning to understand this game. (And yes, I now know what a power play is.). I don’t know if it was all that excitement which caused me to stay awake for most of the evening, drifting off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. There were just too many thoughts racing through my head preventing me from drifting off to dreamland. I think I even said my evening prayers thrice hoping the angels would listen and lull me to blissful rest. It was almost exhausting trying..

Sleep eventually found me. Then I just found myself being roused by my alarm screaming yes, Monday IS here. I don’t know if it’s age, but I managed to go through the day without skipping a beat. I know — or at least, I’m hoping — that tonight will be simpler when I lay my head down to sleep.

An unexpected hello greeted me from out of the blue just as I was getting ready for bed before midnight last night. It was one of those friends who pops in and out in the most unexpected times and just sends well wishes to let you know they are thinking of you. I figured he was up watching the game knowing he was a fan and I congratulated him on the win. A simple message, a warm hug to the heart. As if the universe paused a moment to remind me I have a sea of friends out there, who continue to bless my life with their presence and friendship. (I wanted to congratulate another diehard fan of the winning team, but was unable to. So I stopped myself before I could text. All the same, I’m sure he was ecstatic with the win.). This friend said we should chat soon. I don’t know that I want to unburden my heart, but reconnecting is always a good thing, be it over drinks or coffee and donuts.

Glass half full, it is. Part of what kept me up was the dilemma of a plan about to fall flat on its face. I was so looking forward to something this Tuesday which, unfortunately, just isn’t going to happen anymore. I used to have such a hard time dealing with disappointment, more so when it was something I’ve been planning on for days. When it became obvious that things just weren’t coming together to make it happen, I myself declared the postponement to next week. Disappointed, though I was— I thought to myself how fortunate it was that I have something to look forward to. There is the following week.. and we can plan again. There is some comfort in not being the only one who is disappointed with the turn of events, but what can we do— life happens. I try to appreciate the small things— like the effort and the thought. So lunch of cheese, Marcona almonds, quince paste or jam and grapes with a bottle of cab or Pinot noir will have to wait .. it wasn’t cancelled— just postponed.

Struggling to create again. Over the weekend, my illustrator-Fashion-creative inspiration/friend, Elaine, told me I should start creating pieces again. She wanted me to make productive use of my energy and time. I did get the stones and a necklace I wanted to alter out of storage and on to the table, but I got stuck with positioning the stone but not really getting to work on it at all. I think I will try to create earrings through the week to start with, and hopefully get the creative juices flowing.

Cheesecake BabkaThat elusive Cheesecake Babka from Breads Bakery— Finally snagged one. I am “partially Jewish” thanks to some friendly influence — more by way of practice and cuisine. My first Chief something boss and the next Chief of something who both observed the holidays introduced me to the important dates. Friends have since exposed me to actual observances and food. I wear a red string bracelet on my left wrist as a token of luck, a present from the so called Wailing wall. So one of my favorite Jewish oriented bakeries is Breads Bakery which I first got introduced to via their kiosk in Bryant Park. My niece, Julia, is a chocolate babka fanatic, so much so that I handcarry the babka home to Manila every time I head that way. When I heard May would see a cheesecake babka on their shelves, I was stoked. The only problem is that they always sold out by the time I came upon their store— until Sunday. Finally!

I grabbed my loaf and couldn’t believe my luck. Definitely well worth the wait! It’s their usual babka with swirls of light cheesecake that are hardly noticeable except for the flavor. This one’s a limited offering so try and get it while you can.

These days, I’ve been praying more. While I start my day by stopping by St. Agnes Church on 43rd when I can and end it with a simple prayer before I turn in, I’ve been stopping to whisper a few words more often these days. I’m not your cookie cutter Catholic who goes to Church religiously, but I do take my faith to heart. To me, it’s an ongoing conversation between me and my God.

So I pray for my ever changing list of friends and family battling health issues, special intentions for those grieving the loss of a loved one.. that He keep my son happy, safe, healthy and whole.. and that He keep a friend who runs into danger more often than most, safe, even if he’s no longer around. I call on Jesus to keep a Jewish friend in his care, even if he believes Jesus is just one of them.

There are things that I cannot pray for, so instead I ask that I be given the discernment and the wisdom of acceptance. To let go, and to accept the cards I’m dealt. When the words escape me, I have my prayer playlist to help me be quiet in my own space and I listen. I have always lifted up my troubles and while I do not ask for a specific outcome, I ask for guidance, and as much as I can, I pay heed when I am not otherwise distracted.

Sometimes it can be a struggle, but I try. There are times I pray to my Dad who passed some 10 years ago, and to my Aunt who was a second mom to me. I ask them to hold me in their embrace and help bring my prayers up to the heavens. I offer them these people I pray for and I know they hear. And so I pray… In Church, I lift the prayers of the smattering of the faithful dotting the almost empty pews. I say, I lift to You whatever it is they are praying for.

There are times when a realization hits me and I look up and grudgingly say “I heard You,” even when I am not too happy with the message I received. And so the conversation continues. Sometimes I am the hard headed child whining against a clear message to go a certain direction, and at times I am the meek one, quietly embracing His bidding in surrender. Amen.

It’s a balance of busy and calm this week— I just go with the flow. Maybe I’ll hear that familiar text tone assigned to someone who got me into emoticons and tea. Or perhaps not. I’m still trying to make up my mind about whether or not getting those texts is a good thing or a bad thing.. I’m waiting for what the universe says. There’s next week’s do over — fingers crossed it doesn’t get postponed again.

These days I’m always bracing for life to surprise me like it did in recent weeks. Just as quickly as I was swept away, I landed back on the ground. Still, I smile when I close my eyes in anticipation of life’s next surprise.

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Pinay New Yorker says: If this is your first time reading “Monday Musings,” this is a collection of blurbs running through my mind on any given Monday, hoping to give vent to a full blogpost at some other future time. Or perhaps it’ll just be my own personal list of short anecdotes that marked recent days. Thanks for stopping by.

Dreaming of French Toast and other breakfast bits

For the last three months or so, I’ve been having a staple breakfast of egg whites (and the occasional whole egg on the weekends) and turkey sausages.  That meant giving up my weekend pancake treat, or any other breakfast other than that.  The good news is that I have lost more than 15 lbs which I can’t be happier about.  Luckily, I’m the type of person who can have the same thing day in and day out, like I used to have tapa everyday, or tilapia stuffed with veggies from the Jollyjeeps in Makati way back when.  There are times, though, when I crave something different.  A friend is boasting of making a mean french toast, and it’s been ages since I had that for breakfast.  I must say I make a good crunchy french toast which I picked up from one of our stays at a Marriott more than a decade ago, but it would  be nice to be treated to someone else making breakfast, though.  (One reason I love hotel stays, because I get to eat something I didn’t prepare!)

My mornings are a concert date with the Jesuit Music Ministry via JMM Covers on Youtube which is like my morning prayer ritual now.  (That’s something that has stuck with me after the brief stint with the Jesuits in law school ages ago..)  I used to stick to just three songs and a solemn recital of the Serenity Prayer, but my early morning wake up calls now give me room to play an actual playlist I put together on my GothamChick Youtube account aptly titled ‘Prayers‘.  They’re songs that are easy on the ears, and light on the heart.

Below is one of the gems I discovered, a jazzy and more soulful version of “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” which you won’t hear at mass but would love listening to on a beautiful Saturday morning like today.

I’m going to try and do an Art Journal Every Day update in the other blog if only I could get my blurring app to work (!).. that means a few minutes to actually continue a layout, and maybe paint more towards the end.  I’m trying to be more concise with my entries, but brevity has never been one of my stronger suits. (This blog being proof of that… Ha!)

Fortunately, there isn’t a ton of homework to worry about, and other than missing a performance at the Lincoln Center I was hoping to take Angelo to tomorrow, my weekend is looking good.  (I had vacillated about buying or not buying the tickets and of course it sold out before I made up my mind..)  I was hoping to take him to his favorite spot in Central Park, but weather permitting, we might actually do that on Tuesday when school’s out for Veteran’s Day.

Here’s to a good weekend with the sun shining brightly today..


 

 

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.

Over breakfast

I slept normal last night which was a first in many days.  I was in bed before midnight and made sure to shut all my electronic devices when the witching hour came.  Instead of lingering and having difficulty sleeping, I drifted off to la-la land almost instantaneously.  I know because I don’t remember anything after closing my eyes.  No stressful dreams of people who haunt me into a stressful awakening.  Bliss.

My raisin walnut loafI woke up earlier than usual, too, which is good.  So instead of immediately getting down to the business of getting myself ready for work, I sat down at our breakfast counter, powered up the laptop, and then proceeded to enjoy a quarter slice of the raisin walnut loaf I picked up from Maison Kayser in the Flat Iron district.  It might not be one of his fancy pastries or desserts, but this bread is a heavenly treat.  I can make do with it and butter for a meal.  (Which I will indulge in later for lunch.)

I checked my messages (the boss is on the other side of the world but thankfully has kept to emailing me at the start of HIS day, end of mine, instead of some ungodly hour — but it still pays to check — just in case.)  I said my morning prayer — something I’ve been good with even if reading the scripture readings via Kerygma’s Daily Readings has not been as easy to do regularly.  And I sat down here, determined to write a morning post.

I can hear the humming of the refrigerator and nothing much else.  The TV is off because I’m the only one in the house — everyone else is asleep or gone off to work.  I’m just savoring this alone time where the only sense of urgency comes from the cadence of the laptop keys as I strike them.

The half dozen or so posts in my head are still in my head.  While I have been writing, it’s been more of the spontaneous account of the “thought of the moment” or major activity of the day.  I still hear the words coming forth in my head as I go about doing my work — or even as I hold the clay in my hands, trying to experiment with this new design I wanted to come up with.

Yesterday, the anger almost crept up on my again.  I don’t want to say it’s getting easier to let it go — I think I’ve just gotten better at it.  I breathe in.  I calmly tell myself to let it go.  Another deep breath.  I pray that God help me to let it go.  And I think that is what does it for me.

Time to get ready for work again.  I’ve indulged enough here and must head back to the real world and do my part for the day.

 

 

 

FAITH: Words and Pictures

There are things that I do online via Instagram, Twitter and Flickr which deserve a mention here but aren’t exactly front and center of my day.  Or sometimes there just isn’t more to say beyond the photo and whatever I had “scribbled” on to it.  For the most part, I do this only in prayer form, hence you will find a section on the above entitled WORDS & PICTURES as a page under a sub-category FAITH.

Below is my second entry.  I’m not going to do this regularly so I am just posting each graphic as they are created onto the page.   Please feel free to pin or share but please give credit.

 

Sunset over the Poconos and reflections this Holy Week: Lord, help me to welcome YOU into my life. #sunset #reflection #prayer #lentenreflection #HolyWeek #poconos #pennsylvania #Faith #religion

A Prayer and Homage

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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.)

;

Fast forward to “peaceful” and “happy”

DAILY PROMPT: If you could fast forward to a specific date in the future, when would it be?

Fast forwardI don’t have a specific date in the future because I don’t know just “when” I will get to where I want to get to.  I do know I want to get there.

My world is nowhere near the kind of calm that would enable me to open my eyes each morning with a peaceful thought.  I wake up in the oddest of hours in the morning, and I think of the reason why I am waking up when I should be lost in slumber.

The ceiling over my bed is becoming my focus spot even in the darkness.  I don’t see anything.  No color, no darkness.  I see white.  And it stays white.  I used to drag myself out of bed half-awake still intoxicated with that bliss that takes you over after a restful sleep.  I miss that.  I wake up — wide awake, eyes open and I am “up” even before I pull myself out of the bed.

I grab my phone and blackberry and saunter out of the room.  I start making breakfast.  Because it’s winter, it is still dark outside.  I find the darkness to be my friend at this time when the silence helps me to get my bearings so early in the day.  I move slowly.

I try not to open the TV until I’ve gotten my groove after preparing Angelo’s water jug which I fill with ice and then water to the brim to “semi-freeze” it.  That’s the way he likes it.  I grab the snack of choice (fave of the moment) and put it in the ziploc bag.  For now, that’s pretzel.

My mornings are full of sighs and empty thoughts.  I pray.  I start with the Serenity Prayer.

I’ve subscribed to Kerygma’s Daily Readings.  I try to do this early in the morning or when I find a moment of “peace” at work.  It helps that I don’t have to lug my Didache anymore.  All the scripture and reflections are literally at the palm of my hand.

Then my day begins.  And then it ends.  And it goes this way over and over again, punctuated by moments of anger, pain and just numbness.  I want to get to that point when the anger will just be a momentary flash.  When the pain will just be a memory.  When the numbness disappears.

I don’t know how far ahead in the future I must look to to find that point where I would fast foward my life to.  I cannot even think of April right now which is just weeks away.  I just want to sleep through it and have it be  over and done with.  I’m thinking maybe I’ll take a trip alone someplace.  Then I think not.  Again, the numbness takes me over.

I’d like to get to that place again when opening my eyes in the morning means looking forward to another day.  When it ceases to be another day I must pull myself through.

I’d like to get to that place when I feel good about life again.  When the uncertainty has lessened for I know it will never be truly gone.  When I can walk with a steady gait instead of faltering through the hills and valleys I pass or know I will pass.  When I am not overwhelmed by the sense of loss I feel now for things, time and opportunities that have been taken away from me by someone’s evil designs.

I want to get to that point when I cease to be evil myself.  When I get to that sense of being okay with the world as it is, whatever the state of my world may be.  When the thought of ruining someone no longer appeals to me or appeases my anger.  When forgiveness finally settles in my heart and soul.

How are you?

(I had drafted this post yesterday morning and had erased and rewritten the post after midnight earlier but the time stamp and order here got messed up… So I’m reposting.)

There are days when a simple question, heartfelt and not conversational — a genuine inquiry into how you are doing — can make a whole difference as you end what has been a challenging day. BFF Do wrote that simple query in a short e-mail from work.  She is 16 hours ahead of me.  We can hardly “catch” each other on regular weekends.

Mental telepathy, I told her.  But I was too tired to answer the question.  She understood.  It’s like a question that seeks to reassure.  I am truly blessed.

I really should be sleeping.  I have an early start tomorrow as the boy has a unit test.  We did our review tonight, but it doesn’t hurt to do more practice.  Plus, we will walk to school together.  I’m on solo duty again.  I cooked chicken for my mother-in-law, cooled it down and put it in individual containers and stashed them in my fridge.  I even managed to bake a polymer clay experiment which needs a whole lot of work but which was productive because I know now where I need to do a work around.

And tomorrow is another day. 

I hope I find the strength not to butt heads with those who are not worth the trouble at work.  It is, after all, just work.  I hope tomorrow will be sunnier.  I am not optimistic that will be the case, but hey, I might wish the sun back. 

A happy thought — sunshine.  =)

And more sunshine… just got a text from my sister.. “Love you, too, sis..”  I can never have too much love.  Today I am being showered by it.  And like I wrote this morning, I have constantly felt “His” presence — through it all, He was there with me.  Maybe that’s why I’m still up. 

Thank you, Lord, for another day.